Bounce Baby Blanket

Last month, after I finished my log cabin blanket, I swore that I was done with knitting any more blankets for the foreseeable future. It turns out that the foreseeable future lasted about three weeks, at which point I got sucked into the magic of the Bounce Blanket.

Who could resist the fun of 20 mini skeins of yarn (plus two full-sized ones) that would work up to create a rainbow? Not me. Also, since it’s DK weight yarn (Victory DK from Knitted Wit in the Little Black Dress colour palette), I figured the knitting would be pretty quick and I could be back in no-more-blankets mode in record time.

This was such a fun knit, even with all the ends to weave in (most of which I tried to do as I went along). I loved being able to keep track of my progress based on how many tiny balls of yarn I had left to knit — and Adam and Leah, my two enthusiastic cheerleaders, made sure to let me know just how quickly I could finish if I would just knit one more colour section.

Now that it’s blocked, it measures 36 x 42″ — it’s pretty much the perfect baby blanket size. However, I have no babies at the moment for whom to knit, so the kids are trying to outbid each other for this super squishy rainbow. I’ve been offered stuffed animals, cold hard cash, and unlimited hugs. I’m holding out for one of them to offer making coffee for me every morning for a week — otherwise, I think I’m just going to hang on to it.

And as it happens, I no longer feel burnt out on blankets, so I think I may have a few larger-scale projects on the horizon.

Adam Day 2018

Happy, Happy Adam Day!

It’s been 12 years since Todd and I walked out of the SWS offices in Seoul, tentatively holding Adam and wondering just what we had got ourselves into with this whole parenting gig. Somehow, no matter how many books and articles we’d read or adoptive parents we’d spoken with, nothing had prepared us for the monumental task facing us. To say we were overwhelmed is putting it mildly.

And if we were overwhelmed, I can’t even begin to imagine what those first days and weeks with us felt like for Adam: scary and unsettling, I’m sure. Six months passed before he and I clicked — it took until about his first birthday for us to settle into a secure, nobody’s-going-anywhere kind of relationship.

However, once we clicked, we really clicked. Everyone jokes that Adam and I are so much alike that it’s scary but it’s also completely amazing to parent a child who is so much like you that you know what he’s going to say before he opens his mouth.

Today we get to spend time reflecting on what an incredible blessing Adam is to our family — Adam Day is a day of mixed emotions so we take our lead from Adam on how he would like to mark the occasion (or skip it entirely). This year we’ve got sushi and cupcakes and boardgames and I’m grateful for the time we get to spend together and celebrate all that Adam means to each of us.

February Socks: Rivergrass

While we don’t do much to mark Valentine’s Day chez kimbelina, I think I’ve managed to knit the most perfect socks for this month: they just scream valentines and chocolate and love.

The yarn is in a colourway called Scarletberry and I love the shades of pink in it. So girly and fun and seasonally appropriate for today. This is my first time knitting with Twizzlefoot from Mountain Colors — I picked up two skeins when I was at TNNA last June and I’ve been hanging on to them waiting for just the right pattern. These Rivergrass socks seemed like the perfect project.

I love the way the socks look but I’m not sure that I’m equally enamoured with the resulting fabric. The yarn is thin compared to my usual sock yarn and I think I should have gone down a needle size (maybe 2 mm instead of my usual 2.25 mm?) to ensure that they wear well.

Perhaps instead of socks, my second skein is destined to become a scarf or shawl: something that doesn’t require me to knit with toothpick-sized needles and will make the most of the skein’s generous yardage.

Now that these are finished, I’m on an 11-day socks break until the next HerStory Sock Club knitalong begins, so it’s time to turn my attention to some non-sock projects. I’ve got a baby blanket on the needles, a hat that is more that halfway done, and a couple other projects in the works — thankfully, with the Olympic games on in the background, I’ve got a lot of scheduled knitting time planned in the next little while.

The Newsletter Shawl

I love a good shawl: the kind that is big and warm and serves as a bit of a cocoon against the elements. As it turns out, Leah also likes this exact type of shawl, so just about every single one I knit ends up being shared.

Oh, well. She’s a much cuter model, anyway.

The Newsletter Shawl is one of Shannon Squire‘s designs — its name comes from it being a free pattern for her newsletter subscribers — and it’s such a fun, easy pattern to knit. Pick two skeins of fingering weight yarn and GO!

I used two skeins of Victory Fingering from Knitted Wit: the variegated colourway is called Unicorn Night Mares and the teal is Buckle My Shoes (I like to think of teal as a neutral so it shows up a lot in my knitting projects).

This shawl is perfect for wrapping and wrapping and wrapping some more around you since it measures just over 90 inches long (it’s about 19″ deep at the centre point and tapers out to almost nothing at the ends). Just the thing for snowy days outside or for an extra layer of cozy comfort indoors.

Or, if you’re Leah, it is apparently also the exact right size for wrapping up baby dolls and stuffed animals so that they can’t escape, in case you were wondering.

HerStory Sock Club: January

Well, that was fast — in just under a week, I have managed to knit an entire pair of socks.

This retina-searing-in-a-good-way colourway is everything you could want to help beat the winter blahs; it certainly lives up to its name of Radioactive Rainbow. Inspired by the work of Marie Curie, January’s HerStory Sock Club offering from Knitted Wit was just the thing to counter the overcast skies, rain, and snow.

Since I wasn’t sure how the different colours were going to play together when knit up, I opted for Shannon Squire‘s Otherwise Engaged socks pattern. Tried and true, this is one of my favourite patterns for multi-coloured yarn because it seems to break up some of the larger blocks of colour. In this case, the rainbows only pooled and spiralled once I started knitting the legs, which is fine with me!

I can’t say enough good things about Victory Sock, the yarn base for the HerStory Sock Club. It’s got great yardage and the yarn is smooth and tightly plied — even the socks I knit for Adam seem to last until he outgrows them (and that’s saying something). Already I’m looking forward to seeing the February colourway — only a few weeks till it’s revealed!

January Socks: Mingus

So far, this year’s plan for Operation Sock Drawer is 100% successful — it’s only January 24 and I’ve already got this month’s pair of socks knit.

Oh my goodness, I love everything about these socks. This was the perfect pair with which to kick off the year: I ended up with the perfect combination of yarn and pattern. I’ve knit several pairs of Mingus socks over the years but I think this might just be my favourite. It’s the first pair I’ve knit with Super Sock 4-Ply from Twisted Owl Fiber Studio in this amazing Pirate Ship colourway. Really, anything teal immediately earns super high marks from me, but the saturation of colour in this yarn makes it even more special.

The pattern is written cuff-down, but anyone who knows me knows that there was no way that was happening — I’m a toe-up-or-not-at-all kind of sock knitter. Thankfully, I don’t think the pattern suffers from being turned upside down.

I’m glad to have finished these so quickly because tomorrow I begin hosting the HerStory Sock Club Knitalong with Knitted Wit and I need to get my yarn wound and ready to cast on.

Yeah, in a highly caffeinated state of feeling like I could definitely take over the world given enough coffee, I decided that in addition to my personal sock-of-the-month club, I would also knit an additional 12 pairs of socks in colourways inspired by women whose contributions to STEM should be celebrated. How could I say no to such an amazing club? And really, when I have let the laws of time and space dictate what I can do? Perish the thought!

The Log Cabin Lap Blanket

Way back at the end of last summer, I managed to snag a set of National Park mini skeins from Knitted Wit (I fell in love with the whole palette of colours even though I have no real attachment to any of the Parks that served as inspiration for the yarn series) — then I was stuck trying to figure out how best to make use of 16 45-yard skeins.

Since I didn’t want to waste any of the yarn, I eventually figured out that my best plan would be to pair the minis with a solid, neutral colour and attempt some sort of knit-from-the-centre-till-all-the-yarn-runs-out kind of lap blanket. Armed with 16 tiny little yarn cakes and three full-sized skeins of Victory Fingering in Stellar, I had two false starts before I settled on a log cabin blanket. Third time’s the charm, I suppose!

In between Christmas knitting and a few other must-knit projects, I still managed to knit nearly two sections per week — and yesterday I finally bound off the border. Of course, there were still all the ends to weave in. I always say that I will do the responsible thing and weave in the ends as I go but that never happens — leaving me with a rather impressive pile of bits this morning.

This is definitely a lap-sized blanket, measuring just 30 x 38 inches. Endless amounts of garter stitch tend to eat up massive quantities of yarn but the finished blanket is super squishy and just the right size for chilly evenings. Or for Leah to use with her dolls, if she manages to get her way.

After knitting three blankets in the last five months, I’m ready to take a break from them for a bit. It’s back to shawls and socks and sweaters for me!

Cookie Baking with Adam

Not to be outdone by Leah and her chocolate chip cookies from last week, Adam decided to up the cookie game chez Roy by baking Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies* today.

And because I’m happy to let Adam flex his baking muscles pretty much any time he likes, I suggested he make his way into the kitchen before he lost interest (and the rest of us lost out on the chance of fresh-from-the-oven homemade cookies).

It’s hard to believe there was a time that he couldn’t do all of this on his own. He’s pretty much a pro when it comes to baking now — and if there’s anything he’s unsure of, he asks. Even more impressive is that he completely understands that washing all the dishes and leaving the kitchen as he found it is paramount to ever being allowed to bake on his own again.

And although there were a couple oopses (like a little extra salt and a forgotten tablespoon of peanut butter that was supposed to be stirred in at the end), the cookies turned out remarkably well. Adam and Leah both thought the batter was yummy enough that they weren’t sure we even needed to bother with the whole baking thing, but two dozen cookies did manage to make it into the oven.

Success! An afternoon snack of cookies is a delicious way to mark the midpoint of the week — they pair particularly well with my sixth mug of coffee today (though Leah tells me that almond milk is possibly a better choice).

* This recipe is from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, my most favourite cookie recipe book ever. Seriously, I don’t think a single recipe I’ve tried from this book has been anything less than fabulous.

Stripy Socks!

We’re not even two weeks into the new year and I’ve already got a new pair of socks. Well, actually, Adam has a new pair of socks. It’s kind of funny the way that works, but since our feet are roughly the same size (at least for the moment), many of the pairs originally knit for me somehow end up in his sock drawer.

In this case, Adam saw the socks in progress and was immediately smitten with both the colours and the stripes — and since I didn’t feel like I needed to keep these, I told him they’d be his. Adam has always loved anything handmade, but now that he’s started knitting, I think he has a newfound appreciation for the effort involved.

The yarn is from Canon Hand Dyes and the colourway is Tiger Lily (part of the Peter Pan club) — this was my first time knitting with Amy’s Bruce Yak Fingering yarn and it definitely takes a bit of knitting to get used to it. It’s thinner and slightly more slippery than my usual sock yarn choices so I will definitely go down a needle size next time I use this yarn (I’ve got two more skeins tucked away). I love all of Amy’s self-striping yarns; the stripes match up almost perfectly between the two socks and the contrasting heels and toes make for an extra-special pair.

And I’ve actually got enough yarn left that I could probably knit a pair of socks for Leah as well — but right now I need to knit the other two pairs of socks I have on the go before I possibly contemplate socks for her. Besides, these days she likes to go through my stash on her own to find what she considers Leah-worthy colourways — I see some sparkly unicorn-inspired sock-knitting in my future!

Is It Friday Yet?

Two days into the post-Christmas stretch of school and I’m ready for a vacation. Or at least a long weekend. Seriously, I’m not sure how I’m going to make it to Friday — coffee can only do so much.

Adam and Leah, on the other hand, are full of energy and enthusiasm and a strong desire to check off everything on their daily lists. In fact, at 9:30 last night, Adam asked if he could work ahead on math and Leah had already finished her math for both today and tomorrow before I’d even woken up this morning. Ah, to be young!

To be fair, Leah was focused on getting to her favourite part of the day and nothing was going to stand in the way of her spending some time in the kitchen this afternoon. Life Skills is one of my favourite things to do with Adam and Leah — but usually not with both of them at the same time because our kitchen apparently isn’t big enough for two aspiring chefs at once.

I’m pretty sure that at this point we’ve baked chocolate chip cookies at least eleventy billion times but it’s Leah’s absolute favourite thing to bake so we baked yet another batch today. Leah can do most of the work herself — she is confident reading the recipe and following the directions. And since I think being able to bake a decent chocolate chip cookie is indeed an important life skill, I’m happy to let Leah perfect it!

As for Adam, I’ve been feeling desperate to get him to spend a little less time on Minecraft and a little more time on something — anything, really — that doesn’t involve the computer. So I’ve added Non-Computer-Based Hobby to his list of things to work on during the week; he decided to pick up his abandoned knitting project and has committed to knitting five rows at a time.

I’ll take what I can get. Adam’s actually quite keen to finish this scarf and move on to another project but he’s also a perfectionist and can’t stand the thought that his tension isn’t yet even and he’s picked up an extra stitch somewhere along the way. Ideally, he would like to rip the whole thing and start over but I think there’s a huge lesson in continuing and seeing his progress as he improves over time. So he knits five rows at a time and I consider it progress that he doesn’t give up.

And that really is a life skill.