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I knit, I sew, I run, I look after children, I cook, I complain.  Sometimes all at the same time.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

I wouldn't say you were thoughtless. Not just any guy would walk a gal to the morgue.

A bit of an update.  I haven't written anything for ages because I'm so tired and fed up with the whole thing and only knitting will help.  Honestly, I'm working every hour there is just to stand still, and I'm getting to absolute breaking point.  One more thing, and I'll scream the place down.

Anyway.  Nice knitting.  Playing with string and sticks is the only thing at the moment.
  • My Aiken is going really rather well, I'm nearly finished with the body, then just the sleeves to go.  It's a very quick and satisfying knit.  I do like the pattern very much, and I think I might make a couple more.
  • Ringo and Elwood mittens.  One down, half of the second done.  Another lovely quick knit.
  • The Weather in the Streets - January to August done AND SEWN TOGETHER.  September in progress.  I've got 6 more happy squares to add to it.  I'm having a break now, it's doing my head in.
The rest of the list is depressingly familiar to how it was before.  Still.  Ah well.  Long time until June.
  • Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - on hold.
  • Wisteria jumper - I would quite like to wear this now, it's jolly cold in the house at the moment. 
  • Owl Obsession for one of my godsons - it's for his second birthday.  I've bought the pattern.
  • Hexipuff Quilt (I'm aiming to get 250/500 done by the end of June 2015) Ho hum. I've sewn the ones I was sent on to the blanket, and they look great. 
  • Burton Bear cowl for Hattie.  Brown wool found.  Placed in knitting bag with pattern and needles.  Awaiting cast on fairy.
  • Nicholas' POP blanket - There are still 9 completed squares.   Needs to be done by April, so not that long to go.  Aargh.
  • Peacock Mitten - one done, started the other.
  • Coraline cardigan - moved to be finished by February; this is Britain, it will still be cold then
  • Petrie top - I have some rather fine Peacock coloured yarn to make this with, but it is a spring weight top, so it is on hold until February 2015.
  • Knitted Coco - got the yarn, found a different pattern which I need to buy and print out,  just got to start.  Also, see above.
  • Socks for me - meh
  • Rainbow jumper - I have more Kauni wool, I just need the background colour.  Then I'll start it as soon as I finish the Owlet.
  • A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning
  • Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon - apparently, he does want me to do this.
Done:
Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan.
A pair of simple socks for the children
Garter Yoke Cardigan
An Owlet for Lucy
Lucy's Cowl
Hattie's Cowl
A Burton Bear Cowl for Lucy
Simon's socks
Boreal
A tiny jumper for Nicholas
Sparkly Owlet for Hattie

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

And I would have definitely gone to my reunion, but the boat I was educated on sank.

I'm out of class a lot this week.  Today I've been to a SEND reforms conference, which was a combination of far too much information and very, very interesting.  The best bit was hearing from young people with additional needs talking about their experiences - Ealing is a very good borough, and our young people are intelligent and articulate.  Hurrah for us.

Anyway, no more about teaching or SENCO-ing for now.  I've started my intervention, and it's good fun, and the children seem to be enjoying it.

  • An Owlet for Hattie - FINISHED.  Have a crappy photo.
  • The Weather in the Streets - January to August done AND SEWN TOGETHER.  September in progress.  I've got 6 more happy squares to add to it.  I need a break from the damn thing soon.
  • Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - rippling away quietly in the background - one or two stripes every couple of days.  I might do a couple more over the weekend.
  •  Ringo and Elwood mittens.  I've finished the right hand one of Hattie's pair.  Now to make the other one, and then to make Lucy's.
  • I started a new jumper for a selfish knit along.  It's an Aiken by Andy Satterlund, and you can find the pattern here.  It's very satisfying to knit a lace panel in worsted weight wool.  
The rest of the list is depressingly familiar to how it was before.
  • Wisteria jumper - I would quite like to wear this now, it's jolly cold in the house at the moment. 
  • Owl Obsession for one of my godsons - it's for his second birthday.  I've bought the pattern.
  • Hexipuff Quilt (I'm aiming to get 250/500 done by the end of June 2015) Ho hum. I've sewn the ones I was sent on to the blanket, and they look great. 
  • Burton Bear cowl for Hattie.  Brown wool found.  Placed in knitting bag with pattern and needles.  Awaiting cast on fairy.
  • Nicholas' POP blanket - There are still 9 completed squares.   Needs to be done by April, so not that long to go.  Aargh.
  • Peacock Mitten - one done, started the other.
  • Coraline cardigan - moved to be finished by February; this is Britain, it will still be cold then
  • Petrie top - I have some rather fine Peacock coloured yarn to make this with, but it is a spring weight top, so it is on hold until February 2015.
  • Knitted Coco - got the yarn, found a different pattern which I need to buy and print out,  just got to start.  Also, see above.
  • Socks for me - meh
  • Rainbow jumper - I have more Kauni wool, I just need the background colour.  Then I'll start it as soon as I finish the Owlet.
  • A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning
  • Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon - apparently, he does want me to do this.
Done:
Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan.
A pair of simple socks for the children
Garter Yoke Cardigan
An Owlet for Lucy
Lucy's Cowl
Hattie's Cowl
A Burton Bear Cowl for Lucy
Simon's socks
Boreal
A tiny jumper for Nicholas

Thursday, 15 January 2015

I have many leather bound books!

Yet another internet challenge, this time to do with reading.


Can you read that?  If not, and you're interested, and why wouldn't you be, go and have a look over here at the original list.  I'm using it as a prompt to read with a bit more focus, rather than just "this one is next".  At the moment, I'm mostly reading books by women - I say " mostly", it's the 15th of January for goodness sake and I've only read 3 books so far this year.  I don't think any of them come under any of the categories, not even "books I own, but have never read".  

There's absolutely nothing stopping me only reading women writers this year, except the strong desire to re-read the Mapp and Lucia books, and remind myself that they were far from a camp romp - let's do the thirties!  And overact our little socks off!  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great.

So far this year, I've (re)read Civil to Strangers by Barbara Pym, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, A Fair Barbarian by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and I'm currently reading Every Eye by Isobel English.  They are all as different from each other as they can possibly be, and are confusing the algorithms on GoodReads no end.  I think I'll read either an Iris Murdoch next, or reread The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - it's been years since I read any Bronte novels, and I did love them dearly. 

I love making plans in January, then looking at them again in July and laughing at myself.

Monday, 12 January 2015

You have a much more interesting life if you wear impressive clothes

A new button has appeared on the side of my blog.  It's the Vintage Pattern Pledge, and you can find out more about it here and here.

“The

I don't really sew vintage patterns, as I am too busty and too hippy to look impressive in something aimed at a post-war snake, but on discussion with the very lovely Marie and the equally lovely Kerry, I realised that I can just as easily knit a vintage jumper or two and join in. 

There's a rather lovely book that Simon got me for my birthday in 2013, and owing to it needing to be reprinted blah blah, I only received it at the end of last year; it's A Stitch in Time Volume 1, and I'm going to be making at least 2 from it this year.  I've set up a Pinterest board to showcase the patterns and the yarns I'm going use (buy) to make them.  By the way, do follow me on Pinterest if you fancy it; there's really quite a lot of crafty goodness on there.  It's a bit of a rabbit hole though, so make sure you have lots of time.

So, the pledge.  I, Julia Croyden, hereby pledge to make at least 2 jumpers from A Stitch in Time Volume 1.  Susan Crawford has written four books, and they are all gorgeous.  Something for this year's Christmas list.  

Anyway, as I edit to add links and feel that there needs to be some sort of question to round everything off, why not join to?

Sunday, 11 January 2015

You’re wise, Liz Lemon. Like a genetically-manipulated shark

I always, always forget how wiped out the first week back after Christmas leaves me.  It's been a good week, but extremely tiring.  I've got a new project to work on at school, because I'm not busy enough, and I've got to start my Write Dance SENCo course intervention too, which will be amusing.  My outline is done, I just want a couple of people to read through it before I hand it in. It didn't help that Simon was away for a few days in the middle of the week either.

A long winded way to say that I've not been blogging much or doing anything except working recently.  Anyway, I've signed up to a couple of crafty things, about which more later in the week; this week I've just been sitting and knitting quietly away at the list.

  • The Weather in the Streets - January to July done AND SEWN TOGETHER.  August in progress.  Those squares in August that have been done have been sewn onto the rest of the blanket.  Still got to do the happy days squares.  *sigh*
  • Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - rippling away quietly in the background - one or two stripes every couple of days.
  •  Ringo and Elwood mittens.  I've finished the right hand one of Hattie's pair.  Now to make the other one, and then to make Lucy's.
  • An Owlet for Hattie - I've made the body, joined one of the sleeves and am working on the second - should be finished before the end of the week.  Still no photos.
The rest is the same as before.  I'm going to blitz them as soon as I've finished the Owlet and the other mitten.
  • Wisteria jumper - I would quite like to wear this now, it's jolly cold in the house at the moment. 
  • Owl Obsession for one of my godsons - it's for his second birthday.  I've bought the pattern.
  • Hexipuff Quilt (I'm aiming to get 250/500 done by the end of June 2015) Ho hum.  Someone sent me 3 spare ones, I need to sew them onto the blanket.  
  • Burton Bear cowl for Hattie.  Brown wool found.  Placed in knitting bag with pattern and needles.  Awaiting cast on fairy.
  • Nicholas' POP blanket - There are still 9 completed squares.   Needs to be done by April, so not that long to go.  Aargh.
  • Peacock Mitten - one done, started the other.
  • Coraline cardigan - moved to be finished by February; this is Britain, it will still be cold then
  • Petrie top - I have some rather fine Peacock coloured yarn to make this with, but it is a spring weight top, so it is on hold until February 2015.
  • Knitted Coco - got the yarn, found a different pattern which I need to buy and print out,  just got to start.  Also, see above.
  • Socks for me - meh
  • Rainbow jumper - I have more Kauni wool, I just need the background colour.  Then I'll start it as soon as I finish the Owlet.
  • A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning
  • Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon - STILL not proving as popular an idea as I thought it would be.
Done:
Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan.
A pair of simple socks for the children
Garter Yoke Cardigan
An Owlet for Lucy
Lucy's Cowl
Hattie's Cowl
A Burton Bear Cowl for Lucy
Simon's socks
Boreal
A tiny jumper for Nicholas

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Stop eating people’s old French fries, pigeon! Have some self respect! Don’t you know you can fly?

For the first time this year, the Sunday night KNITTING KLAXON.

The knit list.  There has actually been some change since my last update.  How amazing.
  • A small jumper for Nicholas - FINISHED

OMFG, but I love it, and I want one in an adult size.  Totally sizing it up and making one for EVERYONE. 
  • The Weather in the Streets - January to July done AND SEWN TOGETHER.  August in progress.  Those squares in August that have been done have been sewn onto the rest of the blanket. 

Look how beautiful it is.  Funny story: I counted wrong, so I am 10 squares out.  So I need to remove 5 from around the blanket, and sew in five Lipstick pink ones, as well as adding another 5 for the remainder of the year, for 10 happy days.  Whoops.  Good thing I don't need to count for my job, or anything. 
  • Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - I've now completed, I dunno, about half?  It's on hold for a bit, but gaze upon its beauty.

It is still meant for Lucy's 6th birthday.  She'll have by the time the weather is good enough to go camping again.  
  • Ringo and Elwood mittens in grey and brown - I started Hattie's right hand one the other day.  Oh mi dayz, but it is an easy and sweet little pattern, and I love it to bits and back again. 

LOOK.  LOOK HOW SMALL YET BEAUTIFUL IT IS.

  • An Owlet for Hattie - I've made the body and some of one of the sleeves.  No photo, because it's boring at the moment, but the yarn is pretty sparkly and pink and purple, and Hattie loves it.
  • Wisteria jumper - I need the needles for the Owlet, so I did one round before shelving it for a bit.  IT TOTALLY COUNTS.
The rest is the same as before.
  • Owl Obsession for one of my godsons - it's for his second birthday.  I've bought the pattern.
  • Hexipuff Quilt (I'm aiming to get 250/500 done by the end of June 2015) Ho hum.
  • Burton Bear cowl for Hattie.  Brown wool found.  Placed in knitting bag with pattern and needles.  Awaiting cast on fairy.
  • Nicholas' POP blanket - There are still 9 completed squares.   Needs to be done by April, so not that long to go.  Aargh.
  • Peacock Mitten - one done, started the other.
  • Coraline cardigan - moved to be finished by February; this is Britain, it will still be cold then
  • Petrie top - I have some rather fine Peacock coloured yarn to make this with, but it is a spring weight top, so it is on hold until February 2015.
  • Knitted Coco - got the yarn, found a different pattern which I need to buy and print out,  just got to start.  Also, see above.
  • Socks for me - meh
  • Rainbow jumper - I have more Kauni wool, I just need the background colour.  Then I'll start it as soon as I finish the Owlet.
  • A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning
  • Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon - STILL not proving as popular an idea as I thought it would be.
Done:
Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan.
A pair of simple socks for the children
Garter Yoke Cardigan
An Owlet for Lucy
Lucy's Cowl
Hattie's Cowl
A Burton Bear Cowl for Lucy
Simon's socks
Boreal

I've also discovered the joy of Hama beads, thanks to Pinterest and lovely, lovely Lucy from Attic 24.  It's all crafty goodness here.


I think I need a new pair of mittens.  Hmm.



Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014 in pictures

One more look back, and then it's business as usual.  We're going to Brighton today, and also, hopefully, to the cinema. so we're already busy.  So far, 2015 has been the year of everyone being ill at the same time, which is rubbish.




No particular order to the collages, just some photos from a fun year.  All of them were taken on my iPhone, which is why they aren't great.  I've got my brand new brilliant camera to take photos on now, so lets see if things improve this year. 

Friday, 2 January 2015

Read It 2014

I read quite a lot of books last year.  I'm aiming to read 60 this year, which is 4 more than in 2014.  I'm going to use one of those fabulous internet challenges, where you take lots of pictures and "hashtag" them on Instagram, but more about that another time.

If you're interested, here is my list with one line reviews. 
  • Civil to Strangers; Barbara Pym (read the novella, reading the short stories at the moment)
  • Love and Friendship; Alison Lurie (1970s American academics, quite interesting)
  • Love at Second Sight; Ada Leverson (lovely)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; JK Rowling (oddly terrifying)
  • Ladies Delight; Emile Zola (jolly good)
  • The Sweet Dove Died; Barbara Pym (brilliant)
  • Findings; Kathleen Jamie (fantastic)
  • Tenterhooks; Ava Leverson (lovely and funny)
  • The Amazing Thing About The Way It Goes; Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (mostly pretty funny)
  • Yesterday's Houses; Mavis Cheek (belonged to my Ouma, it tickles me to think of her reading it, it's pretty dirty in parts)
  • Excellent Women; Barbara Pym (Barbara Pym-esque)
  • The Sacred and Profane Love Machine; Iris Murdoch (unnecessarily wordy)
  • The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden; Jonas Jonasson (OK)
  • Gilead; Marilynne Robinson (jolly good)
  • The Smart: The True Story of Margaret Caroline Rudd and the Unfortunate Perreau Brothers; Sarah Bakewell (a bit boring)
  • All Fall Down; Jennifer Weiner (different to her other book)
  • All Change; Elizabeth Jane Howard (desperately sad that it is the last one)
  • Bryant and May - The Bleeding Heart; Christopher Fowler (I think  I read too many of these in a row)
  • Citadel; Kate Mosse (didn't finish, too, too similar to all her other books)
  • My Judy Garland Life; Susie Boyt (loved this)
  • Bird of Paradise; Ada Leverson (gorgeous)
  • The Bad Cook; Esther Walker (funny as usual)
  • Mansfield Revisited; Joan Aitken (not very good, bit obvious)
  • Bryant and May - The Memory of Blood; Christopher Fowler (I liked this one best)
  • Bryant and May - The Victoria Vanishes; Christopher Fowler (confusing)
  • Bryant and May - The Invisible Code; Christopher Fowler (funny)
  • Bryant and May - Off the Rails; Christopher Fowler (long)
  • Bryant and May - On the Loose; Christopher Fowler (enjoyed this)
  • The Dragonfly Diaries; Ruary Mackensie Dodds (utterly brilliant) 
  • The Bell; Iris Murdoch (understood this a lot more now I'm an adult)
  • The Diary of a Provincial Lady; E. M. Delafield (re-reading, but super)
  • One Corpse Too Many; Ellis Peters (re-reading)
  • The Old Ways; Robert MacFarlane (superb)
  • The Bridges of Constantine; Ahlam Mosteghanemi (like eating a massive marshmallow, too, too over-written)
  • An Episode of Sparrows; Rumor Godden (of its time)
  • Moon Over Soho; Ben Aaronovitch (super)
  • Raising Steam; Terry Pratchett (super)
  • The Middlesteins; Jamie Attenburg (can't believe it's her first book)
  • The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year; Sue Townsend (loved this)
  • Happy Kids; Cathy Glass (boring)
  • Broken Homes; Ben Aaronovitch (super ending)
  • Whispers Underground; Ben Aaronovitch (love this)
  • The Strangling on the Stage; Simon Brett (I read too many of these in a row)
  • The Corpse on the Court; Simon Brett (meh)
  • Rivers of London; Ben Aaronovitch (great)
  • Love's Shadow; Ada Leverson (lovely)
  • Guns in the Gallery; Simon Brett (same as the others)
  • Turned Out Nice Again; Richard Mabey (liked this one)
  • Instructions for a Heat Wave; Maggie O'Farrell (can't remember either)
  • The Bones under the Beach Hut; Simon Brett (same as the others)
  • The Prisoner of Heaven; Carlos Ruiz Zafón (can't remember)
  • Various Pets Alive and Dead; Marina Lewycka (funny)
  • Sara Gay, Model Girl; Janey Scott (not very good)
  • Mrs Tim Flies Home; DE Stevenson (funny)
  • The Goldfinch; Donna Tartt (I loved this, and didn't want it to end)
  • Tempting Fate; Jane Green (similar to her others)
  • A Fairly Honourable Defeat; Iris Murdoch (chillingly horrible)

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year, New You

Happy New Year and all that.  I was going to do a round up of all the millions of things I made this year before today, but the germs attacked on Boxing Day, and I have been prostrate for days.

Anyway.  I've made 21 things out of wool - knitting or crocheting - which is considerably less than previous years.  Sewing has taken up a lot more time this year, and I've made 8 Coco dresses or tops and at least four others.  This year I want to make things I actually wear, so that will be more jersey dresses and more cardigans.  The wardrobe is full to bursting at the moment, so perhaps some winnowing out of the stuff is called for.


From the top left down in columns: New Year's Day cowl, Spotty Dress (my first dress), Spotty Coco, Stripey Coco dress (most worn thing ever), bird dress, Green and grey Coco.
Idlewood, Boatneck Bluebell sweater, Cherry Coco (my first Coco). red and blue baby cord skirt, Elsa dress.
Fox brooch, Upholstery skirt (too big), fleecy Coco, Myrna cardigan (OAL 2014), Butterfly top, blue and grey sock for Simon.
Puerperium for Nicholas, Green and Grey Coco again, MASSIVE MAN SOCKS FOR SIMON, Charley Harper bird Coco, Sew Dolly Clackett dolly Cambie.
Cat Lady Anna. Flamingo Anna, Boreal, a cowl for a little girl, Lucy's rainbow socks, chicken skirt.

What a lot of terrible photos of me.  That's the worst thing about making your own stuff - looking at pictures of yourself. Urgh.

Busy old year, and that's not all I've made at all.  I thought I'd spare you the rest, although one of my plans is to update the Handmade Wardrobe section of the blog.  At some point.  

Sewing and knitting plans for this year?  Just keep on keeping on and hopefully get the hang of it.  I'd really like to be a size 12 before I'm 38, which should be a bit of a saving on fabric and wool, and I really hope to make some trousers this year.  Hattie needs an Elsa dress too, which should be easy enough to get done in a couple of evenings.

Ah well.  At the moment, my only plan is to get over this cold and get out running again.  Or maybe to go into the front room and watch Mapp and Lucia and knit a new jumper for Hattie.  It's all go here. 


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

You never realise how weird your friends are until you start describing them to someone else

One of the many things the children, particularly Lucy, are having to learn, and I'm trying so hard to teach them, is the important difference between being friendly and having friends.  Now, I'm a bad example, as I am generally unfriendly to people I don't know, kind to people I like and positively rude to people I don't like.  Simon, on the other hand, is generally friendly to everyone, so much so that people don't realise when he doesn't like them.  

Lucy is going to have to learn all these super social skills for herself.  Where will she draw the line?  I've suggested to both girls that people who hurt you physically have no place in your friendship group, and actually you don't need to even be nice to them.  If someone hit me on the head with a heavy object for no reason other than I was standing on the carpet in a funny way, I wouldn't have anything more to do with them and neither should my children.  But what about the girls who don't want to play, who whisper, giggle and point?  Are they just a normal part of growing up, or should we do something about them?

I have no idea.  My instinct is that some people just aren't very kind, but the social reformer in me says that we should try to help these girls to be pleasant individuals.  I don't want Lucy to be sad at school, but equally I don't want to be hovering over her all the time, trying to make sure that she is happy.  I had a terrible time at school, absolutely loathed it, and I don't want her to feel the same way.  We're trying having friends round to tea, which is lovely and brilliant, as the girls run off to Lucy's bedroom and get on with it, and difficult and painful when they both come downstairs in their pants, or isolate poor old Hattie.  I'm going to end up with multiple friends round at this rate.  The wine bill will soar. 

In exciting SENCO course news, I have now read 12 articles on dysgraphia, handwriting readiness and boys learning in the Early Years, and completed my first draft of the literature review.  I've now got to write an outline by the 5th of February, and then I've got to get on with my intervention and the essay.  So not much.