In theory, this post is about a sheep and wool festival and some sweaters. In reality, it's about those things and toddlers.
Last weekend at this time, I was in Rhinebeck, NY for a sheep and wool festival. Now, if you knit, you might know what a big deal this is. It seems like nearly everyone I know was there. I met so! many! knitters! People I'd known for years online, but had never met in person. It was awesome. And, oh yeah, there were sheep. And tons of wool. I'm not a spinner, though sometimes I pretend to be, so I focused on the already-spun wool and browsed the booths and booths of yarn. (Booths and booths. Holy crap, I don't think I've ever seen so much yarn in one place! And I didn't even get to see it all!) I managed to keep my purchases small(ish) and only came home with two skeins of yarn. I'm going to knit me some socks this winter!
We had a great time. Though I wouldn't recommend traveling 6 hours in a car with two toddlers on a regular basis. All in all, they were fairly well-behaved, but between trying to get them to sleep in the car, nap in the stroller, or to sleep in a room with other toddlers, it was...a challenge...to put it politely. Good times were had, but not relaxing times, if you know what I mean! Travel with the little ones can be fun, certainly, but stressful too.
We had some truly wonderful moments though. I took E on the merry-go-round for the very first time. And oh, how I wish I had photos of it! Alas, I was holding on to both her and the neighboring horse to keep us all from falling off. If you had been watching, you would have seen my little girl literally shaking with a combination of glee and terror. I've never seen her so excited! We did, however, confirm her fear of sheep. *sigh* Apparently alpacas are pretty terrifying too.
I knit both of us Rhinebeck sweaters, which sounds a bit more impressive than it really is. Mine I started nearly a year ago and E's began life in March of this year. But I did finish them both! Although I fully admit to sewing the buttons on in the car and finishing the last buttonhole mere minutes before arrival at the Rhinebeck house.
E's sweater was the Eyelet Yoke Baby Cardigan which I modified somehow to make toddler-sized but I can't remember for the life of me now what I did. (Whatever it was, I did it in the springtime. And forgot to write it down. Silly me!) I used Knit Picks Swish Worsted in cornmeal, which was left over from part of a baby blanket. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough to knit a whole sweater, so I had to order more! And now I have extra. Again. The pattern is super simple, even with fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants toddler mods. As you can see, it's a bit long on her - I was worried about it being too short, with her being such a tall kiddo and all, so I erred on the side of long. This way, she can wear it for a long time!
I love the eyelet details at the yoke and hems. They add just a touch of loveliness to an otherwise not-very-girly sweater.
My own sweater was the very popular Coraline. I knit it using my own hand dyed DK weight yarn in a 70% merino/30% silk blend. The only major modification was to make 3/4 length sleeves, for a couple of reasons. One, I was very afraid (needlessly, it turned out) that I was going to run out of yarn. And if I had, there was no just hopping to the store to buy more - I only had a certain number of skeins, and I didn't trust my ability to recreate the colors exactly! And the second reason was that I just generally prefer shorter sleeves. If my sweaters and tops are long-sleeved, you will almost always see me push them up. These sleeves hit just below my elbow, which is pretty much perfect for me.
The pattern has you knitting the bottom of the sweater then turning it over on itself and knitting it together before continuing up the length of the body. It makes for a wonderful turned hem, though I cursed at the time because all of sudden, you're knitting along and it's like you've only done half of what you've actually done! Not very satisfying. But it looks wonderful.
So now I'm missing my Rhinebeck friends but thoroughly enjoying some quiet time at home. And E and I both have gorgeous sweaters to wear! I admit - I've been wearing mine nearly every day since our return. And it's been glorious.
This past weekend, we headed up to Unity, Maine for our 3rd year at the Common Ground Country Fair. It was blissful. (Well, the rain drip-drip-dripping on my head Friday night when a bit of the tent leaked wasn't so blissful, nor was the way my back felt after sleeping on the hard ground and forgetting our pillows...but the rest of the weekend was wonderful!)
The first year we went, we had only been in Maine for a couple days and it was a bit of a climate shocker to go camping and wake up to frost in the morning! Then last year, I brought E, who was 5 months old at the time, and M was in Seattle. Luckily, my dear friends that we go with were extremely helpful. This year, M was back in the picture and E was old enough to enjoy stuff! Like playing in the big baskets of beans at the Fedco tent! (Turns out, she's afraid of when sheep baa. Which should bode well for our trip to a sheep and wool festival in a few weeks...)
One of my favorite parts is the main building where they display all the vegetables and beans. Call me crazy. I love seeing what other people are growing.
A few more photos from the fair...
What are you doing Saturday, August 27 from 11-6? Will you be in Lincoln Park in Portland, ME? I think you will.
You know why?
The Picnic Music+Arts Festival will feature clothing, jewelry, prints, accessories, bags, plush, stationery, photography, housewares, fine art, vintage goods and more. There will be live music and tasty food to enjoy all day.
I guess I fall into the "and more" category... Anyway, it'll be an excellent chance to check out my new yarn colors and squish it with your very own hands! Last year I attended (not as a vendor) with my teeny baby and it was loads of fun. Save the date and we'll look forward to seeing you!
On your mark...
Excuse the crappy iPod pics... We had a blast at the Great Cloth Diaper Change event we attended. (And if you had told me not too long ago that my idea of a good time on a Saturday afternoon would be to go hang out with a bunch of other parents and babies and change diapers, I may have thought you were a little crazy...) There's no official word on whether the effort actually broke the world record, but it was a great event nonetheless!
And now...a winner for the cloth diapering giveaway! I had my best little helper pick.
You want me to what, mama?
Well, you didn't say there would be a box! With little slips of paper in it!
I think...I'll pick...this one!
Don't you love how it looks like she's just going to up and read it out loud to me?
And the lucky winner is Sherrie!
Thanks to all who entered and don't forget that anyone can use code JD65 at Everything Birth to get 5% off. Happy diapering!
Celebrate Earth Day by changing a diaper! No, really. Saturday, April 23, at many locations around the world, there will be an event to change as many cloth diapered baby bums as possible! Go to the official website for more info and to find a location near you. (I bet there is one!)
And don't forget to enter my cloth diapering giveaway! There are some great prizes that one lucky cloth-diapering mama (or papa!) will win!
Oh, the big 1. What a momentous occasion! E got together with about two dozen of her closest little baby friends to celebrate.
Our amazing flock got together last Sunday to celebrate the first birthdays of all our babies. Most were born in April 2010, some in May and a few outliers in February and March. I met a handful of these wonderful mamas at our excellent midwives office when we participated in a prenatal group that met, at first, monthly and then bi-weekly near the end of our pregnancies. After all our babes were born, we had a reunion and somebody mentioned taking a class at Birth Roots. It was there, at that wonderful space, that the rest of us found each other.
So supportive, so helpful, so caring. It was a welcoming spot that a new mama could descend upon with her screaming infant in tow. Someplace where other mamas would know exactly what you're going through. A comfy chair to sit in, a nursing pillow to use, a yoga ball to bounce that screamy baby to sleep on...I don't know what I would have done without Birth Roots and the ladies (and babies!) we met there.
So now, a year later, we've aged out of the Birth Roots target demographic but we still have each other! We formed a little community of like-minded families with similarly-aged babies and hopefully we'll be here for each other for a long time to come! Where once the babies would just lie on the floor and squawk while we mamas talked about sleep deprivation, nursing and other infant concerns, now they toddle about and steal each other's toys while we discuss daycare, feeding and still, sometimes, sleep deprivation.
I only hope that every new mama in our area has a chance to partake of some of the wonderful resources the community has to offer - like Birth Roots and the various local websites, like Raising Maine and Moms Like Me (which has local websites for many locations!) And if you are reading this from another community, take a look and see what you have available to you! It makes all the difference in the world.
I'm a little late...
We went to Merrifield Farm in Gorham, Maine for Maine Maple Sunday, which was, oh, a couple weeks ago. I meant to blog about it right after we went... Shh. Don't tell anyone how behind I am!
I had to convince the mister to go but even he had a good time seeing the sugar shack and the oxen and the baby farm animals. The coffee was mediocre at best, but there were hot dogs! Unfortunately, the place was so packed that they ran out of maple goodies to sample before we had a chance to partake. It was a cold, cold day but we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
Honestly, the best part of it for me was seeing my sweet baby girl peer curiously at the baby animals. That, and the giant cauldrons of boiling sap placed over open flames in an it-used-to-always-be-done-like-this sort of demonstration. (The real, modern "sugar shack" was a little underwhelming, to be quite truthful. Interesting, but not terribly exciting.)
It's all over for this year but keep it in mind for next, if you're in the area! (Or another maple-producing area!) But do like I say and not like I do - get there early if you want maple samples!
Just a reminder that today you can get 15% off any order from my shop with coupon code THANKYOUTURKEY.
Also! Lulu is having a sale as well and I promised I would pass along any Lulu sale info as I got it... They are doing 25% off any order today with code CYBER305. (How generous!) So pop over and grab a calendar while the price lasts!