Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lucy's Stocking

There is some necessary equipment for being a member of our family.  One is the last name. Another is a pair of wool socks. And finally, everybody needs a Christmas stocking.

Now that we have a new member of the family, I turned my head in the direction of making some stockings for little Lucy, now 4 months old.  I decided to knit her regular socks first.  I had some soft, pink and cream Merino in fingering weight (pretty thin) that I had purchased to repair a friend's hat.  I only used about 5 feet, so I had lots left over. I made Lucy a tiny pair of pink socks with two cream stripes at the top. I have enough to make her a tiny pair of cream socks, with two pink stripes at the top.  

Then I thought about her Christmas stocking.  My eyes not being what they used to be, I thought I'd try to knit her a Christmas stocking. I found a colorful pattern, got some yarn, and set to work.  Of course it was colorwork. I made it about 3/4 of the way down the leg before I stopped and realized it just wasn't going to work.

All the rest of the family has cross-stitch stockings . . . even our dear Son-In-Law.  I couldn't make Lucy's different from everybody else's! I just couldn't.

Just about that time, a cross-stitch and needlepoint catalog came in the mail.  There at the back was a pattern for the cutest Christmas stocking, with leafless poplar trees on the leg, harboring 5 cardinals, and 2 polar bear cubs rolling in the snow on the ankle and toe.

It was done on light blue hardanger cloth, and everything else was mostly white.  I showed it to my daughter, who promptly fell in love with it, too, and said she would do half of it.  It was only August. We could surely get it done.

So far, here is what we have done I have done.  It is September 17th.  Luckily, the trees and top banner went quickly, as they were all half-cross. 

Hopefully, the cubs will also go quickly, as they are white and take up about a quarter of the stocking.

Here's hoping and stitching.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Double Needle Stitching!

Sometimes my husband comes up with actual winners.

This time, he sent me an email with a link to a step by step process to make leggings for little people.


I jumped at the chance to make something for Lucy, and made her two pair of leggings.

Purple with butterflies. . .

Take a look at that double-needle stitching!
Here are the brown ones.

I can't believe you are writing that, Mom!
Then I had fabric left over, so I made her two matching tops to go with them. Here she is proofing her Mama's report, wearing the top to the purple and butterflies leggings. Kinda big, but then, that's better than kinda small.

Wow! She's getting big!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What I've Been Knitting For: 5/23/13

I had been waiting for The Call since the 10th of May . . . The Call in the middle of the night, urgent or panic-stricken, from my pregnant daughter, advising that she was in labor and please come quickly.  Thursday morning, 0555, my cell phone rang . . . my cell phone whose earphones I have sleeping with in my ears.  It was my daughter.

"I think we're in labor," she calmly said.

"How exciting!" for lack of anything better to say at 0555.  "What are you going to do: wait til contractions are 3 minutes apart and then go to the hospital? Do you want me to meet you there?"

 "They are about 5 minutes apart," she said.  "Why don't you come up here and we'll wait together until they are closer together."

I showered and dressed, and called in to work that I would not be in today.  I put in vacation for 4/23 instead of 5/23 and got dinged for it later, but they understood. Then I drove up to their little apartment at the University of Utah.

Nothing much happened for a bit.  I started noticing what sort of body language signs she made when a contraction was happening, and applying pressure to her lower back during each one.  She ate canteloupe, and promptly threw it up.
9 am on 5/23/13. Contractions 3.5 minutes apart.

About 8:30, Jeff went to turn in his request for FMLA, and Cat asked me to start timing the contractions as they were getting closer together.  They were averaging 3:30. When Jeff got back, we loaded up the car with a bag for everybody ( including one for the baby),  the boppy, the car seat, and a bowl for Cat to throw up in.

After the Very Annoyingly Long Check in (0900), Cat got decked out in the indecent robes they give you at hospitals, and a nurse came in and checked her cervix.


"What?!" said Cat, who had been at 3 for several weeks.

All haste was made to get her to a laboring room, and as we progressed up there on foot at her request, we had to stop several times to do Contraction Support.

Enter Midwife Christi Elmore. She showed me how to press in on Cat's hips during contractions, and other massage techniques between contractions to make labor more tolerable.

At 1115, Cat, standing on the side of the bed, her head resting on the mattress, exclaimed, "I feel her! I feel her!" and her water broke. It was tinted green from mecconium. Christi very quietly paged the pediatrics team, as Lucy might have swallowed or breathed in some of the mecconium, and she wanted the team ready to clear her lungs when she was born.  Christi checked Cat again, and there was a tiny bit of cervix left, so she was not given the approval to push.  She puffed through about an hour of contractions and was checked again, and given the OK to push. This was about 12:30 pm.  We used up 3 sets of towels cleaning up after all the fluid throughout the day.

The lights were dimmed, and Cat pushed. And pushed. And pushed. She tried more positions. We could see about an inch of Lucy's hair, then 2", then 3". We could see the curve of her head, but progress was very slow. Cat was running out of strength. Christi was very diplomatic when Cat asked for an epidural, and later when she weakly said, "I can't do this any more."  I nearly cried at that point. My poor little girl!

We could see a goodly portion of Lucy's head by this point.  It looked like a lumpy, rotten cabbage. Difficult to believe it belonged to a human being!

Christi felt around Lucy's head, and felt what she thought were fingers alongside her head. She manipulated them down, so Cat didn't have to push out the arm AND the head.  They also did an episeotomy (several, actually) and with a final push, Lucy's head was out, and her body (all purply and covered in vernix) followed immediately after that.

She was held face down for a few seconds while the cord was clamped and cut.  She was crying, but I could hardly hear her. She seemed to have a lot of gunk in her throat.  They rushed her over to the baby station in the corner of the room and the 7 members of the pediatric team who had been standing patiently for 2 hours hovered around her and cleaned her out and siphoned out her throat and lungs, etc.
She was diapered and wrapped in a blanket and given to her proud father to hold while mom got stitched up.
Lucy, a few minutes old
Proud Papa

There was also the matter of the placenta.  They never tell you, when the talk turns to birth stories, that after you push that huge baby out, you have to push out the placenta.  It's much, MUCH smaller, of course, but you are very sore by this point, and tired, and don't feel like pushing any more.  Which was the case for Cat.

However, not all of Cat's placenta came out in one piece, which meant she had an internal open bleeding sore. The towel under her bum quickly FILLED up with blood.  Later rumors indicated that there was as much as 1300 cc of blood before they finally got enough Pitocin and other drugs into her to contract her uterus to stop the bleeding. She was very pale, and light-headed,
Cat, pale but happy, gets her first look at Lucy.
but did not require a transfusion.
The new little family:
Here's the Birthing Team:
L to R:  Christi Elmore, Chief Nurse Sue, Cat, Jeff and Lucy

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Waiting for Baby

My daughter is expecting a new baby any minute now, and that baby is causing all sorts of physical and emotional turmoil!  She is engaged far down in her mother's pelvic girdle. The cervix is dilated to 3 (last I heard) and 60% effaced. Braxton-Hicks contractions are happening, mostly in the evening. But no actual baby is forthcoming.

I have finished the Blessing Blanket for her, in white acrylic.
I made tiny booties that look like strawberries.
I am working on a cloche hat in the same yarn as her blessing blanket.

But still no baby.

My step daughter, Em, due a week ago, had her baby on May the 4th.  She had a little Jedi ("May the fourth be with you.") I got a little hoodie
and matching booties
off to her, as well as a sewn nursing cover-up with boning in the top to keep air circulating and maintain eye contact between mother and baby.
(This is commonly known as an Udder Cover, and I found the instructions to make it here, at Freshlypicked.com.)

Still no new baby in our family.

Guess I'll start on some tiny Mary Janes. . .

Sunday, March 31, 2013

2012: A Knitting Summary

I humbly apologize for leaving you for such a long time.  My excuse is that I was knitting a lot, plus I got called as the president of the women's organization of our local church (7/17/2011), plus I got a (temporary) promotion at work 12/16/2013, plus the band (Salt Lake Scots) upgraded from a Grade IV to a Grade III (10/20/2012).

Now that the promotion is over, and I've gotten used to the other two issues, I have found a moment to let you know about it all.  

In January 2012, I made an Andean Chullo Hat
by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence in a kit from Knitpicks.  It turned out beautifully!  
In February 2012, I made a pair of Owlings Fingerless Gloves, a Ravelry pattern, with beads for the owl eyes, but I don't know how to do beads properly, and the beads fell off.
In March 2012, I made Small Son a pair of Simple Skype Socks by Adrienne Ku.  But the yarn I chose did not have any nylon in it, so they sort of sagged out.  They are now waaaay too big in every direction. A new pair from new yarn is now in the plannign stages.
In April 2012 I made a Piper's Journey shawl by Paula Emons-Fuessle using yarn from Quince and Co. I made it because it was designed by a piper and I AM a piper. It was pretty, but pretty small.  I use it as a scarf.  For my mother's birthday, I made her a Piper's Journey shawl, too.
In July 2012, I used some purple thrift-store ALPACA yarn that my sweet husband found and made the Gnarled Oak Cardigan by Alana Dakos. It was Such A Deal! I messed up a bit on the cabling at the yoke, but at that point, I didn't care.  I just wanted to wear it.  I put in some markers to straighten myself out, and went on from there. The markers worked, and most of the cabling looks wonderful.
In September 2012, I made two Penelope
shrugs by Cecily MacDonald:  Quince and Co Finch in burgundy  for Daughter #1 and Quince and Co Finch in Dogwood pink for Daughter #2, for Christmas. I got both the pattern and the yarn from Quince and Co.
In October 2012, I started an Owl Hat 
by Knits-R-us for my husband, who specifically requested it. I purchased it from Knits-R-Us, but she accidentally sent me the Giraffe Hat instead.  When I emailed her the discrepancy, she immediately emailed me the Owl Hat and said the Giraffe was free.That was very nice of her.
In December, learned my One-and-Only sister was struggling with addiction issues and didn't want to see or talk to anybody in the family.  I could respect that, but I REALLY wanted to give her a hug.  So I made her the current Knitting Pipeline Knit-A-Long, the Hyla Brook Shawl,
with the burgundy Finch left over from the Penelope shawl for Daughter #1 .  At the end of the instructions (I wasn't going to add the ruffles; neither me nor my sister are "ruffles" people), it was about as big as a headscarf, and I was out of yarn.  I posted on the Knitting Pipeline forum, and PuffySheep (on Ravelry) had some she could send me, but was leaving out of town in a few days.  She didn't see my email, and didn't actually send it until she got back to town.  And guess what town it was.  Yep, Salt Lake City.  I could have driven over and picked it up!  But it got done in time for me to mail it to my One-and-Only sister on 23 December, and she got it for Christmas.  A hug for every stitch.  It made her cry.  It was supposed to.
Also in December, I made Daughter #3 a pair of Laurel Socks
by Wendy Johnson. I don't remember where I got the variegated yarn from. Somewhere Local.  The pattern was pretty complicated, and I was frustrated with it not working out, so I just put in some markers, and figured the variegated yarn would cover any pattern deficits.  And there were plenty of those.  But she liked them anyway. 

I started 2013 at a running knit.

Small-ish Son I didn't have time to make anything for.  But I had a Blackberry Cardigan
that I had started for myself awhile back, and it was too fussy, so I left it.  Most of the yarn was still in its original skeins from KnitPicks.  So I put them all in a box and gift-wrapped them, and promised I would make him his sweater ASAP.

I started that sweater right away, 27 December 2012. I got the back done by early January, the front done by mid-January, and the 1st sleeve  2/3 done by 1/29/13.

The back is plain stockingette stitch, the front has the central Celtic cable from the Blackberry Cardi up the middle, and the sleeves each have a 2-strand cable (the center of the Blackberry Cardi Celtic cable) up the center.
He wanted it to be a turtleneck, so I knitted the crew neck version and added a really tall collar. Not quite tall enough, it turns out.  The next turtleneck I will make at least 7" long.
By 3 February 2013 I had finished Sleeve #1, and started Sleeve #2. I felt like the princess in The Seven Swans, trying to finish the last sleeve before Small-ish Son's birthday the next day.
By 4 February 2013, I had 17” of sleeve #2 finished, but did not complete it. So I guess Small-ish Son will always have one swan’s wing instead of an arm. Sorry, kiddo.
This story does have a happy ending, though: After cake and ice cream and clean-up, I sat down and finished the rest of the second sleeve, and sewed all the pieces together.  It was blocking before the day ended.  So it really was finished by his birthday, just not by his party.

There is more to come.  Daughter #2 and her husband announced at Christmas that they are expecting a baby girl in mid-May!

I can't wait to knit for my own granddaughter!