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.


Not just this.

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


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.


Christmas Knitting, pt. 2

Dear Erin,

I had meant to write on this last Friday, thereby making last week a knitting-themed week, but it didn’t work out. It seems like your recent travels have been successful in the sense of getting to where you’re going safely, for which I’m always thankful. I think you’re home for a little while now? In fact, perhaps you might be stuck at home for awhile with the winter storm you’re supposedly going to get.


I could have sent you this to help keep you warm, but it was a Christmas gift for another family member, and it was gone before the holidays.

So, I guess I actually couldn’t have sent it to you.

It’s a cowl – Spectral – in yarn Miss Babs Yummy. It was a kit I bought last year, so only a little bit of each of 5 colors, and the satisfaction of having a purpose for materials, applying them to that purpose, and using them all up to create and give away something someone will like. Win win win.

The woolly goodness I have on the needles right now is going to you, so no pictures at the moment. It’s going faster than anticipated. I might actually get it to you close to on time, and that would be a win win win, too!


Christmas Knitting, pt. 1

Dear Erin,

Today I’m showing you one of the two gifts I made for Christmas this past year, and we’re going to ignore that I had intended to make at least three other things in time for Christmas. Two is good enough.


These are the Mericash Wristwarmers, done in Three Irish Girls’ Glenhaven Cashmerino Sock (color “Kale”), which means that it’s mostly wool but has enough cashmere in it to be really, really soft and nice to work with.

And I happen to have lots and lots of this yarn left over because when they mailed the original order, they sent it to the wrong address. Neither party knowing this, when I told them I’d never received the yarn, we decided that they should re-dye the order and send it to the correct address. Of course, after this conversation the original order turned up, so I ended up with two skeins.

The gloves are really not a hard pattern. A lot of visual bang for your buck (especially when the lace is stretched out a little more than it is in this picture). The only trick is you have to pay attention. Seems to have been a hard thing for me to do during this project, as I ripped back two or three rows nearly 10 times! So I really knit about one and a half pairs of these. It’s a really good thing that yarn was so nice, I guess.

And as I didn’t get any knitting time on the plane on the way to VA, I didn’t get these finished as early as I would have liked. But I did manage to get the second one to the recipient just in time for her to travel back to 80 degree Florida, where I’m sure they will come in super useful!

Overall, a fine knit, a lovely yarn, and an end product I’m plenty satisfied with. (And I think my sister-in-law liked them, too.) Two thumbs up, would make again.


A Nostalgic Holiday. Or Not.

Dear Kristen,

I’ll share the pastries with you!  I could eat a whole half batch, so I’m not sure you’ll want to share with me…but none the less, its now on my list to accomplish before the 25th.  Thanks for adding to the ever growing list the reminder that I need to get cardamon!

Now let me tell you a story.  You are very familiar with the start, but you don’t know the end.  Until now, that is.

I am picky.  I have always been picky.  Picky eater, picky in my tastes, picky in lots of things.  In clothes, for example.

And we were young – me four, you seven – and it was the 1980s, so pretty much anything was epic.  We were shopping with Mom for Christmas dresses at some department store, probably JCPenny, and she picked out what she liked and I picked what I liked.

And she didn’t want me to get the one I liked and I didn’t want to get the one she liked.  Impasse.

Until logical Kristen, the seven-year-old, argued Mom into submission.  “She’s not going to wear that, so you might as well get her the one she likes.”

And here was my your victory.


Fast forward thirty years to another picky four-year-old, with a Mom who has different opinions from her. She has had no problem wearing this old Erin dress, so I thought, “It would be fun for Munchkin to wear my Christmas dress – I LOVED it!”

I’m an idiot, apparently.

She took one look and turned up her nose.

My solution?  I’ll alter it a little so she’ll want to wear it.  It’ll be trendy, pretty and fulfill my need to be nostalgic.  Did that.  Still all I see is nose.

She wouldn’t even try it on until her cousin coerced her – and it was such a brief fitting that I have no picture to prove it.  You would think it smells like a Twinkie leftover from the 1980s, instead of freshly laundered cloth, the way she runs from it.

So then we were shopping for a Christmas dress for her (since my idea failed) and I liked this in a different color.



Old Navy

And we got this in Burgundy.


Old Navy

If Little Man could talk, I’m sure he would have mimicked you.

“She’s not going to wear that, so you might as well get her the one she likes.”  Or something like that.

A Fancy Holiday. Or Not.

Dear Erin,

You know how last time I said I didn’t have much Christmas spirit? Well, that’s changing, albeit slowly and not by much.

I told you I made cookies last week. Well, this weekend I made Danish.
Family tradition, and my favorite “Christmas” food growing up. Just the smell of cardamom and almond together makes me happy. I don’t make them often, because Charles doesn’t like them, and it makes a lot. My recipe says 75 “pieces,” but I made a half batch, and still ended up making I think six batches, with some dough left over. For the future, I just have to get Little Mister to think they’re a tradition; then I’ll have more of an excuse to make (and eat) them.

Look at the cardamom I found to use this time.
They’re pods, and you open them to get the seeds. I felt very fancy while I was making them.

And we have a tree.
Yes, this has basically been floating around Pinterest, so that’s where I stole the idea from. It’s certainly not fancy, but it’s also not going to fall down and break and spill water and leaves everywhere and make a huge mess and lead to Little Mister getting in masses of trouble. He has fun moving the ornaments around and trying to stick them on the wall.

We’re doing it up right around here, feelings or no.

PS. Oh, and we didn’t get snow, but there was hail yesterday. That counts, right?