Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Taa Daa: Superted

In 1978, I used to love listening to my Mum and Dad's Abba tape with the shiny gold curtains shut and the standard lamp on. I used to convince myself that this was what discos were like. I had heard the word, and had some vague idea of what it meant, but no reality to base it on. Then again, I knew my parents had met at "a dance" and innocently imagined their mums and dads to be sat around the edges of the room, watching their children fall in love. The reality of nightclubs was disappointingly less romantic.

It's ironic that, some thirty two years later and at the same age that I was, Charlie now loves nothing more than putting the Mamma Mia DVD on and rocking round the room to the very same songs, in front of our vastly different looking television. Who says technology is important? We share a connection, through the generations, thanks to Benny and Bjorn. Charlie and I get to rock out together, and I get to ogle Piers Brosnan. Wonderful. Although I do occasionally worry who my mother ogled. Curly Fred, from Playschool?


Over this summer I have been keeping myself busy with an original commission from a brilliant client. Her friends had recently had a baby called Ted. She wanted him to have a gift that was truly original and had that retro charm for his Mum and Dad. And so, I spent my time knitting.... Superted!

You can see him, above, as a normal old bear. However, rip off his skin and he becomes a superhero! Two toys in one!


Taa-daa! Superted!



It's been brilliant making him. He's largely been created in front of CSI, as it's completely brilliant and I am obsessed, but also at the beach, the park, on the sofa, at the ball pool and all the other places we've visited this summer.

She also commissioned a Superted jumper!



I'm not very experienced at intarsia, so this was a real challenge for me. However, it's been fantastic! It was in no way as difficult as I thought it would be; experience does count for something - phew! It was made with gorgeous, handspun cashmere and merino yarn from Scotland. Utterly, utterly gorgeous.

The moral of this post is to challenge yourself. My mum always told me that she couldn't do colour work and I believed that, by extention, I couldn't do it either. My aunty used to make brilliant intarsia pieces and I loved them. I thought it was a special kind of witchcraft and one I could never aspire to. I am beyond chuffed that I have made an instarsia jumper. I am a KNITTER!

With love

Claire x

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Hello old friends!

Monkey hat

Wow, it really has been some time, hasn't it? Well all is well here, I hope it is with you too. The boys have all gone back to school today, so I'm not sure whether to be delighted and enjoying the peace and quiet, or a little doleful. Maybe a bit of both.

As for me, well I'm not the best. I've recently got the diagnosis of ME / CFS / CFIDS. I'm not surprised at all, I've been concerned it was this for quite some time. My main symptom is terrible pain, in both my joints and muscles. I need crutches to walk long distances. I also get very, very tired and struggle sometimes with even very simple activities. I sometimes have other symptoms like brain fog (this morning I couldn't remember how to do up my bra, or how to knit a knit stitch - thankfully that passed!), I have sore throat, headaches and bad moods. The moods are usually associated with the pain though.

The depression has lifted a bit over recent months. The anxiety still knocks about though and some days are worse than others. However, I'm taking a postive mental attitude to all this health crap - I'm exercising gently every day, I'm trying to challenge myself, and I'm trying to pace my activities. I find this the hardest of all! A year or two ago I would have loved someone to tell me I *had* to rest during the day, but guess what?! Doing nothing is harder than you'd think!

I'll be honest, I kind of got myself in a catch 22 about blogging. I didn't want it to be an online whinge. That's not good for you, nor is it very positive for me to do. However, sometimes I don't want to look on the bright side of life either. I just drifted away from blogging because, I suppose, I've been grieving a bit. I also started to get a bit resentful at all those "perfect" domestic bliss type blogs that I previously loved. I guess I was grieving for my old life, for simple happiness, for the freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want.

I am learning, though, that I have a different kind of freedom. I can learn things - I'm quite good at that. When my brain is too dulled for reading, I can knit (the physical action requires little concentration and appears to reside in a different part of my brain to the reading bit). I have a family that I adore, and looking after them gives me great pleasure. They also drive me mad! So I'm back with the complicated knot of feelings that exists in my head.

Craft wise, I've not stopped! I'm getting quite a few paid jobs now, which is absolutely brilliant. Do you see my monkey hat above? Doesn't Charlie look gorgeous? That was for a photographer in Leicester. I couldn't get the pattern right and it took about four goes before I was happy that the final result was an appropriate size.

We've had a crafty summer holiday. The boys have been a bit frustrated that I haven't been able to be as active as normal - we've had very few days out swimming, or out wondering around the coast. My legs haven't been up to it. Instead I've spent the time with Charlie teaching him how to sew, and we've face painted, made slime, drawn hundreds of pictures, painted, baked, chalked on the patio, cut out, made collages etc etc. It's been fun. And look at this - I am so proud of my naked sewing five year old!


Charlie sewing

That's all his own work, that is! He has a natural talent! I have high hopes for him!

I'll end this post with my favourite picture of the summer, Jess nestled comfortably on my bonkers blanket. I never did get round to taking a photo of it because I didn't completely finish it! Maybe I'll get back onto that, when I don't have a list of projects in my head...

Jess asleep

Sweet dreams!

Claire x