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aren’t they called “waiting rooms” for a reason?

Today I had a doctor’s appointment.  It’s not the kind of appointment that most women look forwards to- think cold hands and torture devices.  In fact, the only plus side to these appointments is that my doctor can, and usually is, called out to deliver babies.  If she’s not bringing new life into the world, she’s hopelessly overbooked with at least an hour’s wait past your scheduled time.

So it was actually with eagerness that I set out this morning for my visit.  Sure I had to miss sleeping in on my “late morning” and drive into town, find parking and schlep through the snow.  But I got to bring my Vegas Scarf with me, and was SURE to get in at least a dozen of those long, long rows.

Not.

I got there, 5 minutes late for my 9:45am appointment, and checked in with the secretary.  “How’s she running?” I asked.  “Oh,” she said, not realizing she was about to totally disappoint me, “you’re her first patient today.  Come right into the room.”

Crap.  No knitting for me.

I didn’t get any knitting done in the afternoon, ‘cus I spent it doing something totally frivolous and fun- shopping!  Note- I don’t usually call shopping “fun”.  But today it was.  My neighbor C and her adorable daughter (the one I babysat on Sat) went to Fairview to spend some gift cards I’d received for the holidays.  C is MUCH more fashionable than I am, works in the industry, etc, and a few weeks ago we’d played a game of “What Not To Wear” in my closet and pulled out EVERYTHING that did. not. work.  Too big, too small, too 90’s…if it wasn’t making me happy, it went in the bag.  There’s a woman’s shelter C knows of that has a lending “closet” where women can borrow clothes for interviews, work, etc, and we’ll be bringing the huge garbage bag of clothes there.  Which meant I had empty hangers to fill!  We had a great routine set up where I watched the stroller while C went around and picked the clothes, then I tried them on while she went to change sizes, etc.  In the end I managed to take advantage of some crazy sales and get boots, shoes, a belt, a pair of skinny jeans, a dress, a sweater dress, a cardi, a long-sleeve T and a sweater (oh- and 2 bottles of nail polish)- all for $180!  It was INSANE- and thanks to her amazing sales-radar, I still have more money to spend next time!

I had a headache by the time I got home, and it turned into a migraine by the time the kids went to bed, so I ended up crashing early.  That means no knitting for the day.  So I’ll share 2 projects I finished over the last 2 months.

After my cousin told us he was having another baby, I knew automatically what I’d make.  He’s a huge HABS fan, but he moved out of our province and couldn’t root on his favorite team as much.  Whether the baby would be a boy or girl, I KNEW he’d like one of my HABSie dolls.

I used worsted weight acrylic yarn from my stash, held doubled, and appropriate needles.  Beyond that I followed my pattern as written.  I used the doubled worsted yarn because I wanted a larger toy than the original.

Ok I did make one teensy change…or rather, an addition.  I duplicate-stitched the year of the baby’s birth on the back.  🙂

As it turned out, my cousin had a baby boy so the HABS doll was perfect!

A baby boy in a Jewish family means a bris, and my aunt had asked me for tips on making a baby-sized kippah.  She wasn’t sure about the yarn…or the pattern…or the hook size…and finally just asked me if I would be able to make it for him.

So I did.  I used crochet thread and a very small (1.25mm?) crochet hook.  The white was one thickness but the blue was thinner so I held it along with a white/silver strand, not that you can really tell from these photos.  I made up the pattern, both the increase rate and the colorwork, as I went along, and stopped when it “seemed about the right size”.  I think it was roughly 3″ across.

This is the inside, for those of you who like that sort of thing.


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covered in icing

My day  ended covered in icing.  Always, when I make the birthday cakes, since the parties are usually on Sundays, I bake on Thurs, dirty-ice on Fri and decorate on Sat.  So today was decoration day.  I knew better than to risk starting to make my buttercream while the boys were up, but I wasn’t worried about getting a late start because of how much I got done being home yesterday.

In the afternoon my neighbor brought her 7-month-old daughter over for us to babysit, and my boys had a BLAST playing with her.  She was seated in her Bumbo like a princess on a throne, and the boys didn’t stop parading in front of her trying to make her laugh.  First Jakob would do somersaults across the room, then Henri broke in with a guitar solo, and Jakob wouldn’t be outdone, so he grabbed some maracas and got in on the performance.  It was a riot.

Luckily she practically put herself to sleep just before the boys went down, and I was able to get to work on the cake.  But I forgot to take pics with my cell, and my camera isn’t with me at the moment, so instead of cake pics, here’s an update on the holiday gifts for the boys’ daycare teachers.

This is what each teacher (5 in total) got.  A red platter, topped with a back scrubber, a crocheted chain-8 dishcloth, a crocheted soap-saver bag with a scented bar of soap inside, and a crocheted bath puff, all wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a ribbon of red yarn.

The chain-8 and bath puff are the standard patterns I’ve been using for years, and are linked from the projects on my Rav pages.  The soap saver I just made up on the spot, and is basically just a sc1-ch1 pattern around, with a drawstring near the top.  All was done with 2 shades of holiday Bernat Handicrafter cotton, plain white Handicrafter, and a 4mm crochet hook.

I’ve made these as teacher gifts before, but both my boys are with new teachers now so none of these 5 have received this gift before, so I didn’t mind recycling the idea.  The daycare owner, however, has already received this gift, so I needed to come up with something new.  She also happens to be pregnant, and due with a little boy any day now.  So she got this:

It’s 2 shades of Bernat Baby Coordinates from my stash, worked in a simple granny square, using a 4mm crochet hook.  I would have liked to have gone bigger, but it was late, she was leaving on mat leave the next day, and my hand was starting to cramp into a claw.


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but no pressure

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It’s 3:30pm. I’ve completed 5 bath puffs and washcloths, and have to crochet 5 soap saver sachets and a baby blanket by tomorrow morning. None of which are started yet. And I’m maybekindasorta high on pain killers (I’ve got strep AGAIN) and I’m also mildly allergic to them so I have to keep stopping to scratch. Woooooo…….


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epic granny

(This is getting posted after midnight but its for Wed).

I didn’t go to work today. Yesterday I visited my surgeon, and for the 4th time since April we played a little game I like to call “find the hernia(s)”. It involves him poking and prodding all parts of my belly while I either stand or lie down, neither position seeming to help in either finding the hernia, or hurting me less. I leave these visits feeling battered and bruised, and rather dejected.

I wasn’t able to sleep last night, so, tired, and still sore, I stayed home. (I picked a good day for that, cus Yannick only installed my winter tires tonight!)

I know I have projects on the go: my Linden only needs 1.25 sleeves and a border, the HABS cloth only needs a test knit of the medium size, etc…

But I wanted something else to work on. The crafty equivalent of comfort food. And I found it.

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Meet Epic Granny 01.

I finally figured out what to do with my yarn ball!

The yarn ball is a big (6″ diameter) ball of yarn to which I tie on a new strand every time I finish a project, assuming there is yarn left over. I’ve been trying to think of a project for it, but nothing appealed to me. This is it!

I rewound the ball so the outer strand was the oldest yarn. I started knitting/crocheting again back in 2000, but the oldest yarn in the ball was a green placket neck sweater I’d knit for Jakob and finished just before he was born. I finished the project in May 2007, and my project list tells me that no other project was finished earlier in that May. Perfect!

I took a 4mm crochet hook, cus I know that I tend to work most often with fingering through worsted yarns, and cast on for a granny square.

I’m going to make squares about 12″ square. (This one is about that). When I have enough squares to make a blanket-sized rectangle I’m going to sew them together and to a sheet backing. After Yannick’s suggestion I’m going to embroider the backing with the dates of the projects contained within. So this blanket will say “May 2007-” whenever I finish it. Then I’ll start another one, and keep going.

The blankets will be a reminder of all the projects I’ve done. I’ve already had fun reminiscing about the different projects as their yarns come up.

I was worried about what the effect would be of all the different yarns together, but I really like it so far. It’s scrappy and colorful and reminds me of the scrap quilts Yannick’s grandmother had made.

So one day I will leave behind these scrappy blankets…my “epic” grannies. I call them epic because as long as I keep crafting, there will always be more scraps to attach, and this project will go on forever.


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where i’ve been, where i am, and where i’ll be, part 2

Where I am:

-I am finally back at work!  Technically I was back two weeks ago, but missed most of the 2nd week running around taking care of Henri.  I missed one day to bring him to the doc to get a puffer for a chest cold, then missed the following 2 days going back to the neurologist at the hospital for another consult and then blood tests.  Each time we got home at lunch time- too late to get him to daycare, which meant I had to bring him home for nap.  And if that leaves me with nothing to do during his 3.5-hour afternoon naps but watch TV and knit…well…there’s no rule that I can’t enjoy it. 🙂

-I am 40 lbs lighter than I was on my wedding day!  Since I came home from my honeymoon pregnant with Jakob, I’m not counting gaining/losing any baby weight.  If I go back to my highest weight while pregnant, then I can say I’ve lost over 60 lbs.  Woo hoo!

I went shopping for the first time in  years and had a heck of a time trying to figure out what size I am, and what fits.  It’s going to take time, but I’m slowly trying to rebuild my wardrobe.  I’m really looking forward to spending less money and less time knitting garments for myself, that’s for sure!

-I am still studying nightly for school, and really looking forwards to my final exam in  August, just to feel like the year is finally over.  Only 2 more to go…blargh.

-I am also trying to catch up on non-posted projects.  To that end, here’s a project from Sept 2010 that had a redux just a few months ago…

Aren’t they cute?  My friend/neighbor C is a HUGE Pee Wee fan, and a long time ago she’d sent me a link to these guys in the Crafty is Cool etsy store.  I can’t find a link now, so Allison’s patterns may only be available through Ravelry now, I’m not sure.  Some of you may have heard of/seen her amigurumis before- I believe her Oprah doll made the rounds a while ago, and her Conan O’Brien was huge on the ‘net around the time of the whole O’Brien/Leno debacle.

Anyways, I’d made a joke to C about making them for her for her birthday.  And then she promptly forgot about it.  I didn’t.  🙂  I LOVE when that happens, not only when there’s a perfect gift opportunity, but especially when it’s a perfect handmade gift opportunity!

Her birthday is in September, so last year when I was home recuperating from the hernia/tonsil surgeries, I made these for her.

Pattern:  Pee Wee Herman Amigurumi PeeWee Doll and Chairry from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Amigurumi by  Allison Hoffman (Ravelry link)

Size:  one size, Pee Wee about 16″, Chairry about 8″ or so?

Yarn: Assorted Phentex acrylic from my stash and Zellers, in gray, white, peach, aqua.

Needles:  4mm crochet hook

Dates:  September 3 – 11 2010 (Pee Wee) and September 12 – 14 2010 (Chairry)

Modifications:  None.  I used a bamboo skewer cut in half to support the neck, and some white, red and black felt from Fabricville.  I didn’t know if the self-adhesive felt would work, so I just sewed everything by hand with matching thread.  It took a try or two to get Chairry’s eyes right, but I used pins to hold them in place and get a idea of where I wanted to sew them down.   Pee Wee’s eyes are black yarn sewn over and over small black felt circles, and there’s a touch of blush on his cheeks.

The only problem I had with the pattern was the placement of the black hair cap- I’d thought the widow’s peak was crocheted into the cap, as were the sideburns.  Turns out neither are, you just need to arrange it as you sew it in place.  An email to the designer was answered pretty quickly, and I was able to finish well in time for C’s birthday.

It worked out great- I was able to get her hubby to let me into their garage when she was out, and I arranged Pee Wee and Chairry together over a birthday card, as a surprise for when she got back.  She loved them, and even took Pee Wee with her to meet the REAL Pee Wee at his stage show!  He (the real one) saw my version of Allison’s work a 2nd time when C tweeted a pic of her hubby, son and dad all dressed up as Pee Wee serving her a birthday breakfast, and holding the doll, and the real Pee Wee retweeted the pic!)

As usual you can find my finished (and unfinished!) projects in my “projects” page by clicking the tab up at the top of every page on my blog, and I also have this project in my Ravelry notebook here (PeeWee) or here (Chairry) .

C’s brother H loves Pee Wee almost as much as C, so when his birthday rolled around this April, C asked if she could get me to make one for him too.  We worked out a trade (she’s a fabulous seamstress and I’m in need of clothes being taken in!) and so when I was home recuperating from this latest hernia surgery, I made H’s Pee Wee.  (Apparently I make one each time I’m recuperating LOL)

Pattern:  Pee Wee Herman Amigurumi PeeWee Doll by  Allison Hoffman (Ravelry link)

Size:  one size, about 16″ tall

Yarn:  Assorted Phentex acrylic from stash (leftovers from the original stash/Zellers purchase)

Needles:  4mm crochet hook

Dates:  April 18-23 2011

Modifications:  None.

I didn’t remember to check a pic of the first one, so without realizing I made Pee Wee the 2nd’s eyes much bigger.  I also added eyebrows and a light reflection, in trying to make it look good.  I think I also forgot the blush on the cheeks, and I overstuffed the legs- they are awesomely stiff, but you can see the stuffing through the holes in the stitches.  All in all, I think I prefer the first one.

As usual you can find my finished (and unfinished!) projects in my “projects” page by clicking the tab up at the top of every page on my blog, and I also have this project in my Ravelry notebook here .

 


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wise men say only fools rush in

I suppose I’m lucky- I don’t have that many craftastrophies in my past.  In my knitting and crochet life, as far as Ravelry and my memory are concerned, there are only 2- the pocketbook slippers, and the licorice thong.

Until now.

🙂

I’m a longtime reader of Faith’s blog The Needle and the Damage Done.  (Some of you may remember her from the sadly-defunct Knitting Cook podcast).  A while ago Faith knit a Lace Ribbed Bolero.  And another one.  And another one.

I suddenly decided that I needed one too.  I stash-dove (the advantages of having 85% of my stash in Ravelry) and realized I didn’t have anything in the proper weight for what I wanted.  While I was at it I looked through my queue and found a tank/vest/thing I’d liked for a while, the Deep V Top, and figured I’d look around for yarn and would knit/crochet whichever one worked out.

This all took place in March, back when I was supposed to have my surgery.  It was postponed because I’d injured my belly muscles in an incredibly non-accident car accident, but I was still home for a week to recuperate- home with time to kill.

I don’t know why I went to Zellers instead of my LYS.  I guess I figured that I’d score some cheap yarn and make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear…I dunno.  All I know is that I was somehow roped into the allure of cheap yarn.  I don’t even mean “inexpensive” yarn- I really mean cheap yarn.

1 lb of “lovely” bright teal blue acrylic, worsted/bulky weight.  I guess I thought it would be summery?

2 days is all it took.  Less, even.  I cast March 9 and finished attaching the loooooong border March 10.  6mm and 6.5mm crochet hooks.

It was thick, huge and stiff.  (heh).  It looked and felt like wearing a cardboard vest.

I put it on twice, once to see if it fit, and once for this photo (where I’m making my best “catwalk pout” face).  On the 3rd day, before I could change my mind and convince myself it was “fashion” or that “I’d actually wear it”, I ripped.

On the 4th day I went back to Zellers and bought ANOTHER bag of the %&*( stuff!  I’m going to blame stress, pain, and boredom.  I knew I couldn’t return the open bag, so somehow I told myself that meant I needed MORE of it so that when I was ready to use it for something, I’d have enough.

 

Argh.  It’s not bad yarn, it’s a perfectly good bulky-ish acrylic, and there is totally place in my stash for acrylic yarn.  I know when I have a need for it I’ll be glad it’s there.  (Maybe I’ll knit some giant toys for the boys?)

Still, there’s a small part of me that wishes, back on that March morning when I impulsively stopped at Zellers after dropping the kids off at daycare, that I’d kept on driving.  My LYS is 3 minutes south of Zellers.  For the price of the two bags I could very possibly be wearing a Deep V Top right now.  It would be too big, ‘cus I lost another 10 lbs or so after the latest surgery, but that’s not exactly the point.

The project is here on Ravelry, if for any reason you feel the need to revisit.


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more knitting (and crochet) under the influence

Some minor setbacks (dehydration and a slight infection) have prolonged my tonsillectomy recovery, and I’m still home from work, still barely eating, and still taking pain meds.  A few days ago I berated myself for not working on my Superhero Costume which will be published as soon as I can get it finished- but I didn’t feel like I was able to knit and design properly without a clear head.  Because of which I worked on simple projects if/when I felt able to knit.  Today I really gave myself a hard time about it because I’d really wanted it published before the beginning of October (very unlikely at this rate), and that self-goading pushed me enough to try to work on it.

I should have listened to myself!  I’ve been knitting for most of the afternoon, and slightly rewriting the pattern as I went to account for readability and ease in construction.  I didn’t take a photo, but those of you who have seen the original Superman-themed Superhero baby costume know that it is a one-piece, footed baby outfit.  The legs are knit first, toe-up, and since I’d only received the yarn for it the day before my (latest) surgery, I had only completed the first foot.  I was right at the bootie section and today joined the contrasting color for the leg, did the intarsia bit and was coasting my way through the leg increases…about 5 minutes ago…when I realized my big goof.  I have yarn for 2 versions of the pattern- one for babies and one for toddlers.  Each version has a different color scheme.  And the yarn I’d grabbed for the leg and had been knitting with all afternoon was NOT the right color.

It’s not the end of the world, though I think I will rip it out then take a little nap before continuing.  I immediately thought of “knitting under the influence” which reminded me that I’d mentioned, but never shown, the crochet mistake I made thanks to these pain killers (empracet, for those who are curious).

A friend’s daughter turned 2 this month, and had her birthday party on my birthday.  I had picked up some books as a gift (after a consult with the girl’s mommy) but when I went to wrap it and be prepared I felt like it wasn’t enough to just wrap up the books and give them.  I had a few days before the party so I asked Yannick to get out my bin of cotton (‘cus I still can’t lift anything over 10 lbs) and I picked out some bright white and some hot pink. 

I’ll get more into the details of the pattern when I post finished photos, but to sum up, it’s 2 granny squares that have been joined into a bag with a base and side gussets. 

You know that old reminder in knitting?  The one that goes “join, being careful not to twist”?

Oops!

At least it was an easy fix.  This has now been 3 drug-induced crafting mishaps.  Hopefully 3 times is the charm and this will be the end of it!

Of course, I will end up needing a 3rd surgery, so hopefully 3 times is a charm there too!!


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the week so far

On Saturday I spent my time crocheting to have the face/wash/dishcloths done in time for our dinner Saturday night, as they were a hostess gift for my mom’s friend who was having all of us over. I managed to finish 4 in time.

I used worsted weight Bernat cotton from Wal-Mart and a 4.5mm crochet hook for all of them.

This Brick Wall dishcloth was inspired by the one in the Mason/Dixon book. The free pattern can be found here. I followed the pattern but added a row of single crochet around the outside to finish off the side edges nicely.
This one is called the Chain-8 cloth and the free pattern can be found here. I really enjoyed this one, and plan to make more for our house.
This is a closeup of the cloth. What is really cool is that you knit the cloth much wider, with these chains of 8 chains wide on every row (hence the name). Once you are done your height, you use your fingers or a crochet hook and link the chained areas up in exactly the same way you would hook up a dropped knit stitch. As a variation you can give the loops a twist first before linking them up. I did. It gives a nice raised line that would work well for scrubbing.
This is the Diamond cloth and the free pattern can be found here. Instead of working to 21 rows then doing a fancy border, I did only 17 rows then a row of single crochet around since I had to leave for the dinner.
This is the Sunshine cloth and the free pattern can be found here. If I knit this one again I would make one of 3 alterations: I would either do it all in orange or yellow, or I would do the last row before the border in the border color, or I would do it the same as I did it, but I would do the border through both loops not just the front one. Doing it as the pattern states leaves a clear “front” and “back” whereas any of the other ways would have it reversable.

We had a nice dinner to break the fast (not that I fasted) and Jakob was a big hit, being passed around from person to person and behaving wonderfully.

Sunday we had my friend’s daughter’s first birthday party, and again Jakob was scooped from my arms the moment we arrived, and only given back to me to feed him. My friend had moved to Toronto and the guests were all of our old high school friend and her family, so even though most of them were people I have known since I was 12, none of them had ever seen him before and it was great to show him off. Everyone was amazed at his smiling, bubbly personality, and especially how, when it was time for his nap, he fell asleep in my arms (even though I was sitting on the floor in the middle of a crowded room while everyone talked and laughed and the birthday girl opened her gifts and cried and screamed).

On our way home from the party we did an impromptu stop- I bought a Nintendo Wii! I was talking about it with Yannick and next thing I knew we were in front of the store…and it is mine! We didn’t set it up because we had planned a date to go out and celebrate my birthday. My sister and her boyfriend came over to babysit Jakob and Yannick and I went for dinner and a movie. Dinner was great ‘cus we got to watch football at the restaurant, and I had a really yummy steak sandwich. Then we saw Good Luck Chuck which was a very cute movie. Also very wrong…in a few ways LOL. Penguin pr0n. That’s all I’m saying.

When we got home it was still early so we hooked up the Wii and played some Big Brain Academy with Laura and Mike.

Monday Yannick babysat while I went to have an old root canal worked on a bit (over a year later and the tooth still hurts), then I spent the afternoon both tidying up the house and playing on the Wii some more. When Yannick got home we challenged each other in the bowling and golf games that came with the system.

Tuesday I went into town to hang out at Robyn‘s house. I didn’t get any knitting done, but we had a good walk and some lunch then watched Knocked Up together. I found it cute but hard to catch all the jokes with the kids playing, so I’d like to watch it again with Yannick once Jakob’s asleep.

And finally today I took Jakob to the movies with Robyn, Sean and my aunt. We saw Across the Universe- the movie with all of the Beatles songs. I really enjoyed it, although it was REALLY trippy. Now we’re at my mom’s for supper then will be heading home later. I plan on putting Jakob to bed then knitting while I watch CSI:NY so hopefully I’ll have some knitting progress to post by tomorrow.


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crochet? worms? boxes? I thought this was a knitting blog!

It is. But I’m tired, and taking a break from knitting ‘cus I’m bored with repeating the same 4 rows over and over.

Today I took Jakob for his 4 month vaccinations. My big boy is 14 lbs 2 oz and 25″ long! He was great and didn’t really cry, but between the shots and his teething, he has been really needing extra cuddles today.

I went to Toys R Us on our way home to buy a gift for a friend’s daughter’s first birthday, which is coming up. While we were there I decided to buy Jakob a Gloworm. I like thinking that he’ll enjoy toys that I used to play with, but I was really disappointed to see that they changed the design!

This is the GloWorm I remember. I’m also having vague recollections of a TV cartoon…or am I crazy? Oh- speaking of cartoons, anyone remember The Racoons? Did it air outside of Canada?
Anyways…this is the new GloWorm:

It’s cute, but totally not the same thing. It does play a few different lullabies though, so I guess there is some improvement. I’m going to wait until Yannick is around to give it to Jakob and see what his reaction is. It’s rated for ages newborn and up, so we’re good.


When we got home there were more boxes waiting for us! I think there is only one more package to go, and then I can open up all my books. Woo hoo! 🙂
Tonight starts a holiday called Yom Kippur. It is the Jewish Day of Atonement. You’re supposed to fast until sundown tomorrow, but I’m breastfeeding so I get out of it. I got out of it last year too ‘cus I was pregnant. (If Jews had hell, I’d be SO going for saying I’m “getting out of it” LOL). We went to dinner at my mom’s for the traditional “eat before the fast” meal, and tomorrow will be going to a friend of the family’s for the “breaking of the fast” meal. As a hostess gift I’m making her a few crocheted dishcloths. (As many as I can do by tomorrow night). Here’s my progress on the first one:

Finally, for Tara, I will tell you what yarn I used for the hat, but only once I remember to bring up the ball band so I can tell you. 🙂