My laptop is down this week, so I am blogging from Husband's desktop. This is quite exciting, since I don't usually get out of bed after getting the boys to sleep. Tonight Bob has gone straight to sleep, and Husband and Sausages are chatting in the dark. I feel a little bit giddy!
I'm still working on Sausages' hat, which is about half done, but I am also working on this cute test knit above (for Jennie, since you ask). It's a long, shallow, scoop-shaped shawl or scarf, knit with 4ply in a garter stitch based lace pattern. I love the lattice, don't you? There are an awful lot of charts for this pattern because of the shaping. so I'm glad we have half term coming up to give me a bit of knitting time!
I'm also still reading Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, but it's slow going because it actually requires my attention. I popped into the library to return my audiobook this morning and they had a big display of creative Christmas books in the window. I took two! The librarian did assure me that they had others to put in their place. When taking them down I held some tinsel. It's started, guys! None of the projects in Mollie Makes Christmas tickled my fancy, but the Kirstie Allsop one is a lot more detailed. It starts with a countdown to Christmas preparation that starts in October. Suffice to say I am waaaay ahead of her! There are quite a few gifts, both bought and handmade, tucked into crannies in my study to keep them away from curious little eyes.
I also chose a new audiobook thingy for in the car. I started it today in the regular post-swimming lesson traffic, and I'm enjoying it. I also picked up this flyer below, from the self-service machines in the library. There are a couple of authors I like listed, so lots of new things to try, should I ever be at a loose end for something to read. Hahaha! With a big pile of fiction and non-fiction always waiting to be read, that may never happen. A girl can dream!
What are you crafting and reading at the moment? Are you deep into Christmas prep or does the mention of the word this early make you grind your teeth? Don't forget to pop over to Ginny's to check out what other crafters are up to!
More Finished Objects to share this week! I have finally finished the second pair of lego mittens. The smaller pair will be for Sausages, and the bigger pair for a grown up friend of his. This is real, ladies and gents, Christmas gifts completed and in the Christmas organisation box!
I have also finished my beloved green shawl. I fell madly in love with this while knitting it. The pattern is so lovely, with eyelets at increasing frequency. I was skeptical about the ribbed edging, but I really like the way the increases form stocking stitch panels at the points. I had about a half to two thirds of a ball left when I had worked the border, so I just played a little yarn chicken and carried on for a few extra rows before casting off. It totally worked. The yarn is Sirdar snuggly baby bamboo, int he discontinued colour "pixie green." It's sooo soft. The shawl is wonderfully large and drapey. I could hardly be more pleased with it! The photo below is pre-blocking (and pre-weaving in of ends, obviously!), and it's laid out on my sofa bed right now, so hopefully I will get some more photos of it at the weekend. I may never take it off!
I almost forgot to mention, but I will because it will tickle my mum and sister: I was knitting this shawl while we were away for my cousin's wedding celebration. We stayed at this lovely air-b&b site with a chalet for the grown ups and a big lawn for us to pitch our tent on. It was really really beautiful, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by golden fields in the heat of the summer. There was just one drawback: it stank! It was right next to a maltings and the smell was overpowering! It worked its way into the shawl as I was knitting it, and has remained these months later. I was so happy to finally plonk it in a bucket for a bath, and am very hopeful that the scent will be improved soon!
This soaker is based ont he popular Snapdragon pattern. I have added an anchor from a collection of gansey charts, and increased the length. This will probably be finished today, but unfortunately Bob has decided that he doesn't wear a nappy at night any more. I don't know what I'll do with it. Sell it? Pack it away in case we ever have more children? No idea.
Having managed so many FOs, I have been struck down by severe cast-on-itis. This hat is a simple one with no pattern, just a number of stitches worked out by combining the gauge with the measurement of Sausages' head. It will match his school uniform, to keep him warm on the school run. It's knitted in squishy aran merino, which is ironic, given that the garment I am matching it to is crappy acrylic compulsory uniform. I also have a couple of Christmas gifts that I am itching to cast on, and two test knits that should be interesting. I love test knitting! I am keeping all gift knitting small this year. I feel in the mood for small, quick projects. Hopefully I shall have something next and interesting to share with my fellow knitters next week.
I am still plugging away at Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, but in the car have got back into audiobooks. I often find myself in the car with Bob asleep, waiting to collect Sausages from school. Awkwardly his pick-up time is right at nap time, but these things change so quickly. It's nice to sit and knit and listen to a story, even if it is just five minutes here and there. I have just finished Fear Not. It was quite good. It was a bit slow to start because at the beginning each chapter seems to be a different character and story line, but after the half way mark they all come together to create a thrilling story, with an unexpected twist at the end. It has the usual slightly naive style of translated Scandinavian works, but I'd definitely recommend it, and will keep my eyes open for this author again. Now I am half way through That Thing Around Your Neck, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It's so well written, I find myself feeling all the emotions of the characters. Or maybe that's just me feeling a bit soft right now! I picked this up from the library not on CD, but on a preloaded single story MP3 player type thing. I have plugged it straight into my car radio and away we go! It's a lot less faff than changing 14 CDs.
I'm hoping that if I start this post while Bob is having his lunch, and carry on topping it up in spare moments, I might actually be able to publish it when the boys are both asleep, if I can make myself stay awake.
I have just finished reading Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini. It's about one woman's project to knit a beautiful Fair Isle jacket in a year. I really enjoyed it, it was a breath of fresh air. I now have to learn to knit Fair Isle, but I think my first project will be something a bit more modest. I'm thinking this hat, and I'm adding a yarn pack for it to my Christmas wish list. I've had the pattern for a while, and truth be told I'm getting a bit obsessed with it. I'm rubbish at colour selection, but I know I'll have to make the ground more green, because I'm an Irish lady not a Scottish lady. To my limited experience, Scotland looks like Ireland with all the greens toned towards brown. I'm a bit nervous about making the selection myself though!
For my next reading I have moved on to Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, by Naomi Aldort. I have tried to read this once before, but I really struggled with the author's tone. It's a bit patronising, which is not helped by the very large print and spacing of the text. As I get to be about half way through I realise that this book must have been read by my good friend Katie, who has helpfully distilled Aldort's wisdom and imparted it to me without my noticing. Everything Aldort says I can hear Katie suggesting at some time. This book affirms for me a lot of feelings I have about how to treat my children with respect; about not denying their feelings; about listening to them. For example, the practice of telling a small child that they are not hurt, or that they are "tough," when they fall over has never sat well with me. With my own children I ask "are you hurt or just surprised?" For us this has worked really well. My children know that they don't have to pretend to be hurt to get my attention when they need a bit of comfort after a fall, and that their feelings are important, just like their physical wellbeing. Being surprised gets a hug if necessary, just as a scraped knee does. Often they say "no, I'm ok," and never feign injury, which I feel is a vindication of my practice. They also have no worries about concealing their own feelings to make me happy or to "be good," which is something that I feel is very important. More next week when I have finished the book.
Knitting wise I am still working on the Lego mittens for Sausages and my green shawl. I have also finished a pair of WIPs that have been waiting for finishing for some time. They were both in need of zips. For a long time I have avoided putting zips into my hand knits. I mostly knit for my boys, and the thought of them mashing the fabric with a zip made me feel a little weak. I have made the hoodie before, and added toggles last time. This time I didn't feel toggles would go with the yarn, so I bit the bullet and sewed in a Zip. I have deliberately not let the fabric quite meet over the zip in an attempt to prevent knitting entanglement. The colours are awful in the picture, but the yarn is blue and pink plied together, and the zip is pale blue. It's not perfect, but I thought it would be awful, so I am pleased with it.
The sleeveless jumper is a Debbie Bliss pattern. I'm not a massive fan of Ms Bliss, but I am pleased with this jumper. I used black plastic toggles and a fawn-coloured zip. The arm and neck cuffs are folded double and stitched in place. It's going to be comfy and warm and practical. I really wanted to make it "camouflagey," and the Moorland Aran really does the trick. I have a fair bit left over, and I'm on the fence about making a second one for Bob. Sewing on all those pockets wasn't my idea of fun!