Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Not Gauge

So, let's face it, gauge is important. Right? Well, yeah. So, what I am going to tell you next is going to make you cringe. I never swatch. Nope, never. Therefore, I have no idea if I have gauge or not when making anything. No seriously.

Ok, let me explain. Most of what I make is baby/child clothes. I have two girls who are five years apart. Therefore, if it doesn't fit one, it's bound to fit the other some time. I also make socks. Socks generally are worked on a fairly standard number of stitches; therefore no gauge needed there either. And, up until just recently, I didn't make sweaters. Nope. Never.

Until now. Enter Emerald. So pretty. So soft. And, knit on such freakin big needles that I am having trouble getting gauge. I have tried going up an entire needle size (and trust me that's a huge difference between US 10 and 11). Luckily, the designer of the pattern is also my LYS owner, so after a quick call to her (and a brief refresher in how gauge works) and things are back on track. Hopefully.


I must admit, I am still nervous. It seems as though it may be just me overthinking things here, but sweaters have so many things which can go horribly wrong. The fit might not be right. The sleeves might be too short or too long. The dang thing might end up way too short. And, things like waist shaping and sort rows for the collar may not end up in the right place.
I love this sweater. I love the yarn. Please, Sweater Gods, help me to make this sweater fit perfectly.


Oh yeah, next post? Another unauthorized review of Cat Bordhi's new book and possibly a secret to share...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Random Thing Thursday

Just a few random things this Thursday to report.

1. Halloween was a hit at our house. I have one very satisfied and sugar bombed Turtle to prove it. Bunny & Daddy stayed out for an hour and a half(!) and only came home because the bag (and Daddy's pockets) was too full to shove any more candy into. Of course, Mommy took her usual cut of the candy...


2. The first Endpaper Mitt is almost off the needle. As soon as I have an hour to myself (and by this I mean without any children or Husband around), the tubular castoff will be learned, memorized, and completed and the next mitt will jump its way onto my needles. Wish me luck in finding that elusive hour...

3. I have a number of small things to finish on the baby cardi's I am working on. Steam blocking is required in one case - heh. What I want to know is who actually steam blocks a baby cardigan?!? Silly pattern designers.


4. I am working on a secret pattern design that may be avaliable soon to the general public. Can't discuss it just yet though. Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Cats Came Back the Very Next Day...

Well, the cats have been returned to us and things are not going so well. Monkey has been snuffling and sneezing all over the place and it looks as though we are going to have to find a permanent home for them. I am heartbroken - finding a permanent home for them is going to be hard. Having to find someone that loves them and who will care for them will not be easy.


"please find us a new home"

In non-kitty news, I have been slogging along through several knitting projects and have finished a pair of baby Ugg booties. However, since the model in question is currently sleeping, pictures will have to wait.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Little Love (and sleep) Goes a Long Way

Sanity has been (somewhat) restored to my house. After getting two nights worth of (mostly) adequate sleep, a little understanding from TG, and some love from my friends - your comments were most appreciated and really made my day! - I feel so much better.

Although life still has its ups and downs (Bunny tipped Monkey out of her Bumbo chair onto her face today after school) we can all cope so much better when we are heard and supported. You all are the best!

And, because I did promise knitting content today - here is an in progress pic of a pair of socks which are destined for my sister for Christmas. Too cute and apparently the fit is perfect. She just couldn't wait...

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Can I Rant for a Moment??

OK, so I don't often discuss personal issues here because I know that a good deal of the people that come here don't know me well and therefore, won't care. But today, I need to vent. If you are looking for knitting content, come back later. I promise more knitting next week.

Some days it becomes a bit much to have two kids and a husband to take care of. There. I said it. Some days, it's a bit much taking care of just one kid, but we did have the hang of it and things were rolling along pretty smoothly before this baby was born. So, along comes number two and suddenly, I am without sleep on a daily basis. Seriously, I counted the number of hours of sleep I have had in the last week and it averages less than half the amount that I should have had. That makes for a tired and grumpy girl. And, I am sick. I have been sick for the last three weeks. My nose runs, my head aches, and I am exhausted all the time. I am seriously thinking that I have a sinus infection. Makes me think that the half a dozen sinus infections that I had after I had Bunny were partially a result of the lack of sleep I was getting.

I am also blown away by the amount of things that I do around here on a daily basis. I cook almost every night, I do laundry and wash dishes every day, I fix meals and get Bunny off to school every day. I make sure each room of the house is clean every day and try to do one deep cleaning chore every day. I research and sign Bunny up for her lessons and then make sure that she gets there on time with everything she needs. I feed and change and nurture Monkey all day and then feed and change and nurture her all night. I mend clothing and stuffies that have holes in them, I fold and hang up clothing that has fallen on the floor or come out of the laundry. I fix owies and I cuddle children. I make sure that there are bottles in the fridge for when I go and teach classes. And, I make sure that everyone gets what they need all of the time - vaccinations, book orders, Dr.'s, eye exams, dentist, and any other type of appointment you can think of; I make them.

Don't get me wrong, I love my children and I want to see them grow up happy and healthy which is why I do all of these things, but some days, I want some time to myself. I want to go to bed with TG at a decent hour and be able to spend some time with him. I want him to want to come to bed at a decent hour so that he isn't grumpy and hard to live with for days at a time. I want to be able to have the energy to enjoy my children and the things that they are doing. I want to have someone else cook the meals for a change and I want to have enough sleep to get over this illness. I want Bunny to start listening better and I want Monkey to sleep longer than two hours at a time. These are things I have no control over and I get that they will get better with time, but it doesn't make it any easier right now.

So, take the extreme fatigue and pair it with ongoing, nagging illness and it makes me irritable, teary, and super stressed. I have been trying my best to push through it because when you are a mom, you just do. Nobody gives a crap that you have just been up with a baby all night and are exhausted. Mom's just do. I get that. I don't want pity, I simply want to vent. I want to take five minutes, on my own blog to complain about how I feel.

If you are still here, thanks for sticking with me. I promise that this will not become a reoccurring theme. Knitting will return shortly. If you see me today, I will not snap at you or start to cry. In fact, everything will be fine because mom's just do. Trust me, I get that.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stash Busting? Oh yeah.

Well, the self imposed yarn diet is working. I have been simultaneously knitting from my stash and fending off yarn cravings. It's been tough, but I am making it. I even went to two yarn stores on Tuesday and didn't buy a single thing!!

I am also making tons of progress on the projects I have been working on. First up, the Chunky Monkey Cardigan from Knitting for Two by Erica Knight. This has turned out to be such an instant gratification knit. Knit in Summer Tweed on US size 6 needles makes for a fast knit. I think that this project may have been knit fast enough that it will actually even fit Monkey once it is done.

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As well, I am working on Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts. These are also an instant gratification knit and despite all the fairisle, are working up super quickly. I am not in love with the Italian Tubular Cast On, but once you get past that part, the mitts really speed along. There may be a class avaliable at my LYS in the near future - stay tuned for details.

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Otherwise, on the baby front, both Bunny and Monkey are sick with colds again, which makes for some less than happy childrens. Will this ever end?? Or, am I in for a really miserable winter filled with sucky sick children??

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Cat Bordhi, You are a Genius... (my unauthorized review of her new book)

Two weeks ago, I managed to get one of the last copies of Cat's new book - New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One at my LYS and it was such a treat to open the book and know instantly that almost every single sock design (and let me tell you, there are a ton) was something that would not only give me a beautiful and well designed pair of socks, but would also expand my knitting skills and open my mind to a completely new way of making socks.

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The best part of the book, in my opinion, is that every time I work a new sock, I am being challenged to work the construction of the sock in a new and completely different way. Cat has reworked the standard sock heel and introduced new methods for working the gusset of each sock so that patterning and textures can be introduced where none was possible before.

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Also, Cat Bordhi has ensured that knitters of all skill levels are able to work the sock patterns in her book by introducing the patterns in smaller versions (designed in baby sizes) using worsted weight yarn. As well, she ensures success by using well placed and easy to understand diagrams of each technique, lettered markers, and separate instructions which outline the major techniques (such as how to conceal short row wraps) which need to be mastered in order to complete the sock.

In short, a well designed and thought out book! I can't wait to continue my way through the book. I suspect that this book will expand the ability of sock pattern designers and we as sock knitters will begin to see the construction techniques making their way into more and more new sock patterns.

I have worked two of the sock patterns in this book so far and intend to continue to unofficially review each design in this book as I move along.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Busy Bee, Busy Me

So much has happened in the last nine days. We have all had the flu, myself and Monkey included, which has contributed to the lack of blog posting. Also, I have been gearing up to teach my sock class 101 that I committed to teaching at Make One on Monday nights. Concidentially, I taught my first class while at the height of illness and was running a fever at the same time. Talk about being out of it. I am apparently very good at faking being ok as I called my best friend after the class and she let me know that I sounded a little euphoric and not at all like my usual self. I did manage to get everyone knitting in the round (and not backwards apparently) by the end of the class so, I guess, all's well that ends well. Right? Right.

I do have some finished projects and some that are nearing completion to show you. After seeing some of the baby sized Odessa's on Ravelry, I decided that I desperately needed one right now and cast on last week. This is the end result and I must say, I am very pleased with the results.

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Incidentally, I have no idea what the dangling threads are hanging out of the bottom of the hat. Rest assured, they do not exist in real life. I am chalking them up to photography error.

I also picked up Cat Bordhi's new book and I love all the sock designs. So, I have decided to work my way from the front to the back of the book. The minute I got the book home, I cast on for the Baby Sky socks. They are such an amazingly well written pattern and so interesting to knit. I know it will sound incredibly cheesy, but this is the best sock book I have ever bought - and I have only knit the first pattern.
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Finally, I returned the yarn that I was originally going to use to make Emerald (I fell out of love with the color) and in accordance with the watch agreement, was able to pick up four skeins of Tilli Thomas Voile de la Mer in American Beauty. Totally Scrummy! I am planning to use this to make the Hanging Garden stole by Sivia Harding. Apparently, this is a very good beginner lace project - we shall see. I figure if I set aside 30 minutes each night and retreat to another (kid-free) room, it will be done by this time next year.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Goodbye Old Friends

Well, the cats were delivered to their new home on Saturday night. I have been assured by TG that they have been delievered into a very nice home with very nice people. Still I am sad. I had a bit of a minor meltdown on Saturday night as TG was carting them away and have not been able to bring myself to phone the nice people who have taken them and see how they are all getting along. I really do miss them and it's so hard not to have them here with me, snuggling in bed and purring away.

Anyway, despite all the sad, I have managed to get my Monkey socks done. I love the way that they turned out.

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Pattern: Monkey Socks by Cookie A.
Yarn: Socks That Rock - Walkin on the Wild Tide
Needle: 2.75mm (US 2)
Modifications: I made the leg a little shorter by doing one less repeat of the pattern and since the yarn has no nylon in it, I substituted a slipstich heel for the short row one which will hopefully make for longer wearing socks. Next on the sock needles - a plain cuff down sock knit in Cherry Tree Hill Merino in the Quarry Hill colorway. These will be my demo socks for the sock class I am teaching at Make 1 starting Sept 24.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Free to GREAT Home


Well, it looks as though Monkey may be alergic to the cats. This means that they have to go and soon. I am beyond upset about this as these cats have been my best-est friends for over 8 years now.


They are seriously wonderful felines and are incredibly well behaved. Both are de-clawed (hey, don't yell at me - they lived with my mom for a while when I moved into a complex that didn't allow cats and she had them de-clawed. However, neither seems to get that they have no claws - they still pretend scratch our plastic laundry baskets). They will not touch any food left on the counter, ever. And they are super cuddly.

I have been totally torn up about this and I really am reluctant to give them away until we know for sure that Monkey is actually alergic to the cats. At this point, our dr. has told us that the cats are most likely the cause and she is currently at a higher SIDS risk because of her breathing issues, so the faster we get them out of the house, the better. So, the best case senario would be to have someone take them long enough for me to clean the house from top to bottom and see if it makes a difference to Monkey's breathing issues. If it is the cats that she is allergic to, then it would be nice if the foster mom or dad could adopt them for good.
Sigh. This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, but if it has to be a choice, I need them to go to a good, loving home. Hopefully this will help the decision become easier.

Monday, September 10, 2007

On the Wagon...

I have owned the same watch for the last, um, decade or so and it was a gift from a very ex-boyfriend and was quite possibly stolen by said ex. I like it well enough, but lately, it occurred to me that it might be time to get a new watch. So, with that intention in mind, I went out watch shopping. Nothing caught my eye. I tried on a hundred or so watches and nothing caught my eye. Until... I lured Hubby into a small jewelers in a small mall which is quite close to our house and found this. I love this watch. Love it. But, as the one in the store is slightly different and almost twice the price, Hubby had a heart attack (as he rightly should) and (only somewhat) jokingly said that if I agree to forego any yarn buying until the end of February (that is 6 months people), I could have the watch. So, I am officially on a self imposed yarn hiatus (I refuse to call it a diet), yarn moratorium, a yarn fast, if you will for the next six months.
This will be tough. So, here are the official rules (in case you are keeping score):

1. Any yarn I trade does not count
2. Any yarn I have already pre-ordered (and thus committed to buy) does not count
3. Anything that I make from teaching classes/ designing patterns does not count and may be used to purchase yarn
4. Gift certificates to yarn stores may be spent on yarn

Now, I did expect challenges along the way and my first one came tonight. My LYS received their much anticipated shipment of Claudia's Laces. But, I managed to hold out. I know I can do this. I just need some willpower. I am hoping that less buying translates into more knitting. Of course, there will still be some yarn coming in; like this Artyarns Supermerino that I received last week:
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and this Seacoast Yarn which was also received last week:

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On a brighter note, the shower this weekend for Monkey (well, really for me) was a hit! The Tuesday night drinkers (er, I mean knitters) showed up, spread out and promptly pulled out their knitting. I think it may have shocked a family member or two, but all in all much fun was had and sock progress was made by all. I even got the last skein of yarn I wanted (pictures to come) and Sara recorded the day. Check out her blog for some amazing photos!!
Thanks all for showing up and helping me celebrate!!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bunny Candy Tuesday

I managed to convince Bunny to try on the dress yesterday and let me take some photos. Actually, she was more than willing to wear the dress - she would wear it to bed if I let her - but the photos, not so much. So, without further ado; here is the dress...

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Wild Monkeys (all worn out)

Well, we went to the wedding this weekend and while it was a wonderful affair, I am extremely tired and so is Husband. And the kids? Exhausted. Seriously. They actually slept all the way home which gave Husband and I an hour and a half of relative relaxation.

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It was quite the weekend, between trying to pack for four people, making sure the formal clothes, gift and all baby/ child related accessories made it to the hotel for the Big Night. No small feat, let me tell you. And, forgetting anything was not an option as the hotel was an hour and a half away!

So, given the fact that I was responsible for packing everything, making sure that all four people were properly outfitted and on time for every part of the evening, this should explain why I didn't get a single picture taken of anything all night. Nope. Not a one. Jeez. Not a single picture of the happy couple, not a picture of the beautiful venue, and most upsetting, not a single picture of Hubby, myself, or the kids. Sigh. Fortunately, I am almost positive that the good friends that were there with us did take copious photos of the evening, so, hopefully one of them took a photo of the dress I made for Bunny. I will let you know soon.

Otherwise, I completely missed the deadline to get my SAM4 KAL socks in for August. I should have them done in a few days, which I guess will make them September's socks. Oh well. I really wanted a pair of Monkey's for myself since I sent my last pair to my Sockapalooza4 buddy. I did a search on Ravelry and stumbled across the most beautiful pair of Monkey socks, which were knit using April's Rockin' Sock Club yarn. Totally amazing.

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I do have a photo of the first finished sock on my Ravelry site, but, I really wanted show the close up of the slip stitch heel, which I find to be the perfect heel for most cuff down socks. This type of heel is much stronger than the average stockinette or short row heel, and in my opinion, produces a very neat pattern because of the slipped stitches. Basically, when you work a heel like this, instead of knitting all the stitches on the knit rows, you slip every second stitch purl wise. And, you purl all stitches on the purl side.

I am calling these socks my Wild Monkey's as the colorway for April was "Walkin on the Wild Tide". Pictures of the finished socks as soon as they are done. Although, Bunny starts Kindergarten on Tuesday (gasp) so, hopefully I can see to knit through my tears... my little girl is soooooo big!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Baby Steps

It's finally been cool enough for Monkey to wear the baby sockettes that I knit for her out of left over sock yarn back in April. I absolutely love these and they kept her little feets super snuggly and warm while we were out at the lake this week. I am so glad that they still fit as she is growing like a little weed. As a matter of fact, at her last dr's appt this week, she was almost 10lbs!!

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Pattern: Better than Booties: Baby Socks (Spring 2006 Interweave Knits)
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock - Hawaii
Needles: US 00
Modifications: none - but I wish I would have made the cuffs an inch or so longer

As well, this week, two new and muchly anticipated packages arrived at our house. I was so excited to receive my Sockapalooza4 socks and thankfully they arrived this week so I didn't have to wait too long for them. Aren't they colorful? Thanks sockpal!! She also included a ton of amazing smelling hand cream and some handmade stitch markers. I can't believe how much work she put into my swap goodies!

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Finally, this week I got my August shipment from the Rockin Sock Club. While I don't love the pattern, I really like the colors of the yarn this month and will be searching high and low for a pattern that will show off the variation of the yarn to it's fullest.

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Otherwise, I have been chronically sleep deprived for the last two weeks as I am not quite used to getting up 2-3 times a night with a newborn and taking care of a five year old at the same time. As well, the housework and cooking won't take care of itself, so my computer time has been somewhat limited lately and I anticipate that it will continue to be this way for the next few months. That means that posts won't be as frequent in the meantime. Hopefully this won't last too long...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Round and Round We Go

Endless stockinette. Mindless, awful, boring, knitting. My fingers are sore and they long to cast on something more intricate and fun! I am officially sick of the Crumpets dress that I cast on for Bunny to wear to the wedding we are attending at the end of the month. The pattern called for 25" of stockinette stitch knit on 360 stitches using worsted weight yarn. As of this afternoon, I have only 8" left to go. That's 17" of stockinette stitch people!! More than I care for. And yet, I am so anticipating the finished dress, that I am working on this pattern pretty much exclusively so that it will be finished in time. And, since, as I have said before, mindless stockinette stitch makes for boring photos, I will attempt to once again distract you with something more interesting.

Pretty? Oh yes. I am in love with this sweater and think it will make an amazing addition to my wardrobe this winter. You can also see a small preview of the color I will be making it in if you look to the top left of the photo (hint: it's also the same color as the one the model is wearing in the photo). So, now, it's a toss up between this and Emerald - I really can't decide which one to cast on for first. I have the yarn for both and need some help with the decision. So, to that end, leave me a comment and let me know which one to cast on for first...

Oh, and if anyone can help me figure out how to get my month old (today!!!) daughter to take a bottle (or soother for that matter), please leave me a comment and let me know. I have to start teaching classes soon and if she doesn't take a bottle, I don't know what I'll do, but I do know I'll be in trouble!

Edited to add: Hubby managed to get her to take a bottle today without much trouble. Apparently, I need to be out of the house so she can't see or smell me. I think we will just give up on the soother... Beggars can't be choosers. Right?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Knitting Related Injuries

I am making some progress on Bunny's Crumpet Dress. I really loved this pattern to begin with, but the endless, mindless stockinette stitch is truly driving me crazy! And, my initial impressions of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease have been reinforced. The yarn is splitty and terribly hard on the hands. I am not enjoying working with it at all. I actually have knitting related injuries caused by the coarse nature of the cotton plies. It's almost like working with rope. What you can't really tell from these photos is that the skin is actually split open where the arrows are pointing. Hurts like the dickens when I stab myself with a knitting needle there.

Knitting Related Injury2

I am about half way done the dress which needs to be ready for wear at our good friends wedding on August 31. I am therefore, working through the pain... oh, the things I do for my kids.

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What I really want to do is cast on for another pair of socks. Make1 just got in their first ever shipment of Mama E C*eye*ber Fiber Sock yarn and it is amazing. So, of course, I had to get a few skeins. I picked up two of the Merino/Tencel and one of the Merino/Silk yarns. Yummy.

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I signed up for Sock a Month 4, so really, I needed some more yarn to make socks with. Afterall, I have committed to knitting a pair of socks each month for the next 6 months... I may not be as ambitious as YouKnowWho, but still, it's a start right??

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sockapalooza Pal... Your Socks are On Their Way!!!

Oh yes, the finished socks are currently winging their way to my sockapalooza pal and I can't wait to see if they fit. These were a fun knit and the pattern was so well written, they literally just flew off my needles!

Pattern: Monkey Socks by Cookie A.
Yarn: Mama E Cyeber fiber in Peppermint Twist
Needles: Size 1 US DPN's
Modifications: I went with a slip stitch heel instead of the short row one called for in the pattern.

I also sent the rest of the yarn.. hopefully my pal will be able to find a good use for it.

Ok, now when will my socks get here???

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bait and Switch...

Well, not much knitting is going on here, as you can well imagine. Although this baby is so much easier than Bunny, she is actually so easy to haul around that Hubby & I have been running errands and visiting people since she was born. So, that makes for a real lack of knitting progress. I am still slogging away at Bunny's dress, however, since it calls for 25" of plain stockinette on 360 stitches of worsted weight yarn, the progress is slow going and makes for lousy photos.

Instead, I am going to try and distract you from the lack of knitting with photos of our recently expanded family.

Doesn't big sister look proud??

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And, of course, I haven't been able to resist the siren song of new yarn purchases, even though I am making no progress knitting from the current stash...

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Clearly I have no willpower whatsoever...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Look what the stork dragged in....

Bunny now officially has a brand new baby SISTER!!!

Name: Chloe Danielle
Born: July 19, 2007
Weight:7lbs, 14 oz
Length: 21"

As soon as Mommy is up and around, she will post some more of the details and share a bit more of baby and her big sister.

Here's some more photos.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

True Friends...

Are very hard to come by. I am so lucky to have the wonderful group of friends that I have made at my Tuesday night knitting group! Last night (on my "official" due date), I decided that instead of sitting at home in the plus 30 degree heat, I would head down to my LYS and join the SnB that I have been a regular at for the last six months or so.

Let me tell you, these ladies are the best! This is the combined effort of many knitters who have made mitered squares out of their left over sock yarn. Then, Michelle collected, blocked and sewed the squares together and sent it over to Liza who completed the blanket by attaching the amazing flannelet backing. The result? A perfect little heirloom. Lucky me!! Thanks ever so much ladies!! You all are the best.

I have also been working on some of my own projects while I wait for baby to arrive. I am halfway done one of the dresses that I am working on for Bunny. I am designing this dress out of some Sari cotton and Elann Sonata and I think she will love it once it is done.

And, in a fit of start-itis, I also cast on for another dress for her which she can wear to a wedding we are attending at the end of August. The pattern is Crumpets and it was designed by Libby Baker. I absolutely love this pattern and it's my first time knitting with beads. It's simple enough that it doesn't require too much thought, but still interesting enough to hold my attention. I am not enjoying using the Cotton Ease. It seems to be rather sticky to knit with and somewhat splitty, but for the price and wash ability, it can't be beat. Plus, Bunny picked out the color and I have to admit, it does look nice with the beads.

Otherwise, there is still no baby. I do have a dr.'s appointment today, so I may have more news after that. Stay tuned.