It's suddenly all go around here, huh?

Long time readers may remember this pattern from the first time around, but don't beat yourself up if you don't, 6 years is a long time! And it looks different now too, with it's fresh modelled shots.

Indeed, Mushroom Cap was designed 6 years ago, and after only being out in the wilds for a few months, it was pulled (along with the couple of other crochet patterns I had) so I could devote time to them and bring them up to the same standard as my knitting patterns. During that time, my knitting patterns have evolved and they've all been updated/reformatted etc more than once, which meant that the standard to which the Mushroom Cap had to reach just kept rising. And in turn, it just kept waiting and waiting... I never meant for it to wait that long but it was much easier to keep going with knitting patterns, being as my understanding of crochet pales by comparison.

During that time my friend Clair of Flower Pot Tots helped me understand what my pattern needed, as she's much more proficient at crochet than most folks I know, but timing wasn't right, and it embarrassingly fell by the wayside again.

Last summer, during one of my workshops at Fibre & Clay, I had the pleasure of meeting Valerie, who tech edits for Amanda at the Natural Dye Studio. We talked, and realised that Mushroom Cap may have another chance, and may just get to see the light of day again. The other crochet patterns were no concern, but this one has stuck with me because I like it so.

This was of course during all the Bambeanies madness, yet I was good, and as soon as there was a little headspace, I got in touch with Valerie and we took it from there. And she was fantastic, especially with her patience whenever I wasn't able to respond to queries for a week or so. Crochet still isn't 2nd nature to me in the way that knitting is, and I still find it tricky to switch between the two in my head. (I've waffled at length before how languages and me don't get on... I figure this is the same kinda thing?)

And now, Mushroom Cap has been published, in all it's new spangly glory. I just love that shape, a beret-pixie hybrid! Sending the files off to Valerie was exciting enough but to see it published and ready again - amazing. This pattern sat at the bottom of my to-do list for years, and the feeling off ticking something off that's been there that long really can't be beat.

Originally the pattern had only 2 sizes, and with Valerie's help, there are now 3. She's helped me with my pattern writing and notation (I have a tendency to write crochet patterns on knit pattern style...) and improved my overall approach to crochet patterns. The pattern also comes in 2 flavours - UK and US - so everyone is catered for. It doesn't include charts, that's a whole other minefield, but we both felt that for this pattern, written format was sufficient.

I am thinking about maybe resurrecting some of my other old crochet patterns, if only to try them out and see how they work with all this new insight. I'm also keen to start playing around with a hook again (not in a freeform sense, I'm totally ok with the less disciplined nature of freeform ;) to see if I can design some more Hats with patterns in mind. But no promises - my work load is heavy enough as it is. But I am v.tempted to play, and now I know there's a fantastic crochet tech editor that I get on with, then the incentive is greater.

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It feels like forever that I've been battling this particular design, even though it probably only is a week or two.

Even though I know exactly how I want the body to look, have all my measurements and swatches and dimensions, it's just not coming together. The brim just isn't right and how the colours relate to each other is all wrong too. So I'm shelving it, there's no point in pushing something that isn't working.

Right now, I'm struggling to get excited about any new designs; I'll pick up my needles to work something through, try it, and nearly every time I put it back down again. It would seem that my design mojo has gone on a bit of a holiday. 

It feels kinda strange, and a little bit worrying, too.

The last breakdown I had changed the course of my life completely. I was a full time Art and Textiles teacher, and the burn out was so bad that teaching could never be a large part of my job again. I love teaching occasional workshops, and that's how I want to keep it. Things haven't been as bad this time, and having been through it more than once, I could see what was happening and put a few safety nets in place. I know that pushing myself when my mojo is down will only result in me loathing the designing, so it's best to go with the flow, not try and force it.

Enter some spirals.

I can remember telling myself, and telling friends, that I was planning to make some freeform and spiral Hats again once I'd finished Going Straight. That was 4 years ago, at least.

It's wonderful to be playing with these again. I've missed the freedom, muchly. And this one is coming along nicely - can't say yet whether it will have the same magic as previous creations, as it has been a few years and I am a little rusty. But it's oh so good to be playing with yarn again, and not having to document everything I do.

That's not to say that designing Hats, and publishing designs has ceased. On the contrary, the Mystery KAL is all set for November, there's a bunch fresh designs all due for publication soon and there's one or two that are awaiting tech editing and modelling, all set for release over the coming months. Once these are all done, the pressure is off. There'll be no deadlines for a while, no commitments, until I'm well enough. Then, I plan to restructure my business so that I run it, not the other way round, and the new schedule will include some time for me, as well as proper family time.

Or at least, that's the plan.

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It wasn't a white one for us, infact we woke up to a warm and sunny day, with an average temperature of 17 degrees!

Santa was all too generous with Aran, who rather got into the spirit of things and the ripping open of presents

There were trucks and more trucks, boats and helicopters, books about trucks, colouring books of trucks and well, you get the picture. One little boy was very, very happy, despite his streaming cold. Gifts came from all around - nearly everyone on the Yard had something for Aran, and it seemed the gift opening would never end!

For ourselves, our gifts were more modest. These two fantastic books were from Tom (by request, of course ;) - I have the knitting equivalents, and my aim with these is to improve my crochet skills as well as improve my Italian. I also got a remote control for my camera - super handy!

Christmas dinner was a communial affair, just like last year. Not everyone came, as many had other dinner plans and the vegetarians weren't keen on sharing the aroma of our meats, so there was a party on christmas eve which saw everyone come together, and another christmas night. ('tis the party season, after all)

The 'house' (communial building) is in the process of being redecorated, and was looking bright and colourful, perfect for the day.

Much fun was had indeed. Myself and Aran retired early (we were knackered!) and Tom stayed on and partied till the wee hours, as everyone drifted in later on.

New Year is bound to see another big party. I took baby duty last year so in theory it's my turn to see in the new year in style, but alcohol and my meds aren't getting along and I'm not sure I've the stamina to stay awake that long without alcohol! We'll see...

I hope everyone had a happy and merry festive season, however you celebrated, and here's to a wonderful and warm new year! See you in 2010 :)

Happy New Year!

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Ok, 2008 wasn't an unproductive year ;)

Whilst I was playing around looking at all the designs I did in 2008, I got a bit carried away and organised all the others by year too. It turned out to be a useful exercise - helping me keep track of what I've done and when, and also giving me something constructive to blog about!

So here's the breakdown year by year....
(Listed by the year they were written, not published, and not chronological within the year)

2007

35 designs:-  1) Arbacia, 2) Baby Tri-Peak, 3) Baby Rollin' Beret, 4) Baby Jester, 5) Baby I-Cord, 6) Coldharbour Twist, 7) Bridget, 8) Sideways Bobble Hat, 9) Pixie Flora (v1), 10) Pixie Flora (v2), 11) Lucy, 12) Windward, 13) Twinkle, 14) Trinity, 15) Sweet Winkie, 16) Strudel, 17) Strawberry Joe, 18) Reverser, 19) Rainbow Warrior, 20) Pickelhaube, 21) Marrow Joe, 22) Guimauve, 23) Gyroscope, 24) Enroule, 25) Dulcie, 26) Dryad, 27) Daisy, 28) Curlicue, 29) Centuria, 30) Carousel, 31) Candy Pi, 32) Bob Cap, 33) Bella, 34) Alfie, 35) Abalone


2006

30 designs :-  1) Bobba Hat, 2) Bobble Beret, 3) Cabled Cap, 4) Igloo, 5) Loopy Bonnet, 6) Runnin' Beanie, 7) Roadsta, 8) Trellis Beret, 9) Ribba (v1), 10) Playboy, 11) My Dear Stalker, 12) Scrappy Flapper, 13) Funky Flapper, 14) Spring Cap, 15) Sloppy Joe, 16) Spiral Play, 17) Pleated Beret, 18) Ribbed Beanie, 19) Loopy Flapper, 20) Flappy Cabler, 21) Jester Hat, 22) Handspun Beanie, 23) Tudor Cap, 24) Whirly Rib Cap, 25) I-Cord Beanie, 6) Ribba (v2), 27) Hex Hat, 28) Urchin Cap, 29) Hat of Horns, 30) Hexed


2005

4 designs:-  1) Tri-Peak, 2) Tea-Cozy Hat, 3) Slightly Loopy, 4) Rollin' Beret


Interesting, huh? 2007 yielded the most designs but I did write a book! 2005 the least, but I'd only just started and was still teaching full time. Kinda cool for me to see them all listed like this - helps my head get in order. There are a couple of crochet ones that I took down ages ago and haven't included those... I wasn't happy with the way they were written and suspected they may have an error or two. I am planning to revisit them and rework them, but that's near the bottom of a very long and impossible list.

It's taken me quite a while to compile all this so I really should get on and do something, although it's been worth it. I do really need to get focused and make good use of my time. My head's not in a good place, hasn't been for a while (could you tell?) so let's hope 2009 is year when I can finally shake the depression. At least for long enough so that I can remember what it's like not to have the dark illness...

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Aran had us fooled in the first week of new life, by sleeping for a good few hours at a time, letting us believe that this was the way forward.

Wrong.

The little man has decided that the world is far too interesting to sleep. Tom has returned to work after his paternity leave and now I'm left trying to get our little bundle of poo and wee to understand that not only is mummy recovering from major surgery and an infected wound, but that she's also very anaemic and doesn't have much energy. Heck, sometimes I struggle to lift him let alone keep him entertained for hours on end.

We've had to resort to the tried and tested methods, with limited success. The dummy worked for long enough to take this photo (all of 7 mins and 43 seconds) before Aran woke again.

However, dummy + car seat works a treat.

So it's a shame that some w*nker decided to steal our car sunday night. We're peeved, not so much at the car going (it's a Ford Escort, a joy-rider's favourite so we are surprised we've been able to keep it in this area for nearly 5 years) but more at the fact that some of Tom's tools were in the boot, including his favourite Makita drill, all of which are worth more than the car itself and aren't covered by the insurance. Arses. We've had our fair share of vehicle theft and crime now, don't you think?

Thankfully we could be given another car by the end of the week. Another Ford Escort, funnily enough.

Surprisingly, there's not been much yarny play of late.

I started these spirals after my water's broke and worked on them during labour.

There aren't quite enough for a Hat yet, as I want to make a big one, a grand affair, embellished and special as a commemorative piece, so we're waiting for another creative burst to come along.

There is some knitting on the needles too.

I want to make a special Hat for my midwife, Vlora, as a thank you for all her help, and am trying to write a pattern as I go. Ha! Deluded? I received this yarn as part of my reward for the published Arbacia pattern - 100g Fyberspates Scrumptious - and the colours are spot on for Vlora (more jade and purple than the camera will have you believe) I would have to pick something nice and easy like lace, huh? Wish me luck.

And now I have washing up to do, bottles to sterilise, washing to put out, emails to send, phone calls to make, letters to post, nappies to change, tablets to take, a bladder to empty and after all that I'm hoping for some sleep. Hoping.
.

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