Author Archives: lara

About lara

Hi, I'm Lara. I live in Sydney with my adorable husband, two superb examples of the Order Lagomorpha, a cat with mental health issues, a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo in need of rehabilitation, and the Disco Diva's of Denistone - our bantam cross chooks. My current passions are Knitpicks Options needles, lace knitting, and learning to spin.

Unravelling Ravelry

For those of you who have found my blog via my “Unravelling Ravelry” class, or form my “Social Media for Crafters” lecture, here is a bonus glossary of Yarn speak that could help you navigate the online world of crafting. Enjoy!

BIL = Brother in Law
BTW = By the way
BFL = Blue-Faced Leicester
CAL = Crochet-A-Long (like a knitalong but crochet :D )
CIP = Crocheting in Public
DD = Dear/Darling Daughter
DH = Dear/Darling Husband
DIL = Daughter in Law
DP = Dear/Darling Partner
DS = Dear/Darling Son
DW = Dear/Darling Wife
EZ = Elizabeth Zimmerman
ETA = Edited to add
FIL = Father in Law
FO = Finished Object
Frog/Frogging = Ripping back your knitting/crochet (so called because you “rip it”)
Frog Pond = the final resting place of all abandoned projects
FWIW = For what it’s worth
HTH = Hope that helps
IIRC = If I Recall/Remember Correctly
IMHO = In my humble opinion
ISO = in search of
IYKWIM = If you know what I mean
IYSWIM = If you see what I mean
KAL = Knit-A-Long (lots of people joining together to make the same project)
KF = Kaffe Fassett
KIP = Knitting in Public
Lace Barf = What your lace looks like before blocking
Lifeline = threading a piece of string through the live stitches on your needle in case you have to frog back.
LMAO = Laughing my arse off
LMAOROF = Laughing my arse off, rolling on floor
LOL = Laugh out loud
LYS = Local Yarn Store (i.e. wool shop!)
LYSO = Local Yarn Shop Owner
MIL = Mother in Law
OH = Other Half
OOC = Out Of Curiosity
OP = Original Post(er)
OTH = On The Hook
OTN = On The Needles
PIW = Project(s) in Waiting
PM = Private Message
Pooling = When one colour in a variegated yarn bunches together in an area
ROFLOL = Rolling on the floor laughing out loud
ROTFLMAO = Rolling on the floor, laughing my arse off
SABLE = Stash accumulated beyond life expectancy
SEX = Stash Enrichment eXercise/eXpedition
SIL = Sister in Law
SnB =Stitch and Bitch
SO = Significant Other
TBH = to be honest
Tink/Tinking = unpicking your knitting stitch by stitch (from the word “knit” reversed, because you are knitting backwards)
TOAD = Trashed Object Abandoned in Disgust (see Frog Pond)
UFO = Unfinished Object
VLT = Victorian Lace Today (a splendid book of lace shawls and scarves)
WIP = Work in Progress
WPI = Wraps Per Inch (number of times yarn will wrap loosely around ruler or similar tool in one inch; more wraps indicates thinner yarn)
Yarn Barf = a big lump of yarn that accidentally gets pulled out of a new centre-pull ball, when you’re trying to find the end
YMMV = Your mileage may vary

Adapted from http://www.knittingforums.org.uk/random-knitting/topic123.html

Harry Potter Themed 9th Birthday Party

Harry Potter 9th Birthday Party

Guests were asked to arrive promptly for sorting into houses. They were then sent in for wand making (sticking washi tape and sparkles on to chopsticks), and then to Professor Moody for Defense Against the Dark Arts (Pin the Wand on a large poster of Harry).

Then they were sent outside to practice Wingardiam Leviosa (balacing a baloon on a wand tip), while waiting for Divination class.

Cheryl made a brilliant Professor Trelawney (albeit without the sherry fumes), and some kids loved her class so much they wanted to do it twice!

While Divination was in session for one house at a time, Brooke ran History of Magic (Harry Potter trivia), and Vish ran them ragged with outdoor games.

We then had snacks and cake and present opening, and finished up with a herbology class, putting Extract of Murtlap and Bubotuber Pus into small jars for potions lessons at home. Preferably in the bathtub!

A wonderful time was had by all the kids, and all of the adults were driven to gin. Thank you to my wonderful professors, and Angi who quietly helped where it was needed and helped everything to run smoothly. I have had some lovely thank you messages from parents, which make all the effort worthwhile (as well as having a happy kid!).

Happy Birthday Squidilng

Inigo 9th Birthday

Kid went to bed 8, woke up 9.

Went to bed with Ogden the Octopus, and his new favourite soft toy “Zombunny” tucked inside his pyjamas. Zombunny was an early Christmas present made by the wonderful Cheryl, and he is perfect. At nine, he is still the kid that is late for school to stay with a dying monarch butterfly, has meaningful relationships with soft toys, and one particular tree at school.

At nine, he is still generous with his kisses and cuddles, still loves extravagantly, and still holds my hand to cross the road. But he also plays chess like a fiend, can ride his bike all the way to school, and climbs all the way to the top of the indoor climbing wall without a trace of fear.

He is brave, he is sweet, he is kind and he is clever. He is every bit as wonderful as I ever hoped he might be, and he keeps getting more and more himself, which is an absolute joy to watch. The last few years have brought some tough challenges, and he has recently proved to be more than a match for them. With the support of his teachers, he has gone from strength to strength this year, and (touch wood!), we may have found the magic formula for engagement at school. See the previous few posts for more detail.

And today, we finally had the initial assessment with an Occupational Therapist. It will be a while before we get the report back, but it looks like we might be finally on the road to a diagnosis, and some support for his challenges.

After the OT, we had lunch at his favourite restaurant Ras Vatika (Dosa and dhai Puri with a mango lassi), then went into town to see the windows at Smith & Caugheys. We wandered inside and discovered the Magical Forest, so we decided to check that out (highly recommended if you’re in Auckland with a kid), and then to Aotea Square for the giant lego Christmas tree.

Daddy then met us at the cinema for “Fantastic Beasts”, sushi for dinner, and then a trip to Giappo for the world’s best ice cream.

Which apparently comes with a candle for your ninth birthday.

On the way home he told me that he wished he had a time turner so he could live today over and over again. “It’s like I drank a whole bottle of Felix Felicis last night, and I’ve had a whole day of perfection”. I hear you kid.

Breakthrough

At the end of last term, Squid had a really crappy day. It was no ones fault – the class went on a sketching walk, and he wandered off. The teacher yelled – to keep him safe, which I completely understand, and he crumbled.

When I picked him up that day, he felt so bad, he told me he had considered hurting himself.

I insisted on more meetings with the school. An emergency appointment to talk to the Educational Psychologist, and an action plan was drawn up. The school committed to addressing both his deficits and his giftedness, and especially to try to accelerate him through some assessments to try to find where he is at (particularly in maths).

Yesterday at Mind Plus, the class were looking at analogies of giftedness, and this is what he came up with. He’s been putting in extra effort at school, and that, combined with all the extra stuff his classroom teach has been doing, seems to be finally making a difference.

For the teachers

This is a shout out to my teacher peeps.

This week, my kid expressed his unhappiness at school in a way that could not be ignored, and it couldn’t be misinterpreted.

And the response from the school has been heartening. Teachers who have worked with my boy have been shocked, and distressed, and they have made the time to set things in motion for change.

There have been teachers in his past that have ignored, minimised and disregarded his challenges, and his feelings about school, and my advocacy for my boy. But the last two days I have seen three teachers go above and beyond to make sure that this situation gets turned around.

And one special teacher, who happens to be a friend to both Squid and I, who took time out of her busy life to make sure we are supported and informed, and nurtured – you can’t know what your advocacy has meant.

I am hopeful that things will change really soon. And if it does, it will be down to great teachers, working passionately within a system that constrains and stifles where it should lift up and celebrate these wonderful people.

Thank you for the work you do.

Harry Potter is Ready to Party

Wizard!
Inigo’s friend from Mind Plus, Liam, had a Harry Potter themed birthday party on the weekend. After years of trying to get the kin enthused about the books, we finally let him watch the first movie on Saturday night. We bought a wand, and a broom, some glasses, and some face paint to draw on a scar, and on Sunday morning he chose his own outfit. The robes were from his Star Wars party, but he was given authentic ones when he arrived!

Broomstick

Lara’s Magic Cast On

I really love Judy’s Magic Cast on for toe up socks. And now I am teaching toe up sock knitting, and about to release my first sock pattern, I have been knitting a lot of socks.

Judy’s cast on gives a great finish, but it’s just a bit too fiddly for me. I am a very lazy knitter, so if I can find a short cut, or a way to fudge something, I’ll do it. This is a very quick and basic video, and hope someone finds it useful.

Just remember that on the second needle (the one on the “top” in this video), you will need to knit the first round of stitches through the back loop to untwist them. The ones on bottom needle can be knit normally.

A moment of stellar parenting

Tonight, we had a parenting situation that needed a sensitive touch.

Small boy has grown accustomed to a cafe visit, with cake, as a reward for reading milestones. Not so much the reading every night, but the writing in the home reading journal. It was a deal we made at the beginning of the year with his teacher. She thought it was important, we had her back and enforced it.

Today, he hit 175 days of reading. But he hadn’t filled in the journal. I said no cake. There were tears.
Thank goodness I rock this parenting gig. I found a clip of The Beastie Boys singing “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”, and sang “No Cake Till Tuesday”.

Kid became hysterical for a different reason, and the evening was saved.

Now looking for a reason to introduce him to Nick Cave. Or Snakefinger. Perhaps some Violent Femmes.

It’s not cancer

For a few years now, I’ve had a lump on the back of my neck, and thought nothing of it. It was painful when it first appeared, but not since, so I ignored it.

In April, just before festival, it got bigger. And painful. And a secondary lump appeared. Then I started getting facial nerve pain across the right side of my face. The intensity varies, but it’s been pretty much constant for a few months.

So I went to the GP, who sent me off to have needles poked into it for a biopsy.

It’s a “reactive” lymph node. Now, reacting is what a lymph node is supposed to do. But then, after it is done reacting, it is supposed to calm down and have a rest. This one is going off like a frog in a sock, and hasn’t got the memo to calm down yet.

And it might be what is causing the facial pain, and probably is what is causing the pain in my neck.

The solution is surgery. Ugh.

But at least it’s not cancer, right?

My First Ravelry Pattern!

Please do download it, add it to your ravelry queue, cast on, and post project pics when you are done. It won’t take more than an hour or two to make, and you can customise it and make it your own. This isn’t anything tricky or clever, it was designed to be worked on in a class I was teaching about knitting in the round.

May 2016

I just turned 46. It’s not so bad. I’m full of gratitude for the life I am able to live right now. Still terribly fond of Mark, so blessed to be mama to the best kid in the world, and doing fulfilling work, both in my volunteer role, and in in actual paid employment.

Yesterday, I taught a knitting class and had great feedback.

Inigo learning to knit while daddy played tennis

This morning, I finally taught Inigo how to knit (he learned to spin at the end of last month).
And this afternoon I published my first ever pattern on Ravelry – it’s nothing complicated, but great fun, and a good beginning project for a learner.

Next weekend we have Woolfest – the third annual pop up fibre market in Auckland, and the second one since I tok over as area delegate. Festival went off with nary a hitch, and for the first time eve, Inigo seems to not only be enjoying school, he has great friends, and he seems to be heading for some positive academic results for the first time.

I hope all is well with you too.

Nothing to see here

Thanks to Jenny who notified me of the blog being hacked, Mark was able to gain back control pretty easily. So I thought I should post something after a long silence.

Life is ticking along well in Auckland. Squid has a really great teacher this year, and is actually enjoying school most of the time, I am really busy in the lead up to the Creative Fibre annual festival that we are organising in Auckland this year, and Mark is doing ok. He’s not enjoying life in Auckland as much as Squid and I, but he’s OK.

Inigo has been really enjoying indoor climbing ,and is showing a real talent for it. Last weekend he fell out of a tree and injured himself so badly we had to go to the emergency room, but he is healing well, and still keen on climbing!

2016

Today, 5 year olds all over Australia started school today.
 
 I’ve dreaded today for years. It sucks.
 
 I’m coping.
 
 I miss my babies.

Choosing a celebrant

Over the holidays I was discussing with family and friends what makes a good celebrant. When I was married in 2004, our celebrant was very “hands off”, and I practically had to beg him to do a rehearsal with us. At the time, I felt like I needed a little more guidance and hand holding than he gave us. Don’t get me wrong, he was very professional, and performed the ceremony beautifully. But I was left feeling a little lost through the process.

What I needed, was a celebrant that was willing to patiently walk us through all the documentation, and help us to make choices about our ceremony. As it was, we wrote our entire ceremony ourselves! Back then, we didn’t have the moitum in the ceremony, and our vows were said in rhyming couplets in the style of Dr Seuss. It worked, we are still happily married, and though it felt a bit rough and ready at the time, it worked.

I mentioned my feelings about the celebrant, and my brother in law said that he thought that style of celebrant was brilliant! “You don’t need all that hand holding, just do the paperwork and say your words” seem to sum up how he felt.

There are hundreds of blog posts giving advice about how to choose your celebrant, but this “personal style” or “service level” can be very difficult to establish over the phone.

What is important to you in a celebrant? Below are some attributes you might like to consider before you pick up the phone.

- personal style and flair
- level of service (how many weddings per weekend?)
- connection (do you feel comfortable with them)
- availability for rehearsals etc
- will they work with you to write the prefect ceremony, or do it for you?

If you don’t need extra support, tell your celebrant. And if you do, make sure you choose a celebrant that will take the time to make sure that your wedding goes smoothly, right down to every detail.

Happy families

Adam and Andrea are friends that I have known for years – since before Inigo was born and we used to go to a pub in Newtown for a knitting group.
 
 They bought a house, and renovated. They planned to start a family, and planned a more extensive renovation. But first, a wedding.
 
 Harbour Wedding
 
 Very soon afterwards, they found out they were expecting. Twins!
 
 Yesterday, we had a visit from them, Owen and Olivia are now two and a half, clever, chatty and adorable.
 
 Happiness!
 
 A simple reminder of the wonderful work I am lucky enough to do.
 
 
 - from my iPhone