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so, uuh, yeah, about the beanie

Sans pompom but cosy and a good fit for the unexpected recipient :)

Sans pompom but cosy and a good fit for the unexpected recipient:)

I finished that beanie, as you can see. It was too large even for Dr B’s big head! However, I was able to gift it to a friend – whose head is even bigger and whose need for comfort was perhaps greater – so no harm done.

YoungB has a small head. I know that. I keep forgetting that I could knit a women’s size for him and it would fit. That’s more or less what I’m doing now, using a different shade of grey yarn. And I might knit something for Dr B if I get around to it. He’s not short of beanies, he just keeps losing them:)

I hope your knitting projects are meeting with more success than mine presently seem to be:)

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2016 in Knitting

 

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…and another week

It's called an Aran design, though as a cabled number it's definitely understated

It’s called an Aran design, though as a cabled number it’s definitely understated

That was another week’s effort, achieved not so much by knitting on the bus, tram or train – or even in the lunchroom at work – as at home in the evenings. Only 11 rows remain, each of them of decreasing length, then it’s a matter of sewing up the back seam, tidying up those ends and blocking it and, voila, YoungB will have a new beanie. For once, he might have it before the cold weather really starts nipping.

So it’s back to the last 11 rows I go while the house cleans itself:)

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2016 in Knitting

 

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that was last week’s effort

Almost done with the ribbing

Almost done with the ribbing

The beanie is progressing. That’s reasonably accurate with regard to colour and, yes, I often knit at the table with a glass of wine readily to hand:) I have also managed some steady commuter knitting, mostly on the train and one of my longer bus trips. I don’t know if it’s having the desired effect of keeping me sane, but it’s keeping me busy and perhaps that’s enough.

How’s your knitting coming along?

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2016 in Knitting

 

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annual cycle of feast or famine

Still going, though perhaps not strong. I made it in 1988.

Dr B’s cabled jumper is still going, though perhaps not strong. I made it in 1988.

You know how it is. After the busy-ness dies down and life gets back to normal, you want to knit, but don’t have a project in mind. You can’t quite bring yourself to get back into the swing of tinking the existing projects (there are several, as I said last time). And then, into your email inbox – right on cue, just like last year – pops some irresistible temptation from Bendigo. Last year it was sock yarn that lured me. This year, it’s their latest, lovely, special yarn. The variegated colourways are attractive and there’s a black-grey mix. YoungB’s birthday jumper – in some pattern suited to the yarn, of course, not the original choice over which he dithered so much I gave up – looks like a winning option again. Quickly, before you change your mind, you dig out a fast, easy pattern and order the yarn. Well, that’s what I did, anyway.

Then Dr B and YoungB returned from visiting a friend, who continues to be remarkably impressed by the – now very old and falling to pieces, but too nice to throw out – jumper I made for Dr B during the first year we were married, and which he still wears because he loves it. As you can see, it’s riddled with cables, albeit at the lower end of complexity. Otherwise you die of boredom. Right? It is a nice jumper and I think it’s beginning to influence YoungB (who once refused to borrow it for a ski trip because of the cables; but who’s now experienced a truly chilly, Northern-hemisphere winter and has doubtless seen others wearing handmade jumpers of similar design).

YoungB then suggested that he’d quite like a beanie. With cables on it. I hauled out my trusty old Patons Book 483 Winter Warmers that I’ve been using for ever, and showed him a couple of patterns. He chose a Fair Isle one, pattern 17, as well as one with cables, pattern 18, after also considering pattern 22, which is the one I made for Dr C a couple of years ago. He and I shuffled off to our LYS to choose some yarn. I’ve been knitting for enough years to know that, as long as you buy reasonable quality yarn and ensure that it’s all from the same manufacturer – as well as the obvious colour and dye-lot matches, if it’s a single-colour buy – then you don’t have to buy the yarn specified. After looking at and comparing several different brands of pure-wool yarns, we picked out four different shades of blue for the Fair Isle beanie, and a grey wool and alpaca mix for the cabled number (I see it more as an obvious grey, he sees it as having a strong teal hue).

Now all I have to do is think of something quick and appropriate that I can make for a colleague’s birthday on Thursday, though I’ll start the knitting immediately and, fnigres corsesd, hope that I don’t get too many interruptions. Realistically, I’m likely to come to grief on the jumper but it IS a quick and easy pattern. The beanies will take time, but when you commute for the best part of three hours, five days a week, then time is not your main problem. It’s finding the dedication. Given that YoungB specifically asked for a beanie, and chose the pattern and yarn himself, then I dare say the dedication will be easier to find than it often is.

Have you reached the annual point where you simply have to have some knitting to keep you sane?

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2016 in Knitting

 

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soon it will be winter and I’ll have to knit

I can see it now. But what will I be knitting?

I can see it now. But what will I be knitting? And, no, I don’t actually have a cat.

You remember this was going to be a busy year with birthdays? It has been, and there’s another zero-ending one in the offing. Then we can breathe for a while before the usual slew of “not zero or anything particularly special” birthdays continues unabated. I think I’m off the hook for scanning photos with regard to any of the forthcoming numbers but there’s always something unexpected in store.

It’s frightening to think that it’s already March, nearly April and my creative efforts this year have so far been almost minus. When Dr B and YoungB were working in the backyard in 40-degree heat and I was concerned about their dehydrating, I fished out the sewing machine to make another of those cooling neck collars. Yeah, right. Something I don’t like about the Janome, as fabulous as it is in terms of variety of stitches and as good as it was for sailing over the loose-weave hessian, is that it’s a pig of a thing to thread. I had to re-thread it several times because apparently I was doing it wrongly. I sat there with the book in front of me, carefully following the diagrams. I redid the bobbin a few times, in case that was causing the difficulty. Nothing worked. I ended up putting it away and uttering a few impolite suggestions around behavioural change. And didn’t make the cooling neck collars. The Bs simply wore wet bandanas, instead.

It’s getting to the time of year where my fingers are itching to have knitting in them, so I’ve just revisited my Ravelry projects to see what’s awaiting completion that I could reasonably pick up in the expectation of finishing it without too much drama. There’s nothing. What isn’t finished is in the middle of serious tinking. To wrap my head around what’s necessary means being back in the knitting groove. And I’m not. So what do you reckon? is the only answer to start something new??

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2016 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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just when you thought you were making headway

Twice, you say? If only it were so simple!

Twice, you say? If only it were so simple!

Family research is always fun. It’s so easy to get sucked into following leads. I did that when researching my maternal grandfather. It entertained me to pretend it was real research that I could use to write a convincing story (I could have, easily), but I knew there was no point tracking down a soldier even if the name were the same and the age about right, because my grandfather was severely colourblind. He would never have made it past the enlistment queue. I’ve also found a duplication of names in my maternal grandmother’s line that caused me to wonder about bigamy until I looked more carefully at the dates.

Then someone posts that little graphic illustrating how many direct ancestors you’re trying to find. Yeah. It’s a lot! The graphic also makes the point that you’re related to everyone. Twice. Should I just give up now?!

In fact, I know our relationships are considerably closer than simply being related to everyone twice. We have a little matrix that we use to calculate cousins – it comes in useful when you’re trying to explain to someone who has no idea about anything much beyond first cousins – that tells me one ancestral couple were first cousins once removed. What does that do with all the following relationships? How far are they skewed? Or do you just note that the siblings were also cousins?? And how do you manage that same complicated relationship when another level of cousins marries back into it? Related only twice? I wish!

And how far do you trust the family tales? I wouldn’t dispute that there’s at least a grain of truth in all of them, but without original parties to consult – or even elders of the clans whose memories might be sharper on those points – how do you sift the fact from the fiction? When you can’t find arrival records, is there any way of checking whether the dates you have are at all likely? As I say, it’s fun and it’s time-consuming and that so much is available on various websites nowadays facilitates checking where possible. Most of the mystery is to be found at the point where it’s not possible. Back to the hunt I go:)

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2016 in Family history

 

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not ablogogising

Best bib and tucker, ready to visit my colleagues

This is not QUITE 21 years ago. YoungB aged about six weeks, all dressed up in his best bib and tucker. We were on our way to visit my workmates.

No, I’m not ablogogising. Not one bit. Life is settling down after a remarkably bumpy start to the year. You’ve probably all seen the meme along the lines of January having been a practice month? Gets my vote. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back to my computer to do something frivolous once in a while. It’s been all work, work, work. I now have to do some more work, work, work scanning photos for a DVD presentation for YoungB’s – gulp! – 21st birthday. That cannot possibly be true. But there you are. It is. He’s still just as cute:)

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Family history

 

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