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Nolan is live!

My newest knitting pattern, Nolan, is now live!  Yay!  I really do adore this hat, and it may be my new go-to for babies, toddlers, children, and maybe even for myself.  I’m not just saying it because it’s my pattern, either!  I promise!

Now that we’ve gotten the exclamation points out of the way, let’s talk details.

I got the idea for a garter rib body after knitting about a dozen Snow Day Cowls, a pattern by my friend and fellow designer Sue.  I loved the idea of a hat that had a garter rib body, and was surprised that I didn’t find one.  But I never sit down to put the hat together, mostly because I was intimidated with finding a way to make the crown come together nicely.  Then my sister got pregnant with her second child and decided not to find out what she was having.  Suddenly, I *needed* a gender neutral baby hat, and I knew this was where garter rib could work.  So I went to work.

Nolan is sized for newborns, infants, toddlers, and children.  I had a variety of head sizes to work with here at the house, but I also referenced Kate Oates’ great head sizing chart.  Because heads come in many different shapes and sizes, this was a wonderful resource for me as a designer (and a knitter).

Nolan is knit in sportweight or DK weight yarn.  I knit my first sample in Huckleberry Knits Nootka Merino sportweight (the Huckleberry colorway) on 3.25 mm needles.  I knit my second sample in String Theory Hand-dyed Merino DK  (the Nevirrik colorway), also on 3.25 mm needles.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is the stretch that the the garter rib has, without all the work of regular 2×2 ribbing.  In fact, if I had added extra length to the toddler-sized hat I knit for Jessica, I could have worn it!

Nolan is priced at $4, but between now and the end of November 2011, if you purchase in threes: a baby cardigan or Wyatt, you will receive Nolan free of charge!

I hope you enjoy Nolan as much as I have!

 

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A Family First

Since returning to the states in 2009, our international travel schedule has been someone limited. It has become increasingly difficult to leave the country on a moment’s notice, especially with the addition of a third child, school schedules, and financial constraints. That doesn’t mean we don’t have plans–it just means we’ve had to evolve.

This year, instead of exploring ancient ruins or trolling the rolling countryside, we decided to take a new travel route.

We’re in Walt Disney World. Heaven help us.

We made the approximately 15 hour drive over two days, and the trip itself was relatively painless. The girls were well-behaved. The traffic was minimal. The gas prices were falling.

So here we are. They aren’t castles and abbeys, but they’re historic in their own right. And we’re enjoying every minute of it.

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A History of my World in 100 Objects #2-6

It seems like a cheat, but of course, I cannot tell the history of my world without these 5 items. My girls and my boys. My daughters came first, then my nephews. Then encapsulate who I am. They cover the relationships that matter most to me in the world, even those not explicitly pictured here. They make me mother, wife, sister, daughter, woman…and those have been defining roles in my life. They always will be.

I cannot possibly paint the history of my world without them.

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To the festival!

We felt motivated and in the mood to head out and do something fun today, so it was off to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. We all had a great time, and Marcus and I may go back one day without the girls (beer and turkey legs were calling!)

Highlights of the day’s festivities…

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In which I might be obsessed with reality television

Dance Moms.  Toddlers & Tiaras.  Teen Mom.  16 & Pregnant.  Jersey Shore.  Storage Wars.  Pawn Stars.

They’re “real” (whatever that means).  They’re raw (well, sometimes).  They’re addicting (without a doubt).  I’ve found that the more that I yell at the television screen, the more likely I am to add it to the DVR list and watch next week, too.  Damn it.  It’s almost like they’ve done research and know that’s going to happen.

Poor Marcus.  At least he has his Bejeweled Blitz, Words with Friends, and Army of Darkness to help him cope.

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One thing after another

This week has been chaotic. Not only did all three girls end up really ill, but biscuit (our 5 month old puppy) spent a night at the emergency vet and we had a disastrous day with the big girls.

But we have survived and another week is upon us. It’s the last full week of summer vacation. With quite a few ups and downs, I have mixed feelings about the return to school. On one hand, it’s the return to schedules, routines, homework, and after school activities. On the other, thank goodness for just that!

So, I’m determined to slow down and enjoy this week with the girls. The week before I have a first grader and a kindergartener, the week before my babies are back to being big girls, and it’s the week before everything changes (again).

Here’s to one thing after another…and then another!

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In which we experience trying times

The summer has not been an easy one. My return to medication has helped me get back on track, but it has coincided with periods of struggle with the big girls. An older child starting to grow up, have some attitude, and mouth off combined with a middle child dealing with anger, frustration, and finding her place in the family have made for some difficult parenting times in the past few months.

The keys are on the table: consistency, patience, calmness, follow-through, a no-nonsense attitude, love, firmness, clear expectations and consequences, rewards.

Yet it’s so difficult, nonetheless. Parenting isn’t easy. I never thought it would be. But I just didn’t think it would be this hard, either.