Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Late one night last week, I whispered goodnight seven year old! and in the morning he was eight. Late the very next night, I whispered goodnight three year old! and in the morning the Little said she was Very Big. And all of last week, at odd and inbetween moments, I remembered that kid birthdays are, secretly, as much for Mums and Dads. Anniversaries of long labouring hours and those first moments when our hearts were stolen and worlds were rocked.

Late one night this week, I shall be up to my elbows in the making of coffee and walnut cake, because it is the Mr’s birthday. He is talking endlessly, hintfully, teasingly, about how he hopes to wake to a full English breakfast, (ON A SCHOOL DAY!). The preparation of which he knows, is likely to send me over the edge, due to the complete lack of ‘morning person’ in my genetic make-up.

Last week and this week and next, I have work up to my eyeballs but it’s nice work and so far I have managed to keep at bay, the tone at the edge of my voice, that hints at too many fingers in too many pies.

I am over the moon that the bike race is over and I can go to bed and not feel that I am missing out on priceless Phil Liggett commentary and I am chuffed to bits about the outcome. But I am indignant, that last week, a complete stranger, (and patently no Tour de France convert), who had no idea how exhausted I usually look, commented on how exhausted I looked.

I am remarkably serene that the cardi I have been knit-knit-knitting for the last six weeks is finished and a complete fail. This goes to prove that I am all about the process and sadly, barely anything about the result. It was a game of Yarn Roulette from the start. I have been modifying the pattern to make the most of my limited, discontinued yarn and it all worked – except for the neckline, which is uncomfortably tight. The heavy irony is that I am now left with enough yarn to make the necessary adjustments but to do those I will have to unravel four weeks of knitting.

Goodbye cardigan.

I wonder what you’ll morph into next?

Last night, inbetween a kid drop-off and pick-up, I happened by the local library and was overwhelmed – for the first time since discovering craft – by a need to read. With a crick-in-the-neck, sideways-tipped head, I scanned shelves of titles and, appalled, realised I no longer know who to read.

It was with the skill of a ninja that my nana Eunice, performed the Art of the Simultaneous Knit and Read. I have long vowed to follow in her footsteps and I suspect this is the time to start. Book suggestions? Top tips? Only now do I consider that the Large Print-ness of all Eunice’s library book borrowings were to accommodate the knitting and distance-viewing as much as the failing eyesight.

So hope your world is swimmingly good, lately...


teddybearswednesday said...

Oh tania, i just want to give you a big fat hug right now.
I've been wondering how you are going. SOund like you've been a hero of all sorts juggling so many things amazingly ( im not being sarcastic ).
Sounds like you need to wake up to fully prepared english breakfast yourself ( are you reading this MR??)
wish I could do something to help.
a few random things- SNAP as a stranger said a very similar thing to me last week " u don't like very good" and in an unusual moment of boldness I picked him up on it. Bugger them with no manners.
im sure you loook beautiful as ever.
And I'm not a morning person either.
And if there's anyone who can conquer the great read and knit it's you, but well take it easy on yourself missy. Perhaps now isn't the best time.
anyway this is one of my more rambly and long comments so I best go .
big love to you
PS sorry if this is a bit mushy- I'm a bit in the mush mode at the mo- mush that I do mean.x

Ange Moore said...

I'm about to embark on the crafting with talking-books caper (except people keep stealing my talking books to listen to in the car on the way to work)! Perhaps that would help having to avoid the BIG PRINT section of the library.

Have you read any Ben Elton? Or Stephen Fry? Both pretty easy to read. I'm also a sucker for chic-lit and love Cecilia Ahern as her books are a bit different from the norm.

Good luck with the work stuff and cake cooking. As for the breakfast cooking, could you cobble together a cooked breakfast hamper and have the Mr do it himself?

Michelle said...

See, this is why I rarely knit for myself - it takes forever and you can't guarantee that it will work out in the end. Loely colour though.....

You need to get yourself an Amazon Kindle ereader - no more precarious bonding things on books to hold them open so you can use your hands for other things. And the font size is adjustable too.

As for what to read - one of the best books I have read this year is Someone Knows My Name by Laurence Hill, otherwise I love anything by Maggie O'Farrell and Geraldine Brooks.

Cathy {tinniegirl} said...

You write so beautifully T. I love to read your stories.

Was so exciting to see Cadel have his moment in the Parisian sun, wasn't it? Just glorious.

I have been reading the Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larson. Very good stuff. By far the most beautiful book I have read in the last couple of years is 'The Book Thief' by Marcus Zuzak and then 'The Messenger' also by Zuzak. The Wonders of a Godless World was also great.

Naturally Carol said...

Well..you could make a lot of pom poms with that failed cardi!

Lola Nova said...

1. Happy birthdays all around!
2. Glad that the up-to-your-eyeballs work is nice work at least.
3. Silly knitting!
4. The Mr. has been perusing your blog here while I ran off for toothpaste rationing duty, and asked if you were one of my blog friends - because he thinks you're cool.

Lola Nova said...

Oh yes...

5. I miss books.

belinda marshall said...

i admire your dealing with the failed cardi ~ have just knitted 2 that weren't right {one fits my sister perfectly thankfully} and i was miffed!!
hope the serenity stays :)

JoeyNomad said...

Ah I love reding your posts, like little mini mental vacations for me! Hope it gets a bit easier in a few weeks' time... xx

Red Red Completely Red said...

Knit and read? Blimey. I'm still working on the Simultaneous Knit and Half-Watch Something Rubbish on Telly.

Sounds like an amazing birthday cluster round your house! It's funny you said about it also being an occasion for Mum's and Dad's to remember labour and first moments with the newborn -- this year, on Tilly's first birthday, I was fully expecting to melt down into a empathetic-for-my-year-ago-self puddle, but somehow, it didn't happen. Maybe it takes a few years to fully digest!

Anyway, many happy returns to the many happy Bigs, Biggers and Biggests.

ally said...

Oh heaps of pom poms - look out trees
At least you have a photo of how pretty it looked
I will be in total admiration if you can knit and read and I bet your local chiro/physio will be too!

Maggie O'Farrell, Tracy Chevalier, Tim Winton....oh I love to read

gemma @ loz and dinny said...

Well ... whilst I have now broken my voodoo surrounding the dark art that is knitting ... as I cannot (as of yet) cast on ... I feel at a loss to say what to do with the cardi fail. I can however offer you reading advice ... The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society ... a must and a good place to start ... I started looking at moving to Guernsey after finishing it ... I didn't want it to end. Anyways ... is it possible to put a pause on the smalls growing ... can you turn your craft genius to that one? xx

Suse said...

Author recommendations: anything by Tracy Chevalier, Ann Patchett, Kate Atkinson.

Shall I bring a pile along to craft camp for you to borrow?

Happy birthday month in your household!!

Leonie @ Cuppa and Cake said...

oh bugger about the cardi....shit shit shit!!

Reads.....No brainer knit lit is what you want, with a little tantalizing sex scene thrown in...

Rachael Herron is the Author

Eliza's Gift is the first one and Lucys Kiss is the second. Read Eliza first its PERFECT!!


librarygirl said...

oh Lordy, don't ask me about a good book - it's only my LIVELIHOOD.
But when in doubt: Barbara Pym.
And like Suse said - Kate Atkinson and T Chevalier.

Tanya said...

birthday season all round here too. The Mr's was yesterday and I did not rise to the occasion as much as I had hoped (no cooked breaky...umm, no pressie to open when he woke up...I just went off to work...wasn't happy with that)! The 8 year old is now 9, that 38 year old is now 39 (that's me)...and all coinciding with our manic fruit tree season which is a big shame. I am about to listen to 'Caleb's Crossing' (geraldine Brooks while crafting). Looking forward to it, love our library. Take care.

Kylie said...

Tania! I've been thinking about you and hoping that deadlines et al have not done-you-in. Oh the Tour has been wonderful, hasn't it??! We've loved it too and the bags-under-eyes here have thankfully gone without comment (what can you expect from a stranger!). My Mr just had a birthday too and I'm completely exhausted from that too... how are the kids with breakfast preparations? That could be fun! Commiserations about the cardi - why is it a complete fail? Love that you're pining for books. What are you in the mood for? Will suggest Notes From An Exhibition by Patrick Gale (fabulous artistic madness), Unless by Carol Shields (very sad but so moving) and then follow that up with the poetry of Edna St Vincent Millay (sexy suffragette) and your soul will be singing :) So glad to see you back here Mrs. Kx

Linda said...

Happy Birthday to everyone there, and happy birth-day to you too:) The Tour was amazing to watch wasn't it, we are quite teary-eyed that it's over... I am so sorry about your cardi, I have to frogg my Shalom cardi that I have been knitting for weeks, it's too big and I just haven't had the braveness of heart to pull it out yet, but I think it is time...
Wishing you a wonderful week,

Pétra said...

I have just been trying to figure out my next post which includes my now 7 year olds birthday with some life stuff that is no fun. I've been procrastinating and catching up on my favorite blogs and your post gave me a nice pick up. It true what they all say you are a wonderful writer!!
I am a huge reader and immediately thought of 5 books you could read, if you haven't already made a choice you can pop over to my book club page and see what we've been reading and I do posts every month. My first choice right now would be The Help.

sooz said...

Audiobooks are my knitting companion. Sadly my eyes are not up to distance viewing even if I could hand juggle.

I thought English people had toast and tea for breakfast? Or perhaps you could serve up porridge and tell him you were always rooting for Bonnie Prince Charlie and if the Scots had won, this would have been the traditional English breakfast afterall?

Christina Lowry said...

I recently finished 'I capture the castle' by Dodie Smith and would heartily recommend it. Anything by Haruki Murakami should be on the list too I think.

Best of luck with deadlines, knitting and breakfasts. You sound more serene about all the above than I would ever be. :)

Magic Bean said...

I just had a six-turning-into-a-seven-year-old night. Blogged about it but couldn't put the whole thing as eloquently as you. It has rocked me. Seven is old. But still a babe too. As for books, you need to read Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. Not sure if you'll be able to knit at the same time but cake eating and tea drinking a certainty. It is my book of the year. Read it three months ago and I am still thinking about it. (Just seen the word verification- it is ureadj. Not sure what the j means but you've got to go and read now...!) Ax

mel @ loved handmade said...

I can't believe you're going to unravel that cardi, it looks so lovely! It's been a birthday marathon over here this month too, and still going, I'll be glad to see the end of celebrations for just a little bit!

Jo said...

Knit AND read at the same time? Jeez... what a legend!

Tas said...

Oh, bugger about the cardi. I have similar regreats in my future. My current cardi is using way more wool up than expected so it may be way shorter than expected.

It was well worth the late nights. Mr Boozle is the bike fiend but somehow I got caught up in it all. Bags under the eyes here too and we are still trying to catch up on sleep.

I have the last of the birthday cakes to do this weekend then I can relax until January. By the time the first child of 3 turns 8, I have to say that some of the birthday rituals hold some tediousness for me. But luckily I do love a good cake decorating session.

I am sure that a full English breakky can be covered by a toasted muffin, breakfast in a tin and a cup of weak, milky tea, wouldn't it? ;)

Mrs Smith said...

The Guernsey Potato Peel pie and Literary Society - excellent easy read with very fall-in-lovable characters. Great bang for your buck for a return to reading.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak,
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer,

Happy birthday season.
I thought I might try the Donna Hay perfect baked cheesecake for the luthier's birthday this weekend. I personally would prefer coffee and walnut though - deeeeelicious!

My world just keeps getting better and better, thanks for asking, much like your blog photos, and they were pretty supreme to start with.

Jackie @ Fred-and-Cissy said...

Sounds like life's heaping it on you at the moment!

Not sure what to suggest on the breakfast front (transfer the whole clan to a cafe??), but I love the look of your cardi and think it'd be a shame to scrap it just yet. As for books, I never seem to get past craft ones these days, but I think your nana must've been amazing. Much easier to knit in front of the Tour than a book.

Hope things look up tomorrow!

A Peppermint Penguin said...

SupaT! Do you have a cape? If you had clean undies you could wear them outside your clothes.

Happy Birthday to your Middle and your Little, who isn't so little.

It's been birthdayville in my house too. I am OLD.

Good thing about Fail with Yarn Over (geddit!? sorry.) is that you can knit the same money for longer.


silverpebble said...

Did Nana Eunice have an extra arm? How did she do such a thing? Did she employ the services of a recipe book stand?

Try 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' [Mary Ann Schaffer] for a lightish but lovely read, or 'The L-shaped Room' [Lynne Reid Banks] for a more thought-provoking but unexpectedly uplifting one.

Belated birthday wishes to all.

I have to go now. A teacup small enough for a pixie is drying in the oven.

Tamara said...

Just wanted to stop in and say how fun it was #yellingforcadel with you - it paid off didn't it:)

As for the knitting, I have been knitting backwards since the tour started:( The lack of sleep has done my head in!

Still want to have coffee with you my friend... to laugh a bit, maybe knit a lot and to generally talk about nothing in particular and everything in general.

Nite Chicky


emma @ frog, goose and bear said...

My mother in law was just like Nana Eunice. Studied for her whole university degree while knitting. I can barely watch the TV.
I LOVE to read, but can barely read a page before I fall straight to sleep. One book which I did stay awake for last year and is actually about knitting funnily enough was called "Knit Two" by Kate Jacobs. Number 2 in a series of 3. http://www.katejacobs.com/
You'll deserve a night or two of reading after all of the cooking you will have done!!

Squiggly Rainbow said...

Hello Lovely! Your birthday week sounds like mine - however mine is in September - two kids - 3 days apart...

As for reading, I have a stack on my bedside... some on Aspergers, homeschooling (just interesting)... and the first in the Blossom Street series. They are a great, no brainer read and set around knitting! I bough on http://www.bookdepository.co.uk best prices

Love to you xx
Rach xx

Greer said...

Reading while knitting = overwhelming sense of satisfaction. I usually only achieve it with 1) very easy knitting and 2) large, flat, easy to manage reading matter - eg the big mag out of the weekend papers - that can rest quietly on a cushion or the arm of the couch and doesn't need the page turned too often. Good luck. Whoo Cadel!

Tracy said...

If you make that full English breakfast, you will have the world's best get out of gaol free card.

As for reading, I agree with everyone who suggested Kate Atkinson. All of her novels are wonderful but if you read the later ones you might want to do it in order. I always recommend China Mieville too but not everyone thanks me for that one. Good luck with the multi tasking. If you can keep that wool on the needles and read it will one more thing to admire you for.

All For Love said...

Such gorgeous words Tania and love that first pic of your birthday boy blowing out his candles :o)
And so true that children's birthdays are as much for the parents as the child, I'm more excited on their birthday's than mine these days.

Anna Bartlett said...

God I love reading your posts. What you've said about birthday's is so wonderful. Thank you so much!

Zara said...

Best book ever is "the secret river" by Kate Grenville - all about the first settlers, convict life and Australian history. The way Kate draws out her characters is magical - she's won a number of awards for it. I read it for Uni and was enchanted, and have recommended it to everyone and ALL who have read it loved it as much as me!

Its that perfect mix of entertaining while being historical, educational and socially interesting. As an Aussie, I recommend it highly - please read and let me know what you think?

Unknown said...

Fantastic post. Bet you're glad you got all of that out. I would agree with everyone who said Maggie O'Farrell. I've never met anyone that didn't love her books. I always recommend Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides despite the fact I read it when I was pregnant and convinced myself I was having a hermaphrodite. It's brilliant. Haruki Murakami is my favourite metaphysical writer and my current favourite, especially if you want to read about intelligent, artsy, American's is Siri Hustvedt.

Sandrine said...

Happy Birthday to yours!:)I hope you do not have to unravel that cardi (gulp!)...Love the colour.
Yessssss I am so happy about that outcome too!!!!!!I wish I could have been there to cheer!!:)Sorry I tend to have an addiction for craft and cooking books at the library at the moment...:) Have a great week Tania xx

Emily said...

What a shame about your cardigan - it looks gorgeous! Simultaneous knit and read...I can only dream of such luxury with my current fledgling knitter status!

Stomper Girl said...

I think you should shoo the kids off to school and take him to a cafe where other people do the cooking and cleaning and you can just be a charming companion. You could even quietly knit while waiting for the English Breakfast to arrive!

S said...

Stomper girl has a most fabulous idea! Gotta love a birthday tusnami we have those over here too.

The Foggy Knitter said...

Try an anthology of short stories to try out some different authors?
Or anything from Persephone Books? (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Miss Buncle's Book are both particular favourites of mine from their books)
Also I second I capture the castle, there's a good audio book version available too, magical book
Happy reading - I have times of needing to read come over me periodically too

--ginger. said...

This is my favorite creative process/willingness-to-unravel blog moment ever--it's at a friend's blog, the Puttermeister: http://puttermeister.blogspot.com/2010/01/minor-incident.html

famfa said...

Happy birthdays all round then. Sorry about your knitting.. I seem to be forever undoing and unpicking. Hope you tackle the breakfast okay.

june at noon said...

Oh, dear. I have to admit I'm a little afraid to see the result of a knit-and-read, my friend. ;) (I'll have to practice that. I can knit without looking, but have never tried to really concentrate on something else at the same time.)

posie blogs Jennie McClelland said...

Happy birthday to party central at your place!! Would love a slice of cake wrapped in mandatory napkin sent in the mail, willing to eat it squished & a week old. Love Posie

tea with lucy said...

hearts stolen and worlds rocked. love your way with words tania.

last wednesday i borrowed 'the red tent' (anita diamant) from the library. finished it thursday. not a lot else got done obviously, including sleep, but it was worth it!

happy birthday one and all!!


nikkishell said...

Books i've read recently are..
The most recent Sookie Stackhouse book. (Good if you like a bit of vampire sex! or True Blood)
Water for Elephants (nice)
Ozzie Ozbourne's biography (!)
Before i go to Sleep by SJ Watson (interesting)
The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory (great historical fiction)

I love the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, anything by Philippa Gregory, John Irving's Cider House Rules, Hotel New Hampshire and The World According to Garp and Sarah Waters.

Take it easy luv!

Anonymous said...

It was good to catch up on your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.