Friday, July 29, 2011

That's done. What's next?

It's done! Marcus' fair isle vest was worn yesterday, photographed and immediately taken off so I can enter it into the fair isle category at this year's Royal Melbourne Show.

A multitasking vest, as well. It's actually my entry for the ACS and Spotlight competition (mainly) and the design is mine all mine.

Getting Marcus to wear it and smile for the camera was the main problem.

Point a camera at him now and all he wants to do is take it off you and use it himself. My son is a bit addicted to gadgets. Gets it from his dad.

Dot was easier to capture on film. The inability to actually do anything more than likely helped me to take the photos, but I'm pretending otherwise. I designed her little Norwegian hat on Saturday, right after I went out and bought the wool. No pressure to finish by Thursday to catch the post, nooooo. Admittedly, I didn't need to make another item or put myself under so much stress, but I really wanted to make Dot a new hat, and I am the most overly competitive knitter possible.

Now that it's all over I have a list of what to do next. I love lists. I could do nothing but make lists for everything in my life, something I've done on occasion when I really needed the organising. Here's how my list looks at the moment:

1. Marcus' teal cardigan - WIP
2. Fit zip into Marcus' Tomten jacket - WIP
3. Finish Chantal's vest for Dot - WIP
4. Dot's cardigan - WIP
5. Crochet rug favour for Bronwyn - New Project
6. Marcus' mittens - new ones and old ones that need lengthening - New Project and WIP
7. Marcus' green cable jumper - New Project
8. Block Garden Path Shawl (now I can actually bend over!) - WIP
9. Felix's Christmas Present (No, I can't say what it is, he reads my blog) - New Project
10. Marcus' farm set - New Project

Not bad, right? That ought to keep me going for a while, but keep in mind that for every new project I need to work on an old one (not to mention my sewing list - it's twice as long as this list!). Now, I have five of each on this list, but I might throw in an old WIP between each item on the list, just to see how much I can knock off in the next few months. Stick around, it could be interesting.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The comfort of knitting

Too often I take my knitting abilities for granted. Not too many knitters out there can walk and knit, or watch tv at the same time, or memorise graphs easily. To me this is all second nature, a natural part of my knitting.

Somewhere over the years I think I lost the calmness that can come with knitting. It may have been one too many projects knitted to an impossible deadline, or working in a knitting store, or just because of familarity. I never understood the "knitting is the new yoga" because I'd been at it for years. Oh, and I'm not very good at yoga.

This all changed last week. Dot was admitted to hospital last week with a staph infection and abcesses. Felix and I sat in the emergency waiting room, and I knitted. I concentrated as hard as I could on the fair isle pattern, because otherwise all I would do is worry. Then I put my knitting away and watched as they put a drip in her and enough sucrose to make her sleep for a while and we went up to the paediatric ward.

The very wonderful doctors and nurses told me to wait while they drained things. I sat in a chair in the room they'd given us and I knitted. I finished the fair isle and reached into my bag for some more knitting. A garter stitch baby cardigan for my girl was worked on while I blocked out the noises she was making from another room. That helped a lot.

That night, while Dot slept, instead of sleeping myself I knitted. I knitted row after row and gave up thinking completely. I counted every stitch in the row, sounding off numbers in my head as I went, watching the rhythym my fingers take. It's been so long since I've actually watched myself knit, and I calmed me down enough to eventually sleep. By then it was about 6:00am, but sleep is sleep.

Dot left the hospital two days later, full of strong antibiotics and wrapped up nice and warm in a knitted hat, a picture of health once more. I'd spent her last few hours there giddily happy that she was fine and pronounced ready to return home. While she slept this time I was working on some mittens for Marcus instead, fair isle again. I didn't concentrate as much, nor watch my hands, but I knew they were working out fine, just like his sister.

I don't know if I'll ever focus on my knitting that much again, but I liked the connection I felt. Over the years other women, other knitters have sat and knitted while they worried. About husbands, lives, money, war and children - the children most especially I suspect. I'd like to think that their knitting helped them cope as much as it helped me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Soooooo close...

Sunday night I worked on the left side of Marcus' V-neck vest for the ACS competition, and finished it off on Monday, around lunchtime. Since then, I've done what exactly?

Nothing. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

Granted, last night I had next to no sleep (thanks for that Dot! I'll get you back when you're a teenager), but I have to have this entry in by next Friday.

Time to buckle down...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Humiliations Galore

To my darling daughter,

One day you will have a 21st birthday party. There will be balloons, cake and all of your friends. There will also be a lot of posters of pictures like this one.

This may be avoided if you're a nice teenager...

(Modern Baby Bonnet from "Vintage Knits for Modern Babies", 4ply sock yarn doubled by Stranded in Oz)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hard at work

I'm working my poor little fingers to the bone, trying to finish my jumper for the ACS competition.

The back was completed last night, right before we watched the last episode of "Game of Thrones", which put me in a pretty good frame of mind.

Staying awake from midnight to 3am took that away again. I wouldn't mind if my hands were free to knit, but Dot doesn't yet enjoy the Baby Bjorn. Soon though she'll be fine being carried around (who wouldn't be?) and my knitting output will pick up big time!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It never rains but it pours

  • Yesterday the heater in our bedroom decided to stop working. By stop working, I actually mean blow up. The plug snapped off in the socket and it's black all round. Our bedroom has slat windows on two sides, and walking in there now is like stepping into a meat locker. The electrician will be here at 3:30 today, thank goodness.
  • The piece I'm knitting for the Patons competition was far too small for Marcus, so I've had to start over again. This means I have to re-knit the back and about 18cm of the front. Which is Fair Isle. I can't re-use the wool because it'll be short as I now have more stitches.
  • Dot decided that sleep is for the weak last night and howled from 11pm until 2:45am. The last 45 minutes was in the care of her father because her mother went semi-crazy.
  • I appear to have pulled one of my stitches which makes walking near impossible. I can't do anything other than sit on the couch and knit. While this sounds ideal, try being completely dependent on someone else to get you a cup of tea sometime. If they're not around, you don't get one. I'm not a big fan of passivity.
  • The car had an incident on Monday night (wasn't me) and now needs some repairs. These will not be possible until next week. Guess who won't be going to Bendigo for the Show this weekend? If you need me this Saturday, I'll be home. On the couch. Sulking.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Five steps to bed

Apparently it's considered the done thing to give your current children a present when you have a new one suddenly turn up. I've never been a fan of following convention, so no present had been purchased.

Then this pattern turned up on Ravelry and I knew it was kismet. Marcus watches Giggle and Hoot and the chance to make him his own Hoot was too great to resist. One trip to Spotlight later and I was all set to start.

Finishing was a bit harder. This picture was taken in my hospital room as I didn't have a chance between sewing on the beak as the last thing and going off to have Dot! Marcus loves and neglects it in turn, which I think is the sign of a great toy.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

New projects

It's almost here! Yes, I'm entering the Australian Country Spinners competition yet again, with an eye on actually finishing in time. I'm the most overly competitive person I know, which Judith told me last year was the reason I needed to enter. I think she knows me too well.

Last year was my little chicken boy. This year, Marcus is a big boy (with a head of magnificent curls that no hat will cover) so he'll be getting a big boy Fair Isle vest of my own design. Hey, the rules said I could design my own or use one of their patterns, but the Fair Isle patterns I like are a little bit more complex than what they can offer, and I'll need something to keep me awake at night for the other new project in my life.

Dorothy Joanna, born June 28th at 3:11pm. She's named for a wonderful lady I knew as a child, and will be known by that lady's delightful moniker of Dot. I love the name - it makes me think of cute little ladybirds for some reason. She's slotted in our lives with ease, and adoration isn't a strong enough word for how we feel about her.

I really am disgracefully lucky.