The title is exactly what Althea was thinking the whole time I put her on this strange man’s lap and took photos of her.  She was also happy to suck on the candy cane through the wrapper.  I took it away soon after, because I’m the mean type of Mum that doesn’t let her baby eat plastic wrap. 

Hey look at what she is wearing!  It is a Little Sister Dress!.  I made it from a wonderful skein of Blue Moon Rocking Sock.  I just knit the 1 year size, and kept going until I ran out of yarn.  It is nice and wide, and should fit for awhile to come.  It does roll on the bottom, so I’ve been thinking about taking out the bottom two inches and putting some ribbing in instead.  We’ll see if and when I get around to that.  I have many plans and things I need to do for Christmas, and again we’ll see what I get around to.  I have the week off between the holidays, but since I really, really, need to recharge I’m trying not to plan too much.  I’ve been sprinting full tilt since I went back to work 5 months ago, and I need some quiet down time to just concentrate on Althea, and not worry too much about anything else. 

 At least Althea has her Christmas day outfit ready to go.  We won’t mention the pink sparkly dress with matching bolero and fake fur collar her GGM got her, she can wear that on Christmas Eve.  Mr. J is particularly horrified by the fake gem belt.  Toddlers and Tiara’s here we come!


How Did I do in SSS?

December 11, 2011

Finally, an update on Single Skein September – in December!!  The good news is that I did pretty well, plus I won a prize in the contest!  I finished two little baby sweaters:

 The first is a baby surprise jacket a la Elizabeth Zimmerman, and the second is a vintage pattern.   I used Noro Silk Garden sock yarn (which makes horrible socks, and incredible baby jackets) and Berrocco Comfort for the second.  The latter makes wonderful baby garments.  Althea was around 7 months old in this photo, and the little cardigan fit perfectly- for about 2 weeks.  But it was a glorious 2 weeks filled with a cute little yellow cardigan.  The arms were a bit tight, so they could have used around 2-4 more stitches per. 

I even won a prize!  Every person who had completed at least one project with a single skein entered that project into the Stash and Burn forum, and a random number generator picked me!  I won a lovely prize, a skein of aspen sock from Western Sky Knits in Montana in colourway Barnwood.  I am really, really digging their colourful yarns, and would love to get some to make a cute dress or (bigger) cardigan for Althea once the finances are in shape again. 


December 6th- An anniversary of a tragedy, which I like to mark each year with some thoughts on women engineers.  Last year I talked about the benefits having women engineers could bring.  This year I had a multitude of ideas, but focused in on one: are things changing?  Is this old boys club really becoming a gender neutral, equal for all club?  The short answer is things are changing, but I wouldn’t call it gender neutral, equal for all just yet.

When I first left the doors of my university in 1997 and into my career in water treatment I quickly came face to face with decidedly non gender neutral language.  In all my jobs I write technical operating manuals, and normally one is given previous manuals to modify for a new job.  “He”, “Man Machine Interface”, “Man”, “workman”. etc. etc. etc.  Back then I changed the manuals for my company, without asking permission, without them really knowing, and used gender neutral language.  Why?  So that I would feel included that is why.  If I’m operating a water plant and must use the “Man Machine Interface” or “MMI”, do I need to ask a man to push the buttons for me, or can I push them my own damn self?  The industry now uses “HMI” or “Human Machine Interface”.  See, we can all operate water plants now!  Instead of man or workman, Operator works very well.  After all I’ve met a few excellent female water treatment plant operators in  my time.  I did this in my next company, and the next.  After that I was writing my own manuals from scratch, which I’ve done at the last 3 companies I’ve worked at, and they now have very gender neutral, inclusive documentation. 

Things have gotten better in the years since I graduated, but not perfect.  Not by a long stretch.  Around 4 years ago I found myself phoning a person asking if the e-mail SHE had written entitled “Gentleman” meant that I was not invited to their networking event, even though I was clearly on the list.  SHE was genuinely befuddled as to why I would have a problem with her language.  Just two weeks ago I got a quotation for a very large pre-fab building, one that is expensive and will make the company a healthy profit margin I’m sure.  It comes equipped with two Man-doors.  Does that mean I have to go in and out of the water treatment facility via the windows.  Only if they are people windows however.  I also recently answered a request for proposal (a company asks my company to quote on a water treatment plant, my job is to design it, cost it out, write out a process description and scope of supply, and fill out their documentation) in which I had to fill out their documentation.  Their documentation that stated very specifically that my company representative was male over, and over, and over.  I may have ranted a bit (a lot).  This implies to me that a company representative could not possibly be female (except I am) nor could fill out the documentation (except I was).  So what can I do?  I think the building manufacturer (who is our customer) will receive a bit of a chat.  I can’t do much about the other situations, as they are my customer, and gosh darn it they are right, now may I please have your money?  Can I get the man-doors changed to, let’s see “doors”?.  “Human doors?”.  “People doors?”.  The term must be gender neutral, but distinguish from the equipment doors.  Suggestions?

So why does the non-gender neutral language annoy me?  It is because it excludes me on a basis of my gender.  Even as I perform the same tasks, even when I’m the company representative, even when I can walk through a door.  It is a barrier that tells young women you do not belong, you are not welcome, you can’t play here.  When I left university in 1997 I didn’t believe this, and I still don’t, and that’s why I’m still changing things from the inside, even when companies don’t realize it is happening.  I’m opening doors, and I’m leaving them open behind me, just as women who have gone before me have done.  The old boys are retiring, and we play a different game.

 Let’s start with the less cute hat, my handspun hat.  I bought this handspun yarn at the Market Collective last year from a vendor named See Also.  The Market Collective is a gathering place for local artisans to sell their items in Kensington, Calgary.  I haven’t gone out to it since, but for handspun I would go back.  I made it a simple pattern, garter stitch for 3 inches, stocking stitch for 2.5 inches more, decrease.  I asked Mr. J if I should put a pom-pom on it and he said “of course” in a very patronizing way, what a silly question.  I have been loving this hat, it covers my ears, my forehead (yeah it gets that cold here that I need forehead coverage) it is holding its shape and hugging my head in a nice warm manner. 

Now for the cute hat!  Oh, so cute!  I think all hats should have ears don’t you?  The pattern is Paddington Bear, and I think anyone with a young child, or who knows a young child should pick up this pattern!  It is easy, and yields an adorable result.  I had to resize it a bit as I had bulky instead of chunky yarn, but this pink/brown colourway was perfect.  Once again I’m so glad I bought Big Merino Fleece Artist like a squirrel whenever I could and hid it away.  I still have 3 more colourways!  I just love this stuff and at $7 a ball it is a guilt-free pleasure.

 Another photo added for extra cuteness.  We had a foot of snow here on the weekend, and on Sunday we discovered that our stroller goes through that snow fairly easily.  They plow the path along the coulee immediately, so we just had to get out to that.  Althea has made her first snow angel, tasted snow, is getting used to her snow suit (a great find at Goodwill).  We should try tobogganing next!

Our little girl is over 10 months old now!  Time is a flying, and she is growing up before our astonished eyes.  Despite our best efforts to mess up, she is doing well.  Her recent feats are standing on her own for over 5 seconds, and walking around with us holding her hands.  She is also walking with a walker.  Her other interests involve banging things together, banging her head on walls etc. (anything that makes a satisfying “thunk”) giving Mummy’s belly raspberries, nursing, and being talkative.  She says Mama, Dada, Kitty, and many other sounds, plus a sign!  We found out she wants “more” of many things.  She even sings, after I sing a high note, she mimics me, which is adorable. Each night she says “baa baaa baa” then looks at me and waits, and I dutifully sing her Baa Baa Black Sheep about 20 times.   She has 8 teeth, and seems to be working on 4 more but no more have come through the gums yet.  Life is crazy hectic, I’m failing in so many areas, but she remains something we are doing well; growing a happy healthy little girl.