What to knit when you’ve lost your mind

baby wearing purl soho toque

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve come to a decidedly unfeminist conclusion:
Pregnancy makes you stupid.

Once your body starts the all-important, all-consuming, beautifully miraculous task of cooking up a human being, it figures you’ll have no more use for that brain of yours.

My math skills went early. By the end of the first trimester I had to pull out a calculator to subtract 2 from 39.5. I figured I could probably do it, but I just didn’t trust myself with that pesky little .5 at the end.

Next, went my words. Through the second and third trimesters I found myself searching for common nouns, pointing at objects to fill in the blanks in my sentence, mixing up family members’ names and sounding more and more like my mother.

My brain hit peak dumbness after baby boy arrived. Shrouded in the thick fog of sleep deprivation, I could barely manage my email password. My linguistic output was limited to parroted oohs, aahs, gurgles and heehees. It had been many weeks since I’d attempted to knit anything: the very notion of having to read and interpret a knitting pattern felt like advanced calculus.

But at about four weeks postpartum my fingers started jonesing for some wool. Any knitter deprived of knitting for long enough can relate to that yarny itch. I had started this sweater a while back and figured the miles of stockinette stitch would be a reasonable choice for a sleepy half-wit. Boy was I wrong.

It had felt so good to be knitting again. Like that first bike ride in spring after a winter of lumbering around in clunky boots: I was flying! Row after row, speeding past! A blur of fingers! A knitting ninja!

Except, when it came time to join the pieces at the underarm, something was off. I spread the knitting out flat, I spun it around, I turned it inside out, I folded it one way then the other. Yes, after having grown and birthed a baby I had experienced some remarkable anatomical transformations, but none that warranted replacing a neck hole with an armscye! None that would have me fitting into the strange moebius strip of fabric I had produced.

Somewhere along the way I had attached one part of the sweater to another part that had no business being anywhere near the first part. It was less sweater and more “art piece”.

There was no saving it. I was done for. Mind = gone.

But at least the consolation prize is pretty good. And cute to boot.

baby wearing purl soho toque

  • Pattern: Purl Soho Garter Ear Flap Hat
  • Size: Baby
  • Yarn: Leftover Cascade 220
  • Needles: 4mm & 4.5mm
  • Notes: A cute, and most importantly, super simple pattern. Clever short row ear flaps. Barely any need to reference the pattern once you’ve read it through once: safe to knit when you’ve lost your brain. I worried the tassel was a bit silly at first, but now I think it makes it adorably gladiator-like. Works up slightly larger than I expected: room to grow.


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Emperor; New clothes


When I become emperor, my first order of business will be the total overhaul of television news.

Extraneous personal commentary on the temperature and weather will be outlawed. Data will be read and weather pattern charts will be shown without editorialization, without perky comments and without judgement. Smiling during weather reports will be eliminated.

Precipitation will be referred to as a “storm” only when it is, in fact, storm like.


Additionally, tracking shots of reporters strolling down streets or through the newsroom will be banned. Ian Hanomansing will no longer be allowed to wander aimlessly through rows of cubicles, searching for, but never quite reaching any destination in particular. He will be forcibly tethered to a chair in front of a nondescript background. He will not be allowed access to any kind of interactive “magical” board either.

Reporters will be tasked with listening to their own words as they say them rather than filling in “news like” cadences with “newsy” words.

If there is nothing to be said, no one will say anything. In fact, each 24 hour news channel will be subject to a 20% total silence quota for each day.


When I become emperor, I will additionally outlaw any perfume or scented lotion that can be smelled at a distance greater that 30 cm from the body. Coconut or fruit inspired perfumes will be destroyed. Any such fragrance worn on public transportation, particularly during the morning hours, will be viewed as the intentional and flagrant skirting of the law and will be punished accordingly.

Also, peeing on a public toilet seat will be a capital offense.

When I become emperor, this country will be a better place for the little man who fits in this sweater. He just doesn’t know it yet. He’ll thank me later, I’m sure.

  • Pattern: Henry’s Sweater. (Made for a baby named Henry!!)
  • Size: Larger size, 6-12 months, but my gauge was tight so it came out closer to the 3-6 month size
  • Yarn: 100% Wool: Patons Classic Wool Worsted, Colour 224 Grey Mix, lot 244077?
  • Needles: 4mm, with some use of 3.75mm on purl rows to try to combat my rowing out.
  • Notes: Not a terrible pattern (it’s free after all), but really not the best. No final measurements are given which is a bit frustrating: babies are a strange and mysterious shape. The buttonholes have you cast off then cast back on: I “yo and k2tog”-ed instead. I added a garter border to the front flaps as well: the pattern doesn’t have you do anything to the edge to prevent rolling.


I was feeling a bit self-conscious about my loose purl rows while I knit this. The slightly smaller needles helped, but didn’t totally eliminate the problem and all I could see were stubborn stripes every place I had knitted flat.

As I finished up the little cardigan, I happened to be lent a copy of Yarn-i-tec-ture: A knitter’s guide to spinning: building exactly the yarn you want. A serendipitous gift because… what do pages 122-123 contain? Pictures of sample after sample of obviously loose purl rows in stockinette! Loose purl rows in a glossy hardcover! Photographed and printed like it was totally normal and cool!

I felt better.

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Little Mr. Proper Pants

Owen's vest detail

A little human is brewing in my cousin’s belly.

A little human made up of all those usual people parts (presumably): two legs, two arms, two eyes… and all those other people parts: love, hunger, humour, curiosity…

A little human – a whole goshdarnit person- tiny enough to fit in this little widdle vesty thing. Or so I’m told.

Owen's vest Front

  • Pattern: Junior (free drops pattern)
  • Size: 6-9 months
  • Yarn: Drops Baby Merino, Colour 20, Dyelot 64897
  • Needles: 3mm for body, 2.5mm for ribbing

Owen's vest Back

This yarn was so deliciously round and springy that as I knit up my swatch I felt like I was sinking my fingertips directly into the back of the beautifully plump merino whence it came.

A warning though: it’s a cable plied yarn and a bit overplied (giving it that scrumptious roundness), but this means it’s still a little energized and does skew slightly when knitted up. You can see a bit of twist in the stockinette bottom portion, but nothing unbearable.

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