Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Pick up sticks

It's that time of year again. The cat has started baulking at the thought of going outside and is mainly to be found ensconced in the warm comfort of a quilt atop one of the children's beds. We'll know it's really cold when we start accidentally sitting on her at story time as she'll have made her way underneath the quilt. Indeed, we once found her sitting on the mattress having burrowed underneath pillow, fitted sheet and mattress protector. She's a right weirdo.

Though I'm resisting the call of the central heating for the time being, my thoughts always turn to cosy knits at this time of year. My list of favourites and knitting queue over on Ravelry are lengthening by the day. Do you ravel? I'm to be found over there as angharadknits if you'd like to befriend me.

So here's the (kn)hit list so far for this Autumn:

artesano alpaca yarn

One little paper dolls jumper for my eldest in fairisle-friendly artesano alpaca.

skein queen yarn

One pair of veyla mitts (previously cast on in the aforementioned artesano which did not lend itself to the kind of stitch definition I had wanted for the gorgeous lace cuffs, whereas the 'bloom' is perfect for fairisle) in a stashed skein of Skein Queen's finest.

Three hat and mittens sets for the littlest and her two baby cousins from Zoe Mellor's Adorable Knits for Tiny Tots, a book which I wholeheartedly recommend for those who knit for small children. (The pirate jumper I knitted many moons ago for the boy came from this book).

Which to start first?? I'm not sure yet, but for the moment my knitting sticks are occupied anyway, knitting up teeny tiny bobble hats for smoothies. And no, I haven't succumbed to some kind of febrile delirium due to the plummeting temperatures; this is the Big Knit, the annual fundraiser of the people over at Innocent smoothies for Age UK.

a vase of bobble hats

There's not much time left as the hats need to be in by 1st of October, but even if you haven't time to knit, UK folk can still support the charity by buying an behatted smoothie during the three weeks beginning 21 November in Sainsbury's - for each smoothie sold, Innocent will donate 25p to Age UK.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Stash-enhancing discounts

A quick post from me today, just to say, did you see? Saints and Pinners have a flash sale with a whopping 25% off sale in their shop this weekend.

And Simplicity patterns are all half price on the Simplicity New Look website.

Then an email just dropped into my inbox with 50% off Vogue and Simplicity patterns and 25% off zips over at Jaycotts. They also have discounts on some of their Janome sewing machines at the moment (don't tempt me!!I'm just going off to daydream about the Janome 5900QC for a bit).

Happy sunny weekend stash shopping! We're off to fire up the barbecue while the sun shines!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The holiday is over

Danger: Keep Children Under Control sign
 keep children under control --
advice for life, as for ramparts 

It's always hard when the time comes, but yesterday saw husband, eldest and middlest go back to school, leaving just me and the smallest at home. We've had a lovely Summer with lots of travelling to see family and friends. Our latest stay was in North Wales with all of my family, where we visited my 94-year old grandmother. It was lovely to bring the five children my sister, brother and I now have between us together for a group photo with their great grandmother! We were very glad to be able to make it up there to see the family this year after all our plans last Summer were put on hold for the big house move.

 room with a view

 We stayed in a beautiful old manor house on the Llลทn peninsula that was once tenanted Percy Bysshe Shelley. The children, swept up in the romance of the place, put on a reading of excerpts from Shelley's works with their aunt which was frankly hilarious in its earnestness (all credit to Auntie Eleanor who trained up these future RADA hopefuls). I love that the place transformed them into children from an age gone by.

Shelley plaque
Being in North Wales, there was ample opportunity for castle-visiting and turret-climbing, which we made the most of at Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech. I think this holiday holds the record for the most spiral staircases climbed.

Caernarfon Castle
the vertiginous heights of Caernarfon 

Harlech castle
views from Harlech and its before-the-days-of-health-and-safety knee-high rampart walls

The beautiful Italianate village of Portmeirion was another must-visit, whilst a visit to the Llechwedd slate caverns was top of the list for the two elder children (I sat that one out, ramparts being my speciality and mines the husband's - one phobia each, that's the rule).

It wasn't just the holidays away from home that made this Summer special, but also all the little bits in between. We played monopoly, baked cakes, and went on bike and tricycle rides (middlest finally had the stabilisers removed from his little bike, eldest mastered her brakes and littlest learnt to scuff her sandals on the ground whilst being wheeled along). They channelled all their olympic fervour into endless obstacle courses around garden chairs,  hurdling over boxes and doing sit ups and such; there were innumerable medal ceremonies.

water painting on the patio 

Littlest had her share of the fun too, with a new passion for patio water-painting discovered as well as advances in paper-based art made (we have progressed to an almost-joined circle with crazily-placed eyes on a good day). She has also learned that saying 'shtoopid girl' makes most adults laugh out loud (perils of an older brother and sister).

Back to the grind now. How many weeks until half term?

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