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Jan 192017

One of the types of crafting things I was excited to work on when I was pregnant with Milo was ‘toddler busy activities.’  I spent hours and hours on Pinterest, oogling all of the fun busy activities that I anticipated would not only be fun for my toddler and I to play with, but that would also be fun for me to create.

Now that Milo is a full-blown toddler, he is entering the stage where he can begin to appreciate these types of activities and I recently spent a few of his naptimes having a wonderful time being crafty.

I made a variety of busy activities using felt as the main material.

This first one is a maze. There is a small bell inside the folded felt material, with a maze handstitched in so that curious toddler hands can practice their fine motor skills by making the bell move around the maze. I opted to use a bell rather than a marble or whatever, because I suspected the jingle noise of the bell would create added interest for my curious little guy.

Then, I created re-usable chains, with felt and velcro. As a kid, I loved making chains with construction paper and glue, but Milo is nowhere near being able to use scissors to cut paper or glue without making a ginormous mess, so I made a toddler-safe variation of this activity that is also re-usable.

Finally, I made a matching game. Also as a child, I loved memory matching games. This version features bright colors and bold shapes on soft felt. At Milo’s developmental level, I’ve been scattering the pieces around face-up and having him find the matches. As he gets older, we can play the variation where the pieces are turned upside down and you have to test your memory to find the matches.

One of my assumptions with these busy activities is that I can store them in ziploc bags so that they would be easily transportable to places like restaurants and friends’ houses.

In other crafting news, despite my lack of finished projects showcased on this blog, I have been knitting a decent amount these past months and months.

In December, I finished knitting Josh and Milo semi-matching holiday stockings. They are pretty silly and ridiculously huge, but I’m happy with them. I did manage to put the i-cord loop on the wrong side of Josh’s stocking, which I plan to fix by Christmas next year. And I’m also knitting one for myself, so that we all have semi-matching stockings.

I’ve also been knitting a lot on this ginormous doubleknit blanket that I started when I was pregnant. Each row takes me no less than 30 minutes and I’m getting near to the end of my yarn stash (this project is a stashbusting effort), so I might finish it by the end of the year (you know, in the next 11 months).

To be honest though, I’ve pretty much lost my interest in knitting this past month. I taught myself how to knit in 2002 and have literally been OBSESSED with knitting ever since. Right now, I have basically no desire to knit at all. It’s really weird (considering how much knitting has consumed my life for the past 15 years), but I’m honestly more interested in reading, spending quality time with Milo, and trying stay healthy. Also, in the past few months, my day job has completely transformed into an experience that I absolutely LOVE and I am highly motivated to work on some professional development. I am currently studying for a professional certification that I am extremely excited about.

  •  Thursday, January 19, 2017
  •  Posted by at Thursday, January 19, 2017 8:07 am
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Nov 072016

Recently, a knitting designer I follow announced her resignation from the design world. She described changes in the industry over the last five years that have made her trade unsustainable and unenjoyable, changes that I have experienced as well. When I began to dabble in this profession, it was a wonderful and satisfying challenge where I could meld my creativity and technical writing strengths. Knitters were enthusiastic! And kind. I developed relationships with knitters, yarnies, and other designers. …Over time, the experience shifted.

My life and my priorities have also shifted. I have a rambunctious and amazing toddler, who is the most lovable guy I can imagine. I have a Day Job that is so much more than a day job, but a for-reals profession. I have letters behind my name and am in the process of acquiring more letters. I have a house and a garden. I still knit, but I also sew, and run, and hike, and bike, and have drinks with friends, and spend time with my family. I am busy.

I also have post-partum depression and anxiety. I worry. I feel inadequate. I am overwhelmed. I am tired.

And I am learning to be kind and compassionate with myself. I am letting go of things that no longer serve me. Perhaps not for good, but until I feel less overwhelmed.

Aug 162016

I never feel like I’ve done my due diligence on a crafting project until I’ve photographed and blogged about it. So, here is my diligence on this project, from a super busy mama of a toddler.

This project would have been a ‘one afternoon’ project, except that I messed up the final hem and didn’t want to bother fixing it until this morning… otherwise, it’s been finished for over a month.


Let’s see… it’s McCalls 7390 and I made View B, though I wish I had made View A. It was a very easy pattern and I’m very happy with how it turned out. For the fabric, I used some unknown poly that I obtained from the massive going-out-of-business sale of Hancock’s Fabric. As an aside, I am devastated that they went out of business, as they were the only alternative to Joann Fabrics in our area. Not that I do tons of sewing these days, but they were the only place that I enjoyed going to for fabric and notions.

Anyway, this top currently fits well in my growing wardrobe for slightly looser fitted tops and blouses… partly to accommodate my post-baby body but also my preference these days. Fortunately, we’re managing to have much better self-care balance in our world – – sleep has SIGNIFICANTLY improved over the past month (on a normal night, I’m only getting up 1-2 times… which is a HUGE improvement) and have figured out some ways to more consistently incorporate exercise into my life. So, overall, I am feeling much better about myself and better physically than I have in well over a year. But I digress. This top rocks!


Apologies that these photos do not rock. I literally had two minutes to snap some photos, otherwise this would not have happened.

As for next projects, I am very excited about the Gemma Top by Made by Rae. Of course, Milo has already gotten his sticky hands on the pattern pages before I had a chance to cut and tape them together, so hopefully I’ll be able to sort them out and successfully make the top. Grandma is coming to town for a few weeks starting this weekend, so I’m hoping those extra helping hands might allow me to spend some time with my sewing machine.


Here is the little guy, walking along and feeling so proud of himself! He turns 12 months on Monday the 22nd, which blows my mind.

Jun 132016

Apologies for the absence here. Having a baby changes one’s time allocation and prioritization. Also, having a baby has changed my body in a way that has made me hesitant to do much sewing for myself – – for one, because those styles to which I have previously gravitated no longer flatter; and two, because my post-pregnancy body has been changing these last (almost)ten months and I didn’t want to invest time in sewing clothing for myself that would only fit for a short time.


However, my body seems to be stabilizing and I’ve adopted some new style preferences that I feel confident in… And I feel fortunate that loose and flowy shirts and blouses are fashionable these days. I used to always wear fairly tight and form-fitting tops, but after gaining 50 pounds during my pregnancy and not having as much time to vigorously exercise as I did before I got pregnant, I’m just not going to wear such form-fitting things these days.

Anyway, I’ve been wearing my original Tiny Pocket Tank a lot lately and I was reminded at what a quick project it is. Yesterday, while I was putting Milo down for his first nap, I decided to pull out that pattern and some fabric from my stash and see how far along I could get.


After one of baby’s naps, I made it about halfway through the project. And I made it through the other half of the project by his second nap. (Note, each nap was just 1 hour long, so this is literally a two hour project for me). Fortunately, we had plans to go out to an international food festival that afternoon, so I had Josh snap some photos of me wearing my FO. I am not at all happy with the way I look in these photos (OMG, I have been so dissatisfied with my post-pregnancy hair!!!) but postponing this FO blog entry in order for me to have better photos taken will just mean that I will never post about this accomplishment (see above, re: time priorities).


Overall, I am very happy with how this top turned out and I am DELIGHTED to discover that sewing is an accessible hobby for me to take back up as a new mom with very little spare time. Naturally, I have a hundred million things that I try to accomplish during nap times, so I have no idea when I’ll be able to complete another sewing project, but the fact that I completed this one makes me feel very proud and excited about sewing again.

This morning, I did pull out a pattern for another loose and flowy top and I identified some potential fabric, so perhaps I will have another sewing FO to show off fairly soon… or possibly not.

In other news, Milo will be 10 months next week and that astounds me! He weighs just about 20 pounds, which is a bit small for his age. However, he has exceeded all of his age-specific milestones and is much more like an 18 month old with his gross- and fine-motor skills and language/cognition. He has been crawling for several months, can pull himself to a standing position, and walk around if he has something to hang onto. He can also intentionally bang things together to make sounds (ie, drumming or using his xylophone) and can pick up small O’s with his pincer grip. He has also shown some indication of understanding language (for example, if I ask him if he is hungry and wants food, while tapping my fingers at my mouth (which is sign language for “food”), he bops his arms up and down, which means “YES!”). Of course, it is well known that genius babies are too busy learning and developing to want to sleep very well, so we still get up every 2 hours all night every night.

Feb 182016

Now that I have a six month old baby, work 40 hours a week, and still have to perform the basic tasks of keeping life in order and myself healthy, I don’t have much spare time.  And when I do have a few spare moments to relax, I like to REALLY relax, mind and body.  I used to love complex knitting but now I just don’t have the mental energy.  These days, I need a knitting project that I can just pick up and work a few stitches or rows here and there, without having to think about where I left off or what I have to do next.


I recently whipped up two knit skirts that were simple and relaxing to knit, but that also had some lace detail and color effects to make them interesting to work.  I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport for the yarn, a modified Feather and Fan for the lace, and incorporated color shifts for interest.


The skirts are fitted but also very stretchy, and I knat them in two different lengths.  Because I opted to continue the lace along the full length of the skirt, I prefer to wear them with a slip underneath, which also allows the fabric to drape better without bunching up.


I am pleased with how they turned out.  They were enjoyable to knit and are enjoyable to wear.  As always, I intend to write a pattern for this, though with my lack of spare time and sleep deprivation, I cannot make any promises.


And here is my happy boy, who turns 6 months in a few days.


Feb 022016

I could write a lengthy diatribe about my frustration with baby clothing and accessories.  Not only does there seem to be little consistency in sizing standards across brands but most accessories (hats, mittens, socks) do not fit or stay on the baby at all.  With it being winter, we’ve been struggling to keep baby Milo’s head warm.  I have purchased so many different baby hats and none of them have adequately remained on his head.  I finally decided that I would just sew up a bunch of baby hats, using an old t-shirt of Josh’s for the fabric.


I drafted the pattern size and basic shape based on the most well-fitting of his store-bought hats, and added some tweaks where I felt necessary.  The major innovation in my baby hat is to make the back longer than the front, with two darts at the back, and the sides swooping down.  I wanted a hat that would cover his ears without coming down over his eyes and cinching in at the back, and that would just stay on his head.


I am VERY pleased with the result.  I was able to make four hats just like this one out of an XL size men’s t-shirt, using the bottom hem of the body and sleeves of the shirt as the hems for all four hats.  It took me about an hour to draft the pattern and make all four hats.


The photos above were taken when Milo and I went to visit daddy at the new location for the bike shop he works at.  And below, was when we all went to he Zoo and had one of the better days of encountering animals.  The goats were very friendly (of course, I’m not sure what Milo thought of them).


Nov 162015

I cannot believe that it has been 12 weeks since I last posted… 12 weeks since baby Milo was born.  12 weeks of maternity leave.  And 12 weeks since I cast on for this sweater.


I was working on the colorwork chart for this sweater during the last days of my pregnancy, something to keep me occupied while I restlessly waited for baby’s arrival. After the birth, which didn’t go at all as planned, I found comfort in casting on for this project – – my fingers ticking away, in a manner most familiar, while I navigated the unfamiliar and sometimes stormy experience of adjusting to motherhood.  And even though I grieved over the birth experience, I was so grateful for modern medicine and so grateful that baby and I were well. Even though I grieved over the birth experience, I realized that I had so much to be grateful for and this sweater became my gratitude project, with each stitch reminding me of the goodness, beauty, and love in my life.


The fit of this sweater is a bit off from what I had intended.  I knat this according to my pre-pregnancy measurements but my body is  different now.  I gained 45 pounds during my pregnancy (arguably, a bit more than is recommended) and since welcoming my large baby boy, my shape and size are different.  I’ve actually read that breastfeeding hormones encourage a woman’s body to increase her fat reserves to ensure that baby may receive plenty of nutritious milk.  As a result, this sweater is tight across my belly and bust but fortunately is stretchy enough to accommodate my form.


The yarn is Knit Picks Capretta (in cream) and Chroma (in Fossil) and I do intend to write up the pattern, though I cannot speak to when that might happen – – as my capacity for writing patterns revolves around baby’s naptimes, during which I also dash to complete other projects (such as laundry).


I return to work tomorrow, after 12 weeks of maternity leave.  While I am excited to resume some of my ‘old life’ of talking with colleagues and the projects of my Day Job, I know that it will be hard for me to leave my baby at day care. I hope that he has fun with his new baby friends and I hope that our time together becomes even more special.


Sep 012015

I am delighted to officially present my baby boy, Milo, who was born last Saturday August 22nd weighing 9 pounds and 22″ long.  I wrote about his birth experience and our first week together  on my personal blog.


I am so in love with my baby and excited about all of the adventures we will have as a family.


Aug 152015

In my last post, I wrote that I probably wouldn’t have another project to show you until after baby arrived… but that was incorrect.  In the last week, I saw this pattern on Ravlery, bought it, cast on, and finished knitting it.


PatternRiemu by Suvi Simola

Yarn UsedNew Hue Handspuns BamHuey & Knit Picks Palette

Ravelry Project Page


Garter stitch and stripes.

Seriously, there was something about these last weeks of pregnancy when garter stitch and stripes were exactly what I needed to whittle away the time.


The Bam Huey yarn is something I picked up in 2011 at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival.  I’ve been so in love with the yarn that I have hesitated to knit with it, because the skein was so pretty.  This was a good project to showcase the yarn.


I still have almost half a skein left of that yarn, so I’m thinking of making a stripey baby sweater

Speaking of baby, yesterday was my due date and I am waiting patiently for baby to arrive.  This is me as of this morning, waiting patiently.  Waiting patiently….



Jul 242015

I’m on the final stretch of pregnancy and working hard to get everything ready.  My crafting is at an all time low these days – – I am knitting a sweater, but it is all stockinette and I probably work on it for maybe 10-20 minutes each day (usually, I can spend HOURS knitting everyday) – – because there is just so much to do and I have a significantly decreased capacity for how much I can accomplish in a day.  A guy at work is also expecting his first baby and we’ve been talking a lot about how there is just so much to do.  His baby is due two weeks after me so we’re at very similar stages in our to-do lists and we’ve been comparing notes on what we’ve got done and what still needs to be done.

Anyway, here are a few quick and easy things that I sewed.  Breast pads, wipes, and burp cloths.


The breast pads were the most time consuming project of this bunch, but still very quick and easy.  I bought 2 yards of diaper flannel (which cost $1.50 per yard) and found a small bowl to trace circles approximately 4″ in diameter.  I cut out the circles and layered them six layers deep, sewed them together, and trimmed the edges.  Magically, I made 9 pairs of breast pads, 18 total.  MONTHS ago, I had written about how I thought that sewing reusable breast pads was probably one of the easiest things that I could do, and I think this was correct.  And it was actually a fun project, just listening to some music and working on these.  A friend gave me a box of disposable breast pads that she no longer needs and I’ve compared the size of these as well as compared how they fit when wearing, and I’m happy to report that they are very comparable.  These ones are actually softer, though I have not yet tested their absorbency.  There are free patterns available for breast pads, many of which include darts for better fit, but for my personal body type these fit just fine.


Another project that I thought would be super easy to make was burp cloths, though I have since learned that many people just use cloth diapers (which I have a large stash of) so I’m not sure how necessary this project was.  However, I hear that babies are very messy, so having a large supply of wipes and cloths is probably a good idea.  These cloths I made from used receiving blankets that I found for super cheap and some random leftovers of quilting cotton that I had in my stash.  I made two different sizes because I started out using a tutorial (for the smaller size) and then wondered if I might like some larger ones as well.


And finally, wipes.  As I was buying stuff for baby, I bought a package of reusable flannel wipes (the one at the right, with the castles and ponies) – – and when I received them, was sort of aghast at how they were simply a cut piece of flannel with serged edges, and cost about $1 per wipe.  The package only had 15 wipes and I realized that I would need a lot more wipes and that I could make them for a fraction of the cost.  So I bought some more flannel, in what I think are cuter prints, at $2.50 per yard, cut into squares, and zig-zagged the edges.  Easy peasy!


So, here I am these days.  Today I am 37 weeks along and baby could come at any time, tonight or four weeks from tonight.  At this point, we’re pretty much ready for baby to arrive (I have an appointment tomorrow to have the car seat installation inspected) and then we’re totally ready.  However, I still have a lot to do at work before I’ll feel good about going on maternity leave, so I’m hoping baby stays put for another week or two.  Also, right now I’m considered “early term” so it would be nice for baby to wait two more weeks and be “full term” (though “early term” is just fine).


And while I’m posting a blog, I’ll throw this pic in.  I finished knitting this sweater about a month ago and never got around to posting about it.  I have a pattern 95% written for this but I doubt if I will ever finish it.  My brain is 100% focused on baby and getting ready for baby that trying to write a knitting pattern is just not computing in my brain.  Oh well.  I love the finished sweater, however, and have been wearing it pretty much exclusive to all my other sweaters.


Anyway, I doubt that I will have any crafting projects to show off until baby arrives.  As always, I’ve been posting updates over on my personal weblog so if you’re curious about what’s going on, there are way more details than anyone would want to know about over there.

Until later…