Friday, 10 June 2011

Smitten Shmitten

Well now. The sun may be shining, but there are clouds overhead, and poor old Drew has gone back to the drawing (drew-ing?) board.

So, having knit furiously up to the armholes and completed the back and started on one of the fronts, I took stock. Hmmm. Less than three balls of yarn used for a project that is supposed to take 9 balls. Hmm. And, only 21cm below the armhole for something meant to fit a 4-5 yr old, even before washing/shrinking. Hmmmmm.

It wasn't stacking up. I checked on Ravelry, and I think there's only one completed Drew (perhaps that says something), which had the comment that it came up small. A forum post about the pattern and yarn requirement mismatch generated various comments mostly saying 'dont forget the hood' - which is a bit bamboozling as this pattern doesn't have a hood, but anyway. I usually find Rowan patterns/sizing to be generous, so thought age 4-5 would be fine for my average/slim 4 1/2 year old son. Then I got the tape measure - you know like proper knitters do - and actually measured my son and a couple of his jackets, and have decided to start all over again. This time I am going to use the age 6-7 size in terms of chest size/width, but aim for something which is about the same length as the age 10-11 size. I hope I'll end up with a jacket which he can wear for a little while at least, and not something which is so short he'll grow out of it before I have had chance to sew the zipper in. 

I spend an unhappy half an hour or so on Wednesday morning frogging all the lovely stripes, and then I took a deep breath and started again. I went to an interesting lecture later on that day, and got on with the reknitting while Carolyn Steel talked about cities and food and her book 'Hungry City'. Food for thought. If you are interested at all in issues around food shopping and supermarkets and growing your own (which of course most people are) then it's worth having a look and/or listening to Carolyn speak. She is very passionate about her subject, and there is lots of interesting info on her website and blog.

Monday, 30 May 2011


The boys went out on Saturday to watch the rugby sevens at Murrayfield. While they were out I grabbed a little pile of Rowan Denim which has been marinading in the stash for a while. I swatched for Drew - something new to knit for the bean. I got gauge and cast on, and I'm smitten. I can't put it down, even though there are a million other things to do like finish Grace, plant out the runner beans, hoover up the dust bunnies, make the supper, write a presentation for Wednesday. You know how it is. I can't stop. It's only been on the needles since Saturday afternoon and I'm almost at the armholes. It's yummy. I love the feel of the fabric in my hands.

My stash of Rowan Denim doesnt quite run to the required 9 balls of one colour/dye lot, so I'm going all stripey instead. The bean declared yesterday that he "...doesnt like stripes..." but he added that when it's finished, then he might like them then. I'm smitten, even if he isnt (yet). And, as he is only 4, I like to think I'll be able to make him wear it anyway.

Betty is looking pretty good too, but she's one for a quiet corner when there is space and time and light to concentrate on the pattern and the increases (that's a lower cuff in case you're wondering).

The wild weather has kept us mostly inside this weekend. The wind has been incredible and both children have been blown over by it, making outside walks/adventures rather difficult. The sun has been glorious, but the showers frequent and heavy and the wind very, very strong. I managed a few minutes of gardening between the showers, earthing up the spuds and weeding the denuded rows of salad and beetroot. Pesky slugs.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


A few FOs to record and celebrate (it's been a long, long time coming). I foresee more in the next days...

upcycled baby wipes and an upcycled dribble bib (tutorial here)

my first home sewn nappy

oh, and this one isnt finished, but she's perfect in every way...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


The WIPs are getting a bit out of hand.

1. Grace is still OTN, but progress has been made. I've redone the button bands - with the correct number of buttonholes this time - and I've knitted the collar again but have a little modification in mind to make it look even better. Then there's the small matter of sewing it up...

2. The Java socks are not done. I'm just about ready to do the toe decreases on the first sock - but I need to check the length with DH's foot, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I dont have enough yarn to make two - which is a major drawback in a sock project.

3. My fingers were itching the other evening, so I cast on for a Betty (Rowan Winter Kids)in a lovely raspberry pink colour very similar to this (although it a substitute yarn) ...

4. The scarf is bimbling along. I am not expecting to finish this soon - it's my fall back project, something to grab when there's a chance of knitting a few rows here or there. The colours are gorgeous...

5. And then there's the sewing. We've been having a few nappy issues lately, and it's getting harder to wrangle the jelly bean (now almost 21 months) into her nappies because she's getting bigger, and they aren't, and there's been a lot of leaking and changing of clothes going on (particularly at nursery). For the most part we use Totsbot bamboozles - a shaped nappy made from bamboo terry, and we also have a couple of the Ella's house hemp nappy. The hemp nappies have a longer rise and fit better than the bamboozles now that the jelly bean is bigger. We love our cloth nappies, and have used them very happily for both of our babies. Given that we are hoping not to need them for too much longer, I have been experimenting. I have made a nappy!!

It makes me very happy. I'm not an accomplished seamstress (I find using a sewing machine awkward, no doubt because it is not designed for a left-hander) so I feel very pleased to have done this. Of course, things may yet unravel when we try it out for real, but so far so good. I used the hemp nappy as a template and constructed the new nappy from a single bamboo terry square and two layers of cotton flannel cut from a crib sheet/head cloth. I elasticated the waist/leg openings with regular elastic from my sewing box, and I'm now waiting for some aplix to arrive so that I can finish it off and try it out! While I had the machine out the other evening, I also got started on the pile of wipes and dribble bibs that I cut out a few weeks ago, and I ironed some patchwork pieces ready for stitching. It's satisfying to get things done...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

happiness is...

... clean washing on the washing line, blowing in the spring sunshine

... making easter decorations with my children

... collecting the mugs we painted for daddy's birthday surprise

... getting into a pilates class with my favourite teacher

... working at home on a sunny day, reading and marking dissertations in the garden

... a quiet house, waiting for the small ones to return from their adventures

... the last day of work before a week of holiday

... hearing of a new baby, gently and safely born. Welcome to the world little Dylan, and many congratulations to your mama and papa. We wish you all much joy, sleep and love as you grow together in your new family.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

third time lucky?

With only a few days to go until DH's birthday, the end of the purple socks (currently on my feet) gave me chance to cast on for some quick and secret birthday socks. Since Grace is having a short break in the not-quite-finished basket, I thought that 10 days or so would be plenty of time for some secret sock knitting.

Well, I might have been right, except I made a rather basic error. It's not even a beginner's error, because beginners tend to not to be quite so stupid. So, time to 'fess up: I didn't read the pattern and knitted the cuff in the wrong rib pattern, so I had to rip it and start again. And I didnt just do that once, I did it twice.

So, now I'm casting on for a third time and reading the pattern (Java) just one more time, in the hope that this time I've got it right and third time does prove to be lucky.