Embracing my lockdown

My life, like that of so many, has changed quite dramatically since this lockdown began.
Not in obvious ways.

I’ve lots of children and a small business that we run from home and are attempting to keep afloat, so although I have always spent a lot of time within these four walls, with everyone home 24/7 there is more to juggle.

Image may contain: plant and indoor
Will I manage to transplant these to the raised beds my fellas have built in the garden without a) killing them, or b) them falling prey to pigeons, slugs and other beasties?

No, it’s changed in proper “I feel like my grandmother” ways.
My grandmother kept bees in her garden in Willingdon, and I remember visiting her, being ushered to her kitchen table, and handed a doorstop of hot buttered toast sliced from fresh bread and dripping with honey spread straight from the comb. She was always making flapjacks or shortbread. Her home always smelled of baking.
I haven’t got as far as bees. I’d love a hive, but my lovely neighbour might string me up…
Instead, as this madness all began, we acquired four chickens. And fell in love instantly.

Image may contain: 1 person, shoes, child and outdoor
With Hekate, Persephone and Minerva

So the morning goes like this:

My Teddy (9 and diagnosed with autism at 2.5) and I wake up first and come down to let the chickens out.
He says, every morning, unprompted and without fail, “I love those chickens” which is in itself quite remarkable for one with such limited speech.
Then, in we come, everyone else (mostly teenaged) still aslumber, and he tootles about while I knit.

No photo description available.
Very nearly finished….

And sporadically check for eggs, occasionally spurring them on with a “Come on. Time to lay my breakfast!”

Image may contain: one or more people and close-up

After a steaming vat of coffee from a mug I treated myself to after seeing a post from a talented ceramicist on Instagram, (that beautiful rainbow, being shown off alongside Persephone in this post’s photo) I plunder our 25kg sack of wholemeal flour – we’ve always bought flour in bulk. It makes sense, with such a large family, right? – and make a large loaf of bread, liberally showering the dough with pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds, and set it to rise while the boys begin to stir.

And sometimes the chickens visit…

chickens4

By the time the boys are coming downstairs, there’s bread in the oven, the house smells gorgeous, my latest knitting project is a few rows closer to completion and I’m preparing for a freshly laid egg on homebaked bread, toasted for breakfast.

2020-05-03-12-39-36

I am, in case it wasn’t obvious, seriously counting my blessings ❤

Note: If you’ve stumbled across this blog thinking it might be time to learn a new skill, on May 6th LoveCrafts.com are launching a free 3-video tutorial on how to knit your very own pair of bootsocks, using my pattern. Check it out over here for details

Image may contain: 1 person, shoes and text

Dots and Stripes. Dotty Stripes.

wp-1482559243071.jpg

No. This post is not about socks.

Although, I have to confess, I could gaze upon the beauty of the beauteous boot socks in perpetuity. I enjoy looking at them almost as much as I enjoy wearing them. And this very frosty northern morning, they are peeping above the tops of my boots and keeping my toes toasty. Over tights, no less. Yes. That’s how I roll.

Oh, and I enjoy wearing them almost as much as I enjoy knitting them.

But I digress.

There is of course a limit as to the number of boot socks you can possess (although as previous posts have explained – teenaged boys + washing machine + wool socks = unmitigated disaster) and I still have quite a lot of scraps of the various yarns I used for creating them.

Added to which, my wardrobe of preloved goodness has expanded this winter, and my colours are all rather autumnal.

I  needed a hat to match.

So I made one.

fbt

After which, beloved son number 2 requested one (he has a very chilly wait at the bus stop on his way to college in the mornings).

20200125105644_IMG_9316

And I really love the colours he chose (and banana cake. And coffee).

After which, I made another one just because I could.

2020-01-27-10-46-08

(I also made the lebkuchen because they’re my favourite and the blooming shops have stopped selling them now that Christmas is over. If you love them too, go and check out this recipe. It’s really simple and they’re bloody delicious).

If you have 100g or so of aran weight wool in a few colours and fancy a spotted, dotted, striped hat of your own, you can find the pattern here. And if you do make it, give me a tag? I do love to see it!

Happy Hump Day ❤

Scraps

I never really understood scrap yarn until I started knitting socks. Anything I had left over ended up in a big bag of many-weighted mis-matched colours, which usually ended up going to a knitting group, being used for holding the sleeve stitches in top-down sweaters, or being stuffed out of sight at the back of my stash.

Until I started knitting socks. And, more specifically, until I discovered the insanely beautiful yarns available for socks. And the fact that a 100g skein would usually leave enough yarn to make a substantial contribution to another project.

Enter this oh-so-simple triangle shawl-in-the-making.

2020-02-04-11-14-43

Each stripe is identifiable as a sock that I have created, and each colour brings me deep joy. I especially love the little glittery flashes from the two Fondant Fibre glitter sock yarns, which give it a whole extra aspect of beauty. To me, that is.

It’s taking an age, but that is largely because of the (as mentioned on Insta) 48,000 other WIPs I have, incapable as I am of sticking to one at a time. I have great admiration for people who can start one, work on it, finish it, and start the next. But that’s just not how I roll.

Anyway, I can’t wait to finish it.

And as I know I have also mentioned before, in a bid to make my own small difference to the consumer overwhelm, these days I refuse to buy any new clothes, so everything (other than my smalls, obviously) that enters my wardrobe these days is either pre-loved, or created stitch by stitch by my own fair hand.

fbt

This picture is a case in point.

I was particularly smug to discover that my new socks, and my old-favourite sweater matched my ‘new’ eBay skirt perfectly.

And on I go, with plans for more woolly delights to match my preloved wardrobe.

It feels good ❤

Tumbling Vines Sock Pattern

Good morning!

Monday.

Awfully windy out there, up here in the North-East. Today is a day for ALL the knits. And there’s very little that brings me more gentle pleasure than knowing that the majority of what I’m wearing was fashioned with my own fingers.

Today, it’ll be boot socks, sweater, hat, mittens, cowl… The works.

And I’ve found myself thinking… it might be time to knit a skirt? Does that work? Any experiences you’ve had with successes or failures would be greatly appreciated. Will you spur me on to try it? Or will you tell me I’m a madwoman for even thinking of it? I can’t decide if it’d be a neat thing to have, or end up looking like a baggy nappy (or diaper for our friends across the Pond)…

Anyway, enough ramblings and to the point of being here today (I haven’t had my coffee yet, and last night was not the greatest in terms of unbroken sleep, so forgive me if I seem to meander into side-roads with little regard for having lost my way). If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know I’ve recently come up with a new sock pattern, which I have now created both in Drops Nord yarn, and in Fondant Fibre glittery sock yarn. I’m littering this post with pictures so you can see how they came out, and if you fancy giving them a go yourself, you can find the pattern over here.

So feast yer eyes on the lacy creations.

Now.

Kids at school.

Coffee and time to finish writing up my Stashbusting Hats (which most definitely need a new name).

Have a glorious week. Once you’ve got over the fact that Monday has rolled around way too fast.

New beginnings…

As we hurtle towards the end of the year with ever-increasing, head-spinning, brain-curdling speed, and prepare to enter not just a new year but a new decade, I had a little epiphany.

Ok, epiphany may be over-egging the pudding. But the germ of an idea which I just couldn’t budge.

It’s time for me to shake things up a little, to rejig, to shift the focus of what I do, how I spend my time and how I go about things in life in general, but with no small regard to the woolly arts.

I have a Patreon account, which a few people have been kind enough to contribute to, in exchange for free access to patterns. I am giving it a bit of a rejig, so that the minimum contribution is the lowest tier of $5 a month and instead of publishing patterns, I shall put all the details up here, on my blog, of what I am making, how I have made it, the materials I have used, and the lessons I have learned along the way (all my existing patterns will, of course, still be for sale here). Naturally, I hope it goes without saying that nobody is obliged to contribute, but those who do will also receive for free all the existing patterns uploaded there, and occasional exclusive information / patterns / offers 🙂

To start us off, here is a little tea cozy I whipped up in about half an hour the other night. My husband is quite particular about his cuppa, and has a small white porcelain teapot which, until now, has been kept warm with one of the myriad knitted hats my now teenaged sons wouldn’t be caught dead in (Sigh… such is the lot of a knitting mum’s life). So he requested a tea cosy a while ago and a quiet night at the kitchen table afforded me the perfect opportunity to honour said request.

No photo description available.

Yarn: Paintbox wool mix super chunky.
Method (for a small teapot):

9mm circulars, magic loop method.

Cast on 32 stitches.
Knit 3 rounds of K1P1 rib, then knit around twice.
On one side of 16 stitches, knit back and forth in stocking stitch for 4 rows. Cut yarn and attach to other side and repeat 4 rows of stocking stitch on that side, then continue knitting around so you are back to knitting in the round.
Knit around 5 times.
Then decrease round 1) *knit 6, k2tog* around
2) *knit 5, k2tog* around
3) *knit 4, k2tog* around
4) *knit 3, k2tog* around
5) *knit 2, k2tog* around
6) *knit1, k2tog* around
7) *k2tog* around
Bind off and sew in ends.

Obviously, if your teapot is larger than our rather delicate, squat little thing, add a few more rounds, or a few more cast on stitches, to fit.

Happy teatime!

Next: I shall be sharing how I made this gorgeous little jumper and the hat that I am currently finishing to match it.

No photo description available.

Notes:

  • You can also, should you so wish, receive alerts to new posts / projects underway  etc by following me on Instagram or my Facebook page.
  • Occasionally a link will be an affiliate link, meaning that if you follow it and then make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. But please rest assured that I would not recommend or link anything I wasn’t completely delighted with myself 🙂

Double Pattern Heaven

1

So, at long last written up and published, ladies and gents I present to you the third (and fourth, as it happens) designs in my super-chunky range using Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Super chunky (which comes in affordable 10-ball packs and 5-ball packs, for your delight and delectation) 😉

And on my way to designing the vintage pink jacket / cardigan pictured above, I began with something a little smaller, to work out my design before I got cracking. I started with a little bolero, but I didn’t like the way it ballooned out at the bottom. Although it looked gorgeous on the hanger, on the body it gave the impression of a bit of a humpback, which was really not part of the vision. So I frogged it back a way and took it in to finish up with the rather pretty wraparound pictured below:

5

Both of these are super-quick projects, given the chunkiness of the yarn, and the patterns are available together as an instant download if you are already a patron here. (See also all the other patterns available for instant download by clicking on the tabs above).

Otherwise, you can find the double pattern here.

Happy knitting!

Variations on a theme…

I may have come to the end of my playing with my Vintage Chic pattern until the autumn, but I have had so much fun with it (and plan to have more and, and, and I might also quite like to try it in a chunky cotton for cool summer nights).

When I first conceived of this design, I was quite excited by its sweet simplicity. Colour was going to do the work for me, and the motif would provide the cherry on the cake. And when it was finished, I became impossibly giddy. I swear, when I wear it people smile. It’s the yellow. It’s SO sunny. And I’ve thrown it on again and again at the merest excuse of a chill in the air.

4

Then I found some heavily discounted Mirasol Yaya, which is the softest squishiest stuff and the colours to die for:

8.jpg

 

I followed the pattern exactly, so with smaller needles and gauge I now have a more form-fitting jumper in muted cornflower, jewelled greens, pearly whites and gentle pinks.

And THEN I returned to my old favourite, Drops Andes, and made a cropped short sleeved version to wear over long shirts again following the pattern but stopping short of the full length in body and sleeve, finishing with seed stitch. And again, the smaller needle and gauge means I have a body conscious tank-top shape that I absolutely love.

10.jpg

(I also have a teeny tiny aran version in yellow cotton on my needles, and if I ever finish it amongst my myriad other intentions, I’ll let you know! 😉 )

Happy knitting, lovelies ❤

 

A Plethora of Inconsequential Nonsense

Good morning my fellow woolly friends (and of course any non-woolly ones who happen to have popped by for a visit).

I’m sitting here with a large bowl of porridge, made with coconut milk, fresh blueberries and just a little wildflower honey and all is well with the world. All children are deposited at their requisite educational establishments and Aphrodite and I have had a good ol’ stomp by the river.

Which leads me neatly to the reason for my post, really.

It’s becoming a year of new and healthy habits. Healthy not just physically, but mentally and fiscally, too. Working from home, and for myself, from a house that is in various states of ongoing repair (it was a bargain – we knew what we were taking on, but with five sons and our own businesses, it’s slow progress!) it is all too easy to prevaricate myself into a stupor. I can quite happily reach the end of the day, having squawked about like a headless chicken, and feel I have achieved almost nothing at all.

So it’s started with the walk. Every morning like clockwork, straight on from the last small person deposited at his primary school. There are so many beautiful walks around our village that there is no need to follow the same route every day, but inevitably mine takes me down to the river, by way of a field I can’t quite resist because of the several times I’ve come nose to nose with deer down there, and all the way along because of the ducklings and the swan who has just about stopped honking her distress at my presence.

Image may contain: tree, outdoor, nature and waterNo matter the time pressure of orders that need to be packed up, patterns that need writing up or planning, jewellery that needs to be finished and posted, that 60 – 90 minutes is a reset switch for body and mind. No matter how stressful the school-run time, when I’m back from that wander, I’m ZenWoman. It’s my meditation for the day (remember: “If you haven’t got time to meditate for 20 minutes a day, meditate for an hour” 😉 )

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, outdoor and nature
Sometimes, my boys come too.

The newest resolution, though, is my Nothing New vow. Perhaps somewhat impulsive, but it feels right. I’m starting with a year, but I’m hoping it just sticks. Where I can make, mend or buy ‘preloved’, I vow to buy nothing new. For 365 days. (With the obvious exception of sundries like undies, right, but even socks I can make.)

The reasons for this are two-fold. The first and most important is my ever-growing distress at the excess and waste we are inflicting with alarming nonchalance on our defenceless planet. Trawl a flea market or two and you’ll find not just decent but actually very NICE stuff, which is often far better made than the tat you find new these days, with the added benefits, often, of the charm of a bygone era, and the cash you hand over not going to huge nameless corporations fuelling underpaid, zero hour, child labour somewhere we should know better not to exploit.

And, of course, it’s cheaper. Win win.

This week’s bargains are a pair of leather boots from eBay for a fiver, and a teapot that matches my recently-inherited china for 99p. Again, on eBay. Off to a flying start.

Bringing it all back to the woolly world, though, I also have a stash-mountain that would probably yarn-bomb most of my street. I wish I were kidding. And it’s good stuff. And I don’t want to get rid of it. So a happy side-aspect of this is that I need to get designing and knitting with what I already have.

(I can hear the howls of laughter as you choke on your morning coffee: “No new yarn!?” I hear you hoot. But I do have the caveat that I am allowed to make new things, which may of course eventually require some new yarn… But I’m going to TRY, OK? I’m going to TRY!)

So, coming up next is my newest pattern: a vintage-inspired cardi which can also be made as a wrapped crop. I’ve been prevaricating their writing for days, and I can prevaricate no longer – so keep your eyes peeled.

 

À toute à l’heure!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: