A Song of the Weather

The title of today’s post refers to a song by Flanders and Swann of which I quoted a verse in my monthly newsletter yesterday: “Farmers fear unkindly May // Frost by night and hail by day!”.

I seem to mention the weather a lot, don’t I? Now I’m working for myself from home, rather than being in a school setting all day, the weather has more of a direct impact on what I do and when. For example, I want to go for a walk today and need to buy some ingredients for dinner (vegan casserole), but every time I think about going, the rain starts again! Walking in the rain is not impossible I know, but I’d rather not get soaked carrying a bag of parsnips, cabbage and carrots for some reason.

Plans are afoot for the next MKAL with Yarn O’clock and I’m going to start swatching this afternoon. Yes, this does mean that the Grand Mystery Project is all done – it’s going in the post in the next couple of days once I’ve photographed it. Again, this is dependent on the weather…

I’ve talked about my love of swatching before – it’s great trying out a range of ideas on a small canvas and seeing what works best for the design overall. Swatching as a designer is like playing with the paint box or dressing up box – lots of fun and endless possibilities. Swatching as a knitter is different, as it tends to be knitting stocking stitch squares (known as gauge swatches), but it can help you get to know an unfamiliar yarn and how it behaves and sometimes a new stitch pattern as well.

It always amazes me that so many knitters are reluctant to knit gauge swatches, looking on them as a waste of time. The main point is to see if your personal knitting tension with your needles and your yarn matches that of the designer with their needles and their yarn, with the goal of checking that your knitted item will come out at the right size. This is rather essential for garments.

But I would say it’s so much more than that; it’s to find out whether the fabric the designer had in mind is one that works for you – I once really struggled to ‘get gauge’ with a pattern I loved the look of and tried a range of needle sizes until it matched. I was using the designer’s own yarn, so there shouldn’t have been a problem there. However, once I got the stated gauge, I hated the knitted fabric. It was like cardboard. But I had ‘got gauge’ so I carried on making the garment with those needles. Did I ever wear it? No. I ripped out the yarn in the end (this is called ‘frogging’ – because you ‘rip it, rip it’) and re-used it for something else.

Of course, what I should have done was stop at the gauge swatch point and ask myself if this was a fabric I liked the look and feel of. If not, I had choices – I could have made something else straight away (and saved myself many hours of knitting that didn’t result in a wearable item), or I could have found a needle size that gave me a fabric I did like and work out which size to make from there.

So, this afternoon, while my sourdough rests between sets of pulls and folds – I’m trying a larger quantity today, 1.5x my usual – I shall be playing with yarn and peering out of the window at the clouds to see if I can make it to the shops in time before the next downpour.

What will you be up to? Whatever it is, stay safe, Kx

Needles and Pins

Well, the Covid jab knocked me sideways for a good few days. I had the Astra Zeneca one and side effects have been varied and wide-ranging! My arm is still sore and when I went out for my first walk five days after the jab I was so wobbly we had to cut it short and come home very gently. But I’m taking comfort in the thought that this probably means my immune system is doing what it should.

My plan of knitting some hexiflats to add to my Beekeeper’s Quilt was a good idea. The queue outside the vaccination centre was very long (but at least it was dry), so I knitted whilst waiting beforehand. I’ve made a few more since then too – it’s useful to have a small project to hand when your arms and fingers are tired. Not only can you feel like you’ve actually achieved something tangible, as one hexiflat takes about 40 minutes, but also you’re not having to wrangle large quantities of fabric.

And what news of the Grand Secret Project? Well, it’s finished! It’s blocking (has had a long soak in the sink, been rolled up gently in a towel, been laid out flat on a mat and patted into shape) and I’m now just waiting for it to dry. I’m so pleased with it and can’t wait to be able to share it with you. I also worked out a really nifty way to accurately calculate the yarn quantities for all the different sizes. The pattern and associated files all need tidying up and double checking and then it’s good to go!

What will be next once the loose ends are all tied up? Well, I’m going to talk to Anne at Yarn O’clock soon about plans for the next Mystery Knit-along and I will be able to finish recording my Introduction to Lace Knitting course for Craftucation. I also have plans for a new shawl design using Knitting Fever yarn.

The wholemeal and seeded loaf was gorgeous by the way. So much so that I’ve made a second one just the same. I do want to get more rise (also called Oven Spring) into my sourdough loaves; the dough is now a good consistency when it goes in the banneton, but the loaves do tend to grow sideways rather than upwards in the oven. Some experimenting is called for, I think.

An overhead shot of a sourdough loaf scored with five lines spiralling to the centre

Having caught a crow in the act of removing and stealing the filled half coconut from the apple tree I’m keeping an even keener eye on it than before. That was the second one that had been taken; the first had moved from the tree to the lawn one day and vanished the next. I’m sure it’s the same bird that has made a few skirmishes on the replacements too – it gets a loud ‘shoo!’ which seems to do the trick at the moment. An alternative feeding solution has been ordered from C J Wildlife which should put a stop to the thefts.

A crow caught stealing, flying in front of a camellia bush with the coconut hanging from it's beak

It’s been lovely to see the range of birds that visit the garden increase since putting the feed out. There have been robins, blackbirds, pigeons and sparrows which we’ve usually had, but also blue tits, coal tits, gold finches and even a pair of thrushes! The magpie is quite keen on it too. There was a pair of coal tits yesterday on the tree, one of which was feeding the other (as a sign of being a good provider I think) and I’m hoping we’ll get visits from any offspring they have too.

That’s all from me for today. Stay safe and keep knitting, Kx

Early Bird

Last week was a first as I wrote my blog post sitting outside. Today’s first is that I’m drafting this a day early – on Monday! Normally I like to write about how things are right there and then, with the topics inspired in the moment (though you have probably noticed some regular themes).

So, why am I writing ‘early’ this week? Well, early on Tuesday morning (I wanted to write ‘tomorrow’, but then that gets confusing as I intend to post this on Tuesday morning!), I am due to have my first Covid-19 jab! I’m both excited and a bit nervous and not sure what sort of side-effects I might get – I’m keeping my fingers crossed for not much more than a sore arm – so I’m trying to clear the decks a bit.

The Grand Secret Project is coming on really well. I did the really scary part today and now it’s just the finishing touches. The pattern itself is written up to almost the same point which is great. Do you remember how I was feeling a little apprehensive about the 1st June deadline when I got my commission through? It seems like I *should* (touching wood and hoping the gods aren’t reading this) even be able to send it in early!!

There’s some sourdough having it’s ‘bulk proof’ in the kitchen right now. I’m trying seeded and wholemeal flours for the first time with sourdough – that’s the mix I tend to use with instant yeast so it will be interesting to see how it comes out. It’s going to have a sleep in the fridge overnight and be baked first thing tomorrow. Elaine Boddy‘s method is brilliant – and I especially like the fact that you can put the loaf (inside a lidded roasting pan) into a cold oven so no waiting for the oven to heat up first.

I’m trying to decide what knitting to take with me to my appointment tomorrow. My lovely wife has already been there for hers and they ask you to sit and wait for 15 minutes afterwards to make sure you’re ok. 15 minutes isn’t a lot of time, but it’s long enough to need some yarn between my fingers. My advent calendar sweater is rather large – I think I would prefer to take something small. I had to look for my 3mm crochet hook earlier today and I discovered it in a bag with my left over sock yarn that I’m using for my Beekeeper’s Quilt. The fab thing about this project is you only have a small hexagon to work on at a time and, once you’ve joined them all together, you can keep adding to it over time. I did stuff some of my hexagons initially as the project suggests, but I definitely prefer ‘hexiflats’ to ‘hexipuffs’.

Has anything been early for you lately?

Take care and keep knitting, Kx

Stepping Out

This is the first blog post I have written whilst sitting outside on the patio. We are so lucky to have outdoor space of our own and this year I am determined to make the most of it.

The birds have proved extra greedy this week – I put up a new coconut half yesterday and it’s already half gone! I’m hoping this means the birds need extra energy for flying around and feeding small ones. It’s great to see the blackbird still doesn’t know he’s supposed to be a ground feeder too – though he is a very messy eater when perched on the apple tree. There is so much birdsong around me and it’s wonderful; it almost distracts from the roofing that’s going on a few doors up!

I’ve planted some of the seeds for our veg patch – courgettes, broad beans, mange tout peas and coriander, along with some nasturtiums, which are lovely and peppery in salads. We were given some potatoes by a friend (already chitted) and these have been planted into potato sacks. Recent years have been very disappointing potato-wise when they’ve been in the ground as they’ve been riddled with crawlies when dug up. And we always manage to miss one or two which gets messy later in the year. This method should be more successful, as long as I remember to water them. There are still other seeds to sow, but not for a weeks or so yet – squash (a couple of varieties) and cucamelon which my sister-in-law had great fun with last year.

Things have been quiet sales-wise this month. I’m thinking of expanding the range of images that I burn onto coasters, hanging hearts and stitch marker pots, to include more knitting themes. Think along the “I love ewe” type of route and you won’t be far wrong. I intend to develop some prototypes over the next couple of weeks, so keep your eyes peeled! If you have any suggestions or requests do let me know 😊

My knitting commission, AKA the Secret Project, is coming on apace. There is now a jolly big spreadsheet, lots of drawings to help check calculations of different sizes and I this morning I wrote out the rest of the pattern (in rough – there are some stitch counts to fill in). I am now ready to pick up the pointy sticks and carry on with the sample, which is great.

Forced downtime from knitting the Secret Project hasn’t been all bad though as it got me back to working on the sleeves of Serenity by Joji Locatelli – that jumper I began in January! I’m on Day 22 of the advent calendar yarn, as there were three mini-skeins I chose to put aside for bed-socks, and I’ve found a 50g Triskelion Yarn Elen Sock (now discontinued, but I have a chunk of different colours in my stash) skein which seems to use the same yarn base and the colour flows on perfectly from Day 25 if/when I run out of the yarns from my Bear in Sheep’s Clothing advent calendar.

I’ve also stepped out into the world and been to the shops early this morning, before it got busy. I got most of what we needed, dropped some bags in to a charity shop that wasn’t full for donations and even saw a friend to talk to briefly! In person!! What with that and our mini trip out to Llandudno (NOT the pier – it was heaving with people, but we found a quiet corner of the West Shore to enjoy for half an hour or so), it almost feels like I’m emerging from hibernation. Must remember to spend more time outside. It’s good and the sun on the back of my head makes me happy.

Take care and, if you can, do more of what makes *you* happy, K x

What’s New Pussycat?

Following last week’s excitement of getting the Little Orme Hat pattern and The Little Orme Collection out into the world (and photographed at the Little Orme, too!), there has been a real change of activity in the past couple of days.

I’ve done lots of knitting on my garment commission and I *so* wish I could show it to you, because I am absolutely in love with it. However, you (and I) will have to wait until October before it gets revealed.

As I can’t tell you very much at all about the current main knitting project in my life, I shall have to focus on the other things I’ve been doing. I was very kindly sent a bag of Bowmont Merino fleece locks a little while ago, and over the past few days I’ve been cleaning them. Fortunately, the kind person who sent them to me also sent a couple of links to some very helpful videos (thank you, Anne M and YouTube!), so I had some idea of how to go about this. The change of colour was quite astounding, although the first dip in really hot soapy water and rinse in even more really hot water left quite a lot to be desired. So, they got dunked again, and this time came out gleaming.

Today I attempted to spin some of them – the idea being to spin the yarn as finely as possible. This was much easier said than done, even to get it to catch onto the leader yarn to get going. Eventually it did though and I got about two and a half locks spun, before frustration at the constant falling apart of the yarn finally got to me. So I took a deep breath and put that to one side for the time being.

And then to console myself I got out a plait of Polworth fibre dyed by Rachael of Cat and Sparrow. I got this at The Knit-Tea Retreat marketplace and it was said to be a great fibre type for newer spinners. I love it. As well as the fact that I’m not attempting to spin as finely as possible with this, it’s a gorgeous fibre that so far is behaving beautifully.

Do you remember me talking about the next Craftucation course I’m working on? It’s called An Introduction to Lace Knitting and goes through all the important aspects of lace knitting. You learn many of the common stitches one at a time (yarn overs and eight types of knit decreases!), before putting them together into a practice piece, as well as learning how to follow both a written lace pattern and a lace chart. You then move onto a similar but larger and slightly more challenging small blanket/throw. In this you learn about lifelines – the amazing lengths of thread that stop your knitting unravelling any further – and how to insert and make use of them. You also work a knitted on lace edging and block your finished piece. How cool is all that? All you need to know before undertaking this course is how to cast on, knit, purl and cast off. If you can follow a basic pattern already that is a bonus.

Here is the practice piece:

I’ve recorded a fair chunk of this course already, but I can’t record the next part until my skin heals a bit more. The sudden change back to very cold weather has caused my knuckles to split and that’s not a great look close up on video. I want people to be looking at what my hands are doing rather than the state they’re in!

Hopefully I’ll be able to record the next section soon, but the joy of these courses is that I’m able to create them on my own schedule. Which is the same for the people who take the courses too – no deadlines, no weekly meetings that might not work in your time-zone – you just work through the course at your own pace, in your own way, with access to the tutors and other students on your course via the individual online course forums. There are videos, downloadable and printable pdfs of notes with the video script transcribed and lots of still pictures as well as the original patterns used in the course. So, if you want to try knitting and would like a course that can work for you and around your schedule, have a look at my beginners’ courses: Knitting for Beginners 1 and Knitting for Beginners 2. These links give me a higher proportion of the course fee than if you simply go to the website so if you’d like to starting learning to knit (or know someone else who would), please do use these links!

My current audiobook, Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness (the fourth book in the All Souls Trilogy….), has given me one of those weird coincidences. Last week we watched Hamilton on Disney+ (it’s amazing what you get when you upgrade a phone these days), which I found fascinating and really enjoyable. I previously knew nothing about this period of history. Then, Time’s Convert takes me to the same time period and some of the same characters as well! It’s funny how things sometimes line up together in life like that.

It seems I had plenty to tell you about after all, despite not being able to share the Grand Secret Project!

Stay safe and warm, and keep (or start!) knitting, K x

Snow in April

My Little Orme Hat is done! Hurrah 🥳 While I write this it’s freezing outside (what a change from the 20 degrees of last week) and there was snow and ice on the ground this morning. So, although it’s April, it doesn’t feel inappropriate that I will be releasing a hat pattern on Friday.

Newsletter subscribers will be getting a discount for any of the following: Little Orme Hat, Little Orme Cowl, Little Orme Mitts, or indeed the whole Little Orme Collection which will be available on Friday as well (this already gives a discount on individual patterns, so newsletter subscribers get a double treat!). I will be sending out April’s newsletter on Friday with the discount code in it. You can sign up for the newsletter here! (Please note, this is separate from subscribing to my blog).

The different effects that come with changing colour order in stranded knitting never cease to inspire me. All three of these hats were knitted using the same four shades of Knit Picks Palette.

The Medium size uses the colours in the same positions as the mitts and cowl.

Overhead shot of the crown of a hat with six segments against a dark grey background. The hat is silver grey with three shades of green worked in stranded colourwork.
Medium Little Orme Hat

The Large size uses the dark green (Contrast Colour 1 in the mitts) for the main colour (MC) (so CC1 became MC) and then the other colours rotated round (CC2 became CC1, CC3 became CC2 and MC became CC3).

Overhead shot of the crown of a hat with seven segments against a dark grey background. The hat is dark green with two lighter shades of green and silver worked in stranded colourwork.
Large Little Orme Hat

For the Small size I changed it again, going for the greatest contrast between background and pattern colour in the centre of the design as I’d really liked that effect with the Large hat. I returned to the original main colour and then swapped C1 and C3, leaving C2 where it was.

Overhead shot of the crown of a hat with five segments against a dark grey background. The hat is silver grey with three shades of green worked in stranded colourwork.
Small Little Orme Hat

Aside from all this, you get a kaleidoscope effect (remember those cardboard tubes with the bits of glitter and plastic shapes in) due to the changing number of segments in the crown. The smallest size has five, the medium has six and the large has seven. Because of that (and maths) the angles being created at the point where the segments meet are different in each hat and so the decrease rate and shaping has to change to accommodate this – otherwise you can end up with a hat that looks more like the top of a baby’s bottle if you know what I mean! So there’s a fair bit more to writing a hat pattern in different sizes than just changing the number of stitches cast on (or at least there can be).

The three stranded colourwork knitted hats in different sizes pictured separately earlier are grouped together on a wooden table. The angle shows more of the sides of the hats as well as the crowns
Little Orme Hat family group

As well as this the yarn has arrived for my design commission – yay!! I’ve re-swatched, as it’s a slightly heavier weight yarn than I’d originally designed the garment for, played with the numbers for all nine sizes, tweaked the charts and I’m ready to cast on! ☺️ This bit is very exciting. I’ve written the opening part of the pattern and there’s a solid chunk I know I can do now following that. I could do the rest of the maths first, but I want to get it on the needles so it feels real.

Also – rhubarb and ginger jam has been made. I tried a recipe this morning that I’d not used before (from the same very traditional book my marmalade recipe is in). The ginger part is root ginger that you ‘bruise’ (or in my case, smash) then tie up in some muslin and drop in the pan with the rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice that have been steeping since the night before. The muslin bag is taken out before potting the jam up, so there is no physical evidence of the ginger but, oh my word, it’s got quite a presence!

What a difference six months make

Can you believe it’s six months since I launched this blog? So the website is six months and one week old! Reading back over my first post I was concerned then about the changes Ravelry had made (though I left it un-named), was excited about Craftucation (from which I received my first payment yesterday!) and showed a picture of the view from the Little Orme, one of my favourite places, and the place after which the collection I am currently working on is named. The hat pattern will be released soon by the way! Today’s picture is unashamedly the same one as from that first post.

I didn’t know then that I would be getting a spinning wheel, or bringing a sourdough starter into existence and doing lots more baking. I also didn’t know that I wouldn’t see my mum once in this whole six months. Sometimes it’s good not to be able to see into the future. Hopefully the restrictions on travel between Wales and England will be lifted soon and I’ll be able to visit her again.

Today, there are butterflies in the garden, it’s 20 degrees outside and the sun is shining. The blackcurrant bush is coming into leaf and the redcurrant is just starting to think about joining it. Last year I allowed all the redcurrants to be eaten by the birds, partly because I hadn’t pruned it and the stems were so overlapping that it I couldn’t face the tangle. Now, of course, that means we have run out of redcurrant jelly, which is a real shame and meant that on Sunday I did something I’ve never done before; I *bought* a jar of redcurrant jelly! Inspired by the weather today and Sunday’s purchase, this morning I pruned the redcurrant bush and promised to take better care of it in future.

Sunday itself was an adventure; we went to a garden centre. They were allowed to re-open in Wales just over a week ago I think. Our nearest one is exactly five miles away, though it felt further! We bought some red cowslips which I have never seen before, some cell trays for the veg seeds and a few other bits and pieces, including the redcurrant jelly. It was so strange to be out in a place where there were quite a few other people and, although our trip was quite a brief one (less than 30 mins), by the time we were through the tills I was glad to be going home again.

It feels late to be planting seeds in a way, but with the extreme winds of yesterday and the snow and sleet forecast for Easter weekend here I didn’t want to kill off delicate seedlings, so I still haven’t done it. Next week!

Following my post about Ravelry last week I had a lovely message from someone offering me an extension/theme that might help. If you’ve seen my social media posts you’ll know what happened; I stupidly compared the version of Rav showing with the theme to the actual NuRav page and got hit with a horrible headache and nausea. It slowed me down somewhat on Friday to say the least. But, at least I know the theme works! I won’t be going onto Ravelry more than I have to after tomorrow though.

Speaking of which, there is a plan to stage a three day boycott of Ravelry from 31st March to 2nd April. Why bother? Well, their main income is from the advertising that users are shown and if you’re not on there, you won’t be shown adverts and so their revenue will drop. It may not have any impact at all or change anything, but I’m happy to wait to pay my March invoice for a couple of days!

Some exciting developments happened during the week with my magazine commission. Having received the email listing the chosen yarn and colours, I expressed some concerns about the way that yarn would behave given the nature of the design. Those concerns were listened to, considered and a different (much more appropriate) yarn was proposed. There is a whole new colour scheme and a new name. Also, a new gauge as the yarn is a slightly different weight, but that just means I get to play with numbers a bit more. It’s making me want to stalk the postman for yarn deliveries, but fortunately I have plenty of other things to keep me busy in the meantime.

I hope the year is being kind to you so far and that you are benefitting from the longer daylight hours. I know I am.

Stay safe and keep knitting, gardening, baking, spinning and doing what makes you happy. K x

Unravelling

How’s your week going? Mine’s going quite well.

I’ve done most of what I can with my design submission until I get the yarn. Hopefully that will be quite soon as I’d love to crack on with it.

I’ve made a few different sourdough recipes – the last loaf was fab and the hot cross buns were amazing! The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg in the house was divine.

A well-risen sourdough loaf on a cooling rack.
Sourdough loaf
A dozen homemade hot cross buns sitting on baking parchment.
Hot cross buns

I’ve also re-recorded a chapter of my latest Craftucation course (not yet published) where my hands kept disappearing off the screen. Most distracting!

My Little Orme Hat took on a life of its own during the week and I’ve finished the medium size, started the large one and written up the pattern. It’s quite possibly the most comfortable hat I’ve designed so far and I’m wondering whether that’s because of the brim. The folded, ribbed brim extends the knitting time considerably, but it’s so worth it! The pattern will be out soon!

A blue-haired middle-aged woman (me) looks at the camera over her glasses wearing Little Orme Hat, a stranded colourwork hat with a striped folded brim. She is sitting in front of a patchwork blanket.
Little Orme Hat
A top-down view of the crown of Little Orme Hat being worn. The wearer (me) is holding their arms up as the camera is above their head.
Little Orme Hat crown (Medium size)

Despite all this progress, something is niggling at me.

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that, although my patterns are all listed on Ravelry, I don’t recommend you visit the website if you have a tendency towards migraines or any kind of visual impairment. That includes common issues like astigmatism (which I have). The design of the site was completely overhauled in June 2020 and caused many people problems, from eye strain to migraines to seizures in some cases.

After a couple of weeks they introduced ‘Classic’ mode which was supposed to be the old version of the site that people could toggle back to if they ‘didn’t like’ or couldn’t use the new version of Ravelry (NuRav). It’s not quite the old version though. I switched to ‘Classic’ as NuRav was making me queasy after about 10 minutes, but I still need to limit the time I spend on there if I can. Which is a shame and a pain, since most of my pattern sales are made through Ravelry.

Yesterday I spent about an hour adding the Payhip link for each of my patterns and adding Lovecrafts as a clickable source and my eyes were very relieved when I was done. By adding these links I’m trying to make it easier for people to access my patterns through Payhip and Lovecrafts even if they originally found them via Ravelry. I’m not adding links to Ravelry here for what I hope are obvious reasons.

I haven’t said much about the whole Ravelry re-design previously (apart from cheering on those who have been trying to push Ravelry to hire an accessibility consultant and raise awareness of the real harm being done to some people), so why am I raising my voice now? Possibly, selfishly, it’s because at the end of this month ‘Classic’ Rav will disappear (be retired) and the only option will be NuRav. I don’t know how much I will be able to use it and that worries me. I’ve already told my (largely inactive) Ravelry group that I won’t be using it as a social forum in future and will be focussing efforts on my website/newsletter and social media instead.

As a concept Ravelry is brilliant and for over 12 years it’s been the go-to place for designers to host their knitting and crochet patterns as a selling platform, for knitters and crocheters to log all their stash, projects and notes (and for others to search them) and a social forum that was a lifeline for many. We were probably far too reliant on it in retrospect, but it was so damned convenient.

If you buy knitting or crochet patterns, from me or anyone else, and you usually get them via Ravelry, please consider buying them from other sources if they are available elsewhere.

Right, I shall now step down off my soap-box and go and transcribe some videos.

Take care folks and keep knitting, K x

It’s a Good Day

My Little Orme Cowl was published last Friday on all the platforms I use; here/Payhip, Lovecrafts and Ravelry – be wary of Rav if you have any visual sensitivity, it’s caused lots of problems since the redesign in June. I’ve done the calculations for cast-on numbers for the three sizes of hat and the charts are also done. I don’t have a deadline for getting the hat out there, but it would be nice to finish the collection sooner rather than later. However, something rather exciting has also come up. 😊

I had some great news yesterday. It was particularly pleasing as I had pretty much decided I wasn’t going to get a ‘yes’, but I did! I had a design submission accepted for a UK knitting magazine later in the year. It will be published in October, which sounds like ages away, but there’s so much to happen before then.

The deadline is June 1st. Between then and publication it will be checked by technical editors, the pattern will be laid out by professional magazine people and the garment will be photographed to its best advantage. Any queries will come back to me to answer and I will make any corrections to the pattern and send it back to be re-checked.

Between now and June 1st is even more exciting! I have put in my yarn support request and should get notice of what yarn I will be using (and then receive it) within a couple of weeks. See how time is ticking already? During that ‘wait’ time I can do some maths. Maths, you say? Why, yes, there are a lot of numbers involved in designing a garment in nine sizes, especially when motifs are involved. I know what size I’m required to knit and although it will be too small for me to wear afterwards, it will certainly be quicker to make than a ‘me-sized’ one. I’m sure it will fit a friend!

So, there’s writing the pattern, calculating the numbers for the different sizes (this is called grading), typing the pattern up according to the magazine’s style sheet (they all have their own particular ways of doing things), knitting the design and posting it to the magazine’s office. Suddenly June 1st seems awfully near.

This is when I become ever more grateful to have my journal. One of my tasks for today is mapping out all the different elements I need to do and to tie in all the other plates that I’m determined to keep spinning as well.

I have now successfully recorded one section of An Introduction to Lace Knitting, my third Craftucation course, (Knitting for Beginners 1 and Knitting for Beginners 2 are here) and I have finalised (and slightly simplified) my plans for the main project involved, as well as knitting a sample version of it. My initial plan was to get this published by the end of April and I would still like to achieve this, but as a self-imposed deadline, there can be flexibility.

Happy dance for being busy – especially with some of them being things that will/could pay! It’s a really good incentive to cut back on the online scrabble too.

The sourdough baking is going quite well, incidentally. There are some sesame-topped buns proving in the kitchen right now. One of the benefits of this type of baking is there are decent stretches of time in between stages so they can be used as blocks of knitting, planning, writing or recording time. And then there’s something lovely to eat at the end of it – with any luck.

I’ve only spun once in the past week, but I do intend to keep going with that as well. I think that if I can get into the habit of little and often with it there will be more improvement than doing an hour once a week.

Something will probably have to give at some point and it will undoubtedly be the dusting that goes first! I’ll let you know. 😉

Keep knitting / doing what makes you happy and stay safe, K x

P.S. It’s a Good Day sung by Peggy Lee is a great song and is quite likely to get your feet tapping.

Mama said there’ll be days like this

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the ones; you get a notification about a new version of an app so you switch to it, only to find it’s taking much longer than the old version and doing something basic (like replying to an email) doesn’t seem to work? I’m looking at you Microsoft Outlook! At least there was an option to toggle back. Or you record forty minutes of video only to realise that the lighting was all wrong and your hands look like they’re radioactive? (I forgot to close the curtains, among other things). This has been my day.

However, it hasn’t all been frustrating. I did have a lovely FaceTime chat with my friend Anne of Yarn O’clock, discussing yarn possibilities for my next course (it’s a more complex decision than you might think) and the one I’ve chosen is gorgeous and perfect for both projects.

Those of you who have signed up to my newsletter will know there is a new pattern coming out on Friday – Woohoo! The Little Orme Cowl is done and the pattern is very nearly ready. I’m very pleased with the finishing of it, and there are two alternatives for people who don’t want to graft the ends together. If you haven’t already signed up to the newsletter (the box is in the left hand column on the contacts page) there’s an extra incentive at the moment as subscribers get a 15% discount on the pattern for the first week (12-19th March). The code is in the March newsletter.

After I finished the cowl I allowed myself to go back to the Serenity sweater and begin the sleeves. I’m working them at the same time on two long circular needles, working one from each end of the ball of yarn. This is so I can make sure I use the same amount of each colour on each sleeve and it will help me keep track of (and match) the decreases as well. Learning about knitting both sleeves at the same time was a real game-changer for me. Although progress initially seems slower than working one at a time, once you get more than a third of the way down it suddenly speeds up. You also don’t have the issue of getting motivated to knit the second sleeve because you’ve already done it. Or the pain of not having made a note of any changes you made to the pattern on the first sleeve thinking you’d remember, which of course you don’t, but it doesn’t matter because you did them both at the same time!! Can you tell I’m a convert?

I think I’m going to need a walk and see fresh air very soon, especially if the forecast for the rest of the week is correct. It might help me record my videos properly later on.

Stay safe, keep knitting and don’t get blown away in the winds! K x

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