Archive for the ‘Child(ren) and Family’ Category


March 6, 2014

I knit my first intarsia project a while ago.  It’s hideous.  I’m kind of embarrassed by it.  I called it the Sad Penguin.  Such a mess.

Here is an in-progress picture.  (I am apparently incapable of not sharing my shame, however powerful.)


If you turned it inside out, you’d notice where I cut the white yarn and knotted it to the other bits of the hat in a mistaken bid to try make it go better as I knit circularly.  I was 2/3 up the white before I realized I didn’t need to cut it, I could just sort of wrap it around the blue yarn and knit onward.   No wonder this pattern was designed to be knitted flat.  *HEADDESK*

I had invested too much time in this not to finish.  (Beside, I had a good amount of white yarn in that breast/tummy area of the penguin that couldn’t be used for anything else because I’d cut them like a fool. )  I thought I would keep the hat and wear it in desperation one day when all other hats were unavailable or something equally self-flagellating.

Last month my daughter found the hat and is wearing it pretty happily.  She loves it.

All’s well that end’s well.  Lesson here is that I should stop being so self-judgemental and if stuff doesn’t turn out, I should think that would still be okay.  And also that kids like stuff that might be sort of not perfect.  That’s okay, too.  (I mean, we’re all redeemed by other people’s kindness and love.  Why not this terrible-looking hat and my feelings towards it?)


aww, no

December 19, 2013

I just got an email about tax software.

This compounded with having returned from the UK after being overseas for five months, unpacking, jetlag, getting the kids up and going to school, getting and planning food from an empty cupboard, changing my insurance, sorting through the seasonal clothing, laundry, holiday shopping and plans, cleaning a house that’s been empty for five months, and a really, really bad cold.

Forget this.  I’m going to knit.

crafting for speed and charity

December 3, 2013

My son’s school is having a Christmas market.  The things they asked for donations for seemed a little weird to me – maybe it’s the way things are done here in the UK (where we are until the end of the year), but I wasn’t about to go out and buy something nice to donate to have somebody else buy it to donate the money to the school, especially if the amount the final purchaser spent was less than I spent.   It seems nicer to donate something homemade – but the times we were supposed to turn in the goodies was the day before, which makes the goodies less good.  (I have a rule about donating/buying freshly baked goods.  They need to be freshly baked to be good.)

So I asked if I could just donate some knitted hats or something.  They seemed to think this was weird, but they thought this was okay.  (I did this at Henry’s other school, with making some mustaches for some party.  I guess knitting is just the thing I’m going to start offering now.  It’s kind of nice to have something to be able to offer.)

Would you buy this?


Or this?  (You know, when it’s finished.  It’s supposed to be Fish Hat, made with some odds and ends.)


I don’t even care about how much money they’re going to get for the hats.  (Not really.  I mean, ideally, the cost of the yarn, but because it’s a gift to the school, it doesn’t really matter.  Besides, it’s just scraps of stuff I was thinking about donating anyway.)

Regardless if the items get purchased, it’s better for my current sensibility, if not for the bit of cramping in my hands while I hurry to finish by the due date.

lost arts

October 15, 2013

I read the book Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros some years ago and a scene from it just came back to me today.

Part of the book talks about how one of the character’s mother was a renowned maker of shawls.  But the mother died before she could pass on her skills and knowledge, and all the daughter had was a half-finished piece, which she, as a young child, mouthed and took comfort in and knotted and unknotted the strands.  The knowledge was lost forever.

I wonder, if I keep knitting, will my children care about the pieces I make?  Will they want the last thing I was working on?  Will what interest I have in crafting be passed on, or will it be lost?

I do have a plan to teach the kids to knit, regardless of their ultimate interest in it.  Beyond that, I guess I don’t have a say.


Bad mom, bon mom

July 9, 2013

A couple of  weeks ago, as H was heading off to soccer camp, I realized that we had never taught him to tie his own sneakers.  Oy.   (Face, meet palm.)  He’s never owned a pair of sneakers with laces – everything up until now has been velcro.  (It’s not too late, I mean, it’s not like we dressed him in velcro footwear into his 20’s or something.)

So I spent some time teaching him and then drilling him on this.  He is not bad at it now.

The first day of soccer camp, H lost his towel, the cap to his water bottle, lost 50¢ of his snack money, and tore a huge hole in his brand new sport socks.  (I was moderately chagrinned about the towel because I made sure to buy a cheap towel in case of this eventuality.  I just thought it would take more than a day to lose it.)

The second day of soccer camp, H retrieved the towel, did not retrieve the water bottle cap, and lost his required bottle of sunblock.

On the day and fourth day of soccer camp, nothing was found, nothing was lost.

Then came the first day of swim class.  He lost his towel.  It’s been a week and he hasn’t found it yet.  (Good thing I stocked up on those cheap towels.)  He hasn’t lost anything else, but it’s swim class.  He’s only got a couple of things to lose, for heaven’s sake.


June 28, 2013

I’ve been getting into a new fandom recently.

It’s on the small side, and there isn’t a lot of genderbending fics out there.  (Internet rule 63 – if it exists, there is genderbending.)  I’m not hugely into genderbending, but I do find it interesting, especially if done well.  Anyway, I was wondering about this lack and went through some mental exercises, because I immediately got snagged on it.  But the thing is, it also made me really uncomfortable.

Main characters are male.  The one who’s POV we follow is a guy in his middle-30’s who is a career superhero – let’s call him K.  K’s career is in the dumps, he’s in the cusp of being replaced by a  younger guy (the other main character, whom we shall call B), he’s been a widower for some time, his daughter is back in the small town he grew up with his mother.  K’s also a bit of a drinker, he doesn’t cook, he’s socially oblivious and loud.  I’m trying to make him a woman, and suddenly, all of these traits which are acceptable in a man become more difficult to accept in a woman.  (Which just goes to show how entrenched I am in gendered thinking, I guess.)

I don’t think I’m alone in this.  A woman who drinks a little, is devoted to her job to the exclusion of her child and yet is unsuccessful at said job, has no domestic abilities, and can’t handle herself socially (but has a really big heart) would be much more harshly judged.  I judge that characterization quite a bit.   Same personality, different genders/sexes, different reactions.  Each one of these things, especially the child piece, I find difficult to accept in a woman.  (I mean, I find this sort of hard to accept in a man, but less so.  I think I just failed feminism.)

( It kind of sort of brings up a comparison to Cagney and Lacey (I think the Sharon Gless character, Cagney?), and while I never really watched the show, I was definitely aware of the characters.  Maybe I’m thinking about that because there aren’t a lot of other shows that feature two women as protagonists (as opposed to two men, or a man and a woman).)

I think it’s easy to make the foil character, B, a woman, perhaps too easily.  B is career driven, calculating, sort of mean to the main character, revenge-driven.  It’s funny because those things are unlikeable in either gender/sex, but somehow, less likeable in a woman.

Eventually, though, they learn to work together through the Power of Friendship and Trust.

I may actually write this, but it would definitely only be an exercise for me – a little bit to see where I could take the story, a little bit to see if I could actually do it, and a little bit to see if I can get over myself and my gendered way of thinking.  I’m leaning toward the theory that if something makes you uncomfortable, you should write it, because there’s going to be a lot of juice there.

One thing’s for certain.  Nobody, maybe not even me, is going to like it.

And that’s a bit of a shame.

(W thinks I just put too much thought into it.)

the unmaking of things

June 13, 2013

I just don’t make things.  I also unmake them.

I frogged a hat recently – one of those that you knit the brim as a big cable and then pick up and knit the body.  Couldn’t get it to fit.  I suppose it helps that I develop a mild antipathy to most of my projects as I’m working on them.   (Something along the lines of “stupid ##$$@#@# – I’m going to finish you!”)  I usually get over this once I’m done, but if I dislike something enough to frog it, I don’t mourn long.  (Perhaps I could have salvaged the cable and made it into a headband, but eh, I wasn’t going to wear that either.)

We’re trying to do a bit of clearing out.  So while the kids were out, W and I tossed/donated some toys.  There were trashed hand-me-downs, things that were outgrown, and then the bad gifts.  But times being what they are, I try to be moderately eco, so I have to find things to do with them.   I took apart some of them for the electronic/battery part of the garbage pickup (especially with the stinkin’ noisy-ass mechanical toys that someone related to W gives us all the time).  Those, I terminated with extreme prejudice.

I admit, the insides were really interesting.


So, I guess something to be learned in all things. (Even from awful electronic toys that no sane parent would wish on another.)

craft – a family affair

June 5, 2013

Remember what I was saying about kids getting the whole ‘being crafty’ deal?

I present to you what Henry made for me for Mother’s Day.


It’s pretty awesome.  It even matches some of my yarn – although I imagine that was unintentional.  (It matches a lot of his clothes as well.)   My first gifted potholder.  I’m quite pleased with it.  (He wanted to make sure I would use it.  I will, gladly.)

Once W saw me weighing yarn to figure out if I had enough to make a particular project, he instantly understood what I was doing.  It impressed him, I think.  My only comment on my scale was that it’s smallest unit is 2 grams – I can’t get odd numbers of grams.  He offered to purchase a really good, scientific scale for me.  (If there is something W is good at, it is picking things like that.)  I declined.  I know where there’s a really, really, really good one if I need it.  (W’s office.  In case you’re concerned, he’s a scientist, not a drug dealer.)

As for Girl J’s contribution, she likes to wear the crafts (sometimes), which is pretty good.


crafty kids

April 27, 2013

You know what I love about kids and crafts?  They just do it.  There’s no “why” or “what good is this for” or “what am I getting out of this?”  You give them something to make, and they tend to make it.  (My kids are pretty young, maybe that’s why this still works.)

Kids get the whole thing about “making something.”   H isn’t super interested in the doing of it, but he’s interested in the end product and wants me to make him stuff.  J is interested in making a stitch or two and then she’s done.  But she likes to watch and try on the things I’ve made (hats for virtually anybody, socks for her father, mitts for me).  It’s pretty funny.  We both enjoy it.

I don’t know what happens to us as we get older and many of us lose that understanding of “making something.”  I did.  And where storebought and the status quo becomes desired.  And now that I’m back to making stuff without some voice in my head asking “why,” I’m a bit sad.  Imagine how awesome my knitting/writing would have been had I focused on it years ago.

Still, I’m making something now, my kids get it, and I’m good with that.

‘stache stash

March 25, 2013

I’m working on something for Henry’s class – they’re having a party and wanted somebody to make moustaches for a photo booth.  I asked if it was okay to knit some, because I know it’s weird.  The class parent thought it sounded cool, and off I went.

I wore one to work the other day (it is actually crocheted, because I was proofing the concept):


And the reaction was mixed.  Men found it weird – women thought it was hilarious.  (Most people did want me to neaten it up a bit, which I did.)  The patterns are online.  The moustache really does keep your upper lip warm (it’s 50/50 cotton/wool, which incidentally makes me wonder if it would be warmer if it were 100% wool).

I’ve been checking around the internet and it turns out there are several ‘holidays’ which honor the moustache – National Moustache Day, International Moustache Day, International Fake Moustache Day – for something that just sprouts on somebody’s lip and gets shaved off most of them, the moustache gets a lot of love.

Here is the collection of them before I send them to school.


The big trapezoid is known as the “Tom Selleck” but in my head, that has transformed into the “Magnum P.I.” and if I had made one in lighter brown with grey, would have turned into the “Jesse Stone.”  (That’s right.  I made a joke on this blog that is only funny to me.)

The big one in the middle is a version of the “Hercule Poirot” which I call “The Strong Man” because it makes me think about 19th century carnival strong men.  Also, I laugh thinking about kids sporting that huge thing across their faces.

Like this:


Pattern here.