Posts in News
Welcome to the new Slugs on the Refrigerator

 

*insert trumpets here*

Oh yes, finally, after MONTHS of talking about it, here I am in my shiny new Squarespace home for Slugs on the Refrigerator. I am so pleased with how it turned out, all done by me.  

I had wanted a site with a nice portfolio based landing page, better access to patterns and a built in shop and Squarespace let me do that with relative ease.

 

There are still some things to sort out - I need to eventually add all of my patterns to the site and there are some unresolved url redirects that may lead people to a dead end (sorry if you are one of them), but on the whole, it seems to be working as it should. If there is a problem, feel free to drop me an email to let me know.

For those of you looking, the Knit Camp and Crochet Camp posts have been moved to tutorials. I am in the process of relaunching those in a more user friendly format. 

 

Come and take a look around! As an incentive, the keen-eyed among you will spot the cover for my new book on the site, but more on that later!

 

NewsKat GoldinComment
Love and Marriage (and Photography)

The first time I saw Kerstin, at the introduction day to a Master's course we would both later drop out of, I knew I wanted to be her friend. There was something about her incredible organisational skills, sense of adventure and dry sense of humour that made sure I was always sitting next to her in class.

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Nine years later, I still sit next to her at every chance we get. Having seen each other through babies, marriages, moves, break ups, redundancy, more bottles of red wine than I could ever count and more she remains my very best friend. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending and photographing her wedding to the love of her life.

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I mostly cried through the entire event. I am a cryer by nature, but having shared so much over the last 9 years with someone, I found there was no controlling it.  Thank god for waterproof mascara and spending most of the time behind the camera. In the midst of happy tears and chasing children around, whilst also trying to capture the day, I developed a deep appreciation for my normal styled, on-location shoots and a deep gratitude that Kevin was the one chasing Theo up the fire escape during the group photos.

Hard work? Yes! Worth it? Without a doubt.

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This month, I have been blogging over at the Manfrotto Imagine More blog all about the trials and tribulations of photographing a friend's wedding when you aren't a wedding photographer.  You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. I have a couple more posts coming up over there as well, so you may recognise some little faces if you pop over there!

 

 

 

 

Blogtacular 2014

I’ve spent the last week trying to find a way to sum up Blogtacular. I’ve sat in front of the blank screen writing various thoughts about what it was like, how much I enjoyed it, how much I loved hugging so many people I’ve known online for so long, but the words just don’t want to come. It was amazing, awesome, hard work, stressful and wonderful in equal measures. Its strange to see a dream come together, having so long lived in our heads, to see it all happen was a bit of a blur! The day changed both the way I see my work and the way I see the world of blogging – all for the better. I have to admit that I didn't expect that. Being one of the organisers, I'd seen the presentations beforehand and had a good idea of what was going to be said, but still was blown away by the amount of creativity, thought and passion of both speakers and attendees in every session I was able to sit in on.

It wasn't until I was there, amongst so many people "like me" that I really realised how much I’d felt like an outsider in many blogging circles. To stand in a group of people who “got it”, well the feeling couldn’t have been any better. As we closed on Saturday night, the fear, worry and sleepless nights Kat and I had gone through over the last year seemed very worth it to be able to stand with so many like-minded folk who believe in the power and potential of creativity, blogging and online connection as much as we do.

And in the week that has followed, one thing has stuck with me more than anything else…a quote from Anne Ditmeyer of Pret a Voyager that I have printed out and hung on my wall (and my computer desktop, and phone screen and in my day planner, ahem).

do the work

In the last week, it has formed a guiding statement as I re-look at my work, think about the future and plan what comes next. First up? Planning Blogtacular 2015.

If you want to read more about the weekend, check out our Blogtacular Pinterest Board or the official photos of the day (thanks Will Ireland and Mollie Makes). If you want to see what you were missing, check out the tickets to the virtual conference.

On a personal note, thank you to everyone who supported us, through buying tickets, sponsoring, speaking or just cheering us on. Thank you the Raddisson Blu Portman for the incredible accommodation for Team Blogtacular (it was AMAZING - easily the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in!). Thank you to Amanda from Kitschycoo for being awesome and working your bad ass off. And thanks to Kat for having a dream and never taking no for an answer.

One Week From Now

We will be in the midst of the first Blogtacular! Blogtacular_profilelogo

Sitting on this side of the week, it still feels remarkably unreal. Kat and I began dreaming of an event for bloggers at least 2 years ago. There have been many ups and downs along the way, but this time next week, we will be sitting down to hear the incredible Joy Cho speak and kick off the first ever Blogtacular. Can you believe it?

If you were still on the fence about coming, all I can say is...come. The venue is amazing, the speakers are incredible and its going to be awesome. There are still tickets available, but probably won't be after the weekend. 

And for those of you coming, I can't wait to meet you! but beware, I'm a hugger!

 

Old Faithfuls

I am nothing if not a creature of habit. I like what I like. 20140423-IMG_2286

And so, its no surprise when I was reaching for something to make for a friend's baby I went back to my old faithful, Milo by Georgie Hallum. Looking at Ravelry, this is at least my 7th Milo, though there were probably more that went undocumented. It a fab wee pattern and super fun to customise. This time, I chose scandi-inspired colourwork to adorn the body.

You can see at the sides where its pulling in at the colourwork.  I should have gone down a size for the stripes to prevent this, but as these are designed to be worn with little to no ease, it felt like a bit of a faff to go to that effort.

And even more than Milo becoming my go-to pattern, the yarn, Artesano Superwash DK, has become my absolute favourite. I used it at least twice in my new book (though possibly more, I can't remember), in 2 of my current works in progress, in all of my workshops and in my Granny Square and Christmas Stars kits. It comes in a great range of colours, works up like a dream and washes so well. Its a squishy DK, so it feels like it works up quickly, rather than those technically DK, but almost Sport-weight DKs that so often cross my desk.

 

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I am also using it in my so-slow to progress pine bough cowl. This project sits in a basket next to the fire in the studio for those, I need to think and knit moments. With Blogtacular around the corner, just sitting and knitting moments are becoming increasingly scarce.

In Search of Perfection (KnitPro Karbonz Interchangeable Needles)

20140326-IMG_1858 Its already been established that I am the world' pickiest knitter. I am just never satisfied with my knitting needles. having tried a fair few (Addi Clicks, KnitPro Symphonies, Chiaogoo Reds) - there is always something that irritates me - the join, the length, the strength, etc.  The latter needles were aiming to be the best ever  - sharp, smooth joins, nice grip, but I began to realise that I always felt like I was fighting them.  The cable (which  is designed to never kink), combined with the 5" tips, always felt like they were pulling in opposite directions and I had to wrestle them back together. Just so much work, especially when I was using shorter cables or working at a finer gauge.

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It took me awhile to figure out the problem and then a bit longer to decide what to do about it. I really love those Chiaogoo reds, but they so often made me want to impale something - especially when I was knitting the Puerperium, so a quick sale was negotiated with a friend and a replacement was found in the form of KnitPro Karbonz.

These are carbon fibre needles with a steel tip. They have the same basic set up as the Symphonie- size and needle shape are about the same and the cables are very similar - maybe a bit stiffer, but its really hard to tell.  They are truly lovely needles. They seem unsnappable (though, I haven't tried that hard), the joins seem smooth and I was able to magic loop with them - something I simply couldn't have done with the Chiaogoos.  All in, I am just so pleased with them - a real joy to work with, even as my adult-sized superchunky weight cardigan gets heavier.

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The jumper I am working on is Aidez, worked seamlessly.  My pattern notes go into the details of what I have done to make it seamless in the 44" size. Also, every single one of my latest knitting projects is a shade of blue. Obviously, this must be my new favourite colour!

 

A Birthday in the Woods

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My biggest boy is 7. How on earth that happened, I simply don't know. But it did and to celebrate the awesome kid he is, we threw his very first ever birthday party. With the ulterior motive of getting to know as many people at his new school as possible, we invited his entire class, plus a handful of select friends, to share a day in the woods. 23 kids arrived on Saturday afternoon ready to celebrate the awesomeness of Ellis.

With 2 other birthdays and final book edits all happening in the 7 days before the party, I simply wanted something with as little stress as possible that would not break the bank. We bought a truckload of sausages from Costco,  decorated one of the outbuildings with random festive bits from the house and hired an awesome local business, intrepid:scotland, to run an outdoorsy birthday party in the woods.

intrepid:scotland is run and staffed by rangers who work in the National Park. Clare and Callum were just great with the kids and lead fun activities we just never would have had the skills or confidence to manage.  The kids got to roast marshmallows over a campfire, make journey sticks and charcoal pencils, run all over fields and forests and  generally explore this amazing area we live in. If you are local, I highly recommend them! It also meant that Kevin and I could actually hang out and talk to people, meet Ellis' new friends and not have 23 seven year olds destroy the house. Plus, we had fabulous friends make cake and handle sausage cooking for the hard working kids and adults. It was *almost* relaxing!

For party bags, we bought some sweet little less-than-a-pound pots from ikea and split up some packs of wildflower seeds for a mini nature reserve.  I used my normal post office (4 to an A4 sheet) sticky labels and designed an instruction note to put on 9x15cm envelopes for the seeds.

Easy, stress free and fun. And awesome. Just like him.

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* the party invite is just a photo I took (inspired by Kat who was inspired by Catherine) with directions to where we live added in photoshop on the bit where the moleskin is. We just printed out colour copies and sent them to school. Easy, peasy.

** the chickens freak out every time someone comes in and out of the door, running up to the gate to see if we have anything for them. Ellis is their favourite because he brings them left over porridge.

 

Help Me, Help You (Reading Crochet Patterns)

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About 3-4 times a week, a version of the following email lands in my inbox:

"Hi Kat, I've just bought your pattern/book and I am stuck. What does 2htr in htr/2 (3, 5, 6)/ [3 ch, 3 tr] three times mean?"

These are often emails from very experienced crocheters. People who have made beautiful blankets, home accessories, amigurimi, or even hats and baby items. They know how to crochet, but get stuck at the point of reading a pattern.

After some digging, thinking and talking, I have come to think that the problem is 2 fold: 1. The  lack of standardisation of crochet patterns and 2. The prevalence of crochet photo tutorials.

With regards to the first issue - the fact that crochet terms and style sheets vary so widely (not to mention the UK vs US divide), short of Joanne and I taking over the crochet world, its a pain in the backside that is probably going to continue. The chances of everyone in the world clubbing together and writing every increase in the same way is unlikely to happen. What I can say is that across my own patterns, my books, and The Crochet Project magazines, we work to a very clear stylesheet, so there is always consistency.  Joanne has worked tirelessly at getting these in shape and they are brilliant. They are also pretty consistent with both Inside Crochet and Simply Crochet (though a few differences are there), so that if you live in the UK, you should be comfortable wherever you are working from.

Problem 2 is a trickier one. Photo tutorials are great. As anyone who has ever written one knows, they are a TON of work.  Hours and hours, sometimes days, of photographing, making, writing and editing. They are awesome for teaching new skills and techniques and just a wonderful resource for makers.  If you know basic stitches, its very easy to follow along and see where you are going to make the project.  You can make beautiful things, without ever having read a pattern.

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But, tutorials can only go so far in crochet...with space at a premium in printed books or printable patterns, and when garments are graded across multiple sizes, patterns are needed to tell people what to do in a way that makes as much sense as possible.

I have spent a lot of time trying to get to grips with bridging the gap between written patterns and photo tutorials. My kits include both written patterns and step by step photos where possible.  I have written a guide that I often refer people to when I get the initial emails about a pattern. A version of this is also included in my books to try and help as many people as possible access written patterns. We are also including a few stitch charts in my next book to help with a couple of the more complicated patterns. However, I am going to be honest here, I don't know what else to do. I want to help people and I see no decrease in the number of pattern reading queries I get.

So my question to you all is - what else can I do to help? If you crochet and don't read patterns - why? What would you like to see to get you over the bridge of pattern reading? If you do read patterns, what helped you get there? 

Thank you so much for your help!!

(photos are of gorgeous Manos Serena - Georgia is desperate for a cardigan and dug this out of my stash and chose buttons. How on earth does one say no to that?!?! The yarn is luscious cotton/alpaca blend as well...YUM!)

Finding a Rhythm

20140328-IMG_1877 When I first started working with (almost) full-time childcare, I felt a certain sense of obligation to work 9-5, sat at my desk, getting shit done. I felt like it was irresponsible to do anything else because I paid for childcare and  that is what I would have done if I was employed by an employer. Slowly, I realised 2 things a) I don't work in an office with a boss breathing down my neck and b) I am not particularly suited  to that kind of structure. My work and my life call for a more fluid approach to time. Sometimes, through the night work is called for, at others, a day off nursing little sickies is my occupation. Once I realised that it wasn't about the time I worked, but what I got done that was important, a new, more natural rhythm arrived. 20140328-IMG_1889 With 3 small people around, there is no question that things change quickly, but on the whole I follow the same sort of pattern each day. Always having been an early riser, its not uncommon for me to be at my desk from 4 or 5am - it gets earlier as the days get lighter. I spend the few precious hours (if I am lucky) before the kids wake up answering emails and doing any writing I need. From about 7am until Ellis catches the bus at 8:30 - its a mad race of endless rounds of toast, finding socks, wrangling the smallest one into any clothes at all, walking the dog, letting the chickens out and general craziness. Once the house is quiet - either the little ones at nursery or in the care of Dalia, the German student who has been living with us since September, I head over to the studio for a morning of work. This is my most productive time of day and I use it for working on my top priorities - grading patterns, writing blog posts, editing and working on Blogtacular. Our rural internet is on the slow side, but its best in the morning, so I try to keep this for computer time. I work until lunch, when I head back over to the house for a bit to do laundry, eat and take the dog for a walk down the road. 20140328-IMG_1883 I tend to keep the time after lunch for creative work.  Even now, in my deadline free days, I ensure that I always have something to make. At the moment, I have prioritised knitting things from other designer's patterns - both to give myself a much needed rest and to learn from others. Not having made many garments before writing Crochet at Play and then having to design them was a challenge. So far, its been a good learning experience, as well as an eye opening one (if I ever write "Work to correspond to left front, reversing all shaping and placement of pattern stitches" in a pattern, you have permission to kick me). It all has the added bonus of watching some good telly while I am legitimately working. Late afternoons and evenings are for the kids and after the walks and dinner and homework, I tend to edit and upload photos, so they can go into client dropboxes over night. 20140328-IMG_1879 And while this is the rough schedule, I also am trying to be gentle with myself after the stress of the last few months. If words aren't flowing (and there isn't something I HAVE to do that day), I don't push it. I know that things will get done and I will be working over time again soon (with the final manuscript proof for book 2 arriving to coincide with the Easter Holidays and exactly 1 month before Blogtacular, for example).

(photo is of the puerperium cardigan. Made in Bowland Dk in Damselfly by Eden Cottage Yarns.  Photographed on the piece of rotten roof that was leaking water into the kitchen and causing everyone to get a shock when they turned on the light. It is pretty though, hey?)

Settling in and Ebay Collections

20140317-IMG_0323 Slowly, slowly we are settling in here. With the last month being so insanely busy, everything had stayed exactly where we put them when we moved in.  It was only yesterday, with a forced day off to take care of chicken poxed children, did I have an opportunity to get things in place.

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Like most homes, the kitchen here is absolutely the centre of activity.  Its a narrow galley-style kitchen, so unlike our eat-in space of the previous house.  However, a smarter layout and nearly double the counter space makes it a place for us all to hang out.

Mac and Theo in particular have their places in the kitchen. Mac is usually found sleeping on one of the rugs. And Theo can be found perched on a stool in front of the Aga. 20140308-IMG_9961-2

 

Oh the Aga. How I hate it. It not actually an Aga, but a Stanley range that provides both the sole cooking facilities for the house, as well as the heating and hot water. Jack of all trades, master of none comes to mind here. Burning through oil as fast as it burns pizza, I feel like I go to battle every day just to cook. Tonight is pizza night and I already have mixed spare dough, knowing half of the pizza will be charred.

20140308-IMG_9956All in though, I have to say that I am enjoying the settling in. Decorating and planning what we will do with the house, inside and out. Rugs are top of the list and possibly a set of curtains for the Living Room. I had resisted buying anything before we moved in, but I did spend some time thinking about what I wanted to do.  Of course, there was the obligatory Pinterest board, but at the time we started planning, I was asked to be one of the bloggers to pull together collections for eBay's launch of its collections.

I am a huge fan of the site - buying and selling both, and the temptation to pull together Pinterest-style boards of things I could actually buy was just too tempting. The feature allows you to pull together wishlists of the things you find on ebay for easy reference and inspiration for later. And as much fun as it has been to pull the boards together, I have to say that I have loved looking at other people's more. Some of my favourites include, Arianna Interiors, Capture by Lucy and Patchwork Harmony. I did my first round of boards *just* before we moved in and you can totally see where my head was at - chickens, gardensyarn, agas and chainsaws. Hmmm....I think this month's update will be a bit different (I can see a board on my pink and green livingroom and summer dreaming in my future!!).

 

Meet Mac!

wrap-4 I am beginning to wonder if we are adrenaline junkies. Completely unable to take our time with anything - especially large life decisions. Case in point: a house move, 2 photo shoots, a wedding, the arrival of the 4 hens and 1 fluffy puppy all happened within 4 weeks of each other.

Macbeth (Mac for short) is an Australian Labradoodle (which is, without a doubt the most embarrassing name for a dog breed ever. Seriously, try telling the estate gamekeeper, who, you know, kills things for a living, that you have a Labradoodle and try not to die from embarrassment).

Silly name aside, we'd known for some time we wanted to add a furry addition to the family. I had been searching for an adult dog to rehome, but the universe had other plans.

We had debated about breeds, Kevin being a fan of hounds and I had my heart set on a St Bernard (when I dream, I dream BIG). On our first weekend here, we were visited by a Goldendoodle and all fell in love with him. In searching around for a doodle of our own, Mac arrived on our virtual doorstep as a puppy who needed a special family due to a small health issue.

He is already the best dog I have ever had - so lovely and social and well behaved. He and Georgia are the best of  friends. Unfortunately, Mac wants to be best friends with the chickens...they are less keen.

 

Sock It To Me

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As of the 10th of March, I am deadline free for the foreseeable future (well, except Blogtacular). There may be a few book edits remaining, a couple of workshops to teach and issues of The Yarn Project that need work, but by and large I will be a free woman.

I have known this was on the horizon since November of last year. Yes, that is how long it has taken for me to work through existing commitments as soon as I recognised I was burning out. It was also about that long ago that I began planning my next "just for me" knitting project.

While I toyed for a long while with the idea of making a cardigan, when I looked around my wardrobe was full of them. However, what I really needed was warm socks. Our house is very cold and cold feet make me miserable. Elly made me a pair of gorgeous cable knit socks in exchange for some photos I'd taken and I have worn them so much, they are sporting multiple holes.

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And so socks it was. Yarn was chosen (semi-precious sock in cortez gold by Babylonglegs), and a pattern I'd seen someone making on instagram. The only thing left to decide was needles...

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I have a bit of a *thing* about needles. Picky is probably an understatement. I have previously knit socks on DPNs, which was fine, but not perfect and not very portable with 4 little curious beasts around. Joeli had mentioned (maybe in a podcast or at the Rockin' Kitchen retreat) that Hiya Hiya did both short circulars and longer ones for magic loops designed specifically for socks. I decided to try 1 short circular to see how I got on.

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Unable to wait until the 10th of March, of course I cast on and started knitting immediately. I have to say that I wish I'd gone for the magic loop. The circumference of my medium size socks is a bit of a pull against the diameter of the circ and I wish I had a bit more to hold on to. Also, I am constantly dropping stitches when cabling without a cable needle as there just isn't enough needle to work with when moving stitches around. That said, they will be brilliant for a simple stockinette sock, perfect in the cinema knitting (not that I ever go to the cinema, but theoretically).

We have an anniversary next week and I am tempted to ask for a set of the magic loop sock needles (steel I think, or do I want bamboo?) and some sock yarn as a gift (he could even pick out his own sock yarn and I would make him a pair of socks as his gift --genius, no?), but as I have never finished a pair of socks before, it may be a bit ambitious. I have, however, now written a blog post all about them with lots of links dropped in as a (not very) subtle hint *cough*

 

Oh and speaking of Deramores - have you seen their new blog awards for the best undiscovered knitting and crochet blog?  The prizes look ace! More on that coming soon!!

 

 

NewsKat Goldin Comments
Burn Out

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I have sat down to write at least 15 times this last week. Truth is, the book + move + Knit Camp + photoshoots + too much work has resulted in terrible burn out. I'd been struggling for awhile, angry, frustrated and resentful before I put my finger on exactly what it was. Its not a surprise, really. I have worked flat out for 2 and a bit years and hitting a wall was inevitable.

One thing I have learned about burn out or creative blocks is that one really has to just wait it out and be gentle. Don't get me wrong, I don't sit in a room doing nothing, I still turn up, meet deadlines, and keep making, but there is a quiet acceptance that I can't do everything I want to in the way I would normally want it done. Things take more time. Not every design can be a home run. And its ok.

In some ways, its  actually quite freeing. Burnout gives a certain clarity to things. The work that makes my gut churn with resentment is always the first to be dropped and then questions asked about why I was doing it in the first place. You see, I am a terrible freelancer. I say yes to every single piece of work that comes my way because I am terrified of work drying up. My motivation for starting my business was because we ran out of money when I was made redundant and that fear still drives me, worrying always that I won't be able to feed my family.

But making decision based on fear (or guilt for that matter), rarely ends well...hence the resentment. And so, this week has been about cuts and refocusing and, actually, just getting through.

Just getting through is deeply underrated, I must say. Strict tea breaks have been adhered to, evenings saved solely for family and time every day for being outside. Burnout could be worse. *wanders off for another cup of tea*

 

NewsKat Goldin Comments
Time Off

In the list of things I am rubbish at, "Taking Time Off" is close to the top of the list (followed closely by baking, growing houseplants and playing video games of any sort). However, with the realisation that I was losing my mind and beginning to hate my work, taking time off has moved to the list of Things I Need To Improve. And so practicing time off started this weekend. I still worked at the edges- early morning, after bed time and a bit of crochet in front of a game of hot wheels, but on the whole, the weekend was spent in the garden and with the little ones.

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20140216-IMG_176720140215-IMG_1726 20140215-IMG_1714I must say, I could get used to this.

 

NewsKat Goldin Comments
End of Days

IMG_0969 I have started referring to the remaining time we have left in this house as the "End of Days". It isn't just the apocalyptic scenes of half-packed boxes and stacks of broken toys and worn out clothes ready to be chucked out or donated respectively, or eating out the dregs of the freezer and pantry, but it more of a mental shift that this life we lead here is coming to an end.

Though I haven't written much about it here, the last 6 months have been incredibly difficult. We arrived back from a trip to London with letters from our neighbours and our landladies indicating we are a nuisance, disruptive and disliked by "a number of neighbours". Our offenses? Letting the children play in the living room. Doing the dishes without the aid of a dishwasher. Our children not sleeping through the night. An elderly cat dying. It wasn't totally out of the blue, we had received many such letters from one neighbour detailing the hours that my children woke during the night, as well as frequent complaints, visits about the offenses and banging on the walls - resulting in moving the childrens' bedroom a total 4 times in 3 years. Our tenancy, which we thought was reasonably secure, was put in question.

At the same time, I took 2 big (read: expensive) business risks and they failed. Costing us money and energy we didn't have.

I stopped sleeping. I cried a lot. I drank a lot of wine. I tried to keep a business and a family going, with anxiety crushing down on my chest, making it almost impossible to breathe, let alone think or create.

More and more, I feel like we inhabit a world of only successes filled with magazine quality blogs and Facebrags. Small businesses exclaiming Just. How. Busy. they are. Failures are glossed over and then swept under the rug as a funny story.

Personally and professionally, these last 6 months have defined me, my business and our family in ways I didn't expect. I have made decisions to cut back on all but the most essential work and even then, doing more of the things I love (designing, photography, building community) and less of the things I don't (kits, working for free). It was my constant chasing of paychecks, not trusting my gut and stepping out of my skill set that led to my subsequent poor business decisions.

The enforced move acted as a catalyst for reassessing what it was we truly wanted for ourselves and our kids. A country girl at heart, I realised that life in suburbia was making it hard for me to breathe and my inability to simply walk outside my door and be in the woods had to be rectified, if possible. I needed to garden. The kids needed to live without constantly being told to "be quiet" "don't jump" "sorry you can't go out and play". We wanted the kids in a smaller school, not a 400 pupil primary where they may not even know all of their class mates. Clarity was born out of animosity, and for that, I am grateful (but I will not be writing any thank you cards).

And so, we have 4 days left and then its off to the new world. Tomorrow, when the kit shop closes, I am not 100% sure when it will reopen and then it might only be to sell off stock. I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that, in business and in life, adventures await.

 

NewsKat Goldin Comments
A Fond Farewell

We have reached the end of Knit Camp on Slugs.  Those of you taking part, I have loved seeing your progress! Well done!! From people who picked up needles for the first time to those more experienced knitters lending a hand, it has been a blast!! Thanks as well to Joanne and Libby for all of their help and knowledge! The posts will stay live on the Knit Camp page and the Facebook group will be there indefinitely, so don't worry if you are behind. 2013-12-17 13.02.13

Ending are sort of the theme around here at the minute.  A week from today, a moving van is coming to collect our worldly possessions and take us to a new house out in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.  I can not wait! The farm is amazing - lots and lots of space for work and play and children and animals. We went to see Ellis' new school and all fell in love - 30 pupils in total, lake out front, hills out back. With our new house directly on the other side of the lake, Ellis was bargaining hard to get to sail to school everyday, but has settled for the school bus.

However, a week is a long time in packing land, (well, I hope so because we actually haven't started. Ahem). I am, however, running a 50% off everything moving sale in my Big Cartel Shop. All of the kits are 50% off and I have put up a few samples from Crochet at Play as well. Use the code MOVINGSALE to claim you 50% off.  Tuesday will be the last day I post before March, so get in there now!

Please buy stuff, so I don't have to pack it. ;)

 

 

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Bonus Week: Lifelines

Lifelines are a really useful thing to know about as your knitting gets more and more adventurous. Joanne takes us through the whys a wherefores today. What is a lifeline?

A lifeline is a line of yarn or thread that you place into your knitting to enable you to have a safe place to come back to if/when it all goes wrong.

Lifelines are particularly useful for cables, lace and any stitch patterns where the stitches are increased, decreased, slipped or rearranged as these are very hard to rip back accurately.

How do I insert a lifeline?

2014-01-27 10.28.47
2014-01-27 10.28.47

When you are at the end of a row and you are certain it is correct, take a piece of smooth yarn thinner than the working yarn, several inches longer than the row and in a contrasting colour.

2014-01-27 10.29.29
2014-01-27 10.29.29

Thread it on to a darning needle and run it one or two stitches at a time under the knitting needle.

inserting lifeline
inserting lifeline

 Continue along the row. Be careful not to split the working yarn. If you are using stitch markers then make sure you go around them NOT through them.

lifeline in place
lifeline in place

Once you have worked through all stitches remove the darning needle and leave the thread in place.

knitting past lifeline
knitting past lifeline

Work the row as normal being careful not to catch the lifeline in your stitch.

worked past lifeline
worked past lifeline

How do I use the lifeline? If you make a mistake you can use the lifeline by removing the needles from the work, gently pull the yarn so it begins to unravel, rewinding the ball as you go, when you get to the row where the lifeline is pull gently and slowly and replace the stitches onto the needle as they are unravelled being careful not to twist them. 

How often should I insert a lifeline?

How upset would you be to have to rip back to the last lifeline you inserted/the start? If you think it would make you:

  1. very cross,
  2. cry a lot, or
  3. curse in front of the children

it is time to insert a lifeline!

Happy Knitting!

Bonus Week: Lace Taster

We've already had a brief look at the joy of colour work and cables. Today Joanne introduces you to the wonderful world of lace.

lace knitting class pic
lace knitting class pic

What is Lace? Knitted lace is formed by creating yarn overs (sometimes known as yarn forward) and decreases in a pattern to form an open patterned fabric. It can be as intricate and complicated as you like.

Lace uses the same increases and decreases that we use in normal knitting. Here are definitions of the most commonly used stitches.

Yarn Over: (when moving between a knit stitch and a knit stitch)Bring the yarn from the back, over the top of the needle and behind again. A loop is left behind that sits on the needle like a stitch. Right Leaning Decrease: K2tog. Insert your needle into the next 2 sts together and knit them as one. Left leaning decrease: (there are several options here – search ssk and skp for more details but I like k2tog tbl) K2tog tbl Insert your needle into the back loop of next 2 sts and knit them as one. Double decrease: (again several options but only one that doesn't lean) CDD. Insert needle as if doing a k2tog, slip sts over, knit next stitch then pass slipped stitches over the knitted stitch.

Casting on and casting off?

Because lace is really stretchy you need a cast on and cast off that can stretch as wide as the rest of the fabric. YOu can cast on and off loosely but this takes practice and is a little unreliable. I use a special cast on shown in this video.

Slip Knot Cast On.

To cast off I knit two stitches together through the back loop and then pop the worked stitch back on the left hand needle and repeat to the end. (this is such a quick cast off, I love it!)

I'm in! Where do I start?

If you fancy giving lace a try then it is best to start out with an easy pattern. Look for one that is only worked on the right side and where the stitch count is the same at the end of every row.