Yarn Along

Well, I finished Silje’s Little Pearl, although it didn’t get done over the weekend like I’d hoped.  I’m hoping in the next day or two to get some pictures of Silje in it for the pattern cover.  She’s so excited about that.  I made this in the pattern’s largest size: 7.  It took much longer than the 18 mos and 2T that came before it.

I’m enjoying this pattern so much that I immediately cast on a newborn size just to make sure my math wasn’t way off.  Plus, I would like to return to knitting the fair isle sweater just for me, and I think I’d like a quick no-fair-isle project to whet my appetite before returning to that one.  I want something instant right now, so a newborn size it is.  I got half of it done in about 2 hours, so not bad!

Since I don’t have any (tiny-tiny) newborn girls around me right now and none coming in the near future, this one is going to be a gift for a friend.  I tend to give large baby clothes to friends who are having their first child, and indulge in newborn sized ones when the baby is not their first.  I’m a little giddy about it.  Plus it looks like a doll sweater.  I may have to pull out some newborn clothes to make sure that babies actually do come this small.

For books, I’m trying to gear David up to doing some chapter book read alouds.  I’m also trying to figure out how I’m going to manage David and Silje’s read alouds this next year as their levels are a bit different, and I’m not sure he’s ready for what she was ready for in 1st grade, let alone what she is doing now.  So I decided to try to get him excited about the chapter book idea which so far has not worked this year with the 3 other books I tried, with a few months breaking them apart.

We may have a winner.  I pulled out a read aloud that we’re supposed to do with him (according to our curriculum) next year.  His main incentive is sit down/read aloud time with Silje is after bed and if he can manage his body enough to sit and listen to a book, he will be able to stay up late.  So we’re going to work up to it.  (He loves to sit and read short books, and is starting to read books on his own more and more.  He just gets very blank-faced if I pull out any chapter book.)

Anyway, he’s liking Homer Price.  He hated it until I read the part about him building radios in his shop.  Then the pet skunk reeled him in a bit further.  I think we may have our first winner.

I also have in the picture Given: Poems which is a library book Knut brought home.  I tend to be an emotional reader, and read what I feel like or wherever the wind blows me.  Knut reads methodically.  He likes to rotate between fiction and non-fiction, and he always is reading things that anyone recommends to him and things that I would not dream appeal to him.  This is one of those cases.  His cousin recommended this book of poetry to him, so he’s been reading it.

I think he’s been enjoying it because when we’re on the couch he keeps interrupting my knitting to show me a poem.  I can’t get him to just read them to me.  They are truly beautiful poems, and this collection has one right after the other that bring out the reflective side of me and I love it when poems do that.  It’s a lot about nature, aging, life, and so on.  It’s been a fun book to have laying around the house these days.

O, and by the way, I finally published the Buttercup Soaker pattern.  It can be found here on the blog, or here on Ravelry.  I’m hoping the Little Pearl will be published sometime next week.  

Thank you, Ginny, for the opportunity to join the Yarn Along again.  Such fun.

Buttercup Soaker

The pattern is finally done!  This is a little wool soaker style wrap for cloth diapering families.  The linen stitch in the body makes it perfect for overnights, and the ribbing on the back and legs make it a really nice fit.  I’m making a couple of these for my nephews, and I’m hoping the last one will be done very soon!  These might appear in my store at some point too…when I get there!
For now, I’m making it available as a PDF download for those who want to make it for themselves, or to sell in your own stores.  My only request is that if you sell this soaker, you are the one who put the love and care into making it, and you give credit to the design where it is due.  A link to this page would be appreciated.

And just because it is fun, here’s Solveig modeling it for you.

And here is her playing peek-a-boo.

Sigh.  She’s getting so big.

Slide Show of Real and Pretend

Over the weekend, I got a few good pictures, but unfortunately there were many I missed.  The ones I feel most badly about missing were the ones that I wanted to take while we were driving, but to stop the car would have easily woken Solveig at a time when I really, really wanted her to sleep.  So I’ll fill in the blanks with the ones that are not here, and try your best to imagine them.

Picture #1: Amish buggy.  Knut wanted to go off our normal route in typical spontaneous fashion.  We took some winding southern roads, and went through some very small Amish areas.  I’ve always wanted to go to Pennsylvania to see some of the “touristy” Amish sights there such as quilts.  I didn’t realize, though, that Knut was driving me through a small Amish area of our own state until we had to drive around a horse and buggy that was all boarded up tight to keep the wind out in winter.    I nearly jumped out of my skin and it was a small thrill for me.

Picture #2: Old men at garage.  I was too shy to take their pictures, but I thought these guys were a hoot.  Our car broke down about 3 hours into our 5 hour trip.  After we stopped for lunch, our van wouldn’t start.  Well, it fired, turned over, and then died…over and over again.  So Knut called a couple of mechanics upon recommendation of the fine Dairy Queen staff and finally found one with time to look at our car just then. 

An old guy came to tow us behind his truck, and we were brought into this nice little garage.  There, 3 guys who have probably worked together for 30 years looked over our van while communicating to each other with little more than grunts and occasional yells to start or stop the engine.  They took turns staring at the car with folded arms resting on their bellies and grunted at each other some more. 

One took rolled under the van and they repeated the whole grunting/yelling symphony, until he emerged saying it was the fuel pump.  I asked how he knew and he said he felt all the different parts of the fuel line from beginning to end, and that was the part that felt off.  Surprisingly, I trusted that guys feel for what was wrong way more than any computer.  I like guys who figure it out old school.  Here they started the van, and the whole thing was vibrating and he knew what each part should vibrate like, and that one was vibrating incorrectly.  I’m just going to take a moment and acknowledge that dying art form.

Most likely because Solveig flashed her serious blue eyes at them, they pushed aside all other projects and worked on our van so we could get on our way right away. 

#3 The Finish Line:

The Birkie finish line is quite a sight.  (Pardon my dirty lens.)  They move snow in to fill up the whole street of downtown Hayward, WI and people line up on the sidewalks and crowd and push against the fence holding them back.  To the right of the picture, you see the guy in red is skiing the “classic” style.  Think “Nordic Track.”  (That’s not Knut.)  There are 2 tracks set up on the finish line for those skiing the race the classic style.  To the left of the picture is where the “skate” skiers come.  This looks a lot like ice skating or roller-blading with skis on.  Their surface is smooth and packed.  (That’s not Knut either.)

This wasn’t the winners, this was just some skiers finishing.  The race is big…about 10,000 skiers in these combined techniques.  The skate technique is much more popular, probably because it’s faster.  Sometimes the finishers would come in bunches, and sometimes they would come in by themselves.  Regardless, they finish with a crowd yelling and waving their cow bells loudly.

Knut didn’t do nearly as well as last year.  He thinks that besides hardly having any training time because of our lack of snow, his skis’ wax was a bit off.  Waxing skis is a fine art, it seems.  He was heavier this year than last year too (which might relate to his lack of training time) and so the range of his kick wax was probably off.  Most of you have no idea what that means, but just nod your head and move on…

Knut wanted to finish within 3 hours, but said he probably wouldn’t.  Just in case, Solveig and I arrived at the finish line 2:45 minutes after his wave started.  He ended up having a finishing time of 3 hours and 48 minutes, so we were waiting for awhile.  I was chit-chatting with the people around me, and one grandma shared her doughnut with Solveig.  Like I said, she gets people to do stuff.

So the lady next to me was laughing when I finally saw Knut come up, Solveig was holding onto the strap of my camera and I couldn’t get it lifted up enough to bring it to my eye, so I just blindly shot at him as [the lady next to me] yelled “You’re just taking pictures of his butt!!”

Actually, I got one decent one.

Picture #4:

He’s “double poling” at the end, which is an enormous ab workout and tough to do when you’re exhausted.  It’s like his one last sprint.

This is my 3rd year of not missing seeing him at the finish line, which Knut is pretty impressed with because you have to be staring the whole time and not wandering off into the little bakeries and Nordic gift shops lining downtown. 

Last year, which was one of the coldest years ever for the Birkie, I remember saying to the lady next to me, “Well, that old guy has the same racing suit as my husband!”  It turned out that the “old guy” was actually Knut with ice trailing from his goatee a few inches. 

This year it wasn’t quite as long.
Picture #5:

I will say, he did feel much better after the race this year because last year he forgot his sport drink solution at home along with his “gu” they call it.  He picked up what he could the night before the race last year, but you can imagine what selection was left at the one ski shop in town with 10,000 skiers picking up last minute forgotten items at home.  The look on his face last year scared me, and the nurses at the finish line gave him several looks before they sent him to the soup tent to rest.  This year he did not make that mistake and his face looked invigorated and alive at the finish line.

So I’m going to be really mean and not show you the pictures of yarn that I bought just after the Birkie on our way back to the cabin.  Solveig had fallen asleep in the van, so Knut decided to take a little nap as well as I shopped around.  There are very few yarn shops I go to, but the one just by the race is a favorite, and I’m actually getting to know the ladies in there.  I guess I just talk to much about yarn.

Picture #6: Ice houses on Mill Lacs Lake.  It’s a huge lake we passed on the way home the next day.  It was snowing and the whole sky was white, and the whole lake was white, and there were little boxes of ice huts all across the lake.  It was the most amazing sight, and I wish I would have pulled over to capture it.  (Again, Solveig sleeping issue.) 

It would have been a picture of solid white, with the only way to tell where the horizon was was those little black boxes in the middle filled with, I’m sure, grumpy old men watching their little televisions and drinking beer around their little holes cut into the lake, and just waiting for the little flag to go up to say they caught a fish.  As you might guess, the concept of ice fishing amuses me.

Picture #7: Also around that big lake, we drove past a race in action.  This was an actual track set up on the lake for race cars.  The cars were racing on the ice, spinning and fish tailing like crazy with a crowd cheering on.  O, the things we do to amuse ourselves in the winter.

And for good measure, here’s the little girl who tagged along for the whole thing.
Picture #8:

Oh my…those cheeks!

I’m Blessed

Well, we’re back from Wisconsin now.  We had a very fun weekend.  I’m sorry I didn’t get our homeschool post done on Friday, but it just got too busy with the packing and all.

I’m quite amused that my last post on the war against stuff got so many comments.  I actually wrote it out and scheduled it to post on that day, but planned to proof it better and rework some parts.  The scheduling “thing” on blogger hasn’t worked for me for a few months, so I didn’t think it was actually going to publish, and I didn’t notice it actually had until I had a few comments.  I’m glad, though, that my rough writing resonated with so many people.

I have such a good list for today because I feel so overwhelmed by blessings.

-I’m so blessed to get away with Knut (and our tag-a-long Solveig) for a weekend.

-We were blessed to see so many fun things on our trip, and we were blessed with safety.  When our van broke down, it did so while we stopped for lunch and not on some back road.  When we were towed to a nearby repair shop they were able to find the problem quickly, had the part available, and 3 hours and several hundred dollars later, we were back on the road.  I’m blessed that we had an emergency fund so that delay did not ruin our weekend or throw us into a panic.  We are not always blessed that way, but I must say, it kept some peace this weekend.

-Knut was not injured during his race, even with his sparse training season.  He’s actually in better shape now than when we left.

-As I’m unpacking everyone’s bags today, I’m thankful for my in-laws who watched the 3 older kids for us without any complaint or grumblings that we sort of “expected” them to do this.  Not only that, but my mother-in-law washed all of the kids clothes so as I unpack, I just have to instruct the kids to put their clothes away.  No washing, drying, folding, etc.  She makes it so simple for me. May they be blessed with lots of rest this week!

-I’m thankful for Knut’s aunt and uncle who let us stay at their cabin every year for this race, feed us gourmet food, and let us soak in their hot tub.  (That part is incredibly wonderful after Knut’s race!)  We’re spoiled rotten, I say.

-I was so blessed this last week in so many ways.  I need this today because every weekend away comes at such a price to the household.  The kids need to get on task, the house is covered with random bags with random things in them, and I usually have no meals planned.  It’s chaotic, and takes us at least 3 days to have any resemblance of normalcy.  I like so much the routine of “normal” life, but I need to remember that sometimes we’re blessed with a break to that normalcy. 

If you’d like to share how you’ve been blessed, leave a comment to share and/or link up with your blog.  To do so:
-write a blog post on how God has blessed you.
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