Monday, January 28, 2008

Daphne's baby cape

I seem to have been knitting Daphne's baby cape from Knit 2 Together forever. I started it ages ago and then got completely bored with it as it starts off with about 260 stitches and is just garter stitch. I should have read up on the internet about other knitters' experience of the pattern more thoroughly as well because once I got going in earnest over Christmas, I soon figured out that three skeins of Cascade 220 was going to be woefully inadequate to complete the project. I am not the only person to have had this problem.

But, despite the tedium or endless garter stitch and the irritation of having to buy another skein of yarn in a different dyelot (grrr!), I finally finished it, and it is lovely. No baby was available to model it, so I borrowed Edward's teddy:

I added some vintage buttons - I like the detail of the two close together at the neck:

The hood is nicely shaped at the back:

and I decided to do the optional loop trim around the hood - and it is so pretty, I'm glad I did:

Of the fourth skein there is very little left:

This pattern seems to be so out on quantities that I have emailed the publisher and am waiting for a response. If anyone out there is planning to knit this, you will need four skeins of Cascade 220, not three!

All the hassle was worth it, though, as I think it is so cute and am very pleased with the finish and the detailing of the shaping on the cape.

There has been an unexpected victim of this winter's norovirus. One of Edward's friends threw up all over her poncho, and her mum, in her panic, put it in the washing machine (along with the loose covers for the sofa). Oops! Felting disaster! Edward's friend was distraught and her mum asked if I would kindly knit another one. They don't take long so I agreed:

I only have enough yarn for one more - I think it will be a relief to stop knitting them, although they are very popular with the children's friends!

Lily has also been doing a bit of sewing:

As you can see, she is still in her pink phase, but her little purse is so sweet I couldn't resist posting it!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Distracted from knitting

Sabine sent me a fantastic parcel just after new year and just look what was in it! I am now the proud owner of this sheep-dog:

and these gorgeous, just-my-colour twisted-stitch gauntlets:

They are just beautiful, and fit perfectly - thank you so much Sabine!

It has been so dark and gloomy lately that I have been struggling to take decent photos. There are some better photos on Sabine's blog here.

As Sabine knows, I have been well and truly distracted from my knitting this month. In the second week of January I was offered a full-time job and had several days of anxious decision-making while I decided what to do. Sabine and I had a very helpful email exchange which was very useful in clarifying my thoughts. It is fantastic opportunity for me and I am thrilled at the chance but also very daunted at the prospect of going back to full-time employment (I haven't had a full-time job for almost 10 years!) and anxious about not being with the children so much. I had reached quite a good balance of work and home, with two days out of the house and the rest of the time freelancing at home, but my work patterns have always tended to be rather erratic and deadlines never respected school holidays. I always ended up working at weekends and in the evenings and hate having work around the house too.

After much agonising I have decided to give the job a go. I think I would be crazy to turn it down and I also think that it will be very good in terms of future prospects for me, career-wise, and for the children in terms of their future too. I will be earning more, but my main motivation for doing it is to get back into the world of work in management terms and to help secure my long-term prospects in terms of pension and so on. I figure that if I don't take it, I will always wonder about it and if it all proves to be wrong for the family, then I can always change my mind. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

So, I have spent the past few weeks refurbishing my wardrobe and getting a working wardrobe together, tracking down my P45 from my last job (it has been filed away for a decade!) and alternately panicking and feeling excited. I start at the end of February so have a bit of time to finish off my last freelance projects and sort out childcare and a new routine for us all.

In the midst of my angst I have been knitting - and finding it a great comfort. I have made two berets, a lovely brown one in Knitpicks Shimmer. Here is the gratuitous shot of the nub (I can't resist!):

And a blue one in Lorna's Laces Sport (colour Icehouse) for another friend:

and again, the nub (so cute!):

I didn't manage to finish Daphne's baby cape from Knit 2 Together in time for the 12th but finally finished it this week. Pictures in my next post!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I always like the first day of the new year as I enjoy reviewing the year that has been and anticipating the year to come. Before looking back at last year's resolutions, I thought I would do a quick review of December's goals:

1. Finish ISE scarf and mail it by the end of next week at the latest. Done! This was a bit of a struggle, but I managed to get it done, and, even better, Janice loved it - phew! It took forever to knit because for some reason I simply couldn't memorise the pattern - Louisa Harding's Divine scarf. I knitted it in Silkwood's lovely angora yarn, which was so soft and cuddly!

The lace pattern is very pretty:

2. Knit yet another baby kimono for someone at work - by next week if possible. Done!

3. Knit the Forest Canopy shawl (I am now planning to give this to my stepmother for Christmas, so I had better get going). Done - just in the nick of time before we went to Ireland to stay with my Dad and stepmother for Christmas! I am very pleased with this:

And a close-up, showing the leaves better:

As everyone says, this is a great pattern - and so pleasurable to knit. This is knitted in the gorgeous Casbah Dorene gave me - and it was beautiful to knit with and so pretty when finished. The colours and sheen of the yarn are just gorgeous. My stepmother loved it! So, thank you again, Dorene!
4. Knit a secret something as a gift. Done! This was a hat, but I omitted to take a photo (although I knitted it in the same yarn as the kimono) - sorry!
5. Knit some wristers for a friend's mum. Done! I knitted these in Cascade Handpaint, and they turned out beautifully! I managed to knit them on the M6 on the way to Ireland - amazing what 430 miles of travelling can achieve!

6. Knit three scarves for the children's teachers. Done - all in Misti alpaca, like last year!

I didn't have any time for blogging what with all the knitting, but am slightly amazed that I managed to get it all done. We also had the school fair on the 15th and the craft stall raised £588, which was fantastic - all that knitting paid off in more ways than one.

Everyone liked their knitted Christmas gifts, so I am delighted. I also got a fantastic final parcel from my secret pal, which had the most gorgeous skein of Yarn Pirate yarn in it and a beautiful Lantern Moon needle case:

I don't know how Dorene managed to get hold of this yarn as it seems to be a rare and wonderful thing, but I love, love, love it and am really looking forward to making something with it - possibly a hat. Here is some of its lusciousness:

Thank you so much Dorene! You have been a fantastic pal and have thoroughly spoiled me!

On looking back at this year's goals I have not done so well. Following FlyLady did not happen as I had hoped and planned, although the past month I have been gradually thinning things out and plan to carry on with this. I am determined to make some progress on this and figure that I am now more motivated than before.

And, again I have spent a lot of time knitting for others and have still not finished the Debbie Bliss cardigan for me. I am knitting Daphne's baby cape from Knit 2 Together at the moment, which, I have to say, is driving me a bit mad as it is all garter stitch and rather tedious, and I am convinced that I will run out of yarn. Looking at other blog entries, I see that this has been a problem for other knitters too. How frustrating!

So, here are January's knitting goals:
1. Finish Daphne's baby cape by 12 January.
2. Start a waistcoat for Paul for his birthday.
3. Knit a beret for my friend Chris.
4. Knit a beret for another friend who loves my Flames beret and wants one in a different colour.
5. Finish sleeves of Debbie Bliss cardigan.

As I also have a set of proofs for a book on my desk to work through, this may be over-ambitious, but I can try to achieve all this and will keep you posted on my progress with FlyLady! Here's to a happy and healthy 2008 and thank you all for reading - I appreciate every comment! Happy New Year!