Category Archives: Knitting

Yarn Along–Sunday Sweater

I’ve been totally bitten by the knitting bug! I’ve been learning lots from fellow knitters and various knitting blogs. As I’ve integrated more into the knitting community (as a stalker, not as a contributor of knowledge,  mind you), I’ve decided to start joining the weekly Yarn Along link up with Ginny at Small Things. The link up’s description is:

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr.

After my success with the knitted horse, I had thought that I might move on to something a little more complicated, like, oh I don’t know, a hat or a scarf! Dora, however, had other ideas. She happened to see me reading Nicole’s post about the Sunday Sweaters that she made for her daughters and Dora begged me to make the same sweater as Nicole’s older daughter is wearing. Dora wanted the same EXACT yarn and everything. Yarn Along 4-17-8So I am now knitting my 2nd real project ever, a sweater. So far it is going fairly well, though I’m not very far into it. I had to restart once already, because my “center pull” ball of yarn that I wound “jammed” and no more yarn would come out. In the process of trying to “unjam” it, I ended up tangling it and making a big ‘ol mess of everything. I then wound the yarn without a center pull, for fear of repeating this incident, but it is driving me crazy having the yarn roll all over the place. So I need to bite the bullet and learn how to roll a center pull ball of yarn. I’m also new to the whole Ravelry thing, but I am attempting to post notes for this project, which include the yarn color and sweater pattern link.I’m currently working my way through two books, plus the latest edition of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. I’m slowly, but surely, trying to absorb a portion of the information from Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book. I personally think this a book that would benefit every knitter (or at least every beginning knitter). It is a very large book that covers types of yarns, various ways to cast on and bind off, increasing, decreasing, types of stitches, reading patterns, etc. It also has a few patterns at the back of the book. In all honesty, when I am first learning a stitch, I usually turn to The Knit Witch over at YouTube, but this book is easier to reference when I just need to jog my memory.I also just started reading Painting in Waldorf Education. The book looks promising, but I’ve not gotten far enough into it to say more than that. I hope it is helpful, as we are really struggling with watercolor painting here and thus far, I’ve yet to find a book that is much help.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.


Labels: Good Reads for Moms, Knitting, Yarn Along
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Why So Knittin’ Quiet?

Knitted Pony - 3

I know that I’ve been quiet on this blog the last week or so, but I have some excuses (mind you, I don’t promises that they’re good excuses, just that I have some). For one, we’ve been playing hooky. Yes, you read that correctly – we’ve been ditching homeschool. Not really, we just have decided to switch to a year-round schedule with four one-month breaks. This seems to help with burnout for both Gohan and me. Of course, Dora had to join the bandwagon and wanted a “spring break” also. I asked her what she would get a break from and she didn’t have a good answer, she just knew that she wanted spring break too. So I told her that she was on spring break also and she was happy. Then we’ve been a bit busy with this and that, like nice weather, doctor’s appointments, nice weather, dentist appointments, nice weather, gardening projects, and (did I mention?) nice weather. Finally, I decided to knit this pony for Dora, who is obsessed with the My Little Pony show and all of it’s various tawdry merchandise.

I took a knitting class shortly before Dora was born and made a very nice scarf in class, which I never finished off. At the time, I decided that while it was nice enough, knitting wasn’t a hobby that really rocked my world. Fast forward several years and I’ve had to redefine “rock my world” since my body can no longer handle things like martial arts, distance biking, hardcore geocaching, etc. Now, I need to be happy with more sedate activities, which amazingly, I am finding that I can do. I also have become fixated on starting to make more of our clothes, due to the price increases and quality decreases in the clothing industry. (Not to mention, that at the ripe old age of 44, I just don’t fit into clothes like I used to, but I am not ready to throw in the towel and wear granny clothes yet.)

Anyway, I had to start this pony over many, many, many times, because of how much I had forgotten or never learned. In the process, I learned that the lady who taught me to knit, taught me some unnecessarily complicated ways of doing things. So I also had to relearn some things. In addition, I had some problems with me zoning out and doing things like suddenly switching to purl in the middle of a knitting row (if only I could unknit better, I would have saved myself many hours of work!). This project definitely helped me work on my focus and attention span, which did not used to be such a problem, but I guess I am developing some ADHD tendencies as I get older.

The pattern that I used for this pony is from Mam4Earth’s Etsy shop. Fortunately, she also has a Ravelery Group (and a lot of patience). Dora loves the pony! It was actually supposed to be a unicorn, but she said that she just could not wait long enough for me to knit a horn. Now, however, she is begging for me to knit a Rainbow Dash, who is a pegasus, and she says she’s willing to wait for me to knit the wings. Oi vey! What have I started?!?!

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.


Labels: Knitting
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Our Winter Monthly Gnomes

Winter GnomesI’m finishing up the monthly gnomes that Dora asked me to make. As I mentioned previously, I opted to design different head attire for the gnomes, based on each season. Here are our winter gnomes for December, January, and February. I made knitted hats for these little guys, using this pattern from Anna Branford. It was fairly easy, especially given that I am a novice knitter that hadn’t done any knitting in almost a decade. It did take a couple of tries to get the hats the right size, since our peg dolls are a different size than the ones she used. I also learned that it is possible to invent knitting stitches that will actually create something, just with a completely different texture. I always thought that if I knit or purled incorrectly, my knitting wouldn’t stay together, but with me having to switch back and forth between knitting and purling, I somehow started doing both stitches completely incorrectly. So I ended up with a hat that fit right and was shaped right, but had a completely different texture from the other two hats. I was very confused for a while!

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Labels: Arts and Crafts, Gnomes, Knitting, Peg Dolls, Rhythm, Waldorf, Winter
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Tonsil Stones, Downton Abbey, Algebra Textbooks, Gnomes, and More

In my life this week… I saw one of the most disgusting things that I have ever seen and I will spare you a photo of. We’ve had a cold running through the family and Tertia, who never gets sick, has caught it badly. She had already been to Urgent Care and started antibiotics when she asked me to look at her throat, which had become much more swollen. I got a flashlight and had to look pretty far back, but her tonsils had pockets of pus all over them and there was even one black spot on one of them! Being the wonderful first aid student that I am, I did the exact opposite of what one is supposed to do when someone is injured or sick, I jumped backwards, yelling, “Oh my God! That looks horrid!” I had my tonsils removed when I was young and none of my kids have had any tonsil problems before this, so I had no idea how gross tonsils could look. She went back to urgent care the next day and learned that she has tonsil stones, which I had never even heard of. The doctor actually tried to drain some of the pus by poking them, but Tertia’s gag reflex was too strong to allow this. Anyway, I hope none of you were eating or planning to eat after reading my post!

On a positive note, I started watching Downton Abbey right after Christmas break, and I have now totally been sucked into the show. I never watch TV for myself, so this is highly unusual. I have managed to watch all of Season 1 and 2 and now need to see if I have some sort of access to Season 3. Mr. Mo and I have also been sucked into Sherlock Holmes, which we watched over Christmas break. We’ve contemplated a move to England so that we can see these shows 6 months earlier, but that does seem a bit extreme… then again we are talking about Downton Abbey and Sherlock Holmes…

In our homeschool this week… The new edition of Saxon Algebra arrived for Gohan. By lesson 4, we decided that we both hated the textbook with a passion and I ended up ordering the older 3rd edition (Saxon Algebra 1, 3rd. edition), which Primo, Secunda, and Tertia all used successfully. I am not sure what I will do when we finish this book. Saxon’s older edition series uses Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Advanced Mathematics to cover all subjects from algebra through pre-calculus. The Advanced Mathematics book throws things off, since it is supposed to be be done in 1 – 2 years, depending on your student’s abilities. At the same time, Gohan is off the traditional school schedule now anyway, so I suppose this does not matter much. I just remember having a lot of problems with being able to teach the material starting at the end of Algebra 2, since I haven’t used any advanced math since college. The good news is that Saxon now has instructional DVD’s for the higher level math books.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… My mother-in-law will arriving tomorrow for a week-long visit. We may take her to the new Chihuly Garden ad Glass exhibit in downtown Seattle, depending on the weather and people’s sickness status.

My favorite thing this week was… Secunda getting a job. She has been very stressed about getting a job since moving back to Seattle. Plus, since she will not be starting back to university until September, she has been very bored. This job involves her assisting deaf and deaf-blind adults to live in a more independent manner (various living arrangements, some live in groups homes, others live independently, etc.). It ends up that deaf-blind people can “hear” sign language by feeling the tendons in your hands move, which I find to be incredibly fascinating. I think that it is incredible that our society has advanced to the point that we recognize that someone who is deaf and blind can be as smart and as productive a member of society as anyone else (as opposed to the way such such people were treated in the past and are still treated in many other countries) and that we have come up with ways for deaf-blind people to communicate, such that they can have jobs, take public transportation, and live relatively normal lives. I am also proud that my daughter is playing an active role in this process.

Month Gnomes

Things I’m working on… I am making a set of gnomes to represent the months of the year, per Dora’s request. I have burned a symbol on to each gnome and am in the process of painting them all. I tried to burn the name of the month on to the gnome also, but my wood burning tool just does not allow me enough control to do that. I would like to have different hats for these gnomes than the felt ones I made for our days-of-the-week gnomes. I’ve contemplated seasonal hats, but haven’t gotten past using acorn caps for the fall gnomes. Does anybody have any ideas for winter, spring, or summer gnome hats?


I’m also working quickly as possible on my first knitting project in about a decade. Even then, I only took one knitting class, so I basically have had to reteach myself from step 1. Dora really wanted me to make her a scarf, in fact she keeps trying to convince me that the scarf is already big enough for her to wear. It is blue and pink, because she could not decide between the two colors. I’m sure if you can tell from the photo, but I have a strange tendency to add stitches. I have no idea how I manage to do this and I rarely drop stitches. I’ll notice it after a while and then will have to take up stitches. So the scarf’s width fluctuates a bit. Also, I have never changed colors in a project and ended up having to back stitch a row, because I didn’t know to leave enough yarn to attach the new color. I messed that up a bit, but Dora still loves the scarf, which is all that really matters. I’ll try getting a bit more perfectionistic and complicated when I am not hurriedly trying to finish a project before the season changes.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… This is the short poem that I read with Dora this week. We continue to read poems and sing songs about snow, in hopes of encouraging some snow to appear, but still no luck. This poem comes from an anthology from Wynstones Press, entitled, Winter: A Collection of Poems, Songs and Stories for Young Children.

Let's put on our mittens
And button up our coat.
Wrap a scarf snugly
Around our throat,
Pull on our boots,
Fasten the straps,
And tie on tightly
Our warm winter caps.

Then open the door...
...And out we go
Into the soft and feathery snow.
- anonymous


Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.


Labels: Knitting, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

First Experiences with Kindergarten Handwork

This week, Dora has suddenly become interested in doing what I am doing. Not in the “follow me around because she is clingy and asking me to play My Little Pony over and over again” way, but in a real, “I want to do that” way. She has especially taken an interest in cooking. Up until this point, she has had almost zero percent interest in cooking. Now she is suddenly initiating things, asking Secunda, especially, to bake with her. Secunda loves to bake, so this works out really well for me, as I end up getting a bit of a break while they bake.First NeedleworkThe other surprise Dora had for me was a sudden interest in needlepoint. We had various needlepoint trays out while we were trying to follow the Montessori method, but she was never interested in them. She wouldn’t even do stringing cards and only would begrudgingly agree to string beads once in a while. This week, however, she wanted to do the real thing and none of the materials were even out in her sight. As you can see above, she stitched with purple embroidery floss on to yellow-checked fabric that was in an embroidery hoop.Finger KnittingAlso, when I got out my knitting materials to attempt to knit her a scarf (it has been forever and a day since I last did any knitting), she asked if she could knit too. So I introduced her to finger knitting with this lovely ball of chunky yarn that I have been saving for just this occasion. She was frustrated to not be allowed to use the needles and finally I just let her go at it with some needles and scrap thread and she made a lovely “scarf”.

KnittingWhat almost gave me a heart attack though, was that Tertia, who is 18 and was home sick today, also decided to take up knitting! Tertia is about the last person in the world that I would expect to take up knitting. I kind of had to sneak this photo of her knitting, reassuring her that it was only of her hands, as she hates to have her photo taken. Whether her interest will continue once she is well enough to go back to volunteering, school, and work, only time will tell.

Through all of this, all I managed to accomplish was to wind half of my yarn.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in. Maureen

Labels: Knitting
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff