Friday, December 14, 2007

On the eleventh day before Christmas,

I took my kitchen cupboards down. On the tenth day before Christmas, I stripped the wallpaper (repeat ad infinitum, installing gas cookers, electricity, emulsion paint, doors, toilets and all else. Keep the element of panic strong, and ad lib as necessary.)

Life is obsessed by building work. I am sitting on the floor propped against the piano, because we recycled the sofa to give us more room to decorate in early. That should tell you everything that you could possibly need to know.
The good news, if you can call it that, is that I am finally out of my knitting slump and knitting again. Yes, I have my needles in my hand and half a cardigan on them and maybe, just maybe, life is going to be OK. Cross fingers?

Five more builder days till Xmas. We can do this.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Forgiveness stinks sometimes

To the total and utter bastard who keeps on puncturing our family car's tyres because they think it's fun:
We are a family of 5.8, who live with and care for my ailing father-in-law, who is currently pretty poorly and might need a hospital visit sometime soon. You know that fraction? Yeah. I'm pregnant. Pretty heavily pregnant, I haven't just been eating too much chocolate. My hip joints are in three counties and walking hurts (a lot), my 7yo still has asthma and could need an occasional trip to hospital to sort him out, and having a car makes our life a heck of a lot easier. Oh, and the seven seats ain't just vanity either, we aren't just trying to trash the environment. We work pretty hard on living as green as we can and I wouldn't drive a big gas-guzzling MPV if I didn't need an extra seat to put the baby in once he's earthside.
That tyre you punctured last night? Well, the money that my husband is spending RIGHT NOW THIS MINUTE fixing the damage that you have done could have bought our daughter this . And instead, thanks to you, we're going to have to buy the blooming Dora one. So you know what?
Karma is real. At some point when you least expect it, you're getting your comeuppance. But right now, waiting for karma to kick in and sort your horrid ass out, patience is the hardest thing I've ever done.
On the bright side, yesterday the kids and I started the Xmas crafting, and pictures will be following shortly.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Work in progress

I don't know if I mentioned this, but we have a government grant to help provide my FIL with a downstairs bedroom and bathroom, and the builders are working on it at the moment. The whole back of the house is moving back by 4 metres, and our kitchen and bedroom will be out the back, then the current kitchen will be turned into a wetroom. And hopefully, touch wood, all of the work will be finished before our new baby arrives. We're hoping that the kitchen will be done before Xmas.
I'm 31 weeks pregnant now, and enjoying getting big and huge and fat, despite the SPD. Because I'm actually hoping to go post-dates this time (bwahahaha) I'm planning the full-term sweater- I will be casting on on the 9th January, the day that I hit 37 weeks (or possibly on the 1st of January, considering how slowly I'm knitting at the moment.) and the goal is to get a nice snuggly warm jumper out of it before the baby gets here. Like NaNoSweMo, but with more pressure :) I haven't decided on a pattern yet, but I'm considering the Refined Raglan from IWK, because I think the shoulder detail will look pretty good with babywearing devices.
And for those new to the story, Alex was born at 43.5 weeks, Isaac at 37.5 and Skye at 42 weeks, so I think the odds of me pulling this off and getting both kitchen and jumper done in time are good.

Toddler cloche and scarf.

I made these for Skye's 2nd birthday last weekend, and frankly, I love them. On the other hand, she is really not too impressed at all, and refuses to wear them.

But look, ma, I crocheted! With only one needle and all! Wa-HOO!!!!!!!!!!
Both kids had good birthdays - we took them up to Cadburyworld with a friend of Alex's, and it was fun. Hot, cramped, crowded, but Skye was in heaven because people kept putting chocolate in her hands. Bless.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A lonely hedgehog

Sock one is finished, and I love it. The pattern is, perhaps, not the most flattering to pregnant, swollen, water-retaining feet (particularly the heel flap), but by heck is it flattering to hand-painted yarn. And sometimes, it's all about the process.
I know I've said this a few times recently, but I'm loving facebook. It's so strange seeing people on there that I haven't seen in person in years- and in one case, discovering that one of the sweetest guys I know is a happily married dad of three. Just- whoa. A nice way to heal a cold.
Today's cold cure is a mug of sliced ginger, honey and lemon, but I can't honestly say that I think it's working.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hedgehogs and snouts

Urk. Work is carrying on slowly on all of the knitting, and not one, not two, but three WIPs are in the knitting void. My hedgehog socks are being knit and knit and not getting longer. The longies are stuck on the second leg, and I need the dpns to work on the cardigan I started for bean. And I have snot EVERYWHERE. In my nose, out of my nose, and smeared all over my clothing, for Skye has a cold too.
So, the best things about having a toddler with a cold?
1) She can blow her own nose. It's not always on a tissue, and is occasionally on a blanket or a t-shirt, but she can do it.
2) It's not a nose any more. It's a snout. She snuffles, and so she has a snout. It's so adorable, in a very messy kind of way.
Tonight is the new knitting group at Lower Shaw Farm, and I won't be going, I just don't feel well enough. I love the idea of curling up around the fire with a mug of tea and a slice of cake and some gossip, but really? An early night with a mug of hot ribena and some cinnamon toast is more my style.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pay it Forward

OK, it's been a stupendously good week here at chez chaos. Not one, not two, but three missing friends are back in touch. Karma gave us an unexpected windfall, I had a brilliant (yet scary) parents evening, Isaac's asthma remains under control and I've made it safely to my third trimester of this pregnancy. Right now, I have a LOT to be grateful for.

Inspired by this: I want to join in, and share the stitching love. My family has had a lot of generosity over the years and I want to send some out there to the rest of the universe.

To participate, please leave me a note in the comments, and I'll craft something especially for you, the first three (only three?) respondents and post it out within the next 6 months. It could be knitted, might be sewn, might be some beautiful handspun. Depends who it's going to, if you see what I mean? Also, if you can, please consider doing the same yourself. I know a lot of knitters give a lot to charity, but this isn't charity. It isn't because there exists a need, or a void to be filled. It's because you'll make someone smile, and make the world a better place.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Found her!

One stray friend present and accounted for, with a telephone number and everything. I'm happy.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


This is the yarn that I've been spinning up the last few days (with help and loving guidance from Skye and Isaac) and I love it. It's BFL roving from in the artichoke colourway. The colours are kind of somewhere between the two in terms of brightness and saturation, but I wanted to get a picture up today so didn't wait for daylight. It's a muted kind of purty, but I can see it looking great on the new bean.
In other news, I turned the heel on the hedgehog socks and ran out of yarn on the longies. Hardly most the exciting weekend I've ever had. The builders start digging the foundations for our extension tomorrow, so life is going to be quite- erm, interesting for a while. And probably also loud and chaotic. It'll be worth it in the end, though.

Friday, November 02, 2007


At the moment, it feels like almost everything on my needles is from There are probably worse ways to be: I might not be knitting, for example, or I could be working solely on a newborn pair of longies in organic naturally coloured Lleyn wool for a trade with an outstandingly crafty mama. Instead, I'm spinning and knitting with some of the most fantastically coloured yarns I've seen in a long time.
This is the band of the rock and weave socks (pattern from Blue Moon Fiber Arts) in Joyce's hedgehog colourway, and once I actually read the pattern properly and started slipping all of the stitches in the right direction, it's going swimmingly. And oh my goodness, this yarn is to die for! I haven't knitted anything that blends this appealingly since: hmm. I'll get back to you on that one. I just cast off a pair of longies for the same swap in one of Joyce's other colourways in BFL, and that's gorgeous too. And the roving: well. I'm in love. I really am. The rate at which I'm going, I should have a spinning picture for you by the end of the weekend, which hasn't happened in a while.
So, the socks are swimming along. I ordered some beautiful tiny hedgehog buttons for the cuffs which should be here LONG before the socks are finished, but I'm trying to decide: solid coloured feet? Or variegated? Either could be good....

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Sorry to everyone else, but normal service needs to be interrupted. Right now I'm bouncing up and down on my superduper, deluxe, overinflated because the toddler likes it, birth ball with excitement wetting myself.

Shonaidh, I can't contact you, I'm a crap, weak, useless person who has lost your email address and it isn't in your profile. My mobile number hasn't changed, or I'm at h.(mysurname) - Obviously, take the brackets out and put my surname in.

And to everyone else, the said Shonaidh is the one person who can make the horror of the school run bearable. AND she's the worlds best fifth columnist at changing corrupt school systems from the inside. And I miss her, and I'm a crap friend.

Still here, still knitting

Photographic update coming soon. The longies I'm working on for a trade with a fellow MDC mama are nearly done, and I've just taught myself how to spin with a toddler on one knee whilst balancing on the birth ball, because all my chairs hurt my bum. Quite an achievement, huh?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

One FO, and a work in progress...

The sunrise circle jacket is finished, and I love it. Even if I can't post pictures the right way up (it is late at night here, after all.) No, I'm not putting buttons on it, but I am looking for a replacement for the DPN. Yes, I'm going to try and shrink it slightly as I think it may be a bit big even for me.
Update in the morning (or at some point, anyhow.) My boys are away, and so, must sleep.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The sunrise circle jacket is finished, and is being seamed literally as I type. Both shoulders done, one side seam in progress, one side and two arms to go. And you know what? I think it's going to fit....
In other news, my camera fizzed and died, and there didn't seem to be any point in having a blog without pictures. I have a new camera. It's new, and shiny, and lovely, and has a trillion terrifying features, and I have no idea how to take the pictures off it. But I will do. I'll learn.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Can't be bothered...

to get the camera out and take a picture of half a pair of longies. Ditto a sleeve of a cardigan. Can't be bothered to knit the front of the cardigan. Just TOO much work. Must sit here, surf MDC and ravelry and quietly, slowly, sedentarily solidify.
This pregnancy is seriously kicking my ass. I got knocked over by a pushbike last week, and that just finished off my already dubious pelvic ring. The good news is that the symphsis pubis dysfunction has NOT reoccured, all the pain is in the back- which makes it both more manageable and treatable. My back muscles are strong enough that this is happening (although my bottom muscles, apparently are weak and flabby. Tell me something new, OK?) I need to sleep, DD is giving up naps, and generally it's just all going a bit wrong. And if I hear the word cake, coke or cheese again, I may have to scream, strip naked, and run up and down the M4 until they come and lock me away somewhere QUIET until I finish gestating.
Last week was my daughter Rowan's eighth anniversay, and this week is pregnancy and birth loss awareness week. We sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for all the missing brothers and sisters and sons and daughters. It was nice.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Newborn longies

Well, the scan showed that Eurovision baby is a boy: proving that maybe Shettles was onto something after all, though we weren't trying for any gender in particular. So baby boy has his first pair of longies, knitted in some faded iris Rio de la Plata that I bought to make Skye a cardigan from and decided I didn't like in garter stitch.
Aren't they ickle? Knowing that LTK patterns tend to come up something on the big side, I made newborn, even though I'm anticipating a comfortable 8lber. I love them. They're just incredibly soft and snuggly and warm.
In other news, I'm halfway up sleeve two of my cardigan, and the weather has turned already. I'm also pondering the question:
What DO you wear on your feet when you're too pregnant to tie your shoelaces but it's too cold for Birkenstocks?
I'm thinking Birkenstock clogs and socks, but I'm open to suggestions.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

One finger one thumb

one sleeve, one front, keep knitting. One finger, one thumb.... (repeat ad infinitum.)
So, this is the other half of the sunrise circle jacket, pattern by Kate Gilbert, perspiration by me. All I can say is that while I think it's going to be amazing when I finish it, right now my fingers, thumbs, wrists and forearms all hurt and I need a break.
I still feel really proud though. A cardigan big enough to fit me and I'm 2/3 of the way through in a month? Waaay cool.

Monday, September 17, 2007

10 rows a night

No, nothing exciting is happening here. I'm knitting two million trillion billion yards of stockingette stitch (honestly, it's worse than the HP scarf) and you know what the funnest thing is?

My gauge is off. The swatch was right, the cardigan itself is freakily, scarily off. Because the row gauge is worse than the stitch gauge, though, and it's Peace Fleece I reckon I can stick it through the washing machine on a 40 degree wash (maybe even live dangerously and go to 60) and it'll come out wearable. If not, I'll felt it properly and give it to my mother (she of the 34 inch chest. )

And yes, I have now hit the point where I have to make myself do 10 rows a day before I can do something more interesting. I'm sure it'll be lovely when it's finished, though.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dying? Or overdyeing?

This started life as an extremely ugly skein of yellow nettledyed BFL, but I got the dyes out and played. Oh, how I played! There's some black in there, and some red (to create brown, you understand) and then I did the whole thing in blue, and I love it. I absolutely love it.
It's destined to be the cowgirl slipper socks from last autumns IWK for a swap package, but as I know she isn't a knitter I think the chances of her reading my blog are somewhat remote... (I also know that she isn't sending to me. I'm organising the swap.) Unfortunately, I can't find my dpns in the right size, so I think I'm just going to have to keep plodding on with the circle jacket. I have the first arm finished now, so I'm nearly up to the interesting increases.

And in other news, I LOVE the new knitty. So many things to knit, so many of them for me :) What more can a girl ask for?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Natural cleaning....

Well, one of our missions for this week/month is to tidy our bedroom. It SO isn't happening, it's not funny. Something else we've been thinking about, though, is going greener- right now we're kind of at the midpoint on the green continuum- we think about it a lot and talk the talk, but sometimes our footsteps are those of someone wearing factory-farmed Nike trainers. So this is our mission at the moment.
In some ways, I'm doing good. We haven't used the tumble dryer at all in over a month, all the lights in the house have low-energy bulbs and we're using green washing up liquid all the time and as many commercially produced "green" cleansers as possible. OTOH, ecover does NOT get the boys crap off their clothes, and I either need to get more proactive with stains or handle the idea of dirty clothes. And I've tossed a LOT of clothes this week for no other reason than staining :(

So, this afternoon I whipped up a batch of cleanser from a recipe loosely based on one given in the guardian:
8 tablespoons sodium bicarbonate
4 teaspoons of vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
And I added four drops of cherry plum flower essence, given that me and cleaning have issues at the best of times.
And you know what? It worked. The bathroom sink looks beautiful, the bath is pretty good and the cooker hob is clean (and oiled) too. I feel really, really, really proud.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Put the sheep poo down...

Sarah and Rowan from MDC were in the country this month (aka Spughy and offspring) and they came and spent a few days with us. I think the insanity and noise and bustle and hysteria of a large family may have been a bit much and we should have prepared them gently- feeding time with a pack of ebullient monkeys or something, perhaps? Anyhow, yesterday we took them to Avebury so that they could run around like toddlers and we could drink beer. They ran- a little- but mostly they played with sheep poo. We drank (and I'm back on the diet coke, but not as badly. Blurgh.) And it was great.
Oh, and Sarah stayed at and I want to say a huge ginormous thankyou, should they ever find this, for looking after my friend so well. They really did :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Skirt or sack?

5 days, umpteen hours, knitting so darned much that I gave myself carpal tunnel syndrome, and for what?

Mummy, is that a skirt or a sack?

Grrr. It is, of course, the back of the sunrise circle jacket from Interweave Knits, and available free from their website. And being both fat and pregnant, it's a big knit. LOTS of knitting. So that was 5 days work, and there's two sleeves and two front bits still to go.

The good news is that we seem to be in the middle of a heatwave, so hopefully I won't need warm woolly jumpers yet. And the yarn, predictably, is Peace Fleece, because I couldn't have afforded to knit it any other way.

2.25 skeins in, and the back down. I have 8, and I'm just hoping I don't run out. I bought enough yarn for Arwen (also by Kate Gilbert. Shorter, with a hood) and changed my mind on the pattern last minute. It has to be said, though, this cardigan is going to be HUGE.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Awesomely autumnal socks.

Oh socks, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1) You're cashmere and silk, and handpainted and beautiful

2) When I started knitting, sock 1 was the perfect colour for autumn leaves and made me feel better about the coming winter. Seasonal knitting is perfection. (I know sock 2 is a different colour. That's because they're made from handpainted yarn.) Sock 2 is the perfect colour for autumn.
3) You fit. Beautifully.
And, erm, yeah. I love you to squishy pieces, socks, and I am desperate for the heatwave to end so that I have an excuse to wear you.
The yarn is Eva 4ply in crabapple from and the pattern is Falling Leaves from Knitty, but with the addition of a twisted rib cuff because I have fat legs even when I'm not pregnant.

Labour of love

These pictures are here primarily for blackmail purpose. I wasted 6 hours of my life on tidying my sons' bedrooms, throwing away large quantities of lost/ broken and disassembled toys, and I swear, I have never felt quite so awful in all my life. These pictures are here as the before shot, because if that room EVER goes back to the way it looked before, I am posting the after shots on the internet and giving all their family members my blog address. AND inviting Kim and Aggie around for tea. Non-coercive parenting is one thing, but living in a hovel is another.
On the bright side, our central heating gets fitted on Tuesday, so I get lots of lovely hot water and all the deep and soothing baths in the world :) It seems a fair trade-off for that much work.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sorry for the sideways pictures, I'll fix them asap. This is Skye's daisy cardigan (pattern free from The Garter Belt), with an applied i-cord trim to the front and no embroidery cos I just don't do that sort of thing. And I love it, and she loves it because she knows how to take it off :) Bless. Size 2T, in cheap cotton from Texere, and yes, it's far too big for her. I still love it anyhow...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Baby Surprise Jacket

Well, in a moment's madness I started knitting baby things again. Actually, I just started knitting full stop- but I digress. Here is a 3/4 finished BSJ, complete with lifeline and stitch markers. The reason it is only 3/4 finished is because I just ran out of yarn, and DH has put a parental lock on to stop me buying more. Isn't it cute? Isn't it truly bizarre, the way it goes from blob to jacket? I love this pattern, I really do.
I've also nearly finished a daisy cardigan for Skye, from the free pattern. Yesterday morning, I had knitted as far as the armpits- today, I have two sleeves and I'm most of the way down the body. True to form, I'm also running out of yarn :(

Friday, July 20, 2007

Rainy day

Today, the boys were to have gone to their dads, but we are seriously rained in. Top of the street, turn left, the road is flooded. Turn right and you see the police have closed the road. We tried, but it took us an hour and we couldn't even get out of Swindon. It's just not safe.
My father-in-law just survived an operation to remove a metal plate from his leg. It was put in several years ago when he broke his leg, and in the meantime they finally spotted the osteoporosis and started treating that. The hope is that now his leg is strong enough that he might be able to weightbear with assistance (which he needs anyhow) without crumbling into a pile of dust.
So, the shetland is spun, and is gorgeous. It's the first time I've ever had the guts to leave a single as a single and it feels quite daring, but I haven't yet set the twist because I don't think I can get the yarn dry again. The above is some wensleydale curls that I bought from Wonderwool Wales and am combing and spinning worsted-style. (Or, you know, mostly worsted.) It is fantastically soft, and much easier to spin than I was expecting. I think I'm getting better at home-prepared fibres.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Works in progress

Well, frankly I feel far too tired to achieve much these days. I have done at least 30 seconds spinning each day- generally closer to 10 minutes- and have managed to spin a whopping 2 oz of laceweight shetland as part of my Tour de fleece challenge. It's a beautiful oatmeal colour, came from Antannie from MDC, and god, I love this stuff. It isn't as soft as the white I get from Scottish Fibres but it spins like a dream and the colour is incredible. It's going to be a stole for my mother, when I get around to it.
So, from L-R. The wild flower shawl, pattern from Posh Yarn, body finished and finally bound off, edging yet to go. The yarn is Crab Apple lace from HPY. The loaded bobbin, and my daughter on her first ever carousel ride, complete with a very rare picture of yours truly- which is there mostly because my lovely Jenn posted a pic of herself on her blog too.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The last six months...

Well, it's been a heck of a time. The bad news, as it were, is that I miscarried early in February. Brighid was born at 11 weeks on the 2nd of February and hir sibling, Bride was born on the 3rd- exactly 24 hours apart, give or take. It wasn't the most fun time I've ever had, but some positive things came out of it. Through listening to and accepting what my body was telling me I needed to do, I came through it, and it really helped me deal with some of my emotions surrounding my daughters birth, with weeks of prodromal labour and then an incredibly fast labour.

So, that's the past. The future- as you probably guessed from the fact that I haven't frogged this sweater yet- is that we started TTC immediately and our new baby is due on- give or take- the 2nd of February. Imbolc has always been a strong and heavily emotional time of year for me- my first girl was due on the 2nd of February, though she was born in October, and it tends to be a very dark time of year, with lots of glimmers of hope. Here's hoping that next year turns out to be full of hope for us too.

In knitting news, I ain't really done much. The sweater was knitted before the twins were born, from some beautiful organic merino from Posh Yarn and an Erika Knight pattern. Fun knit, I'm not loving the pooling- but I have two boys in the house who believe that having a Superman sweater is the ultimate coolness, and every baby is a superbaby, after all. I'll sew the seams up once I get a twelve week scan done - we had one done last week which showed a heartbeat, but I don't want to tempt fate. I made a huge beautiful Harry Potter scarf for an MDC swap and forgot to take pictures, and some socks and toys as well. I'm working on the wild flower shawl from posh yarn, and having a horrendous time getting the cast-off loose enough to block the way I want it to. Spinning is going better- I've just finished spinning up some shetland roving, sock-weight, which is going to be knitted up into socks for a good net-friend of mine who never EVER knits for herself, and I signed up for this year's Tour de Fleece as well. My goal is to clear the stash, because I have FAR too much roving and tops of all descriptions, but I'd settle for spinning every day.
holy cow, I got my blog back! Lengthy update coming soon... thanks blogger!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

In the immortal words of Granny Weatherwax...

I aten't dead.

Not yet, anyhow. The reason I haven't updated in such a long time is because my computer has been foul, and naughty, and I haven't been able to log on to blogger since Christmas.

There are other reasons too: being the account of one of them. We have a new bean due in September (or October, or knowing me, possibly even November) and so a new person to knit for and spin for and stuff. Right now, I'm just about at the stage where I can face the idea of knitting again.

Lots of pictures to come: the first yarns I spun on the wheel, including one jar-dyed merino that has been sent off to Kentucky as part of the mystery skein swap. A calorimetry, and pictures of my mother wearing Samus. She loves it, by the way, which is always a good thing to happen when you have just spent six months of your life knitting continuously on the same garment.
And, one bit of sad news. My adorable, beloved husband killed my spindle by dropping a heavy box of books on it. Can we say, ker-snap? Oh dear.