And now for something completely different

Published on Friday July 6th, 2012

My giant baby boy is growing so fast I suspect we could capture the change with a few hours’ time-lapse photography: two inches longer, two centimeters more massive around the noggin, and already up to ten pounds. He can drink himself full to bursting in just a few minutes, then push himself up off my chest to execute a U-turn back to the taps when I make him pause for a breather, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn just how much bigger he’d gotten. The ways in which one baby is not like another astound me daily. My firstborn took about two months to reach this size. Here, by way of illustration, is my Tour de France 2010 project on Ada when she was almost six weeks old:

… and here it is on Jolly three days ago:

For this year’s Tour I’m mostly working on a Mitered Crosses blanket that I’ve told my parents will be ready by the time they move into the house they’re building. (Happily for me my parents are craftsmen who like to get all the details just so and they aren’t in a tearing hurry to leave their current house.) But I think I might be better employed in knitting a series of ever-larger hats to keep up with this strapping laddie of mine.

(Lovely blanket courtesy of my sweet neighbor Barb, for whom I made the quilt!)

Jolyon himself can clearly think of a higher purpose for Mama’s arms than either knitting or photography. But just now he’s sound asleep beside me and I think my eyelids might stay open for just a few rows. Tomorrow my beloved bike race heads into the mountains. I think I’ll celebrate with a 16″ circular, some stash wool, and a nice stretchy ribbing. Isn’t there a saying about variety being the spice of life? True of knitting and of offspring, I reckon.

Snails on a romper on a baby

Published on Sunday September 5th, 2010

I always prefer to see baby garments modeled with actual babies inside. Babies are such oddly shaped little creatures; a sweater may look perfectly proportioned but fail to fit an actual tiny human while a pair of leggings may look completely laughable laid out flat but fit snug as you like over a diapered bum. Plus it’s such a tease to show things made to clothe a human without a human inside. Of course I can understand if people choose not to show their faces (or any body parts) to the whole internet, but a sweater pinned to a dress form or a shawl draped over a park bench looks just a little bit wistful and stark, like an untenanted house. The snark in me wonders if they didn’t quite fit despite their apparently perfect workmanship; the mother hen in me wants to see them rightly home, warming a body as they fundamentally should. Things made in anticipation of a new life excite a particular desire to see them filled with delicious wriggling baby. So I apologize if this blog is currently rather heavy on the slobbery infant content and that’s not your thing, but I’m scratching a personal itch by photographing Ada in her handmade togs. I promise a bit of grown-up knitting (why does that sound so dirty?) in the next post, okay? Without further ado, here’s the romper I knit in July:

SnailRomper (1 of 4)

I really love this photo. It’s like the romper is swallowing her whole. I’m thinking of this picture as my answer to Edvard Munch.

SnailRomper (2 of 4)

Still a little room to grow.

SnailRomper (3 of 4)

SnailRomper (4 of 4)

Project details, in case you missed them before:

Small Things Romper, by Carina Spencer

in Mirasol Lachiwa cotton/linen, three skeins plus a bit of a fourth

and leftovers of Bergere de France Bergereine for the snail

snail chart from Adrian Bizilia’s Norwegian Snail Mittens

Romper progress and two handsome quilts

Published on Friday July 9th, 2010

Let’s wallow in some handcrafted goodness, shall we? I need to show you some of the beautiful things my dear friends have been making for Minnow, and I thought you might like to know how the snail romper is coming along:


Since taking this photo yesterday evening, I’ve finished leg #1 and added half another leg. This project should be finished in just a few more days… dare I say by the end of the weekend? (This might depend how well fought the final World Cup matches prove to be. Paul says Germany is going to take the consolation match tomorrow and has picked Spain to win it all, in case you’re wondering. This is, at the very least, sound diplomacy on Paul’s part. After his semifinal predictions he was getting death threats from his angry countrymen and offers of asylum from the Spanish government.) Anyway, I kind of miscalculated where to place the snail, and as a result this romper is a bit longer in the body than it was meant to be and also the lower portion is slightly larger than the top portion. But I figure this might actually be a boon, since it has to fit over a cloth diaper.


Now I want to show you two quilts made by friends on the island who have watched me grow since I was not much bigger than Minnow is now.


Mary B. hand-quilted around every detail of the animal pictures on this sweet alphabet quilt. Mary made it sound like it ain’t no thang, but having practiced my hand quilting last summer, I know how much time all those tiny stitches require! In this picture you can just see how even her work is:


(Ideally, this kangaroo would be knitting, but I guess that might be confusing to small students of phonics who are only just learning their letters. At least the fabric designer didn’t try to add knitting but actually illustrate crochet, which really would have confused poor Minnow, who ought to be able to learn both of those skills by the time he or she is grown enough to be contemplating the alphabet.)

And this beauty was made by our friend Krispi. Krispi is a Really Good Quilter. See her perfect corners? Mine will never look this good.



It makes me feel all gooey inside to think about wrapping my baby in all this handmade love. And wait till I show you the handknits from my Portland posse! I’ll be taking pictures of those this weekend.

It’s July!

Published on Friday July 2nd, 2010

Never mind that it’s 59 degrees F and raining. The calendar says it’s July (and my husband has been wearing shorts out of sheer stubbornness), and if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you know that means Tour de France fever! Yes, I’ve once again got a hand in organizing the international knitalong (we’re over on Ravelry and we’re happy to welcome latecomers for a few more days if you’d like to join us). My friends and relations find this somewhat hilarious and/or bemusing, I think. Maybe it’s the fact that there are nearly eighty other fruit bats out there from Australia to Holland who love to watch cycling and knit at the same time and then talk about it on the internet. In years past I’ve taken on a really big challenge for the 21 days of the Tour, most recently designing and knitting Footlights and Daisy Daisy.

This year’s going to be a bit different. With a baby due in five and a half weeks, there are some things that need to be accomplished. I’ll try to put some nearly finished projects to bed so they won’t be abandoned for months once I’ve got my hands full of squalling newborn. And this poor baby has very few handknits made by its own mother (happily several aunties-to-be have been filling the void — those gifts deserve their own post!), so I’ll try to remedy that, beginning with Carina Spencer’s Small Things Romper, to which I’ll be adding a special touch:


I shall call it the Lanterne Rouge romper. (The Lanterne Rouge is the guy who finishes dead last in the Tour. Now do you get it?) Cute snailie isn’t mine; I borrowed his chart from Adrian Bizilia’s wonderful Norwegian Snail Mittens (in Clara Parkes’s The Knitter’s Book of Yarn) and modified it just a touch since it doesn’t need to fit on a mitten. In addition to nodding to the Tour, this snail is a sort of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” tribute to the soggy summer we’re having. His less adorable and far more voracious brethren have left my hostas in tatters.

Tomorrow morning I get to cast on! Since the powers that organize world sports have seen fit to schedule the Tour prologue at the same time as the Argentina-Germany soccer match, there may be a bit of squabbling over the remote, and I’ll probably have to go back and watch both events in full later in the day. Good thing the weather outside isn’t tempting.