Blog Archives

On the Needles

I finished the longies!

Finished longies

They’re still not quite high enough in the back to cover Dakotas nighttime diaper though.

longies in action

I have enough leftover wool yarn that I may try for a shorts version with even more short rows in back. I ended up settling on vaguely capri-length legs when I realized that if I didn’t hurry up and finish it would be too warm for wool pants anyway. The cabling was fun, and I like the I-cord drawstring.

longies cables

My new project is a little short-sleeve tie-front crop shrug thing. My default daily uniform is a tank top because my armpits like to breathe, so I like having a few options to cover up my arms a little more at various points during the day. This is my first time working with yarn thinner than worsted weight, and it’s not a horrible failure so far. Yay.

shrug thing

I’m also still poking along with the boucle yarn sweater that I mentioned last month, it’s my “sitting in front of the TV” knitting project.

 

 

 

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On the Needles

I’m hoping to get more knitting projects done this year, so I thought I might try to plan some regular progress reports to hopefully keep me motivated. I also found a local knitting group that meets at the nearby Panera several times a week, so that should help motivate me too. πŸ™‚

My first attempt at a wool diaper cover for Dakota is doing its job, but it’s not high enough in the back:

Diaper cover back

So I’m trying a different pattern that uses short rows in the back for hopefully a better fit. This pattern also just so happens to have cables down the side, which I’ve never tried before. It’s working pretty well for me though! The pattern is for either “shorties” or “longies”, aka pants. I only had one skein to start with and honestly that probably would have been enough for shorties, but I went ahead and bought more yarn early on, so I’ll probably just keep knitting the legs until I hit the correct length for pants or I run out of yarn, whichever comes first.

Cable longies

I made the dubious decision to knit both pant legs at the same time on a really long circular needle. I was inspired after seeing someone way more experienced than I doing two mittens at once. I think it’s probably going to be a bit slower going since I have to keep switching yarns and such, but since I often have to put my work down very precipitously, I’m hoping this will help me keep track and stay consistent between legs. And I know they’ll end up with the same number of rows, if nothing else. πŸ™‚

I started another project to try and use up some of my existing stash of yarn. I’m trying to make a fuzzy sweater for myself out of this ridiculous “boulce” yarn that looks awesome but, somewhat unsurprisingly, is a bit of a pain to work with.

Boucle sweater

The problem with this yarn is that I can’t really tell if I’m on a purl stitch or a knit stitch, but I figure if I mess up it’ll be pretty hard for anyone else to tell too. πŸ™‚ Once I get past the ribbing and start doing rounds upon rounds of stockinette, it’ll go a bit faster.

Dakota- Holidays for an almost 2-year-old

So I may not be trying for a fancy photo on odd numbered months now, but I figure I can post some random non-staged pics from the past month and maybe type out a few highlights while I’m at it. Sooo…..

The end of the year is an easy month for highlights, what with the holidays and all. πŸ™‚ But first, it finally rained a lot in California! We got Dakota some boots:

Rain boots

Also on the more practical side, Dakota needs some extra diaper leak protection at night, so I knitted her a so-called “wool soaker”. Unfortunately it’s not quite long enough in the back to cover the top of her nighttime diaper, but it works great to prevent leaks around the leg holes.

Wool soaker

Back to the holidays though… we did a bit of a grab bag of things this year to see what traditions we’d like to carry on to future years. This is the first year we bought an actual tree, though it was only 3 feet tall and we stuck to Styrofoam ornaments. Dakota kept trying to put all the ornaments on the same branch, of course. πŸ˜‰

tree decorating

We had a fun Chanukah/Yule dinner/celebration with some friends, dubbed Chanuyule. πŸ˜€ We made a delicious yule log cake… Well actually I wasn’t involved in the baking, but I enjoyed the eating part. Dakota is starting to get into wanting to help cook, so we try to give her ways to “help”, like mixing the dry ingredients. She is starting to learn the art of licking the spatula…

Spatula

She was pretty into the Chanukah candle lighting too, and she could even more or less say “Baruch ata Adonai” (though not the rest of the song/prayer) along with us by the end of the week. She also enjoyed opening a small present each night of Chanukah, which was a good warm-up for xmas day with the grandparents. Here she is getting into the present opening; most likely at this point we were all egging her on with cries of “rip it!”

Opening presents

She really loved giving other people their presents (“For zhYou!” is my best approximation of what she says while handing stuff to people.) and “helping” open them. Here she is assisting Grandpa. She makes this exaggerated surprise face that I loovveeeee:

present helper

She got a bunch of new toys of course, (sigh) and I’m curious to see which will have the longest fun value. Unfortunately, we’ve already misplaced an early favorite: an inexpensive light-up bouncy ball from her stocking. You can throw all sorts of fancy stuff at her, but balls are still the best. πŸ™‚ Sorry we lost you, light-up ball… at least I got a picture!

stocking

Virginia was a little cold (for us) but otherwise the weather was nice, so we ventured outside for some family pictures and toddler-tossing:

toddler tossing

And we got to do some deer watching/stalking on multiple occasions. We managed to get a bit closer than this, but I didn’t get a picture that time.

IMG_6247

I wasΒ  assuming that Dakota would be pretty shy/clingy around all the new people since that’s been her norm for the past few months, but she really got into the excitement of so many new playmates. I dunno if it was just new-people-overload or if she’s just generally getting more comfortable interacting with unfamiliar people, but it was so fun to see. Here she is playing with her aunt, technically not a new person, but last-seen in August:

And she really did great with traveling coast to coast, though it’ll be a relief in many ways (but not for my wallet) when she gets her own seat on the plane. I think she actually liked the shuttle bus ride to and from the parking lot more than she liked the actual airplanes. Here we are heading to our car back in California:

Bus ride

And thus ended our holiday adventures!

Well, this vaguely-narrated photo dump has actually been fun! Maybe I’ll remember to do it again in two months. Happy New Year!

 

Adventures in Cloth Diapering

I started writing this very long and detailed post of all the trial and error I went through figuring out what cloth diapers I wanted to use and how to make it work for me, but it got very long and rambling, so I’m just going to keep things simple. Here is how the whole cloth diapering thing is working for us right now.

I am using colorful waterproof (specifically, polyurethane laminated fabric) covers that snap onto baby, and laying an absorbent pad (known as an “insert”) inside of it. For the absorbent insert, I have some large squares of thin cotton (also known as “flats” in cloth diapering land) that I can fold a bunch of times into the right shape. I also have a bunch of much smaller squares of many-layered cotton (known as “prefolds”, since most of the folding has been done already) that I can just do a quick fold and tuck and then they are in the right shape. Here they are, drying happily in the breeze:

Cloth Diapers

The diaper covers are in front, then you can see some of the flats looking big and loose behind them, then the smaller, more compact prefolds drying in the back. Here’s another shot so you can see the prefolds (on the left):

Cloth Diaper Laundry

The flat inserts are nice because they’re super cheap, they clean easily and dry pretty fast. The prefolds take quite a while to dry, but once I take them off the line (or out of the clothes dryer) I can just toss them in the shelf under the changing table, while with the flats I have to take the time to fold them to the right size. I like having some of both, but if I want to keep hanging them on the line to dry through the fall and winter I’m going to have to start using the flats more.

Here’s how they look folded into a diaper cover and ready to snap onto baby:

Cloth Diaper Padfold

The flat is on the left and the prefold is on the right. Once they’re folded like this they look and function pretty much exactly the same.

I also have a few high tech “stay-dry” inserts that are mostly microfiber with a miscrosuede top layer. The microsuede wicks moisture away, keeping the skin fairly dry. It’s still not as crazy dry as the gel stuff in a disposable diaper, but I use the stay-dry inserts for night time since I have no interest in changing diapers in the middle of the night and I don’t want wet baby skin all night long. I also have some disposable inserts that I keep in the diaper bag and the car, in case I run out or (more likely) forget to refill the diaper bag with cloth inserts.

I feel weird mentioning brand names on my blog, since I don’t feel like I should recommend any specific products unless I’ve exhaustively tested every possible brand. But what I have is working great for me, so I have no interest in trying other stuff. For covers, I’m using Flip one-size covers and Diaper Safari one-size covers. I looove the color options for both, and have mostly stopped putting pants on Dakota and instead have just been letting the diaper be part of her outfit. For prefolds I’m using Cloth-eez size small, which I received second-hand for free from a super-generous local mom. (Lucky me, otherwise I probably would have bought a cheaper and not-as-nice brand.) I’m still testing out the flat inserts, but for now I have Flip daytime inserts, which are a jersey knit, and Ozocozy, which are a birdseye weave.

Enough words, here’s a cloth diaper on my baby!

diaper fit front

I generally alternate between two diaper covers throughout the day; since the polyurethane is on the inside of the cover I can just give a peed-in diaper a quick wipe and lay it out to dry, switching to the other diaper cover and a new insert. The wet/dirty inserts and any pooped-in covers go straight into the diaper pail, which for me is just a trash can lined with a polyurethane laminate pail liner. (I like the Grovia drawstring pail liner, since I’m throwing out brand names left and right anyway.) I’m doing diaper laundry pretty much every other day, so I just grab the whole drawstring liner, empty it into the washing machine, and toss the liner in as well since it’s machine-washable. Since we’re still exclusively breastfeeding the poop is all completely water-soluble (and surprisingly not very smelly at all) so I “soak” the load first by running a quick wash/rinse cycle on cold with no detergent. Once that’s done I run a hot wash cycle with a cold rinse and add an extra rinse just to make sure all the detergent is completely washed out. Then I generally hang everything out to dry, though we’ll see if that continues as the weather gets cooler.

With this routine, and especially since baby is a once-every-other-day pooper, I need about 8 diaper covers and 24 inserts of various sorts. I’m hopeful that this will actually last us all the way through the end of Dakota’s diapering days. I know once she starts eating solids her diapers are going to get considerably more gross, and from what I’ve read the most common way to deal with it is to install a hand-held bidet on the toilet so you can spray the dirty diaper before tossing it in the diaper pail. I also figure that she will start peeing more heavily and less frequently as her bladder gets bigger, but I’m hoping that I can double up on the inserts that I already have if I need to, especially since I won’t need as many for individual changes at that point.Β  The other possibility is of things wearing out. I’m hopeful that since I’m line drying things that the cotton inserts will last for a loooong time. The covers are more questionable, especially from what I hear the leg elastic tends to give out first. For now, if the cover has just been peed in I’m rinsing it out and washing it with our regular clothes on cold, and then hanging to dry. I’m hoping this will help the elastic last longer.

Too many words again! More baby!

Diaper fit back

So how much would all this cost using the brands I’m now familiar with?

  • 8 diaper covers – between $72 and $120. The Flip brand is much more expensive than Diaper Safari, but you can buy a bundle of Flip covers with the stay-dry inserts or the daytime flats and save a little if you so desire…
  • 12 Cloth-eez small prefolds – $28
  • 12 flats – between $20 and $60. The Ozocozy ones are the cheapest that I’ve seen, Cloth-eez makes some highly recommended ones for a little bit more, and if you really want to break the bank you can get a bunch of the (admittedly very nice) organic Flip daytime inserts.
  • 3 Flip stay-dry inserts – $15
  • Grovia pail liner – $15 (Although honestly you should really get two, so you have one in the pail while the other one is in the wash)
  • A whole lot of laundry detergent – ??? hopefully you buy in bulk. πŸ™‚

And since you’re doing all this laundry anyway, you might as well use cloth wipes too, right? cutting up some old T-shirts and wetting them with water from a squirt bottle works awesomely, in my experience. Anyway, a little arithmetic says you can buy all the stuff I listed above for somewhere between $150 and $240, depending on how fancy you want to get. That’s your start-up cost, and then you have the ongoing cost of increased laundry detergent and water/energy usage. All of this to say that I’m not going to try and figure out if I’m actually saving myself money by using cloth diapers instead of disposable. Even if I knew exactly how much my water consumption increased and how much I would have been spending on disposables, I still don’t know if this setup will last all the way until my already very big baby is out of diapers for good. And it took me a while to figure out that this works best for me, so I’ve spent money on other types of cloth diapers here and there until I settled on this system. Again I was lucky, the same lady who gifted me the prefolds gave me a bunch of newborn-sized cloth diapering stuff as well, which gave me a chance to figure out what I liked without breaking the bank.

At the end of the day, I love cloth diapering and I have every intention of continuing if at all possible!

Baby!

State of the House, State of the Blog

I want to blog more consistently, because I was really enjoying it when I was trying to stick to a schedule and come up with stuff to write about. But it can be tough… even ignoring the occasional self-conscious feeling of sharing random stuff about my life with the internet, I like having picture-heavy posts, and the house has been a constant mess that I didn’t feel was really picture-worthy. So in the interest of starting to blog more again, I’ve decided to embrace the mess and not worry so much about having each shot be “camera ready”. I’m also going to try talking a bit more about random happenings in my life. For a while this blog was mostly about our (generally amusing) attempts at figuring out this whole home ownership thing, and I’m never sure how much other stuff about my life I’m comfortable publishing on the internet… So I will be trying stuff out to see what works for me. Hopefully no one reading this will be permanently scarred.

So with that in mind, here’s a quick tour of the living room as it generally looks these days. Here’s the couch:

Messy couch

The fitness ball was super useful in the first few weeks after Dakota was born. One of us would sit on it and bounce with Dakota and it would get her to stop crying and go to sleep fairly consistently. It’s a bit hard on the back muscles, but we could watch TV or even read stuff on our iPhones, which made it vastly preferable to pacing in circles to try and settle her. Now that she’s a bit older it doesn’t always work, and we’re discovering different ways to settle her, so the ball may not be dominating the middle of the room for much longer.

The storage ottoman is a new addition; I haven’t even decided what we’ll be storing in it yet. The lap tray (sitting on the couch in the picture) works pretty well as a temporaryΒ  tabletop for the ottoman. The dog toys on the floor are the ones that Loki keeps pulling out to try and entice us to play with him more often. Poor dog. The laundry basket is pretty much a cliche for new parents… clean laundry waiting to be folded… someday… And it’s hard to see, but there are a bunch of reusable grocery bags hanging on the front door knob. And even when I put them there I STILL forget to take them half the time when I go shopping. Sigh.

Here’s the other side of the room:

Messy living room

The recliner is the main nursing station. It’s kind of out in the middle of everything, but too bad, it’s a small house. That recliner is just amazing… I got in in high school, and it traveled to college with me and then across the country when I moved to California. It’s the comfiest thing ever and still looks great. Thanks mom. πŸ™‚ The media center under the TV is a mess and I’m slowly brainstorming how the heck to baby-proof that thing. Ikea sells little cabinet doors that fit in the openings of this unit, so that may be the best option…

The brightly-colored play mat on the floor is on loan from a neighbor. I have to say, every time I see one of these things I think that they’re hideously ugly and way too busy/overstimulating… but darned if Dakota doesn’t love this guy, even without knowing how to reach and grab at things yet. Evidence:

Play mat fun

The thing she’s staring at on the top has a cartoon zebra and two lights that slowly blink red and yellow. She stares at it and grins like a maniac. Dave thinks this sort of setup is just early training for having kids stare at the TV all day, and it does feel a little like she’s staring at a TV screen… Sigh. And she’s just barely starting to bat at the dangling toys with her arms… mostly by accident I think. But really she’s probably just a week or two away from being able to deliberately bat at things. and I’m sure grabbing will soon follow. gulp.

Last but not least, over next to the arm chair is the “baby command center”:

Pack and Play

This particular playard has a bassinet attachment that can be flipped one-handed to switch to a changing pad. So in the middle of the picture we have adorable sleeping baby in the bassinet. To the left in the raised bed of the playard there are all of her “new school” cloth diapers… pockets, “all-in-ones”, and a few fitteds and covers. There are also a bunch of random toys that she’s still not quite ready for. To the right in the bin with the green dragon there are the prefold diapers, which we mostly use as changing pads at this point. That bin also has a bunch of cloth wipes, which get used in conjunction with the blue spray bottle full of water. There’s also a small supply of disposable diapers, which we’re currently putting on her at night time.

I’ve already changed this configuration several times now, and it’ll probably have to change again pretty soon. I’m not sure how much longer she’ll fit in the bassinet/changing table because she’s so very long for her age. We’re still debating what to use as a changing station once this no longer works, so, you know, stay tuned for updates or something… πŸ™‚