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Archive for March, 2012

Weekword: Panoply

An interesting word from Jenna this week. A panoply is a fantastic array, and so I’m taking this opportunity to shoehorn in a post about my latest crochet project. As I mentioned, I can’t knit while doing the interminable feeds Littlest S&S requires, but I can crochet. I don’t have the powers of intellect or concentration for anything complicated or requiring a pattern, but I didn’t want to do granny squares. So I found a pattern for some lovely flowery hexagons – the African Flower. They are very simple, and very satisfying as they only take a short while to complete, so even on busy days I get the satisfaction of completing something. They are destined to be either a blanket or some cushion covers, depending on how many I get out of the yarn.

I’m using up leftover yarn, so the colours are somewhat… vibrant, but I love the way the pattern lends itself to a panoply of variations:

And that each three colour combination (I’m using the same yarn for all the centres) yields six different hexagons, which somehow manage to look really different while containing the same colours.

I’m enjoying the bright yarn but as I crochet, I’m envisaging lots of other possible uses and colour combinations for this motif – pastels, shades of only one colour, using a consistent ‘border’ colour… a veritable panoply, if you will, of possible projects.

Pop by and see Jenna to see the other panoply posts.

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Felting

I made this bag while I was pregnant – it’s very simple. The bottom is knitted flat, then you pick up the stitches and knit in the round until it’s finished, and then make I-Cord for the handles. Very straightforward and very easy and a great accompaniment to the late-pregnancy West Wing marathon. And then it spent a few weeks hanging around looking floppy and shapeless, waiting for me to get around to felting it. Eventually I found a load of old jeans and slung it in for a few 30 minute washes and a couple of rinses and spins, before filling it with cookbooks to hold its shape while it dried.

It’s turned out very well, I think, and I’m really pleased with it.

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As previously mentioned, Littlest S&S is a hungry wee girl, and likes to eat a lot. She also likes being cuddled a lot, and will frequently wake up and scream if she’s put down, and need to be fed to relieve the trauma. So, I have been more adept at finding things I can do while feeding that aren’t reading and watching DVDs. I’m doing quite a bit of both of those, but the attraction fades after a while – yes, I can have too much reading time! Who’d have thought? I do find it frustrating sometimes, as having another person attached to you is quite limiting. My house is not at all how I’d like it, the garden is running rampant and I’ve not a seed sown, the children are watching more TV than I usually allow and my husband is usurping my role as cake baker (he’s annoyingly good at cakes already), so in true ‘counting my blessings’ style, here’s a list of the things I can do:

1. Daydreaming. I do a lot of this, especially during night feeds when it’s dark. So not really daydreaming, but still. At first it was frustrating to have to think rather than do, but after 4 weeks I have elevated daydreaming to an art form.

2. Talking on the phone. I now schedule my chats with my mum and my friends for the times I’m going to be feeding, as it feels like a waste of non-feeding time otherwise.

3. Crocheting. I can’t knit, but I’ve discovered that I can crochet. Reasonably quickly if Madam is dining on the left, more slowly if she’s eating on the right. I’ll show you what I’m crocheting later.

4. Reading to the older children. I can’t really play with them much, but I can read to them – as long as they fetch the books. And turn the pages.

Thanks to the sling (a babycarrier), there are some other things I can do – the sling gives me both hands free and allows me to move about, but I can’t do anything that involves a lot of leaning forward (so no hanging laundry or doing the dishwasher). But I can:

5. Vacuuming. I can’t sweep or mop, as bringing both hands across my body squishes the baby and causes protests, but can push the vacuum with one hand.This has the added bonus of being white noise, which the baby finds very soothing.

6. Walking the dog. The dog appreciates this, and getting out of the house for fresh air is very good for me, too.

7. Typing. I’m not actually feeding as I type, but I could!

8. Eating a meal sitting at the table. This is very useful as we’re trying to keep our routines and family meals are very important to us, and the sling means we can all eat together.

9. Important self maintenance: I can go to the loo and make a cup of tea, for example, or get some food. When the baby is 90 minutes into a 4 hour milk-bender, this is very important.

10. Nothing. I’m usually pretty keen to be doing something, so I’m surprised by how much time I spend doing nothing. Apart from gazing at my baby and stroking her petal-soft cheeks and nuzzling her silky hair. Sometimes she seems to know I’m looking and opens one eye. She really is alarmingly cute, and although the long feeds can be frustrating and exhausting, I look at my older children and it is clear how short this phase really is. Someone once said that when you have small children, the years are short and the days are long – and it is very, very true.

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Weekword: Surprise

Emma supplied this week’s word, and also, perhaps unwittingly, the subject matter for my post. I had been pondering the word and wondering what to write, as my life at the moment is not very surprising or eventful. So my pleasant surprises include, say, Littlest S&S sleeping for six hours at night, or even – joy of joys – an hour during the day, so I can have the use of both hands – and the week’s unpleasant surprise was that our local Tesco has stopped stocking not just the lemon yoghurt that I love, but also the mixed pack of rhubarb, gooseberry and blackcurrant yoghurt. I am bereft of my yoghurts of choice. All very traumatic, but not really worthy of an entire blog post. There’s contentment, yes, but not surprises.

Until the post brought a parcel from Emma, containing these:

This was, indeed, a wonderful surprise.

I’ve just flicked through and although mostly it’s about papercraft and card making, which aren’t my usual preoccupations, I can see some fun ideas that could easily translate to other types of project, and reading them in more detail will see me through some of the baby’s marathon feeding sessions (I’m nearly halfway through Season 4 of Mad Men and we’ve watched all of State of Play, and that’s just the evening feeds) and give me some inspiration for when I have the use of both hands on a regular basis.

Go and see Emma to find out who else has surprises for you this week!

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Fantastic flowers

One of the nice things about having a new baby is that people bring you flowers, especially with your third as they assume (correctly) that you’re all set for babygros and small teddy bears. They were all so lovely that I took pictures.

So, I had these stunning parrot tulips:

And some daffodils, which always make me feel like spring is in the air, even on dull days:

And these gorgeous roses – they are still going strong and looking marvellous:

I also have a beautiful planted basket, full of spring flowers, which I haven’t got round to photographing yet – I feel very lucky!

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Broomstick Crochet

I had a bit of a yarncraft splurge while I was waiting for Littlest S&S to put in her appearance. This is a scarf I made for my godmother’s birthday. It’s broomstick crochet – so called because presumably you can use a broomstick to make the loops rather than a huge 20mm knitting needle – and it was very satisfying to make, if a little fiddly at first.

The yarn is Colinette Cadenza, a DK weight yarn I picked up at the millroom years ago. I think this pattern shows it off really well.

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Weekword: Sleep

My little girl was two weeks old yesterday. This means that the subject of sleep is pretty central in our household. Anyone who’s shared a house with a small baby knows that they are like Bagpuss. When Bagpuss wakes up, all his friends wake up. The first question anyone asks – after the boy/girl, name and weight questions – is always about sleep. Littlest S&S is very good about sleeping at night, so we’re not too shattered. But sleeping in the day? Not so much. Daytime is for eating. I have been trying all afternoon to get her down for a sleep so I could blog, but no dice. She fell asleep and I tucked her in her cot, and by the end of the second sentence she was awake and yelling. I’m typing this with her lying in front of the keyboard, stuffing her face. So yes, we’re sleeping more than most parents do two weeks in. But housework, knitting, typing, writing? Not so much.

I used to need a lot of sleep. I functioned best on 8 or 9 hours a night. Less than 7 hours’ sleep and I’d struggle. Less than 6 and I’d be a zombie. Then I had children and that all changed. In fact, it changed before the children arrived as I get terrible pregnancy insomnia. At first, the lack of sleep drove me insane. I remember wailing to my husband when my first was little that I felt like I hadn’t slept in years and that I’d never sleep again. But then the children slept more, and I slept less. I can function, just about, on 4 hours. On 6, I’m perky. On 8, I’m practically Superwoman. Not that 8 hours’ sleep happens that often – what with night terrors, bad dreams, wet beds and ‘It’s light so it must be day’ early morning alarm calls, there’s usually something. But it does mean that when it happens, it’s really appreciated. I absolutely revel in getting into bed, especially with clean sheets. And on the mornings when I get to go back to bed with a cup of tea and a book are utter bliss.

I shall leave you with a photo I took earlier in the week – these creatures have not had their sleep disturbed by the new arrival!

Pop by and visit the other Weekworders this week:

Emily

Emma

Jenna

Katy

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