Today I’m Making… Fireflies Rising Shawl

This year for the first time I’ve managed to remember to buy a ticket for Yarn in the City’s Great London Yarn Crawl, this is their fifth year anniversary so I’m counting myself as double-lucky for bagging a ticket on the Metropolitan route.  Do have a look, it is going to be fantastic and I’m not just telling you this because I’m so pleased with myself, sometimes they get a cancellation so keep an eye on their Ravelry thread for ticket swaps.

Yarn in the City have a KAL for the yarn crawl, its the gorgeous Fireflies Rising shawlette by Helen Stewart, and at the time I bought it she was donating money to the charity Refuge which pretty much decided it for me.  One of the things I love about this pattern is she has a column showing in percentages how far you are along, I’ve just passed the 55% mark, I’m on 107 with 321 stitches on the needle!

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A row is taking a fair old while to complete now so I’m not knitting this on the train to work anymore. Though thinking about it I travel in to Waterloo and with the huge engineering works in August I might well have time to do 3 rows per journey and read 50 pages of my book.  If I get a seat.

My yarn is from Once Upon a Time Skeins, who is a local indie dyer based in Basingstoke which isn’t that far from me but I don’t think she sells in any local shops.  I bought my skeins directly from her (she’s lovely) at the Yarnporium.  There is only one more skein left of the colour I’m on now and I had been wishing I’d made the shawlette just from this colour because its all lovely gingerish shades and knits so beautifully.  I’m going back to my natural red hair too so I think its going to look really nice on. The thing is, I’ve just spotted someone else has finished one in a very similar colour and it looks incredible, but, that means mine is still unique so I’m happy to stick with what I have now.

This pattern is such a joy to knit I’m very tempted to cast on another one straight after finishing this one. The fireflies are some very easy and satisfying yarn overs and double decreases, though having said that when I did the first set I made an almighty mess of it through trying to do it late at night after wine.  I pulled it back and redid it and just look how great it looks even before blocking, its a bit cableish looking while its on the needles.

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I’m still trying to match my nails to my knitting and doing pretty well I think. I’m all up to date with snood orders too so no sudden nail colour changes to contend with.

 

I really want to wear mine on the day so please keep your fingers crossed for me that it doesn’t rain on 9th September and if you’re on the same route as me I am looking forward to meet you on the 9th and dying to hit the shops.

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Task/Treat organiser

A friend was explaining bullet journals to me recently so I explained the system I’ve been using for a few years – and here it is for you to try too.

You will need:

A smallish notebook, something that will easily sit open on the arm of your sofa.

A variety of pens with different colour ink.

A clock

Put a heading of the date at the top of the page (not on the first line). This is to remind you when to refresh you lists. I don’t usually bother because I redo mine on the first of the month.IMG_0154

Starting with a zero and ending with 59 put a number at start of each line – every line now represents a minute of the hour.

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Take a different pen to the one you wrote the numbers with and add a task or treat next to each number. This could be dusting, a craft project, something you need to buy, exercise, admin, going out for a coffee, taking a vitamin, booking a manicure, updating your accounts… anything you would like a prompt to do. I put in all the craft projects I have started or would like to do. I also add the places I like to visit like the Fashion and Textile Museum and various markets.

When you have filled in all 60 lines, draw a vertical line next to each item to separate them from the next item. Now, change pens and add another 60 tasks/treats. Trust me, you will very soon fill up your lines. If you don’t fill them all up straight away don’t worry, you will add more things as they occur to you during the month. You will also cross out completed tasks that don’t need to be carried over each month like renewing insurance. My tip is to write small, you have way more things to add than you’d think. IMG_0158

Now that you have filled in as much as you can think of, take a look at the time. Say it is 11:25 go to line 25 and pick something to do from the entries on that line. If there is a craft project there, that is now your craft project for the day. Do a bit of it now. When you get to a stopping point take a look at the time again. Say it is now 11:35, you go to line 35 and pick something to do there, if you already have a craft project you have to ignore those now and choose the most sensible thing to do on that line – something that is more of a task than a treat. Now you can do a bit more of your craft treat. Say this task and treat have taken exactly one hour so the next time you look at the clock it is 12:35. Go back to that line and choose something else to do. You don’t have to do the same task over and over again, this is why it is good to have lots of items on each line. If there’s nothing you can do from that list, do a bit more crafting.

Try to keep space at the end of each line every month to add tasks in during the month. If you realise your garden is all raggedy you’re going to need add a task to book in an extra visit from the gardener or (heaven forbid) go outside and do something foul with a trowel yourself.

If you feel so inclined you could colour code your entries, black for housework task, purple for craft treats, blue for health things, green for shopping and so on.

Tasks that are one-offs you just strike through when complete, if you find they do crop up again you can just add them in to the next available space.

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A lot of things carry on from one month to the next, tasks like emptying bins or doing the ironing but also craft projects and reminders to go to the gym or have a sauna. To stop this being boring, (you don’t want ironing to always be at 22 minutes past or you’ll find yourself always avoiding 22 minutes past) at the end of the month you start again but mix everything up.  The way I do this sounds complicated but it’s actually simple as a pimple.

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Number the lines of your pages again. Now look at the time. Say it is 15:56, go to line 56 and copy all the tasks there as the first tasks on each line from 1 onwards in the new list.  Cross them off the old list.  Look at the time again, OK its only 15.57 so go to line 57 and copy all the tasks from that line to the next set of available numbers and cross them off the old list.  Keep doing this until all last month’s are crossed off and transferred to a new list.  It doesn’t take as long as you’d think and it’s satisfying to see gaps appear for tasks you completed last month.  Plus it reminds you that there are some things that carry on month after month that you really should have completed, like a tax return and it can give you a kick up the bum to get on with things.  When that happens I tend to duplicate them on other lines so there is more chance of you hitting on it before the end of the month.

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Chickyducks for charity

This is it! My final contribution to the chick/duck charity knitting project.  I think I like the stripey one best.  If you are in my area (Fleet in Hampshire) you have ONE day left to make one and bring it to More Than Coffee in the Hart Centre on the high street.

We have the March Sunday afternoon get-together there tomorrow, and Roxanne will be collecting up the last of them and will share a picture of them all together on our Fleet Crafters Facebook page.

I think I explained in a previous post but these are going to an 11 year old local girl whose family support Great Ormond Street Hospital.  She is going to sell them outside one of the supermarkets in Fleet, with each one stuffed with a creme egg donated by the shopkeepers of Fleet.  She had intended to make them all herself but the shops were so generous with the chocolate eggs she ended up needing to make more than 200!

The Fleet Crafters  were only too happy to help out, I’m looking forward to buying my stripey one back!

Fleet Crafters have changed our name from Fleet Knit, Stitch and Crochet – it was a bit of a mouthful.  Our next charity project is Project Linus – so blankets for babies, children and teens that are sewn, knitted or crocheted. Can’t wait to get started once I’ve finished a few Etsy orders.

Today I’m Making… a duck a day

Last year me and another local woman took over the admin of a Facebook page for local knitter and crocheters when the owner decided she wanted to step down.  We changed it to include all crafts and if you’re interested and close to Fleet in Hampshire you’ll find us here.

It has been fantastic, we have set up meet ups on Sunday afternoons, Friday evenings and now one of the members has started one on Wednesday afternoons too. We’ve just over 100 members and we also have impromptu meet-ups and excursions.As well as an excuse to eat cake and craft in public we support charities as a group.  We’ve just finished making hats for Innocent Smoothies’ The Big Knit (119 hats between us) and our official charity for this year is Project Linus.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t jump in when help is needed!  A local young girl has done something fantastic, she decided to make 200+ ducklings that hold a Creme Egg and sell them for a charity that is close to her family’s hearts – Great Ormand Street Hospital.  Anyway if that wasn’t enough she contacted all the local supermarkets and they’ve all offered her creme eggs as a donation.  How great is that? She’s 11.

So one of the supermarkets has promised her the whole 200 eggs so now she’s got the potential to sell an awful lot of them, but its a lot of knitting for her to do on her own so our group is going to pitch in and make some for her.  This is my first one.  I really liked knitting it, it was such an easy and cute knit so I’m going to aim for making one duck a day until the deadline in mid February.  I’m so impressed with her, what a great girl to take on something like this and and to do it so well too.

When she has confirmation of the date she’s selling them I’ll let you know, and if you’re nearby please drop by and buy one. They’ll need good homes.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

Yeah I know, they’re a bit tragic but I’m doing it anyway.

  1. Read at least 34 books this year.  Easy peasy, I’m on Goodreads so I’ve set myself a reading challenge.  Click here to see how I’m doing.  Right now I’m doing fantastically well, I have read no books yet this year and I’m apparently bang on target.
  2. Lose 20kgs.  Thought I’d chuck in the traditional fat bum challenge.  Though my bum isn’t actually that fat I have spotted a bit of thigh bulge today that has to be got rid of immediately if not sooner.  Then once I’ve lost 20kgs I’ll still want to lose another 10.  Then perhaps another 5.  We’ll see. I work for a law firm and the cakeage is immense and I loathe exercising so this one is a bit challenging. I also hate exercise clothes and seriously object to any heel lower than a kitten heel.  Keep thinking about taking up running but I also very much dislike outdoorsiness. And running.
  3. Do more embroidery.  I very rarely sew. Its the one thing I absolutely love doing and yet I hardly ever do it because I used to hand sew for a living and now I don’t and it may sound pathetic but its quite emotional for me and I’m a bit frightened I’ve lost all my skills. So much as I’ve amassed a huge quantity of yarn and patterns and stuff I’m going to scale back the knitting and crochet (except for snoods and Gin Poodles of course) and get back into embroidery.  I had a small test piece framed a few years ago and the framers asked me if I’d like to make more for them to sell.  So I might not be a complete ham-fisted duffer.
  4. Stop buying mass-produced junk.  You know that ‘make it, don’t buy it’ idea floating around at Christmas? Well I’m going to stop buying things from major chains and only buy handmade wherever possible.  I’ve had my last clothes shopping spree in 2016 so from now on I’m going to make my own clothes, at least they’ll fit properly and I won’t bump into anyone else wearing the same thing. I can try out embroidery on my own cuffs and that too can’t I? I’ve got a sewing machine up in the loft and I expect that is where it will stay because I don’t really like sewing machines.  Hand made clothes last longer because they’re better and every stitch is beautiful. I’m not expecting anyone else to agree or even see the simple beauty of a white cotton tacking stitch or go into ecstasy over a button hole, but your loss and all that.
  5. New Etsy shop. Once I’ve got my fingers back to being able to pick up with a needle a single thread in any fabric without looking I’ll be able to produce work worth selling. These are not going to sit well with super kitsch knitted poodle bottle cosies or even lovely vintage style hair accessories so they’ll need their own space.

Five resolutions are enough.

6. Oh but hang on. Food. Must stop eating things that make me ill, like fried things, fatty things, dairy, and eggs.  A doctor told me years ago that the odd sensation of my throat going all thick and gagging for hours after eating isn’t really normal and should be avoided. Spose he might have a point.

7. Bugger it I’ve thought of another.  I have a half brother somewhere.  Not even sure what his name is but I should find him in case he’s the head of membership of a major ballet company or something and can get me a hefty discount.

 

Today I’m Making – Lurgy blanket (no-sew blanket update)

I have the galloping lurgy. I’ve had it since Monday and I’m hoping this is my last day of it because frankly I’m fed up with not being able to do anything.  Everything I do totally wipes me out including standing up long enough to make a Lemsip.

I know I’m really ill when I can’t even concentrate on knitting. I’ve been up since six today (its nearly half ten now) and I’ve managed to knit 2 rows. (About 120 stitches).

I have far too many projects on the go at once but I like working on whatever I’m in the mood for so today’s project is my lurgy blanket.  Its a big lap blanket for when you’re not feeling well or just need a big snuggle.  I’m making it predominantly in white DK with scraps of grey DK so it will take quite a long time to finish because it does really depend on me knitting grey things and not using up all the yarn.  I’ve written about this blanket before, so this post is really an update on my No-Sew Blanket post from  a year ago.

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Yeah so no great progress…. I’ve added probably a couple of squares since then so this could take a while.  Let’s set a deadline of finishing sometime in my lifetime. A literal deadline.