Sunday, 28 January 2018

Sleepy Sunday

It's been a strange week! I've settled back into my room after moving back from a hospital placement, started a new placement in the community and then tried to get through the day despite some weird headache flu thing. Cue slightly sleepy and grumpy person stumbling onto trains for my new lengthy commute! After lots of naps and general sleep over the weekend I am feeling a bit more human. Not sure what other species you would be instead? A sloth probably judging by this week....

Anyway! Lengthy commutes mean knitting! (And falling asleep and trying not to lean on strangers, especially in London. Awkward...)

I started a pair of socks for the Grocery Girls Sock Bash but midway through the month and have run out of time. Unless I can knit the second sock in the next four days which is not going to happen. But that's ok! Because I have really enjoyed the pattern and the yarn. The pattern is the Easy Lace Socks by Winwick Mum which can be found on her website and Ravelry. Despite one setback at the start of the lace part (post here), the first sock has come along really quickly. 

This pattern has been a really gentle introduction to lace knitting. The video tutorials which come with it have been helpful especially after my confusion of Slip Slip Knit (SSK) which it turns out I have been doing wrong for aaaages. The yarn is Cascade 220 4 ply in Purple Grape. I use 2mm circular needles although I would like to try the mini circulars again if I can ge hold of a 2mm version. 

In other WIP news, my Flax jumper is so close to being finished!! I am roughly 45 rows away from finishing the second sleeve and then I just need to weave in the ends. I cannot wait to get it finished. I'm already looking at other jumper patterns to try next, my only hesitation is I have no idea how to gauge the pattern difficulty level. Any suggestions?

Will post photos as soon as it's done!

What are you knitting? Are you taking part in any Knit-alongs?

I'll leave you with a picture of Harvey. I took all my yarn out of the yarn cupboard to have a look through it for inspiration and Harvey decided that he should take it's place:

Have a great week everyone x

Thursday, 18 January 2018

2017-2018 Knitting review and plans!

It's nearly the weekend! And over halfway through January and I have finally put together my creative goals for 2018.

It's a bit of a long post so grab a hot drink and a snack to keep you going - here we go!

2017 marked my first full year of knitting. And it was a great year! You can see the full details in this post (here). I knit a hat, two baby jumpers, a shawlette and four socks including an actual matching pair. And a small crochet pumpkin called Pete. The other highlights were the Great London Yarn Crawl (post here) and PomFest (post here). 

And what about my 2017 goals? I'm glad you asked! My full 2017 goals post (goal post sounds like football doesn't it...) can be found here.

2017 Goals Review

1. Declutter

I threw away 30 magazines! I still have loads to go through but it's amazing how much space those 30 took up. I have lots of stuff stowed away for different hobbies and I have gradually been throwing away or donating anything I haven't used in over a year. My room is slowly looking tidier and tidier. 

2. Blog more

This has been a big success! In 2016 I posted a grand total of six posts. In 2017 I posted 39 times! And I was pretty happy with what I posted as well. 

3. Do more creative things in 2017 such as classes, events and projects

I completed four knitting projects, started a crochet blanket and knit four socks. And I even gifted two knitted items which is not something I thought I would do for a long time. I also went to two great events as already mentioned. And I attended two classes - a toe up sock class and a spinning class. Neither of which I have written about but I am planning to! 

4. Plan my creativity 

I didn't make a monthly knitting plan for 2017. I did want to complete the Moorland blanket which halted fairly quickly. The Tin Can Knits Simple Collection went well - two baby flax jumpers and I'm nearly finished with my own. Not all the projects in the collection appealed to me such as the shawl so I wasn't planning to knit all of them. I would still like to knit the cardigan and have the yarn ready for it. The Box 'o' Socks KAL also didn't happen. I think it was a bit of a mountain task considering I knit my first ever sock in January 2017 let alone 12 pairs in 12 months.

2018 Goals!

Can you read my handwriting? 

1. Plan my creativity 

I want to plan my knitting more carefully this year, I have found that I am both a process knitter but I also love the feeling of finishing a project. The new Challenge tab in Ravelry will definitely help with this. If you haven't seen it, go to your projects page and there should be an extra tab that says 'challenges'. Click on it and you can set how many projects you want to complete this year. 

Although I had a rough idea of what I wanted to knit last year, I am going to try and have aims for each month. So for January I want to complete a pair of socks for the Box 'o' socks and for the Grocery Girls Sock Bash combined. And the Jodi Shawl for the Grocery Girls shawl KAL. These two projects lead me nicely to:

2. Decrease my stash/ Mindful buying

The above two projects are from stash yarn. Lynne from the Woolnest has written a really good post on how to decide whether to keep or throw away stash (here). She's calling it Use it or Lose it 2018 and I think there's a hashtag along those lines as well. As I am going to be moving house in July/ August, reducing the amount of stuff I own can only be a good thing! Combined with this is mindful buying, to only buy craft items for a planned project rather than on a whim. Admittedly if I buy a skein at a yarn show without knowing what to do with it, it's not that bad! But I want to decrease overall not increase.

3. Try other creative outlets

I am combining all the weaving, sewing and crochet here. Although knitting seems to be my main hobby I would like to try other things. Revision and work dependent, this will be fun! 

4. Continue to declutter and be more organised

As above. I have a feeling this will be a lifelong goal!

5. Enjoy yourself

Go to events, classes, be social. Need I say more?

6. Continue to blog

I have really enjoyed my little corner of blogworld in 2017. I hope to continue it for as long as possible. I have my final year exams on the horizon and I will be away travelling for two months but I'll get some posts on here as often as possible!

To anyone who does read this blog - thank you. Every time I see the stats and see that someone has read a post of mine it makes me incredibly happy. To another year of blogging!

Have a great weekend everyone x

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Bullet Journal

Hello! How is your week going? I thought I would write a quick post on the bullet journal I have started for 2018. I've never done one before but after seeing all the amazing page designs on Instagram I thought I would join the trend. I'm not a natural artist and don't have any special pens and kit so I have used whatever I could find in my stationary drawer! I have random coloured and black fineliner pens and from here we'll see how far I get.

So what is a bullet journal? Whatever you want it to be really! One of the main reasons it's so popular is that you can adapt it to suit you because you're the one designing every page. There are endless options for what to put in it. This is, however, a double edged sword as you can try to take on too many designs and pages which is a big reason for people giving up. So I'm starting simple with a year overview page:

The photo hasn't come out that well and each month has a different colour. The light in the UK at the moment is definitely a challenge for photography!

I also created a habit tracker and goals for the year. Creative goals are on a separate page and I will be posting about those separately. As I said, I'm not a natural at drawing but I quite like my little cactus! The beauty of these journals as well is that anyone can draw a straight line and therefore create something.

And finally the weekly planner:

It's simple because I don't have a lot of time at the moment. But it gets the job done! And gradually as I get used to creating a planner for each week I will start adding little extra details and drawings. I would like to add a blog post planner page, books I have read and perhaps a knitting project page as well. One step at a time :)

Do you have a bullet journal? What else do you use to organize everything?

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Throw me a lifeline!

For my first socks of 2018 I'm knitting Winwick Mum's easy lace socks using Cascade 220 4 ply sock yarn in the colourway grape juice. It's such an accurate name for this yarn! It's just so purple and reminds me of the really synthetic grape juice I used to drink when I lived in Chicago. I was only eight at the time but that memory really sticks for some reason. Anyway, let's turn back off memory lane. And onto the learning bus! As the saying goes - you learn something new everyday.

This was the beginning of my lovely sock on Tuesday. The sun was shining and making the purple look very purple indeed. Lovely.

Aaaand this was Friday night. Disaster! I've never done lace and thought smugly, well the cables weren't too bad, let's just crack on with a bit of lace! No no no.....

The Winwick Mum easy lace sock pattern is actually easy. And her tutorials come with videos and written instructions. But don't start a new technique while watching QI on a Friday night. I guarantee you won't pay attention and your 64 stitch sock will start getting smaller. Erk... So what happened I hear you ask? Well apparently I can knit two together followed by a yarn over. Tick! But then came the slip slip knit followed by a yarn over. Nope! I just couldn't do it. A while ago I posted about the large-ish holes I was getting on the SSK side of the heel flap and gusset on socks (see here). And here comes the learning - I've been doing it wrong! No surprises there... But the silver lining is I learnt to SSK properly not just for this lace pattern but for all future socks. Winning!

And what else did I learn? You may have guessed from the title of this post. The importance of putting a lifeline into knitting especially in patterns which are difficult to frog/ rip back. I started my sock again.

At the end of the ribbing I put a lifeline in. It's recommended to put a strong thread that's slightly thinner than the yarn and strong enough to last during a potential frog. I used some bright yellow sewing cotton doubled and threaded it through using a needle.

I found the needle was a bit sharp and split the yarn so I used the eye end instead. Mind your fingers! I knit a few stitches at a time and then threaded the cotton through those stitches. It was really easy to do and will save you any heartache if you do make a mistake. Admittedly this is a straightforward lace pattern but this will be really useful for future projects as well. 

It's not very visible but here's the completed lifeline. And below after two lace repeats.

And that's all there is to it! You can put as many lifelines in as you like such as after every two repeats or more or less depending on how confident you're feeling. 

Have you got any other tips and tricks to save your knitting?

Have a lovely Sunday x

Monday, 8 January 2018

2017 A Review in Pictures

Hello! How is everyone? Have you recovered from the double whammy of Christmas and New Years? I'm not sure I can even look at a mince pie I ate so much over the holidays! I used December as a complete break from having to do anything whatsoever that wasn't essential. My term finished on the 17th December by which point I was so tired I found myself sleeping through the five alarms I set for every morning. Yes five. Yes I slept through all of them. Yes I need a better system! Or more sleep. I had a great Christmas holidays which you will see at the end of this post. By the 1st January I felt recovered from 2017 and ready to approach 2018. I didn't want to rush my goals and reviews for 17/18 and now a week in I'm ready to review 2017. This post is a look back at what happened in 2017 through pictures!


January signaled the beginning of my first full year of knitting and crochet! I had my first yarn kit, my first sock and my first crochet swatch. How many times can you say first in one sentence?!