Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A Byatt for EYF

In the build up to The Edinburgh Yarn Festival, one of my favourite designers, Karie Westermann, released a new shawl pattern, Byatt. I used to be a shawl knitter, back when things like not having to match gauge or select a similar yarn and it not really mattering how big or small the finished item came out were my primary considerations in deciding what to knit. But a few years ago I decided that I really want to be a garment knitter, socks and sweaters, with a selection of head- and hand-coverings to get me through the winter. But as my Twitter timeline filled with people's (judiciously retweeted) plans to make and wear Byatts to EYF, my No More Shawls resolve melted and, I reasoned, I had appropriate wool (two skeins or Ripples Crafts 100% BFL superwash in a natural cream and teal blue) -already wound into cakes. Kismet!

I cast-on in plenty of time and worked away on the garter stitch section and had just reached the two colour stripy section when I looked in my project and realized...I was almost out of my main colour! It hadn't been a mistake when I listed them as 50g balls, they really were half the length I needed! I searched Helen's site for the same colours on the same base to no avail, and settled on a skein of blue with a hint of teal and a complimentary silver, hoping I could switch to a similar colour-way on the stripes without having a jarring change and having to start over.

Readers, I had to start over. The blue did have hints of teal but nothing like the colour I'd started with. That's the bad new; the good news is that the new shade was a million billion times better (and it's not like I disliked the teal, I'd bought it after all) than the first one. The blue and silver took my Byatt from a project I'd planned to knit, wear to EYF, and give away if I found it didn't suit (after all, I have a cupboard full of shawls I never wear) to something I reach for every day. 

I spent every waking moment, the week before EYF knitting. I ran out of my main colour, the blue, with exactly one row left to knit so I skipped it and started on the other side with the silver. I finished the picot bind-off (is there anything worse when you're down to the wire?) with just enough time to soak and block it Thursday night before our Friday morning train to Edinburgh. I didn't find a shawl pin I liked at EYF, so I ordered one from Nicholas And Felic off etsy.

I could not be happier with my Byatt. My ravelry queue may have suddenly acquired a bunch of two-colour shawls.

Friday, 20 March 2015

A lot to catch up on

Since my last post in which we learned I was going to have a miscarriage we've, in no particular order, had a miscarriage, Little Djinn turned two, Chris had shingles, Little Djinn had chicken pox, a pipe burst at the new house, we actually started construction at the new house, and we went to the Edinburgh yarn festival. Almost all of these deserve a post of their own, but let's see what we can knock out:

Having a miscarriage sucked salty donkey balls. I'm just talking physically here, people, emotionally it's been a constant layer of low-level sad with occasional spikes of high-level sad. Sad, not soul-destroying or shattering or some of the other valid emotional responses people have to losing a pregnancy. My emotions tend to run quieter than that. But physically, it was excruciating. It was al,out two full weeks of waiting for something to happen and then a couple hours of, frankly, labour with nothing to show for it. Highlights include having been at work when it started and getting to take a taxi home while absolutely hemp raging blood (Dear sir, thank you, I'm sorry.), feeling like a lava lamp in reverse (I'll not explain, for the sake of the squeamish), not being able to leave the toilet for several hours while at the same time being so light headed that sitting up for more than two minutes made me black out. It was...certainly not something I'd do a third time. Then I had the heaviest, crampiest, menstrual cycle of my life and it lasted a full two weeks and another week after that to stop having lightheaded spells. 

Meanwhile, K turned two three days after my scan. I'd not managed to plan anything more involved than asking two of her friends to meet us at the soft play. I didn't say anything about it being her birthday but they each brought a present and each got a goodie bag in return. One gift was a playdoh kitchen thing and K went wild for it. We gave her a little play kitchen, grandma got her a little helper stool for the kitchen, and she got some farm themed toys. She's been doing really well at eating "real" food, suddenly has All the Words, and regressed slightly on sleeping when I had the miscarriage, which we figure was stress about Mama and Daddy both being poorly.

A few weeks after Chris' shingles finally cleared up, I noticed Little Djinn had a pimple on her temple and we went out to play with some friends. That night she had more pimples and I thought it was a reaction to the new cream the doctor gave her for her eczema. The next morning the first pimple was definitely a pox and looking back over our week the symptoms all fit. We spent a little over a week staying home (except going to see E, her family having had it already) and at this point even the scabs have fallen off. She never particularly noticed that she had chicken pox until the scabs formed and those itched, and it's been about 21 days and none of her friends have reported symptoms so it looks like that's done and dusted. Yay for having a toddler with zero interest in touching or being touched by other children?

Meanwhile, at the new house, the boiler had a slow leak. Aged Parent had called out people to look for it, we'd called out people to look for it, nothing was found or fixed, and we just had to keep an eye on the water level. Then there was a cold snap and the radiator in the conservatory popped a cap, the boiler bleed dry, a pipe froze and the two front rooms, the ones we weren't fixing up, got flooded. Did I mention our insurance only covered the first six months for unoccupied water damage? Bugger. That was also the day the building warrant finally came through so the rooms are fixed and the extension and office are being built.

And that's how much time Little Djinn is willing to give me.