I'm moving this blog back to www.happymakingblog.blogspot.com
I hope you will follow me there xxx
I'm moving this blog back to www.happymakingblog.blogspot.com
I hope you will follow me there xxx
I am frantically deadline knitting and crocheting this month, but as yet have nothing commissioned after these current projects. The cycle of submissions, and managing my workload is still a learning curve. But it’s one that I’m enjoying and hopefully I’m developing my skills in both design and pattern writing as I go.
The Knitter gave me a flying start into publication, and is a fantastic magazine with high quality designs. It attracts established designers, but also makes the effort to nurture new designers.
Knit Now has been a serendipitous magazine launch. It focuses on accessories and home knits, which are what I prefer to knit. It's a friendly magazine to read, and reflects the editor extremely well. Kate is fantastic to work with, and is nurturing quite a number of newbie designers. We have a meet up due in early Feb which is VERY exciting, and no doubt I'll tell you lots more about that another time.
It’s good to have a bigger project on the go, but as I’m not exactly petite, jumpers tend to take ages and cost a lot. With accessories I can indulge myself with luxury yarns without breaking the bank – and without losing interest before I’ve finished!
The next round of submissions for Knit now has just been announced – now I just have to brace myself and attempt to sketch my ideas! There's still a merry-go-round of excitement about submissions, deciding what designs you want to do, whether you can actually do it and write it up, writing a submission that conveys the pictures in your head, and then waiting to hear if you've got a commission or not. I kind of hope that the tension that this process produces doesn't go away completely as I get more experienced. I'm pretty certain that the internal thrill of seeing my name in print is here to stay!
Earlier this month, Knit Now 4 hit the shops. My hat pattern, Ayli, is in this issue, and I’m so pleased with the photos and layout of the pattern. The hat was knit in Fyberspates Scrumptious worsted/dk in the most gorgeous Cherry Red colour. It’s soft and lustrous and feels fantastic.
Ayli (As you like it) came into being after my much loved hood-style hat kept blowing off my head in the wind – so I thought that I would try to get around that problem. The hood style is flattering and comfortable and I wanted to keep that shape. The hat is knit from the crown down to the brim with decorative eyelet increases that spiral out across the crown. The ribbing is knit with smaller needles for improved grip before switching to larger needles for drape. Vertical buttonholes are incorporated into the flaps of the hood, and buttons are sewn onto the back of the hat so that it can be converted to a beanie style hat when it suits. The beanie style is less likely to be blown about in the wind.
There has been a really good reaction to this hat – lots of references to little red riding hood! I’m very happy with it, and loved making it. I’ve wanted to use the scrumptious for a while – and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a luxury yarn and feels it. If you haven’t tried it before, I would urge you to try it. It would be lush for hats, cowls, scarves, mittens – anything worn close to the skin. Lovely!
There are more patterns coming up soon. There’s one due to appear in The Knitter 43, and I am ably assisted by my twins, Billy & Joe (both age 10) in Knit Now 5!
2011, you see, has been a tricky year. I’m glad to see the back of it, to be honest. In fact, it’s been one of the most difficult years of my life.
However, there have been good bits.
We won the tribunal against the Local Education Authority. It cost us a fortune, we will be paying for the next few years, and was unbelievably stressful. It was also, imho, completely unnecessary and could have been avoided if the county were not so pigheaded. However, we won and our lovely boy now goes to Grateley House, a school that specialises in educating children on the autistic spectrum who are academically capable. And over the next 5 or so years, I’m pretty sure we will re-coup the cost of the case in Weetabix that we don’t have to buy while he’s at school!
We got a new bathroom. It did entail our first insurance claim in a dozen years, mindblowing communication incompetencies and 4 weeks out of our house, but we did loose the horrid 70’s ‘chick’ tiles, and (more importantly) the wet rot.
My knit group was featured in The Knitter magazine, and as a result my first pattern was published in The Knitter 37. My first pattern, in the most prestigious UK knitting magazine. The deputy editor, Rosee Woodland was so encouraging and helpful to a total novice, and is a total star.
I am now a self-employed designer. Only in a small way, but it’s exciting nevertheless.
My twins, at 10yrs and 2 months, passed their 11+ exams. Little stars! They might have also been involved in some magazine work, due to hit the stands in about 6 weeks……watch this space!
My DH was not made redundant! This is a VERY good thing.
Our second insurance claim is now making progress, and we should be back home this month. We have spent more than a ¼ of this year out of our house …and I appreciate my small, scruffy home more than ever now.
So, 2011, despite your best efforts, we have come through in one piece. Slightly battered and bruised, but still smiling.
2012 – I’m optimistic. There’s lots of knitting and crochet action coming up. We will say farewell to primary school in the summer, as our twins head off to secondary school. A whole new era! We’ve got tickets to the Paralympics. And I have a birthday with a 0 at the end of it….
I’ve got a feeling this is going to be a great year. I wish you all a Happy New Year xxx
Debbie Bliss Angel is a lace weight yarn, 76% mohair, 24% silk. The put up is 200m (219yds) per 25g.
It's very similar to the gorgeous Rowan Kidsilk Haze, which has 70%mohair and 30% silk.
DB ANGEL IS EVEN NICER! This coming from a woman who considers KSH to be her personal drug of choice.
The central core of Angel takes the dye slightly differently to the halo of mohair, which gives an extra layer of visual interest. The fact that it's softer than a kitten's soft bits tips it over into top place on my addictive-mohair-o-meter.
All this is only £7.95 per ball. What are you wating for? Go buy it. Now!!
Knit now 3 hits the shops today! My pattern, the Glam Cowl is made from just 1 skein of Debbie Bliss Angel and is a simple, fairly quick knit. They have styled it as a capelet, but it can also be worn loose as a long cowl or infinity scarf, or doubled around as a close fitting cowl. I’ve made versions of this several times for Mum, and I think I’ve got it about right now! For me, this is more of a product knit than a process knit – but it’s made several highly appreciated gifts, so it’s worth the repetitive knitting!
This has been another lovely pattern-writing experience. Unlike The Knitter (also lovely to work with), Knit now is a new publication. It focusses on accessories rather than garments and has a fresh look and a distinctive, appealing voice. As a budding designer, catching a new magazine in its infancy has been a great experience. I just missed out on submitting for issues 1 & 2, but have managed to get patterns into 3,4 & 5 so far. I didn’t submit for 6 as I was busy moving out of the house (grrr) and I’m waiting to hear about 7 & 8. There’s a distinct energy to the magazine, which I really like.
Issue 3 has a pair of legwarmers – which I’ve been thinking seem like a Very Good Idea– some socks with very interesting looking non-standard construction. I’m on a bit of a sock roll, so those are going on my queue. There’s a couple of hats which I like, a cabled cowl, a trio of coffee cup cosies, a sweet shrug, and some interesting gloves that all appeal to me.
There’s also a garment supplement that has a jumper I want to knit NOW! I know that it’s a bulky jumper and I’m not exactly sylph-like. Giant boobs and bulky sweaters are not generally a great combination. But it’s cold and stormy outside, and I have remarkably few sweaters. I don’t buy many, because I can make them – but then I tend to give away most of the sweaters I knit when they look great on someone else! So, as I’ve nearly finished the second big knit for the gallery, I might treat myself to a quick and cosy sweater project.
I will write a yarn review soon – we are still out of the house, and the accommodation we are in now doesn’t have any internet access. I am so dependant on broadband – living without it feels like losing a limb!
I have been really busy recently, trying to get something happening with the insurance company, sorting out where we are going to be over Christmas (NOT back in our house) and finishing 2 patterns that were due in at the same time, plus 2 commission knits for a gallery. I’ve hardly thought about Christmas yet! But seeing my second published pattern in the shops is going to feel like any early present :)
Hi - I've not posted for ages, and I thought I'd better let you know that I'm not ignoring you! We are not in our house at the moment. The insurance work started on our house 2+ weeks ago. And then it stopped the very same day! So all this time, we have been in a very lovely little holiday cottage, but the internet access is a bit sporadic.
The builders stopped because what I had said all along was right (duh!). The water from the leak had gone under the stud wall between the kitchen & the toilet. So they need to take the wall down. But as it's a 70's house, they needed to check the ceilings for asbestos before they could do that :(
Unsurprisingly, when the tests finally came back, they were positive. So a specialist company had to come in to remove the ceilings. Happily, they did that pretty quickly :)
So now we are waiting for the insurance company to authorise the changes to the initial plan, and then they can go ahead. It will possibly now involve me getting a new kitchen. This is because they will have to move things about behind the scenes. The fuse box and the gas pipe for the hob are about...ooo.. 2inches apart. Scary! That is gonna have to change!
So I will try to get pictures to show you the progress. I also have other news - I did my first ever craft fair last weekend (and sold stuff!) and I have some yarn reviews to do as I've been trying some lovely new yarns recently.
I will be a better blogger - honest!
I haven't had the chance to do much spinning recently - but I made the time to finish some that I'd been part way through and it made me so happy to have it off the bobbins and lying prettily in my hands, all soft and stroky!
It was a merino-alpaca blend that I had got as 1 of my birthday present fibre club shipments. It was half light brown, half strawberry pink. I spun the singles from the separate colours, planning to ply them together. I imagined the colours blending together in a fuzzy browny-pink harmony.
That didn't happen!
So I hat two full bobbins of fairly thinly spun singles, that didn't work together. So I decided that it was about time that I worked out how to navajo ply, or chain ply. Once I got my head around it, it went swimmingly. It's a little overplyed in places, and some of the fuzziness has been lost, but it is quite lovely.
I like how they look side-by-side, and I've even managed to make a decision about what I'm going to make with them. I had been thinking of gloves, but then I thought it might be nice to make a non-beaded, two colour version of my Pretty as a Picture Wrap. I think that I will do the lower lace part in the brown then do the short row stocking stitch section striped, and the picot cast off in the pink. What do you think?
I was given a large bag of quinces last week by a generous friend. I have never even seen this fruit before, and was intrigued. They smell incredible - a little like pineapples. And they perfume the whole house! These were windfalls so they were a bit bruised and had to be used up quickly. They are hard and bitter raw, with a bobbly pear-like texture. My jam books didn't mention quince anywhere. So I got Nigella out. How to be a Domestic Goddess to be precise. There were 4 quince recipies there. Good ol' Nigella!
And a sort of cheat's quince jelly. The colour is gorgeous. Apparently under-ripe quinces turn an even more ruby shade when cooked, but these were all pretty ripe so they turned this pretty delicate pinky peach.
There's also quincemeat, but I forgot to take photos, and it's not that pretty!
Whilst I was on a preserving streak, I decided to make the peel for the quincemeat myself as I had plenty lemons and oranges, and I've never tried it before. It seemed like it might be worth trying for christmas presents too.
The uncoated ones got chopped up for the quincemeat, and the sugar coated ones....... well, they haven't lasted long enough to give to anyone! Really tasty though, and pretty easy too, so I think I will do more closer to christmas.
I love the idea that people who don't know me will look at this and think that I'm not the domestically-challenged person that I am!