To knit or not to knit, that is the question!

As you will have gathered by now if you are a regular reader, I don’t get much time to knit for myself (my monumental stash is a constant reminder of that), but when I do, I am quite a selfish knitter, mainly because for once I want to knit something that I get to keep!

Designing is great fun, and I get a buzz from knitting up things that previously only existed in my imagination, but the downside is that sometimes you don’t get to keep the samples at all and if you’re lucky you might get them back after a few months. Although I am used to parting with my samples now (even if only temporarily) sometimes it is just nice to make something that is truly yours.

All this makes me very unlikely to do any gift knitting. Mostly I just don’t have time to get it done before Christmas or someone’s Birthday or Mother’s Day etc. If people get knitted gifts from me it is sporadic and usually they just get it when it is done, rather than for any particular occasion. If I plan a knitted gift, it will usually be an ‘extra’ surprise in addition to a suitable gift, so that if I don’t get it done on time they still have a present, that way no-one is disappointed and when the knitting is done, they get another surprise and I get the bonus of not feeling guilty or stressed trying to do that last pattern repeat at 2am on Christmas Day.

For example, this Ishbel was meant to be for my Mum for Christmas:

Ishbel

Photo copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

But it didn’t get finished until a few days after, as I had deadline knitting to do in the run up to Christmas. She did get it in the end, as well as a normal gift on Christmas day itself, so all was not lost, but given that I had attempted to be as organised as possible and cast this on in September (!) you can see why a knitted gift alone is not an option. (She loves it ūüôā so it was all worthwhile!)

However, it seems that I am unusual in not gift knitting on a regular basis. Most knitters are exceptionally generous with their time. Many of the customers I serve at work are buying yarn to knit something for someone else, but some knitters have horror stories of gift knitting.

The perfect hat that was lost on the train. The intricate sweater shoved in on a hot wash and felted beyond all recognition. The cardigan that only ever sees the light of day when you come to visit, or worse, is being used as a dog blanket!

Nobody wants this to be the fate of their gift knitting!

Why should you waste your valuable skills, time, effort and money on unappreciated gifts, when you could buy something and save yourself the heartache? Why do we allow ourselves to be trampled over and our knitting be under valued?

Is it because we choose the wrong people to knit for, or the wrong things to knit for them?

I have to admit to being guilty of this myself.

Last year I knitted a little cosy for my Dad’s iPod. He didn’t have cover for it, I had a bit of yarn left over from another project and I thought it would be nice to make a cosy for it. I designed it specially to fit in lovely red Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, but I didn’t ask him if he wanted it. Big mistake. He was mildly pleased when it was finished, but a few months later it was unceremoniously jettisoned in favour of a cheap imitation leather case from a supermarket. I rescued it and gave it to my Brother (a much more appreciative recipient). Thankfully this was just a tiny item, but imagine if it has been a sweater?

In the past I have also made my Dad a hat which he never wears and a scarf that he rarely wears, but has still managed to ruin with Velcro. All of these were designed just for him, but basically I should have learnt by now that he just isn’t interested in anything knitted.

So, as some of you who are freakishly organised may already be planning (or even already started) your gift knitting ready for Christmas, I thought it was high time to find out if you really should knit that gift. No more wasted efforts for us, oh no.

Knitters unite!

We will not be taken for granted! If you want something knitted from us you have to earn our respect!

I give you the flow chart of truth (all together now… oooooooooh!):

Should I knit a gift?

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

If the flow chart says no, it means no! Don‚Äôt knit anything for them, even if they ask. (O.K. Well maybe if they ask nicely for something in particular – gah! I’m weakening already!)

The likelihood is they’re not a knitter, so if they plead, mention the cost of nice yarn and the time involved in you making it and how horribly busy you are, so it would take you oooh…. maybe 2 years if not more. If you feel yourself weakening, imagine the potential recipient losing or felting your beautifully and painstakingly knitted labour of love and just say no!

Note: these arguments are harder to sell if you often knit gifts. In this case you might want to mention some other projects (for the more deserving) that you are currently working on and emphasise how little time you therefore have left to knit anything else.

Stay strong knitters!

Lottie xx

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A slow news day…..

…. or even a slow news week is common in Britain around this time of year.

Parliament doesn’t meet during this month, so on a domestic rather than international news¬†front there is usually less in the way of important news.¬† As a result¬†this time of the year is often known as silly season, the time of the year when every journalist desperate for a story digs out a report on someone finding a picture resembling Jesus in a piece of toast, or a new sighting of the Loch Ness monster (particularly useful as it is hard to either conclusively prove or disprove, so the speculation can go on for days), an egg with ten yolks, or perhaps the world’s oldest living chicken or fattest cat.

Well today I thought I should write a post, but the trouble is I don’t really have anything much to tell you about.¬† I’m working on a new design at the moment, but it has to remain secret (though I am really pleased with it and would love to tell you all about it!) and as a result I’m rather lacking in both news and time to write something entertaining.

So as I don’t have a blurry photo of Nessie¬†to show you, I thought I’d better show you some fun knitterly stuff that I’ve acquired recently ūüėČ

When I started the new design I’m currently working on I realised that all my project bags were full, so my Charm mittens (that are nearly finished and just need a thumb and seaming – shh! don’t mention the KAL!) were unceremoniously jettisoned from one of my project bags to make room.¬† Something had to be done.¬† So I went on the Nicsknots website to order a new¬†project bag:

Nicknots project bag

Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Pretty isn’t it?¬† The print is fun and makes me happy just to look at it.¬† I like bright cheerful colours ūüôā

At this point it is important to note several things.

The project bag is already full.

The project bag does not contain the new design, but¬†another idea¬†I’m sort of swatching/testing out.

The Charm mittens are still languishing somewhere, not in a project bag.

All my project bags are still full.¬† (Yes, one of them has half a sock in it, but I won’t mention it if you don’t.)

*sigh*

While I was looking covetously at carefully choosing a project bag, I came across something else that was irresistible….. a crochet hook roll with sheep on!¬† Sheep!

Nicsknots hook roll

Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I’m a sucker for anything knitting related with sheep on, so I just couldn’t resist it, especially when I realised that I don’t actually have a case for my crochet hooks, so buying this was completely justified (and it has sheep on – this is what I call a win-win situation).¬† ūüėČ

We also had this book arrive at work, ‘A Knitted Sock Society’ by Rachel Coopey:

A Knitted Sock Society

Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

So, in my continued quest to force myself to love sock knitting, I bought a copy, along with a skein of pretty Araucania Ranco Multy.¬† Rachel Coopey’s designs are amazingly detailed and well thought out, so if anything will make me love sock knitting,¬†this book will (the yarn is probably too busy for any of these designs but I just loved the colours – stash busting FAIL – again).

That’s it for now I’m afraid!¬† Perhaps I’ll have more to tell you next week!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find an egg with ten yolks laid by the world’s oldest chicken and put it on a piece of toast that resembles Jesus!

Lottie x

Something to keep me quiet…

… I’ve been a bit quiet on here recently, but for good reason.¬† I’m working on another new design at the moment and swatching, charting and sketching a few others in my spare moments (not many of those at right now) before I forget them.¬† That’s the trouble with ideas.¬† Sometimes one idea will turn out to be a jumping off point for several others and before you know it you have too many ideas to knit.¬† I always seem to get the best ideas when I don’t have the time to take them any further,¬†but if I jot them down now, hopefully I can pick them up again when I have some time.

Before I go any further, I’d just like to thank you for your kind comments on my swirl shawl that I showed you last time ūüôā I’m so glad you liked it and I love reading your comments!

As usual, I can’t tell you anything about what I’m knitting at the moment, except that it requires yarn and several different pointy sticks!¬† You’ll have to be patient or use your imagination ūüėČ

So what can I tell you about?  Well, not much really, but I can tell you about a re-release of one of my patterns from Knit Now Magazine, Glacier (if you missed it, you can read about the design process behind Glacier here):

Beaded Hat using drop stithc pattern

Glacier Hat from Knit Now Issue 16
Photograph Copyright Dan Walmsley for Practical Publishing used with kind permission

I’m lucky enough to have had Glacier chosen as one of the patterns to be featured in a ‘best of’ bookazine for Knit Now called 70 Beautiful Knits yay!¬† (All the patterns in the bookazine have been previously published in Knit Now Magazine.)

If you’re looking out for it this picture might help (hat not included)!

70 Beautiful Knits

I’ve even got a picture of my design on the back cover – bottom right –¬†(whoop, whoop!):

Look!  It's on the back cover!

You can get the bookazine on the publisher’s website here¬†and in larger newsagents in the UK.

I will, at some point self publish Glacier on Ravelry, as I now have¬†the rights to the pattern back,¬†as well as the sample.¬† I’m not quite sure when this might be though, as I need to re-make the sample in a colour that makes me look less like a corpse (I’m too pale to wear this shade of blue, much as I like it and unless you know any willing models, muggins here¬†will have to attempt to strike a pose)!¬† I’m also contemplating another matching¬†accessory pattern to go with it (a shawl/shawlette/scarf perhaps?) to sell as an eBook¬†as well as¬†selling the patterns¬†individually (the eBook would be priced cheaper than buying the individual patterns)¬†– what do you think?

I’ve not done much self publishing before, so I’d really appreciate your views!¬† What do you like to see in downloadable patterns?¬† Let me know!

Lottie x