So we are over half-way through January and I just wanted to check in with you all to see how things are going? What have you been doing craft wise? Are you working from home? Are you home schooling the kids? Have you braved the cold weather for some winter walks?
January Was Off To A Good Start…
January has been a bit of a mixed bag for me so far. Probably like you and most other people I started the new year quite hopefully. The covid vaccine had started to be given to the most vulnerable and it is only a matter of time until more people at risk can have their dose. My husband was still home on leave and the kids and I were on holiday. I celebrated my birthday at the beginning of the month. A Lockdown Birthday in the miserable month of January is a little on the sad side but we made the best of it. My husband made me a really nice chicken pie, the first he had attempted since I stopped being able to eat gluten and milk.
But then January decided it didn’t want to be boring. It wasn’t going to be outdone by all the fun and shenanigans we had in the last few months of 2020. What we really needed in the world was new strains of the virus to shake us all up and make us wonder if we really did, indeed, know what January was going to have in store for us. It seems it wants to be known as the month of surprises.
January, You Are Sneaky!
The first thing to affect us as a family with the renewed call by the Prime Minister for us all to stay at home. My daughter is in college, the same one where I work. We were both told that term would be delayed by a week. Instead of going back on the 4th of January we would now be going back on the 11th to give the college time to set up mass testing for staff and students. This week was going to be taken off our Easter holidays instead to make up for the loss of teaching time. This quickly changed to working and learning from home for the whole of the month and probably the whole of February too.
My son is currently studying a computer coding course at Uni. He has barely been on campus at all yet. I believe he has done around 10 hours since he started at the end of September. This doesn’t bother him in the slightest. He is quite self-motivated and happy to work through everything distance learning style. The timetable has changed a little and some of his assignments have moved but I think he is secretly happy not to have to attend campus.
But the biggest surprise January has had in store for us as a family revolves around my husband. He works in Saudi and was unable to get home on leave last year for 11 months. He left on 2nd January 2020 and did not come home again until 30th November 2020. He has worked out there for many years. We have lived with him as a family for periods of time too. But this was by far the longest time he has been away and we have been apart.
He was planning to fly back to work so that he would be back at his desk for 17th January. We were already thinking that was looking a bit dubious. Over the Christmas holidays Saudi Arabia had closed all its borders again. This was in response to the emergence of new strains of covid. We had been keeping a close eye on developments to see when he might get back to work. Finally, in the beginning of the month there was an announcement that the borders were open. To most people. Those coming from the UK or South Africa had to spend 14 days in another country before they could cross into Saudia.
This was a bit of a logistical nightmare to say the least. It meant him changing flights to both a different departure and destination airport. As well as flying by a different carrier. He also had to leave a few days early and so missed being home for our wedding anniversary. But we finally got him sorted, and he is currently in a flat in Bahrain with one of his friends. They have a few more days to go until they can go back to work. And I think they have binge watched all the series available on Netflix already! I did offer to send them back with a jigsaw puzzle but they declined my kind offer!
And For The Rest Of The Month?
So we have passed the halfway mark in January. We are starting to see the light a little earlier in the morning, and for a little longer in the afternoon. I am starting to think about what I want to do in the garden over the coming year when the spring finally arrives. We have had a lot more snow this year than is usual and I am definitely looking forward to the weather drying up and warming a little.
We are settling in to a routine again. Lockdown 3.0 doesn’t feel much different to Lockdown 1.0 except this time the weather isn’t quite as user friendly. I do my college job on the phone and computer in the mornings with some music on in the background. After cooking and eating lunch I settle down in the afternoons to work on my knitting patterns. They were neglected somewhat during the Indie giftalong as well as during the festive period but I have now picked up where I left off in November.
I have a headband pattern which I will be releasing on 2nd February. It is a DK weight, ideal for beginners and using up scraps. I will tell you more about that in my next post. But I will say that I will be sending codes to subscribers to my newsletter which means you will be able to get the pattern for free. If you haven’t signed up yet now is the ideal time to do so! Emma’s Newsletter
I also have a beanie hat that I am just getting ready to go to testing. This is also knitted in DK. Later in the spring I hope to share with you a shawl and a cardigan pattern. You will have seen photos of all of these on my Instagram and Facebook if you follow me.
What have you been working on so far this month? Have you joined us on Facebook in our Knitting Across the Pennines group? Loraine of Woolly Madly Deeply and I have been hosting a bit of a Find, Finish or Frog during our livestreams. You can catch us on Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings or watch us later on You Tube.
Don’t forget to share your projects with me on social media. I love to see your WIPs. Tag me @allneedles If you enjoyed this post then check out my others – Emma’s Blog
Today I am having a birthday sale. I wanted to share my day with you and have you join in the celebrations with me. Usually I would be able to visit my family and friends on my birthday. Or I would meet them somewhere for a coffee. I would be able to go out to my favourite restaurant for dinner.
This year is different. With the national lockdown restrictions all the restaurants are closed. We can’t go to the shops to buy gifts or sit in a cafe and enjoy a coffee with friends. But I can share my day with you in the form of a flash birthday sale. For just 24 hours all my patterns in my Ravelry store and my Payhip store will be reduced by 25%. But you will need to hurry to grab your discount – it all ends at 23:59 on 7th January 2021.
How To Join In My Birthday Sale
In my Ravelry store my birthday sale discount will be applied to your basket without the need for a coupon. Just add the patterns you want to your cart and check out. As simple as that.
In my Payhip store you will need to use the coupon code Birthday to get your 25% off all my patterns.
Which Patterns Will You Choose?
The weather has taken a decidedly wintry turn in recent weeks. But that is ok, as it is the perfect weather for sitting cosy in front of the fire and tv and picking up a knitting project. And with the national restrictions related to covid-19 we are all enjoying staying safe at home more than we may have done this time last year.
Do you enjoy knitting stocking stitch in the round so that you can concentrate on a TV show? If so then you may enjoy the cowl Meet Me Inside, my latest pattern. It is a cowl knitted in once piece in the round and you can make it as long or as short as you want.
Or do you want a garment pattern? Vera and Stanhope are both v-neck raglans which are knitted top-down. You begin flat, but once the neck shaping is completed the body and arms are all knitted in the round.
If you prefer your garments knitted flat then how about Arundale? This vest was designed for my Dad but one of my testers made it for herself and loves it with a pair of jeans. She didn’t want to knit in the round as she likes long, straight needles that she can tuck under her arms as she knits.
Are you knitting for a baby? I have a few patterns for the little ones in mind which I designed for my grandson and my granddaughter. How about Sandy Point? I used a fair isle effect yarn to make mine, but you could use a solid or variegated and it would look brilliant.
Or for a little girl you can’t go wrong with a pair of frilly knickers! I recently took part in the Indie Designer’s Gift-A-Long where my Knickers pattern was the talk of the town. One of the other designers was even a little sad that the pattern wasn’t graded big enough to make herself a pair!
Don’t Forget To Share My Birthday Sale!
No matter which of my patterns takes your fancy don’t forget to share, share, share! Tell your friends about the sale, tell me which design has caught your eye, and of course please share photos of your WIPs!
I love to see what you are making. Tag me on social media using @allneedles or #allneedles #emmasadler #emmasadlerdesigns
I will be releasing some new patterns soon so don’t forget to make sure you are signed up to my newsletter to be the first to know and receive exclusive coupon codes!
Apart from writing and developing my own knitting patterns I also love to knit other people’s designs. This week I thought I would give you a sneak peek at my latest Ravelry projects of Knits I have loved over the summer.
The first pattern I would like to share with you is Edythe by Jenny Weibe. I got this pattern way back in January when I found out that my step-daughter was having a second baby. But it was early days and we didn’t know what she would be having, so I didn’t cast on until June when I had been given permission to buy an abundance of pink baby yarn.
The pattern has options to make a top, tunic or dress. I made the 3 month size in the dress option. Obviously the ruffles are super cute, and they inspired me to write the pattern Knickers! There is a sneak peak at this pattern in my blog post What New Patterns You Might Have Missed. But I also really loved the feature in this knitting pattern that was the off centre button band on the back. You can check out my project page for Edythe on Ravelry.
The next knitting pattern that I loved was Fable by Alicia Plummer. I made this using Rowan Pure Life, a cotton yarn that I bought at Woolly Madly Deeply. The pattern and yarn were just the perfect pairing. I made the 36″ but I will admit I did add an extra inch or so length to the body. I love the detail on this tee before you do the ribbing.
It is a top-down pattern and anyone who knows me will know just how much I love to knit stocking stitch in the round! You can check out my project page on Ravelry.
As soon as I saw this I knew I had to knit one! My step-daughter had specifically asked for knits in pink and grey and so this pattern was perfect for showing off the two colours together. I went for the pink as the main colour and the grey as the contrast. It is worked from the bottom up in one piece to the armholes. The sleeves are picked up and knitted rather than being worked flat and seamed.
I added two cute buttons to the front and I also put a little popper on the inside wrap to keep it looking nice when the baby is moving around in it. You can check out my project page on Ravelry.
Wyeth Kids Test Knit
The last pattern I want to share with you isn’t available just yet as it is a test knit. I saw a post on Instagram by Alicia Plummer asking for test knitters for her upcoming kids version of her Wyeth pattern.
I thought it was fantastic timing as I was thinking about making something for my grandson. I had, at this point, knitted plenty of pink things. I wanted something in blue for a special little boy so that he didn’t feel left out when the baby came and was given lots of presents.
I knitted it in Malabrigo Rios in the colourway Azules. It was a little more on the purple side in real life than I would have liked and it doesn’t really show the pattern as well as a solid would, but Rios is one of my favourite yarns and always a pleasure to knit with. Look out for when Alicia releases this knitting pattern. My Ravelry project has some info so far!
As promised in my last post I thought I should give you a bit of a round up of all the patterns I released over the summer. If you are anything like me you will have been distracted by the nice weather. Maybe you were working in the garden, or just enjoying some time relaxing.
My Loyal Royal Subject
This pattern was released way back in April. Its a cowl knitted in the round with a provisional cast on and the stitches grafted together at the end. It was knitted in Cascade Eco+ and designed to go with my headband You’re My Favourite Subject.
Both of these patterns are named for one of my favourite songs from the musical Hamilton. I was listening to the soundtrack a lot whilst working on these designs and so it seemed right to name them for the King George song. This pattern can be found on Ravelry and Payhip.
This next pattern was one that was designed with my granddaughter in mind. I was well underway with making cardigans and other bits and bobs for the upcoming new baby. One thing I thought would come in useful was some cotton cloths. When my grandson was little he used to have a muslin with him all the time and he called it his Muzie. So that was the name I gave these.
The pattern is for a set of three cloths, each one with a slightly different stitch pattern. They are knitted in 100% cotton which means they can be washed safely at 60 degrees. They can be so versatile. You could use them as a comforter. Such as for little preemie babies to keep the parents’ scent near them at all times. They can be used as comforters, as cloths to clean up little ones or even as wash cloths.
Mabel was a dress that I released in July. Again, it was designed for my granddaughter. The skirt is knitted first, in the round and then the body is knitted flat. I love the way that the skirt flares much bigger than the waist.
Knitted in Baby DK yarn you will find the perfect colour for the little one in your family. The pattern comes in sizes from Preemie up to 12 months. Every little girl deserves a cute dress!
This pattern was designed as a special request from my step-daughter for her daughter. I had previously made a sleep sack, Cadalach, for her son when he was born and she wanted another one. This time I designed the sleeping bag to go around the baby from side to side rather than head to toe.
Knitted in baby chunky yarn it is a quick knit despite its relatively large size. It will keep babies nice and cosy in their pushchair or pram. However, it is not recommended for unsupervised sleeping.
I have a few patterns that I am currently working on, in various stages of production. I have a few more baby items to come but also so other projects. Vera, a jumper, will be coming at the end of the month. I am also starting to work on a couple of cowls and hats.
Currently my patterns are available on Ravelry, Payhip and LoveCrafts. But the exciting news is that over the next few weeks I will be working to add them here on my website too. Soon you will be able to check out directly from here! Balla is the first of my patterns to be available.
Have You Signed Up for My Newsletter?
If you haven’t done so yet, now is the perfect time to sign up for my newsletter. Not only will you be the first to know when I have released a new patter but you will also receive exclusive codes. There is a 50% off code when you first sign up and all my new patterns have a 25% off code which is only available to subscribers. You can sign up here!
If you enjoyed this post why not check out the rest of my blog? Such as this one where I talk about what I have been up to over the summer – So Long My Summer Love
And if you have made it to the end I have some news for you! My granddaughter was born at the end of August. She is called Hope Samantha and is absolutely gorgeous!!
Long time no read! I know, you have been there all along and it has me that has been AWOL. I have had a super busy summer, but on this late Bank Holiday Monday I thought it was about time I got back in touch with you and told you what I have been up to!
Gardening, Gardening, Gardening…..
I haven’t been sitting on my bottom and binge watching TV all this time. OK, so I have done a bit of that. But I have been working hard too. My garden fence was falling down and it really needed sorting out. After three separate conversations with my neighbour who point blank refused to discuss the matter I decided to do what I could with the budget I had in the most environmentally friendly way I could.
The Work Begins
I got a few quotes for new fencing which were in the thousands. In the end one guy said it wasn’t worth getting a new fence because my neighbour’s garden is subsiding into ours. Unless we spent a lot of money on a retaining wall then the issue would only happen again. And still the answer when I tried to speak to her was “Its not my problem.”
So after speaking with my brother-in-law we decided we would take down the fence, but up a chain link to keep Arthur in and plant a hedge instead. This would be better because it would look nice, it would stabilise the ground and it wouldn’t cost the thousands for a wall that I simply didn’t have.
Not an Overnight Fix
Now we had a plan, but it wasn’t going to be an overnight fix. My husband is still stuck at work in Saudi. I still haven’t seen him since 2nd January. So any work that needed to get done would be down to me, my teenagers, my brother in law and any workmen we could get. Post-lockdown it has been difficult to get tradesmen as they are so in demand.
The kids and I painted the fences that were going to stay. We built raised beds and we planted all sorts of flowers, fruit, veg and herbs. It was starting to look good, but the hedge was so over grown and it was just too much for us to cut. We were able to get someone in to cut it and a couple of trees, but we had to remove the cuttings. It took weeks!
Eventually between working and helping his mum and daughters my brother in law was able to help me take down the wonky fence. And behind it we discovered the reason why it was falling down between myself and the neighbour but nowhere else. She had been growing ivy up it and shoving bricks in the gap that was getting bigger as the ground continued to subside. This meant I was even happier that I wasn’t spending thousands on a new fence.
We were able to get a couple of guys who do fences to concrete in some posts for us, and then my brother in law and his mate came round and put up the chain fence.
The kids and I then built raised bed and moved two Mud Mountains that were delivered to the front of the house in to the back garden. During this time I pulled my back quite badly and ended up having to go to hospital for treatment. I felt more guilty that I had to leave the teenagers to plant all the hedges that had arrived but they couldn’t wait. If they stayed in pots until I recovered they would be likely to die off.
The grass has become extremely patchy and the original hedge needs another trim, but overall I am really pleased with the new structure and interest to my garden. I will be planting wild flowers and grasses towards the back of the garden and only cutting the front bit of lawn from now on. The hedge and flowers all being part of the plan to encourage more wildlife into my garden.
There Has Been Some Knitting Too…
During this time I have also been knitting and releasing new patterns. But I think I will save all that yarny loveliness for my next post. I promise not to leave it so long before we talk again…
If You Enjoyed This Post…
If you enjoyed reading this post then why not check out my others – Emma’s Blog
I don’t know about you, but I am finding the days in this Coronavirus Lockdown are just flying by! I am now officially unemployed again and so maybe you would think that the days would drag a bit without the structure of a job. But it is just the opposite at the moment.
Filling My Days
Even when life is very different such as in this Coronavirus outbreak, you will find yourself soon getting in to a new routine. I think its human nature. And I am no different. Monday – Thursday are my mornings to walk the dog. Tuesday evenings are when I brave the shops. The rubbish still gets collected on Thursday mornings so I still have to remember to put the bin out on Wednesday evenings. Thursday evenings are Loraine and my knit nights via Facebook Live and of course we go out and clap for our carers.
Friday and Saturday Callum walks Arthur and so these are the days I try and cut the grass and get out for a run rather than using the treadmill. The same on Sunday when Cailtin takes a turn at the dog exercise.
Last night the street was out again shouting, clapping and banging saucepans in support of all our carers and key workers who are continuing to battle on during the Coronavirus lockdown. And before we know it, another week will have passed and we will be back out there again. Some days I am even lucky enough to get some knitting done!
Days are Flying Past!
Each day goes by in its own routine too. In the mornings I usually walk the dog and come home to a huge pot of freshly brewed coffee. I then drink this whilst doing bits and bobs on the computer. Checking emails, social media and Ravelry. I try and post a little snippet on Instagram from the previous days live with Loraine. And I am trying to get into the habit of doing my blog once a week on a Friday or Saturday.
Around 11 I tend to go into the kitchen where I have been trying to practise my flute. This week I also sent Callum into the loft to find my long abandoned clarinet. It went up there when we moved in 14 years ago and I hadn’t seen it since. And I don’t think I have played it in about 20 years.
I played for many of my teenage years. I was very lucky to get free music lessons from the school. Once a week myself and two other girls got 30 mins with a teacher after school. I got quite good. And even though my parents couldn’t afford me to do the official exams my teacher said I was working at a Grade 5 and moving on towards a Grade 6.
When Callum brought down my clarinet he also found some sheet music. I remember that I used to play some of the tunes as they were well known, but I couldn’t read it now. And I couldn’t remember any of the fingering for the notes. And the reeds! I worked my way up from a 1 1/2 to a 2 1/2 but my goodness did I have to blow really hard to get any noise out of it now!!
My husband will be shaking his head in disbelief because I have now bought new, softer reeds, as well as a music stand and three books of music for the flute and clarinet. I think I have got as far as I can with the tutorials available on You Tube. I may have to start thinking about some Skype lessons.
I am pleased with my progress though. In two weeks I have gone from not even being able to make a noise on the flute to knowing 7 notes and being able to play some simple songs. And in two days on the clarinet I have remembered 5 notes and can play some simple scales. Here is a little video of me showing off my flute playing.
Afternoons seem to be filled during this Coronavirus Lockdown with Facebook Livestreams with Loraine, talking to my husband or our parents and watching things on TV with the kids. There never seems to be enough time to share between them all! But I am loving spending more time with the kids.
This morning I was trying to cut the grass before the lawn mower decided to go on strike. So I thought I would leave it for a bit and come and write this weeks blog. It has had an hour to sort itself out so I am going to try it again. Wish me luck!
Don’t forget that Loraine and I go Live in our Facebook group Knitting Across the Pennines every afternoon. We would love it if you could join us!
If you can’t then check out our videos of our podcast on You Tube
If you liked this post please check out my others – Emma’s Blog