Changing times & tools

I’m loving my knitting at the moment. Now that may sound a little odd but when knitting is your day job  the joy of it can seem to go out the window when a deadline looms large and a million other things get in the way of what you actually should be doing. Happily though that’s not the case for me at the moment although I do have my hands full looking after Ma & Pa Trot. I’m currently working on a scarf design for The Knitter which is due for publication in the February issue and that’s why I’m keeping it under wraps rather than posting any pics of my progress online. Well, that would  spoil the surprise wouldn’t it?

I’ve chosen an unusual combination of yarns from the Isager range for the scarf and, mixed with garter stitch, the results are much nicer than I could have hoped in terms of colour, texture and drape. So I’m knitting away happily with that little excited knot in my stomach hoping that others will like this design as much as I do when it’s finally published. What has also occurred to me is that it’s been absolutely years since I worked on straight needles. Years ago, probably around 15 years when I ran a yarn shop in Edinburgh I fell in love with the feel and colour of Boye needles. So much so that, a bit like Victor Kiam who famously liked a razor so much he bought the company, I liked them so much I started stocking the range. Straights, circulars, crochet hooks and dpns I pretty much bought in the lot and worked on nothing else because they were light to handle, smooth to knit and oh so very purdy to look at.

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Fast forward to today and my tools of the trade have changed. Nowadays my ‘go to’ needles for knitting are Knit Pro Interchageables because whether I’m working in rows or rounds they’re light in the hands, will accommodate almost any size of project and wherever you are there’s no chance of jabbing innocent bystanders in the eye with the end of the needle whilst you work. So why am I back to the Boye’s for this project? It just felt like the right thing to do to be honest. Horses for courses as they say. The yarns I’ve chosen are quite fine and I’m finding the knitting is much quicker on straights especially as I can revert to shoving the left needle under my arm for stability… plus of course although the deadline isn’t exactly looming it’s for work so I need to get on. I wonder if any of you find your tools of the trade have changed over time? Do you look for the latest trend in needles/hooks and buy those or do you prefer to stick with your favourites? Or perhaps like me it depends or what you’re knitting?

I’m sure I’ll be back to my Knit Pros when this is finished but in the meantime what I can show you is how pretty my Boyes look with what I’m knitting today

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Oh yes and for those of you wondering who the hell Victor Kiam is click here 

J x

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Goals and milestones

31 Day Challenge Day 16

Back in the first of my 31 day challenge blog posts I talked about how my work planning now needs to be more detailed in order not to overly stress my wobbly brain. I remember at the time thinking I needed to make some new years resolutions but given that mentally I can only cope with one thing at a time, it all became a bit too much to process and so none were made.

I recently started following Kristine Ofstad (@blogitbetter on Instagram) who offered some encouraging and inspiring thoughts on setting yourself goals. Based on studies done by the Dominican University the thinking is that we’re more likely to achieve our goals if we actually write them down. More than that (apparently) we’re even more likely to achieve them if we write a progress plan and share it with others. Gulp. To be honest that seems more than a little scary to me, I suppose like a lot of us, fear of failure and disappointment is holding me back. With this in mind she suggests setting short and long term milestones to chart progress (such as what do you want to achieve and by when) and share it on your blog to make yourself accountable. What? That’s even more scary!

So, as I said to myself before I went for my recent level 1 cycle training session ‘it can’t be more scary than having your head sliced open’ so I made a list of goals and milestones for 2017 and here they are. (Some are work related goals, some projects I’d like to make from my Ravelry Favourites and others are personal fitness goals).

Read 6 books in 2017. This may not seem much but I still have problems with concentration.

Start driving again before the end of February. I had to stop driving when my tumours were diagnosed and haven’t driven for 7 months and the longer I leave it the more nervous I’m getting.

Walk from Hove to Rottingdean by 1st April 2017. 7 months off work has meant I’ve put on a lot of weight. I’m horribly unfit and need to shift my bum.

Cycle from Hove to Kemp Town by 1st May 2017. I never cycled as a child but learned as an adult and am hilariously wobbly on two wheels.

Knit a top down garment. I’ve been in love with Bristol Ivy’s Svalbard for a long time now so this will probably be the design for tackling this technique

Design a stranded colourwork garment using some of my Jamieson & Smith 2ply Jumperweight stash.

Design using the double knitting technique. I recently learnt to do this intriguing technique and loved the results

Complete the 31 day challenge then commit to blogging regularly twice a week

Publish 12 new designs by the end of 2017 whether independently, collaboratively or in a magazine

De clutter my office of excess knitting books and my loft of excess yarn by the end of 2017. Contrary to popular belief you can have too much.

All I can say is watch this space

J x

Following the Ear worm

31 Day Challenge Day 10

This morning I awoke to the sounds of McFadden & Whitehead’s ‘Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’ bouncing around my head. Now for those of you who don’t know an ear worm according to Wikipedia is;

‘sometimes known as a brainworm, sticky music, or stuck song syndrome, is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind after it is no longer playing. Phrases used to describe an earworm include “musical imagery repetition”, “involuntary musical imagery”, and “stuck song syndrome”.

I’m not sure how my newly challenged brain managed to plucked this particular piece of music from my childhood memories after all I haven’t heard it in ages. But I remember it had anthemic status in our house and we used to dance around the front room as the 12 inch version played endlessly on the record player. My big brother Wayne was an avid clubber back in the late 70’s and early 80’s and although I was far too young and annoying a little sister for him to hang out with I loved seeing and listening to his most recent record purchases. Among them was Space Invaders by the Yellow Magic Orchestra (which I think appropriately was on yellow vinyl https://youtu.be/OkkFST5qrLg), Can You Feel The Force by The Real Thing (which I thought was red vinyl https://youtu.be/MYMMfaxruGA) and Stomp by The Brothers Johnson (can’t remember the colour but who cares https://youtu.be/Ug4bV013KEk).

When checking the realease date of ‘Ain’t No Stopping..’ I was really sad to read that one half of the partenership John Whitehead died in 2011 after being fatally shot in Phillidelphia, USA. He and Gene McFadden were more than just one hit wonders and in fact wrote several hit songs for other artists including ‘Back Stabbers’, ‘For The Love Of Money’ and ‘Wake Up Everybody’ to name just a few. So today, in tribute, I’m going to follow the ear worm and listen to a few of John McFadden’s best tunes whilst I work on some charts, starting with this

See you tomorrow

J x

 

In the words of Nina Simone

31 Day Challenge Day 5

Having struggled over the last couple of days to write a blog post in less than an hour, today I’m feeling…well dare I say, pretty chipper and mentally alert. Apart from being very chilly down here on the south coast the sun is shining and the sky is a stunning clear blue and that always put me in a great mood first thing in the morning. I always have music playing in my wee office, it helps me to think, inspires me and generally keeps me company whether it’s the brilliant Ken Bruce on Radio 2 or something from my own record collection (oh now that shows my age).

Today Nina Simone’s ‘I’m Feeling Good’ sums up perfectly how I’m feeling. Do you have a favourite track or playlist that you like to work to and what makes it so special?

Whatever you’re listening to, have a wonderful day.

See you tomorrow

J x