Oh my Gourd!

I have *a lot* to tell you about today – looking back over the week it hardly seems possible so much has happened in fact.

Can you believe that tomorrow will be the 1st birthday of my website going live?! I’m quite amazed at what has been achieved in that time, but also that it’s only been a year. I started writing this blog a week later and I have only missed one Tuesday (between Christmas and New Year).

Speaking of the website, I have revamped the home page and updated the Knitting Tuition pages. It may not seem like much, but I think it’s better and I’m pleased that the tuition pages are now laid out in the same way as patterns etc.

After last week’s post I started looking at what cross-stitch software is available these days. I tried out a couple of free online ones, but the result of the uploaded photo was really pixelated, even at the best resolution offered. So, I decided to spend a little money. Only a little – £30 – got me MacStitch which had some great reviews (this review also includes a discount code!) and I’ve been able to get a detailed chart from the photo I’ve chosen, along with choosing the brand and type of embroidery threads I wanted to use. Not only did this provide me with the codes for the different colours required, but having put in the thread count of the fabric I’m going to use it even gave the yardage used for each colour! To two decimal places!! I will be using far than stated less of course as I intend to work in tent stitch again, so the two embroideries make a pair. The threads are due to arrived tomorrow (and I have plenty of even-weave fabric squirrelled away in my old college ‘tuck box’). I let you know how I get on.

The photo I chose to use is of Mum when she was in her twenties. I know she had started teaching as she’s wearing the jacket that she spent half of each of her first two month’s salary on!

New coaster designs have been uploaded to my website and to Payhip. All based on the same image, but with different phrases to accompany them. The company I bought this and a couple of other rubber stamps from is an ‘angel’ company, which means you can sell items made using them with no worries over copyright. Once stamped, I carefully burn over the image with my pyrography pen, add any text and then wax the coaster, buffing it up to a sheen. It takes a steady hand!

I’ve also blocked the large version of Into the Vortex, had the finished pattern checked over by other eyes than mine, and uploaded the new pattern file to Lovecrafts, Ravelry and Payhip. This now contains both sizes of the shawl, as well as helpful tips on how to adapt the pattern towards the end if you are running low on yarn. Here you can see the original and large versions side by side to more easily compare them.

Sue has been photographing flying shawls as well – she loves doing this and the results are always amazing.

The garden continues to produce edibles – yesterday I picked another colander full of raspberries, four green courgettes and one enormous yellow one that I can’t call a courgette any longer, but it doesn’t look much like a marrow either, so it will have to just be a gourd. Oh my gourd, indeed! It’s huge and very heavy. The large marrows harvested a little while ago are keeping well. We are having another one tonight: roasted and then stuffed with last night’s bolognaise sauce, topped with breadcrumbs from my sourdough disaster loaf and baked til golden.

Yet to harvest are some blueberries, more raspberries, a few more courgettes, three apples (that’s all I can see on the tree) and, if I can get them to ripen, some tomatoes! They were hidden amongst the borage and courgette leaves, but I think if I support the plant so they get some sun, there might be a chance.

There has even been some more spinning and plying happening and the Tour de Fleece 21 BFL fibre I bought from Hilltop Cloud is now yarn! I’m very pleased with it, but it’s still damp, so photos next week. On the theme of spinning, I have mentioned on my socials that I visited Fibrehut in person last Wednesday for the first time. This was significant for me as they are the company I bought my wheel from nearly a year ago. I did buy more fibre – of course.

I have other exciting news to share with you as well – but I have to wait a little longer. All I can say for now is that October will be a celebration!

Take care everyone, and stay safe. Do what you love as much as you can. K x

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