The Musings of One Miss Julie

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Realization

I'm not sure what it means yet, and perhaps it's nothing, but I discovered the other day that the difference between how I approach knitting now that I've been doing it for a while as compared to how I approached it when I was just learning is something worth pondering.

When I first learned, I had this voracious, unstoppable hunger to learn and experiment. I wasn't afraid to make mistakes since I knew they were pretty much unavoidable. When knitting instructions read like Greek, I boldly forged ahead, convinced of my ability to figure it out simply by doing. The most exciting element during that time was that I dabbled in created my own wee designs for things. Nothing fancy, but I didn't run for a pattern for inspiration all the time.

Then all the sudden, I became a more competent knitter. The fear set in and so did the inhibition. Yarn I had on hand couldn't be used because, God forbid, it might be better served for another future project (read: I might screw it up). I got scared about experimenting. And worse, I got lazy. When a problem seemed insurmountable, the project got stashed in a bag, and I started developing unhealthy levels of shame.

Lately, though, now that the girls are older and I'm not feeling sapped to the very core, I've been reinvigorated to start some projects. I've always been a habitual starter in all of my areas of interest. (That explains the two-foot-high stack of books on my nightstand; I really am reading all of them.)

It feels good to knit an impromptu project out of a practical need. My new glamour-girl sunglasses were getting scratched in my handbag, so why not knit a case for them? I dug into the stash and found a funky blue yarn I'd bought ages ago and dove in. I've finished the knitting and now need to stitch it up. I've been having fun thinking about other ways to adorn the case so that it won't be overshadowed by the rhinestone-studded glasses.

I know I still have a long way to go in unpacking my hang-ups and just relaxing, but this feels like a positive first step.

* * * *

It's Gracie's turn to star in the Gratuitous Photo this episode.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Quiet Re-Entry

Since I've been away so long, it's rather ridiculous even to attempt to catch up my zero readers with what's been going on while I was away. And since I have zero readers, and I already know what I've been doing for all this time, it only reaffirms my point.


I've been doing a bit of sewing lately. I'm not to the sewing part just yet, but I did cut out a wee romper for Megan the other day. I'm using
Butterick pattern 4966, the little ruffly-sleeved shortalls shown in yellow in the illustration.

I found a lovely, funky-mod geometric circle patterned seersucker cotton in my favorite shades of lime green and pink. I found
this photo of the fabric at the Hancock Fabrics site, and while it doesn't do the print justice, it's a taste. The fabric speaks to my Lilly Pulitzer-loving soul.

It's been loads of fun creating something again, but based on some disappointing past experiences with fitting, I'm crossing my fingers so hard I'm losing circulation hoping that the outfit won't make my 19-month-old Megan look like a barge.

Here's a picture of my dill, Meg, experiencing the joys of Play-Doh for the first time today.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Cold Shoulder

Remember this little number? I last posted about it in January 2006. Whew.

Cable Vest with Flarey-Flare Shoulders

Well, that flarey-flarey shoulder ribbing bit the dust today. It was my first-ever rip-out of that proportion (not that nothing I've ever made didn't deserve to be ripped out, I just put items that need it in my procrastination pile). I will wear the sweater vest this fall. The shirts that I bought to wear with it are getting faded in the wash and won't look so fabu if I don't finish the vest soon.

I figured out where I went wrong with the sweater. Truthfully, more than just the ribbing should be undone and redone, but it's just too heartbreaking to contemplate. When I chose the size I made, I based it on fitting my volumptuousness, and as a result, the shoulders are way too big. So, I'm going to do some fancy knitting-sewing hybrid moves to shape it up and hopefully have a garment that's more flattering.

When I pick up the stitches again for the shoulders, I'll keep even with the edge under the armholes, but as I move up toward the shouler I'll start tapering in a few rows so that I'm essentially creating a hefty seam allowance. I'm going to forego the ribbing altogether and do two or three rows of garter stitch, which will match the neckband. That will create a smaller frame for the arms and help, too. When all the knitting is done, I'll pull out my serger and serge and trim the excess from the seam allowance.

My next step is to mark the line I'm going to follow as I pick up stitches. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

* * *

In baby news: Last night we took the girls to their first drive-in movie, hoping they'd sleep through it so Scott and I could enjoy an evening out with family in tow. Gracie decided sleeping was out of the question, and therefore enjoyed the bulk of Transformers right along with us. Good times.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Summer Lament, Author Envy, and My Girls

It's hardly original of me to say, "Gee! Is it the end of June already?" But that's where I'm at tonight. I'm loving summer and hating it at the same time -- hating it because it's so fleeting in Michigan.

I've been a busy girl lately, but that's not so original either. At the beginning of June, I went to New York for work. It was my first trip to Book Expo America, a super-huge publishing industry extravaganza, and only my second trip to New York.

Even though I work for Borders and, as a result, have fairly regular access to acclaimed authors and musicians, I never stop appreciating how cool it is to meet such interesting people. While at the conference, I attended a wonderful, but rather surreal, publisher party in which Caroline Kennedy, Kristin Gore, and Dog the Bounty Hunter were standing in the same room with each other. I was too shy to speak with Caroline Kennedy and I didn't see Kristin Gore until I was leaving, but I did meet Dog, and he's a terrifically personable guy with some great stories.

The true highlight of my weekend was meeting a children's author I adore: Kate DiCamillo. During one of the daytime sessions I was invited to attend, I walked into a small booth with several of my coworkers and was introduced to a man named Gregory Maguire. I knew I was going to meet Kate, but didn't pause to consider who Mr. Maguire was until it dawned on me that this man was the Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and any other number of fantastic reimagined fairy tales and mythologies. We talked all about his upcoming book, What-the-Dickens, in which he imagines the civilization of tooth fairies. Brilliant stuff. And he was so nice and smart and funny and altogether likable that I think I might put him on my annual Christmas card list. (He'll probably wonder who this weirdo girl is who's sending him cards, but alas, he made an impression on me even if it wasn't reciprocal.)

Then I met Kate. It was my second time meeting her, actually, because she gave a reading at my office and she signed a book for me. I'm sure I was just one amongst the sea of faces she encounters at such events, so I'll not hold it against her for not immediately recognizing me. (Perhaps I should be glad that I'm not that recognizable.) We talked, we exchanged curly-hair tips, and then I got to read her upcoming picture book, Great Joy!. Beautiful stuff. She's also smart and funny and fabulous and has a wonderful ability to see things and describe what she see using words that show rather than tell. She also comes up with perfect names for her characters, like Edward Tulane (a china rabbit), Mercy Watson (an incorrigible pig who loves to eat hot, buttery toast), and Winn-Dixie (a beloved dog). Maybe I'll be as good at writing when I grow up. Sigh.

Anyway, I also did a bit of knitting while I was there. So I post a photo of my first-ever sock, in progress. There are cables there, but the yarn makes them tricky to see. The colors of the yarn aren't my favorite, but the texture is nice, and I'm having a good time knitting it. All is well.

I also include a gratuitous photo of the girls.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Long Time Coming

I didn't want to let an entire year lapse before posting again. Is anybody still out there?

Life has been busy for me, to say the least, these last months. Here's a summary:

-- Scott and I went on what could be our last lengthy and unfettered vacation in July 2006.
-- We welcomed our most perfect creations ever -- Grace Elizabeth and Megan Anne -- into the world on August 31. Twins!
-- The first 12 weeks of their lives (and subsequently the length of my maternity leave) passed in a whirl of joy, exhaustion, emotional turmoil, and new-parent anxiety. I really learned what I was made of during that time.
-- I went back to work the Monday after Thanksgiving. Scott and I traded duties: He stays home with the girls and I support our family.
-- Until just recently, I spent most of my days doing the same thing: Working really hard, rushing home to be with the girls and help Scott, put the girls to bed, finally give in to my own exhaustion.
-- I'm finally getting my grip, which is probably helped along by the improved weather. I've started to find reserves of energy and creative drive that allow me to read or knit for longer than 5ish minutes at a time. I'm up to about 10-minute stints now, woo-hoo!
-- And now today, we took the girls out flower shopping. They helped us choose some petunias, geraniums, African daisies, and impatiens to spruce up the lawn. Gracie took a nap at the greenhouse, but Megan was all agog.

Life is full and wonderful (though some days are wonderfuller than others, if I'm completely honest). I am blessed.

Meet Gracie and Megan, left to right.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Joints of This Blog Are a Bit Creaky

Whew! I sure didn't think it would be more than 4 months before I posted again.

So much has happened in that span, I'll have to offer a brief summary:
-- We had a great trip to Florida with the fam in March
-- On March 23, I went in for an ultrasound to check out some things the doctor was concerned about. Turns out there was nothing worrying -- just TWINS!
-- Scott and I spent many hours together soul-searching, reflecting, and generally laughing at the magnanimous change in our lives that our two little Doublemints are going to bring.
-- In early May, our home was broken into. The thievery wasn't upsetting so much as the sickening feeling of violation. Also, we think the robbers did something to Groucho because he just hasn't been the same dog since.
-- In early June, Groucho the Wonderpooch, the world's happiest, friendliest, spunkiest dog turned on Scott and bit him. That still has us seriously freaked out as we think about bringing two little ones into the house. We're keeping a close watch on him, clamping down on the discipline and training, and trying to understand what happened. We both think the break-in had something to do with it.
-- Also in early June, we learned that the two Doublemints are in fact two little girls. Ruffle-butt bloomers, here we come!
-- Just yesterday Scott and I returned home from a week at his family's cottage on Lake Huron where I enjoyed lounging and generally exploiting my Queen Bee Pregnant Lady status.

I've been doing some knitting, though not much. I did finish two cutie little fruit hats for the girls, but I can't post photos just yet because our digital camera was amongst the items the burglars walked away with.

In the meantime, life continues along quite happily. I keep thinking to myself that I must have been born for this pregnancy stuff. I feel really great, my body feels more in its element than ever before, and I've got a blissfully content frame of mind. It's lovely.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Dusting Off Ye Olde Blog...

...but not for long.

Yep, I took a break. But I've got happy news to share.

Those January blahs I reported last time were as much to do with the fact that it was January and blah-ish but also because I was experiencing the fatigue and other symptoms common in the early weeks of pregnancy.

It's true. At the end of January Scott and I learned the happy news that our wee household would soon be adding another member. I anticipate that September 2006 is going to open a whole new world to me for the rest of my life, and I couldn't be happier about it.

So far things are progressing just fabulously. Other than weeks of unbelievable tiredness and some other mild symptoms, I've felt pretty good. I express my gratitude almost every day that I don't feel nauseous and have experienced no morning sickness.

Last week Scott and I heard our baby's heart beat. All we could do was clutch at each other's hands, get misty in the eyes, and try not to blubber uncontrollably in front of the doctor. It was all so beautiful and magical.

Now that I'm feeling more like myself again, with renewed energy and vigor, I figured it was time for a post. But it will be another shorter -- I hope much shorter -- span before I write again. Tomorrow Scott and I head to Orlando for a full-blown family trip. My folks rented a place where we can all fit, so we're heading down to meet my sis, my brother and his wife, and my parents for what should be a blast of familial good times.

In the meantime, I know I'm going to battle sleeplessness tonight as I 1) worry about whether the Northwest Airlines pilots are going to strike, thereby preventing a smooth beginning to my trip and 2) try to get my childish excitement about going to Disney World under control. "It's a Small World" here I come!