Deck the Halls with Too-Small Sweaters

Dear Erin,

Christmas is coming, and I at least will be interested to see what we as a family do to decorate this year. Last year, as you know, it took awhile to get into the Christmas spirit, and I went light on the decorating. Although I couldn’t say it at the time, a big part of that ennui was probably because I was pregnant. So what with that not being the case this year, having Captain Wiggles around, and suspecting that Little Mister will really enjoy it – I’m seriously contemplating a real tree this year.

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Not just this.

Hey, I’ve got something new to show you.

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Here Little Mister experiences the wonder of eating an egg he’s helped to hard-boil.

Look at the sweater I finished! It only took, um, seven months. And it really shouldn’t have taken that long; it’s not big and it’s not complicated. But I started about 3 weeks before the Captain came along, and then the bottom dropped out of life for awhile.

Pattern is Harvester in size 4; yarn is Ella Rae Lace Merino in “Royal Blue.” Had some issues with gauge on this one (don’t I always), but I more or less got it worked out. The sweater still came out small, though, and I’m hoping if I ever do get a chance to block this that it will loosen up a bit more and give us a tad more wear out of it. But it’s so convenient to just throw on him that I don’t want to take it out of rotation, even for a pretty necessary bath (it’s been on the playground and through several meals; neither left it unscathed) and repair job (you can already see some damage just above the waistband in the picture).

It’s light and warm, and a good layering piece. Also, I think it looks pretty good on him (although the sleeves are a little short and the waistband currently poofs out oddly), so I’m a big fan of this sweater and will make it again in the future. In fact, the Captain is supposed to be getting one soon in an orange yarn his brother picked out and “helped” me wind into a ball the other day (by which I mean he wound it into a huge knot).

So anyway, keep your eyes peeled for decked halls over here on the left coast over the next month. There might actually be something to see.

Share and Share Alike

Dear Erin,

Thanks for the book ideas; Little Mister loves the last three you mentioned, and I’m sure he’ll enjoy the others.

Here are our Halloween costumes, all finished:

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A t-shirt I colored, and a Tigger costume without its hat (I lost it somewhere in the last two months, but I know it didn’t fit anyway). Meh… Good thing the kids are so cute. Here is Little Mister’s costume more fully:

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I’d claim he posed, but I really just got lucky. And here is the inspiration:

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Charles’s request, and MUCH less work than my choice last year:

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I figure next time, Little Mister will want to have some input, but at least we got some geeky stuff in for ourselves while we could.

Captain Wiggles was more or less just along for the ride, but he didn’t seem to mind much that he was wearing a hand-me-down costume with a big piece missing. He slept through all Halloween festivities. He came out better in the photo shoot at the pumpkin patch. Babies and gourds, right?

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I put him in the outfit that his brother wore the last time we were there (again, hand-me-downs).

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But Captain Wiggles does have his very own hat, so he got his very own, non-hand-me-down elf pictures, too.

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No gourds, maybe, but I do like this one a lot.

So it’s basically all about sharing around here – like it or not. I guess I’m lucky that I’m the only girl – I don’t have to share anything!

The Turn of the Year

Dear Erin,

Fall is in the air, at least technically. So is a hurricane over at the homestead (Hello, Hurricane Matthew! Please make a sharp right turn and go blow yourself out over the middle of the Atlantic without hurting anyone else. Kthxbai.)

Although he isn’t going to preschool yet, Little Mister picked up a bug from someone and has very generously shared it with his brother. Poor Cap’n Wiggles – not even 5 months old yet and already on his second cold. Neither kid seems to feel especially poorly, but number 1 is more ornery than usual, and number 2 doesn’t sleep well (so by extension, neither do Charles and I), and both boys seem to be covered in mucus, and I’m pretty tired of the whole thing.

To compensate, I’m devouring things:

  1. Coffee – Mostly from my own coffee pot of course, but oh gracious, have you tried the Chile Mochas from Starbucks? Who cares about Pumpkin Spice Lattes, when you can get coffee blended with spicy chocolate. Yummy yummy! as LM says. Not that I let him drink them. They’re mine, all mine.
  2. Cookies – The most dangerous discovery at the grocery store in the last two months is the bags of frozen, premade Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough. It is now way too easy to have fresh baked cookies (ahem, every night, cough cough). There might be a few in the oven right now.
  3. Books – You reminding me about YA books has been a minor revelation over here. I’ve finished 3 in the last not-quite-three weeks, plus half of the new Harry Potter, the beginning of another, and I have two on hold at the library. It’s slightly depressing that this is what I’m reading these days, but at least I’m reading. It’s like scratching a bone-deep itch that’s been going on so long that I forgot about it, or like when you start drinking water and didn’t even realize you were dehydrated. Will try to write on this and give more specifics sometime in the next few weeks.

These are all making me pretty happy (underneath the constant tiredness), and to add to that, the knitting is picking up again. Things usually slow down in the summer, and with the Cap’n added to our family mix this year, my interest in yarn took such a nosedive over the last few months that I semi-seriously wondered for a bit if I would ever pick it up again.

Silly Kristen. So, a little back story here. Little Mister has a huge head. It’s been consistently above the 90th percentile for his age since he was born. And what with that and the fact that he was born in March, I’ve only made him three hats:

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His welcome-to-the-world hat. Newborn size. Fit him for about a minute.

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His Viking hat, which is pretty much perfect. Six month size.

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And his hipster hat, which was too big when I made it and has therefore lasted a really long time. No idea what size.

The point is, he never needed a hat when his head was between the newborn and 6-month sizes, so I never made one. Thus there isn’t one to pass down to little brother.

So little brother needs his very own new hat to wear until he grows into the Viking hat. I knew what I wanted, and amazingly, it worked out exactly how I imagined.

Look what I made in the last couple days.

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The hat, not the boy.

Isn’t it cute? It’s not a pattern; I made it up – a basic beanie shape with a slight trick at the top to make it pointy like a little elf hat. But I actually got the math worked out right and the thing fits! Also, no idea what the yarn is at the moment, but it’s thick and fluffy and is probably way too warm for our climate. Who cares? It’s adorable!

So, yeah, I’m unreasonably pleased with myself after this experiment, and the answer to the question of whether knitting would ever be back on the table is a definite yes.

The Last Mother’s Day Gifts

Dear Erin,

So I told you on Monday that I would share something related to Mother’s Day today. I wasn’t expecting to share this:

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so we’ll postpone that for the time being, shall we?

Instead, I was expecting to share this:

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This is Hunter Hammersen’s “Loasa lateritia cowl from her book The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet. Knit in Cascade Kid Seta in color 08. Unblocked in this picture because I didn’t know if any potential negative changes in the yarn due to that would be made up for by potential positive changes in the lace. Besides, I’ve been busy since I finished it.

This is one of those patterns I fought with. It’s entirely my fault that I ended up starting this four times (!!). The first two, I was both inexperienced and trying to outsmart the pattern. The third time worked, but I set it down for a long while then cannibalized the needles for a different project, so I really didn’t know where I was when I came back to it and needed to start over for the last time.

The product is pretty, but I don’t plan to do this one again. Four times is enough, right? And it’s a pretty simple pattern, carried over a lot of yards of laceweight yarn.

I gave this to Mom for Mother’s Day. It’s only, um, four years late or so. Hopefully she doesn’t really mind too much. So that’s two cowls for two mothers this year; a good start to the year’s gifting.