Wednesday, June 27, 2007

No Baby Yet!

Today is my due date with nar' a baby in sight! I'm off for a biophysical ultrasound today to ensure that everything is still going well with the little (big) tyke. My parents and MIL are here visiting - all arrived on Saturday - so blogging time is at a minimum. Well, that and it's been very hot and I'm tired of lugging around an extra 40 lbs so I'm a wee bit grumpy.

Last night, me Mudder (the official resident knitting expert) and I were helping my MIL with a new shawl project she's starting on. It is going to be very pretty when it's finished. I'm busy sewing up a project that you have only had glimpses of on this blog. It is also very pretty and, once gifted, will be posted to show you the full meal deal. Mom is working on socks or Teddies for Tragedies, depending on the time of day.

We will keep you posted! Happy knitting!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Knitting Slow Down

Today has been a day of worries. The doctor told me yesterday that the little one is now ‘sunny side up’ – face up instead of nicely positioned the way s/he was last week. Now, I’m terrified of back labour. Today I had, likely, my last therapeutic massage session before the baby is born. Hopefully that will help the whole labour process a bit. My doctor referred me for therapeutic massage sessions a number of months ago (thank goodness for insurance coverage). Overall, I like the long term effects but, wow, am I ever sore and tender for a few days after a session. Today was the worst yet. The therapist said I’m more sensitive because the baby is coming soon. She was also isolating a lot of acupressure points to assist me in labour and I was a real wimp. I hope I have some kind of adrenaline rush during labour or I’m going to be the biggest mommy wimp the hospital has ever seen!

Some of my worries involve WIPs. For some reason, I have the feeling that I will not knit or sew or paint or write, etc, until this baby leaves home as an adult. While I realise that this is a ridiculous fear (after all, look at how productive so many of my blogging friends who have small children are!), it is still a worry to add to my ever increasing list.

Some of my girlfriends and I went out for a lovely supper last night and then came back to our place for dessert. DH and I only managed to provide three different types of dessert! It was a lovely evening but I’m feeling rather tired as a result today. Naturally, having company over meant that I spent a lot of the weekend in purgatory – that’s another word for doing housework. However, the house is now all clean and sparkly. It will only need a few tweaks before MIL arrives on Saturday and my parents arrive on Sunday/Monday.

I am trying to get some baby WIPs completed. Here is some progress on the change pads (I’m just pinning on the binding to machine sew one side in preparation for hand sewing the other side of the binding to the back).

As you can tell, my efforts are regularly thwarted by a black and white feline who is – almost – too cute to get mad at (she’s just been relegated to the main floor as her typing assistance resulted in the deletion of all of the text I’d just typed – argh!).

Here is my second sock progress.

Yes, I know, it’s not much. Barely enough to cover Renée’s suggestion of having knit at least 3" into the sock cuff to ensure I’m committed to the project. As I mentioned, purgatory meant not much knitting over the weekend. That being said, I knit about 2" while waiting to get into seeing my doctor yesterday so that was some productivity there. I think my energy is slowing down in preparation for the big push whenever Baby decides s/he is coming.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


It’s been and is going to be a month of firsts. This month of June 2007 is supposed to be the month of the birth of our first child. If s/he is interested in arriving on time that is.

This is proof of my first turned heel.

This is proof of the completion of my very first sock (I learned how to graft and wove in the ends just an hour ago).

Let me digress for a moment. I think stockings should be hung to the left, as above, and not to the right (see below).

Why is it so many Christmas stockings are oriented to the right and not the left. Am I crazy? Wait a minute, I don't know if I want you to answer that...

To avoid that terrible SSS problem (Second Sock Syndrome), here’s proof of starting sock number two (look carefully into the background of this picture).

I have some questions for you:

  1. How much do you have to knit on your second sock to avoid SSS?
  2. Have I met the goal (see photo above)?
  3. Is it okay to continue using the same ball of yarn and not starting a fresh ball (thereby needing to join yarn at some point in the second sock)? This may be a stupid question but, hey, I'm just learning over here!
  4. I’ve heard from a variety of sources that sock yarn does not constitute stash yarn. I’m keen to know why (I remember reading why but, I was too scared of socks at the time so I glossed over that section). I am all ears and interested in a compelling that's useful on DH's would also be of interest.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Reduce, Reuse And Recycle (RRR)

Kristin, over at A Few Things to Say, has put out a RRR challenge and I volunteered to get myself tagged for this meme. Awesome idea, Kristin! Everyone, come on out and expose yourselves!

Here is my current list of reduction, reusing and recycling efforts:

  • We use the Ottawa recycling program to its fullest – which is not very full considering the recycling program we had in Germany. I cannot believe the plastic containers that still end up in the regular garbage. However, it is a start.
  • We use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • We have never used pesticides on our lawn (unlike everyone around us – and they all have small children and/or pets!). I have a ‘This is a beautiful lawn – pesticide free’ sign posted at our front door so the neighbours don’t come a knocking about our dandelions (I love dandelions. Did you know that they were introduced to North America as a food crop?). Not that I mind having a discussion about dandelions but, they may as well know where I stand before they knock on the door.
  • We use an electric lawn mower. We had purchased a push mower and got rid of our old gas mower a few years ago but our lot was really too large for us to keep up with, with just the push mower. Bad on electricity but better for the air.
  • Although we technically have two vehicles (a 2000 Mazda Protegé and a 1988 Westfalia Volkswagon camper van), we try to act as a one car family. This is not difficult in the winter as the van is stored during all ‘salt on the road’ months. DH and I negotiate who needs the vehicle on any given day and, some days, it doesn’t move at all. The van is rarely used except for camping and the odd ‘large haul’ trip (e.g. like picking up our new patio set from The Bay).
  • We have installed a high efficiency furnace, hot water tank and air conditioner in our current home.
  • Although I find it very difficult to live through the humidity of an Ottawa summer, the A/C is not too cool and usually only cuts in in the late afternoon as we use night air and curtains to keep the house quite cool during the day.
  • Since buying this house in 2002, we have also upgraded the insulation in the basement and replaced all of the old, drafty and, in some cases, rotten windows.
  • DH rides his bicycle to work most days of the week.
  • We compost all through the year.
  • During the summer months, we use a rain barrel for garden watering.
  • We have installed and use a clothes line. I love it!
  • I use the hot water cycle in the washing machine only once a week and never use bleach (wet white clothes on the clothesline combined with the sun is the best bleach of all).
  • We use natural cleaners in our home, as well as handmade soap. Some of this is due to the fact that I am highly allergic to most cleaning products. I figure that, if I react to it, it isn’t good for the environment either.

Here are some things I would like to add to my list:

  • I would like either four rain barrels at the four corners of the house or an underground cistern to capture rain water for gardening. DH is already talking about the cistern for our new house.
  • I would like to find an organic farm or regularly attend a farmer’s market to source our vegetables and meat. This should not be an issue in the Annapolis Valley when we move.
  • I need to get better with using my reusable shopping bags. I’m terrible. I have them but they just don’t seem to get used that often. That being said, I do recycle the plastic bags at the local bag drop off or for Para’s ‘apples’.
  • A hybrid vehicle would be a joy. With the new baby, we are currently looking at new vehicles. We don’t want an SUV or a mini-van and are looking for a wagon of some form. However, finding a hybrid wagon that will fit all of us and still be in our price range, is not looking promising.
  • Our dream is to build an off-grid, eco-friendly house someday. Thus one of the reasons why I was in an interior design program.
Off to watch a movie and do some knitting on a very exciting development. However, I’m not telling you about it until I’m 55% complete the project. I don’t want to jinx it by blogging about it too early and developing another WIP that never gets finished. And the particular type of knitting I'm working on is reputed to be tricksy that way. However, I am knitting. Ferociously.

The picture at the beginning of the post is of my 'knitting helper's' over the past weekend. Yes, that chair is orange. Orange is my favourite colour!

Here's another hint of knitting 'candy'.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Knit Hard Or Die Young

You know, I’ve always considered myself to be a reasonably intelligent person. Granted, I could not pick heads or tails out of DH’s Masters of Electrical Engineering thesis when, as a matter of heart, I sat down to read it. However, apart from advanced engineering and math, I usually catch onto things pretty quickly. I get (most) jokes, know a reasonable list of big words (and love learning more!), and wrote a Masters thesis once. Therefore, I don’t feel I’m too stunned (Newfoundland word for ‘stupid or dense’). However, yesterday morning, four pointy sticks and some string darn near did my head in.

I’ve mentioned before that I want to learn to knit socks in 2007. I have a few gorgeous sock yarns to choose from my in stash (some people would laugh at what little sock yarn it takes for me to call it a ‘stash’ but, I digress) and have found several patterns that I’d love to wear. I have also had enough success with DPNs over the past two weeks to encourage me to attempt to cast on the first of a pair of socks.

That’s when things started to go horribly wrong. See Exhibit A (I’ve re-knit my knitting problem on larger needles in an attempt for you to see it clearly. My camera does not seem to like close up pictures so two of these are fuzzy. Sorry about that.):

That’s one REALLY wide gap.

Exhibit B– Row Two gap:

Exhibit C – Row Three gap:

Understand my frustration? At the risk of breaking yarn, I am tugging really tightly on the yarn when I get to the beginning of the round but, for some reason, this gap is the largest. I have ladders between the other needles too but they aren’t as bad and they don’t worry me as much.

Is a gap this large normal?

Once the tears (I cry when I’m very, very frustrated) dried up and the swearing died down, I did get something done after five – yes that’s FIVE – cast on and joining attempts. Those five attempts included two attempts at knitting up three rows in the round, seeing the gap you see in Exhibit C not disappearing and ripping my progress off the needles a couple of times. However, by hook or by crook I did manage to get this far on my socks.

I won’t tell you how I got the beginning of the row yarn gap to go away. It involves bad knitterly things and I don’t think I’ll ever show my first sock and its cast on edge to any expert knitters.

Unfortunately, I’m now terrified to cast on the second sock (notice she isn’t in the least bit intimidated by turning a heel? Ignorance is bliss! I KNOW I have a problem with joining on DPNs so I’m more worried about that at the moment).

Thank you for allowing me to vent. Stay tuned, knit hard.

PS Great guesses on the sewing project. They are baby bottom change pads awaiting binding. Current status? Still awaiting binding…

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Production High - Baby Soon?

This level of production is SO going to end in a few weeks (three weeks from today!). I have not (gasp!) been knitting today. Nope, H and I had likely our last sewing day before a new knitter is born. The hockey game starts soon so, I am off to knit after all. However, in the meantime, can you guess what I was working on today?

I’ll give you a hint…

…I will need them desperately once the baby is born.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Kitty Pi Introduction

Ungrateful, ingrate that she is, here is where I found Checkers after putting a new Kitty Pi bed on the carpet for her (she's lying on my labour suitcase in our bedroom):

And, where was the interest I’d anticipated from our other cat, Tobi? Here, on the guest room bed (I actually have really nice bed covers on all of our beds - covered with old sheets and bed spreads to catch cat hairs. They come off before company visits - I swear!):

I met with more success when I actually put Checkers in her new bed (she's looking a little intense because she's considering pouncing on Tobi who had come out to check out what we were doing during the photo op):

All of our pets love to lie on wool (e.g. on sweaters, on our wool area rug, on woven table runners where they shouldn’t be…the pets shouldn’t be, not the runners). Therefore, I have some hope that either Checkers or Tobi will adopt this cat bed as their own. I am quite pleased with it myself. It’s too bad it’s not big enough for the Border Collie!

What’s next you ask? Well, I’ve cast on another Bunny Tail hat.

Not much progress so far but, it was a really bad hockey game (I don’t like hockey but enjoy watching DH get frustrated and also enjoy keeping him company while I get some quality knitting time in).

Additionally, here is the leftover yarn from the Kitty Pi. I am thinking of making a small, fulled bowl out of it. Does anyone have any fulled/felted bowl pattern suggestions for me?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Fun With Fulling

It was a hot and humid weekend. Hmm. That sounds like the beginning of a mystery novel. Oh well, it was a hot and humid weekend! I hung out in the basement and, believe it or not, was comfortable enough to knit my little heart out. I had some motivation. Our little black and white cat, Checkers, has begun to lick her hair off. In particular, she’s made very short work of the hair on her back legs and haunches, her belly and is starting on her front legs. She hasn’t started on the skin yet – thank goodness – but, as you can imagine, we’re a little concerned. This started before we left to purchase our house in NS and about the same time as the new carpet was installed. At the time, I was thinking it was caused by seasonal, air-born allergies as she had had an allergic reaction to the plastic bowls at the pet store/Humane Society that had caused really bad mouth sores. Thinking that allergies was the culprit again, I brought her to the vet before we left for a steroid allergy shot which had worked wonders before.

The shot isn’t working so it might not be allergies. Or, she is being so highly and frequently exposed to the allergen, that the shot isn’t able to work. It could also be stress (e.g. our moving and packing and getting ready for a baby). We’ve decided to wait until after our move to NS to look into other avenues (e.g. getting her into see a pet psychologist) but both think that Checkers is allergic to our new carpet. She loves to lie on the carpet and, seeing as she is licking off the hair on the areas usually touching the carpet, we think this type of allergy is quite likely. There is no new carpet – just beautiful 54 year old hardwood floors – in our new house. We’re hoping that the allergy will go away after we move.

This was a long story to tell you that I was very motivated to get the Kitty Pi bed completed so that I can put it on one of Checkers’ favourite places on the new carpet in hopes that she will sleep on it and not directly on the carpet.

Here is a finished side view, before fulling.

The bottom diameter view, before fulling.

The is a photograph of my very first fulling attempt (The Knitter’s Bible tells me that "fulling is the process of washing woollen fabric to produce a felt-like fabric. It is often mistakenly called felting, which is worked on carded unspun wool, whilst fulling is worked on a finished fabric." You learn something new every day as I would have call the process ‘felting’). I am very proud! I didn't have anything large and round enough to use for blocking so am using the plastic drum protector from the washing machine (you put it back in your washer when you move it) and it seems to work.

The first wash cycle didn’t make a bed as small as I wanted so here is the bed after its second adventure in hot water in my washer (safe in a zippered pillowcase as directed by the pattern and my Knitter’s Bible).

I’m just waiting for it to dry which, unfortunately, may take a couple of days as it’s very humid in my house and raining outside. I have it stuck on top of the dryer (which is running as Monday is laundry day) in hopes that the ambient heat will speed up the drying process.

This is my second project completed in a very short period of time – yeah me! Let the nesting knitting continue!

Friday, June 01, 2007

DPN Crazy!

Thanks for all the nice baby hat compliments! I love it and so does DH. I got a high cuteness factor from DH yesterday – he almost got all weepy (and I am SO going to be in trouble for telling you that if he ever catches up on his blog reading!). Thanks also for the hints on DPNs. I did run up to my LYS for bamboo DPNs this morning but they were all out of the size I needed. I was too impatient to wait for the size that I need to come in so I’m swatching using the regular ol’ metal ones at the moment.

I’m on a bit of a DPN roll. Remember this? It's from August 2006 in case you don't remember (I forgive you). Yes, it's been awhile.

How about this?

I never got around to using the Big Noro Kureyon that I purchased on eBay because I couldn’t figure out how to start the darn thing on DPNs again! This was last fall sometime and I was very frustrated with myself so refused to go back up to my LYS again and get help starting a circle.

Guess what I did last night?

Yep, rectified that little problem.

Then, I thought, what the heck? I may as well get ready for a pair of socks. Enough procrastination! I was visiting Jessica over at Dizzy Dragonfly and noted that she had knit her first pair of socks. I really liked the socks and the pattern she used from Spun looked to be my speed so I’m off making more swatches (thus the requirement for the bamboo DPNs that didn’t work out). I’m on my third swatch and third set of DPNs to try and get my gauge to work. The way it’s going, the size I need might be available (I doubt it's as popular as 2.5 mm's) so I may end up having a bamboo set of DPNs by the end of the day after all.

Through Jessica, I found another Jessica at Yarnmonster. Check out her lovely tutorial for the cutest drawstring knitting bag! It’s reversable too! The post I'm referring to is from January 14, 2007.

And, yes, I also cast on another wee Bunny Tail hat. Hmm. Maybe I’m knitting nesting (DH is definitely nesting – the other night he made 8 bottles of home-made tomato sauce (from our garden tomatoes that we froze whole last summer because he didn’t have enough time to make sauce) and a squash loaf – very nummy!). I seem to suddenly feel the need to have multiple knitting projects on the go. I can’t nest in the traditional sense with making a nursery pretty or filling the freezer with goodies, considering we’re moving less than a month after the baby is born (IF the baby comes on his/her due date). Maybe I’m creating a new nesting option by overcompensating on wooly projects! I have a feeling this problem may not be limited to pregnant ladies alone…be afraid. Be vewy, vewy afraid!

And this is just a quick shot to give you an idea of the challenges I face each time I try to blog...