Weekly update 15 March 2021

yarn on a bed of eucalyptus

It’s been a lovely week of daffodils and springtime and hope. Our public health officer is letting groups of up to 10 (has to be the same people each time) gather on back decks and in parks. My Mum had her first shot moved up and got her first dose yesterday. Our vaccination schedule is moving a little faster than anticipated. All in all a time of great hope and excitement. The fly in the ointment is the clocks going back. But for once it has lined up beautifully and it is spring break so we didn’t have to get up at truly unpleasant o’clock.

Today’s spring break activity is creating stories based on the vast Lego Hogwarts that was been built over the Winter on a table downstairs. Nutmeg and her friend are hard at work spinning tales of magic and mystery while the two cats look on bemused. There will be french toast and raspberries for lunch and it will be a good day.

Knitting wise I’m expecting to finish the fireweed sock today or tomorrow and publish the pattern by the end of the week. Then it’s on to the Bad Hair Day Hat and Mme Vastra’s gloves. Then two more socks and a wrap. The big project coming up for publication later in the year (September/October) is a Minoan inspired sweater. But March is a month of taxes and being buried in work from my other life and sometimes I want to do a pattern that I don’t have to work out and write and plan. The pattern that I’ll be starting for March and posting updates on as I work through it is the Rheinlust shawl by Melanie Berg. I’m doing it in a lovely colourway from Songbird fibres called European Starling. This one is going to be exciting!

No time for knitting

knitted patchwork blanket in progress

I’ve had no time to knit and I hate it. It affects everything.

I put on tomato soup in our instant pot for dinner and was making a much bigger batch than I’d ever made before. Somehow I set the delayed start but thought it was actually going to take 6 hours to cook! Mad panic while I searched around for another meal to make. Finished that, realised the mistake and made tomato soup as well. Utterly exhausted from it. No time for knitting.

Boxes of client paperwork, confusion over allocations of expenses and trying to get people up to date for tax filings. A day of zoom meetings. Exhausted. Collapse into a bath and then bed. No time for knitting.

Wake up this morning, appalling headache right behind my right eye. Drugs, back to bed, get to a place where I can function. I still have lots of paperwork.

Will there be time for knitting?

There needs to be. I need to read books and I need to knit for my own well being. It is the cheapest most enjoyable form of therapy for me. Not just the designing a pattern or poring over websites and books looking at other people’s patterns and finished works. The physical act of knitting, of moving my hands, of feeling yarn move through my fingers and watching something come together is incredibly rewarding. Like reading where I am escaping into another world in a book, I find knitting restorative. So even if I can’t get a good long stretch of an hour or three in, I need to knit for twenty minutes (a meditation time) just to maintain.

I’m sure other people have this problem too. No time for knitting, especially if it is complex lace repeats where one repeat might take an hour to do. Or a large jumper where you aren’t really moving forward on and don’t want to stop at a funny point.

Even worse are the smaller projects. I think of socks in sections and can’t put them down until a section is finished – top, leg, heel, foot, toe. Most of which are going to take more that twenty minutes when knitting time is scarce.

Solutions!

Leftover sock yarn dragon scales blankets. This has two benefits. You can make a single scale and feel like you achieved something, you are using up little bits of leftover sock yarn and tidying your stash while making something. I have a whole bag where little bits of sock yarn go just for this purpose.

The other solution I have is granny squares. Make a crochet granny square and move on with the rest of your busy life.

Eventually you’ll have finished a large project that kept you sane while you were making it.

It’s going to be a lovely spring!

Garden of snowdrops

It’s March 2021 and it is definitely going better than last year. Lots of good news today and a whole lot of stuff going on. Here’s a quick update from me on what to expect this month.

My mum is now booked for her first dose of a vaccine. It’s on March 17th. We’re taking it as an auspicious date for someone of Irish descent. It’s going to be a grand St Patrick’s Day.

Meanwhile the very lovely Hanna Germander has put me down as the featured designer of the month on her blog. I’m dead chuffed. Check it out below!

https://www.germandercottagecrafts.co.uk/www.germandercottagecrafts.co.uk/blog

Unfortunately I’m super busy with some other work and so my knitting is on a full back burner for the month of March. I do expect to have a couple of interesting posts up though.

First up: I’ve been trying out a bunch of faux moss stitches and will have a full report on those. I’m thinking of calling them lichen stitches. I love moss stitch but it does hurt my hands and I know it hurts other people as well. So anything that gives the appearance without the pain is a good thing!

Then I’m doing a long post or two on sock heels. Only two kinds, traditional heel using either eye of partridge or slip stitches and my beloved German short rows. I’m going to look at the math behind them and how you can adjust the basic formula to a sock of any size. Even a giant Christmas stocking if you want!

Finally I’m determined to get my Fireweed sock pattern out this month after a couple of false starts.

Check back in every couple of days for updates. Send me ideas for things you’d like to see in the coming months!

Bearded Reedling

No it’s not a look at this bird wouldn’t it make a great yarn colour post. Sidenote: Birds are amazing inspirations for yarn colours.

This bird popped up in my twitter feed this morning and I just fell in love. Look at that fluffy little ball of determination perching amongst the reeds. It’s going to make the best of a difficult situation and perch dammit.

Meet The Bearded Reedling: A Fluffy Egg-Shaped Bird That Can Do The Splits  | The Rainforest Site News

He’s good inspiration for me today as I have to get a chart done for a pattern and I had a sock setback, where I had to rip back an entire heel. So I’m getting this chart done and the pattern out to tech editing today and that sock is getting finished. If the bearded reedling can do it so can I!

Best boss ever!

Ylva Johansson is my favourite new politician. She made socks for her whole cabinet. Not only is that a huge amount of work, look at how beautiful those socks are. What an amazing present to walk into a meeting and see. More bosses with more knitting – that’s what I want to see in 2021!

Baby Alpaca

I got some lovely baby alpaca yarn on sale and I’ve been hand-winding it into balls yesterday and today. If you ever want a very soothing repetitive task hand-winding wool is a good one!

I haven’t ever used baby alpaca before and it is lovely soft yarn, can’t wait to find out how it knits up!

Fibre, Fiber or Fibre?

I Just read an email quite excitedly about better fibre offers. Took me to second paragraph to discover they meant internet solutions not yarn. I was genuinely disappointed. I may be a wee bit yarn crazy.

On a slightly different note, what do people use? I have English as my first language. But I have NZ English, British English and Canadian English all swirling about in my brain and combining in funny ways. So I prefer fibre for yarn but will use fiber or fibre interchangeably, same with meter/metre. I no longer know whether the British or Canadians use backsplash or splashback in kitchens, again I’m amendable to both. I say tom-ah-to, but will acquiesce to tom-eh-to under duress from Nutmeg. I have moved to Cilantro over Coriander for leafy herb (where the h is pronounced). I spell aluminium with the ‘i’ and pronounce it that way and am was outraged that North Americans pronounced it ‘wrong’ until discovering that they had dumped an important ‘i’ from the word. They are still wrong to me, but I now understand why!

Sweetheart socks and Cat

cat lounging beside sock clad feet

I’d finished the socks this Friday and decided to do some photos, get the math finalized and publish pattern by October 30th. I’m still on track for that, but the cat was all interested in ‘helping’ with these photos. My concern is that although adorable he does kind of steal the show! There’ll be other photos that focus more on the socks, but I think I’m leaving this one in there.

Bad Hair Day Hat update

I know – I promised this pattern ages ago. The first test went swimmingly and then I ordered some lovely yarn to do a final for photos for the pattern. It was dispatched by seller on 4 September. It made it out the States fairly easily and has now been stuck in a Canadian warehouse since the 9th of September. Prior follow up said wait till mid October to follow up again.

So today was the day. I have followed up, Canada Post – please find my yarn, I’d really, really like it to come to me.

Hobbies that upset you

Yesterday on Ravelry I responded to someone in their forums who had recently taken up knitting. They were knitting every evening and no matter the pattern they were finding it super stressful. To the point of tears stressful. Which I think everyone can agree is not great.

What surprised me a little was the variety of responses. I wondered if they were trying for perfection and getting upset when mistakes happened or doing something to complicated. Other people wondered if they were using acrylic wool (which is cheap but can be unpleasant through the hands) or knitting needles that weren’t smoothly handling the yarn. All of which seemed constructive.

But there was a third group who basically said “Give up then. Don’t do things that you don’t enjoy”. I found this response the most interesting. One, it hadn’t occurred to me as a piece of advice and two, I think it raises a good question. Should you do things that you’ve learnt that make you miserable? Obvious answer is NO!!! But, I don’t think it’s that simple. You might be cross because you aren’t good at something and need to practice to get good. We don’t want children to give up after first music or sport lesson and we don’t want adults to give up either without giving something a fair try. So how long is too long and when do you decide – nope, that’s it. This hobby, sport, activity thing isn’t working for me.

I don’t know the answer, but thought on a board where people were reaching out for help with something, that the most interesting and radical response was – stop doing something rather than trying to fix it. I think we could all take this advice in lots of aspects of our lives (I’ve just done it in a professional setting). But we all need to know when to keep trying to fix something and when to walk away. That’s the grey, murky area. However, I think it’s important to remember – sometimes walking away is the right choice and you should just do it and not look back. Applies to a lot more than knitting!