things we do with maddy: rally for resistance

(let’s make it a better story)

This weekend, at our local People’s Solidarity Rally, we joined millions of people around the country and around the world in registering our objections to what President Trump intends to do (and already has done, simply in rising to the position that he has in the manner that he did), and we brought M with us. The rally in our city was not particularly large, but to M it was HUGE.

Part of the crowd.

I think it was very powerful for my daughter to see a large crowd of people who are resisting Trump and affirming love the way that we are…she knows we are not alone.

Showing off her sign at the rally. She got LOTS of compliments on it!

She insisted on making her own sign – I asked her what she wanted me to write on it, and she told me which words (and which to make “all big letters”), then I created the bubble letters and she colored them in. She was very proud of it, and wanted me to share this picture with Hillary Clinton (I’m not entirely sure how to do that, but I should figure it out!):

All done! She decided the message, I made the bubble letters, she colored them in. I'm proud of you, baby girl! (Now I gotta decide what to put on mine!)

Madrigal has been a passionate supporter of Hillary Clinton ever since watching parts of the DNC convention with us this summer. She’s 5, so her understanding of what’s going on is obviously not incredibly sophisticated, but she definitely came to her own conclusion about what Trump is (“a bully who doesn’t love everyone and wants to make us hate and hurt each other”) and who Hillary Clinton is (“a really strong woman who loves everyone and wants to help us take care of each other”) and I’m just really proud of her engagement. And of course, heartbroken that she did not get to see Hillary sworn in as president, and that instead she will have to grow up in the world that Trump and his enablers are shaping. I can’t even articulate how much that breaks my heart. But Hillary Clinton is no less a role model for my daughter in “defeat” (she did win the popular vote by an astounding margin, after all).

Walking to the solidarity rally! (We can walk to downtownROC from our house!)

We were able to walk to the rally from our house (we only live about one mile outside of downtown). In our matching pink hats (and sweaters, because she adorably insists on matching me whenever possible), and with my husband carrying signs, it was quite obvious where we were headed. We got several honks and cheers from cars that passed us, a few high-fives from fellow walkers…and one jerk in a big SUV honked and gave us the finger. I…struggle to imagine the mindset that feels powerful upon flipping off a 5 year old.

But to circle back around to the picture I opened this post with…the idea that the story of the universe is still being written, and that we have a part to play in how it turns out. I *love* that idea. That’s why I think it is so important to speak up about injustice, to make noise, to make “good trouble”. There’s that famous line about the long arc of the moral universe bending towards justice, and the thing that’s always bugged me slightly about the usual framing of it is that it seems to assume that there is an moral universe that’s just out there, doing its long arc, and we just experience it. I know some people find that meaningful and inspiring, but to me, it seems like a framing that inspires complacency. As a Humanist, I hold that if there is a moral universe at all, it is one of our own making, and thus the arc that bends towards justice only does so if we *make* it bend. We are the makers of this story and I hope we can make it good.

Me and my girl at the Rochester People's Solidarity Rally
(you bet I put the UU 1st Principle on my sign!)

Oh, M, I’m so sorry this is the direction things have gone, but I will be by your side fighting for what is right and trying to make the future you inherit as good as it can possibly be, and bending that arc back in the direction of justice.


a tale of two hats

Maddy stole my pussyhat and wore it for violin practice (she had an AMAZINGLY good practice session tonight!)


I promised a post about the hats M and I were wearing in my last post, so here you go! When I found the body and sleeves of M’s now-finished sweater, I was actually digging through my yarn bins in search of pink yarn (which does not feature heavily in my stash), because I wanted to knit a Pussyhat to wear in solidarity with those marching in DC this Saturday. I’ll be participating in a local solidarity rally that day, and as a knitter, I could not resist joining a social activism effort that involved knitting. But being the sort of knitter that I am, I also could not follow the pattern as written – that’s just not how I roll!

The yarn I found was a full skein of Cascade Eco+ yarn in “Crushed Berry”, and I promptly cast on for the first hat.

Here is what I did for hat #1: Cast on 80 stitches on size 7 needles using tubular cast on, and complete the set-up rows flat, then join to knit in the round. After the join, use 2×2 garter rib until it seems “long enough” (this ain’t a precise pattern, people!). Then, switch to size 9 needles and stockinette stitch, and knit until I could put the hat on my head and pull the two sides together at the top. Then I knit to 20 stitches past the end-of-round marker (so that the join would be centered and could be put at the “back” of the hat if the end-weaving didn’t quite neaten it enough) flipped it inside out and did a 3-needle bindoff. Took just a few hours of knitting, while listening to podcasts.

And then my daughter stole it from me the second she got home from school! It was very cute on her, so I let her keep it, and cast on for a second one for me – this time, with 4 extra stitches (because the one M took was a bit too snug on me, in truth), so the same process as I described above, but with 84 rather than 80 stitches.

Knitting pussyhat number two with the very needy wearer of pussyhat number one in my lap. It's been a very "need to be touching mama" sort of day here.


I have a LOT of yarn leftover (Cascade Eco+ skeins are HUGE), so may have time to knit another couple of hats for friends who are going to the DC march or to the local rally, but I’m not sure, because the semester starts this week so I’m about to lose my lovely daytime knitting time. I know a pink hat with kitty ears isn’t going to change the world, but it’s helping me feel connected, and frankly, knitting around and around is about the most soothing thing I could possibly do, and right now, I need soothing so that I cope with all of the anxiety and emotion I feel about what is happening to my country.



So that’s the tale of two hats, which may become even more hats. M and I will be twins at our local solidarity march, and I hope to lead by example, and show M how to live a life of nonviolent resistance to injustice.

things I knit for Maddy: mini-bohus yoke sweater!


The first of hopefully many yoked sweaters to be knit this year turned out to be for M, not me!

Happy M in her new hat and sweater


Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: From my head, inspired by Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Bohus Yoke pullover pattern
Yarn: Patons Classic Merino Wool, in “Natural Mix” and various shades of blue, white, red, and brown.
Needles: size 6 for inside of hems, size 7 for the rest.
Time to knit: Ridiculously long, but it sat in a bin for about 6 of the 8 months it was in progress!

If that sweater looks familiar, it’s because I made it to match the Bohus Yoke sweater I knit for myself (9 whole years ago!). M saw me wearing it last winter, and asked if I could knit her one just like it, and it turned out that I had (more than) enough leftover yarn from the original sweater (except for the dark blue, for which I had to use a different yarn) to do just that. I had knit the body and sleeves last winter, but then set it aside after joining, because I’d messed up the short rows and wasn’t sure about the body length, anyway. Last week, while searching for yarn for a different project, I found the sweater-in-progress, ripped back to before the join, added an inch to the body and sleeves, and then knit the yoke, using my sweater as a guide.

Oh M, you're the best!


The yoke isn’t identical to mine, for the obvious reason that I had less space to work with, but I actually think M’s yoke looks nicer than mine! I used the same “figure out each row as I knit it” approach as I did with my own sweater, but I think I’ve gotten better at pre-envisioning how a particular motif could develop.

Bohus-yoke closeup.


I used purl stitches and slipped stitches to play with the colors – both of these allow for a color to “appear” in a round without being knit into that round, so I never carried more than 2 yarns at a time across a round.

Neckline detail


For the collar, instead of the seed stitch that I used on my sweater, I went for 1×1 rib with a contrast-color tubular bind-off, because I wanted maximum stretchability to go over M’s head. I love the way the blue tip is able to mirror the little pop of light blue at the bottom and sleeve hems:

Oh, M, you're my favorite :)


She got really into the whole “knitwear modeling” thing – isn’t she the cutest?! I just can’t help it, I have to share a couple more photos:

Cutie patootie


She got really into the whole "knitwear modeling" thing!


And of course, I can’t finish this post without sharing a photo of us in our matching sweaters:



I know that M won’t want me to knit her matching things forever, so I’ll soak this up while I can!

(I’ll write another post about those hats in just a bit!)

dreaming of yokes


Y’all might remember, way back in the day, when I was so obsessed with yoked sweaters that I started a group called “The Society for the Appreciation of Yoked Sweaters”…and then, after knitting a few such sweaters (and, um, having a kid), promptly forgot about it for awhile. But they’re back on my mind, thanks to the Fiddlehead Mittens…

This mitten has put a bee in my bonnet about making a Fiddlehead-inspired yoke sweater (draft of chart in background)


What you see in the background is an in-progress draft of a chart for a Fiddlehead-inspired yoke sweater. I’m loving the way that the bright Glacier Blue Heather lopi is setting off those more autumnal shades at the bottom of the mitten, and hoping to create a sweater with those colors in the yoke.

Almost finished with mitten number 1! (Then there's mitten no. 2, plus two linings to knit, but still, progress!)


I actually already have a sweater’s worth of Glacier Blue Lettlopi, because I had intended to use it to knit a Lopi Affection sweater. But this Fiddlehead Yoke idea just won’t let me go, and I think I’d rather use the Glacier Blue for this. I won’t have enough left of the Bartlettyarns miniskeins to use for a yoked sweater, but the colors are pretty easy to match to Lettlopi colors, and Lettlopi is nice and inexpensive. I’m slightly torn about buying it, though, because I really am trying to knit down my stash. But this idea is bordering on an obsession, so I’ll probably do it! I think I’ll make it a cardigan – my math tells me I’ll need 6 repeats of my chart for my size, and I think I’d like to center one and split it for the button band, so I’d basically have 3 across the “front” of the cardigan and 3 across the “back”.

I do have plenty of yarn for OTHER yoked sweaters hanging out in my stash, now that I think about it…I’ve got a Gamaldags kit, I could knit a Lisbon out of some leftover Cascade 220 in Aporto (MC) and Summer Sky Heather (CC), I could knit a Hiro out of some brown Cascade 220 and various leftover blues and purples, and I could probably knit an Afmaeli out of Lion Brand Fisherman Wool and various leftover skeins of Cascade 220 and Patons Classic Wool. And that’s just the colorwork yokes…I also have some Beaverslide to reknit my Vahtralehed cardigan, since the original started disintegrating from heavy wear. And I still need to finish my top-down Stripes! cardigan, which needs a second sleeve (and to have the bottom hem ripped out and redone with a tubular bind-off). And in non-yoked sweaters, there’s the Elle Melle I’m currently making for myself, as well as a me-sized version of M’s red-striped pocketed pullover in dark and light green Beaverslide sport/sock that I have in my stash.

That’s…a lot of sweaters. (Which is not a bad thing – I am ALWAYS cold in the wintertime, and I wear a handknit sweater pretty much EVERY day from October through April!)

But see what I mean when I say I really don’t need more yarn? I have at least 8 sweaters worth of yarn, holy crap! I could knit nothing but sweaters for a couple of years (at the rate I can manage with kid+job). If I get a few skeins for this Fiddlehead Yoked Sweater I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about, will y’all keep me honest about holding to knitting these other sweaters with the yarn I’ve already got before I get yarn for any other sweaters-for-me?

mitten interlude


I’m still working on my Elle Melle (current ridge count: 15), but I’ve taken a little break the past 2 days for mittens! I’ll start with the still-in-progress ones:

Why yes, I am making the Vulcan salute - all the better to show off my in-progress mittens!

Yes, I know I’m an honest-to-goodness decade behind the times here, but I’ve always loved the Fiddlehead Mittens pattern, and I decided they’d be the perfect thing to make with the Bartlettyarns Worsted mini-skein set I picked up at Rhinebeck this past fall:

Never showed off my Rhinebeck purchase!

I’m using the 5 colors that are in “front” in that photo, along with a skein of icy blue Lettlopi as the Main Color:

Ok, so I'm like, a decade too late with these, but I'm pretty excited about my Fiddlehead Mittens-in-progress. Bartlettyarns (worsted) mini-skeins from Rhinebeck plus a skein of icy blue Lettlopi.

The Bartlettyarns is not exactly a *light* worsted, so these are knitting up pretty dense, but I like a good “bulletproof” mitten for Western NY winter – they’ve got to stand up to shoveling! And look, they stand up just fine ;)

Stands up on its own!

I’m not gonna lie, though – the i-cord cast on damned near broke me (and literally blistered my right index finger!), and I’m kind of dreading doing it again for mitten number 2. But these are gonna be so pretty!

I knit a whole other pair of mittens in the past 2 days, too – new red mittens for M, to match her hat!

I finished M's new mittens! (Knit one yesterday, one today!)
(Yes, Peg + Cat, both the show and the books, is a HUGE obsession in this house!)

I had knit her a replacement pair a few weeks ago, but in a bout of overconfidence, decided that I could just “estimate” her size based on her previous pair. I overestimated by more than a little bit, so this time around, I actually used my pattern (which I should really publish soon!), along with a tracing of her hand.

Re-knitting M's mittens; my "I'll just guess at measurements" version turned out way too big so I'm actually following my own pattern directions (fancy that!) this time. Oh, hey, I should publish the pattern (for the mittens and matching hat) soon, eh?

These new mittens are perfect – just a little roomy, which means there’s space for them to felt down a bit! Now she doesn’t have to wear her tiny old ones anymore!


Look how felted those old mittens had gotten! I expect these new ones will eventually look similar.