Monday, 11 July 2011

Working Hard And Making Mistakes

Last week I wrote a post saying that I was back and that I would start blogging again regularly. Nearly a week has gone by and I don't know where the days have gone. It seems that I am working harder now that I am unemployed (well, retired on medical grounds) than I was when I had a full-time job and was studying for a degree at the same time.

Perhaps it is the fact that what I am doing now does not come intuitively as things did during my working days. I found a job that I loved and that I was determined to do to the best of my ability. There were rewards along the way: promotion, opportunities to help develop better working practices, and a lot of travelling the world to see my counterparts in other organisations in Australia, Canada and the United States of America.

I have never seen myself as being creative in the artistic sense of the word. I can knit, I can crochet, I can do embroidery and dress making, but in each of these things I was always following someone else's pattern. Now that I am designing things for other people to knit I am having to be creative in a way that I have never been before. Trying to create original items, deciding which stitch patterns to put together and what the finished article should be are alien to me and therefore not very easy.

And yet, I am being able to create these designs. In a few week time I should have enough patterns for the book and all that will remain is the knitting of the samples that will be used to produce the photographs to illustrate each of these designs. As regular readers of this blog will know, I invariably have more than one project on the go at any given time. Things have not changed. At the moment I have two different scarves on the go at the moment and both of them require me to spend some time sorting out mistakes that I have made through not looking at the pattern properly. In one instance it was because I couldn't be bothered to print a copy of the chart that I have made a mistake which is going to involve me in unpicking approximately 10 rows. Fortunately the other mistake is only a row back and should be easy to correct if I can find a spare half hour this evening.

Much of today has been spent sat at the computer working on the chart for one of the larger items that I have designed. I still have a little work to do on it but I am hoping that I can get it finished this evening and updated on the computer ready for me to turn it into pdf format for my sample knitter. I also have to write the instructions about how the charts need to be laid out and what size needles it is to be knitted on. It is very fine yarn made of 70% baby alpaca, 20% silk and 10% cashmere (the alpaca and cashmere make it very soft when knitted and the silk gives it sheen and strength) and is a beautiful emerald green in colour. Choosing the needle size is important because I want use needles that are large enough to give the finished shawl plenty of drape, but not so large that it makes the finished knitting too floppy. I just might knit a few test swatches to see which needle size I like best.

Unfortunately, I am also having a bit of a battle with depression again as well as the arthritis in my hip. And to top it all off I have got a frozen shoulder again which is making it difficult to move my right arm without causing a great deal of pain and is even affecting me when I am knitting and I have never considered that to be a particularly strenuous occupation in the past. Perhaps my body is telling me that I am not getting any younger and that I have to accept that things aren't going to work so well as they did 20 or 30 years ago. The depression is making it difficult for me to always focus on the things that I need to do and is perhaps why I am making mistakes in my knitting. However, I am spotting the mistakes and I know how to rectify them so all is not lost and I am nowhere near as ill as I was this time last year.

Having written a quick update, I must go and get myself something to eat before settling down to work again. Who says that life gets easier when you are retired?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

MSG Is Back!

Okay, so it's been a while since I wrote anything here. The weekly statistics were still being sent to my personal email address so I knew that there were still people looking at the blog, which I must admit I found somewhat amazing, and it was this that has caused me to reconsider whether to start writing it again.

One of the reasons that I stopped posting was because I thought it would be difficult for me to find things to write about now that my life has changed from what it was. I knew that it would be difficult to write about the daily goings on in the house and I wasn't sure that there was that much more going on in my life that I could write about and that anyone would want to read about. On reflection I have decided that there is probably enough going on that does not require me to break confidentiality and therefore I am going to try blogging again on a fairly regular basis.

So what has been going on in Madsadgirl's life over the last four months? Quite a lot really.

The crochet classes have continued throughout Spring and into the Summer. And I have also been teaching a knitting class each week. My own knitting has been suffering over the last month or so because I am busy designing items for a book. Yes, MSG is writing a knitting book, and not the one that she had in mind. The book is going to be about knitting lace and lace knitting.

Yes, I know that they may sound that they are the same thing but there is a very subtle difference. Lace knitting involves working the increases, decreases and yarnovers that create the pattern on right-side rows only and the wrong side rows being either knitted or purled with no patterning. Knitted lace involves working these pattern-forming stitches on both right and wrong side rows. Consequently knitted lace is far more complicated and you are likely to make more mistakes if you don't follow the pattern closely and those mistakes can be more difficult to pick up until you are several rows further through the pattern and can lead to a bit of silent swearing before sitting down to unpick the rows to get back to where the mistake is.

It is hoped that the patterns for the book and the samples for the photographs will be ready in September so that the book can be printed and released in time for the Christmas market. A few book signing opportunities have already been pencilled into the calendar so I have to keep my nose to the grindstone as far as designing is concerned. I already have one sample being knitted by a friend and I am busy working on two more. One pattern is waiting for the sample knitter to come back from a trip home to the US so that it can be worked on and a couple more have been written and are waiting for sample knitters to become available.

So, that is a brief update on what I have been doing and hopefully I can find things to write at least a couple of times a week so that the blog can become active again.