books, fall, and scarves

I know it’s just the beginning of August, but I crave fall. My favorite season seems that much farther away since we moved deeper south. Still, I can sense a change in the air, a shortening of days; the casting of shadows lengthens, and the morning feels a bit cooler (well, maybe that’s just wishful thinking). The boys and I are already reading Halloween books; I’m thinking of spicy breads and beverages, and in the morning I add an extra dash of cinnamon to our oatmeal. I’m soooo ready for the coziness of autumn!Read More »

I’m doing a thing

We’ve been in our new town for five months. It’s been a great transition for us, but not without its challenges. This has all been an adjustment with a new state, city, home, schedule, and two littles ’round the clock.

Lately I’ve been revisiting my purpose here, you know, who and what I am outside of mom and wife. I’ve gone from running a nonprofit at a historic site to planning activities for a four year old and trying to keep the one year old from putting toys in the toilet. Really, it is so much more than that, though. I love this time with them.Read More »

What’s in a Name?

I’m changing the name of my blog. I figure this is the best time to make a change since it isn’t fully established. To the 11 people who have subscribed so far to The Knitting Whovie, ThanK You! I hope you stick around.

I started this creative project four years ago as a knitting blog and expression of my adoration for Doctor Who. I was burning as hot as the fires that destroyed Gallifrey over Doctor Who and knitting. I needed to talk about these topics at length and with gusto. But then…

Times changed, my focus and interests shifted, as did my identity, which happens frequently, otherwise I’m not growing. Basically, I added another title to my belt…mommy.

I look over the few posts I’ve written and I see that life crept in, as it is wont to do. My musings, my stories of everyday struggles and those messy feelings that can get in the way, seeped into the context of my blog.

Then there are the boys, I’m learning from them as they are learning from us. I’m a wife. All these things are me now…and I’m still a Whovie.

I researched ideas, relying in my emotional response to the list of potential names I compiled. Here’s the criteria:  

  1. It has to flow well
  2. Easy to remember (let’s face it, I’ve noticed “whovie” is not something that people often search for, much less can pronounce)
  3. Speak to the topic and theme of the blog which is anything having to do with life, parenting, fun things, hard and serious topics, and yarn
  4. Be creative and capture attention

This is harder than it appears. Every creative, whimsical, funny name I came up with has either been taken as a blog, is a Facebook page, or an Etsy store.
There are some great names out there, too. Tricksy Knitter, Yarn Harlot, Mama in Stitches, Mama Needs Yarn, Demonic Progress, and so many more that have so much meaning in a couple of well combined words. Their blogs are awesome, too. I have blog envy. Truly.

What are my words? Where am I now and where will I be in the future?

I’m Mama.

I Knit (well, I aim to learn just about anything that has to do with yarn: Spin, weave, knit, crochet…bring it).

I Love….fiercely.

And I do all of these imperfectly (do I ever), but with the desire to improve and learn. To always aim higher, set goals, and practice them all with love and intention. 

I am Anna at my core.

Mama, Knit, Love.

Mama. Knit. Love.

Mama knit love…that’s what I do. This is where I belong.

What does that mean?

You can expect to see a new name on this blog and in your mailbox (if you have been interested enough in my life and work to hit that subscribe button). 

It also means I’ll be writing about a variety of topics, and I’ll be writing more about my adventures in knitting and all things yarn.

Thank you all for following Mama-Knit-Love.


Gnome Hats and Knitting Bags

I started blogging after discovering my love of knitting and reading some fabulously entertaining knitting blogs. This was supposed to be a focus on knitting and my life’s journey, however,  I’ve had more life and a little less knitting. It’s pretty tough juggling a baby with yarn and needles. I did mange to knit my first dishcloth out of cotton though. I had to do something while on maternity leave to meet my fix. It was fun and simple, but I still managed to make mistakes. Small wonder when I have this scenario:

Multitasking with Baby, Cat, and Knitting.
Baby. Cat. Knitting. Multitasking at its finest.

I realize that I didn’t get around to my review of the knitting bags I purchased from Slipped Stitch Studios. Before I begin, a few disclaimers: I have never written a review. My experience does not mean others will have the same. I have not been requested by Slipped Stitch Studios to write this review and so I am not receiving any free gifts. Here we go.

Squeee! Doctor Who toile knitting bags from Slipped Stitch Studios.
Squeee! Doctor Who toile knitting bags from Slipped Stitch Studios.

Okay, so I probably went a little overboard with my purchase, but they have been useful to hold all the projects I haven’t finished. I bought them for that purpose after all. My husband was tired of all the bags lying around that held my yarn and knitting supplies, so it just made sense to buy more. A lady can never have too many bags.

This was from the Doctor Who Bag of the Month Club I purchased last year. It came with the following items:

I also purchased:

These fantastic bags and notions were covered in this fabulous Doctor Who toile fabric:

Doctor Who Toile. Dalecks, and Weeping Angels, and Tardis...Oh My!
Doctor Who Toile. Tardis, Dalecks, and Weeping Angels…Oh My!


The travel scissors include a handy attachment with a Dalek and the phrase, “Extermi-Knit”. Get it? Extermi-knit? For the non-Whovies out there here is an explanation.

I haven’t used knitting bags before, but I can say after using my grocery bags and totes, and after searching thrift stores for knitting baskets and finding nothing–I LOVE these bags. I’m over Gallifrey and back for these bags.

Doctor Who was the main selling point for me and the classic toile design cinched it. It turns out that Slipped Stitch Studios uses fabric for all kinds of themes from The Walking Dead to Harry Potter and if media culture isn’t your bag, pun intended, they also have cute designs for lovers of cats, skulls, dogs, even matryoshka dolls. You have to follow these wonderful ladies though, the special bag of the month is usually limited, so you gotta act fast.

The quality is incredible. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but I did think I was going to receive canvas bags. Imagine my surprise and delight that what came in the mail was a soft cotton material, well stitched, with pockets galore. Even the sock bag has pockets for all your needles, scissors, and notions. The space available was just enough, too. If it gives you any idea, I used the sock bag to carry a ball of yarn, my double-pointed needles, other notions, and it doubled as my purse with my iPhone and small folded wallet. These babies are right up there with a Mary Poppins bag, but without the teacups, those come separate. I also discovered this handy little snap inside the bag that allows you to string your yarn through and use the bag as a yarn holder, yippee!!

For those who like their paper patterns, the miWallet and miMagnets are a good alternative to folding pieces of paper and using post-it notes. It helped to keep my paper patterns organized. There’s even a small zipper to hold more supplies.

The miMagnets are ribbon with magnets attached and they come in 3 different sizes which allows you to work with most book sizes. These can be used with a variety of books and she even provides a QR code to scan for a how-to video. How considerate!

I am quite pleased with my purchase, my only regret is that I didn’t wait to buy my bags piecemeal. They have come out with some really cool bags since then.

They have held a few projects since my purchase. One of the most recent is the Scrappy Gnome Hat I started for Quinn. I intended to use my rather large yarn stash, since this was intended for stash busting, but the mouse who took up residence in my stash caused me to make other plans, and a great deal of heartache. There was mouse poop everywhere, and I tried to wash it out of the yarn, but then I thought about all the potential diseases like, hantavirus, bubonic plague, and lots of other scaries. With an infant in the house, I decided it was best to trash the stash. I had such plans for that yarn. Now I know that plastic bins are my friend.

So the Scrappy Gnome Hat is the first hat I have knitted. It was so easy and forgiving of mistakes. This was also the first i-cord I ever knitted. I also managed to make a mistake with that one, but it’s all good. Here is a picture of the kid in his hat. Fair warning: you could potentially die from all this cuteness.

Our little gnome.
Our little gnome.


Here we are, laughing at his gnomy adorableness. His expression suggests he sees the humor, but not that much.


Now I’m working on one for his father. I see a Christmas card in the making.

The Pregnant Whovie

In mid-April my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child due December 20th. Finally, something that I had longed for was a reality! I thought for sure that it we would be one of the many people who struggle with fertility. At the age of 37 I’m what is considered pregnant at a mature age and by that alone “high risk”. I thought that it would take us months to get pregnant and behold my joy at finding out that it wasn’t that difficult.

My pregnancy has been wonderful, I was extremely tired at the beginning, had little queasiness, but other than that, no problems. I have taken to it very well. I can even see why women, such as my mother, want to have lots and lots of babies. It really is an incredible experience. I’ve heard people say that ad infinitum, not fully understanding what they mean. I am amazed at what my body can do and what it is made to do. That it just knows to create these chemicals and bring together cells that create this little person that responds to stimuli, kicks, turns, and hiccups. I don’t feel like I have an alien residing within, I feel like I have a baby within that I am creating.

In my excitement I started knitting a baby blanket right off. I didn’t know at the time if we were going to have a boy or a girl, so I went to our local yarn shop and purchased Cascade’s 60 Quick Baby Blankets and Cascade 220 superwash yarn. I unintentionally deviated from the pattern as there was a problem with the book. I even tracked down the designer, who was not given proper credit for her work, to ask for guidance. Ravelry is a wonderful resource.  I also chose colors that could be gender neutral. The name of the pattern is Pumpkin Patch by Lisa Hoffman. Here’s a pic (for the trained and untrained eye you will see a mistake that I just had to let go of):

My deviated baby blanket.
My deviated baby blanket.

It would seem I chose my colors wisely. My intuition was screaming that we were going to have a little boy. Mama’s intuition was right and he certainly wasn’t bashful in announcing the news to his parents. Whoa, BOY!

This is when we have the experience of couples needing to compromise. Calvin is the 4th in his line and he always said he wanted to name his son, should we have one, Lewis Calvin Chappelle V. I’m not a fan of Lewis. It’s a fine, noble name, but just not my favorite and calling him Calvin would be a little confusing with two in the household. We researched what families do in these situations and found a site that gave us options. We found a name that we knew fit our baby boy, Quinn. Aside from the Latin for five, this is also an Irish name and means “intelligence”, “wisdom”, “counsel”, and our reason for choosing, “estate of the fifth son”. Perfect.

With Quinn’s name in place we forged forward into the realm of pregnancy. We were smooth sailing, then the whole “high risk” thing started entering the equation.

Before I get into that I want to tell you about my philosophy going into my pregnancy. I always knew that I wanted to do this naturally. No drugs and all that. I knew I was going to take a Bradley Method birth class with my husband and get informed about my rights as a patient. Part of what started this was knowing enough about myself that if I were to get an epidural and not feel the lower half of my body, we would have a mama in the full throes of an all out panic attack. Not a pretty picture and certainly not a healthy experience for mama and baby. That is what made my mind up for me. I also knew that the choice I made was in the best interest of our baby. I knew that I wanted with my whole being to have the experience of an un-medicated labor and delivery. I wanted to be part of the process of pain, of working to bring a child into this world, and of pushing him out, making me part of such a primal dance that has been taking place with women for thousands of years. I wanted this for me, my husband, and for our baby. Not because I thought I’d get any gold medals or that it would make me better than other mama’s. I want it because of the precious gift of having him placed on my chest, feeling that chemical mix of hormones coursing through my body, and smelling his little head after working for him, for his life.

I knew with regard to my doctors visits that I wanted limited ultrasounds. I am not the person who needs to see my child in 3D. I like surprises. I had no intention of having the first or second trimester screenings. I did not get pregnant to have an abortion, so what if we found out we were having a baby with downs syndrome? We would still love him.

I had a plan…yeah, I know. It’s okay to laugh.

When I was presented with my first trimester screen, I declined. When I was surprised that I had a second trimester screen, I just went with it despite my hesitancy. A few weeks later I received a call from the doctor’s office. They found that with my age that I had a 1 in 103 chance of having a baby with downs syndrome. It was recommended that I take a Non Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) which analyzes cell-free fetal DNA circulating in maternal blood. It has an over 99% accuracy rate. The best part is the non invasive aspect which means no amniocentesis. I wouldn’t have that procedure anyway due to risk of miscarriage.

I went to the High Risk office and took the test. My results were not able to be processed. Something might have been wrong with the tube. I went in again and had the same results. I didn’t have enough fetal DNA in my blood stream. Evidently this happens in 1% of tests. My husband and I decided to give up. Baby had a scan, his body was fine and the measurements were consistent with the weight and size of a baby at 17 weeks gestation. While the shenanigans with my blood work are taking place we are dealing with more troubling news.

Here’s the part where we get really intimate with my cervix. If you don’t want to know, stop reading here.

It’s amazing how you can not give a thought to certain parts of your anatomy and why they exist. I never really thought about the function of a cervix except that I had to get it checked out once a year to be sure there wasn’t any funny business going on that could lead to cancer. Who knew it’s what protects our son from the outside world and from blessing us with his presence too soon.

During the visit where my blood was drawn for the NIPT test they measured my cervical length at 3.7cm. That is very normal. When I went into my next appointment 2 weeks later my cervical length had dropped to 2.6cm. They told me they wanted to see me every 2 weeks for monitoring. We were handling this fine. I would just tell myself that we need more information. Keep calm.

I went in 2 weeks later and it measured at 2.25. I was put on progesterone treatments. There is debate on whether this is useful, but it wouldn’t hurt, so we went with that plan. They started taking a swab for a Ffn test (Fetal Fibronectin This gives us a 2 week window to tell us if we will go into preterm labor. The cervix, when preparing for labor, will release chemicals that can be detected in this test. It has a 95% accuracy, that means there is a 5% chance that I could go into labor. Those are pretty good odds. The test has been negative so far at 31 weeks. I took this every 2 weeks and it’s what I held on through out this experience. It is the test gets me through the evenings when my mind starts to wander into the “what if” zone.

Two weeks later on August 27, I was at 2.1cm, but the Ffn still came back negative. Two weeks later on September 10 my cervical length dropped to .5cm. I was officially scared, but the Ffn was still negative. I was put on indefinite bed rest at 25 weeks. I had to come in the next day, a Tuesday, and the length had increased to .99cm. We were excited to see the improvement. I went back in on a Friday and it had shortened to .3cm. I was officially terrified. This was the first time I cried in the office. The midwife I met with was so kind, reassuring, and gentle. They sent me over to the women’s pavilion where I was to begin steroid shots. His lungs were at that point developed, but if born prematurely he would have difficultly breathing. The steroids help them develop faster. They also put me on nifedipine, a blood pressure medicine that is shown to stop contractions that could be contributing to the shortening. I still felt hope, though difficult at times. We knew that if he were born at this point, that his chance of surviving was very high and that he would have to stay in the NICU.

We did have some fun in this. Quinn decided at 26 weeks that he wanted to get a different view of his world and turned breech. Normally, I would not be very concerned about this since under “normal” circumstances he would have time to turn. We didn’t have that luxury. For one week it was my mission to spin a baby. I had a handy wedge pillow that I inverted myself on and played Mozart on my pelvis in the hopes he would turn back head down. It worked! To this day he is still head down and we hope he stays there.

Here I am at 31.5 weeks and he is still with me. Every day I am pregnant is a victory. It has been a roller coaster, especially for my husband. He’s concerned about us and he is someone who likes to be helpful, to fix things, but he can’t fix this. He has been an incredible support and despite his busy work load, has been there with us step by step. When he is scared, I comfort him; when I get scared, he comforts me.

Just as we were getting used to this schedule and seeing a pattern, the pregnancy gods decided to throw something else in this experience to make it a little more interesting. My doppler readings were high. This means that the umbilical cord blood flow was high, which means that the cord was working hard to get nutrients and blood to Quinn. Thankfully, his brain doppler was normal. The doctor decided not to focus so much on my wayward cervix since it has stabilized, and instead focus on this turn of events. I have been going to the office twice a week for ultrasounds to test the cord blood flow. We had the great news that we were back in the normal range as of the 21st of October, but these things can change. We are holding to the hope that we have stabilized in both areas.  What’s more, the doctor said that if we make it to 36 weeks we can discuss removing medications and restrictions so that I don’t go over term. The reality of how close this is sent excitement through us and joy at what we have accomplished. We’re in the home stretch!

Through this we had such an incredible support group with family, friends, neighbors, and our church. I am one of the fortunate women who works for a supportive association that has allowed me to continue working from home. Not many women have that and I am very thankful for them and my staff for being there to keep things running.

The sequel will discuss the emotional side of this experience and what I have learned. Having been in this frightening situation, it is my hope that someone in a similar situation might stumble upon this blog and realize there is hope and that it will be okay. The internet is a pretty scary place for people in our situation. It’s easy to become hysterical reading some of the forums. I don’t recommend it.

I have felt such incredible love and kindness. For a girl who has a life time struggle with not feeling important, the people in my life helped me feel like I do matter. Thank you.

On and Off Needles

It’s March in Tennessee, that time when the weather is schizophrenic, unable to discern if it wants to be winter or spring. The same can be said for my knitting. I’m completing winter wear and have transitional wear on my needles. It’s been a wonderful winter season of knitting and I’ve stepped into what I believe to be intermediate knitting. I only say that because of the never-ending cowl that involves an eyelet pattern. There is still so much to learn, but I have a feeling that with the art comes the fact that you never say, “there, I’ve completed knitting, there’s nothing else to learn and nothing new to enjoy.” That’s the beauty of it and I am thrilled at the prospect of improving my skill.

March also means the premier of Doctor Who. My husband and I are excitedly awaiting the madcap adventures of The Doctor. I’m experiencing what I can only assume is withdrawal, or maybe it’s my Lenten fast that’s creating the jitters. BBC America doesn’t show repeats On Demand at the moment and I need some Doctor Who in a big way. Regardless, I should get my chocolate chip cookies and Doctor Who simultaneously come Easter. What I don’t get in brain drool and high caloric intake, I do get in knitting projects. Here’s a count of my latest work:

I completed Calvin’s wool fingerless gloves:

Wool Fingerless Gloves
Wool Fingerless Gloves

My first pair of adult sized gloves went rather well, raw fingers aside. Calvin loves them too. When I finished he wore them while he watched T.V. and I would catch him out of the corner of my eye looking down and admiring them. Throughout the days he would remark on them, “my hands never felt so warm.” It’s a blessing that I’m with someone who appreciates what I do, I had far too many relationships where that wasn’t the case.

Another project I’m working on and one that has been my greatest challenge to date is the Canaletto Cowl. The first project I have ever knit for myself is taking an infinity to finish, pun intended.

I had to restart this project five times, actually I lost count, it could have been six or seven times that I had to rip it out. I was making all kinds of protesting noises and looked to the animals for guidance. Felicity was no help, she just squinted at me in typical feline derision and went back to sleep. Motherwell just looked confused and in an effort to help, waddled over, pawed at the yarn, and then flopped down to snuggle. Ada was the only one who seemed concerned as she stood there and whimpered.  I’ve kept plugging along though and it’s probably riddled with mistakes, but I’ll just take that as another lesson in letting go.

This free pattern is from the Tricksy Knitter, Megan Goodacre. She is awesome. I LOVE and adore her work. Here’s a link to the Canaletto Cowl

Another project that I fully addicted to is a pattern from Jane Austen Knits.  Miss Hetty’s Sunday Cuffs may just send me into blindness.

My first attempt at lacework.
My first attempt at lacework.

I’m making the cuffs for my sister. She’s the one who told me about the wonderful seasonal catalog that is produced by Interweave Knits

This pattern and the catalog are so Anna.

I’m also working on a yarn bomb installation for the ‘hood. We are part of a marathon route and I have a utility pole that needs dressing. I have rainbow-colored acrylic yarn that will be a perfect addition to the gorilla art that will decorate Parkridge. Since we are on a time crunch, I hit the jackpot at Nostalgia with a box of granny squares. It feels a little like cheating, but considering we have less than a month to get the installation knit and installed, I’ll just have to get over it. Anyway, I will have the time and plenty of inanimate objects to cover in the future.

I am anxiously awaiting my Doctor Who bags from Slipped Stitch Studios. I have so many projects on needles that I could really use their organizing skills. I’m so excited, they should arrive this month and I can’t wait to share them with you all.

On knitting, and what the heck is a Whovie?

As I mentioned in the previous post my intention for this blog is to have a creative outlet, share myself authentically and honestly, and inspire a few people who actually take the time to read my musings.

The other purpose of this blog is knitting. I’m still a novice, and I know that after 8 months of knitting (I started June 2012), I LOVE this art form. I’m one of those people who sees knitting and fiber arts as both craft and art. Knitting is incredibly relaxing for me. It is a confidence builder and it also teaches me how to let go of control and attachment. When you spend days, sometimes weeks, knitting something only to have to rip it out, you learn pretty quickly to let it be and start over. Acceptance doesn’t make it less frustrating, I started over 5 times with my recent project and now I’m at the point where I’m just going to live with the mistakes, and it’s riddled with them.

I have recently been asked to submit an article for an online magazine that features people who are beginning something, be it knitting, painting, ukulele…blogging. Stay tuned for that article. I will publish it here and it will give you more insights into my over the top love affair with yarn and needles.

I imagine when I first started this blog people wondered what is she talking about? What is a Whovie? I imagine you had visions of technicolor little folk with flowers sprouting out of their heads, little mouse like features and furry faces who hold hands and sing around Christmas trees, and eat roast beast. As much as I admire Dr. Seuss, I’m not referring to Whoville. I’m talking about Doctor Who:

The Doctors Wife: one of my favorite episodes.

This image is from the episode, The Doctors Wife. The TARDIS takes on humanoid form. This episode was written by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. What is a TARDIS you say? It stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space and it is Doctor Who’s time machine. It’s bigger on the inside, too.

Here is the 10th Doctor with his TARDIS:

I love this color of blue. I plan on knitting a scarf this color.

Doctor Who airs on BBC America and was originally on PBS when I was a kid. I used to watch it with my dad, which is one of the fondest memories I have of him. It is the longest running sci-fi show having aired in the 1950’s.

To put it plainly: Doctor Who is a Time Lord, a time traveler, from Gallifrey. He travels the universe, usually with a companion, saving worlds from certain destruction and he is saving his beloved Earth on a regular basis. Also, he is immortal, so to speak. He has different incarnations. We are now on our 11th Doctor.

Doctor Who fans are referred to as Whovies and my husband and I are HUGE Doctor Who fans. To put this into context, we dressed up for Halloween–I was the TARDIS and Calvin was The Doctor. And no, I didn’t wear a painted box as Calvin suggested, I bought a dress and I looked pretty darn cute.

Thanks to Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor) and his fabulous knit scarf:


Doctor Who and knitting will often go hand in hand. There are so many references to the Time Lord and knitting: patterns, decorated store front windows at LYS’s (Local Yarn Shop’s), and yarn dyed TARDIS blue. This yarn is most certainly on my list of never ending knitting paraphernalia that I want to buy.

I am anticipating my knitting bags in March. They are toile fabric with images relating to the Doctor. They can’t get here fast enough. Here’s a sneak peek:


I found this great blog called Knitting to Stay Sane. She cracks me up. I have posted a link below about her thoughts on being a beginner. I’ve already started practicing some of her suggested goals on how to move past being a novice. After reading this I see that perhaps I’ve begun to step into a intermediate beginner.

On not being a beginner anymore.