Sunday, 24 November 2013

Blink and it's Gone

Well this week was fast. Really fast. So fast paced and so intense that I just had no time to knit. None. I have had to work every available opportunity.

It was therefore very happily that I realised I needed to take some pictures for some work I'm doing and would have to knit. Sure, I could have just snapped pictures of knitting tools solo but it's so much nicer in projects right? Then I reasoned that if I was knitting up swatches, I might as well be casting on real projects for the next few months.


It seemed perfectly reasonable to me. So with the Playful One dispatched with the Giant I set about knitting and snapping. Sending the little one out was kind of essential given her penchant for my skeins. This is what happens otherwise.....

Yup. Note the blur of rapid movement!

Like mother like daughter right?

I'll fill you in on all the casting on and off I achieved very soon. Right now I need to run. Again. This coming week is looking even more frantic.


Monday, 18 November 2013

Finish or Frenzy?

I'm in something of a dilemma with my knitting. Thanks to a high number of WIPs recently, I've been flitting between different stages of knitting and nibbling at things here and there. The result is the near end of a couple of projects and nothing suitable for just cruising on when circumstances demand I just plain knit or not at all.

This leaves me with a dilemma: face the satisfaction of finishing or cast on maniacally to ensure I have plenty to work on? The finishing will be satisfying yet inevitably fiddly but the cast on requires winding yarn, finding needles and bags. Not to mention settling into the rhythm of a whole new project.

I'm also not blessed with a great deal of time at the moment. I have deadlines rapidly approaching and blocking anything just seems like a step too far quite frankly. One of the projects I want to cast on involves frogging an entire sweater!!!!

Quite the dilemma.

A little progress check to help me take stock:

- Tiny Tread socks: one sock complete, another needing a heel and possibly another scrap of yarn (I ran out, shocking).

- Girl Crush Sweater: cast off. Needs blocking and ends woven in. See above for thoughts on blocking.

- Knit Night: just needs eyelet border but it involves a purl row of P2TOG and YOs on singles yarn. Not to be completed in the half dark while settling a fractious babe.

- Pyrite socks of Juno awesome: stalled due to not quite automatic enough knitting down the foot.

- New and very bright yellow hat: lace detail that thrills me but again, needs some lighting and a little more than my half attention.

Best get cracking on SOMETHING I guess!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Christmas Card Fund

Every year I decide on a charity that I feel really deserves some support and I donate the money I would spend on cards and stamps. Rather than a Round Robin or scribbled cliche, I pledge to call more often or send a card at random during the year. I like the random act of kindness kind of moment more than ploughing through my address book with a sense of deadline.

I started this a few years ago after my dad's work decided to do the same. I thought what a good idea to donate annually and at Christmas there are many in need. I've devoted time to causes before or organised donation/ collection drives but with the little one, that seems near impossible this year.

Last year was a year for Refuge and the year before was Women's Aid. This year will be Mind. Here is why I value Mind, in their own words:

Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem.
But hundreds of thousands of people are still struggling to get the support they need. Still unable to access the services that could change their life. Still facing prejudice and misunderstanding.
Mind believes no one should have to face a mental health problem alone. We’ll listen, give you support and advice, and fight your corner. And we’ll push for a better deal and respect for everyone experiencing a mental health problem.

I have seen first hand the amazing work Mind do and this year they feel particularly important as I grieve for a friend whose battle with her own unhappiness was lost recently. She was loved and in love and yet she is gone, leaving a hole that can never be filled for her friends and family. 

The festive season is notoriously hard for so many people. This is my way of helping in every way I can and remembering a friend whose laughter I can still here now as we scared away seagulls at 5am on a very cold beach one morning.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Episode 43: Progress

A Playful Day is kindly sponsored by NorthboundKnitting, uniquely hand dyed yarn, spinning fibre and modern knitting designs. Please show your support for our playful friend by clicking on the link above.

A Playful Day is proudly sponsored by Candy Skein, hand dyed yarns sweet enough to eat! Please support our playful friend by supporting the banner above.

Show notes:

I'm keeping it kicking with another slightly chaotic podcast with no scheduling whatsoever just to see how I'll work things around my hectic working life and child care. I'm already plotting guests and such though so stay tuned yes? 

Let me know if you'd like a Carol Feller -along in the Ravelry Group. I can sweeten the deal with some prizes ;)

Off the Needles
Afterthought Heel Socks in  Trailing Clouds 'Mind The Gap' colourway. 
Aviatrix Hat by Justine Turner in Malabrigo Rios in Purpuras colourway. 

On the Needles
Top Down Basic Socks from 'Tiny Treads' by Joeli Caparco (check out her video cast here) in Trailing Clouds 'Mind The Gap' colourway
Knit Night by Louise Zass-Bangham using Fyberspates Twizzle Silk.
Julissa by Vanessa Smith in Miss Bab's Yowza! Whatta Skein! in the colourway 'Catherine'.
Pyrite by Carol Feller from her new and fab Among Stones Collection that I featured for part of the blog tour in Juno Fibre Arts Buffy Toughie in the 'Wanderer' Colourway. 

Playfully Parenting
In this first edition of a new segment I talk about babywearing and recommend the following websites:
Sling Guide
South London Sling Library (stay tuned for a feature about the lovely owner of this library on the blog soon)
T.I.C.K.S for safe babywearing
YouTube tutorialchannel that I could follow without catapulting Playful Baby across the living room. 

Fly, Fly, Fly by Adrina Thorpe, available on Noise Trade
Beautiful by Land of Deborah, available on Noise Trade

Saturday, 9 November 2013

GaGa for Theatre

One of the areas I studied at University was theatre and I'm a bit partial to something a bit interesting and a bit different when it comes to performance. I love a good musical, don't get me wrong but I'm really passionate about interesting stage design, attitude to audience or something particularly transporting. It makes it quite hard for me to sit still and watch children's theatre as it can often be very (very, very) cheesy.

Last week, a friend invited us to go and see a show put on by the GaGa Theatre Company at our local cinema. When it said 'catchy tunes' I groaned inwardly but was hopeful at seeing the word's 'multi sensory' as this implied an understanding of how to really engage with a very young audience. We weren't disappointed.

We went to see the showing of 'Up and Down', a performance based on the wonderful children's book by Oliver Jeffers. It's a tale of friendship between a little boy and a penguin who dreams of flying. I love the book and was delighted to see it brought to life with the use of actors, projections and carefully thought out props. The music was wonderfully composed by Julian Butler and the Playful Babe sat entranced, body popping throughout.

The performance was as true to the illustrations and spirit of the book as I've ever seen and didn't feel a need to narrate to its' young audience, leaving them the joy of discovering the tale through live action, animations and music. That's a rare find and I was so impressed that the creators understood that discovering the tale for yourself is half the fun of performance and story telling.

Also, the whole thing was hosted to be as convenient as possible: 45 minutes in length, buggy parking and no annoying tat on sale that you inevitably end up buying to avoid temper tantrums. There was even an email sent afterwards of really thoughtful follow up activities and links to download the music for free (which we have and danced to daily).

The best part? My intrepid explorer was enthralled. I didn't have to walk her around or retrieve her from 15 rows back where she'd crawled off to find her own adventure. She pointed and whooped and clucked contentedly throughout. A big thumbs up for us. We'll be attending again!