Category Archives: Children

Help me pick!

Somehow my 200th pattern just sneaked up on me – I guess that’s what happens when life gets busy!
I’ve got 2 patterns finished and ready for layout but I just can’t decide which to do first.

If you can help me decide which comes first I’ll publish on Christmas Eve and give the first 200 copies away for free (with code).

I’ve put the vote up on ravelry here, go tell me which you want to see as my 200th pattern.

They’re both children’s pattern, one is a pink Anzula girl’s tunic and the second is a red Dragonfly boys sweater. Actually the sweater would perfect as a unisex one as well. The sweater photos need to be redone, I attempted to do them myself as hubbie the photographer is away. But the lack of light and difficulty photographing red didn’t make for the best photo shoot!

First up Pink Anzula:




Here’s the next one, Dragonfly Fibers Sweater:



Work & puppy love

Anyone who has been following my instagram feed is probably fairly aware by now that I’ve got a new puppy. Because when your youngest is 9 and definitely no longer a baby you need a little crazy in the house :-)
She’s only been with us a few weeks but the joy Lizzie has brought to our house is immeasurable. Every child lights up when they see her and if she comes to collect them from school it might as well be Santa! Even the old man in the house is enjoying his new companion.
kenny& puppy

I’ve now got a constant companion; she sits at my feet when I cook or knit….
sits under my elbow when I’m on the couch in the evening or licks my ear….

She’s even been helping out with homework…

As you can probably guess I’m pretty smitten, a big thank you to DAWG who does such an amazing job fostering dogs and puppies and making sure the world knows how special they all are. And also to West Cork Animals where our first dog came from. Please if you are looking for a new dog go to your local dog rescue, there are so many wonderful little animals that need your love and care.


Rakuda winners

Just a quick post to say congratulations to Birgit, Catherine and Touran on winning copies of Rakuda. Can’t want to see how it turns out for you :-)

I’ll have a few quite weeks on the blog here – this week my husband is traveling and my older boys have school exams. Tensions are high in the house!

Wednesday night we’ll be doing a parent swap, with my husband arriving home at 10 and my plane to Columbus for TNNA will be leaving before 8 in the morning. So please everyone keep your fingers crossed for me that everything runs smoothly.

Cooking for families

I feel like this post should start with …. and now for something completely different :-)

I can’t believe how much of my life is spent cooking. I don’t dislike cooking but its a pretty functional activity for me. A few years ago my oldest son became vegetarian, not a big deal in itself but when added to a family of 6, one dairy intolerant (or used to be!), fussy eaters with 4 different meal times it adds to the complexity.

I’ve tried slow cookers, sometimes good but it still doesn’t always solve my multiple diet issues. I often do simple pasta/rice with each part added separately with parts taken out for everyone. (Tomato sauce and quorn, tomato sauce and meat and plain meat). I know that a common suggestion is to cook in big batches and then freeze but to be honest I’m not crazy about this. Often reheated food just doesn’t taste as good and I’ve got a tendency to forget that I’ve got food in the freezer!

When I look for new receipts I have a few criteria:

Most importantly it can’t have too many steps. If something takes 2 hours hands on preparation then it’s a non-runner.

If the ingredients are similar to what we already eat it means that it’ll be more easily accepted.

I want it to punch above it’s weight. It should be easy to prepare, without too many ingredients and taste amazing.

Flicking through an older Sunday Times magazine this weekend I came across a simple carrot and lentil soup. It ticked the first 2 boxes so I thought I’d give it a shot.

(c) BBC Good Food

The result was amazing. Very, very simple to prepare. I had everything in my cupboard and everyone except my soup hater loved it. The version I found in the magazine is similar to the one linked above but it had larger portions, it used 1kg of carrots.

Now for some reason I though it was a good idea to hand grate 1kg of carrots. Lets just say that my arm is still feeling it…. I think the food processor will be coming out next time.

Do you have any recipes that you love and are easy to prepare? Please share I’d love to add a few more!

Aruba Winner!

It’s a day late but I want to congratulate doenjoy on Ravely for winning our Aruba KAL prize.  There were so many beautiful shawls knit I wish I could send a prize out to everyone. I’m planning on sending out a set of my favorite stitch markers that I get fairly frequently!

We’ve had a busy day today, my second son made his confirmation and we went out for dinner after to celebrate.  Outside of holidays this really never happens due to a combination of a large family (cost prohibitive!) and a busy schedule.  This does mean that when it does happen it’s extra fun and special for everyone.  He’s now out having a good time bowling with friends :-)

Coming home Joe picked up a pressie for me, a cute shopping bag.

…that even has a snap in pocket for stitch marker!

How cute is this?

In preparation for the confirmation yesterday I went to get my hair trimmed and decided to get a fringe cut.  I think I like it but it feels very strange still.  I’m curious how well it’ll work once my hair is curly again!

Happy Birthday!

Today my oldest son, Caelen, is 15.  I’m kind of in shock that we got here so quickly….how can 15 years pass so fast???

Despite our initial clueless foray into parenting he has turned into an amazing young man that I’m very, very proud to call my son.  This is despite having two parents who had never held a baby, changed a nappy or even babysat in their lives.  It was a steep learning curve, but he put up with our experimenting and eventually we figured out what we were doing.

Have a great day…and I promise I’ll bake a cake tonight :-)

Edinburgh trip

A couple of weeks ago (time goes much too quickly!) we brought the boys to Edinburgh for a couple of days during their mid-term break.

We were looking around at somewhere close we could go to for 3-4 days and ended up landing on Edinburgh by accident.  On twitter I mentioned that my third son who is a little Harry Potter crazy wanted to know if he’d get to go to Hogworths when he turned 11.  Someone suggested booking a ticket on the Jacobite Train for him.  I hadn’t heard of this before so I went to look it up and discovered that this was the actual train used in Harry Potter, including a lot of the scenery that it passes through.  Well we got all excited about this and then after the fact realised that it only ran from May to October!  So it wasn’t much use to us in February.  By now we had our hearts set on Edinburgh so we booked the apartment and tickets.

Even though it was cold it was a great spot for a short break with kids.  We got to see the Castle and oddly the dog cemetery.

Some of the boys climbed Arthur’s Seat with their dad.

I think the view on the way up was worth the climb.

Dynamic Earth was visited.

And there were many visits to the museum.

We visited Mary King’s Close on the final day.  I found it absolutely fascinating that the buildings on top of the ground using existing buildings underneath as their foundations!  From the royal mile down to the river the ground slopes, so when the wanted to build here they knocked the top level but left the lower slope to form half of the foundations.  So this effectively means that this building is  build on layers of Edinburgh history.  The fact that you can actually walk down there and see the per-existing narrow street and lower level was astonishing.

Back to work Monday

So this morning all the children went back to school.  The house is quite but due to horrible weather it is almost totally dark still even though it is 9.30 in the morning!  I’m slowly starting to realise that I dislike the darkness of winter so much more than the cold.  I really think that our body is designed to just sleep through winter :-)

I had a lovely finish to Christmas visiting my sister in Amsterdam at the end of last week.  She had a little girl a few weeks ago and this was my first time meeting her.  She was so very tiny and alert, watching everything that went on around her.  It’s quite amazing how quickly little people want to join in.

It’s actually been several years since I visited Amsterdam as my sister and her family have been coming to Ireland so there was no need.  I always forget how much I enjoy the city.  As a foreigner it’s very easy to navigate, there is enough English that language isn’t a problem and amazingly for someone who is very, very bad at learning other languages a lot of dutch conversation is understandable once you know the starting point!

I dragged my sister and little baby to a yarn shop on Saturday (of course!) and much to my amazement I bumped into a fellow designer Nancy Marchant.  Originally from the US, Nancy has actually lived in Amsterdam for over 30 years.  We originally met a couple of years ago in Scotland (at the event that shall not be named…) and this year she also started  a Craftsy class.  Don’t you just love the fact that as a knitter you can go into a yarn shop in a strange city and bump into someone you know!  Nancy suggested getting in contact with Penelope Craft next time I’m going over to teach a class.  So if you’re in Amsterdam and would like a class just let me know … I’m only 2 hours away and I love visiting :-)

I don’t have any knitting photos to share with you but I’ll add a bonus baby photo from my phone …

Musings on parenting

Last night a few Irish knitters began talking about protecting their kids electronically. Over the last few weeks/months there have been a few high profile cases in Ireland of young girls committing suicide and directly attributing it to cyber bullying. While the discussion was going on via twitter I added a few words but realized that what I wanted to say really couldn’t easily be condensed into a 140-word tweet.

As parents we all want to protect our children. That goes without saying. However hand in hand with that is our responsibility to create complete adults that can deal with life in all its forms. We begin with them unable even to tell that a hot fire will burn them but by the time they reach 18 and leave home for college it is hoped that they can tell right from wrong, know how to defend themselves (physically and emotionally) and know when to ask for help. Not all of these lessons are easy ones and I think it is often our natural parenting instinct to protect them from everything. However part of our job is handing over control, and give them the self-confidence and judgement to cope with nasty situations.

If we know we have to gradually hand control over to our children, how can we do that so both parent and children can cope? I think personally it has to start with communication. To me this is really the key to everything. If you talk things through with your children and allow them to come to you with ANYTHING with the agreement that you won’t judge it goes a long way. With time and patience even children that are slow to open will let you know what is going on with them. Silence breeds fear and stress. It’s not always easy; teenagers aren’t fond of opening up. It takes a tough skin and perseverance but it is very, very important.

All this came about when talking about control over phones and spywear/parental control on their computers. While for younger children who don’t yet have the judgement this is obviously very valid but where do you draw the line? If they have had complete control taken away from them until 18 and go to college have you really prepared them for the world? With your help they need to learn that their number shouldn’t be given to everyone (or email!), that certain websites are just unpleasant to view (even if they’re allowed) and if they come across a situation that feels out of control they need to learn to walk away and find someone to talk to be it parent or friend. Teach them to surround themselves with friends that care and know that their parents will listen.

My son’s knitting

Over the last few years 3 of my 4 boys have learned to knit.  The first knit a hat and some swatches, the next knit himself a pullover and half a bag and the third one knit a chicken and started a scarf.

After coming back from summer camp in Dublin my oldest got much admiration for the hat he both knit and dyed with Kool Aid.  Knitting suddenly became desirable again :-)  So this blog post is to share his second ever knit – have to say I’m mighty proud of him!  A big thanks to Woolly Wormhead who’s hat design Aeonium he knit.

He used some Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride I had in my stash for a few years, glad to see it put to good use! He knit it for a friend’s birthday but is sad to be saying goodbye to it now.

Also, on a recent trip to Killarney he brought me a poor injured sheep for my office.