Three things…

It’s been a tough week, so I thought I’d take some time out to focus on life’s little positives. Here’s what’s making me happy today…

  1. Knitting these Zigzagular Socks

Zigzagular socks

I’m always on the lookout for patterns that work with variegated yarns. So many designs seem to fight with the colours rather than enhancing them, but not this one. These are Susie White’s Zigzagular Socks, and I think they might be my new favourite. They have a little cable running down one side – you can’t see it in the photo, but I promise it’s there. Best of all, they’re free!

This is the first time I’ve tried knitting socks on a tiny circular needle rather than DPNs, and so far I’m… not convinced, to be honest. The needle is sharp and sleek, and the cable is smooth and flexible, but somehow it just seems way too small. I feel like a giant trying to knit for a mouse.

This is only the first sock, though, so hopefully I’ll be won over in the end. The yarn is Tiger’s Strømpegarn, by the way, and despite its bargain-basement price tag it’s really rather good.

2. Reading An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

An Astronaut's Guide…

When I was at school I met Helen Sharman, the first British woman to go into space, and decided that despite short-sightedness, asthma, claustrophobia and a fear of flying I too was going to be an astronaut. Many years on I’m still yet to leave Earth’s atmosphere, but that fascination with space travel has never left me.

I’ve been following Tim Peake’s adventures on the ISS closely, of course (did you know there’s a live video stream of the view from the space station? There’s a live video stream. From space! My productivity has seriously suffered this week). I also picked up a book by one of his mentors, Chris Hadfield.

Not only is Hadfield mind-bogglingly smart and driven, he’s also disarmingly down-to-earth about his achievements. His book takes life lessons from his time in space and applies them to everyday situations – it’s a great read and one I’d definitely recommend.

3. Making plans for this sailboat fabric

Boat fabric

I’d been visiting my favourite tiny-but-packed-to-the-rafters quilting shop for a long time before I made a huge discovery: they had a whole other fabric room that I’d never even noticed. It was like opening your wardrobe one day to find it leads to Narnia.

Ever since then I’ve made regular trips, usually to buy, but sometimes just for that lovely peaceful feeling of being surrounded by beautiful things. I’m very much a novice when it comes to sewing, but as with knitting my philosophy is not to turn down gorgeous fabrics because I don’t think my skills can live up to them. If you’re going to put that much effort into creating something, it should be made with fabric (or yarn) you love.

I think this is going to become a dress – most likely a slightly wonky, not remotely pattern-matched one, but a dress nonetheless.

What’s making you happy today?

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Excuses, excuses

What is it about knitters and making up? We’ll happily spend months on a project, but when it gets to those final few hours of seaming and weaving in ends, out come the excuses. There’s laundry to be done, TV to be watched, forums to be read… and, and, and…

Maybe it’s that when we cast off we feel like we’re done. Project finished! Maybe it’s that making up is fiddly and time-consuming and just not as much fun as knitting. Or maybe, in my case at least, it’s mostly laziness. These socks, for example – I completed them over a year ago.

Stranded Socks

Colourful, aren’t they? I love the pattern. It’s Stranded Socks by Ravelry designer square [ j ] jane, and it’s perfect for using up scraps of sock yarn. But although everything looks ok on the outside, inside they hide a terrible secret.

Monster Socks

Eep. I can hardly bear to look! I was sure I carried the unused yarns down the side, and I didn’t use that many different colours. Where did all those tails even come from? Sigh.

So, my New Year’s resolution for 2016: no more putting off the making up. From now on, weaving in ends starts as soon as I’ve cast off. Probably. Hopefully. Well, I’ll give it a try, anyway.