Tuesday, 29 January 2013


As is usual at this time of year, my weekly routine is shaped largely by my teaching. I am teaching third year undergraduates, from a range of professional disciplines and the preparation and marking and organising and thinking about what we are going to do in our classes each week takes time: lots of time.

But I'm trying to make time to finish a few projects here and there too. When I'm out in town, at work, on the bus, or at midwife/GP appointments I take a small project with me. It's usually socks, but recently I've switched back into baby beanie mode. 

When I'm at home, I try and concentrate on one of the bigger projects in the WIP pile. At the moment my main focus is the crochet blanket I am making for the bean. 

He's been complaining - rightly - that it didn't take me long to make a blanket for his sister, but his blanket is taking ages. Trouble is, I've almost run out of one of the yarns. Such is my desperation, that I am in the process of weighing the ball before and after completing a stripe in order to work out just how many more stripes I might eke out of the remaining ball, and how much bigger I can make the blanket without having to change the design. It might just be enough... keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, 28 January 2013


The bean was 6 this weekend. 

We celebrated as is customary - with cake (a chocolate Victoria sponge, just in case you are wondering)

Happy birthday, my bright and funny boy.  When you were 1, you looked like this.

Now you look something like this..

We love watching you grow. We love you.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Christmas Socks (FO)

2013 is proving to be fairly productive, and there is another FO to show even before the first month is ended! (2012 what *were* you doing?)

Some socks - for me. This yarn was a Christmas gift from my MIL, (although the labels got a bit muddled and my son ended up opening it...), and I thought it would make good winter/boot socks, so I rattled some off.

Pattern: generic top down socks
Yarn: Wendy Roam Fusion 4 ply (about 60g) in 'Heath'
Time taken: started and finished January 2013

The colour is truest in the bottom photo, a pleasant pinky, orangey-yellow heathered yarn. I've worn them already, and can report a pleasant squashy and warm experience just right for snowy January days. it's noticeable how much thicker and bouncier these new socks are compared to the rest of my (handknit) sock collection. Then again, I notice that I made this pair - the oldest socks in my current collection - in 2007! No wonder they are getting a bit thin (but still no holes). 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snow on snow

The white stuff has been with us for a few days now, coming and go-ing as the temperature rises and falls, but never quite disappearing completely from our garden.

At the weekend, we had an inch or so of fresh and fluffy snow to play with, and we enjoyed time in the garden scooping and sweeping and failing to make a snowman. The jelly bean wasn't quite sure whether she liked it or not, and came inside a few times to watch the fun happening outside.

The best game, it seems, was one involving snowballs being thrown at you - but only when you are safely inside and there is no danger of anything cold and wet slithering down your neck. I'm with you girl.

It seems like work is snowing on me at the moment. As soon as I sweep up one snowdrift another one engulfs me. So this is how Sisyphus felt...

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Make do and mend

When we visited my parents at Christmas, before we left, my mother pulled this blanket out of a drawer and said: 

"Your great nana made this for you when you were small. Now you can crochet, I thought you might be able to do something with it..."

I've washed it and put it in my knitting basket. It's a mixture of wool and other fibres; it flares a bit at one end, and it makes use of a nice crochet stitch which I don't recognise (my great nana was a great stitcher - she crocheted lace in vast quantities and I have a few tray cloths and things which she made). Repairing the blue edge at the one end seems straight forward enough, but I'm not sure about the other, bigger hole. 

I'm wondering about taking the non-woolly beige/pink stripes off and adding a new border around the remaining, mostly woolly stripes. But I'm not sure... any suggestions? 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Citron (FO)

Although I finished this well before Christmas, it deserves a blog post because it is so gorgeous. My mother-in-law gave me some lovely Malabrigo sock yarn a year or so back, and it seemed to be asking to be made into something a bit more glam than your average socks. I rooted around a few times for a nice pattern, and eventually happened upon the Citron shawl in Knitty.

Pattern: Citron shawl (Knitty)
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock, one skein
Mods: none
Time taken: a week or two, December 2012

The yarn is silky and warm, and the colours delicious (I'm having a bit of a purple/plum love-in at the moment). I was a bit wary about the yardage as I didn't really have quite enough to knit the pattern as written. However, as knitters usually sometimes do, I crossed my fingers and hoped. The hoping worked to a point, and I ran out of yarn with only a few stitches left to bind off (cue much gnashing of teeth). Fortunately the stash came up trumps, and I finished the job with a little bit of purpley sock yarn. You can just see this here, with a small flash of pink variegation. I love it nevertheless...

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Scrap Hat (FO)

The year is getting off to a good start. The first FO has already sprung off the needles, and I managed a productive sewing session on Saturday (although nothing I can show you yet....) 

Here is the first FO of 2013, a scrap hat, which has been stolen by given to my dear husband. 

Pattern: scrap hat (own design)
Yarn: various oddments from the stash
Time taken: about a week

I made a similar hat as a Christmas gift for my brother - although the colour palette was almost entirely blue - and I failed to photograph it. It was his third scrap hat, and this is dear husband's second. I've got one too, and so have both the children, and my dad, and a few other select friends... There is something very satisfying about making these, and they go really quickly once you get going.

I'll set out the recipe sometime, so you can make your own...

Thursday, 3 January 2013


We've started the New Year with a bit of sorting out and shifting a few excess things. My motto for 2013 is S I M P L I F Y.  Yesterday, I spent a little bit of time clearing out my knitting basket - putting things back into the stash, and lining up the few projects I want to concentrate on in the next weeks. 

One of my big tasks for 2013 is to rationalise and simplify my stash of fabrics. My yarn stash now fits fairly neatly into 4 clear boxes, which I can easily access. And, having it to hand has meant that I have a much better of idea of what is there and can use it! My fabric stash is a different story. It is currently hiding in 3 - or maybe 4 - different places: mostly in not very accessible under-bed boxes and a vintage trunk that belonged to my mother - and I am always surprised when I look through it, at all the things I had forgotten about. 

I want to clear out the trunk for the children to use as their dressing up box, so some serious sewing and crafting is required to get the stash down to size. So, I have plans to whip up quilt tops and mats and bits and bobs. With baby no. 3 due to appear in a few months, there is also the need to build up some piles of washable wipes, dribble bibs, muslins and changing mats. 

Part of my simplifying routine will thus be about making time for sewing. I'm good at fitting in knitting here and there - on the bus; in the evenings; watching TV. But sewing is harder to pick up in between times because of all the getting out, setting up and organising that needs to happen (in my house at least). So, I'm going to have a sewing night each week, and see if I can't whip up a few more of these....