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April 2007 - Posts

Week 40   Week 40

Week 40

Today is my due date. 9:38 pm, I don't think she's gonna be on time. This, of course, is not only typical of first pregnancies, but also typical of me, especially pre-Scott. (My sense of time is... not so good.)

It's been 3 weeks of false alarms, achiness, cramps, general discomfort. And trying to squeeze in a full night's sleep, even in chunks of 2-3 hours, has been "challenging". Still, I'm torn between wanting her out RIGHT NOW, and being a bit afraid of actual labor and even more scared of becoming (gulp) a MOM. The reality is rather... sobering. The last week I've been thinking, "Uh... what?" and having moments of pause. Pre- and early-pregnancy, I figured that I was smart enough and emotionally capable of figuring things out, y'know, as they came up. Even if I didn't know how to be a mom, back then, I figured I would figure it out. Now that that time is practically upon me, I've forgotten the second half of my logic. Me? A mom? Ridiculous! Or if not ridiculous, crazy! Or if not crazy, then... inconceivable!

I suppose it's all opening night jitters. (And to extend the analogy, does she have stage fright?) I'll figure it out. Right? And it's not like I have to know everything right away. I won't need to know this week how to teach her to be a strong, independent thinking woman who can express herself and her emotions. Not right away. Right?

I'm ready to trade in scattered, awkward, uncomfortable sleep for more comfortable yet almost-nonexistent sleep,

Being able to feel her every move with seeing her every move,

Hours of knitting time without being able to knit sweaters with almost no knitting time and a less round belly,

And the worries and fears of labor and becoming a mom with the worries and fears inherent in being a mom.

I'm ready, little goober. Are you?

Still big and round here. And still gaining weight!

Ze Clapotis, she ees blocked:

Clapotis - blocking

Isn't the striping cool from afar?

Clapotis - blocking

The Artyarns Supermerino socks are in a baggy waiting for labor. (My sister helped me to realize that planning projects (plural) to take to the hospital really didn't make sense. But we did reason that taking one project was OK. Just in case.)

The Ribby Cardi I resurrected had the back done. In the last week I've added the two fronts and 2/3 of each sleeve to the pile. I'm making adjustments for row gauge, and I'm not sure how my modifications will work out. I may block what I have of the sleeves to see how the to-armpit length looks.

I'm getting really bored knitting it so monogamously, though. I sooooo want to start knitting a summer top! And all the tops I have in mind need this baby to pop so I have an idea of fit.

So I started another pair of socks, Grumperina's Jaywalkers with the Lorna's Laces Amethyst Stripe. And, color me clueless, but it never occurred to me that Amethyst Stripe would, like, totally stripe.

No photos of those projects, so...

The yarn, it is taunting me

Besides what I bought from Knit Happens' crazy sale, I partook in Yarnzilla's sale and got some goodies. Some Rowan Damask for the little wrappy-do in the lastest Rowan magazine:

Rowan Damask

More Calmer, in Garnet, enough for a top for me! Summer Tweed for something for Scott.

Claudia Handpainted sock yarn:

Claudia Handpainted

and a few skeins of Koigu:


Mmmmm, Koigu:


I've not bought so much sock yarn before. Or currently selling yarns for actual projects (never mind Rowan yarns). There are actual current patterns available for these yarns! I'm so used to buying rag-tag and willy-nilly from sales, or getting full bags from discontinued lines; and then casting about for patterns that might work with the yarns. Inevitably, buying yarns without project plans (or ideas, at the very least) leads to yarns sitting around, marinating, waiting for "inspiration" to hit. This is quite a new feeling. It's exciting!

And the sock yarn thing, also new. I've not been much of a sock knitter, especially for fingering weight sock yarns. Finishing the Fleece Artist Summer Anklets did something to me. I always thought knitting socks on #1's or #0's was a bit on the insane side, something that would drive me batty. The Fleece Artist anklets were knit on 2.5mm Addi's. Which, I didn't realize, are effectively #1's. I did it without realizing! So I'm a little less intimidated/daunted now.

(Not to mention, knitting socks SO does not depend on my belly.)

Here's more proof:

Artyarns Ultramerino 4

Artyarns Ultramerino 4 from a sale at Sarah's Yarns (sorry, she's all sold out). I LOVE the colors of the middle skeins. Can't wait.

And I'm officially all budget-monied out. For a while. Quite. A while.

Last week I stopped progress on Summer Anklets because I wanted to photograph the yarn in the skein.

The yarn: Fleece Artist Merino sock yarn, purchased in LK Yarns in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They had a basket of mini-skeins and I was hard-pressed to pick just one. I loved the colors, but it was just 1.8 oz, so I decided to knit anklets.

I knit most of sock 1 and then most of sock 2, and then alternated a few rows on each to maximize yarn usage:

Summer anklets - in progress

I had less than a yard left. Poifect.

In the process, the ball of yarn was unravelled from the inside and out. I was dazzled:

Fleece Artist yarn

Thought of log cabin squares:

Fleece Artist yarn

Marvelled at the unexpected arrangement of colors:

Fleece Artist yarn

Inspiration is wherever you find it.


Summer anklets

Summer Anklets
Finished: 4/14/07
Pattern: A mish mash: Toe up socks with figure 8 cast on (20 sts), increased to 56 sts; Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' short row heels from "Priscilla's Dream Socks" in Favorite Socks.
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino sock yarn in ... Angelfish?
Needles: #1 (2.5mm)
Notes: These socks make me happy. The yarn feels wonderful and the colors make me smile. This was my first time trying Priscilla G-R's short row heels and while it's a bit fussier to work the turns, it minimizes holes better than my previous wrap method.

Well, here I am, still waiting, still big and round. Here's how I looked a couple of days ago:

At Almost Week 39

(though, to be honest, I haven't been looking quite so cheerful the last couple of days)

I've dropped some more, can you tell?

At Almost Week 39

Between not being comfortable sitting to spin (extra weight in front strains my back), insomnia, and the comforts of sitting with an electric heating pad against my back, I've done a lot of knitting:

  • Summer Anklets are done
  • Trellis is done
  • And now, the knitting on my Silk Garden Lite Clapotis is also done!

I knit a little more than half over the weekend. The final corner looked like this:

Clapotis - in progress

and I decided I wasn't crazy about so much grey and mustard, too dark. So I frogged back to the purple/grey and then worked some magic:

Clapotis - in progress

Less than a yard of the turquoise to spare. The back? Looks like this:

Clapotis - in progress

I got a little sloppy re-knitting the corner, I forgot to drop one of the stitches:

Clapotis - in progress


You know I didn't frog back, right? You know I opted to cut and graft?

I took a closely matching length of yarn (has more mustard in it, which you can see below), duplicate stitched for about 7 stitches, cut the original yarn, and re-threaded the original to drop the stitch it should have dropped. Worked! And so much less painful than the last time I grafted.

Clapotis - in progress

Bring it on! I started a pair of plain socks with the Artyarns Supermerino I recently bought, and am tackling another UFO -- Ribby Cardi, started and stopped last October. My WIP count is down to 18; if I wash and block Clapotis, I'll be down to 17. If I ever get in the mood to sew again, finishing Fish Bag will bring me down to 16! I'm unstoppable!!! After Ribby Cardi, I've got another UFO lined up to knock out. Go ahead, Knitting Gods, smite me down! Send me into labor to teach me a lesson!

You may by now know that Scott is on the picky side when it comes to knits. Well, clothes. Well, a lot of things. He's very particular. About certain things. Not only is he allergic to wool, but being colorblind, there are some (ahem, many) color combinations that he just won't wear. What can he say, he likes what he likes. He doesn't ask for much, but when he does, it's a hunt. Or a bit of panic if it's something I need to knit.

During this pregnancy, he's been really wonderful. Picking up things, getting me water, fixing dinner, doing laundry, refusing to let me carry any groceries, shoveling the driveway and clearing off my car in the mornings after a snow storm, etc. And all with nary a grudge, grumble or complaint. So when he asked me to "fix" his slippers so he could wear them, I couldn't refuse.

He loves these slippers, but the bottom padding is so thin that his feet stay cold wearing them. I figured inserting some padding would help. (He also wanted to take these to the hospital, so time was tight and he had to pitch in to get them done.)

Step 1: Inspect slipper
There is just enough space between the bottom of the foot and the top padding to fit an insert.

Slippers Re-Pad

Step 2: Create template
Or, Have Scott create a template from the bottom of the foot. He did this sitting on the kitchen floor. I can't bend forward much anymore. Usually, I like to put knit swatches on the floor to measure the stitches and rows per inch. These days, not so much.

Slippers Re-Pad

Step 3: Cut 2 foam pieces from template
Scott did this too.

Step 4: Create 2nd template for fabric
The foam is 1" thick, so I figured an extra 1/2" around should do the trick. Scott did the work.

Slippers Re-Pad

Step 5: Cut 4 fabric pieces
Scott ironed the fabric. I traced the templates, pinned them out and cut them.

Step 6: Sew fabric pieces
It's been so long since I used my sewing machine, I couldn't remember how to thread it. Good thing I kept the manual.

My first attempt resulted in a lot of extra fabric, so I sewed a second line about 1/4" in and trimmed the excess fabric. Not perfect:

Slippers Re-Pad

but not bad:

Slippers Re-Pad

Step 7: Invert sewn fabric, stuff foam pieces in; admire handiwork

Slippers Re-Pad

Step 8: Procrastinate
I don't like hand-sewing...

Step 9: Sew openings closed
I did this during the early hours of last week's false labor. If this was it, and I could still function, I thought I had better get these slippers done so he could take them to the hospital.

False alarm yields finished inserts:

Slippers Re-Pad

Step 10: Stuff inserts into slippers; note happy expression on Scott's face

Slippers Re-Pad

And feet.

Tangerine Cardi

Tangerine Cardi
Finished: 4/8/07
Pattern: Debbie Bliss' "v-neck cardigan with contrast ribs" from Baby Knits for Beginners, size 3-6 months
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cotton DK in Tangerine Orange, 4 balls
Needles: #6; #5 for neckband
Notes: The main modification I made was to knit the body in one piece to the armholes, which had its complications. I wasn't crazy about how the armpits seamed:

Tangerine Cardi

but in retrospect, I think it looks fine. Scott helped me pick out the buttons:

Tangerine Cardi

Cute, eh?

Overall, a quick and easy knit, if you don't massively screw up like I did.


Eyelet Dress
color not accurate

Eyelet Dress
Finished: 4/7/07
Pattern: Debbie Bliss' "Dress with Eyelets" from Baby Knits for Beginners, size 3-6 months
Yarn: Crystal Palace Cotton Biwa in Magenta (on cone), ~6 oz
Needles: #4; #3 for neck- and armbands
Notes: I didn't quite get gauge (24 sts x 33 rows, vs pattern gauge of 25 sts x 34 rows), so I knew it would come out a little wider than the pattern. To compensate, I added an extra row or two to the bodice length.

Also, the pattern calls for DB Cotton/Wool, which is a drapier yarn. On top of that, I knit the Cotton Biwa on smaller needles than the ballband recommended. Result: a sturdier fabric with less drape. Certainly not cardboard, and perhaps washing will soften it up some. If I were to knit this again, I'd choose a yarn/needle combo that would create a drapier fabric. (I do, however, like the sheen of this cotton.)

Quick and easy knit. I had some problems with the neckband, most likely due to my yarn substitution, but I was very satisfied with my fix. Also, I found the buttonhole placement for the back is too far to the right; I would move it left by a stitch if I knit this again.

Eyelet Dress

I still have to find some ribbon to thread through the eyelets!


Ribbed Jacket

Ribbed Jacket
Finished: 4/7/07
Pattern: Debbie Bliss' "Ribbed Jacket" from Special Knits, size 0-3 months
Yarn: GGH Java in peach (2 skeins) and light peach (1 skein)
Needles: #7; #6 for ribbed collar
Notes: What a quick knit! Since the main body is knit in one piece, there is very little finishing to worry about. My stitch gauge was spot on, but my row gauge was off (27 rows vs pattern 24 rows), so I had to add a few rows here and there to compensate.

The GGH Java feels light and springy and I liked knitting with it. It's not tightly spun, so I am a little worried about strands getting caught on things. I knit this after seeing Elinor's cute version here.

No baby, but I did have another false alarm. Monday 2am, mild contractions every 10 minutes for 8 hours. We had a regular appointment scheduled for 11:30, so I hopped in the shower and wouldn't you know it, they stopped. Harumph. Next time, I take a nice long shower MUCH earlier. ;)

After finishing the last 3 baby knits (buttons, too! just waiting on sunshine for photos), I've been hunting around for the next project. I wasn't sure I wanted to knit another baby knit. I really want to knit a sweater for myself, but figure I should wait to see what my body will look like post-delivery. I made some progress on the Summer Anklets, the blue/orange socks I recently started; but then wanted to photograph the colors in the skein (again, waiting on sunshine), so that's on hold.

Instead of starting a bunch of new projects, I decided to look at my WIP's and finish something if possible. My WIP list jumped up to 22 with the baby knits -- not good!

Enter Fish Bag, my first pseudo-intarsia project, started in Aug '02:

Fish Bag - in progress

Pseudo, because I stranded the main color instead of joining a new ball of yarn.

I think the fish pattern was in an old Vogue Knitting magazine, with the background being blue and fishies being, well, fishy colored. But I worked with what I had, odds and ends from Webs. After knitting the front, I knew I would run out of the main color, so I striped the back instead:

Fish Bag - in progress

Working with so many colors and without a pattern was definitely out of my comfort zone! Weaving in the ends was a bear, and the hole I left for the drawstring was too small:

Fish Bag - in progress

Fish Bag - in progress

I wasn't sure what to do to make it better, and didn't feel up to fixing it or sewing a lining, so it sat. (And sat.)

My first step was to undo the seaming at the top and sew down the edges with thread:

Fish Bag - in progress

so I could fold it over and have a clean edge:

Fish Bag - in progress

I sewed down the flaps, which include my niece's name (her middle name is knit in the other side):

Fish Bag - in progress

I knit too many rows for the flap so I sewed down 2 rows lower than I planned:

Fish Bag - in progress

but I think it won't be so noticeable. Folded, the edge looks just right:

Fish Bag - in progress

I've sewn the lining, but, being totally clueless about sewing linings, it's on the smallish side. I'd like to sew another lining that fits better. After all this work, it makes sense to, no?

Perhaps the second part of nesting, for me, has been picking up lovely yarns and fibers to surround me. I'm under the delusion that, during the weeks I'm home, not working, I'll have time to knit.

Knit Happens had an amazing sale a couple of weeks ago, with all of their yarn discounted, many by more than 50%! This brightened my doorstep last week:

Koigu Kersti
Koigu Kersti for a top; colors are richer reds than pictured

Rowan Calmer
Rowan Calmer; more baby knits?

Alchemy Bamboo
Alchemy Bamboo for... a baby knit if I'm strong, something for me if I'm not

Artyarns Royal Silk and Supermerino
Artyarns Royal Silk to combine with 2 skeins I received from a friend,
and Supermerino for socks

Lorna's Laces Sheperd Sport
Lorna's Laces Sheperd Sport for socks

Many (all?) of these yarns fall into the luxury category that I couldn't justify in the past; but at more than half off, how could I resist? I want to dive in and start new projects left and right; but I'm ever aware of my WIP count and have some projects to finish up first. More soon!

I'm trying not to be despondent about the contest guesses that are later than my due date. Actually, I'm trying not to be discouraged about any suggestions that it will be longer than this weekend. ;)

You know the whole nesting thing? Well, I haven't been immune. But strangely (or not so strangely), my form of nesting appears to be yarn and fiber related. Instead of cleaning bathrooms or folding and refolding baby clothes, I've been going through receipts:

Yarn receipts going back 12 years

Receipts that go back to 1995:

Yarn receipts going back 12 years

For practically every yarn and fiber purchase I made since then, every knitting needle and point protector, pattern, book and booklet. And I've been putting it into Excel. Into a very long spreadsheet.

Old Webs receipts don't give details on what yarn was purchased beyond "MILL END", "CLOSEOUT", "CONED YRN", etc. So there's a lot of guessing involved. There are some handwritten receipts from the Classic Elite Mill End store in Lowell, and Shuttles, Needles & Hooks in NC that are equally vague. It's a bit of a conundrum. There's also stuff I bought on eBay that arrived sans receipt. And there's probably plenty in the stash that is somehow not represented in any receipt. Gifts or trades, or pre-1995 yarn.

I've spent hours working on this spreadsheet. Hours. And hours. Over a span of many weeks. There's something comforting about it. Couldn't tell you why. Organization that I can't achieve in the yarn room? Having everything visible and sortable? Filterable? Being able to see what I have so that I have a better chance of using stash? It's a bit insane. Well, a lot. But really, not so surprising, is it?

The Eyelet Dress was moving right along until I got to the neckline. Puckered. Not so pretty:

Eyelet Dress - in progress

I figured I had 3 options:

  • Pick up fewer stitches
  • Use smaller needles
  • Cast off more tightly

I used all 3. The "cast off more tightly" I employed at the center live stitches and on the curves. Worked nicely:

Eyelet Dress - in progress

I did the same on the sleeves:

Eyelet Dress - in progress

Just need buttons and a wash! Not done, but the knitting's done. So I started another project:

Ribbed Cardi - in progress

These baby knits are addictive.

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the carding 'speriment post!

Sunday night was the beginning of our first false alarm, complete with contractions and some pain. Not a lot of pain, not like I would expect with "real" contractions, but enough that they weren't fun. I went to the doctor Monday morning: I've started dilating. Maybe an hour after leaving the doctor's office, the contractions went away and it was back to "normal". After the contractions stopped, it was like when I get hiccups I can't get rid of that may have gone away -- I kept anticipating the next one and it didn't come. I felt that she dropped, though, and it's more obvious now (it feels different, people say it looks different, and my belly seems further away than it used to), even if I can't tell from the photo:

Week 37

Naturally, we rushed to buy anything we had been procrastinating on, including an outfit to take her home in. The car seat is in the car. Her clothes and cloths have been washed. I even bought a boppy and nursing bra. If she shows up early, we're set. I joke that, now that we're ready, she's gonna be late. Ha. It is, after all, 3 weeks to the due date.

When my sister was pregnant with her first, she convinced herself that she'd go early. Naturally, she went late. And the last couple of weeks were pure misery. (Well, very uncomfortable and frustrating at the least, heh.) I decided not to expect to go early, and anticipate going late. Just in case. So I haven't been "prepared" (because really, who is?) to go early.

Having a false alarm 3 1/2 weeks before my due date took me by surprise. But after it happened, we were definitely ready (and impatient) to welcome her early! It's been hard to go back to the previous mindset.

This weekend we went to a performance sponsored by Pilgrim Theatre, a group I've acted with in the past. It was an evening of piano-accompanied cabaret in languages ranging from English to French, German, Yiddish, and even Russian (I think). Besides being a lovely person, Belle has a wonderful mastery of her voice; her songs are very present and filled with life.

The delightful surprise of the evening (besides seeing old friends) was how the little one reacted to the music. There were a couple of songs that she really responded to, and my belly pulsed almost to the beat of the music. Literally! It blew my mind.

Yesterday, while ripping CD's (preparing my iPod for the delivery), I came across an Edith Piaf "best of" CD. The songs were in the same style as some of the cabaret performance, so I played it to see if the little goober would respond. She pulsed again! Throughout an entire song, and then some. I grabbed my camera to record it and though it's fuzzy, you can tell my belly is pulsing rhythmically. I don't know how she's moving that it would look that way -- could she be tapping her foot??? Anyone have a similar experience?

Anyway, now that we've had our first false alarm, it's time for a contest, before it's too late!

When do you think she'll show up? Leave your guess: date and time. Bonus points if you show preference for earlier than later, hehe.