Wednesday, March 18

Panic on the streets of London...

Yeah, that's a Smiths lyric, but it seems somewhat appropriate, given the impending doom of Covid-19 bearing down upon us. I'd love to say I'd been doing lots of crafty stuff, but at the moment things are getting postponed or cancelled everywhere (with good reason). So again, there's not much to report.

Many thanks PB for your lovely comment, I so rarely get comments that aren't spam - it quite made my day! And this is something we all need to remember, in these darkening times. Be nice to one another. Help each other. I'd like to say to always look for the positive in any situation. I'm really struggling with that at the moment. The situation has dire consequences for everyone. I do wish the media would try and focus on the positives instead of frightening us all. Constantly telling us how bad things are (and how bad humans are) only perpetuates the negativity. A feedback loop.

I'm part way through reading a book called "Ten to Zen" (Owen O'Kane). He describes a 10 step, 10 minute method of meditating and restoring calm to oneself. Don't all immediately buy it online though - have a care, dear reader! Whilst us fortunate ones get to work from home for the foreseeable, the logistics workers and delivery drivers are being asked for extra shifts. This is, alas, a big flaw in our consumerist, skewed society. Someone has to PUT that item in a box, that item you order online. It's not magic - there's some really cool technology goes into the sites (I should know, it's what I do!). But there are still people within that logistics chain, people who maybe have health problems themselves, or children, or frail relatives they really do NOT want to pass this awful thing onto.

Anyway, I digress. The author says he doesn't believe in positive thinking. In the midst of grief or trauma, being told to look on the bright side is, at best, somewhat facetious, and at worst, dreadfully patronising. He espouses adaptive thinking instead - play to your strengths - what can you do well, what do you need help with. That is the approach we need to take here.

And also - practice mindfulness, if you can. Be in the present. No point worrying about the past, it is over. No point panicking over the future, it is unknowable. If you are eating, taste the food. If you are bathing, luxuriate in the bubbles and scents. Don't just do - be! Focus!

As a crafter, I'm hoping the travel time saved with WFH will allow me to get some machine knitting done. We shall see.

Stay well, dear reader!

Current mood: scared

Monday, February 17

Busy but nothing to show for it...

Have been busy working on various craft projects, but alas nowt to show for it.

  • I'm part way through sewing a wrap top - cutting out has been done but tailor tacks etc not so much. 
  • I'm part way through crocheting a simple sideways scarf. 
  • I'm still slogging along on the spiral sock (whether I'll ever get as far as its mate is another matter). 
  • I've swatched for two new cardigans on the chunky. 
  • I've made the parts for another little teddy on the CSM, which might well get written up for sale at some point. Just needs sewing up. 
  • Watercolour painting is still going well, apart from the odd splodgy rabbit. 
  • I've been swotting up about cameras and taking some smashing shots of the sunrise whilst it still coincides with a time I can be awake.

No pictures because there's nothing really to see. It's been bitterly cold, wet and windy (but nothing on what they've had in Wales and the south). Not much impetus to go outside or start anything too complex at the moment. Roll on "proper" spring - the daffodils may be out but the temperatures are still winter's.

Move along. nothing to see here!  :)

Current mood: lethargic

Saturday, February 1

FO: another mini teddy and that Noro top

Made another mini teddy, this time entirely on the CSM. Expertly posed by my lunchbox. Arms came out a bit long, think I should use less weight or less rows, as 50mm arms are a bit long. Having said that, this little guy can fold his arms! And his legs! Also the Noro jumper to use up leftover yarn.

Realised I've got quite a lot of socks that could go on the Etsy shop. But let's face it, they're not selling even at a knockdown price, so what chance do I have of selling them for what they're actually worth to make (about 3x more)?! Oh, there's a red pair not shown, only finished those on Wednesday night. Apologies for the poor quality photos, natural light is hard to come by in the winter!

Very sad that the UK left the EU last night (and the plonkers in London even celebrated it!). Like turkeys voting for Christmas. Very, very sad.

Current mood: sad

Sunday, January 12

Happy New Year, and an incomplete project round-up...

Happy New Year! Gosh, almost a month since my last post. Well, December always goes a bit bonkers and I didn't even do much crafting for xmas presents either, that was just the way it was! They go into major xmas mode at work these days, something happening 3-4 days every week in December. By the time the 25th rolls around I have to say I'm calorific-ally fed up with the whole thing already! I know that makes me sound like a humbug, I'm really not. We did raise quite a bit for various charities.

Because the 25th fell on a Wednesday, there were two working days before it, and two after January the 1st. My partner had to take the whole fortnight so I matched him. Bliss - but such a wrench to go back to work afterwards!

We spent one night in the lovely Hotel Indigo at the back of the Mailbox shopping centre in Birmingham, got to try out the spa, and got a lovely view of the sunrise whilst we had breakfast on the 25th floor.


This was taken through glass - it looks like a UFO attack is in progress, but it's just the reflections of the lights from the restaurant.

Rosedale cardi

Rosedale cardigan. Actually finished the handknitting in October but it's been hanging around waiting for a zip and waiting for me to insert said zip. Not sure the yarn is really my colours (it's Noro Kureypatoren, which is a DK version of their Noro Kureyon).

Some finished and almost finished projects:

Snowflake sweater. I machine-knitted the body (with hand-transferred snowflake front and back), hand-knitted the hems as the machine choked on the sequins / lack of weight, and crocheted the snowflake appliques. Not quite finished, I have a few more snowflakes to sew on, but ran out of time as Xmas jumper day was 13th December. And I won! Hurrah...

Fat quarter top

Fat quarter knitting cats top. This is a basic Prima pattern, think I could probably go down a size as this is the size 20 and the neck is a bit big. Fat quarters were two packs from Hobbycraft. I would like to have a go making this entirely with an overlocker next. Think I might need to add those little bra doohickeys on the shoulders.

Not pictured: I also made some 2x2 ribbed hats from my All gauges easy rib hat pattern, and another jumper from leftover Noro.

Leicestershire machine knitting club are running a 3 month project where we design and knit a jacket. To that end, I was asked to do some samples of edges, and picked four from Mary Anne Oger's excellent books (see below). They've been "killed" with the steam iron to make them lay flat, they are DK acrylic.

Various MK edges

Also not pictured, I am trying to be more sustainable. The poor Cog does not know what has hit him - we have bar soap in all bathrooms now, and I'm experimenting with making my own beauty and household products. I had quite a lot of offcuts leftover from the "knitting cats" top above, and used the overlocker to turn them into rags. I've also had a sort out of undies and t-shirts, and made them into rags also. Knitted fabric is actually better for kitchen spills as it's more absorbent. Currently it's replacing kitchen towels in the kitchen. Use them once, pop them in the washing machine. The cotton offcuts are better as handkerchiefs. I got to play with my overlocker and figure out some of the settings, and I help the environment too. Win-win, I say!

Current mood: busy

Tuesday, December 10

FO: mini teddy


Mini teddy made for a competition. He didn't win, but I did learn to do the slip cast off on the E6000, so not all bad! Might make the next one a bit fatter in the body :)

Gosh, didn't realise it had been more than a month since my last post. Apologies - the Cog and I had a whirlwind week in New York at the end of November, and I feel like I've hardly touched the ground since, what with Mount Washmore, the Cog's birthday, various xmas parties (two in one day!) and the usual mad rush of trying to figure out what xmas presents to get everyone. Now I seem to be coming down with a cold, having dodged all the office germs successfully for a few months...

Here's hoping I get chance to resurface again before the end of the decade!

Current mood: sick

Thursday, November 7

Yarn vs machine gauge


Putting this up here because it comes up online a lot. The numbers across the top are the tension dial settings. It's a rough guide, as yarn density varies enormously! And you might break your wrist trying to get super bulky through a knitting machine. Try it at your own risk! Just saying...

More snowflakes have been crocheted. Think I'm up to 6 or 7 now.

Current mood: okay