Sunday, 30 August 2009

The ups and downs of life

This week has certainly been one for them!! Let's start at the beginning...

Monday afternoon, picking X up from school I was sitting in the staff room upstairs knitting like I often do, waiting for the bell to ring. T was doing the usual 'wander aimlessly around school waiting for all the kids to finish class' thing. On his way up the stairs he tripped and went face first into them, putting several teeth through his bottom lip. Blood EVERYWHERE! What a mess! And of course that incident coincided nicely with the final bell indicating the end of school for the day, so naturally children flocked in to see the show, passing around comments like:

"Cool! He's vomiting blood!". Which of course he wasn't, it probably just looked that way. So once I managed to stem most of the bleeding, I packed up the kids and jumped in the car, off to A&E. A 3 hour wait later, we saw an actual doctor, who advised us that he would be fine and didn't need stitches. So off home we went.

Tuesday T stayed home (naturally - his lip was huge), and I managed to feed and water him with a straw and miniscule pieces of food. I was surprised, awed and very happy to receive some roving in the mail from a lovely lady in Dunedin that I've never met, by the name of Tracee. She sells hand dyed roving through her etsy shop , and was very sweet to send me some to try out:

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The colourway is called 'Fashion Tips Baby', 125g 100% NZ merino. Pretty :-)

Wednesday, T was back at kindy which was great, as I was able to go for my walk/run, then the rest of the morning it was a mad rush trying to get a budget completed for work (which was a complete and utter nightmare for reasons I won't go into). That afternoon I held a spinning demonstration at X's school which was kinda fun, and the kids even seemed mildly interested... Later that afternoon was X's parent/teacher interview, which went pretty well. His school work is improving significantly thanks to the Reading Recovery programme he finished earlier this year.

Thursday I finished spinning the yarn for X's Weasley sweater, and started knitting it. I even knit a swatch (something I hardly ever do) with the recommended 5mm needle size and found it too big, so knit another one with 4.5mm which looked about right, so away I went. Felt sore all over like I was coming down with the flu from late afternoon, so took a couple of painkillers and went to bed at about 9pm.

Friday 2.10am I was woken up by the quick, sharp jolt of a 5.2 magnitude earthquake - not good for the nerves at that time of the morning! Luckily the boys slept through it. I eventually got back to sleep some time after 3am, and woke up feeling a lot better than the night before, which allowed me to carry on my walk/run programme for the third morning, then on to kindy to complete their budget, in preparation for the AGM next Tuesday night. Got a bit more done on X's sweater too.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny, and I headed off to Jenny's house with Mojo coffee to share around, and partook in some lovely bagels for brunch. Back home to pick up T and take him to swimming lessons, home again and I decided to spin up my lovely roving. Not as easy as I thought! It turns out merino is a little more difficult to spin than nondescript, coarse fibre from an unknown sheep. What a mess! I tried and tried for about half an hour, and it kept breaking apart, or getting overtwisted. I got so frustrated I actually screamed at my wheel (poor Klat, wasn't his fault!). I had to walk away and calm down for a bit, and decided it would be good to do something relaxing like knit. So I picked up X's sweater and managed to knit up 13" of the 16" required for the back panel, but discovered that it was too narrow, and the finished product wouldn't fit. So I had to frog it and start again. I was not happy!! The afternoon was spent reknitting the sweater back, and attempting again and again the spinning of merino fibre. I'm glad to say I finally got the hang of the merino, and I've nearly got back up to the 13" I was at for the back panel of the sweater. I have however discovered that the reason why my original swatch for the sweater was too big was because I was actually using 5.5mm needles, not 5mm. Oh well. I just hope I don't run out of yarn, because there ain't any more!!

Today is Sunday, and I finished spinning the merino into a DK weight yarn - a whole 156 metres of it (two ply), 117g. There was only 2g wastage, which wasn't as bad as I'd originally thought it would be. I love the end result, bumps and all, and have decided to call it Ocean Depths due to the colour:

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It's so soft, and smooshy, and lovely :-) T can now drink from a cup without the aid of a straw, and can eat normal food that hasn't been cut into tiny barbie doll sized pieces. It's raining outside, which is a great excuse to get more done on X's sweater. Although in all fairness, I should probably knit the mate to this sock:

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The pattern is called Masonic Lodge (so I guess the blue is appropriate), knit with Needle Food Blueberry Crush. I call them 'Deane's Man Socks'. Hopefully this pair of socks will put me in the good books, enough so that I can get what I want for my birthday coming up next month ;-)

Monday, 24 August 2009

My 'Journey to Fitness' (snigger, chortle, tee hee hee)

With the realisation that my 30th birthday is fast approaching (about a month and a half away, give or take) I've been thinking a bit about my general health and wellbeing. Or to be more precise, my horribly unfit condition. It seems that everywhere I turn lately, there are people running, jogging, walking briskly etc etc. I've procrastinated many a time, saying I'd like to get fit, go to the gym, whatever, and always managed to find an excuse. Well, NO MORE!! I embarked on my (ahem) 'Journey to Fitness' this morning, having bought a pair of running shoes on the weekend in preparation. I even googled 'beginner running programmes' of which there are surprisingly many!

So this morning, after my shower, I donned 'the running gear' (heh heh) consisting of tank top, zip front microfleece hoodie, trackies, and the aforementioned running shoes (pristine white), along with various assorted undergarments of which we will not go into detail about here...

After dropping T at kindy, and a feeble attempt at more procrastination (but it rained last night, the ground will be wet, what if I slip over?) I drove to Karori Park hoping there wouldn't be many people around to point and laugh at me as I attempted to run. Unfortunately, there were many people around, as evidenced by the number of cars in the car park. After a few minutes of keen observation of the park, I noticed that not everyone was running, there were several people walking around the track, and everyone had their heads down and didn't appear to be taking any notice of anyone else.

So, with no further excuses, a quick chug on the old water bottle and cellphone in hand (needed it for the time) I was away. A brisk walk to start with (11 minutes) and my first one minute jogging burst. Not too bad...

After that it was a cycle of six minutes walking, one minute jogging which I repeated three times in total. A five minute walk to cool down and back to the car. I'd survived! And I wasn't drenched in sweat, foaming at the mouth, about to collapse in a heap with heart palpitations. Bonus :-) Checked my diary, and it turns out I did a whole extra six minute walk/one minute jog. Yay for me!! Unfortunately though, due to the wet ground and my too-long-dragging-on-the-ground-behind-me trackpants, my shoes are no longer pristine white. Oh well, they can't stay new forever. At least now I have proof that I actually did exercise.

Drove home and had a wee rest (ie: sat in front of the computer surfing the net, and scoffed a large amount of food, some healthy and some not so healthy - I'd worked up a bit of an appetite you see...) and it was time to go pick T up from kindy. Oh. My. Bob. Was I stiff! Could feel the old glutes had had a bit of a workout - can't remember the last time that was!! I dread waking up tomorrow morning.

On the plus side, tomorrow is a rest day (according to my 'programme') and I only have two more running/walking days to go this week (I'm thinking Wednesday and Friday). Next week it'll be walk five minutes, jog two minutes. Every week the jogging time will increase and the walking time decrease. After eight weeks I should (theoretically) be able to jog for a full 30 minutes. We'll see how it goes...

Any motivational hints and tips would be appreciated :-)

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Something a little different

My knitting has slowed to a crawl over the last several days, so I thought I'd post something a little different. I'd hate for you all to get bored!! First though, I'll get all yarn-related stuff out of the way. Only one item today - I finished spinning my red romney roving on my spindle. I also managed to ply about a quarter of it on the spindle, but gave up because it just got too heavy and I couldn't really fit any more on it, so plied the rest on the wheel. I'm quite happy with the result:

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Some stats:

Fibre: romney - dyed red/pink (pencil roving)
Yardage: 254m (277.8 yards)
WPI: 14 - 4 ply fingering weight
Total weight: 120g

I did a standard two ply, didn't end up chain plying it. I think I'll practice that on some commercial yarn and really get the hang of it before attacking my spun yarn. Should have enough to make a pair of socks like I'd hoped, although not sure when I'll get around to it.

Moving on... the reason why I haven't been knitting quite so much lately is because I felt my sewing and quilting was becoming quite neglected. So the other day I pulled out the trusty sewing machine, and whipped up four shopping bags (pattern courtesy of Morsbags!) - which I plan to use as Christmas presents. The idea is to hand make all gifts this year, heh heh - we'll see how I get on ;-)

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Also picked up my quilting WIP, the floral cathedral window quilt I started a little while ago. The beauty of this project is that it has no specific purpose, so I can take years to make it, and nobody will complain! Here's where I'm up to so far:

Quilt 1Quilt 2closeup of pretty fabrics :-)

This is a great portable hand sewn project that I can pick up and put down whenever - exactly why I wanted to do it. I like the traditional aspect of it as well, and I'm enjoying using the quilters muslin, and all the pretty floral fabrics I would never otherwise use.

I also wanted to share with you the beautiful view I get every day, driving back from dropping T at kindy, or bringing him home afterwards. It's fantastic to be able to look out over such a lovely city that has it's corporate world, but also a short walk away, all those trees and park area, not to mention a gorgeous little beach. And the beach in the photo is not the only one, the whole of Wellington is surrounded by little coves, and in the city and outlying suburbs is park after gorgeous park.

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How could you not like that?

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Christmas come early?

That's what it felt like the other day when I received not one, but two parcels in the mail - it was a good day :-)

The first parcel received was from Hamilton - the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Swap, between New Zealanders and Australians (Ravelry group). This is what I got:

CP&A Swap
For all you non-Dr. Who fans out there, that funny little brown knitted thing is a Dalek - seriously, how cute is that? Love it! So does Deane. He wanted to steal it to put on his desk at work. I may let him, eventually. And the cute little keyring sitting next to it, very sweet.

The other package was from a lovely lady all the way over in Germany - this one was for the Ravelry Scarf Exchange:

RSE #4
RSE #4RSE #4
The top photo is all the goodies in the package all together, then a close up of the non scarf related stuff, and a close up of the cute wee tag that's sewn onto the scarf.

I am totally in love with this scarf - it's one of my favourite colours, it's beautifully made, it's soft, and cosy, and just gorgeous!!

As for the rest of the package - the tea is delicious, the jaffa cakes are absolutely divine (they're my favourite of course), she even made me a CD with knitting tunes - how sweet is that?!? And that malabrigo - mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Sooooo soft, a gorgeous colour. We can't get it easily in NZ without paying an absolute fortune for it, so this wonderful lady was kind enough to send me a skein - it's lace weight, so I'm going to have loads of fun picking the exact right lace pattern for it, and I'd imagine even more fun attempting to knit it into said lace pattern :-) If I ever manage it, I'll post pics.

I got this parcel in the mail from the US a little while ago, but thought I'd add it in to this post anyway, and perhaps it'll help any of you confused by the 'Ron Weasley Blanket Square Swap' thingee up in the corner...

Swap Squares received
A while ago, I knit up 10 squares, 8" x 8", and sent nine of them away to the US. A little while later, I got nine completely random different squares back, from nine other people participating in the swap. I'm now participating in another round of square swaps - eventually, I'll have enough squares to sew together into a blanket. For any of you that have seen the Harry Potter movies, you may remember Ron's blanket he has on his bed at Hogwarts. This is what we're (sort of) recreating. Obviously not exactly, but something similar. It's alot of fun, although to be honest, I'm not looking forward to sewing them all together :-/

I'm still waiting on another parcel, on it's way from Canada. This one was for a Harry Potter swap, which we did in June. It was sent on the 2nd July, and is yet to arrive. Six weeks and counting... It's got a tracking number, but was sent surface post which apparently takes four to six weeks. Sometimes I wonder what happens to the parcels people send, and the journey they go on to get to the person at the other end. Documentary material? Perhaps not...

As for what's on the needles at the moment, still haven't managed to get the other three balls of yarn for X's Gryffindor scarf, hence it's been stuck at 45% done for ages, the squares for the blanket swap aren't required until October so no real rush there, and T's rainbow socks are coming along nicely. However, the yarn is totally cringe worthy. It's hideous!! T picked it, I tried to convince him to pick another one, but he insisted, so ugly clown socks it is. Ugh. There's enough in the ball of yarn to make at least three pairs for him (sigh) but I suppose the main thing is that he actually likes them. I think I'll just make one pair for now, take a break, and attack the rest later when I can work up the courage to do so. I won't scare you with pictures of these socks just yet, I'll let you enjoy the nice pictures above.

I've now completed four whole skeins of yarn from the behemoth blob of carded fibre I bought a little while ago, and there's still enough left for at least two more skeins. Yes, I did manage to get Klat going again, I think maybe he was just sulking because I hadn't spent much time with him... Anyway, by the time I spin it all up, there should be plenty to make X that Weasley sweater. Hopefully it knits up ok - something I haven't yet tested is how my handspun actually looks as a finished product.

The red romney is over halfway spun, so I'm going to try and finish that up so I can ply it and decide what to do with it. Hopefully I will end up with enough yardage for a pair of socks, I'm trying to spin it fairly thin. I'll just have to wait and see.

Ooh, I'm so excited!! I've found somebody in New Zealand that sells hand dyed fibre!! No longer do I have to ogle the gorgeous dyed fibres online in envy, knowing I could never have them because they're all the way over in America and too far out of my price range (at least once you factor in shipping costs, currency conversion etc etc). Now I can order it from good old Aotearoa! I'll get some soon and give it a whirl (literally!!)

Have a nice day everyone, I'm off to the Harry Potter movie this afternoon with X - looking forward to some mother/son bonding time (and the movie of course). Oh and just so you know, I've changed the comment settings on this puppy, so now you can leave a comment and not have to sign up or anything. Some people had mentioned they were going to leave a one but couldn't, so hopefully my computer illiterate self has managed to fix that little problem. Let the comments roll in people!!!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

I'm on a roll...

Well, I was, it seems to have stalled somewhat...

Last post I'd finished my Lupin scarf, and some 'Grey Matter' skeins. Felt like I had a bit of a thing going there, and it continued into the weekend. T had two swimming lessons on Saturday, because he had to do a make-up lesson since he missed the previous weekend's lesson due to the trip to Napier. For some reason they only have Preschool Level 1 lessons on Saturday this term, so two lessons in a day was the only option. He didn't seem to mind, in fact he rather enjoys having two lessons in one day. The head instructor lady at the gym however, kindly pointed out that I must be a really tough mum for making him do two lessons (this being the same woman who called me a mean mum several months ago - seriously, what is with this chick?). And whose fault is that I wonder, hmmmmm??? Organise your classes better lady!!! Anyway, I'm losing track...

Since he had two lessons, that meant an hour sitting around, in which I managed to complete most of this lovely leafy vines dishcloth.

Dishcloth

It's now on it's way over to Australia for the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Swap for our NZ/Australia group on Ravelry, along with some Sherbet Lemons (they're so good I must share them with everyone!) and an illusion knit witches hat afghan square. Well, it's supposed to be pointless, right?!? Once we'd finished lessons for the day, Deane headed off to Napier again, and me and the boys stayed home and lounged around for the rest of the weekend. This gave me plenty of time to finish the scarf I was making for the Ravelry Scarf Exchange:

RSE 2RSE 3

And no, the second photo is not fuzzy because of my poor photography skills, it's actually the yarn :-) It'll be heading to Canada soon. I really enjoyed making this scarf, and don't really want to have to give it up, but oh well. There's another scarf winging it's way over here all the way from Germany, so fair's fair.

I also whipped up a wee Hufflepuff bookmark, for the Harry Potter Crafters August CAL, but wasn't overly impressed with it. Whether this is due to the pattern, or my horrid crochet skills, I'm not sure. (Psst: it's only flat because I taped it to the desk to take a photo - if not it would be a curled up twisted little mess!!)

Huff Bookmark 1

In any case, I think I'll stick to knitting. Speaking of which, I managed to knit this lovely cowl, pretty much in a day, for another swap between the NZ/Australia group. It's also on the way over to Aus now, in the company of some yummy Lindt chocolate:

Cowl Swap 2

It's called a 'Lush-ious Swirl Cowl' and I rather like it. Quick and easy to make - might be tempted to make one for myself, although I think it'll be somewhere towards the bottom of the list. I have a fairly extensive list already! (Growing by the day). Please note, I photographed it with actual fruit! I thought perhaps some of you would think I really was a terrible mother when I photographed my Lupin scarf with a fruit bowl full of yarn. I don't feed my children yarn, honestly, I have actual food in the house!!

This, however, is where the momentum slowed somewhat. I cast on a hat last night, but discovered this morning that it was going to be too small, so had to frog it. I need to get different sized needles, or try another pattern. Haven't decided yet. After that slight disappointment (I hate undoing stuff!) I decided to do a bit more spinning. Alas, I think my initial luck with Klat was a fluke. I couldn't get the two drive bands balanced properly, and kept getting undertwisted blobs of fibre that wouldn't stay on the bobbin. After 20 minutes of fluffing around, I gave up. I may have to purchase actual drive bands, kitchen string is just a little too finnicky...

I don't have the right sized needles for making my Sexy Vesty with that gorgeous Needle Food yarn I bought at Craft 2.0 so that'll have to wait. I've started a pair of socks for T (the one knitted pair he has are a little too small, and he loves them dearly, so I think he's deserving of a new pair) and I guess that'll do for now. The boys are behaving quite well, considering they've been stuck at home with just me for the weekend, Monday and Tuesday. They're both sick. T has a really gross runny nose and croup, and X has a horrible phlegmy cough. I figured it was best not to share them around school and kindy. X should be back to school tomorrow though, he appears to be much better. T will have to wait, kindy have instructed me to keep him home until he's entirely germ free. He doesn't seem to mind though, he hasn't yet gone over to the dark side and still thinks I'm cool, and fun to hang out with :-) Probably won't last long...

Friday, 7 August 2009

The Joy of FO's

I've been holding off posting here, because I wanted to have something to show off. And now I have :-)

I've managed to spin and ply two full 100g skeins of yarn from the giant pile of unknown fibre I bought a little over two weeks ago, and there's still heaps left. I'm hoping to get at least another three skeins, which should be enough to make X that Weasley sweater he's been wanting (or rather, I've wanted to make). Lookee here:

'Grey Matter'
I've decided to name this yarn 'Grey Matter', simply because it's grey, and boring, and kind of just exists. It hasn't inspired any more inventive names thus far, so Grey Matter it shall be. I must admit I'm rather proud of myself for being able to produce 'actual yarn'. Here are some stats:

Fibre: unknown
Colour: grey, with flecks of random colours (brown, blue, purple, pink etc)
Weight: 100g per skein
WPI: 9 - worsted weight (equivalent to 10 ply)
Meterage: this is where it gets weird - they're exactly the same weight, but one skein is 130m, and the other is 106m. Although let's be fair, all I had to work with was an upturned chair for skeining - not exactly accurate if you know what I mean... I also forgot to whack and snap the second skein after washing, so maybe that had something to do with it. Who knows?

I ended up with 100g skeins simply because I had to ply it on my spindle, and physically could not fit any more than that on there in one go. It's been fun so far, and I'm sure I'll enjoy making the next few skeins. Can't wait to move on to hand painted and hand dyed roving, although I'm not entirely sure where to get that from here. There's all sorts of gorgeous colours in the US, but not sure of any from NZ - I'll have to do a bit of research...

Also, I finished my Lupin scarf, hurrah!!

My Lupin ScarfMy Lupin Scarf

As modeled by my lovely fruit bowl full of yarn, and my wooden floor. I would model it myself, but was short a photographer at the time, so this will have to suffice. Isn't it pretty!?! I looooooooooooooove this scarf, it's just a shame that the weather is now getting warmer, so I won't be able to wear it much. Oh well, there's always next winter :-)

Now, on to other projects...