Wednesday, 30 May 2012

WIP-less Wednesday?

With Framlingham awaiting a Friday 'Ta-dah', and a few days before the June Shawl Knitalong starts, I'm taking a little time to wind some scrap yarns and mini-skeins on my nostepinne.... and  to make a few little addtions to my Hexipuff pile.

I'm still reading Assassin's Quest (The Farseer Trilogy - Book 3) - discovery of the "text to speech" function on my Kindle has meant I could multi-task a bit more this week, although the electronic voice takes some getting used to. (If you didn't know you could do this and want to give it a try - the instructions are here. )

There are plenty of works in progress and books at Tami's & Ginny's
Happy Wednesday, everyone!
Tuesday, 29 May 2012


With just a few days to go, the yarn I ordered for the June Shawl Knitalong arrived this morning (I missed the postman while I was at the school and had to drive around looking for him, but that's nothing new). I am really hoping that the colours are going to work. Here, take a look...
YARNS: 3 x Noro Aya (#19) 50% cotton/ 35% silk/ 15%wool
2 x Knitting Goddess 4ply sock yarn (Slate) - 75% super wash merino/ 25% nylon
2 x Lang Yarns Jawoll Superwash (Ecru) - 75% new wool/ 25% nylon 

I'm hoping for something light and scrumptious, like this one which was my inspiration. 
Source: Cristinitace on Ravelry
The Slate is more blue than the grey in this picture - I am hoping to add a little warmth and suit my colouring. I think it'll be a case of loving it, or wishing I'd stuck to a safer choice of colours - let's hope it's the first. Costs were kept down by finding a discounted source for the Noro, using Jawoll from my stash and buying additional yarn from the Knitting Goddess using the special 15% discount code for the KAL

If you'd like to read more about the Knitalong, take a look at the FAQs post. There is also some general (yarn choice) chat over on Facebook. If you search the tag #JSKknitalong at Twitter or Instagram* you'll also find a few posts. The first progress post here on the blog will be a week from today - Tuesday 5th June - which is also the day we're having a party for the Jubilee and following a weekend at a wedding, so I may not have made much progress but I'm sure some of you will :)

Linking in today with Frontier Dreams - Keep Calm {Crafting On} - some great posts there! 

*Important note: If using Instagram and you want your photos to show up in the #JSKknitalong gallery, ensure your account settings are "public".
Monday, 28 May 2012

Everything's Rose-y

Finally, some warm weather has arrived in South East England! 
Our house was previously owned by a retired couple who seem to have spent a lot of time on the garden. We are no gardeners, so it's taken on a slightly more natural look these days, but it's so wonderful to open the curtains each morning and see what else has bloomed. There are lots of roses - red, white, pink and some of mixed colours - they are very pretty but, I'll be honest, the simplicity of the clematis and colour of the chives make them my favourites. The chives also match my almost-finished jumper, but more of that another day. 

I wore So Strawberry Pogona this morning before the heat, and as much as I dislike being in front of the camera (especially when I'm taking the picture myself!), I love it enough to make an exception for the people who asked for an action picture. It's so easy to wear, I expect to be making at least one more. 

Back tomorrow with an update on the June Shawl Knitalong - I'd love to see which three colours you're using - you can tag any pics on Twitter or Instagram using #JSKknitalong. 

Friday, 25 May 2012

Pogona Ta-dah! And another lesson learned

I had trouble getting the colours right in any wider shots. This is more accurate... 
YARN: 350m Polworth/Baby Alpaca/ Mulberry Silk 
 from Sunbird Fibre Works in "So Strawberry"

I can't tell you how much I loved knitting this shawl. I loved the pattern since a few of my friends made it last year. The yarn is one of the nicest I've used, such subtle changes in colour and wonderful to knit on my KnitPro Symphonies. Lost in the moment, I ended up knitting the main section for too many rows leaving insufficient meterage for the border and as a result mine is shallow at only 3 rows before bind off. This was my only modification to the pattern. 

Talking of which, you may remember I had cast this on a couple of times before and had issues with the Yarn Overs not being symmetrical. I puzzled over this for some time, and then asked here for help which gave me the solution and I cast on again in this yarn. Well, here's the thing..... while it was finished and blocking, I looked at the pattern again on my iPad, and noticed right at the end, after the list of abbreviations....... have you guessed? Yes, a small paragraph about the yarn overs and how to knit them so that they are symmetrical. I laughed out loud (else I would have cried!) as I had completely missed this. I'm blaming the fact that I printed out the pattern but not the abbreviation page but really, I should have checked the electronic version I'd purchased. What an idiot! So that's ANOTHER lesson learned! 

The weather here is wonderful today, and we're planning a lovely weekend (I'm even going out with some friends tonight!!!!) although I won't rest until I've chosen the the yarns for the June Shawl KAL - so many lovely colours to choose - aarrgghh! (If you are interested in knitting Color Affection with us, you can find the KAL details here as well as a discount on some gorgeous Knitting Goddess yarns.)

Before I go, here are the links to FO Friday and Creative Friday where you'll see links to lots of loveliness. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. 
Thursday, 24 May 2012

June Shawl Knitalong FAQs

For anyone still wondering whether to join in with the next knitalong, here is some additional information to help you decide. The shawl is Color Affection by Veera Valimaki. Pattern can be purchased from Ravelry for €3.90/£3.21
What skills will I need?
You will need to be able to cast on, knit, make 1 (right & left), wrap & turn (explained in the pattern) and bind off. There are video tutorials here if you need help with any of these things

Is the pattern complicated?
There are over 2700 projects for this pattern on Ravelry and most people have rated it either 'easy' or 'very easy'. The pattern is clearly written and explains everything you need to know. There is a common modification which is mentioned on many projects (it was also blogged by the Yarn Harlot) of making a YO between the first two knit stitches on each row. Then, dropping it on the next row to make the edge much less tight. This is optional, but I'll be doing it as it has helped so many other people who have tried and tested it with/without the mod.
What yarn & needles will I need?
There are two different versions, for lace or 4ply (fingering), and both use three colours. You will need
  • three different skeins of approximately 366m (400yds) each if using lace weight, and a 3mm (US2.5) circular needle at least 80cm (32") long, or
  • three different skeins of approximately 352m (385yds) each of 4 ply (fingering) and a 4mm (US6) circular needle of at least 80cm (32")
  • you'll also need a tapestry needle & blocking wires for finishing
If you're looking for something super scrumptious to knit this with, Joy at The Knitting Goddess has lots of beautiful 4ply/sock yarns and is offering a special discount just for June Shawl KAL participants!
You can use code "COLOUR15" to get 15% off all 50 and 100 gram skeins until 1800 on Thursday 14th June. If your order contains anything else, please pop the discount code in the 'customer notes section' and TKG will refund 15% of the value of your yarn to you.Aaaargh! Which colours should I choose?I have no idea and haven't chosen myself yet so I've been browsing the finished projects on Ravelry. I've started a Pinterest board to help narrow it down, you're welcome to take a look.
I'd love to join in, what do I have to do next?
Have the pattern and your supplies ready for June 1st when we'll be casting on! You can share your progress as often as you like on Twitter and Instagram using the tag #JSKknitalong. You are also welcome to post your photos on the CftC facebook page at any time - this includes links to your flickr/photobucket images. Each Tuesday I'll post an update on my own progress and you can also add links to your blog or online photo host. (If you are using Instagram and tagging your pictures, I can add the gallery images to my blog posts for all to see.)
That's it! I think I've covered everything, but if not, just leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

Edited: you can view the Instagram photo gallery here, even if you don't have an account or a smartphone.
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Only one WIP?

With Pogona off the needles and waiting to be blocked before Friday's 'Ta-dah', it's time to turn my attention to Framlingham, which I started a few weeks ago as a test knit. It hasn't had the attention it deserves yet, but it's looking pretty in purple....  
PATTERN: Framlingham by Joanne Scrace
YARN: Blacker Yarns pure dyed British wool in purple
Ravelry notes here

I chose a 100% wool yarn from my stash, as it was cold when I cast on and I was desperate for warmer layers, and typically the sun is now shining. Not to worry, this will be a great "layering" addition for chilly evenings.  The pattern is well written and easy to follow and the design is top-down in the round - in fact it would be perfect for someone keen to try knitting an item in one piece as it's very straight forward, with just enough detail to add interest. (The faux cables are made using a slip stitch so it looks more complicated than it is!) To celebrate the launch of the pattern, Joanne is offering readers a 20% discount when purchasing the pattern before the end of June - simply use the code "CWTCH" at checkout.

And if that wasn't enough, I also have some yarn discounts coming up in the next few days for the June Shawl Knitalong - a FAQ post is coming soon so please leave any questions you may have, by commenting on the linked post. 

I usually update you on my reading on Wednesdays, but today there isn't much to update - it's been a week of poorly children so I've missed out on my usual bedtime reading in favour of co-sleeping/ comforting. That means I'm still reading Robin Hobb's Assassin's Quest and have made very little progress. To see what everyone else is reading & making, pop over to Ginny's and Tami's
Hope the sun is shining where you are too, have a great day 
Tuesday, 22 May 2012

June Shawl Knitalong: Voting is closed......

.....and the winning pattern is Colour Affection by Veera Valimaki
Source: Ravelry
I've wanted to knit this for a while so it's exciting to start thinking about yarns - I have absolutely no idea which colours to use for this, so I'll be searching the completed projects on Ravelry for inspiration. If anyone has any suggestions, please leave a comment :) 

The Knitalong is due to start on June 1st. Who's in? 
Monday, 21 May 2012

The things I don't write about

One of my birthday cards - bought
from Cafe Press.
You know how sometimes a theme seems to appear all around you? Wherever you look, whatever you read, the same thing keeps cropping up, or maybe it was always there and you just suddenly noticed it? Either way, there seems to be a recurring conversation around me at the moment about what is NOT written. 

It started in a chat I had with Mum about the things myself and other people share on their blogs, then occurred in a book I was reading - the narrator said (several times) that things were part of his story but not 'this' story, the book. There have been numerous other occurrences of this in the intervening days, all of which leads me to this post. 

Of course there is a lot of my 'story' which isn't documented on the pages of this blog. There are things that, on occasion, I'd love to scream and rant about, but don't. My primary motivation for blogging is to focus my attention on the good. (This is also why I knit and make things - it's positive, creative, and is something to focus on. It's meditative and relaxes the mind.) This is a space for the good things in life. The problems I share here are generally related to crafting and result in solutions. This is not my place for sharing other problems. So, for those who wondered (or have mentioned it to me), no my life isn't all rainbows and butterflies and I'm not declaring it so, but really the other bits aren't a part of THIS story. 

When I tell you about our weekend, I'll tell you about the good bits - of which there were lots! We had a good weekend. On Saturday we went to the theatre to see Charlie & Lola (which was wonderful!) then for a meal at a themed restaurant in Horsham afterwards.

If you have children of 5 and under and get a chance to see the show, I would highly recommend it. It's brilliantly done (with puppets and visible puppeteers who are superb) with much to amuse the small child including plenty of music, butterflies and bubbles landing on the crowd, pretty lights, fun daydream sequences and a gruff voiced Ogre. Even D liked it, although his enjoyment was mostly from seeing the delight on the kids' faces.
On Sunday we had a family lunch and then spent the whole afternoon at the leaving party of one of the children's friends who is moving away - but the children didn't get sad, they were too busy enjoying the moment. Kids are so great like that. I also got plenty of knitting done on my Pogona
So yes, this was a really good weekend. 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Something for the weekend? (FO Friday)

Today's Finished Object is a little wrap and trouser outfit for Pixie Moon.
YARNS: Knitting Goddess Mini-skeins (1 x purple semi-solid, 1 x striped) and 
a little Patons Fairytale Dreamtime 4ply for the trouser tops. 
NEEDLES/HOOK: 3mm & 3.25mm DPNs and 3.25mm circulars
3mm crochet hook for edging
(Pictured with Little Red Dress)
For the waist section I decided to experiment with some shirring elastic knitted into the last 4 or 5 rows of the trousers. It worked a treat and is something that will surely be included in future projects. 

With several lovely mini-skeins in my small yarn stash, I was keen to try them out for something other than just the Beekeeper's Quilt (which is the reason I have them) and it was fun to knit these into something else, although you can see from the picture (right) there was insufficient yarn without supplementing the stripes. I'm planning a further post to highlight some more projects/patterns that suit small quantities of yarn/mini-skeins so please feel free to leave a comment if you have anything you think should be on the list.

Another busy weekend lays ahead of us including a theatre trip with the children tomorrow and a party on Sunday. I'm hoping to get this delicious hand-spun skein balled up and on the needles this evening. I am thinking of making a Pogona with it so I can try out the "symmetrical yarn overs" I wrote about on Wednesday.  It was a surprise from some friends and I can't wait to use it. What do you think?
YARN: 350m of Polworth/Baby Alpaca/ Mulberry Silk 
spun by Catherine from Sunbird Fibre Works
Of course this may just be wishful thinking - we've had both children ill this week and Little Miss started a course of anti-biotics yesterday *crosses fingers for a restful evening and some sleep* 

Whatever you have planned, I hope you have a very lovely weekend. There are more FOs here
Wednesday, 16 May 2012

On Yarn Overs, and a problem solved (and some books!)

Some weeks ago I started knitting Stephen West's Pogona Shawl, and unravelled it - twice - because I wasn't happy with the yarn overs which were different on either side of the shawl meaning it wasn't symmetrical.
You can see the problem in this picture, the yarn overs on the right side are much bigger...
You may recall that I asked for help as I really wasn't happy with this. It seemed that most people felt blocking would be sufficient, but when I pinned it out I knew that I wouldn't be satisfied. I'm definitely not averse to bodging, but I wasn't really happy with that answer - there had to be better solution, a 'proper' solution.  A few days after my plea, a new reader (who was visiting for another post) left a comment...
This was the answer I was looking for - thank you Annie! I filed the answer in the "things to come back to" section of my addled brain and forgot about Pogona and YOs until recently I was reading through the pattern for Carina Spencer's Whippoorwill (one of the June Shawl Knitalong options - the vote for this is still open in the right hand sidebar). The pattern includes a whole section on this very topic, which begins "All yarnovers are not created equal - or more specifically of equal size". Carina goes on to describe how Whippoorwill is written to include SYMMETRICAL yarn overs *yay* and this is written into the pattern to ensure that both sides of the shawl are of equal width. I'm hoping that Whippoorwill will win the vote, partly because I really want to follow the pattern to try these YOs, and partly because I love this one and I have the same yarn already in my stash.

Despite balling some mini-skeins and thrifting a teak bowl for them to live on my table to tempt me back to the Beekeeper's Quilt, I confess there has been a lot more reading than knitting this week. I've added just a few rows on Framlingham (test knit for Not So Granny), finished two books and started TWO more!

After a few weeks reading Royal Assassin I have moved onto the final part of the Farseer Trilogy - Assassin's Quest. I love this trilogy and have been pleased to read the comments on my previous posts which suggest the author's other books are as good, for I'll surely be reading those before too long. I've also started Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting by Noel Janis-Norton which I'm blogging about at Natural Mamas, although I'm yet to put it into practice *blush*

Our book club read this month is The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes which I sped through, finishing it in just over one sitting. It's the first time I have read this author and I adored the way he crafted this novella so that it packed much into just 150 pages. I don't want to give away the plot, but this is a story about how we remember the past, how we manipulate it to suit our own perspective and how  this means that history and time are subjective and unreliable:
"History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation" 
Not since my English Lit A-level has a book had so many highlights in it after a single read (albeit virtual highlights) and the ending left me desperate to discuss the book with others - I found a great thread on The Literary Stew. If you've read the book, you may like to read the comments, but if not it contains spoilers!!!

As usual, I'm linking in with Tami and Ginny today for more knitting, crochet and books. Enjoy!
Monday, 14 May 2012

What are happy birthdays made of?

Lots of cwtches.  A morning of pampering. 
Lunch at the pub with the best chips in the world* and great company.
 Then a relaxing night in a beautiful country hotel
THAT is what happy birthdays are made of! 
And when the celebrations are over....? A little knitting to get back into the swing of things, of course. 
Back tomorrow with more of what I've been making!

*this is a matter of  opinion, rather than fact, although I dare you to find better! 

Q:When is a FO* not quite a FO?

A: when it's been pinched from another project you hibernated ages ago
 PATTERN: based on the motif from Lula Crochet Scarf by Amanda Perkins
YARN: Natural Dye Studio Dazzle Sock

I'm a bit crazy for crochet at the moment, a fact which I'm mostly blaming on the Creative Crochet Crew facebook page - every day I am tempted to the hooky side with all the beautiful pictures. Looking through my crochet bucket (yes, there is one, which is usually neglected) I found these motifs from last summer. I LOVE the pattern and the yarn but had decided it would be better with more colours and so it went into hibernation. When I came across it today I decided to revamp it into a little scarf for Pixie. 
This fabulous book arrived in the post today - a little present to myself which I'm planning to use for at least one of these cushions. But not this weekend. Oh no! Tomorrow I'm off to my favourite hair salon for a little makeover (I've already been treated to a Geleration manicure today thanks to a generous friend) and then D is taking me for a child-free, relaxing night away. Not only is it my birthday on Monday, but ten years ago today, in a rowing boat in Central Park New York, he asked me to be his wife. It was a wonderful day, truly special. At a time in our lives when we hardly see one another (and when we do, we are too tired to take very much interest) it is essential to do this every so often. 

Hope you all have a lovely weekend too. 
*FO = finished object/completed project
Wednesday, 9 May 2012

What's the collective noun for WIP...?

When I started knitting, there were certain things 'other' knitters did that I just knew I'd never do, such as
  • have loads of unfinished items (Works in Progress) hanging around... and be casting on more
  • buy yarn without having a specific project planned/ about to start 
  • spend more than £5 on a ball of wool. 
Yes, I know, I was naive. I can sense the guffaws from across the ether.  To be fair, my friend Christine laughed at my postulations, I think her prophetic words were something like "we'll see" (but in a Scottish accent, so there may have been an "och" or two in there). One look at my WIP basket will tell you all you need to know about how well the first part of my plan is going (and let's not talk about buying or stashing yarn, my husband reads this *nervous grin*):
Crochet granny square destined to be a child sized Striped Bag (at some point) 

I really need to crack on with Spectra, but Bunty can be hibernated until Autumn - it's depressing enough having a grey wet May without knitting mitts too. Maggie's Flower Tunic is probably going to be frogged - I bought solid colour yarn to go with the patterned clothing Little Miss prefers, but it doesn't really suit this cardigan so it's back to the drawing board.  For the third time. The Framlingham test knit for Joanne (Not so Granny) is coming along - I'm about to start the bust section although the yarn split last night. Have you heard of Russian Joins? The lovely Gilly (TicketyBoo) pointed me in the direction of this video which I am very excited about - just think, no more sewing in ends!

Observant regulars will notice there is a new iPad in the picture too - an early birthday present from D *grin* and this has led to a major distraction to my crafting output this week. You see, I watched the new Ravelry library 'tour' while on a hunt for cardigan patterns and found a few fantastic features:
  • It's possible to add printed magazines and books to one's library so the patterns included in them can be searched via Ravelry. Think about that one for a minute....... (are you thinking?).... if you spend the time listing your books and mags once, you no longer need to flick through them when you are looking for something, you can just leave them on a shelf/in a box/under your bed and do an "in library" pattern search on Ravelry! Actually I think that's worth a few more !!!!!!!!!!! I don't have many books or patterns so it took me an evening to do this, and my library grew from about 60 to over 800 patterns that I already own and can now search online. Awesome.
  • I also realised that I could use the Goodreader App to connect straight to my Ravelry library for immediate download to my iPad.
I've mentioned before that I use Evernote for storing patterns which is great because it's accessible from multiple devices, but I really like the Goodreader App interface - it's so easy to annotate and mark the patterns as I would a paper pattern, and now that it's linked to my Ravelry library I'm going to try this for a while and see how we get along. 

Phew! With all that there has been little time for reading but I'm still completely loving Robin Hobb's Royal Assassin and am about 80% of the way through. In some ways I don't want this one to end as there's only one more left in this trilogy. Thankfully this author has lots of other books to choose from. Our friend Deano's 2nd book IMMORTAL is also out tomorrow (I wrote about his first book here***) and our next book club book is The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Yikes - so many books, so little time.

Before I go I have to say a massive THANK YOU to all who voted in the KCBW Photography Competition as my Titanic spoof featuring Pixie Moon WON!!!!! I can hardly believe it as there were some fabulous entries and I'm so pleased that the pictures I'd have voted for myself came second and third. To all who nominated, voted, shared the link with their friends.... my most humble thanks.

As usual on a Wednesday I'm joining Tami and Ginny - follow the links for plenty of lovely blogs, WIPs and books. Enjoy! xxxx
***Edited: I've just seen that in advance of the 2nd book's release tomorrow, you can get Dean's first book Covenant on iBooks for 99p for a limited time! 
Tuesday, 8 May 2012

May Day (.....was a washout)

You know what 'they' say about best laid plans?
Yesterday we decided to go to Rusper, a small village about 30 minutes away, and we left straight after an early lunch. It was raining on and off - as it has been for over a week (so glad I'd bought myself some new Wellies a few weeks ago). As we had to park quite a long way out of the centre and walk with the littlies to the village green, we arrived just in time for the END of the Punch & Judy show. The Maypole and Morris Dancing were scheduled for TWO HOURS later. We spent as long as we could wandering around the small selection of vintage cars and steam engines but there really was not enough to do for more than about half an hour, no matter how slowly we walked - so we ended up trudging back to the car and heading home.

My Boy was chuffed when he got to 'drive' this 60 year old Ford Prefect so the he didn't mind coming home. Little Miss was happy to get out of the rain.To be honest, I don't think D minded either. 
So the highlight of the long 'May Day' Bank Holiday weekend.........?
Meeting Fireman Sam at Fisher's Farm Park, of course!
(I really wish I'd managed to take a photo of him attempting to give my mother a fireman's lift!) 
Monday, 7 May 2012

Knitting with dyslexia and dyscalculia: an interview with Danielle Alinia

Source: iTunes
A little while ago I got sucked into the Draw Something craze and was playing against my friend  Danielle (A Stash Addict) one evening. I had drawn a picture of Elvis. Danielle had to guess the picture and then spell out the word using the five tiles provided to earn us both some points.  If you don't know this game, you can watch a recording of the screen as the other person is guessing your drawing - it's fun to do this as you can see how much of the drawing they saw before they made a correct guess. 

While I was watching the recording, I could see that from the very start of the picture (the black quiff) she knew exactly what it was, yet it took her many attempts to rearrange the 5 tiles to spell out 'Elvis' - by which time  the picture was detailed down to the final rhinestone. I have always known Danielle to be dyslexic, and her first couple of attempts were a little bit amusing,  but as her repeated attempts to get the letters in the right order continued, I really had a sense of massive frustration for her and glimpsed for the first time how difficult it must be to do some of the things I take for granted. Danielle also has dyscalculia, which is the numeric equivalent of dyslexia

With a fresh understanding I thought back to the first few times I met Danielle. I remembered her sitting at 'Knit & Natter' bent over her crochet book without looking up all evening, so determined to find a way to decipher the instructions. I recalled the first knitting attempts that she posted on facebook and that we all chuckled over as they were NOTHING like the pattern. It gave me a real admiration for her - I'm sure many people would have given up! I decided to ask her about it and how it had impacted her life and her crafting. Here's our interview (Danielle's answers are unedited). 

When did you know you were dyslexic?
I wasn’t diagnosed with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia until I was 15, and unfortunately found school a Huge struggle, My English teacher couldn’t understand why, I could read fluently and out loud to the class, but couldn’t spell basic words right. Maths was even worse! I used to copy my friends work, just to get by, in the end I just stopped going. Unfortunately for my parents I was labelled a “naughty” child,  my general attitude for the education system was negative, because I just couldn’t cope and keep up in lesson, so I decided to stopped going to school altogether for a few month’s or only turning up some days for registration  and to take part in drama and art lessons . 
As a consequence my parents were taken to court, and teachers didn’t want me in their lessons, the head master, not really knowing what to do with me, stuck me in the “unit” and it was while in the unit that I my learning disabilities were discovered by one of the learning support teachers, to whom I will forever be thankful.
Danielle knitting her Pogona
What impact has your dyslexia and dyscalculia had on your day to day life?
Thanks to modern technology and the wonders of spell check, my dyslexia has not held me back professionally, things just take a little bit longer to do, and the only real problem I face is when spell check doesn’t understand what I am trying to spell, but thanks to the iPhone 4 S talk to text function, I can now just say the word I am trying to spell, and it appears right there before my eyes!

The only other recent challenged I faced was while trying to play Drawsome!! Some of you would have witness my dyslexia first hand as I repeatedly kept put the letters in the wrong order, which is really frustrating because I “know” I am spelling it wrong, and I know the letters are in the wrong order, but my brain and fingers get lost in translation.

Now Dyscalculia on the other hand, I really struggle with, because I can’t visualise numbers at all. I can’t do homework with my children (7 and 11), because I am at a lower math level than them {and I can’t spell}, I also get my left and right confused on a daily bases, and struggle to grasp and remember mathematical concepts, rules, formulae, and sequences.

Before chip and pin I used to suffer with extreme anxiety to the point that I would avoid going shopping so that I didn’t have to count out money when paying for things. In conversations I would feel intellectually inferior, even with my husband because I just don’t “get “measurements, nor can I subtract or do multiplications in my head. 

How has it affected your crafting?
When it comes to crafting, at the start I really struggled with the mathematical concepts of a knitting or crochet pattern,(and sewing for that matter) the sequences confused me, and stitch counting  was also a challenge because I have such a bad memory at retaining numbers (because I can’t visualise them), I kept ending up with too many or not enough, even though I had counted them repeatedly, was really frustrating! Then there are the increasing and decreases, and of course put a load of numbers on the same page and that’s asking my brain for trouble.

What advice would you give to other crafters or potential crafters who have similar difficulties?  Do you have any tips?
Over the last couple of years I have devised a set of procedures, which help me when tackling a new pattern.
  • I re write patterns in to a format that I can understand, doing small sections at a time so that I am not overwhelmed by all the numbers. E.g. inc four instead of 4
  • For patterns where stitch count is paramount, I place scrap yarn every 10 stitches. I use scrap yarn, so that I can still use stitch markers if the patterns calls for them. It helps that I can visually tell them apart.
  • I use a row counter on my phone, but I cannot rely on that alone, so I write down what I have done on every row, I find this helps with my memory as I get easily distracted and often forget what it was I was doing.
  •  Recently though, especially when working on my Pogona I am finding that I can pick up and put down and know where I am by visually looking at the wrong side and right.
  • And even though the hexipuff pattern took me ages to figure out, {see my vlog for more information} once I made a few, again i feel I have visually imprinted in my brain. Something I would not have been able to do if I had not persevered through the hurdles. 

Seriously I really do feel that as my confidence grows with the practical side of knitting, I am able to be A LOT more visual and instinctive, of course it also helps that I am not a perfectionist and i embrace my slips of concentration or miss calculations with being too hard on myself lol but with each project they are becoming less! So that’s progress right? So keep at it!! REALLY who needs a Nintendo DS???.. Knitting and crochet IS brain training!!! {Who would have thought!!}

Thank you SO much Danielle! This has given me a much better understanding of living with these kinds of disabilities and the daily impact they can have on the things I take for granted - I hope it will have given other readers some food for thought too. I've praised Danielle's perseverance in the past (after watching her knitting and crochet progress) but I really had no idea of how it was for her. What do you think? Have you experienced something like this? Would you have persevered? 
Sunday, 6 May 2012


It's rare that I have a finished object and miss posting on Friday - this week I had finished two things but didn't get around to posting. I'd been hoping the weather would brighten up enough to get an outdoor photo of the finished Knitalong shawl (now it looks like it may be June before that opportunity arises, the weather forecast is not good!).  As for the other little object, following on from the popularity of last week's hat, I made another. 
YARN: Wendy Sublime Cotton DK
PATTERN: modified version of Autumn Hat from The Green Dragonfly

In Wednesday's post I mentioned the plans for the next Knitalong which starts in June, you can find the poll on the top right sidebar to decide which shawl we knit. At the moment there's just one vote between the Colour Affection and Whippoorwill patterns, so if you're planning on taking part please place your vote. Talking of votes, a massive THANK YOU to all who have so far voted for Pixie Winslet in the KCBW Photography Competition Final. Voting closes tomorrow morning (Monday 7th May) so there's still time to pop over and take a look at the 10 finalists and to vote for your favourite. 

So what sort of things have been happening while I wasn't blogging...? 
Playing with new (birthday) toys, cooking with Nanna, planting Sunflower seeds, lots of writing,
and yesterday we were PARTYING!!!!!!
 New dress (made my Nanna), a Hello Kitty cake (a very specific request), crafting, face painting, and not pictured we had dancing, traditional party games, stories, lots of lovely food, a couple of great ladies and a gang of lovely kids to enjoy it all with. We had a fabulous time!  

My knitting isn't going so great this week, I am contemplating unravelling the second cardigan pattern I've started because I'm not happy with it. It may be necessary to make something up as I can't find anything that's quite right for my Little Miss. Or I may give up on the knitting altogether and crochet something...? 

Tomorrow is a Bank Holiday so we're going in search of May Day Morris Dancers and Maypoles... in the rain. Wish us luck! I also have an interview post coming up this week with Danielle from A Stash Addict - you have probably already seen her blog and her lovely yarns (remember my Hitchiker?) but you may not know that Danielle has Dyslexia and Dyscalculia which both have a massive impact on her ability to interpret patterns and knit/crochet. I found it really interesting and eye-opening, and I think you will too. 
Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend 
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