Right Brain Thoughts: A Morning Walk

This morning in a rare respite break from the usual mad dash to school I took myself off alone for a walk in the cool morning air. I find walking very soothing and there are pretty lanes to wander down near me.


morning walk


I took a camera to record the walk and today was spotting:

Potential and fulfilled potential – nature taking it’s time and having flowers and fruits or buds and flower on the same plant.

Texture – lots of juxtaposition of old and new, nature and manmade.

Space and Light – how they fall, big skies, morning light.

I returned in just the right frame of mind to get stuck into some writing.

When it doesn’t flow

As mentioned before I was having a hard time during May, lots of work and not enough time. I was spending evenings and free time sat at my computer rather than making.

Its only natural that life and business will have peaks and troughs and I am very accepting of them and am learning to be kind to myself and give myself permission to take some time off or let some things slide a little bit.

I think this time I really realised what a difficult time I have being creative and doing creative problem solving when I am in these ruts. Not just not having enough time to do it but when I try I hit a brick wall.

This pretty swatch has been taunting and giving me grief for about a fortnight.

problem swatch


the swatch itself was pretty easy to pin down and get the basic pattern just so. It is utterly charming and will make a very pretty element in my planned shawl but it came with some complications:

– I wanted a complementary but plainer pattern to pair with it.

– Both have to be reversible – different but equally beautiful on rightside and wrongside.

– I then want it to segue into a small amount of lace edging.

– It is worked over a 7stitches plus 1 and is a four row repeat and needs to be increased evenly.

– It is not the easiest pattern to chart so playing around with it on paper was tricky too.

Of course, these complications are entirely of my own making. I find and adapt a pretty pattern and I could just apply that to a straight scarf but I had a very strong vision for the piece in my head and anything less felt like a bad compromise.

I fought and fought with the pattern on and off through the period of intense work and made no progress. After two days rest? Yep, you guessed it; I cracked it first time. It took about 4 hours work to pin down how to make it work but it was all progress and felt fun and interesting rather than frustrating and painful as it had before.

The moral of the story? Creative problem solving is a big part of my work and I cannot do it when I am tired and run down. If I want to produce my best work I need to be kind to myself.

This shawl will probably end up being one of my favourites and I hope when I wear it, it will remind me of this. Be kind to yourself.



This post was inspired in part by discussions with Kate of  aplayfulday.com and links into her discussions on #creative_identity

Right Brain Thoughts on a sunny April day

I have a rare working day at the end of the week – booked to try and plough through the backlog acquired during the easter holidays, getting through some admin (accounts) chores and making a start on a big new editing project that I didn’t quite expect to come in. My mind is fairly busy on the left side with the mundane, technical and practical but I’m making room for some joy, colour and creativity in this post.

24 april thoughts


1. These two beauties are planned for the Crafts from the Cwtch make-a-long starting next week. Are you going to be joining in? I’m plannign on making a Dissent by Lisa Mutch. the aim of the make-a-long is to push your crafting to the next level, whatever that may be and it is for knitting and crochet. I chose this pattern because I want to explore short row shaping a little more in preparation for my next crochet book. Quite a few people will be making something from (my)  The Shawl Project book and there is a little offer code on Sarah’s blog.

2. This is knitting for a magazine so I can’t say too much about it what it will be but I wanted to add it to show you how it knits up. I have to admit my heart sank when I recieved the yarn. Its Noro Kibou in Col 22. On the face of it, it’s all the things I don’t like to knit with: thick and thin, cotton (blended with silk and wool at least to redeem it!), madly variegated. But I have surprised myself and I really like the finished effect and its looking even better on a larger scale. Also it keeps treatig me with bold flashers of my favourite jewel shades but toned down with the neutral, almost grey base colour. The finished effect reminds me of an impressionist painting. So I guess the message of the day is don’t judge a yarn in the skein.

3. This weekend we plan to start adding some mad colour and fun into our boring garden with a climbing wall up the side of the garage for the children to play on. The masonry drill bit is going on and A&E is on speed dial!

Right Brain Thoughts 3

Another week and things have progressed on the admin front to the point where I no longer feel overwhelmed by it and I can therefore allow the creativity back round to play.

So what will be keeping my fingers busy and my creative thoughts occupied in the next week?



1: I’ll be knitting away on the comforting stocking stitch of my second quadratic. (And crossing my fingers I have enough yarn to complete it.)

2: This gorgeous skein from Eden Cottage Yarns (light wasn’t good enough to capture the full beauty) is being transformed into the final piece for the next launch for The Crochet Project. Its a motif based design so a little out of my comfort zone but I think I have it cracked.

3: My Mum and Dad managed to find me a fabulous stitch dictionary (that I don’t already own!!) for Christmas. I shall be spending time flicking through and maybe doing a little swatching and playing.

4: Another brilliant present from Mum and Dad. This book is gorgeous and I’m looking forward to having a good read this week. I’m already very drawn to a pair of socks with drawstring and twined stitches (new one on me!) I love a good knitting adventure and this book looks technique and history rich. An adventure from the comfort of my sofa – even better in a cold and very windy January.


What are you up to?

Christmas Right Brain Thoughts

The kids have broken up and so have I – the email auto responder is turned on and I won’t be back to my desk until 6th January. I shall be around a bit on social media and back to blogging after the break.

So what creative fun will I be having with the time off?

With (probably) no long car journeys in which to knit or crochet and a fair bit of  hosting (and all the cleaning, cooking and baking that entails) I’m not sure how much crafting I’ll be doing yet. I have two crochet shawls I’d like to get finished. One uses this luscious yarn and is in the “I’m not sure how much I like this design” stage of the design. I need to hold my nerve, make it and block it and then I know I’ll fall in love, I always do with crochet shawls.

rbt 3_small


The other is a striped smooshy shawl that is such a simple design that of course it is giving me no end of grief getting it JUST SO.

Here’s just the sneakiest peek of it. Aren’t the colours just lush together?



I plan to use at least one of the days to get Doris (the double bed knitting machine) out and pay a little more attention to her poor creaking latch hooks in the hopes I can knit something without stitches dropping off the edge. I was really hoping to make a gift for my mum for Christmas but it will have to be her birthday now. I really want her to have the first thing I make from the machine as she’s always been such a supporter of my crafts. She’ll be reading this (love you Mum!) so I shall say nothing about planned yarns or what the project might be for now but I’ll report back in the New Year.

Should any of this leave me anytime for something fun just for me I shall be knitting Antipodes by Truly Myrtle (here she is modelling, isn’t she beautiful? I’m hoping the shawl will make me look half as good!)



The pattern is in my Ravelry library and I have been stroking various skeins to ask them if they’d like to become this rather elegant scarf. I haven’t picked a winner from among the contenders yet though. I’m hoping to at least get cast on this holidays even if I don’t get it quite finished.

So Merry Holidays and Festive Festiveness to my readers everywhere. I’d love to hear about your crafting plans this Christmas.



Right brain thoughts #2

What have my creative juices have been gushing about this week?


I finally had a good chance to sit down and take a look through this book:

rbt crochet book

I love a good Japanese stitch dictionary and this is a fantastic one. The motifs are lovely, beautifully presented and styled. The thing I love most about this dictionary is that it shows not only the motif but how to join it and how it looks joined up. Very very inspiring.


rbt crochet book inside

And now I want to make all the motifs! (I am not normally that keen on motifs, too fiddley!)

I do have a special plan for the old maiden aunt yarn I showed you last week that includes a motif but just the one and no complicated joining. (cryptic, me?!) After many many false swatches with this yarn/shawl design and feeling like I was never ever going to get there I finally hit on the PERFECT design and now I am really really excited to start.

I also have been swatching with the Rico yarn I showed you last week: Its going to be a cowl so I wanted something richly textured, without holes but with a good amount of drape (a reasonably tall order in a super chunky yarn) after a bit of a play I decided to go with this pattern. What do you think?

rbt cowl



So that is the next couple of projects pretty much mapped out in my mind but I always need something to mull over too.

rbt two balls

I picked up both of these little beauties at Ally Pally last year and they are still sat in the stash. I had earmarked them for inclusion in the Suffolk Collection but work has rather halted on that right now. I am not feeling like knitting lately (after I created a knitted collection in 4ply over the summer) I keep being drawn to crochet and in particular shawls and neck wear. Both are beautifully soft and with a lovely sheen, I think they’d make fine shawls. I’m thinking of something a bit more squidgy and cosy than the lace I’ve been working on lately. That must be down to the turn in the weather…

What is your right brain working on this week?


Right brain thoughts #1

I don’t know why it took me so long to work out (but it did), as I am working so much less for magazines this year I have far fewer things that need to be kept secret and I can share more of what I’m interested in, whats inspiring me and what I’m doing.

I love these kind of peeks into other crafters thoughts and it will also prove as a jolly helpful trigger when I get a little creative block or forget what I planned to do! And I hope you’ll enjoy reading them too.

So what creative and crafty things are on my mind right now?

rbt 3_small

I’m all about the shawls at the moment – crochet ones to be specific. (this has led me to sing a song to the tune of All about the bass with new lyrics “I’m all about the shawls, ’bout the shawls, no cardies” – and now I am seriously hoping I am not the only person who does this kind of thing) I’ve got two shawl designs at the waiting to be published stage so you can expec to see them in the Spring (hint: ask for single skeins of gorgeous 4-ply for Christmas if you are a fan of crochet shawls too!)

This skein of lovely old maiden aunt yarn is destined to be another crochet shawl, the third in the series I’m planning and I think there may be beads involved. Its such a lovely mix of dark petrol colours. It kind of reminds me of a line in The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark (one of my favourites as a child) which says something about the night sky being all sorts of colours but never black. But I don’t have the book now and I listened to the story twice on jackanory and couldn’t find the line to share with you. :-(

I picked the skein up at Unwind in Brighton so it has lovely memories that will weave into the finished shawl. Its called to the dark and I think its going to be stunning when I’ve finished with it.


rbt 2_small


And on to another yarn crush. When I was working at The Sheep Shop last weekend, I couldn’t leave without grabbing a ball of this to make something quick and squishy (probably for myself or as a gift and not as a pattern.)  Its Rico Essentials Super, 50% wool and 50% acrylic in the romantically named ‘005’ colourway. Its super squishy and super turquoise. At the moment I’m thinking of a crochet star stitch cowl but we’ll see what happens when I get a hook out.


rbt 1_small

I am also wondering when I am going to have time to get the sewing machine out again to finish my version of the Delphine skirt by Tilly Walnes. I reckon there is about another hour or less of sewing left to do and I do so want to wear it soon. I am also contemplating another crochet shawl in a mustard coloured yarn to wear with it. What is it with me and the shawls!?

What is the right-side of your brain obsessing over this week?