Jumper Knitting

I have had itchy needles for a while. I am ace at knitting scarves, toys, and kids jumpers (even if I do say so myself ) so I felt it was time to start something for me before the Christmas rush really kicked in. In common with Mme Ramotswe (of No1 Lady Detective Agency fame ) I can be described as traditionally built. I have knitted jumpers for myself but I have always taken the easy route and knitted them in a chunky yarn which is quick to knit up and therefore great at preventing me from getting bored halfway through, but they look universally awful on a tradional build.

So I started a proper (non chunky) pattern on 3mm needles. I felt sure this had long term WIP pile written all over it but I think I might actually finish it. It is a top down yoke pattern by Unicorn knit Designs it was featured in Knit Now in issue 92.

It’s a beautiful pattern isn’t it. Part of me can’t believe I’m spending the time and money making something just for me, but I am and I don’t care cause it feels so good – bwhahaha!!! (Attempts evil laugh but just ends up making herself cough a bit).

Ps has anyone else been watching Vanity Fair. Anthony Head as Lord Steyne is basically the same as his Gently Benevolent character – such a cad. And if anyone gets that reference I’ll be bloody impressed.

Jumper Knitting

What I’ll miss, and a bit of what I won’t.

I moved a few months ago. My parents, who love their grandchildren and hate driving, took only a few moments to decide that they would like to move too. They had always wanted to retire to the seaside. My Dad who has always had truly awful hayfever is hoping that the fresher air down by the sea will give him an easier time in the summers to come. I was so chuffed. They found a house, literally round the corner from us and it’s really happening in just a few weeks. I am thrilled to bits with the prospect of child care on tap, someone I can pop round to for a cup of tea, the chance for my parents to watch their grandchildren grow close too, and the large covered outdoor area their new place will have (perfect for drying clothes outside in all weathers – my word what a very mundane thing to look forward to).

I’ve been looking forward to it so much I haven’t really thought about what I’d be saying goodbye to. They are moving from the family home and I’m up for my last visit. I will have next to no reason to come to the village I grew up in, and I will be saying goodbye to the house I spent the majority of my life thinking of as home. I am sitting in my old bedroom looking out of the window at the crop of apples on the cooking apple tree which I climbed, fell out of, and climbed again for whole chunks of my childhood summers. I remember looking out at this view on my wedding morning, from about 4am – nerves.

I think I could say goodbye to all these things without too much sadness. The village is actually now a suburb of London, it’s tiny roads groaning under the weight of so many cars that it regularly gridlocks round the schools. The house is just a house, and who other than the extraordinaryly well off can expect to show the kids the home they grew up in. But the tree, that breaks my heart a bit. Because the new buyers were asking whether it had a tree preservation order on it, and were obviously thinking of cutting it down in order to make the garden as low maintenance as possible.

Saying goodbye to this old tree will be sad, but the rest of it is going to be good, so if I am feeling a bit teary I’ll keeping humming ‘oh I don’t like to be beside the seaside’ just like my dad is at the moment.b

What I’ll miss, and a bit of what I won’t.

I Cord Necklaces

I have had an idea in my head for awhile. I like knitted jewellery, especially made out of something simple like an I cord. But if you knit two together it just comes out a bit bulky for my tastes. I have made then using t shirt yarn, and my own I cord but they always make me feel like I’m wearing a mini scarf. It’s due to the weight of the yarn on the back of my neck. So I’ve been looking into combining knitting with jewellery so it’s just a light chain on the back of your neck. It’s meant learning some new skills and trying to buy different supplies, but I’m pleased with the results.

I managed to distract little one from go jetters for long enough to get a shaky snap of her wearing one of the prototypes. She seems to like it.

I Cord Necklaces

Beach Clean and New Direction

We did a beach clean over the weekend. It was heartening to find that the beach was nearly spotless. One of the other litter pickers quipped that someone else had been out and done it the day before. The mist came in and it looked spooky and beautiful.

I’ve also been working on the knitting machine. I’ve got a few new patterns in a Celtic knotwork style. I’m trying to decide what to turn them into, hats, mittens, scarves, snoods, cushion covers. It’s going to be fun to make and try to sell a few things again. It would feel good to fire up the business again.

Beach Clean and New Direction

Birthday Blues – not much knitting in this one, sorry.

It’s my birthday. I, like many other knitting mums I’m sure, approach days like today with a day dream about a lie in, a relaxing breakfast, and a pile of lovely presents, (all indie dyed sock yarns and the like). Instead I’ve had standard morning – tea from a pot though – bonus! Presents which the kids took off me and started playing with straight away. I dropped my daughter off at nursery ( minus ten mumming points for putting her in wellies, now they’ll have to find shoes for her from the ones they keep there – who knew? She runs around in wellies all day at home more than happy. Does anyone else feel like nursery drop off is actually some kind of game you keep getting wrong cause no one’s written down the rules?) Drop off done though. Little man still with me but I thought I’d treat myself to a cup of tea and a bit of cake, that’ll make the day more birthdaylike. This is something I’ve been dreaming of doing since we’ve moved cause there’s a cafe in my way back home, I’ve resisted till now cause I’m trying not to eat too much cake. So I wheel my placid and well balanced son into the cafe and order. Well you can guess what’s about to happen. He has a meltdown the like of which I haven’t seen. Tea and cake arrive and I look at at it sadly, take two sips and a bite and then prepare to make a run for it. Then my six year old self starts whispering in my ear, ‘its your birthday, your day, it should be all about you. Let him cry he might stop (this never happens). Eat your cake, drink your tea.’ which I do. It wasn’t a pleasant experience and I’m rather sorry I used up the calories on it. Other tables of customers nearby sat staring unapologetically at me wondering why I wasn’t doing something to stop it, one lady actually craning round the counter to get a better look – it’s a kid crying, kids cry, what’s to bloody see? The cafe owner kept trying to catch eye, not sure why, possibly to shot me a look of understanding solidarity, but I suspect not. I sat and stared at the menu, trying to channel some of that nonchalace that people have when they’re dogs pooing and theyre obviously not going to pick it up. I (accidentally) slammed the door on the way out and standing outside the cafe, little man stopped crying. He’s asleep now. I’ve never felt so jangled in my life and I think I need a day off from this mumming lark, just one, but to be honest organising the logistics of that make me feel exhausted even thinking about it.

Birthday Blues – not much knitting in this one, sorry.

That’s Shawl Folks.

I have never knitted a shawl before, but I picked up a magazine with a booklet all about shawls. I picked out the one using Aran weight wool and a simple pattern (knitter know thyself – small needles, thin wool, long projects are not for you). I knitted this lovely shawl from two caron cakes and even though it’s not been shawl weather I’ve enjoyed sitting with it over my knees in the evening.

That’s Shawl Folks.

Sweet Sofa Knitting

I have a problem with refined sugar. I am totally addicted and the resultant weight gain is truly getting me down. I now have no excuse not to give it up. I am not pregnant and blaming cravings on the little one, or moving house and eating to get myself out of the dull funk that comes with dealing with solicitors, in fact I’m in a great place.

The trouble was I only seemed to like really sweet food. Then I read Believe Me by Eddie Izzard and he mentioned that his sugar addiction fried his taste buds, that’s exactly what’s happened to me (he runs marathons and everything now).

So I’m going to cut down my sugar intake with a view to cutting most of it out – I know me too well to think I could getting rid of it all together. Today is the first day I’ve really made the effort to cut down. I think that that might have something to do with how rubbish and achey I’m feeling. Reading online I find it might be an idea to drink more water (fills up bottle) and take it a bit easy (lovely hubby does dinner), it really does feel like a flu, without the runny nose. So I am hunkering down on the sofa, under a blanket with my knitting.

Terrible photo of the knitting but rather splendidly photobombed by little man. This is a shawl made from Caron cakes. It’s Aran weight and almost entirely garter stitch so it’s knitting up like a dream.

Sweet Sofa Knitting

Crochet – the (no longer) dark art

For the past six years my new years resolution was to learn to crochet, and did I manage it? Of course not. Now we have moved we live near a town with lots of crafty shops, ( and great independent coffee shops, and at least one self declared hipster pub) I think we benefit from an arty overspill from Brighton. So I booked myself in for a course on how to do a granny square at the Wool Bar ( a brilliant wool shop and one of my top ten reasons for moving to Worthing) now look.

Before
After
The birth of a new obsession
Crochet – the (no longer) dark art

Why my husband’s irritating, a rant about moving, and finally some stuff about knitting.

I have decided that I am a very emotional buyer of wool and yarn. I want to wrap my family up in the lovely layer of cosiness, even my husband who refuses to wear anything more heavyweight than a t-shirt for 360 days of the year (a very irritating spouse for a knitter). This buying of yarn does not always translate into knitting of garments so I’m going cold sheep for a little while to try and use up some of my stash. This makes sense on another level because we’re moving house soon. Although it’s the slowest move in the history of the world (I exaggerate), and it feels like it’s going forward more in theory than reality (I over dramatise) , and I just want it all to be over one way or another (I over use parentheses). Not adding to the yarn stash at this point will make more sense then bringing more wool into the house.

I’ve been into my stash and pulled out two cakes of Mary by Find Me Knitting in green and white. I love the fact they are yarn cakes rather than skeins because I can just start knitting straight away without having to crack out the yarn winder myself.

The first pattern to make with this will be a baby surprise jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman, a magnificent bit of knitting origami. When you get to about half way through it takes a bit of faith at first but it really works.

In rummaging about to find this I tracked down a sock pattern that uses Aran weight wool too so all of this wool in my stash should find a pattern.

Why my husband’s irritating, a rant about moving, and finally some stuff about knitting.

How not to be a friend.

I have always blithely said to people I have met in my life ” I’m rubbish at keeping in touch.” I let people fall out of my life because they are not geographically close enough, or because we don’t have much in common ( let’s be honest here, they don’t knit or appreciate knitted things), or -and this one mainly- because I don’t think I’m cool enough to be thier friend. I still have that hang over from school of there being grades of cool and the tough thing is that no one tells you what grade you’ve made. In the real and grown up world friends are all ages sizes, levels of cool and if someone is happy to spend time with you then don’t write yourself out of thier life because you’re second guessing how they feel about you.

I have been a rubbish friend on every level and this week it has been brought home to me what that can really mean.

One of my mates from uni has passed away. When I knew him he was such a cool guy. We both loved archaeology and we would sit up for hours chatting over the interesting things we’d read recently, and how some new cool thing had been found under Rome, or in the Temple of Dendra, or wherever we wished we were digging that week.

Then life happened and he and his wonderful wife, also a great friend of mine, had children and grew up whilst I was still living in a garage and dreaming of adventures I’d never make happen because really I’m happy being an armchair archaeologist. I watched thier social media feeds fill up with the thousand joys and struggles that come with a family all of your own, and even though I had time I didn’t visit and rarely got in contact. Then I had a family and I didn’t have time but still I watched, I rejocyed with them in good times, and broke my heart for them when some news of the hard times they were having leached on to the squares in my Instagram feed. I metaphorically jumped with joy and felt not a little pang of jealousy when my mate got a job as an actual real life archaeologist after years of desk jobs and that’s as far as it went. I was busy, so busy, new baby, toddler, moving house, less time on my hands then I thought possible – is minus time an actual thing, am I actually so busy I’m also using up a bit of my life from the future, when I get there they’ll be a sign up saying ‘all used up in 2017-18 – and then I get a call. Very kindly his wife didn’t want me to find out on social media and I am beyond grateful that she thought to call me because I didn’t deserve it. He had gone. I hadn’t be there for either of them in the last few years other then sending useless messages through Instagram, stupid little heart emojis instead of, calling, writing, doing something human and now I wouldn’t get the chance again.

This then is my self indulgent justification of my own crappness, and my injunction to you if you’re like me and reading this, send a message get an address, write a real letter, make a real phone call, cause if you were friends, you are friends. Friends are more than pictures in a phone and they need to know that. Keep in touch cause one day you might get the chance for a big adventure and the one person you knew who would love hearing about it the most is no longer there.

I am not going to advertise this post. It is in no way about knitting so it won’t be of interest to anyone who made it here because of that. In some ways I don’t really want it to be read, but I do want it to be out there in the world. If you have read it thank you for your time, now (in the politest possible way) get away from your screen and go and do something human.

How not to be a friend.