Too Much Structured Time?

According to a recent report, kids are spending too much time attached to technology or in structured activities.

I submit this in response.

This mornings activity is a few hours of soft play whilst I sit happily knitting. BeanPole has her own ideas about what she wants to do this morning, and not even 40+ screaming kids is going to interfere with her enjoyment of dragons!

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One does not simply buy a lopapeysa

Every year, I have to make one. My collection of lopapeysa is rather small, but that’s mainly because the last few have been made for other people!

A lopapeysa is an Icelandic jumper, generally made from Icelandic Lopi yarn which is particularly special because it has been bred in isolation in Iceland where it has developed a special hollow fibre wool which is incredibly warm. The lopi I have used in the past, has always been imported from Iceland directly, but the downside to these is that they ITCH! With that said, they are so lovely and warm.

However, the same visual effect can be achieved with some wool blend Aran. And that’s exactly what I’m doing this year.

Last year was a bit of a penguin thing for Beanpole. This year it’s a traditional jumper for me 🙂

One does not simply buy a lopapeysa – you have to knit it yourself. (Or find an Icelandic grandmother, who do actually advertise online!)

Happy knitting xx

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Knit & Natter

There is very little that is more bizarre than sitting in the evening in a small yarn shop with a cup of tea, bread pudding, with other women directly opposite a rowdy pub where people walk past you as if they’d just walked past a coven meeting.

Well, that’s exactly what I did this evening at The Wool Bar. And it was fab.

I ribbed for a good few hours, thoroughly enjoying the conversation which ranged from our children, to belly dancing, to our favorite manga.

Next Tuesday is my first day back at school, but I’m definitely packing up my needles for another cup of tea and natter with these ladies next week. And I shall be arriving with a tiny little hat to add to the charity donation 🙂

(And I medically NEED that emerald silk yarn)

A Dig in the Ribs

I have a post about an amazing place with amazing people, but I’m waiting on photos… S you’ll have to make do with this.

I’m working on my first top down jumper. For someone who dislikes hates ribbing, it made total sense for me to select a pattern which uses two different types of ribbing for about 90% of the jumper. It is for this reason that it takes me nearly two hours to grow the pattern by an inch. It’s not quite wearable yet…

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It also meant that I had something monotonous to focus on while I sat and contemplated stuff while the sun went down this evening after some rather sad news.

Sometimes it’s there but for the grace of god we go. I hope the coffee is good up there. Xxx

Rock your Socks Off!

I finally found a sock knitting pattern that both called for 4mm DP kneedles and actually made sense 🙂

Basic sock pattern is free and online here. And it really works!

First came some camping socks for TinyPants. She can’t wear actual pairs, it will impact on the fabric of the known universe if she was to wear a matching pair of socks, so hers are very ‘her’.

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These were my first ever successful pair of socks and they took me about 10 hours overall. Whilst making them, I got into the rhythm of ankle, heel, foot, toe and it all started to make sense!

Then BeanPole got a little jealous as her warm socks that we bought her from Iceland back in 2010 now have holes in and her feet are considerably too big for them (seriously, an 8 year old with size 4 feet is just wrong). So rainbow socks were demanded. Really? Rainbow? Err ok…

Another 8ish hours of careful dropping of my DPNs (double pointed needles) and we have the first one. And I think she likes it!

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It’s the same pattern, but this time in the women’s size (they fit me too, which really does mean my baby is growing up 😦 )

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And the view from my current knitting spot is everso nice.

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Talk to Your Inner Teenager About Art in August

I’ve been following another blog who sent out a request to fellow bloggers to guiltily say hello to their inner child and do some Art in August. You should check out her blog here. The idea is you hijack your kid’s art things, or dig out your own and just be creative. It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be ‘you’.

I’m not one to refuse a challenge and in between trying to work out these socks, I decided to spend some proper time with the kids. Rather than just setting up the paints and letting them go, I sat down with them and painted too!

It all started yesterday…. (cue wobbly visuals and iffy music)

While we were at the beach, my friend Catherine suggested that each of her children collect a single pebble to take home as a momento. I followed suit and each of us selected a single pebble. And today I found a new use for my Warhammer paints (the guy at the ‘hobbit shop’ would have a fit!). It started off with the cool stone I found…

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Once washed, I covered it in a base colour. And gazed at it for a while. What or who do you look like?
In my head I’m having conversations with my 12 yr old self who is demanding that this be a zombie. But I’m being a frog right now, I argue back…

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In the background we had Paranorman on the TV, and all of a sudden it got a bit Tim Burton in my head. Fine, we’ll compromise. It’ll be a zombie frog. I call this piece “Frog Zombie – Partied Hard”.

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So there’s my first bit of art in August. I got the paints out and painted a stone with the kids. They painted hearts and flowers (and themselves, and the table) and I painted a zombie frog. I’d say I was still pretty much fully in touch with my teenage self.

Oh, and after yesterday’s I’m really old crisis, the red hair is back with avengance – I put make up on (although I’m not ready to dig out the foundation just yet). And to prove it, here’s an appalling MySpace/duck face style photo!

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… And just to finish the evening off properly, I finished the second attempt at the sock and it worked! I made a sock! I just need to make the other one 🙂

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Everything Else in Life is Simple… When you’re knitting socks.

This morning started with frogging my sock attempt back to the heel after I didn’t read the pattern properly. It looks weird. Not socklike….

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Ah well, it’s my first attempt at a sock. It can’t all be plain sailing – after all I turned the heel with relative ease…

So this morning we packed up some sandwiches and water and headed out to our town’s children’s Playday. I was a bit dubious at first as it all seemed to be aimed at tiny children, but we soon met up with friends.

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They’d had the excellent idea of throwing a load of cardboard boxes, tyres and tale into a pile and just letting the kids imaginations go. I assure you, this was a planned event at a park – we’re not resorting to letting them play in landfill. Yet.

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I’m not sure what’s going on here, but they were having fun!

We ended up spending hours just relaxing there with friends, and eventually we stocked up on candy floss and walked the few miles back home, chatting all the way.

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We even got in some general investigate the village type stuff. I say investigate, it went along the lines of:
TinyPants : us this house old?
Me: yes, that one was built in…
TinyPants : what about this one?
Me: yes.
TinyPants : what about this one? And this one? This one? And this……

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This evening, after keeping on with the pattern and generally getting more frustrated at my children’s inability to stop talking, or making weird noises for more than ten seconds, I realized I’d have to admit defeat with this sock. It bears no resemblance to a normal foot. If my child’s foot was weird and deformed and wider than her ankle, then yes, this sock would be a success. Otherwise it needs to be consigned to the heap of ‘bad’ projects and I need to start again.

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I don’t like admitting defeat, so I’m not defeated, I’m just rearranging the stitches from the beginning now I sort of understand the terms used in the pattern.

Hate you sock. Stoopid sock.