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.

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Jobs, creations, shop, whatnot

I’m writing to you from my parents’ house in Essex today.

Job update

The company I mentioned previously got back to me! I will be starting my new job on 29th May and am looking forward to it. Until then there is the task of resignation and organising what happens to my pension and all of that too. I will tackle those things once I return from my parents’ house.

Also, the reason I came back here was for a careers advice meeting in London. Prior to this I had filled in multiple surveys and completed tests. I had my 2+ hour meeting on Wednesday. It was useful, and involved answering a lot of questions and being presented with several career suggestions. It was overwhelming in a way (not in a bad way) and I don’t think I can remember all of the advice and suggestions given. Luckily they follow up with a written report later on so I will deal with that more once that comes through… before making any decisions and so forth.

Knitting update

I’m plugging away, trying to finish my sock wips. Although I admit to casting on a new vanilla sock due to the fact I was going to be flying home for my career advice meeting. The vanilla sock is progressing quickly though and I love these types of projects for their portability and simplicity as a travel activity.

The Michele Wang hat  (Treccia) took a back seat due to being busy, but luckily I was able to use my parents’ printer to print the chart out, so it should be easier to work on without having to stare at the computer screen for chart instructions.

Craft update

I finished a bit of freelance work and was paid very quickly (which I love). I put half into our house account and treated myself with the other half. I ordered some fabric and sewing supplies! I have been wanting to get back into sewing for years but have resisted due to time, not having the tools or financial resources. Unfortunately, PayPal changed my delivery address while ordering to our previous house! So we will see if things arrive smoothly (due to mail direct) or if somehow I end up losing £30+ of fabric. Fingers crossed!

Shop thoughts 

The ‘smol shop’; a casual low pressure shop space for all my made things. I mainly create small drawings on nice paper, but also want to include my handspun and other things that I can create. For example, I am still quite interested in dyeing yarn; which I did get done but had to take a break from due to finances! I didn’t have the capital to invest in more yarn and I will probably try to knit more stash before working on it. Also the sewing; this is a thing that is going to happen, I’m going to low key practice this and if it gets good I will think about selling stuff (as I end up thinking about with all of my creative pursuits). I really don’t want to pressure myself too much as I know it will make me hesitant and fearful. I want to approach it with a ‘see how it goes’ mindset. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Life Update

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since my last post – a lot has been going on – and actually I’m writing this into a word processor for the moment since we have no internet. I’ll post it once we get our net back.

I’m not really sure when my last post was anyway. But after months of me waiting and hoping, we have moved from rural Wales to Manchester. I love where we used to live, but there weren’t opportunities for me job-wise and I really wasn’t enjoying my job; we were understaffed but not really getting any replacement staff in, our duties were increasing to fill the gap, etc.

I transferred stores and now I’m working slightly less hours per week (24 per week) which I hope will allow me to look for a job.I can’t yet resume my search since I’m waiting on the internet! I even ventured out to the local library to do some job hunting on their computers; it was closed. I walked to the library half an hour away; also closed! So, I’ve returned home for the day. I’m going to draw after writing this little update.

I thought I’d give a crafting update as well since that is the focus of this blog (in addition to being a sort of personal diary)…

EYF 2018: I went to EYF with my mum, what an overwhelming and exciting adventure! I loved it and enjoyed it, despite not feeling at my best mentally (I think due to lack of decent sleep). I met a lot of kind people, a couple of podcasters, and briefly got a photo with Stephen West after my mum asked him to take a picture with me… I didn’t want to bother him too much since he was so busy and I actually had no knitwear on me anyway, let alone any design by him! But I appreciated it in the end and he was very kind.

Another highlight was meeting Louise of Spin City as she was a great and friendly person to chat to, and she let me try out her Kromski Fantasia and Minstrel – both lovely wheels. I got a hand dyed fibre braid off her (merino nylon – yes – despite me trying to avoid non natural fibres at the moment – sorry world) which has some really beautiful colours. I’d love to get more of her fibre for my spinning queue, but I think her braids (not batts – lots of batts on site) aren’t really available at the moment on her website. She’s probably busy with Wonderwool Wales coming up! I’m a bit sad I’ll miss that event since I’ve moved but to be honest, I have so much waiting in my stash to be spun and knit that it’s for the best!

I spent about £130 at EYF, which might not seem like that much judging by some of the haul photos I saw, but for me it’s the biggest shop I’ve done in so long. My purchases included some non-nylon sock weight yarn from Blacker Yarns (eager to try out no nylon socks, inspired by Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet podcast). I also bought MCN sock yarn from Qing Fibre, a long time favourite dyer of mine, and I can’t resist her colourways. They are my special treat! Along with that I got 2 skeins of yarn from Cosmic Strings, potentially to knit a Mount Pleasant – a sort of cropped, short sleeved, cute top – and yep, again, more nylon. I will allow myself this for now. It’s a process.

Lastly I bought 2 skeins of shetland yarn from Garthenor, who oddly actually operated very close to where I lived in Wales. They had been on my list for a while but before due to funds being sort of short, I wasn’t able to order from them. These 2 skeins will hopefully work as a Treccia hat (pattern by Michele Wang).

I really hope I can go to EYF again.

Knitting: I managed to finish my Featherweight Cardigan! After smashing through the sleeves while in semi-homeless limbo between 2 houses, I also completed the collar while trapped in motorway traffic on the way to visit my parents (driven by my dad – not driving and knitting!). The only problem is: my cast off edge, while neat, is not as stretchy as I need it to be. So the fabric is cinched and looks silly! This is my fault, I didn’t think that a stretchy cast off would be a good idea and I was so wrong! So I have to get round to ripping back the cast off edge and re-casting off hundreds of collar stitches again. It’ll be nice when it’s done!

Another mini issue which I’ve decided to ignore is that my tension was all horrible, so horrible, on the sleeves. I used DPNs because I haven’t yet learned magic loop. It’s really obviously laddered in some places, etc. I’m hoping it’ll improve in blocking. It had been hibernating on the needles for so long that I just decided I needed to complete it asap, no matter if there were tension issues.

I plan to learn magic loop, cabling without cable needles, toe up socks and more… over the next year or so.

Spinning: After EYF I used some money my parents had contributed for my birthday and bought a spinning wheel – the Kromski Fantasia – from Spin City, as I had enjoyed using it at EYF. I put it together last week with the help of my dad and started spinning on it. I’m still working out tension and created the most ugly over-spun yarn ever on it. I’ll keep trying though. It’s living at my parents’ house for now. While I’m here in Manchester I’ll slowly drop spindle my way through my stash here. I really don’t enjoy plying on my drop spindle so I really hope I can get to grips with tension on the wheel.

Well, that’s probably all I should update you all on for now, since this must be a pretty long post! Apart rom that, I’m working at the new store, shy and a little nervous, wanting to do my best… and hoping to look for full time Monday to Friday work as soon as I can get internet back.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone is well,

E

Why I Knit Socks

Hi all!

First of all I just want to share with you this link to a lovely sock designer on ravelry. A bunch of the patterns are free surprisingly (they are so good looking I would be happy to pay). Another designer I like is Sunflower Knit, they have a bunch of sock patterns among a variety of shawls, garments, etc. Ash had a sale on from 14-28th Feb so I bought a couple shawl designs! Actually I’m posting this on 27th Feb so there’s still time if you’re fast!

Anyway, the thing I wanted to write about… Last year I knit 12 pairs of socks for Yarngasm Podcast‘s Box o’ Sox KAL (knit along). I still haven’t actually worn those socks yet – they feel too special! I will at some point, I’m just wearing through my old store-bought socks and I still have to weave in some ends (shh).

I’m still knitting socks, I usually have 1 or 2 pairs on the go alongside longer term WIPs, and my family and other people sometimes seem confused and ask me why I bother to make socks. I’ve been thinking about it and here’s a little list… aside from the – ‘well, why not?’ response.

  1. They’re a very portable project – I can carry them around and knit on them while travelling.
  2. They can be meditative, ‘mindless’ knitting – meaning I don’t have to concentrate too hard on them, so they’re good for knitting while watching TV etc.
  3. They don’t require much yarn – good for budget knitting! Sweaters would require at least 400g of yarn…
  4. They can be as challenging as you want them to be. Granted I’ve only done vanilla socks plus a couple classics like Hermione’s Everyday Socks and Mercury Socks, but I do aim to do some more challenging ones too. They would be a great way to build skills in lace knitting, cables, colourwork, etc.
  5. I want to have a handmade wardrobe. I want to be self sufficient. I want to push towards being more environmentally sustainable with my choices (this will also involve moving away from superwash and also from nylon blends – eventually).
  6. I want to sample gorgeous hand dyed yarns from indie dyers without buying a ton of skeins.
  7. I want to connect with a historical craft – this fits in with all of my crafting activities, really!

Do you have any more reasons for knitting socks? Or for doing any craft?

Thanks and take care!

E

Stash is deadly!

Ok, overstatement there… Quite a while ago, while I was starting out on my knitting and fibre adventure, around summer 2016, we had a serious moth infestation in the house. We had a big battle against the moths, having discovered portions of the carpet which had been eaten away and various items of clothing with holes in. It’s now February 2018 and we haven’t seen any moths about in quite a while.

I was, however, having a look through all my stash, organising it. In some of my handspun and some older stash yarn I had, I found what appeared to be moth eggs! I quickly dumped those yarns into the compost bin, since they were fully animal fibre (and also non superwash yarns I think). Since then I’ve put all my yarn into zip lock bags as recommended by my mum, and I’m going to have to keep a watchful eye over the stash box. I did find some more suspected egg like things in some of the yarn, luckily not my favourite yarn… so I have isolated them in their own bags and I removed the suspect eggs. I’m hoping there aren’t any more eggs on those ones. I have heard that agitation will hatch the eggs so I have to be careful that it doesn’t potentially spread to my lovely yarns.

What other updates do I have? I’m working through my stash again. I guiltily made some yarn purchases during my birthday week in mid January, including a sock blank from Stranded Dyeworks (knitting up into vanilla sock now) and a sock blank from Twisted Fintch also.

I’m spinning through my stash as well and have about 6 skeins waiting for a soak to set the twist, and 6 balls waiting to be plied.

Project wise, recently I learned how to crochet one evening, albeit probably not very skillfully, so I’m trying to do a granny stripe blanket in order to eat through some stash. My penguono is on hold until I spin some more of my stash, to then be knit up. I have 2 pairs of socks on the needles, hoping to reduce that to one at some point. My featherweight cardigan is languishing somewhere (better check that for moth eggs!), BUT I did finally finish my Pyry sweater (we are knitters pattern and yarn)!

Right, I actually have work in about ten minutes so I’ll leave this update for now!

See you all soon and hopefully with photos next time,

E

What yarn diet?

Yarn diet update!

So I’ve managed to avoid Qing Fibre updates… I looked up the site when updates hit but reasoned my way out of buying more. I loved all the colourways of course but I know that I have no projects in mind for QF right now and I can’t afford multiple skeins anyway.

I have however cracked a little and bought some commercial yarn (some acrylic too!) for a Christmas present for my dad, and some baby hats. I would have used stash yarn for the baby hats, but a large chunk of my yarns are not superwash and the other chunk are fancy AF and I’m guessing tired new parents aren’t going to be too thrilled with specialised washing instructions for knitted gifts. So for now they will be given knitted acrylic items…

In future though I’d love to switch to solely non-superwash, non-plasticy yarn although I know that’s not necessarily practical for things like socks. I’m finding it hard to find non superwash blue faced leceister yarn, ideally high twist. If anyone knows of a supplier, please do let me know! Even if it’s undyed, I would happily dye it! One day when I can spin decently enough, with a behaving wheel, I could perhaps spin BFL myself for socks. That’s a far off goal though.

Apart from the yarn diet update, on my needles so far… I have my featherweight, which is lagging due to tension issues with lace and fiddly 4mm DPNs which I bought with far too much length.

Other projects include some new mercury socks in a non nylon blended yarn (although superwash), my penguono (which is huge and an amazing stash buster) and a tiny first sock on 9 inch circulars – this is a baby project which I just cast on for a simple mindless knit while travelling by car to South Wales.

Lastly, I also have my weareknitters Pyry sweater which is so close to completion, it just needs to be sewn together. I sewed the shoulders and arms but I still need to do underarm and sides. I have two days off in a row this week so I might set aside 30min or so to get that done. I’d love to get some of my projects out of the way and have a reasonably clean new year slate.

As for the hopeful thoughts about selling my yarn and other bits, I have a yarn spinning commission! I have to sort it for January which might be a push as I have a lot on but I’ll try. And I’ve ordered some fibre for the project. More on this when I get to it!

Goals for 2018 knitting/crafting… knit a Michele Wang pattern… spin more… finish up my projects… do less vanilla socks and more challenging knits. Dye yarn for projects where appropriate. That’s it for now but I haven’t given it tons of thought. This festive period has been a bit hectic for knitting and contemplation but I’m hoping my 6 days off for Christmas will give me time to re-centre myself.

Happy holidays all!

Woolillbedamned has an IG account!

So I decided to separate my woolly instagram posts and make a separate account for them, since they’re threatening to outnumber my arty posts on my main account. You can find the woolillbedamned instagram account here.

In other news… I’ve finished my Honey Badger Socks and only have to do one more sleeve of my Pyry Sweater! Getting close to casting on another project, maybe Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig.

Adventures in Spinning

Handspun - merino yarn

My parents kindly bought me a drop spindle kit for Christmas and eventually I finally got round to working with it a few months ago.

Handspun - brown Icelandic yarn
Handspun – brown Icelandic yarn

I was also lucky enough to win a giveaway from Witch Fibre Co (instagram | etsy) for a drop spindle and some fibre. I had been wanting to spin it for ages but didn’t put the time aside. When I did get round to spinning it, I really enjoyed working with the fibre, which was super-soft, in lovely colours and easy to work with.

Note: There’s actually an instagram giveaway going on now with Witch Fibre Co, if you want a spindle and some fibre!

Handspun - merino yarn
Handspun – merino yarn

The next step with this fibre, if I want to use it, is to get hold of a niddy noddy… or to make one. I found a great tutorial here, it seems pretty low-cost too, just hoping to source the supplies soon.

On the fleecy side of things, living in mid-Wales has some benefits; a friend from Japanese class kindly gave me a bag of fleecy bits from her flock (not sure on the breed – need to check). It wasn’t one whole fleece, it was a bunch of bits and pieces picked out. I emptied out the bag and started picking the sticks and poop from the fleece and gave it a wash.

Sheep fleece
Sheep fleece

This month I managed to get some carders to comb the washed fleece into rolags, ready for spinning. I watched a video on carding and it turned out to be pretty easy! My rolags aren’t exactly neat, which I can probably put down to my inexperience and also to the fact the fleece is quite matted and in small bits.

Hand-carded rolags from Welsh fleece
Hand-carded rolags from Welsh fleece

It’s been a great learning experience though! I don’t actually have any spare drop spindles, so I’ll be aiming to spin a bit more of the pink & brown fibres, then hopefully I’ll get a chance to put them on a niddy noddy. After that I can start working on the Welsh fleece!

I have vague goals of spinning it all, dyeing some of it, maybe even selling my handspun and/or hand dyed yarns in the future, if it’s a good enough quality… but I’m not going to worry about that for now, I’m just going to use craft as my relaxation and as a break in between painting (my main goal).