Of Updates, Self Expression and Bodily Autonomy

So, we have two children. This is not (or should not be) a surprise to my regular audience. If any of you still exist of course!

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#1 Son

He’s almost 12. In exactly 2 weeks in fact! No, I can’t believe it either. My baby boy has graduated Elementary School, begun Middle School and has damn well nearly finished 6th Grade!

From this:

From Kindergarten all the way through 5th Grade

To this:

This is Sixth Grade!

And while I tell myself he’s still my baby (I mean, he’s my son, he’ll always be my baby!)? There’s no denying he’s growing up. Faster than I think even he is ready for. Because puberty? Is heading towards us hard and fast! Boy howdy is it!

Anyone who says that only girls are emotional? And that puberty isn’t rough on boys? Does not have a gosh darned monkey fudging clue – and has likely either forgotten or has never been around pre-teen boys. Add in ADHD rage to a puberty hair-trigger and life is becoming… interesting. Which would be fine but TT is both a target and an antagonist. She is definitely a ‘morning person’ at the moment (in direct opposition to what everybody tells you about kids with ADHD!) and he… is not. At all. And as caffeine has the same effect upon him as it does upon me?

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There’s really nothing we can do to jump-start his brain in the mornings. And for school he has to be up at 06:30!!! So at weekends we are currently letting him sleep as long as he likes – with the caveat that I’ll let his sister be her usual levels of noisy from 10:30 and I’ll start pointedly yelling at around 11am. He needs to get up some time! That’s going to get ‘worse’ before it improves, but that’s normal.

He’s also struggling to study appropriately because all he wants to do is hang out with his friends and play video games.

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And he’s a bright kid so he’s coasting. Sadly, because we are in the USA and no longer in the UK, the grades he’s currently getting aren’t worth the equivalent they would have been were I or his dad the student attaining them. In Trimester 1 he was averaging A- which was awesome. He did have a chance to aim for an accelerated Math programme which would begin in 7th Grade but… Trimester 2 he completely tanked his grades because of the above.

Now, ADHD does impact here of course – but the kid has made choices. Including lying to me about completing a project then doubling down. Which, when I figured that out?

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Fortunately (for him) the child got lucky and there was an unexpected Snow Day called and he managed to complete a 10-slide presentation in 24 hours. And also managed to present it to the class for Extra Credit eventually.


The kid has his dad’s sense of humour (Goddess help me!) and he has no fear of public speaking as yet. Totally opposite to me there. Long may that continue!


So sadly he’s unlikely to be in Compacted Math program, at least from the start of 7th Grade. Which frustrates me, as I know he’s got the aptitude – but he hasn’t demonstrated it. So as much as I hate the saying? He has only himself to blame. Apparently though if he excels during 7th Grade he could be moved up. This is good because there’s a couple of Modules that are only available in 12th Grade if you’re on the Accelerated route – and I think they’ll interest him. But on the other hand, it’s a lot of pressure on 11/12 year olds.

We’ve also had a little discussion about him not being pissy if TT manages to get on to this program if he doesn’t. I will never ever compare my kids – they are light and dark – but if she managed it it would be through her own effort so I don’t want him salty with her.


And I did talk to him seriously about the program. What it would mean, how much work it would be both to get on it and what it would mean load wise going forward. I did not just throw him in at the deep end and force him to do it.


He was initially interested. And I gave him every opportunity to back out. He just didn’t like the effort required. Which is all normal. Honestly I’m completely relieved to be dealing with normal pre-teen kid issues that have nothing to do with ADHD. Obviously it’s always a contributing factor, but this is fine. See there are multiple steps he needed to complete to qualify, and I am certain he hasn’t met enough.

There have been other minor squabbles around school work. As I have his academic life on my phone – because Google Classroom allows for that. So oftentimes I can see when he hasn’t handed something in, or if it’s late. Which led to the following:

If you could see I’d forgotten to hand it in Mom, why didn’t you just turn it in for me?

Frustrated #1 Son – age 11

Ah nope Sonny Jim. That’s not how any of this works. If I started turning in his assignments for him, then it’s becomes a potentially slippery slope to simply doing the work for him. And that? Just won’t happen.

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What the hell will I be teaching him if I start going down that route? So we butt heads often. We occasionally fight. But, as I’ve said to both of them:

I am your mom. Not your friend. At least not yet. Hopefully when you’re grown, we will become friends. But right now? My job is to parent you. So that is what I’m doing. You’ll probably (often) hate me a lot before I’m through. But I’ll never ever stop loving you, and doing my darndest to turn you into a reasonably competent adult.

Me. Perpetually. Often exhaustedly

In other respects though, he is firmly coming into his own. He now self-identifies as HatBoy!

In summer 2023 one of his best mates gifted him a Boston Bruins baseball cap. This thing did not leave his head for weeks. He realized he loved wearing a hat. We did have some issues with older/other MVMMS students knocking them off his head and dropping them in puddles, but apparently you can wash baseball caps so that’s fine.

Then he discovered beanies/toques. He wanted to wear one constantly. So in a winter sale I nabbed multiple. Then I remembered I can knit/crochet. But the vast majority of my yarn stash is sock weight (yes yes it’s also known as fingering weight) I can feel you all sniggering in the back there.

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And whilst I love knitting, and I love the colours and variations you get in sock yarn (most of my stash is hand dyed and it’s all stunning).

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Unfortunately it is as thin as a very thin thing. As a result it means all items made have to have literally hundreds of stitches. And, as I may have mentioned? I have ADHD. So I go from:

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To:

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Practically instantaneously, and certainly with little to no warning. And I needed to churn a few of these buggers out and quickly. So I went scouring the internet for a pattern or two. Because I do not have a head for Math and so I couldn’t work out a way to do this myself from scratch.

Ironically it was a short video on the Book of Faces that found me what I needed. A designer has created a stash busting set of patterns (@knitstitchrepeat) and her Monster Hat gave me exactly what I needed. It’s designed for Super Bulky Weight but gives detailed instructions on how to make up that weight with multiple strands of thinner yarns. So I thought, why not try Fingering Weight yarn? I’ve got so bloody much of the stuff.

I didn’t jump in completely at the deep end and instantly start using all my ‘good’ yarn. I knitted up a few test ones in bog standard DK weight first.

This was my first attempt. I made a hat, but sadly it was slightly too short in the length for #1 Son so we threw that one at TT and I attempted another.
Much more successful, please excuse his rashy face – during the multiple bouts of strep and (in his case) Walking Pneumonia we have discovered that both kiddos are allergic to penicillin’s goddammit.

TT then demanded one made just for her. Which, fair.

Then I accidentally made a Minecraft inspired one:

No, I don’t remember what I said to make him laugh his head off. I might have asked him to discuss his veganism. Which… he’s not vegan so… laughter?

Once I had the basics for a well-fitting hat for him in yarn I didn’t particularly care about, it was time to move on to the stuff I did. Now, the designer herself isn’t insane and so hadn’t tried it using sock, because guess what? It takes nine or ten strands of yarn to do this. So yes, they get tangled. Yes there is swearing. But it’s damn worth it for the smile on his face and the fact that he is loving wearing hats that I have made for him!!!!

I was particularly proud of this one, as it was a really subtle play of colour and neutrals – with a bit of sparkle.
And, as you can see, it earned the seal of approval.
He picked the colours out for himself. All 10 of them. I had no idea that it would work up as pretty as it did.
It’s now one of his most-worn hats.

This isn’t all of them, I’ve put together a lot. Especially whilst the hus-creature was convalescing the basement with the dreaded ‘vid. As it turns out? I craft when I’m stressed. And the ones I’ve made for TT I may include in her section/post.

So now he is HatBoy. But summer is once again heading our way, so we will need to obtain a few baseball caps for him. Because sadly I can’t craft those.

I’m so damn proud of this kid. He frustrates me to death sometimes, but when I look back on where we were a few years ago? I can scarcely believe it. My current phase of parenting my eldest child can be summed up by vaguely mis-quoting a song:

At the same time, I wanna hug you
I wanna wrap my hands around your neck
You’re an asshole but I love you

True Love – P!nk & Lily Allen

And even though I am regularly Bad Cop? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Please stay tuned for TT’s update in a Part 2. Because it’s late, and I’m tired and arguing with technology takes it out of me! And she deserves equal page time.

Tiny Tyrant YARNS Update

Having used my shop/business as my excuse reason for lack of posting over the last week, I felt a fuller update on that was probably in order.

First off, my shop is Here

Please have a browse. I value feedback, and if the muse strikes you, please do make a purchase.

On that topic, I am now up to eight sales. Again, this might not sound like much, but that’s nearly $200 and I am so grateful.

So, everything that is in my shop is ready to ship, and I am currently working on this week’s new stock.

The nature of my processes means that I cannot dye more than two hanks per batch, and I have to wait for the ice to regenerate (Gallifeyan ice anyone?) so it’s a slow but steady feed of fresh stock.

Today’s offering:

The weather was so glorious today I was actually able to completely dry both hands outside and within three hours!

I’m also working on a new set:

These pinks are developing an orange hue as the ice melts. I think the results are going to be extremely interesting.

I must admit that I am still not keen on the large flashes of white that can be produced, but as I’m not using them myself, I have to learn to step away from my rut comfort zone.

I am trying!

An announcement

It’s been months of planning, building stock, blood, sweat, tears and self doubt; but as of this evening, I am thrilled to announce:

Tiny Tyrant Yarns is open for business

Yes, I’ve done it. I’ve officially put myself, and my creations, out there for all the world to see and (hopefully) admire. It’s thrilling, terrifying and wonderful. And the best thing?

I’ve had two orders already!!!

Please note that those prices do include postage!

But it’s a great start.

Thank you to my customers

Eeeeeeeeeeeeee I have customers!!!!!

Experiments in Snow Dyeing – Parts 1 et al

As we are currently experiencing a second white out, I am planning my second set of snow dyes. Which reminded me that I had not finished this previous drafted post.

Cue the wibbly screen and spooky music as we go back in time

Overnight on Wednesday last week there was a massive snowstorm. It took its time though. Mom spent most of Wednesday complaining that she had been promised “big” snow

And she hasn’t had any dammit

I had also decided that I wanted to try snow dyeing yarn. A technique that produces truly one-of-a-kind skeins and is extremely time consuming but oh so fun.

As a result, I fully expected no more snow until next winter πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

But the heavens obliged and we received a few inches of snow.

So I obtained a bucket of snow (with thanks to the hus-creature and my Mothership) and set myself up to produce my first ever snow dyed skein.

It looked amazing. I was so happy. Then, when I tried to wrap it in cling film to steam it? The bloody thing fell into the dye runoff!!!

😰😰😰😰

I was just so angry with myself. But, I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and with encouragement from the Mothership (who went to get me another bucket of snow) I started another one off:

So, they weren’t going to be ready to prep til the next day.

Due to the washing and rinsing, the skeins were very tangled so needed to be balled and re-skeined.

The Dye-saster Yarn:

And re-skeined up:

The colours though:

The redye:

Much darker in shade than I expected.

The two siblings together:

I felt much better after this and decided to carry on.

The last few days have seen me work on these:

These have yet to be fully re-skeined so there will be a further post.

Yes I’ve done a lot, some of those batches contain multiple skeins, but this process is very much weather dependent.

I am having so much fun.

I think the neighbours may truly think I’m crazy now πŸ˜‚πŸ€£


I need a shop name now….


Midweek Madness

Well not so much but things have been happening.

In a week my Momma will be here πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

I can’t wait.

She’s coming out to help me recover from the operation, which is about a week and a half away 😱😱

As she has been reading the blog you can’t say she doesn’t know what she’s letting herself in for.


There is a pink metallic marker somewhere in this house minus its lid. TT knows where it is. I do not. Many wall cleanings. Much frustration.


Yesterday I had the fun of handling her and #1 Son from 08:00 – 17:00 without being able to use running water. We had previously been given 24 hours notice of sewer pipe work.

Actually they did finish an hour early, but next time that happens I’m filling my dye pots with clean water as well as my kettle.

It is not pleasant washing your hands with baby wipes all day!

I am laying down the groundwork for my main convalescence project.

Yes, it is a 24-Skein project!!! I’m sure there will be others, but this is a simple crochet pattern that will keep my hands busy without overtaxing my brain too much.

Don’t worry Mothership – we will knit socks etc together.

I had already touched on the upcoming surgery with #1 Son, but as it’s getting closer, I had another talk with him.

Do you know what he said?

Don’t worry mommy. I will look after you. And if you need food or drinks I will bring them to you.

Is someone cutting onions in here? I swear my tiny Grinch heart just grew three sizes. My boy is the sweetest kid ever.

Yes, he discovered Snapchat today – J sent me this.

What else has been happening? Not much new really.

Well, except I now have a SSN card!!!!

I am a legitimate proper (alien) person! Roll on everything. I need to start writing stuff down for my Etsy shop now!

A day of good and bad

So today has been a bit of a mixed bag, so I will divide it straight down the middle.

The Good:

  • SSN successfully applied for
  • #1 Son did all his homework without a battle
  • TT had a nap 🀭😱
  • TT’s insistence on using cloth diapers means she’s now actually telling me (occasionally) when she’s done a wee
  • My beleaguered sock is back on (new) needles, of which I have three pairs so dammit I will finish this bugger.
  • The snow is currently gone.
  • My kettle dyeing mojo has returned and I have 5 more skeins for the next ripple blanket I’m planning.

The Bad:

  • The hus-creature became trapped in #1 Son’s room when the door handle came off in his hand! Which is something I have had concerns about for months. Fortunately it is repaired for now, and will be reported to the landlady*
  • TT is very unsettled tonight and is still not asleep. I may have to concede no naps 😫😞😒😰
  • Snowstorms are predicted. Bye bye clear ground. Hello snow day. Probably.
  • Neither child will accept the toothpaste we have so are both using age 0-2 Aquafresh Milk Teeth until our next weekly shop.
  • The Amethyst dye is not. It is raspberry at best. I am not amused.

*along with reminders about the broken toilet seat and lack of lock on the bathroom door. I will need to ensure that the crayon is off of the walls (again)


The Amusing:

  • TT has learned to apply talc during nappy changes. That got… messy…
  • After #1 Son blamed TT for the (pink) toothpaste in the main toilet, she came toddling through to me, not once but twice to tell me “Nanoo running“. So she is equally capable of dropping him right in it πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

The Yarns:

So from left to right:

  1. Delphinium Blue
  2. Frozen
  3. Amethyst
  4. Berry Crush
  5. Aubergine

On what planet is that Amethyst?!?!? I’ll concede Carnelian (maybe) or even Red Amethyst (yes, that’s a thing) but traditionally, amethysts are purple. To cheer me up, here is a cat with Yoshi riding her:In Soviet Russia, Yoshi ride you.

Self striping yarn

I am never one to shy away from a challenge. So, having figured out my warping board, I decided to have a play.

Most people would have started on say:

  • Sock yarn
  • In a superwash base
  • Certainly without silk, alpaca, cashmere etc
  • A simple co-ordinating colourway.

You know, what with it being their first attempt and all…

Would anyone like to have a guess at what I did?

Anyone?

  • Worsted weight.
  • Non superwash
  • 80:20 alpaca silk
  • Teal and a self made orange (1/4 tsp each of Jacquard Cherry Red and Sun Yellow). I think I might have gone too heavy on the red but we shall see.

So yeah, not the usual starter probably. But see, I’m knitting these glorious bed socks in 100% baby alpaca. I’m not going to try and sell my first striping attempt, so why not play on a base I can turn into more comfy bed socks for me?

Sister in law – see what you have inspired.

The skein all dyed up and ready for wrapping and steaming.

Okay so it’s a completely clumsy job, but here it is all wrapped and rolled:

Steaming away quite contentedly:

The rinsing process begins:

And now to the drying:

All I will say is that, though fun, and highly creative (since I can definitely see pretty much endless possibilities here)

I CAN SEE WHY THIS TYPE OF YARN IS EXPENSIVE TO BUY

Not counting drying time (which I can speed with the aid of the gas fire) this single skein has taken over four hours to produce.

Oh and it does this to hands:

I did wear gloves while actively dyeing. I just didn’t for the rinsing of the foam brushes… or the skein…

*hides from Na, her nail tech*

Warping 101

So, I dye yarn. I enjoy dyeing yarn, but I’ve yet to pass beyond the basics. And, if I want to actually try and sell what I make, I need to improve my skills.

On my Amazon wish list before Christmas were:

  • New wooden swift
  • Two warping boards.

The hus-creature got me my swift, and my wonderful in-laws got me my warping board.

I cracked them open today. Now, my tutor said to wind the skein of yarn into a ball before using the warping board.

These seemed like an unnecessary waste of energy to me, considering the the swift was already set up. And since it’s instructions said you could knit straight off of it in lieu of a winder?

Why couldn’t I warp straight from the swift?!

No good reason that I could see anyway.

Now I was tremendously pleased, until I took it off the board and discovered the loop effectively has a ponytail.

I then had my Leonard Da Quirm moment* and tried my next attempt:

While better, still not right – it’s not a continuous loop on removal darn it!

I will study some more, whilst attempting to understand what to do with these looped up skeins.

Stand by for Warping 102/202…


*Brain storm followed by “I think I know what I did wrong”

Random acts of yarn kindness

Well sort of.

I haven’t really talked much about one of my main keeping sane hobbies – my fibre arts.

That’s actually because most of my most recent projects (“works in progress” or WIPs) have been gifts or surprises so I haven’t really been able to publicise them.

I’m planning on getting back into the dyeing groove in the New Year (I am desperately awaiting my warping board) so I thought I might do a “Look Back on 2017” sort of thing.

At least for those projects now safely with their recipients.

So these are from a Swapalong. The idea is that we all completed a questionnaire stating what we were prepared to make and what we would be happy to receive and in preferred (and not preferred) colours.

As I can really only make shawls yet out of the stated options, I decided to make them a bit more special and one of a kind (OOAK) by dyeing up the yarn myself.

So in the summer came this:

This was a crocheted special and yes it truly was that big.

In the winter came this:

I chose the purple rather than the multiway.


Note: the pastels were caused by using a protein fibre dyeing method on a 50:50 Merino:Cotton blend – 50% protein and 50% cellulose.


This one is knitted, and I had discovered knitting with beads by this point.

Such fun to do πŸ˜†

As it was smaller than the first, I popped in a skein of the Wonder Woman sock yarn I covet so.

Both giftees seemed very happy.

In parallel to this, I was working on a much bigger project in 80:20 Alpaca:Silk (such gorgeous yarn to both dye and crochet with).

A friend and former colleague was diagnosed with that bastard cancer and I wanted to help, so I decided to make a “you will kick this thing’s backside” blanket.

This is one I am very proud of.

The darn blanket got stuck in customs, but it found it’s way to her in the end.

I’m finally working on something for myself now – I have a yarn advent calendar with an exclusive pattern πŸ˜ƒπŸ‘πŸ»

December Madness

Begins.

I’m still working on the Thanksgiving update so stay tuned for that dear audience.

So. Yesterday was December 1st. Therefore Advent Calendars are back in this household.

However this year no edible ones.

Mainly because we think TT is still a bit young for daily chocolate, and she’s old enough to be totally annoyed if her big brother has one when she doesn’t. So we went with fancy toy ones.

But, there are very few options for two year olds.

#1 Son has a Lego one. TT? Well we scoured everywhere and finally found a Paw Patrol one with no tiny pieces. TT still insists on sticking non food items in her mouth!

As for me, normally I have a Hotel Chocolat sharing one, but I didn’t think about it in time and I don’t know if they ship here.

So instead, I treated myself to a Sparkle Yarn advent box from Tinky Dye Yarns. The lovely Maria has been still shipping my clubs to me so this was a lovely addition.

The glorious box:

Dec 01:

It also comes with a bespoke pattern which will soon be on sale on Ravelry from the lovely Julie-Ann Amos and I am happily working my way through it.

I have not yet opened today’s window.

We also went to the Melrose Christmas Lights switch on last night:

There was live music

The children wanted some of the light up plastic tat that they sell. #1 Son got a light sabre, TT a snowflake magic wand.

That wand lasted less than 30 minutes before she whacked it against the stroller hard enough to shatter the snowflake πŸ™„

It’s not like they were $10 apiece or anything….

But the piΓ©ce de resistance of the evening was seeing SANTA.

Yes those are the Melrose High School cheerleaders.

The best bit though?

The kids. Both were so thrilled to see Santa.

I teared up with the happiness. I didn’t expect the sheer delight for both of them.

Mall visits will happen soon.

Today or tomorrow we will buy a tree and new decorations.

Oh, I’m also trying a new nail salon tomorrow as my last set didn’t last two days 😑😑😑