Somewhere I can let out my inner crafter without being labeled as even more insane.

Cabling without a needle

I’m a rather forgetful person, especially when it comes to small things that don’t immediately spring to mind. So, it was hardly surprising when I forgot to take a cabling needle with me to Knitsoc once, when I was working on my (heavily cabled) cardigan. And no-one else had one either. Solution? Learn to cable without a cabling needle. Now, this was a good project to learn with, because the yarn is so sticky. Seriously, I could probably take the needle out of my work, and it won’t budge an inch. (I’m trying not to think about how difficult it’s going to be to frog when I finally admit to myself that it needs doing, but that’s another post).

So, cabling without a needle. It isn’t for every yarn. So far I’ve done it on sticky wool, and llama, which is also quite sticky. If your yarn unravels if you look at it funny, then this technique probably isn’t suitable. Or if you get nervous about dropped stitches. The basic idea is that you drop some of the stitches, in order to rearrange them on the needle to knit in the correct order. So, in this example I managed to take photos of I’m cabling 3 front.

IMGP0375The first three stitches need to go in front of and to the right of the next three stitches. So, my right needle picks up the second lot of three stitches

IMGP0376and then I had to drop the six stitches off the left needle. (This was very annoying trying to photograph!)

IMGP0381It’s awkward trying to see the dropped three stitches, but they are there! Usually I use my right thumb and forefinger to keep them together to make it easier to pick them up, but I needed to use that hard to take the photograph! Now you pick up the dropped stitches

IMGP0382and then put the three unknitted stitches from the right needle back onto the left

IMGP0383Ta-da! Now all you need to do is contine knitting and purling as required for the pattern :)

Woot! Go me! It was great fun (talking maths non-stop for 4 days definitely counts as fun in my books!) but boy was it exhausting! But, I am now home, all the washing has been done, and I’m back into the daily grind again :)

I didn’t have as much time to knit as I wanted, *pout*. However, I did make a start on my hat (I had to do a normal cast on since I hadn’t realised it was supposed to be provisional…ahh well, it just means I need to sew it up, rather than kitchener stitch).

OxfordhatI hadn’t done all of this in Oxford, but I’ve been working on it since I came back too. I should stop, and do some more Christmas presents, but it’s just so much easier to pick up my knitting *sigh*. I’ll be good tomorrow.

I’ve also been working on a card for my friend, who recently moved house. I took a few elements from the SAL I did last year, and added my own lettering.

SamiI really like how it’s come out, but it’s a right pain to stick to the card-apparently, aida and double sided sticky tape don’t really mix. Any tips?

Well, that’s all I’ve been up to. I still need to get two more bits done this month to keep on track for Christmas, so I’d better get a move on!

A much lighter post!

So, after the rather introspective post of yesterday (wow, it feels like longer ago than that!) I thought you could all do with a lighter post from me. So, here are some finished socks! I know, predictable right?

socks4This will probably be my last pair of socks for a while- I want to make a pair out of hand-spun, so I need to get on with spinning that! Also, Christmas presents- so far I have two and most of a third sewn, out of the six for this month, so not too shabby! But I might as well get ahead with them if I can, so probably fewer posts from me for a while

In 5 years…

Just a quick heads up- this is a rambling post, so if you just come here for the crafting and pictures, skip this post!

Ok, so the other day the maths wasn’t working, and I was getting rather discouraged. So I decided to think about where I want to be in 5 years. Not just work related, and my career, but in general. And this is what I came up with.


In 5 years I want to…

  • be working to increase the mathematical knowledge of the world (probably in academia, but anywhere I can research would be great!). I’d love to have proved the RH by then, but as it’s one of the 7 Millenium problems (that each have a million dollar prize for solving, and are considered to be the important questions currently in mathematics), and considered to be the most important of them, it might take me more than 5 years…maybe 6 and a half?
  • own a sewing machine, and hand make half(or so. I don’t know what sort of number would be realistic, but certainly some!) of my wardrobe.
  • have made a set of embroidery hoops with maths equations embroidered in
  • generally be more crafty! I’m not really sure what this really means, other than maybe trying out lots of different crafts, and regularly doing all the ones I enjoy
  • own a pet (or several!) At the moment, this isn’t feasible, as I live in student accommodation, but I fully believe the saying ‘A pet makes the difference between coming home to an empty house and coming home’. I’m thinking cats or rabbits or hamsters.
  • play more minecraft. I used to love playing this game, but stopped playing it because I just didn’t have the time. I’ve started playing it again, and loving it. Where I’m going to find the time is another matter!
  • do more with my jump stilts. Basically, you stick springs to your legs, and bounce around. (Google ‘jump stilts’ or ‘powerisers’ to see what I’m talking about). I’m going to start going to FreeG sessions at a relatively local gym- I want to be able to somersault on the floor before trying it on my stilts!
  • keep doing home-made Christmas presents. Currently I’m still making them, but as I get busier and busier, I may start buying from etsy. We’ll have to wait and see.
  • maybe start making my own cards. This is more of a ‘maybe’ than a I want to do this, so it will probably not happen. Although card-making might fall into the remit of ‘craft more’, so it may happen!
  • cycle more. I’ve recently become a ride leader with Sky Ride, so I am in charge of rides to get the general public (currently only in the UK)cycling in a safe manner. This is great for finding rides to go on myself, but I’d like to do more. I’m thinking of working my way up to multi-day rides, which I think sounds great right now, but I might change my tune after one!
  • start buying more local (and therefore seasonal) produce. This might just be a very temporary I-read-it-on-a-blog-somewhere-and-it-seemed-really-cool thing, but then it might stick!

So, yeah. This is where I kinda want to be in 5 years time! Next year, at Uni, I’m taking a course about self-reflection, with the aim of being a better teacher at the end of it. I’ve started pre-reading some of the books, and this was the result!

So now it’s your turn- where do you want to be in 5 years time? Who do you want to be?What hobbies do you want to have, and how can you go about getting there? (I promise, you won’t see many blog posts like this from me, but there might be the odd one!)

So, I’ve finished another pair of socks! I think I’ve lost count of the number of pairs of socks I own, but hey, the more the merrier, right?

Roansocks2I mostly used my vanilla pattern, but I decided to add a small amount of decoration with purl stitches in a diamond pattern. Here’s a closeup so you can see.


It’s very subtle, which is strangely nice for a change! Most of my socks are either vanilla, or strongly patterned, so having a subtle pattern is definitely something a bit different.

Now onto the other news! In a couple of weeks, I’m heading to Oxford for a conference. While I will be taking my Christmas presents to work on, I also want to have a knitting project in case I need something easier for poor little introverted me! I have two skeins of this in my stash (bought the last time I was in Oxford, in case you were wondering why I wasn’t going to be taking socks!). It is 100% llama, 220m per 100g (I have 200g). I’m currently thinking a nice hat/cowl set, either for me or maybe going in a gift pile.

stash (2)

The hat choice was easy- ever since seeing this cabled hat with short rows come up on knitty, I’ve wanted to make it. The cowl part was a bit more challenging- I knew I wanted to knit it around the neck and shoulders, rather than up, and it took a while to find a nice pattern. Eventually, I found this one, but I’m still not 100% sure… I don’t even know what it is about this pattern that I don’t like. *shrugs* I’m strange, I guess!

I’m also hard at work behind the scenes working on my Christmas presents. I’m calling Dec 1st my must-be-done-by date, as some of them need to be posted out, and I’d rather they arrive early than late! Ideally however, I’d like to be done by the end of October (3 months away, eek!), so that I can take part in NaNo again in some form (I have a cardigan in 4ply, a jumper in aran and a cross stitch as current options…), which means I need to complete 6 things a month, for a total of 18. So far 1 is finished which doesn’t exactly bode well since I’ve had them ready for more than a week so far I think. Ahh well, better step up my game I guess! I’m hoping that keeping a record here will keep me accountable, even though I can’t show pics yet (and I must remember to start taking pics so I can show you the process later!).

Organisation: work

Rather than an organisation post about crafting, this time it’s all to do with work, and various papers. As you’ve probably picked up by now, I’m in the middle of my PhD, which involves a lot of articles, and my own work, usually in several different areas.

Before, I was using the floor as a wonderful organisational tool- different bits go in the different piles. Unsurprisingly, my mother wasn’t particularly impressed by this method, and so bought me some pop-folders. I have a variety in different patterns, the best to distinguish between them.


I improved them slightly by sticking a plastic wallet on the back- you need to sellotape on all 4 sides to make sure you only have one hole to insert paper into- make sure you sellotape on top as well, otherwise it gets very difficult to insert paper into. You can then put another piece of paper on the back, either with an overview of what is in the folder, or as I prefer, a list of questions to ask my supervisor! I also cut the edge- the bit with all the holes- off he wallet, which I think makes it look a bit neater.



My blanket

So, I’ve had a few interested comments/questions about my blanket, so I thought that I’d write a whole post dedicated to it (isn’t it lucky!)

I am knitting a scrappy sock-yarn blanket using hexagons (this pattern on ravelry). You cast on/pick up stitches, and then knit from the outside in to make hexagons. You finish by cutting the yarn, drawing it through the stitches (like for hats), and then secure the yarn on the WS.

There are lots of different possibilities for scrap projects (mitred squares, hexagons, hexipuffs, apple cores…), but I decided on hexagons after a bit of thought. I didn’t want to pay for hexipuffs, and even though I could probably have come up with a version by myself, I didn’t want it stuffed. I want a blanket rather than a quilt/duvet. I didn’t like the way you keep adding to the blanket for mitred squares, rather than being able to make some on the go and add them later, and I didn’t like the sewing for apple cores. With this hexagon pattern, the plan is to make sets of 3 rows, and then attach them at home with another row of hexagons. It will also be easy to replace individual parts when they start wearing, again without any sewing!

I’m using 144 stitches (6*24) rather than the 72 that is suggested in the pattern, and size 1.5mm knitting needles (I just want an excuse to use my Karbonz, since I didn’t particularly like the double knitting I was going to use them for!)

So far I have 7 and a bit hexagons, and it takes me just over a day to make one. That will drop when I get my act together and start on Christmas presents, but still!



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