In the spirit – two FOs

So, in the spirit of the last post, I am going to post again… RIGHT AWAY.

While the iron’s hot and all that, right?

Here are two hats what I made.  The first is Porom. 

Porom by you.

I cast this one on quite some time ago (ravelry tells me October.  I got almost to the end (like, about ten rows away) and then needed to switch to two circs because it got too small.  But I was out and about, and didn’t have the needles, and then… I just never got around to it again. 

Porom by you.

I picked it back up a few weeks after we moved because I needed to finish something.  All my jumpers were stalled, and I would have had to concentrate to work out where I was up to.  Or else I’d left them at the tricky bit.  And the only other thing on the needles is my cousin’s wedding present shawl.  It’s back and forth time, and it’s making me a bit crazy.  Besides, it’s silk, and my first love is wool.  I wanted to touch wool again.

Porom by you.

And lovely wool it is, too.  It’s Jo Sharp Aran Tweed something something.  Left over from a scarf, I believe.  That I knit my sister aaaaages ago, when I first started knitting again.

It was a fun knit.  Easy, too.  Just yarn overs and k2togs and ssks – although maybe one or two knit through the back loops.  Like all Brooklyn Tweed patterns, it is elegantly contructed.  I really enjoyed watching the lines of yos melding into each other.

I blocked it over the biggest plate I own:

Porom blocking by you.

Which may have been a mistake.  It was pretty slouchy before, if I did this again I wouldn’t block it as severely.  I then had to re-block the ribbing into itself to make it functional.

I was sort of hoping that this would be for me.  But I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be.  And sure enough, it made me look like a chef.  Or a cancer patient.  Or a mushroom.  My sister on the other hand:

Porom by you.

works it.  So she got it.  I’d be cranky, but she wears it all the time, and she loves it and looks good in it.  So… yay for process knitting!

I would definitely knit this again, even though I don’t see myself ever being the slouchy-beret type.

Ravelled.

 

The second hat is Habitat, also by Brooklyn Tweed.

Greenery by you.

This one was EVEN MORE fun.  I love cabling. 

I’d been wanting to knit this one for a while, and when a friend helped me build a rabbit hutch in my backyard, I decided to knit this for him.  He asked for a purple or a green hat, and since I couldn’t find any nice purples (probably not helped by the fact that I dislike purple in general) I settled on the Forest colourway in Karaoke, since he is a hippy  🙂  The SoySilk was lovely to work with, although a bit felty, even just from knitting.

Mmmmm green by you.

I don’t really have any good photos of this, because I finished it in two days so that I could send it up with someone who was visiting the recipient, who is currently in the APY lands.  Two rainy days.  I curled up on the couch with my knitting and some podcasts and listened to the rain.  It was BLISS.  But it meant that I finished it late at night (a RAINY night, did I mention that i twas raining?) and had to send it off the next morning.  So all the photos are dodgy low light ones, I’m afraid.  Which means you can’t really appreciate the… wait for it… elegance of this pattern.

Habitat from the top by you.

Check out the way those decreases work in the cables!  Is that not a thing of beauty, blurry over exposure and all?

Not only WOULD I knit this again, I fully intend to.  It took a ball and a bit of Karaoke, and I think if you were to knit the smaller version (which would fit me about right – this one is a tad big for me, unless you want to roll it up at the brim… which would hide the lovely cables) you could get away with one ball

Two balls by you.

You can see where the ends are, just where the crown shaping starts.

This hat made me a lot more comfortable with cables.  The first two inches probably took me as long as the whole rest of the hat.  I went from not having any idea what I was doing, and needing to squint at the pattern the whole time, to knowing what the cables were going to be doing but not really knowing why, to being able to sight read the chart without having to refer to the key, to being able to just glance at the pattern and wing it.  I was very proud of myself by the end. 

Ravelled.

These two hats were where exactly what I needed to reinvigorate my knitting mojo. 

Next up, a WIP post!

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Dipping my toe (again)

It’s only (only) been a little over a month since I’ve posted.  It feels like longer.  How long since I posted properly?  Months plural, definitely.  Maybe almost six.

I’ve been pondering blogging for a while – what it is, why we do it. 

Why do I blog?  I started blogging without really thinking about it.  I was excited about crafting, and I could sense something out there, something that I wanted.  Initially I just used it to make my crafting public.  As a way of logging it.  But I don’t really need my blog for that anymore.  I have ravelry and I have flickr, which I could use in combination to satisfy that part of it.  Although I haven’t been, really, which might tell me something else, but I’ll think about that another time.  Blogging is still a great way to log crafting activities, but given that I have several new FOs and WIPs that I haven’t blogged, (let alone uploaded the photos of or raveled) I don’t think that can be as high up on the list as it used to be.

It’s certainly not what’s drawn me back today.

The last month or so, I’ve considered posting.  I’ve started to write posts in my head – you know, the way you do – only to be distracted.  Or, instead of writing a post, I’ll end up talking to someone in my head.  Instead of talking to the blog, to the internet, it’ll be a friend, a family member, myself.  A different type of audience.  Sometimes I even end up having those conversations with those people.  (I know, right?  Human interaction – totally old skool.  Well, that’s just how I roll…)  So I can’t say that I need my blog to provide me with validation or acknowledgement.  Although it can do those things, too.  But there are other, safer, less public and time-captured ways of getting that.  (Like facebook, for example (sigh).)

That’s not why I’m posting today.

The real sticker for me was community.  I have met some great people on this blog, and through theirs.  And although I am still (sporadically) reading blogs, and occasionally commenting, it doesn’t seem the same.  It’s not really a conversation.  I feel like I’m cheating, like I’m standing on the sidelines heckling.  Like I’m not really a part of the community.  The crafty blogging community specifically, but the whole internets in general, too.

This is particularly clear to me as we come up to Bendigo Sheep and Wool festival again.  Last year I had a BALL (which I didn’t really post about, did I?  Rot setting in, maybe?).  A big part of that was the bloggy people I met up with – specifically Jac and Sooz.  My clearest and best memories of last year are of this.  Sitting in Seddon Deadly Sins with Jac eating brunch (cos we’re POSH!) who is UNFAIRLY ATTRACTIVE and well put together, although she did try to set me at ease by spilling a barely noticable piece of egg on her top.  And in Sooz’s kitchen with the ever charming Wil, discussing politics and motherhood, while she dyed yarn, and I tried to figure out what my fingering weight cashmere wanted to be.  (I gave up and it’s still marinating in the stash.)

alpaca overload! by you.

A friend I made last year in Bendigo

I wouldn’t have had those times without this blog, and I value them enormously.  I value the deepening of my IRL friendships that it helps bring me, too.  The space to talk about things that seem awkward in normal conversation, that never seem to find the right time to come up.  And I was not only sad, but actually a bit scared, at the idea of losing the connection to that community – that lovely, caring, vibrant community of funny, smart, engaged men and women that, I will maintain with my last breath, is what the internet is really for, what it was meant to be like.

That is why I could never quite resolve to just give up on this whole blogging ‘thing’.  But it’s not really why I’m posting now, today, finally.

I’m editing and formatting some notes for one of our counselling subjects.  The bit I’m adding in, and which I’ve had to type and therefore read in its entirety (you’d be surprised all the random things I’ve learnt that way), is about learning journals.  And this bit struck something in me:

 In writing a journal ‘we take something from inside ourselves and we set it out: it is a means of discovering who we are, that we change and grow. The personal journal has been used for hundreds of years to articulate the human drama of living and to explore new knowledge.’ (Wolf 1989) Set something out.  The literal implication of that phrase had never struck me before.  And it reminded me of what I miss most about blogging.  It’s an opportunity to herd your thoughts into some sort of order, to set them out, to remove them from the darkness of your own head, from the rush of a million other thoughts and feelings.  To give them a place of their own where they can breathe, see the light, grow into their own, seperate thing.

Did you ever read The Secret Garden?  That was one of my favourite books as a kid.  And the bit I liked the best out of the whole book was when Mary first finds the garden, first gains access to it.  And it’s ramshackle and half dead, but there are things growing in the dirt.  And she sees some green shoots in the ground, being covered by weeds and she clears them out because, she says, they looked like they needed space to breathe.

 

Where I sit by you.

A space to breathe

 So much of my day at work is disjointed and rushed.  Clear thinking is a luxury.  And like all luxuries, it doesn’t come cheap.  It needs me to sit down, to make time, to use energy.  And sometimes that falls by the wayside.  But it’s a price that is well worth paying.

I guess, once I gained a (small) audience, I forgot something.  That this blog is actually for me.  It’s primary purpose is as a place for my thoughts.  Conside this list (also from the counselling notes)

 Purposes of keeping a journal are: 

  • To record experience
  • To facilitate learning from experience
  • To support understanding and the representation of that understanding
  • To develop critical thinking or the development of a questioning attitude
  • To encourage meta-cognition
  • To increase active involvement in, and ownership of, learning
  • To increase ability in reflection and thinking
  • To enhance problem solving skills
  • As a means of assessment in formal education
  • To enhance reflective practice
  • For reasons of personal development and self empowerment
  • For therapeutic purposes or as a means of supporting behaviour change
  • To enhance creativity
  • To improve writing
  • To improve or give ‘voice’; as a means of self expression
  • To foster communication; in particular reflective and creative interaction within a group
  • To support planning and progress in research or a project
  • As a means of communication between one learner and another.

I want those things again.  I want the chance to write the story of my life as it is happening.  And even if I still only post once a month, I want to have that space in my head where I write blog posts.  Even if only 5% make it into the blogosphere

 Starwatching

 

 I’ve started to get irritated with a couple of people (and one colleague specifically) who are always, always negative.  Now, I know some of you willl be all ‘ummm… Kate, the kettle called.  It made a racial slur’.  I can be pretty negative myself.  But I do try not to bog myself down in could-have-beens and not-quite-rights.  I have my whinge and then get on with it (usually).  Actually, compared to this colleague, I’m a sunny, happy-go-lucky personality.  The same thing happened when I was in China.  There’s that stereotype about Aussies being laid back, which I thought was rubbish.  I conside myself fairly tightly wound.  But in the office in China, I was consistently the least troubled.  Things that the others would be working up into a lather about just… didn’t bother me.

This is something that I feel I got from my dad.  He was remarkably untroubled my a lot of things.  (Yes, I am aware of the irony in that statement.)  Not that he didn’t care, as such.  Just… he couldn’t see why everyone was getting so upset, so worked up, about things that are neither here nor there.  It’s a part of my personality that isn’t always obvious, either.  But it’s soemthing I’d like to work on more.  Because there’s enough trouble to go around withough finding things to get upset over.  And there are enough things that are worth getting upset about, too, without wasting breath on the littel things.

How does this relate?  Well… I’m sure there was a reason.  Something about blogging helping me be more conscious about the way I think about my world, and how I can make that better and easier for myself.  About reclaiming this space to think and reflect and consider.  Something along those lines.

I don’t really remember how that connection went.  And you know what?  That’s ok.  I want to start using this blog more again and in the spirit of that, I am going to set the bar looooooow.  In another stream-of-consciousness seg, I’ve started sewing, a bit.  Nothing fancy.  Just straight lines at this stage.  And I’ve been winging it.  The stuff I’ve ended up with isn’t perfect.  It’s not even very good, frankly.  But it’s an item.  It’s something, where before there wasn’t anything.  And I’d rather have my wonky seams than a pile of fabric.  What’s more, making those wonky seams made me realise how hard it is to actually fail, when you are trying to make something.  You might not make what you intended to make.  But you’ll end up with something, even if it’s only a pile of wet newspaper and some experience.

So I am not going to set myself up to have to try and write pearls of wisdom every post.  It doesn’t need to be profound.  Because that’s not what it’s for

So the point of all that is… can I come play with the cool kids again?

And now, a random comic that I found by accident while searching for the above.  Just because looking at the little dude’s arms thrown up in the air is making me giggle:

Interblag

heeheehee!

(Also, I would totally have Randall Munroe’s babies.  Rowr!)