What I’ve been making (August 2015 edition)

There’s been a lot of yarn in use! And some fabric too…

I’ve been trialling a new approach to managing my yarn projects. In the past, I’ve had a tendency to have at least half a dozen (and if I’m honest, a lot closer to a full dozen) things on the go at any one time, because I love starting new things…

I only took one (yes, one!) project on my trip to Sydney. I found I really enjoyed the simplicity of not needing to think about what to work on. If I wanted to do something, I just picked it up and got on with it – no thoughts about whether I felt like doing this one or that one, and no guilt about all the things I wasn’t working on.

When we got home, I got to thinking about how that had felt and worked for me, and I realised I liked it. So I decided to try having only two active projects on the go – one for upstairs and one for downstairs! Everything else in progress got piled up neatly in a corner of the studio.

So far it is working well. I really, really enjoy just being able to pick something up and get to work. And I’m really not missing the angst of constant decisions!

I’m also ploughing through the finishing of things πŸ™‚

Recently finished:

The Granny Square blanket I introduced to you back in May. It now looks like this (and is super cosy):

Photo5564

A shawl for a friend (which I can’t show you just now, because I haven’t given it to her yet)

My grassy-green version of Suvi Simola’s Fold and Turn – a deceptively simple and deliciously cosy loose shrug (I love the stripe detail down the centre back):

Photo5567

I’ve also sewn up a range of skirts for myself (which has been part of a whole wardrobe refurbish) and made myself a hat from a skein of camel hair yarn I’ve had for *cough* years:.

I did make a woollen coat that was meant to be for me, but after wearing it for a few weeks, I realised it would look a lot better on one of my friends, so it’s living with her now πŸ™‚

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Currently on the go:

  • Finishing a grey jersey for myself – just the sleeves to go (upstairs)
  • A sock yarn oddments crochet shawl (downstairs)

And I have a wee confession: I’m not counting the glove project I keep by my laptop for when the updates take too long to install… It’s there to boost my patience and will enter the official list at some point πŸ˜‰

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Patiently waiting their turn:

  • The green bolero I mentioned in May
  • The final band of a blue-violet-green shrug
  • A green crochet lacy blanket

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Itching to start:

  • A lace shawl from the gorgeous green yarn I bought in Katoomba (I have bought the pattern already)
  • Some blankets and shawls for friends
  • A brown polar fleece coat (which will have a steampunk twist or three)
  • My spotty pantaloons (I was going to make these last weekend, but got distracted by gardening and dancing…)

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What have you been making?

I’d love to hear – or even see: you’re welcome to share photos on the Facebook page πŸ™‚

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What I’ve been making (May 2015 edition)

I thought I’d let you take a peak at the crafty things I’ve been working on lately.

I’ve been havingΒ  a bit of a sewing binge (aided and abetted by my re-sorted stash) and I’ve got my yarn mojo back… There’s tonnes of new things my fingers are itching to start, but I’m determined to finish a few things first.

First up, those tassels I made a while back have now been beltified (which really should be a word) and are all set to dance:

Tassel belt has, um, tassels...

Last year, I did a course to develop a trouser pattern to fit your own body. So lately, I’ve been working up my first-ever-pair of trousers from my-very-own-pattern. It’s taken a bit of tweaking, and I will tweak a little more before the next pair, but I am really pleased with how well they’ve turned out.

In between my focused trouser tweaking, I also ran up a quick skirt out of stash fabric I adore. I’m not sure why it’s taken me several years to get round to doing this, but at least it’s done now!

Mori flower skirt - with apologies for the crap lighting

My pending pile includes a mostly cut-out wool coat for the rapidly approaching winter, then a few more coats (because coat fabric takes up so much storage space!). So, by Summer I should be super cosy! The to-do pile also includes this impressively cheerful (because ‘gaudy’ is too harsh a word) fabric for some dance pantaloons. I promise to hide the finished garment under a skirt…

Even brighter in real life!

On the yarn front, I’m plugging away at finishing some long-standing projects (why do adult-sized cardigan bands have to be so flaming long?!) and working on a couple of newer inspirations. There is a real risk I might actually finish some things! Although weaving-in-ends inevitably slows me done… (BTW I recently discovered ‘evitable’ is a real word. For some reason, this fills me with joy.)

I’m halfway through crocheting squares for a chunky granny square blanket (so about a third of the way through the whole project), which will be jolly useful shortly – sudden frosts are certainly an incentive to keep on hooking…

Half a box of crochet squares

And I’m almost up to the second sleeve of a bolero, following Mel Clark’s everyday cardigan pattern. That will then leave another long band to make to complete it… sigh! But it will be worth it…

This is a sleeve, not a caterpillar. I swear!

And I’m also pleased to have finally found the perfect colour yarn to finish off a Malabrigo yarn shrug. (The original plan came out looking tragically ’80s :/ ) I just need to finish the first cardigan band to free up the needles… I’m getting close…

Once these are done, there’s a few moreΒ *cough* half-finished projects to get done before I go too wild casting on new things (okay, I might allow myself one or three along the way…).

So that’s what’s keeping me out of mischief. What have you been up to?

Random bits of inspiration – Turquoise and friends

New Orleans, Louisiana

HOLD for brcishere - Abstract Art Oil Original Painting Ocean Art, Ocean abstract Painting. Turquoise Blue, Sapphire Blue - "THE ABYSS". $240.00, via Etsy.

An out of the ordinary staircase!

Free pattern

UmWowStudio: My Motivational Art Journal Page

Dome of Jamek Mosque Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

like the quilting

watercolor

Physicists say we are made of stardust. Intergalactic debris and far-flung atoms, shards of carbon nanomatter rounded up by gravity to circle the sun. As atoms pass through an eternal revolving door of possible form, energy and mass dance in fluid relationship. We are man, we are thought, we are story. We are all star stuff.

Keeping your feet on the ground

The end of the school holidays are in sight, and we’ve had some fun times, and some chill times, and even some fun, chill times.

Right now, however, I am struggling to stay focused and grounded. Seems like something about my normal routines going up in the air sends my mind up there, too… and I don’t enjoy that.

Here are some things I use to help myself keep on the ground:

  • eating dark chocolate – I find this a good quick fix (coffee can work well, too, if you’re that way inclined)
  • deep breathing and meditation (which can also help with patience for being around children – bonus!)
  • holding obsidian or other stones
  • gardening – getting soil under your fingernails is, quite literally, grounding
  • if I can’t garden for some reason, spending time with my indoor plant jungle
  • journalling – especially good when there’s weight on my mind
  • knitting or crochet – doing something physical, tangible and tactile helps keep me present
  • keeping my red meat levels up (oops, I ate chicken tonight – still at least that keeps the cat happy)
  • stroking my cat

Is there anything you would add to this list? Or leave out? I’d love to hear about what works (or doesn’t) for you.

So, as we’re all out of chocolate (oh no!), I’ll be spending my evening wandering round with a chunk of obsidian in my pocket, doing deep breathing, knitting with my indoor jungle, and thinking about getting my fingers in the soil when the daylight comes again…

… and really looking forward to Monday’s return to normality πŸ˜‰

 

Synchronicity (and yarn)

Oh, the synchronicity of life….

Just moments after my post yesterday, this appeared in my Facebook feed:

Photo: Very simple, & lots of truth here.

Just as well I don’t mind laughing at myself…

I did do some knitting,Β  too.

I’ve cast on for a shawl commission using fab reclaimed/recycled yarn from Darn Good Yarns:

Lavender-purple yarn on a chocolate brown background - really!
Lavender-purple yarn on a chocolate-brown background – really!

This is knitted with their ‘Chunky Monkey‘ yarn in lavender tones (sorry about the crappy lighting…). It’s just garter stitch on 9mm needles – the yarn has so much character, fancy stitching isn’t needed.

I’m also slightly extremely addicted to their silk ribbon yarn, and am busily amassing a collection of colours to play with when I’m finished with this latest commission. The colours! The texture! And every skein is different… *ahem* There will eventually be some scarves, and so forth making their way into my Etsy shop (though, as so far I keep selling them before I can list them, do feel free to get in touch and book your colourway!)

The lovely (albeit dangerous) thing with fair trade yarn is that you can stash-build without guilt, knowing that you’re helping other people as well as yourself πŸ˜‰

Gazing blankly…

.. at the screen tonight…

Sometimes the words and thoughts just don’t flow.

I’m going to go knit instead πŸ˜‰

Things about life I learned from knitting (and crochet)

Granny starIn no particular order:

  • if something’s not working, stop, unwind and try a different approach
  • touch matters
  • even the most beautiful, complex, time-consuming design is of no use to you if it doesn’t fit you
  • plan a little, but be prepared to be flexible about the process and the outcome
  • even if you follow the rules precisely, your actual results may vary
  • it is good to give
  • it is worth paying a bit more and having a bit less to have something you love
  • having a large stash doesn’t make you a better knitter – it just means you have more yarn. Likewise, more stuff doesn’t make you more successful – you just have more stuff.
  • there is a fine line between ‘enough’ and ‘too much’, even with yarn!
  • your tension will affect your results…