26 October 2011

33 x 365

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!


  1. Lovely post. So much that is wonderful going on with you. Have a great time. xx

  2. So many great things to read and your scarf looks great! Have a great time in Hong Kong :)

  3. Hong Kong? I'm very jealous ;) And congrats on having your photo printed, that must have been awesome.

    Love the scarf, great way to use up some beautiful yarns. Can't wait to see the finished item.

  4. Happy happy. I think I might have to check out Nurture Shock. Love a dissenting viewpoint every now and then. Is the expat mag any good? My sis just relocated to Singapore so I'll tell her to check it out.

  5. Happy Diwali to you too! We are celebrating the dark moon tonight with hope in our hearts that we will move from darkness to the light. Congratulations on your photograph, what a delightful way to find out about your work, 'in print!' Enjoy those books and HK. Your knitting looks just beautiful. Take precious care, Katie x

  6. BC, Rosy, pinkundine; I feel very lucky at the moment - lots of small but interesting exciting things happening (but I hope I don't sound smug - such a deeply unappealing trait). I'm counting my numerous blessings, that's for sure.

    Greer - I hope your sister is settling in ok - I know that it has its ups and downs, especially at first. The Expat Living magazine seems to be one of those magazines that is really useful regarding its advertising. The few features in it aren't exactly cutting edge, but it's invaluable if you're new and want to find shops/events/salons etc because a lot of places advertise in the magazine. I hope she's having a happy time (despite the fact that the thunderstorms this month have been KERRRRAZZEEEE!)

  7. Thank you for stopping by Katie at OSM - it's certainly vibrantly festive in Singapore's Little India today - despite the torrential weather and mindboggling lightening, the firecrackers are banging, the saris are swirling and everyone is buying huge bags full of marigold garlands and yummy sweets to celebrate with their families. A wonderful festival that, for us, rightly puts Hallowe'en in the shade. Why dress as ghosts and gouls when you can have colour and light, and think about good triumphing over evil?!

  8. What a great gift from your husband! I love the way you are striping the scarf, it is lovely :)

  9. That is a pretty awesome knitting bag!

  10. ooh lovely. Happy birthday! And I love the scarf. And congratulations on having your photo featured! And: Happy Devali. x

  11. What a lovely designed scarf, very, very cute. Great book choice too - still waiting to get my hands on River cottage veg ( I know I'll be getting it for yule!!), and I keep meaning to try and get Nurture shock. Enjoy Hong Kong.

  12. happy happy birthday! i hope you had a lovely day, and all good wishes for a wonderful year ahead.
    love your books, but oh that scarf. and the bag too. LOVE.

  13. What a crazy story about your photo - and congrats! I read Nuture Shock too and the chapter on sleep brought change to our family.

  14. Lia & Lori ann - I know, this shopper, don't you just want to fill it up! And all for a good cause - CLIC Sargent charity. So a warm & fuzzy feeling too.

    Erin, Swanski, Becks, S'n'P - thanks for the scarf love. I can't take credit for the design mind you - take a look on Ravelry for Brooklyn Tweed's Noro scarf - his is properly delish.

    HHUK - so glad you've also read Nurture Shock and were taken with the sleep chapter - it all makes perfect sense doesn't it?

  15. I think I might have to check out Nurture Shock too. I'll be checking to see if my library has it as soon as I'm done posting this comment. Thanks!

    Your scarf is so gorgeous! (As is the knitting bag as well.) It'll be a luxury to wear once you're finished.

  16. Enjoy your upcoming trip to HK.. I haven't tried knitting yet but am tempted to start once I can find the time..maybe once the baby is old enough for school.

  17. Ummmmm.... Ooops. When I just saw this post, I thought, how could I miss her birthday, it's on my birthday calendar and I turned round and realised the calendar is till on September!
    I'm so sorry. :-(

    I really hope your family and other friends did a better job than me and you had some cards in the post.

    However, I'm glad you got the cool new software to play around with - that looks ace! Lots of bedtime reading there!

    When are you going to Hong Kong?

    As I said somewhere else - gotta go make meringue ghosts.
    Happy Birthday - I'm only half a month late ;-)

  18. @Lydia - hope you find a copy of Nurture Shock, it's very interesting (but I suspect very easy to misinterpret too). It's the kind of book that's easy to read but still what I call "brain food".

    Dominique - do try some knitting, it's the best form of meditation I've ever tried (but I admit, I didn't start until my baby was about two and a half, so I understand about needing to find the time!)

    PDNFTA what the heck are meringue ghosts? Like actual ghost shapes made of meringue? I hope so, they sound amazing! Don't worry at all about the birthday - passed in a haze of lemongrass flavoured cocktails - marvelous ;0)

  19. Have the best time in HK. I love it there and would go back in a second if I could afford it. So many wonderful things to see and do. Enjoy.


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