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

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.

    Monday, 3 November 2014

    The Cat Lady challenge


    There was a time when this looked like my most probable future.  Totally mad, surrounded by cats, muttering away to myself.  Well, I don't have any cats yet, and I've mostly replaced muttering with writing the blog, but otherwise it's not quite off the table.  So far, we've managed a hamster and four fish; very low maintenance, slightly dull pets, although the hamster has bags of personality and is a little smasher.

    I still would like a cat though, and will get at least one at some point, so to prepare for this momentous occasion, I decided to participate in Miss Crayola Creepy's Cat Lady Sewing Challenge.  Part of me wanted to go full on mental with a dress with massive cats on, but then I remembered that I wouldn't wear, I have three handmade dresses I barely wear, I'm 37 and a UK size 14 and went for something a bit more subtle.

    It's not finished yet, but I've only got another skirt panel to cut out, because I had to order more fabric as the Anna dress always takes more fabric than I think it should, then I've got to sew the whole thing together, and that won't take more than two evenings.  It's got to be done by Sunday.  Easy.


    Look at the selvedge on this!


    Truly, this will be a thing of beauty and grace, and I will look elegant and gorgeous, if just slightly mental.  It's a look I've got to get used to.

    Sunday, 2 November 2014

    I'm having so many thoughts and feelings that I'm paralyzed right now

    *SUNDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLAXON AGAIN*

    I've not written anything for a few days; we've been terribly, terribly busy with half term trips to Cambridge and Edinburgh, my SENCO course starting last week and all sorts of things going on.  

    I've got lots of blog posts planned (lucky you), with lots of photos (even luckier!) but right now I just don't have the energy - I have a very slight hangover.  Very slight.  So knitting it is.

    A Knit List Update

    For the girls:

    A Cowl for Hattie - FINISHED!


    We chose the dyes together - Hattie isn't as sophisticated as Lucy, and chose pink and orange.  We dyed it together, by which I mean that I did the work and she turned the beautiful skein into a great big mess. 


    Two Burton Bears cowls - this is Hattie's.  I started it this evening, and it is very quick to work up.  I can't seem to get it to join happily in the round, so I'm making it flat.  

    An Owlet for Hattie - still very close to starting this
    Ringo and Elwood mittens in grey and brown - shh shh 

    For me:

    I'm on to the snowflakes on the Boreal.  It's going quite well really.



    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 - still in the planning stages
    A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - ditto

    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 by his birthday (February)
    Pair of socks - done.

    Other

    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 done 9 squares.  It's going really well.  I'll have it finished for his birthday for sure.
    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



    Monday, 20 October 2014

    Avoid any food that has a TV commercial

    It's still October Unprocessed, and I've been cooking all sorts of things.  Nothing too radical - no making my own yoghurt, or bok choi chips; just a massive fish pie, a farro risotto from Nigellissima - made with bacon bits to stop it being too healthy or boring; a melanzane parmigiano with extra mozzarella; bean and tomato soup; toast with homemade damson jam, the list goes on.  

    I don't really like to cook, despite being quite good at it when I do; the things I really like to make involve twenty minutes frantic work, then leaving it in the oven for the rest of the time.  Like baking.  Baking is satisfyingly maths-y with all the measuring and weighing, then you mix it all together in the Kenwood, bung it in a cake tin, and ta-dah there is a cake.  Icing on the other hand is a massively boring chore, and I utterly discard it.  Which is why my cakes taste great, but look like they've been sat on by an elephant.  

    Anyway, all this healthy eating is paying dividends, and I have lost about two inches from the waist, and nothing at all from the hips - not in one month, of course, but the new regime is working, and if I can only get off my bum a bit more often and go for a run, life will be perfection and joy.  I would like to be able to cut a smaller Coco next time.

    I went for a quick drink with my colleagues on Friday, getting home at twenty past one, having heard all the gossip (none of which is interesting to other people) and having shot my mouth off about all sorts.  One of them asked me how I had lost all the weight, and I surprised myself by being quite evangelical about running, and the Get Running app in particular. If you are thinking of a couch to 5K programme, this one is fantastic, not at all annoying, and lets you play your own music.  Get Running are not paying me to advertise their app; they bloody should be.

    Tonight's Unprocessed delight is Wild Salmon with Noodles and Spinach and Soy Sauce and three glasses of red.  Followers of the regime will be delighted to learn that I count vodka and haribo as being unprocessed, if not a key ingredient in the weight loss.

    PS While searching for a title for this post, I was offered the chance to "Spice up my Sex Routine".  Something to consider for the long winter nights.

    Sunday, 19 October 2014

    It's not a hobby, it's a post-apocalyptic life skill

    *SUNDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLAXON*

    A Knit List Update

    For the girls:
    An Owlet for Hattie - very close to starting this
    Ringo and Elwood mittens in grey and brown - These are going to be Christmas presents, I need to get a  move on
    Two Burton Bears cowls - pattern printed out
    A cowl for Hattie to match the cowl I made for Lucy - this is about 3 hours work, once I've wound the wool

    For me:



    This is my new jumper - a Boreal by Kate Davies; I'm using lovely, lovely EasyKnits Ooomph in Soooooooper Grover; it's aran weight and absolutely delicious.  The white is a super squishy sheepy smelling aran from Laxtons - it's on their website as Blue Face Leicester Roving.  Gorgeously snuggly.
    Wisteria jumper - not talking about that
    Peacock Mitten - ditto
    Coraline cardigan - moved to be finished by February; this is Britain, it will still be cold then
    Petrie top - needs me to buy yarn, so not feeling it at the moment
    Knitted Coco - got the yarn, printed out a pattern, just got to start
    Socks for me - I'm not going to use the yarn I was going to use, so now I need to dig in the stash
    A Rainbow jumper with some sheepy yarn from the Faroes and a lot of Kauni wool - still in the planning stages
    A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - ditto

    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 by his birthday (February)
    More socks. - One sock is done.  I have 4 and a half rounds of ribbing to do on the other, so I am calling it done for now.  They are bottle green, not black.  Still a bugger to knit.


    Owl Obsession for one of my godsons - got the yarn.... (he's only just turned one, he doesn't need a blanket yet)
    Hexipuff Quilt (I'm aiming to get 250/500 done by the end of June 2015) (I might get a bit more enthused about this in Christmas)
    The Weather in the Streets (should probably be finished by June) - January to May - done; January to April sewn together. (Again, I've lost momentum for this)
    Finish the bloody Elephants blanket - FCK THAT SHJT. (massive hate on about this, might just bin the damn thing)
    Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - going surprisingly well (slowly)


    Nicholas' POP blanket - I've done a few squares, but am being very slow about it (speeding up - I've done 8 squares) (oops, make that 7 - curses)

    Done:
    Myrna Cardigan
    Hattie's cardigan.
    A pair of simple socks  for the children
    Garter Yoke Cardigan
    An Owlet for Lucy 

    I've been obsessed, OBSESSED, with sewing recently.  Lucy now has an ELSA DRESS MADE BY HER MUM, which she wore to a party at the weekend.  She was overjoyed by it, and her friends' mums were amazed and stunned by my general brilliance and creativity.  You can read all about it here.  I made myself a beautiful Charley Harper print dress the other day; you can see pictures of me in my old specs, looking weird, here.  It is a Coco.  What else?  2 hours it took to make, that's all.  You don't get that sort of creative high from knitting, I can tell you.

    PS Hello lovely commentators, who were so sweet about my last Year of Projects post.  I meant to reply to every single one, but things got in the way; sorry.  It's always lovely to read comments, thank you xx  I will try to be more diligent replying this week.


    Saturday, 18 October 2014

    A bird in the hand

    I took the morning off on Thursday; by which I mean that I didn't go into work to do my job on a voluntary basis between half 9 and half 12;  I stayed at home, did some work, prepared for my first SENCO meeting and made a Coco.





    The fabric is a Charley Harper print, called Upside Downside, and it is lovely.  It's a jersey, and so soft and easy to wear.  I bought it at the Knitting and Stitching Show from The Eternal Maker last weekend; it didn't even have time to get into the stash.  I decided not to make the sleeves birds, primarily because I'd run out of fabric, but also because it might be all a bit too much.  I think the dress looks better with a cardigan pulling it in a bit; also, you know, AUTUMN.

    The dress took 2 hours from cutting it out to wearing it, which is a bit of a record.  If I cut out the night before, I could feasibly make one in the morning to wear to school and still be in by lunchtime.  I might challenge myself.  

    I now want all the Charley Harper fabric, and all the prints.  Especially this one:


    Backyard Birds, from his official website.  I've got a birthday coming up.  Just saying.