Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Okay. So I'm totally copying. I'm not even totally ashamed of it either. What's that they say? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Well I heart grumperina's happy green socks and soon I'll have my own!

I ripped the bavarian rockstars I showed you last time, cast-on for the mata hari but found them totally pointless in this colour since there's not enough contrast with my skin tone for the lacey eyelets to show well, ditto for the hedera. I also tried coming up with my own basic cable and rib pattern but couldn't get the sizing right and frankly having ripped and reknit 4-5 times already the yarn was getting tired as was I and a sure bet was in order so I came 'round to grumperina's happy green socks. And I'm happy.

So there ;0)

Now I just have to make up for all that frogging time. If I have enough time and enough yarn left over, I'm thinking of making newborn socks for my lemon drop. How cute would that be? I found a basic pattern here though I'll knit them all in one colour (happy green of course) and perhaps even put some mini-twisted ribs so that they match mine. That would be uber cute, don't you think?

Of course the mother of two guilt has already begun...I'm thinking it's unfair to Julian that he won't have matching socks. I so won't have enough yarn leftover for newborn AND toddler socks anyway. Plus Julian's feet are getting huge. Here's a pic of those cute little piggies peeking from under the blanket as he napped on the couch today. He totally fell asleep in my arms as I knit on my socks which brought back such delicious memories of knitting while he nursed as a tiny babe. But then I had to move him to the side when my arm fell asleep, a not so subtle reminder that he isn't so little anymore!

Back to lemon and his potential socks though. I figure we gave Julian so much because we could and because we weren't concerned about fairness that Lemon will already be at a disadvantage. Afterall, he won't have the benefit of having our undivided attention for a year and a half (Julian is 19 months old!). So really then, a pair of socks would be the least I can do. No? I just don't want Julian to visit us at the hospital, see our matching socks and feel left out.

I think I'm going to find this fairness in parenting thing hard with two kids. I'm already guilt-ridden and number two isn't even born yet! Hubby's the same. He's trying to figure out whether we can/should reuse some of our situational nicknames like captain poopoo, hungry hungry hippo, the little burrito (Julian was really into swaddling), the amazing levitating baby, etc...

I know, we should probably give ourselves a break. As a wise woman once told me "all you got to do is love the kid!"

Well that won't be a problem at all ;0)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Julian says the darnest things!

But first, the knitting:

I started knitting my delivery socks last night. The yarn is a delicious green from Lorna's Laces which was a gift from my knitting pal, Marie-Michele, who remembered how much I had gushed over Grumperina's beauties knit from it. I just love it. It just might be my favourite yarn ever... so soft and subtle and of course the perfect shade of happy green.

I wanted to knit socks to wear when I deliver my son to keep my toesies warm, to focus on while I breathe, and to cherish forever afterward. Since I am due a few days after St-Patrick's day, am Irish and just love love love this yarn it seemed like the perfect choice. Not to mention it dovetails perfectly with Lolly's Green Sock Knitalong (another knitalong I joined because I love the button ;0)

I'm just not sure about the pattern though. I started knitting d-made's Bavarian Rockstar pattern which is replete with twisted-stitch cables, but I'm not sure I love the way it's working out so far. So, I'm thinking of ripping them back and starting either Hedera, Mata Hari or Cable Twist (just like Grumperina's) instead. What do you think? I mean, I have to love them, right? I'm just not sure. I have cold feet I guess. Heehee!

So while I try to make up my mind, I thought I'd share some of Julian's hilarity these past few weeks. He is developing quite a sense of humour and his comedic timing is impeccable. I was putting the clothes in the dryer the other day and Julian was standing on the landing playing with his keys when I heard the little trap door for the central vacuum open. I rushed out of the laundry room to see what he was doing and it looked like I caught him trying to put his keys in the trap door.

Instinctively, I shreiked "Julian! No! Noooooooooooo!" He waived his little finger "no" and turned around to play. So I went back in the laundry room and again heard him open the little door so I ran out of the laundry room again and said, sternly and with the meanest eyes I could muster "Julian, what did mommy say?" to which he responded "No! Nooooooooooo!" in the same tone I had used earlier.

I tried really hard to remain serious, but I was so taken off guard that I just exploded with giddy laughter. Partly because the question was rhetorical and I just expected him to walk away. And partly because he said it with the *exact* tone and concern I had used. I hope to never forget that story. It was just one of those priceless parenting moments.

It's really funny how he associates a certain tone or pitch with different words. I usually refer to my husband as dada. If he still doesn't anwer I say "Stephen?" And if he still doesn't answer, I yell "Steeeeve!" Well Julian can't say "Steve" quietly. He can only say it in a loud burst...I guess he's never heard me say Steve any other way. He sure is a perceptive little guy!

We had another priceless moment tonight. We were all sitting on the living room floor watching Sesame Street before dinner and Julian went over to dada, gave him a great big bear hug and with a wide grin exclaimed "I love" in the sweetest little voice. Well our hearts just melted. And while Stephen and I looked at each other and took it all in, Julian came over to me and said "mommy, I love you." It was the first time. And had he not just told dada he loved, we might have mistaken it for "olive oil". But we know what he meant. And it was wonderful ;0) I don't think my heart could love that sweet little boy any more. It's just full. And warm. And really very happy.

I can't imagine what life with two of them will be like. I don't know how it will be possible to contain so much love. It seems my heart is about to burst as is!


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Test balloon

I've been toying with the idea of opening my own etsy gift shop for a while and thought now might be a good time to send up a test balloon before baby comes and life gets too hectic. Besides, the distraction has been welcome these past few days with all of the unknowns surrounding this pregnancy (more on that later). And so I totally did it! Check out the new annypurls shop:

My first offering? Java Cuffs! I'm targeting the office accessory market! LOL!!! I'm having so much fun coming up with different patterns and ideas for these and just can't knit them fast enough. It's also a fantastic way to use up some stash so it's a win-win all around. I don't know if these will sell or not but I'm proud of them and think they're fun and fresh. I figure if no one snatches them up, the worse that can happen is that I'll have them ready to drop in stockings come next Christmas.

Setting up the etsy shop was pretty straightforward for anyone else out there who may be thinking of jumping on that bandwagon. The most frustrating part for me was coming up with a banner with respectable quality which was totally not happening with the software I had at my disposal.

Hubby even downloaded a trial version of Adobe Illustrator but it was soo not intuitive for me and after cursing at the computer for a good hour, I decided to cheat a litte. I took a photo of some nice scrapbooking paper (the blue banner background), opened it in our photo software and added text to it. Worked like a charm and I kind of like that it's simple but fresh.

By the way, scrapbooking paper is fantastic as a backdrop for photos too. I used one on the table and one propped up against a bottle of window cleaner that just happened to be laying around creating a mini-studio for photographing my finished cuffs. Too cool! (I hope it's not illegal...)

Then the most difficult part of the whole etsy thing is pricing. Seriously. It's hard because on the one hand I know how much time energy and care goes into creating something unique with your hands but I also have a limit on what I would personally be willing to spend on something. I had such a hard time with this.

I finally decided to let the market dictate the price. I checked out what other similar products were selling for on etsy and went with that. Now we just wait and see and try not to get too crazy checking up on my shop a zillion times a day.

Okay, now pretend I have a really clever segue to transition from going on and on about thermal sleeves to what's going on with my baby ;0)

I mentioned Monday that my doctor was concerned about my blood pressure which was borderline and asked me to go see her at the hospital on Tuesday since she was on duty in the delivery room all day and could take my BP again to help her decide what if anything to do about it. So, I expected this visit to take 10 minutes.

Instead, I lay on a hospital bed in the exact room where Julian was born (such an eerie feeling!) for 5 hours while a super nice nurse and my doctor took my blood pressure reading every half hour, monitored the baby's heart rate, and took a zillion samples to send to the lab and waited for the results. I had no reading material and NO KNITTING with me....for 5 hours!!! Now I know you feel my pain ;0)

The verdict: I have pregnancy induced hypertension...again! They started me on some meds and will be monitoring me weekly to determine when to induce. I am currently 32 weeks along and they're hoping to tough me out until week 34 and then we'll see about inducing labour sometime between weeks 34 and 38 depending on how well the meds are working and on my condition.

The good news is that the baby is actually HUGE! They estimate that he is already 4 and a half pounds and that if carried him to term he would weight 9lbs! My radiologist explained that if you lined up 100 average sized babies by order of weight, my lemondrop would be the 5th largest!!! Scary if you're actually looking at delivering at term but since I know that won't be the case, it's reassuring to know that he is already a good size.

Now I have to mentally prepare for the possibility that we'll have two little ones in as little as 2 weeks and at most 5 weeks.

I'm sooo not ready...

I haven't even cast-on for my delivery socks yet! Got to make me some nice comfy ones to cherish forever and ever!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blue Monday...

Apparently, today has been classified as the most depressing day of the year! According to wiki :

This date was calculated by Dr. Cliff Arnall, a researcher/tutor at the University of Cardiff's Center for Lifelong learning [...] The date was calculated by using many factors, plugged into a formula. The factors include: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.

I hadn't heard about this until my husband mentioned it at dinner tonight. But I have to say I had been having a bummer of a day until then so it all made sense to me. It all started innocently enough with one of those regular pregnancy follow-up appointments.

But, it turns out my belly is huge and my doctor is getting concerned about the size of my little lemon so I have to go for a growth check ultra-sound. No biggie (no pun intended). Yes it's an extra appointment, but at least we get another peak at the little guy which is always a reassuring and happy moment.

Then she took my blood pressure and after being borderline for the past few months it crossed the line today so I have to go to the hospital tomorrow morning for monitoring and if it is still high I'll need to move to the 'at risk' pregnancy queue ... again! I had gestation hypertension when I was pregnant with Julian and know the drill - lot's of tests, monitoring and drugs! Ugh! I'll try to zen out tomorrow morning before she takes my readings and hopefully it'll be low enough that she'll let me off the hook. Wishful thinking never hurt anyone? Did it? Say it with me: "Ommmmmmmmm"!

So all in all, the check-up was a total downer. And then when we got back to the car...we had a $52 parking ticket waiting! What? My doctor's office is in a lovely cottage house on a quiet street in an area so suburban it is practically the country and we managed to get a parking ticket at 9:21 am on a Monday morning! Seriously! I didn't even think they had parking ticket people in these parts. We didn't notice a sign (though there probably was one) and weren't blocking any intersections, driveways or fire hydrants so really why would there be no parking allowed there? Plus, we usually park on the other side of the street where there is a big empty parking lot, but this time my goony goo goo decided to park on the same side as the clinic so I wouldn't have to walk as far or cross the street, or chance slipping on ice (shouldn't he get some kind of lifetime thoughtfulness award? really, he's such a caring husband ;0) And $52 for a parking ticket in suburbia? Come on. It's only $37 for a parking infraction in the heart of downtown Montreal!

But I digress.

And now, since the last thing I want to do is tag any of you with the blue monday bummer, I thought I'd leave you with the most absurd knitting project ever! This is not a joke. It is an actual pattern from the latest Lopi pattern book.

Anybody got a horse they'd like to knit a sweater for? I think it's even funnier that Camilla Valley Farms (oh how I love this place for really reasonably priced sweater kits and such) is actually offering a kit for this pattern!


Friday, January 19, 2007

Coming soon...

Stash knitting has been such fun! No really! It's forced me to think up new ways to use up odds and ends of unloved yarn and turn them into something beautiful. And it is so satisfying to boot! I feel completely different about my stash now than I did before started this destashing exercise. I feel inspired...

I haven't knit much this week. Though after all that knitting last week I needed a bit of a break. By the way, I feel I should note that the only reason I've been able to knit so much in the past couple of weeks is because I am still on house arrest* until I deliver the baby in March. I've been passing the time knitting, thinking up designs and watching DVD's we got for Christmas (Gray's Anatomy season one, Scrubs season one, the Ali G Show, and the West Wing season 4).

This week, I've been experimenting with felting! See that in the photo above? It is 100% wool felt made by me with a little help from my new friend, a present I coerced my husband to get me for Christmas. I say my new friend, but really I'm thinking of dumping it! I don't think I'd ever use it for anything other than making big long pieces of super loose stockinette for felting because it is such a horrendous, pain in the a$$ to use!

Seriously, once I've felted everything I intend to from the stash, I'm totally putting it up on ebay. I mean it will probably make someone who finds hand-knitting tedious and who has the patience and committment to learn to use the thing properly very happy. But that person is not me. And I don't feel bad talking about a present I lovingly received like that because, like I said, I totally made my husband do it! Shame on me!

So what am I going to make with all this felt? Well, I've got a few ideas up my sleeve...

*aka Doctor's orders to rest, avoid stress, exertion, and to stay off my feet as much as I can until the baby arrives - hopefully as close to March 19th as possible!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This is the yarn that never ends... just goes on and on my friends. Some people started knitting it, not knowing what it was, and now continue knitting it forever just because ... Umm. Sorry ;0)

It does seem like I've been knitting these 12 balls of stash Peruvian alpaca forever...but really it took a whopping 2 years to knit them up. I actually bought it when I first discovered elann in October 2004 and it took me this long to figure out what to knit with it! Here's how I did it (clockwise):
  • Seamless top-down henley for my lemondrop knit this weekend (my own design), 2 balls celery

  • Roll-neck baby sweater knit for Jujube when he was just a wee one, 2 balls oxford gray
  • EZ's very warm hat (reversible!) knit last week, 1 ball teal + 1 ball oxford gray

  • Branching out ascot (I only got through the first 19 repeats with what I had left - knit yesterday afternoon), 1 ball oxford gray

And now it's finally all gone! In fact, I used up a whopping 7 balls of it since declaring my stashbusting goal two weeks ago today. Not bad, eh?

That means 8 balls down, 92 balls to go for my current stashbusting goal!

Now I really need to knit something in another colour...!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Snowdrift minnens!

My stashbusting quest continues and when my very warm hat used less Peruvian Alpaca than I expected, I had to find another project for the still remaining yarn. So here are my snowdrift mittens (or minnens as my Jubilee Bubilee calls them) posing with my 31 week old baby belly for Krista;0)

I had printed out the free pattern for these "Snowdrift Mittens" months ago, but noticed that there seems to be a problem with the file and my computer won't let me download it from the site. You might try contacting the owner of the site ... but if you would like the pattern and can't get your hands on it, send me an email and I may be able to hook you up ;0)

Sadly, these still didn't use up all my Peruvian Alpaca stash! Seriously, the yardage on that stuff is unbelievable. I used less than 2 balls of the teal and 1 ball of celery.

Oh, and the celery tip on the second thumb? It makes me want to cry! Not because I came so close to finishing with the teal yarn I had, but because they remind me of the mitts my grandmother lovingly knit for was not unusual for them to have different coloured thumbs, or tops! My grandmother was a very practical person and well she did knit hundreds of pairs of mittens and socks for her 24 children's children and grand-children. She was an amazing woman ;0)

Now what to do with the 2 balls of celery and 2 balls of gray I am STILL stashing !?!!


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My sleepy lads

Julian still sleeps in our bed. It was just going to be for a few weeks initially...until he could sleep through the night. Right! When he started sleep crawling we were really going to start putting him down in his own room...but we just weren't ready. Part of the reason is that we all love to sleep together and our bed is big enough that we don't get in each other's way. But mostly, it's because moments like this one happen nightly ;0)

This is how I found my boys several nights ago. I watched them sleep blissfully for a couple of hours while I knit away beside them...until I couldn't resist the cuteness any longer and willed myself out of bed in the cold world to find the camera and capture the moment forever ;0)

Of course, now we really have to get Julian to sleep in his own big boy bed since there's only 8-10 weeks until our little lemon drop is due and he'll need his mommy close to nurse throughout the night. I don't think Julian will have a hard time with the transition. He loves his new toddler room and has no trouble falling asleep and waking up alone in his big boy bed. Fingers crossed!

So here's what I've been working on these past few days...

It's a "very warm hat" from Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Knitting in the round". The idea is to knit one hat, pick up all the cast-on stitches and knit a second hat. The result: a very warm double layered and reversible hat. Cool! And since this is a stashbusting project, I figured it would use up twice as much stash as a less warm single hat!

I actually finished knitting it but forgot to take proper pics while the sun was still shining today so you'll have to wait and see ;0) I was hoping to use up what was left of the Peruvian Alpaca in my stash but alas it only used up 2 balls! So I started working on some fair-isle mitts with the leftovers.

Hopefully that'll be the end of that alpaca! To be continued...

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Balls of yarn on the wall,
Ninety-nine balls of yarn,
You take one down,
Pass it around,
Ninety-eight balls of yarn on the wall...

I'm on a roll with my 100 ball destash project: I counted and organised the stash, identified yarn to donate, researched Canadian charities accepting acrylic yarn donations and even made some definite (and other more sketchy) plans for the yarn I'm planning to keep!

And here's what I made out of one lonely ball of leftover Noro Silverthaw: the Inca Snowflake hat from Susan B. Anderson's itty-bitty hats and sweet Korknisse buddies (or kork-ee's as Julian calls them ;0) until the yarn ran out. No really, all that with 1 ball of yarn! Cool, eh? Plus they're all just sooo cute! I love how the hat turned out. I sure hope I have a daughter some day...thye're just so fun to knit for ;0)

So that's 1 ball down, 99 to go!

As for the acrylic! Thanks for all of the suggestions for places to donate. I found a great list of Canadian knitting charities here and selected the Bob Rumball Foundation for the Deaf as the one for me. The little write-up about it totally won me over. Plus they'll accept anything knitting or crochet related for their Yarnie's Group including needles, pattern books, heck even your unfinished or abandoned projects! They have five 'frogging queens' who:

"enthusiastically frog anything we put before them; the sense of satisfaction they feel by contributing the recycled yarn is heart warming to say the least. This is an immense boost to their self worth and esteem since with their diminished abilities (ages 89 to 97) they are no longer able to actually make an item themselves."

So if any of you are looking to de-UFO guilt-free I thought I'd pass along the info ;0)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Stash knitting challenge

We took advantage of dada's time off during the holidays to do some things we've been meaning to do for a while: we rolled up all our change and brought it to the bank, dada made a gazillion trips from the top floor to the basement to move all our books from our former home office to our future finished basement (for now, it serves as a depository for stuff that just doesn't belong anywhere else in the house!), and painted the nursery!

I say we, but really it was all dada. I just set up the unrealistic time frames and said "I'm sorry I can't help you more" and "I wish I could be more helpful" a lot! But dada got it all done and our office is looking more and more ready to be home to my little lemon drop.

I love the cheerful colour in there now. It's by Behr and is called yellow corn. I'm planning a yellow, orange and white colour scheme in there. Truth is, I'm tired of everything blue and green and since this little one will spend a lot of time in Julian's blue and green hand-me-downs, I'm trying hard to bring in some more cheerful hues into our lives ;0)

I felt bad that hubby was giving up his home office and even worse that since we don't have a new one set-up in the basement yet, the computer had to come in our bedroom!!! But it's really not as bad as I thought. We found a nice unobtrusive desk at Ikea that fits in well with our other bedroom furniture and I have to say dada did a good job at hiding all those wires.

So what does this have to do with my stash knitting challenge? Well daddy had to give up his office for the nursery and I have to give up my yarn closet (the brown armoire in the picture above) so lemon has a place for his clothes. Sure he won't have that much clothes for a while so I can totally still use a couple of shelves in there to store the yarn... but I need to seriously reduce the stash first.

So it's all about stash knitting for the next little while. Since we had to move all the yarn to paint the nursery, I took the time to count it. And it was really scary. I don't recommend you do it because it could totally freak you out. To me stash yarn feels like a big to-do list hanging over me and I totally feel the pressure to knit it! So getting rid of a bunch of it will feel like a load off actually, and it will be a nice treat to buy yarn on a project by project basis going forward (incidentally, I think that was totally my New Year's resolution last year, but I mean it this year ;0)

So here are my numbers:

  • 131 balls of enjoyable yarn earmarked for specific (or general) projects
  • 21 balls of sock yarn earmarked for, well, socks!
  • 54 odd balls of 'before I was a serious knitter' crappy acrylic I have no interest in actually knitting up but feel is my duty to knit up anyway since I spent money on it'
  • 31 balls of yarn I am considering destashing in the very near future because it's been in the stash forever and I still haven't found the right project for them

Yikes! That's a total of 238 balls of yarn! And just thinking about it makes me a little queasy to tell you the truth. And it all looked so innocent too...

My challenge then in the next three months before baby arrives is to reduce the stash by 100 balls either by actually knitting it up, selling it or donating it. I think that is totally do-able considering the donate and sell options available before me. But then again we all know I'm seriously deluded when it comes to yarn so who knows ;0)

Time to make those needles fly! Anyone else brave enough to take on the challenge? If so, you have to come clean with how much yarn you are currently hording and declare a number of balls to clear out either by a specific date as I did, or worse, "before you can buy more yarn!"

I should say that this is not really a knit-along though. Think of it more as a come clean about your stash meme! Be sure to let me know if you play along...I'm hoping to find some comfort in knowing that I am not alone!