...for a contraction.
Yep, Cathi guessed it, though I think she had a leg up considering our many discussions of television's hottest villains and my unabashed love for the bad boy (Spike, Sexy Mr. Sark, Marc Antony). They just don't design sweaters for the hunchbacked, do they? All it would take would be a few extra short-rows. Is that really too much to ask? But I loved all of your suggestions, and if I had the energy and time, I'd be over on Ravelry right now setting up a group for us Shakespeare knitters. A Comedy of Errors! (I think Jessica has this one covered already.) MacBeth! (Or should I say "The Scottish Sweater"?) Taming of the Shrew! (I maintain this would make a great felted cat toy.) And Titus Andronicus received SO many votes that I really think someone needs to capitalize on this right now and put the gore back in the gored skirt.
So here's what I did yesterday INSTEAD of having a baby:
Finished my book (upshot: food is scary, the FDA is wimpy, fish is death, lobbyists control everything, health claims are bogus, trust no one). Had an unraveling party that started with Juliet and then expanded to include two other sweaters and a wrap, and started a Drive-Thru for the Biscuit. At one point I asked Mr. Frick what he most wanted, and he said, "A beer." Then he asked me what I most wanted, and I said, "A pedicure." I was dispatched for both. Needless to say, the sight of a 40-weeks pregnant woman perusing the beer selection in a pair of those flimsy pedicure flops was enough to draw many a "look" at the local Safeway.
I know, I know. Many of you clicked here expecting a baby. Grand pronouncement: I will not post again until he's here, and that's final. Meanwhile, go check out Ruth's little lovely. We were due the same day. She has plump newborn, I have my fourth pumpkin pie. Sigh.
After all that fretting about the bag-packing, it's finally done.
Contents list: a baby for the Biscuit to take home from the hospital, four celebrity-news-free magazines unavailable in hospital gift shops, *knitting, my comfy "old man slippers," cell phone, camera, notebook and pen, accordion file for hospital paperwork and baby book page for visitors to sign, a going-home outfit for the Fricklet, a going-home outfit (read: maternity clothes) for me, black nightgown and cardigan (postpartum uniform), toiletries bag (the good moisturizer, lip gloss, Lansinoh), and a good nursing book (but not this one, which is for reference only, in my opinion, unless you like being made to feel inferior if breastfeeding doesn't put you in an immediate state of Nirvana).
So...what am I forgetting?
The knitting drove me a bit batty for a while until I finally settled on the perfect hospital project: Mim's baby socks. I've made them so many times I've lost count, because they almost always end up given away before I can record their existence. So I started a pair of rainbow-colored ones on Addi 1's with some STR "Fire on the Mountain," thinking: "These will be the socks I'm knitting when the baby comes!" And a couple of days passed, and off they were cast.
And so I stared another pair, same yarn, on Addi 0's. And a couple of days passed, and off they were cast. (Feet up, Fricklet!)
(Gratuitous belly shot.)
So I started a pair in Lorna's Laces "Flames" on Addi O's. You know what's coming, right?
So the pair peeking out of the bag is Lorna's Laces "Happy Valley," and I decided to just put them in the bag, partway knit, and go ahead with Juliet. Because the Happy Valley sounds like a nice place to go in your mind when your tender bits are being assaulted, no?
In my scattered reading on parenting and teaching, I've come across several articles that insist that kids with "passions" are more well-adjusted, successful, and gosh darn happy than the others. I've also been told that boys tend to show these passions earlier than girls in the form of collections, though you might, if you're XX-inclined, feel free to raise your sticker-hoarding hand right now. (Weren't those oilies the bomb?) So I guess I should be happy that the Biscuit has developed such a "healthy interest" in something.
But really. While his friends are into animals, construction vehicles, trains and dinosaurs, collecting and cataloging miniature versions, visiting museums and kid-oriented websites, and cultivating vocabularies that include such complex terms as excavator and brachiosaurus, we're making a daily visit to all of the air-conditioning condensers in the neighborhood and our big word is thermostat. Not that I mind the cool breeze on my neck as I drive him hither and yon and he plays with one of his battery-powered fans in the backseat. But short of a family trip to Holland, I really don't know how to encourage/enrich this interest. So I made a purchase.
My sister, if she's reading this, is laughing her ass off, because yes, I bought a bird feeder. See, my Ouma was a huge fan of birds, and she used to call us to the huge picture window overlooking the majestic beauty of the Potomac with, "Come quickly! Come quickly! It's a pink-frilled-cicadakisser!" or some such thing. And we'd moan and groan and drag ourselves away from the majestic beauty of Thundercats to give a cursory glance at what was, inevitably, another frickin' bird.
But really- birds! As Mr. Frick says, it's like having pets without having to actually have pets! And such variety, right there in our backyard. There are calls to learn, marking patterns to discern (hello, sparrows- you're all brown to me), museums and websites to visit... And if you don't count the odd titmouse, really this is something All American Wholesome. Perfect hobby.
Hidden camera moment in the playroom today: "Hey! Kiddo! Check it out! A Carolina chickadee!" Oh, how I beamed as he repeated Carolina chickadee over and over as he... removed and replaced the batteries on his fan again and again. And again.
Then again, he's probably wondering what the heck I'm doing with these sticks and string.
Here are some things I have done this week:
* Nearly knelt down and praised the Kraft Mac and Cheese gods who, in their infinite wisdom, made the cheese packet somewhat water resistant so that a mother who might be losing her mind listening to her son scream, "But I want to burn my little hands on the stove!" and who therefore dumps the entire box into the boiling water and then needs about five minutes to locate the correct tool for extracting said packet still ends up with perfectly usable cheese powder product.
* Laid my seven months pregnant self on the floor next to the newly assembled big boy bed droning, "Nap. Please. Close. Your. Eyes. It's. Time. For. A. Nice. Rest." over and over until I myself have fallen asleep, only to be awakened moments later by a sticky finger in the eye.
* Googled "toddler obsessed with ceiling fans," "scrambled eggs in microwave," and "big boy bed transition help." (For an incredibly funny blog entry on that first topic, visit here. The Biscuit and this kid could start a cult together.)
* Worn a pig-shaped name tag with my son's name on it all around town for approximately 3 and a half hours without realizing it.
* Ruined my windshield wipers by using them on a scorchingly sunny day when I finally gave in to the backseat mantra, "Yes it IS raining!" See, windshield wipers, according to the Biscuit, are a type of fan. As is his new favorite toy, the salad spinner. And this water feature at our local playground:
Check out how he hangs out by the button that gets the water going. All the other kids are frolicking in the spray, but not my little guy. Uh, uh. No rest for the fan-atic.
Ah, the summer transition to stay-at-home mom. It's never a smooth one for anyone. I think he's still wondering what I'm doing all up in his business all the time. This weekend he was so perfectly horrible that at one point Mr. Frick up and said, "Well, maybe he's just an asshole." I think he was trying to make me feel better, as he followed up by saying that most of his best friends are assholes. (Hi, guys!)
Here are some things I have not done this week:
* Any knitting of significance.
* Any blogging of significance.
* Any photography of significance. (The lens is smudged and I have to wait for the Mr. to get home to take them, so the lighting's all off. Oh, the shame. Please forgive me.)
* Any personal grooming of significance.
I can report that there are two WIPs proceeding slowly but surely. One is what I've dubbed the "playground socks" for obvious reasons, and if they survive the Goldfish crumbs, wet bathing suits, and all-natural sunscreen that inhabits their bag, it'll be a miracle. Good thing Tofutsies is machine washable, and apparently antimicrobial, thanks to the chitin content. (Check it out, Meg. Anti-pooling queen no more! No naps will do it to you- you just don't give a good goddamn anymore.)
And progress has been made on the decor item for the Fricklet's room, which we've decided, due to a complete lack of desire to paint, will be yellow and blue:
(* Title of this post of course from the Springsteen song which came on the radio during the above-mentioned windshield wiper Armageddon incident. I remember being a kid and listening to my dad express his disappointment upon finding out that the lyric was "He could throw that speed ball by you/ Make you look like a fool, boy" instead of "Makin' love like a fool, boy." I thought Dad was nuts. Because even if you really, really liked "Bull Durham," you'd be crazy to think baseball, with its scratching, spitting, and guts spilling over tops of weird knicker-pants = sex.)
While drafting my list of must-knit items for the Fricklet, I stumbled upon this Baby Surprise and may have shorted out a few neurons in my excitement. Here's something I can do with all of this lovely multicolored sock yarn I accumulated before I realized that it doesn't jive with most sock patterns! So I started my own sock yarn BSJ and posted a photo on Flickr, only to have a very astute observer (with some lovely stash) point me over here. So you can look at my photo, but really, I'm just a big copycat, apparently.
Knit in STR Mediumweight in the colorway "Fairgrounds," which came as part of the first year of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts sock club. One hank is plenty- I got an additional pair of booties out of it. I used size four 24" circular Addi Turbos, and it looks as if it will fit the average 0-2 month old.
Tweaks and mods: I have made this jacket before, and two things bothered me about it. One was my complete inability to visualize how it "worked." This was largely my own fault, as I knit it on straight needles. Please, if you value your sanity, use circs when you make this little item, as they will allow you to fold it as you go and understand where you are (see Adrian's for a good demonstration of this phenomenon, and the KnitWiki she pointed out yesterday helps, too). The second thing that bothered me had to do with the sleeves. While I realize it's practical to have the sleeves blouse out from the cuff, I didn't quite like the way it looked, especially on a short sleeve. I cast on an extra 18 stitches, moved my decrease markers in nine stitches each toward the center, and then ignored the instructions to increase 9 stitches across each cuff section later in the pattern. This gave me a straight sleeve, which pleases my eye, though I could end up kicking myself later when all this fabric keeps bopping a baby in the face. On this jacket I used paired m1R and M1L increases instead of EZ's backward loops. In addition, I emailed the color experts over at Blue Moon Fiber Arts asking for advice on the right contrast trim, and they dyed me up a hank of Boysenberry, with which I executed an i-cord cast-off and applied i-cord trim around the neck. Buttons from mom's stash completed it and there she is! And me with enough Boysenberry Mediumweight left over for a pair of socks- pattern suggestions, anyone? (Also of note- somehow I managed to only make four buttonholes instead of the called-for five. I think it works on this small size, but between you and me, it was an oversight.)
In my research, I found and also absolutely love Brooke's long-sleeved version, so that was my next goal. I made this one slightly larger, using two hanks of Adrian's fat sock in the color "Gentle." Well, two and a bit, but that was due to a needle size mistake- use 5's instead of 6's that you mistake for 5's until you're halfway through, as I did, and you'll get away with two hanks. This one will fit a slightly older baby- 2-4 months on average, I'd say.
Tweaks and mods: There are a few ways to make this jacket with long sleeves. If you follow the link above to Brooke's, you'll find she used a provisional cast-on. The KnitWiki linked above suggests picking up stitches once you're finished and knitting the cuffs down from the cast-on edge. I cast on for two cuffs on the same circular needle, adding nine stitches to each as above in order to avoid puff-cuff, and knit up a little over an inch before casting on the stitches across the center and knitting the pattern as written. On this jacket I used EZ's suggested backward loop increases, which are a bit looser than the ones I used on the Fairgrounds jacket, but less fuss. These sleeves may be a tad bit long- I can see how Brooke and the KnitWiki have one over on me, as they can see exactly how long their sleeves will be- but I can always cuff 'em up. More fabric to bop baby in the face! Because babies whacking themselves repeatedly is fine new-mama amusement, right? I left the cast-off as is, as I'm saving my last hank of fat sock for a top-down bonnet.
Feel free to email me if you'd like to try one of these mods and my explanation above isn't clear enough!
I know I may have let some of you down with the color choices for these jackets. Here I am, railing against the HNGF's of the world, and what do we see here? Pink and blue. Yep, you got me. But I have to say that I'm not sure I agree with Lady Z that babies don't look good in pink and blue. They do- as long as it's a strong pink or blue. They look great in brown and red and grey. They look doughy-zombie HORRID in the standard "neutral" light green and yellow, unless they're blessed with cocoa skin. So I've laid out a few new possibilities for Mr. Frick to choose from, because this baby needs another BSJ. These colors may be more to your liking:
So now for the big surprise, right? What will the well-dressed Fricklet be sporting come September? Well, color me thrilled.
Thanks for all of the support and sweetness and light you've poured through the cables and phone lines to this little laptop. It's meant so much to all of us.
I am not shy about calling myself a feminist. It's one of those words or phrases, like "liberal" and "activist" and "free speech" and "choice" that has been painted with a tarred brush by people not fit to lick the stone soles of Lady Liberty. I get pissed off about gender imbalance in cartoons (Animaniacs, Backyardigans, Toy Story, you name it, all project a false world where males outnumber females- though I admit that having been brought up on Smurfs, all is relative). The Pottery Barn Kids catalog sends me over the edge. During a recent spate of "Deadwood" watching, Mr. Frick has dealt quite admirably with my campaign to Take Back the Vagina by peppering our conversation liberally with those spicy c- and s- words that those mustachioed spur-janglers employ as adjective, verb, and all-purpose invective.
So one might find it ironic that I long for another boy. The idea of saying "my boys" just fills me with excitement, while the very thought of "my adolescent daughter" gives me hives. Maybe it's because I know the power of karma. I know how mean girls can be to their mothers. What are a couple of awkward laundry moments compared to the over-identification-resulting-in-reflected-self-loathing phenomenon? Yes, I know I'm over-simplifying. Yes, I love my mother to distraction and have no idea what I'd do without her. I'm just surprised she's still as nice to me as she is, considering those middle school years.
And I know I'm among The Chosen here, so I can freely say what the non-knitter would find absolutely ridiculous. Here is the one thing that makes me long for a girl: this. Oh, and the fact that once I knit this absolutely lovely little matinee coat with smocking and a fair isle border for no good reason, and it has been sitting in a closet for years. Years! Just waiting for a deserving little body to dress it in. (Above photo is of said knit, and while it is not technically a Knits '07 FO, I will put it in that album because the poor thing has been ready for its close-up for years, and you might want details.)
Meanwhile, I've developed a new knitting addiction. While you do spy new booties (Christy! Look what your leftovers made!) to add to the growing pile, there's a new sheriff in Fricktown. Here's a hint- two of them, hot off the needles, just wanting a bit of finishing:
M1's and double-decreases and cast-offs in purl, that's what little sweaters are made of...
There is black Play-Doh under my fingernails, and my fingernails are so bitten-to-the-quick short that I can tell you it took some intense Fun Factory drudgery to get them there. Guess who's the foreman? I have explained so many times that no, we can't turn the ceiling fan on because it's too cold outside, that I've begun to really wish I had a pull string attached to my lower back that he could tug whenever he needed the answer. There are bananas in my hair and Legos underfoot, and just as I put him down for the nap he insists he doesn't need, the neighbor's workmen start up with the stone-cutting saw. The neighbors whose home is in a perpetual state of remodel, whose lawn crew shows up every day precisely at naptime, whose snow-blowing troupe arrives at 9:30 pm, and whose dog seems a special breed of Bark Only When It's Darker Than a Well-Digger's Arseh*le. Nevertheless, I wanted to drop in to tell you that I made this:
(Hill Country Yarns Sweet Feet Sock in Honey Butter, doubled.)
(Calorimetry, by Katie Schoendorf for Knitty, genius. See Knits '07 for mods.)
So far it's kept my ears warm, my head covered in a stylishly wooly way, and my hair twist un-flattened. Just as promised. I may make ten more.
(This just in! Mr. Frick* called to ask if it's okay for him and some co-workers to head out to see "Grindhouse" today! They've negotiated an early release from their manager especially to view this film! Let's see if Calorimetry can keep my head from frickin' flying off of my shoulders in
rage utter disbelief enthusiasm!)
* I love you, honey. You know that. With every beat of my peanut butter and graham-cracker coated heart.
ETA: He didn't go. And after Stephen Hunter's review, I think we're both glad. Seems this movie can be likened to Tarantino's habit of inserting himself as an actor into his films: indulgent, adolescent, uncomfortable for the viewer, and overall unfortunate. (For the record, I really liked "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill.")
Last night I dreamt I gave birth to a baby boy. Well, the whole giving-birth part happened conviniently off-stage, but there he was- with dark curly hair and angelic demeanor. I felt a bit bad about giving my father the news- he is really hoping for a granddaughter. So I named the baby John, after him.
Of course names have been on our minds a lot these days. Mr. Frick and I have very different approaches to naming- so much so that there's a rule in our house that I name babies and he names pets and inanimate objects. Thus we have a prairie dog puppet named Ernestina, a stuffed monkey named Fraulein Bitterbaum, and the fridge is the "ovenmerator" and the oven is the "fridgemerator." You can see why I fear for the children, no? Actually, the deal with children is that I make a list of my favorite names and he chooses the name from the list. This is actually how his parents chose his name, and we still have the scrap of paper with the list his mother wrote.
Speaking of names, I know some of you are wondering if I ever did figure out the name of my sister's baby boy, due in late April. Indeed I did. I will say her clues were misleading. Yes, the name is one you might see in the news...during the Winter Olympics. And yes, there is a landmark with this name...but you have to be up on your Cape Hatteras lighthouses. Any guesses?
I do seem to be coming out of the first trimester haze. For the past couple of nights I've been able to stay up past 8:00, which has allowed me to make some progress on the Chevron Scarf. (Not that I've been able to stomach dinner yet, though. My so-named "morning sickness" is hemispherically challenged.) It's funny that this project caught my attention around the time knitting slowed to a crawl. It's not for the baby. It's not quick and easy. I think it's the thrill of the colors that drew me to it. Plus, as every pregnant lady knows, lovely bright accessories draw the eye away from your bulging belly toward your glowing face, right? Or is this the Big Bow fallacy all over again?
And speaking of names: a word to Joelle. This scarf is from the "More Than 24-Hour Gifts" section of Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Joelle, here are some things that are also More Than 24-Hour: The gestation period of an elephant. The Presidency of George W. Bush. The stomach bug currently circulating amongst all my friends and family. Do you see the range there, Joelle? It's a mighty large one. I realize you had a few patterns you wanted to include in your book that really didn't fit the "Last-Minute" theme. I understand the temptation to group a whole mess of things together even if you can't really find the umbrella they all fit under. (Yes, loyal readers, I do.) Still- "More Than 24-Hour"? Give a knitter a break.