Garter drop stitch scarf

I am hooked, and not in the crochet sense of the word (a skill I have yet to try, let alone acquire). I am hooked on a knitting stitch, the garter drop stitch, which I starting knitting with to make myself a scarf with part of my Christmas purchase. I took this in-progress scarf with me when I visited my sister (because who does not take knitting with them when they fly internationally?!). Last year I took the baby blanket I was knitting with me to Fiji – it never left the suitcase! Anyway, in a moment of sisterly love I asked my sister if she would like a scarf. Initially she was not keen, but because I was so taken with what I was making for myself I showed her, and it was easy to convince her to say yes. She ended up picking a lovely peacock green for hers. Now I am not the world’s fastest knitter, but sit down before I tell you this, I have already finished the scarf and my sister actually has it for this winter. I know – I have fallen off my own chair! The photos do not entirely do my sister’s scarf justice. There is a strong possibility that I may even finish my own before the end of winter. And do not tell anyone but I may have started another scarf with this stitch already – in a bold move I am varying the yarn wraps to vary the length of the drop stitch. It is this version that will have me blocking for the very first time in my life – a new knitting adventure that awaits!

Best travel tip ever

Okay, I may be slightly biased as this was my other half’s idea. But I am convinced this is the best ever travel tip. Here goes:

A power board

Yes, is this day and age with x mumble devices in tow and accomodation when travelling that always seem to only have one or two spare power sockets in bizarre locations this is your go to solution. Even better when you are travelling overseas and have just one plug convertor – there is no need to juggle (fight!) for charging your device. I thought my other half was inspired. We do not leave home without one now when travelling.

Power board

Don’t leave home without one!

 

Dinosaurs and round tuits – in underwear terms

I cannot take credit for more than about 1% of this post, it is totally inspired by the Real Women’s recent post, The Underlying Truth, absolutely worth reading. Would you believe I went out a day or two later and made my first overdue purchase!

What on earth am I talking about? Letting old, ratty, tatty, underwear become the norm. I am, or rather I was, of the always wearing, did not own anything other than matching underwear brigade. I have always thought that my initiation into bras set me on this path. Acquiring your first bra is a major milestone in any girl’s life. I can visualise this first bra almost as if it were yesterday. Purchased with my Dad, yes that is right, with my Dad. Where was my Mum? At home. To this day I have no idea why it was Dad rather than Mum. I remember clear as day his guidelines to me in the store – anything as long as it is not black! If I pause for a moment I can recall walking into the changing room to try on my intended purchase. And with all my friends getting the skin coloured trainer bras what did I come home with – a light aqua lacy number courtesy of Bendon (a fabulous NZ underwear company, which brought us Elle Macpherson Intimates, among other great brands). And as the saying goes the rest is history.

round tuit north melbourne

Now of course I have not abandoned matching underwear entirely, but certainly way more often than not since motherhood. And probably making it worse is that plenty of what I own is in the ‘it probably should not even be used as a duster‘ category! To shame myself further the last new bras I bought were all maternity bras (at least I am not wearing them anymore!). However since my child has just turned five (proof below) ‘overdue purchase’ is a slight understatement. I knew this, I have had intentions, but clearly needed a round tuit. So thank you Real Women for being my round tuit. I wandered into town last Friday and came home with a new bra and matching underwear. When I put them in my underwear drawer it was immediately obvious and really hit home how dinosaurian the rest are. I then felt totally fabulous the next day when wearing the new – there is better shape and fit in the new compared to the old. I will not be stopping this behaviour. The proverbial asteroid is wiping out my dinosaur underwear. Anything you haven’t got around to?

5 year old birthday cake rainbow north melbourne

Baked last week – proof of 5 years!

Always leave work on time

How I imagined my life would be after finishing ‘the big job’ and how it is now are not in full synchronicity. I think this is why quite a lot of ‘always leave the office on time’ resonated with me. I was really good in how I went about what I did with my time the first month, perhaps even most of the second month after concluding work. However there has been some reversion to ‘type’ – I did 12 hours in one day in my casual job last week, into the small hours of the night. What was good though is that I recognised it straight away. This Saturday just passed I was the me of old, lethargic and perhaps even a touch stroppy, and I called it out immediately. It felt just like when I had my big job – who is getting the best of me? So number 4 below is the proverbial nail on the head for me. Time to summon back that girl who went wild making jam and other crazy antics earlier in the year, before the reversion to type reasserts itself in an ongoing fashion. All encouragement welcome!

Any tips from those who have had successfully traversed this path?

north melbourne inspiration

And now there are two!

Need I say more?!

At the end of most days I ask my daughter what was her favourite thing about the day, and I do the same back. ‘Kid’s rules’ means I am never allowed to have the same favourite, even if it is my favourite. Tonight she said, “that you finished the socks and I got to try on two socks“. Damn! Finishing the second sock today was absolutely my favourite thing today. And my little girl already thinks I will be making more!

And when there was only one is here.

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it

I’m about to lose control and I think I like it…

To steal two lines from a Pointer Sisters chorus! About what I hear you ask…

Socks! The knitting of socks. And I have my daughter and Tin Can Knits to thank.

Did I say I was excited?? I have just finished my first ever knitted sock. I am SO proud of myself. Back to the start, and heed this advice to avoid my predicament, “don’t ask an almost five year old what they want, and if you do then don’t listen”!! My daughter sees me knit, and she is starting to show some potential interest herself, and very recently she actually asked me to knit her something. I of course being a generous foolhardy mum asked her what she would like, “socks Mum” came the reply. Where the *insert swear word of choice* did that come from? Now I have had a desire to try knitting a pair of socks; indeed I bought a ball of wool and some double pointed needles at least a year ago to embark on this adventure, the afore mentioned wool and needles languishing in the cupboard hidden from sight, untouched by my hands. I half heartedly tried the, “I have never made socks” line on my little girl, to no avail. Mum clearly can do anything. What is more she wanted me to use her rainbow yarn. This girl knows what she wants.

How to get out of this dilemma? Tin Can Knits to the rescue. I had stumbled upon them quite some time back, and quite fancy more than one of their knits. Their whole seamless approach to knitting has great appeal (translation: I think I would almost rather lose a limb they have to sew up my knitting!). And in hunting for a sock pattern for a child I stumbled upon their Rye pattern (here) and the words learn how to knit socks. For some reason I took the plunge. All I can say is if you have never knitted a sock before I utterly recommend this pattern. The instructions, particularly all the additional links you can click on, are fabulous. I feel like I am being enabled to tackle other patterns and knit more socks. My poor other half, he has been subjected to me going, “look at this, look at this” more than once through the course of the sock. I was so taken by what I was doing that I actually took the knitting with me to a venue, it initiated a conversation with a lady who worked there, and I gave her the pattern.

The other reason I may become hooked on knitting socks is this will be the fastest I have ever completed a knitted item…socks are small…I sense more socks in my future…I am about to lose control…

Finally the verdict of the small person who triggered such dilemma followed by such joy. Let’s just say the one sock is already being worn. I am happy.

And to really show I am approaching my dotage… I recorded the song this blog post references on a cassette tape off the radio!

How do you tell small children about death?

This is not meant to be a sombre post at all, rather I am sharing how I have tackled what I think is one of the more difficult concepts for young children, that of people dying.

I am a scientist by training, a fact is a fact. So I always like to tell the truth. On the flip side I love to indulge the imaginary – Father Christmas/Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy (not yet required and apparently I will have to take out a mortgage for how much you get a tooth these days!) are alive and well in our house. And I will be endeavouring to keep them believed for as long as possible. However the opportunity to broach death for the first time presented itself.

I have just been away from my daughter for the longest time in her life to date (four nights), having gone home to support my sister after the death of my brother-in-law. I may have mentioned before, we are a small family, albeit one stretched in age range – 15 years between my sister and I (12 and 1/2 years between my brother and I), and there was 17 years between my sister and her husband. While his death was anticipated it perhaps happened a little earlier than we all thought, and knowing it was going to happen certainly did not make it any easier for my sister.

When I returned my almost but not quite yet 5 year old asked why I had gone (she also told me she had missed me), to which I replied that I had been supporting my sister, which was swiftly followed by why? Having thought I would not say anything yet about death, in that moment it just seemed like the right thing to say. And so I explained, remember Uncle C, the man with the funny glasses (on Skype he would always put on fake glasses with a false nose to talk to her) well he has died, he has gone to sleep for ever; and I went home to support Aunty C. Supporting my sister seemed to make sense to her. However she did double check – “he isn’t going to wake up?

Sitting on the stairs was a copy of the funeral service with his photo, and when we walked up I asked her who that was. She said “that’s Uncle C but he’s dead“, in that kind of dismissive, I am not interested in him anymore tone. Not long after, “where is he if he has gone to sleep for ever?” For now I have suggested he is a cloud in sky, to which she asked, “which one, how do we know which one is his?” Great question, fortunately I got away with we will have to look. There has been a few ‘dead’ comments, lots of her toys have died, but nothing too serious, and the topic has now faded away.

So for anyone about to broach this topic, I do not think there is a right or a wrong time, nor a better or a worse time, simply opportunities will present themselves and you take the one that feels right for you. And if you have some tips for what to say when “the cloud” notion no longer cuts it, I would be glad to hear them.

telling children about death