Happy Mother’s Day

On Sunday, which was Mother’s Day here, husby and Connor went off to the shops in the morning, to buy “flowers for his mum”. Of course it was an excuse (although he did, in fact, buy flowers for his mum), and they came home with a lovely package for me, which Connor excitedly told me, in that way that 4yos do, that “it is a necklace!”, before I’d even opened it.

It was a lovely necklace, but not very practical for wearing with a small person with grabby hands. So with husby’s permission, I went back to the shop today and exchanged it for more practical bangles – these ones:

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Which I can wear together or separately, and which I plan to wear all the time. Maybe he might buy me the necklace again in a few years, when the little people will be a bit bigger and a bit less grabby handed!

I also decided to start a new project on Sunday. Something for meeeeee! With lush yarn, Debbie Bliss Andes:

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It is, of course, a honey cowl. I bought the yarn, four colours of the Andes, with this pattern in mind. I’m not entirely sure it is working out quite as I had pictured it in my mind, but I think I’m liking it. And I can’t seem to stop knitting it, so hopefully it will be finished soon. Since I really should be working on C’s stripey cardigan, which I started last year, and which only has half a sleeve plus buttons bands and bottom band to go:

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I know at least one of you will ask, so here he is, in all his glory, The Legend, as we have taken to calling him – sleeping through the night already!

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H is for Handsome, as the shop assistant in the jewellery store said today. Heh heh.

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Filed under Family, GoodGoodies

Happy Easter

I’m a bit late with this Easter post as we went away to my mum’s for the Easter long weekend – no Internet access but lots of sunshine and knitting time. It was a really lovely weekend away. My first time home since mum sold the family home and moved into a lovely new flat. I thought it might be a bit weird staying somewhere else, but mum has been able to take much of her furniture with her, and so it felt immediately like home. And she is so happy and proud of her fantastic new place, it is wonderful to see.

But the real purpose of this post is to show off the bunnies I made for the boys for Easter!

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Details
Pattern: Easy Easter Bunny by Janette Williams – the pattern is hosted on her blog, and has a really detailed step by step picture tutorial, so is perfect for even a beginner crocheter. And even better, is free.

Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply cotton, in a range of colours – the red and blues one was for Harry, and the red, purple and blue one for Connor. Although when Connor woke up on Easter Sunday and found his bunny, he decided it was for Harry, even though Harry had his own. Crafting Fail!

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(One of these things is not like the other ones!)

Hook: 3.5 mm hook – the Bendi cotton is quite thin for an 8ply/DK weight yarn, so I wanted to use a small hook to keep it nice and firm, and I think it worked well.

Time: 11 – 19 April 2014. They are really quick to make but I had to restrict myself to night times and other times when Connor was out of the house, so as not to spoil the surprise. I finished the second one on the drive to mum’s, while Connor was asleep in the back seat!

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What I learnt: Don’t make pompoms with cotton yarn! They just fall apart! I think I knew that in the back of my mind before I tried it, but it was quickly confirmed! So I pulled out some nice wool to make the floofy pompom tails! Also, those safety eyes are REALLY hard to attach. I’m almost ashamed to admit I had to ask my husband to attach them.

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I’m very happy with these, even if their recipient looks a little less than impressed!

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Filed under Crochet, FO2014

Of course

There has been a bit of a chill in the air lately, in the early mornings and the evening – time to get out the winter woollies. I managed to locate the spot where I’d packed away Connor’s baby knitwear (no mean feat, I have baby and toddler clothes stashed all over my house – almost, but not quite, rivalling my yarn stash, heh!).

I thought I’d better freshen them all up with a wash, so that was done over the last few days. It was lovely to get them out and remember Connor wearing them, and to remember making them or receiving them from friends.

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And I think most, if not all, of these lovely handknits will fit Harry as well.

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I do so love that they will be worn again by another child of mine.

It also got me in the mood for starting something new for Harry. Of course!

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Ok, two somethings new! (Of course!)

It did get me wondering what to do with the handknits once Harry has grown out of them. Do I keep them for potential grandchildren (!!), or give them to other family members or friends having babies? What have you done with things you’ve knitted for your kids (or yourself) when they no longer fit?

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Thistle do (insert groan here)

As my mum is visiting this week, I took the opportunity to get out of the house alone for a couple of hours while she did Nanna duty with the boys. I went to the crochet group of the Knitters Guild. It’s a nice group, always offering a tutorial after show and tell and morning tea! This month we learnt how to do a sort of raised or textured stitch called Thistle stitch.

It’s perhaps a bit twee, not really the sort of crochet I do regularly, but I did enjoy making this little sample, and had fun this afternoon trying it out using colour for the thistle, and testing out my theory that it could also pass for a tulip.

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Fun! I love seeing what can be done with crochet beyond the granny square (cue another groan!). It’s always good to have a new technique to play with.

And just because I can…here’s the little fellow, at 6.5 weeks:

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My mum is quite sure he’s grown! (He has, I know!)

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Filed under Crochet, Knitters Guild

12 on 12

My lovely blog buddy Sarah has been doing these monthly picture posts, 12 photos of your day, the day being the 12th of that particular month. I thought I’d play along, since new motherhood is so exciting and glamourous!

My day begins the same as every other day – breakfast of two pieces of toast – one with vegemite, one with peanut butter – and a cup of tea. Eaten while I feed Harry. Or while I express. I’m having terrible trouble feeding H the usual way, so every few hours I have a date with my Medela Swing (I’m not sure what’s so swingy about it, but I suppose they had to name it something. “Pump” being perhaps too obvious. Perhaps it was named by the same people who do tampon ads, “swing” being much more evocative of swanning around having fun with your girlfriends than the reality of actually using the machine). Anyway!

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And of course my day wouldn’t be complete without a large dose of ABC for Kids tv. The next best thing to a babysitter.

Then a couple of loads of washing go on, and I help Connor make a duplo train track. Later, when daddy gets home from work, the duplo track is replaced with a wooden Thomas track.

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I have an appointment with my lactation consultant in the afternoon, and I get a puff finished on my way home – yes, I am still knitting puffs! I have about 500 or so still to knit. At my current rate of around 5/month, it will only take me another NINE years to finish all the puffs…heh heh.

I also (somewhat amazingly) find some time to work on Harry’s blanket, which is still not finished. Lucky it’s still mostly warm here at the moment. I am on the last main round of it, once this round is done I have only two quick rounds of double (single) crochet and then it’s done done done!

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After my appointment I picked up some “nursing tea” – a herbal tea which is supposed to help increase supply. I am not a fan of herbal teas, but i figure its worth a try, and I have a cup after dinner. It’s ok, slightly aniseedy, but drinkable. And it seems to have some effect the next day, so yay!

The observant among you may have noticed that’s only 9 photos…sad to say that’s really it for my day. You can look at the photo of the Swing three more times if you like, since I see it at least that many times, if not more, each day.

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Or you can look at this picture of Harry, I hope that the cute babby will count as three more photos, since I probably stop and look at him at least that many times each day every time he is asleep!

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Filed under A Day in My Life, baby, Family

Here’s Harry!

Sorry to keep you all in suspense! I wasn’t able to post from hospital, and to be perfectly honest, I was too tired! We had some challenges with feeding and sleeping, and let’s be honest, I’m not as young as I was the first time around (and I wasn’t even young then!).

But the important thing is that our new son, our little Harry William, is lovely:

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All the fingers and toes, present and correct (ok, you’ll have to trust me on the fingers and the other foot!)

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His going home vest fitted perfectly, and despite all appearances, he wore it happily all day!

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(He just didn’t like being changed while he was asleep! Who can blame him!)

But once he was home and snuggled under his lovely Pashmina blanket, he was content!

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As are we, of course! Our little family is complete and we are all besotted with our new addition. Even Connor, who adores his little brother and loves to “pat” his head, to watch him sleep, and to marvel at his “little fingers”. He has even offered to give his little brother “all his old cars” to play with when he is bigger!

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Filed under baby, Family

Almost ready, nearly there

So very soon I’m going to be having a baby. Our family of three is going to be a family of four! Exciting (and maybe a wee bit scary!).

But before that happens, I wanted to share some lovely gifts I have, yet again, received from my knitterly friends (who must be just about the best friends ever, heh heh!)

First of all, this most fantastic bunting:

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Yes, knitted bunting! So cool! A group effort, which I love!

A lovely cotton cardi and clever clever knitted ball (with a bell in it) courtesy of (respectively) DrK and Margaret:

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Some new clothes and singlets and muslin wraps – so good, as even though this will be boy #2, they are opposite season babies, so there will be some cross over with Connor’s hand-me-downs, I’ve had to stock up on some extras (mostly via hand-me-downs from friends, hurrah!). I love hand-me-downs, but it’s also nice for baby to have some new clothes too. Especially the hand-embroidered outfit from Mexico, thanks to LynS (who gave me an outfit from France for Connor! Heh heh)

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A very special quilt from DrK, MissFee and Zena – those little red squares are Liberty, from each of their fabric stashes – I love that special extra touch!

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And finally, all the way from Americky, a gorgeous pram/basinette blanket in lush lush MadTosh Pashmina, from MadMad:

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And look how well everything co-ordinates with the blanket I am (still!) making for the baby:

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You might be forgiven for thinking the gifts (especially the bunting) were planned that way, ha!

I am so lucky. Not just for these lovely gifts, and for the time spent in making and choosing them, but for this baby I am shortly to meet. Five years ago I thought my chances of having one child were slim. Slim to none, really. And now here I am with almost two. Can’t wait to meet him, and introduce him to you!

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Filed under baby, Family, GoodGoodies, quilting

I miss my dad

One thing about parenthood that I never really anticipated was the emotional impact, and how it has heightened my ability to cry at what seems like the drop of a hat. Of course, being pregnant makes it even worse!

The other day I was driving Connor to day care and a song came on the radio and I teared up, as I always do now when I hear it. Cat’s in the Cradle, by Harry Chapin. So pathetic! But I can’t help it, especially at this time of year. The anniversary of hubby’s father’s death is at the end of January, and of course my Dad’s death happened 8 years ago today. And even though neither of us had dysfunctional relationships with our dads, this song just gets me every.single.time. I think because I also have sons (well, almost two), and because we both know there can be no other time to do things with our dads.

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I wish my dad could be here to meet his grandsons. I miss my dad.

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Filed under Family

Are we there yet?

Four more weeks. Four more weeks. Oh my dog.
Four more weeks!
Lucky I got this finished in time, so Humphrey (not his real name!) will have something to wear home from hospital:

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(Do you think it will fit?!)

Details:
Pattern: Viggo vest by Drops – a freebie pattern with the detail I was looking for – fingering yarn, stripes (although that’s an easy modification!) and button shoulders. I did convert it to knit in the round to the armholes, and added a purl faux seam on the sides, to hide the colour change:

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Even so, I still ended up with 32 ends to sew in – yes, you read right, THIRTY-TWO ends!! How can something so small have so many ends?!

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(This photo was taken after I had sewn in some of the ends while waiting at the OB’s office!)

Yarn: As Humphrey will be a summer baby, I have used cotton for the vest rather than the called for alpaca/silk. I used 33g of Rowan 4ply cotton in natural and about 22g of a red hand-dyed Cleckheaton natural cotton that I was given in a yarn swap. A whole garment in only 55g of yarn! Even so, I hope it won’t be a boiling hot day in February when we bring him home from hospital. But I couldn’t not have a hand-knit to dress him in!

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Sticks: 3.5mm for the body and 3mm for the ribbing – the pattern uses smaller sticks, but I didn’t want it to be too firm – hopefully it will fit him for more than 5 minutes!

Time: oof, I started this on 18 August 2013!! I have had a few deadline projects in between, heh! Finished yesterday, 18 January 2014.

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Four weeks to go. Plenty of time!

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Filed under baby, FO2014, stashbuster

A Rothko of One’s Own

One of the reasons I blogged so little towards the end of the year was because I was working on a major secret project over most of October and November. Grab a strong drink and prepare yourself…I made a quilt! A hand-quilted quilt even. My first quilt, at that. Yes, I may be a little insane.

And here it is:

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It is inspired by a Mark Rothko painting in the Chicago Institute of Art, as viewed and loved in person by DrK, who of course is the recipient of my quilting largesse (heh!). We’d been talking quilting and making quilts for a while, and when she tweeted a picture of this painting, I knew what I had to do.

I found the perfect fabric, Kaffe Fasset shot cotton, which changes colour very subtly depending on the angle you view it. Ideal for capturing the depth of a painting, in what is otherwise the flat(ish) medium of fabric. And it had to be hand-quilted, to echo the artist’s hand holding the brush. And since I am a very imperfect sewist, I like to think the uneven stitches and wonky lines also reflect the artist’s brush strokes.

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And finally, I chose a range of cottons within each colour, with which to do the quilting, hoping to replicate the effect of brushstrokes and the uneven layers of colour you can see in the original artwork.

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Sadly, none of these details really show up very well in the photographs at all (photography is so challenging for the crafter!) so you’ll have to take my word for it!

Even though I bought the fabric back in around April or May, I had to ruminate on the making of the quilt for some time (not to mention having other projects with earlier deadlines!) so I didn’t quite get it finished in time for DrK’s birthday … Or Christmas … And I ended up giving it to her unbound (but otherwise done!). Thankfully she didn’t mind and even offered to do the binding for me, for which I am grateful as she did a much better job on it than I would have! (You can read her post here).

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I know next to nothing about quilting, and I am sure I made lots of rookie mistakes, but even so, I am quite proud of this effort. I don’t think it will be my last quilt (I hope not, since I have fabric for at least three more, heh!) but I do think it will be my only hand-quilted job!

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Filed under FO2014, quilting, sewing