Long time no see!

Hellooooo dear yarn lovers. Long time no see! It has been a few too many weeks since I last chatted with you. Almost feels like I’ve lost my blog-voice and need to find it again.

It sure has been an eventful (ie: challenging) few weeks with a sick new kitten that infected one of our older cats, our dog-let (actually a biggish border collie) needing surgery, sick kids and other health issues, broken gate, hacked e-mail, dad unexpectedly at the emergency room and… The list of drama actually goes on. Some of it has been the usual daily mishaps and goings-on, but there have been an unusual number of humdinger disasters in-between. Which made me wonder – how has this past month been for you? Whether or not it’s been a tough one for you too, here’s a virtual hug for you 🤗. Everyone can do with a hug, even when you’re feeling on top of the world!  

Clearly this is not Wonder Woman’s blog. Nope, I don’t get everything magically done (I wish!) in between whatever chaos may be happening around me. Come to think of it, I’m not sure even Wonder Woman actually has time for her own blog. It’s at times like these that I envy people with gazillions of Pounds, Euros, Dollars or even Rands who can pay multitudes of other people to deal with it when the paw-paw flies non-stop at the fan. But I’ll spare you the rest of the drama details, because in between all of that was a lot of good stuff, too…

Unfortunately, though, it’s been so many many days since some of it happened that I’ve already forgotten most of it. My children seem to have taken my entire brain between the two of them when they left my womb. I’m sure that, while you’re pregnant, there’s some kind of osmosis of your brain matter to the foetus. After only two children, it feels like I’m left with nothing. Maybe there actually wasn’t that much to begin with and I’ve been blissfully ignorant all along. Regardless, my memory has become absolutely appalling! I had an hilarious simile to compare it to, but I’ve forgotten. (Sorry! 😆 I just had to!) If I’d left it much longer, I might even have forgotten I have a blog! (I’ll stop now.

 

Weaving workshop

The weaving workshop with Glynis, just before my last post, was held at the lovely Crafter’s Retreat Lodge in Skeerpoort, Magaliesberg. I only managed to get there for two of the four days (can’t remember why, though). I’m really pleased that I managed to do a small sample of what I’m planning to do, set up my warp (in a very relaxed way, apparently) and weave a whole 3cm before going home. And it hasn’t seen the light of day since then. It’s just been chilling in it’s bag, oblivious to everything going on around it. I came close to trying to climb into its bag to join it in its oblivion for a little while 😄. A blissful, but sadly impossible, temptation!

 

 

Birthdays & motherhood

Apart from the good, the bad and the ugly stuff, there have been four (!!!) family birthdays since the 1st of September. This year I decided to “empower” everyone who was going to get a knitted item for their birthday – they all got yarn, needles and some pattern options with which to knit it themselves. Mwah-ha-ha-ha. Yarnies are going to take over the world!! Well, not my dad. I can’t even imagine what he’d do if I were to give him anything yarn-related as a gift. 

Aren’t they just divine? 300g of lace weight Baah Yarns in bamboo, cotton and merino-mohair

Today is Caitlin’s 16th birthday. Happy sweet 16 my most darling Caity 💖. Her birth in 2002 was the most blessed Friday the 13th ever.  Last week (or the week before??) I went to Baah Yarns & Fibre Art to collect the gorgeous prize of 300g lace weight yarn that I’d won after buying some Baah Yarns at the Alpaca Festival. Super excited and grateful! Natasha, the talented creator of Baah Yarns, has a beautiful 6 month old baby. Seeing her at the festival and then collecting my prize, along with the run-up to Caitlin’s birthday, reminded me of how tough that first year of being a mom was for me.

Granted, some new moms just seamlessly and effortlessly appear to morph overnight into the perfect nurturing, loving, omniscient and (elusively, for me) relaxed mother. That was not me. Christo and I were convinced that she would just fit into our lives and we’d carry on the same as before. Boy! Were we ever in for a rude awakening! It wasn’t the breastfeeding, incessant burping and patting (at one point Christo and I couldn’t even hug without patting each other’s backs), lots of nappy changes, initial lack of sleep, or how long it took to just get out of the house. For me it was that, from the second she was born, both my heart and mind were no longer mine.

It turned out that that was what was so time-consuming – there was just no time for my own needs, thoughts, and feelings. Every!single!thing! – everything I thought, felt and did – revolved around her. It’s a huge shock being entirely consumed by and focused on another being when you’re an introvert who’s grown up an only child.  Had I been knitting and crocheting back then, I do believe it would have been an entirely different story. 

As she and her little sister have gotten older, my heart and mind are slowly returning back to me, gradually focusing more on myself and Christo, and yarn! Once you’ve gotten used to the sacrifices and selflessness mothering requires, it turns out that this “letting-go” is bitter-sweet. And it’s happening way too fast as every year goes by. So I’m determined to find joy in almost everything related to them and appreciating every possible second that they’re still at home. If Caitlin continues down the path of being a musician, that might well be forever 😳.

 

My Yarn Crazy Teen

However, since she started knitting herself a scarf last month (she already knits faster than me), Caitlin’s life has been in serious jeopardy of being cut short. She has developed a taste for beautiful yarn and has been eyeing.my.stash! I decided that she needed to get some beautiful yarns of her own, in the hopes of keeping her hands off of mine. I gave both her and Meghan the same amount to spend at the Alpaca Festival. Meghan came home with some lovely Karoo Moon yarn and bought herself and Caitlin some sort of edible treat (can’t remember what), bless her…

Meggy’s purchases of Karoo Moon

 

…and Caitlin got these lovelies. She had exactly the same amount as her little sister! Karoo Moon Unique Moon, handspun and vast quantities of lace weight mohair samples; Baah Yarns bamboo; and One of a Kind Yarns Bamsi (bamboo) and Orenda (cotton-bamboo) from the Craft Academy Fabrics & Fibres stall. Clearly her bargaining abilities far surpass both Meghan’s and mine.

Results of Caity’s OTT wheeling and dealing

She also twisted my arm into getting some Linda’s Treehouse Plover with which to knit her a “pride-scarf” for her birthday…

This just got her on a roll! As soon as we got home she wanted me to go through my stash and give her what I no longer wanted. The Earth tremor you all felt here in Johannesburg was me putting my foot down! At this rate she’ll be lucky to make it to her 17th birthday!

So guess what she got this morning as part of her birthday present? Some yarnie goodness… a big divine shwe-shwe Yarn Bling bag which I bought from Sally at Yarmies; mini-skeins of ColourSpun Kid Mohair & Yarn Stash Merino Sock Yarn + Nurturing Fibres & Vinnis samples from Stitches Yarn & Thread Emporium in Kyalami; faux-leather “handmade” sew-on labels, stitch markers and tin from Yarn at ZelLé in Centurion; Nurturing Fibres Lush Bamboo from Natural Yarns on-line shop; Linda’s Treehouse Oriole (I think this will work better for the scarf she wants, which means I can keep the Plover!) & leather “handmade” sew-on labels + more stitch markers from I Love Yarn in Brooklyn, Pretoria; and Madame Tricote gradient cotton in her favourite colours from Chamdor in Northriding:

Caitlin’s yarn-related birthday haul

I am praying that this will keep my teen-wolf at bay. Over the weekend she announced that after her birthday, she wants to stay home from school the day after every full moon to see if the school notices the pattern. If they do, she’ll tell them that it’s because she’s a werewolf. She says she’ll get a doctors’ note if it’s on a test or exam day and she’ll tell our doctor that she has “lunacy”. Watch out Tara (a psychiatric hospital here in Johannesburg), here she comes! Never a dull moment with the two of them. All I can do is laugh and wave (“smile & wave” is not enough), else I’d be in Tara myself by now.

 

More about the Alpaca Festival 

The Alpaca Festival at the end of August was magic! I was lucky enough to be there both days. Saturday with my girls and Sunday with some Yarmie friends. If you missed out on this one, I do hope you make it next year. Well worth the trip. There have already been so many pics posted on Facebook, but I feel honour bound to share my own…

Louisa, owner of Alliepad Alpakkas

Caitlin & Meghan feeding Louisa’s alpacas

 

Karoo Moon Yarns. The lovely Judy was momentarily MIA for the pic 😉

Glynis & her vast array of handwoven textiles and products for spinning and weaving

 

Linda & Linda’s Treehouse

Karen & Umbala Hand-painted Yarns

 

Natasha & Baah Yarns & Fibre Art

Baah Yarns & Fibre Art Shibori project bags

 

Allyson & Craft Academy Fabrics & Fibres

The Yarn Tree‘s colourful stall

 

Steffany & Stitch Please crocheted baby items

Linda (left) & LJ Craft Creations
Some of Bridget’s gorgeous Cowgirlblues yarns

Bridget was at the festival on Sunday with her beautiful Cowgirlblues Yarns, but I forgot to take a pic. I’m so sorry, Bridget!

I bought a variety of beautiful things. The yarns I bought were all for a specific project, to go with yarn that I already have. So I’ll share pics of them all the next time I post about the projects I’m planning.

I fell in love with some crocheted Christmas bauble decorations from Craft Academy Fabrics & Fibres. It was only when I got home that I realised that it included a free star tree-decoration.

Spinning has been at the top of my list of crafts to learn next, so I got an Ashford Turkish drop spindle and some fibre from Glynis. I also bought some of Louisa’s amazing alpaca fibre to spin my own alpaca yarn when I’ve gotten the hang of it. Love that she labels the fibre with the name of the alpaca it came from! She has a lovely variety of other alpaca fibre products and felted goods and the girls each got a felted jewellery bowl as a keepsake from me. 

Crocheted Christmas baubles and a free star from Craft Academy Fabrics & Fibres

Alpaca fibre from Alliepad Alpakkas & spindle + fibre from Glynis

A huge thank you to everyone involved in the festival – you all made it such a wonderful outing! See you again next year. 

 

FO update – Suburban Wrap is done! 

In the meantime, I finished my Suburban Wrap last week and I’ve worn it every single day since then. I can safely say that I like it (understatement!). The yarns I used in the end were the variegated One of a Kind Yarns MSin that I originally planned to use; the green is semi-solid Nurturing Fibres SingleSpun Lace in Venice (2 strands held together); and the off-white/grey is Baah Yarns Sock Single in Sesame. I think! Because Meghan tore my label into a kajillion little pieces and I nearly killed her! There was no “laugh and wave” about it! I am a bit anal about keeping the labels with the WIP and then whatever yarn is left over.

My Indie Single Spun Suburban Wrap, a Joji Locatelli pattern

 

I have to say that I couldn’t have gotten it done without the immense help of my 8,5kg 1 yr old baby Quidditch and our new kitten, Phoenix. They helped a lot, as you can see. Thanks, boys!

Quiddy, with gentle old Stryker in the background

Little Phoenix – Quiddy’s golden snitch & the naughtiest but most affectionate kitten we’ve ever had

In between all of that, I did manage to block my square for the care blanket for Antoinette/Kaleidoscope and drop it off. If you’ve also made one (or many, as some folks have done), a reminder to please get them to Yarn at ZelLé in Centurion or Natural Yarns in Cape Town by this Saturday the 15th.

 

There were many pop-up shops all over Gauteng over the last three weeks. I think I managed to get to most if not all of them and visit a few other shops, too. But I’ll keep that for next time…

Thanks so much for catching up with me. Hope you have a wonderful, yarn-filled, crafting weekend!

Bx

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