Taking Charge

Time-management guru, Alison Mitchell, has a wonderful exercise in her book “Time Management for Manic Mums” to demonstrate her “Wine Bottle Theory of Time Management”. You get a jug and try to fill it with apples, blueberries, caster sugar and wine.

  • The apples represent the urgent and important tasks, the things you have to do or you’ll get bitten in the ass like going to work, paying bills or feeding kids.
  • The blueberries represent important tasks but there’s no urgency – doing them will save you time in the long run like setting up a system for making sure bills get paid on time. For me, following through on publishing patterns is in this category.
  • Then the caster sugar represents tasks that are important to, or urgent for, someone else – in my case that’s housework. I do it because I know it makes DH happy when it’s kept on top of, but it would be low on my priority list otherwise.
  • And then there’s a bottle of wine – ah… wine! It represents all the things I’d rather be doing like crafting, twitter, Ravelry – than the important things I should be doing.

You get the idea: if we fill our jug / day with wine or caster sugar first we’ll struggle to get the important apples and blueberries in there. If you put the apples in first the smaller items of lesser importance will fill in around the gaps.

Case in point: this morning, instead of washing the floors as I’d planned, I played with an Excel spreadsheet of my stash that I’d exported from Ravelry. Naturally, the floors did not get washed at all as my “wine” task took over my time.

Playing with my stash spreadsheet is a favourite game of mine as I try to plan my next knitting / crochet project based on maximising how much stash I’ll use up. With almost 74 kilometers of yarn to work through it’s an understandable obsession.

This week is my first of 10 weeks of parental leave (hence all the blogging action!). For six of those 10 weeks, we will be living in the south of France so I was developing my knitting plan around working with cotton and linen to cope with the heat. In fact I bought a new project’s worth of linen with this plan in mind when I was at La Droguerie in Paris last week. This is the logic that has me struggling with 74km of yarn!


Haul from La Droguerie, Paris

However, rather than a stash-dive being my usual exercise in choosing “wine” over “caster sugar” this morning it turned into an “apple” moment as a realisation dawned on me…

You may have noticed the “current status” of my two design ideas in my last post was “stewing”. If you recall my previous blog-post “Potential” I had challenged myself to publish an average of one pattern per month for the next year. I wrote that in November 2013. So where are the seven or so new patterns designed by me?

Sadly, still in my head!

And here’s the why: I’ve been busy! The wrong kind of busy – I’ve been filling my jug/time with going to work; looking after the kids and house; knitting or crocheting; working through stash… or teachers’ presents… or items to enter in the local horticultural show. I’ve allowed myself to be so “Busy” with busy-ness of everyday things I’ve avoided the the business of being a designer: knuckling down, swatching and sketching, pattern-writing and testing.

Rather than fill my 10-week-carafe with delicious French wine and come back from France with three new cotton or linen sweaters and several dishcloths, I’m taking charge of my pitcher to pick some juicy “blueberries” from my stash to swatch with instead:


It’s all in my head…


I’ve been meaning to…

I’ve been meaning to post here a few times recently. There were communion weekends (actually two communions in one weekend – I kid you not!) and confirmation-with-Grandmother-birthday-weekends and #twilting days and lots of lovely things to distract me from posting here.

What can I say?

Mea Culpa (which I always assumed was a phrase in Irish, when I was growing up)

So, I’m here now – and with good reason! I’m looking for money off you.

“Whu?” I hear you say, bemused. Well you can quit your obfuscation! I do this every year – or, at least for the past four years.

Yes, Since 2009 I have taken part in the Flora’s Women’s Mini-Marathon, raising funds for CMRF. I use “taking part” in the loosest meaning of the word. The first year – 2009 – I had two training buddies and we walked/ran the route as I assayed the limits of my pelvic floor!

The next year I trained on my own but only managed to reach week 7 of the Couch to 5K programme. So I walked for 5 minutes, ran for 20, walked for 10 minutes, ran for 20 and walked the five or so minutes that was left to get to the finish line. By this stage I had bitten the running bug so I kept running until the 8k run for Simon Community in the Phoenix Park in October 2010.

When it came to the Women’s Mini-Marathon in 2011 I managed to run it (to my surprise!) in less than 60 minutes.

This year I’ll be starting the Mini-marathon in the fast-runners section! I’m frickin’ flabbergasted! Last year my sister and her daughter ran it also and all three of us came in within 90 seconds of each other.  I had envisaged the three of us starting off from the same point, and at the same time, this year but – alas! – it is not to be. My neice has her Junior Cert this year and my sister has to attend a conference that weekend. So this year it will be only me – raising money for a worthy cause: Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital via their charity: The Crumlin Medical Research Facility.

If you would like to support this worthy cause – through my efforts on June 4th – please click on this link: http://www.cmrf.org/fundraiser/show?id=56

I would really appreciate the support and the hospital will really appreciate the funds – thanks in advance.

Easter Egg Hunt Results

Thank you to everyone you had a crack at my egg-head hunt on Sunday. It was a spur-of-the-moment notion I had for a bit of fun, given the day that was in it.

The “correct” answer was Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery in Co. Sligo. Apologies to those that felt at a disadvantage for not knowing their Irish Geography or for not being au fait with archaeology but as Clarabel pointed out:

tis easy enough to google for the answer; you know the county right and you know “what it is”

True enough.

The first clue was a picture of a Dolmen and – looking at my Twitter stream (no rule against that, indeed I expect it!) I had tweeted I was in Sligo. If you did a Google search for “Dolmen” and “Sligo” one of the first few links you’d find is: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrowmore

Clarabel, WrapNTurn/SusyMcQ, Mollydot, BionicLaura and Sweensie all submitted (by one method or another) correct answers but… the prize was for the most *accurate* answer.

If no-one had gone so far as to name-that-Dolmen then I would be drawing one winner from a hat of these five names.

However, BionicLaura and Mollydot both went that step further in accuracy by naming the actual Dolmen/tomb – Listoghil – and not just the cemetery.

BionicLaura who, by her own admission, knows her megaliths identified it as

Carrowmore megalithic complex, listoghil tomb

on the basis that

[it was the] only one with cairn around it


Mollydot deduced it from the logic of the second clue:

I’m going to go for Carrowmore, Listoghil Dolmen, cos you’re more likely to see Maeve’s cairn from the dolmen than vice versa!

Again, anyone using Google could have spotted the marked resemblance of the second image on the Wikipedia page page to the picture of the Dolmen I posted as the first clue.

To acknowledge the smarts and drilling-down-ness of these two
participants I think it only fair that I send a prize to each.

BionicLaura: I already have your address. Mollydot: could you please DM me with yours?

Thanks again to all for taking part. I hope you enjoyed the challenge at least. I hope you’re at least inspired to go touch a 6000 year old monument soon!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Easter Egg Hunt

My Treasure-hunt for egg-heads was very successful last year. I even made a new friend out of it. This year, instead of trawling my blog for clues you have to find out where I am.

I will leave three clues today. Your first is here and two others on other sites that I use. Find them, find me… win a prize!

First clue:

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Getting Organised for Paddy’s Day

DH is organising a fun-fair at the local school grounds on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s to raise money for the school. Looks like the whole town is going to turn up.

DD is helping out, making lists:

Only two more sleeps…

While I’m on, have a look at Paddynotpatty.com and if you hear anyone referring to Patty’s Day you have my permission to give them … oh … a dirty look!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

WIP: Chemo Cap #1

I mentioned previously my efforts to make a hat for a co-worker who has been diagnosed with an in-operable Brain Tumour. Click “here” if you missed the original post.

Choosing a thin yarn and a time-consuming technique did not make for a quickly-finished hat. The Instant Gratification came in a different way, as I enjoyed watching the colour changes of the yarn as they progressed accross the piece.

Unfortunately, the construction of the project didn’t lend itself to being re-sized too readily. And I got it… wrong. I should have anticipated that the thinner yarn would have meant I needed to do a lot more rows of squares. I think I was in denial about how far this was from being a quick knit – I didn’t want to add to the pain by doing more again. When I finally admitted defeat, I abandoned it altogether and went on to finish a watchman’s style cap in bulkier Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton.

Entrelac Crochet in Wendy Happy

All is not lost for this project, however. Unfortunately, it’s another sad tale, though.

One of my recurring tasks at work is to carry out a feasibility inspection of a tenant’s homes. Basically, if a tenant’s needs change due to disability or over-crowding, they can apply to the Council for an extension to their home. I visit and report back to our Housing Department on whether or not it it’s feasibile to extend the house to accommodate their requirements. It’s an aspect of my job that I really love, because it brings me in contact with my “end-user” – the citizens of our Council area. I know I’m a big softie liberal leftie, but they are the reason I’m in the Public Sector.

In the last few weeks I was inspecting a two-bed, mid-terrace house for a family with two children – a boy (9) and a girl (2). The boy has Cerebal Palsy and needs access to a loo downstairs; because the children are different sexes they’re going to need an extra bedroom. I was greeted at the door by the mother and her dote of a 2yo girl – just a few months younger than my youngest; whom I noticed had a tube coming from her nostril. In the course of my visit the mother told me that her daughter had been diagnosed with cancer four weeks earlier. Hasn’t this woman had enough, already?

At the time, I was thinking I’d love to make her a crochet hat, something lacey and girl-ey with a brim; for her to wear in the summer. Then this WIP went wallup. So now my plan is to finish this hat first and use the rest of the skein to make up another, more flouncy one; then post both off.

Hopefully, they’ll be moved into a three-bedroomed house by then.

Yes, my report back to Housing said the house wasn’t feasible for extension to provide both a downstairs toilet and an extra bedroom. I added a recommendation that, in the light of the little girl’s condition (though her prognosis is good), in order to improve their quality of life as quickly as possible – currently the 2yo is either sleeping in the mother’s room or in a toddler bed in the living room – I recommended that they be transferred to a 3-bed soon. I even went to far as to check the list of empty three beds in the area and I’m to go shortly to carry out a feasibility inspection of adding a downstairs WC to one of them. Go me!

Here come de-stash!

E’en tho’ the yarn yet lies beside me as I write and is not sent yonder to deserving arms…

Translation: Despite not yet sending off Karen’s parcel in the post…

E’en still I plot and ponder how I may reliquish more unto those who yearn.

…the time has come to reveal my aforementioned devious and cunning plan for destashing:

Easter Sunday Treasure Hunt for Egg-heads

My plan is to set up a little treasure-hunt around my blog. In the spirit of all the best egg-hunts, I will launch it for Easter Sunday. It will work like this (please leave a comment here if this is not making any sense):

  • In my blog-post on Saturday, 3rd of April, I will reveal the first “clue”.
  • The clue will be a question and the answer can be found in another post on this blog.
  • If you find the correct blog-post take a note of the answer and then look in the comments for the next clue / question.
  • Follow the clues as far as you can; taking note of each answer as you go.
  • There will be five clues / questions plus a tie-breaker question, which will also be revealed on Saturday 3rd April.
  • Send me a message on Ravelry with your answers – including the tie-breaker question – by 12 noon GMT on Monday 5th April.
  • There will be a five prizes.
  • Getting a question correct represents passing a stage in the treasure-hunt.
  • There will be a prize for each stage.
  • There will only be one winner for each stage.
  • If more that one person qualifies at any stage the tie-breaker question will determine who wins.
  • The winners will be announced on Monday 5th April.

The Prizes:

Stage 1: 1 x 100g skein each of Donegal Chunky Tweed by Debbie Bliss in Red and Blue [Super Bulky (5-6 wpi), 218yds in total]


Stage 2: 2 x 100g skeins of 100% Bamboo by South West Trading Company in colour “134” [DK / 8 ply (11 wpi), 500yds]

Stage 3: 3 x 100g skeins of Rowan Colourscape Chunky by Kaffe Fassett in “Sh 432” [Bulky / 12 ply (7 wpi), 525yds]

Stage 4: 4 x 100g skeins of Homespun Multi by Craftspun Yarns in Colour “001” [Bulky / 12 ply (7 wpi), 415yds approx] and 1 x 100g skein of Wool clásica by Manos del Uruguay in “8891” [Aran / 10 ply (8 wpi), 138 yds]

Stage 5: 3 x 50g skeins of Shibui Sock by ShibuiKnits in “Pebble” [Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi), 573yds] and 1 x 50g skein of Gems Superfine / Fingering weight by Louet in “Carribean Blue” [Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi), 185yds]