May 152015
 

For the past month, I’ve been enjoying some pure comfort knitting.  A simple pattern with beautiful yarn.

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This is a cardigan that I designed specifically to accommodate my growing belly but should also be nice when my belly returns to size.

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A-line shaping and pockets for a comfortable feel.

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An undulating leaf and vine motif to symbolize growth and thriving.

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It was a joy to knit and is a joy to wear.

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Even though I feel huge, this sweater makes me feel beautiful.

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May 102015
 

I had intended to make this for the #SHBsewalong during the month of April, but got sidetracked after I started the HUGE project of moving my craft room to the basement to convert it into a nursery.  Because I’m a little OCD when it comes to organization, I took that opportunity to completely reorganize and inventory my crafting supplies, which took the better part of a month.  At this juncture, most everything is moved down stairs, so I can now get some sewing in, even though the space isn’t finished being setup.

Anyway, I made this sleep sack from some very soft fleece I had in my stash and using the pattern for McCalls 4236.  I made View A in size Medium, hoping that it will fit baby when he’s 3-6 months next winter.

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This View has some attached mittens that I thought would be a must for cozy winter hibernation.

The creature on the front is an elephant, though I’m not sure if anyone but me can discern its elephant-ness.

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I decided to affix snaps up the front instead of a zipper, as per the pattern, because I thought it would be handy to be able to open the sleep sack from either end – – from below, to make diaper changes quick and easy, without having to take off the whole sack.

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In pregnancy news, I’ve made it to 26 weeks and I feel HUGE.  Below is my view looking down (taken at 25 weeks, so I’m even bigger now).  People at work say things to me, such as, “You’re tiny!” but I think they’re not being honest…. Josh is better at validating my feelings of hugeness.  I’ve gained about 20 pounds so far and it blows my mind that I still have about 14 weeks to go.   Another thing that blows my mind is that I was looking at preemie viability statistics and, if baby were born today, he would have an 80% chance of surviving outside of the womb.  That statistic actually gives me a lot of peace of mind… obviously, I want to carry him to full term.  Anyway, I’ve actually finished knitting a sweater that I’m working on a pattern for (!!!) and I’m hoping to get that nicely photographed soon, which will mean that I might have some nice photos of my pregnant self, rather than downward-looking selfies from my phonecamera in my cat-hair covered pajamas.

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Apr 112015
 

This morning, I whipped up a taggy crinkle toy for my little baby BOY!  Yup, this week we found out that we’re expecting a sweet little baby boy and I am so happy and excited.  I know I would feel just as happy and excited if baby were a girl, but it feels so much more real to know either way.  Anyway, we are over the moon!

So, the taggy crinkle toy.  This took about 30 minutes from start to finish.

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Here are all of my supplies.

  • Two fabrics (jersey, for softness, and because I had scraps in my stash that I wanted to use up, with high-contrast patterns.
  • Ribbon
  • Plastic crinkle material – – this is actually a washed cereal bag that I fished out of the recycle bin
  • Felt to match the fabric – – to just add a bit more squish to the toy

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I matched up my felt fabric and jersey and pinned the cut up ribbon to the outside of one side.

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Yay, blurry photo!

Sandwiched everything together.  Note that the plastic crinkle material needs to be sandwiched on what will be the inside of the toy (I actually did this wrong and had to rip the whole thing out).

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Then sewed three of four edges, trimmed edges, carefully turned the work right side-out, and handstitched the open edge.

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Lessons learned – – if I were to make one of these again, I would add more taggies and maybe make them a bit shorter.  I also didn’t add taggies to the end that I handstitched but I didn’t have enough ribbon material for anymore taggies, so whatever.

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Apr 042015
 

Today I sewed my first creation for the SHB Sewalong, two “Ultimate Catch-All Baby Bibs.”  This was a super fast and fun project to work on – – I finished both bibs in about 40 minutes.  The fabric is Babyville PUL from Joann’s and I believe the snaps are also Babyville brand. I had originally bought this fabric and these snaps because I was planning on sewing my own cloth diaper covers, but I have since lost interest in that project.  Fortunately, there are a lot of things that a person can sew for baby using PUL, like say, baby bibs.

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I think the catch-all pocket is pretty cool.  The bib can be worn without the catch-all pocket deployed, just as a flat bib, but two quick snap clicks create the nice pocket.  The bib is double sided (both sides PUL for easy cleaning).  The neck seems a bit small too me, but I compared it to a McCall’s pattern for a baby bib and it seems comparable.  As I am a complete newbie when it comes to baby, I have absolutely no idea how many bibs a person needs, but I figured that two would be a good start.

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Tomorrow, I’m hoping to sew up another items for the sewalong.

 

Mar 272015
 

It’s been a while since I felt capable of joining an along, be it for knitting or sewing or running or anything.  In addition to being 20 weeks in my baby-growing journey, I’ve been very busy with a lot of different commitments.  Earlier this week, however, I learned of a sew-along that sounds so serendipitously perfect for where I am at with life and am excited to participate; the SHB Sew-Along for the month of April is intended to help inspire, motivate, and compel those of us about to welcome or who have recently welcomed a small human being into our lives (or another person’s life) to sew baby clothes, baby accessories & toys, as well as maternity and nursing pieces (or other items for parents of small humans).

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The list of things I want to sew for my small human being (as well as for Josh and I to support us as parents) overfloweth and I’ve also been adding to my fabric and supply stash with the intent to complete these projects, so it’s about time that I make some headway.

Here is a list of things that I would love to sew during the sew-along:

Baby Clothes

I actually don’t plan on making very many baby clothes right now, except for maybe:

Baby Accessories & Toys

  • Ultimate Baby Bib w/ Catch All – This bib looks absolutely perfect.  I’ve got a few different yards of PUL and appropriate snaps specifically for this project.
  • Burp Cloths – By Rae pattern.
  • Baby Sleep Sack from Sew Mama Sew or Baby Sleep Sack from DIY Mommy both look like great sleep sacks that I can make from my stash.  I might try making a light weight one for the warmer months and a fleece version for the winter.
  • Sensory plushie or blankie – – like this Seahorse  or this Green Monster Rattle Toy, a Pinterest search brings up so many different ideas that look really fun to make and fun for baby.  Options include having some crinkle material or rattle sewn inside, ribbon sewn to the outside to play with, and even attaching a rubber baby chewy thing (actually, one of my co-workers gave me a nice rubber baby chewy thing, so I already have supplies to make this!).
  • Amish Puzzle Ball – okay, so this looks like something a quilter would make, so I would most certainly not do a good job of this, but I think it’s AWESOME

For Parents

  • Nursing Pads – Of all the disposable items that are probably easier to make once (and reuse over and over) than to go to the store and buy repeatedly, nursing pads have to be at the top of the list.
  • Nursing Cover – A nursing cover would be a great stashbusting project for an item that would surely be indispensable to me.  There are so many DIY tutorials around, but I do like the concept of this one, though I will probably make a few modifications.
  • Maternity Clothes – I have several patterns for maternity and nursing tops, skirts, and dresses that I’m excited to make, for which I’ve already procured the fabric.
    • McCalls 6966 –  which is for a maxi skirt but I think it would be so easy to convert it to be maternity-capable.
    • McCalls 6612 – is for a maxi dress with cowl neck and actually is listed as suitable for maternity wear
    • Simplicity 1469 – is a Megan Nielsen design for a maternity and nursing top and dress
    • Simplicity 1359 – is one of those patterns with a blouse, a skirt, and pants, all maternity specific

That’s probably a good place for me to stop.  If I were able to make even a handful of these items during the sew-along, I would consider that a HUGE success.

 

 

Mar 222015
 

I am so happy to have finished this dress, just in time for spring dress weather.  The pattern is Simplicity 1653, which is for a faux wrap knit dress.  I bought the pattern a few months ago, when I was on the hunt for patterns that would be suitable for both maternity and non-maternity wear.  The fabric is a knit from Mood and is very soft and amazing to have next to skin.

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I was excited that this is for a faux wrap dress because there is absolutely no way to have a wardrobe malfunction.  Though, since it’s not a real wrap dress, I don’t think it will work as a nursing dress, for after baby arrives.  Win some, lose some.

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Oh, here I am wearing my brand new maternity leggings!  I’ve been hesitant to buy much in the way of maternity clothes, because I’ll need mostly hot weather clothing, but right now I’m still wearing cool weather clothing.  But maternity leggings are basically normal leggings with a long super stretchy waistband, and I think that I could basically live in maternity leggings for the rest of my life… so comfy!

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Here’s the back of the dress.  Obviously, I didn’t bother trying to match my pattern across seams.  In hindsight, I have no idea why there is a seam across the back.  If I ever make this dress again, I will omit this seam.

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Yeah… I guess I don’t have much to say about this dress except that I’m pretty happy with it.  Because there is not seam across the waistline, I anticipate being able to wear this as long as the fabric is able to stretch across my belly.

Oh!  I don’t think I’ve shown off my haircut yet.  In a fit of hormonal duress, I took some sewing shears to my hair and tried giving myself some layered bangs.  I think they turned out pretty okay.

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Mar 042015
 

I recently finished knitting a “maternity capable” Lanesplitter for myself.  I have previously knit a Lanesplitter and LOVE it.  With my growing belly, however, I’m finding it increasingly more difficult to  dress myself in a stylish manner and still be comfortable.  My old and trusty Lanesplitter has recently become something that is simply too tight around around my belly to wear anymore.

So, I made a new version of the Lanesplitter, with the same yarn (because I love the colors!).  This version is quite a bit larger around and I added a folded hem waistband that I can cinch tighter (as needed) with an icord drawstring.  Additionally, while I am rarely someone who adds seams to my knitting, I actually knat this skirt in two main pieces that I sewed together at the sides, hoping for a bit more structure.

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All in all, I am delighted with how it turned out.  The icord drawstring does add some more bulk around the waist, which I am not the most fond of with the already added bulk, but soon I anticipate filling out the skirt more completely to not even need to cinch the waistband tight at all.

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I really want to knit more skirts.  I had always thought that knit skirts would sag and droop over time, but my old Lanesplitter still hangs very nicely, even after almost three years.  If you haven’t made yourself a Lanesplitter, I suggest that you do.  The pattern is a joy to knit and it’s great fun playing with a variegated or self-striping yarn.

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Anyway, my 16 week appointment went very well earlier this week.  We were able to hear baby’s heartbeat loud and clear, and right on target.  Even though I don’t look big, I feel HUGE.  I only gained about 4 pounds during the first trimester but have gained another 4 pounds in the last month, all in my belly.  And I swear, half of that has just been in the last week!  These days, I’ll wake up in the morning and my belly will feel noticeably larger than when I went to bed.  Apparently, I’m at the time when baby is experiencing a big growth spurt and will double in size over a short period of time.

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Mar 012015
 

Until recently, I had no idea that knitting for a baby would be such a joyous experience.  Everything is so cute and wee…oh my.

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I just finished knitting several garter stitch baby cardigans.  Two of them have detaching front panels that you can change out and wash without having to change the entire sweater (I got this idea from the Presto Chango pattern) and the other is just a basic cardigan.  The smallest one is a 0-3 months size and the other two are 3-6 months, based off the baby sizing measurements of the Craft Yarn Council Standards.  They are all very basic, bottom-up, seamless, dolman sleeved cardigans.

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Another great aspect of baby knitting is the opportunity for stashbusting.  I’ve had several skeins of Knit Picks Comfy (which is a very soft cotton blend yarn) in my stash for years… Unfortunately, when knitting for myself, I prefer wool.  But soft cotton seems like it would be absolutely perfect for baby! The yellow colorway is Crème Brulee and the orange is Sweet Potato (though, I think that color has been discontinued, but the colorway Carrot looks pretty similar).  I kept knitting with the Comfy until there was none left – – on the sweater below, I had to finish up the back with a different yarn, but I don’t think baby will mind.

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Obviously, I went a little bananas with the stripes, but hey, I love stripes.

Actually, the other day ago, Josh and I went to one of the local baby consignment stores (mainly to satisfy our curiosity, not that we were planning on buying anything) and I ended up buying baby’s first onesie, which has some very stylish stripes.  Clearly, our baby is going to be very stylish and well-coordinated!

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I also recently finished knitting a maternity-capable skirt for myself, which I hope to photograph and show you soon, but I’m wondering what my next project will be.  I think maybe I should cool it on the baby knitting but it’s so satisfying and addictive.  I recently scored a couple of beautiful skeins of the Knit Picks Hawthorne (which is a handpainted superwash wool blend) and I feel an overwhelming desire to knit baby a colorwork cardigan.  Even though it’s in Norwegian, the Bergen Baby pattern is really calling to me!

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Tomorrow morning is our 16 week appointment and I am looking forward to finding out if everything is going as it should.  My instinct is that it is, but there is always a small part of me that worries about stuff I cannot control.

Feb 142015
 

I’ve finally finished the baby blocks that I started about three months ago!  Considering that I made 48 blocks, I’m sure any reasonable person would think that a titch excessive but I’d prefer to have too many blocks than too few.

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I first found the idea for these blocks on Pinterest.  Naturally, now that baby is on the way, I’ve spent a lot of time browsing baby and toddler crafts and Pinterest and my ‘queue’ of things I want to make overfloweth.

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The instructions that were included with the original pin that I saw for these blocks, unfortunately, weren’t very good.  They basically suggested that you cut upholstery foam into 4″ cubes, cut fabric into 5″ squares (0.5″ for the seam allowance on each side), sew 6 squares of fabric together to form a fabric cube (leaving one side unsewn), squish the foam cube into the fabric cube, and handstitch the unsewn side.  VOILA!  A perfect baby block.

Of course, my blocks are FAR from perfect.

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The first problem I ran into was cutting out the upholstery foam.  The Pinterest tutorial suggested that one can simply use ordinary scissors  for the job.  Nope.  One does not simply use scissors to cut upholstery foam!  I ruined several pieces of foam attempting that.  Upon further research, I learned that a much more successful and precise approach is to use an electric carving knife.  I then embarked on a journey to find such a device at a thrift store and, lo and behold, found one for just a few dollars at only the second thrift store that I went to.  And I was equally delighted that cutting the foam using an electric carving knife was also successful.  Hooray!

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The other problem I encountered from the instructions was in cutting the fabric with a 0.5″ seam allowance on each side, resulting in a fabric cube that was the same size as the block.  After I cut out ALL of the fabric and sewed together my first fabric cube, I squished in the block and found that the fabric was much too loose and floppy. I removed the foam from the fabric and resewed all of the sides, so that there would be some negative ease, and that worked much better to fill up the block.  I later found an Amy Butler sewing for babies book wherein she has a pattern and instructions for blocks, and she likewise recommends negative ease.

This meant that I had to sew all of my fabric sides with a 5/8″ seam allowance (which was just a lot of wasted fabric).  I also chose to trim the excess with pinking shears.  And of course, handstitching was a great opportunity for me to make that final edge look bad.

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So yes, these blocks are not perfect.  But they are soft and squishy, with some different colors and patterns of fabric.  They can be stacked in many different ways, matching colors and patterns, or not matching.

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And one of the joys of building blocks is always knocking one’s creation over into a big block heap.

As a kid, I loved playing with blocks… so of course, anticipating my own baby is an opportunity to recreate some of my favorite childhood moments.

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Feb 022015
 

For my New Year’s post, I indicated that Josh and I are embarking on a new adventure this year.  To accompany our new adventure, I’ve knit up some cute items for our little kumquat.  Actually, I am officially 12.5 weeks along and the little kumquat has grown to the size of a lime.  I had an appointment this morning, and we were able to see a very active acrobat for a baby, along with a heartbeat, and I’m now ready to officially announce!

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I started my knitting for baby in November with some booties. The pattern is Closeknit’s Striped Baby Bootie pattern.  A few years ago, I made several booties from this pattern for a friend’s baby, and she said that my booties were the only ones to stay on baby’s feet.  I made several pairs in a variety of sizes, using scrap sock yarn.

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And here are some wee mittens for baby.  The pattern is Fingering Weight Baby Mittens and I think it’s a nice, simple design.

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Oh yes, and baby needs a few knit hats!  Pattern is the Norwegian Sweet Baby Hat, modified to be in garter stitch because babies deserve garter stitch.  Even though one of these hats contains pink and some of the booties contain blue, right now we’re not planning on finding out the sex of baby and, regardless, I think that a boy baby can wear a pink hat and a girl baby can wear blue booties.

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These were all great patterns for me to work on the past three months (I actually cast on for the booties the day that I got my positive test result!) because I have had so little energy and mental focus.  They were so easy to just pick up and knit a bit, without having to do any thinking or paying attention to what I was doing.  And each one knat up so quickly that it felt satisfying to get so many cute little FOs.

I have to say, the first trimester was pretty rough.  Anxiety, exhaustion, bloating, exhaustion, constipation, exhaustion, nausea, as well as complete and utter exhaustion.  It wasn’t until 7 weeks when I finally realized that my body just needed to sleep for 10-12 hours every night and have 40 naps every day, so I just let my body rest as much as it felt like and refused to feel bad about what a blob I felt like.  Though, I should get a prize, because despite the sheer exhaustion, I was able to exercise almost every single day of my first trimester.  Of course, most days all I could manage was a hike and some yoga, but I did a bit of running when my tummy felt up to it and I rode my stationary bike a few times each week.

And, OMG, I’ve been so bloated!  At 9 weeks, some person I didn’t know actually came over and touched my bloated belly and commented on my “baby bump,” which at that time was just gas.  Really really bad gas.  Awkward!

But then I hit 10 weeks, and instantly felt better.  I no longer needed a ridiculous amount of sleep and rest everyday – – I felt energetic and could function for an entire day without needing 500 naps.  The nausea completely went away and the bloating became more reasonable.

Baby is due in the middle of August and I am concerned about being 7-9 months pregnant during the heat of summer, when we can get temps around 110 F (and we don’t have air conditioning at our house).  However, I am very excited to have a summer baby!

Anyway, you should expect to see a lot of knitting and sewing baby related projects coming through over the next many months.  And if you’re at all interested in pregnancy details, I may or may not post about that from time to time over on my personal adventure blog.