Monday, October 17, 2016

five months of mae

Here's our baby girl... five months old already!

Mae's favorite activities this month included chatting to herself in the mirror, trying soooooo hard to crawl, and scratching her fingers on anything that makes noise (especially the wood paneling next to her changing table). She has all the building blocks for crawling (lifting her chest, scrunching her legs, pushing off with her feet), but hasn't quite put everything together yet. She can wiggle a few feet at a time, especially if her favorite toy radio is placed just out of reach. Not being able to crawl is currently her biggest frustration and part of the reason she hasn't been sleeping well, since she keeps trying to crawl in her sleep!

Mae is not particularly talkative around adults, but she meows and squeals as soon as she sees other babies or her own reflection! She loves being held in a standing position, bouncing to music, and watching her daddy's ridiculous dance moves. In the evening, she sits in her high chair while Dan and I eat dinner at the coffee table. Sometimes she fusses when we clip her into the chair, but she calms down as soon as we turn on Jeopardy!

Mae nurses to sleep consistently around 7:30 pm, and she WAS sleeping really well through the night until a couple weeks ago. When she wakes in the night, she always goes back to sleep after a short feed. We get her up for day care around 6:00 am and she is all smiles as soon as she sees us. She is still a terrible napper and has achieved unprecented levels of screaminess before she finally falls asleep for naps. Pacifiers work... sometimes. She takes her bottles like a champ at day care now, and she will be starting solid food soon. Her little teeth (which Dan nicknamed Chomper and Biter) are always looking for something to chew on!

We are excited to see what milestones come in month 6!

Monday, October 10, 2016

kentucky wool festival

On Saturday, Kathy and I made our first visit to the Kentucky Wool Festival. Neither of us had any idea what to expect, since we'd never been to a sheep/yarn/wool festival before! She picked me up late morning and we navigated miles of winding country roads while listening to a bluegrass radio station (because Kentucky) and The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack (because October). The last half mile of our drive took almost 40 minutes as we joined a lonnnnng queue of vehicles trickling into the parking fields outside the festival grounds. As much as I hate traffic, this is when I started to get really excited... clearly, Wool Fest is THE thing to do in Falmouth, Kentucky. After parking, we entered the festival grounds and made a quick stop at the restrooms (labeled Rams/Ewes instead of Men/Women) and the gift shop, where we bought shirts with the adorable Wool Fest 2016 logo.

Wool Fest had 4 different areas: food, craft tents, demonstration booths, and the sheep/wool tent. There were also a couple stages featuring bluegrass bands. We ate lunch and discussed our plan of attack for the almost overwhelming number of tents. Then, with our bellies full of brisket, we wandered through the craft tents and enjoyed looking at all the beautiful pottery, interesting jewelry, and fun holiday decorations. Outside these tents, we walked past a row of booths set up for different craftsmen demonstrating their skills. We saw a blacksmith, two women cooking animal fats to make soap, a guy teaching kids how to throw a hatchet, and a tanner with all sorts of interesting furs and skins.

Finally... what we came here for: The Wool Tent! And it did NOT disappoint.

Half of this tent housed various livestock including sheep, alpacas, cows, roosters, goats, a donkey, and pigs. The donkey and roosters were quite vocal!

The other half of the tent was full of booths selling everything from bags of unprocessed wool to hand dyed yarns to finished hats and scarves.

Many of the booths were demonstrating different steps in processing wool. This woman showed us how to use a carder, which combs bits of washed fleece into a little roll that can then be spun into yarn.

Almost every booth had a spinning wheel on display also! A few were in use making beautiful hand-spun yarns.

Kathy and I both purchased skeins of yarn from Ashley at Neely's Knits. I am going to attempt my first pair of socks with a Harry Potter-inspired colorway called Chocolate Frog! Kathy bought a really pretty skein of Game Of Thrones-inspired wool/silk blend called Winter Is Coming.

I've had Wool Fest on my calendar for almost a year, and I'm so glad we were able to go! We enjoyed beautiful weather, delicious food, and fun souvenirs. I got several compliments on my Breakwater Sweater (of course I had to wear something handknit)! I can't wait to start working on my first pair of socks!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

nap time is knit time

Some projects are a rite of passage into the world of knitting.

This first struck me after finishing my Shalom Cardigan back in 2014. Not only was it my first hand knit sweater, it was also a very popular pattern with over 5000 projects listed on Ravelry. I have little doubt that if I wore my cardigan into a yarn shop, at least one person would recognize the pattern. I felt like a real part of the knitting community!

A feeling of déjà vu crept over me as I finished one of my projects this summer. Endpaper Mitts is a wildly popular and very recognizable pattern. It serves as many knitters' first foray into colorwork because of its sophisticated but simple design, and it was actually one of the first patterns I attempted after joining Ravelry in 2013. My first try was a bit messy, and this yarn sat shelved until recently. Finally, I dashed out two new, tidier mitts in just a week. Then I made a hat (my own pattern) to use up most of the rest of the yarn.

cozy birdhouse | endpaper mitts & hat

I finished the hat and mitts back in July, but it's just been way too hot to model them. It's finally starting to cool down and feel like autumn! I wonder if I'll wear these much. Fingerless mittens probably have a fairly short season of usefulness outdoors, and our house isn't quite chilly enough to need them inside. I'll have to wait and see if I'm a fingerless gloves type of girl!

Another quick project I completed was this braided ball for my cousin Courtney's little boy, Henry. The knitting was simple, just 6 strips in stockinette that are woven together and seamed. The resulting toy is hollow, so it is very light and squishy. Hopefully it will be easy for him to pick up once he is a little older! (That's also assuming that their dog doesn't claim it as his toy first!)

cozy birdhouse | knit braided ball

As always, details for the cardigan, mitts & hat, and ball are available on my Ravelry page.