Monthly Archives: November 2014

Third trimester

Hi. Let’s talk about pregnancy. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Honestly, I imagined myself writing more about my pregnancy as it progressed, but I came to the conclusion that nobody actually wants to hear it. You might THINK you want to hear about the details of someone else’s pregnancy, but unless you’re another pregnant woman looking for validation of her own craziness/weird symptoms/aches and pains/lumps and bumps, you probably don’t actually want to know. As it turns out, the quotidian experience of pregnancy is, in a nutshell, a collection of gross symptoms not fit for social media punctuated by occasional dashes of the sublime. So, perhaps not the best blog material (unless all of your readers are hormonal preggos, or, alternatively, my mother and/or my husband, both of whom are contractually obligated to be interested in the nitty gritty of this process).

This isn’t to say that pregnancy isn’t awe-inspiring and beautiful and fantastic, but rather that if I were to report on it frequently, it wouldn’t sound particularly awe-inspiring, beautiful, or fantastic. It would probably just sound boring and gross. So I haven’t really been writing about it, except in my private pregnancy journal, which I’m pretty sure is making me sound way more neurotic than I actually am. In fact, I might burn it after the baby’s born to hide the evidence of my crazy. But then how will I remember that one epic crying jag I had, or the two separate times I fell on my knee and convinced myself I had given the baby brain damage in the process? These are precious moments worth cherishing!

But, seeing as I’m coming up on 30 weeks pregnant now, I thought it was time for a bit of an update on what’s going on, uterus-wise. So here we go!

Me at 27 weeks pregnant

Me at 27 weeks pregnant

 

Now that I’m in my third trimester, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what pregnancy is all about, although new symptoms are always popping up to surprise me. For example: my ears hurt now if I lie on them for too long (thanks, increased blood volume!), and I always end up lying on them because I’m not supposed to lie on my back to sleep any more (thanks, increasingly large baby and inconveniently placed major blood vessel)! Also, I’m constantly blowing my nose. Oh, and don’t get me started on the heartburn. And the other stuff. There’s lots of other stuff. You know, let’s not even go down this road, because if you ask a pregnant woman what her symptoms are, you’re going to find out stuff you never wanted to know, and there’s no un-hearing it.

Anyway, the cool thing about being this far along is that the baby is super active, so I feel like we’re communing during the day when she’s kicking the crap out of me. It shows how much I love this little fetus that I don’t even mind when she’s sending judo chops straight to my groin. I find it endearing! (“Aw, baby has a great right hook!”) She moves a lot, and whenever Al’s around, I’ll put his hand on my abdomen so he can feel it, but of course, as soon as he has his hand there, she stops moving. He’s gotten to feel a few good kicks, but I wish he could feel what it feels like from the inside. It’s weird and wonderful!

Now that we’re a mere eleven weeks away from meeting this kid (give or take a few weeks on either end, probably), we’ve been trying to get things ready for her around the house. So far, we have the crib set up, and the nursery is filling out — we’re just missing a changing table, but that’s what bathroom counters are for, am I right? — and mentally, I think we’re as prepared as we can be. Like most delusional, first-time, soon-to-be parents, we just want the baby to get here, already, although literally every parent I’ve ever talked to has stressed that we should be savoring these last months together as a Childless Couple. So, we’re doing our best to savor, I guess, but really, we both are super excited to get to know the much-anticipated third member of our family. Right now, all we know about her is that she likes to kick things, and all she knows about us are the muffled voices she hears through her water-balloon apartment, so there’s a lot to learn on both sides.

So, overall things are going well. I’ve enjoyed pregnancy, so far — not all of it, of course, but most of it. Hopefully, parenting will be even better. At least no one will be kicking me in the groin then.

(Knitting) book review: Knockout Knits, by Laura Nelkin

Non-knitters, take a break! Today’s post is knitting talk heavy. Just a friendly disclaimer. Knitters, keep reading!

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It’s already November, which means it’s time for me to start my Christmas knitting. It’s probably more enjoyable for me to make things for people every year than it is for people to actually receive the things I make, but I do try to knit somewhat interesting (or at least practical) things for the special people in my life every year. Hence, I was excited to take a look at Laura Nelkin’s Knockout Knits, which promises “new tricks for scarves, hats, jewelry, and other accessories.” Accessories make the perfect knitted Christmas gifts, because they don’t necessarily take forever to make, and if your recipient doesn’t actually like what you made, she won’t feel like a jerk for throwing it out or never wearing it (unlike an unwanted sweater, which can haunt a closet for years).

I decided to dive right in by making one of the book’s shawl patterns, the Las Cruces Shawl (I won’t say here who I’m making it for, so as not to ruin any Christmas surprises). I chose the Las Cruces Shawl because it looked pretty and the skill level required was described as “Intermediate.” I should note that I chose an intermediate-level project not necessarily because I am an intermediate level knitter (I think I’m probably inching into “advanced”/obsessive territory at this point) but because I wanted something that would go fairly quickly and wouldn’t kill me in the process, but also wouldn’t be boring or monotonous to construct.

I started on the pattern and immediately (like, within the first line of the pattern) was forced to use an unfamiliar cast-on method. But that was fine, because Nelkin conveniently included a page reference number to a guide in the back of the book that includes diagrams for several increases, cast-ons, and other techniques. Handy! I wish more knitting books would have easy-to-use reference guides like this when they make use of not-super-common techniques.

My notes on the pattern

My notes on the pattern

So, I cast on, started to knit, and soon encountered another technique I had never heard of. Luckily, Nelkin had that one covered, too, in the beginning of the book, where she describes (and has diagrams for) several stitch-elongating techniques. So far, so good.

Work in progress

Work in progress

 

The shawl I’m making is constructed of two mirror-image triangles that will later be joined together via a center panel. I’ve made one triangle and am almost done with the second. I read ahead in the pattern to see how this whole center panel thing is going to work, though, and now I’m feeling nervous. The instructions on how to join the left and right triangles are scant, and in reading them, I can’t picture how it’s supposed to work, at all. *Gulp.* I went onto Nelkin’s Ravelry page in search of answers, but found none (although I did find an errata to the relevant part of the pattern, which I’m hoping will help when the time comes). So, I’m not sure how this is going to turn out. I’m hoping it’ll be one of those things where, once I start knitting, the pattern will become obvious (this often happens to me — turns out I’m kind of a learning-by-doing type person), but right now, I’m feeling a little anxious about finishing this shawl correctly. It’s too bad, since I was so pleased with how many diagrams and guides Nelkin otherwise included in the book. Why not a longer explanation about a non-obvious joining technique such as the one this pattern requires? I’ve been a serious knitter for two years and I’ve never encountered a pattern like this one before, which suggests the technique in question is not a common one, so a little more detail on how it works would have been appreciated.

Apart from my unease about the instructions in the Las Cruces Shawl, I’m happy with this book (so far!). It has a lot of fun accessories patterns that I could see myself making for people this year, including some cute mitts (Prolix Mitts), a cloche hat (Folly Cloche), and a lot of nice patterns involving lace. Nelkin also has a whole section about knitting with beads, which I find both intriguing and intimidating. Maybe I’ll get to that next Christmas. I also love the look of the book and I appreciate that it’s slim and compact and fits neatly onto my already overstuffed shelf of knitting books.

Hopefully the shawl will turn out okay and I’ll overcome my trepidation re: the obtuse pattern instructions. If not, at least this book will look nice on my shelf!

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.