Monday, June 27, 2011

Meet Angus the Attic Monster

He is the latest addition to a slowly growing collection of monsters around our house.  He began as a way to utilize some yarn I was gifted that I would quite honestly never wear for socks, the colors are just nothing that appeal to me.  But for a monster, particularly an Attic Monster?  They are perfect!  This little guy was nabbed by Destructo-Boy before the glue even had a chance to set on his mouth.

Another fantastic pattern from Rebecca Danger's Big Book of Knitted Monsters, Angus took only 230 yards of sock yarn that was held doubled on US 4 needles.  It is so neat to be able to substitute just about any yarn for that which is indicated in the pattern, I absolutely adore this book!  The patterns are very well written, some of the clearest instruction I have come across and the monsters themselves are easy to assemble and customize.  I guess I don't need to worry overmuch about what to do with yarn leftover once a project is finished, just make a monster!  I did use the resource suggested for safety eyes, 6060 on Etsy and she was fantastic!  The prices are extremely reasonable, great selection, and the shipping was wicked fast, I had the package in my hands in less than 3 days from across the continental US.

Friday, June 24, 2011


That about sums up what I am doing right now when it comes to these kids.  I cannot even begin to count the number of arguments I had to break up yesterday.  With Lil' Miss being in school all day and therefore getting a break from Destructo Boy every day I kind of forgot how they often don't get along.

So I am really trying my hardest to not completely lose it and grab their little heads to bang together.  I think we may end up taking daily walks to get some of their energy out and just to give them a view other than the house.  Having said that I should note it's not like we sit all day around the house!  I try to make sure we get out of the house at least once a day, if not to a summer class for one of the kids than on an errand or at least to the park.  Even with an outing they still seem to get rather sick of each other pretty quick and end up in some form of an argument, and I only have so much patience for breaking up these daily fights.

One of my tricks to get a little break is to have them watch a movie in their room (yes, I am one of those bad mom's who put a tv in her kids room but at least they don't get cable in there!) while I get to do whatever I want in another room, usually watching a non-child friendly movie myself.  Even with that they have still been arguing, over who is on who's bed, over being hit either on purpose or accidentally, it never seems to end.  So for now I feel like I am just surviving while I figure out how to keep them happy and busy but not fighting constantly this summer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sheldon & Sheila

the project currently gracing my title

After completing one of my recent projects, the Sourpatch top for Lil' Miss, I realized I had a whole mess of yarn leftover after knitting all those bubble stripes.  After checking the Ravelry database for patterns using the yarn I realized I could make not just one, but two of the Sheldon turtles.  I had been eying this pattern for awhile now so was happy to finally be able to make it.

Sheila smelling the lavender, beware of the bees!

It was a relatively tricky pattern, but I was able to conquer it.  I think the part that was the most difficult was guessing the crochet hook size since it is not indicated in the pattern.  I used a size US D which ended up being too small as the bottom part of the shell opening didn't really stretch very much and made it difficult to get the shell on and off the turtle.  Which isn't such a bad thing, maybe this way the shells won't get misplaced!

Sheldon trying to blend in with the thyme, doing pretty good too.

I knitted these turtles in tandem, knitting the bodies first, than legs for one and then legs for the other, etc. so that they would be done at about the same time.  I knew one child would feel left out if the other already had their turtle and they were still waiting.  I got them done pretty close together, Sheldon was finished about an hour or two before Sheila so both kids ended up pretty happy.  Unfortunately the necks aren't holding up too well to little kid handling.  The pattern does say to stuff them firmly and I did the best I could but it still wasn't enough.  On another project I saw notes about the knitter making an extra leg, stuffing it firmly and putting it into the neck to keep the stuffing there.  In hindsight I wish I had done this too, but at least the kids love their turtles!

those shells sure were tricky!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

School's out!

I can hardly believe that it has already come to an end!  It seems like just yesterday that I was walking Lil' Miss to school for the first time and holding back tears as I walked away without her.  It has been a truly amazing year, the amount she has learned and grown is mind-blowing.  I remember Kindergarten as being essentially arts and crafts time, and maybe we learned to spell our names but it is completely different now.  Lil' Miss went in knowing her alphabet, knowing her numbers up to about 20, and could spell her name.  Now that school is over she is capable of writing complete sentences, can read at 2nd grade level, can do addition and subtraction of single digit numbers and a whole lot of other things I can't list out here. 

Saying goodbye will be especially hard since her two closest friends are transferring out to a different school.  We also struggled with the idea of transferring, as I blogged about another time, but our decision was made to keep Lil' Miss in our neighborhood school.  Since she has had such a good experience and is doing so well it seems a little silly to transfer her out just because the school test score averages are relatively low.  Happily her best friend Miss E lives around the corner and we moms have already been discussing ways to keep the girls close.  Such as continuing the Friday play-dates and arranging to be in the same Girl Scout troop if both want to participate.  Nonetheless, it will still be sad to not see them at school everyday (and not just for Lil' Miss, I'll miss seeing them too!).

Lil' Miss is having an awful time with saying goodbye to her teacher Ms. W.  I think she has burst into sobbing tears daily all week.  We had thought she might get to stay with the same teacher for next year in a Kindergarten-1st grade split class, but luckily for the school enrollment has gone up for the Kindergarten and it seems that they won't need a split class.  Happily our school has some of the best 1st grade teachers in the district so whoever teaches her next year will be great, but Lil' Miss still wants her current teacher. It was heartbreaking to leave the school with my poor little one sobbing the entire way to the car.  I tried to tell her that she can visit her teacher next year, and that she is going to try to get the class together over the summer at the park but it's still not the same as having Ms. W as her everyday teacher.  I can kind of understand since it just hit me I won't get to see the kids in her class on my volunteer days anymore, I am going to miss seeing those kids every week myself!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My first Monster

I have recently begun to knit some fun little creatures in my quest to use up stashed yarn.  I hate having bits of yarn leftover and it seems like making stuffed friends seems like a pretty good use for them.  Happily I recently received The Big Book of Knitted Monsters for my birthday and it sure does enable me to use up stash yarn on some really cute little monsters.

The first monster I decided to knit was picked out by Lil' Miss to be given to her school teacher, Dot the Dress Up Box Monster.  Although we did rename her Cleo the Classroom Monster as she would be living in a Kindergarten classroom.  She ended up being significantly smaller than the pattern as I was running short on red yarn, I just didn't do most of the knit rounds that added length through the body, so she is a tad squished looking.  I even had to find another bit of red yarn from my stash box just to finish up the top of her head!  And the blue arms, well, they should be red according to the pattern but I just didn't have enough yarn so they ended up blue.  The snaggly teeth are because that way simply because I don't cut things out very well so I intentionally made them weird, but Lil' Miss likes them so it's all good.

Happily Cleo was well received by Lil' Misses schoolteacher.  So well received in fact that I often see the monster sitting on her desk out of reach of little hands.  Well, except Lil' Miss, since I made the monster she feels quite comfortable cuddling it as she does her classwork and teacher doesn't seem to mind.  I can also claim responsibility in some way for the sale of another of the Monster books.  Apparently teachers mom knits and always makes and gives scarves at Christmastime.  Teacher shared a pic of the monster on her Facebook page and issues a strongly worded suggestion to her mother that a monster for Christmas would be much better received than another scarf.  I do believe the book was ordered the next day.

I enjoyed knitting this little gal so much I am pretty sure I will ended up making every pattern in this book at least once, and some probably more than that.  So, who else wants a monster for a Christmas present?!
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