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February 2009

30 weeks

30 weeks 1

30 weeks 3

30 weeks 4

chatting through pokes and kicks
singing Julie Andrews songs
practicing deep relaxation every day
enjoying walking and yoga, not running
thrilled that I'm still comfortable
wondering how to cut my toe nails
loving how the thought of him keeps all stress at bay
seeing the final stretch
feeling so positive about giving birth

It's time to take some time away from this space to let the book writing spring forth. I'll be turning off the internet and tuning in to the task at hand. If I owe you an email, I'll do my best to get back to you after my blogging vacation. Have a wonderful, peace-filled week, and I'll see you back here next weekend.

irish pixie hat

newborn irish pixie hat

You'll understand why I had to stop everything and knit this hat once you look at this photo. Isn't that baby just precious? But really, the name of the hat sold me on the idea. Since we'll have our own little Irish pixie in ten short weeks (wait until you hear his name!) I had to make it for him.

This is the first "dimensional" project (other than scarves and blankets) that I've knit up without a pattern. I would have bought the hat, but I couldn't justify the expense when I had just enough green and white wool in my stash. Out it came (it's DK-weight) along with the #6 double-pointed needles. I cast on 60 stitches and worked a stockinette stitch in the round, beginning my every-other-row decreases once the hat measured 4". Once I had 46 stitches on my needles, I decreased every row until I had only five stitches left. I made the i-cord about 8" long, tied it in a knot, and there you have it.

irish pixie hat on cat

Timoun is so ready for this baby to be born. He's remembering past traumas and hoping that having a human baby around will distract me from playing cat dress-up.

He'd better hope that I don't have time to knit the following projects on my list (because wouldn't Timoun look cute in all of them?):

this vest
the Harvey kimono
the placket-neck pullover
the baby yoda sweater
the baby surprise jacket
the liam sweater and baby pants

Thank you, Timoun, for your humble service to humanity. Soon you will be able to nap in peace ... that is, until the baby decides he wants to play cat dress-up!

sponsor offer :: little alouette

Welcome to our new sponsor, Little Alouette, an amazing husband and wife team that makes the most wonderful wooden teething toys!

From Amy:

"Over a decade ago a handsome British boy and an Ohio lass met and fell madly in love at first site in a sleepy university town. The boy was a classically trained master carpenter and the girl a writer with a bit of wanderlust. They worked together creatively through the years on many projects involving woodworking as they restored and remodeled homes together. The boy taught his love about trees on their land in the country and how to use power tools and the girl read poems to him while they worked. They started a journey of following their bliss and eventually brought two wee ones into the world and began creating wooden toys for them. They decided to share these wee wooden toys with the world and Little Alouette, LLC was born over hot steaming mugs of cocoa in the winter of 2007."

Amy has generously offered free shipping to Sew Liberated readers for today and tomorrow (Thursday) on any orders placed for the following teethers:

Ellie the Elephant Organic Maple Wood Teether

Just mention "Sew Liberated" in the note to the seller and your shipping costs will be refunded by Little Alouette. I'm heading off to get one for my little guy right now!

Life is a whirling dervish at the moment. You know how it goes - friends coming in for a long weekend, rehearsals and choir concerts, professional obligations for Patrick, book writing ... everything always happens at once. Which is why I'll have a cute knitting project to show you tomorrow. Because when things start spinning around quickly, you need those knitting needles to pin down your sanity. Stab. Haha! I got you! There will be no going insane this week!

Oh, geez ... or have I already lost it?

because i felt like it

I've been feeling like this for a long time now - eyeing felting projects like Suna's tutorial for making felted balls, wishing I could make play landscapes like this one, wanting this book, and coveting some felted bowls for the baby's room.

felting supplies

Well, I've gone and done it! Would you believe that I found all of this wool batting (or is it called roving? I don't even know the difference!) for well under $20? Luckily, a local Waldorf school runs an enchanting little shop nearby. I'm all set with my needles and piece of foam. Now I just need to finish this book manuscript before I allow myself to start up with a new crafting hobby!

Here's another jewel I picked up at the store: Living Crafts magazine. Am I the last person to find out about this incredible mag? Living in Mexico for three years barred me from any magazine subscriptions, so I don't know if I'm the last person to hop on this wagon or what. Apparently it's been out for a year. (I'm going to have to get my hands on the back issues!) Are you familiar with it? It's really super - it has all sorts of craft tutorials from felting to sewing to woodworking, and many of the projects are very Waldorf/Montessori in their feel.

I'll have to hide the felt somewhere until I'm done with the book. In the meantime, do you recommend any resources for learning how to make felted animals? I'm thinking about this book:
Wool Pets: Making 20 Figures with Wool Roving and a Barbed Needle.

sponsor give-away :: full circle baby

I'm really excited to introduce one of our wonderful sponsors, Full Circle Baby!

"Full Circle Baby was founded in 2004 by Lisa Holcombe, a home schooling mother of five girls, to educate parents and spread the cloth diapering and baby wearing love. We are located in New Braunfels, Texas but our web store serves customers world wide providing natural basics for both mom and baby. My parenting philosophy is simple – keep it simple - and thus we only carry the basic essentials at Full Circle Baby which are only items we have used ourselves and love. Our web store can be found at and I’m always available via phone or email to answer parents' questions about our products."


Lisa has generously offered to give away a free, basic Moby Wrap to a lucky Sew Liberated reader! Just leave a comment and make sure to mention your favorite Moby color - comments will close at 6 p.m. EST on Sunday, after which I'll use the random number generator to pick a winner. Even if you don't have a baby of your own to carry around, put your name down anyway - the Moby would make such a wonderful gift for friends or family members who are just beginning their journey as parents!

"The Moby Wrap is a unique baby carrier made from a single stretch of 100% Cotton interlock fabric. It uses your entire back and both shoulders to carry the weight of baby so it is very comfortable. There are no buckles, snaps or fasteners and it is easy to adjust by varying just how tight you wrap. Sounds difficult? Not really...once you learn how to tie it, it is as basic as putting on a shirt. The Moby Wrap is versatile as well as comfortable. Wear your baby in a variety of positions - facing out, facing in, sideways or on your back. No more aching backs and tired arms! There are so many benefits to holding baby close. It soothes fussiness and most babies will quiet and settle down once wrapped. When not being used as a carrier, it makes a nice blanket or pillow! The fabric can hold a child up to 45lbs. but most will feel comfortable up to 35lbs. Machine washable on cold and tumbled dry. One size fits all. Comes with a colorful instruction booklet and we suggest practicing in front of a mirror at first."

Spread the babywearing love and good luck!


Congratulations to Coralee (comment #56) - a new mama - who will be receiving a new Moby! Thanks to Lisa of Full Circle Baby for her generosity in donating the Moby wrap.

i'm in love with the mailman

gift from JCHandmade - beautifully simple wrapping

Wait - no, I'm in love with what he leaves at the front door. Ahem. I'm sure our baby will look like Patrick in some way. :)

The talented Jennifer from jchandmade sent me the most lovely, thoughtful, and generous gift. Such beautiful, eco-friendly wrapping, and such incredible contents.

gift from JCHandmade - organic sleep sack for baby
An organic cotton, hand-knit sleep sack for the baby

Perfect for summer sleeping in the South! I just love the ribbed cable detail at the top. Thank you so much, Jennifer! I'm sure this will become a family heirloom. What a lucky little one, to be surrounded by hand-knit goodness, even if his Mama doesn't have time to finish that long list of newborn knits before he arrives. I'm told that once he makes his appearance I'll have plentiful knitting time. Hey, if Amanda can knit so many projects with three children and a newborn, I can certainly find some quality needle time, right?

gift from JCHandmade - Mama wrist cuff

Jennifer also slipped in a treat for me. I'm really loving this asymmetrical wrist cuff! It's my first official "Mama" wear. Well, other than the maternity jeans! You can make your own using Jennifer's free PDF pattern.

Stay tuned this weekend for a really generous give-away from one of our sponsors: Full Circle Baby!

dangerous things

Thanks to a link from Lena, a fellow Montessorian, I was whisked back into the wonderful world of TED for some interesting talks on human creativity. This one by Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, is no exception.

I'm curious to hear your reactions to the video. In a world of sippy cups versus real glass, for example, we Montessorians come down firmly on the side of real glass. (For more information on this, you can read about the characteristics of practical life activities here). My students learned to make tortillas on a real stove, light a candle from a match, and prepared snacks using a real knives, among other "dangerous" activities.

Of course, there's a clear distinction between allowing the child to do whatever he or she wants and the Montessori model of "freedom within limits". In the classroom (and in the Montessori home) the limits are defined by the individual child's true needs as well as the needs of his/her community. Is the child developmentally ready to "x"?  Is anyone else's freedom and right to safety taken away by the actions of one particular child? If so, that is not an appropriate activity. Of course, an important factor in introducing the child to any potentially dangerous activity is to do so with care, respect for the potential consequences, and loving supervision.

Me? I'd totally send my children to the Tinkering School once they are 7. Bring on the power tools!

So - in your opinion, is our society's obsession with child safety valid, detrimental, or a mix of both? (I'll just insert here that I find it ironic that, while super-concerned with physical saftey, mental safety isn't even considered! After all, if the safety of the whole child was important, wouldn't they be required to broadcast a warning message on television before any overt or hidden marketing to children? Just imagine: WARNING! The content of this advertisement is detrimental to and disrespectful of the developing mind of the child. Repeated exposure can cause brainwashing and lead the child to believe that happiness is owning this toy/looking this way/eating this carcinogenic junk food. Do not let your child watch this programming!)

I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this! Do you have experience with introducing your own children to "dangerous" activities? What activities do you feel are appropriate and/or inappropriate for children of a given age/maturity level?

in which i jump up and down and clap my hands

russian nesting dolls 1

You can't see me, but that's what I'm doing. In my head, at least. Look at what arrived on my doorstep this morning!

russian nesting dolls 2

Vintage, hand-painted Russian nesting dolls from Blue Bell Bazaar. The set of five contains two men and three women. I just can't get over the details - the little boy in the middle with his yellow tea cup, the wistful girl with purple sleeves who is thoughtfully touching her cheek, the green coat of the red-headed maiden, the twirled mustache of the gentleman ...
russian nesting dolls 3
These are for the baby's room. At first, they will be displayed on a wall shelf out of reach. Once he passes the "exploring the world with the mouth" stage, they will be offered as an opening and closing exercise on the Montessori practical life shelf. We had a set of Russian nesting dolls in my classroom in Mexico, and it was a hit.

This set, however, seems extra special. It's signed by the artist. Each doll is different, and I've never seen a set that features men. Perfect for a little boy. 

Excuse me ... I have to go stare at the dolls again.

birds on a branch in the baby's room

bird branch for baby's room 1

I'm so pleased with how this turned out! The pictures don't do it justice (and the walls of the room aren't gray - they're a very, very subtle sage green. So subtle that anyone with normal vision would call the color cream). 

bird branch for baby's room 2

I used the free bird softie pattern from Spool, scrap fabric, and a branch from our backyard. The birds are kept in place by that demi-god of the crafting world, hot glue. The branch is hung from the molding with near-invisible fishing wire.

bird branch for baby's room 3

The Spool pattern shows the birds made into a mobile, but this branch worked better for us. I wanted it to be a more permanent artistic feature of the room. I have this thing about mobiles - many people consider them permanent fixtures in the baby's room, but I see them as being changed with some frequency according to the baby's development. I have a whole set of developmental mobiles that I'll be making for the little guy. They're patterns I got from a friend of a friend of a friend's Montessori Assistants to Infancy album. I'll share them here as I get around to making them.

bird branch for baby's room 4

I'll leave you with our current favorite song - one that I sing to the little person in my belly every day: The Littlest Birds by the Be Good Tanyas.

a quick trip to Mexico

La Superior - Latin American market in Durham

Last weekend, I finally found my way to La Superior, the Latin American market in Durham. Let me tell you, I never thought an entire row of sickeningly fragrant detergent in bags could elicit such a warm and fuzzy feeling inside!

People spoke to me in Spanish. The Bimbo guys (Bimbo is the Mexican bread/pastry/junk food company) were making a delivery in the same dark blue jumpsuits that they wear on the other side of the border. I found hibiscus flowers, tomatillos, Lechera, and Maria's crackers. They wrap their fresh corn tortillas in the same gray butcher paper. Sigh.

La Superior - Latin American market in Durham

Here's the bars of detergent/soap that I used with a washing board to do my laundry.

It's funny - I realize that I didn't take many pictures of the mundane, day-to-day life in Mexico. After a while, I just got used to everything. And while it can be a great exercise for an amateur photographer to try and capture the everyday objects and going-ons that are otherwise obscured by day-to-day life, I didn't like doing that when I was living there. I wanted to somehow fit in. Having a digital SLR camera around my neck and taking pictures while at the grocery store just wasn't something I could bring myself to do.

Of course, there were many times when I wished I had my camera along with me. Like that day during Semana Santa (holy week) when we saw a guy peddling plastic crucifixes at the local gas station. Really. He was hawking them like hot dogs - "Cristos!"

I was so happy to see a plastic Christo hanging out by the Virgins of Guadalupe and the devotional candles. It was then that I knew that the owners of La Superior must be Mexicans!

La Superior - Latin American market in Durham

Thanks to this quick trip to "Mexico," the feast with friends that followed was full of familiar flavors. Yum.


Gracias for all the baby knitting recommendations! I've had a discussion with the baby, telling him that the benefits of staying in there for a full 40 weeks are more Mama hand-knits. We'll see if he cares, eh? :)