Friday, May 30, 2008

Loving Ravelry

I think my current mental state is the most obsessed I've been about knitting since Heather was born.

I don't know if it is the recent success with the wrap sweater (Yes, I know, I owe you photos. It needs a bath first. Maybe this weekend.) or maybe it was my recent stash dive or my current obsession with listening to knitting podcasts during my commute. But I think a lot of it has to do with ravelry.

Last night I pulled out some hand-dyed wool/hemp yarn that I bought at the Wool Gathering 18 months ago. I swatched and once again found that I need to knit DK weight yarn on size 2 needles. (Yes, I am a loose knitter). I actually got okay fabric with the size 5's, but I generally prefer a tighter fabric in my sweaters for the structure. And every sweater I've ever made has stretched with wear, so I would rather the fabric start out a little tighter and have room to grow.

Anyway, I was able to plug my gauge and my yardage into ravelry and look up possible sweater patterns! I could even search in just the books and magazines that I own and search in free internet patterns. I love the fact that I no longer have to pull out every book and magazine I own or tab through knitty to find the right pattern! And along the way I found a few patterns for my queue that won't work for this yarn but that I want to come back to in the future.

I haven't settled on a pattern yet since I measured my gauge at 10:45 last night, but I don't think it will take me long to settle on something this evening after the peanut goes to bed.

I've also had a few knitting questions come up recently and a quick search of the ravelry forums uncovered just the answers that I was looking for. Nothing like instant gratification!

In other knitting news, I just have the ribbing left on the shrug, I've started my second fish for the fishy toy, I've learned the gender of one of my planned baby gift recipients and I have only one chin strap and sewing left to finish on the baby hat I started over the weekend. If there wasn't anything to do around the house I would probably have the urge to use every available moment to knit this weekend. :-) Darn laundry and vacuuming...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

This week is sponsored by the letter...


Many, many of the words and sounds coming out of Heather's mouth for the past week have started with a "B" sound. For one day, everything was "baba". Yesterday and this morning, everything was "baby" (said with a southern drawl). A couple of days ago "bye-bye" was repeated over and over. And on Saturday we heard the word "bear" for the first time and then repeated all afternoon. (Also pronounced with a southern drawl.)

Other favorite B-words are "bah-yoon" (balloon), "bubbles", "ball" and just "ba" which seems to indicate any of the previous or can be just a general word of indication with a point.

She is also saying words that seems to be "mine", "nice" and "night night". (The last two being hard to distinguish from each other sometimes. Is the dolly "nice nice" or is the dolly going "night night"? Not clear.)

She also sometimes responds to Cock-a-doodle doo, with "doo doo" and will sometimes say "moo" when she sees a cow. And sometimes she makes a "shhh" sound when we see fish.

Words definitely seem to come and go. We haven't heard "woof" or guttural syllables similar to "doggy" for about a week, and she's been saying "hi" less and "bye bye" more. There are also words that we've heard once or twice that we haven't heard again (apple is the one that comes to mind, but there have been others).

She still doesn't really call us mommy and daddy, but she will point to us on command and clearly knows who we are. She also knows my parents as Grandma and Grandpa and doesn't yet know that there are multiple grandparents. When we referred to her great-grandparents over the weekend, she would look at or bring things to my parents. Not a problem, it is just interesting to see how that little brain works. And it makes sense since we see my parents more often.

Before it gets much longer, here is the current list of regular words and possible words:
Hello (into phones almost exclusively)
Night night

Monday, May 26, 2008

Social weekend - Saturday

Just some photos from the fun we had on Saturday with family. Heather thought that the stuffed bluejay was VERY thirsty. Interesting, because we've never seen her feed a stuffed animal before.

The weather was lovely and we spent all evening outside after dinner. Bubbles, balls and ring around the rosey were just some of the activities. Just sitting in the grass seemed to be a hit, too.

And the day ended with some yummy strawberry pie...

Social weekend - Friday

I took the day off on Friday to prepare for our trip to visit family over the weekend. Since we wanted to have a low key day at home and I wasn't going to get any packing done outside of Heather's nap, we decided to invite a friend over for a playdate.

This was our first one on one playdate with The Boss and we both had a lovely time. A snack, a trip to the playground and then a ladies lunch at our local coffee shop.

Heather's afternoon nap wasn't quite as long as I had hoped, but I manged to get most of the packing done and finished the rest while she toddled around the first floor. We headed outside to expend a little more energy before getting trapped in the car all evening and found a neighbor who was doing some planting. After some initial clinginess, Heather decided to 'help'.

After 90 minutes on the road we stopped for some dinner at Bob Evans. Heather ate so much and so quickly the other patrons might have thought that we have been starving her. Another favorite restaurant activity is playing with the straw instead of drinking the milk through it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Numbers geek

The part of my brain that is good at math just likes to see the numbers sometimes...

The first set of percentiles are from the WHO charts, the second set is from the CDC charts and the third set is from an online calculator. I was just curious to see the difference based on a message board conversation I was part of the other day.

The way the numbers jump around point to my lack of trust in the length measurements, especially at the 9 month and 1 year appointments. Although I don't know that anyone could get an accurate measurement of a baby's length when they're being super squirmy!

It's interesting because I never got the impression until this past visit that Heather was anywhere near the 50th percentile for height, and yet it seems like she's spent more time close to the 50th than the 30th - unless you look at the online calculator. I also question the head circumference measurement at 9 months. I think that was the visit that we had a nurse in training...

When I plot her weight points on the CDC chart, I can clearly see the growth "slow down" predicted for breastfed babies as they get older. I'm sure I could do more with these numbers. But for now we'll just leave it as raw data. :-)

6 lb, 13 oz (3.1 kg) 35% 25% 27%
19.75" long (50.2 cm) 60% 60% 63%

1 month old
7 lb, 15 oz (3.6 kg) 15% 17.5% 6%
20.75" long (52.7 cm) 35% 40% 13%
13.8" HC (35 cm) 10% 8% 3%

2 months old
10 lb, 0 oz (4.5 kg) 15% 25% 14%
22 1/2" long (57.2 cm) 50% 55% 34%
14.6" HC (37 cm) 15% 10% 3%

4 months old
12 lb, 14 oz (5.8 kg) 20% 30% 22%
24" long (61 cm) 35% 45% 26%
15.7" HC (40 cm) 30% 25% 12%

6 months old
14 lb, 12 oz (6.7 kg) 25% 28% 18%
26" long (66 cm) 55% 60% 48%
16.3" HC (41.5 cm) 30% 20% 14%

9 months old
16 lb, 13 oz (7.6 kg) 25% 15% 12%
26 1/2" long (67.3 cm) 10% 20% 12%
16.5" HC (42 cm) 10% 8% 3%

1 year old
18 lb, 1 oz (8.2 kg) 25% 8% 6%
28" long (71.1 cm) 15% 20% 13%
17.3" HC (44 cm) 25% 20% 16%

15 months old
20 lb, 0 oz (9.1 kg) 30% 13% 8%
30.25" long (76.8 cm) 40% 45% 38%
17.7" HC (45 cm) 30% 25% 21%

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Inspired by yarn

First, about Ivy. I finished it at 12:30am on Sunday, wore it to knitting on Sunday and I'm wearing it today, too. It still needs a final wash and block before I model it for photos, but I am VERY happy with it and enjoyed showing it off to my fellow knitters. I plan to keep wearing it until the weather gets too warm.

With Ivy finished, that only leaves me with three projects on the needles. The Melon scarf, which is kind of hibernating, but also kind of a long term "back-up" project. I don't always have time to plan and start a new project when I have a streak of finishitis, so the scarf ensures that I always have something that is easy to grab and could keep me busy on a long trip for work or for pleasure. I don't have specific plans for the scarf and the body is easy enough that I don't have to refer to the chart. I'm honestly mostly interested in it to do the lace edging and to have the finished project, the middle doesn't really sustain my attention. So I think it will be on the needles for a while unless I find a real push to work on it.

The second thing on the needles is the Reading in Bed shrug. I'm about 2/3rds of the way done based on the blocking I did this weekend and it is going pretty fast. I have the 8 row repeat memorized (even rows are purled across) and it is easy to toss in my bag. My motivation for finishing is that I think it would be nice to have for cool evenings this summer, but I don't have a particular deadline.

The third thing is a toddler sweater that will be a gift. It's going well and quickly. The body is done except for weaving in ends and I started the first sleeve on the bus this morning. A week of bus knitting should finish it off.

Since two of my three projects have a limited number of hours left on them and I foresee a good amount of knitting time this weekend, my goal last night was to plan and start a couple of new projects. I'm going to need at least 5 baby gifts this year and I'd love to start another big project for me and maybe something new for Heather for the fall. So after Heather went to bed I started browsing my books with baby and toddler patterns.

I found zero inspiration.

Sure, I saw projects that I want to make at some point. But nothing that I *need* to make right now. There are things in my ravelry queue, but nothing calling to me over anything else.

I think part of it is my stash. I know that there is yarn in there that I really want to use. And I know that I have enough that I don't *need* to buy any more right now. So I think a better strategy for my current state of mind is to "toss the stash" and find the yarn that is calling to me right now. And then I can swatch and find the pattern that works for the yarn I want to use. I could even bring a bunch of different skeins with me this weekend plus my Harmony options needles and spend the weekend swatching. Maybe. Then again, maybe not. My brain falls asleep just thinking about that idea. :-)

I guess if I can't figure out what else to make by the time I finish my WIPs, then I will just start making bibs and baby washcloths until inspiration hits!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The process of sewing up Ivy has been a "two steps forward, one step back" sort of affair. Sewing up the sides was pretty straightforward. Check. I knitted around the collar and attached it to the back. Check. I tried it on and the collar bulged out like a circus collar. Oops. 2 tries later (rip, sew, rip, sew) and the collar lies well. Check. I set in the first sleeve and sew the sleeve seam. Check. I try it on and the sleeve is 3" too long. Oops.

(This is a prime example of why a swatch should be washed before you measure it and I take full responsibility for not washing my swatch before starting the sweater. I'll also tell you that there is a slight difference between the back, which was worked on metal needles because I was impatient and the fronts which were worked on wood needles. But you really have to look for the difference to see it and I don't notice it when I have it on.)

So I take my other sleeve and rip out the sleeve cap and top 3" of straight knitting. Then I reknit the sleeve cap and sew that sleeve into my sweater. It fits. Check. Do the same thing with the first sleeve, but I don't have to rip out the whole sleeve seam since I sewed it from the cuff up. Check.

(The sleeve caps look a little sloppy at the moment because I reused the yarn that was attached which was kinked from being knitted. If this doesn't block out I will be very sad.)

All that is left is to weave in my ends and attached the belts (which I think will need to be shorter). And then, of course, another round of washing and blocking.

I'm a little nervous that the sweater seems wide at the shoulders...but since it is a wrap sweater it seems like that shouldn't be an issue with a nice snug belt tightening. I also know that it was difficult to really see the sweater with Stewart attacking the loose ends while I was trying to put it on. So I'm reserving judgment for a little longer.

I *think* it's going to be a great sweater. It's just a question of how much more blocking and tweaking is required to get it there. I'm certainly not giving up on it. :-)


I've only started one of the many needed baby presents and it isn't currently portable. So I've made a lot of progress on the lace shrug this past week on the bus. But now I'm nervous to knit much more until I block it and see what its real final dimensions will be. I'm using lace weight yarn and the miracle of blocking will determine how far along I am in this project. It will be my first time blocking lace while it is still on the needles. Should be interesting.

Friday, May 09, 2008

15 month check-up

Weight - 20 pounds, 10th percentile

Length - 30.25 ", 45th percentile! (she's been at 25 for the past year...!)

Head circumference - 45 cm

The doctor was impressed with how little she's been sick for an infant in daycare. No sign of an ear infection and I didn't give any answers to his questions that concerned him. He could hear her jabbering on when it was just the two of us in the room, but once he came in she stopped talking and just stared at him. Later the stare turned into a coy little half smile, but she didn't talk to him at all.

She was pulling her clothes and shoes off the chair as though she wanted to get dressed and get out of there. :-) I was glad that she wasn't the cranky pants that she was at her 12 month appointment. She walked around the room a bit, practiced opening and closing the straps on her shoes, and kept an eye on both of us while we chatted.

She was a little miffed about the physical exam, but cooperated pretty well and didn't cry. Today was just one shot and she only cried for about 30 seconds afterward.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A few Heather updates

Sitting in mom or dad's lap is only an acceptable activity if (1) Heather is being fed, (2) Heather is surrounded by strangers and feeling a little clingy for the first 10-15 minutes in some new situation, (3) Heather is asleep, (4) Heather is having lotion applied by daddy (she doesn't stay still as well for me, go figure), (5) Heather is being read to or (6) Heather is nursing. In any other circumstance there is really no reason for her to sit still.

We are pretty sure that Heather is saying "outside" (a-wa), "woof" (woo) when she sees a dog and she is saying "more" (mo) many times when she signs it. I think I heard her say "night" yesterday and "apple" over the weekend, but I couldn't get her to repeat them. Her babbling is diverse and continuous, so I really expect that one week she's going to double or triple her vocabulary.

We have a meeting next week about her move to the toddler room at daycare. We'll get to meet the teachers and hear about how they structure their day. Miss Laura has already confessed to R that she's going to miss Heather a lot. Awwww. Who can blame her?

We see bits of tantrums here and there when Heather doesn't get what she wants. But we are thankfully still in the stage where she is easily distractible and the fits are short lived. Don't know what we will do yet when little miss strong and stubborn can't be distracted.

Several times when we were out walking this weekend, Heather was holding R's hand. She stopped, turned to me and put out her other hand for me to hold. Awwwww. She also likes to "Row, row, row your boat" with each of us holding one of her hands.


I've done the initial blocking of Ivy and started the sewing up! I hope to spend Sunday playing with Heather and knitting, so if I don't get to wear my new sweater on Mother's Day, I at least expect to have time to finish making it. :-)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Another week gone by

Busy, busy, busy.

Another business trip this week. This time an interview for a new
project. I'm honestly torn about whether I want to get it. It's a
fabulous chance for me to be the project architect on a job from day
one. But it will require regular travel and my plate is already very
full at work, and it will start before other things are done. I
certainly did everything I could to help in the interview and I think we
presented ourselves well. So it just depends on how comfortable they
felt with us and if they think we're the best fit for the job. We
should know one way or the other very soon.

The upside of the travel is that I'm almost done with the knitting on
the Ivy wrap cardigan. All that is left is to finish the second tie.
It's 52 inches long (8 stitches wide) and I think I'm about halfway done
with it. I did the first one yesterday in the car and on the plane.
Soon I will do the blocking and then the sewing. Woot!

I hope to start a few baby gifts this weekend to make sure I have good
bus knitting ready for the next few weeks.

My thoughts are bouncing all over the place, so I guess this isn't the
best time for a blog post. I'll try again in a few days. :-)

(Oh, and apologies for being a bad email coorespondent lately...I do
think about all of you. There just aren't enough hours in the day. And
when there is free time it is reserved for Heather first!)