Elisa, Katja, Knitting

2015 Crafty Disaster No. 1


It’s only three weeks in and I’ve already hit my first craft disaster of the year! This does not bode well..

Now I have a confession. I didn’t swatch. Instead I was cocky and figured that as I’ve done some colourwork in this yarn before and got gauge with that there wasn’t any point. And to be fair, it starts off fine but it grows. I started with 7 stitches to the inch and now I’m getting 6. That’s a 3″ difference over 128 stitches. So I’m not so sure that a swatch would have seen off this particular nightmare.

I had been thinking of lining this one with something super soft and slightly less itchy, but now I’m not so sure that this will be enough to save it so I’m trying to emotionally come to terms with the idea of ripping it all out and starting again. The only saving grace with that is that as I want it to be smaller I’ll be able to reuse the yarn – good thing I hadn’t sewn in all those ends yet!

The smaller size is only 4 stitches difference so I guess I’ll go down a needle size and also down a hat size. But right at this very minute I want to shove it all in a bag and throw it into the back of the cupboard πŸ™ Such a shame – I was really enjoying this one!

How would you handle this one? Would you rip back or try to somehow pull it in? Would you toss it aside or get started on a new one straight away?

In other news

We went to the Camera Obscura with E and A last week and the kids had an absolute ball. The Camera people were putting on a Toddler week and they did a brilliant job – they even set up one of their meeting rooms to be a break room complete with high chairs, toys and coffee. That was truly inspired – more venues should do this.

Elisa is now walking, albeit unsteadily unless she’s holding onto something. It’s quite scary considering she’s only 9 months old but I guess the incentive to keep up with Katja is probably a great motivator.

Yesterday E and A popped round and we did some biscuit baking, lots of fun. Although next time I think I’ll premix all the ingredients to save some time.

Finished Projects, Katja, Knitting, My Week in Pictures, Travel

January 2014 Round Up

General Pics

January started in the standard way, with lots of fabulous fireworks. We stayed in and watched them from the comfort of our couch – very cosy!

For a minute there I thought the business to the left was doing private parties! #lookagain

And while picking up Katja from Nursery the street was blocked off by firefighters. Turns out there was a building well and truly ablaze on the other side of the canal. It’s since been torn down, which is no great loss – was a bit of an eyesore.


Katja is starting to try to help around the house, which is really quite sweet. She’ll sweep up with the broom, put on the rubber gloves and even tries to season the chicken.

I popped into a local charity shop and scored a toddler sized handbag and very pretty denim dress for Katja – and no pink or cartoon/princess characters in site.

Meanwhile we’re into the 7th month of Bump and she’s starting to look a little more obvious now!

London Trip

This month we popped down to London for a long weekend. The idea was to meet up with Suzy and Dave to celebrate their recent nuptuals, but that didn’t quite work out. Never mind – we got to catch up with Ilze and Paul and with Gavin and take Katja to the Natural History Museum, which she adored.

We went down by train which we booked online only to find that thetrainline.com had put us in separate seats with no table despite our wishes. And as there was no way of letting them know that we had an under 2 with us oh my what a nightmare that would have been! Luckily for us we were travelling off peak and the wheelchair spaces were free for both journeys giving us the space that we needed for 5+ hours of train time with a toddler.


This month started with one finished item – a jumper for Katja which unfortunately ended up just a tad too small πŸ™ An unusual construction technique didn’t really pay off so eventually I’ll make another for her using the same yarn.

I also started on my Birthday Damask Shawl – a fabulous gift from Liz. I’d been eyeing this pattern off for years and had somehow elevated it to the “wow” level. I also found the prospect of starting by casting on over 300 stitches for the long edge to be overwhelming and I was convinced it would be a drag to knit. Boy was I wrong – I haven’t enjoyed knitting something so much for quite a long time. Actually, probably not since the last time I knit lace. Perhaps I should be looking more at lace patterns to knit!

Craft, Katja, My Week in Pictures, Stuff, Tatting

Christmas Failures

First decoration on our real tree #tattinglace

It’s been a crazy few weeks here, but I guess that’s the same for everyone in the Christmas countries. As a result I have totally failed to send cards to anyone, presents have made it only by the skin of their teeth and because I bypassed the wrapping and went straight from store to Mum (thanks Mum!). I also failed to procure baubles for the Christmas tree – shops are out of red ones, I don’t understand!

However, we did survive gastrogeddon which Katja generously brought home from nursery to share. Speaking of nursery, she is loving it now. Gets excited when we arrive and tries to beat the door down while I get her pram sorted. Last Monday was the nursery Christmas party, she was delighted when we went in on an off day and thought Santa was the bees’ knees πŸ™‚

Bump is doing well – very very active which is lovely. We’re booked in for an additional 3 ultrasounds before we meet her – huge bonus! Pelvic pain is getting a bit out of hand at the moment which is the only downer on the pregnancy front.

And the win? I procured some metallic thread and yesterday churned out the snowflake above. It’s needle tatted and took 4 hrs to finish. About the size of a saucer, looks great on the tree.

PS. I was meant to post this on Thursday and failed to do that too! Christian managed to find baubles and I made another snowflake.

Katja, Parenthood, sewing

Katja’s First Halloween Costume

When I picked Katja up from nursery last week there was a little slip of paper waiting for me. It announced that on the 31st they would like it if kids could turn up in a costume.

Now a 16 month old child going to nursery during a bitterly cold day in Edinburgh is going to need to be warm, so that’s my first requirement. The next is no attachments – it’s hard enough keeping a bib on her, a hat is impossible and wings/extra legs would be a nightmare.
No problem, I thought, with all the supermarkets here that sell quite decent kids clothes it should be a simple matter of pop down and pick up something cute.

Well, more fool me – it turns out that as soon as a child grows out of the very first pumpkin sleep suit it’s on to adult style costumes. Here’s a few of the boys’ costumes:


They’re all practical, they’re all ghoulish as you’d expect from halloween.

Now, let’s take a look at the selection offered for girls:


With any of these, MissK will be freezing! Plus hats and wings, not going to stay on so a waste of effort. They all look remarkably like the “sexy ___” variety of costumes that you find for adults and quite frankly I’m underwhelmed.

So, I did some searching online and came up with a few options – ladybird was a good one, as was cat or skeleton, but they all require black suits and black is a lot harder to get for toddler girls than insipid pink. I also found a post that showed little girls dressed as female scientists (sorry can’t locate the links now but if I do I’ll add them in the comments). Trouble with that is that noone of Katja’s generation is going to understand who Ada Lovelace was and there’s no way I could get her hair like that yet.

And then it hit me – Nina and the Neurons!

This is a TV show on CBeebies fronted by Nina, an outgoing, cheery neuroscientist who works at the Glasgow Science Centre. She loves experimenting and finding the answer to everyday questions with the help of her five animated neurons. Katja seems to like the show and the songs and Nina is dressed so practically. And so I set about making up a quick and dirty Nina and the Neurons costume and this is how I did it:

2013-10-28 16.36.29

First things first, I bought a sleep suit in plain white for 6 months older than Katja is now, I was after deliberately too big for her.

2013-10-28 18.27.08

Next, I cut the suit just above the crotch buttons and hemmed using a zig zag stitch. No need to be too fabulous, this is not likely to be worn beyond one day and there’s no prizes for best finished costume. I also cut off one of the feet to make a little pocket and cut off the ends of the sleeves.

I had some brightly coloured fabric from previous projects, so I cut some strips of that to make a pocket top and cuffs. To be honest it would have been a much neater job if I’d managed to find the right ribbon. Another alternative would have been to draw decorations on the top to match Nina’s.

I coloured in the buttons with various permanent markers to hand (again, doesn’t have to last) and I was done.

This morning all I had to do was dress her in her usual skinny jeans, tights and a brightly coloured tshirt then put on the “lab coat” and put her hair in bunches (that was the hardest part!) and we were done.

Naturally madam was far too busy to stop and pose for photographs, there’s a lab to get cleaned up you know! I’m quite chuffed with the result.

Craft, Katja, Knitting, My Week in Pictures

Week 13.27 – Lemoncello and German

Week 27 from July 1st to July 7th was one of glorious weather in Edinburgh. The city is truly magnificent when the sun shines, it’s just a pity that it shines so rarely! Mum retired this week, a major milestone in her life and kind of a watershed in mine. I’ve also had some distressing news from home which makes me feel every centimetre of the distance between Edinburgh and Melbourne, but I shan’t dwell on that now as I’m hoping for better news later in the week.

I’ve started playing with Duolingo to learn German. It’s kind of language learning by game play and so far I’m really enjoying it – I wonder if we’ll ever get to the point where more and more is taught in such a manner, imagine being able to earn history or physics by playing games. I’m up to level 6 so far and have 196 words apparently. The important thing is that I’m doing a little bit each day, currently I’m on an 8 day streak.

I’m still working on the cardigan for Katja, not much to go now – I could really get it finished in a few short hours, but I’ve been waylaid by a super secret fair isle project. I’ve never worked fair isle before so naturally I’ve opted to do a project that will test me – fair isle in the round and a small diameter. I’ve worked a practice swatch in the round. Can’t wait to show you but it will need to wait until I get the OK to do so.

Last night I did the final step to get my lemoncello ready. I started this process backin March and I have to say the results are rather awesome. I’ll do a post with a recipe at some point cos I’m definitely going to be doing this again!

And last night poor Katja wasn’t well, she’s had a bit of a fever and cold the last couple of days. Still she seems to have pretty much worked out how to stand on her own. I think the combination of being ill (teething again?) and this exciting new skill were too much, we didn’t get to seep until 3am. I reckon she’ll be walking by the end of the month. It remains to be seen which country she takes her first steps in and whether she does so before or after her Oma and Opa arrive.

Big girl can feed herself :)
130701 – Big girl can feed herself πŸ™‚

130702 – Yellow – saw these in a second hand shop and they looked so bright and happy that I would have bought them if they’d been in my size.

Love my amethyst stitch markers from SpinPretty www.etsy.com/uk/shop/spinpretty
130703 – Love my amethyst stitch markers from SpinPretty

Don't trust the cardboard wine carriers from @marksandspencer like this poor guy did #waste
130704 – Don’t trust the cardboard wine carriers from @marksandspencer like this poor guy did #waste. He lost two bottles of wine and made the bus smell like an old man at a bar. I would have been livid!

Home made lemoncello - nom!
130707 – Home made lemoncello – nom!

My Week in Pictures, Travel

Week 13.15.2 – Adelaide

Week 15 from April 8th to 14th but this post only covers the days in Adelaide.

9:30 just dropped @docsaemann off at work. It's 26 degrees #adelaide #thisisthelife
20130410 – 9:30am just dropped Christian off at work. It’s 26 degrees #adelaide #thisisthelife

Chillin on a balmy autumn evening
20130410 – Chillin on a balmy autumn evening

China Town #adelaide
20130410 – China Town #adelaide

St Francis #adelaide
20130410 – St Francis #adelaide

Oily! #showinmyage #memories #adelaide
20130411 – Oily! #showinmyage #memories #adelaide This character was on TV for a number of years (or so it seemed) advertising Kraft peanut butter

20130413 – This Irish man has been sitting in the sun a tad too long…

Only one way to work out what this is... #adelaide
20130414 – There’s only one way to work out what this is… #adelaide

Ahh proper swans!
20130414 – Ahh proper swans!

My Week in Pictures, Travel

Week 13.15.1 Australia!

Week 15 from April 8th to 14th but this post only covers the days in Melbourne before we headed of to Adelaide.

VW crab
20130408 – a VW Crab, I’ll never look at that logo the same way again

Movie time #melbourne
20130408 – Movie time at Federation Square in Melbourne

Lemon... Sour...
20130408 – Katja’s first taste of lemon… sour… but she went back for more!

Melbourne trams
20130408 – Melbourne Trams – they join up and they’ve been running all my life!

Katja and Gus playing together #cousins
20130409 – Katja and Gus playing together #cousins

Silly face time with Natalia and Mark
20130409 – Silly face time with Natalia and Mark