Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Early Pressie

I saw this over on Rebecca's site. I thought it was really cool, and pretty much sums up some of the things that are important to me. Rebecca was in a sharing mood and invites others to grab her button. What a great Christmas pressie. Thank you Rebecca.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Note to self – Never volunteer for anything. I need to remember this next Christmas before I go and volunteer my services as director of the Church Nativity pageant. Not I must add because I don’t enjoy it, I do, but the stress levels of others including our wonderful vicar leads me to wonder whether they might be better off with someone else.
Having been lucky enough to get the honour twice before I know the dynamics involved. I know although it still surprises everyone else that there’s not much point in over rehearsing. November is springtime in NZ and the start of good weather. Most parents are quick to recognise the sun and head for outdoor adventures. This means that while there are a lot of three and four year olds left anyone capable of speaking more than a word or two is playing sport, sailing or just enjoying being outside after the long winter.
So if there are rehearsals in November they must take on a more flexible structure. Every child will play every part at some point and you will never have an entire cast present. Having played a variety of parts the children will be totally confused and likely to forget which part they are actually playing on the day.
To overcome this I hold just two rehearsals. One to give out the parts, (knowing full well that these people will not be the ones playing the part on the day) they will with out doubt either be sick or away for the actual performance. The other, is a dress rehearsal the day before the performance. If I’m lucky for the dress rehearsal I will have roughly half the cast and maybe a shepherd or two. I might even have some musicians. If I’m really lucky the main characters turn up and not just one king and one shepherd. Try doing the nativity without Mary, Joseph or the angel Gabriel and see how interesting it is.
If I’m unlucky all I’ve got is a handful of cute angels and sheep and very little else. It then turns into a rehearsal for me. Which surprisingly I don’t need. I also don’t need lots of helpful suggestions as to how we might fill in the gaps created by the lack of cast. Of course I can give out extra parts so that the donkey also has to read and be a shepherd, but is that really going to help with the final performance.
Perhaps there’s a magical equation at work here that I am not aware of that means simply by doing a run through with the wrong people in the wrong parts at the wrong time everything will fall into the correct alignment on the day. Sadly my experience is that on the day we will do yet another change as the original cast turn up or the stand bys are now absent.
It looks like a chaotic mess, probably because it is exactly that but until someone works out how to ensure 100% attendance during November and the dress rehearsal it’s the best I can do.
I don’t stress. I know that somehow with a lot of prodding, hissing and hands on directing it will look ok. And I do mean hands on. But judging by the painfully pinched expression on the vicar’s face she’s not that sure. She makes some suggestions, clearly unaware that the donkey already doing three roles cannot dance as well even if it does look a bit static at that point. What does she expect? Swan lake? Even if I followed her suggestions it would all go pear shaped in the morning. I am much better sticking to my original simple plan. One verse sung by all the children. One dance by three girls and narrators reading from a script, cut into handy individual sections so a stand in can simply be given their part to read.
This year on the morning of the performance, just as we got ready to go up on stage Mary was sick. Literally. See how lucky I am. With a flash of divine intervention or desperation I allocated the part to the only child I knew I could without a doubt, hiss frantic directions at. My own seven year old, who looked a tad stunned to be flung into the main part but had at least attended all rehearsals and had been there at all my production meetings. These are meetings I have with myself as I plan what I’m going to do. I try not to communicate these ideas to anyone else and that way they can’t tell if the pageant went to plan or not. Cunning eh?
My other two girls were already strategically placed and briefed to prod and position the cast as necessary. One was the multi talented donkey and the other a slightly bigger angel.
It went well as always: despite the lack of rehearsal time, the impromptu nature of casting decisions and my laisse faire attitude. It was good because with a bit of structure, a touch of music and a heap of cute kids being watched by adoring parents how could it be anything else?
Any volunteers for next year?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An award

Thank you so much to Jane over at Crafty Conundrum for this lovely award. I really appreciate it. There are so many blogs that I visit and enjoy that picking some to pass it onto would be a mammoth task. If I visit you regularly then consider yourself awarded.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Motivation needed

It appears to have packed up early for the Christmas season and left without so much as a post it note, or Christmas card. I have almost finished the Hoodie for Sydney's Christmas present. All the knitting is done, all the ends sew in, the shoulders, sides and one sleeve are sewn in, but for the last three evenings I have just looked at it. Worse I have put it in a plastic bag as if to say I'm done with it.
I just can't seem to muster the motivation to spend an hour sewing in that last sleeve. I know I have to, or be down a present, but my new projects are way more interesting. Another Skirt,, see I did say I was addicted, I just love the way I don't have to stop and think and because I know it has to be long, I don't stop and measure every few rows either. It truly allows me to switch off. But I am also challenging myself again and have cast on for a cute summer top found in the same Issue of Creative Knitting that the Hoodie came from. It's a four row lace pattern with rib bodice, that I am knitting in Patons Serenity colourway periwinkle blue. It's the softest bamboo and cotton blend. It didn't come from my stash although it should ahve as I did have some serenity in there just not the colour I wanted. Bad knitter.
So how do you get motivated to finish off projects? I need a few tips here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Christmas Story for people having a bad day:

A Christmas Story for people having a bad day:

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?'

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

I do enjoy Christmas really, but having lived with a Grinch for several years my enjoyment has been sorely damaged.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Or at least trying to. That's what I've been doing over the last few weeks. The weather here in NZ has finally turned on the heat after some quite dull and lack weeks and everyone is looking for opportunities to be outside. It's so lovely to be able to sit and knit with the warmth of the sun on my arms.
I am still trying to figure out a way of taking my beautiful machine outside so I can sew in the sun but the lack of a deck or a long enough extension lead means the sewing machine has to stay quietly inside while I play with yarn in the garden. Of course I have to work too so it's not as if I only sit catching rays and knitting away. It just seems that way.
This was hot off the needles last week

This skirt was just so easy to make. I cast on 160 stitches and did ten rounds. I then folded it in half and did a round knitting into the cast on stitches to form the waistband. Then it was just round and round and round until it was the right length, basically once I was bored with it. The frill was just knit 2 p2 for a round then a round making one stitch on the second knit, then a round of knitting 3 then a round of making one stitch, then knitting 4 etc repeated until I was knitting 8 between the purls. I hope that's clear, I didn't have a pattern to follow but used techniques from other things. Paige loves this black skirt and swears it's too short for me and that I should let her have it. No way! I love it. It's a cotton acrylic blend that was fab to knit with and has just a little bit of stretch making it super comfy to wear. I have however bought more of the same yarn and will see if I can whip one up in time for Christmas.
I wondered about embellishing it with something but what?? Any ideas?

And finally after what feels like months I can show you the red skirt. It's the bell curved skirt from Knitty but I didn't do as many increases as I wanted a more streamlined look. I feel though I should have made this skirt a bit longer, but with boots it might just work.

It's curling a little which might be the yarn, hopefully it will settle down after a wash, otherwise I will do a row of crochet to see if that helps.

I think I might be addicted. Now perhaps it's time to try and sew a skirt.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


you just have to bite the bullet. I missed my sewing machine more than I ever thought I would. I suddenly had a rash of ideas for things to make and sew. Knitting just wasn't enough. Something had to be done. Credit card debt be dammed. Or perhaps not.
I rang the insurance company and they said that yes the machine was covered on my policy. Hurrah. But I only had a Cascade, a low level cheap as chips machine. No worries said the insurance company, if you can't replace your Cascade, and I can't ( sob,sob not, little dance of joy around the room) then we will cover the cost of another machine so long as it isn't excessive. OK so not the $12000 one then. I guess I can settle for something a bit less flash.
Faster than a greyhound out a trap, or roadrunner getting away from wiley coyote I was at the sewing machine shop in Takapuna. No need to browse, straight to the point. An hour later and I was home again with my new machine.
I have my Bernette 82E and she's just Darling. I love my insurance company, although I still hope the naughty Elf will own up, if only for me to thank them now.
We have been getting along fine, much better than my old Cascade. I swear that machine really did hate me. The Bernette sews straight lines, doesn't tangle the thread, or snap the needle. She's as good as gold. She has a gazillion features like an automatic needle threader and a button so you don't have to use the foot pedal.

I made this nifty little booklet to store my circular needles. I didn't have a pattern and apart for wishing I'd managed to make the pockets face each other I am very happy with the end result.

I also made this knitting needle roll, using the same process I used for the pencil case roll I made Daisy ages ago. This time though I gave the material a bit of a helping hand by ironing on some interfacing so it has more body to it. The cover on my machine was made by Josie

Again I like the way this turned out. My little machine is so clever.

This is going to be a Christmas present for my daughter. She's having teenage issues right now, exams, sisters being annoying, her best friend leaving school and heading to college and on top of that the recession has meant she's lost her after school job in the local wool shop. Hopefully this will bring a smile to her face on Christmas morning.

What's that Mouse?

Yes you bring a smile to my face every time I see you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I don't know what I did

but I am definitely very very sorry. Let me explain. As I have already posted about previously my dear computer went to blog and browse in the great webland in the sky. I looked around, counted the cents carefully, then recounted to be sure and decided that the budget could just stretch to a new box. Just!
However DH wanted more and so took the new computer into the repair shop and had extra memory added, plus the old puta's hard drive copied and loaded. He wanted a faster sleeker machine with everything he'd had before.
Hmmm that doubled the price of the new computer and left me feeling seriously short of cash. I am the only person earning in our house. Still never mind I am clever and female. I can save a bit of money by sewing a few Christmas presents. Great idea.
Except someone, and no-one in our house did it, crept into the house, obviously while we were all there as there was no evidence of forced entry, dropped my sewing machine on its end, cracking the casing and slamming the turning circle inwards so it won't move anymore. Then and this is the clever part, they picked it back up, placed it on the sewing table as it had been, replaced the cover carefully so the damage wouldn't be discovered until someone, (ME,) went to use it. So to the gremlin, pixie, elf or who ever I've upset can I please tell you I am very sorry. Oh and could you please pop by in the same manner as before and replace my broken machine with a a nice new Bernette 82E.

Or if I haven't been good enough for that then a Bernette 56. Please.
Or this very sweet pink machine

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What a lot of extra time

I seem to have found. Nothing at all to do with not being able to spend hours blogging or checking out Ravelry. Nope someone has clearly added several hours to each day for me to enjoy. I have been busy although that just costs me more as I have a need to fill the perceived void created by daring to use anything from the stash. Clearly the balance of the universe is at state should this stash equilibrium not be maintained at all times.
I have finished the Second bell curve skirt and when Puta II arrives ( along with the lottery win and all my ships come in) I will post a picture. I love the shade of red I chose. It quite deep and is going to look fab with boots. I have also knitted a black cotton skirt with a ruffle. Sorry to leave you imagining but it will be worth it. I am almost finished with a hoodie from the new Patons range. It's for Sydney my 15 year old daughter who was complaining I never knitted anything for her anymore. I'm using smoothie and so far I am impressed by the yarn. It has a cotton feel even though it is, dare I say it, 100% acrylic. I have found though that it looks nicer and flatter when knitted in the round rather than back and forth, but that could be linked to my left handed way of knitting. I have also found it seems quicker on metal needles instead of my beloved bamboo. I found this out by accident as my bamboo circulars snapped halfway through a round and I had to do an emergency transfer to the nearest set of needles which happened to be steel.
I have also been reading. See I told you more hours had been added. My current book is the latest offering by Barbara Erskine, The Warrior's Princess.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gone but not forgotten

We are sad and mourn the loss of our dear friend Puta, even though there were times we fell out, when Puta stubbornly refused to respond to simple commands like save or end. When Puta took delight in hiding folders or forgetting to save, or taking her own sweet time to load pages. Through the dark times when some nasty words were said, and some ugly threats made we never believed the end would come so soon. We thought we had forever, she was still young barely out of warranty. We didn't realise how much we loved Puta till she decided to play her trump card and left for Motherboard heaven in the sky, where now she can play with megabytes and ram and her disk is for eternity. We who are left behind must carry on but it is so hard without her. I can't blog, or email, I can't go on ravelry. I cannot write and that leaves a huge hole in my life. One day, when the time is right we will let another Puta into our lives. But not just yet, we have to let go first.
Oh and save up the money of course.
Just one of the reasons why I've been a bit cyber quiet lately.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Monster post

What Your Cute Monster Says About You

You are a giving, open, loving person. You truly want the world to be a better place.

You appreciate what you have in life. You are very content.

Your inner demon is sensitivity. You are very sensitive, and your sensitivity can be a double edged sword.

People think you're cute because you're generous. You are easy to love - it's part of your charm.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I love swaps

I actually received this swap a couple of weeks ago but time has been on the elusive side. I can say no when absolutely necessary or when it's something awful, but I am a sucker when it's right up my alley so to speak. So I found myself being swamped with requests to "entertain" children because I was teacher and therefore must be good at it. Hmmm. I don't think I quite entertained a class but still...
I am not complaining, even though it has made life rushed and complicated and the craziness carries on for a couple more weeks or so.
The swap was from Laurie in the USA and was part of the magazine swap arranged by Periwinkle. I didn't get my name down for the original swap but held my hand up a bit late. Laurie and I agreed that we wanted to do an exchange straight away and then another one nearer Christmas. I think I did rather well. I am still pouring over the magazines and especially the Ring O Tara skirt. I think it looks fabulous but I can't quite afford to knit it just yet. It's a possum and Merino blend which is selling here for $15.00 for 50 grams. I need a 600 grams so 12 x $15.00. It's on the wish list.

I am keeping an eagle eye out for bits to pop in Laurie's next swap, the magazine part is easy.
I love the yarn she included as well and have a number of ideas as to what I might like to make with them.
I have been enjoying my Simply Knitting subscription from the UK as well. I have so many projects ticked and marked that it can seem a bit like wading through mud with progress. This sock calendar is going to get a lot of wear and tear especially as I intend to master knitting socks with two circular needles.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The things kids say

This week has been crazily busy and I am suffering withdrawal symptoms from lack of blogging activity. I really miss my daily dose of fun and laughter and have decided to do my best to visit a few and quell my addiction for a while until I get back to regular doses.
So in order to be quick I want to share something that had us laughing in our house. Our seven year old daughter was looking through the desk diary and came across the personal information which we had left blank. Being quite a precise little soul she immediately wanted to fill in the answers. Name, address, telephone, no problems. Blood group she happily accepted the answers 06 and 96. Then it went into renewals. Passport, medical, dental, all easy enough. Then a moment's silence. The next words were, " Mummy when's your next Flu Vacation."
I not sure if that's when the flu leaves for its summer break or perhaps it's the next time we fly? When we stopped laughing to check we saw that she'd misread vaccination for vacation.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just horsing around

Mouse just loves animals. She's a very friendly dog and likes nothing more than to take a trot around the room on her very own horse.

But as every horse man or woman knows riding is exhausting work

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Take two

I love my bell curve skirt so much that I just have to have another one. It's such a versatile piece. I didn't think I would like a knitted skirt. I mean there are lots of saggy droopy images that spring to mind when you think of wool and a skirt, but the bell curve is just great to wear. It feels feminine and stylish. With a t-shirt it does for hanging round the house, add a shirt or a smart jumper and heels and it takes you on a more formal setting. It looks good all day, doesn't crease and surprisingly doesn't get too warm. I have learnt to watch my rings as they might just get snagged. I have worn this skirt four times already and the only thing I wish is that I had lined it. Having said that I am going to line it, when I figure out how to do that, as I currently have to hear a slip with it.
So bell curve take two is going to be red. It will match all the grey items I currently wear with take one. It's Pride which is a crepe which means it has a bit of a sheen to it and it can be a little splitty on the Knit 5 togs but it seems fine so far.
I can't wait to wear bell curve take two.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dogs on Thursday bath night

Mouse on Thursday.

DH thought that Mouse smelt less than sweet after a couple of nights playing with her doggy pals on the beach. So just like a baby I put her in the kitchen sink and gave her a bath. She's very good and doesn't create any fuss. In fact despite her face I say she almost enjoys it. Or maybe it's the big treat she knows is on her way, or the snuggle on my lap while I towel dry her.

The look is her long suffering one as I suddenly remember I didn't get a towel ready and have already tipped the water away. Thankfully I have a helpful daughter to hold her while I go rummage.
No sink was harmed in the bathing of this dog.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's time

To show you the skirt I've been working on. I took it to Melbourne and did a large part of it there so I guess it will always have a special place in my heart for that reason alone. It also has the distinction of being one of the few finished pieces that I am truly happy with. It wasn't the easiest of knits, the stars were complicated and awkward to master, but thankfully there were three plain knit rows in between each star row so some relief there.

It's called the Bell Curve Skirt and is a free pattern from Knitty winter 2007.

I love the drape of this, but have to tell you that it took me quite a while to find the right yarn to complete this project. I couldn't get the orginal yarn so I started with Touch a NZ blend of merino in an 8ply. I loved the colour, deep hues of purple with flecks of emerald green, but it just didn't look right. I frogged it and then tried a bobbly yarn in a sage green, this time it was texture that didn't sit right. Not to mention being pretty darn tricky with the stars. I couldn't really move on from the original coulour which was grey. DH was very long suffering as we trawled all the LYS in the area in my hunt for the perfect grey yarn. Well any grey yarn. I found it eventually in the shop on my doorstep. It was Sirdar Countrystyle. I only needed three balls as the meterage was huge, 318 per 100g. If I'd made the skirt an inch shorter I would have got away with just using two.

The pattern came from Knitty
Also Claudia of Mr Puffy has made her own Bell Curve skirt and it just looks super cute on her.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tour of Melbourne

Melbourne made an impact on me from the moment I landed at the airport. I was a bit blown away by how much it made me miss England, so much of its architecture wouldn't have been out of place in London, Liverpool or Oxford, but Melbourne is different. It's like England but with a twist, it's like New Zealand but with more buzz. I loved the place and can't wait to visit again.

Melbourne literally buzzes and pulsates with energy, good wholesome, positive energy. From the rumble of the trams to the hum of the trains life is always on the go and yet it doesn't feel frenetic or stressful.

Melbourne is just such an easy city to be in. You can walk around it and because it's on a block system you can't get lost and very quickly get your bearings. Important for a map impaired person like me. There's a free tram that takes you around the perimeter of the city centre and gives you a commentary on the main sites of interest. Or you can catch the free shuttle bus which goes a little further out. Both are a great way to see Melbourne and you can hop on and off when you like making it perfect for exploring in more detail. It was busy but never aggressive or uncomfortable. You can walk around and savour the cosmopolitan delights of the many cafes. I could not resist a trip to Koko Black where they pour hot chocolate from a pot. Belgian chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate, you get the general idea that there's a lot of chocolate. Simply heavenly.

I only had four days, one of which was spent with my friend from the UK. We hadn't seen each other for four years and it was so good to be able to catch up. She also took me on a whistle stop tour of the Dandernongs, allowing me to see that Australia is a tad greener than I had imagined. I could have happily spent several more days exploring Melbourne. There were so many buildings, statues and let's not forget the shops that I think anyone could take at least a week to exhaust Melbourne's delights.

Parliament house was at the top of the road where my hotel was. I ran past it each morning on my daily run. It's a pretty impressive building, if a little disconcerting to see police on the steps with their guns in holsters.

Cook's cottage in Fitzroy gardens was tiny. Barely two rooms. The gardens themselves are like the rest of Melbourne a blend of the traditional and the more modern, paths zigzag every which way and it takes several hours to discover all the hidden delights. I could go on but I am in danger of sounding like a tourist board advertisement for Melbourne. If you get the chance to visit do so, you will have a great time.

On a knitting front I have finished my Bell curve skirt, pictures to follow soon. I knit it on the plane to and from Melbourne but not much while I was in Melbourne as I was too busy gawping at everything I saw. It looks good and I want to make another one, but with a few adjustments. I'll say what these are when I post pictures.

And finally after what seems like ages I am pleased to announce the winners of my 100th post giveaway.

The winners of the 100th post giveaway are Some of a kind and Jane of Crafty Conundrum Well done ladies, if you drop me an email with your postal details I'll get the items packed up and sent off.
Enjoy your week everyone.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Melbourne was great

I had the best time ever in Melbourne. I cannot tell you all in one post how much I loved the city. It's so difficult to even know where to start. It was just fabulous and I am already planning which bank I shall rob in order to fund a return visit very soon.
Tomorrow I shall announce the lucky winner of the 100th post giveaway.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Trip to Melbourne

I'm off to Melbourne with some ex colleagues from the school I used to teach at. it will also be a chance to catch up with an old friend from the UK. I'll probably be too busy to Blog so I'll see you all when I get back. Hope everyone has a great weekend and a good week ahead.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dogs on Thursday Dress Up

Mouse has fully settled into our home. It's hard to believe we've only had her for a few weeks. It's like she's been here forever.
She is a real character, full of energy and yet not so bouncy she's out of control.

She likes toys with a squeak, such as her rubber chicken and a green crocodile we bought from the local charity shop for a dollar. It's the toy that goes in the car with us for her to play with while we travel or are at a cafe having a drink.

You can see how enthusiastically she 'loves' it.

Although we are moving into Spring here in NZ it can still be a little on the cool side, especially if you are a small dog. As a caring owner it was only right that I do all in my power to protect Mouse from the elements so I knitted her a very snazzy jumper. Despite the woe-be-gone expression she is very grateful for the warmth provided by the jumper. Honestly she is.

However she can't wear the jumper when it's raining, wet wool on wet dog is not a pleasant combination. PHeeww! Hold your noses everyone. So there was only one thing for it. Seeing as I can't knit her a raincoat, and my sewing skills although much improved are still a bit behind such complicated pattern following, I did the next best thing and took her shopping for one.

We tried on many stylish coats, but this was my favourite. I love the faux fur collar and the mesh pockets on wither side where she can carry treats or clean up bags. It's a girly pink so I no longer have to explain she's a girl and it keeps her dry and warm.

Perfect. Isn't she a darling?

Don't forget about my 100th post giveaway. There's still time to enter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A morning stroll

Take one Tonkinese cat,
one Shih Tzu and one Griffin pup.
Add a sunny spring morning, a beach destination and one walk.
Mix together.
What do you get? A potential recipe for disaster?
How so? Let me explain.

Mouse, my four month old Griffin does not like to sleep past 6 am. It’s just not her thing. Her yelps and squeaks wake me. Normally I would ignore such behaviour but I don’t want the whole house awake, and I usually get up early anyway so I’ve been grabbing the opportunity to head on down to the beach ad great the morn with a touch of sun, sea and sand. Just like a real kiwi.
Peri, my ten month old Tonkinese, is not very impressed by this new routine. He much prefers the old one where he lay snuggled into my shoulder until the alarm went off and then lay snuggled on my lap while I drank a cup of tea and read. The first morning we went to the beach he was so put out he went and woke everyone else up so he could complain to them how remiss I was being in attending to his needs. Part of me totally agrees. What was wrong with the previous arrangement? Nothing!
So Sunday morning, Peri had decided that enough was enough. If we weren’t going to be sensible and stay at home he was jolly well going to have to investigate exactly what was going on. He has already taken on the role of guardian of the home and carries out regular patrols only the perimeter of our garden to check for any possible dangers. If the dogs and I were going to disappear each morning then it was up to him to see if we were going to be safe.
I didn’t plan on letting him make such a journey being totally aware of the dangers for me and the dogs (nil). It was also meant to be a girl’s only event.
So we’re heading to the beach, the sun warm on our backs when I became aware of a tinkling sound. At first I thought it was the discs on the dog collars clanking against the lead. Naturally I carried on regardless. So did the tinkling sound. It was early and my brain had clearly not yet fully fired up. It usually takes a couple of ups of earl grey to do that. Perhaps that’s why it took so long to register that the noise was in fact Peri’s bell. I walked to the end of the first street, vaguely aware that I knew that sound, crossed the road, and turned a corner before coming to a grinding halt. Peri wasn’t supposed to be behind me. I turned around. Nothing. The street was empty. A sigh of relief. Just noises. Perhaps it had been the collars after all. The two dogs were looking at me with slightly bemused expressions but they are well used to my moments. I walked on across another road and then looked again. Still nothing. Ok, Must be another cat, after all we can’t be the only ones who put a bell on our cat. But by now my Peri radar was on full alert and sirens blaring. I called his name, and as if from nowhere out he sprang from a nearby hedge, looking very cool and pleased with himself. Champion Cat stalker extraordinaire. I swear he watches too many war movies. I was nowhere near as pleased. Dangers for cats (zillions).
I explained all these dangers patiently to Peri and tried patiently and not so patiently to persuade him of the merits of returning home. His opinion was if he’d come this far he might as well go the rest of the way. If you think I looked strange talking to a cat, with an audience of two dogs then imagine how much stranger I looked several minutes later walking with two dogs at heel and a cat three paces behind.
We made it to the beach and we made it back again. By some miracle we did not cause a traffic accident although one cyclist went round a corner very precariously and with more than a slight wobble to his wheels after catching sight of the entourage.
Next time I go to the beach I’m going to double check that Peri’s still sleeping before I head out the door.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

100th post

Well I've reached that milestone point of one hundred posts. That means a lot of internal ramblings have found their way onto this site and it has been read. It's been good for me to try out some rusty writing skills and to become more comfortable with the computer. I'm still learning!

There's lots to celebrate, meeting lots of new friends, getting a glimpse of how other women think and feel, becoming part of something more than just myself, and being able to let my thoughts escape with out fear of consequence or judgement. Not that I have rose tinted specs on or anything, but the majority of my online blogging experiences spositive.
So in honour of all that and much more I have a few bits and pieces to giveaway.
1) A blue or pink scarf knit with Merino Silk, to a Debbie Bliss Feather and Fan pattern.
2) 50gs (88m) of Patons Velveteen, 65% acrylic, 34%rayon 1% lycra. It's very soft and would be perfect for a toy bear, bunny, or something small.
3) a sweet cupcake candle.
If you would like these goodies to head your way then just leave a comment before Friday 26th September 2000 (8pm) NZ time. Then I can post it all off before I head to Melbourne next Sunday.

The winner of the Knitting Trivia question, "in the reign of which Monarch did knitting stockings become popular" was
The answer was Queen Elizabeth 1. Well done everyone who got it right and thank you everyone who left a comment. A cupcake goodie will be on it's way to Thimbleanna very soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My favourite yarns

Still on the list theme, just because it's so easy for me right now. I love to knit, I guess you might have picked that up by now. I'm not a fussy or particular knitter. I am happy with most yarns even acrylics which I know sends a shiver down the spine of some knitters. There are however a couple of factors by which yarn makes it's way into my stash. One is the feel. It must feel soft and luscious. It must not be itchy at all. If it's itchy then it does not get into my stash. The other factor is colour. Generally I am drawn the the colour first and then of course the feel is the clincher. I have, naturally those tried and tested yarns that have always been there for me, been forgiving of my mistakes and complimentary for my figure. They lend themselves to a variety of tasks.

1 Patons Zhivago. The first and second season of colours. I never really took to the variegated limes and oranges, but the teal and the mulberry I really loved. It's a beautiful soft acrylic that knits up well. It holds its shape and doesn't bobble. The patterns were fresh and vibrant and it was inexpensive. Just as well really as it doesn't have great meterage.

Next on my list of favourites is Sirdar's Snuggly. I love the range of colours in this, they are all such fabulous shades, especially for babies and small children. I like the choice and that there tend to be a few non traditional options. I especially love the fact that it goes on forever meaning less ends to sew in. That's always a plus in my book.

Third is Inca because it knits up so fast. It's really quick and unlike some other chunky wools it doesn't seem to add too much bulk.

Fourth is Another Patons yarn. It's about availability at the end of the day but this is a gorgeous yarn to work with. It has more drape than either bamboo or cotton on their own and isn't overly splitty. It goes a very long way, is reasonably priced but there are only a few colours to choose from. Hopefully that will be remedied soon.

So there we have just a few of my favourite yarns. What are your favourites, and why do you choose a particular yarn?
Next post will be my 100th. I will announce the winner of the surprise package for guessing that it was Queen Elizabeth's reign that saw knitting stockings become a popular pastime and there will be a giveaway celebrating my milestone.

Friday, September 12, 2008

List crazy

The answer to the knitting trivia question in the previous post is Queen Elizabeth the first. Well done to all of you who got it right. I will be putting the names into a technically superior device ( a hat) and using a tried and tested scientific method ( pulling out by hand) to select the recipient of the surprise.

I love making lists. I really get great satisfaction out of putting things down on paper. However I am very bad at following lists or making them work for me. I keep lists of total trivia. I have a list of all the books I've read, films I've seen, holidays I've had, chocolate bars, things I want to knit, things I don't want to knit, my wish list, things that make me sad, things that make me happy, as well as many many to do lists. The only list I never ever write is a shopping list. I don't go shopping.

I know that writing lists is good for me

1. Lists help me focus on things so long as I stay focused on the topic to begin with.

2, Lists give me something to visualise, although I think it's more about the time I spend collect all my coloured pens and thinking of ways to decorate my lists that does this rather than the actual items on the list

3. Lists help me remember things, I think of it as a way of emptying my brain of all the clutter and then I don't have to struggle to recall it all. Of course if I lose my list then it can get ugly pretty quickly

4. Lists are easy to read and are supposedly quick to do. But not the way I do them

5. Lists can give a sense of accomplishment only if you actually bother doing the things on my list. What happens in my case is that number 3 occurs in that my brain promptly forgets the information, after all it's all very safely written down and I then merrily go about doing lots of things that were never on my list. Result. The list never gets any shorter.
Things I wouldn't want to be late for
1. A yarn sale
2. A book sale
3. Social knitting
4. My morning cup of tea
5. Collecting a lottery win
6. Receiving a prize or accolade
7. Seeing my kids smile.
What wouldn't you want to be late for?
So lists are good if you use them properly. What do you write lists about?
Knitting continues but nothing to show just yet. Am really really drawn towards doing a skirt after seeing Crimson Purl and Mr Puffy's wonderful efforts. I have seen the one I want to make, but am having a little trouble tracking down the yarn. Still I'm not one to give up easily and will keep looking. This is the one I really love.
Have a happy safe weekend everyone.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reasons to knit and a little giveaway

Knitting is a great hobby. Honestly it is, and it’s not just me saying so. If you look carefully on the net there’s research that proves knitting is good for you!
Here are my top ten list of reasons to knit

1. It’s an art form.
You only have to glimpse the myriad designs to see how creative a process it is, lacy, frilly, cables, not to mention those who make cupcakes, bunnies, flowers, seaweed and other shapes. A completed piece of knitted has the right to be seen as a piece of art. There’s freedom of expression and a chance to let your creative juice go a little wild. Even if you stick to the pattern you’re still creating something that is unique to you. Even if you don't think of yourself as a "creative type," you can still express yourself by knitting. Design your own patterns. Choose your own colors. Make your own shapes. You're in control of your knitting.

2. It’s a stress reliever.
This one I think depends on the type of knitter you are. For me it forces me to sit in one place and that’s got to be good, for the rest of the household as well as me. I can allow my mind to wander and think about the situations I face and in that way it does help to de stress me. It also helps me to focus. I find it difficult to concentrate unless I have something to do with my hands. Once you figure out how to knit basic stitches and patterns, you can relax and really enjoy knitting. Many knitters use this craft to calm down and relax, which is great for your overall health.

3. It creates a sense of achievement
The knitter gets to feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment in completing an item. Learning a new skill or craft makes most people feel good about themselves. This is particularly true when your friends and family admire your knitting projects!

4. Knitting is portable
Unlike other hobbies like weaving or cooking, knitting can easily be thrown into a bag and pulled out anytime it is required. As such, the knitter can bring the craft along and do it during bus or train journeys, air flights or even in traffic jams. In this way, hours of waiting and travelling are not wasted away as they are used to accomplish something useful. I take my knitting to work and will often knit my way through meetings and presentations.

5. There’s lots of choice.
There are plenty of projects and designs to choose from to suit all levels of knitting expertise, time and budget. Besides, these pieces can be created to beautify homes or serve as special gifts for loved ones. Knitwear garments are beautiful and attractive, and many people like them. Presenting them as gifts is always well loved and appreciated. You can always find something just right for the mood your in.

6. It increases your intelligence.
Knitting develops fine-motor skills, hand-eye coordination, math skills, and what Multiple Intelligences educational researcher Dr. Howard Gardner calls “Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence.” Since both hands hold needles and each hand has its own job, both sides of the brain are engaged and performing an internal rhythmic patterning that underlies the development of language skills, particularly reading, and also math.
In addition, knitting develops key habits that lead to success in academics and in careers: persistence, concentration, and collaboration.

7. It can increase your patience
Well I’m still waiting for that one to happen, but knitting does take time, it doesn’t like to be hurried too much. When you decide to knit something you are choosing to spend time doing something rather than simply buying it. About halfway through the project, or after one sock for me, it feels like the project is too big and you wonder why you bothered, but there’s the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes from doing it yourself and so you carry on. You have to be patient, especially when frogging or the knots just get tighter. Thant’s when I give it to hubby, or it goes back in the bag.

8. It’s fun.

9. It’s practical. If you can knit a beanie, you don't have to pay ten or twenty bucks for one anymore. You don't have to spend lots of money to knit - but you can if you really want! Basic yarn, needles and other supplies are cheap: twenty dollars can get you started.

10. It’s social. I love the way you can knit and read, especially if reading a computer screen, knit and talk, knit and watch TV. Unlike other hobbies I don’t have to shut myself in a special place, although I really, really would like a rocking chair on a porch to sit and do my knitting on, I can stay with the family and be a part of whatever it is they’re doing, while still meeting my needs. It's also a way of being different in a cool way. Even though knitting is becoming more popular, especially among younger people, you'll still stand out a little because you knit. This is a lot better than being noticed for the wrong reasons. It makes people stop and talk to you for all the right reasons.

Knitting is not for just one or two types of people. Men and women of all ages and backgrounds can benefit.
The last reason to knit is

Giving back to society. Many charitable organizations want your knitting! Make caps for premature infants at your local hospital. Knit scarves for women's shelters and the homeless. Help make an afghan or blanket for AIDS patients. You won't have to look long or hard to find a charity that you can help

Now it's your turn. The knitting of stockings first became a major occupation of the poor in England during the reign of which monarch? Leave your answer in the comments. Those who guess correctly will go into the draw to win a little surprise.