Monday, 28 February 2011

Monday...gosh that counter down there is nearly on 10,000

which is pretty awesome so thankyou for visiting!  I feel like I should have some sort of minor celebration when it finally ticks over!  Anyway...I have been knitting a thing (well, several things, but this is the thing which has taken over from shalom) with the 200g of yarn I got in the sales.  200g is not a lot, but I was determined to knit a me-thing...I bought this yarn beacuse *I* liked it, not because it would suit someone else or make a practical childs cardigan etc.  So how to make it go as far as possible?

Why, dropped stitches of course (at least, thats the plan...if it gets past my tummy button then I shall be most satisfied)

Which made the whole top down raglan shaping thing a bit more, er, thought-provoking, but it seems to be holding together so far.

At the moment, it looks as I had hoped, a bit rugged but nice and light.  I don't generally liked those ribbon yarn drop stitch scarves and tops which have been rather popular, but I think I can cope with this as the yarn is slubby and thick and thin and most definitely wool (but soft).  Now I have to make the armholes work, sigh.

Also I decided to do a bit of sewing.  Not a lot, just a bit.  So after seeing this lovely but frankly pointless quilt on the purl bee, I decided to have a bash at a teeny tiny quilted pillow for abi's doll.  It looks pretty crap so far, here's hoping its one of those things which looks increasingly shite as you make it, but then once its finished looks really lovely.  Here's hoping...
Btw, I just noticed this very lovely and quick-looking cardi pattern on there too...looks like the fair isle is sl st rather than actual fair isle, which would make it pretty straightforward and quick, must look properly...sleeves are a bit lazy aren't they...and I think the pattern is actually fair isle, which is hardly worth bothering with for such a simple pattern, hmm.  Gosh I am harsh.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Saturday...making space

I am trying to make some space for us to be creative in.  It will be fashioned out of the space intended for dining in.  Because really, there is plenty of space in the kitchen for that sort of business.

So I took a lot of crafty type things out of the cupboard under the stairs

Added a random rug, beach mat and scraps of floor vinyl...

And turned it into this

So now, we have a whole new little house under the stairs!  hurrah!

And I definitely need higher storage for in the dining room...

Although its lovely to see her enjoying the buttons!  We will hopefully all find things to do in planning on getting Dan a beginners model train set for his b'day in a couple of months which would find an ideal home in here (not very pretty though, sigh!)

Friday, 25 February 2011

Friday...this moment

I'm going to need to knit a new jumper soon...
a single photo capturing a simple, special moment from the week. inspired by soulemama.

Thursday, 24 February 2011 frock at the beach

We had a lovely day out with friends today. 

It was a sudden sunny day, where you get a taster of the better weather to come.  So we headed to the beach for the first time this year.

The big children had a great time doing something or other slightly dangerous looking at the waters edge.  The smaller one was just happy to be on pebbles and in the sun, and explored the area around me, which got gradually wider in circumference as her confidence grew.  We looked at the water a few times, but decided it probably wasn't that great.  The weather was so mild,  Abi wanted ALL her clothes off.  We had to compromise, and it was very sweet to see her pottering about in her mama-made dress.  It works!

And then, as we neared home, tired and hungry a pretty mucky...we saw this (which was of course much prettier IRL)...

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Wednesday, some stuff and that

Ugh I am so sick of  this bloody thing I just cast it off and called it done.
It's the first proper 'thing' I have knitted from a pattern in ages and, no doubt, the last. I didn't check tension, didn't think it would matter much for a sloppy cardi, but if I had I would have decided I don't much like how this knits up like a soppy mohair thing.  Also I didn't buy enough yarn to knit the whole thing, and Rowan discontinued the purple.  Sigh.  So its a bit short, and will be a bed cardi.  And I think it will make a very good bed cardi too due to the cuddly soppiness.  I found some crappy pink plastic buttons in  a jar, which go well with its general soppy crappiness.

Couldn't cope with a pic of it done up.  I thought I liked the look of shalom, but wearing circular yoke with radiating ribs makes me feel like I have my head stuck through a bicycle wheel, ugh. 

In more satisfying news, here is a wee (as yet one-eared) sheep towards the birthday farm:

and here is a little supposedly vintage dolly top from a local vintage shop.  I need to get some courage up to sew some dolly tops and thought this could be a vague template. Also, I like the fabric.  Hope it survives the wash. 50p well spent I reckon.

Forgot to take a pic of the project which is currently given me most pleasure, especially now I have redone the sleeves.  Tomorrow, I think...

Saturday, 19 February 2011 hat

here is Dan in his new hat!
He really likes it (or so he says, but he did wear it out, so it must be OK!) in both appearance and feel.  But now I'm wondering if the rolled brim is a bit girly?  What do you think?  Abi has also been seen wearing it and looked charming as ever.  I also tried it.  It seems to be a cradle to grave hat.

Friday, 18 February 2011

friday...hard at play

first you have to tuck yourself in and get comfy

then you have to tuck big dolly in on your left

and little dolly in on the right

but this makes the 'blanket' all crinkly, or someone's toe is poking out, and you have to pretend to huff and puff like I probably do when somethign is going wrong and start all over again.  But eventually, you will be tucked in, with your dollies, next to mummy.

It actually took her half an hour, I was not allowed to help at all, or provide a blanket larger than her muslin!  It was a lovely snuggly game to have her work at whilst I snuggled next to her and knitted.

Tomorrow I hope to post all about dan, who is getting a bit neglected here, as his hat should be finished by then!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Wednesday - work in progress...

Abi's frock, coming on nicely.  Not perfect, but nice (and possible a little large, but too large is always better than too small)

Daniel's hat, which so far meets with sir's approval.  He was finding his current hat a bit itchy, so I took him to the wool shop to stroke the lovely wool and choose one.  I think I have the shaping right but really can't be arsed to put the sts onto a thread to try it, it would probably be no quicker or slower to rip it back and alter it
Classy boy went with rowan coccoon.  Can't blame him, I chose the same for the shalom.  Which means abi's frock is also of the same yarn as its knitted from the shalom sleeves.  At least we get a discount at the wool shop!

Also: I borrowed the most beautiful and inspiring book from the library, freya jaffke's 'toymaking with children'.  I have been meaning to buy it for ever, and not being able to justify the pennies, and then I remembered about LIBRARIES hurrah!  I have a couple more excellent craft books reserved too, can't wait.  But I reckon if you want a comprehensive book for lovely homemade natural toys, this is the one to go for. I was wanting to get abi a barn and animals for her birthday...this book has given me the confidence to think I could maybe knit the animals myself...

After knitting this first attempt, I realised I would have to forget the first rule of knitting toys, i.e. KEEP YOUR TENSION TIGHT ENOUGH TO BRING ON EARLY ARTHRITIS IN ORDER TO AVOID STUFFING POKING OUT because these toys are designed to be shaped largely by the wool stuffing, and clever seaming.  They are ingenious.  But I wasn't able to get the desired effect when stuffing this because of my very efficient tension.  I then knitted a much slacker duck which is turning out much better.

  I would have continued knitting farm animals, but the trouble with knitting toys is that I just want to give them RIGHT NOW.  It is very hard not to.  So now I am knitting a quick little doll from the same book to give abi asap.

And, a final project from this book which will be ongoing and not knitting related...yet, at least...any guesses?

Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy Valentines Day

How to make two children happy very quickly for £4...
Sorry there's only one child in this picture, I take most family pics with a disposable camera now as I am scared of losing them on my phone!
In the valentines theme, a red frock for abi (which might be a smock top if I run out of yarn!  It now has sleeves but its too dark to get a pic)

new nappies...possibly the funkiest nappies in the world...what possessed me to be sucked in by novelty shit catchers I do not know!
And, much more sensible, lovely yarn (which was in the sale so its OK!)

Friday, 11 February 2011

Bumble Slippers

This pattern is designed for toddlers between 1-3 years of age, you can easily adjust the length of the foot to fit.  It is worked entirely in one piece using short rows and circular knitting, you will only have to sew two stitches at the end! (ravelry page here)

3.5mm circular needle of a length which you might use to magic loop socks (or dpns)
Worsted weight yarn...I used Filz it

Tension...not crucial, but intended to be close enough to give a sturdy fabric

w+t = wrap and turn (check a knitting book or youtube if you aren't sure about this as you'll need it to work short rows)

Start at cuff:

Cast on 40 sts and knit 8 rows.
Work each of the following rows TWICE so that the shaping will be symmetrical:
k to last 4 sts, w&t
k to last 8 sts, w&t
k to last 12 sts, w&t
k to last 16 sts, w&t

Now prepare to knit the heel:
k to last 20 sts, w&t, and k to end of row.
k 1 row
k14, change to cc, k12 (do not break off mc, it will be in the right place to start the stripe pattern)
On these centre 12 sts only, work to and fro in garter stitch for around 19 rows, or until it is pretty much square, ending with a right side row (a little like you would for a sock heel).

Now the foot:
Pick up 9 sts up left side of heel.  Put last st picked up back onto left needle, and knit it together with the first st of the held cuff sts. Turn.
k21, pick up 9 sts from other side of heel.  Put last st back onto left needle, and knit it together with the first st of the held cuff sts.  Turn and change to MC

*K to the last of the foot sts, k this last st tog with the first of the cuff sts, turn.
Repeat the row above, turn and change to other yarn colour*

Repeat the 2 rows between the *'s until all the cuff sts have been knitted in, and 30 sts remain in total.
Now continue working in g st, changing colour as before, but working in the round and therefore purling what would have been the wrong side rows.  Continue until foot is the same length as your child's foot, including the toes, ending with a p row in CC.  Break of MC.

Shape toe (note - this style of toe gives depth rather than length)
k4, k2tog, turn
k9, k2tog, turn
repeat the previous row until 20 sts remain in total.
turn the work inside out so that there are 10 sts on each needle, and work a 3 needle bind off.

Weave in ends, using the cast on tail to work a couple of sts to bring the cuff edges together where they meet the foot.

Friday...this moment

Today I cleaned the stairs by hand with a damp cloth.  As you can tell, it needed doing.  It was nice doing it this way.  No chemicals, and no electricity.  No lugging a big plastic machine around.  No nervousness from Abi, who doesn't like the loud hoover (who does?) Instead, I could hear her chatting to herself as she played in her room.  When I checked on her, she was trying on all her dresses.  I could also hear the Archers on the radio.  I didn't have back ache, because I could kneel comfortably to rub and wipe, instead of bending over to lug a heavy machine, which occasionally falls on me.  I didn't have to throw anything away...apart from the dust...I just put the cloth in the cloth bag, to be washed when its full.

I wish we all had time to do 'life' this way.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Thursday...finished, but not quite

Yay!  When the ends are sewn in, and I have a satisfactory picture of them on chubby feet, I will try to write out the pattern.  It is totally seamless, done with short rows and magic loop.  I thought I would be annoyed by the jog in the stripes, but actually I quite like it. Or maybe I am just determined to be blind to any faults.

A tiny bonnet knitted from leftover sock yarn, to add to the slow growing stash of dolly clothes for abi's birthday...also still needs ends sewn in...

Been buying junk again...

Dan is mega pleased with his 'bash street kids' desk as he called it!  And it was a good excuse to sort through the stationary junk he owned, far too much for a boy!  Though I've put it away for now as I am terrified of chucking out precious things by mistake.

Also found this little crayon pouch thing I remember making him yonks ago, now appreciated by Abi
Its not exciting, but it made me smile.
Then we did some more crafty sticky messy stuff

before pootling off to get Dan in the rain

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

tuesday - bumbling

Bumble bee colour slippers for bumbling in.  I like these.  When I have tested the pattern by knitting the second one, I'll post it.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Monday - knitting and crafting, and the next big thing

Gosh I just seem to be sooo busy at the moment.  I'm not sure what I'm doing...I seem to do a lot of housework, yet the house is rarely clean.  I seem to do a lot of knitting, but things are rarely finished.  I seem to be tired quite a I fell asleep with the baby and am now up at 4am.  Hmm.  Maybe I need to be a bit stricter with myself about at least some of these things.

Anyway, I did at least finish abi's vest
Here is a not-good picture of it flat

It is the sort of thing one wears to sweep carpets
I am very pleased with it, apart from next time I will knit the bottom in rib rather moss stitch, as it has a tendency to ping up every time she crouches (and toddlers crouch quite a lot).  I reckon there will be a next time though, and next time I will know to buy 3 balls, and it will be done super quick.

It worked very well as one of many layers for our first real play in the garden this year

there was plenty of grim neglected-over-winter stuff to fiddle with.  I started getting Dan to help me, but then realised he was much better used to entertain Abi. I spent an hour taking down most of a jasmine bush which, lovely as it was, was also taking down my fence. This is my jasmine bush after about 10 minutes of me hacking at its ludicrously entwined branches

And here it is (was) again an hour later.  I now have an awful lot of twisty branches and twigs and vines all over the lawn, but thats OK because daniel says he is going to weave them into his climbing frame to make a viking dwelling.  Awesome.

Today I had to hang around town for a bank appt, so decided to treat Abi and I to coffee in Whitstable's chicest (I suspect that 'chicest' is not good english, but then 'chic' isn't english at all, so it doesn't matter what I do to it really) little coffee place.  I even bought a guardian.  Only to have a bash at the easy puzzles, you understand.  We had a very nice time people watching out of their big window.  Behind me, one middle aged man was attempting to convert another middle ages man to Buddhism.  It was awfully funny (not buddhsim, just the middle aged crises apparently going on behind me, and the mutual flattering of intellects) and very hard not to look round.  Luckily I was consuming croissant and kakuro, so it was OK.

recently I have started to realise that Abi is no longer a baby, but a toddler.  In fact she has been pointing this out with little changes in her demeanour.  So it occurred to me that I ought perhaps to provide some entertainment slightly more structured than flinging crayons around the room.  I have decided to attempt some valentines day crafts.  Seeing as there is no big reason to celebrate valentines day in this house, the obvious answer is to make it excessively valentinesy, for the children, and to make each other cards etc.  As my ma used to.

Anyway, today we made valentines playdough

Luckily she got bored in time for me to cook it, and was ready to play again when it was cool.  her little face when she realised that what we had been making was now magically transformed into ruby red sparkly playdough was a real delight!
This was the best bit.  Pouring and kneading lots of glitter.  It sort of felt like a waste, and sort of not at all.
And here is a pic of the next thing which has been causing me to prevaricate, stay up to late, and only do half the washing up.
It will be a bumble bee slipper.  It looks a bit crap at the moment, but I am reasonably confident that it will end up being a pretty cool thing.  I wasn't going to post any pics til its done, in case it doesn't work, and because it looks pretty dodgy atm with loose ends, vague short rows, etc.  But that would make having a blog pretty pointless. I will share the pattern if it works out.
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