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Some News, A New Sweater, and Yarn Gifts (plus giveaway)

8 February 2012

Good day, good people. I have missed you all, and I don’t have a really good excuse for not writing, except for the holidays, and some travel, and having a secret and not being very good at keeping secrets. [Ask Mr. Trask. Christmas and birthdays are not great times for me. Meanwhile, at 6’5″, he just puts all my gifts somewhere I can’t reach. Bah!]

Without further ado, I give you…Some News.

KELT 16 weeks

Due July 6. Crazy, right?

  • Me: Can I refer to our progeny as “Future Knitter” on my blog?
  • Mr. Trask: Um…no.

But you guys and I know that this kid is going to grow up swathed in knitted items, anyway. So it’s got that going for it. Anyway, the secret is out!

Mr. Trask and I are very excited. I spent much of the fall being ill all over Oxford (Mr. Trask will, upon request, arrange a tour of all the buildings outside of which I have been sick), but now the nausea is almost gone and the second trimester hunger is setting in.

In no particular order, answers to some Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Yes, the baby will be born in England.
  • No, that does not mean it will be a British citizen (sad). That whole “you’re born here, you’re ours” thing is a US thing, it seems.
  • Instead, we will take the baby to the US embassy early in its young life, and apply for its very first passport as proof of American citizenship.
  • The NHS has been great for us so far. Somewhat different from US health care, but great.
  • No, we don’t yet know the gender.
  • No, I haven’t started knitting for the baby yet (more on that in a moment). BUT my fabulous mother-in-law is making a gorgeous feather-and-fan baby blanket. She’s made one for every one of her grandchildren. Isn’t that cool?!?

I went back to the US last month to see family and friends, and bought maternity clothes there into the bargain. [It turns out that Oxford has no maternity shops, at least not near us. So odd.] I will now be a fashionable pregnant knitter, instead of a knitter with her jeans held together by a rubber band, which is what I was in December. I didn’t get many sweaters, because of course my plan is to knit a few – so I will welcome your suggestions about maternity-friendly patterns. In the meantime, and without further ado, Pregnancy Sweater #1 – based on the modifications to the Polly Pullover that Susan B. Anderson offered as part of a knitalong in the fall.

First a little history. Last spring, as I was buried in work and the giveaways were ramping up, fabulous friend Lynn sent me…some yarn. With a loving but strict note that I was to use said yarn to make something for myself. And that I was not allowed to give this yarn away.

Debbie Bliss from Lynn

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky: For a Cozy, Quick Knit

Longtime readers of this blog may feel that the colorway of this yarn seems familiar. That’s right – it’s the same color as the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran that I bought for myself several years ago…the cursed yarn, that was several sweaters and then went into the garbage. [I have never before or since thrown yarn away…but I have never looked back after throwing away that stuff.] I laughed out loud when I saw the color come back to me through Lynn; I am pretty sure that I was there when she bought the Cashmerino Superchunky. But, because she told me to keep the yarn, I kept it, and tried to figure out what it would be.

Much like the cursed yarn, this stuff went through several incarnations before settling. First, I tried to make a simple throw. Didn’t have enough yardage for Jared Flood’s Umaro, and for no clear reason I was unable to follow the extremely simple instructions for the Lacy Chunky Throw without adding stitches. Then I tried to use it as the basis for a lace bag during the Teva Durham Lace Improvisation class in September. Too fiddly, plus I couldn’t imagine lining the thing, plus I couldn’t imagine carrying it. At this point, I was sure the yarn was conspiring against me, but I brought it to England anyway (and those of you who know, know that this was a big deal).

By Christmas, though, I knew that I needed a cozy sweater, and I needed it now. The holidays in Oxford are really lovely, with cold weather and warm drinks and lights downtown and caroling concerts. But they are also cold and damp, and by the middle of December the sun is rising at 8 a.m. and setting at 4 p.m. That’s about 8 hours of light. Plus, you will recall that I was being sick all over town. I got a little depressed, people. And that was when I realized it was time to make the sweater:

Gertie and Debbie Bliss

Gertie keeps an eye on the yarn while I knit.

I’d put the Polly knitalong on my Things to Do list a while back, and I knew that it would produce a sweater within a few days. Between Christmas and the New Year, I made this fabulous cardigan (although it took me a few more weeks to weave in the ends):

Polly Cardigan and Bump

My Polly Cardigan - and the growing bump.

You’ll notice that there are no buttons on the thing. I bought the cutest buttons at fibre space while I was home, and now I can’t find them. This is why I shouldn’t tidy up! I always shove something important, like all of my tapestry needles, into an odd place, like the inbox where we keep unpaid bills, and then it takes me two months to recover whatever it was. Bah!

This was a quick knit, and a fun one. Susan did a great job of offering lots of modifications in her blog posts, and the Ravelry knitalong group offered their expertise, as well. It cheered me right up to have finished something, and to have a pretty and thick sweater to wear. Once I find those buttons, it’s going to be perfect.

Giveaway! If you’ve  made it this far, you deserve some yarn. This time, it’s Rowan Calmer on the block, in a beautiful chocolate brown that the photos don’t really capture.

Rowan Calmer

Rowan Calmer: For Early Spring Knitting.

This soft yet springy yarn is a blend of cotton and polyester, one of Amy Singer‘s favorite yarns. [If you haven’t yet signed the Save Calmer petition, pop on over and do that now!] You can’t do better than this yarn for lovely spring hats and scarves.

So, here’s something. The winner of the last giveaway was Syd. Now, Syd did something lovely and yet something no one else is allowed to do. She donated the Alisha Goes Around yarn right back to me, as a thank-you for previous giveaways. She sent me a beautiful note suggesting this, and after a lot of thought I have decided to accept, because it’s such a nice thought. Now, people, none of the rest of you may do this. The rest of you must take your yarn, and like it. I will consider Syd’s thank-you to be from the rest of you, because if you all keep doing this then I’ll still have the same amount of yarn (as Mr. Trask wisely pointed out to me. Thank you Mr. Trask).

That said, I’ll use the skein from Syd to make my first baby something. So – what shall we make, people? Recommend a baby pattern in the comments, or tell me the best yarn gift you ever received, or…tell me where my buttons are. Or my tapestry needles. Or the remote. Whatever you say, comment by Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 12 p.m. GMT, and you’ll be entered to win the Rowan Calmer.

Next time: How I knit a sock and a half using a circular needle with a broken tip. MacGyver Knitting!

29 Comments leave one →
  1. Sara permalink
    8 February 2012 11:55 am

    I feel like congratulations is not strong enough of a word to express how happy I am for you!!! I have no doubt that you will be the best mom a little bundle of joy could ask for… and that is going to be one stylish kid thanks to your knitting prowess. Please let me know what knitted goods the wee one can use – I have a feeling you’ll be receiving a million blankets, so I was thinking maybe something outside my comfort zone for a gift.

  2. Kathleen permalink*
    8 February 2012 11:59 am

    Sara! Thank you so much! Absolutely not necessary to make anything for the kid, but if you’re so inclined then you’ve gotten in early and can make whatever you want. I do think of you as the baby blanket queen.
    Stylish is probably in the eye of the beholder…by the time it’s a few years old, it’ll be begging for a store-bought sweater.

  3. Lesley permalink
    8 February 2012 12:01 pm

    I don’t need the yarn, so please don’t enter me in the giveaway, but I vote for this: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/milk-infant-top

    Mostly because I am knitting it and you should knit it with me.

    • Kathleen permalink*
      8 February 2012 12:47 pm

      Ooh. Excellent possibility. So cute.

      • Lesley permalink
        9 February 2012 10:36 am

        I am working on it in the Swann’s Island fingering. Wound yarn this morning….

  4. Ariana permalink
    8 February 2012 12:10 pm

    I am both a bit envious (I’ve been trying for two years to conceive, and no luck) and happy for you. It’s an oddly familiar thing since it seems that since I started this adventure of sorts, I suddenly notice how many people around me have babies on the way. So, definite envy… But yeah, I can’t dislike babies in any sense. Congrats! You really, really should post a picture later of the cute baby faces and the tiny fingers and toes so the rest of us can gush and tell you how cute the baby is!

    The new yarn giveaway looks great… I didn’t see any mention of us having to answer anything particular, so I’m just commenting in general I guess. Anyway, as usual I suppose, I’d love the yarn… But looking at it on Ravelry, it’s an acrylic mix, and I’m weirdly allergic to pretty much all acrylic yarns, which means someone else would be better off with these. But, darn them, I can still sit here and wish I weren’t allergic.

    • Kathleen permalink*
      8 February 2012 12:41 pm

      Hi, Ariana! Hang in there…it was a long haul for us, as well. I know what you mean about suddenly noticing everyone else’s pregnancy; it’s definitely difficult. I’m sending fertility vibes your way! 🙂

  5. 8 February 2012 12:14 pm

    Yay!! a wee one is on the way!! I am always excited when someone (besides me) is having a baby. I’m glad you are feeling weel, now and enjoying the UK. Take care!! PS: I have finished 2 Trask projects from your generous give aways and am working on a third. I do have a pattern somewhere for a maternity sweater that has panels you can insert and remove. I just have to figure out where it is, ha!

  6. Dovile permalink
    8 February 2012 12:32 pm

    Congratulations!
    I’ve been given a skein of this yarn in ‘Saoirse’ colorway: http://www.ravelry.com/yarns/library/julibeans-cassiopeia-100-merino-wool
    It’s very soft even for a merino yarn, and there are a lot of beautiful colorways to choose from. I really love the scarf I made from this yarn.

  7. Cguard permalink
    8 February 2012 12:41 pm

    Welcome back! You have been missed. Love to armchair travel with you… Congrats on the wee one. Looking forward to vicarously being pregnant and babe in arms with you too. (although happy to miss the puking part) In a few years you still won’t be able to find any of your missing items becase your Little Walkie talkie will have helpfully put them somewhere (hint check a bag). You know the rule go buy a replacement and they will turn up.
    I highly recommend Aviatrix Hat. It is a fast and fun knit and super cute plus will actually stay on baby.

  8. 8 February 2012 12:50 pm

    I love Calmer – I can’t believe you’re giving it away, especially now that it’s being discontinued.

    Anyway, I didn’t knit much for my little ones when I was pregnant b/c of carpal tunnel pain, but before that set in I knit this open-front cardigan that made a dandy maternity sweater: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cabled-cardigan—kk183

    Congratulations to you and Mr. Trask!

  9. 8 February 2012 2:08 pm

    Congrats!

    Since Calmer is being discontinued, it’d be good timing on my part to win this yarn, fall in love with it, and be unable to get more, right? Oh well, I want to win and get a chance to see why everyone raves about this yarn anyway.

  10. Aimee Houghton permalink
    8 February 2012 3:21 pm

    I’m not sure where Gertie has hidden your buttons in the flat, however, your future buttons are awaiting you at the Button Queen in London just off the Marleybone High Street!

  11. 8 February 2012 4:29 pm

    Oh. My. Gosh! This post is full of all the very best things! CONGRATULATIONS on your best! ever! news!!! You look like a beautiful, glowing, happy, pregnant mommy. (I know, it’s not all glowing and happy in real life. I was barfing and yelling at anyone who came within hearing range during both of my pregnancies. But you know, we can pretend). 😉

    Babies! Rowan Calmer! Baby knitting!

    Baby knitting is my *favorite* kind of knitting – but one skein of light fingering yarn is a challenge. I’m up to it, though, you’ve come to the right girl. Here are two hat patterns that would be lovely!
    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pixie-hat-2
    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/norwegian-sweet-baby-cap—djevellue

    And on the off chance that lady luck is on my side, I will totally follow the rules this time, I *loooove* me some Rowan Calmer. I filled out the petition, too.

    best, best, best wishes to you guys and your baby belly

  12. Jeannie permalink
    8 February 2012 4:56 pm

    You look amazing and happy 🙂
    Love the sweater too.
    Buy some more buttons and you’ll surely find the wonderful ones you bought. Ask me how I know.

  13. krystal permalink
    8 February 2012 7:16 pm

    Congratulations! I’m unreasonably happy for you, given that we’ve never met. 🙂 I checked out the yardage and weight, and given that you don’t know the gender yet (or at all?) I think you should consider knitting either Milo: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/milo-3, owl baby vest: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/owl-baby-vest, or maybe a short-sleeved eyelet yoke baby cardigan: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/eyelet-yoke-baby-cardigan, or short-sleeved demne: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/demne (I don’t know if there’s enough for full-length sleeves).
    I’m hoping to be pregnant within the next six months, so will be watching to see what you end up knitting!

  14. KateL permalink
    8 February 2012 9:07 pm

    Congratulations

    What about Sunnyside Cardigan?

    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sunnyside

    I made Cargo from Knitty for another knitter – who made a second pair because they were so functional.

  15. 8 February 2012 9:31 pm

    Good girl, following instructions! I’m so happy you made yourself a beautiful sweater.

    Please don’t enter me into the giveaway, but do keep us posted on the First Knit for Baby. I vote for one of Krystal’s suggestions (above): http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/demne. Adorable!

  16. 8 February 2012 11:46 pm

    Yea, congratulations! Glad the nausea has finally subsided. Love the cardi and who says it needs buttons anyway?

  17. 9 February 2012 1:09 am

    Congratulations for the bump! The second trimester is the best time, so enjoy while it lasts. Third trimester is all about ‘Is the baby out already?’

  18. 9 February 2012 1:51 am

    So I can’t reccomend any maternity patterns. I am not as fabulous a knitter as you are (I also had a toddler to chase) and I was convinced I wouldn’t complete a garment in time. I do have a prego lady suggestion. When I would sit down to knit and decided I NEEDED to habe cookies, I would reward myself. I got a cookie for completing X many rows. Sounds silly but stopped me from eating all the Oreo’s in one sitting.
    I also finally started a blog (you briefly urged me on via e-mail). It’s not going to be so much about knitting as mommy stuff, but maybe you’ll need that now?
    Congrats!

  19. 9 February 2012 10:51 am

    Congratulations on your growing bump! I called my first “the watermelon” and he certainly lived up to that description when we went post term. As for maternity knits, my favorite has always been Elsebeth Lavold’s Martha for Women from Book 6 – The Take Five Collection. The decorative gores allow for baby’s growth in a most fashionable way! The original DK yarn, Silky Tweed, is the sister of one of my top ten favorite yarns, Silky Wool and they can be interchanged in patterns with a tiny difference in row gauge.

  20. Tina permalink
    10 February 2012 4:58 pm

    Great news! Congratulations and enjoy the second trimester. With regards to the baby knitting, I always thought that the baby kimono is really cute and practical (http://thecompletefabrication.blogspot.com/2007/11/bulky-seamless-baby-kimono.html). Could you imagine that you on your little one?

  21. kolpin permalink
    11 February 2012 9:00 pm

    congratulations! i love these baby booties…so cute! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/crochet-baby-converse

  22. Krista permalink
    14 February 2012 11:27 pm

    I love the Aviatrix hat.
    & all the baby socks I knit were useless! Until I made knee high tube socks for under her PJ’s. Next time I’ll make her some legwarmers.

  23. 15 February 2012 2:18 am

    Congratulations!!! What wonderful news! I think a baby cocoon would be absolutely adorable, but you may not have enough yarn. I also live this little hat: http://www.abramsbooks.com/stc_craft_news/vintage_baby_knits/Vintage_Baby.pdf
    (link to PDF file). Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. KittenWithAWhiplash permalink
    17 February 2012 1:12 pm

    Congratulations! It’s so good to hear from you again, and with such splendid news. I’ve been dying to comment but wanted to wait until after the deadline so as to not be in the drawing.

  25. 21 February 2012 2:08 pm

    Great post! The building tour had me laughing out loud.

    I’m so happy for you and the shhhhhh . . . I’m going to say it: future knitter.

  26. tina price permalink
    11 March 2012 6:23 pm

    Just delighted with your news and sure you will both be wonderful and amazing parents. Do not speak to soon about the NHS, it has the capacity to do it’s worst when you least expect it! Sadly, I cannot thinnk of the name of one maternity wear shop either! All the best. Tina

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