Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hurrah for the Queen's birthday

Looking forward to a three day weekend thanks to the Queen. I have a few projects that I hope to get stuck into and the girls are desperate for a trip to Spotlight to pick up some new cheap yarn. There are only so many dollars in the pay packet and some of them annoyingly have to go towards really boring stuff like food and power.I would love to have a combined yarn and book store. It would be my idea of heaven, with a pet shop next door, and a great cafe the other side. That would make work so much fun.
What sort of shop would you like to run?

On the Knitting Front there's been progress of sorts, but maybe not in the right direction. I actually frogged the sock. it was the only thing to do. Now it can't cry and make me feel bad anymore.

I have been busy with Ophelia and have chosen to use my bamboo and cotton blend in a sort of greyish green. It feels divine and I am so impatient to get it finished that I have rather abandoned the others, but they aren't complaining yet. I did pick up my pink Peplum cardy to finsh the front but only did a couple of rows before being lured back to Ophelia. It's a while since I've felt this complusion to complete a piece. It is very pretty though.

I have started on sleeves for a jumper for Daisy, my own design, not very adventurous just plain with inset sleeves she keeps nagging me to pick it up and do so I think it might be finished before I go back to work on Tuesday.

I bought a knitting magazine knit 1 with some very trendy designs all in eco yarns. I since discovered that it's aimed at 18 to 35 year old knitters which makes sense. So many projects not enough time, but I guess the dreaming is all part of the game too.
These three were drooled over so much by the girls that I had to whip it away before it become nothing more than a soggy rag. Perhaps while out on Monday I might find the yarn to make one of them a surprise gift.

Big thanks for three day weekends. They are the best.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Look who came to visit.

It's not often you get to see a hedgehog in the middle of the day, and certainly not one who's so friendly. This wee fella has been hanging around for a few weeks. We'd catch a glimpse of him now and again late at night when the dogs were going out for that last sniff of the garden.

But today at three 'o' clock in the afternoon he decided to stop by and grab himself a tasty snack.
He seemed to be attracted by the puppy food and was happily munching away at their left overs. He wasn't a bit scared of us or the dogs or the cat. He even let us stroke his snout, and feed him mushy biscuits by hand.

We're hoping that he'll stick around for the winter as he looks quite young. His parents were most likely squished as we haven't seen any other hedgehogs around either in the day or the night, but then he could be a rebelious teenager and has taken to sneaking out of the den to live it up on our lawn. We've put out an old carrier filled with leaves and hay so if he wants somewhere to bunk down then he can. It seems that Hedgehogs only hibernate if it gets really cold or food gets scarce, so he might be a regular feature of the winter; it never gets freezing here in Devonport and being regular animal lovers we'll keep him topped up with food.

You can see how small he actually is, next to Paige's legs. Even in the throes of admiring nature she had to have her knitting handy. I swear that girl is even more addicted to knitting than I am.

Anyone else been treated to a glimpse of nature?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

This is from Nannybird and also April
Not as easy as you might think. Now copy, forward, or post this and change the answers to yours and pass it on. It’s really hard to only use one word answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? ………….. handbag

2. Your significant other?………………….. ditched

3. Your hair? …………………………………….. brown

4. Your mother? ……………………………….. dead

5. Your father?…………………………………….. Irish

6. Your favorite thing?……………………….. Scooter

7. Your dream last night?………………….. prophetic

8. Your favorite drink? ……………………….. Tea

9. Your dream/goal?………………………….. contentment

10. The room you’re in?…………………….. living

11. Your ex?……………………………………….. remarried

12. Your fear?…………………………………….. debt

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years?…….. author

14. Where were you last night?………….. home

15. What you’re not?………………………….. fat

16. Muffins?……………………………………….. blueberry

17. One of your wish list items?………….. kindle

18. Where you grew up?…………………….. Basingstoke

19. The last thing you did?………………….. read

20. What are you wearing?………………….. skirt

21. Your TV?……………………………………….. plasma

22. Your pets?…………………………………….. zoo

23. Your computer? …………………………….. slow

24. Your life?……………………………………….. exhilarating

25. Your mood?………………………………….. positive

26. Missing someone?……………………….. Nope

27. Your car?……………………………………….. Mazda

28. Something you’re not wearing?…….. rings

29. Favorite Store?……………………………….. book

30. Your summer?……………………………….. lazy

31. Like(love) someone?…………………………….. Nope

32. Your favorite color?……………………….. lavendar

33. Last time you laughed?……………….. today

34. Last time you cried?……………………….. yesterday

35. Who will re-post this?…………………….. someone

Just for fun.

Law of Attraction

According to The Secret, you get what you think about, a fact which was highlighted to me this week when the fourth book I read in a row mentioned knitting. Well not surprising I hear you all cry, after all you love knitting, no doubt you went out and looked for books with a knitting theme. Not so. Three of the books are from the Orange prize list (long). I think it's a case of heightened awareness. I am on a knitting frenzy even for me and also on the look out for a novel that mentions knitting although it has to be published fifty years ago, for a book and book mark swop over at Zoe's knitting bag, and suddenly it seems like every book I pick up has some reference to knitting in it. Of course the main reason is no doubt more scientific than that and simply a case of finding what you look for.
The books in case you're interested are:

I would say the The End of Mr Y was good but hard going at times unless you've studied philospohy or literary Criticism. I perservered to the end but never totally enjoyed it, but enjoyed the way it stretched my thinking.

This one The Road Home I found totally absorbing. Loved the character and the realistic way he was portrayed. Perfect ending.

Have you any novels to add to the list?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

To do or not to do, that is the problem

Even though there are several projects clamouring for attention, their pitiful voices lost among the madness that is my home I still want to cast on something new. I think it must be the novelty factor I like, the opportunity that exists at that moment before it begins to look a little less perfect than I thought, or I realise that the colour isn’t quite right or that I’ve misread the pattern and I am ending up with a different garment. I know the longer a project goes on the less interested I am in it until we reach that point where it only takes a last concerted effort and hey presto you have the finished garment.
I thought that casting on different projects would keep me engaged, after all even someone with the attention span of a minus 2 year old should be able to find 5 or 6 projects to choose from interesting and stimulating. Alas all that means is I have three times as much mess and chaos with projects overflowing from every available surface and receptacle. I even tried dedicating a cupboard to knitting and sewing paraphernalia except it wouldn’t all fit in there no matter how much I tried to squeeze the door shut. It would have been easier to try and get an elephant in the fridge.

I would love to be the sort of person who sees one thing through to the end without getting distracted by the sale of some yarn or the glimpse of someone else’s project.
I am going to write all my projects on a list and see if that clears my head a bit. It might although I have a sneaky feeling that the list will be so long that I’ll have to throw in some random number generating to eliminate or more kindly relegate projects.
I have ¾s of a jumper waiting to be finished. This jumper has waited three years for an arm. What project have you had lying around for the longest? What would motivate you to finish it?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

50th post

I feel strangely proud of myself for making the fifty post mark. In reality it was the pup post that was the fiftieth but they were too cute. I wondered about a giveway but apart from a couple of scarves and a scary looking Elijah there isn't a great deal to giveaway around here and I don't want to make promises of something that might take ages to get made, or be accused of passing on my medicore tat to others. There is so much genuine talent out there I am content to gaze upon it all rather than produce it.
I have been busy but not productive. My head is is a very odd place and I am flitting from project to project unable it seems to commit to actually finishing. I did a crochet bookmark yesterday which I was pleased with even if the edging is a little crooked. It doesn't matter. I have dug out my bamboo to have a go at Ophelia, but I have others still to get on with.
Reading The importance if Mr Y which is quite literary and hard to follow at times, with asides of Quantum physics thrown in and straight over my head. It was one of the nominations for the Orange Prize so I can pretend that I am still immersed in the world of high literature and critical analysis. The previous two books were well and truly chick lit, I always feel slightly ashamed when I take them to the counter, their pastelly colours almost shouting, look what trash she's reading. But they are witty and show a slant of being female that because I married at 16 I didn't really encounter. The chocolate lovers Club and the Chocolate Lovers Diet both by Carole Matthews.
Variety is the key. I'm just a book slut, I'll read anything except Science fiction.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Get ready for some cuteness

We're getting big boys now, five weeks old and starting to explore the world outside our puppy pen.
What funny stuff this is, can't eat it.

Hey am I cute or what? I am aren't I? Go on you can tell me.

Let me tell you a secret, there's a strange creature out here taking photos of us

Mum why can't we keep them, I've got plenty of room on my lap?

Do you think this is my best side?

All right then I'll smile for the camera?

So hard to think my little pups are almost ready to go to their new homes, just a couple of weeks left with them. I try not to get too attached to them but when they wag their tails and fall over just like babies learning to toddle about and it melts my heart making me want to keep them all.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Mother's Day Present

I was very, very, very, excited this Mother's Day. Not only are the kids getting to the age where they have their own money and therefore I truly get a surprise on Mother's Day (rather than the usual gasp of fake surprise at the pressie I picked out and paid for with my own money, but gave to daddy, to give to the kids, to wrap up and give to me,) they are also able to plan things and know what I like best. That said though being the military person I now am I couldn't let them take matters entirely into their own hands. What and have four differing opinions about what to get and what to do? I was way cleverer than that.
It began when I saw this fabulous knitting journal in my LYS. I just knew I had to have it. I wouldn't be able to live without it. If I left without that journal then my life thereafter would have been empty, void and somehow incomplete. There were however one or two minor problems, nothing that couldn't be overcome with a little bit of ingenuity. The first was the price. It was $50 and even my heart did a little flip at that, and it wasn't just the usual guilt of thinking about spending money on myself. That happens even when it's only two dollars. How could something made of paper cost so much? My heart really did sink. Oh but it was so lovely, the pages all glossy and it had a page to write down your stash, and web pages and pages for projects so I could transfer everything from the $2.99 journal I currently used as a knitting journal.

It had pockets to keep the ball band and oh so many more features. It was like sliced bread but better. The other problem was that I wasn't supposed to be buying books.

It would have been a disaster, parted from my true love before we'd even had a chance to get to know each other and enjoy a fulfilling relationship. But wait, brain started ticking and calculating. Eldest daughter just so happened to work in this LYS (more clever planning on my part. I get a very nice 10% discount) perhaps it could be put aside and I would pay a bit each week. It was definitely worth waiting for. So I arranged for it to be put behind the counter and I looked forward to daily visits to check on progress and reassure myself that it would be mine soon.
Of course I told dear daughters plus son and reminded them that Mother's Day was only a few months away (prior preparation is key) They looked distinctly uninterested as only teenagers can. But I knew they had heard and that I wouldn't have to spend a cent on that delightful book after all 50 divided by four is much easier on the finances. It meant playing a complicated game with them pretending not to know while all the time knowing they knew that I knew that they knew I knew what my present was. It was worth it.
Hopefully you're still with me. I love the journal and can't wait to start to fill in the pages.
Here's middle daughter very proudly showing off the Cat Hat she made from the Usbourne Knitting book.

It's her first piece of proper knitting and when she worn it to church on Sunday she got three orders from her pals to make them one.

It's hard to admit but her first piece is much better than my first efforts which was meant to be a doll's blanket but looked more like a lacy shawl. That would have been ok except it was all garter stitch. What was your first knitting project?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Knitting tips.

Saw this over at Maddy's blog and thought it hilarious. Go and check it out.
I have also decided that I just have to knit Ophelia, this cardi is soo cute. I might even break my bamboo out for this one.
I have a knitting tip for you all. Never put your knitting away half way through a row - I am sure you all knew this but do you know why? It is not because the stitches at the point where you left off will stretch unevenly. This might happen but the real reason is so that when the pesky cat decides to play cat's cradle with your knitting the stitches won't all slide off both needles and begin monumentally large ladders. Ladders so large they would make firemen scared. Please do not tell me it's my own fault. I know that. Believe me it doesn't help. There is absolutely nothing funny about returning from a pleasant shopping trip in which two pairs of bamboo needles were purchased (Two sets of mine had mysteriously vanished) to be unable to enter the living room because the cat had woven wool between the table, the bird stand and the ironing board creating a very effective barricade. We mangaged to get in via the front door and discovered that the cat had been very busy indeed. The havoc continued down the hall and into our bedroom where Peri had taken the trouble to wrap my knitting around the rocking chair for good luck. I could have cried. It took several hours to finally unravel the wool from all the places Peri had found to wrap it. He was very thorough and quite inventive at times. I didn't even know there were springs under my chairs. It wasn't fit to be saved. I couldn't even bring myself to take a photo. It was too horrific. But the last laugh is on the cat. It was a blanket for him. It will be a while before I feel like picking up the needles for him I can tell you no matter how loudly he purrs. However the most important knitting tip to be learnt from this is Never and I do mean never leave a cat alone in the same room as your knitting. Well not my cat anyway.
You can see how tired all that activity made him.

Oh and the missing needles turned up miraculously when I showed the girls my new needles. They both said, "oh well as you have new ones we might as well keep the old ones we hid."
Mother's Day tomorrow had better be good.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Is it too much to ask?

To actually be allowed to take a photograph of the jumper I spent weeks knitting. Apparently so. Having been banned from so much as mentioning any size or shape of a knitted offering for eldest child, my one and only son for the last eight years at least I was staggered when just before Christmas he casually threw into the conversation that I never made him anything. When I had recovered from my indignation enough to point out his self imposed embargo he shrugged in that way teenagers do as if to say, yeah, that was then this is now, how come you're not up to speed. I could hardly wait to get the needles clicking and was just about to scurry away to see what patterns I could uncover, images of once loved cartoon characters popping into my head, only for me to realise he probably wouldn't want Thomas the Tank to adorn his chest, when he stopped me. Yes he agreed I could knit him a jumper, in fact he wanted one for the winter which starts about now in NZ, but and this but was as big as Everest, only if he chose the pattern and the wool. Of course I agreed. That's how desperate I was to prove I could still be a good mother and provide for her oh so nearly but not quite please grown up son. So I ended up knitting a seriously big jumper (well alright he's only a 32 chest so not much bigger than me) but it felt like a much bigger jumper believe me, with a three by two rib pattern, which actually did not exist in a jumper pattern but had to be adapted from a vest. I cheated and did the sleeves plain because I was getting, how shall I say this, fed up, bored, no more pig sick of it. My brain hurt with working the maths out and swapping figures because the pattern didn't have sleeves but another jumper did but not in his size. You get the picture. It was a lot of extra work. He did pick my absolute favourite wool to knit with,Zhivago which is 50% tencel and 50% acrylic and has a silky texture but, my heart sank when I saw his choice, navy blue. Why not something more interesting. My poor aged eyes. Is the boy trying to blind me before I make him anymore jumpers?
The jumper has been finished since the end of February but it took me all of March to get around to blocking it. It needed a little coaxing in length because the boy had decided he would gain a few inches in height. I had wisely already done a size bigger in the chest but alas and alack had failed to show the same foresight into height. Clearly, said my feeble brain my little baby won't grow anymore at 18. Word to self. They do. He did.
It then hung on the back of the door successfully blocked and awaiting a visit from the recipent. He'd asked about it several times when we passed each other at work but somehow there was always something more interesting going on so he didn't come home.
The last night he arrived from football training and announced he was ready for his jumper. I then tried to persuade him that I needed a photo, proof that he had allowed me to make him one and then came a lot of chasing around the house while I tried to caputre one shot of him and the jumper. I failed but I guess it doesn't really matter. I know I made him one. But really would a photo have been too much to ask?

Monday, May 5, 2008

virtually fat free

I have a great idea, one that I know will catch on for sure. It's so simple I cannot believe that it hasn't already been done. We all know that food is officially bad for us, it has too much fat, too much sugar, too much protein, too much taste. We daren't put a morsel in our mouth for fear it will go straight to our hips, and it's not hip to be hippy anymore We are bombarded with adverts to lose weight, everywhere, everyday. The world seems to be in pursuit of thin for some odd reason as though thin will magically cancel out all badness.
Now diets come and diets go, everthing seems to be virtually fat and calorie free, so why not take the next logical step and go on a virtual diet. It has many advangtages, you can eat virtually anything you want, in moderation of course, virtually nothing is bad for you and there are virtually no calories. This means of course you can indulge with virtually no guilt. Am I onto something? I think so. We can visit blogs and share in the many delicious cakes and biscuits that are out there and it will have virtually no impact on our waistlines or our wallets which with rising food prices is bound to help the budget too.
Keep an eye out for the virtual diet coming soon.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

to crochet or not to crochet that is the question

I know my youngest loves to copy me and do whatever I am doing, so I only have myself to blame when I decided to get caught up in the desire to crochet a ripple blanket. Never mind that I can only just crochet, it's a bit painful to watch at first as I bravely try to get my resistent fingers to obey relatively simple commands, or the lack of a colour scheme or even enough wool of the same ply, I just have to make a start on one. I'm hopefully optimistic that I'll get into it and then on Monday I can make a quick trip to the LYS to stock up on the required yarn. So I sit down and begin. Youngest daughter watches intently,
"what you doing mum?" she asks after five minutes.
"crocheting" I reply.
"hmmm" she says, 'it looks like plaiting. Will you teach me?"
"one day," I reply as I fumble to insert the hook to make the first row. It's taking me quite a lot of concentration to remember the flow. Youngest sits next to me. "it looks easy" she says.
"hmm" I say. I speak the instructions to myself and before long have an echo in my ear as youngest repeats them too, a fraction of second behind me. I last another ten minutes before putting my crochet attempt to one side and prepare to teach youngest. This is easier said than done as although she picks it up pretty quickly she has to check every Dc with me. Several hours later, and a lot of patience, untangling and me trying not to look too longlingly at my own piece, of barely begun crocheting, she is very proud of her efforts which she declares just right for Baby Alive as a scarf.
I decide it's best to leave the hard stuff and instead finish off a baby bolero and look, note only look a the unfinished sock.

Youngest noting that I'm no longer doing any crocheting says, "don't wory mummy it gets easier as you do it. I'll help you if you want"
Actually I am thrilled that she has inherited my love of knitting and crocheting at such a tender age, but perhaps a tad less enthusiasm occasionally wouldn't hurt.
Here's what I managed to get done.

The pink bolero, no home for it yet, but I'm sure someone will have a baby soon.

Peri looking a bit put out that he had to share my lap with a puppy. He didn't agree to any puppysitting.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What a disgrace

Never, ever let me lose with a pair of scissors or clippers or even a knife. I am just not to be trusted it would seem with anything other than a pair of needles.
Let me explain, animal lovers, please understand that no animals were actually hurt in this episode but they may well have psychologial problems for a while.
Ollie, our adorably placid, laid back Shih Tzu desperately needed to be clipped and bathed. To say he was smelly is a bit like saying snow is cold. It was so bad we kept telling him not to move during the evening so he wouldn't waft the smell at us. We couldn't just bath him, as that involves a lot of pain and anguish on Ollie's part. So we bought a set of clippers and decided to DIY. Big mistake. Not only did it take most of the day, we went slowly so as not to make a mess of it and to make sure we didn't cut Ollie, but he looked a mess anyway. In some places he has very very short fur.

He didn't look so bad once it was all roughly the same length.
We are counting on him not seeking legal assistance to claim for damages although Peri was clearly willing to take up the challenge on Ollie's behalf. I would show you the end result but Ollie refused to be photographed naked. He slunk outside to hide until he was certain all implements of mass embarrassment had been put away. I think we'll stick with the dog groomer after all. We were just trying to save money.
Pups are all doing well. Weaning has started and what a messy palaver that is. I dread weaning, not only because pups have a knack of gettting it into every corner imaginable as they seek to do anything but eat it, but also because it means they won't be with us much longer. I would so love to keep them even though I know that
6 dogs would be 5 too many.

It's a good laugh this feeding lark.

Nothing better than a good sleep after a feed.

This is the life for me.

Book update
I have to be honest and say that Chesil beach while a finely crafted piece of prose left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied. It would seem that the trend is moving towards writing a whole load of poignant introverted wonderings that lead nowhere. I know Woolf did it with The Lighthouse and as a technique it has some merit, but I like my fiction to go somewhere, to take me on a journey and to let me step into another world. I need resolutions. I can't cope with this snapshot of life or a brief moment in time.
I am going to read if I can (library willing) the Orange Long list. That should keep me suitably entertained for a while.

Knitting update

Tonight I am going to spend some time with my stash as I think about what to put on the needles next, shut up sock, it won't be you. I really should finish a jumper for me in the softest blues and greens that has been at the bottom of the knitting bag for almost three years. I only have half a sleeve to do and the neckband,it wouldn't take any time, but I can't remember wherebouts I am in the pattern and so it just gets labelled too hard adn I ignore it again.
What project/projects do you have calling out to be finished?