Archive for August, 2011

5 today!

I had my last 4-year-old cuddles for a while last night.  And this morning I got woken up by a five-ear-old who needed Mum and Dad around so she could open her presents.  These two were very special, as she had spent her birthday money about six weeks ago in anticipation of Nana and Grandad needing some ideas. They were put away in the designated hiding spot and she was so excited about waiting for her birthday to receive them. So, thanks Nana and Grandad – both for the present, and the lesson in waiting.

We were super lucky that her birthday fell on a weekend day, as she was able to go from a great morning to her party, and tomorrow will be her first day at school. As our house is still on the market, we needed to have an open home this weekend, and therefore planned to have a party at the local swimming pools, where they have a great party room for hire. It turned out to be a terrific venue, and the children all had a fantastic swim and play, before having an early lunch/late-enormous-morning tea. It certainly did my girls until about 4pm! 

There were presents to be opened, and time went so fast I ended up coming home with a pristine, un-opened pass-the-parcel.  She suggested we use it at home,  somewhat hopeful there I think!

And of course there was cake…

She was rather surprised to find there was a doll stuck in her cake. Funniest reaction to a cake yet methinks (but it is exactly what she asked for!) I had to make sure I didn’t ignite  Barbie’s hair…

I totally forgot to take any pictures once we got home, but there was a lot of playing with new toys, and quite a bit of exhausted mother sitting on her favourite spot on the sofa. Too tired to even knit!  It’s been a busy few weeks, but we are hopeful that things will settle down as we work out our new routine. Tomorrow, School, day one. Exciting stuff!

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Farewell Gifts

It’s a time of change in our household at the moment.  My lovely Miss 4 is only Miss 4 for another two days, which means she is off to school on Monday.  Today was her final day at preschool.  We have been blessed with an amazing preschool for the girls.  Intially she started just one afternoon a week, at around 2.5 years, just to give her small sister a bit of space from a bossy big sister.  Her hours increased when I started studying more and made myself available for relief teaching work, and she has been full-time for the last 20 months since I’ve been back teaching.  In that time, the staff has been incredible: stable, caring, fun, welcoming, loving, interested, and just overall wonderful. And, while Miss 3 will continue to attend,  it seemed fitting to mark her sister’s final day with some gifts. So, with a bit of planning over the last few weeks, I managed to make my deadline with a few days to spare even! 

These are the gifts – on me, since it’s a bit rude to demand photos after you give gifts (well, if you’re going to put them up on the ‘net anyway!)

First up was a lovely Windschief hat.  I seem to be on a bit of a Stephen West bender at the moment. Simplicity is so incredibly effective. This hat is no exception. It was a breeze to knit but so cute! I used exactly one ball of John Q Heathers, a DK weight yarn I got on sale for $3 a ball at Knitworld last January. I love the beautifully saturated colour.  What a great pattern. I made this for a female teacher in the medium size, but it’s also a great pattern for the men in your life. I will definitely be knitting this one again.

And as I said, a bit of  a Stephen West bender. I love this gorgeous reversible beanie, Botanic Hat. It’s a great hat for men, and totally suitable for women too. We have been really lucky to have a fabulous young male teacher at preschool, who stayed on after coming to the centre as a student last year (I totally love what this shows about what it is like to work there, when students just don’t want to leave!) So it was a nice chance to make a gift for a guy. I chose two neutral shades of the lovely new yarn, Mythral by Stansborough. This is a DK weight yarn from Stansborough Grey sheep, grown exclusively in NZ, which have a silky grey fleece.  The colours I’ve used are Takahe and Royal Takahe.

And who doesn’t love one hat with two different looks? I’d love to try this with one plain, one variegated yarn next.

One thing preschool teachers end up doing lots of is being outside on cold days. So, these fingerless mitts seemed like a pretty, practical gift too. I loved knitting these, which are the Oak Grove mitts by Alana Dakos from Never Not Knitting.  I used a DK weight yarn rather than the Sport weight in the pattern. It is some BWM Rustic, which was dyed by the lovely KiwiFi and gifted to me a swap a couple of years ago. Perfect for this pattern! The colour is even a close match to the sample in the pattern.

I loved knitting these. While there’s a chart and a bit of cabling, it all works perfectly when you knit to the pattern. And the oak leaf really, really pops, especially when the gloves are blocked. Stunning!

And, since I’m on the whole designer double-ups, a second project from Alana Dakos – the Shawl Collared Cowl.  A super snuggly cowl, this will be perfect for outside duty days too. I knit it in Mosaic Moon Gaia Organic Bulky in the Pixie Dust colourway. I think the pattern more suited to a solid or semi-solid yarn but this is lovely in this variegated yarn too. We don’t have a lot of choice in 12ply, and I had almost none to choose from in my stash. I’d love to knit this again in a solid yarn, especially since it took just a few hours knitting (maybe 4-5 hours?) to knit up. A super fast gift!

I’m rather pleased to have all of these done as I’ve got a couple of projects I’ve pushed aside while I finished these – so, watch this space for some more finished projects in the next few days! Oh, and some pictures of the birthday girl too!!

FO: Daybreak Shawl

My beautiful Daybreak Shawl is finally done! I cast it on a few weeks ago thinking it would be a quick knit.  I knit on it after I had my wisdom teeth out, very slowly back and forth when my addled brain couldn’t cope with much more than back and forth. I knit on it as my health improved. And I was still going on it when I was well enough to head back to work. It seemed to take forever! It took longer than my deadline – my MIL”s birthday is long past now, so I hope she will love it enough to forgive its lateness.

I’ve had this pattern for ages, and even cast on for it once before. I wasn’t inspired by black, which my first was worked in. But when the lovely ball of Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball in the fuchsienbeet colourway decided to make its home in my stash, I found myself wanting to cast it on straight away.  I teamed it with a ball of Naturally Waikiwi Merino-Alpaca-Nylon sock yarn, using every last bit up. It makes a lovely contrast and really allows the bright colours to shine through.

The shawl pattern offers three sizes. I managed to knit a unique mash-up that wasn’t really any of them… I started with a medium for section A, then I did fewer stripes when I ran out of grey.  The edging was also one repeat shorter as I didn’t want to end on the purple.  My mother in law likes bright colours and I often see her in orange, also I wanted to end on one of the colours that had been dominant.

I adore the shape of the shawl – it’s more of a cresent than I’ve knit before, and I think it will be able to worn tied at front or wrapped around cosily like so…

It was so much fun playing with colour for a change. Knitting for others does seem to encourage me to step outside my comfort zone of the usual colours I’d knit, and I’d encourage you to do the same.  If you are looking for a NZ supplier of the Zauberball, I got mine at Vintage Purls – she’s got some lovely colourways in stock.

Some winners!

Congratulations to the follow five people who are the lucky winners of copies of my new sock pattern, Lizette Lace Socks.

Charlotte

Nic

Margaret

Emma

Shelley

I’ll send through the patterns on Ravelry when I know your username 🙂

Happy knitting!

 

Rainy Saturday Afternoon

I’ve been indulging in a little Saturday afternoon laziness today. 

The girls have a new friend, hereafter referred to as the-girl-across-the-road.  She’s 7. 7 is very cool. After all, Dora is 7.  And, well, she seems to like to play with them. Her favourite game is dress-ups.  As in, dressing my girls up from their clothes drawers. Life-size dolls, as it were. Anyway, t-g-a-t-r has been here entertaining my wee ones.  One more in the mix changes things up nicely.

The teen had soccer this morning, but it was at the closest park, and he was able to cycle there himself. And, because of a flat tyre and no-credit on his cell phone, it took him extra long to get home. (Not so fun for him, but very quiet for me!)

The husband and I spent some time painting one exterior wall of the house this morning. But we only have one ladder, so while he remained outside painting, I was free to knit and read magazines.  Ahhh, bliss.

The planets don’t often align this way, but I enjoyed it while it lasted.

In half an hour I’ve got a carful of teens decending for the teen’s birthday celebration (much delayed as he was waiting for a friend to return from overseas). We are plying them with junk food and an all-you-can-eat dinner out – I expect much hilarity and lame jokes.  But they are such good company, with their talk focusing on Dr-Who, Lego and computer games… Not much like I was at that age, but lovely none-the-less.

And things could be worse… I could be out waterblasting in the rain like my husband is, in preparation for our first open home tomorrow.

So, how are you spending your Saturday afternoon?

New Pattern: Lizette Lace Socks

A long time in the making, I’ve got a new sock pattern out.  Introducing Lizette Lace Socks.

This pattern was sent to testers eight months ago and I had an issue with the charts that took me literally months and months to get around to tackling. All done now, and ready for release. 

One of the reasons for the chart issue is that the pattern has five sizes: toddler (5 inch) right through to adult (8 inch) foot circumference.  So, with all the different numbers, it made for lots of different charts. I invested in some charting software a few  months back, and I seem to have my learner’s licence for it now. 

I knit up three sample pairs: two adult pairs, the top ones are in the delicious Dream in Colour Smooshy, in the Pansy Golightly colourway, and below is the lovely NZ yarn, Knitsch, in Beauregard. Above is the toddler size tester, knit up in VintagePurls Sock in Chlorophll.  All of the pairs have had a bit of wear now and I’m loving them – the super easy gussett  heel is wearing well, and the stretchy lace gives a good fit.

I’ve got five copies of the pattern to give away, I’ll randomly draw winners from comments below. I’ll close it off at 10pm Saturday night, NZ time.


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