Designing · Knitting · learning · Life

Making up

Today I finished knitting the parts of my open tank. I know I’ve been going on and on about it (especially if you follow me on instagram (@ohmymakery); that’s because it’s the largest pattern I’ve worked on for a while and at times it was a bit tricky as I was doing new things.

I’ve learned a lot, and I’ll need to change a few bits a pieces.  For example, the side edging I thought would stop the stocking stitch curl didn’t. Instead I will include some garter or moss edging. Then there’s the quantity of yarn required. Just over 600g and I mean just.  I can lose 4 rows without changing the design; I’ve got a really long body so I shouldn’t have measured it on me (lesson 3)! That will ensure that the knitter can be confident that they will only need 6 balls of yarn to complete the project. I changed the neck design as the roll neck didn’t sit well, but doubling it up looks great and gives it real structure.

I would be lying if I said it’s been easy or particularly relaxing; that’s been strange. The whole point of knitting for me is to be meditative and for that I’ve always thought relaxing.

It was stressful at times because I was having to write pattern notes as I went (there was no way that I would be able to work out what I’d done by just looking). Other times I could just sit back and knit.  Where ever I was in the pattern however, I noticed a kind of stillness in myself. That I needed to be completely in the moment with the knitting. I’m looking forward to trying it again in a different yarn. A man made fibre this time. It behaves quite differently sometimes but I’m sure it’ll work.

I know some people don’t like man made fibres and there are arguments both sides. Those of you who are familiar with me know that I’m allergic to wool and so I favour man made; also it is much easy to wear and wash etc. I’m also conscious that knitting can be very elitist at times; not everyone can afford £10 a ball yarn. The diversity choose are soft and durable like so many other man made fibres.

advice · learning · Life

Love it when a plan comes together!

red and geen maxi headbands.JPGSo AGES ago (like nearly a year ago)I bought a DSLR camera. Naively I thought ‘How hard can it be?’ well pretty hard, in fact so hard that I then didn’t touch it for ages! Thanks to my wonderful and supportive husband, I went on a course at the weekend where I learned the basics. I came home brimful of enthusiasm and confidence that I would be able to take some nice pictures and then BOOOOM! Suddenly nothing worked and my confidence was somewhat bashed.

Still not to be deterred I switched the camera from Aperture Priority to Manual and took some photos anyway…. some of them came out ok too.  It’s a steep learning curve but one I am enjoying.  Anyway today I popped into Jessops (other camera shops are available!) and got some help.  They were lovely and sorted me out …. Exposure Compensation thingie had been accidentally altered … well now I know!

So this evening I took a deep breath and shoved the memory card in and managed to get the photo off the card onto my laptop and then here! I love my Levano yoga book more and more! BINGO! check out my GORGEOUS maxi ear warmers. Soon to be on Etsy so watch this space!

Creativity · learning · Life

Things that make me smile

This line always makes me smile. Especially on days like today which has been particularly s****y 💩.

So anyway lots of really annoying stuff happened all day and I kept moving forward. I feel like a champion!

Anyway, I’ve promised the little one I’ll knit her a top the same as the one I’m knitting now. Apparently I NEVER KNIT HER ANYTHING!!! That not true, she just loses the stuff I knit so it probably feels like that. She wanted to know what the top will look like … I drew this. She likes it. Fingers crossed I’ve got enough yarn as I only have 400g and they’ve sold out. I’ll work. Something out I’m sure!

Knitting · learning · Life

Two steps forward, one step back.. that’s what learning looks like

This afternoon I settled down in my Makery and had a go at adding an edging. I’d not done it before and was quite excited.

I realised fairly early on that my usual relaxed knitting style was too loose. That rectified, I was happy with the result but it didn’t do what I thought it would. My intention was that it would stop the ubiquitous stocking stitch curl edge. It didn’t. Lesson learned. Well 3 actually.

1) I tried something new and as a technique I was pleased with the result.

2) I discovered that the edging doesn’t stop the edge curling.

3) I learned I was brave enough to undo my work rather than try and make good…. I know I’m not alone in being reluctant to do this!

So going forward, the next version will have a garter edge and I’ll knit it in one piece with contrasting yarns. I’m looking forward to that. And now I’m going to make a start on the back; some lovely cable work there to get stuck into. Oh and resist the urge to buy more yarn…. I’ve made this sign for my makery…😂😂😂

learning · Life

#3 BS ideas about mental health

Today is mental health awareness day. Tomorrow is just another day where mental health can go unnoticed. I hope these awareness days do raise awareness for longer than a day; I suffer with mental ill health at times, I have to work hard sometimes to stay well. Most people are cool about it, others are not. Here are 3 of the best (least helpful) BS ideas about mental health I’ve come across…

#1 Taking medication is an easy option. Say that again out loud, nice and slow while thinking about a diabetic or someone with epilepsy… if medication works and helps you feel better then take it.

#2 There are plenty of people worse off than you. Yes, we know. That doesn’t make my pain or your pain any less debilitating.

#3 Have you tried…. [insert here any unsolicited advice] chances are if I’m telling you about something I don’t want advice, I want you to listen. I know that’s super uncomfortable seeing someone you care about unhappy and feeling like you’re not doing anything but you are .. the time to give advice is when the person asks for it.

On that note, I’m not going to give any advice on getting better, I’ll tell you what works for me, in no particular order

#1 exercise any sort really depending on how much energy I have

#2 creating something, anything. Cooking, drawing, knitting, playing music, even if it only works while I’m doing it.

#3 medication – prescription

#4 meditation

#5 naming – identifying out loud to myself the feeling(s) that are swamping me.

#6 quality sleep

What do you find helpful? ❤️🙏🏼

learning · Life

Do the math

Tonight is about knowing my limits and respecting them. I’m really enjoying knitting the glorious tank in Erika Knight’s Artisan, I just want to keep going and going with it. Trouble is I’ve got to a bit where I need to work out EXACTLY what needs to happen.

It’s been a lovely but long day that started with me dropping off the little one early at a friends house so I could teach spin. A wonderful day with my friend followed out and about with the little ones. Now it’s late, I’ve got to learn some choreography for some other classes I teach and my brain is just fried.

Now is NOT the time to be working on the pattern, especially with my imaginative grasp of maths. Now is not the time for multitasking or trying to get MORE done. Now is to consolidate what I know and leave what I don’t know until tomorrow.

For years I’ve tried to fight this, tried to squeeze more out of the pint pot. On the surface it seems like it can be done. We get lots done, we meet deadlines, achieve, achieve, achieve. Long term we are just stealing from ourselves.

I’ve spent more years than I care to remember being chronically tired; why? I was robbing myself of sleep, by staying up too late, being so wired when I finally turned in my sleep was long jn coming and patchy. Why? Because I felt this level of activity, of getting stuff done could somehow validate me. Prove something; I never actually got as far as thinking what exactly I was proving.

So, I’ll be going to bed in a bit, snuggling up under my glorious weighted blanket (wonderful birthday present from my husband) my sleep is so much better! And I’m working on letting things wait. Not rushing to get things done while missing out on the enjoyment of doing. Knitting has taught me that and I am so very grateful 🙏🏼

Creativity · Designing · Life

Making it

Today while having a tidy up I found the drawing of the Maxi Ear Warmer. I love drawing. And look how it turned out! I reflected, rather smugly, that I am achieving much of what my teen self wanted; although I wondered if my teen self would be particularly overjoyed. True, I am a designer, musician and fitness professional, however my teen self would have wanted ‘famous’ to preface those professions. That fame was as important as the actual thing that earned it. I guess it’s part of being young. Now in my 40’s I’m delighted I can pretty much do what I like. We have enough.

This got me thinking about the idea of ‘making it’, you know when people say they want to ‘make it’ as a singer/designer/artist/whatever. The idea of being a celebrity/household name/whatever for doing something. How hollow, how temporary and how little it has to do with the act of creating something. There are many many artisans /artists etc who pretty much do what they like and have enough to live but whom few people have heard of.

Our little girl has recently started playing ‘pop stars’ with her friends at school. I’m not entirely sure what this entails. And so it starts again. I hope I can help her see that it’s the act of doing that’s the important bit, not the fame that might or might not come as a result. And why is that important? Because when ‘Making It’ is measured by fame and mass recognition by oneself and others it’s too easy to be encouraged to have ‘back up plans’. My back up plans sucked and brought me very little happiness; I wish I’d had the confidence at the time to accept my own judgement as valid enough rather than relying on external recognition.

Designing · Knitting · Life

Charmed!

Been sewing on these glorious little Om charms today. It was my reward for (finally) sitting down at the laptop and de-coding my scrawls and short hand from various scraps of paper.

It’s like some elaborate cryptic quiz which, more often than not, requires me go back to the knitted item while muttering something about taking better notes, counting rows, stitches etc. It’s not my favourite job!

Then I’ll knit them all again, following the pattern to the letter, correcting it where it’s obviously wrong. I don’t usually use a different yarn until I’ve corrected the pattern and then I’ll knit it again, measure and compare the finished article with the original yarn. Sometimes things come up smaller in different yarns.

What I also like to do is have other people knit the items. This is like a double check on the pattern and also checks that what I’ve written makes sense to other knitters. If you would like to have a go at an original pattern, please email me at ohmymakery@gmail.com

Life

Small things and big deals

I’m not going to lie, today has been tough. Nothing big or bad happened just a shed load of little things; like a snowball just getting bigger and bigger as the day went on. A long list of things that I didn’t want to do but were necessary alongside dealing with other people.

Days like these I prefer to be alone. This is the real world; I rarely get to be alone and it drains me. So today has been an exercise in celebrating the small things; the swans on the river, the sun on my face, holding my daughters hand. An exercise in reminding myself that these are the important things, the thing to give my energy to, even when I feel I have nothing left. To notice, to be aware. And these small things become a big deal.

I’m alone now. It’s quiet. I have a cup of tea. So do I knit, read my new book or simply just go to bed and restore my energy levels?