Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Hump Day

We have made it to Hump day or the evening before Hump Day.  Lets just say this misery guts is counting down to the weekend.  I just want to stay in my nice bed and sleep this influenza away.

Yeap daughter has shared her lergy with me again. She is all cherpy and I need medication to be half human.   So pass me the rum with Benadryl and panadol combo and just watch me pretend to keep my eyes open with some thumb dpns.

I promise not to knit anything complicated, just  straight garter stitch for me.  I cant stuff that up too much can I ???  Do you think I have just bejinxed myself from here until Xmas with that statement do you think???

Selfish Knitting

I personally have a problem with the concept of selfish knitting which is basically knitting for just yourself.  Sounds good means you dont have to deal with family members who do not appreciate your knitting and you can kit yourself out and only knit things you want to knit.

Ok so what is the problem with it.   Well I only knit something if I want to knit it except for the odd teapot cozy which ended up frogged.   The problem I have is when I start to knit for myself a project such as a cardi I get very very sick.  It appears to be proportional to the size of the project and effort required to the length and severity that I suffer from the lergy which interrupts the said selfish knitting for myself.  My daughter has again given me her lergy and it appears to be knocking me for six yet again.  At the moment I am really trying to dodge pneumonia again.

Daughter's College Wardrobe

As some may have noticed that the darling Daughter, Ry, is about 6'2" and is as skinny as all heck. Since she has broken up from High School in June we have been working on developing a new wardrobe for her.  Half the problem we have is that things have to be made for her and she is really fussy about her clothes. The closest explanation of her style is that is a fusion of something and steampunk.  (Something = I don't know what to call it.)

It must be a great great ancestor trait passed down from the Yorkshire family were I have a problem with being separated from my brass (money). Fashion is one area where I believe we as consumers are often conned to waste money. I would make a fashionista have a heart attack if they heard my comments about the necessity of function above form.  Recently we have been reviewing everyone's wardrobe and I have always been into recycling and repurposing cause as my granny would say "that is just be canny with your coppers".  Looking at a number of J's business shirts I have been wondering how we could rework them from her now that she is 16.

When she was a toddler I used to rework his business shirts into smocked dresses or summer dresses.  The problem we have been encountering is the fact that J likes to wear his shirts out until his collars are thread bare so we have to do alternatives for collars and necklines.  His excuse is that he is saving money by not going shopping.... read that as he hates going shopping.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Back to School / August Bank Holiday

We are now officially into school/college count down and are doing those mad cap things that you have to do at the start of the new academic year.  Clothes, Books, pens, pencils, sports kit, haircuts, shoes, glasses.
  • x item - check
  • y item - check
You know what I mean we seem to be surrounded with sharpies and the labelling of belongings for each child along with lots of lists, yellow sticky notes and iron-on school labels.

I am working for most of the long weekend so it is really a case of no rest for the wicked.  I sometimes wonder what I must have done to be classed as so wicked. At the same time I wonder what I have done for the universe to come round so frequently to bite me on the arse.

The current knitting project has suffered quiet alot this week it has been tinked / ripped/ tinked back several times and  I swear one section has been reknitted at least 5 times.  Between the daughter and the cat, who have both ripped the cable needle out of this project, I am beginning to wonder if the universe is really trying to tell me something about this project.  Does it really make my arse look that large or something like that??

5 days to go.....

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Survived the GCSE wait and weights

Commando memorial
Well the results are in and we have survived we have a nice batch of grades and daughter has got the specifics required to enrol at her preferred 6th Form College.

She was really sweating for her Mathematics and English marks as they were the ones which the college required As for entry.  Yes it was a high standard but this college is very very selective.

Daughter has got the grades she needed to get into her preferred 6th Form College and the tension which you could cut with a circular needle has been changed in to yarn intoxicated joy. 

Bracken and Lavender
Here have a yarn picture with lavender to help with the calming aroma.  Daughter has been dancing round the house and she has already started counting down to when she starts.  Son is looking at her with the complete horror of "OMG you want to go to school.????." She is odd that way according to her brother.

Knitting wise I have had rip back the knitting of the last couple of days thanks to stress making all sorts of mistakes. Still working on a vest for me at work out some lovely Red Artist's Palette Yarns Buttersoft DK.

Red Buttersoft DK
I am adapting sounds like it was intentional the Komon pattern by Vicki Square to meet my needs at work.  I started it last year lost gauge and stuffed up the mathematical calculations so I frogged it back and started all over again.  Somehow during my holidays I managed to stuff the gauge calculations up again from my swatch and when casting on for the back I ended up casting on the whole piece.  Decision made for me so now I am do in one piece and will split it for the armcyles latter on.

Thanks for messages of support over the last couple of days, we made it. So I will now return you back to your normal program. 

Monday, 23 August 2010

Waiting for Ry's GCSE results

We have less than 24 hours until the dreaded or much awaited GCSE results can be collected from school.

So we are hanging in there waiting waiting and trying to keep ourselves together. These lovely stitch markers were made by a lovely volunteer at UK Knit camp, CurlyKnitwit on Ravelry. I think I need the safety pin to hold me together.

We have been scolded by the school about our attitude towards school with Ry. She is a high achiever and we have not wanted to put too much pressure on her. The school have done enough of that on their own and we have a bit of a nervous race horse for a daughter. So the countdown continues.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Reality returns

Well we have made it safe and sound back from Scotland to the outskirts Liverpool. The mail has stacked up and the work is already clamouring...

Sitting on the Fence
Wondering what is happening in the Aussie election looks like another hung parliament. It was bad enough to have one in the UK but good old Oz appeared to be doing better in the global financial crisis this lack of leadership could make the economy dive. That's all now on the financial and political debates of the UK and Australia I have to returning to the monster load of washing that is currently lurking and leering over me. It is taller than me, taller than the daughter so it has to be washed down into submission.

While I have been off line in the last couple of days I have been test knitting a silly sock - so far so good.  Will share pictures when I have got the pattern tested by some others cause I want to reduce the number of boo boos I have in this pattern.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The End of the Summer Holidays

There is always a point in the summer holidays when you suddenly realise that you only have a short period of time to go before you have to go back to the rat race. Like when the tide starts to rush in. Today the family visited Mrs Magic and Ma Magic in Musselburgh. We walked on the beach and had a lovely lunch in the ice cream parlour.  We survived the walk on the beach with only a minor wet shoe for Ry in her new Converse starry boots.

I am even going to miss the cockerel who has been crowing so often that he has sore throat but he still keeps crowing. I keep thinking about Coq-au-van and I have a bottle of red waiting for him.... 

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Been Looking for Nessie

We had a lovely day up at Loch Ness and Glencoe.  It was great bumbling round with the family as we had lots of laughs. It won't be long before these two leave the nest and they have only just become reasonable company rather than hard work like small children can be.

Daughter has taken the sleeveless hoodie and started to wear it even though I have not woven all the ends in. Son as per bloody normal paid no attention to the request to bring a jumper and ended up in his father's puffy jacket.

Dipping our toes in Loch Ness

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Scotland for the Brave

For the last week I have been in Scotland at Stirling University for the UK Knit Camp and Ravelry weekend. You think that I would have enough of universities and should not be doing a busman's holiday to one. We are not staying on campus but in a self-catering farm stay about 15 minutes from the campus. This was a fortunate choice as I was able to get away from the chaotic mismanagement.

Highland Tartan 200gms
By being off campus I have been able to come down off the yarn fumes and the underlying tension that some campers have had due to the management issues. The week has been fabulous thanks to the effort of the tutors, volunteers and the participants who took the attitude well we are here so we will make the most of it. I have learnt lots and scored a couple of Shetland fleeces and met up with some of UK based Ravelry friends in person. I have been working diligently on my self imposed tour de fleece (Scotland) challenge and have managed to spin 1 kg in a week.

Gorse Honey 400 gms
This week of me in class meant the family can go and do activities I am not that interested in or where it would be an advantage not to take me. Thanks to many reasons I do not screen out sound very well and I can become overwhelmed by noise. I am a complete grumpy in crowds as I don't know who is talking to me and tend to start to panic. So now that I have been knit camping for a week I now have to be mum and tour the sites with the kids.

Bracken 100gms

Friday, 13 August 2010

Highland Fling

On Sunday we saw more men in skirts and so many bag pipes that I don’t expect to get my hearing back for a week.   The family had a lovely day watching the dancing, the athletics, the bands and the heavy lifting events. It was funny to think we could run into a Australian Highland Pipe Band getting into some practice before the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow next weekend.

Knitting wise I have started a teal green jumper for Ry.  Come on not everything I knit for her is green just 95% of what I knit for her is green.  I am using some Drops Eskimo that is lovely since it knits up very very quickly on 8mm needles.  It knits up so quickly I have finished the pack of 10 balls that I brought with me.  I left balls at home cause I did not think I would get up to the sleeves while I was away.  We are sitting on the sleeves at the moment.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Knitting Shop famine

Talking to local knitters Knitting Shops in the UK started to wane and disappear in the 1980s.  While I have lived in the UK I developed some understanding of why this has happened and I can summarise the cause as shop owners not developing a new clients or developing a broader base of clients; a lack of variety and public attitude towards making things.

Zaffy snuggling up to
my hand spun merino
Unfortunately all yarn is called wool in majority of the regional dialects and that does not mean it is actually from the back of a sheep.  There are shop assistants who describe some yarn as "acrylic wool" and the facetious Australian that I am giggles every time at this oxymoron.  I am not saying acrylic or man made fibres are wrong but I just can not help myself with the complete misnomer of calling acrylic a woollen product. The carton of the plastic sheep dances through my carton image mind.

Mrs Slocombe from
 "Are you being served?"
My local yarn store mainly caters for a certain type of knitter which can be stereotyped as Mrs Slocombe's and I just don't happen to be in this group of her customers. The LYS owner acknowledges that knitters who have similar tastes to mine actually exist and provides one rack of items which interest me things like sock wool.  

There are others in the local region who dont even let you touch their products until you have paid from it. If I go to a real life LYS I want the touch so I can work out how scratchie it is on my skin. This is an important factor for the  majority of the family and directly correlates to my spending. I am just not into hessian clothes and therefore wont spend if I do not know what the yarn texture is like.  Fortunately for me I have some great online yarns stores who know my likes and dislikes, and provide great service.  

Saturday, 7 August 2010

If you take the high road and I take the low road ....

Yesterday was the madcap nightmare of last minute tasks that had to be done before setting off on the drive to Glasgow.  We made it to our Farm cottage this afternoon after reconnoitring the local services and getting some essentials in for our wildlife (food).  The Cottage is about 7.5 miles from UK Knit camp.  Fields surround us.  The downside is the poor Internet connectivity so I will only be on intermittently over the next couple of days.  Hey it is the family holidays.
The Dreaded Clapotis
Here is the Clapotis with daughter modelling it for me.  It was finished last Thursday and no I have not blocked it yet. You can see our cottage part of the long barn and our holiday front garden deck. We had a lovely dinner out there tonight.

 A Pipy Wendy
The plus side is I actually got some spinning done this afternoon on my new Wendy. As part of this trip I am planning to spin a little each day as a belated Tour de Fleece to ensure that I am getting some spinning practice done each day and learn the quirks of my new wheel.

50 more grams to go

50 grams of Merino with 3% Silk in Purple with gold single on a bobbin,  I have another 50 grams left to do which I hope to Navaho Ply to try and keep the colour changes.

Friday, 6 August 2010

A question about Zen and knitting.

"So how is knitting and all that stuff you do got anything to do with the Zen melarky?" Was a question asked by a fellow knit night attendee this week..

Philosophically, Zen is the Buddhist tradition which is not dependent on texts.  In Zen theology, enlightenment comes through self-realisation in Dharma practice and meditation. I am not Buddhist but I respect the teachings of this and other religious groups. In my little world, I attempt to find transcendent wisdom (prajna) though creative activities where I am focusing on creation rather than the anarchy of my chaotic life.
Islamic tile work
another form of meditation

This blog was started as a means of self accountability to keep me on the challenge that I set myself in 2009. My challenge was making 52 things in 52 weeks and thus addressing my   workaholic issues.

As a workaholic,
I often didn't see
the wood (or bird)
for the trees
Yes I am a reforming workaholic, I have been reforming for years but I like any addict I can and do relapse. I am also a mother who has teenage children so I use some of my creativity on a regular basis to deal with trials and tribulation that comes from family life. I had noticed in 2008 that I was slipping back into the abyss of 100+ hours working weeks.  Been there, done that and don't like the person I am when I am demonstrating the worst of my workaholic behaviour.

The waves of life.
Between work, teenagers, hubby and everything else I have a somewhat insanely crazy mixed up life that many working parents find themselves lumbered with. As a creative person I find that often my creativity and my desire to make items is overcome by my need to meet my responsibilities. I am often frustrated by how my responsibilities require me to stop a creative endeavour or impact on my ability to even start a creative piece.

One day I will visit this Zen Garden.
Ryoan-ji, Kyoto, Japan
So by focusing on the practice of creation I am attempting to undertake a form of dhama practice in my daily life and some of the activities such as knitting and spinning are a form of meditation. When you spin or have a piece of knitting that is simple and repetitive in action you will find that your breathing will slow and a calm will descend. There is academic literature that states that a repetitive activity like knitting can lower patient's blood pressure. Thus by creating each day and using my forms of meditation that being knitting, crochet and spinning I am working my way to enlightenment or the ultimate transcendent wisdom.

Sorry if this was a little deep and esoteric but I had been asked so I thought at least one of my readers would be interested in the answer.

Clapotis is Done! Time to pack for UK Knit Camp

Whooo  Hooo the dreaded Clapotis is done.  I have finished the sodding thing at last.  Currently doing the last couple of loads of washing getting ready for the great packing madness which will be done tomorrow in the morning when it is light.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Post card swap

One of the groups I play with online are holding a postcard swap and Moo have been running a special for post card printing.  I have been working on a personal postcard project for a while so the swap and the offer has just made me move up my time frame.
Foaming with panic
I have been working on developing a set of travel post cards but part of the swap is to have some local where you are living images problem is I realised is that I don't have that many local images.

Kiama Lighthouse
So I think it is time I head off and do so photos on my way to and from work.  For heavens sake the Super Lambanana sculpture is right out side the main entrance of one of the libraries which I am resident in haunt.  I am so much of a resident security comment if I go home at a reasonable hour that I must be skiving.

So yesterday I did something about it.  I took my camera to work with me.... I have not added my Liverpool photos here but I will flash them later when the first post of the swap has gone out.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Count down to our holidays and Knitcamp

I am still knitting on the Capotis, it is going very, very slowly. It is a race to see if I will make it for the afternoon tea next week on Monday. I am still in Section 3 while my tea party colleague conspirator has finished hers and blocked it. I am lumbering along on the Clapotis like a hippo.

A Pretty hippo
 definitely not me.

The rest of the family are getting excited about the holidays and getting away from the house. But between now and then I have to do some of that dreaded stuff called housework. Sorry to swear but I really don't want to come home and then have to do it. That will mean I will have the dreaded housework hanging over me while I am away and it will effect my holiday.   I could find some archaeologically important artefacts in the kids room but more likely it will be junk. I wish I could find some Egyptian statues like the one below.
No chance of a statue for me.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Learning to Spin

My Grandmother has been one of my greatest influences in life including my creative endeavours.  She taught me to knit, sew, bake, preserve and weave.  She also taught me to touch type at age 6. Practical solution for the dysgraphia.

Empty bobbins waiting to be used.

She also spun but it was something I did not learn from her probably due to my visits occurring during the height of the Australian summer.  I knew she was a spinner but it never happened even though I was fascinated by her wheel.  It became a one day wish list item.  One day I would learn to spin.  I had opportunities to try and some playing with others wheels but any time I wanted to get more into spinning and actually become a spinner, life would come and get in the way.  Spinning would be put on hold again.

First yarn spun and plyed by me!

In January I was enabled..... to become a spinner. Woolydoodles and Daisybuttercup (ravnames) saw the spark in my eye and I was invited up to a guild day.  Hello by the end of the day I was driving home with a spinning wheel and I had begun to be a spinner.

ETA: Photo of Feminist Scarf knitted up with this yarn. Outside picture showing more clearly the colours and the wobbly bits in my yarn.

My first yarn knitted up into the Feminist scarf.