Archive | May 2014

Life Tastes Good…and so does Cardboard

Today has been a quiet day. I’ve been knitting all morning, starting a new teddy bear. Max has been sleepy, as he usually is after his 3-4 hours of morning craziness. I’ve had a friendly, mellow buddy next to me.

Image

Then lunchtime came along. Max joined me in the kitchen, waiting for me to drop something. I thought he’d be disappointed when all I did was set aside the empty soda box, waiting to go out to the recycling. Nope. I should have known he’d think I put it there just for him. He retrieved it and carried it over to his towel.

Image

It was an interesting shape. It had some give when he bit it. I’m sure it smelled like his second favorite food (paper).

Image

I’m sure he was thinking, “Mom? Are you sure this is really okay?”

ImageImage

“You’re safe, Mom. Nothing in there.” He snuffed and nibbled, chewed and tugged. This went on for quite a while. Then he started rolling around, tossing the box from side to side.

Image

I let him go on until he got a big chunk off and started eating it, then I had to take it away. Poor guy. At least he got a few minutes of fun.

Image

Finding Time

This is the busiest time of year if you have kids, which is why I haven’t had time to post anything in ages. The girl had music concerts and recitals and contests and auditions and award ceremonies. The boy had school parties and fifth grade graduation. Add that to the weekly lessons and time spent training the dog, and it means my knitting has fallen too low on my list of priorities lately. I have been finding time to play with my yarn here and there, just not nearly as often as I would like. But now that school is almost over I am eager to ramp it up, and it’ll get easier thanks to my fabulous Mother’s Day present! I told Alex I didn’t want him to spend money on me; I wanted the gift of time and energy. And boy, did it pay off. See, look:

Image

That, my friends, is my new swift. I saw it on Pinterest and have been bugging the hubby for one ever since, and finally he made one! I love it. It works wonderfully, and it can fold up for storage or moving. That’s not all though: he’s been experimenting with turning wood, and I received a beautiful set of maple knitting needles. They’re 14″, US size 17. A bit heavier than the bamboo I’ve worked with before, but that wasn’t a problem once I got used to it.

Image

 

I couldn’t wait to use them, of course. I wound 5 or 6 balls of yarn first, just to play with my swift, then I poked through Ravelry for a cowl pattern using that size needle. And heck, who could resist something called the World’s Fastest Cowl? I’d been waiting for the right pattern to go with two balls of this super bulky Trendsetter Genie that I’d picked up at an estate sale. I do love my bulky multi-color yarns, you know.

Image

 

My other Mother’s Day present was knitting time, and the cowl lived up to its name. By the end of the day, I had a fabulous new cowl…that I won’t be able to wear for a few months.

Image

 

I’ve got a couple other completed projects to share, but I can’t just yet (spoilers!). I also have four WIPs (that’s a lot for me) and plans to start another today. It’s the last full quiet day before school lets out, so I’m going to sit back and enjoy my solitude by casting on something just for me: a Mad Man teddy bear with this Berroco Ultra Alpaca.

Image

 

A Teddy Bear Ode to Mad Man Knitting

So there’s this awesome guy out there who writes a blog called Mad Man Knitting. If you haven’t read him yet, do it now (or maybe when you’re done reading this post). He makes these adorable little teddy bears and blogs about it. His story is inspiring, and so is his outlook on life. He searches for, and spreads, kindness and love. His bears became hugely popular and the wait for one of his custom bears quickly stretched into months. I looked at them often, smiling at their little faces and loving the different colors. I didn’t want to wait that long, so I decided to try to knit my own joyful little bear. His pattern is available to order here but I didn’t know it at the time, so I used the Ruby Bear pattern from Ravelry instead.

I cast on with some camel Bernat satin, since I had plenty in my stash and it’s soft and washable. The pattern calls for knitting each piece flat but I hate seaming so I decided to knit it all in the round, except the ears. I knit the body first and couldn’t believe how fast it grew. I also couldn’t help but giggle at his little bum.

Image

I didn’t have much knitting time but I got all the pieces knitted in a few days. Today I sat down with my polyfill and got busy stuffing and assembling. I left the ends of the arms and legs open until they were stuffed, then cinched them closed.

Image

The next step was the hardest part for me. I’m not the best at sewing pieces together but if you don’t look closely at the seams, I think he looks okay. The embroidered face was a new skill for me too, and again, I’m grateful for the Mad Man because he has instructional videos on YouTube. I just wish I’d found the assembly videos earlier! Check them out here.

Image

I found a little red ribbon that looks perfect tied in a bow around his neck. And in honor of Gregory Patrick, the Mad Man Knitter who inspired me to knit a bear, I’ve named him Patrick. I really enjoyed making him, more than I thought I would. He’s sitting next to my computer now, and he makes me smile.

Image

The Great Spring Shedding Event

I am not a new dog owner. I grew up with dogs, and I’ve had two dogs in my adult life. But now I have Max and he is unlike any of those dogs in so many ways. I knew dogs shed, some more than others. I know that huskies blow their coats twice a year, resulting in lots of big fur balls everywhere. But nothing prepared me for Max’s spring shed. About a week ago he started sprouting white tufts all over his body, then a day or so later they started falling. Or we’d pet him and be covered in fur. I did brush him, but given that A, he’s a puppy and B, everything is food to him, he kept trying to play and bite the brush. So I’d get a few minutes in each time, and it just didn’t really even make a dent. It kept escalating, and I started sweeping every other day to try to keep up. Still, there was fur all over my floors. Fur all over my clothes. Fur in my cereal and fur in my peanut butter jar. Seriously. Fur everywhere. And Max looked terrible because his coat was so uneven.

Image

It got overwhelming on Friday. I was just so tired of feeling fur in my mouth and being covered in fur by 9 a.m. I was afraid it would take forever for him to blow his coat and I would never be able to brush him enough to make it help. But a good night’s sleep helped and I decided Saturday was the day. With some help from the hubby and some treats, I brushed and brushed Max. Then I brushed him some more. I fought with him over the dog fur because of course my weirdo dog likes to eat his own hair and I think maybe he shouldn’t do that. I had lunch and then I brushed some more, and he was looking really good. I could see a huge difference. I waited until he was worn out and sprawled out, resting, and I pulled out the handy little Furminator and brushed again. And now he looks so very handsome. He looks like he’s lost five pounds, his fur is sleek and silky, and I don’t have any more huge fur bunnies bounding around my floors. I was so happy with him that we went outside for a little photo shoot!

Image

Image

Image