7

484 Days

That’s 1 year 3 months and 29 days to be exact.  That’s also how long I’ve been “working” on my Day Zero Project (101 things in 1001 days).  I say working with those little quotey bits around it because being a new mom means that you are never really doing anything for yourself anymore.  Not that I’m complaining, just sayin’ ;)  But since I am almost to the halfway point on my list of stuff to accomplish, I figure it’s about time I do a little inventory of my progress and see what I can start working towards next.  Besides, I’m feeling really lame about the fact that I used to post 2-3 times a week and I’m lucky if I can write 2-3 times a month now.  So, I’m squeezing this one in to fill my quota.
 
One of my goals was to try to cook 10 new things during my 1001 days of self-improvement.  I haven’t been very good about keeping track of my progress in this arena so I know that I’ve cooked more than I’m accounting for, but for all intensive purposes, I’m over halfway to my goal with 6 new recipes under my apron.  Maybe I’m just subconsciously refusing to acknowledge some of the utter atrocities against gastronomy that have come out of my kitchen in the last couple months and that’s why I didn’t account for them.  When a magazine comments that “this is best skillet lasagna we’ve ever tasted” you kinda tend to believe them.  But I can tell you, it’s not.  Don’t cook it.  Don’t believe the hype.  I’m a Virgo and I have never had a single difficulty following a recipe to the letter.  But I was really beginning to wonder what the crap was going on.  Did I lose my cooking skillz?  ‘Cause that’s the one Domestic Diva thing (besides laundry) that I really can do. If I don’t have that, then sheesh, I got nothin’.
 
I finally had success last weekend with the Baked Shrimp Curry shown below which scored a solid 8.5 from R. Darling.  I think I mentioned before that 9 is the highest something can rate unless it’s served naked ;)  He ranked it a half point below perfect only because he thought it could be tweaked a little.  I agreed.  But an 8.5 was a welcome relief after the resounding 4’s I’d been getting up to that point.  Maybe it’s just the push I need to keep trying.
 

Baked Shrimp Curry


 
Things completed to date:

  1. February 2, 2010 – Grew a munchkin :)
  2. March 9, 2010 – Finally replaced the crappy paper shade over our “bonus” window in our bedroom with beautiful wood blinds.
  3. November 24, 2010 – Knit Mom her Pirate Fake-Isle Earflap Hat (finally!)
  4. January 22, 2011 – Renewed my Library Card

 
Wow. That’s kind of depressing that I’ve only finished 4 things on my list!  But here’s the list of stuff I’m currently working on:

  1. Put $50 or more each month into our savings account.  I started this in January 2010 and was doing pretty well until Knittymunchkin showed up so early.  Since then I’ve been able to do it most months, but there were a few months that were pretty tight with the fundage, so I had to skip a couple.  But we had a great tax refund this year and I’m hoping to get back on track with this soon.
  2. Organize our closet.  I recently spent over $100 at The Container Store on stuff to help get our closet more organized.  This is definitely a work in progress since we really need to put some effort into decluttering first, but I’m working on all of that all over the house.  Kinda crazy how I have to spend money to get myself more organized though.  Don’t know how much I like that idea, but if it works, I’m all for it.  I’m sick and tired of my mess.
  3. Buy an advent calendar with drawers or cubbies for the baby (future holiday traditions).  I’m sort of changing this one a little and have decided to knit him Smitten as an alternative.  I’ve made maybe 3 mittens so far and I really need to get my butt in gear if I’m going to finish this for him in time for this Christmas.  I was thinking 2 mini-mittens each month would be no big deal and would get me to my goal on time, but now I’m realizing I am totally not sticking to that timeline so I’d better get on it.
  4. Finally put all our photos in a photo album where they belong.  Weeeeellll, I was working on this really heavily before Knittymunchkin (are you sensing a theme here?) but haven’t done any work since.  And I’ve got a lot to do since I have to go as far back as our honeymoon (in 2004!) to get things in order, nevermind all the baby photos I have not even glanced at, much less printed out.  Le sigh.
  5. Try 10 new recipes.  As you saw above, I’m getting there!  6 down, 4 to go.
  6. Knit 5 things from IK (or Knitscene).  I’ve knit 2 things: Chameleon Scarf and Oscilloscope Shawl.  So, we’re getting there.  The good thing is, I love most of the stuff from IK and Knitscene so it shouldn’t be too much trouble to complete this eventually.
  7. Knit a Baby Surprise Jacket.  I’m such a finishing slacker.  This is totally done.  It just needs buttons!  And I’m pretty sure it won’t fit him anymore.  Bad Mommy :(
  8. Whittle my UFO’s down to zero, or 3 minimum.  I’ve finished 3 of the original 10.  We’ll get there.  I think the next UFO I’ll tackle after I finish Momo and the Subway Hat, is my secrety squirrel test knit socks that really aren’t secrety anymore.  Now that I’ll be attending Sock Summit, I’ve got me a fever!  And the only prescription is more socks!
  9. Whittle my stash down to half.  O.k.  So I’m totally slacking on this one too, but I am getting better at not buying so much yarn (at least until Sock Summit, ha ha) and I’m working as much as I can from stash.  It’s a great feeling to know I didn’t have to buy yarn to complete something.  Though I’ll probably never make this goal, the fact is, I get satisfaction just from making the effort and sometimes that’s just as important as actually meeting the goal.
  10. Knit a sweater in pieces.  I actually started a project in pieces quite a while ago for an SKC KAL, but never finished knitting the pieces.  I took a seaming class recently (March 25, 2011) at my LYS to gain a little confidence with the technique and seamed a little bit of my sweater.  It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought (I pretty much knew the basics, but didn’t realize I did) and now I feel a bit better about the whole thing.  I hope to finish this sweater before too long and once it’s done, hopefully I’ll have the confidence to try another and with each one, get a little less intimidated with seamed construction.

 
And that’s a snapshot of the last 484 days.  Man, do I have some work to do!

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14

Learning Curve

We’ve been having a time of it here at Chez Funkytown.  Knittymunchkin has been going through an extremely exhausting fussy stage, complete with wailing, waking up several times a night (from dead sleep to frantic crying in 1.5 seconds flat), not napping, and crying & pulling while nursing.  The only thing that keeps him mildly content is for me to carry him around all day long.  Needless to say, my back hurts.  Though he’s taken quite nicely to the Baby Bjorn that he used to hate.  Bonus!
 

When he was born, we found out he had acid reflux, which can be really common for preemies.  We have been giving him medicine for it for a few months and he’s been doing so well (not spitting up & not grunting with discomfort while laying down) that we thought we’d try discontinuing the medicine.  He seemed to be doing really well for a day or two, other than the increase in fussing & the waking up at night. Silly me, I didn’t put two and two together until he started spitting up again the past couple days.  D’oh!  Maybe it’s because he still needs his medicine, dummy!  So we’ve started that again and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will bring him, and us, some relief.  Because this waking up every two hours all night long has got to stop.  I feel like spawn of the dead, all groggy and stuff all day long.  And knitting?  There’s been zip.zero.nada.
 

Sometimes this works too.....


 

I started doing some more extensive reading when he began having so much additional trouble sleeping recently.  It could also be a growth spurt or teething, but I don’t see any evidence of new tooth sprouts, so I don’t know about that.  I really think it’s the reflux coming back.  But I also found out that, apparently, I am a prime candidate for the SMITU award (Shittiest Mother In The Universe – smite you! – I just made that up), for even considering the notion of letting my child “cry it out” like I mentioned the other day.  Dr. Sears says so, so I guess it must be true.  I was just going by the books I’ve read up to this point which tell you you need to “train” your child to fall asleep on their own, otherwise they’ll never learn how.  But surprise surprise, Dr. Sears says you’ll just cause your child to cry more because you aren’t meeting their needs and when you do this you are cheaping out on creating a wonderful relationship with your baby.  Wow.  I really have a lot to learn.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably never be a militant full-on attachment parenting advocate (people should do what’s right for them, without judgment), but I do think we’ve  benefited from a kinder, gentler, approach towards bedtime. Yes, he does still need to be rocked to sleep for the most part, but he falls asleep faster than he used to and cries less.  Plus, I think we’re bonding more.  I guess it really is a win-win.
 

Meats & Veg In One Big Pot!


 

Despite all this crazy mama drama, I have still managed to find time to try one new recipe (part of my Day Zero Project goals).  I apologize to all you vegetarians out there who will be offended by my pot roast photo up there.  I’m sorry, but I still do eat meat.  I’ve never been very good at cooking it because, frankly, when I lived alone I mostly ate chicken, veg, & pasta.  But I now live with a bona fide carnivore and meat is what’s for dinner.  It’s been dang hot here so I was looking for something to cook in the crock pot that wouldn’t heat up the house.  A friend of ours came over to meet Knittymunchkin for the first time and was talking about going home to cook a pot roast.  He made it sound so easy I thought, why not?  I hopped on the inrawebz and found a likely recipe here.  Following some of the advice of the reviewers I changed it up a little and settled in for a 10 hour wait.  It smelled great and looked good when we dished up.  The flavor however, was missing something.  It’s not like it was bad, it just wasn’t amazing.  R. Darling gave it an 8 and I gave it a 7 for the meat and an 8 for the veg.  As in, I would cook it again, but it sorely needs something.  Any of you lovely readers have a secrety squirrel ingredient you’d be willing to share for fantastic pot roast?  I thought the balsamic vinegar I added would do the trick but sadly, no.  Maybe I didn’t add enough.
 

Well, it’s all part of my learning curve. I’m still on the upward climb, but I will get there someday. I have to!

6

Finish Along

My friend Jess from Knitting Up North is having a Finish-a-long and contest!  Man do I ever need this kick in the pants!  It’s one of my Day Zero Project (101 things in 1001 Days) goals to whittle my UFO’s down to 3 or less and I really got things started by finally finishing my Chameleon Scarf.  Too bad I didn’t wait on that one, because there’s a prize for completing the oldest UFO and I betcha that one would have taken the cake ;)  Anyway, come join the fun!  What a great way to motivate each other to get those knits out the door and onto some warm bodies!  Like Jess said, you’d be surprised how little there is left to do on some things.  I always discover this when I pull out an old project, and I always wonder to myself why I just laid it down instead of powering through.  Oh wait, it’s because I’m kind of addicted to the smell of new yarn.  The “old” stuff just doesn’t do it for me anymore!
 
So, onto my list.  I need to finish:
 

  • Jaywalkers:  I’ve been working on a version of this since April 15, 2008, but have ripped it out and reworked it so many times that I’m really starting anew each time.  So the official start date of this one is June 14, 2010 and I am just about 20 rounds from finishing the first sock.  Then on to sock #2…
  • BSJ:  This is completely finished except for the seaming and weaving in of ends and a few buttons.  Shouldn’t take much to do that!
  • Felix Cardigan (like the ones I made here):  This one just needs buttons!  I originally made it for Knittymunchkin, but he’s a bit big for it now.  Maybe I’ll send it to our friends who are expecting a boy any day now.
  • Cherry Fizz:  Started June 12, 2009 (really????).  I’m just over halfway finished.  Would love to get this done, but I’m thinking shooting for finishing the other 3 is more likely.

 
I also have 7 (yikes!) other UFO’s that are totally hibernating.  I obviously won’t finish these during the Finish-a-long, but they’re in my mind as next on the list.  Only trouble is, 4 of those are sweaters and I don’t expect to be working on any sweaters until I am back to my no-longer-breastfeeding sized self.  But all in good time.
 
Meanwhile, I did finish something recently for our neighbor who just had a new little girl.
 

A Little Pink Hat


 

  • PatternSimple Newborn Hat With A Touch Of Lace by Ginny Foreman (Ravelry link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  79.2 yds of Knit Picks Shine Sport in “Blush”
  • Needles:  16 inch, Size 4 bamboo circs & Size 4 dpns
  • Mods:  Made hat larger by casting on 99 stitches (instead of 81), and worked 2 inches after lace section instead of 1.5 inches

 
This hat was simple & quick to knit.  I love how it turned out!  Because I made it wider and not quite as tall (proportionally) as the original, it came out more like a beanie than a regular hat.  But I still like it.  Word is, the new Mama likes it too, though it fits her 2 year old better than her newborn.  Boo on that!  I made it bigger on purpose, but didn’t mean for it to be that big.  She kept telling us that her first daughter is in the 90th percentile for size, so I figured the new little one would have a big head too.  Guess not.  But at least it fits one of the kids!  That’s all I could ask for, I guess. And, best of all, it totally came from stash. Huzzah!
 
So come join us and finish up some of your UFO’s too!  I’d love to hear all about it :)

10

Chameleon Off My Back


 
We’ve got ourselves the very first summer cold of the season :(
 

  • Sore throat – check!
  • Headache – check!
  • Achy muscles – check!
  • Post-nasal drip – check!
  • Boogies – check!
  • Sick baby, sick Mama – check!
  • Ancient 2-year old unfinished scarf, now finished – CHECK & CHECK!!

 

 

  • Pattern:  Chameleon Scarf by Lorilee Beltman (Ravelry link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  Yardage is approximate here as I didn’t keep good track of exactly how much I used.  Something like 2 balls of Patons SWS in “Natural Green”, 2 balls of Patons SWS in “Natural Crimson”, and 1 ball of Patons SWS in “Natural Geranium”.
  • Needles:  Size 6 bamboo dpns
  • Mods:  Substituted a different striping yarn and only worked 10 large motifs and 9 small motifs (instead of 11 large and 10 small)

 

 
I’m calling this “That 70’s Scarf” because the colors remind me of retro-nasty appliances and tableware.  You know the ones.  All orange and avocado and yellow with crazy mushrooms and weird chickens strewn all over the place, and those creepy little kids with big heads and big eyes looking out from those “Happiness Is….” pictures.  I’m not usually diggin’ on that, but for some reason I kinda like how these colors look together.  This scarf makes me, well, happy.  I only wish I had knit the squares on bigger needles so that it was a bit lighter and airier.  Because this thing is frickin’ heavy & dense as all get out.  Good thing I shortened it a little too because it’s plenty long.  I don’t know why it took me so long to finish this.  It’s not like it was a difficult knit. Even the seaming, which I was dreading like the pox, wasn’t so bad.  I finished all of that in two quick sittings.  No, I think the real sticking point was my lack of imagination.  Because the Patons SWS ended up having much shorter color repeats than the Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy Cotton that the pattern called for, I had to do a lot of planning ahead to make sure I got squares with enough variety to offset each other when sewn together.  After a while I just got tired of lugging them all out, laying them end to end, and trying to decide what colors needed to come next.  But eventually, the idea of having this fantastically old UFO just hanging about, became harder to deal with than just sitting down and planning some colors dammit.  So I got myself motivated and finally finished it.  And it feels so amazing to have finally completed this!  Now onto the next UFO….. my Jaywalkers!
 

An Outtake


 
And on a gorgeous sunny Saturday last weekend, my darling hubby and I took the baby for a walk in the warm sunshine and snapped some great pics.  No idea where we caught the sick-nasty cold bugs, but at least we got out to enjoy some fresh air before we had to be cooped up inside getting over the yucks. Hope you’re staying healthy!

6

Blue

It’s 4:30 AM and I’m awake. In a hotel somewhere in the armpit of Washington, I draw open the curtain and look out.  The rumble of construction noise swirls up to greet me, a muffled pinging of sheet metal punctuating the background.  For some reason I’m surprised to find men already hard at work in the smudgy dawn light.  I know I shouldn’t be, but somehow I still am.  The ground looks wet and I feel sorry for them, that they have to work in the miserable damp air, sweating over the concrete and lumber dust.  The sky looks how I feel; leaden, brooding, downcast.  Why is it that when we are feeling a little low, we always say we feel blue?  Why not grey, or black?  Blue could never reflect the melancholy I feel this morning.
 
I’ve never been much of a blue-lover.  Maybe that’s because it really doesn’t suit me.  Imagine my surprise when I bought 3 hanks of this deep blue Artyarns Supermerino (shade #107) a couple summers ago.  For some reason I liked the color, but I think I ultimately bought it thinking I’d gift it to someone in a swap at some point.  Hey, it was on sale for 30% off and I was already going stone cold crazy buying yarn that day, so what damage would a couple more hanks really do?  It never really crossed my mind I might want them for myself until I pulled them out for Knittymunchkin’s BSJ and found myself inexplicably drawn to the color.  So attracted in fact, that I couldn’t bring myself to use all 3 hanks of it on his BSJ and set about looking for something small I could make out of 2 hanks or less for myself.  Yes, selfish am I.
 
Behold the Breathe Deep Mittens, which I choose to call “Waiting to Exhale”, because I held my breath knitting the entire first mitten, hoping beyond hope I’d have enough yarn to knit the pair.  Lucky for me I did, and some to spare.
 

Breathe Deep Mittens


 

  • Pattern:  Breathe Deep by Kirsten Kapur (Ravelry link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  About 1.6 hanks of Artyarns Supermerino in shade #107
  • Needles:  Size 7 – 36 inch bamboo circs (for magic loop)
  • Mods:  Only worked 6 rounds in pattern for the cuff for the M/L size mittens, instead of 7 rounds; used magic loop instead of dpns

 

Waiting To Exhale


 
Oh how I love this pattern!  Clearly written & easy to follow, just detailed enough to keep it interesting, but simple enough that I could pick it up and put it down at the whim of my little boy’s naps.  These pictures just don’t do justice to the rich, deep blue of this yarn.  I wish I could have captured it better so you could see just what drew me to it, but alas, time for photo shoots is not what it used to be and I have to go with what we get when we have time to go out. Though it was a brilliant sunny day when we took these, the bright light just washed out the color.  You’ll have to take my word for it that these are gorgeous and deep like a briny tropical sea.  The best part?  I used up 1.6 hanks of stash yarn (about 167 yds) and the remaining 1.4 hanks will go into Knittymunchkin’s BSJ for a total of 3 hanks of yarn and 312 yds used up!  Yay me!  Soon I’ll have most, if not all, my stash accounted for and I’ll give you an update on how hard I’ll have to work to complete my 101 things in 1001 days goal of reducing my stash to half its current amount.
 

A Knittymunchkin Outtake


 

Until then, enjoy an outtake!

4

Friday Fill-In #174

Supermerino!


 
I’m feeling fickle.  See, I still wasn’t sure about that BSJ I started.  I had originally planned to use some pretty blue Artyarns Supermerino from my stash and when I didn’t have enough I bought 2 more hanks from someone destashing on Ravelry.  If you remember, I’m allowed to buy it if I need it for a project & someone is destashing it, so we’re still good here with working from stash.  But before I received the 2 extra hanks I started to wind my first hank to get started and I decided it wasn’t looking stripey enough for the BSJ I was envisioning.  So I got started with the Needful Yarns Darling instead.  But lets be real here.  It was starting to look like something a cat barfed up and R. Darling was keeping suspiciously mum about it, so when I received my destash supermerino and saw it was a completely (much lighter) dye lot than what I had in my stash, I saw striping potential and decided to cut my losses.  Who knows what the cat barf yarn will turn out to be, probably some kind of cat barf sweater, but for now my baby boy is getting a beautiful blue BSJ.
 

And just in time for the weekend……

 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday Fill-In #174
(get yours here)

1. I was always unsure about kids and marriage.  Now I think I know how I feel :)
2. I don’ t have much time to read anymore and I left my book on the coffee table just in case I could sneak a few pages in between chores.
3. Why did I wake up disoriented the other night, sure that I had forgotten the baby in his bassinet in the living room?
4. The giant list of things I need to do and don’t have much time for was in my thoughts today.
5. One of my father’s favorite sayings was “Don’t take any wooden nickels!”
6. Worn out — I know that feeling!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to knitting a few rows on my BSJ, tomorrow my plans include spending some extra time with R. Darling (he’s been working too much lately) and Sunday, I want to maybe do a few things in my garden!
 

I’m not very entertaining these days, but there you have it!

 

BTW:  Why do I always miss out on all the fun stuff?  Did you know it was Knitting & Crochet Blog Week???  Such a great idea.  Well, it’s too late for me this year, but maybe next year I’ll try to participate.  Hope those of you that did had fun with it and have a wonderful weekend everyone!

13

What Do You Do When….

Question:

What do you do when your little boy is starving but won’t settle and eat?  If he won’t sleep unless he’s swaddled and he cries the second you wrap him up?  What if he squalls when you hold him and wails even harder when you don’t?  And what if the second he falls asleep and you go to put him in his bassinet, he wakes up and starts crying all over again?  What if you do this all day, over and over, and nothing seems to work until you suddenly find yourself crying too?
 

Answer:

You take a deep breath and love him with all your might……

 

An unexpected surprise


 
Yesterday was indeed challenging.  It seems that at least every other day is like this .  But the great thing about yesterday, is that my sweet husband walked in the door just moments after my tears stopped with a great big bouquet of flowers and a smile and all I could say was, “I really needed these today!  Thank you sweetie!” Sometimes things just work out.
 

Current Projects


 
So I’m working on some stuff in between the baby stuff.  Those are our baby announcements that I finally got printed up and need to address and send.  Only about 2.5 months late.  Oh well.  What do you expect people?  He spent an entire month in the Special Care Nursery and I wasn’t about to send out a photo of him with an NG tube in his nose.
 
And what’s that?  No….freaking….way. You mean there’s actually some knitting content here?  Yes, that’s right.  I started a BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket) for Little Mister.  I’m using some stash yarn because I’m damn serious about working from stash this year.  Not only because I can’t afford yarn anymore now that I work for free at home, but because I have so damn much of it and it’s taking over our house.  It’s kind of embarrassing.  I hid it in boxes and bags for a long time (from myself and from my husband) but now that I’m sorting through it, cataloging it, and getting it into Ravelry, I’m astonished by just how much I actually have.
 
*If you are R. Darling, stop reading here*
 
I think I said something a while back about having enough to make 40 pairs of socks? Try 128.  And I’m not done.  And I’m not counting the undyed stuff.  Oy.  (Seriously, don’t read this honey!  I only have enough for 2 pairs of socks!)  So I’m looking at this endeavor like some kind of fascinating puzzle.  Since I often buy enough for a full sweater, without knowing what sweater I might want to make with a specific yarn, I am finding it a fun challenge to find the perfect pattern for each yarn in order to maximize the usage of what I have without leaving too much behind.  Believe it or not, I’m having fun with it.  For the stuff that is just random bits here and there and stuff I’m not attached to, I’m thinking about making a gift stash of items I can give when I need a quick something for a birthday or a thank you or what have you.  I joined a group on Ravelry to help keep me motivated too: Shop The Stash 2010.  I don’t participate much in it yet, but it’s nice to know the company is there when/if I need it.
 
*You can start reading again here, Honey*
 
As for my BSJ, I don’t know if I’m liking the yarn I chose.  I thought it would be stripier and instead it’s sort of watercolor-ish.  The fiber might not work either – it’s a cotton acrylic blend that feels like plain old cotton.  I think I like it, but I’m not sure.  For now I’m going with it because knitting a BSJ is one of my 101 in 1001 Days goals and I’m pretty sure it’s one with a time limit that will go a lot faster than I expect, so I wanted to get started before he’s too big to fit in one.  Plus it’s all stash all the way baby, and I need to be focusing on that.  At least it’s fairly mindless garter stitch so I can usually get a few rows in each day before someone needs me for something.  These days my moments are few and far between and usually it’s a choice between eating, sleeping or knitting.  And believe it or not, sometimes knitting does win the competition!