A little bit of everything

I was flicking back through last summer’s photographs for something to brighten the place up. I think a bit of pink grevillea will do the trick.

It certainly makes me feel happier than listening to the Mad Monk, aka Tony Rabbit, aka the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. But since he and his party seem to be doing a rather nice job of slowly screwing up their chances with the independents, I’m not feeling as ranty as I could’ve been. Indeed, I’ve been rather pleased by the sudden appearance of European-style minimum winning coalitions and the shocking idea that federal politics and government may require cooperation. I suspect a Labor government supported by the independents since that would be the only way to ensure stable government when the Greens hold the balance of power in the Senate. At any rate, it’s going to be very interesting for a while to come.

My crafty projects continue at a pleasing rate: reworking the lad’s beanie so it fits – I’ll do a separate post on that because I’ve used some interesting construction techniques to fit his design; my plum jacket is reading for sewing up this weekend; I’ve cast on for Acorns in a lovely heathery foresty green; crocheting away on the flower rug with crescent mesh; and about to pounce on a couple of wristwarmers and berets for myself. The lass’ car rug fails to inspire me so I’m going to see if I can persuade her to change patterns. Stripy treble is not my favourite form of crochet. And sometime next week I will cast on for Red Oak in a chunky burnt orange. There’s another trip to the Netherlands lined up, this time for late October/early November, so I get the fun of more winter knitting.

The lad is having some occupational therapy assessment as part of our Asperger’s management plan. It means another two questionnaires for us and I decided to photocopy one so I could fill it in for myself. It’s all about sensory integration – how we receive and respond to information about our environment through our senses. Typically, aspies have a profile of sensory integration ‘deficits’, particular stimuli that trigger an exaggerated response. The professionals are beginning to understand that if you actually take this sensory profile as a means of understanding the person rather than just a guide to behaviour management (for example, moving away from ‘let’s avoid loud noises so he doesn’t have an aspie meltdown’ to ‘tactile experiences are a really positive way he can learn’) then maybe quite a few difficulties can be resolved.

The lad and I have a few things in common here. Auditory processing difficulties (loud noises, trouble understanding speech in some circumstances etc); high sensitivity to touch – which explains a tendency to wear the same clothes because they feel ‘just right’; strong preferences for certain smells or tastes, that sort of thing. The lad is quite happy to play with icky gel kind of stuff, playdough and what have you. I avoid it like the plague. I refused point blank to ever make playdough for the kids – I hated the smell and feel of it. It’s a good thing my mother stepped into the breach.

But there are other tactile experiences I love – yarn and fabric, clearly. I love the feel of different types of yarn running through my fingers, manipulating fabric for fold and drape. It’s heavenly. When I’m drawing I prefer to use charcoal or pastels, materials I can feel in my fingers, rather than pencils. Embroidery seems to me a fabulous way to draw, getting colour and texture and swirling them around.

Maybe I’ve figured out my sensory profile after all.


Goat in a tree!

So, it’s not just pea soup’s carpooling kids who have the goat spotting fun.

Bringing the kids home last night we were startled by a sudden yelp from the backseat. “There’s a goat up that tree!”

And now I know precisely which goat it is because this being a greeny urban fringe type area, there’s two goaty possibilities. I think I may push for a change of school route just to spot a tree-climbing goat.

A little ragged

Since I last overloaded this place with evidence of my craftly activity, I’ve been at a bit of loss for words. Or, the kind of words I feel comfortable writing here.

The craftly activity continues, in doctor’s waiting rooms, in the living room watching over an ill or stressed child, through the footy game, and in the evening quietly opposite the bloke. I’m aware of reporting what’s happening to some others around me but I find myself thinking (always the aspie), I’m not sure what I think about this. Neurotypicals would probably ask themselves how they feel about it. They might even know what they feel about it.

The lad continues to be ‘a bit complicated’ which I think is the understatement of the year. I was speaking to a neuropsychologist at the time, setting up some assessment sessions. Juvenile bipolar has been confirmed, his occasional paralysing anxiety is something that needs our attention, the learning difficulties are sometimes manageable and sometimes not. I can look into him and understand so much and know so little. What I do understand is the mood disturbance that I have too; the aspie difficulties with organising and planning and doing (certain things!) and revisiting my school days through the lens of my own learning disability. I know I can’t fix it but I can understand it and sometimes that leaves you feeling ragged at the end of the day.

Through all of this, he is beautiful and sweet and generous.

The lass claimed our attention with a sinus infection, willingly shared it with me, so we had two weeks of illness and antibiotics as well. I think we can walk with these physical and mental illnesses but only with reminders to ourselves to accept help, slowdown, and listen. Sometimes I remember to do those things.

But I always remember my knitting.

Falling flowers

38 flowers. Not bad, eh? Being laid off work for an entire week with a sinus infection can be productive in other ways.

They’re still to be blocked out for proper shaping and I’m planning a crocheted mesh background for the actual blanket bit. Something similar to a sashiko stitch would be interesting if I can figure it out.

A few of the clover leaves are small enough to fill some of the spaces and lead the eye around the blanket. The larger leaves of the original pattern I found too distracting. Plus I would have heard that little aspie voice every time I saw the blanket: if there were leaves on the ground with the flowers, they’d have to be autumn leaves, wouldn’t they? Or else eucalyptus leaves and they’re too big to work with the design.

And that voice gets a little annoying after awhile.

The left-handed crocheter

I think I may have cracked the problem of the left-handed crocheter.

Or, the problem of directions for right-handed crocheters that don’t take into account that left-handers will work in completely the opposite direction. Telling us to hold up the diagram to a mirror doesn’t solve the problem. You try holding up the pattern to a mirror and crocheting AT THE SAME TIME.

So what is actually happening when I follow a crochet pattern? I pick up the hook and I start working clockwise which is the same direction that diagrams indicate. BUT. That’s not what’s happening when a right-hander crochets. They read the directions clockwise and work anti-clockwise (take a minute to visualise the hook in your right hand and working right to left).

To get the same result, left-handers need to read the diagram anti-clockwise and work clockwise. We’re working the whole damn thing backwards.It’s okay while you’re working flat, whether it’s in the round or row by row. But a complicated garment with shaping and so on? That’s going to need practice and a lot of good red wine.

I don’t feel quite so bad about the crochet thing now.