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I Want to Knit
Friday, August 29, 2008
dumb as a...
I wish I could say I'd overheard this comment. But nope- this is all me.

I went out for dinner with the moms from Jakob's playgroup. We're trying to do an adults-only thing once a month. Anyways, many of us have wedding anniversaries coming up in September, which led to the topic of how long we've been married/with our significant others.

I mentioned that next week will be both Yannick's birthday and our 2nd wedding anniversary (same day). What did I say next?

"In December it will be ten years we've been together. I know. Ten years! But it feels like a decade!"


Clearly we all know what I'd MEANT to say? I was going for the joke- intending on "...but it feels like a century!". But nope- baby brain kicks in and I'm lucky I can string together a few coherent words without too much drooling.

And I thought I got dumb when pregnant with Jakob! Today I'm 20 weeks pregnant. It can't get worse, right?
posted by Jennifer Lori @ 8:02 a.m.   5 comments
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Hanukah Dreidel Pillow, part 5
We're almost there!

The next step was to use more Patons Brilliant, this time in a shiny gold color, to duplicate-stitch the dreidel game letters in the four corners of the pillow.
Another closeup for you!
I know I said this before, but it continued to amaze me how much the finished product looked like my original sketch and computer design. I know it *should* look like what I wanted, but to see such an accurate representation tickled me every time I'd lay them side-by-side.

Almost done now...

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posted by Jennifer Lori @ 9:30 p.m.   1 comments
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Hanukah Dreidel Pillow, part 4
We're getting there, folks. Won't be long now!

Once the white "ridges" were complete, I did the letters on the dreidel itself.
Another closeup. While the white ridges were done using the same yarn as for the background (Patons Shetland Chunky), the lettering was done using Patons Brilliant, a thinner, stiffer, metallic yarn.
Because this was a contest submission we had to use yarns from the contest sponsors, including Patons, Bernat, Diamond and Kertzer.

I know I'm teasing this out instead of just showing a finished object and being done with it. Sorry to do that, but I can't show you what I'm actually working on as I am busy swatching for a few submissions I'd like to put out.

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posted by Jennifer Lori @ 7:52 a.m.   1 comments
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
funny stuff!

Hilarious tales of when the customer is not always right. If you've ever worked in retail, shopped in retail or interacted with another person, you're sure to find a laugh here!
posted by Jennifer Lori @ 10:41 a.m.   0 comments
the interview
Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
Hubby: Socks.

Me: What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
Hubby: Clutter.

Me: What is something I have knitted that you recall as being good?
Hubby: Everything you've knitted was "good". I think the Superman Costume was excellent.

Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
Hubby: Yes.

Me: Do you have any hobbies?
Hubby: No.

Me: What are your hobbies?
Hubby: -

Me: If we compared money spent on hobbies, who would win?
Hubby: You, clearly.

Me: Has my knitting in public ever embarrassed you?
Hubby: No.

Me: Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
Hubby: I think all yarns are your favorite.

Me: Can you name another blog?
Hubby: No.

Me: Do you mind that I want to check out yarn stores everywhere we go?
Hubby: Not particularily.

Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
Hubby: Yes.

Me: Do you read my blog?
Hubby: Not very often.

Me: Have you ever left a comment?
Hubby: No.

Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?
Hubby: Yes.

Me: Is there anything you would like to add in closing?
Hubby: No.

Added by me: I APOLOGIZE for the utter lameness of this post. I saw the interview on other blogs and really wanted to do it husband is usually remarkably chatty and I thought it might be interesting. I didn't realize he would be giving me one-word answers as if there were a maximum of words allowed per post. Still- I did it, and am posting it regardless.


posted by Jennifer Lori @ 7:43 a.m.   2 comments
Monday, August 25, 2008
Hanukah Dreidel Pillow, part 3
The next step in the pillow's progress was to duplicate-stitch the white ridges on the dreidel's sides.
Here's another close-up.
One thing that kept amazing me is how much the actual pillow cover was resembling the original design. At this point I didn't care if anyone else would like it or even want to knit it...I was just happy with how something was coming out of my head and into reality.

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posted by Jennifer Lori @ 7:41 a.m.   2 comments
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Hanukah Dreidel Pillow, part 2
The next step for the Hanukah Dreidel Pillow was to do the shading on the dreidel itself. I used a dark orange shade and duplicate-stitched over the gold.
In case you were wondering, I deliberately stuck with a white, blue and gold color theme. The Israeli flag's colors are blue and white, and I felt like the gold was a nice holiday addition. I didn't want to mix in too many other colors.
Here's the closeup at this stage. There were one or two spots where I had to go back over a stitch a second time to get good coverage, but you really can't tell.

More coming soon!

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posted by Jennifer Lori @ 9:00 a.m.   1 comments
This week's question of the week is:
"What's the best thing you've ever received in the mail?"

Love letters.

Not knitting-related, sorry!


posted by Jennifer Lori @ 8:57 a.m.   1 comments
Thursday, August 21, 2008
19 week ultrasound
As the title so aptly states, I had my 19 week ultrasound today. Everything looks good, and we were able to resist finding out the sex of our new little one. Unfortunately, the baby was being quite unphotogenic (not sonogeic, as the technician put it), and the technician wasn't able to get all the measurements she needed. Fortunately, that means I get to go back in another 4 weeks and have another little peek at the baby!
You can tell the photos came out quite crappy. The green writing you can't read says that you are looking at the baby's profile (head on the left, facing to the right) with the body down below and an arm raised with the hand resting between the nose and eyes.
This is the same angle, but a closer shot at the baby's profile.

And it just wouldn't be fair to give you 2(!) new-to-be baby photos, and not put at least 1 of Jakob, so here is a photo my mom took the same day as the popsicle photos.
It's a little over-exposed, but he's still a cutie to me!


posted by Jennifer Lori @ 4:46 p.m.   6 comments
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Hanukah Dreidel Pillow, part 1
A few days ago I received my Hanukah Dreidel Pillow back in the mail. That was the entry I had submitted to the Mary Maxim design contest. Since I didn't win or place, the rights to the pattern stay with me, which means I can share it with you.

I decided to share a bit of my thoughs and my process on this pattern. I had a really hard time with the design. It wasn't coming up with an idea- I knew I was entering the "Knit or Crochet - Holiday Craft" section of the contest. I had a TON of ideas that I really, really liked. The problem? I really, really liked them.

See, I didn't realize until after I'd sent in my entry fee that were I to win or place, Mary Maxim would get the rights to the pattern. That means that if they were honorable, my name would appear somewhere on it as the actual designer...but other than the contest prize, I wouldn't get anything for the pattern, regardless of how popular it might prove to be.

This made designing tough- I wanted to submit something I was proud of, but at the same time I wanted to keep any "really good" ideas to myself, so if I were ever to knit them, I would get to keep the rights to them.

I knew I wanted to design something Hanukah-related. The majority of the holiday crafts in Mary Maxim are Christmas-themed (which may in part explain why I didn't place, lol) and I wanted to do something to help celebrate another religion. In the end I had the idea to work up a pillow cover with a dreidel on it.

My first step was to swatch. The navy yarn is Patons Shetland Chunky. (If you remember this post, you'll remember when I bought all the yarns I had considered using).
Once I had my gauge calculated, I started testing some duplicate stitch and embroidery. I had originally planned on having some lettering on the pillow, and I wasn't sure which method would have provided better results. The yellow yarn used for the embroidery was more Shetland Chunky, and the red one is Patons Brilliant.

The pillow cover was worked in 3 sections (the front, and the 2 back halfs) that were seamed at the end. Here is a photo of the front in progress. The design for the front had a white background with a navy block in each corner.

Once I had my gauge worked out I was able to properly plan the design. I printed off some knitters graph paper to my specific gauge (I like the template here) and started sketching.

I had an outline done by hand then switched to the computer to chart it out in Excel. I didn't care if my Excel chart was to scale, because I already knew that my drawing was to scale. (In other words, if my knitter's graph paper drawing to scale had the corner boxes be 30 sts by 40 rows, then I would color in 30 boxes by 40 boxes in my Excel spreadsheet, etc.)

I didn't want to complicate my life by having too many dangling ends, so I broke the pattern down into sections. The background (white and navy) and the main dreidel color (gold) were knit using intarsia to have one flat background. Everything else in the image would be done in duplicate stitch.

I forgot to take a photo of the original, plain background, but here you can see it after the first round of duplicate stitch. Just like in cross stitch, where you work a section of one color before switching to another, I did my pattern in layers. Also, knowing how duplicate stitch actually builds up the layers of fabric, I worked in order from the most recessed to the most forwards. So my plan was to start with the background shading, then do the dreidel shading, and last do the letters.

In this image you can see my printed Excel chart and the pillow front with the black shading done around the right and lower edges of the dreidel. (In the chart, the completed shadow sections are highighted in pink, but you can barely see it).

Here's a closeup. The duplicate stitch came out pretty even and had good coverage- that was what I was afraid of most, that the gold would show through. (Luckily, in planing ahead, I knew that other than the letters, I was working darker colors over light).
I learned that I like my duplicate stitch better when I work from top to bottom, either in rows or columns. I'm not as crazy about the result when I tested it from bottom to top. I found that working top-down causes the stitches below the ones completed to close up any gaps, whereas when you work bottom-up you need to pierce the center of the stitch you just did then move away, possibly separating the stitch and allowing the base color to show through.

Coming soon - more on the Hanukah Dreidel Pillow...

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posted by Jennifer Lori @ 7:46 p.m.   3 comments
Friday, August 15, 2008
who you calling a baby? i'm a TODDLER!!
Jakob's WALKING!!!

He's been doing more and more on his own lately, cutting corners around furniture and choosing to walk the 5 or so steps to the next piece instead of easing his way around holding on. Today at work a family member was playing with him, and he would walk up to 10-12 steps to the next "thing" to grab on to.

Tonight we finished supper early so I took him for a walk. We live about 10 houses from the end of my street and we walked to the end together, Jakob walking and holding on (barely) to one of my fingers. A few times he'd get tired and sit down, but I'd stand him back up, give him my finger to hold, and we'd keep going.

On the way back home I noticed that when I'd stand him up, he seemed to be trying to move away before I had a chance to stand back up and give him my finger. I tried letting go...but I was nervous because it was all sidewalk and lawns- no large objects around for him to walk to and grab on. So he didn't stop! He just kept walking down the street, arms up for balance. I couldn't believe it! He'd make it about the length of 2 properties before stumbling or sitting down, and I'd stand him back up and he'd keep going another 2 or 3 houses.

I kept my camera handy when we got home, and luckily happened to have it on when this happened:

Yay Jakob! Congratulations on another milestone, honey! We're so proud of you!!!


posted by Jennifer Lori @ 8:51 p.m.   6 comments
Thursday, August 14, 2008
what happens at bubbie's...
...should stay at Bubbie's. Except that she sent me the incriminating photos- so I will share them with you!
"A popsicle? And you're letting me hold it by myself?!?"




Sugar rush!

posted by Jennifer Lori @ 2:12 p.m.   4 comments
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Question 10: Here's an odd sort of question...What Olympic event would best describe your knitting/knitting style?

Gack- I don't know all the events! Yannick and I have been watching each evening the last few nights, though, so if I would only be able to pick from the beach volleyball, swimming and gymnastics routines...

If I go over the list of Summer Olympic sports listed on the official website, I guess my knitting style would be "Artistic Gymnastics".

Here's an excerpt of the discipline's origins, from the same website:

"When gymnastics began in ancient Greece more than 2000 years ago, the gymnasium was the centre of cultural activity. Men gathered there not only to practise sport, but to understand art, music and philosophy. The Greeks believed symmetry between the mind and body was possible only when physical exercise was coupled with intellectual activity.

Today, gymnastics is often termed the ultimate combination of sport and art, but the idea is nothing new. Plato, Aristotle and Homer heartily advocated the strengthening qualities of gymnastic activity. It is a philosophy that can be found in much of their work."

A combination of sport and art where physical exercise is coupled with intellectual activity...sounds about right to me!


posted by Jennifer Lori @ 10:32 a.m.   2 comments
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
vowels, please?
Since I've had so many vowel requests, I figured I'd help you out. Instead of giving you the vowels, though, I've put an underline in the squares where vowels belong. Does this help any?

And since it has been a while, here's a Jakob photo. I'm pretty sure I didn't post this here, but if I did and you've seen it's still cute.

Three weeks ago my mom was watching Jakob for the day and she took this photo. Jakob spied the tv's remote on her bed and turned right around to point it at the tv.

On a completely unrelated note, I saw something interesting this morning. I was waiting at a red light on my way to work, and there was a man waiting to cross the road. He was dressed ok; slacks, a t-shirt and a funky hat. What was odd was what he was carrying- no bag or satchel or anything, just a carton of Banana/Strawberry/Orange Oasis juice in one hand, and a 2/6ths completed Rubix cube in the other. (The blue and orange sides where complete). I couldn't help but stare and try and figure out- where was he going? (Or where was he coming from?) I've never seen someone walking around with such disparate objects before!

posted by Jennifer Lori @ 10:13 a.m.   5 comments
Monday, August 11, 2008
i will survive from meet the spartans
I'd like to say I'm linking this so you all get a taste of the funny. But really, it's so I have an easy place where I can watch it again.

Enjoy! Or, as yummy Kevin says, "Woooooo!"
posted by Jennifer Lori @ 10:42 a.m.   3 comments
Friday, August 08, 2008
you'd never believe me
...if I told you what I'm knitting.


You* can guess, if you want. Here's a clue:

Have fun! I'd offer a substantial part of my stash to anyone who guessed correctly...if I thought you had a chance. ;]

*You can guess if you are not Maaike or anyone that Maaike might have told about what I am currently knitting. That means "anonymous" guesses are not allowed!
posted by Jennifer Lori @ 4:14 p.m.   8 comments
Wednesday, August 06, 2008

This week our question is about your knitting... In many communities, "the fair" is a great place to visit and spend time with your family. It's also where many have entered one product or another (jams, cakes, even knitting)... Have you ever entered your knitting (or anything else) in the fair? Would you ever consider it?

I've never entered anything in a fair, but I did enter a pair of gloves I designed into my local guild's mitten/glove contest. I won for the category of "mittens/gloves knit from an original design" but I think I was the only one who designed my own pattern, so I can't claim I won due to talent alone.

Edited to add:
...for those of you who live in parts of the world w/o fairs...would you ever consider entering your knitting in a competition?

Yes! I wish we had fairs here, I'd love to enter competitions!!


posted by Jennifer Lori @ 2:25 p.m.   1 comments
good news
Again, no photos for you. I'm about 2 inches away from finishing my knitting for Veronik, but can't show you that, then I'm going to work on a little something for my secret pal, so I can't show you that, and finally I'm going to be trying to get a design or two in by Knitty's September 2nd deadline, so I can't show you that. I'll try to fill in the gaps with Jakob photos, but my camera battery is charging, so I can't even upload something now.

Instead you get a baby update.

If I didn't know any better, I'd swear I was in the first trimester. In actuality I'm almost 17 weeks along, but just feeling like I'm in the first.

The vomiting isn't really much better. There was a week where I had 3 random days without, but mostly it varies from 1-6 times/day. I started Diclectin last Wednesday but am not seeing any results from it. My doctor was still on vacation, so I was given the rx by the "on call" doctor when I went in to check my sugars (all good). He said it should take 2-3 days to kick in, but I have friends who said it takes about 2 weeks, so I'm continuing to take it. I'm very doubtful it will work, though, because it seems to really be about stopping nausea, and I don't have any. (I take that back-if I resist throwing up, THEN I feel like $h!t all day, but I don't think that counts). In any case, I see my doctor next Wednesday so I'll be able to tell her if the Diclectin worked after 2 weeks, and maybe she'll have some better ideas. Its getting tough though- we had my cousin's wedding this past Sunday night, and I had to run to the bathroom between every single course at the dinner. On the plus side- because I'm not nauseous, I get to eat. On the down side- most of what I eat comes back up.

And for some reason, I have been EXHAUSTED this past week! I don't know if it is related to the fact that I have less food in me, but it is getting very hard to take. I would have had Veronik's knitting finished last Thursday or Friday, I'm sure, if I hadn't gone to bed as soon as I finished my supper. I couldn't help it- I just couldn't keep my eyes open. Yannick has been a huge help in the mornings; once Jakob wakes up, I go and get him and change his diaper, then bring him to bed, and Yannick plays with him and brings him downstairs for breakfast, then plays with him until I get up. So I've even been getting an extra hour of sleep every morning, and STILL all I want to do all day is nap.

(P.s. to any Montrealers- it's not the weather. I know we've been having tons of rain lately- in fact as I write this it is 9:57 am and pouring and as black as a late afternoon outside. But that's not it. I love rainy days and they energize and recharge me. If anything, bright sunny days make me just want to crawl back into bed in the central air conditioning!)

So all my complaining aside, I really do have good news. A while back I'd done a Triplescreen test. Note- that link isn't really accurate for what they do here, I'll describe what they do here in just a moment. I know I had started to post about it the I think I deleted it, so if this info is duplicate, forgive me. In any case, the Triplescreen is when you are around 12-13 weeks pregnant and go to a private clinic (it's not covered by Medicare here, although it should be!) and do a blood test and ultrasound, then go back about 15 days later and do another blood test. They compile the results of different hormone levels in your blood and your baby's measurements from the ultrasound (especially the nuchal translucency test) and they tell you how your results compare with other women's results.

They do NOT tell you if your child will have Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18 or Spina Bifida. They only tell you what your odds are. For example, when I did the test when I was pregnant with Jakob, they said that when comparing my results with other women's results, it showed that 1 in 27,000 women with my results had a child with Spina Bifida. 1 in 97,000 women with my results had a child with Trisomy 18. When you see numbers like that, you don't need to worry.

However, sometimes they scare you for nothing. The tests have a 10% false-positive rate. Of the 10% who get a false-positive, only 2-3% (approx) will have a child with something wrong.

In Montreal the cut-off for notifying the parents is 270. So if I had a result of 1/271 chance of having a child with one of those 3 illnesses, they wouldn't tell me. If I had a 1/269 chance, they would, and from there I would decide if I wanted to do an amnio to find out for sure.

With Jakob we were told that we had a 1 in 87 chance of having a child with Down Syndrome. With a number that "low", every doctor I spoke with counselled us to have an amnio. Basically, if you're not going to follow through and find out for sure- what's the point in paying to do the Triplescreen in the first place? With Jakob we did the amnio. We were scared out of our wits, because the test itself has 1 in 200 odds of inducing a miscarriage, but we were very lucky and were told that everything with him was alright. We found out that he would be a boy, and that he was healthy, and in the end I didn't end up with any complications from the amnio, and it all worked out.

So fast-forward to this pregnancy, and I have been so scared to find out the results from the test. I don't know why I was so sure that if I had to have an amnio the first time, I'd have to have another one.

Well good news- the doctor called this morning and we don't have to do one! My doctor said our results were "excellent", and she does not see the need to do another amnio.


I had so mentally prepared myself for the opposite outcome that it is taking me a little time to adjust and accept it, but beneath my surprise I am so incredibly relieved and we are so happy with this news.
posted by Jennifer Lori @ 9:43 a.m.   5 comments
Monday, August 04, 2008
twist and shout
Or rather, I'm shouting about Twist.

Have you seen this yet? I know, I know, who hasn't, right? Still, I want to do my part to spread the word, so if you haven't gone to take a look, go now!
posted by Jennifer Lori @ 10:30 a.m.   2 comments
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