Tuesday, 13 January 2009

knitting 101...

Ms Reva's first attempt - she is 6 now, I thought it time she learned. Very even and neat I reckon. Though it may take a while to make a scarf, even if it's just for a teddy bear...
She chose the wool herself at our local yarn store. She is such a great kid, she always surprises me with her choices. Moss green. Beautiful.

Meanwhile, plundering the archives somewhat, here is my own first attempt, from back when I was six myself. Taught by the nuns at school and my mum at home I managed to concoct this, ahem, fine pencil case.

(spot the original 70s trebor sweet wrapper peeping out through the zipper - now you know what I really carried to school each day)

My knitting, far less even than Ms Reva's though it was, actually garnered me a prize : something similar to this (believe it or not). I still remember walking up to the top of the classroom to the presiding nun and being presented with it. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Still don't really.

My mum kept that pencil case in her knitting bag all these years and my sister found it in her attic last year - mothers, aren't they a marvel?!

Meanwhile, this is what's on my needles at the moment:

What the heck is that I hear you shriek. Why slippers of course (well, one slipper at least) for Ms Reva. To be felted. Lime green ones to follow for her sister. Once I find my needles again that is...(what IS it with me and needles?)

PS I've volunteered to run an after school art club at the girls school. We are meeting to discuss the plans tomorrow. If you have any great ideas for activities to inspire a group of kids aged 6-11 over a 6 week block period let me know. For some reason (am suffering a god awful lurgy to be precise) my inspiration is somewhat dry today...

Monday, 5 January 2009

wishing you a sweet and happy new year...

a colleague of mine introduced me to the Jewish tradition of apples dipped in honey at Rosh Hashanah in order to symbolically invite sweet things for the year to come. Being a bit of a magpie when it comes to appealing customs and rituals I brought this one home and shared it with the kids and Mr G way back then (October, was it?). When it came to the recent New Year's Eve Ms Reva, she of the amazing memory and attention to detail not to mention adoration of all things ritualistic (now, where could she get that from I wonder?) asked when we would be doing the apple and honey thang. With yours truly around she didn't need to ask twice.

There being no reason not to we adopted it in for our (non-Jewish New Year) New Year's Day brunch. We wished for sweet things for 2009 and that's my wish for you too. Have a great 2009, wherever you are. Honey coated or not.

(The brunch was great too...apples and honey, home made pancakes, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, bagels, cream cheese, croissants, bonne maman jam, lashings of tea and copious amounts of coffee from Mr G's xmas pressie espresso maker. Mmmm, now that's a custom that has taken firm root chez milkwood...)

I've been absent a lot of late. Real life has got me in its grips and is squeezing me tight. Work is busier than ever, the kids are growing and seem to need more rather than less of me. It's ok, it's just taken me a bit by surprise. Ms Bester starts nursery at BIG SCHOOL next week and I can feel her quiet trepidation. Ms Reva is back to school tomorrow after an illness blighted Xmas and I can hear her not-so-quiet feelings on the subject!

I did quite a bit of knitting coming up to December 25th though, some of which has been passed to its recipients and can be shown.

My dad had some health issues last year, which he has met head on (as he does everything in life, amazing chap my dad) and now walks an hour or so early each morning. I walked his daily route with him on my last visit, riverside in Co. Cork. Every day I think of him taking his constitutional and so this Xmas when faced with the dilemma of what to get the man who needs nothing and wants less I decided to knit him a scarf to wear while walking. A multi-directional diagonal scarf to be precise. There were a couple of nerve wracking days waiting for the sumptuous Noro Silk Garden to arrive but arrive it did and soon those needles were clicking and clacking on the bus, in the doctors waiting room, at Ms Reva's Xmas carol concert, on my bike (oh no, actually I didn't go quite that far) and he received his parcel a little after the big day (I blame the Irish Post!).

That Noro Silk Garden is a lovely yarn, and I like these manly colours, very suitable for my dear dad. They match exactly the colours he likes to wear. I hope he has many many hours of warm walking and feels the love in every stitch. (Shame I don't have a photo of dad wearing it on his walk, maybe he'll send me one...hint, hint)

The aforementioned colleague (with the apples and honey) has recently taken to knitting after a 26 year hiatus. A rekindled passion responsibility for which she lays squarely at my door. I am happy with this and am quietly hoping to recruit more workmates to the dark art. They are mostly male software engineers more interested in World of Warcraft and techno-gadgetry but I hold out a glimmer of hope. Mia knit lots of hats for Xmas and helping her find a pattern on ravelry we came across this particularly fetching ribbed beanie which I surreptitiously managed to knit up for Mr G for his stocking.
The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and it's lovely. Amazingly I knit most of it while sitting watching TV with him and he was still overcome with surprise when he unwrapped it. All I can assume is that he thought I was knitting yet another tea cosy.

Speaking of tea cosies, there were a few of those on the needles too. One for Jane which I forgot to take a photo of but which I hope will keep her tea toasty warm while she is recovering from her leg operation on Wednesday and not wanting to have to make the trip to the kettle too often. And one for an undisclosable recipient who hasn't yet received it. Ooooh, nothing like leaving on a note of mystery eh?...