Knitting

A Good Haar Day

Yet another migraine morning for me today and wee Elisa had a horrid night with fever – I tell ya, we’re all glad here it’s the weekend!

12070624_1687310361499186_1537387375_n The Haar is in this morning – that’s the sea fog that envelopes the Firth of Forth and the surrounds. It’s really thick and visibility is about 10 metres at the moment. (Picture added later when it had started to burn off) It’ll hang around for a little while by the looks of it too. I remember being at a friend’s place and watching it roll in – reminded me of the dust storms in Melbourne many years back.

This morning is a quiet one in. I’m going through our list of meals to organise the week and the shopping. I love online shopping but I do miss the walking around and instant inspiration of seeing products on the shelves.

One thing I’ve noticed is when trying to find new dinner options it’s actually not that easy. You can readily find sites with thousands of recipes, and it’s all very well seeing recipes that look amazing for restaurant quality fussiness but what do people actually eat for dinner? You can easily find a recipe for an elaborate roast with amazing artisan and rare to find veggies, but how easy is it to find a decent recipe for lamp chops and veggies? What are your plans for dinners this coming week? Are there any staple dinners that you always seem to fall back on?

Later today I’ll be heading off to Stockbridge to join in the fun of a knitting Tea Party. WHile I’ll be there in person there will be a concurrent virtual event happening so anyone can join in. This is to celebrate the launch of Clare Devine’s fabulous Tea Party Collection of knitting patterns using Jess of GingerTwist Studio’s wonderful hand dyed yarn. We’ll be casting on for the knit-a-long while there. I figure I need a winter hat so why not make a lovely one with friends where there’s a reason to finish quickly and not eat into Christmas knitting time. I’m really looking forward to the event tonight. It’s so nice to get an adult break, now if I can only get my stupid head to cooperate!

Elisa, Katja, Knitting

2015 Crafty Disaster No. 1

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It’s only three weeks in and I’ve already hit my first craft disaster of the year! This does not bode well..

Now I have a confession. I didn’t swatch. Instead I was cocky and figured that as I’ve done some colourwork in this yarn before and got gauge with that there wasn’t any point. And to be fair, it starts off fine but it grows. I started with 7 stitches to the inch and now I’m getting 6. That’s a 3″ difference over 128 stitches. So I’m not so sure that a swatch would have seen off this particular nightmare.

I had been thinking of lining this one with something super soft and slightly less itchy, but now I’m not so sure that this will be enough to save it so I’m trying to emotionally come to terms with the idea of ripping it all out and starting again. The only saving grace with that is that as I want it to be smaller I’ll be able to reuse the yarn – good thing I hadn’t sewn in all those ends yet!

The smaller size is only 4 stitches difference so I guess I’ll go down a needle size and also down a hat size. But right at this very minute I want to shove it all in a bag and throw it into the back of the cupboard 🙁 Such a shame – I was really enjoying this one!

How would you handle this one? Would you rip back or try to somehow pull it in? Would you toss it aside or get started on a new one straight away?

In other news

We went to the Camera Obscura with E and A last week and the kids had an absolute ball. The Camera people were putting on a Toddler week and they did a brilliant job – they even set up one of their meeting rooms to be a break room complete with high chairs, toys and coffee. That was truly inspired – more venues should do this.

Elisa is now walking, albeit unsteadily unless she’s holding onto something. It’s quite scary considering she’s only 9 months old but I guess the incentive to keep up with Katja is probably a great motivator.

Yesterday E and A popped round and we did some biscuit baking, lots of fun. Although next time I think I’ll premix all the ingredients to save some time.

Knitting, Memory Monday, News & Updates

Week 2 – Christmas is over

tree

Christmas is over. And as per tradition here on the 5th or thereabouts most people pulled down their Christmas tree and decorations and dumped the tree next to their bin for collection by the council.

I have two issues with this. The first is that, well look at that tree – so much green left in it and it smells absolutely divine and yet there it is cast aside as worthless. If you are taking down because of tradition then why not keep the unadorned tree inside for a while and still get to enjoy it’s life?

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.44.20The second is that this week there are several storm warnings. And the winds have been furious. Just look at this – a full sized bin knocked over by wind, and there were plenty more of those. Trees can become deadly in weather like that so to my mind they’re best left inside where they are not going to fly into a passing car.

Anyway, we didn’t do a Christmas tree this year because Elisa is at just the wrong age for it, although we will need to next year as Katja was so excited seeing them and kept pointing them out whenever we saw one. Instead we had lots of glittery stars hanging from the ceiling and I’m planning on moving those to the kids’ room to make it cosier.

And it now is a kids’ room – we moved Elisa in there on Thursday. I was sceptical as K gets so excited whenever she sees E and has had a few nightmares in recent weeks – they seem to feature bees or snails. I couldn’t understand who Wednesday night’s antagonist was. But so far it’s working really really well. It was lovely on Friday morning to hear that she had dreamt of “stickers, lots and lots of stickers with lots of colours”.

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The weather here is getting decidedly cold. Time to get out the woolies! Katja had a ball on Saturday when we got caught in a rather horrid sleety snow shower on the way home. She’s too young to remember previous snow so it was an exciting and new experience. We had to stop at very car on the walk so that she could grab some snow (which by then was a crusty layer of ice) so she could throw it in the air. Today the snow has gone, but no doubt there will be more given the weather warning sin place for later this week.

I remember the first time I saw snow. In Melbourne snow is something you go to, it doesn’t come to you. It was an exciting trip going up to the mountains and seeing snow for the first time. I remember having a hot chocolate and it was probably the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. I would have been about 10 or 12 then.

When was the first time you saw snow? Do you remember it? Do you like the snow?

On the craft front my two active projects are coming along. I’m currently working on a bunny doll for Elisa and a pair of socks for me. Next week I’m planning on casting on this hat – I’m looking forward to it but want to have the bunny finished before then if possible. I’ll be using the same colours as the picture, mainly because every time I come across a picture of it I think it’s gorgeous.

So what are your current creative projects? Do you have more than one project on at a time? Do you know what your next project will be?

Reading together
News & Updates, Tatting

Hello 2015

Reading together
Katja and Elisa Reading together

Welcome to 2015! Yes, here I am again trying to get this blog thing going properly. Last year was a bit of a fizzer in blog terms. I couldn’t even reliably post a single monthly post of pics so how on earth I figured I’d handle a 10 week long project is totally beyond me! Needless to say, one kid got sick. Then the other got sick and then I got sick (nothing big, just colds) and then Christmas happened and projects just fell off the truck.

Anyway, no apologies – no point really in apologising for putting family and life before blogging! Today I am full of motivation. I’ve cleaned the kitchen and done all of my other online chores. I’ve one child currently asleep and the other is drawing pictures for me. I’ve had one grocery shop arrive and another is due this afternoon – found out that one of the supermarkets has a very very good special on at the moment for stuff that we can buy in bulk so placed a special order. Oh and half of our regular nappy order has just been delivered as well. Love online shopping! So much done and I haven’t had to bundle kids into prams, negotiate buses and deal with tantrums.

Do you do your grocery shopping online or do you still physically go to the store?

This morning I’ve also rejoined the Ring of Tatters. This is a kind of last ditch thing for me. I’ve been a member for many many years but I’ve been increasingly unhappy with them. I have many gripes which I won’t go into as that would be unfair just now but my main issue is that I don’t seem able to get an email answered. I’ve sent quite a few over a couple of years – mostly in response to things in the newsletter along the lines of “for more information email…” and I’ve never once received a response. The Ring of Tatters has a library of physical books which, now that I’m living in the UK, I should have access to and yet for 2 years of trying I was never able to borrow anything using the process that they give of emailing the librarian. I’ve been feeling very ripped off as a result. But new year and we’ll see how they go this time.

Have you ever ben disappointed by a group that you’ve joined? Did you persevere and if so what was the result? or did you just walk away?

Follow Friday, Tatting

Follow Friday – Tat-ology

-Tat-ology is the blog belonging to Fox, a Canadian who has only been tatting for 6 years as I write this. Her output is amazing and ever so inspirational.

Filled with gorgeous pictures of incredible tatting, this blog is certainly a pick-me-up and always inspires me to reach for my shuttles. The size of some of her pieces is truely daunting! What seems to take her only a few weeks will take me years to complete.

A few years ago Fox turned her hand to design and has produced some really beautiful pieces. She shares the patterns for free on her site.

Visit Tat-ology

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Craft, Tatting

Learn Needle Tatting at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2015

I’m very excited to be able to announce that Ill be teaching needle tatting at the 2015 Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

This inexpensive yet versatile lace technique can be used to create everything from accessories and embellishments to decorations and even jewellery.

You’ll learn the basic lark’s head knot and double stitch and how to create lace patterns with chains, rings and picots.

I’ll take you through pattern-reading skills and show you where to find vintage patterns. Other techniques you’ll learn include: joins, node stitch, beads, floating rings and split rings.

Use the skills you’ve learned to make a stunning lace bookmark or pendant.

Edinburgh Yarn Festival LogoThe Edinburgh Yarn Festiival was first held in 2013. It was an outstanding success – almost frighteningly so. You can read my blog post about it. The next one is on March 14 & 15 and promises to be even bigger. I’m seriously excited about it and hope you can make it. If you are going to come up and you can’t get a place in my class – after all, there’s heaps of other classes and numbers are limited, then let me know so that I can say hi!

To find out more about the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, visit their website at http://www.edinyarnfest.com/

To see the class schedules http://www.edinyarnfest.com/classes/

Craft, Tatting

Another Swatch but Still Decisions to be Made

So, in my last post I talked about the various options that have me stumped in working out what my next big tatting project will be.

So after a few days of mulling things over I’ve made some decisions but there’s still some deciding left to do.

1. Pattern
The coffee table mat has been removed from the options. Even though that is the emotional choice, being the first big project to catch my eye. It measures 19 inches in diameter in Coats 10, but I think I will enjoy the other two more.

The Fujito doily has a couple of rows that feature motifs which can be tatted separately – this makes the project more portable, which is a big plus. Done in #10 Cordonnet it measures 72cm (28.5in), which is huge. Anyone know how the Cordonnet compares to Lizbeth??

The Renulek doily is still a contender as well. In size 30 it appears that it is about 19 inches across in DMC 30, so the same size as the coffee table mat. It has quite a few different designs for the rows so it will be enjoyable to do, but not as portable as each row is complete.

And then another option appeared today. Enter the Stawasz monster doily. A stunning item which has already been done by a couple of InTatters members – it took Karen a year to do! It’s 75cm (30in) in diameter done in Red Heart 30 thread.

*sigh*

2. Thread size
A few people have recommended that I do the finer thread. I agree, finer threads look amazing, but they do take away from final size. So, I did a swatch to see what the difference would be.

Here you can see with the size 20 swatch on top of the size 10 that the difference is noticeable. In fact the size 10 is 3.2cm across vs the size 20 at 2cm. I’d estimate around 20cm difference by the time I finished a full doily.

However, another thing that had not occured to me came out of swatching. I really didn’t enjoy tatting the size 20 thread. It was fiddlier and most importantly, my hands were stiffer just doing a small motif. A whole doily will be too much so I’m more likely to give it up. So, for that reason and that reason alone, I’m going with the size 10 thread. Sorted!

3. Needle or Shuttle
After playing with my needle and shuttle swatches for a couple of days I’m sold on the shuttle. It’ll give me closer to the finer thread effect while allowing me to use the thicker threads that are less strain on my hands.

Also to consider is the portability of the project. I’m off on holiday soon and that holiday will include a short plane trip. Now if I’m honest I know that I’ll be juggling a baby and will be unlikely to get any craft done during the journey, yet if I opt for the shuttle there may well be opportunities to do a little here or there. Also shuttles can be taken on planes whereas needles certainly can’t.

Decision made!

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4. Colour
The consensus seems to be solid colour, with maybe a row here or there in a contrast to give visual interest. I’m tending to agree. Now to work out exactly what the colours will be. I don’t want to do white – I need colour! To help me to sort this question I’ve set a deadline for ordering thread. Hopefully that will help!

Screenshot 2014-06-24 21.48.58

So that’s where we are at the moment – of the four questions I started with 2 and 3 are decided but 1 and 4 still to go. Can you help me narrow things down?