What a busy time we have had! Lovely Baby is growing his first tooth which is extremely clever of him. He spends a considerable amount of every day pointing at it and chuntering at me about how sore it is. I commiserate then build him block towers to knock over. We can spend HOURS doing this. HOURS.
Lovely Husband came on an exciting trip to Wonderwool Wales at the end of April with Lovely Baby, my mum and her friend. He was very happy about this once he discovered exactly how much food is sold at craft events (lots). I went with the express instruction from myself, written in capital letters on my list, to NOT BUY ANY MORE SOCK WOOL. Except I probably bought the same amount as usual, if not more. Sock wool is so pretty but it is so thin and takes ages to make anything and all the patterns I want to do call for chunky wool but I CANNOT HELP MYSELF. The colours are so awesome. Here are some terrible pictures I took late at night whilst winding it:
You may even spy a tiny bit of my leg in the second one. OO ER. So yes. I bought a lot of sock wool. Whoops. But I also bought many cool things to actually help me make stuff out of the sock wool so hopefully will get around to making them and then sharing them.
The reason I have not got started on these yet is because I have been making presents. This is great because homemade presents make people happy and I haven’t been able to keep up with all the birthdays etc whilst teaching because of the huge time commitment that it entails, but now I am on maternity/have resigned I have so much more time. I realise some people might hate me to suggest that having a baby is calming, but seriously, after my recent job experiences, I feel positively zen just now. And I do have time for crafting. But I can’t show you much because it is PRESENTS and it is SECRET. So you will have to be patient.
What I can show you is the awesome lion bag I made for my friend’s toddler when he became a big brother. I think it is super important to give things to older siblings. As the oldest sibling it was VERY HARD when people came to make a fuss of the new babies and not me and I didn’t get presents and clearly I have harboured this feeling of misery/jealousy for 23 years as I mostly concentrate on getting things for older siblings now so they don’t feel left out. Also, babies don’t have a clue what’s going on so are less important.
I bought this great book:
because I wanted to make many things, first and foremost the lion bag. I decided not to do all the different colours because (a) that involved me buying a lot of different wool and using a tiny bit which seemed daft and (b) sometimes children can get quite puritanical about things being the right colour and I wished to avoid confusion. So I stuck with actual lion colours:
I have not used Paintbox yarns before – this was their Aran acrylic – and I am so impressed. I wanted something soft but that also held its shape well because this is key for a bag and this was just the ticket. I will certainly use it again.
The pattern was very clear and easy to follow but I made some adjustments because it is impossible for me to agree with or take instruction from another person. Because I was making it for an active tot, I decided to crochet up the edge of the straps:
You can see how neat an edge this wool gives without a strengthening border in the bottom strap in the picture, but I just wanted to reinforce it slightly and I think the top one looks even better. I did the same around the edge of the tab that attaches the head to the bag and I think if I were to do this again, I would strengthen that area even more because it is really the weakest part of the bag as well as the bit that will get the most action.
I didn’t follow the order of the pattern; I did all the little bits first then the bag because I like getting stuck in straight away and feeling like I am making progress rather than getting mired down in the biggest, most repetitive bit.
Once the bag was done, I worked on the face. Again, I did not follow instructions. I found the eyes on the original pattern too big and a bit creepy so I put smaller ones on:
Then I put him all together and was pleasantly surprised by how cool he was. The way the pattern designer has attached the spikes and front and back face parts made me pleased because it was VERY NEAT AND TIDY so I particularly enjoyed that bit.
I did make a little mistake which is really annoying but by the time I noticed there was quite literally no way I could correct it as I had woven the yarn ends into the main fabric and could not unpick them; I put the bottom right leg on backwards so you can see my colour join. But I don’t think the new owner will notice or mind so I will just have to be more careful next time. It is difficult to always get things right whilst building towers with one hand, hiding needles with the other and catching Lovely Baby every time he faceplants the floor. He is determined to sit up though which is excellent, obviously. But then sometimes he wants to be down and hasn’t worked out that his hands will help him stop smacking himself in the face. Sigh.
I picked up some yellow cord on Ebay (joy) and was done.
I also did an elephant pram/pushchair thing for the baby with a pattern I think I chatted about before as I am doing one for myself:
I have been struggling to find the right kind of clips for the end but did eventually, in Jojomamanbebe of all places:
Lovely Husband did the knots for me because he is a climber so is good at knots. Two of the elephants rattle and one squeaks. The baby is too tiny to enjoy it just now, but will in a few months I am sure.
So this is all I can show you but I have been very busy on many things and hopefully will be able to talk about them soon.
In other news, we have switched to cloth nappies which are a lot easier and involve a lot less scrubbing than I originally imagined. We are also doing reusable wipes and compostable nappy liners so have massively reduced our rubbish. We both feel really happy about this, as does Lovely Baby; as he is getting more mobile, he was twisting and his disposable nappies were scratching his tummy which doesn’t happen with his new, spiffy cloth ones. We are also trying to avoid buying any plastic toys for him, sticking instead with wood, harvested ethically. The more you read about the impact we are having on the planet, the more concerning it gets. Wooden toys are also MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL than plastic tat so now our house can look like an art gallery rather than a dump. My decision has everything to do with the environment and nothing to do with aesthetics. HAHAHAHA. This is what I tell myself as I spend frankly alarming amounts of money on beautiful toys he isn’t even old enough to play with yet. SO PRETTY. But to those of you who have / are planning to have children, I would heartily recommend cloth nappies. It is really easy, promise.
Lecture over and back to making SECRET PRESENTS.