Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ta Da!

It’s unusual for me to have knitting content to post so soon after just starting a project. However, after much swearing (Lard Thunderin’ was only the start…) and sweating (not assisted by pregnancy ‘hot flashes’and the first day of humidity here in Ottawa), I managed to get to this point yesterday.

So happy was I that I was motivated enough to try and almost finish the second ear before exhaustion took over.

This morning, I got this far. Isn’t it cute? And, finished!

I have a bit of a ‘laddering’ effect in the ears from my experiments with DPNs, which I really need to work on avoiding in future projects. I’m thinking this problem goes away with practice and it’s really not that noticeable once the ears are stitched together at the base and the ribbon is tied on.

Thanks again to Samantha for the book suggestion – it is a lovely book and the little hat patterns will also make great – and fairly fast – pressies too! I’m casting on another Bunny Tail hat practically as I type.

Here is the little kitty cat I disturbed to write this post:

Silly Checkers! We’re both enjoying the cool and relative non-humid conditions of our basement in an 84% plus humidity day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Not My Happy Place

Thanks for your votes! The Bunny Hat won and it is knitting up SO nicely in the Wool Gatto. I am quite in love with this yarn and thank you, thank you to Renée for introducing me to it. It is really, really nice and really, really soft. Did I mention that it’s also a super-wash? There is really no downside to this yarn. The pattern calls for a wee pom pom on the back – thus the reason for the name in combination with the cute ears – however, I don’t think I’ll add that feature on this particular hat. I want it to be a newborn hat and I’m concerned about the wee tail being a bit uncomfortable for a baby that lies flat on his/her back for the first little while.

Here is a picture of the Bunny Hat WIP (I’m hoping that blog guilt will encourage me to continue knitting on the DPNs the pattern now calls for). Note the cute 'rubber duckie' stitch marker that Renée made for me - isn't it darling?:

Warning: Knitting whining to follow. This is a picture of ‘not my happy place':

DPNs. I won’t tell you my version of that acronym (it's rude) but DPN stands for Double Pointed Needles for those of you non-knitters who occasionally peruse my blog. My comfort level is very low with DPNs. This would be one of the reasons why, despite my 2007 New Year’s resolution, I still haven’t knit a pair of socks (but I do have some lovely sock yarn to encourage me – thanks, Mudder and April!). Anyway, so uncomfortable am I that I’ve only knit 2" of 3" on the first of the two ears on my DPNs and this feat was only accomplished on my second try (I’m only knitting 20 stitches, just so you have an idea of how bad I am at this). I have to sit at my dining room table and look ‘down’ on my knitting to use those needles. It’s a bit of slow going.

My silver lining in this cloud is that, the more of these hats that I knit, the easier I will find DPNs to work with meaning the closer I am to learning how to knit socks. There’s nothing bad about that!

On another note, I start week 37 of my pregnancy today. Here’s a bump picture for you bump fans from the end of Week 36 (last night).

People keep telling me that I’m not very big for having only a month left in my pregnancy (bless them!) but this is still one big baby despite my size (I feel very big to me!). Luckily, s/he is already in a great birthing position with her/his head down and bottom to one side of my belly button. I’m also still feeling lots of movement. The doctor says I have a lovely pelvis and I’m trying to take that as a compliment insofar as those bones will be involved in the end process. Now we get to visit the doctor each week – a new chapter in my pregnancy story.

Off to wrestle some DPNs. May the most stubborn win…

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Shopping We Will Go

There is nothing like Sunday morning shopping, if you are able to look at shopping as a relaxing and enjoyable outing. I realise not everyone – such as my Mudder – is of the same ilk when it comes to shopping but even she might be convinced to go when I’m talking about book shopping. My friend ML and I went to Chapters this morning to take advantage of my 20% off anything (in a book format) special for Chapters members that was on today. Wahoo! Apart from purchasing two baby development related books, these two knitting books also made their way into my bag:

Itty-bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson (this purchase is totally Samantha’s fault. I have to admit to having looked at this book before, as per Samantha’s suggestions and gorgeous knitting results, but ended up putting it back on the shelf. I managed to hold off buying it until Samantha knit this "Candy Cane" hat (see her May 14, 2007 post) and posted it on her blog this past week. I almost died from the sheer cuteness and immediately added this book to my shopping list).

I also found:

Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding.

I’m not sure if I’m more excited about the cute baby patterns (sweaters, hats and booties to name a few) in this book or the fact that there are two nursing sweaters and a nursing shawl in it for mommies!

Now I have to decide between knitting this "Bunny Tail" hat (I figure I can use pink or blue ribbons around the wee hat ears after Baby is born)

or this Candy Cane hat, both from the Itty-bitty book.

I think either would be adorable on a newborn returning home from the hospital. I’m considering using the lovely Wool Gatto that Renée gave me and I think "Bunny Tail" would knit up nice and soft in that yarn.

I am still working on my wee blankie for Baby. So as not to bore you (I have to admit to having accomplished more in the way of frogging over the past couple of days than progressive knitting), I would like to show you one of the gorgeous gifts we have been receiving for the wee one.

This is called a Blueberry Hat and was knit by a lady who went to nursing school with DH’s mother and is now, as these things go, one of our friend’s.

Get this: it is hand-SPUN, hand-DYED, and (naturally) hand knit in 100% wool. It is lovely and soft and I cannot wait until our little blueberry is big enough to wear it! Thanks so much, D and J!

Friday, May 18, 2007

XXX Baking And XOX Knitting

I had a craving for chocolate cake last week. I am not a huge chocolate cake fan – I prefer vanilla or most other kinds actually. Chocolate cake, to me, is ‘flavoured’ with chocolate while a piece of chocolate is the real thing. I prefer the real thing.

As we gear up to move, we are also trying to use up some of the stuff in the cupboards. What to my wandering fingers should appear, but an instant marble cake mix, ready to prepare! Our oven regulates a bit high so I decided to make cupcakes rather than a cake. It’s a cake mix, right? It’s been my experience that instant cake mixes are pretty hard to mess up. Apparently not…

As this was a marble cake mix, I mixed up enough for the vanilla part and poured that into the cupcake papers in the baking tin. I then mixed the rest of the vanilla with the chocolate powder from the mix (truly, I was just following the instructions!) and poured the chocolate batter over the vanilla batter already in the baking tins. I guess the chocolate portion was heavier and caused a bit of a ‘volcano’ effect.

A very obscene volcano effect (I mean, really, what do these look like to you?).

I bet this experiment would be hard to replicate however, just in case, I may be cut off from making ‘marble flavoured’ anything until my child is at least ‘PG 13’!

Onto knitting news. I have said before that I’m a slow knitter and, at 182 stitches a row, this blanket does not seem to grow very often. I’m also a bit of a timid knitter when it comes to trying new things. It took me saying that I was going to work on the cables for the blanket on this blog last week to work up the nerve to try cables again. Remember I was teaching myself? I’m not scared anymore. In fact, the night before last, I noticed a mistake in my cables and, yesterday morning, took four stitches down four rows and fixed them up – all on the third try! I’m very pleased with myself.

Here’s how the Baby’s blanket is looking now.

Can you see the beginning of the OXO cable?

I probably should have started the cable pattern a little later as the bottom ‘X’ is cut off, however, I will know that for the next time I design something with this type of cable. Overall, I think these little guys (there will be nine OXO cables across the middle section of the blanket) will add much more interest to an, otherwise, pretty boring knit. Love those colours though – they will look great with my new stroller. Hmm. Perhaps that will provide another photo op another day?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Size Of Things To Come

Hmm, I seem to be averaging one post a week. Not good. DH, Para and I are headed off today for a brief camping trip (one night) in our VW van. We wanted at least one more camping trip with me pregnant, as opposed to breast feeding, and tonight is the night. With any luck, we will get in another trip before A) it gets too hot and B) Baby is born.

Speaking of Baby, we had an ultrasound on Tuesday morning. The good news is that Baby seems to be healthy and happy. The ‘bad’ news is that Baby is heavy! S/he weighed in at 5 lbs on Tuesday – the ultrasound technician said that that is 2 weeks ahead on the growth chart. If this keeps up, Baby will be over 9 lbs at 40 weeks! I am vewy, vewy scared…

The other really neat news about the ultrasound was that we were able to see Baby’s face. Isn’t s/he cute? No bump picture this week – I thought this shot was far cuter!

While we watched, Baby opened her/his eyes and mouth and even stuck her/his tongue out at us! It was amazing! The dark colour around Baby’s head is amniotic fluid and you can just see some hair at the top of her/his head, as well as a little hand. Baby was moving around a lot during the ultrasound and even kicked the technician. I just love those chubby cheeks (I may not appreciate them as much when s/he is on the way ‘out’ but, I love them now!).

My apologies for no news on the knitting front. We have been slowly collecting things for the baby (e.g. ordering a BOB Revolution Stroller , from MEC, and a Pogy travel crib – we will buy a regular crib in NS). Between shopping for Baby and driving down to Kingston (where I stayed for a couple of nights) to pick up Para, I have not had much time for other fun things, such as knitting, this week. However, I’m hoping to tackle some OXO cables on our little camping trip… news on that to follow.

Monday, May 07, 2007

We Went, We Bought And Sold, And...We're Back!

The past couple of weeks have been hard on a pregnant body. I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon and plan on taking it easy between now and then in an effort to get little round me feeling a little more me and little less like an ultra marathon runner on day three of a 1000 KM multi-day race!

Our trip to NS was very successful. We had confirmation of the sale of our house in Kanata (and a nice ‘SOLD’ sticker on the sign when we returned home!) and bought an even lovelier home in a town called Middleton, Nova Scotia. It is about a 12 minute drive from the CF base in Greenwood to our new home. As this is still a private home, I cannot post interior pictures (and I have lots!) however, here is are a couple of exterior front photos to whet your whistle.

The home is 54 years old and has been lovingly maintained. We are only owner three! The house has all of its original hardwood floors on the main and upper stories; has a secret room (!) off the bedroom that will become the nursery (how cool is that?); and has had many recent upgrades including all new windows, a main bathroom renovation and a new propane fireplace in the living room. I could go on and on. I am absolutely smitten and it may be hard for the CF to get us out of there in three years (the length of DH’s current posting there although, we’re hoping for longer).

We managed to look at 21 homes in the first three days of our house hunting trip. We were lucky in that the area is considered to be a ‘buyers’ market this year. We also managed a nap and good eating every day. However, the stress of selling and buying homes is hard on me so I sit here with a queasy stomach and swollen ankles – both of which will pass after a couple of days I’m sure.

We have also returned with a new mission. Operation Sell/Buy Home is now over. Operation Baby can now resurface! I am a little concerned about the lack of preparation for this baby but am confident we can rectify the problem within the next couple of weeks. We attended pre-natal classes on April 21 and 28th and both were very informative. Now, we need to start gathering supplies. Research on infant car seats and the myriad of other ‘requirements’ that you need for a wee one will now commence. I am very excited! Not that I wasn’t before, of course, but our successes over the past couple of weeks means that I can now hunker down and concentrate on our Baby instead of a hundred other things.

On our way back to Halifax on Friday evening, we went for a little drive near Lunenburg to a town called Blue Rocks, at the mouth of Lunenburg Bay. At risk of having Renée following us to Nova Scotia (I’m still half expecting a stow away to show up at the door near the end of July when we move), I'm posting a couple of pictures of Blue Rocks (including the first picture in this post) to show you some of the scenery we will be enjoying, come August:

And, here are me and the bump in Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia in week 33!