knitting

Woolly Enthusiasms and a little Mindfulness too

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Working towards the end of the first month of the year I am happy to report that I am still enthusiastic about my Enthusiasms for 2018 (aka Resolutions to some people).

blue half done wip
Knitting WIP

Last week I rediscovered parts of a summer cotton top in my craft room.  Thinking why I may have put it aside I am guessing reasons – got bored with it/was keen to start something new/change of season.  I discounted ‘gone wrong’ as I still could work out where I was in the pattern, notes and needles were all there.   I had the two fronts, two thirds of the back – so near, yet so far from completion! So it’s take a few knitting sessions and two turns at picking up stitches on the neck (167sts!). I love working with this cotton too, King Cole Cotton Soft DK. Still kicking myself for being a serial starter over the last few years!!!

Updating of 2018 Enthusiams: diet on track, wip counted as ‘sorting out craft stuff, slow progress on job/career/bucketlist, a little better on household finance decisions. Roll on February and more progress.

Further to some Mindfulness reading this week, I have been taking the time to appreciate the things and people around me.  A little ‘therapy’ like this could do many people a lot of good. Have visited two friends this week, one not seen in several years. Both times we had quality time, put some of the world to rights, had a giggle and promised not to leave it so long until the next time.  I had been missing a trip to the see the sea and one trip visited windy and raining Hastings – seeing the waves crashing and bashing onto the beach was pretty amazing, watching only briefly before diving into the pub for lunch!  Photos just did not come out well – so nothing to share, so sorry!  Pub – amazing food – oh my – The Crown, All Saints Street! http://www.thecrownhastings.co.uk/

I also made a point of telling someone very special how much I love them. Now that’s something we are often not so good at.  Currently feeling warm and glowing, I’d recommend it.

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Interpreting one way or another, discuss ..

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I start the week with a different type of post compared to the last few.

Over the weekend I’ve been thinking about how we each see things. It sometimes depends on if what we see is of personal interest.  It also depends on our state of mind.

For example, my husband is an avid football fan.  He screams and shouts at matches on tv.  He jumps up out of his chair with distress or happiness at decisions and goals. If I am in the same room, all I see is 22 men running up and down with a ball – to me it could be the same 22 men from the last match, and the match before, etc.

I love to craft, knit especially.  I admire yarns, patterns, textures, have always a project to hand.  To my husband, a non-knitter, they look practically the same.  In fact I can sit and knit right next to him and he won’t recognise that during one evening one project in my hand has been switched for another.  It’s just me sitting knitting.

On Saturday, we drove past a local church and I read their noticeboard out loud.  I am not a religious person at all and I hope I offend no-one by talking about this here. It said ‘Friend Request’ ‘Jesus’, with an icon as if it was a popular social media site.  It made me chuckle and comment that this particular church is always trying to attract members, perhaps this time from the younger generation. My husband thought totally the opposite.  He said it was alienating younger people, being sarcastic that if they were on a social media site they wouldn’t consider the church as it was old fashioned.  There followed a good discussion between us, one with no conclusion, but it did make me think we may sometimes see things a lot differently.

This is more than ‘Men are from Mars/Women are from Venus’ (John Gray, 1992). We’ve been together a long time and I think we read each other pretty well.

I also read In the Moment Magazine, a fairly new publication to me. This was an issue from October last year, passed to me by a friend who thought I would love it – and I do!  There is a lot of mindfulness discussion within this magazine, suggesting we take time to enjoy life rather than miss it.  In a hectic world I think so many people run fast and don’t see the important things let alone the less important.  I read a couple of articles to my lovely husband.  At first he was dismissive, saying it looked like a lot of ‘happy, clappy rubbish’, then he agreed some things I was saying actually made sense.  He does have a very busy work life, perhaps there isn’t a good work/life balance at the moment and it needs to change.

http://www.calmmoment.com/magazines/in-the-moment/

I took a hint from that magazine, contacted a friend who I hadn’t seen for several years (social media contact does not give the same satisfaction as face to face, quote!).  Today we meet up for the first time in ages.

That’s me for today. Have a good one!

 

 

 

 

Two craft projects finished

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I have been working on finishing WIPs, particularly yarny ones.  This one in Drops Andes 65% wool, 35% alpaca, purchased when visiting a lovely little local yarn store Little Woollie in Beckenham, Kent, UK. I love an independent wool shop. I always find the customer service so fantastic and you can’t beat a good natter about woolly things!  https://www.littlewoollie.co.uk/

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This …
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became this !

I had time for a little sewing project too. Fabric selected from my stash a few days ago turned into a the most useful storage system for circular knitting needles.  The pocket at the bottom is perfect for spare needle needle tips and cables.  It has made me think about what circulars I prefer – possibly KnitPro Symphonie with fixed tips for their smoothness and attractiveness = I always say the rainbows make even black knitting pretty!  I like the interchangeable ones but have had a bit of bad luck with rough fixings and occasionally the screw has unwound despite all my efforts with regularly fixing the tips on.

So two projects down, still numerous ones to be tackled, but this is progress, yay!

circneedleholder.jpg  circneedleholderfull

What to make in speckles?

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Baby SpeckleToday I was going to have a huge sort out of my craft room – oops – that didn’t quite happen again.  Am I the only one who is tempted to leave the jobs for another day when a social engagement calls? (An overdue catch up with a friend in this instance.)  I will return to the crafty chaos at a later date.

After a very little sort out (more of a dive in, then a rummage in a crate of leftover baby yarn ..) I found this pretty green DK yarn, Sirdar Snuggly Baby Speckle. I feel a mini knitting project coming on.  About 80g in weight.  A hat with a bobble perhaps?  I know of a new boy baby arriving shortly.   I also have a friend frantically knitting hats for a hospice Christmas Sale.  There may be competition for the finished item. Still, it will be a quick knit amongst the other WIPS. I need a break from the two projects next to my sofa (the ongoing DROPS project and also something for work).

If today you are knitting/stitching/hooking/sticking/painting/sculpting/designing I wish you a Happy Crafting session!

 

Time to reflect, after a series of crises

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I often feel my life swings from one crisis to another.  When did it all start? (Crises that is, not life!)

Childhood was happy and simple.  I would love to be able to thank my parents properly but sadly they both passed a few years ago. I was kind of able to say thanks when I spent some time with my mother in her final days but it was not enough and time was short.  I hope she had the same happiness with parenting that I had with childhood.

Perhaps for most people childhood is rosy!  I hope I have been able to give mainly happy memories to my own son.  At the moment I believe my husband and I are deemed as slightly demented, crazy people who were ‘never young’, dare I say the usual thoughts of a young adult these days about anyone over 35!

Perhaps the appreciation of your own parents only comes into it’s own as you age yourself. I think the first time I truly reflected on parenting was on my wedding day.  I had already left home and was living with my fiance but it still felt like leaving the fold of my first family to join my second.

Recently there has been another very sad passing of a dear family member. The final illness was quite lengthy which was dreadful for the sufferer.  However, the weeks gave each of us time to say our goodbyes and remember good times.  I am still deciding in my own head whether this long drawn out end of life was cruel or kind.  It should not be a shock, but it still feels like it.

This passing came a little time after a career crisis for me, followed by a new job offer, accepted under pressure.  During the same period a family member’s plans to return home gave way and a move for that person to go abroad for a year came to the fore.  A new baby in the family was born safely and on time, after several weeks of anticipation of an early and problematic birth.  Husband has a very pressurised job, which recently meant more time away from home, more long working hours, distractions from the business when at home too.  We had a major job done on the house, with builders here for a few weeks and a major job done at our holiday home so lots of decision making done remotely, which is stressful in itself. Our usual holidays at Easter and May Day were deferred due to the happenings about us.  Finally we had three nights and four days away last weekend and that’s when this latest sad crisis occurred.

Of course, now is the time to be there for each other, look after each other, a funeral to get through and the weeks after.

We will survive, but feeling a little battered and bruised.

Still crafting occasionally,  a little ‘therapy’ and me time.  Projects on the table: a patchwork and applique runner for a craft fair (see post a couple of weeks ago for Countryside ideas), ongoing English paper piecing hexagons patchwork throw (see post a few weeks ago!), newly cast on cotton summer top (knitting), almost finished knitted summer vest (just fixing errors on the neck pick up which originally was a disaster), more felt doughnuts to sell …. loads more projects but they are in hiding right now.  No photos to share at the mo but there will be.

Signing out for now.

 

 

 

A little quilting … bit of a faff this time! Very little crafting indeed this week.

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It’s been a quiet week craftwise,  with much time taken up elsewhere with family illness and a little bit of work.

 

A few weeks ago I began a machine stitched baby playmat.  I kept the urge back to post pics here as I was planning to post when it was finished.  I briefly worked on the playmat two days ago, a little time for me and for my sanity! I still have a little way to go – craftwise that it, sanity well who can tell!

The playmat was supposed to be a quick and easy project.  A few weeks ago, the piecing went well, fabulous fabric donated by a friend.  I pieced the front, THEN I accidently cut the backing too small!  Grrr, I dashed out and purchased an alternative fabric.  I sewed the back and front together like a pillowcase, intending to pop in  the wadding and simply do some formed of ‘tied’ quilting.  That’s where I had left it until this week.

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So what’s a magazine got to do with quilting? There are no sewing patterns in this one ….

Have you ever tried to insert wadding through a small gap in one side of a pillowcase shape and try and make it reach all the edges?  It doesn’t work – wadding is way too flexible.  It clung to the fabric in all the wrong places. I had imagined it would be like putting a duvet in a duvet cover.  It isn’t!  I ended up flipping the ‘pillowcase’ inside out again and attempted to tack the wadding to the wrong side of the front of the playmat. There was one major hurdle – I had to avoid tacking the wadding to both the front and the back as I then wanted to flip it right side out, seam the gap and then tie the quilt as planned.  Some might say ‘why didn’t she just undo the seam around the whole thing and tack the wadding to one part?’  I have no idea why I didn’t do that! So, this wasn’t like a standard quilt where you have three layers and then bind the edges afterwards. I came up with this weird method of inserting a magazine into the gap and moving it beneath each part as I tacked.  I could pin and tack through the wadding and the front without the pins and stitches going right through to the other layer.  Here’s a pic mid process with a hint of what the back will look like.

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A touch of dotty blue makes the back a calm colour . What colours do you think the top will be?

I shall finish this before the recipient arrives in June.  I had just run out of me time this week and was slightly traumatised by the effort this took!

Watch this blog for the finished article.

Total other craftings this week – three hexagon shapes cut and tacked to card for my hand quilted hexi project.  Long way to go on this one.  Twelve rows of knitting, shaping armholes for an ongoing project. Not so much to still do, the bulk is done. I am just at the fiddly parts, not a project to take when hospital visiting. I have a new one for just that next time.

Bye for now.

 

Hexagon heaven – a little quilt in progress, and a knit fail!

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I have been crafting steadily over the last few days but there’s not a lot to photograph and show off!  Here are my latest 19 hexagons handsewn together.hexis.jpg

Excuse the crinkles – it’s a moveable project and it came with me to a craft club last night – obviously not packed so nicely for it’s journey home! Might have been due to exhaustion – second day in new job, followed by an evening at a craft club with just an hour between the two.  I might have overstretched myself too far yesterday, though the stitches are even so at least that wasn’t a consequence!

Recently I posted a pic of this sofa quilt project.  Eventually all my hexagons will be sewn together and what started as a cushion project WILL become a throw for my spare sofa.  I am calling it my organic project.  I started it several years ago, have dipped in and out but am currently working away on it, using fabric from my stash and adding more if I come across something complementary when out and about.  I may purchase a FQ or a half metre or more at a time, not exactly planning what I need at all. I am a ‘wing it’ sort of girl and this is a lot of fun. I am not stressing at all about how long it might take me and if another project becomes a priority it won’t matter at all.  There’s a lot of love being stitched into this.  Hand sewing is very therapeutic, and each stitching session is really enjoyable.  This is not detracting from the two knitting projects next to my sofa, nor the machine stitched quilt almost finished on my work table.

Knitting-wise, I have just picked up stitches twice (yes, twice!) around the neck of my latest cotton top.  Unfortunately the first pick up was very uneven so I undid it.  The second pick up has been better but there are still a couple of places I am not happy with.  It has been relegated to it’s knitting bag for the rest of the day.  Sometimes a project ‘works’ first time, but sometimes it doesn’t.  Often when I go back to it everything clicks and that’s the project for the day but today is a knit-no-more day.  No pics of the wonky pick up  – too embarrassed to show that off – I may have to enhance the neckline to make it wearable.

Loving knitting the cotton DK anyway – it’s Paintbox cotton dk yarn from Loveknitting.com. The shade is called Lipstick Pink but to me it’s not pink at all – it’s a definite coral.  I’ve bought a lot online but sourcing online there is always that risk that the colours you see on your screen don’t match the colour in reality.  In this instance I actually prefer coral to the pink anyway. https://www.loveknitting.com/paintbox-yarns-cotton-dk

Would love to hear which online yarn and fabric suppliers fellow crafters use. To start, one UK fabric online shop I love is ElephantInMyHandbag.com – lots to like on here.

I do actually visit shops too.  My hubby says I can sniff out a yarn or fabric shop from miles away – luckily he can be a patient man whilst I shop, or at least he ‘sniffs out’ a pub nearby and pops there whilst he’s waiting!

Byee for now.