Monday, 25 June 2012

Welcome Charlotte!

Our little girl arrived safe and well on the 7th of June.  I didn't quite make it to my scheduled induction, I had been admitted to hospital on the evening of the 6th as they had planned to start the drip at 6am on the 7th.  I ended up going into labour on my own that evening around 10pm and Charlotte was born at 7.31 the following morning.  Everything went quite well, the only issue was everyone kept telling me I couldn't possibly be in labour and therefore couldn't have any pain relief (I was supposed to save it for the 'real thing').  By the time anyone checked and realised that I was, in fact, quite far progressed it was too late for anything stronger than gas and air and I just had to keep going - but by then I was exhausted!  I had always said I didn't want an epidural but in hindsight I totally would have had one if I'd had the option! 

I have not knit or sewn a stitch since I went into labour but now after 2 1/2 weeks I am starting to emerge from the fog of exhaustion and feel the itch again.  While we are not in any kind of routine to speak of, Charlotte's habits are becoming a little more predictable, and I am getting more efficient at all the daily care that a newborn requires.  Mind you I have a lot of help from my fella, for which I am incredibly grateful. So I hope to pick up the knitting needles very soon so I can finish the two WIPs I have, and maybe start working on some projects from my current Crafsty courses.  The sewing may have to wait a little longer as I now have to bring the machines to the dining table to work and the house is still a bit chaotic for that!

I'll leave you with some more pictures of Charlotte.  I think she is the most beautiful baby ever - but I suppose I am biased!

With Daddy at one day old.

One week...

And just this weekend (2 1/2 weeks)...

Isn't she lovely?

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Like waiting for a bus...

The little one is due to make her appearance any day now and I am so excited - it seems like it's passed in the blink of an eye, but yet an eternity at the same time! I am hoping she will arrive on her own schedule, but if not I am booked for an induction on Thursday so only 5 days max to wait.

Today I thought I'd update on my nursery crafting, since that's where I have put most of my effort.  First the nursery curtains...

Now home dec sewing is not something I do a lot of.  It's like alterations and remakes for me - just not my thing.  I really admire people who get pleasure from making cushions and duvets (and curtains) but for me it will always be a chore. Unfortunately I couldn't find any ready made curtains I liked so making them was my only option.

I found this adorable fabric at Spotlight (elephants and giraffes if you can't tell), but by the time I had spent a few months running around and trying to find ready mades, the fabric was sold out at my local store.  Luckily another Spotters still had some so I raced over and bought it from there.  The fabric was pretty expensive ($40 per metre) so I decided to make sill length curtains, but I think they are more practical for a kids room anyway.  I spent ages working out the yardage I would need as I didn't want to have to cut the heads/feet off any of the animals. In the end I decided to buy some of the coordinating floral and use that to make a band at the top and the tabs - problem solved. The curtains are fully lined with blockout (which was my main issue with the ready mades - all the blockout curtains were super formal and anything young-ish was just made from thin polycotton and unlined).  It took me a couple of days to finish them but I must say I am really happy with how they came out. I am not, however, converted to enjoying home dec sewing just yet!

Onto much cuter and more enjoyable projects...

You may have noticed by my previous posts (here and here) that I have fully embraced the creation of softies.  This has been a revelation to me as I would have never thought I would love making toys so much.  Not only are they pretty quick and easy but you get to use up all those odd balls of yarn and bags of stuffing that are lying around cluttering up the place.  I am going to go out on a limb here as well and say that a cute little toy may even be more appreciated that a lovingly handworked blanket for some people - we all know not everyone appreciates how much effort goes into some of these gifts but a sweet little animal always gets a gasp! Here's a rogues gallery for your amusement. The odd man out is the pink teddy on the right hand side - he is my first teddy from when I was a baby!

I previously mentioned I had signed up for the Amigurumi Woodland Animals course on Craftsy - I am so glad I did!The teacher is as adorable as the projects are.  I diligently worked through them all in order.  Even though I am a pretty experienced crocheter I did pick up some new tips along the way, yet I think a determined beginner could certainly handle this course. I particularly liked the bonus lesson on baby-safe eyes.  So simple but I will now use them on all my softie projects.

The first project was the bluebird, which was super simple and took only 2 evenings after work to complete.  I think my fella likes this one best of all, even though there is absolutely nothing to it.  I even fantasised for a while about making several in fine yarn to make a little mobile or thing to string across the pram (I still might do this). I used a double strand of 4ply baby wool and a 5mm hook.

Next was the bear, which was not one of the ones I really loved to start with.  However it came out great and now I think it's fab.  This one is a bit harder, mainly because you have to sew all the pieces together and I struggled to get the nose and ears etc on straight.  I used a 5ply (sportweight) and an 8ply (double knit) in similar rusty colours held together with the same combo of yarn weights in oatmeal for the snout as this turned out a bit thicker than the worsted weight called for in the pattern I used a 6mm hook, no problem at all, the bear just came out a bit bigger that's all.

The third pattern was the one I loved most of all initially but I am slightly disappointed by the result - and I don't know why.  Maybe it's just because all the others came out so darn cute that the deer just doesn't stand out the way I thought it would? Anyway, I still think it's great! This one probably has the most fiddly bits so required a higher level of commitment but it was still super easy and most of the little pieces are quick to make. I used 2 strands of 5ply together for this project and a 5mm hook.

The fourth and final pattern from the course was the raccoon.  This was the only project I had the right weight yarn for in my stash but then I ran out of the grey towards the end.  My fix was just to make the arms stripey.  We don't have raccoons in Australia so I am not sure exactly what they look like (and didn't care enough to look it up), but I didn't think stripey arms would be a massive problem. the trickiest bit for this pattern was getting the eyes to look right and not a bit weird-zombie-raccoon.  My fella and I had some laughs as I tried to get this right! It did take a couple of goes!

Overall I can highly recommend this course.

Wow, this is turning into a marathon post but one more project before I sign off.  After making and loving the giraffe from the Craftsy course (not so) Itty Bitty Giraffe, I signed up to Susan Anderson's other course Wee Ones.  This is a course for seamless knit toys that you work from the top down.  First you make one of three heads, then you pick up stitches and knit the body and arms like a top down sweater.  The legs are added like 'afterthought heels' in sock knitting.  So a great opportunity to learn and practice some intermediate techniques in a small setting.  I made the rabbit and she came out lovely - the only change I made was to substitute chain loops for the pom pom tail - just to be sure it's baby safe.  I think mine might be a bit chubbier than the example as the little top is a bit more cropped than I thought it would be. This is another terrific course and one I can highly recommend.

Right, I think that's enough from me for one Sunday morning I think. Off to walk on some sand and drink some red raspberry leaf tea!

PS. You can be my friend on Craftsy or Ravelry - look me up as JosieE on both!