For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb
Psalm 139:13

Sunday, 17 May 2015

taking stock: May & Makealong update



Making: Pebble Beach shawlette for the Cftc Makealong. Have had to start over this week as I think I was twisting my purl stitches after the lace rows. Back on track now and at the 10% mark!
Cooking: yummy banana pancakes from this easy recipe.
Drinking: Twinings lemon green tea.
Reading: Captain Corelli's Mandolin (still!)
Wanting: to find the right place to live. Please!
Looking: on Rightmove and Gumtree, all day every day. Ugh. 
Playing: with Annie Sloan chalk paint for the first time. 
Deciding: whether or not I absolutely need to use wax to seal the chalk paint. Any thoughts?
Wishing: I could paint ALL THE THINGS!
Enjoying: having a bit of a clear out.
Waiting: for my breakfast to go down so I can head out for a run.
Liking: that our bathroom geranium is budding again. 
Wondering: if our tiny, weary houseplants need re-potting.
Loving: that Carly Rae Jepson video with actual Tom Hanks. Wut? 
Pondering: approx ten billion haircuts on Pinterest. 
Considering: getting my hair chopped off. It's like wearing a hat and scarf all the time!
Buying: eggs.
Watching: 3rd Rock from the Sun on Netflix. And the latest GoT.
Hoping: for healing.
Marvelling: at the difference sunshine makes to a day. 
Cringing: at my peely shoulders - got stupidly sunburnt last weekend.
Needing: to see for myself whether Poldark really is all that. 
Questioning: injustice. 
Smelling: Nuxe goodies from my in-laws. 
Wearing: my hair in a plait. 
Following: what's happening at Knit Fandango on Instagram. 
Noticing: the days getting longer. 
Knowing: we're leaving this flat in about a month. Eep.
Thinking: about splashing out on a pair of Saltwaters.
Admiring: new mums who are acing motherhood.
Sorting: junk we don't need.
Getting: a bit stressed.
Bookmarking: recipes for a certain husband's birthday cake.
Coveting: other people's fab hair.
Disliking: having to dress for all four seasons at once. 
Opening: waaay more tabs than I need.
Giggling: with Mr P.
Feeling: overwhelmed and a bit worn out.
Snacking: on peanut butter rice cakes.
Hearing: bells and birdsong from the bathroom. Will miss it.

Inspired, as always, by Pip's Taking Stock series.
What are you up to at the moment?




Friday, 8 May 2015

off the hook: the pink granny square blanket

Check it out - in my excitement I got, like, two inches of air!

Phew! This FO has been a long time coming. 
I starting hooking pink granny squares back in December 2013 and have been working towards having enough of them to make a blanket since then (find humble blanket beginnings in this post). It dawned on me that I had a whole heap of pink yarn in my stash, mostly DK, some nice, some not so nice. And I'd never made a blanket before, so why not? Granny squares are such good little portable projects. This must be one of the easiest ways to make a blanket. 


I made the executive decision not to join them as I went. Yes, it sounds foolish, but I wanted to make sure I was happy with the arrangement before I joined them. There was A LOT of arranging and re-arranging. I almost went with ombre at one point, but it didn't work out with the shades I had. 



The ceremonial joining of the squares was an unexpected joy (see elation here). While I categorically hate sewing up and weaving in ends, apparently I love joining with crochet. I used a super-simple dc seam and then worked a granny treble border so the wee blanket could gain a precious further few centimetres. 


And ta da! Here I am many months later at last proudly brandishing a completed crochet blanket. Now there's a first. 



As soon as I'd woven in the last end, we took the blanket on it's inaugural picnic outing. We had hummous, crackers and leftover curry and we ate VERY carefully. Nobody wants rogan josh on their latest FO. 


And now it has made itself quite at home on our sofa. It's not the biggest, prettiest or neatest blanket, but I dearly love this little thing. I think it might be a while before I think about starting another one though! I think I might be a blanket-commitment-phobe.

Are you a blanket lover? Have you had one on the go for ages? 

Apologies about my gut, but this was too ridiculous not to share.
Credit goes to Mr P for continuing to humour my yarny whims.


Friday, 1 May 2015

Gotta be starting something - CFTC Make-along



Stitchy news! May has arrived, heralding the beginning of the Crafts from the Cwtch Makealong. And I'm joining in! This will be the first time I've ever participated in any sort of -along. For this one, the goal is to knit or crochet a neck accessory that will challenge your skills and teach you something new. Over on her blog, Sarah's been sharing cheeky discounts for some gorgeous knit and crochet patterns. I've decided to tackle the divine Pebble Beach Shawlette that's been in my queue since Unwind. It'll be my circular needle debut and my first ever knitted shawl. Cannot wait to get stuck in. 

I've even splashed out on new yarn for the occasion, which is a bit of a rarity. Ordinarily, I like to just work from my stash, but I didn't have anything that would work with the pattern. Normally I'm a yarn first, pattern later kinda gal, so this is a whole different kettle of fish. 

I plumped for two glorious skeins of Shilasdair Luxury 4ply in Atlantic Spray. It's an unusual merino, cashmere, baby camel and mohair blend, dyed with stunning indigo tones. Have you ever used this yarn before? It's new to me, but I thought it would match the pattern well. 
I'm gonna cast on today and will keep you updated! 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Gratitude




Sometimes you need a bit of distance to see what's right in front of your face. 

A trip back to the seaside this weekend, to see my parents, some old friends and get back to church, definitely gave me some much-needed perspective. Instead of getting bogged down and stressed out with work stuff, our moving plans, making things, comparing myself to others and otherwise being a pretty grumpy so-and-so, I need to recognise and be thankful for the many blessings in my life, and to love and cherish the people in it. Don't get me wrong, creative goals are fantastic. It's utterly brilliant to learn new things, overcome fresh challenges and achieve the things you set out to do, but for me, I need to just check what my motives are and make sure my heart is in the right place. 

This is my fourth and final post as part of A Playful Day's Love Your Blog challenge. It's been a wonderful month of connecting with new bloggers in different ways (*waves* Hello, new readers and commenters! Thanks so much for coming, it's been lovely getting to know you. Long may it continue!) and getting back to a point where I'm enjoying writing again, feel much more inspired and a little bit braver about sharing. Becca? Blogging every week? Who'd a thunk it? It's been far more managable and enjoyable than I anticipated, and I no longer feel like I'm just going through the motions. 
How have you found it? What are you feeling grateful for? I'm off for a good read! 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Yarn snobbery and ugly ducklings


100% polyester novelty eyelash yarn. Is there anything more offensive to human sensibilities? 

When I saw that the prompt for this week's Playful Day Love Your Blog challenge was 'ugly', this remarkably foul yarn was the first thing that sprung to mind. It's certainly true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though. I for one am a huge fan of lots of yucky, kitschy things that could be considered ugly - Christmas jumpers, pugs, plastic flamingos, ridiculous socks, flying ducks, Hawaiian shirts, onesies and slankets, the list goes on (although I do draw the line at Crocs). But I couldn't tell you exactly why it is I like these things. Are they guilty pleasures? Are they so bad they're good, or are they just awful and I have terrible taste? Either way, one thing I was pretty certain of was that I found brown eyelash yarn absolutely abhorrent. Squeaky, unyielding, unnatural fibre, horrid plastic sheen and unbearable fluff. I could not see the appeal. 

That is until I discovered the perfect use for it. This is Mr Owl (below). I knitted him as a birthday gift for a dear friend (see this post, he's a great stashbuster, BTW) and it dawned on me that eyelash yarn was precisely what this project needed. And all was forgiven. 

Now, I'm by no means admitting that me and eyelash yarn became the best of pals and rode off into the sunset together, oh no. I still maintain that the yarn is hideous. But used in the right way, it can be pretty awesome. That yarn above, it could make a really adorable bear or a cute fur collar (seriously considering that one). I guess what I'm saying is, all yarn has its place. The more you work with and learn about beautiful fibres, the easier it is to fall prey to yarn snobbery. But there's more to beauty than mere aesthetics, isn't there? Function, meaning, memory and experience all have their parts to play. And don't we all, at the very bottom of our stashes, have a ball or two of squeaky acrylic or novelty yarn that was given to us in our earliest crafting days, or that we were chuffed with buying as it was SUCH a bargain? 





Monday, 13 April 2015

Bright beginnings and WIP realness




Oh, I'm good at beginnings. I'm really good at beginnings. 
They are my forte, my speciality, my signature dish, if you will. Once a new idea makes itself known,  I'm scrabbling for a notebook or ball of yarn with all possible enthusiasm. With a fresh project on my needles or hook, an irrepressible mania takes hold and I SIMPLY MUST work on it ALL THE TIME. Unfortunately, this fervour only goes so far and seems to fuel the beginnings of a lot of projects, but very few endings. You see, I'm more of a WIP girl than a FO girl. 

As such, I'm currently in the middle of making two blankets, a hat, a shawl, a pair of socks, and a jumper. And that's to say nothing of the other projects I'm intending to start before I even think about finishing the others (who's going to give the Crafts from the Cwtch Make-along a go? I'm already got a knitted shawl in mind - it'll be my first!). 

While I know a groaning WIP pile is fairly common and only marginally reprehensible in the grand scheme of things (let's get some perspective here, First World problems, right?), I'm not proud of the fact that I'm really just neglecting projects I once adored. Why shouldn't a middle and end be just as exciting as a beginning? Let's face it, endings are pretty exciting in their own right. Have you experienced that unique FO euphoria when your stitches are all completed and your project is finally blocked and worn or wrapped, given away and happily received? There's nothing quite like it.

It's like a romance. My thinking is that, like any relationship, it's worth keeping in mind what had you smitten from the off. Think back. Instead of a pair of eyes you couldn't ignore, perhaps it was a totally rad colour combo (those shades were meant to be!), a stunning stitch pattern begging to be realised or the yarn that you soooo wanted to be able to wear draped around you as a shawl.

So I think rather than letting panic determine the pace of a project, or slowly allowing my enthusiasm to wane, I'll focus on my end goal for the project, while along the way remembering precisely why I was utterly bewitched by it in the first place. I fully intend to develop enormous and embarrassing crushes on each and every one of my projects from here on in. Are you in love with yours?

Today's post is my second in the Playful Day Love Your Blog challenge. Read about it here


Monday, 6 April 2015

In praise of knit clubs and hashtags




For April, I'm joining in with A Playful Day's Love Your Blog Challenge (read about it here). Each week there's a new prompt for your next post, as well as opportunities to share, find fresh inspiration and encourage others. It sounded right up my street and will hopefully help me be more consistent with blogging.

Anyhow, the first prompt was community and interaction. Soooo...

Joining a knitting group is one of the best things I've ever done. A year after graduation, most of our friends had moved away and me and Mr P were working opposing hours. Neither of our families lived nearby. Much as I was so over living in a shared house, it was weird that other people weren't around anymore and I really missed my besties who were far away. Things weren't going to change overnight. I had to just jump in and join stuff. I started going to a local knitting group. 

It turns out knit clubs/ knitting circles/ stitch nights are pretty special. First of all, they're full of knitters. Now I might be biased, but knitters seem to be the most generous, creative and determined of folks. Secondly, knit club is a place where I feel encouraged and challenged, where I can learn and share (and have a cuppa and a natter). I can turn up with my WIP, get a few hours of stitching in and always come away feeling a little bit better about life. Plus last week, with some careful assistance, I totally turned the heel on my first ever sock! Woop! 

And there's any number of places where you could find likeminded peeps, feel encouraged, use your skills to help others and learn new stuff too, depending what your thing is I guess - a sports team, a club, a forum, a choir, a class, Twitter chats, Ravelry and Instagram. With the magic of hashtags, we can share what we're up to and be part of something bigger without even leaving the house. The #bedinburghyarnfest was an awesome lifeline when I was stuck at home doing some deadline stitching. So lovely to connect with other yarny types. 

I think being part of a community is pretty important, and like blogging, it's better when it's a two-way thing. Lately I've been making a real effort to comment on blogs I love to read, and get involved in more things. I'd definitely recommend the #blogtacular and #creativesunite Twitter chats. 

Where do you hang out? 
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