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Did you know this blog has been going for four years?!? That’s a lot of yarn, knitting, spinning and nonsense. I have been wondering whether or not to continue, I mean why on earth do I do it? Some of you lovely readers have been with me since the beginning (for which you really should be awarded some kind of endurance prize) and others might dip in and out occasionally. Altogether there are, on average, 16,000 of you a year (well not so many the first couple of years but now that seems to be my stable readership). Thank you, having just gone to find that out, I’m pretty astounded to be honest.
But back to my wondering about blogging and life and the universe in general. Well, just the former really. I started a video blog for a couple of weeks, however I have decided not to continue, for several reasons. Firstly, it’s more work over an intense period. I thought talking to camera would be easier than actual writing, energy wise, but as it happens, this is less tiring. Then there’s the exposing factor. I mean you get to see me with all my stutters, pauses and sniffs (I discovered I do that a lot!) whereas there’s a chance to edit this (I know you can edit videos but I have no idea how to and no inclination to find out). So I think the blog is the way forward for now.

Right, now we’ve sorted out that dilemma, let’s return to a little yarny chat.

I have two main wips on the needles and one finished object. Joji Locatelli released a new pattern not so long ago (have you noticed she’s one of the pattern monsters? She releases tons of them, I have no idea how she manages it) called ‘I see Spring‘, which is a plainish boxy-style sweater with just a little lace detail at the front neckline. Having some Eden Cottage Titus burning a hole in my stash I thought it would be perfect; I was right! It’s a lovely pattern with some interesting short row shaping and I’m really pleased. I know I’m pleased as I didn’t take it off for about a week after finishing it.


My only misgivings are that I made the sleeves slightly too long, although I quite like that as it makes little ‘hand hugs’, and that the Titus, probably due to the silk content, is very unforgiving. You can see every tiny inconsistency and hiding balls changes is difficult so I think in future I’m going to save it for shawl knitting. I like the boxy shape and the dropped shoulders, especially as it means you don’t have much knitting to do on the sleeves, plus the colour is very wearable. I’m a bit slow to the party as it’s only just dawning on me that I need to knit in colours I actually wear as opposed to any random pretty skein colour.

So I had my usual couple of days of moping about with finished object trauma then started this

which is on its way to being Tegna from Caitlin Hunter (aka Boylandknitworks). After the lace border, it’s a tedious hike through stocking stitch tundra but at least this one has short sleeves (there’s a tiny voice inside reminding me I hate short sleeved tops, but my other ‘this time it’ll be different’ voice is happily drowning that out).

And to see me through the boredom, I’ve started a shawl from Curious Handmade, I’ll tell you more about it next time but here’s a wee photo to keep you going.

10 Things I should’ve learnt about knitting by now (and wish I had)


So it turns out I’m a slow learner.  Who knew?! Well probably most of you but it’s news to me (and yes I’m aware that this is an example in itself).

But when it comes to knitting, I’m spectacularly slow, let me tell you all about it…

1. Count your stitches. I thought I’d start with an easy one. It’s pretty obvious too but somehow eludes me. I’m great at casting on the right number but then, somehow, I forget. Or maybe it’s because I darent. I mean, if the stitches are right then it’s a waste of time, if they’re out then…well you’re just going to have to burn it. So it’s just best not to know.

2. This came up in a recent conversation. Remember to change to the larger needle size after you’ve finished to ribbing. You know how patterns often recommend you use a slightly smaller needle for cuffs? I think I’m just so relieved to have finished the endless k1, p1 and skipping at the idea of just knitting, changing my needles is so far from my mind it doesn’t happen until I’m halfway up the body of a sweater and realise it’s looking a little on the teeny size. So now I don’t bother, I use the larger ones throughout, I mean who’s noticing if your cuffs are a little baggy anyway?

3. Be realistic. I know I can cable/knit stranded/create complicated lace shawls. The issue is whether I actually want to enough to finish the project. Remember this? The fair isle blanket? I mean who on earth knits a fair isle blanket? My point exactly.

4. Accept you never ever have the right needles for the project. I have three, yes three, full sets of interchangeable needles as well as a whole heap of fixed end circulars. Do I have the right size? No. My plan? To employ a ‘project manager’ to put the right yarn in the right amount (don’t get me started on that one either) with the correct needle(s) (depending on whether I’m risking life and limb with the cuffs) and notions all in a pretty bag with the pattern so I can just get knitting. Because that’s all I want to do. It’s not much to ask, surely?

5. That stitch marker you love? Yeah, say goodbye. I’ve developed this ‘skill’ of being able to flick the marker right off the end of the needles never to be seen again. I honestly couldn’t tell you how I achieve this, if it wasn’t so annoying it’d be my party trick.

6. Scissors. Who eats them?

7. Never, ever knit anything that will involve sewing at any point. Do I make myself clear? There is something horribly wonderful about how parts of a cardigan can look so neat and professional until they’re sewn together. Then it looks like something a four year old has made, after the cat has chewed on the corners a little and the dogs have dragged it around the lawn. Thank the Lord for knitting in the round. Every day.

8. The prettier a skein, the more disturbingly tangled it will become when you’re balling it up. It’s a law of nature. 

9. Never promise to knit anything for anyone. How to suck the joy from knitting in one easy step: promise you’ll make something for someone. The more they mean to you the worse it will be. When I was writing my dissertation, I exchanged a pair of socks for some transcribing. Despite it saving me hours of work, I honestly had to drag every last stitch from my fingers; I’m good with giving something to someone after it’s finished, in fact that’s one of my favourite things. But the expectation you’ll knit something has a peculiar way of ensuring it will be a chore from hell.

10. I’m not patient. People say ‘I don’t have the patience to knit’. Being impatient is exactly why I knit. I’m perfectly happy to be kept waiting for appointments; two hours is the longest, after a new admin system created chaos for my consultant. However, I had my knitting and was over the moon to have some extra yarn time, as this was back in the days of full time work. Without the knitting I’m just two sticks and some string away from a stabby, discombobulated gorgon. 

Take up knitting they said, it’ll be relaxing they said. Humpf. Happy knitting 😉

WIP crack awaaaay!

Following a change in one of my boobs, I went for a mammogram recently (all clear thankfully) and though I wasn’t unduly worried, while ‘tidying’, aka moving around, some yarn I caught myself thinking ‘if I have cancer then I’m casting on that shawl right away’. That shawl being Exploration Station by Westknits and the yarn being this:


It then occurred to me that this was such a ridiculous thought. Why on earth do I need to wait until I have cancer before I cast on another shawl?

It’s a little like housework; I have never been an especially houseproud kind of person and I can’t imagine lying on my death bed regretting I hadn’t hoovered under my sofa on a regular basis (something that never happens, I know there’s a small dog under there but if it gets cleaned up another one will only appear). Frankly life is too short and energy too precious.

So I’ve eased up on myself WIP-wise, hence two new sock projects, a new spinning one and yarn ordered for another shawl (this time the Transition Stash Buster, yeah I know it says stash buster but you know…).

As someone who has previously worked in mental health, I am all too aware that self imposed rigid rules are a recipe for all kinds of issues including depression and anxiety, certainly as a contributing factor anyway. As I have started noticing mine I’ve realised I have quite a few, from eating pizza only on a Friday night to always getting up out of bed every morning even if it’s to have a cuppa then return back to bed on a bad day.

I think they are a way of creating a sense of control over my life, something that anyone with a chronic health issue struggles with as you never know how you’ll feel tomorrow.

On the whole most of mine are functional. It doesn’t hurt to get up every day, even to discover that it’s a bed day as sometimes I can discover I feel better downstairs, and eating pizza every night is a fast track to heart disease but some I can really do without. So here’s to numerous WIPs, SABLE (stash acquisition beyond life expectancy) and UFOs (unfinished objects).

In the meantime, enjoy a photo of what will soon become a very rare finished object. Happy knitting.

Quick knit

  
As the ‘Wild Apple’ cardigan is taking oh sooo long to knit, I felt the need to whip up a hat. You know, just to remind myself that it is possible to actually finish something.

Also Mr Weaving Heart hasn’t had a new hat for a while and winter is coming, to coin a phrase.

So I dug out some Falkland top, hand dyed by  Manda Crafts, that has been floating about in my stash for a wee while. 

  
It spun up very easily over a couple of evenings using the lowest ratio on the Matchless; a little bit of a challenge, as I’m so used to spinning laceweight (the spinner’s conundrum – you spend so long trying to achieve really really fine yarn only to then yearn for the days when you were able to make thicker and infinitely more useable yarn).

  
The colours work really well together and are suitably manly (!) so perfect for a hubby hat.

A simple pattern was called for as any fancy pants stuff would be lost in the colours so I simply cast on 80 stitches using 5mm dpns, knit in 2 x 2 ribbing until I got really fed up (it doesn’t take that much where ribbing is concerns to be honest), then switched to knitting in the round for 7 1/2 inches. Finally I reduced the stitches every other row until there were 10 left (that was most probably an error, I think it should have worked out at 8, but hey, who’s counting?), cut off the remaining yarn and drew the tail through them. Hey presto, from fibre to finished object in three days.

  
See, you can manage to finish things sometimes.

Reunited

A wee update: the Sophie blanket was auctioned for a considerable sum which has gone to the Miscarriage Association and she has gone to live in Memphis! So a HUGE thank you to everyone who bid including Dedri Uys, the actual Sophie designer- starstruck, me?!?

So while I await yarn to arrive for another one (our bed needs a Sophie), as I don’t already have plenty, I’ve started a knitting project. Yes, you read right, I’m actually knitting. It’s been a while; my needles and knitting WIPs have been glaring reproachfully at me, like a scorned partner while crochet and me have been floating on a pink cloud of infatuation.

However knitting has welcomed me back with open arms, although I did need to revise a few seduction techniques (aka how to cast on!).

After a failed attempt at a free and badly written pattern for a baby knit (I won’t out the author), I settled on my default knitting setting of an easy shawl using some handspun.

 
I’d forgotten how lovely handspun is to knit with, the subtleties of the hues and slubs are making it a joy to play with. 

 
I’m trying not to get bored, and not frustrated with just how long knitting takes to grow; I understand that all relationships need a little effort but I’m not holding my breath. I’ll let you know how it goes though my fingers are already yearning for a little hooky.