Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day

And my friend Steven is having a fundraiser for the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force with amazing prizes, starting at midnight tonight. Check it out here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I might need an intervention

For the record, the first day of DEAR was a failure. I got into bed, opened the book, and fell asleep. This morning, I woke up with a migraine, so reading was out for that window of time as well.

This month, I finished two garments for Michael, a Beau by Cosy out of Malabrigo Worsted, and a Baby T-Shirt Vest out of Madelinetosh DK. The first is totally whimsical; the second is a project I made to fill a hole in his wardrobe. I love vests on babies: they add warmth without adding bulk and there are no sleeves to get sodden when babies stuff them in their mouths.


The problem is, of course, that babies outgrow these things quickly. I have a bunch of knits that I've already had to put away, and I think Michael may have reached capacity on his knitted wardrobe for now. I think it's time to focus on projects for bigger myself! It's almost the time of year when we set knitting goals, and it will be interesting to see how mine shake out for 2012.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Remember in the Ramona Quimby books when Ramona had "Drop Everything and Read" and "Sustained Silent Reading" in school? That's my plan for this week. Since the time change, every time I get in bed with a book, I fall asleep instead. I've been trying to read The Night Circus for weeks! This week, my husband is off of work, and I should have a little bit more free time. Let's see how far I can get through the big stack of books on my nightstand.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Morning

I get up pretty early with the baby, but in exchange, I get some quiet time with my coffee and my knitting after I get him back down.

And this morning, I got this.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Okay, so I took a day off from blogging, but it was a busy, bustling day.

I had intended for both kids to wear handknit vests to Thanksgiving, but they both had other plans. Henry has been experimenting with layered looks and ended up in this ensemble, which looked surprisingly hip.

Henry sang the "grace" for dinner that he'd learned that week in school:
Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the world so sweet.
Thank you for the birds that sing.
Thank you for everything.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More on Bookstores and Reading

So we saw Ann Patchett speak on Monday night. Author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder, Patchett has made the news lately by opening up an independent bookstore in her hometown of Nashville.

Patchett opened her store to fill a gap left by the closure of two major chains in Nashville. Like Pittsburgh, like towns all over, the major chains had come in, decimated the smaller stores, and then collapsed when they couldn't match Amazon. Certainly, that has been the case for me. When I first moved to Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill had an independent bookstore. Then Barnes and Noble came in and the bookstore closed. Then Borders came to Shadyside. And now both that particular B&N and Borders are gone.

So I've filled that gap with Amazon and my Kindle. Is it ideal? In many ways, yes. It's instant gratification. It's lower prices. Patchett offered a list of books that she's recommending to her customers, and I ended up getting them on my Kindle, because I have no local bookstore. Have I contributed to this problem because I use Amazon? Sure.

But, what Patchett pointed out is that while she has nothing against e-readers and reports that her husband actually reads more on his e-reader than he ever has before (something that is proving to be true with my husband as well), her sales of State of Wonder have been split evenly between Kindle sales and hardback sales. And the people who don't want to read on e-readers deserve a bookstore, a place to go. The book is not dead. The bookstore is a community.

(And I can't help but point out that the same is true of the Local Yarn Store. You can buy all the Knitpicks you want, but if you want help, if you want to meet fellow knitters, if you want community, the best place to get it is your local yarn store. And since I see so many of our customers at the Arts and Lectures series, I know that knitters and readers are of the same tribe and can understand this.)

So where is my book community? For now, in my neighborhood, it's my library, which deserves all the help and money we can give. When we go to Jackson, I am delighted to spend my time and money at Valley Books, an excellent, well-curated independent shop. 

I don't know if we'll ever get an independent shop back in our neighborhood, but the ultimate message of Patchett's lecture is to READ, to support authors, and support communities of readers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ann Patchett on the Bookstore

I have a lot thoughts swirling around in my head about this, but for now, here's what Ann Patchett, who I saw speak at Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures last night, has to say about her new bookstore:

"I actually think that this is really going to work. The day of the small independent bookstore has returned. It's the giant bookstore that can't be sustained," she said.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Quick post

It's Monday, which means work and then "date night."

I had food with foam on it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Stuck the Other One in the Leaves, Too

Or rather, he stuck himself in the leaves.

Tomten at 5

Look! It's his Tomten, and it still fits!

Tomten at 5

These pictures are terribly over-exposed. I can't figure out how to set my camera on portrait AND turn off the flash. I need to suck it up and figure out how to shoot manually. I pinned some tutorials on Pinterest. If you know of any others that have helped you, I'd love to see them!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Too Many Hand-Knits on One Baby, Part 2

Too many

Really, the knitting can get out of hand. The adorable hat was made by my friend Karen. It's chilly this morning, so I stuffed Michael into his Baby Sophisticate as well, and tried to cover his kicking feet with his Zig Zag Pram Blanket.

Part One, in case you've forgotten, is his big brother five years ago:

Henry 016

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hat in Action

We are to the point in NaPoBlMo that I feel a little like I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel, but here goes anyway. Butterbean sported Tubey by Wooly Wormhead while waiting for his brother at the bus stop yesterday. The weather has turned cold for real today after a strangely warm period, so it is hat time in earnest now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How It Really Looks: Baby Albert

Last winter, my mom decided she wanted to brush up on her in knitting, so we chose a project to make together, the Baby Albert (Einstein) coat from Sally Melville's The Knit Stitch.

I decided to liven up the plain garter stitch by using Noro Chirimen. Because the sweater is king of wild in color and made of a silk blend, I thought this was going to be a fun sweater to put on every once and awhile, but not very utilitarian. In reality, it has become Michael's fall jacket. He has worn it everywhere!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


At first I thought Pinterest was an excellent time-waster, useful for looking at pretty pictures. Then I thought it was a tool designed specifically to make me feel bad about myself, featuring pictures of gleaming laundry rooms, cute crafts I will never make with my children, and perfectly organized organic pantries.

But now I've realized that it is a useful tool for helping me pull it together, particularly as I'm trying to get out of the cooking rut I'm in. I can use Pinterest to bookmark recipes! When I'm at the store, I can pull up the Pinterest app on my phone, click on my cooking board, and see if I have the ingredients I need! Brilliant!

Are you on Pinterest?

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Tri-Terra Cardigan

Last spring, I eagerly volunteered to test-knit the Tri-Terra Cardigan for Cosy. I knit almost the entire sweater before all heck broke loose and I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and the date of my c-section was moved up. I quickly wrote up my notes of what I'd done so far, sent them to Cosy, and handed off the sweater to Yvonne to finish the i-cord edging at her leisure, because she is awesome like that.

I finally blocked the sweater yesterday! The body is knit in Steadfast Fibers Wonderful Wool in Copper. I love this yarn a lot, and I'm sorry the store doesn't carry it any more (but I'm glad I have a sweater's worth in green in my stash!). The stripes are Cosy's Rainbow Chard. In retrospect, I think the top two stripes aren't contrasting enough, but the colors overall are fun, and I loved working with Cosy's hand-dyed yarn. Go see her this weekend at the Indie Knit and Spin!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I tried and tried to get pictures of Michael wearing his Steelers baby booties, but his little feet move too quickly for me to get a really good picture.

And honestly? The news coming out of Penn State is enough to put me off of football for life. As the mother of two little boys, it is really difficult for me to form any articulate thoughts at all, other than wanting to throw up. I love Pittsburgh. I love the Steelers. But I think it's time we question the culture of football, because, Penn State aside, we live in a city where we cheer on a rapist every Sunday. I thought I was okay with that if I focused on the rest of it, but I'm finding out that I'm not. I'm really not.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What my kids did today

...while I was at work. What another gorgeous day in the city!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 11, 2011

Six Months!

Michael turned six months old yesterday! We celebrated with carrots. And a hand-knit bib.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Crazy Colors

I always gravitate toward semi-solids, but there is something about Tina's dye choices at Blue Moon Fiber Arts that makes me want the CRAZY stuff. Here are two crazytown colors that just arrived in the mail:


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Photography FAIL

I have been reading too many Mommy Blogs with photo tutorials, because on my walk this morning, I saw these lovely piles of leaves in the park, and my first thought was, "Oh! I'll stick my kid in the leaves and get a charming picture!"

Um, no.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Today was a gorgeous fall day that made me so happy and proud to live in Pittsburgh.

Anyone know what's up with the padlock installation piece on the bridge over Panther Hollow?

Monday, November 07, 2011

That Darn Vest

After a complete restart and several time-outs, the Pepo Pie is finally completed! My little sartorialist requested a purple vest and declared this color on the Cascade 220 wall to be "perfect."

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

Baby Sophisticate

I've been wanting to knit this free pattern forever, and last year around this time when I found out that I was having another boy, I put this in the "babybrudder" tagged section of my Ravelry queue. Then I started reading that the pattern ran small, and I realized that the specified gauge of 15 stitches over 4 inches in aran weight would result in a loose fabric that I wouldn't be happy with.

I finally cast on for this sweater at the beginning of October and decided to try my luck with chunky yarn. I cast on for the 0-3 month size in Dream in Color Groovy in Cloud Jungle (one of my all-time favorite colorways), using 10.5 needles and 10.75 needles for the sleeves in the round.

After several false starts (I blame the sleep deprivation -- we're going through a really rough patch right now), this was a quick knit, and a well-written pattern. The only downside to using heavier yarn is that this will function more as a coat than a sweater.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Hexipuff Swap

I've never participated in a swap before, but when the idea started brewing in the Socks that Rawk! group on Ravelry to do a swap to get mini-skeins for hexipuffs, I jumped in eagerly. For each skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight I sent, I would get six mini-skeins back. I sent in Gingerbread Dude and Henpecked, and yesterday, to my delight, I got this back in the mail:

Look at the detail on the labels the Swap Mom made! This package completely made my day.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

New Camera!

I've been wanting a DSLR seriously for at least two years now. Recently, I asked my father, an art professor and a crack bargain hunter, to keep an eye out for one he thought would work for me. He very generously bought me a Canon Rebel, and I just got it on Halloween.

It will take time to learn all the bells and whistles, and I want to learn how to work it manually, but for now, I'm having fun and getting decent results with the automatic portrait and macro settings.

Michael models his Baby Albert

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy Halloween!

My sister joined us for Halloween this year! Henry's costume is a wonderful hand-me-down from Yvonne, and Chrissy crocheted Michael's Mike Wazowski hat.