Knitting · Sewing · Year of Projects

YOP – year 8 – week 9

I have been enjoying knitting on my Lichen sweater a lot this week. The mindful stockinette mixed with the interest of the cables has made this such a pleasing project to date. I’m at the point of working the slight A-Line shape that happens to the body, so it’s relatively straight forward.

Lichen

Last Sunday I finished the leg of #1 sock while at the lake with the children. I cast on the second sock immediately after and I’m on the leg of it now, later today I’ll finish that off. Then I’ll decide what sock to cast on next, I will have lots of this Mondim left over for a second pair of the slightly shorter socks, so who knows.

Sock

 

I’ve unpicked the bind off of my Fintry cardigan ready for me to rework the math this week to add another section to it. The weather has turned a lot cooler here so the need to take the knitwear out is growing. I guess this is the spur to get it finally finished.

On my top I got as far as taking the fabric out and reading through the instructions. There are a couple of things I’m a little unsure of but hopefully once I begin I’ll be able to work them out. I’m hoping to make a version of the bottom pic (pink one). I’m hoping I’ll be able to cut out the pieces this week but with back to school kicking in, who knows.

IMG_5347

College offers came out last Monday morning and James got his first choice, English Studies. It’s been a manic week getting things set up and sorted for him and could be why time wasn’t found for cutting out my top, but it’s exciting for him so who minds! We will be dropping him to his accommodation this Friday morning, after the younger children head off back to school too, where he has a weekend of activities getting to know his room mates and all about his campus accommodation. Then he begins freshers week on the 3rd. The other older children head back on Wednesday so it looks like it’s going to be another busy week!

The list is looking like this;

Year of Projects 2018-2019 List

Knitted Garments

Sewn Garments

Socks

6 pairs

  • My Dearest Loveliest Elizabeth – started July 16th – FROGGED
  • Sock #1 – started Aug 10th

You can follow along with my knitted YOP 8 projects HERE

You can find the YOP group and weekly posts HERE

Ruth.

Knitting · Sewing · Year of Projects

YOP – year 8 – week 8

Lichen

This past week any bulk of free time I’ve had, I’ve spent it working on my Lichen sweater. This was a photo I took during the week but I am further on even than this, having split for the sleeves and I’m now working on the body (the weather is dull and rainy and not so conducive to taking pictures). This is a project I’m really enjoying. The cables are easy to get into a rhythm of, and add enough interest in between sections of stockinette that means I can work on this while catching up on some films with the children. Because I’ve been enjoying working on this so much I’ve not touched the math on the finished Fintry, reluctant to put down something so enjoyable for something that at the moment is a bit bleh to me.

Sock 2

For those shorter moments of free time that have presented themselves this week, I’ve picked up my sock. Again I’m further on than this, having turned the heel and am several rows into the leg. This will just be a plain vanilla sock as I think any patterning will be lost on the yarn and I’m loving just picking these up and knitting round and round when I’ve some free time, no need to mess with something that is just working and is enjoyable.

It’s amazing how different I feel this week about both projects on the needles compared to last week, when the Fintry finished not as expected and the previous socks were just wrong. It’s just confirms even more, that thought and consideration in each project to what you want and need from it at the start, is a large contributing factor into the enjoyment of making the piece, and the use and enjoyment of it at the end.

I haven’t started any sewing projects this week because I was thinking about what I needed in my wardrobe and what I wanted to make next. I had two options that I was weighing up, the Hollyburn skirt and the New Look pattern K6513, which is a top. When I thought about the Hollyburn, I realised I didn’t want to start this as I have some really gorgeous dark grey linen that I purchased for it and this past week I signed up for Slimming World. Did I want to make a skirt out of some fabric that I really loved that in a couple of months may not fit me? I also wasn’t fully confident in my skills to alter it in a few months to fit, so I think I’m going to see how my slimming journey goes and then reward myself in a few months with the skirt. That leaves the top, this is something I need in my wardrobe and I have some red linen, left over from a summer skirt I made. This week I’ll set about cutting it out anyway.

This is our last full week of Summer holidays so any remaining jobs that need doing before the children head back to school need to be done. We also need to squeeze in any last adventures that we want to have in that time! First round college offers come out tomorrow morning for James, his results from his state exams came out last week and it’s based on those and the points earned from those that determines what offers he’ll be given and whether he gets his first choice. It’s been a nerve wracking few weeks, let me tell you.

The list, this week has no changes and remains looking like this,

Year of Projects 2018-2019 List

Knitted Garments

Sewn Garments

Socks

6 pairs

  • My Dearest Loveliest Elizabeth – started July 16th – FROGGED
  • Sock #1 – started Aug 10th

You can follow along with my knitted YOP 8 projects HERE

You can find the YOP group and weekly posts HERE

Ruth.

Knitting · Sewing · Year of Projects

YOP – year 8 – week 7

This week I have a mixture of finishes, swatches, new starts as well as a few changes.

Firstly let’s look at the finishes.

Fintry 1

My Fintry cardigan is finished. Well it’s bound off and blocked but the neckline is far too wide for my liking and with some yarn left over I’m heavily leaning towards doing some math and adding two inches more to the neckline…yes 2 inches! This cardigan was already heavily modified to my gauge and it fits like a dream, everywhere else to the exact measurements of my size in the pattern. This is something I was really pleased with, and I did at the start, brush over the fact the neckline seemed a little low, thinking perhaps it would be ok, but it’s just not. Even for the few moments I was wearing it to see the fit after blocking, it constantly felt like it was going to fall off my shoulders, and this just won’t do in a garment I’m hoping to wear throughout most of the Winter. This garment is turning into far more work that what I’d originally wanted in just picking a garment and knitting, I may as well have designed and knit my own. The buttons for this have been dispatched and should arrive this week, I now just need to summon the desire to work the math out and make the changes I need to turn this into a more useable garment.

PJs 1PJs 3

Second and third finish for the week are my daughters and mine Margot pyjamas. These turned out wonderfully well and I’m really pleased with them, as is Caoimhe. I will be writing up a Project Focus post this week to speak in more detail about them, so stay tuned for that.

swatch

With the Fintry cardigan cast off, I finally got the opportunity to swatch for my next garment. After much thought I opted for the Lichen by NCL knits for a couple of reasons. One, while this yarn is speckled, I don’t think it will detract from the cabling details down the raglan increases and sides. What’s more likely to affect how those look is my gauge. Two, after finishing the Fintry, I really just wanted to knit a garment, and I wanted a garment that I knew was going to be a good fit and with good instructions. Having knit the Herbarium by NCL I knew that the Lichen over the No Frills Sweater was probably the best option. Just like with the Herbarium, my gauge is off, and I went up two needle sizes, but I was still off with my gauge and not wanting to go up another needle size I’ve worked a little math and if I knit the size down from my size with my gauge I should end up with the size and garment I want. I will see as I’m working the garment how the cables look at this gauge and needle size and then make the final decision. I started this last night but don’t have enough to warrant showing you a picture yet.

Socks 1

The pair of socks I had cast on were frogged and the yarn put away, you can read about why that happened HERE. I then cast on this sock on Friday night and what a difference! The colour of these just soothes, and with no patterning for the moment decided, they are a relaxing knit. I’m using the ball of Mondim yarn I got from Retrosaria. It’s 100% Portuguese Wool, so these will be my first pair of natural wool socks with no nylon, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they hold up. I may make these shorter in the leg than usual so I can wear them inside my ankle boots. In fact I need a few more pairs that size for that purpose so the next few pairs may just be that size. As for patterning, I have not decided and may not decide until the heel flap and gusset has been worked.

I have not made up my mind what my next sewing project will be. The weather is getting a little cooler, and I’m aware that while we might still get some warm sunny days, we are heading in towards Autumn and Winter, and my wardrobe needs some garments for the coming season. I have a couple of fabrics washed, and pressed so can pick something from those, so we shall see what happens there.

yarn stash 1

I got some yarn delivered this week for the Cumulus Blouse that I really want to knit. I have even debated casting on a second garment, but I’ve decided I still just want to work on one garment at a time, and with a pair of socks also on the needles, that is enough projects for me right now. But I’m pretty sure this will be my next cast on!

I’ve tweaked my list a little this week. I’ve removed the Braid Hills cardigan by Kate Davies. Having knit the Fintry and looked very closely at the neckline of the Braid Hills, I fear it may be similar to the Fintry, so for that reason, I have removed it and added in the Cumulus Blouse, which you all know I really want to knit. Other than that I’ve just done some admin work in crossing off completed items, which is very satisfying, and updated with dates. The list now looks like this.

Year of Projects 2018-2019 List

Knitted Garments

Sewn Garments

Socks

6 pairs

  • My Dearest Loveliest Elizabethstarted July 16th – FROGGED
  • Sock #1started Aug 10th

You can follow along with my knitted YOP 8 projects HERE

You can find the YOP group and weekly posts HERE

Ruth.

General

Where has all the colour gone?

The changes in my attitude towards colour has been an interesting development. One that when I stopped and thought about it, didn’t really surprise me.

I’ve loved looking at colours and matching them, finding what goes with them, what compliments them and I really loved finding the unusual colour pairings that just seemed to work. Using colour as an expression of a design was something I loved most of all. I loved bright, muted, neutral, each had their place and in being a designer, it was rather helpful having a love of colour.

Now, all those same colours, that months ago brought so much joy, are screaming at me. They are too loud, and garish, and they feel like they are attacking my senses.

But my attitude towards colour was from a designer point of view, and even though as a designer I leaned towards romantic colours, that is not who I am or what truly expresses me anymore.

IMG_5310

This sock, a recent cast on, just seems to sum it all up. I’ve used two colours I loved. I had them picked out to work together, and went to them when I wanted to cast on a pair of socks. All past tense. The one thing I didn’t account for was my changed attitude to colour. I now can’t stand these colours, either singly or combined. I’ve tried to like them, after all I liked them before, surely I should still like them?

But no matter how much I try they just scream at me.

So if I now accept that I just don’t like these colours, and most other colours, what do I do now?

The easy option for these socks is to rip out the pattern, and not knit them with these colours. Easy, decision made, now this is no longer an issue.

But that left me with the question, “Where has all the colour gone?”

If colour is an expression of how we are feeling, and for me right now, my whole world has lost it’s colour, and I don’t feel my world is monochrome either, where on the colour spectrum am I now?

Neutral is where. Colours that while some may say are boring, to me, they are just quietly being themselves. I now crave colours that soothe MY soul, and whisper to MY spirit. I now no longer have to allow designs their expression. Now, I can have colours that allow my introverted self just get on with being my true me.

Only sometimes now, I wonder, if that means colour is gone?

But it’s not really gone, colour has just morphed itself, and is expressing ME as I always have been.

Ruth.

 

Knitting · Sewing · Year of Projects

YOP – year 8 – week 6

Progress on YOP projects this week has been at a much slower pace. The week started out on Monday with a sewing day in which I finished both the Simple Summer Dress and the A-Line skirt.

I had a Project Focus post then during the week where I took a look at the Summer Dress in more detail, you can read that HERE.

Simple Summer Dress 1

A Project Focus post will happen this week for the A-Line skirt.

A-Line Skirt 1

I’ve only been working on and off on Fintry this week because a) I was painting the hallway after the new floor had been laid, and b) I was reading, and reading quite a lot. I am half way through working through the yoke decreases, then it is just a matter of working the neckline edge and I’m ready to bind off and sew in ends.

Fintry

I had a little stash enhancement this week with some Retrosaria yarn from Portugal, it’s the Mondim, 100% 4ply sock wool, and it feels a lot softer than I thought it would. The top two balls are definitely going to be socks, but those bottom three colours I can’t help thinking would be perfect for garments, and I may purchase some extra balls for that purpose.

Yarn Stash

This weekend is a long weekend with us so we have a few family things planned and my eldest turns 18 on Wednesday! I’m getting it quite hard to believe that from the talkative, curious boy, he’s now grown into a fine young man in what seems like only the blink of an eye. My Mum was ever so proud of James, and he had and has a lot of life changing events happen this year, and it seems wrong in so many ways that he doesn’t get to share those with her. But I’m sure she’s watching over him and is as proud of his as ever, just as we are. (now how did I get to having an 18 year old!!!)

James and Mammy

The list, this week, looks like this;

Year of Projects 2018-2019 List

Knitted Garments

Sewn Garments

Socks

6 pairs

  • My Dearest Loveliest Elizabeth – started July 16th

You can follow along with my knitted YOP 8 projects HERE

You can find the YOP group and weekly posts HERE

Ruth.

General

The Gift of Time

Time is precious, and I think there is no greater gift, than the gift of time. What is the gift of time? The gift of time is what I’m giving myself. The time to have new adventures when I want, because they look like something I’d like to do, or because they are something I’ve wanted to do but thought I didn’t have the time to be able to do.

It’s so easy to forget that you have time to do things, you just have to make it. It becomes so easy to use the excuse of not having time to not do things, that you end up in that circle. When I began this blog, I posted first with a little information HERE about why I was starting fresh with a new blog. I explained a little about what brought me to that point, and what I was doing, and hoped to do. Today though I feel the need to expand on that a little as I’ve made a decision that affects the foreseeable future.

When I took this summer off after the passing of my Mum, it was to give myself some space and time. Some space to deal with my grief, but also to take a step back from my work life while I made some decisions. While my grief is still on going with most days having good and bad moments and it will be like that for quite some time, I have made some decisions. The space I took helped to clarify some points with regards to my work life and it put some things into perspective about what I wanted to do, and what I didn’t want to do.

But first let me give a little more back ground information. You may or may not know me as the designer behind Knitterarium and what I explained in my first post (link above), was how I felt before my Mum died. With her passing, all that happened was it halted me in my tracks, it has made me take stock of what I wanted to do with my time and ultimately what I want to do with my life. All of this I would say is fairly natural, or at least to me it is. While most told me it was only a result of my Mum passing and I would feel different in time, only my Mum, family, and those close friends who I had confided in before my Mum’s passing, will truly know that this was a problem that was there before recent events.

I know I told everyone I’d make a decision by September but I see no point in putting off sharing my decision when the decision has been made now. I won’t be returning to designing or Knitterarium. I’ve closed up my shop and website and while I’m keeping my social media accounts in the unlikely event I decide to return, which I’m not ruling out, the social media accounts will have no activity on them. I see no point in putting off experiencing my gift of time, in wasting any moments in doing the things I want to do. You can of course follow my crafty adventures here on the blog or on my Instagram feed HERE. 

So here I now find myself on the brink of some new adventures, some I’ve already planned but a great many more as yet unknown to me. They may be good, they may be bad, but one thing is for sure they will be an adventure.

Ruth.

 

Book Review · Reading

Theft of Swords – Review

Theft of Swords

Theft of Swords is story #1 and #2  in the Riyria Revelations series. I happened across the first book some time ago, and didn’t start the series until I managed to come across the remaining two books in the series last summer. So with some free time this summer I decided to get stuck in and see how the series started out. All I can say is I’m so glad I waited until I managed to pick up the remaining books as it meant I could move straight on without waiting to find them. I loved Theft of Swords.

This is just a simple straight forward fantasy series with the sole objective of telling a story, and I love a book who’s main purpose is to tell you it’s story.

Theft of Swords has both stories #1 and 2 in the series, both with a conflict and resolution of their own, and yet still telling the story of the series. I like how threads of the story are woven between the two books, and so while separate stories, it still felt like the one whole part of the series.

We begin by being introduced to “Riyria”, a group made up of the rogues Royce Melborn, who is a skilled thief, and his friend and partner Hadrain Blackwater, a mercenary. The Riyria group are the most sought after group of thieves in the Kingdom, if you want a job done, then these are who you want. At the start, they are right in the middle of a job and you get a taste for what these two characters are like and you can’t help but be excited about them. They argue constantly, and don’t share the same outlook on life, or have the same views, and yet as you move through both story #1 and 2 of this series you are left in no doubt of what great friends they are, and that they will always be there for each other just when they are needed most.

Although you start out with them accepting a job that looks like any other job it soon develops into a more complex job, and just as the job grows in complexity so too does the story, and fantasy. Along the way we meet a whole other host of characters, from the Princess of Melangar, Arista, her brother Alric who they later end up working for, Myron a monk, Magnus the dwarf and Esrahaddon the wizard to name but just a few. I liked the supporting characters each doing their job within the story, making you love them just because, like Myron or where you start out disliking them and then changing your mind and liking them as we move on through story #2, like with Magnus. Esrahaddon is another great character of the book and you are always left guessing just on which side of the story he is on, good or bad? Has he his own agenda or is he on some great mission that fits in with the series? Even the “baddie” characters you dislike, some being underhand and sly like Saldur and others just downright cruel like Luis Guy.

Story #1 had a good pace and I liked the twists and turns the story took. While you were let in on some things happening within the story, it still managed to keep you guessing until the end, and yet you still finished book one with questions, and a general sense of wanting to know more. I liked the conclusion to book #1 and moved straight on into story #2 which takes place a few years later. The story had moved on and you quickly got a sense of what had happened in those intervening years, and if didn’t feel like you’d missed out on anything. It felt more like you’d just picked up from where you’d left off. As we move through story #2 we discover a bit more about our two main characters, Royce and Hadrian and you can’t help but like them even more. Again they take on what is a seemingly ordinary job and yet turns into something a whole lot more. While some characters have remained we meet a whole host of other new characters as they tell their parts as the story weaves it’s way to the end. Story #2, set a faster pace than story #1 but as we had some of the details of story already it needed to. As I said some of the threads were woven from story #1 into story #2, and overall we learn more about the ultimate story, and end again with a resolution, but again wanting to know more.

All in all I would definitely recommend Theft of Swords, and like I said, I’m glad I waited to find the entire collection as I was able to satisfy the urge to move on, and find out more in the second book, Rise of Empire, which again holds two stories, #3 and #4.

Ruth.

Project Focus · Sewing

Project Focus – Simple Summer Dress

My project focus this week is on my finished Simple Summer Dress.

Simple Summer Dress 1

This was a dress I made in a local sewing class that I had signed up to take part in. It was an all day class that I attended and it was delightful to spend the whole day sewing uninterrupted. The fact that the class was only 5 mins drive away was just the icing on the cake as most of the time these things are a considerable distance away to make them impractical to attend.

The class was attended by two other students and we were all making the same dress. I started by tracking out the pattern to the size I needed and chose a soft cotton denim fabric. I also decided to add facings to my dress to avoid the need to add binding to the armholes on my dress. This was a particular skill I wanted to learn as part of this class for some future sewing makes I’d planned.

Simple Summer

After tracing and cutting out the fabric and applying some interfacing to the facings I turned my attention to the pockets for the front of the dress. We had the pick of fabrics from the stash in the class room and this was quite considerable. I settled on this simple flowered fabric on a cream background. I loved the look of the fabric which was just a simple cotton but I liked the contrast it had with the dress. Adding pockets the pockets was a simple straight forward task and once attached it became the turn of adding the facings. This was the part I was unsure of the most and so paid particular attention to the steps involved so when necessary I can follow the steps again. When broken down and talked through I had no problems or issues in completing attaching the facings. After this came the side seams and at this point the class was over but with only some seams and the hem left I felt confident that this was project I could complete in my own time.

A day later I did indeed do just that and after trying it on and liking the fit everywhere except around the armholes I decided to add in a couple of darts. To this point I’ve not inserted any darts into a project but I do have instructions in a sewing book and following those I managed to insert the darts and now I’m much happier with the overall fit of the dress.

Simple Summer Dress

This entire project was so pleasing to make and the new skills learned just add to my growing skill set of sewing can dos. To take the day to just enjoy the whole process and not rush through the parts was invaluable and meant the class provided everything I wanted.

It’s not just about the end piece which I can’t wait to wear but it’s also about taking the time and enjoying the process of putting this dress together. This dress will carry me through the remainder of the summer as simple shift dress but it will also become part of my Autumn wardrobe with some heavy tights, boots and one of my knitted cardigans. I may even make this again in a heavier fabric, and by doing so this one pattern can become a year round pattern that I can enjoy in my hand made wardrobe.

Ruth.