Kindle Publishing Despair & Other Excuses Why I Can’t Knit

wpid-1406060469460.jpg

Here they are, as a pair. Not actually finished of course, but united nonetheless. The mere thought of actually putting them on my feet make we want to self-combust with excess heat (there is a heatwave here at the mo), but one thing you can be sure of in the UK – the miserable, cold, damp weather is never far away! For now though, glorious sunny August is stretching ahead and I have come to terms with my summer holiday sentence. I shall take it like a man (although not my man of course, hiding in his air-conditioned office far far away from the front line). Clenched jaw, stiff upper lip and no negotiating. I shall be fine.

On a more ‘on topic’ note, I’ve knitted one sole for one of the boots. Cunningly I fluffed the instructions, but it has all worked out okay in the end. Instead of rib I’ve got moss stitch, which gives the sole a toughened look. Good for my chilly floorboards. No idea how to sew them on yet, but I shall cross that bridge when I come to it.

wpid-1406060371281.jpg

My list of excuses as to my lack of productivity is not pretty. It hasn’t involved fun or gallivanting of any kind. Behold my list of excuses for my pathetic churn-out rate (shamed of course, by LouBug’s inhuman knitting output – more of that to come). Is there anything more tedious than reading about why someone can’t find the time to knit, on an actual knitting blog? Discuss amongst yourselves and answers on a postcard please.

Pathetic Excuse Number 1:

Labels

wpid-1406060324856.jpg

In my efforts to be organised and keep the Tedious Job List to a minimum over the summer holidays, I have started the loooooong task of labelling school clothing. Not just any old labelling, of course, but hand sewn name labels. Is there anything more boring? Eight pairs of trousers, four pairs of shorts, 4000 t-shirts, a million jumpers, bags, sports kits…I could go on, but I fear I may lose the will to live. I’ve barely made a dent in the pile, and it has already taken precious hours away from more exciting things in my life…or even the less exciting things. I feel like I’ve suddenly gained employment in a sweat shop.

Pathetic Excuse Number 2:

E-Book

wpid-1406060238491.jpg

Otherwise known as “vanity publishing”, LouBug and I have been exploring the idea of self-publishing volume I of our blog on Kindle. Easy? Sadly no. Well, easy up until the point of filling in a terrifying document for the United States Tax Man. But I’m English! I know my rights! Turns out Amazon don’t care and want all of your personal details to ship off to the IRS. All a bit weird for me, so I’ve (half) given up. All of this research and fretting has sucked away hours and hours of my life, and turned out to be a depressing interlude between sewing on bl**dy labels!

Has anyone ever had success at this? Someone tell me it isn’t as sinister as it first appears?!

Pathetic Excuse Number 3:

End-Of-Term Thousand Yard Stare

Sports day, summer shows, curriculum evenings, new starters meetings (all four of them) – I could go on. It has taken its toll. It has (almost) made me look forward to the end of term…

KnitWit

Lacy Knitted Things

lace

Continuing on my project hoard busting plan, I have now turned my focus on my small pile of lace work on my to-do pile.

lace2

I have already mentioned the lovely purple silk scarf/shawl I completely forgot about (from “Sock Yarn Shawls”). Picture the glow of purple shining on my face as I opened the bag expecting to find another pair of socks!

Pure silk (which was a complete git to wind into a ball) bought at least two years ago. I know this as I bought the same brand but in blue last year at the ever wonderful Ally Pally. Photographs do not do it justice, as the yarn has an incredible colour depth to it (as well as a nice fade in/out wash – a bit like stonewash jeans). It should block like a dream. I have been pecking at it – the pattern isn’t too difficult, but there is a lot of it! I shall try to go into full burn over the summer.

lace3

What has currently been occupying my attention is this lovely little scarf. Cast on (frogged and bagged after a small disagreement over tension) about three months ago. It is a light jacket scarf called “Summer Stream Scarf” by Asami Kawa which is knitted in two parts and grafted in the middle.  I have made it with Drops Colour Transition Sock Yarn and, because I am me, I have carefully matched the yarn and cast on both ends at once (to be grafted in the middle). I’ve moved Heaven, Earth and all the angels to try to match the colour repeat. Symmetry matters, people!

lace4

Now, I am a patient person, but three knot related colour jumps (damn you!) in a yarn that subtly washes into the next colour (so any colour jumps create a hard line that screams out “hello look at me!”) would test the sanity of the saintly. I have thrown the full force of my stubbornness at it (fear me) and I have managed to locate and match in replacement sections to better hide the jumps. In real terms this meant unwinding the WHOLE DAMN BALL and feeding it through my hands in strong sunlight and then performing surgical splices. I would like to say that the whole process took two hours. I really would. But it didn’t, and I don’t really want to talk to anyone about it (apart from the stash, it understand my pain).

I am resisting sending it back into the box (to think about what it has done) as it is almost finished. I know that there is the small matter of the half stitch jump to contend with (always an issue when grafting top to top) which will make grafting a battle.

*Sigh*

Still, let’s focus on positives. I wonder if I will find any more lace as I continue my archaeological dig through the project box of doom?

LouBug

Mutant Baby Bootie

wpid-1405068647572.jpg

Here is my half-done giant, mutant, adult bootie. It may look a little crazy now, but you wait ’til I’ve sewn on a pom pom! Once the other bootie is complete, I shall (finally) have used up my stash of Rowan Biggy Print (100% merino wool). A Black Sheep Wools bargain from Alexandra Palace (Rowan down from £69.99 to £29.99!).

wpid-1405068592866.jpgwpid-1405068683758.jpg

The rest of the Rowan went on a rather fetching pillow front. I shall show you a picture in a mo, partly to view the pillow but mainly to shame LouBug and her EPIC UNTIDY WAYS! I’m just in the middle of filling in the Channel 4 form to nominate her for “Hoarder’s Anonymous”/”How Cluttered Is My House?”/”I Have Issues With Throwing Things Out, Get Me Outta Here!” or some such awful day-time TV show.

Fear not, LouBug, I shall pack my Marigolds ready for our annual house-swap. When you return, it shall be minimalist chic! Now, where’s that phone number to order a skip…

Behold – the pillow (atop a handy box containing all known knitting projects – take note LouBug):

wpid-1405068771080.jpg

Below – LouBug’s clutter “solutions”

tv5

Very bad!

Anyway, back to the amazing giant adult booties. Just the other bootie and the two soles to go, shouldn’t take long what with Rowan Biggy Print being like knitting with rope on 12mm needles :-).

KnitWit

“My God, It Is Full Of Stars”

star

Extra geek points if you get the movie quote! [KnitWit: I just Googled it! Is it 2001 A Space Odyssey?]. The moment has finally come. There were many doubts it would ever come to pass. The scarf that cheated the “frog pond” for two whole years is finally done. I might cry a little in relief. I feel that an Oscar speech may be required.

star2

Sweet mother of mercy, it has been a hard one to keep on with! Love for this project has had more twists and turns than a love triangle on Eastenders. For those unfamiliar with the techniques of double knitting (as opposed to DK yarn knitting), it is a technique that allows you to create double-sided colour work that has no visible floats. Think colour-work worked in the round but on straight needles. Whoever came up with the idea was a genius. A slightly evil, twisted genius.

star3

It is a good technique; it uses less yarn than Fair-Isle would (as there are no floats), and the fabric is twice as thick making it a good thermal item. But. And there is (just like me) one hell of a BUT. It takes more than twice as long to do each row as every stitch is fiddley. There is no zoning out on this (as punishment for inattention is swift and horrific). There is no TV knitting. There is no talking to others. There is no swift progress. I did what I could to reduce the pain, stitch markers clearly marking out colour changes, counting “one and, two and” to reduce the chances of miss-placing those markers and a massively reduced expectation for what an hour of knitting should look like.

star4

So, here it is! This was originally cast on well over two years ago (it has survived an impressive two “finish or frog Februarys) and has limped on with rows gradually stacking up. Every time it was dusted off, and another painful star added, it made it more difficult to frog it. The main problem is that it looks mighty fine, therefore there was no ground to frog. I did (however) re-set my expectations and decided that a scarf was foolish and snood was much nicer. This genius moment took the number of stars down from 15 to 8.

star5

I am proud to say that I gathered enough momentum to actually finished 10 stars (as I realised that 8 was do-able but would be a bit short for purpose). It functions as a short jacket scarf as well as buttoning together to make a snood that could be reverse colour matched if I wanted.

star6

Now I have finished, and the making pain is receding in a haze of happy finished product, I think this technique is worth doing again. To help this I have treated myself to the recently published “Knitting double” by Anja Belle, which has some good charts and some good ideas for projects.

star7

Firstly though, I think I will have a little lay-down.

LouBug

The Trouble With TV

tv

Now the year 11s have gone, life is slowly returning to my evenings. This basically has opened up a whole world of trash TV to my innocent eyes! My current guilty pleasure is “The hoarder next door”, which I like because it doesn’t point and mock & doesn’t just shout at the person and tell them to throw things out . It recognises that most of these people don’t want to live like this, they just can’t do it by themselves. I have seen similar programs (notably the USA version which seems to equate bullying someone into crying with good telly). But this one seems to be more compassionate and more interested in actually helping them rather than shaming.

tv2

The downside is that it makes you look nervously at your own home and wonder if you are also a small tipping point away from having crammed rooms (with small “goat paths” through the mess) and whole rooms blocked for years. At what point do you get blind to the piles of stuff and it becomes normal?

tv3

For a knitter and crafter it can also be worrying to hear people justify having ten half-finished bottles of crusty ten-year old ketchup. Especially if you hear them use the same phrases that I occasionally use to justify my stash – “but it is useful”, “it cost too much to throw away”, “but I like it” and the dreaded “I will sort it later, I am sure it is worth keeping”. There is (of course) no way I am comparing my yarn stash to piles of mouldy newspaper, but the sight of these people’s once treasured possessions now covered in rat droppings and mould does make you stop and think. And worry. And start tidying up!

tv4

Ok, so first step is diagnosis. My stash is reasonably under control and does (mostly) fit in the box, and it has all been stored in plastic zip-lock bags with a sense of order to the groupings. However, my main problem in my craft hoard is that my project bags have started to spread. This is not helped by my minor addiction to making new bags (they are so pretty). This, and the fact that there are two main piles (craft room and next to the sofa) so that it is easy to ignore the sprawl. So plan A is to try to reduce the number of active projects down to the amount that can fit into my craft caddie.

tv5

I have already made some headway with this (the recently finished blanket and socks are a good start) and the real test will be not casting anything on until the end of term. Not casting on is the really tough part, but I shall be strong. I really can’t stress how hard not casting on is. One week in and I am starting to crumble, but holding strong. However, there is an upside to this self-imposed task, and that is the unearthing of old projects.

tv6

Like opening an ancient tomb, I have been peeking into brightly coloured bags and finding lovely things I had forgotten about. Stuff that a stress crazy brain couldn’t cope with, stuff not suitable for social knitting, or just stuff I didn’t fancy making at that point. This peeking has already yielded some pleasing results, such as dusting off the fantastic silk shawl I started in October (or there abouts). I have managed to finish another 28 row repeat over the weekend and it is starting to gain momentum. There is still a long way to go, but at least it is now moving along.

I shall not cast anything on. I shall not cast anything on. I shall not cast anything on. I shall not cast anything on. I shall not cast anything on. I shall not cast anything on.….

LouBug

Nesting

wpid-1404480939078.jpg

Here they all are, my knitting projects bagged up ready to … knit! I’ve gone into full on nesting mode with the impending summer holidays. The only difference is that there is no new baby arriving, just my two old giant babies…for a whole 6 weeks.

Ideas Book

wpid-1404481106836.jpg

In hindsight I knew that my first son was due to be born. I’d done a huge supermarket shop on the spur of the moment and was busy cooking the whole lot and carefully storing it in freezer pots that I’d carefully purchased the week before. This is not normal behaviour – and surprise surprise, my eldest was born a few days later. I have that same feeling now…that feeling that I won’t be able to leave the house unhindered for the next 6 weeks, so anything that requires any effort or brain power HAD BETTER BE DONE NOW! QUICK! HURRY!

Plan #1

wpid-1404481077510.jpg

Plan #2

wpid-1404481033763.jpg

Anyway, assuming my brain will be mush as I am inhumanely bombarded with outings/requests/bum wiping duties I have lovingly chosen some nice easy knitting projects, collected the required yarn and needles and bagged them up. Fingers crossed I actually have time to knit the damn things…

KnitWit

It’s A Knitting Trap!

spook

My ability to buy yarn is an open secret, but the amount I buy is a closely guarded secret (more people know my body weight than my actual, complete, all of it, none still hidden, yarn weight). This is directly linked to my ability to find yarn shops either through careful research or through spooky co-incidence.

spook2

It is a co-incidence that my dentist is located a couple of doors down from my main LYS (especially as I found my dentist by phoning around not by cold calling). It is a happy co-incidence as I don’t really like going to the dentist (who actually does?) but I can soften the blow with yarn.

spook3

But it is plain spooky that I found a new yarn shop in Long Melford (Suffolk) just by parking my car. Mr LouBug took this photo after stepping out of the car, exclaiming with spluttering horror and claiming conspiracy. I hadn’t even finished getting the sat nav away.

spook4

We went for a day trip deep into biscuit box country and decided to poke around the high street while there. Last summer there was a lovely little bead shop there (sadly gone but apparently still online) so I went with a bead buying plan. But after hunting for a space and eventually parking, I stepped out of the car and glanced over the road to see “The Woolpatch” shimmering at me.

spook5

It is a lovely little shop (delicatessen rather than supermarket) with a good stock of my favourite nibble – sock yarn! And what is better than sock yarn? Discount sock yarn! I managed to get 3 socks’ worth of yarn for the same cost as one ball of full price Regia. Happily, I have also found out (from my lovely knitter ladies) that it is 40 degree wash/felt proof and wears well (as I was paranoid cheap could equal dodgy).

spook6

So the real question is what does a knitter call “spidey senses”? “Yarn sniffing” just sounds a bit wrong, “sheep senses” also sounds odd. Perhaps it is more “dousing for yarn” (with your knitting fingers twitching the closer you get to a LYS)? Maybe we all have a small part of our brain fine-tuned to spot the signs of a yarn shop and then prod your motor-cortex into idly wandering in the right direction.

So next time Mr LouBug boggles at my yarn finding, I can say that it isn’t my fault. I am just wired/weird that way.

LouBug

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 341 other followers

%d bloggers like this: