This is for a side project – regular readers will have seen some of these bits and bobs before, some will be new.
These images represent a selection from a portfolio I’ve maintained over the last several years – some of them a lino-prints, some pencil and ink, some watercolour pencil and ink. I call them ‘mandalas’ which suggests that they are an aid to meditation – but not necessarily relaxation. They reflect my fascination with decoration and pattern, symmetry and tessellation, and perhaps grew out of some time spent in the Middle East.
The next set of photos give some small flavour of the work I did while running a small, traditional knitting shop in Rossendale. I came to the business with no experience at all and quickly learned to plan seasonal campaigns, choose yarn and manufacturers, deal with reps and salesmen, put together shop windows and knit samples. I also wrote a few patterns: for socks, scarfs, hats and baby jackets (seen below)
As a side project I’ve also been developing a graphic alphabet , experimenting with embroidery and trying my hand at quilting.
Back home and recuperating quickly after my op: the new knee is bedding in nicely (did you know that they try and send you home after a mere one night in hospital these days? Nope, me neither, and when it was suggested, I had a panic attack and practically begged to be able to stay in for one more night….).
I mentioned that I had a heap of projects all ready for the ‘sitting down’ epic? Well, I overlooked a couple of things 1. strong painkillers + brain power = concentration sucks 2. sitting + new knee = pain. So I am not making great progress through my ‘to do’ list. In fact I don’t have a single finished item to show for the last couple of weeks and very little knitting done in general. I have got an idiot proof crochet blanket (round and round and round – in variegated yarns) which is pretty much the only thing that’s getting done. This weird Franken-crochet is already destined for the inside of my car bless it. It’s moderately entertaining for my whacked-out brain – but it ain’t pretty.
I’m hoping that this upcoming third week post-op will see my mobility improve and the pain-relief fall back a bit. I’ve identified some sewing gaps that need filling. I had to purchase some t-shirts on line to go with the loose trousers I’m currently obliged to wear… my baggy top collection was not an attractive pairing with my baggy pant collection and through some further oversight, both largely consisted of contrasting shades of navy blue. Sigh. #nobuyzone is in tatters at this stage: I guess I should review it?
Anyhoo – normal service will be resumed at some point – I hope!
I haven’t had the op yet and I’ve not been away, and I’ve not given up blogging either but I have been a trifle distracted lately…. the op (total knee replacement on the 24th of this month) is playing on my mind rather and it’s been hard to concentrate on anything that isn’t related to it/involving it/tangentially something to do with it….for example
I have organised my post-op wardrobe – no skinny jeans for me for a while (if you’ve ever looked at my insta-feed – joatvillagewoolly – you’ll realise that I don’t really do outfits that don’t involve skinny jeans. This is a bit of a wrench. To put it mildly. But I have (wo)manned up and I now have a wardrobe full of clean clothes and an outfit to come home in…..
I am tidying cupboards – any cupboard. Just in case anyone who isn’t me has to go find something. Oh dear god – my house will be at the mercy of all these menfolk – help!
I am worrying…. a lot…. about how I will fill all those hours when I will be obliged to sit on my ass – with no access to my car, my sewing machine (foot pedals are going to be a no-no) or my desk…
….and in consequence I have started organising a lot of knitting. I currently have around six projects bagged up (with patterns in cute bags) ready to go. There are 2 half socks, two shawls,two sweaters and a blanket…ok, seven projects ready to go. Not to mention a kinda pattern that I’mhalf working on (oh, eight projects) plus the unfinished/on a break bits and bobs that every knitter has (a Cline for example. And half a mitten set that stalled when Spring sprang). Which brings us up to a round dozen…. there’s an argument that by the time I finish this lot I won’t just be recovered, I will be nearly 70 years old.
Anyways – I most probably won’t be around so much for a while but naturally I will be knitting, and when I’m back at the computer I hope you’ll keep me company again.
Ta ta for now.
Here’s some pretty pictures from recent travels with Vanda and friends…
So, darlings, I have a date for my op – the 24th of May – and I honestly couldn’t be less thrilled about it. Sure I know that the benefits will outweigh the short term consequences, and I’m grown up enough to be ‘down’ with that, but…..
Anyhoo – this isn’t a blog about me whinging about impending surgery (just think if I lived in the US I’d have to pay for it too…. and I’m lucky to be in a country that views the health of its citizens to be something that the country invests in blah blah blah…) so let’s get down to knitting and crochet….
First off – finished projects
The cowl is huge and squooshy and will be handy when Winter comes – the yarn, colour and stitch combo make it super-lovely and however you wrap it around yourself its cosy (I put in a single twist for fun)..
… the socks (destined to be gifted, are vanilla toe-up but the yarn (this one by Stylecraft) is lovely. But I think that the star of this FO show is the blanket. My Sunspots throw is on its way to Vanda but for now its decorating whatever I’m sitting on so I can stroke it and admire my handwork. It’s based on this pattern but I used three shades of wool DK instead (so 77 squares instead of 64) and edged it with bobbles instead of the band of front post treble crochet/treble crochet suggested. It’s a substantial blanket with the typical heft you expect of wool. And the colour is blissful – especially when Spring is this late arriving. It took about 3 years to make, off and on and finally getting it over the line is fabulous.
Which leaves a gap for another crochet work in progress doesn’t it? Contenders include another blanket made of squares or some sort of large ‘granny’ affair. Tbh I’m not loving the idea of making another lot of squares (all those ends, all that sewing) but the portability of something similar is appealing. I welcome suggestions. In the meanwhile to keep my hook busy I’m using some Rico Creative Melange in greyscale to make a wavy wrap. It’s pleasingly mindless.
On the knitting needles? This sweater (I know I was all about ‘small’ but..) Cranberry Gose is a lovely name and the pattern is definitely ‘me’. I started it with some stash yarn, gave up and bought something acrylic with wool which was ok (but my tension was way off so I undid it and the yarn is now available for crochet) and I’ve settled on using some pure Italian wool called Day that was £1.20 in my LYS and is very pleasing to knit with indeed. It’s a tweedy combination of black and brown with a soft and lofty feel to it. I’ve also finished one of my cashmere/wool socks (definitely won’t be given away). I have another couple of things on the ‘ancient and pending’ list but thats it for the ‘actives’ which is pretty minimal by my standards.
I have a few things to sew (I got some £5/metre Liberty lawn….delicious) but I’m trying to sew slow…so I’ve put away the overlocker and I’m working on a mash-up blouse/tunic with bracelet length sleeves that should be a winner for summer (should we ever have one) and sitting around recuperating. I could do with a really good pattern for pull on culottes/ wide leg trousers but I’m struggling. I know from experience that skinny jeans will not be wearable for some time post-op. Sob.
#nobuyzone has obviously be compromised by yarn purchases but I have still not bought clothes, bags or shoes (..other than an emergency coat) since November.
This time last weekend I had four layers of clothes on (and a scarf and 2 lots of gloves), today I sat out in a t-shirt and had a cup of tea in the sun: this is why British weather is always a conversation point. As mentioned in a previous post I’m done with large projects (I have the yarn and pattern for this lovely sweater tucked away for later in the year/when I’m laid up – whichever comes first) but I’m all about small right now. Irritatingly my right wrist thought that this would be the ideal time to make knitting socks a painful chore, so I’m having to put those aside for a moment (just as I managed to find the prettiest self-striping sock yarn in wool and cashmere too…).
Instead I’m crocheting – catching up on an old blanket project and inventing a scarf/wrap/thing with the help of this crochet pattern from Purl Soho which will use up 3 random skeins of WYS aran yarn (this but in a variegated colour way) and a couple of rather lovely balls of yarn that I scored in Berwick on Tweed last weekend. I grant you that an aran wrap/scarf thing is not totally seasonally appropriate but …well, there you go.
To be honest I can’t really settle to anything much at the moment – the possible impending surgery (or it may be in several months…the jury appears to be out on this) has apparently befuddled me a bit. So instead of warbling away about random stuff I’ll give you some lovely seaview photos to enjoy!
beautiful (and inspiring?) patterns in the rock along the beach
I am step closer to getting my knee replaced: I’m now scheduled for my pre-op assessment in early April and that makes an end of April/beginning of May likely for the big chop. Huzzah!…I think. I mean I’m looking forward to not having a knee that is disappointingly painful, but I am a bit worried about the op itself, which is a wee bit sore (she understated). Still, to have some fitness back and the chance to walk about like normal people is a good thing. I just wish I was somewhere a few weeks past it.
And I had plans: I was going to make some Ginger jeans, several Aida blouses (maybe the Arenite pants too…especially since pull-on, baggy trousers are a boon when you have a recently operated-on knee) and maybe even a jacket….And I was going to embroider some more stuff, and knit too, of course, maybe a striped black and white sweater, maybe a fair isle cardigan (with a steek? Who knows…), socks, and more shawls naturally….basically all the things..
But now instead of randomly hitting upon stuff in my workroom and jumping on the latest knit-train (yes, I’m looking at you Carbeth), I will have to plan, which is not really my strong suit. A decade ago when I had my first knee ‘transplant’ I made socks – a pair for all the family as a presents and I organised the other family Christmas presents on-line (it was a novelty then and quite exciting). I also watched a lot of Star Trek box sets (but that’s another story). Obviously I still knit socks but my enthusiasm for them has waned lately and I’m done with large projects (still looking at you Carbeth). I am open to reasonable suggestions.
My head wants to keep it simple – drug/pain addled minds don’t hold complicated lace patterns or colour-work too well – but my heart is saying ‘stuff that’ – so the next couple of weeks will be about getting my head and heart to talk sensibly to each other!
I refer you to my post of last year – and I wasn’t going to go this year but my lovely hubby had the event in his diary and he thought that I would enjoy another visit north (and he had some IHG points to use up – which meant that we stayed in a lovely and central Hotel Indigo). He was right about enjoying Edinburgh (which is my favourite UK city by a country mile) but I am done with knitting shows.
Maybe it was too soon after losing my own little shop, maybe it was the heat and crowds, maybe the increased entry price (15 quid!!!!) or maybe the beautiful but expensive yarns, but again it all made me a little low. I bought a few bits and pieces (just the one ball of yarn) but came away thinking that the festival is run for a club that I don’t qualify for. Ordinary everyday knitting has nothing to do with the brilliant rainbows of yarn on display – to make a sweater you’d need to find a hundred pounds or so, so it’s exclusive in the strict sense of the word. My customers would have felt ill at ease amongst the stashers and free spenders flocking to the hand-dyed stalls.
Consumption for its own sake is something I feel deeply uncomfortable with at the moment, hence my attempt to stop spending on ‘stuff’. That ball of sock yarn from the EYF was the last treat I think – #nobuyzone is back on track.
Knitting news….. my Carbeth cardigan was indeed frogged and is being re-knitted on smaller needles. I did the sleeves on the drive up and back to the north and now the body is coming along pretty well (and I bought the most gorgeous buttons for it at the festival). Sock ongoing, gloves still stalled, shawl…well I have an idea for the yarn, and I’ve played around with some stitch patterns….it might work. Watch this space.
Sewing has taken up most of my crafting attention this week: I finished an embroidery project and produced a nice little blouse for Spring (if it ever happens). I have pant plans too…