The bingo caller's dirty knee. It arrived, and was celebrated in style. For Yarn Along this week, I realised that the pile of books on my heaving bedside table very accurately illustrates this past week; it's a snapshot study of me turning thirty three.
1. A guide book to Hong Kong - because my husband has been working too hard and needs a break, so we're off to visit my fairy godfather in HK.
2. Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. I imagine this may have been quite controversial when it came out. The strapline is "why everything we think about raising our children is wrong", and the back cover says "what if we told you... dishonesty in children is a positive trait, arguing in front of your kids makes you a good role model, if you praise your children you risk making them fail... and it was all true?"
They point out that, in parenting, the word instinct is frequently misused. Our base human instinct is simply to nurture and protect, but exactly how we go about doing that is not instinct, rather the result of collective wisdom. The authors look at various modern parenting norms and examine the available research to see where well-intentioned received wisdom is actually having a negative impact on our children. It's really interesting. I found the chapter on the amount of sleep that kids and teens require fascinating.
3. Expat Living magazine - is not something I usually buy, but they offered me a free three month subscription after I entered a photography competition. Imagine my surprise, on receiving my first complementary copy (the day before my birthday), to find out that my photo had been printed in the magazine - a runner up in the "City" category! A big confidence boost for the coming year.
4. & 5. InDesign and Photoshop manuals. My husband bowled me over with CS5 software for my birthday. The death of our old computer a few weeks ago had felt like the final nail in the coffin of my old editorial career. My old software, which had enabled me to do some freelance work over the past five years (since having my daughter), isn't compatible with newer operating systems. It felt like a metaphor for my advancing age and diminishing skills. How could I freelance again or ever hope to get back into an office without any knowledge of up-to-date software? That's why I was disproportionately devastated when we had to replace the old computer. So CS5 was the most empowering birthday gift I could EVER have received. Perhaps I'm not completely out of the race after all? I'm determined to learn as much as I can about Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign from manuals before trying some classes. These web tutorials look super tempting. All of a sudden, the world is my oyster again.
6. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's new Veg book, another birthday gift. It's a great book, except that I don't like the random wee doodley illustrations. They look like an afterthought. But that's a minor quibble. This book is truly making me more homesick for my veg patch than ever. I'm itching to get back to it!
And so, to knitting...
My skinny stripe scarf is coming along a treat. If you'd like to know the details, read on (if not, just admire my knitting bag! An Orla Kiely for Tesco charity bag I believe. Isn't it amazingly beautiful?).
The stash that prompted this scarf comprised remnants of other projects: a 50g lump of Viola superwash merino in radioactive (the lime), about 80g of Koigu handpainted, and about 30g of Viola superwash merino in raven (the blue/black). The yarns are exactly the same texture, and knit together perfectly. Also, they cost a bloody fortune so I wanted to make something that would use up every last scrap.
It's a K1, P1 rib over 39 stitches on 3.25mm needles. Each stripe is two rows per colour, slipping the first and last stitches on the second row. This makes it appear to be stocking stitch, but it's denser, stretchier and reversible. It also lies completely flat.
By chance, the amount of radioactive + the raven = the Koigu. So the plan is to have the Koigu stripe throughout, with raven-coloured striped sections at each end, and radioactive stripes making up the main length of the scarf. When it's done I'll be able to tell you that you need 160g of merino sock yarn for a scarf of ... length. As yet it's still a mystery.
Stop by Yarn Along to see what others are making and reading this week. For now, we're off to celebrate Deepavali today. We'll join the throngs in Serangoon Road, wearing our brightest clothes, pile some banana leaves high with biryani, and my girl and I will get our matching henna tattoos. Happy festival of light!