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In the summer month I tend to favour sewing projects over knitting but I was feeling the need to keep my hands occupied during our marathon Dexter watching sessions so I cast on a little sweater for Kate for the coming winter.

This Cascade 220 Superwash Sport was a backup choice for her Pickles Vest. I was worried that the sweater was looking a little small so decided to add an extra repeat (or two? can’t remember) and I ended up having to go back to Wolesley Wardrobe to pick up a third hank.  The garter stitch stretched like crazy in blocking so I needn’t have worried.

I bet you’re wondering what it would look like modeled first thing in the morning over wiener dog pajamas. Wonder no longer:

I decided to be self-sacrificing and focus on a project for Kate. The prospect of working with jersey again on a dress for myself may have also helped make my decision.

This project caught my attention when it popped up in my blog reader from Aesthetic Nest. I asked Chris to pick up a beach towel on a trip to Winnipeg on Wednesday, then I made a side stop at a tiny quilting shop in Gimli during a beach visit on Thursday and by Saturday it was complete, as was my lexicon of swear words.

While this project definitely wasn’t difficult I found it a bit tricky for a few reasons: I’m not accustomed to the very detailed, prose-style pattern format it’s written in, I didn’t realize until after I had purchased the pattern and the towel that it suggests using the thinnest towel you can find and while this one wasn’t super plush my machine definitely did not approve of it, and I suck at sandwiching and stitching binding without it looking totally home ec.

The lining fabric is some Anna Maria Horner quilting cotton that I picked up in Portland two years ago to gift to friends with a little bonus for myself.  I love the yellow and turquoise together.  I copied Anneliese’s idea of lining the sleeves but winged it having lined something last in 2008 instead of stepping back and looking it up.  Let’s pretend the exposed seam doesn’t drive me bonkers.

Perfect for grilling poolside

The pattern includes up to a 4T size so I’m looking forward to making one each year for Kate with a thinner towel and clearer head.

Perhaps it’s also time to make her a new sunhat instead of jamming the one I made last year on her head but that jersey needs to be dealt with eventually.

The muslin phase of my Lisette dress is done.  I think.  I did hack the neck a bit at the end and didn’t have the material or inclination to make another muslin but I am sending positive energy into my life force that will make me achieve my ah-ha gratitude sewing moment. I suddenly care about Oprah. Shut up.

Anyway, before Lisette and even Rose I started Saskia but it got put aside because I felt I needed an invisible zipper foot before I could proceed.

My first go around following the pattern exactly was pretty weird looking. Sort of hospital gown meets orphanage sleep shirt. So, I hacked a few inches off the bottom and shortened the sleeves and I think it’s more wearable now.

Look at my crooked yet non-blinding bangs!

The fabric is a really lightweight gingam from Mitchell’s which I thought would be super duper cute but I think it might look better with a more flowing style.

Kate stood still on the understanding that there would be bubbles but here’s an unobstructed view of the back and my almost neat zipper stylings:

Not so horrible.

In other news: We’ve decided to take a little motoring trip down to Minneapolis in August. I’m super excited! If anyone has any suggestions for restaurants or activities send them my way.

Every night when Chris or I would read Kate her bedtime story we would paw through the dozen or so board books strewn about on the floor beside her crib.  The mess drove me bonkers so I thought this idea was the greatest.  After begging my Ikea bound friends to pick up some Bekvam spice racks, Michelle came through and now we have a cute and easily viewable book storage solution.

Kate just loves to pull them all off and throw them on the floor.  She also loves “reading” them to herself in her very loud and serious reading voice so that makes me happy.

Erin has informed me that she also come through with a few more so hopefully we can get a handle on this situation in Kate’s closet:

Unrelated; I cut Kate’s bangs because she would no longer keep a barette in and this was driving me bananapants crazy:

I think it turned out a little better than my last home salon attempt in grade eight where I ended up with bangs that more closely resembled eyelashes. Photos to come.

I’ve stalled out a bit on summer sewing for myself since the Liberty muslin.  I think I am going to go with a different pattern. Maybe Butterick 5608 which has a similar neckline but set-in sleeves? Not sure.  I have cut out the pattern pieces for the Lisette Traveller Dress but I don’t feel up to doing a full bust adjustment and starting the muslin today. Grey, rainy weather does that to me.

I have been finishing a few summer things for Kate. Since she’ll only wear something for three months total I didn’t want to procrastinate. I started Citronille’s Saskia first but put it aside to wait for an invisible zipper foot to arrive in the mail. In the meantime I finished another Rose.

I shortened the sleeves on this one and I think they’re really cute. It’s funny seeing her little arms again.

It’s hard to see the print (aforementioned grey weather and busy baby don’t make for the sharpest photos) but it was my favourite of the bunch I bought for her summer sewing.  It has a Liberty look but it was quilting cotton.

I blind stitched all the hems and facings by hand again but couldn’t figure out whether the instructions called for a double or single fold. This time I did single but last time I did double. It will be a relief to make her something from an English pattern.  I’m thinking this one.

I hope everyone, mothers and sleeper-inners alike, is having a lovely Mother’s Day.  I’ve already lazed in bed reading blogs (including my new favourite) while Chris made blueberry blintzes and Kate made plastic eggs (her specialty) and I’ve gotten some chocolate, flowers, an abstract line drawing and new fancy sunglasses. Chris said he wanted to make up for last year when we were still in the hospital and this was my only gift, from the NICU nurses:

Baby's first mug shot

I appreciate everyone who suffered through my weepy birthday post.  I try to keep the personal personal but it did feel nice to share.

It meant I almost forgot to talk about party food though! For shame! I really reigned in my original, totally insane, list of birthday to-dos but I still put some effort in.  I want Kate’s birthdays to feel special as she’s growing up and not involve the McDonalds Play Place if that’s avoidable.  Most of my efforts were focused on the cake. I originally planned on a tinted six-layer rainbow cake like the ones that’ve been popping up all over but in the end I decided on copying this recipe exactly.  I liked the idea of using a recipe from Food that Really Schmecks a cookbook we had growing up that was written in the area where Chris was born and my grandparents live. Truth be told the cake was a little on the tough side but the icing was yummy.  I also made a Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the first time and while I appreciated being able to make it a few days ahead of time I wasn’t crazy about the taste. It reminded me too much of pure butter and it didn’t stick to the cake layers resulting in them slipping and sliding all over the plate.  It sure did look pretty though.

I made three eight inch layers and actually did all that fancy trimming stuff to make it nice and even looking though I could definitely use more practice, which is just tragic. I’m in love with the Celebration Candle Kid from The Small Object. I can’t wait to see it every year on her birthday cakes.

For lunch, I decided on making some do-ahead-friendly Southwest foods that included Southwest Pasta Salad from the Rebar cookbook, cornbread muffins with cheddar cheese chunks and green onion, and nacho chips with guacamole, bean dip and store bought Pico de Gallo.  All the hungry officers that Chris works with seemed to like the food and Kate was even able to eat most of it which made things easier all around.

And now, I must go do whatever I feel like because I have earned it.

My sweet, silly little baby girl is a year old today. I can’t hardly believe it.

Maybe this says something horrible about my personality but in the lead up to her birthday I’ve found it hard focusing on the celebration and not feeling a little sad when I think about where we were a year ago.

The night before I went into labour my mom sent me a message saying that my younger cousin Cyril, who was closest in age to me, was missing.  I woke up at six the next morning and we left shortly after for the gruelling two hour drive to Winnipeg.  All through my labour Chris tried to contact anyone in my family to tell them the baby was coming but he couldn’t get anyone on the phone.  My mom, dad and sister had all left for Cape Breton to be with my aunt and her family.

Then,  there was the difficult labour and Kate’s week in the NICU.  I have a tendency to downplay wildly stressful situations at the moment only to have horrible breakdowns after the fact and that’s definitely been the case with Kate’s birth.  We didn’t know what to expect and we didn’t know what it meant to have those first bonding moments with your newborn baby so we didn’t really miss what we didn’t understand. Now, though, I mourn the loss of those moments deeply.  I can barely think of her laying alone in an incubator, drugged and hooked up to tubes without crying.  If I’m watching tv and I see scenes of a mom nursing her tiny baby right after the delivery or even just loading her healthy baby into the car for the happy trip home a couple days after the birth I can count on a weepy meltdown.

But, Kate is strong and happy and busy now and as Chris and I marvel at how we made it through this year my aunt is trying to get through an awful anniversary. My cousin drowned after falling from his boat and I still don’t think I’ve even registered that he is gone.

We’re so lucky to have a bright, healthy baby and I’d like to say that I’m more appreciative of every moment we spend together because of what my family went through last year but it’s easy to get bogged down in the stress and boredom of day to day life. Today, though, I tried to let it all go and just enjoy her.

With the allure of summer sewing I took a knitting hiatus for a few weeks after finishing my Gwynedd Hat but really missed having my hands busy while watching tv.  I thought the Pickles Plain Vest would be a good mindless project and it might have been had I not misread the yarn requirements and ended up with entirely the wrong gauge.  Then I put my mind on auto pilot a little too readily and kept making stupid mistakes like forgetting to knit a border.  But, Kate’s torso is warm just in time for a massive, nasty snowstorm.

I really think some dark wood or fabric covered buttons would suit this better but that will have to wait until my next fabric shopping trip.

Photos taken over two sessions because this kid always has cartoon motion lines streaming behind her.

I made it a lot longer than the pattern recommended and I’m really hoping it still fits her in the fall.

You can read more about my tricky modification and see a few more photos on my Ravelry project page.  I’m off to get some rest before a big birthday prep shopping trip tomorrow.

This weekend was filled with unfortunate mishaps (Kate peeing all over herself and the floor of the washroom of a natural foods store, runny lemon meringue pie, not one but two chairs breaking on dinner guests and the death wish that is Costco on a Saturday) but I still really enjoyed it.  Aside from her birthday next week it was the last of Kate’s first holidays so I tried to come up with treats for her but I wanted to avoid candy while I can still get away with it.  Plastic eggs filled with dehydrated fruit toddler snacks, Nutrios and Multigrain Cheerios were a big hit until Kate realized that the eggs didn’t automatically refill themselves throughout the day.  The sleeper hit was these bean bags that I sewed up for Kate and filled with rice (they might double as a hot pack too – I should look that up.

She really enjoys throwing them on and then off of pieces of furniture and trying to pick three up at a time and then throwing them. Good times.

Wanting to make a little toy for Melina’s new baby Henry I made the sage choice of turning to Wee Wonderfuls for ideas only to abandon it when I couldn’t find the fabric I had in mind for the project I had chosen. That was a mistake because this Menswear Bunny pattern from Martha was kind of a crock. Do not attempt if you aren’t familiar with toy making and if you like to have fun.

I decided to be all eco chic and use a dress shirt of Chris’s from the donation box so I thought it would be a nice idea to make one for Kate at the same time only to remember after I had cut all the pieces that she already had one.

The bunny on the left is my work and the more rotund bunny on the right was made for Kate by Erin.  I see it every single day and still failed to associate it with the project I was working on.  Doi.

All’s well that ends well, I guess, because Henry seems to appreciate his new buddy and the tag blanket I made for him months ago.  I also made another for Kate at the same time and she didn’t get the point of it at four months but now she loves it.  It makes a hilarious hat.

This week I was hit with a cold that made me soooo tired. It’s my first time being sick since Kate was born and she was a great sport while I sat on the couch and watched daytime tv for days in a row. I’m just glad that we haven’t had to deal with any illness on her part aside from a few injuries and teething crap.

Me being a big sick baby coincided nicely with Kate deciding to walk as her exclusive mode of transportation. It’s pretty funny watching her stumble around like a drunken gnome, and terrifying to see how much faster she can get into trouble.

Her first birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks (can you freaking believe it?) and I’m doing lots of party planning in my head. Whether I’ll actually move away from the couch to make a birthday banner, cake, pasta salad, dips, decorations, fruit tray, and commemorative book remains to be seen.