Thursday, December 30, 2004

I'm just back from celebrating the birthday of a friend whose birthday falls today. Instead of presents, she has asked that everyone give the money they would have spent on her to the appeals for victims of the tsunamis and earthquakes in Asia and India. This seems the right way to do things to me. We, who are lucky, can't stop celebrating important festivals and events, but we should find some way to think about those thousands of dead and thousands of missing, as well as the millions who are now suffering unimaginable loss and hardship.

If you can afford it, please give generously.

Disasters Emergency Committee

Friday, December 24, 2004

Deck the halls

Well, it's finally upon us. The presents are wrapped and under the tree. The turkey has been collected from the butcher, along with a lovely gammon which is currently bubbling away, prior to being baked this evening. Mince pies have been made. Wine will be mulled this evening. I was in Sainsbury's at 8am today to pick up the last veg and milk that we need, so now I'm feeling smug, as I went past about an hour ago and it looked like hell.

My present knitting is finished. ½ Clapotis is going to Toby's mum. I did a pair of socks for my sister's boyfriend, which I blocked last night and will wrap today. (First time I'd done a short row heel - and I liked it!) I did another flower washcloth, to go with some Body Shop smellies for Toby's brother's girlfriend.

After all that present knitting, I decided to do something quick and simple for myself. I bought some great eyelash yarn when I was in Norway a couple of years ago. If you are ever in Oslo, visit this shop - I guarantee you'll love it. I've been looking for something to do with it, as I only have one ball in each shade. Also, I ripped back the Elegant Gauntlet I'd knitted, as I wasn't happy with how it looked, so I had 2 skeins of Koigu going spare. Koigu, eyelash yarn - it just had to be Rockstar! I cast on last night and hopefully I'll be wearing it on New Year's Eve.

Happy Christmas to all of you that celebrate. Happy Holidays to everyone else. Have a good one. Now I'm off to have a glass of wine - well, it is Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Let it snow

Look what I made!

You can make one too, if you go here. Who says we can't have a white Christmas?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Oh come all ye faithful...

.. to the shops, or so it seemed today. Things have been remarkably low key re Christmas around here this year. Normally by now I would have written several lists, one of presents, one of food, one of everything else that needs to be done. Toby would have bought several cases of wine (only because of the 5% discount, of course). This year I think we're a bit partied out from the wedding, so can't summon up too much enthusiasm for another big celebration.

However, as far as Sam and Josie are concerned, it's getting pretty exciting. So today I ventured up to Oxford Street, armed with Christmas lists from them both. First stop was Hamleys. First thought when I got in there was, 'Why the f... did I come here?'. This is what I think every time I go there. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely shop, but it's just too overwhelming for me. There's so much to choose from that I can't make any choices. I ended up wandering around for an hour, then leaving with an art set that I could probably have bought in Clapham Junction.

John Lewis was a bit better. More of a shop than a tourist attraction. Josiah is now all sorted, but Sam is proving more of a problem. He is desperate for some PS2 game, but we have declared a moratorium on PS2/computer games for the moment. I guess I'll be hitting the Clapham Junction toy shops to see what I can find.

While in John Lewis, I just happened to find myself in the wool department. Where else would I go carrying three large heavy bags? I have to say I prefer Liberty's wool department to John Lewis as I think the yarns are displayed better, but Liberty doesn't stock everything that JL do. I was sorely tempted by some Noro Transitions. Gorgeous stuff, especially Shade 02. But at £10.80 a skein, I thought I should wait until all the presents were bought. Our finances have taken a battering in the last few months. Still, it was hard to leave it in the shop.

One good thing about going to Oxford Street is the nice long bus ride home gives me plenty of time for knitting. I am doing a pair of socks for my sister's boyfriend, who is spending Christmas with us. I am almost ready to start the heel of the first one, so hopefully the pair will be done by the end of the weekend.

The rest of the Christmas knitting has gone well. I know I said I don't normally do it, but I think I might bet into it a bit more, as it's been quite fun working on lots of small projects. The scarves for my parents are done and posted. I finished my half-Clapotis, which I'm really pleased with; I think I will give that to Toby's mum. I ended up doing the Flower Washcloths from Weekend Knitting for Sam and Josies' teachers. I used oddments of DK Cotton rather than Chenille and gave them a little bar of soap with each one. I think that's probably going to be it, although I may squeeze in a scarf for Toby's brother's girlfriend, oh and maybe for his grandmother too...

Monday, December 13, 2004

Happy Clappy

If you haven't knitted this yet, then you must. Go on, you know you want to. I know I'm behind the times, as loads of other bloggers have long since finished theirs, but I'm loving knitting Clapotis.

I'm using a cotton/silk blend from 21st Century Yarns that I bought at Ally Pally this year. They only had one skein in the colourway I liked, so I'm doing a half size Clapotis, just 3 increase and decrease rows rather than the 6 specified. I started on Saturday and am just about to start the decreases after doing 12 sets of straight rows. The best thing about it is definitely making the ladders, there's nothing like dropping a stitch on purpose.

I know I'm supposed to be doing the children's teachers' presents and I will, I will - maybe tomorrow?

Friday night was my knitting group's Christmas do. We went to my favourite tapas bar and had lots of fun and did no knitting at all.

Sam is off school ill today, so I get to stay home from work and do lots of knitting while he rests on the sofa and watches videos. Bliss.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Santa baby...

So I'm starting to get back into the swing of things. And the swingiest of things at the moment is, of course, Christmas gift knitting. As a rule, I don't do a lot of gift knitting at Christmas time. Why? I think it's the whole knitting to a deadline thing, it just doesn't work for me. However, this year I was pretty organised and got a scarf done for my mother in early November - another version of Cloud, but in Touch Yarns mohair boucle - yummm.

Then I thought I'd better do something for my father as well, so I've started a scarf for him too. I dug out some Rowan Magpie Tweed that I was given a couple of years ago and am doing a simple, quite slim scarf, in a sort of mistake rib. It feels good to be knitting with a fairly heavy weight yarn again. Sadly, this has yarn was discontinued a while ago now. It's a shame, as it's one of those yarns that really lets the quality of the wool shine through.

So I had thought I would leave it at that, but then Polly blogged about a great idea for little gifts (see the entry on December 3rd ). Once I saw that, I thought these would be great for Sam and Josie's teachers. I have lots of oddments of DK Cotton knocking around in various colours. I think I might buy some bath bombs from Lush rather than soap, just to make it a little different.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Ding Dong

So, I came to the computer full of intent to post a witty, entertaining post all about the wedding and Rome, but to tell you the truth, I'm feeling a bit.. bleugh. The wedding was lovely, a really good day full of laughter and fun and good friends and relatives. Rome was wonderful. I've never been to Italy before and now I'm in love. But now I'm back; back to school and work and a flat with a leaky toilet cistern that I'm sure was fine before we left. Anyway, I'm very happy, but am just feeling a bit blue, so I'll just post some photos for you to look at for now.

Here we are after the event. Let me just say, I could never be a celebrity and face the paparazzi. There were only about 6 people taking photos and I started to freak out after about 5 minutes. Plus, I was doing the whole 'stand sideways, turn your face to one side' sort of thing that you read about for making the best of your profile or whatever. It didn't work, as you can see. Note Cloud - I had to get her in somewhere!

Us and the children. Josie suffered an extreme attack of shyness, so missed out on some of the family group shots, but she is all recovered here.

We had arranged for one of my sisters (it ended up being the youngest, as she got in the room first) and Toby's best friend to be the witnesses. When we got in the room, the Registrar asked us if we would like Sam and Josie to be our witnesses also. We didn't know they could do this, but thought it would be a great idea. So they got to sign the register too. I think this is my favourite picture so far.

Lunchtime diversion

Hooray, the new Knitty is here!