5KCBWDAY5 – Is a change really as good as a rest?

Hmm… I think that’s up for debate!

Certainly blogging every day brings plenty of change (in terms of blogging differently to usual), but not very much rest (don’t ask how many hours Marvin’s low quality photo comic took me – I doubt that there will be any future installments).

Am I getting blogging fatigue?  Actually, no.  Although it’s been a lot of work, just like last year I am enjoying Knitting and Crochet Blog Week and it’s been great to discover some fab new blogs.

It’s also lovely to have so many new readers and commenters and I’ve really enjoyed reading your thoughts, so thanks for popping round to my little corner of the internet!

So, today’s challenge is to blog in a completely different way to normal.

So far I’m just yakking, so I’m failing miserably.  Oops.

Well, I had a think and you know what you don’t see much of on the internet?  Knitting memes (I know there are some, but knitting is ace, so we need more).

Now, hear me out. 

I’m not really into this sort of thing, but basically a meme (as I understand it) is one of those pictures with a funny phrase, pun or statement written on it in big bold (usually capital) letters.  Commonly they might include a picture of a grumpy looking cat or, like this one; an Alpaca.  They crop up on various social networks, so you’ve probably seen one.

So I thought I’d have a go at making my own!  I dug out an amusing sheep picture which I took at Killerton House (a National Trust property) a few years ago (the sheep were roaming freely over the footpaths  – as well as sleeping on them – and were totally nonplussed by my prescence) and voila!

Please don't ask me to move... I'm hiding the yarn I've just bought.

Not just a knitting meme, but a yarn stashing meme! Feel free to share it (together we can win the interwebs!) 🙂

Back again tomorrow!

Lottie x

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5KCBWDAY4 – Getting to the point

Hi, I’m one of Lottie’s many, many pairs of knitting needles!

Addi Needles

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2014

I’m an Addi Premium circular needle, a svelte 3.25 mm and 80 cm long.  As I mentioned, I am not alone by any means.  Lottie loves her Addi Premiums and hardly ever knits with anything else, in fact she will sooner buy another pair of needles than use any other type!  As a result I have a twin and numerous siblings in various sizes.

I’m very sleek which is perfect for Lottie as she has a tendency to knit tightly and my smooth surface keeps her stitches moving quickly, helping her to knit faster.  Speed is important in my line of work, especially when there are deadlines to be met.  Back in December and January I helped her to knit her Siskin shawl, my proudest achievement as a needle!

She usually rewards me for my help with nice yarns, for example at the moment I’m helping her to make a wrap in a lovely laceweight Bluefaced Leicester and Silk mix…. mmmmm…….

I enjoy socialising.  In this picture you can see I’m hanging out with some cute pink stitch markers.  We get along really well and work together to prevent frogging and tinking.  It’s a close working relationship. 

Lottie: I love my needles, I think we’ve only ever fallen out when you’ve been too clingy and tried to hang on to me when I’ve got up to do something else.  You lost your rag and dropped a load of stitches – or maybe it was one of your siblings?

You can’t blame me for that – that was one of those troublesome 4mm needles.  I swear they’ve learnt to clone themselves.  They stick together, so you’ll never find out which of them it was. 

Lottie: Sorry, my mistake.  I guess the only other problem we have is that sometimes I need to use another needle size and you feel neglected for a while, but it could be worse, you could be those big 24 mm heavy wooden needles.  They’re still holding my extreme knitting.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever finish that – it’s a bit too physical for me!

*Shudder*  Don’t you ever leave me in the U.F.O. zone! 

Back tomorrow with something a bit different from normal 😉

I’ve really enjoyed reading all your posts this week so far, I hope you’ve enjoyed mine too.  Thanks for reading 🙂

Lottie x

5KCBWDAY3 – Marvin v spammers!

So today’s blogging challenge is all to do with creative photography.  Eek!

Well I tried faffing about with some yarns that made me think of the coast and beaches etc:

Seaside yarns Seaside yarns

But that seemed a bit dull.

Then I remembered something irritating that keeps happening whenever I tag a post with the word ‘blogging’.  I get some likes, follows and spammy comments from people who clearly don’t care about knitting, with preachy ‘How all the blogging you’ve ever done is wrong – and I can tell you how to do it right with my boring generic tips!’ type sites.  Urgh.

I’m not bothered about getting lots of blog traffic if it’s from spammers.  I want to read other knitting and crochet blogs and for the lovely people who write them to perhaps read my blog if they enjoy it.

One of these ‘blogging guru’ type sites even ended every post title with the word ‘REALLY???’ all in capitals, just like that, with three question marks.  Who are these people?  How do they expect me to respect their opinions on blogging if they can’t even think of decent titles?  Maybe it’s just me.  I can’t pretend to understand the technicalities behind blogging, or know what the SEO is or how to get more organic traffic, but I just want to write posts that you’ll enjoy reading.

So here’s Marvin’s take on it all with a very poor attempt at a photo comic (enjoy it spammers!):

Marvin Comic

Marvin Comic

Back tomorrow with another post!

Looking forward to reading yours too 🙂

Lottie x

 

5KCBWDAY2 – It’s all about Marvin!

Well, it’s the second day of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014 and today’s post topic is a ‘Dating Profile’ for a project you’ve made.  Again, this topic takes me out of my comfort zone, but it does provide me with an opportunity to re-introduce my blog’s unofficial mascot……

Marvin!

Marvin!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Dapper Meerkat, 16 months, GSOH, would like to meet similar…….

Hello, my name’s Marvin and I’m a 16 month old meerkat and Knitwear Design Advice Guru.  I was knitted at my owner’s home in the UK and I spend my days providing her with invaluable inspiration and advice on her designs (when she’s not abandoned me to work at a yarn shop).

I’m 5″ tall, medium build, cute and fluffy with a glint in my eye 😉 (it must be the little glass beads)!

I’m interested in meerkat fashion, especially knitwear and I’m working on getting my knitter to expand my wardrobe.  It’s the least she could do after I helped her to get a design on the front cover of Let’s Knit magazine, but no such luck yet.  That design started life as a motif on my Nordic style jumper – a bespoke design just for me!

I also like Doctor Who.  In the words of the Doctor himself:

‘It’s a fez.  I wear a fez now, fezzes are cool!’ 

I also have a bow tie.  I’m quite the style icon in the meerkat world.  I just need a sonic screwdriver, a TARDIS and an adventurous assistant!

It's a fez, I wear a fez now, fezzes are cool!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

As for my dislikes, well, I don’t like being mistaken for an insurance salesman*, or being compared to other meerkats online.  I also hate the cold, but that’s what my jumper is for!  With that on to keep me cosy I can even stay out long enough to built a snow meerkat!

Marvin in the snow

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

In the long term I would like to meet other small meerkats and be given more responsibility in my role as Knitwear Design Advice Guru.  Perhaps I could become a knitwear model or international trend setter?  Anything but selling insurance!

*In the UK, meerkats have become popular due to a character in a well known insurance comparison website advert, a campaign based entirely on the idea that ‘compare the market’ sounds a bit like ‘compare the meerkat’.  Though Marvin is understandably grumpy about this, he should probably accept that without the rise in popularity of meerkats due to this the pattern for him would never have been published, I would never have been given a copy of the book containing it for Christmas and he would never have existed.

Back tomorrow with another post!  Looking forward to reading yours 🙂

Lottie x

5KCBWDAY1 – A Day in the Life of…. erm…?

So it’s the first day of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014!  Want to take part yourself?  You can find all the details here on Eskimimi Makes, there’s a post on the daily topics here and a post on the tags you need to use in your posts here if you’re interested in joining in.

Last year it was a lot of fun and I certainly learnt a lot, even if I deviated from the post topics a little bit and put my own spin on them!  I never was very good at following the crowd.  You can read last year’s posts here.

2014-Annual-Knitting-Crochet-Blog-Week-on-Eskimimi-Makes

Today’s topic is ‘A Day In The Life’ of a project you’ve made or are in the process of making.

I’ve just briefly scanned through my posts from last year (having had to find them in order to give you that link) and I realised that I had been pretty honest in those posts.  Not that I ever lie in my posts you understand.  Perhaps candid is a better word.  It’s just that often life is messy, dull or even bleak and:

a) I think you probably don’t really want to read about those days and mostly I want to just put it behind me rather than write about it.

b) Even if you do want to read about that, I don’t really want to write about it on the internet – and as this is my blog, I’m the boss 😉 – sometimes the internet encourages you to overshare and I want to avoid that.

So in the spirit of honesty and being candid I need to come clean about today’s topic.

You should probably know that my immediate reaction to this topic was a silent, internal ‘arrrrgh!’ that only I could hear.

Also, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time staring at a blank screen or reading everyone else’s blog posts for the day, hoping for inspiration to hit me.  It hasn’t.  Or it sort of has, but I can’t decide if it is tolerable, dreadful, or quite good.  I hope it’s the latter, but I don’t know if I’m brave enough to post it and find out.  Indecisive as usual (a recurring theme in my posts from last year).

I could write a day in the life of a project I wear frequently (most likely a shawl – maybe this one that I finished recently)….

Follow Your Arrow Shawl

Follow Your Arrow Shawl (Designed by Ysolda Teague)
Picture Copyright Charlotte Walford 2014

But it would probably be a bit like this:

The wardrobe door is flung open and I’m pulled unceremoniously from my comfy resting place on top of a pile of knits on the top shelf.  Lottie has to remove me in this way as she can only reach me on the high shelf by standing on her tip-toes with her arms at full stretch (she’s only 5’3″), so I’ve got used to it.  Lottie doesn’t always plan what she’s going to wear until she opens the wardrobe so I never know if it will be my day or not. 

Quickly flung around her neck, a brief glance in the mirror on the inside of the wardrobe door confirms I’m not going to slip off.  I’m rudely shaken about as she leans heavily on the uncooperative wardrobe door in an attempt to close it.  More often than not it pings open again after she’s turned the key and we repeat the process (If she doesn’t turn the key exactly the right amount clockwise we’re snookered).  I know that this is because she’s got too much yarn in there, but I’ve not plucked up the courage to tell her yet.  Then I experience the exhilaration of having to hold on tight as she rushes down the stairs and out of the house.

Once at work (at Stash Fine Yarns) I get blown about in the breeze as she takes the shop sign outside, ready to tell all the other knitters that the shop is open.  I try my best to stay securely wrapped around her neck while she picks orders, answers the phone and helps customers, but sometimes I lose my grip, or I get cast aside on warmer days.  Sometimes I get used as an impromptu hair covering in the rain because she hates it when her hair goes frizzy in the rain (having straightened it out of it’s natural curly state).  I don’t like this part.  At.  All. 

But I’m not just a shawl, I’m a badge of honour, helping Lottie (who doesn’t really look like a stereotypical knitter) to prove that she knows what she’s talking about and that she is a knitter too, just like the customers.  Sometime I even get compliments from them!  If I had a blood supply I would blush.  I’m a comforting presence, a piece of armour against the world, part of the unofficial uniform of ‘clothes for work’ that helps her to feel professional and more confident (she’s quite shy really).  

Sometimes at the end of the working day I’ll have the opportunity to internally roll my eyes (if I had any – mind you, I’m a lacy shawl, so maybe I could roll my eyelets?) when Lottie buys yet another ball of yarn, knitting book or pair of her favourite Addi Premium circular needles (why she needs another pair I don’t know, as she must have plenty already, but I suppose they’re probably holding another WIP, perhaps one that will join me on the wardrobe shelf in a few weeks?).   

Then it’s back home and into the wardrobe until the next time.  Just as soon as she’s got that door closed ;).  

Wouldn’t that be a bit… dull?

Ah.

I seem to have written a blog post by accident.

Whoops!

See you tomorrow for the next post 🙂

Lottie x

Why do we blog?

Why do you blog? That was the question posed on knitnrun4sanity’s blog last week.

For me this is a difficult question to answer briefly, as my reasons for starting my blog are now rather different from my reasons for continuing it.

To be blunt, I started my blog because I felt that I should. As a designer, it is important to have a presence on the Internet other than just Ravelry (which I still think is very important, as it gives knitters a very direct contact with you for pattern support, and also I love to see projects made from my patterns 😊 and help anyone who asks me a question, as much as I can). I didn’t have a presence like this and after researching a few options, I decided on WordPress.

But despite creating my blog in February 2012, I was too nervous and hesitant to post at first. I had so many doubts. What should I post about? Should I just post about new designs? If I posted on other occasions, what on earth would I post about? How would I keep it interesting? How would I find the time? How much of myself should I put out there? I’m naturally quite a shy person, especially around strangers, and I tend to keep myself to myself, so this in particular was a difficult question for me. It is important to put a little of yourself out there, otherwise your blog will lack personality, but I found it very difficult to open up.

Even once I had answered all these questions, one massive question remained. Would anyone even want to read it? I was so beset by these doubts that I did not actually post anything on my blog until June 2012. (Yes, I know, I missed my first Blogiversary 😳 oops! Let’s call this the Blogiversary post – shhh! I won’t tell anyone it’s late if you don’t – what’s three months between friends?).

What pushed me to post was my decision to release my first self published pattern, Moon River. I felt that I had to make the effort to post, so I jumped in at the deep end. But I remember how long it took my to write that short and uninventive post. I just didn’t know what to write and how to write it. Was it ok to just be myself? How does this WordPress thing even work? It was certainly a steep learning curve.

I continued posting intermittently, trying to find a blogging voice and get the courage to just be myself in my posts. The first time I thought I was maybe getting there was when I posted this, ‘Mae: from sketchbook to pattern book’ about the journey from initial design idea to published pattern, as I remember how many questions I had about the process before I designed myself. I was amazed by the response. People read it! They liked it! Buoyed up by this I began to post more, but then it all tailed off as I was quite busy with my designing and writing posts still took me a long time, with many edits.

What really turned my blogging around was Knitting and Crochet Blog Week from Eskimimi Makes. I came across it by chance and thought I should set myself the challenge of posting every day for a week on the topics that had been chosen. Although it was a lot of work, I found it very rewarding and also liberating to post about other topics and in other styles that I might not have otherwise considered.

Stuff like this:

Venn diagram

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

It also helped me to find some lovely people in the knitting blog community who I wouldn’t otherwise have found. Now I blog because I enjoy interacting with you all. I just hope that all enjoy reading it! I try to blog with a sense of humour, as I would if were chatting to you all in real life. I always look forward to your comments and to reading your blogs and leaving comments on them. I even get excited about particular posts because I’m looking forward to seeing what your reaction will be.

I feel much more confident on blogging about other knitting related things in between designs, especially at times when I don’t have any knitting to show you because it is top secret and I enjoy thinking up ideas for new posts 😊. A couple of days ago I reached the milestone of 100 followers, something I never thought I would achieve in the uncertain months after starting the blog, when I even wondered if it was something I should be doing at all.

Why do I blog now? Because of you!

Thank you!

Lottie xx