How craft making and Scotland rescued me

How craft making and Scotland rescued me

Life before…

My life was consumed with working hard and very long hours to earn money for a few weeks a year of international travel.  We went to many fabulous and breathtaking places around the world including Hawaii, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Australia, various US states and parts of Italy.  I also travelled to Peru and Bolivia for 31 days as a mix of holiday and unpaid leave (Follow links to see photo highlights).  And so I thought my blog was turning into a travel blog…

The breakdown…

At the end of 2016 I started to burnout and lose control of my mind, I wasn’t coping at work despite (or perhaps because I was) working almost every waking hour and not making enough progress to satisfy my own high standards. By early 2017 I was a jibbering wreck, unable to stop crying all the time and was eventually signed off with anxiety and depression.  When my sick pay ran out I couldn’t face returning to work, stressed at the thought and afraid that my resilience was too weak and I would return to old habits of working every hour and so I requested a 12 month sabbatical (unpaid leave).  So I am due to return in September, unless I resign.

My new life…

Whilst off work I have started doing more craft type things, I have wet felted a hat and a handbag learned how to knit, made some sea glass jewellery, bought a spinning wheel and I’m now learning how to spin.  We bought a tent last autumn and instead of international travel we have been exploring the North of Scotland and some of its many Isles either with the tent or renting small cottages.
I have been blown away by the scenery that we have seen…and with my calmer mindset I can actually be present and fully enjoy being in the moment and after walking 20k steps enjoy an evening sitting in our tent with my husband and dog and knitting another hitchhiker scarf! Scotland has white sandy beaches and turquoise water, okay you need to wear layers, not a bikini…but then you often get a beach to yourselves!
As for my future…we shall see!
October 2017  
Isle of Eriskay, Western Isles, Scotland
 March 2018
Coral beach, Isle of Skye 

 

June 2018
Sango_Sands_beach_Durness.jpg
Sango Sands beach, Durness
Balnakeil beach, Durness, North Scotland

 

Hitchhiker scarf

Hitchhiker scarf

I found this pattern when searching Ravelry for something to make with a ball of light fingering weight Reliable Sock Yarn I had in my stash. My yarn was from Ripples Crafts Hand Dyed Yarn, Helen is an independent local(ish) dyer and can be found along the North Coast 500 route so at some point I will pop in. Helen also sells online with worldwide shipping and attends various yarn festivals in the UK and Ireland. I have made quite a few hats and fingerless gloves with Helen’s sock yarns and they are warm, fit in your pocket and are lasting really well…although I did lose one in Italy 😢

I started the scarf in April and finished it at 1am last night…I was determined to finish it in May…it was still May somewhere!

The hitchhiker pattern can be bought online through Ravelry and cost €4.30 when I bought it. This pattern is linked to nearly 30,000 projects on Ravelry!!! I’m sure some people make a few different versions, but still…this must have made its designer a good income…oh to come up with a popular and unique pattern!

I used an alteration to the pattern for the final edge (that has teeth rather than the pattern’s straight edge). For those with a Ravelry account this was found on Amanda2127’s Reflective Hitchhiker. The only problem was I started to panic over how much yarn that would use and so I’ve ended up with a fair bit of yarn left, not enough to make anything useful I imagine, I should perhaps have weighed it rather than guessing.

If I make another I will do the Hitchhiker with eyelets adaptation that lots of others on Ravelry have done, with eyelets on each 8th row. I may also go up a needle size as this seemed to take forever to make.

My sister is buying me some blocking boards for my birthday next week, so it will be blocked then…but for now here’s how it looks unblocked.

A brand new adventure in fibre

A brand new adventure in fibre

Yesterday I bought an Ashford spinning wheel from a lovely lady, who also sold me lots of goodies to go with it. I had bought a niddy-noddy (yep that really is it’s name) the day before from Bunloit Woolery at Dingwall Wool and Textile fair, but all my other equipment came from this lady’s mother’s things.

There was already some single ply yarn on one of the bobbins, so I moved half of it to another and then today did some spinning to make 2 ply. It was a good way of practicing rhythm and holding the yarns plus with the different tones I could see the spinning in action.

Thanks to YouTube and Knittingthestash blog I knew roughly what to do and have now steamed my spun yarn and it’s drying in the gorgeous weather we are having in the Highlands (for a change).

Tomorrow I am going to have a go at spinning some of my wool fibre! But I don’t want to do too much on one day…in case I’m sore muscled tomorrow.

Niddy-noddy

Niddy-noddyAshford spinning wheelFirst 2 ply attempt

Knitting bug continues

I have finally realised that I cannot possibly wear all the hats myself, and so I have now started to make gifts for friends and my husband.  I need to move on to making socks or another jumper to challenge myself a bit more.  Hats are so easy and often quick, so they are hard to resist.   A proper tracker can be seen on my Ravelry projects list along with the pattern and yarn details.

I have caught the knitting bug!

I have caught the knitting bug!

Made so far

Whilst taking a year off from work, I decided to learn how to knit!  And now I can’t stop knitting things.  YouTube, Pinterest and Ravelry are my new best friends, with so many ideas for making things with the yarns that I have accumulated over the last few years.

Buying yarn is quite addictive!  I have logged all my yarns in Ravelry and realise I need to resist buying any more yarn until I have made at least some impact on my stash…that said, there’s a Knit Fest coming to my town in the next couple of months eek!  Can I resist buying more?

One of my favourite suppliers is Ripples Crafts, they sell sock yarn that crochets into really warm hats that don’t take up too much room in your pocket and the colours are amazing.  I lost the first hat I crocheted with their yarn, and was pretty devastated for sentimental reasons, but also the batches of colours are small, so finding the same coloured thread would be impossible.  If I can ever stop knitting items, I will get around to learning how to crochet proper stitches and patterns!  But I’ve enjoyed giving it a go.

My missing hat
My first crocheted hat…last seen in Verona, Italy!