Archive for Knitting

A Fine Romance

One year ago, I made one of these for the physician’s assistant who coordinated the clinical trial through which we got our IVF:

my uterus

We kept in touch, and she mentioned several times that the doctor who had actually performed my egg retrieval and embryo transfer was very, very jealous of this little gift (not GIFT). So I made him something too, which I plan to give him at the clinic’s IVF alumni picnic in September. But I thought y’all might enjoy a peek at it first.

egg & sperm


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This and that and those.

At 28 weeks and 1 day, I finally feel like I can relax a little about this pregnancy. The OB told me today that “if you delivered these babies tomorrow – and I’m not saying you should – they’d be okay!” They are each about two and a half pounds, healthy and active, and breech as all get-out. There’s still plenty of time for them to turn, but Husband now has orders to speak to them only from below my bellybutton. I am also considering sitting naked on top of a disco ball. Look, kids; shiny!

In other news, I am torn between Barack Obama and John Edwards for the primary. Oh, and I got some knitting done.

Diaper soakers! Annika’s pattern.

Diaper soakers

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Catching y’all up

So I am back from vacation, and already whiny. We spent the first few days back East in Virginia with Silligirl and her funny, adorable daughters. The girls are at the age when “sharing” is a key concept, and they generously shared their colds with Husband and me. I am nearly recovered, but Husband is buried in a mountain of used Kleenex, from which piteous moans occasionally emerge. As SilliTot put it hoarsely, he has “so many froggies” in his throat.

We went north after that, to my parents’ house in Connecticut, where my mother took me shopping for maternity clothes. I am quite huge now – measuring at about 6 1/2 months, though I’m only almost-5. That’s twins for ya. At any rate, I am much more comfortable now that my pants are no longer beating me up.

We did some stuff and saw some people, and it was all lovely, though I felt quite exhausted by the end of the week. I’m going to make it a point to hibernate at some point before these babies arrive. Just spend three days or so vegging out.

And speaking of vegging out, here’s what I made for my mother’s birthday present:

Ninjabun 1
She is an avid gardener, so I thought this would be appreciated.

A vegetable garden . . .
Ninjabun 2

with a surprise!
Ninjabun 4

According to the pattern-maker, “Ninjabun is covert, sneaky, and VERY hungry!”

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Crafty Saturday

On Saturday, Annika and I drove all the way out to San Gabriel to attend a fiber-arts yard sale. We were both primarily in search of wool that would work for diaper soakers*, and thus were delighted to find an entire bin of undyed fisherman’s wool for $10. Rubbing our hands together in cartoonish excitement, we purchased the bin and divided it between the two of us.

Unfortunately for me, most of my skeins turned out to be infested with moth larvae, and even the one that wasn’t infested was chewed through in about six or seven places. I threw out the buggy ones, but decided to keep the unbugged one and Kool-Aid dye it.

First I unwound the skein, cursing at all the moth-munched breakages, and washed it in mild soap and water.

Washing unddyed yarn

Then I prepared my Kool-Aid, using three tablespoons of water to one packet of drink powder (except for the yellow, for which I used a lower ratio of water to powder because I didn’t want it to come out too pale).

All prepared to dye

Using my turkey baster (not just for lesbian inseminators anymore!), I carefully applied the Kool-Aid in stripes to the yarn.

Halfway dyed

Totally forgot to wear gloves. (It washed off by Monday, but I went around all weekend telling people to “look at the red hand of death!” This went over particularly well at the picnic we attended on Sunday.)


Microwaved it, washed it again, and hung it up to dry overnight.

Hand dyed yarn drying

Et voila!

Finished Handdyed yarn

Unfortunately, because only one skein turned out to be usable and the yarn itself is in such poor condition (Fisherman’s Wool from Sears, anyone? I’m guessing it’s about thirty years old), I may not be able to knit a whole soaker out of it. I think I’m going to stripe it with some Lamb’s Pride.

*(Annika says the wonderful pattern she has developed for soakers will be available soon at her Etsy shop).

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Two posts in one!


The particular genius of Laurie Perry, AKA Crazy Aunt Purl, is that she is able to convey complex emotional moments with quirky but exquisite illustrations and colloquial language. She doesn’t need elevated tones in order to be serious, and she doesn’t need jokes in order to be funny. (Usually.) When I read her writing, it’s as though she’s in the room, but in reality no one communicates that well in conversation. She has an ability to be naked on stage – metaphorically, people – that I envy deeply, as I am generally too afraid of judgment or confrontation to put my own crazy out for public consumption. That’s why I write fiction – because I’m not as brave as she is.

And now she has a book out! I bought it last night and read fifty pages before falling asleep with it on my chest. You all should read it too. You can get it at Amazon, but I would personally advise getting it at your local bookstore instead, because Amazon can’t seem to keep it in stock. That’s how great it is.

In honor of Laurie, and because she specifically requested it when I saw her last night, I will now post ultrasound photos taken this morning. When we saw the babies on the screen, they were bouncing all around. I watched each little hand and foot hit the edge of my uterus, and I tried to feel it as it happened, but alas, no success.

Baby 1

Baby 2

The doctor got better photos than these, which showed the babies measuring at 12 weeks 4 days and 12 weeks 6 days, but she kept them for herself. Pooh.

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A victory.

Once, in the throes of knitting agony, I summoned every ounce of courage I could muster, and asked for help. And you? You were there; you came through for me. And I was so grateful, I cried for days and tattooed each and every one of your names on my neck. And then, in the honored tradition of dysfunctional families everywhere, we never spoke of it again.

Until today!

I hereby reveal to you . . . Sizzle!

Sizzle (Knit & Tonic)

Sizzle (Knit & Tonic)

(I actually finished it before we went to Hawaii. Like, four o’clock in the morning, on the day we left.)

In future, I will put in a few more short rows. Not that the fabric-stretching-perilously-to-cover-the-enormous-boobs look doesn’t work for me, but I’d like to maybe be able to wear my tops to work, too.

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It’s not brain surgery, people. Oh, wait. Yes, it is.

Last night, at my knitting group, I finally met someone famous. He was tall and blondish, and I positively melted under his luminous, blue-eyed gaze. Okay, so he was a little drunk. But you would be too, after that much milk.

Evan, milk-drunk

His name is Evan, he’s eight months old, and I’d been hearing all about him from his mama and her friends since before he was even born. But somehow, our paths never crossed until last night.

Some of you already know about Evan, and some of you met him even before I did (and to you I say boo! hiss! not fair!), but for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, here’s another photo:

Allison & Evan

Evan was born with a rare condition known as Hypothalmic Hamartoma, a benign brain tumour that causes gelastic (laughing) seizures. This serious condition will require surgery quite soon.

I know you’re all wondering how you can help, and luckily for you, there are several ways!

  • 1. Evan’s mom, Allison, runs a wonderful online craft-supply store called SuperCrafty. If you like the awesome t-shirt Evan’s wearing in the photos above, you can make one yourself (maybe with a different name) with the onesies and iron-ons here.
  • 2. Allison also has a donation fund for Evan, to which you can contribute by going to her blog and clicking on the donation button in the sidebar. This method comes with some perks, too. Remember Frank, who made me a yarn cake? Well, evidently, Frank’s generosity and ingenuity do not stop at cake.

    So here is our idea: Momma and Poppa already have a PayPal account set up to take donations (which you can access by going here and clicking on Evan’s Brain Surgery Fund). Click the link and make a donation to Evan’s Surgery Fund. Then send me an email at frankvarney AT mac DOT com with the date and amount of your donation (we’re going on honor here). For every $5 donation you make to Evan’s Brain Surgery Fund I’ll put your name into a drawing for a prize once. A $25 donation will get your 5 entries! (And the love, kharma, and warm tingling feelings that go with helping out a little guy and his family in need!)

    And here are the prizes:

    more hearts for evan even more hearts

    Two quilts, handmade by Frank and his friend Joan.

  • 3. Instead of your regular search engine, use It’s a Google search, but all proceeds go to Evan’s surgery fund. Bookmark it. Use it. So easy!
  • Okay, people. I don’t want to go all Sally Struthers on you here, but I will if I have to.

    Evan sacked out

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