It took a full four years, but I finally sewed an article of clothing for my little boy. They're the Kickin' Back Sweats from Sewing for Boys by Shelly Figueroa and I used some blue linen and a patterned cotton that I found at the thrift store for a couple dollars. These are super easy to sew and I made them in a single night, although this incredibly inexperienced sewer did need to seek out some help from my local sewing circle to figure out the pattern...luckily those talented ladies are up late sewing (and checking Facebook!) just as I was.
I had a huge burst of sewing motivation in the two weeks before Theda was born. If she had waited one more day to arrive, I probably would have made a matching shirt for these pants. I'd still like to try my hand at one, but Silas has requested more pants, so those are at the top of the to-make list. Now I just need to figure out how to nurse a 3-week-old while sitting at the sewing machine...
Now that this gift has been given, I think that I can safely share it here! Silas' best friend turned 4 last month and we were on the hunt for a project that we could make together to give to him. I asked Silas what his friend likes and he said, "cars and music." Knowing that the kiddo had just received an awesome ukulele, we decided to make him a strap to use with it.
Steve was skeptical, but a quick Pinterest search showed that this is apparently a commonly sought after item; there were several tutorials. I blended a couple of them to make a strap that perfectly fit our needs. I borrowed the top snapped portion from this tutorial.
And was inspired by this tutorial for the other half. It called for a self-adhesive hook, but I wasn't sure that our gift recipient would want to attach something to his ukulele that might damage the finish. Not sure what else to use, the answer came to me during one of my many middle-of-the-night-late-pregnancy wakings. A suction cup hook. It works perfectly.
A little embellishment on the back (and, yes, I did realize that his name was sewn on upside down. After much gnashing of teeth I did rip out all the stitches and sew it back on correctly).
Throw in some sheet music, and you have a pretty fantastic gift for a preschooler! We made another one for Silas (in red - his favorite color of the moment) so that he and his friend can jam together.
This project was a lot of fun to work on with Silas. He was an awesome helper and he chose every element - from the color of the straps to which buckles to use. Very fun collaboration!
This is what I was knitting when I went into labor with Theda. I cast them on the day before my due date (which was also the day on which I put my money in the when-will-this-baby-be-born pool) and finished one bootie that night. The following Sunday, after our equinox fire, after pork loin for dinner, after kissing Silas goodnight and tucking him in to bed, I sat on the couch with Steve and pulled out the second bootie, which was only 10 or so rows shy of completion. At that point, I was already pretty sure that we would have a baby by morning, but labor had not yet started at all. I got about two rows in when I had to pause and focus to deal with a contraction. Six more rows and six more pauses and I tucked my needles away for the night, not being able to at all concentrate on anything outside my body anymore. A short hour and a half later Theda was born.
The pattern is Baby Uggs and I knit them in Mission Falls 1824 cotton that I had in my stash. The construction is pretty ingenious, but I found the pattern to be somewhat frustrating. The instructions are pretty straightforward, but the diagram confused me more than helped me. Once I turned off my brain, though, and just knit what was written, it all came together. We'll have to wait a bit for photos of them on little baby feet, though...they are sized for 3-6 months and they are quite huge on the little miss.
It fits! As I neared the end of knitting Theda's puerperium cardigan, it sunk in to my pregnant brain that it is intended to fit on babies who are under ten pounds. I don't happen to grow six or seven pound babies. I grow ten pound babies. So, I was a little nervous that my streak of only knitting things that are too small for my children would continue. Lucky for me, this little girl came out just a hair over nine pounds and her cardigan fits like it was, well, made for her.
The yarn is a skein of hand-dyed superwash wool from Girl With a Sword on Etsy, although I picked it up at the thrift store for a whopping 88 cents. Score. I've admired this little cardy for years as it made the rounds on all the blogs, and I'm glad that I finally knit one up (and had a little one to put it on!). It was so quick and easy and is absolutely adorable. And my worries about it fitting aside, I absolutely love having a little handknit that is just for this brief immediately-post-birth period.
Puerperium is such a funny little stretch of time; a mash-up of courtship and recovery and a complete overhaul of rhythms and routines. And for me, the second time around has been so very different than the first. What I remember most about those early days with Silas were the long stretches of silence. I remember preferring the nights to the days. I remember the way the February sun streamed in through the windows. I remember reading a lot of books and spending time just looking at my baby. This time around I have a little helper (and a wonderful one at that!), there is rarely silence, and I haven't read a book for pleasure in who knows how long. The first time around I spent the totality of my time building a relationship with this new little person. This time, the new little person is along for the ride while I continue to explore the world with her older brother.
On Sunday afternoon our little family of three burned a belated equinox fire. I threw some sage, cedar, and rosemary into the flames, released my fears about birth, and said a private prayer to let the universe know that I was ready to welcome my little one into the world. I went into labor that night and just before the stroke of midnight, Theda Anne entered the world. We are all smitten with this little girl, but none so completely and without hesitation as her big brother. Welcome, little one.
These little booties have been off my needles for about a week now, but I finally just got around to sewing on the buttons and weaving in all the ends. It's always the sewing step that holds me up. But, now that they are finished I'm completely smitten with them. I love the cross-over straps. They are Saartje's Booties knit in some cotton blends that I had in my stash. So fast and easy to knit and absolutely adorable. Now I just need some little baby feet to go in them.