Monthly Archives: July 2011

What I Read in July 2011

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (reread, eBook)
Rebecca of Sunnybrooke Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin (reread, eBook)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (reread)
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin (reread)
A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (reread)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling (reread)

Missed earlier:
Tempus House by Cate Polacek (eBook)

Owlet Update, 38 weeks

I am having a hard time shaking the belief that this is actually 39 weeks, since I’ve counted according to earlier data from the beginning. Yesterday’s prenatal was my 38-week appointment according to my doctor, and with her new numbers I’m technically at 38.5 weeks.

This was an uneventful OB appointment. She was totally not perturbed about the heavy bleeding on Monday that sent me to the hospital (what, were I and the nurse on duty the only ones who were worried? the gyno on call didn’t even check me out, only the nurse and a resident), isn’t concerned about the ongoing light bleeding, and says my membranes haven’t broken. There has been zero change from last week: 1 cm dilated, 50% effaced, contractions gaining in strength and pain but apparently doing nothing (except waking me up and making me walk a lot at night). Weight gain has ceased, which is normal, and for which I am deeply grateful, because pretty much nothing fits any more except dresses since the baby dropped two weeks ago. The internal exam hurt like blazes this time; my cervix is currently at a weird angle, apparently. Baby’s still chugging along all healthy and strong, and seems very happy where she is… which of course means I’m cranky, because I’m really, really past ready to get her out. I’m just going to start planning to have this baby in mid-August, which is the latest I’ll be able to go without being induced. That way I can’t be disappointed.

I’ve decided that trying to get as much crafty stuff done in the next couple of weeks will either (a) make Owlet arrive sooner rather than later, and/or (b) keep me busy and distracted till mid-August when they’ll evict her. I’ve sewed the owls for the mobile the boy designed (and they are so incredibly adorable! HRH wants me to keep making them for no other reason than to see more. Pictures to come when the mobile is assembled) so next on the list is the coverlet the boy decided she should have. I’ve narrowed the owl fabric down to two choices for that by browsing Etsy for two months; a backing can be chosen once that first decision is made.

I cast on for the long lace cardigan the other day in an effort to trick her out, too. Here’s the first three inches of the back, done in diagonal eyelet lace stitch with the BFL/silk blend I spun and used for the lace cap, on needles bigger than the weight of the yarn calls for so that the stitch is nice and open and airy:

I blindstitched and machine-stitched the ends of the green woven blanket I posted last week because I didn’t want a fringe (it would just get matted and felted) but I’m not sold on how they look, so I’ve decided to find some nice natural unbleached Cluny lace to sew over them, which means more fun Etsy browsing and mailbox joy to which to look forward.

And finally, I’m looking at free online patterns to sew wool soakers to cover the cloth diapers. It didn’t even occur to me that I could sew them. (Or rather, it did a while back, but the first patterns I found were for PUL covers and involved a lot of layers and stretching and elastic and Velcro tabs and I just don’t have to energy to deal with all that right now.) But durr, there are more ways to make things with fabric than knitting and weaving, as sewing the tiny owls for the mobile reminded me. I can use polar fleece, or I can hit the thrift stores and look for real wool sweaters to felt slightly and then cut pattern pieces out. I’ve also been browsing free patterns for making tiny dresses, because I’m finding such glorious Japanese printed fabrics on Etsy during my hunt for owl fabric for the coverlet.

The boy has a playdate this afternoon, the second day in a row with his best friend. I’d offered to have them over here today after her mum took them out to play in the local pool yesterday so I could go to my doctor, but she said that she’d have them over to her place again this afternoon to give me a whole afternoon at home to myself, something I haven’t had all summer, bless her. HRH is back at work as of yesterday, and while I deeply appreciate all the work he and his dad have put in on the attic (it’s 90% done!), it has been increasingly stressful dealing with so many people in my house at once for four weeks straight when I am accustomed to having lots of mental and emotional space to myself. I find that lately I’ve been needing even more space as this pregnancy nears its end, which is perfectly normal, and the social pressure of dealing with people on a daily basis has not been helping my ability to find a still space inside myself with which to deal with the stress and emotions attached to the last couple of weeks of pregnancy, especially one that has gone past what the medical community predicted would be the end based on past evidence. It doesn’t help that I’m sleeping horribly because I’m in a lot of pain, and can’t nap successfully when there were so many people around. (You would think I’d be used to sleeping horribly due to pain, but this is different from fibro. I know how to handle that kind of sleep/non-sleep. The only cure for this is to have the darn baby, and she’s not cooperating.)

A lot of things will be easier once we have the baby, and I keep telling myself that. Two weeks, max. It’s just that I’m working through so many tangled emotions about the whole going to full term (and possibly even past the EDD) after being primed to expect another early baby thing that two weeks feels like forever, especially when yesterday’s appointment showed zero change from the previous week. The empty baby bed next to ours is starting to be depressing instead of exciting.

Last week I bought the Owlet a party sundress for Ada’s birthday, and if she isn’t out to wear it and attend, I will be very, very sad indeed.

Owlet Update, 37 weeks

For those greedy for precise info: Yesterday’s prenatal revealed that I am 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced, and my OB said that the baby’s head was right there against the cervix, ready to go (I could have told her that; she lowered right after the last appointment two weeks ago and has been headbutting the cervix with great verve ever since). “Votre accouchement prendra place comme une charme,” my OB said with great delight. I swear, she’s more excited about how this is going than I am. I’m finally at the one prenatal appointment a week till the end point, so we’ll see where we are next week. Of course, we all know that dilation and effacement aren’t reliable signposts and that things can mysteriously reverse themselves, but physically I was already feeling Stuff Happen, so it’s nice to hear her confirm my suspicions.

For everyone else: Hey, I’m going to have a baby in a couple of weeks. That’s about all we know, because while there are certain signs that a baby’s body and a gestating mother’s body are headed in the right direction for birthing, no one really knows what triggers labour to happen whenever it does, though there are lots of theories. Also, hey, did you know that an estimated due date isn’t anything more than a guess based on a couple of charts put together by some doctor decades ago? A precise science this is not. A baby is considered On Time if it’s born two weeks before or after the EDD (why yes, that does mean a four-week spread, and yes, that’s kind of stressful if you’re trying to plan anything). This is why we’ve been telling people a rough time period instead of an actual date when they ask. And really, with all the adjustments back and forth being made to my EDD for various reasons, I’m just as glad we went that route, because otherwise people would be terribly confused by this point.

The renos upstairs proceed apace. HRH goes back to work next Wednesday, and while he’d like to be further along in the attic conversion, that would be logistically impossible. He’s done an incredible amount in the month he’s had, and his dad has been right there with him. The roof insulation is pretty much done, the wiring is all there just waiting for an electrician to check and connect it (waiting for replies from electricians = annoying), and HRH even took a day to run a duct up from the basement so that there would be air conditioning up there. That had to be done, really, because otherwise it was a sauna and the environment was unworkable. Not that the a/c actually makes the room cool, what with humidex temperatures of 48 C this week and working directly under a dark roof being baked by the sun, but it does make it somewhat more bearable. Plasterboard can be screwed to the wall framing at night after work once the wiring is approved and connected (c’mon, electricians!) and then it’s mudding and painting, and then it’s essentially done. If we can swing it and the sales are still on, HRH wants to put a floating laminate floor in instead of pouring three coats of paint on the plywood floor, too.

We have a car seat that fits our vehicle now (that was one of those Kind Of Important Things we had to handle quickly a week or so ago when we discovered that the incredibly awesome luxury car seat we borrowed from Miranda was too big to fit our car for safe and regular use), and we got the lightweight Snap n’Go stroller frame we wanted, too (we borrowed one six years ago and they’re brilliant; they’re much lighter and smaller than a true stroller, and you just snap the car seat into it). Best thing is we got them both on excellent sale, and they’re the only new items we’ve had to buy for this baby. And the resale value on the stroller frame is awesomely high, which means we’ll be able to recoup almost all of what we paid for it, tra la la.

More handmade show and tell!

Cate knit this absolutely fantastic Tweed baby blanket for the Owlet:

I forgot to post photos of the lace baby cap I knit (my first real lace project!). It needs a proper ribbon, as this is a temporary braid of yarn:

And here is the blanket I wove last weekend (which obviously did not work to trick the Owlet out). I love how the thick and thin single-ply yarn creates the texture and visual interest here with just a plain weave:

I think that’s it for now.


We have seen the final Harry Potter film, and I am still pregnant, although Owlet is now welcome to arrive whenever she likes.

I had a nice, quiet birthday that included a three-hour nap (I slept horribly earlier this week, mostly due to the heat and humidity, so this was seriously the best gift I could receive), several e-mails and calls from people, and a gift or two. One of those gifts was a bookstore gift card from my parents, which I spent pretty much immediately, ordering myself A Dance With Dragons and The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook. I was rereading A Song of Ice and Fire in preparation for the release of book five — actually, I just read A Feast for Crows for the first time, much to my surprise… I bought it when it came out but didn’t get around to reading it for some reason, and forgot that I hadn’t — and I finished it last night. I thought for sure my parcel of books would be awaiting me when we got home, but alas, it was not! Ah well; it will be here Monday.

I’m going to go ahead and warp the loom for that baby blanket. That should encourage the Owlet to arrive and interrupt things.

Or Else

The boy burrowed into our bed this morning, snuggled his back up against me, reached behind to pat my belly, and said, “The baby’s going to come this Friday.”


(Remember, this is the spooky child who informed us that he was going to have a baby sister, and her name was going to be such-and-such, and two weeks later we were pregnant with the girl child he’d ordered, after trying for two years.)

“What makes you say that?” I said.

“Because I’m going to stay with Papa and Grandma on Friday.”


“No, Sparky, you’re spending the day with Papa and Grandma because Mum and Dad are going to see the new Harry Potter movie that afternoon. The baby can come any time after four o’clock on Friday.”

(You hear that, baby? AFTER four o’clock.)

He was quiet for a little while, then he said a bit sadly, “But I want her to be born. I love Owlet.”

We know you do, you wonderful boy. We know you love her so very much and you want to be able to see her, and cuddle her, and tell her you love her in person. We do, too. Just… not till after Friday afternoon.

Owlet Update

I’ve been buried in galley proofs for the bird book, so that plus the having people around when I usually have the house to myself means I’m behind on journaling.

I had another prenatal last Wednesday. My OB approved and signed my birth plan, and is thrilled with it all. I was thrilled myself when we did the hospital tour a couple of weeks ago and found that I could throw out half of my rough draft birth plan because my hospital does all the stuff I want them to do as a matter of course. I asked about when she wanted me to go into the hospital when labour began, and she said that (a) since I had a relatively quick birth last time because of the premature thing, and that second deliveries tend to be quicker, that it might average out to around the same; so since I tested positive as a carrier for strep B (like 25% of the population!) and need antibiotics 4 hours before delivery at the very least to avoid infecting the baby, I should go in when contractions start, just to be sure. She was mildly concerned to hear about a bit of fluid loss I’d had the day before, was glad to hear it stopped and nothing had happened since, and said sternly that if it happened again I was to go right to hospital, because if the waters break after 34 weeks without contractions they have to evaluate and likely induce.

The only not as good thing this time round was that she had gone through all my tests and ultrasounds reports from the past 8 months, collated them (I have files going in two different places, so this doesn’t happen as often as it probably should), averaged them out… and has revised my due date again, which means I am now technically not at 36 weeks until this coming Monday. (36 weeks is the magic number at which I will be allowed to deliver at my hospital instead of being transferred to the neonatal one like last time.) And because the clinic now thought I was having a 35-week appointment instead of a 36-week one, they scheduled my next appointment for two weeks later, not one, which freaked me out mildly because I was sure I’d be having the baby by mid-July. But no; the next prenatal is scheduled for two weeks, at which point my OB will do a check for dilation/effacement, and then it’s an appointment every week till the baby is born.

Here’s the thing. Having been primed by every doctor I’ve ever spoken to over the past six years to expect a second premature birth, I’m hitting the time where I thought I’d either (a) have a baby already, or (b) be having the baby right nowish. So I’ve got this weird dual emotional thing happening. On one hand, I’m thankful that everything is going right and my progesterone/reduced activity/bed rest treatment are obviously working, since we’re a month beyond when the boy was born. On the other hand, I feel somehow as if I’m right at or already past my expected birthing date, so things feel late. I’m depressed and frustrated as a result, and also feeling guilty, because I should be thankful that this baby is going full-term, right? And everyone in my online July birthing group is having babies, which is wonderful, and I love running to the computer every morning to see who’s a new mum. But I’m a little sad, too, because I’m not one of them yet, and I’d been thoroughly set up to expect that I would be.

I’m so messed up.

Back to good news: My application to donate cord blood to the public blood bank for use in stem cell registry was approved. I was concerned, because my application got caught in the mail strike, but they called me two days before my 36-week mark (or what used to be), which is their deadline for application.

Prep-wise, things are going well in general:

    – Cloth diapers: Check. I love Kijiji; I scored a dozen bumGenius AIO organic diapers for $90, and then 38 (!) Mère Hélène prefold cloth diapers (a local make that has great reviews) plus a bunch of liners, bags, and accessories for just over $100. Both these are all-sizes, so we’re covered for the entire diapering era. The Mère Hélène came with pull-up nylon covers but I hate them, so I’ll be scouting for a few different Velcro-tab covers. (There’s nothing like paying a total of $200 for 50 diapers plus liners/accessories instead of the $2500 to $3000 we’d be paying for disposables. We live in the land of cheap Hydro, and you do at least an extra two loads of laundry a week with a baby anyway. And I don’t want to think about how long it takes a disposable diaper to decompose in a landfill. It’s funny how many people say we’re setting ourselves up for a lot of work; everyone forgets we did it for the boy when he hit the medium/large size, unless he was with a caregiver or babysitter, at which time we provided disposables for convenience. As for the time and energy used in taking care of them… whether we’re putting the time and energy into working to be paid to make money to buy disposables, or putting that time and energy into washing cloth, it comes from somewhere, and we’d rather do it this way.)

    – All the 0-3 mos baby stuff washed, clothes and linen: Check. (Also, all the baby clothes in storage/given to us sorted by age and washed, boxed, and put into the newly sorted/cleared out storage room downstairs. This was huge.)

    – Storage for the baby’s stuff: Check. Courtesy of the local grandparents, the boy now has a new dresser! We have moved the old changing table/bureau into the hall and now the Owlet’s clothes and diapers have somewhere to go, thank goodness. I was going crazy with bags and boxes in the hallway downstairs.

    – Baby bed set up in our bedroom: Check.

    – Car seat: Check.

    – Hospital bags (Mum’s, baby’s, and HRH’s) mostly packed except for last-minute stuff: Check.

    – New cell phone set up: Check. (Yes, the secondhand iPhone I’ve been using as a heavier, more expensive Touch is now a fully operational phone, huzzah!)

    – Current score in the attic: One staircase, one floor, three fully framed walls, one framed closet, one framed windowseat, one new window!

Goodness, we may be ready for this baby. So of course, she will not come for another four weeks now that she’s been apprised of her revised due date.

Recent Fibre Arts Roundup

Over May and June, I spun about 6 oz of beautiful BFL/silk blend that I’d been hoarding for over a year. It’s a Louet blend, and I ordered it one day at my LYS when the owner was scrolling through the listings on the wholesale website. I’d intended to order the Merino/silk, but she said, “Ooh, they’re coming out with a BFL/silk blend in a couple of months!” so I preordered that, then tucked it into my stash when it arrived and just loved the fact that I owned it. When I decided that I wanted to knit a lace cap for this baby (I swear, I do not know who I am any more) I knew exactly what I wanted to spin for it: the BFL/silk. Because really, it’s such a lovely fibre that chances are good I’d never use it for anything else because it would get worn out or damaged or whatever.

Anyway, it was a dream to spin. I started out with 2oz and got about 300 yards of laceweight two-ply, with which I am very impressed as I knit with it. I had angst while swatching before I spun this yarn, but actually casting on and doing the real thing has taught me a lot about how I knit and the kind of mistakes that I make. And also that using a nicer quality yarn makes the whole thing a lot more enjoyable.

Anyway, I have managed to complete two full repeats of the lace pattern to date:

I will admit that I unknit and reknit every row because I made at least one mistake each time, but I am very proud of what I’ve got so far. Three more repeats and I will have the top/sides of the cap; then a solid back is knitted and sewn on. I am resisting knitting it, though, because it’s a bit of a chore, and I don’t have the energy to focus on the pattern. It takes me about ninety minutes to do a full six-row repeat, including ripping back and reknitting, and with the amount of editing work I’ve been doing lately that’s been glomping what energy I do have, and the fact that there are two people home 24/7 who usually are not, the knitting is kind of low on the list of priorities. It’s hard to devote ninety minutes to something that needs absolute quiet and concentration when there are people tromping through your house doing renos and a small child asking you to fix things, fetch things down from shelves, make snacks, or read things.

I enjoyed spinning the fibre for this so much that I decided having a long lacy coat thing to match the cap would be nice, so I tracked down a basic diagonal eyelet lace stitch and am vaguely planning doing a basic long sweater with bigger needles than the BFL/silk calls for to make the lacework even more open, and sewing short pretty ribbons at the chest to fasten it. This was a thinly veiled excuse for spinning another 3ish oz of the BFL/silk blend, which I did with great enjoyment. The diagonal eyelet pattern is so very basic enough that I could do it while in the hospital if necessary (it’s certainly a hell of a lot less complicated than the lace pattern for the cap), and doing a back panel, two sleeves, and two front panels would be easy-peasy. But I mean, really? A long open lace light coat/ sweater thing? Totally impractical. It would be worn maybe once. Pregnancy is messing with my brain, I tell you. Well, at least I loved spinning it.

Other knitty stuff:

My Chaussons mignons:

My Page 81 booties, which, as you can see, were knitted at two different tensions, which created two different gauges, which in turn yielded two different sized booties. The solution to this is to knit a third bootie, which will either match the newborn sized one, or the 3-6 months sized one:

And now, other people’s knitty stuff!

Ceri knit the Owlet a lovely newborn hat from Manos silk blend, in my favourite Wildflowers colourway, and a pair of Canadian flag socks!

Jan knit a cardi, hat, and shoelet set in a lovely pale icy green for the Owlet. Those shoelets are also knit from the Chaussons mignons pattern, and are much tidier than mine:

I think that’s it.

I’ve gone back to considering weaving the Manos Clasica blanket again. It’s certainly more mindless than knitting, and once I’ve finished my second set of galley proofs early this week, I could warp the loom.