Sketchy

For Christmas I was given, among other things, a copy of The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde. I came across sketchnoting a few months ago (via a link from the Bullet Journal site I think) and I’ve been following his website and reading about it.

My initial impression was that sketchnoting isn’t really that ground-breaking, just a way of entertaining yourself while taking notes in lectures and talks. I also was sceptical about whether I could draw well enough to make it worthwhile trying.

Today I went to a day conference on rural ministry, over the border in the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales. With four half hour talks in the morning and two seminars in the afternoon, there was plenty of scope for trying out sketchnoting.

Drawing arrows works well
Drawing arrows works well

Of the six talks, here’s the one that looks most like a sketchnote. I still wonder if I could have captured more using traditional notes, but I do think I’ve got the most important things down in a way that makes sense to me. More importantly, I found it easy to concentrate, didn’t fall asleep and found that the quality of my listening was better: I was listening with the question, “what are the most important things I’m hearing” foremost in my mind.

My conclusion is that sketchnoting may well be a fruitful way forward. It relies on the people speaking being well organised and flagging up verbally what they consider to be the most important areas. I think it would be very difficult to sketchnote a poor speaker. I will continue to explore the concept (including finishing reading the book – just chapter 7 to go, which is the chapter that concentrates on how to draw) and see how it goes.

In the past year I’ve really got attached to my notebook. It’s a Moleskine 5″ by 7″ with lined pages. Being a Moleskine, the paper is too flimsy for fountain pens but I use it with a Staedtler triplus ball medium and I’ve found it really useful. Since last February, when I started it, I’ve used 181 pages out of 240.

  • I keep my master to-do lists in there.
  • I use a page per day, when I’ve got a day at my desk, to keep track of all the things I should be doing.
  • It travels with me to meetings and I write down all my action points in there, so I know there’s only one place to look.
  • I’m using a version of the bullet journal system (including
  • I keep notes from lectures and sermons in there
  • the children have used it to draw in when they are bored

I’m now at the point of deciding whether to get another Moleskine or switch to a different notebook. I’ve got a Leuchterm A5 with a dot grid for my longer pieces of writing and reflection, but I think it is too big to use for a notebook that travels everywhere (the Moleskine is just that bit narrower and it makes the difference). I also picked up a Rhodiarama, so I could have a notebook that would take fountain pen ink, but it is the same size as the Leuchterm and I’m not sure that fountain pen would be very practical in the places I use my travelling notebook. The Church seems to have something against the idea of providing tables to lean on in any kind of taught session or meeting.

In other news

There was also a really beautiful window in the seminar room I was in. I tried drawing it in a quieter moment, but it didn’t work out well. Good thing I had my camera handy. There were some green and pink parts to the window that you can’t see in the photo that added to the perfection.

Small but perfectly formed
Small but perfectly formed

I continued with my crochet scarf during the talks – another way to stop me falling asleep is to have a knitting or crochet project that I know off by heart (or nearly) in my hands. Progress: 5/90. I need a spreadsheet to keep track of which colour combinations I have used.

A little bit of WIP

This evening I decided to tackle a new project, which has been queued up for 15 months. At Yarndale in 2014 I bought a scarf kit from the now sadly discontinued Natural Dye Studio to make a Plankton Scarf.
It’s a modular project, which fills the gap left by the epic sock yarn scarf, but using specific yarn, so not diminishing the sock yarn scraps in any way. This may become problematic at a later date, but is fine for now, (one can always buy bigger boxes).
The children very helpfully assisted in winding the yarn before bedtime, then I perused the pattern before jumping in and making the first motif.
There’s a couple of challenges:

The pattern is written for 8 colours, but the kit only contains 5, so there’s no compunction to follow the very detailed chart of colour options at the end of the pattern, but I’ll have to come up with my own colour design instead.

There’s one instruction that has me baffled, which is to do with the chain stitches at the beginning of the rounds. How do you “crochet chain stitches into a gap”? Chain stitches just are where they are as far as I’ve ever known. The intended effect seems to be anchoring the chain stitches slightly to the rear of where they would naturally form. More experimentation needed. My crochet tutor (aka Mum) is popping by for a visit tomorrow so I shall consult her and see what she says.

Anyway, I’ve got one finished motif with ends sewn in ready for blocking.

wp-1452037956410.jpg

One down, 89 to go.

I think I’ve found an error in the written instructions, although the chart is correct. 9dcs on round 5 rather than 8.

Here’s the latest on the yellow and grey socks. They’ve been frogged once and I’m not sure whether they won’t succumb again, as I’m not overly impressed with the pooling on the leg.

image

The blue and white sock is progressing nicely, albeit slowly. I’ve just tackled two colour purling for the heel flap.

wp-1452038377954.jpg

That’s all the active WIPs at the moment. There are inactive ones too, but they’ve made no progress since the last update.

Finished objects will follow in due course.

Finished item parade

It’s been a busy summer so far as knitting and crochet go. The spinning is on hiatus, shortly to be resumed as my diary settles down to what passes for normal. The boy goes back to school tomorrow and, by the end of the week, I should have time to myself during the day without being interrupted every three seconds (ish) by a small girl demanding to attach stickers to my clothes, or wanting to play. I’ve taken as much time off work this summer as I can to spend with the kids, but I am clearly not meeting their standards.

Parade of finished objects

Not a large parade, but more than one item, so deserving of the term I believe.

This was my summer holiday knitting, although it is, of course, not knitting at all, but crochet. Fingerless gloves, which wended their way to my Mother, ready for her 60th birthday. I have it in mind to make at least two more pairs of these. These are my August finished item.

Dragonscale gloves
Dragonscale gloves

With September comes Sniper Season. Here’s my first shot, aimed far into the West. I posted these on September 5th, which may even be record time for me. I usually manage to knit them within the first week. 4 days is a time I’m quite pleased with.

Sniper Socks
Sniper Socks

Next comes an item which both is and isn’t a finished item. I’ve completed the Far Into the Forest first sock, but I’ve had enough of the pattern, so I’m not knitting another one.

farintotheforest
Far into the Forest sock

Instead I have cast on for another colourwork sock, using the remaining yarn and another pattern: Snow Under Cedars.

Finally, I don’t think this is a finished object, but it was one of the highlights of the summer:

j knitting
J begins her knitting career

My daughter showed an interest in learning to knit. We got some suitably pink yarn and settled down together. She loves learning the knitting rhyme and saying it with me, she’s getting the hang of the movements that go with it but, she would much rather go freestyle. We’ve had a few incidences of a great big tangly mess at the end of a knitting session. Still, she’s nearly caught up with her brother in the length of knitting she’s managed.

WIP round-up

  • No progress on the cotton square a month blanket
  • No further squares added to the sock yarn scarf
  • Rachel Coopey’s Greebo socks in the Greebo colourway from Knitting Goddess.  I’m halfway up one foot, but they are turning out rather large. No-one I’ve shown it to has expressed an interest in wearing it. May need a re-start in a smaller size
  • Ianthine: A Curl from Hunter Hammersen’s book Curls. Still on 2nd or 3rd repeat. Needs some good autumn tv viewing.
  • New item: Color Affection, using some cashmere lace-weight. It’s going well, but the yarn is quite fragile and keeps breaking. This was not helped by it having been nibbled round the edges by a mouse in my knitting bag.

Reading round-up

This has been the summer of the big trashy re-read, mostly on Kindle.

I have read:

  • All the Twilight novels again, plus The Host
  • The Stieg Larsson Millennium Trilogy
  • Mr Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore
  • Gail Carriger’s Alexia Tarabotti series: Soulless, Heartless, Timeless, Blameless, Changeless. These were a re-read of books I have previously got from the library. They are steam-punk with werewolves and vampires: really funny. I also read the short story prequel The Curious Case and the series Etiquette and Espionage, Curtsies and Conspiracies, Waistcoats and Weaponry, which are aimed more at the young adult market. There’s some crossover of characters. I’ve so far managed not to buy the other series, which is set later on, but it is only a matter of time.

Less trashy reading that has been accomplished is as follows:

  • Jesus Feminist – Surprisingly non-cringe-worthy. A good approach to cutting through all the patriarchal baggage that the Church has gathered over the years, without turning towards the man-hating end of the spectrum.
  • Alan Turing: The Enigma – interesting biography, but it did get tedious in places
  • Lingo: A language-spotter’s guide to Europe – fascinating. Short chapters, each about a different language.
  • Racing Through the Dark: the autobiography of David Millar – I’ve become fascinated by the stories of the dark side of professional cycling. This one is no-holds-barred, introspective and penitent.
  • The new Patrick Gale novel: A Place Called Winter. Heartbreaking, with an undercurrent of menace.

There might be more, but this is what I can remember.

Update:

I’ve also read The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District, by James Rebanks. A real insight into the production of wool and lamb in this country. Sobering at times, but also inspiring.

 

Two finished items

Last week on my day off I spent most of the day sourcing items for the boy’s world book day costume: he went as Asterix. Here’s the hat.

asterixhat

I had to buy a hot glue gun to make the wings. Now that is an awesome new toy.

Later in the day, I sat down with some yellow yarn and a crochet hook and came up with this:

tache

A good addition to the dressing up box. I fixed pipe cleaners to the ends of the tache, so it works rather like glasses hooking behind the ear.

In order to complete the World Book Day costume, I had to compromise on the deadline for the Fish Lips Kiss Socks, but they are done as well now, even if they weren’t ready to be opened on the significant birthday for which they were intended.

fishlips

I only have four WIPs at the moment: that must be the lowest number for some time. I have new projects all set and ready to go whenever I feel like it, but I keep being drawn to finish up the old ones. This is almost unprecedented, but I’m going with it.

I’m getting out all my WIPs today. I will sit in my chair catching up with all the tv I’ve missed this week and alternate them. The project I really want out of the way is the Amigurumi project, which I started on a whim and swiftly got bored with. I’ve a lovely crochet project waiting to go, but I won’t begin another crochet project until this one is finished. I suppose that means I had better go and work on that, since knitting and crochet projects get finished much more quickly when you work on them, rather than looking disapprovingly at them and wishing they were done.

2014 FO and WIP round-up

I think most of these links will only work if you have a Ravelry account. If you knit and don’t have an account, I highly recommend it.

What did I finish in 2014?

  • Handwarmers for my sister – finished on January 2nd (a late Christmas present
  • Stranded Advent Scarf – finished on January 23rd
  • Socks for Toby and some more squares on the great big sock yarn scarf. These were both for the 2014 Winter Ravellenics
  • Two (1,2)pairs of socks for Sock Madness
  • A hat for me
  • Ysoldas’s Mystery KAL shawl
  • My portable knitting project: Trillian, a small triangular scarf made of sock yarn (no picture of it finished, but it is often round my neck).
  • Socks for Sock Sniper
  • The big Auction Socks of DOOM

What do I have on the needles and what is the likelihood of completion?

  • The Swirl (50% complete). Very likely to finish the knitting. The seaming might get procrastinated.
  • The Sock blanket scarf (60% complete). Now too big to carry round as a portable knitting project, but too small to be finished. Slim chance of finishing any time soon.
  • The amigurumi project. I’ve lost interest in this. I have an elephant and half a turtle. Needs bringing to a close before I start another crochet project.
  • Some camouflage lace socks (first sock nearly done).  Highly likely to be finished. These were put aside in order to do the great big auction socks of DOOM. It was a toss-up as to whether to finish these before the swirl, but the swirl is definitely winter knitting, so these can wait.
  • Some plain socks using the Fish Lips Kiss Heel – always nice to learn a new heel. (Honesty here – I’ve just had to add this to Ravelry because I started it over the summer when I was in a hurry for a new project and never got round to adding it as a WIP). My current portable project: slowly but surely it will be finished.
  • The big cotton blanket from 2011. I think I’ve six squares completed. Let’s not kid ourselves: I may as well add this to the WIP list for the end of next year. The blanket needs to be bigger than the child it is destined for (or her dolls) and she is now 3.

The plan is to finish the swirl before starting anything else.

What is in the queue and ready to begin?

  • Color Affection: yarn wound, pattern printed
  • Kadril – pattern gifted by Beth in 2013, yarn chosen, needs winding
  • Knee-length socks for me. Yarn purchased, need to choose pattern
  • A crochet kit that I bought at Yarndale (impulse purchase because the yarn is so pretty)

    Beautiful Yarn
    Beautiful Yarn

Looking further ahead

  • I’d like to learn to fit a sweater properly
  • I’ve got a great big skein of laceweight that wants to be a big shawl
  • Spinning, perhaps even spinning for a particular project and then knitting it

Springtime

It must be spring: I have the urge to crochet. No idea why, but most of the things I have crocheted have been started around February or March.

I missed my usual post on the blog on my day-off routine yesterday.

Sorry.

I was busy.

webelephant

My boy said to me, on being presented with the object “Mummy, it looks a BIT like an elephant”. There’s hope for my crochet skills yet.

There’s more to this story, but a solitary eye-less elephant will have to do you for now. I think my sewing needs a bit of work.