Well I am a bit late to the party (as ever...) on this weeks #loveyourblog challenge!  I'll give the same excuses as before, too much work blah blah blah blah - you don't want to hear it!!!

Anyway I have been thinking about the subject of 'Beginnings' and of course there has to be a beginning to everything.....

I keep singing from Sound of Music in my head:

 "Lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start........"

"When you sing you begin with A.B.C. - when you knit you begin with L.T.C."

That's how it goes....right?

Well actually No....... I did not begin with Long Tail Cast-on!

I was taught to knit by my darling recently departed Mum and she was a stickler for cable cast on - well to be honest I am not sure she even knew that there was any other way!  So for everything I did, cable cast on was my friend - although sometimes it wasn't!  Its a fabulously neat cast on and for something like a rolled edge then it works really well - but there is pretty much no stretch in it whatsoever and for many years I carried on in the same way......

Then my eyes were opened to Long Tail Cast on - not always appropriate when casting on a very large number of stitched, but it was a bit stretchier! From there on in I went on to discover all manner of cast ons, German Twisted, Picot, knitted, icord - the list goes on and on!

So I was not too surprised when I saw on a recent trawl through Amazon that this book exists!! 211 ways!!!!

For the time being I won't be purchasing this though - I am on a mission to simplify my life and not make it more complicated!

I would really love to try some of the prettier cast on edgings though:

And trusty Pinterest has come up with these:

So Beginnings could be looking very bright...........until they morph into WIPs and then UFOs.........

The 'Love your Blog' Challenge - Challenge 1 - Interactions and Community

Well as promised I am up for the 'Love your Blog' challenge which has been the brainchild of A Playful Day.  If you have read my blog before it will come as no surprise that I am inspired by Kate - I have been following her Podcast and Blog for quite a while now (4 years maybe....) and have loved hearing about her highs and lows in life and how she always seems to come up with some sort of creative challenge for herself be it knitting, getting into the fibre business, gardening, cooking and most importantly bringing up her gorgeous little tot to appreciate the creative side of life.

Anyway the challenge for today is to talk about Interactions and Community.

I guess I thought for a while about this before realising that this knitting community I am immersed in has only really taken off for me personally since I found Ravelry.  To be honest I really cannot remember how I found out about this, our biggest knitting enabler!  I think it must have been from a knitting magazine and I remember being so excited to join the waiting list to sign up.  I think it took about a week (not too long in comparison to some people's wait!) before I logged on.......and the rest as they say 'is history'!

For me, two important interactions in the Ravelry Community come to mind.  These are the fabulous experiences I have had in two groups; 'The Knitting Amiras' and 'Knitters with Breast Cancer'.

To begin with, the first group I joined on Ravelry was the Knitting Amiras (Princesses in Arabic I believe).  This was whilst I was still back in the UK and awaiting the final arrangements to complete on our new and very daunting adventure - moving to the Middle East.  In the Amiras I found a group of ladies who gave me information on almost any stupid question I asked - i.e. what sort of plugs do you have in the UAE? to Where can I buy my yarn?  I joined my first Knit Along whilst I was still in the UK and was delighted to meet up face to face with the group shortly after I landed in Abu Dhabi. To this day I still try and get to knitting group meetings when I can (although see last blog post, I don't have a lot of time) - but even if its been a while and some faces change (the ups and downs of an expat life) the group is warm and welcoming and we all just fit back together as if we have never been apart!  As Jocelyn (our stalwart of the group) says 'Once an Amira, always an Amira' and never a truer word has been spoken, everyone still continues to contribute wherever they are in the world!

Once an Amira - Always an Amira! 

Secondly I wanted to share a Group who are truly lifesavers.  This is the Knitters with Breast Cancer group, which I unfortunately (in their words, no one wants to join this group in reality!) joined back in June 2012 when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  This group are truly life savers!  What you cannot say to your family about how you feel; frightened, sick, depressed, you can say to the ladies there - whatever it is there is someone there to talk, share their own experiences and support you.  Yes, if you read through some of the posts where loved members have sadly lost their battle, it can be heart wrenchingly sad - but that aside, the positive energy and love for each and every person absolutely shines through. I was very lucky and caught my disease very early so I am out of danger but will never forget the support and comfort I got from this online group of knitters. I don't often go back to the group, which I feel guilty for sometimes, because I should go back and support the others - but at the moment I am not ready yet - its all still a bit too close for comfort.

If you had told me 10 years ago that some people whom I would consider as good friends were those which I only met and interacted with over the internet, I might have scoffed!  I have always been a lover of 'pen pals' since childhood (many different ones over the years) but the online communities which I belong to have the same essence of those childhood pen pals - but hey its much quicker to hook up with a likeminded soul now, and what's more, the postal service in the UAE is beyond terrible so long live Internet Friends!

(now what jargon could we use BIFF's, IntiFriendies, Instabuddy........ NO - lets not even go there.......)

Louise xx

Re-awakening the love.........

Hello everyone and my oh my its been a little while since I updated the blog.

Firstly thanks for all the lovely reaction to the last post about my Top Ten Knitting Podcasts - I am so glad you liked it and I also hope that you have enjoyed listening to them as much as I do.

As for me life has not been full of roses since November - I have certainly had my ups and downs!!

I have started a new job, still within the same company, but a different section.  I have to say that its a full on role and my hours are now pretty long, since it does not stop even when I get home. No more lunch breaks for me and I am travelling up and down to Dubai regularly (plus side to that is only that I get more time to listen to the Podcasts!) - so basically I have very little bandwidth to do much at all outside of work. I won't go into detail here, but I have not had a great time at work over the last 3 years or so, not helped by many unwanted trips to hospital which have resulted in apparently a 'lack of drive' in my job (in the words of the Boss!). Yes its true I have had a lack of drive in my job, basically because my drive was all used up on getting through breast cancer and making sure my kidney does not fail again! Anyway lets not dwell on the negatives!  Positives are that I have come out the other side and as ever my knitting has done its very best to keep me sane!

My lovely Dad came over to visit in February, with my sister and brother in law, and it was lovely to have him and see him enjoying himself in the sunshine.  We had some fun together, taking a seaplane ride and also a white knuckle ride in a Aston Martin round the Yas Marina F1 track!

Flo took a trip back to the UK for an interview at Glasgow Uni and was offered a place (depending on her A level grades of course!).  She's delighted as its her first choice and I am delighted because it means lots of visits to Scotland and therefore lots of yarn and knitting opportunity!  My good friend has also moved back to Edinburgh so I have no excuse now!  Was gutted that I could not make the Edinburgh Yarn Festival as that would have been fantastic, maybe next year.......

So, what news on the Knitting front....... well firstly I did finish Flo's Harry Potter sweater in time for us to go back to the UK for Christmas.  She proudly wore it and kept warm!

Lunch in Soho - just the place to sort a Harry Potter look!

I also finished two hats - one for Fred and one for me (not that I will need it until I go back home in the Autumn!)

Rikke hat in Plucky Knitter - Lollipop Guild

Barley by Tincan Knits in Plucky Knitter - Shawshank Redemption 
I have used both these yarns before so was definitely a stash busting moment for me!

I have two WIPs on the needles, first is Stockport by Sarah Hatton.  I have been wanting to knit this for literally years!  I ordered the yarn last year and have only just got around to casting on!  I have done one side and just about a third of the way through the second side, however its quite warm knitting and as the weather is hotting up, I have made slow progress!
I love it but its slow progress!

The next thing I cast on was the Hitofude Cardigan.  Of course this has been a massive hit on Ravelry and I have to say its a very interesting knit.  I love the construction and the pattern is really easy to remember.  I am finished the upper part now and am continuing on down the body.  Again I have been trying to use up my stash and this is some Posh Yarn which I bought back in 2009!  Brownie points for me on that I think!  Mind you as ever I did not swatch - well I am usually bang on gauge (or so I like to tell myself!) - and this does look pretty small!  I am hoping it will grow when its blocked as the pattern and the yarn are both pretty stretchy!

Gorgeous Greys morphing into Pink!
Finally for this post I am as ever thankful to A Playful Day who has inspired me to re-visit my blog with her 'Love your Blog' challenge!

So I will be posting my thoughts on 'Interactions and Community' as part of this initiative - look out for this very soon!

Louise x