I am now deeply suspicious of anyone who claims their creative career is the result of “just something I started when I became a stay at home mum”. Madam, not only are your pants on fire, but there appears to be an au pair with a freshly bathed child sleeping under each arm trying to silently indicate that dinner is on the table. These women either have an army of domestic staff or they keep their children in cages like battery chickens!
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but I guess by this point I thought I’d be past the sleep-when-baby-sleeps thing and on to that magical time of getting-things-done-while-she-naps stage. Claudia had her first birthday last month but didn’t seem to get the memo about weaning off milk, so still wants to be breastfed 3 or 4 times a day (in addition to consuming a startling amount of solid food), which is exhausting, and naptimes are very unpredictable.
That said, I have somehow managed to keep going with my crochet and knitting, even sneaking in the odd bit of sewing too, I just haven’t had much chance to blog about it all!
A quick glance back at my last few posts indicates that I never got around to writing about the first dress I made for Claudia (moderately successful – although too long and with the pattern upside down on the back).
It was a… learning experience, and the first time I’ve attempted buttonholes in a very long time. My favourite thing about it is the print, and I may not use that particular pattern again.
The toys I made for Claudia’s birthday were a lot more successful though! Her firm favourite is Molly the dolly, whose original dress was harder to make than the one I made for Claudia herself! I’d had the pattern to make her for ages. It came free with a magazine, and I was very taken with all the different outfits and accessories you could make.
I decided to use corduroy for her hair instead of felt because I figured it would look and wear better, but I stupidly followed the instructions for velcro fastenings for the dress. As you probably guessed, Molly spent a lot of time naked to begin with! I realised I could either sew her dress on permanently and watch Claudia try to keep tearing it off, or I could make a more suitable replacement. A naked dolly was not an option. She made me feel cold.
A few evenings knitting with some Stylecraft Special DK from my stash to match the colour scheme of the original dress, and voila: cosy Molly! She now travels with us more or less everywhere. I’ve yet to wash her, so fingers crossed she survives the washing machine!
Molly isn’t the only one with a new knit. I finally finished the cardigan I started for Claudia when we were on holiday on the Isle of Wight. The pattern is Rachel Atkinson’s Pop! baby cardigan knitted in Rico Baby So Soft. The sleeves were going to come up very short so I went by Claudia’s arm measurement rather than those given and it turned out beautifully.
Claudia loves ducks, probably because I encourage it and because she loves to splash about in the bath with her toy ducks. We went for a walk around a duck pond at our local park on her due date to try and encourage things along (didn’t work) and when I was on the ward waiting to be induced there was a duck pond outside. When the epidural kicked in (after a very long night!), I could hear, yup, ducks quacking! So there definitely had to be a bit of a duck theme for her birthday.
As usual, none of the crochet patterns I could find really fitted what I had in mind, so I wrote my own. The result was Kenny Everduck, so named because of his long legs, which are in the best pah-ssible taste! (I’m guessing only people over 30 and from the UK will get that reference so here’s a link to the relevant Kenny Everett sketch.) I couldn’t resist taking him for a little photo shoot at the park – despite the odd looks I got!
I’m thinking about putting the pattern for Kenny for sale on Ravelry, as it’s the most complicated one I’ve written, but I’m unsure if anyone would actually want to buy it! I think I’ll give it some more thought…
I also made a duck shaped birthday cake. The duck shape was easy enough to work out, but fondant icing is the devil’s play dough! I’m going to need some more practice before her next birthday. I’m hoping to get a few baking things for my birthday this month, which would make it a lot easier!
Not much else is going to get easier around here though. Claudia has finally learned to crawl, pull herself up and navigate a lot of the living room by hanging on to the furniture.