Sunday, January 10, 2010

Look Mum, circular needles!

Yesterday one of my best friends, Hayley, whom I have known since the beginning of our Wairarapa College days back in 2000 (and with whom I have a kind of complicated, blended-family tie), came for a visit and to stay the night. Hayley is now back living in the Wairarapa after training as a primary school teacher in Palmerston North. She teaches 5 year olds and lives
with her partner who is also a primary school teacher. Having seen how hard Hayley works - how much time she puts into preparation and helping with extra-curricular activities, the fact that she is in charge of 30 5 year olds every day - makes me really admire her and other hard working teachers like her. But it also really puts me off ever being a teacher...

We went to TheNewDowse to have a look at the exhibitions on there at the moment. I have been to TheNewDowse once for Craft 2.0 but never to any of their exhibitions (I love going to galleries but as I don't have a car it's usually just the City Gallery and Te Papa for me). I was really impressed with the space, I remember going to The Dowse when I was at primary school but I don't remember what we went to or what it looked like (I just remember thinking it was near Queensgate as we drove there on the bus!), so I can't compare it to before it was done up in 2006, but it really is a great gallery. The giant inflatable rabbit there at the moment freaked me out a bit; it was fun choosing an artist to nominate for the People's Choice Award in The Wallace Art Awards; the exhibition for kids at the moment 'Tickle My Senses' was just as enjoyable for adults - who doesn't like picking up the handset of an old phone and listening to what sound is playing through it?; and Lisa Walker's Unwearable posed some questions about whether we appreciate something as much when we look at it and think 'I could do that with some random bits of plastic and a hot glue gun'. Overall, it was a fantastic little outing.

Guy then joined us for giant New York Pizza for dinner and then we went to Whip It. I LOVED it. Apart from the cheesy pool scene (you'll know what I mean if you see it), I loved the subject matter, I LOVE Ellen Page (loved her in Juno, loved her in this), I loved the other actors, the music. Basically just a whole lot of love going on for this movie. It was a really fun and funny movie, really feel-good while still being intelligent and teaching me all about roller derby (I so want to go to a roller derby match now, there's a roller derby team in Wellington so it is possible - no idea if I'm using the right terminology 'match', 'team'...)! Definitely worth it.

Then this morning I made Hayley and Guy Swedish pancakes for breakfast to go with the banana chocolate chip muffins I made yesterday. Not sure if I'm a fan of this recipe though, I've made it three times now (because I keep hoping if I add more sugar to the mixture they'll be sweet enough - the savoury-ness is what puts me off even though the colour and consistency are good) but Hayley and Guy weren't that into them so I think it was three strikes, this recipe is out. My 9 year old little brother LOVES pancakes and late last year we learned to flip them while I helped him make them one morning when I was home visiting. He wasn't impressed by this recipe either, but we were both extremely impressed with our flipping prowess. I love my little brother, he is so cute and fun.

In knitting headlines, we have hat lift off and I am really excited and proud (I also have the lamest life ever it seems...) of my minuscule progress.

Voila, le chapeau:

I cast on hunky dory and then started knitting my first row, kind of forgetting about the 'join for working in the round' part of the instructions. I was very careful to keep all the stitches on the bottom so as not to twist them and when I came to the end I was very pleased with myself. Then, needing a break from all the intense concentration casting on 112 stitches and knitting a row of knit 2, purl 2, required, I went out in the wind for a walk to the supermarket to get a few things. While walking and feeling pleased with myself, I suddenly realised something: my knitting was not joined. If I kept knitting it the way I was going it would just be one big scarf-like piece of ribbed knitting. So then I was really anxious to get home and find out how you join a piece of circular knitting - I didn't think I'd need to undo all my work so far because when I'd asked the girl at Knit World what it meant when it said 'taking care not to twist the stitches' and she had said to make sure all the stitches were facing down, she suggested knitting a row or two before joining it to make it easier to check that all the stitches were facing down and none were twisted.

I love YouTube. It taught me how to change from knit to purl when I first started my scarf and I was getting big lumps (I wasn't bringing my wool to the front before starting to purl and then taking it to the back when going back to knit); it taught me how to do a bar increase (not that I needed to know how to do one, I just wanted to learn something new as was getting pretty bored of the same old knit 10, purl 10, knit 10, purl 10 while doing my scarf), although learning the bar increase took a while and I nearly cried while trying to work it out. Yes I am a loser.

So of course, I could rely on YouTube to teach me how to join my knitting for knitting in the round on circular needles. I searched 'knitting in the round circular needles', watched 2 videos and was sorted. It's so easy! So now I have to continue with the knit 2, purl 2 in the round until it measures 2 inches from the bottom, and then the fun begins of adding in the 2nd colour (blue - it's going to be a nautical little hat just like the pattern).

I feel so lame being so excited and proud of my little knitting projects, but at the same time I don't care, because I am excited about the things I'm learning and proud of my progress - even my very small amount of ribbing because I've never done it before. As with my tea-drinking Nana-ness, I just have to embrace it...

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