Friday, September 24, 2010

Tag, you're it

I came across one of these on some website or another a while back and didn't really understand it, but I did some poking around online and the ribbon-tag blankie became my newest obsession. (I guess this kind of object is just something very tactile to occupy a baby -- the different textures and colours are fun and stimulating. Seems like a good idea.) This one, for example, is just so sweet. Some are smaller, like these ones. (And this ribbon-tab "monster doll" is inspired and awesome.) I had to make one of these little blankies, too. So I had a look at the instructions on the blog, bought some short lengths of ribbon to add to my own meager scraps (several in black and white, for the recommended high contrast), and did just that:

I cut 16-inch squares of a cotton print and a plain white flannel. (Lots of people favor super-soft Minky fabric, but it's too expensive for me.) I cut the ribbons at 2.5-inch to 4-inch lengths -- short enough that the baby won't get tangled up in the loops. Pressed, pinned, sewed, top-stitched, and voilĂ . It's very cute! I have ribbon left over, so I might make another, smaller one. Plus it was fun to make -- a very rewarding result with little effort.

Have any of you made one of these before? If so, was it a success with the baby? (And how old of a baby would dig this kind of thing? Is my friend's 14-month-old too old for one?)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Thanks for your comments on my last post. It sounds like the wrist braces at night can really help, so I may go that route. I'm going to wait another week to see if the pain lessens a bit. A real week without knitting, unlike the five days that have passed since I got the bad news.

I know I should have dropped the needles immediately, but I just couldn't. I saw Dr. K on Thursday morning, and he diagnosed the carpal tunnel; I went straight from his office to the hospital for a blood test, and I had brought knitting with me for the waiting room! So, in the spirit of "new rules start tomorrow," I cast on and knit most of a Foolproof Baby Hat (from the Knitter's Book of Yarn) while waiting. (It was quite a wait: 45 minutes for my number to be called at reception, and then I had to drink glucose, wait one hour [plus 15 minutes because the technician was having lunch], and have the blood taken.)

Such a cute little hat! I'd been inspired by seeing Purlewe's version on Ravelry. My version (like Anj's) came out just as cute as could be. It's tiny, but the mistake rib makes it super stretchy. The yarn is Mountain Colors 4/8's Wool.

Besides this wee hat, I had a baby cardigan on the go that was one sleeve away from finished, so I couldn't very well just leave that, could I? So there was a little more knitting there. But I've definitely set aside the blanket I was working on: linen stitch with a double strand of fingering-weight wool. Definitely too hard on the hands.

So I really need to stop knitting now. It's really hard -- knitting is what I do when I watch TV at the end of the day. Last night I went to bed with a book at 8:30 p.m. because I couldn't really think of anything else to do. I can use my sewing machine, but not if I want to watch TV or hang out with Bill (because it's in my office). But I really don't want to mess up my hands more than they already are messed up, since I have a lot of work to do, so wish me luck! I've had to quit things before that I enjoyed. And it's only temporary. Maybe I should just take the extra evening time I'll have and use it to keep working on my thesis. I think my hands are going to hurt either way; if my hands hurt but my thesis is finished, I'll take that.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


First of all, please imagine my "Nooooo" in that slowed-down, cinematic way -- like when, in a movie, something precious is falling and someone dives to catch it, all in slow motion, shouting in that low, distorted voice. Thank you. That will be sufficiently dramatic.

I saw my doctor this morning and told him that for the last three or four days I've woken up with stiff, numb hands, and that some swelling and stiffness persists throughout the day. He said this is (pregnancy-related) carpal tunnel syndrome, and that to keep it from getting worse, I need to stop doing anything repetitive with my hands -- like typing and knitting.

"No knitting," said Dr. K. "You need to stop knitting."


Now, I have to admit that normally, I might not actually stop knitting. I might tell my doctor I will stop knitting, and then keep knitting. But he said I should stop knitting and typing. And there's no way I can stop typing, unless my supervisor will accept a five-hour thesis on tape. Stopping typing is simply out of the question, which means I'm going to have to sacrifice knitting in the interests of getting my work done.

It had occurred to me at that at some point in this pregnancy, something might go wrong with my health that would lead to bed rest. I figured that would be bad, but I could still have my laptop and knit. But "don't use your hands"? I hadn't anticipated this one, and I think it's worse -- for me, anyway. (It's funny -- I've never thought of myself as a person who works with her hands, but I am. Bed rest would be devastating for an athlete, or a bike courier, or the mother of a toddler, but "don't use your hands" is worse for someone who spends most of her time sitting and typing and reading and making stuff.) (And I know this carpal tunnel thing is quite common in pregnancy, and the doctor said if I was at 37 weeks it wouldn't really matter. But since I'm only at 27 weeks, there's plenty of time for it to get a lot worse. The word "splints" was mentioned.)

So I guess you'll be seeing more sewing around here...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


As I clicked "publish" on that last post, I gave myself a little pep talk about how blogging probably wouldn't be like it used to be after all this time -- it might take a while for people to notice me again, etc. And when I checked back the next day and saw "0 comments," I was OK with that. And then a few hours later (thinking, "Really? Not even one?"), I remembered that I have to approve comments before they appear. And lo and behold, more than 40 lovely notes were waiting for me in comment-modification limbo, making me feel very happy and humbled. I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart. Welcome back to you, too.

And thanks for the burp cloth comments! I'd like to make more that involve simply adding a fabric trim to cloth diapers, or with flannel over one whole side. (Where does one even buy cloth diapers these days? Zellers? Do I have to go to Walmart?) I'm spending most of my time this week polishing off a couple of draft chapters, but I have a second flannel receiving blanket on the go, too, so I can take a break from writing and just roll my chair a few feet over to my sewing table. So far, I've cut the fabric and pressed/pinned the hem around it. At some point this afternoon, I'll do that sewing. From my googling, I see that lots of people sew double-layered receiving blankets, but I'm just using a single layer. A 40-inch-square piece of flannel is big, and I think getting two pieces to match exactly in size -- and to sew them together perfectly so that the blanket lies flat -- would just be needlessly frustrating. I'd rather make a pile of single-layer blankets and just use two if the extra warmth is needed. I'm all about layers. It's because I started dressing myself in the '80s.

So life is all about flannel and writing these days. As for other baby stuff, we're slowly amassing the things we'll need. I've bought plenty of baby clothes secondhand (PLENTY); I scored a Boppy pillow (with a dinosaur-patterned slipcover) on eBay; and my best friend found a really good carseat at a yard sale last weekend. I've signed up for prenatal classes, which don't start until October, and I've put the baby's name (i.e., "Baby") on the city's central daycare waiting list. (Quebec is good to babies, offering things like subsidized daycare, because they need more of them -- but the waiting list is long.) I'm 26 weeks pregnant today. It feels to me like I'm right in the middle of "we've still got lots of time" and "not too much longer now." It's a nice place to be.

In the meantime, here's a gratuitous shot of Mooky, keeping it real on the back porch.

ETA: Funny -- I just noticed that the last photo I posted of Mooky was almost exactly one year ago. That's a long time without Mooky! I apologize! (It obviously wasn't so hot at this time last year, or he never would have been sleeping in the house.)