Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A new year

It wasn't a white or frosty Christmas this year, but we had a good time.

There was plenty of food, and drink, and family and presents. Santa and his helpers brought me a small pile of yarn, including some sock yarn and some of Natalie Fergie's silk. Two skeins. Yum. I'll have to think carefully about what to do with that.

As well as all that there were trips to the panto, the cinema (Frozen and free birds - the latter most definitely a complete turkey), and a bit of time outdoors and plenty of hunkering inside watching the rain lash and/or the wind howl.

I didn't get all of my Christmas crafting finished, but no one seemed to notice. I did make lots of fudge, and some fabric sacks for under the tree, and some shoe bags for my husband man and two raglan tees for the jelly bean. So, it wasn't a complete disaster.

As for 2014, well now. Next week I will be back at work and adjusting to another new pattern of daily to-ing and fro-ing. Time for crafting and blogging may be hard to come by, but I live (always) in hope.

Happy New Year. Let's make it a good one.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Girl socks (FO)

Hurrah. The Christmas crafting planets are now beginning to align themselves and progress has been made.

Last night:12 mince pies and one batch of peppermint bark.

This afternoon: another batch of peppermint bark and finishing the girl socks. It's amazing what you can do when the baby sneaks a crafty nap into the middle of the afternoon.

Pattern: generic top down (44 stitches)
Yarn: Regia Mosaik (4 ply)

Monday, 16 December 2013


I'm in denial. I must be.

I've finished my Christmas shopping (probably) but I haven't really got going on the crafting. I'm still knitting the first pair of socks,  and strangely I haven't started to panic.

Maybe it's the sloe gin? Or the thought of mulled wine that is keeping me feeling so optimistic. Christmas is definitely coming. Our tree is up, most cards written and sent, presents are nestling in their hiding places. But there is still a huge list of things I'd like to make...

Status update:
Cards received: 14
Cards written: 41
Cards posted: 40
Mince pies made: 18
Socks made: 1.75 (toe shaping to go)

Thursday, 12 December 2013

On the twelfth day...

Status update:

Cards written: 21
Cards received: 12 or so
Cards posted: 20
Mince pies made: 18
Socks completed: 1

The shopping raid was a reasonable success. I managed to gather a fair number of suitable gifts by visiting only two shops. There are just one or two things to left to buy, but still a whole host of things to make. Yikes!

Better get on....

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Christmas list update #3

Cards written: 20ish
Cards received: 5
Cards sent: 12
Mince pies made: 18

Socks knitted: 0.5

The sock is crawling along slowly, but I have turned the heel and almost finished the decreases for the foot. Of course stealth knitting always goes a bit more slowly. Well, that's my excuse and I am sticking to it.

I love the yarn - it's so fabulously multi coloured and with enough pink, I think, to please the jelly bean. This one is Regia Mosaik.

I managed a spot of Christmas shopping on Monday and ticked off a few things for the children. I'm planning another raid tomorrow to do the grown ups and that. Will. Be. It. Wish me luck. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Things I have learned this week...

1. You should always read the label. Always.
2. The green tin next to the green tin of pears in the back of the cupboard might not be pears. it might be chickpeas. You should really read the label before you open the tin (see 1).
3. An unexpected tin of chickpeas can be harder to use up than you think. Particularly when your mother-in-law has already offered to bring supper for the following day.
4. Crawling babies always make for the dangerous things (particularly sockets and fireplaces). (I knew this one already, but little bean is reminding us of it all over again)
5. You should always read information about deadlines carefully. Sometimes there is a little bit of small print which is critical. 
6. It is good to get things done well ahead of a deadline. But immensely satisfying to think you might miss it and just manage to do it with a few minutes to spare.
7. Christmas shopping is best done in an organised fashion - weekday mornings are preferable. The objective is to cross things off the list, and not to visit as many shops as possible. If you can do all your shopping in one place, then don't hesitate.
9. Soft play and wifi makes daddy happy and the children happy and whiles away a gloomy Sunday afternoon.
10. Ordinary puddings can be made Christmassy by adding a spoon or two of mincemeat. 
11. Making your own pastry may induce (well-deserved) feelings of smugness (I mean, it's pastry:  flour, butter, water. What's difficult about that?)
12. School nativity plays are always, always brilliant. 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

One week in

We are one week into Advent, and already finding it hard to remember to open the calendars each morning! I cant imagine why that is, given the amount of chocolate which is available therein. 

Before you gasp in horror at the thought of chocolate advent calendars, I hasten to point out that the three calendars we have (yes, three) are the result of some grandmotherly rivalry generosity. 

We have a lovely fabric calendar with pockets, made by my mother-in-law, and for which she supplies chocolate each year. In addition, my mother sends the children a chocolate Advent calendar as well. So we have three. All of them chocolatey. 

In other news, progress on the Christmas list is going slowly because there have been some w o r k things to get out of the way. Still, the sock has grown a bit since yesterday, and I have ordered the turkey. The Christmas tree is next.

In other non-knitting and non-Christmas news, little bean is now crawling. He spent a week or so moving around in a non-conventional double knee shuffle, and then on Monday he managed to co-ordinate his limbs. He is only 6.5 months! So, we are rapidly adjusting to life with a very mobile baby.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

On the seventh day...

Status update:
Jelly bean socks now cast on.
Christmas cards received: 3
Written: 13
Sent (or delivered): 1

Last night the husband and I went out together, probably for the first time since little bean was born. It was the husbands work Christmas do. We had a great time, with some really lovely food (really lovely) at cafe st. Honore. (It's a lovely place to eat and if you are a fan of Alexander McCall Smith you might have seen it mentioned in one or two of his Edinburgh novels).

My in-laws babysat and we got home to find two out of three children had been wailing and/or gnashing their teeth at our absence. Oh. Dear.

The evening out also meant no time for getting on with Christmas things, but hey, I'm feeling super relaxed about everything this year. I don't know why as I have done next to no gift shopping and no real plan of strategy for the people I do need to buy for.

But I have made the cake and a hat for the baby. Its a start.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Homework update (FO)

It has been a wild wild day here, with snow and rain and howling winds. We are all safe (so far).

While little bean and I were inside keeping cosy by the stove, I managed to finish off the last few rows of his hat. I still need to make a pompom and sew in the ends, but I'm ticking this one off the list. Done.

Baby hat, knitted in 4 ply oddment (grey ribbed brim) and variegated sock yarn (Regia I think). No pattern. I just winged it based on 100 stitches on 2.25mm needles, with a few stitches added after the ribbing to make it comfy.

As if babies were not charming enough, they are so amenable to modelling knits even at the dinner table. Cute huh?

Christmas 2013 in numbers:
cards received: 2
cards written: 12
cards posted: 0

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


We collected the hamper yesterday. It was pretty heavy, and full of lovely things including:

2 bars of soap
2 bottles of sparkly nail varnish
1 bag of ground coffee
3 bottles of wine
2 miniature pannetone
3 jars of jam
Several boxes of biscuits
Lots of chocolate, including a chocolate Santa
A chocolate log cake, and
A make your own Christmas crackers kit.

I don't think we'll need to buy anything chocolatey for a while! We have been sharing things out and delivered biscuits to our elderly (but not frail) neighbours this afternoon. It is nearly Christmas after all...

Christmas homework update: I'm currently concentrating on little beans hat - it's fairly mindless, and I need to read some things for work, which I can do at the same time. I got past the ribbing and onto the main part of the hat. The finish is in sight, but do I go for a pompom or an I-cord stalk?

Christmas List

As usual there are an infinite number of Things To be Done before Christmas. I'm trying to pace myself with a bit of Christmas homework every day, and I thought I would start the month by making A List.

Here goes:

::Peppermint bark
::hat for little bean (started)
::t-shirt for jelly bean (cut out & ready to stitch)
::socks for the bean
::socks for the jelly bean
::quilt for ma and pa
::finish the Phoebe cardigan
::shoe bags
::drawstring bags

Seems impossible really, but you never know I might find a tear in the space time continuum which would give me some extra days to get it all done.

In other news - school rang today to say we had won a hamper at the Christmas fair on Saturday! The bean said "OMG" when I told him. Indeed.

Can't remember the last time I won anything in a raffle...

Monday, 2 December 2013

Christmas crafting

A little while ago I realised I had some perfect Christmas craft ingredients in my knitting stash. So, at the weekend we got started on a some seasonal making.

We took two empty cones (previously holding yarn) and painted them a greeny colour (to match the yarn we had chosen). Then, when they were dry we wrapped them with some lovely dark green yarn, using PVA glue to secure the ends. 

To make the decorations look a bit more festive we then threaded some small glass beads onto some more yarn, and then wrapped that around the cone too. 

Tada! Two lovely Christmas tree ornaments to put on the mantelpiece... Made with little effort, and using only things from the stash. I did think about using buttons or sequins instead of beads, but I'm really happy with them as they are. We can always refresh them in a year or two...