Sunday, August 29, 2010

This One's For You, Kim (Well, the First Part, Anyway)

Matt had to work yesterday so I did something unusual and got out of the house not too long after he left and at least a little before the tourists started to flood the cathedral close.  No tourists meant that I could finally take a decent photo of Mompesson House.


Mompesson was built in 1701 and I'm sure there are those who love it for it's historical value. I guess you could say I love it for it's historical value as well - just a much more recent history.  If you're a big fan of Sense and Sensibility you might recognize this as Mrs. Jennings' London home which means...Alan Rickman was here.

Mompesson House 

I couldn't find a photo from the actual movie but you can see the same sign to the right of Mr. Rickman in the first photo. 

We actually went inside a couple of weeks ago when Matt's dad and stepmom came to visit but we'd already been walking around quite a bit and the bump and I had had it so after taking a glance at the extensive Turnbull drinking glass collection and the album of photos taken during the shooting of Sense and Sensibility (the above photo is one of them), Matt and I sat outside while they took a tour.  

Colonel Brandon is one of my favorite roles Rickman has played because it shows that he can be a good guy just as well as he can be a bad guy.  Brandon is also probably my favorite Austen male character (and not because Rickman played him in the movie).  I've never been a big fan of Pride and Prejudice (gasp, I know) and never really liked Mr. Darcy (double gasp) either.  Colonel Brandon is where it's at.

Unfortunately, my pleasant, quiet day took a turn when I opened the front door and heard the phone ringing.  My glucose test results were back and...I have gestational diabetes.  Anything above 7.8 is abnormal and mine came in at 8 so I failed it by a ridiculous, maddening amount.  It's not life altering or anything, thankfully, but I was still disappointed and had a rather rough rest of the day. 

I can tell you right now that my problem isn't sweets but those other tasty things that break down into sugars like the baked potatoes I've been craving and that we have for dinner at least twice a week.  Oh how I'm going to miss baked potatoes....

I have an appointment to talk to someone about my diet and pick up my
machine on Friday and then another appointment with a midwife who isn't
my regular midwife the following Tuesday but I was so thrown by the
results that I honestly have no idea exactly what the midwife
appointment is for.  I have an appointment with my midwife (my last, unfortunately, as she's moving to Scotland) on Thursday and am really looking forward to talking to her about it.

Time to get ready for knit group where I should be able to finish up the sleeves on the tiniest cardigan ever!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Can't Believe I Haven't Mentioned This Book Before!


This is one of my very favorite books.  

And I've never even read it!  

I actually bought it on Audible about a year and a half ago when it won the 2009 Tournament of Books and was offered for some crazy low price.  Without that low price, sadly, I probably wouldn't have bought it because it clocks in at under five hours and my policy is to only purchase books that are going to take me several washing up sessions to get through.  Also, I had tried to read American Gods and never finished it, read Stardust and (gasp!) liked the movie better and thought Coraline was just okay so my track record with Gaiman's books was pretty miserable. 

The Graveyard Book is a great story. There's a reason that it has won a Hugo Award, the Newberry Medal, the Locust Award for best Young Adult novel and the Carnegie Medal in 2010.  It's fantastic. It's about a child who wanders into a cemetery after his family is murdered and is adopted by the ghosts that live there.  A bit gruesome's so good and having the author read it makes it amazing .  Another policy of mine is to mostly stay away from author read audiobooks as they're usually, um, not so good but if you've ever heard Gaiman speak - even in an interview where the words aren't being read from a page but always sound as if they are - you know that he was meant to read his own writing.  If you haven't heard him here he is on NPR talking about audiobooks (and he talks to my other favorite author to listen to - David Sedaris). 

The reason I'm finally mentioning The Graveyard Book is that I've decided it's definitely going to be on my iPod when I go to the hospital.  Each chapter is a different story so it's easy to dip in and out of and I think we've already established that he's great to listen to. 

Matt bought me a paper copy of it for my birthday, too, so maybe, eventually, I'll actually read it!

You can see a tiny video of Neil's Carnegie Medal award speech here (it's the words that count anyway, right?).  I love how the story came about and what he has to say about potentially closing libraries here in the UK,  "Libraries are our
future – to close them would be a terrible, terrible mistake – it would be
stealing from the future to pay for today which is what got us into the mess
we’re in now. In this austerity world it's incredibly easy if you are a local
authority and you are looking for cuts, to say 'Let's cut libraries'. But
that's borrowing from the future."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Froggy Friday

You've heard of WIP Wednesday and FO Friday, right?  Yeah, well, Froggy Friday is the usually unseen and less popular fourth cousin

First off, the one you might have already guessed...remember this little crochet sweater that I asked your opinion on a couple of weeks ago?  It's fate has been decided.

Frogged Crochet 

There were lots of fantastic suggestions and I thank you for each and every one.  I really contemplated finishing it and putting it aside so that I'd have a gift for a someone having a girl.  I even got momentarily excited because Ginny had just had a baby girl but by the time it was cool enough for her to wear it, it definitely wouldn't fit.  That thing was tiny

Then, as I was searching for buttons for my latest Pebble Vest, I found these...

Militaires equipments metal buttons 

Sorry for the lousy photos - it's incredibly overcast and rainy today

I did a little research and they could possibly be French buttons from as early as WWI or WWII but one site also said they're also still being made.  These, obviously, aren't new but I can't really imagine they're from the early 1900's. They either came from a tin that Mom bought for me in an antique shop or a giant tub that my granny found at a garage sale so who knows?

Then I thought about Chris' suggestion of adding buttons and patches to the original crocheted sweater to give it a military feel.  So, as strange as it may seem to use buttons that could potentially be from WWI on a baby sweater...I might use buttons that could potentially be from WWI on a baby sweater.  Maybe.  I could have added them all the way down the crocheted sweater but I still wasn't happy with the crocheted look so I frogged it.  Done and done.

And I'm not even going to think twice about the fact that a Pebble Vest takes exactly seven buttons!  :)

And then there's the Easy Baby Cardigan.  My original idea was to add crocheted loops and buttons after it was finished but I liked that idea less and less with every monotonous stockinette row.  When I got about an inch away from starting on the garter stitch bottom band I decided it's big enough for him to wear more than once or twice which warranted frogging it back and adding button holes.  So, in a matter of minutes, this...

Blue Cardigan Before

...became this!

Blue Cardigan After


I had another reason for frogging it - not a great reason but a second reason none the less.  There was a medium sized pool of purple on the back (you can kind of see in the first photo) that bothered me a little bit and now I can fix that, too.  

All is not lost - I do have a finished project!  Granted, that finished project is a third Pebble...

Third Pebble

I'm not really footloose and fancy free when it comes to color (even though that's my word for 2010) .  I'm not good at matching things at all.  That said, the buttons are all the same...just different, muted colors.  I also picked out several shades of orange buttons that looked good but I forced myself to put them back because I was leaning toward all the same shade rather than mixing them up.  These buttons are better than brown buttons on a brown sweater but they're still safe.  Thankfully, I still have a few months to work on that color thing....

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Pair of Pants That Aren't...Pants

I have really struggled with one particular word that's used differently here from the way it's used in the states.  It's such a commonly used word that a fellow Raveler even warned me about it before my first trip to visit Matt nearly two years ago. 

The word is "pants" and here it means underpants. As in, "When Matt grabbed a towel from the hamper to blot up the water that suddenly started running down the sitting room wall during a storm on Saturday, a pair of my pants tumbled out with it and neither of us noticed so they laid there on the floor for a few minutes, in front of his dad and stepmom, before I spotted them."  And yes that really happened and I can't stop thinking about it.  I'm more upset about the pants than the leak. 

Anyway, I have the hardest time remembering to say "trousers" or "jeans" when I mean those things that you wear over your underpants.  And you have no idea how many times you use a word until you really have to think about it because, suddenly, you're using it wrong all the time.  

Why all this pants talk?  Because I finally took pictures of the Kanoko Pants I finished knitting last week!  And these pants are the kind you wear over the other kind.  Or rather, you wear them over a diaper. 

Kanoko Pants

As I was knitting these I thought the legs were going to turn out impossibly long but they actually, I think, turned out perfect for the size of 3 - 6 months (the pattern says this size fits 3 - 9 months but I think getting them to fit at 9 months would be quite a stretch - no pun intended).  I like the pattern so much that I already know I'd like to eventually knit the largest size (18 - 24 months).  

Kanoko Pant Legs 

Now that I'm in my third trimester I'm feeling a lot better about being pregnant.  The hormones have calmed down - at least for now - so the fact that my family is four thousand miles away doesn't weigh so heavily and constantly on my mind.  More things are starting to ache, I napped for about three hours today and couldn't have stayed awake if I'd wanted to, I have acid reflux every night and Matt and I have decided that I have to be getting bigger each and every day but being in a better place, mentally, makes everything easier (along with that fact that he's nearly constantly kicking, swatting, punching and rolling around in there these days).  For now, anyway.  

I'm in between knitting projects right now since I just finished a third Pebble's currently on the blocking mat.  

Blocking Pebble 3

It's a breeze to knit and such a cute pattern that it was just too hard not to cast on a new one while I was contemplating what to knit next.  Plus I had seen the ones a Ravelry friend of mine had made last year (ten of them!  I have a lot of catching up to do) and I wanted to try her technique of using mismatched, multicolored buttons because it looks really good.  

I still don't know what I'm going to knit yet, though.  I have three (maybe four, I can't remember) skeins of Colinette Cadenza in pretty Adonis Blue that I'd like to make something out of but it's variegated so I'm looking for something simple.  Maybe the Easy Baby Cardigan but with buttons and loops.  

I feel like a lot of my posts end with "Now I have to go eat something" but I can't help it...I have to go eat something!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Spending a Birthday Together

Even though we were 4,000 miles apart last year, Matt made my birthday something really special.  There were banners and balloons hanging behind him when we Skyped that morning and cake with candles (and Matt in a jacket) later on in the day.  Just really nice. 

So you can only imagine what it was like this year since we could finally share the same space on my birthday.  The day started with tea and toast and pastries in bed with cards and lots of fun presents to open.  Fun little presents are the best.  One of my favorite childhood birthday memories is of a giant wrapped box filled with smaller wrapped presents.  In my memory the giant box was a refrigerator box.  More than likely, though, it was a small television box but, still, it's an awesome memory.  

Then we packed a picnic in the hamper he bought for my last birthday and drove out to the beautiful Wardour Castle.  This was the view from our picnic blanket...

View From a Picnic 

There was a really good bottle of non-alcoholic wine...

Faux Champagne in Pink Cups 

...and homemade pasta salad...

Pasta Salad

...and Ben's Cookies which didn't get photographed but are almost as good as having a birthday cupcake from ele Cake Co. back in Ohio.  Almost.  

And then Matt took some bump photos...

Acorn's First Trip to Wardour Castle

There's a bench full of people behind my bump in this one...

Emily & The Acorn 

This one is my favorite...

An Up Close Bump Photo 

And on our way home I experienced my first cow crossing! 

First Cow Crossing 

And that night we had delicious homemade (not by me!) chocolate cake and Matt managed to actually fit 36 candles on it.  I won't post a photo of that, though, 'cause no one needs to see a fire hazard!

I finished a little pair of knitted trousers the other day and will hopefully get to take photos of them later today.  Right now we're waiting for Matt's dad and stepmom to drive down from Oxford for lunch so I should shut down the computer and finish getting ready....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Green & Growing Sweater

Finally - a finished sweater that isn't teeny tiny or a Pebble Sweater Vest!


This is the Offset Wraplan knitted in the 3 - 6 months size with Rowan Extra Fine Merino DK caught on sale for £2.25 a skein which makes this little sweater a steal!  


I'm contemplating adding a little frog face or oak leaf applique but I also like it just the way it is.  The color - Emerald - is bright, cheery and fantastic. 

The pattern is a breeze (except perhaps for picking up stitches for the button and buttonhole packets - it always takes me at least two tries to pick up the correct amount of stitches) but I put it aside for a couple of months due to holes under the arms.  Thankfully a little time out did the sweater good and my second attempt was successful.    

I've been trolling Ravelry for two days now, trying to figure out what to knit next.  I even contemplated knitting something that would fit me but that didn't last long.  I crocheted one little super cute bootie today but it was a bit tedious so it might take a day or two before I start the second (but it will happen!).  These little Kanoko Pants might be next.  I'd also like to knit one of these Pixie Hats to bring him home in but I'd like to find a really special little ball of brown wool since I think we'll either be bringing him home in the Desolation Island Pebble Vest and light brown trousers or a cute little two piece brown pajama set we bought in Ohio (with little puppies for feet - so cute).  

Tonight we're looking forward to the last episode of the BBC series Sherlock.  It's not exactly a remake of the Conan Doyle stories but it is based on his characters.  It's placed in modern times and, while it has it's faults, it's pretty fun to watch.  But first, time to put together something for a very late supper....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Postcrossing and Another Kind of Baby

Thanks for all of the suggestions regarding the fate of the little green sweater.  I'm still deliberating but will let you know the outcome soon, I'm sure!

In the meantime I picked up another sweater that I'd started awhile ago but sent to the naughty corner due to ginormous holes under the arms.  This time I was able to pick up the arm stitches with only small holes that were easily closed up so it's finished and blocking on my big pink yoga mat.  As overcast as it is here, it might take a week for it to dry....

I have something else fun to talk about, though.  A couple of weeks ago I sent out my first two Postcrossing postcards - one to Colorado, USA and another to St. Petersburg, Russia - and yesterday I received my first!


This card came from Germany - isn't it beautiful? 

If you haven't heard of Postcrossing this is how it works: you sign up for free on their site and request and address (up to five when you first sign up).  They'll send you and address as well as a code that you write on the card.  Once your card is received and the code is registered, they send your address to someone and you get a card in return from some mysterious location.  I definitely need to start a postcard stash so that I can request more addresses- it was so nice to get a real piece of mail yesterday!  Although, we have been getting a little more real mail than usual since my parents have started sending us a baby card a week.  It's been really nice since we're so far apart.  Granted, reading them makes me a little teary but we have them lined up on the mantel and seeing them everyday makes me really happy.

Speaking of things that make me happy - we went to Fisherton Mill for tea yesterday and managed to glimpse this bit of cuteness on the walk home.



This mother really has her wings full.  It was really cute to hear them chirping to one another as they passed under the bridge. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Please Help Me Decide Whether This Sweater Lives or Dies

Tonight, rather than casting on a new pattern, I thought maybe I
should work on one of the two sweaters that have been in hibernation
for a little while.  I picked this one - which needed edging and both (long)
sleeves - merely because it was conveniently located in a basket on the
other side of the room.  :)

I started crocheting this little sweater after I knew I was pregnant (this statement is not as strange as it sounds - somewhere upstairs is a baby sweater I knitted last summer that still needs buttons) but before we knew it was a girl or a boy.  Once I got to the edging I stopped working on it, thinking that if we were to have a girl I would perhaps edge it in another color and add a crocheted flower and if we were going to have a boy...well, I didn't know what I would do to it if we were having a boy.


And now we're having a boy. 

Knowing that I didn't have anything in the same weight (fingering) or in a complimentary color I went ahead and crocheted the edging and two rows of one sleeve...and then I started thinking about frogging it.  My reasons are as follows:

  • As much as I love the color and know that green is, without a doubt, masculine, I still think it looks a bit feminine.  I think it's the fact that it's crocheted.  

  • It's tiny.  I already knitted two tiny sweaters.  He's only going to be tiny for so long.

  • It's so plain and I have no idea how to spice it up other than with buttons and, while buttons are great, they can only do so much.  

Matt likes it but, honestly, the man is so wonderful he'd say that about anything and really mean it.  His suggestion was to put it aside for a little while and think about it which is great but it's been aside and I've been thinking about it (or not) for at least a couple of months now.  So I decided to take a picture of it and ask your opinion.  Should I bother with it at all or just frog it (and not use the yarn to make another Pebble Sweater Vest, I swear)?  Or, since it looks like it's only going to take one skein of the four I have, should I just ago ahead and finish the last eighteen rows, slap on three wooden buttons and maybe actually never actually put it on the kid?  Or, better yet, does anyone have any embellishment ideas? 

Thoughts, suggestions and opinions are very, very welcome! 

Thanks in advance!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Another Sweater Vest


I love this color but there was only one skein of it available so I thought I would give the Baby T-Shirt Vest pattern a try.  "Try" is the key word here.  I got to the point where you put some stitches on waste yarn and knit others for the armholes and I got completely turned around.  Forty-five other people have knitted this patten with no problem at all so I blamed it on pregnancy brain (the same brain that almost brushed my teeth with hand soap the other night), frogged it and fell back on the lovely Pebble pattern again.

Love the color, love the pattern, do not love the yarn.  That’s what I get for knitting this pattern in a soft
wool/alpaca/tweed (Knit Picks City Tweed) and then knitting it a few days later with something
that’s 70% acrylic. I’d say I’ve become a yarn snob but I just knitted
a hat with Vanna’s Choice which is 100% acrylic but still nice to knit


I found these little anchor buttons in my stash while looking for red buttons for the other Pebble sweater.  Unfortunately there were only four of them but I still wanted to use them so on the shoulder they went.  I named this - the Desolation Island Sweater Vest - after a book from the Master and Commander series by my Matt's favorite author,
Patrick O’Brian.  And here's a little geeky tidbit: last Monday Matt had lunch with the man who painted all of the covers for the series with the thought of perhaps doing a documentary on them.  The documentary is still up in the air but, regardless, I think it's pretty cool that Matt got to hang out with him for an afternoon.  

In nursery news, the tree has been painted but I think I'll wait until Matt paints the wood trim before I take any pictures.  It looks fantastic!  Matt dug out my fabric stash boxes and I found some fabric to at least start making leaves with once we pick up some glue and he does the icky, chemically, spray part for me.  It's really starting to look like a baby's room!

And now - starving - must eat!