Thursday, 31 August 2006

Normal service resumed!

Life has returned to normality over the past few days in the Blethers household!

DD2 flew back into Cardiff airport on Monday morning and DD2 arrived home, looking absolutely shattered, in the evening. It's lovely having my 'babies' home - noise and clutter everywhere (why are they never as keen to unpack as they are to pack???). Both seem to have had a good time but seem pleased to be back home. DD1 seems to becoming a little of a knitting convert over the past few weeks - she went away with 'homemade' socks and has now informed me that chunky knits 'are in' this winter!! She now wants some cardigans, bolero's and shrugs! This young woman does nothing by halves, eh? Until recently, you would have though she was facing corporal punishment if asked to wear something I had made ... now she is placing bulk orders! DD2 has requested a boxy cardigan in white. Arggghhhh inject some colour child!! I honestly can't face a sea of white yarn ... which, in this house, will never, ever look like a Persil advert (dogs jumping on me for a cuddle as I knit; cats eyeing up yarn as comfy bed and duvet material and we'll not even go near DP's laundry skills ... 'was this now tiny, shrunken handknit meant to go into a woolen wash instead, dear???'. If the girls were younger, their Barbie dolls would have the best woolen wardrobe in Wales thanks to his accidental felting skills!!). We have now compromised and are plumping for Cascade 220 in a lovely, warm red shade - a potential purchase when I hit the Open Day at Get Knitted ( yarn store in Bristol on Saturday. Yippeeeee! The thought of this retail therapy session makes today's return to work almost bearable ...

Sunday, 27 August 2006

The silence is deafening

The girls have both been away for the past few days. DD1 is off with friends to Southport and had no requests so far to post bail or come to the rescue in any shape or form! DD2 flew up to Glasgow to spend a few days with her dad and his new partner. Stepsons are also away on holiday with their mum and her partner... We have been left babysitting SS2's puppy, Souchi - one of Molly's 4 puppies. Souchi has made herself 'at home'; hounding her mother and aunt, chewing brushes, knitting needles (aggghhhhh has she NO shame!) and mooched down for the night in our bed, refusing to sleep anywhere else (and for a small baby she sure takes up a fair bit of a kingsize bed!!!).

It's the strangest thing though ... Most of us parents (particularly when 'surviving' our offsprings' adolescence) dream of more peaceful times. However, I can't wait till they all start arriving back tomorrow, shattering the peace - squabbling over clothes, pushing boundaries, laughing, arguing over the remote control, making mess, laundry on the floor... Sometimes, silence can be deafening, can't it? Some undeniable perks have included a mega-blitz on DD2's bedroom (SIX, I repeat, SIX black bags of rubbish removed; undisturbed knitting time; the phone's been available whenever I have wanted it; and I have been able to play my music at full pelt! I bought, as a Bank Holiday treat, Keane's 'Under the Iron Sea', Snow Patrol's 'Eyes Open' and 'St Elsewhere' by Gnarls Barkley. If the neighbours complain, I'll blame the imaginary kids!!

Saturday, 26 August 2006

Sock addict in denial!

Before joining the AngelYarns ( knitting forum, I would have giggled helplessly at the notion of knitting socks when there was a perfectly good Marks and Spencer nearby and I would have questioned the sanity or the life productivity of anyone else who thought differently!!! My titters have been silenced and I would wring my hands in abject despair if they weren't already holding double-pointed needles!! LOOK at this!! This gorgeous motley crew is my swanky sock yarn stash. I stress swanky as I have other virgin balls stashed away throughout the house - mostly Opal, Regia and Lana Grossa yarns. I am on first name terms with eBay sock yarn sellers ... and I have gone out to buy extra DPN's so that I can start another pair without completing the set already on the needles! Does anyone know the way to to Sock Addicts Anonymous???

Thursday, 24 August 2006

My fledglings have flown the coop!

Pic 1: Blue/lilac merino yarn from natural-dye-studio (eBay seller); Broadripple socks in Cascade Fixation Spray
Pic 2: Abbie, my mongrel baby, getting in on the sock show!
DD2 set sail today on her first ever flight alone to Glasgow to see her dad - and probably a huge step towards independence and adulthood. I'd a wee (errrr ... ok .... a HUGE!!) lump in my throat as I watched her make her way through the departure lounge towards the airplane. Bless her though, she hadn't twigged until this morning (despite being frequently reminded) that dad hadn't bought her an 'unaccompanied minor' ticket and that she would be traveling independently. She had minor collywobbles but then agreed she could do it! She has already been on the phone to let us know that she is ok (and tolerating burnt pizza for tea with the politeness we have tried to instill .... lordy, would she comment about it at home though!!). DD1 sets off on her adventure to Liverpool with 2 friends tomorrow morning. Her suitcase is semi-packed on top of her bed and, guess what???? On the very top of the case, she has packed 2 pairs of mum's homemade socks (of the 'I wouldn't be seen dead, mum, in a pair of those!' variety). So, for the first time in about 5 years, DP and I have a childfree weekend (stepsons are also heading off on holidays too on Saturday). What does Captain Romance suggest for the weekend?? A romantic, escape-from-it-all break? Candle-lit dinner for two?? Nah, 'Let's do a brutal gut of the house when the kids can't see what we chuck out'!! Casanova eat your heart out!! Och well, all the more undisturbed knitting time:) !!

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

A daughter's duties ...

DD2 flies up tomorrow to Glasgow to spend a few days with her father. She was obviously in reflective mood earlier on this evening ... I had her engaged in her usual task and she ruefully commented 'I'll miss you, mum ... but I won't miss being your wool frame!'. How am I to wind balls over the next few days :( ??

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Stalking the postman...

My campaign of furious finishing off continues! Nearly have the left front of Wendy Fusion bolero completed and will do so before bedtime tonight if it kills me (who said this knitting lark was about being relaxed and creative??!!??). Despite all my protestations that I would start nothing else in the meantime, I have succumbed again! My willpower has gone on holiday leaving me at home, giving in to temptation... Here's my latest lovely, lovely purchase. The yarn is from the Knitting-Goddess, eBay seller - what a lovely seller she is. She let me swap my order to LavenderFields after I got trigger happy in the ordering department and had mistakenly ordered Meadow (also gorgeous) instead. Can't wait for the postman to arrive in the morning!

Sunday, 20 August 2006

Woman on a mission!

Spent the day touring around West Wales again with DP as he worked, with DD2, SS2 and SS3 for company in the car - you can imagine the decibel level, can't you???? They were either singing along with the charts, giggling away together or at war and trading insults at the top of their lungs!! Some of the noise was blocked out by focusing on the current mission to complete the embarrassing collection of Works-in-Abandonment that have gathered over the past few months (pics posted yesterday... and won't humiliate myself with re-posting the pictorial evidence!!).

There is some progress to report though since yesterday's entry. The blue/lilac merino wool socks (yarn from naturaldyestudio, eBay store) are now a pair! And the toe has been grafted on DD2's Broadripple sock (by Rob Matyska ) in Cascade Fixation 9490. AND the back of the Wendy Fusion 5291 bolero (yarn and pattern from is now 15 rows longer!!

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Knitting Hall of Shame...

In the past, I remember having one project on the go and always finishing it before moving on to the next... Unfortunately, the starter-finisher personality trait appears to have abandoned me in middle age! Certainly, I remain a starter ... but just look how many projects I have still to finish. TWO pouffe loads worth! Aggghhhhhh!!

Picture 1
  1. Gwen cardigan in Rowan Big Wool (Smoke)
  2. Cardigan in gold/bronze Shimmer ... destined to remain unfinished as I reckon I'd look like a grizzly bear in it! Though it may be reborn as cushions for DD2's bedroom
  3. Lacy bolero in Sirdar Luxury Cotton
  4. Ringo (un)felted bag in Noro Kureyon
  5. Eloise cardigan in Noro Blossom 15

Picture 2

  1. Bolero in Wendy Fusion (Cinnamon)
  2. Various socks - needing a mate, a toe grafted, some love and affection ...

I am off work this week and am a woman on a starter-FINISHER mission!

Monday, 14 August 2006

Sometimes words fail ....

DD2 was 14 yesterday and was really chuffed with her presents ... She had harped and hinted about them all from about February and gave a daily countdown of the number of days to the Grande Event ...

Last night, about 9pm, she saw an advert on TV for an R&B CD... In all seriousness, she turned round and asked 'Can I have that for Christmas?' Words failed me ...

Am off to do some therapeutic toe grafting. Have just completed one Broadripple sock for DD2 and another sock (using the olde faithful Opal pattern) using a beautiful merino yarn for DD1.

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Birthday shocker!!

Today is DD2's birthday - my 'baby' is 14 today! It's scary how fast the years fly past and she has gone from being that wee toddler to a pretty, sociable young woman (lol at least some of the time! But the description is more than a stretch of the imagination when she and DD1 are having an infantile spat over just whose top THAT is!!). DP does most of the cooking in the Blethers household - for practical reasons mainly. He is always in the house around tea time and I can float in any time between 5.30pm-7.00pm ... too late and variable for the starving masses. So, I asked DD2 what she would like to have for her birthday tea and said that I was going to be doing the cooking. I had visions of cordon bleu recipes ... Delia Smith, Gordon Ramsey et al, all applauding from the covers of their cookery books stashed in the kitchen, gathering dust ...

So, what does madam request for her special meal?? Either KFC OR Supernoodles!!! Is she trying to tell me something????

I was so stunned, having returned with 2 family buckets for the assorted diners, that some retail therapy was in order. Pictish, on AngelYarns forum, came to the rescue! She was stashbusting as I was stash acquiring! Thank you Pictish for my latest purchases - Angel Yarns hand dyed yarn in beautiful pinks and purples, plus Poshyarn Sock Yarn in Confetti colourway. My fingers are itching ....

Yarn addict?

Haven't felt like posting for the past few days ... blooming joints (of the arthritic rather than illegal kind!) have flared up again and have been hit by the mega-exhaustion that often accompanies this phase. So, have spared myself, and anyone brave enough to read this, my boring rumblings! As a result, I haven't got much knitting done - but have finished Broadripple sock for DD2 in Cascade Fixation 9490. Need to get its wee friend done if she has to have a pair!! DD1 is going through a similar phase right now and I could weep for her. She reckons its to do with the anti-imflammatories she has just started ... whereas I reckon she has an active phase which just so happens to have coincided with starting medication. Nevertheless, they seem to be doing the trick, as (despite DD1 having pain in her feet and hands at the moment), her knees have far less swelling. Hurrahhhhhh!! She even went horse riding, which she absolutely loves, for the first time in a year on Friday. She wasn't quite as euphoric on return as I had imagined and says that she was not that happy with how she had ridden. Hopefully, it's just about being saddle-rusty and she'll get back into the swing (or saddle!!).

Yesterday, DD2 and I kept DP company when he went to carry out some repairs in West Wales. We browsed through Saundersfoot and Carmarthen ... while he browsed through ice makers, microwaves ... We managed to find enough to keep our attention and both came back with some new clothes. Sadly, didn't stumble across any yarn stores. Traffic was much heavier than usual - must be the summer holiday rush. The queues were driving DP to distraction. I was quite happy though as had taken along the lovely merino wool, recently purchased from naturaldyestudio (eBay seller) and started another pair of socks for DD1. The yarn is lovely to knit with and is soft as candy floss (need to keep the beach/holiday theme running here!).

Why the yarn addict title ... Coming out of the house to jump in the car yesterday morning, my eyes quickly scanned along the garden at the most colourful wee clump there ... all shades of lilac, pink, white .... My first thought??? That would be a lovely colourway for Lorna's Laces sock wool!!! See what you think?

Tuesday, 8 August 2006

And the winner is ....

Aren't you just staggered at times about how competitive kids can be??? DD1 was confirmed last week to have Juvenile Arthritis and Raynaud's Syndrome. Medics are currently doing blood tests to see which form of arthritis the poor lamb has ... In January of this year, DD2 had asked to be assessed for Dyslexia and we paid for her to be seen privately. She duly was identified as having:
1. Moderate to severe Dyslexia (which impacts her auditory perception rather than reading)
2. Dyspraxia (involving fine motor control ... leading to difficulties with pen grip and physically
forming words on paper. The average 13 year old is thought to produce 30 words per
minute when writing; my wee cherub musters up a grand total of 8 words)

DD2 can often misinterpret/mishear what we have said and also in the classroom. Given her history of glue ear (are we a healthy bunch or what????), the GP referred her on for hearing tests at the local hospital and she was seen today. The outcome was great: she has no physical hearing impairment but an auditory processing disorder (which ties in with the Dyslexia). On route home, she told me I was not to tell her sister that it was all part of the dyslexia umbrella as she wants to have THREE conditions, therefore beating her sister!!!

And to think we used to get rid of our competitive urges playing hopscotch, badminton, conkers .....

Heartbreaker leaves home ....

Our last baby left home today to live with her new family - I was howling and snottering for hours after I dropped her off! She was an absolute angel last night and didn't howl ONCE when placed in her pen to sleep ... very brave when you are just getting used to sleeping without your sisters and only your 2nd night alone in the dark! However, I was woken by a tiny wee scratching at the side of the bed in the middle of the night ... she had made a bid for freedom (and a comfy mattress) and bedded down with her human 'mum' for the night! It seems so quiet tonight without them...

However, a very happy, gentle amber tom cat is purring with complete contentment! Marmalade has hated with cat venom having the puppies around and has sulked away from home for days on end like a huffy adolescent (sometimes hard to tell him apart from our other huffy adolescents of the human variety!). Surprising really, as he is used to sharing his pad with the 2 dogs and 3 other cats

DD2 - named and shamed in the sock dept!

I love my little cherub dearly - honestly! She makes me laugh endlessly and is such a conscious and unconscious wee comedian she is impossible to be cross with for more than a few moments. At the beginning of the year, DD2 was diagnosed with moderate-severe Dyslexia and also Dyspraxia. She has made me so proud with how she has applied her self since and about how well she has coped with these new labels. I know I sound like a typical doting and proud mother ... but here it stops!! Bless her hand-knitted socks, the girl has NO taste when it comes to the fine art of yarn selection!! She sentenced me to knitting a pair of socks in Lorna's Laces (which I covet normally). However, NOT in the Sherbet colourway ... It, as already posted, was a real challenge to finish off these socks and I hated doing them with a vengeance.

Her penance, in return, was to have her feet posted in cyberspace!! So, here she is ... modelling the dratted and never to be repeated socks!

Pic 1: the sinner socks (Oh so Beautiful) hiding behind my very first, very own pair (Broadripple)
Pic 2: Opal Flamingo socks and trainers made for covert sock convert, DD1
Pic 3: closeup of MY little beauties, Broadripple in Cascade yarn

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Sleepless in .... South Wales!

It's been a strange and teary end to this week for all of us in blether-ville. Our 4 'babies' (Molly's puppies) have moved to their new homes. Spot (now to be known as Honey) left us first on Thursday afternoon. She has gone to an absolutely wonderful family who will love her and cherish her to bits. They have popped back and forth to the house and have been involved with her since she was a couple of days old. Her new 'dad' collected her earlier than planned as he was so excited and was telling the gathered farewell reception committee (me, DD1, DD2, SS2 and their assorted friends) all that the family had bought and prepared for her arrival ... bedding, box, bowls, lead, collar, squeaky toys, chewy bones, food ... a proper dog heaven. Meanwhile, we were all hugging her and wishing him gone so that we could keep Spot! She is such a fantastic wee character and her tail even wags while she's eating ... She left sitting in a box in his van with her wee face looking out of the van window ... Molly, standing on the window sill whilst watching out of the sitting room window ... and the rest of us all snottering and crying. I know we should have been rejoicing as she has gone to such a lovely home and family! Next day, Jaydyn (now Ellie) left ... with similar weeping and wailing in the Blethers household. Again, she has gone to a lovely family who will care for her beautifully. That same evening, Sushi went with SS2 to his home (SS2 had been with us for several weeks at this point). At least, we shall continue to see Sushi regularly. We have one wee baby remaining tonight (Kaydyn) who I am taking to her new home tomorrow morning - she is curled up at my feet looking like a cherub at the moment. I suspect she is saving herself for her nightly yowls later on. It must be so strange for them to have to learn to sleep apart and live separately of their sisters. There have been a number of phone calls reporting in how the babies have settled in to their new abodes and, I suspect, some diluting of truths ... all have said that their pup only 'howled for a little while' ... though having had SS2, SS3 and Sushi over today, we have just learnt that SS2 spent the first downstairs settling Sushi down so that the rest of his family could sleep!!

DP, sensitive soul, fears for my (and his!) sanity when it comes time for the kids to leave home if I am so teary about the pups!

Sock sinner no more...

I've DONE it!! Feel like doing a lap of honour around the track of unrewarding WIPs!! Having kicked my backside into action (see last post), I am no longer a sock sinner! The 'Oh So Beautiful' sock is now a pair ... in somewhat lurid Sherbet Lorna's Laces. DD2 is chuffed with them and will duly oblige tomorrow and 'model' her new foot attire (her penance for picking the yarn and pattern and only fair that she is humbled in cyberspace methinks).

In celebration, I have cast on her next 'order', Broadripple socks (by Rob Matyska in Cascade Fixation Spray 9490. Bless her, I sometimes question if DD2 and I are genetically linked - she seems to love the colourways that I find putrid and vice versa!