Monday, February 27, 2012

Knitting Update

Here's some quick pictures of the gifts I've been knitting.

The Comfy Cable Cowl knit with Bernat Natural Alpaca for Maria, Little Girl's Developmental Specialist.
I love this pattern. It knits up super quick, and results in a warm, squishy neckwarmer!

Aviatrix, also knit for Maria because she's expecting at the end of the summer. This is knit from Missions Falls Superwash Wool.

I had wanted to knit up this hat for Baby Girl when she was born, and never quite got around to it. Since then, the pattern has been updated to include many more sizes, so Baby Girl may get one for next winter. The hat is knit from front to back using short rows. Very clever!

And finally, a scrunchable scarf knit for Wendy, Baby Girl's speech pathologist.
This was knit from Karabella Marble, a wool/alpaca blend. Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed knitting this scarf. The yarn is so soft and lovely, and the stitch pattern is soothing. This is a total "comfort knit". I did initially over-block it, but I gave it another soak, and that brought back the loftiness of the yarn.

Tomorrow is the last day these specialists come to the house, so I have to wrap up the gifts today, and I'm going to make a Cardamom Vanilla Pound Cake with Strawberries and Whipped Cream. Baby Girl is going to miss Maria and Wendy! However, she will begin to receive speech services through the school district, and she's excited to be going to the same school as her big brother and sister!

Did you watch the Oscars last night? Cirque de Soleil's performance was amazing!!!

Happy knitting!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Perfect Day

Yesterday was a Perfect Day.

We're on school vacation here, so I started the day by sleeping in until 8 a.m. This is pretty unheard of in my life, but my husband is home, and I just couldn't open my eyes. And so, blissfully, I slept.

Once I got ready, I took Little Boy to buy new sneakers. We found a great pair at a great price in the first store we went to, and then we headed to another store to buy him some jeans (because all of his have holes in the knees. Does anyone else have this problem with their little boys? EVERY PAIR!) While at the clothing store, both boys picked out birthday gifts for the girls (Birthday week kicks off on Thursday here).

After our errands, we joined up with the rest of the family and went out to lunch at an old fashioned lunch counter. This place was so much fun and the food was delicious!!! The kitchen is open, so the kids had a great time watching the waitresses make ice cream sundaes. We particularly liked that the whipped cream came out of a hose from the counter. If you live in the area, I highly recommend you take a little trip to Newton. The menu is pretty extensive, and breakfast is served all day. There are enough flavors of ice cream to please everyone, and despite the crowd when we arrived, we only waited a few minutes to be seated.

Right before we left the house for lunch, we received a phone call from my brother-in-law. He's in the ticket business, and he offered Little Girl and I tickets to go see Disney on Ice that afternoon! We took him up on the offer, so after lunch my husband dropped us downtown at the TD Bank Garden, and we enjoyed a Princess-filled ice show.

(This is from Tianna's number. My camera isn't great in low lighting and fast moves)

We were particularly impressed with Rapunzel and Finn's aerobatics, and Little Girl absolutely loved the finale when all the princesses showed up. As a mom, I really appreciated that all the cast members went out of their way to make eye contact with the kids and wave at them. I was also impressed with how friendly and patient the concession stand workers were. Maybe all the little girls in princess crowns softened them up a bit!

We took the "T" home, and my husband picked us up at the station. My kids LOVE to ride the subway. We ate our leftovers from lunch for dinner, and then played "Hide 'n Seek." We play with only a few lights on in the house, which means there are a lot more places to hide. Baby girl is the worst player. She's pretty good at hiding and being quiet, until someone calls her name. She feels compelled to answer every time! I am the undisputed champ, having seekers give up three separate times in their attempts to find me (best spots - in the corner of a bed with a coat over me, and underneath a bed, behind the parked trucks).

After "Hide 'n Seek" the kids settled in for a move, and I went to Another Yarn in Winchester to buy yarn for a baby sweater. I've now been to this store three times (I was back today because I forgot to look for a shawl pin), and I still haven't really looked around. I can say though, that I've been thrilled with the friendly service. I find a lot of yarn shop people seem kind of stand-offish. I'm never sure if it's a New England thing, or a yarn shop thing, or whatnot, but the people I've interacted with at this shop have been friendly and helpful. I would love to spend some more time in the shop, getting to know the people and the yarn!!!

As a parent, there are few days where everything just falls into place easily, there are no big hiccups to deal with, and every activity is a big success. Yesterday was one of those days though, and I am so thankful!

Here's hoping you have a perfect day!
Happy Knitting!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Knitting Constantly

I have been knitting constantly lately. I have finished a scarf, a cowl, a baby sweater, started another baby sweater, and plan to knit a baby hat tomorrow. I have started the first sleeve of my Viking Cable Hoodie.

I have not taken pictures of anything.

The scarf, cowl, and baby hat have to be done by Tuesday, to present to Baby Girl's Developmental and Speech Therapists, as that will be her last meeting with them (she ages out of Early Intervention on Thursday!) Baby Girl loves these women, and they love her right back, so I want to leave them with some hand-knitted love.

I've had a good excuse to do little but knit because last week I had a bad case of bronchitis, and this week is school vacation. I hope to get some pictures up soon so you can see what I've been up to.

I'm also planning what I'll be up to next: a pair of socks or a cowl from my Plucky Knitter yarn (somehow I missed that the yarn is a wool/nylon/cashmere blend. This is making me lean towards socks. Cashmere keeps my feet warm). I just bought yarn to knit a baby sweater for an expecting friend (I don't have anything baby suitable in the stash, and since the money is from our "gift" budget, this does not count against me in knitting from the stash in preparation for Rhinebeck. Does anyone else justify this way to themselves?)

I hope to post a bit about our vacation tomorrow. We've had a lovely week, and today was an absolutely perfect day.

Happy knitting!

Friday, February 17, 2012

We'd Like to Interrupt

This knitting
(Sorry for the sideways photo). The right front of the Viking Hoodie. 5 more cable crosses to go before the armseye shaping.

For this knitting:
Scrunchable Scarf knit with Marble Karabella, an alpaca/wool blend. Baby girl is turning 3 in two weeks, and with that birthday she will age out of early intervention. Her speech therapist, Wendy, is awesome, and Baby Girl loves her! We're really going to miss seeing her every week. So, I though I'd whip up some handknit love for her as a parting gift. I'm a little concerned that the scarf feels more masculine than unisex, but I'm hoping that feeling will fade once it's done. What do you think?

The yarn was a gift from a friend of my mom's, and the scarf is really working up quickly. Maybe a shawl pin will add some femininity.....

In other news, the sun is shining brightly for the first time in a long time, and I feel that way too. I've been down for the count almost all week with a chest cold that's aggravated my asthma. I finally got antibiotics on Wednesday, and today is the first day I haven't felt awful all day. I'm definitely not full-energy yet, but it's nice to have any energy at all!

I hope your day is full of sunshine, inside and out!

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day!

Because there's shockingly little knitting content on my knitting blog, check out these cute valentines.

In my youth, I dreaded Valentine's Day. In high school, the Student Council always sold carnations, and I always wondered if anyone would send me one. (I always got one or two from friends.)

My freshman year of college, my high school boyfriend broke up with me over the phone the day before Valentine's Day. He had already sent me a card, which I received the next day. When the first handwritten words you read on a card are "I really wish I meant what this card says", it puts a big damper on your day. It all worked out okay though, because I still got an "A" on my astronomy test that day, and I found I was relieved not to have to deal with said boyfriend once he was gone.

5 years later, the guy I thought was the great love of my life broke up with me the week before Valentine's Day, because our combined school/work schedules made it virtually impossible to find time to spend together. Even then I knew that true love waits out the semester. Again, it all turned out okay because this is someone that I'm really thankful to have known since middle school, and really set the bar high for boyfriend material (despite the bummer break-up). Great guy, but just not the greatest guy for me.

And thank goodness!!!!!

3 years after that, I moved to Boston. A few weeks after I moved, I met my husband at work. I was so busy with a new job and full load of classes, that I barely noticed him (although I admit to silently acknowledging his good looks!) But, a year later, we just clicked. We started hanging out and getting to know each other, and few months later, we were dating. And about a minute and half after that, I knew without a doubt that this was the man I was going to marry (it took him a few weeks more to figure it out).

Since meeting my husband, we've had some GREAT Valentine's Days. Our first one, we went to a Tapas restaurant for dinner. The tables were small rectangles, and we were seated at the short ends. Jeff turned the table around, so that we were sitting on the long ends and thus, seated closer together. I just loved that he did that! (Roll your eyes if you need to. We were newly dating.) After dinner we went ice skating on Frog Pond in the Boston Common, and Jeff twirled me around and around. SO FUN!

The next couple of years we celebrated Valentine's Day at home with romantic dinners, and since then, Valentine's Day has become a family dinner party. We'll use a tablecloth and have candles on the table, and exchange cards and little presents, and have something yummy and chocolatey for dessert. I love all the extra hugs and kisses I get from the kids on Valentine's Day, and I am so thankful for all the icky Valentines that led up to me meeting my husband.
(BTW, I'm over 20 pounds lighter now than I was in this picture.)

Do you love/loathe Valentines? Do you have any memories to share?

I hope that your Valentine's Day finds you surrounded by people who love you!

And you know, yarn you love to knit!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rhinebeck Budget

When I first decided to go to the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival next Fall, I decided that I would need to bring a certain amount of money with me to spend. And then I started to read people's blogs and see what they bought, and I started to think about what I would want to purchase, and I realized that while my original amount isn't too bad, I would probably have more fun with more money in my pocket. I really don't want to spend the whole weekend agonizing over every purchase because of limited funds.

So, I drew up a budget. Actually, I drew up 13 different budgets based upon the amount of money I might be able to save/earn/receive as gifts.

My first budget addresses these items:
  • Yarn - a sweater's worth
  • Yarn - individual skeins or whathaveyou
  • Non-Yarn - knitting accessories, needles, all the wonderful cheese and wine I keep hearing about.

Unfortunately, this only address the Festival itself, and not any travel expenses, or even the tickets! I'd like this trip to not effect our household budget too much. Therefore, budgets 2-3 include these items:

  • 2 day Festival Ticket
  • Food - because eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner makes me a happier person
  • Motel - dirt cheap because we're staying at the Super 8
  • Tips - I hear the bathroom attendants are unbelievable!

Budgets 4 & 5 add a little more money into the original three categories and money for

  • Tourism - I'm really hoping to be able to leave Friday morning, either because DH can take the day off of work, or I can arrange for someone to watch Baby Girl for the day, and stop at the Vanderbilt mansion or Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt's house.

I would be really happy if Budget 5 is met. I think I would really enjoy myself, and it covers most of my expenses. If I'm really careful with my allowance, and a few money earning opportunities present themselves, I also think Budget 5 is within the realm of possibility.

Budgets 6-7 gives me a little bit more money for food (which I could apply to the cheeses and wine at the Festival, thus freeing up some non-yarn money for other non-yarn things) and

  • Gas - the car doesn't run for free

Budgets 8-13 add money to previous items, that are not set costs. In other words, these budgets would allow me to actually have enough gas to get there and home and to buy a whole lot of knitterly goodness. They're long shot budgets. I have no idea how I would be able to save up enough to meet them, but I don't think it's wrong to dream. I don't think that Rhinebeck is ever going to become an annual thing for me, and this could be the one and only time I attend. I really want to enjoy it! This plan is also helping my diet, because before I stop at Dunkin' Donuts for a muffin, or Starbucks for a coffee, I'm asking myself, "Is this worth giving up something at Rhinebeck?"

So, questions:

  • Have I gotten a little ridiculous with the bullets?
  • Have I forgotten an item to be budgeted?
  • How do you plan out your yarn shopping budget?

Happy knitting!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Left Front...

I'm swimming along on the left front of the Viking Cable Hoodie.

I've decreased for the armseye, and now I have 6-ish inches of knitting to the shoulder shaping. I'm only following two charts, which are identical except for one row, so I'm using the cute stitch markers my mom gave me for Christmas.

I'd love to have this sweater done by the end of the month, but I'll be happy if both fronts are at least completed. I keep reminding myself that my arms are long, and sweater sleeves take forever.

In non-knitterly news, not much is going on in these parts. I'm trying to plan a family-friendly Valentine's Dinner, that fits into Big Boy's hockey practice schedule. (DH and I will have a romantic dinner some other night this month). I found a recipe for Tortellini Rose that sounded promising. Dessert will definitely be something chocolate! We'll see if it's low-fat too...

Oh! We did have some great news last week - Big Boy made the Honor Roll for the second time this year! Who knew that 6th grade would be such a great experience for him?

Happy Knitting!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday

Despite the Patriots' loss to the Giants last night, we had a great Super Bowl weekend!

My Dad, a lifelong Giants fan, flew into town on Friday night to spend the weekend with us. We spent Saturday at various hockey practices/games, and eating at our favorite restaurant (good food, and super kid friendly!).

Sunday, we got into the spirit of football with some decorations
Homemade pizza and wings
(The girls helped out with this one. I cut the picture of the wings, because it just looked weird, but trust me, they were yummy)

And lowfat dessert
(I used a boxed cake mix and 1 1/2 cups of diet Coke. In the future, I'd add a little water. The topping is fat free whipped topping, and the footballs are sugar. I ate a cupcake without one).

We also had a little pregame trivia
and the kids played "Pin the Football through the Goal Posts".

We had a great time, even though the home team lost. I was hoping for an exciting game, and I sure got that!

Today, Baby Girl, my Dad and I went to Walden Pond and the DeCordova Sculpture Park. Walden Pond was gorgeous! The Sculpture Park is filled with modern art sculptures, which isn't really our cup of tea. But, the grounds are gorgeous and free when the museum is closed (which it is on Mondays), and I think it will be a great place to picnic in the spring or summer with the kids. Somewhere to go, just to go somewhere.

Despite the cold, I've done almost no knitting. I finished up a baby cardigan for a friend of my mom's, and tonight I finally cast on for the left front of my Viking Hoodie. I hope to finish both fronts by the end of the month, but since February is a short month, that might be a long shot.

I hope your knitting is moving along at a much quicker pace than mine.

Happy Knitting!