Friday, April 23, 2010

Good for the heart

My sister Charlotte came to town on Monday night on her way to start opening the cottage up north. Fenner loves Charlotte for all of the right reasons. I've said this before and I'll say it again. Charlotte is love and perspective personified. If you need someone to listen to your woes and give sage balanced advice she's your gal.

She'll also kindly and gently tell you when it's time to buck up and make the best of it. When Auntie Char Char comes there's never a rush to do anything and always focussed love and anchored attention. It was just what Fenner needed this week.
Snuggles and stories, unrushed, unadulterated familiarity. The needs of a kid with no solid routine and a whole lot of seemingly out of control change.
Char Char recently acquired a killer cute little kitten and she doesn't like to leave little Kate behind when she comes to visit. Fenner met Kate last time Charlotte came to visit and the distance apart has only made her heart fonder - if not more scary for poor Kate.

Also, it became apparent that Fenner comes by her crack quite naturally as demonstrated at 0:31 secondsd of this little vignette.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

We've been busy taking care of business at home (hence all the knitting) while we find Fenner get through the effed up nights and different lifestyle. Nesting, its a great preparation for change, you think expectant Mothers nest because it's 'cute'? Mother Nature is wise to give the instinct to prepare.

Over the weekend my close friend gave me "The Cove". A fantastic painting that lightens up our home and gives us a spot on the horizon to focus on.

It hangs right next to our dining table, Fenner faces it while we eat and we talk about the clouds and the mountains. It's a nice segue to talking about going out to British Columbia for my sister's wedding.

A small taste of her work.
This is in exchange for a hand knit piece, no pressure, but it will have to be the best piece ever. 2010 is shaping up to be the year of heirloom knitted art pieces.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Theme of the past month for us

Coincidentally, This American Life's theme this week is Babysitting. A lot of the stories make me feel even more awesome about how well everything is going with new caregivers and daycare.

- No boiled iguana for lunch, Check
- No sibling elastic torture, Check
- No one suggesting a mother might be dead and hanging in a closet, Double Check
- Seemingly well adjusted child and antisocial cat - check.

Implementing change successfully requires so much energy I feel like my legs are numb half the time. My deadline related knitting has suffered but I'll be posting some teaser pics soon enough.

In the meantime, portrait of a sullen cat.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Growing like a Green Bean

One of the psychological challenges of knitting in the age of technology that I struggle with, is the ratio of time vs immediate satisfaction. It is a long process - from picking up a pattern because one day you think it looks great to the acceptance 3 days/weeks/months years later that it's actually not at all up your alley. Or the opposite - you knit something, say in the 80's and then you grow up and realize that sweater dresses do not become the buxom woman you might be.

Just sayin'.

A third and equally realistic outcome is that the project might not happen at all. I'm so used to getting an idea and executing it in a matter of hours or days that I struggle with the concept that it is not the mark of failure if a piece doesn't even get knit at all.

This point begs the question, why give myself a large knitting project deadline in the first place?! I have no answers but I do cross the border to the land of Denial weekly. Maybe it's the adrenaline rush?? Sigh.

5 or 6 years ago, back in the heat of the acquisition phase of my knitting career, I bought 3 and a half skeins of Peace Fleece off my friend Jill. I think I may have thought I was doing her a favour and boosting the weight of my stash at the same time. Over the course of those 5 years I looked at it, swatched it, thought about it, caked it but never found a project that made me want to knit it up.

Until 3 years ago when the kid that would be Fenner was baking I picked up this pattern to knit for another knocked up Mom at the time. That is a long time that I've been looking at this pattern and thinking about the wool.

I made the hat for one of the neighbourhood kids with great struggle. I don't speak the designer's language at all. I finally put the pattern down and picked up The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns and the game was finally afoot!

I had the same challenges with this sweater as I did with Jason's vest - mostly my gauge swatch lying like a teenage girl angling for a curfew extension. Ruthlessly and with perfect composure. Gauge is such an Asshole.

But Gauge is no match for the tenacious, stubborn and ruthless knitter I've evolved into. I WILL NOT GIVE UP! Working through the knitterly mocking I ripped and reknit this beast until finally, this project matched my imagined picture of it. Perfectly.

It's the perfect sweater and hat set for cool Spring nights. It fits under Fenner's rain slick just in time for a 2 week vacation on Vancouver Island.
It's the perfect weight and warmth for cool mornings to keep my little Bean warm when we walk to her first couple of days at school (daycare but you gotta spin these things for the kids!)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Finished MFFO

This sweater has been ongoing since well before June of 2008. If it wasn't for the blog I probably would have blocked out the fact that I've knit it at least 1.5 times.

This fact makes it my first real MFFO. Mothahfucking Finished Object. It was worth every stitch. My first husband sweater, first zipper and first virtually complete reknit project.

He looks great though doesn't he?
It turned out exactly as I'd hoped. This makes 3 projects in a row. My first handspun shawl being the first, a yet to be blogged about Fenner sweater and this bad boy.
Not only did I exhibit endurance - knitting this sweater first without swatching which would have made it the perfect item for a morbidly obese midget. But then reknitting the whole thing AND putting in the zipper backwards before removing my head from my own bum.

See that moss stitch. I know it's impeccable because my friend Molly has seen it and said so. Molly has an eye for the detail dontcha know.
What a handsome fella. These past few weeks, he's really shown the same level of endurance, patience and stick-to-itiveness that, had it been focussed on knitting would have produced an equally perfect sweater.
Instead, his demonstrations of patience produced a pretty well adjusted toddler heading out for her first foray into the real world.
Fenner started going to daycare part time this week and Jason really worked hard at making this transition as painless as it could possibly be for both me and her. He primed her about how exciting going to 'school' was going to be. He made sure she knew how to ask for what she needed from her teachers and her new friends.

Most of all Fenner felt like a superhero for embarking on this new adventure - for being afraid and saying so, being brave and making new friends, loved and solid at home, celebrated for being an independent ass kicker of a person.

I feel like we could have all made this leap if he wasn't the involved and invested Father that he is but none of us would have landed as gracefully as we did if he wasn't.

If I could knit him a painful sweater like this every month I would.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Adventures of Nanny Debbers and the Elusive Ms. FBomber

Well, we knew that this day would come, in fact, some theorized that this day would have come much sooner but we've had an incredible long and super fun ride. Previous installments of The Adventures of Nanny Debbers and The F-Bomb can be found here, here and here.
I would say that one of the many luxuries we've been able to enjoy since Debra came to work with us were all of the daily updates that she would send us. Here are some of thel moments that Debra has shared with me over the past 6 months.

It seems sad that parents miss those magic 'slice of life' moments that can be so poetic. Maybe it's because we're not there that they are poetic but I could never help but be so jealous that I missed them.
Not only did Debra become an integral part of our nuclear family but she became a member of our neighborhood community. She became close friends with a number of families in our community and generally keeping Fenner social and part of the fabric of our street.

This can't always have been easy since Mothers, like any other professional group, bond best with each other but she is nothing if not stubborn and romanced her way into everyone's hearts.
Adventures were had all over Toronto - the Toronto Botannical Gardens
The Riverdale Farm is still one of her favourite places to go, as often as possible.
Dinosaurs at the Royal Ontario Museum. She knows EXACTLY how to dig up a dino-bone without any tutoring. Makes my nerdy science sisters happy.
In fact, how often can you say your child's caregiver was loved not only by the parents but of the extended family? Brunch with Liz in BC, zoo trips with Charlotte and car picnics with my Mom. In the course of our relationship, my family got just a taste of what Fenner enjoyed every day.

It's been a fantastic run. Today, Debra spent her first day living the life of a full time visual artist (don't worry folks - we have regular dinners planned) and Fenner spent her first day at 'school'.

Both adventures will no doubt be spectacular successes.