Friday, 30 April 2010

Location, Location, Location – Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Day 5

Today's prompt for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week is:

Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favourite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you liek to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub?
I probably spend the majority of my knitting time on the couch in my front room or in the passenger seat of the car (I don't drive, yet, so try to always bring a project or three in the car for long drives). Not that those are the only places I'll knit by any means, especially since I became a mother and time to knit became a little harder to come by. If my daughter will play by herself for a while at the playground (or if we happen to be there with other children and she's not being too shy), or when she's running to blow off steam after we come out of the local coop, I'll pull out one of the small projects I keep in my bag and fit in a few rows.

Lots of my friends and some of my family knit/crochet so they don't think it strange for me to pull out some knitting if we're sitting talking. When we visit my husband's family and everyone just sits around to chat and visit it saves my sanity to be able to pull something out of my bag to work on so my fingers don't itch!! I think they think it's an exotic curious thing that I'm working in the corner over there from the questions they ask but they don't seem to mind that I'm doing it thankfully.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Starting Out – Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Day 1

Just as I want to try to get back into the swing of blogging (and generally being creative) again conveniently there's something to join in with that will prompt me to get going each day this week. Courtesy of Eskimimi this week is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, each day there's a different topic for those taking part to blog about.

I also notice (and I'm afraid I've already forgotten where I saw this) that once I've got a hold of my knitting inspirations "Elsie Marley" is having a kid's clothes week challenge - for the second year she's challenging herself and others who want to join in to "spend an hour each day working on clothes for your kid’s–or kids’–summer wardrobe." Hopefully this will get me motivated to work on some new baby clothes, and make some things for my nearly 4yo too (although I'm afraid she has quite a lot of summer dresses already).

Of course part of the danger of all this will also be discovering more blogs I want to add to my insanely congested feedreeder but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it! I'll have to be firm with myself and get my bloglines subscriptions in better order and then actually get around to making a blogroll here.

And at last on to the blogging topic of the day. This may not be my finest blogging hour since I've left it rather late to sit down and write (and then I may just have fallen asleep on the couch for 3 hours and woken up, ahem, oh and then resettled my daughter who also woke up).

So, Starting Out. How did I come to be a knitter and sometime crocheter? Well it must be initially in large part be due to the fact that my mother is a knitter (not to mention that she's also being doing many other crafts my whole life) so it always seemed like something one would want to do. My grandmothers also both knit, and my mum's mother -aka Nana- at least used to crochet (in fact she crocheted my christening gown which is a lot prettier than that may sound if you're not a crochet fan). I always had some mum-made hand knit sweaters, some of which I've long outgrown but sometimes still squeeze into around the house when visiting my parents!

My mum, Nana and I think even my dad (who I don't think I've ever otherwise seen knit, although he does occasionally hook rugs and has been known to sew on his own buttons if someone threads the needle for him) sat down with me and showed me how to knit, and probably crochet, as a child. However I'm really not the best pupil when it comes to things like that (I always want to be able to just do it NOW and not have someone tell me how, it's the same with me and musical instruments), so I think my progress went in fits and starts. Too bad I didn't have knittinghelp and sites like that to hand back then, but once I was older and motivated I started to fill in my knowledge with help from books with good diagrams and descriptions and have been knitting, and dabbling in crocheting, on and off ever since.

I took textiles as one of my GCSE subjects and did some knitting as part of that (including some brief experimentation with machine knitting). As family and friends had babies I would start and not finish sweaters for gifts, and similarly start but never finish experiments for myself. Then while I was at university I made my first adult size sweater (I still wear it, here's the ravelry project link) for myself (improvising a pattern using some lovely sturdy wool yarn bought from a store in Lancaster which I think might have disappeared by my last year of uni sadly). During my year abroad (I went to Wellesley College in Massachusetts) my mother and I collaborated on a cardigan for me (I knit the easy part and she did the complicated pattern and finishing!). In my final year back in Lancaster I actually finished and presented a baby cardigan in a timely fashion and really felt like I was now a knitter!

All of this was also compounded by the time I spent singing and touring in my late teens and early twenties with a singing group (both in the form of summer camps and semi-professional touring groups) based in Vermont where on some of the tours it seemed as though almost every member of the group was knitting or crocheting (this is also where I met my husband who does neither of those things but does sing, a lot). Someday soon I'm sure I'll sit down and show my daughter how to knit and crochet too, she's already showing an interest if not the staying power to figure it out just yet...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

of wool and a pillowcase

Maybe I'll have to do some posts of the things I've been working on while I wasn't blogging but I think it's a good idea to not try to play catch up so I'm just going to share a couple of recent crafty things today -- first fleece and then a quick sewing project I actually completed thanks to a tutorial at the blog SpiderWomanKnits.

The weekend before last a local farm in conjunction with Post Oil Solutions and some other local organizations/businesses gave away free wool, and also provided information about what to do with wool. I think it's partly to raise awareness of how hard it is for sheep farmers to sell their wool in the USA (and I think the same problems are encountered by shepherds in the UK), and also to engage people who use fleece and wool yarn for crafting and especially those who are thinking about it and just need a little help to join in - (some articles about the event. There were people demonstrating spinning and felting there and also some people from The Green Mountain Spinnery (who do buy the yarn they process from within the USA). And of course the host farm also had their sheep's milk cheeses and other products for sale (you can buy from their website too here). As you can see it was a lovely day, I wished we'd been trying to fit slightly less into the weekend so we could have stayed and let my daughter sit in the sunshine and see all the cute lambs.

And now for an actual finished object that I myself made!! I saw a blogpost in which Abi/SpiderWomanKnits made a grocery tote from vintage pillowcases in 15 minutes then very kindly made a tutorial so I don't have to figure these things out for myself. It took me a bit longer than 15 minutes to make mine, being out of shape sewing-wise and all, but it was certainly quick and very satisfying. I believe I shall make more soon once we move past vacation week and when my husband's work projects settle back down a little (or, you know, tomorrow if I don't nap with my daughter in the afternoon). Here's a photo of the first bag filled with half of my daughter's items to return to the library (she carried the other half in her back pack which was totally her own idea because mummy has a baby in her belly and gets tired <--- love!!). If anyone stopping by here follows the link to make one don't forget to post a photo to the flickr group pool.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

It's been so long

I think about posting here often and it's kind of overwhelming. Not sure why because I don't know that anyone's actually out there waiting for me to post (except my mother perhaps!) so it's just about what I want to put on here. But there we are, there are SO MANY things I want to be doing in my life that I just don't seem to be able to get myself on the right track to do. I thought having my daughter at preschool in the mornings was going to mean I would do so many things I've been wanting to, but instead I spend too much time lying on the couch and reading about what other people are doing. My feed reader is out of control!!

Not that I have been sitting around doing nothing since last I posted, and that's another thing, what FOs should I share, and how can I do that without continuing to be so far behind!! It seems as though I tend to stagnate a bit creatively in the Winter months, and Spring often finds me itching to get further back into the swing of things. And it's been a little more pronounced this year because I'm expecting a baby and as with my previous pregnancies I feel so much of my creative energy is channelled into growing this new person inside me that I have a hard time doing starting projects, and finishing existing ones.

Anyway, since I've just recently started to feel like I'm getting moving again and have started keeping up with twitter and even posting stuff there again I'm hoping to dust off some cobwebs around here too. I thought I'd say something here to break that silence in the hope that it'll be less intimidating to jump in and post again soon. Perhaps I can share a bit about what we did for Easter, or write about some of my attempts to put together some Montessori style materials for my daughter to use when she's home...