Hobby Horrors

Photograph by Cristian Ruberti

It may have become clear that things domestic are not my forte.  So why I keep insisting on challenging myself to actually try to learn domestic skills and then implement them as a regular feature in my life is something of a mystery.  The latest attempt is to pull out my wool box and rummage around for something to try and make.  I already have a single sock (yes, I actually managed to knit a whole sock) sitting forlornly in amongst the random balls of wool.  I think the intended recipient of it will have outgrown it by now, so it will have to remain a singleton.

Now I have my eyes on either another pair of socks or a hat.  The only problem with the hat is the idea of knitting in the round.  I have a set of circular needles and it seems quite straightforward.  Until I actually try to do it.
Generally I’m a fairly competent and co-ordinated person, but for some reason I seem to have the manual dexterity of a rock.  Apparently I have fabulous gross motor skills and slightly shoddy fine motor skills.  Well, with the exception of fairly tidy handwriting, of course.

So, what to do, what to do…

I’m totally inspired by the idea that I can learn enough to be competent with 20 hours of effort, but I see something of a drawback to this with knitting my hat with circular needles.  It took me nearly an hour of effort just to get the darn thing cast on and knit one and a half rounds before it became apparent that I was doing something totally cockamamie with the working end of the yarn and therefore somehow messing up the whole shebang.  Even with multiple YouTube tutorials under my belt, stopping the videos, rewinding the videos, watching the videos with a magnifying glass… it has made NO difference to how I managed to tackle this simple act of knitting.

I am incompetent.

I need to mention at this point, that there is one thing I dislike in my life and that is feeling incompetent.  I like to accomplish things.  I like to master things.  I like to be good at things.

I do not like feeling like this cat.  And like this cat, I felt today.

catwoolPerhaps having a bit of nasty headcold (aka my version of manflu) didn’t help my understanding and dexterity, but I rather suspect that it is actually a congenital problem that I suffer from and I fear that I shall never overcome it.  I fear that I shall always be a purchaser and not a maker.

And the sheer fact of that is absolutely galling.

I won’t stand for it.  I just won’t.

If it takes me 200 hours of swearing, cursing (they are different, you know) and cramped fingers, I will learn how to do this simple task of knitting a hat.  Even if I have to abandon my circular needles for the safety and familiarity of my DPNs (double pointed needles for the even more crafty-clueless than myself), with which I have actually managed to produce an object that can be worn.

Don’t hold your breath on seeing any sort of apparel here for some months, but keep in the back of your mind that perhaps one day you will be browsing Oh Waily Waily and will be shocked and amazed to see a lopsided, warped but definitely wooly hat on the head of a put-upon Oh Waily family member.

I will then have become a ‘maker’ and not a ‘purchaser’.  The ultimate in modern woman does retro chic – Stay-at-Home Mum, Business Woman, Community Volunteer, Teacher AND Knitter.  What a superwoman-style résumé I will have then.  Until I look in the kitchen and realise I’m missing Chef from that list.  Darn, it was all sounding oh so flashy for a moment there.

Back to my real life… and my tangle of wool.  Wish me luck, or more usefully – wish me much patience as I repeat and repeat the process until I get it right.

Happy crafting all !

Socks, scarves and exercise

I have been working on my creative side this past couple of weeks and have hit my woolly straps by using up some leftover wool to begin making a scarf for Master Oh Waily, and even went out on a limb by purchasing needles and wool to make socks for both my little monsters beloved children.

Please find below, for your amusement and amazement, pictures of the woolly works in progress.  The photos are not the best as the only large flat place to lay things out at the moment is in a dark part of the house and I just had to make do today.

Scarf 1
The Scarf - about half way done.

For those who may be interested, the pattern is by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and is called One Row Handspun Scarf. Nice and simple, but not boring to look at.

Sock 1
The Sock - just starting on the foot

The sock is knitted in self-patterning Opal wool. While I love the colour, the wool is incredibly twisty – as you can see in the photograph. The pattern is from Ashfords, but frankly I think it may fit me better than my nearly four year old. Not quite what I was expecting it to do. But that’s fine. If it is way too large, then she can grow into them and I will start again for a pair that will fit her now.

I’m feeling brave now, can you tell? The sock is not quite as hard as I thought, and when I have some more time I will point you to a great YouTube video or two that helps take the scariness out of it. A big thanks to Gran Oh Waily for her help in starting me off and fixing my initial stuff-ups, as well as taking me shopping for more ideas. Specifically, this one:

Next Idea
The Next Idea - the mitts and the top.

Oh, and while I have your knitty attention, perhaps I could introduce you to Ravelry? Or should I say, enable you? A very useful, but addictive community of knitters and crochet enthusiasts.

Sewing 1
Miss Oh Waily's Sewing Practice

The last image is of Miss Oh Waily’s work.  Some scrap wool, a plastic canvas designed for making door hanging signs and a large needle.  Bob’s your uncle.  A home made, mostly, sewing practice.  Great for little fingers, concentration and new skill development.  An all around winner, really.

And finally there is a glimmer of hope on the exercise front.  I have revamped the look of Active Mum and have actually posted a small update today.
Will miracles never cease.
What with all this creativity and exercise I think I may need to go lie down.  Happy knitting everyone.

Easter Crafts & Similar Madness

Okay, it is almost Easter so I thought I would share some of the best picks from the craft section of my feed reader.  Seriously, if you are even vaguely crafty* then there should be something here to make you smile.
Most of the links lead you to How-To posts so if you’re game enough to try one or more, don’t forget to pingback here so I can see your art.

* knit, sew, bake or have kids.

What do you do on holiday?

Well, if you’re as mad as a meat axe, then you take your knitting on a tropical holiday.

Just call me Ms Oh Waily, the meat axe.

Yes.  I did.  It is true.  I am not making it up.  I did take knitting on my holiday to Fiji.
In my defense, it was knitting for my son.  A nice jersey for him to wear through the drudgery of the New Zealand winter.  And as anyone who is the parent of two young children can tell you, peace and quiet to use pointy implements of any kind is a rarity that could stand alongside gold or diamonds in value.  (White gold for me, thanks.)
So, with the assistance of those on holiday with me, I took the opportunity to do in two weeks what could have taken months at home.  I knit and I knit and I read and then I knit some more, then I squeezed in a bit more reading, and finally I knit again.  Now all I need to do is sew.  Sew it up and make it into something that actually could be worn by a small boy needing a bit of warming up.  I’ve taken a photo so you can see what a tropical knitting holiday can do for a small one’s winter wardrobe.  Don’t laugh too hard, it’s been decades since I took up knitting needles in anger for anything more than a scarf and you would all definitely laugh at the boat necked 1980s jersey that was my first full knitted creation.

Before Sewing Up

Update:  Gran Oh Waily very kindly did the sewing up and now Master Oh has his own personal cashmere/merino/silk tent to wear throughout this and several winters to come.  Maybe I overestimated the need for it to be *roomy*.

If you made it this far, then here’s a few gratuitous holiday photographs including the little Master himself taking his first dip in a swimming pool.

First Dip
First Dip

Mr Oh Waily instilling bad habits at an early age…

Bad Habits
Bad Habits

Master Oh, all at sea on dry land. Not content with his own floating palace he wants to try out his sister’s for size.

I want to try my sister's
I want to try my sister's

There are more photographs to come, but mostly they were taken by Gran & Pop Oh Waily, so I need to organise to get copies to share.