Hard to believe Victoria will be 10 months in just 10 days. She’s such a scamp and ready for mischief at all times.

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Victoria is now trying solid foods, with smashed avocado as the first.  She makes very solemn and unhappy faces while eating it.

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My dad died August 26th.

After the funeral and the rest of the family left,  I (and Victoria) stayed with my mom. Not trying to fill the space he left but trying to work out how we live around the hole now.  He left so many projects unfinished and so many plans for the future. Every time I think about how excited he was for Victoria my heart breaks again.

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I feel it is only fair to warn you that the blog may be rather heavy on Baby for the near future and light on Knitting. Victoria is just much more exciting and the best thing I’ve done thus far in my life. I just want to hold her up to people and exclaim, “LOOK WHAT I MADE!”

One project (see, there will be some knitting) I knew I wanted to knit was the Leaf Blanket by Susan B. Anderson in Spud and Chloe Outer.  It is in cream instead of green because I had enough skeins in cream in the stash and I’ve been trying to knit out of my stash rather than buy yarn (babies are expensive).

LeafBlanketIt was a very fast knit, on size US 15 needles.  Thank goodness it was fast because needles that size make my hands hurt. I never got around to putting the button on, but it didn’t really matter.  When we’ve used the blanket, we’ve just wrapped her in it while we’re holding her. The yarn is super-soft and squishy, although it does have a tendency to leave a little bit of fluff behind if you pull on it.

LeafBlanketSideShe’s 9 days old in these photos and just as adorable as ever.

LeafBlanket close upAnd one of her with Jamie when she’s just two days old – so tiny!

Jamie and Leaf Blanket

 

So, I kind-of owe you all an update!  I didn’t really have much to write about the past 6 months – I did a lot of crafting, but it was 95% baby stuff, which isn’t terribly interesting until you have a baby to model everything. I also lost a bit of interest in knitting the last few months of my pregnancy.  I still knit on things, but it was more because I felt I should rather than because I wanted to knit. Anyway…on to the more exciting things!

Victoria!

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I can’t begin to tell you how enchanted I am by her.  Even when (as just now) she just let out a very explosive sounding poop.

Her arrival: I started having contractions at 8:30 p.m. Monday July 28 which lasted throughout the night and grew more frequent.  I called my midwife, Dinah, Tuesday morning to talk things over and naturally everything slowed down after that.  Wednesday morning things seemed like they were again progressing, but again, after talking to Dinah, everything slowed. She recommended just trying to get some rest (hah!).  During a contraction that afternoon (3-ish, I think?) there was a popping sensation and I thought my water broke, but I just wasn’t sure. Dinah said that if things started speeding up then it probably was my water breaking and to just keep monitoring things.  Contractions had been not what I expected from the beginning.  I felt them primarily through my hips and upper thighs, with shooting pains down the outside of my legs.  I was anticipating them being more in the abdomen, so perhaps that is why I didn’t really think things were progressing as much as they actually were.  Jamie picked up dinner (I, for some reason, decided that chicken nuggets were a good idea. NOT. I only ate 4), then he took Tee out for a walk.  Tuesday I had attempted to go with them, only to get to the end of the street and realize that I couldn’t keep up, so I decided to not even try this evening.  Later, Jamie told me that he was half expecting to get back from the walk to find an ambulance whisking me away to the hospital.  At 8:30, I decided that perhaps we’d better call Dinah again as contractions were closer together, although still not at the frequency at which they told me to come in (there are 2 midwives at this center  – I saw both, Dinah just happened to be the one on-call at this time).

After we talked and she listened to me go through a contraction, she said I could come in and get checked or just wait until contractions were stronger.  I decided to go in, expecting her to send me back home.  Oh NO!  We arrived at the Birth Center at 9:00 and I was fully dilated.  I didn’t realize how strong the contractions were and while listening to me on the phone, Dinah couldn’t tell because I was using the relaxation techniques from my Hypnobabies course during each contraction. She hastily called a birth assistant (the one who lived closest) to come in and started prepping the room for me (this meant filling the bath tub).

Getting in the water felt wonderful, but after about 45 minutes, I got frustrated because I couldn’t get a grip on anything (my feet kept slipping around when I was pushing).  I moved to sitting on the toilet with my arms and head resting on the back (basically a supported squat). I’m not sure how long I stayed there, but Dinah suggested I move to either squatting or kneeling, so I moved to kneeling, with my head and arms on the toilet seat (lid, with a pillow). Here is where the chicken nuggets proved to be a terrible choice as I threw up a tiny bit and then had the taste stuck in my mouth.  Again, not sure how long I was there, but the baby was definitely coming and at 11:11 she made her debut.   Her umbilical cord was on the shorter side and not long enough to allow her to be placed on my chest, so I sat on the floor (on top of chux pads and towels) with her resting on my thigh until the cord stopped pulsing and we could cut it.

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Jenn with VI look ridiculously excited here.  Mostly because I can’t believe that I actually gave birth and that Jamie and I now have a tiny human to keep alive.  Also…very thrilled about a cessation of pregnancy heartburn and being able to actually bend in half again.

After checking vitals and some (a lot) of stitches (for me), we were cleared to head home around 3:30 a.m.  Victoria came in at 7 lbs, 10 oz and 21 inches long and full head of hair (guess that wives’ tale about heartburn and baby’s hair may be true).

Jamie with VNot the greatest picture in the world, but I love the contrast in Jamie’s height to the itty-bitty-ness of  12-hour-old Victoria.

Yellow is one of those colors I rarely seem to knit with, particularly by itself, but with grey wintery days around, I guess I felt the need for a zing of color. Yellow and Cream striped together just looks so spring/summer-y and the fit of this sweater makes me want to find the nearest bit of windy beach and have a picnic.

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It fits like the perfect Saturday morning sweatshirt. I originally had a long-sleeved shirt underneath, which was still comfortable, but it looked way too bulky for photos.  I opted for a tank top instead, which shows off the ease and the neckline better.

LemonSherbetSideI love the split of the hemline, with the front being just an inch shorter. The way the pocket is knitted into the fabric is very well done. Although I was overthinking the directions and sure that I knew better, but once I actually deigned to follow them exactly as written instead of questioning why this yarn should be cut here and then picked up there,  I had the magically finished pocket!

LemonSherbetBackI probably only have another month or so that I’ll be able to wear this sweater, so I intend to make the most of it.  Hopefully it will fit again by the time spring rolls around again.

Pattern: Shellseeker by Heidi Kirrmaier

Yarn: Spud and Chloe Sweater in Firefly and Ice Cream

Mods: none.  This was a very quick knit. Almost all the yarn came from my stash.  I did have to order a skein of Firefly (yellow) because I mis-read the yardage, but apart from that delay it only took 1 week to knit.

I didn’t set out to knit a Red Riding Hood-esque sweater, although it was bound to happen sooner or later given how much I love red sweaters and hooded sweaters.

SalemHoody1This particular pattern (Salem Hooded Jacket from New England Knits) has been on my radar since the book came out a few years ago. The trouble was the yarn – it uses a bulky yarn and I really never liked much of the bulky yarn that came through the store. This also wasn’t one of those sweaters that I needed to make now. The yarn, however, the yarn was yarn that I needed to buy now (much to Jamie’s chagrin – but let’s talk about how much his hockey tickets cost vs my yarn *ahem*).  I sort-of, kind-of, maybe have a love affair with yarn from Lorna’s Laces and this is my very favorite color of red for sweaters, so it should have been an obvious match-up from the beginning.  Instead I bought the yarn and then spent a while scouring Ravelry trying to figure out what I was going to knit with this yarn that insisted on becoming a sweater thisveryinstant.  And in a bulky weight…

Once pattern and yarn matched up, I got started and made it through the body and sleeves quickly.  I always forget how much faster thicker yarn knits up than fingering weight.  The sweater got put down for two months while I studied for my medical coding exam and tried to stay awake during the first trimester.  I packed it when we went to Indiana for Christmas, got to the hood part and realized that the reason my stitch counts were off for yoke decreases was because I had the wrong number of stitches in the front borders. One side had 14 stitches, the other 20 stitches. Yargh. I had to rip it out to the bottom border and get it all set up again. After I started feeling more like a normal person in January, I began re-knitting it, which didn’t take too long. I didn’t have to re-knit the sleeves (yay!), so it was mostly just the stockinette part of the body.  I finished it just in time for all the colder weather we’ve been having.  And a bulky-weight sweater for cold weather is just about perfect.  Add to that fact that it has an A-line shape so the body isn’t supposed to close and I have a sweater that is going to be perfect for the next spring and fall.

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Pattern: Salem Hooded Jacket from New England Knits

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Bulky in Cranberry

Mods: Based on other knitters’ comments on Ravelry, I made the size medium body and the size small sleeves, then calculated the yoke decreases appropriately.  This was the right choice for me, otherwise the sleeves would have been very wide and I like my sleeves to fit more closely.  I also accidentally made the body a little bit longer.

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