yarn along

DSC_0133I finished the Advent mittens for the kids, but decided to give them to them tomorrow for St. Nicholas’ day.  I’ve printed off some coloring sheets and we’ll make some Christmas cookies as we learn about who St. Nicholas was.  I thought it would be fun for them to have a little something to open on that day.

I need to get started on Noah’s birthday sweater, as his bday is quickly approaching, but while I wait to get the yarn I cast on some mellow shorts for baby girl.  I’ve been dying to cast this on and all I want to knit is baby knits!  🙂  But Noah has asked for a red sweater, and he truly enjoys my hand knits so I can’t resist making him something for his birthday.  I just visited my favorite yarn store today to get yarn for him and will hopefully cast on sometime later today/tonight.

Also, the needle case pictured was a birthday gift from Brandon (though I picked it out) from the etsy shop Pea Pod Thread and I love it.  My only complaint is that I can’t really fit my fixed circulars in there, and definitely no DPNS so I still feel like I need another case for organizing those.  My knit picks interchangeable needles are very happy, though, to have a new home, after the plastic case they came in was completely torn.

I’ve been really enjoying the first week of Advent readings from this book, Hallelujah, by Cindy Rollins.  Her book, Mere Motherhood, has been one of my very favorites.  This one journeys through the scripture and music of Handel’s Messiah, which we have been doing together in the mornings.  We still spend evenings in Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift while the kids color corresponding ornaments to decorate our little wooden Jesse tree.  I grew up listening to Handel’s Messiah every Christmas and it holds a special place in my heart, so it is exciting to share it with the children, even if it may be a bit over their heads.

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a big girl

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The day before Thanksgiving was Philippa’s third birthday.  Being that all of our children thus far have birthdays around the holidays, we often struggle with how to celebrate both Christmas and birthdays reasonably, simply, and economically.  We’ve tried different things each year, it seems.  This year, we’re making a bit more of birthdays and planning a lower-key, less-gifts sort of Christmas.

Philippa woke on her day early, and it’s the first birthday where she has really talked about it for weeks before her big day, and both girls woke up eager for birthday fun (Phoebe enjoys other people’s birthdays just as much as her own).  Phippa really can’t wait to be “a big girl.”  We had to wake sleepy Noah up a bit early that morning so birthday girl could open a few gifts before daddy headed off to work.  Usually we let the birthday child decide the meal plan and activities for the day, but her only real request was for chocolate cake with blueberries.  A girl who knows what she wants. 🙂  We gave her a few gifts in the morning–a hand-dyed play silk from my favorite blogger, Ginny, and her lovely little handmade shop.  It smells heavenly and is simply gorgeous.  Ginny generously sent along some stickers (made from her own nature photography) as well for Philippa, which was such a treat (though I was tempted to keep them for myself).  She also sweetly worked hard to get Philippa’s gift to her on time, which meant a lot to me!  We let Philippa open her birthday dress and her toy, which was a wooden stable with horses.  That was a huge hit with each of the kids and they all played with it all day.

I made a grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free chocolate cake from the Celebrations cookbook (sidenote: amazing cookbook!) for Philippa, topped with the vanilla buttercream from the same cookbook.  I did something funny/wrong with the frosting so I had to play a bit with it to get it to spread on the cake, but it ended up being delicious.

We had a fairly regular sort of day otherwise, school and cleaning and playing outside.  Daddy came home with a balloon for her, which she loved.  After dinner my parents stopped by with their gift for Philippa and we let her open the rest of the gifts before cake.  We gave her her own “journal” (from Michaels) and her first real set of colored pencils.  I found a really cute handmade pencil roll-up case at this etsy shop, and it happened to have foxes on it, which Philippa loves.  I wasn’t sure if she’d be too young to appreciate it, but she has treasured this little gift every day since, and has used many of her stickers from Ginny to decorate her journal, too.  She seems to feel quite grown up with own little set of pencils.  My parents gifted her a sweet new dress and pair of pajamas, and a tiny little mini mug.  She opened my hand knit sweater for her and promptly tossed it aside, as she did with the rest of the clothes, but the next day she was eager to try everything on and wear it.  We also gave her a ukulele, and it has been okay, but I didn’t realize it wasn’t real wood and sort of wish we had gotten this one for her.  Still, for our music-loving kids, it has been fun for each of them to have something to play together (Phoebe, her violin; Noah his drums, and now Philippa her little uke).

A couple days later Philippa agreed to let me snap some pictures of her in her sweater that I made (ravelry notes here), and I’m super proud of it.  I feel like it’s the first one I’ve made that has fit how I wanted it to.  It’s a cropped sweater, so the body is supposed to be short on it, and it looks darling over dresses.  She seems to really like it, too.

It was a fun day, even though there were some usual hiccups and challenges along the way.  Her hair did briefly catch on fire while blowing out candles.  🙂  I remember Philippa’s second birthday being hard, her being out of sorts and unusually grumpy and strung out, and she was a bit like this on this birthday, too.  All the attention is a bit much, even though she loves it at the same time.  Although in reality, their birthdays make me feel a bit strung out, too, trying to make it a special day.  Simple is always best, right?

We are pretty thankful to get to know this precocious, funny and darling little girl.  Lately she keeps coming up to Brandon and I and rubbing our arms and saying, “I lus you daddy” or “I lus you momma.”  We live for those sweet little unexpected moments.

Philippa’s first birthday here, second birthday here.

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yarn along

DSC_0129I finished Phoebe’s sweater last week, haven’t blocked it yet but will soon.   I’m really happy with it though and think it will fit just right.  I woke up the other morning and my first groggy thoughts were of mittens, wanting to knit mittens for the children as a gift for the first day of Advent.  I started on Sunday and have almost finished Noah’s pair.  I will maybe be able to get these done before Friday?  If not, it’s okay, but they all do need mittens anyway.  I’m using leftover yarn from the first pairs of socks I knit for all the kids.  It’s knit picks wool of the andes.  I’ve been surprised with how well those socks have held up to abuse and machine washing, so I’m hoping these mittens will work well for child’s play also.  I have so many knitting ambitions lately for Christmas or for the new baby, and I’m thankful my knitting mojo is back in full force, but hoping I can keep up!

Phoebe and I started reading Madeline L’Engle’s little book The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas, which my sister-in-law sent us last year.  We’ve been loving it, and I’m planning to do something similar to what the Austin family does in the book for Advent, having one Special Thing to do together each day.  Phoebe and I have been writing down what they did each day of Advent and thinking about our own little list of ideas.  I really wanted to get a tree this past weekend, but we need to clear out some space in our home and organize a few things before we do.  Soon, though, I hope.

What have you been making or reading lately?

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yarn along

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Still working on Phoebe’s leksak.  I had to rip out the front edging part way through, realizing I had picked up the stitches on the wrong side of the fabric.  So I’m just now on the first sleeve.  I’m trying to force myself to work monogomously on this project until done, but I did cast on some Christmas socks for Brandon and trying to work on them secretly during the day if I have chances to knit so they can be a surprise for him.  He’s not a huge sock fan, but I’m hoping if I make a cozy enough pair, he might wear them?

I’ve been eating up this book, The Dirty Life, and loving it so very much.  Highly recommend.  It’s the memoir of a city girl from NY who goes to interview a young farmer and ends up falling in love with him and the farm life.  It’s the story of their adventure together and it’s been very engaging as well as interesting to me, a girl who’s always dreamed a bit about living the farm life.

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yarn along

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I’ve finished up the body of phoebe’s sweater, working on the front edging now.  Once that is done, it will be onto sleeves.  I’m surprised with how quickly it has gone!  I haven’t been able to keep it a secret, trying it on her multiple times (it fits so nicely!), and it will be hard to wait till her birthday to give it to her when these chilly and often dreary November days are upon us.

I’m still reading We Took to the Woods, it seems to take me much longer to make it through books these days.  Still, I carry on.  This one, The Secret life of Sarah Hollenbeck, came in the mail last week for me to review.  I’ve read the first few chapters, and it’s okay so far, but the jury is still out on whether or not I will love it.  It’s the story of a woman with a broken marriage who begins writing steamy romance novels, which become wildly popular, and then she comes to know the Lord.  The story then unfolds of how she deals with her past and the binding book contract she has even as she walks into a new future.

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yarn along

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It’s quite a dreary dark rainy day here, so I had a hard time finding a spot with enough natural light to snap a photo.  Philippa’s sweet little sweater is blocking and I cast on for a leksak tunic for Phoebe a few days ago.  I’m a few inches below the underarm now, so I’m hopeful this will be a fairly quick knit, although a sweater for a seven year old will inevitably take longer.  I’m knitting it with yarn leftover from my Lila sweater, Shepherd’s Wool in color way seabreeze.  I’m knitting her the size 6 because her chest fits those measurements better and I remember this yarn blooming a little bit once blocked.  I seem to always knit their sweaters too big, despite getting gauge when I swatch, so I’m hoping this will actually fit her just right.

I’m still reading We Took to the Woods and enjoying it.  It’s a very peaceful and engaging read for before bed, which seems to be the only time I have lately.

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yarn along

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I suppose I’ve decided to make each of the children birthday sweaters again.  I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to squeeze in 3 sweaters before Christmas, but I’m going to give it a shot.  I’m also very tempted to knit baby knits that I have planned, but really I can work on those in January and February before baby comes so I’m trying to hold off.  I’m thankful that each of the sweaters I knit for the children last year still fit and they have been wearing them again in this chilly weather we’ve been having.  Honestly, it brings me joy every time I see them wearing them!  I decided on this little cropped sweater for Philippa with a lace/cable detail on the front.  I’m adding length so that it’s not quite as cropped and I’m knitting long sleeves, after seeing Brienne Moody’s version on instagram.  I’ve made a few mistakes on the lace/cable panel, but I don’t think it’s terribly noticeable and I’m learning that I’m not a perfectionist when knitting.  Good enough is good enough.  🙂  I’m knitting it with Shepherd’s Wool yarn, which is such a nice yarn to work with and fairly inexpensive.

Also, I’ve been reading We Took To the Woods.  It’s a memoir written by Louise Rich who with her husband made a life in the Maine backcountry.  I’m enjoying it so far, her writing is often humorous and full of tales of the adventures that are inevitable in a mainly subsistence lifestyle.

ps.  Happy Halloween!!

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