Today I’m Making… Gold herringbone stitch scarf

This weekend I’ve mainly been stitching my embroidery coursework, but in the evenings and when my neck gets sore (I have terrible stitching posture) I’ve been working on this happy sparkly scarf.

I cast this on just to try herringbone stitch originally, I love the woven look it makes (in also in love with linen stitch) and I’ve wanted to try it for ages but I’m usually up to my eyeballs in snoods so it’s hard to find time to make anything for me.

In fact, this yarn has been in my Etsy shop as a snoods and I’ve sold a few of them but it’s a bit thicker than my usual yarn and it’s quite hard on the hands to get a tension in happy with. I’ve made a few for individual customers but I’ve also made 4 for the National Theatre’s breathtaking production of Follies which was a huge delight for me. But unless the wardrobe artists for Follies get in touch I’m not planning on making any more snoods out of this yarn.

I have a lot of it though. Herringbone days a lot of yarn though so that’s good and it’s a totally different experience knitting with it on 6mm needles to crocheting to a fairly firm guage. It’s coming out as a fluid but not floppy fabric which is good news.

I’ve put quite a few inches on this knitting while watching Eurovision, the red marker is where I picked it up this weekend.

I’m still a bit gutted Australia didn’t win. I’m a bit in love with that staging.

My camera hasn’t picked up the sparkle at all well, this yarn is about 30% metallic gold. It’s lovely in real life.

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Today I’m Making… snoods, embroidery and a scarf

Hello from GinPoodle Towers. Do you like my ruby slippers?

Today’s work is pretty much what I’ve been doing all weekend. As I might have mentioned already I’m having a sort of break from making snoods because they were taking over my entire life and I started getting sore elbows from all the crocheting. Plus I wasn’t getting any of my embroidery coursework done. I’m still taking the odd order here and there so on my vintage sewing table today you can see the first of three black cotton snoods being worked using my beloved Lyn Roberts silver crochet hook and one nearly finished navy blue snood that will be off to the Netherlands tomorrow with a green one I finished last night.

I can’t say making three black cotton snoods in succession is the most fun prospect but they’re for a really nice customer so I said yes and it’s lovely using my silver hook so no regrets.

In between snood making I’m trying to finish this second piece of my embroidery coursework, I was hoping to finish it today but here we are nearly 6pm and a ton of ironing to do so looks like that will stray into next week.

Just above that is my just for fun gold herringbone stitch scarf. Look at the sparkly wonder! I’m knitting that using the patterned Spanish needles I bought at Sharp Works a couple of years ago. That’s a great shop to visit if you find yourself in South East London. Lots of interesting independent shops, bars and eateries nearby too. I’ve got a ton of this gold yarn so I’m going to make this super long and I expect I’ll me making it all year. I might take this on holiday actually, thinking about it. I can definitely do this by the pool. Today it’s going to be what I knit while I watch the latest Grocery Girls YouTube podcast. God I love the Grocery Girls so much. They’re my favourite Sunday afternoon treat, so positive and happy and welcoming. You must give them a try if you haven’t seen them yet, they’re always making really great stuff too. I want to be in their knit group.

Last of all is my current read, it’s a guidebook I bought when I went to Knebworth House. I took a ton of pictures there, it’s brilliantly inspirational for embroidery. I thought I’d have this book finished today too but I got delayed coming home from buying fabric for a workshop next weekend by an hour so that’s done for that idea. Would you count this as reading a book? I think it counts. I’ve added it to my GoodReads 2019 Reading Challenge anyway. I’m Ginpoodle there too so if you want to connect there feel free.

I’m pretty sure I went to a Monsters of Rock festival at Knebworth in the late 80’s but I don’t really like festivals so I can’t remember who I saw. I remember the stalls were pretty crap.

Making time for craft

I’ve been having a think about barriers to crafting and I think the most obvious one has to be time, doesn’t it?

When you feel that pull within yourself to do something creative I really think you have to go with it, creating something with your hands is so good for you, especially when we spend so much time on screens with nothing tangible to show for it. I’m sure we’ve all read those reports about crafts being good for your general sense of wellness but do you really need that confirmed for you in print? Don’t all makers know that instictively anyway?

There’s something else going on there that no-one really talks about but is definitely true for me. Not all of us have careers, or particularly fulfilling jobs. Sometimes a job is just a job, its just what you do for money to support your real life outside of work. In fact, I’d say that’s most people’s reality. OK so you may like your job and the people you work with and the pay is OK – it just isn’t a passion and that is fine, Really. It doesn’t make you a failure or a bad employee in any way. Its only work.

The problem is, work takes up a LOT of time and you will as a creative person need your craft to reset yourself. Craft is something you can lose yourself in, but equally its where the real you is. Seeing as work is taking up the lion’s share of my week I need to organise myself with prompts and rewards in my own time to get everything else done and also fit in my crafts. I find unless I plan things out my lovely personal time can just get frittered away watching Tipping Point and psyching myself up to get the ironing board out.

So here’s what I do –

Weekdays – I work full time and I commute. Most of the people on my train spend their time piddling about on their phones, I do too sometimes when I’m in the mood for it but I always have a book and some sort of craft with me too. I like to read and I have a target of just 50 pages a day. That means I can read about 35 books a year. Once I’ve read my 50 pages I can move on to my craft project, so depending on my book and how small the print is I might achieve that target on my way to work, I might have to read in my lunchbreak too or I might be reading on my return journey too. I don’t always get a seat on the way home for the first 20 minutes so in that case I have to read and if I’ve already hit my 50 pages then I’m getting myself ahead for tomorrow. I sort of bank the extra pages. If that makes me sound like a monogamous crafter, that would be a dirty lie. I take whatever project is to hand and will fit in my handbag, unless I’m working on an Etsy order. Etsy orders take priority over everything, including the book.

So instead of sitting on the train fretting about some dull work thing I get out my embroidery or knitting and listen to a podcast to drown out the sniffers. Lately I’m mainly stitching my embroidery coursework that I’m very behind with. I like to sit in a twosie seat for crafting so if there isn’t one of those available I’ll stick to reading my book and I’m totally fine with that, but if a good seat comes up the project is coming out, the podcast is on and I’m very happy. You might get the odd glance from another commutor but no-one really cares, they’re all glued to their phones so its totally not scarey.

Of course you’re also setting your head in a positive place before you get to work or home and my goodness you can get a lot done in a 45 minute train ride.

Lunchbreaks though are a different kettle of fish. Its not great crafting at your desk or in the kitchen (where I work they call the kitchen ‘the collaboration space’ yeah, its bloody awful isn’t it? Plus if anyone is ever going to say something crass to you about your project that person will be a co-worker. I’m not keen on providing free entrtainment for my colleagues so I usually take myself out somewhere. A little park, a coffee shop, the library, even a church. City churches often host free lunchtime concerts and they don’t mind if you bring along a spot of crochet. If I do have to craft in the cringy collaboration space at work I plug in my headphones, turn the sound up loud and I’m in my own world. Now you may usually sit with your colleagues at lunchtime and have a chat and a laugh and that’s great but isn’t it sometimes the case where you have to sit through someone’s hour long boreathon about their dullsville job? Really. On those days that is not a positive experience. Neck your lunch and get out of there.

Weekends are a whole different ballgame. I love a list. I need a good list give me a sense of focus or I’ll waste the whole thing watching back to back episodes of Say Yes to the Dress. Here’s my weekend planner from a couple of weekends ago:

I write these lists out first thing in the morning or the night before. And yes, I do get up at 5:15 at the weekend. My planner stops in the evening when my partner gets home from work and we have dinner together and watch tv and all that coupley stuff,

Saturday:

5am to 7am Coffee, knitting and watch Say Yes to the Dress

7am Breakfast

8am Shower dress and makeup

9am Read 50 pages

10 – 12 Go shopping locally

12 Transfer embroidery design

13 Lunch and put a wash on

14 Make lunches for tomorrow

15 Embroidery

16 Ironing

17 Embroidery

18 Housework

19 Make dinner.

Sunday:

This week I went to an embroidery workshop so not a lot to show…

5 Coffee

6 Breakfast

7 shower, dress and makeup

8 – 10 Travel and buy lunch

10 – 16 Workshop

16 Travel home

17 home – flop about

18 get clothes ready for work

19 tidy up

20 make dinner.

If there are tasks I finish more quickly than I expected to, or if there’s nothing much planned for the weekend I fall back on my tasks/treats planning list which I’ve blogged about previously. This weekend plan is just what I do to make sure I don’t just veg out in front of the telly eating biscuits for 12 hours.

Today I’m Making… Hermione’s everyday socks II

I made a pair of these last year in a pink and cream yarn. I enjoyed the pattern but I think I chose the wrong yarn really so I’m probably going to frog them. I didn’t really like the deep cuff either, so this version only has five rows of rib which is much better in a shortie sock, and I only wear shorties.

Thus version I’m much happier with, the contrast cuff, heel and toe are Travel Knitter yarn left over from my Beton Brut shawl, It’s such a beautiful colour, you can lose yourself in it quite easily. The name of the main yarn escapes me fur now but I’m pretty sure it was discontinued ages ago. Was it a Debbie Bliss sock yarn? I think it’s Rialto Luxury Sock.

The other half asked me if it was possible to knit a whole sock in a day if I start first thing in the morning. I know I’m not up to it but I’ve seen people whizz through a sock on mini circs so maybe it is possible. I know I’m not up to the job though.

Mind you it would be nice to have the pair done to wear on Saturday to Creative Crafts if the bloody snow does come.

Finished! Money Honey Turban

I finished it! I actually got my backside into gear, concentrated, read the pattern properly and finished the Money Honey turban. I love it. Literally there was no ambiguity at all in the pattern about the finishing, itwas just me not reading it properly, there’s a step where you turn it over. That’s it, I was just not rewarding that step for some reason (arrogance, that’s what that reason is called). Once I did that our was easy peasy and I really want to make another.

Do I go sparkle for the next one too? I do love a bit of sparkle. Anyway, it’s fairly rare for me to take a picture of myself but I couldn’t resist wearing this for a picture. I’m going to wear it to Unravel next month because Giddy Aunt is vending there again this year and I want her to see what I made with her yarn. I wonder if she has gold sparkles?

Today I’m Making… Money Honey Turban

I have been admiring this turban for such a long time, I finally took the plunge and took it on holiday with me last year to Crete. I bought some brand new needles and everything. More than one set actually, I do have a bit of a thing about starting new projects with new needles and also because I have a ridiculous amount of WIPs so most of my needles are taken up.

I bought two skeins for this at Unravel 2018 with this project in mind, the one I went with first is an emerald green with silver sparkles from Giddy Aunt. It’s actually called Emerald City.

There’s another skein here somewhere that’s also a sparkle its the most gorgeous midnight blue, I can’t remember who it’s from. I might make the Beauty School Drop Out version with that one.

So, like I said I took this one on holiday with me to Crete as an alternative knit if I got bored with making the usual socks. Let me tell you, this is a great holiday knit. The pattern is super easy to follow and it knits up nice and quick but but not too quickly if you want to while away an hour on it.

So if everything is so great how comes my holiday was in July and here I am talking about it in January? Its the bloody finishing. I have read and re-read the instructions for the knot and I just can’twork it out. The first cross-over, yes. Easy. The second cross over I just cannot get my head round. I don’t want to just bodge it so I think it calls for a bit of time on Ravelry looking for other people’s tips. Its probably blatantly obvious once you get your head round it but I just cannot make it click.

Please send help.

Stitch markers – easy peasy, right?

I have been thinking about making my own stitch markets for an age. Every time I buy some I think about it. I mean how difficult can they be? They certainly look super easy and the tutorials I’ve watched on my old pal YouTube definitely make it look a cinch. I even have all the gear left over from all the disappointing beading workshops I went to at the library years ago.

My partner is a keen and talented cyclist, there’s a saying him and his pals use for cyclists who turn out on Boxing Day all loaded up with new Lycra and gadgetry costing thousands but haven’t ridden a bike since they left junior school – all the gear and no idea.

Yeah that’s me and the stitch markers.

Oh my god those little buggers are fiddly. FID-ER-LEE. It took me a good two hours to make five. Five!

It didn’t help that years ago I bought a cute mini set of jewellery making pliers with teeny tiny handles. They’re not a good move because your knuckles end up right against everything you try to do so you feel like you have giant sausage fingers.

Let me tell you, turning that little wire loop takes practice and I have no patience. I ballsed that move up several times. Then you have to wedge a bead on to the end of the jump ring when you close it, poke a bit of glue in with a cocktail stick, close the ring and line it up with the bead hole and then get that bead to sit across the join. That bit turns the air quite blue.

Why in God’s name do they make all the bead holes different sizes? There are now dozens of tiny vicious beads lurking in all the dark places of this flat. I wear slippers so I’ll probably survive but the other half’s feet are going to feel like gravel rash.

Eventually I finished five of them and I think they’re pretty bloody good for the trauma invested. I’m going to buy some adult sized pliers when I’m feeling stronger and then I’m going to make a million more – the beads are from a large stretchy cuff that found its stretchability limit pushed too far but they’re pretty so I kept them. I have a lot of them.

This project drove me to finish off the Christmas Baileys.