"" The girl who makes things: January 2015

Monday, 19 January 2015

Baby steps

My Grandmother taught me to knit. I remember it quite clearly. I was about seven or eight years old and she gave me three balls of lurid coloured yarn which I knitted into the ugliest, most wonky rectangle known to man. From there I knitted a slightly more even rectangle (it was destined to be a scarf but I lost patience) and then I didn't do any more.

That was until a few years ago, around this time of year, when I rediscovered knitting. I was walking around the post Christmas sales in M&S with my Mum and I found a baby knitting set on sale for only £3. The project looked simple, yet challenging enough to be interesting, so I bought the set and spent the rest of my holidays knitting a baby cardigan, hat and gloves. This was the first time I'd ever followed pattern instructions so I messed up along the way, but the sense of achievement from actually making something functional was like a watershed moment and I became addicted. Since then I've made numerous hats, gloves, socks, toys and even a cable knit cardigan. I've done so much that I can now (almost) knit without looking at my hands.

I haven't, however, knitted anything since last winter (I never feel like knitting in warm weather), but while I was at my parent's house over the Christmas holidays, I found the little cardigan and hat I first made. True, they were both rather misshapen, but the pattern was actually quite sweet and perfect for a new born. My Mum suggested that I give them to my new niece/nephew, who should be arriving in April this year, but I knew I could easily remake them better. So, I searched for the pattern in my parent's house but couldn't find it anywhere. By this time I was fully inspired and determined to make something, so I got online and found this free pattern which is actually quite similar.

In fact, I'd say that this pattern is even easier than the original one I used. I'd certainly recommend it to knitting novices as the instructions are clear and there aren't any really fiddly techniques such as picking up stitches. Also, as we don't know the sex of the baby, I didn't want to make anything particularly masculine or feminine so this pattern works brilliantly as a unisex garment.

I chose this soft cream yarn which came from ... One of the things I love about Lisbon is the amount fabric and knitting shops. Seriously, it's like being a kid in a sweet shop. The shop assistants were so lovely and helpful, and very patient with my limited/non existent Portuguese, which is a bonus.

I've really enjoyed knitting this little cardigan. I love living in Lisbon, but I miss my family and knitting something for my baby niece/nephew has helped me to feel more connected to them. It also reminds me of the good things that 2015 will bring. I doubt this will be the last thing I make for baby anon, but I'm glad to say it's the first!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Feliz Ano Novo!

Good evening and a very happy New Year to you all. I'm sorry that it's been such an obscenely long time since I last posted. I didn't intend to go this long without saying anything but life got in the way and before I knew it we were into a new year already. This blog has been on my conscience for a number of months, so as a new year's resolution I decided to make a fresh start and write something.

I'd best begin by giving you a brief update about what I've been up to. Well, as you may already know last Semptember I emigrated to Lisbon, Portugal with my boyfriend and started teaching at a private language school. The move was, as you can imagine, a massive upheaval in terms of settling into a new job, setting up a new home, getting to know a new city and attempting to learn an entirely new language. Yet despite the stress and strain of moving, Lisbon has been a fantastic choice for us. It's a beautiful city with an enormous amount of history and culture. It's not entirely on the tourism radar so it never feels over touristy or commercialised. I've also met some awesome people and made some pretty solid friendships.

The beginning wasn't easy though. For the first six weeks we were here we had no internet in our flat. The outcome of this was two things: I read a lot of books and I lost touch with the blogging and sewing community. So I sort of missed out on a key incentive for me to make and write things: inspiration. Added into this, the pressure of adapting to a new work life and attending Portuguese lessons has not only left me tired, but has also sapped my creativity. As a result, I've made pretty much zilch since I've been in Lisbon.

This year I've decided not to make any new year's resolutions. I've already bitten off more than I can chew by moving out here. Instead I want to make a small promise to give this little blog some more time and attention and to nurture my creativity so that neither flicker out. The direction of this blog might have to change, ie I can't do as much sewing as I used to, but seeing as the title is 'The Girl Who Makes Things' I may write more about the other things I make. So, I've started 2015 with a small project: a little knitted baby cardigan for my neice/nephew who should hopefully arrive in April. More on this later. Once again, Happy New Year and I hope that 2015 brings you everything you desire.