Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Wednesday Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny...this week I spent a lot of time making up a jumper knitted by one of my lovely mummy friends, who I taught to knit "my very rown self," as Sausages would say. I actually enjoy making up, and like to think my seams are quite pretty, but in my first attempt at making up this jumper I made a silly mistake in reading the instructions, and had to rip out all the sleeve and side seams. This is a before picture:

It broke my heart to rip that out! It was done! But my silly mistake had made the arm holes too small, and nobody needs that, so out they came. My lovely friend fed me a lot of chocolate afterwards, and I'm just about over the trauma now. The moral of this tale? Don't read the pattern! Follow your brain! I have also finished knitting the leaves for Sausages' autumn decorations (as demanded. He knows what he wants knitted, that boy!), and they are awaiting forming into some sort of display. Maybe around our hall mirror?

This garish beast is the first thing I have knitted for 'Madge, even though I started it before we even imagined that we would be having a baby soon. It's really an exercise in using a basic chevron pattern, and uses a pack of rainbow yarn that came free with a magazine Husband bought for me when I was poorly at New Year. It's also full of mistakes, and one row of non-regulation red due to a miscalculation that saw the blanket abandoned in a project bag for a good month or so. In the end I decided that I had to get the project out of my system, and that 'Madge isn't really in a position to criticise, so a single row of the wrong red was endurable. Please forgive me if the colours have hurt your eyes!

Not knitting, but Sausages and I had a lovely day with our fellow woolly friends, making wet felt. Unfortunately it turns out Sausages still doesn't have the patience for wet felting, but his little friend (who is a year older) managed just fine and produced the best effort of us all! the above is what Sausages and I managed together, and will make a nice little coaster for my dresser. The slightly dodgy surface underneath it is my upturned sewing table, still awaiting repair by Husband before it can assume it's place in my overcrowded craft corner. We've been a bit busy lately!

Reading-wise I am half way through Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. I am not enjoying it, and this is another case of my inability to walk away from a book before I have read the whole thing. This book seems to be a vanity exercise in navel-gazing, and not up my street at all. The end.

As you can see, quite a random week this week, but I had a very strong urge to finish the leaves and the blanket, and have soooo many new cast-ons lined up, so next week should be a lot more exciting on the knitting front! I have cast on the first of my Christmas knitting projects, which I will share with you next week, when hopefully I will have resolved the question of the final design. I know, I must decide these things before I cast on, but it's going to be a big project and I was aching to get it started!

Have you started your festive crafting yet? What are your personal rules about crafting gifts for others? Do you enjoy crafting with your children for Christmas and other celebrations? Let me know!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

All Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness in the Fen

It's been a clingy week for Sausages, hence the lack of the usual Wednesday blather, and I'm only managing to come online now because Husband has managed to prize him off me with a treaty boys supper of nachos with trimmings! Not a normal dinner in our house, but it's been a demanding day with a lot of food, and such moments are what rule-bending is for. I finished Sausages' pumpkin hat, and he was so chuffed with it that he put it on and ran around the house singing "I am a pumpkin head!" without even letting me weave in the ends!

There's no pattern, I just cast on a multiple of six stitches that was compatible with the circumference of Sausages' head and standard DK gauge, and worked in the round in six stocking stitch panels separated by two purl stitches. When I guessed it was tall enough I started decreasing two stitches per panel per round, and when I got down to six stitches changed to the green yarn, working a stalk in six-stitch rounds. Anyway, it's cute as pie and will be his hallow'een costume this year. Sounds lame, but hallow'een isn't really our thing, so it's a compromise because I want him to enjoy the festivities with his friends.

I've also got back in the kitchen in a bigger way this week. I've done a lot of cooking with leftovers this week. We had some sweet potatoes and butternut squash left over from a roast dinner, so I bunged them in the slow cooker with two tins of coconut milk, a red onion, and the end of a jar of Thai red curry paste for seasoning. I blended and froze it, and when Sausages and I had some for lunch this week he licked the bowl. It was THAT good, honest! We had it with hot, buttered, toasted sourdough from the end of a homemade loaf...bliss! Husband has also developed a taste for homemade quiche, so this week we had "leftovers quiche," containing mostly courgette and butternut squash. Both of these are yummy, hot autumnal meals, and I didn't have to buy anything in for either. Perfect!

Sausages and I have had a really autumnal week, reveling in the change of season. Yes, I do know how pretentious that sounds, but I'm just not a summer person, and the change in season has come at the same time as my morning sickness is waning, and I feel so contented to be breathing in the cooler air and autumn scents of conkers and rain. We had a lovely walk with friends at Wicken Fen, where we explored a fenland cottage along with the beautiful countryside. Can you see what my lovely friend is holding in her hand? A taxidermied mole! Our boys thought this was brilliant, along side the tractors, ducks, chickens, cattle and windmills that punctuated our walk.

 I know I do bang on about it, but our National Trust membership does give us a fantastic selection of days out available for no extra cost and on the spur of the moment. It's ideal when mummy needs fresh air and small boys need to run around with no restrictions. We've needed it a lot recently! Of course Sausages' clingy mood and difficult bedtimes have been caused by a huge developmental leap. I'm so proud of him, but I'm also very proud of Husband and myself, and our ability to look at changes in his behaviour, recognise that he's going through something we don't know about yet, and adjust our lives accordingly. It makes me feel like we can pause in our climb of the mountain of parenthood, look down, and be proud of the progress we have made. Oh dear, I do sound pretentious and sentimental this evening, but what I want to convey to other parents is: be kind to yourselves, if your child's behaviour is challenging you in some way there is probably something exciting coming, and bending the norm to make life supportive for everyone while this change is coming is fair, and not "copping out!"

I hope you've all had a lovely week and are enjoying the change of seasons as much as we are! Do you have any favourite slow cooker recipes for the autumn? 'Tis the season!


Thursday, 3 October 2013

Yarn Along!

Joining in with Ginny...

It's a quiet week in the Bungalow. Husband is under the weather, and Sausages is having a tough time with bedtime. What I mean by that, of course, is that we're all having a tough time at bedtime! It's been a demanding month for him: Husband going back to work after a summer that must feel like forever when you're two; a new playschool, which he loves and is stretching him in good ways; Mummy slowing down and not up for all the usual japes; and new swimming lessons where he has to go in without Mummy. This latter has probably been his biggest challenge, and he started the week before he turned three. He's a year younger than the other children in the class, and desperately wants to take part and do what they do, but is also quite nervous of doing it! I've been so proud to see him manage this in the last four weeks, getting braver and more independent every lesson, while I wobble on the poolside.

Back to the task in hand! The new playschool is further from home, so mostly I run errands in the local town, and find a bit of time for myself. This has meant more reading time, hurrah! This week I am reading Mayim Bialik's account of her own attachment parenting experiences. It's been a really good read for me. She and I agree on pretty much everything, but have gone about some things differently. It's like discussing the topics with another mum, but without worrying about offending or misunderstanding each other. Understandably, emotions often run high during discussions of parenting approaches! Dangerously, she has included topical recommended reading, some of which has found its way into my amazon basket this week. Oops! The scarily orange knitting is going to be a pumpkin hat for Sausages, by way of a costume for a Hallow'een party he has been invited to. There's no pattern, just a vague idea of shaping using purl columns, but I think it's going to be too small for his large head. Very orange toddler pumpkin hat, anyone?

Having Husband at home on the sofa in front of a film has meant that Sausages isn't climbing all over me today, so this morning I have put a Christmas cake in the oven, and a red cabbage in the slow cooker. That will cook all day, then be stuck in the freezer for Christmas dinner (if it makes it that far). In fact, it's so delicious I'm going to share the ingredients with you:
1 red cabbage
1 red onion
2 cooking apples
a slug of red wine
the juice of an orange
mixed spice
brown sugar
The quantities? Oh, I'm afraid I don't really cook that way, it's what I have in, or left over, or can scrump! I often freeze it in smaller batches, and defrost one every time I make a shepherd's pie with leftover roast lamb. The juices and cabbage are just perfect cooked in with the meat. I hope you have a go and enjoy it!