Friday, 25 March 2016

Breathing Space

So maternity leave is officially over and I'm back at work (though since it's the Easter holidays I don't have to face the trauma of leaving my babies for another two weeks yet). It's so tough being a working mum - you really want to stay with your little ones every moment, despite all the trials and tribulations, but financially it would be tough and in some ways it's good for them to experience being away from mummy for a little while as it prepares them for the inevitability of separation when school starts.

This is something which is coming up way too soon, I will be a mess come September when J goes off to school in his uniform and I am not the person that he spends most of his day with any longer. A real watershed moment. He drew this little picture the other day - the first that really looks like something, and has started to come home from preschool talking about friends he has made and games he has played. He is really turning into his own little person, which is wonderful, but also bittersweet as he is growing further and further away from that tiny baby I brought home from the hospital.

Anyway, I'm trying to half-heartedly sell the return to work to myself with the prospect of being able to buy yarn for projects without too much guilt. I may even treat myself to some Malabrigo Rios with my first proper pay-check. In the meantime, I've been undertaking what will probably be my last big knit before work begins, Breathing Space by Veera Valimaki. I'm knitting it as part of the Interpretations KAL on Ravelry, and there are some lovely and diverse examples of the garment as everyone puts their own spin on it with colour choice and adaptations.

I have chosen to use Knitpicks Hawthorne fingering, shamelessly copied from another knitter on Ravelry (though she later decided not to use the yarn for her project after all!). I like the yarn - it's quite crunchy, but not too rough, and the speckled yarn is lovely. The shades I have used are Blackbird and Graffiti. The new Knitpicks UK website is proving very tempting at the moment - I have some Chroma Fingering and Stroll Tonal lined up for knitting socks after this project.

As always will Veera's patterns, it's so easy to follow and I love the interesting techniques - the short row stripes add interest and a touch of quirkiness to the project. I have been using Japanese short rows on all my projects that require them recently, as I find them neater, though if anyone can tell me a way to close the gap effectively after the short rows are finished and you go back to knitting in the round again I'd love to hear it - I'm always left with an ugly hole no matter what I try.


Sunday, 28 February 2016

An Extremely Busy Year!

So it's been another year without an update, but with a very good excuse as I've been getting used to being a mum of two. I'll be honest, this has been a lot harder than becoming a mum of one. People talk about the upheaval of becoming a mum for the first time and yes, it's different and sometimes hard, but I had been looking forward to having a baby so much that everything paled into insignificance compared to the joy of having him there.

This time, looking after the new one was pretty easy, but dealing with a now three year old whose life had been turned upside down was not so much fun, and was accompanied by constant mummy guilt that I couldn't be two people at once and give them both the attention they deserved. Couple all this with a husband completing a PGCE and starting a new job and J starting preschool last September and all in all its been stressful and challenging and non-stop at times. But I wouldn't change it for the world!

Here is a pretty recent photo taken by my sister in law of me and E, who is now 9 months old - can you believe it? I won't share too many photos of her on here for obvious reasons, but I felt introductions were necessary!

This photo actually doesn't look that much like her to me, as in reality she has the cheekiest face and happiest smile. She is so different to her brother in lots of ways - way more active, independent and social than he was. I don't think I have done anything differently in bringing them up, so it must just be down to personalities. They get on well, though it can be a bit of a love-hate relationship for J, especially as she is starting to crash in on his games and slobber on his toys (which he hates!).

So, as this is basically a crafting blog I want to get back to sharing my forays into my various hobbies. I think I had been knitting on the endless stocking stitch tube that is Boxy last time? Suffice to say it finally got finished and has been worn several times and I love it! I'll share another post on it soon.

I've also still been hooking the interminable ripple blanket which is pretty big now but still not finished! It gets plenty of use though, J cuddles in it most mornings and it often gets used for den building and other games, so I'm not too worried - I'll work on it as and when.

In the meantime, a lot more projects have been both cast on and finished. Probably the most recent one is the gorgeous Juniper by Veera Valimaki. Veera is probably my favourite designer on Ravelry and I'm so pleased with the garments I've made from her patterns. I've been rubbish at getting Ed to take photos of my finished objects though, so these were the best selfies I could manage with my iPhone!

I knit this inside out, which was a steep learning curve and probably means it's full of mistakes, but it really extended my skills and challenged me to understand my knitting rather than mindlessly follow a pattern, so it's all good experience. And there was no way I was doing all that purling! The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in Lettuce. It's the first time I've used Malabrigo yarn and I loved it. The colour is stunning, it just glows! And the yarn is soooo soft, it was a pleasure to knit with. I may have ordered hanks of two more colour ways as a result of this knit (whistles innocently).

I've got a gorgeous jumper in Sublime Superfine Alpaca dk on the needles right now - just need to finish the second sleeve. It's really cosy and a tighter fit than most of the garments I've knit recently but I think I like the change. May need to buy some boot cut jeans to style it with though...

After that, I think I've got a design from one of these little beauties on the cards:

Veera and my second favourite designer on Ravelry, Joji Locatelli, have released their Interpretations collections as three print books via the PomPom Press. I just had to get my hands on them and I'm so pleased I did - the designs are beautiful. I plan to knit Breathing Space from Interpretations 3 as part of the Interpretations KAL on Ravelry. I doubt I'll finish it by the end of April but it might incentivise me a bit!

I've got loads more knits to share, but will have to do this after I have grabbed some decent photos of them - I will get on it in the next few days. Hopefully I can keep up a little blogging momentum again, as it is lovely to read back over my posts and remember what we have been doing, but I know how easily time can move on when I have two little people clamouring for my attention!