knit

Charity hat making is good for the soul – not quite sparking joy – it’s also a delaying tactic

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Here are two more chunky hats knitted for a local homeless charity I can not donate time to the cause but I can donate craft and a hat is whipped up in two or three knitting sessions. It’s good for the soul to give something back in any way I can. I admire those who do more.

This hat making is helping me clear some of my yarn stash too so it’s a win-win situation. There’s a lot in the media right now about clearing and cleaning your life which seems to involve sorting out and tidying up and getting rid of things that don’t spark joy aka Marie Kondo styling. This yarn is lovely, nice colours, great to knit with (Adriafil Mistero) but it wasn’t making me smile a lot as it’s left from previous projects and there was never enough to do anything bigger. It was languishing in a cupboard. I am so glad to have re-found it and hopefully it will spark joy for someone else in more than one way.

However …. as much as I am enjoying the hat making I know I am putting off other things, including finishing knitting and sewing larger projects. It is very satisfying to see something grow quickly and then be gifted. I am talking about my recent baby knits and quick projects. This morning I looked at a few half done/three quarters done/tangled/mistaken projects in my craft room. I looked, then ‘hid’ them from myself until another day. I am wondering if it’s not just my crafting that is being avoided.

For now, it’s time to cast on again. I am thinking this is almost my own version of ‘taking a basket weaving class’ with a slightly more fulfilling end.

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Another baby knit for a weeny newborn

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Just showing and telling ..

I loved making this for the newborn in my extended family. It’s the third time I’ve used this pattern, Sirdar 1817.

It’s still a little big and might be for a while. Look at those rolled up sleeves – her hands are in there somewhere! And the bootees I made too – I knew they’d have growing room …

I love an easy knit sometimes. Do you have favourite baby patterns you’ve made several times?

The Mindfulness of Knitting – book review

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Some of you may remember I touched on this book a couple of weeks ago. I realised I hadn’t updated my thoughts, so here goes ..

I was given this book, rather than chose it. It seemed to be a title that celebrated being a ‘knitist’ enjoying the mindfulness of knitting without realising the benefits gained and then expanding that mindfulness by focussing on it. The first few pages were exactly that. I liked the confirmation of enjoyment and contentment. It was not like being preached to – I preach myself about the pleasures of knitting to anyone that will listen (husband shakes head in wonder as he sits next to me, totally does not understand my love of it!)

I loved this extract

There was also a great section about whether knitting is a hobby or just part of life’s necessity. Mention of discovering a late relative’s finished garments made from expensive yarns – the knitter a hobbyist perhaps, lucky enough to have a little money to buy nice yarns, searching them out from various locations and making fashionable items. On another page the author talked of being in a Northern English area where only local, purposeful wool was used and even undergarments were knitted – so perhaps more of a necessity there. It made me think I am a hobbyist but if I need a sweater to be warm I will go for warm fibre over prettiness. Wool reigns over manmade textiles for me but there are so many attractive wools anyway, plus I buy local and wherever I find yarn shops and online too. I am too much of a slow knitter to be make me one purely of necessity – I would be draped in half garments – though I possibly would have a lot of hats!

Sadly, as the book continued I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I had hoped to. I wanted it to be about embracing and expanding skills without stressing about it, and it did say that briefly, however towards the end it seemed to change the focus from enjoying your knitting to drawing patterns in a mindful way, not knitting patterns though, more like mandalas. Over all not quite the book I’d hoped it would become. It is only a little book though, so not much knitting time wasted.

Bye for now.

Crafting success !

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I want to shout from the rooftops – well, from my sofa actually. After yesterday’s failed knitting attempts my mojo came back today, and with it clear thinking. Picking up stitches around the armholes was a doddle. I undid the mega disastrous neckline – something I hadn’t even considered yesterday – repicked up stitches, reknit it, still not perfect but definitely not as ‘cobbled’ together as it was first time round. I even found the perfect buttons. Not blocked yet but feeling proud so wanted to share.

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Moving on, I’ve even revisited my pile of WIPs and organised them into some kind of better order. Here’s the next one to finish this week – a baby cardigan for imminent family arrival, loving the fluted edging. I have to admit it’s the next part that I take a deep breath for – sewing up an button band -but I am on a roll and it WILL be done.

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I’ve started a great book too – this was after my mojo came back – wish I’d read it last week! So far, loving it. If anyone has already read this, think of me as ‘Miss Marple’ today. More about this will follow another day for those who have no idea what that means!

I’ve always known the calm knitting brings – this isn’t a new thing, just sometimes we all need reminding. Signing off for now. Knitting calling.

Crafting ‘expertise’ taking a rain check. Help!

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Having a pile of knitting WIPs that won’t finish themselves I still offered to help a friend with finishing her latest knitting project. She has been unwell and her granddaughter is growing fast. The dress seven eighths completed needs to be finished so she doesn’t grow past fitting into it. My crafting mojo has been flagging, even for my own projects. I wasted a lot of time yesterday thinking I should get on with it then when I finally started picking up stitches at the neckline it bamboozled me and I am not happy with the result. Bah!! I think my expertise (I use the term very loosely!) is on holiday. Currently working on picking up stitches at the armhole and hoping that will be easier/look better. Cute self patterning yarn so at least it’ll be pretty – and there may be a few added ‘extras’ in the end, such as tiny daisies along the neckline to enhance it (to cover the wonky finishing!), approved by my friend of course, not just randomly added by me. Anyone else having the odd few fails with their crafting this year yet?

I have also been passed on two knitting projects to complete from my mother in law – one done, the other pending. Both baby jackets, both kind of time dependent. A new baby in the family due soon, but these were started for her cousin two years ago. The first baby grew past the size knitted. My mother in law is unable to knit now due to ill health. Sadly, I think this will involve much ripping and even reknitting and I am querying the use of the yarn itself, as it has what looks like a ‘tea stain’ on part of the half knitted jacket. Oh, what do I get involved in sometimes? Hints on how to remove old tea stains required. Anyone?

One day I shall have no WIPs – said most knitters, never. I say this because I am dying to start something new. January yarn sales are crying out to be taken advantage of and I am trying to resist.

Intentions new and old, including some crafting

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I realised when revisiting the list of things I intended to do last year that I’ve achieved many parts of that list. What I called my ‘Enthusiasms’, aka as ‘Resolutions’ did not fail for once.

I reached my diet goal and along the way my focus changed to become healthier and happier rather than just a little slimmer.

I intended to sort out my craft stuff.  This year I used up my stash when I could. Just a few samples – I knitted a bunch of hats for charity.

Quilt pieces and bunting evolved from my fabric pile, some of which I’d saved since 1994, I even made a sample dress from a duvet cover found in a charity shop (a challenge from friends, see below!).

I have many knitting and sewing WIPs. One HUGE intention was to finish many of them in 2018 – or rip them back to reknit something else. I did some of this! I hated two cardigans I eventually finished – both wrong shapes for me so I gifted them and they were gratefully received. I ripped back three unfinished knits. One turned into hats. The others await 2019. For Christmas I received a book about how to knit to flatter – I think this may get good use this year!!! I don’t usually make toys but have a bunny fabric pattern – that’s one intention for 2019. Another is to finish at least one quilt (there are two part done!).

I didn’t exactly sort out my job/career.  I haven’t leapt into anything in a blind panic.  I have put my family and my health first this year.  I didn’t juggle all the balls of life and succeed with none. No regrets.

I was supposed to make a bucket list of things to do compelled by a particular date was slightly superceded by two friends giving me a list of things to do over the next year to celebrate my birthday. Most were fun, some were treats, some slightly scary. Challenged to wear something from a charity shop (I do that all the time, my ‘take’ on it was to buy a second hand duvet cover then make it into a dress!)

The last on last year’s list was to become more involved in day to day household accounting/finance.  This was a serious plan for 2018 and is ongoing. I muddle along yet our household finances are still primarily organised by my husband. I wanted to take some pressure off him but we agree he is just better at it. As long as there is ‘change’ after the bills are paid and I can add to my craft supplies I’m happy. I am hoping if he reads this he agrees – happy wife/happy life!

One week’s craftiness, stamp, fold, knit

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Whilst sitting for the last two days, full of a cold, plied with warm drinks and watching a plethora of catch up tv I have been thinking how lucky I am to craft so often and meet with lovely like minded friends, new and old, whilst doing so.

Last week I helped a friend run a Christmas card making class.  We used a dye cutting machine, stamping, glitter dots, ribbons and other embellishments.  I managed to snap just a couple of photos before the ladies headed home.  Most of them loved the cards so much they said they’d find it hard to give them away!

origamistars

Then Monday night this week I met with other crafty friends for our final pre Christmas get-together to do a joint project.  This time was an introduction to origami, making these super stars.  There was a bit of wonky folding along the way but we had a good selection of finished ones by the time we were full of wine/cake/the evening was over!

I had my sewing machine out at the weekend but can’t show off what I made yet.  I will reveal all on a later blog post.

Finally, some knitting, quite a bit of knitting since Sunday.  I knit at home in the quiet, when listening to music, when watching tv, in the car, whenever I can really.  I knit a lot for myself and for charity and I love gifting to friends if I think they’ll appreciate it though sometimes you are never sure if people really appreciate hand made presents.

hat1

However, a few weeks ago a good friend  (of nearly 40 years, we met when we used to pull each others pigtails!) and I were out walking and I noticed she was wearing a hat I made for her several years ago.  She loves the hat but it’s losing it’s oomph and she gently hinted it might be time for a replacement. I’ve made the one she wore several times and was determined not to go down the same route.  I chose a new pattern, dived into my stash and .. a lovely new hat is done. I enjoyed making it so much I made myself one too!  I shall just have to make sure we don’t wear them at the same time .

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I also attacked a few more rows with my chunky grey shrug and started a prem baby cardigan as I heard a family member’s latest arrival may be making an appearance sooner rather than later.  Now back to the sofa and onto the next Box Set and if my fuggy head lets me a little more knitting too.