Friday, February 25, 2011

Swaps are Swell

I like swaps. Blog swaps are great, but sometimes swaps with people I actually know are also great. So lately I have had the opportunity to knit two pairs of Fetching Mitts for two women who inspire me weekly. (My mods are here.)
Kimberly, my exercise teacher, (but really that's too tame for the work we do in Sacred Sweat), got the first pair in exchange for some classes. Community, a strong and healthy body, and spiritual awareness is an amazing thing to trade for some little cabled mitts! I found it was hard to put a price on what I had created, but she's used to pushing me (with love!) into new territory.
Carrie the Quilt Artist/Iron Woman/Mom of 5, who also makes these great hand-dyed tank tops and work-out bras, got pair number two in exchange for some of those amazing tanks/bras. It was pretty amazing to find this perfect-for-her yarn in my stash. And they really looked amazing on her!

But then there are gifts. And gift-knitting is also wonderful. Knitting for anyone with intention is a powerful act of transformation. It brings that person closer to your heart with each stitch. And if they're far away, physically, too far away to hug, it's about the only thing that can be done.
I saw this pattern (entitled The Age of Brass and Steam) here first and fell in love with the delicacy and batwing edging. The batwing edging was the inspired twist provided by Moonstitches, in how she blocked it. I used a linen/baby mohair lace weight yarn, and the way that the linen took the dye is slightly lighter than the mohair, so it has this wonderful sheen to it. Who wouldn't love a little red cape, anyway?
Finally, we had some delicious sweet and sour chicken stir fry here (thanks to Tracy who turned me on to the recipe). And although the photo is not so great, the recipe was. I added way more veggies (broccoli, garlic, onion), and had more chicken and pineapple, and doubled the sauce. Everyone ate it and lots of leftovers!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

happy valentine's day

~My favorite holiday.~

parents of 6th graders:
DO NOT show your children this picture, Jonas implores you!

One of my favorite memories of being little was sitting with my mom at my tiny table, making potato stamp Valentines for my kindergarten class. I remember the window next to our table. And that it was sunny.

A day when we get extra encouragement to spread the love.

At Rockport Public Library tomorrow, come pick up a BookLover or Love Books bookmark for a donation in any denomination to benefit the library. Old check-out cards upcycled from RPL; new stamps carved by yours truly.

Now go out and spread some love!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ringmaster in a Circus of Sloths

The title of this post is how I identify myself in the mornings: as in, I am the ringmaster trying to get the sloths to shake a leg, stay focused, get their stuff done, stop teasing, pick up their______, find their _______, brush their _______, and do it all before we leave at __:___. Sometimes I succeed at getting them out the door without yelling. Not very often.
new lovely plush toy, Ella,
made for me by a young seamstress.

So being a systems girl, I like to try new things and tweak the existing system, particularly when it's a faulty one. Only reminding a person once. Throwing a boot. Leaving the house and sitting in the car (this only works when I don't have to be at work myself). Writing lists on a slate. Staying in bed and avoiding the whole business, my favorite option (this one works great, but only if Mr. Crafty is getting them out the door).
arugula and beet salad with red onions, pine nuts,
kicking vinaigrette=mind blowing eating experience

Also being a teaching type of girl, who is married to a teacher and the daughter of a teacher, I always assume that if they're not getting it, this is because of something I have or haven't done. Am I asking too much, too little? What's appropriate for the 12 year-old vs. the eight year-old, and can I stand the discussion about what is/isn't fair? (My favorite answer is always: "Of COURSE I wouldn't dream of treating you equally! That would be terribly unfair!!") How can I coach them to be successful in whatever we're trying to do? What can I do differently to engineer the outcome I want?
Finally, we've already established that the demands of the mornings are my least favorite part of the job we call motherhood. Cleaning up vomit is a close second, but thankfully it doesn't happen daily.
someone knows me well:
a birthday box full of the most delicious stationery

So now we come to a new system, on day 2. Knock on wood, no yelling either day. Each boy has a checklist: things to do appear up top, just under the departure time of the day (which changes based on whether Mr. or Mrs. is driving in).
"Think through your day and all parts of it. What will you need?" This question is followed by the items a boy might need for his day. I think it's an essential question because really, that's exactly what I ask myself when I am leaving the house for the day.
They seem to like checking the boxes off. Perhaps it's because they go to a Waldorf school.

The following two sentences, on the reverse side of the letterpress Thank You/Birthday set, seem to also relate to what we've been speaking of here:

Monday, February 7, 2011

EZ Seamless Hybrid: Finished

The sweater that brought me to frustration at each and every turn, cursing like a sailor at times, cast aside until I could bear to look at it again...the first and only time I have ever run out of yarn...gauge problems...techniques that were foreign to me...panicked emails to strangers on name it, it happened here with this item that I had intended to knit with love for my husband. It was knit with a lot of teeth-gnashing and anguish.
Actually there was a lot of fear also. Fear that the finished garment, which had so delighted in torturing me, would not even actually fit the wearer the way the artist envisioned it. So part of my reticence to finish it, though I was eager to be done with the blasted thing, was the dread that it would continue to torture me in perpetuity because I would be staring a big, ugly, ill-fitting mistake in the face. Forever. Because of course he would have to wear it, even if it fit like an elephant wearing baggy tights.
Fortunately, I was wrong. The sweater fits Mr. Crafty as though it were made for him---ha! It was! I'm not certain I will embark on another male sweater again for many years to come, but this one will have to do for now. He didn't even let me block it and has worn it quite a bit already. Finishing it amidst my January blahs felt like a great exercise of will. If you want to read what Tom said, and some tips from me, it's on Ravelry. I may be adding some more details to the notes when I can stand to re-visit the drama of my knitting notebook.
And the birthday girl chose to celebrate her day with lady friends and little girls, making Valentine's cards together. Lots of treats including lemon squares with rosemary shortbread crust, spanakopita triangles, cookies, cake, and coconut sorbet with vanilla bean!
Would it be a Creative Endeavors post without someone's charming child? Here is Mr. Crafty holding Adorable A. while modeling his handsome sweater. His job during the party was mainly as baby-holder, and he didn't mind snuggling this sweet girl.