Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Checking In

Long time, no post. Still no time, but thought I'd check in with a shot that I grabbed on December 23 of L'il I ... incidentally, he also grabs a hank of alpaca yarn to keep him occupied during diaper changes (odd, I know, but true -- the changing pad that we use is near my living room stash container and he grabs grey alpaca every time and kisses it).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Time Flies

And she's back... there has been knitting and growing (the kids) and a very busy travel schedule this summer. I'm hoping to get back into a solid blogging schedule soon.

Today is party day for L'il I, who finally hits single digits for real on Tuesday. I hope to post some party pics later, but in the meantime, I leave you with the post from one year ago today, when I was hanging in waiting for the OB I liked to be on call. Did I actually have time to knit back then?

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.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's Been a While

What can I say? New boss, busy two months (had my big convention ... a grueling seven days of 18-hr days with very little sleep or time "off"), busy baby and busy big boys.

Two new teeth in L'il I (he's not showing them; methinks what you see is a drooly reflection ... he smiles without showing his teeth).

Two lost by the Sniffer. It has not yet stopped him from eating corn on the cob:

We also had a Webelos camping trip thrown in for good measure. I can hardly believe how big my biggest boy is these days. (Note: This photo was taken at a prep session we had to teach the boys how new knots to tie and how to build a campfire...Weboree is a COMPETITION...)

No real knitting, other than a pair of socks I have to download pictures of. I knit them for a dear friend with bone cancer to keep her tootsies warm during radiation. But I don't want to discuss that right now.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bummed and Buoyed

Bummed, because for some UNGODLY reason, I managed to miss the Yarn Harlot in Annapolis. Right in my own FREAKING backyard. I'm a dolt.

But I'm buoyed because MDSW is right around the corner! And the Cloverhill booth (my LYS) is gonna be cooler than Koigu. Go check their blog for more details... it's a countdown to the best part of Spring!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.


Believe it or not, there are women out there with three kids (some with three BOYS even) who actually find time to knit. And I mean knit. Not the "row here, row there" that I've been doing lately, but some gals actually finish things in a reasonable amount of time. Me? I've been working on a single sock for two weeks. Indeed.

I'm here still, folks. Alive and knitting, but crazy busy with life. Changes at work (new boss in two weeks; third boss in three years), interviewing a new member of my team today (keep your fingers crossed) and lots of time gearing up for our big scientific meeting in May. Busy indeed.

And the boys. What can I say? Last night they wanted to do silly pictures of the Brothers Three since it was L'il I's 7-month birthday. (I take pictures on the 12th of every month. I figured it would not only make a neat spread for his first birthday, but it would also make sure I take pictures of him regularly.) Aren't they sweet? Indeed.

They are indeed. They love their little brother more than just about anything. But how can you not love a little wee one that's so adorable? Not to mention that he's getting a lot more interesting these days ...

And the best is yet to come. Indeed.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

When Life Gets in the Way of Blogging...

I've been struggling for the past two weeks trying to think of something to write for my TWO bloglines subscribers and coming up with nada. So today, in the interest of at least posting something, I thought it might be neat to go back two years and see what I posted about two years ago when the blog was still relatively new. You know, comment on what I might have posted, projects I was working on, etc.

Here's the post. There's nothing quite like wanting to go back in time ...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heart and Soul

I rarely ever talk about my husband on this blog ... it is almost always about the knitting, or the kids, and besides, he rarely reads it anyway. But he does exist, really, and I do love him very much. And my big valentine has given me three beautiful littler ones ... even if they did all come with Y chromosomes. Because I don't buy into "Hallmark Holidays" I'll save the smushy gushy post for another day. But here is one of my favorite pictures of the two of us ... portrait of college lovers all grown up at a black-tie affair last year.

(And in my next post, there may actually be a photo of a sock -- gasp!)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Eighth Dwarf

His name is Wheezy and I gave birth to him in August. On Friday, the heinous virus culminated with a diagnosis of RSV for the wee one. He's getting inhaler treatments, but he's doing great and we may have gotten through the worst of it without even knowing it.

Anyway, it was this diagnosis that made me almost not go to Spinner's Group on Friday night. After days of being home with sick people, though, sheer desperation (and the fact that I was taking Laura the loom I've had in my basement for too long) made me force myself to go. Didn't plan to spin, didn't even take a wheel with me.

It was a small group on Friday, three and a half, not counting me. (The "half" is Caroline's daughter Emily, and is a regular part of the group.) After talk of the loom and normal catchup talk, somehow talk turned to an orphan wheel that had been left at the shop with a note "Clemson Clemes Wheel / Free to a Good Home."

Curiousity got the best of me, particularly because Clemes & Clemes wheels seem to have a bit of a cult following. After taking off the ratty old stinky nasty wool on the bobbin and getting some help from Caroline about the wheel's double-drive tension, I got her going. Not a bad spin. So my home was good enough for the wheel, and it came home as a restoration project. My husband's face was priceless. But, as he always is when curious machinery is involved, he too was sucked in at some level of interest. I've been wiping and oiling and investigating and here's what I know so far, besides the fact that I seriously doubt it is a Clemes & Clemes

Look at this flyer. The eye bolts are clever, and almost Woolee-Winder-esque. They'll need new nuts to make sure they stay in place when I'm spinning (tension on the yarn pulls them towards me too fast and the yarn fills at the front faster than anywhere). But they're neat and old looking.

This wheel is sturdy, and I mean SOLID. I don't know what type of wood it is is made of, but it has held up well.

There are a few rough patches on the wheel, and some knicks on the knobs and over the Mother of All, but nothing a little sanding won't take care of.

The leather parts need some conditioning (the maiden has a leader thong-type assemble that the orifice slides into to hold the bobbin in place and it looks a little dry, as does the piece that attaches the footman to the wheel itself).

But above all, what I know more than anything is this: This wheel has POWER. It was obviously made for production! It may simply be that it's a double-drive wheel (my Traditional is single-drive and the Hitchiker has no drive), but this thing can twist. And the yarn it turned out was a respectable worsted that -- once I weigh it down to set the massive twist -- will be usable and strong.

It's a worthwhile addition to the spinning corner. Even though it makes my Traditional look downright dainty.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ways that Life Sucks

Let me issue a disclaimer: It's been a really rough week so far and it is only Tuesday. Bear with me here.

There are times when we all get bogged down with life, and we gripe and moan about how it would be better to simply impale yourself on a size 15 Lantern Moon and be done with it. Consider the following (work with me until the end, please):

- Heating oil for my house currently costs $3.60 a gallon. We order 100 gallons at a time, keep the house thermostat at 69/70 and we still need to fill it every 2.5 weeks.

- The temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic have been downright frigid. Not as cold as it was for the Harlot on the day she had to walk to the bank, but damn cold for my neck of the woods. If I wanted it this cold, quite frankly, I'd move to Canada because it has a lot to love. And maybe the oil isn't $3.60 a gallon.

- Three out of four men in my house have been stricken with a hellish virus that felled my husband for two days with a 103 degree temperature and horrible coughs and gallons of snot. Yes, I said gallons. I have no means of measurement other than the tissue usage, but it's gotta me momentous because L'il I alone (whose snot I have to see, unfortunately) had his own weight in the stuff. The Sniffer is the only one who is so far unscathed and I can't quite figure that one out. Threats have been exchanged between him and Zee about germs, and one in particular (that I heard, anyway) was "Do you want me to spray you with Lysol again?" That "again" is a whole other story that I'll spare you for the time being.

- We have to register for FALL aftercare in January. But before that, you have to pay your monthly tuition. That's a TON of money to daycare, which has caused us to limp along (and I mean limp -- remember that virus? Lots of meds and tissues and soups here) until later this week when the next paycheck comes.

- One sentence: Two completely unexpected days off work during the busiest season of the year.


Gryphon tells the story well in this post, and I feel horrible for being so caught up in the sickness and not posting about it. But she's only about 15 minutes away in Easton, so it isn't as though someone far away posted. Plus, she knows one of the folks affected. Which brings me to the point of the post. Look around and I'll guarantee you can usually find something that sucks worse.

Now about Cambridge. First, go read Gryphon's post. I'll wait.

Are you back? OK. Let me tell you something about my hometown. Having grown up there, I can truthfully tell you that "sleepy" just isn't the word for it. For a while there, it was comatose. I made the decision at a young age that I wanted something more ... more active, more vibrant, more fun ... so I moved to "the city" for college, met my husband and stayed put. My folks still live there, and I wholeheartedly enjoy my visits. Downtown (which wasn't terrible when I was there, but on a downslide) is bouncing back with restaurants and shops -- this is THE place to go for antiques and awesome "waterfowl" type things like decoys, etc. -- and then tragedy strikes. To add insult to injury, the poor city (yes, it is actually classified as a city, and is the county seat of Dorchester County) had city news crews and helicopters (when I called my dad -- a deputy sheriff -- I could hear the whirring of the chopper) crawling around and reporting on all the other bad news. In addition to the fire, a hit and run at a bus stop left a kid dead and a guy I went to high school with suffered fire damage in excess of $100K to his business after a fire immediately following "the big one." My folks know the owners of the businesses that were hit and Gryphon's right -- it ain't pretty.

Now Gryphon is doing something that I wish I could do. She's donating 50% of her yarn profits to one of the businesses that suffered in the fire. Her yarn is divine so now's the time to make your yarn purchase count. Hurry up and get over there ... I'm limping behind you but will get there soon ...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy Happy!


As usual, I've managed to miss a big day of posting, but I've certainly enjoyed reading everyone's New Year's Resolutions and comments about the holidays, and hope that this cute picture makes up for it :). And I'm realizing I'm not alone in many of my plans for the New Year, though at the end of this post I'm going to pose a solution for all of us who are dog-tired from holiday knitting and feeling a bit of the blechs that come in the new year after such a crafting frenzy. Factor in the fact that I've had the cold from hell for the past five weeks (I honestly forgot how much little people like to share their germs) and you can imagine the fatigue at Chez Spinneas. This weekend I made a decision to postpone taking the Christmas tree down in favor of plain old rest, fluids and easy knitting to try to get myself to a point where I can function a little better next week. Nursing a baby through the whole thing has been an extreme adventure in dehydration, and having the whole family home on vacation for nearly two weeks has been a lesson in frustration -- which certainly doesn't help! But whining doesn't do any good ...

First of all, I'd like to say that the Santa Fe beret was a big hit. Farmer Auntie (who is also a knitting auntie but not THE Knitting Auntie of Aran -- and Nanny -- Fame) donned it immediately, squealed with delight at all the right moments during the obligatory tale behind the piece, and wore it for our entire visit except for the 30 minutes when she took the big boys on a hike around the farm. The cool thing is that it actually matched the vest sweater she was wearing that day.

I also knit a pretty neato Koigu scarf for my mother-in-law, came in under the wire on Christmas Eve and got the sucker blocked. It turned out great -- knit with a double strand on size 8 straight needles:

There were other victories for presentts, but I'll spare you. There were also some UFOs, including Aran Auntie's Tea Cozy (it's coming, I swear), a scarf, and a beret for my cousin -- who's baby is only three months older than my L'il I. The beret has been an absolute nightmare, and I'm getting ready to start it for the THIRD time. In the midst of my absolute frustration with this pattern (though I LOVE the yarn -- Berrocco Jasper), I decided I needed something to settle down with. So I decided to tackle the mobius strip. Yeah, yeah, I know.

The crazy part? It worked. Last night I fiddled with the cast-on that's widely available online (the backward loop method -- check it out) and then today picked up Cat Bordhi's book. I swear I'm addicted to this process, and I'm enjoying my Fleece Artist mobius that I have been working on since early in the afternoon:

In addition to the Moebius, we've also enjoyed watching our littlest enjoy his first holiday season, including his saucer at Christmas and his books...

And that's life here at the Spinneas homestead. Maybe I'll tell more holiday stories from 2007 later. In the meantime, I'd like to say that my single resolution in 2008 is to AVOID the chaotic holiday knitting this year. And to do that, my plan is to knit one present per month from now until November. That's 11 knitted gifts, a record, and a way to help save my sanity at holiday time with a one-year-old toddling around. Anyone wanna join me?