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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Ravelry challenge is over today. To finish what I started –
Day 30 – 30th March 2017 – what crafts would I like to learn? There must be a whole host of undiscovered crafts out there, ones I have never had a whiff of! I can think of a few I am not interested in but there must be so many more and I look forward to finding them.
Day 31 – today – end results – two completed baby jackets, both photographed recently, three quarters of a cardigan for me, also photographed in progress – that’s one thing I had really hoped to complete! I have sewn as well as knitted – I made felted doughnuts – 10 large, 10 small, 4 embroidery hoops with freehand machine embroidery and hand stitching, a french stick bag – oh I haven’t photographed that yet – that’s for me to take to our house in France. It’s taken 10 years of saying ‘I really could do with some kind of long bag to keep our bread in! I have semi-sorted my yarn stash, been shocked at how much I had and why I purchased a lot of it. I’ve sold 11 lots of yarn in online auctions and gifted two bags of crafting things to charity. All in all my crafting world at home has been attacked and it felt good.
Spring has sprung here in the UK. Perhaps a lot of this sorting out has been a little bit of a Spring Clean! I made an awful mess along the way!
I decorated a pottery yarn bowl at a Pottery Painting shop early this month – oh what fun ! I was slightly worried my attempt at painting anything might look like a child’s artistry (my ‘skills’ tend to be woolly or in fabric) but luckily with a little help of a ‘magic’ paint I think the finished product was a success. I was reluctant to post pics until it was fired in case it was a disaster.
Mine’s on the left. I painted a pattern you can’t see too well(!), covered it with a white glaze that went black and ‘cracked’ on firing. My friend Susan (her bowl on the right) was painted in green/blue, then a grey glaze was painted on and the ‘bit’s in the glaze exploded on firing changing the colour and giving a lovely marbled effect.
Finished and in use !
So, Love this Cardigan is growing.
Now I have the two fronts and almost the front. Meribel yarn by Schoeller and Stahl is lovely to work with but will be a nightmare to sew up with so I am scrabbling around in my stash to find a good sewing up yarn, one that won’t break when I pull together mattress stitch.
NaKniCromo, the yarn challenge for March on Ravelry.com is almost over.
Day 26 Projectless yarn? Yes – lots of it – here is just some …. and currently sorting my stash so much more is projectless.
Day 27 – For those who know me, I am never working on one thing at the same time. I have ‘easy’ knitting which is portable (eg in the car or with me for knit club when I can chat, drink coffee and not go home with mistakes that need ripping out later), then slightly more difficult knitting for when I want a challenge. I have WIPs where I have got bored or stuck or gone wrong – they go into storage and often take a little while to finish or I never finish them!
Day 28 Share my Progress – see above, Love this Cardigan in Meribel teal and navy blue – love love love this cardigan is what I shall call it!
Day 29 Any Other Crafts? Yes, as blogged here, I sew a bit too. Doughnuts and Embroidery Hoops on recent posts. I have also tried others, hand felting, cross stitch, mosaics are amongst them. Oh, and I did silk painting and card making as well. I guess I have a brain that loves to create and try new things.
Day 30 – tomorrow – Crafts I would like to learn – thinking ….
Have a great day, whatever you are doing. And if anyone wants to suggest a project for that projectless yarn please feel free to do so – I have 150g/150m chunky yarn, variegated. It’s Adriafil Mistero, acrylic and wool.
Day 9 of the NaKnitCroMo challenge on Ravelry.com – though in reality it’s actually Day 11 and I am catching up.
When? Mainly the evenings if it’s knitting. I cosy myself up on the sofa, cat to the left of me, after dinner, if I am knitting something easy then the tv is on too.
If it’s sewing, by machine, then that’s a daytime thing. I usually want to be on my own in the house, no husband to pop in and interrupt me – risking me sewing through my own fingers or going askew on the piece I am sewing. I often think he feels my sewing efforts are a waste of time – he doesn’t ‘get’ the pleasure made from handcrafting.
Day 10 of the NaKnitCroMo challenge – What’s my crafting fuel?
Coffee, decaff and when trying to be good – water. If I have the odd evening tipple, I end up putting the knitting down as I can’t concentrate – or I think I can but looking at anything I’ve knitting the next morning can be slightly shameful, and I might not have the right number of stitches on each row still! Never say never though – I was invited to a Craft and Cocktails event yesterday – didn’t go as I had other plans – looking forward to hearing how friends got on – and if anything crafty was achieved. I suspect there was more giggles and drinking than crafting – but that’s not a bad thing occasionally. Shame to miss it. (Memories of being a teenager, moons ago, hemming a skirt one evening, whilst fuelled with cider – argh, the finished hem was soooo bad!)
Day 11 – today – What do I listen to when crafting? As I said, when knitting, it’s usually the tv. When sewing, I love catching up on BBC London Radio (JoAnne Good in the afternoon, particularly The Barking Hour on Thursday afternoons or I love a bit of Robert Elms and his listed Londoner slot), or my cds – a bit of retro 1980’s/1990s’s – my era, when I knew all the words and sang along – maybe that’s why I sew alone at home – then there’s no shame in singing along out loud and out of tune, ha ha! Depending on the mood of the day – Fleetwood Mac, for a singsong, Enjya for thoughfulness, Cher for a jig about when ironing fabric, bit of newer stuff, eg. Mumford and Sons – husband would definitely head out of the house for Mumford – he hates them. Loving this challenge – it really makes me think how and why I craft.
Latest knitting news – I guess part of the March challenge but this might slip into April. I have finished both fronts of my ML181 Love this Cardigan. I have sold some of my stash which has been quite carthartic – you know those yarns you have had for ages and just aren’t going to be turned into something as you have either gone off them, or just don’t have enough in quantity? – they’ve gone to good homes. I have (accidently) purchased some yarn for a couple of baby projects. A friend in Belgium is due in May – I haven’t started anything yet – got to get my sticks clicking – not sure if it’s a boy or a girl, hoping this lovely shade of yellow will be a good choice. DROPS Merino Extra Fine in light yellow. (Great local yarn store – http://www.littlewoollie.co.uk/ – always a warm welcome from the owner Trudy.) ‘Accidently’ purchased as I have plenty of yarn still in my stash – but this was irresistable and DROPS is reasonable prices and good quality.
Schoeller and Stahl Meribel – Shades 19 (the teal one) and 4 (the navy one). I decided to knit this
Pattern ML181 Love this Cardigan Ravelry.com. Meribel’s great to work with , it’s soft, it grows quickly on big needles, it sheds a little but not too much. I made the first front in speedy time. I began the second front. I usually compare the two as I go along, especially when there are colour changes or shaping – but I didn’t this time. (Why?? I can’t actually answer that!) I measured the two against each other only when I reached the armhole shaping and realised I’d not done enough stripes on piece two (how did I miscount when the stripes are in bands of 2? I know my 2 x tables!) and the pocket was placed too low down. Duh! So I had to rip down a couple of hours of work, undoing this slightly fluffy yarn whose fibres cling to each other, and started reknitting, surrounded by teal fluff.
We knitters know ripping is quicker than knitting! Ripping is satisfying to me only if it doesn’t mean it’s a current mistake than needs fixing quickly. I really want to finish this cardigan to wear this season and I have so many WIPs that this was a little ‘treat’ to myself. Dare I carry on today for a while or do I need to switch to a much more pressing time restrained project (eg. a friend’s baby may arrive soon and he/she needs something to wear much more than I need to add to my own wardrobe)? I guess my knitting time today will be shared between the two.
And before I go – Meribel, France, not been there, just quoting yarn name vs place name. I wonder why ‘Meribel’ as Schoeller and Stahl is a German yarn brand. Just wondering …
Here’s how far I got to last night, pocket back in, stripes of the right number. Bye for now. Got to go, got to knit!
Sitting knitting in my front room tonight, it’s a little chilly and I am thinking of fun places I have knitted and warm places I have knitted. The two are not always hand in hand.
Amongst my favourites are several beaches and scrolling through my phone I have pictures of some of my favourite beaches, yay! No actual knitty pictures here, just beaches. I took the pictures myself. I must remember to get someone else to take photos of me actually knitting in future! So, a lovely long quiet sandy beach at Cabourg, Normandy, France. Another, with iconic blue and white sunshades – love it here – Trouville, Normandy, France. Lastly, Whitstable, Kent, UK – that’s the coffee and doughnut picture – at the beach but this is not a photo of the beach. I remember that day, a lovely wander along the beach, it was cold, I sat and knitted but not for long as my hands were cold, then I was in need of a hot drink and the doughnut was free! Would love to see if others knit at the beach.
Going to put the heating on now …..
During the last three weeks I have started three projects and finished none! Flitting from one thing to another, with lots of other stuff going on besides the knitting I am trying to look objectively at my ‘progress’. I think I can say ‘progress’ though the piles of yarn balls grow beside my crafting space and the bags with needles poking out the top of them actually look like they are self-breeding. I began a chunky waistcoat, simple knitting, a little change of colour here and there. It was ok to knit whilst watching a movie until I need to count and work out shaping – that’s when it was put down and the next project picked up. Then there is a super chunky blanket, just garter stitch, as it grows it becomes slightly unwieldy, so great if you are on the sofa and not moving far, but it’s not a ‘moveable project’, so one not to take in the car as a ridealong project or to take to my knitting clubs outside the home. Then there’s a lovely cowl, only just cast on, think I need to concentrate more than I have been, having done a little ripping and reknitting on this one!
I have actually been quite knitting/woolly in other ways this month. I joined a yarn challenge on Ravelry.com. Each day of the month participants have been posting pics and comments on their knitting world/community/projects past and present. It’s been fun, quite retrospectful for me and inspirational for future projects and activities. Sometimes you need to take stock of what you have actually created and why!
I have at last pulled back a knitting project my sister gave me – half a sweater she started for her daughter a few years ago. I was never going to finish it, but had been gifted the yarn to do something with. Now to decide whether to reknit it or pass that gift on. Why is it that ripping is always much quicker than knitting!
Here a couple of pics from that yarn challenge posting. Tech issues mean they are slightly historical but from my knitty world! A green/blue/sparkly Rico Creative sweater, this came out a little snug, so I am keeping it for when I lose a bit of weight! That will teach me to not do a tension square for every project! Ooops!
And me knittng whilst wearing a David Beckham mask!
Over the next week or so I will be back in business and posting new knitting project photos hopefully – a slightly technical hitch means that just wasn’t possible today!
Happy knitting all.
It was dull and raining today and I sat looking at nice things on the laptop to cheer myself up. My first ‘nice’ selection was some photographs from last summer.
Who has seen this fantastic magazine ‘The Simple Things’? I remember I enjoyed this particular issue and I took a photo of it as I sunbathed in my garden.The mag is an absolute delight! It reminds us to celebrate and enjoy just that ‘The Simple Things’. In August there were photos of lavender filled gardens, shells and beaches, just my kind of thing. The sun was shining and I was in the countryside, yet just 15 mins drive away from a beach, ready to take a wander along the shore a little later, dipping my toes in the water and feeling the sand warm from the days rays.
Is life too busy now so most people don’t enjoy simple things? I think it is and that is so sad. So much of life is missed out on. I think we need to all take five, or ten, look around us, take a breather, sit and think, enjoy something for it’s own sake not be entertained by technology or have something thrust upon us that needs immediate attention.
One big thing that makes me content is time spent just knitting. Often I have music or tv on in the background but I recently sat in silence with stitches gathering on the needles, garment slowly growing (and it was slow, a fiddly lace pattern). I knitted to gain pleasure, with the action of knitting itself and the hope that when my item was finished I think it will be appreciated by someone else. The world seemed to stop around me, peace, quiet, it gave me time to contemplate. I didn’t sit for too long, perhaps thirty minutes, but you could say I got more out of those thirty minutes than I had for the rest of that whole day, perhaps the whole week. Some people meditate, some do yoga, some exercise, however you do it, don’t forget to jump off the whirling world sometimes and ‘Take time to live’ (as it says on front of the book).