Thursday, August 27, 2015


I know that it has been a while since my last post.  As June drew to a close, I started to think about actually getting ready for the baby.  I wanted to get my house clean, freeze some meals, prepare my daughter for being a big sister and get things ready for the baby.  Since my mom was two weeks overdue with three of her children and my daughter was two weeks overdue, I assumed this pregnancy would follow suit - so I would have plenty of time to get ready.

I started by knitting little newborn hats for a baby boy or girl.  Now, I had been telling my daughter that she was going to be a big sister and that her baby sister was growing in mama's tummy.  While my belly got lots of kisses from my sweet toddler, I'm glad she didn't fully understand the term "baby sister," because she ended up with a baby brother who came five days early!

So was I really ready?  Not at all.  I didn't even think I was in labor when it first started.  I ended up taking my daughter to the zoo that afternoon.  She wanted to be carried, so when I had to put her down for each of my contractions - and that started happening more and more frequently - I knew I should start thinking about getting to the hospital, and soon!

I know some people like to hear birth stories, while others could go without them.  So here's a quick little rundown.  I planned on having a natural birth like I did with my daughter.  We got to the hospital and I was a 6 and within minutes was an 8.  I thought, Yes!  A few more minutes and I will be pushing.  Four hours later I was still at an 8, and was told I would need pitocin.  I cried for an epidural.  Suddenly baby's vitals dropped and they yelled for an emergency cesarean!  I met the surgeon and they started prepping me for surgery.  I heard cheers and was told to give them five more good contractions - they wanted me to get to a 10.  What the @#$%, I thought, why do I need to dilate to a 10 before having an emergency c-section?  I had missed the fact that giving me some extra amniotic fluid had caused the baby's vitals to return to normal.  The five more contractions they wanted were the time it would take to prep the epidural.  On that fifth contraction I yelled that I was pushing and the baby was coming.  They had me turn over for the epidural, but then the midwife announced that the baby's head was crowning.  One more good push and my darling son was in my arms - no medical intervention needed.

This is my "Oh my goodness, I actually had a natural birth" smile.
 With all of that, the part I was the least ready for was nursing.  I knew I was going to have trouble with nursing because of a condition that I have, but I still wasn't fully able to prepare myself for the mental struggle.  Because I'm not able to make enough milk to feed my baby I feel like less of a woman and inadequate as a mom.  I know these are lies that I should not give into, but I'm just being honest when I share that this is my struggle.  However, I'm giving it my all and savoring each moment with my two beautiful children.  Sewing is definitely not going to happen for a while, and I'm totally okay with that.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Little Something for Me!

While you may have noticed that a lot of my knitting lately has been geared towards my daughter and nephew - I only recently noticed that there has been a lot more unselfish knitting going on than I planned.  I don't know how many of you are familiar with ravelry, but once quick glance at my featured finished objects section shows that eight of my last nine projects have been for people other than me.  Taking into consideration that I also have a few little projects for baby that I had yet to add finished photos of, my own mug was about to be bumped off of my featured finished objects!  Now, it's not that I'm so concerned about not seeing my own face on my ravelry page - but I really think it's about time I did a little selfish knitting!

I've had A Posy of Violets in my ravelry favorites forever; I just needed an excuse to purchase the pattern and start knitting.  As if needing a small selfish project wasn't enough motivation, I also happened to have a handful of fingering weight yarn leftovers that begged to be used up.  Well, this project was so small, that I didn't even completely use up any of those scraps.

 The flowers are supposed to be made into a brooch.  I can't decide if that's what I want to do with them, or find some other purpose for them.  For now, I'm happy to have a small project that was made just for me.  I've even started working on a bigger project for me - a sweater!  While I'm expecting, it's the perfect excuse to take on a more time consuming project, because I can't wear it right now anyway.  It's a summery sweater, so I'm hoping that I can get it finished before baby and have something cute to look forward to wearing next spring and summer.

Do little projects motivate you to start working on something bigger?


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Simplicity 4635 at 33 Weeks!

While I haven't been doing any sewing as of late, I do have a sewing project to share with you.  You've seen a glimpse of the unfinished dress here, but I now finally have pictures of the finished dress to share!  This past weekend there was another 1940's themed Swing Dance event, which gave me the excuse to wear this very 1940's-pretty-much-costume-like-dress that I made.

Some of these pictures actually make the dress look a bit more flattering than the way it looks in real life.  Maternity clothing from the 40's was so different than it is today.  The very first thing I noticed when sewing this up, is that the sash hits at the natural waist (which is something that completely disappears during pregnancy).  All of the modern maternity dresses that I have are empire waist - nothing hits at my natural waist.  Also, most maternity dresses today are made from knit fabrics rather than woven.  This dress of course uses a woven fabric (in a vintage reproduction print).

My hair has grown so long lately that I hardly take the time to do it anymore.  I've only ever attempted victory rolls two other times, but I figured that I needed to go all out with my vintage look for this event.  I found a modern victory roll tutorial; and while I don't have a curling iron any more, I think I did a decent job recreating this look - even though it may not be a truly authentic 1940's hairstyle.

 While I really enjoyed wearing this dress to a 1940's themed event, I don't know if it will get much use elsewhere.  I feel that it looks a lot like a costume, and there really isn't a way to modernize it at all.  (However, Lord willing, this is not my last pregnancy and there are dances like this every Spring!)  I'm just glad I made this dress while I wasn't pregnant, and that it was ready to wear well before the night of the event, unlike the last time I sewed a dress for a similar event.

After a full night of dancing in high heals at 33 weeks pregnant and staying up well past my bedtime, I'm taking it easy this week!  I hope you are having a fantastic week.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Signs of Summer

My plan wasn't to turn this blog into knits for little ones, but that appears to be the case for the time being.  My latest knit is a new favorite for me (to see on my daughter).  It's the Midsummer Meadow Tunic by Heidi Atwood-Reeves.  When I saw this test knit come up I was trying to decide between this one and a cute sweater by another pattern designer; I'm terrible at testing two projects at once.  I chose this one, because I had the perfect yarn in my stash (yay, for using up stash!) and I thought that a little tunic would be perfect for my girly girl.

I love how this tunic has fun details like the three little dandelions on the skirt portion of the tunic, picot welt, back box pleat, back keyhole and flower details throughout the yoke.  All this, and there is still a lot of stockinette, so it is a fast and easy knit.

The yarn I used for this project was Frog Tree Picoboo.  I love this yarn, it's a DK Bamboo Cotton, so it's incredibly soft and has a nice drape.  It's also machine washable, which is pretty much a must with children's clothing.  When my sister saw this tunic she mentioned that she loved the yarn (she's not a knitter, she was hinting that I should use the yarn to make something for her son).

While there are still a handful of future test knits that I've seen previews of, and absolutely want to be a part of, I've also started eyeing up some projects for me (it's about time!).  I've lost an interest in sewing for the time being, but I'm hoping that if I start knitting for me than sewing will naturally follow.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

I See You!

I told you all that I have been addicted to test knitting lately.  Seriously, I can't get enough of knitting cute things - especially when it means that I also gets to help out an indie pattern designer.  After I finished my last test knit, I did tell myself no more, I'm done.  Before I even got that project posted, I saw that Lisa had another test knit posted to her group.  The test knit was already in progress with nearly every slot filled up - every slot except for one 6 month size.  How convenient, my nephew is currently wearing 3 to 6 month clothing!  Yep, without even a second thought to all of the things I wanted to sew and knit for myself I went ahead and volunteered to fill that spot.  I think I need to be better about setting boundaries.

Lisa's latest sweater is called Peekaboo, it's a raglan sleeve sweater with what looks like a second layer underneath.  I love the concept.  The sweater is supposed to be knit in a solid color with the under-layer knit in stripes.  After volunteering for the project, I realized that I did not have any worsted yarn in my stash, so I went yarn shopping.  Unfortunately my LYS did not have enough yarn in a single color that I liked for this sweater, as a result I knit stripes throughout the main portion of the sweater and knit the under-layer as a solid.  I still kind of wish I had been able to make the pattern as intended, but I do like how this turned out.  I think the orange really pops against the blue and green.

I am such a fan of Lisa's pattern designing skills.  In my last test knit for her, I loved the texture she added to the sweater.  In this pattern, I love the layered look that is created without there actually being two layers in the sweater.  I find myself thinking that this would be a clever addition to some of the patterns that I want to knit for myself.

It's a pretty good thing that my model was on his best behavior and gave me lots of smiles, because my daughter kept photo bombing my pictures.  I can't tell you how many pictures had her little hands trying tickle my model's tummy or hand him a toy.  It's always precious to see her so eager to help take care of this guy, I think that she will make an excellent big sister later this year!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Curses and Cleverness - 28 weeks!

I'm honestly surprised that I have another sewn item to share with you!  I feel like all I have been doing in my free time is knitting, which is strange because I usually lose the urge to knit once Spring starts to come around.  Anyway, there will be plenty of time to talk about knitting later, so let's talk sewing!

I was originally planning to sew up another Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity Top, but I decided that there were a few things about my first one that I would prefer to change.  Namely, the shoulders were too wide and the chest opening felt too large.  I have made several Renfrews, and I love the way that they fit, plus I prefer their clean finishes to the simple finishing in Megan Nielsen's patterns.  With this in mind, I decided to mash the two patterns together to make a Megan Nielsen Renfrew.  I do love the result.

However, there was one major bummer moment during the construction of this shirt - as I was overlocking the side seams for a nice finish, my sewing machine ate my shirt.  Somehow the fabric got pulled in and folded.  As soon as I noticed, a huge panic set in (followed by a string of curse words that I am ashamed came from my mouth).  I went from thinking this is such a breeze to sew up, to thinking, oh dear, please let this shirt still be salvageable.  Once I unpicked the overlocking - a task that took forever - I noticed that there was a small hole in my fabric.  I searched the internet for ideas on clever ways to fix a hole in knit fabric.  You guys, there was nothing out there!  Aside from darning or covering it up with a patch, there was not a single truly clever idea.

Well, I decided that darning and patches are all well and good for old items that need repairing, but not my brand-new-not-even-finished-yet shirt.  So, I came up with my own clever idea and added a fun detail of some braided fabric down both sides of the shirt.  It gives my plain navy shirt a little something extra, and covers the hole in my fabric (which I did darn before I covered up).

I can still climb a tree at 28 weeks!
Have you ever had one of those moments where you thought you ruined something, but were able to come up with a clever fix?  Tell me about it!


Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Name is Annabelle and I Have a Stash Problem!

No, she said, I don't have a stash.  The ladies of knit club all chuckled, as if they didn't quite believe her, or at least didn't believe that her statement would continue to hold true.

Oh how the tides have changed!  Slowly over the last five years I have developed quite the stash.  It started simply with the women of knit club cleaning out their stashes, and declaring that it now belonged to me since I needed to build a stash.   Then there were the yarns purchased for a specific project, only to do a gauge swatch and find that the yarn didn't quite work out - so new yarn needed to be purchased while the first purchase went to the stash.  Then there were the projects where I bought the recommended yardage, but still had a skein or two left over when the project was complete.  Lastly, there are the sale yarns - who can resist yarn on sale?

I recently realized that my non-stash of yarn had really turned into an abundant stash.  I decided that I was going to come up with a system to combat this problem.  The first plan of attack was to inventory every single skein or partial skein I owned and file it in my Ravelry stash.  It was a bit of work to gather every single skein and enter the information into Ravelry.  However, now when I start a new project it only takes a few minutes to see if I have anything in my stash that might work.  This is super helpful if I want to continue test knitting, as designers often want to know what yarn you plan to use when you first volunteer.  It's also super helpful as it prevents me from buying more of certain types of yarn (i.e. those yarns that are already taking over my stash, but are hardly ever knit with).

Speaking of certain types of yarn, I noticed that the biggest player in my stash problem is cotton yarn.  When I first really started knitting I decided that cotton was the most delightful type of yarn to knit with.  That is because I made mittens and baby sweaters.  When I actually started to make sweaters for myself and knit with quality wool, I realized that cotton was only ideal for those baby items.  I now have a stash of cotton yarn and not a lot of uses for them.  Ugh!

The second largest contributor to my stash problem is lace yarn.  This was completely unintentional.  I made one sweater out of lace from a vintage pattern that did not give a yardage requirement.  I ended up with nearly four skeins left over - just over three skeins were used in the making of the sweater.  Then I planned to start another lace weight sweater.  I did not like the way my yarn knit up at all, so I bought something else.  Then I got pregnant and did not feel like making a skim fitting sweater from lace yarn . . .

And the stories and excuses add up.  One good thing I did notice is that my stash is mostly made up of older purchases.  What I mean is, in the past two years, nearly all of the yarn that I have bought has been used in a project, even if not the original project it was intended for.  What makes up my stash is mostly yarns purchased three years ago or more.  This is a good sign, because it means the things I am buying now are being used - I'm buying more of the right yarns for my knitting projects and tastes.

What about you, any stash confessions?  Come on, you know you have a problem too ;)  How are you attempting to manage your yarn (or fabric stash)?  I would love to hear what has and hasn't worked.