New Sweater from Grandma

Grandma's Latest Sweater for Lucas

My mother has done it again—produced a beautiful, perfect sweater for Lucas in less than two weeks. It’s his favorite color, turquoise. She used an acrylic yarn by Caron “Simply Soft” because she likes the way it washes and dries in the dryer. I like that, too, for my ever-muddy boys.

Grandma's Latest Sweater for Lucas

Grandma's Latest Sweater for Lucas

Grandma's Latest Sweater for Lucas

She used a seed stitch and a basketweave stitch—both of which are completely beyond my understanding and skill.

It’s wonderful having a grandma who make such beautiful things. My sons have drawers-full of handknit socks and a closet-full (they have to share one) full to bursting with grandma’s sweaters. Now if only I could convince the little guy that “fuzzy” is a good quality in a sweater.

Shared Project: Gryffindor Scarf

Shared Project in Progress: Gryffindor House Scarf

Lucas and I have a shared knitting project going right now. Back before Christmas, we went to the yarn shop one day and he asked for gold and scarlet yarn to knit a Harry Potter Gryffindor House scarf for himself. (I know for a fact that Lucas makes a terrific Harry Potter.) I said no at the time, but went back later and bought him the yarn he wanted and gave it to him as a Christmas present. Then I suggested it might be fun for us to knit the scarf together, sharing the project as much or as little as he wants.

He jumped at the idea. He decided how wide it would be and what the stripes would look like: “Even, Mom. Even all the way.” We are just knitting garter stitch—nothing fancy. Although we started with 30 stitches, we now have 34. We have a couple of holes, too. None of that matters, though. What matters is that we are doing it.

Shared Project in Progress: Gryffindor House Scarf

So, we press onward despite mistakes and whatever.

The reason I suggested we share the project is so that he can have the experience of working on it and watching it grow. Lucas knits for a row or two and then puts it down. I knit to hopefully keep his interest in the project. I am thinking it will be rewarding and reinforcing to see the scarf coming along at a faster clip than he could do on his own. And he’ll be getting lots of practice.

We’ll file this under Experiments in Parenting, shall we?



These days are drifting by me. My children still have a few days of winter break left, and we are in a sleepy sort of stillness here. There are arguments, of course, and normal life chores to do, but we are also lounging more, playing more, reading more. Although the weather doesn’t feel all that wintery, we’re still deep in the quiet stream of short days and long nights.

Now that the excitement of the holidays is passed, we can just be. So far, I’ve been able to relax into this period of rest. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been sick, and so sleeping in late or spending time on the couch with a book seems good and justified. NOVA programs are my good friends right now.

New-to-Us Playstands

There are walks and visits, overnights with friends, and, just a few days ago, we enjoyed an epic New Year’s weekend of homemade roller disco and hours upon hours of delicious social time. We play with new toys and eat together and find moments to sift through belongings, then let items go to others who need them more than we do. The boys’ scooter and trike have had extra workouts this week. These activities are comfortable and easy to me, despite the child-made sound effects and the bickering. I don’t know if my expectations for this time are higher or lower than normal, but whatever it is, it’s working. I feel rather like I’m mentally hibernating.

Today I felt the first inkling of the What-If Harpies, which arrived with some news. They started in with their usual doomsaying. I told them to go away. I’m too busy resting to worry right now.

Squirrel Eating My Plants

This afternoon I watched a fat, robust squirrel drink from my birdbath. He approached boldly as though he does this every afternoon, which he may very well do. I’ve just never seen it before. I watched him drink his fill, then hop down, rip a bit off a nearby garden plant and then sit atop a rock and eat it as his salad course.

Solstice at Rest

I have a new, light-brown shadow. It seems as though this little foundling dog is staying with us. We have had not a single nibble, despite our efforts to find his family. Not even a mistaken call from a worried pet-owner hoping we have found her pet. Ian went back to work yesterday and in his absence the little dog stayed by my side all day long. He likes to cuddle or sleep beside me; if I move, he’s up and ready to go along. He does not wish to be left behind. I have so much to learn about having a dog. And yet this tethered feeling is very familiar.

The truth is Solstice is a joy for us all. I’m hoping hoping hoping that my illness is illness and not a bad reaction to him. The doctor gave me meds today for a sinus infection, so I guess if I start to feel better, that’s a good sign that my condition isn’t being caused by the dog.

First Sweater in Progress (Knitting Top Down)

First Sweater in Progress

I’ve faked my way through knitting about a quarter of my first sweater. I’ve flubbed a bunch of things, but also used a number of techniques for the first time. I consider that progress. I wonder what my mother will say when she sees it. She is both my cheerleader and teacher in this sort of thing. I’ve arrived at the body portion with too many stitches and a hole where I clearly dropped one, and yet I press on. I like the colors a lot and I am kind of astonished at the beautiful stripes that are appearing as I work. This sweater is for Asher. I figure there’s about a 20 percent chance I’ll finish it and a 2 percent chance he’ll wear it. But … if I did … and if he did … wouldn’t that be wonderful?

I’ll leave you with this sweet and insightful post by Team Studer: 25 Rules for Mothers with Sons because it made me feel nostalgic and appreciative of everything my sons are and are becoming. And now a walk I think, and then perhaps some tea …

Sweater for Harry Potter

My son wants to be Harry Potter for Halloween. He’s been adamant about it for several months, and frankly, Harry’s cool, so we’re down with this idea. In early October, much to our surprise, Lucas approached his grandmother and asked, “Grandma, will you please knit me a gray sweater for my Harry Potter costume?”

Grandma's Sweater for Lucas as Harry Potter

Nine days and three yarn shops later (looking for the right gray yarn), Grandma Sydney showed up with this gem. How’s that for grandmotherly love and kickass knitting skillz? If only Harry himself were so lucky as to have such a grandma.

Grandma's Sweater for Lucas as Harry Potter

Ian found this super Gryffindor House tie at a thrift shop and it goes perfectly. We still have more work to do on this costume, but this is a magnificent start!

Magical Rainbow Pony

Knitted Magical Rainbow Pony

My mama, who knits (generously and prolifically) very practical and beautiful things like sweaters, socks, baby blankets, and scarves, asked me, “So, what’s with all the knitted animals?” My answer is, “Because they’re small and cute and fast, and I can justify making them because I have kids (even though my kids don’t play with them). Moreover, I’m practicing simple/basic knitting skills like increasing and decreasing, following a pattern, and counting. Prerequisite skills for knitting anything that might be worn by someone.

In the case of this pony, the pattern (from Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke) was just slightly different from the donkey I knitted in June, so I was curious about that. I had the rainbow wool yarn from a felting project I did a couple of years ago. So, why not? Haven’t you always wanted a rainbow pony? I have!

Another Knitted Kitty

Second Knitted Kitty: Right

Yep. I made another one—my second knitted cat. This one is going to live elsewhere as soon as she’s old enough.

Kitty, Kitty

This knitted kitty I made is far simpler than the knitted donkey I made a couple of weeks ago. Seriously, it’s all rectangles and all garter stitch. Easy, even for me.

Knitted Kitty

My cat is about 2 inches high and 3 inches long. The pattern I used is from Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke, but all you have to do to make this little cat is to knit a rectangle that’s almost a square (for the body). Then cast on half as many stitches as you used for the body to make a head, which you will knit until it is a long rectangle (almost three times as long as wide). Last, cast on less than half as many stitches as you used to make the head, to make a tail. Knit about the same number of rows as you knit for the head rectangle. Then sew up the tail into a long tube. If your cat will be small like mine, then no stuffing of the tail will be necessary. If your cat will be bigger, you might have to stuff the tail with wool roving. Fold your head piece in half, sew up three sides, stuff it with wool, and sew up the final side. You may wish to make a few stitches to accentuate the ears. For the body, pinch a corner of your rectangle and sew it into a cone (leg), then move to the next corner and do the same thing. Repeat for all four corners to make for legs. Stuff all of the legs and body and sew up the body at the cat’s tummy. Now attach head and tail in a way that looks appropriately catlike. Voilà! A kitty!

Sturdylegs the Donkey Is Done

The knitted donkey work in progress that I wrote about last week is finished. Here he is!

Sturdylegs the Donkey

Sturdylegs the Donkey

We decided our newest mom-made toy is named Sturdylegs the Donkey. Other name contenders—all great suggestions from Lucas—were Nightsky, Faithful, and Chimney. His names were so perfect and creative, it makes me want to knit three more donkeys just to use them all. (I doubt any family of four needs four knitted donkeys, however.)

Sturdylegs is all one piece, knitted from wool yarn and stuffed with wool roving. His mane and tail tuft is black acrylic because that’s what I had. The pattern is from Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke.

I’ve started knitting a cat, which is far easier than the donkey.  😉

WIP: Knitted Donkey

Why a donkey? I don’t actually know, except that it’s small and doesn’t matter. I think that appealed to me. And this pattern is more challenging that the lamb and duck that I’ve knitted in the past. I’d been feeling a lack of handwork even though I’m discouraged because the sweater I was knitting for Asher would no longer fit him if I actually finished it—yes, it takes me THAT long! (Oh, and he hates sweaters.)

Anyway, this donkey has been a good way to practice (remember) how to increase and decrease stitches, and to read a pattern. The trickiest part was increasing in the center of the rows to produce the neck of the animal. There was MATH and everything! It was a great boon to have my friend Dakini_Grl (an accomplished knitter) over for dinner the night I first attempted that! She’s the BEST. It’s actually looking like a donkey now.

WIP: Knitted Donkey

WIP: Knitted Donkey

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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