Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Short Sleeve and Sleeveless Maternity Tops

...are nowhere to be found when Googled. What the heck? For the last couple of weeks, I've cruised the internet searching for summery patterns. Then I watched a recent episode of Oprah, where she interviews clothing designer Liz Lange, and realized that the current styles of maternity wear haven't been around long enough for the knitting world to catch up. Hopefully, in the next few years there will be summer maternity top patterns available in warm weather yarns (can you say cotton and bamboo!). In the meantime... let the creative juices flow, I say! Looking at all the empire waist or A-line tops in style today, I could make my own maternity tops. I got great ideas for necklines and sleeves from Erica's blog! She posts a lot of sewing pattern and fashion magazine photos. Most of the summer tops look like they could pass for maternity tops! Now, I just need to make a rough sketch and choose a yarn. I'm sure most knitters are saying, "Why knit something that's only going to last for a few months?" My answer to that is: 1) I love to knit summer tops and wear them a lot more than my other knits; and 2) Being pregnant in the summer means being h-o-t. Besides, I made more summer tops last year than any other kind of knits. Then again, I lived in the Southeast US where summer tops are the standard for several more months than here up north.

In the next few weeks, I'll be working on putting my thoughts to paper. The only thing holding me back will be finishing the cardigan I'm working on. Speaking of... I've made astounding progress on my dad's cardigan. I finished the body and cast on for the first sleeve today! Since I knit the body in one piece, the only seams are at the shoulders. So, I have the sleeves and the button band remaining.

My rankings of the American Idol performances from earlier this evening:
1. Melinda: What is there to say?
2. Phil: See Jordin's comments.
3. Jordin: Sometimes shaky and slightly pitchy, which is why I place her below Phil who was neither pitchy nor shaky. Not her best performance, though the judges beg to differ. I was a little disappointed because I know the song and didn't think she sang it as well as she could have.
4. Blake: He sung it straight and with heart. It would be hard to critique anyone on style when it comes to this song. A safe and easy song choice? Maybe. But, Blake has enough clout in the risk-taking department to have a free pass this week. At least he was better than last week.
5. Chris: How I would love to put him last. He just doesn't do it for me anymore. I liked him at first, but can't accept the nasally way he sings.
6. Lakisha: Oh, Lakisha. Why is your heart not in this anymore? You could've been in the final two. If I were you, I wouldn't keep picking songs that previous Idol winners have sung.

I finished reading/re-reading all the Jane Austen books, then went on to re-read the fifth and sixth Harry Potter books in preparation for the seventh book. After that I read A Deadly Yarn by Maggie Sefton, a murder mystery. Though nowhere close to being a literary masterpiece, I did enjoy the main character's love of knitting. She lives in a cottage across the street from a yarn shop and frequently makes short visits to knit there all throughout the book. I'm currently reading The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien and have also started The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner. When not knitting or reading, I've been working on Su Doku Fiendish and Su Doku Difficult, each by Wayne Gould -- so addictive!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Felted Purse, V-Neck Sweater, and Current WIP

As previously posted, I made a toddler pullover and a Christmas stocking. In addition to these two things, I also made some bulky alpaca mittens with my leftover yarn from Alison's Scarf. However, I'm not posting pics because... I don't know -- I guess I don't want to. Hmf!

The felted purse was a free pattern from http://feltedhandbagworkshop.blogspot.com. I used Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Arctic Pool Heather and Chocolate. This yarn felts really fast!

The V-neck sweater was a gift for my mom for Christmas. I used my own design and Knitpicks Decadence in Grape. The focus for this sweater was on the exaggerated V-neck, which is why I only show that part of the sweater (and because it was a gift...). BTW, Decadence is decadent!

My current WIP is a long-sleeve V-neck cardigan for my dad. I'm using Ann Budd's sweater design book for sizing purposes. The yarn is Knitpicks Merino Style in Nutmeg. Note: The left and right fronts are complete but folded down onto the sweater.

I can't wait to try CotLin from Knitpicks! Now that it's about time to switch over to warm weather knitting (i.e., NO WOOL OR ALPACA!), I'm considering what I want to knit this year. Since I'm having a late summer/early fall baby, I plan on making one or more baby items in cotton. For myself, I might try to make one maternity thing, if that. It might be more prudent to make things for early fall, just after the baby... Don't know, yet!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

There's Always a First Time for Everything

Sunday evening I had a burrito at Chipotle with family. I felt perfectly fine and later ate again so that I wouldn't wake up delirious with hunger. Within two hours of going to bed, I began to throw up about every ten minutes. Food poisoning? Stomach virus? I don't know... All through the night this continued without break. Eventually, I started suffering from diarrhea as well. In the morning, my mom came over to take care of my two-year-old daughter. I thought that maybe I would quit vomiting and get some rest, but to no avail. I realized that I was severely dehydrated and that the vomiting wasn't going to stop any time soon. So for the first time ever, 911 was called -- for me. Can you believe this?! Now, normally I would let someone just drive me to the ER. But, I didn't think I could sit for hours in the ER waiting room. Also, I didn't think I could make it another second without getting fluids, that's how weak and helpless I felt. Just as I had hoped I got an IV on the way to the hospital and managed to throw up only once. Once at the hospital, I was given anti-nausea medicine and ended up having to stay overnight.

I've had stomach viruses before, but the only time I ever had one nearly this bad was my senior year of high school. It was fall homecoming, and I got sick after eating at a Japanese restaurant. I threw up for five straight days and lost about fifteen pounds. The one big difference between that episode and the current one that led me to the hospital is that with this episode the vomiting seemed non-stop and didn't relieve me at all.

Looking back, there are some things to laugh at. Like the unnecessary sirens wailing as the ambulance approached my house. Like the low battery warning alarm on my rolling IV stand that alerted the entire hallway every time I went to the restroom (since you have to unplug the machine to leave the hospital room). Like the fact that I was wearing mismatched PJ's and a haphazardly-placed headband when the EMTs arrived. When you're THAT sick, you just don't care I guess!!!

Needless to say, I don't have any knitting news or pictures today. Hopefully soon!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Returning from Burnout

Well, I'm finally back from a much needed knitting hiatus. Have you ever knit so many things at one time, which included a few non-enjoyable items, that you suffered from burnout? When I last posted, I had finished a series of baby items and was ready to begin a pullover and tote. I finished the pullover, tote (which turned out to be a purse), and a toddler pullover. That was the last time I truly enjoyed knitting until very recently. It seemed that when I began my new projects -- a cardigan, baby blanket, and Christmas stockings -- I lost interest and just didn't seem to pick up the needles as often, and then not at all. You see, I had been looking forward to knitting myself one or two sweaters this winter. Since that didn't happen and I felt stuck with my current projects, I lost interest. I'm one of those knitters who likes to finish all projects before beginning new ones. I've also learned that I'm only comfortable with, at most, two projects at one time.

In addition to my burnout, I also lost interest in going to any knitting meetups. When I lived in Raleigh, I used to go to a weekly Thursday night SnB at Caribou Coffee. The group of ladies there have just the right chemistry for a knitting group. The women I've met at the downtown Columbus meetings are very nice, but it's not the same atmosphere. The Raleigh SnB ladies have a deep enthusiasm about knitting combined with fun, unpretentious personalities. I'm making the Columbus ladies sound terrible, aren't I? They're not. The good news is I just found out there's a new leader of a previously defunct online knitting meetup group called The Columbus Area Knitting Meetup Group. Supposedly, there's been a resurgence of interest in the group and a lot of recent knitting activity. This is, of course, very exciting to hear. I'm looking forward to attending a meeting, possibly as soon as this Saturday!

There's another reason for my temporary lapse of interest in knitting: morning sickness. Yep, this prego didn't have an interest in anything but watching TV and reading (and sometimes not even that). I couldn't knit or do anything like logic puzzles, Sudoku, or crosswords. To top it all off, we had one of the coldest winters here on record, which kept me indoors. Not good! If it were just me I would've gone out, even in the cold. But, having a two-year-old makes going outside a little different.

Speaking of the two-year-old, she's the final reason for my knitting hiatus. I can't remember when specifically -- it's all fuzzy now -- but she hit a certain age that has required almost all of my attention, energy, and time. Previously, I could sit peacefully on the couch and knit for long periods of time without being interrupted. Not anymore, my friends. I have a two-year-old! Oh my was that trying my first trimester: trying to avoid puking while hearing, "Mommie, Mommie, Mommie!" and simultaneously being tugged at the knee by little hands. Most of the times I did puke were to the tune of "Mommie, Mommie, Mommie!" Oh yeah -- try going to a knitting store or Michael's with a two-year-old. Ha! Knitting stores don't have carts (the aisles are too narrow for carts or strollers), and you can't possibly spend any quality time there while holding a fidgeting 25+ lb. toddler whose goal is to touch everything within reach. Going to Michael's or JoAnn's is much easier in comparison (even with the short attention span of a toddler), but sometimes neither store has the type of yarn you need. Many times, I just order online.

As soon as I can, I'll post pictures of completed projects. In the meantime, here's a small preview. I made a felted purse that looks similar to the Oregon Tote. Details and the finished product will be posted with my other completed projects.