Little Things That Improve Your Day Instantly

  • Midi Minx airily announcing at breakfast, “I am not a monster; my teachers say I’m lovely”. I lost my coffee and choked for a loooong time.
  • The expression on Mini’s little face as you hold your arms out for her to jump into at the swimming pool. All 6 of those little teeth on display with a squeal that’s pure dolphin.
  • Maxi whispering, “I love your knitting. You’re the cleverest Mummy in the world”. Ah, darling you won’t be saying that when you discover fashion.
  • Realising you can’t get any wetter (when rained on for the 8th time that day) so stopping wincing against the rain. Then noticing it tastes a bit malty (!)
  • The Boss bringing hot buttered toast, unbidden.
  • I said, “The Boss bringing hot buttered toast, unbidden
  • (Damn, the telepathy link’s down again…Must be the stormy weather)

Rainbow Knits at Inverness Airport

Look, I know I never blog about my knitting, but I have to write a tiny little weeny post about the weekend before last.

While the Scottish Golf Open was playing at Castle Stuart, Inverness Airport right next door decided to put on some entertainment for its customers.  It advertised for some crafters and makers to apply for a stall for some days over the week.  I applied, for a laugh, and was thrilled and honoured to be picked.  I’ve only ever experienced a single craft fair before now (I sold a solitary pair of booties), so I was a bit scared and overawed, and planned to demonstrate my knitting rather than attempt to sell.

Well, it was a hoot and I was so well looked after by the airport staff.  I had so much time to sit and knit and think without untangling a minx or 2 from my wool every 5 minutes.  I spotted a couple of Faces (and got overawed at ‘Auntie’ Carol Kirkwood touching my knitting – about 1000 years ago I failed the audition at Shepherds Bush to be a BBC weather presenter, but I still admire ‘meteos’) and enjoyed blethering non-stop about knitting. It seemed that a simple, “Are you a knitter yourself?” brought out so many lovely stories and interesting snippets from so many passers-by.  I admit that I lapped up the praise I got about my Shetland Ring Lace Shawl that I’d hauled out of storage and displayed, and even started another (well, it’s a wedding veil.  If I start now, it might be finished by the time one of my daughters needs it…).  It’s lovely to receive compliments about your crafting – sometimes I look at my stuff and wonder what the hell I’m thinking of, wasting my time and energies knit, knit, knitting it all.

In terms of ‘business’, I sold nothing on Day 1, made 3 sales on Day 2 and a single sale before I’d finished unpacking my stall on Day 3.  I’m definitely not cut-out to sell – the young dad buying for his beautiful, tiny premature twin daughters showed me their photo on his phone.  I’m glad he gave me the money for the booties beforehand, or I’d have given them away for free (I was feeling very hormonal and gooey).

Best of all, for me, was talking with the other stall-holders, who were all far, far more experienced than me and very generous with their advice (as well as fantastic company and a good laugh!).  I hope I’ve got their links right, because their work was just beautiful.  I felt very honoured to be displaying in their company.  I don’t like to single people out, but I have to mention 3 really lovely and talented ladies:

Helen of Ripples Crafts was selling some absolutely delicious hand-dyed wools, postcards and knitting kits. The Boss had to give me a talking-to every night, reminding me of the size of my stash of wool.  Had he not, I know I’d have spent my entire takings at her beautiful stall.

Morna of Made By Morna had a stall of the most exquisite hand-sewn, appliqued quilts.  It wasn’t just the quality of work that I admired, it was the wit she imbued in her pieces.  I still lust after her Apple Quilt: it’s a thing of beauty and I can see why some people buy them as wall-hangings.

Julia of Julia Smith Ceramics had a stall full of the most delicately patterned, gorgeous pieces.  And it didn’t sag in the middle, like mine and Helen’s…

Quick Update

I hadn’t realised, but after 3 little girls born so close together, you get a bit blase about their achievements and milestones.  Or I apparently do, anyway.

On Monday I asked The Boss if he’d noticed Mini Minx (14 months old) posting her shapes in her letterbox before.  Nope – how long had this been going on?  I admitted I’d no idea.  Blimey!  She’d sat quite happily picking up her circle, triangle and square and pushing them into all the holes in turn till they hit the right hole, then chortled with the rattle of each shape finally being posted.  I gave her the toy again tonight (Thursday) and she merrily sorted her shapes.  Yikes, there’s maybe a bit of clever-ness hiding behind that fluffy little head.

Tuesday was a yucky old day, so I’d had high plans of baking with the girls.  They had other ideas – Maxi Minx drew most of the day, Midi Minx happily cut every piece of paper she could lay her hands on, into tiny little pieces.  Mini, meanwhile, made a few scrawls with her crayons, then had more fun wrapping the paper round the crayons and pretending to eat them.  So maybe not so smart after all…

Mini Minx cut her 6th tooth on Wednesday: her upper outer right incisor.  So her raggedy little mouth and her temper are both a bit more even, now. 

Remember me honking on (and on) about the wonderful beaches round here?  (most of the posts in the category ‘Out and About’).  Well, the lovely striped sandstone pebbles have been inspiring me for months, so I knuckled down and spent the last 8 weeks or so knitting a wee range of booties in traditional creams, browns and blue.   You can see more pics now on my Rainbow Knits Facebook page or from tomorrow on my website

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Quick Update of Minxisms

Yeah, I know, I’ve been a bit absent.  Well, I suddenly got 2 commissions for baby booties via my website with tight deadlines, so I had to drop everything and just knit.  And it was right in the middle of me starting to create a new range of booties.  And it was also in the middle of me knuckling down to doing some serious study about tax and some of the more esoteric legislation that I think may impact on my Take Over The World With Knitting plans.  So this blog unfortunately fell by the wayside.  Still, that just means that I get to post a little post of quick observations of the minxes rather than an enormous blow-by-blow, too-much-detail post.  Bonus. 

The girls haven’t been sleeping well.  On Saturday (14th May) morning I woke up with Mini Minx yelling for a feed, Midi Minx starfished across the bed and Maxi Minx asleep along my feet like a puppy.  Maxi quickly woke up and started moaning: “Ewww, Daddy: you smell like dirty puddles!”  Poor man was so perplexed by that one that he had no comeback at all.  My giggling just egged Maxi on.

Mini’s had a bit of a personality upgrade this past week.  As well as learning to walk and cut another tooth*, she learned to scribble (on a McDonald’s colouring-in sheet.  The shame!  Am I too mortified to keep it?) and is very happily displaying her brand new tantrumming skills, at every opportunity.

Mini carefully enunciated”‘yum-yyyyyyyumm!” twice, while she was eating.  That’s my girl!  It adds to her signs for milk, hot, and her own made-up sign for ‘my sisters’ (blows kisses like Upsy Daisy)

Maxi, chirruping about something at first light this morning (I wasn’t really listening): “I think that I am the strongest girl in all the land”, she declared.  “Except for the ones that can lift their parents”.  Riiiiiight.

Maxi, this evening: “I’m a bit clever so I won’t need to go to University; I’m going to be an artist instead”.  So long as it keeps me and your father in our dotage, you can be whatever you want to be, darling.

*Mini’s teeth: she no longer looks like Fang, as she’s cut a top incisor, now – her right one.  The left one is literally a few skin cells’ depth below the surface.

Maxi Learns to Knit

child knitting
Maxi’s first attempt at casting-on – she’s a natural!

I’ve promised to teach Maxi how to knit since she was first old enough to ask me.  I’ve always said, “When you’re 5.  Your little hands will be big enough then.  Wait till you’re a big 5 year old”.

She was delighted when I bought her real adult needles and some balls of soft chunky wool for her 5th birthday last month, and has been badgering me to teach her.  Well, an elephant is more likely to forget anything than my wee Maxi.  I’ve been shamefully putting her off because she always asks just as I’m mid-chaotic scramble to get dinner on the table, or breast-feeding Mini, or Midi’s playing up.
Today, however, she asked when Mini had just gone down for a nap.  I dropped what I was doing, seriously put Midi’s nose out of joint by not including her, and sat down with Maxi on my lap, and taught her.
I warned her I’d just teach her a little bit, and we’d practice and practice, and not move on to the next thing till she got it.  And we’d only do 10 minutes at the most.  I thought we might get ‘making a loop’ done today.  So I was pretty shocked (and very, very proud) that she cracked 2 tail cast-on within those 10 minutes.  See the photo for the really neat job she’s done.  All by herself!  I demo’d some, helped on others, then just left her to do it by herself.  I’m hugely biased, but you can see the generations of knitters within that child, eh?  (It sure wasn’t my teaching – I’m not bad at explaining and demonstrating, but what maxi did today was sheer talent).
I also now have a new business plan for expanding Rainbow Knits – I shall employ child labour within the year!  Well, does it count as child labour if she thinks it’s a game…?

Smug, Happy Post Alert (it won’t last…)

After hailstoning on and off for 3 days, the snow has finally decided to stick down here by the coast.  Like most people who don’t have to battle snow regularly, I love it.  I get a lot of happiness from watching it cover over all the little imperfections of the landscapes: the grim, the grime, the dreary.  The whiteness of fresh snow makes the whole, old world seem new and clean again.  As well as stopping traffic and building site noise, it muffles all the other irritating noises leaving just the pleasant sounds, like the ‘oink, oink’ of your footsteps and kids’ excited squealing.

It also brings out the latent 7 year old in me: on my trek to the Post Office this morning to send some eBay parcels, I made some snowballs.  I couldn’t help it, it was as if my hands had a life of their own.  I guess I could have used them as retaliation ammunition, but the local kids just don’t seem to target adults round here (softies – I definitely did as a mini-minx, especially if I had a sure-fire exit prepped!).  I couldn’t resist lobbing it ‘whopppp’ against a house wall.  I don’t think anyone saw me.  And the householders would never expect the waddling middle-aged lady of chucking snowballs against their home.

So this morning has generally been an excellent one, with lots of nice things happening:

  • I got to leg it into the village and back on my own, luxuriating in the ability to walk with my tongue out to catch snowflakes, eyes to the heavens, hat pulled down to my eyelashes, with only my own feet and safety to look out for.  I could move at a pace that suits selfish old *meeeeee*.  I think the gentle exercise of scaling the hill back home is what’s made me feel so happy – I miss getting exercise that’s sustained and steady, rather than frantic and in spurts, which is what you get as a mummy of suicidal toddlers.
  • The Boss ran the elder minxes ragged making rude snowmen outside and digging out the car while I fed Baby Minx and steamed gently in the kitchen.
  • I got a whole undisturbed 6 hours sleep – no squirming squids beside me – so I feel alive today.
  • It’s a Saturday, so the Boss brought me rocket-fuel coffee in bed while I snuggled with all 3 little horrors.  They woke up in good moods too, so the baby giggled while her sisters and I tickled and declared our love for each other (yeah, pass the sick bucket.  But this is not a regular occurrence, so I need to log it to sustain me on the grim days)
  • The Boss currently has some soup on the go as pre-payment for some mince-pies I’m going to construct later on.
  • Middle Minx has given me some great ideas for a knitted hat-scarf that I’ll actually have time to do today / tonight (I’m a compulsive knitter.  I need to knit the same as I have to write in order to function normally.  Writing washes the silly thoughts out of my head and onto the screen; knitting purges daily stresses in the same way that climbing used to).

So – let it snow!

(…till the first time I take a tumble, or the gritter sends it all a poo-brown, then I’ll be grumbling about it – watch this space)