Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Yarn Along

This week is half term for us, and Husband being a teacher it has been very nice to have him at home. The weather has been very wet, and we had a list of house jobs that had been waiting all half term, so there has been a lot of hanging around the house, getting things ticked off the list. I have managed some reading though, so I can join in with Ginny. I finished the two Friday Night Knitting Club books.

These were supposed to be a bit of light reading to save me from this, but despite the writing being O.K., the content is pretty dire. Pretty much the opposite of the Durham Cathedral book. When I got to the part where the mother-of-newborns breastfeeds in the toilet at their one-month celebration "for her privacy," the book spent some time on my personal literary naughty step. For goodness sake. I shall be passing these on to my local knitting group tonight, since knitting fiction seems to be becoming a bit of a trend there. Incidentally, I also finished The Last Office this week. The content of this book is so interesting, but there is no organisation, and the writing is very, very poor. I realise I sound very negative and critical, but as a lapsed academic and lover of literature I really think that my standards are just a bit too high.

The boys and I had a little trip to the library yesterday, so I took out something completely different for this week's reading:

I have already picked my way through Quick and Easy Home Sewing Projects and Stitch, Craft, Create with sticky tabs to mark projects that I want to photocopy. The latter in particular has some fantastic, easy looking projects, one of which has "Roshee's Birthday Present" written all over it. So hopefully more of that later!The woolly side of this week's yarn along is another Milo, this time for Sausages' childminder's charming son, as a thank you gift for being a big part of Sausages' life. I am really loving being a bit more of a stay-at-home-mum, but I appreciate that this family were so important to Sausages.

Finally, it wouldn't be a Wailliewaillie post without a bit of baking, and tonight I'm making sourdough hot dog buns for the boys, but here's a little treat: Husband made us all scotch pancakes for second breakfast!

I love that man-cooking, that involves buckets of research and the employment of seven different pieces of technical equipment. He's got the skills though. Soon I'll show you the small miracle he has effected in my kitchen, but that will have to wait until I manage some nice pictures. Look forward to it though!

Who does the baking in your house? Do you and your partner have different styles of cooking? Husband is very precise. He weighs and measures everything. I'm more of a wooden spoon, bit of this bit of that cook. It makes sense to me that women tend to be cooks and men tend to be chefs. What do you think?


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Adventures in toddlerdom

This week Sausages has had some lovely adventures. About a year ago, a lovely friend and her children gave us a "Cosy Coupe" ride-in car. Sausages loves this car, and like my friend's son, cannot resist the temptation to put small things through the hole in the side (I'm assuming the hole is for petrol). Yesterday, Sausages decided to push one of his favourite little cars through the hole. Cue floods of tears from my little Cars addict. It was all hands on deck, and Daddy came to the rescue as ever. My hero!

 After a lot of juggling, Filmore was retrieved, along with half of the stones from our previous house, and a chunk of leaf litter. Daddy took steps to make sure he wouldn't have to go through this again.

Fortunately Filmore was none the worse for his adventure, if a little grimy. We also later found out that Flo had had an adventure too, in one of Husband's veg patches.

And what was sausages doing while Husband was working hard to make his little, Cars obsessed life bearable? Was he standing penitent, eyes downcast, hands clasped in anticipation and hope, gushing with gratitude? No. He's two. He was emptying the grass box from Husband's lawn mower all over the lawn. Toddler curiosity is a powerful thing!

Sausages has special names for all of the different sections of the garden. Down the side of the house there is a little lawn with a concrete walkway and beds. It is attached to the house on one side, and the other three sides are almost entirely enclosed by six foot fences, with a small gap of a couple of feet giving access from the main back garden. The only other way you can see this lawn is from Sausages' bedroom window. He calls it his Secret Garden. Today Husband and Father-in-Law built him a little gate with a magnetic fastening, to cover the access from the main garden. Sausages is in seventh heaven! Just like his "very rown room," he has a delightful sense of ownership of this little garden. He has spent the afternoon ushering people in and out of it, and entertaining guests.

I love to see him experiencing pride for the first time. He is so delighted. He wants for nothing, but he is grateful for everything we give him to the same degree, big or small, and there is nothing he has that he is not interested in. I constantly feel the privilege of watching him grow in so many ways, and show his developing personality to the world. It's so lovely to finally spend some time in the garden after all of the hail and cold last week. It's really coming into itself.

My knitting classes have been coming on a storm, and I should have a little more for you on that subject soon, but I have had an extra student this week. Husband has decided that he would like to knit his own Dr Who scarf. He has done his research, and picked the series with what he considers to be the definitive scarf. He has downloaded a colour scheme from Ravelry. And this week, he has learned to slip knot, cast on, and knit. The scarf will be garter stitch, so no need to purl. He's taken to it quite well, but there was quite a lot of swearing to begin with.

To completely bowdlerize, knit, you clever boy! Oh, and here'd this week's hand dyeing for your approval. Lots of pink this week for some reason. Having a wet-room is so convenient for the hand dyeing! The green and yellow is Sausages'. He must be the yarniest toddler going! What have your small people got up to this week?


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Not to mince words...

It's been a big week in the Bungalow. I taught my first paid knitting class at Capture the Magic. I really enjoyed it, and I hope my students did too! They were all ladies, of a range of ages and backgrounds, and I hope it was the start of a yarny love affair for them.  The all managed to learn the slip knot, basic cast-on, knit, purl, and cast-off, in just two hours! Clever ladies.

I also attempted a childrens' yarn-dyeing session, to see whether that might be a business opportunity for me. The results were very mixed, so I'm going to withdraw and think about that one for a while. The kiddlies did produce some lovely yarn though:

Ball-winders are magic. They just make all yarn look delicious! And the little boys who came to play really loved turning the handle and creating balls of wool. Our third achievement this week was to get Grandmother-in-Law's enameled, cast-iron mincer working. I think we have a lot to learn, but we did manage to produce some pretty cracking turkey and apple burgers with the result.

I felt the weight of history when using the mincer. The mincer was a wedding present to Father-in-Law's parents, so I feel a great responsibility and privilege in having it to play with in our family home. Also, my own Gran grew up in her father's butcher's shop in Runcorn, and Mammar has always told us about how she used to make sausages with her homework propped up against the mincer. Unfortunately I do not seem to have inherited any of her skills in this department, but I'm having a go anyway. The next thing I'd like to do with it is mince the leftovers of a roast, since I usually shred them for shepherd's pie or whatever. I'm baking with Sausages this afternoon, and that always makes me think of Bapar's mother, who was an awesome cook, and who would have absolutely loved my clever, cheeky son. Especially his pudding, which is not cooked (I've checked!).

What have you been proud of this week? What makes you feel connected to the previous generations of your family?


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny...this week I have mostly been knitting stitch samples in very chunky acrypic yarn for my first knitting class on Thursday!

I chose the yarn because I wanted the students to be able to see the stitches really clearly, but bleugh! And I still have a few more to do today...intarsia and a couple of lace. Ultimately I'd like to have them mounted on a cork board, but that'll have to wait until I have actually been paid for the lessons! While I was out at knitting club last night the boys made me some little business cards to take with me. It's all falling into place.  I've been so busy that there hasn't been much reading this week, just ploughing on with The Friday Night Knitting Club when I get a few minutes. But this little beauty has arrived from Grandmother-In-Law:

So I'm hoping to get underway very soon! I certainly haven't used a sewing machine since I was about 14, so there's a need for a little refamiliarisation here. 

Sausages and I went to another family wedding this weekend (and Husband went to another 100 miles away. Three in two weeks!) and he was charming and delicious as ever, but still refused to wear his lovely tie. Here's a couple of gratuitous pics of his week for you (and Mother-In-Law, who I know checks in!):

I hope you've all had a good week. Would you like to tell me what you feel is the most important thing you have learned about knitting, and help my poor students?


Thursday, 9 May 2013

Yarn along

Joining in with Ginny...

my first ever Milo! In the newborn size. I LOVE it. The yarn was some smooth acrylic that was in a big bag given to me when a craft group I used to go to closed down. It's lovely to touch, and the drape of the garment is lovely. Even the cable looks delish; that single owl! Sometimes relief patterns just don't look right for me, because I put my yarn round the needle backwards (and cannot do otherwise, for some reason!), but I am so pleased with this. It could easily be worn with nothing underneath. Thank you so much to my lovely Kangaroo friend who gave me the pattern. Soon it will be winging its way to New Zealand, where a little baby-on-the way can enjoy it. I don't have any reading for you this week, but for an exciting reason.

 This week my lovely and generous Grandmother-in-Law has sent me her sewing machine! Husband had to scrape me off the ceiling when he turned up with it. I have wanted a sewing machine for a long time, but I am also a bit frightened of them. I haven't used one since school! So I set about trying to find myself a manual. Out of date manuals are often available free online (an awful lot of experience renting houses with ancient boilers/cookers/washing machines has taught me), but I cannot find one for this lovely. She's so beautiful. Grandmother-in-Law told me that she didn't work, and Mother-in-Law had a go and said the same, so I was going to get it serviced, but Husband found himself at a loose end, and took the whole thing apart, put it back together, and hey presto: it works! There are, admittedly, a couple of leftover parts, and a mysterious bolt rattling around inside the casing, but all power to that man's elbow all the same. She definitely needs a name. Any suggestions?

Today is Sausages' last morning with the childminder, and after that he is all mine again. I cannot wait. I am so happy to try to be a better mummy to that shining boy than I was when I was trying to juggle his needs and my thesis, and making myself miserable in the process. To celebrate, I think we will head to the zoo! Because I'm that sort of mum now! Then tomorrow, I'm accompanying his preschool trip to the soft play. Because I'm that sort of mum now! The one who has time to spend with her child, to take an interest in his interests, to stimulate his learning journey. I'm so so happy about it.

I hope you're all having a good week. Let me know if you have any thoughts on the sewing machine!


Sunday, 5 May 2013

From baby steps to big, big steps

It's been a very busy day at the Bungalow, and it's not over yet! This morning I was feeling under the weather so I stayed at home while the boys went to Mass. I couldn't get back to sleep, so I popped onto facebook and launched my first adult knitting class and first two preschoolers' craft sessions! How efficient! The I had a little sleep of course! I also achieved not one...not two...but THREE finished knits today, all cast-off, made-up, and woven-in. Two of them were (drum-roll please) the two pink tops for Beth and Mo.

Nice, huh? I'm a sentimental old lady, and the idea of these two tiny ladies having something made with yarn that belonged to their great grandmother. They're cuties, and I might have to bribe their mamma into sending me a picture of them in the dresses. I also finished the tie for Sausages that I both began and abandoned last Saturday. It's a cutie! Now, what are my chances of persuading him to wear it to the wedding we're going to this Saturday? Hmmm...

It was a glorious day here, so we had lunch in the garden, and the boys did some serious gardening, including the all-important "driving around in tiny red car with seed packets in the boot!"

When I decided recently to make hot cross buns with my sourdough, I came across a lot of research about the benefits of using wild yeast over commercially produced dry yeasts. The buns were excellent, and I decided that we would try to use the starter for all yeast baking. Today I tried sourdough pizza. I didn't find an interesting recipe online, so I simply made it up like my regular bread but with one fewer rests. I topped mine with homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella, olives (Sausages' favourite!) and organic rocket from the veg box. While making them Sausages must have eaten twenty olives on the sly. He threw a mighty tantrum when I put them back in the cupboard. He cheered up when he got to eat the finished product though!

Well, now I feel exhausted just reading about my own day. I haven't discussed it much, but I am quite open about the fact that I have suffered rather unpleasant postnatal depression since Sausages was born, and I would not have believed last year that now I would be launching my own business and innovating with needles and starter, and all on a day when my tonsils are like tennis balls! Our world has turned around in the last couple of months, and I'm so pleased. How was your weekend? Do you do anything interesting with your starter?


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Extra-Yarny Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny...

Having enjoyed the knitting (if not the writing) in last week's book I thought I'd try another. This is a different author, and I noticed that in my stash of charity shop books I have two of this series. I'm just in the mood for them at the moment: trashy, quick to read, and full of craft. Do you read fiction surrounding your favourite crafts? Or does it just send you running for another project, leaving the book on the side?

The knitting is a quick, simple tie for Sausages. I would like him to wear it to a wedding in ten days, but the chances of compliance are very, very slim!