Monday, 27 August 2007

Holiday Stress.....

I don't know why I do it, but I do it every year and regret it....I'm talking about going on holiday with my family - 3 kids and an ADHD husband plus (this year only - I've promised myself) my Mother.

About a week before we go the stress level starts to rise as I try to wash, iron and pack for 3 children plus myself. This being England, it could rain, hail, snow, shine, blow a hurricane or any combination of the above; I have also known it to be three of those IN ONE DAY. This means I need to pack 3 times the amount of clothes that you would normally take on holiday - waterproof clothes, hot weather clothes, beach wear, fleeces and wellies, smartish clothes to go out for a meal, scruffy clothes for Rock-Pooling in the rain.....the list of possibilities seems endless.

All this packing has to be done at the last minute since they don't have a lot of clothes so, unless I let them wander round in pyjamas for 3 days, I can only finalise the packing the day before we go.

After I've finished with the children's packing I have to start on mine. Same problem as before - 'What shall I take? Will it rain, snow or shine?' coupled with the questions 'Will this fit? Will my bum look big in this?' I haul my summer clothes out of storage and commence a mammoth 'trying on' session in front of a full length mirror. Anything that looks too grim is relegated to the floor. Two hours later I am left with what I think they call a 'capsule wardrobe' aka 'the only clothes that fit and don't look too bad'.

Then there are all the 'must haves' that my children can't last the week without - surf boards, buckets, spades, books, games, story tapes, DVDs etc etc and they can't possibly share any of it so everything is times 2 (or sometimes 3 if the littlest one sees what the other two have got). Before very long there is a HUGE pile of suitcases, bags and equipment stacked on the living room floor. My husband sees the pile and says - 'How come the pile is bigger than the size of our boot? It's not going to fit in'. Two boys start shouting and crying because they can't go on holiday without <<.....insert name of any object here......>>

Dammit - I've forgotten to book the Mother has said she will babysit one night provided I book a meal in a REALLY nice restaurant so she can go out one night too. There is more than one Michelin Starred restaurant in Cornwall but most of them are fully booked, finally manage to get a table in a restaurant that will be swanky enough and then have to start the process all over again to book a 'last night' meal for the 6 of us. The restaurant can only fit us in at 5:30pm or 6pm which is a lot earlier than I like and means dragging the kids off the beach at 4pm....Note to self: book restaurants for next year's holiday in February to ensure satisfactory choice of restaurant and dining time.

By some miracle the whole kit and caboodle is ready by 10pm Thursday and we open the wine. It takes us until 10am the next morning to actually fit it all into the car - we have a large Saab estate and it is full to the brim by the time we set off. I have about 6 inches of leg room and not enough space to knit or even to find a book, I am also bored of playing 'I Spy' by the time we reach the motorway.

Another note for next year - TAKE LESS STUFF.

Part 2 - The Holiday

Friday - Plymouth: Raining
You don't want to see a picture of Plymouth in the rain surely.

Saturday - Truro:Raining
Didn't take any photos of Truro in the rain either but here are two happy boys in their holiday bedroom.

Sunday - St Michael's Mount: Not Raining but blowing a Gale, Grey Skies and Freezing Cold.

Monday - Portreath: Hail, Wind, Sunny Spells - here is one of the sunny spells.

Tuesday - St Ives, Porthminster Beach - At last the sun comes out

Wednesday - St Austell, The Eden Project - Sunshine and Clouds

Thursday - Portreath Again: Very Windy but also sunny.

Here is King Canute, failing to hold back the tide .

Friday - Lappa Valley - Cloudy, Sunny and Windy

And that 'last night' meal - here's my Princess enjoying her Pasta Bolognese.

Saturday - Portreath for the Last Time: Roasting

ADHD Husband forgot the sun was shining and forgot to put any suncream on - he came home looking like a lobster!

Part 3 - Post-Holiday Stress

We always do the journey south in two parts, staying over night in Plymouth to break up the journey. But for some reason we never break the journey back and try to do it in one long slog. Because we had stayed on the beach until 4pm, it was almost midnight when we got home. The kids had no clue what time of day or night it was and all refused to go to bed, we adults we desperate for sleep but they wanted to watch Cartoon Network all night...

Now comes the fun part - unload the car, hoover up half a ton of sand, wash suncream/ice cream/juice and God knows what off the seats and carpets, clean the sticky hand prints off all the windows, door handles and buttons. I unpack all the bags and suitcases onto the kitchen floor only to find that they all have another half ton of sand in them - there is now a mini-beach on the floor. Make a small mountain (and I mean a mountain, it's bigger than my two year old) of washing and stack another pile of toys, books, unworn clothes etc at the bottom of the stairs. How the hell did all of this fit in the car? and why did we take it?

No-one has any clean clothes to wear so for the next two days the kids wear pyjamas and things that don't fit. I do 11 loads of washing and then iron it all, fold it and put it all away. I'm completely shattered - I need a holiday

Oh yeah and holiday knitting? I completed ONE SOCK TOE in 12 days.
I'll be back when I have the energy to type.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Fall Felted Bag Exchange

Have signed up for this one to help me (hopefully) bust my (very small) are my questionnaire answers.

How long have you been knitting or crocheting? How did you learn? or from whom?

I knit and crochet and have been doing it for almost 30 years. My mother taught me to knit dishcloths and I learned most of the more advanced skills from books and patterns. My teacher taught me to crochet when I was 9.

What was your first felted object, and why did you decide to try felting?

I felted a 'One Skein Bag' using Noro Silk Garden. I decided to try it because I had seen such lovely things on other people's Blogs and I like to try new techniques whenever I can.

What are your favorite colors? Any you hate?

My favourite colours are Blue, Purple, Baby Pink, Slate Grey. I hate acid bright colours - hot pink, lime, yellow, orange etc.

What are your favorite styles\types of bags? (Long straps? Short handles? Handbags? Totes? Embellished? Plain? Include links to patterns or photos if you’d like – give your pal an idea of what you enjoy!)

I like bags that are very practical as I tend to use them for storage or for knitting 'on the move'. So short handled totes, messenger bags, laptop bags, craft bags - embellished or plain. I am on Ravelry - ID =BatOutOfHell and have linked to some bag patterns on there. Other than that I like almost all Noni bags especially the embellished ones. I have the pattern for the Lattice but haven't been brave enough to try it yet.

What handbag or bag are you carrying today? Do you use a separate bag to carry your knitting?

I only have ONE bag - it's a black leather one that carries lots of 'stuff' for my 3 children. My knitting gets to travel in a plastic carrier bag or a paper grocery type bag with handles!!

What other things do you enjoy knitting or crocheting?

Jumpers, cardigans, wraps and socks are my projects of choice.

What sort of needles do you enjoy working with? (straights vs circs, bamboo vs aluminum)

Straight for most things, like metal needles as they feel much sturdier. I use circs for knitting sweaters in the round and for large projects that won't fit on straights e.g. shawls. I knit socks with dpns - I only have metal ones and have never tried anything else.

What’s one project you’ve not yet tried but are dying to make?


What’s one yarn you’ve not yet tried but are dying to work with?

Koigu PPPM

What other hobbies do you have? Do you spin? Sew? Garden?

I love dyeing yarn and finished projects especially hand-painting them. I sew bags, scrap quilts, clothes and soft furnishings whenever I get the time. I have a large garden and don't get anywhere near enough time to look after it properly.

Besides yarn, do you collect anything?


What kind of goodies do you enjoy? Sweets? Salty? Anything you hate or are allergic to?

I have a huge Sweet Tooth and like anything sweet EXCEPT toffee. I hate nuts, aniseed and liquorice.

Do you have any kiddos? (Furry kind count!)

3 children - elder son aged 9.5, younger son aged 5, daughter aged 2. No pets (yet!)

What kind of project best personifies you and why?

Tricky one...anything unusual in terms of construction or design. I like to be different and don't follow the crowd if I can help it.

What is your favorite part of Autumn? You can also share a special Autumn memory if you'd prefer!

I love the colours of the leaves more than anything else and have memories from my childhood of kicking through HUGE piles of them on my way to school. By the time I got there I had leaves stuck to my socks all the way up to my knees.

Tell us 3 things you would do if you won 10 million dollars in the lottery.

Pay off my mortgage and other debts.

Buy some new clothes for my husband and then for me.

Take a 'Round the World' trip to Peru, Mauritius, Madagascar, New Zealand and a few more places besides.

Some Finished Objects At Last!!!

First we have Rowan Glade from the Spring Edition of 'Simply Knitting'. This was easily the worst pattern I have ever knitted - I had to make so many modifications to the pattern to get it to fit. The fronts are knitted at a Size 14, the back at a Size 10. I had to remove the frills on the end of the sleeves because a) they were past my fingertips - not very practical and b) I ran out of yarn and this shade is discontinued. I also crocheted an edging as I didn't like the idea of knitting one 5 stitched wide and 230 rows long and then sewing it on - yuk!
I don't know whether to be pleased with it or not - it took so much effort that I can hardly bear to wear it. Oh yes and I've decided I also don't like knitting with cotton so, once my balls of Rowan Cotton Glace have been used up, I won't be buying any more.

And here is the obligatory - foot/leg/sock shot that everyone else's blog seems to have. This is a Lucy Neatby Fiesta Feet sock (I have actually completed the pair of them). Knitted in Panda Wool (Cream) and Panda Cotton (Fruit Salad). Had to use the cotton because they don't do the Panda Wool in Fruit Salad but as it is blended with nylon, the yarn is very elastic and not like the dreaded cotton at all.
I loved every minute of this pattern - it's a challenging knit that produces a lovely comfy sock. I'll be knitting it again but next time will make a few pattern modifications....

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Fall Felted Bag Exchange

I have been thinking about felting bags since I took up knitting again - this is something new that seems to have sprung out of nowhere whilst I have 'been away'. I am not a handbag kind of gal (I've said that many times before, sorry if I'm boring you with it now) but I do use them for storing my knitting, craft projects, shopping etc.

I think I'll be signing up to this swap. If you want to join in - sign-ups start August 15th.

Friday, 10 August 2007

SP11 Questionnaire

Here are my answers for this round and here are my answers for SP10 just so you can see how much I've changed in the last few months!

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Wool is my absolute favourite, Merino or wool mixed with something like silk or Alpaca to make it soft.
What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Mohair makes me itch. I don't like eyelash yarns either.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a zip-up case that my husband bought me years and years ago. It contains a full set of metal 30cm needles from 3mm to 6mm. My fabulous SP10 pal WanderlustKnits made me a needle case and in it I keep the Namaste Glass Needles she gave me and the thicker needles. Hooks and Circular needles get thrown into whatever I can find - they don't have a special place.
3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
My mother taught me when I was about 9 with dishcloth string and a pair of wooden needles. I think I am an advanced knitter and I love a challenge.
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I have an Amazon wish list and an Angel Yarns wish list too! I'm not expecting my SP to send ANY of these things but at least it gives an idea of the kinds of yarns, patterns and colours I like.
5. What's your favorite scent?
I wear Anais Anais but I like the smell of Freesia and Lilies.
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I have the worst sweet tooth in the Western World. I love chocolate especially Plain Chocolate and I also like it with 'additions' like cherries, orange, mint, raisins etc. I HATE NUTS. I love old-fashioned English boiled sweets (hard candy I think in the US) my favourites are 'Rhubarb and Custard' and 'Yorkshire Mixture', Pineapple Cubes and Cherry Drops.
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I like to sew (with a machine) and make bags, clothes, scrap quilts, soft furnishings etc. I like to draw and paint but don't get the time. My current obsession is dyeing and I would love to try the new ranges of 'Natural Dyes' that are appearing. I don't spin and don't really want to!
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like all sorts of music - Queen, Genesis, Meatloaf oh and somebody's Blog reminded me about the Cocteau Twins the other day and so I found myself rummaging through boxes of old records... I remembered then that I like The Smiths, The Cure and a load of other Indie Bands from the late 1980s.
9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
My favourite colours are Blue, Cherry Red, Dark Purple and Pale Pink. I just can't stand fuchsia pink, orange or any other acid bright colour.
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I am married with 3 children, no pets.
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear scarves/wraps/stoles.
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I knit jumpers and cardigans the most but I also enjoy socks.
13. What are you knitting right now?
I am finishing up Glade and then will be finishing Mystery Stole 3 before starting on a pair of socks, probably Pomatomus.
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I prefer straight needles for most things but really like knitting sweaters in the round on circulars. I own one pair of glass needles which are great - the rest are all metal.
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
I own a swift (my fab SP10 AGAIN) but am currently borrowing a ball winder from a friend.
17. How old is your oldest UFO?
I have been trying to knit Glade since April - I just have to sew it up now!
18. What is your favorite holiday?
19. Is there anything that you collect?
20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Where do I start? Loads of books are on my Amazon Wish List. I would love to try Louet or Koigu. I have a long list of Patterns that I love on Ravelry - probably too many for me ever to finish knitting them all. I have subs to Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits but these only started recently - Vogue with the Capecho issue (think it's Winter 2006) and Interweave with Spring 2007. I'm always happy to have back issues especially second-hand ones. I like the look of Interweave Crochet but have never seen an issue 'in the flesh'.
21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Hairpin Lace
22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
More of a sock knitter than I was a few months ago - I do enjoy knitting them but I like to keep a mix of projects going. I have a UK size 5.5 foot, if you need other measurements then please ask!
23. When is your birthday?
December (after the swap has finished!)
24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
YES, I love Ravelry and have been spending far too much time on it these last few weeks. My ID is BatOutOfHell.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Knit 1 Tea 2 Color Swap Questionnaire

I wasn't put off by the disastrous Dye-No-Mite swap - I've signed up for this one so I can spread the word about Scones globally.... Sign-ups are still open, get yourself over there and join in!

Here's my questionnaire answers:-

Do you like loose tea or bags, or both – something you want to try?
Bags please - loose tea makes far too much mess!!

What is your favorite kind of tea (Brand, flavor, variety, etc)?
For everyday drinking - Taylor's Yorkshire Tea. This is a blend of Indian teas specially made for the hard water found in most of Yorkshire.

Favorite color in regards to tea or one you would like to try? (black, green, red, and white) (keeping in mind that this is how this swap is set up).
Black is my favourite but I'm willing to try other kinds....

Would you say you were a tea pot kind of person or just a hot water heater kind?
What the heck is a hot water heater? We Brits have electric kettles with which to ensure our water is properly boiled! I am too lazy to use a teapot for one person and just pour boiling water on a teabag in the mug.

What tea accessories would you like but have never purchased for yourself?
I've always wanted a traditional English teapot actually - we only have one of those fancy glass Bodum ones.

How do you prefer to be pampered? (examples: mani/pedi, bubble bath, yummy treat, etc).
Manicures, long bubble baths, chocolate.

If you were a kind of yarn what would you be and why?
Well I'd like to be a slim 4 ply but in reality I'm more like a light weight Aran (worsted). Definitely a one off hand-painted colourway though with many different hues - unexpected or unconventional - the kind of colourway that makes you look at it in the yarn shop.

If you had to knit/crochet baby booties, a fun fur scarf, or a fair isle sweater, which would you choose and why?
A Fair-isle jumper because it's complicated and interesting to knit. Satisfying when it's finished and will last a lifetime if you take care of it.

What other event would make you skip a tea party? (A garden party? A book club meeting? A yoga class? Opening night for a new action thriller? etc?)
I wouldn't skip something I'd been invited to but I would go to any of the above if it meant getting a few hours away from the children and the house!

What treat would you consider essential at your tea party? (Sweet? Salty? Scones? Those petite pastry trays with a couple of all sorts of things? Little crust less sandwiches?)
A 3 tier Cake Stand a bit like this. The bottom tier is for crustless sandwiches, the middle tier is for Scones or other Savoury items and the top is for the sweet pastries and cakes - I like handmade mini chocolate eclairs best.
Unfortunately the one I have has only two tiers so I don't bother with the sandwiches!

When buying yarn for a project how do you choose - do you buy the one called for or do you substitute?
I buy the specified yarn if I can, otherwise I use Yarndex and substitute like mad especially for something cheaper!

What do you carry your knitting/crocheting in when on the go?
Plastic Bags, brown paper bags - anything to keep the project and yarn clean.

Favorite movie to watch while knitting/crocheting?

Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or anything I've seen many times before so I don't have to watch it properly. (I can't knit anything other than stocking stitch without looking at the knitting).

Are you a traditional tea cup kind of person or a mug type of person? Do you care if they match?
I like mugs because you get more tea and that also means that the tea stays hotter for longer. My pet hate is lukewarm tea.

Favorite childhood birthday party?
I can only remember having ONE childhood birthday party and it wasn't exactly a success - probably best forgotten in fact. Let's not go there.....

Favorite type of scone and jam?

Classic English All Butter Scone - no fancy additions. Raspberry jam is my favourite even though Cream Teas here always come with Strawberry.

If you use candles, what is your favorite scent?
Citrus - lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarin - that kind of refreshing smell.

If you could choose 3 people to have 'tea' with, who would they be and why? (famous or not, living or dead).
Margaret Thatcher, Stephen Hawking and Patrick Stewart (yes that's right Jean-Luc Picard!). Perhaps not all at the same time - Patrick Stewart supports Tony Blair....

You've been invited to a tea party, what 'props' will you wear (formal or casual)?
Well I'd have to wear a 'tea dress' and a little cardigan over the top!

Any allergies/preferences you have or are willing to admit to?
I find Mohair very difficult to wear as it makes me itch. No real allergies although I do ABSOLUTELY HATE nuts.

Anything we missed that you want your pal to know?
Don't think so - my pal can always ask me!!