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I sent my three-year-old off to her first day of preschool this morning. “I feel hard to leave my old school,” she said plaintively as we kissed her brother goodbye and continued on our journey to her new place. She’s an old hand and a natural at this schooling business, having taken to nursery-level Montessori like a pig to slops at the age of 11 months. Today she climbed straight into the little loft when we arrived and required that I read to her through the railing. I got only the briefest kiss goodbye as she hurried off to help feed Jeremiah the hamster. I knew she’d be fine. But she’s the littlest for the first time and I wondered and hoped for her all morning, as mamas do.

I distracted myself with work, and then I thought I’d get back to this blog’s roots and post about knitting for once. New on the needles and quickly snapped with le cameraphone in repose on the handsome big granite slabs outside the SeaTac airport:



This is Echo Beach. Like the famed Clapotis, this scarf is all delayed gratification… one could drop those stitches down earlier to glimpse the final glory, but psychologists have shown that those of us who can, as four-year-olds, resist the temptation to gobble up one marshmallow rightnow on the promise of two marshmallows later will be more successful when we grow up. I was the child who froze her Halloween candy and made it last all winter. An Everlasting Gobstobber warranted occasional brief licking and then wrapping in paper for storage in the drawer of my bedside table for so long that I can’t be sure I didn’t forget all about it in the end… it may yet turn up when my parents move house. So you won’t catch me dropping stitches until it’s time to bind off. And that might not be very soon, because this is a no-pressure knit—just something small enough to be good for travel and easy to pick up after neglect. Although the yarn provides a significant lure to knit on; I can scarcely believe it’s going to be hot cantaloupe orange before I reach the other end! I was pretty thrilled to make the first transition out of stolid burgundy, enlivened though it is with tweedy flecks of seafoam green, into deep magenta.

But for pure pleasure between the fingers, I’m loving this:



When I visited New York in June, I treated myself to a visit to the Greenmarket and Eugene Wyatt’s Catskill Merino booth. I knew I wanted wool for a vest—Heidi Kirrmaier’s Boardwalk, specifically. I think I dithered for half an hour over the beautiful natural dyes. February Green? Van Gogh Gray? And finally I walked away with four hanks of plain merino white. It’ll go with everything. Nothing will distract from the simple, sheepy beauty of the wool and the clean architecture of the design. I freed up my DyakCraft Heavy Metal needles for this one. They hold the stitches firmly but tenderly and whisper to each other as they work. The vest would go faster on my slick Addis, but I don’t think I want it to.

Full disclosure: I haven’t finished the children’s knitting. Ada’s little Boreal is into the yoke and I’m biting my nails about starting the decreases immediately after the sleeve join, but can’t see a way to avoid it without messing up the trees and snowflakes. Jolly’s Pomander still wants its short sleeves and its buttons; must find correct dpns. And I’m slogging along the first sleeve of Ada’s Minni… still. You wouldn’t think such short arms could require such endless knitting, but 2mm needles and garter ridges are the enemies of visible progress. Worse still, I expect I’ll have to lengthen those sleeves and count on superwash to do its droopy business for the torso length if she’s going to wear the thing at all. It’s too beautiful not to finish. Still, the siren song of new yarn sweeps me onto the rocks every time. Let us not speak of the luscious silky wonder I just received in the mail from Duck Duck Wool; I’m not sure there are needles enough even in my ample collection to cast on anything more at present.

Confess: What have you cast on for the new season, against your better judgment?



Ada has three favorite games. One is Bird Bingo, the second is Hit the Hay, a board game devised by my grandfather, and the third is bocce. She usually wins at all of them, but she is practically unbeatable at bocce. For a three-year-old, she has a remarkably true arm. Her brother can’t throw much farther than his toes, but he is very interested in fetching the balls for further rounds. Good family fun all around.


And yes, that’s a new dress. Mama made it and can hardly wait to sew another. More details when I can get some better pictures of it.




No longer a baby. Not really. Once you can get up on your two sturdy legs and go places under your own steam, it’s a new phase. (Sniffle.) There’s empowerment happening in other arenas, too. Your sister hogs the train set and grudgingly gives you a single measly boxcar to play with? Bop her over the head with the railroad bridge! She pushes you off the cushion (or “squooshion,” in her charming parlance) she wants to lie on? Pull her hair! Because you are done being a passive infant. You are a boy with ideas of his own now. You are a playmate, not a plaything. Notice has been served.



This is new, too, this fierce face with manly shouting. I was struck by a sudden vision of Jolyon as a soccer captain commanding his defenders into position for a corner kick. I don’t mean to thrust either of my children into the realm of sport, believe me—I’ll be pleased as punch if my boy would rather be a musician or a thespian or a scientist and never feels a whiff of desire to pound a rival into the mud of the pitch—it’s just that I’ve played competitively myself and the likeness was unmistakable. But oh, he is still sweet and small, too. (And funny. Hello, tongue!)


The other night he reached for Ada’s hair, paused, fixed me with his roundest and most serious eyes, and deliberately shook his head no. He reached out again and gently stroked her curls. We praised his decision most enthusiastically, and Ada announced, “Jolly IS a good boy! That’s why we chose him.”


Thanks for choosing us, Pippin. I’ll walk anywhere with you. Although I’m going to miss this view enormously: