Saturday, December 30, 2006

What would you do, O knitters?

While I was at Webs, I saw this absolutely GORGEOUS shawl. I cannot stop thinking about it! Now, I don't own any shawls (save a fancy dress one from a black tie wedding). I never wear shawls...but something about this yarn and this pattern captured me. The yarn is Berrocco's Boho (and Colors), and the shawl has this amazing lacy pattern. It was GORGEOUS, and I am obsessed. I would have bought the yarn but they didn't have enough in the colors I really liked (you did half of it in a plain Boho and half with Colors, so you need coordinating colors). It looks like the color I like is being discontinued. Ah well. Anyway, would you buy the yarn ($$) and make the pattern (I am sure that Webs would let me buy it), or let it go? You can also do a scarf version, which I would wear, I am sure. If you couldn't get the Colors yarn, would you do it all in one color?

I am also contemplating the Poncho again. I'm pondering one of the top-down ponchos with Artyarn. Again, pricey, but so pretty! I am thinking that if I'm going to be ordering, I might as well get one of the Modular Scarf patterns (triangles? diamonds? squares?) and the Flat top hat pattern too. *sigh* I am going to be so broke, but have SO many things to knit!!!!

I'm about to gear up for another round of baby hat knitting too. I got some Tahki colors that I'll do a simple roll-brimmed hat to start, I think. I just got my yarn all sorted and organized. I think I may try and make some dishcloths to sell also. And oh yeah, that whole professional development thing too! It's going to be a busy year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Drop Off #2

DS1 and I went over to Children's yesterday morning before we headed out of town, to drop of the next round of hats. Like last time, it was a hard visit. Unlike last time, I didn't spend time thinking about our (brief) stay there, but rather this time, I was struck by the fact that at 9:00 am on the Saturday before Christmas, we had to park on the 5th floor of the Children's lot because it was so full. I am thankful that a place like Children's exists, but it just made me sad, and so, so thankful for my own healthy kids. I don't know about others, but I need (and appreciate) the reminders for gratitude about all my blessings. It's so easy to get caught up in the little hassles of life. It's good to take a moment to remember how FINE everything really is.

Anyway, we're now out in the Berkshires, and I'm about to take off for some ALONE time, to go to Webs!! The website claims they're open on Sundays for the holiday season. I'll have about an hour or so to play there before I have to head back, which I think should be enough. :) I'm needing more Addis in small sizes, and SOCK yarn. I've been utterly converted to short-row, toe up socks. I like counting better than doing increases. I've got DH's on the needles, toes done (finally!!) correctly. I just pulled out the ones I'm doing for me and I'll redo them with a short-row toe.

For all who celebrate, have a merry, merry Christmas, and to all, blessings of the season on you. :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Today's Lesson

Actually, it's a lesson of the past few days as I had NO time to knit today.
Don't try and knit anything that needs counting and attention, when trying to wrangle two wiggly toddlers!

That is all.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Woo hoo!

Next weekend we head off to DH's family's home in the Berkshires for the Christmas holiday. They are about an hour away from Northampton, and I believe I have secured a promise that I can have a morning to go to NoHo, and visit Webs! I am drooling over much yarn, and very excited to go in, knowing I have money spend (from my birthday, my mom gave me a check that said "MUST be used for yarn!!" Go mom!).

There's also a really nice yarn store in his hometown, so I plan to spend a little time there too! I am becoming a definite yarn-aholic. I am not ready for an intervention though! My main issue is that I have nowhere to store it!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Today's Knitting

I now have FOUR projects on needles:

1. A hat for a friend's baby. I have GOT to get this done, as it's a holiday hat, and I need to send it to them to have it by, well, the holidays. As in, I probably need to finish it tomorrow. This is my third attempt (the other two are going to the NICU, and also need to get sent out ASAP), and I'm feeling a little less than inspired with it.

2. Bamboo Dishcloth Variation 1. I'm doing this in a variegated Sugar'n'Cream yarn with white/blue/yellow/purple tones. It's pretty, but sort of a PITA to knit. I like to get a rhythm going when I knit, and the having to pass the YO over every two stitches definitely impedes that. Oh well. It's pretty.

3. Toe-up socks for me! These are using a sock wool, knit on size 1s, and they may take me three years to finish, so let's hope they're worth it! I learned the Figure 8 cast on for these, which is really neat, and NO toe seaming! I don't know if all toe-up socks have this, but it is nice. I don't mind Kitchener Stitch really, but it's nice not to have to do it! I think the yarn I am using is #6674 of this, but I don't have the band so I'm not sure. Looks right though.

4. Another pair of toe-up socks for Nik. I'm using the the Knitting Fiend's Socklator, Socklator V, since it's written for Magic Loop. I did the toe for Sock 1 tonight, learning the cheater's provisional cast-on (or some mangled version of it, anyway!), and how to do doubled wrapped short rows. The toe is really cool! I love that you can choose any yarn you want for these, so I'm doing these in a worsted weight wool, since Nik loves wool socks! I think I'm using size 5s (? I can't remember), which means they'll knit up nice and fast! Tomorrow I'll do toe #2, and then knit them both at the same time.

I wore the socks I knit for myself today and they made me happy! They also made my feet quite warm, as they're a bulky wool, and it was close to 60 degrees (F) today. They're too bulky to wear under my Keens, but they worked with my clogs. I think the tiny sock yarns might make me a tad crazy. It just seems like it'll take so long to get anything done. I'm more of an instant gratification kind of woman, myself. :) The Socks that Rock yarn that I am currently obsessing over thinking about has a midweight and heavier weight option. I'm worried that the heavy weight would be too heavy for regular wearing. I'm going to call them tomorrow and see what they think. I think the lightweight would just make me insane, it's so thin.

So, that's today's work!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Go me!

I am have successfully started knitting two socks on one needle, and now that I'm doing it, I can see how easy it is! I'm doing a toe up sock pattern, but I can now see how to do this for a top-down pattern too!

Time sure flies!

I've been meaning to post an update all week, but just haven't had a chance to gather my thoughts. It was my birthday last week (30-mumble) and I received, from my lovely husband, the gift of these which I am LOVING. They are really great, MUCH better than my Denise kit for the kind of knitting I'm doing these days! The join with the tips and the cable is super-smooth, and feels much more secure than the Denise needles. These are nice, solid needles, and the cord is narrow and has very little memory, so it makes the Magic Loop technique much easier. I just with they came in the small sizes, or that Knit Picks regular needles came in a longer cord, but ah well, I guess I can manage with Addis! Since I also received a gift from my parents that "has" to be spent on yarn and yarn-accessories, I think I can get my needle library complete.

Let's see. I talked to the NICU folks, and it turns out they had a slightly different vision of the hat project than I did. I was assuming that each hat would be given to a specific baby, and sent home with that baby, while they seem to be thinking of these as the NICU's. She explained to me that "sometimes the patients take them home" which is what I wanted! Oh well, they can do whatever they think is best. She said they were very appreciative and would take anything else I had to offer. I'm going to try and send a batch off on Monday. The sizes were all great, and I think they really like the whimsical hats. I was just glad to (finally) have someone call me back and give me some feedback on what worked!

I'm having great fun with my dishcloths/washcloths as well! I love the cotton, and I'm really enjoying all the different patterns. I don't quite have the energy to take and post pictures right now, but soon.

My new obsession is knitting socks! I'm not sure why this is, as knitting with fine yarn doesn't appeal to me all that much, but a friend turned me on to this yarn and I must, MUST I TELL YOU, must have some. I actually have some sock yarn, so I pulled it out and taught myself the figure 8 cast on today, in anticipation of figuring out how to knit two socks (toe up) on one needle at the same time. I think this will be a good thing for me, so I don't end up with one sock for many months, which is what happened with the last socks I did. If this works, I'll take pictures! I think the sock thing is generated by the fact that all my socks are old and getting worn out, and I can't find anything I like at any of my usual stores (err, Target mainly 'cuz I'm classy like that) in colors that I wear. Come to think of it, I couldn't find any shirts in colors that I like this year, so I guess the colors I like are just out. I am crushed, as being a fashion icon is really, really important to me. :)

In non-knitting news, I've completed all the reading for Module 1 of the CBE program, and now just need to complete the written work and experiential pieces for it. That shouldn't be too hard. The reading was really interesting, and I can feel the rusty cogs of my brain slowly starting to reengage and perhaps even turn. I am excited about this. One of the books is called "Birth as An American Rite of Passage", and it's a feminist, anthropological analysis of birth rituals in the US. Some of it seems a bit out of date to me, but much of it is spot-on, and *really* interesting and thought-provoking. She's more radical than I am, but has an interesting way of framing different belief systems. It was very interesting to see where I agreed with her, and then where I disagreed - which showed me some of my own blind spots, which is always a useful thing. I'll need to go back and reread this, as it's fairly academic. I really enjoyed it!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

This yarn is unknittable.

At least, by me. I don't know what my problem is. First I tried a little hat. It clumped up in a way that I found ugly, so I scrapped it. Then I tried a DW Dishcloth. It was going okay, though I believe I did have to cast on about 4 times. Then DS1 pulled the needle out, and I'm not very good at recovering from things like that. So I started a different dishcloth - one with an actual pattern that required a bit of thought (yo's and such). It was actually looking okay, but then I messed up the pattern, and in my attempt to pull out the row to go back and fix it, I dropped a stitch. I believe I shouted something a tad obscene, and frogged it. I am done. DONE with this yarn, I tell you! I need to get back to my little hat for my friend's baby, as I need to get it to them next week. I have a knitting'n'coffee date tonight, so I'll bring that along.

I did finish a moss stitch dishcloth that is quite pretty. I think I just have no brain cells left because I had to pull out so many rows and redo them. This is not typical, but now that I'm moving into doing patterns, I think it may become more normal. Ah well, growth hurts, right?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Switching gears a bit.

It has occurred to me that the holiday season is almost upon us. How did this happen? Where did this year go?? Though, actually, December 2005 is pretty blurry to me, though that may be the serious sleep deprivation under which I am currently laboring, who knows.

Anyway, so I'm knitting dishcloths for gifts, and having so much fun surfing the web to find wonderful patterns. I love these, they're small and easy to knit, and I just really happy to like Sugar'n'Cream yarn. I am so not a yarn snob. :) I finished a couple over the last day or so.
This one is okay. I have had really bad beginnings lately, and I had to start this one four times. I don't know what my problem is (oh yeah, sleep deprivation). I didn't want to make it as wide as the pattern called for, so I did the math to cut it down (not hard), but I just could not make the openwork yarn-overs come out right! I was making a stupid error, I just did it a few times. It's also shorter than I'd like it to be, but I ran out of yarn. Since I don't love this color palette, that's not too bad.

This one, I'm actually pretty happy with. There are a couple of things I wish I had done better. I did an extra row at the end for the bind off, and I wish that I hadn't. The slip stitch border is a bit looser on the side where I was carrying the yarn up and switching colors. I had the worst time with this pattern, too, I just COULD NOT get it, until I sat down, cast on and did it. I couldn't figure out the colors until then. I am definitely a hands-on learner; it's harder for me to learn from reading.
I like the size of this one better too.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Post-Thanksgiving Daze

Not only did I survive Thanksgiving, it was, for the most part, a lovely long weekend in which I got to do a substantial amount of knitting! I got motivated to finish (FINALLY) a couple of things that have been languishing while I got sidetracked by my baby hats.

So, here's the recent work:
I finished the first of these socks back in July, while we were on vacation in the Adirondacks. I started the second a few weeks ago, knit an inch, and got distracted. I was determined to finish them! I used the Magic Loop Winter Sock pattern, which worked wonderfully, and I really like them! They're quite warm and cozy. I amused by the difference in striping, even though the two balls of yarn are from the same dye-lot. You can see on the left sock that I got distracted and added an extra knit row in the pattern. Ooops, that's what happens sometimes when you are knitting while taking care of your rambunctious children! As I mentioned before, knitting helps me tackle my perfectionism. Especially since I'm not really very good at ripping out partially, and starting over. It's mostly an all-or-nothing proposition for me. I also finished the little sock I made for DS2. It's terrible - I don't like the yarn at all, the toe is ALL WRONG (waaay too long), and it doesn't fit his wide, chubby ankles and foot at all. Luckily, it's little. I have about 14,034,214 yards of this yarn, and I just don't like it. Oh well.

I knit this hat from this Ann Norling pattern. I knit this for a friend's new baby boy, but it was just a tad too small, so I'm going to have to redo it, and this one'll get donated to the NICU. I did this in Sugar'n'Cream, which is a heavier cotton, and I think I'm going to head out to my favorite yarn store tomorrow and get some more red Tahki Cotton, and redo it in that.











Then, two more NICU hats:
This one is so soft and warm! It's not a stretchy yarn, since it's chenille, and I think I need to figure out a looser cast-on, but OH it's so cute!!











This one is another Sugar'n'Cream creation. I am not thrilled with it - mainly it's the leaves I don't like. I'd like them set in a bit more (I just need to snip them off and resew them), and one of them turned out kind of funny looking, but overall it's pretty cute.








So that's what I did on my vacation!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pictures to follow.

I just finished another hat, and OH the cuteness! It's enough to make you blind, really. One of the coolest things about this hat is that I did it without a pattern. Going off-script is atypical for me, I really like having directions. But really, how hard is a roll-brim hat, you know? I didn't even really do a gague swatch (I know, I know), I just winged it. And it's too cute! Since it's my own "design", do I get to sell it? I mean, how unique does it have to be to be your own design?

I also did the hat for the LYS hat drive. I did Homespun in Metropolis. It's almost a B&W camo look, it was sort of cool. It's not the nicest yarn out there, though I'm not a yarn-snob. I've done many a project in Lion brand. As long as the yarn itself isn't too bad, I don't mind it. I also discovered that doing children's stuff in Really Nice Yarn is not the best idea, since a lot of that isn't machine-washable, and they outgrow the darn things so quickly. Homespun isn't my favorite, but this should wear well, wash nicely, and won't show too much dirt. I've got some more, left over from a kid cardigan, so I might try and knit up another one before the end of the weekend. I've got some Lion Suede to do also, who knows if I'll get that done. i was glad to get that dropped off though, so at least I got one hat to her by her deadline! She's going for 20 hats.

I'm having a dilemma. I've got about 4 skeins of Lion Microspun, and now only am I not loving knitting with it, I'm not all that happy with how it looks like it's going to wear. I did a red and white spiral hat (to look like a peppermint), and I didn't realize that carrying the colors so much would pull in the hat, so it was way too small, so I kept it. It's been kicking around as a doll hat (Walter is enchanted with it), and it's looking really fuzzy. It's too bad, the yarn does have a nice soft feel to it, but I think I may not do any more knitting for donation with it. I don't know. I did donate that one fun-fur hat. Maybe I'll just knit up a simple hat and run it through the wash and see what I think. I hate to waste yarn and I can't imaging anything else that I'll use it for, but if it's not going to look nice, I'd rather just spend a bit more and get more of the Tahki Cotton Classic which is so nice!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A non-knitting, parenting post.

So, DS1 had an incident at preschool today that involved him clocking another kid with a toy boat. I can totally see him doing this, and I'm not shocked or even particularly worried about, it's pretty developmentally normal. The thing I am struggling with is what DS1 reported to me as the precipitating event...that he wanted this boy to be his friend and this boy said that DS1 was NOT his friend and that another boy was his friend.

Oh man. I know preschool friendships are changeable and ephemeral, but when DS1 says to me that no one likes him, or he has know friends, things like that...it just *hurts* to hear. It's not that I want him to be popular...it's just that I don't want him to be unliked. He's still so unselfconscious, and I know that can't last, but I want it to.

I saw a woman with a two-week old baby today (her first). She seemed a tad less overwhelmed than I recall being at that time, but still, it's such a shock to the system. Everything is different. Everything has changed, and in a way that you can't even fathom until you make that leap. I remember thinking that I couldn't possibly love DS1 anymore than I did at that moment, but I do. I love him more and more every day. Why is it, that when speaking of love, it always sounds clich├ęd or shallow, somehow? Maybe it's that words cannot convey the depth of feeling I have for my sons. I couldn't imagine loving another child as much as I do DS1, but I do. I love DS2 completely and utterly.

The thing about parenting, at least for me, is that it exposes me to how truly vulnerable I am in giving my heart this way. There's so much that I cannot control in their lives, and this only becomes more obvious to me as they get older. Since DS1 is now in school, off in the world, starting to build his own separate life, it's become very present to me that I cannot protect him from these sorts of things. I cannot protect him from having his heart broken, and in fact, I know that I shouldn't protect him from this, but yet, I still want to.

The topper tonight was when he was playing with the dishwasher, and he let the lower rack roll into the machine too quickly and it crashed loudly and both DH and I yelled NO! and STOP! He froze, and immediately ran over to me and buried his face in my legs. I sat on the kitchen floor and just held him. He didn't cry; it was almost worse because he didn't. He just did this fast breathing like he was trying really hard not to cry, and it just broke my heart. He's definitely having a rough day. His spirit is pretty tough, and he's perked back up, but it just makes me realize, yet again, how much I feel for this little being. It's so scary.

And so, completely worth it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

DW Dishcloth


Yay, I got it to work!
The latest dishcloth. Not my favorite colors, but it's pretty and I think it'll work. I've got some pink variagated and blue variagated cotton that I'll do next. I tried a hat out of the blue and I didn't like the way it clumped.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oh man.

I'd forgotten how much I adore my Addi Turbos. I have them in 12" which I used to use for baby hats until I got wise and started using the Magic Loop technique. (Note: I SO want to try this but I'm too caught in hats right now). I have some bamboo Addis which I've been pretty happy with, but SOMEBODY chewed on them (I'll give a hint, it wasn't the four-legged members of the family). So, I treated myself to a pair of Turbos in 40" today, and MAN, I just loooove them. They are so fast! I got most of the body of my apple hat done today. I, of course, want to run out and buy them in every size I might possibly need, but (a) I can't afford that and (b) I really want this set. I have the Denise set (hand-me-down from my mom, which I love), but they work less well for my hats. Since the Addis I got today are a size 3, this kit would do the rest for me quite well. Considering that at my LYS, the Addis are about $15, this would obviously make more sense, $$-wise. And I do have a birthday coming up!

So, I mentioned already that I finished the purple sweetheart hat. I'm not sure how well you can see the heart detailing in this picture. It's subtle, but nice.

I've finished a double-weave hat of my own invention, which is actually pretty cute! This is surprising to me, since typically the stuff I invent doesn't work well. These colors remind me of pastel mints; I just want to eat this hat up.




I also finished another DW dish cloth. Not my favorite colors, but I hope someone will like it. Okay, I wanted to load a picture of it but Blogger is not allowing that. Well, it thinks I've uploaded it, but nothing is showing up.

All in all, I've been pretty productive! I am wanting to get back to some of my own projects, and the woman who owns my LYS asked me if I'd consider making some adult hats for her hat drive for a local shelter (especially hats for men), so I'm thinking of hitting Michaels or AC Moore tomorrow and getting some bulky, not-too-expensive, manly yarn and knitting up a couple of hats for her.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Moving Forward

I really like weekends. It's not that what we do is so different, it's just nice having DH (or maybe I should call him BH - my "better half") home! We had a lovely date last night, and it was such a pleasure to just sit and be together.

I finished another hat! This one is a purple with a heart pattern. I'll take pictures later (and definitely make them smaller than the last round!). It's quite cute, in the Sugar'n'Cream yarn. Even though it's more of a worsted weight, I like it for the hats. Well, in part, the price is nice too. I just splurged on YET MORE yarn. There's no way I can knit all of this stuff up! I bought some more red, so once I finish the current hat (my own design), I'll do an apple hat. I've decided not to do more with micro-spun, I don't love it. I'll use up what I've got, I think, and see how it goes. It's really soft, though a pain to knit with, and I'm not convinced it's going to hold up nicely like the cotton does. I also can't find my pink fuzzy yarn, I suppose one of the kids made off with it. Or it's under the sofa, like so many other things!

I feel like focusing on this project is really helping me. First, it's giving me a focus for my creative energy (BH and I had a really interesting conversation about art last night, and whether crafting is art or not). It also gives me a nice reminder of all the wonderful things in my life for which I have gratitude. Yeah, I get frustrated, but hey, I don't have a kid in the NICU anymore! And, it's reminding me that I get to have a life outside of my children.

To that end, I sent off my application for the CBE program today! I'm really excited! It does mean spending a chunk of money - both on the program and on the required books (ooo so sad, I have to buy books). But, I think it'll be worth it. I'm looking forward to focusing on something for me!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

And they're off!

The first round of hats was delivered today. For some reason that I haven't wholly figured out, it was important to me to deliver them in person, at least once. DS2 and I packed up and headed over. Getting there is a bit of a pain. We drove through Cambridge to the BU Bridge, around and over by BU, then down the Riverway. This was an error, as there was no left turn onto Longwood, but I managed to make my way back over. The Longwood Medical area is overwhelming! I can't even imagine the sheer numbers of post-BA education walking around there!

We found parking, though not in quite the correct lot. This lot had no pedestrian access to the street, so I had to walk down the ramp that we had just driven up. Normally this wouldn't bother me too much, but with DS2 in the stroller, it made me a tad nervous. We then walked down to Children's. The last time we were there was for DS2's hearing test, but the memories of his stay there kept coming up. The lobby was crowded, which I realized felt odd to me, as pretty much the only time I was there was to go from the NICU (7 North) to the crappy sleeping accommodations in a different building, that involved crossing the lobby at 2 in the morning. I only went to the sleeping room at night, and only for about 2-3 hour stretches, as I needed to be feeding DS2 every 3 hours. Fun times.

Anyway, we went up to the unit, and the Nurse Manager (C) came out. She was so pleasant and nice, and so very appreciative for the work I've done. She *loved* the hats, including the fun fur hat, which, while I loved it, I wasn't sure if it was appropriate or not, so that was reassuring. And she does want the dishcloths too, which is great, because I have a ton of variegated yarn to knit up and with at least two balls of it, I don't like how it knits up for the hats. I told her to let me know on the sizes, how these work, and what they might need more or less of.

One nice thing: when DS2 and I were in the elevator, there were two doctors with us. One said "Are those knitted hats?" (I had them in a ziplock and was just carrying them). I said yes. He said "Did you knit them yourself?" I said yes, I did. He said "Wow, that's so great!"

It's funny. I want them to be helpful and useful. When I knit, I try to think of projecting love and strength and hope onto them (yeah, I know, sort of weird, but I believe in intentions and energy). I've had a couple of times where things just haven't gone well, and I've put it away rather than knit in a crabby mood, since I don't want that energy on these little hats. It's nice to be appreciated, but honestly, I'm taking so much pleasure in the making of them, that it almost feels selfish. Like, I'm getting credit for doing a nice thing, but really, I'm just doing something that allows ME to not only have a great time, but feel like I'm doing a tiny bit of good as well. I'd be knitting either way, and it's MUCH more fun to knit, well, with a purpose.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Here Goes!

I spoke with CT, the Nurse Manager at the NICU (who is so nice, at least on the phone!), and I'm taking the first batch in tomorrow! I'm nervous. I feel like it's my first time knitting for non-friends/family-members, and what if my work is lacking? What if I've totally screwed up the sizes? Made too many small hats? Not enough small hats? What if they hate them? I honestly don't think they will, but that's my fear.

But, here's what I'm taking them!

The Fruit Hats

The Acorn Hat
(This one was knit using Sugar'n Cream rather than the Tahki cotton, so it's a bit heavier, but I think it works.)

The Blueberry Hat
(This is the Tahki cotton, and the blue REALLY pops!)

The Pumpkin Hat (there's two of these)
(The Tahki cotton)

The Strawberry Hat

(I could also see doing the seeds in black.)

The Watermelon Hat
(This is my own design, and I quite like how it came out!)

The Other Hats

The Blue Fuzzy Hat
(This is an acrylic yarn that is SO super-soft, and HORRIBLE to work with! I kept dropping stitches and having to frog it and start over. Which is too bad, because the hat knits up in an hour or so.)

The Pink Fuzzy Hat

(Ditto on this one.)

The Sherbet Hat


The Purple Fun Fur Hat
(This is a microspun yarn with fun fur, my own design. Next time I'll do the fur a bit higher up.)

Non-Hats

The DW Dishcloth

(I used this pattern.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Signs

[Note - I hope I can get this to post, as Blogger seems to be having massive ills lately.]

I started this blog to talk about knitting, of course, but also to have a place to think some more about things in my life beyond just the mundane of my day-to-day existance. I love my life and my family, but I'm longing for a bit more, something for ME. The knitting for the NICU is one thing for me. I'm having so much fun with it. I hope the items are useful for them, but really, I just love the knitting.

The other thing I'm planning to do is become a Certified Childbirth Educator. Yikes! To actually state it "out loud" is a bit scary. I want to do this. I feel like it's a good fit for me, it's a subject I'm passionate about, I love teaching, it's manageable. I've been stalling on moving forward, but a couple of things have happened to make me feel more sure that it's the right path. The small thing is that someone is sending me a coupon for $100 off the class! A random stranger, just doing something nice. The bigger thing is that when I posted on this ALACE group, I got an email from the woman who was my doula for DS2's birth. She's an amazing woman, just so gentle and calm and centered, and was so great during his birth. Well, she's the leader for this program and will be mentoring me through it! That was the CLICK I needed to move forward. So, I have to polish off the essay, and send it in. I can do this.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Change is good, right?

I'm definitely in a period of transition. I had an interesting dream the other night. I dreamed I was at some weekend thing at Kripalu, though for some reason I was camping out. I was supposed to meet up with some people but they didn't show, so I missed the whole event, sitting around feeling twisted up and sad and angry and rejected. As I thought about this dream, it seems very interesting and relevant to where I'm at right now. Kripalu symbolizes self-focused healing and spiritual growth for me. So, in my dream, I was missing this opportunity to do something healing and nurturing for myself, because I was not just waiting around for my friends, but being stood up by them!

I have two friends that I met when our children were all very young (like, weeks). We were all intensely connected. We spent a huge amount of time together, often seeing each other twice a day, every day during the week. One of these women, S, dumped me over the summer. It's been very painful, but I'm definitely moving on. It's very hard because DS1 loved her son, and still often asks about him, even though we haven't seen them in months. The other woman, B, and I have tried to remain friends, but it's clear to me that it's ending as well. For one, her daughter really doesn't play well with my boys, and how she chooses to handle it is quite different from how I would handle it. I think that when we met, we were all very much in the same place with how we parented, but things have changed. For one, I've had second child (20 months younger than my first), and having two so close together changes everything. S, as far as I know, doesn't want another, and B is struggling with secondary infertility. We are just in different places, B and I, and I don't think the friendship is going to survive it, certainly not in the form that it had. I feel both sad, and relieved about this.

I tend to be extremely loyal, to the point where I struggle tremendously with change and with letting go. But this is an okay letting go. I feel like I can let her go with love. Maybe some day we can be friends again, but it doesn't work now. The fact that I can accept that fairly easily is huge.

I am not religious, but I am spiritual, at least, I am spiritually seeking. I don't know if I believe in God (god), but I do believe in what I call the universe. I believe that when I am moving in the right direction, my path is easier. Not without work, I'm not sure there's anything valuable without work, but rather, things fall into place. I feel like the message I'm getting from the universe right now is Clean Your House. Clear out the clutter, let go of the old, stale things that no longer work, sweep out the corners, and make room for the new!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pondering the Possibilities

I am having so much fun with this knitting project. I don't anticipate I'll keep at it with the same intensity, because I have my own projects to do as well, and I don't want to overload them with 4,000 hats! But, I am thinking about a way to keep doing this over the longer term (the next couple of years, anyway) as opposed to this being a one-time thing. One thing I am thinking about is how possibly to fund my yarn purchases!

I am thinking about possibly trying to *gulp* sell some of my creations on-line, maybe at etsy? I have no idea if they would sell at all, but others are certainly selling them (and not crediting Ann Norling at all, or claiming that they designed the hat). I have written a letter that I will send off to her tomorrow, requesting permission to sell a few hats, and we'll see where it goes from there! If I sold one hat a month, that would probably more than cover any yarn expenses, and I would donate anything left over at the end of the year to a children's cause. We'll see what, if anything, she says! I am not particularly hopeful that she'll say yes, but really, even if that happens, it only means that the money comes out of a different budget, you know? It feels sort of overwhelming to think about *selling* my things. I have no idea how to run a business!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Home again, home again.

I spent about 30 hours away from my family this weekend, for the first time since DS2 was born. It was lovely, though I admit that I had a bit of trouble figuring out what to do with myself at first! I was back at my college for Homecoming. I haven't been to this in many years - the last time I was there, I believe I was single, and still drinking. It was lovely to be there sober, but a bit emotional as well. Suprisingly so. I did get to spend time with old friends, which was also lovely. It's so nice to be so happy in my life now.

Hat update - I finished another one! This is a worsted cotton (maybe Sugar'n Cream?), in yellows/pinks/greens - very sherbety colors. I don't actually love the color scheme myself, but someone may! This is just a plain little hat, but I made the point extra long so it's looks sort of Dr. Seussian. This cotton is heavier weight that the cotton I'm using for the fruit hats, and I just kind of winged the gauge, but it came out nicely, and a good size, I think.

I've cast on a slightly larger pumpkin hat. I figure they'll need some bigger hats too, as not all their admits are preemies (my own son being full-term, for example!).

I've also gotten into the dish cloth thing. I am wondering if they can use them at the NICU, and I'm also contemplating switching from sponges to these clothes myself. My sponges seem to get funky really quickly, and these could be washed (and bleached?) every day. If they can't use them on the unit, I may still keep knitting them.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Why I Like Knitting, Part II

I had a couple more thoughts on why I like knitting.

I like counting and numbers. I like thinking along as I knit, oh I'm x% done with this row. I like using my brain in this small little way. Perhaps it's a tad obsessive, who knows? But I definitely enjoy it!

Also, each project is, for me, a leap of faith. Each project, at the very beginning, I think "Wow, I don't know if I can do this" or "this doesn't look right at all" or some such perfectionistic nonesense. With each bit of progress, I get more and more confident. Sometimes I *do* make mistakes and have to start over (I'm really not good at ripping out up to a point and then starting over, I haven't mastered that skill yet), but each time I start something, it's with the faith that I am able to do this, that I am competant, that I can.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Why I Like Knitting

I had one of those frustrating starts to a project today (blueberry hat). I cast on, and realized after the first round that I hadn't cast on enough stitches (my head-math was off). So, I pulled it off. Then I thought, hey, I haven't used the long-tail c/o in a while, why don't I do that? I did, and it was so twisty! I am knitting these hats using the Magic Loop technique, and I've never had trouble joining the round, and this one was all twisted. So, I pulled that out, cast on my usual way, and joined and started knitting.

I love knitting for many reasons. I love using my hands to create. I love seeing the progress as I chug along. I love making useful things, some of which are beautiful, or at least, not bad. I've always loved crafts, and I used to cross-stitch, but this is better for me right now. Also, knitting challenges me, in some really wonderful ways. It challenges my perfectionism, and gives me practice in learning how to decide when to live with a mistake and when to pull it out and start over. I've struggled with perfectionism a long time, and my knitting really does make me think "Is this okay? Is it good enough?" Sometimes the answer is no, and it needs to be redone, but sometimes, surprisingly, the answer is yes! It's not perfect, but it's good enough. Knitting allows me to not be perfect (or even, at times, all that good) at something, and yet still enjoy it.

Knitting also calms my anxious mind. It gives me a focus for my hands and head, so that I can stop thinking quite so much. Or rather, my mind can become so full of what I'm doing, that there's not room for all the anxious chatter my mind creates, so I get some respite. This is a gift. Part of me wishes that I had the time and space and energy in my life to have a serious yoga and meditative practice. I don't right now, and that's okay. But, knitting allows me that time and space, and helps me with the practice of being. I am a head person, an (over)thinker, an (over)planner. I spend far more time that I'd like living in the future or the past. When I'm caught up in knitting, I can just be, right here, right now. It doesn't always work, of course, but when it does, it's quite wonderful.

I've done very little knitting for myself - a couple of scarves, a hat and one sock. Mainly I've knit for my children and other people's children. There's something really special to me about seeing my sons in things I have made them. As I knit these hats for the NICU, I try to project the love I feel for my wonderful boys onto them. It sounds a little crazy, but I want to think of these hats as another piece of love that these little babies could carry with them. They and their families probably need all the love they can get.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Thinking about service.

There is a gentleman in my neighborhood who drives/rides a scooter. As I was pulling out today to go take the boys to play at a friend's house, I saw him go by. As he drove up onto the sidewalk, I saw the basket on the scooter come loose, and fall. I immediately stopped, got out, and gave him a hand.

I was feeling upset before that, about some silly LJ thing. I've been thinking about how scared I am of conflict, how much I nevereverever want to offend ANYONE, and even worse, hurt someone. I am sure I have hurt people, mainly through carelessness and alcohol abuse, but I try not to hurt people deliberately. I also try (I think) to see other people's perspective. Anyway, after I got back in my car, I thought "I think that was helpful for him, and it was really helpful for me." It put some things in perspective, that I was upset about something that I really didn't need to be upset about. Drama that I don't want, or need in my life. I can put this down. I am so blessed - I can walk, I have enough, so much more than enough, I have my family, my health, so many blessings. Why do I worry so much about what other people think?

I finished another hat today! This is quite possibly the cutest hat I've ever made. It's a watermelon hat, of my own design (inspired by a hat seen at the LYS, but not from their pattern). I am so excited at the thought of sending these hats along!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Welcome to Knitting with a Purpose

This is going to be separate from my real life blog, hosted elsewhere. I'm not working to keep this anonymous, I just want to do some writing about some things apart from the mundane, everyday things I tend to write about there. I'm not trying to Write, if you know what I mean, I don't think that's my craft. Rather, I just want to spend some time focusing on other things. The higher picture, rather than the details.

I chose the name because of a project I just started. I wanted to do some volunteer work, but couldn't figure out how to do it, what with being a SAHM to my two boys, and having no regular babysitter. Then it occured to me that perhaps there was a way to volunteer without actually leaving my home. I contacted the NICU at Children's Hospital in Boston, and asked if they might want knitted items - specifically, baby hats. The nurse manager was very interested in this, and I agreed to make some hats for them. I chose the NICU because that's where my younger son was treated for jaundice. Those first few hours, when he had some abnormal liver function test results, were among some of the lowest of my life (and I've had some big ones). Once that straightened out, and it turned out it was just simple, phsiologic jaundice, then it was just difficult and tiring, but not terrifying.

I started last week, and it's been so...fun! I am combining several loves here - knitting, babies, and service. It's been interesting to be knitting these hats. I've been thinking about what their needs might be - different sizes, different types of hats, and just excited at the thought that something I made might make a difference in someone's life. Not a big difference, I know. If your baby is in the NICU, that's just Not Good. But if I could make something pretty, something sweet, something whimsical or fun, and if it gave someone in a bad situation a moment of lightness, that would be worth something to me.

It's important to me, I guess, to be doing something useful and helpful in life. I've been lucky. In my pre-baby life, I was a therapist, and I know that I made a real and important difference in a number of my clients' lives. Nowhere near all of them, of course, no one is that good, but there were some...Being a mother, while so important to me, isn't giving in quite the same way. I can't quite articulate it, and maybe I'll work on doing that here.

So, knitting. I'm not an artist, really. My art has always been interpreting other people's work (music) and looking at what's there (photography), rather than creating (except for a short time where I wrote some poetry, some of it even good, if I do say so myself, but that part of me seems to be on a long-term hiatus). I've always loved crafts. I love taking a pattern and the materials and creating something. I learned to knit when I was young, but hadn't done it in years, until two years ago, when I decided to knit a pumpkin hat for my older son for his halloween costume. I was 8 weeks pregnant with my younger son when I took my "Knitting Fruit Hats" class (I was the only student). I was wanting a new craft, since previously I had been a cross-stitcher, but needles and toddlers/young babies seemed a bad mix to me. I fell in love. I've been pretty damn good about finishing projects, which is amazing for me. I've got several cross-stitch pieces yet to be completed, but only one knitting project hanging over me (a simple sweater knit before I discoved knitting from the top down). I love seeing the things I've made worn and used! I may be slipping into One Sock Syndrome, but once I get a fair whack of these hats done, I'll get back to the socks.

So, the hats. So far, I've completed a soft fuzzy plain pink hat, a pumpkin hat (the proportions are wrong on it though so I may not give it), and a fun hat - a deep purply blue microspun with a few rows of coordinating fun fur. I think it's adorable, and hopefully someone else will too.

I'm calling this blog Knitting with a Purpose because, I suppose, that's what it feels like I'm doing with these hats. Not just for me, or for my family. I feel good to be connecting with that part of me that wants to give.