Monday, 27 February 2012

I get by with a little help from my friends

I was feeling a bit 'woe is me' last week. My knitting wasn't inspiring me, so I hardly picked it up at all. My quilting was much the same. I still hadn't heard back about my course (it officially starts today)... it wasn't the best week from a creative point of view.

On the weekend, I was nominated for a 'versative blogger' award by KiwiPurler. After reading her post, and seeing all the other inspiring bloggers she had nominated as well, I felt unworthy and turned it down (which is allowed, apparently). She then sent me a lovely email full of cheery comments, which made me feel better, and gave me a much-needed confidence boost. Since then, I hauled ass on the sock I was knitting. I managed to finish it, and start the second (had to stop, because my hand was sore).



This morning, I ran 8.5km, and still had some gas in the tank. Feeling awesome!

The moral of the story: be kind to others. You never know what a difference you can make in their day, with even the smallest of gestures.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Absentee blogger

Oops, it's been ten days since I last blogged anything. To be perfectly honest, nothing much has been happening in the land of kreachr. Normal, everyday stuff - kids to school, kids home again, housework, reading, a small amount of knitting and spinning, TV watching, shopping... y'know, the usual blah.

Nothing worth noting though.

I knit most of a sock, decided I didn't like it, and frogged it:


The pattern is Butterfly Garden - I like the pictures of other peoples' socks, but as I was knitting it, I just didn't feel the love. So frog it I did.

I'm using the same yarn (Sweet Georgia) to knit a different pair of socks - Catherine:



That's as far as I've got. Just not into knitting at the moment, not sure why...

Saw something really cool this morning though (well, I think it's cool) - a water spot on my bench, disguised as a footprint:



Maybe we have little four-toed imps running around our kitchen at night. That would explain the cookies that keep going missing ;-)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Catching mini sock-fluff butterflies

I ran a bath for the boys this evening, and T jumped in. He had been wearing a new pair of socks, and he had sock fluff all over his feet, which quickly got transferred to the bath water. X packed a howlie, and whinged about how gross it was that T's sock fluff was all through the bath, because it had been stuck between his toes.

Along comes mum to the rescue, tea strainer in hand! T said it was like I was catching mini sock-fluff butterflies. I thought that was pretty cute :-)

In other news, I have discovered that X will not eat anything that has been wrapped in glad wrap (aka cling film/plastic wrap for those non-New Zealanders). That boy is developing some rather interesting quirks...

Friday, 10 February 2012

TGIF

Unfortunately, that also means the kids are home all weekend, but at least I have knitting to look forward to on Sunday...

The boys are a bit wiped after their first (four day) week back at school, so I'm sure they're looking forward to the weekend. I've enjoyed my kid-free time, and can't wait for next week!

We've had this little guy hanging out in the downstairs bathroom for the last few days:



As far as I can tell, he's a North Island Lichen Moth. Doesn't he look lovely? As long as he doesn't eat my yarn, he can stay :-) I think we're safe though, apparently he likes to eat lancewood.

I haven't been doing much in the way of knitting lately, although I have finished a couple of pairs of socks in the last couple of weeks, and started a third.

Pair 1 - Shush, aka Shelves Upon Shelves, knit in Knitsch 'Zidler':



Pair 2 - Fillins (as in, fillin' in time), based on the basic toe-up sock pattern (Max version) from Vintage Purls, knit in Vintage Purls Max 'Ink Blot':



I used as much as I possibly could of this one skein of yarn, as evidenced by the leftovers, pictured below:



I couldn't have cut it any closer!

The socks I'm knitting now are Butterfly Gardens, and I'm using some rather lovely Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock yarn, given to me for my birthday last year (sorry Polly, I said I wouldn't use it for socks, but I just had to!!)

I have been otherwise engaged finishing off the Vintage Purls pencil roving that's been sitting on my wheel for aaaaaages. I decided to leave it as a single, and fulled it slightly:



Approximately 620m of laceweight singles. Very fragile. It appears pencil roving is not my friend. Still, it will (hopefully) make a nice light shawl or scarf...

And I've got back into the swing of hand quilting! Finally!! I picked the worst possible month to start this up again - summer, duh! - but it's nice to have some hand sewing to do again. Not sure how far I'll get with it this time though. My enrolment application has officially been 'received' by the Open Polytechnic, and they're processing it now. Eeeek!!! Excited and nervous possibly-soon-to-be-adult student here...

Enjoy your weekend :-)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

School is back at last!

Oh, how I'm enjoying having my days free again! Yesterday, the first day back at school for my boys, I went with them to school and met their new teachers, got them settled into their new classes, organised the after-school meet up, then breathed a huge sigh of relief. I went for a run (my first in two months!!), walked into town to post back the untangled balls of yarn:



Did all the washing, got the house tidy (like, really tidy, such as it hasn't been since the beginning of the holidays), did my grocery shopping online and generally faffed about for the rest of the day. It was great. I met the boys on the corner at 3pm, and soon after we all jumped in the car to go get passport photos done and drop Deane at the airport. Takeaways for dinner meant I didn't have to cook, and it was a relatively simple matter of getting them to bed that evening (not so much getting them to sleep though). I got to spend the rest of my evening knitting and watching season one of The Big Bang Theory.

Today, another run (wow, my legs are sore now!), more tidying (I do like me a tidy house) and the gardening. I dug out my ten-year-project, which hasn't seen the light of day for a good year or so. Maybe it'll end up being a 20 year project...

I have to say, there's something slightly absurd about listening to Marilyn Manson while hand quilting :-) It certainly makes one giggle.

More hand quilting coming up soon, whilst I await delivery of my groceries (online shopping - super awesome). Dinner shall be roast chicken, with a rather yummy-sounding leek and wholegrain stuffing.

I feel like I'm filling in time at the moment though. I am officially unemployed now, as I finished my very-very-part-time job at the end of January. After much consideration, I decided to enrol with the Open Polytechnic - I'm going to study for a Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Information and Library Studies. Studied full time, that's a three-year undertaking. Of course, I'll be studying part time (Deane would have a hernia if I suddenly expected him to look after the kids and feed himself and do his own washing - could you imagine?!?), but I hope to complete the degree within four years. I'm a little impatient like that. I've sent in my enrolment, and I'm just waiting to hear back. I'm excited, and a little scared. I haven't studied anything since I left school waaaaaay back in 1996. Gosh, that seems like a lifetime ago now.

I do very much hope I'll be disciplined enough to study, and not get lured away by knitting/spinning/quilting/reading. I think I may have to draw up a roster for myself - a timetable with designated times for exercise, housework, study, and 'free time', incorporating the knitting/spinning/quilting/reading I have become accustomed to doing whenever and wherever I please. I'll have to crack the whip on myself quite a bit I imagine. Still, I can't be a layabout housewife forever. One becomes complacent.

The first trimester officially starts on the 27th February, so I'm all jittery - waiting to find out if my enrolment is 'acceptable' (why wouldn't it be you ask? I'm a pessimist, and always think the worst. So many things come to mind...), and for the paperwork to arrive so I can get started on my first unit - there are 18 units in total for the full degree. I thought I'd start with one and see how I go.

I can do this, right?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Oi, Winter!

I've been thinking, and have come to the conclusion that I would be fully okay if you decided to arrive a little earlier because I have made a couple of lovely sweaters already this year, and I would like to wear them. Soon.

Yes, I know its only January, and you're not supposed to be here for another few months at least, but they're really nice sweaters. And just quietly, between you and me, Summer kinda dropped the ball a bit this time around.

I finished my Mandel sweater the other day:





Knit in Touch Yarns Merino Possum, I only used two skeins (less in fact, there's still a small ball left of the second skein) - so that would be less than 840 metres total. Not bad. Probably could've knit it a teensy bit longer, but I like it how it is. If, for whatever reason, I decide it does need to be longer, I can rip back the four garter stitch edging rows and knit some more onto the bottom, such is the beauty of a top-down knit-in-one-piece sweater. Hurrah. The yarn is very soft and drapey, and can be worn next to the skin without any problem (except for the occasional tickle from the possum fur). The pattern was very well written and easy to follow. I need to practice my picking-up-stitches-around-the-edge thing though. If you ever get a chance to look closely at the shoulder saddles, the stitches picked up around the edges look a little untidy and I'm not completely happy with them. Still, nobody really looks that close, do they?

I wore the sweater out the other day when it was a little cooler, and it was nice and snuggly. I was lazy and didn't block it, so the bottom edge kept rolling up, but other than that, all good. Wow, two sweaters in one month! I may just get through my queue this year...

So you may remember I mentioned my sister and her family were coming to stay last week. They arrived Wednesday afternoon, we went shopping on Thursday (at the biggest mall in Auckland of course - such a novelty for the kids), and on Friday we went to Butterfly Creek. Wow. The butterfly house was quite something! I tried to get some good photos, but its kinda hard to take pictures of butterflies that keep moving, with an iPhone that doesn't have zoom (it probably does, but I haven't figured out how to use it yet).








This is only a tiny selection of all the beautiful butterflies they had in the butterfly house. There were bright greens, reds, blues, yellows, stripes, spots... all sorts of butterflies. Absolutely gorgeous. I was wearing a bright coloured top that the butterflies seemed to like, and my sister had a hard time trying to carefully dislodge (without touching) two butterflies that had decided to take up residence on my top and my hair. The kids thought it was hilarious.

It was a wonderful outing, with crocodiles to visit, a large number of tarantulas, and rabbits, goats, guinea pigs, alpacas, sheep, ducks and chickens too. Unfortunately it started to rain while we were there so the kids didn't spend too much time outside with the larger animals, but they had fun all the same.

They headed back home on Saturday, with a container of 'the biscuits'. Yes, they actually got eaten. Okay, so I got rid of the most mangled looking ones, but they ate a fair number while they were here, and took the rest for the trip home. See? I told you they tasted fine :-)

Speaking of food, I had a busy afternoon preparing meals to put in the freezer yesterday afternoon. Spinach and ricotta lasagne, chicken souvlaki, crumbed schnitzel, and a batch of blueberry muffins. Today I plan on making some more. Hopefully, with ready-prepared meals in the freezer, we'll be less tempted to get take-aways next time we're feeling lazy and don't want to cook, or have a limited time to organise dinner.

I also received a parcel by courier yesterday, from a fellow knitter that needed a bit of help.




You see the problem here? You can't knit with this!! So I volunteered my detangling services. As soon as the parcel arrived, I got to work. I'm about halfway through now, and should have it done by this afternoon. Then it will be sent on its merry way back to the owner, who will be able to make something beautiful out of it.

I have to say, it's quite fun detangling such a mess. It requires patience and perseverance, but it's like a big giant puzzle, and I thoroughly enjoy creating order out of chaos.

My current knitting project - a pair of socks - has been set aside until I have completed the puzzle, but they should be finished by the end of this week as well:



Shelves upon shelves (I've shortened it to Shush) by Erica Lueder, knit with Knitsch merino sock yarn in Zidler. I'm knitting a tighter gauge than the pattern suggests, using 2.25mm needles and 70 stitches around, instead of the recommended 2.75mm needles with 60 stitches. (I've had a few pairs of socks wear through quite quickly in this yarn knit in a looser gauge, so I'm trying to avoid that this time around)

I love the colour. They'll be short-ish socks, and hopefully I'll have enough yarn left to make a pair of socks for one of the boys. If not, I'm sure I can find a baby to gift a pair of socks to ;-)

Anyway, must go, I have a seven-year-old buzzing around waiting not-so-patiently for the computer (deep breaths, only six more sleeps before school starts back) and I have a blue yarn blob awaiting my attention. Enjoy the rest of your week!!