Looking back, looking forward

I feel like this post should be called "Blogging Discipline" or even just discipline - as who couldn't use some of that in their knitting/crafting lives?

Today's topic for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week encourages us to look back at last year's looking forward post (if we wrote one) and and the KCBW as a whole to see if we had done any of the things that we wrote about with great intentions. Ha!

Looking back, planning is still the key for me. I need to be planning more what I want to write about, and getting out ahead with topic ideas and early drafts, thinking about photos, etc. I've said to clients before that a blog post can take anywhere from about 90 minutes to two and a half hours depending on the content.

Does that seem like a lot of time to you? Sometimes it's not nearly enough. This was a point that was reinforced at the very awesome Blogtacular conference I went to last weekend. Generating content takes time. There's coming up with the topic itself. Does that require research? Do you need to interview someone for it? Do you have to go to an event and cover it? Is there travel involved with that? What are those expenses? Are you taking photos? How much time will you spend reviewing photos, editing them, refining the selection and doing any touch ups? Are you doing a tutorial? Those are a lot more photos. And so on, and so on. Depending on how often you're posting, blogging is suddenly demanding a lot of your time.

Taking an objective look at my own blog through this lens, I've realised that I'm devaluing it by not putting the (additional) time in. It's always easier to put off the blog in favour of work or whatever else needs doing. But to be fair, I've also tended to look at this blog more as a personal outlet than a professional one. The more involved I become in the knitting and crafting industry, the more the lines blur.

Looking forward to the next year I'm going to have to figure out what my boundaries are with the personal vs. professional on my blog, and if/how I want to use it to promote myself and my work-related projects. It's safe to say though that after almost two years in this country, and a solid year and a half (almost) of working in the knitting industry, that doing this work as my job makes me happy. I'm starting to have a lot more focus in terms of what I want to be doing and can now start to refine towards a targeted objective. Exciting times ahead!

Want to win some yummy yarn?

Today's topic of blog post for Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is meant to be "Something Different" - a blog post where we branch out and do something that maybe we haven't done on our blogs before.

I initially cast my thoughts towards something more technical. But while I have the technology to do a podcast or a video, unfortunately I don't have a lot of the additional time that goes into making something like that work seamlessly (read: editing time) without a heavy amount of advance planning.

But! Something else that I'm not sure I've ever done on the blog before is a contest! Who doesn't love contests? And inspired by my good friend Kathleen Lawton-Trask of Knit Like You Mean It (her new book, Silver Screen Knits Vol. 2 was just released - go check it out!) who regularly gives away her stash on her blog, I've dived deep into the stash to come up with a lovely skein of sunshine that sadly I've never known what to knit with.

This golden beauty is 100g/370 yards of fingering weight (that's 4-ply for you Brits), 100% superwash wool in a colour called Honeycomb. It is hand-dyed on Gabriola Island, British Columbia by Canadian indie yarn dyer Indigo Moon. Perhaps she will speak to you?

To enter the contest, leave a comment telling me which one of my yarn bowls is your favourite, or tell me about your own! You must comment on this post by 23:59 GMT on Sunday, 18 May. On Monday I'll use a random number generator to select a winner and send the yarn off to it's happy new home.

Good Luck! xx

Yarn bowl support group

I've been a bit behind on Knitting & Crochet Blog Week but have decided that rather than try to keep up, I'm just going to jump in where I can. Today's topic is meant to be an imagined "conversation between workers" from the point of view of the tools of our craft.

All are welcome in the yarn bowl circle...

All are welcome in the yarn bowl circle...

Yarn Bowl #1: Thank you all for coming. We have a new member today. Please welcome our latest member, the Black Yarn Bowl.

Black Yarn Bowl: (gushes) Thank you for having me. I'm thrilled to be with such a beautiful group!

Yarn Bowl #2: Is she really a yarn bowl? She doesn't even have a notch for yarn. That makes her just a bowl, in my opinion. (to Black Yarn Bowl) No offense.

Black Yarn Bowl: Oh, but, I have a few openings for yarn that are also decorative! A knitter can feed the yarn through the hole and then begin working on a project. They're then encouraged to stick with the project to use up the yarn to be able to use me again for a different project!

Yarn Bowl #2: Openings? Holes? You really put out, eh new-bo?

Honey Pot Yarn Bowl: That's enough Number Two. Pipe down before someone reminds you that your own notch is broken.

Yarn Bowl #3: Oh now you've done it...

Black Yarn Bowl: What's a new-bo?

Honey Pot Yarn Bowl: A new-bo is a "new bowl" - every new member gets stuck with that name for a while, or longer, depending. We all went through it for a while.

Yarn Bowl #2: (blusters) My notch is fixed and works just fine thank you!

Yarn Bowl #3: Relax, you know she's only winding you up. Honey Pot, why do you have to be like that?

Honey Pot Yarn Bowl: Just stickin' up for the new gal.

Black Yarn Bowl: Thank you, but I don't want to cause any commotion.

Yarn Bowl #1: Settle down everyone, settle down. This is not a good way for us to start today. (to Black Yarn Bowl) Why don't you tell us something about yourself, sweetie? Maybe where the knitter picked you up, or what it is that she likes about you...?

Black Yarn Bowl: Oh. Well. Okay. Thank you! Uh, hi, I'm the Black Yarn Bowl...

Everyone: (in unison) Hi Black Yarn Bowl!

Black Yarn Bowl: (giggles nervously) Well, I think it's my glazing and black colour that the knitter likes about me. There were some really nice yarn bowls to choose from at the stand I was at. Oh. I guess I should say that the knitter found me at Wonderwool Wales.

Wooden Yarn Bowl: Good show. Good show. Come from that one myself!

Black Yarn Bowl: No kidding?! There were a lot of wooden ones on the stand I was at, but none on a pedestal like you.

Wooden Yarn Bowl: (modestly) Why thank you! I personally think wooden yarn bowls are a nice rarity...

Yarn Bowl #2: (snorts)

Yarn Spool: (eagerly) I'm made from wood too! Oak!

Wooden Yarn Bowl: (grandly) Oak is fantastic wood! Yes, yes! Very strong! Of course it's no spalted beech mind you...

Black Yarn Bowl: You're both very lovely.

Knitty Yarn Bowl: (softly) I like your yarn. What's it like?

Black Yarn Bowl: Um, I think this is the Titus 4-ply by Eden Cottage Yarns.

Knitty Yarn Bowl: (more urgent) No, I mean, what's it like?

Black Yarn Bowl: (confused) It's a merino and silk blend...?

Honey Pot Yarn Bowl: Don't mind the Knitty Yarn Bowl. She's just curious about yarn in general. (sees Black Yarn Bowl still not getting it, decides to take her under her wing, drops her voice) You know, her being a YV and all...

Black Yarn Bowl: YV?

Yarn Bowl #2: OMG does she need to spell it out for you? A. Yarn. Virgin.

Everyone else: (gasps)

Knitty Yarn Bowl: (very softly) I'd just like to try it, just once. I mean, someday, of course. Just, the longer I wait the more I want it to be a really special yarn, you know? I hope the knitter knows...

Yarn Bowl #3: (thoroughly embarrassed) Number Two, maybe you'd like to be a little more, um, discreet?

Yarn Bowl #2: What for? 

Yarn Bowl #1: Because we're here to tell our own stories, not those of others. Why don't we get back on track...

Yarn Spool: Yes! Sharing is caring! Let's remember to be supportive!

Yarn Bowl #2: Oh blow it out your ear, kindling.

Yarn Bowl #3: Here we go...

Yarn Spool: Who are you calling kindling?

Yarn Bowl #2: Oh I don't know, maybe the "which one of these things is not like the other"?

Yarn Bowl #3: (to Black Yarn Bowl) I'm sorry. Number Two and I are from the same maker but I think she's been a little "off" ever since her notch broke. She's never been quite the same.

Yarn Bowl #2: No! I've been better!

Wooden Yarn Bowl: Better at being a pain in the arse you mean.

Yarn Bowl #1: (to Black Yarn Bowl) It's not always like this.

Honey Pot Bowl: Sure it is!

Yarn Bowl #1: Only when you stir the pot, Honey. Well. I don't see us accomplishing much today. Please could everyone find their way back to their hidey-holes? We have the make sure the knitter finds us right where she left us. We want to be ready and waiting for any potential new projects!

Like a sweet little bunny, the Knitty Yarn Bowl is the first to move off quietly.

Like a sweet little bunny, the Knitty Yarn Bowl is the first to move off quietly.

Yarn Bowl #2: Oh, so when I go back to my "hidey-hole" I shouldn't put all the crap back in me that's normally dumped there?

Yarn Bowl #3: (sighs) Honey and I will see that Number Two gets back okay.

Back Left: Yarn Bowl #2, Front Middle: Yarn Bowl #3, Back Right: Honey Pot Yarn Bowl.

Back Left: Yarn Bowl #2, Front Middle: Yarn Bowl #3, Back Right: Honey Pot Yarn Bowl.

Wooden Yarn Bowl: Guess I'll head back to the shelves of treasures. I think I'll position myself next to the knitting books there. Yes, yes! That's it! Inspire a little knit-spiration!

The Wooden Yarn Bowl and his strategic position on the shelf with the knitting books.

The Wooden Yarn Bowl and his strategic position on the shelf with the knitting books.

Yarn Spool: Me too! Me too! Oh, wait. No, I'm going back to the desk. So I can be next to the knitter. You know. Just in case the mood strikes. And you know, since I've already got yarn on me!

The ever eager Yarn Spool.

The ever eager Yarn Spool.

Yarn Bowl #1: That's wonderful. I like your positive energy!

Black Yarn Bowl: What should I do?

Yarn Bowl #1: My dear, you're in the very enviable position of already being matched with a project. It's no wonder things were a bit out of sorts today. I think everyone was a bit jealous. I know I am. No matter. Position yourself where you were. Somewhere comfortable for the knitter to pick back up her project. That's a lovely colour. And what a wonderful lace pattern...

The Black Yarn Bowl - ready and waiting.

The Black Yarn Bowl - ready and waiting.

Black Yarn Bowl: Thank you! But, where will you go?

Yarn Bowl #1 - it's own ray of sunshine.

Yarn Bowl #1 - it's own ray of sunshine.

Yarn Bowl #1: Don't you worry about me. I'm going to sit a spell. Maybe have a nap in a ray of sunshine. And wait for my turn to come around again.

A Day in the Life

Today marks the beginning of the annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, organised by the lovely Mimi of Eskimimi Makes.

What I really enjoyed most about participating in last year's blog week is that Mimi organises the topics well in advance and offers suggestions and examples to help get those creative juices flowing.

There's been so much on the go here though, that I've been behind in planning things. Hence, what could be more appropriate for today's offering of "A Day in the Life" than perhaps some insight into one of the (many!) projects that gets abandoned along the way when the busy-ness happens!

Oh you darling little bunny, perhaps I'll get back to you before next Easter!

Oh you darling little bunny, perhaps I'll get back to you before next Easter!

When my office has a tidy-up like it did last week, that's when the most WIPs are uncovered. They're things that I've started, and then been distracted by, like the poor sweet bunny above. 

To be fair, most WIPs fall by the wayside when deadlines loom or, as in the case of the amigurumi bunny, priorities shift to my crafty hat having to be replaced with my mommy hat. It was either crochet the bunny, or forego actually having Mr. H's packing list organised for his recent trip to Canada, not to mention my own packing for Paris!

But on an organisational office day, I like to think that this is how all my WIPs can end up - tidy in a devoted devoted little project basket and waiting for me, with the pattern, the tools and the materials to FINISH whatever has caught my fancy.

And for a while, these project baskets will sit on my workbench, full of promise and enticing me to come back to them, before they move to being a new day at the top of the WIP heap, or even head into the WIP BOX!

The pile o' WIPs. Sitting on top of the spinning WIP box, next to the mending on top of the knitting WIP box.

The pile o' WIPs. Sitting on top of the spinning WIP box, next to the mending on top of the knitting WIP box.

Sitting next next to the pile of mending, and awaiting their turn. Patiently.