knitting

Whipping up the WIP’s

With knitting I used to be very much in the mindframe of ‘I’ve started it so I’ll finish’ but recently I have realised the merits of having a number of projects on the needles…

Grab and Go Knitting

Ever since I made my first pair of aran weight socks in January I have been addicted. The pattern is easy to follow and because they are made in aran weight yarn they are quick to whip up! Now I am familiar with the pattern this has become a firm favorite for travel and conversational knitting. The current socks are being made in Old Maiden Aunt yarn in the Hebridean colourway. Here is sock 1 of 2…

Aran sock

I started this sock on a work trip to Manchester a couple of weeks ago. I was on the train for about 3 hours and during that time I managed to drink a hot chocolate and eat a kit kat and a bag of malteasers…it was totally the yarns fault you understand!

And hot on the heels (if you’ll excused the pun…) is 2 of 2…

Aran sock no 2

I’m working few days in London next week so this will be coming with me 🙂

The YouTube / Podcast Knitting

I like to have a project on the kitchen table that I can pick up when watching catch up TV or my favourite YouTube podcasts. Currently on the needles is this super cute Kitty Cushion by the super talented textile designer Nicky Barfoot.

Kitty Cushion

I started the back this weekend…

IMG_7272

Tele / Film Knitting

This project lives on the sofa and a few rows are done each night whilst watching the box with Mr. A. These are the Helix socks from the ‘Two at a Time Toe Up socks’ book by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.

Helix Socks

They are coming on nicely now – although I did have to rip back a few inches after I forgot to do the gusset increases…oopsy!

The Do Not Disturb Knitting

These are the projects that require the concentration. Lately I have been working on a new design, it started as my final piece for the C&G course module 5, but after talking to my tutor on the weekend away in March I realised I hadn’t fulfilled the design brief properly so I need to re-start it. But this design wouldn’t leave me be so I just had to finish it!

Another Story

I finished making it last weekend and now it is blocked. I just love the difference blocking can make to lace knitting, it really opens it out beautifully.

Another Story Lace

I’m nearly done with writing up the pattern now, then it will go for tech editing and test knitting 🙂

The Long Term WIP

Is the C&G course…I really need to get module 5 under my belt now, it’s been over a year! I have set aside some time next weekend to crack on and work on my final design. Wish me luck!

So what about you, how many WIP’s do you have? Do you have different projects for different knitting occasions?

 

knitting, Spinning

Putting a Spin on Knit

I have been interested in learning how to spin on a spindle since I saw the Spin City stall at Festiwool last November and Louise, the owner, was kind enough to give us a quick demonstration.

Spin City SpindesI was tempted to buy one there and then but I held off as I had a lot of other projects to be getting on with that the time. So when my friend (and podcaster extraordinaire) Vero mentioned doing a spinning session at our monthly knit night I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to give a go!

Vero kindly put in an order at Spin City for some spindles and luckily they arrived on Wednesday night, just in time for knit night 🙂 This was the spindle I chose.

Spin City SpindleVero also brought along some bags of fibre for us to try with the spindles.

Spindles and fibreWe joined the fibre to the spindle using a piece of scrap yarn…

Spindle

And off we went!

Spinning

This was my very first attempt and as you can see the yarn is varying in thickness…I have a lot of practicing to do!

Today I took the yarn off the spindle and transferred it to the middle of a kitchen roll as I was curious to see how it would knit up. You can see how uneven it is from the stitches on the needle…

Knitted hand spun

…and just look at the cast on stitches too! I kinda like it though 🙂

The drafting and spinning process hasn’t ‘clicked’ for me yet but I am sure it will with more practice. And on that note I’m off to give it another go – wish me luck! 🙂

knitting, Photography

#Beautifying March #Instagram

One of my ‘things to do in 2016’ is to learn more about photography and back in January I signed up to do a ‘Photography for Knitting & Crochet Course’ with Emily Quinton at Makelight. However, due to unforeseen circumstances the course was rescheduled to March and I couldn’t attend as it clashed with the  C&G knitting weekend.

So instead I signed up to take one of the Makelight online courses Beautify your Instagram.

I’ve had an Instagram account for a while but only really used it for taking pictures of the cats or pretty sunsets. But spending time looking through other people’s pictures made me realise that it is actually a great platform to engage with other like-minded knitters and crafters.

The course encourages you to use your iphone or smartphone for taking and editing pictures (this appealed to me very much as my DSLR scares me bit!) And each day for 5 days a video from Emily would drop into my inbox offering lot’s of inspiration and handy tips on how to take beautiful flatlay photographs.

Some of the many topics covered included: using natural light, composition and styling, using hashtags, creating a beautiful gallery and forward planning. There was also a Facebook Group set up for all students on this course so we could discuss the lessons and share ideas.

I couldn’t wait to get started! One of the first things Emily asks you to do is think about what you want to use Instagram for and the audience that you want to attract and engage in. That was easy for me – it’s all about the knitting!

I started by gathering a selection of different backgrounds that I could use in the pictures.

Photograph backgrounds.JPG

I already had a selection of 12″ x 12″ scrapbooking papers, a neutral colour cotton table mat, and peeking through top left is a dark grey slate tile which I bought for a couple of pounds at Homebase, which works surprisingly well as a background. Next time I go I’m going to look out for a marble tile too.

Then I put together a prop box of things that could be used in the photographs such as buttons, stitch markers, pretty little boxes, beads, notebooks etc

Prop Box.JPG

It’s been rather fun to look at things with fresh eyes and think how it could work in a photograph – I’ve dusted off many trinkets and keepsakes hidden in the back of a cupboard that I could include in future photo’s 🙂

Here is the first lot of photo’s taken at the start of the course, playing around with content and composition.

Layouts.jpg

One of the tip’s Emily gives is to make sure you post regular content on Instagram and to that effect I have been posting up 1 photo a day. For me this requires a bit of forward planning as I work during the week so I have to set up my photo’s at the weekends. I am hoping that the more practiced I get the quicker I will become, but at the moment I am spending quite a bit of time thinking about each image – for every one I post there are at least 10 more that didn’t make the cut!

Here are a few that I am really happy with:

Vintage purse

The starting point for this photo was the gorgeous vintage evening bag given to me by my mother-in-law, so I went for a silver theme.

Starting a shawl

This one is of the start of a new project, I noticed that tea features quite a bit in styled Instagram pics so I thought I would give it a go too.

Stitch samples

Knitting and flowers seem to be a winning combination 🙂 (The stitch samples here are the Roman Stripe stitch and the Eiffel Tower Stitch).

And finally….introducing the cat lay!

Cat lay

Er, Mr. Pea!!!

Mr Pea

He does like to ‘help’ with things 🙂

The course has given me so much to think about and I have very much enjoyed the new channel of creativity it has inspired. If you are interested in learning more about the course details can be found on the Makelight Website.

And if you are on Instagram do come and say hello, I am on there as @jemarrowsmithknits

 

The Month That...

March: The month that…

Hello! This year I am writing a monthly post on things that wouldn’t always warrant a full blog post. Inspired by the weekly ‘Sunday Seven’s’ devised by Nat at Threads and Bobbins  the series is a great way to share little moments by posting 7 pictures of your week and letting people know what you have been up to. As much as I enjoy reading other blogger’s Sunday Sevens I’m just not disciplined enough for weekly scheduled blogging so I am doing a monthly round up instead, just of little things that fall outside of my normal knitty posts.

So here it is, March: The month that…

We Dusted off the BBQ

Sunday the 6th March was Mother’s Day here in the UK so we invited our Mum’s over to ours for a BBQ. I know it’s not quite BBQ season yet but we couldn’t resist! Mr. A’s BBQ’s are legendary with our friends and family, he doesn’t go for the traditional sausage and burger fare, instead he makes up delicious kebabs which are cooked over coals on the mangal.

BBQ

Our Mum’s really enjoyed them and we had a lovely day together 🙂

I went on a Spa Day

On the Monday after the knitting weekend in Portsmouth I had a day booked off work to go to a spa for a day of pampering with 2 of my close friends. We went to Sopwell House in St. Albans where I had a facial and a back massage. Oh it was heaven…

We even had a cheeky little glass of prosecco with our lunch 🙂

Spa Day

I Beautified March

I will do a more detailed post on this next week but I took the Beautify Your Instagram  online course run by Emily Quinton at Makelight. I am fairly new to Instagram but it’s fast becoming one of my favourite social media platforms, I love seeing other people’s photo’s and being inspired by their images and projects.

I signed up to this course after seeing Emily’s beautiful flat lay photographs, they are simply stunning. If you are on Instagram do go and have a look at @emilyquinton

Since doing the course I have been taking time every week to work on my own flat lays with the aim of building up a beautiful and inspiration gallery that I hope other knitters and crafters can enjoy.

This is one of my favourite images so far…

Socks

The project is the ‘Helix‘ two at a time toe up socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.

Our ‘Mikro Fraoula’ is now a ‘Megalo Fraoula’!

If you are a returning reader you may recall my post from last year about how we were adopted by a tiny kitten in Greece – Our ‘Mikro Fraoula’ (Little Strawberry). Well our little strawberry has now grown up into a big strawberry! Last week we received an update from ASAP the animal charity on Alonissos to say that he (yep, he’s definitely a boy cat – we weren’t sure before as he was so tiny) is at a shelter and is doing really well. He has been neutered and is very friendly and is being very well fed.

This is how small he was when we last saw him…he was only as big as my flip flop!

IMG_3204

And this is him now…

Stannis!

Isn’t he a beauty! I can’t wait to go and see him this year…I wonder if he will recognise us?

I wish there was some way we could magic him over here, although I’m not sure Mr. Pea and Micicles would appreciate us adding another cat to the fold.

Cats

I love this picture. Mr. Pea was just chilling and watching me knit when Micicles jumped up on the table.That look says it all – 30 seconds later Mr. Pea was well and truly usurped!

Until next time! x