Thursday, October 27, 2016

mae's maize maze adventure

I'm pretty proud of that blog title. One could even say it's aMAZing.

So far this has been a very busy fall! Two weeks ago, we visited my family and attended a baby shower for my friends Courtney and Luke who are expecting a little boy in December. I realized earlier in the week that I didn't have a handmade gift for them... and that just wouldn't do! Tuesday evening I picked out a pattern (Elwood Cardigan), and Wednesday morning I popped into my local yarn shop for some Rowan pure wool superwash. It was a bit itchy, but softened nicely after washing. I finished the yoke Wednesday, the body and one sleeve Thursday, and the second sleeve and shawl collar Friday. I washed it Friday evening and sewed the buttons on Saturday. I omitted the stripes from the pattern (no time for stripes!) and only added 3 buttons (because I liked it better that way, not because I didn't have time for a 4th button). I love how it turned out... and I'm pretty proud of finishing a whole sweater in just three days! Details on my Ravelry page.

cozy birdhouse | elwood baby cardigan

Dan, Mae, and I had lots of fun at the shower. One of the activities was making an alphabet book for the baby. Dan drew a Pumpkin for P, I drew a Koala, and Mae drew a Zig Zag (actually I was her pinch-illustrator). We enjoyed beautiful fall weather and visited with my high school friends who I haven't gotten to see in a while!

Sunday's weather turned out much drearier than expected but we still managed to make our annual trip to the corn maze! I led us through the Everest-themed maze as we collected all the clues (and as our shoes collected all the mud). Mae and Oliver enjoyed their first maze adventure, though they both fell asleep just a short way in!

Last weekend, Dan's mom came to visit for some quality time with Mae. Mae was so playful and cute all weekend and even drifted off to sleep while playing on GranE's lap, which was adorable.

On Saturday we went to the zoo for a couple hours and then met up with Courtney, Luke, and Zach who were in town for the day. Sunday we relaxed at home and went for a walk to look at some of the pretty homes nearby. GranE said her plan was to lay on the floor and play with Mae, and we certainly did lots of that this weekend... I call it a success!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

georgetown cardigan

Usually I find my next knitting project by browsing patterns online until something catches my eye. Not this time! This time I knew exactly what I wanted: a shawl-collared, long-sleeved cardigan knit in a slightly variegated gray yarn. I finally settled on the Georgetown Cardigan pattern knit with madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in the colorway Great Grey Owl. Tosh Vintage is so squishy and wonderful, but luxury yarn comes with a luxury price tag. Fortunately I had some money from my birthday (thanks, Gramma and Grampa!) and justified the big purchase knowing how much use I will get from this sweater!

This project took exactly 6 weeks. The only thing I changed about the pattern was knitting the sleeves in-the-round instead of seaming them and adding a folded cuff at the wrists. I haven't worn it yet for the following 3 reasons:
  1. It's been kinda hot until recently.
  2. I'm trying to protect it from spit-up or other baby slime as long as possible. I know it won't be forever. Sigh.
  3. A large part of my enjoyment of new clothes comes from looking at them before I wear them! Sometimes I hang them at the front of my closet for a couple weeks. This sweater has been sitting folded on top of our dresser since I finished it.

Soon it will be in heavy rotation in my wardrobe. I look forward to snuggling up in my cozy cardigan this winter!

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.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Lots of little updates since my last post, so let's get started!

The most exciting news (in my opinion) is that Mae has her first teeth!! She's been so drooly and chewing on everything, so we knew they weren't far away. I could feel the little ridge on her bottom gums for the last few weeks. Then, during her bath last Saturday, I was cleaning her gums with a washcloth and discovered that the first one had just popped through. Its neighbor appeared just two days later. I bought her a little training toothbrush that looks like a banana. It makes me giggle, and she seems to like it.

Also exciting, Dan and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. This is the first year we haven't gone out to dinner on our actual anniversary since our first date 7 years ago! Instead I picked up Mae early from day care so we could cheer on Dan at our company's charity softball tournament. Fortunately, once a month Mae's day care stays open until midnight, so we took advantage of the September "Parents' Night Out" to enjoy a celebratory dinner out about a week belated. Apparently the traditional/modern gift for 4 years is Appliances, so I guess that new air conditioner was our big romantic present!

Last week, Mom, Emily, and Oliver visited and we went to the zoo. Mae actually stayed awake to see some animals this time, though she was more interested in her toes than the new hippo exhibit. Emily and I tried out our new front carriers and both babies seemed to enjoy looking around!

Dan, Mae, and I got a chance to visit Ben and Jen's adorable daughter Anna who was just 10 days old. I got to hold her for a bit, and she even fell asleep for a few minutes! She felt so small even though she's the same size as Mae was at birth. It's fun to see how much Mae has grown compared to a tiny newborn!

We also visited Courtney and John's house for Hank's baptism. He's a few weeks younger than Mae, but he is a giant! He looks like a baby sumo wrestler. He was so cute and very well-behaved for his baptism ceremony.

Lastly, we had an appointment with a GI specialist for Mae. I felt better after leaving his office, even though we didn't get any new recommendations. I'm slowly adding foods like wheat and eggs back to my diet, but will probably keep the dairy and soy out until Mae is weaned. I'm sooooo looking forward to that first pizza. Mae has her 4-month checkup (and shots!) this week, so hopefully that goes okay!