Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Simple Knitting

After I knitted my cardigan, the feedback I got was that it was beautiful but some of my friends found the idea of knitting a cardigan quite daunting.  They requested that I make something more simple that they could knit for themselves.  

I thought about this and remember how I began knitting and how I made scarves.  I found scarves allowed me to experiment with different textures and designs without having to worry about tension and blocking.  I used to have a large collection of hand knitted scarves, but gradually over time, some of them have been donated to charity and gifted to friends.  I remember one Autumn, I made four scarves as Christmas presents to some of my closest friends.  However, I wanted to design something a little different from just a plain scarf, so I decided upon a cowl.

I wanted a cowl with texture.  Originally, I was going to do a mock cable cowl but upon research, there was several already out there with that same idea.  In the end, I did something that I made up on the spot, the includes a moss stitch and a basket weave.

This was the end result:

I'm quite pleased with this and the pattern is available to purchase here.  I hope that people will buy, especially those that requested something more simple and manageable.  I think it is pretty and versatile for someone with some experience with knitting.

I will put it up for a competition at some point as well.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Changes and a Cardigan

One of my great ambitions (ha!) this year was to bite the bullet and actually design and publish a knitting pattern myself.  However, when I was working full-time and then some, progress was slow and I found it took way longer than I ever anticipated.  For a time, I thought it wouldn't happen and then something amazing happened.  I quit my job.

It was liberating after months and months of being stressed, anxious and deeply depressed.  Yes, I still have a long way to go, I need to think about my future and what happens next and how I can move forward but I'm out of such an unhealthy environment that I could actually focus on my passion of finishing my cardigan and writing up the pattern.  I've had some interest in it and really, I would like to generate more.

This is the final project:

I was in a cold classroom for the winter, there was only heat from the computers and the students.  At the start of the day, it would be freezing but it would gradually warm as the day progressed.  However, when you have like 8 billion emails to answer in a 10 minute gap before meeting and your day of teaching actually beginning, it isn't the best start to the day.  Of course, I never finished this in time to show it off at work...I was gone when that happened.
The link to buy my pattern is here. It is also available on Etsy.

I hope it generates more interest.  It is really a lovely cardigan.  You don't have to be advanced knitter to knit but have some experience with knit, purl, yarn over needles, slip stitches and decreases.  If you can do that, yes, you can do that.  It is an oversized cardigan deliberately to keep you warm and cosy.  Enjoy!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

When Times Passes

I've wanted to blog again and yet, it hasn't happened for a very long time.  It is too long of a story to talk about what happened to my time.  The short story is I had a job and it was too consuming, too overwhelming, too upsetting and I left.

So now, I'm at a crossroads yet again in my life, wondering what to do next and what will work for me.  I was so unhappy for so long that I don't want a repeat of that experience.  I had days when I cried and just felt so utterly alone, desperate to have something, to feel more positive and it wasn't happening.  I had moments when I felt like I was suffocating, just alone with my thoughts.  I would come home, be surrounded by two other people and still feel utterly empty.  Days turned into weeks and then months.  I realise that is deeply personal, all of this but maybe you'll understand...sometimes you just have to walk away.

However, out of something bad, something good came out of it.  I knitted a cardigan, I designed it myself and I live in it.  I wanted something that would be a classic style that I would just treasure for years, that would be me.  

Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

I am going to write up the pattern and have it published on raverly where you can buy the  pattern. Not the cardigan as that is my labour of love, it was my sanity, my quiet time away from all the demons in my heart and in my head.  I will give you the link when I finish the pattern.

From now on, between jobs, it will be my creative time, MY time, doing the things that make me remember there is more to life than stress and emptiness.  I feel like I've been stuck in a loop for so long, just going in circles, chasing my tail and I'm just exhausted so wish me luck on my next venture.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Summertime and Creative Pursuits

I haven't been blogging for a very long time.  Real life and my teacher training commitments zapped any energy I had for anything creative for almost a year.  I had zero energy and for the winter, life was literally, teaching on my teaching placement, preparing for my lesson, doing university and little else.  My teaching placement was also a regular pain in the backside to get to and it meant I was out of the house for 6:15am five days a week.  I had so much to work to do that none of my school holidays felt like holidays, just extensions of lesson planning, preparing my teacher training portfolio and working on university work...the only difference was I could do it from the comfort of my own home.  However, there was a light at the end of the tunnel and I am now officially a computer science teacher in Secondary Education.  Hooray!  

I do have things to prepare for over the course of the summer but for me, there is something ever so nice about having free time.  I almost forgot what that was.  So far, I've made 4 tops for myself, done a vine lino print and I'm currently sat here with a nearly complete cardigan on my lap.  I'm currently piecing it together and I will no doubt have to watch some youtube tutorial on how to do the neckline. How did I ever learn anything before the days of youtube videos?  They are my problem solvers videos to any things that don't make sense or I do not understand in sewing or knitting patterns.

Owl top number one.

Flowered top number two
Here are two pictures of two sleeveless tops I've made.  They only took an afternoon to make.  I have also made a long sleeved and short sleeved version, pictures should eventually follow.  One of the things that has transformed my bad attitude to pattern cutting is a rotary cutter.  How on Earth did I manage before?  It is so much easier and more precise.  I don't think I could ever go back to using scissors to cut out a pattern.

Normal life has been fairly stressful.  I have a new teaching job in the Autumn but it is the most awful place to reach by public transport.  We are currently house hunting and you know what stress that brings.  We are also on a time scale, no pressure there.  I wonder if we are being too picky or if we got lucky with this house (apart from one set of neighbours).  The houses I see are either too small, wrong location, out of budget, no parking, fixed furniture, kitchen with not enough room for our fridge.  Then when I see a suitable house, bham!  It's gone, let already...so I continue to look.  I feel like I spend far too much time trailing through houses to let...I see the same old houses with stupidly high rents still sitting there because someone won't lower the rent and the rent is just too expensive for most people.  There has got to be something out for us...

Monday, 2 March 2015

It's been a long time

I haven't blogged for a very long time as life seemed to take a turn and get terribly busy.   I knew this year would be difficult with my son doing his AS levels and me on my teacher training course.  However, it's been too busy to the point of being a bit unhealthy.  I only have 13 or so weeks to go...and I will be glad when it's over.  I have things to post...a few items of clothing I've made but I'm making dinner.  I just didn't want people thinking I vanished into thin air.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Back To School

I have been very busy lately, adjusting to my new life of being a student again.  I'm doing my teacher training to be a Computer Science teacher in Secondary Education.  As it is a postgraduate course, I hit the ground running.  There is tons of reading, assignments, lectures, observations and countless other stuff.

It has been a whirlwind and I'm trying my best to maintain some kind of work/life balance thing.  Of course, this is no easy task as it's hard to know when to stop, how much to do, etc.   However, yesterday I was very focused and spent the entire afternoon doing subject based knowledge revision so tomorrow I only have to modify/update/proof-read my final version of my coursework that is due on Tuesday.

Which means today I have a FREE day!  Woo hoo!  I'm actually very excited about this.  A guilt free day to indulge myself however I see fit.  I am going to go out shortly with my son for a long walk, possibly to Salts Mill.  Salts Mill is definitely one of my favourite places in Yorkshire.
Books, books, books!
Hopefully, I'll have a bit more free time to do some sewing as well.  I had a sewing frenzy two weeks ago and completed two nice tops as well.  I need to post images of those but every time I remember this, one of them is in the laundry basket or the ironing pile.  I promise to post pictures of those very soon.

I also want to watch the Matthew Collings show on Abstract Art on the iplayer later today. I find what Matthew Collings has to say about Abstract Act absolutely fascinating.  It is so hard to believe that art was once so influential and had such an impact on society.  Today we seem to be immune to the messages of art or numb or something.  It makes me sad as I find art so inspiring, it leads me to different paths and trains of thought in how I feel about life and myself.  Art should never be ignored.

Monday, 18 August 2014


Last week, I went to the Hepworth Museum in Wakefield with my son.  I wasn't overly impressed (beautiful building with mediocre exhibitions) and we both saw everything there was to see in 45 minutes so we decided not to eat in the cafe there (who pays £8 for a BLT sandwich???) and go to Leeds instead...especially since it was on our way home.

It turned out to be a worthwhile trip as we had a super cheap lunch for £4 for the both of us and I got some lovely fabric for £6!  It wasn't enough for anything big and exciting but just enough to make a sweet little top.  Here are the results below:
Lovely soft cotton
It only took me a day to make, in between various jobs around the house (heaven forbid I stay focused on one activity at one time...that just seems to be beyond me.  I get so easily distracted.) ...so I'm pleased with the results.  I hate tight fitting clothes on me but equally, I have this fear of things looking like tents on me.  Yes, I'm closer to fifty but that doesn't mean I have to wear clothes that make me look shapeless and without any personality!  I'm starting to gain more confidence with modifying patterns to suit me more.  A nip here, a tuck here, etc.  It's been a process but a worthwhile one.  I have another top I'm making and will, hopefully, finish today.  Then I can post those results as well.

I've been looking on pinterest for sewing and knitting inspiration as well as tumblr.  I have to say I like the look of tumblr better than pinterest but pinterest wins hands down for dress inspiration.  I found a wonderful clothing designer with lovely timeless dresses in Liberty fabrics and my head was spinning with ideas for clothes for the Autumn.  I really need to be on the ball for the Autumn.  I keep reading up on my dress code and course expectations and I really, really, really do not want to be in bland, awful, dull clothes but still look smart!  I want colour, I want timeless, I want dresses, not plain black trousers, black cardigans and plain shirts.  Oh my.  I do have a lot of work to do, don't I?