Friday, November 09, 2018

I've got your back

Today's the first day we sent kids to school in snow pants.  It's about -11C (13F) and it's been flurrying here for a couple of days. Now there's enough snow on the ground to get wet when making snow angels during recess. There was a big upset and some tears about getting dressed this AM though, how would the sweaters fit inside the new snow pants? (Hint, it all works out.  Everyone figures it out and wears sweaters when it is this nippy.) We're back to wearing winter boots, parkas, mitts, and more.  Every year this is a slow but inevitable piling on of layers...in a few weeks, we won't remark on it anymore--just suit up.  We still go outside!

My opinion piece in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh shooting is now out online as part of the Vancouver Jewish Independent. Unfortunately, the news moves so fast these days that other people have already died, in another big shooting in the US.  I am so sad about it all--and while my piece was about the support the Jewish community received here, locally in the face of this hate and death, I wish that the US would consider doing as other countries have done in the past. For instance, if there were some immediate action towards commonsense gun control and better accessible mental health supports in place?  Like yesterday.
On a more upbeat note, the new On Track pullover was so popular in our household that one twin (Twin B, for those who remember a long way back!) wore it all last weekend.  Come Monday morning, Twin A decided it was his turn, and there was an absolute showdown about it before 7 in the morning.  As a result, our beautiful sample sweater is on time out until Saturday, when Twin B can wear it again...to family services. I'm hoping we can either negotiate a sharing truce or decide who owns the sweater once and for all when we are all more calm!

If you've been reading a long time, you may recognize this sweater.  Above, it's being modelled on a kid who is two and a half.  This morning, it went out the door on the other twin, and now they are 7.  So, you know, eventually, we work it out and everyone shares...especially if you knit a very oversized sweater in the first place!
Have a good weekend, everybody.  Stay safe.

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Friday, November 02, 2018

A new design for the trains

I'll preface this by saying that the tragic events in Pittsburgh last Saturday have really thrown me for a loop...and many things have taken a back seat to this tragedy.  I've already had to write a column on deadline about it, and well, maybe I'll be able to write more here later.

However, I've got little kids, so we need to find things to celebrate and talk about to counterbalance this grief.

The big news in Manitoba is the return of the train to Churchill!    In fact, our prime minister even visited Churchill to celebrate.
In honor of this event, I've released a new sweater pattern.  Well, no, actually, I'd designed this train-themed sweater with my twins previous to the announcement, but what a great coincidence, huh?!




On Track is now available on both Ravelry and on Loveknitting.com.  It's a kid sweater (good for boys & girls, truly unisex) in sizes 2-10.

It's also available for sale on Ravelry for 50% off until Sunday, November 4th, at midnight CT (US & Canada) with the coupon code:

Churchill
The day of the photo shoot, we played outside.  This is what twins, one dog, and two handknit sweaters look in action. (Other dog was hiding under the porch, and two parents were trying to keep from being run over...)

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Friday, October 26, 2018

What we're up to

We've had a steady stream of sniffles and other appointments that has kept me from a normal work schedule...but if I can read on my iPad or or work on my computer at odd moments, including work at night and whenever I fit it in... I can mostly keep up.  I've been working on a new kid sweater design (coming soon, I hope!) as well as an article or two.

Today, this article, talking about our kids' recent PBS "This Old House" obsession and stories from Genesis, came out in the Vancouver Jewish Independent.

Meanwhile, I checked out some interesting reads from our local library via their ebook system.  This means I can be sitting on the couch with a sick kid and still return all the books on time!
I'm not normally into "self-help" categories of books.  However, our library had something like a "Sweater, craft and cookbook section" and I came upon this quick read while looking up new craft and cookbooks.

 Live Lagom is an interesting book.  It's all about pursuing the concept of moderation.  Finding "just right" is not just a Swedish thing, I'd argue that most major religions also look for this!  However, I'm not ashamed to say I liked the photos and they drew me in. It's also an up to date understanding of how sustainability, eating, sleeping and working, etc. integrate with finding a balanced approach.


I'm also addicted to Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series.  This is about a young intellectual woman who becomes a spy during WWII.  This latest one, The Prisoner in the Castle, cleverly references the history of British mysteries, complete with people being killed off, one by one, on an island while referring to Agatha Christie.  Also, it turns out this great author is married to a well-known puppeter who has worked for Sesame Street.  I happened to have a copy of his book on making kid puppets long before I got hooked on this series.

I hope, wherever you are, that you're enjoying fun reads, knits, and more without having the sniffles to go along with it!

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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Repair

Today was "International Repair Day" and while this link is about fixing electronics, it's relevant to my Vancouver Jewish Independent article which came out on Friday.  I called it "Thanks for the earth...buried under plastic."  (So, fixing electronics would be a good start there!)

The CBC Manitoba online also just ran an opinion piece I wrote, and it's called:
When it comes to inclusion for kids with special needs, Manitoba schools need improvement
It sure would be super if we had a quick fix that restored enough funding to the public schools to help them provide the legally mandated 'appropriate education' that kids with challenges need.

--It does seem like everything I'm working on has a "please fix-it" theme, doesn't it?

Finally, if you've been reading the blog a long time, you may remember the Infinity Sweater.
I wrote that blog post in November of 2016, which means my kid has been wearing and loving this sweater for a while now.  He's worn it for two full Manitoba winters (about once a week) and he doesn't want to give it up.  The good news is that the chest still fits him, although it's more fitted now than when he was pictured here, in 2016.  Also good news?  He's grown quite a bit.

So, we're just adding on a couple of inches of "extension" to the sleeves, and we think it probably will last one more winter.  We hope so, anyhow.  "We"= this kid and me.  Today we shopped for matching yarn in my stash, and we found that I'd used up all the dark blue, but we had both other contrasting colors left.  Here's what he chose.

Our temperatures today were right around freezing. (0C, 32F) so we did a lot of playing indoors this afternoon rather than go outside to play.  Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer and we hope to explore a new playground.

Here's a bigger idea of the living room photo shoot for sleeve extensions...complete with the 'fits Victorian houses but is energy efficient' gas fireplace, pouring out warmth into the room.

And here's Sally the dog, staying warm by the fire.  She will be 14 years old (or so) in November!

Here's to another year of the Infinity Sweater!  I am probably never doing that mind-blowing math to make these symbols in stranded knitting on another kid yoke sweater, so let's enjoy it while we've got it....for a third year of wear.  (From age 5-7, so far)  Here's to Slow Fashion October--which in my house, includes lots of repair, and handmade stuff.

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Sunday, October 07, 2018

New article and some support from a friend

A new article went live on the Vancouver Jewish Independent's webpage on Friday:
Looking for new Jewish ideas

I admit that I was distracted by the U.S. political drama around the Supreme Court, as were many others. Then a friend of ours who works for United Way sent along this very helpful resource.  If you've been struggling with the sexual assault issues brought up by the recent US Supreme Court nomination, you're not alone.  This link will give you more info, along with a way to get support if you've been sorting through difficult stuff as a result of this political situation.

Finally, a funny note about my new sweater design.  I maybe didn't publicize it enough, or maybe not that many people knit sweaters for kids?  I don't know.  Anyhow, so far, I think two people have "favorited" the design on Ravelry.  That's all...and that's despite some really kind efforts to share the pattern on my behalf by others!

Meanwhile, folks have bought these three patterns in the last couple of days:

The Knitted Curtain
(It's a) Boucle Wrap
I admit, I've been writing and designing for a long while now (15 years?) and marketing new patterns still remains a mystery to me!  However, I'm always grateful when someone shows interest and buys my work.  (Any of my work is fine, really!)  Thank you...and happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

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Thursday, October 04, 2018

Freestyle Super--a new design!

 Hey, can you believe it?  We actually had a snowfall yesterday in Winnipeg.  One that stuck to grass and cars and decks and made a big icy mess!  Our leaves aren't even off the trees yet...but, this mom worked ahead.

Today, I launched a new knitting pattern called Freestyle Super! It comes in a bunch of kid sizes:
2-4, 4-6, 6-8, and 10-12, and it's an oversized pattern.

It even comes with a sample, all knit up, that fits both twins.

Hurray!

I used all North American yarns to knit this, and it was unbelievably quick knit on size #10.75(7mm) needles.  You could buy all Canadian yarns, like Custom Woolen Mills or Briggs & Little. 
Or, you could buy all U.S. yarns and consider the lovely Quince & Co. Puffin... or, you can combine them, as I did!
The pattern is now for sale online at both Ravelry.com and Loveknitting.com.  If you go to buy the pattern on Loveknitting, you will find I've paired up other yarns that they sell--but the colors mostly match this sample.  There are lots of yarn choices at this quick-knitting gauge.
Hope you enjoy these fun shots of our twins while they modelled and horsed around in the backyard.  (before it snowed.)  We're looking forward to wearing this sweater for a long while to come!

If you're even a little interested in knitting one of these for yourself, hustle over and download a pattern soon.  You can have many hours of knitting pleasure for the price of a fancy coffee.

Happy October!

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Handmade life


You may be wondering where I've been.  (So have I!)  Things have continued with a whirlwind pace. This week my kids have had two separate medical appointments (this is usual, things are ok, generally). The temperature has dropped here fast, and as we've gotten out the warm clothes, we've found plenty to mend and repair.

When I haven't been running around, working, or fixing things?  We've been out in the sukkah.  (When it isn't raining, of course.  It's currently pouring and in the 40s (F). Celsius, it is maybe in the 5 to 9 degrees range....

On the web, folks have been talking about 'slow fashion' October and other trendy ideas in the "maker" world.  I sometimes berate myself for not being enough of a joiner.  Then it occurs to me, oh, yeah.  I am making things all the time.  There's the sukkah. I make dinner.  I serve it in the sukkah...when it's not raining.
There's lunch. (leftover salad from dinner, topped with cheese, walnuts, and roasted chickpeas, a balsamic mustard dressing, spelt bread from the bakery, cantaloupe on the side.)

There's one of many emergency mending projects.  Here is the sweater with 9 lives. (or 15, at this point.) I picked this up off the floor to put it away. Note: our twins are supposed to put away their sweaters, but gravity seems to win out quite often at age 7....
I found this scary raveling on one of the cuffs.
The professor started doing some important bedtime reading with the guys. We're currently addicted to these fairy stories, in case you were curious.  I picked up the stitches with a spare double pointed needle.

I carefully knit up the stitches I could with the remaining yarn, and then used a bit of leftover yarn to fix the cuff itself.
All fixed!  Mommy saves the day (and the sweater!)….Hurray!

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