Monthly Archives: February 2014

Productiveness (or the lack thereof)

Productiveness has not been my strong point lately. I keep getting distracted half way through things either by something new and shiny or because I’m just sick of whatever it is I’m doing. So, my Follow Your Arrow is still languishing part way through clue 4, waiting to be fixed, the badger cross stitch has some backstitching but it’s fiddly and quite hard to see.

I made one mitt from my Eden Cottage Millburn (which is lovely and so soft) and the second should be easier now I’ve stopped changing my mind on what I want to do but I seem to have developed Second Mitt Syndrome to go with my Second Sock Syndrome and Second Sleeve Syndrome…

Then I was watching Joeli’s Kitchen podcast earlier today and she was talking about some quick hats she’d been making in Chunky or DK held double. I’m hoping that this might be a project I can actually finish and since I only had one head the last time I checked, I don’t have to make two of them. After a bit of stash diving I decided on some Boo’s Attic Lavishly Plump DK in Damson Autumn which I got at Fibre East. Thanks to a tip from Joeli, I’ve wound this into a ball held double and plan to cast on this evening in front of the Great British Sewing Bee.

Boo's Attic DK

Boo’s Attic DK wound into double thickness ball ©Rachel Gibbs

I like the Great British Sewing Bee and although I’ve not done much garment sewing at all and certainly not in the last ten years I still know what they’re talking about most of the time. It’s really interesting to see the different interpretations of the same design and I’m  impressed by what they manage to achieve in such a short time.

To go with the Sewing Bee, I’ve taken some inspiration from the Bake Off and have been making Hazelnut bars from Cakes: 100 Everyday Recipes by Love Food. It’s not a recipe I’ve tried before but they smell good and now I just have to wait for them to cool. I’m not sure I got the consistency of the batter right, I seem to have ended up with something a bit like sticky crumble topping but I’m sure it will taste fine.

Hazelnut Bars

Hazelnut Bars ©Rachel Gibbs

This Little Guiding Light of Mine

Today is World Thinking Day, the most important day in the Guiding calendar. It’s held on the 22nd February because that was Lord and Lady Baden Powell’s joint birthday and is a day when Guides all around the world think about each other (hence the name). It’s also the Big Brownie Birthday this year (100 years since Brownies began) so it’s extra special.

I’ve been reading tweets all day from people at the Celebrate event in London this weekend. 8000 members of Girlguiding have taken over Alexandra Palace and they’ve been trying all sorts of fun things – climbing walls, indoor zorbing, a silent disco. My young leader from my previous unit was helping to run things and I’m sure she’s had a great time and is now completely knackered.

Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the event in London, but I have a light shining in my window this evening along with other members of Girlguiding from all over the world. Guiding has been a big part of my life, I started as a Rainbow and never really left. It’s somewhere I know I will always find friends and people who know nearly as many silly songs as I do, although regional variations can mean we start of singing the same thing and diverge half way through, leading to some very confused girls (and leaders!).

Works in Progress

Cross Stitch

I’ve finished all the cross stitches and half cross stitches on my Badger, now to start the decorative touches: the backstitch and the french knots. It’s only 11 x 8cm but it’s on 18 count Aida so that’s still quite a lot of stitches.

Badger Cross Stitch Almost Finished

Cross Stitch WIP ©Rachel Gibbs

I like how the half cross stitches are used to form the background but that’s either a very small badger or really big flowers.

Follow Your Arrow

Continue reading

Generations of Geek

My Grandma turns 80 next week. She was the first person from her village to go to grammar school and stayed on to be in the first cohort to do A levels, in an age where most girls left school at 15. She was the only girl who wanted to do further maths and had to go to the nearby boys’ school to do it. 56 years later, I was in the coed sixth form of the local independent boys’ school and still the only girl in the further maths class.

Things have changed a lot since my grandma’s time and I was able to go on to study Electronic Engineering at university without turning too many heads. My grandma never got the chance to go to university, although she got a place her family couldn’t afford it. The closest she came was working at Cambridge University making the punch cards for the Maths department in the early days of computing. That is where my grandparents met, so it’s really no surprise that the whole family tends towards geekiness in their own ways.

I still get odd looks when I tell people what I do for a living and I’m the only girl in a team of 20. I’m proud of my grandma for getting as far as she did, but I’m glad the world has moved on, if only a small amount in certain areas. I can only hope that my grandchildren (should I have any) have even more opportunities and fewer prejudices to face.

Don’t Knit to Destress, Cross Stitch

I love to knit (you may have noticed) but when I’m going through a bad patch knitting just requires too much brainpower. Deciding on a pattern, finding yarn to suit, getting gauge, it’s just too many decisions. I find cross stitch really helps me. I don’t have to decide on the thread to use, it all comes provided in the kit, it has simple instructions and I don’t have to worry about fit. It’s also easy to see the progress that you’re making and can be set down and picked up again months later without worrying that your gauge has changed, or you can’t remember where you were in the pattern.

Badger Cross Stitch

Cross Stitch WIP ©Rachel Gibbs

This is my current project which I’ve been working on since Christmas. It’s a kit by Anchor that I picked up at The Knitting and Stitching Show in the Black Sheep sale, they don’t just sell of packs of wool very cheaply, they also have a good range of needlecraft kits. I’m working on the greenery at the moment, having finished with the 50 (ok 5 really) shades of grey for the badger.

Colour Journal Project – January

I’ve been a fan of The Yarn Yard for several years now, and when I saw that the theme for the first month of her new project, The Colour Journal Project, was brights/rainbows I order some at once. I’ve always had a bit of thing for rainbows and when I was younger had a fine collection of rainbow striped socks. January was a dreary and difficult month for me, and a bit of colour does wonders in lifting the spirits.

I ordered the Toddy Sevens option, seven mini skeins in a solid rainbow. Natalie’s solid colours tend to be beautifully deep and intense, one of the reasons I like her yarns, and I intended to make something for my cousin’s new baby, so Toddy was a good choice.

My cousin and her wife are very geeky, they got married last year at a sci-fi convention, and I wanted to make them something which reflected that. I decided on a cardigan with tetris blocks along the bottom, and fortunately there were seven colours and seven blocks in tetris. After some head scratching trying to work out how to fit the blocks together, giving up on the idea of doing it in intarsia, and trying to explain what tetris is to my parents, I’ve made it past the border and onto the body. The baby isn’t due until May so I have plenty of time to weave in all the ends and work out how I’m doing the sleeves but I’m happy with it so far.

Tetris Baby Cardigan

Tetris Baby Cardigan in The Yarn Yard Toddy
©Rachel Gibbs