Monday, January 05, 2009

First Library Card

First Library Card
Originally uploaded by 3Birds
My youngest got his first library card today. My plan was to wait for a special day and make a Very Big Deal out of it, but today when we were gathering our books and cards he said "Me want my own card" so I told him we'd get him one that very day. And we did. The Enoch Pratt Free Library restricts new borrowers to just 2 books for their first check-out, and Finch chose Tana Hoban's Is It Larger? Is It Smaller? and a very large book (I swear it's almost as big as he is!) called Fire Engines UP CLOSE by Andra Serlin Abramson.

I loaded up on picture books and so could not get my reserved books, but they will hold them for me one more week. Highlights of my haul include Always, by Ann Stott, illus. by Matt Phelan; Starlight Goes To Town, by Harry Allard, illus. by George Booth; Island of the Skog, by Steven Kellogg (a perennial favorite); The Trouble With Dragons, by Debi Gliori; and Hill's End, by Ivan Southall. This last one is a middle-grade novel, not a picture book, and I'm hooked after only 3 pages.

On our way to the library we encountered 3 drunks (all friendly), the local schizophrenic (quiet today), a gang of heartbreakingly young would-be thugs, a Jehovah's Witness (nice of course, but very annoying), and one incredibly old man*. I rarely see another mom or dad with kids in tow, and I feel isolated and alien and other sometimes, which makes it all the more pleasant when the librarians greet me by name, remark on how fast the baby is growing, and grab my reserve books off the shelf as soon as I walk in the door. Even though I didn't get to check out my reserves because Pratt has that bothersome 30-book limit for all borrowers.

For the first time in weeks, I spent an entire day without knitting, crocheting, or sewing. In fact, the only creative thing I did today (besides parent) was to make dinner. Which wasn't all that creative because I've made it before. But it was tasty and nourishing. In the pipeline: a hat for Wren, another baby hat, a fabric stocking for the 2009 advent calendar.

*by 'incredibly old' I mean Methusalan! Antediluvian! And yet, still walking. Yes, his pace was excruciating, but he made it from his car to the liquor store without mishap and before we passed him.

dinner tonight: sauteed chicken cutlets with a white-wine pan sauce, rice pilaf with pine nuts and dried cranberries, sauteed spinach with shallots

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Practical, portable, patternless...perfect!

Originally uploaded by 3Birds
I've been knitting lots of hats lately because they are well suited to knitting while visiting, riding in the car, and waiting (for the cookies to bake, the husband to take his turn at Scrabble, the line to move, etc.) Hats are among the simplest of projects, yet non-knitting strangers seem unduly delighted and astonished by hats-in-progress. One stranger, a beginning knitter, assured me that she could never aspire to this height of knitterly glory. I've heard this before, and I think it would be a fine thing to cast ample stitches onto a 16" circular so as to have a teaching example ready and waiting. I could carry it with me at all times, and whip it out whenever anyone claimed that such skill is beyond them.

This hat is knit in 3x2 ribbing in a gorgeous handpaint I got at Spinster Yarns and Fibers. I'll edit with the name of the yarn if/when I remember or figure it out. My first round of decreases reduced the purl columns to 1 stitch each, then I did a few plain rounds before decreasing away the remaining purls. At some point I decided to put in a horizontal rib (purl welt) of about 2 rounds, but I wish I hadn't. Not so much that I'm willing to undo it you understand, but I should have stuck to stockinette, or, possibly, reverse stockinette. The top-knot is simply i-cord on the last 3 stitches, about 4" long and then bound off and knotted. I like this and use it a lot, as you can see from exhibit #2:

This is knit in, I think, Debbie Bliss cashmerino. I've had it some time now and can't remember. This is just a simple, striped infant hat with basic crown shaping. It reminds me of those peppermint pinwheel candies, and is knit for a wee lass who is scheduled to make her debut in the next few weeks. I wish her and her mother a safe and easy birthday.

dinner tonight: beef stew and dinner rolls