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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 😉

Dear diary…

Oh man I’m having a grumpy day today. Probably not the best time to write a blog then, if you’re a sensible person…I’ve never been accused of being sensible so here goes.

I’m not grumpy about anything specific, it’s just a day where I find most people annoying.

One of the reasons I object strongly to the idea that M.E is a psychological, whether partly or otherwise, is because, to coin a phrase, I’ve done a lot of work on myself. Some of that included learning how to be angry as our culture tends to discourage angry women. We can be kind, compassionate, caring, and within reason funny (although not too much as that would be threatening right?), but not angry. 

So I quite enjoy it now, as long as I don’t act inappropriately it’s kind of fun, and feels a little like being naughty.

Right onto ‘proper’ stuff. I realised that this blog is becoming more about M.E (me me meeee!) than anything else and as it reflects what’s going on here then it’s pretty inevitable. Life is very dictated by my health and my activities shaped accordingly.

It’s been a very quiet weekend as Mr Weaving Heart kindly drove me all the way to Inverness on Friday for a posh haircut. Now this is a big trip for me and requires resting before and afterwards. My hair is one of the ways I’ve adjusted things to fit with my health, I now have short hair (and getting shorter) as it’s so much easier to look after and I was slightly anxious about how I would manage sitting in the hairdressers for a wee while. I get orthostatic intolerance – basically unable to remain upright – so wasn’t sure how this would be but it actually went fairly well. One of the paradoxes of M.E is that I can run on adrenaline, and do this for quite a while, adding, of course, to the myth that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. It’s very useful as long as I don’t do it too often and this was one of those days; my hair cut took less time than expected so I had a little spare time before my lift arrived and quite happily walked over the bridge and back feeling ‘normal’. It was lovely and quite bittersweet as it reminds me of how I used to feel prior to chronic illness.

Contrary to how I may come across, I’m actually very content with life. It’s been five years (five years!!) since I was diagnosed and having travelled through the various lifestyle changes that come with this, I’m now very grateful I don’t have to force myself to work anymore. I have a comfortable and safe (especially important as so many don’t) home with a life partner who accepts my illness and doesn’t see it as defining me.

Everything from Netflix and social media all contribute to a sense of community as well. There are some great M.E groups on Facebook and I’ve just started participating in ‘Spoonie Mail’ where I exchange proper letters (I know right? Such a long time since I’ve done that other than the odd card to family) with others living with health conditions. It like having lots of pen pals all over again and writing letters gives me a good way of hopefully bringing a little joy into someone else’s life; I know how exciting it is to get post that doesn’t arrive in a brown envelope.

Right, as I need to add a few photos to this I’ll give you a brief update on my FO’s and WIPs. Firstly, I didn’t  immediately cast on that shawl I mentioned last time but managed to get the socks finished.


I’m a complete convert to the Fish Kiss Lips heel after my friend recommended it. It’s so much quicker than a more traditional heel flap gusset thing except I’ve discovered that unless I ensure my measurements are completely on point then they don’t fit well. It’s less forgiving, as I discovered with this pair – one sock fits perfectly, the other is slightly shorter and is, well, annoying. I guess I could frog the toe and reknit but life really is too short.

So having completed a project I had the perfect reason to start a new one, never mind the half dozen or so that are currently on the needles. So here’s my Peachy shawl, using the yarn originally intended for a cardigan (Shusui) that was completely frogged.


It’s very similar to the cardigan pattern, being written by the same designer, and is a top down brioche garter stitch combo. It’ll be very snuggly when finished and hopefully perfect for keeping my shoulders cosy in bed.

Right plenty enough for now, I hope you’re having a slightly less grumpy day and I’ll be back very soon. Thanks for reading.

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…

Extreme Yarn Emergency

I encountered a truly stressful and anxiety provoking situation yesterday.

We have travelled down South (or dahn Sarf as they say here) and I thought I had come well prepared. I packed my spinning wheel (the Ladybug) with some fibre, my latest Sophie’s Universe Throw project plus, just in case, a half completed shawl knit using some handspun. Plenty to keep me going for a week away; I usually over-estimate the amount of yarn time I’ll get but better too much than too little. However, it was mostly a completely epic fail. 

Someone who shall remain nameless broke the lazy kate on my wheel so I managed to finished spinning my singles within a couple of hours only to discover I wasn’t able to ply it and am now empty bobbin-less.

I also managed to use up all of two colours for my crocheting so am unable to carry on until we get home when the yarn to complete Sophie will be waiting…progress thus far:

 
It will be for our bed, but someone who continues to remain nameless thought the total yarn needed was too expensive so I had to ration my orders (are you beginning to see a theme yet?). 

Then while we were stuck in a three hour traffic jam (yes really. THREE hours), I managed to finish the hand spun shawl.

So, I ran out of yarn. If you are a non knitter/crocheter/crafty type, it is a bit like one of the cast of Made in Chelsea running out of fake tan, or the Strictly Come Dancing dress department running out of sparkles. An absolute disaster darling.

So at the first chance available I quick footed it into Nottingham to do a tour of yarn shops, enabled by the nameless person. I went to Knit Nottingham where I found some hand dyed sock blanks dyed by a local dyer 

  


These are rectangles of pre knitted yarn that’s dyed, unravelled then you can reknit them into socks or a shawl and you end up with really lovely effects.

Next was the Yarn Loft which was just heaven. Piles and piles of beautiful yarn from places like Fyberspates, Juniper Moon and Arucania. Absolute bliss. I came away with a pattern and yarn from Manos del Uruguay to knit another shawl.

 
As well as some Fyberspates Scrumptious lace and sock yarn, just to stroke as needed.

So I feel much much better and Mr Weaving Heart has truly redeemed himself. Phew. 

The abyss of unfinished projects

I am dwelling in the land of too many wips (knitting projects for the non-ravellers – it stands for works in progress). The problem is that before I finish one, another leaps (leaps I tell you!) onto my knitting pins and before I know it I feel overwhelmed in the no man’s (should that be woman’s?) land of never ending knitting. Currently I am half way through the first sock in the yarn I found at Loop, I haven’t even made it into second sock syndrome territory which is daunting; my handspun Jacob sweater is still awaiting sleeves (and the yarn to knit them with), I am in the middle (she says optimistically) of another stripe study shawl with some lovely yarn gifted by a friend that was part of a swap from a Raveller in Canada who grows her own wool; Mr Knittingkitten’s North Ronaldsay jumper is waiting patiently and I’m thinking of casting on Kate Davies’ Warriston. This is all in the context of a life now filled with work (yup, I’m back to work but more about that later on), a new loom and only the odd half hour of free knitting time each day. Things were different back in the time before spinning and weaving when knitting got the attention it deserves but now I’m lucky if my poor neglected pins get a look in.

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Meet my new best friend…David from Louet.

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We’ve had a few teething problems, like lots of skipped threads in my first weaving project but thanks to the kind people on The Warped Weavers forum on Ravelry I managed to sort it out. It’s a bit like a new partner, you just have to work out how to ‘manoeuvre’ them (cough cough).
I am winding a warp for a baby wrap that will go out to some testers once finished. Like anything designed for little people, it’s essential to ensure that my weaving is suitable for this kind of project and to make sure any wraps I make will be safe. I’m loving the colours so far.

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I’m planning the finished wrap will be about 30″ wide so am winding the warp in three sections, 660 ends in total. Phew!
Finally but not in any way shape or form least, I am back at work and I continue to feel well, full of energy and am living a lovely life.