Wednesday, 29 January 2014

not quite a yarn along...

This week I've been reading Caitlin Moran's How to be a Woman, which is frankly hilarious! All women should read it as part of their path to womanhood, even though Moran's experience of becoming a woman is not so generic as I think she presumes. I'm only snatching a paragraph here and there, and this book is perfect for that. I highly recommend it.

The merino baby gown is unfinished. There hasn't been any knitting for two weeks because I have been a bit busy with this little chap:

A good excuse, huh?

I'm typing this one-handed while he sleeps on my chest. We're just finding our feet, especially me! Having a newborn and a preschooler is big challenge, but these boys are pretty lush! Joining in with Ginny this week. Now how does she do it?

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A tiny yarn along

Joining Ginny this week...

Approaching 39 weeks pregnant, and the amount I can get done is seriously diminishing! I am already six weeks more pregnant than I have ever been before, and I can't believe how much bigger I am! I feel like a walking time bomb, which is not so nice. In my head 'Madge was arriving over the Christmas break, so to be back doing the preschool run, swimming lessons etc. isn't sitting well in my head. I just want to sleep!

The abandoned Christmas knits remain abandoned in favour of baby knitting. I had a sudden panic about what the baby was going to wear to keep it warm at night, so I cast on a sweet little gown using some lovely Louisa Harding Ianthe 50% cotton/50% merino yarn. It's soft and delicious, and has a beautiful drapey texture for a baby knit. Plus, it is a discontinued yarn that I picked up for a steal on a site well-known for its lovely reductions! Sadly the lady I ordered lanolin from is on holiday until next week, so I won't be able to lanolise the little soakers until then, but there are two newborn size waiting to be done. They're so tiny and sweet! When this gown and maybe one more are done I will whip a couple up in the next size too. It's slow going though. I've made a couple of silly mistakes in the little gown already, just through being too tired to knit, and my brain is too addled to sort them out properly, so I have just bashed on. The baby won't notice, and actually probably nobody else will either.

I'm still reading The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, a couple of pages here and a couple of pages there. More often I am reading with Sausages, or he is reading board books to "his baby." Sweet, affectionate boy. Oh, and husband did shave off his "crunchy birth partner" beard. Sad; it was looking lovely! He wouldn't believe me though.

I hope you're having a lovely week, and not waddling around avoiding your phone in case you've had a text to ask "how you are" (everybody knows this is code for: "have you had that baby yet?" You're fooling nobody). Sausages has promised me the baby is coming "after Christmas, on Tuesday," so maybe I'll have something other than knitting to share next week (or the week after...or the week after that!)

Have a lovely week!


Thursday, 2 January 2014

The First Yarn Along of the Year!

Yarning along with Ginny, who encourages us all to share our reading and knitting each week.

This week, despite not actually having finished my Christmas gift knitting, I had an overwhelming urge to knit for the baby. I figure that when you're nine months pregnant it really is the time you can give in to those feckless urges, so I cast on a Little Seedling Soaker in the newborn size. I like the look of this soaker, because it looks more like a nappy wrap. I'd rather do the soaker up than pull the whole thing on and off over legs. I've met breastfed babies before! The first one is knitted but awaiting buttons and weaving in, and I have started a second in the hope of managing two out of one ball of yarn. They are pretty tiny! The newborn size takes around a day, even with the help of a three-year-old.

I've definitely made the ribbing too tight on the first one, but I might go back and redo it when I'm finished. They are pretty adjustable. I'm tempted to use a ribbon tie for flexibility, but Husband is pushing for buttons.

This week's reading is Douglas Adams' The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, from his Dirk Gently series. This was a Christmas present from Husband. He knows me so well! It's that rare find, a charity shop bargain that has never been read. A new book for 90p, combining surrealist fiction with our frugal policies! After so much earnest reading about pregnancy, birth a parenting recently I was due a bit of light relief.

Speaking of my recent reading, I haven't given a review of the New Active Birth book. There are some great bits of this book, discussing prenatal exercises, labour and birth positions, but a lot of the book is very dated, and talks a lot about a system of maternity care that no longer applies. I think the author must be delighted with the direction in which mainstream maternity care has moved in this country though, and considering the book is about as old as me, the dated nature is perfectly reasonable! Husband is valiantly reading Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth, and has grown a beard in order to fulfill the role of birth partner (see my facetious recent post), but he'll probably shave it off before he goes back to work on Monday, so come on baby!

What are you reading and crafting this week? Have you broken into books and materials received for Christmas? Are you starting the year as you mean to go on?


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year's Aspirations

I don't know what 2014 will look like. I really have no clue. Husband is still not 100% after a poorly December, and getting him back to himself is top priority. Second priority is 'Madge, due to join our little family this month. I haven't met him/her yet, and I have no idea what they're like, and what they need. I have no idea how Sausages will adapt to this gargantuan change. I just don't know what my family will need this year to look like, and my most important task is to make life work for them.

On the other hand, I do have a few personal aspirations! They're mostly frivolous and small, but hopefully this makes them more realiseable...

1. To learn to use my lovely Matilda, who is sitting so patiently waiting for me to get my act together! I have the manual, Husband has fixed the sewing machine table he picked up on freecycle and is in the process of installing it (in Sausages' bedroom, which two weeks before 'Madge's due date he has decided to swap with the study, leaving the entire house in chaos, but that is another story!).

2. To learn to use the drop spindle given to me by Crochet Queen back in April or May. There is fibre in my stash, and YouTube tutorials have been duly bookmarked. A few have even been watched, but as yet no spinning has taken place.

3. To work my crafting stash into a more manageable size. I am, by nature, an awful hoarder. My craft corner (Husband has quite another name for it) is packed with yarn, magazines, and bits and bobs gathered with all sorts of projects in mind over the last year or so. It has definitely grown since we moved to the Bungalow and I was allocated my own space for such things! Husband's reorganisation of our living arrangements seems like a prime opportunity to take stock and manage the chaos. I will do my best this year to actually make the projects I have stashed the yarn for.

4. To purchase only natural fibres, and only when absolutely necessary. I hate knitting acrylic. Why do we do it? I currently have a small addiction to a certain budget natural fibre yarn brand, and really have no idea why I have so much acrylic in my stash. I used to think it was more practical for babies and toddlers, but now I think I just believed what somebody else told me on that one. Why clothe my beloved babies in inferior materials, just for washability? I'm a cloth nappy mum, for goodness sake! I make my own baby wipes out of flannels! I have a top-quality washing machine with a choice of cycles for delicates and woolens! I shall work through the stash of acrylic on practical projects, and not replace it.

5. Knit socks. This was on last year's to-do list, but thanks to spending much of the year with a pregnancy-generated yarn aversion so little knitting actually happened that I never got to it. In the mean time I have taught my mother to knit socks while I was working on other things, and several people I taught to knit in the first place have gone on to knit socks. This year I will get it together with socks!

6. Publish at least one of my own patterns, and write up all of the rest. Keep an eye on this one, there might be a free pattern or two heading blogwards!

7. Publish some of my non-academic writing in an attempt to generate some income around looking after my precious family. I always thought that you had a family around your career, and never dreamed that I would stay at home to care for my children. The reality of how I feel now that they are here is totally different, and I need a career that will contribute financially while making them the top priority of my time and energy.

8. Run one stall at a fair in 2014 selling my own produce, be it yarn, original hand knits, whatever. I had this plan in mind when Mamar and I went to Wonderwool this year, but somehow ended up pregnant and hating yarn instead.

9. Get back to being organised enough in the house and kitchen to resume our weekly veg box order. I gave this up when I had awful morning sickness and just couldn't go in the kitchen. We ate junk for months. I am back to doing most of our cooking and using a meal plan, but there are still smells that send me running for the bathroom. Luckily I know this will all disappear when 'Madge gets here, so I'm looking forward to getting back to a more regular domestic role.

10. Restart the daily learning journal I started for Sausages a few months ago. I made a few entries, but I was put off by some critical comments from a couple of friends. I don't know why, I must have been feeling low. I still think it would be good to record some of the things he does. I will dig out the nice book I bought for the purpose, draw a line under the previous entries, and try again. And maybe start a little book for 'Madge for its own little timings and changes.

11. Give birth. Ok, this is a cheaty one, since it has to happen, and has to happen soon. But it's always nice to have something to tick off your to-do list nice and early in the proceedings! Also, it's not an insignificant achievement, whatever form it takes. I have my hopes for this birth, but I know it's a whole event in itself, not related to Sausages' birth or anything else that might be going on, and that it could unfold in almost any way. I have very little control over this one, and am open to following it's unique path.

Phew, that is a much longer list written down than it was in my head! Ten is a nice number for a list, and number eleven is a bonus. I think I will print it off and stick it over my desk in the new study (if it ever comes together) as a motivational tool. Then, in around April when I can actually look at something that isn't my children, I could bring myself back to what I want out of the year. I don't need to accomplish it all. They are not commitments. Some are more serious than others, and nearly all can wait longer than a child who needs you: number eleven being the obvious exception

What are your aspirations for 2014? Do you find yourself focusing on your home life, career, or recreation? Do you think I'm mad to have any aspirations at all when a new baby is arriving at any minute? (If so, I suspect you may be right!) Let me know, and feel free to link back to your own blog posts on the subject in your comments. I hope 2014 is a great year for you all, both through what the world throws at you, and through what you throw back.