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.

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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.