Thursday, August 31, 2006

Progress shots, finished socks and a boy who looks like a Dalek

The move is over. We have a new home on the other side of the country (Wiltshire, if you're curious. On a direct line between the Uffington White Horse and Avebury) and don't even talk about the unpacking. BUT, because we're here and moved, I was allowed to get my knitting needles out.
First came the spinning: a little black shetland, which is mostly finished and just needs plying. Somehow, something about the permanence of spindling appealed, because no matter how much you mess it up, you can't go back and nips (spin backwards.) It just doesn't work like that.
Then came the cardigan- which has been in the waiting-to-knit pile for months now. It feels really good seeing it come together, and though I think there's a few errors in the pattern I love the way it's coming together (the pattern is Dolly from Jaeger 29, if you're interested.)
Skye's socks were finished, and are beautiful. They are also too big, but as they were knitted as welly socks, it'll be a while before she needs them.
And finally, we present for your delectation: how to make a child eat salad. Sit them at a table with a little gem and a tub of hummus, and see what they come up with (notice the complete lack of lettuce. He ate 4 that day- something he's never ever done before, and his brother ate 3.) Yep, more bally Daleks- it's verging on obsession.
And yes, true to form, Isaac requested the Doctor Who playset for his birthday, and received it, complete with a handful of figures. It's big, awkward, takes up too much floor space, doesn't dismantle easily, makes a horrid noise with flashing lights and he loves it. Gah.(So does Skye- she keeps trying to eat David Tennant.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Finally feeling the sock love...

Unlike the Sandman characters, this sock yarn is going from delirium to delight. I'm feeling really chuffed with this little number- and it looks a lot better in miniature, it has to be said. Somehow the colours seem less abrasive and just plain old fun- though in many ways it reminds me of the stuff I used to wear 10 years ago, when I was trying so damn hard to be more-alternative-than-thou. Thank Maude I never have to be 19 again. These are, incidentally, destined to be welly socks- I think handknit socks are possibly a bit bulky for very new walkers.
Given that I am unable to knit anything other than socks until Sunday (and you better believe the stash is probably going to be the first thing unpacked) I'm pondering my knitting list.
For her birthday, my mother is getting Samus, knitted in Lena's Meadow peace fleece. An excellent first start on cardigans for grownups, because she's barely 5ft tall and weighs under 8 stone (how she had me, I'll never know.) My boys are getting the Knitting Pure and Simple Hoodies for Christmas: seeing as they won't be with me, I'm planning on just sending them with something handmade. Kind of a hug-in-a-box, because they'll get squillions of presents anyhow.
For Skye, I'm making longies, a beaded Dolly cardigan from Jaegar book 29 in fuschia alpaca, and probably more cardigans- I have yarn for Trellis, but I also have a lot of beautiful 4ply cotton that needs a use.
Steve is impossible to knit for. I'm not even going to bother trying, but he may wear handknit socks.
Then the whole family will be needing slippers for winter- and I was planning on gifting my very cool aunt a couple of skeins of handspun and the fibretrends felted clog pattern. Oh, and the Tour de Fleece yarn is to be Skye's winter hat, but that won't take long.
Have I missed anything? Yes. Me. Oh well, there's always next year.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Parenting like a penguin

Whilst dodging the packing this week, I finally got round to sitting down and watching March of the penguins, which is probably the best film I've seen this year. Absolutely amazing and inspiring watching everything they go through to raise their children, and the absolute trust that these penguins have in each other, and also, that ultimately, what will be will be.
For those who haven't seen it, emperor penguins congregate en masse in autumn and walk 70 miles to find a safe nesting ground where the ice is thick enough to be safe: then mummy and daddy penguin get together and start growing a baby. They then wait together until the egg is laid, when the fathers take over responsibility. From this point on, the parents juggle shared responsibility for their infants with the need to leave their children and meet their own needs, as otherwise the whole family will starve to death.
The point that struck home, though, was how the whole family just accepted independence as the time came right. There may have been power struggles and slamming of doors, but I didn't see them. Instead it came across as a graceful, but lonely, transition to maturity, and really hit home.
Maybe it's time to slacken the apron strings a little. My guys are having stresses, and I wonder if maybe it's time to give them a little more responsibility for themselves, their behaviour- even, maybe, their bedroom. Just pondering.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Nursing in public

Well, you know your babies are growing up when you find a quiet bench on which to nurse, set the older two off on a calm and quiet game of hide and seek and the baby crawls off your lap and heads off to eat mulberries instead. I did't know whether to laugh or cry, especially as we had an audience.
This park has been my regular spot for the last 7 years: there's a big comfortable bench on which to nurse, lots of room for small people to run around in when shopping is getting too busy and too stressful, and it is absolutely perfect for the aforementioned game of hide and seek. It's right next door to Tymperleys museum, but frankly, we prefer the garden. Best of all? It's right in the town centre, so whenever the hustle and bustle gets too much for us (as it does frequently) we can run here and hide from it all.
I'm really going to miss it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The sockerfly

Well, I finished the socks. Look at me, aren't I tenacious? Why, nobody can accuse me of giving up on something because it's too hard (or too boring, or I hate the colour.)In fact, if I'm truly honest the biggest reason I didn't give up???

All of my knitting needles, spindle, sewing machine and fibre of all descriptions are packed away in a cardboard box, waiting to be transported to their new home. The ONLY things I have left out are 5 3mm dpns, a 3mm crochet hook, said sock yarn and amineko. And the one thing I hate more than knitting this pair of socks, is crochet.

But have I fulfilled my aims and objectives, I hear you cry? Let's see: the goal was:
1) To find out what all the fuss about handknit socks is about.
2) To successfully use dpns without getting that crease between the needles.
3) To get better at increases and decreases and structural knitting
4) Because my MDC mamas did a sock-a-long, and I didn't want to be left out.

There was a fifth point: to own a pair of socks that nobody in my house would steal. I think I've accomplished that.
And tackling them in order: yes, socks are addictive. And they're fun.
No, the creases are still there, right along the top of the foot. I figure a few dozen times through the washing machine and nobody will ever notice, though. I completely messed up the increases, and made what I believe is politely termed a "decorative increase", though it looks like a line of big holes to me. You decide.My decreases and encroachments (love that word) however, are much much tidier. BUT I now know what I did wrong, and how to fix it.
And yes, I got to play in a knit-a-long. And in the best traditions of me and knit-a-longs, I started 2 months before everyone else and finished shortly afterwards.

Like a muggins, I signed up for sock wars: I'm planning on learning how to magic loop before then though. My goal and target is to have completed the cast-on before I receive my socks in the post, though this may not be possible, what with having small people and stuff.

In the meantime, I have 45g of fluorescent sock yarn left, and someone with small feet to knit for.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wheels within wheels...

First, an apology for my companions on the Tour de Fleece. I am really, really sorry it's taken me quite this long to get a picture up: I only finally took it off the spindle late last night, after ds2 has spent lots of time in hospital with uncontrolled asthma attacks last week. It's really not been the best week of my life, but the attacks have generally been milder than some of his others and it's looking hopeful that he might outgrow it. One day. Until then, we're flying by the seat of our pants.
The spinning, on the other hand, I'm really pleased with. It's smoother and more even than I'd imagined - the singles, that is. The plying was a little rushed,and it's definitely a tad bumpy in places.I don't know if I made the loops too big, too short or what, but it's definitely something. There's 75 yards there, and it came out roughly aran weight. I inadvertently cheated though, as I found another handful of roving tucked away down the side of the sofa this morning. Despite this, I'm really happy with it and it feels like a major accomplishment. It also smells absolutely delicious- incredibly fruity.
And, on more related wheel-type news, my current employers (soon to be former employers) are instituting a cycle to work scheme, where the company gives employees a loan to help them buy the hardware. Unfortunately, they're doing it the week before I leave for Swindon, which does NOT please me.
Further news on Swindon- the hospital are discharging my father in law a little earlier than we'd expected, so he's coming home and we're living in a three-generation family house for a while. It's going to be bracing. I think this is possibly the point that sends me running back into full time employment.