Wednesday, July 23, 2008

play ball... and run like hell

About a month ago, my husband got a notice from work that in a few weeks his company would be having a barbecue at McCoy Stadium (home of the Boston Red Sox's minor league team, the Pawtucket Red Sox), complete with free tickets to a game. We decided it would be a fun time and penciled it in our planners (um... okay, I wrote it on the calendar. In crayon, 'cause it's all I could find. And I didn't exactly remember to send in the response on time, but that didn't matter because Hubby's work reminded him. The point is, we were all set to go to the game, all right? Geez, stop criticizing and focus here, people). A few days before we were to go see the Sox, it was announced that David Ortiz (a.k.a. Big Papi) would be playing a few games in Pawtucket as part of his rehab for a recent wrist injury. Well, it turns out he would be playing on the night we were there. This was cool for a number of reasons. First, I love the Red Sox. Not that I'm a big sports person, but I'll admit that I'd rather watch a baseball game than a football one (sorry, Amy), and I believe in rooting for the home team, even when they couldn't win a game to save their lives. And, since I grew up five minutes from McCoy, minor league games were a regular summer event for my family, so it's always nice when I get to go back. Also, Big Papi is a legend in these parts. He's an incredible hitter, and he just seems like such a big lovable teddy bear of a guy; he's become one of our favorite players (although I'll admit to being partial to Jonathan Papelbon as well. That guy's just nuts; I love when he dances to the Dropkick Murphys' song on the field after a big win). And of course, there's the fact that Hubby and I rarely get to take Big Sister out without Magic Baby tagging along. (I decided, since the game was at night, and since the game was sold out thanks to Big Papi, that bringing a 2-year-old was a bad idea.) All in all, it seemed like a fun, inexpensive (unless you factor in all the food a pregnant woman must consume during the course of a game) time and we were all excited to go.

Here's a recap of our Big Trip to McCoy.

Here's Big Papi stretching before the game. Our seats were behind the outfield, which affords a great view... if you don't mind looking at baseball players' backsides, and if you don't mind flying objects coming directly at you.

Here's The Man (at his third at bat) hitting a home run. I love being able to say I saw Big Papi hit a home run. It's one of those stories I can't wait to tell my grandchildren. Yeah, I'm like that.

Here's a view of the stadium, right before the spontaneous thunder, lightning and wind started. We tried to stay to watch Big Papi's fourth at bat, but something about standing on the metal bleachers right under the lights while lightning struck nearby didn't seem like a safe idea to me. So we left, and (of course), just as we exited the stadium, the sky opened up. Torrential rain. Lightning and thunder simultaneously (not a good sign). And the group of us running down the street, dragging our screaming eight-year-old, looking for my dad's car, because parking had been so bad we decided just to have him drop us off and pick us up, which would have been a great idea, had not the heavens decided to surprise everyone with a sudden storm. Quite a picture, no?

Once we were safely out and had collected the boy (and dried off), I started thinking about the game, though, and realized a few things. While it's true that metal bleachers and a pregnant woman are not the best combination, and while the wonderfully unhealthy stadium food was, well, unhealthy, and while the storm was unexpected, a nuisance, and a little scary... overall it made for a great night. Good memories were made, and good times were had by all, and really, isn't that the point? So I guess, while it wasn't exactly a perfect night (did I mention it was way too hot to knit?), it was pretty darn close. And I'm glad to have gotten a chance to be there. Lightning and all.

Monday, July 14, 2008

let there be knitting

Recently, MadMad published a post on her blog in which she admitted to sometimes possibly not being a perfect knitter. Now, I'm not one to judge, but honestly, I can't figure out where she's coming from. Take my knitting, for instance. Early on in this pregnancy, I took a hiatus from all things woolen, as I was too tired to even contemplate picking up the needles. More recently, though, I've had a bit more energy and have of course devoted that to housework. No, I'm just kidding. I devoted the extra energy to knitting, of course! Care to see what I've been up to?

First, I made the Baby Cargo Pants from Knitty, and while I did not take the time to check my gauge, I think they came out okay (if a little smaller than I would have liked, but that's my own fault for tempting the knitting goddess, right?).

(I apologize for the darkness of all the pictures in this post. I really have to start taking my knitting pics during the day.)

Project Specs-
Pattern: Baby Cargo Pants from Knitty
Yarn: Di.Ve' Zenith (an incredibly soft, squishy merino that I absolutely love and which happens to be on sale at Webs right now!
Started: June 3, 2008
Finished: June 18, 2008
Comments: The pattern calls for cargo pockets to be added, but I decided to wait until the baby's born. If it's a boy, I'll add pockets, if it's a girl, I'll probably embroider little flowers or something. Also, the original pattern calls for elastic to be added to the waistband, but I used ribbon instead.
I love this pattern because it's the first time I got to make a hem. If you haven't tried this, I highly recommend it. It is way cool.
Next up, a winter bunting-thingey for the new baby. I knew going in to this that there were quite a few problems with this pattern, including some with gauge, so I actually knit a gauge swatch, followed the errata listed on Ravelry and proceeded to knit. I even knit both legs at once, because surely the knitting goddess, who smiled favorably upon my last project even though I so blatantly disregarded any notion of gauge, would be benevolent once more, since I had actually knit a gauge swatch this time.

Of course, you know what happened.

I got almost halfway done with the front when I finally faced the fact that the dern thing was a bit too small. Just a little, mind you, as this picture shows.
'Cause newborns generally have 4 1/2 inch legs, right?

Yep, that one got frogged. I swear I'll try again, though. I mean, the kid has to wear something in the cold. Plus I really like the yarn, the legendary Cascade 220 (which I bought at Webs during their awesome, spectacular spring sale, the same day I saw the Yarn Harlot and got to meet a bunch of bloggy friends in person).

While I gathered my courage to figure out what the hell went wrong with the baby bunting (I mean I had a gauge swatch, people!) I decided to start Magic Baby's winter jacket, since he so rudely outgrew the last one I made for him.

I'm using Cascade Ecological Wool and Zoe Mellor's Robin Hood pattern. The yarn (which I also purchased on that wonderful trip to Webs) is much softer than I originally thought, which is good. It was also a really great price (ah, Webs, how I love thee) and since it's 100% wool, should definitely be warm enough for the boy. The pattern itself is all cabley (interesting without being too confusing for a pregnant woman to follow) and I really really like it. (My original plan was to knit myself a Central Park Hoodie so we'd sort of match but not too much- that would be creepy. I think I'll wait 'til next year, though, as I am roughly the size of a small country at the moment and refuse to knit anything for myself using my current proportions.)

The back knit up nicely.

As did the front left panel, and most of the front right (which is where I am at the mo').

I am now at the point where I'm almost out of yarn. See, when I originally bought it at Webs, I got enough to make the jacket if I used one strand of the yarn at a time, but when I knit the gauge swatch (there I go again, being all proper in my knitting) I found out that I actually had to use two strands held together. Now, most of you in a similar circumstance may have come to the conclusion that you needed to order more yarn before you were this far into the project, but I was in denial for a bit. Now, though, I'm almost done with the right front side and have maybe half a ball left. I'm guessing that's not enough to make two sleeves and a hood, so I'm going to go ahead and order that extra yarn now. Yep, I'm nothing if not proactive.

While I'm waiting for the order to come in, let me clue you in on some "design elements" I inadvertently added to the pattern.

Notice anything?

See how the left-side button band is ribbed and the right is moss stitch? Well in the original pattern, they were supposed to match. Where's the fun in that, though? Instead, I figured I'd misread the pattern entirely get a little funky with it and hope to god the ribbing doesn't stretch too much because there's no way I'm dropping and reknitting all those stitches.

Also, I decided that instead of casting off the shoulders and sewing them together later, I'd just use the three-needle bind off. I'm really proud of how that worked.

Did you know you're supposed to work the three-needle bind off on the wrong side of the knitting? Yeah, that'll need to be fixed, although it did make a very straight line of stitches.

In conclusion, I'd like to tell my dear friend MadMad that she should hang in there with her knitting and not consider herself a failure just because she made one sweater that looks like a cat hacked furballs all over it. I mean, with enough time and patience, she too could be knitting up such wonders as The Baby Bunting of Tom Thumb and The Mismatched Winter Jacket With The Painfully Obvious Seam. I'm living proof that any knitter can be a good knitter. All it takes is a little practice.

Seriously, are those for the same kid?!