Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Christmas holidays started a day early for the boys (snow). Somehow DH made it home from Kent Fri 18th Dec and never left again for 2 weeks (snow, holidays, work shut....).
Into January, two days of school done....more snow! Kids home another 3 days and DH stuck in Kent this time.
Another day off school last week due to a power cut and we're already half way through the month.....
I thought snow days were supposed to get spent curled up on the sofa knitting or stitching, not fixing laptops and dealing with extra piles of soggy washing (two teenage boys anyone?)
So quiet time; time to think at last.
Time to pull out all those half finished projects and see if they are worth finishing or should be ditched. A small pile of knitted oddments that need sewing up and in some cases blocking. Pudsey bears with no eyes (or arms). A huge pile of recent stash that needs project ideas. Skeins needing a ball winder and swift. And for some reason a small pile of half finished cross stitch and needlepoint projects keep appearing out of boxes in front of me......
Time to trim the Ravelry queue and add some new ones, because it's funny how you can lose all interest in some designs in the space of a year, but be completely inspired by new ones.
But perhaps more importantly time to be positive again, to enjoy being creative and sharing the results, because I've had enough of being dragged down by the negativity and stresses of daily life and missing out on what I enjoy most.
Monday, 13 July 2009
It's Ben's last week at primary school- he starts secondary school in September. After nine years association with the school it will be odd saying goodbye to everyone there for me too.
Jonathan finishes Year 8 in style; scuba diving on Wednesday and a day trip to Boulogne on Thursday.....as his school has it's first case of swine flu today, I'm hoping we get through to Friday unscathed.
It's going to be a busy holiday; several camping trips planned, including one big meet up of all the cousins again (only this time camping in Lincolnshire). Should be chaos and great fun, with one of the little ones celebrating her 3rd birthday while we are all together (anyone know how to make cakes on a gas stove??!!) Numerous days out too; knitting in Thetford Forest, on Southwold beach and at Leeds Castle all looking likely. Although I think knitting on a river cruise might be pushing it a bit!
I have just signed up for the Socktopus Mystery Shawl KAL twibe on Twitter. Still haven't got to grips with all the Twitter features (I only worked out what RT meant this morning!) so a twibe might be a challenge, but at least I got signed up first try. Not sure how I'm going to read lace charts on my mobile, as at least one update will co-incide with sitting in a field somewhere, but it will be good to have a deadline to knit to over the holidays; it's about time I got my a**e in gear and finished something!! Just got to decide between buying something special or raiding the stash..... Skein Queen, Yarn Yard or Natural Dye Studio?
Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Bathroom nearly done now, just a couple of areas needing a top coat of paint and a floor to put down.
New combi boiler up and running; while youngest was away on a residential trip last week we pulled out half the house for the plumber. The 2-3 day job actually ended up taking four and he left 5 minutes after I went to pick up Ben (and his oversize case) from school on Friday afternoon. So much for getting the house straight before the weekend....
So since Friday I have been putting back-
the airing cupboard- now lacking all pipes and a hot water tank but with the addition of two coats of white emulsion,
and half the kitchen - pulled out for new pipes behind the cupboards,
tidying the loft- more free space where both the header tank and cold water tank once sat (oh, and there's a perfect hole for nesting blue tits in the fascia boards where the overflow once went..)
the box room- i.e. my stash room. Full of yarn/cross stitch/tapestry and craft stuff. Which all had to come out so new valves could be fitted to the radiator.
It didn't like it. The stash that is, not the radiator. I think there must be some great unwritten rule of stashing that says what comes out will not necessarily go back in...I'm still working on that one. Mind you I did find quite a few unfinished treasures....
No more disruption for a while, thank goodness. Fingers crossed. Touch wood.
Our plumber, Mark is a wonderful guy. He spends a fair amount of time teasing me about all the wool, but understands fully what it's like to be obsessed by something. His great passion is photography and some of his pictures are stunning. The kingfishers are my favourite. They were actually nesting on the banks of the River Colne running through the bottom of Castle Park here in Colchester, so I was able to show Mark where they were and those shots were the result. Oh, yes and he's my Mum's cousin's son-in-law (is that a second cousin once removed?!) and I was a bridesmaid at his wedding when I was 16!! Perhaps I should find a copy of that photo to post!
It's wonderful sitting here at 9pm at night, being cool for a change after baking for another day running. Not a fan of hot weather. Too hot to knit, anyway, or sleep. I put the pool up this morning for the kids, who came in from school, jumped in it and stopped there for nearly two hours! It did however take almost 3 hours to fill up which somehow makes you feel guilty for using such a lot of water.....
....which reminds me I should try and get round the allotment again soon. I did go last week, honest, but by the time I'd dug up several pounds of Swift potatoes, covering the camera in soil probably didn't seem like a good idea. The first courgettes are still in the fridge.....great fun for the kids to grow, but not our favourite veg to eat.....and no doubt we will be inundated with them for the rest of the summer! Why can't the peas grow as well? Three pea pods won't go very far. A dozen raspberries however are fantastic, especially straight off a sun drenched cane. Strawberries are the same; they taste of sunshine, as if such a thing were possible! And why is it that digging up spuds feels like you've found gold? Oh, look..... there's one, and another and another.. and is that one there? Yes! That's a big one! Add that to the pile and all of a sudden you've a carrier bag full.....
Knitting? What knitting?! I did sort out the Swallowtail shawl after realising I'd done too many repeats of the budding lace and had to pull back a couple of inches....only to get the pattern wrong on the Lily of the Valley and the nupps in the wrong place...frogged again! Not meant to get that one finished any time soon obviously....
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
The sea of forget-me-nots....
gave way to lupins...
and daisies (whose proper name I can never remember!).....
to be followed by these most fantastic foxgloves....
And that's just the 1/8th devoted to flowers!
We have had a slow, but steady stream of strawberries, three cabbages (well OK, they were more like spring greens) and the first couple of pounds of Swift first early pototoes. Apparently there are sweetcorn, tomatoes, raspberries and runner beans all starting to form too.....perhaps I'd better get round there in the next couple of days for some fruit and veg photos!
And it's still not quite a full year since we were given the plot....
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
After pulling off all the old tiles and removing anything not screwed down, it looked a bit like this..
and after the plumber had removed all but the essentials it got even worse...
We were flushing the loo with a bucket and cleaning our teeth under the bath tap for a week, while the new plaster dried out!
The new shower unit and doors were finally fitted last week only to find it leaked and we had water dripping through the living room ceiling (thank goodness for silicone sealant!)
Despite a couple of persistent dribbles we now have a usable shower, the return of a radiator and a loo that actually flushes twice in two minutes; the old one took ten just to fill up, and it looks a bit like this...
A vast improvement!
(Floor still to do..)
It has taken a lot of organising; a lot of decisions (who knew there was so much choice of loos, tiles and blue paint?!) and a lot of stress. We ended up in MacDonalds for tea on several occasions when work overran into the evening and some days I have just had to stay out of the house altogether (it's difficult being in with no loo and no water on) leaving my Dad in charge! Dad has been here a large chunk of every weekday in that 10 weeks; pulling off old tiles, painting and doing a fantastic job of the tiling. Thanks Dad!
But all the disruption has left little time for anything else after the basic household chores have been fitted in. I actually picked up a book yesterday for the first time in months, Love Letters by Katie Fforde, and have looked at my sadly neglected Swallowtail Shawl in the hope of figuring out where I left it in March.....
nope, no idea....
might just have to start these Anarchy Mitts in Skein Queen Blissful instead....
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Although to be fair there has been little of interest to report; just a chaos of commitments or a mayhem of the mundane......appointments of all sorts; doctors, nurse, blood tests, opticians.
School activities; parents evenings , out of school trips and concerts.
Household tasks; de-cluttering (again), spring cleaning (of sorts) and lots of gardening, both chopping down shrubs and bushes in the garden to shifting wheelbarrows full of mushroom compost for the allotment (smelly), chitting potatoes and planting seeds.
Technical hitches; a laptop stuck in a boot loop and a
Factor in a couple of more fundamental problems like ongoing health issues which are leaving me increasingly disillusioned with the NHS, and some relationship ones, which are sucking all the joy out of life and making even the everyday problems more difficult to deal with and it has been a trying few weeks.
All of which means knitting has been rather overlooked and blogging even more so.
Still no matter how chaotic or fraught things get, at this time of year you only have to look round the garden to lift your spirits...
which is probably just as well , given that one corner of the bathroom looks like this...
all that remains of the shower after the tray cracked at the weekend.
And in a perfect example of the domino effect we are now looking at having to have the bathroom completely refitted and a new boiler put in all in the next few weeks, which might mean having to reorganise the kitchen too!
It also looks like the insurance company might be finally getting their butts into gear and getting the work done on the drains pretty soon (it's only been a year since we saw rats running around the garden after all), which will involve digging up both front and back garden.
So the mayhem looks like continuing for a while yet, although I suspect it will be as far removed from mundane as it's possible to get....
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
It really is gorgeous; lighter in weight than I had imagined, but really warm to wear and the colours look fantastic together. The small splash of green and silver against the reds really bring it to life. Martin did such a good job of picking out the perfect combination. It fits perfectly too...
Now you're going to ask which shades we used aren't you? The Kid Classic for the cable border is #825 Crushed Velvet and the Felted Tweed is #150 Rage, with oddments of Herb, Treacle and Ginger for leaves (if I can remember correctly!)
1. A sunny day,
2. A day when you actually have free time,
3. A photography assistant; the self timer is all very well, but usually requires taking at least five for every one usable finished shot!
And as things have been pretty chaotic and fraught round here recently (but more on that another time) getting them posted comes a long way down the To Do list.
But, hey, better late than never...
designed by Shannon Okey and knitted in Rowanspun Aran Shade #964 Atlantic on 5mm Knitpicks Options and bamboo DPNs for the sleeves. I used almost all of my seven skeins, 700g, but I deliberately made the body longer to use it all.
Did I enjoy knitting it? Definitely! I always judge how much I'm enjoying a project by how fast it grows.....and you can't get much faster than a jacket in a month!
Have I worn it since? Yes, for my visit to Rowan where it attracted a fair bit of interest and some very encouraging comments; Martin Storey was quite taken with it (which pleased Shannon no end when I told her!)
Would I change anything? I would definitely knit more rows on the body before starting the cable feature and the pleats. The cables sit in the small of my back and a bit above the waist rather than on it. I would have liked the cables on my waist, I think.
I made quite a few modifications: I used moss stitch instead of garter stitch round the neck, worked the underarm cable pattern down each front, knitted on a ten stitch wide moss stitch button/buttonhole band as I went and added a moss stitch border to both the bottom of the jacket and the sleeves. I also used yo's for my raglan increases.
While adding on the button bands during knitting worked well, the horizontal holes are pulling a bit with the weight of the garment . Knitting the bands on after would give vertical holes which might not pull as much. The alternative would simply be to make them smaller I suppose.
I did try to write up some of my adaptations, but as I'm not a pattern writer or tech editor and most of my brain cells seem to have taken a vacation in recent weeks I didn't get very far; perhaps another time I'll get to grips with it!