Old Faithfuls

I am nothing if not a creature of habit. I like what I like.

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And so, its no surprise when I was reaching for something to make for a friend’s baby I went back to my old faithful, Milo by Georgie Hallum. Looking at Ravelry, this is at least my 7th Milo, though there were probably more that went undocumented. It a fab wee pattern and super fun to customise. This time, I chose scandi-inspired colourwork to adorn the body.

You can see at the sides where its pulling in at the colourwork.  I should have gone down a size for the stripes to prevent this, but as these are designed to be worn with little to no ease, it felt like a bit of a faff to go to that effort.

And even more than Milo becoming my go-to pattern, the yarn, Artesano Superwash DK, has become my absolute favourite. I used it at least twice in my new book (though possibly more, I can’t remember), in 2 of my current works in progress, in all of my workshops and in my Granny Square and Christmas Stars kits. It comes in a great range of colours, works up like a dream and washes so well. Its a squishy DK, so it feels like it works up quickly, rather than those technically DK, but almost Sport-weight DKs that so often cross my desk.

 

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I am also using it in my so-slow to progress pine bough cowl. This project sits in a basket next to the fire in the studio for those, I need to think and knit moments. With Blogtacular around the corner, just sitting and knitting moments are becoming increasingly scarce.


In Search of Perfection (KnitPro Karbonz Interchangeable Needles)

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Its already been established that I am the world’ pickiest knitter. I am just never satisfied with my knitting needles. having tried a fair few (Addi Clicks, KnitPro Symphonies, Chiaogoo Reds) – there is always something that irritates me – the join, the length, the strength, etc.  The latter needles were aiming to be the best ever  - sharp, smooth joins, nice grip, but I began to realise that I always felt like I was fighting them.  The cable (which  is designed to never kink), combined with the 5″ tips, always felt like they were pulling in opposite directions and I had to wrestle them back together. Just so much work, especially when I was using shorter cables or working at a finer gauge.

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It took me awhile to figure out the problem and then a bit longer to decide what to do about it. I really love those Chiaogoo reds, but they so often made me want to impale something – especially when I was knitting the Puerperium, so a quick sale was negotiated with a friend and a replacement was found in the form of KnitPro Karbonz.

These are carbon fibre needles with a steel tip. They have the same basic set up as the Symphonie- size and needle shape are about the same and the cables are very similar – maybe a bit stiffer, but its really hard to tell.  They are truly lovely needles. They seem unsnappable (though, I haven’t tried that hard), the joins seem smooth and I was able to magic loop with them – something I simply couldn’t have done with the Chiaogoos.  All in, I am just so pleased with them – a real joy to work with, even as my adult-sized superchunky weight cardigan gets heavier.

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The jumper I am working on is Aidez, worked seamlessly.  My pattern notes go into the details of what I have done to make it seamless in the 44″ size. Also, every single one of my latest knitting projects is a shade of blue. Obviously, this must be my new favourite colour!

 


Finding a Rhythm

20140328-IMG_1877 When I first started working with (almost) full-time childcare, I felt a certain sense of obligation to work 9-5, sat at my desk, getting shit done. I felt like it was irresponsible to do anything else because I paid for childcare and  that is what I would have done if I was employed by an employer. Slowly, I realised 2 things a) I don’t work in an office with a boss breathing down my neck and b) I am not particularly suited  to that kind of structure. My work and my life call for a more fluid approach to time. Sometimes, through the night work is called for, at others, a day off nursing little sickies is my occupation. Once I realised that it wasn’t about the time I worked, but what I got done that was important, a new, more natural rhythm arrived. 20140328-IMG_1889 With 3 small people around, there is no question that things change quickly, but on the whole I follow the same sort of pattern each day. Always having been an early riser, its not uncommon for me to be at my desk from 4 or 5am – it gets earlier as the days get lighter. I spend the few precious hours (if I am lucky) before the kids wake up answering emails and doing any writing I need. From about 7am until Ellis catches the bus at 8:30 – its a mad race of endless rounds of toast, finding socks, wrangling the smallest one into any clothes at all, walking the dog, letting the chickens out and general craziness. Once the house is quiet – either the little ones at nursery or in the care of Dalia, the German student who has been living with us since September, I head over to the studio for a morning of work. This is my most productive time of day and I use it for working on my top priorities – grading patterns, writing blog posts, editing and working on Blogtacular. Our rural internet is on the slow side, but its best in the morning, so I try to keep this for computer time. I work until lunch, when I head back over to the house for a bit to do laundry, eat and take the dog for a walk down the road. 20140328-IMG_1883 I tend to keep the time after lunch for creative work.  Even now, in my deadline free days, I ensure that I always have something to make. At the moment, I have prioritised knitting things from other designer’s patterns – both to give myself a much needed rest and to learn from others. Not having made many garments before writing Crochet at Play and then having to design them was a challenge. So far, its been a good learning experience, as well as an eye opening one (if I ever write “Work to correspond to left front, reversing all shaping and placement of pattern stitches” in a pattern, you have permission to kick me). It all has the added bonus of watching some good telly while I am legitimately working. Late afternoons and evenings are for the kids and after the walks and dinner and homework, I tend to edit and upload photos, so they can go into client dropboxes over night. 20140328-IMG_1879

And while this is the rough schedule, I also am trying to be gentle with myself after the stress of the last few months. If words aren’t flowing (and there isn’t something I HAVE to do that day), I don’t push it. I know that things will get done and I will be working over time again soon (with the final manuscript proof for book 2 arriving to coincide with the Easter Holidays and exactly 1 month before Blogtacular, for example).

(photo is of the puerperium cardigan. Made in Bowland Dk in Damselfly by Eden Cottage Yarns.  Photographed on the piece of rotten roof that was leaking water into the kitchen and causing everyone to get a shock when they turned on the light. It is pretty though, hey?)