Friday, March 9, 2012

Shalom Cardi

Pattern: Shalom Cardigan (free!)
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Royal Llama Linen (discontinued)
Needle: size 8 (I think)

First off, I apologize for the poor photos. It's raining today and even if it wasn't, my camera is getting a bit long in the tooth. Anyway, I am finally calling this one done. I started it way back in June. It's a good pattern and a million people have made it so there's lots of helpful notes on Ravelry. I got the yarn on super sale from Webs some Christmas past. It's beautiful, the pictures don't do the color justice. Llama, linen AND silk, married together in tweedy glory? Awesome.

Except that the yarn screwed me. The glory of the Shalom pattern is that it's easy to customize it to your personal body type. I happen to have a long torso and broad shoulders, so I knit this to accommodate those little features. I so badly wanted this to be the Perfect Cardigan that I ripped out 10 inches (!!!!) at one point because I thought the armholes were too baggy.

So I finally got it right. And like a good little knitter, I blocked it. And disaster struck. It grew. And got really drapey. I thought about ripping it out and doing it again, but I reinforced the button holes (so badly hoping for perfection) and that made it too hard to rip. I literally threw the damn thing into the closet.

Then some helpful and more fashionable friends said it wasn't a total loss if I put a belt with it. So I bought a belt and did a single crochet around the neckline to make it less baggy and ta-da! not a total loss. Such is life and knitting.

In other news, a pair of cardinals have been gracing my bird feeder lately. Aren't they sweet?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

PLaydough Color Surprise Activity

I think you either love or hate playdough as a parent. I love it. It offers hours of endless, open, independent play. I extended the activity by adding an element of surprise. Here's how:

Make some natural-colored playdough. I use this recipe:
~ in a large sauce pan, mix together 2 c plain flour, 2 cups of water, 1 tbs of cooking oil, 1 tsp of cream of tartar and 1 c of salt. Stir over medium high heat until thick and dough-y. Remove form heat and let cool.

When the dough is cool enough to handle, divide it up into small balls (I would guess about the size of a lime.) Put a dent in each ball with your thumb and fill with a few drops of food coloring. Pinch the dough closed over the food coloring, careful not to squeeze it out. Let sit 5-10 minutes for the food coloring to slightly absorb.

Hand over the dough balls to your little ones and encourage them to knead them around. The color with slowly work its way out, marbling the dough and eventually becoming all one color.

This is a great way to build hand strength, especially if you make the balls too large - you'll be the one working those muscles while your toddler repeats over and over, "What color, Mommy?"