Friday, January 30, 2009


This is one of those "for my own use" posts. There is a lot that I would like to get done before my parents arrive on Thursday so that we can have a fun and somewhat relaxing weekend while they are here. It is a little bit crazy with multiple birthday celebrations and a baby shower to attend, but I'm hoping that we can all have some downtime, too. So here is a list of what I'd like to get done in the next week, mostly this weekend. I'm not a huge fan of to do lists, but I know that sometimes I need them to keep myself from spending Heather's naptime watching TV and knitting. :-)

1 - Take down and put away all Christmas decorations.
Yes, the house is still decorated. Last weekend I spent so much time working and the weekend before was spent on general cleaning chores. I need it all to go away now.
2 - Dusting, sweeping and vacuuming areas that the decorations have vacated.
AKA - No artificial pine needles anywhere.
3 - Mop the kitchen floor.
With all the weather we've had it's beyond messy. Something needs to be done and now.
4 - Put away clean laundry, do more laundry and do hand-wash laundry.
It's getting a little out of control. Both the full hampers and the full baskets of clean clothes. It took me too long to put a semi-coherent outfit together this morning. (especially since I didn't want to wear anything remotely red and to try to include some black)
5 - Clean tea stain in living room carpet.
6 - Purchase a couple more birthday presents and wrap them all.
7 - Finish knitting and labeling baby accessories for baby shower, wash and block baby presents and wrap everything.
8 - Write grocery list (including food for birthday dinners) and go buy groceries.
9 - When I'm too tired for other chores, weave in ends and sew buttons on Amelia so she can be washed and blocked.
I'd love to wear her for my birthday and to the Pittsburgh Knitting and Crochet Festival! I think she's going to get boring solid colored buttons for the time being as I look for ones that I love.
10 - Only when baby knitting is done and I'm too tired for other chores can I work on Samus.

Hmmm...the list isn't as big as I expected. Hopefully this will keep me on task when I have time and help me have a relaxing birthday weekend!

p.s. I bound Amelia off on Tuesday morning! I tried her on Monday night before I knit the neckline. I got the impression that she fits pretty well, although a secure neckline, grafting the underarms and a good washing will tell me for sure.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

227 stitches

Thanks to an hour of knitting group on Sunday (an hour is better than nothing) and 4-5 hours of knitting yesterday out of 6.5 spent in the car (knit light + winding roads & hills = unpleasant knitting) has meant lots of Amelia progress. By the time I got home last night I was too tired to do anything but watch 30 Rock and Battlestar Gallactica from last week, which meant more knitting time. I was smart enough to get in bed about 10, but totally torn between wanting to keep knitting (I was SO close to the neckline) and not wanting to keep my eyes open. I compromised and knit for about 30 minutes more. :-)

2 rows on the bus this morning and then I was able to start the neckline decreases! So from the peak of 451 stitches, I'm now down to 227 stitches. And after the 5 additional rows of neckline bind-offs and raglan decreases, I'll be down to 169 stitches per row. So, so close! And the closer I get the less I want to put it down. Since I've never done a raglan sweater before and I have narrow shoulders, I'm a little worried about I'm anxious to be able to try it on and see if it works or if I need to rip back and modify it.

And for those of you non-knitters or beginning knitters who think I'm making knitting sound "hard", it really isn't. I'm just following the pattern. All of this math has been done for me. I'm just unnaturally excited by watching the numbers change. I totally admit to being a numbers geek.

p.s. I know that even thinking this is insane since we're going to have a newborn in about four months. But there is a little part of me that is tempted to consider the National Knit a Sweater a Month Dodecathon*, also known as NaKniSweMoDo. I would only do it if I included a couple of toddler sweaters for Heather, but I wouldn't include baby sweaters. (The last newborn sweater I made took me a week, so that seemed like cheating). If I knew I could maintain my current knitting mojo all year, I'm certain that I could do it, but knowing the dive that my mojo took after Heather was born makes me doubt that 2009 is the year even though the 9 sweaters worth of yarn in my stash are calling me...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The 'B' Word

I hate to even say it or think it. Sometimes I feel like I'm always striving for it. But really, the parts of my life that the roller coaster ride feels free and easy is when I'm probably acheiving it and the uphill parts of the roller coaster are those times that it is elusive and seemingly totally out of my sights.


The past few days have been all about trying to achieve it. Each decision about how to spend my time was carefully considered. You see, I had a lot of work to do to prepare for a trip tomorrow. So I tried to schedule my extra time at work at times that limited my time away from Heather. I stayed late Friday night. I brought work home with me for Saturday, to do while she napped and was in bed. I managed to finish the work Saturday night but still needed to go into work to print things out today.

In favor of time with Heather and R, I stayed home for the morning and for brunch. When we returned home and Heather was winding down, I went to work to do my printing and then to today's knitting get-together. It took quite a while to decide whether or not to go. But in the end, I decided that I had made sufficient sacrifices of my time to work so that it was worth having an hour for me at knitting.

It's still difficult that I won't see Heather at all tomorrow (we're not staying overnight, but I probably won't be home until after her bedtime)...but it would be much harder if I felt like I hadn't seen her all weekend, too.

Looking ahead, I have "Amy" weekends planned in both February and March. The february one just involves daytime hours away and the march one is an overnight trip. While I know that I deserve it and I will have no regrets, I can imagine that the days before and after them will be like the last few have been. Sacrificing personal time and chore time in order to maximize quality time with Heather.

There is, of course, also a subplot in my brain about Heather's life after May when my attention will be divided even further. :-)

Ah, motherhood...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

451 stitches

While watching LOST last night I finished the second sleeve on Amelia and started working on the yoke of the sweater. I had to make the sleeves wider than the pattern calls for (I'm imagining the designer having super-skinny upper arms to make me feel better), so the yoke has LOTS of stitches.

261 on the body and 95 on each sleeve. So the first two rows of the yoke had 451 stitches. Woot.

Thankfully the raglan decreases start on the 3 row of the yoke, and each right side row is decreased by 8 stitches. I think it takes about 12-15 minutes to knit each row. It's slow going, but I'm still motivated. If only my employer would pay me to keep knitting at work. ;-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The day after

All day yesterday I felt like I should say "something" on my blog about the importance of the day or how I was feeling, but I just wasn't really sure what to write. Honestly, I had a lot of work to do, I had lunch plans and other than reading the play-by-play blog coverage of my favorite tv critic, I wasn't engaged in what was going on as it happened. It wasn't even until nearly bedtime that I watched any national news coverage and I never got around to listening to President Obama's speech online as I had planned to.

But I'm willing to bet that if I had been home, I would have been glued to the TV all day.

Over and over, the thought that goes through my mind is how happy I am that Heather will always know an America where a person of color can be president. Just as I have always known an America without segregation. I admit to being hopeful that she will come think of a female President being just as commonplace as an African-American one, but I will settle for a fairly consistent string of female Secretaries of State for now.

In the end, I know that the qualifications and dependability and actions of our elected leaders is much more important than their race or religion or gender or the color of their skin...but I also realize (sadly) that there are many people who wouldn't believe that someone of a different race or gender or religion is capable of doing well in elected office without seeing it for themselves. I'm cautiously hopeful that this really is a turning point for the United States both politically and culturally.

Just like your predecessors, you've got a lot of work to do President Obama!

p.s. The thing that Heather came away with yesterday (yes, my toddler watched the inaguration at school) is that Obama is fun to say. ;-)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snowy Day

New snow plus 35 degree temperatures and little wind made for a perfect family morning playing in the snow.

As you can see, part of my direction was to make snowballs that Heather could throw into the snow. She also thought that daddy's snow angel looked like a snow butterfly. :-) Apparently daddy needs to warm up so he can make the bottom half of the angel wider. Mommy could probably use some snow pants, too!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More randomness

1 - If tonight I keep up the progress I've made this week, I could enter the 3-day weekend caught up on dishes and laundry! And since I vacuumed last weekend, I wouldn't need to think about doing the floors this weekend either. (One advantage of having a house that's too big is that the cat hair has plenty of room to spread out, so I don't feel like I have to vacuum weekly...even thought I probably should. Baby steps.) This would allow me to use chore time for de-cluttering and working on my office. And it means that I can't probably limit chore time to daytime without guilt. :-)

2 - It was not as cold at the bus stop this morning as I thought it would be. Yes, it was 12 degrees. But I was pretty well bundled, I was warm from wrangling Heather into her clothes and outerwear and the wind wasn't too bad in our neighborhood. It definitely felt colder downtown with the wind and I don't plan to leave the building at lunchtime. Brrrr.

3 - After a little work on my Amelia sleeve last night, I did a little work on the Samus cable, too. I just can't resist the enjoyment of the cable work. Especially compared to the repetition of knitting stockinette in the round. Hope to be on Amelia sleeve #2 sometime this weekend and I still need to cast on a bib or some baby item.

4 - I admit that I am regularly watching The Biggest Loser this season. Usually I just turn it on when there is nothing else on. But I realized last season that it is more enjoyable to watch when you can fastforward through the many commercials, the "commercials" within the show and the videos that are played both before and after the commercial breaks. So I have been recording it on the DVR. But I won't hesitate to delete episodes if there is a backlog of scripted programming to watch. I'm not *that* addicted.

5 - I'm ready for the premiere of Battlestar Gallactica tomorrow night, the continuation of CSI's season tonight and anxious for the return of LOST next week. And I'm still laughing out loud (literally) at least once an episode (if not more) at The Big Bang Theory. I'm very happy that it seems to be doing well in the ratings. I'm interested to see "Dollhouse" (Joss Whedon) next month, too.

6 - Despite all of this TV happiness, I think it stinks that ABC probably won't be airing the remaining episodes of "Pushing Daisies". Boo.

7 - R keeps taunting me for not reporting a certain cute Heather-ism on the blog, despite the fact that he has a blog of his own where he could note such things. Since he has a cold, I'm going to cut him some slack and make him happy.
Even though she used to detest having her nose wiped, she will now ask for a nose wipe about 50% of the time that she needs one. She will also request "nose wipe finger" if she used her finger to detect that a nose wipe is in fact needed and now said finger needs to be wiped with a tissue as well.

8 - I'm trying to decide whether I'm going to take the day off on my birthday. I'm already taking two days off next month, so it seems a little excessive. But at the same time I need to take a day or two off before May and send Heather to school because there is no way that I'm going to finish my office with just weekend work... Decisions, decisions. I guess I'm kind of waiting to see how the next few weeks of work shake out. If February looks like it's going to be really busy it probably isn't worth it. But if things stay as they are (busy but not crazy) then it is probably doable.

9 - I'm trying to figure out what to serve for Heather's birthday dinner. Something not to hard to make for a big group and something that there is a chance that Heather will actually eat. Although that second requirement is totally unpredictable...the other night her dinner was strawberries and a few bites of bread after ten minutes of not wanting anything. Ah, toddlerdom!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cast on

Samus is begun. :-)

This pattern has been on my radar since it was published in knitty in Fall 2005. There were a few other sweaters in my ravelry queue with the same gauge, but the other options with cables were all-over cable patterns. I think that an all-over cabled sweater would be served better by something lighter than the medium-dark maple syrup color of my Wool of the Andes.

I do plan to wash the swatch to make sure that nothing shocking happens, but given the construction of the sweater, I don't absolutely have to do that until I'm ready to pick up the stitches along the edge of the cable. Even if the gauge changes, I like the fabric I'm getting with size 6 needles and I would rather do math than change the needle size for gauge.

Do I sound less selfish if I tell you that I finished a baby sweater on Sunday? I just need to find the mojo to make a bib or two.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just a list

1 - I'm more than halfway up the first Amelia sleeve. It's mostly been bus knitting, and now that I'm past the increases it shouldn't take long to mindlessly knit to the underarm. There is still quite a bit to do, but I think it is going well considering I'm knitting it on size 2 needles.

2 - For a change of pace, I did a gauge swatch for a worsted weight sweater last night. Without doubling yarn, I don't have a lot of options in my stash for a worsted sweater. Most of my sweater quantities are in DK weight. I don't know what this yarn is going to become yet. I'm thinking cables, but I'll wait until I have my gauge measured and then pop the results into my ravelry queue and see if anything comes up.

3 - I'm still 90% sure that Heather is getting her 2 year molars. Most of the time she's fine, but when she gets upset it doesn't take long for her to really lose it. And sometimes she just seems to be clingy for no reason. Some nights she's been requesting rocking before bed and there are still 2-3 nights a week that she wakes up early and spend the last few hours of the night in our bed. Nothing awful, but she's just not always a happy camper.

4 - Heather's eating is all over the place, too. She's finally decided that she likes oranges and orange juice (we offered oranges for the first time at 11 months...) Some meals she eats an incredible amount and other meals she acts like she could skip. I know this is all normal for toddlers, but it is at a greater extreme than it was a month or two ago, so I think some of it is teething related. There is definitely favoritism for scrambled eggs, fruit, noodles and other soft foods. Though the girl still loves her bagel with cream cheese, too!

5 - Overall I'm feeling pretty good. There are physical twinges here and there, which I think is starting sooner than last time. But I'm taking any back twinges very seriously (stretching, motrin, etc) and taking it easy at the first sign of getting short of breath. Dressing is in that painful stage, where I don't need to wear all of my maternity clothes and some of it is still big, but I also can't wear all of my pre-pregnancy clothes and some of it is too small. The mornings that I get a workable outfit on the first try are rare, but I know it will get easier when I have a more obvious belly to hold up the maternity shirts.

6 - Annual reviews at work this week. I'm finding that reviewing my supervisors is making me more "nervous" than my own review this year. It just feels a little strange and I'm still trying to figure out how to express my thoughts about how our working relationship could be improved. I'm not quite as worried about my own. I'm pretty sure that they still like me. I don't think 2008 was my best year, but I also think it went pretty well considering that managing my personal life was more challenging than I thought it would be. We shall see if they agree.

7 - Speaking of work, I'm trying to wrap up loose ends on things I've been working on for a while. I'm trying not to be tired of them. :-) And I'm anticipating a big project revision from mid-February until my maternity leave that should be interesting and make the spring go quickly. Hopefully we can get the drawings out to bid a few weeks before baby M makes his arrival!

8 - I'm kind of ready for the Christmas decorations to be put away, but I really don't feel like doing the work involved to put them away. :-P

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Knitting Update

Last night I got my new needles from and I finished the knitting of my current baby sweater in progress while we watched three more episodes of Battlestar Galactica. (I'm no longer worried that we won't be able to rewatch all of season 4.0 before next Friday!)

So this morning on the bus I was able to cast on the first sleeve for Amelia without any guilt - yay!

I should use my knitting planning time this weekend to cast on a few more baby projects. I have a couple of finished or near-finished gifts in my knitting basket, but with two showers to attend in March and April and lots of friends of child-bearing age you can never have too many hand-knit baby gifts ready to go.

I also sent in my registration today for the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. I've signed up for three classes and I'm looking forward to a very fibery weekend next month!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Happy Day to you!

Lately Heather is enthralled by birthdays. She loves the song. She loves blowing out the candles (most days we just let her blow out the lights). She knows about presents from Christmas. She's going to LOVE her month.

Last night we went to a birthday party for the daughter of a friend of mine. She turned 4 and Heather was easily the youngest one there. The magic show was good and Heather did well, but it was a little long for a 2 year old... There was much pacing, walking around mommy, jumping, etc. This is one of the few shots where both of our faces are in focus. You can see her body in continuous motion.

After the magic show and before cake, there was much dancing and playing with the balloon animals from before the magic show. You can see how much fun it was.

Heather was a little dismayed that the birthday girl got to blow out the candles. But she recovered in a few minutes when she got to eat some cake. We continue to sing the song over and over, but now we're allowed to use the birthday girl's name instead of Heather's name.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Italian Cuisine at 2

If you ask Heather what she had for lunch today or what she wants to eat for her next meal (even breakfast), her response is likely to be "baba-oh-yee". AKA ravioli. :-)

But, of course, the linguine with meat sauce that I made the other night for dinner was not up to par. She just ate the grapes. Toddlers!

Hopefully she can find something acceptable to eat tonight. We have a birthday party to go to at an Italian restaurant...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Need more sweaters!

Now that I've knit two sweaters that I really like, that fit well and look good on me - I need more! Seriously. I could wear these two suckers into the ground if I'm not careful. The wrap sweater is beginning to pill a little bit in places and I keep putting on the wool-hemp cardigan even though I don't want to stretch it out (I wore it unbuttoned over my belly this weekend to prevent that problem.)

The torso of Amelia is finished and as soon as my dpns arrive (they have shipped) I'll start trucking on the sleeves.

If I didn't have baby gifts that need to be knit for February and March, I would be casting on another sweater for me to knit in the meantime.

The problems with my previous hand-knit sweaters (1 donated to charity, 1 stretched out and 2 waiting to be ripped back) and all that I learned from those experiences are totally worth it for the success I'm having now!


On another knitting topic, my fuzzy feet (felted slippers) have developed holes around the toes. I love them and they do a great job, but if I continue wearing them like this, the holes are just going to get bigger. Any suggestions on fixing them, or should I just suck it up and knit myself a new pair?