Waiting for baby


Shopping in the city at 37 weeks.

I have 9 days until my due date. Single digits now.

It’s a very strange place to be in…just waiting for your whole life to change. I’m glad I stopped working so early. I still have a couple orders to fulfill here and there, but mostly I can relax and do holiday-related things. Or take a nap.

I realized that my holiday seasons are always insanely hectic because I am either prepping for craft shows or taking a big trip, or both. It’s nice to just chill and bake cookies.

Harper has been super clingy lately, but I can’t tell if it’s because she knows she’s about to lose a lot of my attention or because she is almost 3. She’s in a big “mommy do it” phase. But it’s usually about some mundane thing that seems more about control than anything else. I am no expert with this stuff. I’m just trying to love on her an extra lot. She completely exhausts me sometimes, but she is such an extraordinary little person. It’s so hard to imagine what her little brother will be like. I’m dying to know!

My sister arrives on Thursday. In a perfect world, the baby will come while she’s here. But we all know their timing isn’t perfect!

Super bulky cowl

If you’re looking for a project that works up quickly (a la the arm-knit cowl), try this one. I can have one of these babies finished in half an hour!

At first this project came up out of necessity — my other cowl patterns were just taking too long to make, especially when I needed to make lots of them for shows. But now I think I would make this cowl anyway, just because it is so cute and so warm.

Super bulky cowl

Materials

• 4 skeins Lion Brand wool-ease thick and quick yarn in navy (or your favorite color). *Note: 2 skeins is actually just the right amount for this cowl, but you will have to separate them into 4 equal parts to make the cowl.
Other super bulky weight yarns would also work great for this.

• Size US 50/25 mm knitting needles (the biggest they have, baby)

• yarn needle to weave in ends

Instructions

Start by holding 4 strands of yarn together and tying a knot in the end. Leave a few inches of tail and then cast on 6 stitches.

Work in garter stitch (knitting every row) until the piece measures approximately 48 inches. Bind off, leaving about 12 inches of tail to sew up the seam.

Tie another knot on the end of the tail and then use it to seam the two ends of the cowl together. I usually just do this part with my hands. When you’re done, you can cut off the knots from both tails and then use the yarn needle to weave any remaining ends into the cowl. I usually make a few knots just so the seam is nice and secure. Then snip off any extra yarn.

The garter stitch pattern makes this cowl nice and stretchy, so you can wear it doubled up or let it hang longer like a scarf. 

Cozy knit reversible cowl

Here’s another freebie pattern that I absolutely love for fall and winter. This cowl is super warm and cozy, and the bonus is that it is ribbed on one side and bobbly on the other. You can wear it long like a scarf, or doubled up around your neck. Or you can even pull it over your head like a hood or lower on your shoulders like a shawl.

Cozy knit reversible cowl

Materials

• 3 skeins Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn in cranberry (or your favorite color)
Other super bulky yarns would work great for this, too.

• Size US 15/10 mm straight knitting needles

• Yarn needle to sew up the seam

Instructions

Cast on 32 stitches.
Row 1: K1P1 across.
Row 2: Knit.
Repeat these two rows until the piece measures 52 inches. Bind off on last knit row, leaving a long tail to sew up the seam.

With right sides facing and using the long tail of yarn, sew up the seam using mattress stitch or your favorite seaming stitch. Weave in any ends and turn the piece right-side-out.

*You could also just leave the piece as a scarf and make it longer or shorter. Up to you!

Stripey baby leg warmers

Unfortunately, the now-defunct Goodsmiths site has finally come down. So a lot of my blog projects that had been published there have disappeared. I’m not going to try to save all of them, but I would like to re-post some patterns that I have posted on Ravelry, and add some new ones. 

I’m gonna start with this baby leg warmer pattern because I enjoyed making these so much for Harper when she was a baby. 

They’re made with a fuzzy acrylic yarn that is machine washable and comes in a lot of great colors. You can knit them up plain or go with the stripe sequence I came up with. And if you like that yarn, you can also get my pattern for stretchy leg warmers that will grow with your kiddo from my Etsy pattern shop

Stripey baby leg warmers
sized for 0-3 months
make 2

Materials:

Lion Brand Jiffy yarn in colors: grape (A), country green (B), silver heather (C), and dark grey heather (D), (or any combination of 4 colors you like)

• Size 10.5 straight knitting needles

• Yarn needle to sew up seams

Instructions:

Cast on 18 stitches, leaving a 14-inch tail so you can sew up the seam at the end. Using a stockinette pattern (knit one row, purl one row), follow this stripe sequence:

5 rows A

4 rows B

2 rows C

3 rows D

2 rows A

3 rows C

1 row B

4 rows D

3 rows A

2 rows C

Bind off on your last row of C. Using your yarn needle, weave in any loose strings to the back side of the piece and snip off the ends. You can actually use these ends to carefully sew up the seam, matching the colors on each side. But if you don’t have the patience for that (half the time I don’t!), you can just use the long tail from the beginning of your work to sew up the seam. 

To make plain leg warmers, follow these instructions. You will only need one skein per pair. 

0-3 months 
Cast on 18 stitches. Knit in stockinette pattern until piece measures  7 inches. Bind off. 

3-6 months
Cast on 20 stitches. Knit in stockinette pattern until piece measures 8 inches. Bind off. 

6-12 months
Cast on 22 stitches. Knit in stockinette pattern until piece measures 9 inches. Bind off. 

Finishing

With right sides facing, use the long tail of yarn you left at the beginning of the piece to sew a seam all the way up to the top. You can use mattress stitch, or your favorite seaming stitch. Then snip off any extra yarn and turn the leg warmer right-side-out. Repeat with the second one. 

*If you don’t want a seam, you can always knit with DPNs or a magic loop instead. 

Main bathroom reveal

Our last major project on the house is done! Well, the last project on round 1 of home remodeling. We could really use some better kitchen cabinets and central heat, but we knew we probably wouldn’t be able to get to those things for a while. So we set aside enough money to do a few major projects, and now they are ALL DONE. Hallelujah!

The bathroom was a problem for a lot of reasons. First, it was butt ugly. After bringing the rest of the house out of the ’80s (see mom’s bathroom remodel), the dated bathroom just looked awful.

The linoleum was ugly and stained. It just had to go. It also seemed like the floor was uneven, because water from the faux marble sink was always dripping onto the floor.


Ughhh.

The previous owners had replaced the mirror cabinet and light fixture. However, they picked new ones that are the opposite of what we would have picked. The 3-mirror cabinet was always sticking out because the shelves were too tiny to hold much of anything. We had to keep way too many things on the sink because they just didn’t fit anywhere else. And really, when your bathroom is that ugly, you don’t fret too much about clutter.

The shower was not actually that bad. I sort of enjoyed that the faux marble walls didn’t have grout to get all moldy. But when we took off the shower doors (I can’t stand shower doors!), it left some marks and scrapes on the walls and tub. The fixtures were also pretty old and grimy, and the drain plug didn’t work correctly.


The tub edge.

The other super weird thing was the light switch situation. There were two switches at different heights for the light and fan. The fan switch was in the place that seemed more appropriate for the light switch. So we really wanted to get them re-wired so that they were on a double switch in a place that made sense. The fan was also super loud.

Then there was the toilet that used about 6 gallons per flush. The one we put in mom’s bathroom uses .8 gallons per flush. So yeah, we wanted something a leetle more efficient. (With the drought, something like that really does make a huge difference).

At first I thought we could get away with just tearing out the linoleum and the toilet, sink cabinet and mirror, and then maybe refinishing the tub. But eventually it made more sense to tear all of it out and start from scratch. There were a couple of imperfections in the drywall that made us concerned for what was underneath. So, better safe than sorry.

Side note: Do you watch “Renovation Realities”? We love that show. And what you learn from watching it is that something, or a few somethings, will always go wrong and cost you extra money and time. Sigh.

So, when Mike tore out the drywall, he did find some issues. The subfloor had some damage and there was a good-sized hole underneath. So, new subfloor.


Check out how the wood connects on the right. Face palm. 

Then there was a stud that had been cut and repaired in a completely unsafe way. When he went to replace it, Mike cut a hole in the water pipe nearby, so we had to pay a plumber to fix that. While she was there, we also had her make sure all the sink pipes would work when went to put that in.

Another issue: there was no insulation in any of the walls. So while we had the walls off we put some in the outside wall.

And then when he went to install the shower fixture, Mike realized that the pipes there were not going to match up. So, we had to call another plumber to bring that up to date.


New pipes!

After ALL that was taken care of, we were able to put the walls back up. Mike enlisted a friend for help since I am not in any kind of shape to do drywall. Another side note: why is it purple?


Without a light, the bathroom was dark and scary for a while.

Once the walls were up, we could tackle the tile. As Mike learned from the first bathroom, tile is not actually that hard as DIY projects go. The worst part is the prep — cutting all the tiles or tile sheets to fit around corners and such. We did have to buy a tile saw, but that wasn’t too expensive. Mike laid all the tiles for the floor and shower and then I came in and did the grout.


We decided to put subway tiles all the way to the top of the shower.  So much better!

It was a lot of work for a super pregnant lady, but I think it turned out great.

I also painted the walls, the same shade of blue/gray that we used in mom’s bathroom. We just wanted everything to look clean and simple. Mike had to tackle the very smelly job of refinishing the tub since it would not be good for me to inhale epoxy. He got a respirator and it was really only bad for one day.

Once everything was dry and the grout sealed, we could put the bathroom back together.

We used the Hemnes furniture from IKEA for the cabinet and mirror. The mirror cabinet is huge, but it actually holds everything with room to spare.

The shallow sink also allows for more storage underneath. And Harper’s little stool fits underneath the sink, which is nice because the bathroom is pretty small.

The fan we put in the ceiling is so cool. It’s about as silent as a Prius and it comes on automatically when it detects humidity. The light fixture has turned out to be a little small for the room, but that would be easy to replace if we wanted to. IKEA makes a 5-light version.

The toilet has worked great so far. On a rare occasion you might have to flush twice, but even if you do, you’re still only using 1.6 gallons. Oh, and Mike got a super fancy toilet seat that has a slow-close feature and a built-in child seat. So, no more Elmo potty ring taking up space. 

We decided to kind of hide the towel bars behind the door. With four of us using the bathroom, it can look pretty messy, but this tidies it up.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to walk past the bathroom and see it looking so good. It finally matches the rest of the house! And it was the one thing we really wanted to finish so that we could concentrate on what really matters — our new kiddo!

*I finally had a chance to go over all our receipts and figure out the cost for this project. It came out to about $3,850. The IKEA furniture and light fixture came to about $600. We had to pay the plumbers $765. The toilet and fancy seat were about $250. Each set of tile was around $400. So the rest was for drywall, mud, paint, grout, various supplies and some new tools we had to buy. At least with the tools we can use them again for future projects. The bathroom is fairly small, but I think for a complete remodel (down to the studs and subfloor), we did really well. And with the way houses have been selling in this neighborhood, I’m sure we’ll see a return on our investment.