Two new projects for this weekend: knitting and home improvement.

First, physician knitting.
Having several baby projects under my belt (I really wish I had taken a picture of the Debbie Bliss cabled baby cardigan that was gifted before it was sent out!) I wanted to make something for MY upcoming baby, #2, also known as Squirmy (or Feisty, or Oof! What are you doing in there, rearanging furniture?!). We did not know Peanut’s gender before she was born, so we have a collection of cute unisex newborn clothes. A month or so prior to her due date, however, I realized that most of the clothes were gown style, which wouldn’t work well with the safety belts in the carseat. Sure, we could have hitched them up around her hips, but she was born in January and I didn’t want her to get cold legs. Okay, actually I just wanted to buy the upcoming baby something from ME. Peanut came home from the birth center in a pale green velour outfit adorned with koalas.

I’ve been wanting to make something special for #2, espcially since my knitting skills are sharper now than they were 2 yrs ago. My mother has claimed the project of baptism gown, and I know it’s going to be beautiful (she’s planning on hand smocking it – we’re a sucker for smocking). This frees up my knitting time to make a “coming home” outfit. Maybe it’s sappy, but I like the idea that the first clothes Squirmy wears will be hand made.

I hit the pattern books, the yarn shops, the online patterns, looking everywhere for and outfit that had pants, would be easy to dress baby in, didn’t make finding a separate under-shirt necessary, didn’t involve pulling anything tight over baby’s head (preferably a kimono styled top), would look good in gender-neutral colors, and could be knit from something super extra mega soft (I was thinking cotton). I came up empty handed. It turns out most baby patterns are for sweaters/cardigans that go over other clothes. Dale of Norway had many cute patterns, but most of the pants were overall style. The more I searched, the more the perfect outfit materialized in my head. Eventually I gave up looking for patterns and decided to make my own.

I dug out Peanut’s newborn outfits that were similarly styled and measured them. Combining that with standard 0-3month measurements from a knitting book, and based loosely on a pattern for a Vogue romper I had made last spring, I’ve come up with a drawing that I sketched out on graph paper. The yard is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, which I swatched with to use the gauge to figure the pattern. Last night I cast on for the left front leg. I’m nervously excited. I hope it comes out the way I’m picturing it in my head. I hope it fits the baby! On the one hand, baby clothes are fairly simply constructed. No matter what, they all have tons of ease, which makes them more forgiving. On the other hand, it’s not like I can measure the targeted recipient, or try the work-in-progress on him/her!

I’ll be posting pictures as the work progresses. Cross your fingers for me, and please feel free to give me designing tips if you’ve got them!

Project #2: Home improvement
This weekend we’re picking up materials to refurbish our front porch. We’re only replacing the top porch surface, steps, and railing, so in theory this shouldn’t be too involved. However, Murphy’s law is in full effect for all home improvement projects. They always take longer and cost more than you expect, and something will go wrong somewhere in the middle that will make you stop and tear at your hair and ask yourself what the hell you were thinking to try to take this on in the first place. This weekend’s worth of work should boost the house’s curb appeal hugely, though. The painted porch and steps are splitting, with peeling paint. The railing is rusted out metal. Conventional wisdom says that your main entrance says a lot to visitors about the rest of the house. Hopefully in a week or so ours won’t say “work in progress” quite so loudly.

Things we’ve done to the house since moving in 5 yrs ago:
Completely redid the overgrown landscaping
Recarpeted the entire house
Painted: Every interior room except the bathroom, including the basement
Also painted: Entire exterior
Replaced the roof
Replaced the furnace
Installed central air conditioning
Wallpapered the dining room
Repainted the living room. Again. Three times. (I had trouble picking a satisfying shade of beige)
All new window screens
Built a shed
Installed new light fixtures and electrical outlets

Still on our neverending To-Do list:
Insultate the attic crawl space (insulation has been sitting waiting for installation for a year now)
Build patio in back of house (almost did that this summer, opted for less expensive porch refurb instead)
Continue landscaping refurb
Glass block windows for basement
And our big dream project that may or may not get completed before we ever move away – convert the useless 9′ wide integral garage into a bigger kitchen (ours is 7′x9′ with three doorwawys running through it)

Off to Home Depot!

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