Mummy’s Little Sweat Shop

I have a rather smashing idea. I’ve got this very nice handspun I made a couple of weeks ago, and from the minute it was bought I’ve known who it was for. Three days ago, with the end of the sweater in sight, I got out all of my stitch dictionaries and started perusing them for possibilities. (It is one of my most favourite things in the world to look at stitch dictionaries in the bath. We have no shower, but we do make up for it by having a large and glorious claw foot tub, and I spend a lot of time in there. Looking at stitch dictionaries. Ok. That’s starting to sound odd, isn’t it? Never mind. Forget I said it. Let’s pretend I read knitting books on the couch like everybody else. Nothing to see here.) I didn’t end up using any of the stitches, but I did have a nice big idea.

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I’ve knit an “end” of a scarf. The rest will be in garter stitch. (Plain, beautiful garter stitch) and we are all going to knit it together. (I have not exactly told them this yet.) Everyone in the house knows how to knit, so there’s no reason why we can’t do a family project. I’ll leave it on the coffee table, and ask everybody to work on it whenever they think of it. Every time I think of it, I’ll add a pattern row or something. When it gets close to the end, I’ll pick it up and knit the other “end” and cast off. Presto Chango…. A scarf knit by all of us, and a really great gift for someone. Good thinking? I thought so.

I know that some of you (coughRAMScough) are going to say that this is not just the good clean fun I’m proposing. Some of you are going to think that instead of a warm fuzzy family project, what I have actually engineered is a way for me to turn my previously useless teenagers into skilled workers churning out Christmas presents. To these accusers I say…..HA! You’re just sorry you didn’t teach your kids to knit so that they could work for you so that you could get more done join in a warm new family tradition like us.

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The more I think about it, the more I think this is brilliant. I’ve been feeding, clothing and housing these people for years and years now, and I don’t even want to discuss the fact that they were all breastfed, and cloth diapered and that I made them homemade playdough for crying out loud. I taught them all sorts of useful good things, and now that they are teenagers and getting ready to move on with their own lives, I’m thinking things over. I’ve invested in these people. I was thinking that I was teaching them skills for adulthood, but now that I think about it, perhaps they could use some practice to make sure they are really good at all of it. Besides… all that effort I’ve put in and they think they are just going to grow up and leave without any sort of redress at all? I don’t think so. This, my friends, is an idea who’s time is come, and it turns out that I didn’t teach them to knit for nothing. It’s payback time. Now don’t get suckered in by their pretty faces, and don’t pay any mind to their whinging about sore hands.

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Christmas is coming, and Mummy wants another 10 rows before daybreak.

(Ps. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. Teach your kids how to cook today. Remember, today’s children learning at your knee are tomorrow’s free labour. Pony up. )

(PPS…Yes. That’s real snow. I took the pictures with my ordinary little digital camera (Ironically, the one that keeps blurring the snot out of sock pictures) set on “macro” and zoomed in. I agree though…it is spectacularly perfect snow. )

203 thoughts on “Mummy’s Little Sweat Shop

  1. My American 13-year old made cranberry/lime relish AND did a load of laundry today. Be still my heart.

  2. So true–I’ve spent years teaching them how to work, and now they are all leaving. I’m trying to figure out how I can now get all that work done without them! One gone, next one on the way out, the third one is panicking that she will be stuck “holding the pan”!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving, Dear Stephanie!
    Lovely idea; lovely pics. We *should* have snow here, but don’t, at the moment. Sorry to say. I like snow as it’s falling, and for about two months on the ground. After that, you can have it! Six months of winter is really more than any one should have to endure…

  4. Sounds like a wondeful idea to me, make the blighters pay. What happens when one of them makes and “accidental” mistake to get out of more knitting pleasure?

  5. Hmmmm,I think you are on to something, Steph…my 7 year old keeps asking me to teach him…this might be the perfect time of year…she says, rubbing her hands together gleefully!!!! πŸ˜‰ Happy Thanksgiving!! Happy Knitting!!

  6. Great idea! Tried it here – but guess who is doing the bulk of the knitting.
    (The wool looks glorious though. I certainly couldn’t resist it)

  7. As I read this, my oldest, 29, is in the kitchen chopping vegetables, but the 26 yr. old baby is NOT here ticking back the sweater I’ve totally messed up. Half way there!

  8. hi Steph. Remember, I’m the other LC who likes to knit… Kathleen of Lactnet… I have teenagers too who are all knitting, but they are working on their own gifts etc, and so I am not going to complain. I think their learning has been successful in that area. : ) Happy Thanksgiving..and we have guests over today. I bought them each a small knitting project to work on as we all have ours… and after dinner, we can sit and knit, and watch Miracle on 34th Street, and knit. Life is good…(except for missing our daughter who is in England for the year). The English do not make a decent pie, apparently.
    I donated $25 to DWBorders this morning to get Anna’s Peace Baby pattern. So incredibly cute. : ) Kathleen Bruce (RN IBCLC)

  9. That’s just eerie. Right before I read this, I had my 3 boys snapping green beans. They had so much fun, they forgot it was “work”. I love your “family scarf” idea, especially after I had to frog one 2 times because of a stupid pattern that I won’t even go into right now because I’m still a little bitter, can you tell? But really, scarf idea much good. Working kids, even better.

  10. What a luscious brown!
    Costly slave labour is why I had Girly. Isn’t that why our parents had us?
    I hope the family project goes well and the snow stays that pretty but you don’t get the wicked cold. Frickin cold.

  11. Damn! And here I was thinking you’d never met my mother!
    *g* Good luck!
    However- I’ve recently had a thought about handknit gifts, and I’ve realized just how sneaky we are. You see- we get this fabulous yarn, *suck all the fun out of it*, and then give it to someone else once it’s no longer interesting. (Okay, it’s beautiful, useful and warm- that’s what we call a win-win, right?) But still. We are sneaky.

  12. I love to read in the bathtub! I also love the idea of getting the kids to help with knitting Christmas presents. Now if I could just figure out how to teach a left handed 9 year old boy to knit….

  13. I think it would be just desserts if you decided to keep the scarf after they all work on it! After all, you do like the handspun, why not like the scarf too.

  14. I think your “family-knit” scarf is a lovely, loving idea, but then, I’m not one of your kids…on the other hand, I could only wish to be so fortunate as to have a Mum like you.

  15. Laura, I don’t think there really is “handedness” to knitting. I’m a righty who learned to knit from my lefty continental-knitting Grama. Mom righty Mom had tried to teach me “right-hand” knitting, but it never took. It’s really all the same. I think it’s all about what’s more comfortable. (o:

  16. What beautiful photos – the snowflakes are real? Guess I need to spend more time taking those kinds of shots, as mine (done in a hurry) don’t look that good. The yarn looks gorgeous and will make a lovely scarf present. Good luck with getting the chitlings to help out with that – you might want to save up the “do you have any idea what I’ve done for you all these years” kind of ammunition for future use. Perhaps in this case the “this is the greatest way to show “x” that we really love him/her – by putting a piece of each of us into this project” ammunition would get about the same result. I have found that now my daughter is married with her own kids, we have a lot more fun sharing and helping each other.
    Can’t wait to see how the scarf progresses.

  17. I’m with you on that, sister – my kids helped me bake pies this morning! (They wanted to, though. They asked if they could. Does that count?)
    The family-knit scarf is such a lovely idea. Hmm, both of my kids know how to knit, too…

  18. My poor mum is wondering who is going to cut her hair (I’ve been the family hairdresser for 12 years) and cook all the holiday meals once I move halfway across the country … I guess she’ll just have to train my younger sister… mooohahahah.

  19. The snowflakes were lovlier than usual today. I spent lots of time with my daughter Kate looking at all the beautiful ones she caught on her mitten. Yours are as beautiful as ours.

  20. As long as there is water in the tub, and you are nekkid, then it’s absolutely normal to read in the tub. I do it all the time. I bring a couple of magazines or a book or two, some wine or coffee, and settle in.
    Your snowflakes look a lot nicer than mine, but mine were clogging up my windshield this morning, not clinging sweetly to wool…

  21. My 6 year old nephew has been up since 6 making pumpkin pies. ^_^
    I like the family knitting project. Doodle (the enslaved 6 year old) “helps” me knit things all the time. Which wouldn’t be help unless he could knit, right? Right. Luckily I taught him to knit about a year ago. ^_^
    ALSO, when he saw the “Unoriginal Hat” on my needles in blue and bronze, he decided it must be his. So I was right: you’ve laced that pattern with something addictive and infectious. *nodnod* Well done.

  22. Snowflakes! Beautiful, perfect ice crystals, resting on wool!
    The downside of living in the subtropical paradise that is LA (aside from the punishing summers– it was 109 F every day for a week around my birthday) is that I have never seen a six-sided snow crystal in real life. So lovely!
    Just last night I finished seaming a jacket in Noro’s Big Kureyon and an assortment of vintage mohair, in “plain, beautiful garter stitch.” Now, I have to arrange a vacation somewhere where it’s cool enough to wear it.
    I think the family-knit scarf is a lovely idea, and not cynical or manipulative at all. I’d adopt it myself, except that I’m the only person in the house who knits.

  23. i’m trying to type onehanded after burning my other hand.
    I think I teach best by showing what not to do,
    HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y’ALL!

  24. That is so freakin’ brilliant!! You are truely a goddess! Both girls knit, I forsee much warm yarny gifty goodness. Or it may just be the turkey fumes are getting to me.

  25. My brother, father of three girls, says that for all you do for your kids while you raise them, there is no amount of errands performed by them that can ever make up for it. On this basis, they are merely making a meagre downpayment on their karmic debt. So really, you’re doing them the favor!
    It’s balmy here in NYC on this Thanksgiving Day. Doesn’t seem right.

  26. OMG, what fancy-arse sort of camera do you have that can take pictures of snowflakes???
    I bought a front-load washer so the kids (5 and 2) could put the laundry in. Now if I could only trust them with the soap they might be of some use… I’m all for child labour – isn’t that why we had them?

  27. I have taught all my boys to make cakes and cookies and my girls to shop Goodwill. But none want to knit for some odd reason. However, they are all determined to homeschool their kids and the girls will breastfeed and the boys will ask their wives to breastfeed- so maybe I have an influence.
    Happy Thanksgiving, or whatever you guys call it up there. LOVED the snowflake!
    Mary E

  28. Tatdlace – I’m pretty certain a combination of fear, the desire to continue being fed and the lure of possibly not becoming collateral damage in Mummy’s annual “IT” phase will keep the daughters knitting straight and true.

  29. Oh Stephanie, the colours in that handspun are wonderful and those photographs are truly beautiful. What perfect snowflakes on such lovely yarn! Whoever that scarf is destined for (whether or not the family pitches in with the knitting) is a very lucky person indeed.

  30. I’m okay with doing all the knitting in my household as long as my 17 year old continues to peel twice as many potatoes as asked to make delicious pots of potato soup simply because we all love potato soup. He also makes a mean batch of burrito filling without being asked. He can knit too but chooses not to. It really is okay.

  31. Reading stitch dictionaries in the bubble bath sounds so good I might do that tonight. Those snowflakes are beautiful! Fantastic pictures.

  32. I should be careful when I read your blog to my husband …. he loved the idea of you in the bathtub! In his dreams!!! But the free labor idea is a great one. We always believed in teaching both daughters how to do everything we did so that payback started early for them. The best part was when oldest daughter (now 38)called me for “my” recipe for making real bread stuffing (from scratch)for the holiday turkey. Some traditions should never be skipped! Have a great (non)-Thanksgiving. I know your Thanksgiving was a short time ago.

  33. Great idea – I think – I kept getting distracted from all the words by those fab snowflakes. Sigh. We don’t really get much snow here. Sigh again.

  34. Those are fake snowflakes – right? I mean, I know that the snow is plentiful and fluffy but those are mighty perfect crystalline specimens.
    And I’m all for child labour. It gets harder to compel as they get older, but it’s not for a lack of trying on my part. LOL

  35. Excuse me, Presbytera…Rams work is clearly NOT done here…she needs to remind a certain person that if the “household help” is working on the myriad of Christmas presents that SHE could be working on Joe’s Gansey…
    And I am thankful this Thanksgiving for Steph and for her blog…

  36. Child-labor-free pies are in the oven! But he (age 14) made pancakes and bacon for Thanksgiving Day breakfast. One of the things I’m thankful for today is the enjoyment I get from reading your blog. Thanks! from Massachusetts where this Thanksgiving thing (US version) began!

  37. Your little snowflakes are so beautiful. I wish we had snow. πŸ™
    My younger son wants to be a chef when he grows up. Today he *asked* if he could help make the turkey.

  38. The one joy of being single is the ability to “opt-out” of holiday insanity. I spent most of my day blessedly asleep. *sigh*
    I have to say though, you have snow? I am 100% jealous of your snow. Maybe I should move to Canada….. *ponders*

  39. Just one word of advice: Gauge. It’s gonna get you this time. I know, it’s handspun and therefore ‘textured’ anyhow, but really, after spinning all that yarn for Joe’s gansey (you ARE finished all the spinning, right?), you should be very good at spinning relatively even yarn.
    And since I struck twice at your heart with mentions of Gauge and Gansey, I’ll say that that is a damn good idea. I knew I should have had kids when I was of that age.

  40. Brillant idea. I am the only knitter in my family. My Grandmother taught me but no one else ever wanted to learn. My daughter views it as something old people do. Wait till she see the lace scarf I am knitting for her Christmas present…THEN we shall see who is “old”.
    I could put a scarf out on the coffee table and the cats would sleep on it, DH would rest his feet on it, the rest of the family tease me about my age. Nobody, however turns down a scarf, baby hat or pair of slippers.
    Child labor…I am all in favour of that. My daughter always complained I never installed a dishwasher until after she left home. I never needed one until then… πŸ˜‰ She was not amused lol

  41. Happy Thanksgiving!
    I’ve taught my daughter how to knit, and my son has tried it also, although it didn’t stick so well with him! My daughter is busily knitting Christmas gifts for her friends, and they have little knitting and quilting get-togethers.
    Unfortunately all this industry has not transferred to equal assiduity in the housekeeping department…so, if I ever want to open a sweatshop, I’m in good shape, but a housekeeping service…not so much.
    I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying your blog. (Well, I suppose I just did). It’s always the highlight of my day to read the new entry.
    I’m off to eat turkey – well, I have to confess, it’s actually prime rib this year. Turkey really isn’t my favorite.

  42. Heidi, may I borrow your 13 year old please?
    My 38 year old (DH) is playing video games right now. πŸ™‚
    Ham is in the oven (we don’t do turkey unless we get invited somewhere) and I am trying Miss Harlot’s Cranberry Sauce recipe from October, and making cheesy mashed potatoes and lots and lots of stuffing.
    As well as cleaning since we actually have company coming Saturday and my floors are disgusting.
    Rainy season started and I have 5 animals (make that 20! paws) and a husband tracking mud into my house. Thank goodness for hardwood floors.
    There will be at least crochet since I have to finish the work gift exchange present since they finally set the date.

  43. Oh Stephanie, How I do love thee!
    Beautiful snow flakes there, magic, and the handspun is beautiful, love those colours!
    oh, and good luck with the new family tradition :^)

  44. Brilliant idea – a real family gift! But how do you get time to yourself in the tub? I’m like a captive audience in there and spend the whole time screaming through the door to what I’m sure is a line up of my family members all in “desperate” need of something!
    For peace and quiet I head for the laundry room. With the furnace and dryer running I can’t hear a thing and no one ever visits! I keep my knitting library there as well as tea bags, mugs a small kettle, a mug-sized warming plate and a top secret stash of mini chocolate bars! Heaven!

  45. Hah! I am slowly having the knitting creep into the boy’s young consciousness… He’s only four, but you have to start somewhere!
    I like your idea. I’ll add it to the arsenal for his teen years. πŸ™‚

  46. I just read that last paragraph to my 21-year-old and we guffawed together. She made two chocolate chiffon pies, two pumpkin pies, a pecan pie, and a lemon meringue pie, and baked two batches of rolls. (Uh. Dude. Only 15 people coming to Nina’s… I think she got carried away.)
    Me? This year? I boiled the cranberries and sugarwater together.

  47. Gorgeous snowflakes! What wonderful photos! We have not had pretty snow yet, just basically frozen rain kind of snow. (Though I have a cool picture of same in the dark on my blog today.)
    Great idea for the handspun. Child labor aside, it will be a very meaningful gift. Our dept. at work made a scarf to benefit breast cancer research in the same way.
    I’ve taught my girls to knit, but so far this just increases my workload by helping them cast on, bind off and fix booboos. Also they scrounge from my stash. But the older one is doing laundry. Of course, this morning I found the load she’d taken out of the dryer (not HER clothes, which were still in the dryer) UNfolded in a pile on the floor. Not to mention basement lights on. Grrrr. Guess what’s she’s doing today; practicing her laundry skills by rewashing the towels and her sister’s clothes.
    Love the tub and read anything I can in it, when I have the time. That sounds like a good idea for tonight….

  48. Ooh, that yarn is beautiful, and the snowflakes… We’re “enjoying” our first significant snowfall today, and the sidewalks are full of the stuff and very slippery.
    I love the idea of the family-knit scarf πŸ™‚ Too bad I can’t teach our hedgehog to knit *grin*

  49. I’m sixteen, and I’m taking a break from cooking (and panicking that things won’t be done on time) to put in a good word for the cooking teenagers. This year, I’m cooking a good portion of Thanksgiving. My mother is deliriously grateful (although, that might also be because the yarn for her Christmas socks is on its way here).
    Also, I read knitting books in the tub, too. You’re not the only one.

  50. I swear those aren’t real snowflakes. I’m from snowy mountains and I’ve always been amazed at peoples’ interpretations of snow flake shapes — I mean, I know they’re a crystal lattice and could look like that, but they don’t do they? Ours are always tiny and delicate, but not perfectly symetrical. Snow can really do that?! ::has minor weather-based identity crisis with much flailing :: Holy cow, I’ve got to go take some pictures of snow…

  51. You’ve done an excellent job of training the girls to survive alone in this big world and knitting a few rows on a scarf each day isn’t much to ask of them. A family made scarf is an marvelous idea. Happy thanksgiving to our American friends.

  52. I live in Australia, so I have never seen real snow, so I have a question. Is that snowflake real? I didn’t know it fell in actual flakes like that.

  53. Great idea! Right now mine is taking apart candles, which isn’t quite as useful. But he’s still small, there’s time…
    Are those real snowflakes? If so, wow, Canada gets good snow. (I suppose this should have been obvious.) Those look like cartoon snowflakes, they’re so perfect!

  54. SO GLAD I taught son to cook… now I’m going to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with him & DIL doing all the cooking, and they are darn good at it!
    Sarah…. I think the flake-looking thing is a plastic sequin placed for good effect πŸ™‚

  55. That yarn is superlatively lovely – oh, the color! I too am envious of your beautiful snowflakes. The rare times it does snow here in Portland, we never get flakes like that. The conditions must not be just right or something…
    A family scarf is a fine and wonderful idea! And while I have no kids, if I had– Well, I grew up in the kitchen; was cooking full meals about the time I was nine. On holidays, Mom and I teamed up and switched so much we always ended up never being able to tell who’d made what. [g] As my only sibling, my brother, was 11 years older and moved out at 18 (the rat [g]), I was thenceforward the permanent dish dryer until we got a dishwasher. But we both learned how to do everything. *Especially* my brother. Mom always said she wasn’t going to have him marrying just because he didn’t know how to cook and do laundry!
    Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes – may the scarf plan work successfully, and the gauge stay (reasonably) true!

  56. For anyone who has asked if the snow is real–YES it most definitely is (says someone who spent 1.5 hours shovelling and scraping the car off this morning!)
    I love The Harlot’s idea of the family-knit scarf, but I would be a little worried about the different gauges that people knit at…ah, well!
    BTW, there is a GREAT article in one of our daily newspapers, The Toronto Star, the link is http://www.thestar.com/living/article/278612
    The Harlot sounds very intelligent and knowledgeable in it (since I’m sure she is both those things, that’s appropriate!)
    Happy Thanksgiving to all the American readers, happy shovelling to all Ontario readers! πŸ˜›

  57. Remember my 16-year old who took off this summer because he couldn’t stand me anymore? And after a few days he called and asked I go and get him? Well, I taught him how to knit when he was younger. Suddenly, this fall, he got into a knitting phase (IPod covers and such stuff but also a hat) and he is now servicing the whole school with made on measure IPod covers. He loves to browse through my stash of handpainted Uruguayan yarn, lace and other. Now I have to go and dig in this room to find me some needles and collect what’s left after his production. He even wanted to learn to sew in the threads (so he could finish the items on the schoolbus), cast-on and off! I didn’t think that that knitting lesson on a boring day would make him a popular guy at school one day. Now to cooking … that might need a little more patience on my side.

  58. I read my knitting books in the tub too! They all have wavy bottom edges to the pages as the bubbles made them damp.
    My fourteen year old son can clean a bathroom, make macaroni cheese (from scratch, not from a packet), vacuum properly and wash and iron his own clothes. He also loads and unloads the dishwasher and puts all the garbage out daily. All under protest initially until he developed an interest in girls – then I got every woman I know to tell him that there is nothing sexier than a man who does the housework.
    Right now my (chicken pox-ed) three year old is washing up plastic things in the kitchen. I didn’t actually want them washed up but I did want the the kitchen floor washed with soapy water. Sometimes you just have to think laterally!

  59. I know this sounds insane, but I find it incredible that that’s actual snow. I live in Ireland and honest to God, I have never seen snowflakes like that. I actually thought you had sprinkled cake decorations on your wool.
    Nice one on the child labour. It’s what I’m planning with any kids I have πŸ˜€

  60. Are those REAL snowflakes in the pictures? I mean, I’ve seen snow before (I grew up further north), but I don’t remember actual flakes looking so perfect, like mini Christmas ornaments.

  61. In addition to knitting, I also do rubber stamping, and teach workshops in that. Of course, this means I also make all of my holiday cards, and I encourage others to do so as well. I ESPECIALLY encourage the ones with families to make it a family affair, and make a sort of assembly line – one person’s stamping one bit, another person colors, another might tie bows, someone else adheres everything together, and so on.
    It sort of works. I’m just sad I don’t have any kids to help ME do mine. πŸ˜›

  62. Reading in the bathtub is totally normal. I’ve read a significant amount of the material for my Canadian History MA in the bathtub… makes it feel less like work, and almost as fun as stitch dictionaries!

  63. homemade playdough. classic! looking on the internet for the recipe as i was seriously playdough-deprived…

  64. “Remember, today’s children learning at your knee are tomorrow’s free labour. Pony up. ”
    I think these are the best words of parenting advise I have ever read. Now I think I shall put them into practice to make up the time I just lost in thanksgiving dinner preperations by reading the internets!
    And, that family scarf idea; brilliant!!

  65. What an awesome idea! This may be what gets my 14 year old back into the swing of knitting again … she’s been “going to” finish The Scarf For Grandma for two years now and I wish she hadn’t gotten so burned out it. As I said, your idea is awesome.
    Meanwhile (here in Washington state), she did make the pumpkin pie this morning and her 11 year old sister made the apple pie. Yee-ha, they’re pretty awesome too.
    Happy day to you …

  66. I enjoyed Thanksgiving with free labor–a daughter and daughter-in-law bringing part of the dinner and washing dishes and helping with cleanup. The 4-yr-old DGD–free-labor-in- training–helped set the table. There are indeed rewards out there.
    I, for one, think the scarf idea is great.

  67. Ah, my mother said she raised us so that we could take care of her in her “twilight” years. I told her I thought it was so we could get our own breakfast ready. I’ll have to keep this in mind for next year’s presents. Luckily my girls also know how to knit and cook (at least to fit my needs – open up bag, press the buttons on the microwave and enjoy) so we are in good shape!

  68. The only problem I have with reading stitch dictionaries in the tub is the shower of bookmarks and notes that invariably fall out into the water.

  69. I vote the snow on wool pic be your Christmas card;)
    As for knitting together- what a spectacular idea.
    (even if it is with a slightly mixed motive….let’s face it- do we ever REALLY have pure motives? As a counselor- I can assure you most humans do not;)
    Youngest son helped with the apple pie- middle and oldest are currently peeling potatoes.. while mommy is online;)
    (we’ve actually already had a dinner- this is our dinner at home to be eaten as leftovers- which is crazy but good!)

  70. squeeeeee I thought snow only looked like that in cartoons – I had no idea real live snow could be so perfect!!!!
    Its like magic!!!!!!!

  71. I made my kids playdough too, and mixed in kool-aid to make it scented. I also made them home-made bread and birthday cakes from scratch.(and taught them to knit.) Thank you for reminding me how beautiful snow really is, when you see it one flake at a time. One needs reminders like that on a day like today, when several billion of those flakes have ganged up together to clump all over the highways for the purpose of sliding your car into the ditch.

  72. It’s snowing in Dallas! But we get the wet blobby stuff that melts the second it hits the ground. The only picture I could get was on the black dog.

  73. My daughter was old enough to really help do the dinner today — we had a blast, getting up in the wee hours of the morning (we have to eat early, so DH can get to work on time — sick people don’t stop for the holidays).
    And she knows how to knit, though somehow it works the other way around here… she leaves her knitting lying around, and I end up kntting a row on it here and there. She’s also generously volunteered to let me use it for movie knitting if my own knitting is too complicated.

  74. Lovely photo, but I really must know if those little snowflake shapes are actually snow! It’s starting to drive me nuts, the more I look at the picture….
    Stephanie please! Have mercy on my poor bedgraggled brain!

  75. I love the pictures!
    Child labor was definitely the way to go in my family. As soon as I was able to hold a plate and see to the top of the counter, I got to do dishes. I think I would have enjoyed child labor more if it had involved knitting.

  76. I have only ever seen snow flakes like that once in my life – and would never have had a chance of getting such a perfect photo. I’ve beenr eading for a long time now, but don’t think that I had read a post about the camera (and yes, I know that it will be difficult to take a photo of your own camera!)

  77. Very impressive snowflakes.
    I’ve worked today on teaching one of my teenage nephews that being the chef involves cleaning up your mess afterwards. So far I’m not sure I’m making much headway.

  78. Thank you so much for sharing the snow pictures! Down here in the south of Australia, we don’t get snow, so don’t get to see the beauty of these perfect, miniature sculptures (that’s how I think of them, anyway!).

  79. Wow! That is awesome snow!
    When I studied abroad in Italy, I taught a bunch of people on the trip how to knit. It was perfect for all the time we spent on trains and buses, and just hanging around our town. At the end, I bought some yarn and cast on a scarf for Paolo, the gentleman who ran the center where we were studying. Over the next two weeks, we passed around the scarf and all the new knitters added however much they wanted. Some people learned how to knit just to work on Paolo’s scarf. We put a line of contrasting-colored yarn when each new person started, so he could see how many people had contributed. At the end, they got it back to me, I cast off, and we presented it to him on our last night. I’m a big believer in sharing the work – and I think the FO is more meaningful because of it. =)

  80. Holy Cow! The snow in Canada is so much more perfect than it is here in the US! I thought those were plastic decorations!!! Wow!

  81. When I was a kid we made a family project. It wasn’t a gift, although I’m sure my mom would have pounced on the idea of having us “help” her. Our project was a hooked rug. My mom had purchased a huge bag of cut rug yarn at a warehouse. It was all colors – I mean all of ’em. The only rule we had was something like no more than three of the same color could touch each other. It was a beautiful rug. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  82. Oh what a great idea, but do you really think that your family will want to knit on it. I love the photos with the little snowflakes, I cant believe how intricate they are and the different patterns too. As you can tell we dont have snow where I live, instead we have a hot summer.

  83. Oh my yes!!
    Ours weren’t able to have pie until the kitchen was clean and they fought over mashing potatoes. . . I’m starting to say, “Don’t do that! I have four healthy children!’ It’s one of my favorite quotes from a friend with three.
    Of course, still these moments are punctuated with “He’s not helping! Mama!! they’re fencing with sharp knives! I’ve done MY share! No pie for you!!” someday they will look back fondly.
    Happy family times indeed.

  84. I love the yarn, and the snowflakes are amazing!
    As for free labour, my 10yo son made fruit salad, changed 2 diapers and even laid out his 2 yo brother’s woolies to dry. πŸ™‚

  85. Stephanie! Those snowflake pictures would make the most beautiful, and appropriate, holiday cards!
    Actually, free labor aside, a scarf knit by everyone really is a lovely idea.
    Considering the room and board, meals, and education, is it really free labor?

  86. Makes sense to me. I only HAD kids so that i could eventually get out of doing the dishes. And cooking. It’s only one more step to knitting, right? And my five year old is already learning, so that is definitely a step in the right direction.
    (((Don’t tell anyone, but I read all your books in the tub. When I don’t have your books to read, I totally look at pattern books, etc. My tub sucks tho… I can never have all of me fully covered at one time. A shame really.)))

  87. Oh, by the way, did you know that 4% of people in the US think Thanksgiving commemorates the defeat of the Canadians?
    And that 4% are allowed to vote and operate large machinery.
    Scary!

  88. Steph, the group project idea is a wonderful one. I started a lap blanket/shawl for a dear friend who recently lost a long battle with cancer. While working on it, I took it to many of her friends and co-workers who each knit a little (or pretended to – we’re in construction) and I also took a picture of them knitting it. As she was 500 kms away having treatment, it was very difficult for many friends to visit, but having the blanket with her helped her to feel a little closer to home & friends. It meant so much to her to know that everyone had added a little of their time just for her.

  89. Every time my 7 y.o. does ANY household chore she dresses in rags and tells me she is Cinderella. As a dyed-in-the-wool (yup) feminist, do I tell her what’s wrong with this or do I remind myself that she’s actually dusting (sweeping up, drying a dish) and keep my mouth shut? You bet.

  90. “all breastfed, and cloth diapered and that I made them homemade playdough for crying out loud.”
    Including your DH? (LOL, couldn’t resist.)
    PS — Does anyone ever comment that your ideas are dumb? I mean, all this sunshine blowing is really getting out of hand.
    (Just kidding. Really. I’m just the ‘ironic’ one.)

  91. i can’t believe those are actual, REAL snowflakes! amazing! and on the co-erced child labour thing…. just remind the girls that enforced knitting is a LOT better than enforced toilet cleaning!
    ps: happy t-giving to all americans who read this blog!

  92. Sorry Stephanie, I was trained differently by my knitting teacher – my mother.
    I was taught that no knitting is communal, and able to be worked on by different people – because of everyone knitting to a different gauge.
    OK, maybe a scarf can sneak in under the radar because the gauge – in garter stitch, without a pattern – is not as important as with other creations.
    Happy holidays if I’m not talking to you again,
    Janey
    janeyknitting AT yahoo DOT ca

  93. I don’t have any kids, but my SO does – unfortunately they are with his ex this holiday. And the concept of contributing to work around the house is very foreign to them…however, our own Thanksgiving has not been without knitting. I have shown my mom how to turn the heel on a sock (this is a woman who knit argyles for my dad 40 years ago but seems never to have learned what “ssk” means) when it was she who shamed me into sock knitting, and I have been making serious headway on a scarf made of a glorious red-orange handspun, pattern from the “Knitting New Scarves” book. I have only three words for all of the knitters out there in the blogosphere – Get. This. Book. It has really cool sculptural patterns and techniques in it. Perfect for offbeat Xmas presents!

  94. “Sweatshop Mummy” isn’t that a song? No, sorry, never mind.
    The only flaw in your plan is that you are talking about TEENagers. That means they’d be more apt to laugh at the scarf on the table and talk about how clueless the person is who put it there, if they thought anyone else would work on it.
    (“Yeah,right” comes to mind.) ON the other hand if you tell them the scarf is for someone they care about, it could work. (DO I sound like the mother of 4?)
    That being said, since my kids are no longer teenagers, they all helped with the cooking today, for our Thanksgiving feast. It was great, it made me proud.

  95. Well, perfectly beautiful snowflakes. Hope you can crack the whip on the knitting, but I have no doubt that all will assist.
    I had to laugh, my daughter called me to clarify green bean casserole today. She had already cooked the turkey and her perfect mashed potatoes (with cream cheese and sour cream). She had bought everything, made it all herself for friends from home and when she couldn’t stand them anymore left. I can just about guarantee, she left the dishes for them to do! Good daughter.
    Wanda

  96. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that you’d been talking to my father. The elementary school bus stops right at his front door (Kingston). When the weather was brutally cold, he would raise up the garage door so that all these little kids could be warm while they waited.
    When it snowed, it was payback time. He “innocently” left little red plastic shovels lying around the laneway. The kids played with them while waiting for the bus.
    As you said, “PRESTO, CHANGO”… one driveway clear of snow and 8 to 10 happy kids who thought that they were just playing and having fun!

  97. My kids gave me exactly 5 minutes to not be in the same room with them. Really, toward the end of the day I could just time my cooking by the elapse between one “Mom?” and the next “Mom?”
    My almost teenager (just a few weeks left at 12) did pick up his socks, though (after we asked). Also on the plus side, he also bragged about his new handknit hat to his best buddy, and put in an order for a couple more to match other coats.
    Boys are different…

  98. Amazing pictures!
    Dave just sat here and marvelled at them (being a photographer himself) and suggested that we actually move to Canada rather than just talking about it. The snow is more beautiful there, he says. πŸ™‚ (He’s been enamored with the idea since the honeymoon in Nova Scotia.)

  99. Those snowflakes are REAL!!?? Are you serious? I didn’t know you could see them that clearly with the naked eye! So beautiful!
    Love the idea of the scarf, too!

  100. i’ve taken slave labor here to new dimensions — my 17 year old, lured by the promise of the occasional starbucks here and there — reskeins dyed yarn between skein winders for me. i keep promising him college girls will dig him because he can knit and wind yarn.

  101. Great idea. The communal scarf. Family tension takes on a whole new meaning.
    Beautiful snowflake. Thanks for sharing the wonder of small things.

  102. I think the best way to get children trained properly to do things like cooking, knitting & other “domestic arts” is to get them while they are little. I did it with my 2 girls (who, altho clad in sposies, were breastfed for almost 2 years each & I did make them homemade play dough & even homemade yogurt. This year, my 2 grandsons (4 & 6) spent the last couple of days with us (their baby sister is still nursing so she couldn’t come). Yesterday they helped make all of the food that could be made ahead – the pumpkin pie, the cranberry sauce & the dressing. They absolutely loved it & were so proud of themselves for doing something useful. The older one kept saying, “I can’t wait to tell mommy I did this (or that or the other). And they were both excited about learning so many new things – like what fractions mean & what tsp & T means & that one T equals 3 tsp. Thanks you for the holiday wishes. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – the merchants of greed haven’t figured out a way to totally commercialize it & let’s hope they never do.

  103. Speaking of kids “helping,” I’ve always said that the best thing my MIL (rest her soul) ever did for me was to teach her little boy to cook! My Thanksgiving job is to buy the Krispy Kreme donuts. (This year is was up to three dozen!)

  104. Those snowflakes are incredible!
    My five and almost-2-year-olds like to help, but their help is more of a hindrance for the moment. πŸ˜‰

  105. Hi Stephanie, I’m sorry, I’ve been a lurker till now but love love love your blog. I’m a knitter from way back but haven’t tried socks yet – not much call for handknitted socks in NZ though we do have a few days a year where it gets really cold (like -1 celcius!). The picture of the snow has blown me away!! That is so gorgeous and though I’ve seen drawings of snowflakes I have never seen the real thing that close up – wow! Happy thanksgiving to you all from “down under” (not a holiday we have but we are counting down to the Christmas break). Thanks for the lovely blog too – always look forward to catching up on your doings. Love Debbie

  106. Dear Steph,
    I have been dying to write you but I seem to remember only when I’m on the treadmill! I couldn’t believe it when I got here and you’d already C/O another project! I should have known you couldn’t wait for me. LOL like you should have known better when you haven’t ever heard from me before and I’m coming at you from the blankness of internet.
    Anywho I found this shawl and thought STEPH! You’ve got to do this! Check it out. http://www.knittingdaily.com/freepatterns/shawls_stoles/Icelandic_Lace_Shawl_165-1.html
    Course you have probably been there done that but I had to tell you I’m buying the kit from http://www.sarahsyarns.com Here’s the URL http://www.sarahsyarns.com/IcelandicThordisShawlYarnKitKD.html
    She’s got a little kit for it and I thought of you when I saw it and so I just had to tell you. She’s got a 25% off too so be sure to write me first if you want the coupon. I’m buying a ton of her goodies as they are wholesale so who could pass that up. I’m getting like a dozen cones!!! Can you relate?
    Just quickly, I bought all of your books last week and I just loved The Secret Life of a Knitter! Once I got off of the treadmill and called DD over to read to her! I don’t get off of the treadmill for anything! HAHA but I did that day… I love it! The Cardigan Letter! HAHA “touch the lace weight again and the Alpaca gets it!” TOOOOO funny! You had me screaming and I really need laughter in my life. Bless you dear girl.
    Then I just about started bawling my fool head off when you wrote about Lene. ohhh how I felt for her and you and Ken, what a time. What a blessing I’m sure you have been to her.
    This is really infuriating. I know what I wanted to say when I’m on the treadmill but get me here and actually to the point of telling you and I can’t put my finger on it. URGH How sad. See, I have FMS and I can’t remember things alot of the time. Sometimes it get’s so bad that I can’t remember my own family. I don’t want sympathy, just to tell you something really important. I had a reference, well, it doesn’t matter, I will tell you what I can. What I really wanted to tell you that there was,,, and is,,, something to your writing which has freed me. Just like Elizabeth Zimmermann has freed me from ever needing a pattern again, you have freed me from fear. Fear of the knitting police, failure, mistakes, I’m not sure exactly what and only wish it weren’t alluding me but there you have it, it’s gone. Sigh.
    I have only been knitting since July but I have been having such a blast, I’m a totally obsessed nut about all things fiber. I started to spin in May which naturally led to knitting. I said I would never knit as I crocheted first. I only used acrylic or thread. So of course a whole entire world opened up for me when I fell into fiber. My world was so small before fiber days… course my garage seemed so much larger back then! HAHA it’s been taking over. DH isn’t happy that I stole the garage but there you have it. I needed it. If you want to see my garage, dye fun, knitting etc, go to my site and click on “photo’s”. You will get a kick out of how obsessed I have become. How quickly… I know I’m shocked at what has happened. It’s totally taken over my entire life. Everything’s fiber fiber fiber! πŸ™‚
    DH has to drive me around due to my illnesses I don’t drive. I haven’t wanted to ask him honey, could you just drop me at this knitting store for a sit and knit and come back in a few hours? Well, guess what? I did it! I asked and know what he said? YES! Bless him, he said it would be no skin off of his nose to drop me off and come back in a few hours. So I found a store 1 hour from us (in the sticks) that he will drop me at. I wrote and asked if I can just come over and play so I might find a friend eventually yet.
    I never write on blogs, never. But you dear one are in my heart and I’m very grateful for you plucking away at your key board as I have benefited so very much from you this week. I hope to met you some day. I’m in So. Cal between Bakersfield and LA in the mountains on 2.5 acres. If you ever drive through the Grapevine, be sure to stop by! I’ll put you and yours up if you like, my door is always open.
    Enough! I could go on longer I’m sure. God bless you great big bunches! Wendy

  107. My “prayer shawl ministry” knitting group at church knits shawls together for people all the time — we just pass along the knit! It’s wonderful for people we all know and love (like fellow group members), and we can all sign the card together, too.
    And that snow–fabulous!!!

  108. The snowflakes are incredible.
    I have no children to knit or cook for me… but my American husband made pumpkin pies today.
    Seriously cool… he has never done this since I met him 12 years ago, though he loves pie. I don’t love making pie. It worked out great.
    We had pancakes with organic frozen strawberries for brunch, and spinach salad and other small luxuries for dinner on Thanksgiving, and were appropriately thankful. Especially for the strawberries, actually… organic strawberries in November… totally cool.
    You are on my list of folks to be thankful for. Hugs.

  109. Hey, it’s worth a shot. But now that you’ve announced it, you know we’re all going to follow this story closely, ….very closely.
    The snow is beautiful (and what’s with that absolutely perfect snowflake?) but you can keep it. Really, I don’t want to see it anytime soon!

  110. Ok, you said the whole family knows how to knit but I would like to clarify…
    Does that include Joe? I would love to see Joe knit.

  111. Yep- the teaching them to cook thing really works. I made the pies and my kids (mostly my oldest son) made everything else! I did teach some of them to knit, but even my daughter won’t knit for me. Sigh.

  112. Wow. Those snowflakes are incredible! And so is the idea of getting your kids to be productive. I’m still trying to teach my 2 year old to spin. Mostly I just end up with predrafted fluff all over the living room. Kinda like snowflakes. Only not as pretty as yours πŸ™‚

  113. Is snow really as pretty as that? As in, a proper ‘christmas card’ style ‘flake’? I know it looks like that under a microscope, but being from Melbourne Australia, I have not had the chance to see the stuff actually falling… Wow! I didn’t realise that you can see the crystals!
    Must be time to visit Canada!

  114. All 3 of my kids cooked this Thanksgving–even my 6 year old son. Credit goes to my mom. While I was at work today she and the kids got the entire meal done. The highlight was the mashed sweet potato dish my 12 year old daughter made with no help–so yummy. Nothing like earing time and a half and coming home to food ready for the table. It was also fun to hear the girls’ reactions to what came inside the turkey.

  115. Living in Minnesota for my first 50 years, I have seen snowflakes like that, but you have to have the exactly correct weather conditions. It has to be warmish, right around freezing; I’m sure there is more to it but I’m no meteorologist. Anyway, yours are great.
    My boys, now 18, and almost 23, are not great at kitchen and housework help (although they both know enough to cook and clean and do laundry for themselves when necessary) but they are excellent at the heavy lifting and mechanical stuff and making the DVD/computer/stereo/VCR work.
    At my dentist’s office they have a basket with communal knitting — making bandages for something or other in the tropics. I knat happily while waiting for my last cleaning.

  116. The camera was on macro, so it’s the same as if you used a microscope. You’d have to have awfully good eyesight to see the crystals without a lens.
    Kids can lean to cook, knit, etc, at remarkably early ages if the teacher does it right (and the child is the type to want to learn it). My father taught me to fry eggs sunnyside up when I was two years old, and that included lighting the stove with a wooden match.
    The scarf idea sound good, Tension/gauge doesn’t matter in a scarf, especially one that is going to have randomly placed pattern rows. Some patterns are nothing but changes in gauge!

  117. Those photos are breath taking! I shall keep your words of wisdom for later on as my 20 month old learned to stir green bean casserole today. That breastfeeding comment will come in handy mind you! πŸ™‚

  118. Thank God my mother doesn’t knit, or she seriously would have me knitting with her for the homeless or something like that. Then again, if my mother knit, I wouldn’t, just because I was (am? was? not sure about that one.) a rebellious teen. The snow is beautiful.

  119. REAL snowflakes! They are so beautiful and perfect and symmetrical, I doubted they were real. Mother Nature sure had her mojo goin’ when you took that picture! KEWL!

  120. Those snow flakes are amazing. I thought they were fake at first, but they are too real looking to be fake, yet too perfect to be real. I realized that I’ve cut out lots of paper snowflakes, and I had learned somewhere in the past that they look like that, but I have never seen one before. We get snow here in Seattle, but it is either very tiny or it comes down looking like cotton balls. What an incredible thing. Thank you for sharing that picture.

  121. I had no idea that snowflakes actually looked like that. I realize that made me sound like such a Californian.

  122. If you have somehow managed to raise your entire family not only to knit, but to knit with identical gauge? You are truly a miracle-worker.

  123. Now say these teenagers do decide to contribute. Why in heavens name would they just knit garter stitch? I think there is a real danger that they are more creative than that.

  124. That is so not a real snowflake.
    Is it?
    If so, I’m moving to Canada.
    And please can we see pictures if Joe decides to knit? I need to see that. πŸ™‚

  125. How lovely (the snow)! It was 80 here yesterday. We took our holiday picture outside in short sleeves. Sigh.
    So won’t there be gauge issues between the scarf knitters?

  126. When my 6 year old asks me why he has to do something for me (put his dish in the sink, pick up his clothes) I have gotten into the habit of saying “because the only reason I had all of you was to have my own personal slaves”. This morning he said he would have 5 kids when he grows up because the more the better.

  127. My Dad was the one that started to teach me to cook at a very tender age. I still think of him ever time I go to make scrambled eggs. Course my mother taught me how to do laundry. That I could’ve done without.
    Reading stitch pattern books seems perfectly normal to me. Course I’m the one that reads knitting patterns in bed before I fall asleep. Let that nugget slip out at work one day and got some really strange looks. You’d thunk the FBI was on a hunt for me from their looks.

  128. Those snoflakes are beautiful!!! (so is the yarn)
    I am so jealous, Its already Thanksgiving and we have no snow yet. I miss the snow of our childhood. So, if you wake up one morning to find a tent pitched in your back yard, it will be me, knitting and enjoying the white stuff….

  129. The Blog has spoken. Canadian snow is superior to snow anywhere else.
    Doesn’t that make you feel patriotic?

  130. I may attempt that idea myself. If Barb arrives in your yard you’d best invite her in she’s gonna freeze to death in a tent & that would be bad blog karma.

  131. Please mail the snow down here. It’s perfect.
    I seem to have frightened my niece by my rather relaxed method of cooking. She was helping me make cranberry orange relish (among other things) and it went like this “Here, now we throw this in.” “Um, should we measure it?” “Nah, it’s the right amount – just stir.” “Mom makes me measure it carefully.” “It’s not that kind of recipe.” “Um, she says to read the recipe and measure carefully.” “You will note, there is no recipe book out. I’ve made this so many times I could do it with my eyes closed and standing on my head.” “Hey, why are we putting the whole orange in the chopper?” “Because we are going to chop it.” “EVEN THE RIND!!!” “Why yes!” “Who eats the rind?” “We do – it’s in the recipe.” “ICKKKKKK!” Needless to say it went slightly down hill from there, although by the end, she ate the stuff and liked it.
    Also, she picked her second knitting project back up (a hat from Vogue’s 25th anniversary issue….) “Why did 2 rows take me an hour?” “Because you are learning how to do this.” “Why do you knit faster?” (not that she’s competitive!) “Because I’ve been doing this for 30 years more than you. I’ve had practice.” So, the entire time she was here was punctuated by “HELP!” And no, I wasn’t going to tell her she picked a difficult second project (although at least one other relative stupidly did) – she’s already cabling up a storm – a slow storm, granted – but more power to her. Ah, the holidays! Now to battle the crowds and buy a fridge because ours has gone the way of all things.

  132. Brilliant idea! As my granddaughter and her running buddy friend, home from college for the long weekend, were puttering about the kitchen yesterday, making cranberry sauce, checking on their pies baking in the oven, etc., the friend reported to me that GD had all the boys on the cross-country/track team wrapped around her little finger because of her cooking skills. I know that she didn’t always enjoy the kitchen duty when she was living at home, but now…
    She, however, has been knitting the same scarf for two years! We’ve discussed that rewards of cooking are more in the moment…boyfriend for whom the scarf was being knitted is LONG GONE!

  133. Family knitting is a great idea, my 3 boys can all knit, I might need to bribe/pay them with cookies or something though but that is totally do-able.
    Nice snow.

  134. Great idea! Gauge problems don’t exist in your world, eh?
    And our Thanksgiving involved hubby stuffing the bird; me seasoning it and making the sweet potatoes and cauliflower; hubby making the apple pie; DD#2 making the pumpkin bread pudding; me making cranberry sauce; hubby making regular mashed potatoes; and DD#1 setting and clearing the table.
    Sweatshop? Not me!

  135. Reading in the bathtub is one of life’s great joys, but I must confess I am green with jealousy that you have a clawfoot tub. I’m thinking some bubblebath, a good cold-cream based soap, and a little Elizabeth Zimmerman sounds like heaven to me.

  136. Congrats on making the Double Tongued Word Wrester Dictionary for the creation of the word “kinnear”. Another reason to go down in history.

  137. Oh. My. God. Stephanie, I grew up in the desert, then moved to Florida and now I’m living in Georgia. I’ve never seen snow like that before. Thank you for the beautiful picture!

  138. for the record, boyfriend is deeply impressed with your snowflakes. I showed them to him and he didn’t even believe they were real. “how? Those snowflakes are PERFECT.” “she lives in Canada”. This appeased him.

  139. You know, you are not alone. I read knitting books in the bath all the time. Especially Elizabeth Zimmerman. What could be more relaxing? The only difference is that I don’t have a clawfoot tub (*jealous*). Can I use yours? πŸ™‚

  140. That can’t possibly be real snow. You’re lying to us.
    And my son loves to cook with us. He’s two. He’ll be making dinner regularly by middle school. That’s the goal, anyway.

  141. I read knitting stuff in the bath too! There are no other distractions to block any ideas the books might spark. It’s hard to jot down notes though. And I’ve yet to come up with a safe way to knit in the bath…but I’m still trying. (Do you know how many times I’ve been tempted to knit under water just to see what would happen?)

  142. As I’m sure you know, Agatha Christie wrote all her books in the tub, so as always you are in good company.
    What a gorgeous snowflake.

  143. I had no idea snowflakes actually looked like that. I mean, without a microscope or something. (The closest we get to snowflakes in San Diego is those things you fold and cut out of white paper around Christmas, so my ignorance is not completely inexcusable).

  144. I’ve never seen snowflakes like that… maybe I’ve just never looked closely enough. Absolutely fantastic!
    I resolve to look more closely at snowflakes this year. Imagine all of the beauty in our midst that we miss by just not looking closely enough.
    I love the idea of a family project. My 7 year old and I began a shared project this week. She wanted to knit a hat, so she’s knitting the knit rows, and after a try at purling, she decided that I’d knit the purl rows. A true mother-daughter effort. πŸ™‚

  145. There is no way that those are real snowflakes!!! I might believe in the yarn fairie, but not in such perfectly shaped and defined snowflakes in such a size!
    What will you do when everyone knits in a different gauge on the scarf? And does Joe knit, too?

  146. >Besides… all that effort I’ve put in and they think they are just going to grow up and leave without any sort of redress at all? I don’t think so. This, my friends, is an idea who’s time is come, and it turns out that I didn’t teach them to knit for nothing. It’s payback time.
    Didn’t you read “Farmer Boy”? In the 19th Century, parents could keep kids home until age 21, working for them, for nothing. It’s an OLD, GOOD idea πŸ˜‰

  147. Okay… first I have to get them to agree to think independently…then I have to get them to dress themselves…now I have to make them knit?
    Gees, woman, I’m not a miracle worker here!!!

  148. Gee I thought snowflake shapes like that were someone’s over-active imagination and never really considered for one moment that snow might actually really look like that!!! Can you tell it doesn’t snow – ever – where I live? I think I can count the times I’ve seen snow up close and personal, on both hands – and that was in New Zealand and in Europe, not here in Australia. :o)

  149. Another spectacular piece of advice for my long-range parenting information box. Daughter the elder (4) is learning by observation how to run the Tassimo coffee machine. Can sock knitting be that far off?

  150. Brilliant as usual. Since one of mine is still being breastfed and cloth diapered, I am taking your advice whole-heartedly. Knitting lessons are a few years away, but the cooking lessons have begun. My four-year old already makes a mean pizza! Rolling dough and everything. Good luck with the Christmas knitting — I’ll be doing the same on this end. I just need to find my US-based version of Lene. Lucky you to have such a great friend!

  151. Brilliant!
    I just taught one (4yo) to crochet a chain and the other (6yo) to knit cast on and knit garter stitch. In a few years, I expect to be home free.

  152. Heheheh, my mom sent me a link to this post… we’ve beening doing assembly line for the past 13 years. I spin, mom knits πŸ™‚

  153. I study in my tub. I even have this dedicated piece of shelving that I lay across the tub to hold my book and notes. I did it back in college in the 70’s. I’m ding it again now that I am in school again trying to get a nursing degree. I just use my toes to add a little more hot water when it gets cold. I can stay in there for hours. My kids think I’m a little nuts, but it is quieter in there than it is around the teenagers in the rest of the house.
    Amen to having those teens help with the knitting. I have taught all of mine to knit, and cook and laundry and …. even the boys. They just roll their eyes at me, say sure mom and go back to whatever they were doing.

  154. I am envious of you and your claw-foot tub. My apartment only has a shower stall, so if I tried to read in there my books would get all soggy. The upside is that it keeps the rent down because the landlord doesn’t feel right charging what he probably could get away with because I only have a 3/4 bath (hooray for ethical landlords!) There was one time after a 70 mile bicycle ride around the Kitsap Peninsula that I tried to call a friend and offer to take him out for Thai food if he’d let me soak in his tub for an hour, but he wasn’t home.

  155. Two years ago, we made family scarves for another family. My husband and son and daughter all know how to knit, and we made scarves for our friends who also are 4 people with the same demographic. I do believe that I ended up doing a bit more of my share than the other members, but it was a memorable time and the scarves were well received.
    As to the snow, I do not believe that all of it is real. The last picture distinctly looks like it has a little tiny plastic flower in the yarn.
    But I guess I’ll have to take your word for it…:)

  156. OK, I am usually gawking at your knitting and your intricate colorways, etc., but today, I am floored full-out by the snowflakes – wow!

  157. That wool is beautiful. And the snowflakes are mind blowing!!! I thought they must be those little glitter things you can put in cards and stuff. It didn’t even occur to me that they might be real snowflakes!! (infact… being Aussie, I didn’t even realise that snowflakes really did look like that!!)

  158. My 9 yr old made the ham and helped with the cheesecake, my 7 yr old helped with the Raspberry Apple Tart – she made the macadamia shortbread crust! She also helped with the stuffing and the homemade salad dressing!
    It was GREAT! (They still need more cleaning lessons though!)

  159. hi! just popping back in to say i read the “knitters changing the world” article in THE STAR. it was so nice to see you quoted. just imagine now how many new readers will be popping by to visit your blog!

  160. WHOA!
    I’m from California and really have only been in snow a few times and only when it was already on the ground and never when it was actually snowing. I thought those snowflakes were a product of the Hallmark Industry. Who knew that real snowflakes actually looked like that. Really? What great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  161. I’m from Louisiana and I’ve only seen snow 2 or 3 times, and never snowFLAKES! I didn’t know they really look like that! That is amazing! How lovely – thanks so much for sharing! Sorry for the multitude of ! points, but wow, that is sooo neat!

  162. We have a sweat shop in my house. Charlie the one year old was filling boxes with fiber for my spinners this weekend! He likes knitting needles, but Mom skeining yarn sucks. Thanks for the great pictures! Trish

  163. AWESOME snow shots! Our snow usually falls in clumps so we don’t usually get to see gorgeous crystals like that. Great idea for the scarf, though. Wonder how it’ll go?

  164. I love love LOVE that idea. Despite the added benefits of getting them to do your work for you, I really do love the idea of a whole-family-made project as a gift to someone close to your family. Excellent idea. Now I just have to teach my boyfriend to knit (will never happen unless I can come up with a way to use drill bits as needles)

  165. WOT – Snot AND knitting teenage kids. You are luckier than most, then again – you have teenagers and I’m over that stage. πŸ™‚
    The snow is too perfect to be real, I swear only Walt Disney gets snow like that!

  166. The snowflakes are so beautiful… You have come upon a brilliant idea here (enlisting the children/husband). A very good reason to finally teach the DH to knit.

  167. Ha! I was just thinking along these same lines the other day. I was trying to imagine what kind of mother in law I would be. I was hoping that even in my fantasy I’d be less meddling than my mother in law with her so called subliminal “suggestions”. I took every precaution to not use drugs during pregnancy and labor. I breastfed each one for atleast a year (more). I homeschool all of the four I have and will carry on with the one to come. I’m not even gonna go into all the crafts for these little people. I feed them organics and study and research everything that may go into their little bodies. I was trying to think of a wife for my sons who was sloppy, couldn’t cook and what not. In this case it would be nearly impossible for me not to meddle. UGH. This is a good reason why my sons will know how to sew and how to cook as well as all the “guy” stuff. Are those REAL snowflakes???

  168. Tonight is long, hot bath night, thank you for the Stitch Dictionary idea! * The times I remember the most with my mother are those when we were cooking or sewing or reading to each other. She’s gone now for 20 years, but I thank her often for the skills she taught me.

  169. Fantastic idea. Seriously, why not?
    But I’m absolutely gobsmacked, as you would say, by those snowflakes. I suppose all that coldness is worth it. (It’s in the low 50s down here–brrrr!) ha ha

  170. I think you need special kind of air to get snow like that.
    All our London snow looks like dirty pigeons when you zoom in.

  171. Thank you so much for your great stories and great knitting, and I am so happy that you stick to such wonderful good humor, with no politics thrown in!!! (A few jabs at the old USA are okay, but we can be a bit sensitive sometimes, especially here in neighboring MN!) You brighten the days!

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