Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Snuggle-Ready

While I don't need my infant boys to look like 30-something lawyers, I'll admit it's difficult to add rainbows to baby clothes without a girly vibe. But this mama's got to get her rainbows in somewhere! And after a joyful anatomy scan today for little Kit (who was quite cooperative, bless him), it seemed liked the perfect time to share one of those rainbow projects.

I had some butter-soft jersey left over from another project (I think the boys' National Parks pajama shirts?), and thought it would make a cozy newborn gown. Stitched Together's free pattern and tutorial was just the ticket, a blank canvas for a bit of rainbow art.




The rainbow was a simple addition -- a bit of ecru braided cotton clothesline, with the center fibers pulled out (easily done). I traced my lines with a washable fabric pen, and stitched the now-flat rope with a wide zig-zag stitch. 




A wee bonnet was also in order (again, a hard thing to pull off for a boy!), and for that I mildly modified the free Ottobre jersey baby hat pattern. I lined mine with cream bamboo jersey. Hopefully it will fit! Not only is it hard for me to remember how small a newborn is, my newborns have varied wildly in size (the smallest was 7lb 4 oz, the largest just a hair over 11lb...). But at least knit is stretchy, and anything too big won't be for long, Lord willing.



Little Kit trying to put his hand in his mouth! 


It was such a delight to watch (and for me, feel) Kit wriggling around today! We finally decided on a name, and after the good news today we're rejoicing over God's many mercies thus far. Can't wait to meet you, baby boy -- but please stay put for a few more months! 


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Milestones

 Today marked an important milestone for this pregnancy -- 20 weeks, half-way to our goal of a healthy, earthside baby. There were so many times when I doubted we'd ever reach this point in a pregnancy again, and it feels surreal to be here. Apparently, Kit has taken his role as mama-reassurer very seriously, because he's been kicking up a storm over the past day or two. I did my weekly doppler check this morning (which has been such a blessing and sanity-saver for the past few months), but I think it might be my last "scheduled" check. There are many weeks to go, but I'm counting my blessings today!


It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praises to Your name, O Most HIgh;
to declare Your steadfast love in the morning,
and Your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For You, O LORD, have made me glad by Your work;
at the works of Your hands I sing for joy.

Psalm 92:1



Today's "bumpdate," along with a few
from previous weeks for comparison!





Thursday, May 12, 2022

Bits and Bobs for Baby Boy

Once we found out that our newest baby was a boy, it didn't take me long to pull out needles (of various sorts and sizes) and set to work! I do love crafting for babies (especially my own!) -- few materials required, lightning progress, and everything tiny and sweet. I save only the best hand-me-downs from previous babies, because I know I can easily restock with thrifted finds and handmade garments. The perfect excuse to let the creative juices flow.

Sweater: Summer Cardigan pattern from Jord clothing
Pants: Self-drafted harem pattern
Aviator hat: Made for Laddie almost 8 years ago
Rainbow teether: Couldn't resist!

This was my first time using a Jord pattern, as I found them only recently. It seems I have a preference for knitting patterns from northern Europe, which can sometimes be frustrating due to the language barrier -- happily, some of Jord's patterns have been translated into English! I instantly found about six patterns I wanted, but limited myself to just one to start. Garter stitch is lovely for a cardigan, because it practically eliminates purl stitch (which I just don't enjoy). Granted, I did modify the pattern to knit the sleeves in the round, which meant alternating knit and purl rows on the sleeves. But I didn't really want to sew them up later and baby sleeves knit up quickly, so I'm happy with the compromise.




Overall, the pattern was great and quite concise. Though perhaps a little too concise, as I did have some difficulty with the instruction to do an i-cord binding around the entire sweater! Having never done one before, I was a bit lost. But happily YouTube came to the rescue, and I now have another skill under my belt. It does make a tidy finish, though rather time/yarn consuming. I absolutely love the Marine Heather colorway in KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Tweed. This is another yarn from my "fairy yarnmother," and after using three skeins I still have plenty left! Five little wood buttons finished it off.

I'm not sure if I did something wrong, but there is a noticeable indent about an inch from the yoke, on one of the increase rows. I think I did all of my increases on the right ride (with garter stitch it's not always easy to tell!), but if I did it again I would increase on the wrong side because I think it's less visible. I may leave it, or I may improvise a little brown "stripe" detail with a coordinating yarn, probably using a crochet hook. It might be a nice touch! 




Next up was a little pair of linen harem pants in roughly 0-3 months size (I'm awful with sizing!), which I hope will match the sweater size. I had a pattern that I'd drafted for Scout, which I modified slightly. I decided to do cuffs this time, since I tend to have to roll the hems and don't love the bit of serged edging peeking out -- I almost always use white serger thread, because I'm too cheap to buy three coordinating thread cones, and too lazy to change it out for every project, anyway. So these pants got a thick cuff, which is rolled up about half-way in the photos. I'm hoping this will help them last longer, too, since I can roll/unroll the cuff as the baby grows.




The fabric is a beautiful linen from a Wiksten Tova hack that I no longer wear -- the bottom half was the perfect size for a wee pair of trousers. I enjoyed adding a few details like the faux placket on the front, and the real-but-entirely-useless pocket on the back. And teeny tiny wood buttons are so sweet!






I also made a more masculine cotton rainbow for little Kit, our long-awaited rainbow baby. He's been giving me a few nudges as I write this, the most miraculous feeling. Though his seeming preference for my bladder does worry me a bit...





A recent order of fabric means that Kit's wardrobe will be expanding a bit more! All that rapid growth over the first year of a baby's life means more sewing opportunities for mama, which I'm doing my best to cope with. *wink* Something to keep me busy while I wait and pray to hold this little fellow in my arms.


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Littlest, Kit

As a frugal person who prefers minimal interventions during pregnancy, I never would have imagined paying for an elective ultrasound. But with strict hospital visitor regulations, an utter lack of patience on my part, and the discovery that a blood gender test would actually cost more than the ultrasound -- well, for the first time in twelve pregnancies, we found ourselves at a private ultrasound studio so we could find out the gender of our rainbow baby as a family. Our only ultrasound thus far had been at eight weeks, during the "jelly bean" phase. In other words, not much to see other than the actual presence of a baby! But at 16 weeks, I knew there would be more shape and movement, and this would give our children the opportunity to see their little sibling in utero. Besides, it was hard to imagine waiting another twelve weeks to see the baby at our anatomy scan. Yes, yes, I know for most of human history ultrasounds haven't even been an option... It turned out to be a wonderful experience, and both the facility and the employees were lovely. Just a brief appointment, which suited my low-intervention preference, but we got to see our sweet baby moving around and -- most importantly -- found out the gender!

All of our children have been team girl, for the simple reason that Rosa is the only sibling that doesn't have a sister. But it should come as no surprise that our newest addition is another BOY! 



We celebrated with treats, and Little Man and Rosa helped me pick out a few things for the baby at a local consignment shop; they were so sweet as they oohed and aahed over all the little baby clothes. 

I'm always impatient to find out the gender of my babies, but with this pregnancy it's been elevated more than usual. Part of that may be that technology has advanced since Scout was born, and knowing that early blood tests are readily available makes it harder to wait. But I also think it's because I feel like I'd been waiting for a "gender reveal" not for the sixteen weeks of this pregnancy, but for one hundred seventy-four weeks -- that's how long it had been since we lost Baby J, just a few weeks before his anatomy scan. I know time is precious with each baby, that there's no guarantee of another week or another scan. And even though a stronger bond may ultimately make loss more heartbreaking, I'd rather take that risk than stay detached (though each pregnancy-after-loss mama is unique in their feelings about that). I'm so grateful for every day with this baby boy.


From left to right: hand + arm (upper left corner), profile, heartbeat

Of course, now my husband and I are faced with naming this baby! We have so many girl names that we both like, but both struggle to find mutually acceptable boy names. It's a dilemma I relish, though -- what a joy to have a little boy to name. Figuring out a blog non de plume was comparatively simple, to my surprise (it's often not). Foxes are one of my favorite animals, and fox babies are called "kits." Well, Kit also happens to be a nickname for Christopher, a name I've loved since childhood but my husband has vetoed. So here on the blog, this little one will be "Kit." 

Somehow the anatomy scan that seemed ages away is just around the corner, and I've started feeling the sweetest little movements over the past week. Little reminders that as much as this all seems like a dream, it is wonderfully, delightfully real. Praise God for His mercies!

PS -- Of course, there are knitting and sewing details to follow!

Monday, May 02, 2022

Another Pair of Pinkies

Almost as soon as I'd finished my first pair of Pinky Socks (pattern by Trude Hertaas), I cast on another pair! They were so satisfying and quick to knit, and I needed another project quickly for a crafting social. It didn't take me long to pick a new yarn from my "Fairy Yarnmother" stash and set to work.



This time I used my favorite Fish Lips Kiss heel (I use her twin stitch knit/purl technique for virtually all of my short rows/increases now! They're practically invisible), so I knit an entire pattern repeat before starting the heel. Even so, they sit quite low on the back of my heel -- but they don't slip off, and I think I can get away with wearing them with my Adelisa & Co. Dalia's (children's version here). I usually end up wearing little sock liners with my Dalias if I'm wearing a dress, because it looks a bit odd to have socks peeking up over the tops! I also did a tubular cast-on, which has been a favorite for socks lately. It does tend to muddle my brain, though.

I keep experimenting with different needle sizes, but ended up restarting this sock in 2.0mm needles and actually casting on all of the stitches (my last pair was a larger needle size, but I changed the cast-on from 64 to 56). This sock yarn was thinner, and a tighter stitch pattern seemed to work better.




These look a little funny when they're not on my feet! But I like a snug fit, and the nice thing about hand-knit socks is that they're customized to my foot proportions. 

I still have plenty of yarn left -- maybe enough for another pair of ankle socks, or perhaps Rosa will get some socks soon...

Friday, April 29, 2022

Gift for a Fairy Yarnmother

Over a year ago, a reader contacted me with a question -- she was downsizing her yarn collection, and would I like some of her stash? Shortly after, a box arrived on my doorstep. And then another, and then a third! Each one filled with beautiful yarns in some of my favorite fibers and a rainbow of colors. So many sock yarns! There were even a few cuts of fabric and a puzzle (how did she know?). I dubbed her my "Fairy Yarn-mother," and the name stuck (I don't know how she would feel about that, but hopefully she'd consider it a compliment!). You've already seen some of the results of her kindness, like Rosa's Izzy, my Elven Woods socks, and my Pinky socks. And there are more projects soon to be posted!


More crochet forays -- this time a bookmark, which was a challenging but enjoyable project.


In spite of my gratitude, 2021 was a difficult year in many ways, and it was over 12 months before I finally sent a little "thank you" package in her direction. It was also ridiculously hard for me to settle on what to send. Choosing gifts is not one of my strengths, and it's even harder when I have limited information about the recipient. But clearly sewing and knitting were something we had in common, and we also share a favorite Jane Austen novel! In the end, I went with those themes and hoped for the best.

A few lavender sachets in these Ruby Star Society "Purl" prints were a must:




And I made a small box adorned with a facsimile of Jane Austen's manuscript for "Persuasion" -- I used to make these regularly for my Etsy shop once upon a time (though with fragments of thrifted novels), but haven't done one in ages. I forgot how much I enjoyed it! 




A few goodies completed the package, and off it went. I must say, it's making me itch to make Jane Austen wares again...
 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Our Mighty Substitute

It seems strange to celebrate the worst day in history. Truly, the day that Jews and Gentiles colluded to murder the Son of God eclipses (by far) every other horror in our broken, fallen world. And yet, it seems inadequate to call this Friday merely "Good," because (thus far in history) the only day greater than this was the day that Jesus emerged from the tomb, alive -- the day when Satan's greatest triumph proved to be his utter downfall. 

I love these words from Peter's sermon in Acts 2:

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it."

It was not possible for death to hold Jesus in the tomb! His resurrection was not so much a miracle as an inevitability (though it was, indeed, miraculous!). When God loosed the pangs of death for Jesus, He loosed them for all who would trust in Him as Savior. 

Instead of death, life.
Instead of despair, hope.
Instead of defeat, victory.  

Over the past few weeks, I've been reading Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, a collection of essays written by theologians throughout history. Its bite-sized meditations have been good for the soul, so I'll include an excerpt from J.C. Ryle below:




 

Was He flogged? 

It was done so that 'by His wounds we are healed' (Isa. 53:5). 

Was He condemned, though innocent? 

It was done so that we might be acquitted, though guilty.

Did He wear a crown of thorns?

It was done so that we might wear the crown of glory.

Was He stripped of His clothes?

It was done so that we might be clothed in everlasting righteousness.

Was He mocked and reviled?

It was done so that we might be honored and blessed.

Was He reckoned a criminal, and counted among those who have done wrong?

It was done so that we might be reckoned innocent, and declared free from all sin.

Was He declared unable to save Himself?

It was so that He might be able to save others to the uttermost.

Did He die at last, and that the most painful and disgraceful death?

It was done so that we might live forevermore, and be exalted to the highest glory.


-- Excerpt from J.C. Ryle's commentary on Matthew, quoted in Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Wild Side

It's been a while since we've been to a zoo, so we took advantage of a beautiful spring day to visit a local wildlife refuge. 




I could not get over how huge the cheetahs' eyes were -- huge, luminous, mesmerizing orbs. Pictures do not do them justice!




This prickly fellow was ensconced in his log, and barely opened his eyes! But we admired him, nonetheless:




The zookeeper spent a good 15 minutes just setting out the brown bear's snack! Fruit stuffed in every cavity and crevice -- it was quite amusing to watch her sniff out every last piece.




Magnificent creature:





Um, pardon me, but there's a little salad on your chin...




Not the most exotic of critters, but the raccoon was quite amusing and very active!




This fellow was sleepy, but he did open his eyes a few times:




As a bonus, we saw a bison ranch on our way to the refuge and this little one was having his (or her?) lunch:




Such a stunning day! Happily, we were able to spot most of the animals, with only a few shy (or sleepy) residents. 




The littles enjoyed themselves immensely -- Scout kept asking if we could go home, and then the next day asked if we could go back...  We did eventually make it home, though sometimes I think our "zoo" is a little more wild than the animal refuge! *wink*