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

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!



So, this cardigan has been in the works for a while. I bought the yarn back in December 2013. I was a first year PhD student going back to Plymouth to collect some things from my ex, and since there was a rather good yarn shop, I stopped in a bought 2 sweaters worth of yarn.

I duly swatched, and cast on for my sleeves, in case my swatch was lying to me (they usually do, but whatever is going on with this cardigan, it’s a darn sight more interesting than a simple lie.) I started my first sleeve last July, almost a year ago now.

After finishing both sleeves, I realised that something really dodgy was going on with my gauge. The first sleeve was too small, but the second one was fine, so I just decided to ignore it for the time being, and get on with the body.

I decided to knit the body all in one piece, rather than doing the back and two sides separately, and then seaming.

Well, I have good news and bad news. The body of the cardigan is finished. I haven’t blocked it yet or anything (the sleeves are attached by safety pins), which is the good news. It’s very fitted, but I’m hoping to gain some ease with blocking. And it’s wool, I won’t need layers on underneath!


And then, I got back on with making another sleeve. I found the right chart, and started knitting. The stopped, looked at what I was making, and at the sleeves. Knitted a bit more, and looked a bit more. Decided to check that this was going to work, and lined everything up. Nope. Not going to work. Not one little bit.


This sleeve is considerably too big. Either that, or both my other sleeves are too small. What on earth is going on with my gauge? It seems to be doing whatever it wants. *sigh* (I also can’t photograph this colour to save my life. It’s a gorgeous purple with flecks of other colours. I’m thinking that when it’s made, I’ll take some photos outside and hopefully that will help)

But anyway. Back to the main problem. My plan is to block everything (including the sleeve currently on the needles), and then figure out what needs doing. Unfortunately, that means I need to wait until September because the blocking mats are in Uni and I can’t get hold of them until then. *sigh* I guess I should get on with Christmas presents until then!

Wow, what a wonderful reception to come back to! Thanks everyone!

Firstly, that picture I showed you last time is a giant slice of cake with eyes! The dark pink is jam between the layers of sponge, and the light pink is icing.

Secondly, I had a great time moving, and I now have a chest of drawers to hold all (most!) of my crafting supplies. Here’s a pic of it. (Usually that bag of yarn would be in it as well, I just needed to get at my crochet hooks!)


The top drawer is misc and cross stitch, the other two drawers hold knitting yarn. Not all of it though, as you can see of what’s storied outside of the drawers! No more yarn for me for a while I think!


Not that that’s going to be too much of a problem, as I’ve started making my own! Meet John, my first drop spindle.


I’m completely loving spinning, although it makes my right arm ache if I do too much in one go! And of course, I’ve bought some fabric to make a cover for it! Even if I can’t use my mum’s sewing machine, so I’ll have to do it by hand! I’m thinking a simple bag made out of the blue fabric on top


I’ve also been knitting socks, and have 2 more finished pairs to show off, another pair of jaywalkers


and some rainbow socks I’m calling ‘Pooling, thy name is wtf’


I’ve also started a scrap blanket to use up all my sock yarn scraps from socks. Can you recognise the yarns used so far?


I’ve done more work on my knitted cardigan, but that totally deserves a post of its own, so that’ll come along later on! Another thing I can’t share just yet are Christmas plans- I’ve changed my mind about what I’m doing again, now it involves sewing. But I think that one of my friends is planning on reading this soon, and she’s getting a Christmas present, so that’ll need to be hush-hush until Christmas!

Although, speaking of Christmas, I have started sewing some Christmassy juggling balls, so here’s one ready to be stuffed!


Hello world!

So, I didn’t mean to be gone for quite so long… I had to move house, and so was internet-less from the beginning on July until now. However, I had planned to have a few posts ready to go in the intervening weeks, until life took over! And to think that my word for the year is organise! *sigh*

Ahh well, I’m well, and busy! Not having internet means I’ve been working on lots of crafting things. There will be a proper post sometime soon, but I leave you with a photo of my sister’s birthday present. Knitting with chunky yarn is so fast!


It’s been a while since I’ve done a post about optimisation, my little work for the year. But it has been hard at work behind the scenes.

This time, I’m going to be talking about time management. I suck at it, so I’m hoping by getting it out here, other people might have some good ideas about it all.

The problem is that I have too many hobbies, and not enough time to do them all *sigh*. It’s a wonderful problem to have!

I currently (or at least want to) knit, crochet, make Dorset buttons, cross stitch, take up embroidery, read, play computer games, sew, and spin. (Yes, spinning is decidedly new! I learnt the basics yesterday, and I’m definitely looking into getting a drop spindle soon!)

And then, on top of these hobbies of mine, I have a PhD to complete, and next academic year I’ll also be working towards a teaching qualification, which will also be fairly time-expensive.

So, something has to give. And I really don’t want anything to give (except the sleep, which isn’t exactly optional!).

For a while, a while ago, I used to have a little time-table for my day. Just something quick and dirty, like this:

10:00 work

12:00 lunch

13:00 work

15:00 break (knitting)

16:00 work

18:00 finish (cross stitch)

19:00 dinner

20:00 free time (generally knitting and watching tv)

Unfortunately, it stopped because it was too awkward keeping track of the teaching I had on different days, and that’s going to start again in September. But maybe next time, if I’m used to this routine I’ll be able to think of something to help it work.

Also, I think I need to stop trying to bury my product side of crafter- I want to see results dammit! So, in future, I’ll take more pictures of what I’ve done in a day. Even if I don’t post them (and I probably won’t!) it will let me see that I’ve made progress every day, even if it doesn’t seem particularly visible.

So, how do you stay on track? Any other tips you can think of for me?

The first is just my sister’s graduation card, finally put onto a card!


I’ve also finished socks


and more socks!


I also knitted myself a cover for my earphones


That was very annoying, and I hope that I don’t break these earphones any time soon!

And finally, a set of pyjamas ready for Winter. They’ll be living in Salisbury, and so next time I’ll be going home is for Christmas, so I needed to finish them. Ta-da!


Since these pyjamas are a big thing, I’ll be continuing my habit of discussing what I learnt from this project.

  • Sewing machines don’t like sewing over 4 layers of fleece!
  • If something doesn’t seem to be running right, stop and figure it out. Don’t keep going until it becomes a big problem!
  • Gathers aren’t so bad. Sewing them is a right pain, however!
  • If a gather seems rather large, stick a finger in the middle of it and scrunch it down into a few smaller ones
  • Fleece doesn’t fray. Which is wonderful when the machine decides it’s tasty and makes a hole :(
  • Mums are magic! I can’t remember what mine fixed for me this time around, but still, it’s always worth mentioning!
  • Pins don’t hurt, so stop moaning about it!
  • Don’t sew Winter clothes in the Summer, when it’s a right pain trying them on!

I think that’s everything this time!

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