Friday, March 27, 2015

Filofax Friday - Fluropink Original

Do you use an organiser or planner? I've used one since I was at secondary school. I'm so forgetful so if I don't write things down I forget them. When the kids were little and I was at home I used a family calendar which hung on the wall in the kitchen. It had a column for each family member. And it was an easy way to keep track of what everyone were doing each day.

For a while I kept my appointments on my phone but then my phone died and I lost all my appointments. That put me off electronic devices to keep track of things. Now I've got Google Calendar on my phone, tablet and laptop, I could use it and not worry about loosing access to it but I've decided I prefer to write things down. I'm less likely to forget and it's easier to see an overview of what's going on.

I've tried a variety of different organisers/planners over the years. A couple of years ago I had a Filofax pocket size which was small enough to fit easily in my handbag but after a while I found it too small to be practical.

Recently I discovered the online 'planner' community. I didn't even know such a thing existed but something popped up on my Instagram feed and I clicked around a bit and within weeks I was following more planners than knitters. There's more planner photos in my IG feed now than there is knitting related stuff. I've also got a weakness for stationary. I love notebooks, sticky notes, pens etc. There is just so much cute stuff around.

One of the most popular Filafaxes around these days must be the Fluropink Original. It's all over Instagram. I kept seeing pictures of it and I love it! But Filofax is expensive. I did some digging and found one at 25% off full retail price on Amazon. And here it is (I stuck the flower on from a sticker sheet I got):

Isn't she beautiful? It is a very bright pink! Much more fluorescent than it looks in these photos. I first thought perhaps it was a bit too bright but after a couple of weeks of use I love it! I got the personal size. It's small enough to fit in my handbag but big enough to write stuff in. The thing I like about any ring organiser is that you can personalise it. You can change things around, add and take stuff out. There are also tons of stuff available online, especially on Etsy to personalise and make your Filofax more beautiful. Many of these Etsy sellers are based in the US and shipping times are long from the US and you often get stuck with custom fees. So I've been searching for some UK Etsy sellers. I'll list some of the ones I've found in this blogpost.

Today, I thought I'd do a little walk through of what's in my Filofax. I use this one for my personal stuff, deadlines and a few other things. I also have an A5 Filofax Domino for work stuff where I go into more details about work deadlines and projects etc. I'll share more on that in a later blogpost as I'm still waiting for some inserts for that one. And I've got a purple Filofax Original personal size for blogging, clubs and some other project stuff.

When you open my Filofax this is what you see. I've got my favourite purple Frixion pen (on the left). I love these pens because they come in amazing colours and you can erase what you've written. I'm planning to talk more about the Frixion pens in a future 'A Few Of My Favourite Things' blog post. I've also got a Paperchase pen, a bike paper clip which is more pretty than it is useful. There's a pocket inside the front cover where I keep a few sheets of stickers (more on those later) on. On the right I keep a few small lined sheets which I tore out of a notepad and punched holes in. Under that is a clear fly leaf which came with the Filofax. I stuck some pretty heart stickers on it to decorate it.

On the back of the fly leaf I stuck a Purlescence business card because it has a needle size conversion chart on it. Very useful. I have several of these and keep one on the notice board above my desk too. On the right is a dashboard which I've stuck some Post It notes on. I got these post it notes at Staples and they have sticky on most of the back. There is just in a small section that hasn't got sticky on it. This makes it stick on much better than regular sticky notes. I pulled a few sheets off the various sticky pads that came in the pack. This way I can tear one off when I need it. I write to do's on these and stick them on my book mark.

On the left is the back of the dashboard. I stuck a pretty washi tape on it. On the right I have a zipped Filofax pocket where I've put some washi tape wrapped around an old store card, some stickers and a money bag.

Next up is a Filofax business card holder which holds some more washi, stickers and a dental appointment card. On the right is a sheet from a notepad that I punched holes in. I came across an article online about better To Do lists so I've summarised it and stuck it here so I won't forget.

My first divider (I'll share the shop later on) is for my To Do section. 


I keep a selection of the To Do sheets that came with the Filofax. I mainly keep long term to do lists here or specific project To Do list. On the right is my next divider which is my calendar.

First up in the calendar section is some sticky dots sheets from Paperchase

Then the Filofax yearly overview which came with my Filofax.

Next is a Filofax year planner which I bought as an extra. I mark off workshops, deadlines, days off, holidays, shows etc.

I'm currently using the week on 2 pages calendar that came with my Filofax. I'm not that keen on these but I've got some new ones on order and will share these when they arrive. I've also got a page marker which I bought with my dividers. I move this from week to week so I can find the current week easily. It's fairly wide so I stick sticky notes on it.

My next divider is Bible. 

In here I keep 4 questions which are general questions you can ask for any Bible passage. We use this for our house group Bible study.

I've made a note of a few of my favourite Bible quotes so I can flick to them quickly when I need to. I also keep track of what I've read so far in my Bible in a Year reading plan which I'm doing this year. I also keep a prayer and Bible reading diary in this section. I did originally keep this info in a separate notebook but it makes more sense to keep everything together here. That way, when I'm away I can quickly look up to see how far I've got in my reading plan.

Next divider is Addresses which I haven't filled in yet. I'm using the inserts that came with my Filofax.

The last 2 dividers are for notes and brain dump. In notes I keep track of important info that I may want to refer to quickly. And in brain dump I write down things that pop into my head at random times and keep it there till I can transfer it to it's proper place. I also keep notes on any patterns I'm currently working on. If I find a mistake when I'm knitting a new sample I make a note here so I won't loose it.

At the back of the Filofax there's a top opening Filofax pocket which I keep air mail stickers, Special Delivery and customs labels. Then there's the Filofax registration sheet which I haven't done anything about yet. That's followed by a clear fly leaf. The Filofax came with a pad of paper at the back which I use for shopping lists. Inside the back cover I keep my Weight Watchers membership card and vouchers.

I've been searching Etsy to find some sellers which are in the UK or close to the UK. The first one I found was Bel Planner Boutique, who is in Belgium. I bought these dividers and a page maker. I use the page marker in my Fluropink Filofax and I use the dividers in my purple Filofax Original. The stickers were little extras that came in my parcel.

Natalie Shauna Crafts is a UK seller and I got my beautiful birdie dividers, dashboard and page marker from her. These are the ones I use in my Fluropink Filofax. These have prints on the front and back of the dividers. 

EllieBeth Designs UK does fun stickers for use in your planner. I ordered these from her a couple of weeks ago and there may be a few more on the way to me....

I got some dividers Just Keep Pinning for my A5 Filofax Domino. 

One thing I've struggled with finding is inserts. Filofax and Paperchase sell inserts but the Filofax ones are boring and the paper is a bit thin. There are tons of sellers on Etsy who do instant download inserts. These you print and cut yourself. As my printer is useless and currently won't print black ink this is not an option for me. I did order some inserts for my A5 from a US seller on Etsy weeks ago and I'm still waiting for them. Shipping from the US can take a long time.  So I was happy this week when I found a UK Etsy seller who sells printed inserts. My order hasn't arrived yet so I can't comment on quality yet but I ordered some new week on 2 pages and note paper from Make A Journal.

  • Do you use a planner/organiser?
  • Do you know of any UK shops/Etsy sellers that sell cute/usefull planner stuff? 

Tell me and I'll compile a list to add to this blog post. I'm planning more Filofax Fridays. It won't be every week but I'm thinking once or maybe twice a month. In the future I'll share about how I organise my other Filofaxes and how to use an organiser to keep a knitting journal.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Busy Week

It's been a busy few days. On Sunday I taught at Sitting Knitting in Sutton Coldfield and yesterday I taught at Spin A Yarn in Devon. I don't normally schedule 2 workshops a day apart but somehow it happened.

It was lovely to be back at Sitting Knitting and meet regular and new workshop participants. We did Toe Up Socks and they were a brilliant group of knitters. Some even decided to have a go at knitting toe up socks two at a time immediately after the workshops and I'm loving seeing progress photos pop up on Instagram and Facebook.

Here's my Sunday class hard at work:

I'll be back at Sitting Knitting in June to teach Professional Finishing Techniques so if you worry about sewing up or have no clue what short row shoulders are or how to get better button holes, this is for you. You'll learn everything you need to make your hand-knitted sweaters look amazing! 

We're planning a class for the autumn term too, so watch this space!

I love it when people bring things they've knitted from my patterns. Liz brought her St Aubin's Bay shawl to Sitting Knitting on Sunday and I love it! She kindly agreed to model it for me. I love the colour combination, I think I may like it more than my original. The purpley grey is Aracaunia but I'm not sure which base it is but it's beautiful! And I don't remember which yarn the pink is but I would love a St Aubin's Bay shawl in this colour combination.

On Tuesday I was at Spin A Yarn teaching my Easy Lace workshop to a group of 7 ladies. We had a great day. I think they all enjoyed getting to grips with lace knitting and adding beads.

On Wednesday, I finally got the Easy Lace Club parcels out the door. They're a week late and I do apologise to club members for that. It's all due to the awful headaches and severe back/neck pain I've suffered from on and off since Unravel a month ago (the pain has been more on than off) but I think it's getting better now.

 Don't forget the Spring Sale is still on. Get 10% off in my YarnAddict Shop before the end of March. Use discount code: springfling to claim your discount.  

In my Ravelry Pattern Shop you can get 3 patterns for the price of 2. No coupon code needed. Just put your chosen patterns in the basket and the cheapest pattern will be discounted automatically.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Silver Dollar - Let's Knit 91

It's a busy week for new patterns. Issue 91 of Let's Knit is about to hit the shops. I've got another spring-y pattern in this issue. Silver Dollar is a light sweater that will take you through the whole summer. It's knitted in Rowan Summerlite 4ply, which is 100% cotton.

Silver Dollar is worked in the round to the underarm. The front and back are worked separately to the shoulders. The shoulders are joined using a three needle cast off. Stitches are picked up for the 3/4 length sleeves and short rows shape the sleeve caps and the sleeve is worked in the round from the top down. This makes it really easy to make the sleeves longer or shorter (although if you make them longer you may need more yarn) as you can try the sweater on as you knit the sleeves.

Silver Dollar has waist shaping and a pretty lace pattern on the top of the front and back. I love how the lace pattern adds a touch of glamour to this feminine top.

Although it's a 4 ply yarn, because most of it is knitted in the round it's a quick knit and there's no sewing up. Once you've finished the knitting there's just the ends to weave in and you're done!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Riviera - The Knitter 82

Issue 82 of The Knitter is in the shops now and it's a beautiful spring issue. 

My contribution to this issue is Riviera which is knitted out of Debbie Bliss Rialto LaceThe freshness of spring is captured in this light, floaty shawl. It’s a top-down, triangular shawl with a diamond lace pattern, worked in a lilac shade with an edging in a soft citrus colour. The cast-off is worked in the main shade, to contrast with the edging.


You should have enough of the second colour to work at least one additional repeat of Chart B before starting the edging. Or you could do the shawl in one colour and you may be able to do it out of about 600m of lace weight yarn. This does depend on knitting to the stated tension though.

I just love the soft, feminine look of Riviera and hopefully I should get the sample back just in time to wear it for summer. Rialto Lace comes in a huge variety of beautiful colours. This yarn is equivalent of 800m per 100gr and most yarn companies who offer a lace weight yarn and indie dyers have yarns in this thickness so there's a huge choice of yarn available. 

Which yarn will you be knitting your Riviera in?

Monday, March 16, 2015

On The Needles

First so I don't forget, I want to tell you about two special offers. To celebrate spring there's 10% off everything in my web shop. Use code: springfling. Valid until end of March 2015. There's also 3 for 2 on patterns in my Ravelry Pattern Shop until end of March 2015. No coupon code needed.

I've really not been feeling very well since we came back from Unravel. I suffer from severe back/neck pain and get frequent headaches because of that. I'm in a lot of pain on a daily basis and need to plan my work around that. Doing shows and teaching really aggravates the pain and it takes me several days to recover. The weekend after Unravel I was in Wales to teach then the following Friday I had to go to Cardiff again. This time I went up on the train and met Vanessa to look at student accommodation. She's doing a year's work placement there which is part of her uni course. We spent 6 hours walking around Cardiff. My bag was too heavy as I'd bought stuff to do on the 8.5 hr train rides. A few days after that I was teaching again. So every time I've started to feel better something has set me back.

The main problem has been severe headaches every day. I take a bucket load of painkillers every day so there's not much more I can do to manage the pain. I have regular massages and have exercises and stretches I do which help a bit. (Please don't leave lots of advice re treatments. I know it's meant well but I've really tried everything and I mean EVERYTHING! I've suffered from neck/back pain since I was 14 years old and have tried every treatment I've come across including some very weird and painful ones (Hundreds of injections of steralised water along my spine was the worst one. I've also tried chiropractors, osteopaths and more conventional treatments).

The headaches and upper back pain has made work very difficult as doing computer and desk work makes the pain a lot worse. It's the reason its taken me so long to get my online shop re-opened again and I've been late with a couple of pattern deadlines. The March Easy Lace Club parcels will also be a bit late. I'm hoping to get them out by the end of this week. I've been better today and don't have any teaching till Sunday or any big deadlines this week, although I still have a ton of work to do. I'm trying to pace myself so I can get a few things done. But if you're waiting to hear from me, please be patient. I'm finding computer work very difficult. I originally started writing this blog post last Thursday.

Early last week I finished a magazine design. It was a garment in a lace weight yarn and I started it late so it was a bit of a rush the weekend before last to finish it. While I was working flat out to finish this sweater, I was dreaming of what to cast on next. I also finished another Between The Lines design last week. It's still waiting to be blocked.

This gorgeous yarn from Kettle Yarn Co arrived last week. Westminster is a baby camel/silk blend and has nearly 600m per 100gr skein. I had an idea for another Between The Lines design but my plan didn't work so I cast on for something else.

I decided to try out a circular shawl idea I had originally cast on with a different yarn earlier this year. I'm loving this. I've just finished the second colour section and will be changing back to the pink. I've tried a few ideas for the next section but it wasn't as I'd imagined so I ripped it out again. I have a rough guide for this one but I'm basically designing it as I go.

Yesterday I cast on for another new design which is kind of secret. It's Lotus Forest Dew which I'm loving. There will be more lace, another colour of yarn and beads later on in this design. It's a fairy easy pattern to keep track of so I can knit this even with my current headaches.

Oh and I finished my first green rainbow Fab Funky Fibres sock. I haven't cast on for sock no 2 yet. I'm thinking maybe I should knit the rainbow socks I promised Vanessa first.

Have a good week and hopefully it won't be as long til I blog again. I've got a couple of blog posts planned this week. So as long as these awful headaches stay away I may manage to stay on track this week.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Crème Caramel Socks

Crème Caramel is my new basic toe up sock pattern. The pattern is written to make knitting these socks easier for new sock knitters. I mainly designed this pattern for my Toe Up Sock workshops (students get a free print copy) but I thought other knitters may be interested in it too. This pattern has extra information and notes which will help you understand the construction.

Crème Caramel are worked from the toe up with a gusset and heel flap. I like to knit my plain socks in a 2x2 rib pattern on the leg and top of the foot but you can work it in stocking stitch if you prefer. 

Instructions are included for Turkish/Eastern cast on and Sewn Cast/Bind Off.

The pattern includes three sizes for adults: 
Ankle circumference: Up to 20, (23, 26)cm/8, (9, 10)in. 
Leg length: Up to 17cm/6½in (adjustable). 
Foot length is adjustable. 

I knitted the sample sock in Schoppel Crazy Zauberball which is one of my favourite sock yarns as it's a fun, colourful yarn perfect for plain sock and it's hard-wearing. The photos are a bit basic but as soon as I've finished sock no 2 I'll do a proper photo shoot but I needed to get the pattern ready for my classes.

Never knitted socks before? New to toe up socks? I'm teaching Toe Up Socks at Sitting Knitting on 22 March. I'm not sure if there are spaces left but contact Sitting Knitting if you're interested.

Prefer to knit your socks top down? My Crème Brûlée sock pattern is my basic top down sock pattern, also with additional notes.

Friday, March 06, 2015

A few of my favourite things

This year I want to do a few regular topics on the blog. Some may become weekly, some may be less frequent. One of these regular topics will be 'A few of my favourite things' in which I'll share some of my favourite gadgets - knitting and non-knitting, apps, online shops and other things I particularly like. First up is The Sexy Knitter Tool Tins. I bought my first tool tin a few years ago and I've bought a few more since, both for myself and as presents. My favourite one lives in my hand-bag. I like taking my knitting out and about with me and having a tool tin in my bag means I've always got my favourite gadgets nearby. 

The tool tin come with all your essential knitting gadgets inside: a tape measure, little snips, stitch holder (these are perfect for holding stitches for shoulders), tapestry needles, a cable needle, a small double sided crochet hook and a few hand-made origami stitch markers. The tool tins are made by The Sexy Knitter Sarah Wilson, who's also a designer. 

The tool tin below features a picture of my hand-dyed yarn and you can see the typical contents of a tool tin. This is one of Sarah's permanent tins.

Each month Sarah features a different selection of limited edition tins. This month she's chosen 4 of my designs plus a selection of 6 Karat yarn to feature as her limited edition tins. These tins will only be available until end of March so grab yours while you can. The tin itself is perfect for slipping into a hand-bag or your project bag.

My favourite of these tins has to be my Caprice shawl. I love this photo and I love this shawl. I've been wearing it as a scarf since I made it earlier this winter. It's warm and cozy. This version is knitted in Northbound Knitting Merino Fingering Singles.

We've also got another very special design. I love the texture of this reversible cable pattern which is from my original Shelter scarf. I gave the original sample to a friend for her birthday just after I made it and she accidentally felted it in a washing machine incident (yes I did forgive her). The yarn is Fyberspates Scrumptious DK. The Shelter Infinity Scarf was designed to raise money for Shelterbox which is charity which started in Cornwall where I live. This charity provides boxes for people who've been made homeless as a result of natural disasters. The boxes have things like tents and emergency living equipment for a family. They attend major disasters around the world so it's a worthwhile cause. You can download Shelter for free but please give a donation to Shelterbox.

Leona was first published in The Knitter and will be available through my Pattern Shop very soon. I'm hoping to send the pattern off to my tech editor on Monday.

Daisy is one of my best selling patterns and is currently being re-knitted in a new yarn by one of my wonderful sample knitters. The original featured on the tin was knitted in my hand-dyed yarn which of course is no longer available.

And finally the last limited edition tin features a selection of 6 Karat yarn for sale in my online shop (or at least it will be when I get it back online over the weekend).

Get these tins in Sarah's Etsy shop by the end of March as they won't be back.