Country Strife

The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Long Time No Post

So it has been over two years since my last confession post. A lot and very little has changed...

I had a mild heart attack at the start of March 2017. I thought it was indigestion. After being up all night I phoned the doctor in the morning. My doctor was on holiday. I decided to go to the pharmacy and got something for indigestion. That didn't work so I phoned the doctor's surgery again, said I didn't care which doctor I saw, mentioned chest pains, was told to go straight down there. As I was wired up for the ECG nurse departed to get doctor, doctor told me not to worry, an ambulance was on the way...  Long story short, I now have a stent and the tiniest scar on my wrist is all you can see. Oh - and if you want to give up smoking this is a very successful motivator!

I got the all clear at my last check up so other than keep taking the drugs all is well. I was, however, concerned about any side effects they may have been having. A couple of tweaks to lower the dosages have made a huge difference to my concentration and 'twitchiness'.

So I started word studying again last summer to test my concentration and memory. I plucked up courage to enter my first scrabble tourney in November last year - I hadn't played since the new word list came in and we are due to update again this year! I won all seven games which was a bit of a surprise to me :) I played again in February and didn't do quite so well but not a disaster either. I have now entered a couple of the Malta tourneys at the end of April...

We have a new family member. It was just over 2 years since Poncho had died, I had got myself a little fitter by walking a few miles most days after my heart attack, so we felt it was time to get another greyhound. We wanted a young girlie but Gillie (hard G), a five and a half year old boy, chose us on New Year's eve 2017.

He is a real sweetheart and settled in immediately.

Other things of note:

I broke my wrist just over a year ago. I whacked my elbow (same arm) a few months later, I may never be able to scratch my back again. And I am now on more drugs for mild osteoporosis but hopeful they have found it in time to reverse it. I can live with the chalk supplements but am struggling with the once a week with a glass of water on an empty stomach no other food or drink (read coffee) for 30 minutes and no lying down one...

I am still knitting and designing (more of that in future posts maybe) although at a much steadier no stress pace.

Gardening has been limited. I hope to get back to it this year.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Winter Leg Huggers

photo @I Like Knitting

My third pattern, Winter Leg Huggers, for I Like Knitting has been published here.
I'm looking forward to getting these back so that I can wear them :)

Monday, December 05, 2016

Auroral Scarf

My second pattern has been published by I Like Knitting December 2016:

Photo @I Like Knitting

I really had fun with this design. Two compatible stitch patterns move randomly up the scarf - I used dice throws to determine the movements for my sample/instructions. The pattern also includes the 'rules' for making your own unique scarf.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Zebra Set

I am very happy that my zebra hat and mittens set has just been published in the October issue of I Like Knitting. I know it is not October yet...

These are my first third party published patterns. Look out for some more coming in the next few issues too :)

Photograph @I Like Knitting

Sunday, June 12, 2016

New Ventures

So over 3 months have gone by since my last post...

I have been pleasantly surprised at how well my throw has done.

I have published 3 more patterns since:

Pinstriped Mitts - a fun pattern to use up sock yarn left overs.

Not so much fun taking the photos in a freezing March...

I eventually published my sweater Nuance in April, despite having finished the actual knitting in December,

Really happy with the cables for the waist shaping and the clean finish of the V-neck. I swatched about half a dozen different methods of splitting the cable to run parallel before I was satisfied with the finished look.

And most recently Chillin using the second skein of my beautiful Crystal yarn.

I have signed up to ICG crafts, a print on demand service, to allow some of my patterns to be sold wholesale on the request of my yarn support Hearthside Fibers. They would really like to have copies of the patterns I designed for them to take to shows.

This meant reformatting, which wasn't a problem for this pattern but was a little more challenging for my Maplewood shawl :)

I currently have a new cardigan that has been tech edited and is now being tested. Hopefully it will be published in late July/early August:

I have also ventured into submitting some designs to magazines.

Before I went down this route I did some research on the process.

Ensure you supply all the info asked for in the format it is wanted in. READ THE SPEC!
If responding to a specific mood board show how your design idea MEETS THE SPEC.
Sketch of the idea does not need you to have any real drawing skills as long as you can portray the idea clearly. (I think I have proved this with the less than complimentary reaction from hubby and my friend Penny - lol).
Photos of the swatch/prototype need to be as large and clear as you can make them.

Email it off and wait... and wait... And then the response arrives.

If it is "Yes" you bounce around excitedly and then fret waiting for the contract and any other details to arrive, and if "No" you can either scrap the idea, hold it back to see if it fits well with another call or decide to self publish at a later date. So far I am 50% bouncing although over a very small sample number.

And then you have to actually write the pattern(s) and make the sample(s).

On my first acceptance this was not as straightforward as self publishing. I needed to use a different yarn to my prototype as the yarn I had used was not readily available in the US. When I swatched with the agreed yarn I got a very different gauge...

And the hardest thing for me is not being able to post details and photos on Ravelry as I normally do with what I am working on...

You finally have everything done. Email off the pattern, charts etc and head off to the post office with your samples being handled as if they were as fragile as a newborn baby. And then find that the smallest box that they will fit in without scrunching them up is actually quite large, So you need something to fill it with... A trip over the road to Penny who luckily had some spare bubble wrap...

And then you nervously track the parcel. Why has it been sat in O'Hare airport for 5 days? It was quite a relief when it finally showed as delivered...

I haven't actually heard anything from the magazine... I have been told this is fairly normal. And as they have said yes to a second design I am assuming all is well.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Textured Landscape Throw

Several years ago in a burst of enthusiasm and an effort to use up a myriad of odd balls of aran weight yarn I embarked on making a throw, randomly picking stitch patterns that took my fancy from newly acquired stitch dictionaries.

I really love it for all its imperfections and the sheer joy I had knitting it. The wibbly wobbly sections. The odd bits of garter and stocking stitch to get the heights right for the next stitch pattern. The oh dear, I don't have enough to do matching borders so I will just knit with a colour until I get bored or it runs out...

And then people asked if there was a pattern for it. Er, no.

And this was before I had even contemplated designing patterns.

So I decided to make a 'proper' version... Approximately two months work from initial layout plan, choosing stitch patterns, ripping back back if they didn't work, designing transitions/tweaks if needed, designing a few of my own blocks, reworking blocks when I changed my mind on a colour, writing the pattern, getting it tech edited and finally published.

Pattern is now available on Ravelry here.

And don't say you want a pattern for the original version!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Don't Panic Mr Mainwaring

My sweater test is progressing well. Really pleased to have got 6 testers - all sizes except XXL are covered, as are both pocket options.

My shawl test for Petalous has a week to go, four out of five testers finished in super quick time.

and I completed my shawl with my yarn support yarn:

The pattern has been written up as much as possible but I am still awaiting the return of my 'proper' laptop from having the keyboard replaced (luckily still under warranty) which has my charting software. Still not quite sure how chartable this is...

Whizzed through a mohair wrap to use up some of my stash mohair mountain. A little depressing to not really notice a difference in how much I have left considering it measures 65 x 18". I have written the pattern up but not sure whether or not to publish it...

And I'm still waiting for my laptop although apparently it is 'ready for dispatch'. So I have started on a new version of one of my cabled sweaters from a couple of years ago...

And honed my 'drop down and re-knit' skills when I noticed a mis-crossed cable in the centre panel of the back 33 rounds down :(

I have to say I am quite impressed with myself for a) not throwing it into the naughty corner b) not ripping it right back c) having confidence that I could do it
I did, however, swear a bit...

To fix:
1) Don't panic
2) Place stitches either side of the panel on the cable of spare circular needles
3) Unravel the panel 1 row at a time down to the row in disgrace, keeping the strands as separate and in order as possible
4) place errant row on straight needle and undo a stitch at a time until the naughty cable is undone
5) knit back up using the correct strand for each row

I used straight needles up until the last 3 or so stitches where I swapped to using a crochet hook as the remaining 'strand' of yarn was too short to easily manipulate. For the rows where those stitches were purls it was easier to turn the sweater around to 'knit' them on the wrong side. I evened out the tension if either end of the row was loose by manually pulling up the slack and working my way stitch my stitch across the row until I had no more slack. Transfer the stitches back to the other straight needle which also helps to even the tension and repeat.

It took a few hours but saved many more...

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