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KNITTING 508a

Just finished, and modelled here by Mlle. D., is a little hat for new baby Zafar.  As Zafar’s name is Arabic, I thought it would be appropriate to incorporate the word baraka (blessing) into the hat.  I have been wanting to do this ever since I saw it charted in Richard Rutt’s A History of Hand Knitting.  The original source of the chart is a 13th century Spanish knitted cushion cover from the tomb of Fernando de la Cerda (knitted at a much finer gauge than mine).  I also incorporated a small animal motif from a similar cushion from the tomb of the Princess Mafalda.

KNITTING 499a

KNITTING 501a

I love this book so much.  I first borrowed it from the Darwin library when I was getting back into knitting just over 10 years ago, and loved how it ennobled the craft with a rich history.  It includes many charts for historic textiles, a source of great inspiration.  After fruitlessly searching for the out-of-print edition, I was thrilled when Interweave re-issued it.  Unfortunately Interweave’s edition doesn’t seem to include the colour plates of the original, even though these are still referred to in the text.

Zafar’s hat is knitted from this basic pattern by Laurie Kynaston, the one I have been using for all my baby hats.  Thanks Laurie for generously sharing this versatile pattern for free.  (Ravelry page for my hat here).

Welcome and blessings to little Zafar, stay warm!

*or another excuse to post baby photos…  For Words and Pictures

tucked up

 OK, you know the routine: bath, pajamas, teeth, 5 minutes, then bed.

no, 5 minutes…

ok, 1 minute to go … 1/4 minute … 1/2 minute … 3/4 minute … 1 minute!  Time to go to your bedroom!

have you chosen 2 books?  well, alright, 3 books then…

lights out time … oh, you want a drink of water…

alright, back in bed please, I’m turning the light out… well, where is the torch?

back in bed please!  lights out … please don’t shine the torch in my face … now I’m going to tuck you in, all snuggly-wuggly.  A story?  ok … “Once upon a time …  not that one?  Well, “Once upon a time …

Goodnight sweetie … a song? ok , “Hush little baby, don’t say a word …

Goodnight my darling, cuddle … oh sorry, I didn’t mean to squash you …

But you have to sleep in your bed … no, it will be ok … no, Santa’s not coming tonight … because it’s not Christmas … well, maybe one day you’ll see a reindeer … you’ll be alright, just call me if you have a naughty dream … where’s Daddy?  He’s at work, but he’ll come and see you when he gets home.  Go to sleep now … but you have to have a good rest … oh, I can hear the babies crying, I’ll come and see you a bit later.  Good night beautiful, love you…

phew!

cave

More bed-time stories via Meet me at Mikes

orlando

Something that may have been obvious to others, but that I have only recently realised, is that having a child allows, no, compels you to remember/re-live aspects of your own childhood.  So many things long forgotten, it is a bittersweet experience to recall what caused you great fear or joy as a child.   My son has recently had a few difficult nights, and we’ve been talking about dreams.  I still remember quite vividly two of the nightmares I had as a child that distressed me greatly.  In one, my mother delivered my brother and I to a wicked witch, who put us in a cage (a la Hansel & Gretel).  I can still see the image of my mother walking away as I cried out.  (No, I did not have abnormally cruel parents!)   This is obviously a fear of abandonment which must be a basic fear of many young children, when their parents are their whole world.  It makes me mindful of letting my child know that I love him and will always be there for him, even if we have difficult, angry times together. 

On a happier note, having children makes you want to share with them the things that filled you with wonder when you were a child.  I always enjoyed books and had a lot of the Little Golden Book or standard fairy tale type of books.  But one book was special, and I remember poring over it for ages and immersing myself in it, such a vivid and imaginative world did it portray.  It was one of the Orlando the Marmalade Cat books by Kathleen Hale, and I’m not sure what happened to it.  I have occasionally looked for her books in secondhand shops when I think of it, and have purchased a couple of recently re-issued editions on-line.  But the other day I actually found this one in my local secondhand bookshop, probably the same edition as I had as a child!   It is so different to books today, yes, dated and even non-“P.C.”, but incredibly eccentric and fanciful.  Rex has shown an interest in these books already as bed-time books, and I hope that they may continue to delight him with their charm and whimsy.

orlando2

The books were written and illustrated during the 1930’s-70’s, and the illustrations have the look and colours of 1930’s lithographs.  And in case you were wondering, “The Frisky Housewife” is a department store that Orlando and his family opens and runs, as

“It’s high time”, said Orlando indignantly, “that shops sold what people want to buy, instead of what the shops want to sell…”

orlando4

kanoko

At last the woolly pants are complete, at least one pair of them, though there is still the i-cord waist tie to finish.  I couldn’t resist popping them on the nearest non-sleeping baby for photography in the dying rays of the afternoon sun, though they are probably destined for her sister.   I’m really happy with how they turned out.  I have noticed from my Rav project page that these appear to coordinate with the as-yet-unfinished Baby Suprise Jacket, also for Delphi.  Which brings me to a conundrum… do I continue to make Camille’s pants in the green 5 ply, or do I coordinate with her intended BSJ (which is in a blue/purple toned handspun)?

There is alot to be said for knitting from the stash, which consists of this times five:

stash

Hmmmmm…  Yes, that’s a 22 l. tub… x5 I tell you…

So on the knitting to-do list are Kanoko #2, BSJ #2, the Ravelry Bendigo Woollen Mills Group swap project, and a special little hat for a new baby that is proving fun to plan.  Then it’s time to make another project for me.

In baby feeding news, rice cereal has a 100% approval rating, while pumpkin, avocado and banana lag behind with a 50% approval rating.

On the Leaving The House front, today the girls and I went to Aldi.  In my current blancmange-like frame of mind, I find the normal supermarkets a bit overwhelming, but Aldi’s limited range make it easier to cope.  I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Aldi.  Some of their products are really good, but others I have doubts about.  And you have to somehow not get too sucked into the myriad of lifestyle products, like battery-operated revolving tie racks and chocolate-coated potato chips (I’m not joking).  But I did manage to come away with a meat thermometer and a set of three storage boxes that I hadn’t planned on.  Got to take the retail therapy where you can get it….

white2

It seems that for a knitter’s blog, there is very little crafting to be seen here.  I am so close to finishing the woolly pants, but need to find a little time this evening to get there …..

Today during the various tasks associated with caring for small babies and other household activities that distract me from my knitting, I was thinking alot about how my life and attitudes had changed since having children.  Not just the obvious big changes, but the smaller details.  Some (well, me in a self-critical frame of mind) might say standards have dropped, but I like to think that quality of life improves with a more flexible approach and not sweating the small stuff.

Some things I have learnt…

  • tracksuit pants are suitable attire for all occasions
  • that you can never have too many clothes-horses (I like this one)
  • that you can never have too many washing baskets (I like large Moroccan market baskets)
  • that it is normal to have opinions about the best type of clothes baskets and clothes-horses
  • that clothes baskets and clothes-horses are central items of home decoration
  • that colourful plastic toys and equipment add a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to any home decor
  • most of the words to all the songs featured on Yo Gabba Gabba
  • toddler attire is instantly more stylish and desirable if it sports a picture of Lightning McQueen
  • babies must have a strict routine, but unfortunately the babies don’t know this
  • a dust-buster is an essential accessory in a dining area
  • despite a culinary education honed in the finest restaurants and augmented by Vogue Entertaining, the most successful meals to serve a toddler are vegemite sandwiches or tinned baked beans.
  • teeth and hair are not pre-requisites for exceptional beauty
  • and that there is nothing nicer than a warm, velvety head (or two) against your cheek, or small arms reaching about your neck.

white

And if I fear criticism or disapproval about any lapses of style, I like to remember the wise words of Dr Seuss: 

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

 I don’t know the source of the original quote, but a friend once told me “there is no such thing as a perfect life, just perfect moments”.  Which makes alot of sense really.  Why do we expect/hope that our lives will be perfect when this is probably impossible?  It is better to enjoy and gain satisfaction from the many small happinesses in the bigger picture, I remind myself.  And hooray too for artful imperfection.

So despite the untidy house, backlog of washing, untackled projects, lack of a shower and goodness knows what else I should have done, today was a pretty nice day.  Dear friends visiting and bringing homemade biscuits.  Children playing together happily (generally). Cups of tea and snatched conversations with a confidante.  Gifts given and inspiring books and magazines borrowed.

A family lunch in the back yard.  We like to pretend we have our own cafe, and Rex likes the novelty of eating somewhere different, relishing helping to set up.

chez nous

 Yes, that would appear to be pizza.  I would like to say it was home made, but remember, we are not talking perfect here.  It is Lebanese flat bread, purchased tomato sugo, mozzarella, shaved ham and olive paste.  10 minutes in the oven, and it tasted pretty good on a sunny day in an alfresco courtyard cafe autumnal backyard.  There may have been a small glass of wine as well …

table a deux

 And later, we thought that those old easter rabbits were starting to wear out their welcome…

bunny

Like I said, a pretty nice day.

It’s strange that time can seem to drag, and yet speed by at the same time.  Although it’s a joy, there are certain tasks of motherhood that drag on while you’re in the moment, yet on the whole time whizzes by and those tiny helpless babies are now twice the size.  The twins have just started on solids, rice cereal mainly.  I had forgotten how long it takes to spoon feed a baby learning to eat, plus being organised with all the accessories and accoutrements.  Times 2.

feed time

Time also seems to speed up, as we are nearly in to winter, and these babes have no hand-knitted woollies knitted just for them.  Luckily kind friends whose babies I had knitted for in the past have lent back their gifts, so there are at least some mummy-made cardis to keep them warm.  So on the needles are these:

KNITTING 488a

Woolly pants – hooray!  I saw this pattern on Ravelry ages ago and thought it was one of the lovliest baby designs I’ve ever seen.  Thanks to Yumiko for sharing it for free.  I would have loved to use some of the new 10ply Luxury wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills (my LYS of choice), but felt honour bound to attack the stash.  This is doubled Bendigo Classic 5ply purchased in the bargain room at the mill.  There is also some lovely guava green for the second pair.  Yes, there must always be two, so the race is on to finish before the colder weather.

open lilium

Then there were the mysterious, frozen-in-time Mother’s Day liliums. … After a full week of slumber, one bloom has unfurled its petals and blessed us with a heavenly scent.  I hope time continues to drag on for them.

A lovely suprise in what was a heat-ravaged garden …

iris

… and some late-flowering Mother’s Day blooms.  This precious beauty made its way home after spending Mother’s Day on top of the creche lockers …

rex flower

… so good that my pasta and chicken cookery is at last receiving recognition.  Then there were these mysterious specimens that have remained the same, un-opened, for almost a week!  I wonder what colour they are?

lilium

KNITTING 465

The other day I had the pleasure of a trip to Heide to see the Modern Times exhibition, a treat for fanciers of Modernist art, design, architecture and social history.   I would love to present some insightful and eloquent impressions of it all, but I really can’t go past marvelling at Percy Grainger’s towelling outfits.  (These are not the ones in the exhibition, but the shorts in the left photo look similar.)  Ahead of his time or extremely eccentric, probably both, he was on to “repurposing” well ahead of the current trend.   But kind of like Paul Poiret meets Split Enz.

The accompanying exhibition Narelle Jubelin: Cannibal Tours is a stunning companion to all that satisfying, idealistic modernism.  Her textile pieces are amazing!  The finest petit-point renditions of artefacts and documents and canvas work that quotes woven Bauhaus textiles (as seem in Modern Times).  All in intricate Tramp Art frames.

And the grounds at Heide were looking so beautiful in their autumnal mantle.  As if you needed another excuse to go.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any relevant photos to include with this post, so please find above some granny squares I have been making from scraps, inspired by Pip.

P1070649

I have long followed the blogs of many (I like to believe) like minded folk, but during this my year of being a stay-at-home-mum to new twins, I have come to rely on the blogging community as a way of keeping in touch with the world, getting motivated about art/craft/homemaking/child rearing endeavours, receiving validation that the afore-mentioned are valuable, meaningful, rewarding and respected pursuits, and appreciating the beauty of the everyday.  So, I thought, I can blog too…..  My posts are bound to be irregular, distracted and the result of a sleep-deprived mind.  But hey, it sure beats folding laundry.

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