Friday, September 28, 2007

::cough cough::

All things here at our house have slowed to a crawl. I was feeling a little run down and uncharacteristically called my doctor for an appointment. Turns out lack of sleep is not the only thing running me down. It's also the sinus infection, the fluid in both my ears, the laryngitis and the bronchitis.

But yes, I am a mother so I ignore it. I'm glad I went in because we've got an awful lot of planned events in the month of October which I either can't or won't miss. The multiple prescriptions have me feeling more human already.

Not much knitting going on in my world with this cold. Crafty Wednesday was more crewel.

I now have a tidy crewel box in my studio. The organizing is continuing. Slow and steady, I'm not over doing anything with this phase, there's still plenty of chaos in my house, don't you worry... I found Lock & Lock storage containers and have fallen in love. I am still gun-shy about flooding so I am happy to be filling these goodies up with my craft supplies. They hold a good amount, are easy to stack and see through. Moth-proof, water-proof, two biggies in our house.

Sorry about the lack of photos. I will get on it and next post will be picture-licious. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mirror mirror on the windshield

I ordered a Mirror Yarn Ball from Bezzie's Etsy shop, and I love it! It's great to have a bit of whimsy swinging from the rear-view mirror. PeeWee loves it, Big Brother told me he thinks I have an Etsy "problem" but it's cool. Big words from a 14 year old boy. Bezzie you should be proud.

I am in the midst of a organizing frenzy. I am keeping my fingers crossed I get it done today, as tomorrow is Crafty Wednesday and I can't be bothered to do any housework on such an important day. Last week we did needle felting, it deserved no pictures until I finished something into a nifty Christmas ornament. (it's a small chair, not a huge ornament)

I rather like the silly little thing and since our tree is one of those full of handmade goodies, old ornaments and glass balls it couldn't be a better match for me. I like a bit of folk art on my tree. Tomorrow I have no idea what's in store for us, we're off to someone else's house for the weekly adventure.

Here's a picture of a very basic preemie hat, modeled by our very favorite Teetsie.

As you can see the decreases on the crown of this one make three triangles, kind of a cute touch.

How was it made? I cast on 60 stitches using some Paton's Grace, a great big box store substitute for some much pricier cottons, joined in the round, knit 7 rows of garter stitch for the edging (remember this was football game knitting, knit until it was almost 4 inches tall and began decreases. I had divided these stitches on three dpn's so I just decreased at each end, k2tog at the beginning of the needle, ssk at the end. I decreased every round with this one, so being cotton it's a tad bit looser than I really like, but it turns into little lacy bits so that works design-wise. I drew the yarn through the remaining stitches when I got to 6, wove in the ends and done. A good simple pattern.

A while back I joined the Harmony Semi-solid Sock Yarn Club and yesterday this lush yarn arrived in the mail.

Lush! No better word for it comes to mind! It's so incredibly soft! The color ranges from an almost salmon to a raspberry. I find so many patterns fight the yarn and they are both overwhelmed, I am on the lookout for a pattern that will do it justice, any suggestions?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sport Knitting

I think it is safe to say I was the only active knitter in the stadium. And it was full of fans. See the sea of purple and gold? There were 93,540 of them in fact. (they announce it after halftime) LSU has a huge stadium. It was fun. It also poured down rain.

While in the car on the way there I worked away on the camisole. I got about another inch finished, and am at the change needle size point. Finally something different. I goofed the lace pattern again, but I figure it will just not matter. That's what I keep telling myself anyway.

I asked Mark on the way there if he thought I could bring knitting into the stadium and he said 'not that big thing!' (great, the camisole now has the nickname that big thing...) I told him I had brought along a tiny little bag filled with preemie knitting, and best of all purple yarn, he was impressed and told me to leave the scissors but the rest should be fine.

About 5 minutes or so into the game I decided I would cast on. (I got a lot of looks) I was not entirely sure how my brother in law was going to react, and it was pretty comical. He turned to my husband and said through clinched teeth 'what. is. she. doing.' He had gotten us bazillion dollar seats in the stadium club where there is free food and cokes, you can buy alcohol, but there's more food than you could eat in a lifetime offered, 50 yard line seats out of the rain. And he had just told me how the last time he brought his daughter she sat and studied in the restaurant area the whole time- what a wasted ticket. That's why I waited 5 minutes to actually cast on. Mark told him 'oh, don't worry she doesn't have to look while she knits, she'll be watching the game.' I love my husband, just when I think he never notices anything he pulls something like that out.

I turned to my brother in law and showed him at least it was purple yarn! He laughed, all was okay.

By this time it was pouring down rain.

That's our nephew out there in the very wet band.

Can you see the rain splashing on the railing? It was so humid the yarn was sticking to the needles.

By the end of the third quarter I had finished the hat, but alas no pictures, I still have to wrap up the end of it. Tomorrow a simple preemie hat picture and pattern.

Mark insisted that I show off the socks I made him a few years ago, reserved especially for LSU games. He keeps them neatly folded up in a corner of his sock drawer. They were the third socks I ever made, and I finally got all the parts and they work.

He was telling every stranger who looked at them that I knit them. And showing them off to people who we knew. (a lot more than I would ever had guessed were there) What a cheerleader! Especially since there were some fine costumes to be seen.

Nothing like college games.

*** yes, they won

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Mark and I are heading to Baton Rouge to go see LSU play today. It means prime knitting time for me. Over an hour drive there, with game traffic. About an hour home, without. I plan on bringing my knitting with me into the stadium, I can't remember if they will actually let me though, we'll see how that works. Lord help me if I can't, I will be bored out of my skull, not a football fan at all. I'm going to meet the new love in my brother in law's life more than anything else. (I understand she's lovely, and didn't get the warmest reception from his mother...) We're also going to be in the fancy new part of the stadium, a real treat! I haven't been to a game in years, Mark loves to go. We have an all day baby-sitter for PeeWee, a huge job in itself, yikes!

I have a nifty knitting bag to keep my preemie knitting organized while on the road today.

It's one of Schrodinger's bags, from her etsy shop. I love it! It's the perfect size for travelling knitting. (Next to it is a pear I made years ago, I thought it was funny that is has got yarn labels all through out. So I didn't move it.)

Got a tomato hat done:

It's a cute one I have done a bunch of times before. My mother makes the full sized tomato hats for kids all the time, there are patterns out there, and I promise I didn't knock the pattern off, I don't have it in my stash, I just made this one up. It would be really cute in purple as an eggplant too. Or a yellow lemon. Or an orange, you get the idea.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Questions! Answers! Another FO!

For everyone who is interested in knitting for preemies and has questions about your hospital's requirements, just give them a call. I am sure they will gladly give you the requirements for their particular needs. If you want to enter the contest leave a comment here.

Preemies have incredibly sensitive skin, so be sure yarn is not an animal fiber (possible allergies) and is nice and soft. Plymouth makes a great baby yarn which is super soft. I like the Sirdar I just used for the socks too. Caron and Bernina make several very soft inexpensive baby acrylics, which are available at craft stores and big box stores.

Our hospital doesn't require us to individually bag hats, socks or blankets, but some may. It would make it easier to distribute them, so it might just be a nice gesture.

My experience with washing the clothes PeeWee wore in the NICU is where I got my sterilizing guidelines. If you have questions or are not sure you can properly wash the items for whatever reason, check with your hospital, there will likely be other knitters who you can bring your knitting to for washing and delivering. If you don't have a hospital near you and want to send things this way, just get in touch and we can arrange it.

There are preemie patterns all over the internet if you need one. I'm writing down what I am doing as I knit up pieces and will post here what I have done. If you have a hat pattern, knit it with smaller baby yarn and needles and its a preemie hat. Even if your hat looks like it would fit a newborn or larger, there will eventually be a baby it will fit. I find preemie hats are great ways to try out new stitch patterns and techniques. And gauge just doesn't matter.

The best preemie things we used and which lasted us the longest were nice and stretchy, something to keep in mind. Again, thanks for all the support with this!

Even with a very busy week I managed to finish up my socks:

Koigu, no idea what the color is but I love it. I love these socks. Did I say I love these socks? Well, I do. I will wear them out. They are ankle socks, it's not the funny angle in the picture. When someone comes up with a way to take a picture of a sock which is flattering, will you pass it my way? I'd love to be able to do that...

A little motherly pride... I went to Big Brother's open house last night and discovered he's in several sophomore classes. I had no idea. I am very pleased about it, because his grades so far have been really good. A bit of a struggle with math the first few weeks, but his teacher said he's pulled himself out of that tailspin. (We have a great tutor lined up if we run into trouble.) I hope his excitement about school keeps up. I made it really clear if he wants to be able to do cool things like play gigs with his band (boy does he have a big one lined up, but I'm not saying it out loud so I don't jinx it) he has to keep the grades up. Keep your fingers crossed it works. I really don't want to have to be Mean Mommy and start saying no to him.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

UFO Sighting! (Unheard of Finished Object)

Never mind it is the size of my thumb, it is finished.

Last night I went to hear the Yarn Harlot speak. I am thrilled she finally made it down here and hope she can come again! It was an intimate crowd, but it was definitely a very happy bunch. I cast on for the preemie socks above right before I left the house and had finished until I had to graft the toes (did that as soon as I got home) when she was done. That's how long it takes to knit a pair of preemie socks for those of you wondering. I did short row heels so I could actually pay attention to Stephanie speak. I am all for heel flaps, but since she came all this way I really didn't want to be thinking about my knitting, I just wanted to knit. (I love that I got to go hear someone speak about the charms of yarn and knitters while knitting. That should happen more often.)

Christina came and brought me some completely adorable preemie hats for the growing collection, the picture taken here at 5:30 AM on the red pillow does them no justice, but they are cute as can be and thanks for knitting them up!

If you'd like to try your hand at the tiny preemie socks, here's what I did:

~Sirdar Snuggly DK baby yarn color 0223, size 2US needles (gauge? I didn't check, but I knit fairly tight and it really doesn't matter for preemie stuff, it'll fit one of them)
~Cast on 24 stitches, using backwards 'e', so it is very loose for the babies, I divided them on to two circular needles so I was doing the same thing, you could do them on dpn's, but it's so few stitches on each needle you might be spending more time moving from needle to needle than actually kniting
~Knit in 2x2 ribbing for about an inch and a quarter
~Short row heel- knit across 11 sts, turn, purl across 10 sts, turn, knit across 9 sts, turn purl across 8 sts, turn knit across 7 sts, turn purl across 6 sts, turn, knit across until you reach the gap, pick up a stitch between the gap and k2tog, turn, purl across until, pick up a stitch between the gap and p2tog, repeat until you have worked your way back to the sock.
~on the top of the sock continue in 2x2 ribbing, knit in stockinette on the bottom of the sock.
~when the sock is about as long as your thumb, begin toe decreases every other row as you would with any other sock, knit 1, ssk, knit across the top until 3 sts left, k2tog, k1, repeat on the bottom, knitting an even row between decreases until 6 sts left on toe, graft with kitchener stitch.

For the record, these would have been a bit big on PeeWee, but feet grow quickly!

These socks are not nearly as tiny as Rhonda's mini earring socks, but they are good to fit a preemie. This pattern knit on larger needles would be the perfet size for a newborn, the ribbing gives them nice stretch over baby feet. And a matching hat would be a super quick knit to make an adorable set if you have procrastinated until the last minute of labor for coming up with a baby gift.

Remember to check out the contest if you're interested in winning some lucious yarn.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Contest yarn (and other bits and pieces)

Here's yarn one for the contest:

Cherry Tree Hill 100% silk fingering weight. It's lovely, 666 yards of it, too. Blues, greys, aquas... the picture is showing up darker on my monitor, it's clean clear colors. Go leave a comment to have a chance to win it! If you just want to support me but not knit, that's fine, I need cheerleaders! Spread the word about the contest, there will be more yarns popping their heads up until November 29th.

Hat finished this weekend modeled by PeeWee's my size doll, she was tiny indeed!

On to other stuff.......

Don't you hate it ...when you go to do something and what you need is not there!?!

So much for hooking up my iPod and finally kicking out the clutter that was piled up to the ceiling when I came home Sunday. The little cord is gone. Which means someone- ahem, Big Brother!?!- had to unhook it from behind the stereo and take it.

This house is a crazy disorganized mess (again) the cleaning people come tomorrow so I am doing my best to de-clutter today so it's really easy for them to clean, and it gets done better. And I don't feel so bad that I am paying someone to make up for my extreme lazyness.

Also, when you tell a 14 year old boy to 'take this rug up to the playroom', would you think he would get it into the right room? I would have thought the only room upstairs without a rug in it is where it would have gone, but instead I now have two rugs in the front room, one of which just doesn't match (and is piled on top of the other rug). But it does match the only room up there with no rug. Mysterious. And this was what he was doing for me while I baked 3 batches of brownies for his freshman bake sale today. Umm...

Tomorrow the kids are off from school and I have 800 things to do, all at the same time. Good planning skills in action. I have to blow off the first thing to do the second, but the first thing is supposed to be finished for the third thing to happen. But the third thing overlaps with the second, which I can't blow off, so I have to skip the third thing, or at the very least, stop by late for a minute and drop off the first thing, which I don't have time to do. The fourth thing is picking up something else after the third thing, which I may not make it to. Seeing a pattern here? It doesn't help that things two three and four are all in the same place and yet I still can not do them all at once. I hope no one's counting on me here. Especially since my ideal day would be blowing off things two three and four and taking my sweet time doing thing one.

Here are some pictures from the weekend, as you can see, we went all out, it was very strenuous, physically taxing indeed!

This is from the porch- there used to be several houses across the bayou, now there are just open lots and slabs (that's not a road you see, it's slabs)- it was a very strange thing to not see what we grew up seeing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Preemie Knit-a-thon Contest!!!

When I was pregnant with PeeWee our worlds were rocked almost every time I went to the doctor. She loved to surprize us with something new and unusual each visit. Which meant many visits to the doctor. Around 16 weeks we found out about her heart defect, so they decided that even though they were already watching me closer than normal, I would be cautiously monitored from there on out.

At my visit on 31 weeks and 1 day, I was rushing and running late, when I arrived on September 29 my blood pressure was higher than normal. They figured it was from the rushing to arrive and since they were set to monitor me for an hour anyway, they hooked me up and watched it. Watched it rise out of control. Went down the hall to my OBGYN and it had risen even higher. Up to the danger zone. They admitted me to the hospital, made phone calls to round every one up and we waited. I was loaded up on medications but since they knew about her heart defect and she was a tiny munchkin at that point, they risked it and decided to keep me pregnant for as long as my body would keep her in.

31 weeks and 6 days, things seemed to have calmed down and they felt confident that I would be a long term guest in my lovely hospital room. I was pretty well pampered, had the same nurses each shift and was well looked after. 32 weeks and my exam and daily ultrasound looked good, the baby had grown a lot and they felt like when she said it was time they'd take her. A c-section was planned from the beginning to avoid any unnecessary trauma during birth, so we were set and just waiting it out. About 15 minutes after the doctors had come by my placenta abrupted and PeeWee needed out NOW.

Fast forward to the surreal delivery, the recovery, and then her hospital time, which included a trip to California to have open heart surgery among other adventures too numerous to list.

When she was born at 2lb 15oz, she was smaller then most dolls I had seen, a tiny little thing, smaller by about a pound than they were predicting from her measurements in fact. She was closer in size to a baby running about a month behind. My mother started knitting, like an insane person she knitted tiny hats for PeeWee to wear, to dress her up. To match her outfits. I managed one teensy hat in my four days still in the hospital, knitting loaded up on the drugs made me cross-eyed.

Some days we came in and found PeeWee in a tiny hat we had not knit for her. Blankets showed up out of no where. Tiny little hand made clothes, tiny hospital gowns, all sorts of things which were delights to find each day. Preemies are just like regular babies, they spit up and poop and everything else on their clothes and need several changes a day. Plus they have spills or their things hit the floor and need to go home to be sanitized before they can be worn again.

When she was discharged the day before her due date (a small miracle considering the setbacks then leaps and bounds the kid made) I decided I would do my best to give back to the hospital's NICU down the line. I've done that in several ways over the last few years, but my favorite thing is the preemie knitting. I've made a marathon out of it from the dates I was admitted to the hospital until she came home. So this year, I decided I would start early. I'm cheating on the yarn diet to buy a few balls of super-soft baby yarn, I am out of it since my last knit-a-thon, the 43 hats, if you've been reading for a while.

Yarn required for this must be acrylic, cotton or microfibers. It must be very soft and gentle. It must be wash and dry safe. No animal fibers or scratchy stuff, nothing that could cause a rash or discomfort for the babies, whose skin is extremely delicate. My hospital asks that the hats are washed in loads only with NICU items in Dreft with a second rinse, completely dried then bagged. You must wash your hands before removing them from the washer to the dryer, then again when removing them from the dryer straight into zipper bags which are sealed closed to keep the hats as sanitary as possible. This keeps them from the germs we just have around us to protect the babies as much as possible.

PeeWee's head was the size of a tennis ball. When she came home it was about the size of a grapefruit. I try to make my hats in this size range, but they need and use whatever sizes come in. Our favorite hat we were given was a 2x2 ribbed thing with a big old pom pom on top, knit out of pink and blue yarn. I have brought hats in to the NICU that were fair-isle, intarsia, striped, solid, square, with tassels and pom poms and cording on top. We're talking let yourself go wild with silliness, it's so fun to get to the incredibly depressing ward and see a big goofy thing perched on your baby's little noggin.

If you would like to be a part of this leave a comment and you'll be part of a multi-prize contest. The knitting is going to run from now until November 29th, at which time I will pick winners from those who leave a comment here. Spread the word, if you mention this on your blog you get another entry for some luscious yarn, just let me know the link to the mention. Post a picture of your preemie knitting when it's all finished (again, leave me a link) and you get another entry. Send someone over and have them mention your name for another entry. You get the idea. The more the better. If you've done an amazing job making up the tiny things, there may be a bonus in it. If you can't knit something, but have yarn to donate, give a shout out here and hopefully someone will be able to use it. Email me at sarah(at)momsknitting(dot)com with your email, blog links and anything you're not comfortable posting in the open comments. I installed Haloscan comments so I can get back in touch with you. I hope it's going to work well. (I lost all my old comments when I did this though, I do have my old template saved if I run into issues)

Before you knit something crazy, please get in touch with your hospital's NICU and ask them about yarn requirements, some may be more restrictive than others. Most yarns that say baby in the name, are soft and washable, and do not have animal fibers should be safe. If you don't have a NICU near you but want to knit something, you can mail things to me, just let me know and I can get you the address to ship to.

The prizes are a surprize for now, I'll be sneaking in pictures along the way though. Some fun hats I have done in the past included tomatoes, yellow smiley faces, pumpkins (and jack-o-lanterns) a little horned devil, some santa hats, lots of color work, whatever struck my fancy at that moment. The hats are quick to do, an evening if you are fast, it's great TV knitting. Don't feel limited to hats though, this contest is open to all sorts of preemie things!

Thanks for helping out with this one!

***ETA being a part also means just being my cheerleader!***

Monday, September 10, 2007

Girl time

The girl's weekend was a hit. Lots of drunken dishing, catching up, staying up entirely too late, and knitting. The stuff I like. It's a group of girls I rarely see because even though we live near each other and have (for the most part) known each other for all our lives, we have different worlds when we are home and forget to make the time to hang out. So it's really fun when we do. We get loud and raucous and talk and drink too much, telling stories on our husbands and kids and getting our fair share of serious giggles out. It was my only night away from PeeWee since she came home. Almost three years without a night off. I slept great.

I got the ends of PeeWee's sweater woven in and finished up a preemie hat to drop off at the hospital. (Preemie knitting time is coming up. I am starting it early this year. Details to come soon if you want to join in.) I also got most of the way through the socks I was working on.

Today it was back to real life. I have all sorts of meetings and appointments this week. Nothing I really feel like dealing with. It's going be a treat to have the whole family together for a change.

I have yet to unpack or upload pictures or anything remotely productive. I was sort of protesting being back. Marky Mark took the day off so we could visit since he was gone for two and a half weeks and came home just in time to let me leave. We haven't seen each other much lately and we were glad to have a day to find out what's going on.

Pictures and details tomorrow...

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Two posts in a row about finished objects. Imagine that.

PeeWee loves her new sweater. She pulled it off after about 10 minutes of running through the house rubbing the fluffy yarn, oooh'ing and aaah'ing, and sweating.

I'll bring it with me to weave the ends in this weekend. I have no clue what else I am packing, it'll be whatever strikes my fancy in the morning. I'll get the luxury of not having to rush out the door first thing, Mark is on carpool duty now that he is back in town. That will give me a bit to get things together before I go to the airport, pick up my sister and then come home to meet my sister in law so we can head out for the coast!

Monday, September 03, 2007

A finished object!!

Yes! The mittens are done. Cute as can be. Will make a great gift for my niece. Koigu sock yarn, almost two balls of it. Color- who knows? One of the long lost ball bands that will be found one day when the kids are sorting through my debris.

I'm starting some socks. I need a portable project. Simple little pattern, kind of fun, not too competitive with the yarn, which I love! Another Koigu, the ball band is out with the ball band from the mittens, having coffee or something, no idea what color they are, but I love the citrus fruit look.

And I have managed a few more repeats of the lace. Taking this one very slowly. It seems to want nice and slow. The soft red is great. Maybe I can wear it for the holidays. If it's done by then. I like the yarn, working with it is easy enough, and I'm blowing through stash with the yarn diet! **

I'll be sorting through yarn tomorrow to find just the perfect goodies to bring along on the Girl's Stitching Weekend. I think I will bring the camisole yet leave it in the bag in case it calls my name. It demands my full attention and I am not sure I will be able to devote the love it requires with a drink in hand. Several almost done WIP's are in line to get packed.

**the scale is stalled, but a much calmer week is ahead, so I am keeping my fingers crossed we get it moving again