Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The view from above, the view from before

27 weeks
this is me at 27 weeks

This is a baby post, and a long one at that, so skip it if you don't want to read about baby stuff.

Yesterday was a pretty intense baby day. Dan and I actually began a baby registry, and we spent a kind of exciting, kind of frustrating two hours in Babies 'R' Us looking at a bunch of stuff that seemed kind of plasticky and totally necessary. We figured out high chairs, play pens (excuse me, play YARDS), baby Bjorn carrier thingies, and diaper bags without incident... well, almost. There was only one front-facing carrier that fit Dan! He's not a gigantic dude by any stretch, and I can't imagine a man (or woman) with a larger chest circumference than him (he wears an XL tall) fitting into any of this gear. It was kind of discouraging, but at least we found a front carrier and a back carrier (which looks like a kid-backpack) that we liked.

Then we tried to look at carseats and strollers. I really, really despise the corporate scare tactics manufacturers use to get me to buy as many expensive (and yet totally cheaply made) devices as possible in the shortest time frame. They want to make sure my kid goes through a minimum of two strollers and carseats, and that I am too scared to use either one on another kid or, gods help us, hand them down to another set of parents. You'd think with my child's safety at stake and the word SAFETY and QUALITY splashed all over the packaging, they'd at least test their products enough so that every seat wouldn't eventually be recalled for some reason or another before they reach their 'expiration date' (which I am certain is just tacked on to make sure you need to buy another seat before your kid is big enough to go without, or that little brother/sister has to get their own seat). We were set to scan a Graco SnugRide and be done with it for the day when a woman walked up to the display, holding a totally adorable baby. She sighed dejectedly and turned to her partner, saying, "They [Graco] don't make a rear facing seat that'll fit him. He's only six months old." This kid wasn't even that big, either, and when I asked, she told me he weighed 22 pounds. I looked around with her, bewildered that this seemingly normal kid was SOL in the carseat department, and we found a front/rear convertible seat that would fit her son, which was a relief. We looked at the seat for ourselves, but the convenience of the infant carrier moving with ease from car to car still has us thinking that we need both. Or at least, we need to buy 2 convertible carseats at minimum- one for my car, one for my parent's car, and one for his car (although that'll probably be the least frequently used one). So we're STILL stuck buying eight million car seats. ARRGH.

And that doesn't even begin to touch the problem of a stroller. The "travel system" is out right off the bat- too heavy, too unwieldy, too cheap feeling, and frankly, I have never seen a person pushing a kid around in one of those who wasn't in the infant seat strapped to the top- I think parents trade them in for a smaller stroller as soon as they can. What a waste! Does anyone have a recommendation of a relatively lightweight/smallish-folding stroller we can use with a snuggly, reclined little baby and an infant who is sitting up on their own? I drive a Civic, and while the trunk is a decent size, I don't know if we can fit all of this baby crap in it if it doesn't fold up a little smaller. I really like the idea of the infant seat carrier frames, but the shelf-life of that product isn't going to be that long (we both come from a long line of high growth percentile babies).

The view from above 1
what it looks like from here- except I need to stretch to see my shoes

After the registry ordeal, we went to dinner and then a seminar for the Alternative Birth Unit at Providence Hospital. If you're in the Detroit area and shopping for hospitals, go to this seminar! Their approach focuses on natural childbirth in a home-like setting (although, never fear, they have some pain meds available, and you're down the hall from the regular L&D). If we want (and we do), we can use a hot tub to relax (although they don't do waterbirths), have any visitors we want, eat/drink what we'd like, and Dan can even catch the baby. It's the kind of birth experience we're looking for. Granted, I've never had an epidural, but numbness makes me uncomfortable, and I'm the kind of person who listens intently to my body. For example, I don't take medication for cramps, in general, because I rely on them to tell me what's going on with my cycle- when the cramps start, so does my period (we're talking a five-minute window- it's pretty cool, actually). I am hoping that labor works in a similar fashion (body awareness, not speed, of course), but who knows. The unit does have some pain medication if I opt in, but they also have a number of other things available to help ease the discomfort that aren't available in the regular L&D (a jacuzzi being one such option). They also don't generally administer Pitocin or perform episiotomies (they stress preparatory massage and perineal support during birth), and their C-section rate is about 6% (same as my midwife). 6%!

Your mileage may vary, of course, and I'm not pretending to really know what I'm talking about. All I know is that hospitals scare me, the insurance will cover something in the hospital that doesn't feel like the hospital, and the rooms are totally posh (well, that last one isn't essential, but it's pretty sweet!).

FO: Box Bags

I have been sewing. It's a miracle! I still haven't finished the baby quilt, which just needs to be cut to size and bound, but I managed to procrastinate a little this weekend and make a couple of project bags. I used tutorials from Dragon[knit]fly and small hands as a starting point, but I think I made enough innovations to the designs to call them my own creation.

Box bag, with baby sweater

Box bag redux

Seam binding!

I made the amber one first, and the insides are pretty raw, but cute. I don't care, but if I were to make one of these for someone else (of if I were to, say, open an etsy shop), I would want to follow what I did on the second bag. I did a decent enough job that I am willing to show off the insides, but I want you to remember that I only started using a sewing machine about a month ago, and I have been doing this without much supervision at all. Things are a little rough, and I am more likely to sew over/through a mistake rather than rip it out at this point... I'll get over it.

Box bag, with laceweight

The blue and yellow stripey thing is a baby sweater in progress, and the red laceweight wool is going to become a shawl before May 10- I have a wedding to attend, and I can never regulate my temperature in formal wear without a little help.

Friday, March 21, 2008

FO: Monkey Socks

Monkey Socks

Pattern: Monkey Socks, by Cookie A.
Yarn: two skeins of Crystal Palace Panda Cotton, fall herbs
Needles: US size 1 DPNs
September 2007- March 20, 2008

I put these away for a little while when the nausea was really bad in the first trimester and I couldn't concentrate on anything, let alone tiny knitting. The lace chart was actually pretty easy to memorize, and this was the project that finally, finally cemented Kitchener in my mind (hooray!). I can see why this is one of the most popular patterns on the net- Cookie is a brilliant designer, and the instructions couldn't be easier to follow. I really want to try more of her patterns.

The yarn is a little splitty, but I don't generally split yarn so it wasn't a problem for me. The colors really are this vibrant, and the finished fabric is fantastic- smooth, soft, and cool. They ended up being a little short for me, so I gave them to my mom as an early Mother's Day gift (she wears socks year round, but usually only thin cotton anklets in the summer heat). I will most likely need three skeins for socks of my own, either with or without contrasting heels and toes. I can't wait to buy more of this once the yarn famine is over.

Monkey Socks detail

Friday, March 14, 2008

99 days to go

Here we are. Less than 100 days till the baby's due. I'm cruising toward the end of the second trimester, and I am really starting to feel it. Getting out of a chair is more than just an automatic movement now, and I am simultaneously thirsty and needing to pee all the time. The baby's pretty active, and Dan is able to put his hand on my belly and feel little kicks and punches whenever he wants. The baby and the dogs are already jealous of each other- Viking spends a lot of her evenings trying to squish the baby back into my spine to recreate the lap that was formerly hers, and hers alone, and the baby spends its evenings kicking Viking in the back for trying. Vandal has learned to lay on my legs.

Everyone wants to know if it's a boy or a girl. Everyone. Waiters, supermarket cashiers, family and friends, the women in the office I temped in yesterday (that's another story altogether). One woman even said, "Why don't you want to know? How are you going to know what clothes to buy it?" It's hard to keep an even tone of voice when people say that to me, but I suppose that a lot of people just don't understand or realize that gender is a cultural construction, and a problematic one, at that. The baby isn't going to be born pink or blue (probably more like a blotchy purple color). An old coworker of mine was complaining that it gets even more difficult to find neutral clothes after 6 months, especially for boys. Little girls can wear the robots/insects/puppies stuff, but the little boys can't usually pull off princess ruffled rumba pants. She also told me that a lot of people would ask her, "What is it?" when they saw her son in the stroller.

"Oh my god, it's a baby! Why, what do you see?"

Really, stranger- why do you need to know the sex organs of this random baby?

Fortunately, there are plenty of people who are willing to respect the fact that Dan and I don't want a princess- or sports-themed nursery (it doesn't suit us, even excepting the gendered connotations), and it's a relief to know that we can say no boy/girl stuff, and for the most part, it'll be okay. We also made a pact that if any of that stuff comes our way, we'll thank the giver graciously, and put in the Salvation Army bag (do not pass go, do not collect $200), so that some other child can use it.

I didn't intend for this to be a rant, but I feel pretty strongly about this. Also, I tend to feel pretty strongly about everything these days. :) It's been mostly awesome, but there have been a few bad days in there, too. At least the weather is turning around, and there will be sunny days AND thunderstorms (yay!) ahead.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

FO: Ribbed Lace Bolero

Ribbed Lace Bolero

Pattern: Ribbed Lace Bolero
Yarn: GGH Samoa, a little over a skein, and Summer Tweed, a little over a skein
Needles: US size 6 and 8
February 22- March 7

Ribbed Lace Bolero detail

I cast on 98 stitches as the author did, as I feel gauge/fiber choice might make this a little big (I’m more like 18-19” in the shoulders). I used Samoa for the ribbing and Summer Tweed for the lace because I saw them together in the stash and thought what the heck. It’s a little bigger in the shoulders than I would like, but it’s drapey, and I really like how the tweed and the cotton play off of each other. The Samoa makes a considerably less stable fabric than Cotton-ease, and I’m not sure I like it more. It was $3 a ball on clearance at my LYS, but I think if I make another one of these (and I might) I would use Cotton-ease. Still, a nice little stashbuster.

Ribbed Lace Bolero

Taking pictures of yourself is difficult. Also: hello, pregnancy boobs!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Snow day!

You read that right. My class (and midterm!) is canceled today due to SNOW. In March. I love you, Michigan.

I think I'm going to go build a snowman.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

FO: Squatty Sidekick

Black Squatty Sidekick

Black Squatty Sidekick

Pattern: Amanda's Squatty Sidekick (from Knitting Daily)
Yarn: 3 skeins of Lamb's Pride Worsted in black, held doubled
Needles: US size 15, from the Needlemaster
February 18-22 (knitting), February 29-March1 (finishing)

Black Squatty Sidekick

I knit this to use up the black wool I had in my stash. It was a straightforward knit, and I thought that I'd make the bag bigger by knitting it on larger needles with the yarn doubled. It turned out BIG. It's about 20" across, easily. I felted it, and it didn't seem to get any smaller! I don't really care for Lamb's Pride when it's felted (especially compared to Paton's classic merino) but I quite liked the fabric when it was knitted up- I could see myself making a rugged little sweater out of it. Well, if it didn't shed worse than my two mutant Corgis.

Black Squatty Sidekick

My finishing skills are not so hot, but I like the way the lining and strap turned out. Instead of knitting a strap, I knit little nubs to indicate where the straps should go (and then blocked it crooked so they don't quite hit the sides. duh). I sewed D-rings on after it was felted with the 18" of yarn I had left (seriously!). For the strap, I cut a width of the fabric in both the yellow and the print cotton, sewed the long edges, right sides together, and then turned them inside out, folded in and topstitched the edges, and then topstitched the long sides. I tied the ends to the D rings, so I can adjust the strap if I want to. For the lining, I cut the lining pieces roughly the size of the bag laying flat. I added a pocket, using the same general techniques as the strap (so it's lined), and sewed the lining pieces together along the bottom and sides, right sides together. Then I turned the felted bag inside out, turned the lining inside out, put the felted bag inside the lining, folded the raw top edge of the lining down, and tacked it into place with black thread and big, ugly, childish stitches (I'm impatient and I'm also learning how to sew!). After I turned the bag back the right way, I sewed on a snap on the inside (not worrying about the outside because the thread is black and the bag is hairy), and ta-da! Dan's impressed, and I think it's cute, too. It took about a 1/2 yard of the lemon print and a little bit of the yellow quilter's solid cotton.

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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