Archive | August 2014

On School, Bullies, and Doctor Who Knitting

So the kids started school yesterday, and overall both considered the first day a success. The girl said her day was “Awesome!”, and the boy said his day was “okay”. Given that he didn’t get lost, show up to class tardy, miss the bus, or have problems with his locker, my son said his day was better than he was expecting. In my mind, that’s a win, especially since he was in a good enough mood this morning while we waited for the bus.

My daughter loves her teachers, her classes and her new high school. She got a map from a helpful teacher and is figuring out where everything is. She’s excited about all the club and activity options offered, and is trying to decide which ones she wants to join to go along with marching band. She’s in a somewhat difficult situation, because 99% of her middle school friends went to a different high school, so she’s trying to find some new ones. She’s a great kid, friendly and helpful and kind and outgoing, and it won’t be long before she’s got a gaggle of friends again. But it’s hard to get there, especially when the people you trust turn on you.

With all the talk of bullying these days, I’ve seen more friend-on-friend meanness than true bullying. I know bullying happens, believe me, I do know. I’ve been through it and it’s horrible. And the Mean Girls stuff has been around forever, too. It’s just sad. It’s sad that kids can’t even trust their friends to be kind to them. Maybe it’s typical, maybe everybody makes fun of their friends. But it hurts. I think it might even hurt more to hear it from a friend than from a stranger. And it’s not just kids, it’s parents too, questioning and ridiculing my daughter’s choices. So maybe these kids are taking the hurtful things said to them and spewing it back out. Could it be a defense mechanism, a way to cope? I don’t know.

All I know is that I’m trying to teach my daughter how to be strong in the face of unkindness. I’m thankful she is self-confident, so these incidents sting but don’t crush her. I’m thankful she’s sympathetic and generous, and I am confident she would never talk to someone else the way some of her “friends” have talked to her.

I know I am trying very hard to restrain my mama-bear tendencies to go after those who have hurt my girl. She *has* to learn how to deal with people like this, unfortunately. And the sooner the better. I’m trying to help her find ways to communicate with these people, to let them know their words hurt, but it’s a hard skill. It’s something I didn’t learn until I was an adult. But boy does it help. I know sometimes teasing comes with love, and is not intended to hurt. But if it does hurt, you’ve got to let them know or else it will keep happening. And if it keeps happening, then you’ve discovered a sad truth about that person and you can move on.

Dealing with these hiccups, I’ve found that one of the best ways to cheer up my kids is to say the words “Doctor Who”. Yesterday I distracted them by showing them my LYS find. I celebrated the first day of school by going to Knitcraft and found some gorgeous TARDIS blue mercerized cotton. A row below was a fabulous red-orange-yellow multi. Well, put those two together and what do you get? Exploding TARDIS! I may not be a Whovian but I can speak the language pretty well. Needless to say, I bought them and am planning to make a market bag with them. I’ve cast on the bottom of the bag and hope to get plenty more done today.IMG_2857

Back-to-School Knitting

The kids started school today, one in high school and one in middle school. I cannot believe they’re that old, or that I’m old enough to have kids that old. We had an early start to the day to get them on the bus, and now I am relishing the quiet. I still have a bouncy puppy who wants to play, but otherwise the house is empty. There’s no one else here that I have to worry about, or take care of, or anticipate the needs of. It is bliss. It’s a feeling that I haven’t felt for a long time, and I’ve needed it. I like being their mom, I like helping them and the rest of my family, but I need this time to myself too. What’s the saying? “In the event of an emergency, apply the oxygen mask to yourself before helping others.” I’ve been trying to remind myself of that lately, that I need to take care of myself so that I’m healthy enough to help others. But it’s hard. You all know it’s hard.

Anyway, so today. Quiet, empty house. I finished another Christmas present last night so as a reward I’m casting on a treat for myself. When I went to that store-closing sale a few months back, I bought a bunch of yarn, but I also bought an awesome book by Rowan called Winter Warmers. It’s full of patterns for their Lima (worsted) and Alpaca Chunky yarns, which are the weights I use most. They’re all these gorgeous muted tones of gray and blue and lilac and caramel and I want to make everything in there. I don’t have any Rowan chunky, but I do have several skeins of Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky, which is probably my favorite yarn ever.IMG_4801I have three skeins of this red, and they’ve been earmarked for this pattern since I looked through the book.IMG_4802 Can’t wait! I’m off to cast on now!

 

Knit along if you know what Happiness is to you

Whew. After a few really crazy weeks, I finally have time to catch my breath and post a few pictures of my latest projects. With a lot of kid activities and back-to-school stuff happening right now, my yarn is all that’s keeping me sane! So this is a photo-heavy post–I need a lot of help to stay sane right now. I had another request for girl/doll hats, but this time in blue. IMG_2667 IMG_2669 IMG_2671 IMG_2674After that, I had another set to make, but it was a little trickier. She wanted the cowboy style (only more like a fedora) but she wanted it for a girl and doll, and before I’d only made that style in the doll size. I searched for a good pattern, and went through three of them and wasn’t happy with any of them. I even bought a pattern! But they were all wrong in some way. Either they were too small or the wrong shape or they were too floppy.

Finally, I went back to the original hat pattern and modified it to fit a child. (*fingers crossed* She hasn’t received the hats yet.) I doubled the yarn, went up two hook sizes, and kept increasing by about 20 stitches. I do like how it came out; it’s soft but still holds a shape somewhat. I just hope I made it deep enough for her head. If not, I’ll be making another attempt!

IMG_4784We celebrated my niece’s birthday this weekend, and I got to make her a couple of things too. She loves stuffed animals, so I crocheted a little cardigan for her Hello Kitty doll to wear. It went so fast, and it’s super cute.

IMG_2697I also made her a hat of her own. She’d seen me making the purple one, and kept telling me how much she liked it, so I worked up a blue version for her. I used a single strand of a bulky yarn, with some wool instead of all acrylic, and I wasn’t happy with the end result. It came out floppier than I wanted, and today I discovered that it’s too small for her. (*insert sad face here*) However, it looks adorable on my nephew, so I might just make another, bigger one for her.

IMG_2703Finally, I was done with all those hats! With no pressing yarny needs and a sore wrist from crocheting, it was time for fat yarn and knitting needles. I picked up my indigo Cascade Magnum and my size 19 needles and made a Marian twisted cowl.

IMG_2690 IMG_2692I think that’s all. Ok, not really, I also made an adorable Christmas present but can’t show it off yet. Darn it. I do love it, too. And now I think I will be working on some more Christmas presents because I ordered a bunch of stuff in the Knitpicks summer sale and I have this fun box of yarn to play with now!

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Yarn for the Nerd in all of us

Have you heard of Make magazine? Or maybe the Maker Faire? They’re parts of a larger Maker movement that encourages people to…well, to make stuff. They want people to interact with their environment, to open their minds enough to think about how to do something differently, or to create something fun and interesting and helpful. The magazine has all kinds of project ideas, and my husband has been reading it for ages. He loves to find fun things to do with the kids. I’m awfully glad he does too, because it led to a new yarn source for me.

So, the Maker Faire. It’s “the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.” Sounds cool, doesn’t it? Kansas City hosted a Maker Faire last month, but unfortunately it fell on a weekend when we simply did not have time to go. But shortly after, the Make blog featured one of the KC vendors, Nerd Girl Yarns, and since Alex reads the blog, is a nerd, and has a wife who loves yarn, he watched the interview. (Watch her interviews here) And then he shared it with me, and I got all excited because guess what? NGY is in Odessa, Missouri which is only about 30 minutes from me!

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I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of them before, but as I poked through the website I realized that it was because she focuses on the dyeing, and selling custom orders. She does have a small retail space, but it seems to be more of a sideline. And I’m okay with that, because the yarns she creates are awesome. Yesterday I got out to the studio for the first time to see some of the yarn in person. The retail section is small, with just one little bit of wall devoted to yarn. The other side has the hand-dyed clothing, and there were a couple of chairs for those inclined to stay and be crafty. I wasn’t there for that. I was there for the yarn.

A lot of the colors are inspired by Doctor Who, like a blue and brown named Tenth Doctor. There was a red named I Am the Cyber King, and a Gallifrey with oranges and reds. There was a TARDIS blue, of course, and a yellow/orange with a touch of blue Sunflower. I was really hoping for the Blue Box Exploding, which is mostly blue with some yellow/orange too. She has Don’t Blink, Doctor Donna, Fantastic, Raggedy Man, Regenerate, and Time Machine. Both my kids (and the husband) are Whovians so I’d love to get some of each to make them lots of Whovian presents. I can’t do it all at once, though. I know. Patience, grasshopper.

They’re not all Doctor Who, of course. There’s Windu, Nevermore, Resurrection Stone, Serenity Firefly Class, Forbidden Forest, Walking Dead, Girl on Fire and so much more. So many references that I don’t even get! I can’t list them all, so you really should check out her stuff yourself. Go to her website here.

The really cool thing is that you can order the colorway on any base you like. So if you adore fingering weight, you can get that. If you love bulky yarn, like me, you can get that. You can get exactly the yarn you want!

“What did you get??” I can hear you asking. My eye went first to a gorgeous purple sparkly yarn named Secretly Spiders. The site says it’s inspired by Night Vale, and sadly I have no idea what that means. All I know is that I love it. It’s on Smashing, which is a DK of 70% merino and 20% silk with 5% silver-toned stellina to make it shine.IMG_2677I kept picking skeins up and putting them back. I really needed to restrain myself to 2 or 3 skeins, but it was hard. I struggled with choosing based on the Whovian names or the colors. I ended up going for the colors this time. So my second skein was a beautiful blue-green blend named #nofilter. The colors were more vivid on the fingering weights, but I knew I’d enjoy a heaver weight more, so I went with Foxy. Foxy is a DK weight too, but it’s 85% Polwarth Wool and 15% silk.IMG_2679Once I got through the initial getting-to-know-you phase, I was able to look beyond the wall o’ yarn, and that’s when I saw the sale section. It wasn’t big, and there were only two bowls of yarn, but any sale yarn is good yarn in my book. My third selection came from that.IMG_2682This is called Shtako. No idea what that means. Feel free to enlighten me. But the purple caught my eye, and as soon as I touched it, it was mine. It’s on the Luscious yarn, and it really is luscious. It’s Heavy Worsted, 60% superfine merino and 40% silk. It’s heavenly. It’s only 100 yards so it will have to be a small project; I’m thinking some fingerless gloves.

I also got a medium project bag with the logo, like you see in that first picture. You can never have enough project bags, and at $12 it was the perfect price. She didn’t have any Blue Box Exploding, so I’ll probably be ordering some in the near future. And we got to talk to Christa, the owner, for a little while, and she mentioned the possibility of doing quarterly events where they dye larger quantities of some of the popular colorways. I’m really hoping that happens, because I’d be there in a heartbeat! If you’d like to find out when that happens, follow her blog here. Maybe I’ll see you there!