Monday, March 26, 2007

Where The Boys Are

5 diapers in 2 hours.
Wearing two of the big three (spit-up, pee, poop).

Hi-dee-ho, early motherhood!

As the Cap'n said to a friend, at least we didn't wait so long as to forget the routine. It's actually seemed easier this time, as far as the diaper changing, dressing and feeding goes. New baby is a hungry little lion, and he's already back up to birth weight.

I really was enjoying my 6 hours straight of sleep a night, but I guess at some point the sleep deprivation will make me forget what that felt like.

And when Slim cuddles up next to me and the baby, I treasure those domestic moments.

So why did my half hour of sleep this morning involve a dream of me being welcomed back enthusiastically to my former job in North Carolina? hmm...

It's been a wild ride since Friday the 16th. The Cap'n wrote up a beautiful narrative of the labor and delivery, and since then we've had a good visit with Grammy, the bris, and Leo's first Metro ride.

It's going well...busy and exhausting. There was even a round of sock knitting finished on that Metro ride, but I would hazard a guess that these are going to be the Jaywalkers that never end, based on my current rate of stitching.

In one of those nights up on the couch with My (new) Brest Friend and the baby, I did start a worsted weight project to save my sanity. I'll probably put the knitting in a separate post for those just here for the baby pictures.

But not to worry, handknits will always have an honored place around this house...

(ETA: Thank you so much for all the warm wishes and congratulations and emails! I so appreciate it, and I'm sorry I haven't had a chance to write back to everyone yet. If I owe you an email, give me a little more time. I hate typing one-handed.)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

March is in like a...

Leo is here!

This is Knittin' Sis checking in with a quick post for all of you waiting on baby and mom news.

First, the stats:
Born on Friday, 3/16/07 at 11:26am
Weighing in at 8lbs 2oz and 19.5 inches long
Marsha Stalcup, Certified Nurse Midwife, assisted in the delivery. As you may recall, this means Leo's mama must relinquish those yummy socks she put on the line in her deal with the universe. Mama reports that the delivery went well and Marsha was a huge help. Mama also reports that the Cap'n was wonderfully calming and supportive.
In the photo above, Leo is enjoying the coziness of a handknit baby blanket made with love by Renee.

Knittin' Sis/Auntie and Uncle Ben got to spend lots of time with Slim this week as Mama tried to relax despite being many days overdue. I guess the relaxing evening Mama spent with the Cap'n did the trick as her labor started without medical intervention.

Mama promises to put pictures of Leo in his handknits for an upcoming post. For know, I'll put up some of the photos we took at the hospital.

Knittin' Auntie just got finished with matching booties for Leo's sweater and hat ensemble. I intended to have them done before Leo got here...and he certainly tried to cooperate by staying in Mama's belly for several extra days...but my days were filled with fun with Slim, and I just finished the booties on the long drive back to Indiana. They'll be headed to DC on Monday. Luckily, I have no concept of the size of baby feet, so these booties turned out quite big and will hopefully fit Leo for several weeks.

Lots of love to my Sis, the Cap'n, Slim, and Leo. What a wonderful family!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Baby Knits! (But No Baby)

I'm going to turn most of this post over to my KnittinSis, who came to town this week bearing cute knitted items for Baby Dos.

The child should feel like it's going to be well-dressed enough to come out now, but so far, Baby Dos has decided mom's belly is more cozy. But it looks like tomorrow will be a big day for us. We have the induction scheduled for Friday morning.

Now on to the baby knits...

Hi! KnittinSis here. Well...where should I start?

First, there's a cozy and cute baby blanket made by my friend Renee. It's made of a soft and washable wool blend in rainbow colors. Muy precioso! Renee told me about the pattern, but I've forgotten exactly how it's done. It looks like many squares put together, but it's knit in one piece.

The squares display the yarn's rainbow color nicely. Renee is a super knitter with a sweater on the needles right now. She's also a former DC resident (that's where she got her Master's degree) who's currently a 2L at Indiana School of Law.

The first thing I made for Baby Dos is a pair of "Ugg" booties. I found a kit on the SuperCrafty ebay store. I think I got the last one, but she has lots of cute kits and great deals on yarn. I found the store through this story from Crazy Aunt Purl. Here's the pattern.

Baby Dos's Daddy and Uncle Ben agree...these should be the only size of "suede" boots ever made. The pattern was really easy (knit all in one piece and seamed down the bottom and back).
Next handmade bit came from a pattern found at my LYS in Bloomington. It's Ann Norling's Kid's Fruit Hat made with Dale of Norway Baby Ull in yellow and the same green as the baby kimono. A little lemon hat!

Speaking of little lemons...I got the pattern for New Baby's other booties from Anny Purl's blog. As her socks were adaptations of other patterns, my booties are a bit different from hers as well.

That's all KnittinSis had time to write before she and Uncle Ben swooped in to take care of Slim. But I'll just add that the other (third) bootie is on its way off her needles.

Which makes us ready for tomorrow's trip to the hospital. I think we're all about as ready as we can get, even Slim. I told him yesterday and this morning what was happening, and he was so excited today he didn't nap. This may be a problem tomorrow....

If Baby Dos is half as cool as big brother here, we should have one fun family.

Wish us luck! We'll see you on the other side...

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I wanted to post a quick note from the coffeeshop on the BIG DAY. I'm working on putting all of our receipts together for our taxes, and then I'm going to walk next door to Eastern Market for bread and salad fixins for tonight's dinner.

Get the sense that nothing's happening that's supposed to be happening?

Very perceptive, you.

It's funny how giving something as big as having a baby a specific date wraps all your expectations up into one big package. A package that you're supposed to get to unwrap on a certain date, like Christmas. Only there aren't any guarantees with babies and kids.

This entire family moves to its own beat, and I'm not surprised that Baby Dos is taking its time. Slim did, too.

I'm going to concentrate on enjoying this 62-degree sunny day, walk some more, and wait patiently for whatever is going to happen to happen.

Speaking of Slim, a little run-in with the end of the slide at the playground yesterday gave him a giant goose egg and bruise right on his forehead. It's going to make for some cute hospital pictures with baby...

Like I said, no guarantees with kids.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

In Time-Out

Everything I'm knitting right now is in various states of time-out. Aaauugh.

First, let me introduce you to an about-to-be-modified FO:

Slim's Felted Mittens (Just Like Dad's)
The Pattern: Double Cuff Felted Mittens from Knit One, Felt Too
The Yarn: Leftover Bemidji wool from the Cap'n's felted mittens and Brown Sheep Company's Lamb's Pride Worsted
The Colorway: Light grey and Prairie Fire
The Needles: US11 Susan Boye aluminum DPNs and US4 Clover Takumi bamboo DPNs
Time: 9:30am Wednesday to 2:30pm Thursday

The Cap'n did the knitty math to figure out how to size the pattern down. I also modified the rate of decreases so they didn't come out as pointy as the bigger ones. These didn't felt as much as the adult-sized mittens I made, even though they went through an entire wash cycle.

Yeah, as if I'm going to get a shot of these in use. Slim won't/can't put his hand through the ribbed cuffs. Maybe I could get them on him asleep, but even then I think the cast-on edge of the ribbed cuff would cut off his circulation.


So I'm thinking I'll cut out the cuffs and reattach the I-cord directly to the felted mittens. I'm still not sure how I'm going to get him to keep them on, though. Time-out for the mittens, at least until I come up with a good idea on how to fix these.

I also cast on for the Monkey socks with the Claudia's Handpainted. After a good evening of knitting, I was through two repeats on the foot (I decided to try them toe-up), and the pooling was undeniable. All the earth brown was clustered on one side and all the purple was on the other.


I ripped those back to the toe and tried the slip-stitch rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, because the book noted that it is good for breaking up color repeats in variegated yarns. It was better, but still not as good as I had hoped. And I just wasn't that crazy about the slip-stitch rib pattern with the Claudia's.

The toe-up socks went into time-out in the frog pond. But I would not be deterred.

After searching online, I kept coming across raves about the Jaywalker pattern and how it works great with variegated yarn. I know, I'm really late to this party. So I cast on again, this time for a top-down 84-stitch Jaywalker. I'm using 2.5mm instead of the 2.25mm called for in the pattern, but I also read that this tends to be an inflexible sock.

Any votes on how this is going to work out? I'm on a strong anti-pooling streak. Partly to take advantage of the beautiful colors of this Claudia's, and partly to prove to the Cap'n that it can be done. He hates variegated yarns because of how the colors stripe and pool.

I'm also still working on the Feather and Fan scarf for LAAuntie. That's on partial time-out just because I'm annoyed that I can't get the rest of the knots out of the yarn.


P.S. No baby yet.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Things I Like

I am going to borrow Maryse's idea and make this a Things I Like Monday. But on a Tuesday. Because feeling negative isn't good for anyone.

1. Orchids at the National Botanic Garden. It doesn't matter how many times I've seen them, the roomful of orchids is awe-inspiring. Also, a great place to take an active kid on a cold day.

2. Cadbury Creme Eggs.

3. Scrubs. Hilarious show. Even if I am in a crappy mood, it makes me laugh out loud.

4. Wearing the felted mittens I made. They are so warm and comfy, though too long. If I make another pair, I would increase the rate of decreases at the fingertips.

5. When Slim and I are in the same moment at the same time just enjoying each other's company. And developing new wells of patience for those times when we aren't.

6. Total Eclipse of the Heart. And the fact that I can remember most of the words from singing them at the top of my lungs so many times during my angsty years in high school.

7. Tattoos. Following Scout's Craft-Tat Meme, I'm showing mine. I have two, a butterfly on my left shoulder and the Chinese character for Dragon (my Chinese zodiac sign) on my right ankle.

Both of the tattoos are very meaningful for me. For one, there are quite a few members on my dad's side of the family with tattoos, starting with my grandfather. He was a professional wrestler (Tinker Todd), and he has a man wrestling a snake on his forearm. My dad got a butterfly on his right shoulder in the Navy. I went with my aunt (my dad's sister) to get my first tattoo -- the butterfly on my left shoulder. My sister and two cousins (my aunt's sons) also have tattoos.
The second tattoo is this dragon character. I was born in the year of the Fire Dragon, and I wanted to have more of the qualities of the Fire Dragon. So I got the character tattooed on my ankle where I could easily see it. (It's the only one I can photograph right now, so it's the only one I'll post.)

I have been wanting to get a third tattoo for a while now. Probably something that incorporates the kids in some way. A Rooster and a Pig? Maybe we'll go with their names...

There. I am as cheery as I'm going to get. Yet it's better than yesterday.

An appointment with the midwife today yielded no dilation, but a healthy baby still. I'll go for another appointment next Thursday with the midwife and a sonogram to make sure baby has enough fluid and is moving well, unless there's action between now and then.

A friend reminded me that once the baby gets here (two kids on two totally different schedules), I'll probably wonder why I was anxious to get past the pregnancy part and into the sleepless nights of breastfeeding and sleeplesss days of toddler chasing.

Meanwhile...send some good labor vibes Alison's way today.

No knit progress to report, other than an inch or two on the scarf. Beautiful colors, great needles...I'm hoping it'll zip by. Though I'll probably put in some time tonight on the socks so I can see how the yarn cooperates. I'm trying to avoid pooling this time...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Oh, Baby (Sweater)

The good thing about making a sweater that is probably too big for a newborn is that it will bunch up on them and hide the ugly seaming job.

That's the finished Mason and Dixon Baby Kimono, modeled by Sleepytime (aka Ugly) Ernie, the closest thing we have to a newborn in the house right now. (I finally had to take his batteries out. He had a bad habit of saying, "I feel great!" from behind the toy box without anybody pressing his buttons. Freaky.)

Here are the stats:

The Pattern: M&D's baby kimono
The Yarn: Dalegarn Baby Ull in a not-too-babyish green
The Needles: Addi Natura US2 (3.0mm) 40" circular (because that's the only non DPN set of US2s I have) and Addi Natura US1 (2.5mm) DPNs
Time: January 29 was the original-original cast on day, and it was finished March 3

I had a couple of false starts with this sweater, and one is now a design feature. The yarn is fingering weight, instead of the worsted weight called for in the pattern. I also got a different gauge than called for. So I had to modify the pattern slightly to compensate.

I also ended up making the sweater slightly wider than in the pattern, because after I switched from the original kimono to Haiku back to the kimono, I didn't want to re-frog the work I had put into the Haiku attempt. Call me lazy. Or call me an independent thinker.

I did the M1 increases around the neck instead of the yarnovers, because I thought it would be more unisex that way. I also left a hole in one of the side seams so that the inside tie could come through and meet the front tie in the back.
Besides the seaming (IHATEIT), I am generally happy with the sweater. The yarn is soft and machine washable, and I like the color because it matches the footie pajamas and other babywear I already have.

KnittinSis has made a hat to match and is working on (or nearly completed?) matching mitts and booties. It should be a cute handknit combination.

And a perfect thing for Slim to bring up in therapy later in life..."My mom knitted my little X sweaters, but only finished one hat for me. I knew she never loved me."


So I am going to cast on for the Monkey socks this evening now that the cleaning and kid entertaining is done for the day. Unfortunately we did not make it to the Botanical Garden today (maybe tomorrow?), but I did get the laundry finished and the whole house cleaned. Baby Dos is in no mood to come out, so I may be able to make a good bit of progress on the socks before making them my hospital knit project.

And just in case they are too complicated, I couldn't resist casting on with some birthday yarn KnittinSis gave me for a scarf to give to my SIL. She just got word the play she is directing in LA will be moving to a bigger theater for a longer run, and I want to make her a congratulatory gift. Since she lives in LA, it's hard to make her something too warm and wintery. This scarf should be nice and light.

The yarn and I got off on a bad foot before I got my ball winder from the Cap'n for my birthday. A good chunk of it still looks like this:

But it's a beautifully hand dyed rayon from KnittinSis's LYS, and it's already showing up beautifully in a Feather and Fan stitch pattern. (I'm cribbing from Scarf Style's Misty Garden pattern again.) I'm also using my KnitPicks Options set for the first time, and I am loving it! The needles are smooth and the yarn moves fast over them. Great stuff.

So I'm still feeling kvetchy (I have a sore throat, chest cough and reflux...wah) and still avoiding some chores I have to do (filing, tax prep, etc.), but let's keep this post lighter and picture-ier.

Here's a random shot of Slim checking out the cows at the National Zoo yesterday. He has learned to turn on the tv by himself and asks to see his photo on the back of the digital camera. He's really getting quite big. Let's just hope he's bigger than the jealousy he's going to feel when Baby Dos gets here...if that day ever comes.

Nope. It's not a basketball hiding under my shirt. Alas.
39 weeks, 6 days...tick, tick, tick...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Chez Le Grouch

Again with a pictureless post...

I am seaming up the baby kimono and making I-cord ties, and I am so mad at my finishing skills. THEY SUCK.

Last time I took sewing was half a semester in 7th grade. With my newly minted feminist attitude, I swore at the time that I would never excel at the "domestic arts" (witness my cleaning and cooking skills), and set about avoiding any other opportunity to learn more about home ec.

Well, now I love knitting. I really do. And I feel like I've gotten a lot better in the last year and a half. But this is the first garment I've really gotten done. All the rest have been accessories (hats, scarves and socks). How can I call myself a knitter if all I've done are little projects?

And nearly 20 years later, I still suck at sewing. My pretty little garter stitch kimono looks like that same 7th grader took a needle and yarn to it to put it together. It's shiteous.

Which makes me and my overactive brain begin to worry that I am going to be a shitty mother to two kids. I just felt like I had it pulled together with one, and I didn't have to worry about balancing work or school like most women do. Now there will be two and how am I going to handle it?

Like I said, it is Grouchy City around here.

I stayed up last night because we didn't eat until 10pm and I get terrible reflux (the run to the bathroom kind) if I lay down too close to a meal. So I ended up watching "Clerks" (great movie) and some stupid late-night tv show about how strippers stay in shape.

I can't stomach morning shows, and I don't care for daytime talk or soaps, but give me late-night crappy tv any evening and I'll stay up til 3 in the morning.

So anyway, here I am with my roly-poly self propped up on the futon and thinking how I'm never going to get back in shape. I can't feel any less pregnant or any less attractive than if my husband was refusing to touch me for fear of starting early labor.

Oh. Wait. Nevermind.

And I have definitely reached the All Done phase of pregnancy. I am 39 weeks today, my turkey timer (belly button) has popped, and I am FINISHED. Unfortunately, baby does not seem to agree.

Meanwhile, Slim has decided that sleeping from 8pm to 5:30am works just fine for him, and that he only needs a nap from 11am to 1:30pm. It's great, just great.

So now he's up...and since the Cap'n is working on his day off, I need to find something for the kid to do outside. The laundry, emails to be returned and dog hair tumbleweeds will have to wait. At least it's warm...

Maybe pictures and a better mood tomorrow....

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Babies, Knits and Other Goodies...

There's randomness afoot...

I finally found the last little thing for Baby Dos: this Lands End fleece bunting in deep cherry red. I really wanted something to keep little baby warm in the front pack while out walking this spring. I think we're guaranteed to have a warm and dressed newborn.

So, yes, we still have to install the car seat and pack the overnight bags (tomorrow, I swear), but I feel a little more prepared. Good thing, since I've started having more contractions off and on. Looks like the Evening Primrose Oil is starting to work.

And finally, I made it through those last few rows on the M&D baby kimono. I do have trouble with finishing things, but this one I was starting to get anxious about. Didn't want to have to knit it during labor: I was worried that even garter stitch would be too complicated for me.

So it's into a bath of SOAK for the kimono and a dry downstairs while I run some other laundry.

And another thing:

Mary reminded me of a very important birthday: It's the Cat in the Hat's 50th!! Go wish him Happy Birthday and send some books to kids who need them.

As I've mentioned before, the Cat is very important around our house. I have the original "Cat in the Hat" memorized and can give a fairly good reading from memory of the "Cat in the Hat Comes Back." You really can't beat Dr. Seuss.

I actually started swatching (Swatch me while I WIP it out! Ha! I crack myself up.) the Purple Earth Claudia's Handpainted. I'm getting 7 sts to an inch gauge on US1 (2.5mm), and I want to do Cookie's Monkey socks, which calls for 8 sts to an inch. I know if I follow the pattern with the gauge I'm getting, they will fit my feet, which are 9 inches wide. This was the trick I used to get the Child's First Socks to fit my big foot.

However, I'm worried that my gauge will get me loose socks because I got a good tip that the Claudia's is very stretchy. So I'm wondering if I should go down to US0 (2.25mm) needles and get the pattern gauge and get snugger (is that a word?) socks? Then I worry that I might run out of yarn, even though I will probably convert the pattern to toe-up.

Then I think maybe I'm too tired to try to figure this out right now...

Slim didn't sleep last night, and neither did I. I think it's my body's way of getting ready for being up every 2 hours to feed new baby.

And after tomorrow the car registration will expire, but we first have to get it to the mechanic to replace the strut...which apparently died on some D.C. pothole. This would not be surprising to anyone who has driven in this town before.

Meanwhile the Big Question on my mind is:

Should I try to start and knit a pair of EZ's baby leggings to match the kimono, hat, mitts and booties for Baby Dos? I still have two more balls of Dale Baby Ull left. Would this be a pointless exercise to begin, or do I still have time before D-Day?

9 days and counting...