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

Monday, 15 December 2014

My Mascara Runs Faster Than I Can

When I started running after Easter, I never in a billion years dreamed I would find it addictive.  Yet I've been out in the freezing cold, in the pouring rain, and this morning with a funny feeling across my left ankle, which I walked and ran off.  It's fine now.  Stupid thing.  I'm learning all about Ealing, learning where there are hills, where there are nice fast flat bits, and that running around Walpole and Lammas parks is pretty boring, and not a patch on running on the pavement around the nice houses.  Odd that.

[I tried to put a picture of my route here, but it doesn't work.  Imagine a red faced idiot in leggings running past traditional Victorian/Edwardian houses, and you'll get the idea.]

I've been running home from dropping the children a couple of days a week; I make sure I get off the bus route, and just go.  This morning I tired of Lammas Park, and ran around the back streets between Northfields and Boston Manor Road, which was delightful.  The ankle niggle meant that I ran for about 15 mins, walked until it didn't hurt, then ran until I couldn't bear it any more.  I stopped for a chat with a friend, and that cured it pretty well, so I was able to run almost all the way home, with a detour to make it up to 5km.  The goal at the moment is the WINTER RUN, a 10 kilometre slog around Central London, in about 2 months time.  I can now easily run 5km, and ran 6 on Friday, and 5.86 today, so basically 6.  Just another 4 to go, and it shouldn't be that hard really.  The plan is to do it in under an hour and a half and then go to the pub.  That might mean I have to speed up a bit.

I've definitely changed shape from all the running - I still have my hourglass figure with the extra sand, but there is less sand than there was before.  I'm planning on doing the dreaded Shred next month, and seeing how that goes.  I do not like it much, but it undeniably works, dammit.  It should complement the running, and hopefully get rid of the post c-section tummy overhang; it's been 4 years, I really should do SOMETHING.

No sewing at the moment, I just don't seem to have the energy.


Sunday, 14 December 2014

This is what I do. I drop "truth bombs."

The Sunday night knitting klaxon is going off again.

I've not made a huge amount of progress since my last update; which isn't that surprising considering that I only did an update on the 8th, and I have yet to master sleep knitting.  Still, since July, I have made bags of progress, and that's a GREAT feeling.
  • Boreal.  Done and done and worn twice.  I love it.  

  • A small jumper for Nicholas - Christmas knitting.  It is really quite, well, large.  Simon, sarcastic tease that he is, suggests I compare it to my gauge swatch.  
  • Burton Bear cowl for Hattie.  Brown wool found.  Placed in knitting bag with pattern and needles.  Awaiting cast on fairy.
  • Wisteria jumper - located.  I have been working on one of the sleeves, and will continue to do so once the small jumper is finished.
The rest is the same as before.  Deep joy.  Still, I'll get some done in the Christmas holidays.
  • The Weather in the Streets - January to June done AND SEWN TOGETHER.  July in progress.
  • 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.
  • Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - I've now completed 20 rows.  Yellow row next.
  • Nicholas' POP blanket - There are still 9 completed squares.   Needs to be done by April, so not that long to go.  Aargh.
  • An Owlet for Hattie - yarn located
  • Ringo and Elwood mittens in grey and brown - well, I've bought the yarn.
  • 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 January 2015.
  • Knitted Coco - got the yarn, printed out a pattern, just got to start.  Also, see above.
  • Socks for me - meh
  • Rainbow jumper - disaster has struck.  I have misplaced the bag with it in.  I don't know where it is, I think it is in the pub, but they deny all knowledge.  Aargh.
  • A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning
  • Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon - 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

Thursday, 11 December 2014

You're not autistic, you're neurotic and lack social skills

I have caught "old" from someone, probably my considerably older than me husband.  It's jolly cold here at the moment, and I'm tucked up on the sofa with my blanket, computer on my lap, watching Grantchester; I'm thinking of making myself a pair of fingerless gloves and a proper old man Steptoe hat.  I'm even having soup for my dinner; it's bacon and borlotti with chilli oil in it - it's not great, too thin and needs seasoning, but it'll do for tonight and for lunch at the weekend.

It's Christmas lunch at school tomorrow, so brace yourselves for beautiful, slightly out of focus pictures of my Elsa jumper - like the Snow Queen needs a jumper, but maybe Sven knitted Anna one as a Midwinter gift, and like everyone else in the world, she wants to look like Elsa.  It's a bit big, but the colour is fabulous, and it fits me well enough.  I think it's meant to have a bit of positive ease, and it was such a bugger to knit that I've no desire to try to "fix" it.  Next time I'll make it a bit smaller, and maybe use Cascade; a purple Boreal would look delightful.  Or perhaps I could use that lovely blue that I seem to have lots and lots in stash.

It was the SENCo course today and jolly interesting and relevant for a change.  My essay is coming along nicely; I've sorted the title out - "What is the impact of Write Dance on handwriting skills of boys in Year One?"  As you can imagine, it will be a fascinating read, and sure to win all the prizes available from the IoE/UCL merged college.  Yet another qualification from a London college; Birkbeck, Goldsmiths and now UCL.  Scintillating stuff.

There's not much else to say.  We're off out tomorrow to watch James Rhodes do his stuff at the Soho Theatre; a novelty for us to be out together, and let's see how long it is before we're talking about the children.  Is it wrong to hope that Benedict Cumberbatch will be there too?

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Another voice crying out in the wilderness

It's nearly Christmas, and the round of parties, shows, food shopping and preparation has begun again.  I've made our cake, which is being fed with the finest brandy by my parents; our pudding is maturing in the cupboard; the children's gift mountain is building up, and our church is collecting presents for the families in our local Women's Refuge.

I was a bit stumped this year.  What do you get 12 and 13 year old children?  I have no idea, so they are getting clothes.  There's also a baby on the way, to another woman running away, and they are getting a gift card and a baby gro.  Children in the middle are getting Hello Kitty gloves and Spiderman socks.  I've also got some lovely smellies for the mums, and some boxes of chocolate to share around.  It involved shopping at Primark, which I rarely do, but they have some nice stuff that will do very well for everyone. 

The food bank also needs support, so I buy something everytime I'm in Tesco, and actually, because I don't really go to Tesco either, I go there on purpose.  Yesterday I bought two packets of tea, a jar of instant and some hot chocolate for them.  Some weeks, I buy a couple of tins of chilli or bolognaise, some rice or some pasta, or some milk powder or UHT.  

Why am I telling you all of this?  It's not because I want to show you what a good person I am, it's to show that you can do good easily, without going out of your way or by spending a lot of money.  If I had picked up the children in the middle of the night and run, I would want to know that some one out there cared enough to buy them a Christmas present;  Lord knows the poor souls must be going through hell at the moment.  If I was in a low paying job, trying to make both ends meet, being referred to the food bank, I'd want to know that people cared enough to do something, even something as small and seemingly trivial as adding a fiver to their weekly shopping.

I am privileged, I KNOW, and I use my privilege to try to do the right thing.  I don't bang on about it, but I am religious and I feel we should be helping people.  The Archbishop of Canterbury backed a report a few days ago; I don't think it's all down to surplus food being wasted - it is down to low wages.  It's down to benefit cuts.  The women's refuge in Hanwell has had its funding cut and cut and cut again, and now it's basically supported by volunteers and people's second hand goods.  Yet it is busier than ever.  Why is that?

Why aren't people who are in work able to feed their families?  Why aren't we, with our supposedly flourishing economy, able to look after the people in our country?  People pay taxes, why are they not used to support the most vulnerable in society?  Why are people thrown to the wolves?

Monday, 8 December 2014

I can talk to animals! Well, not talk to them. I can take commands from them.

I have ill for absolutely ages.  Yesterday was the first day I've felt even vaguely human, so I went for run, and then sat on the sofa, coughing away like a 40 a day life long smoker.  Lovely.  

Things have been busy at work; Parents' Evening, the joy of my winter - the Nursery Christmas Extravaganza, the need to do some work for my SENCo course building up and other seasonal joys.  If I have to sing "When Santa got stuck up the chimney" again, I'll go a bit funny.

The sewing has suffered, but the knitting is carrying on.  Slight progress made in some areas, not a lot to report though.  


  • The Weather in the Streets - January to June done AND SEWN TOGETHER.  July in progress.
  • 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.
  • Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - I've now completed 20 rows.  Yellow row next.
  • Nicholas' POP blanket - There are still 9 completed squares. 
  • A small jumper for Nicholas - Christmas knitting.  Why am I doing this to myself.
  • Burton Bear cowl for Hattie.  Brown wool ordered.
  • An Owlet for Hattie - yarn located
  • Ringo and Elwood mittens in grey and brown - well, I've bought the yarn
  • Boreal - FINISHED AND DONE.
  • Wisteria jumper - located.  It JUST needs sleeves.
  • 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 January 2015.
  • Knitted Coco - got the yarn, printed out a pattern, just got to start.  Also, see above.
  • Socks for me - meh
  • Rainbow jumper - disaster has struck.  I have misplaced the bag with it in.  I don't know where it is, I think it is in the pub, but they deny all knowledge.  Aargh.
  • A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning
  • Reknit an unwearably large jumper - 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

It's all really quite exciting.  In a way.  I'm not sure I'll get much more done this year, but who can say.  

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Cognitive recalibration. I hit you really hard on the head.

    *SUNDAY NIGHT KNITTING KLAXON AGAIN*
    I am ill.  Not really ill, but ill enough.  I cough and cough and cough, and it's awful during the day and worse at night.  Last night I took 2 night nurse, and slept for 12 hours straight.  The only downside was that I then felt shocking until about 2pm today, when they wore off.  Still, they calmed the cough and let me sleep, so they've probably done some good.

    The illness has meant I haven't really touched or looked at the blog for a week, so thank you for commenting, I read all the comments, but just haven't got around to replying.  Sorry.

    I spent all day yesterday crocheting or snoozing sitting up; I'm happy to report progress on a whole load of projects.  Mostly because I looked at the list, looked at the WIP pile and had a good old think about my behaviour.

    For the Girls

    Burton Bear cowl for Hattie.  Brown wool ordered.
    An Owlet for Hattie - yarn located
    Ringo and Elwood mittens in grey and brown - well, I've bought the yarn

    For me:

    Boreal - making the first sleeve.  I need this done by December 12th.  It will be.  There is no way I am BUYING a Christmas jumper.
    Wisteria jumper - located.  It JUST needs sleeves.
    Peacock Mitten - on hold
    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 January 2015.
    Knitted Coco - got the yarn, printed out a pattern, just got to start.  Also, see above.
    Socks for me - meh
    Rainbow jumper - no progress
    A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning

    For Simon:
    Reknit an unwearably large jumper - not proving as popular an idea as I thought it would be.

    Other - I've done things here!

    The Weather in the Streets - January to May done AND SEWN TOGETHER.  June so, so close to being finished, July STARTED.
    Owl Obsession for one of my godsons - it's for his second birthday.  In September.  2015.  Tonnes of time.
    Hexipuff Quilt (I'm aiming to get 250/500 done by the end of June 2015) I had a look at this, and found my bag of scraps, and I might just get on and do one.
    Finish the bloody Elephants blanket - Officially taking off the list.  I don't like it, it's a pain to make, and while I'm not going to bin the blooming thing, I'll put it completely on the back burner, and not worry about it anymore.
    Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - I've now completed 19 rows (all the colours) and just have to do it all again 2 more times and put a border on it, then it will be done.
    Nicholas' POP blanket - 9 squares are still done.
    A small jumper for Nicholas - need to get a move on with this - Christmas knitting.

    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

    So there is some progress, especially with the 2014 blanket.  I've just got 8 squares to go for June, and then I'll be half way through, which I'm pleased about.  It's still pretty busy though.  

    Monday, 10 November 2014

    At my knits end

    *MONDAY NIGHT KNITTING KLAXON*

    It's that time again.  I'm running out of oomph for knitting at the moment.  It's all happening very, very slowly, and I'm busy at work and in need of quick fixes in the shape of cat dresses and Cocos.  Oh well.  I'm making very slow progress on everything.

    A Knit List Update

    For the girls:

    Two Burton Bears cowls - the one I made for Hattie was rejected, as she wanted a BROWN bear, not a POLAR bear, silly Mummy.

    The Polar Bear one is finished, but I am yet to take a picture; it does not look good unmodelled.  Here is a detail.


    An Owlet for Hattie - oh dear
    Ringo and Elwood mittens in grey and brown - well, I've bought the yarn

    For me:

    I'm on to the snowflakes on the Boreal.  It's still going well.  I'm nearly at the split for the sleeves, which is where I'll put it to bed for a week, and start something else.
    Wisteria jumper - not talking about that
    Peacock Mitten - I started mitten two, it is going OK - I've done the ribbing, I'll take it around with me for a few weeks, and it will soon finish itself.
    Coraline cardigan - moved to be finished by February; this is Britain, it will still be cold then
    Petrie top - still thinking.
    Knitted Coco - got the yarn, printed out a pattern, just got to start
    Socks for me - meh



    A Rainbow jumper with some sheepy yarn from the Faroes and a lot of Kauni wool - I've done a bit more than that, but not much.  It's very thin yarn.
    A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning

    For Simon:
    Reknit an unwearably large jumper - I've had a look in his cupboard, and chosen the one to reknit.  I need to take measurements and search out the pattern.  I want this done around his birthday (February)
    Pair of socks - done.

    Other - no change.  Quite depressing really.

    Owl Obsession for one of my godsons - sigh
    Hexipuff Quilt (I'm aiming to get 250/500 done by the end of June 2015) (Nope)
    The Weather in the Streets (should probably be finished by June) - January to May - done; January to April sewn together. (Nope)
    Finish the bloody Elephants blanket - FCK THAT SHJT. (this is supposed to be Hattie's 4th birthday blanket.  It won't be)
    Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - going surprisingly well (still slow)
    Nicholas' POP blanket - I've still done 9 squares.
    A small jumper for Nicholas.

    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




    Sunday, 9 November 2014

    Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces, Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes

    In the olden days, pre-children, I sometimes had piano lessons, and my teacher was also a record producer, song writer and general muso.  He would often stay up all night working with singers, when they were all "feeling it" and things just worked.  I didn't get it then, but I do now.


    I finished the Cat Lady dress.  It's a thing of beauty, and only took about 5 hours in total.  Unfortunately, 3 of those hours were between 9:30 last night and 12:30  this morning, so I'm a bit tired today, but I couldn't have stopped, even had I wanted to.  The only thing that prevented me from sewing later was that I couldn't find my invisible zip, so had to stop.  But it was mostly done in one evening.

    I don't like doing facings, so it has bias binding on the neck and on the armholes, and also around the hem, making it officially beautiful inside too.  I pinked all the seams, and even ironed it as I went along - a thing I never do.  I won't show you the invisible zip.  It's enough to say that it isn't that invisible, I had a hell of a time putting the damn thing in, but guess what?  I don't care!

    The next time I make an Anna dress, I might grade it a bit, so that there isn't as much fabric between my bust and my armpit - it sort of gapes there a bit.  The madness of the print distracts the eye from the slightly botched waistline; I'm not sure what happened, but my skirt pieces got out of order, or I'd written the wrong number on them, or something just went awry.  I'm generally very pleased with it, and quite pleased that my photographer has finally managed to take a picture of me where I don't look like a wally. Well, not that much.


    Photobombing ratbags.  Cute though. 

    Fabric: Cocoland Coco Cat Daisies from Frumble

    Bring on the cats!

    Tuesday, 4 November 2014

    We're gonna need a montage

    Half term.


    Edinburgh, Linton and trick or treating.  Kathy's Knits on Broughton Street in Edinburgh got most of my money; we also had supper at The Witchery by the Castle, and stayed on Charlotte Square in a jolly nice hotel.  They had a spa, so I treated myself to a facial; such decadence,

    The girls stayed with my parents in Linton, where they had a great time doing lots of country things; as opposed to the cultural things they do with us in London.  Hem.

    We went trick or treating on Hallowe'en; nowhere special, just up and down the road perpendicular to ours.  Good fun, and my famous neighbour was having a party for her children, and had a terrifying axe on the door.  Beware of the cake.

    It was my birthday on Friday, so the trip was my present, as was this rather fine hat.  My birthday also explains the tiny little hangover I had on Sunday.


    Teaching: the only profession where you steal from home to bring into work


    I do like a bit of Ros Asquith in the morning.

    The SENCO course started just before half term.  For those unfamiliar with the EDBIZ and its myriad of abbreviations and acronyms, a SENCO is a Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator, which is the person who is responsible for getting statements of needs (they're not called that any more, but everyone still calls them "statements"), which is the piece of paper stating that there will be funding to help children who need extra help; it's a fairly oblique process, and requires a lot of thought and writing and justifying where you're spending money, and seems to be allocated on a fairly arbitrary basis.  Anyway.

    The course is good, and very interesting, but, as I found today, lacks the practical element.  When a child is running, screaming and crying wordlessly around the Nursery, what do you do?  There's no associated reference paper for that, and in the end, we just called Mum.  We'll muddle on through, as you always do in teaching.


    I have to do a 4500 word project too on an aspect of SEN, where you can show how you have swooped in and saved the day.  I have something in mind, to do with fine motor skills and the lack thereof in Year One - as you can see, riveting stuff for the uninitiated.  I'm very upset that the course, which is run by the Institute of Education, is in smelly old Greenford, rather than lovely, lovely Bloomsbury, but I'm sure I'll get over it.  I'm going there on Friday for a 9 o'clock meeting; first time travelling in rush hour for years and years, and that will almost certainly make me grateful for the E1 that goes from outside my front door all the way to the Teachers' Centre.

    I am sure you will all be fascinated by my progress.  If you're really lucky, I'll post a link to my essay, so you can have all the fun of academic research, and none of the bother of doing any.