Wednesday, 31 July 2013

WIP Wednesday 155: Pretence of Normality

Fenestra Tarot

As you can tell by the fact that I'm posting, I am feeling MUCH better - I am still totally aware of the dodgy tooth, but there is no pain right now - and please may it stay that way right through my next dental visit too. Oddly enough, I have somewhat lost my appetite for food that needs chewing, and the weather is far too hot for soup, so the plus side to all these shenanigans might be a little weight loss.

I was so discombobulated by the drama, lack of sleep and pain that I couldn't even knit, so I made up for lost time yesterday, with Mini Diva's Grade 6 School Cardigan. She is worried that by the time I finish it, it will no longer fit her as she is growing like a proverbial weed, but I have anticipated this, and added a bit of extra length to the body and sleeves.

Another vintage pattern from the charity shop, it looks a bit dated I think mainly because of the photography and the spot-on length of the sleeves at the wrist:

Sirdar DK 4122 says it is a 'tunic' but I call it a nice bum-warming winter cardigan; and it has the huge advantage of pockets. The cabling detail, which is also on the back, stops this from becoming a totally boring project to make. Grade 6 get to wear cool black instead of ooky jade, which is a little hard on my eyes for totally different reasons:

This is a cheap  inexpensive no-name acrylic (£1.00/approx. $1.52 for 100g, no yardage given on the label), but it is knitting up quite nicely, and will of course be better for a soothing wash; I bought 4 balls, and with one complete ball and a bit left, have only the right front, button bands and sewing up to go, so I am pretty hopeful I have enough yarn to complete it. 

Pop over to Tami's Amis where I am sure there are no worrisome toothaches slowing things down .....

Monday, 29 July 2013

Gloria Gaynor Iz Me

Hanson-Roberts Tarot

I don't know if I can make a coherent sentence right  now, but just for you, I'll give it a go: I had little if any sleep last night, as the intermittent toothache that has been grumbling recently returned in such whacking great force that I was sucking down any and all painkillers that I could find in the house by the handful. Yes, that includes the kids' Calpol - I was that desperate.

First thing this morning I was on the phone to the dentist where I thought I was registered and where I regularly take the kids for their checkups; the receptionist who has retained her job for quite a while in spite of her total lack of any people skills whatsoever told me that since I had not visited for myself since 2006 (I know, I know) that I no longer counted as registered, and would have to call the NHS 111 number for an emergency dentist.

I did that, and having answered all the 111 lady's questions - which incidentally and happily for me showed that I was not having either a heart attack, stroke or bleeding to death - I obtained yet another phone number, this time for some kind of emergency dental portal thingy.

I explained my piteous story again to the dental lady, who promptly gave me a special secret squirrel code, which magically granted me access to an emergency appointment, safely past Cerberus, Hell's Receptionist .... to my own old dentist.

No, I have no idea how that works.

I actually got there like a grown-up, unaccompanied and under my own steam (as opposed to being dragged kicking and screaming, like usual) and in time. The dentist and his assistant were lovely and friendly even though I was wide-eyed with panic, sweating and shaking like an over-raced horse; he took one look and said that I would most likely have to have the tooth removed, but for now he would put some special stuff on it that would hold everything including the pain at bay until I could return for a regular appointment. 

I begged and implored, I wailed and emphatically did NOT gnash my teeth asking him to remove it now this minute please .... No, you're right, I didn't, actually - the pain was only 9.9 out of 10, still not quite enough for me to request any kind of treatment involving needles. He said this paste would be working within 3 hours.

It didn't feel like it to me, so a quick trip to the pharmacy up the road where I got lots of sympathy, massive doses of ibuprofen and some topical stuff containing actual Lidocaine (OH WHAT JOY) greatly improved things so that I was able to doze off for a nap on the sofa with the cat.

What ?  

Yes, Moonheart - the cat whose attack resulted in a pus-filled A&E date night for DH and me. She loves me, though, with lots of purrs and cuddles. I guess like goes to like.

And now I have a return visit to the dentist scheduled which will weigh over me as heavy as an elephant hanging by a frazzled old little piece of fraying string. I have focussed on my goal, which I hope will give me the inner fortitude to survive the coming oral traumas:

Big Girl Pants will be mine again soon.

Friday, 26 July 2013

FO Friday 148: Colorful Chores

Spiral Tarot

School was finally out for summer on Tuesday. I spent Wednesday blitzing the house and laundry; the kids did an excellent job of mucking out their rooms (I am not ashamed to admit that bribery was key in getting this done). Thursday I spent in the sauna created by lots of steam ironing, rewarded by a trip to the library, and Friday involved a treat trip to Morrisons' bakery department - I have a thing about their 'secret centre' muffins, especially the lemon variety. It is hot and sunny, we have stayed up late and got up late. I love it.

And with all the ooky chores about done (in spite of the couple of thunderstorms, the ground is still too hard and dry to weed, don't you think ? Yes, I thought so too), today I have a job that I am looking forward to:

This is my stash of fat quarters. I was just going to put them into tidier piles and put them back into the shoe  storage boxes. However, Mini Diva has informed me that I have no taste whatsoever, and that she will be in charge of putting them into some kind of color family order, and some may simply have to go, as what was I thinking even buying that color ?!

Speaking of what was I thinking (answer: nothing, of course) I was privately gloating recently over a score of Malabrigo Lace at a superb price from someone's destash. On my monitor, it looked blue, and the colorway is called 'Sky' - so I snapped it up, knowing what fabulously soft and amazing yarn Malabrigo is, after making this shawl in the 'Jewel' colorway a couple of years ago:

Waves of Leaves Shawl, 2011

This is what arrived:

The colorway name 'Sky' must have been referring to an overcast winter sky. In remotest Scotland. On the coldest day of the year, just before a nasty freezing sleet starts to soak you from above. Gray is simply one of those colors that is too subtle and classy for me to fully appreciate as it no doubt deserves.

So wasn't it lucky that in the same destash I also obtained this ?


I can totally see why these yarns were in a destash ! For the same but different/opposing color reasons, if you see what I mean.

Perhaps Mini Diva may have a point about my taste ..... so go and see some lovely examples over at Tami's Amis.

Friday, 19 July 2013

FO Friday 147: Stripes and Holes

Tarot of Durer

And here we are at the end of another week, one full of Sports Days, flute concerts, and other high jinks - but today's is the bestest: as it is the final Friday of term (2 days left to go, Monday and Tuesday next week. No, I have NO clue why) , I am meeting Belo for lunch, and later we are going to the park with wine after school. Me and the other mums, that is; our kids shall run riot and terrorize the squirrels as we melt gently while swigging from an alcoholic bottle through a straw.

So, since shedding my conscience and responsibilities is kind of a very slow work in progress, I can't stay for long as I feel I must at least leave the house with a clean floor, just in case of burglars, aka, Clean Knicker Syndrome.*

I'll just quickly show you the completed striped and cabled baby sweater, Patons Fairytale DK 8356, made using King Cole Comfort Baby DK:

And the back view, to show you what the edge near the cable should have looked like on the front too:

There is, as you know, a plus side to everything: and this one is that it shows that I am no longer an anally retentive control freak, since I have allowed the 'design feature' to remain. Personal growth is such a bummer.

And the other finished object for the day ? These:

No, oddly enough, this is not proof of Bigfoot's existence (she has Shrek aka DH's genes, she is 10 and has bigger feet than me) - these are Mini Diva's school shoes, the second pair this term - which means that they are less than 6 weeks old.           

And there are 3 days left of summer term, so she may yet end up going to school in her slippers because I am NOT buying another pair of school shoes until September, when I expect she will have gone up another size or two.

some holes with a bit of shoe

It's not even like she walks - she cycles everywhere now as she's passed her proficiency test; so I really have no idea how she has managed to wreck these shoes so thoroughly.

Go see pretty things over at Tami's Amis .....

* Clean Knicker Syndrome: you must wear clean proper knickers every day just in case you get knocked down by a bus or a baby buggy and have to be taken in an ambulance to hospital. Because hospital people have never seen dirty or old underwear. 'Proper' means something white and cotton, and definitely not a thong or lacy, but something giving the impression that you are respectable by literally covering your butt.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

WIP Wednesday 153: Stripes But No Stars

Whimsical Tarot

Summer is here with a vengeance - so this is just a quick post in between bouts of slathering myself with vanilla body butter to try and offset the slight ... tan ... I got yesterday at Destructo Boy's Sports Day. I'll be fine though, I will soon go brown. Had it been my DH in the broiling sun for that length of time, he'd be setting off the smoke alarm just like his carbonized toast does.

While the Lee Target Vintage Cabled Baby Cardigan sulks in a corner ... Well actually no, you're totally right, it is me sulking, as the stallholder where I bought the yarn from is on holiday until next week meaning I cannot buy the yarn to complete the project.

But you'll be glad to hear that I have been sulking productively at least. Using King Cole Comfort Baby DK - which is super dooper soft and squooshy - I have got quite to the end of the stripey baby sweater:

Mini Diva thinks I should have used a paler/lighter/more pastel blue, but I quite like this. And I shall leave it to you to spot the mistake design feature:

Yes, I guess I could have frogged it and re-done it. But it is colorwork and I used like 4 separate balls of yarn in each row or something and so there are lots of joins of color and twists and things and OK I admit it, I am simply too lazy to cope with the hassle: bite me.

Pop on over to see rather more perfection at Tami's Amis .....


Monday, 15 July 2013

Red Mist

Old English Tarot

So I've been merrily knitting away at the vintage cabled baby cardigan ...  well, that is quite a big lie - I haven't been merry about it at all, it just seems to go so slowly ... skinny string and skinny needles won't get an airing again any time soon, that's for sure.

But anyway because I am a grown-up and I know about the concepts of self-discipline and gratification that is not instant (a pretty abstract concept for me, true enough) I have doggedly persisted. I do like the design features such as the fronts, backs and borders all being knitted in one, I like raglan sleeves, and I especially like that I could see the light at the end of this little tunnel.

See ? Really nearly nearly done - underarms to seam, buttons (already purchased) to add, a wash and Bob's your uncle.

That light at the end of the tunnel ?

A train coming the other way.


See this ?

What's the deal here, Universe ? I am already cheating by doing the few seams in the only other red 4ply yarn I have, which is in no way a color match for this project. And then, right when I can visualize the triumphal crowd cheering my completed achievement, you drop kick my happy heart by letting me totally run out of yarn with one inch - ONE INCH, PEOPLE ! - of neck border left to go:

You couldn't make it up.

Friday, 12 July 2013

FO Friday 146: Not a Lot

Housewives Tarot

Well, this is an appropriate card for today: not only have I spent much of my time this week cleaning, I have also done a fair bit of organizing.

But that was after I gazed with enjoyment on the blooms of Sweet Magic and Sweet Dream: two lovely scented patio roses which are doing really well this year:

Follow my example and ignore the dandelion leaves. The white flowers in between the roses above is some form of clove pink or carnation, I forget which; also scented, they seem to be thriving too. Roses are both Destructo Boy's and my favorite flowers.

My newest rose is 'Absent Friends' a double peach floribunda - or whatever it is they call floribundas these days that I have of course forgotten; this too is sweetly scented - what's the point in growing a rose without a rose smell ? - as is the white true valerian ie. Valeriana officinalis not Centranthus ruber, that is lying down on the job in the middle of the bush.

I know, it looks more yellow than peach right now, but I did actually check the label: let's see how it turns over time. I think it's interesting that valerian root, a natural sedative, has a somewhat unpleasant musky dry smell, but that the flowers are so attractively and strongly fragrant.

Yes, there was a kind of actual FO this week: Wah- Lah !

The above picture shows my tidied, re-organized and sorted stash in my corner. I have invested heavily in wicker and scented drawer sachets. I have shifted my knitting needles to the glass vase the kids gave me for my birthday (or was it Mother's Day ?) as nobody ever gives me cut flowers. Yes, that was a piteous violin in the background. In fact, just for fun you can have some romantic violin played with passion in the foreground too:

I know, I surprise myself too sometimes.

See what else is finished this week over at Tami's Amis.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

WIP Wednesday 152: Planning Progress

Legacy of the Divine Tarot

 Today's mystery question: why do English people think a fruit salad involves apples and oranges ? If you are extremely lucky, you may find that the odd grape has been sacrificed as a nod to new-fangled ideas, and if you are unlucky there may be a squooshy slice or two of gently browning banana marinating in the juice at the bottom. Of all those fruits, I only like grapes - which explains why they are not included, of course.

Anyway. That was a mere diversionary tactic so that you will be tempted to overlook my lack of achievement this week. Well, achievement that I want to talk about publicly - whatever it is/was found moldering behind the sofa when I moved it in order to clean behind it for the 1st time this year, I'm pretty sure is best left undisturbed until the type of life-form has at least been safely identified, if not quarantined.

No, I only wish I found packages like this behind the sofa. This was actually left by the postman this morning. Can you guess what it is ?

No ? Shame on you, I thought you'd have a pretty good idea of what sneaks into my post in my vain attempt to camouflage the bills that cascade through the letter box.

I know. I can't believe it either. Of course, it is more new yarn that of which I was in desperate need. That is, unless you are my long-suffering and unsurprisingly poverty-stricken husband reading this post - in which case, I found this load of old tut at the bottom of the wardrobe next to that old blue Laura Ashley skirt that I will look so fetching in.

Well, you know how it is: you find a pretty pattern for an afghan, and swept away in the recent excitement of crochet that is not Granny Squares, it becomes the last planned project #116 in your Queue that is four pages long, for which you must instantly acquire all the necessary materials. Like, you know, now.

This is the Sunshine Floral Afghan from Under Cover: 60 Afghans to Knit and Crochet. Except I will use blue, pink, green and cream to make it a Floral Afghan without any Sunshine, as those colors better suit the decor in Mini Diva's bedroom.

Oh yes. Here is the progress which I am trying not to highlight as it is slower than an arthritic slug:

I have started a sleeve. I shall need to make two, though. The smallness is not making it go any quicker. If I were you, I'd go see some real progress over at Tami's Amis ....

PS. there is a seemingly random tag in the list today - but I promise you it is linked to the topic, if you think about it.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Summer is Icumen

Whimsical Tarot

Well, it's official - summer is here for at least a week and Andy Murray is the Wimbledon Champion. I am expecting a lightning strike or a lottery win at any moment. No, today I don't feel my expectations are unrealistic at all, actually.

But instead of chatting with you all, I am off outside without sunscreen or even a hat - oh yes, I live right on the dangerous ragged edge, I do: me and that crazy Wallenda chap are twins, did you know ? - to tackle the mammoth job that is the annual re-potting of houseplants.

DH is always surprised at how many plants our window sills and shelves hold; for me, a house is not a home without some living green in it.

And since I am female and as you know, we are ALL about multi-tasking, I am washing all my living room curtains too. Which of course means that I am cleaning the windows as well. And all this simply because the sun is out, it is warm, and I am bored, bored, bored with tiny skinny knitting on tiny skinny needles.

Why yes, there is some wine chilling in the fridge, I wonder how you guessed ?

Friday, 5 July 2013

FO Friday 145: Wowsers !

The Animism Tarot

       Well, there I was strolling around the interwebz looking for another Sun - and look what I found ! Isn't this card amazing ?

It's from the Animism Tarot, a deck created by Jo from  at Rainbow of Crazy; here is her Etsy shop, also full of pretty animal things that are full of vibrant color and whimsy. This deck just really appeals to me - I like the style, the art, the colors, its personality. No, I'm not Jo or related to her, nor do I owe her money. Yet.

Anyway. I can now reveal the two shawls I made from Knit Picks Chroma Fingering in the 'Seaweed' colorway; first was another Mrs.Tumnus Shawl, a pattern from my friend Eskimimi; this version is 'Mrs.Tumnus by the Sea', because of the colorway:

I am really pleased with how it came out - the subtle colors of the yarn really suit the pattern, I think.
 If you recall, knitting the Mrs.Tumnus was the wicked price I had to pay in order to have a boxload of Knit Picks yarn sent to me from my friend Paula in the USA. However, I had been sent two balls, for just in case, and this shawl only used one; what to do, what to do .... ?

I'll make a different shawl with the other ball !

Here is the Glissade Shawl, in the same yarn:


I finished these a little while ago, but I didn't want to post photos until they had been delivered - along with some sneaky English tea, jam and shortbread. I like to look after my enablers. And fortunately, Paula likes both shawls and titbits, so I let her think she is the winner in our deal.

And my crochet achievement that I'm crowing about today is the Heirloom Lace Baby Afghan by Terry Kimbrough:

I used a 5mm/USA H hook and just about 3 balls of Cygnet DK, 2 pale blue and 1 white - I had just enough blue left to edge the border; then I trimmed it with narrow navy satin ribbon to give it what I fondly visualize as a swanky finishing touch.

I found the pattern to be straightforward - the ripping back(s) involved was my own fault for making some silly mistakes - but it is easier and quicker to rip out and repeat than knitting, at least. My stitch gauge was spot on; row gauge .....  not so much.


The yarn itself has washed up nice and soft too, all ready for the Nephew (August 2013 Edition).

While I run away and play outside in the real sunshine, pop over to Tami's Amis and see all the other pretty things on show today .....