waiting and making

It’s a funny feeling, sitting at home, waiting for labor to start and having no clue if you’re hours or days or weeks away from an enormous change in your life (though ‘weeks’ is getting more unlikely each day obviously).
winter | little home by hand blog

Right on cue after my last post about how great I was feeling there came several days of being not so great. The belly has grown to be enormous after being quite small throughout the pregnancy and with it the aches and pains of having everything cramped together in a tight space increased. Some days are good, others not so much. A little uncomfortable but ok on the whole.

Thankfully knitting is keeping me busy whithout actually having to move much. I would be a lot more restless if I didn’t have something on the needles! It’s also nice to feel you have accomplished something at the end of the day. In the last few weeks several finished objects have been crossed off the list.

baby knits | little home by hand blog
These baby pants are a free Drops pattern. Knit on 2,5mm needles they were a nice project to keep me busy for several days. Hopefully they won’t be too big on baby before the warm weather hits.

baby knits | little home by hand blogbaby knits | little home by hand blog
I have a thing for vintage looking rompers! The Kjapptstrikka suit is a norwegian pattern and just adorable. Also a rather quick knit which will fit baby at around 6 months.

winter | little home by hand blogpregnancy | little home by hand blogMy first handknit cardigan is coming in very handy these days since I really knit it too big back then and it fits comfortably in my present ‘watermelon-belly’ state.

I had been itching to cast on another project for myself ever since finishing the Alpenglühen cardigan in July and finally settled on the Wolf River sweater. Deciding on a color was hard. The natural grays and whites on the Ravelry page are so gorgeous! Colors look good on me though, especially warm reds and oranges, so the ‘cinnamon’ colorway won out in the end. I would still love to own this in a creamy white so who knows, maybe I’ll even make another one of these. Front and back are blocking now so we’ll see if I can get any further on this before baby arrives.

sweater knitting in progress | little home by hand blogsweater knitting in progress | little home by hand blog

 

 

on pregnancy and journeys

Here comes a longish post on pregnancy feelings so if that’s not your cup of tea feel free to skip.
on the last few weeks of pregnancy | little home by hand blog
Nearly 37 weeks now. Truth be told, I’m very much enjoying these last few weeks of pregnancy. A quiet time for once, resting, feeling baby squirming and nudging, sometimes softly, sometimes forcefully and at times painfully. A comfortable, reassuring sensation by now instead of the novelty every kick was just a few months ago.

The knowledge that these days of secret communication are numbered and fleeting makes them all the more precious and finally, after all the things demanding attention and decisions in the last few months, I feel free to concentrate on them and treasure them.
on the last few weeks of pregnancy | little home by hand blog
9 months of pregnancy have flown by so fast. These last few weeks are a sweet spot before the unknown, life as a family of three, hits. I’m lucky of course. Apart from some back and hip pain, dizziness due to low blood pressure and being heavy and clumsy on my feet, I feel surprisingly well. Maybe due to the fact that chronic back pain was my daily companion for over two years, the comparatively small discomforts of these final weeks bother me little. Sure, I miss being able to walk more than 30 minutes at a time or get up from the floor withough assistance but I don’t dwell on it and anyway, I know this phase will pass soon enough. Unlike with chronic pain, swimming in an sea of pain with no land in sight and nothing to hold on to, the shore is now quite a bit nearer than I’d like at times. It is, after all, unknown territory we’re entering and who knows what we’ll find?

It’s an adventure and I’m at the same time eager for it to start and apprehensive. We’re in a good, safe place and everything coming is still a rather fuzzy picture. I always feel like this when I travel as well. I love the planning stage and look forward to a trip for weeks and months. Yet when the day finally comes to pack up and close the door behind me I suddenly have a strong urge to stay. Home has never seemed so sweet and comfortable and safe than in that moment of leaving it behind, however temporary the parting. This feeling quickly dissipates once I hit the road or the plane touches the ground at my destination (ugh, I hate flying). Excitement and a thirst for new experiences and impressions then take over.
on the last few weeks of pregnancy | little home by hand blog
Maybe that’s what it’ll be like when this baby arrives, that as soon as I can hold him or her in my arms I’ll forget to feel bittersweet about the end of pregnancy and will just look forward to the exciting times ahead.
We’ll see.

For now I’m sitting back, stroking the belly and feeling baby move in response, enjoying my sweet spot.

baby knits

Progress is being made in the baby knitting department! Now that I’m at home and have all day to tackle the last preparations before the little one joins us I get a bit of knitting and sewing in almost every day.

baby knits | little home by hand blog

After the ‘Baby Sophisticate’ pattern the ‘Short Notice’ cardigan is the second newborn sized cardi I’ve finished.

Baby knits are such satisfying little projects compared to adult sized clothing! There are so many cute patterns and they are usually done in just a few hours.

Baby would absolutely need a little gnome hat, so I used some leftover Cascade yarn from my Alpenglühen Cardigan for the Small things Bonnet pattern. I thought this little hat would fly off the needles but I ended up ripping it out and starting over four times. Turns out it makes sense to actually follow the instructions to a t instead of thinking you’d be fine eyeballing it…baby knits | little home by hand blog

Hopefully we’ll also get some use out of the mitts before the weather turns warm.

I was on a roll stashbusting by that time so I used some leftover sock yarn to make a pair of baby socks and matching hat (no pattern for the socks, I jumbled together a few instructions and length guidelines and ended up winging it).

baby knits | little home by hand blogbaby knits | little home by hand blogbaby knits | little home by hand blog

The cabled baby blanket I finished before christmas is waiting for a cotton backing to be sewn on. I made up my own pattern for this. It’s quite simple but I’d be happy to share the chart if anyone is interested!

baby knits | little home by hand blog

I think I’m nearly done making newborn sized clothing because, honestly,  how many woolen sweaters and hats will a newbown wear anyway? Time to move on to bigger sizes!

My own handknits will be joined by a few items from my own babyhood – how marvelous that these look almost new after 30 years in storage!

baby knits | little home by hand blog
baby knits | little home by hand blog

Baby’s colour palette is definitely leaning towards greys and blues which is just fine since I think blue is a great colour no matter the sex. I do want to plan for some yellow and orange knits though.

On the needles right now are these cute baby pants in a cream white yarn.

I’m also hoping to finish some sewing for the nursery (a mobile and fabric baskets) plus sew some summery baby clothes. It is quite the effort to haul the belly up two flights of stairs and in front of the sewing machine though, so we’ll see. Right now knitting cozily on the couch while watching ‘Making A Murderer’ is definitely more enticing. Plus, the company’s not bad either.

cozy at home | little home by hand blog

What’s on your needles right now?

a very different new year

Happy New Year! I hope 2016 has been treating you kindly so far.

In the two months since I last blogged I’ve wrapped up my office job as well as my photography business, closed my Etsy shop until spring, packed up our apartment, stripped our new house of all wallpaper and supervised the rest of the renovations, moved us and the cats to our new home the weekend before Christmas, celebrated Christmas and New Year’s and finished most of the decorating in our house. Phew.

happy new year | little home by hand bloghome | little home by hand blogpreparing for baby | little home by hand blog

On our new home

To say it’s been a lot would be an understatement but even though it has been an exhausting few months it was so worth it. The house is nearly done apart from a few minor details and is starting to really feel like home. Next up on the agenda are pictures on the walls and finishing baby’s room.

With the little one due in just a few weeks I have been more anxious than usual to get everything done in time. With a newborn I expect we’ll have neither time nor motivation to tie up lose ends in every room. J has been working tirelessly for weeks now, first renovating then putting together the entire kitchen by himself and then putting up light fixtures and shelves and mirrors and a million small things. Going back to work today must feel like a holiday to him, poor guy.

home | little home by hand bloghome | little home by hand bloghome | little home by hand blog

The cats have settled in quite well even though it took Finn nearly two weeks to figure out the stairs – after camping out in our bedroom for ten days he was amazed to discover this house has a basement, a ground floor and an attic studio too!

On new year’s resolutions

2016 will be a completely different year than any other time in my life so far. In the last few years I’ve been working a full time job plus building up a business and shop on the side in the wee hours of the morning and on weekends. In 2016 I will be on maternity and parental leave for the whole year (yay German maternity laws). Though saying goodbye to my office job for over a year was hard (I really do have the best co-workers and will miss them awfully) I’m now very much looking forward to spending a few quiet weeks at home preparing for the little one’s arrival. We did a Hypnobirthing course way back in October in preparation for the birth and it’s high time I started practising regularly to ensure I can use the techniques when I go into labour.

My goals for 2016 are simple. I want to take it slow, live in the moment and soak up the whole experience of becoming a mother. Being mindful, spending time in nature and finding a rhythm to our new life will be the priority. Documenting this and picking up the camera to capture our everyday life will be my creative challenge for the year. I adore Jodi’s blog and 52 series and hope to create a similar reminder of childhood for my baby.

On the last few weeks of pregnancy

It’s still hard to imagine myself as a mom, but I trust everything will fall into place and there’ll be a lot of ‘learning by doing’. I’m most scared of the sleep deprivation that is inevitably around the corner. I just don’t function at all on little sleep. Even now at 33 weeks I still manage to get a good 10 or 11 hours in at night.

pregnancy | little home by hand blog

I know a lot of women have a hard time being pregnant but I can honestly say I’m one of the lucky ones. Sure, I have a few annoying symptoms (mainly exhaustion and lots of dizziness these days) but on the whole this pregnancy has been very kind on my body! The chronic back pain I’ve been struggling with for years has gone (thank you pregnancy hormones for softening up those joints and muscles in the hip and lower back), I’ve had hardly any nausea or other discomforts and I can even eat lots of dairy products again which I’ve had to avoid in the last few years.

For all you ladies out there suffering through less enjoyable pregnancies – I really feel for you and trust me, I know all too well what it’s like to be in pain and to feel like crap every single day. Hang in there!

Any pregnancy / delivery advice or new year’s resolutions you’d like to share?

 

fly by fall

Thank you all so, so much for your comments and congratulations on my last post! Your sweet words were a pleasure to read.

We (all three of us) are doing very well. Baby is growing and kicking up a storm inside that snug belly at night and J and I are just trying to stay afloat amid work and house preparations and doctor’s, insurance and other appointments.

autumn colors. little home by hand blog

I have been taking a ton of pictures but all client related as I’m wrapping up the last photoshoots in a very busy fall season (how come that just when I can’t take any more clients I have daily inquiries for shoots?).

Since my mornings are all spent communicating with photo clients, editing, sending out invoices etc. I’m not finding any time to blog right now. Another lesson in letting things go (pregnancy is a great teacher). Right now we are very much looking forward to Christmas, when I will have started maternity leave at work and hopefully the renovations and move to our new home will be behind us. A sweet few weeks to just sit back and catch my breath and really get to preparing for this baby before it arrives.

Life is busy but wonderful.

A little inspiration from around the web for you to enjoy while I’m concentrating on keeping all balls in the air:

In addition to taking a photoshoot break until May 2016 I will also be closing my Etsy shop for a time during the next few months. I haven’t decided on when and how long yet but if there’s something you’ve been coveting go get it now before I close up😉

an announcement

I’m so not good at announcements. It’s like they suddenly make me centre of attention which introvert me doesn’t feel comfortable with at all (which is weird, considering I’ve had this blog for 6 years and somehow chose to make myself centre of attention here).
You maaaay have already guessed from my Pinterest activity in the last few weeks, like a friend of mine has.

Ok, no more beating about the bush. Fact is, in addition to just buying a house and all that, I have some other big news to share.
handknit baby cardigan | little home by hand
We’re expecting a baby next spring!

We’re excited – and still incredulous (growing a tiny human inside you? how crazy is that!) – and a little bit scared (how will we even like our new life as a family of three?).

I’m due in late February so hopefully we’ll have plenty of time to get our new house ready and move in.
20 week bump | little home by hand blog
Twenty weeks along today and feeling pretty good! After the queasy first weeks which were followed by exhausting weeks of fatigue (say what? I have to work 10 hours a day and cannot take a 2 hour nap in between?) things are great now.
The bump is growing, baby is already kicking noticeably sometimes and the last ultrasound confirmed that he or she is healthy and well.

We’ve decided not to find out the gender since neither of us really cares if it’s a boy or a girl. We’ll be happy either way and I imagine it will be so nice to find out after the birth. Apparently hardly anyone waits anymore to find out and people have been acting surprised by our decision.

I started showing really early (like, if you knew me well and had seen me in a bikini at 9 weeks you’d have noticed) and it has been quite a challenge to keep it hidden until I felt comfortable sharing the news. I’ve been pretty cautious about it and strangely not at all eager to shout it from the rooftops. Pregnancy somehow feels very private to me. We told family and close friends and my team at work at around 12 weeks and our larger circle at 16 weeks (I mean, it was preeetty obvious by then anyway).

Pregnancy has been a lesson in letting go – you are suddenly faced with something you can’t control and have to make the decision to either worry constantly what could go wrong or just embrace not knowing and trusting all will be well and as it should be.

In between the slew of appointments that come with pregnancy plus the many many things we need to organise and learn and discuss for the house it’s been hard to make time for anything else, but I do try to get a bit of knitting in here and there on weekends. Thankfully tiny baby things knit up fast!

handknit baby cardigan | little home by hand
handknit baby cardigan | little home by hand

Knitting for baby means some serious stash busting! With so much yarn left over from previous projects I can’t really justify splurging on more so this first cardigan (the popular Baby Sophisticate pattern) is knit with leftover Cascade Eco yarn from my Ramona cardigan.
I’ve always imagined any baby of mine would be drowning in hand knits and handmade outfits but with the house taking priority right now – we’ll see how much I can get done before this little person arrives:)

taking a breather

Fall – my favourite season.
The change in the air, the turning leaves, the golden light and the crispy mornings – I want to soak it all up before the cold comes.
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
This year especially the weeks feel so rushed – so many appointments, so much preparation for the house and all that goes with it. Thinking about insurance and money stuff makes me anxious.
I needed time away from it all and we set out on Sunday for a small hike.
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
autumn walk | little home by hand
A few hours in the sunshine followed by apple pie with cream and a hearty veggie soup at home in the evening and all is right with the world.

knitting a fall wardrobe – alpenglühen cardigan

Feels good to be back here! I’ve been working on my Alpenglühen cardigan for so long, I began to doubt I would ever finish it.
But, 7 months after the first stitch, here it is:
Knitting a fall wardrobe - Alpengluhen Cardigan | little home by hand blogKnitting a fall wardrobe - Alpengluhen Cardigan | little home by hand blog
The yarn is Cascade 220 in the colorway Bright Red. I wanted a cheery but warm red (cool colors make my skin look even paler) and I remember agonizing over just the right shade of red for days, scouring Ravelry and pictures of different yarns and reds. In the end I ordered the Cascade yarn from France as it wasn’t available in this specific colorway in Germany.
Knitting a fall wardrobe - Alpengluhen Cardigan | little home by hand blog
Cables are actually fun to knit and they look much more complicated on a finished garment than they are to make!
Why did this cardigan take me so long?
For one thing, I am finding out more and more that I don’t enjoy working bottom up on cardigans. Top-down knitting is so much more motivating because the garment takes shape more quickly and you can try it on in between. Once I did get to the shoulder part I hated the many many wrap and turns the pattern called for and if you looked closely you could see I didn’t manage them very well. It was just not a fun project to work on and I would not knit this particular pattern again. Not because it’s a bad pattern (it’s wonderful, really) but because it just wasn’t for me.
Knitting a fall wardrobe - Alpengluhen Cardigan | little home by hand blog
The finished cardigan however? Simply gorgeous! Love the fit, love the cables, love the color to bits! I will be wanting to wear this every day once the weather gets cooler!

For those of you wondering where I’ve been in the past few weeks: I went to Scotland in July (to be blogged soon!) and had to take a spontaneous break in all things internet and social media due to some personal changes afterwards. All good though and one thing I can share is that we’ve just bought a house!
We’re super happy since demand for houses in our area is huge and prices are skyrocketing. We’ve been very lucky to find an affordable house we liked AND get it too (thanks to our super quick financial advisor who managed to secure a written statement from the bank that they would finance us within two hours!). We’ll get the keys to our snug and small terraced house in December and will be in before Christmas after some renovation and redecorating.
The last few weeks have been stressful since everything happened so fast and there were many many appointments we needed to fit in around our daily work schedules and many many things we needed to wrap our heads around when it came to financing it all. I’d never taken out a loan or been in debt before in my entire life and here I went getting myself a mortgage I’ll be paying off until I reach pension age! Scary, admittedly!
Now I’m looking forward to the more fun aspect of house buying – planning the rooms and the changes we’ll make. I’ll even have a small garden to plan for next year:)

On another note: I don’t usually comment on political stuff on here but Germany seems to get a lot of international attention these days for how we handle the refugee crisis. The amount of help people are offering and organising really is astonishing and heartwarming! I even have trouble finding a place to drop off donations these days since all storage spaces are full. Yes, some people are negative and scared here too but the overwhelming public feeling is one of empathy and welcoming. A proud time to be German and we Germans sure don’t say that lightly!

sewing a summer skirt

Finding the right skirt is tricky – too short, too long, too sheer, too stiff, the list goes on and on. Discovering a perfect ready-to-wear skirt is like winning the jackpot for me. I like my skirts flowy but not frumpy (see my Pinterest board for what I mean)

handmade clothing: jersey skirt | little home by hand blog

Not suprisingly I decided that this summer I was going to make a few jersey skirts for myself. Jersey is such a great material to work with once you’ve gotten to know your serger.
This skirt is based off the Colette Moneta Dress pattern with a self-drafted rectangular waistband. The fabric is a medium weight jersey, the same one I used for my green Moneta dress.

You can always just use a rectangular piece of jersey too – just sew both pieces together, gather at the waist (I used elastic) and attach a waistband the way you would attach a neckband or cuffs on a regular jersey top (the Grainline Linden pattern has good instructions for this).
handmade clothing: jersey skirt | little home by hand blog
Voilà, a drapey skirt with just the right length. The waistband is a tiny bit too big but it doesn’t bother me enough to take it apart again.

Also sporting my new handbag in this picture – every time I am in Italy I end up buying a leather handbag at Avorio, whose factory is just down the road from my friends’. I only own three handbags total (keeping it simple – one for summer, one for winter and a big one), all of them from this same italian brand. In that way I am probably the least girly girl ever – using more than one handbag at a time just seems like a lot of hassle to me. Who wants to keep moving all their stuff from one bag to the next every day? Anyone else following a strict one bag policy?

travelling europe: le marche in italy, four days in june

“I feel at home right from the moment I step out of the plane into baking heat and sunshine. This region of Italy holds so many childhood memories, fuzzy with age. The smell of pine trees and sunscreen. It’s like visiting a place you used to live in, familiar and strange at the same time, a tugging at the spider web of memories. The places have moved on but your memory of them hasn’t.

I am travelling with my dad, to stay at my friend’s home and it feels like a last vestige of childhood – tagging along, everything taken care of and organized, no obligation attached except that to enjoy myself.

I am enjoying the heck out of myself. I’m soaking up every minute, storing it carefully in my mind for future reference and just swim along with the rhythm of the days. Perfectionist me is on a break.

This is partly due to the fact that my Italian is decidedly rusty and I can’t carry lengthy conversations anyway (oh, who am I kidding, make that any conversation at all). In a region not much frequented by foreign tourists my timid “Parla l’inglese?” is without fail met with a friendly but firm shake of the head, no. As a result my vocabulary in sign language expands vastly in just a few days while I stumble through my sparse Italian.”

travelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blog

“As always the food is simply amazing. Every time I come here I’m shocked by how good it is. I think it comes down to the fact that Italians just adore good food. During dinner on our first evening, enjoying a gentle breeze on the terrazza, revelling in the goodness laid out before us, the main topic of conversation is where we’ll eat in the next few days (at home or at a restaurant). Once that is settled we move on to what exactly we’ll eat and (if made at home) how we’ll go about preparing the ingredients. The discussion takes hours.

The food is always simple – meat salted and roasted, tomatoes sliced and drizzled with olive oil, a chunk of parmesan cheese, zucchini and eggplant thinly sliced and roasted with a crust of breadcrumbs. It’s a revelation.”

travelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blog
travelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blog

“We stroll through ancient hilltop villages, eat well, drink a lot of white wine and just enjoy the heat, the sea air and the rhythm of Italian life (Coffee and brioche for breaktfast, pasta for lunch and a long, lazy family dinner stretching well into the evening hours).

Four days pass quickly but instead of trying to hang on to them with regret as long as possible I decide that it’s ok. I feel at peace and deeply grateful for these moments in time and cherish their memory.”

Italy makes me sentimental.

travelling italy | little home by hand blog19travelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blogtravelling italy | little home by hand blog

Instead of my usual narrative I decided to copy a few ramblings from my diary for you. I don’t often write diary entries but had some alone time while in Italy and felt compelled to take these notes.

For a soundtrack to these images have a listen to:
A Piedi Nudi – Collage
E Tu – Claudio Baglioni
Due Raggazi Nel Sole – Collage

Simple summer Pasta recipe

  • Cook pasta al dente
  • Mix cherry tomatoes, tuna from the can, fresh parsley and olives (optional) with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mix hot pasta with cold ingredients and enjoy