Monday, December 15, 2008


That's the sound of anyone's interest in my blog flying out the window.

Seriously, though, it's been busy. Between the baby, the two jobs (yes, I took another job at school... yeesh), school, the doped up (but still alive!) dog, and the other (normal) dog, things are really, really hectic. Oh, and did I mention that my husband is also working full-time while in school, and Christmas is 10 freaking days away?

So, um, busy.

I have done a little teeny tiny bit of knitting, though. All I have left is the bindoff on my Adamas shawl, and it looks gorgeous, if I do say so myself. I was going to give it away for Christmas, but with the amount of my oh-so-precious time that it took to make, I am keeping it for myself. I don't think there is anyone in the world who could really appreciate how much went into it but me, anyway. All the stolen moments, the pleasure of a couple stitches here and there, slowly crafting something just for me.

Right now, Christmas is a horizon of laziness and presents and giggling babies and eggnog and too many cookies that doesn't feel like it's getting any closer, despite the pressure of the dates on the calendar. All I have to do to get to Christmas is finish the paper I am currently writing and slide it across the conference table tomorrow night. And I mean slide- this desk is some kind of paper skating rink- anything you push in front of you glides gracefully and effortlessly across the desk. It has its own special physics. We spend a lot of time sliding rather than passing papers as a result. But that's not until six o'clock tomorrow and the paper's not done, and I'm getting more and more frazzled! Focus!

So, yeah, I'm probably going to be incommunicado again for a little bit, but it will get better. I'm only taking one class next semester, and I think that I'm going to start blogging from work, provided I can remember to post pictures to flickr when I am home.

This is from Halloween- peanut didn't really like the loud music

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Think good thoughts for Viking

My little pup is sick. Really sick. Her epilepsy is ramping up to a point where medication might not be able to protect her at all from the Seizure Monster. We're having a hard time breaking the cycle of seizures she's currently in, so she's not really sleeping (neither are we) and even large doses of valium don't seem to help. We can't afford a trip to the neurologist (it's as much as a semester of college for D!) for what would probably be a dark prognosis anyway, but I feel like there must be something that will fix this, something I can't see, something we haven't tried yet. But who knows. Honestly, there probably isn't anything, but I can't give up hope yet.

dope fiend

I love my little Viking so much, I just want her life to be a good one. We're not sure what's coming next for her, but if you could keep her in your thoughts... yeah.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I swear I'm still alive

I just have been so BUSY! V is now FOUR months old, which blows my mind. She's babbling now, and army crawling around in her crib. She's long and svelte- certainly not the gigantic, fat baby I was expecting. She's so alert and inquisitive- every day is an adventure.

I have shot my first weddings as a (semi) pro, and I LOVE it. I am looking forward to Friday- my cousin is getting married, so I have a particular investment in photographing that wedding. :) If you're looking to hire a wedding photographer in the Midwest, I am willing to travel and I work for cheap (we're talking less than $500 for all day coverage!).

I just got hired at school to work as a student assistant for one of my professors from last year. I am nervous to be out of the house more, but I think it will do wonders for my time management and sanity to be away from V a little more.

And surprise of surprises, I've still been knitting despite the whirlwind of activity (class is good for something!). I am getting near the end of the Adamas shawl I started in the spring. I have memorized the lace repeat (doesn't usually happen), and it's really coming along swiftly, considering the amount of time I work on it. I am hoping to be done by Thanksgiving, but we'll see. I only get to work on it at school because V demands to be held when I am at home.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Thank you, Alex, for such a beautiful gift. As you can see, Viv's a little peanut, so she'll be getting plenty of use out of your hat before the winter's over (which will be next May- this is the Mitten State, after all!).

Thumbs! And handknit hats!

This was the best picture I could get- it's still pretty warm here, so she didn't abide the hat for long. :P Fortunately, she's finally figured out how to soothe herself. I'm convinced that thumbs truly are nature's greatest invention.

I am grateful for the kindness you've shown me and my little girl, and I hope it revisits you a thousand times over.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Month two

Smiles! We got smiles in month two. And laughter!

She kept smiling when I wasn't taking a picture.
(smiles are hard to photograph!)

She's learning how her digestion works, and she doesn't get so angry and scared at tummy rumblings anymore.

She has begun sleeping five to six hours at night, which is awesome (what a good baby).

She made it to CRAFT and boingboing. W00t- she's my Katamari baby (hello to everyone who found the blog through links to the Katamari bonnet!).

Tapas restaurant

Month two saw Viv's first vacation- we took her to Gencon in Indianapolis. It was a lot of fun. She loves people and feels totally content in a crowd.

Cripes, Mom

Well, almost.

She and her dad entered the costume contest and won Weirdest Costume, an award given by Andy Hopp, a totally cool artist/author/game designer.

King and Prince of All Cosmos
(she is crying from gas- as soon as she got on stage, she was all smiles and giggles... I think she liked the lights)

She's finally getting cool with being put in her lounge chair, which really frees me up to work (hooray!).

All in all, a pretty good month- and she just keeps getting more awesome every minute. I can't wait to detail all of month three's epic successes (and we're only halfway there, people).

Getting stronger!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

FO and Pattern: Katamari Damacy Prince of All Cosmos Baby Hat!

Katamari Prince(ss) of All Cosmos!

Katamari Damacy Prince of All Cosmos Baby Hat


infant (it fits my 2 month old daughter with PLENTY of room to spare, and it ties on, so it is somewhat adjustable)


worsted and sport weight yarn (I used Red Heart Designer Sport and scraps of acrylic worsted):

-spring/medium green (RH Designer Sport)- if you use worsted for everything, there are numbers in parentheses for you to use instead.

-neon/light green

-forest/dark green



-polyfil stuffing

-tapestry needle


US size F/G (you want a firm fabric- the hand/drape is more crucial than the gauge)


approx 3 sc/inch in worsted (sides and antenna), 4 sc/inch in sport (bonnet part)



Top and sides

With medium green, ch 56 (42), and turn. Starting with 2nd ch, sc back across chain. 55 (41) st.

Sc back and forth through both loops for 18 (14) rows, break yarn, and fasten off.

Back of bonnet

The bound-off side of your crochet is where you’ll be resuming your work. Imagine it divided into three sections: 18-19-18 (14-13-14) st. You’ll be working the center 19 (13) st, crocheting the st from the side sections together with the last st of each row to make a half-box shape, like a cube with the front and bottom missing.

On 19th (15th) st in, attach yarn and ch 2. Sc for 16 (12) st, and then dec (insert hook into next st, yo and draw loop through; insert hook into next st, yo and draw loop through, yo and draw yarn through 3 loops on hook- 1 st decreased). *Ch 1 and turn. Sc back across the row you just did (it’s 19 (13) st total), but when you get to the last st, dec, using the last sc of your row and the st from the row below. * Repeat from * to * until you run out of st from the row below- it’s going to get box shaped as you go. This is the same concept as turning a flap heel on a sock, if that helps.


With yellow, ch 4, sl st in first chain. 6 sc into loop.

Sc around for 2 rows (6 sc)

dec, sc around (5 sc)

Sc around for 1 row

2 sc, dec, sc (4 sc)

Sc for 1 row

Dec, sc around (3 sc)

Switch to red:

2 sc in each st (6 sc)

*sc, 2 sc in 1 st* repeat around (9 sc)

Sc around

*sc, dec* around (6 sc)

Dec around (3 sc)

Sc, dec, break yarn and draw through loops.

Bonnet bumps

With dark green, ch 4, sl st in first ch to make a loop.

6 sc in loop (6 sc)

*2 sc in one st* around (12 sc)

*sc, 2 sc in one st* (18 sc)

*2 sc, 2 sc in one st* (24 sc)

*3 sc, 2 sc in one st* (30 sc)

*4 sc, 2 sc in one st* (36 sc)

*5 sc, 2 sc in one st* (42 sc)

Sc around for 5 rounds.

Switch to light green and sc around for 4 rounds.

Switch to med green (held doubled if you’re using sport weight) and sc around for 5 rounds. Sl st in next st and fasten off.

Katamari Prince(ss) of All Cosmos!


Using whip st, sew antenna to top center of bonnet with yarn tail.

Lightly stuff head bumps and sew to sides of bonnet, using photograph to help center them. They will overlap onto the back panel a little bit.


Using yellow yarn, ch 30, then sl st around front opening of bonnet, starting on left side (facing the hat), ch 30. You should be working across the right side of the bonnet. Sc back over ch and sl st through back loops- this makes the ties and frames the front of the bonnet.

Weave in ends and enjoy! My baby loves wearing her hat and enjoys bopping the padded sides against things- it’s like a little baby helmet.

Sizing considerations

In order to make the bonnet wider, ch more than 55 st to start. To make it deeper, work more sc rows before fastening off and crocheting the back. In order to make a grown-up size, make a bonnet to fit the recipient’s head. Make the antenna a little longer, and continue crocheting the end of the head bumps using *x sc, 2 sc in one st*, increasing x on each round by 1. You’ll increase the length of the ties, too.

Katamari Prince(ss) of All Cosmos!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, August 8, 2008

None of us are free until all of us are free.

Not just some, or a few, or the ones at the top, or them but not me, or me but not them.

And certainly not just the ones with the fucking guns.

I will be enjoying the Olympics this year. I mean, it's the Speedo Olympics, after all. Also, I have a soft spot for the indomitable human spirit, and the Olympics brings it out all day, every day. But I will not forget that no matter where the games are held, any place on Earth, there is a contradiction between the spirit of the Olympics and the actual opportunities and rights of the people who live in the host nation. Or anywhere, for that matter.

Here comes the preachy part (I never get preachy, either... maybe whiny, or grumpy, or angry...):

So get your popcorn and your Olympic-branded beverage of choice (sigh) and enjoy the thrill of watching some of the most talented athletes on Earth continue to best each other and the generations of humans who came before. But maybe think about the people of Tibet a little, too, and what we can do to make the indomitable human spirit a little more like the indomitable humans, period.

Also, check out this blog if you want sweet yarn that screams Free Tibet!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

FO: Bibstravaganza

Well, I did it. The knitting was done a while ago, but it took time to sew on the velcro (without a thimble- ugh.).

FO: Bibstravaganza

Bibstravaganza (lime green bib not pictured)
US size 5 needles
Sugar and Cream yarn, lots and lots (less than a skein per bib)

I based these on the Bibs O' Love from Mason Dixon Knitting. I didn't have the book, so I improvised. I got about 4 st to the inch, so I cast on 36 stitches and knit till there were 30 garter ridges. I bound off till there were only 9 stitches left (25%) and knit till the strap had 36 ridges, or until I could fold it diagonally across the bib itself. Sew on a little velcro and tada!

FO: Bibstravaganza

I didn't want to do buttons because the dogs are button fiends, and I fear I can never sew a button on tight enough to prevent them from eating it. For sweaters, this is not an issue, but bibs get tossed around and torn off and dropped on the floor enough that I was a little concerned.

FO: Bibstravaganza

I love the stupid kitchen cotton, although it's a little splitty (even for me). I really like the hand of the finished fabric, and the garter ridges are great for wiping spit/gunk/baby-ness off of Vivienne's face. I might embroider on these, or maybe make little felt appliqué patches. The orange one is just crying out for a little black bat or a Jack 'o' lantern. I highly recommend this project to anyone who needs baby accessories and who could use a little garter stitch therapy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Month One



First meal
courtesy of Mom
First cry
it wasn't as strong as it is now, but I remember it as if it were the loudest noise I've ever heard


First lunch out
with Aunt Tracy and Grandma, and then with Dad and Mom at Raja Rani (they catered our wedding, too)
First smile
they're not just gas anymore
First car ride
home from the hospital
First diaper blowout
all over Dad!
First trip to a friend's house
to Keenan and Carrie's
First party in her honor
to meet Mom's family
First neighborhood stroll
warm summer evenings
First prescription
silly tear ducts

First baby

Dad and Viv

First time parents

Friday, July 18, 2008

FO and pattern: Goldie Dress

Dress for Viv

a dress or tunic for sweet babies aged 3-6 months (give or take)


Joann Sensations Kashmira, one skein (284 yards)- sample is dyed with Kool-Aid and food coloring. You may need another skein, depending on length- the dress shown is knee length on a 1 month old baby


size 4 US circular and/or double point needles, or size needed to obtain gauge


6 stitches and 8 rows = 1 inch

Abbreviations/Skills Necessary

k- knit

p- purl

k2tog- knit two together

kfb- knit front and back of stitch

CO- cast on

BO- bind off

pm- place marker

slm- slip marker

garter st- k every row (k 1 row, p 1 row in the round)

Finished Measurements

9.5” across at underarm

7.25” from underarm to hem

(measurements are approximate, but remember- it will fit the baby at some point!)

Dress for Viv


Starting for collar, CO 54 st. Starting with a RS row, work in garter st for 1”, ending in RS row.

Row 1: K4, P6 (front), pm, P9 (sleeve), pm, P16 (back), pm, P9 (sleeve), pm, P6 (front), K4.

Row 2: *K to 1 st before marker, kfb, slm, kfb* and repeat from * to * till end of row.

Row 3: K4, P till 4 st before end, K4.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 till back has 44 st or desired width.

At the same time and after about 8 repeats of row 2 and 3, increase for the puffed sleeves (you can leave this part out if you don’t want puffy sleeves)

RS row: slm for sleeve, kfb, *k4, kfb*, repeat from * to * till last stitch before marker (don’t worry if it’s not totally even, just k remaining stitches), kfb, slm. Repeat this for both sleeve sections.

WS row: follow row 3 above

Repeat this till desired puffiness is achieved (I did three inc rows), or till back has 44 st.

Join fronts and back: on a RS row, K across front to first marker, remove marker, CO 4 st, pm, CO 4 st, slip sleeve st onto a piece of scrap yarn, remove marker, K back st, , remove marker, CO 4 st, pm, CO 4 st, slip sleeve st onto a piece of scrap yarn, remove marker, K to end. The markers are the sides of the dress and are where you will increase to create the A-line skirt.

Join to work in the round (don’t twist your knitting!) and continue in stockinette st. You will keep the four stitches on either side of the join in garter st (p a round, k a round) for 10 rounds or so, and k all the rest of the st. After that, k those 8 st every round (like the rest of the st).

At the same time, increase for the skirt. Every seventh round, increase as follows: k to one st before marker, kfb, slm, kfb. Repeat at the other marker. Repeat this one round every seventh round (or more if you want a more flared skirt, less if you want less flare). Knit till you want to stop- the dress shown extends past the baby’s bottom, but not quite to her knees.

For the border, k in garter st for 1” or so, and bind off in pattern. I would recommend starting and ending the border and bindoff at one of the markers, rather than in the front center of the dress.

Dress for Viv

For the sleeves, pick up 8-9 st where you CO at the armpit, and k the st around the arm. Join your work (don’t twist it) and k 3 rows in stockinette. To decrease the puffy sleeves:

Row 1: *k4, k2tog* and repeat from * to * around

Row 2: K

Repeat this till there are fewer than 40 st remaining (it will depend on how much you increased). Knit in garter st for ¾” and bind off loosely. I used EZ’s sewn bindoff for extra stretch- infants are wriggly!

Weave in your ends and have a fashion show.

Size Considerations and Variations

In order to make this dress larger, you have a couple of options:

CO more stitches, 1-2 more per section, increase the armhole depth (do more increases), and lengthen the skirt.


Knit out of thicker yarn at a larger gauge.

If you wanted, you could leave off the puffed sleeve increases and side increases. You could then knit it to a shorter length for a cute knitted t-shirt. To make the skirt flare out more, increase more frequently.

version 1.0- July 18, 2008

© 2008 Veronica Machak

Please don’t sell this pattern or things you make from this pattern.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Think good thoughts.

Viking had another seizure this morning. We're weighing our options- to medicate or not. We want her to have the highest possible quality of life, so it's hard to choose. On one hand, the seizures are, well, seizures, but on the other hand, the medication could have a (permanent) sedative effect and could also tax her liver. She seemed to have a pretty good day, though- about an hour was spent being nervous and aggressive, but then she mellowed out and was back to her old self.

But the fun didn't stop there. Oh no. I went to the dentist today. And then I worked a full day with a screaming infant on my lap. Ergh, it was not the best day, all around.

But I did finish Viv's dress, and I'm almost done drafting a pattern. Hooray.

And there's a new Venture Bros. to watch. And last night we laughed our way through Wizard People, Dear Reader (seriously- you NEED to watch this thing, even if you don't care about Harry Potter, which I certainly don't). Well, I made it half way, and then fell asleep in a pile of blankets with my darling Viking (Vandal was nearby). And I redesigned the blog and changed around the comment system so I can finally reply to folks. So there's that.

And then there's these photos, which make the stress melt away. I am so glad that when I get to the end of my life, I'll be able to look back and remember how beautiful and tiny and precious and soft my daughter was at the beginning of hers.


Little rolls

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's been emotional.

Terror...and elation

Special needs=especially needy?
special needs = especially needy?

So, Viking had a seizure. It was the scariest moment of my life, rivaled only by Dan's first panic attack (the 'heart attack'). We heard her scrambling in her crate, and when she wouldn't respond to our voices, we thought something was in there, biting her. Dan opened the crate, and she wouldn't come out. We panicked, he tore the top off the crate, and there she was- wild-eyed, twitching, and drooling so much she was foaming at the mouth. After an eternity, she snapped out of it, but she was so disoriented and scared (probably from Mom and Dad screaming and crying...shoot) that she limped around the room as fast as her front legs could take her, peeing on the rugs and barking at Dan.

A trip to the doggie ER and $200 worth of tests concludes... she's epileptic. Huh.

Then, five days later, she stops eating and starts vomiting, which, for this dog, is utterly out of character. We get more panicked- was she poisoned? Is it an obstruction? Are the problems related? Another trip to the vet, another $200 (x-rays, more bloodwork, stool, so broke) and... nothing. It's not an intestinal blockage, as far was we know, it's not an endocrine disease (she had other symptoms that could have just been incidental?)'s maybe something she ate, but she was vomiting so much, there wasn't anything in her tummy to examine, poor girl. She got some medication for nausea, and three days later, she's on the mend. I spend a lot of time these days thinking about poop, and I'm pleased to report my dog's is getting back to normal. Yipes. I am grateful for our (new, less-expensive-than-the-old-one) vet, though- he called three days in a row to check that she was improving. He seemed to really care, and even more importantly, he seemed to take into consideration that even though we're broke college kids with a newborn, we love our dogs like family and want to keep them healthy. He was methodical in his approach and was willing to go one test at a time to rule out problems. He's a keeper.


Bib rainbow
everything is more interesting with babies!

I have actually been doing quite a bit of knitting! I've got nine bibs done (ends woven in and everything!). They just need velcro and embellishment before I can start strapping them to Viv. But because I procrastinate when it comes to finishing, I cast on for another project. I have a single ball of yarn I dyed with Kool-aid, and I looked and looked for the perfect pattern to use it. When I came up with nothing, I thought what the hell and decided to write my own. I will have details in the next day or so- I am almost done! If you need a pattern for a cute baby dress, watch this space.


I am back to work (as we speak!). It's not easy getting back to the grind, but the vet bills blindsided us, and we're already taking a hit from the time off for the baby. I just got an email; apparently I've been at this job for two years now. Huh. I am not one for hanging on to jobs (I have no career yet, so they're all just jobs), and I normally would have gotten the wanderlust by now. Maybe it's because I'm not waiting tables? Not dealing with the public does wonders for my job satisfaction, apparently.


Songs I listen to if I want to have a good, healthy cry:
  • Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running
  • Sufjan Stevens - Casimir Pulaski Day
  • Ben Folds - The Luckiest
  • Suzanne Vega - World Before Columbus
  • Bjork - Joga
  • Aimee Mann - Wise Up
  • Belle and Sebastian - The State I Am In
  • Catatonia - Valerian
  • David Bowie - Conversation Piece
  • Talking Heads - This Must Be the Place
I'm kind of shocked that I have been feeling so good. I was a prime candidate for post-partum depression, and I'm still waiting for the shoe to drop. So far, though, I have been feeling great, despite some frustration and adjustment. I still feel like I have a lot of emotions to process, though, and so some cathartic tears have been in order. It's kind of hard to explain to friends and family why I would listen to things that make me cry, especially songs that make me cry so. damn. hard. But they're good tears, they're cleansing tears, they're tears of joy.


Viv's 0th birthday is in a week (we decided to have a meet-and-greet party rather than entertain the 40+ family members on my dad's side individually). We're going to Gencon this August (nerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd!). And there are two people in this house who are really looking forward to the end of pelvic rest (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more).

Also: Batman. And Hellboy. And X-Files.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Things that make me feel good, right now:

  1. new baby smell
  2. two hours of sleep strung together
  3. lanolin- for knits, and for my tender, tender bits
  4. garter stitch- it's almost impossible to screw up at 4 am (bibstravaganza continues!)
  5. backrubs, footrubs, and hugs on demand from a fantastic partner
  6. my fantastic partner (he gets his own bullet point)
  7. not needing anything but motrin for discomfort (and not even that)
  8. thunderstorms
  9. dreaming of knitting something not-too-girly for my little girl
  10. watching them sleep
Naptime 2

Monday, June 23, 2008

Welcome to the world

Vivienne Beatrix 052

Vivienne Beatrix
June 20, 2008
12:00 pm
7 pounds, 15 ounces
20.25 inches

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

FO (just about!): Nursery

Well, here it is. I'm a little disappointed in the photos. It's been so stormy and gray in Michigan this last week, but I wanted to get something posted before what I assume will be radio blackout starting on Friday. :P My parents want to know what I want for my birthday (last week!), and I think a better wide-angle camera lens just shot to the top of the list.

Little Mutie's Nursery

Dan painted the walls, and I did the sewing and crocheting. The crib is vintage (it was mine, when I was a baby), and the art on the walls I put together from things from the Martha Stewart aisle at Michaels. We were aiming for a gender-neutral theme based loosely on Katamari Damacy, one of our favorite video games. We had a limited budget- I'd estimate that I spent about $60 on fabric, $15 on craft supplies, and $60 on furniture (the rocker and the changing table)- the rest we already had and repurposed or were given.

The crib

The crib bumpers and the quilt are in the bed (now with a mattress!), ready to take over for mommy as the baby house (although it's going to be a long, long summer before anyone in this house needs a quilt!).


The house next door has really reflective siding on it, so even though it's a northern exposure, there is a lot of light thrown on the crib. I made these curtains from scraps from the bumper project and some broadcloth to match the green wall. Now it's really dark in there with the curtains closed! I'm a little shocked that they match as well as they do- I was winging it, and I have been fighting the sewing machine all week (more on that later, though).

The alphabet

This is what happens when your budget is exhausted (and small to begin with). These are alphabet cards scored on clearance at Michaels (that Martha Stewart craft aisle is killer), strung on black satin ribbon.

Katamari Art 1

Katamari Art 2

My sister and I made these. Dan wanted a Katamari-themed room, and this is where it came out in a more literal sense. They're printed on glossy paper, mounted with puffy tape (you know, the 3D stuff) on scrapbook paper in those Martha Stewart shadowboxes (on clearance for $3!). These were a lot of fun to make, although cutting out the little Katamari cousins was not easy. They're only an inch tall, at most, and my scissor skills can be rivaled by any dexterous third grader.

Bibstravaganza continues apace, although I did stop to finish stuff for the baby's room and then got sidetracked by sewing diapers. I was all set to just do prefolds and rubber pants or butt sweaters, but then the nesting instinct blindsided me. I was transported to the flannel aisle at Joann Fabrics, where I proceeded to throw caution to the wind. Once I have more done, I will show them off. They really are cute... I hope they fit.

I have to go clean the house. Apparently my in-laws are coming down tomorrow, not Friday. Which means, of course, that the night before the birth, the night before major surgery, the last night Dan and I have as a couple (ahem) will be spent entertaining houseguests. Sigh. I leave you with one of the last pictures of the baby on the inside. The bump really only is visible from the side in a lot of my clothes, even now. I'm kind of shocked. I think it means I'll be back into my old clothes relatively quickly, but it probably also means I'm going to look like the old me with a rapidly-deflated beach ball taped to my front. :)

39 weeks and change

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I can't believe that in less than a week, I will no longer be pregnant. That seems like a feat in itself, but on top of that, Dan and I will be fumbling with a newborn baby! I have been dragging my feet in packing for the hospital, but Friday is looming ever closer and I don't want to be caught at the hospital without my favorite nightgown (that's part of the problem- I don't want to pack something I want to wear all the time!).

Scheduling the c-section was hard. Really hard. It is so strange to have the mystery and excitement (and everything else) taken out of the experience. I cried a little after I got off the phone with the OB's office. I cried even more when I rewrote our birth plan. It was so hard to replace things like "We wish to have our parents present for labor, and for delivery if we desire" with "I would prefer my arms aren't restrained, and that oxygen not be delivered through a mask, if possible." I wish it weren't the case, but I am terrified of this surgery, and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it. At least Dan is being a real friend and advocate, and our midwife spent about an hour in the office with me, going over the entire procedure and giving me a lot of reassurance. I'm better than I was a week ago, but I don't know that I'll be ready, even when it's happening.

So, I engaged in a little retail therapy. Sugar 'n' Cream yarn was on sale for a dollar a ball at Michael's, so I bought $10 worth (hey, it was my birthday, after all). And I cast on for a bib- a simple, garter stitch bib loosely based on the one from Mason-Dixon Knitting (but I don't like buttons on baby clothes, and my gauge is never going to be their gauge). And when that one was finished, I cast on for another.


And another- I'm on to the orange ball. I can't wait till I have nothing but bits and bobs, and I am making little Frankenbibs and embellishing the solid-colored ones. I'll probably go back and get more yarn, too- I actually like the feel of the cotton, and it doesn't wear my hands out, at least not on size 6 needles (knitting the soakers on 1s was killing me! sometimes I don't like being such a loose knitter). And seriously- that's a lot of meditative garter stitch for the low, low price of ten bucks.

My birthday, by the way, was nice. I was feeling pretty damn depressed, so our plans changed in the middle of the afternoon from a movie to a walk around the Henry Ford Museum (one of my favorite places to loiter). We had fondue for dinner, and although I got oil on my silk blouse (just a little) and the cake I made wasn't so great, the day ended up much better than it started. I even had the pleasure of falling asleep during a massage and reading a little from a Terry Pratchett novel. It was a welcome respite from all the baby fretting.

Friday, June 13, 2008

FOs: Baby Butt Sweaters

Butt Sweaters

Pattern: Curly Purly Soakers (size small)
Needles: US 1,2,3,5
Yarn: Lion Fishermen's Wool, dyed with Kool-Aid

Red Butt Sweater

These were pretty fun to make- I enjoyed the dyeing process, although it's kind of obvious that my sister and I were working on the same skeins, but from different ends and with different objectives. She also thought that we shouldn't waste the Kool-Aid, and made sure that every drop of the howevermany colors we mixed ended up on the yarn somewhere*. Sigh.

Green Butt Sweater

The pattern is really straightforward, although I need to use tiny needles to get gauge, or something like it. I don't enjoy weaving in ends or picking up stitches, so these took a little longer than an evening apiece. They're really adorable, and I hope they keep the pee in!

*And she's the one with the art degree. :P

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A finely attuned sense of gravity

This is a long, long baby-related post, with no pictures and no knitting or sewing. I have finished objects that need to be photographed, so feel free to skip this post and wait for the next one.

So, it's a c-section for me. I even went through the manual external version, and it just wasn't enough to convince the kid to move.

We had it performed on Monday at the hospital, in L&D (just in case...). I was up early, and ate a small breakfast (I'm used to this being a big meal), even though they didn't want me to. I was pretty nervous, but optimistic. After all, the midwife said the baby had plenty of room to move, right?

We got registered and shuffled around and eventually put in a bed in recovery. On the other side of the room, a man was standing over a wailing baby in a bassinet. She was only about fifteen minutes old and so! tiny! He told his visitors that she was six and a half pounds. Her mother was wheeled in about an hour later, and it was then I made Dan promise not to leave me in the operating theater- I am terrified of being alone in there. I was getting more nervous as time went on, but it helped to sneak a peek at the baby on the way to the bathroom.

They shuffled nurses around and eventually took a history (in stages), and the doctor came in to talk to me. I haven't met her (there are a ton of OBs in my practice, and I've been working with the midwives, so...), but she seemed nice. She went, and a nurse put in a heparin lock and took some blood. I realized that I was exhausted and thirsty and dizzy from the blood draw, but I couldn't have any water. She brought me three ice chips in a styrofoam cup.

We waited an hour, because a c-section trumped my procedure. By then I was nervous, tired, thirsty, dizzy and hungry, and the nurses started flitting about, looking for my consent form. I hadn't signed one yet, but as they're looking for it, a nurse injected me with the muscle relaxer/stimulant stuff and then they shoved the consent form in my face. Which I proceeded to read and sign, even though I was nervous, tired, hungry, thirsty, dizzy, and my heart was racing from the drugs. In retrospect, I should have spoken up, but I haven't been in the hospital since I was seven, so what did I know? Next time, I'm not getting into a hospital gown until that form is produced, my questions are answered, and I sign it in a (relatively) calm state of mind.

The OB came back with her medical student, and they gave me a nurse's hand to squeeze. Dan was told to stand at the foot of the bed, and he gently held my left foot. They talked for a minute about the procedure, mostly for the med student's benefit (she had never done a version before), and then it was one-two-three push. Dan's hand squeezed my foot so hard I thought I was going to lose toes. I closed my eyes and breathed as deeply as I could, trying through the jitters and fog to be relaxed and not inhibit the process. It wasn't that uncomfortable, although it was nerve-wracking. Only twice in the six attempts did I feel like I was pushed hard enough to leave a mark. The med student was tentative in her actions, which is understandable, but the OB was really giving it all she had. The baby, unfortunately, was like a rotary phone. They'd move it down into position, but once they let go, it would dial its way back and land with a thud and its head wedged under my right ribs (which are still sore).

Like I said, they tried six times. They went clockwise and counter-clockwise. The baby rotated on every axis but the one they were aiming for. Fortunately, I felt like I could take it, and the baby's vitals remained strong, so they kept going. In the end, though, it didn't work. At one point, I heard the nurse tell Dan there was a chair behind him, and I almost laughed. When I opened my eyes and saw him, he looked so pale! I assured him that it probably looked worse than it was, and that earned me a weird look from all of the staff attending to me. I think they were a little shocked that I didn't make any noise- I get the impression they're used to more screaming and cursing.

Eventually they stopped trying, and everyone left but the OB. She told me to schedule a c-section and apologized that there wasn't more she could do. She told me that two of her children were breech, so she understood some of what I was feeling. She also told me that if a version didn't do it, chiropractors/standing on my head/moxibustion probably wouldn't either. Those were the magic words. She let me off the hook.

She let me off the hook! Ever since the baby has been found out to be right-side up, everyone and anyone has been telling me what to do to turn the baby. I have been feeling a lot of guilt and frustration because I thought that maybe the baby hadn't turned because of the way I sit in a chair, or where the waistband of my super-comfy maternity jeans hits my abdomen, or because there was something that I didn't do that other people did as a matter of course. Well, guess what- it's not my fault, any more than mothers of babies who flip over deserve congratulations for a job well done. It's something that just happens, and for most breech babies, there are no discernible reasons for their breechy-ness. If you have stumbled on this page because your baby is not a spinner, then I'm letting you off the hook, too. Your baby has a finely attuned sense of gravity, and that's all there is to it. Don't let it get you down, and hope if you want to (or, if you're like me, let it go, don't bother with hope, and prepare for what is the next step). Being the mom of a breech baby is tough, especially if you have had a healthy pregnancy and have been planning for a natural childbirth. It feels like being disqualified from a race I've been training to run for a year while I'm standing on the starting block. But I will get over it. I read up on c-section awareness (which is frustrating, because most of the advice is "don't let them cut you!" and doesn't really address breech births, or only does as an afterthought to all of the proselytizing), and I will be talking to my midwife about maximizing my potential for a VBAC in future pregnancies. Like my baby, I am looking upward and forward.

Friday, June 6, 2008

FO: Crib Bumpers

FO: Crib bumpers

I used the pattern that came with the crib bumper batting, which was already cut to size (yay!), but needed to be shortened to fit the sides of my (totally standard) crib (boo). The ends of the crib are closed, so the bumpers need to be tied a little differently than the pattern assumes.

FO: Crib bumpers

I used a crazy six-patch motif based on this ingenious idea. There are twelve fabrics in total, from Joann and Reprodepot, divided into two stacks of fronts and backs, and I figured the seam allowances in to the total dimensions required for the bumper pattern (so... I expanded the long dimension of the base rectangle by 2", and the tall dimension by 1", assuming .5" seam allowances). The pattern suggested making 17 yards or so of bias tape for the ties. I bought twill tape and hand-rolled and tacked the ends- way easier.

FO: Crib bumpers

They're a little lumpy in parts where my impatience won out over ripping and trimming, but I don't think the baby'll mind too much. I love love love the Alexander Henry paper doll people fabric- it's so sweet and creepy at the same time!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Start of summer

the fire pit

I went to Houghton Lake with my parents over Memorial Day, which was a nice distraction. I promise, the lake is there, beyond the trees.


The dogs went with me, although Dan stayed home. Vandal was pretty sick the whole time we were there, but she still seemed to enjoy trotting around in the yard and sniffing all the things we don't have at home.

Vandal at the lake

I wish my husband could have come up there with me. I was pretty nervous about the dog being sick, and I wasn't feeling great either, and I felt a lot of pressure to make the most of it because I'm not going to get a vacation for a while. In the end, I tried to have a good time, and we came home early.

At least I got two pairs of shoes for five bucks at the outlet mall in West Branch. Score!


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Baby acrobatics

Well, it's not scheduled yet, but we're going forward with an ECV- it's the "flip your baby from the outside" procedure. I'm certainly not thrilled that it has come to this., but it's the last-ditch effort to prevent a c-section, something I most certainly do not want and have been grappling with since we found out that the baby hasn't turned in any direction since about 28 weeks (stubborn little mutie!). There's a chance that there's something tethering the baby in an upright position, but our midwife remains optimistic about our chances- for a first-time mom, I still have a lot of room in there for the baby to float around in. She was able to get the baby to do a quarter turn in the office, although she didn't want to chance it because of the potential for complication.

This whole thing reminds me of a three-day field trip I took with the bio class in high school to Traverse City. Like good Michiganders, we took canoes out on the Crystal River. My partner and I got separated from the group (I hate canoes!) and took our sweet time going down the river. At one point, we came to a road that ran over the river, with the water flowing through a small steel tube that looked like it would barely fit the canoe, but certainly not us. We did what we thought we were supposed to do- we lugged the damn boat out of the water and dragged it across the two-lane highway. When we finally (finally! it seemed like days- I hate canoes that much) met back up with our class, I commented to someone about the ludicrousness of a tube interrupting the process.

"But you're supposed to go through the tube."

I looked at my partner. "Through... the tube?" We both erupted into a fit of laughter- the idea was seemingly insane. The only way through was to squash your torso flat against the boat. What do you do if you get stuck?

From that day forward, we used the phrase "through the tube" to mean anything that sounded absurd to us, but apparently normal to everyone else.

I think my baby might be observing the situation and trying to figure a way to carry the boat across the road rather than go through the tube. Too bad, kid. The tube is the way, and yes, it is designed so that you might get stuck. I know, I'm not thrilled about it either, but we're in this together.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

35 weeks

and a new haircut

35 weeks

and a new Photoshop action (Urban Acid).

35 weeks

I really want to learn more about Photoshop- I look at my photos a lot of the time and wish they had the zing of a little post-processing. Maybe that's what this summer will bring- sleepless nights, baby on my lap, glow of the computer screen...

FO: Baby's First Quilt

Doggie Quilt for baby

I sewed the top/did the quilting (in one step) while watching the Grammy awards with my mom (when was that, February?), and it's been folded up in a shopping bag ever since. The idea of binding the thing was really daunting. I've never been a very good finisher, and lately I have been feeling so down that I didn't want to risk stitching a bunch of negative vibes into the quilt (like the opposite effect of a prayer shawl, I guess). Yesterday I was feeling pretty good, so I folded over the backing, figured out the zigzag stitch on my mother's machine (without the manual!), and stitched it down. And it's done.

I used a technique for sewing the quilt top directly to the batting and the backing. I have the material to make another quilt, and I'll most likely post a tutorial when I make that one.

Here's a closeup of the "binding" and my novice zigzag skills:

Crib quilt detail

My Life in Pictures
Veronica M's items Go to Veronica M's photostream

About Me

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I love language. I love knitting. I love photography. I love my husband. I love my daughter. I love my puppies. Reach me at vmachak at gmail dot com.

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She Has Arrived

Vivienne Beatrix

June 20, 2008
12:00 pm
7 pounds, 15 ounces
20.25 inches


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