Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Homecoming

Margaret's Christmas Tree

Alyson, our oldest, spent a semester abroad in London.   Yesterday, her flight brought her back in the country via Logan airport.  Since Logan airport is a three hour drive for us and my sister-in-law, Margaret, lives in Boston and since our two youngest still had a full day of school we were going to have  Margaret pick Alyson up at Logan airport and meet them in the evening.

I really didn't want to wait all day to see my darling daughter, so I cancelled a doctor's appointment, pulled the younger kids out of school and drove directly to Logan airport to meet Alyson.  The expression on her face when she saw her youngest sister and father was priceless (she couldn't see me).  Not expecting to see us, she was looking for her aunt and had to give her dad a double take.  

Now, my family is all whole again.  We're spending the Christmas weekend with Margaret's family and my in-laws.  All the seven cousins from the ten-year-old to the 21-year-old are having a great time being with each other.  Hubby, Margaret and their parents have been playing majong all day and I'm perfectly content sitting in the corner, knitting.  I even walked to a the local yarn store, A Good Yarn, after Hubby fell into a post-lunch stupor on the family room couch.  Life couldn't be anymore perfect.  

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays...  I hope you're all enjoying this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Little Mismatched

I can't remember when I started them, but I finished a pair of legwarmers last month.  They were probably started before I joined Ravelry.  Looking at a bag of leftover sock yarn balls, I decided to knit them together.  I don't know what I was going to do with it.  It was just a leg-sized tube that I would pick up whenever I was between projects.  Maybe it was going to be a scarf, maybe funky socks.  The difficulty was that all the balls were of different sizes, and weight.

Rummaging through my daughter's drawers (at her request), I came across a pair of legwarmers I knit for her out of self-striping sock yarn.  I remember knitting them during the summer of 2007.  Ravelry hadn't come into my life yet and I was still knitting on dpns.  It took a loooong time to finish those legwarmers because I wanted them to go all the way up E's thighs.  Thankfully, she had skinny legs.  Anyway, when I saw the first legwarmers I knit for E, I decided to make my tube into legwarmers too.  Here are the results:

She's already worn them to dance class and I think her friends would like some too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Grandmother Used to Crochet

I learned to crochet in fifth grade.  A school project involved learning a new skill and demonstrating it to the class.  Since my grandmother taught me to knit when I was seven, it wasn't a new skill, I couldn't use knitting.  Crocheting seemed much more manageable anyway.  There's only one live stitch to be concerned with and granny-squares were cool in my ten-year-old mind.  I remember bugging my mother for a couple of weeks before she finally, very reluctantly, sat down with me with yarn and hooks.  Even though Mom sewed, knit and crocheted, it wasn't a skill she wanted her daughters to learn.  She wanted us to have careers and those old-fashioned crafts didn't have a place in our future lives.  (Of course that didn't stop her from scolding us when we didn't know how to hem our pants properly or fix a button neatly.)  I think I got the hang of crocheting fairly quickly. I was able to master the basic stitches in a couple of days and was making red and white granny squares...many many red and white granny squares.

Twenty-four years later, I taught my oldest daughter's Girl Scout troop to crochet.  I remember it being a long meeting, since, none of the other moms knew how and I was teaching them too.  Last month, I taught another set of Girls Scouts to do the same.  I've been these girls' leader since kindergarten and I felt that since they were the same age as I was, they were ready to wield hooks.

I taught M to crochet the night before the meeting.  That was definitely a smart move.  Like me, she picked it up fairly quickly and was ready to help her troop-mates the next day.  My friend, Angela, could crochet and she stayed on to help.  Thank God!  By the end of the 1 1/2 hour meeting, only 2 girls other than M and Angela's daughter had advanced beyond the chain stitch.  (My co-leader did enjoy herself.  She was able to progress to her second round of the granny-square.)

M's first granny square
I always assumed that since I learned needle crafts quickly as a child, other children would be the same too.  Aren't kids supposed to learn new tricks easily?  Maybe I waited too long, maybe I would've been more successful if I taught the girls while they were still Brownies. The most frustrating thing to come out of the experience is that the Girl Scout Council has discontinued the "Yarn and Fabric Arts" badge for Junior Scouts

Yarn and Fabric Arts badge for Junior Girl Scouts
There's still badges for cooking, jewelry-making, gardening, writing, photography, geocaching, drawing...  The list is pretty long.  There's activities for a girl's self-esteem, the environment, camping, staying fit.  I don't understand why they had to get rid of the Fiber Arts badge.  It's not easy for most girls these days to learn about sewing and knitting.  Their moms don't know how and there isn't anybody close to teach them.  It  frustrates me that a lot of people view knitting and sewing as old fashioned, dying arts.  Isn't it easier  and cheaper to buy our knitted goods and garments from the store?  Of course it's easier.  But think of the joy and comfort we spread when we give our hand-knit or hand-quilted gifts to our friends and family, the sense of satisfaction when one completes a project. 

I'm one of those people who need to always have a project going.  It doesn't have to be yarn or fiber related.  I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish something, be it a sweater or tiled shower.  These projects are a source of creative outlet and also an expression of love for my family.

I know I'm rambling.  I'll try not to bite the head off of the next person who says, "My grandmother used to crochet!"  When I'm observed knitting in public.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Birthday Blues

J's 3rd birthday during his Blue's Clues phase
This week, my family had two celebrations.  My only son, J, reached his 15th birthday and E came home from her first term of college.  I don't know where time has gone.  My sweet little boy has somehow turned into an adult-sized creature.  Well, almost adult-sized.  We're all small people in our family and I'm grateful J is at least taller than me, an achievement his older sisters have yet to reached.  I get startled sometimes when I here his voice booming up the stairs.  Why is there a man in the house and why is he playing video games on the family room couch?!!

I miss those days when Mom can do no wrong in his eyes, and a kiss could cure all manner of boo-boos.  He was the youngest for almost 5 years before M came along.  Sometimes, I think he's never forgiven me for dethroning him as the baby of the family.

On another note, I got a surprising message on my computer when I woke up yesterday.  E asked me, "will I be okay bringing knitting needles on the plane?"  Boy, was I proud.  My daughter knitting on an airplane!  It almost brought tears to my eyes!  Then I saw what she was knitting and I really wanted to cry.  Poor kid.  She's knitting on size 15 needles, yet her stitches are so tight, you can barely get the right needle into the stitches.  And her scarf is not only growing length-wise, the width is growing too.  I switched out her monster 13-inch metal needles for a pair of circulars.  At least she won't be poking anyone in the eye on her return trip to school.

I've actually done quite a bit of knitting since Halloween.  My February Lady Sweater acquired some pretty buttons purchased from Webs.  I didn't bother blocking the sweater and have worn it already.

The double heelix socks are off the needles and been worn at least three times.  I even managed to stretch them over my big feet to match a purple and blue Christmas sweater.

I knit a hat from leftover Peruvia and Mochi Plus I bought during a trip to San Francisco.  My mother-in-law loved the hat so much, I knit another one for her.  My niece got the first one.

A watermelon hat was started and completed for the littlest niece.   

Another one was made for M's Bitty Baby doll.

  Just to mix things up, I crocheted a fan scarf for a birthday present.

And, I knit the druidess beret  during the Thanksgiving long weekend for another niece that looooves hats.

Wow.  Despite the holiday madness of shopping, cleaning, cooking, decorating, I've managed to spread some handmade love to my family.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mini Poppins

This year, for Halloween, M decided to dress as Mary Poppins.  Even though she made the decision early (in August), I was still putting the costume together Saturday before Halloween.  I wasn't completely lame.  The main parts of the costume were done very early. This is the pattern I chose for Mary's coat:

Since it's an adult-sized pattern, I was a little nervous about altering it to fit my ten-year-old.  We raided the older girls' closets and borrowed a black skirt and white blouse.  The hat was a bit iffy.  In the movie, Julie Andrews wears a black straw hat adored with daisies and beads.  I couldn't find an appropriate shaped hat anywhere and ended up making one out of felt.  I actually made it without a pattern!

A carpet bag was made out of clearance fabric:

And voila!  My very own mini Mary Poppins!

The only thing missing was an umbrella with a parrot handle.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tea Stains

Remember when I lost a ball of purple Trekking yarn and had to order another skein to finish my uptown boot socks?  I also ordered a second light blue skein so I could try Double Heelix from this fall's Knitty.  The swirly, knit-from-heel, two-toned, mismatched socks intrigued me from the first moment I laid eyes on this picture:

Double Heelix by Jen Staimen, Knitty, first Fall 2011

In anticipation of an eleven-hour car ride, I packed my sock yarn for my very own Double Heelix sock.  The pattern starts with casting on 20 stitches with Judy's Magic Cast-on over two needles.  I read the instructions for JMCO online before our trip.  I even watched the recommended video.  By the time I was on the road with my yarn and needles, I couldn't remember anything about any Judy or her magic cast-on.  I tried for miles and miles, but my first few rows didn't look anything like the picture on the pattern.  The pattern clearly states that you need two working strands for each color.  At the end of the cast-on, both strands for the main color should be on the same side of the needles.  Why are my strands on the opposite ends?!!!!  Argh!!!!!
At our hotel, I checked the instructions and video online again.  I still couldn't get it right.  Finally I found a video by Cat Bordhi.  I don't know what it is.  I can usually follow written word directions or pictures pretty easily.  For whatever reason, I couldn't understand the pictures and video from Knitty.  It took Cat's tutorial for me to finally get it.  I guess that's why Cat is such a popular teacher in the knitting circuit.

Finally got it!

By the time I was half-way home, I had knitted the heel and most of the foot.  Tragedy occured when I spilled my diet iced tea inside my knitting bag.  What a mess!  When I got home, I ripped out the whole sock and washed my yarn.  I couldn't get all the stains out.  And since the tea was the instant variety, the stains were pink, rather than brown.  It didn't look half bad...

Can you see the stains?

That first sock has since been reknit and completed.

Yes, I have big feet.

Now that I'm knitting the second sock, my attention is already wandering to my next project...  Apres Surf Hoodie?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Knitting on Drugs

I love my Tylenol PM when I have a headache at night.  It saves me from spending a miserable night with a gigantic headache.  So even though I had a wonderful uninterrupted night of blissful sleep, even though I slept so soundly, I almost peed in my pants, I have one complaint.  There should be an additional warning on the box: Do not operate machinery or wield KNITTING NEEDLES while taking this drug.  Serious damage may be done to your knitting if these warnings are not observed!

A three-year-old would have been able to point out all the mistakes and dropped stitches in the sleeve I knit while under the influence.  I spent the better part of  the next day ripping out and reknitting the sleeve of my February Lady Sweater.

It still needs to blocked and I still have to pick out buttons, but it's off my needles.  Yay!!!  Now on to the next project...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Granny Flat

One of the projects I completed this summer had nothing to do with fiber or fabric.  My husband and I have been finishing our basement for the past few years.  He did all the framing and I helped him with the sheetrock.  Every time he brought home a load of wallboard, I wanted to cry.  They're really heavy!  I know I'm stronger than I look, but I'm not as strong as I was when I was twenty!  We hired an electrician to do the wiring and a mudder (?) to mud the sheetrock.  I painted the walls and ceiling, laid tile on the bathroom floor and installed bamboo flooring in the play/living area.  About two years ago, we were at the 90% mark.  All that was left was trim and plumbing hook-up.  The basement stayed in that stage for a year.  That's twelve months the trim stayed on the floor.  I don't know what Hubby was waiting for.

Last year, Hubby decided that we would convert the basement into an in-law suite for his parents, complete with a FULL KITCHEN.  There was much tears and gnashing of teeth over the decision.  Needless to say, I gave in and work resumed.  Part of the space was partitioned into a bedroom, a wall in the half bath was knocked out and framed for a shower, and a full kitchen was created in the living area.  Since the basement was originally intended as a play space, the walls were painted a sunny yellow and pretty sky blue (my favorite color).  With the space reassigned for Grandma and Grandpa, I had to rethink the color pallete.  My mother-in-law picked forest green fabric for the new couch covers (they needed to be replaced anyway) and I repainted the walls a coordinating taupe.  I also painted, cut, and installed all the trim for the windows and doors.

One weekend in July, I tiled the shower.  Hubby cut the tiles for me while I stuck them on the walls.  I was a bit nervous about the project because I'd only tiled before on a horizontal surface.  What if the tiles fell over before I grouted?  In the end, my fears were baseless.  The mastic held the tiles in place and there weren't any stray tiles on the floor the next morning.  Grouting was a little tricky until I got the hang of working over a vertical surface.

Since I haven't repainted the bathroom yet, you can still see the pretty blue that I love...

tiled shower,

all grouted

accent tiles, so pretty!

almost done

I'm  pretty proud of my tile job.  Other than repainting the bathroom, we still need to install shelves in the bedroom closet, caulk the trim in the living room and install the floor thesholds under the four doors.  I think that's it. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bad Blogger

I don't think I was home for more than two weeks at a time this summer...  That's probably an exaggeration.  It really was a busy summer for my family.  That's my only excuse for being a bad, or shall I say "absent", blogger.

My two little ones (not very little at all) have been in school for the last two and a half weeks. But despite that, I didn't feel like the summer had ended for me until last week.  That's because last week I got home from dropping E off at her university. Since her school is on a trimester schedule, they didn't start classes until the 21st.  A has been in London since the beginning of the month where she's spending a semester abroad.  Now that all my children are settled at their schools, Fall has begun in earnest.

Progress report on my projects?

I set my February Lady sweater aside over summer vacation.  The last thing I wanted to touch during the heat and humidity was my wool and alpaca concoction.   I did pick the project up again last week and started the first sleeve.

I started knitting the Uptown Boot Socks by Jennifer Appleby during a trip to Orlando.  I had just cast on the second sock when a knot forced my to cut the yarn and roll the skein into a ball.  Somehow, that ball never made it back into my bag.  Oh the agony! 

My rainbow Citron

Fortunately I had a backup project:  Citron is a cute little shawlette.  I used a skein of Norro Sekku.  My sister-in-law loved it so much, I gave it to her without even blocking it.

Once I was home, I was able to order another skein of my purple trekking sock yarn so I could finish the second sock.  The dye lot wasn't the same, but that's okay.  At least the socks are done.  E took them to school with her, so I didn't have time to block them.

purple uptown boot socks
I don't know why the bottom sock looks bigger than the top one.  They really are the same size.  Even when we try them on!

I made a little travel jewelry case for A, but didn't finish it until she had already left for London.  She found something a catalogue and asked if I could make her one.  Being the crafty mom that I am, I whipped one up for her.  She's got something to hold her earrings, a compartment for bracelets/watches and a tube to hold her rings.  There's even an extra zipper pocket for miscellaneous junk that girls collect.

I have a few more projects that were completed, but I'll save them for next time.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

To all the wonderful mothers out there,  Happy Mother's Day!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Summer Interweave Knits

Knits Magazine Summer 2010 Cover

My Summer IK arrived in the mail this morning!!!!  I really tried not to blow through this edition all at once, but couldn't help myself.  There's quite a few patterns that I would like to knit.  And I know months or even years from now, I'll find something "new" that I didn't even consider during my first perusal.

Patterns I want to knit:
     cumulus tee
     camp smock  I think this would be really cute on a little girl
     swirl skirt
     amelia hoodie  maybe with long sleeves instead?
     cat's eye tam

I'd also like to try the faux cables technique in the al fresco camisole

All in all, another great edition of Interweave Knits


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

iPod Love Affair

iPod Mini
I have a confession...  I'm addicted to my iPod.  I listen to it all the time.  In the car, I have one earbud in my ear (the right one, so I can still hear the outside traffic with my left ear).   While I'm cooking, that earbud's still in my ear.  Vacuuming... yep, both buds are in.  Mowing the lawn, weeding, washing dishes.  All done while listening to audiobooks or podcasts on my iPod.  When Husband is watching his many hours football, baseball, basketball (you get the idea) on TV, I enjoy sitting with him while I knit and listen to my iPod.  "Did you see that incredible play?!"  Yes dear, very nice (knit, knit, knit).

My love affair with my iPod all began in 2005, when my husband bought me my blue Mini.  I loved it!  So compact and cute, I could fit so many books and songs in the humongous 4 gigabytes of storage.  That same year, the Nano came out.  Daughter number one received a 2GB Nano for her fall birthday.  Dear husband received a 4GB Nano from his boss for Christmas.  Since Husband never listens to music, he gave his Nano to daughter number one, and daughter number two got her sister's 2GB Nano.  Still with me?

Dear Husband, being the generous, trusting dad, allowed both daughters to bring their iPods to school, against my better judgement.  "They're both in middle school," he said, "and they're both sooo responsible!"  E, the second daughter came home a few months later, upset.  Her iPod was stolen. 

You know what I did?  I consoled my daughter and gave her my shiny, blue Mini.  In the meantime, I found an abandoned HP iPod at my brother's house.  He said that the old iPod wasn't working properly and had bought himself a better one.  So now I had Brother's iPod.  That worked for about two months until it died.

Dear Husband took pity upon me and bought me my first iPod video.  Wow!  30GB!  I'll never run out of room.  "Hold on," says Husband, "you don't have enough memory in your computer."  Oh...

That's okay.  I learned to use an exterior drive to store all my files.

iPod Video
I actually used that iPod for five years.  That's a long time in iPod years.  Last year, the earphone jack started to fail.  First, I couldn't hear through the left earbud, then the right one went.  It still played when it was docked on my iPod speaker, the donut.  I just couldn't play it through earphones.  Crap! Mowing the lawn is lot more tedious without my iPod!

My "donut"
Dear Husband to the rescue again.  He said that he was going to buy me a new Nano.  It only has 16GB, but it has a radio, a video camera, a pedometer...  Can you brush your teeth with it?   "You can use your big iPod when you're listening to music on the donut," says Husband, "and the Nano for when you're doing chores, running errands."  I was warming up to the idea and even narrowing down on a color choice.  Maybe purple?

The next thing I know, Husband hands me my shiny new... iPod Classic.  "I got such a good deal!" He said, "For just a few dollars more you get ten times the storage capacity!  More bang for your buck."  What am I going to do with 160GB?  What about the radio and the pedometer and the cool video camera?...

Thank you Sweetie, that was really thoughtful of you.  Gotta love the guy.  Always on the lookout for the best deal.

I would love an iPhone, but can't justify the $30/month data fees.  That's $360 a year!  Can't I get an iPhone without the data fees?  "No," answered the phone guy, "why would you want an iPhone without a data package?"  So I don 't have to carry my phone and iPod?  Nevermind, you wouldn't get it.

So what does my iPod have to do with knitting, sewing, quilting, or gardening?  Everything!  I can do all those activities and "read" at the same time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gray or Grey?

I wanted to knit the Ruched Yoke Tee designed by AnneLenna Mattison as soon as I saw it in this year's spring Interweave Knits.  I love the peasant blouse look on the adorable blonde model.  She totally sold it for me.

My niece has a June birthday and would be the perfect recipient for such a top.  My choices for suitable yarn, however, was seriously throwing a wrench in the works.  I chose to use only stash yarn (that's another story.  Two daughters in college this fall.  Yikes!) and the only yarn that would work from said stash was gray.  Or is that "grey"?

my gray yarn

Now, I don't have anything against the color gray.  I like gray.  In fact, I have many items of clothing in varying shades of gray.  I just don't think gray is a good color for my 5-year-old niece, at least not solid gray.

I came up with, I think, a pretty good idea of adding some color into the project by way of some new yarn self-striping yarn and came up with this: 

It only took me five days to knit.  Yay!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Creative Focus

I bought 5 skeins of Creative Focus Worsted by Nashua Handknits to knit my very own February Lady Sweater.  So many people have knit it since 2008, but I have a similar store-bought sweater that I want to replace due to some unfortunate stains.  I love the light blue version that Rosape posted on her Ravelry page.

I armed myself with a list of possible yarns on a trip to Webs during their New Year sale.  I had the prices, content and available colors all mapped out in my spreadsheet.  (I know I'm such a dork)  There were yarns where the color was perfect, but I didn't like the texture or content and others where the yarn was so soft and lovely but the color was garish.  So hard to decide!

Creative Focus Worsted was a happy compromise with its 75% wool, 25% alpaca content.  The color, carnation, is not my favorite, but something that I would definitely wear.  I can't have my whole wardrobe painted turquoise!

I'm not a yarn expert, but CFW is not twisted tightly, it's like a twisted roving and breaks easily.  I had the most trouble casting on.  With my usual long-tail cast-on, the yarn would start breaking after about 30 stitches.  I tried different cast-ons, but since the cast-on edge as the actual neckline of the sweater, I didn't want anything loose or stretchy.  I VERY CAREFULLY cast on 83 stitches with a long-tail cast-on, switching the tail every 20 or so stitches.

I'm only about half-way done with the garter-stitch yoke, and so far, the fabric is very soft and fuzzy.  It's like knitting a soft bunny.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


My youngest asked me, "Mommy, what's a kwat?"

I looked down at her homework and see that she's learning about electricity in class.

"You mean a kilowatt?"


Kids are soooo cute!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

First Shawl

I added a couple podcasts to my list of podcast subscriptions last summer.  One of them was Knitting Pipeline by Paula.  She plays the bagpipes in a pipe band, is an avid birdwatcher, sells Longaberger baskets and, of course, knits.  Listening to Paula is like having a favorite aunt come to your house and chat about the latest over a steaming cup of tea.  Of the many projects Paula talks about, shawls are the ones she mentions the most.  And she's knit some very lovely shawls:  lace shawls, beaded shawls, garter stitch shawls, shawlettes...  The list goes on and on.

Anyway, listening to Paula's podcast inspired me.  I've made some lace projects in the past:  a couple of scarves, a shrug, a camisole, but nothing as complicated as a lace shawl.  During a trip to San Francisco, I bought some hand-dyed lace yarn from a local yarn shop called Stash in Berkeley.  (I have a habit of buying yarn with no idea what I'm going to do with it!)  That yarn became my first shawl. 

I had the Icarus Shawl in my queue for a long time.  It's the cover project in the book, The Best of Interweave Knits and looks so elegant and chic on the model.  I've always loved it but didn't know if I had enough knitting know-how to attempt it.  The beginning was very difficult for me.  I knitted and frogged the first 10 rows at least 5 times before I got the hang of the lace pattern.  Once I got the rhythm of the lace, I thoroughly enjoyed the process.  So, in between knitting the birthday hoodie and the gytha, I was able to finish my first shawl. 

As much as I love the Hepburn yarn I used with its lovely shades of blue, turquoise and purple, I don't love it as my Icarus Shawl.  I worked so hard on the shawl and I'm disappointed that the lace is camouflaged by the color changes.  I think I would have like it better without the purple sections in the yarn.

Icarus Shawl knit with Hepburn by Abtract Fibers

Note to self:  don't use variegated yarn for lace.

Monday, April 4, 2011


The first time I saw the pattern "Gytha" in the Winter '08 issue of Twist Collective, I wanted to knit it right away.  The problem was:  I just didn't have anyone to knit it for.  Neither of my two older daughters likes to wear bright or multiple colors and my little one was too small.  Fast forward two years, my baby is now wearing her the same size as her eighteen-year-old sister, despite the fact that she's only nine. 

Usually, I don't like to knit (or quilt) my projects in the exact same color as the original pattern.  This time, however, I picked my colors to match the pattern as close as I could get.  I love turquoise! The pattern called for Green Mountain Spinnery Mohair.  It's a lovely yarn, but I couldn't justify spending that much on a nine-year-old's sweater.  Knit Picks came to the rescue!  Their Wool of the Andes yarn come in a rainbow assortment of colors.  Buying yarn online is always a little nerve-wracking for me.  I read good reviews, I read bad reviews.  In the end, plunged ahead and ordered the yarn.  For about two bucks a 50 gram skein, how can I go wrong?  The yarn arrived 6 days after I placed the order.  No knots, no blue fingers. Wool of the Andes is a hit with me  I will buy it again.  Maybe Knit Picks fixed the problems that some reviewers were complaining about.

M's gytha

It only took me three weeks to knit the sweater.  It would have only been two weeks if it weren't for some changes.  I didn't want the sleeves too wide, so I decreased every few rows.  I thought I made the sleeves short enough, but when M tried it on for the first time, it looked ridiculous.  My goal was to make a sweater big enough so my cutie-pie can still wear in the fall (she's growing like a weed), but not so big that she's swimming in it.  There was only one thing to do.  I snipped the stripes off of each sleeve, unravelled the ribbing at the elbows and grafted the stripes back on.  Voila!  Shorter sleeves!

The picture we took doesn't show the toggle buttons at front opening, because I hadn't sewn them on yet.  M wore the sweater to school as soon as the toggles were secure and was happy as a clam.  I pictured her teacher and classmates ooing and aahing.  I didn't picture her falling into a mud puddle, which of course is exactly what she did.