Make Nine 2020 – update

I thought it was about time for me to give you an update on my make-nine-2020! Being more than half way through the year – I should in theory be more than half way through my planned makes… but unsurprisingly I’m a bit behind.

I mentioned last week that I’ve been suffering from a loss of knitting mojo. After finishing off my Esme Cardigan and Merry Jumper Dress earlier in the year – my garment knitting took a sharp nose-dive in terms of productivity.

My knitting mojo is definitely back! I’m really keen to finish my second Burnt top and my subtly festive beaded jumper… but I’ve almost completed some exciting new designs so I’m trying to stay focused on those and not get distracted… I can’t wait to share them with you!

I was actually pleasantly surprised by how my make-nine is looking and (perhaps I’m being unrealistic – but) I think it might still be doable this year.

I’ve started having a sewing evening every Wednesday and sometimes on a Sunday too, so I’m hopeful that I will finish my sewing aims for the year. Of the five remaining knit projects, two are almost half done and two are quick projects.

The only problem is… I’m not feeling in the mood to knit a fair-isle jumper right now. Maybe that will change when autumn kicks in. Even with the more vague plans I had for this year it’s still not vague enough! I’ve seen a cardigan in the new Rowan AW collection (coming soon!) that I’m excited to knit so I might do that instead and roll-over the fair-isle to make-nine-2021.

How’s your knitting/sewing mojo doing? Did you make plans or are you just going with the flow?

 

New-normal

My friend recently shared this video on Instagram and I think it’s a great break down of what might be happening internally and why we may be feeling “all over the place”!

I personally found it comforting to watch and to know that I’m not the only one whose been struggling with motivation and focus (resulting in a frightening loss of knitting mojo).

Now that restrictions have been relaxed, we’re all getting used to a new-normal. I’m personally settling into a new routine, which is helping me to regain focus and get excited about work again.

But returning to “normal” looks different for everyone – some people have been desperate to go to the pub and get a hair cut whilst others really don’t feel ready to mix with others indoors. We’ll all move at different paces and that’s fine.

I think that those of us who aren’t feeling ready to do certain things might feel under pressure to justify why. But maybe part of our new normal should be to always check in with friends and family to find out what they’re comfortable with and ensure they know what we’re happy with. Having that conversation in advance creates the opportunity to change plans/venues if necessary.

The other day at the park, one of my friends was showing another friend a photo and asked if they were okay with holding his phone. It gave them the opportunity to say no if they were worried about touching it and then not being able to wash their hands. It was a small thing – but really respectful and excellent post-lockdown etiquette in my opinion!

I hope you’re all doing okay in your new normals. And if, like me, you’ve been struggling with motivation and knitting mojo… I’m sending positive creative vibes!

Virtual Garden Fest 2020 – part 2!

Back in May (which feels like forever ago!) I hosted a virtual open gardens over on Instagram and it was so much fun we’re doing it again this weekend.

I love my garden and really enjoy visiting other gardens – particularly ‘real’ gardens that haven’t been set up and tended by experts. This inspired me to set up the Virtual Garden Fest so that we could all share our gardens and visit each others virtually during lockdown and beyond.

#virtualgardenfest2020

The first garden fest was a mixture of small and large gardens, messy (mine) and cultivated gardens and we even had a house plant tour from the lovely Georgia Farrell. They were all beautiful! So you don’t even need to have a garden to join in and you certainly don’t need to be an expert… we just want to see your green babies!

I have shared a new video tour of my back garden over on IGTV and will be doing a live tour of the front garden (veg patch) this morning. I will upload that to IGTV as well so don’t worry if you miss the live. 

You can join in by doing a live tour or sharing a video or pictures of your garden/plants over on Instagram using #virtualgardenfest2020. And make sure you’re following the hashtag so you can have a look around everyone’s gardens!

 

Cuttings

Back in May I noticed that my Monstera plant had little knobbly elbows and wondered whether they might form roots if I took cuttings.

After a good start in life where it seemed to enjoy the warm and humid environment of our bathroom (we can’t turn the radiator off in there…) the plant had started looking a bit sad and messy.

So after a little search on Pinterest I took the plunge and took three cuttings. I cut them just below the knobbly elbow bits and I’ve kept them in water in clear vases away from direct sunlight.

Pinterest told me to not change the water – just top it up if needed. And over the last couple of months the knobbles have turned into nice fat roots and baby roots are growing from the main roots.

I’m loving doing this in clear vases so I can see what’s happening!

I’m not sure what to do next… do they look ready to plant on yet?

The other thing that’s making me really happy is that the mother plant is recovering! She started sending up little shoots and now has some gorgeous fresh leaves.

Isn’t nature amazing?! And speaking of nature… I’m hosting another virtual garden fest over on Instagram next weekend (weather allowing). I hope you’ll join in!

New Pattern Shop

Just in case you missed my newsletter this week- I thought I would share it on here too…

Ravelry have made some big changes recently and the site isn’t usable for everyone. My patterns are still available to purchase via Ravelry and Love Knitting, but you now also have the option of my new pattern shop!

Hexi Pouffe by Jem Weston

I haven’t uploaded everything from my pattern archive – so just give me a shout if you’re looking for something in particular that you can’t find.

Cute Comfort Knits by Jem Weston

The Cute Comfort Knits Ebook and individual patterns are all on there – and of course you can find Ted Bear and his wardrobe!

Happy knitting x

Wellbeing Check-in

We’ve been living under varying levels of lockdown for over three months now and (although everyone’s situations are different) I think it’s fair to say that all our lives have changed.

So I thought it might be a good time for us to do a wellbeing check-in!

Of the things that I’m grateful for during lockdown – my top three (in no particular order) would be: my garden, being able to work from home and living with a wellbeing advisor! Mostly because he’s lovely… but the wellbeing advice is always a bonus!

One of the things that Beardie often refers to as a good way to check-in with how we’re feeling is the “five ways to wellbeing”.

Research has shown that we need to fulfil certain needs in order to maintain good wellbeing: Connecting to others, being active, taking notice, learning and giving. You can find more details over on the Mind website here.

Connecting to others has definitely been difficult for all of us during lockdown… video chats just aren’t the same but they’re better than nothing.

So maybe do a check-in with how you’re feeling now and think about how that compares to the before-times. Maybe there’s one of these five needs that you’ve been fulfilling more during lockdown and you want to carry that through to the after-times?

I’ve personally been a lot more active and have really been enjoying running (still can’t believe that…) so I want to make time for that on the other side.

I’ve also realised how much I value seeing my friends face-to-face and being able to hug them! I’m definitely going to be a hugger when we have a vaccine!

Hope you’re all staying safe and mentally and physically well x

Jem Weston Shop

The Jem Weston online shop has re-opened!

You might have seen me re-launch the shop over on the virtual Yorkshire Yarn Fest last Saturday… my video is still on their page if you want to hop over for a watch. I had a couple of technical issues so apologies for the blurryness!

On the shop – I have copies of Cosy Alpaca Knits and yarn packs to knit the Alpaca Pillow, Tassel Pillow, Audrey Alpaca & Colin Cria, the Tassel Wall Hanging and Tassel Socks.

I should hopefully also have yarn packs for the Cosy Alpaca Blanket back in soon… I’m just waiting on the turquoise. Let me know if you want me to reserve a pack for you when I receive the yarn.

I also have some Cute Comfort Knits yarn packs – and don’t forget that all of those patterns are now available individually and as an Ebook from both my Ravelry and Love Knitting pattern shops.

I’ve got limited stock of The Knitted Nursery Collection left and won’t be stocking up again once they’re all sold… just a little warning!

In order to keep contact/risk low, I will be limiting my post office trips to once a week (on Tuesdays) for the time being, so apologies in advance for any delays.

All overseas orders will be posted using the Royal Mail Tracked service and you will receive a tracking number once your order is dispatched. All UK orders are still being sent via Royal Mail 1st Class – but if you want to upgrade to special delivery please just contact me for a quote.

Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to buy patterns while my online shop has been temporarily closed – I really appreciate your support!

Happy shopping x

Cropped Burnt Top

Last summer I knitted Burnt from Indigo by Kim Hargreaves in a gorgeous green shade of Rowan Cotton Glace.

It was a lovely fit – but I wanted to wear it tucked into skirts and it felt too bulky/warm around the waist and hips for that. So I decided to crop it!

I unpicked the side seams, picked up the row of stitches just after the hip decreases and chopped the bottom section off. I then knitted a reverse st st edge to match the neckline and sleeve edges.

I’m much happier with it – it feels a lot cooler and more comfortable. I love the style and the fit so I’ve also cast on a black version which will be a similar length. 

I’m looking forward to sewing some comfy summer skirts to go with my summer tops!

Another Lockdown Cushion!

As well as finishing off a couple of half done cushions during lockdown… I also started a new crochet cushion to go with the paintings in our living room.

We have four Alan McPherson paintings in our home – two of which were wedding gifts from Alan and his family and we absolutely love them! One of the paintings we have in the living room is from the eighties and other is more recent – from the Positions series.

I love the echos of shape and colour between the two paintings – almost 40 years apart, and have decided to redecorate the living room around them.

We’ve chosen Mid Azure Green from The Little Green Paint Company for the main colour, but have come to a bit of a standstill on the decorating as I discovered some bigger (expensive) jobs that need doing by an expert before I can crack on. Oh… the joy of old houses!

So in the meantime I finished my Alan McPherson inspired scrappy crochet cushion!

I’ve never crocheted a garment and therefore never measured my crochet guage – but I’m pretty sure my stitches come out too short. Squares certainly never come out square for me… so it took a bit of blocking!

I’ve also made a new cover for my Ercol armchair cushion as the old one wasn’t removable/washable… and the cats love that chair so it was a bit furry. I opted for denim – partly because I think it will wear well, but mainly because I had enough in my stash!

It has a zip so it’s removable for washing and I also had enough fabric to use it for the back of the crochet cushion as well.

The cats are already giving it a lot of kneading… by the time I can redecorate everything will have been well loved!