And so it begins….

DSCN9408 DSCN9385 DSCN9411 DSCN9409 DSCN9405 DSCN9364Finally, the sun is shining and we’re out working in the garden!

The garlic bulbs we planted last fall are sending up their green shoots, and the leeks and spring onions I left mulched are quickly reviving themselves after an icy slumber. Interestingly, three kale plants down at the end also made it through. These are a nice head start to having fresh greens but I don’t think I should plan on having it happen every year.

Mostly I’m digging out dandelions and pulling small weeds the wind blew in as seed last fall. A few sections are planted: peas, lettuce, carrots, turnips, cabbage, broccoli, leek (seeds for next year and about 50 transplanted for this year), celery, swiss chard, arugula, radishes,parsley and (finally I just did it) planted a bed of asparagus from seed. It’s the three-year plan.

Soon I’ll plant a few more things, do second plantings and (after the last frost) warm weather things like beans, cucumbers, sweet corn etc.

 

We also expanded the lower garden area and Struggling_along fenced it all in (very nicely I might add).

As for the cold frame, this year I’m going to try growing watermelon in there. Hopefully, this will keep them warm enough and will give them a head start. I’ve also noticed a few tiny celery plants have sprouted in there!

And so it begins…we tuck a few tiny seeds in the ground and wait.

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The Cuteness Factor

I often share a new project each week, and I have started on a new project but, as it’s a gift, it will have to stay a secret for now. Instead, here is Molly wearing her On-the-goveralls.  Yes, these were suppose to be sized 0-6 months (turns out more like 12 months). One of the down sides of making clothes for your little ones to grow into is that it can be hard to catch them in the right size. They grow so quickly and soon those too big outfits have become too small! Not this time!

Here’s the upside: cuteness x 10!

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Yep, worth it!

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A Quick Knit and Bacon Experiment

Sometimes a quick knitting project is needed. Something you can finish in a day, maybe two. Molly needed another winter hat so it all worked out quite well. Molly is at the stage where hats are a fun game. I put the hat on her head, she swipes it off and waves it about. Sometimes she tries to put it on herself. Don’t think of helping her cause then she’ll pull it back off and it starts all over.

I had some leftover yarn from this BSJ and a pattern for a cute hat. I lost the pattern though (!), so I just made it up as I went along, ending up with an elvish hat. The older brothers just love all things elf related so they’re excited about the prospect of Molly outgrowing said hat and having their stuffies get to wear it. In fact, Molly’s hat went for a round of trying on and has disappeared. SO, no cute photos of Molly “in” her hat.

As not to leave you photo less I’ll share with you a recent experiment in our bacon curing. Normally I cure our sides or bacon in the fridge with just maple syrup, brown sugar and salt. No nitrates.  I think I’ve done several posts on how I make it previously if you look under recipes. It’s good but, not like store bacon. I thought it was possibly the nitrate factor. Celery is a natural source of nitrates and I had plenty of celery in the garden. I made one half with added juiced celery and one without.

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With (below)

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We cooked up a couple of slices of each. They were tasty and pretty close in flavor. Although, we both thought that maybe, the one with celery was better; a little deeper in flavor. We would have cooked up a bit more for comparison’s sake but Sasquatch, that little puppy Megan had last year, snatch up the side of bacon and devoured it. So we’ll be trying that again and keeping a better eye on the dogs.

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Miss Molly Stark’s Offset Wraplan

 

DSCN8282Molly Stark is on the move! Crawling, climbing, cruising…she’s investigating the world. In front of the kitchen window is where Molly likes to stand and observe from. We’re in the kitchen a lot. The chickens, dogs and cats seem to always be hanging out around there too; I’m sure they’re quite amusing to watch.

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 I finished this sweater almost two weeks before Molly Stark was born. A larger version of this sweater she looks so cute in. The neck is a little too wide but I think she might grow into it and it won’t seem quite so loose. If you happen to be reading this and you think you might knit an offset wraplan I recommend making the neck opening a little smaller and cutting back on the number of buttons. Not by too many, buttons definitely add to the sweater, but it’s hard to find 9 and that many really isn’t necessary. I managed to find these pink ones with little gold lambs on them.

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This isn’t a sweater I made but here’s Molly Stark in her spot, looking out the window, anyways.

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Slippers: Take 2

DSCN7811The Bed Ped slippers just weren’t looking right so I frogged them and started over. This time I’m using Grandma’s Knitted Slipper pattern. They’re knit flat with worsted weight yarn held double.

To be honest, I’m not sure which part of the slipper this is. Perhaps the toe?  The sole is knit separately and both pieces are sewn together.  I’m sure, with time, it will be apparent. For now I’m trusting the pattern and knitting on.

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Bed Peds

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I started on a pair of Bed Ped slippers for Noah. They’re simple (no heel shaping) and free on Ravelry. I kinda stalled out for a bit; they just weren’t looking quite like I thought they should. I’m not sure if it’s the way the change in yarn color (Camo, of course) breaks up or if this yarn would work better with a different pattern. Noah likes how they look so I’m going with it.

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The Weekender Bag

DSCN6985Kale,lettuce radishes,peas….they’re all growing so fast! My current harvesting basket just isn’t large enough to hold it all. I started this weekenders bag with harvesting in mind but it’s coming out so nicely that I’m considering making it a project/store/etc bag and finding something else to help carry the harvest back from the garden.

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Summer Kanoko Pants

This week- in progress….

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I just adore these baby Kanoko pants!  I thought I’d knit another pair before Molly outgrows the pattern. Since it’s getting hotter by the day I made these out of cotton. Hopefully, I can make these a tad longer than the first pair but I have only one skein- which I’m working from both ends so that the legs will at least be equal in length. I’ve knit the waist as one piece and will be sewing an elastic in. I’m also making up my own pattern as far as the seed stitch/garter stitch sections go.

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BSJ

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The BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket): that infamous Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern. Knit flat, like a baby blanket, but fold it the right way, sew the shoulder seams and ta da- a jacket. The folding bit is the best part. I find the pattern itself simple, but figuring put how to mark the increases and decreases…it’s a puzzle I solve differently every time (because I can’t remember how I did it the first time!).

Because the BSJ is was designed as a jacket its a tad long, or the sleeves are a tad short, at least that’s how it seems to me.  I had forgotten that or else I would have attempted a few modifications. There are pages on Ravelry, dedicated just to the BSJ, full of ideas and how-tos. I also haven’t figured out how to intentionally size the BSJ.  In the photo above Molly is wearing the BSJ I made for Ishmael. It fits her well at three months, made out of self striping sport weight yarn and size 4 needles. Using the exact same pattern, but worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles, the BSJ below is far larger – 24 months. Better to be too big than too small, I say.

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On the Go-veralls

After figuring out how to knit and purl my first project was a pair of On the go-veralls. Noah was 2 or 3 at the time. It was a bit ambitious but I wanted to knit something besides a scarf. Why not jump in with both feet!

100_1223 100_1224Luckily for me they turned out well. Now, I think the yarn drapes  a bit too much. They are super comfy!

Ever since, the On the go-veralls have been on my mental make again list. So when my Grandmother sent me a lovely knit baby blanket plus a skein of yarn I knew just what to do with it.

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Even though I made the 0-6 month size these are pretty big on Molly right now. I thought they might be as the leg was looking more like a sleeve for me! However, my gauge was spot on so I went with it. During the hip section I had an ominous feeling that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to finish. Luckily I had a little wool left over from one of the Liza Rose scarflettes. So I added it in as stripes. Together they were exactly enough. Funny how that works out sometimes!

I expect Molly will fit into these in another 2-3 months (around 6 months).

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A Shalom-Inspired Cowl

 My Shalom cardigan is done! Well, except for the buttons. I used up every last bit of the Twiggy with just enough yarn left to weave in the ends. I found one never used skein of the same yarn – but its no where near enough yarn for two sleeves. So my Shalom will stay a vest. Since Spring has yet to show its face around here, and to use up that last skein, I decided to make a Shalom inspired cowl.

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Using the same twisted stitch pattern as the Shalom I cast on 78 stitches. After 3 ridges (of garter stitch) I knit 25 rows and ended with 3 more ridges. I used larger needles -size 10 rather than the size 4 I used on the Shalom. While this cowl won’t keep the stiff winter winds out it will be perfect for the (hopefully coming) warmer, but still chilly, Spring days ahead.

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Shalom

Several years ago, when I first began knitting, the idea of undoing an entire sweater was unthinkable. Yet, for the last week or two I’ve been knitting up my second Shalom vest (free Rav link) while simultaneously frogging the Twiggy cardigan (post) I knit up a few months ago. Since I was pregnant and in the third trimester it was hard to guess what size I would be post baby. While the sweater did fit, it didn’t fit very well. Due to the negative ease and the stretching of the yarn my Twiggy was laddering all over. Every time I wore it I was reminded of everything I didn’t like about it. Rather than  keeping a sweater I don’t enjoy wearing I’m ripping it out. Hopefully this vest will be that extra layer I’ll want to wear  (almost) daily. After all spring has not quite yet reached our neck of the woods.

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Once again I’m using different yarn and needles than the pattern calls for and making a few modifications- such as adding buttons down the entire length of the front. I was going to add sleeves as well but since I’m knitting the Shalom up on smaller needles, to create a denser fabric that won’t ladder, its looking like I’ll be running out of yarn by the time I reach the end of the body. Nearly there!

P. S. I do think I’ll knit another Twiggy but with different yarn and perhaps less negative ease.

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Pebble Vest & Kanoko Pants

On the crafting front, I give you a couple more baby knits. Which means more baby photos!

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Miss Molly Stark is wearing her Pebble Vest which I modified to make it super tiny and fit a newborn. She has just about outgrown it now. I made this pebble vest previously, which fit Ezra at 21 months, however I managed to put it through the wash and felt it. It shrunk a LOT; Molly will be growing into it in no time.

Since this pebble vest is so small I gave it 4 buttons and made a small loop to fasten the button over the shoulder. The back is also a tad wider than the front.

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DSCN5654DSCN5643And a few more photos just because.  As you’ll see Molly is also wearing these Kanoko Pants. I’d been meaning to knit them for the last two babies and now I finally have.

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editing to add this photo, which gives a better view of the Kanoko pants:

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Baby Booties

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With a new baby in the house there has been a bit of knitting for our tiny one. I’m sure no one is surprised about that- except maybe that it took me nearly a month to start posting about them! These booties take no time at all and they use so little yarn that you can use up those tiny leftover bits from larger projects.

DSCN5548Both of these booties are knit from the same pattern: Simple Seamless Baby Booties (free on Ravelry or as found on the Blog of Joy). The only difference is size, which you alter through changing your gauge (either yarn weight and/or needle size). The worsted weight multi colored booties are newborn size, Molly has since outgrown these, while the bulky green booties fit Molly now at nearly 1 month old. My only recommendation is that you use a bind off with a lot of give so you can easily get around those tiny splayed out toes.

DSCN5581DSCN5586It’s also easier to put them on if you fold them over first.

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DSCN5553The more my older kids grow the more I can appreciate knitting tiny baby items even if they don’t get a lot of use. These booties fly off the needles so fast I’ll surely be knitting up another pair or two.

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