Sunday, 9 December 2012

Knitting machines - keep or sell??

I need your advice!!

So I have these knitting machines. Three, to be exact. Brothers KH-860, KH-260 and a KH-830. Complete with their ribbing attachments, little foldy table, some cones of yarn, and some wonderfully 90s pattern books and punch cards. I've had them for a couple of years now, gathering dust under my bed, so the other day I figured I'd just do the sensible thing and list them up on eBay. Because, really, when am I going to have the time to figure out how in the hell to operate them, and who wouldn't want an extra hundred quid or two just before Christmas?

But then I got them out to take some photographs...

Scary looking? Hell yeah. But aren't you now feeling kind of intrigued...? Immediately I Google the models and up come a flurry of YouTube tutorials on how to set them up, cast on, and do all sorts of amazing stuff... It is thanks to YouTube that I learnt to hand knit after all; now the world of machine knitting could become my oyster too! And let's face it, when it comes to hand knitting, I'm more of an instant gratification kind of gal with a penchant for circular needles or DPNs, so how great would it be to be able to think up and whip up, and I mean really whip up, a few cabled jumpers here and there for me and the little man? A great big knitted blanket for f*** sake??? Plan to list on eBay scrapped there and then.

I did think I should probably double check how much they were going for though... £500 each??!! That's potentially £1500 for all three! What do I do guys?? I need your help here. Do I keep them and get all obsessed with this new-to-me craft, or take the money and run? Not sure where I'm running to but you know what I mean. The learning of a new craft is always so deeply exciting... I love that I'm building up a bank of skills and developing my creativity in ways I hadn't planned. And of course, the making and the wearing and the giving of something I've made is also a big motivator! But the time and the money that goes into these hobbies, and those slightly manic nights when you can't get to sleep because you're so excited and inspired and just need to keep on knitting...! Don't I already have enough on my plate?

What do I do? What would you do??

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Advent 2012

Oh man I love this time of year. The dark days, the bitter chill, the cosy evenings, the fact that it's practically a crime not to fatten oneself up on stews and roasts and pies and puddings and... And I know I shouldn't be wishing my life away but I can't deny that I do spend most of year looking forward to now. Thank goodness then, that some clever soul thought up an Advent Calendar to help us squeeze every last tinsel clad drop out of the festive season before it's all over, all over again!

This is the Advent Calendar I made last year (tutorial here) and it really was the best I've ever had - for each day we thought of a little Christmassy something to do, with the odd treat or silly present hidden in random pockets. Last year my little man (who was three at the time) would get such a kick out of finding the right numbered pocket every morning, while I got all over excited about decorating the tree and making infinite batches of some cakey deliciousness or other! This year he's wanted to be more involved in the planning of our calendar, thinking up ideas of how he'd like to spend his holidays, and dedicating long hours to the decoration of his den... hmmn... let's just say he's nicked my favourite star fairy lights, and I'm down an entire roll of doubled sided tape and box of rhinestones. I'm actually a little envious. It looks really cool.

~ Advent Activity List 2012 ~

1. Pancakes for breakfast!
2. Decorate the Christmas tree.
3. Write a letter to Father Christmas.
4. Decorate the den.
5. Read stories about Saint Nicholas.
6. Go to our local street party to see the Christmas lights being switched on.
7. Hang out wreath.
8. Read stories about Hanukkah.
9. Movie night! Make popcorn and watch Christmassy movies.
10. Make Christmas cards for family and friends.
11. Gather unwanted toys, books, clothes etc and donate to charity.
12. Ice-skating at the Natural History Museum.
13. Practice singing Christmas Carols.
14. Wrap up warm and take a hot picnic to Kew Gardens. Remember bread for the ducks!
15. Escape to the country...
16. Bake and decorate sugar cookies to hang on the tree.
17. Make hot cocoa and roasted chestnuts and read stories by the fire.
18. Make Christmas spice cupcakes to take to school for the Christmas Party.
19. Appointment with Father Christmas!
20. Make Christmas Crackers.
21. Read stories about the baby Jesus.
22. Go to St Paul's Cathedral to listen to the choir.
23. Make a wish...
24. Hang out stockings for Father Christmas (don't forget to leave the reindeer a treat!).

For the little cards I just got a piece of thick brown paper and stamped it with white snowflakes using the butt of a butternut squash and a snowflake shaped cookie cutter. Once it had dried I cut the paper up into 24 little cards and wrote each activity over the top.

PS. Last year I found the following image on Pinterest... It seems someone had the genius idea of setting up a "Santa writes back" studio - I had every intention of doing this last Christmas but never got around to it. That and I don't think my boy really and actually understood, not like he does this year! So I have no idea if it's still happening or if they'll reply overseas, but I'm going to give it a go, and here are the details if you want to write to Santa too!

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