Tuesday, April 15, 2008

26 weeks

Some of you have asked about tummy growth updates. Well, this is me, right now, at 26 weeks. And trying to stay positive about having to move soon. We just found out our landlady wants her house back. This is one of the perils of renting of course, but why did it have to be now? We have a month or so to sort something out.

UPDATE: Our landlady has given us a 6 month reprieve so we don't have to move now till November. Phew! I had been considering showing up at her door and guilt tripping her with the bump but now I don't have to.

For Na (shadowsandclouds)

Thinking of you. With love.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

my first baby hat!

Here is my first ever knitted baby hat! It's for the Save the Children hats for newborns campaign that I mentioned a few posts ago. Yes, it really is dinky - the circumference measures 10 inches. This is because the babies they support tend to be small.

I really enjoyed knitting this. I followed their pattern and it was the most complicated thing I have knitted so far. Considering my lack of experience, I am very pleased that I figured out how to do it all by myself! It even looks like it should! Yay!!

The wool was a skein of handspun Debbie Bliss "Maya" that I bought about 5 years ago when I first thought I'd learn to knit, but never used. Sometimes I'm glad I never throw things away!!

Have you knitted a hat for a baby yet? Tell me about it!!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

All the squares!!

So I finally finished knitting all 56 squares for my baby blanket. Now I just need to sew them together!!

Here are all the squares laid out in the design I want to use. I had to change the layout slightly from the earlier design, as I ran out of wool for certain colours and had to make more squares in other colours to compensate.

This sewing together looks complicated! Every other square needs to be rotated 90 degrees and I still need to work out which is the "right" side of each square and which is the "wrong" side! They look the same to me! Wish me luck.

Painting the cat

So here are the next stages of gessoing and then painting the papier mache cat... I decided to make him as a tribute to our beloved Caesar who passed away in January. That's why he's blue and has stars on him.

He just needs some finishing touches until he's completed, though I'm still not sure what colour to paint the stars.

For those of you who asked, I only used newspaper (folded into a tube, balled up, or twisted or manipulated into various shapes as needed) and masking tape to make the cat's body, tail, paws and head. Card was used for the ears. No wire or other support was necessary, but you can be quite creative about what to use as support - including the cardboard rolls from finished rolls of toilet paper, old plastic yoghurt pots, pipecleaners, chicken wire, you name it. It doesn't have to be fancy and it all depends on what shapes you are trying to create.

You just have to make sure everything is tightly packed and secured before you start laying down the strips of newspaper with the paste, and ensure you paste 3 - 5 layers of newspaper over the entire cat. Then, leave to dry completely before painting. Don't worry if it seems messy while you're pasting. Once it's dried, it looks much better.

I did reshape the cat after one round of pasting and drying, by cutting away bits I didn't like with a craft knife, adding new bits, and then repasting and drying again before painting. Use acrylic gesso as a primer, then acrylic paints for the colour, and if you want to varnish it, you can use an acrylic gel medium instead of other types of varnish.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Crafty weekend

Hello all, here are a few pics from my recent crafty weekend making a papier mache cat. Finally! I've been wanting to do this for years. I have my friend S.S. to thank for the inspiration and starting it off with me. Sheila McGraw's book Papier Mache Today was also a great help.

The cat's not finished yet, he still needs gessoing and painting which I will hopefully make a start on today.

I had planned on taking pictures from the beginning and through the different stages, but it was too messy! I made the paste out of flour and water and used my hands to apply it. I haven't gotten that messy in years, what fun!! It was a lot easier than I thought it would be too.

P.S. Only 5 squares to go on my baby blanket!!

Knit a hat for a Tibetan baby

Save the Children are running a campaign that calls on knitters to help save newborn babies' lives.

Click on the link below for details and to download their knit kit.


Get knitting everyone!!

PS - If you are knitting hats to send to Tibet, please don't use white wool as white is associated with death in Tibetan culture. I think this is the same in some other cultures too - Chinese, possibly Indian and also Japanese. So maybe it's just best to avoid white altogether!