It’s a day late but I want to congratulate doenjoy on Ravely for winning our Aruba KAL prize.Â 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.Â Outside of holidays this really never happens due to a combination of a large family (cost prohibitive!) and a busy schedule.Â This does mean that when it does happen it’s extra fun and special for everyone.Â 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.Â I think I like it but it feels very strange still.Â I’m curious how well it’ll work once my hair is curly again!
Today my oldest son, Caelen, is 15.Â 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.Â This is despite having two parents who had never held a baby, changed a nappy or even babysat in their lives.Â 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 :-)
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.Â 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.Â Someone suggested booking a ticket on the Jacobite Train for him.Â 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.Â Well we got all excited about this and then after the fact realised that it only ran from May to October!Â So it wasn’t much use to us in February.Â 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.Â 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.Â I found it absolutely fascinating that the buildings on top of the ground using existing buildings underneath as their foundations!Â 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.Â So this effectively means that this building isÂ build on layers of Edinburgh history.Â The fact that you can actually walk down there and see the per-existing narrow street and lower level was astonishing.
So this morning all the children went back to school.Â The house is quite but due to horrible weather it is almost totally dark still even though it is 9.30 in the morning!Â I’m slowly starting to realise that I dislike the darkness of winter so much more than the cold.Â 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.Â She had a little girl a few weeks ago and this was my first time meeting her.Â She was so very tiny and alert, watching everything that went on around her.Â 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.Â I always forget how much I enjoy the city.Â 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.Â Originally from the US, Nancy has actually lived in Amsterdam for over 30 years.Â We originally met a couple of years ago in Scotland (at the event that shall not be named…) and this year she also startedÂ a Craftsy class.Â 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!Â Nancy suggested getting in contact with Penelope Craft next time I’m going over to teach a class.Â 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 …
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 couldnâ€™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 wonâ€™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. Itâ€™s not always easy; teenagers arenâ€™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 donâ€™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 shouldnâ€™t be given to everyone (or email!), that certain websites are just unpleasant to view (even if theyâ€™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.
Over the last few years 3 of my 4 boys have learned to knit.Â 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.Â Knitting suddenly became desirable again :-)Â So this blog post is to share his second ever knit – have to say I’m mighty proud of him!Â 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.
While I wait here for the rain to stop (it will right??) I’ll share a photo I took last week in the woods.Â There are a few small local woods that I love going to with the boys, this one is especially nice as it has this lovely river running through it with huge boulders.Â I would love to do a photo shoot here some day if I can figure out how to add some extra lighting.
The only thing I ‘m sad about is that our dog will no longer go in the car.Â At the end of last year I changed my car to a smaller one and the first time my oldest tried to get him in the back the soft top of the boot (trunk) came down on him and he freaked out.Â He’s so bad that he won’t even get into the front seat.Â He is way to big to carry and there is absolutely no way he will get into the car.Â It makes me so sad as there are so many outings to the woods and beach that he would just love.Â We’ve tried treats, toys, putting him on the lead (he just pulls his collar off).Â For a big dog he really is one big scaredy cat!
Last week I let you know the line up for my Craftsy Celtic Cable’s blog tour.Â Well it’s now underway!Â The first stop was on Monday at Yarn Yenta and later today we’ll have Miso Crafty Knits.Â In fact there is currently a post on Akoya as her most recent blog post!
I just came back last week after spending 3 weeks in Florida with my family and in-laws.Â I love Florida very much but that long with no personal space starts to make me a little crazy :-)Â I feel like my head is awash with half formed ideas and plans that make me feel as though I’m just going to burst.
The first week of our holiday was spend listening to the howling of tropical storm Debby.Â I have to tell you that beach condos are not very weather proof and it sounded like the wind was going to remove our sliding door.Â It made the next few weeks of sunshine extra fun though as we had the memory of so much wind and rain.Â Over the next few weeks my youngest learned to swim, we all went kayaking (got to tell you blisters and salt water don’t mix!) and did some drumming on the beach….
On the last weekend of my holiday I did a trunk show at the local yarn store A Good Yarn.Â Cos no holiday is complete without a trunk show!Â If anyone every gets a chance to pass through Sarasota it’s well worth a visit.Â They’ve got a huge selection of yarn and patterns and half of the store is devoted to tables and sofas for you just to hang out and knit in.Â I was very jealous that we didn’t have a store like this in Cork so if anyone wants to start one up I’d happily camp out in the corner :-)Â I also got my mitts on a pair of Signature needles for the first time – I think I might be in love, although it could prove pricy!
While I was gone a whole lot of stuff seemed to happen in the background – first my Celtic Cable and Short Row classes went live on Craftsy.Â I’m having an awful lot of fun talking with knitters on my Celtic Cables class and there is already some who have finished the body!Â In the next few weeks I’m putting together a blog tour for my Celtic Cables class so that you can learn a little more about the class, me and the whole process of the class.
As well as my classes the Ravi KAL second clue was released and the knitters on the Ravelry board are talking up a storm.Â Most knitters seem to be making their own modifications in the body some for the first time, I couldn’t have envisioned this KAL going better than it is!
The final big knitting event that happened while I was gone was the release of Knitscene Fall 2012.Â I have two patterns in this issue:
I will post again with more details on these two designs but for now you’ll just have to make do with the pretty pictures :-)
There’s nothing that makes you feel quite as old as watching your kids grow up.Â My oldest had his 14th birthday a few weeks ago and over the last year heÂ has changed dramatically, it really feels like having another (almost) adult in the house.Â What is particularly strange is that I have such clear memories of being 14 myself.Â I remember the discos, the music (I see him cringe when U2 comes on the radio and I tell him that that’s what I listened to when I was his age).Â It’s an easy time to start feeling somewhat nostalgic yourself.Â There’s always a hint of sadness in it for me.Â My best friend growing up was killed in a car crash just after her 21st birthday so many of my teenage memories are extra nostalgic.Â Every time I hear Sunday Bloody Sunday I find myself thinking of her and wondering what might have been.Â How would she have changed as she matured?Â Would we still be friends or would we have grown apart over the years and continued to go through experiences at the same time?Â My husband seems like a link between the two times – I met him about a year before she died which I suspect is what saved me from totally crashing and burning.
We just had a 3 day weekend.
It was so very, very nice.Â It feels as though with our lives at the moment that we are permanently running at 150% which is hard to sustain.Â It really was a few days out of time for us, all of the boys activities were cancelled over the weekend (as there are 8 different activities that’s fairly significant!).Â We got to sleep for an extra hour with no alarm clock in the morning, it really makes a tremendous difference over 3 days!
Saturday was Patrick’s Day.Â I’m not really crazy about parades and the chaos but we did our own family version of celebrations.Â We started with a walk in the woods, and got very, very muddy!Â Then we went out for lunch.Â This may not seem like a big deal to you but we realised that it was the first time as a family we had gone out for a meal in a year.Â Between the cost and having a child that finds new situations difficult it is often something that we avoid unless necessary.Â Anyone who get a chance though, The Pink Elephant in west Cork is well worth a visit :)Â Friendly, helpful and very tolerant of kids and mud!Â Plus there’s the added bonus that well, you’re eating at a Pink Elephant…..
Just across the road there is a wonderful beach so we got to finish our day out by running our very patient dog (who sat in the car while we ate) on the beach.
Of course I have no photos from the actual day but just so that I don’t have a completely photo less post I’ll give you a bonus shot from the top of our hill from my walk this morning.Â I love when it starts turning green again after the winter (ok, so the trees aren’t quite there yet!)