Um... I'm not sure if I think it's cool or not, but it's post worthy. Thanks to Knithound Brooklyn for posting it as well.
Last night I finished The Doctor's Wife after several late night nursing sessions. I find it impossible to put down a book when I only have 10 or so pages left. Part of the tiredness that haunted my day today was due to the fact that this rule applies even if it is almost four in the morning and I am exhausted through and through.

I spent an hour at Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg with a friend and her mother stroking piles and baskets of lovely yarn. There's nothing quite like a room bursting with color, texture and the dreamy state of potential. K was in the throws of finding the perfect yarn to construct a cabled jacket she's fallen in love with and I fell into a soft-as-a-cloud chair to plug away at a few more short rows on my MIL's Christmas scarf. I had the luxury of undisturbed knitting for a few minutes because I pinpointed a ball of beautiful glue/green/purple mom-friendly washable acrylic-wool yarn for a friend's requested project within 30 seconds of walking in the shop. It was hiding in the back room, waiting to be stocked. It didn't stand a chance. K's mom was getting her baby fix with my son while I lapsed into a calm knitting session.

The year is close to ending and I'm already mentally formulating the knitting attack for 2010. I'd like to start knitting items for charity, have all my Christmas gifts done by Thanksgiving and still manage to find some needle time for some selfish knitting. Okay, not some time for selfish knitting, a lot. On the charity front I'd like to make chemo hats for those struggling with cancer or knit warm items for needy children. I figure if I make one a month, I'll spend about a week on that. I could spend another week working on gift knitting and then relish two whole weeks working on things for myself.

Why two weeks? Because I want big things. I don't fancy wearing hats often because I have long hair and I either have hat head or end up with a frizzy hair do. Gloves? Can't drive with them and too easily lost. Scarves? Have plenty of those already. Socks? Still not ready to dive back into that. That leaves me with tops and bottoms, more of less. I really want to start using up our old and ragged clothes to make crocheted floor rugs for the bathroom and kitchen. Tshirt rugs are incredible soft underfoot, not to mention absorbent and easy to care for on day-to-day basis. I have a pile of red tshirts from my husband washed and ready to be butchered.

I have a mental list of projects I want to make - the majority of which consist of sweaters/cardigans. There's a retro blazer and a cami-shorts set I'd like to knit out of some knitting magazines that have been collecting dust. I promised my father and his new wife a queen-sized afghan for their bedroom. I'd really like to make more hand-knit items for my son. Potholders. Felted boots. Tablecloth. Washcloths and matching towels. I won't touch on the subject of never having enough time to complete that list.

Speaking of time, it's 11 p.m. and I should get back to knitting!
It occurred to me tonight that I've been neglecting my blog. That's what happens when life happens I suppose. My husband's work schedule has been pretty crappy as of late and I don't get much done during the day when he's gone. On the weekends we've been busy with Christmas shopping and enjoying family time together. I've been knocking out a couple knitted gifts, but I'm not nearly as far as I was hoping to be. Luckily we have a 16 hour car ride home, so I just may be able to get all my gifts done on time.

While attending a Christmas party a couple days ago I struck up a conversation with a girl I know and found out that she babysits. Hello? Can I get an amen? She's home schooled, so she's flexible - and that is wonderful. I'm doing a test run with her tomorrow afternoon while I go see New Moon with my neighbor. I had a comical moment while talking to my husband about the new babysitter... My babysitting days don't seem so far behind me and now I'm the one doing the hiring. It's hard feeling time slip out of my hands so quickly. In a few months I'm going to wake up and be 26 years old. The closer that 30 comes the more my head can't wrap itself around the fact that my twenties are speeding by me.

We live in a society that glorifies perpetual youth and vitality and I'd be arrogant to say that it doesn't affect me to some degree. I don't see the same person in the mirror these days. There are perceptions and ideas changing in my thoughts and I feel like I'm moving forward to another level, one where I have to leave certain things behind. It's a little scary, but it's also invigorating. I can only hope that my maturity level catches up with my age soon! Hahaha... Or not. I wonder if other women feel the same pressure to "grow up" that I've felt. From one day to the next I have to ask myself how other people perceive me and whether I care or not. If I should care or not. Does it even matter?

One comfort in the progression of my age is that I don't feel like I missed out on anything. I've done so much and more than what I wanted to do in life. While my friends were pursuing higher education I was in the trenches of my tattoo apprenticeship and seeing the world. It wasn't what I thought I was going to do. In High School I daydreamed about going into the psychiatric field, but I never had the vision. As in literally, I could not visualize myself going to college and doing it. When I slept at night I dreamed of the world outside of where I grew up, the foreign customs I'd only read about and the voluptuous adventure life could be if I didn't just go with the flow and refused the standard. I am so happy I firmly believed in my dreams and was blessed enough to live them out - or live through them, in some cases. I'm glad that when the wrinkles start to set in and I have to wonder if my eventual teenagers will be on the right track, I won't have to sit down and worry that life shorted me of something or that I didn't go for the gold when I had the chance.
Well, after much contemplation I've decided to knit up my SIL's Christmas scarf from a lace pattern I found in my Fitted Knits book. I'm using two strands of the lace weight cashmere. It's easier than my original plan. I tried out the lace pattern the ladies at the LYS gave me when I bought the yarn, but it would have taken too long on the recommended needle size and it looked crappy on bigger needles.

I've done 4 or 5 pattern repeats and it's going pretty fast, so I'm certain I'll have it done in time for the holidays. I spaced out a couple of times while knitting and made several ridiculous "I'm concentrating" faces while figuring out where I messed up. Luckily, I caught the extra stitch soon enough that I only had to tink back 10 stitches. Here's a progress shot from the front.

In other news... I finally wove in the ends and felted another bowl that I've had done since September. Here it is drying.

While the little one was napping I whipped up a little sample of duplicate-stitching on a swatch of cream wool to see how the color would felt and to measure the shrinkage. After stretching the swatch lost about half an inch each way.

I was happily surprised to see that the light color did felt quite nicely because...

I've got plans for tomorrow...
Before we moved here I'd never heard of a Nor'easter.

Now I'm in the middle of it. They say the water may rise up to 8 feet, which will mean we will be completely flooded out and have to evacuate. This is the downfall of living on the coast. By the time I was done taking photos this afternoon I was soaked to the bone and felt like a feather battling the wind. Needless to say, I skipped going to knitting group tonight - there was no way I was going to haul an infant into this mess.

Crossing my fingers that the power doesn't go out!
I feel like all I've done the last week is feed and tend to Lucas. He's going through a growth spurt and eating/fussing more than usual. The only upside to that is that he's going to bed between 7 and 8 p.m. Can't complain about that! I recently had a check-up for him and he weighed in at fourteen and half pounds and he's 24.5 inches long! My little boy is growing... it's hard to believe he'll be four months old on Friday. Before we know it he'll be on his feet and causing a ruckus around here.

You know what else has been growing? A few things. First: my Emerald Cardi is coming along nicely. I've been trying to knit at every opportune moment - there have been a few more of those moments since Lucas's bedtime has been earlier.

Second, my stash! After my husband went to work the 2 p.m. - 10 p.m. shift I wasn't looking forward to chilling at home with my fussy son, so I called my best knitting friend and luckily she was as excited about shopping for yarn as I was - probably even more so after I fed her delicious chocolate my Dad sent me from Germany! 30 minutes later we were in Williamsburg, a historical town I have yet to visit before today.

After I fondled the entire shop's collection of yarn like a newly wed on her honeymoon, Lucas "helped" me pick out a couple of beauties while sporting the first sweater I made for him while I was pregnant. I've coveted those gorgeous and pricey skeins of Noro for quite some time and today I said yes. Not only that, but I used my sister-in-law's Christmas present as an excuse to buy a decadent hank of cashmere. The ladies at Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg were nice enough to wind my cashmere into a ball for me, too. Talk about great service! I don't mind winding my bulky yarn into thumb balls, but the thin cashmere would have been a trying experience. Pictures!

A little fuzzy, but it's the best I can do after dark.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the Noro... I bought it under the pretext that I would make it into a hat for myself, but I think Noro doesn't need a reason. That's the ill yarn-hoarder in me speaking...
I forgot to mention that last night at knitting Bev graciously showed me how to wind a thumb ball after three of us tag teamed my tangled hank of wool. A ball winder is on my Christmas list though... and I might have to add a swift as well. Here's a progress shot of the Emerald Cardigan after a little more knitting today. I'm substituting KFBs for the YOs on the raglan increases, I don't like the holes on the original pattern.

It was a full day. I woke up early at 8 (yes, that's early for me) and threw on some ultra casual jeans, sneakers and a hoody. I even sported a ponytail. I almost never leave the house that casual unless I'm going for a walk or something. I was simply too tired to care. My friend Kristy was a godsend and let me drop off the little one while I dropped off the dogs at the groomer for an anti-flea bath and a haircut. I picked up breakfast on the way back to her house and I did a little knitting while we talked.

The dogs were squeaky clean and ready to be picked up at 12:30. After I checked and rechecked to make sure they were both flea-free, I made up for some of the petting they haven't been getting recently. Casper was so happy to be back in my good graces that he cozied up in my lap for the ride home and fell asleep belly-up in the crook of my arm. If I hadn't been using my right arm to steer I would have snapped a photo. My husband and I agreed we like him a lot better when he isn't a huge, stupid ball of fur.

Seriously. Look at that cuteness. Who can resist that? And, now that he's shaved down enough to catch a chill outside I have all the more reason to finally dress him in the sweaters I made him last year. The black turtleneck is very loose without his extra coat and it's a little worn out, but it still serves its purpose.

The book study went well. I love having a group of like-minded women with which I can discuss marriage in all its complexities. We'll be carpooling to Virginia Beach on Saturday to attend a private session about learning to hear God's voice among all the other voices circulating in our busy heads. I'm really looking forward to it. Honestly, I haven't thought about, nor have I had the privacy/time to really sit quietly and converse with The Man Upstairs. Life has become faster paced since we left Germany. I've also been a little disconnected and less motivated in all things spiritual since we left our church in Germany and the one we were attending here closed due to various factors. There are plenty of churches... but how does one choose from the dozens available?

My husband's work schedule has temporarily changed and he's at home around 5-ish in the evening. It's great to have more face time with him than usual. My days without him tend to be long, drawn-out and often lonely.

My goals for tomorrow include actually cooking a meal, knitting, housework and pumping enough breast-milk to get Lucas by on Saturday when I'm gone.

I caught a ride with a friend and her husband to knitting group tonight. She coerced me out of the house with this mini cupcake with delectable chocolate frosting. Thank goodness I don't believe in dieting!

It was fun wearing my sweater out for the first time. It's so comfy it almost made me forget about my headache. I woke up with my head feeling like it was crushed under a whale, it got a little better with a hot shower and then my husband decided to scare the bejesus out of me right after I got out of the shower... so it came back. Must be the weather. Thunder is crashing outside as I type and the lightening is beautiful.

Now that I've finally finished knitting up the tedious boucle sweater I swatched for and cast on for my Emerald Cardigan. Hopefully this will take me less time than the last. I bought Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel about a year and half ago while we were stationed in Germany. I'm not sure if there are too many other patterns in the book that I'm interested in knitting, but that may change if I can find some yarn that speaks my language.

I plan on making some adjustments to the pattern - I'm going to give it more length so it's not in any way cropped, knit full-length sleeves and may leave out some of the texture. I hope that the neck doesn't turn out too wide and semi-boat-neck-like. If it does I might have to add a collar of some kind.

Didn't I just post about selfish knitting? Yeah... I still have a list of Christmas gifts I should be knitting instead of another sweater for myself. Christmas is just around the corner in terms of knitting... I might have to come up with some other crafty ideas for gifts that don't include yarn.

The title is German, it means red-eggplant, which is exactly how the colors look in real life. Tonight after my son went to bed and my husband was zoning out in front of the tube I finished my sweater, wove in the ends and fixed my messed up waist shaping. I am soooo happy with the end result because it didn't result in disaster, it fits me and I love it! Unfortunately it's after midnight and I'm the only one awake so I used the self-timer on the camera. I started the sweater in August, so it took me about three months to finish. I'll get some better action shots when there's sunlight and another pair of hands.

I started knitting size L to accommodate my bust and decreased after the armpits - at least that's what I should have done. In reality I decreased too quickly at the waist and just sewed it/took it in after it was complete. I added a cowl neck because I hate boat neck tops, they don't do anything for my scoliosis-induced crooked shoulders and in the size L the boat neck was more like an off-the-shoulder top on me. There were other alterations to the pattern, but nothing dramatic worth mentioning.

I'm so happy this is finally done! Now I need to gauge swatch for my next sweater. Knitting group is tomorrow and I'm thinking about either starting the new sweater or starting on long-overdue Christmas presents... At heart I am a very selfish knitter.
Meh. The days are growing shorter and the sky is relentlessly full of dreariness. Wind and rain. I have yet to find the perfect climate in all my travels. It's either too hot, too cold, too humid, too windy, too snowy, too something. It's maddening. As much as I would like to be the outdoorsy-type, the weather holds me back in one way or another. I want to live somewhere that maintains a delightful room temperature feel, where the skies are always blue and smiling and there is never any snow. Alas, nature mocks my desires. For now, I'll just stay inside, thanks.

So about that sweater I'm knitting. It is 14 rounds to being finished. You know how much I knitted this last week? 6 rounds. That's it. And it's terribly pathetic. After I put my son to sleep I spend time with my husband, catch up on housework or watch a good show... but my knitting sits scrunched up in a basket unconvincingly beckoning to me. I've been knitting the same part of the sleeve for two weeks now and have made an inch of progress at the most. It makes me sad, but then I remember that I'm not knitting because I'm taking care of my home, my family and spending time with the people that supersede my crafty endeavors. Plus, I might just be a tad apprehensive to cast off because then I'd have to actually begin my next project(s) and maybe I'm not ready yet. Maybe I'm just now coming to terms with the fact that I can no longer knit 8 hours a day when I feel like it. Sometimes, I can't even squeeze in 14 rounds a week. I'm a mom to an infant. That's the reality.

Lately I've replaced my late-night knitting time with a book before bed. I forgot the feeling of simple pleasure that I find in reading. I've been up to my elbows in The Prince of Tides for the last week, turning page after page of family drama and clashing cultures. I can relate to much of what is written, though not to the word, my history is formed out of many events - as in the book, some of which are heart-crushingly painful to remember. The only downfalls of my reading this past week have been firstly staying up too late reading and paying for it in the morning and the absolute ridiculous wordiness of the novel at times. I consider myself well read to a degree. Granted, I haven't read all the classics, but in my 25 years I have put back a decent amount of books and millions of written words. There are words in this book that make me go cross-eyed with confusion. Were I more ambitious as I was back in school, I might actually write down and dictionary reference the words I'm unfamiliar with, but I'm really not feeling up to it because I just want to enjoy the story.
Well, not really, but almost. I was sitting here after my husband went to bed thinking about what I should eat. Taco soup came to mind, I figured there would be more than plenty to eat over the weekend and to stock the freezer for a less motivated cooking day.

Here's my recipe:

1.5 Lb ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
1 can fiesta corn, drained
1 can tomatoes with habaneros
2 (14 oz) cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup sour cream
3 cups shredded cheese (I used CMJ)

Heaping estimates:
1 Tbs + 1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper


Brown beef in a frying pan and set aside. In soup pot, saute onions in 2 Tbs olive oil until tender. Add beef and all other ingredients and spices except the cheese. Stir until ingredients are well mixed. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer over medium heat for up to 20 minutes. Add cheese and stir. Simmer an additional 10 minutes.

I plan on serving this with fresh baked bread on the weekend. My mom gave me a bread machine that I am dying to try out. For tonight I just crumbled a handful of tortilla chips over the soup. It's my kind of spicy. If you want yours less spicy use canned tomatoes with chili peppers instead.



Not a whole lot going on around here these days - at least nothing interesting enough to write about really. I don't say that in a bad way, either, I'm perfectly content. My days have been filled with laughter, love and too many cookies. My son continues to fascinate me with every little new thing he does. Maybe enraptured is the better word in this case... It's hard not to fall in love with toothless smiles and pudgy fingers.

So my friend Kristy has been knitting up these gorgeous socks recently and I think I'm getting the itch. I temporarily swore off socks for awhile because I was sick of toothpick-thin needles and socks that never found mates. It's not that I wasn't willing to knit up the mates, it's just that I lost my notes on one sock and broke up with the other sock's former future owner. I tried finding that huge monstrosity today and came up empty-handed. I think I dumped it along with any memories attached.

I've never crocheted a sock before and I'm thinking I'd like to give it a try. I still have a couple balls of sock-appropriate yarn lounging around somewhere but I'd like to do a heavier wool sock to start. Last night I strapped in my son and headed to the craft store for some retail therapy before my husband got home from work. I had some coupons I was itching to use so I picked up a few balls of cream wool that I want to dye. I figure I can kill two birds with one stone- crochet socks and dye yarn for the first time.

In other knitting news, I am mere inches away from finishing my first sweater. To say I am excited is an understatement. Of course it's kind of odd that as soon as my sweater is going to be finished the weather gets warmer again. I was kind of hoping to wear it soon, but I've patiently (cough) been knitting it for about two months, so I guess I can wait a little longer to wear it.

I kind of like the idea of these pedicure socks.
It was refreshing to attend the knitting group this week. I did just about everything but knit though. I didn't realize how hungry I was until I sat down and took note that I was at a venue that served food that I a) did not have to prepare and b) was available within minutes. Being famished it was like a godsend from above. So, with the delish broccoli cheddar soup and pumpkin spice latte distracting me I caught up with my favorite ladies at knitting and leisurely knit three rounds of 2x2 ribbing on my sweater sleeve.

The weather has been cooling down and it's been a real breath of fresh air. Summers in Virginia are no joke, I don't want to see another scorching day of humid 90's for at least another 9 months. Being very pregnant during said months of gross, wet heat probably didn't help, but it would have been semi miserable regardless.

I'm in the midst of fall cleaning. What a disaster. Chaos reigns in our house. I have not been able to finish anything that I've started. The doggy-smelling living room rug is still in the kitchen covered in a heavy layer of baking soda. My attempt at green cleaning in that direction is so far not been so hot. The rug still smells like my pug's belly. (yuck) I did, however, discover that vinegar really makes a kitchen shine.

One of our two couches is still covered in random books, magazines, decorative elements and such that was formerly crammed into our shelf coffee table thing. The stairs are covered in stuff that belongs upstairs. Sigh. I won't talk about the rest of the house. It's not that big of a deal, but all the mess combined seems like a mountain I just can't seem to step over.
Seriously, I'm not. Just slightly overwhelmed. Last week I had a sudden urge to make the 733 mile journey home so the rest of the family could meet our son. What normally takes 12 hours took me 16 with the little one. He was amazing, he slept the whole way.

On my way home last Thursday I made a ghastly wrong turn that led me 40 miles off course in the Pennsylvania countryside. I've never made a better mistake. Just as dusk was falling and my nerves were unraveling to the sound of hiccuping and crying from the backseat I passed a B&B. I figured it wouldn't be as economical as a big name hotel along the highway, so I kept driving, all along praying that I would find the highway eventually. Two miles down the ridiculously sloping dirt road I turned around and hoped for the best.

I ended up in the most welcoming home away from home I've encountered in a long time. Sue and her husband are a retired military couple that put me up for the night. After I'd cleaned up and settled in my gorgeous suite I went down and had a very lively evening with the two of them. We reminisced about Germany and I learned of Sue's husband's experience in Vietnam and the rest of the world.

In the morning I awoke to brilliant sunshine... and the smell of poop outside. A true farm experience I suppose. Sue prepared me some amazing french toast and an egg and bacon bake. I left two hours later than I'd planned because, again, I had such a good time talking with the couple. To top it off, they gave me my room at half their normal rate. The cursed wrong turn turned into a blessing.

I'm looking forward to knitting this Wednesday. I missed two weeks because of my trip. I hope I never have to make the trip home alone again, it was incredibly boring and stressful always hoping I would be able to stop soon after the little one woke up so I could feed and change him.
Aka newest stash additions.
My days go by so fast it makes my head spin. I probably don't accomplish that much, but I try to concentrate on major things. Take care of my body, my family, and my house. Socialize. Knit. You get the picture.

The other day I did several loads of laundry, felted bowls in between loads and went for a two hour walk with a friend and my son down by the sea wall. We got some very cute photos of his two-month birthday. For awhile I was making lame excuses for not working out. Stupid excuses like not having proper footwear. The last pair of sports shoes that I bought was way back in 7th grade when I wanted to join the track team. I owned them for 11 years. I quit the track team before the first meet. Running sucks. I finally threw my Adidas away when we were moving from Germany to Virginia and I realized that I was hanging onto .. well, trash. Plus, my plastic tote with shoes was absolutely bursting at the seams and the whole scenario was ridiculous.

Reminiscing about footwear : here's a photo of the first pair of socks I ever knit. Back in 2005 I was stuck in Marmaris, Turkey with nothing to do after the tourist season had ended. I had vague plans of possibly staying there on a permanent basis, even if that meant taking the ferry to Greece every six months to renew my tourist visa. (And I swear (crossing my fingers) I was not the girl hiding out with the Russian chick in the bathroom when the Turkish cops came looking for illegal workers.) I was working as a tattoo artist for a friend of a friend of my ex-boss. After months of working up to 14 hours a day, mostly tattooing and sometimes selling jewelry, I was bored out of my mind in the coldest winter Turkey had seen in 50 years. All hopes of living it up in a warm climate for the winter went out the window.

On the weekends I taught my boss's ten-year-old daughter, Sezan, English. I adopted a kitten and I taught myself how to knit socks on DPNs. I simultaneously had two websites open - some picture tutorial to guide me through the steps and a free generic sock pattern. Somehow I managed to wrestle 5 needles and a ball of yarn into two, equally sized and very slippery socks while huddled in front of a space heater. Two months later while recovering from surgery, I knit another pair of pink and orange striped socks. Those were the only pairs of socks I ever finished. I have two loners hiding out, one still on 0-sized needles because I lost my pattern notes and another gigantic I-broke-up-with-him-before-his-socks-were-done sock. One of these days I might get over my new sock-knitting phobia and start again.

Try as a might, I could not find wool locally in Marmaris, the yarn stores only carried acrylic. I still have most of a ball of the green/brown yarn left. I'll probably never use it, it's more a souvenir of a time past. I think it's kind of ugly now, anyways. Maybe I'll knit a charity hat and attach a story to the yarn. Or maybe I'll store it until the moths consume it. (Insert shrug here.) When I flew home to Germany two days after Christmas I left behind a pile of clothing so I could fit more yarn in my luggage. Me? A yarn-stasher in the making? No....
My day started out relatively normal yesterday. After picking up around the house and whipping up a batch of banana bread all hell broke loose in my little world. While I was pouring the mix into the bread pan I started to get an aura around the corners of my vision. It lasted for about twenty minutes, during which the baby woke up and was hungry. While feeding him the pain came. I had to interrupt him to bolt for the bathroom to vomit. Pain makes me throw up. I hate migraines. Hate them with a vengeance.

A nap, a grumpy husband and many hours later I was determined to leave the house at least once today. So I collected my coupons for Joann's and Michaels and headed out. It's hard to believe that both craft stores only carry one brand of pure wool yarn. Seriously, wool yarn has been around since ... let's not get technical, but let's just say since before Christ.

My husband found some Halloween-esque biker bar model that lights up. It was marked at 79.99 - not a sale sign in sight. A sales associate informed us that it was going on sale tomorrow, but that "we didn't hear it from her." At checkout we were both unable to use our 40% coupons because my yarn and his model had been marked down 25%. I purposely checked for signs - there were none. Thus ensued a less than pretty back and forth between my husband and, I'm guessing here, the manager. She stated that at 7 p.m. every Saturday night the sale signs are taken down. Please note that they don't close until 9 p.m. Now, my husband is working on his Bachelor's Degree and just took a course in business. The manager should have honored our coupons because by not keeping those signs up they were partaking in false advertising. He was quite heated. Technically we could report them to the Better Business Bureau, something I might still look into.

I'm not one to engage myself in arguments and the scene was slightly embarrassing as my husband was throwing back comments to the manager that she should know business and adhere to the law as we were leaving. What I didn't understand was why the manager got so snarky with us. After delivering her piece she blew us off. The customer is supposed to be right at all times. Her behavior was impolite and she was in the wrong. My husband and I agreed that in the future we'll be taking our business elsewhere as much as possible. I plan on checking the local yarn shops for some wool in the coming weeks. I was shopping at the craft stores for convenience's sake mostly anyways... traveling with a baby isn't the easiest thing. The nearest yarn shop is a good 30 minutes away if there's no traffic (and there always is) and the owner is so chatty that I can't even concentrate on what I'm looking at. I may have to pay a little more there, but honestly, at least small business owners are more concerned about keeping customers.

So if you're shopping in the Hampton Roads area, by all means, try to avoid Michael's in Newport News. Their customer service sucks.
Well, as I mentioned earlier I have been knitting. I got bored with my raglan mid-sleeve and have been sneaking in smaller projects...

Firstly, I found this really pretty striped cotton yarn. I crocheted four flowers and loved the colors so much I went back to Michael's and stocked up for future projects. Eventually I'll get around to getting a decent photo of my niece's sweater, I added one of the flowers as an embellishment. Anyways, when I was browsing through some dishcloth patterns on Ravelry, I saw the Ballband pattern and knew it would be a pretty match with the yarn I had. I also made one in reverse colors - white as the foreground and the striped as the background. I figure they'll make a nice gift with some handmade soap if I'm in a pinch. It was such a relief to make something out of smooth cotton after wrestling with the raglan boucle. It felt so good on my hands. One smooth stitch at a time...

Secondly, after borrowing a couple of knitting books about felted items, I decided to take the plunge. Nesting Bowls. Otherwise known as my new temporary knitting obsession. Better than crack! This is the first time I've made anything out of pure wool (Patons Classic Wool) and the first time I've felted anything on purpose. The nesting bowls were very easy to make. I knit the majority of them while ignoring what my hands were doing and probably watching LA Ink or trying to get my baby son to smile at me. I felted the first one by itself in a pillow case closed with a hair tie. It felted faster than the other two bowls which I felted together. The blue-ish yarn didn't felt as well as the other two, particularly on the bottom, but I'm not too concerned. The point of a bowl is to put something in it anyways, right?

Now I'm thinking about combining the two - using the washcloth pattern on the bowl...
My schedule, that is. Since I helped my husband stay up the night before he started night shift my time table has been absolutely kooky. I'm really not liking it. The only advantage to staying up until 3 in the morning is that I get the chunk of time that lies between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. all to myself. What have I been doing with said time? Knitting, thinking about knitting and spending obscene amounts of time on Ravelry and Etsy. The knitting part is productive, the other not so much.

As I type I am impatiently waiting for three felted nesting bowls to dry. I'm in love with this quick project. I had all three knitted in different sizes in about 5 hours. All three were felted and formed in about 20 minutes. I didn't imagine ever having to use my casserole dish, a ceramic bowl and a Jack Daniels glass as a felting form. I made the bowls from Patons Classic Wool in heather-themed colors and I am giddy about the results. Seriously, this yarn was made to be felted, simple knitted objects do the yarn no justice. But felted, it's a whole different story. I didn't actually have any specific interest in felting, but now I think I'm hooked. Felting is my new crack.

At first my husband was very skeptical about the bowls. He didn't get why exactly someone would knit a bowl. Then he saw them and I think he liked them, though he didn't say it outright. I'm assuming this because he mentioned I should make some as Christmas gifts. The first year we were together, before we were married even, I knit house shoes for quite a few people on my Christmas list. I prefer giving people handmade items if I can. Last year I was pregnant and we had just moved into our new place so I didn't have the motivation or enough time to make gifts.

I haven't been writing about knitting much, but I have been knitting whenever I can. Now that my son is developing a good sleeping routine and my husband is at home during the day I've managed to get much more done. I am half way done with the first sleeve on my raglan. I had to re-do the bind off after I did it too tightly. I added a pretty cowl to the neck. Unfortunately I found out a little too late that my attempt at body shaping was a flop and refusing to rip and redo that much, I plan to stick it under my sewing machine later on. Thankfully, the boucle I used lends much room for hiding mistakes. To break up the monotony of working on a big project I've been knitting cotton washcloths and of course, the bowls.

I promise to post some photos soon.
Seeing as I'm nocturnally inclined as of late and there's no one to talk to... I'll blog!

I wonder if there's a market for a book of craft ideas. Throughout the day I have endless ideas of things I would like to make. Knit items, things fashioned from clay and fabric, clothing... oh how the list goes on. The problem, though, is that I don't have the time to make everything I want. Even if I do find the time, I'm usually already working on something or I have something more pressing to attend to. Generally, these pressing things include such exciting things as cleaning my house, doing laundry, running errands. Plus, quality time with people is a huge factor. Being a new mom has cut a huge chunk of my disposable time out of my life. I'm not regreting that factor, I'm just stating it as a fact.

There are many days when I vow to knit and something will come up and I don't get the chance to do it. Wednesdays I go to knitting group, it's a set appointment. Even after having the baby I only missed two weeks of knitting and I've been back every week since. Now I wish that I had another group to meet with, a group oriented around crafting in general. If I had a set date on which to craft, I think I would do more. But, really, I'm not sure I can or want to have another commitment like that.

Back on topic - making things. Since I discovered Etsy years ago I've had the desire to make things with the intention of selling them. It's not so much the money, it's just that I really enjoy making things and having a shop would be a great motivator to make more. Any money I might make with it would be a perk, but not the main draw. A long time I lived in Germany and while the majority of Etsy and it's buyers remain on the US side, I put off having a shop for the sake of avoiding high shipping costs and the general difficulties encountered with overseas transactions. Not to mention I was operating a tattoo studio at the time and that was practically my whole life.

After moving back to the States in October I did in fact open an Etsy shop. For awhile I sold some ATCs, but it kind of fizzled out for me. As a tattoo artist I have to draw enough as it is and honestly, I don't like giving up original drawings - not even for money! I draw things so that I can put them on people as tattoos, drawing for the sake of drawing doesn't do much for me and I can't keep up with it. I'm better with objects, physical things I can mold with my hands. I'm a fan of diversity, I like to keep things moving and changing. Draw today, knit tomorrow, mold on Thursday - something along those lines.

A friend of mine has the Big Ass Book of Crafts. I think I could totally do something similar but different. I have an embarassing amount of sketches and jotted down craft ideas. I consistantly buy crafting-related items all the while muttering, "Some day soon I'm going to make something with this and put it on my Etsy..". Hm. Well, that day has yet to come and probably never will. Etsy shops, at least most of the successful ones, are based on one major product - hand bags, knit items, clothes... You get the point. I'm craft scattered. I want to dabble in a bit of everything, but I can't commit to just one thing. I'm easily bored by repetition. I have made many proteges only to not follow through on making several. Apparently I only do one of a kind projects mostly once and rarely twice. As I stated - repetition is not in my blood.

So, the question remains- is there truly a market for a book about craft ideas of all kinds? I know I could write a book. I already have the basic materials - the ideas and some finished objects. What I don't have is someone who wants to publish me and I certainly don't have a name for myself as a crafter on which to bank. See what I'm saying? I don't know how to go about finding someone who would be interested in my book pitch, either.

These are things to think about. Input is welcome.
Oh ye wind
your caresses I adore
waves over sand
washing my feet

Cloudy night full of sound
may all
may all tranquility abound

Full lungs on the moon
your silence I hold
heartbeats in the air
throbbing on my skin

Oh heavens all around
may all
may all peace abound
Tonight I put my son in his crib for the night for the first time. It's unsettling, I can't help but constantly look at the baby monitor. I'm hoping he sleeps through the night as he has been recently. Looking at Little Man and having some quiet time for myself has allowed me to think about my life as a whole. And maybe about my place in this world.

I can't remember a time in life that felt quite this complete and ... right. Some times there are moments when I would like to do something (knit, clean, cook, call someone), but instead I have to be a mom and take care of my son because he's crying and needs something. For a second it can be an irritation, but at the same time I'm happy knowing that I can fulfill almost any need he has. It's a good feeling to know that I'm needed. The sense of satisfaction that I feel when Lucas calms upon seeing me or hearing my voice is indescribable. For the time being my life at home is as complete as I can hope for.

I'm glad that I've made the decisions that I have. Despite all the reasons I could have had to not take up my husband's first offer of a date, I did. When he asked me to marry him, I could have run off screaming and clung to my life of detached wandering, but I didn't. I chose to be his mate and to follow him. I chose to become the mother of his children. If you know me at all, then you know that these have been some of the best decisions of my life and a thousand times better than the decisions I've made in the past. Even though I have a long list of adventurous tales to tell about my life - really, the only ones that matter to me anymore are the ones that I have about now. I loved my life as a single woman living abroad and roaming around the world in search of something I could wrap my head around, but this- being close to my family, nurturing that which is dear and valuable to me, pouring myself out to people - that's all that really matters. I think just now I've finally understood the vision of the woman pouring the water into the dry creek bed. I'm there. I'm where I am supposed to be.

That in turn made me think about giving in general. I realize that my heart is most full when I've emptied myself of everything I have to give. A life lived alone is lived for nothing and I'm happiest when my table is surrounded by friends and family. Sharing life with people and being sacrificial with my time, love and resources is what really makes my life with others on this earth so moving. I feel like I've been given certain talents so that I can in turn give more and give more abundantly.

I don't know if any of that makes sense. It does to me. My thoughts are scattered because I had a full day and I'm tired.

I had a conversation with a close friend recently. I shared with her that I don't feel like I'm doing enough and she contradicted me. At the time when she said that, I don't think I believed her. Thinking things over now, I think she may have been right after all. I am only one person after all. It's better to invest in quality rather than quantity. Salt spread too thin doesn't have any taste, but in concentrated doses...
Heat wave! It's sweltering here and I really don't like having to spend so much time indoors because of it. I managed to convince my husband that we need to get out of the house at least once we made a little excursion to the new Super Target that opened downtown. My husband picked out a new hair color for me. I feel ready for a change. For a reddish change even. Even if I don't end up going anywhere I try to make a point of showering, putting on makeup, doing my hair and getting dressed. I don't want to get in the habit of hanging out in my pajamas all day and doing nothing but being a mommy covered in spit-up. Don't get me wrong - I love being a mom so far, I take the challenges with the cute moments, but I'm more than just a mom and I'm doing all I can to retain my own personal identity.

In other news - hot peppers! Hubby's jalapenos are delicious. And spicy. I've cooked at least one meal with his peppers every day for the last week. The very first ones that he picked still tasted a little tangy, but the second picking was perfectly ripe. They go well with enchiladas, scrambled eggs and just about any other way he wants them apparently. But then again, this is a man that won't touch 90% of his food until it's got at least a few drops of hot sauce and usually a generous amount of ketchup on it, too. :)

Yesterday's goal of casting on for the raglan sweater was a success. I managed to get a couple of rows in before having to be a mom again. I think I convinced my friend to start her second knitting project, a cardigan. I was under the impression that she had more experience knitting, but come to find out her only FO is a scarf. In between chores and baby duties I managed to squeeze in a few more today. I've got about an inch and a half on the needles. Only 20 times that amount to go and the body will be done... I've been trying to master the art of knitting over Little Man's head while he naps during nursing. So far, so good.

Well, I'll keep it short today. I have to get up early to attend my husband's promotion ceremony first thing in the morning. I can't elaborate on how happy I am for the pay increase that comes with this promotion... with another person in the household it's going to make a world of difference.

Hope everyone has a great start to their week!
I. Am. So. Freakin'. Tired. Exclamation Point. Little Man's been going through another growth spurt. At first I was majorly happy that he hit the sack earlier than usual last night. While the heartbeat sound setting lulled him to Dreamland I was able to power clean, do laundry, sterilize milk storage bottles and receive a very much needed loving massage from my husband after recruiting his help with a few chores. The downside is that I didn't go to bed until after 2:30 a.m. and Little Man had me up every two hours and was wide awake by 7:30 a.m. Thankfully my husband took the baby downstairs this morning and I stocked up on another two hours of blissful, silent rest.

I think I'm finally starting to wake up now. The irritated sleepy haze has faded to around the perimeters and is disapating quickly. In about an hour my friend will be dropping off her two-year old for a few hours while she and her husband attend a wedding sans offspring. I would have been willing to take on their darling newborn as well, but as she explained, when it comes to babysitting it's better to split them up so no one gets overwhelmed. I think I probably have to agree.

In other non-daily-grind news, today I am on a mission to finally cast on something. My Knit Picks order is still on it's way, so I won't be starting my cardigan quite yet. BUT - I did find a very alterable pattern for a comfy raglan. Last week I bought 4 ginormous skeins of Rainbow Boucle on sale from JoAnn's with the intention of making them into my dad's wedding present. Then I started swatching and playing with it. Yeah.. no. The boucle is far too textured to lend itself to any kind of recognizable stitch pattern and I don't think I can stomach another straight garter stitch afghan on such a large scale. Yesterday I brought back two skeins of the boucle, keeping two for the raglan and accessories and picked up three sets of needles that I was missing. In the end I only spent an extra six dollars, so I'm glad I traded the yarn for sticks. Plus I managed to accomplish the whole trip in under an hour which saved us all from another baby break down.

In closing: check out this amazing Mario rug!
I'm trying to get back to a few of the activities I enjoyed pre-baby - such as going downtown to knit with the ladies on Wednesdays and getting out of the house at least once a day. Yesterday I conquered the art of stuffing the stroller into the back of the truck and toting the baby around with me and K while browsing the craft and book stores. Miraculously he slept the whole time. The downside of the 3-hour outing was that we all came back famished and slightly dehydrated, but it was well worth it.

Everyone has something different to say about when it's okay to start taking your newborn in public... Some say a couple weeks, a month, six weeks and then some simply don't care. Well, the way I see it, if it's okay that I bring my three-week-old newborn to pediatrics and have to expose him to dozens of germy, snotty little sick kids, then I don't see the harm in taking him to places where the chances of getting sick are significantly less. I figure it's another one of those issues that I, as a mother, have to feel comfortable about doing.

Beyond just escaping the confining quarters of home and the rinse & repeat cycle of nursing-diapering-napping, the highlight of yesterday was probably picking up the new fall issue of Knitscene (yay for 40% off coupons!) and falling in love with 9 projects at first glance. Seriously, I've never wanted to knit so many things out of one magazine. Generally there are a couple of ideas I like per magazine, but the fall issue has so many wearable knits I don't even know where to start. Here are the top six - in the order I'd like to knit them.

I'm probably getting in over my head knitting-wise though... I'm waiting to receive my yarn order from Knit Picks so I can knit the Short-Sleeved Cardigan With Ribbing from the Fitted Knits book by Sefanie Japel. On top of that, yesterday I picked up four large skeins of Rainbow Boucle in red/burgundy that are destined to become a late afghan wedding present for my father and his new wife. Of course, I have no idea how I'm going to find the time to knit everything.
On July 13th Lucas Ryan was born into this world. It's amazing how different life has been since the day our son was born. I thought mothering a newborn would be more difficult, but happily it's been mostly smooth sailing. I think we might be adjusting to some kind of routine now, but every day has been an unpredictable adventure. There have been many laughs, moments of tearful anxiety and so many more overwhelming emotions.

The most beautiful part of being a mother so far has just been holding him to my chest and enjoying him.
Oy. So I've passed my due date (yesterday) and I am agitated. All the adorable doggy snuggles, kisses from hubby and cushy cat naps on the couch have not eased my absolute jumping off the wall excitement of giving birth to the little person inside me. The more thought I have put into natural child birth, the more the idea appeals to me. Putting aside the fairly significant risks of having a needle shoved into my spine (epidural), I am terrified that I will feel like I missed out on something afterwards. If you're a mother, you're probably sitting there shaking your head with your eyes rolling in their sockets and you're thinking I am absolutely delusional. That's fine. I can handle being wrong, even very painfully wrong, but I don't want the regret to plague me afterwards.

My basic comfort level has severely decreased over the last 5 days. I have been partially waddling around because of swollen feet and a baby's head bearing down into my right hip and cervix. Yesterday, while trying to "walk the baby out" in the historical Jamestown settlement, my hands swelled up. I'm talking puffy dragon swelling, so much so that I was afraid they may have to saw off my wedding rings... Thank God I got a gorgeous pedicure recently, I don't think I'd be able to look at my feet otherwise. Oh, and my bed. Honestly, the more pregnant I've become, the more uncomfortable my bed has become. Sleep has been a trying experience. Waking up at 5 a.m. to go to the bathroom isn't a big deal, but it is when you can't go back to sleep afterwards.

Luckily my father-in-law couldn't sleep either and we met each downstairs this morning. After easing the growling hunger pains in my gut I dressed myself. I haven't worn my tennis shoes in ... 6 months? Socks? Almost impossible to put on by myself. We walked out to the water and admired the large ships cruising by us. As the refreshing breeze swept away the last of the sandman, I felt incredibly grateful to live where I do. I feel like a washed up fish when I don't live by water, and here I am, only a couple of minutes away before I see the horizon stretched over endless blue water. In some respects it's even more beautiful than the Mediterranean because here I have the benefits of familiarity and homey comforts. We walked along the seawall and stopped to watch a tiny tug boat drag a barge through the choppy waves. We stayed there a long while talking. I haven't spent much time alone with my FIL and it was wonderful to delve into more personal one-on-one conversation with him.

I want to clean my house, because that's what I do when I get bored, but I know I will wear myself and my back out doing it. I'm tired of TV, of the internet, of staring with a longing gaze into the empty crib... I should probably start a new knitting project, it's a guaranteed and much needed distraction. Which reminds me, I still have a few photos of FOs to post soon. I've already tried photographing the baby sweaters several times to no satisfaction of mine. They just don't come out right on photos.
My in-laws have been staying with us since Tuesday. They have truly been a godsend. My MIL has been amazing at helping me out with everything at home. It's been strange having someone else take care of my chores and cooking, activities that not even my husband will pitch in with despite my very pregnant state. We now have everything for the baby that we were missing and a kitchen fully stocked.

We have two days until our due date and time has been crawling by at a record slow pace. My husband's, "Tell him to hurry up," comments are also slowly starting to grate on my nerves... I've heard that women often go into labor when it's a full moon, but no such luck tonight - that is, unless I go into labor in the next 40 minutes! I'm equally, if not more, impatient as my husband but I am better at concealing that fact.

Having family and friends around has kept me from much knitting. The baby blanket my husband knit on the loom is now finally finished with a crochet border I did while they played the Wii. I finished my niece's sweater last week. I'm happy to have the distraction of family and friends because it's been making the days pass a little faster. I guess I will make it to knitting group tomorrow after yet another doctor's appointment. I'm a bit uneasy driving anywhere by myself these days, I'm weary of going into labor while at the wheel.

Well, I'm going to tuck myself into bed. The last two days my main activity has just been sleeping.
Yesterday and today my best friend since Kindergarten came to visit. We spent two days reconnecting, enjoying the outdoors and having some fun with "ghost hunting" jokes. I haven't seen her since April when my husband and I went home for the baby shower my mother-in-law hosted. I've been lucky enough to spend four days with her this year. We went seven years without seeing each other while I was in Germany.

It's amazing to me how two people can meet as little children and maintain a friendship for so long and through so many changes. Long ago in fourth grade she moved to another city, but it didn't prevent us from seeing each other. We wrote each other letters on colorful stationary and covered them with stickers, always declaring our commitment to staying friends forever. Twice a year we'd have sleepovers and celebrate birthdays together. When we were both in High School she moved to another state and we continued to stay in contact through mail and very long car rides.

Here we are, 20 years after Kindergarten. I can't begin to describe how blessed I feel to have someone like her in my life. We're two incredibly different people, but our love for each other is unconditional. It's been wonderful to see her during this transitional time in life, especially after we've missed out on so much. She brought along her boyfriend and our men got along like old friends.

So, as my flowers have started to bloom and change, so has my life. I don't believe there's been a time in life when I've felt so fulfilled - surrounded by family, friends and blessings, each day has taken on a new beauty.
Yeah, it's the one of the topics you don't bring up in social situations. Probably for good reason. I'm not going to air my views here, I'm not even going to define them. What I will do is yack for a moment about other people's views and how they choose to express them.

One link led to another and I landed on a very opinionated man's blog about politics. His posts were, from beginning to end, all negative. He listed off one terrible act after terrible occurrence. It was a lot like watching the (bad) "news" on television. I am all for freedom of speech and expression, but I am just as much for personal responsibility and accountability. I am so very tired of the blame game. I'm also tired of the comparison game, the magic-answer game and the downright negative everything's-going-to-hell game.

I think that if people stopped complaining about this and that and instead chose to become more proactive, issues that seem to so disturb certain people may have the chance of being solved. I think that if we stopped pointing fingers and started using our hands for good more would be accomplished. Words accomplish little, but hands can mold, shape and change things!

I don't think it's okay to spread hopelessness to a nation that needs hope. I don't think it's okay to spread the message of hate to a nation and a world that has a lot of learn about tolerance and true love. Yet, most importantly, I don't think it's okay for all these people to think they know how to run the world better than the next man, when they should be praying instead of judging.

I know, in a perfect world. Such the idealist.
This morning I discovered the first zinnia bloom as I was watering the plants outside. A solitary, beautiful little straggler.

After a visit to the local yarn shop I went to knitting group and crocheted the rest of the second sleeve on the second sweater I've made for my son. As I was sewing the pieces together and daydreaming about what my son is going to look like, my phone rang. "Mom" showed up on the display. Now, you know that any phone call that starts with the question, "Are you sitting down?" is usually not a good one. I guess I knew what she was going to say, but it didn't make it any easier.

Mourning is a funny thing. One moment everything is normal, it's an every-day kind of day and the next the heart of someone you love stops beating. And they're gone. A brief few seconds of shock, then realization and then the inevitable breaking of the dam. There were condolences and hugs, a few shared tears from understanding hearts. Then I walked away and composed myself. It never even crossed my mind to leave the knitting group and go home, because there was no one waiting for me at home. When I sat back down, red-eyed and sniffling, I picked up my needle and thread and continued to sew. At some point normal conversation resumed and as more ladies arrived with their fiber creations, the mood was lifted and I felt better among the welcome distraction of friends.

See, I believe in reunion after the celebration of a long life lived well. Death is a part of all this, it's as much a part of life as being born. As much as I feel the emptiness and the ache from my Grandma's loss, I also share in her joy of moving on and of eternity.

This isn't the end. This isn't goodbye.

See you soon, Grandma. I love you.
I've always loved tending to plants. When I was 12 my father bought me a large assortment of plants and we built a small wooden planter at the base of hill by the lake and there my garden grew. It grew over with weeds, too, but I'll ignore that fact for now.

While in Germany I went back to the old German tradition of filling my window sills with plants of all kinds. I had one bush in particular that was my favorite. It sucked up about one and a half liters of water every day, but it bloomed with the prettiest pink flower year 'round.

Now that my husband and I live on the ground floor and have an outdoor living space we've both put seeds in the ground and have excitedly watched our seeds burst forth into lush, flourishing plants. I didn't actually get around to planting all the seeds that I intended to plant. The lettuce, carrots and a couple packets of flowers were left untouched.

The zinnias and poppies that I planted have yet to flower, but to the left you can see my climbers already in early bloom and madly climbing our trellis. Originally the dirt on top of those seeds got washed partially away and the sprouted seeds were exposed, I covered them up again but I wasn't sure if they were going to make it. Yet, as you can see, they have! I'm still crossing my fingers that my strawberry plants will bear more fruit than the 3 pathetic little danglers I had a month ago.

My husband's cacti seeds never came up. I think he neglected to keep the soil moist and warm enough for them to sprout. He did however plant jalapeno peppers that I believe will be bearing some spicy fruit before long. And going back to his roots of farming, he planted a mini corn field in our yard! We're both grew up in Michigan, a place where fresh corn on the cob in the summer and fall are a meal staple and much loved. I'm standing in front of the plants to demonstrate how tall they've grown. I was having a bad kind of day that only a 9-month pregnant woman in the summer can have, so please ignore the not so photogenic qualities of my pose. The ears on our corn are already developing, while my father-in-laws' stalks in Michigan are just barely knee-high. Up north we say if your stalks reach your knees by the 4th of July, you'll have a good fall harvest. Virginia is an awesome place to grown corn apparently because we have far surpassed the knee-high rule!
Don't you love the feeling of finishing something? I just added this as my first project on Ravelry. I found the pattern in the Knitty archives here.

It's been finished for a little over a week and I'm very happy with how it turned out. It's knit out of four triangle-ish panels and stitches are picked up on either side for the strap. The strap is the only thing I would change on this version of the bag and I may still take out 8 inches. Originally I intended it to be a project bag, but the bag has snuck its way into everyday purse life. More than a pound and it becomes a hip bag, not something I intended it to be. It works best crossed over my chest.

I knew from the beginning that this bag would need a liner and luckily I still had some leftover 'Koto' fabric from my skirt and pillow sewing. I also used some light green remnant fabric to sew a zippered pouch and three small pockets inside to hold my scissors, measuring tape, phone and needles. Sewing the liner was a headache, I ripped it out at least 3 times until I was happy with it. Knit fabric has a tendency to move around a lot and realign itself in a place where it's not supposed to be...

I enjoyed knitting this because it was pretty much mindless and had just enough increasing and decreasing to keep it interesting. I did one panel a day, knit the strap on another day and finished the liner in a morning.

After making this bag I've since knit or crocheted two more of my own design, but they're not finished yet.

I mentioned in my first post that I would be sharing some of my recent knitting projects. I haven't gotten around to taking photos of them yet and due to some serious stormage, there hasn't been proper natural lighting. If you were reading between the lines you'd also read: I woke up too late and by the time I thought about taking photos it was too late! :)

So... to make up for that (and also to avoid this becoming a purely personal blog about ... kind of boring daily occurances) here is a project that I completed for Christmas two years ago.

I followed this pattern on Craftster using some very soft and bulky acrylic and added some crocheted detailing in black. I didn't like the thin strap with the button, so I knit a stockinette strap with a skull that I drew out on graph paper and sewed on both sides. The recipient of these slippers was delighted, she's nuts about skulls!

I've since made many, many pairs of these. They don't take long to make and use up very little yarn. Additionally, you can add puff paint to the bottom for more traction.
The Hubby and I had our 37 week prenatal exam today. It was pretty much a repeat of other visits - arrive 15 minutes early, wait forever past appointment time, wait some more in exam room, blood pressure, baby's heartbeat, etc. The only difference is that I'm considered full term now so the doctor swabbed me for Strep B, STDs and checked my cervix. I am officially one centimeter dilated. Hubby's response: "One down, nine to go!"

I'm not completely prepared for all of this. Mentally we've both been preparing ourselves since November 6th, the day we discovered we were having a baby. It's just all the details that are left yet undone. I still have to put up curtains in the nursery and replace/cover the crib bedding we were gifted. Snoopy is not my bedding of choice and doesn't go with our jungle theme at all. As my due date, July 9th, is quickly approaching, I really need to get my hospital bag together and print out a quick outline of my birth plan for the midwives so there won't be any misunderstandings.

This whole giving birth in a hospital thing weirds me out. Hospitals are for the sick and dying, two things that have very little to do with the natural process of giving birth. Unfortunately we don't have any other options right now and far be it from me to spit at free military medical care. Under better financial circumstances I would have opted for a water labor and delivery at home, but even disregarding the financial burden involved in a private midwife and tub rental, my husband and everyone else is totally opposed to the idea. Sadly, in this culture of fear and societal thinking that "Doctor knows best," it's hard to get around those types of personal views.

I'm scheduled to go back in on Monday. Hopefully having weekly appointments from now on will give me something to look forward to and shorten the time that I have yet to wait.
I was 7 or 8 years old when I received a knitting kit for Christmas. I don't have any recollection of the actual event, or the person who gifted me said kit, but I do remember the lightness of the flimsy cardboard box and its contents being indiscernible to me. I'd never seen anyone knitting and didn't really know what it was.

It was probably several months later when I asked my mother to unravel the cryptic directions included in the kit. I'd grown tired of fondling the short, yellow plastic needles and holding the scratchy hot pink ball of yarn. There had already been several failed attempts at following the directions for the knitting loom and in childish impatience, I'm sure I was ready to give up. That's when mom came in and showed me the ropes.

Odd how some memories remain so clear and others so blurry. I can recall the precise way that the sun rays came through the old Victorian style windows and formed geometric patterns on the sage green carpet. The door to the enclosed porch in front of our corner house was open and the smell of aging books drifted in with the scent of fresh floor paint. There was probably snow outside, but the biting cold didn't touch us in our cozy living room.

I sat in my mother's lap while she manipulated the yarn around the bendable needles. I think she had to remember herself how to cast on before she could show me. At some point she had about 15 stitches on the needle and she started the process of creating fabric. I was mesmerized. I was hooked from the very moment I saw the fabric form off the needle and go from a single strand of twisted fibers to a thing of substance and stability.

My small hands struggled desperately to mimic my mother's movements, to catch the yarn and slip it off the needle in a perfect little stitch. After much trial and error I did succeed and went up to my room to practice. Days later the whole teaching process began again as I tried to continue my work after I'd already forgotten the steps.

One thing my mother failed to teach me was how to bind off, so all my "projects" ended with a strand of yarn sewn through the live stitches and knotted. The only thing I ever completed around that time was knitting an entire ball of variegated red/green/white Christmas yarn into a six-stitch-wide flat rope about 8 feet long. Every weekend when my brother and I would stay at my grandparents' home and sleep on an open sleeping bag next to their bed, my grandma would ask me, "What are you knitting?" I'd lie and say it was a secret. In reality I had no idea what I was knitting, I was knitting for the simple act of just making something. I loved watching the long strip of fabric grow and stretching it out over the floor. A few years down the road I wound the rope around itself, sewed it securely into a potholder and gave it to my father as a gift. It was my first FO (finished object).

Many years went by before I made anything else. It's funny to look back and remember even then having a yarn stash... even though I didn't know what to do with my stash or my new found skill with knitting needles. After I made the move back to Germany and had my own apartment I found my desire to knit springing up again. That week I found Knitting Help, learned the provisional cast on method (aka the long-tail cast on), bought my first metal needles and some yarn...

What ensued after that was knitting madness as I wiled away the empty hours at work and at home, often knitting with my best friend who kept me hopped up on black Turkish tea far into the wee hours of morning.

Oddly enough, that second FO was a very long blanket that again became a gift to my father.

Thanks to Nessa Knits for the inspiration to blog about my first knitting experiences.
Apparently it's been a very long time since I've written for a blog. I tried to freshen up my writing skills last night by cracking open my paper journal. Some dusting off was in order, I'm slightly embarassed to admit. I haven't kept up with any kind of writing on a consistent basis since... well, probably 2003. That's a long six years of exceptionally few words.

So this is a new start.

I've been knitting nonstop for the last couple of weeks. I wrote a list of all the things I've created this year and was happily surprised to discover that I have not been as lazy as I thought. Attending the local SnB (knitting group) on a regular basis has kept me motivated to stay busy as well, not to mention the fact that after the baby is born my time to create will be a little more limited and much more interrupted. I'll post pictures of my recent projects soon.

I'll be 37 weeks along on Thursday. Technically, full term. The last couple of weeks have crawled by. I have to make a mental note to prepare my hospital bag, Lucas could be born any day now. I wish I felt more prepared for motherhood. Thankfully my crazy excitement about our little man finally making his grand appearance covers up most of the insecurities I have about being his mom.