diverging from the norm

(Note: I’ve had this post in draft mode since May 6th. )

I find it fascinating how one person’s perception of what is “normal” is different from someone else’s.  I was on Facebook the other day and a friend posted a photo of her 2 month old daughter in a tiny little sundress, completely adorable with bare arms and legs waving around.  The caption was something about how the mom appreciated the warm weather because she could finally dress her daughter in her Summer dresses.

Most people would look at that picture and think “aww…how cute!” or “look at that tiny little thing” or some such thing.  I didn’t.  My honest, gut reaction to the photo was pure, unadulterated outrage. How could a mother be so irresponsible?  How could someone who purports to love their child dress them so scantily with ankles and wrists and so much skin exposed??

This is how my brain thinks now.  That a “normal” child, dressed in “normal” summer clothes is “abnormal”.

I think this way because for the last 3 weeks, Henri has worn full-length, footed sleepers to work.  All day, every day.  I used to dress him in clothes and he would scratch whatever he had access too- arms, waist, ankles.  The rare time he’d keep his socks and shoes on, he’d pull up his pants to scratch his legs.  The last time he was dressed in clothes for the day I put him in the car to drive to work and by the time we got there both socks and shoes were off and he’d scratched his ankles up so badly that there was blood dripping down.  I can’t imagine ever dressing him in shorts and a tshirt to run around the house, and there’s no way I would ever let him go outside like that while his skin is like this.  He caught skin superinfections from me twice so far, I can only imagine what he could catch if he breaks his skin then goes running through the grass or in the sandbox.

It’s really sad that he’s affected this way.  And it’s really sad that my vision of normal has changed to the point where our way of life is commonplace now.


Here’s another take on how something went away from normal-and turned out for the better.

I think I’ve mentioned on the blog before about friends of ours (business acquaintances, actually) who got married in May, in India.  I wanted to knit something as a little wedding gift, and I liked the idea of using the sari silk yarn that I had, as they both have family and close ties to India, and the yarn is made in a way that benefits the womens’ collectives, plus it actually is from India, and I thought it was a nice touch.

I had never met the bride before, and didn’t know the groom well enough to really know his tastes.  I had decided to knit a little gift for the bride-to-be.  After much browsing online, especially in Ravelry,  I decided to knit Knitty‘s Unbiased purse.  It looked cute and funky and in the bright colors of the yarn I thought it would make a really nice gift.  I bought some bright blue satin to line it with, and was really pleased with the idea.
Then I started knitting it.  The yarn has A LOT of twist in it.  I had started by winding it on my ball winder, but quickly realized that I had to rewind it by hand.  The yarn has so much twist that it would bunch up and kink as I knit, and the fastest way I found to let it untwist was (with the ball wound by hand) to wrap a rubber band around the ball and hold up the knitting and let it untwist itself as it dangled.  There was also a lot of VM in the yarn, mostly twigs and little bits of wood.  The colors were delightful though, and I kept knitting.
The biggest problem I found with the pattern is that the depth of the purse is dependent on the diagonal of the knitting.  Which means that in order to have a purse more than 2-3 inches deep at the center, you need to keep going, which increases the outside depth of the bag, making it bigger all around.  A quick look around Ravelry found a solution- some people had knit a simple garter triangle and seamed it upside-down to the front and back of the purse- making it now a rectangle with straps.  I decided that was what I’d do and calculated how big I could make the bag based on the weight of the yarn I had remaining and how much I would need to leave for the straps.
I finished all 6 pieces of the bag and was working on the straps when I realized- this bag would be huge.  And floppy.  And kinda ugly.

NOT what I wanted as a sweet little gift congratulating this young woman on her marriage and move to  Canada.

My mom had the solution- sew the fronts and back together and stuff it into a pillow.  That was a great idea, and exactly what I did- although I kept the front and back separate and used that blue satin I’d already bought and washed, and used it for the backing and lining.  I had enough to make piping with some cording from the fabric store, and stash-dove for buttons so the covers could be removable.  I added some fabric store pillows that just happened to be exactly the right size (a total fluke!) and voila:

I like this so much better as pillows, than had it been a huge, floppy purse.

Pattern:  Unbiased(-inspired Pillows) (Ravelry link)

Size:  from memory I’d say 20″ or 24″ x 11″ or 14″.  Grrr forgot to write it down.

Yarn:  recycled sari silk, 2 skeins.  1 made up the bottom row of pillow 1 and the top triangle of pillow 2, and the other made up the reverse.

(unstuffed & stuffed)

Needles: 5 mm

Notions: stretch satin fabric, piping cord, buttons

Dates:  April 21 2009 – March 3 2010

Modifications:  (see above)


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.


16 and 17 weeks, and knitting

2009-04-29 16 wks 01a

Mommy with Henri at 16 weeks old.

This photo was actually taken a day before Henri turned 16 weeks.  Our cousins had their son (the one I knit the kangaroo and joey for) and we had the bris, and my mom took this photo of us.  It was great to see that side of the family again, and after being accustomed to Henri’s size, it was so strange to see a baby be “baby” sized!


My “Anne’s slippers” are no more.*  I didn’t even realize there were holes in them until I stepped onto a cold tile the other day.  I peeked down and saw this mess.  Hmph.  I’m guessing it was from throwing them into the washer and dryer whenever necessary.  Still- I’m tired of saving my knits in pristine condition without any use so they don’t show wear.  What’s the point of spending all the time knitting if you’re not going to use the final result, right?  So while I’ll have to toss these slippers, I’ll at least always know that I made them, incorporating my grandmother’s vintage yarn (the pale purple) and some vintage buttons from my stash (that I’ll cut off and recoup).  This is my first knit to wear out, and I’m kinda proud to know that I got good use from something I made.  It feels good.


Here’s a peek at the finished Log Cabin Squares blanket.  I’ll put together my “finished object” post soon. 

2009-05-05 01a

Here are those two teeth I told you about!  2 teeth, both out before Henri “turned” 4 months old.


This is the progress so far on Kayla’s lace cardigan.  This is the pattern that I translated from Norwegian so I could knit it.  The color is beautiful in real life, a smoky gray/teal.


This was the progress on the Unbiased Purse I’m knitting.  I stopped working on it once I got the blanket squares from Robyn and Amy so I could concentrate on finishing the blanket in time for the shower.  I’ve since completed the second triangle.  The purse is knit by working 4 of these sections then seaming the outside edges and inside joins.  The unfortunate part is that the purse center is only as high as the narrow edge- which means if you want a deeper purse you need to keep going until the outside edge is practically huge.  I browsed some finished purses on Ravelry and found that a few people had worked up a cool solution- they knit an additional triangle to fit in between the purse sections, upside down.  I’m currently at that point now- I worked on it last night at the Montreal Knitting Guild meeting and am just about halfway done that triangle. 


As a reward to myself for finishing my squares and the seaming of the Log Cabin Blanket, I restarted a sock yarn blanket for Henri.  At the hospital, waiting for my c-section, I had started a blanket for Henri.  I had decided to make octogons instead of mitered squares like Jakob’s blanket, and had finished the first one using the deep red yarn you can see in the blanket above.  After Henri was born, however, I found the octogons too “girly” and put the blanket aside waiting for another idea to strike.  Inspiration hit after working on the Log Cabin Blanket.  The garter ridges match those in the mitered square blanket, and I like the idea that both boys have blankets made of garter squares the same size, both will have the same stretch, and the cool thing is that I’m using the same yarn to make the squares.  So Jakob will have diamonds with angled stripes, and Henri’s will have rectangles (kinda like the difference between square and diamond Shreddies, lol) with straight stripes.  So now for every project I finish I’m going to work up a few squares until Henri’s blanket is as big as Jakob’s.  Then I’ll work on them both simultaniously, adding squares to each from the same sock yarn scraps.

2009-05-10 17wks 01a

 Mommy with Henri at 17 weeks old.

Am I caught up?  I think so.  I took Henri’s monthly chair photos on the 8th so I’ll put that post up soon.

2009-05-10 17wks 04a

I can’t believe that Jakob is going to be 2 this weekend.  He’s such a big boy already,  jumping and counting to 10 and trying to do everything for his brother.  I can’t wait to see what he learns next!

*I lie…I’m still wearing them.


coming up for air

Forget coherence.  I’m getting all this down on paper (?) because otherwise I’ll never get around to it and I’ll only end up posting “finished object” posts which are cool but not as fulfilling (to me) as the play-by-play stuff.  So here’s what’s on my plate these days:


I’m using this recycled sari silk yarn to knit Unbiased (Knitty link, Ravelry link).  A friend of the family is getting married in India and I thought this would make a nice gift for his wife-to-be.  Yannick had told me the wedding was in June…only it turns out it is in May.  Clearly I didn’t have the gift ready for him to bring TO India for his wife…so she’ll get it once they come back to Montreal.  I went to Fabricville with Maaike last week and picked up some nice blue satiny stuff to use as a lining.  I’ve almost completed the first triangle/side, and have 3 more to go.  Then the strap, then the lining.


As a bris gift, Henri received this beautiful blanket from Restoration Hardware.  His name was spelled correctly on the gift card and packing slip…but they made a little boo-boo on the gift, as you can see.  They took care of it for us by sending us a new, properly-spelled blanket, and told us not to bother sending the bad one back since they would have no use for it.  I thought it would be great to see what I could do, so this past weekend I sat down with my trusty stitch ripper and…


Ta da!  Not bad, eh?  Except for 2 spots where I accidentally cut through the blanket, you can barely tell there was stitching there.  I’m going to try to find a place to do matching lettering on it, only put Jakob’s name instead.  Now the boys will have matching blankets, 2-for-the-price-of-1!  Anyone know of any Montreal sources for professional embroidered lettering?


My cousin is getting married this summer, and her bridal shower is this coming weekend.  Amy, Robyn and I have been knitting squares to put together for a blanket for her, and I finished mine over the weekend. 


Do you believe this?  I ran out of yarn 6 stitches away from binding off my last square!  Luckily I was able to salvage a few inches from a tail end from one of the other squares, joined invisibly and bound off.  Talk about using every last inch!


Both girls have also finished their squares and dropped them off here today so I could finish the blanket.  I’ve woven in all the ends as invisibly as I could, since we decided against lining the blanket as it would counter the cool stretch inherent in garter stitch.  Now I’ve got to mattress-stitch the blocks together and then use up our leftover yarn to work a border around the edges.  I’d love to work a garter border but I really don’t think I’ll have time before Saturday’s shower, so I think I’m going to do a few rounds of crochet.  I’ll try out double crochet since it will give me more height faster, but if it looks too loose and sloppy then I’ll go back and just do single crochet around.


Mommy with Henri at 15 weeks old.

I have to say, Yannick is much better at taking photos of me than I am of myself!  Now you can see the blonde-er version of my hair, plus the blue streak.  There is only one section of blue, kinda behind and below my right ear.  I’m getting used to it and think I might even keep it around for a while!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go wrap up a kangaroo and joey, as my other cousin had her baby and the bris is tomorrow morning.