Yarn Along: 2 books + 2 wips

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Last week was a week of finishing.  I finished two projects. I finished one book.  It felt really good.

It took me a couple of days to find the right book(s) to sink my reading teeth into next.  Good thing I have a book-buying habit; I perpetually have at least half a dozen books waiting for me to pick them up.  At first I started rereading Baby Catcher, a memoir by a modern midwife. I read it when I was pregnant with G and remember really liking its positive approach to birth.  I’m a bit tired of the technical and often fear-based pregnancy and birth books, so I felt ready for some interesting narratives about births.

Then I also had to start some fiction to go along when things got to real for me.  I picked up Tell the Wolves I’m Home on my last book-buying binge at Powell’s, and I’m proud to say I’ve read all the other books I purchased that day! (the receipt was tucked away inside this one; always a fun reminder).  I’m only about 50 pages in, but I can tell you I’m already hooked on the young female protagonist and her journey dealing with the death of her beloved uncle from AIDS.  It’s set in the 80s, so you can imagine the complexity of the situation.

And on the needles, I’m still working on my Cassis by Thea Coleman.  This is one I started back in April, then set aside in favor of morning sickness and lack of knitting mojo.  I’ve been working on it in between other small projects, so it’s seen slow progress.  Over the last few weeks, the body has grown, and I only have a few inches left before that’s done.  Then it’s on to everyone’s favorite: sleeves!

And because I finished two projects and felt like I should have something smaller and more portable than a sweater on the needles, I cast on Henrietta.  This yarn from The Fibre Co. is incredible, and I haven’t been able to stop petting it since it came into the shop.

So, what’s on your needles and on your nightstand this week?

A New Baby Gift

IMG_8436There’s something about knitting for babies.  They embody the very idea of potential, an idea I closely associate with yarn and knitting.  So when I choose a project for a baby, I take great care in selecting materials that suit the family, a color that matches the mood of the season, and a design that’s both fun to knit and easy to wear.  And while I’m knitting it, I try to think all the good thoughts I can and infuse a little extra love into the piece.

This wee sweater is the perfect quick baby knit.  It uses a small amount of yarn and grows quickly.  There are endless opportunities for personalization, from the color of yarn and buttons you choose, to adding stripes, embroidery, appliqué, and more.

For this project, I couldn’t help but choose one of my favorite colors: yellow! This is a sophisticated, autumnal yellow that I hope the recipient’s mama will appreciate.  I added oval wooden buttons to keep the overall look on the rustic side.

I was able to deliver this wee sweater to my mama friend and her new baby last week.  I think they both loved it, and I can’t wait to see him wearing it. : )

Pattern: Puerperium by Kelly Brooker (see my Ravelry notes here)

Yarn: Madelinetosh DK in Candlewick

What are your go-to knits for babies?  I’m always on the lookout!

This Moment

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Reading a graphic novel while I knit.  Pure, peaceful bliss.

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{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. ~ Inspired by Soule Mama

Yarn Along: Addictive Knits & Reads

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At the end of the day, I look forward to my knitting time.  It’s a time to relax, slow down, and let the act of knitting help clear my mind of the day’s events.

This project is simple with just enough going on to keep me paying attention.  I started it on our family vacation last week, and it was the perfect travel companion.  After the first repeat or two, I didn’t need to look at the pattern all the time, which made it great to work on by the pool, in the room at night, and on the airplane.  Now I’m playing an intense game of yarn chicken as I try to use up as much of this beautiful yarn as possible.

What would you do if you found out a treasured piece of artwork had potentially been stolen during World War I?  What would you do if faced with serving German soldiers and being seen as a traitor was your only chance at being reunited with your husband?  It’s been a while since I’ve read any sort of historical fiction, and I’m finding this version to be very good.  It’s been thought provoking and entertaining all at once, the perfect kind of reading for me right now!

Knitting: Shaelyn byLeila Raabe in Madelinetosh Pashmina, Forestry

Reading: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

What’s on your needles and on your nightstand this week?

Some Thoughts on Pregnancy after Infertility and Loss

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When you’ve tried for years to get pregnant and stay pregnant, it’s a thrill get that positive pregnancy test.  Each week that passes feels monumental as the life inside you continues to grow.  You feel thankful and joyous and excited.  It’s a beautiful time, for sure.

But pregnancy isn’t all glowy and angelic.

Any woman who’s carried a baby knows that there are hard parts about it, too.  I spent the first 4 months of this pregnancy nauseous and vomiting in awkward and uncomfortable places.  One time I threw up so violently I broke the capillaries in my neck and cheeks.  I pee a little when I cough.  My underwear cut into my hips and fall down (how these are possible at the same time is beyond me).  If I’m not sitting up perfectly straight when I eat, I can feel the food in my stomach rising.  There are tattoos I can no longer see.  Some days I cry for no reason, and worry that’s I’m getting pre-post-partum depression.  I have cankles and all my closed-toe shoes are too tight.

I could go on, but I don’t want to seem ungrateful.

You see, when you’ve been through infertility and miscarriage, you look forward to being pregnant with such mythical enthusiasm, you build it up to be something beyond wonderful.  It will make everything you’ve gone through worth it, and you can finally move forward.  You tell yourself you would never complain about being pregnant; after all, it’s a gift, a privilege! When you’re trying to conceive, it is physically painful to hear other women complaining about being pregnant.  If they only knew how lucky they are!

But it’s not that simple.

Along with the classic discomforts of pregnancy, a woman who has lost a baby or babies also has to deal with something else. We face the cold reality that being pregnant does not mean the same thing as bringing home a baby.

Those first several weeks after getting a positive pregnancy test are both thrilling and terrifying.  You dare to dream about your family with a new baby and everything that comes after.  And yet you’re deeply worried things won’t work out the way you want them to.  For months, every time I went to the bathroom I checked for blood.  Every twinge, cramp, and ache made me worry that this was the beginning of the end.

That worry doesn’t go away.

This is my fourth pregnancy, and I know that concern will stay with me until I am holding this baby boy in my arms.  It’s just a part of the journey for me.  I’ve learned to manage those fears, and for me they have receded somewhat now that I’m nearing the end of my 2nd trimester.  But they will always be there.

I try not to feel resentful and accept that those experiences have helped shape me, but the truth is I wish they hadn’t happened. I wish we had those babies in our family and that I never had to feel the unbearable ache of my heart actually breaking.  Like anything painful in life, pregnancy loss is something that changes you.  Time can make it hurt less, but it’s always a part of you. It colors your experience of everything having to do with pregnancy, birth, and babies.  It just does.

All of this is to say that I am thrilled to be pregnant. It’s been a long journey for my partner and I to get to this point, and I’m thankful that we get the opportunity to parent another child.  But it’s hasn’t been easy, and we will always feel the loss of the babies that didn’t make it.

And at the same time, it’s okay for me to complain about hemorrhoids and cankles. They suck.

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October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  By writing this, I’m simply trying to share my experiences in the hope that it may help another woman or family.  

Yarn Along: Travel Insomia

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The night before a trip always finds me feeling a little bit unsettled. My brain is zooming around from what is or isn’t packed yet, did I turn on my vacation responder, remember to take out the garbage tomorrow, is the camera charged, remember to bring the prenatal vitamins, and on and on.

Last night I woke up for a bathroom break (the baby has found my bladder) and couldn’t stop thinking once I was up. After tossing around for a while, I decided to get back up and deal with the question of vacation knitting. I had been worrying about having the right amount of knitting with the appropriate ratio of interest to mindlessness. So I utilized this time between 2:30 and 4 pm to think, start a knitting project, and catch up on a couple of blogs. Thankfully, I went back to sleep eventually, and there was some coffee waiting for me when I woke up.

Knitting: Wurm in Freia

Reading: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

What’s on your needles and on on your nightstand this week? 

A Weekend Away

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Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the wedding of a childhood friend back in my home state of Idaho.  This trip was exciting on multiple levels: reconnect with good friends I haven’t seen in ages; spend time with my mom & sister; spend time alone; all the knitting, reading, and watching I could handle.  All of these things were lovely, and I came home refreshed and ready to jump back into my daily life as mom, wife, friend, and business owner.

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I cast on two brand new projects in anticipation of all the knitting time I’d have on the plane and in the hotel.  I brought the book I’m reading and my iPad to catch up on things I’ve been wanting to watch.  I was set up!  I may have eaten chocolate in bed and ordered room service a time or two.  It was glorious, and relaxing, and the perfect  blend of solitude and social interaction this introvert needs.

For the knitting crowd: I cast on a Renfrew hat in Road to China and a Brush Creek Cowlette in Brooklyn Tweed Loft.  (you can view my Ravelry project page here for more details)  The hat is finished, and after a gentle block will be on its way to a dear friend who is about to need it as a chemo cap.  The cowlette has given me a couple of problems, and I’m not sure what will happen to it next.  Let me just say this: you should do a gauge swatch, even if it’s for a fingering weight shawl/cowl thing, of which you have knit dozens.  Experience doesn’t always trump the tricks Gauge has up her sleeve!

And now this week is halfway through, and we’re beginning October!  I’m looking forward to all that this month has to bring.  Hope you’re having a good one.