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Posts from the ‘Knitting’ Category

Re-entering the Atmosphere

From the intro to Bert & Ernie’s Great Adventures, a segment on Sesame Street:

Ernie singing: “Every time the bed starts tapping / Something special’s going to happen…”
Bert chimes in: “This is kind of kinky!”

Makes me giggle, every time.

But it’s not all Sesame Street and kinky bed adventures here at Chez Pawlowski. (Actually, the kinkiest thing going on here is that we somehow defy the law of physics and squeeze 2 adults, a baby and a dog all in one small corner of a vast king size bed.)

Last week, my baby brother graduated from high school:

I could get all sappy and tell you all how extraordinarily proud I am of him, what a smart and fun guy he is, how I remember holding him as a newborn or sang him to sleep, the awesome university honors program he’ll be attending in the fall, but I’m just going to stick with Holy God, he’s grown up to look just like my father:

Separated at birth? You decide.

And that’s the last time I’ll ever refer to him as my baby brother. He’s 6’4″ and all grown up. I’ll just say that I’m really glad that we’ve become friends and not just siblings over the past few years and leave it at that.

We’ve also re-entered the world these past few weeks. We’ve been to a baby shower, a 40th birthday party, the graduation, had good friends come visit from out of town, gone out for a night on the town courtesy of Eric’s parents babysitting, been out for burgers and beers with EJ in tow, walked down to the open air bar overlooking the Hudson with George and EJ, made our way up to Harlem for a Memorial Day BBQ.


(With friends in Central Park.)

For awhile there it seemed like we’d never be our normal selves again, but actually the tiny baby stage passed quickly, and we’re back in the swing of things. It feels GOOD.

Happy as a Pig in Shit

And just as dirty!

We started EJ on food recently, as well as some formula bottles in addition to the breastfeeding. (I’m having a hard time coming up with words right now, as EJ is in his Excersaucer beaming smiles and bellylaughing at me. Wipes coherent thought right out of ones head.) The result has been generally good – and I’ll spare you the details of baby constipation and the wonders of pureed prunes – but it sure has been absurdly filthy.

Quite aside from the stickiness and stench of oozing rice cereal and prune mixture in various states of digestion from both ends, formula spit up is considerably grainier, smellier, and stain-ier (yes, I just made that up) than breast milk. Add in George’s fetish for EJ-licking and I’ve just about given up on the wee one clean. It’s impossible.

(He’s making eyes at me from behind the lizard puppet as I type. We cannot contain our love for each other right now.)

So, while I’ve been watching my tiny beloved gleefully roll around in his own filth, I’ve been working on this:

1 body, 1 sleeve, and 1/8th of a sleeve of o w l s (raveled here)

I know it looks like a heap of knitted nothing right now, but I’m just about to the interesting part, which is comprised of a yoke of cabled owls, with little button eyes. Instead of a pullover, I’ve decided to make it a cardigan by way of steeks, nevermind that I’ve never steeked anything before. I just know that it will get considerably more use as a cardigan, and I’ll cross the steeking bridge when I get to it.

(I just released myself from a series of gooey baby kisses, such as they are. More like face grabbing and cheek chewing, but it was done with love.)

It’s time for me to go, my sweet pile of poop and drool is ready for a nap. Next time, hopefully a steeking chronicle.

Out of the Rut!!

I feel triumphant. Energized. Renewed. Like I can only imagine Steve Carrell’s character felt in the 40-Year-Old Virgin, when he finally wound the bobbin, so to speak. (I can only imagine because I’ve never seen the end of the movie. So I’m making a pretty big assumption here, but go with it.)

I haven’t felt great, or excited, about my knitting for a long time. I could sit here and dwell on all the reasons, but seriously, that would be a drag for all of us. Let’s just say that I’ve cast on for the February Lady Sweater in THREE different yarns, and yet do not actually have a February Lady Sweater. Also? I was pregnant for 9 months, and the only baby things I knit for EJ were 2 little hats.

So. It was bad.

The hero of this story is a beautiful yarn, Sundara Aran Silky Merino, the last of the Seasons shipments. (The last shipment Ever, as it happens to be, as Sundara is no longer offering Seasons subscriptions.) It’s a silk wool blend in a gorgeous hand-dyed green:

and it was the first yarn in a long long time that made me want to cast on for something special, RIGHT NOW.

And in a little over a week, I had finished this:

The details are on Ravelry, but let me just say that the textured shawl recipe by orlane is a wonderful pattern conception. Simple, clever, and beautiful.

In the 2 days since I finished this, I’ve knit almost 25% of a sweater. But I’ll save that for the next post. We’ll see if this jump start turns into something special.

And just in case you’re just here for the baby pictures (um, Dad), here’s a shot of EJ from last weekend when we were out and about:

A Thousand Words

The most horrible thing about parenting so far (for me) is when I’ve been the source of EJ’s pain. Vaccinations, of course, are probably the first time you willingly subject your baby to pain, and I will never forget the look in his eyes as I held him down on the table at 8 weeks old and had a doctor stick 3 needles in him.

Awful.

Then, there’s the accidental maiming – trying to cut his fingernails is perilous at best, and if it weren’t for the fact that he’s drawn a fair amount of his own blood because his fingernails grew too long, I wouldn’t cut them at all. But, it has to be done, and both Eric and I have nicked his fingers to various degrees in the attempt.

Awful.

Then there’s the Awful At The Time, But Funny Later sorts of mishaps. The other day, Eric had EJ in the bjorn, like this, except now EJ is way more alert and is constantly staring up to watch what we’re doing.

It was a weekend morning, which in the Pawlowski household means Dunkin Donuts coffee and a chocolate frosted donut each that Eric brings home from his walk with the boys. Oh, chocolate frosted donut! You make my heart sing! Someday you will have your own glorious post. But today your tale is not one of rejoicing, but of unfortunate hilarity.

Eric was chomping on his chocolate frosted donut. Delicious and happy. At some point he looked down, and saw a big yellow sprinkle staring back at him. Lodged in EJ’s eye. Just sitting there, all innocent and cute and yummy, but IN HIS EYE. EJ had no idea, or at least, wasn’t fussed about it.

But I was.

All I could think of was, how the hell am I going to get that out of there?!?!? and I should really go get the camera!

In a split second I decided it would be irresponsible to leave it in there long enough to get the camera and snap some pictures. I (mostly) regret that now. It would have been a great picture.

Instead, I grabbed a cup full of water and poured in his eye, to flush the thing out. But I couldn’t actually bring myself to pour water in his eye, so Eric laid him on the ground, and I more like poured a cup full of water on his face, which pissed him off enough to start crying some real tears, which then popped the sprinkle out enough that I could pull it out myself.

See? Wouldn’t this story have been better with a picture?

Sigh.

You will have to content yourself with my new project, which is growing on my needles so fast you (insert A-Rod on steroids joke here). I can hardly believe it’s been 4 days and I’m already halfway through it:

The Textured Shawl in Sundara Aran Silky Merino, which I think is proving to be a perfect matching of yarn and pattern. Details on Ravelry.

More Sleeping = More Knitting

I don’t know if it’s simply a promotion, or if Dunkin Donuts has finally remembered that coffee shouldn’t be a luxury item (for God’s sake, it’s one of the only thing Francie’s family can afford in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), but my iced coffees have only cost 50 cents this week. It’s so rare for something to cost only cents, that keyboards don’t even have a Cents sign. Says something, huh?

Anyhow.

I’ve been watching a fair amount of Sesame Street lately, and I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m enjoying it as much as I did when I was a kid. The writing is smart (great references to popular culture), the issues are relevant (adults need help remembering to share and respect others too), the guests are fabulous (Crystal Gale then, Feist now), and Murray has a Little Lamb? That Ovajita has some sass.

And I don’t know what it is, but it makes EJ laugh, and occupies him long enough to let me take a shower in the morning, so there’s that too.

Here EJ is wondering what a cookie is, and why the Cookie Monster loves them so much.

Look at how his eyes are glued to the TV. Normally I whip out the camera and he stares at me. Not so when Sesame Street is on. And No, I do not feel bad enlisting the help of the TV at times. Ideals be damned, I has gots to get clean.

I can tell how things are going here by how much knitting is happening. Month 4 was a rough one – what with the learning how to roll over and discovering that there’s a Whole Big World to look at, EJ was way too hopped up to sleep well, or to stay still long enough for a good meal.

Suffice it to say, there was no knitting for the whole of Month 4.

Mostly it was just a fog of attending to EJ in his frustrated attempts to gain some control over his body. I’m trying to toe the line between the frustration and tears necessary to work something out on his own, and helping him when he needs it. I suppose that’s at the heart of parenting, and as parents we just cut our teeth on issues like: he rolls over back-to-belly but not belly-to-back. So when he happily flips himself over and 30 seconds realizes he’s stuck that way, he’s kind of pissed. And he wants me to roll him over, so he can do it again.

But he has the ability to roll over belly-to-back, and just doesn’t know it. He’s done it. But the more I do it for him, the more he expects me to, and the more frustrated he is marooned on his belly.

(Just preparation for when he wants to me to do his laundry for him when he’s old enough to do it himself I suppose. And by then he’ll actually understand the words “You can do it honey!”.)

My other big parenting dilemma these days is this: George loves licking EJ’s hands with a fervent passion. EJ loves it when George licks his hands. Perhaps not as fervently, but EJ appears fascinated with the furry thing walking around and having something to grab other than stuffed rattles.

See for yourself:

more about "EJ and George on Flickr – Photo Sharing!", posted with vodpod

(Who needs toys when you’ve got a dog?)
Then, of course, EJ sticks his hands in his mouth, and maws on George’s dog drool. As of now, I’m not overly concerned, as I’m having very little luck restraining George when my back is turned. And well, I’m of the A-Little-Dirt-is-Good-For-Them camp. But if anyone can tell me of a good reason why I should put a stop to this now, I’d be glad to hear it.

So, given that these are the biggest things I’m dealing with on the parenting front, you can see that this past week or so has been more manageable. More sleeping. More hands-free time during the day.

More knitting. (And blogging! We can only hope.)

I have finally cast on for something with Sundara Sock Yarn, and I must say that it is definitely worth the hype. Her depth of color is stunning, and my picture does not do it justice.

Sure, it’s only about a quarter of an ankle sock, but it feels good to have cast on for something new. It’s a beautiful green, like the park outside. It’s something manageable. Easily picked up and put down. Useful and pretty all at the same time. Do what works, right?

The Baby Bjorn Bald Spot


Taken at 1:15:04 pm


Taken at 1:15:07 pm

(Times are approximate.)

It has become painfully obvious over this past week that what we have here is a Level 2 Klingon.

Level 2 you ask? While not as severe as a Level 1 (who will only be happy desperately clinging to Mom every minute of the day), Level 2s must be held by Someone every minute of the day. Sadly, in my case, there is little distinction, because 95% of the time I am the only option. And sadly for Eric (but happily for my sanity!) he is clung to 95% of the time he is home.

Makes me wish we lived closer to family, where there would be an abundance of willing arms. But this post isn’t to wax on about my homesickness. (I live in Manhattan! It’s 10 degrees warmer and 6 feet of snow less than MA! There is anything I want within a 3 block radius! I take George to poop in Riverside park and watch the barges roll down the Hudson! Or planes for that matter!)


Did someone say poop?

I’ve been thinking about my regrets about the last 10 weeks. Wondering if EJ hadn’t spent his first 6 weeks screaming and spewing sour milk, maybe we wouldn’t have spent all day and night holding him, soothing him. Maybe we would have tried baby chairs and mobiles sooner. Maybe he wouldn’t spend every night sleeping on my chest. (That’s right, not just in our bed, but on my chest. For weeks it was the only way I could get any sleep, and now I fear we have a very bad habit on our hands.)

I’m a firm believer in Do What Works, but holy god, I would love for something to work other than the Baby Bjorn. (Although, the Baby Bjorn is a lifesaver – it is by far his favorite carrier). He’s in the Baby Bjorn so much he has a bald spot where the back of his head rubs against the headrest. I wish I were kidding. I would take a picture for you, but he’s strapped to my chest (of course) and that makes taking pictures kinda difficult. Especially of him.

(The sleeping/napping/crib thing from a few weeks ago? Must have been a fluke. Or derailed by the vaccinations, because then he needed to be held for a few days straight cause he felt like crap, and there we are again, in the 24 hour holding pattern.)

I wonder how much is in his nature, and how much is a product of circumstance? Now that I know how to avoid making my milk POISON, will my 2nd child (a complete theoretical at this point – shudder) spend their first month happy and comfortable and be content chilling wherever I lay their swaddled little bottom down? Are all first children doomed to be experiments that we inevitably kinda screw up?

Anyway, this week has been a particularly tired one for me, and I’ve had to put the Endpaper Mitts on hold. It made me tired just looking at the tiny needles. Instead, I cast on (for the third time!) for a February Lady Sweater. Garter Stitch is just my speed right now. Plus it will be the first knitting I’ve done for myself in over 4 months, and right now, I need a little corner of the world that’s just for me.

This is the Brooks Farm Mas Acero I bought at Rhinebeck – the only thing I wanted to buy, and for this purpose nonetheless. (Crazy). I was worried about pooling, but it looks like it might just work out as lovely as it looked in the skein and wound up in the ball. (Fingers crossed.)

That is also the only patch of floor that is clean.

New Horizons

Stitchy’s not the only one exploring fabric love these days. I found this one in the clearance section on Fabric.com, and it’s called Knitmare on Elm Street.

I love it.

I believe it’s destined to become a nursing cover. I saw some nifty ones that have neck straps as to leave the arms free to hold baby and not worry about it slipping, and they look like it would be easy to whip one up at home. The longest part might be getting my sewing machine out of the closet and ready to use.

And while I’m nursing him, I can stare down adoringly at the cover and imagine what EJ will be like in about 10 years:

Wool pants (and scowl) included.

Super Secret Knitting

We’ve had a lovely couple of days here at Chez Pawlowski, with a cross country visit from Eric’s sister Dena and a whole family gathering yesterday.

Poor Dena has come from Los Angeles to New York to find some of the coldest weather imaginable for these parts, with wind chills below zero at times. I should feel bad for her, but it’s hard to drum up sympathy for someone who lives in one of the most pleasant climates on earth.

Even so, surprisingly, I’m not grumpy at all about being holed up in an apartment with an infant for days and days on end. I mean, it would be really nice to be able to go out and sit in a mild, sunny backyard with him once in a while – wait. I’m not even going down this path of thinking, or I’m going to start getting grumpy real quick.

One of the top searches for my site these days is “mom boobs”.

Awesome.

In any case, the super secret knitting is a pair of Endpaper Mitts for Dena’s Christmas present – no big or exciting news about it, I just couldn’t blog about them cause she would have seen it. I had hoped to finish them in time for her visit, but like most things I hope to accomplish these days, they’re taking a lot longer than I thought.

For example, it took me almost 2 and a half hours to write this post. Yup. You’d think that for that amount of time, it would be a more interesting post, but I’m just psyched I got a post up at all. I take my victories where I can get them.

The Return of B.O.B.

Remember this?

The super easy and comfy sweater I knit a few years ago and took forever to write up the pattern? Yup. I finally had the time and mental capacity to set the pattern up as a pdf download from Ravelry for $1. You do not need to be a member of Ravelry to make the purchase. :)

That is all.

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.

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