Yarn Along :: Just Keep Knitting

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Tomorrow is my due date.  While in some ways it seems unbelievable that it’s already here, it also feels like it’s been such a long journey.  I am so looking forward to meeting this little guy, I’m practically buzzing with excitement!

In the meantime, I’m trying to knit, read, and cook all the things!  And catch up on tv shows, naps, and long walks. As a family we also have this sense of impending change as we go from a long-term trio into a quartet.  So we’re trying to soak up The Geeg and do all of the things we like to do together before things pause for baby. It’s a bittersweet time, this in-between an old life and the new one.

Knitting: Follow Your Arrow 2 ~ a mystery shawl knit along by Ysolda Teague. Ravelry notes here.  This has been the perfect distraction as I wait to go into labor! Knitting a mystery project is so much like waiting for baby. All I can do is take it one clue (or day) at a time and enjoy the process.

Reading: Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister.  I don’t know why I picked this up, other than I had a craving for a story about female friendship.  I’m happy to say it’s better (and way less sappy) than I expected.  It’s reading like a collection of short stories that weave the women together with a common friend who has challenged each of them to engage in a difficult area in their personal lives.

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

Cowl the Midwife

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I was lucky enough to meet our midwife through the yarn shop. There’s something about getting to know a person through knitting.  Their habits are like little tells that give you a small insight into who they truly are.  The things we do for a living, the shapes of our families, the hobbies that fill the gaps in our days; these are all things that show others who we are.  But our preferences for color, texture, challenge, craft, perfectionism (or not) somehow take us deeper.

Knowing someone as a fellow knitter first can help make it easier to take your relationship to the next level, whether as friends or caregivers. This is one of the things that helped make the decision to go with a home birth midwife so peaceful.  I had seen Rachel knit. I had seen her with her children in the shop. I had read how she thinks about knitting and life.  There was a connection before she even listened for this new soul’s heartbeat in my belly.

All of this is to say that of course, I had to knit her a thank-you gift.  Midway through the pregnancy we took a vacation to Hawaii, and I brought this shawl along as my travel knitting.  I worked on it by the pool and thought about our growing baby and my dreams for his birth.  Stitches flew off the needles, and as the shawl grew, so did my confidence that the pregnancy was going to go smoothly.

When that shawl was finished and the baby was still a wip, I cast on a cowl for my other midwife.  This one was fast and perfect for my nervous hands as we went through a false-labor alarm and all the feelings that brought on.

Both projects were finished well before Calvin made his appearance earthside.  It felt so nice to be able to make these important women something special with my hands while we waited.  And that is the true gift on knitting: it helps us find peace and calm when the world is doing its best to challenge us, and it helps us show love to ourselves and to others.

. . . .

Patterns: Shaelyn shawl {Ravelry notes here} and Ribbed for Your Warmth cowl {Ravelry notes here}

Dapper Baby Vest

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One more baby project leapt on and off the needles recently.  After finishing a relatively big project, I like to do something small and quick.  A palate cleansing project, if you will.

I had this beautiful, bulky yarn and pattern in the back of my mind for nearly my whole pregnancy, and just had to cast on.

This was a simple and fast knit, and is so full of charm I can hardly stand it!  The only snag came when I decided to not do a gauge swatch and just cast on.  I had more yarn than the pattern called for!  It’s a baby knit!  I figured I’d take my chances. Heh.

Pro tip: if you’re going to skip doing a gauge swatch, at least stop and check your gauge a couple of inches into the project.

Had I done that, I would have realized how off my gauge was and wouldn’t have had a problem ripping it out.  As it was, I didn’t notice anything was off until I had knit the body and fronts.  Something looked off.  The armholes were not tall enough in proportion to the length and width of the body.  I checked the schematic against my actual measurements and yes.  Things were way off.

Did I mention I was also out of yarn?

I debated ripping the whole thing out at this point.  This is always hard for me, even though it was a small, fast project.  Then I remembered why I had this yarn in the first place: I had knit a cowl with it last year!

After unpicking the seam and unraveling a couple of inches from the cowl, I kept knitting the vest. I was able to make the armholes deeper to match the proportions of the rest of the vest.

In the end, this probably won’t fit my guy for a year or so.  But that’s okay. It will be waiting for him when the time is right.

Pattern: Harold Vest by Courtney Kelley (Ravelry notes here)

Yarn: Tundra by The Fibre Company in Red Fox

Button: reclaimed wood handmade by Wooly Moss Roots

Birthday Dress Snubbed, Mama Okay

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The birthday dress was finished two full days before the big day!  It was a fun project to design with The Geeg, and a delicious yarn to knit with.

She tried it on once and took it off again immediately.

I’m really not surprised that she doesn’t want to wear this right now.  The same thing happened last year, despite involving her in the selection process.  It’s okay.

As strange as this may sound, I don’t knit these birthday gifts so that she’ll wear them.  I knit them for her as a way to show my love.

It’s a time I spend thinking about her, the past year, and all the adventures she has ahead of her in life.  Sure, I knit other things for her when she asks and really enjoy that. But the annual birthday sweater is a constant and a great exercise in intention and thoughtfulness for me.

It’s hanging in her closet now, alongside her other dresses.  I hope that one day she surprises me by coming out of her room with it on.  Until then, I’m happy I made it and am content to wait.

Yarn: superwash DK by Yarn Ink in Frozen  Pattern: Oriental Lily by Georgie Hallam

Ravelry notes here.  More details on the project in this post.

Yarn Along :: keeping things simple

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With the turn of the new year, and as I ready and wait for baby, I’m craving simplicity.  I want (and need) for things to be slow, simple, and easy.  My body is working very hard these days (38 weeks, whoa!), and my mind gets tired fast.  I need simple forms of entertainment and activity so I don’t get completely overwhelmed with all the changes that are coming!  This can be seen in my current knitting a reading : small projects, easy reads.

Knitting: Zuzu’s Petals in Freia Ombre Sport for the Stash Winter knit-along (join in on Ravelry here). Such a fun pattern, this is my second!

Reading: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

My opinion isn’t fully formed on either of these books quite yet.  I will say I’m finding the tidying book inspiring if not a bit severe. But I do love her bottom line: keep only what sparks joy.  It definitely pairs well with the mindset of a nesting pregnant lady! I have already used her method to reduce and organize my clothes with success.  The novel is a fun candy bar read, perfect for where my mind is at right now.  It’s going fast, and I’m enjoying the characters and setting for what they are.

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

The Geeg turns 5

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Opie & The Geeg, friends since age 0
Opie & The Geeg, friends since age 0

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This past weekend was a big one for our little family. The Geeg (formerly known as Peaceful Baby) turned 5, and we had activities large and small to commemorate this occasion.

Five felt like a significant birthday, almost as much as her first.  Leslie and I joked that it was also our 5-year parenting anniversary, which really is the truth.  This is the moment we can celebrate all the changes not only in our daughter, but in our lives and in our selves, since becoming parents.  There are many, and it’s nice to have an annual opportunity to recognize and honor them.

We held a small party at a local nature center, where a guide taught the children all about a few amphibians and reptiles.  There were frogs, newts, salamanders, two types of snakes, and a box turtle.  The children had varying levels of interest in these creatures, which was fun to watch!  G was in kid heaven, surrounded by her friends and by animals.  It was a good day.

Two birthday celebrations, two batches of mama-made chocolate cake and cupcakes, thoughtful gifts from friends and family, a few surprises from the “birthday fairies”, the new privilege of chewing gum, and many little conversations about her life at 5 versus 4.  This was our weekend.

This is going to be a big year!

This Moment.

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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. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Photo from our recent family photo series with the incomparable Becerra Photography.