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Despair! Knitting WIP. Lifelines. More holes than a cheese grater.

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Oh despair! I recently started another new project – yes, I know I told myself and everyone here that I would not start something new until I had more finished projects .. there was a good reason for this one though and I used yarn from my stash which justified it.

I had a five hour car journey ahead of me. I thought I’d stretch myself, try something a little different. ‘What could go wrong?’ Ha! Lots it turns out!

My latest WIP had got to the stage of sewing up. Who can sew up knitting in a car? If there is anyone who can, please give me hints on how to keep pieces straight on my lap and not lose marker pins and sewing needles in the footwell – I am all ears. Note, I’d be the passenger not the driver, of course! I chose a new project over the sewing up this time.

I did about a third on the journey

I hadn’t made anything lacy in a very long time and realised early on it’s probably because I prefer simple knits. I am using a vintage pattern but am not using vintage cotton and I am adjusting size and shaping. The gauge is slightly off (it grows in length but the width seems ok). I am making it longer than the pattern says so I did two borders rather than one. I went wrong a lot, ripped it back, reknit it. I did not mark off some rows as I knitted, I counted wrong. You name it, I did it! The yellow lines are lifelines, thank goodness I knew about those and had spare yarn with me (of course, I never travel with the bare minimum, not only in my craft bag).

I am now onto the armhole shaping. I am a triangle, a lot less wide at the shoulder than Mrs Average (who is Mrs Average, by the way?). Therefore narrowing the shoulder line involves more counting. Whilst the main body lace is easier than the border, knitting when weary means another lifeline after going wrong again, missing out a row, losing a stitch several rows back (how did I not notice? possibly a missed YO somewhere). I think this may be one of those projects that will take a long time.

Note to self, future car journeys, knit small and easy! Our final destination was to our house in France. We had a glorious weekend of sunshine and R&R, despite the knitting calamity on the way.

Since then, we had a wedding to go to back here in the UK. These fairy lights are just a snippet of the day I wanted to share here. Fantastic day, lovely party, love a wedding!

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Little Finished Knits

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It’s been a busy few days, woolly-wise. One baby jacket finished (loved doing the fluted bands!). A pair of booties have hopped off the needles too. The new baby in the family arrived yesterday and the gifts are ready – she was little so she might even fit into the prem baby cardigan and hat I made in a hurry just before Christmas when we were warned she might have been on her way.

So today it’s back to my other WIPs. The weather has turned bitterly cold so I have a great excuse to sit in the warm with pins and yarn and not venture outside too often. I am feeling proud to have finished something speedily (not the usual for me!) and I wish fellow crafters equal success with their current projects.

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.

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!

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

I’m feeling a little rested, a little smaller and right now life’s good, if a little stripey

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It’s wonderful to grab some winter sunshine when the UK is starting to turn grey. I have recently returned from the lovely island of Antigua.  It was a week of R&R, quality time spent with hubby and memories to keep me going as the days turn shorter, the temperature declines and Christmas tunes start playing in each and every corner.

Here’s the view from one of the beaches on Green Island – we had a little boat trip there one morning.  The sea was clear.  The sands were white.  Wish I was there now …  (I thought so much of this yesterday when we had torrential rain, thunder then hailstones here in Kent!)

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Browsing through recent snaps I also looked at photos of a holiday in September last year.  It was a wonderful trip to Mauritius.  Again, a week of R&R. (Very indulgent, very lucky I know.) Being particularly self critical (who isn’t when faced with themselves in swimwear?!), I hate every photo of myself as I had never been as big as I was then.  It inspired me to lose weight, which has been a steady journey and occasionally I can remind myself on days like today, that it has been worth it.  I am lighter, a dress size smaller and I feel fitter than I have for a long time. Yes I fall off the sensible eating wagon sometimes but overall it’s going the right way.

As regards crafting progress: Over the last few months I had been slacking and I wasn’t particularly proud of myself.  I couldn’t settle into anything.  I got distracted easily, switching between a little knitting, going wrong, ripping it back, reknitting, summer projects didn’t get finished, last winter’s projects still lay half done.  I tried to sew, I cut fabric out. cut wrong, changed projects, didn’t do it well. I embroidered a bit, not a lot, I even tried to tackle a sweet little embroidery that’s been in a hoop for several years.  Nothing was working.

Now it’s November and a good friend needs hats for a charity sale.  It’s got me back into knitting and I have to say SUCCESSFULLY FINISHING too.  I am using up some yarn scraps. The styles and sizes are flexible.  I love stripes and pompoms so I guess there will be a few more like these.

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All in all it’s a perfect start to hopefully a good winter and a good winter knitting season.  I knit more in the winter.  I expect many of us do.  Do you?

Here’s wishing you all a happy November.

 

Rejection: degrading? grounding? just life?

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I read a blog post today that made me think about how being rejected helps to shape you as an individual. Unfortunately that post did not allow comment, thus my musings here.  It spoke not of romantic rejection but of the rejection of a personal creation.  In that instance it was something turned down by a publisher.

Luckily I have not suffered the same rejection, I have only dabbled when writing. I have had the odd letter published in newspapers and when I was in my 20’s I wrote to a magazine with my views on infertility wishing to remain anonymous.  When asked by that magazine to be named I turned it down and thus rejected them.  At the time remaining nameless was absolutely necessary for me.

I have encountered job rejection, though not too recently. When younger, I moved on quickly and easily.  As I got older it took longer to get over it but eventually one does and often it can lead to something better.

I had my fair share of romantic rejection in the long and distant past (who didn’t?).  At times I thought my love life would be over forever (woe oh woe!). I kissed a few frogs before finding my prince unexpectedly, and we are still together many, many moons later.

I had never particularly thought of having something I’d made (or created) being rejected. Yes, I have knitted, sewn, painted things for Table Sales or for gifts.  Some things haven’t sold and I understand others weren’t as appreciated as I hoped they would be.  I guess you could of call those as being ‘rejected’. In fact sometimes the things I loved most were the things others didn’t like at all!

Rejection is part of life.  It happens to us all.  It’s how we deal with it that makes and shapes us.  Family, friends and a strong word to oneself helps.  There is no time limit to picking yourself up and feeling better.  It’s understanding why it happened and how you get past it.  It’s embracing the new opportunity you have been given.  It is a lesson to be learned at any stage, at any age.  We can all flourish after rejection.