Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I've started my first two crochet projects in the past few days. Okay, technically my mother taught my friend Katie and me to crochet when we were in elementary school and I have vague memories of making a blanket for one of my dolls...but I'm 99% sure that I never crocheted again until after I learned to knit. All of the crocheting that I've done since May 2004 has been edgings, trims and slipped stitches.

I've decided to learn for a couple of reasons. 1 - It involves yarn. 'Nuff said. 2 - I've seen patterns in crochet that I like and I think that the properties of crochet make them better suited to these projects than trying to "redo" them in knit stitches. 3 - I think having a better understanding of crochet will help me better execute crocheted edgings and crocheted seams, as well as understanding how they can be modified to suit my tastes.

I don't really think that I going to come away from this with a stronger desire to crochet than knit, because in general I prefer knit stockinette fabric over many of the crochet fabrics I've seen. But there are crochet fabrics I like, and I think there is great promise in understanding a myriad of ways to play with yarn and use it to its best advantage!

For those interested, I'm making the ladylike lace gloves from The Happy Hooker and the Babette Blanket from Interweave Crochet. I still need more yarn for Babette, but I couldn't resist making the first few squares from some Cascade 220 in the stash...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weekend Update

I'm not really sure what I'm going to write about. But I opened a window for a new post because I hate going more than a week without saying *something*. Quite honestly, this blog is as much for me as it is for those of you reading out there. I like to be able to go back and remember what things were like, especially during this period when Heather is changing so quickly and life seems to be moving so quickly that I begin to forget what I've accomplished.

Heather is having a language explosion. She still things that we don't understand, but there seem to be new words that we do understand about every day and it is very often that she's repeating the things that we say. "I know", "okay", "there we go", "I'm ready", etc. She will also repeat the last word of our sentence, anticipate words in books that we have read often and just generally surprising us with new words. The best example I can think of is that I repeated the word "tunnel" for Heather a few times while we were at the zoo. She likes walking under it and she repeated it back to me. The surprise was that she said it again a few days later when she and R were driving under an overpass!

Things have definitely calmed down at work. There is still work, but it isn't as hectic as it was. A nice change. I need to find my planning design mojo again. It's just been a long time and I need to relocate my...confidence...I guess. It's a bit hard to describe.

I also have simultaneous urges to finish everything I have on the needles and start about six more projects. I'm hoping for the time to feed my startitis and finishitis while we're on vacation. I've also got a crochet project or two in my sights. Most of the things I really want to make don't seem like beginning projects, so I'll be sure to do a couple of smaller things first.

We've got a playdate tomorrow and I've got a knitting get together on Sunday, so I should go get some sleep...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

18-month old

Our peanut weighs 21 pounds (10th %) and is 31 inches long (30th %). Her head circumference is 46 cm.

She was delightful and chatty when the pediatrician was talking with us at the desk, but whenever he or the nurse wanted to touch her / weigh her / measure her she pitched a fit. I think she cried more for the exam than she did for the shots. Silly girl.

We didn't really have any questions, so it was mostly a nice chat about how well she's doing and the pediatrician was really impressed with how many words she has. :-) Oh, and no more shots until she's 4 - yay!

ETA: I forgot. Even after just spending 10 mostly shy minutes with Heather, the doctor could tell that she has an independent personality.

Gee. I wonder where that came from...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


(If you don't care about knitting or my interest in podcasts, then you can just skip this post)

I've alluded to the podcasts that I listen to a few times and I've been meaning to do a post about them for a while. They've become kind of an obsessive part of my daily commute and I only wish that I can the kind of job that would allow me to listen to them at work, too. But I find that there is too much competition between trying to listen to the talking and the thinking I have to do for my job.

I've listed the podcasts that I'm really committed to in the sidebar of my blog. If you want to give one a try, I would listen to a current episode and see what you think. If you like it, you can subscribe via iTunes or another program (I know there are others, but I'm not familiar with them since I use iTunes) and go back and listen from the beginning. In some cases this will give you hours of entertainment and for some of the newer ones it won't take you long to catch up.

I listen to podcasts for a few reasons. 1 - There are some great interviews with knitting designers and knitting celebrities that you can't find anywhere else. I seriously stalk iTunes for any podcast where the Yarn Harlot is interviewed. 2 - Discussion of patterns and yarns that I haven't heard of before. This is kind of like finding patterns and yarns in ravelry, except that I don't have to be staring at a computer screen. 3 - Getting to listen to other people talk about knitting. Maybe if there were more TV shows about knitting I wouldn't need the podcasts, but there is just something nice about infusing my brain with yarn related dialogue. 4 - News and reviews. Magazines and blogs are fine ways to here what is "new" in the knitting world, but podcasts are much more immediate than magazines and I can't read blogs (easily) while knitting or commuting.

Cast On was my first, and probably still my favorite knitting podcast. Brenda's voice is lovely, she produces a very professional program, she has themes for each series of 10-12 episodes and I just like listening to her stories. But once I caught up on all of the old episodes I had to find some new options since Brenda is currently producing her show only 1-2 times a month.

I posted on Ravelry in the Brenda Dayne Fan Club forum for suggestions on other podcasts to listen to. I knew that I would be hard pressed to find another podcaster as professional as Brenda, but I thought that getting the opinions of fellow fans would get me going in the right direction. (There are lots of knitting podcasts out there now!)

My next podcasts were Stash and Burn, the Knit Picks Podcast and Sticks & String. All three were enjoyable and it took a few months to go back and listen to all of the back episodes since they had all been around for over a year. Stash and Burn is kind of like hanging out with two knitting friends who are as obsessive about yarn as I am. They are both a little more obsessive about the size of their stash than I am, but I really enjoy listening to them chat and they've had some nice interview shows, too. I was a little concerned about the Knit Picks Podcast being too commercial, since it is run by a yarn company, but it is really much more about Kelly and good technique advice. There is certainly some mention of their yarn and new products. But other than the lengthy discussion of their new sock blanks I haven't felt and commercial pressure at all. Kelly and I can be very different knitters (that much garter stitch would make me want to poke my eyes out), but I really like her book reviews and we both like knitting lace. And I think the advantage of being "in the business" is that she gets some really interesting people on to interview on the show. Sticks & String didn't click with me at first, but it only took a few episodes for David to get in a groove and for me to get hooked. David's style is probably the one that most closely matches Brenda Dayne's, but being a male knitter in Australia, he has some interesting points of view to bring to the table. I also really appreciate his fearlessness and his clear agreement with me that colorwork in knitting looks harder than it is, so there is no reason to be scared of new techniques. David also had a great set of interviews in his last series and I'm looking forward to more.

Newer podcasts that I've enjoyed include Craft, Rock, Live with Vickie Howell and YKnit. Vickie's show is less specifically about knitting and more about crafting in general. I get the impression that she is more herself on the podcast (no influence from TV producers) and she's had some interesting interviews. She's just started her second series and I plan to keep listening. YKnit is produced more sporadically and seems to be very focused on interviews and events. It is really well produced and the hosts are two male knitters in California. Sometimes the humor is a little immature, but it is a fun show and probably better for an afternoon commute than a morning bus ride.

My primary non-knitting podcasts are the Tuned In podcast, hosted by the local paper's TV critic and the two podcasts of the American Theatre Wing. The TV critic likes a lot of the same shows that I do, so I always enjoy getting the inside scoop and opinions on my favorite (sometimes obscure shows). And the ATW shows have great interviews, but they tend to be my fill-in podcasts when I get caught up on knitting shows.

I'm currently catching up on Ready, Set, Knit, which is the podcast of WEBS yarn store. It's certainly the most commercial of the bunch, and I sometimes skip the knit-alongs or lists of their newest closeouts, but I enjoy the format and they have some good interviews. When I do listen to the knit-along sections I have picked up some good knitting tips, so it just depends what they're working on.

Once I get caught up on my current shows, I plan to give the following podcasts a try:
Knit Sciene
Knitcast (this one is out of production, so I only have the archives to listen to)
Knitmoregirl's Podcast
Its a Purl, Man

I owe all of the podcast craziness to Amy at She mentioned the Cast On podcast in her blog, and I checked it out, and the rest is history. :-)

(I'm a bad wife and I don't have R's podcast listed in the sidebar. This is because I'm a really bad wife and I haven't listened to them even though I am subscribed. As soon as I stop being a bad wife, I'll put up a link.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More words and flexible naps

It really seems like Heather is now repeating everything we say. "Okay" "Ready" "Let's go" "That's it", etc, get repeated while we're getting ready to leave the house or start some activity.

Other new words:
Jellies (for jellyfish)
Helicopter (okay, you probably wouldn't recognize this one, but she tries really hard and it is clear from context that she is identifying the right object and trying to say a 4 syllable word)
Tunnel (new word last night from our trip to the zoo)

(ETA: I knew I was forgetting a few. Cheese, Lulu (her bear), Shhhh (when she sees an animal or someone sleeping), shoe, thank you, Pooh, Eeyore and Kanga. I'm sure there are more. These are all the ones I remembered this evening and I'm quickly realizing that there is no way to easily document them all.)

Since she's repeating what we say, we've started repeating what she is saying and adding "please" at the end. We will see if that works.

We learned this weekend that we have to beware of taking advantage of her somewhat flexible schedule. We were invited to a picnic for R's boss that fell right in the middle of Heather's nap. I was convinced that taking an unnapped toddler out was a bad idea, so we put her down at the earliest possible naptime and crossed our fingers. When I went to wake her after 90 minutes she was stirring (I think she was between sleep cycles) and woke up easily. She was pleasant and happy at the picnic for a couple of hours, until the point that she wasn't anymore. :-) She went down easily for a second nap and I felt (foolishly) like we had dodged a bullet. Hmrph.

She slept for nearly 2 1/2 hours (!) and woke up in a horrible mood. So bad that I was convinced she was ill and took her temperature (normal). I think we actually made her more annoyed by asking her lots of questions and try to make her happy. After about half an hour she finally adjusted and then the three of us had a lovely couple of hours together. We read books, had a "pizza picnic" in the living room, and watched some Heather videos on the big TV.

Her late nap meant a late, difficult bedtime and a fussy night. We all survived and she seemed to be back to normal last night, but we should certainly avoid dividing up Heather's nap in the future.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Only 34 rows of 18 stitches each remain on the last piece of my basic black cardigan before I cast off. That's only 612 stitches. I guess I need to knit very slowly on my bus ride home so I don't run out of knitting entertainment... If I miss the express bus I'm in big trouble...


Thursday, August 07, 2008

32 1/2

I couldn't come up with an interesting post title, so I just decided to post my current age since yesterday was my half birthday, LOL! Totally silly, but it also means that Heather will be 18 months old in a few short days and that it is time to wish blogless Erin a Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday, Erin!

I'm not really sure what to tell you beyond the usual "what's going on" kind of update. I'm a little better rested than I was after my deadline 2 weeks ago, but I could still use a little extra sleep. The house is currently driving me crazy. There are still things from camping that aren't unpacked, there are areas in need of real cleaning and it's just in one of those states where there are lots of little things to do. I think the biggest tasks are tackled (mail, laundry, dishes) for the most part, but I really thought that 2 weekends at home would have us in a better position. Although I've been tired and unmotivated to do housework in the evenings, so I suppose I can only expect so much from a few hours each day on the weekend. :-)

At this point I just want to get the house back to a non-stressful place before our anniversary trip so I won't need to spend any of our at home vacation days doing mundane cleaning tasks. (But I might do more enjoyable things like cleaning out my room or doing a little painting.)

My knitting for the past few weeks has been purely selfish. (This is going to hurt me soon since I have several things to make as gifts for October and December). The basic black cardigan is going well. I had to rip back a few times to deal with some pooling issues, but those were easy to take care and I'm halfway up the last major piece. I think by the weekend I will be blocking, sewing and maybe knitting the button band.

I also started a top-down raglan for myself out of a cotton blend when the wool-hemp of the cardigan was becoming a bit hard to deal with in the summer humidity. I also was feeling like I really wanted a new summer top. I think this will be good travel and evening knitting for our trip, for the times that the gift knitting is too fiddly. It may or may not be done for summer, but it will be a good fall layer.

Heather continues to be lots of fun and she is adding 2-word phrases to her vocabulary. They are mostly "Hi ____", "Uh-oh ____", "Bye bye ___" and "Night night ___". She is also sometimes sounds like she says "thank you" and she is doing a lot of repeating. When we say the names of her classmates, she smiles and repeats them back. And many times she'll repeat a new word for an animal or object or color. Totally adorable. She is pretty good at answering yes and no questions reliably, but we have noticed that if she doesn't understand the question, her default answer seems to be "yeah".

She still seems to act initially shy around others. Some of it seems like a little act, but it is adorable and it doesn't take her long to move past the shyness.

Oh, and the poor thing got my hair. Fine, straight and not a lot of it. As you saw in the camping pictures, there is enough of it to put up in pigtails now, but just barely. I still have my fingers crossed that some of the paternal hair genes will kick in before too long, but I'm not counting on it!