Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Keeping Busy During Transitions

Everything feels restless right now.  Our lives are transitioning and we cannot do much else other than wait.  At 38.5 weeks pregnant, I am beginning to feel overdue.  Sweet Helen was born at 37 weeks exactly, and I am quite surprised to find myself sitting here now still pregnant and waiting for baby Clare.

Having left work at 37 weeks to rest and prepare, I have been enjoying time with my family.  Now, our home is clean (mostly), our bags are packed (mostly), and everything is in order for Clare's arrival (mostly).

To fill in the quiet moments of the day, I have picked up a few more projects and preparations.  Yesterday, I wound a new hank of Pure Wool, hand-dyed by a friend to start a Vanilla soaker for baby Clare's wool collection.

2011 July Small Vanilla 2

I know I have made a ton of these lately, but they are seriously addicting! I love the COWYAK provisional cast-on method.  I love that the more I have made the pattern the less I have to follow the directions.  I love how quick they are, how little yarn they require, and how fabulous all the different wool's are to work with!

For this size small, I followed the 10 ply pattern, used US4 and US6 circular needles, added an extra set of short rows, and picked up 48 stitched for the leg ribbing.

How do I keep knocking out these projects so quickly? Easy. I am literally knitting almost all the time. I start my day knitting before the rest of the family wakes up (pregnant insomnia), I knit in the morning while Helen plays and naps, I knit in the afternoon when the heat keeps us indoors with the lights dim and Bambi humming in the background, I knit in the car whenever we drive anywhere - 10 minutes, 20 minutes, every minute counts, I knit in the evenings after Helen is in bed and until David falls asleep on the couch.... I just knit...

And when I am not knitting, I am sewing....

2011 July Baby Wipes 2

I have been cutting out and sewing up flannel and terry cloth wipes to use with our cloth diapers. I am always so nervous about the first laundering of anything I sew, but these really washed and fluffed up so nicely! I do not have a serger, so with right sides facing each other, I sewed around the edges leaving a two inch hole on one side to allow me space to flip them right-side out.  I clipped the corners before flipping and sewed around the right-side edge to finish them.

2011 July Baby Wipes 1

I also made a wipe solution to keep in a spray bottle at the changing station to moisten the wipes with. I filled my spray bottle almost full with water, then added 1 Tbsp each of baby oil and Dr. Bonner's Baby Castile Soap.

There is a lot more going on around here - it is strange to think that I will not be going back to work full time.  But, I am enjoying planning a home preschool curriculum for Helen and I this fall. I will of course share more about that later. And, of course, as soon as baby Clare decides to come out to play you will hear about that as well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On My Needles: July 2011

Multiple projects are flying on and off my needles this month.

First, Off My Needles:

One lovely pink baby hat, ready and waiting to welcome baby Clare. I found this free pattern on Ravelry: Baby's First Hat by Abigail Goss.  I really wanted something lacy and sweet and this did the job perfectly.  It was an easy pattern to follow and so quick to work up! I had it completed in one day.

Two Vanilla wool soakers, sizes large and medium.  I have really come to love using these as pajama bottoms... they really work wonders over cloth diapers (even the kind with PUL) because they absorb any leaks and leave my little one (and her bed) nice and dry in the morning. These were made with two strands of Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool and are extra thick.

On My Needles:

Back on my needles is my sweater.  The Hey Teach from Knitty. I am ready to start the armhole shaping, and am enjoying the lace pattern since I have had more practice with lace since last working on this project. I am hoping to have this finished up for early Fall weather.

My mother pulled this interesting neck scarf pattern from one of her recent Martha Stewart Living magazines. There is nothing like a little mindless garter stitch for car rides.

Lastly, I am test-knitting another pattern for The Witty Knitter this one is a Union Suit sized 6 months to hopefully fit my new little babe this winter. It looks quite small to me now... maybe I don't remember how small little ones really are. I love Megan Grewal's top-down and seamless designs and can see this piece being adorable as both the warm winter union suit and as a short sleeved summer romper.

In the Works:

A Leaflet sweater designed by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and featured in Knitty is next on my list.  I have ordered yarn from my favorite LYS (local yarn store) to start this perfect for Texas weather knit. I am looking forward to trying out some Berroco Peruvia in Chipotle on this one - oh, how I love the color brown!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Baby Biscotti

Photo by: SheriW

This ninth month of pregnancy has me not wanting to cook or bake at all.  This is very unlike me... so as a pick me up, I made something special - Almond Biscotti.

The recipe I follow for Biscotti is from one of my favorite go-to cookbooks How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. I also adore his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.


I appreciate that Mr. Bittman really does focus on the fundamentals.  These books are almost more like instructions than recipes. Each type of food is introduced with helpful information and then followed by ways of preparing, recipes, and variations of those recipes. Sample recipes are available on the website.

The biscotti recipe starts with a simple plain cookie and is followed by at least a dozen variations.  We are into almond right now - hence the almond biscotti.

Here is a link to a similar recipe at The Joy of Baking: Almond Biscotti.  Though, it calls for pre-toasting the almonds which I did not do.

Now I am ready to sit down (after the little one is in bed of course) with a nice mug of tea and a plate of freshly made biscotti to pick up my knitting needles and stitch until bedtime.
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