Crafty Magazine – something a bit less twee!


Four weekend days a month I work in my friend’s lovely knitting shop. While I was there this weekend I came across this really interesting new magazine  (issue 1 no less!). It caught my eye  because it manages avoid the crafty twee trap. It would be a big lie for me to say that I don’t like twee crafty things, however, I am getting a bit fed up of that being the prevalent aesthetic for craft in general.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a tiny bit more edge and a few less flowers to balance out all of the Cath Kidston and Kirsty Allsop (both of which I like in moderation).


The magazine covers various different crafts including knitting, crochet  and some button making. The patterns are fairly simple but accessible. These owls for example could finally inspire me to learn to crochet.


There is also some customizing of trainers which I’m not quite so sure about. It makes me think of me and my sister tie-dying stuff in the garden in the 90s…..However as all things 90s appear to be coming back (crop tops urgh! Doc Martins yay! ) this isn’t a huge surprise but it doesn’t stop me from feeling a tad old…….

My eye was also drawn to this pattern for a top. I’m sure it wouldn’t look quite so awesome with my rather basic sewing skills but I think I’ll check it out anyway. I suspect I am drawn to it because of the buttons, I love buttons! She also has an awesome blog which I hadn’t come across before.


Slightly dodgy scan I’m afraid- my fault- but you can still see that it’s a lovely top 

All in all I think it’s a good start for a new magazine. I’m looking forward to having a look at issue two when it arrives!




Knitting and arthritis

I started knitting about six years ago. I began to have problems with the joints in my knees and my hips. Out of nowhere the joints started to swell and it was so painful I could barely walk. Initially I thought that it would pass. I waited and took the pain killers and hoped for it to go away. But it didn’t. It just got worse and worse, it hurt so much I couldn’t get to work  as I couldn’t make it to the train station and even if I could the pain was so great I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate.  Beforehand I loved to walk; I walked everywhere. But I was totally stuck in the flat. Suddenly I’d gone from active to a sad little heap on the sofa,  veering between terrified of what was happening to me and bored out of my mind.

So, I started knitting. Yes, I was still stuck at home, it still hurt and I still had no idea what was happening, but I finally had something to do! Something fun to keep my brain distracted and my fidgety little hands busy.  I was totally addicted and thrilled to have found something so awesome to take from a fairly grim experience.

Eventually I started to realise that this wasn’t a temporary thing and I wasn’t going to get better.  I found ways to make it manageable and to ease the pain. I found an amazing acupuncturist, started yoga, learned to relax  and nourish myself with better food. I went back to work and got on with my life.

Over the years the pain has come and gone in flare ups. Mostly I’m fine and I can get about, do the things I want to and thoroughly enjoy my life. I eventually got a diagnosis of arthritis and started physio which is an amazing help (even if the exercises are an epic kind of dull). But every few months it sneaks back when the weather is bad, if I’m too stressed, if I’ve been doing too much or as a random suprise. When it happens it’s rubbish and  I’m pretty much stuck at home unable to walk as far as the tube unless I absolutely have to do something in which case I have to stuff myself with painkillers . That’s where my knitting comes in. I may not be able to get about but I can knit! I can curl up on the sofa with my knitting, a cup of tea and some trashy telly or a podcast and have a lovely time.

Every now and again I find that the joints in my hands hurt. For quite a long time  I have adopted a ‘la la I’m not listening’ approach. I’ve just ignored it, carried on knitting, and hoped that it would go away. But sadly over the past few months it’s becoming apparent that it’s not going away it’s getting much worse. It’s more than likely to be the same problem and I’m going to have to start taking it seriously. It’s got so bad that it hurts to much to  knit a lot of the time.  It’s fair to say that I’m gutted.  However I’m trying to look on the bright side. I’ll have to get myself back to the doctor for the exceptionally long and annoying process of getting a diagnosis (apparently you can’t possibly have arthritis below 40……) and then I need to work out what I am going to do to keep myself busy when my hands aren’t up to much.

Here’s the plan:

  • Research knitting for arthritis. Maybe there are special knitting needles? Maybe some wool is better than others?
  • Crochet? Maybe that’s easier on the hands?
  • A knitting machine? I like this idea. My friend is getting one soon and I thought I’d have a little play with hers and see if I like it and if so try and find me one of my own.

Hopefully I’ll have finished feeling sorry for myself very soon and I’ll be able to put the plan in action.

Fixing knitting

urgh! I hate it when this happens!

It has been very cold in London over the past few weeks. I am no fan of the cold so I have been wearing my massive red jumper on an almost daily basis. It’s super warm and there’s something about an oversized jumper that I find very comforting when it’s a bit dark and depressing out (plus tea and cake and biscuits of course).

As the wool wasn’t too fancy I’ve been chucking it in the washing machine on a cold water wash. This is a bit naughty really but sometimes life is a little bit too short for hand washing. My jumper has not been very  happy about the frequent wearing and the machine washing and has started to try and come apart a bit on one of the cuffs. The lazy part of me was tempted just to leave it and hope that it didn’t cause the jumper to start to unravel.

I was reminded a few weeks ago what happens when you don’t fix knitting as soon as it starts to come away. A friend at my knitting group was crocheting some beautiful patches to cover the huge hole in the sleeve of cardigan. She was trying to fix it on behalf of someone else and we all said- if only it had been fixed right at the start!  So, rather annoyingly I am now forced to take my own advice and fix the cuff straight away.

Luckily for me it was fairly simple to fix. I dug out my crochet hook and put it through the little loop (you can see the loop in the photo above). I pulled the  first part of the ‘ladder’ (above the loop in the photo) through the loop to create a new knit stitch. I carried on doing that until I’d knitted up all of the ladders.

nearly fixed

To secure the stitches in place I threaded a little piece of red wool through the loop. I’ll sew the two ends of the piece of wool in and then my cuff will be as good as new!

This should probably teach me to hand wash this jumper in future however I suspect it won’t!

Knitted presents are the best presents

My mum’s 60th birthday is coming up in a few months and I’ve started thinking about what to get her. Since I started knitting my first thought for a special present is a knitted present. When I first started knitting I suspect that this was less of a pleasure for those who received them  than for me. A variety of  oddly shaped items greeted them on their birthdays. Their pleasure on opening their hand made presents came more from the thoughtfulness of the gift than aesthetics of the item…. These days I like to think that I friends and family members like both thought and the present itself (or have got better at pretending to look impressed).

So I have sourced a lovely shawl pattern and picked the wool. I’m even planning to treat her to some malabrigo yarn (I won’t be ruining the surprise as she really doesn’t like computers and almost certainly isn’t into blogs even if they do belong to family members). Of all the people I make things for I know that my mum with be the most grateful. She’s reached an age where she can just buy anything that she wants and really appreciates the time and thought put into a handmade present (especially from her least reliable daughter – I might not remember to call her back but at least I haven’t totally forgotten about her).

Probably the only thing I like more the giving home made presents is receiving them. I’m really lucky that I’m not the only crafty person in the family and my sister will often send cross stitch presents and if I ask really nicely my mum will crochet me a little treat. One of my most treasured possessions is a blanket my Mum made for me. I’ve always wanted a granny square blanket and this one is perfect. Not only is it warm and cozy and looks amazing (without being too twee) but to know that Mum sat and made each square individually and then sewed it all together makes it totally special and irreplaceable.

If I hope to return the favour I need to hurry up and finish my project and get started on that shawl!