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Category: Knitting

  1. Initiate Knit Design Challenge

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    Waves Mood Board - Compressed

    Mood Board

     Back in the summer I signed up for the Initiate Knit Design Challenge, which is a challenge run from time to time on Instragram by Frenchie of Aroha Knits fame.  As with most things I do, I just did it because I thought it would be interesting and to see if I could actually design anything worth making.  The challenge was structured very well with emails being sent explaining each step of the challenge and live Q&A sessions with Frenchie herself.  They weren't live for me though, as she lives in Japan and I am in the UK, so our timings were completely out!  I caught up with everything on the replays, so, thankfully, all was not lost!

    From day 1 I was absolutely hooked and I found the whole process fascinating.  We started by creating a mood board.  Now, I had heard of mood boards, but to be perfectly honest, I had no idea what they were.  What a revelation and what fun! Like most people, I don't need much of an excuse to rummage around on Pinterest, so I was very happy to get lost down that particular rabbit hole and come up with some stunning images to put onto my board (see above).  I have to say at this point that I had a rough idea of what I wanted to create using a particular ball of yarn in my stash, so the Pinterest search was pretty focussed.  From here I moved on to thinking about the stitch pattern I would use.  As the ombre colourway of my yarn is reminiscent of the sea I wanted to use a stitch that represented the beach and sea in some way.  After flicking through my knitting books for a while, I found the perfect stitch pattern - a modular shell shape. 

    After that, it was time to get out the knitting needles and have some fun!  Suffice to say, there has been a lot of knitting and unpicking...  knitting and unpicking...  which is all part of the designing (and learning process).  It's fascinating to me, that an idea that looks so amazing in your head can end up looking completely different once on the needles.  The shawl is now finished and it is time to get the pattern tech edited and tested.  Once all of that is done, the beast will be released into the Big Wide World!

    Shawl1 Compressed


    All aspects of designing were covered from the mood board, right through to pattern layout.  I really loved doing this challenge and have since joined Frenchie's Swatch Studio Circle to take my designing further.  Yes, I have definitely got the designing bug and have a cowl and socks in the production line as we speak, with other ideas still in the noodling and doodling stage waiting to be transformed into something wearable.

    So as they say..... Watch This Space!

  2. TLC For Knitters and Crocheters

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    Photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

    We all do it.  We sit there knitting or crocheting happily away, thinking "just one more row and then I'll stop".  That one row turns into three more rows, then four more rows, and so it goes.  When we do finally stop, we realise how stiff we are and how sore our hands, wrists and arms have become.  Although we should take little breaks from time to time to stretch our hands and fingers to keep them from getting too sore, we don't.  I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to this!  Working in front of the TV in the evening doesn't help.  How many times have I got so engrossed in what I'm watching that I end up knitting non-stop for practically the entire evening!  As part of our self-care routine, we should get into the habit of doing a few simple exercises to help ease those aches and pains.

    I found a brilliant channel on YouTube - Yoga with Shira.  She guides you through various yoga stretches for overworked hands and arms.  As well as being very informative, they are highly entertaining!  If yoga really isn't your thing, then maybe these simple exercises, which I also found on t'interweb, might help.  They are for neck, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands.  Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds, so the muscles get a good stretch, and repeat each one at least 5 times.

    • Tilt your head forward to gently stretch the back of your neck and hold.
    • Turn your head to one side and look over your shoulder and hold. Repeat on the other side.
    • Tilt your ear to one shoulder and hold. Repeat on the other side.
    • Interlace your fingers and stretch your arms out in front of you (palms facing away) and hold.
    • Keep your fingers interlaced and reach your arms over your head (palms facing up) and hold.
    • Interlace your fingers and cup the back of your head, then push elbows back (imagine you are trying to get your shoulder blades to touch each other) and hold.
    • Place your hands in the small of your back and stretch your shoulders backward, trying to make your elbows touch and hold.
    • Hold your fingers up in the air and gently spread your fingers apart. Hold, and then draw them back together.
    • Hold your hands upright, fingers apart. Draw your fingers into a light fist with your thumbs on the outside. Hold, and then release.
    • Put your hands in the “thumbs up” position and gently rotate your thumbs in circles in one direction and then the other.
    • Hold your hands upright with your fingers spread comfortably apart. Touch your thumbs to the tips of the littlest finger and then open your hand back up. Next, touch your thumbs to your ring fingers, and then open them back up. Then your middle fingers, and back. And your index fingers and back.
    • Rest your forearms on the edge of a table or arms of a chair with your thumbs pointing up. Move your wrists up and down through their full range of motion.
    • Hold your right hand out, palm facing up. With your left hand, grasp the fingers from your right hand and pull down and hold. Repeat on the other hand.