Trouble with Trebles

This blog is to keep track of my knitting, other craft projects, and the weird bits of life that don't fit anywhere else.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Knitted Gifts for Baby

Our baby shower was just a couple weeks ago, and now that my due date is fast approaching the gifts are starting to arrive from all over. I am always impressed with the generosity of friends and family, and would like to thank everyone for all the wonderful presents for our baby. In particular, she has a lot of beautiful clothing. My poor husband was shocked and dismayed to learn that our unborn baby already has a shoe wardrobe. Such is the joy of having a girl. :)

Since this is a knitting/crafting blog, I will post a few of the fantastic knits/handmade items that we received at the shower and recently. First, I received a wonderful surprise from Jennifer of Handmade by Jennifer. I had greatly admired the Hickory Dickory Dot sweater, which she was lucky enough to test knit. Can you believe it, she actually sent it to me! The sweater itself is incredibly cute, but when you add the adorable stuffed mouse for the pocket, well who could possibly resist?

My shower was not only planned by several knitters, but also featured lots of people knitting and lots of knitted gifts. Add to that wonderful friends and fantastic food (Anne of Crafty Diversions is a fantastic cook, in case you didn't know), and you have the makings of an awesome party.

First, I received not one but two February sweaters! How lucky is that? (and appropriate, since the shower was in February.) The smaller, multicolor sweater was knit by CraftyCarolyn and the larger lavender sweater by Theresa of Knitting Underway. They are different sizes, which means that our baby will stay stylish as she grows.

I also received three adorable hats. Two of them included shades of purple, one of my favorite colors. The striped one was knit by Theresa of Knitting Underway. The stripes and braided trim are wonderful and I like that it could be for a boy or a girl, just in case this baby has a brother someday. The second hat was knit by my good friend Jenn, and is a version of the Flore Petal Hat. Isn't it just the cutest?

Gwlana from my knitting group made us a hat with matching baby socks. The hearts and colors are just fantastic!

Finally, we also got two gorgeous knitted afghans. The one on the left is from Marie from my knitting group and is made of the softest cotton I've ever felt. The colors are just beautiful! The one on the right was knit by wonderful aunt and Godmother, Jackie, who sent a huge package of gifts for the baby. The yellow is so cheerful and shows of the pattern nicely.

Our baby will never be without a handknit item, which is as it should be.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Driving Them Crazy

Way before the hubby and I were together, I went to a party hosted by a group of Arabic friends, and all night they played beautiful music from their home countries. During a particularly lovely melody I asked a friend what the song was about. His response was, "it is about a woman who drives a man crazy." Later, I asked about another song, and got the same response, "it is about a woman who drives a man crazy." At first I thought perhaps he was trying to give some subtle hint that I should quit flirting and go out with him already. That may have been the case, but when I started thinking about it that description really does describe a large portion of musical lyrics. Sometimes it's about a man who drives a woman crazy, but same general idea. Just the other day I was reading the Knitty Professor's analysis of an A-Ha song, which is a perfect example of this theme. My advice to you if you are trying to write a hit pop song: it should be about a woman who drives a man crazy (or vice versa).

For those of you actually interested in knitting, I have some photos of a completed FO for 2008 and a close-up of the cute button I found for it at the Alamitos Bay Yarn Company. They have a pretty good selection of fun buttons, and this one seemed to match the gold perfectly and add some fun color. I have toyed with adding a crochet trim in the blue to add extra punch, but for now I am calling it done. I think I have enough yarn leftover to knit some matching pants. How cute would that be?

Yarn: Cotton-Ease, the old version, in a lovely golden yellow
Pattern: One-Piece Kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting
Changes: I made the front and back quite a bit longer, so the proportions would better fit an older baby. I left the sleeves the same length as called for in the pattern, as there have been complaints that they are too long. I also think using a stretchier yarn will make it easy get on and off an infant, always a good thing.
Yardage: About 1 skein, plus a little of a second skein
Needle: US 6 (4 mm)
Time: started in September 2007 and finished the knitting in November 2007. I just wove in all the ends and added the button this past week while on bedrest. (I also sewed on some hidden velcro dots to help keep it closed.)
Notes: The pattern was fun and easy. If I hadn't been obscenely busy with other things, I could have finished it easily in 3-4 weeks even in the larger size and just working on it in evenings. Also, the cuteness factor and fun of choosing a button or ribbon for the closure are never to be underestimated.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The End in Sight

This morning I was trying to think of a good way to describe how I feel as I head into the end of my pregnancy. Imagine that you are running a marathon and having come a great distance you are now nearing the end. Even though the finish line is still a ways off, you can see it ahead of you. Just as you start to get excited, you get terrible cramps and overpowering nausea. Somehow you still need to make it to the end, however. As I lay awake this morning at 4:30 am with heartburn and an aching body this was the best analogy that I could think of, nevermind that I've never actually run a marathon or given birth. I've never felt encumbered by the need to have firsthand knowledge of examples I use in conversation. Despite the aches and pains I am still doing well, and the hubby and I are getting anxious and excited to finally meet our little girl.

In FO news, I give you the Spiderweb Capelet. OK, I actually finished it ages ago (last summer with the knitting and this fall I added the pompoms), but in a fit of complete laziness I never posted the particulars or action shots. I could make up some lame excuse like not wanting to look fat in the photos or that the yarn bothered my overly sensitive pregnancy skin, but honestly it is incredibly soft and it was pretty easy to take photos that don't really show my belly. It was just one of those things that I never got around to. I also find the idea of "action photos" particularly amusing since I am capable of very little actual activity these days, but I suppose that is not imperative for modeling knits.

Yarn: Lana Gatto Baby Soft
Pattern: Spiderweb Capelet in Stitch 'n Bitch Nation
Changes: None, I knit the pattern as written
Yardage: 1 skein (131 yards), plus a bit more for the pompoms
Needle: US 15 (yes, that's huge)
Time: Started at the end of June and finished knitting in two days, and took another several months to add the ties and pompoms (I was waiting for colder weather ;)
Notes: I should have used a more stretchy cast on, since it was hard to block the lace properly at the bottom edge of the capelet. Other than that, this pattern was extremely easy and made a good first lace project.

Soon I will post a spectacular knitted gift roundup. With a large number of knitting friends, our baby will definitely be the best dressed in the neighborhood!

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Monday, February 18, 2008

No Baby Yet!

Sorry for the long blogging absence. Nowadays if I am out of touch for any length of time people assume that I am having the baby. Under the circumstances this is perfectly reasonable, but it is a bit strange to have so many people waiting with baited breath for any news. As you've gathered from the title, the baby still hasn't made her appearance, even though the doctor says she is head down ready to go. He does predict that she won't be much longer, though, despite the fact that my due date is nearly a month from now. Her size is good and she seems healthy, so at this point we have far less to worry about if she is a little early.

On to how I am keeping busy while on bedrest. First, I am still doing lots of writing and article reviews, etc. for work using my laptop. It's good to feel productive, although I do feel a little bitter doing work while I'm officially on leave. Oh well, this is the nature of academia.

I have also started several new knitting projects. First, I am over halfway done with a chunky scarf in a two by two rib. I am using a wool/acrylic yarn with wonderful mix of fall colors with a strand of gold. It is Moda Dea Cache in the colorway "wink" and the colors are much more muted than you would think based on the photo below.

I also started two new Seija blankets that are extremely overdue gifts. The boy/girl twins were born at the end of November and I gave the happy parents a fairly lame shower gift with the promise of a homemade gift to follow. It seems imperative to get these done before the weather starts getting in the 90's, although they are stroller/carseat blankets so they should still be useful next winter (I hope, or this will just be adding another lame gift to the previous one).

I also started a cute pair of saartjes bootees this weekend using the last bit of some Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino. Everyone whose seen them describes them as the cutest booties every, and the pattern is super easy as well. I think our little girl will be wearing these home from the hospital with a matching umbilical cord hat. Here is my progress after about 15 minutes, but there will be sickeningly adorable photos of the finished product soon to follow. Unless of course I really do have the baby, then there might be some delay!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Resting On One's Laurels

I had never really thought about what the phrase "resting on your laurels" meant. It harkens back to a time when Roman senators were given crowns of laurels in recognition of their achievements. If someone relies on these previous achievements, rather than working to earn new ones, they would be considered to be resting on their laurels. Despite my current bedrest, I am trying to continue getting work done (yay for laptops!) and spend some quality time knitting and crocheting. So far things are generally going well, and we made it past the "magic" 34-week mark. My restrictions look to be slowly easing up, and I am feeling less worried. In crafting news, some projects are finally finished, and several new things have been started. Here is a photo of my world at the moment: me, the couch, my belly, and my knitting.

Here is another FO for 2008:

Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in Country Blue, Lion Brand Color Waves in Windsor
Pattern: Seija blanket pattern in The Happy Hooker, with the very clever hole for a carseat or stroller seatbelt
Changes: I added a shell edge and left out the braided trim.
Yardage: 1 skein of each, approximately
Hook: size H

Honestly, I normally wouldn't choose to work with either of these yarns. The Red Heart was predictably scratchy and squeaky and the Color Waves was so fuzzy it was nearly impossible to see the stitches. However, the Red Heart had been in my stash for about 15 years, and the Color Waves was free. Despite the yarn troubles, it has gotten soft with washing and looks pretty cute, I think. The hubby liked it so much, he insisted we keep it for our little one. I am making good progress on some gift knits, inspired by the Loose Knit Group on Ravelry. We are trying to get ahead on holiday gift-giving. I will post on those projects soon.

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