Feeling Woolly

The Chronicles of a Dropped Stitch

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Month: April 2018

T-wit T-wool ! How very Owlish

If you are on the look out for a novelty pouch/case/holder for perhaps a tablet, IPad or netbook, this maybe something of interest.  I made this owlish chap for my son’s IPad Mini last October.

Handmade knitted IPad sleeve

Owlish IPad mini case

This is a free pattern called Owlish by Corrisande and was very straightforward to follow.  Having said that I had never tried my hand at crochet before, so there was an immediadte search for any tutorials on YouTube so that ‘owl eyes’ could be created.  My virtual granny didn’t disappoint and before long (long being the operative word) the eyes of the owl were cobbled together.  I should say though, it is a good thing you cannot scrutinise them too closely from the photograph!

My sister was quite smitten with this little fella and so asked me if I could make one for her 19 year old son Owen, as a Christmas present.  This time however, it was for a MacBook.  So armed with some new measurements (13″×9″), I headed to my local yarn shop Leven Crafts in Guisborough and purchased some Drops Nepal.

Drops Nepal

Drops Nepal

I love this yarn, a beautiful blend of 65% Wool and 35% Alpaca, so it is gorgeously soft to the touch.  I have to say I am really drawn to knitting with natural fibres.  This yarn in particular is dreamy to knit with, stitches sliding off the needles with ease.  It is also a bargain at £2.10 a ball.

I pretty much stuck to the pattern, but increased the needle size to 9mm (13 US ) and used a double strand of each colour of the wool.  I replaced a toggle for the beak this time as felt this may be more secure for the heavier device it would be holding.  As the pattern says itself, they are guidelines really and it can be altered to your taste.

13"x 9" MacBook sleeve

Knitting the MacBook case

Hey, but those crocheted owl eyes are amazing, I hear you say!  And you a newbie crocheter!!  Well, psst!  Listen in….indeed they are superb because I did not crochet them.  You see it took me such an age to do the last pair (for my own son’s device), that I was literally running out of time to be able to send the finished article before Christmas.   Oh how tricksy I am, so how did I do it?  Well, I unpicked  these particular eyes off an old child’s hat which had certainly seen better days, and just sewed them on my new creation.  I always feel it’s good to upcycle don’t you!  Et voila!  Owen’s Owl was born!

Handmade MacBook Sleeve

Owen’s Owl

Anyway, I believe my lovely nephew Owen was pleased with his Christmas present and his owly companion is now in constant use at University (I have been promised a photograph which I’ll add in as soon as I can).  A wise old owl happy in his academic surroundings.

Getting back to those owl eyes though……recognise them from somewhere?

Crocheted owl eyes

The hat in better days

T-wit T-wool!

Introducing The Lumpford Files – A Labrador Tale

And now breaking for a brief interlude from the world of wool, I’d like to introduce you to ‘The Lumpford Files’.  My aim here is to include in my blog a series of short yarns concerning the exploits of our lovable pet Labrador Rolo, fondly known as ‘The Lump’.  This is a little piece, which may appear from time to time to inject a bit of fun.  After all we can’t take ourselves too seriously now can we!  Hopefully, before the sound of snores start wafting through the WiFi (which may have already occurred but as yet haven’t reached my ears).  Let’s be honest here, even the most woolly headed of us, who truly adore everything yarny, felted, weaved, knitted or crocheted, need to untwine ourselves once in a while.  Too much of a good thing, as the old saying goes!

Our very own impersonator

 

Oh no but, please not another Labrador tale you may say, which depicts the endeavors of one such of the chocolate variety.  Especially not one that masquerades as famous folk.  Groan, yes it is!  I believe I mentioned ‘madness’ in my first post.  As the title may suggest,  ‘The Lumpford Files’ is a nod to that marvellous 70’s TV detective Jim Rockford of The Rockford Files  (see what I did there!) For full effect I urge you to click on the link, the theme tune always brings a smile to my face.  I’m sure it will bring back fond memories for many of you!  Here he is our very own Jim Lumpford, who I’m sure you’ll agree bears a striking resemblance to James Garner’s tough guy character.  Chiselled good looks, bone structure and that hint of ex con turned good.

The Lumpford Files

Jim Lumpford

So our lump of a friend here not only provides us with that true, loyal companionship we so often hear about in the breed.  No sir, he can often be off on adventures pretending to be somebody else.  Our very own impersonator if you will.  Although officially named Rolo, that will likely change depending on the circumstances in which he finds himself.  For instance below we can see him at full pelt, not to be mistaken for the powerhouse Linford Christie.  The style is certainly not as graceful as the great man himself, but it has to be said he’s putting his all in!

The Lumpford Files

Lumpford Christie

Being from a nation of animal lovers, it is by now probably obvious that I join ranks with them.  This dog is a constant companion in our family, a big, cuddly bear of a lump-a-dor whom we all love dearly.

So keep your eyes peeled for this master of disguise, who knows who he’ll present himself as next……and on that note it’s back to some knitting!

Mum’s Big Woolly

Mum (on the right) in what might be her woolly!

I suppose when we look back at how we begin new ventures or hobbies, we often find there’s a subtle, subconscious influence which has guided us to that point.  Sometimes it is hiding in plain sight.

For me that influence is this big blue woolly jumper!  Yes there I am again in it – in fact it is rarely off me in the colder months.  It also features down there at the bottom of the page, one of my humble doodles, which will probably act as my signature throughout the following posts I hope to throw out there.  My wee homage you could say to this creation!  I want to say a massive thank you to the lovely Katie at The Picture Patch Ltd for taking some of the beautiful photographs so far (the one of me in black and white up at the top of the page and in my first post and ‘about me ‘ page).  They really do justice to the colour and stitch definition of the jumper.  Check out her Facebook page, she is such a talent.

I have a strong bond with this piece of clothing as believe it or not my mum knitted it for herself when she was 21 years of age.  My mum is now 77, so that makes this jumper 56 years old.  Vintage it certainly is!  However for me there is so much more significance.

There are the obvious reasons of course. The beautiful thick wool, knitted into a drop-stitch stocking stitch pattern, accompanied by the vibrancy of a rich deep blue colour. Not forgetting to mention my mum’s knitting skills.  Although some fading round the collar, the stitches have barely fraid in all these years – only minor patch ups required here and there which have enabled it to continue on its long journey.  A journey that has seen it travel through time.  Being present through all our births (there are four of us girls!), and of course accompanying me to University, from my Welsh home to my new one here in Teesside 24 years ago.  There is real history in its fibres.

Most importantly for me though, this adorable hunk of a jumper connects me to my mother.  Each time I wear it, I feel my mother’s arms around me.  The most comforting hug, even though she is 300 miles away.   When family aren’t near, I believe connections like these are vital for keeping those we love close to our hearts.  A photograph enables us to see a person…..an object enables us to feel them.

So perhaps then, my first knitting project two and a half years ago was always going to be a big woolly jumper.  This time for my lucky husband…..and it’s big and orange!  Not sure if it will last 56 years, but you never know.  As for Mum’s Big Woolly, well the story continues.  Just a couple of months ago, an amazing chance sighting of the original pattern on Ebay caught my eye. I jumped on the chance to purchase it and now I have the very instructions to reproduce a modern day big woolly like my mum’s. I look forward to sharing that project when I eventually get started.  Until then, keep your special items within arms reach…..feeling woolly with you.

 

Dropped Stitches and Picking Yourself Up

 

Starting this blog for me, has been a process all being told, I had been tentatively pondering over about 4 or 5 years ago, when both my children had started school (yes I do take my time!)  Two years prior to that,  my husband had supported my (overwhelmingly) difficult decision to leave my career as a Physiotherapist.  “You must be mad”, some would have thought (there is a truth there!)  However, the reality is we all have our struggles and that whole work/life balance chestnut had certainly been roasting at the forefront of my mind.

you must be mad

 

I also think that I was perhaps yearning for a creative outlet.  Although some may not realise, I have always been drawn to creativity in some form or other.  As a child I loved drawing, art, and calligraphy, finding myself being able to totally “zone out” in whatever thing I was doing.  I am a day dreamer (ah I now realise where my youngest son gets it from!  My apologies to his teachers, it’s my fault!)  It is good to dream though isn’t it.  In my opinion, there is no hope without dreams.

Imperceptibly, there comes that age where children almost surprisingly become a tiny bit more independent.  Even more surprisingly one realises “I have time”.  Just the teeniest amount of time.  But time.  And so it was with me.

my virtual granny

 

My foray with knitting began around two and a half years ago.  Learning from scratch, with my ‘virtual granny’ who goes by the name of YouTube!  Such a marvellous tool for teaching us just about anything. So stitch by stitch I learned.  I am no designer (far from it!), however I absolutely love the challenge of a new pattern.  Like a puzzle to decipher, you use your brain (yes even I possess one). The feeling of having created something from a set of alien symbols, charts and strange language is so completely satisfying.  Take that Bletchley Park!

And then this funny old blogging how-do-you-do!  Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to the wonderful Amelia from Rosetinted Pics for helping me create this blog.  Without her tech savvy abilities, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.  Just check out her beautiful blog and you’ll see for yourself.  Truthfully, in doing this I am as far removed from my comfort zone as one could possibly imagine.  It means sharing oneself for starters – scary! In spite of this I still feel an incredible draw.  To positively show that for all the mistakes and dropped stitches, we can overcome them and create something beautiful, unique and special.  I hope that by sharing some of my journeys, whether that be in knitting or other, it will inspire others, to do something new and to feel good about ourselves.  And so the Chronicles of a Dropped Stitch begin……