Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

About 4 weeks ago I got cranberries in our farm share. I knew I wanted to make cranberry sauce but I kept putting it off! Today was the day…

Ready to burst


When cranberries burst they make a lovely popping sound! Maybe not as satisfying as the pop from a jar lid as it seals, but awesome nonetheless.

I will bring the cranberry sauce to Nashville for Thanksgiving, and we will have some here for Christmas too.

Another thing on my mind for Thanksgiving is the journey there. I will be traveling on my own again with the two boys. I went to a good toy store in Melrose (Lilah Rose) today because I got a fantastic Usborne dry-erase learn-to-write book there before that is excellent for an airplane journey. Today I scored again and got a Melissa and Doug water-pen drawing pad (on great thick cardboard stock). The boys love painting with water so this will be a lifesaver.

Mum sends the best sticker books to the boys and I had a package from her unopened waiting for the trip until I realised I should open it to make sure I don’t double up on my trip to Lilah Rose. It’s a winner!

Sticker books from Mum, free I Spy book from Kelloggs, Water Pad from Lilah Rose store.

(Mum, I have repackaged them so it will still be a surprise from Mamó for the boys!)

All I actually ended up doubling up on in the store was helmets…

Construction Worker Conor and Fireman Eoin


There are a flurry of babies arriving to friends around the world in the next months. I thought I should get started early and picked the first baby due. My friends Michael and Yvonne were due to have a boy in December. I had one single skein of boy-colored Sirdar Snuggly DK Daux Fair Isle Effect so I thought I would try it on a vest from the same leaflet for the sweater I made Francesco in London. I hoped the double seed stitch on top would mitigate the pooling you can get with these yarns when you reduce your number of stitches for the shoulder. It was a success!

An interesting effect

The project would have to be 0-6 month size because I only had one skein. It was the perfect amount!

Then, on the day I was finishing the ribbing on the second armhole, baby Liam made an early entrance into this world! How fortuitous that I had chosen a small project for such a teeny 3.5lb baby! (I usually choose 6-12 month sizes these days.) I finished it that night, and added a preemie hat that I had completed a year and a half ago. I’m glad I held on to it instead of donating it. I didn’t want to donate just a single hat and the other hat went to baby June. It’s serendipitous, because both hats have now gone to Irish astrophysicist’s babies…

The set looks really cute, and was well received in Sweden.

For baby Liam

My Neighbor Totoro

Even though I’m very settled these days and don’t travel as much as I used to, or go and live in a different country every few years, I still have a lot of international friends. Irish friends of mine also tend to be very mobile…

I follow a pair of my old kayaking friends on their tumblr feed from Barcelona. You may remember I made a Barcelona ball for their daughter when she was born. Well, a while ago I saw a wonderful picture of Riu outside a yarn store, looking at a Totoro, her favorite character, from a 1988 animated Japanese movie, My Neighbor Totoro.

I couldn’t stop thinking “I could make that!”

This pulled all my knitterly strings. I yearned to make something for her! Except of course I have no crochet skillzzzzz. Also, I only had some Cascade 220 in those colors and that just didn’t seem cuddly. And you know how I loooooove to make matching hats, and Riu has a brother now!


Matching hats!!!

I used Kate Oates Cheery Scrap Cap pattern and made the gray Totoro first. This was only my second Fair Isle project and I made the floats too tight. It would have to be for baby Pau. I added umbrellas on that one because in the images I looked at Totoro was often holding an umbrella.

In this next image you can see how the hat physically gathers in along the Totoro part where my floats were too tight.

So for the next hat I cast on the same amount of stitches and vowed to be the loosest knitter ever invented. My knitting friends also showed me the trick where you expand out the stitches on your right needle before bringing your float across. It worked so much better! Take a look at this photo which shows that there is at least an extra inch ease on the second hat, despite it having the same number of stitches and same yarn and needles!

Two hats, different sizes

I made the second hat with the blue Totoro, who seems to be the gray Totoro’s friend. He doesn’t have an umbrella, rather a leaf, so I decided not to show one since I didn’t have a good green.

I used a lot more of the classic Fair Isle patterning from Kate Oates’ pattern on this one, in the absence of an umbrella

I got an email this morning from Rebecca. The package arrived just when the weather turned cold! (I know I know, it felt strange to send these off to a hot country like Spain, but they like to ski, and visit Ireland, so those places definitely need a hat!!!) Also, Pau does not seem to be sweltering so far…


Another bonus was that I did these as part of a tottopper Knit-Along with my Knitting for Boys group on Ravelry. The support from the group for my Fair Isle attempt was amazing. I also won a random drawing from Kate Oates for $10 to use in her tottoppers store! I bought the Gramps collection. I’m so pleased with these hats and this was just the icing on the cake.

Waiting for the Post

So apparently Lena only got her headband on SUNDAY!!! Her neighbors had received it by error and they brought it over to her – no wonder there was no selfie.

I am waiting on confirmation of arrival of packages in Sweden and Spain before I can reveal my post recent knitting projects. I am really proud of them and can’t wait to share.

Right now I’m doing a little sweater that will go to the same recipient in Sweden (I can’t resist knitting tiny projects for preemies…) and I have taken out my growth chart for the boys. I am cross stitching Pooh and Bowser (Conor, age 2). Next up is a fire truck (Eoin, age 2). That boy could make us SO much money if we hired him out as a fire siren.

Snow in November

We had a wild weekend after Halloween. Stormy and snowy! Yuck! We lit a nice fire and also got to try out the sizing on our winter gear (Conor has grown almost 3 inches since I last measured him in February, so an order went in to LLBean for a new coat the second I dried off and finished my hot cocoa…)

Berries in the snow

Winter Webbing

The boys quickly found novel ways of making passable snowballs with the extremely wet snow – scoop it off objects!

Eoin’s snowball machine

Conor had a blast scooping snow off the car and throwing it back at the car – you’d think my poor car gets enough abuse under those berry trees!


Thankfully we were back up to 65 (!) by yesterday. Rain and 50 comes back today. I took the bouncy house out for a final fling after school and now it is in the basement for a little bit of a clean and to dry out…


Grandpa David’s package set off a fantastic Halloween in this house. It got the perfect mood going and activities at school and in the neighborhood kept the excitement up, culminating in an excellent trick-or-treat session Halloween Night.

Batman delays his entrance for effect

My neighbor held a “pre-game” party for the local toddlers at her house. I made my favorite cupcakes with Halloween stencils from Williams Sonoma.

My favorite is the owl

I also tried something I had seen on Pinterest. Pumpkin Pretzels! They were a big hit with the adults while waiting for pizza. I love that mixture of salt and sweet.


We headed to the party while it was still bright. As soon as darkness came it would be time to hit the streets, so I got a photo in before things got crazy!

Batman and Darth Vader and the Giant Pumpkin

Batman and Darth Vader of course loved playing with their neighbor’s toys and could be seen collaborating on construction and in the kitchen and with the princess castle…

And of course this was the last photo opportunity I got that night!

First Nights

I went out for a real treat the Tuesday before Halloween – Opening Night of Mamma Mia! I really hope I continue to realize how much Boston has to offer. It gets a lot of touring companies and concerts yet I have not previously taken the time to go. Objective for this year – Boston Symphony!

Waiting for curtains up

We also were offered free tickets from our YMCA to the Opening Game of the Boston Celtics season! The boys were fantastic (tired but not grouchy by the 4th quarter) and the Celtics had scored 101 points by the end of the 3rd quarter! They laid off a little bit too much in the 4th but Rondo got them back on track. Superb.

Boys in Green

The Pumpkin Package

Grandpa David sent a fantastic package again for Halloween! The boys were delighted with everything! I think you can see it on their faces pretty clearly!

So this is why the box was cackling

A rainbow!

I managed to stash some of the candy and pops. They are coming in very handy this stormy week…

As a thank you for David I turned my hand to crochet. It was really fun and a nice challenge and I feel a lot more confident with single crochet, half-double crochet and double crochet now. I made him a coaster:

Though it could just be for decoration of course!

The boys decorated a lovely card my friend Teresa made with a photograph of hers (she’s not just a knitter – she takes great photos and makes cards with them – I hope to buy some more at the Reading Craft Fair this weekend yay!)

Surprise from Toronto

You may remember I participated in a yarn swap between my fellow April 2012 Babies buddies. I sent my package to Toronto, and I received a package back from someone ELSE in Toronto! How cool!

It must be hard to pick something out for someone who can’t tolerate wool! SCORE!

Needless to say I love the yarn. It will keep me in warm and sunny thoughts in the dead of winter. The boys demolished the Kinder Eggs (you know you can’t get them in the States because of the choking hazard!) Very cool little drawing toys inside – and a teeny monster truck for Eoin – how perfect!

The other chocolate will be stashed away for when I am in need of some extra help this week with Papa away – yay!