Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Whenever Leslie asks me for the Latin names of any of our plants, I just give her the name of rappers.

Moan, moan, moan, but I am sodding tired tonight.  I've been working VERY VERY hard doing FULL DAYS at school, which may not sound like a big deal to you workers of the world, but I am part-time, so any time outside of 12:30 to 3:30 is voluntary work, although I prefer to consider it to be an investment in my future. I had my first experience of taking a meeting as a SENCO today, although with my natural diffidence, I let the two ladies from Brent Autism Outreach do most of the talking.  I can't believe how worried I was by this - I had a sleepless night last night!  How silly.

Anyway, it is done, and I have to brief everyone tomorrow, and make picture cue cards, and print out a bunch of stuff.  It is all go, teaching, I can tell you.

A bit more about the weekend.  My photo diary of Yarndale has not proved to be terribly popular, although I think they are pretty good photos for a change, so here are some words about Yarndale, to go with the pictures from yesterday.

Crocheted Mandalas.  People from all over the world made these, and sent them to lovely, lovely Lucy.  I tried.  It wasn't a success.  Let us pass over that.

Two lovely Lucys.  This photo was cut from the official Charlie Bear's travel journal, despite Lucy Attic24 being known to  thousands of people, all over the world.  She was good enough to remember us too, which was sweet.

Crocheted bunting.  Most are granny squares (triangles) and are very, very pretty.  Lots of people went to a lot of trouble last year, and the bunting must have been a real pain to put together, but it looks spectacular.

Hattie and Lucy by the Skipton canal.  It was another super day, weather wise, so they spent a lot of time running around in the park, letting me spend all my cash in peace and quiet.  Please note Hattie's completed cardigan.  She consented to wear it.  

Lucy at the Easy Knits stand, modelling her rainbow jumper from about two years ago.  Everything I knit the children is ENORMOUS, allowing for lots of wear.  I bought a lot of bright, bright blue, the shade that's just above Lucy's head, in an aran weight.  Watch this space.

October Unprocessed starts tomorrow.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Tha's nowt wrong wi that

This weekend, we went back to Yorkshire, to Yarndale.  It's still a jolly long way away, but we went up on the Friday night, and stayed in a really lovely B&B for two nights, so it felt like a real holiday.  Such a gorgeous place.  Each year, we discover something new.  We went on a dale this time, and around Skipton, which is just so lovely.  Proper house prices envy too, as we realised what our perfectly ordinary London house would buy in Skipton.

Some photos.  Some pictures have Lucy's class bear, Charlie, in.  He came with us, as an extra piece of homework - it's meant to promote talk and writing, and exciting things like that, which it did.  He had a great time.

I bought some yarn.  Not lots, but enough to make a Christmas jumper with an Elsa vibe.  Better get knitting.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

That season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness

Some more about knitting and sewing.  Brace yourselves.

So far, I have made the following things for this super exciting sew and knit along.

In the Fabulous Frocks category, I am mid way through a dark grey Coco (what else) with red pockets (to be added, along with a hem).

I accept that it doesn't look fabulous at the moment.

In the Chic Chemises for Cool Climates, I've made a Garter Yoke cardigan in Cascade 220, 2247 Peacock.  I have rather a lot of 2247 in the stash, so expect lots of different garments in the same colour.

In the Baby, It's Cold Outside category, I've made Lucy a cowl.  The yarn is some white wool that I bought at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show earlier this year, and Lucy and I dyed it together.  We used Wilton's Blue food colouring and Sugarcraft's Grape Violet.  It's really easy dyeing yarn with food colouring, and apart from the boiling water, it's pretty safe to do with kids.  We used two Pyrex bowls and a whole load of white vinegar.  

You can find out more about the Knit and Sew Along here, at the lovely Creative Perfectionist's website.  All the knitting, sewing and 1920s fiction you could ever need.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Come back to what you know

Which in my case is knitting, not film reviews.

I haven't written about my current year of projects for a while, simply because it is just so BORING.  Boring sleeves.  Boring sewing on a billion buttons.  Boring enormous MAN SOCKS.

So, an update.

For the girls:

Ringo and Elwood mittens in grey and brown (it's getting close to mitten weather, better get a move on)
One of these for each of them - yarn bought, Lucy's is next on my list.

For me:
Garter Yoke cardigan in that lovely blue - nearly finished the second sleeve.
Finish the Wisteria jumper (not much to go) - just got the sleeves to do
Finish the other Peacock Mitten in time for winter - need to get on with it
Coraline cardigan - I have NEW YARN in a new and exciting and very not Julia colour for this one
Petrie top with navy and blue stripes - on hold
A knitted Coco (no link, because I am going to make it up and channel Tilly) - got some yarn for it
A pair of socks - didn't get to start in France, but will try to do them in the car in the next few weeks.

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.
More socks. - One sock is done.  We are going to YARNDALE on Friday, so I will start it then

Owl Obsession for my new godson - got the yarn....
Hexipuff Quilt (I'm aiming to get 250/500 done by the end of June 2015)
The Weather in the Streets (should probably be finished by June) - January to May - done; January to April sewn together.
Finish the bloody Elephants blanket - FCK THAT SHJT.
Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - going surprisingly well
Nicholas' POP blanket - I've done a few squares, but am being very slow about it

Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan.
A pair of simple socks each

Hmm.  It's not too bad when I lay it all out and look at it like that.  Hurrah for knitting more than you think you are.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Film reviews with Julia

A film review for a Tuesday morning.  Why not?

Over the weekend, Simon went out to Shoreditch, and as I don't do East London by night, I stayed at home to babysit.  By the way, it totally is babysitting when you are sitting on the sofa drinking tea, eating biscuits and watching television, even it is your own biscuits and your own children upstairs asleep.  As part of my ongoing massive crush on Benedict Cumberbatch, I'd recorded Starter for Ten, David Nicholls' film of his own book.  Love knows no limits.

I've written before about my love of David Nicholls' work, and this one was well up to his usual standard.  Take an interesting idea, fill it with cardboard stereotypes, fail to round any characters out, and generally waste a stellar cast on an ultimately very poor film.  If you haven't seen it, the plot is roughly: boy from Southend dreams of being "clever" and goes to Bristol University, leaving behind his mates from childhood; meets beautiful girl, meets another beautiful girl, is utterly useless with both, joins quiz team, makes a massive mistake, finds self, goes back to University, first beautiful girl accepts his behaviour as part of him, kiss , the end.

All the interesting bits are surrounded by marshmallow - he's the first in his family to ever go to University, he's always wanted to know STUFF so has a fabulous general knowledge, and he's a real asset to a quiz team, but of course the quiz team captain is a massive snob and a stupid, know nothing Tory.  Of course, the first beautiful girl is an anti-apartheid campaigner, screaming to ban the bomb; how else would we know it is set in the EIGHTIES?  Of course his mate from back home, the really rather good Dominic Cooper, is on the dole and working for cash at the same time.  Of course the beautiful posh blonde is from Hampstead.

Actually, there was one good bit that genuinely made me laugh out loud.  Dear Brian (the hero) is becoming politically active, and writes a letter home to his best friend filled with things about FATCHER'S BRITAIN and how difficult things are for the WORKING CLASS, which his friend reads while working at his grim job in a badly lit arcade.  It's the lack of response that makes it funny; it doesn't sound that promising written down.

I watched Death Comes to Pemberley a few weekends ago, and I guessed what would happen within 15 minutes; same thing here.  DULL.  CLICHED.  BORING.  The cast is absolutely cracking, however, really, really good actors, and Mark Gatiss pops up as Bamber Gascoigne at one point.  I've read other reviews, and other people seem to think it was quite good, even "a spirited coming of age tale that remains charming and witty even as it veers into darker territory", so either I am far more intelligent than the average reviewer or I missed quite a bit because knitting a twisty cable is far more demanding than I thought it would be.  Take your pick.  

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance

It's been One Week, One Pattern, um, week, and I've been wearing my favourite pattern - the truly gorgeous Coco by the truly gorgeous teeny tiny Tilly.

I have 7 Cocos now, in all variations: a fleecy pink top, a Breton top, a spotty top,  a smoke grey (green) and white striped top, a blue striped dress (see below), a cherry print dress and a bright red dress (not blogged).   The pattern is so quick, I can make it in about 3 hours, including cutting out and finishing.  I still want to make a dark grey dress, a pink and white striped dress, a houndstooth one after I saw this one on the internet and possibly another fleecy top - perhaps in cream.  And of course, I really want to knit one; but I've got to make a dent in the stash first.  The dresses are so easy to wear as well, and this stripey one has been getting all the compliments recently.

Lucy took this photo.  It's from today, just before I started baking and icing the birthday cake.  I hate icing.  The cake tastes great, but it looks interesting.

More photos:





Blue stripes

Smoke grey (ie green) stripes

What fun, and I'm getting better at taking pictures of myself that hid my double chin.  Next year, I might even have a stable of Anna dresses, or Emery dresses, or a Lilou dress from Tilly's book or even TROUSERS.  Better get back to the running.  And sit ups.  And the dreaded Shred.  

So, thank you, lovely Tilly and thank you, Handmade Jane.  Hurrah for handmade.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

And it called our calculation perfect love

This time, six years ago, I was in labour with Lucy.  I'm not going to go into grisly details - no one needs to know that, and anyway, I don't really remember it all that clearly.  I had a semi-elective caesarian in the end - semi elective, because I was offered the chance to keep going for another 12 hours or so and then having a c-section, or just having one on her due date.

Fast forward 6 years, and these are my children today.

It was Hattie's first day at Nursery today.  Apparently she had a brilliant time, but can't remember what happened; she's learning fast.

It's been a pretty smooth road for the last six years; both girls eat most things except macaroni cheese, and I can clearly remember sleepless nights because they were so rare.  They've both been very healthy and are happy, confident, outgoing girls.  Lucy, in particular, is very keen on school, which has made everyone's lives easier, and her reading is really outstanding.  Hattie has an original mind, as I may have mentioned before, and told me this morning that I should go home after dropping her at Nursery, and she would see me at the weekend.  We are so blessed.  I don't like to go on and on about things being great, but indulge me just sometimes.  

I think I might be a bit drunk.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

That is not what I meant at all; that is not it, at all

Term has started, and things are starting to settle down.  I don't know why, but the last few weeks of the summer holiday are just so chaotic and stressful and everyone gets on everyone else's nerves, so I lose the will to write anything.

The girls went to tennis camp for the last few days, and I managed to get some sewing done - in fact I made two Coco dresses in two days, which is fast, even though it's a quick pattern.  I say made, when I mean that I sewed everything together and only finished them yesterday, listening to Benedict Cumberbatch as TS Eliot in Tom and Viv.  What a depressing story; it was brilliantly done, so that you had intense sympathy for both of them all the way through, but actually ended up disliking both of them very much indeed.

This week, I am mostly wearing the same thing, because it is One Week, One Pattern week, the brainchild of Tilly and the Buttons, and this year run by Handmade Jane, so all the bloggers, all the sewing, all the fun.

I'll do a roundup of outfits at the end of the week, bet you can't wait.  I like this idea; the only problem was getting together enough Cocos so that I can wash them occasionally and not wear smelly clothes.  

Hattie and I are off swimming.  I asked her what she wanted to do for our last Mummy and Hattie morning, so now I have to do it.  I'll miss our mornings together.  She has an original mind - at the moment she is making a big experiment which involves wrapping a scarf around a chair and pulling it around the kitchen.  Having an original mind makes her both loud and tiring, but never, ever dull.