Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Aunt Karen

Yesterday Neil's aunt Karen was diagnosed with cancer. I don't know what kind, only that it seems to be in her lymph nodes. The doctors are optimnistic - it doesn't sound as bad as they first thought. Neil and I are taking the kids down this weekend to visit, do some shops, and hopefully cklean her house for her or something like that. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Back in January, my friend Alyse got me interested in a wide variety of "crunchy" family ideas. One was homebirth, though I already had an interest. Another was cloth diapers, for which I could see an immediate financial advantage. The last, babywearing, didn't seem to have any obvious advantages.
I had held all of my babies, and worn them with the standard Baby Bjorn carrier, but I almost always used a stroller when out and about. At home, I typically let the baby sleep in his crib or play in his bouncy seat.
Long story short, I let Alyse talk me into trying a couple of her slings. I used them right away with Nick (while I was still pregnant), but he wasn't very interested. I did some research online, and found that babywearing promotes bonding, allows for easy (and even hands free!) nursing, and comforts both mom and baby.
Since Zeke has been born, I've used the baby slings a lot more. I found the pocket sling type to be easiest to use for quick in and out, and especially with a small baby since they aren't expected to support themselves at all. I have also tried a wrap, and I like that for the versatility and greater security. I have gone back and tried all my slings and wraps with all of my kids, and I find the wrap to work best with Nick and Zeke, and the pocket slings to work best with Jackson and with Zeke when he was first born.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008



Mission Organization

Faithful reader, you are in for a shock. I have decided to split my blogging interests into two seperate spheres. With that will come some changes.

First, all knitting related posts will be made to Knit Ruby. That leaves life and kids and love and other such things to remain here on The Ruby Life.

Topics I intend to discuss here include:
Life with a baby
Living within your means
Relaxed living
Work from home
The Stay-at-home-family - both parents work from home
babywearing, pouches, carriers, and wraps
Cloth diapering

Second, I'm trying to rearrange my ads and content to make it easier to navigate and to share valuable stuff with you. I want the ads that display to be relevant, not something like "14k Ruby." Not that I don't want a 14k ruby... But you get the idea.

With that in mind, I'm looking for some feedback. I would love it if you would explore my blogs and check them out. Kick the tires, so to speak. Let me know what works and what doesn't. II look forward to any suggestions you might have.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Steady as she goes

Neil took this picture of me this afternoon. Apparently, I knit in my sleep now.

I'm up to the gusset stitches on my Tiger Pants. I'll finish that and graft tomorrow, and then start on the legs.

For only 5 days into the knitting olympics, I think I'm doing quite well. My biggest obstacle will be if I don't pace myself on the longies and the socks. I know I can get those done lickity split, but if I do I will have only the tunic to finish out the competition. I prefer to have more variety in my knitting day to ward off boredom and sore hands.

I'm crusing right along on the Hippie Tunic - I'm now up to the ribbed waistband. Two days of 2x2 should cheer me up to go back to the lace pattern....
...Oh, great. Just realized I forgot to change needle sizes three rows ago when I switched into the ribbing... Argh! I'm going to have to rip that back and switch needles. :( At least it's only 3 rows.

Great Expectations

With all this knitting olympic fever in the house, I decided it was time for some ground rules. Specifically, ground rules related to the other people in my house, in support of my knitting. I found a great list of Support Team Roles and Responsibilities, published by Megknitficent. It clearly outlines what I expect of DH and the kids during this period of extreme knitting.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What event is this?

I had to break out my calculator today. Apparently my math is rustier than I thought, because I had figured out the short rows for my Tiger pants and the repeats for my Hippie Tunic all wrong. Apparently I was planning on knitting dresses for Zeke and I, instead of pants and a tunic. I had 78 rounds for Zekes pants instead of 35 (forgot to divide in half for front and back and allow for short rows in back), and I had 31 repeats of the lace pattern instead of 31 rounds in the lace pattern for the Hippie Tunic.

I discovered all this when figuring out how much knitting I need to do each day to finish on time. With my incorrect numbers, the task seemed very daunting. Now that I have everything worked out right (hopefully), it seems much more manageable.

I'm nearly finished with my first pair of baby socks!
Baby Socks
I think the next pair I'll knit a little bigger, as these are a little short for my big footed baby. Have I mentioned before their shoe sizes? At 37 months, Jackson wears a toddler 10. At 19 months, Nicholas wears a toddler 6 (he has very thick ankles). I have no idea what size Zeke is, but I figure he's on par, since his feet are quite long. These socks will work for him for a little while, but not too long.

Malabrigo Tiger Pants
I had to rip back a few rows on these to reposition the short rows. Can you see how beautiful the Malabrigo stitches are? They're so uniform and smooth... I love it.

I'm about 10% done with the Hippie Tunic. I need to knit aproximately 15 rounds a day to finish before the Olympics are over. So far, I'm on track.
Hippie Tunic
I love the pattern. It reminds me of a crochet afgan my mother once made. I think that's how I associate it so well with "hippie." I do keep thinking I should have knit it in hemp...

Keep watching, I hope to have my first FO tomorrow!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A little shopping, a little sightseeing

I've been working on my Ravelympics projects. Today I added some rows to the Hippie Tunic and Tiger pants.
The Hippie Tunic has a great lace effect for a chunky yarn. I love how it looks like a net, and how it builds concentric V's around a tulip shape. You can't see it too well in the picture, but maybe once I get a few more rounds on it will be clearer.
My Tiger Pants are coming along nicely. I love how drapy the Malabrigo is - it just flows. If I set it down it pools almost like water. I can tell they are going to be super comfy for baby Zeke. Plus it's so soft, I could just sit and knit with it for HOURS.
I went out in search of needles for my baby socks. I thought I'd try Magic Loop, but I couldn't find 32" or longer US 3s, so I went with DPNs. And I went with cheep DPNs, so I could get this:
Crystal Palace Yarns Kid Merino in Fern Mix. I'm hoping to do the long sleeves from One Skein. I think the mohair haze will tone down the varigation enough to make it look super fine.
Oh yes, the baby socks.
These little cuties knit up super fast. I could do a sock a day. It took a little bit to get used to the stretchy yarn and the way the pattern marks rounds and the heel section. The pattern says to work on two circular needles, but I don't have two circs so I got DPNs. Instead of using stitch markers, it calls for keeping all the heel stitches on one needle and all the top stitches on the second needle. I ended up using one DPN for the top stitches and two needles for the heel and gusset stitches. I then used a stitch marker to mark the start of round for the gussets.

Opening Ceremonies

I watched the beginning and ending of Opening Ceremonies last night. It was spectacular! I saw the 2008 drummers (that's two-thousand eight musicians/artists) with the syncronized drumming. I loved the colors - the gold and red together. I may have to look for some yarns in a similar colorway. Anyway they were all together, perfectly syncronized. Their drumsticks and drums lit up as well. It was REALLY cool.
I cast on for Tiger Pants and for Hippie Tunic. Pictures are forthcoming - a friend borrowed my camera for a wedding. Anyway, casting on for Tiger Pants was hell - my figures were off. The directions say you need an even number of stitches, but I found I needed stitches divisible by 4 for the 2x2 ribbing. I ripped it out 3 times before i finally got it right. I'm now past the ribbing and the first set of short rows, and it's looking good! I have no doubt that it will be finished in time.
The Hippie Tunic didn't give me quite as much trouble, except that I cast on a little tight and the first row is a lace pattern row. I had a hard time with the ssks and k2togs. That I also had to rip back about 70 stitches on. I believe that when you first start a project, it is important to start it right to build a good foundation for what is to come. I insist on fixing small problems that I would probably let slide later in my knitting.
I'm going shopping later for needles for the baby socks. I have to decide if I want to Magic Loop them or use DPNs for size 3s. Any preferences? Maybe bamboo?
Oh yes. I went to AuneGirl's for the Opening Ceremony for the knitting olympics. It was a great party! HiLite had some music selected, and she and AuneGirl had a torch ceremony all planned out. I made some Sweet Taffy Apple Tartlets for everyone.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

They're screaming in the background

I took my camera and followed the boys outside today. I set up a piece of fence across the driveway to keep them from running straight down it and into the street. Anyway, the boys were playing in the dirt and having way too much fun, so I thought I'd take some pictures. Nick walked back to the garden, and Jackson delared, "Let's go on an adventure!"DSC02747
We followed Nick back into the garden, and I thought I saw something moving through the grass. It jumped ahead again. I asked Jackson, "Is that a frog?" I tried to follow it and keep between it and the boys, just in case (you never know). It was a cute little baby bunny! Jackson came around me as it jumped away, and all of a sudden we heard a "Eeee! Eeee! Eeee!"
Jackson stopped dead in his tracks, because it was coming from his feet. He started to freak out, and screamed, "Aaah! Aaah! Aaah!"
I was laughing inside, but all I could say was, "Well, get OFF of it, then!" I went over and picked him up, and the poor second bunny darted from under his shoe and took off.
The boys have gone back to the garden many times today, hoping to find them again. No luck yet, I'll let you know if I hear any more screaming.

Gearing up for the games

I swatched for my This Tiger Pants, using the Itchy Fingers pattern in Malabrigo.
My guage on 7s is 4 stiches and 5 rows per inch, so about on target for worsted weight. I love how the colors pool - we'll see how that plays out in the actual pants, or if it does end up looking more "stripey" as I predict.

I did try a run of "knitting backwards," and I'm so glad I don't have a project that will require that for this Ravelympics. It was doable, but very slow.

Why, yes, this IS a hand-wound, center pull ball. I know, my mother taught me well. :D

I still need to learn Magic Loop, but I figure those baby socks won't take long anyway, so I'll either learn tomorrow night at the Cast On party or Saturday at Barnes and Noble.

Hmm.. I still need to track down the needles I need for my Hippie Tunic.

Alright, I'm all geared up to cast on... Tomrrow at 7am CST - or, perhaps I'll wait until after coffee....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Keep 'em happy

Who doesn't love a happy baby? I've learned, after 3 little boys, that 3 month olds only want one of 4 things - Eat, sleep, poop/change, and attention. I can about guaruntee that if your typically happy baby isn't happy, that one of these things will cheer him/her right up. Usually I only have to go through the first three, and we're good to go.
Zeke is starting to enjoy company, however. He'll sit for a while in his bouncy seat, but he enjoys it much more if Nick or Jackson talk to him. Jackson likes to play patty cake with his little brother, and Nick loves to bring him one toy after another. Zeke coos and talks to anyone with eyes. I just love when he smiles!
I put him in the longies I knit for Nick a while back. They're a little long, but fit well through the waist and hips. It's super cute, and a reminder that he's growing fast. I have to re-adjust his carseat everytime I put him in it, even in the same day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Training and qualifiers

The knitting olymics are fast approaching, set to coincide with the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Cast on is at 7:00 am CST on Friday, August 8th, same time as opening ceremonies.
I will be competing at the Ravelympics on with Team Tardis (is my Doctor Who fanatacism showing?).
My events include: Sock Put, Sweater Sprint, and Baby Dressage.I plan to knit four projects in ten days. The "This Tiger Pants" for baby Zeke, two pairs of baby socks in red/orange and green, and a tunic style sweater for me.
So far, I have wound my Malabrigo for This into a ball. I still have to swatch for This and for my tunic, and learn magic loop for the socks.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

You guessed it!

It's Malabrigo merino worsted in the Roanoke Gold colorway. I think it looks tigerish, and will make adorable longies for baby Zeke. :) I'm saving them for the Ravelympics. Go Team Tardis!