May 30, 2011

Calorimetry



pattern: Calorimetry, by Kathryn Schoendorf, for Knitty winter 2006 edition {free!}
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in green heather, approximately 1/2 a skein.
needles: US 8 / 5.0 mm. I used my circs, because I grab for those by default, but you could easily use straight needles, or even DPNs.

The second of sixteen hats for my History of Magic OWL {others can be seen here}, Calorimetry is more of an ear warmer rather than an actual hat.

For whatever reason, when I knit the Calorimetry {this is my second time} it seems to come out wider than I'd like. The photos show this ear warmer stretching more, or looking thinner, or some such thing.

Regardless of this, it is a wonderful and quick knit, and will work perfectly this winter for the runner I will be gifting it to. The wool/acrylic blend will keep her ears warm while allowing it to still be washable, and the color is neutral enough to work out well for everyday wear.

Now, if only I could find a charity that accepts these little numbers in acrylic, I could knit up my entire stash in a matter of weeks!

Calorimetry



pattern: Calorimetry, by Kathryn Schoendorf, for Knitty winter 2006 edition {free!}
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in green heather, approximately 1/2 a skein.
needles: US 8 / 5.0 mm. I used my circs, because I grab for those by default, but you could easily use straight needles, or even DPNs.

The second of sixteen hats for my History of Magic OWL {others can be seen here}, Calorimetry is more of an ear warmer rather than an actual hat.

For whatever reason, when I knit the Calorimetry {this is my second time} it seems to come out wider than I'd like. The photos show this ear warmer stretching more, or looking thinner, or some such thing.

Regardless of this, it is a wonderful and quick knit, and will work perfectly this winter for the runner I will be gifting it to. The wool/acrylic blend will keep her ears warm while allowing it to still be washable, and the color is neutral enough to work out well for everyday wear.

Now, if only I could find a charity that accepts these little numbers in acrylic, I could knit up my entire stash in a matter of weeks!

May 27, 2011

Thoughts At 28 Weeks

28 weeks

+ I’m going to have to retire my non-maternity dresses soon … they are starting to creep dangerously close to ridiculous in the front, while hanging out at my knees still in the back! The dress in the photo above is the last of the non-maternity dresses I can still wear!

+ Wait, I’m in the 3rd trimester already?! It seems like the second trimester blew by without warning. 12 weeks to go, and I still can’t believe I’m pregnant!

+ My wedding rings are super tight on my finger. I may have to stop wearing them and find a cheapo alternative to rock for the next three months. I can’t imagine not having a ring on that finger anymore, although my inability to take them off a mere three hours after I put them on makes me think I need to find a bigger ring for the time being!

+ This kid … what a ninja! He kicks and rolls and elbows me all day long, but the minute someone else tries to feel it, he backs up into my spine and plays dead. He doesn’t seem to mind my hand on my belly, but apparently does NOT like to show off for family and friends. I keep reminding him that he needs to get used to the attention!

+ I’m definitely starting to waddle.

+ Any sense of grace and/or balance I once had has been thrown out the window. My biggest fears now are tripping up or down the stairs and knocking something expensive over in public. I have almost done both several times.

+ My nesting instinct still comes and goes. Now that we’ve got the crib, dresser and bookshelf set up, I have lost any sense of urgency at getting almost anything else ready for the monster. I know there are going to be showers and folks are picking up a few things here and there for us, we’ve got a drawer full of onesies for the first few months, and the rest will just sort of get figured out. My husband is concerned by this lack of concern.

+ On the flipside, I have finally gotten my baby-knitting mojo back. I knit up three little things last weekend alone, and have been mentally finalizing plans for hats, booties, and a few more pairs of pants. That this child will be experiencing his first few months of life during the cold season has finally sunk in, it seems!

-

I keep waiting for things to get hard, to feel super uncomfortable, to feel overwhelmingly huge and ridiculous. Other than being crabbier than normal when I’m even the least bit tired, I don’t really feel much different, however. Except for the large belly growing in front of my eyes, that is!

I take my lack of discomfort as a blessing, however. We were able to drive back and forth to IA City a few weeks ago to watch my brother graduate from college, and in a few more weeks we’ll make the drive to Chicago for a friend’s wedding. Other than having to stop more often to pee, the first trip seemed about normal, comfort-wise.

I am also acutely aware that these final 12 weeks happen during the hottest months of the year here in Omaha, and so I’m aware that I will start to feel swollen and too warm all too soon. Right now I’m relishing in every cool breeze I feel, and am trying to remember to stretch my muscles when I get the chance.

-

My hope is to post these updates more regularly over the next 12 weeks. I want to remember every bit of what I can of this time, and posting like this seems to be the easiest way to do so!

sleep sack 002

Sleep sack 002

pattern: Snug As A Bug Sleepsack, by me! {free}
yarn: I Love This Yarn! {from Hobby Lobby}, approximately 2/3 a skein. If you can't find this yarn, approximately 210 yards of any worsted weight acrylic will work.
needles: US 8 / 5.0 mm size 16" circulars

I've been playing with my Sleepsack pattern a bit - with sleep sack 001 I made the whole thing a ton longer {perfect for use all winter long} and added a button band, after a friend told me both would be super helpful.

This time around, I knit the sack to 17" so I could use it almost immediately, and re-vamped the button band a bit. I'm still not 100% satisfied with the result - it will work fine for our little monster, but I'm waiting to add my notes for adding a button band until I'm 100% satisfied with the results.

The color is much brighter than the photo shows - lime green, to be exact. This pattern continues to be one of my favorites of all the patterns I've written, and over 150 knitters currently agree - I can't believe so many folks love to knit it up!

I've got a ton of acrylic yarn in my stash right now {more on what I'm doing about that in early June}, and I'm thinking I may have to whip it up into a metric ton of sleep sacks for charity!

Thoughts At 28 Weeks

+ I’m going to have to retire my non-maternity dresses soon … they are starting to creep dangerously close to ridiculous in the front, while hanging out at my knees still in the back! The dress in the photo above is the last of the non-maternity dresses I can still wear!

 + Wait, I’m in the 3rd trimester already?! It seems like the second trimester blew by without warning. 12 weeks to go, and I still can’t believe I’m pregnant!

+ My wedding rings are super tight on my finger. I may have to stop wearing them and find a cheapo alternative to rock for the next three months. I can’t imagine not having a ring on that finger anymore, although my inability to take them off a mere three hours after I put them on makes me think I need to find a bigger ring for the time being!

+ This kid … what a ninja! He kicks and rolls and elbows me all day long, but the minute someone else tries to feel it, he backs up into my spine and plays dead. He doesn’t seem to mind my hand on my belly, but apparently does NOT like to show off for family and friends. I keep reminding him that he needs to get used to the attention!

 + I’m definitely starting to waddle.

 + Any sense of grace and/or balance I once had has been thrown out the window. My biggest fears now are tripping up or down the stairs and knocking something expensive over in public. I have almost done both several times.

 + My nesting instinct still comes and goes. Now that we’ve got the crib, dresser and bookshelf set up, I have lost any sense of urgency at getting almost anything else ready for the monster. I know there are going to be showers and folks are picking up a few things here and there for us, we’ve got a drawer full of onesies for the first few months, and the rest will just sort of get figured out. My husband is concerned by this lack of concern.

 + On the flipside, I have finally gotten my baby-knitting mojo back. I knit up three little things last weekend alone, and have been mentally finalizing plans for hats, booties, and a few more pairs of pants. That this child will be experiencing his first few months of life during the cold season has finally sunk in, it seems!

I keep waiting for things to get hard, to feel super uncomfortable, to feel overwhelmingly huge and ridiculous. Other than being crabbier than normal when I’m even the least bit tired, I don’t really feel much different, however.

Except for the large belly growing in front of my eyes, that is!

I take my lack of discomfort as a blessing, however. We were able to drive back and forth to IA City a few weeks ago to watch my brother graduate from college, and in a few more weeks we’ll make the drive to Chicago for a friend’s wedding. Other than having to stop more often to pee, the first trip seemed about normal, comfort-wise.

I am also acutely aware that these final 12 weeks happen during the hottest months of the year here in Omaha, and so I’m aware that I will start to feel swollen and too warm all too soon. Right now I’m relishing in every cool breeze I feel, and am trying to remember to stretch my muscles when I get the chance.

My hope is to post these updates more regularly over the next 12 weeks. I want to remember every bit of what I can of this time, and posting like this seems to be the easiest way to do so!

May 26, 2011

i have become surrounded by yarn

what has happened over the last six months is ridiculous. i blog about knitting more while owning less, and yet somehow my yarn stash has grown by ridiculous amounts. some of this is due to people gifting me yarn to use for charity projects - i will never turn this yarn away, as most often it comes from the stashes of these folks, is yarn that they will not ever use, and rather than tossing it out or hanging onto it out of guilt, they gift it to someone who will use it.

but am i truly using it if i'm stock-piling yarn in the office like i'm waiting for the day there are no more sheep or yarn stores?

i have added a bit of this yarn to my Ravelry stash page, but i honestly don't want to add all of it. i'm embarassed at the amount of yarn i've accumulated, don't even really know how it happened.

what i do know is this - there is now so much that the cats are again finding remnant balls of yarn and tossing them around the house, creating modern art projects for me to clean up on a daily basis. the last time that happened, i decided to start Minimalist Knitter, and knit my way through my stash.

i don't know what happened. this is my truth, my wake-up call. this is my way of being honest, both with myself and with the folks around me.

i have been sitting on a new plan, testing it out for the past two weeks. i can see a time in the late summer where i will have to deviate from this plan slightly, but other than that one deviation, i think i can stick to it.

the plan is simple. i am going to knit through my entire yarn stash, not allowing myself to buy any yarn until it's all gone. if folks gift me yarn, i'll knit with it.

my one exception will come in the late summer, when i will lumber into a yarn shop as pregnant as can be to buy a crap-load of yarn in one color to knit something large. it's been plotted out and planned for some time, i just haven't had the guts yet to knit it. this fall is the time.

other than this one purchase however, i will not purchase any yarn until i no longer have a yarn stash. - my secret goal has always been to only have enough yarn to fill my one Amish basket in the family room. notions, needles, and yarn all kept safe in one basket i can grab and take with me in case of fire, long car ride, or just wanting to switch it up.

right now i am closer to one of those folks i have railed against, the folks with rooms of yarn. i want to model for our child a lifestyle of enough. only needing enough, knowing where that line is, and not crossing over it. minimalist? maybe. more likely a smaller life, a simpler life. but i cannot do this if my one great passion has taken over our entire house, if i've filled space after space with yarn and notions and needles.

one skein at a time, i am going to rectify this problem. i will continue to share my finished projects on the blog. the yarn i used, when i know it {much of these skeins are nameless at this point, unfortunately}, what needles and notions were needed, and what i think of the project.

i will use up the wool stash for charity projects, most of it turning into items for nest: Maine.

my larger-than-life acrylic stash will become a larger-than-life pile of sleep sacks to be sent off to the Pine Ridge Reservation for all their little ones in need of warmth this winter.

 my hope is that by the end of the summer, i will have carried yarn with me everywhere i go, and will have knit up a ridiculous amount of items for charity. i'll do my best to track, but the end goal {to knit 10,000 items} seems like it will be easiest reached when i'm not looking, when i'm filling my time with yarn, needles, and paring down.

i have become surrounded by yarn

what has happened over the last six months is ridiculous. i blog about knitting more while owning less, and yet somehow my yarn stash has grown by ridiculous amounts.

some of this is due to people gifting me yarn to use for charity projects - i will never turn this yarn away, as most often it comes from the stashes of these folks, is yarn that they will not ever use, and rather than tossing it out or hanging onto it out of guilt, they gift it to someone who will use it.

but am i truly using it if i'm stock-piling yarn in the office like i'm waiting for the day there are no more sheep or yarn stores?

i have added a bit of this yarn to my Ravelry stash page, but i honestly don't want to add all of it. i'm embarassed at the amount of yarn i've accumulated, don't even really know how it happened.

what i do know is this - there is now so much that the cats are again finding remnant balls of yarn and tossing them around the house, creating modern art projects for me to clean up on a daily basis.

the last time that happened, i decided to start Minimalist Knitter, and knit my way through my stash.
i don't know what happened.

this is my truth, my wake-up call. this is my way of being honest, both with myself and with the folks around me.

-

i have been sitting on a new plan, testing it out for the past two weeks. i can see a time in the late summer where i will have to deviate from this plan slightly, but other than that one deviation, i think i can stick to it.

the plan is simple. i am going to knit through my entire yarn stash, not allowing myself to buy any yarn until it's all gone.

if folks gift me yarn, i'll knit with it.

my one exception will come in the late summer, when i will lumber into a yarn shop as pregnant as can be to buy a crap-load of yarn in one color to knit something large. it's been plotted out and planned for some time, i just haven't had the guts yet to knit it. this fall is the time.

other than this one purchase however, i will not purchase any yarn until i no longer have a yarn stash.

-

my secret goal has always been to only have enough yarn to fill my one Amish basket in the family room. notions, needles, and yarn all kept safe in one basket i can grab and take with me in case of fire, long car ride, or just wanting to switch it up.

right now i am closer to one of those folks i have railed against, the folks with rooms of yarn.

i want to model for our child a lifestyle of enough. only needing enough, knowing where that line is, and not crossing over it. minimalist? maybe. more likely a smaller life, a simpler life. but i cannot do this if my one great passion has taken over our entire house, if i've filled space after space with yarn and notions and needles.

-

one skein at a time, i am going to rectify this problem.

i will continue to share my finished projects on the blog. the yarn i used, when i know it {much of these skeins are nameless at this point, unfortunately}, what needles and notions were needed, and what i think of the project.

i will use up the wool stash for charity projects, most of it turning into items for nest: Maine. my larger-than-life acrylic stash will become a larger-than-life pile of sleep sacks to be sent off to the Pine Ridge Reservation for all their little ones in need of warmth this winter.

my hope is that by the end of the summer, i will have carried yarn with me everywhere i go, and will have knit up a ridiculous amount of items for charity. i'll do my best to track, but the end goal {to knit 10,000 items} seems like it will be easiest reached when i'm not looking, when i'm filling my time with yarn, needles, and paring down.

May 25, 2011

Riverstone

Finally kicking it into gear with the baby knits it would seem - in the past week three have come off the needles!

This adorable little sweater is named Riverstone!

Riverstone 1
Riverstone 2
Riverstone 3
Riverstone 4
pattern: Riverstone, by Just Jussi {Ravelry link - pattern costs $5}
yarn: Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! in lime green, approximately 155 yards, plus a teenie bit of grey Red Heart Super Saver for the bottom.
needles: size US 10 / 6.0 mm 16" circs.

A few years ago, I knit up a pink version of this sweater for a friend's daughter - then 5 years old. It seemed like the perfect pattern - easy construction, tons of stretch and room to grow, and an adorable button band down one side for a bit of added interest.

Fast forward to last weekend, when I realized our little monster will be here in 12 weeks, and was in need of some serious winter sweater action - one dip into my Ravelry saved patterns, and I was back on the Riverstone train!

I knit the sweater in the newborn size {the next size up is 6 months, so he may need that before the winter is out}, and modded the pattern in only one significant way ... I did not knit the button band.

The pattern calls for the top portion of the sweater to be knit straight, and then you pick up stitches for the body, adding on extra stitches for a button band that runs the length of the body. While this is adorable, I didn't want to have to hunt down a ton of buttons, and knew I wanted a simple pull-over sweater.

To mod the pattern, all I did was pick up stitches around the body and then work the 2x2 rib pattern until the sweater was the correct length. Super easy, and it ended up being truly mindless knitting for an afternoon while my husband and his mom painted part of our upstairs hallway!

While the pattern costs $5, it's definitely a worthwhile investment - I've already knit the sweater twice, intend to knit it a few more times for holiday gifts, and know I'll use it for many years for our little man. One Ravelry commenter has already suggested I knit up an adult-sized version for me!

New knitters will love this pattern as well - you need to know how to cast on, knit, purl, bind off, increase, decrease, and knit in the round. That's It! And with the baby sizes working up so quickly, it's a perfect charity knit pattern as well!

I love this sweater pattern so much, I'm adding it to my Essential Patterns List!

For a few more notes {specific stitch counts, etc} you can see my Ravelry project page for Riverstone.

new favorite egg salad

For the last few weeks, I've been craving egg salad sandwiches like nobody's business. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to get myself any. No longer! Thanks to the 101 Cookbooks Egg Salad Sandwich recipe, I should be able to eat egg salad as often as I'd like for the remainder of the spring and summer!

Egg salad

 I used:
  • six hardboiled eggs

  • three Tbs. mayonaisse {the recipe calls for two}

  • one stalk celery {the recipe called for two}

  • chopped cilantro to taste - i used four or five stalks of cilantro.

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • a super tiny squeeze of lemon

I simply mixed the eggs and mayo in a medium bowl, then added the celery and cilantro. I squeezed a tiny bit of lemon onto the mix, and added salt and pepper to taste. The longest part of the process? Hard-boiling the eggs!

May 24, 2011

sponsor this space in June!

June sponsor

I'm trying something new out in June - sponsor spaces in the right-hand sidebar! To do this, I'll be changing up the layout just a bit, adding a sidebar to the left for most of the info that's available now, and adding sponsor spots to the right.

While I offer up 99% of the content on this blog for free to all readers, I've been watching as more and more craft blogs offer up sponsor spots like this, and so am trying my hand at it as well.

June is a great time for me to start doing this, as there will be around ten finished knits posts, at least two new *free* patterns released, a "knit along with me!" challenge, and so much more!

You can have your ad featured on this space in super simple fashion. All paid ads run from the first day of the month until the last, and cost just $10 per month!

Ad sizes are 150x150px, and ads must be static only. To your left you'll see a sample ad - this is how large your ad will be, and will be featured beginning the first of the month in the "of interest" right-hand sidebar.

Minimalist Knitter is a small blog to be sure, receiving just over 10k visits a month - however, starting summer I'll be advertising on a few other blogs, will be sharing more and more finished knits as well as dips into my pregnant life, and am looking to grow a bit larger {both belly-wise and blog-wise}!

I hope to offer ad space up super inexpensively, as a way to help me pay for more advertising on a variety of other craft blogs - your money will go directly to promoting this space, in other words!

For more information, or to submit your ad to me, e-mail me at rmcdevine@gmail.com

Baby T-Shirt Vest

Baby vest

pattern: Baby T-Shirt Vest, from Sam Lamb, knit in the smallest size {free pattern!}
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in the "fisherman" colorway - it's a super sweet natural/cream color
needles: one set US 7 / 4.5 mm 16" circular needles.
notes:

It's about time I start knitting up a few more vests and sweaters, pants and even booties for our little man! He'll be here in just about three months, and thus far I truly haven't done that much knitting for him ... bad mama!

I love the idea of a knitted vest - something to toss over his clothes as the weather gets a bit chillier, an easy hand-knit layer to add to any outfit. While I've been known to knit vests in the past to donate to charity, this is the first time I used this particular pattern.

What I Liked: This was a simple pattern to follow, and it worked up in just a few days' time. I was able to move from the straps through the body with little thought, and the instructions are simple enough that a novice knitter could work this vest out in no time!

I love how basic this vest ends up. Perfect for everyday wear, I know I'll get lots of use out of it.

What I'd Change: There are far too many ends to weave in! While you end up not having to seam a thing, this vest includes at least five different ends to weave in that I can remember - for such a small item, this feels like too many! I'm not sure what I'd do to alter the pattern to make this not so, however - if you knit this and come up with something, let me know!

Because of this, I'm not sure I'll knit the vest again until I can do so with less ends to weave in. The Milo Vest I knit last October for a friend's baby has far less, and ends with just as simple a construction as this vest does. Granted, there aren't any cute buttons at one side for added cuteness, but those are easy enough to add in!

May 23, 2011

getting to baby

Some people decide they want to start a family, and before they have time to think too hard on the decision, they’re pregnant. For some people it takes a little longer. Statistically, 87% of couples who want to conceive will do so within 12 months of starting to try.

We were not one of those couples.

We knew when we got married we wanted to start a family post haste. We were in our late 20’s/early 30’s, had been together for almost five years, and were ready to grow our family immediately. We figured if we started trying in July-ish after the wedding, we’d be pregnant by October at the latest. The one thing I was sure I didn’t want was to be super pregnant through the entire summer, so getting pregnant in late summer or early fall was what we shot for.

And then, nothing. And then even more nothing.

After awhile, it stops being fun, the process of getting a kid. You start having to track things like ovulation cycles, thinking constantly about your next period, and wondering what’s taking so long.

I couldn’t even look at babies in the stores. Whenever someone on a blog announced they were pregnant, I wanted to reach through the computer, grab at them, and tell them that not everyone was so lucky, and couldn’t they be more sensitive?!?!? After a year, we sucked it up and got tested. Assured by close family and friends that there was probably nothing wrong, we found out there was something wrong. Our chances of natural conception dropped to single digit percents, and we were referred to a specialist.

One meeting later, and we had a plan. A good plan, and a rather non-invasive plan at that, all things considered. Thanks to healthy sperm and my new-found Thyroid medication working like a charm {did you know a Thyroid problem can keep you from ovulating?!?!?}, we were good candidates for artificial insemination. No egg extraction, which was good, but I’d still have to take hormone shots daily, which made me nervous. But we couldn’t start all that yet. Thanks to a one-month stint with Clomid {an ovulation-stimulating pill} I had two huge cysts in my uterus which had to be shrunk, so for two more months we waited, hoping we’d be ready to start.

A note about the hormone shots – if you’re experiencing infertility, don’t let the idea of shots scare you off. I was petrified, and so was Zach – he was the one who had to shove a needle into my butt once a day, after all! Truly, they do not hurt much at all though, and I’m a pretty big wimp. The shot spot will get sore, and you’ll start to act like a crazy person, but the shots themselves will not hurt. I was super scared, and for no reason. -

During this time – the tests, the shots – I kept a journal. In it, I wrote things like:

I don’t deal well with surrender, and this whole process feels like a boatload of surrender to me.

This is our fourteenth month of trying to have a baby. Fourteen months of hoping that we’d be able to call our parents and tell them they were going to be grandparents. Fourteen months of crying in the bathroom as I got my period, and then pretending I was fine with it, that we were fine with it. Fourteen months of starting and finishing other big projects because we need something, anything to keep our minds and our hands occupied while we wait to be given this gift we so long to receive.

I’m just so tired of all the thinking and waiting and hoping and wondering, of watching as people all around me have babies and play with their children, and I wonder if I’m meant to do this at all.

Insemination Day. It wasn’t a big deal, really. Went in, got sperminated, then went home and chilled. I thought it would be … more. More of what, I don’t know, but more somehow.

Last night we bought 3 pee sticks. Yes, we’re not supposed to pee on a stick until Thursday morning, and then a possible blood test, but we couldn’t wait.
 
A note to all the fertility doctors out there – you know we’re all buying pregnancy tests even though you tell us not to, right?!

After the first round of shots, we were beside ourselves. The day of insemination came and went pretty uneventfully, which was a nice change after so much stress and drama. We were sent home with a pregnancy test and told not to take it until the day written on the bag.

Stressed ten times, DO NOT TAKE UNTIL THE DAY WRITTEN ON THE BAG.

Three days before the date written on the bag, we couldn’t stand it, and picked up a three-pack of tests. I peed on one that night, and the other two the next two mornings. All three turned happily positive.

We spent the next ten weeks heading to our doctor every two weeks for blood tests, ultrasounds, and reassurances that all is working out exactly as it should. While our chances at multiples were much higher, we have only one healthy little monster growing inside me, and for that we are thankful – how do parents of twins do it?! I am relishing every second of this pregnancy – the nausea, the sleeping constantly, the already having to pee every hour on the hour.

I know that this will most likely be the only time I experience this, even if we grow our family past three, so I’m taking every moment of it in for the blessed gift that it is. For it is a gift, and quite a nice one. Even if I will be super pregnant all summer!



A Few Notes: For those of you in the Omaha area, the doctor we saw was Dr. Meghan Oakes, who works in the same office as Dr. Maude Doherty – who is commonly referred to as “Maude The God”. They are both amazing, and I recommend them highly. For those of you with fertility-related questions, please feel free to e-mail them to me. I found that there is quite a bit of information online, but to get to it you have to weed through infertility forums that can get a bit – overwhelming – on their best days. It got so I couldn’t look at them, and I promise to not do that to you!

getting to baby

Getting to baby
{Us in July 2010, one year into trying to get pregnant}

-

Some people decide they want to start a family, and before they have time to think too hard on the decision, they’re pregnant. For some people it takes a little longer. Statistically, 87% of couples who want to conceive will do so within 12 months of starting to try.

We were not one of those couples.

We knew when we got married we wanted to start a family post haste. We were in our late 20’s/early 30’s, had been together for almost five years, and were ready to grow our family immediately. We figured if we started trying in July-ish after the wedding, we’d be pregnant by October at the latest. The one thing I was sure I didn’t want was to be super pregnant through the entire summer, so getting pregnant in late summer or early fall was what we shot for.

-

And then, nothing.

And then even more nothing.

-

After awhile, it stops being fun, the process of getting a kid. You start having to track things like ovulation cycles, thinking constantly about your next period, and wondering what’s taking so long.

-

I couldn’t even look at babies in the stores. Whenever someone on a blog announced they were pregnant, I wanted to reach through the computer, grab at them, and tell them that not everyone was so lucky, and couldn’t they be more sensitive?!?!?

After a year, we sucked it up and got tested. Assured by close family and friends that there was probably nothing wrong, we found out there was something wrong. Our chances of natural conception dropped to single digit percents, and we were referred to a specialist.

-

One meeting later, and we had a plan. A good plan, and a rather non-invasive plan at that, all things considered. Thanks to healthy sperm and my new-found Thyroid medication working like a charm {did you know a Thyroid problem can keep you from ovulating?!?!?}, we were good candidates for artificial insemination. No egg extraction, which was good, but I’d still have to take hormone shots daily, which made me nervous.

But we couldn’t start all that yet. Thanks to a one-month stint with Clomid {an ovulation-stimulating pill} I had two huge cysts in my uterus which had to be shrunk, so for two more months we waited, hoping we’d be ready to start.

-

A note about the hormone shots – if you’re experiencing infertility, don’t let the idea of shots scare you off. I was petrified, and so was Zach – he was the one who had to shove a needle into my butt once a day, after all! Truly, they do not hurt much at all though, and I’m a pretty big wimp. The shot spot will get sore, and you’ll start to act like a crazy person, but the shots themselves will not hurt. I was super scared, and for no reason.

-

During this time – the tests, the shots – I kept a journal. In it, I wrote things like:
 
I don’t deal well with surrender, and this whole process feels like a boatload of surrender to me.
 
-
 
This is our fourteenth month of trying to have a baby. Fourteen months of hoping that we’d be able to call our parents and tell them they were going to be grandparents. Fourteen months of crying in the bathroom as I got my period, and then pretending I was fine with it, that we were fine with it. Fourteen months of starting and finishing other big projects because we need something, anything to keep our minds and our hands occupied while we wait to be given this gift we so long to receive.
 
-
 
I’m just so tired of all the thinking and waiting and hoping and wondering, of watching as people all around me have babies and play with their children, and I wonder if I’m meant to do this at all.
 
-
 
Insemination Day. It wasn’t a big deal, really. Went in, got sperminated, then went home and chilled. I thought it would be … more. More of what, I don’t know, but more somehow.
 
-
 
Last night we bought 3 pee sticks. Yes, we’re not supposed to pee on a stick until Thursday morning, and then a possible blood test, but we couldn’t wait.

-  

A note to all the fertility doctors out there – you know we’re all buying pregnancy tests even though you tell us not to, right?!

-

After the first round of shots, we were beside ourselves. The day of insemination came and went pretty uneventfully, which was a nice change after so much stress and drama. We were sent home with a pregnancy test and told not to take it until the day written on the bag. Stressed ten times, DO NOT TAKE UNTIL THE DAY WRITTEN ON THE BAG.

Three days before the date written on the bag, we couldn’t stand it, and picked up a three-pack of tests. I peed on one that night, and the other two the next two mornings.

All three turned happily positive.

-

We spent the next ten weeks heading to our doctor every two weeks for blood tests, ultrasounds, and reassurances that all is working out exactly as it should. While our chances at multiples were much higher, we have only one healthy little monster growing inside me, and for that we are thankful – how do parents of twins do it?!

I am relishing every second of this pregnancy – the nausea, the sleeping constantly, the already having to pee every hour on the hour. I know that this will most likely be the only time I experience this, even if we grow our family past three, so I’m taking every moment of it in for the blessed gift that it is.

For it is a gift, and quite a nice one. Even if I will be super pregnant all summer!



A Few Notes:

For those of you in the Omaha area, the doctor we saw was Dr. Meghan Oakes, who works in the same office as Dr. Maude Doherty – who is commonly referred to as “Maude The God”. They are both amazing, and I recommend them highly.

For those of you with fertility-related questions, please feel free to e-mail them to me. I found that there is quite a bit of information online, but to get to it you have to weed through infertility forums that can get a bit – overwhelming – on their best days. It got so I couldn’t look at them, and I promise to not do that to you!

May 19, 2011

Introducing: Simple.Summer.Scarves!

Necklaces

Summer is soon upon us, and while I love to rock knitted items all year, it starts to seem silly as the heat climbs!

This summer, you can show off your love of hand-knit and hand-crochet items with these new simple.summer.scarves!

Yellow long worn

Crocheted using 100% cotton yarn or 100% bamboo yarn, these scarves feature four 20" long strands that can be worn long for a looser, breezy look {as seen in the photo above}, or be doubled up for closer-to-the-neck wear!

I've got thirteen simple.summer.scarves available in the shop - three in yellow cotton and five each in copper bamboo and grey bamboo! Each scarf costs $15, and looks great either worn long or wrapped around once for a shorter look.

Orange short worn

Grab your simple.summer.scarf today!

May 11, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday, week 2

Whew, the weather got hot in the past week! I ended up having to buy a pair of maternity shorts, although of course i didn't grab a picture of them last weekend!

Wiww may 6

We had "jeans day" last Friday, which I love ... I get to show off my "size 2's"! I definitely don't wear a size 2 when not pregnant, but for some reason the Old Navy maternity pants that fit me best are a size 2 ... trust me, I'm telling everyone, every time I wear them!

The top is Forever 21, and while it's non-maternity I'm pretty sure I'll be able to wear it for at least another month or two - yay for not having to buy as much stuff as I thought I would!

Wiww may 9

No cardigan today! Monday was super warm outside, so while I wore the cardigan a bit at work, I found I didn't need it as much! Sweet relief!

I have several dresses like this from Target - while this is the only solid-colored one, the cut of all four have been super forgiving through these six or so months of pregnancy. However, I'm quickly approaching the time when I'll either need to retire them for a few months, or pick up some knee-length leggings to wear underneath for modesty sake!

May 10

Please excuse the blurry photo here - it's the best I could do for some reason.

Can we talk about this skirt for a minute, please? I picked up a Groupon for American Apparel last fall, in the midst of our fertility treatments. I snagged this skirt and one other, and then hid them in the back of my closet, pulling them out only occasionally.

Silly girl - this skirt is magic!

It's a "sheer jersy shirred knee-length" skirt, although I assure you there's nothing sheer about it. The thing fits like a dream, and can be pulled up over the belly, worn under the belly, or rocked in the middle of the belly as I'm doing in the photo above.

I'm 5'2", so worn at my hips the skirt hits below my knees, but just by a teenie bit. Taller ladies could rock this above the knee with no issue. It's super comfortable, and I'm all but convinced I'll be able to wear it through most of this pregnancy without much of an issue!

Greatest Groupon purchase. EVER.

-

For those of you who are wondering, I've joined up with The Pleated Poppy for the remainder of my pregnancy {at least} to share what I've been wearing each week. Because I've got a small wardrobe, I wanted to share how I've been dressing my pregnant belly, my thoughts on which items you can take from pre-pregnancy to bump-dom and beyond, and how I'm faring in general with a minimalist wardrobe while pregnant.

I share my photos here {almost} every Wednesday - check out the wiww archives for more photos!

May 9, 2011

Traveller's Hat




pattern: Traveller's Hat, by Sue Jackson {free pattern!}

yarn: 1/2 skein I Love This Yarn worsted weight acrylic from Hobby Lobby, in mustard; 1/2 skein Red Heart Super Saver worsted weight acrylic yarn, in grey

needles: size US 8 / 5.0 mm

notes:

Although the weather has decided to skip right over spring and move towards summer, my hat knitting has not taken a break. I've moved from knitting a wide variety of other items {including baby items, yeesh!} to knitting hat after hat after hat!

While many of these hats are being boxed up for nest: Maine, I've decided to start working on some holiday knitting now - by the time fall comes and most other knitters are ready for their holiday knitting to begin, I'll have a teeny little one on my hands, decreasing my knitting time considerably.

Thus, the first hat to be added to my "for someone for Christmas" pile - the Traveller's Hat.

I made a few modifications to this hat, and were I to knit it again, I'd make a few more. First, I sized up my needles - the hat calls for sizes 3 and 6 needles {smaller for the brim, larger for the body}, but that produced not only super tight stitches but achy hands. Sized up to 8's, I felt much better.

I knit the hat according to pattern until the decreases, where I decreased over three rows instead of just one, decreasing down to 11 stitches instead of 44.

Were I to knit the hat again, I'd do the following:
  •  size 8's for the brim, size 10's for the body of the hat

  • decrease over 3 rows, but separate those three rows with three plain knitted rows. This would bring the top of the hat out nicer.
In all, loved the quick knit of this hat - definitely a great one for learning to work with different colors of yarn, and perfect for almost anyone on your gift list, depending on colors used.

Also? Their way of changing colors so you don't have jogged stripes? Easier than any other I've seen, and works like a charm - simply slip the first stitch of the row when you're changing colors! Easy peasy, and no jogged stripes!

Traveller's Hat




pattern: Traveller's Hat, by Sue Jackson {free pattern!}

yarn: 1/2 skein I Love This Yarn worsted weight acrylic from Hobby Lobby, in mustard; 1/2 skein Red Heart Super Saver worsted weight acrylic yarn, in grey

needles: size US 8 / 5.0 mm

notes:

Although the weather has decided to skip right over spring and move towards summer, my hat knitting has not taken a break. I've moved from knitting a wide variety of other items {including baby items, yeesh!} to knitting hat after hat after hat!

While many of these hats are being boxed up for nest: Maine, I've decided to start working on some holiday knitting now - by the time fall comes and most other knitters are ready for their holiday knitting to begin, I'll have a teeny little one on my hands, decreasing my knitting time considerably.

Thus, the first hat to be added to my "for someone for Christmas" pile - the Traveller's Hat.

I made a few modifications to this hat, and were I to knit it again, I'd make a few more. First, I sized up my needles - the hat calls for sizes 3 and 6 needles {smaller for the brim, larger for the body}, but that produced not only super tight stitches but achy hands. Sized up to 8's, I felt much better.

I knit the hat according to pattern until the decreases, where I decreased over three rows instead of just one, decreasing down to 11 stitches instead of 44.

Were I to knit the hat again, I'd do the following:
  •  size 8's for the brim, size 10's for the body of the hat

  • decrease over 3 rows, but separate those three rows with three plain knitted rows. This would bring the top of the hat out nicer.
In all, loved the quick knit of this hat - definitely a great one for learning to work with different colors of yarn, and perfect for almost anyone on your gift list, depending on colors used.

Also? Their way of changing colors so you don't have jogged stripes? Easier than any other I've seen, and works like a charm - simply slip the first stitch of the row when you're changing colors! Easy peasy, and no jogged stripes!

May 6, 2011

Vintage Notions Sale In My Shop Next Week!

Sale button

I can't believe I get to share these amazing finds with you! Beginning Sunday afternoon, I'll be uploading more than 20 listings of vintage notions, ric-rac, embroidery hoops, vintage knitting pattern books and more to the Minimalist Knitter Shop!

A few weeks ago, I was gifted some amazing vintage yarn to use for charity. Much of that yarn is being packed up and sent on to Trace for her work with the kids at Village of Hope, although I've saved out a few skeins for my own charity purposes as well.

Along with the amazing stash of vintage yarn, I also found scads of vintage notions and such in the bags! Because I won't use any of these supplies, I'm hoping to pass them on to you!

My plan is simple - I'm going to list the items in my Etsy shop beginning Sunday afternoon. Each listing will range in price from $1 to $5, with shipping costing no more than $2 an item - less if you order more than one thing!

50% of the proceeds from the sale of these items will go to fund Kiva.Org loans - I figure I can't really make money off stuff that was donated to me for charity use without feeling super guilty, so I'm going to do some good with the money I make!

I'm still taking photos of everything, dividing up all the ric rac packages and bagging items up, but here's a few sneak peeks to get you excited!

Sale 1

Sale 2

Sale 3

Sale 4

still not photographed?
  • a dozen or so more vintage knitting books and pamphlets

  • at least four embroidery hoops

  • a metric ton of vinage ric-rac, still in packages

  • lace and trim
I can't wait to get it all listed and share the wealth!



Want to hear about shop updates like this one, before I post them to the blog? Sign up for the Minimalist Knitter newsletter to get a monthly update, along with advance notice and cuopon codes whenever I have a shop update!

May 4, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday, Week 1

A few weeks ago, I asked Twitter if they'd like to see some shots of my minimalist maternity fashion, and the resounding answer was YES! I've been taking a few photos since then in the bathroom at work {hmm ....} and have decided to link up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy to share these shots with you once a week.

The goal of her WIWW posts is to share wardrobe choices from the week before. It's an effort not only to document clothing choices for me, but also a way to share my maternity "fashion sense" along with some ways you CAN go through a pregnancy without buying an entirely new wardrobe!

I had originally planned to do a long post about what I've chosen to bring into my maternity wardrobe, what's stuck around from before I got pregnant, and even give some tips and tricks to help out those of you who are pregnant.

I'll still be doing that, but in smaller incriments, and on a weekly basis! Somehow, it seems easier to me to share these photos once a week and talk a bit about these things each time than to come up with one huge post to share ...

All that said, here's my first What I Wore Wednesday!
Wiww1

Man, my belly grew a bunch, even over the course of just one week!

You may notice a few repeats here already ... the cardigan and the boots are regulars in my wardobe. In fact, I only own one cardigan right now, that grey one {from Forever 21}, so I wear it almost every day. Don't worry, I wash it on the weekends!

I also wear those boots {Target} a ton. In the wintertime, they are on my feet every single day, but now that it's getting warmer I'll be switching them out with my Toms {red shoes, middle photo} and even a pair of sandals now and again!

Of the three outfits, only two pieces are maternity - the jeans {Old Navy maternity skinny jeans} and the salmon-colored dress {also Old Navy maternity}. I've found all of my tee shirts still fit wonderfully, and I have five or six dresses that will still stretch over my belly for at least a few more weeks {like the one in the left photo, Target}!

My maternity fashion philosophy has been simple thus far - wear dresses and boots {or sandals!}. It's so easy to get ready in the morning, and because I began to wear dresses almost daily when I started Project 333 back in the fall, I've got plenty in my wardrobe! And because the dresses I picked up back then were more "flowy", I've been able to wear every single one of them all the way into my 23rd week!

My goal is to not have a completely new wardrobe to contend with in these next 20 weeks or so. With summer coming, I'm hoping I can just keep wearing the dresses I've got, the sandals already in my closet, and throw on my one cardigan when I get a bit chilly.

I've got a long pair of leggings {Walmart, non-maternity} that still fit great, and I may end up picking up a pair that hit just below my knees for those days when my non-maternity dresses seem a bit too short in the front.

See you back here next Wednesday for another round!

What I Wore Wednesday, Week 1

A few weeks ago, I asked Twitter if they'd like to see some shots of my minimalist maternity fashion, and the resounding answer was YES! I've been taking a few photos since then in the bathroom at work {hmm ....} and have decided to link up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy to share these shots with you once a week.

The goal of her WIWW posts is to share wardrobe choices from the week before. It's an effort not only to document clothing choices for me, but also a way to share my maternity "fashion sense" along with some ways you CAN go through a pregnancy without buying an entirely new wardrobe!

I had originally planned to do a long post about what I've chosen to bring into my maternity wardrobe, what's stuck around from before I got pregnant, and even give some tips and tricks to help out those of you who are pregnant.

I'll still be doing that, but in smaller incriments, and on a weekly basis! Somehow, it seems easier to me to share these photos once a week and talk a bit about these things each time than to come up with one huge post to share ...

All that said, here's my first What I Wore Wednesday!
Wiww1

Man, my belly grew a bunch, even over the course of just one week!

You may notice a few repeats here already ... the cardigan and the boots are regulars in my wardobe. In fact, I only own one cardigan right now, that grey one {from Forever 21}, so I wear it almost every day. Don't worry, I wash it on the weekends!

I also wear those boots {Target} a ton. In the wintertime, they are on my feet every single day, but now that it's getting warmer I'll be switching them out with my Toms {red shoes, middle photo} and even a pair of sandals now and again!

Of the three outfits, only two pieces are maternity - the jeans {Old Navy maternity skinny jeans} and the salmon-colored dress {also Old Navy maternity}. I've found all of my tee shirts still fit wonderfully, and I have five or six dresses that will still stretch over my belly for at least a few more weeks {like the one in the left photo, Target}!

My maternity fashion philosophy has been simple thus far - wear dresses and boots {or sandals!}. It's so easy to get ready in the morning, and because I began to wear dresses almost daily when I started Project 333 back in the fall, I've got plenty in my wardrobe! And because the dresses I picked up back then were more "flowy", I've been able to wear every single one of them all the way into my 23rd week!

My goal is to not have a completely new wardrobe to contend with in these next 20 weeks or so. With summer coming, I'm hoping I can just keep wearing the dresses I've got, the sandals already in my closet, and throw on my one cardigan when I get a bit chilly.

I've got a long pair of leggings {Walmart, non-maternity} that still fit great, and I may end up picking up a pair that hit just below my knees for those days when my non-maternity dresses seem a bit too short in the front.

See you back here next Wednesday for another round!

May 3, 2011

Baby Shell Pattern Winners!

Thanks to all of you who entered to win a Baby Shell pattern ... the winners have now been selected! The two winners are ...

Corvidae, who said "What a great baby pattern! Added it to my Ravelry queue -- if I don't win it, I will definitely be purchasing for all the babies my friends keep having! :)"

and Karen, who said "I just "liked" Carey's facebook.... She's got some really cute wee things!"

Ladies, I've e-mailed you both, along with Carey, so if you don't see an e-mail from me soon, shoot me an e-mail at rmcdevine@gmail.com

Congrats again, and for those who didn't win this time, I hope to have more giveaways soon!

May 2, 2011

thoughts at 22 weeks

+ My gait has officially begun to change. While I'm definitely not "waddling" yet, I can feel my steps are a bit wider {as are my hips, I'd imagine} and I'm definitely working my way towards waddling.  

+ The nesting desire comes in waves now. For example, where I used to not care a lick about how many cleaning products we have under the kitchen sink, the other day I cleared it all out, organized everything, and made notes for the future.

+ Also, nothing is being spared my critical "do we really need this crap" eye. I find myself wanting to donate or toss almost everything in our home, and am plotting ways to do this while Zach isn't watching so he doesn't miss things.

 + The babe still has no room. We're turning our guest room into the nursery, but as it's still got a queen-sized bed in it, there's not really room for any sorting or decorating with regards to baby stuff. However ...  

+ The crib is ordered and on it's way! Sometime soon we're hopefully getting the guest room cleared out, in other words, to make room for the crib. Next will be a dresser, and then the fun stuff will begin!

+ I am less and less inclined to want to do or say or think anything that doesn't directly relate to this kid, our home, or my family. It's a strange twist, and one I'm still settling into. About the only other thing that still holds my attention is charity knitting, thankfully!



Now that I'm past the halfway point, my big goal is to make it past 30 weeks - at 30 weeks pregnant my mom had my little brother, and despite weighing under 3 pounds and being in the NICU for two months, he simply needed to grow and turned out perfectly fine. In my mind, if I can make it past the "Dan threshold" the rest is an added little bonus for both the babe and I. Don't get me wrong here ... I'm not looking to deliver 10 weeks early, and don't imagine most preemies that small have so little obstacles. I'm just being honest about my head space when I think about this kid, this pregnancy, and my fears and such. Or maybe I'm just trying to pretend I might not actually have to be pregnant all. summer. long. Blech!



Over the next few weeks I plan to keep taking shots of my clothing when I think of it - in the bathroom at work, in the bathroom at the bookstore, pretty much anytime I'm around a bathroom mirror I guess! I asked Twitter if they'd like to see my minimalist pregnancy wardrobe, and after a resounding YES PLEASE I'm trying to comply. I don't have much fashion sense as it were, and get most of my clothes at either Target or Old Navy, but a peek at a closet not stuffed to the gills of all new clothes for these few months when my belly will expand to dramatic proportions could be fun! For now, as I take the photos I'll be uploading them to Flickr and my "minimalist maternity fashion" set. I hope to do a post sharing thoughts, specifics, and the like at some point between late May and mid-June.