the post

Wow.  It’s been a while.  When you struggle to even login to your own blog and when you do, everything looks different, you know its definitely been a while.

I miss writing here.  Instagram has taken pretty much taken over but I’d love to appear back here more too, we’ll see.

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So now we have a one-year old.  I still can’t quite believe it, and how lucky we are.  Today Alana, Penny and I took a walk in the bright sunshine and we passed the post that I remember clinging to during the first contraction of labour.  After days of analysing every twinge I took Penny for our daily walk and not far from home the first one came, and it was a big one.  I clung, panting, to the post but somehow didn’t think much of it, and when it had passed continued to walk Penny alone through the woods for more than 2 miles, stopping to grab onto tree trunks the whole way round.  Looking back now that doesn’t seem like the most sensible thing.  But at the time it seemed totally natural and the right thing to do, almost like my body knew that I’d be about to spend a week in hospital and that I was going to need the fresh air.  I remember really wanting to be outside that day.

I find myself thinking back to those days, and my labour in particular so often.  I wonder if that’s normal. It feels sometimes like I obsess over every detail.  I wonder if its because I’m still so overjoyed that our baby is here I’m scared I’ll forget something about her arrival.  I might write out her birth story one day (not here!) and see if that helps.

As if it was even possible, I find myself more and more thankful each day.  Alana is full of smiles and laughter and joy at everything.  Every moment with her feels like the greatest moment ever.  She has started to walk with hand-holding support and yesterday we tottered about the garden and she watched as I fed the chickens with a look of wonder on her little face.  I walked her over to the henhouse and she bent over to stroke them as they fed.  She was so gentle (and unlike the way she is with people often!), she just seemed to know that these were creatures.

for the girls

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Finishing knits takes a little longer these days, and is likely to slow up even more now I’m back at work.  But luckily Alana likes to sleep in the evenings, so after a few chores are done I usually manage to squeeze in a few stitches.  I knit a little in between crocheting the odd granny square and looking in at our sleeping babe, and still not really believing how lucky we are.

I’m thinking of starting a new tradition.  Springtime cardigans for our extended family’s little ones – four girls.  This seems like a great plan when the oldest is just two and the littles still have no say in what they wear, but probably not so wise as they get bigger with opinions, and knitting involves a lot more yarn.

First up was a wee Liesl.  Kindly modeled by my girl but actually for her little second cousin Emily who was born just ten days after Alana but quite early, though healthy thank goodness.  It took less than one 50g ball of Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk 4ply (yum).

Second was a Rock Rose for her other second cousin Shannon, a completely delightful almost 3 year old.  She has a mother who loves handknits.  A lovely little pattern which I came across thanks to the Ravelry advanced pattern search, knitted up in Pure Merino from James C Brett.  I even enjoyed the bobbles.  And the icord edging.  Honestly.

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Two more to go – a Heartrose Cardigan for Alana and then a Little Trellis for her cousin Lara.  Except I got distracted by new yarn and cast on for a Semi de Printemps instead.  Whoops.

random ramblings

me bump and penny
I’m not quite sure why I feel like emerging from blog-hibernation at 5am on Christmas Day.  Penny and I are curled up under blankets and quilts on the sofa listening to the wind raging outside.  She is starting to look older, I”m just noticing.  Little grey eyelashes and a sleepy look when she gets up to follow me.  I feel like I want to take her for a walk in the wind but it won’t be daylight here for hours, so we snuggle.

Although only just beginning, this holiday is full of mixed feelings.  We cancelled our plans to spend Christmas at my parents, something I had been looking forward to for weeks.  The road kept being shut and with a forecast of very high winds and some snow we just couldn’t risk the trip.  The thought of being stuck in a snowstorm in the mountains in our little car, or being blown off the road, or into something didn’t feel like a risk worth taking.  And so I am trying to hide my disappointment surrounded by piles of presents for family I won’t get to see in person after all.  For the second year in a row Christmas isn’t turning out as it was supposed to.  But at the same time I am feeling incredibly grateful, that everyone with a waiting present is safe and warm and mostly healthy.  None of us are alone, hungry, or scared.  Everyone who we spent this time with in our home last year is still with us, and there is new life growing.

At 8pm last night I was able to call my gift knitting officially done for another year.  Is it insane that I then almost cast on for a 2014 Christmas gift?  Like many knitters I always have the intention of putting aside a gift or two a month, and why not start at the end of December?  If things keep going as they are, in just 7 weeks my knitting time is going to be drastically reduced, so it seems smart to do what I can now.  With a little selfish knitting thrown in – the first thing I did after finishing last night was to reach for my First Footing kit.

Right now with the wind howling I am tempted to bake.  Our change of plan means we’ll spend a quiet Christmas morning in a largely undecorated and not-very-festive house.  I think some nice smells will help.  Later we’ll go round the corner to my lovely in-laws, and look forward to the arrival of more family tomorrow.

I am very aware that this time of year can be extremely difficult for some, especially when I think back to how I was feeling this time last year.  If you are in that situation I hope you find a little quiet peace over the holidays.  I hope we all find a little quiet peace.  Much love to you all x

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And just because lots of very kind people keep asking, things are still going fine, thank you x  There was a brief worry last week but a little monitoring showed that everything was fine.  Being pregnant after loss is so completely different.  People keep asking me if I’m getting fed-up, or uncomfortable.  But every single time I wake up choking with heartburn, or have to sit down for a rest my only thought is ‘I still have heartburn!  I am tired! Yay!  This is because our baby is still alive, and growing in the way it should!’  Being uncomfortable for this reason is so utterly delightful, and I will always, always be grateful.

sorry gudrun x

Remember my lovely Levenwick?  I pounced on the pattern seconds after I saw this design for the first time, and ordered my Shelter to knit it a few minutes later.  On Thursday night though, we said goodbye.

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I love the design, the yarn, and the making of it, but we never became close friends and I think I wore it only a handful of times.  Some of the problems were fixable – it was too big and the buttons were in the wrong place.  But its main issue I think was the colour – I bought the colour of yarn I loved at the time (and still do), with no thought whatsoever about whether it would suit me, and I don’t think it does.

Then, almost immediately after the ripping session I became the victim of a very strange mascara-allergy incident, which made my head try to explode and kept me awake all night.  (Please – no sympathy – this is not a serious problem and has taught me that mascara that I’m allergic to does not belong inside my eyes.)  So Friday was spent in bed, trying to hold my face together and get even just a little sleep….  It never happened, so I ignored all the warnings from my inner-knitter (16 wips, Saz, remember?!) and um, cast on something new.

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All done in one sitting (but really kind of lying down), a Honey Crisp by Gudrun Johnston.  Ravelled here.  Lovely and satisfying to knit, and I’ve hardly taken it off since I finished it.  And it is definitely my colour.

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my trip

It was a lot of fun.  I can’t seem to gather my thoughts to write much about it, but some highlights were Alcatraz, A Verb for Keeping Warm, eating lovely food, driving down the west coast and staying in Lucia, watching the LA Lakers, eating lovely food, staying in a stunning hotel suite in Vegas and getting my first manicure.  And eating lovely food, again.  Also – blue sky! sunshine!  Lovely!

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whoops, i started a blanket (again)

My new plan of only making things that bring me happiness is definitely a good thing, but it means that for now, a few things have gone into hibernation.  Two of them are blankets, one old and one fairly new.

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The old is my lovely Handspun Beekeeper which I cast on last year along with many other knitters.  It stalled at 100 puffs when I ran out of handspun scraps of the right weight, but I’ve since collected enough little bits to add to it and it hasn’t yet made it back onto my needles.  (I’ve just realised that the needles I use for puffs are currently stuck in another unfinished and hibernating thing, so it might be a while.)

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And the newer is another handspun blanket, but in my aran and chunky scraps this time.  I went for the Snowdon Blanket from the Juju’s Loops book, but this one went on hold after just one sitting of working on it.  Chunky yarn scraps don’t go as far…

This week is another high-production craft week due to more long car journeys as a passenger.  I started Stephen West’s In Defense of Tights from the ChoreoKAL using some Natural Dye Studio Dazzle Sock to work on in the car, and ended up buying a ball of Regia Hand Dye Effect to stripe.  I never knew double moss stitch could be so addictive, and I finished one yesterday.  Because the pattern uses so little of the striping yarn, the first one started off contrasting nicely with the solid, but then stayed on a new colour that didn’t work so well.  I love it though.

So I looked for ways to move on the striping colour a little before starting the second armwarmer, and somehow the best plan I came up with (other than just winding off a little, that seemed too easy) was to, um, start a crochet blanket.

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I’m sure the idea was in the back of my head somewhere after seeing this one.  This little square was so quick I’m going to try and work up one a day, and then join them all with a neutral colour.  I can’t decide though whether to stick to the reds, oranges, purples and pinks, or if I should work some in many colours and then fade through them all in the blanket.  Any thoughts?!  Bearing in mind though my blanket-making speed, it’s probably going to be about five years before I have to make any decisions.

snowflakes and two colours

It seems like the knitting world is being overcome with snowflakes and pom poms at the moment.  I am very happy about this.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI jumped on the Snawheid pattern by Kate Davies (thank you, Kate!) and two days later I was making a massive pom pom and gleefully trying to solicit admiring comments from fellow dog walkers about my awesome hat.  No-one said anything, but I did see some stare at the top of my head.

It wasn’t enough.  I posted in Kate’s forum on Ravelry that I was going to clear my projects and stick to simple things until her new book came out.  Then I cast on for Boreal.  I can’t even tell you how happy this sweater makes me, I am obsessed.  I’m going to turn it into a cardigan though, since I seem to find those most useful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince taking this picture I’ve finished the body to the armholes, attached the first sleeve and am working up the second.  I have lots of family coming this weekend but am sorely tempted to make them fend for themselves because I want to knit this sweater.

Aside from the snowflakes though, I’ve noticed that pretty much everything I’ve knit (or plan on knitting) recently uses two colours.   Evidence – Another Agnes, Blue-Eyed Susan, Kabouter, Geysir Stretch, Aurora Expanse.  Not sure why, maybe this is what happens as you run down your stash a little?  Not that I am short of yarn by any means…

It’s been a tricky week for some reason, but I have perked up thanks to thinking about future crafting happiness.  The first – I have good reason to believe that a lovely friend is sending an Embroidery Subscription from Rebecca Ringquist my way.  And the second – a while ago I appear to accidentally have signed up for a 3 month fibre club subscription from Hedegehog Fibres.  There a still a couple of places I think, and sign ups close soon.

Hope everyone has have a good weekend x