The Frida Kahlo V&A Exhibit

My husband and I went to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the V&A.

I had no idea what to expect. I confess this is my first time going to see a special exhibit that has to be paid for separately.

Before I share my thoughts let me give a bit of background. I found out that the exhibit was happening in December 2017 while leafing through a magazine at an indoor play centre. I told my hubs straight away that we would be going in July to see it. I have loved the few paintings by Frida that I had come across though I knew little about her. To prepare for the exhibit, I decided to read up on her life and her works.

In Leeds, we have a well-stocked Arts library that had over a dozen books on Frida. I read three book – my favourite was Kahlo by Gerry Souter. Over the months even my kids got in on the Frida love and they loved leafing through the giant art books studiously examining her paintings. They liked the ones that had a lot going on like this one…….

My Dress Hangs Here by Frida Kahlo 1933

They played at trying to tell the story of the picture. They were fascinated by the fact that she survived such a horrific accident and still lived her best life.

By the time we went to the exhibit, I felt like I knew enough to be able to get the most of this possibly once in a lifetime opportunity.

It was really packed. We all ended up ignoring the whole personal space rule otherwise you couldn’t get a chance to see properly. I was annoyed at people taking pictures in the exhibit despite all the signs saying not to.

I had decided that I wasn’t going to be taking any pictures or doing Instagram on that day because I wanted to savour it through my own lens and it was the right decision.

The dresses are magnificent, beyond words. Despite the beauty of the selection of clothes on display, it was the previous room that made the most impact on me. The bright clothes are juxtaposed with all the turbulent imagery of her medical paraphernalia. The steel and leather corsets, the prosthetic leg that was made for her amputated leg. All driving home the incredible amount of pain she endured. Gazing at them I couldn’t help but wonder if she had known that she would be so famous – would she have behaved differently or done things differently? I doubt it.

As I exited the exhibit lost in my mind thinking about Frida and her life, in awe of her resilience, fortitude, passion for life; I was jolted back into the instant gratification brightly lit world of our modern life in the museum shop. I was surrounded by loads of Frida merchandise. From the tacky to the luxe. Brightly coloured earrings and little cut outs of her dresses. It was quite jarring.

Its probably standard and something that I will get used to as I go to more special exhibits like this. I have a healthy respect for commerce but this felt ……odd…for me. I felt robbed of my introspective dialogue. It felt like an intrusion. I bought a few bits and bobs to take back home to my kids – they had so wanted to come with us.

As I paid for the merch, I couldn’t help but wonder who is profiting from all this? I hope the money ends up with the people of Mexico whom she loved so fiercely.

It was interesting to see it with my husband who knew little about her. He liked that it did a good job of painting the person. It wasn’t about the art. They expanded on the Frida Kahlo myth; building the character for a new generation. He enjoyed it too.

Our next V&A trip will be to see the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibit. I am interested in this because I watched an Amazon Originals show called The Collection which was loosely based on Dior’s post war “New Look”. Though the I didn’t ultimately like the show enough to want to continue watching another season – the designs were exquisite.

Thanks for reading. Did you go to the Frida exhibit? What were your thoughts? I’d love to know.

Peace and love,

Hila

 

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My first 10k race

On Sunday 4th November I set off on my very first 10K race along with approximately 11000 people. It was a fine day for running – not too warm and not too cold.

My main goal was to run the whole way. I didn’t want to walk. I ran all the way non-stop. My pace was slower due to the sheer numbers of people on the road.  I did a lot of fancy dodging and weaving to keep my pace up.

I was more than happy with my time. Bearing in mind that I sprained my ankle badly in July and wasn’t able to train for 8 weeks, I had adjusted my original goal of a sub 60min race to 75  mins.

I did it in 61 minutes and 35 seconds.

Oddly enough the most daunting thing was running with men. My run group is all women run group for which I am eternally grateful. When I did the triathlon I opted to start with the Leeds This Girl Can wave which meant I was surrounded by women for the most part. So this was a new experience for me.

I crossed the finish line to my twins cheering me on. Unfortunately, they only spotted me just as I crossed so my beloved managed this picture of my waving arm at the bottom of the picture:-).

Can you spot me?

I could hardly walk by the time I got home though. Road running is not quite my forte yet. All that pounding made my left knee upset. I only got back to normal on Thursday. Either I need new trainers or my technique needs work.

There was a great atmosphere. I will be going for it again.

Kids enjoying the free chocolates I got for them after the finish line. They now all want to do the race next year if it means you get free chocolate 🙂

 

 

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate that.

Peace and love,

Hila

Cheering each other on and magnifying strentghs

A post I wrote on the 2nd of Jan this year….

2 Jan 2018

Today I had my swimming lesson. Something profound happened to me and I want to share.

After 3 weeks break from swimming lessons and the Christmas holidays wherein we had family stay with us, who were keen to jump in and help with chores, it meant I was not as active as usual. First off, stepping into the pool was hard as it felt very cold to my skin used to being under at least 3 layers. It took me 3 times as long to warm up from moving about in the water. Then when I set off for my front crawl (which I have been learning) I was quite cheeses off to realise that I had only made it half-length through and yet I was gulping like a fish out of water.

Needless to say, the whole lesson followed the same trend – much as I tried I just didn’t have the stamina to swim a full lap – 3/4 was the longest I managed. Towards the end of the lesson I was bobbing about in the water at the shallow end when my fellow classmate came up from her lap she had just finished (she is more advanced than me, she could already swim but is taking lessons to improve her stroke and stamina). We chatted about the lesson, making fun of the teachers’ insistence that our toes should be breaking water when all we are trying to do is make sure we just have enough breath. I got round to expressing my frustration at not being able to swim a lap in one go when 3 weeks ago I was doing laps for the whole lesson.

She then asked me to swim with her one last lap before we finish (there was about 5 minutes left by then) I wasn’t keen but she gently cajoled me and I relented and we set off. She has a very graceful way of swimming – and I tried to emulate her. As I was thinking about how nice it was to be swimming with someone else in sync (I could just see her on the peripheral of my vision) My hand touched the end of the pool. I had made it.

I had swum one lap in a go. It was embarrassing when I splashed water on her as I slapped the surface in a victory jig (I dance when I feel good – even in water). I couldn’t stop thanking her and she graciously insisted it was me.

But I am certain it wasn’t just me – I had spent 50 mins trying to do it but I couldn’t. Yet by having a pacemaker I did it the first time.

It made me think of sewing challenges and any challenge really – whether it is yoga, running or dieting – when in a group it is more likely to be reached. Its not competitive either – for me when I was swimming alongside her – I wasn’t thinking about being faster or better than her – though I can’t remember exactly what I was thinking a strong part was that I wasn’t focusing on what I wasn’t capable of but on that she could do it and she believed I could do it too.

I also had a nice feeling of not wanting to let her belief in me down. When I finished the lap – it became a self-evident truth to me that I can swim the lap. So I turned and swam another lap following behind her this time.

So my thinking is that when you join a group embarking on a similar goal to yours then its a case of the sum of the individual parts is great together and you get better. Anyway, this felt like an epiphany for me.

 

Randoms: Coping with depression

Random writing led me to think about all the little cumulative things I do to manage my mental health.

Here are things I do daily as part of my routine:

Night time

I do some form of exercise every single day. I finally joined the gym in June and am developing a habit. Monday, Wednesday and Friday is resistance training. Tuesday and Thursday is running. Saturday is yoga. Sunday is supposed to be a rest day but I find I need to do something so I end up doing a short 15min HIIT session.

I read a lot of self-help books. Recently read Mark Manson’s book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***k” and it has given me ideas of new ways of looking at things that have been life-affirming.

I now make the effort to maintain friendships.

I am constantly relearning the importance of communication.

Being open with my family about mental health.

By far the most significant thing was acceptance. Accepting that this is something I have that likely won’t be cured but can be managed.

All these little things and routines have helped towards maintaining a healthy mind even during trying times.

I am a Triathelete.

Definition of triathlete

an athlete who competes in a triathlon.
I competed in the 2018 AJ Bell Leeds Triathlon.
I finished the race in 1 hour 9 minutes.
It was my first race.
It will not be my last.
I bought the Triathlete Training Bible by John Friel to prep for my next race.
I was hesitant to share this picture taken by the official photographers because, well, my face is not posing. In the end, I decided that vanity will not triumph.orig-WTLA1430
That’s the face of a woman who can hardly contain her emotion at reaching the finish line. At that moment, I was overwhelmed by the realisation of how far I had come to get to the finish line. It was a combination of euphoria, exhaustion, relief and a little sadness that it was all over.

Too many times my focus has been on the “ideal” me who could swim, cycle and run better, faster. I hardly ever stopped to look back and see that until 8 months before the race I couldn’t even tread water. I would panic whenever my feet could not touch the bottom of a pool. That was 8 months ago.

But on that day I had swam in a lake. A freaking lake. Granted I was one of the last ones out of the water in my wave, but still, it was a lake. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, the swim leg was the worst. The water was dirty and I couldn’t see where everyone else was going. I panicked initially at the realisation that my face was in serious danger of getting kicked. But I remembered my breathing to calm down and focused on finishing. By the time I got out of the water and walked on land again – I began to doubt myself. My hubs and kids were cheering me along the transition and I recall thinking “I’m always telling them to not give up, I cant give up“. With that, I put my head down and the swim leg behind me. Getting out of a wet wetsuit is no mean feat – I had to get help.

By the time I got on the bike my legs were just feeling relieved to be on solid ground again. But of course, I was asking them to forget that again and get into a new mode of pedalling. The first 5 km lap was alright, mostly taken up with getting fully acclimatised to the gears on the road bike I was using. By the time I went for my second lap, I had found my rhythm and started growing in confidence. There seems to be a certain psychology in overtaking – it felt like when I was being overtaken – a little bit of my energy was taken and conversely when I overtook I felt like I picked up discarded energy. I was surprised by the end of the cycle leg – it came too quick for me as I really felt I had a good thing going.

The transition from bike to run was not as bad as it could have been. I remembered to ride standing up as I was getting to the end of the cycle as that helps to kick-start the correct blood circulation to the running muscles. There was an internal battle here – to keep moving even though my legs were screaming in protest to all the changes they had had to deal with in a short space of time. Immediately out of the transition area, there was a very steep hill. I conquered two-thirds of the hill before I slowed to a walk. As soon as I got to the flat section I had a singular focus on my breathing which keeps me centred and panic free. Once I got into my rhythm, my confidence kicked in. When I faltered all I did was visualise my running group and that carried me through.
When I look at how far I have come, I honestly choke up and in that moment when I reached that finish line, I was crying. Snot crying people. I felt triumphant in that moment.

I had made some banana and egg pancakes to eat post race and I swear, they have never tasted so good!

Throughout this process, there has been a battle in my head between the easy way out and the hard way. The path of least resistance has always been beguiling but I chose to listen to the lone voice that said there was a reason I signed up for this. It was a fight between the voice telling me to stop and the urge to defy the voice.

Whats great about finishing is the realisation that the urge, that part of me that is better than I let myself believe won out.

It was a celebration of self-improvement that reminded me of what I am capable of, what I am able to accomplish.

Nobody can take that experience away from me. I put in the work and crossed the finish line. It has restored confidence in myself because crossing the finish line means that I am capable of much more than I give myself credit for. I will carry that knowledge with me in everything I do now.

There is a great joy in athletic endeavours – I now want to recruit someone to join me next time. My husband has a very worried look on his face when I mention this. Joy shared is joy doubled.

I could go on about my times but I finished and that was my goal – however now that I have a PB to beat…..

There were 250 on my race and I came in 104th.
I ran my best 2.5km time ever (I am basing on training times)
I had my PB 10km cycle time as well.

Even writing this I feel very satisfied.

The only side effect is that I drop that tiny little fact any chance I get.
Hotel attendant “Would you like help with your bags?” 
Me ” Thank you but I did a triathlon so I can carry them”
 

Accountability Partner Wanted. GSOH essential.

I’ve been struggling with a personal goal of watching my many Craftsy classes. Given the successes I have had with engaging in goals with a group of others – I thought I might give this a go.

Because there must be someone out there with the same exact goal.

The idea is this: we have common goals and keep each other accountable for sticking with them. We report and keep each other up to date on our routines, or problems, or whatever.

We’d honestly report to each other, and each of us considers themselves answerable to the other.

Think of an accountability partner as someone in your corner, rooting for you. Someone who wants to help you succeed and who is willing to put in the time (and effort) to make it happen. But –  you have to be willing to the same for them.

I might keep an online journal and you would tune in every few days to check up and share your thoughts.

You might have a goal of self-inquiring 1hr every day for 30 days and I will ask you to report on your progress and hold you accountable. We keep each other on track and motivated, basically. This would happen through private messaging.

Is anyone interested? Please get in touch via Contact Me.

Thanks for stopping by,

Peace and love,

Hila

Preparing for Race Day – Triathlon

 

My race is this Saturday. I cant believe the time is upon me now. I have done all I can and I thought I’d share my thoughts on training and preparation.

I now have everything I need for the race.

The wetsuit.

Its rented for 2 weeks through the British Triathlon Association approved dealers. It costs 49£ but ordering was easy – all you have to do is enter your height and weight and gender. And voila it arrives in the post. I will have to return it within the 2 week period. On Tuesday I got to try it out in the swimming pool. I felt more buoyant than I normally feel in the water which can only be a good thing.

The Trisuit.

I bought an Aldi trisuit on Ebay for £12 which isn’t bad considering how expensive these things can get. It has an integrated bra that is is supportive. The padding on the crotch area is a godsend. It was strange wearing this at first because you don’t wear underwear. Its commando and in fact, I ignored this advice and had major chaffing as a result. It is much more comfortable to go commando in these this things. Everything feels so tight and snug.

The googles

I bought these google about 5 months ago when I was learning. I picked them up from the reception of the leisure center I swim at for £9.99 They will do the job.

The trainers.

At the start of my running journey, I was using trainers bought from Costco 4 years ago for £16. I went to a shop called Up and Running here in Leeds which does gait analysis to help you choose the right sort of shoes. They shortlisted several pairs which I got to try and take for a spin around the block. Of the 3 that I tried these Mizuno Wave riders were outstanding. I felt bouncy like a gazelle and I gotta say I get the thing for trainers now. I have found that I wear them a lot and look for any excuse to go on extended walks. It makes me think that sometimes it is getting adequate kit that makes you want to exercise more. They cost me £125 but its a worthwhile life investment for me.

The Race belt.

This nifty little piece of kit is for attaching your race number. I doubt I will need any gels for the race so its only role will be the race number. I have read that its best to wear the belt under the wetsuit for the swim section so when I go to transition I dont have to think about it. I bought it on Ebay for £2.75 incl. P&P. I have practiced running and cycling with it on and its felt ok. Though what it will feel like with an actual race number is another thing.

The Bike.

I have been training on my son’s mountain bike which weighs a tonne! Great for building those cycling muscles and power. My husband has a road bike which is far lighter and faster. I found that when I cycled on his road it was very minimal effort to achieve the same distance in a shorter time. So I took the decision to continue training on the harder bike as that should make it far easier to use the road bike on race day. I have practised enough on the road bike already.

My son’s mountain bike that I have been training with. Its very heavy!
My husband’s road bike that I will be whizzing around on for the race 🙂

I did have to buy a female saddle though. The first 3 training rides I did left me very very sore because I didn’t even realise you needed cycling shorts. After a bit of research, I bought some cycling shorts with a chamois (crotch padding that takes getting used to as it feels like a big sanitary towel). They made it a bit more comfortable. Then I bought the female saddle and that was the ticket to pain free biking.  It cost £30 – money well spent to save my lady bits :-).

Gel cushion female saddle has wider sit bone space and hollow so everything isn’t overly squished IYSWIM.

On a tangent, I really enjoy the cycling and would love to get into it however it seems like a really expensive hobby. I went looking at bikes and the ones I liked cost more than my first car. So yeah, I am pinning that one.

The Helmet

During the race you are automatically disqualified if you handle your bike without a helmet. I have been practising good form by following the same principle in my training. This is my son’s helmet.

 

The Medical Stuff

Once I started training, I made sure to get a physical check up from my GP. I told her what I was embarking on and sought advice regarding my asthma. On top of my Terbutaline, she advised me to add a steroid inhaler for daily use. She also advised me to use my terbutaline before I start an activity and this has made a huge difference. It is a simple thing to do which gave me greater gains in all the disciplines.

The Race Number

1401.

I have decided this is an auspicious number.

For my transition area, I will need a towel to dry my feet between swimming and cycling. And that’s about it. I paid £35 to enter the triathlon. Money well spent as far as I’m concerned.

There have been some unexpected side effects though……

Unexpected side effects of my impulsive action.

Signing up for the triathlon was an impulse act. I had never seen, viewed or watched a triathlon race before but I saw an email late on a Tuesday night when I was just feeling so high about the fact that I had learnt how to swim. That hubris led me along this thought process

Hey what this? A triathlon – Swim…. I can do that now so there is no reason why I cant consider this. I can ride a bike -well it has been decades but they say you never forget how to ride a bike and we have bikes. Running is just like walking and I can put one foot in front of the other. Why not? Do it? Yes lets do this. It will be fun!

And boom I signed up before I could overanalyse and defer for another year. Its so easy to do that you know, wait until everything is just right and I have prepped myself with the swimming and cycling and running. But the truth is, there is never a right time.

I have got so much more from this process, the journey itself rather than the actual event itself. Let me try to elaborate:

  1. Running group friends. I love these ladies so much we have become a mutual support network. We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays come rain and sunshine we love our little group.
  2. I love running and when I have to have recovery days I miss it.
  3. Mental strength – just the time away from it all focusing on the breath while swimming, or focusing on cadence while cycling. It allows me to destress.
  4. Seeing the beauty of early morning wildlife along the canal.
  5. Increased libido – need I say more.
  6. More toned body.
  7. More energy than I had before – turns out the more you work your body the more energy it gives you – a virtuous cycle.
  8. A better sense of self and what I want to be.
  9. My husband has been losing weight.
  10. He joins me on my Sunday early morning rides and our partnership is all the better for this time alone.
  11. Learning about nutrition by doing Coursera courses in order to understand how to better fuel my body.
  12. Learning the physiology and biochemistry of muscle and exercise through Coursera. Amazing what knowledge can do.
  13. Adopt lifelong habits that will help me age healthily.
  14. Our family is eating healthier than before.
  15. I have discovered wholemeal pizzas, wholemeal buns and found that its easier to avoid foods that dont give me sustained energy.
  16. I have lost dimensions on my body and this is a particularly annoying one as my clothes were sewn to fit me perfectly. (I suppose I’ll have to sew new ones:-).

I could go on but I think you get the picture. I am so grateful that I allowed myself to do this and honoured my commitment to it. I am so grateful that I didn’t wait a year to experience these things out of a desire for everything to be just right. I have developed a firm knowledge that runs deep within me that I can do anything I want to. I have learnt that I can honour my body and mind by what I feed them. Seriously, when I am doubting myself while running or swimming my body responds accordingly. When I tell myself that I CAN do this, I WILL do this, my body responds accordingly. I have had to train myself to not be self-deprecating and fall back on putting myself down. Developing a positive inner dialogue with myself has been an amazing gift of this whole process. I cant tell you how nice it is to stop being my own worst critic. To stop holding myself back.

If you have read this far, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate the time you took to click on this post and read it. I hope you somewhat enjoyed it too. And I’d like to leave you with this…If you’ve ever thought of signing up for any endevour do it! The journey is worth so much more than the destination. I’d love to know if you have dreams/ambitions of doing something that you have put off. What was it? Share down below.

Thanks for stopping by.

Namaste,

Hila

 

Triathlon practice

Today I went to a Go Tri Novice Training day wherein the newbies are shown the run and cycle route. But more importantly, for me, a chance to become familiar with open water swimming.

Putting on a wetsuit is possibly the weirdest thing I have ever done! *rented wetsuit

 

The prospect of open water swimming when I only started learning to swim in October last year was daunting. I cannot count the number of times I have asked myself why the f*** I am doing this and wanted to quit. I still am yet to figure out what keeps me going but when I zipped up into the wetsuit I felt for sure in over my head. Then when I eased into the murky lake water from the pontoon I knew I was in over my head.

A tangent – the water was FILTHY dirty. I mean as in cant see the bottom even though its only waist deep dirty. And it smelled. Not a good smell. While listening to the coach talk us through acclimatizing to cold water I saw a mallard gracefully alight from the water onto the raised edge and deposit a lovely poo into the lake. Turning my head in panic, I realised there were tonnes of swans, ducks and gulls just hanging about, doing their thing, POOPING in the lake where I was being instructed to put my head, mouth and nose under while blowing big bubbles. Then I KNEW that not only was I in over my head – I was also in deep poop!

Thank goodness for the madness of crowds because I just followed what others were doing, trying very hard to dissociate my brain from the reality of being in the dirty water. My front crawl held up ok though I wasn’t happy when they told me I could not do the backstroke in open water. I complained a bit but the coaches were really good and pushed me to keep going. By the end of it, I was feeling like perhaps I could do this. And though it shames me to admit this – it was a solace that I wasn’t the slowest swimmer in the group – I was second last consistently. At least I was consistent.

The run section went very well – I was able to do the lap comfortably. All the running I have been doing with my running group is clearly improving my stamina. Unfortunately, I missed the cycle section due to the front brake on my bike (actually my son’s mountain bike) not working. It must have broke when crashed and fell on Thursday night as I cycled along the canal. I  thought the bike was okay because I got back on and finished the journey home (albeit gingerly). I was gutted but I made up for that by cycling around my local park when I got back home. And here I am now. Legs tired. Fresh and clean after a thorough scrubbing in the shower. Feeling mildly satisfied with having completed the training day to the best of my ability.

Now I muster up the sewjo. I will the sewing goddesses to imbue me with energy to let my creative juices run wild.

Thanks for stopping by.

Peace and love,

Hila

 

Early 2017 Springwatch

Hello,

This past weekend presented itself with some lovely weather so I was out on Sunday in the garden – cleaning the greenhouse, sowing seeds, etc. The etc includes taking in the beautiful spring sights.

I don’t know about you but I love the morning after a light shower. The flowers have the droplets clinging on to their delicate petals and its a lovely thing to see. I took these pictures using OH’s phone and I was rather impressed. Continue reading

Getting to know my sewing machine better

Hello chums,

I confess this post is shameful on my part. I am ashamed that I did not really bother to know my machine. Recently as I was looking for info on a flat felled foot…..

Let me tell you it all started. So I was doing this pattern drafting class at a local college which also gave me access to an amazing library full of pattern cutting and sewing texts. One Saturday I borrowed the much praised David Page Coffin book on shirtmaking (I was considering it for my personal sewing library). Continue reading

KnitWeek2016 Pt7: Reflections and plans…

Hello again,

Here is my final KNITWEEK2016 post. I wanted to wrap up by reflecting a little and sharing my thoughts. Its incredible to think that I finished all 5 projects in October this year. The question that keeps floating in my head is why did I not manage to finish a single project until I set myself an action plan?

The answer of course was a simple lack of conditioning on my part. What does that mean exactly – let me try to explain using sewing as an example. With sewing I used to be quite bad at finishing projects because I would get excited about a new project. But I had to change my way of thinking about what constitutes a completed project. I used to think it was okay to move on to the next project when all that was left were the buttonholes and buttons for example. But it isn’t actually done is it? I set out a new criteria for finished which at first was as follows: a project is finished when it has been photographed for the blog. What this did for me was to simply remove any shades of grey – I couldn’t photograph a garment without a zip or without the hem done. So in time it became an easy metric in my head to use before starting a new project. After a while the conditioning set in and now I am very good at finishing before starting another project (I can’t imagine doing it any other way now).

Now for some reason I had not applied this to knitting. Perhaps its because I don’t take knitting as seriously as sewing. In any case something has shifted in the last few months and I am keen to do more knitting. So from hence forth this shall be my metric applied to knitting as well (from 2017 onwards of course ).

 Lessons learnt:

In the meantime I have learnt a lot in completing and writing up these posts:

  1. Swatch the cable pattern.That way I can see if the yarn works well with cables.
  2. Read other people’s reviews before embarking on a project to get an idea of any issues (common sense really but I wasnt doing this).

There are aspects of knitting I need to gain a better understanding of:

  1. Fit and how to adjust for a great fit
  2. The different cast on and bind off methods available.

Current plans

For now I am doing a little bit of stash busting by knitting some accessories. I finished the Craftsy Knitalong cowl and have started on the hat.

I bought the Andrea Wong Craftsy Class on Portuguese knitting about 3 weeks ago. I started Portuguese knitting 2 days ago and already I can see that it’s how I will be knitting – it’s so much faster and the purl stitch is so easy. I am still learning how to control the tension but I will do a separate post on this.

2017 Knitting plans

I have a tentative queue of knits I definitely want to make :

The Portland Pullover

dsc_9120_medium2
I love that yoke

Coda by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

coda_02_medium2
I am taken by those raglan sleeves

Stonecutter by Michele Wang

stonecutter_2_medium2
This is a power up project if I get round to it

These new projects require yarn – so once I get through a bit more of my yarn stash I will treat myself to some yarn , one project at a time.

What are your knitting goals for the coming year? Have you knit any of these 3 patterns before?

Thank you for stopping by and until next time – Happy Knittng 🙂

Find here links to my knit week 2016 posts

KNITWEEK2016 POSTS

Part 1: Organising my knitting stash

Part 2: Chuck Sweater

Part 3 : Antler Cardigan

Part 4 : Miette Cardigan

Part 5 : Marion Crdigan

Part 6 : OWLS 

Peace and love,

Hila

KnitWeek2016 Pt 1 : Organising the Yarns, Supplies & Patterns

Hi guys,

The first of my posts in KnitWeek2016 begins with organising the knitting stash. I began in earnest in early October. I think that most of us in the sewing and knitting community are more of producers than consumers (only in the sense that we consume tools and raw materials to make an item rather than just purchasing an item ready made).  As a consequence we collect tools and materials for production. With that comes the challenge of keeping organised. Luckily my knitting stash is much (much) less than the sewing stash so the task of organising it didnt seem too daunting.

Cataloging the yarn

First I emptied out all the yarns I had and proceeded to catalog them all on Ravelry. I have been in awe and super impressed with how incredibly useful the Ravelry stash feature is. If you enter all your details correctly it will show you which patterns can be made up with the amount of yarn you have for a particular yarn. Also seeing what other projects have been made using that yarn in your stash is so useful for giving you ideas when you are in a rut, or if like me you cant remember what you bought the yarn for :-). So now all my yarn is cataloged and my gosh it feels good. If you would like to have snoop around my stash you can find it here <link>.

Yarn storage

I like to have my stash visible so I dont forget what I have, seeing as I am more of a more of an out-of-sight out-of-mind kind of person. The 80L plastic tub I use is great at keeping out yarn eating bugs, as well as keeping the stash visible.

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All my yarn stash in this 80l capacity plastic tub

So then while I was at it I thought that much as I like digging out all the 29 stash items I have, I wanted to easily browse what I had without having to unearth them all. So a simple idea formed to have strands on a page with name and details. I used a laminated card with a hole punch to make holes for stringing yarn samples through and voila – my yarn directory! Its kept in the same binder as my knitting patterns.

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Yarn sample catalog page in my knitting pattern binder

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Knitting patterns

Next up I sorted out the patterns I have – printed and bought (Eeeeck I actually bought a couple of patterns from an actual bricks and mortar shop when I started knitting before discovering Ravelry). Anyhow those were neatified and filed in the binder.

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Knitting patterns stored in plastic sleeves

Knitting tools and sundries

Next up my knitting tools – I have loads of circular needles, crochet hooks and DPNs. These were more challenging to organise. On the one hand I needed to have them all together but at the same time I need to look through by type quickly….for now my solution was to have them all in one old shoebox. I will be thing about how to improve on this.

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Knitting and crochet tools in separate freezer bags within one shoebox…

I now enjoy the yarn in my collection rather than feeling overwhelmed by it. Having said this though I do realise I need to do some serious yarn stashbusting over the next year.

What are your favourite yarn stash organising tips? I will be back tomorrow with another knitting post sharing a finished knitting project. I actually finished some knitting projects guys 🙂

Thanks for stopping by.

Peace and love,

Hila