Friday, April 30, 2010

Location, Location, Location - knitcroblo5

I'm a knitter who likes to knit anywhere possible. I'm not shy about knitting in public. I think I've extolled the virtues of journeys, particularly on the train, for knitting time before and knitting makes waiting wherever I am for whatever I'm waiting for so much more bearable. I like to think it makes me look like a very patient human being. It's like a disguise!
At home I have two distinct favoured knitting places. As anyone paying attention over the last few weeks may have noticed my top favourite warm weather spot to knit is at my patio table under my plum tree. Above is the super cushioned seat that I like to place my super cushioned behind on whenever it's vaguely warm enough.
As it often isn't vaguely warm enough my most occupied knitting spot is this big black armchair placed square in front of the TV, my colder weather knitting best friend. I've recently improved my indoor knitting spot with the addition of Dave, a cheery red table from Ikea. He helps out with all the kit I seem to find it impossible to knit without. Tea often being the most essential aid. In fact I wonder whether tea should have been the feature of the post yesterday, forget a hook for dropped stitches, without tea I'm not sure anything would ever get done.

knitcroblo5

Thursday, April 29, 2010

All Tooled Up - knitcroblowc

I'm going for the wild card topic today as I talked about the new skill I most want to learn on Tuesday. Oddly for a girl who needs to get to grips with the hook my single, favourite, piece of knitting equipment is a crochet hook. This very basic teeny little hook has saved my bacon or more accurately my socks on more than one occasion.

One of the early pieces of advice I absorbed from somewhere was that part of the start-up equipment for knitting should be a smallish sized crochet hook which would allow you to pick up dropped stitches with much greater ease than the point of a knitting needle. I duly added a hook to the kit and have been very glad of it in one knitting crisis or another. Then, one day, as I was swearing over some slippery sock stitches too small for the one hook I had it occurred to me that I could get a 2mm hook and those weeny dropped stitches would be at my mercy. Fabulous piece of sock knitting kit that I never want to be without, though as my beloved will tell you, tiny little hooks are good at hiding, especially when they need to have their photo taken for a blog post. knitcroblowc

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Great Knitter...

...Crocheter, Embroiderer and all round crafty genius that I admire very much indeed is Alicia Paulson.She makes fantastic and inspiring things, not just in knitting but in most crafts. I love her deep passion for what she makes, the process of making and her life. It's really her ability to communicate this so effectively through her beautiful writing and wonderful pictures that make her so great in my mind. A great knitter, a very great blogger.


knitcroblo3

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Inspirational Pattern

There are so many patterns I aspire to knit and with time I'll get there one day I'm sure. With patience, persistence and the right teaching aids I've not yet found a knitting skill I've given up on trying to learn. I love the feeling that I'll never be done with the learning, that if it suits to I can just knit garter stitch scarfs but if I fancy a challenge there are so many to choose from.

At the moment it's not just another knitting stitch I most want to get to grips with. The item I want most at the moment is a great big granny square blanket and we all know what that means - the hook!
I've been meaning to learn to crochet for an age now, but as those who mocked my tiny plaiting avoidance of crochet for the Little Sister's Dress, may remember - I feel a bit in awe of it. I'd like to think this summer I might just sit down and get going, but I'm sure I thought the same last year. Still the Granny Squares pool on Flickr has all the inspiration anyone needs. My particular love is for the white/cream edged squares with very vibrant centres. Ah crafting dream world, if only there were more hours in the day!knitcroblo2

Monday, April 26, 2010

Begin at the Beginning

My blogging and knitting began almost hand in hand, blogging only about a month behind the knitting itself. Over three years on and the two hobbies are so bound together. I find it hard to imagine knitting without blogging about it, an FO is not quite an FO until it's been blogged and though my blog posts meander about my life they're normally following the path that knitting makes in it. It's so interesting for me to have this record and I often get distracted by old posts I've written and love to see how I've gone in different directions than I would first have envisaged - socks for example were not something I'd have thought I would ever want to knit and yet now there is always a pair on the needles.
Knits have so much of the knitter tied up in them. I seldom wear this - my first scarf - the traditional beginner garter stitch number, but it has pride of place on the coat rack and I don't think I'll ever let this go. It's also part of my blog header along with other early knits, little parts of my life knit into each.

The two main motivators to learn to knit were the lack of an outlet for creativity in my life and the ME which I've talked about much more in recent times. Knitting was something creative that I could do when there wasn't energy for much else. Like so many people my work has little tangible product to show for the hours of input, it's good to redress the balance and make things in my spare time.

The healing benefits
of handwork are something I've since read a lot about and for me its been such a big part of keeping together and happy. I never dreamed of how it would inspire me. As I'm understanding more about the chronic stress that is such a part of ME I can use my knitting more mindfully to help with my healing. I like to think that the choice to learn to knit owed something to listening to the instincts of what my body needed. I feel like I should end this post with a campaign slogan like 'Learn to Knit - it's good for you!'. I think all the electioneering must be getting to me ;o)


knitcroblo1

Sunday, April 25, 2010

And repeat

Yesterday was quite the replay of last weekend's 'activities'. Some new flowers to enjoy, both the old favourites and some new imports, like this spiky exotic variety of my cottage garden-y favourite aquilegia , which I found at a car boot sale.
Special groupings - like this little clump of Cornish spring transported from Mama's to mine last year and blooming weeks later here than in the milder climate of her garden and this pathside patch of violets and forgetmenots that nature sowed.Some different blossom to look forward to when the plum tree confetti has all fallen.
Today the sun is just starting to make its way through the grey, so perhaps we'll have a another repeat today too. Sitting in that seat, knitting in hand, with flowers blooming around me, bees buzzing, all the stress of the week ebbs away and energy flows in. So many kinds of bliss.
I could handle a repeat every weekend until it's time to put the patio furniture away but never fear I'll manage to write about other things too. I thought I'd join in with the Eskimimi Knits organised Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.
I know I'd never manage a month of blogging every day but a week with set topics sounds like the scale of challenge I might be up to, we'll see! Hope lots of you are joining in too.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Snip

One little stitch! That's all I got to cut. I'd revved up for a scene of mass destruction but of course just one little snip is enough to send the whole thing unravelling.No such disasters though, just the requisite row unlooped and then by the magic of knitting that row becomes the space for a leg. Love it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

While the Sun Shines...

...we all like to play in our own special ways in the garden.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Challenges

I'm enjoying a few different challenges at the moment. There's an afterthought leg to think about for one. One of things I hoped for from my sock club was a push out of my comfort zone of top down, heel flap, wedge toe socks. This sock does that trick just fine and it's all going swimmingly so far. Am loving the bud pattern for variegated yarns.

Underlying everything is the ME recovery programme - just about two months in I'm definitely making progress, though sometimes overwhelmed at how hard it is to change bad mental habits I am feeling consistently better than I have for a very long time. Which you know. is. GOOD.

My other big challenge is knitting related - a City and Guilds Creative Studies home study course - it's a bit tough to fit much work on this in at the moment but I am excited by how this will help develop my knitting and perhaps designing too.

Which leads me on to a little challenge I'm hoping to get to grips with soon. A little while ago there was a comment about the tea cosy design competition that is part of the Marie Curie Cancer Care Blooming Great Tea Party fundraising campaign. To be honest tea is normally drunk too quickly to warrant a tea cosy in this house but they are fabulous things so I'm going to attempt a design - perhaps something Fair Isle-ish? Perhaps I won't just stop at one, perhaps I'll become the tea cosy queen of Oxford.

Anything seems possible when you come home from work and it's warm enough to sit in your outdoor knitting spot and enjoy the plum blossom above your head. It's later this year though just as lovely. Wasn't it only yesterday that it was dark when I got home?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In Bloom

or perhaps more accurately here is some fruit.
Pattern: iPhone Purse from Cotton&Cloud
Yarn: Rowanspun DK in Cloud (734) and Snowball (730)
Needles: 4mm Bamboo DPNs
Start: 1 April 2010
Finish: 10 April 2010

This is a sweet, clever design - from a sweet, clever designer :o) Double layered for protection of the gadget, a wee pocket for keeping the headphones safe. It looks magically seam free and is a fun simple knit using skills often found in sock knitting.
In this picture it's holding an iPod Mini though this is just a stunt iPod as it's for a colleague at work who has an iPod Touch. I think it's a versatile design which would snuggle well round various sized electronic devices as it's stretchy but snuggly with its double layer.l I've been promised payment in KitKats for this so I foresee a happy week ahead.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Joy of Being

Once upon a time I wrote something about my little 'As in Knitting, As in Life' mantra. Just after I finished up my post adoring my Flamboyance Yarn from afar and yearning for the next new thing, I read a section in The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle that brought this reflection home again. I thought I would share some of his words that I'm trying to learn to inhabit as I work on the lovely Levens.
"As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out of present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care and love - even the most simple action.

So do not be concerned with the fruit of your action - just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come of its own accord. This is a powerful spiritual practice. In the Bhagavad Gita, one of the oldest and most beautiful spiritual teachings in existence, non-attachment to the fruit of your action is called Karma Yoga, It is described as the path of "consecrated action."

When the compulsive striving away from the Now ceases, the joy of Being flows into everything you do. The moment your attention turns to the Now, you feel a presence, a stillness, a peace. You no longer depend on the future for fulfillment and satisfaction - you don't look to it for salvation."

Monday, April 05, 2010

Buds

It's almost compulsory to start lots of new things in spring don't you think? With so much bursting into life around me, setting the example it's time to start creating something new. The bud photos reminded me that the same feelings were strong last year.
These two starts are little buds in their own right. Two starts which owe a lot to the Cat Bordhi videos on You Tube. I find it so much easier to learn from these than written instructions or pictures.
The Magic Cast On I've used before so one watch through of the video and I was away with this one which should blossom into an IPod cosy following Kyoko's clever pattern.
This variety of the Turkish Cast On was a new one for me so required a bit more pause and rewind action. It creates a very pleasing toe-up toe - it feels like working a star toe in reverse. Spring Shoots socks are the season appropriate accessory that will grow from here.
Happy spring!
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