Thanks to the kindness of strangers, Manu is finished! To explain, just as I was halfway through the first pocket, I ran out of yarn for this project. I was loathe to spend money we don’t have on another full ball and postage, so I put out an appeal on good old Ravelry for anyone who might have some spare. Almost immediately I got a message from Jen (this is her website) who offered to help me out and didn’t even want postage! Not only that, she sent me a whole extra ball- what a star. I completed the cardigan with a selection of vintage buttons, as much as I love the sophistication of the charcoal grey, I felt it needed a little bit of colour to stop it being too dour. If I decide I’d rather have matching ones, I can always change them later I suppose. It’s really snuggly and I love the way it hangs, although photographs of my postnatal, nursing body don’t exactly fill me with joy. Still, by the time the weather is right for it I’m hoping a combination of chocolate abstinence, walking and an exercise DVD I’m trying to fit in at naptimes will create a more flattering picture.
>Moving house is costly, in both time and money, so we’ve been trying to preserve both recently. Most of our belongings seemed to survive the move unscathed, thank goodness, but somehow a box containing the jam P and I made recently travelled here upside-down. As they only had wax discs and cellophane discs on them, I was worried that this upending could cause them to go mouldy. I’m no preserves expert but I decided to invest in some screw-on jam jar lids from Lakeland. Hopefully this means we’ll be kept in jam for a few months yet.
Meanwhile, with work on my Manu cardigan halted due to running out of yarn, I was itching to get knitting again, but not eager to spend on yarn. Then, while sorting through clothes ready to pack for the move, I came across a couple of knits that have never quite worked on me. One, made in a gorgeous orange/red shade of Rowan Big Wool, was a lovely cabled cardigan. I loved it in theory, but in practise it never hung right, was too bulky to wear under a coat and didn’t do me any favours. So, while we were taking refuge with my folks I frogged it. Big Wool tends to pill quite easily I’ve found, but in this case it seemed to have formed big, felty tufts which were easy enough to pluck off as I went, leaving me with pretty clean yarn. I confess, I didn’t wash it and hang it in skeins as I should have done- slapped wrist!
Then I dithered over a pattern, but finally decided on ‘Emma’ from Rowan’s Big Just Got Bigger. I doubt it will go under a coat but I’m planning for it to be an extra layer to wear indoors when it gets chilly. Now, whenever I have a ‘quiet’ moment, which aren’t easy to come by at the moment, I’m working away.
On 10mm and 12mm needles, it grows pretty quickly, it has to be said. I’ve completed the back and I’m already halfway up the front. However, progress has been interrupted today with exciting new developments on the Manu front- more on that soon.
A spectacularly rainy day meant that multi-tasking was a must for the rookie mum-of-two today. I braved the downpour in the morning, pushing the double buggy for a soggy constitutional into town. It was enough to convince me that this afternoon we were staying indoors, despite P’s suggestion of ‘garden’ and ‘walk’ (he might be okay in his rainsuit and wellies, but us girls aren’t so well equipped). Post-nap time saw me bringing out the home-made playdough again. At one point I was sitting on the floor, simultaneously feeding M and cutting out dough stars with P. Luckily, once M latches on she’s keen enough to stay balanced across my lap! After that she retired to the bouncy chair her brother is gradually conceding to her using and I continued my dough modelling activities while bouncing her with my foot. Somehow amongst my baby nursing/toddler entertaining duties I got some knitting done today too…including pleats! These were very interesting and not too difficult to do and means that the main part of Manu is done. I’m now at what I consider the tedious and irritating job of pick up and knit to make the edgings, but as my mind is already onto possible next projects- I want to restock my very neglected Folksy shop and possibly think about Christmas presents (in July!!!)- I’m quite impatient to finish now.
The week so far has seen weather forecasts whose bark was worse than their bite. Monday afternoon saw these spectacular clouds sweeping in off the sea, yet we managed an hour at Sandscale Haws with nothing more than a few spots. Yesterday was meant to be okay in the morning then awful all afternoon, so we duly dashed out with a lovely gang of friends for walking, play and picnic here in the a.m. only to find that the afternoon was also rain-free until 5-ish. Today, if the reports were to be believed, we would be deluged (we were during the night), so a blanket den was duly built in the living room and no promises of going outside were made. So far? A mere sprinkling, and that while out for a drive along the coast road, where the brunt of the weather hits.
Still, all this indoors time has meant more progress on Manu, which, now that the sleeves are finished and the yoke is in progress, resembles more of a garment. I made the sleeves on four needles as I couldn’t get the hang of them on a circular, but switched to a circular for the yoke. Hmmm…maybe a problem as my tension seems to be a little bit tighter on the circular. I’m hoping it won’t show up too much in the finished item- it certainly doesn’t on the pictures. The yarn is quite fluffy and the tension is fairly easy throughout, so maybe blocking will even things up a bit. Or I’ll pretend it’s a design feature! Looking forward to knitting the pleats soon…
Is there anything better than getting a parcel of lovely new yarn through the post? Okay, there are a few things, but on this particular Wednesday, it can’t be beaten. Ten lovely balls of Artesano Inca Cloud in charcoal are all ready to be made into a Manu cardigan for me. It’s been a while since I had a big project on my needles, and certainly since it was a big project for me. I know it’s quite a sober colour, but I think it will be quite versatile and I love the gathering detail so I don’t want to distract from it. Right, enough of this blogging lark, I’m off to get those needles busy…hooray!
I’m aware that compared to usual, there’s been quite a reduction in craft project news and accounts of days out walking on these pages recently. I cannot complain that baby #2 is hanging on in there instead of arriving two months early as it’s older brother did. However, this, my first real experience of full on third trimester pregnancy, is proving hard work! It has certainly got a lot harder to find the energy to pack up and get out there, despite the lovely weather. As for the craft, well, the energy is part of it. Finishing off various presents is another part, and the lack of materials for new projects is yet another.
Ah, excuses, excuses. But this weekend something like normal service was resumed. With C providing the much needed support, we headed to Fell Foot park on Windermere for a slightly impromptu rehearsal for the birthday picnic we’re planning on Friday (yes, our little fella is 2 years old this week!). A sunny weekend meant that the number of people there was about ten times what it has been on other occasions, but once we’d bagged a parking space, it was lovely just to be among all the families taking every advantage of the weather. We coveted the canoes of some well equipped groups, although most had older kiddies than us- maybe a future plan?
We also took advantage of the gorgeous play park, which is the nicest I’ve seen in a long time, if ever. Set under trees and surrounded by rhododendrons which provide den and hide and seek potential in themselves, there’s a zip wire and giant climbing frame for older ones, but for a change, also lots of great wooden equipment for little ones including a wooden sailing boat suspended on chains for authentic rocking wave motion and a cute little maze where a lot of shrieking and ‘peekaboo’ goes on! The floor is all soft wood chippings and even on Saturday it didn’t feel overcrowded.
As for the crafting, well, I’ve been knitting a chicken. As you do. Okay, I know it’s a bit weird, but a friend gave me a kit to make a felted chicken way back when I was pregnant with P and, despite carting it into hospital with me when he arrived, I just never got into it. Then on Friday night, as C and I watched a DVD, I finally got going with it. The knitting part was finished on Saturday night, so just need to stick it in the wash and felt it. Those familiar with my habit of ruining perfectly good knitted items by sticking them in the wrong wash and felting them will have every confidence in my ability to carry out this part…finished pics to follow, I hope.
This knitting was the warm up for the next ‘proper’ project though. I’m very excited that darling C has ordered the yarn for me to start on the Manu cardigan I’ve been wanting for ages. Should I finish it before the baby arrives, I think it will cope with the bump by way of draping around the sides. And yes, I know it’s summer, but I am the sort of cold bones type that is never far from an extra layer, even in hot weather. Just can’t wait for that yarn package to arrive!