Friday, February 27, 2009

Good to know (teaser crafts update)

I finished knitting a bag to be felted and gifted tomorrow this afternoon and took a couple of short-cuts that have really worked to my advantage.

  • I love using bulky yarn and size 13 needles!
    The size 13's aren't too huge for the bulky so you don't end up with that really loose knitting and the felting resulted in a super-thick fabric. I'm still going to be doing lots of stuff with worsted and size 10's, but the bulky is definitely coming out for projects that need to stand up to a lot of wear and tear.

  • Applied I-cord rights all wrongs!
    I've done several bags with flaps and no matter how closely I watch the felting, it always ens up a wavy mess that won't lay nicely no matter what I do. This time I slipped the first and last stitch of every row on the flap and then did a 3-stitch applied i-cord on the three exposed sides. Nice, flat flap with straight sides!

  • Don't forget the simple bind-off!
    The opening of the bag is another place where the felted fabric always goes all wonky on me. My original plan was to do the applied i-cord all around the opening and the flap but I ran out of yarn (seriously - I have like 5" left). The only other time I've ever used a simple bind-off is on a linen-stitch towel because a plain bind-off makes the hem all wavy because the stitches are so compressed. I was seriously afraid it was going to be way too tight, but again, perfection! I have a bag that for once does not flare at the the top and become and unruly, wavy mess.

That is all - I have felt to shave and another knitted item to wash and block. I'll post picks of the week's knitting frenzy tomorrow after they've been gifted.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Backed into a corner

That's a huge understatement of how I feel right now. Breastfeeding Alex has always been rocky - slow gaining in the beginning, the whole FTT/low supply song and dance and lets not forget the bad latch - of which I have what I hope is not a permanent reminder (callous - ouch). There have been some nice parts, don't get me wrong - but for the most part it has been a constant struggle. Even now I'm downing the fenugreek and blessed thistle again to boost my supply so he'll hopefully give me some rest, but after a year of toe-curling pain and not a few tears I am really ready to be done.

My mind is at war with itself. There is a big part of me that continues for the reason that I never made it this far with Michael - our nursing relationship was dysfunctional from the start and ended when he got his first cold and went on a strike. There there's the whole WHO recommendation of nursing for two years minimum which has been beaten into my head from the message boards I frequent. There's the fact that Alex is only 13 months and still such a baby and really does need it, not only for nutrition but the emotional attachment it brings.

Those are all reasons to continue, there's also the fact that constant sleep deprivation is taking a heavy toll on me. I never fully heal - the past year has been one long series of colds that never quite go away. My body is always achy because it never gets the restorative sleep it needs to function. I am starting to have some serious concerns about the toll this is taking on my health - both physical and mental. My brain is mush and I am not nearly the parent I know I can be to my kids because I'm always just shy of complete exhaustion. Hell, so much of my energy is focused on just getting through the day that I rarely get to just sit back and enjoy my kids.

I've made the decision to night-wean and then onto complete weaning if that doesn't work. We are starting the arduous process of registering Michael with the school district for kindergarten and in my current mental state there is no way I can be the advocate I need to be for him. I can't skip meetings or doing things because I'm too exhausted or just can't muster the mental energy necessary to interact with people beyond the baristas at my local Starbucks. While Alex has some pretty big needs right now too, I can't sit this process out - it's too damned important. I want to do what's best for myself and my kids and unfortunately that might mean not breastfeeding any more.

I'm probably trying to convince myself here more than the faceless internet. I've made it to 13 months nursing and that's no small feat considering the social climate and the obstacles I've faced. I'd like to continue to do so, but the time is fast approaching where I'm going to have to make that hard decision between doing what's best for me and my family verses the standard that others have set.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Project picked out - check
Time to knit project - check
Yarn for project - check
Pattern for project - ACK!!!

I have to admit, I picked out the pattern earlier this week and in this age of digital downloads, I thought it would be as easy as hopping on the site this evening, ordering it and then swatching so I could start it in earnest tomorrow morning. Except it's a hard copy and by the looks of it my pattern will not start it journey from Missouri until Monday.

Guess who is spending some quality time on Ravelry tonight trying to find a similar one?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What's been doing...

The ever popular bulleted list

  • Much gnashing of teeth

  • working my way through Adobe Photoshop Elements blindly and finding I'm pretty happy with the results

  • Surviving the flu and beating would-be pneumonia into submission (still not out of the woods yet on that last one)

  • cutting canines (boy the younger, that is)

  • angst

  • yet another in a long line of sub-par birthdays

  • Wondering if when Gordon Jeweler's says to let their diamonds do the talking, do they mean that diamonds should represent blood and the subjugation of entire populations because you know that's what every woman wants

  • Got a bit more work done on Knitty Keen (see post below) and the Pookey pattern will be going live this coming weekend (only a week late, which isn't too shabby for me at this point

Go to bed, Jenn!

Click on through

...and check out Knitty Keen's new duds. I still have a bit of tweaking to do, but I'm pretty happy with the layout and the new banner graphic.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


The Knit Kit

One of my LYS's is taking pre-orders on it for April. Man is it ever pretty and as much as I don't really need one, do I ever want one.

Early Mother's Day perhaps...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Walking Distance

I was just thinking how much my life has become defined by this simple phrase. The weather, broken sleep equalling achy body that never quite gets better, my need to eke out as much down time for myself as I can and the prospect of wrangling two kids has kept us very close to home these past few months. The few times I've ventured out of our little corner of Philadelphia have not gone well for the most part. I end up sticking to places where I know I can get home in a five block walk when the situation implodes as is its wont.

I miss the eight to ten miles a week I used to walk - packing Michael in the stroller, grabbing some diapers and finger foods and just heading out. There were days when we would leave at nine in the morning and not get back until four or five. I would walk laps around Rittenhouse Square to get Michael to fall asleep so I could sit with my coffee and knit for a bit. I'd meet up with friends and let him loose in the toddler pit (a.k.a. the empty fountain). There was even that time when we bought some hard cider and drank it out of Starbucks cups while the kids climbed on the goat statue at park.

Our routine as a family of four has shifted a great deal over the past six months. Popping a baby on your back and grabbing the four year-old for a trip to the zoo involving two forms of transportation is so daunting when you are getting sleep in at best three-hour intervals. We practically live at our local Starbucks. I'm in there on Michael's school mornings while Alex takes his nap. We are also there on Michael's off days - Alex again napping and Michael playing with my Nintendo DS or coloring. On weekends I'm there most of the day sometimes - I head out for quiet/work time in the early morning by myself and then swing back mid-morning for the kids so John can have some time to himself.

After all of this rambling, I guess I never thought I'd still be in survival mode at this point. Granted, it is getting better, but so much of the focus is still on just getting through the day without loosing it with my kids. My oh so favorite phrase comes to mind, dripping with triteness - This too shall pass. It is incredibly frustrating that it's taking so damned long.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I give you...



With any luck, I'll be going live with the pattern by the weekend.


Is the name Michael has given my newest knitting creation. I want to make a second model and then I'm going to so who wants to test it for me and may even try to *gasp* sell the pattern by the end of the week. I'll post some pics of the models later today.

I finished the BSJ in record time - had the seams sewn and ends woven in by Sunday night. I have to block the hell out of it because it just fits Alex. I'll post this elsewhere as well, but I managed to get the whole thing done including small sleeve extensions and a full i-cord bind off with about 3 yards of yarn to spare - so you can get a BSJ out of 280yds of sport-weight on Size 7's if you enjoy living dangerously.

I of course have the obligatory million projects going at once, but I've been surprising myself by actually finishing some stuff.

In other news, Alex is becoming the walking machine - he's up to around 10 steps at a time now. It's such a different experience from Michael - he was so cautious and Alex just strikes out in whatever direction he fancies.

We are off to "coffee". TTFN!