Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

Season’s change

September 6, 2013

I never intended for this to become a quarterly blog.  Really, I didn’t.

The thing is, the one thing that has been a constant in this still developing new life of mine is my knitting.  I just have been hard-pressed to find time to photograph and write about it amid all the other chronicling, organizing, decision-making and traveling that over-fill my days, not to mention the owl-hours.

I think about this owl box with guilt even as I post over on Owl Manor.

I won’t claim that I have made one iota of progress clearing the blocking runway.  That will have to change soon, as my Rhinebeck projects will need to jump the queue to be shipped off to Spirit Trail Fiberworks for display.  Maybe then I will take advantage of a cleared guest room to address the rest.  Maybe not.  You’ll want to bet the “under” on that one, to be sure.

But I will offer some proof of knitting, and my own fallibility.  Here is a half-completed Arbutus in Spirit Trail Birte, having just come off

Arbutus - let 'er riiiiipppp

Arbutus – let ‘er riiiiipppp

the needles in the car, about to be frogged.  The colorway is Autumn Aurora, lovely deep blue violets.  Arbutus is a terrific pattern for a single skein of Birte, and it has a really nifty design for those of us who lack swanlike necks.  Through the magic of short rows, the cowl is divided into three joined rings of graduated size.  This allows for the back to not get too bulky on the neck, and the front to drape nicely.

So why the frogging?  It was just too dense for my liking.  Generally speaking, gauge doesn’t matter a lot with cowls ~ as long as you can get them over your head, that is.  Birte is a little lighter than the original yarn the pattern was written for, and I was playing around with needle size.  In doing so, it was clear that while the US 6 produced a nice springy fabric, it wasn’t the one I was trying to achieve.

When in doubt, rip it out.  No harm, no foul.  We’ll try again on my Signature circs in US 7, which I tend to knit a little looser with than the Addi lace-tips I had handy the first time around.

Because it has been so very long, I owe you all a look at my greatest, and lifelong WIP, too.  Here is Darling Girl last week, on

The Baker in all her frosting glory

The Baker in all her frosting glory

the eve of her last day in preschool, decorating every single one of the cupcakes she baked.  She grew almost three inches and two shoe sizes over the summer.  (This resulted in much unscheduled shopping since she outgrew fall clothing without ever wearing it!  Another reason for my blogging fail.)  She does love to bake, and to watch Jacques Pepin.  Go figure.  Must be Owl’s genes.  I can’t wait until we have a real kitchen to work in.

DG started kindergarten this week ~ and what a grown-up she became overnight.  I am not sure I can handle this.

All the more reason to keep the needles ~ and the camera ~ at hand.



December 31, 2012

This, my dear friends, is what knitting is all about: making one

Sock Joy!

Sock Joy!

Darling Girl happy.  Of course, she asked Nutmeg Owl to make her new “sleeping socks” the day her mommy returned from the Knitter’s Review Retreat in 2011.  Darling Girl had pushed her little toesies right through her beloved orange pair.

And so she asked mommy to please make her some purple ones.

How embarrassed should I be that it took me a year to complete them?  Is someone going to revoke my knitting credentials?

Because … it’s just … I’m just not a sock knitter.  Thanks to Melissa Morgan-Oakes, at least I can knit

RIbbed for a nice fit

RIbbed for a nice fit

them two-at-a-time when I must, but socks just don’t do it for me.  It’s not the ‘pair’ thing, either.  I like mitts, mittens, gloves … but something about socks just slays my desire to stitch.

So to knit these – on US 0 needles, no less, was a labor of love that lasted longer than a pregnancy.

The 411:

Pattern:  Emily’s socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes

Sweet soles

Sweet soles

Yarn:  Yarn Love Juliet in Blackberry Jam – the old formula, 25% nylon

Mods:  Size was a hybrid between small and medium.  I found that the special Emily’s Stitch absolutely kicked me in the tailfeathers.  So these became ribbed socks instead, with ribbing continuing all the way to the toe to make them nice and stretchy.

Project marriage score:  I don’t know.  It was sock yarn for making socks.  It was fine.  Didn’t knock mine off.  But I could blame the project as easily as the yarn.  Pass.

What’s important:  The Darling Girl loves them!


November 30, 2012

Happy Friday from your long-absent Owl.  Unhappy circumstances have conspired to keep me away.

On this otherwise dreary day, time to issue yet another “Merci!” to Goldybear, who delighted Darling Bebe with mittens in the perfect color and size.  Heaven knows her online aunties have been pining for a glimpse of her …

Little Miss Mittens

Little Miss Mittens

May your weekend be merry and bright!


December 8, 2011

Okay, I’ve let the Knitter’s Review Retreat post hang up there long enough that some of you have wondered what happened to me.  To prevent unwarranted use of Bullwinkle’s search and rescue canines, it’s time to send up a flare.

Darling Bebe's Sleepin' Sock

Re-entry after the retreat is never that easy.  Mine was fraught with this knitting irony.   I knitted a pair of socks for Darling Bebe at last year’s retreat, figuring it a great exercise to use the 2-at-a-time toe-up method I had just learned from Melissa Morgan-Oakes.  Little did I know they would become the Most. Cherished. Knitted. Objects. Ever.

The child has worn them to bed every night except for when they were in the wash.

So much for toe-up

And then, it happened.  While I was gone, blissfully charging along on some lace in pure ignorance, the child blew through the toe.  More like, she rammed every little piggy through.

This requires more than just darning ~ and I doubt I’m up for

Sleepin' Socks II - Yarn Love Juliet

the task.  So all other knitting had to go on hold so that Mommy could solve a Sleepin’ Sock Emergency, again 2AAT but top-down.  And with purple yarn this time, according to Her Nibs’ wishes.  Somehow I knew there was a reason I should not destash the Yarn Love Juliet in “Blackberry Jam.”  May the nylon in this yarn, absent in the originals, help with durability.  Then again, the child’s feet did grow enormously.

Cuff-down command performance

All other knitting is in time-out, that is, except for this little project.  Yep.  Duty knitting, pure and simple.  Duty knitting on deadline no less.   And it’s another sock.  Obviously I dreamed up this pattern (loosely adapted from the Chubby Sock on the cover of the Interweave book Christmas Stockings) when I was a new knitter ~ and before I had an inkling that my sister would have four children who would need them.  Of course, sibling greased the skids last year by giving me Signature circs in all of the available sizes for Christmas ~ so I never had any real choice about executing this last one.

Acquaintances have a common misperception that I am organized.  My real friends know: my yarn is organized.  In fact, I am so utterly pathetic that one friend five states away had a note in her calendar in July to remind me to start the dreaded thing.  Back then, I had deadlines for Rhinebeck knitting …  sigh.

It is fair-isle AND intarsia.  Worked upside-down.

Will someone please stick pins in my eyes instead?

Will someone please teach me to hold my yarn properly for stranding?

At least when I am past the big intarsia motif, I can join it into the round and triple my speed.   At least it’s on worsted-weight yarn.  And then I can go back to Sleepin’ Socks and knitting anything at all I want, with no deadlines and no duty.

YarnoraMama III

April 18, 2011

It’s somehow not at all surprising that for both Luann and me, our periodic YarnoraMama meet-ups fall during what seem like the worst possible times ~ when the work schedule is out of control, home life is crazy and the last thing it seems one should do is take a day off.

Which is precisely why it is the absolute right time to do so ~ for two working moms to walk away from every responsibility for One. Precious. Day.  (Previous YarnoraMamas are here and here.)

Victoria Station Cafe

Her charge this time: Tell me where to be and I will get there.   “There” in this case, being the charming and friendly Victoria Station Cafe in Putnam, Conn.  Dubbed “The Quiet Corner,” northeastern Connecticut is home to agriculture and tiny towns.  Putnam is a town that has quietly evolved, with new life for old downtown spaces that have one foot in the past and another in the future.  Virtually every menu features gluten-free or vegan fare from in many cases locally raised produce.

Here, the mismatched furniture, exposed brick and original woodwork all make sense.  We parked on a couch in a front window as a steady stream of patrons made their way in for “the usual” or one of the too-tempting selections in the endless display cases.

What more do two gals need?

Funny, but even our food choices were rooted in fiber … The cinnamon rolag at left, being a term for a roll of prepared fiber ready for spinning.  Those are the remnants of a sfogliatelle at right, in the wake of a powdered-sugar explosion, in case you’re wondering.   (Pink boxes of treats left for home in both directions …)

MadelineTosh Pure Silk Lace in Lichen

And birthday presents, too!  Lucy Neatby’s terrific tome on fabulous finishing and a stunning skein of MadelineTosh Pure Silk Lace in the colorway Lichen.  Truly, it is the colors of an heirloom lilac in bloom.  Breathtaking.

It’s been too long since my cyber-sister and I were together ~ last November’s Knitter’s Review Retreat to be precise.  As efficient as online communication is, there is simply no substitute for sitting down, face-to-face, for hours of catching up about the mundane and the life-altering.  Among her many talents, Luann always serves as a (barely) older, wiser sanity check for me at a time when that sanity is in question every third minute.  And that’s before we get to the mommy advice I so sorely need now that we are immersed in the Tyrannical Threes.

How did five hours pass so quickly?


Other than meeting in a place with an endless supply of caffeine, YarnoraMamas must always include a yarny destination.  Woolworks fit that bill.  Tasha (sp?) could not have been more welcoming on the phone or in person.  The knitters inside were warm and friendly, and the reasons this shop has become a local destination were clear.  It made me long for the days when I actually had a local yarn shop in my world.  Sigh.

All too soon, the fact of rush-hour return traffic was all too real.  Time to separate again for our respective homes and uber-busy lives.  But I feel better ~ saner and clearer ~ than I have in a long time.

And that is what YarnoraMama is all about.


December 31, 2010

"I got stockings! You knitted me stockings!"


December 1, 2010

Dear Chevy Equinox driver,

I wish you had even a glimmer of the wreckage you’ve caused in my world.

Beyond the obvious crumpled bumper, shattered headlight, mashed quarter panel and the mirror hanging limply from my door.

My hands were shaking so badly, I could hardly dial 911. (Somehow, I forgot to just push that OnStar button on the mirror.)  Putting your hands into my car on my arm and telling me, “I didn’t see you!” was The. Second. Wrong. Thing. To. Do.

If you knew me, you’d have a sense that, “Take you hands off me” was the mildest response I could muster.

If I’d been alone in the car, I might have reacted differently.  But I wasn’t.

My Darling Bebe was in the car.  And it was rush hour.  In heavy traffic.  On the Interstate.  And it was raining.

And you just decided to change lanes —

— and you kept going even after colliding, pushing my care into the next lane with a shrieking grinding wail.

You were fortunate: the exit lane to my right was empty.

You were fortunate: we were not injured.

At least not physically.

You were able to drive away when the state police finished with you.

I wasn’t.

I wish you had to spend twice the amount of time I did going to the tow yard, on the phone with my truly wonderful insurance company, and picking up a rental car.

I wish you drove an orphan make of car that required service by a facility 20 miles away where your garage-door opener and phone charger are now held hostage.

I wish you had to wait weeks for an appointment with a specialist because someone else’s costly carelessness meant you couldn’t make your scheduled slot.

I wish you had to spend the next couple of weeks driving an unfamiliar rental car that is not what you’re used to driving.

I wish you had to transport a Christmas tree in the aforementioned rental sedan instead of your little SUV.

I wish you had to collect out-of-pocket receipts, fax forms to the body shop and hope your child really is okay.

I hope next time you actually  turn your head on your neck and LOOK before swerving into someone else’s car and turning their daily routine into wreckage.

I hope your hands shake as you hold the ticket the state police issued.

No matter what the little check you have to write, it isn’t enough.

You have incurred a mother’s wrath.

~ NutmegOwl

Friday eye candy

October 22, 2010

On a recent visit to a nearby field, Darling Bebe was far more interested in this flock than the actual Icelandic and Shetland sheep in the pasture.

It's all sheep to me!

Friday Eye Candy

September 24, 2010

You know what?

Halloween is coming!

Darling Bebe has discovered the joy of face-painting.  Sadly, with her very sensitive skin, we had to take the face-paint off at bedtime when the itchies started.   Good for Owl to know while plotting her Halloween costume.

Bonus points if you noticed what’s on her shirt …

Happy weekend!


August 3, 2010

Two wee words describe my weekend.

Toddler vomit.

Poor Darling Bebe was suddenly wracked with it.  Over and over and over.  And once all that passed, when we sat down to a tiny bit of food the next morning, with her little hands shaking, a terrible discovery:  someone stole Sesame Street.

This is not funny, nor is it made up.  DB does not watch much TV, but she loves SS.  Not the current hip-hop-jerkety-jerk Sesame Street, where someone thinks Bert and Ernie are somehow “improved” by being turned into claymation.  She loves the ones that are ten years old, with plenty of Elmo, and bits and pieces of my childhood, like The Ladybug Picnic, and glimpses of Kermit the Frog, airing on Sprout.  (For those whose kiddos are grown, Sprout is PBS’ toddler channel.) Since we pay the cable monster for every channel man can make up, everything is pretty much On Demand – and that’s how we watch SS.  (Sprout, of course, only airs the program in the middle of NAPTIME.)

On Thursday, we were delighted and thrilled that her favorite episode – Veterinarian – was back in the rotation.  We watch that and several others through round after round of vomit on Friday.

Sometime between 10 pm Friday and 8 am Saturday, someone stole Sesame Street.  It was gone from the cable system – poof!

So I started doing what I do when Warrior Mommy Owl breaks free of her inner chains: I started reaching out to touch someone.  Starting with Comcast.  The customer-no-service rep gave me her pat, “That’s a programming issue.  You’ll have to look up that network.”

“I know it’s a programming issue.  But it is the COMCAST On Demand listing – the listing was there yesterday as its own tab and now it’s GONE.  It’s your system.  You have to know whether it’s somewhere else or been removed.”

“I don’t know how I would find that out.”

“Look, you have my account open and you can see just how much we fork over to you every month.  So I expect you to have Sesame Street available.  And not to have it just disappear overnight. ”

“Yes, I see you are a valued customer.”

“So I assure you that if you do not locate Sesame Street, I will leave you in a nanosecond to go to U-Verse as soon as it’s in my neighborhood.”

“Let me see what I can find out.”

14 minutes later, she came back on the line.

“If you want to know anything, you’ll have to contact Sprout.  Do you know how to do that?”

“You mean the network that I located and already sent an email to while you had me on hold?  And its local PBS affiliate just in case they could help, while I was still on hold?


“I guess you could say I do know how to do that.  Thanks.”

Suffice it to say the rep will not be happy with her little follow-up customer service ranking from the post-contact polls I always participate in.

The weekend passed and Darling Bebe is now as right as rain again.

Monday morning, Sesame Street was back.  All of it.

So you can imagine my surprise when the mobile rang this morning.  It was a woman from Sprout calling me to say that there had been a problem at the head end in New England, but to assure me the programming was back.


I sent an email and they looked into the problem and they called me.


On the knitting front, I must report I have completed every stitch of stranded colorwork.  Four miles of stockinette (aka one last raglan sleeve) stands between me and assembly and finishing.  There is light at the end of this knitting tunnel.

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