Friday, 12 December 2014

The Knit and Crochet Notebook by Mama's Notebooks - Review

Lets be honest, my design notes are a mess, scribbles on a post it here, notes on a scrap piece of paper there, separate notes on pattern repeats on squared paper... It can be difficult to keep track of it all and while I haven't misplaced anything yet, it is a disaster waiting to happen.

When I discovered the Knit and Crochet Notebook by Mama's Notebooks, I knew I had found a potential solution. I'm so proud to present Mama Heather as a sponsor of Noget Uldent.


Mama Heather is the author of a wide selection of notebooks, from baby to budgets, homeschooling and knitting - Heather offers a notebook to help you keep track of everything.

Now onto the review!

Full disclaimer: the nice Heather sent me my copy for free and I decided to pass it on to my mum, as it was just what she needed! This review is based on both my mum's and my impression of the notebook.

The Knit and Crochet Notebook is not aimed at designers per se, but at every knitter and crocheter and it contains the following segments:
- Project table of contents
- Project pages (enough for 30 projects!)
- Needle and hook tracker
- Gauge tracker
- Project wish list
- How to measure
- Measurement chart
- Standard yarn weight reference
- Notes


Project pages

The amount of project pages is quit generous - 30 projects will last most knitters a year or two, right?!
At the top there are spaces to fill in all the important information and I really liked the 'check when finished' feature at the right hand side of the squared section. It suits my control gene perfectly.
The fact that each project has a full spread, allows for a good amount of space for notes and diagrams, especially if you're not designing from scratch, but making a good deal of moderations, like my mum tend to do.


Needle and hook tracker

We both agree that this feature is great and an important part of a knitting notebook, but frankly neither of us will use it. There's a big disclaimer attached to this statement, we both have highly organised knitting needle bags and don't feel the need to keep further track of our needles, but if they were say in a box or drawer all mixed and jumbled, then this tracker would be a lifesaver!

Gauge tracker

There's only one word that can truly describe this part of the notebook: ingenious! 
We both knit in the same yarns time and again and while we remember our gauges roughly, writing it down is just one of those duh!-moments. 
There's room for 50 items so just get cranking on those gauge swatches and with the dates noted as well, you'll be able to see if you need to do a check-up, since your gauge does change over time.  

Project wishlist

My mum is lucky to be married to Mr. Please-Knit-Me-A-...., needles to say that the wish list will come in handy. If I had kept the notebook I would use this part to record design ideas and inspirations. 
Most of us have Ravelry queues, but there is just something special about a paper list, isn't there?!

How to measure and the measurements chart 

Sometimes, exactly where and how to take a measurement can get confusing, especially if you are trying to explain it to your helpful, but clueless significant other, the chart makes it easy to explain and the measurement charts means you don't have to take a persons measurements every single time you knit them something. This is particularly handy if your recipients live far away. 


Conclusion 

We quite like the notebook, it has a lot of great features and seems very reasonably priced at $20.99 taking into consideration that it will probably last you at least a year if not a couple of years. We couldn't really think of anything we felt were missing and that is always a plus. So if your notes are as disorganised as ours, then getting the Knit and Crochet Notebook will most likely be a good investment. 
 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Knit Crush: Aimee Alexander

There are people who can do it all, sweaters, hats, scarves, blankets, mittens, socks... Aimee Alexander is one of those people in my opinion.

As always, all pictures in this post are borrowed with permission from their respective Ravelry project pages, by clicking their name, you'll be taken right to them.   

Snow Ghost

Milestones

Loch Lomond

Good Medecine

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Passion is energy...

... feel the power that comes from focussing on what excites you.
- Oprah Winfrey

I never thought I would begin a blog post with an Oprah Winfrey quote, but it seems fitting. You see I'm going to take sort of a break from blogging in December. I have a few posts in mind that I want to share with you, like the follow up on the Honninghjerte recipe, an exciting product review and a knit crush, one or two other posts may sneak their way in there, but I won't be doing my regular Monday-Wednesday-Friday blogging.

In case you are worrying I'm going to abandon blogging, I want to easy your mind at once. The reason I'm taking most of December off from blogging is because I 1) Have a lot going on with family and school at the moment. 2) I Want to spend the last month of the year preparing for next year. I've mentioned before that there are a few changes I'd like to make to ensure that blogging and designing runs more smoothly. I'll be defining those and implementing some of those in December.

I want to spend the year focussing even more on the things that excite me: theology, designing and food. I'm hoping that 2015 will see my first collection of knitting patterns, a lot more reviews and hopefully a bunch of designing I can share with you.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Remember the waves?


Oh those waves.. They wrapped me in love and summer memories. It took no time at all to knit that big, cosy shawl and then I sat down right away and wrote up the pattern and sent it into test knitting and now it is all done and waiting for the photo shoot.

That's what happened, right, please tell me that was what I did...

Oh, alright you guessed it! While it is true that it took no time to knit up and it really is a cosy shawl, the rest of the actions above never took place. The only piece of the pattern that has been written up is  the final decrease and BO. It wasn't for a lack of good intentions, but you know what they say about those and a certain road going some place warm. Sigh.

Thus now I have to do something I dread. I have to reverse engineer the pattern. That isn't the worst that could happen, but there's a catch... There's always a catch when you find yourself in this kind of situation, isn't there?!

The catch is that I have absolutely no time on my hands to write up the pattern at the moment. Truth be told, I'm struggling to make designing a priority right now. What I need is more hours in the day, but don't we all need that from time to time. It's not that I've fallen out of love with this project or designing in general, that couldn't be further from the truth. It's simply that between my full time study gig and two side jobs, designing, which at the moment is an expense more than a job, just has to be done last.

I still lay in bed at night when I'm about to go to sleep and dream about my first collection being finished. I dream bigger dreams sometimes of a romantic life filled with theology, wonderful people and lots of knit wear designing. And then I stop myself, because isn't that pretty much the life I live right now? It sure is filled with romance, theology, wonderful people and some knit wear designing...

So instead of beating myself up about not haven written up the pattern for the waves shawl yet, I'm beginning to think it isn't that bad of a deal. At least when everything goes wrong in the writing because I've forgotten it all, I'll have some to share with you!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Invaluable blogging tools


The recent creative blog tour made me think about the way I blog and the tools I use. Personally I love to hear about different 'systems' and as I'm looking into streamlining my system even more, I though I'd go ahead and share what I do now.  I'm by no means a pro at this, but here are my invaluable blogging tools.

Bullet journal

Every month I dedicate a page in my Bullet Journal to my blogging activities. The layout I tried this month isn't as good as the previous one, so it's obvious that I'm still tweaking this, but overall here are the things the page include:
  • Editorial calendar 
  • To-do list for the blog
  • To-do list for designs

The editorial calendar

My (blogging)life would be insane without this one tool. It's probably the most important for me if we overlook the obvious need of a computer.
Having a list of 12-15 open slots that need to be filled with content can seem a little daunting at first, but I quickly came to love it. The editorial calendar provides such a clear and visional progress statement. I can fill in content, move it around and mark when I've finished working on a post. To me this is priceless.

To-do lists

These are pretty self-explanatory, aren't they?! I find that a lot of things on these lists don't get done that month. But it's a safe keeping system and it means that said tasks aren't swimming around in my head. 

iPhone

The whole smartphone world is still pretty new to me as I got my first this summer, but it has proved a great tool for blogging. I would say that around 95% of the pictures I shoot for this blog is taken with my iPhone 5s. It's even painless to add them to posts via my phone. What I haven't found useful is writing the actual post on the phone. I prefer to do that on a computer.

MacBook Air

Speaking of computers, my beloved old MacBook was retired this summer. As a result of it's age there was a lot of webpages that I simply couldn't access. Not good when said webpages are needed for a lot of your work. I had know this day would come and saved up for an Air for years. I decided on a 11" as I needed something small and portable and oddly enough, writing long papers on a small machine doesn't bother me.  

Canva

The final tool I use all the time is completely free! Canva lets you design graphics like the one I made for this post for free or you can choose to use elements from them, for $1 a piece. I've never bought anything from them yet, since you can do so much with the free elements and I'm on a tight budget. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A surprise spot of Christmas knitting

I had all my Christmas knitting done for the year many moons ago. Then my mum got the very yarn I usually knit my dad's socks out of as a gift - it had to be a sign, right?!



A pair of dad-sized socks is nothing big in my world. They have come to be my zen knitting. I've done so many pairs, I believe I could knit them in my sleep if you handed me the needles. It takes me a week to crank out a pair if I'm diligent. In between the fogs of sleep and ickiness last week, I somehow managed to do a lot of knitting. And I do mean a lot. Here's the proof:



Not one, but two socks! Ready to be handed off to my dad as his second pair of Christmas socks this year. Not that I'm counting the pairs I've made him this year alone (5) or anything. I love to make them though, because no one appreciates a pair of hand made socks as much as my dad. It's all he wears. We've tailored them to fit him perfectly and while they look a bit strange when not on a foot, especially the toe, they fit him like a glove, eeeh sock. You should hear the disappointment in his voice when I had the nerve to cast on a sock that wasn't for him, let alone of my own design!

Next year I'll undoubtedly knit him an additional 4 pairs, as that seems to be the rate he goes through them. And yes, my mum darn them once or twice before they are so worn out they simply disintegrate.

Are you doing any Christmas knitting?

Monday, 17 November 2014

As the pendulum swings... A note on life and time management.

We didn't have a pendulum, so you're stuck with my man's pocket watch...

Have you ever felt like the whole deal with 'a balanced life' was just one big sham, invented with the sole purpose of making you and me feel inadequate? I've always been big on pursuing this mythical 'balance', which all the cool kids seemed to possess. That, however, changed for me last week. It wasn't a instant turnover, in fact this whole balance deal has been in the back of my head for a while now.

What was so special about last week, was that I spent most of it in bed with a tremendous head cold. This nasty condition made me sleep away most of the day as well as the nights and for the first time ever, I was okay it. I knew it meant this week would be much harder, I knew it meant it might not be as fun, as I would a) be recovering from the nastiness and b) have two week's worth of work to get done. But I was okay with it.

Why was I so okay with it? I asked myself that more than once. Slowly the answer began to form in my mind. I was okay with it because... wait for it... life is not about constant balance.

I will venture to say that life is about the complete opposite of constant balance and that our pursuit of it may be a large part of why so many of us feel less than great about how our days, months and years are spent.

Don't get me wrong, balance has its place in life. That place is just not on a day to day basis, but in a much larger scheme. That scheme is a year, or sometimes even years. As nature cycles through the months and seasons, so do we.

Exceptionally busy times are generally followed by much quieter times, where we can rest and rejuvenate, enabling us to face the next period of toils. After the harvest comes the sweet and quiet months of winter, a time to stay indoors and get lost in books and wool, learning things that will aid us through the next spring, summer and fall with a bit more grace.

2015 will, no doubt, be a busy year for me. I'll write my B.A. and (D.V.) begin my master's degree. If all goes well, we'll be moving next year. As I'm preparing for this busy time, I'm tweaking systems and trying out new things to make the year run smoother.

I hope you'll continue to join me as I work on embracing the different seasons life has to offer, one day at a time.