#Giftalong2014 Days 1+2

It has been busy over here since the Giftalong started, I’ve managed not to spend all my time on the Ravelry or Pinterest. What I mean is that I’ve taken food and sleeping breaks, and work breaks. I haven’t managed to do much knitting!

I’ve been having fun repinning some cool things over on Pinterest, I’m enjoying the opportunity to browse some designers I haven’t encountered before. I’m in love with a children’s cardigan by Jenny Wiebe – never mind for the kids –  I want one for me! I seem to have a thing about colour-blocking at the moment – Michelle Meyer has a gorgeous shawl which is definitely tempting me too.

Today I’ve mainly been looking at mittens. I have some lovely fibre from Hilltop Cloud – a gradient shading from white to dark gray.

My favourite mittens were sadly chomped by the dreaded moths so I’m on the lookout for a new pair. I haven’t spun the fibre yet so I’m not limited by yarn weight. You can see my current favourites on my Giftalong2014 favourites board on Pinterest.

I have a few mittens and wristwarmers included in the Giftalong too: Planetarium Wristwarmers, Buttons! Mittens, Hildasay Mittens and Voar Wristwarmers.


And don’t forget – you can find all my #giftalong2014 patterns here, and I’m chatting about the giftalong on Twitter and Instagram too!

Tesserae Shawl: Pre-Order Offer

After quite a bit of interest, I have decided to add the Tesserae Shawl pattern to Ravelry for pre-order. And as a reward for those who want to purchase early, the pattern has been discounted to £3.50 GBP until midnight GMT on October 14th, 2014! After that the price will revert to £4.50.

The final pattern will include full written instructions for both the half-circle (pictured below) and full-circle versions. On purchasing the pattern at the moment, the downloadable file includes complete notes on dimensions, yarn / yardage requirements, tools and gauge.

The pattern can be found on Ravelry here. (Please feel free to repost this offer!)


Friday Round-Up #4

Just a few bits and pieces today…

  • My favourite fibre enabler Hilltop Cloud is launching a new fibre range. This replaces her fabulous ‘Birds’ collection (I adored the Peacock gradient). The new range is named ‘Hiraeth’ and is a homage to Wales. Look out for it later this year.
  • The Commonwealth Games have opened in Glasgow and if you want an appropriately themed knit, check out the Commonwealth Cowls series by HannahMade Patterns. Each cowl features a different sporting theme – Mountain Biking, Swimming, Running, and (for all three) Triathlon. Not really a sports-person? Check out the pHop Commonwealth knit-a-long with the Dear Green Shawl – groups can be found on Ravelry and all proceeds from pattern donations go to Médecins sans Frontièrs.
  • This article in the Finanical Times on the relationship between physical Yarn Stores and online Yarn Stores, primarily on the nature of exclusivity and price-competiveness. (I also love the term ‘textile micro businesses’).

Cutting the Last Tie

I’m writing this on my way back from Glasgow (I would post it too but the ‘free wifi’ isn’t cooperating…by which I mean it isn’t working – at all).

But this is the big thing – I’ve just been returning the keys to our old apartment. Scary stuff! Kind of hard to believe that everything is done. Yes there are a couple of phone calls to make, and our deposit to get back – but the big things? Those are all done.

It was quite strange being back in way. The apartment is completely restored to its original state, although actually it is in a better state than when wee moved in – given that we actually cleaned it before we moved out. And to be blunt, it looks odd, so empty and dare I say soulless, though that may have more to do with the furnishings than anything else. Let’s just say we don’t miss the purple velour curtains, or the weird and slightly uncomfortable purple/gray/odd colour sofa. Or the assortment of random decorative items (dead leaf on a picture holder anyone?) Or the truly dreadful collection of assorted crockery and kitchen items, none of which matched each other. Or the kitchen curtains. I can well understand why we packed all the ‘furnishings’ up as soon as we moved in and hid them under the beds. So to see it restored to that original state (albeit cleaner) is going to be odd.

Curiously the new flat, despite being slightly smaller has far better use of space, with much better storage and thankfully fewer furnishings which needed to be hidden away. We’ve made it ours surprisingly quickly.

So I’m sitting on the train leaving Glasgow, but with the sense that I’m home. To Edinburgh. Still sounds odd when I say that.

So Long Radio Silence

I’ve been quiet for a couple of months, I know this, and to be fair there’s been a good reason for the lack of posting – namely the fact that we moved house. But first some background on this…

For the last 10 years (seriously 10? How did that happen) I’ve been living in Glasgow, I moved up there to do a Masters, then a PhD. After a couple of years I met J. We dated and moved in together. A couple of years on, he got a job, and started commuting to work. Good so far? Well, yes and no – job good, commute not so much – as the job was on the other side of the country in Edinburgh. So for the last few years he’s made the commute (about 3 hours minimum per day) from Monday to Friday, back and forth each day. We’d talked about shifting location on numerous occasions, but thanks to my part time work in Glasgow, it was financially sensible to stay in the West.

Until last year…

Things changed, as I made the decision to leave the part time work I was doing and take some time to work out what I wanted to do. I was working in academia and realised that while I like the research – history, archaeology, objects, reading and all the stories and theories that swirl around from these, I was not as happy with the path I’d found myself on which was working more in the education side of things. I had good students – both undergraduate and mature – but these were starting to get lost in the crowd, I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the attitudes and lack of interest offered by what appeared to the majority. At the start of the last academic year I taught, J noted that I was angry and worked up about the students and the classes and I hadn’t actually started teaching at that point.

So I made the decision to walk away, the hours offered were becoming fewer and more unreliable, with less guarantee that courses would be running. With that kind of insecurity, it isn’t worth the stress. On top of that the amount of preparation and administration for what was effectively (at some points) a 2 hour a week job – the prep was around a day to a day and half – just simply isn’t feasible.

To add to this (and perhaps explain some of my reasoning) I realised in the March of 2012 that I was suffering with depression once again. Despite being in that situation before I failed to see the signs that I was wandering along that downhill slope again. It was only when a friend was discussing the fact that she feared she had depression that I realised that I was in that hole as well. Talking things over I suspect I had the depression, or at least the preliminary stages back at the start of the previous term when I was angry at the world. I honestly believe that the only reason I didn’t become aware of the problems during that semester was due to the hours I was working then – I don’t think I had time to notice!

I’ve spent a year so far working out what is going on in my head, working part time for friends, pottering about with yarn and guinea pigs. It’s helped but there is still further to go. My internal joke is that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!

Anyway, to get back to the main point, without the ties to Glasgow being as strong, the time came to rethink the big ‘where we live’ question. So we did. That was on Feburary 25th. By March 6th we’d found a flat we liked, by the 15th we had the lease signed, got keys on the 25th and were all moved in by April 7th. You cannot say we were’t efficient. There are still a couple of loose ends to tie up in Glasgow but for the most part everything is done. The fact that it is Edinburgh out of the window now is taking some getting used to!

So why all the detail? Because of this post from Katie at Hilltop Cloud. Sometimes others can say what we want to say far more eloquently…

#30dayknitchallenge Day 15

Day 15: What was your least favorite pattern and why?

Probably the kimono wrap cardigan which I’m still working on (it has been 2 years! since I started it).

Why do I not like it? Here are my project notes from Ravelry… I think they sum it up quite well.


January 2011
Seem to have started this early in 2011, in hibernation for most of the year as I got distracted by other projects.

Nov 30, 2011
Brought out of hibernation, currently at 9.5 inches and have 10.5 balls of yarn left. Am not sure how many stitches I cast on but suspect I went for the medium size. May go for small armholes/sleeves as there is only about 8 stitches different in the size and I prefer sleeves to be relatively fitted anyway. The bamboo has a lot of slouch anyway so a smaller option may be better anyway. Have also adjusted the markers for where the sleeve holes will be for a better fit across the back.

Nov 20 2011… continued
A few updates… have remembered why this project was hibernating for so long. The stitch pattern, while easy to remember requires a bit of concentration but isn’t interesting enough to really hold your attention. But I’m determined to finish it. Decided after reaching the medium length to continue knitting an extra ball before separating for the arm holes – extending the length by a couple of inches.

Nov 30 2011… continued again
Finished up knitting the main body of the cardigan before splitting for the sleeve holes. Am currently on ball 6/14 and working on the right front.

The plan is to finish both fronts and the back, then the sleeves – that way I can just use up however much yarn is left over for the shoulders/collar. I’m wondering if it would be better to finish one front and then complete a sleeve to get an idea of how much yarn everything will take.

Currently the right front armhole section is at 3.5 inches – small size sleeve needs 8 inches – so I may be able to squeeze both fronts and back out of 3 balls. If that is the case then hopefully the sleeves will take 3 max. as well, which leaves 2 for shoulders and collar.

Nov 30, 2011… even more…
Knitted on this all day – made reasonable amount of progress. Finished right front, just over 8-ish inches for the armhole. It has used less than one ball, should be able to get quite a bit more knitting out of the remaining yarn in the ball. Next up, sleeve.

Dec 6, 2011
Sleeve was started a few days ago. Am knitting up the smallest size, which will still be quite loose. Opted to use DPNs and knit the sleeve in the round… this may not have been the best option.

Stitch pattern has numbed my brain so am working on other projects for a bit.

Mar 3 2012
Finally mustered the energy to look at this again. Knitted up 5 and a bit balls of yarn so far, 8 and bit remaining. Had previously started the sleeve in the round using DPNs. Have frogged that and am going to knit it flat and then seam it. Have stuck with the smallest sleeve size, but am also knitting it on 4.5mm needles to ensure it isn’t too big. 4” knitted up so far.

Mar 4 2012
Sleeve no.1 is done. Approx. 19-20 inches long. Seems to be a good fit, not too loose around the upper arm – even accounting for the yarn relaxing and giving a bit. One sleeve took about 1.5 balls – cannot accurately gauge as had a partial ball to start with and used part of another to finish.

Cast on sleeve no.2. Hopefully should have this finished in a day or so and then I can return to the main body of the cardigan.

Mar 5 2012
Sleeve no.2 progresses… slowly. Just have one more increase to add then it is just straight knitting until it matches the length of the first sleeve. Currently at 11 inches.

About 5 1/2 balls remaining. I’m expecting to need a bit more than 1/2 a ball to finish the sleeve, less than 1 each for the back and remaining front panel – which would mean 3 for shoulders and collar. At full width a single ball knits up a couple of inches so it should work okay in terms of size.

The sections I have knitted up look good though, one day I will finish this!