Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A Problem Shared...

is a problem solved! Remember yesterday when I mentioned that the front of the body I'd knitted for teddy was way smaller than it seemed like it should be? Well, during my afternoon break at work yesterday I was about to start knitting the back of teddy's body, when it occured to me that perhaps a moment spent re-studying the pattern might help. And I sort of had a 'eureka' moment when I thought perhaps I had solved the problem of why teddy was a tad on the tiny side. However, being such a complete amateur at this knitting pattern lark, I needed some back-up and so emailed The Knitting Doctor (who would usually have been at work and thus available for a face-to-face consultation, but was on this particular day at home nursing a poorly ankle caused by falling out of her mother's van [and she wasn't even drunk at the time]). TKD confirmed my suspicions and thus when I went home that evening I was able to astound my mother with my knitting-pattern-reading prowess and was also able to knit one half of a proper sized teddy body. Yay!

By the way, for those of you who haven't fallen in to a knitting-induced coma, the part in bold is the bit of the pattern that had me flumoxed:

"Cont in garter st and inc 1 st at each end of next row and 6 foll 6th rows"

At first I took it to mean that I should increase one stitch at each end of the following six rows and that would be that; but on second viewing (and with a stumpy bear part to show for it), I realised that it meant I should increase one stitch at each end on every sixth row, six times. So, first time round poor teddy was approx 30 rows shorter in the body than he should have been...
Left side is bear as he should be; right side is bear as he shouldn't be.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Scarf is Finished, Sort Of, Kind Of...

Hubby and I put on our 'hostess with the mostest' hats this weekend and entertained two friends from oop north. Mark is one of hubby's footy friends, as is Fiona in a sort of way. Hubby & Mark spent Saturday afternoon in the pub planning Mark's stag night for next March, while Fiona & I spent time in a coffee shop investigating the cakes and talking baby stuff, as Fiona is due to have her little one in just seven weeks - eeeeek! This means the next time we see them, they will be three.

Saturday night we went to the Cherry Tree for dinner, a local gastro pub owned by Carol Decker of T'Pau fame - got to love that 80s music. Dear Mark is so young (being a mere whippernsapper at 27) that he didn't even know who Carol Decker was - shame on him! No appearance from Carol herself, perhaps she was slaving away in the kitchen churning out the steak and chips.

Sunday afternoon, after we said a fond farewell to our guests, I finished the scarf. I was rather proud of myself, since it had only taken me a week. Except that I have now decided that it is too short, so I need to go to town and buy another skein of expensive 'middle class wool' as Penny (aka the Knitting Doctor) likes to call it, and thus make the scarf twice as long as it is at the moment.

Monday afternoon my parents came to stay so they can look after me and protect me from the nasty creatures that live in the woods while International Businessman is gallavanting off to Krakow. Monday evening mother helped me start following the first ever knitting pattern I have attempted and I am now in the process of knitting a teddy bear for Delightful Child. I now know how to cast on, increase, decrease and 'slip one, knit one, pass one over'. Am on the way to being a fully-fledged knitter.

This is what the teddy is supposed to look like but, having knitted one side of the body, I'm a bit concerned. With the piece I have made, the body looks much smaller than the one here. In fact, the bit I've made looks pretty much the same size as the head...

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Bumpier and bumpier

The bump just keeps on growing. Which is only to be expected I suppose. I had a doctor's appointment yesterday at which I was told the baby is 'measuring' 27 weeks (I'm only 25 weeks pregnant), but I did wonder if those extra weeks might just be the extra inches that I carry round my tummy - I mean, how can you tell if it's baby or fat? Anyway, I don't mind if the baby decides to arrive two weeks earlier than we are expecting (3rd March), although I might still be at work which could come as a bit of a shock to my poor colleagues should my waters happen to break in the tea room, for example. There's already been talk of who would be the best person to deal with an 'at work' birth and, funnily enough, no one seems too keen to put themselves forward as midwife. Anyway, just so long as the baby doesn't decide to be two weeks larger and arrive two weeks later, thus actually making it a month of extra baby (if that makes sense) for me to squeeze out. OUCH.

Anyway, these are a couple of pics from the 20 week scan - apologies for the delay in posting them. Baby doesn't look any different to the first scan at 12 weeks, from what I can tell. Although, of course, at this scan they were able to determine the sex - can you tell what it is yet??!!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Is There Anything Nicer

on a cold, damp November afternoon than to sit in front of a roaring log fire with a slice of Marks & Spencer's Victoria sponge? Or to sit in front of the same roaring log fire a little later and enjoy a jacket potato for tea? Or later still, to sit in front of the fire watching Coronation Street and knitting?

Easily pleased.

Monday, 17 November 2008

My Latest Obsession

Knitting! Trendy and practical. I've wanted to have a go at knitting for quite some time now, but have been in need of a willing teacher. Luckily, at the weekend, I went home to Bristol to visit the parents and mother (re)taught me. I used to be able to knit (if you can call it that) when I was much, much younger (maybe eight or nine) and I guess it must be like riding a bicycle - you never forget.

Saturday afternoon mother and I went Christmas shopping and, en route, we found ourselves in the John Lewis haberdashery department, where an entire wall is given over to the joy that is wool (or, in proper speak, I believe it is 'yarn'). After nearly 37 years of living with myself, I think I've got to know me quite well and so I purposely chose a skein (not just a lowly 'ball' for me) wherein the colours change every ten yards or so. The reason being that if I were to knit a scarf in one plain colour I knew full well that after several rows I'd get bored; but the joy of the ever-changing colour palette is one that will (hopefully) keep me interested til the very end. Plus, it cost £10.65 so I really have to knit the whole thing or that is a fair bit of money to leave languishing in the bottom of the cupboard with other half-finished projects.

Already I am harbouring thoughts of kitting out Delightful Child in handknitted shoes (not v practical though) to go with the handknitted everything else that its grandmothers are churning out at a rate of knots. I have added "wool, needles and patterns" to my birthday/Christmas list, so lets hope this latest obsession lasts a while...

I'm most looking forward to the day that I advance to the upper echelons of knitting and join those who can knit without looking, or in my case staring cross-eyed, at what they are doing - you know the people whose needles are click-clacking away at ten-to-the-dozen whilst watching tv, holding a conversation, etc, etc. Maybe one day.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

We Apologise for the Interruption

Did you miss me? I've been in non-blogging mode (or should that be mood?) for an entire week. I was struck down on Thursday with a rather nasty stomach bug which, according to the doctor, was either food poisoning or a viral infection; still haven't figured out which it was. The stomach cramps were horrid and I did say to hubby at one point 'If this is what labour's like, I don't think I can do it'. Ouch. Bring on the general anaesthetic now.

Prior to being felled by said bug, on Weds evening hubby and I enjoyed a short, damp firework display of the 'blink and you'll miss it' variery, which is about all you can expect when you only spend £5 on an entire box of fireworks. Still, we enjoyed ourselves!

In between bouts of illness, on Saturday morning we went house-hunting. Tres exciting. We saw five houses and liked all of them in different ways. Typically the one we really fell for was the least practical, so we have not allowed our hearts to rule our heads and have thus discounted it from the running. A couple of the others were also discounted for various reasons, leaving just two, one of which we went back to see for a second time today, wearing our 'property developer' hats. Funnily enough, first time round this was probably our least favourite house mostly due to the decor but this time, seeing past the woodchip wallpaper, garish colour scheme and garden shed done up to resemble a pub, we rather warmed to the place. Watch this space...

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Yey! It's Bonfire Night

How exciting. Hubby informs me he popped in to Tesco and bought us some fireworks; I think he is in training for being a Dad since putting on shambolic firework displays is something that Dads have to do. I hope he's bought some sparklers.

Hopefully the fireworks will put hubby in a better mood than the one he was in earlier. He had to go back to the hospital with his hurty finger for a 10.30am appointment and he didn't get seen until after midday. Not a happy bunny. I don't know if it's all hospitals or just ours that is particularly rubbish, but you have to wonder how they can get that far behind so early in the day. Although, when I went for an 8.30am appointment a couple of weeks back I didn't get seen until 8.45am even though I was the first appointment of the day. So, if they manage to start the clinics 15 mins late you can see how it all starts going horribly wrong later on in the morning.

And on a completely different note - we thought the new Bond film was a big pile of pants. Totally unfathomable plot (if, indeed, there was a plot), rubbish theme tune, no immortal 'The name is Bond, James Bond' line. There weren't even any lingering shots of Daniel Craig in his swimming trunks. What good is that??

Saturday, 1 November 2008

It's Starting To Feel a Lot Like Christmas...

I had a very Christmas-y day today. I looooooove Christmas, as does hubby. But, whilst hubby went off on a non-Christmas-y expedition to Portsmouth to watch Wigan playing footy, I went to the Christmas Gift Fair at Waddesdon Manor to help my friend Liz run her stall.

Liz makes lovely glass plates, platters, bowls, window hangings, coasters, Christmas decorations, and more! She takes her life in her hands during the winter months, spending hours in her freezing cold garage designing and making these lovely things.

I'm not sure I was much help in manning the stall; in fact, I think I was more of a jinx as there wasn't much buying going on from the crowd. Luckily, Liz has three more days there without me, so hopefully people will be more keen to part with their cash.

Still, it was a nice day out and there were lots of other lovely stalls to preuse, including the stall right next to Liz's which was manned by our friend Tara, who made my wedding tiara - it's so handy to know all these 'crafty' people when you want something individual and handmade.

I managed not to spend too much money - just a few pounds here and there on a couple of things that I can't mention as they are destined to be Xmas gifts for hubby, plus a 'Christmas' sign and a lovely beaded metal star for the door of the nursery, handmade by Tara. Unfortunately though, this frugality came to an abrupt halt on the way home as I managed to persuade myself that it would be nice to have a little look in the John Lewis 'home' store in High Wycombe. Ooopsy, what a mistake that was when I came out about an hour later clutching to my bosom a bag containing nearly £50 of Christmas decorations - OMG, how did that happen??!! This is the problem with sending me out to work - when I earn money, I just have to spend it. It is, for sure, a very dangerous stagte of affairs, although in some way I could think that I am just doing my little bit to help spend the UK out of recession. Yes, let's just imagine that that is what I'm doing when I come home with, amongst other 'must have' items, this little chap
and one of these (although this is actually going back to the shop to be exchanged for the white version, since it didn't look quite so good once I got it home- isn't that always the way?)

While it acceptable, in fact it is actively encouraged, to peruse and purchase Christmas gifts, decorations, food, etc, etc during November (or even earlier) it is absolutely, totally, strictly and utterly FORBIDDEN for any Christmas decorations to be hung or celebrations to be celebrated until after my birthday (29th November). I also get very upset if any Christmas cards are received prior to my birthday as any card-shaped item plopping onto the doormat is assumed by me to be a birthday card; hence, I am extremely upset and disappointed when, having saved all of these cards until the morning of my birthday, I come face to face with Santa or his elves, or a sprig of holly where there should be a picture of a birthday present, cake, etc. This happened last year when some well-meaning soul from the other side of the world, decided to send out their cards super early lest they not manage to make it all the way to the UK within the six-week window they had allowed. Humphhhh. However, all of this pales in to insignficance in the face of the most distressing 'Christmas before birthday' event which occurred last year when my parents PUT UP THEIR CHRISTMAS TREE prior to the 29th. Words were had and, needless to say, it won't be happening again.