I didn't actually mean to go missing last week, actually I never do, but this time it wasn't just a case of the days slipping away from me, and nothing terribly exciting happening in the daily round of cuddles, nursing and nappy changes, this time I was knitting.
In just about any moment I had.
A good friend and collegue of mine is expecting her first baby in May, and as babies should always be greeted with knitwear, I knew I was going to knit her something at some point. What I didn't quite realise was that as she has her whole holiday allowance to take before her maternity leave starts, she was going to finish work last week.
On Monday morning I discovered her last day was last Friday, and on Monday afternoon I started knitting. We'd talked a while ago about what she might like for the bump and the plan was to knit for her baby the things I've found most useful with my baby. And so, first on the needles, and no prizes for guessing this, the ubiquitous Baby Surprise Jacket.
I've knit this pattern nine times now but it wasn't until Kitty arrived that I realised just how great a baby knit it is; the lack of seams make the arm holes really flexible for easing little new baby arms in to, the sleeves are the perfect length and the whole thing grows nicely with the baby - Kitty wore hers home from the hospital and was still wearing it at Christmas, long after she'd grown out of her vests and babygros.
The multicoloured bit is Opal 6-ply (colour 2020) and the yellow is my favourite Baby Cashmerino. After a long hunt for good buttons I found these little ladybirds in the sewing shop in Kenilworth and knew that they would be perfect as ladybirds are supposed to be good luck and symbolic of motherhood. They also fit through the button holes which I'll admit was a key selling point.
So by this point we've got to Wednesday night in the knitting marathon (although the buttons and the sewing up had to wait until Thursday lunchtime)
I picked up the empty needles on Wednesday and made ...
... a hat to match. It's a free Ravelry pattern (called Baby Beanie) that I discovered when I was looking for a quick little hat pattern fairly late on in my pregnancy to whip something up to match the green cardie that would be Kitty's first knit. It was the first hat she ever wore, and when all the other oh so beautiful, cute and funny hats turned out to be too small for a little head that firmly hit the 95th centile (and yes 'ouch' is the correct response) it was the hat that I pulled out of the pile every time we left the house. It grew with her until Christmas and even now the second hat that I made with slightly thicker yarn just about fits, although she's got other bigger hat for day to day.
And the best bit? that little loop - you can pull on the loop and ease the hat off a sleeping baby's head without waking her up, and for that I love it.
I cast off on Thursday morning before knitting and sewed in the ends at lunchtime and then both the cardie and the hat had a nice soak in some wool wash and a blow dry on the line.
And were we done? Oh no, that would be too clever. I cast on:
Three baby bibs, from the Mason-Dixon pattern, knit in a new-to-me yarn, Twilleys Freedom Sincere organic cotton dk. It's a lovely yarn and on 4.5mm needles it knit up to a nice soft drapy fabric, perfect for wiping little baby faces, and the garter ridges are great for catching drool and posset before it runs off the bib onto the baby, you, the sofa, the floor, etc etc etc (guess how I know this!).
I cast off the stripy bib first thing Friday morning and set the poppers quickly before everything was wrapped up into a little goody bag with some other useful new Mummy things (New Mama tea, a water bottle that you can flip up with one hand, and some essential chocolate) and headed to Birmingham.
It was lovely to see the team again, and the mama-to-be (who has the neatest little bump you've ever seen) and I think she liked her presents although I know she's unlikely to 'get' some of them until after the baby makes an appearance but it was great to be able to spoil someone who helped to spoil me back in the summer.