Thursday, April 24, 2014

7 Reasons You Should Hire a Knitter

Having recently updated my resume just because it's good practice to do so, I realized that a lot of the positive attributes I found myself listing can be attributed to being a knitter. Since I love knitting and a number of my older posts clearly indicate that, I've comprised this list to help all potential employers out there not be so quick to dismiss that "knitting" blurb listed under someone's hobbies.

(Please remember these are generalizations and my own observations and not meant to paint all knitters with a broad brush. Everyone is unique and special and there will be knitters who don't exactly mesh with what I've written and that is ok!)

7. Attention to detail
Knitting any project whether a simple baby blanket or lace shawl requires the knitter to have a certain way of looking at even the smallest details. An entire pattern, even a simple one, can be thrown off by just a single stitch out of place. An experienced knitter will be able to find and fix a mistake without anyone else being the wiser once the project is finished. The knitter can also see if there's a mistake in the pattern as well, experience tells the knitter something won't look right and they'll be able to avoid the problem.

6. Patience
Many projects are time consuming, especially large projects or projects using a thinner yarn (socks, shawls, etc.). Blankets knit with a thick yarn can take anywhere from hours to weeks or months to finish. One sock could take a month or longer to complete. "Instant gratification" for a knitter means a project you can complete in a weekend, it is a very rare project indeed that can be started and finished in one day. A lot of projects also require some type of finishing work even after the pattern is complete. Ends of new stands of yarn need to be woven in, or the finished object (affectionately called an "FO") needs to be blocked. Blocking involves soaking/misting/steaming the object with water then physically shaping it and waiting for it to dry. Wool can take a while to dry.

5. Giving Nature
Generally, people who are knitters will knit gifts for their friends, family, or co-workers. I don't know a knitter who has kept every single thing they've made, except maybe a brand new knitter who has only just finished their first scarf. This type of person makes a great employee for a variety of reasons but e biggest one is that they care about the people around them. Serious, they spend hours/days/weeks/months in a project just to give it away and not enjoy it themselves! Yarn isn't cheap, even "cheap" yarn isn't cheap, and time is the most precious commodity of all, knitters freely and happily give both to others.

4. Adaptable
A quick look through projects on and you'll start to see a trend. Many projects contain notes about modifications (or "mods") made to the pattern by the knitter. While newbies may follow a pattern exactly (nothing wrong with that!), many experienced knitters will modify a pattern to suit their needs as they go along if something doesn't look or fit quite how they'd like. Knitters can also look through a pattern and plan their modifications out, a great example is sock patterns and heels. There are many different ways to knit a heel (none of them right or wrong) and a knitter can choose what works for them based on yarn, color, wearer's preference (if not themselves), speed to knit, etc. So many options exist and knitters make good use of them all!

3. Grateful/Appreciative
Knitters know how long it takes them to complete projects. They understand how much work goes into lengthy projects. Everyone loves handmade gifts, everyone knows that a great deal of time and care went into them, but knitters recognize exactly how much work went into something and are especially grateful when the same care is lavished on them.

2. Forethought/Planning
Many projects require more than just the thought "Gee, I'd like a scarf." How much yarn is required? Will there be multiple colors? What size and type of needles are needed? More than one size/type of needle? Often times, even though the pattern will tell the knitter most of these things, variations will occur as everyone knits differently. Most people even knit differently depending on the type of needle or brand of yarn. This difference is caused by the tension of the yarn as it is held by the knitter and is called "gauge." A gauge swatch is an important part of a project, even though it rarely ever makes it into the final product. A swatch is essentially practice, the knitter ideally uses the same yarn and needles as they intend to use for a project and makes a small piece of sample fabric. Most often this is a square, but sometimes it is a tube or miniature sock or lacework. Gauge is important when sizing is important, which is usually the case in garments or lace.

1. The Bigger Picture
Because of the nature of knitting, a knitter has the ability to see the bigger picture even when in the middle of minutia. Knitting is creating a whole something (sock, shawl, blanket, sweater, whatever) out of a combination of stitches. Each stitch has it's place in the row, each row it's place in the pattern, and together they all form the finished object. A knitter looks at an unwound hank of yarn and sees not just the yarn but the potential of what the yarn can become. A knitter looks at the first few stitches of a sock cuff and sees the whole sock. One stitch among many might not seem important until it's gone, then the hole that's left is obvious. One stitch supports the other stitches around it, conversely one stitch requires the support of others. No project in the world is one stitch on it's own but the culmination of hundreds (or thousands or hundreds of thousands) of stitches working together. The same can be said of employees within an organization.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


So much for my goal of posting every week! I'm barely getting this one in for the month of August! We have been crazy busy all summer, despite not going to the pool very much, only going to the zoo (thanks for the membership Mom!) once so far due to weather and work schedules, and not going on vacations. I've been busy at work, not to mention any time I get some leave saved up someone gets sick and I need to stay home (though one time it was because Noah decided 0200 was a great time to play for two hours and I needed some extra sleep), so other than the random Monday holidays, I haven't taken much time off. I'm hoping to take time off around Thanksgiving, we'll see what's the in budget for travel first though. 

Update on the boys! Joey is speaking so many words now, and even putting together (not just copying) 2-3 word sentences! It's so cute and so much fun, I love that he's able to better tell us things now. He still shuts down verbally when he's upset, and his meltdowns have gotten a lot worse (and more difficult to diffuse), so I guess he's definitely a full-fledged toddler! He surprises us everyday with what he knows and can do/understand and he loooooves to be helpful. I love having a Mommy's Little Helper, he likes to help me put laundry in the dryer, he puts dirty laundry in the baskets (sometimes mixes with clean but that's ok, the contribution is all I care about), and he even helps clean up his toys. I'm trying especially to make sure when we visit friends for playdates that he helps clean up a little bit, just so that he learns he can't go somewhere, be Hurricane Joey, then leave without helping. He doesn't protest though, sometimes I think he makes messes specifically to clean them up ;) He knows some colors and can say some of the names (my favorites are "purby" for purple and "yelgween" for either yellow or green), he's learning to count but at this point it's only repeating what he hears. He is still a picky eater though to his credit he will at least *try* things we give him. Fruits and veggies are difficult though knowing me and my eating habits, that's really not a surprise. I'm trying to do better, and I'm also finding recipes where I can sneak things in ;) Joey likes building towers and knocking them down, that's currently what is keeping him occupied while I type!

Noah's current mission in life is to eat everything off the floor, including (but not limited to) crumbs, dog hair, and leaves. He is pulling himself up on everything in sight, his latest feat was pulling to standing in the middle of the floor using only my legs to push up on--he almost made it too! He is quite the little chatterbox now, has a whole range of syllables ("ma-ma" was first though, makes me so proud!) and he is quick to let us know when he is displeased with something! Overall he's pretty laid back and a bit more independent than Joey was at this age (just hit 9mo a week or so ago) but he's got his snuggly moments too. Mommy is still the boys' favorite parent and Noah is extra clingy when I get home from work and on weekends. It's a good thing I enjoy babywearing because otherwise nothing would ever get done when I'm at home! I like being able to strap the baby to my back and get a few chores done. Noah likes it too, lately that's been the only way he gets a decent nap. For a little while we were in the throws of the 9 Month Sleep Regression, but I think we're finally coming out of it. There were a couple weeks where his naps lasted 15-20 minutes if we were lucky and he was up almost every hour at night to nurse (if he wasn't then it was every 2 hours + Joey would wake up and want to nurse too). The past few nights have been similar but a little bit better. Normally he's a very good sleeper and normally he doesn't need to be on the boob to sleep, that's how I figured something developmental was going on (no signs of teeth, no extra drool or messy diapers or swollen gums). We are still going strong on the cloth diapers! It took us a whole two months, if not longer, to go through a box of disposables from BJ's! Normally we go a box a month with Noah (Joey is a box every 1.5 months, give or take) so by using cloth at home during the day (I use them when I'm home on the weekends and we go out, but I told Dan he doesn't have to use them for out-and-about) we cut our disposable usage in HALF! I'm hoping next month we can do even better, we had a couple of rashes this past month so he was in disposables for a few days every couple of weeks. 

That's it for now, the boys are running around like nuts and Dan is still sleeping and Noah is getting ready for a nap. I'd like to shower but I would also like to nap, last night was not a good sleep night for Noah or Joey...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ordinary Days

I have a tendency to wait until there is something I deem interesting going on in our lives before I'll sit down to write a blog post. I forget that more often than not, the posts I go back to read later are the ones where I simply talked about an ordinary day or one small event that might not mean much to anybody else but meant the world to me. So, with renewed determination to post more regularly, and because I'm on a goal-setting trend, I would like to try and post something about us on Tuesdays (my knitting posts don't count, plus those are usually on a Wednesday or Friday) and if there's nothing major going on, I will think back over the week and pick something that made me happy or sad or made me think. My days are flying by one into the other and my boys are getting big so fast I feel like I come home from work and they're taller than when I left in the morning! I hope that by choosing something to focus on, it will help me slow down and cherish the little things that we sometimes don't realize we love until they're gone.

Joey's gone back to his milk-spitting thing, I though maybe his new Cars sippy cups would deter him but that's no longer the case. I tried to focus his spitting by showing him how in the bathroom sink while we brush our teeth, his major interest there is the faucet and any bubbles circling the drain. The other day, right before bed, he was too quiet. I should have been suspicious, but I was tired and Dan was just home from work and we were talking about our day. I was about to go into the bathroom to change and brush my teeth when I saw Joey in his room with his mouth up to one of his bigger toys. I thought he was licking it but on closer inspection, he was putting his mouth up to it and letting the milk dribble down it. There was a rather large puddle at the bottom of this toy (thankfully it didn't hurt the toy). I have no idea why he does this with milk and not water, maybe because the water is clear it's harder to watch as he does this? Anyway, with a major show of restraint on my part (I find it very difficult to exude my normal amount of patience at the end of a work day), I firmly told him "no spitting", took his cup, and gave him a wet washcloth and made him clean it up. I think for a normal toddler that would have been punishment, but he likes cleaning and did a surprisingly good job at getting all the milk up, so he might have considered it an award. Oh well, at least I didn't have to clean it up while he laughed or something.

Noah is still not-quite-crawling. He can get to what he wants through either rolling or scootching, but not full on crawling yet so we're enjoying his limited mobility while we can. Joey was a "late" crawler/walker but he never got up on his hands and knees doing the rocking thing that Noah started doing a couple months ago (which is ADORABLE, omg!), so I thought maybe Noah would crawl earlier than Joey. Nope, still content just sitting or rocking lol. He's highly motivated by the iPad, even when it's off he likes looking at his reflection. Noah can sit himself up from the crawling position though so that's something new! He also just recently figured out how to clap and does it a lot when he knows we're watchiing, little showoff. I just love this age, he's old enough to interact with, but still very much a rolly-polly, non-mobile baby. I do nothing but snuggle and kiss his chub when I get home from work most days.

I love how excited the boys are to see me when I get home. Noah sits there and screetches his happiness (we call it "baby pterodactyl") and Joey runs around showing me all his toys like I haven't been home for days/weeks/months and didn't just play with that toy with him the night before. Depending on how their day went, if both boys need a nap, we'll pile into the big bed and nurse until we all fall asleep. Considering how early I get up for work, and how often I'm woken up in the middle of the night to nurse, naps are still a very, very good thing.

This spot is commonly referred to among co-sleepers/bed-sharing parents as "the mommy hole"--which when you type it out looks terrible, but we all get a laugh ;)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WIPW: Molly, Sunshine, and a Surprise!

I'm happy to say that I have made some progress on Molly's first sleeve, albeit minimal progress at best, I'm doing what I can with two little boys underfoot. It's primarily my car-knitting project because the sleeves are easy enough to remember without looking at the pattern constantly like my other WIPs. I chose the largest size to accommodate *ahem* the ladies if you catch my drift, however the current circumference  of the sleeve is definitely much larger than my arm so I foresee extra decreases in my future to prevent my skinny arms from swimming in them later. I'm still loving this project, it's been a joy to knit and the yarn, oh the yarn! I can't say enough how much I adore knitting with Madelinetosh. It's like knitting with an odd combo of butter (smooth) and a cloud (light) but oh so magically delicious!

My sleeve stripes line up perfectly so far!

Next up: When Skies Are Gray. This by far the most intricate lace pattern I've done, but now that I have a couple of the repeats down, I'm happy to say it's gotten at little easier to work. I can actually read the stitches much more easily AND can hold a conversation while working the chart (*most* of the time!), a great feat indeed! I have to admit that I balked at the direction "work 38 repeats of these twelve rows" because the 6 repeats I did for Umaro were fun but seemed to go on forever! Granted the Umaro repeats were 28 rows compared to Porcellana's 12 rows, but still, after a while no matter how fun the rows, I fear that repeats will get tiresome. This is my pump-time project, on average I can get through 3 rows per session which gets me close to one repeat at week give or take an off day. The Malabrigo is crazy soft! It does have a tendency to felt to itself and fuzz like crazy after it's been knit but overall it's a lovely yarn and I love that I didn't have to pay for it ;)

 This is my surprise! A few of the moms in my due date club from Noah (shout out to my Turkey Mamas! <3 you all!) did a Mother's Day "secret sister" gift swap and this is what my partner got me! It's a gorgeous hank of worsted weight wool. I'm waiting for the perfect pattern to appear to me before this beauty is on my needles. The colors are super fun so I need something truly worthy of the yarn to properly show off the wonderful colorway (appropriately called "Treefrog").

I do also have a pair of socks on my needles in my first ever attempt at two-at-a-time and toe-up socks, I just don't have a picture yet. I decided to size them for toddler feet because I CO the pattern mainly to practice the magic loop for socks technique and figured a smaller size would get me through a whole pair more quickly than my-sized socks. I anticipate them being pretty darn adorable.

As always, don't forget to check out Tami's for more awesome WIPs! Keep up the good work everyone!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WIPW: Sunshine When Skies Are Gray

 Last week I CO the Porcellana Cowl. I won a skein of Malabrigo at Eat.Sleep.Knit's store earlier this month and I chose the lace weight in their happy Sauterne colorway. As soon as Knit Picks released the cowl pattern, I knew that's what I wanted to knit the Malabrigo into! I don't get much time to work on it, though this week I made more progress than last because I brought it into work to knit while I pump. I had a bumpy start, which I also did with my Peacock Shawl last year, though this was not nearly as frustrating. Initially, I had a dropped YO or two, frogged once and restarted. My second attempt was much better, my first hiccup was just not reading the chart and stitches quite right, after that it was just a missed YO but because I already had a few rows established, I was able to find where it was supposed to go and pick it up. I finished row 11 (12 rows in the repeats) at my last pump session of the day, so the pattern you see is what repeats 37 more times, oy!

I'm happy to show off Molly again! Substantial progress was made in the car driving from MD to GA and this past weekend, thanks to lots of knitting-while-pumping and putting off starting Pocellana, I grafted my shoulder panels to the back panels! I learned two things:

1. Mattress stitch is cool
2. Don't learn a new skill on diagonal-biased material unless the new skill accounts for the diagonal.

 Don't forget to check out Tami's!

My panels didn't quite graft evenly...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Our First Family Vacation! (Part 1)

Chillin' on our Atlanta hotel
 Where to begin with our first family trip/vacation?
I've mentioned Theo's wedding a couple of times now. She currently lives about 10 hours away from us (driving with breaks) so I knew it would be an interesting trip for us to say the least. One thing that I absolutely love about Dan is when I mentioned where the wedding would be, he didn't say "maybe we'll go", he said "when we go". There was never a doubt that we wouldn't get there, despite having two young kids in car seats for a very long drive.

The plan took some working out but eventually we had it pretty much nailed down: leave really late (or early depending on how you look at it) Thursday night and spend most of the drive while the boys are sleeping, check into the hotel, take a nap, cruise around the city Friday and Saturday, drive over to the destination town 2 hours outside the city Saturday evening, go to wedding Sunday morning, head home, stop halfway to see Dan's grandparents, spend the night, drive the rest of the way home Monday. The first leg of our journey took much longer than anticipated due to an unscheduled stop at Wal Mart. What I had not considered was how little I would be nursing during the trip and I didn't pack my manual pump to help with that. Noah had switched into what I call "night time sleepy mode" for the majority of the ride down and slept A LOT. He only ever nursed from one side when we made our planned pit stops, so that left me getting full pretty quickly on the other side. Not having smartphones, I used my GPS to locate a Wal Mart not too far off the highway and we headed for it. Joey had also been upset when he wasn't allowed to play in the driver's seat anymore and had to go back into his car seat, so the other idea behind justifying the Wal Mart stop was to get him a toy steering wheel to amuse him.

Checking out the Cow-Nose stingrays.
We found the Wal Mart, I got the manual pump and a steering wheel for Joey (that sang and lit up, so he liked that--not as much as the actual driver's seat but enough to distract him for a while). We were finally back on the road. We got to our hotel much later than we thought but just after the earliest check-in time so that worked out in our favor. Dan decided to lie down and attempt to nap while I let Joey run around and play in our hotel room. Noah was amused by the pack 'n play because we hadn't used it for him yet, so that was new for him too. One of the cool papers we found in the hotel lobby was a website where you could order take-out from several local restaurants, and this website had delivery drivers who would bring it to your hotel room! The fee was pretty small ($5 per restaurant) and from what I could tell the prices of the food were about the same, so rather than put everybody back in the car or order potentially more expensive room service, we tried this cool service. Apparently there was traffic downtown and the driver was a bit delayed (I got a phone call apologizing) but our food arrived and still warm so we were happy.

Watching a diver putting food down for the fish.
The next day, we went to the Georgia Aquarium which was AMAZING to say the least! Dan and I had gone there on our honeymoon but because of delayed flights and traffic, we barely got there an hour before closing and didn't get to see much.


Whale Shark!

Manta Ray!

Helping push.

Joey's turn on my back!

Noah likes the stroller too!