Thursday, 29 March 2012

Knitting Hell!

I've decided to add a new word to my cussing vocabulary - to be used in place of the very overused and infamous "F" word; it's "knit"

Back in September, if you remember from this post, I was gleefully proposing projects to tackle from a Phildar magazine and not being much of a knitter I decided to ease myself back into the game with this made-in-one-piece cardi. I say, ease myself back in - what I actually meant was throw myself in at the deep end, as the pattern is in French and I have not followed one in English for some 20 odd years!

A long road trip back to England at Christmas seemed the perfect opportunity to get started and I had the expert guidance of JW's mum to make sure my cast on row was done correctly - I'd like to point out at this point that I had already completed several inches of said project only to discover that I had been working on the old English needle size 7 and not the metric 7cm... big difference and big problem!

So here I am 3 months later just completing the first armhole shape - in this time I have unexpectedly learned how to pick up stitches that fall off the needle when in your bag, how to leave stitches to one side on a giant safety pin in the hopes they'll still be there when you need them again, how to increase and decrease, how to find out where you are in the pattern when you pick it back up again after several weeks & forgot to mark your place, how to continue with a pattern even though you somehow seem to be working it in the reverse to the image supplied and how to amuse your fellow sewing/yarn buddies with your haphazard, not-growing-very-quickly knitting project!

So why am I sharing this? Partly because I'm embracing all my imperfections and partly because I'd like to tell all my crochet and sewing students that I totally know what it feels like to be a novice at a skill everybody else makes look easy! I'm normally considered an expert when it comes to anything yarn related, afterall, I'm the one with the Textile Design degree and the one who teaches workshops and designs sewing and crochet patterns, but when it comes to knitting, it seems I am sat at the back of the class wearing a pointy yellow hat, emblazoned with a capitol D. I find that funny!

Sometimes it's important to accept that there are some things in life that you simply are a bit rubbish at and that you need to ask for help with, from someone who is more expert at it than you are. There's no need to beat yourself up about it and there's no need to feel like a failure. Enjoy the process, and with a little time and perseverance, chances are you'll get better at it until one day you'll find you have someone asking you for advice because they see you as more expert than they are

Crochet is definitely my thing, it's what I'm best at and can teach it till the cows come home - knitting is for fun and something I look forward to improving on over time. If this cardi is wearable when I eventually finish it, I will be a happy lady! My sense of achievement will be huge! I'll keep you posted!

Wish me bonne chance!

Lisa x

p.s in case you are wondering about the other projects I proposed in September's post from the above Phildar magazine, the Alpaca crochet lace effect waistcoat was started on the train journey to Paris but I decided it looked a bit like string so need to find an alternative yarn to use. The gorgeous, textured, wave crochet cardi is yet to be started!

{photos 1 and 3 by Lisa Pocklington for Get Smitten using Instagram, photos 2 and 4 taken from issue 50 of Phildar magazine}

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Spring is in the Air!

Yes, even here in the French Alps, Spring is in the air... and with it comes that icy nip that has you reaching for something warm even though you are keen to burst your Springtime wardrobe into action!

Before things launch right into Easter, I thought I'd share with you my Get Smitten pattern from February - the lovely crochet cowl and neck warmer which features two patterns for the price of one! The pattern repeat is simple - ideal for advanced beginners and experts alike - and the overall effect is elegant and sophisticated with minimal effort; you'll love working this design

The lightweight version is perfect for these in-between months to keep that chillly biting wind at bay - use a floaty, mohair yarn for a light-as-a-feather, ethereal and delicate neck warmer. There are some delicious colours out for this season in turquoise, coral and soft grey

The chunky version is a real snuggler and looks lovely over your favourite jumper, denim jacket or winter dress. Worked in super chunky yarn, it grows in no time and makes a great gift

As with all pdf patterns from the Get Smitten pattern library, there are full written instructions on how to make both the lightweight and the chunky versions of the cowl, along with photos to help you know you are on the right track. Anyone who has participated in any of my creative workshops will testify to my thorough, step by step instructions; I'd hate for you to have any frustrations and not complete your project. I'm a strong believer in Achievment = Motivation

For this project you will need:

* 200g of super chunky yarn and / or 1 ball of mohair yarn

* size 12mm (US O/16) and / or size 10mm (US N/15) crochet hooks

* a yarn needle to darn in the ends

*a copy of the Get Smitten Crochet Cowl Neckwarmer pdf pattern


You can get started straight away with your Spring neck warmer by grabbing a copy of the pdf pattern in my Etsy store here - and if you don't crochet and would like me to make one for you, please contact me for more info! I absolutely love making these cowls

March's pattern is underway - you'll love this one too as it features a good friend of the Easter Bunny! Stay tuned, until then, stay warm!

Lisa x

{photos by Lisa Pocklington for Get Smitten, using Instagram!}

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

An Apple a Day...?

In case you've been wondering where I've been hiding of late, I had a few technical hitches that quite honestly scared me silly and made me realise how dependent I've become on certain devices... namely the ones with the apple-type logo!

Thankfully, what I initially feared as a total lost-it-all-forever disaster (remember that episode from Sex and the City??) actually turned out to be a very 'blonde' mistake - yep, the cable had come loose at the back & dropped out mid blog post. Having not been very diligent with my back-up habits, I panicked and it took me 2 whole days to 'fess up to JW that all was doomed, only to find (most gladly) that in fact I was just a techno numpty!

However, the thought of losing all my data, images and bookmarks got me thinking and I'm pleased to report that I chose right there and then to take some positive, preventative ACTION, as opposed to the typical, panicked REACTION that would be inevitable should my ancient system actually give up on me!

I am now the proud owner of a Mac Mini that actually supports my not-so-smart iPhone 3G and a spanking new iPad. I am officially embracing technology, technology is my friend! I can now back up all my treasured info with iCloud, sync my devices and work from wherever I may be... I see this as a good thing!

I am grinning like a Cheshire cat!

Lisa x

{gorgeous retro apple print by They UK - visit their Etsy shop here!}

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