Of trousers and travails

Published on Saturday September 4th, 2010

They tell you it’s amazing how the time slips by when there’s a new baby in the house and you’re its prime source of food and solace. It’s true. While I’ve been home much more than usual with plenty of time to spend at the computer, the rate of blogging has not increased correspondingly. This is partly because I do most of my typing with one hand while feeding my daughter (actual nap time when two hands are available has to be used for working and, when my brain is too fried to be reliable for editing, for knitting) and partly because I’m constantly discovering new ways to botch the infant care and waste time fixing my mistakes. The prize-winner thus far is the day I filled out a bunch of forms as if I were the baby (this I was supposed to do) and then capped it by signing her social security card (this I was not supposed to do). It’s really just unfeeling of our government to send an important document to the home of a new parent with instructions that read, “Adults: sign immediately in ink.” Those of us with brains not running on premium aren’t too good at reading on to the next line that explains how children should not sign until reaching age 18 or until their first employment, and then inferring that the instructions are written as if Ada could read them herself. So now I’ve made one trip to the social security office for a new card and have been told to return with a letter from the pediatrician affirming that the tiny baby I’m trying to keep quiet by breastfeeding in their waiting room is actually who I say she is. (Her birth certificate, a carbon copy of the form from the hospital requesting her original social security card, and the spoiled card itself are somehow insufficient proof, and it’s going to be a while until she has a driver’s license or a passport.)

And just now I’ve blown twenty minutes picking green fuzz out from between her fingers, toes, and chins. You may have seen the impossibly soft and fluffy bamboo blankets they’re making these days. Don’t be fooled into thinking they’d make a scrumptious cozy towel for after a bath when the baby’s actual soft towel is in the laundry hamper, okay? They lint like you wouldn’t believe in the face of dampness and rubbing. Yes, I muppetized a baby. She is clean and fresh smelling, but she looks and feels like the love child of Kermit the Frog and a chinchilla. Or maybe The Hulk was fuzzy when he was a wee bairn?

Anyway, before I was spending my time in these intriguing kinds of ways, I took pictures of the finished Oliver + S Sandbox Pants to show off here. Ada won’t be able to wear them for another year or so, but I’m pretty pleased with myself them. You know how to click for bigger.



The darker patches are where I removed the pockets from Mr. G’s old shorts. There are grass stains, too… I think my beloved played some ultimate frisbee in these one summer at college. Here are the secret polka dot pockets:


… and the buttonhole elastic I substituted for the drawstring:


Best of all, I think she’ll be able to wear them just about the time she grows into this adorable owl vest, knitted by my lovely friend Katherine. Mmmm, tweed:


This outfit is going to be so ridiculously cute I’m going to want to gobble her up. Oh wait, I already do that. The green fuzz kind of sticks to the roof of your mouth, though.


Published on Wednesday August 18th, 2010

Thank you all so much for your warm welcome to Ada! I imagine one day she’ll see the archives of this blog and be amazed that she had so many well-wishers all over the globe. I hope it makes her feel all cozy and grateful inside the way it does me.

Sometime soon I’ll manage a post about my own knitting — really! I took all these photos of finished goods before Ada arrived! — but today the temperature finally dropped back into the 60s and 70s and our girl got to wear her very first handknit, made by the lovely and brilliant Kristen Hanley Cardozo. (No, that cute little stripey number she’s wearing in her debut post wasn’t made by hand, though it’s nonetheless a very sweet gift from friends.) Kristen designed this adorable cardigan especially for our Minnow. It’s called Surtsey and you can get it here.

She also somehow got another baby to hold still long enough to take pictures of it for the pattern. Now I know why those famous photographers who arrange babies in fruit baskets and giant pea pods and whatnot only work with sleeping infants. Herewith my laughable attempt at a Surtsey photoshoot:

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Okay, not too bad. You can see the sweater pretty well. But then it goes downhill…

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Ada_8-18 (4 of 7)

Ada_8-18 (5 of 7)

Ada_8-18 (6 of 7)

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This is the girl the pediatrician just called one of the mellowest babies he’s ever seen.

Boy, does she have him fooled.

Mille grazie, Kristen. We love it!

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.