Yarn diet: progress!

Hah! You thought I was joking, when I said I was going to acquire yarn instead of junk food, in an attempt to unearth my waist, didn’t you? Well, I’ll have you know I’ve lost half a stone of the blubber that accreted onto me when I was immobile with my banjaxed back and hip (and comforting myself with crisps and biccies -yes, I admit it, chocolate ones), so there! How it works (I still have a way to go before I get back from the “overweight” to the “healthy weight” range): any time I’m tempted to buy tasty rubbish in the supermarket I repeat my mantra of “you could get half a ball of alpaca for that” or “that’s worth 200m of silk”, and there’s my instant incentive to resist. Well, it works for me, and the proof of the pudding is that I have a waist again, or at least an indentation at the appropriate site!

The hand-dyed beauties above (Oliver Twists) represent my accumulated “resistance rewards” since I last splurged, plus a little extra on account (so I can’t afford biccies even if I weaken…). I was invited along to the Knitting and Stitching Show in the RDS, where I made a beeline for the O.T. stand, as they are a small British business and that was the only chance to see their hand-dyed goodies in Ireland until next year. Irresistible- it’s true, I lost the run of myself, but look at those colours! I rest my case.

I already have the perfect designs for two of them mapped out, but I’ve reached the stage where I can’t knit fast enough to keep up with all the ideas. I’m developing the knack of actually making one project while my head’s away with the fairies designing the next one, though my wires sometimes get crossed, with dubious results. No wonder many established designers farm out their designs to professional knitters to actually knit up, though I believe that a lot of inspiration gets lost if the design is only done on paper/screen, in two dimensions. Not to mention the sheer enjoyment of making whatever it is (and having it morph into something unexpected but even better as you go)! It seems to me a bit like having babies, handing them over to be reared elsewhere, then collecting them when they’re 18.

Speaking of which, I recently was informed by my son that I’m considered by (at least) some of his peers to be a cool parent. Pleased but mystified, I asked why, and am now in a position to reveal for your delectation, if not your emulation, some key attributes:

  1. Be a geologist (I suspect that anyone who’s really handy with a hammer can tick this box)
  2. Detect camoflaged Airforce hangars built into the Swiss Alps.  2 a. Get away unscathed (it’s a long story..)
  3. Do an all-nighter helping to get an architectural model finished for a deadline the following, without homilies on time management
  4. Watch the entire series of Black Books with sprog when exam nerves threaten
  5. Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer with sprog (it’s a great opportunity to have That Talk about the Birds and the Bees in Practice (don’t leave it too late), and squabble over which of you has the better chance with Spike (I’m not giving in on this one, I saw him first!)

There was nothing quite like this in any of the parenting books I read- and believe you me, as a lone parent I have done my fair share of consulting the oracles- but actually, apart from the choice of profession, when I boil it down a bit, it seems to amount to nothing more complex than finding or developing interests in common and spending time doing them together- can it be that simple?

So what else have I been doing this week, apart from winding lots of very fine yarn by hand? It’s time to start saving up for a yarn-winder, my wrist is falling off. Well, the Library Knitting group has almost finished the knitted Nativity (pattern by Jean Greenhowe) we’re planning to raffle in aid of a local charity. Each of us did a figure, and very fiddly work it was too. The knitting took very little time, but putting the bits together- well, “never again” is the polite way of expressing our consensus! Mind you, the result is rather sweet, and the kiddies love it, so we’ll chalk it up to experience…..

I’ve also been working on my Lace Sampler Baubles, these are the Gothic versions for those who want to decorate a vampire’s bedchamber or celebrate the Winter Solstice! Please note that they are resting on a platter of stone, made up of fossilised skeletons- I’m proud of that touch. P.S. Belemnites, not humans.

And this is a preview of a shawlette I’m designing, using an Estonian Lily-of-the-Valley lace stitch and a single hank of Bluefaced Leicester Sock Yarn (Fyberspates), acquired at the beginning of my yarn diet- see, I’m not just hoarding the stuff!

So, short’n’sweet this week. I’m hoping to get some (dry) fresh air next week and take some outdoor photos-cross your fingers!

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26 thoughts on “Yarn diet: progress!

  1. So glad you’ve found a non-fattening indulgence! But, as a clueless American, I have to ask… just what the heck are “biccies” and “sprog”. Ignorance is not bliss…

    • Biccies= biscuits= what I believe Americans call cookies, although they are usually smaller than cookies.But ye eat biscuits sometimes for breakfast (I read a lot of novels)- what are they?
      Sprog= offspring or child, gender unspecified
      Oh yes, while we’re at it, what are grits?

  2. Okay, and here I was searching for even one thing you might not know! Biscuits are like the poor cousins to rolls – made of flour, water and baking powder, you can eat them for breakfast or have them with soup (really, really good with butter and maple syrup!). Rolls are basically bread dough that’re baked in cupcake tins… Grits? Don’t eat this up north – it’s favored down south. From what I understand it’s coarsely ground corn cooked up with stuff… I’ll check with one of my cyberbuddies from Florida and get back with ya…
    Oh yeah, do you say “dooryard” for your front yard? Seems to be a Vermontism but wondering just where it came from!

    • No, we don’t say dooryard at all. Nor do we say “front yard”- it’s front garden, and back garden as appropriate! A yard is unplanted, as in farmyard or a small patch of concrete you might have behind a townhouse, where there’s no room for a garden, and you’d keep your rubbish bins (not trash cans!) there…

  3. The duce you say! We park our cars in the driveway (if you’re city folk) or the dooryard (if country). A garden is where you grow flowers or vegatables and the yard is where you grow grass – whether front or back, it’s all the same.
    Just wondering, do you say “Ay” for yes or is that only in cheap, poorly written novels? Come to Vermont and you’ll hear a whole lot of “Ayups” – only the “p” is is silent.

    • We have driveways too, beside or through the front garden, which usually consists of the lawn, with optional flowerbeds! The closest I’ve ever come to an “aye” is watching Scottie on Star Trek… Cliches abound in reported irish- and scots-speak, I’m afraid. Worst offender: “Far and Away”-painful!

  4. Okay – one last comment – in honor of our trying to bridge the language gap of our cultures, I’ve written a post just for you… It’s called “doodlebugs and dooryards” over at “down the mountain road”.
    See ya!

  5. Well, I’m glad you’ve cleared up some of the weird words that divide the two nations – although I believe that some of the anachronisms come from ‘olde’ English which has fallen out of favour here in the UK – and yes that is the correct spelling!
    Love the idea of spending the bikkie money on wool, but as all my knitting is given away wouldn’t be worth the effort – I just trust to WW and my latest cookbook which is ‘Light’ cakes. Comes from a US magazine for healthy cooking I believe. Made a version of peach cobbler last night and yummy it was too…

  6. That knitted nativity: be still my heart. What lovely work! It would probably take me a lifetime to knit that set by myself, though! 🙂

    • Even doing one figure each, it felt like that, alright! But two women in my group had already done a set each!!! I’m still gobsmacked….

  7. I love the idea of a yarn diet! Such a great idea.
    And I especially loved your sample of the Estonian lacing. the lily of the valley pattern is so beautiful. I’ve never knitted a shawl before and I’ve been trying to do nupps but they haven’t been successful so far. =( I’ll have to continue practising.

  8. Too funny! Spending time with my sprog sounds like it may be a little like your experience. She discovered Buffy and has finally been deemed old enough to watch it with me, now the question is, am I old enough to watch Gossip Girl with her? Sometimes I’m not sure I’m mature enough for contemporary teen TV. Thanks for the vocab words, I feel enriched and international now. Beautiful knitting too!

    • Persevere, it’s character-building! I’ve been promoted to anime (with subtitles, luckily), and Rooster Teeth, Slo-Mo Guys and Halo podcasts….

  9. Hmmm…. I shall have to find a way to fit some of your “cool parent” attributes into my repertoire! Does being a microbiologist count instead of being a geologist? Not exactly a profession that allows me covert activities like finding hangars in the Swiss Alps. But at least I can tell you if the water is good to drink 😉

    Love your designs! So inspiring. I’ll have to check them out on Ravelry!

  10. That yarn diet idea is awesome! And I think you are really right about ‘real designers’ farming out their designs to be knitted up by someone else whilst they can get into their next idea… I find that one hard, I start too many things at once, but holding back now, really trying to finish off one thing before casting on another. And in the meantime, I just make sketches and swatches, ready to go for the next project as soon as the old one is cast off… Your blog is inspiring!

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