Wednesday, December 18

driving flying home for Christmas…

well i can hardly believe we are finally here. just a couple more days and we cross the pond to spend our first christmas in old blighty since we set sail for the states in the year 2000. tis nothing short of a small miracle in my mind...

i am beyond giddy to be going home for the holidays and have been plotting and planning for months now. mossy shed and the critters will be well taken care of by a most delightful family moving in, so no lonely shed nor critter hearts come next week. Mister Muchly however is packing his suitcase and will spend his holidays with my adopted auntie because he is rather fond of their little green bungalow having been several times before.

my plotting and planning consists of:

several days in london catching up with clan and of course seeing my girls (yippee!), visiting with my lovely friend Emily (hurrah!), a pilgrimage to Loop (hooray!), brick lane market and columbia road (spiffy!), a first time visit to the creative world of Jessie Chorley (magical!) and for my lads of three, a total first, a premier soccer game, Arsenal vs Chelsea (miraculous!)

christmas eve, taking the train down to Bath to meet up with my folks whom i have not seen for a whole live long year (magical!), spend christmas with one of my brothers and his clan (crazy good!), dragging my mother out to the boxing day sales (hahahehe!), seeing my eldest turn 22 on boxing day (priceless!), waking up on the 27th to our lad turning 18 and seeing him head to London with his sisters to celebrate in style (memory in the making!).

staying with my soul sister Debbie for 2 nights and a day, just enough to catch up on 2 yrs of separation (jubilation!), meet up again in london with the missing clan members, say good bye to Our #1 and fly to Edinburgh, Scotland to ring in the new year (celebrations!) and then head to where we once called home, Cambridge, to see my man's mum for a few days (peachy perfect!) before winging our way back to mossy shed and our small gaggle of critters.

tis a whistle stop tour, and tis throwing caution to the wind traveling public transport in mid winter around the british isles, but we do not care, we are not fretting on what might or might not be. we are just winging it and as long as we have our thermal undies, our tooth brushes, a stock pile of yarn and a place to lay our weary heads we know it will be the bees knees of a trip.

you can follow along if you like over on instagram where i hope to post a pic or two. or else i will see you back here in the new shiny year, all ready for fresh crafty adventures. so it just leaves me to say, i am wishing each and everyone of you, critters and plants included, the most happiest of happy holidays and may you all have a little miracle or two of your own this festive gleeful season

"Tif, what is all that yarny goodness going on?"
"ahhh, yes, that would be the beginnings of my mish mash wrappity wrap"
"so bascially a scarf then?"
"ummm, well since you put it that way, yes"

disaster has struck, i have lost not one but two stitches and a terrible yarny mess has ensured. i have not wept quite yet, although i am close... all i can think of is, thank goodness i work in a yarn store and thank goodness the folks that work there know what they are doing and can rescue me tomorrow... "ummm Tif!?"

Friday, December 13

a knitty first...

i have discovered i am a loosey goosey knitter.
and pray how did i discover such an interesting fact about myself?
because i swatched!!!

gasp, shock, horror!

and pray why did i swatch when i said i would never a swatcher be?
because i am knitting a garment!!!

gasp, shock and could quite possibly be a lot of horror (only time will tell)

it was high time i pulled up my knitty knee socks, stepped into the grown up world of knitty nice things and tackled a knitty project with the intention of wearing it with knitty pride.

and so i rustled around for my old Rowan look book and stared once again at the most peachiest of sweater vests ever to be created. it is fair aisle and it is knitted with tweedy woolly wool yarn. six years on, my sweater vest loving heart still skips a beat at its peachiness...

so first off, i immediately decided not to set myself up to fail and removed all fair aisle from the pattern. voila! a nice plain sweater vest for wearing over floral handmade frocks. oh yes Tif, i thought to myself, it will be grand indeedy! i saw black tweedy flecky knitty goodness in my cogs, and thus i proceeded with a yarn of such like. only to discover what i had discovered many moons before but wished to ignore as my wish for a black tweedy flecky knitty sweater vest was greater. i do not knit with good old rustic woolly wool yarn. oh woe is me i thought upon my ride home from stitch circle, and then a little inkling of a plan appeared. well my plan said, perhaps a tweedy speckly lovely knitty-ness will not be yours but surely upon all surelies some form of sweater vest can.

thus i turned to what is now 'my old faithful' yarn, which i used to make my hats of recent weeks. 

tis a hand dyed merino wool by Madelinetosh (vintage worsted weight). it is so soft, no fiber issues for moi and almost has a cotton like feel to it. now of course, this comes with a pretty price upon its head but i concluded my sweater vest was not the most largest of garments and thus, i could afford to splash out a little. so i did. but not after i had taken a scrap of left over yarn from my vintage rose coloured hat and swatched. (gasp, shock, horror... yes yes, we get it)

oh how i swatched like a pro 

and afterwards i marveled at how telling a swatch can be. my loosey goosey ways meant i needed to drop down a needle size and then after that i studied the pattern quite closely, in fact tres closely for i confess, Rowan patterns and me do not see eye to eye and decided, why would i knit my sweater vest flat when i could knit it in the round. so this in turn caused a bit of (a lot of) mental thinking on my behalf to visualize what needs to be done in the round that was once done in the flat and off i went on my merry knitty way...

till yesterday that is, with two thirds of the fabby deep waist band nearly done, my yarny buddy Veronika, (of whom i have mentioned before and of whom i have told, knows knitty knowledge like no other i have come across), pointed out when you use more than one skein of hand dyed yarn in a project there is a definite obvious line between each skein. hence my little sweater vest would have blocks of colour going up it where blocks of colour are not wished for.

oh how my knitty heart sank, and i believe it sank even lower when Veronika told me, its fixable by working with two skeins at once, alternating skeins every two rows. really? really. darn and dash it, i just want to knitty knit my way, around and around without having to think, but think i must and think i will, for i am perhaps more determined then ever before, to boldly go where my knitty soul has never gone before and come back, wearing a wearable knitty sweater vest, no colour blocks in sight and (having given up donkeys years ago) finally, once and for all conquered a rowan knitting pattern.

Tuesday, December 10

its beginning to feel a lot like christmas...

i announced sometime ago to my clan, seeings as we were going home for the holidays like they do in the movies, i would not be turning Mossy Shed into a gleeful scene this year. Thanksgiving rolled around and i could not help but feel this was a tad bah humbug-ish, especially when out and about spying all the lovely twinkly gleeful and joyful goodness abounding from homes and stores.

thus i announced on the sunday after Thanksgiving, i had changed my mind and perhaps a smidgen of a sprinkling of a gleeful joyfulness around the shed would be in order. and so my thoughts turned to a tree, oh the tree... i must confess since living stateside i have never found a little christmas tree to my true gleeful heart's content. around this way they do a rather odd thing and trim the trees so they are cone shaped. to me this is madness of the utmost joyful kind, for surely tis all the sticky out odd branches which allow for maximum dingle dangleness. and so if you were to ask any of my clan would they like to go to the tree farm to pick out a tree, they would cry "yippee, pick me pick me, i will come" and if you were to follow it with a "yes, that is great and your mother is coming too" suddenly they would all be terribly busy and can't quite make the time. for no tree on the tree farm has ever stolen my christmas tree heart. we will traipse for miles, each clan member trying to sell me the merits of their chosen tree on the lot but alas, they are too big, too wide, too cone like, too perfect, too 'not like the trees from back home' and so forth

and so, sunday afternoon a-tree-hunting i would go, but not before my man had suggested he had something in the yard which might do just the job. where upon he appeared with a broken fir tree branch which had come down in the storm a few weeks back. he was rather chuffed with himself and said he thought it might come in handy so he had kept it safe. i noted as he stood there holding his branch that it came up from the ground and then bent back double so the tip of the branch was almost back down at the ground again (a rainbow of a branch if you will). i pondered wondering how to break his gleeful hopes. as i paused to ponder he took this as a good sign and proceeded to point out it had real fir cones on it and also, how marvelous was the bent over branch for creating a cascade of ornaments down one side. after which i trod all over his old branch gleeful dreams and said "nope, it just won't do, its just not quite right, away to the tree farm we must go". he said he couldn't come, he was terribly busy and so was Our #3 but fortunately for me, Our #4 every year thinks he will find the perfectly perfect tree that his mother will embrace in a joyful hug. 

before the tree farm, (armed with our saw and heavy duty mitts, like true professionals), we noted the garden center had an abundance of cut trees, and so i thought it a jolly good idea to check them out first and so we did. after a once around i was a little saddened to see the same old tall cone shaped offerings. "what i really want" i said turning to my lad, "is the top few feet off a really tall tree, that way it will be spindly and rather normal looking" and then at that moment, he spied the forsaken little trees, we gasped, thee gasp... did we dare to dream, was it truly possible we had stumbled across the ones most pass by, the ones that perhaps did not grow to their full potential and thus, left to their own 'branches sticking out' devices, to grow. 

oh joy of joy, there my little 'where have you been all my joyful tree searching life' christmas tree stood, not more than 3 and a half feet tall, rather dumpy at the bottom, perfectly 'left alone' and with a jolly reasonable price tag of $22. we snapped him up, (broken branch and all) and we noted no one offered to 'net our little tree', nor carry it to the car, nor tie it upon the roof. we noted a bemused look upon the helper elves as we carried our jolly friend to the car, however we both knew what they could never know, that after 13 years of searching, we had at last found the most perfectly perfect 'inperfect' little gleeful joyful tree, who would fit most nicely in a galvanized chicken coop bucket and most importantly of all, look mighty resplendent decked out in my crocheted popcorn garland upon arriving home...

oh yes indeedy! Our #4 is the tale of one who never gives up, and i am the tale of sods law, the one year you find the most jolliest tree ever, you won't be there to share Christmas with him...

"oh christmas tree, oh christmas tree, how lovely are your branches"

Sunday, December 8

fare thee well, dottie angel book...

ah indeedy, 
tis a bittersweet moment today to learn there are only 16 copies of my dottie angel book left and then it will be out of print... i will treasure the few copies i have for my clan all the more so now.

quite simply put, it was a most magical moment of time in my life to collaborate with UPPERCASE and I have no doubt, when I am old and gray this will be one of the highlights of my life I will look back upon with not only great fondness but also surreal-ness...

to think that such a wonderful talented publisher should ask little old me to be part of their creative journey, was at the time and still is, something i am tres proud of.

Friday, December 6

on the 6th day of muchly~mas...

"behind you Mister Muchly!"

"who is that, Mister Muchly?"

"Mister Muchly! we do not nibble our friends"

"now now, Mister Muchly! we do not go off in a huffy huff 
on the 6th day of muchly~mas"

a festive frock of sorts...

tomorrow is the Makers Market,
today i am gathering everything together and setting up my stall
yesterday i was relatively blasé 
and the day before,
well the day before,
me and my numpty bangs were stopped in their laid back 'makers market' tracks
when i happened upon a most lovely piece of retro barkcloth fabric
laying forlorn in my studio
(found whilst browsing the aisles of etsy
and promptly put to one side upon arrival on my doorstep)

tis the most festive of gleeful prints
and i must confess, upon purchasing it
i had not an inkling just what a sprinkling of joy
the fabric would bring.
surely upon all surelies i said to myself
if ever there was a fabric made for a festive frock
then this is it!

however upon my stumbling ways
amongst all the piles and heaps
(once again breeding in my studio)
i gasped a gasp
oh me and my 'no need to panic, everything is done' ways
were now not done ways in the least.
for there was several yards of neglected festive fabric
and a gleeful frock nowhere in sight.
how could i have forgotten my plan,
my 'oh so marvelous festive frock' plan for the Makers Market.

so wednesday,
with numpty bangs mocking me from above
i started to snippity snip
i held my breath for this fabric was a tres tricky beastie.
geometric patterns have a habit of slanting
when slanting is not what one wishes for.
after a close inspection
greatly aided by my numpty bangs being short
i was relieved there would be no wayward geometric festive frock 
on my watch today.

and off i went on my merry festive frock making ways.
only to realize a little while later, 
no matter my high hope ways
there were not enough hours 
for a full festive frock to be made.
so i pondered and i paused over my shell of a frock,
knowing fiddly ties and jolly pockets
were never going to get done.
within a trice,
my cogs gave me the advice
and off i went again, merrily and festively on my way.

a natty little bit of gathering upon the front

and a natty bit of gathering on the side seams

and i had myself
a festive frock of sorts.

upon trying it on, i was most pleasantly surprised
to note my glorified festive potato sack
looked mighty gleeful indeedy!

come tomorrow, 
my numpty bangs 
my festive frock of sorts
will be happily and quite merrily 
at the Makers Market from 10 til 6
and i am muchly and quite giddily
looking forward to it

Thursday, December 5

knitty news & numpty bangs...

numpty bangs:

yesterday i went and got the old gray pesky roots sorted out. i threw caution to the wind and channeled my inner Gudrun Sjoden asking for a short choppy fringe
i came home with numpty bangs. 
for the rest of the day my numpty bangs taunted me from above. 
my man looked at me when home he came.
he paused, 
he pondered 
and then he inquired
"did you get your hair done today?"
to which i answered
"yes i did"
to which he was stumped
and changed the subject

it was suggested by my adopted auntie that i pin them back,
i told her, they do not pull back for they are numpty bangs and have a mind of their numpty own, and if Gudrun passed me in the street she would mock me and my numpty bangs and have to cross the road.
my adopted auntie asked me to send her a pic, so she may see for herself, i told her no pics allowed of numpty folks and their numpty bangs...

later that day, i could not think straight as i made my gleeful frock smock sack due to numpty bangs hanging around above me. i fretted if i went to work the next day perhaps they would ask me to leave. politely saying 'no numpty bangs' allowed here. or worse still, my numpty bangs would put folks off coming to my market stall on saturday!

this morn i arose, me and my numpty bangs and decided perhaps they were not quite so numpty after all and indeed if someone were to say "Tif, you do look nice today" i would proudly say "oh thank you, yes it must be my new numpty bangs" and go about my day quite happily, numpty bangs and all

knitty news:

at stitch circle on tuesday night i cast on another hat. this time a 'man hat' no less! for Our #3 has requested a knitted hat, not too bulky, not too saggy, not too itchy, not too tight, no sirree! he wishes for a knitted hat just right. so off i go again on my joyful hat knitting ways, 

with a 'what will be will be' attitude for i did not wish to swatch, although i am told by my yarny buddy Veronika (who is a knitter of the utmost kind) that not swatching will be my down fall. i know she is wise, i know she knows best and i know one day, not too far away when i make my first cardigan, and i get to the point where i try it on and either i cannot get my arm in the sleeve or i can fit my whole body in one sleeve, Veronika's wise words will come back to haunt me. and from that day on, a swatcher i will be, until then though, i am merrily happily living and laughing with my none swatching knitting ways


* more knitty news, oh hurrah hooray! today is our first holiday one skein project over at the yarn store's blog. me and my Erika Knight doily mats are featured, however please note my numpty bangs are not... and do you see my badge! how thrilling is that, my very own name badge to wear at work!

* little olive is on the mend! hip hip hooray! still a ways off from being a 100 percento, but on the mend she is 

* okay okay, numpty bangs which are now growing on me :)

Monday, December 2

things to note on a monday...

note one:
the shed is quiet again after 8 whole days of having 3/4 of my clan together again

note two:
we have noted Used Dog's lumpy bump is taking hold again. it has been 2 whole years since we had the massive tumor removed and at the time they told us chances were high it would return within months. we have been blessed to have way more time then that, she is without a doubt a true miracle dog who keeps on keeping on and although this time we are told she is not strong enough to undergo surgery, as long as she is happily keeping on keeping on, then we will continue to enjoy each and every miracle day we have been given with her

note three:
the makers market is just but a few days away. i have been beavering away on crafty elf duties as and when i can. today i am gathering and standing back and taking stock and then will announce, no matter what, "hurrah, you are done Tif" and pack everything up ready for set up on friday

note four:
did i mention i like my new job?

note five:
yes i did

note six:
my hat hacking worked! i am so happy beyond all happy knitty thoughts. in the end i used the increase and decrease rows from the original pattern and then made the rest up myself and hurrah hooray! it worked out just how i wished it to be. because of this wonderfulness, i bravely took my green knitted hat and pulled it right back to the moss stitch band, tres carefully, more careful then ever before, i picked up all the itty bitty stitches and merrily went on my knitty way. so now i have not 1 but 2 knitty hats of which i am most delighted

note seven:
where oh where to begin... our sweet pesky Little Olive got herself into a spot of bother friday afternoon with an AA battery. it was rather horrid if truth be told and resulted in a dash to the nearest vet, them doing their best and now me playing florence nightingale. she received some rather nasty burns to her tongue and inside of her lower jaw. the first 48 hours were the trickiest but i am happy to say, she is now comfortable and today this morn, i heard just the inkling of a woof, not much, but it was one and that in itself tells me she must be feeling a tad less sad and in pain. tomorrow we find out how she is healing and all fingers, toes, paws and claws are crossed that surgery will not be needed

note eight:
Mister Muchly is beyond delighted with his Black Friday find. he is spending way too many hours reclining on his new plushy bed, 

i have told him he must be most careful not to give up all forms of exercise as the holiday season is upon us and expanding waist lines can be tres tricky to lose in the new year. he appears to not take much notice of me or anyone else and merrily goes about his day doing as he pleases in his own little guinea pig way. apparently he tells me, he is busy with his '12 days of muchly-mas' over at his home on instagram and therefore cannot possibly listen to me waffling on...

note nine:
as we are not home here for the holidays but home over the pond, i am doing but a sprinkling of joy and glee around the shed, whilst channeling my inner peace...