Skyscrapers and String


Deep Blue Something

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re having a jolly week and looking forward to the weekend.

Today is my day off and I love the peace of a long weekend. It is seriously good for the soul.

I have a lot of things to get done, my list is long, but they are all fun things in the main. Or productive tasks. For example, the week after next is a week off for Jon and I, and today we decided what we needed to get for the decorating we plan to do, so, tick!

The poppies were all sold, we raised over £1200 plus £4£ matched funding, which was amazing.

Amber got the Internship she had applied for, and was also asked to speak on a Panel debate on children’s human rights, which was being filmed, and, according to the reviews, and to us the proud parents, she stole the show; giving a passionate, thoughtful and rousing call to action which moved everyone, confident and strong even though she was speaking alongside some very eminent and respected experts, including a High Court Judge.

On the knitting front, Club met several times this week, we have been making plans for a charity christmas sale, so the juggernaut never stops. Accordingly, I have been racking my brains as to what I can contribute. Hmmm.

One of the sillier work projects on my plate has been removed, so I am very pleased, and I finished another that I thought would never end, so today feels like a celebration day all round.

Also knitting related, I have finally started my “Deep Blue Something” project. It’s the usual story. Stash builds up, colours sing to each other and I put them together, a random acquisition of gorgeous yarniness gets added, then you end up with a basket of woolly harmonies singing to be knitted next!

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I took them after Poppying and shawling this week, and swifted the 1200 grs of yarn into mini balls. Then I ordered the colours until I was happy.

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I loved the stripe pattern of the Alder Shawl by Kaffe Fassett; and thought I’d take that as the basis for my design.

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I’m using totally different yarn, in different colours, it’s a different size and a different construction, so is my “Deep Blue Something” an Alder or something else?

How do you decide if you have altered something enough for it to be your own design?


Shawling and Wrapping!

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve been having a happy and creative time. It has been all go chez Jenny, what with poppy selling, knitting things for presents in a big flap and a rush and making wooly decisions.

On the work front it has been bonkers, lots of people are leaving and there is a lot of silliness going on. I am keeping calm and remembering to knit and drink mint tea.

I have had to fill in my appraisal, which is stressful as my boss has no self confidence and thinks that if you write down any achievements in any kind of positive language you’re unforgivably boastful, and need taking down a few pegs. If I’m not to write down what I actually did all year, and if I am not to say I am good at what I do, when I’ve done well, how can I fill in the form? Pfftt!

November is a horrid time of year for my family, it will be three years since I lost my beloved Poppa, and my dear Aunties were bereaved this month too, losing their parents and a husband in the same month. Also I have two friends who have lost their dads within days of each other. It is a gloomy time.

The charity poppies have been a big success, we’ve sold loads and the total stands at over £700 with more cash due to come in next week. I never realised how good it feels to raise money for others less fortunate than yourself, it truly makes your heart bigger.

On a wooly note, I have been wrestling with my time and my imagination. I simply have too many exciting things to do, and I want to start everything at once! I want to knit!

This is incompatible with two dinners out in one week, and swimming after work.

I also need to put my iPad out of reach as I seem to need to look up random facts mid row, then an hour of net surfing later I have run out of knitting time.

I have been making a shawl for my dear friend Alex’s birthday, and it has been very jolly.

Firstly it was using stash yarn, which feels virtuous, and secondly, because I had a random amount, I didn’t know how big the shawl would be. But, in some ways, that made it more enjoyable!!!

I had some Shilasdair in a beautiful tawny plum shade, some Isager twinni in a russet/spice and some coral spindrift. Lovely colours!

Oh but being on a deadline! Yikes!

It’s one of my “Jennifer” shawls, which means I just knit straight out of my head. This week I had a wonderful note from my dear friend Barbie and she asked me to write the recipe up, so I will! Isn’t it kind of people to take the time to send encouraging messages!

Here you can see a before picture, Alex did love it, I’m pleased to say!

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And after:

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I hope you’re all well. I have never been so happy!


Poppy time!

Hello everyone,

I hope you have lots of happy plans for the weekend! I am on the tail end of a massive hangover from Thursday night; my old boss left and he and I are known to egg each other on and I always end up very much worse from wear on wine which I don’t normally drink much of.

The leaving do was funny, such is the climate at the place where I work there were 8 people leaving from the same department on the same day.

Even though I rested up, and relied on many cups of sweet tea and chocolate for breakfast, I was fit for very little.

Thursday was super. knitting club gathered to show the poppies we have made for sale for Help For Heroes.

Here you can see just some of the poppies we’ve made this year:

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Here you can see one of the tiny crochet poppies, this year, small is definitely the vogue, all the tiny poppies have been snapped up.

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Last year Knitting Club made £860 for Help for Heroes, this year we plan to beat that total! We also get matched funding from our firm, so it does add up.

This week also has been fun on the knitting front, I’ve done the first few rows of my autumn poncho:

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It has taken me literally years to find suitable yarn. I am loving how it is turning out already!

Also, Amber spotted that “Cats” is back on in London at the Palladium which Jon has been very keen to go to (handily near Liberty and John Lewis for pre show wool browsing..) so that meant he and Amber spent Monday and Tuesday night searching for tickets online. We found three seats together in the good rows in February after about 7 hours of researching on the theatre booking page. Good luck with that one if you have a mind to go.

My brown Colinette mitts are finished, I managed to get these sweet cabled beauties off the needles yesterday, and sewn up during many episodes of TV, one good thing about a hangover lol!

I was delighted how two long mitts came off one tiny skein, I thought that was great value as they cost £2 each at Ally Pally. I think everyone who went to the show bought some of those, I would love to see what everyone does with their mini skeins! I’ll get some good pictures once we have daylight.

Last weekend I went to visit my Mum who is in a home as she has bad dementia. It was nice to see her. She was smiling and happy, and was pleased to see me.

What a terrifying place though. I was sitting there, Mum had a doll on her lap, and she was tending to it, people with slack faces were shuffling round like zombies and there was a constant backdrop of screaming.

Mum chattered constantly, she doesn’t make much sense, and now she is losing the ability to even use regular words, so the phrases would contain random syllables joined together.

Today is going to be exciting, I am meeting my friend Lesley and we’re heading for Loop. Lesley has this year become proficient in crochet and she requested we visit my favourite shop on earth to buy wool. Once I have finished writing I am going to try to sort mine as I swapped the money I paid for my friend Mary’s ticket to Ally Pally for some red heart shimmer yarn from Deramores. I think I have a bit too much wool now in fact. But it is beautiful!

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I forgive myself

Hello everyone.

After watching Susan Sarandon on TV yesterday discussing candidly how her life was made beautiful by all her failures and mistakes I have been struck by the profound nature of her words.

Having the house all to myself this morning has meant I could have a long bath and read uninterrupted for an hour.

I’ve always been a quick reader, and some books are more padded out than others. I’ve been reading a book called “Forgiveness” by Iyanla Vanzant.

This lady is one of my personal heroes, alongside Oprah. Both these ladies are my moms, alongside Flylady.

Her name Iyanla means “Great Mother”, which is appropriate seeing as she grew up without a mother. She has been a dear mentor to me without her knowing, for two decades. She will never know how grateful I am.

In the bath I have read up to about 13 chapters of the book, and as I read through I was thinking yes, uh uh, I get that and so on. I decided to get up and go out and pulled the plug and as I wrapped my hair in a towel, these words popped into my head: “I forgive myself for not trying hard enough”.

The irony of those words hit me like a tidal wave and I was then heartbroken and sobbing my heart out. Readers, if I ever was to criticise myself it would not be for the want of trying hard. My life story if I was to write it out in full would be of the child who tried so hard she nearly died trying.

So that is my lesson for today. I forgive myself for not trying hard enough.

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Who Am I?

Hello everyone, I hope you’re having a super weekend so far. Thank you to those of you who have sent lovely wishes to me after my saying how I was feeling down in the dumps after a rough week at work.

After a long sleep, the alarm went for Jon to get to work, so I sat with him as our loaf of bread baked in the oven. He’d stirred cinnamon and raisins in to the dough I started yesterday, so the smell was divine, and it permeated the whole house.

After a long bath and a breakfast of warm bread and coffee, Amber and I headed out to get her a new dress for the big awards ceremony she’s been invited to in a couple of weeks’s time.

The mittens are coming on apace, I sewed up the first mitt this morning then on the bus I knit half the second one. I am surprised that the two tiny skeins have gone so far, I have made nearly both mitts from one small skein.

Amber took some pictures of me knitting on the bus, of all the portraits of me that she takes, the ones of my hands at work are the ones that please me most.

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This afternoon, in the quiet of the day, I watched a tv show featuring Susan Sarandon, and she was a great speaker. She was sharing the lessons of her life, of how things happen for a reason, of how your imperfections make you who you are. I felt she was a tremendously powerful and honest person, and I developed a deep respect for her.

This led me to thinking “Who am I?”

What I know for sure is that my life has not been straightforward, or easy, but I’m still here, laughing and loving life.

I know I can change and evolve, and survive. And grow.

I know I have a big heart, and a deep well of feelings, and that I am as vulnerable now as the day when I was born because my heart is still open wide.

Right now I am drinking a rum cocktail, my cat is spread out on the sofa, my daughter has a fabulous new dress and I have a new handbag and two sorts of new toothpaste as both looked equally good. I’m brave enough to speak my mind, and I live a truthful and empowered independent life.

And I can knit. Oh how I love to make things. I love the feeling of my brain whirring as I look at a pile of wool and wonder what to make with it.

I am glad to be me, and I’ve found the courage to forgive myself, as well as those who have caused me problems and now I am able to step forward again. I’m also in a good mood as I found the key to the German knitting pattern I am trying to follow using my newly purchased Ally Pally wool. They had put the key to the charts right at the back of the book, I only found it as I picked it up to toss it in the garbage can. God listens.


Brown Mouse Mittens

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve had a jolly week so far.

My week has been abysmal, I’ve been so stressed I feel sick all the time, and I’ve not been sleeping. Yesterday I had the day off sick and a wild migraine and it cleared off about 6pm.

Whilst it is flattering to be perceived as a subject matter expert, the endless demands on my time and ingenuity have caused me to freak out.

Today I feel a lot better, I’ve had a lie in, and a nice walk, I picked up some library books on embroidery, and knitting, and I’ve nearly finished knitting a fingerless mitt from one of the mini Ally Pally Colinette skeins. These were a bargainous £2 each, and I bet most people who went picked some up! The colours!

I found two matching ones, they’re brown, pink and green. Overall they look very subtle and dark and natural.

Like a mouse I want to hide and not be seen, I want to be left alone really.

One mitt is done, nearly. I am very pleased!

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Ally Pally Weekend

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve had a super weekend. I have had heaps of fun and am looking forward to the week ahead, life seems gentle and peaceful all round.

On Friday, three of us from Knitting Club went round the Knitting and Stitching show.

I have no photos as my iphone 4s dies if away from a charger for more than three hours. Accordingly I was trying to save power by not using it but it was flat before I got overground on the district line.

Nonetheless, I can say the show was a great success, although some stalls I hoped to find weren’t there. Last year there was an excellent stall with purse clasps and the like, and I promised myself a splurge but no, it was not to be found.

I did find and purchase my vintage americana bear embroidery kit I regretted overlooking last year, and finally I got some yarn for the bobbled poncho I am longing to make:

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Also, I found some red yarn to finish a shawl in progress, and two small skeins in brown Colinette Jitterbug for mittens.

A surprising hit of the show was the handmade chocolate stall, I bought about 5 lots: truffles, rose and violet creams, fudge, solid rabbits and giant buttons. The truffles evaporated on the train home as I was starving! Jon had the fudge, Amber had the rabbits and we shared the creams yesterday whilst I was sewing the linings for my pencil cases. It felt very luxurious wafting a bag of choccies about. They were yummy!

Knitting wise, I am making a vast garter stitch shawl and thought I’d follow the directions in a pattern I used before. Unfortunately, I am using smaller needles than the pattern, so I have run out of directions and have another 10 inches of shawl to knit. It’s a semi circular shape, so I will have to guess the rest. Oh dear! Lol!

My nipper took some fab photos of me actually wearing my handknits for Ravelry, she always makes me look nice. Have a splendid week!

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Planning and Poppying

Hello all,

At Knitting Club, we compete as to which of us is the most OCD when it comes to knitting. I must say, I am not even in the top three. lol, who am I kidding?

My obsession is with lists and my Ravelry queue, organising my stash and so on. I love to have several projects on the go at once, and it can be stressful to have too many things on the needles and to lose track of what you’re doing.

I get really bored doing one project at a time, so keeping several projects purring simultaneously is a must for me.

What I’ve been doing, and it’s working well for me, is to knock up a little table for each project, and I’m marking my progress on each project as I go along. This keeps the projects clear in my mind, and it prompts me to do a bit on each every day.

Let me show you the tables:

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Basically, I have divided each item into units, so in my green shawl, each garter ridge is a unit, on my Mitred squares bag, each square is a unit, and on each poppy, I can mark them down as I knit them, then work out how many felt leaves I need to make, and it becomes a neat production and assembly process.

On the subject of poppies, I made great progress on these this weekend, about another 8 went into the fancy Parisienne Macaron box I am using as a poppy store.

Here you can see the display of what I’ve made and finished so far – I set a target of 30 poppies, and I’ve made 26 so far, and I’m still really enjoying them.

Have a look, what do you reckon?

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From A Knot To A Thing

Hello all!

It’s been a while since I had any quiet time to write to you, which, is a jolly thing for me, as I am not a solitary creature, and I have a tendency to mope about and get nothing done when left to myself.

It is all guns blazing on the knitting front, both secret blankets were delivered to the new parents in Knitting Club, and I am so relieved I didn’t lose them on the train, or ruin them when blocking lol! It is quite a responsibility to be trusted with the combined output of a dozen keen knitters. Lovely wool – Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran, and jewel bright colours.

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Also, I showed you the tangled shoebox of yarn in my last post. I have made a pencil case, a shoulder bag and a back pack so far and the shoe box is still quite full!

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As you can see above the lid of the shoebox is getting lots of love as well!

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Here you can see the bag pieces, I am still at work on them, but the colours are lovely and it will be nice to have a matching shoulder bag and backpack.

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I am loving the colours, they remind me of Tiffany stained glass windows. I have so much left I will get something else out of the remnants in the box.

It is also time for Knitting Club to start poppying for charity, and I have made about 25 poppies so far. Lunchtimes and bus journeys can result in quite a few poppies with very little effort, today I am going to the hairdresser and. I am spoilt for choice as to which projects to take.

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Life is really good right now, I am enjoying everything. It is nice to not be caught up in any dramas at home or at work and have a peaceful patch in my life. I love my commute, my park walks, this week I saw crows herding seagulls, dogs racing after sticks at top speed, lots of clouds and sky, and I adore the smell of grass and being out of doors. Work is fun, varied, the week speeds past so I am at the weekend again. And how lovely is the weather right now!

On my Birthday recently, Amber and I sat in the park during the day as warm as in summer, and it is still too hot to need covers over me in bed. Unheard of for October.

I am neglecting my reading books, however as Jane explains for Mr. Bingley in “Pride and Prejudice”, “I wish I read more but there always seems to be so many other things to do”. I am really happy, I hope you are too!


Unravelling knots

Hello everyone!

I hope your week has gone well, it’s now the weekend! Yaay!

We met for an impromptu knit lunchtime Tuesday and I knit all the wool I’d brought with me for the day, so I had to travel home on the bus with Jon and Amber with empty hands. I thought I’d ask Amber to bring spare travel knitting to the pool from home but figured that probably would be excessive..

We like going swimming. It is super to be part of a pack. The three of us are a proper team, it’s the kind of family unit I wish I’d grown up with. This time, I’ve made my own family, and I feel very proud.

My friend Tamsyn got her baby shower blanket from all of us at knitting club this week, it was fab to see her face, she really loved it.

This week has been busy on the knitting front, I fixed my brown bag which had a huge long strap if you remember, I can show you here how I took my scissors to the strap, cut a foot off, then rejoined using a three needle bind off.

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Here you can see what I’ve done with a bag of knotted mess of wool which is the end result of my tidying my stash. It comprises the odds and ends from hundreds of projects. The ugly mess is behind me, but today I selected some small oddments of blues, turquoise so and purples, and I’m making a little bag.

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Here you can see what I’ve done with these so far! I get more excited by a bag of useless scraps than anything probably. I like the small scale, the random colour combinations.

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I hope you’re enjoying your knitting!



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