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The Ubiquitous…

I am horribly unoriginal lately. Not only are the 3 projects I’m working on about the 3 most common knitting projects EVER, but I can’t even come up with an original word to describe how un-original they are. “Ubiquitous” seems to be more common in the knit-o-sphere lately than even “Rhinebeck” in mid-October…

You’ve already met the February Lady Sweaters, and the toe-up stockinette sock

Please say hello to the beginnings of a Baby Surprise Jacket! (5,378 of them on Ravelry alone), knit in the most neutral, boring wool possible.

It is a testament to EZ’s genius that in spite of all this, I am still in awe of the pattern, and already love it to pieces.

So was it any coincidence that the new Spin-Off arrived yesterday, and contained therein a gallery of BSJs knit in various, fabulous handspun yarns? I think not. The universe does work in mysterious ways. It wasn’t enough to knock me off from my oatmeal colored project above (I have a coordinating blue that I plan on using for a crocheted edge, as well as knitting a matching hat). BUT, it was enough to get me very, very excited about spinning again.

Am I ridiculous to hope that there will be spinning time this winter? That perhaps my fabulous stash of Spunky Eclectic fiber will get me through the dark days of February all alone in my apartment with a 2 or 3 month old baby?

A girl can dream.

Inevitable

(In which I try to be interesting, but eventually end up talking about pregnancy, again.)

This little alcove is just next to my office building – what you see is actually the back corner of a courtyard, nestled in between 2 tall buildings, with wrought iron cafe tables on cobblestones and a beautiful waterfall backdrop. The waterfall drowns out the city noise of honking cabs and construction, and the high solid walls on each of the other 2 sides give a sense of security, and intimacy. You could almost imagine you were in a European city, discovering a tiny cafe in a quaint little corner of the old district.

I’ve walked by it at least twice a day for more than a year, and yet I’ve only sat in it once. (The day my new camera arrived and I couldn’t wait until after work to take it on a test drive.) It’s really a shame.

I’m sharing this with you because I have very little knitting progress to report – the past few nights I’ve been working on shopping for all the remnants of things we still need after the shower, and getting the new bedroom set up (I had no linens on hand for a king-size bed before now). By the time I finish the absolute minimum of what I need to get done, it’s pushing 8 o’clock and Eric and I are scrambling to assemble dinner in the simplest manner possible. A few rows of knitting is all I can manage before I slump into the luxurious expanse that is our new bed.

Oh, wait, I haven’t told you about our new bed? It’s awesome. No, it’s more than awesome. It’s freakin awesomelicious. I never thought that we would need a king, or that it would make such a huge difference (no pun intended!) but it does. Apparently, my awkward, lumbering attempts to roll over take up an alarming amount of mattress width. Now, I can struggle to turn, or stretch in any direction without pushing a dog off the bed, or elbowing Eric in frustration.

We are all much happier.

As for the baby, he seems fine. Kicking and moving like mad, but no way to tell up from down, despite how hard I try. I spend (way too much) time trying to figure out hands from feet, head from rump, and quite frankly, if my guesses were right, then he would be impossibly convoluted in there (like a Mr. Potato doll put together by a drunk Picasso). So, I’m trying to sit back and accept whatever comes and not worry about making a decision until we know there’s one to be made.

One thing’s for sure – there will be no attempts to deliver this baby breech. Not only did 2 doctors speak up on this point, but a few others of you were quite adamant about this as well. Your words confirmed my own inclinations, which were then set in stone when my childbirth class instructor (a doula and a huge fan of the Dr. Sears books) said flat out that it would be impossible to find a provider in NYC who would deliver a baby breech.

A relief for me, because the Dr. Sears books (which I like) would have me press the point (depending on what sort of breech) and try to find a provider who would at least attempt to deliver breech. I get why, but it was not the route for me, regardless of the situation.

Anyway, enough rambling from me. Hopefully good knitting content next time.

Preparations

First off, let me tell you all how much I enjoyed and appreciated reading your comments about Pickles being breech. I’m generally not on email during the weekend, and it was fun to read through everything with my coffee this morning. As of this morning (when we saw a freakishly clear outline of him when I tried to sit up in bed this morning) it is obvious he is still breech, and we’re still weighing our options. (Also? I found out this weekend that attempting to deliver breech is NOT an option, which is a nice weight off my chest.)

This weekend’s reason I wasn’t on email? Our 2-day intensive childbirth class (A whopping 15 hours of class. I have now seen things that I can never unsee.). Oh, and we finally ordered and had our new bed delivered (the beauty of living in Manhattan? Mattress delivery from 9am – Midnight, 7 days a week). Oh, and Eric assembled the beautiful crib and changing table set that was a gift from my parents. Oh, and I scrubbed down the bathroom – our weekends have been so full that it’s been pushed off, and pushed off, but I assure you, it could not wait any longer.

This means of course, that in addition to no email, there wasn’t any knitting time either. Which is fine, because I’ve put all projects on hold except for Eric’s socks and a sweater for Pickles. The picture above is the first sock from a few weeks ago. If you squint and use your imagination you can see the few inches of progress I’ve made since then:


There has been little opportunity to take pictures in any semblance of good light, so I figured I might as well take a crappy picture and show you something new. The 2nd bedroom is now looking much more like a bedroom, and much less like a storage closet (at least from this angle… I’ll show you the opposite wall after we have another go at it this upcoming weekend.)

Turn Baby, Turn


Sorry, this ultrasound is from 3 weeks ago. They couldn’t get a good face picture today, he wasn’t really cooperating.

We’re getting close people. I’m 34.5 weeks, and for those of you keeping score at home, we are a mere 2 weeks away from being considered Full Term. I had a couple of doctor’s appointments this morning (ultrasound at hospital, regular checkup at OB) and here are the findings…

Baby is BIG. He’s gained 2 lbs in 3 weeks, and weighs in at an estimated 5lbs, 15 oz. It sure as hell explains why my stomach has been so freakin tight and itchy this past week or so, and also why I can no longer roll over without some serious protestations from my lower abdominal ligaments. I’m also starting to get punchy from the lack of sleep, and my sad inability to nap under my desk at work.

Baby is BREECH. He turned wrong-side up 2 weeks ago (note that in above picture he is head-down) and has evidently decided he likes the view of my rib cage way better than that of my hip bones. The irony being that he spent most of this pregnancy with his head wedged so deep down that every doctor who’s seen it has commented (and has also been very very frustrated while trying to get head measurements). On 2 different ultrasound occasions I’ve been sent out to walk around in the hopes he’d wiggle loose a bit to make things easier. Once they adjusted the table like a see-saw and my feet were a foot above my head. It was very uncomfortable AND generally futile. Doctors would then say, well, that bodes well for you, he obviously likes being head down.

No. He obviously likes being contrary.

He’s got 11 days to turn head-down again before my doctors will present me with some hard decisions:

1) At 37 weeks try to manually turn the baby in a procedure that could ultimately result in an emergency c-section.

2) Schedule a c-section for 39 weeks and hope to hell he turns on his own before then.

3) Fight for the option to try to deliver him breech, naturally. This wasn’t even presented as an option today in my discussion with the doctor, but I do know I could press hard for the option if I felt strongly about it.

Here’s the fun part. I am openly soliciting for your thoughts, opinions, advice… for you to share your experiences, and I promise I won’t be offended. (As long as you can promise not to be offended if I respectfully disagree.) I want to hear what you all think of all this.

I’ve got a week and a half before I will know whether the decision needs to be made, but once we know, we won’t have much time to actually MAKE the decision (i.e. Option 1 would be scheduled for within a week of us finding out that he’s still breech.)

And, if nothing else, please think good turning thoughts for me.

Nesting

For the past 8 months, I’ve been hearing about “Nesting”, and how as I get closer and closer to having this baby I’ll be overcome with the urge to do wacky things like iron socks and scrub walls… the product of (wacked out) biological impulses to prepare for this baby.

Supposedly, the more wacked out, the closer the baby is to coming out.

I’m 6 weeks away from my due date, and something has started to kick in. I wouldn’t call it Nesting per se. More like a sense of urgency. I might have 6 weeks until my due date, but I’m only 2 weeks away from being considered Full-Term. We’re still getting our bearings from the move – and what we’ve managed to sort through and unpack has only been replaced by a wall full of baby things, waiting to be sorted though and unpacked.

This weekend, all weekend, is our birthing class.

I have Thank You notes out the wazoo, begging to be written.

But all of this urgency is being channeled to my stash. It’s strange, because I was never one to be anal about that sort of thing. Historically my yarn has been stored wherever it could fit, usually in whatever order it was purchased. Eventually we bought a dresser for it. Then the dresser moved to storage (the yarn stayed with me).

When Jess was talking about her idea for Ravelry, way way back, she would talk about how she envisaged a stash organization tool, and I distinctly remember thinking about people who catalogue their stash in Excel (again, this is pre-Ravelry) and how I would never, ever be one of those people.

(I do really love the stash feature of Ravelry though.)

But now I am. I am finding solace in organizing my stash. I have a wardrobe of fiber, organized by source. Tupperware and baskets and boxes of yarn, each dedicated to a certain brand, or purpose (Rowan, Lamb’s Pride, sock, lace, handspun, etc.)

Each week I find myself combing through my “Current Projects” basket and cleaning out, updating for what has been languishing, ripping out doomed projects and re-storing the yarn in its appropriate place, filing patterns, putting away unused needles.

I can no longer relax if my yarn is in a state of disarray. It’s kind of freaking me out.

What should have been a simple “take out of bag, put into basket” operation, turned into an hour long “All Systems Go Reorganization”. The swift and ballwinder came out. So did the hole puncher. I contemplated setting up the sewing machine to make a needle-case for my circulars and dpns (I have one for my straights).

This is NOT what I should be doing with my time (even if I can’t physically put together a crib by myself, there are still the thank-yous) but it’s what I’m compelled to do. I felt GOOD when I was finished, and I even pulled out the vacuum for a bit to ice the cake.

These were the 2 meager stash additions, purchased at Rhinebeck, that caused this ruckus:

Socks That Rock – Mediumweight (Mossay)

Brooks Farm Mas-Acero (colorway unknown, but no less loved for that)

Totally worth it.

Sheep Make Me Happy

Rhinebeck always has the potential to being crazily overwhelming. Tons of people, tons of vendors, lots of meetups, never enough time to do it all.

But this year? This year was perfect.

I spent Friday and Saturday nights curled up in an armchair surrounded by good friends, knitting, spinning, and catching up. Like SPA without the freezing Maine weather. Happy fiber sleepover style.

I spent the daylight hours at the festival, wandering around, no shopping agenda whatsoever, catching up with all my favorite knitting friends with whom we didn’t have the fortune of being at the same hotel. I got to see almost everyone I wanted to. Maybe for not as long as I would have liked, but realistically? 10 minutes of catching up is way better than not seeing anyone at all.

Sadly, I had to skip the Ravelry party, simply because I know my limits and I knew that because my body was shutting down I needed PJs and a comfy armchair stat by 6pm on Saturday, but by all accounts it was great, and missing it was a bittersweet necessity.

Today I am recovering. Slowly. Fortunately, people expect me to be slow these days, and that’s nice.

As soon as I can get good photos I will share with you the very few (but wonderful) skeins of yarn I brought home with me…

T minus 2

DSC_0095 by you.

When in doubt, post yarn.

Yarn.  Pretty Pretty Yarn.

My first shipment from Sundara’s Seasons club.  The colorway is Roasted Persimmon over Green Papaya and the crappy light (I tried, I really did, but I spend almost all the daylight hours in an office building, or en route to/from said office building) does not do this yarn justice.  It is much less pink and much more red than the picture indicates. 

The deep rich reds with the faint nips of green/yellow peeping through actually remind me of the gorgeous autumn foliage in New England that’s happening about now, and is making me simultaneously homesick, and wanting to carry the yarn everywhere with me.

I love it so much that I think I need to veer from my narrow Stockinette or Jaywalker sock policy for this yarn.  Right now the Twisted Tweed pattern is leading the pack, however, I am open to suggestions…

Rhinebeck

Rhinebeck is only 2 days away.  I have so much to do between now and then that it hardly seems like just 2 days, but I suppose that staying busy will make the time fly.  (It has been.  I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already?!)

Admin

For some reason, comments are being sent to my old Yahoo email account.  I’m still trying to figure out how to fix this… the inefficiencies of moving are killing me (sigh).

No, I’m not talking just about moving the blog.  Tonight I have about 8 storage bins that need to be sorted through before Eric makes the trip to his parents this weekend to clear out things we don’t immediately need from our new apartment.  Yes, it’s for a really really good reason – we need a place to put all the awesome baby stuff - but it’s amazing how much TIME and ENERGY is expended (months and months worth) every time you move.

And we’ve moved 4 times in the past 4 years.   Consider my wanderlust (completely and one hundred percent) satiated.

Blankets, Binkies, and Boppies

DSC_0084 by you.

Thank god today is a bank holiday/partial staffing day, because I am a baggy-eyed pregnant zombie this morning.  We had the most wonderful weekend up in Massachusetts – my mother went all out and threw us a co-ed tailgating themed baby shower, complete with football toss and cornhole competitions, a life-sized fathead of Tom Brady, and a bunch of our family and friends.

The overriding theme of this pregnancy for me is how often I’ve felt like I’ve been hit by a bus.  When I found out I was pregnant, I walked around numb for days (weeks?), feeling like I had been hit by a bus, emotionally.  Was it for real?  Would there be a heartbeat?  We had been waiting so long, and it seemed so surreal… and because I kept steeling myself for something to go wrong, it took me weeks and weeks to accept it and get really excited about it.

Then, over the summer, with the anemia and debilitating exhaustion, I simply felt like I had been hit by a bus.  A double-decker bus.  Each day.  Repeatedly.  Stupid bus.

And this weekend seeing how happy and excited our families are, and seeing so many of our friends (some for the first time since we found out) was wonderful in and of itself.  And then when we got home last night, we sorted through all the gifts, and got to linger over each onesie and flip through each baby book and read the directions on baby monitors and marvel over how tiny infant diapers are… it was incredible, and I have been completely whalloped by the collective generosity of our People.  It may seem obvious, but damn, the bus hit is much easier to take when all your People are on it, and the bus is made out of receiving blankets, binkies and boppies.

(For the record, this baby now has about 20 Red Sox outfits, 10 Patriots outfits, 1 Celtics outfit, and 1 adorable pair of maroon BC overalls with a coordinating white polo shirt waiting for him.  Oh, and if you count bowling as a sport, then we can include the onesie that says “The Dude Abides”.)

My brother Tommy took a million pictures – I haven’t seen them yet, but I’ll put them up on Flickr when I do.  For my part, I spent most of the weekend enjoying being surrounded by family and friends, and trying to make sure I ate enough.  There was no time for pictures, I was too busy soaking it all in.

Indecision

Feb Lady Sweater - Yoke by you.

I’ve been working on the ubiquitous February Lady Sweater on and off for months.  There was something about the Malabrigo with the Denise circulars that just wasn’t working for me… actually, let me be blunt, it was hurting the hell out of my hands. 

The Malabrigo just did NOT want to slide smoothly over the joins and along the needles, resulting in a slow, painful push and shove routine every row.

I ignored it for a little while, and obsessively worked on Icarus instead.  Then, when I turned my focus back to the Feb Lady Sweater a few weeks ago, I decided to switch to Addi Turbos, and it helped tremendously.  Until a few rows in I realized I had forgotten what size I was making, and it didn’t even matter because my stitch count was all screwed up regardless of which size I was making.

I literally spent about 6 or 7 hours working, and ripping back, the SAME 4 ROWS.  It was frustrating.  (I have a sneaking suspicion I’ve been working from an old version of the pattern which has errors around that particular part.  It certainly doesn’t absolve my miscounting/wrong size errors, but I’m pretty sure it’s added to the confusion.)

This is all a long way of saying that I’ve been reconsidering my choice of Malabrigo for this sweater.  Yes, it’s a lovely color and it’s all wooly and wonderful.  But, it’s a bit bulky in the garter stitch section, and I wonder if it’s going to be too heavy altogether for me to enjoy wearing it.

Then, a few weeks ago I was at knit night with Maya, where she was working on her own Feb Lady Sweater, in the most gorgeous yarn ever.  Go check it out on Ravelry or on her blog.  No seriously, go look.  I’ll wait.

It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?  And the pictures don’t even do it justice.

Anyway, of course I went and ordered some Brooks Farm of my own to re-start the Feb Lady Sweater (conveniently reallocating the Malabrigo to other projects in my mind – it’s really a perfect shade for Eric now that I think about it…).

It arrived, I cast on, and a week later this is where we stand:

Brooks Farm Feb Lady 2 by you.

(Okay, I knit another inch or so last night after this picture was taken.  Use your imagination.)

I’m just not sure about it.  It’s not really pooling, but I’m not sure I’m in love with the idea of a 2-toned sweater.  Then again, I’m often surprised by what I like in a finished project, and maybe I should just relax and give the yarn a chance?  I do love the yarn.  The sheen, the drape, even the colors are lovely, I’m just not sure I want them mixed up in a sweater.

Brooks Farm Feb Lady by you.

Add to this confusion the (misguided) idea that if I bust my ass, I might be able to finish it in time for Rhinebeck AND the nagging suspicion that I should rip back and re-knit the buttonhole (may I point out the conflicting nature of these 2 goals?).

I’ve got about 5 hours to decide – we’re leaving for Massachusetts after work and it’s either coming with me, or it’s not. 

What to do??

An Excursion

To celebrate the arrival of my new camera, and the completion of the Endpaper Mitts, I took them down to Rockefeller Center for a little photo shoot.  It was a great idea, if I do say so myself:  it was a gorgeous autumn day, and only a short walk from my office.  Bonus points for choosing a location where I wasn’t the only nutjob pulling a camera out every 5 seconds to take a picture.

DSC_0028 by you.

Oh.  And it was fun too.

DSC_0020 by you.

This is on the hedges just above the skating rink:

DSC_0015 by you.

In the background you can just make out (very fuzzily) the workers painting the statue in preparation for the holiday season.

I work 4 short blocks from Rockefeller Center, and this was only the 2nd time in a year I’ve been down there during the day.  Really, it was only the thrill of getting to use the camera during daylight hours that prompted me to do it…

I’m wondering if having a (good) camera is kind of like having a dog?  We never knew our neighbors or went out for walks around the block before George – but now we’re out 3 times a day and are on a 1st name basis with half the people within a 4 block radius. 

This camera has me interacting and looking at the city and my surroundings in a whole new way as well.  It’s interesting to think about.

The Camera – Details

The new camera is a Nikon D40.  Nothing fancy, just an entry-level DSLR that I was able to pick up on sale.  It wasn’t my absolute first choice, but it was on the list of models that I would be happy with, and when I found one in my price range (after 6 months of watching and waiting!) I snapped it up.

Endpaper Mitts – Details

Links:  Ravelry, Projects Page

These took about a month to knit, and although I was nervous about the tweed overpowering the pattern, after a good blocking everything cleared up fine.  The pattern was great (as per Eunny’s usual), clear, clever, concise, and it’s given me a taste for stranded knitting again.

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