Settling into Autumn

Hi friends,

What a hectic summer it’s been. I’ve had six weeks of busy-ness and for the most part it’s finally over. During the weeks I was working of course, but during the weekends I had a couple of weddings to go to, plus a trip to Aberystwyth with friends, and a trip back to Essex to see family. I also went to Japan for a couple of weeks which was, as expected, very nice.

Let me unpack the summer a little bit more… I had been saving up for the Japan trip for about two years, and as we approached the flight I started to become a lot more interested in reading up on environmental stuff, and started to feel quite a bit more guilty about my trip! I did go ahead with it however since I had been saving for so long, but I think from now on I will try to limit my flying. It would be nice to go to Japan again sometime, and East Asia. I do have family in East Asia though and haven’t seen them in years. I think I will not go for a few years at least… And next year I will see if I can plan trips with family within the UK. I still haven’t been to Devon, Cornwall, or the Lake District… or Whitby (a town on my list thanks to Dracula and a Robin Jarvis book series set there).

We will see though, I don’t want to make bold claims and then fail on them.

Aside from flying my thoughts have still been on different facets of eco-living.

Fast/slow fashion, for one. I don’t tend to buy many clothes, and I’m lucky to have a sister who likes to give me clothes she no longer wants! However I do occasionally buy bits and pieces. Mostly my needs are going to be for winter cycling gear (I cycle to the train station, and then to work after alighting) and shoes. My sister mentioned buying secondhand trainers off the Depop app could be a solution, and perhaps I should also see if there is any warmer cycle gear on there too? I’d love to hear any suggestions.

As for sustainability and food, we’ve been continuing to grow a few bits over summer, however we did start sowing things very late – since we moved into our house late May. We’re prepping to plant some garlic and onions next month though! I’m planning for 2020 to be the year of prepping a bit more – hoping to grow much more food! Gotta say there’s a sizable part of me that wants to prepare in case food starts getting more expensive after Brexit (or worse). I started reading the Deep Adaptation paper that people have been talking about, and it makes for foreboding reading!

I think I’ll make separate posts for knitting and other bits, and keep this as a little diary update! There’s so many things I want to talk about, mostly environmental and making related… so in the hope that I will make more posts and in a more cohesive manner I shall leave for now 🙂

Thanks for reading as ever,

Elysia

Post move business

I’m alive! Hi, it’s been a long time. We moved house in mid-May and have been reasonably busy with that since then! So much has been going on that if I wrote about everything in detail this post would take a long time to write, so it’s going to be mainly a picture heavy post this time around!

As you may know, I’m a mainly 2D artist with a day job… and I also study Japanese … quick updates on that front – I’ve been studying a bit of anatomy every day this week and as for the Japanese, my course starts again in September! It’s 3 hours after work 1 day a week and it’s quite heavy-going … so I know I may get a bit tired out from that. We have exams each semester as well plus coursework… eek!

Textiles

Handspun yarn made from manx loaghtan (sheep) fibre
Yarn spun from flax fibre

Spinning wise, I’ve been working on a bunch of projects! Above you can see 2 of my fibre studies. I’m spinning up different types of sheep breeds and other fibres (such as flax and alpaca). I’m keeping short notes on how it was to spin each type of fibre and then I’m also knitting or crocheting the yarn into swatches so I can refer back to them! So far I’ve done flax and manx loaghtan above, plus baby alpaca, black welsh mountain and gotland.

Raw hebridean sheep fleece

Above you can see some raw fleece that I soaked. I think this fleece has already been washed quite a lot though as there was very little coming out in the water (normally with raw fleece there’s a lot of what seems to be pee and poop, some vegetable matter too etc). So I’m now letting this dry out, then might card it and then spin it up. It’s the last of the samples I purchased so at some point I would like to buy some more to sample, like corriedale and rambouillet fibre.

Yesterday I had some free time so I soaked some merino fibre in vinegar before dyeing them using pots on the stove with acid dyes. I really enjoyed this process and am looking forward to spinning them up on my wheel. The green fibre will be used for a sweater or cardigan project and the orange/yellow/red fibre will be spun up and maybe used as a contrast colour in future colourwork projects.

The fibre came from a kit I got for Christmas – for arm knitting a giant blanket. In the end I decided not to go through with that project as I heard that the roving would quickly pill once used, since it was single ply and barely twisted (not structurally sound).

My final picture of handspun includes the 2 previously mentioned fibre study skeins plus one skein from hand dyed fibre by Hilltop Cloud, a Welsh fibre peddler. This colourway was a special 2019 tour de fleece colourway based on the colours of the Welsh landscape. The fibre is welsh mule I think, which I believe is a blue-faced Leicester cross.

Tegna

So… actual knitting projects… After completing a slew of projects I am finally down to 3 works in progress only. 1 pair of socks for travel knitting, 1 granny stripe blanket which is on holiday at my parents’ house (hoping to be worked on by my mum) and 1 garment project, the Tegna tee by Caitlin Hunter AKA Boyland Knitworks. I’m so glad to have reduced my projects. I hope I can complete this top and then move on to my massive queue of projects. I am eager to continue knitting up my stash before I buy new yarn!

I’ve also been mercilessly ripping back old unworn knitted garments and will be re knitting and possibly re spinning some of the yarn (a lot of it was in bulky or thicker weights, which I don’t really want to work with for garments as they will be quite heavy).

Home and Gardening

As I said previously I’m super into homesteading and trying to live a more environmentally friendly life. I wanted to get straight into growing when we moved, but we missed a lot of the spring planting times. I have however managed to get going with some plants: basil, coriander, chillis, courgettes, lettuce… And the courgettes are finally flowering! So I’m excited to see what happens next. They are in pots that are quite small for them but I’m reluctant to repot them while they’re trying to flower as I don’t want to disrupt it or stress the plants out. I’ll know for next year to let them grow BIG!

We’ve been hit with a ton of rain since Friday, so I haven’t really done any gardening this weekend… Hoping for some more sunny days (but not super hot like Thursday’s 34 celsius!), we haven’t had the best summer this year in the UK! I believe it’s penance for Brexit, haha.

Here’s the lettuce harvest this week! There’s so much! So I better increase my lettuce uptake so that I can eat it all before it goes manky. At least even if goes bad I know I can compost it right back into our soil so it doesn’t feel as bad to leave food.

I’m trying to be more resourceful (and green) so I started making eco-bricks with our plastic waste. You can find out more about them on the eco bricks site but it’s about sequestering plastic to create building materials and avoiding putting more in landfill.

I’m also collecting egg shells to use to protect plants from slugs and snails, and I read that they’re good for plants in general 🙂

You can also see at the right our bokashi bin, which is a sort of composting/food waste fermenting thing. We can put all types of food waste inside including meat/fish (although at this point I rarely eat these things), bread, pasta, processed food, etc. and the waste is fermented over the space of 2 weeks once the bin is full… and then the fermented waste can be put in the compost or dug straight into the ground.

Last thing! I also made some more soap. I made soap a few years back and enjoyed the process, but had to pack away all that stuff when we moved from Wales to Manchester. Now I’m slowly unpacking so I can get back into my old projects. These aren’t pretty since I moulded them using takeaway containers, but they will be useful anyway and a way to avoid plastic waste. They’re supposed to be shampoo bars so we’ll see how they work out when I test them soon! They are just curing for now (soap needs 4-6 weeks to cure before using).

Whew. That was a lot of photo uploading and typing. I hope at least some of this was interesting for people! If you have any questions at all please let me know 🙂 Thanks for reading!

A crafty to do list

Hi all!

Not much to see for this post, I’m just listing a few projects I’m hoping to get done 😀

  1. Rip out my Treccia hat (Michele Wang) – so, my gauge was off, and on top of that I was a cheapskate and didn’t buy smaller needles for the brim of the hat; and I learned my lesson about halfway along the project when I realised the hat was massive. So, I decided to continue and adapt it as a cowl. I finished it, however I feel like the circumference of the cowl is a bit large which means that often it flops down and the hard work knitting cables is hidden. Therefore I have pretty much decided to rip it out and reuse the yarn either to re knit the hat or create something else! I would like to re knit the pattern for sure either in this yarn or another, as I love the cable design.
  2. Rip out my first cardigan – my first cardigan was a Simone cardigan by we are knitters. It used super bulky single ply yarn. There wasn’t really any fitting involved for this pattern as it was a super beginner pattern. When I finished it I realised that the shape of the cardigan wasn’t one that suited my body type, so I would like to rip it out and on top of that I’d like to re spin the yarn into a lighter weight 2 or 3 ply yarn. Due to it being single ply it is also very susceptible to pilling and is not very structurally robust. I would be likely to re knit this yarn into another cardigan, one that is better suited to my body type and a bit more lightweight.
  3. Rip out my first sweater – this sweater was another we are knitters design, called the Pyry sweater. While it’s quite nice and definitely fits me much better than the Simone cardigan, I haven’t really worn it. This is because I noticed that again as the yarn is single ply it’s very pill-y and I worry that as soon as I wear it it’s going to get damaged. Probably not the case but I definitely feel like within 10 wears I’ll see pilling and get sad! So again this will be ripped out, respun into a yarn which is plied and probably knitted into a jumper or cardigan. I’d be quite tempted to combine some yarn from the Simone and the Pyry and use it for a colourwork project.
  4. Remove my singles spun from a batt from my spinning wheel – a while back I bought a batt – I think it was (moorit coloured) shetland wool – from World of Wool. While a lot of their other stuff is great, I found that this batt was full of nepps and difficult to spin. This could be its intended texture and it could be that I’m just not used to this texture to spin from, but I’m just not enjoying spinning on it and it has just been sitting on a bobbin for months. I don’t really like the idea of wasting it though, however I’m thinking I can keep it until we move house and then use it on my compost, since it’s not superwash. I want to stress that I’m not criticising World of Wool however and I recommend a lot of their fibres 🙂
  5. Crochet squares for putting under plant pots – pretty self explanatory 🙂 well, I ripped out a 2nd crochet blanket I was working on because I had messed up the increases, and decided that I could crochet these up over time into other useful things. Perhaps I could also look up how to make little baskets. We’ll see 🙂
  6. Continue with my draft sewing project – trying to make a draft/toile/muslin of the Factory dress pattern by Merchant and Mills. My friend gave me old bed sheets to work with, so I really appreciate her help!
  7. Skirt – I’d love to also use one of the bed sheets to make a skirt for myself. When we moved from Mid-Wales to Manchester I got rid of a lot of clothes, so I’d like to rebuild my wardrobe and have clothes that I feel good in while wearing – preferably I’d like to do this in a more sustainable way if possible.

These are my main to do list type projects. On top of these I have my general knitting projects, like my Stephen West Dotted Rays (in seed stitch) which is about 70% done now, woohoo! And I also have a couple of pairs of socks on the needles too. Just wanted to note down the above sort-of thrifty projects for myself so I don’t forget them!

I’m still trying not to buy yarn and use up what I have. And since I have a load of unworn finished objects I feel like I should re purpose them and get more use out of them. I need to use up that yarn a bit more before I fill my home with more yarn. I definitely think that I could get a ton of projects and mileage out of my current stash, and it isn’t even that big anymore! It can probably fit into one typical household plastic storage box, and I’m glad that’s the case 🙂

Anyway, happy knitting, thrifting, sewing and all that!

Blog Evolution

Hi friends,

Long time no see! I’ll admit, I’ve wanted to post an update lately, and even attempted to write an update in a notebook while on the train; but it got left to the wayside again! This time I’m writing while on a family trip to Budapest.

Some quick life updates; we’re attempting to move house, and that’s taken quite a lot of time and energy. We’re still waiting for a completion date… but it’ll be great when we do get to move! I think it’ll be great to have a more permanent place, to start setting up a creative space for myself, organising my stash and taking my books/supplies out of storage… and no longer avoiding buying books, etc. because of space. I have so many art and craft books on my list…

That’s my main life update! Aside from that I’ve been working, doing a bit of freelance, along with this short trip to Budapest which has been very inspiring.

Now I want to take a short amount of time to discuss where I wanna take this blog. In the past few months, I’ve been listening to loads of podcasts while at work (it helps me to stay awake/alert). Many of the podcasts are about homesteading, gardening and environmental issues… this is in addition to my knitting and craft podcasts 😉

So, considering that the blog already has an environmental twang to it, I think that this may increase! And on moving house… you may see some house related stuff, and progress on attempting to make my own mini homestead.

As far as crafts are concerned, for this post, I’ll keep it short!

Knitting; I’m currently working on projects for family; a hat and a pair of socks for my sister, fixing some projects for my mum, and soon I’ll have to start on a hat for my dad for Christmas. I’m not so into gift knitting but I’ve had these requests for a while so I’m trying to get them done ASAP, then I can progress to new projects. I’m also planning to cut down on stash (too many single skeins of sock yarn!), through scrap projects and abstaining from buying anything I don’t need, and then I hope to focus on garment knitting, buying yarn on a per project basis, veering away from nylon and superwash content when possible/practical.

Spinning; it’s progressing! I dyed some giant merino roving bought by Charlie and have been test spinning it up!

Other; for my Japanese course I had to do a self directed project and opted to make a knit/craft podcast (in Japanese)! If anyone wants to listen, it’s here. It’s kind of embarrassing (my voice, my Japanese skill level) but I shouldn’t be embarrassed!

That’s all for now, I’ll sign off and plan to make more than a little update post next! Thanks for checking in 🙂 Below I’ve included some links to my recent favourite podcasts.

Bakewell Woolgathering & World of Wool

Hi all!

It’s been a long time, and I have been meaning to write for a while…

A mini recap since my last post – I finished ankle socks for my sister, started socks for my mum (then frogged a whole sock and re knit it in a different yarn), finished my HHF socks, finished spinning F is for Fidelio (from Countess Ablaze) and kept going on the Farmhouse Cardigan – it’s getting there! Also I learned how to start socks from the toe up, which was on my list of things I wanted to learn.

My current projects are: still Farmhouse Cardigan in Shetland aran weight home dyed yarn, Treccia hat in Garthenor Shetland yarn, some Monkey Socks in Rusty Ferret yarn, my mum’s socks (waiting to be fitted), and lastly my granny stripe blanket, which has grown quite a lot lately!

But anyway, I just wanted to write a little bit about Bakewell Woolgathering and my trip to World of Wool.

Last weekend was Bakewell Woolgathering; it’s not too far from where I live so C graciously drove us down there to have a gander at some yarn and other bits. I haven’t bought yarn it what feels like ages – apart from a treat of a skein of Voolenvine Yarns a while back – so I wanted at least to go have a look, and be around likeminded people!

It was bigger than I expected it to be – I thought it might be quite a small local style event but Bakewell Agricultural Business Centre is actually quite large, with a decent cafe tacked on too.

I wanted mainly to check out Hilltop Cloud‘s stall, I have been following Katie for a while and really like what she produces (I also love Barber Black Sheep – both of these sellers are from Wales… and I also miss Wales). It was really nice to see her stand and the variety of braids and other bits she offered. This time I didn’t buy from her, although I plan to order online from her in the future. I am feeling a lot like I need to make purposeful purchases rather than just buying because I want to own something from this or that stall. The time will come when I will make a Welsh yarnie order 🙂

I was impressed by the other stalls, there were some extremely tempting merino/nylon/stellina hanks in vibrant autumnal colours, some exciting fleeces and other bits and pieces. There was even a stall which sold mostly handspun yarn – which left me wondering, how did this person manage to spin such a large volume of yarn? Perhaps she only did one show a year or there were multiple spinners involved there. It did get me fantasising about having my own stall someday.

New drop spindle and suri alpaca fleece (spun raw as advised by the seller)

I came away with a 22g drop spindle and 200g of suri alpaca, a new to me fibre. I think I bought the alpaca fleece, which was incredibly soft and a beautiful colour, from Alpaca Yarns and the spindle from Nancy’s Graceful Fibres, although I’m not 100% as I wasn’t super familiar with most of the sellers there. I left happy, even if I was yearning a bit for some brightly coloured yarns too. I know I have stash to knit up!


Chickens hanging out near our airbnb

This weekend we went to stay near the Northeast edge of the Peak District for a restful weekend. Lucky for me, our airbnb also happened to be 20-30 minutes from World of Wool, a Huddersfield-based fibre seller, among other things. We drove to their warehouse, which also functions as a shop (including a cafe), to have a look. It was a bit weird entering and I did feel a bit like an intruder since it’s primarily a warehouse serving online customers, but staff were friendly and helpful, and it was actually ok for me to be there after all. Just writing this in case anyone else wants to take a trip there and is unsure too.

They had all their fibres and yarns in boxes on shelves so I spent a while going round and having a look/feel. I got a chance to see what all the different fibres felt like, which was nice; ones that I hadn’t touched before like cashmere, alpaca, pineapple fibre, etc. and breeds of wool I hadn’t really worked with yet. I picked up a merino/baby camel blend, some shetland, BFL and then botany lap waste (which I think is unidentified plant fibre, it was super soft though so I wanted to give it a spin). The way it works as well is that you can take as much as you want, it doesn’t have to be per 100g, so I maybe only took about 50g of the merino/camel, 50g lap waste, and 60g of the BFL/shetland combined, plus 1 shetland moorit batt. All this came to only £10, which was nice!

I do recommend making a trip there if you are able to and want to get hold of some fibres you haven’t yet given a go. I didn’t get everything I wanted; I thought about buying seacell as I really love working with that fibre, but like I have said previously, I need to work through my stash. Maybe next time!

They had a huge range but a few things I didn’t see where some specific breeds of sheep of interest to me; cormo (but this seems to be primarily an American fibre?), targhee (again, american) and Hebridean. I do have a small amount of cormo and targhee to work from, and someday I would like to try out Hebridean (or at least knit with it, see Daughter of a Shepherd’s yarns). There are a range of other more uncommon sheep breeds to explore, but for now I’m satisfied and have a lot to work through!

Dark cormo, prepped by hand – literally just by hand-pulling the locks as my carders are in storage!

Today since getting back from holiday I have already spun and plied the merino/camel fibre, and I hope to do the same with reasonable speed for the other fibres I picked up. I’m thinking for all these natural coloured bits of fibre I’m picking up, I could spin them all to roughly DK weight and then use them for colour-work in some way – perhaps mittens or as accents against some dark Hebridean yarn on a colour-work yoke. I feel like my exploration of other fibres is a step towards having a biodegradable, more sustainable wardrobe, woop!

We’ll see what I can do. Anyway, the continuous stash dashing is progressing well despite this month’s slight swell in supplies. I actually finished a pair of socks and a hat this weekend, along with the significant progress on my Farmhouse Cardigan. Once I can complete the cardigan, I think I will have a good amount of momentum to continue with. Fingers crossed! I hope you all are well. If you have any thoughts on Bakewell Woolgathering, fibre from World of Wool, or anything like that, please let me know!

Rcently handspun yarn

Swelter

Whew…

Summer has been hectic and oh so hot. We don’t have air conditioning in our house, like a lot of UK houses (at least a lot of UK houses not owned by rich people…?), and our upstairs computer room is regularly hitting 33+ celsius. I’m finding it really hard to focus! Outside of being a knitter/maker, I also paint and make 3D models. I’ve got a commission I’m working on but I haven’t done any this week due to being tired out from work (not being able to sleep at night because it’s so hot) and because it’s so hot that I feel I can do only a little at a time. I’m sure if I forced myself I could get it done, but would it be the best it could be? My client is very understanding though 🙂

I thought I’d pop by this Friday evening with a brief list update of things that have been going on and projects on the go 🙂

  1. I finished my sister’s ankle socks!
  2. I’ve almost finished the Hedgehog Fibres green socks that I started when I was teaching my friend to knit.
  3. I made my first project bag and it wasn’t too bad… I’ve also cut out the pieces for a second, half size bag.
  4. I started the second F is for Fidelio bobbin! Fibre from Countess Ablaze, my LYS ❤
  5. Progress continues on the Farmhouse Cardigan. I’ve almost finished the ribbing on the bottom hem of the body. Not a ton of progress but that’s ok, as I’m focusing on eliminating some of my smaller sock projects 🙂
  6. I’ll probably cast on some vanilla socks for my mum next, although I should really give vanilla socks a break, because they end up being the ONLY thing I produce…
  7. After a soak and a bit of time drying flat out in the sun, my Featherweight Cardigan is all done! Soaking and kinda-blocking really smoothed out a lot of the less well tensioned areas of this project. I twisted stitches when I picked them up by accident on the sleeves, I got ladders in them due to using DPNs on laceweight (something I’m not used to but probably would be fine with if I had more practice – but I will be using magic loop for sleeves from now on)… I just had wobbly tension in general throughout, not being used to laceweight yarn on 4mm needles. I’m so glad it all worked out fine! I was expecting to get a sorta-ugly cardigan that I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing outside… Need to take project photos of it in its glory. Would knit again for sure!

Thanks and take care in the heat!

Mini stash dashing update

Hi all,

I have a bunch of stuff I want to do today (Sunday), so I thought I’d just write a mini update of projects.

  1. My parents came over for the weekend and my mum was kind enough to help me rip back my normal bind off on the collar of my cardigan (MANY stitches – laceweight!), and then we both worked on casting off with a stretchier finish. I then sorted the ends out and gave it a soak, it’s now drying in the sun, laid flat!
  2. My parents also brought my spinning wheel up with them so I did a bunch of spinning too – it’s so fast compared to spindling! Not that spindling isn’t lovely too. But I’ve almost finished spinning up the first bobbin of some Countess Ablaze fibre from my stash – colourway is F is for Fidelio. I do enjoy Countess Ablaze’s fibre blends and recommend checking them out.
  3. I also was reunited with my sewing machine! AND my fabric purchase which I thought had possibly been lost in the mail was rescued – it had turned up at our old house and C picked it up when he went back to Wales on a day trip. I’m hoping to use the fabric and the machine to attempt some project bags as a reintroduction to sewing. Then … I bought a Merchant and Mills pattern last night for the Factory Dress which I want to attempt.
  4. RE other projects, when my family was down, I got my sister to try on the 1 sock I had in progress for and then knitted the remainder up to the correct length. I’ve started the second sock but I think I’ve just been knitting too much over other projects and am not drawn to it right now. It could also be that I’m just bored of vanilla socks, without having any commute or travel time at the moment.
  5. I finished both sleeves of my Farmhouse Cardigan – using my hand dyed yarn, picture in previous blog post – and started on the body of the cardi while binge watching Glow. More to come!
  6. My mum seemed to enjoy hand winding yarn balls – I don’t have a swift and ball winder – so I was very happy to let her wind up a few balls for future projects!
  7. C has decided he’s going to crochet so he’s trying at the moment!

That’s all for my super quick update, I’m going to draw a bit more and maybe do a bit of my 3D commission, then I’ll be downstairs, possibly spinning or starting on project bags.

Pictures to come!

Elysia

Low Key Stash Dashing

Hi friends,

Stash dash is currently in full force – a summer stash defeating make-along by the knit girls. I haven’t necessarily been participating, but I have been aware of it happening, seeing podcasters share their makes for it (particularly on Stranded Podcast!).

I’m sort of doing a little low key stash dash of my own – without the meterage counting and so on; I’m just trying to work my way through old projects and deep stash yarns/fibres, to make way for my newer projects.

My main focus this weekend (ok, it’s only Friday, but I worked extra hours the past 2 weeks to have it off) has been to spin through some mini batts which I bought at a local makers’ fair. To be honest, I did not enjoy working with these batts. They were mystery fibre content, or at least it wasn’t noted in any way by the seller. It was not a nice feeling spinning them and there were lots of tangles, clumps, nepps and very short staple bits in there. Anyway. I’ve managed to spin them all up into singles and I can get back to spinning things that feel nice in my hands again! At some point I have to ply the growing pile of hand wound singles balls on the craft counter…

Apart from that, a friend from Norway (living in HK, moving to Nanking soon!) came down to visit and she asked if I would teach her to knit socks. She’d only knit a scarf really and a hat in primary school so I brought not only the sock-making bits but a hat I’d already cast on. This was to get her used to knitting in the round, knitting and purling and holding the needles, etc. It worked out very well. That could partially be down to her being a good and enthusiastic student. Anyway, we got her started on socks on DPNs. I would have been tempted to teach her to use magic loop (or 9″ circs if she preferred) but I didn’t have any circulars spare to give.

Side note: I used the hat to give myself more practice doing the picking knitting technique! As in – holding the yarn in the left hand. I’m getting there with it although am still not as fast as when I do my go-to flicking technique (see very pink knits flicking technique video on youtube for a good example).

I finished off the hat within a day or so and have just turned the heel of the sock I was working on when I demonstrated for her. The sock is knit in Hedgehog Fibres sock, which I believe is 90% merino 10% nylon. It’s deep stash, I bought it for £14/100g x2 from a lovely lady on instagram as she had a mini destash. I didn’t end up using it for anything really for ages. I did make my 2nd ever pair of socks from them a long time ago, but the needles I had were still too thick (budget needles from charity shop, didn’t know what size they were but they were bigger than 2.5mm) and so the fabric created didn’t make the ideal sock material. This time I am knitting a tight gauge on 2.25mm needles and they’re looking a lot better. People have said HHF sock is splitty and I have to agree, although now that I’m working at a more ideal gauge (imo) and with a bit more experience in knitting, I think despite this it does create a lovely fabric and the splitting isn’t really a problem at least for vanilla socks.

Lastly, can’t remember if I mentioned; I think I did; I started knitting up the 7 skeins of shetland that I hand dyed last year (I think it was last year?). I’m making the farmhouse cardigan pattern by Amy Christoffers, which has a bunch of new to me stuff (namely the pockets and how the sleeves are done). I have to say I’m a bit nervous about it, not sure how it’s all going to work out or if I’ll make countless mistakes and be unable to finish, but I’ll give it a go and go slowly. First up is sleeve knitting anyway, which is pretty gentle for me.

I thought I’d finish with a small update on my previous post – aiming for frugality/budgeting and increased productivity.

Frugality: this worked out I think – despite having some incoming expenses I managed to save money by only having packed lunches at work, and me and C barely had any takeaways or meals out this month. Most of my money goes on food to be honest. I did buy three skeins of yarn to treat myself but that’s all. It’s pay day today and I managed to reach today with a reasonable amount remaining from my previous wages, woohoo!

Productivity: This past work week I was struggling a bit to do anything useful after work, as I was doing over time and was leaving work later as my friend from work who gives me a lift early in the morning has gone on holiday to Turkey. The week before as well was a bit difficult as C had to work late on several nights so I was on food and washing up duty every night…

Today since I’m off I’ve managed to complete my chores and daily tasks. I need to get on with some art and a 3D modelling commission now though. I’m going to continue watching war and peace (bbc version 1970s) while attempting to paint – although it’s too hot so I’ll prob end up standing up and spinning since that way it’s cooler.

Thanks for reading my little update! I hope everyone is well.

Reining it in

Since I found out that I’d got the new job I have been in a sort of moderate ‘treat yo self’ mode. I was lucky that on leaving my supermarket job I managed to pick up a small annual bonus. I had been tempted to take the plunge and buy a PS4 (I’ve not had a proper console since the PS1!) but I held back out of being cautious and reluctant to spend so much. I did buy a bunch of yarn and fibre though, and impulse bought a couple of pin badges… and admittedly ate more luxuriously than before.

It’s been three weeks since I started the new job. I’m still kind of in this mode. My excuse is probably that I’ve been really tired out by getting back into full time work… the takeaway habit is continuing and the impulse to buy cute pin badges lingers!

I do think it’s time to rein it in a bit now though. At least until my first pay day. There’s a ton of expenses coming up – promised visits to my sister, uni friends and high school friends, and more. I also found a Japanese class to sign up to but it’s £550 for two semesters.

Why am I writing about this in my craft blog? Well, I stretch the definition of this blog a bit now, I think. It’s a bit more of a personal endeavour, and I’m pretty invested in topics such as saving money and trying not to consume too much.

On top of this, not only have I been indulging a bit too much money wise, but I have also been somewhat less productive in terms of my projects and studies. I think this can be chalked down to tiredness again, but also social obligations this summer and the previous disruptions of moving house and changing jobs. I still have a bunch of social weekend events planned (they were a long time coming so I want to go through with them) but I will try to limit and space them out a little bit more. I want to claw back a bit of self control now that things are settling down.

I have a great friend whom I met online and her motivation, self discipline, productivity and progress in her chosen study… is always inspiring to me. And now she regales me with tales of someone she knows who is even more amazingly self disciplined and prolific! This has definitely given me food for thought.

So my two goals for the summer – since summer starts officially (?) in a few days – I want to be a bit more frugal and get back into budgeting, and I want to get back into and possibly surpass my usual level of productivity through a bit more self discipline and time management.

They’re not concrete/tangible type goals though so they may be a little slippery to achieve, but I will try my best. It’ll have to wait tonight though as I’m stuck in a car heading back from a BBQ. I won’t be back til just before 10pm and I have to wake up at 5.15am tomorrow for work!

As an aside, I won’t be regulating my knitting and crafting time in this way as these things are my more spontaneous and non-pressured pursuits. I don’t know if I mentioned in previous posts but I do art and I study Japanese as my main ‘educational’/vocational pursuits, so those will be the main things I’ll focus my planning on.

Are you also interested in topics like productivity? Do you have any goals or particular methods you use?

Thank you for reading and good luck to anyone else who is on this kind of journey.

Wiped out!

Hi all!

It’s been two weeks since my last post; and yes, I started my new job. It’s been good, much better than retail or working in a cafe (my job before the supermarket). I feel so lucky to be able to enjoy having evenings free again and am loving being able to arrange weekend activities.

The work itself is challenging. We have a month of training. Our task involves searching for information on companies through websites and annual filings from the companies. We work through the documents and decipher the information, putting it into Excel into a more organised file.

There are a lot of little bits of the procedure to remember; how to input information, how to interpret the sometimes convoluted documents, making judgement calls on certain things (they say this will become a lot easier when we have more experience).

Anyway, job aside, I’ve been pretty tired out and busy with other little bits. I have managed to get knitting and spinning in, finishing a couple of mini skeins of fibre bought from the local artisan market. I finished a pair of socks and have almost finished knitting my first pair of socks on 9 inch circular knitting needles. I have to say, I’m finding knitting on them really slow for some reason.

I also learned to knit using magic loop – not sure if I mentioned this previously – I had avoided it for ages because it looked kind of tangly, but it actually feels natural and really good to use this technique. I’m so glad I got round to learning it! I’m going to use it as much as I can.

I also finally cast on the aran weight shetland yarn that I dyed with acid dyes way back, possibly last year. I have no business casting on new items but I’m also glad to have it on the needles finally instead of having the aran yarn languishing in my stash. I’m actually not sure the colourway is to my taste anymore; as I previously mentioned I have been moving away from the blue-ish purples and pastels and moving towards a kind of grubby pinks and naturals kind of aesthetics. But I’ll make it, and see how I feel, and maybe my mum will get a nice present in the end…

That’s all I’ll write for now but I’ll try to include some photos soon!

Thanks for reading.

If anyone out there is struggling to find a job, stay strong! Job hunting can be really draining but I hope that you get a job that you like someday soon.