Well, no baby yet. We’re having to practice a great deal of patience waiting for this first grandchild. However, there should be news by midweek. The doctor has promised a baby by then, one way or another. Wednesday is Bill’s birthday, so we figure as long as we’ve waited this long, that sounds like a good day. But . . . babies have their own agenda.

My knitting has been the beneficiary of all this grandmotherly anxiety. I finished the Baby Wallaby and just have to darn in ends and graft the underarms. I was trying to decide what my next major project would be and spent a whole evening gazing fondly through books and magazines. I have always wanted to make Fulmar (from Starmore’s Fisherman Knits book) and gave it some serious thought until I calculated how much the yarn would cost me. Almost $100 using KnitPicks yarn and twice that using Starmore. Yikes! I was getting a little discouraged when I realized that I already had two major projects that had been languishing for quite a long time. I had spent about that much on yarn for each of them and decided they really deserved my attention. I’m glad I did! I had put Kongsberg away because I was stymied by the neckline. The pattern instructs you to bind off the middle neck stitches and then start working back and forth. Of course, we all know this is bogus because working back and forth in color pattern is, well , just wrong! But the pattern has you binding off a certain amount of stitches at the beginning and end of each row for about 20 rows. I couldn’t figure out how to do this with a neck steek. Thank goodness, Chery came to the rescue! I emailed her for advice and here’s what she suggested: Instead of binding off the stitches, just purl them. When you come around again, just incorporate the stitches above the purl into your steek. When I stitch before cutting, I will just follow the line of purl stitches and then after stitching will cut about 2 stitches above them, leaving a small seam allowance. Ingenious! Thanks Chery! Since this started making my steek pretty large, I decreased occasionally as I went along, making for a pretty odd looking steek, but it will mostly cut away. So without further ado, Kongsberg’s front:

Kongsberg1

And back:

Kongsberg2

I really love the back detail on this. And once I resolved the problem on the neck, I found myself getting very excited about it again. I guess you just have to give old projects a second chance. Also on the needles is Ingeborg. I started it as a knit along, but I think everyone else finished about 6 months ago. So it’s on to Kongsberg’s sleeves.

And for once, it’s a different model posing with my knitting. Don’t let this sweet little face fool you. Did you know that Corgis shed? A LOT!!! Actually, we were prepared for this. The breeder warned us, but also asssured us that it only happens twice a year. It’s manageable if we vacuum at least every day or so, and we even taken to vacuuming her. She doesn’t really seem to mind. It’s a good thing it’s spring and I’ve put my black away. But a little dog hair in the soup is a small price to pay for such a sweet friend.

Hester_kongsberg

And the lace goes on:

Pi_shawl1

Pi_and_kirby

I felt at a loss not having a lace project going, so I cast on for a new shawl. This is the yarn and pattern that I received as a gift at Camp Knitaway this year. We all bring a gift and they are totally random, so you don’t know what your wrapped gift contains when you pick it. But the lady that brought this said she thought of me as she was wrapping it. She was right on! Both the project and yarn are perfect for me. As you can see from the second picture, I have my usual model hogging the picture. It’s not that he actually likes having his picture taken – he just likes lying down on knitting, or quilting, or anything handmade. What can I say? The dog has taste!

At first I felt a little guilty casting on for yet another shawl. I mean, how many lace shawls does one person need? But then I read “Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much” and my guilt went away. If you haven’t read this book yet, you must!! I laughed out loud while reading it and was constantly telling my husband, “Put the tv on you hold – you gotta hear this!” He was quite patient with me and laughed in all the appropriate places.

I did finish knitting on the little Baby Wallaby – just need to darn in ends and graft the underarms. I’m not completely satisfied with the grafting on the hood, but I had to remind myself – this is a knitted sweatshirt for a toddler. How perfect does it have to be?

No baby news yet. But my son has an hour and a half phone interview for a new job on Wednesday, so I figure that sounds about the right time for baby to arrive – don’t you think? I have visions of him interviewing and taking occasional pauses to yell, “Push, Abby, push!” So please send positive thoughts and prayers toward England this week.

And . . . I did a little housekeeping on the blog today. I started a new photo album (check the sidebar) of finished projects. I still have more to add, but this is a good start. If nothing else, I need it to remind myself that I don’t just start projects – I DO finish them!

This week I have been blown away by the thoughtfulness and generosity of my co-workers. A little background first: for the past 19 years I have been the office manager for a children’s dental practice. This can be a difficult position at times – being supervisor to an office full of women. It’s hard to be “friends” and at times it seems that I’m kind of alone. This Wednesday we were supposed to have a staff meeting. I spent most of the morning working on the agenda. We had run a little late with the last patients and I was still finishing up at the computer when the ladies started walking in with all kinds of hot dishes. I was a little surprised – sometimes we have a potluck for staff meeting, but this wasn’t one of those times. I asked, “Are we having a potluck? I didn’t bring anything.” At this they all started laughing and the doctor walked in with a big bouquet of flowers. He said, “We all want you to know how much we love you. This is a “Grandma’s Baby Shower!” To say I was astonished is an understatement!! It took me a half an hour to stop crying. And it was all the more special because I never had a baby shower. When my son was born we had just moved to Alaska and didn’t know anyone. So this was my first baby shower ever.

And what a shower it was! The gifts were actually for me, not the baby. All of the ladies had gotten together over the last few months and made a scrapbook for me. This is not just any old scrapbook either. It was coordinated by our head dental assistant’s daughter, who does this professionally. But everyone made their own pages with their own personalities reflected in them. One page has the subject “TGIF” (This Grandma is Terrific). There is a set of two pages with a beautiful green background overlaid with vellum with the word “grandmother” in many different languages, and a matching page with “grandfather”. There is a page dedicated to the relationship between babies and dogs (you know I love dogs and so do my son and daughter-in-law), another about bathtime and one entitled “Families are Knit Together With Love” with a tiny little garter stitch swatch knit with fingering yarn and toothpicks! I could go on and on. All I have to do is supply the pictures! I have often thought about making a scrapbook, but have wondered where I would find the time. I am still in a state of shock and can’t think about it without puddling up again. I don’t think I will ever feel unappreciated at work again. And despite the fact that this is not the most flattering picture in the world, here I am, tears and all:

Shower_2

And here is Gracie (our head dental assistant’s granddaughter) in the sweater that I made for her. She is a little confused. First of all, she couldn’t understand why being happy made “Grandma Dorothy” cry, and secondly she thinks I am having the baby!

Shower_1

And lest you think that all this emotional upheaval has made me completely useless, I have my double pointed needles and have made progress on the Wonderful Wallaby:

Baby_wallaby1_2

More to come later – new lace and the Yarn Harlot’s book. I can’t put it down. Must go read more!

In the five minutes it was actually not raining this week I managed to get down to City Beach and get some nice spring pictures. This is what it looks like in my neck of the woods (between torrential rainstorms):

City_beach_405

City_beach_park_405

I’m really taken aback on a regular basis at what a beautiful place I get to live in.

Not much knitting accomplished this week because I’ve been working on Izzy’s quilt. I put the last stitches in today! All that’s left is to design and stitch on a label. I’ll get the basic design drafted out on the computer, but will wait until the baby’s born to put the final information on and print it out. You’re going to have to wait for a picture, though. Ben and Abby are regular readers of my blog and since I’ve published photos of all my knitting projects, I decided I wanted the quilt to be a surprise.

What little knitting I have done has been on the little Wonderful Wallaby sweater. I’m almost up to the armholes:

Baby_wallaby

It’s not really as grey as it looks in the picture. It’s actually a very pretty heathery blue with purple flecks in it. This is Plymouth Encore and I think I’ve mentioned before how much I like this yarn. It’s a perfect choice for something that’s going to worn a lot (especially by a child) and thrown in the washer. It’s got just enough wool in it so that it doesn’t feel like plastic in your hands.

Once again, however, I find myself stymied by the lack of needles: #7 double points for the sleeves. And once again my LYS has failed me by not having them in stock. At least this time I had the common sense to call before driving down there. But my sister has come to the rescue – she will get them at her LYS and my husband will pick them up when he sees her this week. He’s driving down to do some work for her company.

And I finished my class on Child Abuse – with an “A”. One class closer to my degree. Between finishing that and the quilt, I’ve completed everything that had a deadline before leaving for England. Anything else done is gravy! So glad to have the pressure off!!

The plan today was to go down to City Beach and take some pictures with the new camera to show you how beautiful it is in spring in the Northwest. Should have done it yesterday! It was beautiful, sunny, and in the high 50’s. Today it is overcast, cold and windy. Probably more typical weather for spring here, but not very conductive to picture taking. So instead you get model shots of the Pacific Northwest Shawl:

Pacific_northwest_shawl_3

Pacific_northwest_shawl_2

My husband says I look like Batgirl in the second shot, but I think it shows off the shawl nicely.

I’m still waiting on the needles so I can start the Wonderful Wallaby sweater. I can’t believe that with all the circular needles I have, I don’t have the right sizes. I also can’t believe that my LYS didn’t have them either and I had to mail order. The only yarn store on the island is quite small and only open limited hours. While it has a fairly decent supply of yarn, this was the first time I’ve needed needles (say that three times fast!) and was shocked at the paltry selection. I guess I could have gone off island, but they’ve been doing earthquake inspections of the bridge (for which I am eternally grateful) and traffic was down to one lane. Deception Pass is one of the most beautiful spots in the United States – go to this site to see some pictures. But it can be headache occasionally when you really want to go somewhere.

However, the break in knitting time has given me free time to work on the baby quilt. I realized that if I didn’t want to be panicking at the last moment, I really needed to get cracking on it. If I keep up this same pace I won’t have any trouble finishing it before we leave – only one month from tomorrow! I’m also finishing up my class on Child Abuse. I got the grade back on my term paper – 98 out of 100, plus 5 bonus points for handing it in early! Whew!! I told my husband I don’t know why I agonize so much over these papers, but maybe agonizing is why I get good grades.

And here is a picture of Kirby scoping out Hester. He hasn’t wanted much to do with her, but a few minutes ago I looked over and he was just sitting there, watching her sleep and wagging his tail. I think he figured she was safe if she was sleeping.

Kirby_scopes_hester

Another one bites the dust! The Pacific Northwest Shawl (designer Evelyn A. Clark) before:

Pnwshawlbefore

And after blocking:

Pnwshawlafter

Gratuitous pet photo at no extra charge.

I was surpised at how quickly this project went. I started it on February 28th and finished it last night – just a little over a month! And it wasn’t even the only project I worked on – I went to knitting camp and made a pillow, started and finished two baby surprise jackets, worked on a baby afghan and wrote a term paper. Plus keeping up with other schoolwork and working! No wonder I’m tired!

I can’t say this was the mostest fun project I’ve ever worked on. It certainly wasn’t a mindless knit – I had to keep the chart close by and marked off each row with a highlighter. There wasn’t a lot of instant gratification, either. The designs really didn’t pop out until I blocked it. And I can’t say I liked working on lace with size 6 needles. But I loved the yarn! Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud, two skeins of tide pool. Total cost – $7.98!!! Be still my cheapskate heart. All in all, I really like the finished product and am glad I did it.

Now I really, really need to get busy and finish the baby quilt before I find myself in a panic, stitching until midnight the week before we leave. It’s hard because I’m really in the mood to knit. My next knitting project will probably be the toddler size Wonderful Wallaby. By next week I’m hoping to have some really dynamite pictures for you. I just ordered a new digital camera – a Canon G6 (7.1. megapixels – woohoo). It’s probably more camera than I can handle, but I’d like to learn more about photography and since I got a bonus at work, figured this would be something both Bill and I would use a lot. After all, gotta have a really good camera to take pictures of the grandbaby – three weeks and counting!