socks "r" us

Lately for me, it's been all about the knitting. I was making a hat* out of some reclaimed handspun and had the thought that this yarn would make nice socks. And then I decided, that yes I could knit socks and searched ravelry for a pattern that I could almost understand. And then I found these videos on youtube. Oh, the internet is a wonderful place sometimes. I also consulted the internet for the super stretchy cast on and for details of how to kitchener graft the toe. The first kitchener graft was super dodgy but the second is a beauty to behold. Felt like weaving magic. I was worried about turning the heel, it looked so daunting, but it really wasn't that hard. Just some counting and keeping track.

turned heel

Anyway I decided very early on in the project that learning to knit socks in handspun might not be the best idea. It was very hard to see anything. So I had a look through my stash and decided on some wool/alpaca Bendigo wool that lovely Kate had sent me last year. My only concern was that the yarn might need handwashing but in a fit of huff after Grace declared the socks itchy, I tossed them in with the other woollens and they are softer and more delightful than ever. Luckily my machine does have a super gentle wool wash.

Grace in her slipper socks
It also became apparent that as I was knitting the socks with a different wool than the pattern called for, the socks would be far too small for me. Grace had the brilliant idea that they could be for her. Because they were kid size. Even though they are a yucky green** and are too thick to wear with shoes. They are her slipper socks and now they have been de-itched she appears to love them. She doesn't even care about the dodgy toe. I have since started another pair of socks, in proper sock yarn, also from lovely Kate. Grace is devastated that these socks are not for her. So maybe I'll just have to knit another pair. That she can wear with shoes. I am thrilled to have learnt how to knit socks, it's something that I thought would be too tricky for me but that turns out not to be the case. Now I'm thinking that after another couple of pairs, maybe I could learn to knit patterned or lacy socks!

*said hat (which I haven't had a chance to photograph yet) has  found a good home on the head of a friend who had a birthday recently. The gift of this hat was G's idea and really it seems to have worked out well.
** yucky according to her standards but chosen because these socks were going to be for me and I think it is a lovely colour.

now we are six

But now I am six, I'm as clever as clever;
So I think I'll be six now for ever and we are six

Grace turned six last week. A keenly awaited birthday with much counting down and calendar checking. And discussion about presents. Not that she wanted anything in particular, just that presents are important when you are six it seems. We are planning a party and have said that she can invite some or all of her classmates, but as her birthday falls during the school holidays, the party will be after school goes back. There are only eight girls in her class and she's keen to have as many of them attend as possible. I don't think all the boys will come but even if they do, we'll squash everybody in somehow. Even if it rains. I'm quite looking forward to it actually. Grace has finally given up on the idea of supermarket ice cream cake and has asked for a rabbit cake. With yellow icing. Yum, an excuse to make shapes with cake and use butter cream icing again! Gerard is making a pinata and Grace wants dance music and a game called bob freeze which as far as I can make out is like statues. We will probably also play pass the parcel and pin the tail on the donkey. If the weather is nice they will probably also spend a lot of time running around the backyard. If it rains, well, we'll have to turn up the disco music and they can play at being in a cramped nightclub (12-15 kids in our lounge room will be quite crowded, especially if they are moving). Please don't let it rain.

now we are six

On the actual day of Grace's birthday we had presents at breakfast before I rushed of to work. The big present from both of us was a watch which I think was a pretty inspired idea. She also received books, lego and a mummy made soft toy. I love making these toys for Grace and I think she genuinely appreciates them. Later after work we met for dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant with her grandfather and Nina. Although she didn't love the food, she did greatly enjoy going out for dinner and considering where I work and the number of restaurants nearby, perhaps that's something we could do more often. During the day, I remembered her birth (only the good bits) and some of those early days of motherhood. As my father mentioned at dinner, I went loopy afterwards, but as I also pointed out, that really wasn't until three months later and I remember being really, really happy after Grace was born. I also remember feeling quite clueless, as in you mean they let us take this little baby home from the hospital? I also remember breastfeeding and reading the instruction book, -  Robin Barker's Baby Love at the same time.  Sometimes I still feel baffled, but really after six years, I kind of feel that being a mother is well and truly part of who I am now. And I haven't read an instruction book in years (although I do occasionally look up child related issues on the internet). I feel lucky that Grace is my daughter. She is clever and kind, funny and imaginative, loves to dance and read books, play with her toys and hang out with her people. She loves pineapple and mango, chicken and all sorts of cake. Missing school is the worst kind of terrible and she loves doing the exercises in the maths activity book she chose while we were out the other day. There are tears and big dramas sometimes but not that often. She loves to swim and go out on the bus, especially to norfland. Happy birthday Grace!

belated camping debrief - part two

Life has been getting in the way of blogging. Mostly that's not a bad thing. There has been a twilight fete, hanging out with friends, reading books, going to work, restoring my sewing area to order. But there has also been shattering tiredness/drowsiness, so much so that I've been going to bed at 9.30 and can't drive (my Dr did admit that taking two lots of medication at full dose might have that effect). Also I pulled my achilles tendon when I was off work sick. Don't know how exactly, but I very first injured it when I was a fit twenty something doing step reebok (I know, hard to imagine but there you have it). I limped and hobbled while we were away, strapping it up and taking painkillers before walking any distance. It was a pain. Anyway last week, the achilles was nearly better but then I wore shoes and walked at a normal pace on the night of the fete and was back to square one. So finally I am going to go and see a physio about it. More appointments. Yep, that has been another thing keeping me busy. Appointments. Yech.
rained out
g and g playing draughts in the tent
Ok, camping. After Corringle Slips we headed to Cape Conran. It was beautiful but wet. So wet that after a day out in the rain and a mysterious wet spot under my mattress (no leak in the roof of the tent and it was dry underneath when we took it down), I suggested we decamp to a cabin. G was keen on sitting the rain out but Grace loved the idea of a cabin. It was a very good move. We were able to dry out all our wet clothes and damp bedding and have a timely hot shower (mid trip and we were starting to get stinky). I also freaked Grace out by getting a tick which G had to remove. I found it hard to leave the cabin, I got to read and relax, so we ended up staying two nights. We had a day sightseeing where everyone cracked the shits at some point and no-one got what they wanted. Which was a bit funny considering the day before when we went out in the pouring rain, ate lunch in the car then went for a walk in our rain coats.
cape conran
After Cape Conran, we started heading home. Deciding that the Princes Hwy is a mind numbingly boring drive, and  you have to drive through endless suburbia to get to the northern suburbs, we decided to go home via Mt Hotham. Bear in mind that we were not sharing the driving. On account of the shitload of drugs I was on. Gerard did not complain at all and indeed I think he quite liked it. We do also have a policy that the driver gets to choose the music and although I put my foot down towards the end of the history of American folk, he enjoyed having control of the usb/cd drive. Perhaps he was afraid I might play Beth Orton. That night, we camped at Victoria Falls, just past Omeo, where we managed to catch the opshop on the only day it opened, just before it closed. Victoria Falls, while not exactly bush, was a great campsite with rubbish toilets (as Grace called them) and tent sites with camp fires, seating and picnic tables. And beautiful sub alpine views.
campsite humour
morning view
The next morning we headed off, having a picnic lunch just past Mount Hotham, before heading down to the opshops of Bright and Myrtleford. As I said in part one, we were going to camp another night but barrelled home along the Hume instead. At one of the roadside stops, G got me to look at the back of his neck. He had a tick too. It was quite good to arrive home, but we are planning some more adventures.
mountain of silver
mountain carpark

belated camping debrief - part one

Yesterday I was sewing some last minute items for the twilight school fete and thought, this time last week I was in Bright and then Myrtleford op shopping, having afternoon tea in a bakery with Grace (she loves sitting in a shop or cafe and G would rather have chips, so it ended up being our special treat) and enjoying the sunshine after our lunch up near Mount Hotham. We had been intending to camp one more night and come home on Saturday but despite finding an OK free camp site near Oxley (the caravan park was full) for one reason and another we changed our minds and decided to barrel down the Hume and come home. I spent the next two days attacking a seemingly endless mountain of washing. But that's camping isn't it?
camp ground at sennis reserve
Anyway, based on the 7 day weather forecast we headed east rather than west, which had been our original plan. We are quite slow travellers most of the time and true to form were ready to set up our first camp when we got to Moe. I had sussed out some free camping just 13k north and it looked close to the road. Unfortunately my navigation took us down a wrong turn and we bounced along gravel tracks for ages. Grace slept through most of it but woke up before we made it to the campsite at Seninis recreation reserve. We were early enough not to be stressed setting up the new to us tent for the first time outside the back yard. It was a lovely camping ground with mountain stream running around it. We could have stayed another night but decided to press on to the beach.
g in front of the tent
fairy hours
The next place we stopped was Corringle Slips which is opposite Marlo and where the Snowy River meets the sea. I was a bit worried that being a weekend, it might be full. When we arrived, it was quite a bit fuller than I expected and it took a while to find a site. Turns out that it was the opening of the duck shooting season and the camping ground was full of duck shooters and a group from Orbost who come to party for the  season opening. We decided to take things as they came and not be bothered by the noise, which as it turned out was pretty much blocked out by the generator at the next camp site. The scariest thing was walking to the toilets at night, past camp sites with men in camo gear polishing their  guns. I don't think I have ever been somewhere with so many guns and so much alcohol. On the positive side there were two girls for Grace to play with, an older one who was camping with her dad who wasn't shooting (but his friend was) and  a younger girl from the vegetarian Steiner family across the road (I found out they were vegetarian when I told the mum about the duckshooting and then asked later if they were at a Steiner school based on a hunch and the hats they were wearing - the family was lovely and it was nice to feel we weren't the only non-duck shooters or fishers). The girls spent a lot of time in the older girl's horse trailer and building a house for fairies in the crook of a ti tree near our camp site. It's amazing how absorbing this activity became once I got them started. There was also a beautiful ocean beach and cold but lovely swimming in the estuary of the snowy river. While Grace and I were having a swim, I looked into the distance and there was a person swimming down the river.
swimming spot
on the way back from swimming in the snowy
Next camping instalment will include being rained out at Cape Conran and coming home over the mountains. And I am already planning the two week Queensland trip for July with maybe some mini breaks in between.