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Sunday, 25 November 2018

I have a problem

A massive squishy wooly mammoth one! I haven't spoken too much about my knitting antics on my blog felt it's time I should really as it's where my crafty priorities have been last few years.. and now Pippa's here, it's reached a slightly (not very slight at all, pretty massive) obsessive level of addition... If that even makes sense. I suppose this is for a couple reasons, firstly because it's much more sociable than sewing. Rather than be hidden away in a different room, I can sit on the sofa in the evening with Scott and knit away whilst we watch whatever box set or telly show we're into at the time. The other reason (and main one I guess) is no longer having a sewing room. The motivation to sew is so much less when I have to think about dragging my machine out of the wardrobe, what's left of my haberdashery from the boiler cupboard and my (now very meager) fabric stash out of the loft. All of this not as easy as simply opening a door and sitting at my machine like the good old days!! I have to admit though, I'm kinda using the change in circumstances as a bit of an excuse, my knitting obsession began well before Pippa stole my sewing room.

With the exception of Pippa's bedroom blinds and a quick(ish - I'm pretty out of practice) alteration to a dress, I haven't done any proper sewing for a long long time. One project I really would like to finish is the hexagon quilt I started for Pippa's room. I lost momentum with this during pregnancy because of getting carpal tunnel (which also put paid to knitting grrr) and it being predominantly hand sewing but since being back in action it has seen very little attention!

As you can see, I got as far as sewing all the hexagons (700+) into strips and then started sewing the strips together but that's as far as it goes. I even have the wadding and backing fabric ready to go which is now in the loft. Getting it out to take that picture makes me want to carry on again!

I am also planning to do a bit of sewing today when Scott's parents are visiting as Pippa needs a Christmas stocking. Luckily, when spring my fabric stash last year, I had enough foresight to hang onto the Christmas stuff I had!

Anyway, back to what I was meant to be writing about (the queen of procrastination me)...! Knitting!! I have always been a one project at a time sort of person but recently that's not been the case, there's just too much temptation with all the lovely patterns about and I have so much nice wool to use!! I think the obsession has grown so much because I have done a lot of Pippa knitting. Baby/kids garments knit up so quick so there's a lot of instant gratification. Here's a whistle stop tour of some of my recent projects.....

This Telja colourwork jumper was my first proper knit after Pippa was born. Like most of my knitting, it was mainly achieved whilst she was either feeding or asleep on me. This was made from lovely wool my mum gifted me last Christmas and gave me motivation to start finding a way to knit again when a newborn was taking up so much of my time.

Once I finished that one, I went on to knit my Carbeth Cardigan as I realised that breastfeeding in a full jumper wasn't the easiest. In this photo it looks pretty fitted but now Pippa isn't feeding so much and my boobs have shrunk (a lot) and I'm back to (less than, thank you breastfeeding) pre-baby weight it fits more like its intended!

I then moved on to copious amounts of baby knits!

This Mollie Onesie was the bane of my life. For such a simple knit I made so many mistakes. First of all I was really slow, and Pippa grew really fast, so it was too small before even half done. Then I panicked and thought I was running out of wool so brought more of a different dye lot, and then starting a new ball, used that new dye lot but didn't realise the glaringly obvious difference until a long way into the second ball! Hence why the dress has 2 skirts and not 1 as I couldn't face ripping it all back again. However, I am actually really happy with it with 2 shirts so no harm done! Everything happens for a reason right?!

My next Pippa project was her Wee Bee Jumper. I loved this pattern and knit apart from I couldn't understand no shoulder shaping. However, after a few attempts at deviating from the pattern, I stuck to it and no shoulder shaping works fine!

After this I realised how slow 4ply knitting is compared to DK and started a few DK projects, Specially as I started trying not to buy more wool so started using up stash.

Pippa's snowflake
Making Tracks Sweater

I absolutely Love The Purple Pinafore, If I don't forget and get carried away with lots of other projects (which is very likely when I have 14 other projects, most with wool associated, lined up in my ravelry queue) I would like to knit more of these in other colours!

I have actually finished this but it's blocking so ill add a better picture soon
My most recent finish was this Strange Brew jumper which again was knit from leftover wool. The strange brew pattern allows you to knit your own colourwork patterns. for this one I chose a really simply pattern which literally took my 10mins to chart but I do want to do it again with specific wool in mind and a lovely pattern. I do have a lot of teal gradient wool left from a test knit sock I knit last month (will share when the patterns published) which I think will make a lovely pattern. Maybe a cardigan so I might give this 'steeking' thing a go!

After vowing to myself that I must use all my stashed wool before buying more (being a lady of leisure now and all that...) I was sucked in by a Drops Lima sale and brought 15 balls so that I could knit me and Pippa matching jumpers for Chrismas!! This evening I cast on my Bloomsbury Jumper! Hopefully it wont take too long and then Pippa's will be nice and quick! I brought so much that I can probably knit Pippa's in two sizes so we can twin for longer! I'm so sad, poor girl! I also have a lot of expensive hand dyed luxury wool all lined up for a Sunset highway Jumper but this will have to wait now!

There are a few things I really need to get better at. The first being looking after my knits better. The Pippa jumpers I have recently done and the Carbeth Cardigan are all acrylic. Although not fantastic in itself, they look alright considering and they wash well.

When Pippa was a small bean in my belly (before the carpal tunnel), I knitted her a very expensive lovely alpaca/silk/cashmere blanket. Probably cost me around £70. Well in my sleep deprived daze of post baby crazyness, I washed it at 60 degrees!!! Completely ruined it and I was devastated. What an idiot. I have also partially felted two other jumpers both of which are still passable but just not the same so now don't get worn. With some of the lovely wool I have I vow to make a better attempt at looking after my knits better! Part of this will be keeping them separate from the main washing as Scott mainly does the washing these days and wont know! The washing machine has a wool setting, I wonder if that's actually any good at protecting knits, I could just save them up and do a wool wash every so often.

The other thing I really need to improve on is weaving in my ends. It is my most hated job and I never do a very good job. The knitters out there will read this in shock and disgust but I tend to rely on knotting to keep my ends in!! SHOCK HORROR! I have googled countless times ways to improve this but haven't come up with anything better.

When I knitted this stripy cardigan I made a conscious effort to weave the ends in properly, as there were a few. To begin with it looked fine but after a couple washes, they all made their way to the front and I had to pull them back through again, GRR!!! I've taken to leaving my ends slightly longer on the back of my work as that seems to stop this happening.

This point is all the more poignant when thinking about the first of my two longer term WIP's. Throughout the year I have been knitting a temperature scarf, starting from the day Pippa was born and will end on her birthday... It's a very long scarf!!

Progress so far!

As you can see, that's a few ends to deal with!!! I should have done them as I went really but I didn't mainly because I couldn't be bothered but also because I want to do them well as it's effectively double sided. Any tips much appreciated!!!!!! I'm hoping it wont actually be too bad as it's herringbone stitch and it's quite roomy (I know what I mean by that even if noone else does! ha!) so hopefully easy to hide ends. However I hope that doesn't mean they make a reappearance too easily! Although motivation to knit this isn't always that high, I do really like how it's coming out. It's been an interesting year weather wise and I like how dynamic it's made the scarf.

This is my last long term WIP's. Its going to be a Whiteout shawl made from lovely hand dyed lace that Scott brought me for my birthday. I chose it from a lovely little shop in Barcelona when we were there. Because it's so delicate I only knit this when Pippa is in bed if I'm not too caught up in my other projects. I hope ill get a move on with it soon but I'll probably prioritise finishing the scarf before this!

As a finishing note, the last thing I would like to master at some point is Brioche knitting, it looks so amazing! At the moment I don't have a project lined up for this though. I also understand that it's a little tricky so probably not doable with the terror about so maybe this will become an evening project once the shawl is finished!!

Oh yeh, on another finishing note, before I started Pippa's strange brew jumper, I was toying around with my own pattern using the top down raglan style jumper knit, using two wools striping vertically for the front and back but horizontally on the arms. I was doing this by slipping alternate stitches. However, this proved really difficult as I was loosing loads of length on the arms. I think with some playing around it would be doable and a really affective pattern so I plan to come back to this idea sometime and maybe have a go at my own pattern... Wishful thinking I'm sure!

Thursday, 8 November 2018

A different me

Me and my bestie seem to be bouncing off each other a lot at the moment. Despite living less than a mile away from each other and both being on maternity leave, we haven't actually seen each other that much recently. However, as is the case most of the time, we are pretty much on the same page. The reason I start with this is because after reading my blog (I think she's my only reader haha) she has decided to start her own. She says it's because of my cathartic nature of writing... I call it a brain dump of random drivel that comes to mind and gets typed! But because of her wish to join the blogging world, she has inspired to finally get on with writing my next post.

I have been thinking about this post for a long time but now Pippa is very much mobile and into absolutely everything, time to think and write is even less than before (and I thought I was busy then!). She is now a crazy 10 month old who is walking, starting to talk and already has 8 teeth!! She understands so much of what you say to her now and is a real little diva. She completely blows my mind.

Which brings me back to why I am writing this post in the first place. This year has completely flown by. I was meant to be going back to work after Christmas after over a year off. I am not going to lie and say that it's been an easy year full of laughter and happiness because having a baby is bloody hard work. But it has been the best, most rewarding year of my life and I wouldn't change it for the world. I always wondered what I would be like as a mother. I am not known for my patience (and many could argue my compassion) and although I've always wanted kids one day, would not describe myself as a proper mother hen type cooing over all the babies. Certainly at work I much preferred looking after the women rather than the babies. But I have to say I have surprised myself. I could never understand how parents could stick playing the same game over and over again with their child, or singing the same song on repeat or watching that movie for the millionth time... But I get it now. And enjoy it. I love watching her face light up with delight and hearing her laugh, even if that means doing the same thing over and over and over and over again. I also would prefer to do that thing, whatever it might be because if it keeps her happy and occupied then that's much easier than her getting frustrated or annoyed. It's not like I'm going to be able to do what I would like to anyway so what does it matter as long as she's enjoying herself! Gone are the days I can sit in my sewing room for hours on end with only myself to think about. But you know what, if I had a whole day to myself I honestly wouldn't know what to do with it and would miss her terribly!

Although my relationship with my job has been very much up and down in the past, before I went off on maternity leave (despite being a miserable pregnant mess), I was in a good place and enjoying it. However, as time has passed over this year, I have been thinking about the prospect of going back more and more. I didn't want it to impede on the time I have with my baby but unfortunately for a while it did. The lack of sleep is real with a baby let alone having another thing keeping me awake. I was due to only go back on 18hrs but was really dreading the 12hr shifts and am also very reluctant to pay/use too much childcare because quite frankly, I don't want to pay someone else to look after my baby when I want to do it myself. I don't want to get up and leave before she's up in the morning and then return after her bedtime. I don't even know how that would be feasible as I am still breastfeeding. How would that work if I was on several shifts in a row? I'm not saying that's it's wrong or neglectful of mum's or what ever..I know plenty of mum's do it and it works very well for them but that's not what I want for my family. I'm sure many people would argue that I am Molly coddling her or that it would be good for her to have some space away from me and I should 'get my life back too' but work isn't my life. I think the final nail in the coffin was the prospect of missing out on her doing and learning. We are on the waiting list for swimming lessons and when she's old enough I want her to do gymnastics too. These are all things I want to take her to. Who knows what I'll have to work and how much I might miss. We are lucky enough to be able to live a relatively comfortable life on one wage so I have made the decision to take a years career break and just be..

I never saw my self as a stay at home mum/housewife but she's been the making of me. Maybe its because midwifery is a tough job in very trying times at the moment and I'm not sure I'm cut out for it anymore. Women need a strong motivated midwife who they can trust and who will fight for them, especially when the system is at breaking point but I am not sure I have what it takes anymore. I don't think I can truly immerse myself into the journey of childbirth and what women go through now I have done it myself. I don't think I have enough fight in me to give everything to my baby and then also give my all to the women I care for. I know who comes first. I did my first keeping in touch day last week and felt overwhelmed by the whole thing. I can't really explain why. Just that I am not the midwife I used to be. Everyone always said that being a midwife without children doesn't make you any less of a midwife but I feel quite the opposite. I think I was at the top of my game before having Pippa. I think I was good at it (though my colleagues, if they read this, might think otherwise hahahaha). Now I am mentally in such a different place. Although I tried to do my best for the lovely lady I cared for last week (under very trying circumstances which seems to be the norm now), I just didn't feel like I cut the mustard and my heart certainly wasn't in it. which you SOOO need in this vocation. I don't want to speak ill of work but I felt pushed about and vulnerable which I am really not used to. No doubt this is my own insecurity due to work not being my life recently (18 months I've been away from delivery suite and just over a year from midwifery all together). I didn't feel looked after or supported and I really think I should have been. I know how stretched the service is and I know I am a big girl and have been qualified a long time but it's a big scary job with lots of responsibilities. And a lot at stake. Although I knew I was safe and in control really, in my head the doubt was there which I really didn't like. I'm not sure I can be a good mum and a good midwife both at the same time. Not yet.

The reason I named this post 'A different me' was because that bestie i mentioned right at the beginning of this monologue, for a long time after I had Pippa, said that I had changed. In a good way but I had changed. Until recently I didn't understand her and thought she was talking rubbish. But now I see it. And I like it.

Apologies for the stupidly long brain dump jibberish... I found it really difficult to start this post but once I got going, found I couldn't stop