Wednesday, 29 August 2012

WIP Wednesday 108: Two to Tango

Spiral Tarot

Almost lunchtime, and what have I done today ?

Pretty much nothing: slept late, fed the kids breakfast (including one of Mini Diva's BFFs who was here on a sleepover), fed the cats, fed the dog, did one load of washing, showered, played Top 5 with Destructo Boy to distract him from his sister being mean ....

And took a couple of photos for Work in Progress Wednesday, even though they make for dismal viewing in terms of progress; firstly, the little blankey I am making for Auntie Fashion from her choice of blingy yarn, James C.Brett's Moonlight  Sonata in the green colorway very unimaginatively called 'SM7'.

I actually really like this yarn, even when you can't see the sparkle; it's approx. £4.99/$7.90 for 100g/500m, so good value, and is lovely and soft too: plus the10% mohair gives it a pretty halo. Although I adjusted the colors, the picture doesn't really do justice to this yarn's vibrancy of turquoise, blues and greens. I'm using a modified version of the 'Branching Out' pattern; and - just like the last time I did it, as a scarf - one that is not to be knitted when tired or attempting to multi-task ....

And then there is my WIP of Shame, aka Destructo Boy's school sweater:

Which has not moved on at all because I'm bored with the cabling. Still, this is what I shall be knitting after making lunch as there is exactly one week to go before school starts; no doubt I shall find some company on either the Alibi or Eden channels. 

While I cannot justify any further procrastination right now, you, however, can continue yours by popping over to Tami's Amis and seeing how much further everyone else has got ....

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Clean and Green

Whimsical Tarot

So I didn't have any proper project - by which I mean something new - in mind last week, for while the kids were away at their Nanny's. Instead I wasted 8 or so hours of my life that I'll never get back, in cleaning and sorting the kids' bedrooms; a semi-annual clear-out that I can only do in their absence, in the interests of their survival.

Add one more full-to-capacity black bin bag to the photo below, and your mind must boggle, as mine did: since most of this was from Destructo Boy's room, the smallest bedroom, say, 9 foot by 7 foot ? And furthermore, most of it was from under his bed, which didn't need feet as it was surfing on the top of a wave of broken toys and other assorted random crap. I just don't know how he does it, unless there are Tardis-like aspects that we have not as yet considered; as you know, physics is not my strong suit.

His conversation since his return has been peppered with ''Oh my, look, you found X ! And 
Y ! And I forgot ALL about that I even HAD Z ! And wow ! I thought this was broken, but you found it and fixed it ! Oh wow, thanks so much I love you !'' which has been quite rewarding, it must be said.

The only other properly useful thing I did was to re-pot all the houseplants, after an emergency trip with Belo to B&Q when I realized that I had nowhere near enough pots for the job:

I used a whole 50 litre bag of compost, and took loads of offcuts and plantlets as well as potting on:

If you noticed the dirty windows, in my defence, they are on the 1st floor, on the outside - I shall pinch my neighbor's window-cleaner when he is next here, I promise. The only room I forgot to take a photo of was the kitchen windowsill, which has 3 pelargoniums on it currently, one of which is my citrus-scented specialty that I am desperately trying to rescue from the oblivion of some kind of black stem rot - I took a cutting from the main plant before it succumbed, it's whether I got it in time and also if it takes ... Wish me luck.

And in this final week of the school holidays, I have yet to complete Destructo Boy's school sweater,which is a bit of a chore as the cabling is boring me, but I am a Grown Up and I have Discipline. Or so I keep telling myself ....

Monday, 20 August 2012

Lazy Day

Darkana Tarot

So I had a lovely weekend, in spite of choosing to wear a linen blouse and skirt to make a 3 hour drive to Kent on the hottest day of the year so far: can we say, 'pointless' ?

Because although it kept me somewhat cooler than I might otherwise have been, one can only wear linen if one never sits down; and certainly not in a hot car for 3 hours or so; unless - of course - one is aspiring to achieve that whole 'alcoholic consul in an equatorial banana republic' look that Denholm Elliot did so well.

Unfortunately, it may have been worse than that - I feel I may have looked as damply disshevelled as Kathleen Turner:

 However, the warm welcome and family birthday barbeque made it all worthwhile. No, it has nothing to do with the fact that we also left the kids behind for a week with Nanny for their annual visit, I promise. Conversation did not flag on the journey home, as DH I and had a lively exchange of views discussing the influence of existentialism on Art.

Yes, you're correct - that last bit was absolutely a total lie; I can't actually remember what we talked about, but it was interesting and we had lots of fun and laughter.

Sunday was spent lounging around doing nothing that I can talk about publicly, apart from a quick trip to buy French bread, wine, olives and pate, as an additional reminder of what our lives were like B.K (Before Kids).

Today DH is at work, and as - unusually - I have no project in mind for the eye of the typhoon that is our house when the kids aren't in it, I have spent today eating cherries and reading rubbishy books that have few if  any redeeming features - I had no idea that the supernatural/paranormal sector of fantasy fiction had it's own sub-genre of murder/mystery/sex/romance where lycanthropy can meld almost seamlessly with daywalking vampires, graphic S&M, genetic manipulation and conspiracy theories. My mind has been quite well and truly boggled, let me tell you..

Obviously, I have not smoked enough of the right stuff, or else I would have come up with this vapid incarnation of porn, and be sitting on a beach in Barbados right now counting my money. And no, I am not talking about 50 Shades of Grey which at least has the excuse of being very poorly written fan-fiction.

Anyway, enough of the bitter envy mixed with mocking derision; having shared the cherries with the dog, I must now fall back to red seedless grapes. But - alas ! I have no-one to peel them for me.


Friday, 17 August 2012

FO Friday 100: My Precioussssss

Oh yeah, baybee ! 

Two FOs today, and they are both MINE ! As in, I have made them for ME, and myself and I ! Which are the first things I have made for myself since I took up knitting again in 2008 - a mere 2 items out of (runs to check Ravelry projects page) 108 projects. So as you can tell, I am dead chuffed with both them and myself.


The first one was completed a couple of weeks ago; the 70% lambswool/30% silk aran chenille yarn, at 200m/100g was a great Ebay find, produced by Kingcraig Fabrics, and gifted to me as a late birthday present by my Good and Eviller Twins; a lovely shade of crimson-ruby:

And over the space of 17 days, I turned 4 balls of it into this: 

The Sienna cardigan from the Dolce Handknits book; I wished I had made the body a bit longer, as I do like an oversize woollie, but it is lovely. DH kindly took the photos for me, without regard for the background ....
And look ! I have 4 balls (approx. 800m) to make something else as well !

And then last night I finished Fitzroy, from the same book, in navy and white Rico Cotton Aran:

detail of Fitzroy pattern

There was no-one to model it, and no-one to take a photo of me in it if I modelled it, so here it doesn't show at it's best, hanging flat from a hanger; but I shall also wash and block it today, which will be the finishing touch. The Rico Cotton Aran was a lovely soft yarn to knit with, too.

There are quite a few more knittable and wearable patterns in the book; the yarns are clearly detailed so substitution in not a problem, and the patterns are very clear, with full instructions - I'll definitely buy it at some point, as I can't just keep renewing it from the library forever ...

So go and share the joy over at Tami's Amis - I can't be the only one who is this happy today.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

WIP Wednesday 106: Lady Sings the Blues

Fenestra Tarot

Although I love this pattern, and the Rico Cotton Aran is a great yarn, unfortunately there has been a short hiatus in my progress with Fitzroy (from the Dolce Handknits book):

It's called, forgetting you'd modified the body to be longer because you are past the age of way too classy to be displaying your stomach in public and so now, you fool, you have run out of yarn when halfway up the sleeves. A quick call to Knitworking meant I could snabble a couple more balls of the same dyelot in the navy colorway - this is the plus side of buying yarn and using it for a project immediately, rather than letting it gaze at you accusingly from your stash.

And thus we arrive at today:


All there is to do now is sew it up, add the neck border, and 6 buttons. Perhaps you might see a picture on Friday, but don't hold your breath.

While I was waiting for the top-up yarn to be delivered, I thought I'd better crack on with Destructo Boy's sweater for school, and managed to whizz through the back:

 The pattern is Sirdar 1912, using that great workhorse yarn, Stylecraft Special DK. I have made this pattern a couple of times now, both as tank tops and sweaters. He has promised - on pain of death - that not only will he wear it when it is cold at Christmas time, he will not lose this one. I am ever the optimist, so I maintain an open mind about it.

Don't forget to pop over to Tami's Amis for lots more project updates .....

Monday, 13 August 2012

On The Huh

Old English Tarot

Firstly, a definition of the phrase 'on the huh'.

It's been an odd couple of weeks, for two main reasons: firstly, I got totally sucked into the Olympics, way more than usual: a fantastic atmosphere, and superb achievements for Team GB. I thought the Opening Ceremony was brilliant: quintessentially and therefore eccentrically English, with lots of in-jokes for the natives. The Closing Ceremony was somewhat more ... random ... in nature and quality, and came across as a bit of a disorganized afterthought with poor sound quality.

Secondly, I've been discombobulated because DH was home for a while last week. Three weeks ago, he had an eye test because his vision was fuzzy in one eye; he came out with reading glasses - cue much hilarity from the children (and only a little bit from me). The optometrist said she'd referred him to the hospital, just in case. He didn't think to ask, ''just in case of what ?''.

An appointment for the Eye Clinic was phoned through to him, for Monday 30th July; and after a few hours during which we sat around waiting, and also a scan, a thorough examination and a fluorescein angiography, he was told he could go home and someone would be in touch. 

Just in case you didn't already know, it is never a good thing when a clinician who is a consultant says that you are/this is unusual, and goes to get their supervisor, who is a more senior consultant; and then they both say that you are about 30 or 40 years too young for the state of your eye while ooh-ing, aah-ing and umm-ing over your scans.

For a while it was looking like it might be age-related 'wet' macular degeneration, except DH is too young. I got a phone call last Monday to say they wanted him in on Wednesday for treatment. They have determined that it is choroidal neovascularization; a clear simile I found was that new blood vessels grow through your retina like weeds do through a sidewalk.

However, the treatment for the time being is the same as for AMD: 3 injections over 3 months. 

''What's the problem ?'' you might ask. ''Condition diagnosed very quickly, and it's good that it's treatable. Right ? ''

Which is totally true, and I am truly grateful for that. But I had to then call DH to tell him he had to take time off work, get to the hospital on Wednesday to have an injection into his eye. Yes, you read that right the first time. And then that he wouldn't be able to drive for a few days. And that he would have to notify the DVLA. You will, of course, remember that my DH drives this for a living:

44 ton articulated Mercedes truck

So I am purposely not even entertaining the idea of XVI The Tower, or even of XII The Hanged Man.

DH, of course, has been perfectly stoic and amazingly brave about the whole thing so far; while I was telling him about the appointment for the needle in his eye, a neo-natal ambulance flashed past him with blue lights and sirens going. As he said, there are far worse and darker places to be.

Monday, 6 August 2012

A Modern Just So Story

Whimsical Tarot

Hear and attend and listen, O my Best Beloved: as a child, I adored (and still do) the charming 'Just So Stories' of Rudyard Kipling: the ones which explained why the Cat always walks by himself, and how the Rhinoceros got his skin, amongst other amazing evolutionary tales; they were always so much more interesting and plausible than adult biological explanations.

So following that train of thought like a dilapidated, rusty and squeaky-wheeled caboose hooked onto the Orient Express, today I present to you part of the story 'How Destructo Boy Got His Name'.

Firstly, look at this:

Nothing really unusual for a 6 1/2 year old boy in this photo of muddy, bruised legs and scuffed old trainers. Let's have a close-up of the shoes, shall we ?

These are not archeological finds from before Noah's time; these are a maximum of 6 weeks old. They have been worn almost constantly and daily since the summer holidays started 2 weeks ago, with the tongues out in front of the laces as you can see here, since that is the prevailing fashion amongst Da Boiz.

The condition of the shoes is related to the condition of this:

Once upon a time, not that long ago, O My Beloved, this was a wheel. Perfectly round and thus perfectly shaped to do its job of providing movement to a stunt scooter. 

''Aaaah'' I hear you say. ''But wheels do not have straight edges, or else they would not go round smoothly, but would bumpetybump instead.''

And you would be exactly right and correct.  

This particular wheel had the misfortune to belong to Destructo Boy's scooter. Destructo Boy has been making very good and frequent use of his brake, which works by pressing down on this back wheel. It has been pressed down so hard and so often that it has squared the circle.

But there is Magic even in these degenerate modern times, and thus via eBay, this was obtained:

Marvel at its perfect shiny roundness and the majesty of its purpleness !

Attend and listen ! for the tale is almost told, O Best Beloved.

To maintain the round newness, circular shape and non-bumpety rideness of the new wheels, Destructo Boy has transcended using his effective but square-making scooter brake, and has been slowing and stopping his scooter by .... using his shoes.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Pendulum Swings

New Palladini Tarot

 Two actual conversations that I've had this week with Destructo Boy:

Conversation #1, in town, at a closing down sale of a shoe shop:

DB: Mum, if you want any of these shoes, I'll buy them for you with my own money. Even if you want all of them.

Me: Aaaw, hun, that's really nice of you, thank you ! Why would you do that ?

DB: Because you're my Mum and I love you lots.

 Conversation #2, in the kitchen:

Me: Phew, something is really stinky in here, I think we need to take the trash out.

DB: No offence, Mum, but it might be you because you haven't had a shower yet.