pretty in pink

While we didn’t *know*, know that this little girl was, in fact, a little girl, I was really quite sure that she was and as such I let myself indulge in just one little gender specific knit.  The theory was that if she turned out to be a he, the next person I knew who had a little girl would get a special, hand-knit baby gift, nothing lost.  This is the Lizzy Dress in Knitpicks Palette in ‘Tea Rose’.

Something strange happened with the band of lace on the skirt.  The lower section is entirely wrong.  I had to be off my feet for a couple of days at the end of my pregnancy while something healed.  I was working on this during that time and of course finding a comfortable position, much less a comfortable position to knit in, was nearly impossible.  So I wasn’t exactly stretching out my work and checking it carefully.  The pattern comes with charted and written directions.  The chart appears fine.  I used the written ones.  I came up with the exact number of stitches at the end of every single row, so never had a reason to suspect anything.  It wasn’t until I was blocking it that I noticed everything had gone all wonky.  I still don’t know if it was something I did or an error in the pattern.  But I had a baby shortly after and because of the size, if I want to use it, it’s clearly too late to fix it now!  Since it was regular repeats I think it just looks like a different sort of lace anyway.  Maybe I’ll try making a bigger size and using the chart this time.


Feeding Our Families- Postpartum Meal Planning Part 2

postpartum vignette: knitting, book, food, baby

Some of the meals I ended up making and freezing:

Shepheard’s Pie

Pork and Apple Bake (2)

Lemon-Olive Chicken with broccoli

Beef Bolognese (5 quarts)

Carrot-Ginger-Coconut Muffins (2 batches)

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (2 batches)

Creamed Spinach (modified with safe for us ingredients)

Honey Sesame Chicken and Broccoli

Chicken Apple Curry* (2)

Peach Chicken*

Apple Pie (2)

I also made a list of the food that we still had available from the harvest this year; apple sauce, jams, chutney, roasted tomatoes and a bag of zucchini muffins that turned up when we rearranged things in the freezer.

I had plans to make more but a couple of friends were talking about maybe dropping off a few freezer meals and I wanted to be sure we still had room for them.  That didn’t actually happen, but two dear friends did drop us off some lovely fresh food, which provided us with salads and soups to pad out our meals.  Also the most wonderful nut and fruit bars that turned out to be the perfect solution for those middle of the night, suddenly ravenous, nursing mama moments.  I really must get the recipe for those!

*I’ll try to post recipes for these at some point.

Expect posts this week by:



A portrait of my children, once a week, every week.

We’re still reveling in the newness here.  I think this is really the first time that we have truly honored this transition.  My perspective of family life this week has remained that of host to all of the little people who come to visit us in bed, hanging out for just a couple of minutes or a whole afternoon.



I made a wearable muslin of the Esme Top pattern by Sew Liberated.  I used some leftover flannel from the kid’s Christmas pajamas two years ago. I really like the pattern, and the cut of the top in general, but I am having some sizing issues.  Going off the size chart and what I guesstimate my bust measurement will be postpartum, it tells me I should be making a size 16.  This didn’t really sit right with me, since for a loose fitting top like this my gut was to go with a size 6.  Also, I just made a dress by this same designer where a size medium was clearly sufficient.  To be safe I went with an 8.

Why yes, this is the top that’s supposed to be 4 sizes too small for me postpartum over my very full term belly.  Perplexed?  Me too.

I know it’s supposed to by very flow-y-loose-fitting, but I guess I wasn’t expecting it to be so much so as to accommodate 40+ weeks of baby.  I had plans to lengthen the pattern and make a dress out of some really lovely blue linen, but I think I might want to see exactly how this falls on the body I intend it for before committing myself to that.  I will say that this top is really soft and seems quite comfortable and I’m very much looking forward to wearing it after the baby comes.

About the buttons…they are just sewn on the front button band.  I sewed a single snap inside to keep it closed.  Only one because that was what I had.  I convinced myself that this was to make for easier nursing access, but I think it really had a whole lot more to do with the fact that I really, really hate sewing button holes.



A portrait of my children, once a week, every week.

Iain and Elijah:  Excerpt from a completely unexpected email from their boss, “I wanted to congratulate you and Steve on your amazing boys – they are a pleasure.  SMART, great work ethic, endlessly cooperative and fun to be around.  Whatever you are doing, carry on, please.

Galen: He was given a gift certificate to our favorite yarn store.  We took a special trip, just the two of us, him wearing the vest he made for himself last year.

Màiri Rose: silly girl

the little one: I meant to get a picture on our due date last week, but somehow that never happened.


spring green

Our first day of spring.

In March I’m all about the green.  There is no green outside at the moment, with the exception of the evergreens that have steadfastly held on to their hue throughout the winter.  But even they are leaning more towards brown and grey, with their dull and bleak weather worn needles.  But on my needles and at my sewing machine there surely is a lot of green, in many different shades.  It seems to happen this way every year, though I never consciously plan it so.

I started accidentally designing some baby over-alls, which doesn’t sound like something that could happen so easily as to be accidental, but somehow for me it is.  I started off with someone else’s pattern.  From the beginning I planned on changing the yarn weight, needle size, gauge (obviously) and stitch pattern.  I got just a tiny bit into the project, decided I didn’t like the pattern at all, started doing something entirely different and never looked at it again.  Next time, starting from scratch on my own, I’ll do some things differently.  When I look at these I can see exactly where I switched from theirs to mine.

I’ve been questioning my button choice a little, maybe?  I can’t decide.

Fresh yarns…

Clearly I was in a very neutral place the day I ordered these!  Perhaps dreaming of working the earth in my garden?  This was a very important part of my postpartum planning as well.  Yes, ordering yarn.  And no, I’m not being sarcastic.  Included in the above is yarn for Elijah’s birthday sweater.  I still love each and every one of these for the project that they were chosen for, but it’s back to being so grey and dreary again that I’m rather sorry I don’t have something a little more cheerful to look forward to.  I had had my heart set on treating myself to some rainbow yarn, with a sweet baby sweater in mind, but they sold out of that particular colorway before I got around to ordering.  In retrospect I probably should have tried to track it down elsewhere.  Having just ordered a box of yarn, I’d feel too guilty doing so now.

Books!!!  Thank you so much for all of your suggestions!!  I’m making a great big list out of them for future reference.  Immediately after writing that post, before the suggestions began pouring in, I started looking and thinking and ordering a great many books through inter-library loan.  Many, many books.  Books for the kids to read, books for me to read, books for me to read to the kids.  Books for school work (primarily a selection of books on the Tudor Period).  A collection of J. R. R. Tolkien books for Iain.  Yet more Black Stallion books for Elijah.  They switch off with each other after they finish each book.  The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew to read aloud.  Because somehow, despite the fact that this one has come highly recommended to me by several sources who’s opinions I hold in great esteem, we still haven’t read this one yet.  I think that maybe it wasn’t available the last time I looked and then I forgot to look again?  Another of the All-of-a-Kind Family books.  My Father’s Dragon as a first chapter book for Galen to read aloud to me. A little Tasha Tudor for Miss Màiri Rose (A Tale for Easter), as well as Poppy’s Babies and Spring Story, both from the Brambly Hedge collection.   A book on large family logistics.  I presume, based on the looks and comments I get when people learn this is our fifth baby, that at this point we qualify.  A Piet Oudolf gardening book.  Three books by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a.k.a. The Yarn Harlot.  I’ve already finished this one.  I very happily still have this one and this one waiting for me.  I decided to get a couple of Chris Bohjalian books, even though they don’t tend to be lighthearted at all.  But I’ve enjoyed reading his books in the past and even met the man once (he made me laugh, in quite a good way) and it’s been a while, so I thought, why not?  I ordered The Sandcastle Girls, which I haven’t looked at yet and The Light in the Ruins, which I picked up for the first time yesterday.  It turns out that I may somehow in reading the on-line descriptions have missed the bit about the serial killer. hmm.  Not exactly what I was looking for just now.



birth tub trial run

I had a plan for my post on this, the first day of spring.  It was going to be all about spring green, a little bit of knitting, a little bit of life.  Only as it turns out, life at the moment doesn’t include enough sunlight to properly photograph knitwear.

Yesterday we took a walk through sleet to see the new lambs.  This morning we woke up to an ice storm.  Waking being relative for those of us who didn’t spend much of the night asleep.  Part of the plan for today was a project involving tracking the movement of the sun across the sky.  So much for that.  Thwarted again.

I’m finishing up little odds and ends on my “to-do” list.  Six weeks or so ago I was having a little private nervous breakdown regarding the over-whelming list of things that I felt had to be completed in a short period of time.  I started talking to Steve about it and in an effort to talk me down he asked me what one thing we could start working on to make me feel better.  I looked at him like a deer in the headlights and after several anguished moments finally said, “we could prioritize all the things that need to be done”.  He may have laughed.  Then he suggested I make a list and we would look at it together.  When he checked back in I had a list six pages long with no less then three entries that referenced other lists for details.  Everything from registering the kids for baseball and working out our beef order for the year to rearranging car seats, lanolizing diaper covers and making mobiles, with a couple of pages of knitting, sewing and home improvement projects in between. I don’t think he was expecting that.  He looked at me somewhat flabbergast.  I said something along the lines of, “see???  This is how my brain always works, and you wonder why I panic sometimes?!?!?”  To which he replied, “Yeah, no, my brain does not work this way at all, it’s mostly just a blank page with occasional old song lyrics scrolled across.”  This for the record isn’t even remotely true.  Just last week he drove past his exit on his way home from the job that he’s had for ten years now because he was so preoccupied with trying to solve a technical problem he encountered that day.  But it is most definitely true that we tend to fixate on entirely different sorts of things.

At this point I feel like the tremendous list is mostly under control.  All of the really important stuff anyway, as I keep reminding myself over and over (and over) again.  There is some food in the freezer.  After an epic battle with both moths and mice, from what turned out to be a very poor storage solution, I now have the ability to actually cloth and diaper a baby, at least for a little while.  Fruit trees have been ordered.  The midwives have been paid.  There are trays of seedlings on our window sills.  Herbal baths and tea blends have been mixed.  New slings have been sewn.    I have homeschooling plans all worked out, though I fear that I haven’t done enough.  I always worry that I haven’t done enough.  There is always more that could be done.  And so I keep telling myself, over and over again, that we are ready enough.  That we’ll get by.  All is fine.  Anything else that I manage is just a bonus.  Sometimes (rarely), I even manage to believe myself.