Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Knitting, Christmas, mittens and weddings

Debbie Dean, Festive Wreath (from Pinterest)

A friend is getting married a few weeks after we are and I got the invitation last week.  One of the lovely things about other people’s weddings is seeing all the lovely little details they include to make their day special.  As they are getting married close to Christmas, they’ve asked guests to bring a tree decoration with them for the tree at the venue.  The plan is for the decorations to be keepsakes to remind them of their wedding day each Christmas.  It’s such a wonderful idea; a very touching way of including everyone in the day and their future life together. 

I got this book last Christmas and have been dying to try something from it.  Over the course of the weekend I made three baubles – one got ripped back, the other still looks a bit limp as I’d tried to get too clever with mixing and matching the motifs, then lost interest which got piqued again when I changed needle size (the things that pique one's interest).  This is the one that ended up getting blocked and stuffed.  I plan to have a go at designing my own motif too.  So they’ll be getting a hand knit bauble which may or may not be this one.  Very fun book too ...

Love + Christmas = my favourite time of year
Last night I cast on Kate Davies Peerie Flooers mittens.  I’ve used a crochet provisional cast on before, but this time thought I’d try something new (why not).  It looked a total bobbins for the first couple of rounds but then suddenly came together.  Is that other people’s experience of provisional cast on?  Do you just have to hold your breath and persevere and then suddenly voila, it looks beautiful?  It’s a waste yarn technique from YouTube. 

I had looked in The Principles of Knitting but got myself in a muddle, came over all modern and decided to hop online – very unlike me.  Now I don’t know if it’s possible to have a crush on a book but if it is, then I do.  I’ve had it for a little over a week and have already thumbed my way through several of the techniques.  The writer has a thorough, academic approach to the techniques but a real warmth demonstrating her passion for the subject.  It appeals to my Teutonic knitterly self. 

The only problem I had with my provisional cast on is that one of the stitches... disappeared.  I had 52 stitches on the needles at the end of the casting on, and then I had 51 at the end of the first round and none appeared to have dropped off.  The little rascal.  I did an M1 on the second round which was fine, and will figure it out when I come to pick those stitches up again to fix the lining to the inside of the outside (so to speak) of the cuff of the mitten.  As it will be inside the glove, am less worried.  I’ve got thumb holes and acres of Fair Isle to worry about so it’s down the list really.  Oh yes, and a wedding in tee minus ten days.  Eek. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Back in the blogosphere (do people still call it that?)

I’ve been extremely remiss in my blogging responsibilities.  I allowed myself to get distracted by so many other things and before I knew it months had passed.  Giving myself a metaphorical shake by the shoulders, I realised that I don’t need to write the (crafting) Odyssey every time I go online.  I could just comment on what I’m working on at the moment. 

Since I’ve last blogged, a lot has been going on mind you.  Aside from knitting and quilting, I spent two weeks at the Royal School of Needlework completing the Jacobean Crewelwork module of the Certificate in Technical Hand Embroidery.  One of the most physically demanding two weeks I’ve ever had, it was also probably one of the most enriching and exciting things I’ve ever done.  I found a home away from home and am planning (if I can wangle some more unpaid leave next year) to continue to pursue my certificate.

Two weeks hard labour - my baby!

I have also been on a Rowan two day colour techniques workshop up at the Mill.  It’s a glorious part of the country – one of those places that twinkled in the autumn sunshine on Saturday, and whose colours glowed in the rain on Sunday.  I was a little alarmed by some of the “elbows out” behaviour of some of the other attendees – hey, we all love cheap yarn and books but let’s be civilised about it people – but it was a really fun weekend.  Every now and then a cow or a horse would hove into view and all would feel right with the world.  It’s the most amazing insulating bubble to be in and returning to the real world a fairly hefty bump.  Sarah Hazell, who taught the class, is also a bit of a legend – she’s one of the nicest, funniest people and I learnt so much about the techniques and ways of working.  Am a fan – not at all possible to spot that is it. 

The other thing I’ve been doing – and conscious my attempt at brevity being rapidly undermined – is starting a journal of “things I’ve made so far”.  At the moment it’s rubbish print outs of snaps from the blackberry but it’s a useful catalogue of how things have progressed from my first attempts at knitting, embroidery etc to becoming more proficient and all the revelations that went with it.   One such revelation is just trusting myself to be quick – I met someone who’d got most of the way through the leg of a sock in an afternoon.  It brought it home to me how much I procrastinate.  Since then I’ve been flying through projects – most of a sock on the drive home from Cornwall on the last bank holiday weekend for example or whipping up a lovely Milo top for my niece’s forthcoming birthday.  These are small revelations but revelations nonetheless. 

The Milo so far

Close up of the cable

My teaching has slightly stalled as the class I had prepared has several people on the waiting list but none available for those dates.  Hopefully there’ll be something before Christmas.  I hope that will take off in 2013.  In the meantime, it’s all go on wedding planning for now – a mere three weekends to go.  Think it’s nearly planned so am fairly relaxed but don’t want to speak too soon – once the stationery is printed then I can relax.  Final fitting this weekend so my rather late attempts to tone up are futile now but, really, isn’t that why we wear long dresses to weddings; to save ourselves the hassle of getting skinny?