Blog archive

Getting Organised

 Hello again!

In these times of not having as much control over the way we live our lives, it's driven me to think of ways to find order in the day to day.  I found it in pencil and paper!

I have tried so many digital ways to record my knitting and crochet project - apps for counting rows, increases, decreases, and all the rest of it, but all seemed to me to be less than ideal.  I tried just remembering where I was up to (total disaster ensued!) and so at the end of last year I grabbed a scrap of paper - a packing note I think it was - and started to write everything down.  And I was hooked (pun intended).

My husband bought me some spiral bound notebooks (they lie flat when opened) and I am a convert to paper and pencil.  I write down everything. Needle or hook size, the size I am making, plus any modifications.  When I have to increase on every 4th row, for example, at the same time as increasing on the other side every 6th row, I write down columns of rows, with circles and squares around each increase/decrease row.  I then cross off each row as I work it.  Simple!  I can instantly see where I am up to when I come back to my work later too.

To save writing everything out again for the second sleeve or front, I go back through the rows, marking in the opposite direction to make crosses.  Oh, and after every increase or decrease row I write down how many stitches I should have, so I can easily do a quick count up to confirm I'm on track.

I then took this one step further when I started the front of my new vintage jumper, with a very complicated (for me) ten row pattern.  I was finding it so difficult to follow each row reading across the lines of pattern, so I wrote down each row in columns.  My brain seems to like this and I can follow along much more easily.  The writing is much larger too!  

I use two notebooks side by side at the moment - one with the pattern written out and one with the rows to mark off.  It's working really well.

Also, I use very soft 8B pencils for marking off each row, as each sweep of the pencil, however soft, leaves a clear and easy to see mark.  It is also much easier to rub out if necessary.  

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a Filofax.  I used to have one in the 1980s, and they seem to be making a comeback!  I absolutely love my new Filofax, and am finding it so useful already.  It's my diary, address book, note maker, ideas jotter all in one!  I bought the pocket size, so I can take it out and about in my handbag.  That's when we are able to go out and about again, of course.

I've even added a little zipped insert to store my stamps!  I could never find my stamps. 

I'd love to hear your ideas for getting organised. I'm on a roll!

Donna xx

February Pottering

 Dear Friends,

Brrr... We are currently in the icy grip of a cold blast, but that has brought with it some sunny days, perfect for wrapping up warmly and taking Daisy Dog for a walk.  On sunny days it is becoming apparent how the days are drawing out longer, and it is much later before we switch the lamps on.  Spring is definitely on its way!

I'm still working on my vintage cardigans, and flip from one to the other when I get to a complicated bit and there's something good on the television!  I now have the extra wool I needed for the burgundy cardigan, and just need to pick up the neck on that one, and finish seaming it together.  Oh, and sew the buttons on.  Oh, and work buttonhole stitches, as the button bands are self faced so the buttonholes need securing together! Perhaps I won't quite be wearing it this weekend, but it's almost there really!

The quilted wall hanging I showed you last week is now hanging in the porch, and I am really pleased with it.  It goes nicely with the paint, hard to tell from the photo, but is called 'Pale Seaspray'.  

Today I've been joining quilt blocks for our King Size bed quilt.  I haven't finished all the blocks yet (I need 100 blocks, plus the edging pieces) so I decided to join what I have so far in to the 'mini quilts' of four blocks which make up each one of the 'Floral Rings'.  

Edward Bear was been looking on, wondering where the new jumper is I promised him, but I have told him he needs to be patient and wait his turn in the queue.

These were some I had already joined and you can see better how it works.  The quilt is made up of 25 of these 'Floral Rings'.  As it's so long since I told you about this quilt, a reminder that the pattern is by Anita Goodesign, and the fabrics by Rose and Hubble.  It's a very big project so I do chunks on it at a time, put it to one side then come back to it.  It almost feels like a new project then!

I've done a bit of baking this week, and made some shortbread biscuits from my favourite recipe, from the Great British Bake Off.  They always turn out just right.  I use my food mixer though, rather than food processor, only because it's easier to wash up!  

I hope you are staying warm and cosy, and keeping happily occupied.

Donna xx

A Wave Hello

 Dear Friends,

It has been so long since I have sat and written to you all that I hardly know where to begin.  In fact, so much time elapsed I felt almost embarrassed to come back, but a conversation with a lovely friend yesterday inspired me to open up my laptop and just take the plunge.

Like most people I have found this whole pandemic really hard going now and this latest UK lockdown particularly tough.  It's hard to see the wood for the trees, as the saying goes, and the feelings of isolation and missing those I love has gnawed at my heart.

Added to that, my cheerful and sweet Mum-in-law fell ill just before Christmas and sadly died.  A small, Covid funeral was held just after Christmas.  Then, my dearest school friend's beautiful Mum became ill and sadly lost her life too.  She had been an important person in my life for over 50 years. Their loss is huge to their families and friends, but their legacy and love will live on.

As lockdown stretched on into the hard to see future, I did what I don't normally do, and that is to retreat.  I felt I had nothing cheerful to write and everything would seem trite in comparison.  This past week or so I have started to feel the spark of optimism, seeing some bright pansies bravely flowering in  the snow, and bulbs a-plenty poking their green shoots through the soil in the garden.  

So here I am!  Back in my sewing room, which I've just been tidying up.  We cleared out the loft about three weeks ago (Oh. My. Goodness.) and lots of things were deposited in here, so I've had a jolly good tidy up! We've also been going through cupboards, having a good sort out.  That's been really useful, as we discovered things we had almost forgotten about and moved things into more convenient places so they can be used more easily, like my best tea service!  That's been a very happy result.

I haven't sewn nearly as much as I normally do but I did make lots of embroidered felt Christmas decorations for family and friends.  Silly me forgot to photograph most of them, but these are a couple I did remember!

This was for my friends' new puppy!

I also made a small quilted wallhanging for our new porch, which was finally finished last week.  This isn't a great photo so I'll take a better one once it is in situ.  The pattern is by Anita Gooodesign.

Mainly I've been knitting, continuing with my challenge of learning new techniques and developing my love of vintage patterns.  I've almost finished this cardigan, which I showed you last time, but have run out of yarn, so have some on order from the lovely people at Wool Warehouse. 

I've also made the back and both fronts of this cardigan:

It's certainly the most complicated pattern I've ever knitted and I must have pulled back the first front twenty times!  I've finally got the hang of it though.  I'm doing the two sleeves at the same time so that if I go a little bit wrong with the shaping, at least both sleeves are the same!  It's knitted on large needles, giving a lacy effect (apparently this was to save wool).  I'm making it in a soft grey.  I really love vintage patterns, but as the wools are no longer available making sure I am very strict with myself about doing a tension swatch!

To you all, I send my very best wishes, and I will be back very soon.  This I promise. 

Donna xx