Cold sweats and sweaters

My week has been somewhat mixed. It started off terribly with me feeling absolutely awful and what’s doubly bad is that now if I’m ill I can’t just languish in bed or hide under a duvet on the sofa watching bargain hunt.
When you have a baby, nobody looks after you when you’re ill – but you still have to carry on regardless. So, after having felt like death warmed up all week, I’ve now just recovered and the week has ended on a high, with the completion of my first knitted item of clothing! I have taken a somewhat crude picture in low lighting on my iPhone, but I promise you, Ethan’s first knitted jumper is mega trendy. Now Guy wants one. Hmmm, I think I might stick to something smaller for the next project…. Watch this space.

20120129-182421.jpg

10 reasons why knitting is great

When I was taught how to knit, not all that long ago, I knew I wanted to keep it up as a hobby but I never really realised just how much I would love it. Here are 10 reasons why I think knitting is great.
1. It’s better than exercise. Before knitting I could easily drink a few glasses of wine during an evening while watching telly and scoffing a bag of Cadbury’s Buttons. Now I get so engrossed in what I’m doing I forget to eat and drink, therefore saving me from consuming thousands of calories.
2. It saves money. Before knitting I would see things in the shops and think nothing about shelling out loadsa money on the latest cool item of clothing, now I tell myself “I could make that” meaning I don’t buy anything (although I never get round to making it either).
3. I’ve extended my social group.
I now have an extra 20 or so friends over the age of 70 who have taught me more about the town I live in than I managed to learn in eight years of living here, including my neighbour’s name.
4. I get to buy brightly coloured wool.
5. My husband thinks I’m really clever. For some reason Guy thinks the art of knitting is mysterious and amazing and is still thrilled at the prospect of me one day knitting him a jumper.
6. My mum is finally asking for my advice after 30 years of me asking for hers.
Mum thinks I know more about knitting and “how to hold the wool” than she does.
7. I get waited on hand and foot. The phrase “I just need to finish this row” sounds very important and means someone else makes the tea or changes channel for me.
8. I sound more interesting. Now rather than just writing “reading and going to the cinema” as hobbies on my CV, I can add “knitting”. How very quirky.
9. I get “me time”. At the end of a very long day talking to a baby, it gives me the opportunity to ignore everyone and pretend I’m engrossed in a pattern.
10. I get to write about it. Well, I’ve got to tell someone how great it is!

20120122-200609.jpg

Highlights and haberdashery

I survived my trip to the big smoke and I think Guy just survived looking after Ethan, although he did look incredibly jaded when I got home.

Morna, delighted with Mr Owl

Highlights of the trip included finally presenting the knitted owl to┬ámy friend Morna, as a gift for her 30th birthday. She has named him…… Mr Owl.

Eating sushi in Harrods was totally amazing and over the top and made us feel very clever and important, but I have to say spending some time in the haberdashery department of John Lewis on Oxford Street made me very happy indeed! I have found my dream sewing machine – although this one is pink, my all time favourite one was purple (although it was much trickier to take a photo of.)

The most amazing mini sewing machine

But the best bit was discovering these giant toadstool pincushions…. how cool are these!

The first night of being off-duty mum

On the train to London, Monday night, and I’m thinking this is the first time I will have been away from my son since he was born.
Surrounded by suits, laptops on tables and people with an agenda, I’m sat with a 70s knitting pattern, an empty pack of Sainsbury’s sushi and thoughts of whether or not Guy is going to remember to give Ethan his milk at the right times while I am not there to supervise.
I suppose this is where I’m meant to do that “letting go” thing, and it does feel a little odd.
On the other hand, it does feel strangely liberating. I have already achieved one of my ambitions, knitting proficiently on a train, whilst managing to maintain an air of calm and sophistication (of a fashion).
Tonight I will drink wine with my sister in law knowing (hopefully) that I will not be woken at some godforsaken hour in the morning by a screaming baby. I will wake up and worry just about myself. I can drink a cup of tea while it is still hot and have a shower at my own leisurely pace, where I don’t have to worry if Ethan has pulled the baby walker on top of his head.
Tomorrow I am going shopping with a good friend and we plan to eat sushi in Harrods and drink bubbly (her treat – I resigned, remember!) Freedom.
But although I can’t wait for the fun and excitement of the city, I already miss that feeling of being needed. And I’m already looking forward to seeing my baby again!
I’ll leave you with a cute picture – then I get to take one more look at my son…..

20120116-175314.jpg

Nightmare on Briggs Street

It must be Friday 13, Ethan won’t stop screaming. He’s either got more teeth coming, or he’s just determined that I have a bad day – to add to a string of bad nights. Right now I could feature in a horror movie as I look like a zombie, no stage make-up needed.
I’m also completely confused thanks to the latest knitting project. Telling me to cast on in 6mm needles, I then need to swap to 7mm – I go to the charity shop, pick up some needles, clearly marked with a 7, only to discover later that this actually means they are 4.5mm, and another set of “6” needles, which are in fact, 5mm. What I actually needed
were a set of size “2” needles, which are 7mm in ye olde ancient English terms…. And the 6mm would be a 4, unless, of course you look at the American sizing…. When you would need a size 10 needle…..aaaaaaaarrrrgggghhhh!!
So why is today so unlucky? Here’s one reason

20120113-115806.jpg

Life begins at 30

With Kate Middleton hitting the big 3-uh-oh this month, it got me thinking about whether I’d achieved all the things I’d set out to do by the time I reached 30.
Ok, so I’m not a princess, but that was never the aim, so I don’t regret that.
If you’d told my 18-year-old self that by the time I reached 30 I would be an avid knitter, keen gardener and occasional baker then I think I would have run a country mile. But back then, those pastimes weren’t “cool” like they are now (as this article proves!)
At that time I had aspirations of being a session musician for some uber cool band, or a hard nosed journalist for the national press. I liked to keep my options open.
As it happens, I did become a journalist, albeit in sleepy Somerset for the local press, and I did get pretty good at playing the guitar. But the best thing I did when I hit 30 was realise that it doesn’t matter whether or not what you do is “cool”, or what people think of you – as long as you’re happy doing it. Thirty rocks!

20120110-202538.jpg

Here’s to the little things in life

There’s no doubt about it – it’s tough looking after a baby. When I first had Ethan I used to wonder how on earth people coped past the first three months. I doubted myself with everything I did and kept asking myself if I was really the great mum I had hoped I could be. Happily, I now seem to have a better grasp of what I’m doing and it’s the small things in life that confirm this. Having my parents look after Ethan for a few hours on Saturday made me realise that I should never have worried.
It seems that having not tackled a nappy for 30-odd years mum and dad went in for the two man approach when he needed changing. While mum dangled Ethan in mid-air, my dad then made to secure what they refer to as “the Velcro bits” of his nappy around his waist. It was only after I returned home and they left that I discovered, much to my amusement that they had managed to put the nappy on backwards. Joy!
MisGuided Parent writes a hilarious blog which makes me feel a whole lot better about my parenting skills. Check out this post on how babies are really easy to impress.
Now, on the knitting front I need to find something to start before knitting club resumes on Wednesday. My neighbour has given me a classic pattern magazine from the 70s with some highly amusing pictures in. I must say I’m very tempted by a few of these…….

20120109-103203.jpg

20120109-103129.jpg

20120109-103042.jpg