Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WIP Wednesday...

You know, when teaching finished a couple of weeks ago I really REALLY thought that things were going to be a bit more calm and less frantic and chaotic. 

Well, um...

This hasn't really happened. Yes, I am less busy at work at the moment, but that is only because I am MORE busy at home. Not only is it half term this week (and since I am for once not teaching I am taking some time to spend with the boys) but the boys have picked up some virus. First it was boy #2. He's not often ill, so we were surprised how this illness threw him. He was off school for a whole week, which just never happens to him (he's the kind of kid who will get a badge at the end of term for 100% attendance). It was an odd sort of bug - at times he was almost OK, but he got several temperature spikes throughout the day that we controlled through meds. When he was finally over the bug I worried that the other boys would get it. When over a week passed and nothing happened I started to relax. 

Well, they've got it now. Boy #3 isn't too bad, although he did run a bit of a fever and now has a nasty cough, but boy #1 has got it really badly. The poor child has been lying on the sofa for 4 days now. Initially it was just the fever, but now he has the cough from hell. I'll take him to the doctor's tomorrow so someone can listen to his chest...

So not only do I have all three boys at home at the moment, two of them are also ill, requiring special attention, plus, boy #2, currently not ill, is bored out of his mind because he'd like to go places. ;)  

All this is conspiring against both knitting time and in particular computer time, meaning that updates have been few and far between. That said, here is an update. :)

I've finished the shell of Roly the Pill Bug.

I'm so happy with how the Noro Silk Garden is working out for this project. The colour changes couldn't be more perfect if I'd deliberately chosen them to come out in that way. And that weird set of mushroom-y colours that, in a garment, always looked like something I'd never wear? Perfect for a bug as it turns out! ;)  

Progress on this has now stalled, because I got to the point when I need to stuff the body and then kitchener stitch the belly up and I needed to order some fiberfill because I don't think the sewing cut-offs that I stuffed Totoro with would work for this one because it needs to stay subtle and soft enough to curl up. 

On the plus side, with Roly on hold I've been making a bit of headway with Black Acer. Progress is still slow, but I've started the cable pattern. I'm a little confused because the order of the different pattern repeats is not all that clear, but I think I've got it right... Or so I hope, but once I've done the first set of repeats and can see the pattern better it should be more obvious if I have it right or not.

I tried hard to get a good shot of Acer, but not only is black really quite tricky to photograph but boy #3 insisted on photobombing every single time I lined everything up. :)

He even got his Spiderman to participate...

I suppose Spiderman is quite photogenic...

There is some minor progress on the Eyelet Yoke and on the Weekender, but I've not had time to photograph either of them. Got to aim to be a bit more disciplined again about taking pictures. 

So there you go, that is my update for the week. 

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Year of Projects Update

Since I've not managed a proper Wednesday update in a couple of weeks now (for various reasons, see my post a few days ago) I thought I'd do a Sunday crafting overview. 

Things are progressing rather nicely, actually. D and I have been watching House of Cards on Netflix, which has given me some time to get on with my many many WIPs and I do in fact have progress to report on all of them.

Do you find that when you have more than one project on the go you get really fixated on one of them for a few days only to then get tired of it and switch to another one that you work on frantically for a few days? This has certainly been my pattern these past couple of weeks. 

Of course I've created a situation that gives me rather a lot of projects to choose from...

For about a week or so now I've been quite focussed on the Weekender Blanket. I might have to re-name it the House of Cards blanket, I've worked on it that much while watching!

My obsessive hexie crocheting has led to good results, though - I've nearly doubled the blanket in size! 

Of course it's still small, but it's reached the width that I'd like it to have so I'm now working on finishing the straight edge so I can then work on its length. 

I've also finished the body of the Eyelet Yoke Sweater. I was rather nervous when I finally cast off and tried it on - after all, without any actual sizing in the pattern, getting the correct size was a bit of an experiment. It seems to have worked out, though. It's a loose fit, but in a good way, and I'm pleased with it. Now on to the boring sleeve knitting...

Liesl is nearly finished. I've  completed one sleeve and I'm about half-way done with the second, so one evening of concentrated work on it will probably get it done.

Because I'm clearly a little bit insane I've also cast on for yet another crochet blanket. We've started working properly on the inside of Matilda now and looking at her I felt that she really needed a blanket of her own.

For a while now I've wanted to crochet a ripple blanket, and I cast on with a few different shades of blue and some white. It's all acrylic, because this is a camping blanket that is probably going to get washed a lot, but I ordered the yarn, Stylecraft Special DK, is lovely and soft and I really like the way this is turning out. I'm using Attic 24's ripple pattern for this.

I've got some other projects on the go, but that's a topic for another blog post. :)

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Thinking about a Link-Up...

As you might have noticed, I'm posting a lot about the allotment. Apart from crafting, gardening is one of my oldest and most cherished loves, and even as a child, when I used to grow beans on my window sill, I loved growing food. I didn't even particularly like beans (or any vegetable) then, but I loved the idea of growing something that you could then eat.

Fast forward many years to now and our little allotment adventure. I love the process of planning for the gardening year, of searching for seeds, then planting and nurturing them, and eventually transplanting them into the plot only to watch them grow and mature there. Yesterday we ate our first lot of Pak Choi, so the veg growing year is officially under way.

While I often post about gardening anyway, I think I'd like to have the allotment to have a more formal place in my blogging world and I am wondering if eventually others might like to share their own adventures in growing things to eat, so I'm starting a link-up. This may be slow, initially, so there might not be much to see beyond my own allotment ramblings, but hopefully eventually this might gather speed and put all us veg and fruit growers and gardening nuts in touch with each other!!

So there you go, these are the guidelines for the my brand-new GROW TO EAT Link-Up. The brief is broad - post about your gardening, but while I certainly won't discourage anyone from sharing shots of their ornamental garden, this is more about the 'working garden'. Do you grow veg? Fruit? Flowers to cut? Then please share your adventures! :)  

I'll be sorting out the linky tool in the next post, which will also be the first official post of the link-up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Enforced radio silence...

apologies for the prolonged silence these past couple of weeks. First work was, as usual, taking over, but things should be a lot calmer on that front now because teaching is done for this academic year. There will be plenty to do, but it will be possible to structure work more around the family without an imposed teaching timetable. That said, I've very much enjoyed teaching this term - the time pressures have been uncomfortable at times, but at no point have I felt that the actual teaching wasn't rewarding and enjoyable. You can't really ask for more, can you?

But back to my lack of blogging. When teaching finally slowed down after last Friday and then finally came to an end this Tuesday I was looking forward to uploading a long blog post about all the crafty things I've been up to. Unfortunately this was the exact moment my internet connection seemed to decide that it needed a break.

I'm not entirely sure what is happening, but D, who uses an ethernet connection, has no troubles, so it's bound to be the Wi-Fi. A techie person once explained to me that there are different channels through which a Wi-Fi signal can be sent, and if somebody next door has a device that uses the same channel it can lead to interference, so perhaps one of the neighbors has a new gadget... In any case I've not been able to use the internet for long enough to even check my email. Today I finally had enough and stole the ethernet cable from our Roku set top box so I could at least check in at work, but that meant that I was uncomfortably crouching on the floor next to the TV - not a position I was keen to remain in for long enough to also update the blog.

Tonight the internet seems more stable again, so hopefully I will be able to update in the next few day.

In the meantime, hope you are all well and enjoying the slightly warmer weather! :)

Friday, May 01, 2015


My long stretch of teaching is finally coming to an end - only two more weeks left and then we are into the exam and marking period and I can think about how to organise my work over the summer and into the autumn and my much anticipated study leave. I will still have lots to do (after all, that was the purpose of the leave period - to get ahead with that research), but it will be my own time, my own plans. I can't tell you how excited I am.

Spring also leads to other kinds of plan. 

We've had Matilda the caravan for two years now. Last year we finally went ahead and painted the outside - white and a lovely light shade of blue - but the inside, a depressing and faded symphony in fake wood and 1980s design, remained untouched. 

Eventually we decided to rip the toilet/shower out. It was an awful little space and we found that over the years the shower must have leaked, because there was clear water damage in one of the corners. Since it wasn't a built-in toilet we were also sure that we'd never use the little camping toilet in there and we coveted the space that getting rid of the cubicle would create. We were right - removing the bathroom really did open up the space, but what next? 

D had some vague plans of building the triple bunk bed, but even though he started measuring and brought in bits of wood from the shed it never got any further. 

Then it got colder and we shut Matilda's door for the winter and only really opened it again last week, when the warmer and sunnier weather triggered a renewed enthusiasm for this project. 

It helps that I would dearly love to take Matilda to the lake district this year. So far we've never taken Matilda camping with us - she's purely been used as a summer house in the  garden - but obviously we would like to do so eventually. I have plans to attend Woolfest for the very first time, and wouldn't it be nice to bring the caravan and spend a long weekend there as a family? 

Looking at the space again D and I made a spontaneous decision - we don't need a triple bunk! The actual beds would be small and our boys are growing fast, so it would mean such a lot of work for something that might only work for them for a few years. If we go camping we'd probably always take the campervan as well, meaning that it will be much more sensible to have half the family sleep in the camper and the other half in Matilda.

Instead, we decided, we'd have a daybed which would provide additional seating in Matilda and storage underneath and, if needed, can also function as a single bed. D got straight to work and, using pieces from one of the old toddler beds created a frame. Add one of the toddler bed mattresses on top and tadah! we have a daybed! 

He also removed the remaining stud wall next to the seating area which separated the daybed from the bench and which used to belong to a wardrobe next to the bathroom. With all this gone and the daybed in place Matilda is starting to look like a pretty great place to hang out in!

Next job on the list - painting the inside! I'm planning on a simple white interior and I'll add bits of blue through soft furnishings and accessories. 

It looks like we might actually get somewhere with our Matilda transformation this year! 

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