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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.

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.

Guilty knitting

Guilt is a funny old thing. Here I am happily knitting along when wham! I get the overwhelming urge to knit socks.

That’s fine. As a good friend pointed out, I’m missing a small project on the needle right now so socks are perfect for that. 

Ok so one more WIP justified…


…However…I’ve finished one sock (in the most gorgeous yarn from Stranded Dyeworks) and I now want to cast on another shawl; not content with the two blankets, other shawl, second sock that are on the needles right now. Hence Guilt.

This thing is, it makes no sense. Who cares how many projects I have on the go right now? Why does it matter? The thing is it doesn’t, but try telling that to my conscience.

Anyway, guilt aside. On a mission to find the perfect sock yarn, I encountered Yarn With a Curse. I did, I really did. The first yarn I considered was a new skein that had arrived a couple of weeks earlier (yes I was on a yarn diet, it’s gone out of the window, but more of that another time). However, I have this thing about keeping speckled yarn for shawls so decided against it.

I had a brief rummage through my stash and found a beautiful skein that I’ve been saving for a special occasion (because a new WIP is always special). As I was pulling it off the shelf, a bag of fibre from a completely different part of the shelf flew out and hit me on the head.

Then I ran into all kinds of trouble when I came to caking the yarn. It got into all measure of tangles never seen before and I ended up having to chop it four times. 

By this time I was a little concerned, and scared. However, I cast on, using Petunia Dursley’s Double Eyelet Sock pattern with the needles recommended and knit the first couple of rounds. It was tiny. I mean really tiny, like big enough for a leprechaun kind of tiny. 

So I admitted defeat and ended up using the yarn I’d originally thought of. Which tells me I should just follow my heart, so I’m going to cast on that shawl I was thinking about…

Moonshadow 

I’m completely engrossed in the Tour de Fleece (more on that next time) but managed to finished a knitted shawl just before it started.


There’s generally not much knitting around here lately so I feel especially pleased I managed to actually finish something rather than keep up with the butterfly approach to WIPs I seem to have adopted (I’ve been considering a blog about the number of knitting and crocheting projects I have on the go. I hang my head in shame).

I had some rather lovely undyed grey polwarth/silk roving I had spun up, with the vague idea of using it for weft but I was a bit worried about whether it would hold up so not wanting to risk it I searched out a simple but with enough interest to stop it being deadly shawl on Ravelry. Do you know how hard that is?

Honestly, the little yarn pixies living in the Ravelry search function hide all the relevant patterns until you finally find something vaguely resembling what you had in mind, cast on, commit to the damn thing then next time you log into Ravelry taunt you with all the perfect projects that could have been. Sigh. 

Anyway this time I managed to foil their pesky tricks and found Moonshadow, a very wearable and easy shawl that is right up my street.


Just lots of lovely soothing garter stitch with cleverly placed increases…then when you run out of yarn, there’s the option of finishing with a cute ruffle in a different colour (or the same, you make the rules remember).


So I decided that a little skein of support spindle spun yarn* would be just right. And it is, I love everything about this. Except for one thing. It’s summer and the last thing I want is a warm and snuggly shawl wrapped around my neck. Bring on Autumn I say.


*’Arwen’ batts from Wild Hair Studio on Etsy, spun as part of a spin along and very pretty with the odd pop of sparkle.

WIPs Galore 

just a quick post as I have little chance to blog, I’m snowed under with Works In Progress so no time to stop and chat.

My Bohus kit arrived yesterday so of course I had to start that immediately; it’s a traditional form of Swedish knitting that’s a bit like fair isle but knit on teeny tiny tooth picks so it’ll take a while. This is an entire evening’s knitting:

 
Then we have the Lilypond Crochet ALong (CAL)

  

It’s very pretty but a bit of a pita to actually make.

Then there’s the other CAL, that’s kind of come to a standstill as I need to order more yarn 

  

And finally, the emergency shawl from down south, the new needles have arrived but it’s kind of been discarded and forgotten about.

 
Bare in mind these are the current WIPs, I’m sure if I looked hard enough I’d find plenty more. Oh, I forgot about this one, the coast blanket which is my ‘go to’ project when I’ve run out of other things to do….

   

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. 

The importance of being honest and WIPs no more

Good morning my lovelies. It has been a few days since my last post and I have some finished projects to show off. But firstly I want to write about honesty…one of the reasons I started this blog was because a lot of the blogs I follow present an image of a charmed life of crafting, cute kids and good taste Cath Kidston style. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that but I felt that blogs representing my life were a little lacking. However, even in my early days of blogging the temptation to show you only the very lovely parts of my life is extremely tempting and I have already fallen into the trap of styling my photos (very badly I might add) and only blogging about certain aspects of my life and omitting some of a the more, shall I say, difficult parts.
There is a balance to be had as I also have my privacy and, dear reader (as she comes over all Charlotte Bronte), some areas are none of your business.
A few years ago I read an interview in a knitting magazine with Alice Starmore (a scottish knitting designer and writer) and it had a photo of her sitting in her house with views over the sea on the Hebridean island where she lived. I felt so envious and dreamed of living in a similar place being able to sit in a chair knitting away looking out to sea. At the time we lived in the middle of Nottingham, on a main road opposite a supermarket. Seeing that photo inspired me to persuade my hubby to think about where we REALLY wanted to live and some years later we now stay in the middle of nowhere by the sea and I can sit in our conservatory knitting watching the waves crash against the cliffs.

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It is a dream come true. However, I, me , myself is still in the dream which means that all of my ‘issues’ (for want of a much better description) have travelling with me, I haven’t transformed into Alice Starmore…so I continue to think the grass is greener and still have emotional ups and downs and live with life on life’s terms. And this is the part I want to convey here, not the dream, although that is part of my life now, but all of the reality. Ok, enough already! I expect you are ready for some lovely, simple and straight forward crafty pics. My cushion inner arrived it is all finished

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I love it, it works well with the granny stripe blanket and brightens up the sofa.
Mr Knittingkitten was away for a couple of days to see his family so I took the opportunity to make some more coasters

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I was a bit lost without him and couldn’t really settle to any projects so just played around with various patterns

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Yes I admit it, that photo was a touch ‘styled’, note the Orla Keily mug (show off!). They are cute but slightly too small. Hey ho. Anyway, he has returned safe and sound so I have started a new project, not sure whether it will be a cushion or blanket, I guess it depends on how many squares I make (stating the obvious)

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Right enough for today, thanks for reading and go well