November 30, 2007

Eye Candy Friday

It's been a long time since I did one of these.

Here are pictures from our recent trip to Hawaii featuring three things for which I am a sucker: palm trees, the ocean and sailboats.

Have a great weekend everyone!

November 27, 2007

Still Thankful

Well, Thanksgiving is over and we're back home from a wonderful vacation. We went to Hawaii where we met up with some of Chris' family and had an amazing time together. It wasn't my idea of a traditional Thanksgiving, but I loved every second of it and could definitely see doing it again.

The view from our hotel room. There was a park, then the beach and ocean.

The day before we left, we had another ultra sound appointment. We found out the baby is a girl!

Baby girl at 18 weeks, 6 days.

I think for blogging purposes and certainly until she has an official name, I'll call her Minnie Purl.

I've started feeling the "flutters" of her movements. It's pretty wild and a much more fun reminder of being pregnant than feeling sick all the time.

And my desire to knit is back! On the plane, I cast on for Oblique. I'm making it with Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL in a yummy, warm, brown color called Aged Oak.

I bought the yarn last year when Webs had it on closeout. (It's on closeout again and this link will take you there.) My plan for it then was to make the Nantucket Jacket from IK, but I just never got around to it.

I had been wanting to make a big, cozy cardigan for myself that will take me and my growing belly through the winter, but also work post-baby. I had a sort-of-plan for a very basic, no-pattern cardigan using a different yarn in my stash. But when I saw the pattern for Oblique, I put the sort-of-plan on hold. I went stash diving, found this Lavold yarn and immediately started swatching for Oblique.

I got lots done on it in Hawaii. One day, I went down to the park and sat myself under a tree to knit. It was lovely.

After a while, a woman approached me to say she saw me knitting and just wanted to come over and chat. She's crocheted for years, but only recently learned how to knit and loves it. She was very sweet and complimentary when I showed her my work. She says her daughters (who turned out to be my age) tease her and so she was happy to see that it's not a dying art. I told her she could find lots of fellow knitters on line.

I'm still working my way up the back piece. I'm about a half inch away from starting the raglan shaping.

Progress has slowed since being home, though. I took this picture yesterday, but I'm only about 3 rows further along now.

I also went yarn shopping in Hawaii. I found a delightful store in Honolulu called Yarn & Friends. They were super friendly there. At first, it seemed like they didn't have a very big selection, but as I looked closer, I realized they had a surprisingly large variety packed into their relatively small space.

I bought some gorgeous laceweight (Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro) in a very-Jean, brick-red color which will someday be a lace shawl for me. Not sure yet which lace shawl. I'm open to pattern suggestions. There's 1375 yds in this one skein.

I also got some Cascade Yarns Pima Tencel in a lovely pinky-peach color. I think I'll use this to make EZ's February Baby Sweater for my little one on the way.

I wish I'd had the presence of mind to take pictures of these yarns in a pretty, Hawaiian setting, but alas, after I thought to do that, I never had the yarn, the camera and some daylight all in the same place at the same time. Instead, I decided to embrace the little bit of Autumn-ness we get back home (hence the fallen leaves in the pictures).

Well that's all for now. Please send house-selling vibes my way. We close escrow on the new place tomorrow. Until we sell this house, we'll be the stressed out owners of two mortgages.

November 15, 2007

Excuses, excuses...

As promised, I will now explain why I fell off the face of the blogosphere back in August: Chris and I are expecting our first child in April.

A picture of the "seed purl" taken at 11 weeks, 3 days.
On the right side of the picture is the head and face in profile. The brightish blob on the top-leftish side is a hand.

We found out I'm pregnant on August 9th, our fourth wedding anniversary. There I was reading all your wonderful, special date stories in response to my contest, when a date that was already special to me became doubly special. It was thrilling and exciting. But I had no idea what I was in for.

Mid-August, Chris and I took a week to go see his family. We had a lovely time. Except that was when the morning sickness kicked in. I was so unprepared. I really had no idea what it would be like.

I didn't puke on that trip (that came later), but was taken quite off-guard by the constant nausea and unrelenting fatigue. One day, while knitting some socks for Chris, I suddenly had to put down the needles because knitting was making me feel dizzy. Not a good feeling when you're already queasy. That was pretty much the last knitting I did until October.

Dead give away I wasn't feeling normal: I'm clutching a bottle of water instead of some knitting. Also, check out the queasy smile.

I didn't even want to knit. On a theoretical level, losing my desire to knit was upsetting. But in all reality, I simply wasn't up for it. I was already feeling bad and knitting, horribly, made me feel even worse. This is a knitting blog and with no knitting, what did I have to blog about?

The other problem was that sitting at the computer was even worse! Looking at the screen totally exacerbated the nausea and fatigue. I could read a few e mails and scan/lurk a few blogs, but then I'd have to stagger to the bathroom or the bedroom. I started going for days without so much as turning on the computer.

During this time, Cara shared the news of her pregnancy. (She's about three weeks ahead of me.) It was very comforting to know I wasn't alone and that she was going through lots of the same stuff. But how she managed to keep blogging, I'll never know.

I must vent now, for just a little bit. I was sorely misinformed about the first trimester of pregnancy. Oh sure, I'd heard about morning sickness and fatigue, but I didn't really get it. I was under the impression that you would experience "episodes" of being sick or tired and when the episode had passed you'd be back to normal until the next episode. I could not have been more wrong. Nobody had ever explained to me that no, no... you will be both sick and tired nonstop for three solid months.

Okay, rant over. Because really, I know it wasn't as bad for me as it could have been. And I am truly overjoyed and grateful to be pregnant. So I feel a bit of a schmuck complaining about it. I suspect that it's similar feelings of guilt over complaining that prevent scads of preggies (and former preggies) from sharing just how hard it can be to grow a person. That, and maybe they know that if we knew how brutal it can be, we might consider skipping the whole ordeal. There are ways to have children that don't involve allowing a parasite to hijack your body. Shoot, it sounds like I'm complaining again. Bottom line: feeling sick sucks, being pregnant is a wonderful reason to put up with it.

I finally started feeling better at the beginning of this month. It was just in time for some more big news. We had put in an offer on a new, bigger house and it got accepted. Whoo-hoo, new house! Of course that means we have to sell this house. This house that I have loved so much. This is a beautiful house, almost magical, and it's been perfect for the two of us and the dog. But baby on the way means we need more space. Also, the new houses is in a safer neighborhood with better schools.

As you may know, the process of buying a new house and selling the current house takes a lot of time and effort. More things to eat up knitting and blogging time and leave me so tired I start falling asleep on the couch at 7pm. But it's exciting and will be worth it. Thank heavens I'm feeling better than I was.

I have done some knitting but I think I'll share that in another post. This one is really just about letting you know why I was gone for so long.

Finally, I'd like to give a huge, public "Thank You!" to my amazing husband, Chris. He has done all the heavy lifting (both literal and figurative) for me and for us since forever, really, but especially since I've been pregnant. I absolutely could not do any of this without him. I have been physically weak and emotionally fragile and he has been my rock. He has taken it all in stride and been incredibly loving, sweet and tender to me. I can't even imagine what I would do if he weren't here taking such fantastic care of me. I am grateful way beyond these meager words can possibly express. I love you, sweetheart. Thank you for everything.

November 13, 2007

Contest Winners!

Hi there. Remember me? No? I totally forgive you. I hardly remember myself, I've been gone for so long. In my next post (which hopefully won't be, like, months from now) I'll tell you all about why I disappeared from blogland and why it's taken me so long to get back.

But first things first.

Right before pulling my little disappearing act, I ran a blog contest. I asked to hear about dates that were special to you. I was delighted with the response and loved hearing all the stories about special dates. There were birthdays, anniversaries, first kisses, first dates, several cancer-free days, and even some stories of heartbreak and tragedy. The very special common thread through all these stories was a beautiful perspective on life. The joyful times keep us going and are to be remembered and celebrated. Meanwhile, the hard times can bring strength, clarity and purpose, even if we don't see it immediately. Reading through the contest comments tells this story in a remarkable, collective voice. I found it very powerful.

It was, however, still a random-drawing contest with prizes to be given. And that means there are winners!

First place went to Ellen! She doesn't have a blog, but you can find her on Ravelry as eroomje.

Second place went to Diane!

Third place went to Dr. B!

And finally, there was a winner of the Grand Prize. To win the grand prize, your special date had to match the date I had in my mind. And the winner is Annie! She doesn't have a blog, but you can find her on Ravelry as QTKnits.

Annie gave April 10th as her date because that's the birthday of her twin daughters. That is the date I was thinking of because it's also my birthday. She was the only person to mention April 10th, so she wins the cashmere outright. However, I would like to give an honorable mention to Glitter, who said that the 10th of every month was special to her, especially July and September 10th. Since I asked for only one date and since she didn't mention April 10th specifically, the judges ruled against entering her into a drawing for the grand prize. Still, I feel she deserves some recognition for coming close.

Well that's it for now. I'll try to be back soon to get caught up on stuff that's been going on with me. I've done only a small amount of knitting in my blog absence, but I do have some pictures to share. And some stories to tell.

A note to the winners: I mailed your prize packages today, so you should have them by the end of the week.