Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Curse

There is no doubt December has been a tough month to live through. Not withstanding the challenges of living with two teenage girls, it seemed for a while that the sweater curse was going to land on my head with a resounding "Take That" and how dare you be so smug as to think you could avoid me. Needles lay neglected mid row, I add in deep shame. Yarn held no attraction despite its siren call and the lure of wondrous things to make. The duvet looked warm and snuggly and more inviting that getting up and pasting a smile on my face.
But I am a big girl and there are only so many tears you can cry before you start to feel distinctly soggy and in need of wringing out. Plus puffy eyes and a red nose only works on those blessed with supernatural beauty. I just look plain ugly when I cry. Having run out of brown bags to wear over my head and thus unable to avoid scaring the neighbourhood kids, (Halloween being long gone,) it was time to shake off the dust and step out bravely.
Cute neighbour guy realised after my short hibernation period that I was more important to him than he had realised and the curse has been beaten back to a respectable distance. I fear it may still be hovering somewhere in the vicinity and I am not yet ready to continue with the sweater requested and started. Perhaps a safe pair of socks instead!
Happy Christmas to you all and roll on 2010.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Living with teenagers is a pretty good method of contraception. Not only do they stay up late, bug you whenever you might possibly be in the midst of a romantic moment, pull faces if they see you being smoochey, their emotional rollercoaster is bound to make you think twice about multiplying the human race.

Unfortunately by the time you’re living with teenagers it is well and truly too late to do a lot about it. Perhaps the answer is to make it compulsory for every couple to spend a month with two teenagers before making the decision to have a baby. Babies are the easy part, sure they cry and have dirty nappies that can make a nuclear meltdown look pleasant, but they are utterly adorable and totally cute. They smile their gummy smiles and even the most sleep deprived feel an extra boost from somewhere. Teenagers do not evoke cuteness. There is little that is cute about a teenager. They may be interesting, challenging and good fun (when they want to be) but they are also a whole parcel of contradictions.

The worst thing about teenagers is their ability to recall every word of every conversation you’ve had with them. They will sniff out discrepancies like they were two week high kippers. They will use everything against you and you have no weapons that will effectively deal with this, unless you are also able to record all conversations so you can be 100% certain about what you actually did say. Not likely since pregnancy, childcare and constant erosion of the brain cells will have diminished your memory to a quivering mess.

Please be kind and save a teenager, make their frazzled parents a strong drink and offer a large sponge to soak up their tears of frustration, know that you are doing a huge service to mankind as you prevent a murder. Remind the parents to hang on in there, like infanthood time is short and it will pass and the teenagers will emerge as butterflies from cocoons to take their place in the greater world and perpetuate the cycle of life.

Friday, October 30, 2009


but no photo because it was grabbed hot off the needles so it could be worn to Christchurch down on the South Island of NZ where the temperatures are a little cooler than our Auckland norm.
Yes I finished the second piece of knitting for cute neighbour guy. And it fits him. Beautifully. He looks so hot (the good looking kind, not all sweaty) in it.

It was a simple sleeveless vest as seen in 500 Days of Summer and Couples Retreat. I had no idea it was going to be so trendy, when I started knitting it. I think I may have slightly aggravated my cinema companion when I kept nudging her to point out for the 100th time that the vest on screen was identical to the one my needles were clicking away furiously trying to finish. I don't think she cared after the first twenty times. He wanted it so badly I didn't even block it. The pressure was on, he even thought something might have gone wrong with it because it was two days later than expected and he hadn't seen me knitting it. He was right.

The first time I got to dividing for the neck I had two less stitches than expected. Usually this wouldn't faze me but with the other effort turning out too small I just couldn't risk it. So I frogged back to the armhole shaping. Away I went again, staying up late to try and make up lost time. As I started to divide for the neck I realised that I had inadvertently been following the instructions for the crew neck when I wanted a v-neck. A few choice phrases were to be heard especially as I had to go back to the armholes again. Of course the last time cute guy had seen it, only the neck needed doing, hence its disappearance for a few days while I caught up. I'm thinking these minor hiccups are protecting me from any other bad karma possibly linked to the giving of knitwear to a male someone special.

I used the Zhivago pattern book, weekend knits, a book that I have used so often it's beginning to look a little sad. Why didn't I photocopy the pattens first. I wish I had now. I didn't use Zhivago though, I used Spotlight's basics Merino, which was only $3.99 for 50g. I used 300g in total so not a bad price. It was surprising even to knit with and not at all scratchy. BUT it does mean he can't just throw it in the washing machine, however, I intend being close enough to leap to the rescue should it end up spinning where it has no right to spin.

Now though he loves it so much he wants a jumper. He really really wants a jumper.

I have, of course, already cast on. No curses here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A trip down memory lane

The internet is a wonderful thing indeed. Thanks to an old school friend on the other side of the world I have just seen photos of me that I didn't even know existed.

I'm the small one with dark hair at the front.
Me aged around 11 or 12, at Secondary school would you believe, I look about 5!! The best thing is seeing how like me my youngest daughter looks. So scary.

Daisy age 5

Daisy aged 8

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


is they say good for the soul and while I can try to hide I know my sins will always find me out. When you choose to put things into the public arena then you have to expect there to be some kind of accountability. Thus it is with me. I asked about the supposed "sweater boyfriend curse". I explained my cunning plan to devise a way of thwarting any such possibility, but curses are not so easily fooled I have discovered. I decided as you might know to knit a sleeveless hoodie, as surely the lack of sleeves made it safe. It was safe. Very safe. After hours of knitting and even more hours of sewing up especially sewing up the pesky hood, and a lot of cursing and tweaking with the zipper to be ready just in time for cute neighbour guy's birthday, disaster struck. I was gutted. I didn't see it coming and I still can't explain what went wrong. No we didn't split up. The sleeveless hoodie zipper thing was too small. How bad did I feel, definitely smaller than Tom Thumb. I would have liked to take the offending article and crawl away to my lonely rock somewhere while I tried to work out where exactly I'd made a mistake. I measured him, I checked my tension, I knitted the correct size. But it fits me, not him. The curse clearly outwitted me.

But all is not lost, being the wonderful cute guy he is, he has very sweetly allowed my transgression to be left to gather dust, unspoken of, until today when he shows me a picture in a magazine of a guy wearing a V neck slip on vest and says, "You could knit me one of those couldn't you. You could use the yarn from the other thing to save it going to waste"

I was speechless. Not only does he still want me to knit him something, but he totally understood the concept of frogging. Not that I have any intention of frogging it. I like it far too much for that. It could have been made for me don't you think?
So I am set to cast on for the slip on vest after all I no longer have any fear of a curse. This cute guy likes my knitting even when it goes wrong, he suggests frogging and is ready to ask for more. How can we not be meant for each other?

Any good confession also has some atonement and I have already made amends for my sin. I knitted a pair, yes a pair of socks. I am so pleased with myself. It's the first pair ever off my needles.

They are knitted in Patons dreamtime 4ply which is 100% wool but very soft and cuddly. The beads were put on using a 0.75mm crochet hook rather than threading them on prior to knitting. I thought it would be quicker that was as I am way too impatient to spend time on threading. It wasn't quicker but I did enjoy the level of concentration required, thus the reason why two socks were created. Next time though I'm not using such a light colour.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Look what I had done

I am smiling because despite the pain I am high on endorphins or what ever the heck the body pumps out to make you feel good. I feel invincible because I have overcome an almost crippling fear of needles. I have more excuses not to visit the dentist have a blood test, or get vaccinated than a dictionary has words. Even when ordered to have such things done I am pretty adept at wheedling my way out of it or at least delaying it in the hope of it being forgotten forever.

So I hadn't really considered ever having a tattoo. Never. It just wasn't on my radar. But Cute neighbour guy has lots. Both arms, chest and back, and they do look cute. So my perspective changed somewhat. Then we started talking and I realised that they were more than decorations they were declarations and I realised I wanted something that would be a physical symbol of all I had gone through and survived. I wanted it somewhere private where it wouldn't ever be on show unless I chose to do so.

I chose a dolphin because they symbolise joy and protection both of which I have a great need for in my life. I also think that my nature is quite dolphin like, I am quite a playful personality. I loved this design because it also embodies New Zealand's Maori culture which I have embraced fully.
Cute neighbour guy lied when I asked him if it hurt. He said it was just like being scratched.

I was scared and it hurt a lot. But I did it and I love it. Now I feel ready to tackle anything.

Finding me again

Some of you will have noticed from my comments on your blogs that my name has changed. I thought long and hard about whether it was worth the effort of reverting back to not my maiden name but my fahter's name which I took on in my twenties. After all, what's in name? Quite a lot it would appear. I needed to re-discover a time when I was strong and happy, a time when I felt I could do anything and problems were no more than minor hiccups in the fabric of daily living. I needed to feel that I was that person again and that meant shaking off a name I had never truly felt comfortable with.
I have taken that step and feel as though life is opening up with possibiliites again. I have also overcome a huge fear which I will post about soon. I just need to get the camera issues sorted so I can show you all the evidence.
Knitting progress will also follow. I have actually started on a second sock, a partner no less for a sock now sitting eagerly awaiting its match. This is further proof that changing your name can indeed lead to great things. Never before have I managed to knit two matching socks.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thank you

for all your wonderful comments. I've cast on for a sleeveless hooded vest in the hope not having arms makes it a non sweater and therefore exempt from any possible universal curse vibes. Of course I know it's perfectly safe because the curse is aimed at boyfriends and cute neighbour guy and I are not yet at the point of being that closely linked, at least not to the rest of the world. Maybe at some point in the future who knows. I hope so. For now though we're just having fun, hanging out. The knitting is keeping me focused and busy that's for sure.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Your opinion please

I am well aware of the saying that if you knit a boyfriend a sweater/jumper he won't be your boyfriend for long and wondered whether my bloggy mates might be able to help with a dilemma around this theme. Cute neighbour guy who has been a constant in my life for the last 10 weeks would really, really like me to knit him a sweater. I have shared the superstition with him which he believes to be utter tosh and part of me goes along with him. BUT.. do I want to tempt fate and go ahead and knit him one!! I know it would be a test of faith to do so, after all I believe this was meant to be and it is all working so nicely that truth be told I would be a bit upset should it suddenly fizzle out. Yet if it's going to last then it will regardless of a jumper, won't it? So I was just wondering whether anyone can help. he doesn't want socks or a beanie. Do I say fiddlesticks to superstition, I laugh in the face of such foolishness ha ha, or do I bow to the weight of those who have gone before and already wept their tears?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You know someone really cares when

despite not terribly conducive weather, a lawn the size of a small country a million other things they have to do and a lawn mower that's decidedly temperamental they offer to cut your grass.
It was a mammoth job, and one that I had been putting to the bottom of my very long to-do list for at least 8 weeks. Hey I reasoned more to myself than anyone who actually cared, in winter grass doesn't grow much and besides I didn't have a spare 3days, to get stuck in unless of course it involved knitting a lawn. That I might have done. I thought about bribing/threatening the children but frankly three of them are bigger than me and the smallest couldn't manage on her own. I bemoaned the fact slavery was abolished several hundred years ago but moaning didn't get the grass cut surprisingly. Then last night inspired by a glimpse of sun I decided to tackle several spiky plants the size of triffids clearly intent on taking over my home sometime in the next week and went to cute neighbour guy to borrow a spade. He lent me the spade but then came down to see what needed doing. At this point I was doing my best independent female routine which doesn't really work as I weigh less than a bag of cement apparently.

Cute guy then says, I'll do all of this tomorrow. And he did. And he told me to go and knit while he did it all. It took three hours. My hero. It would have taken me three months at least mostly because I would have been distracted after the first five minutes and got involved with something else, then I would have gone for a drink, then something to eat, then... you get the idea.
I am so pleased and excited at having a nice garden again. I even got the hammock out for a while despite it not being the best weather yet. Spring is on the way though and now I can enjoy being outside again.
But there's more if you can bear to read on. A few weeks ago we went to a DIY store, I know, not my first choice of shopping experience but cute neighbour guy wanted to choose some paint for his bathroom and he convinced me to go with the lure of pink pegs. I had a great time but alas not a single pink peg to be found. I was disappointed because I needed the pink pegs to motivate me to finish a project. Then yesterday when I called in to spend some time with my cute neighbour guy he presented me with pink pegs!!

My joy was complete. I offer no apologies for being a simple easy to please soul. So here is the finished item and a picture of the pegs.

My neighbour is awesome.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another FO and an update

It has a been a busy time for me, trying to meet all my regular commitments and failing spectacularly. I have managed to keep up my knitting, things would be looking dire indeed if I had needed to sacrifice knitting time. So I have another FO. This has been made in Sirdar's Balmoral, in the purple. I fell in love with the colour the instant I saw it and even though it was way out of budget at $11 a ball, I had to have it. The jumper is a Zhivago pattern, from their book of weekend knits which incidentally doesn't mean you can knit the patterns in a weekend. I wish. No the patterns are more casual and suited for weekend living. I first knit this pattern about five years ago in a beautiful deep teal. I loved it. Unfortunately so did my daughter and eventually she was able to persuade me that she was the right size for it to be reluctantly handed over. She loved it. She wore it as much as I had and then mysteriously it disappeared. Perhaps it had been stolen by a Zhivago loving bandit, perhaps the dogs had mauled it, perhaps another sister had cut it into mini blankets for bratz dolls. We went with the first choice as there were no traces to indicate the other two possibilities. We have since come to the conclusion that it was most likely a washing accident perpetrated by the one who has now left.
So I resolved o make myself another one or two. I have already cast on in Zhivago sage green for another one. And daughter has agreed to buy the yarn so I can knit her one of her very own, as mine won't fit her any more.

I have no idea about the date on the picture they were both taken the same day. Perhaps eldest daughter's camera was fixed on the wrong date.

The best thing about the purple jumper apart from how nicely it fits, the cable panel which is also on the back and what a gorgeous colour it is, is that it was knitted on cute neighbour guy's mum's needles. He's so amazed by the fact. I have been spending quite a lot of time at the neighbours, just being neighbourly you know how important it is to get to know people who live nearby. At least now I no longer need an excuse to go by. And he makes me a cup of tea while I drone on about all wonderful things knitting related, like how I found The Yarn Harlot's meditations for knitters book in the library. Score!! I have to keep reminding myself he's not as interested in the stuff as I am, but whenever I glance at him he's smiling so that's a good sign right? Besides, he's found a very effective way of changing the subject and while I really love wool and yarn, I am liking his tactics a lot. We keep pretending we'll be bored with each other soon, after all how many cups of tea does it take for the attraction to wear off, but then I remind him just how long I've loved tea, and he says perhaps it will be about the same time I get fed up with knitting. We both feel pretty confident that's never going to happen. Besides he just gets cuter.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The time has come

to remember that this is supposed to be a knitting blog, and not romance update central, although there have been developments with wonderful neighbour guy. First let me share a project recently finished after being on the needles for three years. Three years! I have no idea why it stayed there so long, I only had the sleeves to do and I was already halfway through one. My memory is hazy but I think it might have been on the needles when I joined the navy and so was left during training and never picked up again.

So about two months ago in my yarn colour co-ordination exercise which was really another word for procrastinating about actually tidying up I came across it again, remembered how much I loved the colours and yarn (Zhivago, a mix of acrylic and tencel) and committed myself to finishing it. As you can see I did. I love it. It fits beautifully, the colours are so fresh and vibrant just right for dull winter weather and it's so soft to wear. It makes me think of ocean breezes and summer days.

To other things then, the needles from gorgeous neighbour guy belonged to his mother who passed away fifteen years ago from breast cancer. I thinking the gift of these needles is actually quite a big deal for him and I don't think he intends to lose contact with them!
We meet several times a day. Usually when I happen to walk past his house and I have discovered many reason to go that way so far I've;
1. put something in the bin by the bus stop,
2. checked the bus times,
3, walked the dogs to the end of the road
4. Walked up to see if daughters are on way home,
5. Posted several letters to fictional friends
We will ignore the fact I have a bin at home, I don't use the bus I use my newly up and running motorbike ( courtesy of gorgeous neighbour guy) or the car, dogs are totally pooped from too many walks, and daughters are already home.
The best bit and the bit that makes me feel a lot less like a stalker is that on my return trip past his house he always happens to be outside, and he always invites me in for a cuppa. We have spent a lot of time having cups of tea and long chats not to mention some kissing ( shhhh don't tell the kids). It would seem that this is indeed the start of something very special.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

what are the odds

Of there being a good looking single guy living just four doors way from you who not only happens to like you but gives you knitting needles to boot. I kid you not that's exactly what has happened. I didn't even know this man a week ago when he happened to smile and say hello as I trundled on past with littlest one on the way to school. He does have a rather cute grin! He said hello again as I returned from the school trip and somehow we got talking about firewood of all topics, well it is winter in NZ and it was a cold morning. I mentioned that I needed to get some and he offered to assist. Always a welcome offer. Anyway he was good to his word and on Wednesday a large box of firewood arrived on my doorstep. Naturally I went up to thank him and he then offered to get the pink motorbike back on the road. She's been sadly neglected since Manila and the battery had gone completely flat. I was delighted as I've missed the thrill of zipping along on two wheels. So the bike is fixed, hurrah, but I am making a long story endless which wasn't my intention. To thank him I invite him for a coffee, I know living on the wild side as always, and we get chatting. He's very good at talking and asking questions. Somehow I end up telling him about my knitting addiction. Not usually something I share so early but hey the moment felt right and he jumps up and dashes off. I sit stunned for a minute wondering what aspect of knitting he had a sudden aversion to, the dreaded acrylic word maybe, flashbacks of crazy maiden aunts and lurid colours of Christmas jumpers past. I had barely time to recover when he's back carrying a container full of needles. This is where I feel I may have scuppered things a little because I could barely contain my excitement. I love steel needles for some projects and these were all steel, and lots of 8's and 10's, all I could think of was how many more projects I would be able to cast on with these new needles. Clearly he now thinks of me as totally insane with a very odd penchant for steel needles. I wonder whether he'll take to hiding behind the curtain as I stalk, sorry, walk past. Oh well, I can dream that he will think I'm awesome until then.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Single life

It's funny being single again. I knew it had to be and that it was the right time to walk away but the reality is quite different. In many ways I love it. I like watching what I want on the TV and having control of the remote. I like throwing on some old clothes to slob out on the couch without worrying how bad it looks, I love having the whole bed to myself, apart from the cat of course. I love being spontaneous and doing random things because I don't have to consider anyone else at home. The children are so accepting of my ways and are used to going with the flow. I love sing star Sundays, and lazy reading mornings.....but....there is a part of me that longs to be in partnership again, a part that needs someone else to share things with, someone to be in balance with. I know it's early days yet there is a part of me that is scared of how it will all pan out. How does this dating thing work when you're nearly forty? Is it now OK to call a man or do we still wait for them to take the first step? I have so many questions that at times it feels like my head might spin off into orbit. .
It's not that I need a man to make me whole, I know that I can and do manage on my own. I want one.
Then I stop and remember Rome wasn't built in a day. Jumpers don't knit themselves, stitch by stitch, row by row they grow. Each day passes and brings with it new experiences and one day someone special, someone just right will walk into my life. Single life is about getting ready for that day, enjoying the journey and making the most of life

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shutterfly | View Shared Pictures

Shutterfly | View Shared Pictures
Just something the girl guides got up to over the last few weeks with lots of help from a friend

Monday, June 15, 2009

Farewell faithful friend

Today I had to make the hardest decision I've ever had to make and trust me there have been some tough ones. Ollie My four year old Shih tzu,ran away last week and must have been hit by a car because he returned home limping. The limping got worse and this morning he was totally paralysed in his back legs. He was clearly in a lot of pain. The vet diagnosed a ruptured disc something that small dogs like Shih tzus are prone to. He said surgery was an option but unlikely to be successful and the recovery slow. I had to let my friend go in peace. I know it was the right thing to do for him but I still feel like a total heel. I held him as he slipped away and then spent a long time sobbing over his body.

He was a very placid dog and took everything in his stride. He never complained or made a fuss about anything. I hope he's having fun playing now.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What no knitting!!

Amazing as it will probably sound I haven't knitted a single stitch since last Monday. This factor is serious enough to throw all the planets into total confusion and may have a lasting impact on other more serious spheres such a world peace and the seasons. I can't remember the last time I had a voluntary break from my compulsive two stick habit. I am beginning to suffer from withdrawal symptoms, my hands twitch and I found my self stroking a machine knitted jumper counting the stitches. But it has been worthwhile and I have been having a lot of fun.
It would seem that since the marriage break up at the start of the year certain elements have been realigning themselves and one of these would be my social magnet. Last week it went into warp drive and every minute of my time was suddenly wanted somewhere else. Even the dog felt neglected because she missed one walk and had two others that passed in a flash she was required to go so fast.
I am definitely not complaining, but it does mean that there's little to blog about. I have finished a jumper that languished patiently on needles for three years. It's been worn almost constantly as it is so warm. I also made a set of wrist warmers for number 2 daughter but I haven't sewn them up so they don't really count. There are projects on the needles, two summer ones have been placed out of sight and mind until the cold snap is over. Even if I finish them they won't be worn for several more weeks, possibly months. I am working on a green jumper for me and a blue one for Daisy. The idea was to get them done quickly to wear this winter but the way things are going it might be next winter wear instead. For once I don't mind, it is nice to be popular for a while and I intend to make the most of it all.
While I am blogging I have a question for you all. Where did you meet your partner/boyfriend/ husband. Just a bit of harmless research to prove that love really does find us in the most unlikely places

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The dress

So here it is. Knitted in just one week, thank goodness for slim, short daughters. I used Elle Stretch found by happy accident in the local Warehouse. Cost $4 a ball and I used 6 balls. Elle is 90% acrylic and 10% stretch polyester. It knits beautifully, vewry smooth and fast adn lasts for 125m.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I did it

At the final hour I cast off and while I didn't get a chance to sew in the ends it was wearable. Unfortunately there wasn't time to photograph before she dashed off into the sunset and we haven't been in the house at the same time since. I plan on tying her down if necessary tomorrow. Whew I don't think I can face circulars needles for at least ..... a week maybe!

Monday, May 11, 2009

It must be love

Snippet of conversation with teenage daughter.
Daughter: mum I need a new dress
Mum: Why's that
Daughter: I want to look nice for my boyfriend's birthday
Mum: where are you going?
Daughter: For a meal
Mum: Can't you wear something in your warderobe?
Daughter: Mum!!!
Mum: how much do you need then?
Daughter: Will you knit me one?
Mum: errr, I guess so. When do you need it for
Daughter: Next sunday
No reply from mum. She's on the floor in shock. How fast does she think I knit. A halter neck dress by next Sunday. I'm not making any promises but I'll give it whirl.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I worn the trousers to my knitting group on Monday just so they could see them in the flesh so to speak. The trousers are surprisingly heavy, much heavier than I thought they would be and I need to adjust the elastic in the waist band so there's less drag. They were very easy to wear and very warm and comfortable. The bottom didn't sag at all even after two hours of sitting knitting, but... the knees did. It was a most disappointing moment when I stood up and my knee continued to protrude. I'm not entirely sure how to solve the problem.
I guess I ought to give some facts and figures, being right brained I tend to forget the details. I used a bamboo and cotton blend from Spotlight $4.99 a ball. It's 50% of each. I used 11 balls each giving 82 metres on size four and a half circulars. The pattern was from Phoenix Bess although I adapted the original number of stitches and used a different waist band.
I will definitely make another pair but in black or navy and using a yarn with perhaps a little nylon or Lycra in.
Thanks for all the great comments, I really enjoyed knitting these. I will wear them a lot around the house and wearing them will continue the healing that knitting them started.
No matter what God is still good and I am still blessed

Monday, May 4, 2009


Whew, although these only took me two weeks to knit the last couple of inches really did seem to take forever.
I haven't blocked them yet and there are several places where the yarn was less than perfect so the overall effect is spoilt. I am going to reserve judgement until I've worn them.

I think they fit better than I thought they would.

But should they be worn outside or relegated to the confines of the house only.
Perhaps in a different yarn? Or in black?
Honest opinions sought please
Perhaps they need to be frogged and made into something more sensible.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another clue

Colour isn't brilliant but of course the camera is in China with beloved eldest child.
Can you guess what it is now??
A pair of trousers. I know what you're thinking, honestly I've been there myself but for over six months now I have had this burning desire to knit a pair of trousers. I know it's utter madness and I am seriously in danger of looking like an inmate of the local home for lost souls and the deranged but I just think they will be the most comfortable things in the world to wear. I just adore wearing both my skirts and so surely the trousers will be the same with spades.
These are as I said a cotton and bamboo blend which has a beautiful silky sheen, so soft and hangs with just enough weight to add movement. Unlike socks which cause me double angst with second sock syndrome there is none of that with these, I have already cast on for leg number two and even have a second pair of trews on needles in a different blend.
There's a long long list, probably longer than Santa's good children list of other projects that are way more urgent but these are healing me in ways that only uncomplicated knitting can. I just need not to think about what I'm doing right now although I do worry that perhaps at the end of it I might not be able to think again.
OK back to the other leg. Watch this space for the first showing of the finished project. I promise I will share here before I wear them outside.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Guess what I'm knitting

Rhythmic, steady and uncomplicated, endless circles of stitches, knit. knit, knit. By the time these are done I will have reconnected to my bounce I'm sure. Knitting always heals my inner turmoil. But can you guess what I'm knitting? Go on look closely.

Can you guess what it is yet?

it's cotton and bamboo, my favourite on beautiful wooden circulars.
Inspiration from this designer

I'll reveal all later. Just need to do a few more rounds to still the trouble and soothe the soul. Thank you all for your kind words thoughts and prayers. Knitting my way back to my bounce.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too sad to post

Just feeling overwhelmed by lots of things going on right now. I know it will all pass and that God's hand is in it all but I can't quite get through the dayswith my usually air of positivity. If anyone sees my bounce could they send it back please.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sometimes the details escape me

I can't help it. Being almost totally right brained means that I can sometimes miss the obvious. Usually it's OK as I have enough children who are more balanced brain wise to keep me on track. However on this occasion it took a while for me to find the solution even though it was staring me in the face. Literally. The problem? My adorable teenage son who is as we speak/write on the seven seas sailing for China asked to borrow my digital camera. Of course as a loving mother I said yes instantly. It was the day after I had arrived back from Manila so my joy at seeing him was high and the full extent of broken items yet to be discovered.
I then realised after several days that it was going to seriously hamper my blogging. Text only posts can get a little mundane even for the most ardent blogists. What to do became an obsessive thought and I began to look very seriously at the price of new cameras. The fact that my bank balance has been on a rather drastic detox is only a minor issue.
Then as I sat replying to an email it suddenly struck me that there was a funny looking gizmo at the top of my laptop and I remembered from some fuzzy little used part of my memory that it was indeed a built-in camera. See the solution was right in front of my eyes but I could only see the big picture.
So here are a few shots of the latest knitted pieces. The skirt was knitted in Manila, the only thing I actually managed to knit I was so busy having a good time.

The sparkly wrap took only two days to knit and was an impulse buy when I went to Spotlight in a cheer myself up expedition.

The bluey/indigo lace piece is going to be the green top and went all the way to Manila and all the way back again with not a stitch being knitted.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Home again

Back in New Zealand in body if not yet fully in mind or spirit. Bloggy Friends I am sad to say that I lost my heart to the Philippines and now suddenly everything here seems less than before. I made so many wonderful friends over there and had so many good times that it felt like a year instead of a month. I cried so hard at the airport, much more than I cried when I left the UK for NZ. My emotions are all over the place right now. Still I did go to social knitting and normal knitting reports will be transmitted once the tear ducts stop leaking. Don't want to electrocute myself or fry the yarn.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I can't sing. I'm not just being modest here, as if I would ever be backwards about coming forwards. My ability to hold a tune ranks in the serious deficiency realm. My voice itself might just about pass muster but I am flat and have a unique way of arranging the notes so they have very little in common with the original song. Honestly me singing is a crime against the ears.
Before you switch off totally and go and search another blog there is a point to this. On March 17th, (St Patrick's day, to those in the know) We - my two colleagues and some people we'd met went to the Hobbit House here in Manila. It's a bar where the wait staff are all dwarfs. Anyway there was a band playing. Wonderful I thought and settled down to listen. My new friend scribbled something down on a piece of paper, gave it to the waitress who took it up to the stage, the next thing, my name is being called and I am being invited to go up on stage and sing. Oh fellow bloggers can you imagine my utter horror. This is a public space. I don't even sing in private without issuing a warning to the local surroundings. I attempted to locate my invisibility cloak but I'd left it at home. I then prayed desperately for an earthquake or some other disaster to save me. I don't even drink so there was no alcohol buffer to offer immunity from embarrassment.
All the while my new friend, relegated to mere acquaintance by now, is leading me resolutely towards total annihilation. Somehow, I swear I don't know how I found myself standing on the stage with a microphone in my hand and being asked what I wanted to sing. Well My mind was in lock down and the only song title I could think of was Top of the world by the Carpenters, purely because I'd seen it on TV the day before. By now it was very clear that there was only one thing to do and that was to sing and get it over and done with. So I did. I sang in public, in front of at least 50 people, 48 of whom I will thankfully never see again. I am sure it was awful, but the funny thing is I really, really enjoyed myself. I loved being on the stage and even knowing that my voice was awful didn't matter.
So I have learnt to sing as though no one else can hear you. It's fun. But out of respect for other people I have been going to the local Time zones where they have private booths and you can sing along for just 50p a song. Brittany Spears watch out!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Manila is great, busy, exciting and as energetic as I am but truth to tell I am longing for home. Sure I miss my kids, but more than seeing them and dealing with the day to day needs I want my routine back. I want to wake up and walk Mouse on the beach as the sun peeks over North Head showering Rangitoto in golden light heavy with the promise of a new day. I want peace to comtemplate the gifts given to me and prepare myself for the blessings of the new day. I want to hear the gentle rush of waves upon sand, not the blare of traffic and the dicordant blast of angry horns.
I want to banter with my colleagues and attempt to raise their energy levels by a degree or two by being impossibly bouncy. I want to stand on the veranda outside the office with a coffee in hand and listen to the general hustle and bustle of the place. I want to go to my normal weekly things, Pilates, Spin, Social Knitting and Rangers. All those things are part of who I am and without them I am beginning to feel a little adrift. Staying up til 4am dancing isn't really who I am although it has been a lot of fun. Not so much fun getting up at 6am because my body won't reset itself.
Still I am not complaining, just sharing, after all in ten days I will be back in NZ and the threads of my life there will seamlessly be interwoven into the part of God's grand tapestry that has been created from my vist here. I know that I have things to learn from this visit even if I'm not entirely sure what they are yet.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Alison in Mall land

A little like Alice when she fell down the rabbit hole and it went down, and down and down, I found myself feeling a little disorientated as the malls here go on and on and on. I wondered where it would all end and whether there might be a potion somewhere that when you drank it made you a thousand times richer.
Seriously you go in the front,side or back door and then a long time later if you are very lucky and very good at navigation you will find the way out. I have never in my life walked into one shop of many shops and seen so much of everything. Everyhwere
It's like walking into Debenhams or John Lewis and the entire floor is all one thing, like bags, shoes. And no matter how long you walk for there seems to be no end of it all. The you walk out and there's another one. I didn't realise just how many brands of shoes there are, Kickers, Keds, Van, Converse, Hush, and on and on.
At first it seemed like shopper heaven but actually I find it all overwhelming. There's so much choice that I almost can't make a decision.
I just can't begin to imagine where all that stuff would fit in the world. It also made me stop and think about how much of the world's resources was being used to produce such an over abundance. I think that if all production stopped it would still be several years before all the goods were used up.
Still Manila is very large and busy and it is a wonderful opportunity to be here. I might just be better off leaving the purse behind.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Giving up for Lent

I told everyone I was giving up NZ for Lent but they all said it didn't count as I wasn't leaving until two days after Lent started and would be back two weeks before it ended. Having landed in Singapore on route to Manila I agree, how can I possibly be depriving myself when I am having such fun. I guess it will have to be Coke Zero and chocolate after all. At least my family will not be harmed in the course of this lent as they are still in NZ.
I was also super organised and bought the Easter eggs before I left NZ. I hope they don't melt while I'm away.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Off to Manila

Things will probably be very quiet aroud here for the next four weeks. I'm off to Manila to teach instructional techniques to the defence force over there. I am really looking forward to the trip but can't guarantee how much time there will be for blogging. Looking forward to catching up with everyone in April.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Note to self

Despite a generally feeling of buoyancy, and over elation, described by those less empathetic or maybe just brave as over animation I have learnt this week that I do not bounce well.
It came as a bit of a shock to me to find that when confronted with the business end of a piece of wet tarmac, the tarmac wins. I would never have laid bets on that one. Me the invincible would surely merely skim the surface rising unscathed while the tarmac would be left crushed and dented. Alas no. I took a corner on my motorbike and lost traction due to a combination of rain and oil residue on the road and the scooter skidded. I thought I might be able to ride it out, but the lean was too great so the bike and I parted company while I introduced myself to the road. I'm not overly impressed with road's manners, a bit gritty for my liking so I won't be heading back that way any time soon. No real damage done, A few bruises and a partially dislocated shoulder, the bike needs to be touched up all along the left flank. Thank heavens for protective clothing.
Other note to self
It is good to be alive.
This morning As I walked with Mouse to the village I took the time to enjoy the moment. It was a beautiful morning, I smiled at everyone I passed and bid them all a chirpy good morning. I care nothing if they choose to think I'm the nutter of Devonport. I bought a coffee and sat drinking it and reading a magazine, no rush, no hurry and when I was ready Mouse and I continued our walk.
It was such a simple pleasure, the feeling of a new day before me filled with promise and expectation. Being still and not moving into the next moment without having fully lived this one. Meeting good friends and knowing that I was loved. Greeting strangers that they might know they were loved. What a great day.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentines means

I can hardly believe my baby is eight, and my big boy is nineteen. It certainly doesn't seem nineteen years ago that I was a very proud and nervous new mum, gazing in wonder and trepidation at the squirming red bundle I'd been given. We've had lots of fun and a few tears along the way, normal family life and it can't have been that bad can it as I repeated the whole experience another three times.

I may have been trying for one with a head?
And then to get another baby 11 years later born on the same day. Definitely npt the way it was planned. I had rather hoped for an Easter baby.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Have you ever

bought something, got it home and then the item vanishes into thin air? Unfortunately I'm not talking about the kind of things that disappear because we've eaten them. Although I've done that heaps of times.
I went out on Sunday and broke the resolution of no yarn buying until stash was used up in order to put something away for my trip next month. I could have used stash, but nothing felt quite right for a trip away and it had to last a month. So I discussed with my favourite shop assistant in my favourite yarn store and a decision was reached. I would buy some denim blue Serenity to knit a T-shirt with as I already had the pattern. It was then agreed that I would have a second project's yarn ( from stash) posted halfway through my trip. I'm sure you can all see why this assistant is my favourite.
I know I picked the yarn up. I remember it being there when I had a coffee and I took it out of my bag to show. I know I put it away in my bag when the food arrived and I vaguely recall putting it somewhere safe when I got home. I put it somewhere safe so I wouldn't be tempted to cast on for the trip project before I actually went on my trip.
However I tried to find the yarn on Monday and though I searched high and low, and in every possible location the yarn has vanished.
I even went back to the coffee shop in case I had left it there but nope.
Somewhere there's a little borrower with enough yarn to make hundreds of borrower blankets. They also have two pink pads and two packs of coloured pens that arrived at work were handed to me and promptly disappeared.
It wouldn't be so funny except I actually teach memory skills so you'd think I'd be able to remember what I did with them.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Long weekend

Another long weekend here in NZ and the plan is for lots of swimming and chilling. The kids are busy covering all their books ready to go back to school. I must be showing my age as I mentioned how we used to use old wallpaper to cover my books and was met with withering looks of utter contempt. How times have changed.
The urge to knit, indeed do anything very crafty seems to have gone for a short nap. I have plenty of yarn, plenty of patterns and while I am happy to spend hours browsing all the possible things I want to make when it comes to getting stuck in, I just don't feel the need. I guess crafting was a little bit of distraction therapy, or a way to hide from the situation that isn't necessary anymore.

But I haven't given up entirely. I have a lilac skirt on the go which is 3/4 finished and I picked up this book from the local library and immediately knew, as you do that I had to have the peg bag.

It's an absolute necessity. The fact that my pegs live in a basket permanently attached to the line is no deterrent.
I have used a wool blend that was sent to me by my magazine swap partner last year and I am loving how the colour combo is working out. But then again they are my favourite colours.

Do you like the tablecloth? It's another new addition to the household.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hopes and dreams

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, a little like Pooh bear who once said sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit. I've just been thinking. Thankfully I took all necessary safety precautions because everyone knows that it is often thinking that will lead you into some serious trouble. But what did I think.
I though about how happy I was, and how amazing it was to feel so happy. I thought about how incredible feeling happy made me feel, and that I wish I'd known what a high it was to feel like this. I hope this isn't getting too deep for you. If your head hurts already you may want to take a short break and go lie down till you feel better.
The really big thing that I thought though was what had made me happy. You see this is the wow factor for me. I had made me happy. Me. Not money or a big house with a pool or kids who tidied up all the time or a fast car, or a pay rise or a long holiday. None of those things have yet to arrive, although I do hope they're on order somewhere. My happiness was about being me and realising that I have so many good blessings and so many opportunities that it was impossible to do anything but be happy.
Honestly I seem to have a permanent grin on my face like a 500 mega watt torch light. I want to shout and sing and dance and laugh all at the same time. So I want you to all be happy too.
I am going to be creating myself over the next few months but number one is to act like I have already got everything I need, because I think I have. I really hope that you do to.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekend sewing

This applique set was given to me for my birthday. I'd seen it hanging in the local Craft shop and loved it from the first. It's my first ever attempt at applique so we'll not linger too long on the size of the blanket stitch or the beak that's on upside down. I am pretty happy with a first effort. It's taken me a while and really if I hadn't volunteered to do four duties over the Christmas period it would still be unfinished. Being on base for 24 hours gave me a perfect opportunity to draw, cut and sew to my heart's content.

I learnt a lot along the way, namely that you draw the pieces individually. I drew two owls before I discovered this gem of information.

I learnt that batting and wadding are very different materials and will give very different results.
I learnt that corners are fiddly, critters that so far elude my patience and experience level.

I also learnt that I thoroughly enjoy applique and so when I received a heap of gorgeous lilac fat quarters from my magazine swap partner Laurie I knew it had to been an applique project.
This is a Sunbonnet Sue pattern that I found free here
The background material was really hard to pick. It didn't seem to matter what colour I tried they all seemed to clash. Finally we took the quarters of to Spotlight and spent hours holding them against pretty much every fabric choice they had until it was decided that the beige with small white flowers while not perfect was the best choice.

I have proper batting to finish it off this time and I'm thinking of making it a wall hanging by threading wooden dowels top and bottom. It will then hang in my bedroom so I can admire each morning when I wake up and each evening when I go to sleep.
Two more sleeps until Social knitting start again. Can you tell I've missed my weekly sit and knit time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Beginnings

Always start for me with new bedding. Usually it's enough for the bedding to be just washed. I love the crispness of freshly laundered sheets, their coolness against skin still pink from a too warm bath. The comforting presence of a duvet settling like a hug over me, enveloping me into a world of refuge and sweet dreams scented by the aroma of soapy suds. Passing a laundromat always evokes a sharp pang of nostalgia for me.
But this time I decided that just washing the bedding was quite significant enough. I needed to be radical and so I gathered my girls to me and we headed for the sales. We oohed and ahhed over pink and purple bedding, lace and frills, floral and plain until we found the perfect bedding for me at the perfect price, reduced to below half its original price.

At last my bedroom feels like a space I can relax in. I keep walking in and admiring the bed, touching the rose pattern and smoothing the cover. It's fully reversible with the other side being a pink paisley type pattern which can be seen at the edges of the pillow cases and the matching sheets.
even my teddies have been able to come out of hibernation and take up their place again.
Knitting and crafting has really taken a back seat over the last few weeks, partly the beautiful summer weather that has had everyone heading for the great outdoors but also home events. Still social knitting starts up again on Monday so it's time to dust off the needles and get cracking on finishing a couple of pieces.

Thank you all for your kind words. I am feeling incredibly light and full of energy and hope for a very bright future.

Friday, January 23, 2009


When I joined the navy two years ago I had no idea the impact that one of the core values would have on me. Courage.
I didn't realise that the navy would teach me how to stand up for myself, how to protect myself and ultimately how to have the courage to say enough. I didn't know that their emphasis on courage would resonate through my own life causing me to want to change things for the better. Of course it takes two to change a marriage and ours had been one of power and control for a long time. It was never going to be easy to realign the balance.
It takes a lot of courage to say no more even when you know it will cause pain to others.
I have found that courage.
2009 will be the year I teach my girls that insults and derogatory comments are not acceptable behaviours. I will teach them that emotional blackmail is unacceptable and that we all deserve to be loved and treated with dignity and respect. I wish I'd had the courage years ago.
It will be a courageous year.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Thank goodness for friends

Remember my temptation issues, wanting to buy the third and well yes the fourth as well, in the Twilight series but not being able to partly because finances wouldn't stretch that far, not when they weren't essential and I already have so many other books to read, not to mention the use of two very good libraries.
So in the course of conversation I shared my dilemma with a friend at work and do you know what she did? She went out and bought book three and book four and gave them to me to read before she even read them. She said she knew I'd read them way quicker than her and she was going to buy them anyway. I feel totally blessed that someone would do that for me. I fully understand how precious books are and how hard it can be to lend a book out.
I read book three last night and thoroughly enjoyed every word. I am starting book four tonight.
So today I count a friend as a very special blessing.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The very talented April of Cake makes the world a better place has awarded these to all her followers and I am one of those

Here are the "rules" for sharing these awards with eight other bloggers:

These blogs are exceedingly charming.
These kind bloggers aim to be friends.
They are not interested in self-aggrandizement.
Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.

Please give more attention to these kind writers.
When you pass the award along please include these guidelines.
I am to choose eight friends to share this with....

So many wonderful blogs.
If you visit me and I visit you then conside yourself awarded.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A to do with a difference

MAny thanks to April for this one
Things you've already done: bold
Things you want to do: in red
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a Meteor Shower
6. given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyworld/Land
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in Paris
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snowfort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden a Gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michaelangelo's David in person
41. Sung Karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold girl scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching
63. Received flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a cheque
68. flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a Quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swum in the great salt lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


“But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”

This is very apt as I struggle already not to lured into buying the third book in the Twilight series,some more Stella bamboo because I've discovered how luscious it is to work with and more fabric for another applique. Not to mention other areas of temptation.

I deal with it by avoiding the places I love to be but that's not really a solution. How else can I not give in?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How I spent my holidays

Using my lovely sewing machine to complete an owl applique wall hanging I got for my birthday and to make clothes for a Baby Born boy. All very well but given my limited ability to sew and the lack of a pattern it was all a little challenging and something I wish Santa had thought long and hard about before delivering the aforementioned to our house.


Supervising and controlling, badly my four children.

and when it all got too much lying in my hammock hoping they would all simply go away

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Resolutions

Usually I don't bother with these. After all it seems that most are abandoned a few days or weeks into the year and all you're left with is the awful burden of guilt. But I have discovered that part of the secret to resolutions lies in the motives behind why I make them. Once I know why I need to stop/start something it throws a switch in a remote part of my brain and I find I can stick to it. Last year I counted how many unread books there were on my bookshelves. 68. I had bought each book desperate to own it and read it, but it then went into the huge pile of to be read. So I could see that while buying new books was immensely enjoyable for me, it was actually starting to be wasteful. So no more new books until the ones on the shelf have been read. Of course that meant that everyone had to buy me books for my birthday and any other occasion.
This year I am going to stick to the same resolution. I now have only 36 unread books on my bookcases, I have not ever been without a book to read and I have not suffered. I would say I am almost cured of my book addiction in that I can spend twenty minutes in a book shop pick up at least five books and then decide not to buy any.
I am also going to not buy any more yarn until my stash is almost zero. It is the same waste factor. Some yarn has sat there for so long I can no longer remember what project it was bought for and while ravelry helps with my memory it doesn't help with the empty purse syndrome.
Nor am I going to by any more fabric for the same reason.
I will however attempt not to turn into Mrs Scrooge by next Christmas.