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Happy, happy birthday to the most clever, sweetest, handsomest, loving, wonderful little boy in the world.

I remember sitting in the NICU, day after day for a month, trying to recover from a c-section, not being able to hold my baby when I wanted to, driving back and forth from the hospital… I remember thinking “A year from now. Focus on where we’ll be a year from now and this will all seem like a distant memory.” And it does.

My sweet, sweet boy, such a little fighter and flirt. You are the best thing that ever happened to me.

Dare to DAR

My Grandma Myrt was a pretty amazing lady. She raised 3 boys, her house was always spotless, she played a mean hand of cards, made the best pistachio dessert, was kind, intelligent and good lord could that woman crochet. She specialized in afghans. Beautiful, perfectly made, colorful afghans. I have her hand written instructions and it’s on my bucket list to make one. Even today, 60+ years later, they look brand new.

My father says I’m a lot like Myrt. He’s a lot like Myrt. I’m a lot like him. While Myrt passed away when I was 12, I’d like to think the 3 of us would have some pretty amazing conversations together, kill each other at cards and sit comfortably working on our respective crafts. Another thing she was amazing at was writing. She wrote letters by hand on a ruler and never once forgot a birthday card.

In the early 1970’s, she took it upon herself to work on the Gray family history. Born a Rutemiller, she would never have been eligible to be part of the DAR, but she married in and picked up where Alonson Gray had left off, about 100 years prior. She did it for us and she wrote letters. TONS of letters. Filling in gaps, fact checking, updating, reaching out to Grays everywhere updating our tree.

In 1996 I got a very serious case of lyme disease and ended up in the hospital needing emergency knee surgery. When I finally got to go home, my dad and I cracked open computer software that would let you enter in your family history, keep it more organized and link it up to other people working on the same family. Since I couldn’t do much but sit around and heal, I got addicted to the program and worked hard, plugging in all of the info my grandma had found and everything that had come before. I began to really enjoy history and it was like watching the plot of a great drama unfold before my eyes as the generations were laid out in front of me.

Last year, armed with my notes from Myrt and everything typed up neatly, I began double-checking the history with the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). It took 3 solid months of weekly research in their beautiful library to confirm everything and earlier this year I was inducted in. They have a Women in the Arts Award specializing in all of the arts and that inspired me to take my idea for Capitol Knits and make it a reality. The DAR do some wonderful things and if you have a family member already in, it’s much easier to join rather than starting from scratch like I did.

Today I won that award and all I could think was I wish Myrt was there. Capitol Knits also won first place for the American Heritage category and has now gone on to compete nationally.

Family history is unique. It’s always changing with new branches sprouting up and reaching far. I was shocked at how many women way up in my tree had notations under their names about how crafty they were. It’s in my blood and it’s my duty to pass it on to my son. I know he’s got some Myrt in him and I look forward to watching him grow and learn to appreciate his eastern European, American and Asian roots.

So this is for you, Myrt. For inspiring me to get out there and make my little dream of Capitol Knits a reality.

I think about you every day.

I wish you were here to see it.

Well You Don’t See That Every Day

Well you don’t see that every day.

wheeeeeee!

The space shuttle Discovery was strapped to the back of a 747 and flown over DC this morning on its way to Dulles. It’s headed to the Air & Space Museum/Udvar Hazy Center out in Chantilly and is officially retired. They did 4 passes over DC right over the building where we live.

I had the local news on in the background while I tried to get through some work while C was napping. I heard the announcer say it was about to pass into DC air space, so I grabbed my camera, sprinted up the 2 flights to the roof and joined the crowd. It was pretty neat to see all of the surrounding rooftops jammed with people pointing up towards the sky. I made it just in time to see the first pass, then watched another 3 passes before it headed off into the distance towards Dulles Airport.

I found the experience oddly emotional and was wiping away tears one second, then cheering with the crowd the next. I’m proud of my country (most of the time). I’m proud of (most of) our history and (most of the time) am glad I live here.

I’ll never forget seeing that.

Yes, Twist Collective, There is a Santa Claus….

I’ve been dying to have a design in Twist Collective since the first issue came out.

I submitted a design last year and promptly forgot about it until I got an email letting me know my design had been accepted. Super excited, I waited patiently for yarn to arrive in the mail, one of my favorites, Classic Elite Solstice. Knitting it in my favorite style, top-down raglan with bits of lace running down the 3/4 sleeves, picot hems and a huge, fold-over cowl, Fairfax is a great winter-to-spring pullover. Download the Fairfax pattern here.

all sweater images © Twist Collective

Yes, I design a lot. The funny thing about my designs are I always associate them with what was going on when I was knitting it, or way back in BC (Before Callum) what I was watching on my computer while furiously knitting into the night. The days of late night knitting and TV watching are over (except when a major deadline is looming on the horizon) and have been replaced with feedings and diaper changes, but I still have that association.

The way you usually learn a lesson is to make the mistake once and hope to never repeat it again. For example, touching a hot stove, agreeing to babysit sextuplets alone, going against your gut or eating all the cookie dough batter before it even makes it into the oven. Or in our case, deciding to go see Santa on Christmas Eve. “What the hell were we thinking,” you ask? Excellent question. We dragged our feet on whether or not to take C to see the man in red for weeks. I thought Santa might scare him, or the lines would be insane, the mall would be too hot or I’d want to find the stereo piping holiday music on repeat and beat it with a baseball bat a la Office Space. Yet Christmas Eve rolled around and I decided that you only have your first Christmas once and we better go do it.

We went to the smaller mall and thought we’d be the only idiots who waited until the last-minute. Perhaps you heard the thwak that was my head hitting the wall over and over when we got in line and were told it was a 2.5 hour wait. While C slept peacefully in his stroller most of the time, my husband called his sister and mom to come keep us company and to entertain him. I on the other hand grabbed my knitting bag and started to work. Mastering the art of standing and knitting while ridding the NYC subway for years paid off.

The Twist Collective deadline was such that my sweater had to be in the mail on December 26th in order to make it there on time. I didn’t want to spend my Christmas knitting so it had to get done. 2.5 hours of knitting later and I knew I’d be able to finish it, block it and write the pattern by the appointed hour. This sweater will forever be associated with standing in line, waiting for Santa to me. And yes, I learned my lesson. We’ll be in line next time on the first day he arrives.

And Callum? He was a champ through and through.

Serenity

It’s no secret that Firefly was the best show to ever air on television (if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor, get yourself out from under that rock you’ve been living under and WATCH IT NOW). The ship the crew lived on was called “Serenity.”

They always seem to kill the shows I look forward to watching… Firefly, Dollhouse, The River, Terra Nova, Battlestar (let’s not even talk about how they tried to bring that back a few years ago and killed it).

RIP, best show on TV. I still heart you.

I knit a cardigan for Caron a little over a year and a half ago and more or less forgot about it. I got their free e-newsletter this morning and lo and behold, the Serenity Cardi was there, smiling back at me (God love them, when will they learn to spell my last name correctly?). Good to see you, friend!

A hooded, lace cardigan in my favorite color in time for the warm weather? Yes, please.

This cardi knits up in a jiff (promise) and I may knit another up in my size. It’s a great project if you’ve done a few easy lace projects and are ready to attempt a sweater. Download the free pattern here or queue it up here on Ravelry.

 

Free Pattern Alert!

I’m excited to offer up another free pattern just in time for Spring, the Chickadee Shrug!

It’s cherry blossom season here in Washington, DC and while it’s been hot and sunny in the afternoons and early evenings, the mornings remain slightly chilly. The famous trees around the Tidal Basin are done already (they came early this year due to our lack of a real winter) but there are over 200 varieties, 12 of which bloom here in DC across our 3, 750 trees! I see the blossoms each year and have learned over time to go as early as possible so you can actually see them without getting jostled by tourists, school groups, Segway tours or overly enthusiastic photographers. This means going out in the cold but it’s well worth it.

What better way to usher in the season while out and about in the chilly morning air than a Chickadee Shrug? Knit in Cascade’s super soft Pacific Chunky, this shrug knits up in a jiffy and can be easily sized up or down by adding or subtracting reps or ribbing. I really like the bounce of the yarn, the gentle ply and the fact that it’s superwash with a fiber content of 40% superwash merino wool and 60% acrylic. Being a mom now, I understand the importance of all things superwash and even more so, a quick knit to whip up while the baby sleeps. Also, only 240 yards for an entire lace shrug? Works for me!

The shrug takes only 2 skeins of Pacific Chunky and is knit on US 10 needles with simple ribbing on the ends and lace that mimics the flower buds in the middle. While I chose a color appropriate for Cherry Blossom viewing, this yarn comes in over 40 colors so you can find a color for whatever flowers you’re celebrating in your neck of the woods! Maybe I should knit up a yellow one for the daffodils or a purple one for the crocus next year…

Download the pattern for free here on Ravelry. Happy cherry blossom season!