Wednesday, 23 October 2013

WIP Wednesday

The great stash sort of a few weeks back has completely paralysed me.  I can't seem to write anything or start anything new, and I've just been half-heartedly plugging away at the WIPs ever since.  I did go to Ally Pally and a couple of bits and bobs and books came home with me, but generally, I've been working on the WIPs and not really making a huge amount of progress.  Good news though; the stash sort resulted in the appearance of a new WIP, a blue and grey sock I'd started but never got on with.  Boredom probably.  

Anyway, that is my life in knitting at the moment.  Not thrilling.  Actually quite dull.  Even for knitting.

The List:

*NEW* Blue and Grey Socks *NEW* - nearly at the heel of the first sock.
Elephant blanket - one stripe made.  Second stripe started.  Colours chosen for second stripe.  Just got to get on with it.
Peacock Mittens - one finished, bar the thumb (still)
Idlewood - still yarn
Owl Blanket - I've made another 2 owl squares, just 34 to go!  Hurrah. 
Hexipuff Quilt - run out of stuffing
Paper Dolls - ran out of yarn.  Bought more.  Put it in a bag.  Ignoring.
Peerie Flooers - nyeh
Ringo and Elwood mittens - nyeh
Alphabet Blanket for Noah - done
Granny's a Square Afghan - done

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


There are 10 weeks left until the end of the year.  How strange.  Of course, I should know this, it's Autumn, it's raining, it's cold and it's starting to get dark earlier and earlier.  I've taken 40 odd, and odder, photographs of my children, and I'm starting to realise that there is a pattern.  I have to take the photos quickly, with little thought to framing, background or anything else.  iPhone photos are good enough, and when you use Instagram, they even look sort of, well, good.  I'm tempted to make a book of them, just to show the girls.

Most of my photos are taken at parties.  These are from Laura's party on Saturday.

Butterflies and extreme cake decorating.  Sums it all up really.

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Tuesday, 15 October 2013


A moment of madness a few months ago.  An impulse purchase that stayed in the cellophane, in the cupboard, for several weeks.  A sudden decision taken at the end of September.  A surprising realisation that I actually quite enjoy exercise.

I bought the 30 Day Shred from Amazon after reading lots about it on various blogs and in various places.  A good friend has done it a couple of times and feels happy, someone whose blog I like has done, and is doing it again.  I started doing it on the 30th of September, and have now done 12 days of it, not in a row, but mostly in a row.  I missed out this weekend (too hungover) and the first Friday (no childcare) but apart from that, I have been fairly good and done it.  Level 1 has been a horrible nightmare to begin with, and Day Two was utterly horrific, but recently I've found that it's got much easier, and much more do-able.  Weirdly, I find the first couple of exercises worse than the later ones - push-ups and jumping jacks are not things I like to do.  I still find the combined legs and arms things a real stretch, and tend to do the legs rather than the arms - partly down to a strange shoulder pain brought on by carrying Hattie and partly down to natural laziness.

I've lost precisely no weight at all, which is depressing really, and if anything I've put it on, but I measured myself after 7 days and I had lost 4 cm from my bust, waist and hips.  So the scales can do one frankly.

The whole family are joining in too.  A rare photo of me exercising, and it's only because I know it is getting smaller that I am showing a picture of my tummy.  You will notice that no one is phoning it in.

Sunday, 13 October 2013


My friend moved to abroad a while back, and has married and had a son.  This son is, according to Facebook, rapidly becoming a world champion tantrum thrower.  It has been raining in London all day, and we like to make our own entertainment, so here is the Croyden family re-enacting an epic tantrum.

Sharp eyed readers will notice that I am in the background.  I have not taken any photos this week.  Whoops.

"Photos of my children once a week, every week, in 2013".

Monday, 7 October 2013


I couldn't face sitting in front of the computer last night.

Lucy on Saturday, having lost her first tooth.  She has since lost the neighbouring one, and now has a gappy smile.  The tooth fairy has brought her £2 and a Little Miss book;  exciting but also distressing.

We took the girls to a Japanese festival in Trafalgar Square on Saturday afternoon.  This is a self-portrait with Hattie on my shoulders.  She is transfixed by the drummers of the Okinawa Sanshinkai; I feel a tribute to the music of the people of the Ryukya islands coming on.

"Portraits of my children once a week, every week, in 2013">

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

WIP Wednesday

For some unfathomable reason, I'm working on the Paper Dolls jumper again.  I love Kate Davies.  I love the way she marries traditional and contemporary, humour and wearability, whimsical without being twee;  I love her designs inspired by the natural world and the Shetlands; I love the way she uses British breeds and pure wool; I love the way she writes and I admire her determination to recover from her stroke a few years ago.

What I do not love are instructions that start "with cc1 and a 3.5mm circular needle, cast on 234 stitches using i-cord cast on and join for working in the round".  That they are then followed by "Work in corrugated rib for 2.5 inches" seems to add insult to injury.

Looking at my Ravelry notes tells me that I started this project in January last year, and have been either working slowly at it, or totally ignoring it for the last year and a half.  The only way to finish it is to knit it, so that's what I've been doing and just look at the progress!

The really obvious stripe is thanks to me not buying enough yarn (imagine!) to finish the project.  I am not very happy about it, but ripping out all that work? 

I've still got 3 inches to the underarms, and I need to decrease more - I have a slightly distorted body image and could probably have gone for the size smaller.  Or even the one below that. 

I love you Kate Davies, but "knit in thin grey wool until completely bats" is NOT FAIR.

Paper Dolls - trundling along
Peacock Mittens - one finished, bar the thumb
Hexipuff Quilt - nearly 150 puffs made, how terribly exciting, and the quilt is rectangular, which is pleasing
Owl Blanket - needs to move up the list, Hattie's birthday is the 3rd of December
Elephant blanket - baby not deigning to put in an appearance, so it'll be a Christmas present.  2014?
Peerie Flooers - I'm going to buy the yarn as a birthday present for myself from myself.  Sod it.
Ringo and Elwood mittens - were going to be a Christmas present, but I think that's unrealistic
Idlewood - still yarn
Alphabet Blanket for Noah - done
Granny's a Square Afghan - done


Your husbands might be good, but mine is clearly the best.

We went to Yarndale at the weekend.  Yarndale is a festival of wool, sheep, alpaca, knitting and crochet. My husband does not knit or crochet.  Yarndale is in the Yorkshire Dales.  We live in West London.  The distance between the two is 250 miles.  He drove up the M1 on Saturday and down the M1 on Sunday. Neither of the girls care to sleep in the car anymore.  We stayed in bunk beds in a family room in a Youth Hostel in Haworth.  My husband is 6 foot something.  The average Youth Hostel bunk bed is 5ft 10.  My husband finds it difficult to sleep in the same room as the girls.  I gave all my cash to the childminder, so he gave me all of his.  He didn't mind me singing Jerusalem as we drove through little villages and towns.  I spared him Wuthering Heights though; I'm a good wife.

Enough proof?

Yarndale was absolutely fantastic.  So many happy fibre addicts, carrying bags and bags of things; so many interesting and inspiring exhibitors; so many animals.  I was rather restrained and only bought two things; after spending such a lot of time with the stash, I was disinclined to spend money, and bought the wool for a baby blanket and a bowl.  Little but expensive.

There was yarnbombing in the trees:

There were crocheted blankets: 

And most excitingly, there was Lucy of Attic24 fame.  

I was a proper fangirl and couldn't speak to her at first, so came over with my own little Lucy from Attic27, and shamelessly used her as a way in to a conversation.  She was totally overwhelmed by the whole experience, but should be very proud of herself.  It was a fabulous event, and I'm really looking forward to next year.  Let's hope they pick a different weekend though so I can run the Ealing Half Marathon as well. 

As if. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Handmade Tuesday

I have a fun, new hobby.  Again.  It is a logical extension of my current thread and yarn obsession, as are all my hobbies, but this one has, like, a message?  It's to make you stop and think?  It's about taking a bit of action?

Actually, I do think this stuff is important. People are dying so that we can have t-shirts that cost less than £5, and that doesn't sound right.  I know, free market economics, blah blah, but we do need to be a bit more aware of where our stuff comes from and what happens to the poor sods who make it.  

Some more craftivism stuff can be found here.  I'm not going to bang on about it; suffice to say that we must live what we profess to believe, and if that means paying slightly extra for a t-shirt or looking after your neighbour's child when she really can't cope any more, then that is what you do.