a post for jayjay

I still don’t have any knitting I can share, and I don’t have a newer pic of the boys, so I’m going to use the space of this post to show the generosity of a friend, and answer a question with a photograph.

Back at the beginning of my time home following my latest surgery, I received a lovely package in the mail.  I’d kinda been given a hint that it was coming, but I must have forgotten because I looked at the package on my doorstep thinking “I didn’t order anything!”

I opened it up right away and was so touched to find this inside:

That’s some English Breakfast Disney Wonderland Tea (The Official Unbirthday Tea), and a skein of Brown Sheep Serendipity Tweed (60% cotton/40% wool) in Blueberries.  YUM!  I love tea, and I love blue, and I love the drape of a cotton/wool blend- I think it’s perfect for everything from kids’ clothes to accessories, especially multi-seasonal items.

The card appears to be handmade from fresh pressed flowers, and it is so beautiful.  A huge thank you to JayJay for sending this package to me.  It means so much to have made friends all the way across the world (almost) all thanks to a hobby we share.

Oh, and to answer her question from my last post about Jakob’s favorite machiine: does THIS make it a backhoe?  🙂  Same vehicle, other side.

Totally apropos of nothing, check out this awesome article about Ravelry.  It’s wonderful to see Jess and Casey getting the attention and recognition they deserve, from OUTSIDE the knitting community.  You can view the article here.


what’s wrong with me?

I’m not sure what’s going on.

As I mentioned, my 3 big projects going on right now are 1- school, 2- the pillow I’m making for my sister-in-law, and 3- the pattern for the knitting magazine.  I’ve been making the effort to catch up on my schoolwork during the day while at work, or in the background while my kids play on the weekends, so that I’m free at night or during their naptimes to work on the knitting stuff.

The magazine pattern is sketched out and swatching is in progress, but the pillows are due first since B would like them by her birthday, and I think that’s only fair considering she gave me the yarn and chose a couple of cable patterns LAST May.

Last week I swatched the 2 cables that would be incorporated into the 2nd pillow.  It took longer than expected, because I hadn’t properly prepared my chart or my knitting.  I figured- it’s a swatch- who needs stitch markers or anything?  Turns out that I do!  It’s a pain to try and find your place in a complicated cable with a 32 st x 20 row repeat while watching TV and trying to get an inventive 4-year-old back in bed.

Once the swatch was done I was able to take the measurements and do all my calculations (math, how I love thee) to figure out all my repeats, etc.  Plus I wanted the pillow to look good, plus there’s going to be a button band, plus I’d like it to match the first pillow in details…so that took a day or two of charting the whole thing out in Knit Visualizer, reorganizing in Excel, writing out the pattern in Word, finalizing a repeat in Excel, making the proper repeats in KV, then putting it all together in Word while it was still fresh in my head.  I’m thinking of publishing the patterns for the pillows once they are all done, so this saves me the trouble of trying to remember what I’d done, after the fact.

I finished finalizing the pattern on Sunday.  We had a funeral to go to in the morning, then when I got back I went with my inlaws (who were babysitting) and the kids to McDonald’s for lunch.

Unfortunately a birthday party group started 5 minutes after we sat down in the play park to eat…and it got VERY loud.

While the kids napped in the afternoon I went over every last step of the pattern, double-checked my repeats and was completely done.

I printed it Sunday evening and put it with the yarn on my couch, ready for night-time knitting.

I had dinner with Yannick.  We had steaks and veggies and literally jumbo shrimp.

We watched an episode of America’s Got Talent.  Or three.  I sat there with my empty plate on my lap, and the knitting bag next to me, and I could NOT bring myself to touch it.

I thought about casting on.  I wanted to cast on.  I didn’t cast on.  I just couldn’t force myself to do it.  When Yannick left to go study a bit, I got into bed with my laptop and did my nails.

On that note- I’ve been doing my nails a lot lately.  I’ve always been a bit into funky techniques and stuff, and had even bought a big kit of the Konad nail stampers when on my honeymoon in 2006.  My friend and neighbor is also into nails and she invited me into a group that posts photos so I’ve been putting more of an effort in lately.  I haven’t posted photos here ‘cus I didn’t know if anyone would be interested, but I’ll show you this one ‘cus I think it’s so cute.

These were my nails last week.  I’ve seen the “newspaper nails” technique online in various places but when I tried it I decided to use the crossword puzzle instead.  🙂

So back to the knitting.

Yesterday, I did my day’s worth of studying at the store.  I picked up the boys, gave them dinner, played, bathtime, then by 7:30 was done- kids in bed, I’d already eaten, nothing left to do but sit down and knit.

So I made a huge Greek salad to have for lunches for the week.

By 8:15 I was done- ready to sit down and finally cast on for the pillow.  Then a friend called and had to stop by and show me her glasses so we could see about getting her a new lens.  And I invited her in to chat.

By 9:00 she left, and I sat down, ostensibly to knit.

At 9:30 I gave up and decided to go upstairs to bed and do my nails.  I just COULDN’T bring myself to touch the knitting bag.

I don’t know why.  It’s not like it would be hard- all I had to do was cast on.  But for some reason just the thought of starting was too much for me.

I actually did go upstairs and get out my nail stuff.  Three times I sat down on my bed, then got up and walked back to the stairs…I knew it was only 9:30.  I could knit for 1.5 hours, and still have plenty of time to get into bed, knit and blog-read until my nails dried.

I forced myself.  I made myself get back on the couch, pick up the knitting bag and cast on.

Once I’d cast on, it was easy.  It was the usual- knitting flowed and I watched tv until 11 while working up my set-up rows on the pattern.  I don’t know what the mental block was that I had to get through, but I’m glad I made the effort to do it, ‘cus now it’s done, and I don’t have to do it again.

My plan for tonight is to keep working at it, while doing 5 or so loads of laundry.

On an unrelated note, I took a self portrait with my iPhone on Sunday and was wondering if it is better then my current Ravatar.  What do you think of this pic?

And COMPLETELY unrelated, here’s a pic of Jakob posing with his favorite vehicle.  (What’s it called, by the way…back hoe?)  We went to the dep for freezies on Saturday and they had one parked in the lot, and he was SO excited to get a chance to get up close and see it.




where i’ve been, where i am and where i’ll be, part 3

Where I’ll be:

I’ll be playing with these guys:

I swear there’s nothing more cute than watching my boys interact.  They’re so close!  The other night we let Henri try to sleep in Jakob’s bed – I say “try” ‘cus normally Henri’s asleep by 7:30, so when by 8:30 Jakob’s chatting was still keeping him up and we could hear him through the monitor saying “I’m sleepy…”, we took him out and back to his room.  But, before taking him out, we were cracking up listening to the two of them hug and kiss and say “I love you Henri”…”I love you too Jakob”…”Give me another hug!”…”Did you say I love you?”…”Yes”…”Ok, I love you too!”


I’m going to try to post while struggling through the next month.  It’s going to be insane!

First we’ve got our last online test due by July 9.  Then our final exam is August 9.  As if it weren’t enough to study for that, I just found out that next year’s program only has a September start- not a January start like we’ve been doing.  Which means that all of our practicums (ie: lots of paperwork) which are normally only due by Nov 1 (and as such, aren’t done yet!) are all due by the final exam.  Yikes!  We’ve got just over a month to do all our written work for the year, and study for the final, and then no break afterwards ‘cus the following year will be starting in early September.

AND I’ve got that knitting magazine deadline of September 1st!  Crazypants!

I know it will all get done…somehow…I just really can’t wait to be on the OTHER side of August.

I will continue to dress these guys alike as long as my mom continues to buy them matching outfits.  It’s nuts- they’re the same size.

Unrelated, some sad news.  Remember when I talked about having to pick up/chauffeur my parents’ dog Nikki back in Jan or Feb?  She never really recovered from whatever was ailing her, had dropped down to 5-6 lbs and over the last few days couldn’t even be coaxed into eating people food or treats.

We went over on Sunday and the boys played with her and told her they love her and gave her kisses, and I got some cute pics of them holding her.  By Monday my mom was force-feeding her water, just to try and hydrate her.  On Tuesday she was brought to our cousin, the vet, and she never made it home.

Rest in peace, Nikki.  You were a silly and crazy dog who only wanted to be cuddled and held and rocked like a baby, and you gave us a great 13 years.  XOXOXOX


where i’ve been, where i am and where i’ll be, part 1

Where I’ve been:

There are so many reasons I’ve been blog-absent for so long.  I can’t believe I thought that being home for 8 weeks would make me more post-prolific, and I’m sorry if I got anyone’s hopes up.  I’ve almost got my photos together and into Ravelry and Flickr, so I can have everything accessible to be able to blog “live”, as it were.

Now, where’ve I been and what have I been doing?

-I’ve been back to my surgeon.  He’s verified that the recently-fixed hernia is still closed, and healing quite nicely.  (Really, my scar could win a beauty contest!)  He still can’t find the new hernia but that’s just ‘cus there’s too much swelling, etc.  If he still can’t find it in September then I’ll go for a CT scan to find the sucker.

-I did a lot of playing with this guy:

and this guy

It sucked to not be able to lift them, but I could still look, and tickle, and get cuddles, so that was alright.

-I took photos of this

and this

so I could be able to show you progress after having nothing to do for the 8 weeks “off” but to knit.  (Ha!)

-I knit 2.5 pairs of socks, a baby sweater, the HABS doll prototype, designed and knit a shawl (1.5 times), finished a 26″ square cabled pillow cover and worked about 12 rounds in the next blue section of the Spidey blanket.  I also crocheted a pop culture figure for the 2nd time (though you haven’t even seen the first yet).

Sadly, I didn’t touch the Shoalwater Shawl (my honeymoon shawl).

-I had my midterm exam 2 weeks after the surgery.  Yannick got 70%.  I got 86%, doped on painkillers and wearing a nursing pillow to protect my stomach from leaning against the table.  🙂

-I spent more time with these guys

and worked my way up to being able to walk to the park.

Man hands!

-I took Henri back to the neurologist a few times, weaned him off his meds (that weren’t doing anything) and underwent more blood tests and an xray as we still try to diagnose him.  No luck yet.

-I baked and decorated 3 different, funky cakes; two with the help of my sister.  I also made a cool “treat” that was a big hit.

-I submitted to 2 different online knitting magazines.  I’ve heard back from one so far, and have been accepted.  Woo hoo!  (Though the pattern is due 2 weeks after my final exam- YIKES!

-I slept, a lot.  I did not read any of your blogs.  I’m sorry, and I plan to catch up.



happy easter

Sorry for the bit of a break.  It’s been a long last 2 weeks here.

The week before last was a dark week for me.  On the 13th (Wed) was my 10 day post-op follow up with my surgeon.  My mom took me to the appointment and he said everything looked good.  Other than being  crazy sore from  the pushing and feeling he does in the exam, I left there feeling pretty good.  I went home and slept off the pain, then settled in for the evening to rest, and that’s when it happened.  I was propped up against some pillows and there was a nursing pillow (Boppy) on the bed that I use to protect my tummy when I’m sitting up, like  at a table.  It was touching my foot and bugging me, so I leaned forwards gently to move it over.  Well moving forwards when I was already propped up put me into a “crunch”-type position, and my (a?) hernia popped out.

I made it 10 days.  10 hernia-free days.

So the rest of that week was a wash.  I was feeling very down, very depressed and very upset.  “Frustrated”  doesn’t even begin to cover how I was feeling.  I couldn’t even focus on how upset I was, though, because Sunday the 17th was our year 2 midterm, and I was a little behind in studying.  I couldn’t think of blogging, or even knitting, because every moment I wasn’t sleeping, I was studying.  Between not talking ‘cus I was just in a funk, to not doing anything but read and review, it was a long, difficult few days.

Not even the arrival of a surprise package from a sweet friend could raise my spirits- though it certainly was the brightest spot of the week!   (JayJay– you are so  sweet!  A proper email/thank you and post with photos is coming, I promise).

As soon as the midterm was over we had a chance to relax from school a little, but jumped right into family obligations because Monday and Tuesday nights of last week were the 2 Passover seders.  The kids were awesome and well behaved, and in general both nights went well, but I was sore and the dinners were long.  Even when the kids are good, they are still used to a schedule that starts the bedtime routine at 7pm.  Henri is usually asleep for the night by 7:30, Jakob later but still playing quietly in his bed…and the two dinners only started at 7pm.

Monday also started a commissioned crochet project that I finished on Saturday, but the pics are still in my camera so those will also come soon.

On Wed I had a repeat visit with the surgeon so he could find the hernia I’d felt.  I left there in tears, half from the pain of him poking around, and half from frustration because he couldn’t find it.  It was to be expected, though, ‘cus I’m still too swollen for him to really feel anything.  Either way nothing would be done to fix it for a few months, but it was still just a sucky experience to go through, especially since it had popped out 3 more times since the first time, one of those being earlier Wed afternoon!

All this to say why I haven’t been around the blog or Facebook much, even though I’ve been home.  I’ve barely even been online, other than checking emails.  If you have a blog, and I used to comment on it, don’t think I’m suddenly ignoring you, please.  I haven’t read anyone’s blog in months.  If I can’t sleep in the middle of the night I’ll open up some entertainment blog just for reading material, like Regretsy, Lamebook or Cake Wrecks.  I can just scroll down and keep reading until I doze off, and not worry that I’m forgetting to leave a comment.  If you’re a friend/blogger, I’ll get back to  you soon.  I’m still home for another 5 weeks…

Thursday turned into an unexpected long day.  I’d planned for more of the same- sleep in, lay around the house, watch a bit of tv, doze off, maybe knit a little, repeat.  (I’d make an “it’s a hard life!” joke but this all started with a now-failed surgery that I’ve done for the second time…so I’m not going to make any excuses for taking it easy!)  Instead on Wednesday  afternoon I got a call from the Children’s Hospital telling me that they finally had a date for Henri’s spine MRI- the next day!  Luckily Mom was free to take us.  Poor little guy- he had to fast, and then be sedated for the 45 minute test- but other than crying during the insertion of the IV shunt in his hand (completely understandable!) he was so awesome!  And when he woke up after sleeping off some of the sedative, he was acting like he was drunk- head lolling back, talking about random, nonsense things, etc.  Strange as it is to say, it was a real mix of being really sad (to see him in the hospital crib, drugged up with a bandaged hand) but also really sweet (not that I want him to be drunk!  But he was being really cute and silly, and just plain adorable).  He even charmed the nurses by waking up with a bright smile and being friendly and sociable from the minute he opened his eyes.

The results won’t be in for about a month, though this was really only done to rule stuff out, and the doctor fully expects that the results will all be normal.  I think his blood test results have come in, but the doctor’s been away so we have an appointment coming up soon to go over everything.

The boys’ daycare was closed on Friday and today, and it’s been fun to spend time with them since I haven’t really been able to lately.  Jakob has been a total clown.  On Saturday I was working on the crochet thing while we were hanging out at my parents’ place, and Jakob came running up with a Hot Wheels car held above his upper lip.  “Look Mom,” he said, “I have a mustache!”  I asked if he’d like me to make him a mustache that he could wear, instead, and his eyes were shining, he was so excited!  I had some black acrylic with me and quickly whipped up this little number that he wore for about the next hour:

My little Mario!

Have  you seen much of Yannick or Henri lately?  No?  Let’s fix that:

There.  That’s better.  🙂

The sitting and laying around time this week, without being coupled with studying, allowed me to get a bit of stuff done.  In addition to finishing the crochet project, I also finished the Spring, Take Two socks (the ones with Zaubby and the black Sisu).  I’ve also been working on a special design, timed just for this time of year.  The weekend after the hernia popped out, I finally managed to finish the prototype for a new pattern.  I’ve mentioned it here before…remember all the talk of finding the perfect red?  Well my prototype needed a bit of work, so I altered the pattern and Maaike knit up a sample for me.  I’ve got it back now and am just doing the finishing before I can get the pattern finalized.  It should be available this week, and just in time too!

Stay tuned!


boys in masks

I finished a project tonight.  Don’t get excited- it’s nothing you’ve heard of.  🙂  I started something 2 days ago that was supposed to be quick.  It would have been- in fact it would have been finished that same night, except that I changed patterns after being nearly complete.  Last night I didn’t get much of anything done, so tonight, once the kids were in bed, I finished it.

I’d love to show it to you, tell you about which pattern it is, etc…except I can’t.  It’s for my cousin’s daughter, to go with her gift for her 1st birthday.  The only problem is that my project doesn’t go with the gift I bought her, it goes with the gift my mom got her.  And I’m pretty sure my mom wants it to be a surprise, and I also seem to recall my cousin’s wife (I guess…now my cousin too) telling me that she reads this blog.  So I won’t show it to you, or tell you much about it, until after the party.


What?  You insist?  Fine.  Who am I to refuse you?

What? You didn’t think I’d give it all away, didja?

Ok, that was pretty lame.  I know.  I’m going to try and get Yannick to take those Featherweight photos so you can see the horror I tried to describe.  In the meantime, since I’m stuck without much blog fodder (unless you want to hear more about school, work, or how this coming Monday is going to be “take 2” for my hernia surgery), I’ll leave you with my very own Feathered crimeFighters.

(Decorating masks was part of the activity at a birthday party we went to this past weekend).


now on facebook!

I’ve always been late to the game when it came to Facebook.  I resisted its urge when everyone else I knew got sucked in, which  is surprising considering I’m a bit of a geek and was into computers and the internet long before it was mainstream.  (How many of you remember  mIRC?  I was an OP…if that tells you anything).

I caved and joined with a personal account when Jakob was born because I saw the advantage of being able to share photos and updates with friends and family.  I came for the convenience…but I stayed for the flip side advantage- being able to find out what’s going on with those same friends and family.  And, I’ll admit, it can get addictive when you first join.  There can be a LOT of checking up on old friends and ex-boyfriends, though Facebook does try to keep snooping down by making you need to actually be “Facebook friends” with someone in order to see their info (unless they chose to make it public).

As a barely-related aside, is it strange that I’m friends (Facebook and othewise) with pretty much ALL of my exes?

Anyhoo…I’ve finally decided to create an account for my knitting life.  I would LOVE if any of you who read this blog would add me as a friend!  In an effort to make things more convenient to those with smartphones, and those who check their email or Facebook updates more often than their chosen blog aggregator, I’ll be posting and updating there too.  I’ll put an announcement when each new blog post is up, and I’ll be putting pattern information and updates there as well.

I look forwards to having you join me over there!  Just search for “Jennifer Lori” to find me.  (I’m the one with the knitted Superheros)*



*Or you could just click on the box on the right.


weekend’s over

It’s been study, study, study here, hence the lack of posting.

Friday the kids celebrated St-Patrick’s Day at daycare, since most of the kids missed Thursday as they had a field trip to the Cabane à Sucre (Sugar Shack).  They all dressed in green, ate a green lunch, and came home covered in green stickers  and face paint.

Jakob was very happy with his crown and wore it all night, telling everyone that it had “shamrocks” on it.

Henri was just happy, as usual.

Once the kids were in bed Yannick and I studied before crashing early.

Saturday my inlaws picked Jakob up so he could spend the weekend up north with them and Yannick’s 4 nephews, and  had a fun, lazy day alone with Henri.  That night was more studying, though we did get a chance to clear up another episode or two of Supernatural from the DVR.

Sunday morning Yannick took Henri grocery shopping.  He’s often gone with just Jakob, or with both boys, but he doesn’t usually get a lot of alone time with Henri, so it was nice for the two of them.  While they were gone I had the house to myself, so what did I do?  Studied!

I really wanted to knit.  And I REALLY wanted to nap.  But we have a test to be done by the latest March 28th, which we are planning to do today (Monday).  And then our online midterm is due no later than April 10th, and our in-person midterm is on April 17th.  And my surgery is going to be April 4th, and I know I’ll miss out on studying that week…so I have no choice but to get the time in now while I can.

We both studied while Henri slept in the afternoon, and then had a little family get together for my cousin’s 30th birthday.  It was a lot of fun, especially since we got to see my cousin’s daughter, who is almost a year old.

We got home a bit past bedtime so Henri went down right away, and then we watched more Supernatural while waiting for Jakob to get home.  Yannick studies at Tim Horton’s and he just couldn’t bear to leave without getting to make sure Jakob got home safely.  (He did).  🙂

I’d finished my studying in the afternoon and planned to wait until  Monday to do my test, so while Yannick was out I knit.

Or rather…I ripped.

The band on my Featherweight cardi was about 3″ wide, and I ripped it out, completely, right to (and including) the pick-up-and-knit row.

I’ve been really torn about this silly band/collar.  I love the look on the front, where the collar comes down flat  over the shoulders and down the fronts.  But I hate how it looks in the back of the neck, where the same 4-6″ that make up the front are either standing up right into my hair, or fold down like a shirt collar, but then that makes the fronts fold over.  I debated for a long time about what to do.  I really wanted to keep the bands in stockinette stitch, though I know that means I’ll have to knit longer, because of the rolling.  And the longer I knit, the longer the collar will be in the back.  I was thinking about doing them in 1×1 ribbing to avoid the curl, but I like the look of the stockinette stitch better.

In the end I decided to just follow the pattern and knit the band in stockinette and just go with it.  I picked up all the sts and knit since the aborted surgery 2 weeks ago, and then last night I tried it on.

Ugh.  The fronts were lovely.  I could tell I really wanted them wider, maybe about 6″ wide.  I didn’t mind the curling because I’d wear it open anyways, and if I  really wanted the bands to stay open I can use a shawl pin.  But the back neck?  No way.  Held up by hand it was already in my hair, and if I let go it curled into a tight sausage at my nape.  I’d also followed the pattern directions to pick up 2 sts for every 3 around, so the top of the back pouched where it met with the band.  (In hindsight this was silly, as at the back the stockinette of the body flows right up into the neck, and should have the same amount of stitches.  Same thing for the tops of each sleeve).

Forget it.  I ripped the whole thing.

I’ve come up with a solution I think will work.  I want the fronts to drape and be blousey, but only from the shoulders in the front, down.  So I’m going to mark the center of the neck and work short rows up and down one  side until I have it the width I want.  I’m playing with it in Excel to see how wide I can get it without it looking silly.  Then I’ll work one row completely around to pick up the wraps, and  then work back up the other side so they’ll match.

I think it will work, and after I do my test, I’ll get started.