Friday, November 16, 2007

Some happiness, some sadness...some pictures:

We lost my husband's dear mother two weeks ago on a Thursday. She was 68 years old, healthy, vibrant, and she just didn't wake up that morning. Nobody knows what happened. I cannot even really begin to touch on my own sadness, let alone that of my husband, his father, and his sister. Mary Jo had three grandchildren aged four years, seven months, and four weeks. What kind of shit is that? We all just feel robbed. I have never seen so many broken hearts in one place, and I have to say that it was the saddest day of my life so far. I loved that woman. She was mother and friend. This photo was taken at Rhinebeck on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. It was the last time I saw her. I almost didn't go, because money is tight right now, but I'm so glad I did. My own mother gave me a small check to help with the hotel expenses, and insisted that I carry on with our plans. Rayona got to visit with all four of her grandparents one last time. I will never forget that day.

My father (in background) bought her a hat with sheep on it.

We also had halloween:

In all that has happened, the things that have kept me putting one foot in front of the other have been my daughter, and my knitting. I have many, many recent projects both finished, and on the needles. Mostly I have felt at a loss for time to post, but here are some Saartje's Booties that she wears almost every day -what a great pattern:

I also did finish that Baby Surprise Jacket -quite a while ago, in fact. You can see Flickr for that. I made some cute red booties out of a felted sweater with my own embrodery -also on Flickr. I have also decided to become one of those crazy sock ladies this winter, so I'm working on some now. I have some of those Morehouse Merino alligator scarves in the works, and a baby blanket for my new nephew almost finished. If it wasn't for all of this I don't know what I'd do. I've developed an interest in sewing as well. I bought a copy of Bend the Rules Sewing after admiring all the photos from the Flickr group. I need these things in my life. They make me happy. They help me cope.

On another note: had a funny realization today when I passed in front of a mirror with Ray and realized that we were wearing sweaters I had featured in a post from my old blog almost a year ago when I was 19 weeks pregnant. I love the comparison:


And now:

So it has been a good year. It feels good to blog again after a long break. Even though I said I was only doing this for myself, I find myself hoping that I have some kind of readership. If you're out there, let me know.

Monday, September 24, 2007


So there's really been a lot of knitting going on. So much that it will take few posts to sort it all out. From the beginning, I guess -the Becka garter got finished in time:

My sweet friend made the most beautiful bride. I just can't get over it. The wedding was so nice, and just what they wanted. We passed an entire day in the sunshine.

She is fabulous, and deserving of all the happiness there ever is. More later.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Becka Wedding Garter:

Well it's been a long journey, and it isn't over yet. I have been through several different versions, swatches, patterns, etc., and this is where I am:

The pattern is my own, though you can see it is just based on feather and fan with some additional decreases and eyelets at the top edge. It still has to get elastic on the back, and navy blue ribbon on the front across the band of stockinette. I am quite pleased. It hasn't gone perfectly, though. I made a crucial error by knitting my gauge swatch back and forth when I knew I intended to knit the actual garter seamlessly in the round. I ended up having to remove a few pattern repeats and seaming it. It looks great, but as a knitter, and a perfectionist I am disappointed in myself. The crochet cotton I used was bright white, and halfway through the bride switched to an off-white gown, so I dyed the lace with coffee and vinegar. The effect is lovely, and antiquey. I really like this pattern, and I wasn't thrilled with any of what I found online after days of searching. My question is: Would anyone be interested in purchasing this pattern if I worked it up for download? A knitted wedding garter is the perfect momento gift for a bride from a maid of honor, bridesmaid, or any knitter friend. There aren't too many such patterns out there right now. This one is appropriate for the advanced beginner/intermediate knitter. I just need to work out some of the bugs. I will post photos of the finished piece. This pattern as is (knitted flat) with a snap at the back also makes a beautiful lace collar/necklace.

In baby news: Ray is eating a little food! I know, it's early. We were going to wait until she was 6 months old, but the pediatrician said she could start any time now if we wanted, and she seemed interested in our food, so last week I gave her some mashed bananas with breast milk, and she really liked it. It didn't take her very long to figure out that food goes from the front of the mouth to the back of the mouth. Now she flaps her arms and grunts between spoonfuls. She's had a little whole grain rice cereal as well. Imagine my surprise when she produced a solid poop this morning for the first time. Anyone who has had exclusively breastfed babies knows what I mean. I was not prepared for that. Good for her. Mazel Tov, Sweetie.

Monday, August 20, 2007

My little pixie:

She is four months now, and sporting the first sweater I ever knit for her:

It looks even better than I had imagined. She has a sort of Scandinavian-Christmas-elf thing happening here. Such a cutie.

In wedding garter news I dropped a stitch the other night after three pattern repeats (1 week's worth of after-baby-bedtime knitting), and couldn't redeem myself, so I ripped it. Then I threw the ball of cotton across the room. Then I sat here, and considered what it would take for me to cast on for this pattern again (fourth time). I decided it would take more motivation than I had. I just wasn't enjoying this stitch pattern as a process, and I didn't think my version was going to be pretty enough to be satisfying. So I have made my own garter pattern out of feather and fan lace which is easy, mindless, requires no chart reading, and knits up a lot quicker than what I was doing. Also, it impresses the Hell out of non-knitters who think it looks really complicated. My swatch is beautiful, and I have worked out the math (I hope). Now to cast on 400+ teeny-tiny stitches -before Rayona wakes up.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

So who are you?

I see that people are stopping in to check-out my very new blog, and I'd just like to get to know some of you. Please feel free to introduce yourselves in the comments, and leave me your URL if you have one. I don't bite -really.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Our new Mei Tai:

Oh, it's finally here, and we love it so much. Apparently it's good for sleeping:

It's so beautiful and well made. I highly recommend Mei Tai Baby.

So I made more progress on the BSJ -I'm on to the increases now, but haven't worked on the wedding garter. I'll have to make more of an effort tomorrow.

We think Ray has Fifth Disease -which sounds worse than it is. Basically, she had cold symptoms, and now she has a VERY red rash all over her cheeks and chin. It started last week, but has gotten redder and more widespread. Does anyone have any experience with this? She's cranky as Hell today, so I gave her some Tylenol before bed. I don't think she feels very well. I may take her to see her doctor on Monday. I am going to go sit with her and, and watch her sleep, and knit on her sweater a bit now. Goodnight all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


The #20 cotton came today, and it works ok with my sz 0 Addis. I think I can make this happen, but I'll need to really move on it. I don't get a lot of time for knitting right now -let alone knitting lace on teeny-tiny needles. If I do one pattern repeat a day it might be done in time. The sewing part still concerns me.

I've made a bit more headway with the BSJ, but it looks like it'll have to take a back seat to this garter situation. Looking good, though.

Baby and mama still feel crappy, still have runny noses, coughs, etc. Poor little thing sounds positively juicy. She's also just gotten really good at rolling all the way over onto her tummy, and now that's how she wants to spend a lot of her time, including almost all of her sleeping time. I'm trying not to have a heart attack about it. She's really strong and really committed to sleeping on her belly, and there's not a lot I can do about it. No matter how many times I try to roll her onto her back she just won't have it. It's like wrestling a snake -she's all muscle (yay breastfeeding). Anyway, right now she has a snore that rivals my father-in-law because of her congestion. I seem to have eaten something that's given her a rash on her cheeks today as well. I think it may have been goat cheese. By the way, does anyone else out there have a baby that spits-up constantly? It's a real pain in the ass. I have to be really careful about what I eat. Dairy seems to have the worst effect on her by far. I'm really sick of the smell of spit-up. It sort of works it's way into all aspects of your life, and gives you that general "new mom" smell that I've always noticed in other people, and never wanted for myself. Oh, well. We stink, but we're happy.

Also in the works: I'm having my downstairs floors refinished. I've really wanted this since we moved, and it's necessary before Ray begins to crawl, but I also really expect it to be an enormous crappy mess of dust and fumes, and furniture moving. I'm getting an estimate tomorrow. I think I'll be a lot happier with my house once this is done. I think it will make me want to finish painting. I hate painting.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I've started the BSJ:

...actually, I've started it twice. After about 10 rows I realized that the original pattern gauge would get me a sweater that might fit Rayona now, but it's not that cold now, and I want her to get use out of it this winter. There is some sizing information available on KnitWiki for this, and I should have remembered to consult it earlier on. Whatever -this is how far I've gotten this time around, and it looks like it will be nice. I like the yarn color well enough, and I think with some little wooden buttons maybe it will have a nice sort of classic post-war era thing going for it. No frills, but beautiful in its simplicity, and utilitarianism. This pattern really is ingenious. I've seen some applied I-cord edging that people have added to these as an afterthought, and it looks nice. We'll see if I'm up to it by the end -I have a lot of projects going on right now.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

This is proving to be harder than I thought:

So, I promised my friend that I would knit her a wedding garter. I really want to do this for her, and I found a nice, simple pattern -it looks like this:

No problem, Right? Well, here's the thing: gauge. It's supposed to be knit in size 40 thread on size 00 needles. Size 40 thread is, like, SEWING THREAD apparently, and I have only size 0 needles, and no money for another pair. So I search around my town for some sort of heavier weight thread, because Addi Turbos aren't all that sharp (in my opinion),and there's no knitting sewing thread with size 0's, and of course no one has anything. I worked up a swatch in pattern with size 5 pearl cotton tonight, and it's way too dense. So I've ordered some #20 crochet cotton, and maybe that'll do the trick. I know nothing about crochet, so we'll see what happens. I feel like I'm always trying to improvise with my knitting all the damn time -mostly by switching out expensive yarns and trying to get gauge for patterns any way I can. It doesn't help that I'm a tight knitter, either. Lots of things don't end up working out for me. Big surprise. I don't think I'm the only one with this problem. I knit constantly, and could never afford my habit if I bought yarn from, say, Colinette, or Debbie Bliss -lovely as they are.
The other thing is that the pattern also requires a little bit of sewing. -Not my strong suit. Oh, also this wedding is in about a month. I'll need to rustle up some nice ribbon and bias tape, too, in a place with no sewing or craft supply stores. I really want this to be nice, though. I'll make it happen somehow, because this is a really deserving friend.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Elf-ears is feeling better...

...I, on the other hand still feel like shit. However, I've convinced my husband that we should go to Rhinebeck this fall (sheep and wool festival), and that makes me really happy. It'll be my first time, and I'm excited. I don't think he'll be bored with all the neat-o animals, and good food and wine, etc. There will be lots for Ray to look at, too -she'll be six months by then. Oh, I am soooo looking forward to that. I love autumn, or at least I used to before I moved to the land of eternal winter. Now it fills me with impending dread. We basically have nine months of winter here with temperatures as low as -40. -But it will be nice to go to the festival in October where it is down out of the mountains, and "four hours warmer".
Anyway, I'm waiting for two things in the mail this week hopefully: some yarn to start my Baby Surprise Jacket, and a Mei Tai that I ordered a few weeks ago. It sounds stupid, but I can't wait to vacuum and do laundry and dishes again without waiting for the baby to go to sleep. Slings are great for strolling around, and quick errands, but I can't get any real work done with one. You don't really have both hands free, and you can't do any chores that require leaning over. So I think it will be good to actually be able to TIE her to me. She's also begun to object to the sling's confinement of her legs. She sometimes lets us know how she feels by stiffening her whole body, arching backward, and refusing to let us fold her into the thing. It's kinda funny, actually. So the point is: I like getting things in the mail.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Our cold sucks, and we can't sleep...

...and I've been obsessed with this for weeks. It will be the next project I will knit, I think. Pity that I can't afford any gorgeous two-ply handspun like that.

Ok, first post:

This will be mostly for myself. I can't promise that my posts will be thrilling, or even that they will occur with any regularity. I will do my best to stay on top of things, though, because I hate it when a blog I read goes unupdated for days or weeks on end. Let's start here:

Firstly, let me say that I have a cold. We all have colds. Here is a photo of a three-and-a-half month-old with a cold:

She has developed a whole new type of whine specifically for this occasion -poor thing. It sounds so pathetic, and she's been doing it all day. She is doing it now, in fact. Thus my first post will be of the short variety.

So this blog, much like my other one, will be devoted mainly to knitting, my daughter Ray, babywearing, why I think breastfeeding and cloth diapering are great, and other things that used to have no place in my life. More later.