Tag Archives: forest canopy

Forget-me-not

The blue, purple and pink combination in today’s outfit put me in mind of forget-me-nots.

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Shawl – Forest Canopy
Shawl pin – Purlescence
Top – M&S
Skirt – made by me
Shoes – Arche

My Forest Canopy seemed to attract a surprising number of compliments today, from both knitters and non-knitters. The woman working in the cafe I met friends for lunch in even got me to write down the name of the pattern on a spare bit of paper so she could go and look it up!

May day

I don’t think SAD accounts for all of my depression – there have definitely been times when I’ve been badly depressed in summer, though there have often been contributing life factors as well – but it’s definitely much worse in winter. And now, after only two weeks of spring and such a long, horrible winter, I feel so much better that it’s hard to recollect just how bad things were less than a month ago.

One of the things that being less depressed enables me to do is to actually talk about my experience of depression to people who aren’t close friends or fellow-sufferers. Somehow, when I’m in the grip of the black dog I find it really difficult to open up, whether that’s to ask for help or just to say how I’m feeling. I was remarking to my dotted line manager today how lovely it was to have sunshine again, and she asked whether the SAD lamp she’d organised for me had helped at all over the winter, so I said that it had, and then mentioned how difficult it had been to ask for help and how desperate I’d been by that point and how much of a struggle the winter had been. In some ways it felt a bit silly saying that now, when it’s not so bad, but actually I’m glad I did, because maybe that means that next time (and there will be a next time, there always is) I’ll have someone at work who’s looking out for me.

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Shawl – Forest Canopy
Shawl pin – Lantern Moon
Jacket – Debenhams
Top and skirt – M&S
Tights – Monsoon
Shoes – Clarks

Hazy shades of winter

I definitely wasn’t going to head outside to take outfit photos this morning, as the combination of a heavy frost and the slushy remains of yesterday’s snow made the going underfoot decidedly treacherous! Something about the grey jacket and the silvery colours of the shawl seemed to echo the harsh wintery sunlight, clear and crisp but lacking warmth and cheer.

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Shawl – Forest Canopy
Jacket – Jigsaw
Dress – Mary Portas
Boots – Gabor

I used to think winter was such a beautiful season. I even looked forward to it, those wonderful mid-afternoon sunsets with the black skeltons of trees outlined against a sky burning gold and orange and red in glory, the tang of cold air taking my breath away. And I guess it is still beautiful, in a wonderfully minimalist way, but as the years go by and I increasingly understand how much the lack of daylight affects my depression, I can’t love it like I used to. I can’t remember the last winter sunset I saw, anyway; normally I’m at work, with a window that faces north onto a narrow street. I occasionally see sunrises on my way to work, but I don’t have the time to linger and drink them in. And I just want spring to come.

(Pondering: at the moment, this is a blog about crafts and clothes, but increasingly I find myself wanting a public forum to talk about mental health issues too, and am wondering if this is an appropriate place for that too…)

Smarter

Today I was back in a jacket and definitely felt smarter. Which was good, as I was going to a seminar on Gift Aid in London and wanted to make sure I looked professional, although given the wide variety of charities represented the other attendees were dressed in everything from jeans to suits and I could probably have worn anything. Still, the jacket is new and was reduced to a third of its original price, and the lining is printed with a map of London so it would have been useful if I got lost!

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Shawl – Forest Canopy
Jacket – Jigsaw
Dress – Mary Portas
Boots – Gabor

Apparently getting up at 5am to catch a 6:55 train, travelling 60 miles to an hour and a half seminar then travelling 60 miles back again and arriving in the office just after midday to get on with the rest of the day’s work is a bit more than I can cope with – in the end I went home at 4:30 because I wasn’t far off falling asleep at my desk…

Short and sweet

Hmmm. Has this dress always been this short?

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Shawl – Forest Canopy
Shawl pin – Lantern Moon
Dress – Gap
Tights – M&S
Shoes – Clarks

(Edit – I think it has always been this short, but I’ve mostly worn it with thicker tights – these are 40 denier instead of 60 and it does make a difference!)

Shawl day

When I started posting pictures of my outfits it was with the idea of showing off how I work handknits into my day-to-day work outfits, but that’s rather fallen away now. Working in a warmer office and needing to look a bit smarter mean that I’m far more likely to wear a jacket or a commercially-made cardigan than a handknitted cardi, and a lot of the time I find myself wearing my shawls as outdoor scarves. It’s a real shame, I love wearing my handknits and it seems a shame to have made such lovely things and have them languishing in the wardrobe.

At least with the weather a bit warmer I can go back to the dress-and-shawl outfits I tried in the autumn without worrying about being chilly without a cardigan, but I do need to find more ways of incorporating my handknits into work outfits without crossing the line between ‘slightly unusual and a bit flamboyant’ and ‘bizarre and over the top’…

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Shawl – Forest Canopy
Shawl pin – Lantern Moon, from Purlescence
Dress – East
Boots – Duo

Is it really only Tuesday?

I can’t quite believe there are still three days of this week left. That’s the trouble with all this time off, you get out of the habit of this working lark…

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Shawl – Forest Canopy
Shawl pin – Lantern Moon (a Christmas present from the lovely T!)
Dress – Gap
Tights – M&S
Boots – Gabor

The good thing about it being Tuesday was lunchtime knitting group in Blackwells. And we have a new mascot, courtesy of Tasha who used to come to the group and her mother Jan!

Marvin the Gargoyle

We’ve decided he’s called Marvin…

So here it is

At long last, my final day of work for 2011; I’m not back in the office until January the third. I feel like I should have worn a badge saying ‘I survived my first four months as Head of X Section’ today, because it really has been hard work.

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Shawl – Forest Canopy
Dress – East
Tights – M&S
Shoes – Clarks

We finished work at 3, so I decided to celebrate with a Christmas Cake ice-cream at G&D’s (a local legend) before going to the 4:15 showing of Romantics Anonymous, which was sweet and funny and a lot more cheerful than the last film we saw, although it has left me with rather a craving for posh chocolates!

And now I’m looking forward to nearly two weeks of time to do whatever I like; I suspect this will mostly be sleeping, crafting and watching DVDs. To help in the second of those I decided to buy myself the Colette Sewing Handbook as a Christmas/surviving my new job present, and with perfect timing it arrived today so I shall read through it, finish hemming my Clothkits skirt, and then I plan to try to get my head round full bust adjustments so I can make myself tops and dresses. Wish me luck!

F is for Finishing

F in my A-Z of shawls is Susan Lawrence’s Forest Canopy Shawl.

Forest Canopy

I used some DK weight silk from the Knitting Goddess in ‘Indian Summer’. I had originally used some of this for a Möbius cowl but found that it was too long to wear single and too short to wear double, and the silk’s lack of bounce-back made it unsuitable for a cowl, so I frogged that and decided to use it for a shawl instead. I think it definitely works much better this way.

Forest Canopy closeup

As for the pattern, it is very pretty (and one of the few lace shawl patterns I’ve found that looks really good in variegated yarns), but it is really a lace beginner’s pattern and as a non-beginner I did think it was rather expensive. Though I suppose I could always take a leaf out of Thimblina‘s book and knit multiple versions, because it is a lovely pattern. This one took me rather a long time to knit, but that was mostly because I was knitting other things at the same time (and also because the silk was quite splitty and not entirely fun to work with).

Forest Canopy

I didn’t keep track of the number of pattern repeats I was knitting, and I think I knitted one or two more than the pattern specified, which turned out to be a mistake as even omitting the last two rows of the edging I ran out of yarn about two-thirds of the way through the bind-off. Lucikly I had another skein of the same yarn in semi-solid violet so I used a bit of that to finish off; it tones perfectly with the purple and I don’t think it shows at all.

I’ve also finished knitting Åsa Tricosa‘s Prickles Cowl, in another Knitting Goddess yarn, this time a merino/cashmere/nylon blend 4-ply.

Prickles

This has been the last ten days’ bus knitting; the lace pattern is straightforward enough to knit on the go (although I did go wrong a couple of times, possibly as a result of listening to Cabin Pressure at the same time and laughing too much to concentrate) and I thought it might be a useful alternative to a scarf on chilly days.

Prickles

I’m not entirely sure orange is my colour, but it does look nice with purple (my coat is a similar shade to the jumper I’m wearing here). My main complaint is that it was a bit too quick a knit – I’ve been trying to find things other than socks to knit on the bus as we are both pretty well off for socks right now, but that just seems to mean that I end up having to think of something new to cast on every other week. I’m wondering about gloves; I really like my Broad Street Mittens and the convenience of the flip-top far outweighs any concerns about the slight dorkiness of the style, but I’ve been thinking of making some plain gloves with just a flip-back index finger so I can operate my iPod without taking them off. Although the Broad Streets might still win out for convenience in terms of being able to get at my bus pass and swipe card to get into work and pay for cups of coffee and so on without taking them off, and being able to flip the tops back when I get warm walking along and wan to expose some skin to cool myself down. I think I’ll cast on for some socks while I think about it more…