Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pick Up Your Needles II

So, how can you match Pick Up Your Needles I?

With Pick Up Your Needles II of course! This time I was felting, with tutor Nicola Brown, who was charming, patient and passionate about her craft.

We learned a great deal from just watching her demonstrations and in the workshop we created some lovely things. My group was focused on making flat pieces, but we still came away with a felted cord, another multicoloured cord to be spliced into beads for jewellery, a key ring, and a felted flower, as well as the flat piece which was our main objective.

What with the lovely colours on offer and all the encouragement, I'm willing to bet that nobody was disappointed.

I did expect to meet friends (yay, check), to enjoy the day (oh yes indeed, check), to drink tea (slurp, check), to consume home-baked goodies (yum, check) and to make felted things (felting, check), but I didn't fully appreciate how much I would enjoy the felting itself, the day and the company.

Dudes, I cudda wudda shudda known.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

* cough * JGG

Ahem...*Cough*...clears throat.

There has been JGG knitting going on. Lots of it. Lots 'n lots 'n lots of it. An extra 3 motifs on the existing sleeve, a whole 'nother sleeve to match, and 10 inches or so of the front. Not bad considering the week I had with hubby away for work and the usual mad crazy busy schedule of work, school and craft club.

While I had some real trouble with the motif on the front piece, I'm truckin' away now good-o and am reasonably confident of making my new deadline of 27th March. (Note to self: Over confidence = Disaster. You never learn nuthin'?)

Must be the Spring weather tho'. I got a sudden uncontrollable urge to do some de-cluttering (and boy is it necessary) and came across this carefully stashed away, calling my name.

Yes my treasure, I just couldn't hear you tucked away in that box. Don't cry.

And as soon as I realised that the JGG was not going to make its St Patrick's Day deadline, I just had to pick this up again. If only to stop it whining.

There may have been seaming. I'm not prepared to say.

This baby has been gestating for 2 years now. It's about time it got finished. Heck, if it was a movie, it would be Benjamin Button, born at a great age.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Yarn Harlot

S'funny. Sometimes you think you know how a thing will go.

Recently, Jellyknits lent me this book, Free Range Knitter, by Stephanie Pearl-McFee, a.k.a. The Yarn Harlot. (Thanks J!)

I've been reading Stephanie's blog for 4 years or so now, and I've read some of her earlier books, so I thought I knew what I'd be getting. Humorous writing, even hilarious writing, on knitting slants that are either new to me or freshly expressed.

And so it proved to be. Funny, witty, apt - pretty much as expected.

Talented, insightful, well written and entertaining - I wasn't a bit surprised.

Let's be clear. That's not faint praise folks. That's genuine, sincere, heartfelt praise. It was a joy and a pleasure to read and it made me happy. My only quibble (given that my leisure time is all of 15 minutes a day) is that it's not possible to knit and read it at the same time, with the hardback spine an' small pages an' all. It's only fair that the publishers consider the possibilities of a future audio book for knitting fans who can actually knit at the same time. But I digress. (Not for the 1st time.)

Fair enough.

And then I came upon an essay entitled Knitting Self Esteem which COMPLETELY blew my mind. It deals with the bombardment of negative messages that we receive about ourselves from the world around us (which doesn't value knitting at all as a worthwhile activity), and worse, actually from ourselves - and its core point is that our knitting is both a shield and a proof against those messages.

'Knitting doesn't think you need to lose ten pounds, knitting doesn't think you're getting older. Knitting doesn't give a cr*p if you get fired or divorced. The only thing that matters in knitting is knitting.'

Stephanie Pearl-McFee, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

'I am a good knitter, if a terrible everything else, and this is a great sock.'

Seriously. You can't know how much.

Thank you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

More Haste Less Speed

Ok, so it's like this.

Picture this, if you will. You're up against a deadline and knitting like the wind.

Solution. Stay up late every night after the kids are in bed and chores are done, knitting feverishly?


Stay up late 2 nights in a row and discover mis-twisted cables several times, which take ages to fix. Not by tinking back or frogging you understand, but with the tried-and-true-but-tricky method of dropping stitches and laddering them back up with a crochet hook. Taking care to twist them in the right row and in the right direction.



A new solution?

Go to bed and hope for better tomorrow.



And the Oscar goes to...

Ah, not really, but it IS my very 1st Blog Award so I'm excusing myself for being a little excited. Thanks Leslie!

Proximade Award

The accompanying text with the award is as follows:

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."

The Proximade Award is for any kind of blog, knitting, art, craft, creative or literary. Here (in no particular order) is the list of bloggers I would like to honour with the Proximity Award both for the quality of their blogs and the vibrant immediacy with which they communicate.

Crafty Wanda








Knit, Inc

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tin Swap

Recently on Ravelry, I stumbled upon this group...for people who collect Altoid mint tins and keep stuff in 'em. Now, I love old tins, and keep lots of useful things in 'em, so over I went for a visit to see what's up. Turns out that I've had a lot of fun over there. (Check out this post that got me started if you're curious).

Anyhew, naturally I asked the big question 'What the hell is an Altoid?' and immediately found myself with an offer from a kind member to send me some. Long story short, I found myself in my very 1st Tin Swap.
And look what I bagged?

- Pattern mag in aid of a local hospital with free patterns contributed by well known names. What a great idea!

- Skein of Lamb's Pride Worsted in wonderful variagated blues

- Not one but TWO tins of Altoids:

1 tin of original mints labelled 'Curiously Strong Mints'*

1 tin of chewing gums (perfect for sewing needles)

Now wasn't I spoiled? Thanks Swap Partner!

Unfortunately I wasn't as quick off the mark to the post office so my parcel has yet to arrive. Hope it hasn't gone astray!

* I love that 'Curiously Strong Mints', it has such an air of appreciation mixed with genteel bafflement. Like something Jeeves would say.

Secret Plan Secret Solution

I have spent days 'n days 'n DAYS knitting a sleeve and trying to write a chart for the Secret Plan part of the JGG. You knew that I have a secret plan, right?

Well, unless you've heard me mention it in person, I guess not, but fact is that I do. And while I knew it was a bit ambitious, I didn't realise just how impossible tricky it would be to implement...and on a deadline too. (BTW, 13 days to go).

The good news it that I have been struck by a wonderful solution which I am very confident will bring me my wished for results and still allow me some time to sleep in the next 2 weeks. No, sorry, can't tell...you'll just have to wait and see.

This solution will be a great relief to my Yarnie Women who have been a bit skeptical concerned about my goals, albeit in the nicest possible way. They've even offered to dive in and knit a sleeve for me to help the project along. Now that's what I call knitting support.

(I tell ya, if you haven't got any Yarnie Women in your life, get thee out to the highways and byways (and Ravelry) and find some RIGHT NOW! G'won, git! I'll be here when you get back.)

Of course, I still have to actually implement the plan and finish the sweater, which despite my genius plan will be a tall order. Never said it would be easy.

My new motto?

Knit Like The Wind.


Monday, March 2, 2009

New Twist Collective

Congratulations to Stolen Stitches! A great pattern in the new issue of Twist Collective.

Folks, I give you the Necco Wafer Hoodie.

Lovely innit?

Yay for Irish knitters and designers!

We who are about to knit, salute you.