Friday, 24 February 2012

Sock Rocking Feets

The Sock of Doom is finally laid to rest, check out my lovely stripy new socks. My heel-turning phobia is conquered, hurrah!

They are knitted with a Regia sock yarn purchased from Pip at the Sock Yarn Shop on 2.5mm double-pointed-needles. This yarn knitted up a little more tightly than the last socks I made - although this could just be my stress levels coming through...

I confess that one of the main reasons I wanted to try making socks was that it looked really cool seeing someone knit on what looked like cocktail sticks. Non-knitters are often super impressed as they think it's very complicated, but of course the really good thing about knitting in the round is that you do continuous knit stitch to produce all that stocking stitch (of course there is a bit of purling in the heel). I learnt to knit as a child but didn't learn to purl until a few years ago. Even now I feel I have to concentrate more on a purl row, where as knit seems hard-wired somehow.

What really helped in my heel-turning endeavours was this excellent tutorial on YouTube. It makes such a difference when you can actually see someone doing it, rather than just trying to follow a book or a pattern.

I have quite a few sewing projects on the go at the moment, but my next knitting adventure will be a pair of rainbow socks as requested by my five year old son. I reckon I won't have many more years of him wanting to wear my hand-knits so happy to oblige now. And it gives me an excuse to gaze at some more yarn...

Friday, 17 February 2012

Searching for Inspiration

I haven't touched the sewing machine since I finished my daughter's quilt at the end of January. And now February is whooshing by without any new projects to show for it. This week was half term, so no school or preschool, and the little blighters not unreasonably took the opportunity to demand some parental attention.

We have had one big Day Out, to Bristol Aquarium, plus other closer to home trips such as the library and park. Mostly lots of hanging out at home doing lego, running cars down drainpipes, drawing, flapjack eating, sibling bashing...

I didn't have a telly until I was nine years old (my parents weren't ideologically opposed, just hadn't got round to it), so I know the positive effect that boredom can have on creativity. Although I know I probably (frequently) whined at my parents that everyone else was watching Scooby-Doo while I was a social outcast, I also have some really good memories of reading, playing and making. For this reason I try and limit the telly time, but as my two are still quite young they often want my input. I've explained to them about the theory of Benign Neglect, but they're currently not convinced.

Limiting telly is good for adults too, since I've started crafting more, I watch a lot less. The converse is also true... And for me doing creative things needs boredom space to let the ideas bubble up. So I'm trying to regard the last couple of weeks as a sort of fallow period, to be followed by something a little more productive. These are the things I've been doing to get inspiration going:

  • Talking to other people - a friend of mine is setting up a small shop to sell her wonderful range of vintage fashions and has asked me if I'd like to sell some of my stuff
  • Looking at my stash - sometimes just having a rummage sparks off an idea
  • Doing something different - I've ordered a lampshade kit which means that I have at least one small project to be getting on with
And finally?

  • Giving myself a break - surely this stuff is supposed to be fun, not just another thing to fret about. 
So it's Friday night, husband is out purchasing a large pizza and we'll settle down and watch some comedy on the box with a beer. Cheers!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Just the Job

I haven't had a lot of time to craft recently, I have a few ideas floating around for new projects but don't seem to have the headspace to develop them. Partly this is because I've been using my child-free time to plug away at hunting for a 'proper job'. Consequently my head is full of phrases like 'excellent communication skills' and 'committed team player' gah!

I have managed to do a bit of knitting in the evenings, there's something really soothing about the action of the needles, helps me relax and stops my mind racing. I have one sock nearly done, but of course the damn things come in pairs - it is scientifically recognised as 'second sock syndrome', describing that sense of ennui and slight desperation that a knitter feels when faced with the fact that most people have two feet to be encased in yarn-based garments.

I've also been reading a lot more, including lots from the local library, as although I love my Kindle, it can get to be an expensive habit. On a recent library jaunt I picked up a slim volume called Sew & Save by Joanna Chase. It is a reproduction of a book first published in 1941. It's full of really useful information about sewing the perfect hem, making a lovely blouse out of hubby's old shirts and that sort of thing. And I'm not being sarcastic, this really is useful! I have a shelf-load of lovely craft books, which have a range of projects in, but many are up the wafty crafty end - apple cosy anyone? It's a reminder that sewing wasn't just an enjoyable past time, but a crucial skill...

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Big Knits

I was babysitting for a friend last night, so took my sock of doom with me and made some steady progress. I will conquer my fear of turning a heel!

But in contrast to knitting a sock in the round on needles that remind one a little of cocktail sticks, I am also doing some BIG knitting. The mug there is for scale purposes, these needles are 20mm, pretty much the biggest you can get, and knitting with them makes me feel like they are an outsize theatre prop.

This was one of those occasions where I was seduced by some lovely yarn (it's by Sirdar from their Bohemia range) then realised I'd have to buy the needles to go with them. But they make me smile every time I see them due to their ridiculous size, and smiling is in short supply around here at the moment. And just look at those lovely blue hues... This is going to be a lovely fluffy scarf to keep out the winter chills.

And of course the best thing about knitting with super duper chunky yarn is that it knits up really fast, meaning you can finish off a scarf in an hour or two...