Monday, 27 April 2015

Love your blog: Week 4 - Gratitude

Unlike last weeks prompt for the #loveyourblog challenge, this weeks prompt of Gratitude left me with so many ideas that I didn't know where to start.

Not a day goes by that I'm not grateful for my knitting, my craft and my community.

Amongst other things, I am grateful:

  • That I have my health and my eyesight.
  • That I have the ability to 'make stuff' out of thin air with just yarn and needles.
  • That I can share this with other people who 'get it'.
  • That these people form a wonderful vibrant community, of which I am part and my tiny portion of it on my Ravelry group is simply wonderful.
  • That we can all support and learn from each other.
  • That Ravelry exists.
  • That my family have a never ending need for socks.
  • That I have time and energy to do what makes me happy, every single day.
  • That yarn squishes down really small for the purposes of stash concealment. 

My family being grateful for our fabulous local market..and  oysters

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A new challenge: Me Made May

I have really enjoyed and been inspired by the #loveyourblog series running this month. Kate (of A Playful Day fame) has done a wonderful job of bringing together quite a diverse community of crafters and for me, it has brought back a love of blog reading and of blog writing that I thought I had lost.

It turns out that it wasn't lost at all, it was just having a little sleep and needed a kick of inspirational caffeine to get it moving again.

With that in mind, it was very timely for me to happen across the 'Me Made May' challenge. See - the inspirational snippets that pop into your life when you read other blogs!

Hosted by the very talented Zoe over at the So, Zo What do you Know blog this challenge has been running for several years now is both a personal and a community based one. The premise is simple - to celebrate the handmade and to both show and share our love for our craft.
The decision of how much and when to participate is a personal one. Some opt for the challenge of a daily 'me made' outfit - complete with photographs whilst others go for a more pared down approach. I can't help thinking that for us knitters, the daily outfit might be a bit of a challenge. As much as I love my Icon dress in Purl Alpaca yarn I'm not sure I want to wear it too much as the weather warms up here in the UK.
Getting into the swing of things this week though I have been enjoying my very seasonally coloured Knit Night shawl, in club yarn from Ginger twist Studios - in the Muddy Daffodils colourway.

Knit Night by Louise Zass-Bangham

But, the whole point of the challenge is that anything handmade counts and it doesn't have to be everyday. It is a celebration of the handmade and a culture that values the time, effort and skill of making wearable items.

There is a Flickr group, for sharing all those lovely photos and the hashtag #mmmay15 for following along on the various social media channels.

Even if you're not planning to take part there is bound to be lots of inspirational eye candy, so why not take a look?

Are you planning to take part? If so, be sure to let me know so I can check out your progress and we can cheer each other on.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Love your Blog Week 3: Social media - the good, the bad and the ugly

In the creative industry as in all walks of life, there is a tendency to focus overwhelmingly on the positive and to ignore or minimise the negative, the less-than-perfect or the ugly.
In general this is usually the best policy - as my mother used to say "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". However this can lead to what is known in the scientific community as publication bias. Results of pharmaceutical clinical trials which show a positive outcome are far more likely to be published than those which don't.

In the same way, we are all far more likely to document our successful projects on Ravelry and show them on Instagram, than we are to show photos of that sweater with the wonky sleeve that was relegated to the back of the cupboard.

In general, we are far more likely to show only the good, the beautiful and the perfect. Recently a well known Instagrammer made this point and published a series of photos showing her 'everyday' after someone made the comment that she had a 'beautiful life' Her thoughtful response was that, of her normal day the part she shared via social media comprised  approximately 2% - and that was on a good day.

Whilst entirely understandable, this type of self-censorship has the potential to cause anxiety or negative thinking amongst users of social media. Any feelings of self-doubt or tendency to over-critical thinking can be made worse by an endless parade of 'lovely' photographs. As a new parent I remember distinctly feeling overwhelmed by seeing a good friend post pictures she took of baking cookies with her toddler - all happy smiles and clean faces. When I tried the same it ended in tears, tantrums and flour-covered cat.

Now, I'm not for one minute suggesting that we all start to broadcast our 'Ugly' but when using social media it is well worth bearing in mind that you are seeing carefully editing highlights of someones life, or work or craft. And, as beautiful and inspirational as it is, it is part of a bigger, messier, imperfect whole.

And for the record, and in the spirit of scientific interest - this is the product of a week's worth of data gathered on my 'normal' day.


 For lots more thoughts on Ugly and it's meaning in our creative context, please see the fabulous A Playful Day, whose brainchild this 'Love Your Blog' series is. Her post on this weeks theme is fabulous and well worth a read.

Friday, 17 April 2015

New pattern release: Comb Gill socks

I am pleased to say that the second pattern in my sock series - Walks in Lakeland is published today.

Comb Gill - Louise Tilbrook Designs
The Comb Gill socks were inspired by a recent family walk up the mountain of Glaramara, this design represents the second in a series of four.

After you leave the fell wall and sheep behind you, you start the failry steep ascent and Comb Gill (pronounced Coombe Gill) provides an ideal spot for a quick drink and a breather. 

A scenic stopping point where a mountain beck cascades over dark grey slate and granite.
Comb Gill, Borrowdale

The small twisted cables in this sock echo the paths taken as the water finds it own way down the mountainside, carving intricate niches and channels as it does so.

As with many of my patterns, this is offered in both cuff down and toe-up formats - although I'm hoping to win you all over to the way of the toe-up eventually :)

Until midnight on Sunday April 19th, 2015 this pattern is offered with a 25% discount applied at the checkout - no code needed.

For added fun and for those speedy knitters amongst you, knitting a pair of your very own Comb Gill socks and posting a picture to your Ravelry project page (and in the FO thread on my Ravlery group - link here) will get you a discount code for 50% off any of my other patterns.

So, grab your needles and join stop is the wild and rocky summit of Glaramara