Saturday, December 23, 2017

The holidays are here!!

I swear I can't recall another year when schools broke up so close to Christmas. All the schools in Hull broke up on Wednesday and some parts of the country were even earlier than that. It truly was the long slow limp towards Christmas for us - kids, parents, teachers, everyone was exhausted and barely hanging in there, lots of winter bugs were making the rounds, ... For most of this year I've felt that time has been flying, but this last week really made up for it - it felt interminable!

Anyway, it's done now. Yesterday afternoon the boys were collected from school one last time this year, a G&T was poured, Christmas telly was watched, and I'm starting to wind down. I'm so much looking forward to this break, to just spending time with the family, to just BEING.

In knitting-related news, the extra ball of yarn for boy #3's scarf has arrived, and I managed to finish it tonight.

I quite like the squishiness and simplicity of this scarf, I can't remember the last time I knitted something in just garter, in one block of colour. I may even wear it myself sometimes if boy #3 lets me.

I'm also contemplating yet another crochet blanket. After my last few projects I'm left with a whole load of odds and ends of acrylic and a whole rainbow of mismatched colours. I'm thinking of a patchwork sort of style, with little blocks of colour, because I don't want another granny square blanket, and there isn't enough of some of the colours to do long rows. I foresee a lot of cozy sitting on the sofa in the afternoon so I may get started on that over the holidays.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas ornaments and other knits...

... I've been trying to get into the Christmas spirit by making a few tree ornaments. I'm more and more moving away from commerical baubles and towards the more traditional straw stars that I grew up with and homemade knitted and crocheted ornaments. They are more meaningful to me and the boys love them.

A few weeks ago a friend gave me an old magazine pattern for knitted ornaments. There are even instructions to do a whole crib scene so I may attempt that for next year. For this year, with only the few days left until Christmas, I have kept to smaller projects like this little snowman. Isn't he sweet?

The star you can see above is a Bethlehem Star, another quick and fun project. I've crocheted about 6 of them by now but haven't had a chance to take pictures of them all. 

In other news, the scarf that I cast on for to teach boy #3 how to knit is coming on nicely. It's just some left-over Stylecraft acrylic yarn, accented with a bit of leftover Manos, but I think it's going to be nice and warm. 

Boy #3 has long given up on his ambition to learn to knit, but he's being very bossy about me knitting - every time I work on something that isn't his scarf he starts telling he off! He'll have to show a bit of patience, though, because I've run out of yarn now and had to order another ball to get to a decent length. 

I'm not sure if I'm going to get a chance to update before the big day so if I don't I wish you all a lovely and peaceful Christmas, hopefully with your loved ones right around you. xx

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Es weihnachtet sehr...

I can't even translate that. Something like 'it really christmasses'?! 
In any case, that's what's happening. Only two weeks left!! We feel fairly sorted this year and I've even managed to write a few few cards and letters - I haven't sent them off yet, mind, so I should probably not feel too smug.

It's been a year with a lot of ups and downs around here, and my very intermittent blogging is testament to that. You would think that not being at work would mean that I have a bit more time, but it's been busy, so so busy, and my days are physically and emotionally challenging. Not necessarily in a bad way I should say, and we've had many good moments although there have also been difficult times. All in all we are all the better for it I think, and have weathered whatever this year chose to throw at us. Our family is close and with me at home so much, and D trying to take time off for holidays I think we've all enjoyed a sort of reassuring togetherness, taking strength and comfort from each other and supporting each other. But there hasn't been a lot of 'me' time. I've not minded it much, but it's a healthy thing to have, and this coming year I'd like to reclaim some of that.

There's been crafting, of course, but often I've found it difficult to take time to photograph and document makes and I'm hoping to catch up on old FOs over the coming weeks (there've got to be some perks to being 'fairly sorted' for Christmas, right?!).

I've finally finished the Ribbed Sweater by Katrine Hammer. I don't particularly enjoy knitting vast swathes of ribbed fabric, and this was even slower because it was knitted into the row below. I do like the resulting squishy fabric though, and I absolutely LOVE the sweater and have been wearing it nonestop - I've not even given it its first wash, just cast off, sewed the ends in and put it on. 

I'll try to get some better pictures in the next few days (perhaps I can persuade boy #1) but for now these will have to do.

I've also been pottering, off and on, and I'm hoping to  get at least one batch of Christmas ornaments done before the big event. Betty the big kiln has been on 3 times now and each time her temperature was a little off - my biscuit firings seem to be a little low, judging by the pyrometric cones, and my one glaze firing was a little on the high side. Not quite sure what to make of it, but it's not so critical for biscuit firings and if I aim my glaze firing for a mid-way temperature it also shouldn't matter too much if I am 10 degrees over or under since most glazes have a range.

With that in mind I've been painting a bit today. A couple of years ago I did a few ornaments, but only glazed them on one side. They are great for wreaths, but not so good for the tree since you might end up seeing the unglazed side.

I've now constructed a sort of holding mechanism and I'm hoping to glaze the ornaments hanging so I'm painting both sides. Fingers crossed it'll all work out. 

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