Monday, September 18, 2017

What what

Hey blogosphere, what's up? We've had an eventful few months. My wee bean turned one, I went back to work part-time, we took a trip to Canada, and I actually knit some things! I've been more active on instagram lately, since it doesn't involved as much typing/thinking, so go check it out if you like: @goodenoughknits.

Let's talk about the knitting.

A post shared by Leah W (@goodenoughknits) on

Pattern: Pendragon Socks by Erica Lueder
Yarn: Bog-standard Regia
Mods: Cast-on 64 stitches to accommodate gauge. Accidentally changed cable pattern on the foot due to lack of attention - eh, it's fine.
Notes: I made these for my mum since I promised her socks last year but never managed to make any. (I blame baby.)

A post shared by Leah W (@goodenoughknits) on

Pattern: Umbel by Andrea Halasi
Yarn: Easyknits Deeply Wicked in Queenie
Mods: Twisted stitches for the motifs, regular lace bind-off instead of picots.
Notes: This is yarn I bought several EYFs ago, and I'm so happy I've been able to use it. It's gorgeous and rich - I already have plans to use the leftovers as an accent colour in something else.

And an un-hibernated WIP!

A post shared by Leah W (@goodenoughknits) on

Pattern: Cattails by Melissa Schaschwary
Yarn: Rowan Creative Linen
Notes: This is the first time I've worked with linen and I really like it! I don't find cotton hard on my hands, generally, and this cotton-linen blend is just fine. The cotton probably softens the linen considerably. I'm still curious to try 100% linen some time. I'm pleased with my progress on this, although I may end up with a finished summer cardigan in the middle of winter. #slowknitterproblems. I'm currently fighting with the hem because either I'm a dumbass or the pattern is unclear or a combination of both. After ripping it out twice, I'm about to start a third time and I think I know what I'm doing now. (Other than this blip the rest of the pattern has been very simple and clear to work from.)

I've fallen woefully behind on blog reading, since I have spent months at a time mostly accessing the internet from my phone. First because baby would only nap in my lap, then because the only free moments I had were when he was nursing. I did get a blog reader app, but I forgot I had it and got overwhelmed with all I had missed... So anyway, what's been up with you?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2017

Oh my goodness. I went to EYF again this year and my head just about exploded. I love EYF. This year's festival was fantastic - so many incredible yarns and people! I went on Saturday, which was supposedly quieter than Friday, but it was still heaving.

This year I brought the Bean with me, strapped to my chest in the carrier, and I was exhausted before we even started. In the middle of our day we had a nice rest in the Podcast Lounge where I chatted with some lovely people and he had a nap. (I stupidly left my knitting in the bag I dumped in the cloakroom. Fail.) I found some new podcasters to check out and I gushed awkwardly at Louise of KnitBritish, whose podcast I enjoy very much. It's kept me company during many marathon nursing sessions since the Bean's birth and inspired me quite a lot. (She was very gracious and hopefully not creeped out. I have an introvert's fear of coming across like a weirdo, which I think makes me even more awkward when introducing myself to people I admire.)

But the marketplace! The marketplace!

Long-time readers may recall that last year I was strategic. I made a focused shortlist of things to consider buying, and oddly enough I pretty much stuck to the list. This year? Focus is in short supply. I couldn't come up with a shortlist, although I scrolled through the list of vendors repeatedly attempting to do so. Never mind.

I came out with this:

Travelknitter BFL Supersock in Raspberry Beret and Puddled Iron; Phileas Yarns Wanderlust DK in Tamegroute; project bag from Little Grey Girl; book by Tin Can Knits

Some yarn, project bag, a book. A smallish haul, but I am pleased with it. Normally I am all about the yarn at yarn festivals, but this year I found myself looking at other stuff more. Since I don't have much knitting time or ability to focus these days, my existing stash has been weighing on me. I have so much lovely yarn, but it sits there waiting for me. And as it sits, and sits, my goals for it change. Also I haven't used any of th yarn I bought last year at EYF despite my focus. So it feels good to add a few beautiful skeins to the stash this year but not to go overboard.

I realised that I need to stock up on zipper project bags because The Bean can now reach my knitting table and pull my drawstring bags down to play with them. He doesn't understand zippers yet (I know this will come with time), so I don't mine if he plays with a zippered pouch. Yes, I could sew one, but do I have the time? So I bought one and I love it. My current, largely neglected, sock project now lives there.

The yarn? Apparently I'm into BFL right now, since all the yarn I bought has it. BFL is great. The current plan for the Phileas yarn is His Golden Lair by Kourtney Robinson. I have had this pattern for a long time but never found the right yarn for it. I may have to fiddle with it a bit since it's written for worsted weight and I have DK. No plans for the Travelknitter yet. I could conceivably knit socks with it, since BFL/Nylon will be pretty sturdy. I suspect I'll go for some neckwear, though.

Wheee. What a day. I left the festival incredibly overwhelmed but also inspired to make better use of my limited crafting time. By the way, I finally started a public Instagram for my crafty endeavours: predictably, @goodenoughknits. You will find more EYF photos and enthusiasm there.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A tale of two swap parcels

Nearly every year I participate in a swap with some lovely Ravelry friends. A group of volunteers pairs people up secretly so that each person knows who they are sending to but not who is sending to them. I always have a lot of fun finding gifts to send to my swap partner, usually including yarn and tasty treats. Last summer's swap turned out a bit differently than usual for hilarious reasons and I have to share the story with you, albeit belatedly.

I sent off my parcel and waited eagerly to receive one, but it was slow to arrive. That in itself wasn't a surprise since most of the swappers are in the USA - I figured mine would be coming from overseas. When the designated opening day came and went with no parcel I started to get worried that it was lost or stolen. Or held up at customs anyway. I went on holiday and hoped to return to an exciting parcel... But there was nothing. I resigned myself.

Then, the fantastic swap-runners came up with a replacement parcel for me! It contained many gorgeous things including yarn, fabric, and a pretty notebook with a teal theme. Plus a cute baby top for the bean! I love teal and I was so touched by their generosity.

I moved on with my life until a few weeks later, about 3 months after it had been sent, I received my original parcel! We'd been joking that a blind donkey had it... Seems that wasn't far off.

 Who knows why it went to Belize before coming to Scotland... But I am so glad it got here eventually. Wish it could have sent me postcards on its travels.

The original parcel had a purple theme, with note cards, yarn, buttons, bath scrub, and fancy pens.

I think I will sit out on the swap next time since I've ended up with more than my fair share of lovely gifts. I'd like to pay it forward, though - if they need a swap angel next time, I'm there!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

O Hai Interwebs

An update of sorts. Since we last spoke, I have been busy! Mostly busy chasing The Bean around our still-not-baby-proof flat trying to prevent him from destroying himself/everything else. He stopped napping in his bed a few months ago, and after some wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth on my part, I have basically given up on that for now - so I do actually get some knitting done when he snoozes in my lap. The picture above is the only one I managed to get of the mittens I knit for him - we lost one soon after, so now he wears socks I made from the same yarn on his hands. (Don't have a pic of those.)

I managed to finish his Hoist the Sails pullover (pattern by Triona Murphy), and it's lovely. Way too warm for my little furnace most of the time here, but it's good as an outer layer on really cold days. (It wasn't too short on him, just riding up in the picture. Next time I would make it longer anyway.)

And bonus photo of the zigzag hat I made before he was born - it's getting too small now, so I should try to make another hat to last him the rest of the winter. Maybe a pussy hat.

Just a note: the formatting is all weird because I am posting from my phone as Bean naps on me. I can't be bothered to wrestle with links either... So, sorry. 

Hope you are all doing well and navigating the horror of the modern world with fierce determination and pointy sticks in hand. I will be back again with an update on my current projects and queueing and dismay at the world we've built for our children soon!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Family influence

The new season of A Playful Day podcast is about family, and she asks how family influences making. Let's be honest: that is pretty much my favourite thing to talk about these days, judging from every single post since baby. The main theme right now is "family influences my crafting by taking away my time to do it."

As I have mentioned before, I spend a lot of time stuck in the disconnect between crafting plans / desires and actual crafting. My queue balloons with new ideas (many of them baby things) and my stash balloons with new materials... And then I spend my days taking care of my wee one, whose needs constantly change but get no less demanding as the weeks go by. The lack of actual crafting just feeds the queueing and stashing further. It's getting out of control!

Hoist the Sails sweater by Triona Murphy

To be fair, this has happened to me whenever I haven't had crafting time. My dreams get too big. It's not just because of the baby. The difference now is that I feel pressure to knit faster to make baby things before he grows out of them. It's doomed to fail!

It's not just time. My materials at different (all superwash all the time) and so are the projects I choose (stockinette and garter ftw!)

I managed to get some knitting done while nursing a while back, until the Bean learned that grabbing is super fun. So now I try and get a few rows in while he sleeps. After a couple of weeks of very frustrating naps, I have given in and decided to embrace the opportunity to knit while he sleeps on me, rather than just queuing and online shopping through it. I am still not making much progress, but for now I will take what I can get.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Accidental Heirlooms, pt 1

I have never made anything that could become an heirloom. (Possible exception - maybe my wedding shawl?) Generally, I make things so that I can use them in my everyday life. I'm not always super practical about it (see last post about superwash yarns...), but neither do I make tons of special occasion things that get used once and then put away. That's what I've always assumed one did with heirlooms, because how else would they last for generations? As it turns out, heirlooms don't have to be delicate fancy creations.

When my son was born I received some things that have turned out to be heirlooms, even if they were never intended as such.

Here's the Bean in a sweater my grandmother knitted for me when I was a baby, on a quilt that my other grandmother made for me. I wore the sweater (easy care acrylic, definitely washable) as a wee thing and I used the quilt on my bed throughout my childhood. He'll grow out of the sweater too quickly, I'm sure, but the quilt should last a while yet. Who knows if these things will pass down to another generation, but for now I'm glad to give them to my baby from his great-grandmothers.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Shifting priorities

When I was pregnant, I obsessed over knitting with machine washable yarn for baby things. Babies are messy, I reasoned, and life is too short to hand wash pee and puke out of things frequently. I was not wrong.

As it turns out, though, I neglected to think of my own clothes. I thought I would go back to knitting the sweaters from my queue once I regained some semblance of non-preggo shape, but I didn't consider that most of the yarn I have lined up for said queue is not machine washable. And I find myself covered in bodily fluids that are not my own sometimes multiple times a day.

DUH! I hear you shout. Of course the baby's mess is not confined to his own clothes! And yet I totally didn't consider this before the baby arrived for some reason.
Anyway. My priorities for my own making are shifting. I foresee much super wash in my future. On that note, I started knitting Cattails in some Rowan Creative Linen, which is a 50% cotton 50% linen blend. It's not advertised as machine washable, but washing and drying my swatch produced no ill effects, so I'm going with it. Bonus: lots of stockinette means that I can knit a few stitches and put it down without losing my place - necessary in these days of uncertain naps.