Selfish Crafting

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking of late. Big life changes do that, I’ve found. It’s part of settling in to a new situation and becoming stable again. My Dad moved in with us before Christmas, and oh boy what a difference that’s made to my life – no more worrying about if he’s eating, or safe etc. It’s a mother child relationship in reverse.

Others are exploring issues too: a recent Twitter thread has got me thinking as well. We are very lucky in the West to have spare cash that we can choose how we spend. Some have loads more, some only a little, but we have choice as to how to spend it. But I hear that some people impose their feelings on others and the ugly side of human nature rears its head. We all craft for different reasons. Some do it to make clothes, some like the slow fashion movement, others for something to do with their hands, me – I craft for a variety of reasons – it de-stresses me, I like making things and also I cannot buy things to wear that I like in the shops, so I make my own. My yarn collection, for that is what it is, a collection, is there as I bought it to make things with. There is no contract that states what I will make or when, or even if I ever will. I live in a rural area and my yarn shops are between 5 and 17 miles away so I find it helpful to keep some yarn at home. I often give away my yarn or finished objects but I don’t feel guilty for owning what I have worked hard for.

The debate has been widened though. It’s been taken to a level where the words feminism, male dominance, self-worth and assertive enter the equation. Does your partner belittle your hobby? Do you find yourself justifying your hobby? Do you get paid peanuts for commission pieces? I guess it all depends why you knit, how you value your time and skill and your own feelings of self worth. I’ve come to realise over recent years that I’ve undervalued my skills, charged less than I should have for  my yarn and knitted items and allowed others to make fun of my “granny” hobby.

Its time for change. No more will I feel guilty for things I worked hard for, or what I’ve created, and I will put the right price tag on my work. PS I will also not hoard to obscene levels of gluttony. That last statement is so subjective. What constitutes a level? Does a carrier bag full of yarn or a whole room of yarn constitute excess? It depends on how prolific a knitter you are and how old you are! What I’m trying to say, and not very well, is that we should only look at ourselves, not judge others. We don’t walk in their shoes and don’t know the details.

i knit because it keeps me calm. Long may it continue to be so.

 

 

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Norwegian Knitting

As many of you who watch the podcast know, I’m trying out colour work, and specifically Norwegian mittens . I was inspired by Eli from the Skeindeer Knits podcast. She has designed a mitten club called the Selbu Mitten Club, and I’m currently trying to knit a pattern from her collection called the Mebonden mittens. 

I’m on my third attempt, having frogged the previous two incarnations. My first problem was not knowing that when you read charts, if you’re knitting in the round, you only read from right to left. Enter frog number 1. I also decided that the yarn I was using wasn’t right, so I changed from a Blacker yarns DK to a Rowan. 

I have a short attention span and am easily distracted. Enter frog 2 because I got it all wrong and lost my place. 

I’m currently on version 3. The yarn is better. WYS Aire in white and Peer Gynt in red. I’ve lost the white Peer Gynt! 


Frog Number 1 – no discernible pattern. 


Starting again. 

Attempt 3 – the pattern now looks something like it should. 

The plan is between now and my 60th birthday, to learn as many new knitting skills as possible. I want to learn double knitting, brioche, steeking and I’m sure I will find a few more skills to learn. Now I know the basics of colour work, I plan to knit a coloured yoke sweater and then I can learn to steek at the Knit Tea Retreat I’m booked onto this time next year (if I’m allocated that class of course! ) For those of you that are curious, I’m 60 in 2021. I think it’s an achievable target. Let’s see! 

So much to tell you, so little time!

Autumn is here already and with a slight chill in the air, knitting season has kicked up a gear or two. A few weeks ago I went to the opening of Northern Yarn, a new yarn shop in a local town. They stock local to the area breeds and unusual yarns from the local area. As its British Wool Week, they have some exciting offers on, so please do go and check them out! 
A few days ago I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of another yarn shop that is opening in the same town. This is very different to the first! 

Episode 49 Is available now where I interview Amy and she gives us an insight into her aesthetic and a tour of the yarn shop. It’s apt that it’s opening in Wool Week, so if you can, drop in on Saturday 14th October 2017 at 10 a.m. Or if you can’t make it, for whatever reason, you can shop online at www.freeholdyarnco.com 

 

Episode 45 – one grey Sunday afternoon…

Hi, welcome or welcome back! It’s been a few weeks of birthdays, George’s first, my Dad’s 80th and as I podcast, my eldest daughters 36th birthday. Each year seems to come round faster and faster. 

This week I show you my linen top, George’s owlet jumper and Rachael’s Boxy jumper designed by Joji Locatelli. I also show you my latest spinning that will be available to purchase in the Knatters Knits shop.

I talk about some inspiration from Instagram, the goldfish jumper by Tincan Knits. This was being knit by a lady called Mimi Codd. It inspired me so much, that I ordered the yarn and bought the pattern immediately – not something I often do! 

I’m opening a thread or two on the Knatters Knits ravelry group to discuss knitting resources and podcasts. Do drop in and share what you’ve found useful.

Georges Owlet Jumper
No rainbows without rain dyed by Kralalien from Colourful Creativity. 

 
George on a trip to see his Great Grandad who was 80 this week!

Challenging yourself.

The last few weeks for me have been pretty full. My grandma duties have taken up more time than usual as George’s first birthday came and went. It never ceases to amaze me, what an accomplishment making and raising a baby can be. He delights me every day with his innocent approach to life, and excitement on making a new discovery. The latest are finding that he has hair on his head, and crawling. Things I personally take for granted! 


This cake was made by one of his mum’s friends. It tasted delicious. His favourite character just happens to have the same name as him.

Knitting and spinning have taken a bit of a back seat as its been so very hot, too hot to handle fibre. Also, I don’t take my spinning wheel down south, which is crazy as I have a portable wheel with its own rucksack! It’s been so hot recently that, following on from watching the Espace Tricot podcast, I was inspired to buy some linen yarn. I’m designing a linen top for beginners. It’s a layering piece which is one size. 

I bought some DMC Natura linen from the Wool Warehouse. I love the bags they put their deliveries in and the speed with which the yarn arrives – less than 24 hours this last time – super impressive! 


I’m using 5.5mm needles and knitting straight. The fabric is extremely light and has lots of drape to it. 

My stash dash plans have taken a bit of a hit with the very hot weather, but thankfully, now it’s cooled a little, I hope to get back on track. The big blanket is coming on nicely, and I’m on my final ball of yarn. I’ve decided to crochet the sections together using some black Patons 4 ply yarn from the Fairytale Fab range. 

I have also, finally, seccumbed to the latest knitting trend of ‘fade’ garments. The pattern by Andrea Mowry entitled ‘Find your fade’ caught everyone’s imagination and since then a series of blended or ‘fade’ projects has been born. I started my find your fade shawl last week. The colours I’m using are not my usual colour palette but I think they work well together. I’m also using a mix of handspun and commercial yarns to add some extra textural effects. 

The Frog Pond – episode 43 of the podcast

The latest episode of the podcast is uploading as I type.

Stash Dash started last Friday. It’s a three month project to finish fibre craft projects over on Ravelry. It’s only a competition with yourself. I decided it would be a good thing to do to try to clear up some of those languishing works in progress (WIPs). This episode is all about those WIPs. 
First of all is ‘the dreaded blanket’. This is made from Rico Design Pompon Print. The colourway is 007. 
Other projects include:

Fleetwood Shawl

P8275 cabled jumper

Fishermans  Hat

Shawl currently being designed

Work Cardigan 

Keep following the podcast to see how I get on, or join the Ravelry  group and follow my progress there. Or, if you want to join in too, come on over to the Ravelry Group and tell us how you’re doing!

Episode 42 – Enguage!

The podcast can be found here
Welcome back to the latest episode of the podcast. This week I show off two finished items. The Snowy Day hat is designed by Brandi Miller. I won this pattern in the Canadian Knitter Podcast draw. I used the DK yarn I bought in the Lush Club from  Truly Hooked. The colours are not me, but I do love the design of the hat and will make this again. The yarn base is gorgeous. I’m going to gift this hat to my eldest daughter, Kirsten. 


The sweater is of course for George. It’s Colourful Creativity yarn in the X colourway. The sweater is Tin Can Knits top down pattern, Flax Light. An absolute dream of a pattern which makes me wonder why I ever bother with bottom up or piecing together sections in a sweater. It flew off the needles, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned, but with a different colour on each stitch in the rainbow, it just encourages you to keep going!

This last week I’ve started my new role as a subject matter expert. It sounds grand, but basically means I write training courses for health and social care staff. I also babysat for my favourite pickle… In this picture (below) he is modelling the sweater and hat I recently completed. Such a proud Nana.


This weeks learning curve session is about Gauge. 

Have you ever knitted a jumper, paid loads of money for the yarn only to have it not fit you? That’s the point of a gauge swatch. The person that designed the pattern will, if they are a good designer, have put the results of their gauge in the pattern. The point of it, is do that you can adjust your knitting to obtain the same results. If you get less stitches per inch in your swatch, you need to reduce your needle size and if you are getting more stitches you need to increase your needle size and re-do the swatch. This as usual a basic interpretation of gauge, and there are a lot of useful tools on Craftsy and Amy Herzogs Custom Fit software

I also drew for the spring knitting question thread. Congratulations to the winner. Please contact me via the Ravelry thread to claim your prize or PM me. 
Next time we will be looking at all my works in progress in an attempt to complete as many as I can for Stash Dash. I haven’t set a goal yet, other than knit all the things.