Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Crafts Update (and other stuff too)

Not a snappy title, but it will do...

Here's what's doing:

Knitty Submission:

I'm half-way though the second large bootie model and I finished one of the small bootie models. I'm also 2/3 way though the second large bootie and have yet to get the second small bootie on the needles. On the pattern front, I've gotten feed-back from a few of my testers and know what changes I am going to make to the pattern, I just have to take the time to do it. I'll probably work on it tomorrow morning - I'm thinking of escaping to Starbucks with the laptop for a few hours before John goes into town to get his comics. I have a great idea for my picture and it's actually in my back yard. I'll also be scouting out some locations in town for potential pics as well but I think the backyard one will work. Lastly, I have to get someone to take a picture of me for my head shot.

New dyeing!

Black Yarn

3/4 tsp Wilton's Black Paste Food Coloring, 1 c vinegar, ~4oz. Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool
Cooked in Crock Pot

Almost everything else is on hold, but here's a quick run-down on where we are:

Fish toy: finished the second tail fin, now have to do two more and then decide if I'm going to do it in the round or flat. I'm thinking of offering the pattern in both as well as multiple gauges.

Ball band mop cover: I think I'm going to go ahead and do it on my size 6's - I plan to add a few garter stitches on either side(allowing me to slip the first stitch on each row and create a nice loop for picking up when I switch to knitting in the round) and I'll add one more purl band.

Since I was unable to sell my stash yarn (that I had no business buying in the first place) on MDC, I've decided to turn it into soakers for the craft show I'm doing at the end of October. Oh, I'm doing a craft show at the end of October. Once I get through the Knitty submission, I'll begin the mad knitting for that. I'm going to do some longies (out of the Rowan Kid Classic I was trying to sell), some miscellaneous baby knitting also out of the Rowan, some soakers out of hand-dyed stash yarn, and assorted dishcloths and hand towels out of cotton.

I need to get my freebie patterns written for Knitty Keen and some business cards made up as well since I'm really going to try and push the business.

Last but not least, I'm hoping to spend some quality time crunching HTML and redo the skin for Discombobulation Notes and finish the skin for Knitty Keen.

On the Michael front I've been in touch with his service coordinator from EI. Many things are rolling. We've gotten rid of his Special Instructor and it looks like he'll be able to pick up with the new one soon, so there won't be a huge lapse in services. We're still on the waiting list for speech, and it looks like we're going to get OT increased to weekly. The transition from EI to the school district also starts and I'm still not sure what that entails, but I know I'll be meeting with them in the next few weeks.

After eight weeks of being milk-free, we started a dairy challenge yesterday. I didn't see any real change in behavior from him when we removed it and I'm not seeing anything discernable now that we've added it back in. I flirt every once and a while with going gluten-free, but I don't think it will make a difference and I know I'm not ready for it myself. I'm sure some mild gut issues are there, but I'm not willing to jump through restrictive diet and supplementation hoops to find out what they are.

Monday, September 25, 2006

It just gets better and better....

The day didn't start out as the day from hell, but they rarely do.

I haven't had a half bottle glass of merlot yet, so instead of the sing-songy trail of events, you get the bulleted list and my atrocious lack of grammar and syntax (not to mention spelling).

  • Took a flying leap off the wagon, we'll try again tomorrow.

  • Stayed out to long at K's house, Michael almost falls asleep on the way home. Michael becomes very hyper the second I put him in the crib to take a nap. We stay in his room listening to Sarah Vowell while he bounces in his crib for an hour because it's nap time and we may as well go through the motions even though we both know no one is sleeping.

  • Go up to the bathroom. Hear a choking noise and run to top of stairs. See Michael trying to drink from my water cup and figure water can only help the carpet. Go back to bathroom. Hear TV making funny noises. Come downstairs to find that Michael felt the TV was in need of water. TV is broken (we think). Stressed out mom, no nap toddler, no TV - you do the math.

  • Talk to K, am offered their old TV. Thank you K!!!! Yay K!!!!

  • Bring up ancient TV from basement. I've had a day and dammit I deserve to watch the evening news. Can't get news tuned in without tons of static. Settle for tuning the station on the radio and turning sound down on old TV. Yes, watching the news meant that much.

  • Michael decides that he does not like the "new" TV - keeps pushing it back on the table and pulling the big TV forward with many demands to watch Oobi and Bob

  • Finally, 7:30 - we can go to bed. I give him his melatonin.

  • Head up stairs, sit down at computer for a moment. Michael joins me a minute later with a gift - a handful of melatonin tablets! Run back downstairs to see melatonin bottle emptied onto table. Call John and tell him to come home now! Mind fills with visions of syrup of ipecac and activated charcoal. Call Poison control, almost become hysterical. We deduce that he didn't have enough time to eat enough pills to cause him any real harm. Call John to tell him that we will not be spending the evening at CHOP. Loose it on the phone with John. Michael looses it because I am loosing it. John points out that this is a good sign that he's developing empathy.

  • Michael falls asleep in less than 5 minutes - check to make sure he's still breathing at least three times before leaving the room.

  • Commit war crimes against the English language for all the world to read

  • Suffering from delusions of grandeur that all the world will read my blog.

The husband has just arrived with coffee. Good night all.


The Tv does in fact work - of course when we first tested it, it looked like every one was a member of the Blue Man Group, but the old stand by of turning it off and on again cleared that up. John and I admitted to each other that we've each checked on Michael at least twice since he fell asleep. John also asked me if I knew where our parenting license was, since surely someone would be asking to inspect it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

What to do, what to do...

I have a great deal of knitting and writing to plow through in the next couple of days. I've finally settled on how to make the models for the booties - I'm knitting up socks in some white baby fingering yarn I found in the stash. I'm not bothering with gauge or anything like that, but I figure if I knit it up on my US #1 needles with the same number of stitches as the bootie it's supposed to go into I should be fine. I'm about 2/3 through the cuff of the the first one and my theory seems to be holding true. Since I can't show the booties themselves until after they've been published (we hope), I'll try to get a pic or two of the models up.

I'm pretty behind on the knitting - I still have to make the models and finish up the booties. I also have to take my head shot. We took a couple of pictures at the wedding last week, but I'm not feeling any kind of love for them. I think I'll try to wear my hair down some time this week and get one of my friends to snap a picture of me at Starbucks, which is a much more natural setting for me than a wedding reception.

John has just emerged from getting Michael down for his nap. Now I have to fight inertia to get out of the house and get some coffee. I know I really need it (both out of the house time and caffeine) but it's a cloudy Sunday and I really don't feel like moving. I'm off to pack up the knitting and the ipod. Coffee, here I come...


Ok, so I changed my mind on several points. I didn't end up going out for coffee. This is my first day "back on the wagon" and wandering close to purveyors of cigarettes is not in my best interest right now. So I shut myself up in Michael's room, settled into the glider with my knitting, a chai latte (I love the Tazo concentrate) and listened to the first disc of Sarah Vowell's, Assassination Vacation. I also switched up my sock model yarn - I'm using Carron Simply Soft and size 4 needles. In the hour and a half or so that I was listening to Sarah Vowell (whose though processes eerily mirror my own) I turned the heel, so I only have another 30 minutes or so and it will be done. A much better deal than the baby fingering.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Self restraint wins!

I went to one of my LYS's this morning and managed to leave the store without buying anything! Yay me!

Yesterday, I did stop in another LYS and picked up a skein of Schaefer's Anne sock yarn for one of the booties for my Knitty submission. It's a beautiful blend of turquoise, green and yellow. It's a bit on the baby-pastel side, but more vibrant rather than washed out. I started knitting with it last night and I think I'm in love. I can definitely see spending $24 to have a pair of socks knitted from this yarn. It's unbelievably soft and wonderful to work with. It's a bit loose on my size 2's, the bootie gauge is 7 sts/inch and it's kniting up as 8 sts but should relax to 7.5 when I've washed it. It looks like it will do fantastically on my size 1 needles for socks though. I'm planning on using the leftovers to make a pair of baby leg style leggins and a couple of infant socks to put in the hope chest for baby number 2.

When I was out shopping yesterday, I passed by one of the organic supermarkets in the neighborhood and they are having a craft show in October. At first I thought nothing of it, then it started to simmer in my brain. I'm going to take Michael back up there this afternoon and look into getting a table. I know I can get at least 6 soakers done between now and the craft show and if there was ever a place where I could sell them, it would be at this market (it's also where our local LLL meets). I'm planning on doing up some patterns as well - freebie ones I'll be offering on Knity Keen and hopefully a few for sale as well. With any luck, I'll be able to make enough money that we'll actually be able to afford to go to PhilCon and do more than just look.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ball band mop cover

Well, I knitted, I saw it was too small, and I frogged.

I prefer to knit Sugar & Cream on size 6 needles because my tension is better than with size eights, not to mention the fact that I have tons of size 6 circulars and all of my size 8's are bamboo - not the best for knitting with sweaty hands. So I face the dilemma - do I rewrite the pattern for my size 6 gauge or do I go up to a size 8? I'm leaning towards the former, but I'll let you know in a day or two which I went with.

Hair shirt

I just finished watching an episode of Birth Day on Tv and I'm feeling a wonderful coctail of anger and fear. Of course both of the births featured in the episode were highly medicalized and one of the women ended up having a c-section.

I started out my pregnancy with Michael with the mindset of having a medication-free birth. I read a great deal and had enough faith in myself that I could do it. Towards the end of my pregnancy, my blood pressure kept creeping up. My bloodwork and urine came back clear, no signs of pre-eclampsia. The times when my pressure was notably elevated were times I was in a close, warm exam room - in fact one particular time I had just come back from a nonstress test/biophysical profile. the whole time I was there my pressure was stellar, but in the exam room at my OB's office it was through the roof, so I was put on partial bedrest. Then Michael's estimated size came into play. They predicted his size to be 9+ pounds at 37 weeks. I started getting the shoulder distocia warnings and a section was scheduled for the day before my due-date. It was originally supposed to be some time the following week to give my body a chance to go into labor, but my OB's schedule (read: vacation) wouldn't allow it.

I'll continue this later as I'm a bit too angry right now to write coherently.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fantastic Potroast!

I can't beleive how well this turned out.

3 lb chuck roast
2 onions sliced
1.5 c chicken broth (about one 14oz can)
1.5 c red wine (I used my favorite merlot)
1 Tbls flour
2 Tbls dried thyme
1 tsp oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350

Salt and pepper the chuck well on both sides. Heat oil in a dutch oven or other oven-proof pot 'til it is almost smoking. Sear chuck on both sides for 5 minutes, set aside. Add onions and thyme to the pot until onions just begin to soften. Add four and stir well for another minute or so. Add wine and chicken broth and then chuck. Cover and bring back to a simmer. Put pot in oven and cook for 3 hours or until meat starts to fall apart. Let the meat rest for 20-30 minutes before serving. Season to taste.

We ate it tonight over egg noodles but I can't wait to try the leftovers over some medium grain brown rice. Everything is an estimate, I'm one of those cooks who rarely uses measuring spoons so your milliage may vary.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Why didn't I read it sooner?

I borrowed a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility from a friend and I am a changed woman. I feel truly empowered - not in a kum-by-ah/energy crystal/birkenstock kind of way, but in a, "I finally know the real story of what goes on down there," kind of way. Truly, every woman should read it (and a good number of men as well).

Take a look...

I just found this on MDC and it looks very cool!

hakucho: Ball Band Mop Cover Pattern

I haven't used my swiffer in ages because I don't have any more mop pads - now I can knit up a few of these and I'm good to go. Yet another project to knit...

Friday, September 15, 2006

'Cause I can't be happy...

...unless I have 5 million projects going at once.

The pattern that I'm planning on submitting to knitty is almost ready to give to my test knitters - I just have to finish making it pretty and turn it into a PDF. I am very nervous about it. I feel it has a good chance of being accepted, but I'm not sure if I can be ready for the potential traffic that this is going to cause if it does get accepted. There's still a decent amount of work that has to be done on the Knitty Keen site(s) not to mention actually getting a few freebie patterns written up and posted. They are written, so to speak, and there are finished objects to photograph - it's just a matter of finding the time I need to put them together. Michael will let me knit during the day, no problem. He will not let me use the computer during his waking hours, which is a big problem if I actually want to offer patterns. I'm working on finding a more happy medium, but it's difficult.

Now onto other things....

I started knitting up a bootie in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn in the flame colorway and I have to say I'm not feeling the love. I knitted a bootie up in the Cherry Tree Hill Super Sock Yarn and it's great. It knits up nicely at 7 stitches per inch on my US Size 2/2.75mm needles. Very springy and a joy to work with. (An aside - I still can't figure out what colorway I actually have of the stuff; I think I'm going to have to go back to Sophie's Yarns and buy some more so I can find out what color it is.) The Lorna's Laces is very smooth and tightly spun - it's more like knitting with cotton than wool. I also found that I don't like it at 8st/inch (how it was knitting up on my size 2's) - it seemed way too loose, so frogged it was. This got my mind rolling and I came up with this...

Fish Tail

This is the tail of what will soon be a small fish toy that will be available in the not too distant future. I've been wanting to do some toy designing for a while and what better way to start off than with a gorgeous, handpainted yarn? I really love the colors of the Lorna's Laces so I'm going to look into trying out the Shepherd Sport for my next sock project.

Cross Posted on Knitty Keen

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Short and sweet...

Booty pattern for Knitty - progressing well, I hope to have it written by tomorrow and off to the test knitters. I'm almost finished my final test for pics to go with the pattern. We took a couple of pictures on Sunday for a possible head shot but now I'm not liking any of them.

Michael had a repeat eval with a behavioral specialist this evening. Early Intervention recently revamped their handling of autistic kids. Before, spectrum kids got the first available therapist, now they have three agencies specializing in treating ASD. The evaluator is going to recommend one of these agencies and a specific special instructor to work with Michael. His therapies have been all screwed up for the past month and a half. I'm hoping this is the begining of some changes.

Speaking of Michael, or my amazing, non-asleep toddler. He's been waking up around 6 for the past three days (5:30 this morning) with multiple night wakings. This is made all the more wonderful by our lack of an air matress. My back is killing me because I've been sleeping on the floor, I sleep on the floor because we have no air matress, my back pain has been preventing me from walking to Target to get a new air matress which means I have to sleep on the floor, and so on and so on. John just gave up trying to get him to sleep and he is currently downstairs with him. Again, why doesn't thorazine come in a grape-flavored chewable tablet?

I have coffee waiting downstairs, and I have to eat eventually as well. I leave you with some pictures from my sister's wedding...

Jenn and M

Jenn and A

Jenn and John

Three sisters

And of course, a picture of Michael...


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

When John and I were dating, we both worked on Saturdays - he at his local hobby shop and I at the answering service. Since both places had fax machines, I would send him elaborately drawn faxes that I drew on Friday nights in between calls. I just came across a few and here is one of my favorites...

Attack of the Artist's Mannequin

I've also found a ransom note for Mrs. Potato-Head (all the letters cut from magazines and newspapers), an ad for Sporks - "The Other Utensil", notes written entirely in Tolkien's Elvish runes and Elvish Script (yes, I am that much of a geek), and an ad for Sponge - brought to you by the Sponge Council. They bring back such fond memories. He lived in the Philly 'burbs and I lived in South Jersey. Between the three jobs he was working, my ungodly hours at the answering service (of course almost the opposite of his hours), and the fact that neither of us drove, these played a major part of our courtship. We managed to see each other on Tuesday afternoons for lunch and Sunday evenings - with lots of phone calls, emails, pages (I had an alpha-numeric pager at the time through work), and these faxes. It was such an intense time for both of us, and I miss it in a lot of ways. We still work hard to maintain that spark, but the distance and time separating us really played a major part in it.

I think I need to send my husband a little love note...