Wednesday, 22 July 2009

FO: Dolly

Finally. The finishing took a bit of time - it's such a nice little knit, but the finishing is a bit time consuming... every time I make one (I think this is the third one), I think there must be an easier way of doing this, but I havent yet bothered to work out what that is.

Item: Dolly from JB29 by Martin Storey
Yarn: Patons 4 ply (I think), 100% wool
Time taken: a while! April-July 2009
Mods: picked up and knit the stitches for the ties, rather than sewing them on separately. No other mods.

Now that's Out Of The Way, there are other things to get on with. I really need to knit a hat for a friend's upcoming birthday, but instead, I have cast on for a childrens cardigan from the Rowan Family Collection. I decided that it would be a relatively quick project, and that it would make a useful inroad into my stash, which is still overflowing - although things are easing slightly. Last night I was able to organise some of the overflow into one of the storage tables, so something must have happened!

I'm knitting the cardigan using some balls of Jaeger Prelude which I picked up in a charity shop for 50p per ball. It's washable - but has some woolliness - and should make quite a good children's garment. Hopefully it will be fairly gender neutral, although it's primarily destined for a smallish girl. I managed a few rows over lunch today, while I was flicking through the Rowan magazine and newsletter which arrived through my letter box this morning. Mmm.

Monday, 13 July 2009


We're having quite a nice summer this year - one with warmth and sunshine and a bit of rain here and there. Despite various hiccoughs this weekend, I managed to get a few things done:. One baby hat. Tick. Dolly(cardigan) knitted and now blocking. 3 jars of pink grapefruit marmalade. Tick. A batch of lemon and raspberry muffins. Tick. Haircut. Tick.

Maybe its the late pregnancy nesting kicking in, or just the weather, or just the cricket.... but I'm in a domestic frenzy at the moment, constantly thinking of the next thing to finish, to start, to do - whilst at the same time entertaining an energetic 2 1/2 year old who needs regular watering and feeding and constant potty encouragement.... (I wont mention the episode in the post office).

Just while I'm on the pregnancy thing: the very good folk at the Pregnancy and Parents Centre in Edinburgh are fundraising at the moment. The PPC (formerly Birth Resource Centre) is a very good thing - they offer lots of different types of support and activities for pregnant women and parents with young children. I find their antenatal yoga classes really helpful - and did last time I was pregnant too - and have had good support from local women including doulas and midwives through their homebirth support group. They do lots of other stuff too - baby music, birth preparation workshops, breastfeeding support.... check out their timetable for details and pass on to anyone you know who is pregnant or lives with small people....

If anyone is inclined, then you can donate directly via their website, or you can email them if you have any bright ideas about helping them to raise some cash. I've made one or two suggestions, and if you live on the southside of Edinburgh, then you can 'vote' for the PPC in this month's community matters draw at Waitrose. Shoppers spending more than £10 can receive a token to place in the box, and at the end of the month £1000 will be divided between the 3 local causes depending on the tokens they receive.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

FO: Danish Blue socks

Here are the danish blue socks in all their glory and in use. Finished at last!

Pattern: generic top down pattern

Yarn: Bumbo sock yarn with Aloe Vera (bought in Denmark)

Now that these socks, and Wimbledon, are over, it's time for something else. The new series of Torchwood has me hooked, and while I watch I'm doing my best to crank through the small and very pink Dolly that I started earlier in the year. Last night I finished both fronts (knit at the same time) and started the back. Oh yes, and if Torchwood wasnt diverting enough, there's also the Tour de France and the Ashes to keep my inner sports enthusiast on edge...

Saturday, 4 July 2009


Late June and early July is a time for celebration in our house. It's my birthday at the end of June, and as always I enjoyed a family time with cards and treats from my nearest and dearest.

Among these this year was Jane Brocket's lovely book 'The Gentle Art of Domesticity'. I've been dipping in and and out of this since it was unwrapped, and have ever since been fighting a strong desire to do some quilting. I've been nurturing some plans to take up quilting for a while, particularly since inheriting my grandmothers patchwork stash, with its handstitched hexagons backed with individual templates cut from cards and magazines... The bean has recently started sleeping in a bed rather than a cot, and I'd really like to make him a quilt top to cover his bed, using up some of his great grandmothers fabrics and various things I've got lurking in my stash. Reading Jane Brocket's book is in danger of sending me over the edge, but I know I've got other things to finish off first....

As well as family pleasures, we managed to venture out for some grown-up celebrations, and spent a lovely evening with old friends at a dinner dance organised by New Destiny, a charity working with children and young people in Brazil. One of our friends volunteered for them a couple of years ago, and helped them to build a safe house in a Brazilian slum. The work they do is important and sobering, but the evening was also fun, and I was more than astonished to win a prize in the after-dinner raffle. Just what I need: a posh haircut in Stockbridge!

As well as my birthday, we celebrate our wedding anniversary around now. 4 wonderful years of married life, one son and a soon-to-be-born babe adding to the pleasure. Happy Anniversary dear husband.

Finally, a huge congratulations to Clare and Andy, who recently celebrated the arrival of baby Emily a little earlier than anticipated (34 weeks). Best wishes to all including big sister Abigail - we hope you are well.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Finishing off...

July is all about finishing things off. I'm trying to work my way through an endless list of work tasks before starting my maternity leave, AND to hoover up various knitting and stitching WIPs which are cluttering my mind as well as the house. It's part of the tidying we (I) need to do before the new baby arrives.

Since we came back from holiday, I've made/finished:
- a sundress for a first birthday
- one pair of repurposed red trousers for the bean
- and, the socks I took on holiday...

Alas, because there was a bit of a rush to make the dress I did not take any photos before sending it off in the post. But, we've had a lovely thank you card, so I hope that means the dress is vaguely the right size and shape! Happy birthday Harper!

The repurposed red trousers were made with cut offs from a favourite pair of red trews of mine which had the audacity to wear out! They were fabulous in many ways: I bought them in a sale, they were one or two sizes smaller than I normally wear, they didnt fade at all even after several years of wearing and washing and their in-built stretch meant that they were comfortable to wear. What more could a girl ask for? Anyway, once they had given way in the upper thigh, I cut off the salvageable parts of the legs, and turned them into a pair of toddler trousers. I used a favourite pair of the bean's trousers as a pattern. Because I did not taper the legs in any way, the finished trousers ended up slightly on the flared side (actually, they were quite hilariously flared). Perfect for the late 1970s, but not quite so fashionable now. To cure this malady in the most minimalist way, I elasticated the cuffs - again using the original trousers as a pattern (these also have elasticated cuffs).

The socks have been plodding for some while now, but now that Wimbledon is on (c'mon Andy!), I've been making the effort to pick them up everytime I stop to watch a set or two. Yesterday I finished sock no. 2 - but discovered that I had a reasonable length of yarn leftover. Although I am not normally a perfectionist about such things, in this case I decided it would be worth the effort to lengthen the leg of each sock and use absolutely every gram of this vibrant yarn. So, they are finished, sort of.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


Before I share anything else, I must say something about the fabulous holiday we had in the Scillies at the end of May/beginning of June.

We were blessed with 7 days of stunning weather, and enjoyed cloudless camping for a week - which certainly made things a whole lot easier when it came to entertaining and occupying an energetic 2 year old. We still wonder what we would have done if it had been dreich and cold for days on end.... but it wasnt, and we enjoyed ourselves mightily in the sunshine.

The bean learned a lot about the possibilities of sandy beaches, and the enjoyment that comes from squashing whatever it is that your dad has lovingly and carefully constructed (castle, moat, car), as well as the joys of paddling in clear blue-green water. We also had lots of fun looking at and going on boats, looking out for helicopters and eating the occasional ice-cream. It was lovely.

[Oh yes, and the bump didnt get in the way too much, although I did sometimes find getting up off the floor a bit of a struggle...!]