Friday, October 26, 2012

Beware the Killer Queue!

With the countdown to Christmas well underway I sat down and organised a bit of a queue the other day. I can't share specifically what it is I HAVE to knit because then people might see what they're getting for presents and swaps, but un-specifically it looks like this:

1 - Primrose prototype #3 (and maybe 4)
2 - Christmas decorations for swap - 6 more I have to make and if I want any for us then 1-3 more (the kids quite like them and would like one each, of course!)
3 - Present for Penny's teacher (at the moment this is a Poplar scarf in a gorgeous teal colour using Olive and Emma yarn - so it should look exactly like this one)
4 - Scarf for lovely Poplar models that got married this year (I really need to crack on and knit this so that it's not on my to do list anymore! Yarn is all ready to go!)
5 - Finish a scarf that's languishing as a WIP. Probably because I don't know who this will be for and the colour, whilst I LOVE it, doesn't look good on me). It's knitted in a pattern I wrote, but which I'm waiting on the release of...but I probably should finish it so I have one as a project)

And in there I need to knit a few more new pattern prototypes too...preferably sooner than later because the sooner they are done, the sooner I can get the pattern out for testing and it's almost all written now, I just need to check the pattern by knitting it and make any changes as I go. If only I could knit in my sleep!

So, 60 days
3 scarves
6 (-9) decorations
1 (-2) Primrose tunics
2 prototypes

And maybe some dishcloths for a few swapsies. Maybe.

Doable? That's 16 items in 60 days. One every 3-4 days. I better get cracking!

Just a few of the yarns that need knitting before Christmas - there is more needed/planned, but this is just what I managed to grab for the photo
What have you got in your queue? What have I missed? What knitted items do you like giving? Is your queue longer than mine?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yarn Along

Hi again! So lovely to be yarn-along-ing! I definitely find that it helps to keep me motivated in both my knitting and my book reading.

In terms of 'reading' books, I'm STILL reading Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris - yes, the same one I was reading a fortnight ago (I'm up to page 116 now). It is actually very good and I'm enjoying it but I only read books before going to sleep and seeing as I have become a bit of a night owl in the last couple of years I only manage to read a few pages before:
a) I have no idea what I've just read
b) I fall asleep
c) my husband complains and I have to turn out the light.

But, I do actually listen to a fair few audio books. Did you know that audio books and knitting go together sooo well. As do hanging out the washing, watching the children play, loading the dishwasher etc.

Sadly a few of the things that don't go well with audio book listening is vacuuming (which if I had to pick a favourite chore, it would be) or surfing the internet. But then I don't suppose many people could actually read a book whilst doing those things either.

I am listening to 'Hounded' at the moment, a relatively light listen by Kevin Hearne and the first of The Iron Chronicles. I am enjoying it though, which I can't say for every audio book I've bought, so I'll be looking into book 2 shortly. I'm terrible at writing reviews, but the link above has the blurb from the back of the book and is written far better than I could word!

I listen to all my audio books using Audible after getting hooked on audiobooks over the summer when I listened to The Hunger Games series. I'd love to know if there are better places (umm, less expensive) to purchases audiobooks too if anyone has suggestions?

And what am I knitting? Well, after reading tikki's blog recently I cast on a few Poplar dishcloths - I had one that was a sad lonely WIP and it was about time it was completed. And then 3 more followed in quick succession. There's nothing like dishcloth knitting to help find one's mojo again. Plus, it's hard when you've got secret projects on the go - the thumbnails of my Ravelry projects look terribly sad at the moment as it's all empty boxes because I can't share pics of any of it! Pity these are all pretty much ugly scrappy dishcloths, I can't really use them in my christmas present gifting, but it was satisfying doing something withe the remnants of multiple balls of cotton!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Yarnies I love #4 - Red Riding Hood Yarns

My friend Hannah was probably one of my first friends to start dyeing to sell and since her business Red Riding Hood Yarns started two and a bit years ago she's created quite a fan base!

Hannah dyes lovely semi-solid colourways and her stockings are all themed - fairy tales, ice cream flavours, tv characters - fun stuff! You have to be quick with her stockings though, there are always hyenas circling. Hannah sells her yarn on her Facebook page here

Hannah at Red Riding Hood Yarns comes up with fresh ideas and interesting ways to create a real buzz. When the Olympics was on she ran the most fabulous competition called 'The Little Red Games' where people had to be one of 12 to qualify by being the first to correctly answer questions she popped up on her page and then she held her own competition. For it the 12 had to knit an item starting at a time she specified and points were given for including various things in your knit. From memory it was things like:
- knit using RRHY
- include something red
- include a cable
- have a team name and banner and points were given for how many people 'liked' them.

I may have won the gold medal is this comp, I'm only a little bit competitive when it comes to knitting and had warned my husband (who is regularly frustrated by my interest in knitting and designing) that I didn't plan to go to bed until I'd finished. This was a short sleeved Greyson I made using a skein of RRHY that Hannah had actually gifted me probably about a year ago - I added a twisted cable rib and a red yarn cast off (so I could remove it later as I didn't really want red in my knitting...though truth be told I haven't undone the cast off yet and David wears it all the time as it is).

Hannah also runs fabulous themed yarn clubs - where she puts together both a girls and boys club with a pattern, coordinating yarn and treasures. It's lovely! This year she's starting her first one month shawl club too and I can't wait to see what both she and her designer SweetP come up with.

If you haven't heard of Red Riding Hood Yarns before you should go check out her Facebook page, her Ravelry Group here and see some of the gorgeous projects knitted in her yarn here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

C A K E !

Nom nom! We're in full on party mode here lately!

It was my husband's birthday on Friday and one of my incredibly talented friends - Christine Jeffery - made him this a-maz-ing cake! If it's possible to believe, it tasted even better than it looks!


Fabulous right? Christine also happens to be a pattern designer, you can see her current designs here

Between Blair's birthday, 2 kids parties yesterday and a lovely visit by Blair's parents, brother and girlfriend we're all party food-ed and partied out I'm enjoying a bit of knitting and audio book listening between the occasional burst of child entertaining and cleaning.

Go on, leave a comment if you:
a) recognise what the cake is based upon
b) think the cake is fabulous
c) like cake!



Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Hullo again!

I've been working a little on my Primrose pattern lately - this is a summer version and it's almost there, I think I'll need to knit one more just to double check everything but then I'll be able to take purrty photos and get it out to testers...which is lucky as I did mention in a photo competition I'm running here that testers would be able to enter their photos too, which means I better get on with that!

What I'm reading at the moment, well, it's the same book as last week and as I predicted, I'm only a page or two further along. I have however been reading the children stories and really liked this one called The Story Blanket when I was requested to read it recently. It's a tale about a generous old soul who frogs back parts of a blanket she's knitted out of remnants to make items for those in the village who need them. Anyway, as I read it, I did think 'I like this one!' and thought that on the off chance I was still reading Grave Surprises that I might just mention it. Thank you to my lovely friend Laurene for sending it for the kids! You knew I'd appreciate it I'm sure!

Whilst I'm talking about competitions, I am having a giveaway for Blogtoberfest, so feel free to go and check out my competition for that one here, the prize is some sweet treats for NZ and I promise, there's no need for jumping through hoops to enter!

Happy Yarnalong!



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

School's Back!

I'm not sad at all about the end of the holidays, we had a lovely time and spent very little (I splurged on the last Sunday and took my 5 and 3 year old to the movies with homemade snack bags to see Tinkerbell - The Secret of the Wings, which I thoroughly enjoyed) but they come to a natural end, right? When you're ready to start getting back into the school/kindy drop off and when the kids have had enough of hanging out in your/each other's company - 2 weeks was perfect!

I take my hat off to anyone who home-schools their children. I wish I could, but I think I'm the best mum when we all have a break from each other!

Looking back over my photos that I was diligently taking daily, I realise I didn't blog half as much as I should've, so here are just a few that didn't make it to the blog.

David gets a collage all of his own, I seem to be snapping lots of pics of him at the moment because he's mischief on two legs!

And there were way more I could've added to his collage, but I think 6 is plenty!

I suppose I should go work on some knitting so I have something to show for the yarnalong tomorrow!


Friday, October 12, 2012

A day in the life...

My friend Rachael is an amazing photographer. I really can't believe I have a friend that can take such amazing photos. When we worked at the same school as teachers, I knew she was creative and artistic on top of being a totally committed and awesome junior teacher, but who knew she had such talent behind the camera?

This post is a little late really, but she is running an amazing competition with a fabulous prize for some family, somewhere in NZ. You really should pop over to her blog TODAY (it closes tonight) and check it out, and enter.

And if you're not in NZ but appreciate great blogs with amazing photos, go visit it anyway!

And just because every blog post needs a photo, here are some of the wonderful photos Rachael took in my 'Mum and me' photoshoot in the last school holidays. I was feeling fat, frumpy and grumpy - but she still managed to work her magic.



Coming to an end

We're nearing the end of the school holidays here in New Zealand and it feels about right. I'm almost ready to start back at my full time job of taxi driving, lunchbox making, shoe know, all joys that come with dropping some of your children off to school and kindy. I can't wait to be able to have some quiet time again when I am able to walk my #3 in a stroller and have no one talking. Roll on Monday!

Thanks to all the lovely yarnalong visitors that popped by or commented on my post. I have every intention of visiting every blog in yarnalong...though for me, surfing the internet and knitting/pattern designing don't go too well together. Time spent too long on one thing leaves less time for the other!

Anyway, back to what the kids are up to these holidays. This was part two of the seed planting last Friday. Actually, the seeds we planted a week ago have started to sprout already. It's a little exciting for the kids to watch, and I've had to move them to save them being picked and prodded too much by my littlest child.

Watering The Garden

And the last one
Wait a minute, let's just zoom in on that?
Can you see where that's going? Again, I don't have a 'what happened next' pic, but let's just say, there was some spraying, some crying (not by me!), some yelling (ok, that might've been me), the hose turned off and inside for towels and baths.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yarnalong - it's about time I joined in!

I was talking to my sister Sezza the other day about Yarnalong and I'm going to follow her lead and join in from now on. I sure hope I'm not showing you the same book every week, because since I spend FAR too much time on the internet these days I'm doing far less book reading!

Here's what has just come off my needles. I'm itching to cast on another but I'm a bit torn with yarn choices and the pattern needs a bit of tweaking. I'm far too impatient for tweaking though!

This is my first prototype of my next pattern - Primrose. She's Katniss' little sister and the pattern is more delicate than Katniss. As any fan of The Hunger Games would hopefully agree it should be. The yarn is fromFeatherbrush Yarns and was dyed especially to knit this - it's even called Primrose. Sorry, it's just a sneak peek but I don't want to reveal too much until I've got a lovely photo.


And what I'm reading right now. Well, I'm reading a few pages of this each night to be honest! Hopefully I'll have moved onto the next book by next Wednesday. This is a Charlaine Harris book, Grave Surprise. Charlaine is the author of the Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood series and I really enjoyed those too, and when I find an author I like, I read my way through everything they've written so far. Perhaps it's a bit like my one WIP at a time thing, have to work my way through a whole project before I can move onto something else.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Falling Behind

It's only the 9th of October and I've missed a day for blogtoberfest, I must blog now before I fall behind.

We did a bit of seed planting and garden watering the other day. It actually wasn't as idyllic as I thought it might be. Give each child a tray and let them pick their own seeds...and find your 18 month old wants to dig up the other children's trays *insert screams of disappointment from the children that carefully poked little holes in their seed raising mix and dropped single seeds into the hole before covering them up*. That's what little brothers are for right? Mischief! But this one is so cute, and we covered them back up without too many problems so it was quickly forgotten.

This is where Penny accidentally drops her seeds all over the ground and has to try and pick them up...we hope she grows something!
And Timothy - all done! So proud of his tray of dirt. Hard to photograph really isn't it!
But wait....what's that over in the distance?
It's getting closer! Queue the Jaws music - 'Da nuh, da nuh'
...and closer! Da nuh, da nuh
Oh, he doesn't look scary! Does he? Or are looks deceiving.... (Penny's giving us the time on her Barbie watch)
Queue the dadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadada
And that's where the pictures of the series have to end, unfortunately. We didn't just merrily go inside, The End, but like any parent, I had to choose to put down the camera to solve a few 'issues' rather than capturing it all on camera.
A bit like the part two of this blog entry...I'll add that for tomorrow rather than overdoing the photos today.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sweet Treat Giveaway For Blogtoberfest!

I'd love to do a giveaway for Blogtoberfest, I've been trying to come up with a giveaway that would suit most people, whether they are knitters, crafters - or not!

And so, this one is going to be short and sweet...quite literally!

I'm going to post a collection of store bought kiwi goodies to anywhere in the world for the winner of this giveaway. The winner is going to be selected by a random number generator and each post below with be allocated a number in the order of posting. Most people like sweet treats right?

All you have to do is leave a comment below!

Let me know anything, that you knit (and if you mention a pattern you'd like of mine - they're along the right hand side over there ------->  and your Ravelry user name then you might get a copy of that as well), where in the world you live, perhaps you're a New Zealander living somewhere else at the moment and you'd love a certain kiwi treat to arrive in your letterbox!

So, just a message of any description and you're in the draw! I'll close this off on the 30th of October and draw it on the 31st (to allow for time differences). It's open to kiwis as well! Anyone is welcome to enter, but entries are limited to one each please.

And because I don't have a specific picture of the sweet treats exactly that I'll be posting (I tried! Google images wasn't coming up with anything I wanted to slurp!) here's a little picture of my kids, baking some sweet treats of their own - courtesy of Rachel Brown Photography.

Thanks for coming by!