Thursday, October 24, 2013


This little guy is on the move.

As you can see, Autumn is here, the leaves are changing and blanketing our yards, and there's a chill in the air that has me bundling the baby up with extra care.

Those are hand-knitted fingerless gloves on that baby.  This is the first time he's worn them willingly, without fighting or pulling them off.  It's a nice feeling, clothing your child in something you've made.

Mmmm, wool.

They're the Sucky Thumb mitts pattern, done up using two strands of Berocco Sox held together.  It made for very nice little stripes.  It's not the softest yarn in the world, even after washing, but they're holding up well to several encounters with the concrete driveway.  Walking is hard.

I still have lots of the yarn left, so I'm using it to test-knit a hat for Cowtownknits on Ravelry.  Pictures to come later.  It's an in-between project, because mainly I'm still working on swap stuff.  That involves mohair and beads, and sometimes I need a break from that insanity.  Sometimes I just need a simple hat in simple wool, in a pattern that doesn't require six stitchmarkers and a row counter and four pages of instructions and a bag of beads and a crochet hook . . .

As the weather's been turning colder, I've been doing more cooking, which has also been easier on our bank accounts (for how little money we have, we have an absurd number of accounts to keep it in).  Soups, stews, and skillet meals are the order of the day.  Ryan brought home a bag of potatoes one day, a few weeks before the cold snap, actually.  I don't cook a lot with potatoes - too much prep/cooking time, as far as I'm concerned.  However, a bag of potatoes I had and since a few were rotten, I figured I'd better cook p as many as I could before the rest caught the bug.  On my next day off, I decided to make potato soup.  I budgeted my time with an eye towards Silas taking a nap before dinner.  The parents among my readership can well imagine how that went down.  Not only would he not take a nap, he would not self-entertain.  He wanted Mama.  Folks, there is no good way to hold a toddler and peel potatoes at the same time.  There isn't a good way to hold a toddler and wash potatoes at the same time.  I was at the end of my rope, and there was only one thing I could think of doing (well, two, but I couldn't wait for my mom to drive three hours to come babysit).

I took everything outside.

I filled an ice cream bucket with hot water, brought out my veggie wash spray, and sat on the bottom step of our front porch and scrubbed potatoes for all the neighbors to see.  After some trial and error, I discovered the only way to keep Silas out of the potato water bucket was to get him his own bucket, and he happily splashed in it next to me, gathering a thick coating of mud on his clothes and his rubber ducks.  I felt a nice connection to my ancestors, who quite likely also did a lot of prep work out of doors, to get out of smoky, dark kitchens and make the most of fresh air and light.

Now, our next-door neighbors have four children, and they were hosting some daycare children while the kids' normal provider was laid up with a broken hip, and it turns out that there is nothing more fascinating in the world to young children than someone doing something perfectly ordinary like washing and peeling potatoes in an un-ordinary setting like OUTSIDE.  Also, small children like babies.  So I quickly found myself faced with a semi-circle of children ranging in age from 3 to 9, all absolutely engrossed in what my son and I were doing.  Mr. Next-Door was pretty confused about the interest garnered by potatoes, but it's easy to forget that anything can be interesting if you've never seen it done a certain way before.  And EVERYTHING is more interesting if there's a baby involved.
This picture wouldn't be half so fun to look at if it were just my unraked yard, right?

Anyway, there's something about scrubbing and peeling potatoes that, even in the kitchen, makes me feel this close connection to all the women in my family, present and past.  How many generations of my family have made potato soup or latkes or stews with hearty chunks of potato?  I get the same feeling when I make bread from scratch, and of course when I'm knitting.  It's one of the things I love best about both activities - they're ancient, and they're ways to keep my family warm, either from the inside out with a good garlic potato soup, or from the outside in with a pair of fingerless gloves or a stocking cap.

Yeah, I occasionally knit for this guy, too.  

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