Iggy

I finally get to share with you a finished project that isn’t a pair of socks.   Hurrah!

Last Wednesday the sun shone brightly upon budding trees and jolly daffodils, and the wee small boy and I took George to the groomers, then popped into a local cafe for a rather splendid hot chocolate.

It was such a lovely day. Especially as he’d terrified us all the previous week by being rushed into hospital and needing an emergency appendectomy.  The spring weather was the perfect opportunity to wrap him in his new Iggy sweater and grab a few shots.  We’re ignoring that the shorts aren’t the best match….they were just the comfiest on the wound area.

I wish that was the end of his medical adventures, but on Saturday afternoon he developed a nasty post-op infection and was back on the ward for another surgery on Monday.  He’s home with us now, snoring his head off as I type, but we have daily hospital visits at the moment to change the packing and dressings on the wound, as they had to leave it open to avoid further infection.

It’s been, quite frankly, bloody awful.  I wouldn’t wish the past few weeks on my worst enemy, let alone a small boy.  Thankfully, today he seems to have turned a corner.  We are hopeful that the worst is over.

So pictures of a smiling boy in the sunshine in his special request jumper are a nice reminder that this too shall pass.

He had a very clear picture in his head of what he wanted.  Having browsed my patterns to find a shape he liked, we drew out some stripes to get the idea out of his head an onto the needles.

The original pattern is Iggy, by Sarah Hatton. Apart from the stripes, the only change I’ve made to the pattern is to knit it in stocking stitch, rather than reverse stocking stitch.

It’s a quick and easy knit and the details of yarn can be found on my Ravelry page.

Needless to say, I have socks back on the needles again!


Life in a northern town – March 2017

Hello my lovelies.

I had a wee window of time where I should be doing other stuff but, quite frankly, can’t be arsed.

I’ve had a lovely morning skiving off with my friend Julia at my favourite cafe, No 15 in Penwortham.  Julia is wise and witty and should be available on the NHS to cheer all who need it.  She’d save them millions.  With avo and poached eggs on toast and a couple of good cups of coffee, it was the perfect end to the week, even if she had to dash off to get her Louie cat to the vets.

Life here is a full as ever.  The hubby is still working every hour god sends.  The kids are dancing 3 nights a week and we’re about to put an advert out for a partner for our wee man.  Much as I’d love them to dance together, my blood pressure really can’t stand it. The pinch and stomp and whinge and whine and it’s just not worth it. Maybe in a couple of years, but not right now.

I’m on the home stretch with the current studies.  I’ve an exam next week and then two more modules and I’m done for this year.   The jury is out whether I’ll do next year.  Which is actually an 18 month course.  I may bunk off and do something fun like a photography course or a couple of weeks of sewing in London (subject to being able to figure out a solution to childcare other than locking them in a cupboard.  Apparently social services frown on that.  Odd! 😉 )

I have much to share with you but it is so grey here that I struggle to get enough light for decent photos.  But…spring is coming, and then I’ll catch up.

There are knits, almost a quilt, and….drumroll….the sewing room.  As soon as I’ve finished the binding on this quilt that Ma made, I can finally, finally go into the sewing room and get to it.  First up is blinds.  Preferably before the clocks change.

I can make 4 roman blinds in 3 weeks, right? (cue hysterical laughter).

I’ve got a review for a great Craftsy course on the topic of curtain making.  So much to share.

But for now, I can share some super good news.  Some of the best.  As you know we’re having rafts of tests and meetings with various medical and educational peeps to try to get to the bottom of some challenges our wee monsters are up against.  Last night we learned that the boy definitely doesn’t have ADD or ADHD and we’re 95% sure he’s not on the autistic spectrum.  We’ll have final confirmation on that within about a month. We are narrowing the field and it feels good.  Once we hit upon an answer it informs the support strategies we can put in place for them.  This also speeds things up for him as the Autistic Spectrum Pathway (the route to a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder) is currently are 49 week waiting list in our area.  Which is shameful.

So, on that happy note I’m off to pin the final stretch of binding so I can spend a happy evening stitching with wine tonight.

Have a great weekend full of the fun things you love to do.


Tropical Two!

Unsurprisingly, I recently cast on another pair of my favourite vanilla sock pattern using a ball of Rico Superba that we’d picked up on our last trip to Black Sheep Wools.

As an aside if you’re ever in the Warrington area, do make a wee detour to Black Sheep. They’re homed in an industrial unit in what feels like the middle of nowhere but in reality is 5 minutes from the motorway.  The store is stuffed to the gunnels with yarn, quilting fabric, and all manner of lovely things.  The staff  are delightful and there is a very lovely tea shop with piles of crafty magazines to browse over coffee and cake.

Anyhoo, back to the socks.

As I was casting on I had a real feeling of deja vu, and not just from the fact that this is the pattern I always use.  As I knitted I just couldn’t shake the feeling, so popped onto my Ravelry project page to confirm what I thought I already knew.

Yep….I’d knitted this yarn before.

My original pair of socks in this yarn were completed in April of 2015…nearly 2 years ago! And they’re still going strong.  Bloody good yarn this!

The odd thing is, though, that this second pair hasn’t come out quite as planned. Where as the first pair came out with perfectly matched stripes, it was impossible to match the stripes on this pair once you hit the heel.   And you can be sure that I tried.

It’s obviously a dyeing error, but annoying nonetheless.

I know that non-matching socks is a perfectly legitimate thing.  And that my obsession with matched stripes is probably more than a little OCD.  But I love matched socks! Sorry…not sorry.

So this pair took all my knitterly nerves of steel to finish, graft the toes and hand them over to a happy husband.

His stripe obsession is, thankfully, always overruled by his obsession with a new pair of socks!

Project details

Pattern:                             Regia 4 ply sock pattern

Pattern cost:                     Free

Yarn:                                 Rico Designs Superba Poems

Colourway:                      Fabre

Purchased at:                  Black Sheep Wools

Yarn cost:                         ?


Eight

The birthdays seem to come in a flurry at this time of the year, hard on the heels of Christmas and New Year.  But, they are welcomed as such a blessing.  Happy, sparkly days in the midst of cold, grey, wet wintriness.

This weekend our sweet boy turned eight.

I can’t believe that the sad wee man who came home to us 7 years ago is now this charming, funny, delightful boy.

Pictures like these still break my heart. He has overcome so many challenges, and still has a way to go.  But whatever he faces, we face together.

And the tricky bits are always overshadowed by the joy and pride we all feel.

Oh, my darling boy.  We are so incredibly lucky to have you in our lives.  The year without you was the hardest every, but I’ll say now what I said then.  You were, and remain, worth the wait.

You are like a permanently lit sparkler, fizzing with light and energy.  Never let anyone dampen that spirit.  Your determination to succeed and competitive spirit will take you to good places.

As will that adorable smile.

Happy birthday, Handsome.  We love you beyond worlds and beyond words.


In a spin

For the last couple of weeks life has been even more chaotic than usual.  Which is the only reason I can think of that I thought it would be a reasonable and sensible thing to put my Boxy sweater on a 400 spin in the washing machine before laying it out to dry.

I know!

I heard that sharp intake of breath!

It was an insane thing to do and this is how it looks today.  It is wearable…I wore it out and about today to check out the fit and nobody pointed and laughed! But it just feels a bit off. So I think the best option will be to cut the bottom off, lose a couple of inches, pick up the stitches and reknit the hem rib.

The only upside is that it’s possibly less likely to droop going forwards.That’s not a good enough upside in my book.

Take it from me…DO NOT put your hand-wash only hand-knits in the washing machine.

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Pigeon Toes

Santa was good to me this year and brought me a lovely new point and click camera.

As my big Canon is back from being repaired, but is hiding somewhere in the sewing room, it is very lovely to have a new camera to quickly snap some pictures of outstanding makes from last year.

2016 turned out to be the year I became the patron saint of unselfish sewing and knitting, although, to be honest, I didn’t make very much at all.  14 finished items, 13 of them made it to the blog, only 3 of the blogged items were for me, and only 1 of those is still in the wardrobe.  That’s the Lemongrass sweater.  I just love this sweater so very much!  Cosy, easy to wear, makes you look like you’ve made an effort even when you haven’t!

The Burda sweater has been donated as I just couldn’t get to grips with the scarf neck and even though that was stitched in place I still felt very exposed in anything other than an upright position.

The Burda trousers are donated to Ma.  I’m going to alter them for her as they’re a much better style and fabric for her than me.

The main focus of the year has been socks.  And I’ve another pair to share with you today.

Same old, same old pattern, but just a lovely combination of colours in the stripes.

Very subdued by Hubby’s standards.  Absolutely perfect by mine!  I may have to match that pale grey/blue colour for a sweater for me.  It’s sublime!

Now, if I could just get the wee monkeys to stand still for some photos, I could show you that occasionally I knit something other than socks!

Project details

Pattern:                             Regia 4 ply sock pattern

Pattern cost:                     Free

Yarn:                                 Sirdar Heart & Sole

Colourway:                      Pigeon Toes

Purchased at:                  Black Sheep Wools

Yarn cost:                         £4.99


9

Our gorgeous girl is 9 today.

When they say that the days are long but the years are short, they aren’t kidding. Tempus fugit indeed!

Darling girl, you are such a blessing to us all.  Yes…you are strong willed, stubborn and opinionated, but in this world you will need all those strengths in spades.  More important though are your kindness, wacky sense of humour, enormous heart and quick mind.

You are our little flamingo in a world of pigeons, and today we celebrate that, and you.

We love you, Button.

To the moon and stars and back…with sprinkles and icing and chocolate on top!


2017

Phewsh…we made it!

I don’t think I’m the last person to be heartbroken over much of what has happened in our world over the past 12 months.  Nor to have breathed a deep sigh of relief as the clocks ticked over into 2017.  It may be naive of me to hope that this year will be kinder, safer and more tolerant of otherness, but I’m happy to embrace that naivety, and the knowledge that hope is a powerful and wondrous thing.

In our little corner of Lancashire, 2016 was pretty momentous too, not all of it in a good way.  The worst thing of the year was Ma’s TIA.  That shook us all up, I can tell you.  But, thankfully, despite still needing to see doctors on a regular basis for a battery of other niggling problems that the wretched thing threw up, she’s very much back to her old self and planning outings and holidays for 2017 with renewed gusto.  In fact, at a small family gathering on New Years Eve to celebrate her birthday, the general consensus of opinion was that we’ve not seen her looking this chilled or healthy for quite some considerable time…including prior to the TIA!

Thankfully we now live only 2 minutes walk away.  Our new home is such a joy!  And I’ve had to eat a smidge of humble pie as I was very resistant to purchasing this style of house. I’d fallen in love with a slightly ramshackle Victorian villa in our town centre.  Sadly it was in need of much repair, quite a bit of it structural, as well as a complete renovation of the interior.  It was the wrong project for us for this chapter of our lives, and it was the right decision to walk away from it and buy this home.

This home needs minimal major work.  The drive is crumbling and is our next big project. We’d love to replace the small and slightly chilly conservatory with a larger, cosier orangery that will grow with the kids from a playroom to a teenage hangout (that can be accessed via the side of the house or the kitchen without disturbing aged parents too much), but this isn’t a necessity.  Taking the jacuzzi out of the en-suite and replacing it with a walk in shower is going to happen, but I can just avoid using that bath for now!  I’m not entirely sure what the previous owner was thinking….it’s sounds like a jet engine when you switch it on, and a boiling pan makes more bubbles!  I may also be eyeing up a new kitchen.

I’m ignoring the overgrown garden that needs a chainsaw and a woodchipper!

It sounds like such a lot, and it will take us a couple of years, but the house is so useable as it stands…this is just stamping our own personality on the place. We have settled here so quickly and I’m convinced part of it is just how much Hubby loved it from the second he walked through the door (which made it super easy for me to settle here too), and partly just how much space we have to live and breathe.

The kids bedrooms are little sanctuaries (and toy free zones for when they need a quiet time out) but they have a playroom stuffed to the gunnels with fun stuff that they love to do.  We have an office and a sewing room and probably 10x more storage than we had before.  As each room comes together and everything finds its place, calm envelopes us more.

Speaking of the sewing room….oh my life….how much stuff do I have!?!?

As box after box of fabric, yarn, patterns, books and God only knows what else have been piled up in there, and then the same number piled again in the garage, The Husband has been giving me the side-eye and muttering mutinously under his breath about justice and big screen TVs.  I honestly don’t have a leg to stand on. Assuring him that come the Zombie Apocalypse we’ll be much better dressed than the cast of Walking Dead isn’t holding much water here.

I feel a cull coming on!

It’s so bad that I think it will take till the end of January to unpack, sort, and organise the lot of it.  That’s not including setting up the Evernote database that I’m craving…that will take forever to scan and tag!

I’m looking forward to it being done.  I miss the creativity and I know I have some lovely fabrics in there waiting to be sewn up, plus new patterns and fabrics that my good friend Liz cheered me with on her return from Oz this week.

It’ll also give me the chance to come back to this neglected corner of the interwebs and catch up with you guys again, and share some of the fun that we have here.

So it seems that despite it’s best efforts we have much to celebrate and be thankful for as we slam the door on 2016 and wish it good riddance.  2017 stretches before us, a blank page holding the promise of love, laughter, fun and adventure.  Sure, there’ll be challenges. We won’t always get this parenting thing right, and there are lots of unknowns for us with the kids.

But we have each other, and the hard-won knowledge of a couple who took a long time to find each other and fought hard for their kids…that love is a powerful thing and the touchstone in all our lives.

Take that 2016!  Here’s looking at you 2017!  It’s going to be fun!


Knitting

Refurbishments continue apace. Being badly let down at the last minute by a plasterer turned into a blessing because the new guy we found is a gem.  He came, he plastered, he hung coving, he went.  He didn’t talk me into a coma, which has been my previous experience of plasterers. Already the house feels more like our home.

At 9am on Monday the decorator arrives.  I have boxes of wallpaper and tins of paint up the wazoo.  I’m starting to feel more than a twinge of excitement.

sewing_room_before

I hadn’t realised how much I would miss being able to sew.  At the moment I walk into the room and touch the boxes and twitch to open them and unpack.  The truth is I don’t exactly know what is actually in the boxes.  There are books and patterns and fabrics and notions that have been packed away for the best part of 18 months.  There are supplies for knitting, dressmaking, crafts and embroidery.

Honestly….it’s going to be like a satellite branch of Hobbycraft with a more than a little John Lewis thrown in!

I can’t wait.

But in the meantime the knitting is keeping me sane.

malabrigo_1I wound this beautiful Malabrigo Rios worsted a little while ago, whilst the sun was still shining, but the yarn is perfect for the chill that has settled in these parts.

malabrigo_2

I’m knitting the Worsted Boxy sweater from Joji Locatelli.

worsted-boxy

You’ll recall her lovely Lemongrass sweater…this is another beautifully written pattern.

Admittedly, there are acres of stocking stitch to work, but this is mindless TV knitting at it’s absolute finest. The Malabrigo makes a wonderfully drapey fabric that will work beautifully with this style, and there is a cute short row shaping at the shoulders that adds a nice detail.

The back is already completed and I’m almost half way up the front.  I can’t wait to have this finished.  It the kind of easy to wear, cosy sweater that I need in my life at the moment.

Whilst I was winding the Malabrigo, I also took the opportunity to wind some wool that had been a gift from my friend Christian last Christmas.

buchaille_1

These beauties are Buachaille by Kate Davies.  I’ve long admired Kate. She is inspirational in how she turned a major illness that would have floored a lesser woman into a catalyst for a new and rewarding life and business.  Her designs are so beautiful and her dedication to Scottish wool and knitterly heritage is exciting to me.

buachaille_2

That said, I’ve not knitted one of her designs yet, which is pretty shabby on my part. These guys are destined to be The Goats of Inversnaid.

goats1

Goats!  On a hat and gauntlets!  What’s not to love?  My friends have the best taste and know me so very well.

So that’s keeping me busy.  I’ve also a little Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran awaiting turning into a quick hat.  All my hats and scarves are currently still in boxes, and I think I may have mentioned that the weather has turned here.  Whilst The Goats will be lovely, they’ll take me a wee while to make and the weather waits for no woman.

The wee man has requested a blue sweater with red stripes, so a quick trip was made to Black Sheep Wools this week for supplies.  I’m not turning my nose up at the kids asking for things to be made for them.

Add in the ball of sock yarn that the Hubby located last week and I think I’m covered until the boxes start being unpacked!

My cameras are currently in the shop as I’ve been having sensor problems with one and managed to bend the prongs on the card reader with another.  But as soon as they’re back I’ve got a cardigan that I made for Miss Button to share and yet another pair of socks that I’d completely forgotten that I’d knitted for the Mr.

Right…the babes are off to bed, there’s a gin and tonic with my name on it waiting to be poured, and The Hubby has a movie all lined up.   There’s also a little more acreage of stocking stitch to be knitted. 😉


Don’t Dilly Dally on the Way!

This is the last pair of socks that I knitted for The Hubby.

dilly_dally_socks_1

When I say “last” I mean “most recently completed” not “the final pair”.

dilly_dally_socks_2

Amazingly another ball of sock yarn appeared just as I was knitting the toe of the second sock of this pair.

dilly_dally_socks

Hubby had found it in a box he was unpacking.  I’m feeling the fates conspiring with him to fill the world with hand knitted striped socks.

dilly_dally_socks_3

I, on the other hand (or foot), have other knitterly plans!

Project details

Pattern:                             Regia 4 ply sock pattern

Pattern cost:                     Free

Yarn:                                 Sirdar Heart & Sole

Colourway:                      Dilly Dally (051)

Purchased at:                  Black Sheep Wools

Yarn cost:                         £4.99

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