Finding Time

It’s hard to find time at the moment for anything, it feels like. I have a huge mental list of things I want to do and I only get a fraction of them done. I guess it’s always been that way, I have always tried to fit in more than I possibly can, but I definitely don’t have as much ‘free’ time as I used to have, nowhere near as much as I had before the PhD work, but less than previous years since I started that, and I can only see it getting harder and harder for the next few years as I really have to keep my head down and finish the thing off (I’m at the end of my 4th year out of 6).

I also did some seminar teaching this semester which I loved (students kept showing up for the 11 weeks so I must not have totally sucked!). It’s a relief that I enjoyed it, to be honest, as I’ve been saying for years that I want to teach at University and I was worried that it would be yet another job that I thought I wanted to do and then discovered, upon actually trying it, that I didn’t! It took a lot more time with the preparation and the marking than I thought it would and next year I am going to do double what I did this year.

I’m not very focussed either, I’m loving what I’m doing, this year has been wonderful compared to last year where the whole PhD experience pretty much sucked and I felt like I made no progress at all. This year I have achieved some pretty good things and I’m excited about what I’m doing. I still haven’t found a way to make myself work though and to stop my mind going off 20 directions at once and I waste so much time it’s criminal, especially when you consider that I don’t have much time to work while the boys are at school and all the other things I could be doing if I didn’t have to work weekends and evenings to make up for the time I let slip away during the day. I really need to sort it out but figuring out how also takes time!

Anyway, I have been making things, just not as much or as quickly as usual, but here is the most recent batch of things I’ve not shown you.

First up the Austin Hoodie. I bought the yarn and pattern for this ages ago and it seemed like I was working on it forever, but for some reason I didn’t put a start date in Ravelry so I don’t actually know how long it took.

Austin Hoodie(how come there is a basket of washing in the background of almost all my photos, you’d think I’d notice the bright yellow thing but I never seem to…)

I do know that I was working on the fronts last August in Edinburgh and that after the body and hood was done it sat forever waiting for sleeves. It’s a really interesting design in that the sleeves are picked up and knit down with short rows forming the shoulders. It looks really nice but the fact that I hate picking up stitches and that short rows piss me off made me not want to work on it.

Austin HoodieI finally did the first sleeve and it wasn’t too bad and then I put it down again and made it wait another few months for the second sleeve. There are hems, I think I messed up one of the sleeve hems but I can live with it.

Austin HoodieI sewed the zip in by machine, probably should have pinned it rather than doing it freehand as I had to unpick and do the middle section again, got there in the end though!

Not quite rightI’m really happy with the way this came out, I love yarn which is Freedom Gorgeous (I’m currently working on my third garment using it, of course it’s been discontinued, bastards). I got it for a steal from Kemps and I have rather a lot of it stashed still to be used. This shade is Delphinium and it’s a new colour for me so I will have to figure out what to wear it with, besides my usual black that is.

I saw on a blog the Fancy Tiger Crafts One Hour Top which is a free pattern so I printed it out and had a go. I’m not sure this shape really works on me but it seems to be the in thing right now so I figured I’d give it a go. For once I decided that I would use plain fabric, I usually reach for the brightest stuff first, so I used up some french terry that has been there for ages.

One Hour TopOne Hour TopThe pattern is right, it is quick, that is until you decide to stop the fabric being too boring by using jeanstitch thread and a twin needle and your sewing machine decides it hates you and the world.

oppsThe belt apparently slipped, but I guess at least I know how to get hold of the sewing machine repair man, although it did cost me £45. Anyway, I carried on with this machine which is the one I learnt to sew on as a teenager. My Mum was going to get rid of it so I grabbed it and was glad I did now that I don’t live close enough to her to pop over and borrow her machine!

The machine I learnt to sew onThis machine didn’t like the thread needle combination either so I had to use a single needle and do two lines of stitching, It worked quite well and I’m happy with the top, although I think if I use the pattern again I’ll add an inch or so to the length.

One Hour TopWe’ve lived here coming up on a year now, unbelievably, we all adore Northumberland so we’re going to stay put for a few more years. I finally got around to making my bedroom curtains, I’ve only had the fabric for about six months or so…

Bedroom Curtains(they hang a lot better than this now that they’ve been up a month or so, and they’re properly gathered, they look like crap here for some reason!)

The fabric is from Ikea and the linings are from my Mother. I’ve been putting this off for so long and in the end it took about an hour and a half including shortening the linings, always the way isn’t it? The fabric is a nice thick cotton and I used the full width so I just had to line up the print and then hem the edges and attach the curtain tape. One more set of curtains to find for the boys room, the windows here are a length that doesn’t match any for sale and I can’t find a print we all agree on either so we will keep hunting for either pre-made (although they’re so bloody expensive and I’ll have to buy a long set and cut 20″ off the bottom which is annoying) or fabric.

I saw the pattern for the Alchemill Shawl in the ads on Ravelry. I’m actually proof that the ads work as I find a lot of things I want to make from them. I bought the pattern and had cast on with some Yarntopia Treasures Bamboo Cotton Laceweight in the colourway Canary Islands within a few hours.

Alchemill Shawl(it was either bright or foggy in my sewing room the day I took these pictures, sorry)

It was a really easy fun knit, although I seem to have messed up some of the increases but hopefully not too noticeably (I hope, blind man, horse). It took me less than a month to make this which is amazing for me and a shawl but I was enjoying the yarn colours a lot, knitting as colour therapy once again. Why browns were comforting in Spring I don’t know!

Alchemill Shawl
Alchemill ShawlAnyway, it wasn’t until I blocked this that I realised what an odd shape it’s designed to be, it took me a few minutes to get my head around it and figure out how it should be pinned out. I’m still not sure how I’ll wear it as I don’t tend to drape shawls over my shoulders in the traditional way. Anyway, I love it and am glad I made it.

Alchemill ShawlAnd finally we have the Sureau sleeveless dress by Deer and Doe. Roo made a few of these I believe and convinced me to buy the pattern several years back but I never got around to making it.

SureauI lengthened the bodice by two inches as per my usual ‘giving the boobs more room’ strategy, the waistline now hits me on the waist. I find that often length is all I need rather than a traditional FBA (which I’ve never learnt to do and can’t be bothered to figure out, life’s too short to be messing around with patterns that don’t fit) I took the two inches off the skirt length before hemming.

The fabric I won from Maria Denmark (I’ve ‘known’ Maria online for many many years now and I still think of her in my head as ‘Maria Denmark’ never just as ‘Maria’ for some reason!) ages ago along with the blouse pattern she’d just released but I never made the blouse (seeing a pattern with my sewing ways here?). She included some extra fabric she’d found so there was plenty for a dress and I love the way it looks. It’s a stretch cotton (poplin maybe) and the only issue with it is that it creases if you look at it sideways so I will look my usual mess even when I’m wearing a dress I guess.

Sureau(there’s the basket again, sometimes it lives at the other end of the hallway, just to mix it up a bit)

The zip will never come out. I don’t get along with the invisible zipper foot that came with my Janome, it doesn’t seem to get right to the edge of the zip so I sewed each side in about three times to try and make it invisible. It’s close enough but I must see if there’s a different foot available or find a way to use this one better before I attempt another one as it was incredibly annoying. The pattern was really easy and I’m imagining winter versions with sleeves, maybe out of cord, we’ll see if that ever happens!

So, that’s all that’s finished. I’m making progress on lots of different knitting projects and should have another one finished this week, I also have some summer pyjamas cut out for Jim that I want to get done soon so hopefully I will be back sooner, I think I say that every single time, maybe I need a new blogging strategy because I still love blogging and the interaction of it and sharing my makes with like-minded people. I think I will try and do shorter blog posts with one or two things rather than saving them up and it taking forever to put together a post.

Thanks for sticking around for my sporadic posts!

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One thought on “Finding Time

  1. Anna, I can’t believe you’re still getting all this done while in grad school. Although I do remember going through frequent periods of can’t-handle-this, ignoring thesis work and just putting my head down and working on a sweater instead, I never managed to finish much. I’m still unravelling half-socks left over from grad school that I’ve realized will never be finished 😉

    I wish you were close enough to come here and show me how to install a zipper so beautifully. I’m hopeless at it.

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