Friday, August 31, 2007

Sleepy, Militant Old Man

There has been little knitting these days here at Chez Spinneas. I've been working around the house instead.

But mostly, I've been consumed with the babe. Since there's no knitting worth showing, and since I'm sure most folks are checking in for baby pics, I'll oblige. The photos are dark because it's kinda cloudy today.

Note the pants pulled all the way up nearly to his armpits. Iggy spends a great deal of time in onesies or gowns, but today I decided to try pants because it was cooler this morning and we took the big boys to school. I left them on him because this old man look amuses me to no end. They're not only short, but also very loose in the middle, so when he wriggles around, he loses his drawers. Like I said, this amuses me to no end.

This is exacerbated today because he's a sleepy guy. Even though he slept very well last night, he's snoozing and snacking today. It's been a good day to get the laundry done.

Another amusement: The "Power Baby" salute. I usually end up singing "Power to the babies" when he does this -- a la "Power to the People" -- and he looks at me like I'm a nut case. He is, after all, partial to RUSH -- their newest album in particular.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just Baby

Bundle of sweetness: sweet coos, sweet breathing, sweet feet. It's all about Sweet L'il I these days and I love it when he wakes up to snuggle. He's such a little sweetheart, and I love everything about him.

His little smiles (don't tell me he's peeing and don't tell me it's just gas):

His little tootsies:

Even his "snarfuly face"...

I love that his big brothers love him, that his father is one of his best playmates ever, and that his favorite sleeping space for naptime is on my chest (we're working on changing that). It's funny ... this is my third child and it still amazes me how impossible it is to think of life without him :)

Babies are true handfuls, but wonderful handfuls ... and when it's been seven years since you've had one (and you've realized how much you missed it and how quickly these early days go by), you learn to cherish as much as you can.

I've been struggling lately with a nasty remark that was made to a third party and relayed later. It upset me at a truly irrational level, but I'm getting over it. Partly because of this little guy ... I want to remember every coo, every baby smell (well, not ALL of them), every herky-jerky movement. I want to burn the "snarfuly face" into my brain and not forget it. I want to always take solace in the memory of how it felt to have a five-pounder resting and snoring on my chest ... at peace. Everything else can wait for me.

P.S.: I got the house dusted.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First Day of School

The big boys (all three) had their first days of school yesterday! (My husband works at a school.) Unfortunately, the Sniffer just wouldn't smile for his annual "First Day" shot.

I make them pose each year, same fence, and still he fought it. Oh well. I snagged one later in the evening which I think answers the question, "So guys, how were your days?"

Yup. Just about sums it up.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

All About the Babe

Not a whole lot of knitting going on these days, but the contest is still on. So if you're out there with an idea, please please send it along! The Lilacs need you!

In other news, my husband and I were talking the other day about baby pics and I realized that the only pictures of me and L'il I were taken in the hospital. So last night he took one after the baby's sponge bath:

It has also come to my attention that I failed to post the Conwy Hat! L'il I wore it the day we broke out of the hospital, so here it is:

And that is all for today :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The (blood) Pressure is On

On a good day, my blood pressure is 90/70. That's right. Sometimes it goes even lower. I'm practically dead on a normal day, and whenever I get a routine health screen, they always ask me if I'm feeling lightheaded.

Interestingly enough, while everyone seemed pre-occupied with my odd protein dip in June (which resolved itself), the gestational diabetes (ahem) and subsequent premature labor back in July, no one seemed particularly alarmed at a 120/80 BP. You see, that's still in a normal range -- just not for me. But I suppose because there was no swelling, headaches or spots in my vision, nothing could have predicted an elevated post-partum BP.

Our newest is exactly one week old today. Seven days ago, he was six hours old, and I was settling in with my busted-up body for a good night's sleep. Vitals were all in normal ranges, postpartum bleeding, etc., was good, and L'il I was doing great. All quite non-eventful.

Overnight, the BP started going up. Now I usually make a habit of asking, but for some reason, I never asked what the readings were. On Monday afternoon, when the OB (Dr. Good) came by on rounds, she prepared discharge papers for the next day and I was excited about having such a non-eventful recovery. About 15 minutes after she left me to go draw up the papers, she returned to inform me that my BP was rising and that I would require additional monitoring for the remainder of the day and through the night and that I might need some medication to bring it down.

No biggie, right? Get through the night, relax, lower the blood pressure, go home. Not the case.

Over the course of the evening, the BP stayed high. In the morning, the physician's assistant came by to check on me prior to the OB's coming by on rounds. She also pointed out some concern about the BP. When she laid me back to check on my belly, she pressed on the upper right quadrant of my abdomen and I yelped. Uh oh. What do you mean that tenderness isn't normal?!? Isn't it just from being pregnant and having everything shifted and moved and then strained by all that pushing? Nope -- the liver has no reason to be sore from delivery. Time for blood tests.

I'll spare you the track marks that are STILL on my arms from the idiot phlebotomist who couldn't work a butterfly needle right to save her life (she botched the first job and got an inadequate sample -- duh, you went through the vein, dummy, I felt you do it -- and then she came back for more and did the exact same thing. Somehow, though, she managed to get what she needed). Now time to wait.

Later that day, the OB on rounds (Dr. Bad News) came by. I had only seen this one once over the course of my pregnancy and it's never ended well (she was the one on call when I went into premature labor and she kept me overnight when I hadn't expected it. I should note that Dr. Good was the one who put me on bed rest in July and sent me home with a smile).

Now none of this is Dr. Bad News' fault. It's just bad scheduling, I suppose. It could have been Dr. Good, or Dr. Wonderful that had to tell the bored, hormonal, tired-of-being-in-the-hospital mommy that she had another night ahead of her. Hell, I would have EXPECTED it from Dr. Serious.

In any event, this poor woman had to come in and tell me more bad news. Elevated liver enzymes and low platelets. My blood pressure was approaching dangerous ranges and that I needed to go on medication for the short term and stay there overnight for monitoring in case I had a seizure. It all made sense to me at a rational level -- I mean, who wants to go home with a brand new baby, two older children and a bedraggled husband and then have a seizure and end up back at the hospital? (Not to mention that if we had gone home and I had ended up back in, L'il I would not have been with me.) It was sensical, and I knew it. Unfortunately, my hormones didn't, and a serious crying jag ensued -- lasting about four hours. What a great way to relax and lower your blood pressure!

Fortunately for me, my husband kept his disappointment well hidden that night when they came to join me for dinner. The medication was working and I was hovering in the 140/70 range (which apparently is normal, though high for me) and looking good. The vampires would be back at 6 a.m. for another battery of bloodwork to make sure the medicine was doing the trick.

Long story short, it was. We were discharged the next day around 2:30 p.m. by Dr. Wonderful, who pointed out that there are plenty of women who go unexpectedly pre-eclampsic at the very end of their pregnancy, and that what I was experiencing was relatively common. We'll be heading in to get the blood pressure checked on Thursday to see how it's going.

On Friday, while I had L'il I at the pediatrician (still perfect), she had a nurse come to "spot-check" my blood pressure. Still in the same high-ish range, but not dangerous. (The advantage to this is that we all go to the same practice -- its a combo internist/peds group -- so my doctor was right down the hall to run interference with the OB if it was still high.) I felt much better.

Of course, now I've been reading up on this whole issue and before you know it, I'll be diagnosing myself with HELLP syndrome (which I really hope isn't the case). But don't worry about me -- I'll get through it the same way you all plodded through this post holding out for cute baby pics.

So I'll give you three from the weekend:

Still Life: L'il I with Mitered Blankie

"This blankie is so cozy, I could just go right to sleep..."

"Thank you all. I am well aware of just how cute and perfect I am. My Mommy tells me constantly!"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sunday Bloody Sunday

(Sorry, couldn't resist)

Thanks again to all of you who have left your best wishes and sent happy thoughts our way! Now that we're settled in at home and L'il I (who needs a new blogname) is getting used to the noises and chaos that abounds in a house of men, I have a few minutes to sit down and tell his story.

Those of you who have been following the blog for the past few weeks know that his arrival has been a long time coming. Gestational diabetes (ahem), premature labor and subsequent bedrest and excruciatingly slow dilation finally came to a head (literally) on Sunday morning. If you read my long, rambling post in the wee hours that day, you know that I was not of sound mind at that point. I had been contracting every 10 minutes for three days and was absolutely exhausted. I had been alert since Friday a.m. when I sounded the "yellow" alert with my husband and the strain of watching and waiting had taken its toll. I went to bed sometime between 1:30 and 2:00 a.m. and slept on a towel -- just in case.

For yet another night, I slept fitfully, but made it through the night without making any significant progress (other than the serious nesting jag I had the night before). Woke up in the morning and went back to nesting -- washed some dishes, did some laundry -- before settling in for some internet research on "prolonged latency labor phase" and e-mail checking.

Before too long, all the fluids I'd been drinking kicked in (dehydration and a full bladder impede labor so I had been drinking and peeing round the clock for days). I jumped up to make a dash for the bathroom and BAM! Did I pee myself?

Horrified, I raced to the bathroom with a change of clothes before my kids could come down the steps and start the teasing (I can only imagine what two little boys would do). But it just kept coming. And then I knew. D-day had arrived.

I was nearly as horrified when I called the doctor and DR. SERIOUS returned the call. Oh no. Sunday was supposed to be Dr. Wonderful! Dr. Serious told me to get my affairs in order and head over to the hospital and she'd take care of letting Dr. Wonderful know I was on my way (whew). Woke the hubby and the boys, took Zee and the Sniffer to the in-laws and we alit to the hospital.

To make a long story short, I had made ZERO progress dilating. Dr. Wonderful arrived and I asked if she wanted to use this opportunity to reschedule our date with pitocin. She laughed and ordered the drip. The very nice anesthesiologist talked me into an epidural and put that in and the waiting game started.

We arrived at the hospital at 10:30, got the drip going sometime between 11 and 11:30 a.m. and the epidural went in around 1:00 or so. Just before the epidural, a cervical check showed only moderate improvement -- 4 cm. Ugh.

Now I should say that I'm a spoiled pregnant woman. Zee and the Sniffer came after incredibly short labors and swift dilations (and water that broke at the hospital and not on the floor at home). Pitocin is pain in a bag, and the fact that it wasn't working quickly was making me mad. Granted, the epidural provided some relief from the pain, but the wait was excruciating. Not to mention the fact that L'il I kept falling off the monitor, which freaked out the Muggles and had them turning me from side to side constantly.

Almost three hours after the epidural (around 3:45 or so, I think), the doctor, my nurse, hubby and I were talking and my wonderful husband asked why no one had bothered to sit me up and try letting gravity do its thing. The nurse explained that the babe's heartrate kept falling off the monitor and Dr. Wonderful pointed out that they could always put me back on my back but it was worth a shot.

And so I sat up at 4:00 p.m. Sitting pretty at a full FIVE cm, 100% effacement and a baby sitting at 0 station (right there and ready as soon as the door opened).

At 4:10 p.m., I was hit with what I call "pushing pressure" -- the kind where there's no question what's going on. Hit the nurse button before whimpers gave way to sobs and Dr. Wonderful came in like a whirlwind and announced, "And now here's a change!" I don't think she even put KY on her glove to check and then said, "Oh my. Plus two. That was FAST. Do NOT push. Whatever you do, do NOT push. I have to get gowned and get my table. Do NOT push. I'll be right back."

And right back she came (I think everything was sitting outside my room), they managed to slide me down to the foot of the table, feet went up and FINALLY I could push. Now keep in mind that what was happening is all a bit spotty to me, but I would guestimate that this whole transition from being moved to a seated position, blowing through five cm in record time and getting ready to deliver took about five minutes. I remember seeing Dr. Wonderful come in tying on her mask, laying the drape over my knees and giving me the go ahead. After that, it's only pain and counting.

I have only one statement to make this long story a little shorter:

3 contractions + 4 pushes = full baby delivery

Now before anyone rolls their eyes and says, "We should all be so lucky," I'd like to point out that it's no picnic to dilate 5 centimeters in 5-10 minutes. Sure, I may have only had to push a few times, but I had days of labor and then a furious finish. This may be my third baby, but it hurt more than the others and once again the epidural did nothing for that part. I suppose this justification is unnecessary, but I feel the need so work with me :)

And so, after weeks of dilation (remember, I have been holding at 1 cm since mid July), we finally got to see L'il I.

And he realized that his head made it through delivery, and this seems to have delighted him to no end. (Hubby told me later it was a yawn, but I like my story better, LOL)

And he looked around at the folks in the room.

Before finally getting to meet his Mommy. (And I mean finally -- I didn't get to touch him for about 20 minutes while they cleaned him up. One of the nurses was particularly stubborn and even though my OB kept pointing out that they needed to bring him to me, she must have been deaf or tuning her out. For the record, that's Dr. Wonderful.)

He got his picture taken with both parents:

And then he got to nurse a little bit (a real natural, I must say) before the paparazzi arrived (my mom, aunt and uncle, father-in-law and, of course, his big brothers -- who got to see him first).

L'il I weighed in at 4 lbs, 13.2 oz and measured 18.25 inches. His size dictated that he be taken to the NICU for evaluation (even though he Apgared at 8 and 9) for two hours. So I visited with company before everyone cleared out to let me rest for a bit before he came back to me.

I will tell you one thing: L'il I may be a skinny little thing (have you ever met me? It makes sense) but he's sturdy. He's already holding his own with his brothers.

The Sniffer adores him:

And Zee is content, too (though way too cool to say so).

Tomorrow's entry: The (Blood) Pressure Goes High for Mom.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Without Further Adieu...

... may I present L'il I, who joined us on Sunday, August 12 at 4:35 p.m. after three days of labor and a hearty dose of pitocin after my water broke early that morning (a few hours after that last rambling post).

He gives new meaning to his blogname -- he's "L'il" alright ... he weighed in at a whopping 4 lbs, 13.2 oz -- but measured 18.25 inches long. He's sturdy for being such a peanut, and the pediatrician has dubbed him to be one of the healthiest little people she's seen.

I will post the birth story (and my blood pressure story!) tomorrow or later tonight for those who are interested. Thanks to all who stopped by to send good wishes after that "Wendy-is-clearly-uncomfortable-and-ready-to-pop-so-she's-rambling-way-more-than-usual" post on Sunday morning!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Still Cookin...

Despite the fact that I've been having contractions EVERY TEN MINUTES for the past FORTY-EIGHT HOURS, I'm still here at home with no baby yet. Good thing, too, because Dr. Serious was the one on call today! I know because I called this morning just to make sure I wasn't missing anything important ... after all, this little guy is, well, little, and I don't want him burning unnecessary calories (or weight!) in a prolonged latent labor phase.

But you know what? Dr. Serious is completely different when you're in labor. I swear. She (for once) totally understood the concern and said that as long as he's bumping around and wiggly (which he is) he's fine. Told me to eat, eat, eat all day ('cause they won't let me eat anything once I go to the hospital -- been there, done that) and try to rest as much as possible. Pretty normal stuff, actually (remember, this is baby #3 for me -- I've just never had them be quite so stubborn once they decide to vacate. Both older boys were super-fast labors and deliveries. I've heard all of this before). She recommended hanging out at home until I got the gut instinct to head to the hospital; urged me to trust my instincts but to call her if anything at all changed or if I had any other concerns or questions.

But then -- get this -- she blew me away six hours later by calling me (unpaged) just to check and see how I was doing and to see if anything had changed. Turns out she was headed in to evening rounds and didn't want me to worry about bugging her if I wanted to go and get the ole cervix checked (remember, I was 3 cm on Wednesday and two days of active contracting has to make some progress). I opted to stay home for a nap instead (at this point it was 4 p.m.). I didn't really sleep, just rested restlessly (?!?) for two hours. Once I got up, the contractions passed for a bit before kicking in a little later.

Zee and I ran up the street to get some last-minute things for the hospital bag (like another bottle of face wash and camera batteries) and that seemed to help a bit. However, shortly after dinner, the contractions have kicked in again. They are more intense now, hence my writing this entry at 12:45 AM (I am NEVER up this late). My husband has launched his nesting mode.

I'm upgrading to an Orange Alert based on all of these factors. Dr. Wonderful is on call tomorrow, so my plan is to make it through tonight if I can and call her first thing in the a.m. if we're still chugging along status quo. Since she wants to induce on Wednesday, I'm hoping she'll spring for meeting me at the hospital tomorrow and setting the process in motion. If it continues through Wednesday, I think I'll lose my mind.

In the meantime, no news from me here for a day is actually good news. Zee or Hubby will be a guest blogger to let everyone know the news once L'il I has arrived.

P.S.: I finished the second baby Conwy, but you'll have to wait and see it being modeled by the babe (camera is packed in the hospital bag just in case we have to go tonight and I'm too tired to dig it out anyway)

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Beat Goes On

As promised, I'm back this afternoon for yet another post. I'm still at home, though this morning I'll certainly admit that I wasn't that sure I'd make it past the early afternoon without summoning my hubby home. A three-hour nap did wonders, and while I'm still contracting away, it looks like we'll make it through afternoon and early evening -- at least. Who knows what tonight or this weekend will bring. Works out well because the doctor on call today is not one I particularly care for (though it's not Dr. Serious). Dr. Wonderful is on call on Sunday, so we'll see.

I got a little more knitting done this afternoon. One wee Conwy sock. Another will be started tonight after dinner.

I should point out that the colors are just not showing up well in these photos. This is (oddly enough) "Peter Pan" by the Wendy brand, and is a soft synthetic blend (which I normally don't like) filled with pale blues, yellows and greens. The band on the Conwy hat was done in some leftover Baby Ull that I had from earlier in the year when I knit Courtney's Basil blanket. I didn't think I had enough for another full hat (even baby size) so I sought out a complementary yarn. The owner of my LYS gifted me the yarn for the babe ... so L'il I can wear a little bit of Cloverhill and Ms. Chris on his first day out in public (the hat and socks are designed to coordinate with his coming home outfit).


Let me say first that I've never reallyl done a blog contest. I've seen them, and even participated here and there, but I've never done one. So I apologize sincerely if this one is lame.

You see, I need a pattern for this yarn:

This is Nature's Palette sock yarn in the "Lilacs" pattern. Lilacs have a special meaning for me -- they were my grandmother's favorite flower and I some of my fondest memories of her revolve around this flower. She had gorgeous lilac bushes that would explode each spring with blossoms and we could fill our arms and baskets and vases and still leave the bushes full, it seemed. She also had a lovely carnival glass vase that we would stuff full and put on her dining room table under her chandelier. This yarn is absolutely gorgeous and the subtle varigation really does look like a lilac bush in full bloom.

So ... I need to do something spectacular with it. There are two skeins, and almost 400 yards. I'm a petite girl (5' 2"), so I don't do large wraps. I don't think it would do this sock justice to make it into socks.

Here's the plan. Today is August 10. From now until August 30 (so we all have plenty of time to plot and scheme and do things like give birth, LOL), I will be looking for ideas on what to do with this yarn and this is part of the contest. But you gotta comment to enter.

Some guidelines:
  • Leave your suggestion for the Lilac yarn in a comment. All suggestions earn commenters an entry in a drawing that will be made at random in early September.
  • The person who submits the design I choose also wins a prize.
  • Other prizes may be awarded as suggestions reveal themselves.
  • Additional comments (one per post, please), earn extra entries in the drawing -- 1 per comment.

It's that simple. Probably a lame contest, but I hope to get some good ideas for the yarn, meet some new knitters and maybe grab a few new readers along the way. I also hope to have the yarn knitted up in time for October 22 -- the 12-year anniversary of my grandmother's passing (and also the 12-year anniversary of the year that the lilacs bloomed in October).

Winners get sock yarn -- I have two lovely skeins of Mountain Colors Bearfoot and some other yummy yarns to share.

Start your engines.

Tick ... Tock ... Tick ... Tock ...

Note: Knitting content is at the bottom of this post; skip ahead or read the baby update :)

An Update on the Babe

Well folks, the clock is ticking now on L'il I. I will spare you minor details, but suffice it to say that the boy is just about done cooking. At a whopping 4 lbs, 12 oz, the doctors finally have succumbed to my telling them (over and over and over) that I. Give. Birth. To. Little. People.

That's right, Zee was 5 lbs, 13.5 oz, the Yarn Sniffer was just over 5 lbs. This dude is even littler. I'm not worried, though ... they do grow up way too fast for my liking anyway and this buys me some extra snuggly time with a little peanut.

Truth is, though, I've felt pretty miserable for the past few days. My back is killing me, my hips are killing me ... "the girls" are huge (for me, anyway) and are killing me ... I'm just about done.

Good news is that he's really quite happy in there, and the induction has little to do with poor environmental controls. Plenty of fluid, happy placenta ... no reason to think of growth restriction or anything scary. Frankly, I attribute it to this whole gestational diabetes diet. After all, I've said all along that putting me on the stupid thing was counterintuitive -- it seems that for the last month (since the diagnosis and diet restrictions) his gain has slacked off and he's gone from being what they call "AGA" (average for gestational age) to borderline "SGA" (small for gestational age). One of the major risks of GDM is what they call "macrosomia" (big baby syndrome) -- when the baby gets flooded with sugar and, well, gets fat. I clearly don't have that problem. Dr. Awesome joined my fight against it last week and told me to keep sneaking carbs -- if only to hold him at his current weight -- and this week, Dr. Wonderful said those magic words:

Dr: So, how are your sugars?
Me (looking bored): Still non-existent. I can eat a huge plate of stuffed shrimp, bread, a baked potato, a cup of decaf with sugar and a big piece of baby shower cake and my sugar is 101 three hours later.

Dr. (looking a little defeated and a bit sheepish): I think it's safe to say that you're not having problems.

Vindication at last. That very afternoon I emailed the dietician to report ANOTHER week of ZERO weight gain (I lost a pound, he held steady) and asked if she still wanted numbers. She said no more. Thank heavens. So I haven't been sweating it, and I started eating normally again in the hopes that he'll be able to gain a few more ounces before moving day.

Knitting Progress
So, like so many others, I've been participating in the Summer of Socks. I joined for a few reasons: I wanted a kick in the rear to finally get a bunch of socks knit (I don't want to wear commercially made socks this winter) and I also wanted to try to boost my visitors and expand my blogger circle. Each week, the "updater" checks out the blogs she's been assigned and posts an update. Some updaters post longish writeups to hail the progress of their groups. I always read them and visit and comment. Our update posts are a bit too simple for my taste, and I have had few, if any, comments as a result. It's my luck, I suppose.

In other traffic news, I have developed a site where I can post patterns, finished objects, baby and big-kid pics and other things that folks might find interesting. The first thing up was my cuff-down conversion notes for Wendy's Southwestern Socks. She was kind enough to 1) let me do it and 2) mention the document in her blog and urge folks to come on over. To date, that page of my site has received 185 hits. But still no comments. Maybe I'm just not that interesting.

But progress is interesting to me, anyway. Remember how I said I loved the Conwy sock so much I didn't want it to end? Well, yesterday L'il I got himself a Conwy baby hat to come home in (I decided I'm not happy with the hat I did the other week):

I've cast on for a pair of Conwy socks to go with it. Hopefully those will be done today (unless he decides it is way too hot for socks and jumps ship before I can finish them).

I'm also still working on finishing up the Butterfly Lace sock that I started earlier this week. I can't really claim ownership on the stitch pattern, but I will be posting the sock specs as soon as they're done.

I have also toyed around with a Little Shell stitch to go with the Chewy Spaghetti yarn that was originally destined for (another) pair of Monkeys.

The match to the Southwestern Sock will be taken to the hospital with me and (hopefully) completed there.

Now about that contest...
The forthcoming contest I promised you will involve the leaving of comments. Details will be posted later today.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I'm getting pretty predictable here, aren't I? Sorry folks, but I have more socks to show. Before I do, though, I need to let all readers know that there will be a contest posted here by the end of the week. Be sure to come back and enter ... there's yarn in it for the winner and that's never a bad thing ;)

First, I'm pleased to show you my cuff-down version of Wendy's Southwestern Sock pattern, which is currently available over at The Loopy Ewe. I modified the pattern from toe-up to cuff-down and used a Dutch heel and star toe instead of the standard versions. After asking Wendy's permission, I developed a set of conversion notes for anyone who is interested in doing this pattern cuff down. The sheet is posted here on my web site.

As I said before, these socks are done on #2 dpns in Fleece Artist 2/6 Merino. No name for the colorway, but I really do believe that it's very Southwestern. Definitely reminds me of the chile peppers and deserts and flora I enjoyed in Santa Fe last fall. Agree?

In other news, the Conwy socks are also complete:

Specs? Socks that Rock Lightweight in the "Downpour" colorway on #1.5 dpns. I had enough yarn left over for a few small baby Conwys, which will be done later on down the line. You see, I'm busy doing a sock design of my own:

My apologies for the crappy picture ... there will be a better image as soon as the prototype is finished (most likely tonight or tomorrow morning -- it's a fast knit!)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

It's All About the Sock (Yarn)

One could also call this post "Bed Rest, Week Two," but that would be extremely boring.

I'm still gestating. L'il I will be 36 weeks young on Monday. Not much longer now. As I said in my last post, bedrest is a double-edged sword -- but I will say that amidst the chaos that is my office world (and my "husband-is-cleaning-not-me" home world"), having quiet days to plow through work has been quite nice. Conference calls aren't the easiest thing in the world to manage, but I'm plodding through with only a minor feeling of disconnection from the world.

And a major feeling of connection with my knitting. The past two weeks, as you know, have been filled with socks and other finishing, though progress this week seems a little slow. I'm getting ready for the heel on the second Conwy (which I think I'm dragging on because I LOVE knitting it and I don't want it to end).

I've also been toying with Wendy's new Southwestern Sock (making modifications and doing it cuff-down rather than toe-up). First, I cast on with Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the Yellowstone colorway (and packed it in a bag to take to the hospital). After a few sessions, I realized the yarn was giving me a huge headache. Not that it was being problematic, mind you, but it was literally giving me a migraine. Every time I picked it up to do a repeat, my head was pounding. I think it's the mohair, and I think it needs to go. The sock is sitting now post-heel-turn, pre-gusset pickup, and will most likely be frogged. That's the bad news. The good news is that someone is going to get this yarn -- along with the other skein I have (in the "Jasper" colorway) just as soon as I decide on some sort of contest. Wanna see the sock before I frog it?

So, in my effort to find a good yarn for the Southwestern pattern, I went to my all-time favorite yarn: Fleece Artist 2/6 Merino. I've only used it once (for the Moc Croc socks I did earlier this year) and I fell in love with it. As it turns out, I had a perfect skein. Filled with chile reds and deep greens and golds and some subtle browns, it definitely reminds me of my trip to Santa Fe and Albuquerque last year (plus, it still coordinates with Laura's bag). So I started the sock up with the new yarn. And I have to tell you that this pattern is a fast knit. And further proof that everything is better in Fleece Artist.

Today is Saturday and it's a big knitting day for a bed-rester. I get to watch the men in my life work around the house while I lay on my sofa and knit, knit, knit. I hope to finish the Conwy sock and perhaps even the first Southwestern Sock. Then my next step is identifying the next pattern and a good yarn to go with it. I want to use one of the new skeins and design my own sock. I've been mulling stitch dictionaries and studying Nancy Bush for a good heel and toe (I'd love to do something with a half-hankerchief heel and star toe, but that combo might be better suited for a delicate sock -- and right now I'm not into super-delicate).

And so a question (not the contest). I've done some enhancement over my bedrest period and have new yarns to play with. Which one do you like best?

Chewy Spaghetti in "Lyrical" (this may end up as a Monkey) and Cider Moon in "Kansas"
Schaeffer's "Lola" in Pumpkin Spice and Fleece Artist in "Rainforest"
Mama E's July Sock Club Yarn -- "Boogie Boy Blues"

Mountain Colors Weavers Wool Quarters in "Rosehip" and Mountain Colors 4/8 Wool in "Juniper" (I snuck out to the LYS while the electric company took down a tree and cut my power on Thursday ... it was hot as hell in our house and I needed to go somewhere cool or stay home and get dehydrated)

and lastly, Black Bunny Sock Yarn in "Honeybees."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction..."

Anne Frank wrote this in a diary entry dated July 6, 1944, and somehow it seems fitting for my current situation. You see, I think all of us at some point envy folks who live the life of leisure and don't have to cook, clean or leave the house for work. I enjoyed it for the first few days, but then the restrictions of having to rest all the time and only being able to leave the house for doctors' appointments set in and it started to feel a bit like prison. Since August 4 is the day that the annex was raided, it seems appropriate to quote her. Now I'm by no means comparing my current plight with hers (few could), but times like these certainly make you realize just how directly Anne hit the proverbial nail on its head.

With the craziness going on at the office, I feel a little guilty for not being there in person, but I've been putting in full days from home and I don't feel nearly as behind as I did when I first landed my butt in this position. In fact, having quiet time to work is quite satisfying. Especially when there are socks to show for it. Here's the first Conwy sock (second has been started):

I cannot tell you how much fun I had with this sock. From the patterned rib at the top all the way down to the cute little star toe (which may be my new favorite), I loved every minute of it. It seems that my Socks that Rock "Downpour" (the yarn that simply had lost its identity months ago and was cast furiously aside into the pit of difficult yarns) has finally claimed a personality. These little ribs on the sock work so well with the striping and even in the lightweight (as opposed to the mediumweight I used for the Unst socks) it knit up at lightning speed.

Like I said, I've started the second, but I'll wait to show you a picture until I've finished.

And now, I'd like to thank everyone who has called to check in, e-mailed good wishes and especially Laura, who stopped by on Friday after our spinner's group meeting for a visit. If you visit her blog, you'll see that she's been sewing a bit lately. Last week she sewed up the cutest sock bag ever, and wouldn't ya know it, the next day she had done another and promised it to me! She brought it over with her and I can't tell you how it cheered me up. It's already packed with a sock to take to the hospital:

The yarn inside is Mountain Colors Bearfoot and the pattern I'm using is Wendy's new Southwestern Sock pattern that you can get for free over at The Loopy Ewe. I should point out here that I'm partial to The Loopy Ewe and that I AM a Loopy Groupie. You can see him in there, but my Loopy postcard is in the bag for a shot with L'il I for the Loopie on Vacation collection. Yeah, I know that the hospital isn't really a vacation, but it will be about as good as he'll see from me this month. He'll take other visits after the babe arrives.

And here's a shot of the outside:

The colors suck in this photo, so if you want better pictures, you'll have to go see Ms. Soapturtle at her place. She did a better job setting up the shot :)

And while you're visiting folks, pop over to see Theresa, whose lovely little girl Zofia was born the same day I hit the big 33. She and I have been chatting and e-mailing back and forth with baby updates for a few months now. I'm about three weeks behind her in my pregnancy, so it's been pretty fun having someone to banter with who also had to deal with a Dr. Serious and a Dr. Wonderful.

And speakng of doctors? I have just one thing to say: Just when I thought Dr. Wonderful was the best of the best, today I had my appointment with Dr. Awesome. More on that later -- and a photo of another new acquisition (came yesterday, but I'm feeling too lazy to go get it and take a picture).