Listomania!

•November 8, 2010 • 2 Comments

Since seeing all my Christmas knitting in list-form has made me feel a smidgen better about the holidays, I thought I’d throw the baking into a list too! I actually started my baking last week but, alas, we have eaten it all. To be fair, it was only a 9 x 9 brownie and I was trying a new recipe, so we had to sample it to make sure it wasn’t poisonous. It turns out it’s quite safe (and beautiful for a Christmas tray) so I’ll be making it again! If anyone’s interested in trying this, let me know. There are some mistakes in the written recipe, which I may not have caught had I not seen the show. Martha should be ashamed of herself 😉

This is what will be on my baking trays. My goal is to have all baking done by December 1st.

1. 4 9 x 9’s of Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies.

2. 2 9 X 13’s of Pucker-Up Squares. These are great but quite messy on trays and very hard to get out of the pan. I may try lining it with parchment this time. I just like something a bit sour to go with all the crazy sweet stuff.

3. LOTS of Chow Mein Cookies. These are oh so easy to make and everyone’s favourite. Can’t get enough of these puppies. Seriously.

4. 3 9 x 13’s of Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Square. Since I’ll have the butterscotch chips anyways….

5. 2 batches Almond Snowballs. These are absolutely all they’re cracked up to be. The recipe claims to make 42 cookies and, if memory serves, comes quite close. The kids love throwing the chocolate chips in the middle.

6. Sugar cookies and icing for Jac & the kids to decorate Christmas Eve (this doesn’t have to be done by the 1st).

I would also like to make some Poppycock for gifting if I get my nerve up. After the Almond Roca fiasco, anything with a candy thermometer scares me a tad. I have a fabulous recipe though (sworn to secrecy on this one) and advice will be available via telephone so I may just do it.

This list did not make me feel much better. Not at all, really but at least I’ve got it written down?

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Confessions from a hurried knitter

•November 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So, Christmas is breathing down my neck in a big way. I’ve been trying to ignore it but I can’t. My mother won’t let me 🙂 I have constant “reminders” from her (when is it “reminding” and when is it “nagging”?) Thanks Mum, I appreciate the motivational talks!

I’m coming clean with my Christmas knitting aspirations:

1. Plain socks for Grandpa on the farm. Size 13 feet – must start soon.

2. Something thick and quick for 3 girlfriends. (I already know what this will be, just keeping it a secret)

3. Cowls for Grandmas (haven’t picked pattern yet, recommendations welcome!)

4. Teaset for Sage

5. Fornicating deer hat for brother’s 30th birthday (December 1st)

6. 3 pairs felted mitts as “just in case” gifts.

Is this doable? Let’s have a gander at what’s on the needles right now:

1. Shawlette. This is for me. It’s to match a toque I made for myself as a splurge gift. It will be my winter scarf. It’s November 7th. I live in Manitoba. For some reason, we’ve got a high of 17 C (62 F) today. This will not last. I’m going to need that scarf soon.

2. Hat for girlfriend’s birthday. Her birthday was September 2nd and, yes, I am ashamed. I had something else started, realized it was going to be too small and ripped it out. I then promptly started my splurge hat (it’s really cute – I’ll post soon). I also got a little caught up with those booties.

3. Husband socks. Poor, poor husband. He works outside a lot and only has one pair of wool socks. He needs socks from his dear wife who always puts him last. I’m sorry honey. You really should have worn that toque more last winter. Apparently, my knitting holds a grudge. Anyways, I’ll be at a dance thing with Sage (and without boys) all afternoon. His socks are going to be worked on today.

4. Fornicating deer hat for Cam. I was pretty proud to have gotten this bad boy started. So proud, in fact, that I ignored how dangerously small it was until I was over halfway done the lining. I slipped it onto some thread last night and had to face reality. I ripped it out and started again this morning. 3 rows done now so it’s a little bit less done than in the picture. Thankfully, it moves pretty quickly.

It actually doesn’t seem that bad now that I’ve put it into list form (insert crazy, nervous laugh here). I’ve saved myself in a big way this year by discovering a lady closeby who sells the most adorable little matching aprons and oven mitts for kids. All the children 5 and under on my list will be getting them this year. Thank you Dora Something in Onanole. You saved Christmas for my family. (P.S. Dora Something in Onanole? Do you bake? If you could handle the Christmas baking, too – maybe I’ll knit you some socks.)

Knostalgia

•November 6, 2010 • 1 Comment

I feel like sharing a good ole knitting story today. My husband would argue that there’s no such thing, but we know otherwise 🙂

Both of my grandmothers knit, so I learned from both of them over the years. I think I made a Barbie scarf when I was six. My paternal grandmother, Grandma Betty, used to be disgusted with the way I held my needles. To the point of slapping my hands! I do admit that I had a tendency to kind of claw the needles as though I had meat hooks for hands. This disgust continued through my twenties when I finally went to her for my purl lesson (yes, it took that long).

A friend of mine from work, Michael, mentioned that he’d always wanted to learn how to knit. I told him I could knit and he asked if I would show him. “No”, I said, “but Grandma Betty can!” Poor Grandma Betty. I gave her no warning. I just told her a friend was coming and we wanted a lesson. She spent the entire lesson trying to boost Michael’s knitting self-esteem by telling him, “lots of men knit during the war, so it’s really not that unusual”. She also spent a lot of time admiring the way he held his needles and slapping admonishing me for the way I held mine. I think she was quite ashamed that a man could catch on as quickly as that and her poor, pathetic granddaughter would just never get it! (She never once mentioned my lovely tension, just the meathooks).

Well, Grandma…you should see me now! I have graduated from scarves and am knitting all kinds of things. Socks, hats, mittens, colourwork, lace – you name it, I’ll try it. Although, when I go to my knitting group, I find myself embarrassed about the way I’m pawing on the needles. One day I had a band-aid on the end of one of my fingers and it was really slowing me down so I decided to take care of this little problem by finally forcing myself to hold my needles “properly”. For whatever reason, the only way I felt comfortable was by going “continental”. I never thought I’d be that type of girl but I am and I’m proud. It’s made everything easier and faster (especially colourwork). It’s really changed the way I feel about knitting (and I loved it to begin with). It may have even reduced my risk of getting carpal tunnel. Who knew switching over from the right to the left would be such a breakthrough. I’m telling everyone I know and, really only getting blank stares back. Stares that say, “I’m going to listen politely but I’m really not sure why this girl is telling me this. Oh my, she really seems excited. Should I be this excited for her? I don’t know if I can fake it.” I don’t care. It’s big, big news for me.

Hopefully Grandma’s smiling down on my hands but I have a feeling her thoughts will be more along the lines of, “Continental? But that’s how Myrtle Witherspoon used to knit. I can’t have my granddaughter knitting like Myrtle Witherspoon, I never really warmed up to that woman”

Never saw it coming….again

•November 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My daughter is in kindergarten. We’re still adjusting. This is something I really didn’t expect. She loved nursery school, I thought that would just carry on to kindergarten. Mostly, it’s okay but there are negative aspects. I thought it would just be all the love for nursery school – but more. She goes to kindergarten every second school day, all day. This is where the problem lies. I think she has to show such restraint during the entire day (as she’s not the type to argue with authority figures other than her parents), that Mummy gets it ten-fold when she gets home. It helps me to know the potential cause of a problem. This is all getting much, much better as time goes on. It was just…unexpected.

I should have expected the trouble we’d have in the mornings but I didn’t. I have a real “girlie-girl” on my hands. I stopped resisting this a while ago and decided, instead of arguing about outfits every morning, I’d just load her up on skirts. If she grew out of a pair of pants, it would be replaced with a skirt and pair of tights – at least enough for school days. This worked very well. Play clothes = sweat pants; School clothes = skirts and tights. The only problem I saw was walking to school on the cold days before ski pants are necessary. I solved this by starting a pair of these legwarmers. Great! I knit 13″ of a spiral rib in Patons Kroy Fern Rose Jacquard. Got pretty bored with it after a while but it made good purse knitting. Cute, non?

About 3/4 of the way up the leg, we encountered a glitch. The little darling no longer has the fortitude to put her tights on by herself in the morning. “It’s too hard”. What?? Too hard? Talk to me about too hard when you’ve got to get 3 kids (5 and under) up and out the door by 8:25 am and one of them (who’s perfectly capable of dressing herself) decides getting dressed is “too hard”. She’s now on a skirt strike. She’ll just wear pants because that’s easier. Great. You’ve got 3 pairs of jeans that barely fit and one’s got a hole in the knee. Let’s not forget the hand-me-down sweatpants I swore I wouldn’t let you wear to school because they’ve got writing on the bum. Why don’t I see these things coming? So…do I bother with the other legwarmer? I think I’ll just stick to my latest addiction:

 

They don’t talk back 🙂

How to Knit with Little Kids

•November 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Whenever I give someone a knitted gift, I get asked, “Where do you ever find the time?”. I don’t really find the time. I definitely consider it making time. Knitting is for my sanity. It’s the only thing I can look at at the end of a day and say to myself, “This is what I’ve done today”. Some days with little kids are better than others and maybe a fridge got cleaned, or a floor washed but most days I’m wiping crumbs, hands and solving problems. I can be on a huge roll (even cleaning my oven! Did I mention I cleaned my oven this weekend? Feels so good), and someone will be upstairs going to the bathroom by themselves when a huge catastrophe occurs (which I won’t mention because someone may be embarrassed but we’ve all been there) that sets me back an hour or two. It’s much better just to give up and knit. But I digress….

I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve compiled a list of good times to knit when you have little children. It’s not a long list because, well…you know why.

1. Knit simple. These are not the days of knitting glorious shawls. If someone spills something and you’ve got to set your complicated lace or colourwork down, you may have a problem later on. Socks, hats and mittens are my go to options these days. Also very practical when you have little kids who leave these same things outside for the dog to chew….

2. While waiting. The days of knitting in waiting rooms are over. This does not mean I don’t try but I always give up. I’ve got 3 kids to keep from throwing themselves on the ground and having dirty tantrums, or otherwise bothering the other patrons. I create my own “wait times”. They’re shorter, but they still count. When I’m waiting for the pasta to boil, I knit. If something’s heating in the microwave, I knit. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got.

3. The Sunday Drive. I have selfishly embraced this tradition. It’s getting cooler here and my husband’s a sucker for a Sunday Drive. If we’ve got nothing else to do on a Sunday and the kids are particularly cranky, it serves as a naptime for everyone (bonus!!!) and good, solid knitting time for me 🙂 This is when I’ll pull out the lace or colourwork because I can sometimes get in more than an hour of uninterrupted knitting. I love the Sunday drive. Love it.

4. Visit Grandma. This works great for me in a couple of ways because both sets of grandparents are over 2 hours away. If hubby comes with, I get driving time knitting t’boot (see above). When we get to Gandma’s, they’re more than happy to play with kids, feed them, wipe their hands, etc. These things are a novelty to Grandmas everywhere. However, do not abuse this privilege. Novelties only last so long.

5. Knurse. Knitting while you nurse. This is where the bulk of my knitting gets done. Hagen is almost 7 months old and he’s getting a little more grabby but I can still get a lot of knitting done when he falls asleep at the boob. He gets a nap and I get to knit. He’s my last baby, so I’m in no rush to put him in the crib (especially since, lately, he wakes up when I put him down anyways). For safety’s sake, try and keep knursing to smallish items so we have no one getting hurt by the needles. Socks work great here, as do mitts. Anything on circulars is also great as there aren’t any pointy dpns sticking out!

So that’s the list. Any other suggestions are hugely welcome. My big problem now is the spinning wheel I just bought. So far, I haven’t found much time for that but I’m resourceful!!

•August 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am not having a good day. It is almost 6 pm. The husband is due home soon. Supper’s made and ready to go. I have cracked a beer. The beer is making me feel better. As I write this, the sun is starting to shine (for the first time in about 4 cold August days – totally opposite of Neil Diamond’s Hot August Nights). Maybe the end of this day will turn out better.

Today has been somewhat productive compared to most days.

– I organized my stash (which, by all accounts is not terribly large – yet).

– I put a few rows onto a plain sock for my dad. A sock that I had to rip out last night when I realized it would be swimmingly large on the husband who has *about* the same leg thickness as my dad (when did I start thinking about people’s “leg thickness similarities”).

– I baked 2 loaves of French Bread. I hope it’ll be okay. All I’ve got for flour is whole wheat. I’ve never made this without cutting it with at least half white flour. It looks and smells okay. Doesn’t feel too heavy but I’ve not cut into it yet – I’ll let you know.

– I parented 3 children. I want to end that sentence with “successfully” and think that I can but just have to get over the momma guilt. Here’s what I mean:

I have in my head the picture of a “successful” parenting day. We wake up, have a nice healthy breakfast – all eating and smiling together happily. Then we head to the park holding hands and laughing, all the while having meaningful and educational conversations. Everyone enjoys the park as I nurse my baby to sleep while knitting on my sock. A random stranger asks me, “How do you do it all?” I reply modestly, “Not every day is like this.” While I self-righteously think to myself, “Yes it is fool. Just spend some time enjoying your children and they’ll be as happy and well-behaved as mine are, bwahahahahahahahahahaha!” The rest of this perfect day is spent enjoying some well-thought-out craft time in the afternoon, followed up by a well-planned (and of course, healthy) crockpot dinner. The husband puts the older 2 to bed while I spend some quality time with my infant loving and nursing him to sleep. Oh, so wonderful.

P.S. I just cracked another beer. Here’s how today went:

– Wake up. Late. No walk for dog because baby’s teething and wants to nurse all night.

– Older 2 watching a movie put on by Dad to keep them from tearing each other’s hair out while Mummy’s in bed.

– Whining while waiting for PB & J on toast. Same as every morning. Whining happening because it’s not waffles. Daddy was home this weekend and made the kids waffles both days. This has become an expectation. Must make note – no more waffles. Ever. Again.

– Baby teething. Can’t get breakfast dishes done. Covet dishwasher. Nurse Baby, try to get him down for morning nap. “Nappus interruptus” ensues when older children start running “the track” (dining room, living room, kitchen, repeat) loudly.

– Short fight involving a doll being snatched by older sister. Mum steps in. Listening does not happen. Chances given, not taken. Boldface disobedience (“I will NOT listen to you Mum”) Mum briefly panics over ponders what life will be like with a teenager in the house. Discipline time, “successful” talk and carry on.

– Lunchtime made by Dad while Mum puts Baby back to sleep because he woke up to burp? I think? Lunch consists of leftover rice, peas and Kraft Dinner. Go Dad.

– Movie. Must remember to thank God for movies later on. Probably not something in his master plan but, c’mon. What would we do without them on rainy days? (P.S. for a dose of hypocrisy, please see my about page)

– Read all three kids a nice, long story. Everyone enjoys it. That’s good, right?

– Roast in oven, bread rising.

– Rain stopped. Send oldest kids outside. Baby naptime – we can do this. Baby sleeping, middle child in to pee. Baby wakes up. Baby back to sleep. Eldest child in to pee. She’s held it too long. Oh no. Must prevent accident. No time to clean up accident with sleeping baby in arms. Eldest child insisting on removing hoody that’s too small for her. This is not necessary to go for a pee. Fight ensues over said hoody. Ends with baby awake, eldest child in corner screaming but no accident. Back outside for you, kiddo. Maybe we’ll talk about this later.

– Still shaking with anger due to eldest child’s desire to disobey, phone rings. Nice chat with friend from Alberta who also has a 5 year old, who also disobeys regularly. Feel better.

– Supper’s ready (did I mention supper’s already made today?!?! Hooray!!)

Successful day of parenting? Yeah, I guess. I’m listening to Hot August Nights. Sometimes Neil Diamond takes the edge off, you know?

•August 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Go figure, a post about knitting on a knitting website!! What can I say? I’m inspired.

I actually have been knitting a lot lately. We had a new niece and that deserved a hat (picture to follow when it’s embellished nicely). I finished Matthew’s socks:

 

Usually I’m fussier about stripes matching but these were made from the end of a skein and I wasn’t sure how much I’d have left. Cute little feet nonetheless! I’m 1/4 done the second of a toe-up sock for Mum. I’m using this pattern and just love it. I find it quite fast with the slipped stitches and all.

If the baby hat ends up looking anything like it looks in my imagination, I’ll be making more and selling them at craft sales. I’ve got a vision and, so far, it’s turning out. Stay tuned!