Knitted Baby Moccasins

I got this pattern from a book called Wee Garter Stitch. I found it in my then local library, and knew I would want to make this pattern again and again. With the way you can vary the color of the mocs and the kind of fabric you sew on the instep, it is just so versatile. The original pattern called for brown cotton yarn – which I use here – but it had the fringe being all one color. As you can see, in this iteration I decided to change it up.

First, you make the moccasin part. These are made by knitting a simple rectangle, adding a tongue, and sewing the whole thing together. They might be uncomfortable to walk on, but for a baby, they are basically just socks. The pattern suggests you sew the optional fabric onto the instep after the mocs are completed, but I have found that it’s easier to add the fabric before starting on the fringe.

Then, you pick up stitches around the open edge of the moc and start “making a loop” on every stitch every round or two. This pattern taught me the “make a loop” technique, which is pretty cool. It was at this point that I started switching out the colors, partly because I didn’t have enough yarn of just one color. I actually ran out of white cotton yard and had to sub in wool for the last few rounds on one moc.

You do that for a while, and, voila! it’s time to knit four rounds of rib and cast off. Then you cut the loops and even up the fringe.

I don’t actually know how easy or difficult these are to put on a baby, because I’ve never heard back from any of the moms I’ve given such mocs to. But I have a feeling that this time, I’m going to get lucky.

Here is another pair that I made with a different color scheme.

I stuff gift paper into them, to get them to hold their shape and stand up.

The Angel is Not Impressed: A Poem

Were you bitter, Zechariah? Many fruitless years had you

asked and asked God for a child, just to see your prayers fall through?

Standing slack-jawed at the altar, towering o’er you, Gabriel’s face:

not a chance you could have doubted God’s real power in that place.

But those dark years were your downfall, and your anger was your sin.

Now’s my chance, your sad heart whispered, Just to get one good dig in.

“It’s too late — You should have given us a baby long ago!”

Any man could understand it, but not the angel Gabriel.

Bitter mouths ought to be silenced, so the angel struck you dumb.

And so, dazed and unhappy, out into the light you come.

In a comedy of errors, Luke says you “kept making signs,”

till those gathered came to realize God had come to you inside.

Sometimes silence is a blessing. Yours was not empty but full

as you watched your once-hard neighbors come to wish Elizabeth well,

like an acorn dead below ground till its time comes to unfurl.

Nine months dumb, your mouth was ready to unsay its bitter ways:

Ready to croon to a baby, ready to explode in praise.

Quote: How Moms “Vacation”

What, oh what, will I do to fill the days that are usually taken up with errands and housecleaning and laundry and Max and Ron and their various time-sucking wants and needs? Don’t for one minute think I don’t absolutely adore my life as a wife and mom. But even the best lives need a vacation and, let’s face it, renting a house with your family at a ski resort is NOT a vacation. It’s basically moving your life from one location to another. Unless someone else is making the beds, doing the laundry, and cooking, it’s just the same old life with the added inconvenience of not knowing where anything is in the kitchen.

from Class Mom by Laurie Gelman, page 219

Happy Birthday Book/Happy Birthday Dad!

It’s my book’s birthday! Here is The Strange Land‘s back cover. In the spirit of birthday, I have given the bear a lollipop and a party hat. (Hey … it’s better than some other things she could be eating!)

Hope this is not too silly for you. I just figured that faithful blog readers have already seen so many pictures of The Strange Land leading up to today’s release date.

Now you can buy The Strange Land on Amazon or on Bookshop. And, if you have already pre-ordered it (thankyouthankyouthankyou), it should start shipping out to you soon.

If it happens that you have not read the first book in the series, The Long Guest, you can buy it here or here and read it as a prequel. (I decided not to photoshop a birthday hat onto Nimri. You are welcome.)

The release date for The Strange Land was chosen in honor of my father, who turns 70 in conjunction with the book coming out. Happy Birthday, Dad! I am a natural reader and probably would have discovered books without your influence, but luckily, we never had to find out whether that would be the case. Instead, your gift for languages, sense of humor, love for literature and the extremely print-rich environment you provided were perfectly in line with my gifts and interests and gave me a huge leg up on eventually becoming an author, not to mention many hours of culture and enjoyment, and a safe environment in which to develop. It is safe to say that without you, the world would never have been introduced to the universe of the Scattering Trilogy. Now you are 70, which in the world of the Scattering means you are barely middle-aged. May you live to be 130, like Nimri. I love you!

Mongolian Throat Singing!

So, this cool dude is ripped from the pages of The Long Guest. Singing, with his daughter, on a little stringed instrument, about … what else? … horses. In Mongolian. In Mongolia.

Except he is even cooler than any character in my book, because he does “throat singing,” which as far as I can tell, basically involves turning his voice into a digeridoo.

Also, his daughter is adorable.

This video just makes me very happy.

Here is a link to the Classic FM article which gives some background about the singer and about throat singing.