advice · Creativity · giving · learning · Life

Just say NO!

When I was growing up the cast of Grange Hill released a chart topping song warning about the perils of taking Heroin. ‘ Just say NO!’ They sang while horrible images filled the screen. Like falling into quicksand, I thought avoiding heroin dealers would be a much bigger problem than it turned out to be. I guess I’ve been lucky. Not once however was there mention of the perils of unwanted knitting requests (UKR) during any textile and fashion class.

There are things I really do not enjoy knitting. For example, you will never hear me say “oooh I can’t wait to get started on the floor length lace poncho” not unless I was on some desert island, mysteriously washed up with 101 balls of lace yarn, some needles and a pattern. Actually I’d be more likely to try and fashion some sort of raft with it…

We all have our NO list. Mine includes anything thinner than Aran weight yarn, anything with more than a 6 row repeat, blankets, baby clothes and scarves. The thing is I have quite a strong aversion to knitted them as I discovered when my Mother In Law asked me to knit her a nice long scarf.

My first response was ‘F**k NO! I’d rather poke my eye out with a Sh***y stick’. Luckily I managed to keep this response in my head as, while there are some people would I could say this to, my MIL isn’t one of them. However that fateful pause while I tried to articulate a more appropriate response was taken as tacit agreement.

So that’s why I’m knitting a ‘nice long scarf’ and why? Because never role played what I would say when faced with an UKR. I didn’t have a response ready. If you belong to a knitting group I’d recommend regularly role playing your responses to UKR’s. if you’re a solitary knitter you’ll have to make do with practicing on your own but believe me it’s time well spent.

Even better, let your friends and family know what you ARE willing to knit (and how long it takes) and whether or not you’ll supply the yarn (gift yes, random knitting request, no) which will also avoid the perils of being hoodwinked into knitting with alpaca yarn, spun on Peruvian mountains by elves at £50 a ball ….. this might seem a bit mean spirited but think about it… if your hobby was betting your life savings in online poker games and a friend or family member asked you to bet your house on their behalf, you’d probably say no. This will also avoid those awkward request which will either involve ‘letting someone down’ or staying awake for 3 days straight to knit a bridal shawl for her coming wedding that weekend….

anyway, best crack on… I’m knitting a ‘nice long scarf’…. 🙄🤢

Creativity · Designing · Life

FLASH! …aaaahhhhh!

I’ve just finished the second of the fairy tale cosy collar – still working out the fastening when my husband comes in the room….

“Oh look” he chuckles “Ming The Merciless” …. Oh. I guess he might have a point if it was red and black…. which of course I am going to have to try now, I’ve got some red, I’ll get some black next time I’m in town.

Creativity · Designing · giving · vintage

Vintage!

A super successful trawl through the charity shop button box! A bit of a clean and they’ll look good as new. These are quite different from the buttons in the shops right now and often things like this inspire the designing process.

Next time you’re out why not nip into your local charity shop. They often have all sorts of haberdashery items and knitting needles at a fraction of the price, saving precious world resources AND you’re helping a good cause.

A friend of mine buys pure wool jumpers and unravels them to make new ones, now that is commitment! The only thing I steer away from is old balls of wool which could be riddled with moths etc. Having said that I take yarn in that I know I’m never going to use rather than it sitting in my stash reminding me of my bad yarn choices!

Also, lots of the charity shops have knitting groups making things to sell in the shop. Often they’ll stash the yarn that people bring in and dish it out to the knitting groups to use. Everyone’s a winner!

Creativity · learning

Always learning

We bought this beauty after Christmas. I’ve had a few plays with it but that’s about it. To avoid arguments it’s put away while the girl is around …. (I’ve just deleted hundreds of pictures of Mia and Me on the tv, chins, noses, random carpet shots… etc etc for my phone, and wiped the weetabix off the screen)

So anyway, after making a clothes drying rack which I’ve been meaning to do for ages I’ve made a nice cup of earl grey and got the camera out. I’ve already failed on two counts, the book says have the manual alongside the book and the battery is really low. Still undeterred I’ve had a bit of a read in the peace and quiet of the wood and played around with the settings to see the difference it makes.

I’ve watched some YouTube tutorials and info on the camera and I think I’m getting to grips with the different terms, what they mean and what they do… mostly in theory! And now I’m reading about white balance….

All of this might seem a bit off subject but since I take most of the photos of my stuff myself I want them to be the best photos I can achieve. And anyway I love learning, even when I don’t get it, even when the words swim around the page, even when it feels like a foreign language I keep going because slowly but surely things fall into place.

Creativity · Designing · Life

If at first you don’t succeed…. redesign!

Hmph! This is the 3rd time I’ve frogged the cosy collar because the button holes frankly look rubbish!

So, back to the drawing board; the problem seems to be that because I’m using two strands of yarn there’s all sorts of weirdy gaps and lumps and bumps. Now that might be because I’m not terribly good a knitting double sided yet or maybe because I’m missing some particular technique. Maybe it’s because I’m using super chunky yarn… although the Erika Knight yarn looked ok so maybe it’s the type of super chunky ….who knows! I’ve searched on YouTube and I haven’t found anything…. hmmmmmmm…..

Thing is, I need it to be easily achievable with nice looking results if it’s going to be a pattern in my book. I’m sure we’ve all tried a pattern which has given far from desired results and blamed ourselves when actually the pattern was off. That’s not what I want. I want people to enjoy the knitting process like I scenic journey and to be delighted with their results, regardless of the yarn they use.

If you have any ideas of how to do button holes I’d love to hear about it. I the mean time I’m going to reconsider the closure…,

Cooking · Designing

Tried and tested

Im a bit of a perfectionist…. if it’s possible to be ‘a bit’ of a perfectionist! I test each design and patten I come up with The first time I make something I rarely write anything down, apart from the occasional scrappy note.

Once it is made I write a pattern based on what I can see and then knit to the pattern checking whether I’ve written it out correctly.

Sometimes I give the pattern to someone else to try out, sometimes I don’t. Then I try it out with a different yarn to see how it works. Sometimes I decide that it’s not something I want to pursue, other times I do.

It’s a game of wait and see. I’ve knitted more duds than not! Life is like that, frustrating as it is. We all want to get things right first time – well I do. But that’s unrealistic and actually there’s a great deal of enjoyment and learning in the mistakes.

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Making as meditation

This two sided knitting lark really is a meditation! It really is terribly simple, you just have to keep your mind in the moment, on the task.

You know when you’re meditating and you wander off thinking about this and that…. and then you catch yourself and bring yourself back to the breath or a sound …. Only with the two sided knitting my little wanderings are all too evident as the wrong coloured stitch waving at me!

I’m getting really good at undoing stitches vertically and reworking the them the right way. Well I thought I’d give it a go after undoing several whole rows which had me in a real pickle!

And the work is giving me so many ideas, how I could use this fabric, and has set me wondering how I can develop it. Of course there’s colour work, textures etc etc. Of course I’ll be looking to the YouTube community for help and ideas but also the ‘making it up as I go and seeing if it works’ method that serves me well (even if it doesn’t work).

I’d love to hear what other people are working on 🙏🏼❤️

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My life in techno hell!!!

Hurrah for the nice people at WordPress for dealing with my Luddite understanding of all things technical! And while I’m being waiting between being hand held through the various technical difficulties I’m unpicking the cods I made last night.

I did think about just leaving that little, lone green stitch there, maybe try and cover it with a stitch over the top but no. Because although I won’t be selling this one, I can’t wear it as it’s wool so I’ll have to be a gift and I don’t give second class gifts to my first class friends!

ooh…better go… things to put right!!

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Off topic but you’ll thank me!

So today has been punctuated by delays and minor, first world inconveniences… I got stuck in every traffic jam on every journey (in the van that works, is safe and I can afford), they didn’t have any of the books I wanted at the book shop (so I ordered them and they’ll be in tomorrow probably) the guys at the tip charged me for getting rid of some stuff (which is fine as seriously how else am I going to get rid of insulation off cuts) anyway… I came home and just needed to make something… NOW!!! Something I could do while sorting out the kitchen and other little jobs.., something yummy! So, given that chocolate gives me migraines welcome to the world ..,

CARAMELIES!!!!

160g caramac buttons

160g butter

250g sugar

3 eggs

120g plain flour

80g broken caramac buttons

Turn oven to 180c

Melt the butter and the 120g of caramac

Beat the eggs and the sugar together and add to the cooled melted stuff. Mix up properly and add the flour mixing that properly too.

Pour into a lined baking tray 20x30x5 ish and scatter the remaining buttons over.

Bung in the oven for 20-25 mins.

Cool a bit a cut into very small pieces

Read through the ingredients list every time you want one just to remind yourself that they are not in any way low calorie and then go ahead and eat one very small piece, mindfully!

Anyway now to go pick the girl up!

You’re welcome!

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Perseverance & Slow progress

This two sided knitting lark is slow. I keep getting my yarns (and my knickers) in a twist; I’m sure there must be a trick to keeping the yarns apart. Any suggestions are most welcome!

I’m used to my work taking shape quite quickly…. not this time. I love how it feels though and it’ll be super warm. If only I could wear wool!

I’m wondering how I’d do yarn overs and knit two together???!