Finished Object – Gaudi Cardigan

01-05-19 Gaudi finished

It’s done! My Gaudi cardigan is completely finished, washed, dry, ready to wear. I am so pleased with it; it fits perfectly, the Rowan Felted Tweed DK makes it warm but lightweight, the colours are just stunning. I feel the buttons provide a final flourish. I went through my button tin as I knew I had bought some packs of blue grey and beige buttons some time ago. Once I had sorted them out into matching colour sets, I decided to use the palest beige, the deep-sea blue, and the charcoal ones in a repeating pattern and I just love how it looks. I think it lends the garment a playful edge.

So, here are the technical details:
Pattern:  Gaudi
Designer:  Martin Storey for Rowan
Book:  Rowan New Vintage DK
Size: To fit bust 36-38″ (second size)
Materials: Rowan Felted Tweed DK. I used 150g Clay; 37g Watery; 43g Granite; 15g Mineral; 64g Carbon; 15g Seafarer.
Needles:  3.25mm KnitPro Symfonie 30cm straights; 4.00mm KnitPro Zing 30cm straights.
Buttons:  I used 11 18mm buttons, pattern calls for 6 only.

Modifications (a.k.a. It isn’t you, it’s me)

From the outset, it was my intention to knit this exactly as the pattern is written with no modifications, even using the exact colours shown in the pattern. Well, that went a bit by-the-board, but I have to make it clear that I count this as an extremely well-written pattern, just one that doesn’t suit my knitting preferences quite as well as some of Martin Storey’s previous patterns. Here is the design photo:-

01-05-19 Gaudi pattern pic

My cardigan seems rather shorter than this but then I always have an issue with row gauge and I like the length mine has achieved.  The big modifications, though, came in the colourwork patterned ‘yoke’ area. I have to admit I struggled with this as I have mentioned in previous blog posts. Firstly, I didn’t work the few stitches at the raglan shaping in the Clay colour as I should have – I tried it both ways, but repeated re-knitting of the colourwork on the back left me with no desire to have three balls of wool hanging around getting tangled.

Last week I got it all seamed together ready to work the bands, but I tried it on and I really didn’t like the fit on the shoulders. I knew all along this could potentially be an issue because I don’t like wide necklines – they don’t suit my narrow shoulders and I find them fussy when it comes to necklines you can wear under them. Realising I wouldn’t wear the cardigan as it was, I unpicked the seams and took each piece back to a point where I could address this issue.

I will say here that I think this pattern would be ideal if you are used to knitting your sweaters top-down all in one piece, but want to branch out and try a pattern knit from the bottom up in pieces. I think you would end up with a fit you are very familiar and happy with from your previous projects. I don’t knit that type of garment because they don’t look like they would be a comfortable fit on me; although having modified this cardigan I might try an all-in-one construction sometime and modify it to suit me.

I have knitted raglan-sleeved garments in the dim and distant past, although a set-in sleeve suits me perfectly so I tend to stick with that, and I recalled that the sleeve decreases were worked until all the stitches were gone and the sleeve came to a point at the top. On this design, there is a shaped top to each sleeve. In order to get a close-fitting neck, I just carried on decreasing the sleeves as my previous experience dictated and then worked the shaping on the back and fronts to suit. This has given me the ideal result for my taste and it actually didn’t add more than a couple of days to the finishing of the project.

My second modification was to crochet the bands for the button, buttonhole, and neck edges rather than knitting them. Again, this is a result of past experience as I really like the finish a crocheted band provides, especially how neat the buttonholes are.

01-05-19 Gaudi buttonholes

I made my buttonholes quite close together, almost doubling the number of buttons called for, because of a discussion I had with one of my sisters when I was dithering over whether to knit this as a cardigan or change it to a jumper. With smaller gaps between the buttons it will be possible to wear it as a jumper when I want to.

So there it is, my completed cardigan and I can’t wait to be wearing it. I will post some modelled shots when I can grab them, but for now I’m just happy to have this one in my wardrobe. I love it.

01-05-19 Gaudi complete


 

Knit-Read-Blog

24-04-19 Gaudi pieces
When a plan starts to come together

This morning I have completed all the knitting on Gaudi. Hurrah! I must say, laying all the pieces out on my bed to photograph makes me feel more confident about the finished object than I have been in a fair while. I want to have this finished and wearable by the end of the month, so the next week will see me joining the pieces, putting on the crochet front bands and neckband, sewing on buttons, trying it on, then washing it (I always wash my completed projects before I wear them, rather than just pinning them out and dampening them to block). That still seems like an awful lot of work to achieve and I won’t be surprised if I over-run my self-imposed deadline.

One reason I’ve been working hard at this project for the past couple of weeks is a desire to dispose of the needles I chose to knit it. These are the 30cm length 4mm KnitPro Zing metal needles. I started on these because I mistakenly thought I didn’t have any of my preferred KnitPro Symfonie wooden needles in the 4mm size. I don’t swap needle types once I have started a project because I think I get a different gauge using metal needles compared to wooden needles. However, although metal needles are very good in thin gauges, by the time you get to 4mm, the design of the KnitPro Zing is not so good to my way of thinking. They are incredibly pretty, but I ‘throw’ my yarn which means the needle in my right hand moves about a fair bit and that heavy finial on the end gets very tiring. Funnily enough, the thing I hate about circular needles is that they don’t have an end to provide stability as I am throwing the yarn! Clearly I am very much the Goldilocks of the knitting community!

I think this pair is destined for the charity shop where I am sure they will find a home with someone who will love them. I might bundle them up with some wool to make a gift pack. I am going to have quite decent remnants of wool from this project but I’ll keep them to make a co-ordinating neck-warmer.

That’s all I have been doing on the knitting front.

24-04-19 Inside Vogue
Book co-ordinates with my knitting!

I have been in a bit of a reading lull recently, but have just started Alexandra Shulman’s account of Vogue’s 100th year and I am finding it very enjoyable. I have always been interested in clothes and fashion magazines; I love the film of The Devil Wears Prada and the documentary The September Issue which follows the making of the bumper fashion edition of American Vogue.

I also read Harpers Bazaar when I can afford it; that means not at present, although I do read their website to keep abreast of things. This morning I read a very interesting article on there Introducing Circular Fashion and it gave me much food for thought about making fashion more sustainable. As someone who is (forgive me if I am being too modest) making a brilliantly unsuccessful attempt to sell hand-knitted accessories, I am familiar with the dichotomy of encouraging people to buy less and encouraging them to buy what I want to sell them. On the face of it, paying a more realistic price for work that is going to last for years makes perfect sense. However, when faced with a pair of knitted fingerless mitts on Amazon for less than a pound compared to a hand-knitted pair on my Etsy shop for around £20 it’s hard to think about relative value. I know that I currently have less disposable income than at any time in my life and I am falling into a mindset of buying cheap rather than buying quality. I hardly think I am the only person in this position.

In her book, Alexandra Shulman talks about how sensible it would be to amass a collection of pieces that could be slotted into any issue of the magazine if needed, but how she finds that if she has such pieces she becomes unenthusiastic about them. This resonates with me because it is precisely what I find for my blog. After I publish a post I will, occasionally, be in a mood to continue writing and get part of the way through a couple of blog posts on what seem to be excellent ideas. Sometimes I even know the precise day I could publish them, yet I rarely do. It seems to me that they are not indicative of what is on my mind on that day, they do not appeal to me at that moment, and so they sit in my Drafts folder until I delete them. I applaud the people who can write and schedule their blogs in advance, but it has never been my way of writing and I don’t think it’s a way which enables me to produce my best work. I am thinking back to school when I was unable to write the outline of an essay and then write the essay, so used to write the essay then go back and write a synopsis/outline at the end (but don’t tell my teachers I did that!). Is it that I become too easily bored and once I’ve written the outline I’ve basically said what I want to say and am ready to move on to something completely different? Perhaps it is more that my creativity is greatest when I give it a free rein and an outline to me feels like a fence. And now I am thinking about horses show-jumping – whoa there, mind; get yourself back on track!

I hope the mid-week finds you in good spirits and making progress with your own projects.


 

Prescience

Not a quote of the week, but a word of the week:

Prescience (noun) – foreknowledge/foresight

I’ve been working hard on my knitting through the week and I am getting very close to completing the knitting part.

15-03-19 knit
The Wheatfields sleeveless pullover

I am very pleased with how this is looking. I plan to finish it with a simple crochet neckband and armbands to neaten up the edges. I still love the cream wool and I can imagine it knit up as a cricket jumper, the kind I wanted pretty much all through the 1980s. It would also be ideal for some of Marion Foales’ old 1980s patterns.

I thought I was having a day of procrastination yesterday as I spent far too much time sorting out old files on my computer’s external hard drive. Mainly it involved getting rid of innumerable duplicates/triplicates/infini-plicates! It was only when I sat down to do my creative writing later on in the evening that I realised how useful some of those unearthed items were. I came across some old snippets of writing from 2006 and the style I had used to write them entirely suited a couple of the characters in my novel.

Back in 2006 I wrote the following:

But you know these observations about these things I own and how I use them, they are all part of the back-story of me and when I create characters I need them to have this kind of back-story. Understanding how a person interacts with their possessions is incredibly useful for a writer. Or for one who is simply interested in human character.

Well, there I was, thirteen years later, using those observations to provide the back-story for a character in my novel. Now if that isn’t prescient, then I don’t know what is!


Have you had any experience of a thing that has taken a long time to reach fruition? I’d love to hear.

I remember my mum planting a rowan tree in our garden when I was a young girl and all the years when she watched it fail to put forth any kind of perceptible growth. I recall how it suddenly spurted with life the year she decided it was going to be dug up and scrapped if it didn’t make an effort before the autumn. Things can be like that.


 

In which progress is made

11-03-19 knit progress

We live in a universe in which stars are being born in clouds of gas whilst others cool and diminish; entire galaxies are spinning, colliding, grouping and re-forming. So it is with our everyday lives – there are things we have just started, others that we are making some kind of progress on or completed, and a few which we have abandoned.

I have made progress in my crafty life. The lace-pattern front of the sleeveless pullover is complete and I have made a start on the plain back. In tandem with this, in the past few days I have been playing with my French Knitting kit. I bought it years ago and I used a bit of the very basic nylon yarn included to construct a sample ‘tail’ of knitting then promptly put it in my knitting cabinet and ignored it. Now I am experimenting with a ball of Rowan SoftYak DK yarn which is 76% cotton, 15% Yak and 9% nylon. I’d love to know if anyone has used this for a garment and what they thought so I must check it out on Ravelry. My plan is to make something for myself and also as a prototype item I could put in my Etsy shop. I can’t explain what it is, because it’s not really something you can explain – you have to see it. It is inspired by a necklace I saw at the Norfolk Makers’ event cross-bred with an item that I have recently seen in pictures from a designer’s Autumn/Winter 2019 catwalk show.

I have also been working on some Mother’s Day cards to put in my Etsy shop and I’m pleased to say the two designs I’m doing this year are now for sale (clicking the picture captions will take you to my Etsy shop).

11-03-19 knit MD card
A Mother’s Joy
11-03-19 MD card 2
You’re a Gem

The cards feature simple, graphic designs infilled with images of swatches that I have knitted myself. I’m planning to expand what I offer in the way of printed knit-related products to include packs of inspiration cards on a knitting theme and I already have some birthday card designs in the pipeline. At present I’m offering two colourways, but I will increase this with more colours and some textures as time goes on. For my actual knitwear, I am looking at the relative merits of Etsy and Folksy. The latter being UK-based has appeal as I am keen to encourage more ‘local’ buying by not offering to send my hand-knits overseas. That’s not to say in any way that I want to exclude the non-UK residents, but to encourage them to support the skilled craftspeople in their own countries. This is the reason I buy yarns from indie-dyers who, like me, are based in the UK although I love to look at offerings by dyers working all over the world.

I am going great guns with my self-imposed month of creative writing challenge, although the format of the challenge has changed somewhat in the first week. I’ll do an update about this on Wednesday.

Well, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few days. I hope the weekend has been enjoyable and productive for all of you who so kindly read my blog. Feel free to let me know in the comments what crafty (or not-so-crafty) projects you are working on.


 

Landscapes, wheatfields

03-03-19 Writer

Last Saturday was my second trip to the Castle Writers’ group at Norwich Castle Museum and this time we covered the topic of landscape and how the setting can act like another character within your writing. This is a concept that I will have to work on because logic dictates that the landscape needs people to react with or, at the very least, a character to observe it. However powerful the elements are, they are only dramatic in terms of the effect they exert on a person or an object which we care about. That’s how it seems to me, but like I say, I need to work on it.

The other thing I am working on at the moment is a sleeveless pullover, a transitional piece to extend the life of winter dresses and blouses into the spring weather. Here it is so far:-

06-03-19 WIP
Fields of Wheat

I am absolutely loving working in my favourite Shetland yarn (J C Rennie Supersoft Shetland) which I am holding as a double-strand to work at approximately DK gauge. I am also enamoured of this particular shade. It is such a good, clotted-cream colour, neutral but uplifting. The lace pattern reminds me of wheatsheaves, thus I am thinking of this garment as Fields of Wheat. It is destined to go into my Etsy shop, worst luck, as part of me wishes I was knitting this for myself. I am knitting a small size, but I intend to make it available in a medium and large as well. The design will feature a v-neck and the back will be in stocking stitch.

I really enjoy knitting a nice, simple lace pattern and this one has proven to be quite easy to get the hang of. It has a 12-row repeat which is just right to do in one sitting, meaning I get a pleasing feeling of progress each time I work on the top. Even so, I am looking forward to getting the front finished because I just love a good expanse of stocking stitch.


I hope you are enjoying your current projects, whatever field they may be in. Do you have a work in progress that is making you smile?


 

A weekend chez moi

18-02-19 Pretty Norwich
How pretty was my city?

Good morning, my friends. I think today I am going to do a general round-up of things that I did over the weekend. Firstly, though, just how pretty does Norwich look with its wonderful watercolour sky?

On Saturday, I visited the Norfolk Makers’ Festival with one of my best friends who is also a very talented knitter, photographer and jewellery-maker. The Makers’ Festival is a celebration of local artisans and an opportunity for everyone to get involved and try out things they may never have done before. Some items are on sale, but that is not the main focus of the event. There are also lots of displays of creative items, including an entire knitted reproduction of the Golden Mile at Yarmouth in the 1970s – quite a sight! Two of my favourite works were the Poppy Curtain and the Suffrage Quilt.

My friend pointed out that it is very encouraging to see not only so many people at the event, but the number of young people having a go at a whole variety of different crafts. It certainly seems to grip the imagination every bit as much as the modern technologies.

18-02-19 Chopstick Spin
Gateway drug….

Whilst at the Festival, I decided to buy a little introductory Chopstick Spinning Kit. I have long been sitting on the fence about spinning; in some ways it intrigues me, but I feel it has the potential to just add clutter to my life without being something I really love to do. This kit seems the ideal way to try it out with very minimal investment just to determine whether it interests me enough to warrant putting time and money into practising it. Although it is quite limited, this kit is ideal to introduce the concept of adding twist to fibre, pinching it, allowing the twist to travel into the next part of the fibre, and plying the strand to make a length of yarn. After only a few hours playing with this, I can confidently predict that there will be a drop-spindle in my life in the very near future. It has also occurred to me that I will prefer to spin dyed bumps of fibre to natural fleece because you know me and colour – I am far more likely to want to keep spinning if there’s pretty effects happening as I go along.

The Festival runs until Sunday 24th February 2019 and I would highly recommend a visit if you are in or around Norwich this week.

18-02-19 Norfolk Makers
Love the irregular Granny Squares making up these blankets/hangings

I think that visit has led me to have a number of crafty thoughts throughout the weekend, and to clarify some things that I have been pondering for a while now. That hopefully means there will be some different items making their way into my very static Etsy shop between now and Easter. Prototypes need to be worked on.

By comparison, Sunday was a quiet day for me, just some knitting, some letter-writing (InCoWriMo is going very well this year, I am happy to report), quite a lot of Starsky and Hutch, and a portion of Christmas Pudding and Rum Sauce for my tea. I am so glad I decided to make a full batch of Christmas Pudding mix last year and freeze six portions to eat when I had a yen for it.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend and that you manage to do some fun things through the week too.


 

A weekend in review

Continuing with my slightly tardy theme, today I’m going to write about the various elements of my weekend.

On Saturday I went to a meeting of the Castle Writers Group at the Castle Museum, Norwich. This is a monthly meet-up that has been going on for many months now, but this is the first month that I have steeled myself and booked to join in. Now I regret not doing it sooner because it was brilliant. We spent two and a half hours exporing character including picking a face to write about – I chose the gentleman in the beret in the photos above; he has really gripped me. I waver between whether he is quite military, or bohemian. Either way, I adore him.

The meeting was quite structured and I really enjoyed the format. It was very much geared towards getting us thinking about a specific element of our creative writing and provided much food for thought and practice before the next meeting.

The desk in the photo montage is on display in the museum and it represents a typical curator’s desk. It is one of the pieces I always go and look at whenever I visit the museum because I find it very inspiring.

In the evening I had a meal at Yo! Sushi with my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. It was a really enjoyable meal with good food and good company. The food going round on conveyor belts is guaranteed to entertain young and old alike. When we left the restaurant Norwich was having one of its very few wintery showers. We have only had one real snow shower this winter and even then it didn’t linger, otherwise just a few sharp frosts and a couple of bouts of sleet.

On Sunday morning I sat and finished reading Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Killing Commendatore, a thoroughly enjoyable read. It is a reasonably long novel at around 680 pages of medium-sized text and I didn’t exactly speed through it, although I did read for longer periods from about halfway through. Murakami’s works are usually told from the point of view of a single character and this is no exception. Our hero is an artist, in the process of divorcing from his wife and settling into a house owned by the father of his friend and agent, Masahiko Amada, after spending the winter on an extended road trip. Masahiko’s father is Tomohiko Amada, a renowned artist who has worked in the Japanese tradition since he returned to Japan just before the second world war. He is suffering from dementia and is living out his final days in a nursing home. Three things happen which combine to catapault our leading man into an increasingly surreal landscape, and which also act as a catalyst for his personal art. He discovers an unknown painting by Tomohiko Amada, he makes the acquaintance of a man who lives on the opposite side of the valley – the strangely charismatic and possibly dangerous Menshiki, and he discovers a pit in the garden of Amada’s house. From these three events, all manner of inexplicable tendrils branch out; some things are resolved by the end of the novel, but by no means all of the questions asked get answered.

I am going to include one quote from the novel, simply because it made me laugh when I read it. It concerns Menshiki, who is a bit of a Gatsby-type figure, and who has cooked our hero an omelette.

The omelette wasn’t just pretty to look at – it was delicious.
“This omelette is perfection,” I said.
Menshiki laughed. “Not really. I’ve made better.”
What sort of omelette could that have been? One that sprouted wings and flew from Tokyo to Osaka in under two hours?

Also on Sunday, I made a batch of Date Slices – shown in my photo prior to cutting. Actually, I could so easily just have left it in one piece and gobbled my way through it, but I really made it for sharing. I love Date Slices and bake them to a recipe from Cranks, the wholefood restaurant.

Of course, Friday 1st February marked the beginning of the International Correspondence Writing Month and so I wrote letters on Saturday and Sunday. So far I have written and posted a letter a day, which is the object of the exercise. I hope this year I can make it through the whole month because last year I failed miserably. In fact, I got so far behind I just gave up.

The thing I didn’t do so much of is knitting, and I do find that if I get immersed in reading something the knitting tends to lag behind, and if I get immersed in my knitting the reading lags. I wonder if I am using the same part of my brain for both, so either ones satisfies the urges?

I hope you had a good weekend, and have been reading, writing, knitting, or doing other things entirely, but all to you own heart’s content.


 

Project status update

28-01-19 old gold

Now I see the photo and compare it with the one I took last week, I can see that there has been a little progress on the knitting front, but all of that progress was achieved yesterday. Prior to that I had hit a bit of a dead-end. Having started two garment projects, and then set them aside to knit socks, I felt gung-ho at the start of the week about returning to my works in progress, working on them turn and turn about, and getting both of the finished in the coming few weeks. I didn’t knit a stitch on either of them. If there was a Eurovision Knitting Contest (which surely couldn’t be any less entertaining than the Eurovision Song Contest), I would score a well-deserved “Nul points”.

On Saturday, when I could have been knitting, I was sitting in a cafe eating Carrot Cake (contributing to my less than stellar week on the diet front too!) and reading some notes I took a while back on an article entitled Stop Shuffling and Start Creating, over on Charley Gilkey’s blog, Creative Flourishing. What I had taken from it were that your ongoing projects can only be in a limited number of ‘states’:-

Active – you are actively pursuing it at the present moment; if it’s not complete yet, it is down to you to do it.

On Hold – you are waiting on something else – a person or a resource – in order to complete this; or it is simply stalled.

Completed – self-explanatory.

Dead – You need to be able to determine the difference between projects On Hold which you will one day complete and the ones that you are never going to complete. The dead ones you need to ditch.

When you move your focus from one project to another, the projects swap between being Active and On Hold, and each time you do this you lose momentum and it takes a while to regain it. In the strictest sense, the movement isn’t just a big “I’m going to stop working on this for a few weeks,” decision – it happens every time you pause or stop one thing and pick up something different.

So, how does this relate to my knitting? Well, as I said last week, I wasn’t entirely sure which way I wanted to go with the Gaudi project and I kept dithering over it all week. Instead of working on Old Gold until I had decided about Gaudi, I just put off working on either project. One of my sisters made a very useful observation, that it would be better to continue with Gaudi as a cardigan rather than adapting it into a jumper, because that would be more versatile, and I agreed with that, but I still had to ponder a while longer before I could sort out my feelings.

As a result of thinking about project status ideas on Saturday, I came to the following conclusions:-

  • I want to knit Gaudi as a cardigan
  • I want to knit Old Gold as a jumper
  • I currently want to finish and wear a jumper

So, now Gaudi is On Hold. I am working on Old Gold. When I finish Old Gold, I will go back to Gaudi. It is that simple. And if it is that simple, why did I have to go such a complicated route to make my decision?

Well. my mum would have told me that the reason it took a while to decide was because the time wasn’t right. As soon as the time was right, the decision was made. This isn’t the same as a fatalistic attitude because in that you believe that events are pre-determined, whereas the timing thing seems to be more about needing all the pieces of the jigsaw to be in place in order to move forward.

Another area in which I am suddenly making decisions, is my wardrobe. I was going to dispose of my old winter coat because it’s a little ‘tired’ and because it hasn’t been worn for a couple of years due to not fitting (and because I bought a replacement). This morning it caught my eye and I realised I still really like it; it fits like a dream again; it just need a serious de-pilling and the buttons replacing. I already have two sets of buttons which would work. So there’s a little project for me to work on.

28-01-19 resurrect

I feel I am moving forward once again and that is a relief. How are you doing?


 

Finished object – Kingfisher in Fangorn Forest Socks

 

 

I finished knitting my socks on Sunday and I’m really pleased with them. This is the first project I have both cast on and finished in 2019, and my second completed item this year, which is admirable progress.

First off, I want to say how very happy I was with the yarn for this project. It is Noodle Soup Yarns’ MCN Luxe sock yarn in the Spooky Smog colourway from last autumn. This is a 3-ply sock yarn comprising 80% superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% nylon. It comes in at 350m/382 yards per 100g skein, which indicates that it is rather thicker than a standard sock yarn and that has resulted in a nice squooshy fabric. It can be machine-washed at 30º which is how I generally wash my socks anyway, although I understand they may survive longer if they are hand-washed.

The colour of the yarn is just amazing, deep and rich, and slightly brooding. It is not quite my all-time favourite colour combination, but it’s close. My favourite combination is one I think of as “bruise” – greens and blues and pinky-purples and a tiny bit more washed-out than this deep shade. I want to note that whilst I was knitting I didn’t find the colour coming off on my hands, an experience I have had with some other hand-dyed yarns in deep colourways. Personally, I love how the colours have ended up spiralling around these socks.

The pattern is just a plain old vanilla sock using the instructions I have had since I first started knitting socks in the “olden days” (this covers anything more than ten years/two jobs ago). I have tweaked it by replacing the standard wedge toe with the “barn toe” as I find this slightly deeper variation suits my feet well. I made these socks a good length, as befits thicker socks that will be welcome in colder weather, and I ended up with 26g of the wool left over. This should make toes for at least one, maybe two more pairs of socks.

I always knit my socks using four double-point 20cm needles. I cast on 60 stitches, with 15 stitches on each of two needles for the back of the leg and foot, and 30 stitches on a third needle for the front. This makes it a cinch to know exactly where you are on a round of knitting, and I find it makes working the sock very easy. Probably because I am so used to knitting this way, when I do try to use circular needles and a magic loop method, or even the two circular needles method, it just seems unnecessarily complex.

So now all that is left is to wash them (I always wash my knits on completion) and pop them in the sock drawer. Should be ready for the cold snap we’re expecting over the weekend.

Next up, it’s back to the Gaudi jumper, which in my mind is getting more and more modified as the days go by. I need to complete the back of it, which shouldn’t take too long now the socks are done.


 

Inspiration and a Sopwith Camel

It has been a funny old week, with me veering wildly between a total lack of inspiration and an outpouring of inspiration that didn’t know where to stop. Not the kind of week where I have been able to get things under control; and when I say “things” I mean my head.

There is a lot of wisdom to be found on the subject of inspiration and the advice unwaveringly boils down to “don’t wait for inspiration, build a solid practice of turning up to your creative deeds and the inspiration will follow”. This is good advice and it actually works. It is how people get their books written, their jumpers knitted, their paintings done, their cakes baked. I know myself just how effective it can be. That is, except on the occasions when you just can’t think of a single thing to write about (or knit, or cook, or paint, or wherever your personal creative muse pushes you).

My periods of inspiration this week have been mainly confined to the realm of knitting, partly a personal project which I will share with you later in the month (nothing major, but I worked on it yesterday and it provided me with some laughs and an interesting insight into my yarn-buying habits); and partly on a product idea for my Etsy shop which I need to complete, photograph and load up for sale. This is all very good, except my aim for this week was to balance my time between trying to find some paying work, sorting the prototype item for my shop, and doing some creative writing and only one of those three was actually getting done.

This is where the inspiration part really comes into play, because at tea-time yesterday I had a spiffing short story title pop into my head unbidden (well, actually it was something I said out loud to myself and then thought “Blast, that would make a good short story!”) so I jotted it down for consideration at a later date. When I sat down later in the evening to read the Haruki Murakami novel I got for Christmas – which is, by the way, every bit as brilliant as all his previous works – I read exactly one paragraph before I realised that I really wanted to be writing something rather than reading, so I wrote a few paragraphs of the short story. It felt very good indeed to make a start on it.

Now, to less esoteric business. Normally on a Friday I would bring you a Quote of the Week, but this week I wanted to share something I read as I was out and about in Norwich.

07-01-19 sopwith camel
The Sopwith Camel, built in Norwich by Boulton and Paul

This is part of a plaque that is sited in the Riverside complex in my home city of Norwich, UK. I think I knew before that the Sopwith Camel was built in Norwich, but it’s one of those facts I forget for long periods of time. This particularly charms me because as a teenager I was very fond of the Peanuts cartoons by Charles M Schultz and Snoopy often pretended his kennel was a Sopwith Camel.

And, of course, as soon as I think of Snoopy, I think of my favourite ever Snoopy image. I was somewhere between the ages of 16 and 18 when I purchased the following greeting card which I kept in physical form for many, many years, but now I only have the scanned image. For me, this is the quintessential Snoopy.

 

I have, thus far, managed to avoid using my little typewriter to draft any stories, but how long can it be?


I hope this little ramble has amused you momentarily and that you have, perhaps, had a more productive week than I have managed.