Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm Loving This

Kilcarra of Donegal Tweed Yarn from Irish Yarns and Crafts. Excellent price, excellent service and most excellent yarn, yum! I bought lots *blushes* and it's all for me. Mine, mine it's all mine Mwahahahaha.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Squares and buns

Over on her blog, the Stash Basket, Michaela has been asking for donations of squares to help make a blanket to raffle to raise money for Oliver. I have been meaning to make some for ages but for some reason couldn't get my head round how exactly to do them!

A short while ago posted a link to where there was a simple way to knit a square on the bias, cast on 3 stitches and increase on every row until the sides measure 4" then decrease every row until 3 stitches remain, cast off! Easy right?

Er, no! OK, so I learnt that I do not cast on and cast off to the same tension :o)

I finally realised that a four inch square is actually the same as a tension square- doh! Why I didn't figure this out before is a mystery to me. *rolls eyes* If the yarn is 28 stitches for the tension square then I can knit a tension square (i.e. a 4 inch square for the blanket) by casting on the same number of stitches. Add the EZ info that if you knit the same number of gs rows as stitches and you'll get a square, and, away I go 28 stitches 28 gs bumps (56 rows) = a square.

Once I finally had the basic idea I was able to do a few more :o) and, when that got a little old, I tried a mitred square or two.
so now I am ready to make my own blanket vbg, maybe, but not right now. Anyway, these will be in the post on Monday and I've bought my tickets, how about you?

I've been inspired by this oooh, aaaaah. I have to knit one of these :o)
Rainy Saturdays mean baking, so here are the chocolate buns, awaiting their icing, no point trying to photograph them afterwards, they don't stick around long enough :o)

Friday, November 16, 2007

mittswap 2

Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

and I received these from Kirsty, thank yiu :o)

swap mitts

fetching 014a
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

i made these for Bee :o) Fetching from

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back to Knitting (Phew!)

Now, where was I? Ah yes, Heirloom Knitting Lace Yarn, how fine? Very!
Pattern arrived today, how complicated? Very!
Meanwhile i finished the fingerless gloves for the swap - photo to follow once they arrive at their new home :o)
The second of the first pair of toe up socks is finished too.
I'd like to cast on the second of the HipKnits Project Club socks but i need to get started on the club's next project, the fair isle cardi. this one may prove a challenge, I haven't done fair isle before - but at least that means that if I can do it anyone can. And the aran silk is lovely colours.

Foster Carers Care for families too.

Whilst writing the previous post I realised that I have never blogged about another aspect of fostering that was unknown to me before i became a carer, contact.

Contact between fostered children and their birth families is very important. Many fostered children return to their birth families and regular contact between children and their families helps an eventual return to be successful. Contact also provides an opportunity for Social Services to observe interaction between children and their parents, siblings and other extended family. Sometimes these meetings take place under the supervision of Social Workers, their support assistants , and, increasingly the contact is supervised by Foster Carers.

Contact can take place at Social Services Offices where they have special family rooms with toys, equipment and furniture, sometimes schools host contact at the end of the school day. Often contact takes place in the homes of Foster Carers, especially when the fostered child is a young child or a baby. The length and frequency of each contact varies from case to case. Small babies often get lots of contact; contact is increased when the plan is to return a child to it's birth family and is gradually decreased when it is planned to place a child for adoption. Sometimes it takes what seems an age for decisions to be made, plans to be formed and for the court process to ratify or reject that plan. In the meantime the foster carer may well continue to supervise contact. Sometimes birth families graduate quickly to unsupervised contact, where they collect and return the child. Sometimes contact is deemed detrimental to the child and it is decreased.

Supervising lots of contact in your own home is perhaps, the most challenging part of fostering very young children. Usually birth families see the Foster Carer as somehow separate from the 'system' and are not hostile. Often they want to see you as a 'friend' and as someone who can provide them with support for their needs as well as taking care of their children. But you are part of the system and supervision also means filling in reports for the child's Social Worker as well as keeping the child safe. You may feel huge sympathy for the family or, on the other hand, you may feel annoyed at their inability to prioritise their children's needs. Either way your role is to look after the child not to judge, chastise or befriend the adults. It is not an easy role if you confuse this distinction and contact can be difficult for everyone. After all, this is your family home and it is very tying to have to be available on schedule and to have contact with people you otherwise would not associate with. But it is part of the job of fostering.

I try to approach contact by treating other people in the way I think I would want to be treated if I were in their position. If they treat me and my family and home with respect I will do the same for them. They are not in a pleasant position (whatever I may or may not think about why they are there) and as well as providing the best possible care for their child I will try to ensure that their contact will be the best it can be. When both parties look back on the time that the child was with me, I want them to feel (at best)that I made the experience less painful than it might otherwise have been, or (at worst) not make it more painful than it need be. They can see their child in a happy family environment, where they are cared for by people who will treat the child's birth family fairly too. Sometimes families cannot bare to see their child being looked after by someone else, it is too painful. I hope that will never be because I have deliberately made it so.

Baby has contact 5 days a week.

And you thought fostering was just about looking after kids!

Where did that week go?

Well, part of it went on settling in our new arrival. I wish I could show you a photo :o) but, sadly, I am not allowed to share a photo of fostered children with you, which is a great shame as the new baby is gorgeous. But then at 4 days old today all babies should have someone who thinks they are gorgeous :o)

What I can share is a very touching act of kindness which completely took me by surprise. Kerrie sent us a present :o) A lovely card three pretty girly babygrows and a lovely vintage embroidered cot sheet, very sweet. Thank you, Kerrie, such lovely surprises restore my faith (which is sometimes
tried by other aspects of fostering) in the goodness of people.

One of the roles of foster carers is to gather and guard the mementos and minutiae of their foster children's lives and to keep such small ordinariness safe. A little box of treasures from her time here will go with the baby when she goes to her permanent home, wherever that may ultimately be. A box of photographs, cards, clothes and keepsakes. Partly these things are for adopters but mainly they are for the baby as part of her history. All the things your Mum and Dad could tell you or I, she will have to either deduce or have documented for her. As well as a box of little treasures she will have a life story book which will give her as much detail about what happened before and whilst she was here as I can glean for her.
Kerrie's gifts become part of her heritage and I, for one, am delighted to be able to show baby that someone else cared enough about her to think of her and to send a present. Thank you, Kerrie, from both of us. :o)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Annette's was closest

but no one got it exactly right, which is reassuring really, the error is obviously not as horrible as I thought it was and random strangers passing by will not see my socks and run screaming from the room "That woman has a mistake in her cable!"

I did one too few rows between the arrowed cables so they are a little too close together. *sigh!* I spotted it almost straight away too but I just couldn't be bothered to run the cable stitches down and pick them back up the right way round. Plus if I had, the outer travelling stitch would have been out of true and not following the rest of the pattern. Which all goes to show that I shouldn't sweat the small stuff!

Talking of small stuff, baby still isn't here as she refuses to come out until she is good and ready, and that is not yet! Still time to finish the pink mitts and booties to match the hat :o) Just need to finish my swap mitts first :o)

I want to cast on a shawl/stole/wrap thingy but this is NOvember so no new cast ons! Blah!

Meanwhile Mr Postie has delivered the fine, fine, oh so very fine Jamieson cone of yarn. OMG it is fine, I'll take a piccie tomorrow to share this fineness so you can wonder along with me, at the amazingness of ever entertaining the thought of knitting with such delicate nothingness. What was i thinking? :o)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Does blocking show up errors?

I am supposed to be going out to night for the first time in ages and ages but I want to stay home and knit socks! I think I may be obsessed.
I need to make the other sock! Can you tell I like this pattern? I do!
The cables are lovely and not too complicated (haven't done any for good few years).
The heel is lovely, just enough texture and look at the little line of holes made by the gusset shaping very elegant.
The magic toe cast on is wonderful from the front you just can't see the join, try it, it's nifty.
The only part I am slightly unsure of is the rib on the cuff, it does evolve from the pattern row beneath but it isn't even, I might change that on a different pair. The sewn cast off was also relatively new but works well leaving a stretchy edge that will fit almost anyone.

See the error yet?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

HipKnits Project Club Socks

Yay! The lady from HipKnits she say "yes!"

The eagle eyed amongst you will spot my deliberate (ok, not deliberate just incompetent) mistake.

I thought I'd have a little fun so if you leave a comment correctly describing the fault you could win a mystery skein of sock yarn from my stash. I'll get one of the kids to pick a name at random on the 5th of November.

Heirlooms and socks.

Pressing on with the HipKnits Project Club sock I am nearing the finish of the first sock and just waiting for Kerrie's go ahead to share some photos with you, it's a lovely sock too, full of firsts for me so I look forward to blogging it more thoroughly.

I have finished my first ever toe up sock with the Very Berry Posh Yarn and the pattern from Interweave Knits Summer 2007. (The light is rubbish today Bah!)

The yarn is lovely and soft, I love the colours and despite not liking this cast on (I found another one via Dee's blog link to a pattern with another link to the cast on - interweb wins again!)

One side of the sock the heel is pants so, of course, this is the other side, Question is, do I match the pants side with sock number 2 or now that I know what my mistake is do I do it right for sock 2? Will the recipient ever know anyway? :o)

The cast on with the pattern is ok but needed darning to remove the tiny holes so I prefer the alternative cast on.

All in all I like this as a quick knit, they don't look much unblocked but a quick stretch with the improvised sock blocker and hey presto! It might have been easier if they hadn't been a surprise so I could ask for foot measurements, but I have guessed that she has smaller feet than me because she's quite a bit smaller than me :o)

I have been spending money *blushes* in an attempt to not buy any more yarn *sigh* I have bought a pattern, but what a pattern! Then the yarn jumper in the basket, I couldn't help it! Once again I can blame my yarn purchases on someone else :o) This time it is Bronte's fault that last night I had to buy this and this. I hope this baby (who is still reluctant to put in an appearance) is a good sleeper :o)

I have also been finding out more about Tuggle - a UK alternative to Etsy shall I join?