Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In Other Loppem News

The Loppem Finish That Almost Wasn't

There I was, house almost to myself, time on my hands, my to-do list written out, knitting away, when I noticed this-
Shock. Disbelief. Horror. I have never made such an air-headed mistake in all my knitting. Well, there was that sleeve incident with my Cropped Cardigan, that was kind of air-headed. Maybe I should say I've never made such a painful mistake in my knitting. This wasn't 25 rows of 60 sts or less, in plain St st or a simple 1x1 rib, in a bulky gauge... This was a misdirected cabling, 10 rows back, long rows, 22o sts each at this point, over a cable pattern. Ouch.

I was faced with the horrid prospect of having to attempt a sweater surgery, the magnitude of which I have never attempted (my hats off to you lace knitters who can repair misknit lace!), or the ripping back of 10 very long rows requiring much more reworking.
I remembered a post on the Loppem KAL on Ravelry, which referred to this drastic repair job, and I knew it could be done. It was time to be daring, time to work on a new skill, time to get to work- after a good night's sleep and some whimpering for sympathy from my sister.
I figured, worst case scenario- I would have to rip back, and well, if I didn't attempt the surgery, I would be ripping back anyway, so... I figured it was time to 'scrub in'.
I thought maybe I could just drop those middle 5 sts involved in the misdirected cable, but as I got close, I realized that those sts were crossed with neighboring sts in the rest of the cable, so I ended up dropping everything in between the knit st borders- 13 sts of cabling...
I stuck a double point needle through those sts and sat back and wondered what to do next- then began reworking those sts with that big bunch of wild yarn dangling after dropping all of those sts all of those rows...
It was much easier than I had imagined, in fact, I'd almost say it was fun. What a sense of exhilaration and accomplishment (this, coming from the girl who would work and rework that crazy extra credit problem in Algebra, until finally letting out a very audible 'yes!!' with hands in the air like I'd just crossed the finish line first and the gold was all mine!!)

Notice the celebratory chocolate, conveniently in the house due to pregnancy induced sweet tooth.

I am no longer nearly as intimidated by such knitting emergencies, and will endeavor henceforth to think of such trials as merely knitting challenges (can you tell who's been on a Jane Austen kick for the last several years...?) though I don't think my brain is ready for any complicated lace repairs any time soon (not a problem, as I don't have any lacework in my near future, now my distant future- that's another story.) For that, I should wait until the pregnancy brain fog has lifted, and the 'young nursing baby robbing me of all sleep lasting more than 2 hours' phase has passed, which for me and my babies usually lasts for 6-9 months. I should pick up some under eye concealer soon, even though I'm not a make-up person. 3 months from now, when every person I meet and greet says something to the effect of 'you look so tired', I'll know I've waited too long...

I still want to make another Loppem, in brown. So many sweaters to knit, so little time...

Happy knitting-

PS- Baby Countdown Details
  • 'Due' in 10 days- just dawning on me that 10 days is less than 2 weeks...
  • still have 2 bedroom painting projects I am hoping to get to before baby
  • we have no idea on a name yet, well some ideas, but no consensus
  • need to do more pantry stocking
  • should pack a 'hospital bag' soon
  • need new nursing bras
  • got fabric for a quilt like this one, or this one
  • cast on a Garter Stitch Cardigan Saturday afternoon, one sleeve and finishing to go...
  • In an effort to clean & declutter before baby, I now have a van load of 'stuff' for the thrift store, it needs to get dropped off asap

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Loving My Loppem

When Norah Gaughan, vol. 3 came out- I knew right away that I wanted to make a Loppem, a Calvert, and an Eastlake, and they moved into positions 1, 2, & 3 in my Ravelry Queue... With short sleeves and a worsted weight gauge, I figured I'd start off with a lovely little Loppem. I was thinking a dark green or brown but then got to thinking about how some splashes of color can do a wardrobe good, and how I had 5 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes in a lovely blue sitting in my stash (I'm normally not one to knit in the color I see in the pattern, but hey, with my pale skin, I wear blue well, and it's not black or brown...)

The pattern calls for six 50 gr balls of Berroco Palace, with each 50 gr ball having approx 103 yards of yarn. Well, I had five 100 gr hanks of yarn- more than enough, or so my non-thinking brain thought that day. 50 gr vs. 100 gr. No contest, surely I'd have extra yarn. Um, maybe, except for the fact that my 100 gr hanks of Blue Sky Worsted had about 100 yds each!!! (Can we say density? Blue Sky's Worsted is a meaty kind of yarn! It feels so good on, trust me on this one, it's like wrapping in a blanket.)

I started getting nervous as I neared the end of the second skein and my sweater looked about 1/3 done... um, that was because it was about 1/3 done- I was gonna need 6 hanks.

I also need to mention that I was using yarn from a very old dye-lot, one I couldn't get my hands on anymore. Hmmm, what to do? Send out a desparate cry for help on Ravelry? It almost came to that... when I remembered a long forgotten pair of socks, unfinished worsted socks, unfinished because they weren't going to fit, gauge was too tight. I frogged about 10 inches of old knitting (knee highs...) and rewound my sweater-saving 6th ball of blue, of which I probably used less than half. What am I going to do with about 60 yds of blue worsted? It will probably end up a stripe in something, or maybe some cat's cradle play for several young people I know... That doesn't matter- what matters now is that I get to wear my Loppem!

(pic from last week, 37 week baby belly)

*** lesson learned- check yardage! ***

Our weather is just starting to turn cool enough to want and even need a layer of woolly, alpaca-y, warmthness, and I am definitely going to enjoy this knit in the next many weeks and months- I do live in Minneosota, remember?
Are you knitting something special for this next season? I hope so.
Happy knitting-

PS-Baby Countdown Details
  • 'due' in 14 days
  • low back and hips feeling it today
  • new car seat is in
  • still need a new crib
  • cleaning room & organizing baby clothes this weekend
  • gathered relaxing music for labor
  • slowly easing back on coffee...

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Little Ear Flaps for New Little Ears

Despite having knit 2 little baby hats during the recent Ravelympics, I've been feeling the need to knit more. It might have something to do with the fact that I can't decide which cute little baby sweaters I want to knit in 3-6 months size, and which ones I want to knit bigger to fit when the first round of hand knit baby dressage is relegated to hope chests and teddy bears. It might have something to do with having too many single skeins in my stash and not having the time, energy, or budget for very many multiple skein purchases, when there are things like new cribs and car seats to be buying...
I think it has more to do with my very short attention span as of late, that, and a life-long love of hats. At any rate, I've been smitten with the idea of a little ear flap hat- we do live in Minnesota, after all, the land of 10,000 lakes, large and blood thirsty mosquitoes, and more bitter cold, frost covered, toe-numbing months than hot muggy ones every year. (Why, oh why, are the times in between the extremes so short?!)
For Warm Little Ears Hat #1, I went with Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed in Coffee, with a simple single crochet contrast edging in Squash, perfect fall colors. Cotton will give baby a comfy, cozy, feel, while giving mom carefree washability.
Warm Little Ears Hat #2 has been cast on in the scrumptious Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight (100% baby alpaca) in Natural Dk Brown and Avocado. This one will be striped, because I'm addicted to the stripe. The soft baby alpaca will be a sweet luxury for baby, so soft and deliciously warm, totally worth the hand washing.
I have several more variations planned, including some fun embroidery embellishment. I'm typing through my cryptic design notes, translating them into a readable pattern, to be released as soon as a few more hats are finished and modeled.
Fun stuff to pass the time, eh? 20 days 'till 'due date'...
Happy knitting-
PS- I ravelled my finished Loppem, and hope to post soon about my little cable mishap...

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

23 Days To Go...Maybe...

(Teaser pic, previous baby...)

I actually had my first baby on his 'due date'. From what I've read, it's 'typical/common' to go the longest with the first and then often a wee bit earlier with the next ones, but then I've also read, and can attest to the validity of the statement, that there is no 'typical' when it comes to pregnancy.

With my second, I was induced 12 days past my 'due date'. They would've let me go to 14, except that it fell on a holiday, which fell on a Sunday that year, and they don't do inductions on Sundays, and half the hospital staff would be taking their vacation day on Monday (as they already had Sunday off, but you gotta get your vacation day in, right?!) and so they couldn't do it until Tuesday, which would've been day 16 (past due) and that was just too much... so Friday, 12 days over it was. He was 9 lbs. 10 oz.

With number three, I begged and pleaded to be induced a little before my due date, fearing another gigantic baby. My pleas fell on compassionate ears, and at 5 days early, she was 8 lbs. 13 oz.

I wanted to trust the Lord, as well as my body, with the next one. I was thrilled beyond belief to be getting good and ready a few weeks early- at 37 weeks I was dilated to 4 cm! That had never happened before. The midwife reminded me that didn't mean I'd have a baby in the next 24 hours, but she said she wouldn't be surprised if I didn't make it through the weekend... she was 5 days over, which meant that I walked around dilated to 4cm for a MONTH! At least that labor was short and sweet- 4 1/2 hours from start to finish. We were only at the hospital for about 2 hours before having her, and it was so smooth, and, while not pain-free, it was so manageable that it was the first birth with no painkillers whatsoever. She was 8 lbs. 14 oz.

Number 5 was interesting- water broke 5 days past 'due', but no active labor right away. I went to the hospital anyway, so they could start the IV antibiotics that I was supposed to be on due to a positive Strep B culture (you're supposed to be on them for 4 hours before delivering). An hour later, just after the midwife had stopped in to say 'hi' before changing into scrubs, and saying "we'll give it a couple hours and then discuss when to start pitocin", some contractions started. By the time she got back from changing, I was quite uncomfortable, and about 45 minutes after realizing I was in labor (without pitocin!) she practically flew out- all 9 lbs. 12 oz. of her! Then came the crazy bleeding, and um, yeah, not fun, my first experience with anemia... glad I don't have to live like that, I have enough troubles with energy levels. (oh, yeah, and she came without painkillers too, not by choice, the anesthesiologist didn't get there until I went to push- 'do you still need me?' he dared ask... "no!" I moaned... UGH)

So, trying to avoid the fast and furious, not to mention the downright dangerous bleeding, with number 6 (yep, I said 6) I opted for a controlled induction, and had my first epidural. I don't ever want to feel the creepy sensation of a small catheter being threaded up my spinal column again. It's worse that fingernails on a chalkboard. My blood pressure plummeted, causing me to vomit, while my husband had stepped out for a sandwich, yeah, he got to miss that, lucky guy. Pain relief was total, I will say that. The midwife cranked up the pitocin (since I couldn't feel a thing!) and left us for a bit of paperwork catch-up. She stopped in to see how it was going, and I had just had a contraction where I thought I had just barely felt the slightest sensation (I thought maybe the epidural was wearing off) so she said she'd better check my progress, lifted the sheet and grinned, um, yep, there's a head... that slight sensation was my daughter's head, crowning, you know that intensely painful part of delivery?! The point where your body is the most stretched open it will ever be...?! Yeah, I thought I felt a little something. She said go ahead and push- I laughed- push what? I couldn't feel a thing. I tried, but just busted up laughing at the irony of the whole situation. The pictures look as though I was in pain, nope, just laughing. Apparently I look like I'm in pain when I laugh- I should work on that.

Pain relief is nice, catheters up your spine, not so nice. I'm hoping not to go that route this time, but with pregnancy and delivery how it is, completely unpredictable, who knows? I'm just looking forward to our little guy (and a flatter tummy, I totally admit it). And with only 23 days to go, give or take 5-14 (probably give, as in 5-14 more days), I suppose I'd better get knitting...

Ya think?

Happy knitting-


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