Sunday, April 30, 2006

All the fun of the fair

Time to catch up a bit. I haven't had much time to knit this week, as I've got a lot of work on and family things are taking up a lot of time. I have made a bit of progress on Birch:

I just love all those leaves! According to Rose-Kim's wonderful shawl progress calculator I am 26% of the way there, so not too bad. As predicted I feel a touch obsessive about Birch and really all I want to do is sit and knit. But, life must go on outside my knitting and, as well as working through my piles of work, I am trying to list some vintage knitting patterns for sale on eBay, sort out my stash a bit and generally get slightly more organised. This is not easy when it is a bank holiday weekend and three children need entertaining. So, yesterday, to keep the little ones happy we went to the fair, where a good time was had by all.
Horse-mad Lily was in her element, as was train-mad Edward:

Today I took Ellen and a friend to see Eight Below, a Disney film about huskies, set in Antarctica. There were a few scary moments and Ellen is having trouble settling down tonight, so I hope it wasn't too ambitious. I was impressed by the dogs' hierarchical behaviour and have always thought they were beautiful, so I enjoyed the movie too!
If you want to check out any of my items for sale, such as this

then please check them out under seller name knittingingrid

Monday, April 24, 2006

The circle of life

We had Edward and Lily's party at the local sports hall yesterday and 20 five-year-olds had a great time:

Once it was all over and the cakes were eaten

we went home and I managed to get some knitting done in the evening. Birch is progressing slowly:

I have nearly finished the second repeat - only another 28 to go! I do remember getting completely obsessed with knitting this the last couple of times, but it is not a project I can carry around as I do need to think while doing it! So, I have unearthed this:

which is the back and the start of the sleeves for this:

a Debbie Bliss pattern that was published in Knitting magazine, the February/March 2004 issue. I am knitting this for a friend who has recently had her fourth child - a little girl, after three boys! I have already made this a couple of times and like the pattern because, for a cardigan, it is not fiddly as the button bands are an integral part of the fronts and you do not have to knit them separately. So, Birch is going to be my evening knitting and the cardigan my 'conversation' knitting (I can talk and knit at the same time!).

Now that the twins' party is over we have slightly more serious things to attend to - my father-in-law sadly died last Thursday and so we are in the midst of arranging the funeral and sorting things out. He was 84 and had had a good innings, but it is upsetting when death finally happens. At least it was relatively peaceful and he did not suffer too much.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Slow starter

Initial progress on Birch is slow, but I have cast on the 299 stitches required and knit a couple of rows of garter stitch before starting the pattern. Here it is so far (it seems like an unrecognisable fluffy mess at the moment!):

Not huge, but started at least. I started off knitting it on Addi Turbos but have just switched to a rather mismatched pair of needles (both 5mm but the children sat on the pair of each needle and broke them at some point!) as I remember from past Birch experiences that Kidsilk Haze drives me crazy on circular needles.

I think I also need to find some mindless knitting to be getting on with at the same time (on the bus, at knitting group, etc, when I can chat and knit at the same time) so plan to rummage through my projects this weekend to find something else to do at the same time.

My local newsagent had this today:

I quite like Vogue Knitting, although I see that in this issue, as in recent issues of Rowan, crochet is becoming increasingly intermingled with the knitting patterns. As someone who does not crochet I find this a bit irritating, but maybe I should pick up a hook and learn!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Birthday duo

Today was Edward and Lily's birthday. I can hardly believe that they are five! They got new scooters from my Dad:

It is hard to believe that five years ago they looked like this:

when they both fitted into the same incubator after their arrival five weeks early (Edward on the right, Lily on the left). As you can imagine, the levels of excitement in this house have been verging on the hysterical, with two birthdays at once, and I am now very tired and am planning an early night! I need to gear myself up for their party on Sunday, but for the rest of this evening I plan to cast on my 299 stitches for Birch in front of the TV!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another one finished!

The children went back to school today and after the school run and going to the supermarket, finishing the ironing, doing some cleaning and generally getting the house a bit more in order, I sat down and did a bit of knitting. I finished the neckline before school pick-up and then finished the stripey cardigan in the evening. Here it is, all pressed, in its finished glory:

And here is a close-up of the neck - I love garter stitch details!

I am amazed that over the course of the Easter holidays I have managed to finish two projects! I have several other half-finished things lying around but am itching to start something new. So I might knit another Birch before going back to finishing mode. I have knitted two of these shawls already, both as gifts for friends. Here is a shot of one of them, in Kaalund Expressions, Seaweed colourway:

I have enough Kidsilk haze to knit one so I thought I would knit it again as I really like the design and found it easy to memorise after a few repeats. It is based on an 8-row repeat so is pretty straightforward. Here's a rather fuzzy close-up of the stitch detail:

Monday, April 17, 2006

New kids on the block

It was the last day of the Easter break from school today and we headed off for the day. Originally, we were going to go to Bekonscot model village, but when we arrived there were no spaces in the car park, so we switched to Plan B and went to Odds Farm Park instead.

There were baby goats (born only yesterday - and twins too!)

and baby lambs.

The kids (I'm talking children here!) had a great time and it is always good being out in the fresh air.
So, back to the routine of school tomorrow and although I like the holidays, I must say I am ready for a bit of time on my own, to catch up with work, and domestic work too! The house needs a thorough going over!

On to some knitting now. I have had a parcel sitting around for a few days, which I have been putting off opening, worried that what was in it would not fit, mainly because I wanted it to fit so much! It was this:

Sue's Rapunzel jacket that she auctioned on eBay for charity, the Playtex Moonwalk, which I was lucky enough to win. I thought it might not fit but to my delight it does and I am very pleased with it. It is a pattern I have liked since Rowan number 34 came out and I have thought about knitting it for a while, but now Sue has saved me the trouble! Thanks again, Sue, for such a beautiful piece of work!

I am progressing with the stripey cardigan - pictures tomorrow. The sleeves are both finished and I am starting to put it together. I hope to get it done over the next couple of days. And then I think I might do a bit more digging ...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

Hope you all have a lovely day!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Stripes and books

Here are the sleeves of the stripey cardigan so far:

I'm getting there! And the postman brought my overdue order from Amazon:

Yippee! (Not that I have had a chance to read it yet - but I am looking forward to perusing it this evening, ironing permitting!) I managed a quick trip to the Oxfam shop today, where I was lucky enough to find this (I am doing well with Alice Starmore books!):

The children are argumentative today after being indoors for the morning, so we headed to the library and then went to the swings for some monkey antics this afternoon:

I can't wait to browse through my new books and make some more progress with the sleeves tonight. After two weeks with the children at home I must confess I could do with some peace and quiet, lovely as it is to be with the kids! Before then, though, I have a huge pile of ironing to tackle and the children's tea to cook. So, it's off to the kitchen now...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Off with their heads!

Today we braved the pouring rain and went to the Tower of London. It looked impressive, despite the weather:

We went in past the Beefeaters:

who, I was interested to learn, actually live in the complex in these houses (with the blue doors), and elsewhere within the walls:

We looked at the Bloody Tower, where the two young princes were kept and then never seen again and then we joined the queue to see the Crown Jewels. It was a bit daunting

and the jewels are guarded heavily:

But we got to see them after eating our sandwiches in the queue, and they really are impressive. They include the biggest diamond in the world, the First Star of Africa, or the Cullinan I diamond, which is in the sceptre, and the Second Star of Africa, which is in the State Crown. The children were impressed, but tired after such a long wait. Here are some rather less scary sentries:

We headed home, walking along the river and seeing Tower Bridge:

before getting on the Tube back home.

I am making good progress on the cardigan and have finished one sleeve and am about a third of the way up the second. I am hoping to get most of the knitting done over Easter.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It was 10 years ago today

Today, 10 years ago, Paul and I got married. Three children later we are proud to have reached this milestone. He gave me this cute card:

Tonight, I am looking forward to a night off cooking as we plan to get a take-away (we have given up going out much as babysitting is so expensive), so I might settle down with my knitting after that. I have decided to do one sleeve at a time for the stripey cardigan as the balls of yarn were getting all tangled up and driving me mad!

I really missed going to the Putney knitting group yesterday and won't be able to make it next week because I have switched my work shift next Wednesday to the morning in honour of Edward and Lily's birthday (I can't believe the twins are going to be 5 - it seems very grown up!), so I can pick them up from school. I will miss seeing everyone!

We had the last swimming lesson in the crash course today and four days in the pool in a row has worn us all out, so it was tears at bedtime tonight. We also had another trip to the Wetlands Centre after swimming and did an egg hunt, which the children enjoyed, earning themselves a Cadbury Creme Egg in the process. After a picnic lunch and a run around the children just wanted to come home and they watched a DVD until they got back their energy!

I am looking forward to four days with Paul around and maybe some day trips over Easter and then it is back to school all too soon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The archaeological dig continues...

Digging through my half-finished projects last night I came across this, the back of a cardigan,

and these, the fronts:

This cardigan is a variation on one in Rowan magazine number 31:

As you can see, I am doing it in two colours only (largely because these colours were the only ones in the John Lewis sale two years ago!). I am knitting age 6-7 but my oldest daughter is probably too tall for it now (she is very tall for her age, even though she is only 7) so I think I need to finish it either for a friend or for my younger daughter. So, inspired by my completion of one UFO I cast on the sleeves:

I don't think this will be as quick to finish as the baby jacket (largely because I have more to do and it is a bigger garment) but I want to get on with it while I am re-enthused!

In the meantime, the Easter holidays progress. This week my oldest daughter is on a swimming course from Monday to Thursday and so we are surrounded by wet kit

and tired children. The morning swim and lunch over, this afternoon we are going to see Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, so I hope that will keep the kids happy. I am debating whether to take my knitting but figure it might be too hard to do in the dark...but I'm tempted!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A UFO no longer


This was so quick to finish that I began to wonder why I had abandoned it and left it to languish in a carrier bag in my bedroom. The missing right front was finished within a day and then I decided I would do the patch pockets after all (although I know rationally no baby will be using them!) , if only because they were cute!

I suppose that finishing this made me think about the process of knitting and what I enjoy about it. I would have to say that I like all stages of the process, but that somehow I reach a stage in a project where I am bored, or have start-itis, or just need to do something different and so get distracted from finishing the job at hand. I don't know whether it is symptomatic of the butterfly brain you develop when you have children (in my case, three little voices making constant demands does get wearing and mean that you have to switch constantly between tasks and trains of thought!). I love thinking about what I am going to start next and fantasising about what yarn I might be able to buy for the next project. But I also like actually finishing things, and the satisfaction I felt when I finished this made me think that maybe I need to look through what else I have lying around that needs a bit of attention before becoming everything I wanted it to be when I started it!

I was thrilled to finish this and feel it turned out well. I particularly like the heart details:

So, I am off to rummage around and see what else I can find that could go to a good home and deserves a bit of TLC!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tackling the UFOs

I decided that I would try to finish some UFOs I have lying around the house and first up we have this Scandinavian jacket from Debbie Bliss, in the Family Collection book. I started this so long ago that I can't even remember who I was knitting it for originally or why I ground to a halt so near the finish line, but a friend of mine's daughter has her first birthday soon and so I thought I would finish it off for her.

So far, I have done the back, one front and the sleeves, so just have the pockets (although I am unconvinced about these - do babies really need pockets?!) and one front and the finishing off to go:

Looks a bit of a mess so far, doesn't it? but it will shape up once blocked and pressed. (It probably doesn't help that it was sqashed into a bag for months on end - please tell me I am not the only knitter guilty of this!) I am just using a Patons Double Knitting yarn and think I'll be able to get this done soon as double knit always makes up fast.

Although I am itching to start something new, I also feel that I want to sort out my stash a bit, and so want to finish off some garments as presents. This is number one on the list!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Green and pheasant land

Day Five of the holidays and, even though the weather was overcast and didn't look great, we headed off for Kew Gardens to work off some energy in the morning. We went to Climbers and Creepers:

After a picnic lunch we walked to the badger sett

The flowers were beautiful and made me think that at last spring is here as the daffodils were out in force

We were lucky enough to see this fellow,

a golden pheasant, in the rhododendrons:

Ellen (who is 7) has a friend coming on a sleepover tonight so I am hoping to get some knitting done this evening (giggling permitting) as I have caught up on work (and think the ironing can wait!). I plan to browse through Knitter's magazine tonight and decide what to cast on next - can't wait!