Saturday, October 29, 2011

Disorganized sounds

SharkBean hasn't even been born yet, and I can just hear my nomination for "worst mother of the year".

Let me explain.

The other night, I heard a thump in the bedroom. This isn't unusual for a couple of reasons- one being that I'm not sleeping as soundly as I used to (YAY! Third trimester!), the other being that the dogs come and go out of our room during the night, and Elphie will none-too-delicately thump her furry self down next to the bed. She is remarkably loud for a 30 pounds-soaking-wet dog.

But this was a *different* thump. It was what I would call a "disorganized sound"- meaning, normally you hear her butt, then her elbows hit the hardwood. Orderly. This was just one, strange thump. One strange thump, I could disregard, despite the fact that my spider senses were a'tinglin'. When I heard a second, and a third, my spider senses were on full alert.

I turned on the light on my nightstand, searing my own retinas, got on the floor (easier said than done, for the record) and saw that Elphie's dewclaw had gotten caught and somehow twisted on her (charming) ear fur. Seriously caught.

I propped her face and paw on my knee, and woke Andrew up, since I knew that if *I* got up and got the scissors, chaos would ensue. (Niki would discover that OMG! Elphie was getting MORE ATTENTION RIGHT NOW!) Also, if you thought sitting on the ground was a production, getting up off of the ground? Not a subtle or simple endeavor.

With surgical speed and precision, Andrew and I separated Elphie's paw from her ear, for which we were rewarded with nose kisses and snuggles (a la The Lion's Paw, remember that book?), all without waking Niki up. Still, the guilt. It PLAGUES me.

(Mom has informed me that Mommy Guilt is the most pervasive kind- she has guilt over things that happened more than twenty years ago. For the record, I've forgiven her for everything *except* the saddle shoes. And mostly forgiven her on those, too.)

Lesson learned: hear a funny noise, get up right away. At least then the guilt isn't "I let this go on for fifteen minutes." Then it's just "MAH POOOR BAYBEEEEEEE!"

Right, Mom?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


This last week, Abby (from the Knit Knit Cafe podcast) came to visit.

Things that got done:

We went to BJ's and had deep fried artichoke hearts (since Mom and I didn't get to go to Rhinebeck this year):

WAY better than at Rhinebeck, in case you were curious.

Abby made challah:

Do you see Venus of Willendorf? Seems apropros at the moment.

Started a new sweater:

The Rocky Coast Cardigan. 1 Million stitch markers optional.
We also saw Anthony Jeselnik live at Rooster T. Feathers. (He was better on the Charlie Sheen Roast, for the record.)

Things that did not get done finished:

Ah, priorities.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dessert first

When last I left you, amazing readers, you were staring at a pot of poison green, turned emerald green wool.

Apple Green Malabrigo, mmmmm!

Apple Green + Blue dye = Emerald green
Remember? Good.

I refused to be deterred by a little thing like the color not being exactly right, and instead took Judith MacKenzie's advice on overdyeing, which is to keep dyeing until you get a color you like. This is what I ended up with:

Yes, they are drying in the back of my car.

Much better. Since the skeins were still damp when we started our adventures yesterday, I set up them up to dry and utilized the back of my hatchback in a way I'm *relatively* certain the manufacturers didn't intend. Added bonus: my car smelled delightfully like wool all day.

Our adventures ended up at Purlescence, where many of our adventures end, and after socializing for a bit, one of the skeins was dry enough to wind and cast on:

This is the most color accurate photo of the yarn. Coastal Knits in the background.

It's not navy, but I LOVE it. I got my sweater started, and I'm not *quite* at the "coasting" portion (get it? COASTING!!!!) of the sweater, but I am enjoying knitting it more than it should really be legal to enjoy knitting anything.

Especially since there are three sweaters waiting in limbo for finishing touches on my dining room table. There's nothing like having dessert first.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dyeing to start

This week we reviewed a PHENOMENAL book on the podcast- it's Coastal Knits by Alana Dakos and Hannah Fettig. They're both brilliant, and this book is - as the kids say - 100% full of win. It took real restraint for me to actually sit and record with Mom instead of just go stashdiving and start half a dozen new sweaters.

Seriously. I love all the sweaters in this book. Instead of pulling yarn for all the sweaters, I decided to start with ONE (restraint! Self-control!)- the Rocky Coast Cardigan:

Picture shamelessly stolen from Alana's blog.

There are so many things I love about this sweater- mostly that it's an open-front, drapey cardigan that I can wear regardless of how big the bump gets. It will also look great once I've lost all the baby weight and have a six-pack. (A woman can dream!)

One of the (many) great parts of Coastal Knits is that they suggest alternative yarns for each sweater. And for the Rocky Coast cardigan, Malabrigo is a suggested substitute.

I have a robust stash. I could have *sworn* that I had a bag of navy blue Malabrigo in my stash- and I'm rarely wrong about what yarn I do - or don't - have. I checked the stash, and there were other colors, just no navy blue Malabrigo. Boo. (Any bets on the navy blue turning up when I'm 90% done with this sweater?)

I went and fished the poison green (which they call "Apple Green") out of my stash, and to my utter shock and delight, this cardigan calls for *ONLY* four skeins of Malabrigo. I had four skeins, five if you counted the skein that was in a Hugo-in-Progress.

I swatched, because I've never knit Malabrigo at 4 stitches per inch- in CABLES!

Ever-so-gently blocked. Houston, we have gauge!

In the spirit of "making it work" a la Project Runway (CAUTION: noisy site), which we're FINALLY current on, guess who has two thumbs and still had 4 (or 5, if you count the one skein in my half-knit Hugo monster) skeins of poison green Malabrigo leftover from her Twist cardigan, and a dyepot? This gal.

I have faith in Hannah Fettig, but when it comes to custom colors, an extra skein is always better than trying to match it at the end. So, I ripped out my half-knit monster and told Hugo, "Sorry, this is for the good of the sweater."

I threw all five (neatly tied) skeins in some soapy water to soak, and waited.

I had to wait for Andrew to get home, because my dyeing stuff is all neatly tucked away behind some of the baby stuff we've got- but completely inaccessible to my short and round-in-front self. While he was not thrilled that I was cooking wool (instead of, you know, food), he knows better than to put a dampener on my enthusiasm. Smart man.

(He also made dinner while I was cooking wool.)

I used Mother MacKenzie's miracle dyes, because *somehow* I am completely out of any and all blue Jacquard dyes. I have enough red to dye the Nile, but blue? Nuthin'.

Just blue in the dye bath yielded these results:

Dye bath #1

Not dark enough. Not navy blue, not hunter green, not a nice teal. I decided to let the pot cool overnight, and overdye it the next day.

I got up early yesterday morning and fired up a pot of the Mother MacKenzie's worker blue and a good dose of black. Today? We have a beautiful, albeit damp, hunter green.

Now if only it would hurry up and dry so that I can cast on. Dyeing is not for the impatient.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

99 days

Today, we hit 99 days to SharkBean's due date. At this point, the calendar is getting progressively busier (classes, appointments, and oh yeah, the holidays), and this whole we're-having-a-baby thing? That is getting really real.

I know. You'd think ultrasounds, the elastic-waisted pants, and the merciless kicking would have been what made it "really real", but no. SharkBean's furniture arrived this weekend (crib and dressers), and that's when it got Real.

The crib has been built. We’re calling our AMAZING electrician to install a few lights (and a dimmer switch) this week. She is officially a real person, with a real room, real furniture, and her own dimmer switch.

That's when the crazy kicked in. We're going to be parents. We're going to be 100% responsible for someone else. Everything is going to change, we just don't know how. We just know that everything is going to change.

I vacillate between being really, really excited to meet SharkBean, and being COMPLETELY terrified that we will make All of the Wrong Decisions and we'll end up on Maury Povich. Which I don't watch. (Anymore.)

We haven't been documenting The Bump as diligently as we should, but I mostly blame that on the fact that I tend to sport the Cryptkeeper look on the weekends, unless we have plans. (I'm also usually the one who takes the pictures.)

Picture one, not as the Cryptkeeper:

18 weeks, 1 day. Spike heels worn only for this photo.

A Cryptkeeper Sunday, complete with stylin' headband:
24 weeks, profile

24 weeks, from the front

The other thing I'm finding strange is the kicking. Does kicking mean she likes something, or she *doesn't* like something? USE YOUR WORDS, SHARKBEAN!


I'm supposed to be talking to her, but what do you discuss with a developing baby? I figure she can listen in on conversations I have with the dogs about the importance of being neighborly, discussions I have with Mom about knitting, and all of the peaceful natural birth stories I was reading out loud to Andrew from Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Natural Childbirth. (I hope if nothing else, this last one sticks with her.)

In any case, she has her whole life ahead of her for one-sided lectures. For now, I hope to provide interesting material for her to eavesdrop on.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thought Goulash

I'm still in a wait-and-see-if-your-data-is-fully-recoverable place until Monday. There's nothing I can do about it right now, and my options are somewhat limited if it turns out that the Nice Computer People can't recover all of my stuff. Thus, agonizing over spilled milk (or a disintegrated hard drive) is pointless, n'est-ce pas?


Instead, here's some Thought Goulash for you to chew on:

- I'm reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. I dig it so far. She has uncommonly good sense, and the calm voice she writes with is reassuring. She is like the Elizabeth Zimmermann of natural childbirth. (The knitters will know what I'm talking about.)

- The public library system has made a whole bunch of ebooks available to borrow on the Kindle. I can't tell you how excited this made me. I am reading NOTHING but utter drivel on my Kindle. (I'm finishing the "in Death" series by J.D. Robb, in case you're curious.) No War and Peace for me!

- Egg season has begun! I have gone through 30 eggs in 2 weeks. Chances are good those numbers will rise as the temperature drops. This last week alone, I baked three batches of cookies and a loaf of pumpkin bread, along with the usual egg-using suspects.

- I finally got the dogs licensed. Every time I say (or think) that, I think "Licensed to kill." That's probably not what the City of San Jose has licensed them for. I'm also not letting Elphie convince me to give her the keys to my car. Especially not after she stole half of my salami sandwich yesterday.

- I need to complete the finishing on Logan's sweater. It shouldn't take me longer to sew on the grosgrain ribbon and buttons than it took me knit the whole sweater. Longest journeys, one step, yadda yadda.

Just in time for Sharks season!

- I didn't spin enough for Andrew's sweater. I really liked spinning it the first time, but when you're spinning (roughly) another POUND to get enough yardage, it takes the wind out of your sails as a spinner. Especially when you thought you were done with the spinning and ready to start the knitting. And you only have 84 days left in 2011. And a huge husband. Of the 15 ounces extra I needed to spin, I have about 8 oz left to spin. Not bad, really.

- I'm knitting a tiny sweater for SharkBean. I'm on the finishing part of that one, too, and that's where I'm stalling out. Notice a trend?

You should see this with the ruffle. So cute!

- I've reached the "wear a headband" stage of growing my hair out. And I'm 24 weeks pregnant. Guess whose license needs renewing WITH A NEW PHOTO? According to my math, it should have required renewing LAST YEAR, you know, when I had a great hairdo in an awesome color, and I was in the best shape of my life? The universe will make it so I never have a great driver's license photo. It's a petty complaint, but seriously.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Dear Computer Gods;

If you help me recover all the data from my disintegrating hard drive, I promise to back up my data at least once a week. A lot has happened on my computer since January, which happens to be the last time I backed up my computer. Pretty please?