Sunday, 29 March 2020

Kumihimo Braiding

About a month ago before everything went weird, I went to Unravel at the Farnham Malting's - a festival of all things wool.  While there were lots of lovely things to look at, it was busy (as normal) and out of my price range.  I really can't afford £15 for a 50g ball of wool, however beautiful it might be.

A simple eight-braid spiral pattern in DK wool
One thing did catch my attention though.  One stall had some pretty beaded jewellery and when I spoke to the lady she told me it was kumihimo and showed me a little how to do it.
It looked interesting but it was only when I got home that I realised how much I wanted to give it a go.  So I bought a beginners kit and A Beginner's Guide to Kumihimo by Donna McKean-Smith online, and finally found some time to give it ago.

Same pattern but in Chunky wool
While what I really want to do is make the beaded jewellery, I wanted to learn how to do basic braiding first before adding the complication of beads.

An eight-braid stripe pattern
So I went through my wool stash to find something suitable.  The first one I tried was an eight-braid in double knit wool which came out really fine, so then I tried with some chunky wool.  
Once I was happy with the process I tried some different patterns, all done by the way you lay your wool out on the disk.

An eight-braid twist pattern
Its such an easy process but makes some really lovely patterns and I love how something as woolly and flexible as wool can turn into something so substantial.  It reminds me of the cord climbers use.
I'm very much looking forward to taking the next step and adding some beads to the process!

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Papertrophy Gorilla

Last Christmas I was given a small kit for making a paper gorilla.  It was already cut out and scored so all I had to do was stick it together. 

He's only about 6 inches tool and made from a lovely metallic gold card (the photos don't do him justice).  It was a very easy kit to make and only took a couple of hours.

It was a nice project to spend an afternoon on.  I just bent all the pieces, then glued them together.  There a long periods where you just have to sit there, while you hold two bits together waiting for them to dry,where you can stare out the window and day dream a bit.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Virtual Running - part 2

On 27th February I finally 'arrived' in Paris.  
It's taken me 2 months, but I've managed to run the 214 miles needed to run from London to Paris as part of my virtual running challenge this year.  Admittedly most of them were in London, but every mile counts.
This challenge is a bit weird, in that there is no finish line to run under to know you have finished.  There is only the spreadsheet I've created with all my mileage logged.  It was a very weird feeling to look on the spreadsheet and realised that at some point on my run that morning I had completed my first challenge.  But it was also a very satisfied feeling to know that I had done it, even missing a few long runs due to storms and a grumpy ankle.
So in January I ran 125.74 miles, in February 91.84 miles.  
To complete my biggest challenge of 1000 miles in 12 months, I still have 782.42 miles to go, but right now that seems very possible and with the uncertainty of coronavirus and all the cancelled running events right now, it also feels like I chose the best challenge possible this year.
On to my next challenge - 220 miles 'along' the River Severn.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

A Curtly Roll

Not the real office curtly
Years ago I received a set of curtly for use in the office from a good friend.  If I remember rightly, it was after I'd moaned to her about how disgusting the curtly at the office was and how I didn't want to use it for my lunch.
That set of curtly, consisting of a knife, fork, soup spoon and tea spoon, have accompanied me to many jobs, sitting in a drawer with a plate and soup bowl waiting to help me with my lunch and other snacks.

However my newest job doesn't involve drawers.  Because we can hot-desk round the office we have lockers instead.  I can't say I'm a fan, but I guess it does keep your junk a bit more manageable.
But my curtly set wasn't enjoying my locker, always seeming to disappear to the bottom of the stack, and so with a long-run free Sunday, due to Storm Ciara, I decided to create myself a curtly roll.

Using a spare tea towel and some left over ribbon, I made something that looks nice but is very practical, holding my curtly and allowing me to give it a quick dry after washing too.
Its very similar in design to the knitting needle wrap I made 6 (!!) years ago. 
It'll be going to work with me tomorrow and will hopefully show my curtly just how much it means to me.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Maddox the Mischievous Monster

Last Christmas I received the pattern for Maddox the Mischievous Monster as a present.  He's by the same designer as the Herman bear pattern.
I've enjoyed making Herman several times now, but he can be a bit fiddly to make, so I wasn't sure how Maddox would be. But he turned out to be much easier to make as he a little more on the larger size.

I made him for my sister, who gave me the pattern, so choose a sweet mint colour.  While he might not get a lot of play, I bet he gets a nice comfy seat on a bed or cushion.
I hope she likes him.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Virtual Running - part 1

I really like running.
I like the way it gives me space to think about nothing.
I like the control it gives me over my body, allowing me to eat cake if I want to.
I like finding out what my body can do and how far I can push myself.
I’ve run 5k, 10k, 10 miles, half and full marathon distances and have some PBs that I am very pleased with.
But I don’t think running should be just about how fast you go.

Over 2019 I decided to challenge myself to do at least 10,000 steps every day.  Going for a 30 minute run and taking the dog for a walk most days made this totally possible and I managed 172 days (5.6 months) before I had to take a trip to Leeds for work and missed it by 2000 steps.  I then managed another streak of 75 days which would have given me 247 days (about 8 months) if I hadn’t had to go to Leeds.
I’m now in a job where hitting 10,000 every single day is a bit harder so I wondered what other challenge I could give myself to help motivate me to get out of the door.

Totally by chance, I came across a virtual challenge that really inspired me.
Virtual running (or walking, swimming and cycling) mean you log your distance with an activity tracker then send the results to the organiser.  If you meet your target you get a nice shiny medal. This means you could do a challenge like running from London to Paris without actually having to leave the country, and in a time frame of your choosing.
Doing a monthly challenge doesn’t really motivate me as too many things could go wrong within the month to mean you don’t hit your target which means I probably wouldn’t be as ambitious as I could be.
But what about over the course of a whole year?  Then if you have a bad month, you can make it up later.

So imagine my excitement when I came across a set of challenges to complete over 2020.  
The challenge is to run 220 miles ‘along’ the River Severn; 291 miles ‘along’ the Cambrian Way; 214 miles London to Paris and 277 miles ‘along’ the Grand Canyon.  Added together they make 1002 miles to run in 12 months.

If I make it I will have 5 shiny medals (the 4 above and one for 1000 miles) to add to my collection but I will also have had a nice way to motivate myself when it’s cold outside and I’d rather get the tube than run across London to the office.

Based on what I’ve done this year I think it is possible, but I’m looking forward to seeing how far I can go rather than how fast.