Friday, November 8, 2013

Changes

The children had the second round of orientations into new classes for next year at school today.  They seem to be coping quite well with this change, which is really nice.  Other years, Orientation has set off all sorts of anxieties.  The youngest is coping better then I thought he would.  It helps that even though the teachers are not necessarily ones he has had before, he has become familiar with them around the school during the year.  He is one who doesn't like change so much, the familiar is reassuring and at his age, just turned 6, I don't blame him really.

We also have a lot going on in the family at the moment, my FIL's health is declining and he has spent the past 2 weeks in hospital recovering from a bout of Pneumonia.  We have had to alert the children to the state of his poor and declining health and they have each taken that on board as we expected.  Unfortunately FIL has a degenerative lung condition and while his symptoms can currently be relieved it will get to the point where that is no longer possible.  It's a difficult situation in many ways with decisions being made that have left us astounded on a regular basis.  We are trying to be understanding, but there are days when that is very hard and you just want to yell at someone.  We are offering help when it will be accepted and that's all we can do for now, in the end it's not our decision, we have to live with what they decide, it would just be easier if there was a flow of information rather than a black hole followed by apparently ridiculous decision making.

In the meantime I have been knitting.  No surprise there really :-)

I finished the mitts I was working on in the pattern to match the Thyone cardigan.


I finished my third Tempest.  I have been wearing it today despite it not having buttons. I will have to go shopping for some as I don't have appropriate ones stashed away anywhere.  I made the same adjustment to this one as the second of making it more of a V-neck than the original which is a high curved neck and knitting it all in one piece from the bottom up including the sleeves from the armhole up and then knitting them down the arm afterwards.  In the end I had 6 g of the main colour left and 16 g of the multicolour yarn left.   It is the perfect length and with the addition of buttons will be much more useful on those slightly cooler days like today.  Another wardrobe staple to be sure. Woot!


The Teacher's socks were tried on for size and declared too tight so they were frogged and have been restarted in a 2x2 rib to allow for more elasticity at the heel and firmness around the ankle and foot.  they are almost at the heel, but since they are swimming lesson knitting they don't see a lot of airtime so progress will be slow.


I started a new garment, a Squared cardigan, for me from my book Knit to Flatter.  I have dutifully photographed and measured myself and am hoping that using this info I will get another beautiful garment that fits well, looks good and has that little bit of extra chest space where it is needed :-)


This week has been a busy one despite being a short school week.  We have had the fencing guys here the last three days pulling down the fence, installing posts and erecting the palings.  It was a disgrace out there with dirt having come under the fence from the other side because of the downed fence, it's been coming down in bits and pieces over the past 12 months.  I had a helper who earned himself some pocket money by taking the wheel barrow out the back and dumping it while I did the next section each time.  I was happy because I didn't have to stop working every 5 minutes and he was happy because he got to help and earn money at the same time.


Under all of those weeds and dirt are concrete grass pavers.  We had to move a trailer load's worth of dirt to the backyard before they were unearthed!


The new fence needed to be put in low enough to stop the steady stream of soil from the higher gardens on the other side.  Having land at a lower level on our side is a pain, the new plinth (board that runs horizontal along the bottom) is 2.5 times as thick as the standard boards now so that it will take a lot longer to rot out than before.  The new palings were put on today and it's actually a bit of a shock to have a full fence again!  I will have to find some light weight creepery things to grow along it to hide it a bit I think!


This weekend there is one party to attend for one of the kids and the in-laws to visit so it should be a nice break after the hard work of last weekend :-)

Giggles

My boys are sitting together eating their dinner.  It is taking longer than usual because the pasta has made them remember all sorts of things from when they were younger and they are giggling away wildly while describing it all.  Of course they aren't eating and their imaginations are starting to get a little over the top.  But.  I have three boys and they are talking to each other, enjoying each other's company and giggling madly with each other.  You've gotta love that :-)


Friday, October 25, 2013

Getting back in the habit.

It's Friday.  Middle child is off having a sleep over at school so the house will be quieter than usual tonight.  Husband is out at a writer's thing so there's another one not here.  I think leftovers will be the way to go for those of us left at home!

I finished my jumper a couple of weeks ago now.  It came with us when J and I had a weekend away to celebrate my birthday (without the kids).  I love it.  I love the feel of the fabric and the shape of the neckline.  This one is going to be worn a lot!


I have been working on the Harvest Moon some more, sleeves have been separated and I'm working down the body now.  It's just under half way there by weight.  The joy of knitting with large gauge yarn is how speedy a few rows make for extra length!


The teacher's socks are coming along, I suspect I need to get J to try them on and see if they might be a bit tight to get on and off, I may have to frog and start again a bit wider.  We'll see.


I am almost at the end of my third Tempest, I'm working both sleeves at the same time, it's not my preferred method but when you know you'll be running short of yarn it's the best way of making sure the two sleeves match!  Fortunately the more solid colour is the same as the jumper I recently finished, and despite being a lighter gauge, if I need to use some of the finer yarn to do the button band that won't be a problem.  So I'm working down the sleeves, I think I have enough yarn to do one more solid stripe and then that will be it.  I'm happy for this one to be elbow length or 3/4 length if that is where they end.  I'm thinking this one will be a Spring/Summer/Autumn but not Winter cardy.   So close to having another garment done!


Found a basic pattern to model the mitts I am making on.  Combining that with the patterning from the Thyone cardigan I have made most of one and half of a second mitt.  The first one just needs the thumb done, the second one is up to the beginning of the colour changes.


I haven't started anything else just yet, but there are ideas percolating away for the next item :-)

Also, found a new source of cheap, girly shoes.  Needed a couple of pairs for Summer, all set now for the very cheap total price of $25.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Updates

It's the school holidays and this is the first one where I have to admit to being a bit at a loose end.  The youngest turned 6 this week, he really is no longer a baby in so many ways.  He is playing happily with his brothers and for a few days it has been a case of  "here's your food kids" and that's it, they've been self maintaining all day.  This afternoon we need to go out and get some new shoes for one of them so that will require me to use all of my shepherding skills for a while!  It has meant that I had time to detail the car interior the other day and I don't have someone hanging off me every other minute of the day.  But that dependence?  I'm going to miss it.  Of course when a fever kicks in and they feel like crap I'm the first lap they crawl into and snuggle up in so all is not outgrown yet :-)

All three of the boys are currently playing in their room making a cubby house, declaring a password on the door for entry and from the giggles, I suspect, using Photo Booth to make crazy pictures on the iPad Mini the youngest bought with money saved over the last 12-18 months from 2 Birthdays and at least one Christmas.  He has been dedicated in his saving and this most recent birthday furnished him with the needed funds to complete his purchase.  We were lucky we found a special, $60 off, or he'd still be saving.  I have to acknowledge the irony of yet another i-device in the house.  I am an android user, it works well for my brain.  I have a personal very strong dislike for the criminal masterminds who came up with Apple's business model including convincing their users that an upgrade of the OS is not the same as a virus.  I have to agree, from the various comments each time it happens, generally it's worse!  I know that there are so many i-device users out there, but I wish we weren't 5 of them. We would have less of them in this house if any of the android people made an equivalent to the iPod touch which was the first invader in this house, however once two kids have i-devices there is no hope of getting the third not to be, because they all want to play all the same games and getting copies of everything on two different platforms becomes expensive.  So despite my misgivings, it seems like we are falling down the rabbit warren.  It doesn't help that with the job I picked up a couple of weeks ago I need to use an iPad (supplied and owned by them and returned to them at the end of the position) so it looks like we will be all i-deviced up :-S  The other side of it is of course that the kids will be well up on the popular culture aspect of electronic devices and will be on a par with their peers, but arghhh Apple.

The kittens are now almost 12 months old and today they must be feeling the cold :-)


My Dad has been playing with his design for the knitting box I requested from him last year and he has upgraded my original to this beautiful box.  This is a much lighter version with a handle that can be used to carry it without hurting fingers.  I now have to cast on all the things to put something inside it :-)


Knitting Finishes:
I finished the Thyone Cardy I was working on and it has been sent to it's new home.  Yarn: Wollmeise DK in Colourways Oohm (blue) and Maus Alt (grey).

 
I finished the socks for me and they are now in the sock drawer.  They are a bit crispy to the hand while knitting so I will see how they wear in sock form.  Yarn: Ewe Give Me The Knits Sock yarn from Bendigo in July this year.


Current projects:
I have made a start on the Harvest Moon, it is 3 balls in out of 10 so nice progress there.  Another centimetre or two and then sleeve separation. Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in colourway Mulled Wine.


I started a new pair of socks, these ones will be going to the teacher that the youngest has this year.  The teahcer has made it such a great start to the year and we are very grateful for the way he has encouraged and challenged our child to be his best and make astounding progress during the course of the year.  The teacher has very long feet but that's ok I'm using 6 ply sock yarn :-)  Yarn: Zauberball Starke 6 colourway Domino.


My jumper is now almost done, working on the second sleeve, then all it needs is a pick up and cast off neckline and it will be done.  Yarn: Wollmeise Lace colourway WD Neptune.


Will have to pick up the Tempest and do some work on that next, love the colours, can't wait to have the cardy :-)  Yarn: Wollmeise 100% Merino colurways Neptune Medium and Skarabaus.


What's next?
I need to whip up a quick pair of mitts using the left over yarn from the Thyone, they will have the blue as the cuff and the grey as the hand and the zig zag pattern between to match the cardy.

I've got a strong feeling that I need more jumpers and cardigans for me and I now have at least 5 garment lots of yarn available to make things with so I'm looking at patterns.  Top contenders are: Elphaba pullover (Rav link), Lily cardigan (Rav link), Austin Hoodie.  I'm alternating between fitted and loose but generally prefer cardigans for everything except the dead of Winter.  Any ideas of other options???

I was planning on making dresses for my nieces, but I seem to have become side tracked...



Thursday, August 22, 2013

The grass is greener...

As time passes, I forget to take stock of my successes, it's easier to think of all of the things I haven't gotten to.

For instance: knitting and sewing.  I do an awful lot of the first and barely any of the second.  When I knit I relax and am productive and see my progress.  When I sew it is the same.  Making the time for the sewing is a challenge.  Not because I don't have the time at the moment but because it's easier to sit in my chair lean over and grab my knitting.  Sewing means getting the machine out, setting it up, finding my current project sorting where I am up to and getting started.  That hurdle of getting set up seems to be enormous so instead I knit and regret not sewing when I should be enjoying the knitting.  We are funny creatures.  The grass is always greener and all that.

So, I have been knitting.  No surprise there really.  What have I been knitting though?

Well, since finishing the little vests for my now safely arrived niece I have:

Finished a pair of socks for J


Finished a Wingspan for M


Re-knit a pair of socks for my sister


Knit an Afternoon Tea shawl for my baby niece's mother, my lovely Sister-in-Law, it has been happily received which is awesome :-)


Made a pair of socks for M and


Made a lacy pair of socks for my Mother-in-Law's 75th Birthday present.  I rang and asked her for her shoe size, she was a bit suspicious, asking if I was going to buy her a pair of shoes.  I declined to confirm or deny her suspicion.  These socks will be carefully wrapped, placed in the bottom of a shoe box and a pair of purple snake skin thongs (Aussie meaning) are being placed on top. The box will be wrapped in lovely Birthday paper and I will so be smirking as she opens the package :-)




What's currently on the needles?
A pair of socks for me being made with yarn I bought while away on my annual pilgrimage to Bendigo with the lovely Hustler St girls.  I have finished the heel turn on the first sock and am up to the gusset decreases.  This is my current carry along with me knitting project, so they shouldn't take too long.


I am on the second sleeve cuff of this cardigan.  Once complete it just needs a button and neck band and it will be complete.


I have stopped working on a jumper for me whilst working on this cardigan as they need the same needle size and for some reason I don't seem to have two sets of this size.  The body needs another inch or two and then it will be split for the arms.  So it's probably more than halfway done in terms of the complete item.  Once I get back to it, it should be a pretty quick completion.


My third Tempest is also on hold, this time just due to having no time to work on it!  I will get back to it, probably after I finish the jumper.

Plans for what's next?  

Well I have fresh new yarn to make dresses for my three little nieces.  My three big nieces will not be getting knitted dresses!  It seems I like purple tones so these will all be either a purple based multicolour or a stripe with a plain purple and a purple multi.  Lots of fun knitting ahead.  

I also have the next big project planned.  I will be making a Harvest Moon Cardigan in MadelineTosh Vintage in the colour Mulled Wine.  I need to do the tension swatches first though!  

So there you go for the knitting.  In that same period of time, what have I sewn?  Not a stitch unless you count weaving in ends on knitting.  But you know what? Considering how much knitting I have done these last two months, that's not surprising really.  I think I need to schedule in some sewing time!  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Today...

Today I am happy that it is sunny.  Even if it clouds over later, this morning it has been sunny and the washing is hanging out in the sun drying itself.  Gotta be pleased with that.

Today I am happy that even though I have the tail end of a cold, I am not sick and none of my immediate or extended family is sick either.

Today I am happy that there is a new niephew (niece/nephew) arriving in July to the very great pleasure of his/her expectant parents and extended family.

Today I am happy that I have the ability to use my knitting skills to help others and myself.

Today I am happy that despite the fears and unknown of re-launching myself into the great world of paid employment, I am taking steps, no matter how small, to get me there and I am seeking help along the way.

Today I am happy.



P.S.Gift knitting for new babies is lots of fun and quick too!

 A newborn sized Milo (Ravelled here)
A nine month old sized Milo (Ravelled here)



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Common catch cries

We have recently let the boys watch the first three Harry Potter movies.  They have been supervised the whole time they were viewing, especially as we were unsure if the youngest would manage, and they have done better than I thought they would.  There have only been a couple of moments of fear or anxiety as evidenced by the high frequency movement of feet hanging over the edge of the couch.    In the third movie it was the Dementors that had the middle kid crawling into my lap, I'm not surprised it was the Dementors, just that it was the middle kid!

As a direct result of watching the movies we now know we have a wizard living in the house: "I'm not a normal person Mum, I'm a wizard" says T.

We have also had numerous wizarding duels with calls of "Expelliarmus" (and muffled yells of "smelly arm pits") and "Eat slugs" followed by much giggling on an almost daily basis.  There have also been requests for other spells to be remembered so they can add them to their repertoire.  I think I'm going to have to look them up.

This morning they armed themselves with short sticks wands and played outside for a couple of hours mixing potions and playing pretend.

Gotta love the inspiration provided by these movies.  We will be watching some more over the school holidays :-)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The end of Term is fast approaching

The past 8.5 weeks have been full of surprises.

The biggest one being how well and how quickly the youngest has settled into school.  By week three when I needed to help my sister out, I was allowed to drop them all in the car park and wish them well and the youngest refused one of his brothers accompanying him to class, "I can do it myself Mum".  Cue me being equally grateful that he feels so comfortable at school and appalled that I am no longer needed all the while rushing off to be in the City on time to help my sister out with her young kids.  There is no way I could have done the same thing with either of the other two 3 weeks into Prep!  Today was school assembly and the youngest received an award for "Praising his fellow classmates and reading like a champ!"  I think he is totally in the right place and am so grateful he feels comfortable and has a wonderful interaction going with his classmates and teacher.

The middle and eldest child have had trouble settling into the new year of school.  This was especially surprising in light of how the Preppie settled in.  H had a lot on his mind, he's learning more about reading the social cues around him and also doing his absolute best to not be distracted in class, so by the time he came home there was nothing left in him with which to behave appropriately.  Totally understandable but totally frustrating at the same time.  Two weeks in and he started to settle down which was a relief.  His teacher has helped with that, working with him and reminding him to focus when he needs to.  Z on the other hand always finds first Term a challenge so his issues have been no surprise.  Getting a handle on the other kids in class (he has amazing empathy and awareness of the other people around him) and trying to work out what everyone's "normal" is takes a while so he comes home with nothing left either.  This year was made harder by having a new to the school teacher and a classroom with no one in it from a previous class he had been in so he was learning everyone.  I've had a few conversations with his teacher now and I'm still reserving my final opinion of her, she seems to be ok about some stuff but there are other aspects that make me think "hmmmmmmm" she is an older teacher, which is fantastic in some ways, but she also has some very old fashioned ideas about stuff and I'm not sure where that will go this year, it will be a matter of waiting and seeing.

I have been lonely and bored.  The house is empty during the day, it's deathly quiet most of the time too, apart from when the kittens are playing chasey with each other.  I alternate between doing heaps of things and nothing and constantly feeling like I should be doing "more".  It's been quite unsettling.  It's not just the fact that all of the boys are now at school all day, it's also that for the past 3 years I have been volunteering at the kinder and essentially working a part-time job with all the aspects that take up brain power to go along with it.  Now there is none of that and while I have a whole pile of things I would like to do around the house, and craft-wise as well, I find myself totally unsatisfied with the thought of it all.  It doesn't help that I injured my shoulder the day I last posted and have been receiving treatment and not being able to do Boot Camp and swimming as usual so I have a lot of physical frustration happening as well as mental.  The shoulder was a soft tissue injury, mostly caused by inflammation so will resolve without ongoing issues in the future as long as I can maintain some semblance of patience and not aggravate it before it's sorted.

Let's just say I ran out of patience a couple of weeks ago....So I have been knitting to keep a grip on my sanity!

Since last we spoke I have completed a pair of socks for young T with yarn bought at last year's Bendigo Show - yes Kate that green we went back for!


I am halfway through the first sock of a pair for Z.


I have added a couple of inches to my jumper at the Botanical Gardens last Sunday while trying to ignore the sounds of the Grand Prix.


 I have started and finished a shawl.


 I have finished the cardigan for my friend J's daughter.


I have completed the first sock in a pair for another friend, M, I'm currently working on finishing this pair of socks asap, hopefully prior to a craft trip M is attending so she can wear them while she is away.  It's a very simple pattern so as long as time permits it should be achievable.


Another half a sock has snuck in there as well for J's husband G.


And a cowl also seems to have begun itself.


It's at this point I sigh and realise I have done an awful lot more than I thought I had done over this period of time!  It's always good to make lists and sit back and take stock of your progress, I can see it is going to be especially important for me over the coming weeks so I can appreciate just how much I am not "wasting time". 


Thursday, January 24, 2013

A New Year

This year is going to be an interesting one.  Changes are afoot, natural progression ones and hopefully some self directed ones as well.

So far, we've been camping at the beach

and the seam sealer for the tent worked meaning that although it was a very rainy night one night, neither I nor the youngest had water dripping on our faces from the badly designed construction of the tent fly which puts too much tension in one spot and holds the seam open wide enough for water to get through.  Woot!

We also had windy weather (85 km/h gusts) and sunny weather (though not as hot as Melbourne), we had rough seas

and calm seas.

I got into the ocean twice for a swim and some other times to get wet to the knees.  It's not that I don't like the ocean, I just have a great respect for it and don't like to be bashed about by it, so yes the two times I was in it, it was as calm as a pond and excellent for playing throw and catch the ball.

This year was a rock collecting year

The kids are browner despite the sunscreen, two weeks straight of essentially outdoor living including a lot of sand and sea will do that for you.  They learnt a new skill: fishing.

I learnt a new skill: tying sinkers and hooks onto fishing line and threading bait onto hooks.  One cousin even caught a fish but we threw it back in as there were other plans for dinner that night.

The kids chilled out.

We had a cloudy sky with smoke in it that had my heart sinking and my mind thinking good thoughts for those at risk of bushfire.

We have booked next year already :-)

First business day back home saw me calling up three different shelters to see if they had kittens, the children have been very patient about waiting until we got home from camping, they have known since our second cat died in October last year that they would be getting new kittens after camping so Monday was it!  The closest one had the most kittens available at half the price so that's where we headed to and we came home with a pair of sisters who are 3 months old.



Careful Isabel (Izzy)

and Curious Caitlin (Cate)

have been making themselves at home here this week.  Cate has been into everything and Izzy is taking her time and is slowly expanding her play space :-)  They are very well behaved, quite gentle and we are all learning to walk without stomping as they are high speed movers when they want to be and we don't want to step on them.  They are staying indoors for a month and then we will see if we let them loose during the day.  This means we are having to be very careful with the doors at the moment although neither of them have become very interested in the doors yet as they are still getting used to the rest of their surroundings.  We have discovered a multitude of kitten size hiding spaces including spaces we didn't know were spaces.

We lost them for 30 minutes one day before realising they were hiding behind a bookshelf in the fireplace (yes that sounds weird but we have more books than opportunities to light a fire so the fireplace has been repurposed), they spent 9am - 6pm behind the kitchen hutch yesterday sleeping, they only came out because I was cooking our dinner and it smelled good!

Knitting last year happened a lot and I expect it to happen even more so this year as all three children will be at school.  So far this year I have finished a pair of socks for the eldest, I am halfway through a jumper for me

and have just started a cardigan for a friend.  I'm still searching for the right buttons for my stripey Tempest cardigan, finding the right grey is a bit of a challenge.  I have lost my black one in the week between Christmas and New Year, so I will have to fit making another one into this year sometime.  My plans for this year include doing some knitting and some sewing in the form of making quilts and possibly a shirt each for the boys (I've had the fabric for a while now) and sorting out the house and the garden (we have been here for almost 10 years and you could be forgiven for thinking renters live here).  At some point I need to make a decision about where my work life will go from here.  I've never had a full time job (and will only be looking for part time at this point) and the thought of job interviews petrifies me, so I will have to work on that.

So there you go, a New Year, a holiday, some new family members for our house and the welcome news that my brother and his wife are expecting a new addition at their house in July makes for smiley faces all round really :-)