Tuesday, November 2

we voted!


did you?

Thursday, October 7

return of knitting mojo

I have been knitting seriously since about 2002, when I finished grad school and my mother mailed me her extra knitting needles. I was living near Downtown Yarns and I passed the store window at least once a week on my way here and there. I needed a hat, so I made one. And then I made another. And I started making them for all of my friends and relatives. And then I discovered patterns, and knitting books. And Knitty.com. And then there were knitting blogs and more patterns, and there just seemed to be inspiration everywhere. And then there was Ravelry and I just went crazy knitting and knitting and knitting.

And then I got pregnant. Which was a great thing. It was something we really wanted, and I had anticipated making tons of baby things, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I was tired, grumpy, anxious. I made a blanket and some hats, but the whole thing was really half-hearted. I really had to force myself to make those things.

The lack of creative interest continued to some extent after Eamon was born. I sort of figured I had grown out of knitting, that the baby was taking my energy and that I had just entered a new chapter of my life, but BEHOLD! That is not true! It is back! Suddenly I can't stop making things, or think about making things. I'm having fun again with my hands.

I had a meeting recently with a theater director, a woman I met about a year ago who has a baby 5 months older than Eamon. She and I are working on a project together, and I mentioned my lack of creative mojo. Or rather, I mentioned that I was feeling much more motivated to create than I had in a long time. And she said that she had a theory that this was related to hormones, and to babies starting solids and therefore nursing less. And since my body is less about providing for the baby, it is allowing me to start thinking about things that are non-baby. If that makes any sense.

All of this brings me to a few things I knitted in August, as the mojo was returning.

First of all: the Norweigan Sweet Baby Cap by Gro.

2010 Knitting 3
A very popular pattern on Ravelry and something I have been wanting to make for a very long time. I finally started it when we were in Maine in late July. I am determined to use just stash yarn (still) and so I used some Knit Picks Palette that I've had lying around. The lavender is Koigu.
2010 Knitting 4
This was a great pattern. Unfortunately I made it too small and it doesn't fit Eamon. I can't remember what I did, but I will try to make it again in a larger gauge yarn.

Second: Stay on Baby Booties by Knitgirl's Mother.
2010 Knitting 2
Another great pattern, easy and quick. I used some more of the Palette since I thought it would be nice if these matched. Again, they were too small for Eamon. He thought it was great fun to try them on though, and after I took them off he put one of them back near his foot. I think he was trying to put it back on, but he doesn't know how.

I ended up giving both of these to a friend at her baby shower. I'm sure she can use them this winter, and hopefully she doesn't have issues with wool and babies.

In any case, I hope to have more to share with you all again soon. The main issue is getting onto the computer and finding the mental space to blog, hopefully more than once a month. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 8

knitting for future falls

September is here, and hopefully soon the weather will begin to cool. The northeast US had a very warm summer, the hottest on record, and it was not so fun to be stuck inside with a baby. We took him for walks here and there, but for the most part we kept him indoors.

For the longest time I thought I'd knit up a ton of baby things once I got pregnant, but in reality I didn't have much energy or wish to knit. There were so many other things to wrap my head around. I made him a blanket, some hats, a pair of mittens, and a sweater. (Yes, now I feel like I have a lot to catch up with! What will he wear this winter??)

eamon sweater

I knit this sweater last summer, thinking of cool summer nights (ha!) and the fall, when the baby would need something light to keep the chill off.
eamon sweater (1)

I finished knitting it in late December and I remember being in awe that the tiny baby inside me would fit into such a huge sweater someday.

Well, it fits now. He's big, a lot bigger than he was, but he's still a baby.

eamon sweater (2)
I took these pictures about a month ago, when we were in Maine, and it was cool enough for a sweater. Now the temperatures are up again, but I think it will be worn at least a few more times this fall. Let's hope it cools off again soon.

Pattern: Sheep Yoke Cardigan, designed by Jennifer Little (Ravel it!)
Yarn: An assortment of cotton Knit Picks yarn from my stash
Started: July 28, 2009
Finished: December 28, 2009

Friday, August 13


My, how time flies!!

Eamon is 6 months old today. SIX MONTHS. He has now been here with us for half a year. It seems both an eternity and a flash. It's hard to imagine a life without him.

Food: we eat it every day. But Eamon had only ever had milk (and aside from two occasions, he'd only ever had breast milk). A baby's digestive system can only handle so much at the beginning (plus there are all those theories about avoiding food allergies).

I have been thinking hard about starting him on solids for a while now, but since we were on vacation until yesterday I put all food plans on hold. Today being our first full day back (as well as Eamon's 6 month birthday) we decided to seize the day and give him a special birthday treat. (that would be food)

After consulting many sources and deciding that there are many right ways to do this, I decided to start Eamon with a little rice cereal. It's simple, and you mix it with breast milk (or formula) so it tastes familiar. Rice cereal seemed safe. Besides, it's all about teaching them how to eat at this point.
Eamon eats
In case you can't tell, Eamon likes rice cereal.

Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to understand why he has to eat from a spoon when nursing is more efficient. (we had to take a break from feeding him so he could nurse.) Also, he doesn't like the high chair.

Hopefully he'll get used to all of that...

Edited Saturday, August 14 to fix the photo link.

Friday, July 16

5 months

I've now been a mother for a little over five months.

5 months
It went so quickly. They aren't lying when they say that children grow up so fast. At Eamon's 4 month appointment in June, he had doubled his birth weight and grown 6 inches. Imagine growing 6 inches in 4 months! That's just insane!

Every week, every day is different. Suddenly he'll add a new habit (like nosediving into my chest when he's hungry) and he acts like he has been doing it forever. This week Eamon is working very hard to learn to sit up, and he seems to be in the midst of cutting his first tooth. He is also obsessed with standing up, with support, of course.

Unfortunately, my attention span has been a casualty of parenthood (though hopefully a temporary one). This means that I am no longer able to mull over what sort of blog post I want to write in advance. (I do mull, I just forget my idea within about 30 seconds of thinking of it.) Also, about 90% of what I think about is related to Eamon, and I feel like I don't want this blog to turn into a "look how cute my baby is" blog. (Though I do think some readers might not mind that. Hi mom.)

So... I guess I'll just keep going. This blog has never been about much in particular anyway. And maybe I'll just try blogging a little more often, it just might have a little less substance.

Thursday, June 17

flower child

The knitting has slowed around here, but it hasn't quite stopped.After Eamon was born, I managed to cast on and knit this little hat, made entirely of scrap or stash yarn. I ran out of the dark orange yarn, and luckily had some pale orange yarn that I could use for the inside brim instead.The pattern is a formula, and you plug in a circumference and make the hat accordingly. I was a little afraid that Eamon's head would grow more quickly than I would knit, but it fits him perfectly. I'm very pleased, even if Eamon does look like a flower when he wears it. Pattern: Sunshine and Lollipops, by Alison Reeve
Yarn: Berocco Pure Pima (pale orange and blue) and Classic Elite Yarns Provence (dark orange)

Wednesday, May 19

a case for cloth

This post is part of the Real Diaper Facts carnival hosted by Real Diaper Events, the official blog of the Real Diaper Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to cloth diaper education. Participants were asked to write about diaper lies and real diaper facts. See the list at the bottom of this post to read the rest of the carnival entries.

A little known fact, something I feel somewhat sheepish about, is that we are using cloth diapers with Eamon.

It's funny that I am so hesitant to tell people when it's something I believe in strongly and have hoped to do since I was in high school. I guess I think that people will think that I'm weird or crunchy or that cloth diapers are unsanitary or something. When I do mention cloth, I see a wave of something (judgment? shock? sympathy?) wash over the face of whoever I am talking to, and so I've more or less kept mum.

The thing is, my silence doesn't really help change people's stereotypes about cloth diapers.

I recently heard about a backlash against the cloth diaper industry, and the Real Diaper Association has asked cloth diapering mamas (and papas, I suppose) to write about various lies and truths concerning cloth. Therefore I am dedicating a blog post to the cause.

Look, this is me wearing a cloth diaper back in 1975.
That's how far back my dedication to cloth goes!

Lie: Cloth diapers leak.
Truth: We had more leaks when Eamon was wearing disposables.
The cloth diapers we are using are incredibly absorbent. Some of them have microfiber inserts, while other inserts are made of hemp (!) or bamboo, which are also incredibly absorbent. The only leaks we've had when using cloth diapers were at night, and it turned out the diapers (which are adjustable sized) were on the wrong setting. Once I changed the size to medium, the leaks went away.
Oh, and no poo-splosions so far. Eamon poops about once every 3 days now, and there is quite a lot of it on that third day. None of it has leaked.

Lie: Cloth diapers make the room smell.
Truth: Not so far, in my experience. We wash them every 3-4 days and the room smells as good (or bad) as any other room in our apartment.

Lie: Cloth diapers are a hassle.
Truth: I guess it depends on your tolerance.
The diapers we are using are called pockets, meaning that they include the waterproof layer with a pocket where you insert whatever you want that is absorbent. Once it is stuffed, you put it on the same way you would a disposable diaper. When you take it off, you pull the insert out of a pocket in the back and put them all in the laundry bag together. And when you do laundry you just dump the contents of the bag into the washer and wash it twice. Easy peasy. (This may be slightly more complicated when Eamon starts eating solid foods and his poop becomes more poopy.)
The main hassle is that you have to wash them at all, but we are able to do laundry about twice a week.

Lie: I've seen those new cloth diapers, and they are expensive.
Truth: They do look expensive. Each diaper is about $17, and you need about 2 dozen of them. But if you look at the costs of disposables, it's nothing. Our diapers were a gift, but they cost about $400 to buy. The laundry is $6/week. If Eamon wears diapers for 2 years, that's $312/year x 2 years + $400 (cost of diapers) = $1024.
If you were to use the same number of disposables per week (60) and each one cost 25 cents each, you would spend $800 per year or $1600 for 2 years.
We will also be able to use the diapers for another child (if we have one) and have a pretty decent resale value.
Eamon models one of his newfangled diapers.

Lie: Babies who wear cloth cry more.
Eamon doesn't cry more or less when he's in a cloth or disposable diaper.
The diapers he wears have a layer of microfleece between him and the microfiber, and it helps him feel dry. Some diapers certainly don't have the fleece (when I was a baby I didn't have fleece in my diapers!) and I think babies just get used to it. Plus, you should change them when they are wet anyway!

Lie: Babies in cloth get more diaper rash.
Truth: Eamon's only bout of diaper rash was when he was in disposables, but apparently cloth and disposable diapered babies experience about the same amount of diaper rash. According to the Real Diaper Association, diaper rash was unheard of before rubber or plastic pants were introduced in the 1940s. So blame the rash on the lack of air circulation.

Lie: Cloth diapers are bulky.
Truth: While they are a bit bulkier than disposable diapers, Eamon still fits into the same clothes. Really, it's not that big a difference.

So there you have it. I'm sure there are other misconceptions about cloth. Feel free to ask questions, and maybe I can write another post dedicated to cloth diapers.

(I'm having trouble with the code I'm supposed to paste in here. While it's pasted in, nothing appears. boo.)

Edited to add: the code is there, in html, but it won't show up and blogger keeps adding extra code to the code. :(

Saturday, April 24


Rachel is one of my oldest and closest friends, and she has been extremely generous to me through the years. In January, she hosted my baby shower, and to thank her I suggested that I make her a beret. She chose the Snapdragon pattern by Ysolda Teague, and some yummy orange alpaca that I found at La Casita, a newish yarn shop in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn.I started the beret in early February, and raced to finish it before the baby came. I lost that race, but amazingly was able to finish it when Eamon was a few weeks old. (I was so sleep deprived that I actually don't remember finishing it, but I don't think there were any glaring errors...)It then took me nearly two months to block it.Oh well, the weather is warmer and poor Rachel will have to wait till next fall to wear it! In the meantime she will have to settle for posing for pictures with Eamon...

Tuesday, March 23

sometimes it's hard to blog

and it's not for lack of time.

It's more for lack of ability to get to the computer, or to type with more than one hand, or to remove small bodies from my lap.Motherhood is going well! Eamon is a friendly little man, super sweet and mellow. He seems to change daily. It's really fun to see him unfold and grow.

I have a few knitting projects to share, and I promise I won't wait another whole month until I do...

Thursday, February 25

the nursery

When my parents brought us all home from the hospital last week, my father took a panorama of the nursery, with our new little family. We can't remember how to post panoramas on the blog, so you'll have to click here.

(We're a little distorted; you'll have to squint and be understanding.)

Thursday, February 18


My birthday was on Tuesday.

There are certain things I've always thought would be fun to do on my birthday, given its time of year. Like, go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Or have a snow day (this was something I really longed for as a child).

This year my birthday was on Mardi Gras, and it snowed. But I didn't care. Nothing really mattered, actually, because I got an early birthday present:

Please meet Eamon Fletcher Wall. Born February 13 at 1:51pm.
7lbs 11 oz and 22 inches long.

Christopher has promised to write up the birth story, which I hope to share when it's ready. In the meantime we are at home, getting to know little Eamon, resting and recovering.

Wednesday, February 10

imagining Smudge

My due date is rapidly approaching, and I have a feeling that it will come and go without Smudge's arrival. He can come any time in February, and today is only the 10th, so I should learn to be patient.

While we wait - and fine tune the nursery - I find myself insanely curious about what he looks like. I think the one guarantee is that he will have fair skin, since Christopher and I both have an abundance of British genes. But Christopher was a tow head (as was my father), while I had brown hair and my mother was born with jet black hair. And Christopher's beard is red and I have three red-headed cousins. Of course, he could look like anyone - his parents or grandparents, various relatives. There's just no way to predict that.
This is newborn Christopher with his hunky grandfather.
Check out those enormous baby feet!

Recently we realized that we are each imagining Smudge as being a tiny version of ourselves. Christopher was talking about his blond son; I know that he will have dark hair.
Here I am at about 3 days old.

I mentioned this to my midwife, who laughed and said that she can tell me what the baby will look like: an old man. Which is true. Looking at these images of ourselves as newborns, it's clear our appearance changed quite a lot pretty quickly. I wouldn't match either of these babies with photos of us just a few months later.

But still, it would be nice to meet (and see) Smudge!

Saturday, January 30

counting down...

Today at my prenatal yoga class I was the most pregnant person there. I think I was at least a month farther along than anyone else, it was that crazy. It made me feel, well, very pregnant.
If you are wondering what my shirt says, it says "No Longer Empty."
It was a gift from my cousin.

We have a long list of things to do before Smudge comes, though none of those things are that urgent. We have a car seat. And a place for him to sleep. And diapers. That's all set. We do need to cook some food that we can eat later, and we should finish packing the bag for the hospital. But that's really icing on the cake.

One thing on my list has been to finish knitting projects that have been languishing. If you look at my Ravelry project page, you'll see a few things that are 95% done. They're lacking buttons or just need to be cast off. Funny how I can spend 100+ hours knitting a shawl and then not have the patience to cast it off. (Even worse is that it's 2/3 cast off; I just need to do the last 300 or so stitches.)

I did finish one of those projects recently, though: my Vinterblomster Mittens. You may remember that I started these - and knit a mitten and a half - in November and December 2008. I then ran out of yarn, was graciously donated more from Hilary, and finished everything but a thumb in January 2009. And then they sat in my knitting basket, longing for a thumb. The problem was that the afterthought thumb in the pattern was placed too low for my hand. I corrected this in the second mitten, but had already finished the first mitten. It required surgery.A few weeks ago I pulled it out and cut a spot for my new thumb, attached my yarn and knit. And I finished the thumb within a few days, all on my commute on the subway.I love them! The inside is super soft, lined with Koigu floats. They're pretty warm too, though not warm enough for the 19 degree temperatures we've had this weekend. Maybe I can wear them next week.

Sunday, January 24


The nursery is slowly coming together. You could say that one side of the room is done. The other 3/4 of the room... well, maybe next weekend.Christopher's friend Derek came over yesterday and did various handy tasks for us, like install some lights over the changing pad and hang our baby hammock. We've gotten a lot of flak from our families about the hammock, but we remain confident that it will work for us and for Smudge. It's got a really great swaying and bouncing thing going on, and we hear that babies sleep really well in them.

I have so many things to share, but I seem to be rather passive with my camera recently, so until it's photographed in some decent daylight, the blogging will have to wait. In other news, as of today I am 37 weeks pregnant, which means that the baby is ready. He isn't due for 3 more weeks, but really he could come at any time. wow.

Monday, January 4

warm baby knits

Have I mentioned that my midwife is a knitter too?

"Of course she's a knitter!" Christopher told me, " she's a midwife!" This is the same logic that has me convinced that everyone who is pregnant is also a knitter. Which makes no sense.

Anyway, at one of my appointments a few weeks ago, my midwife asked me what I had knit for Smudge. (She doesn't know that he's called Smudge though. She called him "the baby.") The woman ahead of me had just left with her newborn, and the baby had been bundled in hand knits made and sent from its Irish grandmother.

I felt sad that I hadn't made anything very warm for Smudge. Part of me thinks it's silly to make something for a newborn, when he's bound to outgrow it pretty quickly. But there's also something about a hand knit that connotes love and thought for the child, and I would like Smudge to have the warmth that my wool can give him.

Right about the same time, Mary Jane asked me to test knit her Cabled Chullo, suggesting that I make it in a lighter yarn so Smudge could wear it. I agreed happily, and pulled out some Sublime Angora Merino from my stash and started knitting. Perfect!
(hopefully Smudge will look good in mouse brown)

And when that was done, I had some left over yarn, and made a pair of newborn mitts for him too. The mitts aren't quite the same size, but they will keep him warm. When Christopher saw these, he asked me why I thought his son would be lacking opposable thumbs.

I used a pattern by Louisa Harding, from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms, and I added little cables to each so they'd match the hat. I may still add some sort of string or i-cord to connect them, but I'm not sure yet. Smudge may be warm yet!

Counting down the weeks! Less than 6 weeks until my due date! Yikes!!

Saturday, January 2

the end of a decade

I kind of hate end-of-year summations. In fact, when the New York Times ran their "decade in pictures" feature at the end of December, I skipped it. I just don't like the sentimentality of it. I don't like how those things make me feel, or how they are supposed to make me feel.

Seeing them, and hearing people reflecting on the decade on the radio, did make me think back to my own life in the past decade, however.

In the fall of 1999, I was just finishing my first semester of graduate school. It was a new beginning for me. And now, here at the beginning of 2010, I am expecting my first child, another new beginning.

Some things have stayed the same in the past 10 years: I am still in New York. I still work in theater. I don't feel that much older, and I still take myself and my work as seriously as I did as a grad student.But some things are different: I have a home as opposed to a perch. I sleep on a mattress with a bed frame and not a loft bed a few feet from the ceiling. I am married. I have a cat (though Dinah has been with me since the spring of 2000, so she only just missed sharing the beginning of the decade with me). I lost some innocence by living through 9/11 and its aftermath, and I lost more when Christopher was attacked last year.

I am curious what the next decade will bring. Of course, the first milestone is very clearly in front of me: motherhood. I know that having a child will change my life irrevocably, but I also hope that I won't be giving up the other things that are important to me, namely my relationship to Christopher and my interest/need to create and work.

I hope you all have a wonderful new decade, and of course a happy new year!