Ten Years – I Promised Myself I Wouldn’t Cry

On this day, 10 years ago, I was in a hospital room sucking on ice chips as my world was about to change permanently.  10 years ago exactly, I became the mother to the most amazing human being I have ever known.

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This journey has been far from easy.  In fact, it has been more difficult than any other dare devil task I have undertaken – from jumping onto moving trains, to jumping out of planes, to launching myself backwards off a trapeze.  When it comes to risking my life, it’s a shrug and a smirk on my part.  But, creating life, nurturing life – that causes so much more anxiety.

Before she entered this world, I was angry, depressed, and lonely.  I was eager to run away from the world.  At 15, my only goal was to finish high school so I could spend a year backpacking in Australia, with the determination that I wouldn’t stop traveling after that.  At 16, I found out I was pregnant.

It took two years and a few thousand miles of separation before I was able to be a mother.  I was trudging through the routine, going to college and working, and still trying to remember to feed her, get enough sleep, and still be attentive.  When an opportunity to study in Ireland presented itself, my parents urged me to take it.  They insisted they could handle things, and that I needed to be do it.  So, I submitted my application and found myself living in Derry for 6 months, and doing archaeology on Achill Island for 2.  In the middle, Ellette had her 2nd birthday and I realized that I really wanted to be a mother to her.

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Ellette is my counterweight – she pushes when I am still and digs her feet in when I move to fast.  She has always shown compassion for everyone, and constantly reminds me to see the good in people.  She helps me remember to be silly – from walking like cats down the bustling streets of Chicago, to singing about pink pajamas at the top of our lungs as we walk home from school, to building snow day forts and making silly faces.  She is my light.

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My adventure never stopped.  I have criss-crossed the country with her at my side.  We have had spontaneous road trips and meticulously planned trips, and she has been eager for every one.

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She has never asked “Are we there yet?”  She is the queen of 15 hours in a car – packing books and sketchpads and music and games to entertain herself.  She tells me to cool it when I feel road rage and is entirely game for detours to junk yards with rusty planes and vintage bikes and museums for obscure artifacts.  She can run across the fields with me and sit in the shade eating ice cream cones.

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So, 10 years have gone by so quickly.  And we have managed to pack a hundred adventures into them.  Let’s take the next 10 by storm.  Happy birthday, munchkin!

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Reveal

Yesterday was the white elephant swap at Gothee House. I had been working on my contribution up until we left the house to go to the party. I didn’t snap any pictures before wrapping them, so I had to wait anxiously for them to be opened in order to capture a photograph.

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The Nyan Cat scarf was the first to be opened.  It was much sought after throughout the game, which made me feel really good.  I had been worried that I had picked a meme that was funny and would be appreciated, but no one would actually want to wear it.  The people who tried to claim it surprised me a little – definitely not the individuals I would have pegged for wanting a bright rainbow scarf.

The other item didn’t get opened until the very end of the game, when we were opening the extra gifts for the final swap (to make sure everyone left with something they liked).  Ellette laid claim over the item.

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We call it the Gothicorn.

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It is made from Cascade Magnum, a ridiculously lush and chunky yarn in a beautiful blue.  The horn is made from a pale yellow in Ella Rae classic, and the mane is a bunch of odds and ends I threw together to make the unicorn more goth (the theme for the party was “gothic elf”, which we embraced with abandon).

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The hat is the Unicorn Hat, and my fifth or sixth one made.  I adore the design.  Ellette wore the hat for the remainder of the evening, and left the house this morning with it firmly on her head.

I have had to slow down on my knitting even more, and crochet is out of the question as it sends a strange numbing sensation up my arm.  I’ve kind of said “screw it” to trying to make anything in time for the holidays.  Now I’m racking my brains for other gift ideas and my knitting has gone to a slower paced – what-do-I-actually-want-to-make format.  What has happened thusly is that all of the designs I’ve been sketching, charting, writing, and desiring are being realized (one is even with test-knitters now).

Sunday

I’m back to teaching aerial on the weekends again.  Last Spring, I posted a picture of something we did in class so you could enjoy the experience virtually.  This time around, it’s a bit more difficult.  I’m in the studio for 6 hours every day, and by the end I’m tired and can only think of getting home.  I have a hungry and tired youngling to drag home, feed and bath before bedtime, and I end up massaging my muscles and zoning out on the couch before finally stumbling into my own comfy bed.

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This past weekend, I did remember to take a picture for you, but forgot to post yesterday.  So, here it is.  This is a double straddle that I taught my daughter yesterday.  She’s very brave, and remarkably compliant to my strange requests (“Ellette, I need you to stand on my shoulders and untie this” or “Hey Ellette, let’s learn a new doubles trick in the air”).  I am excited to see where she will end up with all of this training.

Saturday

This weekend has been very busy. Event after event and very little sleep in between. My Saturday classes are over for a while, but alternative training will take its place.

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How to Steal from a Knitter

1. Stare blankly as she picks out yarn for her new project.

2. Tell her she’s weird for her choice in color.

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3. Ask her what she is making and give her the crazy look when you hear the response.

4. Grudgingly touch the softness of the yarn because she is so excited about it, but don’t confirm that it is in fact cloud like.

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5. Walk away once she casts off her project and wait for her to begin her quest for a tapestry needle to weave in ends.

6. Grab the finished item, try it on, and declare that it its the most beautiful thing you have seen and you will never ever take it off.

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7. Avoid flying needles and yarn.

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The Circus, Buttons, and Monday

Yesterday, we celebrated Ellette’s 8th birthday.  It was fantastic.

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One of the things we love about where we live is that there is a local circus school – the Actor’s Gymnasium.  Ellette and I both take classes there, and love to watch people we know put on amazing shows.

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Their winter show this year is called “Skooled: A Study in Circus.”  It was the perfect performance for a group of 12 girls for a party.  They were all well behaved and thoroughly enjoyed the show.  They were excited to share this experience together, and thrilled that it was not a conventional birthday party.

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Especially because a lot of the pre-show audience warm up happened at the edge of our row.  Some of our party members were doused with water and coved in silly string.  It was hilarious.  One of the performers joined us in a different room after the show where we ate cake and opened presents.  The girls got to ask her all sorts of questions about the show and the training involved in it.

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No school today left Ellette at the office with me, where we brought one of her birthday presents – a button making kit.  She spent the morning cutting out fabric circles and pressing them into buttons, which she then gave away.

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I asked why she wasn’t making any for herself.  Her response was that she liked giving things away; she liked making people happy.  I gave her a giant hug and told her she is the nicest person I have ever met, because giving – especially something from a special birthday present – is not an easy task for many people, and she doesn’t give it a second thought.  I have the best kid ever.

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In the meantime, I have been working intermittently at my Bosc scarf for the knit-along over at For The Knit of It.  My poor chess board has hit the back-burner, so I am trying to instigate a rule of knitting a chess piece or two squares of the board before I can work on this each day.  We’ll see how long that lasts.

Beginning the Countdown

Ellette’s birthday is approaching faster than I would like to admit.  I still maintain that nothing makes you feel older than having children.  They grow so quickly, and surprise you all the time, that you don’t realize how much time has passed until it slaps you in the face with some witty remark by your offspring.

All Ellette asked for this year was a doorbell (for the apartment, not her room) and a puppy (which we do not have the space or finances for at this moment).  My response was to dig through my stash and start knitting.

 

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This is a flowy vest type thing that will have a drape neck to it once it’s completed.  For now, it has a beautiful diamond lace pattern on the back and solid fronts.  That front that looks mostly done – yeah, I have to rip it out because I am not satisfied with the rate of decrease I went with for the neck edge.

 

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It is getting difficult to work on at this point because she is getting wise to what I am making.  She doesn’t know this is for her, thankfully, but now I can only work on it after she goes to bed – which leaves me with a horrible sleep deficit.  I have the last bit of two fronts to do, then blocking, seaming, and picking up and knitting the collar.  I am not sure what to do to the bottom hem, if anything.  I want it to have a nice drape without being heavy, so maybe I will leave it alone.  Or a single crochet edge ro prevent rolling?  Thoughts?

Oh yeah – I have 10 days to finish.  Start the clock.

This is Not a Sweater

I reached the hood of the sweater, for those of you who are wondering after my progress.  Although, I may just be deluded in thinking that there are people who seek no more fulfillment to their day than wondering what my current stitch count is, have the buttons arrived yet (they haven’t), and whether or not I’m going to finish on time.  Deluded.

I seem to have entered a fiber vortex again – worse than the body portion of the sweater.  The hood is knit back and forth, and every row adds 2 stitches.  So every row takes a little bit longer to finish.  It has taken me days to suck it up and plow through the monotony, but I am still 7 rows away from hood completion.  I then have the two fronts to knit – and I am still waiting on errata, but I think I may have to wing it on shoulder shaping in the end.

To protect my sanity, my temper, and the happiness of those who live with me, I started a new project.  This is the balaclava that I am knitting for the White Elephant.  I love it so far, although if I decide to reknit and produce a pattern, I am going to make a few big changes to the design.

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Madeline Tosh Worsted on size 10.5 needles.  I don’t know the colorway offhand, but I adore it.  It has very subtle browns mixed in here and there that really add dimension to the overall effect.  The cables are nice and chunky, but not overpowering.

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I am about 3/4 of the way through it, and I think I will be sad to see it completed.  It is fantastic mindless, transportable knitting that I can work on anywhere because it doesn’t matter who sees it.  Unlike that cape that is looming over me right now, making me wonder how I am going to finish it and get enough sleep in the month of December, because I can’t work on it when Ellette is around – and I swear, that curious 7-year-old will be around every waking moment.

Update on a Sweater

Sweater vest, I suppose it’s technical name is.  I just added ball 3 of Lana Grande and reached the short cabling that marks the empire waist before separating for front and back armhole shaping.  Every moment I spend working on it, the more excited I am to finish and wear it.

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The knitting is relatively easy, and the cabling pattern isn’t complex by any means – just a little annoying.  It is a 6 stitch cable (3 stitches to each side) but there is a yarn over in the middle – as in, one side of the cable reads “knit one, yarn over, knit two together” so when it comes to actually crossing for the cable portion, my stitches get pulled really tight.  The crossed rows take forever because I am beating the woolly cables into submission. The effect is kind of cool – although I think I could have gotten the same effect by adding a seed stitch ribbing instead of the yarnover, seeing as how you can’t really tell there is lace within the cables anyway.  Maybe blocking will reveal the holes.

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So, here I am, about 60% complete – utterly neglecting all other responsibilities because I am simply too bored, exhausted, and/or fed-up with the world to do anything else.

The swatch from yesterday’s post was supposed to be the start of my holiday knitting, but the yarn on the needles I used did not match gauge for the sweater it was supposed to become.  I stretched out the swatch a little to get an idea of what the stitches would look like if I used a larger needle, and I hated it.  The yarn is supposed to be worsted, but it is so thin in comparison that I doubt the sweater would be warm – let alone look nice with the gaping holes between stitches.  So, it was decided that the 1500 yards of Knitpicks tweed would be used on a project for myself with smaller gauge requirements.  I am okay with this, since the way things are going right now, knitting that sweater would more than likely incur the wrath of the boyfriend sweater curse.  I have settled on socks.

I am also stuck on deciding what to make for Ellette.  She wanted this hat/scarf/mitten thing we saw at the Shedd Aquarium a couple of weeks ago.  The hat had a penguin face on it, and ear flaps that were actually scarves with mittens on the end.  But, she also wants a unicorn hat.  I am thinking about making the unicorn hat in the style of the penguin hat, and include matching legwarmers.  However – I promised her last spring that I would knit her a fairytale cape, and I have a really cute idea for a chunky cape using Cascade 128 Superwash and large fair isle motifs.

I also have a brilliant idea for my contribution to the White Elephant game this year, which does require knitting and I hope people fawn over (at least, I think Odin will).

So many ideas, yet it takes so long to knit sometimes!

Tiny Blossoms

I did not get nearly as much work completed as I anticipated this past weekend.  The Complete Fool received a shipment of new toys, and I ended up blowing a day’s wages on toys and all of my free time learning new Diabolo tricks.

Then, on Sunday, Ellette came down with a fever and we lef the fair early.  It was hot and sticky and the thought of working with merino was more than I could handle.  I just tried to get my kid hydrated and myself showered.

Yesterday, she still had a fever and I kept her home from camp, which meant that I stayed home from work as well.  It was a remarkably relaxing day for us.  Ellette was just exhausted/feverish enough to not want to do much, but not so feverish that I was worried about taking her to the hospital.  I pushed fluids and she sat on the couch with me watching Dinotopia and Rocky and Bullwinkle.  Around 3 or 4, she asked if she could lay down for a nap, and she didn’t wake up again until quarter to 8, when I made her drink a cup of juice and took her temperature.

In the meantime, I got a lot done.  I cleaned the bathroom, did a load of dishes, finished the laundry, and cleaned the attic top to bottom.  Swept, dusted, mopped, and started to turn the enormous space into a studio/spare bedroom/game room/Ellette playroom/mommy escape room.  All encompassing.
And I knit.  I knit a lot, actually.  I got almost all of the way through one Zigamorph scarf.  And if I hadn’t been so exhausted, I would have finished.

And I spent quite a bit of time crocheting tiny flowers to stitch into those loops of cording.

 

I am going to try to make a big push on those tonight and have them all finished, as well as the last leg of the zig scarf.  Then, I need to do a yarn run for Zombie hats and count how many pairs of wings I have in stock.  Make more, and make more tutus to go with them.  A few more top hats to decorate, and some to felt, and I should be set.  Oh, and I have to buy fresh face paint, which is a chunk out of my wallet, but will be worth it.  Also, the Ravellenic games begin on Friday at 3, and I am hoping to add “completing the chess game” I started so long ago to the list of things to get done (i.e. wip wrestling).  We are going to the Windy Knitty kickoff party at Fireside on Friday evening for anyone interested.  It should be a laugh.

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