Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The one where a new year begins.

Shock! Horror! This will be a blog update sans photos. This is basically because since my last update there has been very little done by way of spinning, knitting or sewing. I've managed to spin a little bit of some Ixchel merino angora, but not enough really to make photo's worth while. And I sewed a pencil roll or two, but did not take photo's before I gave them away as gifts. As for knitting, I currently have one the needles another Forest Canopy Shawl, this time in The Knittery's Merino slim sock, 'Bloody Mary' colourway. I'm a little under halfway done. I also have a very very boring sock for the Big Mac. It's grey. And it's in ribbing. It is also sapping my will to live with it's plain boringness. Every stitch strips me of a little shred of sanity. The things we do for the ones we love, eh?

Most of my time since the last update has been taken up by preparations for christmas, as is the case with many of us. I made far less of a production of christmas this year and am all the more happy for it. I went with simple this year - simple pleasures, and cut down on the amount of drama involved wherever I could. Santa brought Mayhem and Chaos some lovely things, a swing set for the backyard, some colouring pencils and books, for Miss Chaos a Tinkerbell doll, for Mister Mayhem a Thomas train set. Santa also got into the swing of encouraging music this year. A junior drum kit and a ukelele were found under the tree. Plenty have said Santa must have some sort of brain malfunction when told about the drum kit, but it's actually ok. Both kids have the beat, and both of them enjoy having a bash at it. I'd prefer the noise of a drum kit over the noise of flat out whinging and it has thus far proved to be quite the outlet for frustration.

We made it up to Wangaratta for the briefest of times away - 2 nights and 3 days to be exact, so big mac could help his parents with the building of their house. While there I dropped into a little yarn shop, and we headed off to Milawa to the cheese factory there, and also dropped into Gapsted Winery too. We came home with a few souvenirs, a wooden shawl pin and a bottle of lime pressed olive oil, some Milawa cheese, and a bottle of tawny port. Tasty. 

We also made it through another 29th of December. Thanks to everyone who sent me emails or texts to let me know you were thinking of me on that day. It was a sad day, but we were home for it, and that made it a little easier. 

And now, here we are on the very first day of a brand new year. Time to pick myself up, get all those ducks lined up in a row and approach it with energy and fervour. As always I wonder exactly how much I can pack in to a stretch of 365 days? We're about to find out. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Jolly Fat Man cometh...

Long time, no post, I know. 

I'm not sure exactly where to begin to try and play catch ups, so I am considering bypassing any and all catch up attempts. But I will at least, share pics of recent handspun and hand knit efforts. I've been just a little busy. 

First out of the gate here is Mossy, a merino angora blend of fibre I bought from Charly at Ixchel. Beautiful spin and a beautiful resulting yarn. I finally managed to get another of her braids onto the wheel last night, which is super cause I have been drooling over it for a while - it's been sitting here a month!

Next was 'Honey and Mint'. A BFL / Soy blend I bought from Mandie at EGMTK at the Bendigo Show. It's original name was 'Nymagee' but it's gorgeous honey colour begged a name change once it was spun. It now lives with a swap partner of mine on Ravelry, who now gets to pat it instead of me :) That's ok though - I like giving handspun new homes, and new leases on life. 

Here is some masham in a choc berry colourway, also from Mandie. I am not entirely sure what I will do with this one. It's not really suited for next to the skin wear, but the colours on it are just so darn pretty. 

That's it for skeins of handspun - I'm not showing off everything I have knit or spun since the last update or I would be here for hours, so I am just flashing a selection. 

Remember the handspun skein of 'Imperial Reign' Merino / Angora from the last update I did those months ago? (Feel free to scroll down. Go on, you know you want to. I'll wait.)

Well that became this:

A glorious cowl with amazing colours for me to wear when the weather gets cold. I love cowls. LOVE THEM. 

And finally, there was a triumph squeezed in since the last update - a triumph over lace. Which may now, even as I type, be launching itself into a full blown obsession. I said I would never knit lace. It was just too hard. But as is often the case, when something is too hard in my head, it becomes a challenge. So I present my own source of pride, my Forest Canopy Blues.

Although - I shouldn't call it mine given it was posted off to my sister last week. It's yet to arrive though so in the interim while it is floating around the countryside, it's still mine. Knit from Bendigo Woollen Mills 4ply baby wool, then dip dyed and sponged to give it it's colour, it's beautiful and I do love it. Alot. 

I may or may not also be sitting here patting some other laceweight, and the 'parcel dude' may have just bought more. But it's not an obsession. No intervention required. Really. 


Anyways. On with the update, of things I really wanted to say. Of cabbages and kings. 

There's been a fair amount of sickness in our household this past fortnight.  Luckily, I was hit first - a touch of a sore throat that lasted a couple of days. It didn't worry me too much, but it heralded what was coming, expecially for Master Mayhem who seems seriously prone to throat infections. Sure enough a day or two later, it hit him, rather suddenly. All of a sudden it was all we could do to try and keep his fever down, and keep his fluids up. When that kid gets hit by something like that he gets hit, HARD. That lasted about 3 days, and then-Miss Chaos copped it. She wasn't too bad, it only really hit her for a day. But as of last night Big Mac informs me he has a sore throat also. It's certainly doing the rounds!

We now find ourselves almost half way through THAT MONTH of the year. You know the one. The one where the Jolly Fat Man visits. 

Now, normally, I do my best to keep the blog upbeat and happy with just that slight touch of smartass, but bear with me here. We are taking a turn for the serious. 

I've always loved christmas. I love the colours, I love the lights, I love the carols. I love the smell of fresh christmas trees. I love the food, dear lord how I love the food. Christmas in Australia is something completely different to Christmas in the states, or in Europe. While they have snow we have blistering heat. They pull on their hats, mitts, thick socks, winter coats and boots. All the while we are peeling off layers of clothing pulling on the sandals or thongs and going for a dip in the wading pool with the kids. When I was a kid we used to go camping on holidays after christmas, and I would like to start that tradition again this year, but it may not happen. I may have to wait until next year because I have left my run so very late. No matter. I've always felt it strange that so many Australians still insist on a hot roast lunch at christmas despite the fact it is generally a hot christmas day. That said no one had better stand between me and my slice of plum pudding, or there will be a forking. 

Since I grew up though, Christmas became hard. For me, ecspecially hard. I go into every Christmas season with the best of intentions, to make the christmas the best one yet for the kids, to really enjoy myself. And every year ever so slowly and surely, that gets harder and harder to maintain. Some 5 years ago now (good lord. 5 years?) round this time of year, I was a big round bellied individual with a lot of hope and dreams. But in the three days leading up to christmas they were shatterred. Modern medicine can provide a picture of whats going on inside a big round firm belly, and we found out first hand how it feels when that picture is not the story book you had hoped - or just assumed - it would be. We went through that Christmas with that knowledge, and the knowledge of what was to come. On the 29th of December that year, our first child, a little girl was born. Born far too soon, and far too ill equipped for life in this world. Every christmas since, I do my best to enjoy the season with the beautiful bright young siblings that came after her, while also doing my best to remember her, and to think about all she could of been. I don't want to forget. It seems wrong, to forget. But it's a very fine line, and one I frequently have trouble maintaining. 

Then, there are the other things that wear you down. The rudeness of some people, their entitlement. Going shopping at this time of year is always a hazard but some people make it more difficult for everyone else than others. I'll never understand why some people seem to think they are in more of a hurry than everyone else - more entitled to that parking space - and more hard done by than others. With every catalogue that falls through the mail box, with every commercial shown on TV, with every implication in the media and society at large that christmas should be BUY! BUY! BUY! and MORE! MORE! MORE! the whole point of christmas, the thing I've always loved about it is lost. 

To me, the whole point about Christmas is that it is the PERFECT excuse. For just about everything that you wanted to do or needed to do throughout the year but just couldn't justify because it took up too much of your time, it is the perfect excuse.  You can hang around with friends and family.. take your time, have a few laughs share some food. There really is nowhere else to be, nothing else you should be doing. It's christmas. Enjoy the company. Hang out on the floor with your kids, play with play dough, make monsters and aliens. It's kinda the whole point. Why be a grown up? It's christmas! Christmas is ecspecially important for children, so be a child. Remember what it was like through their eyes. Hang out on the couch on christmas eve, watch the carols on TV, knit something, sing along. It's christmas! Just be yourself. Screw the responsibilities, screw work, screw all the people who tell you that if your kid doesn't have the latest playstation / new bike / nintendo DS / portable dvd player they will be scarred for life. They won't be. The whole point is that they get to spend time with you, with family, with people they love and that love them. It's not the about WHAT they love, or WHAT they want, it's about what they love DOING, what they want to DO and who wants to do it WITH THEM. 

When I think back to the fact that I have a small girl named Brannwen who *would* of been nearly 5 years old this christmas, and I look at my cheecky and mischevious 2 and 3 year old, I realise the most precious gift any of us have, for our children, for our families, for our partners and for ourselves, is time. This christmas, give them your time. Give yourself your time. After all, you are worthy of a gift too!