Thank you…

So, finally I can show you the first shawl club shawl in all its finished glory, and tell you a little bit about it.  First of all, here it is in the shawl club peacock yarn that Unbelieva-wool dyed for me.  And it was exactly as I hoped it would come out. Giddy dancing all around.

 

It is a similar shape to the Almejas shawl that is in my gallery – that was a pattern from inside crochet and I loved it as soon as I saw it because of the way it wrapped around the shoulders more than a standard triangular shawl did.  When I started trying to come up with my own designs, one of the challenges I set myself was to try to come up with something that had that general shape, but was more accessible and easy to achieve.  I also wanted this first shawl to include as many of my favourite basic stitches as I could.  So there are trebles, granny treble clusters, V-stitches and picots in there, as well as some back loop only work in places, to add to the texture.  There is nothing there that a beginner couldn’t master, and it grows quickly!  It is also deceptive.  One of my pattern testers who was hooking very loosely refused to believe it would use the whole skein of yarn when she was up to about row 25.  Then very quickly the yarn started to disappear!  It is also worth noting that it grows a lot with blocking – it looks quite neat and a little bit frilly after it has been hooked, but once blocked it opens up into a good sized shawl.

I asked for this in a peacock colourway because the shape of the shawl when laid flat reminds me of the shape of the top of a peacock feather.  It also happens to include the favourite colours of Anne Farmer of Ditsy Pips.  I dedicated the pattern to her as a thank you (this is why this is the Thank You shawl on Ravelry). When I was dithering about even starting all this, I had a day where I got myself very confused and convinced that it was going to be too messy and too complex to get into.  Anne talked me through how she set herself up and gave me a lot of very practical advice.  For her it was just a quick set of messages.  What she didn’t realise was how close I was to talking myself out of this before I had even begun, but the fact that she even replied to my message on a day when she had other things to worry about lifted my spirits and changed my mind.  Just knowing that someone who barely knew me didn’t think I was a jumped up idiot for thinking about this was the nudge I needed. I felt that I might be able to earn my stripes and eventually join the yarn army.  The kindness of strangers can be everything on a bad day.

So my other motivation was to create a great big yarny hug. To do this, I started out making this in DK rather than sock, as I also wanted to make a super cosy one (it was winter at the time). One of the shawls I wear a lot at home is a Penelope shawl that I made in King Cole Riot (before the days when hand-dyed yarn entered my life and depleted my bank balance). I wanted to come up with something that made people feel as comforted as I do when I wear that shawl.  So here it is, the first Thank You shawl I ever made, in an Unbelieva-wool DK called ‘new uniform’.  It was the only yarn I had in my stash where I had two skeins of the same colour…

I have been really fortunate to have been helped by two cracking pattern testers who have made sure this first pattern was easy to follow.  One of them sent me this picture of the version they produced, which I love.  Its so hard to find good models, you know…

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Apparently she won’t give up the shawl though.  I think I am going to take that as a bit of a thumbs up.

Lifesavers…

So, first week back at the day job was a timely reminder of why Knackered Psycho is important to me.  Lots of trying to catch up at work, asking the impatient to wait, the tide to turn back, and the world to stop so I can get off. A week of highs and lows, where I can feel proud and excited one minute, and depressed and incompetent the next.  Time away from work doing this gives me perspective and a sense of optimism. Time with yarn makes me feel happy and creative. Time with my daughter and husband reminds me why I do this to myself. So we push on. Resilience is about many things.  For me it is about hanging onto the best of yourself and making time to do the things you need to do to nurture those bits.  I now measure myself by a different set of expectations and standards, ones that I have set for myself.  It feels strange, but not unpleasantly so.

Each week its the small things that lift my spirits.  This week it has been the feedback so far on the Thank You Shawl pattern from the yarn clubbers (thank you!), sketching out the new concept for shawl number 5, winning the fabulous Defarge Yarns ombre yarn set in the picture above in a draw, and receiving the Rockamolly mug I ordered from Doodlestop. Never a truer word was written on crockery, especially after the week I have just had.

Owning a sketchbook again makes me feel strangely complete – last time I had one it was when I was in my twenties.  I still find it hard to put things down in it in case its ‘wrong’ so I still find myself searching for scrap paper to sketch my ideas on.  But I am getting there now, building the confidence spoil the pristine pages with my scribbles.  Its only for me.  Scrub that. I should have said “Its for me”.  No “only” – I need to stop doing that.

Anyway, I have made it to the hallowed ground of Friday night without any casualties.  However, my most constant of all lifesavers has let me down – I have run out of teabags.  Bottoms..FullSizeRender.jpg.

All the beautiful things…

Well, its been a bit hectic to say the least over the last few days, but things are starting to settle down now.  I need to update my projects section of this blog to include some of my new patterns, but I did manage to get the wrap pattern up at the weekend.  The first shawl club shawl is also up on Ravelry for those of you who want to look, but I won’t post a picture here just yet, in case there are still folk (and I think that there are) who have yet to receive their boxes.  I will do a post on that one when I am able to.

The last few days have seen me revelling in some pretty things.  Some new yarn came while I was away, and I also finally saw a mannequin that I liked.  I have been looking for one for a while that I can use to put my shawls on so I can take decent pictures of them – hanging them on a coat hanger on the back of the toilet door doesn’t quite seem professional enough any more (don’t judge me, there is good natural light in there…).  Anyway, I found this one…

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…and I am pretty pleased with it, so you will start to see this one creeping into my pictures from now on.  It also has the potential to double up as a parrot cage if necessary.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, the other half came back from his pottery class tonight with the yarn bowl he has been working on for me.  I asked him to make me a big one, because my current one is small and neat and just about takes one caked 100g skein with very little wriggle room.  So I asked him to do one that was a bit more roomy.  His labours are shown in the picture at the top of the post, and I have popped in a skein of Pollyorange yarn (from my Colour Me Happy box) for a bit of scale.  As you can see, I think he has nailed it and its a great effort for only the second thing he has made and brought home.  The decoration on the side of it is pretty awesome too…

Back, and in business!

After a week away, I am pleased to be back.  Today is important, not just because I am back at home and reunited with my stash, but because it signals the start my experiment with designing and selling patterns.  You will have seen that I have the fantastic collaboration with Unbeliva-wool on the shawl club now in place and the first boxes have gone in the post today.  I have also added some new patterns of my own.  I will feature different ones on here on different days, but they are all up on Ravelry, and to say thank you to you wonderful lot for supporting me over the last few months I have set up a 20% discount for you this weekend (enter code BLOG20 against my paid for patterns for activate it).  The one I am really pleased with is this…

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Its called the bobble wrap and it uses lace weight yarn, and includes some beading if you fancy having a go!

The Moo-Ra dress is on its way next – I am just fiddling with the pattern before putting that in the store too.

Right, just a quick one for now as I have to finish unpacking and get some food into my small person.  I will do a bit more of a proper blog tomorrow.  But as you can see from the top picture, I now have business cards and merchandise, in the form of a single mug for myself.  I couldn’t resist putting this on the back…

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