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August, 2008:

Knitting keeps the crazies away

I’ve been thinking about stress relief lately, and about methods of coping. I asked my chiropractor if her adjustments could possibly have caused my right eyelid to begin twitching. It started twitching a couple of weeks ago, around the time I started seeing a chiropractor. She allowed that it’s possible the adjustments could have something to do with it, but that eye twitches are more often caused by stress.
Stress? Impossible! I’m 19 weeks pregnant and more than one person has told me I’ve got that glow. I’m starting to feel the little bugger moving around in there and it’s one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far. I was telling a friend on Saturday that maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones, or maybe I’m just in a good place in life, but I’ve never been happier than I have been lately.
Still, I have to admit it’s possible to be happy and under stress at the same time. There’s a lot to do between now and January and I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with it. My bathroom is half painted (and the half that’s painted, I painted it so badly it’s almost funny). The future baby’s room is packed with non-baby-related junk almost to the point where you can’t walk across the room.
But I take a deep breath and instead of painting or moving stuff out of that room, what do I do?
I knit.
I’m knitting the Sideways Sockyarn Baby Sweater. I don’t have a photo of it in process (beyond the one I posted earlier), but Flickr user Spinnity has a photo of one that’s at the same stage mine is currently at. And check out her lovely finished version.
Knitting is a wonderful stress relief as I’m sure anyone who knits would agree. I know there will be many more stressful moments in the next few months — both baby-related and not baby-related — and it’s a comfort to me that I have something I know will keep my hands and my mind busy. Hopefully not to the exclusion of real preparation for the baby, but enough to keep me on the sane side.
I hope everyone has something like knitting in their lives. If not knitting, then reading or exercise or something. Something meditative and sane-making.

Not a competition ….

… and I hope getting your new Bump Sweater makes you feel like you’re the winner even though you had that setback on your project.
Yes, folks, I made it to the finished line in the Ravelympics Sweater Sprint for Team MN. I bound off the last piece of the Bump Sweater on the plane home from New Jersey on Thursday, August 21st, soaked and blocked the pieces Thursday night. By Saturday morning, August 23rd, it was dry and ready for seaming. So, yea for me, I finished the Sweater Sprint!

Ravelympics Project: Bump Sweater

A great quick project and I hope you love it, Andrea!

Out of the Race

I was so sure I was going to be able to finish Liesl in time for the end of the Olympics this Sunday. I’d finished the entire body and just needed to pick up the sleeve stitches and knit the short sleeves. No problem, right?
But after getting all my sleeve stitches onto needles, I quickly found myself completely confused about which side was the right side and which side was the wrong side. It took an embarrassing amount of time before I realized the reason for my confusion: I’d accidentally switched my direction of knitting after knitting the yoke. So the yoke was inside out but the entire rest of the body was right side out. Or vice versa.
After mom’s stocking reversal, and now this, I’m beginning to think not only is knitting a hereditary disease, but possibly dyslexia?
I stared at it for a while until I finally had to come to terms with the depressing fact that there’s no easy fix. I have to pull the entire body of the sweater out back to the armholes.
I could probably finish it if I didn’t do anything else all weekend. That is not going to happen.
Well, Mom, I guess if this is a competition, looks like you’re going to be the winner!

My heart rate is up …

… I’m breathing fast and my muscles ache as the Ravelympics finish line approaches! I cast off the last sleeve of the Bump Sweater on the plane last night so all the pieces are done and as I write this, they’re blocked and drying in preparation for finishing the seaming. I’m still thinking I might get the Holiday Stocking done, too, but that will be tough. More later! Gasp, wheeze ….

Dye Party …

Andrea and I attended a yarn dyeing clinic on Saturday. We have dyed roving and yarn in the past, but always with an impressive MacBeth-worthy cauldron of boiling, nasty, chemically dyes. Especially in light of her pregnancy (oh, did you know Andrea’s pregnant?), we were pleased when Needlework Unlimited offered a “dyeing natural yarns with cake frosting dye” clinic.
The weather was gorgeous and we did it out in their parking lot. Andrea and I had pre-registered, but some people just walked up and said, “Hey, whatcha doin’? Shur looks fun … kin-I try it?” (That’s the way people talk in Minne-soh-tah). And the instructor (Caitlin) was okay with that. (It’s a “Minnesota nice” thing … who’s going to say, “no, go away” … not us, that’s fur-shur.)

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
It was just a laid back, almost a “chatting-over-the-back-fence” kind of day in the neighborhood, and we had some nice yarn when we were done.

Andrea's My dyed yarn, dry and twisted in hank

I did take some notes and when I get a chance, I’ll write them up and add them to our DIY section. Steph will be in town next week and I hope we get a chance to do another dyeing session with cake frosting dye while she’s in town.

Update: Ravelympics

I have set the Holiday Stocking project aside for now and am just concentrating on the Sweater Sprint – the Bump Sweater project. I have completed the back, and have started the front piece. So I think I’m on track to complete that event on time.
Ravelympics Project
Tomorrow morning Needlework Unlimited is having a Dye Party in their parking lot. Andrea and I have signed up to attend and play around with dying a couple skeins of sock yarn, using all-natural dyes of course (oh, did you know, she’s pregnant?). It should be geat fun and I’m really really looking forward to it (dyeing yarn and being a grandma).
On my drive in to work this morning I was thinking about “the sweater project” and “the pregnancy” and “the baby.” Andrea asked me yesterday if I had a sense of whether it’s a boy or a girl and I said I had no sense of it. But on the drive in this morning my mind was filled with girl names and girl things … so I think somewhere deep in me is a sense that this is a girl.
… 50:50 chance I’m right!

Doh!

I had intended to post a bit of braggery about my Ravelympics progress the end of day Saturday but was too exhausted, didn’t get it done. Then Saturday became Sunday and Andrea came over for dinner. I pulled out the knitting projects and proudly showed off my progress.
Progress on Ravelympics projects
She cocked her head sideways and said, “but this is wrong …”, pointing out to me that Santa is going to end up on the inside of the stocking, not the outside. It’s totally backward from what it should be when compared to the original stocking. And this has to exactly match the original. Besides, it would just be stupid to have the Santa on the inside and the plain ole tree on the outside. So it’s tinking time! This could be fatal for my completion of the event it’s entered in, Holiday Handball. I’ll start over, though, but I really think I have to put the majority of my efforts into the Sweater Sprint, which is progressing nicely.
Progress on Ravelympics projects
You realize, Moms, that Andrea finding the problem with the Vintage Holiday Stocking is payback for the hard time I gave her during our liveblogging Friday night during the televising of the 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony.
The pearl of “mother-wisdom” out of this sad saga: Don’t go giving people superior-attitude sass … that kind of neener-neener attitude will come back to bite you in the butt every time!

“Liveblogging” the Ravelympics Opening Ceremonies…

Though it’s not technically live, as the opening ceremonies happened hours and hours ago, NBC will kick off their coverage of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics and Mom and I are “live” blogging it. We’ll continue to post updates as we watch the opening ceremonies tonight and start our Ravelympics projects.
And now, I’m going to furiously try to finish my swatch before the opening ceremonies broadcast starts in a half hour. Watch this space!
-Andrea
(click through to read the rest of our liveblogging!)

(more…)

Last day of training for the Olympics

So the Olympics start tomorrow. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Olympics, though I’ve always been intrigued by the spectacle of it all. This year I’m more intrigued by the Olympics than I ever have before, all because of the controversies and all the hype about China hosting the event. The lengths they’ve been going to in order to prepare for the Olympics and impress the world are staggering to me, especially in light of their human rights transgressions and their lack of freedom of the press. I am so interested to see how this all goes down.
Today’s my day to gear up for the Olympics in the only way I can – by knitting, of course. Mom is coming over tomorrow night and we’ll be casting on for our Ravelympics projects together. We’re going to live-blog the event (she doesn’t know that yet – but hey, I’m the host so I can decide these things) so if you’re participating in Ravelympics too and you’re online, come and check out the blog anytime during the opening ceremonies tomorrow night!
In the meantime, check out these two guys, who are in good shape, trying to do a few Olympic events to see how the average Joe can stack up against Olympic athletes. It’s amazing how compared to these guys, Olympic athletes almost make it look easy.

And it’s worth a trip to their blog entry to compare their stats to the Olympians stats and read their commentary.
Back to the world of knitting, I still have to finish my “training” (aka, my swatch). I’ve had to make two different swatches already and neither one of them has been to gauge. I’m hoping third time’s the charm, or I might have to return this yarn and get something else.

First baby knitting project!

I have to say, it’s pretty cool to be knitting something for my baby. Somehow it makes it all feel just a little bit more real to be creating something tangible that I can imagine putting onto a baby – my baby. Kind of mind-blowing, really.

This is my first baby knitting project so far. It’s the Sideways Sockyarn Baby Sweater. So far, I’m pretty impressed with how well-written the pattern is. It would be a good pattern for a beginning knitter; it explains things like how to close the gap formed when you join knitting in the round, and why knowing the difference between a M1 increase and a knit-into-front-and-back increase is important. It’s the sort of pattern that immediately instills trust that it will not lead you astray. I hope it continues to live up to that glowing review. And it’s fun to knit up something that has such an unusual construction.
I can’t wait to see how this turns out!