Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Yarn Along Wednesday

Just a quick post today. We're slowly settling into a new routine with Mr A in primary school and Miss S started going to preschool 3 days a week. Mr C is enjoying having me to himself those 3 mornings that his big brother and sister are out of the house.

I've started reading After You. It's the sequel to Me Before You. I'm enjoying it so far and I'm hopeful that it will result in fewer tears than Me Before You!

That rust coloured jumble is the beginnings of a Dockside Cardigan in Studio Donegal Soft Donegal. Jessica is running a knit along over in her Ravelry group  if  you fancy joining in the fun!

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Yarn Along and New Adventures

It's been a few weeks since I last posted. There's been visits to the zoo, a pet farm, a castle, numerous playgrounds, family and friends.

I'm just finishing up My Brilliant Friend by  Elena Ferrante. It's a nice, gentle story following the lives of Lila and Elena during their childhood and adolescence  in 1950's Naples. Throughout it their paths continue to diverge and converge but through it all thy remain best friends. I think I will be buying the next volumes in the Neopolitan stories by Ferrante soon! 
Today I'm browsing through the third volume of Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries in the hopes of some dinner time inspiration.  Niger Slater is one of my favourite cooks and I really like his Kitchen diaries series. He focuses on simple, good food. Nothing too complicated but still taste good. I already make several of his recipes regularly and the kids enjoy them too (bonus!).
On the knitting front I'm working on a sample knit for a new beanie design so watch this space.

I'm a bag of mixed emotions today. It's Mr A's first day at primary school. I'm excited at discovering his potential, watching him learn more and absorb all that information like a sponge. He's broadening his horizons and I'm both excited for him and a little sad for me. He's becoming more independent and I'm happy for him, proud of him but a little sad that my little boy is not quite so little any more. This little boy, my first born, the bundle of joy who made me a mammy and filled my heart with so much love when I first set eyes on him that I thought it would burst and helped to heal some heart breaks there is off on a new adventure...

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Yarn Along

I've cast on for the test knit and I'm just at the sleeve separation. It's a cute figuring weight tee and it will look adorable on any kid.
I finished Me Before You and yes I did shed a tear with a few odd looks from the kids as I was finishing it while we were all eating breakfast. I've just started My Brilliant Friend by  Elena Ferrante. It tells the story of Lila and Elena as they grow up in 1950's Naples. Throughout their lives their paths continue to diverge and converge but through it all thy remain best friends. It is the first in the Neopolitan stories by Ferrante. So far I'm enjoying his book and if it continues this way I will probably pick up the other volumes not this series too.

I finished the princess crown and hair  for Miss S. She's very happy! I think if I could've added a big more "hair" to the front of the crown to give a bit more volume. If I ever manage to convince her to give it back to me I'll do it. I used about 200 m of King Cole Dolly Mix DK. I may write up the pattern if you're interested let me know.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Yarn Along Wednesday

I missed yarn along last week but I'll tell you about what I was reading last week as well as what I'm currently today.
Last Wednesday my Mam and I took the kids to Wells House. The kids had a great time in the playground and at the pet farm. The fairy woodland walk was magical for us all.

We even met the gruffalo and the gruffalo's child.

Last week on the recommendation of my cousin I read O Pioneers by Wila Cather. It tells the story of a young Swedes immigrant Alexandre Bergson as she tries to tame the prairie of Nebraska and make something of the farm that her dying father left to her. Something about it evoked Steinbeck works so I think if you enjoy his works you'll also enjoy O Pioneers!.

This week I'm reading a book recommended by a friend. Me before You by Jojo Moyes is about Louisa who is an ordinary girl living an ordinary life in a very ordinary town. When she looses her job in the local cafe she takes on a job looking after Will who is quadriplegic after an accident. Will is moody and acerbic but Louisa refuses to treat him with kid gloves. I've been really enjoying it so far. It's at times poignant and also quite funny. My friend did tell me that if I was going to read Me Before You I would need to have some tissues nearby. I haven't needed them so far but I'm only half way through. 

On the knitting front, I'm just starting another test knit for Jessica, that's what the blue yarn is for. I've just finished the yellow crown and the white yarn will be attached to it so Miss S can complete her Queen Elsa ensemble! I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Test Knit: Harvest Sweater

During May and June I test knit a sweater for Jessica M. Anderson. Harvest Sweater is a cozy hooded sweater with a kangaroo pocket. The ribbed pattern of the sleeves are nice and stretchy but also make for a snug sleeve, just what I like. The pattern is designed for a sport weight yarn at quite a loose gauge of 20 stitches to 4 inches. It is knit top down in the round.
I found it to be a quite straightforward knit and I've worn it a lot since I finished it. I did use more yarn than the pattern suggested but I did need to add about 1.5 inches to the sleeves. I did find that the suggested sleeve length was a bit short (maybe I have long limbs for my height) and if I knit this again I think I would add about 2.5 - 3 inches extra length as even with the extra 1.5 inches they're still a little short for my liking. Having said that I do tend to push my sleeves up most of the time so the slightly too short sleeves are fine but I do like to have the option to pull them the full way down to my wrist. I would also add a little extra length to the hood before grafting the stitches to make it a bit roomier. I have some more of this yarn in my stash so I may go back and make these adjustments to my existing sweater ... eventually. In the meantime I'll just enjoy wearing it.

Pattern : Harvest Sweater
Size : s
Yarn : Malabrigo Rios in 58 Borrajas
Amount : 335 g/ 1025 m

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Yarn Along

I'm reading two books at the moment. Disclaimer by Renee Knight and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.
Disclaimer is an intriguing and well written thriller. Shortly after moving house the main character,  Catherine, comes across a novel on her bedside table. Nothing too surprising for her. However, when she begins to read it she discovers that the main protagonist is her and it is telling the story or a dark part of her life that she has kept secret for the past 20 years. I'm caught in the dilemma of wanting to read it as fast as possible so that I can find out what happens but also wanting to slow down as I've a feeling I'll be disappointed to have it finished. I generally don't reread thrillers as I know what happens but I think I'll reread this one, maybe in 6 months or a year's time, long enough for me to forget the finer details of the story. I highly recommend it!
I'm reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the kids. Mr A and Miss S really like both versions of the movie and they are now at and age that they can concentrate enough to listen to  couple of chapters of a book. I loved all of Roald Dahl'sbooks when I was a child and kept them all to enjoy again as an adult and to share with my children. The copy I'm reading from was given to me by my parents for Christmas about 30 years ago. Not surprisingly, my kids enjoy them too and want me to read just a little bit more several times a day. They are the kind of children's book that continue to be enjoyed kids of all ages and generations!

I don't have much knitting on the go at the moment. I finished Milly monkey for Miss S last night and tucked it in beside her for when she woke in the morning. She went down well and has been a constant companion today.

Today I plan to add pockets to her plain tunic dress. I haven't done this before but I have plan and it shouldn't be too difficult.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Yarn Along and a Finished knit

With the passing of Elie Wiesel over the weekend,  I dug out my copy of his book Night. It is a deeply moving and poignant account of his time in Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. 

"Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn" and that is something we should never forget. 

Although at 128 pages long it is a relatively short book Night certainly makes much more of an impact than many lengthier tomes and definitely a work everyone with even a passing interest in WWII (or general history, biographies etc) should read.

As requested I'm knitting a purple and pink monkey for Miss S. The pattern is Jacobus and I had forgotten just how great it is. I knit one if these monkey's about 5 years ago when I was expecting Mr A. The pattern is designed to knit in any yarn weight and it has an extensive photo tutorial to guide you every step of the way. There's patterns for a dress or overalls too but I think I'll let Miss S decide if her monkey needs an outfit. I may just sew or knit a different instead.

I finished up the dress for Miss S. She picked out some Russian dolls buttons and gave it a test twirl. Miss S *loves* pockets, so I'm thinking about adding some.
I made a couple of adjustments to the pattern. Miss S measured about half way between the 2-3 and 4-5 sizes, so I used a slightly tighter gauge of 15 stitches to 10 cm and the stitch count for the 4-5 size hoping to get something closer to 3-4. As she's quite tall I also added about an inch to the length to make it more of a dress than a tunic. Of course this will give more growing room and longer wear too. I cast on an extra two stitches over each sleeve, as suggested in several other Ravellers project notes. Instead of crocheting on button loops later I cast on 6 extra stitches (3 at the beginning of the first two yoke rows) to make a button band. 

Pattern: Plain Tunic from Sweet Pickles
Yarn: Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Chunky (colourway 026), approx 395 m