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Monday, 31 December 2012

2012

Way back in June I started this guy as part of a mystery kal in the Knitted Toys group on Ravelry.  He has been hibernating since July but once the Christmas knitting was out of the way I took him back up again and finally finished him!!! This will more than likely be my last FO of 2012.


Overall, I think 2012 was a successful knitting year, considering I had a new baby and now toddler in my life. My finished projects include:


  • 14 toys of various sizes.
  • 6 pairs of socks (ok so 3 pairs were for babies but they still count!).
  • 1 tea cozy.
  • 8 dishcloths.
  • 9 hats.
  • 1 baby cardigan.
  • 1 waistcoat for little man.
  • 1 jumper for little man.
  • 1 Christmas ornament.
  • 1 shawl.
  • 2 headbands.
  • 2 cowls.
  • and one other small project that must remain a secret for another while.
That's 48 FOs if my maths are correct!

I've only 3 WIPs left on the needles, which isn't so bad.
1. My quaker ridge shawlette which I started back in September as part of another kal and then put into hibernation again in October is back out of the basket! I'm half way through the 7th repeat, so only one repeat left and then the ruffle. Hopefully, I'll finish soon.
2. A pair of socks, only one done (of course!) and once I have my shawlette done I'm going to tackle these.
3. Finally, I have the log cabin blanket for the little man. I haven't worked on this in a few months but it's a long term project so I'm going to just work on this a little at a time.

I've also finished all of the blocks for the little man's quilt. Now I just need to sew them together and put the quilt together! I just need to find the time. Maybe, this week I'll get a chance to sew the top together.

Here's hoping 2013 is as productive. Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas Knitting

I managed to get the socks himself requested for Christmas finished on Sunday evening, a full day a head of the deadline. Whoot! They're a little looser than he likes but that is because I realised after finishing the first sock that I was using 2.50 mm rather than my usual 2.25 mm. I seem to be doing that a lot lately.... oh well, they'll shrink a bit after a few washes and wears and then they'll be just fine. I used a little less than one skein of Cascade Yarns Heritage Paints in Isle of Skye (that is such a perfect name for this colour). 


On Christmas morning, I opened my present from my sister in law E and among other bits and pieces I found this.....













... a kit for Oatmeal the Snowman!!

I cast on later in the day when we were in my parents house and finished him up today. I managed to squeeze him out of one ball of Katia Big Merino by omitting the last repeat of round 19. I just didn't see the point of breaking into another ball for the sake of 1.5 decrease rounds!! There was an expedition mounted this morning to search for pipe cleaners and I managed to find one single pack left in the shop. This was a minor miracle in itself considering I was looking in a small town in the middle of the Wicklow mountains with no craft shop! But find them I did. I think they really finish him off well.


I decided to give him to my sister today for her birthday, although it's not until next Tuesday, at least this way she'll get some use out of him before the Christmas decorations get put away on the 6th. She used to have a fibre optic snowman which she loved, mainly because he had twig arms, but when she took him out this Christmas he didn't work. So although Oatmeal doesn't light up, I think his twig arms make him a good replacement. She was delighted, when I gave him to her and he's now happily sitting in the centre of her kitchen table.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Swap days 22, 23, 24 and 25!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! We had a wonderful one. Santa came and was good to us all. 

So to the last days of the Advent swap.....

Day 22 brought a very cute washcloth. The lighting here this time of year is fairly pants but the pattern shows a snow scene with a little house and tree. While on Day 23, I got two more skeins of Araucania Itata Solid. This time in a beautifully clear blue. I can't wait to try this out.







Day 24, brought something very special. A while back, while we were all preparing our swap packages and chatting about our progress, Mel (womaninashoe on rav) asked what our favourite Christmas song was. Mine is "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" sung by Judy Garland. It has always been a favourite but it has become even more special to me. Five years ago on Christmas morning, himself proposed (he even picked the ring himself!!). He had this song playing in the background because he knew I liked the song. He'd never admit it but he is a bit of a romantic! Well when I opened my present for the day, I couldn't help but smile. Janet remembered my little story and had packed up a Judy Garland Christmas ornament which sings "Have yourself a Merry little Christmas"!!! 



And so to the last day of the swap. Christmas morning's present was supposed to be something extra special, and this most certainly was! For me Janet sent a fantastic felted knitting bag which is already in use! But she really out did herself when it came to the little man. She sent 8 more knitted blocks which along with the A block she sent way back on Day 1 spells out his name. I am still amazed at how much work she put into them! Thank you so much Janet for making this such a fantastic swap!



Friday, 21 December 2012

Days 18, 19, 20 and 21!!

I got truly spoilt on day 18. Janet sent me two skeins of Araucania Itata Solid in a great shade of pink (again the winter light is against me the photo doesn't do it justice!). This is fingering weight yarn and a mix of wool, bamboo and silk. I've never used it before and can't wait to find the perfect project for it!


Day 19, was another of the required items, a Christmas-y version of one of Susan B. Anderson's designs. Janet, made this cute wrap me up puppy with an adorable bow tied on his tail!

Day 20, was my angel themed present (again another required item). Janet, knew I love to bake and sent me some cookie cutters. She paired an angel with a peace dove and had them nesting in a cute box. These will be put to good use at the weekend as I think some Christmas biscuits will have to be baked!

Today, Day 21, Janet sent a cute little sheep notepad and another book for the little man. As you can see he happily looked through it while I was preparing his breakfast!

The swap is nearly over now with only 4 days left to open! Which also means I only have 3 days to finish the socks for himself eeekkkk! I'm passed the heel on the second sock though, so I might just make it, or at least I won't have so much to knit on Christmas day if I don't finish it before then!!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Days 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17!!

So the first 12 days of the swap and with it the 12 days of Christmas theme are over! On Day 13, I received a very cute Santa hat for the little man knit by Janet's daughter Rosy as well as some Pez. Rosy did a great job on the hat and the yarn is just so squishy and soft.


Day 14, was a Christmas tree wine bottle topper for me and himself and a cute book for little man. I opened this not long after he woke up and gave him the book and he happily flicked through the pages every time he came across the book all day. 

 





On day 15, I got 3 balls of Baby Alpaca Worsted yarn by Plymouth yarns. The light this of year here isn't great but the yarn is a wonderful deep purple. To top it off Janet put them in a cute Christmas tin so it was definitely a surprise to find yarn when I opened the package!! Her card also said to check my Ravelry inbox and there I found the Clepsydra hat and mitten ebook. I love this pattern!

Day 16, was also hidden a cute tin, a snowman this time! Inside was some yummy jelly sweets, two very cute little storage boxes, a sheep pen, a needle gauge and a needle inventory card which I've never come across before but is a great idea!

Today, day 17, came as two little presents. The first had another book for the little man. The second a cute soft rocking horse that makes a neighing and trotting noise when the body is squeezed! I'm guessing this is supposed to be hung on my Christmas tree but little man has claimed it and I don't think I'll be getting it back! 


I wonder what the next few days will bring? In knitting news, I have finished the one sock for himself for Christmas and I've started the second. I have 8 days to finish the second and I have a feeling he could be getting one and a half socks on Christmas morning with me spending the rest of the day trying to finish them!!


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Days 10 ,11 and 12

Day 10 Janet gave me my something green, a cute felted trivet mat with a leaping lord to match day 9's dancing lady.


Day 11 of the song tells of 11 pipers piping. Well who needs pipers when I can do the piping myself with this great set of disposable piping bags and nozzles! This is probably one of my favourite interpretations of the 12 days of Christmas theme. I think I'll have to bake some biscuits just to have the excuse to try these out!


Today is day 12 and I opened my present to find the cutest knitted drum ornament for my Christmas tree! Janet, did an amazing job on this! So that's the 12 days over so now the next 13 days are a real mystery to me and I can't wait to find out what awaits me!


In other Christmas related knitting, I just finished up a Christmas pudding tea cozy. My friend C asked me a while ago if I would knit her a Christmas pudding tea cozy. Of course I said yes and eventually got around to finishing it a couple of hours before I gave it to her on Monday! I'm happy with how it turned out but I think if I hadn't procrastinated so long on knitting it I would have made a few changes to the pattern. As it was it's a combination of 3 patterns. The main one is this one. I used that for the body but there were mistakes in the pattern which were a bit annoying but easily overcome. The main problem was that the sauce is crocheted and well my crochet skills are not that great so I ended up using this pattern for a dishcloth to make the sauce. I think I only used 5 repeats rather than 8 for it to fit the top though. The holly leaves and berries then were pilfered from a Debbie Bliss designed kids Christmas Pudding hat which I have (and still want to knit... maybe next year!). Overall, I'm happy with how it turned out but maybe a bit more tweaking would make it better.




Sunday, 9 December 2012

Days 6, 7, 8 and 9!

Day 6, saw me open my present to find some wonderful fabric inside. I got many more than 6 geese!! I can't wait to find a project to use this for.


On day 7, I received a wonderful swan washcloth (this swan will definitely be going swimming!). Janet, also included a yellow school bus for the little man as she knew he loves playing with his cars. These were all wrapped up inside another beautiful tin.


Day 8, is a particular favourite take on the theme! As Janet said in her card, the 8 milking maids couldn't be found but they did leave behind a cow who brought along some of her farmyard friends!! These friends were cute little bath toy squirters for the little man and wonderful sheep buttons for me!


Finally, today day 9! This present was my "something red" which was one of the required items for the swap. Janet made a wonderful trivet mat with a lady dancing on it and backed with Christmas tree fabric! As she said, there may not be 9 ladies dancing but this one is strong enough to take the heat of doing it alone!


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Days 3, 4 and 5!

Carrying on with the "12 days of Christmas" theme, Janet has sent me some more wonderful gifts.

So for day 3, a French hen decoration for my tree. Isn't she just adorable? I think after her stint on my Christmas tree she will be coming to live in my kitchen. Maybe on the door of my egg box?


On day 4, four calling birds? No much too loud but she did include a little bird that chirps when you touch the base. The little man loved this! I also got a magnetic list pad. I am the queen of list making so I love getting notepads like this! It's now attached to the white board in my kitchen waiting for the next grocery list.


Finally, today, Day 5. I didn't get 5 golden rings, I got 10!!! Ten beautiful gold ring stitch markers in the cutest little tin. I love these tins as they are great for storing little bits and pieces like stitch markers in my project bags.


I really love the theme Janet is going with for the first 12 days and every morning I'm excited to find out how she has interpreted the day! So tomorrow is 6 geese-a-laying (I think!!) I wonder what that will bring!!


Sunday, 2 December 2012

On the first day of advent.....

I'm taking part in another swap with the Itty Bitty Knitters group on Ravelry. This swap is a bit different than the usual swaps. It's advent themed so we get a little present to open each day from December 1st to 24th and then something a bit more special to open on the 25th! My swap partner is Janet (linnetknits on rav) and she has sent me lots of amazing presents to open over the next few weeks.

Yesterday, being December 1st I got to open my first present, or in this case presents as Janet had split it into 2 parts. The first one was a partridge in a pear tree hotpad and recipe card set along with a holly leaf cookie cutter!! The second was a beautiful knitted colourful block for the little man. He gave it a good smoosh when I gave it to him and was playing with it most of yesterday.



I used the cookie cutter yesterday evening to whip up a batch of holly leaf butter cookies. 

On the second day of advent my SP sent to me...... two turtle doves!!!
Janet sent me two beautiful white dove decorations for my Christmas tree! I know they will look great on the tree when I get around to putting it up. We usually put it up on December 8th but I'm thinking of holding off a week as it'll mean little man will have less time to try pull it down but we'll see I might just give in next weekend!





Monday, 27 August 2012

Chard!

We sowed some chard this year and it has been a huge success!! We've been eating it all summer. Himself bought a plug pack of I think 8 plants for 5 euro so I think we did well. I might try grow it from seed next year. I think it's about the only thing that has done well in the garden this year, along with onions and my herbs! The summer has been so wet that the slugs and snails have taken over and nibbled their way through everything! Because of the cats and the little man I don't like using slug pellets but the beer traps barely make a dent in the population in our garden. They particularly liked my strawberries and French beans! There was an on going battle to pick the strawberries before they got them and well the French beans, only half my plants survived their first day in the garden. We planted them one fine evening and by the following day 5 or 6 plants were basically stalks! Maybe next year will be better for my little garden.

Anyway back to the chard. As there's only so much chard you can eat in a week I decided to freeze some yesterday. I started off with a big bowl of freshly picked chard.

Next, the chard was washed well to remove any dirt and bugs (we don't use pesticides so I didn't want any surprises and thankfully there were none!). I cut off the stem and removed the centre rib, then chopped the leaves into about 1 inch pieces.


Finally, I blanched the leaves in a big pot of bowling water before plunging into cold water to stop the cooking. I did it in several small batches so that after the leaves were added to the boiling water the water would return to the bowl within about 30 seconds. I drained the leaves well and popped them into the a freezer bag. The end result was this.....


This was all done under the watchful eye of a supervisor! Nothing gets past this guy....


There's still plenty of chard to be produced by the garden yet so I will probably doing this again in another few weeks. 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Productive Weekend

It's been quite a productive couple of days in my kitchen. Firstly, my friend Jen arrived to our regular lunch (and baby) meet up yesterday with a large bag of basil for me. Which got turned into a jar of yummy pesto when I got home.


Then still on a bit of a herb kick I raided my herb garden. I don't know if it's the weather, lots of rain with some sunny days thrown in, or if it's the fact that my herbs, apart from my rosemary, were moved from pots into a raised bed this year but they have grown like crazy. I swear my chives are about 3 foot tall! I can't use them quick enough so last night and this morning, I chopped up a load of chives and parsley before freezing them for future winter use.



 Then this morning I got bit by the baking bug. I made a loaf of gingerbread, a iced lemon traybake and some coffee and walnut cake. As there was so much I froze half of each cake un-iced. I'll defrost it next weekend when the girls come round for lunch.


And finally, two dishes of macaroni and cheese with bacon and courgettes. One for tonight and one for later in the week. This way there will be one night during the week that neither myself or himself will have to cook dinner after work!


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Update

I have been trying to write this post for about 3 weeks now!! Well I'm finally getting around to it so I figured I'd update on what I've been doing since the last time I posted.

I'm just finishing my third week back in work after 10 months of maternity leave (it's actually 11 months since I took annual leave before my maternity leave started). Little man is being looked after by my sister which is a blessing. But every morning I leave him with a heavy heart. The first morning was the most difficult. Since then, it has been better, while my heart is still broken leaving him, I haven't cried since that first day. The hardest part is that he gets so upset and clings to me when I'm leaving him. I know that he's fine within 5 minutes of me leaving and has a great time for the rest of the day but it's still a horrible feeling leaving him like that. The hugs I get from him when I pick him up in the evening help fix my broken heart from the morning though. I keep myself busy in work so to take my mind off things though.

While the Olympics were on in London the Ravellenic Games were run on Ravelry.  As I was just returning to work when they started I only completed and entered 2 projects into the games. The first went into the Hand-dye High Dive! I dyed some Knit Picks Bare with Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid. I named it Capri as the clear blue colour reminds me of when we visited Capri on our honeymoon.



Secondly, I knit another Aviatrix hat for the little man. I love this pattern. It's written for a range of sizes and yarns. The construction is wonderfully simple, knit flat using short rows to shape it. I knit it up in a matter of days. I just need the perfect button.



I've recently started a log cabin style blanket for the little man. I have 5 balls of Knit Picks Brava Sport and I'm just going to keep knitting until I run out. How big the blanket will be by then is anyones guess. It's a bit of a long term project and I work on it a bit everyday on my commute to work while himself is driving. I've done a few more panels since I took this photo but I'm loving how it's turning out.

In non-knitting news the little man dropped his monkey out of his stroller a couple of weeks ago on our way home from meeting friends for lunch. Needless to say there was a panic when I called in to my parents house and realised that Monkey was no where to be seen. Leaving the little man with my Mam I raced back along my route and thankfully I found him. Some very kind angel had picked him up and placed him on top of the wall near the church to wait until I found him. I've since found a solution and Monkey now has a nice new seatbelt for when he's travelling.


Ok I think that's enough of an update for now. I'm off to have a cup of tea before bed!


Friday, 29 June 2012

At it again

There's another swap over on the Itty Bitty Knitters group that I'm taking part in (surprise, surprise!). This time incorporating a lamb and some Jelly Babies/Beans.  My parcel is pretty much done. I just need to buy some goodies and finish knitting my lamb. To add to the parcel, I designed two dishcloths/washcloths. There are plenty of sheep/lamb washcloths on Ravelry but I thought making a design up myself would be a nice personal touch. Here they are, the Spring Lamb washcloth and the Sheep washclothThey are both quick knits and take less than 50 m of cotton yarn. In fact, I got both of these out of one ball of Rico Design Creative Cotton (85 m in 50 g) with a bit left over.





I mention a mystery KAL I am taking part in a little while back. Well all the clues have now been released and I'm way behind. Poor Benny is still missing a leg, his head, ears and tail. I know what he is now but I won't spoil the surprise just yet. I could have cut the yarn so that the colour repeats would match on the limbs but I thought I'd leave it a bit random and I like how it's turning out. Hopefully, little Benny will get finished over the next few weeks.


Finally, I thought I'd share this cool photo with you. 

(photo courtesy of Pat Salvatini)

Back in May, I mentioned that Pat (plynn) was helping out at a baby shower for military moms-to-be. She volunteered to make 40 pairs of socks/booties for the gift baskets and asked us for help. Well this photo is the result. In total 49 pairs (one didn't make it into the photo) of socks/booties were knitted and sent to Pat and I think there may be one or two more on the way. There are 36 gift baskets to fill and the extra pairs are being used as raffle prizes. Isn't it wonderful what a group of knitters can achieve?