Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Clearing the air

I have barely picked up my projects these past few weeks, combination of stress at home and visiting my sister, I just haven't had the inclination. I get the feeling however some people may be getting the wrong assumption about things, possibly even about how I funded my trip to Edinburgh.
So to set the record straight, here you go. I saved up little bits here and there for months, I sold yarn I already owned, an exercise bike I wasn't using, and a book I had never used that is going for three times its original value on ebay and I am also helping to teach a young girl how to crochet every other week for an hour and I get a small sum for that too. Also the prices you may have seen on the sites I linked are most likely not the same ones that I paid on show day (for example the wollmeise yarn is technically seconds that isn't for sale on the general site and sells for much less) So does that clear things up and take away the behind my back comments?  Did I do enough to save so that didn't make any impact on the family finances for that month? Every thing bill wise was paid on time. Job done.
If you truly resent my one child free day I have had in YEARS, that I scrimped and scraped for, then you need to look at yourself.

My attempt at a yarn heart!

I don't think how people understand how much my yarn crafting means to me, all my life I have obsessed over yarn, even as a small child I remember being fascinated over the toy knitting machines they advertised on tv (80s child), I always wanted to have a go, I even learned to knit in primary school and I remember loving all the tiny balls of yarn in the crafting cupboard. It wasn't until I was much older did I manage to establish my self knitting and crochet, I had several aborted attempts over the years but eventually I cracked it and I have never looked back. It makes me happy, calm, even go as far as it saying it makes me feel safe. Yarn never judges me, never questions me, it just wants to be made in to some thing, all the happy colours just want to flow in to a project. I can stand and stare at my stash and never get bored.
I don't smoke, I barely drink, I don't spend money on makeup, I hardly buy clothes or shoes beyond what I need, yarn is almost the only thing I buy for my self, its like a separate hobby in its own way as I buy yarn with no project in mind, just because! I rarely have any time to myself, I am on duty as a parent 24/7, any time I leave the house there is at least one child with me. I get no breaks, Edinburgh was the first day off I had in years, I honestly can not remember the last time I left the house alone, for some thing that was just for me. I think I might have earned my one day off. If it makes me a poor sort of person, then so be it.

When I made this blog post I only had a feeling some thing was in the air, I could tell some thing was wrong and I took a stab in the dark, hoping to flush out any issues lurking in the background, I am sad to say I was right and instead of talking to me face to face, I had to make guesses at what the problem was, until it was confirmed, I had no idea that there really was some one with a problem, but apparently my 6th sense knew better. Was the blog post a good idea? I don't know, all I am sure of is that if any one has any issues with me, talk to me, don't talk behind my back about my personal life, dragging others in to the fray who are now upset at their involvement, who have now caused upset in their own way, be grown up about it and own your feelings, you may not like the fact I went public, but I didn't know if it was true until it was confirmed by others, it would never have gone this far had you not kept quiet.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

A day in Edinburgh

Its all over, after weeks of saving and planning and stressing and fussing, I made it to Edinburgh and back all by my little self, well nearly all by my self, I was lucky enough to bump in to some one I had met several times, on the train heading up so I had some company which distracted me from most of my worries and I got to meet up with another friend who I had not seen in a long time at the other side which was great! It was a nice start to the day. Also meant we all shared a taxi to the venue so I didn't have to faff with buses, which is always a bonus.
As luck would have it, the snow held off, beast from the east part two didn't hit our side of the country much and Edinburgh hardly at all, apart from it being bitterly cold, but hey thats no worry when you are heading to a yarn festival, decked out in your best woolly fineries! I was very glad however when I arrived at the Corn Exchange that there was no queue to get in at all, so I was able to get in to the warmth and not stand about in the cold, wool hat or not! I was also lucky enough to meet several people from one of my facebook groups, always nice to put faces to names and it made me feel like I had friends, never a bad thing
It was time to shop, woo! Its very different wandering round on my own, no one whinging and moaning at me, saying they are hungry or tired or bored, and thats just my husband 😂 I had to tell myself at one point to slow down, there was no rush, I had 5 hours to wander and enjoy. And even then I ended up just sitting in the marquee enjoying the peace for a good hour! Of course I hit up all my favourite stalls, wollmeise being the ultimate one for me, I wanted to take it all home! Yarn is definitely my happy place.

My haul you say? Well those of a nervous disposition should look away now...

Its actually not too bad, all the top row is wollmeise, I was like a kid in a sweet shop, finding all the colours I have lusted after online and just piling them up!
I bought yet more Knitting goddess minis with some black yarn to contrast them, despite the fact I have an almost identical set at home, but there was a new pattern book out and I wanted the ones I had at home to do some from the last pattern book, and now there was a new one.. I couldn't help it, in my defence they are a difference wool blend!
The bright neon yarn on the bottom left is a new yarn to me from Coop Knits, never had their yarn before but that bundle drew me across the stalls, 5 x 50g neon skeins of yarn with special set of stitch markers? Sign me up! I see a shawl in their future..
The green/purple one in the bottom middle is from the ever lovely easyknitter, I am a long time fan of Jon's yarn, and he is always so lovely, as is his husband Roy, I get a hug and a chat, they asked after my kids, we discussed an upcoming club, its always a pleasure to visit that stall.
And last but not least the grey yarn from Mothy and the Squid, I had seen this yarn online, its hard to tell from this picture but it is grey but covered in tiny rainbow neps (little fluff flecks), which just makes this a cute addition to my stash, far too nice for socks tho, will have to think of some thing suitable to make with it.
The not yarn things are some bendy blocking wires to help me block my more curvy shawls instead of having to try and pin out a curve, pattern book from knitting goddess, some nice big buttons for my serged dream coat, and some brass rings to make dorset buttons from, which seems like an odd purchase but they were well priced compared to what I have seen online!

Before long it was time to leave, I made sure I gave my self plenty of time to get back for my train, and I was glad I did considering the maze that Waverley station feels like! I only took a couple of pictures to "prove" I had been there and if you look very closely you can see the snow coming down, thankfully it didn't amount to much, and indeed by the time I arrived back home, Wigan had had far more snow that I had seen all day, makes a change! Will I do it again next year? Perhaps! Although it is yarn dale in September hehe.

And yes, it is meant to be my second hexipuff week, I am doing them already? No, but tomorrow is another day!
Until next time!

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Busy bee!

Its none stop here I tell you, first week of march was my first hexipuff week, it was going well...until the outside pipes to our boiler froze solid during the cold snap we had and no amount of hot water from our kettle was going to solve the issues as the pipe in question was 20-30ft long! Argh! Its a good job I like making blankets so we could keep warm, my kids slept in sleeping bags reserved for camping and their quilts, blankets and what ever clothes they wanted it was that cold! Eventually I ended up putting a hole in a section of the pipe so we only had to defrost a small section of pipe and even tho it took all day, it eventually managed to reheat the house and we could go back to living in the house a touch more normally!

42 hexipuff 

But of course as you can expect it took a toll on my hexipuff making and I managed 42 out of 49, which is not bad being only a day down, I can make that up some other time. I've got my next week of making coming up on the 19th of March, lets hope we have no disasters this time!

So, next weekend is Edinburgh yarn festival, I especially like this one, its taken the place of Wonder Wool for me, for a start is a lot nicer to drive to as a passenger, going to Builth Wells on all the windy roads makes me sick to my stomach, and the kids, and I'm normally such a good traveller but its just too much, Edinburgh its a fairly straight forward journey on nice straight motorways! But Edinburgh has some interesting yarn stalls I haven't come across else where, Martins Lab is a fab stall, Stephen West actually goes! And most of all, Wollmeise tends to go (was disappointed last year they didn't get a stand and I said so on a feedback form but they are there again this year!) its like a mecca to me, updates online are still like a mad scramble for yarn and I like being able to browse at my leisure all the lovely colours. I am so excited its sad!
But most of all during these festival, its you get to see lots and lots of hand made items, and its brilliant! I have made a few things this past year and I was struggling to pick some thing I wanted to wear, and for some reason my mind settled on some thing I hadn't finished yet and I didn't even know if I could finish with less than two weeks to go. I wanted to see if I could finish my Serged Dream coat I started last summer, for reasons I have long forgotten, I got as far as making the body of the coat and started a sleeve then I stopped. But I suddenly wanted this item to take with me. No I don't understand my mind either, but I set about giving it ago.

And with just 7 days to go until I board the train bound for Edinburgh alone, going the furthest I have ever been without any one with me, I have finished my coat! Its made from Stylecraft Special Dk, and loosely based on a colour pack from Attic24 called "cosy" but I made a few adjustments to it as I am not a fan of pink so I swapped them out for a plum purple and a nice teal, and I am very happy with the result!
I shortened the sleeves because I have a real thing about cuffs around my wrists, these sleeves come to just below my elbow, and I added a few extra rows to the front panels (I started this before the designer added some extra instructions for plus sizes), an extra 2 rows to the extension panel (6 in total if doing extra according to the table in the pattern), did 7 rows on the main panel instead of 4, and an extra 2 rows either side on the button panels, and it has made for a nicely fitting coat, and the vertical stripes have quite a flattering effect on them which for a person as fluffy as me, thats a good thing!
So on the 17th of March, if you see this coat wandering round Edinburgh yarn fest, come say Hi! I'll be glad of the company I am sure!
Until next time! 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

The beekeeper conundrum

In 2011 a fab little pattern came out called the bee keepers quilt, the idea being you knit lots of little hexagons (called hexipuffs!) which represent a beehive kind of look, and join them together to make a nice thick blanket. I threw my self in to this pattern with great enthusiasm, but as seems to happen, my attention span waned and the project was put to one side, over the years I have had little spurs of hexipuff making, all with great intentions which came to nothing, most people might have given up by now, but I had tons of mini skeins and part balls to use in this project and I can't let it die!

This is what it looks like in its current state, its approximately half done, a few years ago I made some calculations based on its current size and how big my hexipuffs are (well they are technically flat as I decided in the end not to stuff each one with filling, its just as snug!) and worked out how many I would need to make a blanket about 5ft x 5ft, which is a total of 729 hexipuffs. I have 364 left to make.
I haz a plan! (see this is how much thought I have put in to this!) I have worked out how many I can make in a day which is roughly 7, so 49 a week, which breaks down to roughly 7 weeks (and a few days) if I make enough.I asked my friends in an understanding crafting group to give me 7 random weeks this year in which I will make nothing but hexipuffs!

The first week is next week! I keep telling myself I will have the will power to do this, I have broken it down in to easy to manage pieces, I love the pattern, I love what I have made so far,  I will get this project nailed this year! Let  the hexipuff marathon (over 7wks!) begin!
Until next time!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Weather watching

Temperature blankets seem to be the very in thing the past couple of years, the idea being you take the temperature every day, convert that in to a colour (from a preset list) and you knit or crochet that colour in to a scarf or blanket. At first I was very reluctant to be drawn in to a project that required my attention every single day, what if I missed a day? What if I get my dimensions wrong and I end up with some thing thats far too big or skinny or unusable, a year is a long time to have some thing you don't like at the end of it.
Last year I thought about it, then dropped the whole idea. As the end of the year closed in, the discussions surrounding people starting one up started again and I looked in to the idea once more, I found a website that will give me high and low temperatures for at least 2 weeks so if I didn't do it every day its easy to catch up. And then I remembered this year is a big enough year that if I was going to do a blanket like this, it would be a year worth remembering.  I have been with my husband for 20 years this October, we both have been fans of the band that brought us together, for 30 years, and this August, that band, Runrig will perform their last ever concert and we are lucky enough to be going. It makes me happy and sad all at the same time, happy as its the first concert we have been able to go to in a long while, but sad it will be the last one ever. The band mean a lot for us both, it will be a bittersweet day!

Rainbow inspired of course

Enough maudlin! I decided to go for it, I picked my yarn, relying on my old favourite stylecraft special dk and its huge range of colours, I picked 8 and assigned them all a value, from purple to note temps less than 0c right up to lipstick for temps between 24-27c (I do have a standby colour just in case temps rise above 27c but its unlikely!) I of course didn't want a simple line blanket, I was worried about the proportions of doing a 365 row blanket! But I found a solution. Granny squares, two row tiny granny squares, the inner portion noting the lowest temp of the day, the outer row noting the highest temp. Also I will be using beads to mark birthdays, anniversaries etc as I thought it would make a nice record of the year. Plus I already know approximately how big the finished project will be. I like that kind of control!

Every day until 11/2

Nice cold day bottom left!

 Don't they look fab? I am already fascinated by the range of temps we have had so far this year, I've already had to use my colour for mid teens temps (lime green), didn't expect that, also used my purple for sub zero temps, I am sure my husband is already bored of me going "oooo new temp combo today!" its going to be a long year for him. I'm already excited that this week I get to use my beads for the first time as today is my daughters birthday. I am easily pleased! The finished blanket is 18 squares wide and 21 long, I have grey squares to mark the start of each month, with an additional one at the end of the year to make up numbers. I am looking forward to seeing how the  year pans out now, what colour combos will we see? Who knows..
Until next time!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Lets get this show on the road

So, its Wednesday and I am starting as I mean to go on! I think I will pick either a show off Sunday or  a work in progress Wednesday depending on how my week is going. Some weeks I'll just be working on stuff and some weeks I will finish things! This week is a bit of both I guess.

Last year I looked at my projects page on Ravelry and felt like I had achieved nothing, or very few projects had been completed compared to a few years ago, I had slowed right down and it made me sad, why did I not do as much? Then I remembered I have a habit of either completing projects on Ravelry and no declaring them as finished (so my list of finished objects looks smaller) or I don't put them on at all, how can that be?

So upon this, I went and found all the things I had finished, but not blocked to make them finished, including ones I had never admitted to starting. I spent a week with my blocking boards taking a beating. In my bedroom I have some built in drawers under the window which is just about big enough to block most shawls, my neighbours most think I am crackers stood in my bedroom window fiddling away on things they can't quite see.

But all in all I got 6 shawls blocked and finished (including one I finished this year, but I didn't leave it hanging around!)


What a lovely pile of rainbow-ness! And all now logged on to Ravelry as completed, phew, my total is a nice respectable 20 projects for 2017, not bad!

So I said this week is a bit of both finished and working on, this week I seemed to have picked up my briocheveron shlanket (blame Stephen West for the name!), its easy enough once you get in to it tho I am forever trying to find an easy way to track my rows without having to remember to press a button on my row counter because I get so engrossed with knitting, I forget to do it, so I try and count rows, which isn't always successful, so I am trying a fixed marker on the first row of the pattern repeat, I can count to 14 right? I hope so.

Tale of two decreases
 I am having so much trouble with my brioche left slant decreases tho!They look so messy, no matter how careful I am being not pulling on the yarn too much, my right side in comparison look beautiful, I'm hoping it will block out straight, bah.

Look at that lovely fading yarn!
 The blue yarn is Fleablubs Mr Brightside, its a very bright and happy kind of yarn, just my thing, I have a set of 5 that go from dark blue to light, I didn't know what to make with it, until I saw the pattern I was making, but I needed more, so I decided to make my own fade set to compliment it, so the pink yarn is my own creation, it will go from pink to purple, as the blue yarn goes from dark blue to light blue, I think its going to look fab when it is done! Just need to keep knitting..

Ok so thats me for today, I have been scheming to try to come up with a way to help me finish my bee keeper quilt but I'll leave that for another post as its..complicated! Until next time!

Monday, 5 February 2018

Is this thing still on?

Ok, so 5 years since a blog post is a long time, for ages I considered doing some thing here but kept putting it off, either I procrastinate too much or wondering if people are even reading blogs any more.
But I have decided that I shall have a blog day, once a week, even if its just for me, to post about any thing crafty I have been doing that week, to help keep me motivated if nothing else. I won't tie my self to a day (But I do like the idea of show off sunday or work in progress wednesday) so I can see for my self the work I am putting in to my creations, and maybe if I feel like I have to have some thing to show for my blog, I might do more work, ha yeah I know, good intentions and all that, we shall see. But  I have spring cleaned, given the blog a fresh look and removed the photobucket icons that had gone to pot after they changed it all, now if I could just get that finished object gallery widget to stay still I will be happy!
Until next time..