Sunday, 25 June 2017

6 Ways to Get Your Knitting Mojo Back

Knitter's block? I know the feeling. Sometimes we just don't feel like knitting even a single stitch. This may be because we've knitted a lot lately and just need a break or because life gets in the way and we can't seem to switch off and relax. Whatever the reason, if you're having a hard time getting back to your favourite craft, there are a few things you can do to help you get your knitting mojo back.

1. No pressure

Easier said than done. When you know it isn't normal for you to not be knitting, you do put a lot of pressure on yourself. This just makes things worse and won't help you get back in the mood. So don't feel bad about it. Just do other things you enjoy doing and return to knitting when you feel like it again. Nobody is keeping score. You will find that changing up your routine actually frees your mind so that you can pick up your hobby with renewed energy later on. You deserve a break anyway, right?

2. Browse patterns

Maybe all you need is a little bit of inspiration to get those creative juices flowing. There's nothing quite like browsing knitting patterns or looking at what other people have been making to realise how much you miss creating something with nothing more than two sticks and some yarn. It's similar to what happens when I haven't written anything for a while and I read a poem or a book: Suddenly I feel that drive again, a longing to put pen to paper. Getting back into knitting isn't any different. So have a look around, go through your knitting books, browse Ravelry's huge pattern database and other knitters' projects and you will wonder why you ever stopped. 

3. Stash dive

Similarly, having a look at your stash might whet your appetite. I am sure that, like me, you have some hidden treasures in those boxes that you forgot you even had. I still have some pretty yarns from my first yarn shows and every time I come across them, I want to cast on something new. It never fails! If nothing else, a stash dive may lead to a little spring clean, which isn't a bad thing either. You can finally get rid of that yarn you know you are never going to use anyway because the colour is terrible, it feels awful, and what were you even thinking?

4. Sort your WIPs

Do you have a WIP or two (or ten) lying around all over the place, just waiting to be finished? Gather them all together, have a look at what's in those project bags and baskets, and perhaps you'll find something that you feel you really want to work on again. Even better if those are small projects that you know you won't have to commit to for long. This helps you stay motivated after a break. This is also the reason I have not yet dived back into my jumper and am plodding along with a pair of socks.

5. Go to your local knitting group

If you can't find inspiration while on your own, how about meeting up with your local knitting group? Bring a little project with you just to keep busy, but focus on your fellow knitters. After all, this is a relaxed social gathering and it gives you the opportunity to ask for ideas and see what others are working on or what yarns people are enjoying right now. There's bound to be lots of chat about what to knit next, what's just come off the needles, and what yarns were just too irresistible to leave behind in a shop. Embrace the community and the knitting will happen!

6. Just do it

Right. Maybe nothing you've tried has worked or you don't like the thought of being sociable and joining a group. If you are absolutely sure you need to knit again even though you don't feel like it right now, there's nothing for it: Just do it! Sometimes we only realise how much we like some things once we've started them, so there is a chance that once you've knitted a few rows, you'll find that you are rather enjoying it. The very disciplined among us will persevere, I'm sure, while others may knit a bit, only to put the needles down again for a while. And that's okay. You can't force it and, to be honest, as in all things creative, I don't think you should. If you don't feel like it, don't knit. You'll come back to it eventually. Needles and yarn are patient friends.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Knitting Inspiration: Unicorn Edition

Unicorn knitting patterns

Our love of unicorns shows no sign of abating! No surprise, then, that there are loads of knitting (and crochet patterns) available for us crafty people who want more rainbows in our lives. This week's knitting inspiration is all about unicorns and I have put together my top 4 patterns for you. Check them out now:

1. This unicorn hat is all kinds of awesome. The horn, the hair, the pompoms - it's perfect! If you love fun accessories that draw attention, then this is for you. The super bulky yarn (suggested: Malabrigo Rasta)  ensures that it is a quick knit. Embellishing the hat looks like a lot of fun, too.

2. If you're more of a mitten knitter and love stranded knitting, these Chance and Comet mittens just have to make it onto your to-do list. There are instructions for adult and child-size mittens, so you can make a pair of these for the whole family, if you fancy.

3. Am I the only one tempted to knit toys even though I don't really have any use for them? No? Good. Spark's Pony pattern is available on Etsy. Not only can you knit your very own pony or unicorn, you can even make your own Pegasus! Three patterns in one? Not bad at all.

4. Oh well. It's probably too late to warn you now. The Magical F-Unicorn is not a glove pattern as such. Instead, these instructions show you how to embellish gloves with a unicorn. Giving someone the finger has never been more satisfying!

Are you tempted? My favourite is definitely the unicorn hat - and I bet people who know me wouldn't be surprised if I turned up with one in winter. What would you make?

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Spinning Wheel Spotting in Torquay

Tiny decorative spinning wheels in the window

It's been quiet over here lately - I've been on holiday. Shamefully, there was no knitting even though I took my own advice to heart and took a WIP with me. And yet, I knitted not one stitch and my project bag stayed in the suitcase.

We went to Torquay and spent a few hours visiting Cockington Village to see the thatched cottages and have some afternoon tea. At the Weavers Cottage Tea Shoppe, I immediately spotted the spinning wheel in the fireplace. This was the place for me! There were also tiny spinning wheels in the window, which I thought were a nice touch. It was a lovely little tea room and I was thoroughly confused by the frequent mention of my name in the kitchen. No, I am not famous. One of the ladies just happened to have the same name. That doesn't happen often at all and felt quite odd.

I shall leave you with this spinning wheel for now. Tomorrow is my first day back in the office and I wished I was still at the seaside. Have a good week!


Sunday, 28 May 2017

5 Tips For Your Summer Holiday Knitting

5 Tips For Your Summer Holiday Knitting
Image source

We’ve had a very hot week here in the UK even though the Bank Holiday weekend, of course, is a bit overcast and we’ve even had some thunderstorms. So instead of enjoying our first ever BBQ of the year with our first ever BBQ grill, I have been thinking about holiday knitting. Not holiday as in Christmas (despite my working on a Christmas project right now), but holiday as in summer, sun and beaches.

I don’t know about you, but I love the seaside and I miss it terribly here in the city. So I am especially excited that we will be going to the south coast again next month and I don’t even really care too much about the weather we may have there. The most important thing is that I can dip my feet into the sea again and, if I am lucky, I may also get to have a swim (unlikely, but you never know).

So with the approaching holiday, I have been thinking about whether to take any knitting with me at all. I will only be away for a few days and I am sure we will have enough to do so I won’t have the energy to knit much. Still, I will be on the train for a few hours there and back and having a knitting project with me just in case is probably a very good idea.

Choosing what to take with you isn’t always easy, so here are 5 tips to help us knitters decide what to take with us on a summer holiday by the sea. Let me know in the comments what else you think should be on the list!

1. Choose portable projects

Unless you’re planning a road trip and have enough space around you on the journey, a small knitting project is the most practical way to go. Nobody likes having to keep their elbows close to them when knitting and seat neighbours on trains, planes and coaches won’t be too happy about being jabbed with needle ends every so often either. So keep this in mind and take a project with you that doesn’t take up too much room. Anything that can be worked on circular needles is even better because you are less likely to drop them and having to crawl around on the floor to find them again.

2. Stay away from chunky knits

Unless it is a very small project such as a hat, it makes sense to not bother with chunky yarn in a warm climate because your hands will get very hot and sweaty very quickly. You won’t want to have something so warm heaped on your lap either, I expect. And that reminds me: Make sure to stay hydrated! We do get so engrossed in our craft that we aren’t aware of how time flies. I can’t even tell you how often I made a pot of tea, sat down with my WIP and totally forgot to drink any of it until it was completely cold. So have a drink within reach (and within sight) so you remember to stay hydrated. Any excuse for a nice cocktail by the pool, I suppose!

3. Leave your treasures at home

It may be tempting to bring one of your most precious yarns with you, but if you are in a salty, sandy environment like a beach it’s probably not the best choice. Take something along that you won’t mind getting a bit of sand on even if you have all intentions of being careful with your knitting. Things happen, you drop something, spill sunscreen on things, a gust of wind blows sand about… You’ll be glad you’ve taken a yarn with you that you can be sure can cope with it and can be washed without fuss. Think a WIP you won’t mind flinging aside for a quick dip in the sea.

4. WIP it

A holiday is the perfect excuse to get on with that WIP you just can’t seem to finish. If you’ve been procrastinating, simply haven’t had the time or haven’t been in the mood to work on something you started, this is the time to take it with you and get it done. To keep you from procrastinating even more, try not to take too many other tempting knits with you or you’ll end up choosing those over your long-term WIP. If all you have with you is that one WIP you’ve been neglecting, you just can’t avoid it any longer.

5. Remember your notions


It’s easy to forget that once you’ve finished the actual knitting part of your project, there’s still some more work to do. There’s the often dreaded weaving in of threads that comes to mind immediately. So if you plan to properly finish your WIP on holiday, remember to at least take scissors and a darning needle along. Your project may also require stitch markers, so make sure you have some with you just in case. Keep them all stored somewhere safe like a box or zipped case that won’t open if you happen to drop it or someone knocks it over. Again, don’t take your best notions along if you can in case you lose them for some reason. 

Happy knitting and enjoy your holidays!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Wedding Countdown: Knitted Ring Cushion

Knitted ring cushion using King Cole Bamboo Cotton

It's only 4 months to the wedding and I, for one, think time is passing far too slowly. I want to marry Mark now! Then again, what are a few more months after 10 years, eh? 

Our wedding preparations are nearly all done. We have the suppliers, the venue, insurance, the registrar, and most decorations. The last few things we need luckily aren't time sensitive, so we can relax now. It's surprising how few of the decorations are handmade, but I decided I'd rather not stress about things. Still, there will be a few handmade touches, of course, including my beautiful wedding shawl.

Mark's mum has also been busy knitting for the wedding and made me a bag for the day. I suggested it because brides tend not to have pockets to keep anything in and I am sure I may need a tissue at some point that evening! 

She also surprised us with this ring cushion in the same colours of the bag and my wedding shawl. Isn't it lovely? It is made from King Cole Bamboo Cotton, finished with a sewn lace border, two ribbons and embroidery. It's hard to tell from the photos, but this cushion is quite big. It will take pride of place at the wedding, though we probably won't be able to use it during the ceremony because we already had something else in mind. (Unless that goes wrong, which it might because it is something I want to add some finishing touches to.)

Did you make anything for your own wedding or a friend's? I'd love to hear about it (and maybe get a few more ideas). 


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Knittin' In Britain: An Infographic

Knitting in Britain YouGov Results Infographic

Welcome to my first ever infographic! I love a good infographic because it can present a lot of information in a concise and visually appealing manner. Knittin' in Britain contains information from YouGov about our favourite hobby. I have to say I was surprise by the very precise conclusion that the average knitter likes a slice of coffee and walnut cake. If that is true, I am not your average knitter - but then again I am also not 55 years old.

I hope you enjoy the infographic! Is there anything in it that surprises you?

Saturday, 6 May 2017

King Cole Zig Zag 4-Ply

King Cole Zig Zag 4-ply Bilberry Pie yarn review

This may be the longest pair of socks I have ever knitted - and by that I don't mean that they are knee socks. It's just taking me a very long time to knit them and I am still on the first sock of the pair! 

I was sent yarn by Laughing Hens who gave me this King Cole Zig Zag 4-ply in the Bilberry Pie colourway. As you can see, it knits up in stripes, some of which are patterned. Unlike the name, you do not get any zig zags, though. The colours go well together, I think, and even though this kind of patterned sock yarn isn't my cup of tea, these socks will make a great present for someone else.

The yarn knits up well and feels like your average sock yarn that will wear well and not cause any trouble. If you like sturdy, reliable sock yarn, this is a good choice. Especially knitters who prefer knitting vanilla socks, but want features to add interest to the plain pattern, should have a look at this yarn. Choose your favourite colour combination and give it a go! 

King Cole Zig Zag 4-ply Bilberry Pie yarn review

I am knitting a pair of socks from this yarn as a Christmas present. You can never start to early! However, I thought I'd have finished them by now. I wish I had more time to knit lately, but you know how it is. Luckily, there is lots of time till Christmas so these socks will get done. I'd love to do a bit more Christmas knitting - and then there is still that jumper I have been wanting to knit for ages.

Let me now if you have used King Cole Zig Zag before and what you think of it. Do you like patterned yarns or do you prefer others?

Disclosure: This yarn was sent to me free of charge by Laughing Hens in exchange for a review. My opinions are impartial and honest and I do not receive monetary compensation for my post.