I was recently asked to write an article for crafting website Cut Out & Keep, on the subject of Oxford. They have very kindly allowed me to publish it on my own blog too! I hope that you enjoy reading it.
Oxford – the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ – is steeped in history and knowledge. It has spectacular architecture, glorious open spaces, and its own unique brand of eccentricity. It is probably best known for its university, and, with so many students living here, there’s an atmosphere of new beginnings, dreams and aspirations…
Today’s theme was flower so I planned a future embroidery project with a little indirect inspiration from the lovely Dearest Jackdaw. I’ll stitch this up as a bit of embroidery hoop wall art when I can find that embroidery hoop I bought the other day! I know it’s around here somewhere…
Some of you may remember that one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to learn to knit. I had a go and learnt the basics way back in January but the year’s run away with me a bit and I only got around to trying again, properly, in the last fortnight or so. It was my aim to knit at least one mini bobble hat for the innocent drinks Big Knit campaign, as I’ve been getting other people to make them for years, but I’d never made one myself, giving the excuse that ‘I can’t knit’.
Well, it turns out I can knit – and purl too! After a couple of false starts, I managed to knit a pretty good mini bobble hat, if I say so myself, with only a couple of extra stitches somewhere in the middle rows, which I soon sorted out – gaining stitches is apparently a common beginner problem.
I bought a bottle of smoothie to model the little hat on, but I’m thinking perhaps I could have left it full and not been so enthusiastic about drinking the contents..!
I love how neatly the little stitches turn out:
I made the tiny pompom using a fork. There are hundreds of fork pom pom tutorials out there (just Google it). It’s really really easy to make a mini pompom in this way.
Now that I’ve made one hat, I’m going to see how many more I can make before the closing date of 1st October. I’m a little bit addicted now, so who knows where this new hobby could go. Let me know if you’re making mini bobble hats too, and if you’re a beginner like me or a lifelong knitter.
As you may have read, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to learn to knit, in order to knit a tiny bobble hat for innocent drinks’ annual Big Knit campaign.
‘Knitting??’ I hear you cry, ‘isn’t that a bit old-fashioned, and, dare I say it, uncool?’
Well, ‘old-fashioned’ is probably correct: the technique of knitting is thought to be over 1000 years old. As for being uncool, although admittedly it always used to be something your granny did, knitting has enjoyed a renaissance in crafty circles (and even the kids are doing it these days). Sites like Craftster and Ravelry have popularised a kind of open-source, sharing, friendly knitting community who create, swap and modify patterns, and offer help and advice. The creation of ‘Stitch’n’Bitch‘ groups in the USA is likely to have helped too, and indeed my favourite London-based knitting group is having to ‘rehatch‘ in order to cope with demand!
Anyways, I thought as part of that whole getting organised thing that I should start trying to knit now, instead of leaving it until the autumn then panicking. So I grabbed several of my craft books (I have a lot of them), read through the instructions for knitting in all of them, grabbed my needles and wool, cast on wonkily, managed to knit about ten rows and then did some surprisingly neat binding off. Apparently beginners have a tendency to gain stitches as they knit, and even though I dropped a couple of stitches along the way, I somehow managed to gain three stitches by the time I’d finished! I’m pretty impressed with my first attempt, and it can’t be too far from this to the tiny bobble hat I’m aspiring to, can it?
My first attempt at knitting
I’d be interested to hear if you knit, or want to knit, or used to knit. Any advice will be gratefully received!
I get all kinds of random people following me on Twitter. However the other day one new follower really caught my eye: @createstuff, who are, in their words, promoting ’30 Days to create stuff. Anything. Everyday. June 1-30′.
Now, this sounded right up my street – I love creating things but often don’t get the time/make excuses/watch telly instead. As you might have read, I’m pretty hot on the whole New Year’s Resolution thing and take it very seriously. If I vow or pledge to do something I work hard at making sure it happens. I’ve now officially pledged to @createstuff to create something every day of June so I will make sure I do so!
I haven’t decided yet whether to plan my making or just see where the mood takes me on the day. I’m hoping that it will make me come up with some new laser-cut ideas because I’ve been pretty lax lately what with concentrating on my studies etc and I’d really like to expand my product range. I’m expecting my creations to range from the simple 5-minute job to the epic 5-hour masterpiece, but who knows!
Will you be joining me? If you’re unsure, 30 Days of Creativity have a very inspiring list of 30 reasons why you should join in. Let me know in the comments if you are and we can all be creative together!