Friday, January 29, 2010

Time for some sewing maybe

After all the excitement of organising my stash and projects I find myself not able to knit at the moment :(

I have a recurring problem with my hands and wrists, which sometimes flares up with knitting. It relates back to some work-related RSI from a time when I used to actually go to work! Most of the time it's ok, but every now and then it flares up and is extremely painful :( Things like using the computer and knitting can make it worse, but the weather - particularly humidity - seems to affect me also. It's been quite humid here lately.

So I haven't managed much knitting in the last week or so at all. I tried a little last night, but it was slow going and my fingers are hurting this morning. Usually the problem goes away if I take a little break and try not to use my hands too much. So things like the computer and knitting and (just lately) the Wii will have to be put on the backburner for now.

I was a bit sad about this - especially since I just received some lovely yarn for a project I was keen to cast on immediately, but which will now have to wait - until I realised that it was a good opportunity to get the sewing machine out!

I've got a couple of patterns here which I would love to make, and I have material here to make some new curtains for F's bedroom. I've resolved to get stuck into those for now and hope that my hands sort themselves after a week or two of no knitting.

In non-crafty news, my big boy L started Grade 2 this year and M has begun full-time kindy! M actually started kindy halfway through last year due to the speech delay, so it wasn't as emotional as it could have been! I think Miss F misses him quite a bit though, and the mornings are certainly a bit of a rush to get the boys to two different places at the same time! But he's enjoying it so far. And I'm enjoying the little extra freedom from just having one child at home in the mornings.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Getting Organised

I had some fun over the weekend organising some of my stash, matching them with projects and putting the yarn into zip-lock bags. My hope is that this will make them easily accessible and instead of pondering what to make next, perusing Ravelry and coming up with something that I have no yarn for, I'll go to my yarn-in-bags and pick something from there.

There's 12 project's worth of yarn there. Some socks, a couple of shawls, kids knits and a couple of adult knits for me.

The scary thing is that my yarn boxes - all 6 of them - are still full to the brim with yarn! Not to mention the overflow that has made it to the drawers in the base of the bed.

My plan was going well until I started doubting my choice for my next planned cast on.

So instead I cast on something that's not from the bags. But it is still stash yarn and it is something that's been on the backburner for some time - a throw rug for DH. He asks me about it at least once a day, and considering he first asked me for one approximately 2 years ago (at which time we purchased the yarn for it), that's a lot of asking!
I plan for this to be a long term project, so it will be pick-up-and-knit when I can and not a lot of dedicated evening knitting time.

I've been getting organised in other areas of life too. Have found a childcare centre that I'm happy with for the two young ones, so now I just need to fill out all the paperwork and get that sorted. I'm still trying to decide on actual hours, but I've got the paperwork I need to formalise my return to work. I'm starting to feel happier about it, and a little bit excited about the prospect of a lunch break with no little ones trying to steal my food! But then that thought also makes me a little sad. Being a parent can be such a rollercoaster.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cedar Leaf Shawlette

My quest to "shop-the-stash" this year is going well so far. Here's another FO for the tally!

The Cedar Leaf Shawlette (rav link). This was a pretty easy pattern to knit, if you're familiar with short rows. The leaf edging was slightly addictive! I really love knitted leaves. I've used Malabrigo Silky Merino, which I got from Tangled Yarns last year. I think I have to say that this yarn is now one of my favourites. I'd really like to knit another one of these, it was a lot of fun! But sadly I have no more of this yarn or anything else suitable in the stash, which would mean buying more. I hoped to get a little further than not-quite-the-end-of-January before I succumbed to unneccessary yarn purchases! Might put it on the list for gift knitting this year.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Honest Scrap Award

Rach over at Stitch Sista gave me this award a while back....

This is how it works.... Receiving this award means I have to share ten honest, little known facts about me. Then I nominate 7 bloggers who inspire me.

I've been pondering what facts I could share since I got it, so this post has taken me a while! But here we go....

1. I used to think knitting was a bit lame (!) and I really didn't enjoy wearing knitted garments. I put this down to my mother's use of much acrylic throughout my childhood, and her penchant for knitting without swatching (and sometimes it would seem, measuring). I vividly remember a purple and green number (colours were actually great) that had too long arms and a too short body. And of course if I didn't wear them with happiness then she'd take compelete offence to it and start the guilt trip. At some point she did stop knitting for us though. I don't recall when that was, but I do remember the purple and green number was in high school. Anyway, given the only people I knew who knit were my mother and other "old" people, at the time it wasn't my thing!

2. I failed Home Economics in Year 9 at high school. I think the grade was a "U" - meaning unsatisfactory. The lowest grade you can get. I hated my Home Ec teacher with a passion - and I think the feeling was probably mutual! I got the U grade because I didn't do or pass in any of the homework. I don't really remember why I didn't like Home Ec so much, or even why I disliked the teacher, but I do recall thinking that they were teaching some unbelievably stupid things - it was 1986 at the time. Maybe that's why? I remember a friend saying after one class (that I hadn't attended for some reason) that she would never eat ice cream again because it was made with paint thinner. Yeesh.

3. I met my husband online. That is all.

4. I will one day move permanently to the US. My husband is American, and wants to go home. He's currently looking for a job there. It might be soon, it might not be for a few years. But it will eventually happen. We came close to possibly moving to Kansas around the middle of last year

5. I was a muso in high school. I played the flute (I may have shared this before, can't remember). Anyway, I shouldn't have been a music student, but there came a point where I couldn't give it up. It wasn't the music subject that I enjoyed, but the actual instrument playing and being part of the school band. That was fun. I wasn't really any good at music at all, and I knew that, but when Yr 12 came around my subject choices were limited, since I wasn't into math or science, and if I hadn't continued with music I would have had to do Geography. That didn't appeal at all. Needless to say I haven't touched a musical instrument since I finished high school and beyond listening to music, it has not played a part in my life at all since then. Definitely 5 years well spent.

6. I once took the train from London all the way to Inverness, because I wanted to go as far as possible in the one train trip as I could, and because I had some kind of train pass so I was trying to maximise the distance for my $$. I didn't get to see the Loch Ness Monster. In fact, I didn't even get to see Loch Ness. My trip to Inverness was relatively short, since I had to get back to fly to Rome a day or two later, but it was a lot of fun seeing the English/Scottish countryside from a train. One of my great travel memories.

7. I spent 7 years finishing a 4 year degree. I was studying part time and working full time for most of it, and I took some time off to get married also. And after all that I really don't think that I want to work in that field anymore. But I still can't decide what I really do want to do when I grow up.

8. I didn't think I'd ever have children. They really didn't appeal to me when I was younger lol And in all honesty, after L was born I didn't think I would have any more. I really didn't want to. His pregnancy was not very pleasant and I really did feel that I never wanted to do it again. Now I can't imagine life without them.

9. I don't enjoy taking my kids to the playground. There. I've said it. Maybe that makes me a bad mum, but in all honesty, most playgrounds are not parent-friendly. Or at least, not Kim-friendly.

10. I don't swim in the ocean. I don't like it. I don't like sand, I don't like salt-water, I don't like things in the water with me that I can't see. Having said that though, I have had some great experiences snorkelling in both Hawaii and recently on the Great Barrier Reef. So I will make exceptions to my dislike for the ocean, but only for something really good. Just swimming in the ocean for fun? Not for me.

Ok, I'm supposed to tag 7 people now, but I can't be bothered! lol

So if you're reading this and you feel you'd like to participate in this, then consider yourself nominated by me and go for it!

Monday, January 11, 2010


That word is rearing its ugly head around here lately.

I've had it pretty good really. I've been on either paid or unpaid maternity leave since November 2005, shortly before M was born. I'm very lucky really. I know that many women don't get any kind of paid maternity leave at all, and they certainly don't have their positions held for them for nearly 4 .5 years. I'm really lucky. But the time is coming for me to make a decision.

For a long time now I've been telling myself and my DH that I won't be returning to work at all. That there's no way they'd let me come back part-time. That it isn't possible for my position to be done part-time and they won't entertain a job-share situation. And there's no way that I'd want to go back on a full-time basis. So the plan all along had been to resign at some point this year and remain a stay-at-home-mum indefinitely. Probably at least until F heads off to school. That's at least another 3 years.

Only they threw a spanner in the works last week, by offering me a part-time position. Not my old position, but a new one that I could do on a part-time basis, at least until F was off to school. That's fine by me because I didn't necessarily want my "old" job back anyway. They are actually being really accommodating, which is nice, but a bit scary at the same time. Because now it looks like I'll be returning to work in May.

I've been on a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions since this happened. On the one hand I feel a little excited at the thought of returning to paid employment, especially since the financial side of things will work out to be quite beneficial to us, and also because I feel as though I'm in a bit of a rut with the SAHM thing. Not the kids side of it, but the housework side. I'm becoming lazy and complacent because housework really isn't all that inspiring. And if I did resign and stay home, by the time I might be looking for work again I'll have been out of the work force for nearly 7 years. I suspect my chances of getting a job that is anything close to what my current job is and pays, is pretty slim. So this is also a chance for me to keep a foot in the door for the future.

But on the other hand I'm feeling incredibly guilty about the thought of having to put M and F into childcare and sending L to after-school care. It will only be two days out of every week. And the reality is that they'll only be in care approximately 11 days out of every month. That puts me at home with them 60% of the time. I know there are many kids out there that go to much more childcare than that, and many that don't get the amount of time at home with their parents that M and F have. But that doesn't stop it keeping me awake at night, feeling guilty about "abandoning" them so I can go to work.

There's even two childcare centres nearby that bus kids to the local kindergarten - where M is enrolled and has already been attending - so he won't even have to miss out on that experience. The only change for him will be that he'll go to the centre after a morning at kindy, instead of coming home. And of course F would go to the same centre, so they'd still be together in a sense. They are both very close, having been at home together with me all their lives so far.

Nothing is final at this point. I still need to make a final decision, but I have been sent the forms I need to get the ball rolling.

If I go ahead my first day back at work will be my birthday.

Now just to shake the guilty feelings and make the decision.

The world's gone mad

Well, the consumer world seems to have anyway.

I've seen a lot of talk around the online places I frequent about Easter stuff already being in the shops. I experienced this myself last week on a trip to the supermarket - Easter eggs and Easter-themed chocolate on sale already! Christmas was only two weeks ago! On a trip to Spotlight this weekend I found Easter crafts already available too. Last time I looked there was approximately 79 days until Easter. Are people really on the countdown for that now? Do people really buy their Easter stuff this far in advance? I know if I did it wouldn't make it to Easter! Maybe that's what they are counting on in the race to get more consumer $$?

But it got weirder on the weekend.

I ventured out Saturday 9th January (middle of summer here for anyone that might be in the northern hemisphere and reading this), in the 43 degree heat, wanting to buy Miss F a pair of summer PJs. I could not find any. Actually, that's not entirely true. I found one style of summer PJs in Target, but none in her size. What were they hanging right next to? Fleecy, WINTER PJs and fluffy warm-looking dressing gowns for keeping you cosy on a cold morning or evening before bed! Nearby were two staff members unpacking boxes of stock to hang up. Fluffy, long-sleeve grow suits for babies with cute little hoods with ears! Looking around, I finally noticed that most of the clothing racks now had winter items hanging on them! Correct me if I'm wrong, but we are in the middle of summer right now, are we not?

I know I sometimes buy winter clothing in advance. But that's usually in the-end-of-season sales for the coming winter, not the new-season stuff during summer!

I'm not sure when all this started happening. It seems to me like a new phenomena, but I do have to say that I really can't remember if stuff like this has been happening over the last few years, or if it's just a new thing.

Is this happening everywhere?

It is summer afterall

Current outside temperature. It is most likely higher out in the sun. Today's forecast was 43C. Third day in a row. That box in the top right corner showing 26? That's the inside temperature. I know it's a good 14 degrees cooler than outside, but let me tell you, after 3 days the airconditioner is struggling, and that's the temp at the back of the house where the unit it. The front of the house isn't quite so cool. Have to venture out to hang out clothes soon. Upside of the hot weather is they'll dry quickly.

Friday, January 8, 2010

2010 - A year of changes

I'm not really into New Year's resolutions - like most people I don't usually keep them!

But I do want to make a few changes around here, and the start of a new year seems like a good time to implement some of them.

The first one is my lifestyle. I go to bed far too late every night and of course the kids get up at their usual time, so I don't get enough sleep. I'm not a great sleeper as it is, so you can imagine the lack of sleep that I'm coping with most of the time, and unfortunately it's mostly my own doing. Also, I don't really think too hard about what I eat, and I always go for the quick-fix option when I'm feeling flat or tired - coke, chocolate, stuff like that. I know this only makes me feel worse in the long run, but often I'm on the run and am not organised enough to have something healthy to grab as a pick-me-up. I also do very little exercise. Once upon a time, many years ago, I could probably have been classed as a gym-junkie. These days, I feel like I could be the #1 couch potato in the country. I come up with all sorts of excuses as to why I can't do any exercise. But really, I'm not getting any younger, and my body is really starting to feel like it's ageing, and I know that this is something I can remedy with just a bit more activity in my day. I know all of these things are compounding each other, and if I just make small changes then I'll begin to feel much better. I also need to lose some weight. I know my lifestyle habits are contributing to that not happening right now. I'm not going on a diet, but I do hope that the lifestyle changes may result in some weight loss.

I'm also supposed to be returning to paid employment later on this year. Nothing's final at this point in time, but that's going to be a major change if it happens, after 4 years of being a stay-at-home-mum. More on that to come in a future post, but the lifestyle thing needs to improve if I'm going to be able to manage to be a mum and an employee and do them both well. I need to start making those changes now.

The other major change I want to make this year relates more to knitting. I don't want to say that I'm going to go on a yarn-buying ban, or a stash diet - I know I won't stick to either of those, and like any kind of "diet" I think I'll do better at reducing the stash if I allow myself a little purchase here and there. I've recently culled my Ravelry queue significantly. Now, for the most part, the items in there are things I really do plan on making - not just things I might someday make. And they should all now be things I have either already bought yarn specifically for, or have something in my stash that I can sub with. So this year I'm going to "shop the stash" first. I'm not saying I won't buy yarn if I don't have something suitable, but I'm going to try hard not to be tempted by new patterns, or buying yarn just for the sake of buying yarn. Of course if something comes along that I just can't resist, then I'll buy it or I'll knit it! But I'll try to keep that to a minimum. I'm also open to changing my mind about what project the yarn I already have will be used for :)

So I've tried to get off to a good start for 2010. I can't say I haven't had coke - I have, but only one can of the full strength stuff this year. I've taken to drinking coke zero if it's around, and given that I dislike the taste of that, my plan to drink less is working! So far the more sleep thing isn't happening. I blame this on Miss F mostly, but I haven't been getting myself off to bed any earlier than usual anyway. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself about that though - we're in holiday mode here even though DH has returned to work, and more often than not it's been far too hot to go to sleep so an early bedtime wouldn't work anyway. The heat has affected the exercise thing too. See I'm making excuses again! But once this coming weekend is over - 3 days forecast to be 41 degrees! - I'll be making a more concerted effort to get the lifestyle thing on track.

On a postive note, everything I've knit so far this year has been from stash and has been something that's been in my queue for a while, so I'm on track with that one!

So here's to 2010 - hopefully it will be a good year for all of us!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A couple of softies

More Christmas gifts made by me, but this time on the sewing machine.

This was my first time making softies like this, and it was kind of fun. Up to the point where I had to sew up the hole left for stuffing! But I worked it out in the end. Not perfect, but not too messy either. You can see the Matryoshka Doll's head looks a bit flat.... That's because I left the opening at the top, instead of the bottom. And then there wasn't enough fabric at the top to sew it up properly. Oh well, live and learn. There's a bunch more of those dolls on the fabric piece, and I remembered to sew those ones correctly!

I'm a little disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm over them from the kids, after all my efforts! But really I should have expected that. What with all the dinosaurs, remote control cars and shopping trolleys that were under the tree as well.

Both of these fabrics are by Kristen Doran. I really want to get the Matryoshka embroidery panel too. But I really don't need another thing on my list of "to do".

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pinwheel Sunhat

My first FO for 2010!

This is the Pinwheel Sunhat. I bought this pattern ages ago and just never got around to making it.

It was a lot of fun watching the pinwheel develop. And a pretty quick knit too. Only took me 3 days.

This one is in Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply Cotton, which I just love. Miss F loves it too, and appeared in the kitchen this morning with it on after finding it where I left it last night after finishing. No action shots sorry. Miss F is a bit too fast for the camera these days.

The boys both want one now also. Not with the frilly brim of course! I'll be making the beanie version for each of them.

Off and running for 2010!

December FO Month Wrap Up

Remember this post?

Well I didn't quite get there with the 4 WIPs that I had planned to finish. I only finished one. I'm blaming the last minute Christmas-gift-knitting-frenzy. Oh, and my lack of motivation to finish the other three.

So here's the WIP I did finish....
This one had been hanging around soooooo long. The stripes seemed like a good idea at the time, and they really were until I had to split at the front. Then they just became the thing of nightmares. Anyway, I buckled down and it's done. The good news is that it still fits! Even though I started it at the beginning of 2009, with Winter 2009 in mind for wearing, I do think that it will still fit for Winter 2010.

I modified it a little from the pattern. The neck on the last one I made to the pattern wouldn't fit over M's head, so this time instead of modifying the V-neck, I just didn't join up one shoulder to the back, and I put in a buttonhole so we can still get it on. Hopefully should work. Still need to get a button to confirm this though.

So what is the fate of the other 3 WIPs? Well I have to confess that I can't remember what one of them was, since I didn't actually detail them in the previous post! But either way it's gone. I think I may have frogged it. Or maybe I finished it and forgot? It must have been insignificant regardless.

One of them is definitely being frogged. Travelling Woman will soon be no more. I just lost the love for this one, and found something else I'd rather make with the yarn, so it's off to the frog-pond as soon as I can be bothered.

The last one is a cushion cover in Noro. I need to buy two more balls of it to finish it off and I just haven't been able to get to the LYS to do so. It's going to survive though and I will finish it soon I hope.

One of the socks mentioned in that post is off to the frog-pond also. Wanida by Cookie. A. I really love the pattern and I was kind of enjoying the knit, but for me it was some intense chart-following and I kept losing my place, and then I had to rip back the heel because I couldn't get it on, and now it's been so long I really can't remember where I was at with it. I can't be bothered trying to work it out either. So it's coming off the needles as soon as I get the time to do that too.

I was pretty happy to move into 2010 with those decisions made and WIPs finished. A fairly clean slate for the new year! And my first FO for 2010 already completed.

I do plan to try to stay in control of WIPs this year.

PS: Sorry about all the Rav links for any non-Rav readers. There aren't any other options for all those patterns I'm afraid.

Another impromptu 2009 FO

Some time ago my husband asked me to make some mitts for his mum (mom). She lives where it is probably snowing right now, so he thought some toasty mitts might help to keep her hands warm while she's out in the garden in that kind of weather! These started out as something else, but then I decided I didn't like them and they were reborn as the Cupcake Mittlets.
These were super-quick - the first one was made in an afternoon/evening so probably about 2-3 hours. The second one took a little longer, but I blame the children for distracting me on that one!
I knit these with an extra pattern repeat to make them a little longer on the wrist, as per the pattern suggestion.

These are supposed to be a Christmas gift, but Christmas has been and gone of course, so they will be a little late. I didn't start them until after Christmas was over last year! But since I started their first incarnation close to a year ago, better late then never, right?!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wow, that was fast

Christmas and New Year have been and gone already. I had planned to post just before Christmas, and was hoping to get another one in just before New Years, but things got crazy around here. All the kids home, sick bub for the week leading up to Christmas Day, Christmas lunch at our house this year and a last minute decision to knit some gifts meant that me and the computer haven't really come together too much in the last 3 weeks! Probably a good thing though.

I need to do a follow up on my FO month in December. I didn't quite get there, but more on that another day.

But here are some FOs that weren't part of that plan.

French Press Felted Slippers. This is where reading blogs can get me into trouble. I first came across these on the Yarn Harlot's blog (as did many others!) and decided immediately that they'd be great gifts for my mother and SIL. First pair turned into a "practice pair", but I managed to knit two more pairs (including those pictured above) in time for Christmas Day gift giving. I was sewing the straps and buttons on Christmas Eve! I forgot to take a picture of the other pair, but they were a pink colour. Both done in Bendigo Woollen Mills Rustic 12ply. The felting was a bit hit and miss, but they did felt enough. Interestingly the pink pair felted much better than the natural colour. Anyway, I'm happy with them, and I want a pair for myself now!

This next FO you've seen before. But I finally fixed the dropped stitch and blocked it enough to get some pics of it on.
I LOVE it and I'll be wearing it to death I'm sure. Only I do think that it will be an autumn/winter/spring garmet, as I felt a bit warm in it while take pictures this evening. And it's not all that hot here right now. I modified the neckline on this one to make it lower, but I think I could have gone a bit lower even. It seemed really open and low before adding the ribbing to the neckline, but it really pulled it in after it was added. Anyway, I'll probably knit another one eventually.

I have a few other non-knitting items to show off that I completed before Christmas, as gifts for the kids. I'll get around to photographing those this week hopefully.

I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Years!