Blog a la Cart

Category: Knitting

IX

Hi, Mom.

For over a month, I’ve been plugging away on a sweater for your grandson. I’ve become enamored of this bubble stitch from a bonnet pattern, and decided to incorporate it into a sweater for Sanderling. It was my first true foray into pattern design, and I was extremely nervous that all that time and effort might have been for nothing if things went awry. I know you would understand zero percent of this given your utter disinterest in knitting (thank goodness your mom took it upon herself to teach me), but you were always such an admirer of the pieces I produced (and on the receiving end of many, even my earliest, less successful projects).

I wanted to share Sanderling wearing the finished product so desperately with you. I wanted to hear you “ooooh” and “ahhhhh.” I am really so dang proud of what I created. It fits beautifully, just as I’d envisioned and hoped. And I was yearning for a compliment from you.

You would have loved it.

143 Your Ashley

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Sanderling // Three Months

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My beguiling Three Month Old,

You are our ray of sunshine. Our cheeks hurt from smiling back so unabashedly at your constant stream of open-mouthed, rapturous grins. You are on the brink of the giggles and that is only going to amplify the joy and happiness you so readily bestow upon our household. Your bath time routine of stomps and splashes and coos with Daddy and PINK HIPPO! are arguably the zenith of your joy each day. In the face of our grief, you are our balance. Our light. Our anchor. And you radiate that light outward to those we greet in public – the baristas, pharmacists, colleagues, friends, teachers, yogis, darling elderly gentlemen, are all so smitten with your sweet smiles of connection and contentment.

This precious ensemble arrived from a beautiful French knitwear company, Miou Kids, and I can hardly stand how adorably that bonnet magnifies that round, squishy face of yours. Those bally cheeks (just like your Momar’s)! That dimple! It makes your smiles all the more irresistible. If it isn’t already glaringly obvious, I am positively taken with you, my darling. There isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t feel humbled with gratitude and love for your presence in our lives.

Your easy-going nature continues, as you have (for now) mastered sleeping through the night. You go to sleep with ease at bed time. In fact, I often lay you down still awake, and you merrily suck your thumb (we hear great slurping down the hall) until you drift off to sleep. We then don’t hear from you again until the following morning. If a wet diaper or a hungry belly awakes you before 6am, a quick change and/or nurse session is enough to welcome another 2-3 hour stretch of sleep. I cannot fully articulate what a gift this has been, for all of us. To be rested. To not have to stress about long bedtime routines, or prolonged middle-of-the-night feedings, or restless, sleep-deprived children and parents is particularly welcome during a time when life feels so hard and confusing. Thank you for that gift.

While I know that your daddy and I are far more relaxed and comfortable now that this is our third crack at parenting a newborn, it’s also a testament to your adaptable, laid back personality. It makes carting you around to all of your sisters’ extracurriculars, school performances, appointments, rehearsals, shows, etc. a breeze – not to mention the slew of activities and errands you find yourself running alongside your mom and dad daily. Securely discovering your thumb this month has certainly helped you manage self-care when needed. You’ve recently shown a tendency to blow out your diaper mid-errand, so we’ve gotten very skilled at stripping you of poop-soaked clothing in the mini-van. But if that’s the most challenging hurdle I have to face with you these days, I’ll take it. Baby poo stained car seats and all.

We’ve survived the fourth trimester, my friend. Two bouts of mastitis (the engorgement from your epic sleep stretches is to blame for last week’s infection, but again, tough to complain given the reason), a slew of challenging milestones in the wake of your Momar’s passing and your mama’s adjustment to life postpartum unmothered – but we did it. And I can’t imagine having weathered these three months without you curled up against my chest, a puddle of drool beneath your chin, and sweet sighs emitting from those lips that suck on air as you dream. You are an ever-constant reminder to remain in the present. To soak in the current moment. And revel in the love and comfort and gratitude it brings.

How I wish your Momar could see how much I am positively delighting in you. But I like to think of her as your guardian angel, and I trust that she knows, even if it’s just in the security of my own heart.

143 Mama

Shop Sanderling’s gorgeous hand knit outfit from Miou KidsCotton Overalls in Teal; Cotton Moss Bonnet in Sea Foam ; Crochet Booties in Sea Foam

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Coming Home

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That little outfit both Sunny and Courtland wore home from the hospital when they were born. I gave it an itty bitty, cozy upgrade this weekend for this cold weather baby. Booties and a hat that may not fit for more than a week (or at all, if this kid takes after his/her oldest sister). But they can always be cute doll clothes. The pom pom accents are everything.

I spent this weekend binge-listening to The Longest Shortest Time (a suggestion courtesy of a reader, thanks Hannah!). It’s so fitting for the stage of life I’m in, and was the perfect backdrop to these knit goodies. Baby hats are just so quick and easy and addictive!

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I made up the hat pattern as I went to mimic the Simple Bootees

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Baby Bonnet details

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Simple hat details

The Health Benefits of Knitting

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I’ve been saying for years that it’s my way to de-stress and unwind…

“The repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state like that associated with meditation and yoga. Once you get beyond the initial learning curve, knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”

More…

Often people ask “Where do I find the time?” And the reality is, unlike sewing or baking or other tactile crafts, knitting is very portable. I knit when waiting at the pharmacy for a prescription to be filled, or at the bus stop for the kids, or in the waiting room at a doctor’s office. I pull out my needles while sitting in the pool bleachers during Sunny’s swim practice, in the waiting room at the girls’ dance classes. I have a project in my purse at all times so whenever I have a few free minutes, I can crank out a row or two. And I usually carve out 20-30 minutes every evening to listen to an audiobook or watch an episode of a TV show while knitting as my way to shut down before bed.

When all put together, it’s amazing how productive I can make those otherwise lost minutes that I would spend aimlessly scrolling through my phone. I also like to knit during long meetings, lectures or presentations. I always have to gauge my audience as I think people assume that I’m not paying attention if I’m embroiled in twiddling needles, but in actuality, I listen better and absorb more if my hands are engaged in activity. It’s actually an awesome way to process information and stay focused in the present.

Sunny has asked to learn to knit, so we picked out yarn for her inaugural scarf (a rainbow assortment, naturally) and we’ll see how she takes to it. Given how much she’s enjoyed Cat’s Cradle, I have a feeling it will be a successful match. I’m happy to extend a love my grandmother taught me when I was young to another generation, especially given all the benefits.

And here’s the latest little sweater for our Gummy Bear. A simple and practical kimono design. More details on my Ravelry.

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Knits for Baby Cart #3

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Given how uncomfortable I find life vertical (not that seated or horizontal is discomfort-free, but it’s a vast improvement), I spend much of my free-time, particularly these cold winter weekends, curled up on the couch knitting for this little one while listening to audiobooks or podcasts (I highly recommend experiencing The Red Tent as an audiobook, btdubs).

It’s only been since the New Year that I’ve turned focus to knitting for “our baby” (as Courtland refers to her/him). I finished up this romper for our Year of the Monkey babe, and well, for the newest addition to Cartwheel Farm, I couldn’t resist creating this rooster cardigan. Can you tell that I’m a sucker for animal buttons?

I’ve completed a blanket, hand mitts, ribbed pants, and two hats (those are trickier to photograph well and may just need to wait for our babe’s arrival to properly model their cuteness), and have booties, socks, a vest, and two more sweaters in my queue. We’ll see how much is accomplished in these final six weeks (assuming s/he stays put until D day).

Oh, I am so looking forward to infant snugs in these cozy knits.

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Knit romper details in my Ravelry projects.

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Rooster Cardigan details in my Ravelry projects.

Baby Elf Hats

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Sweet ’16 babes are on my mind and needles this month. I made up this little elf hat pattern on New Year’s Day. I whipped up a few with the scrap yarn from my stash and can’t wait to see them on wee babes in the coming months. I may even keep one for our Gummy Bear. I’ll put together the pattern for folks soon, but couldn’t resist sharing the itty bitty adorableness.

The last hat is the Garter Ear Flap pattern that I’ve made for three little ones over the past few months. A sweet knit indeed.

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DNA Scarf

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More photos courtesy of Sunny. She captured a glimpse of the cable knit scarf I made for Kimmy for Christmas (I may have wrapped it, partially done, still on the needles, and finished it up over the break – but it’s finally complete! And extremely lengthy for maximum wrapping). You’ll notice that it’s got an especially nerdy cable-knit pattern – a DNA Double Helix, for Watson’s Number One Fan (my sister). On the surface, it looks like a traditional Fisherman’s scarf, but the pattern creates a double helix, complete with base pair bars to represent Adenine & Thymine and Guanine & Cytosine. For my family of scientists (my dad is a geneticist, and Kimmy a marine biologist), it was a big hit.

Doda received a hat with a fair isle knit of DNA and chromosomes for his Christmas gift. While I may not be a scientist myself, I can certainly appreciate and knit and nerd out with the best of ’em.

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^^Sunny thought I looked like a Storm Trooper all wrapped up like this.^^

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Doda’s hat on Christmas day:

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Details on my Ravelry for Doda’s Hat and Kimmy’s scarf.

Baa-ble Hat

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Oh this handsome fella of mine flashing some Blue Steel (or perhaps just a look of annoyance as I aim the camera at his mug). Our homestead would be at a loss without him.

I cajoled James into posing with his Christmas gift, The Baa-ble Hat (which granted he’s been wearing quite some time as I finished it in November and let him have at it). When I saw the Baa-ble Hat on Ravlery, I just had to make one. And I adored the pattern so much, I whipped one up for myself as well (Merry Christmas, me!). I learned how to more skillfully fairisle knit, and it is just so endearing and apt for our life on Cartwheel Farm. If we can’t have fiber animals right now (oh that pesky third baby), we may as well wear them on our noggins.

It’s a free pattern – so get after it, folks!

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Sunny has taken an interest in learning how to use the camera, so after school yesterday, we played around and she grabbed some photos of me in my Baa-ble Hat. I added the Alpaca Pom for a little flair – James politely declined the addition of a pom pom to his.

I adore these photos, particularly the one of me grinning. This is how I envision myself when I’m at my most comfortable. My most “me.” No pursed smile or attempts at looking “good” for the camera. No self-consciousness or awkwardness. No posing. No make-up or glitz. Just me as me, smiling casually at my daughter as I coach her through how to focus on my eyes and then hit the shutter.

When James saw the photo he said, “It’s clear that you’re completely at ease with her. Even more so than you are when I take your picture.”

The beauty of the parent/child relationship played out so simply with the click of a button. I’ll cherish her first portrait forever.

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Baby Booties

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Next week, the first of many new babes will enter the world in our town (and among my friends more broadly). I’m absolutely addicted to this seamless baby bootie pattern. Super adorable, and a really fun, clever knit. I can’t wait to see these booties on two pairs of itty bitty baby feet in the coming months!

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Recent Knitting Projects

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^^More cowls because they are so quick and so cozy.^^

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^^Love this sweet baby hat pattern.^^

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^^Leaves necklace with seed beads interspersed^^

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^^Sweet lord we need to refinish this floor. Oof! But the pattern is adapted from Silver’s Sock Class tutorials. I knit both socks, toe up, on two size 5 circular needles. I did a seed stitch pattern on the top of the foot.^^