Thursday, September 27, 2007

One step forward two steps back

Just when I was thinking 'bigger knits are quicker' I read this and visions of lace are once again floating through my head - sigh!

Thick may be quick but Lace is ACE! (sorry!)

So eye candy as that's all I have time for today; talking about knitting to some fellow foster carers today and they said "when do you get time?" the answer is not today!

Spring Things


Diamond Lace

Aspen Grove

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Where did that week go?

Things I forgot about babies - they are warm and snuggley, they make cute sucking noises, they want feeding NOW, they smile at you beautifully, they sleep deeply, and they don't give you much time to knit!

I have therefore decided I need to knit bigger yarn (in the perhaps mistaken belief that bigger is quicker), I need to prioritise projects (and finish those nearest to completion), I shouldn't cast on any more projects (yeah, right!), spare time has to be grasped firmly. I have a shawl that is nearly finished , just need to finish the edging, another which is half done and a hemlock which could be cast off if I accept it being a little undersized. All 4 ply! Stash is full of lace & 4 ply, guess I'll be doubling up :o) Little fosterling would look lovely in a hand knitted jumper :o) I think a BSJ or a February sweater. Lots of EZ patterns still to try.

In other news our adoption file has been chosen by the OFSTED inspectors - this fills me with huge glee - bring it on Mr Inspector, come, visit, talk, listen, let me tell you how it is for us, can you believe it?! I am making a list! Adoption worker called this afternoon. 'Can I think of anything negative about the experience?' Can I? Where shall I start? 'Can I think of anything positive?' Hmmm! er... NO! Well, yes, one very positive little person without whom life would be very different, she is very positive. But the process... NO!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Just a Quickie :o)

Still here and still knitting ... bit of the Hemlock done yesterday and very good intentions of getting some Della done. I've used up some PY do you think that means I can buy more?

I have joined the Goddess Knits Mystery Shawl #5 and just need o decide on the yarn - so much stash, so hard to choose. I love my purple PY Hemlock but 4 ply i soooo slow growing when you have 500 plus stitches per round ... must get some time in on that one.

I have been wondering, what would you knit for a family heirloom to pass down to future generations?

Go see the hemlocks you wont regret it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Little things

First - the little knitting is over on the Hipknits project Club Blog (click on the button on the right to go see) There hasn't been much of it I have to say.

The other things round here right now are the little socks and little vest and little shoes and little trousers etc. etc. etc. we have a new visitor and L is gorgeous. Haven't had such a little baby to look after for ages and I had forgotten how yummy they are. This one is easy - sleeps beautifully and smiles broadly when cooed to, very rewarding. Having lots of fun playing with the visitor just sorry i can't share photos :o( but Fostering bods are quite, rightly and understandably, strict about that sort of thing. I'd love to 'share' but I can't.

I learn from having a new bub here that I wish i knew how easy bubs can be when my own were little, I wish I had known about establishing routines and about being calm to receive calm - guess some things do get easier as you get older ;o) Meanwhile I learn that being 4 1/2 is hard work whatever the age of the (foster) parent. K started school this week and it's hard being 4 1/2 for me and for her too. She's so tired and so feisty and on the one hand this is a great joy when I think where she has come from and how she was when she first arrived. Thank goodness she can name her needs and insist upon them being met. On the other hand it makes for many challenges during the day. Must remember about being calm for her too ;o) She is a lovely thing (in bursts) and she is a wild, free, uninhibited thing too. My lovely whirlwind girl.

to bed... to sleep...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My other car's a Porche

or ... my next Hemlock will be Aran.

Please amuse your selves whilst I continue going round, and round, and round... you get the idea?

All my WIP (of which there are 3 worth talking about) are at the round and round stage. This whilst very 'process' it also a tad tiresome so I have decided I shall also cast on a new project.

It's time I made mt Della!

I am going to blog her step by step over on the project club blog starting on Thursday with the cast on. (Button in sidebar if you want to watch!)

This will be a nice change as the other projects are all 4 ply and I like a little lace weight lace in my life :o)

OK, in the meantime, I am off to go round and .... you know the rest.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I think I might ...

be ...

enjoying ...

this .....



Hemlocking along

All other wips are cast aside in favour of Hemlock. Poor things languishing in their bags, waiting ... waiting....

Meanwhile I go round and round and round... you get the idea :o)

Here's a little photo to keep you interested. No, that isn't the colour of my carpet! I laid it on one of the foam mats i use for blocking so that you can see some of the lace. As the photo was taken last night I had to use the flash so the yarn is a bit washed out and the foam is Zing! in your face but you can see the shapes. My only KP Options cable longer than this one is v...e...r...y long so I'll have to scrunch up on this one for a while before transferring. From the photograph i notice it looks like there might be a purl row in there after the pattern but there isn't, yet. Still toying with the idea of throwing in a few purles :o) But knitting ss for now.

OK of to be good and load some more wedding photos into Flickr for the rellies to look at.

All my knitting is going round and round and round at the moment and for once I am not dizzy, the knitting is. LOL

Friday, September 07, 2007

Is that better?

OK, think of it in the same colours of the last one but slightly less fuzzy in this one, I can't stop knitting long enough to get a tripod!
And btw, I have sold the children so that i can knit :o) (no, not really, she's just being incredibly quiet today on the promise of a trip to the library this afternoon ... my time is running out ) *shock*

Another taste of Hemlock

I must learn to be patient, I must learn to be patient, I must ... etc.
If I took a little more time I could get better photographs for you :o) But I am whizzing along with Hemlock and she is growing so quickly that this is probably the last chance to see er spread out.
I started on 4.5 dpns and have just transferred at row 36 to circs. Another few rows and I'll be off the written instructions (which have an error in row 35 btw - but it's an easy one to spot so I'm sure you'll see it) and on to the chart. I am using the modified chart from the yahoo group so hopefully that will be error free.
I just need to decide whether to do Old Shale (with the purl row) or feather 7 fan (without) What do you think? The original (see brooklyntweed's blog) is smooth and gorgeous, the purl row would introduce some more texture ... hmm... so hard to decide I will eventually do both I think, but which one first ????
Off to get a better photo as this will be my last chance... back in a minute :o)

Hemlock is otn

Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Couldn't wait, had to do it. Got to row 26 then had to go to bed. It's a real shame when life interrupts knitting, but work will resume asap. It's lovely, it grows quickly, and the yarn is absolutely scrumptious to knit with. See the ss sections? Aren't they delicious? Quite a good colour representation on my monitor too, ah! What more could a girl ask for, knitting, purple, sensuousness. *sigh* And, yes, lots of people are doing it whih adds to the fun :o)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hemlock Yarn

This is my yummy Posh Yarn Emily.

I seem to have a purple thing going on :o) *blushes*

Left to right Damson, 3 x Magnus, Peal *Happy Sigh!

The sheep were my present to me when we went to Alnwick Castle during the holidays - I nicked the idea of them guarding the stash for photographs from Annette :o)

The Hemlock takes two 300yd skeins of brooklyntweeds chosen yarn, Cascade Ecological Wool which is a Heavy Worsted - now I may very well be wrong here but I am thinking that it's a thick Aran/Chunky weight so I will need more yardage for the same size throw. I am planning on knitting the 3 Magnus and seeing how big it is. That is a fairly firm decision at present but give me time and I will change my mind *rolls eyes* I am also drawn to starting with the Damson changing to the Magnus and finishing with the Peal. But I might have to move house to be able to block her if I use all 5 and I'd like to try the pattern alteration to Old Shale by adding the purl rows as well as the version as charted. Ho hum.

Strangely the other project (the one we can't mention) is also having a lot of Old Shale at the moment (round and round and round she goes) so maybe this is my mindless knitting phase.

Today I had an hour and a half of pure, uninterrupted knitting bliss :o) Sadly I then spent all afternoon feeling that I haven't actually done any work today as there have been no housewifery/motherly goings on prior to the big kids coming in from school. Maybe this just goes to show that I am never pleased, or more positively (and therefore, I like to think, more likely) I just haven't had enough therapy yet. Bring it on.

And finally, winding the Emily into balls today, led to winding the Middle Earth Yarns DK BFL. DD2 insisted we do 'more spinney things, Mummy' - she likes turning the handle and has not heard of the ills of child labour. I faltered and nearly switched to a project cast on in the Foamy Seas instead - it is so very very squishy and soft and boy, you have to be soft to outsquish Emily

Foamy seas

But I resisted, I have plans for Foamy Seas and they require some thought and some charting so I want the head space that will require to be fully available and not doing a time share with the trivia currently therein. So wait, squishy skeins, your time will come.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What she said ...

Not much from me today, but I'd like to point you in the direction of the following blogs. With apologies to those who already read these. Scroll down to see the hemlock throw. I am going to do one of these in the Emily I have been unable to resist from Posh Yarn in various shades of purple over the last few weeks. I didn't know why I 'needed' it but now I do. Susan has just completed a Hemlock Throw and gave an interesting illustration of how to count the rows for the feather and fan pattern here. I left a comment on this post. It still amazes me that real knitters send me emails when I leave comments on their blogs. Amazes and delights. Susan said - 'do it your way, it's your knitting', or words to that encouraging effect :o) So I will do two hemlocks, one with the purl ridges I associate with the feather & fan/Old Shale pattern, and one as written. I found the Rainey sisters because of the American Aran Afghan, another project on the 'to do' list - I have a huge stash of Aran that my conscience wants put to a good use.

Isn't it wonderful that knitting is a community? When I knit pre Internet it was a solitary occupation/pastime how I agree with Dee when she says she wishes she had more time for her hobbies and remembers how she had no hobbies when she had lots of time. Actually, I 'sort of' agree. The bit I am not sure of is the word 'hobbies'. Maybe I have a skewed idea of the importance of Hobbies. Knitting is much more important than that! It is essential, vital, life enhancing, daily, crucial, ... you get the picture?

Before I forget, there is a yahoo groups for the Hemlocky.

I am looking forward to next week, when everyone is back at school and I can get some space to clear all the clutter from my head. It builds up slowly over the holiday. The noise and constant alertness to the demands of others (with no time off for good behaviour) fills up all the space in my head so there is no room for anything else. I need to empty out some of those compartments and reorder what needs to remain. The first step is tomorrow, as a chapter of fostering closes and another phase begins. Unfortunately all of that is confidential. Suffice to say, things should be getting easier soon.

As the week approaches the pages in the diary are empty but each day brings another appointment and Tuesday is already looking full. I hoard the pages carefully and resent the need to add a scrawled engagement to their pages, I want them to remain empty and white, at least a few of them, I need the space in my timetable (and in my head) that the space on the page represents. I know DD1 will need me to be available (thank God for mobile phones) but I don't want to write any more Social Worker appointments in there just yet.

I need that week.

I want to knit a Hemlock :o) It's therapy!

And finally, I did a good deed today, a knitterly thing too. I gave my straight needles (which I will never use again now that I have the KP Options, a couple of duplicate patterns, and some yarn (so she could knit when she got home without having to wait to buy yarn) to the lady who is C's foster carer. When she dropped him off for his respite stay she mentioned that she used to knit a lot (constantly) years ago but had stopped because her ex didn't like her knitting as it took her attention away from him! Good reason to be an ex, I think! And a good excuse to reinfect her with the knitting bug. Feeling smug about that! Maybe that's it, knitting is not my hobby it's my illness and obsession. And she was very pleasingly delighted too.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Nearly There

Nearly! Summer is nearly over, kids nearly back to school.

I am taking Tom to enrol for his A2s tomorrow evening. He got an A in Computing and a B in Chemistry at AS level. Phew!

Things may be about to get a little rocky as we (he) adjusts to a new timetable and new support worker and to the college pushing him to add another course to his programme. Whilst they have been very supportive in person they are quite inflexible in practice, mainly due to the way their funding is structured. But we'll get there. He survived a wedding and didn't have any meltdowns until he was within spitting distance of home. 3 nights in a hotel room which stank of smoke (non-smoking preferred does not guarantee you a non-smoking room - apparently), 3 days of lots of relatives and moving from place to place at a moments notice, a wedding with lots of 'stand here' 'smile for the photograph' and 'my, haven't you grown'. Delays on the railway, cramped conditions on the train with two loads of passengers on, squash, squash, irritated people everywhere, taxi's without boot space (! What is the point of a taxi which cannot take your bags to the station and home again?!) Loud music, food you don't like and people eating that food next to you. All were tolerated with forbearance and I promised him he will never be commanded to attend again. Amazing that he can stand it now. Makes we realise how very far we have come. How very far he has come.

Gratuitous photo of the happy couple - ahhhh! :o)

Back to rant about 'the system' -
Arbitrary rules about numbers of hours, with no reference to the effort required to put in those hours at college, may cause more stress than necessary. However, he does have to live in the real world, and the real 'social' world does have arbitrary rules, whether I like them or not. So we will see. Last academic year (as well as getting an A and a B) Tom also learnt to use the metro to go to his favourite shop. This term we are aiming for him using the bus to get to and from college. This means we have to practice the route, accompanied at first, then supported, then by himself. You don't realise how much effort goes in to catching the right bus and getting off at the right stop until you are with someone who has to learn how to do it.

Littlest Miss starts in reception next week too, afternoons only for the first week, afternoons plus lunchtime the next week and then all day in week 3. Another one starting out on that journey. She will thrive and grow and flourish. She is a social creature. I hardly knew she was there at the wedding , she was off being a social butterfly, stealing the limelight and thoroughly enjoying it all. Number 2 son was also in his element. How different everything is for them. Even DD1 had her own way of dealing with the people stuff. Not a natural socialite she too was shattered by the time we got back, but her social camouflage is better than DS1's and she is able to blend more seamlessly than he. The effort required to do so should not be underestimated however, and she also needed time to recover after the whirlwind had passed.

Me? I enjoyed it. I worried about them not/enjoying it. I took the photos. That fact in itself shows how far Tom has developed, in years gone by stepping back to photograph other people would have been out of the question.

We are also looking forward to the arrival of our next foster child once DD2 is settled in reception.

For now, I need a holiday to get over the holiday. I wonder why I thought an extra day in a hotel would make the wedding easier rather than harder. I wonder why I thought a week between our holiday and the wedding was a good idea. But I do know that the holiday was good, and that it made me feel relaxed and recharged. And your little sister doesn't get married to her Mr Perfect every day does she?

Oh and knitting?

Firstly, a project I can't show you as it's a secret. This one is just going round and round and round until there's enough border to balance the centre.

Secondly, a little piece of design extravagance which is my first go at knitted lace as opposed to lace knitting (I think or it might be the other way round) the one where there is pattern on all rows? I'll add a photo of that later, (this section is lace knitting - if I have those two the right way round) although the colour never comes out. It's in Dee's Eva and it is gorgeous, have a look at Dee's blog - she's wondering about how personal is too personal. I would love to include more photographs of the kids but I too wonder how much information is too much information and I am not allowed to blog the fostered children anyway. When I photograph us I tend to photograph the whole family :o)

Thirdly, lots of books here to welcome me home. American Aran Afghan, Shawls & scarves, lots of interweave socks (thought I'd have a practice before the hipknits project club socks arrive) all 4 of these are excellent books, glad I got them all. I need more days to knit in. Ah well, maybe the next foster child will sleep a lot! *fingers crossed but that makes it hard to knit*