How to Get More Time for Knitting : 5 Top Tips.....

Well of course this post is a little tongue in cheek - but I do get asked a lot how I manage to find time for knitting since I work full time - have a 40 minute commute each way and have two children (or 3 if you count the man of the house!) There is of course no magic answer and ignoring the housework just won't cut it (although I do have to put my hand up and say that I do have a cleaner - well I figure working full time I can afford that little luxury!) - and with washing and cooking to boot - that does not leave a big chunk of time for knitting. I mostly always knit if I am watching TV of course........

So here are my 5 top tips for saving time - thus giving you more time to knit!

Current WIP and I love it and want to finish it before the end of July!

1. Speeding up in the shower!

I am a HUGE fan of Nivea in-shower lotion!  I use it every morning whilst I have conditioner on my hair (prob no more than 30 seconds!) and then shower the whole lot off!  I have very dry skin and living in the middle east does not help that, but I have found this to be a fantastic product, does what it says it does, cheap and most importantly available in the UAE as well as the rest of the world!

I go for the blue one for dry skin

2.  Saving time on my hair!

Ok so my hair is a pain..... its thick and has a mind of its own and guess what.... it hates humidity........ and if its something we have in large amounts in the UAE its darn humidity!  Not only that, the heat makes your head sweat, especially this time of year when all venturing outside means wearing a hat or risking a burnt scalp (yep there is no good way of putting sunscreen in your hair to protect your head, without looking like you have not washed your hair for a month!).  So I have to wash my hair very often.  However recently I discovered Lee Stafford Blow Dry Faster spray (had to get it from the UK), and the Babyliss Big Hair brush.  These two treasures have cut down drying time from 15 mins to 5 and styling is done at the same time.  This not only saves time but also in the summer time, by the time your hair is dry you also risk breaking out in a fresh sweat from the heat of the dryer.......sigh...

Try them - you will see what I mean.......

I promise you won't look like you have 80"s hair!

Have to import from the UK but its worth it!

3.  Saving Tea Time

Now I know that not everyone needs a water cooler - but over here we do.  Water from the taps usually tastes vile and its not generally rain water (we don't get much!).  So everyone drinks mineral water.  Recently we got a new water cooler and its saved me so much time!  For tea or coffee I can just use the hot water button and its absolutely hot enough to save me from having to put the kettle on! (I do admit however that on a number of occasions I have accidentally pressed the cold button for tea and proved myself an utter fool!)

I love the way the bottle is in the bottom!!

4.  The 10 Item Wardrobe

Get yourself over to The Daily Connoisseur and check out Jennifer's blog posts on using a 10 Item Wardrobe. Now don't panic - you don't need to have ONLY 10 items, but 10 main pieces per season which you can mix and match with t-shirts, jackets and of course knitwear.  Jennifer works from home and is a mum with a fabulous figure - so just about the opposite to me! - but I have adapted this method for home and work and reduced my wardrobe to just the items which mix and match and which make me look my best.  I first read about this method in Lessons from Madame Chic which I downloaded on the way back from a business trip to Paris, where I noticed that the older the ladies get the more chic they look!  Jennifer is an American who spent some time in Paris and I loved the book.  Its not for everyone, but suits my control freak nature :)  Now I can go and pick out something from my wardrobe in 20 seconds and know everything will do its job!

5.  Go Pomodoro!

I love this concept, which bases itself on the original little tomato timer we grew up with.....

The idea is that you download an App (plenty of versions available from IOS or Android) for your phone which acts as the timer and you can do your chores in blocks of 25 mins with 5, 10 or 15 mins break.  Now of course I should use the 25 mins for work and the breaks for knitting........but it works perfectly the other way around too of course!

Well I hope you enjoyed that little tongue in cheek guide - I would love to know how you find time for knitting??

Finished Item: Shawshank Socks

Those of you who know me, also know that I am a latecomer to knitting socks - bearing in mind how long I have been knitting!  However I am growing to love them and this love has been re-enforced by my latest finished pair!

These are my Shawshank Socks which I finished a few days ago and which I think may be my favourite pair of socks to date!

The pattern is Rye from the Simple Collection - a FREE - yes I will say it again FREE pattern by the fabulous designers who make up Tincanknits.  I am a huge fan of their work and so amazed that they offer so much for free!  The patterns and simple, yet stylish and written in such a way as to make them suitable for even the most novice knitter.  Rye would be a fabulous pattern for anyone who has never knitted a pair of socks before - there will be no nightmares about turning a heel!

Of course a huge added benefit to knitting any pair of socks is the speed that they knit up!  I have been known to need a large gin and tonic to persuade me onto a second sock when I am knitting 3ply on toothpicks (yes the Earl Grey sock by the fabulous Stephanie Purl McPhee did in fact end up being a lonesome sock because I could not bear the thought of casting on the second - although I was making it for my Dad who has size 11 feet so that did have something to do with it - it ended up frogged nevertheless!).

Anyway the speed of these socks was fan-blooming-tastic as they were knit in The Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted!  This yarn came to me as part of the Plucky club which I joined a while ago. This particular yarn colour was inspired by the Shawshank Redemtion - one of my very favourite films - and the colour is called Hope is a Good Thing - a fabulous bright blue which makes me very happy!  I have quite a bit of The Plucky Knitter yarn due to the club - and I have to say each and every skein has made me happy - the colours are great and the high twist makes for good stitch definition.  You may remember that my Follow Your Arrow shawl in one of my previous posts was Plucky! Do check her shop out here on Etsy but be warned - she sells out fast!  The socks took me just over one skein and they are plenty big enough as I did the medium size (and I do have quite big feet - 40 EUR!) if you wanted your socks a little more snug even at my size I think knitting a small in this yarn would work and then you could probably get away with one skein as there are 200yds in each.  So now I have 75% of a skein left and I will see what I can do with it - probably not a hat, not enough for that, but fingerless gloves or a headband might well work.........

Anyway big thumbs up to the pattern and the yarn from me!

Warm and Cozy

I added re-enforced heel as I will wear them with walking boots

Look how lovely and crisp this yarn is - great stitch definition!

Finished Object: Green Goddess

So my Green Goddess is finally finished (in that its blocked, photographed and updated on Ravelry!) Of course those are the rules (of course fairly flexible) from the lovely Knitmore Girls podcast (which if you don't listen to already then you really really should!)

Anyway this was supposed to be the Hawkmoth Pullover by the very talented Debbie O'Neill from the Nutty Creations blog ...... hmmm!  I loved the pattern so much and really wanted a light pullover in lace weight.  I had the ideal colour in my stash - Posh Yarn Sylvia Lace in the colour way Globetrotter, which I had purchased two or three years ago and had just been calling out to me from the stash.  The colour is to die for - a really bright emerald green and perfect for the oodles of sunshine we get here in AD. (BTW just saying that if you visit the Posh yarn site, I deny any responsibility to your bank manager - its just the most fantastic yarn.........)

So I cast on and was very happy once I had done the body - but then I glanced at the remaining yarn and realised that this was one game of Yarn Chicken that I was just not going to win!  So I decided to make it into a tank/vest (depending on which side of the Atlantic you come from).  Completely and utterly fudged as I went along, but in all honesty I am really pleased with it and as the temperatures soar up in to the mid 40 degrees centigrade then it seems the best decision all round!

You can find details on my Ravelry page here Green Goddess I did over block the armholes a little bit - but you can't notice when its on, and when I wash it next time, I think I will be a little less aggressive!

Who has played Yarn Chicken recently?  Have you won or have you lost? Would love to hear from you!

I love the way this Posh Yarn pooled - so pretty
Good stitch definition
Lovely Drape!

Knitting on the Big Screen: Outlander (naturally!!)

I am always on the look out for fabulous knitwear on the big screen and of course for the first of this little occasional segment I just had to chose Outlander!

As I am a bit of an Outlander stalker on social media I know that Terry Moore (Terry as in female Terry) is the costume designer and from what I have seen in the sneak previews she has done an absolutely fantastic job.  Talk about job envy!  I love everything about historical costume and my family think I am mad when I read a book like 'The History of Underclothes' like a novel!

I am glad to say that my daughter is also following in my footsteps so we can have interesting chats about what sort of mens underpants were fashionable in 1580!!

Anyway back to the knitting - as you can see Claire (played by Catriona Balfe) is wearing a very cute shawlette.  I am sure replicas of this will come storming through Ravelry very shortly.  Looks to me like chunky weight with moss stitch and maybe even shaping cables at the back?  Yarn of course would have been handspun in the 18th Century but it does have something of the Rowan Coocon about it........ I am sure we will find out soon enough - the Outlander fans are nothing if not enterprising!!

Cant wait for August..........still don't know how we will see Outlander in the UAE but I am counting on this being as big as Game of Thrones (and I am late to the party with that one, only up to episode 4 of the first series....... yes thats a lot of knitting time ahead!)

UPDATE: in exciting updated news I found the maker of some of the other knitwear on Outlander - and she even has a shop and lives in Benbecula (for those not familiar with the geography of the UK - thats a place verra verra out of the way in Scotland!!)

Go and take a vista to her shop Inner Wild on Etsy

Finished Item: Follow Your Arrow

It took me a while to get there, but finally I finished the 'Follow Your Arrow' shawl from Ysolda Teague.

I was drawn to this pattern, being a lover of Ysolda's patterns for a long while now, because of the novel approach.  Each section of the shawl was presented as a 'clue' resulting in something like 36 versions of the shawl being completed depending on which clues were chosen.

I am not sure why it took me so long to get there - but I finally finished and I am delighted with the result!  I followed clues BAABA and having seen some of the other finished shawls I am really pleased with my choices.  All the results are lovely, but I especially like the first clue 'B' which gave a lovely semi circular start.  I have worn this quite a bit to work now that the air conditioning is kicking in, but the model in the photos is of course my lovely daughter Flo!

Yarn was Plucky Knitter MCN Fingering from the Plucky club and the colour way was Bleedin' Armadillo - looks almost stained with burgundy wine - gorgeous colour and great yarn to work with.