Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas and Resolutions

New Years Eve already!!!

OK – whoever stole November please step forward!

Well, Christmas has been and gone (‘Already!’ sigh some, and ‘Again’ moan others) and brought its usual goodwill and pressies. My present were wonderful – just what I asked for from the Accountant (well, I had given him a list, with those things I especially wanted highlighted) and some great surprises (thank you Happy Spider, Taph, Rosered and Kate). I ate too much and didn’t drink quite enough (although there was a magnum of Moet supplied by my SIL and her partner on Boxing Day!). There was travel – there always is for us – and catching up with family.

The best bits – having my SIL stay (the Accountant’s sister) and bring her partner, both much loved by the kids; the expressions on the Princess’s and Destructoboy’s faces as they opened their Christmas Stockings – filled by Santa some time on Christmas eve, them again as they started practicing on the little bicycle with training wheels from Grandad and Nana, and their sheer unalloyed joy at the whole Christmas thing, from Princess being Mary on the Kindergarten float in the Christmas parade, all the way through to massive trampoline bouncing everyday since Boxing day!

In addition, because the Accountant is on holiday, I slipped off to the movies yesterday and saw my first film on the big screen since Chicago was released (around 5 years ago). There were about 10 people in the cinema on Sunday morning to watch The Golden Compass and I was one of them. Just for the record, I loved it (although this maybe partially because I was alone and could watch with the guilty pleasure of having slipped the leash). I adored Lyra’s knitted jacket – a mohair silk mix I would guess – while she was with the Gyptians. I also loved the fact that I saw it on the big screen instead of waiting for DVD release, for the fact there are likely to be 2 more, for the fabulous casting and for the fact I want to re-read (for the umpteenth time) the books. I was also rather glad to see that ‘Prince Caspian’ will be released in winter – I might have to book the babysitter to ensure I see that one!

I also received my teacosy swap parcel from the wonderful Sheila – she matched my kitchen colours absolutely perfectly and sent fabulous biscuits, chai, a whale tea towel from Canada and a skein of gorgeous Watercolour sock yarn from the Knittery! How lucky and spoilt I felt (and it arrived just before Christmas!)

I spent a very pleasant few hours over Christmas finally getting out the ball winder and swift I bought from Donny back in November (I think) and peacefully wound 29 skeins of sock yarn into balls. This made me realise I have rather a lot of sock yarn, given that I didn’t ball all of it, and this didn’t count any of the commercial yarns already in balls or those thoughtfully wound for me by hand painters and dyers. So please see the New Year Yarn Resolution a post or so back.

I did enjoy the winding, there’s something wonderful in watching a small piece of relatively simple machinery do its job gracefully and perfectly. I made gorgeous yarn cakes one after another – lovely.

On the knitting front, the band of the Bella Blouse grows immensely slowly – I am lucky to get four repeats (of the 32 I need) done in a night, as I apparently cannot count to 15 after 6pm. I have finished 1 Kaibashira sock in Fleece artist Somoko and love it and the pattern (and the little frilly cuff which takes ages and starts with 187 stitches), and think I need a mindless large project at some point soon.

The Princess coined a lovely word yesterday – ‘Stupideous’! I think this will be a very useful term and I intend to use it often for those things in life which are both stupid and hideous!

I forgot to mention Kate’s Pay it Forward scheme, in which I am participating in 2008. The first 3 people who request to be part of this on my blog will receive a handmade something or other during 2008. In order to receive this whatever-it-might-be, you must do the same – ask 3 people to participate and receive an item, and make something for another 3 people. I love the idea and am sure that being knitters, we will provide something just when it is needed!

Have a wonderful and safe New Year! Enjoy the last of 2007 and thanks for sticking with me this year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy, Happy, Happy!!

Well, it’s certainly obvious by now that Christmas will arrive before my 100th post. But will the New Year?

This week has incorporated all the usual week before Christmas madness – is it possible for a week to be possessed by the devil? At times it has certainly seemed that way.

I have been frazzled, bruised and the victim of seriously feral children (my own, unfortunately, so I can neither blame somebody else, nor give them back). I have been reduced to tears by bouts of screaming tantrums (not mine – the tantrums anyway) and have had to put it down to overtiredness and excitement (both theirs and mine). On the other hand, they have also managed to be absolute and total angels on at least 6 occasions each, so the karma probably balances out.

I had a particularly rough day yesterday, when out of the blue this arrived:

This is a parcel from Happy Spider and Taph, and even if it was meant to be a Christmas present I opened it (all knitters have no self control – that’s why we have stash – and more than one item on our needles! – and a Ravelry queue longer than our arms – my excuse for the Ravelry queue? My printer is out of ink until at least tomorrow, so rather than trying to remember all the patterns I want to download, I just whack them on the queue! Simple!)

What was in it? Joy was in that parcel. Pure, simple joy! It had the world's first skeins of Happy Spider’s new colourway, Gothic Princess

(Zephyrama – look away now – it’s mine!! Mwaahhh!)

It had a skein of Swoon in the Purple Haze colourway (I am the first person to have these in the world – I am so overwhelmed by this!). Swoon is a merino angora blend and Spidey’s cloud in heaven will feel like this yarn!

It had a skein of Magma sock yarn

And a skein of Spidey’s hand spun yarn in Peacock.

It had tea and an infuser. It even had a card with a shoe on it! And there seems to be a little sheep sheltering in there!

It was a parcel full of joy! I cannot thank the two of you enough for making a rotten day magnificent!

I also received my parcel from Irene at the Jolly Jumbuck – with 2 balls of Tofutsies, and a ball of Fleece Artist Seawool – and a pair of Addi dpn’s in 2.25mm. And a little bit of Pear Tree merino – just a metre or so, for fondling purposes. Happy! Happy! Happy! (Picture me doing the happy dance!)

This joy set me thinking about happiness.

Happiness is a wonderful thing – although you need some pepper in your life – some trials and unhappiness to measure your happiness against. Constant happiness would be a bit like eating nothing but fairy floss – cloying and bad for the teeth.

I am a happy person (mainly). I see the glass as half full, doors opening when other doors shut, the silver lining and the lemonade. Not always, but mostly. I enjoy life and my family, friends, blogging, knitting, house and surrounds. I am never bored (who can be bored with children, knitting, blogs, patterns, Ravelry, reading, music and the odd good film. And, when all else fails, there’s always the housework or garden to do.

I understand depression, because I have been there, too. But for the last couple of decades, depression as a state of mind has not featured on my mental landscape. I have had short bouts of deep depression, caused by miscarriage and other physical problems in that time, but they have been grieved over and wept away.

So, in this Christmas season, I’m going to count blessings.

I have 2 occasionally wonderful children, and an Accountant I love very much. I live in a lovely house in a wonderful place and have a great stash! I am in the position of being able to contribute to charity in cash or kind (although I could and should do much more), I have new skills to learn about my chosen obsession (knitting) and not nearly enough time to do it in. I love cooking and food and enjoy this. I love reading and blogging and have discovered a whole blogworld full of new friends and enablers. And co-dependents.

So this year, my chosen blessing is you! Charge your glasses, ladies and occasional gentlemen. Here’s to you! Thank you for filling my life with the conversation of adults when I need to talk to people taller than a 5 year old. For your support and affirmations. Most of all, here’s a toast to friendship!

May your Christmas and new year be safe, loving and happy – and your stash grow ever more SABLE! To you!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Husband Doesn't Understand Me

My husband doesn’t understand me. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true.

He does not understand my obsession with knitting – and the yarn, stash and patterns which go with it. He really cannot understand the whole blogging thing – he thinks it’s sad and tragic. This is a man who has no hobbies and thinks perhaps he ought to have one/some. (This is also a man who can’t understand why women need lots of clothes and more than 3 pairs of shoes – and perfume!)

So, today. Today, a parcel arrived for me (immediate excitement – in fact at first I thought it might be my tea cosy from the Ravelry Tea Cosy Swap). One of the great things about living in the country and buying things by mail order and over the internet is getting parcels.

Then I realised the parcel came from the lovely Donyale. – Could it possibly be the Harmonies? No – it was smooshy and soft. It was a gorgeous jumper worth of Cleckheaton Tencel Wool. A whole jumper’s worth!!!! 12 Balls!!!! In a soft washed-denim bluey grey – absolutely wonderful! The little note with it said she was de-stashing, and thought this would make a great Montparnasse! It surely will, Donyale! – and I’m working very hard not to cast it on THIS MINUTE!!

This yarn is luscious – I’m usually an all natural fibre sort of girl, but this is lovely – shimmery and soft and drapey and silky. MMMMMM!

My husband may not understand me – but my blogpals certainly do!

I thought I should also do my Ins and Outs (as I don’t think I have done them for a couple of weeks). I might also point out that a certain amount of yarn and yarn related paraphernalia has sort of stuck to me this week.


The aforementioned 12 balls of Patons wool tencel – mmmm!
5 skeins of Aracunia Ranco – 3 multi and 2 solid colours (one spring green and one cherry red) because Tapestry Craft were having a sale and sale yarn doesn't count and sock yarn doesn't count either and this would actually take me into negative stash territory!
My first Bendigo order arrived (yes, there is another one – what are you implying?) This consisted of Mystique in Seaspray, 3 lots of Neon – 5 balls berry and 5 of pink for a pinwheel jacket for the Princess, and 12 balls of Lagoon for me. And 4 balls of Rustic in Damson, just because.
1 ball Fleece Artist Somoko in Pinata
1 ball Hand Maiden Casbah in Rainforest, both courtesy of Master Enabler (it’s a rank, now – I just decided) Irene at the Jolly Jumbuck
1 beautiful Norah Gaughn asymmetrical Cardi in alpaca!! (Mine – yum)
2 tops for me – local Opshop,
3 pairs ¾ pants – Target sale
2 pairs shoes – (see previous post) off layby
6 balls discontinued Patonyle and 4 balls discontinued Heirloom sock yarn whose name momentarily escapes me
1 box of Top Kids magazines and children’s sewing patterns – from Taph
Various assorted clothes, toys and other Christmas stuff for children
2 pairs pretend reindeer antlers, wrapping paper and stocking stuffers from local cheap crap shop.
A lovely poem from Amy – look at the comments from my last post.

Gosh, that looks like rather a lot, doesn’t it?

Several parcel containing yarn, bits and pieces and some other things which went out for Christmas presents and some people with NO SELF CONTROL AT ALL have opened already! (But they did arrive at exactly the right time to assuage awful days, raise the dead, celebrate birthdays and generally make people feel good, so that’s OK)
2 bags of clothes and baby stuff – Lifeline
1 large pile of B grade children’s assorted artwork – either binned or re-cycled (the A grade is either on the fridge or in scrapbooks
Several bottles of wine (drunk and gone – does this count, because if it does I’ll put it in every week to make myself feel better, especially about the drinking!)

See? The In side of the ledger is ready to topple over and the Out side is getting leaner.

My New Year’s resolution is going to have to be:

I resolve I will not buy more yarn until I have made 5 pairs of socks and 10 jumpers – no more than 4 of which may be children’s jumpers. This does not apply to Sock club kits, massive specials on sock yarn, gifts of yarn and yarn bought for the production of gifts, providing said yarn is cast on for the project within one month of purchase.

Despite the No Guilt Stash Manifesto to which I subscribe, I must say the amount of yarn is rather overwhelming. Rather a lot of credit cardness has helped this along, so pulling back may be a good idea.

Zephyrama, the High Priestess of Stash, suggests that sock yarn doesn’t count as stash, sale yarn doesn’t count as stash, overseas yarn doesn’t count as stash, gift yarn doesn’t count as stash and single skeins don’t count either. This reduces my stash to a couple of kilos of Bendi and 12 large balls of gorgeous Jade bulky from TasKnits.

While the rules of stash may suggest I have very little stash – I still need somewhere to store the yarn which is not stash. I suggested the Accountant could move his suits out of the spare room wardrobe and he told me to get knotted.

My husband doesn’t understand me.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Shoesday + 1

I scored 97% on this test, but seem completely unable to paste it over while trying to leave a stupid dating service ad behind - so you'll just have to believe me and pop on over to Frog Ponds Rock to take the test yourself.

Well, as you can see, I am officially a Drunkard – did this little test a few days ago, courtesy of Frog Ponds Rock and discovered what I have suspected for a long time! Although I have been known to enjoy the odd wine, I actually think my knowledge came from years as a barmaid and cocktail waitress, as most of the drunks I know have no idea of the origin of their grog, they just like to drink it!

In honour of RoseRed and her telepathic powers, here for Shoesday + 1 are the shoes she made me buy – merely by thinking about it, 3 states away. It is still Shoesday somewhere in the world, I’m sure!

Aren’t they lovely – the heels look like kitten heels in profile, but are actually wide and they are really comfortable – the gorgeous little strap can go over your foot or behind your heel – I adore them and am seriously thinking that a pair in every colour would be a wise investment! Who said I was easily influenced!

This the front of my silk garden swing jumper (from the Ink Flared Sweater design at Black Dog Knits).

And this is the back. Although as they are both the same it is entirely notional and some days I may just feel like wearing fire colours, and simply turn it around!

And this was a gift from the lovely and blogless Jill. Norah Gaughns Asymetrical Cardigan from a Vogue Knitting (last year I think) in Bendigo Alpaca in Matrix. She actually knitted it for herself, was unhappy with the hang and gifted it to me!!! Aren’t I lucky – it really is exquisite, and although it currently isn’t alpaca weather, I predict much wear in Autumn and winter next year!

We are definitely in the Countdown to Christmas phase of the year. Today was the Playgroup breakup and visit from Santa. This provoked enormous excitement and a huge sugar overload! But everyone had a great time- and I wore my new shoes!

Sunday was circus in the park. The Princess performed admirably. As predicted all 10 small clowns forgot most of what they were meant to be doing – but they looked really cute and had such fun, it really didn’t matter! On the trapeze, the Princess remembered everything, and did it well, so was made much of. It was a lovely day out except for a little mild sunburn (despite me trying to slather lots on I must have missed 2 spots!) My fair Welsh skin will add more freckles – at present I hope to have escaped the rather attractive red and peel phase. I do not tan, and do not bother to try – I believe in hats, sunscreen and long sleeve shirts – but apparently can’t put sunscreen on unless in front of a mirror!

Friday is the last swimming lesson, next week is school breakup and picnic and then it’s really Christmas and summer. Just to put the icing on the metaphorical cake – the Princess is likely to be on the school float in our local Christmas Parade. She is quite beside herself and has to be sternly reminded about being good! The Christmas parade is usually the Saturday before Christmas but has been brought forward this year. It is at 6pm and is followed by a free community sausage sizzle and carols by candlelight in the local park. Lots of fun, and we are regulars (except when it rains).

Christmas and my hundredth post are both appearing on the horizon. I wonder which will strike first?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bearing Gifts We Traverse Afar......

I’ve been a little tied up recently (you can just stop thinking what you’re thinking, right now!). As you are probably already aware, the man in the (Coca-cola promoted) red suit (or if you’re into Victoriana, blue or green suit) is not far away. The Pre-Christmas frenzy of excitement is well and truly here.

I am basking in the virtuous glow of a woman who has done virtually all her Christmas shopping, posted all distant presents (one still needs to be posted – but it’s closer to home) and knows that goodwill and happiness will arrive in mail boxes soon.

I have not, as yet posted the overseas Christmas cards. Every year I swear I will do them in November and every year it doesn’t happen until I well and truly feel that Christmas is only just around the corner. How anyone manages to feel Christmassy enough in September to sea-mail cards, I have no idea.

Tasmania has been desperately dry – even here on the usually damp North West Coast, but the other night we had a belter of a thunderstorm and a most satisfying downpour and everything’s greened up again. My tomato plants are growing baby tomatoes, the herbs puffing away, local strawberries are on offer at the local fruit and veg shop, cherries should be ripe next week and raspberries can’t be far behind. I saw the first Australian grapes available at a price which didn’t involve selling my children to white slavers, and there’ll be mangoes for Christmas. Life (or at least, food) doesn’t get much better than this!

I have been working hard on editing Amy’s new book (which is just great and I am enjoying reading it as well as working on it – makes the job MUCH easier).

One or two things have slipped through on the yarn front – I did a swap with a fellow Raveller – some Rowan Yarn for a Rowan Studio book and was rather sucked into the vortex of gorgeousness generated by the Jolly Jumbuck. Some Fleece Artist Somoko sock yarn in Pinata, and some Hand Maiden Casbah in Rainforest seemed to have fallen into my hands.

I also have the most recent Red Bird Knits sock kit – which is in the loveliest yarn (I think I mentioned it last post – wool, silk, cashmere). I received a parcel from America containing a skein of Helen's Lace, for the purpose of knitting a Juno Regina Wrap (definitely the next Clapotis).

I also fell rather off the wagon because I put some Patonyle on layby at my local LYS and when I went to give them some money I slipped and fell onto some Zara being cleared and put that on layby too – in a dark forest green (10 balls) and a sort of eggplanty colour (10 balls). These have not actually entered the portals of my house yet, so they don’t count on my In/Out list!

I’m still waiting for my Bendi order (nearly 2 weeks ago), and I’m thinking I may be forced to do another order (before the sale finishes). I’ve been following a thread on Ravelry which insists that sale yarn, sock yarn, gift yarn and overseas yarn doesn’t count as stash. So by that logic, my stash has been reduced to about 2 kilos of Bendi in various forms. I feel much better now. It’s rather like the reasoning that broken biscuits and food eaten after midnight don’t count on diets (thanks for that tip, Ms 2Paw).

I had one dieting theory that food of the same colour had the same calorie count (but I’m not sure that was entirely true). Therefore, Top Deck chocolate had the same calories as mushrooms, green iced fairy cakes were the same as broccoli, white chocolate went with potatoes and red lollies worked the same as capsicum. As theories went, it wasn’t a bad one – unfortunately it bore about the same relationship to reality as the flat earth theory or ‘intelligent’ design.

I have almost finished the Silk Garden jumper – which looks lovely and I’m sure the Noro yarn must give obsessives who want to colour match their sleeves or the fronts and backs of their knitting conniptions. I enjoy the randomness – some of my balls had emerald and teal and some were only the fire/metal colours – one had several metres of the most glorious opalescent purple hiding. I tried to keep the balls with the emerald and teal for the front and sleeves and other than that made no attempt to match. I did check out a Noro group on Ravelry and one person spent ages turning her Noro into 36 perfectly colour matched balls, leaving aside some where no match was found.

I think I have too much going on in my life for that – I’m enjoying the fire colours living on the back of the jumper and the dashes of greens and purple on the front and sleeves – Gosh – I can’t control any aspect of my life right now – why on earth should knitting be any different?

Go with the flow, I say, go with the flow!