Little Golden Moments

I’m writing this at what I suspect is just the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak and ‘lockdown’ in the UK, and I feel like things are tough already, aren’t they? But you know when you’re having a hard time and then all of a sudden, something happens that makes you stop and appreciate the small things? I had one of these moments last week, as I was walking back from one of my cancelled knitting classes.

I’m going to share the story here, but if you’d rather listen to me telling it, I’ve uploaded a voice-recording to Soundcloud (warning though – I get a bit emotional towards the end!). Find it here.

If you’re new to my work, you might not know that my ‘other’ job is running and teaching kids and adults knitting classes with Knitting For All. Up until last week, we’d been running out classes, but last Wednesday our school-based sessions were cancelled, kind of at the last minute following the latest government announcements.

Anyway, as I was returning home from the cancelled class, wheeling my big bag of knitting supplies back up the hill, I saw a group of teenagers coming towards me. Now, I’ve been teaching kids how to knit for quite a while, maybe 6 or 7 years, so some of those kids have now moved on to high school. Usually if I see one of them in the street they don’t make eye contact – I don’t think I’m cool enough for teenagers to say hi to!

So, I was walking up the hill and these teens were crossing the road. All of a sudden, two of them started jumping up and down, waving their arms and calling out “Hi Maddie, hi!”.

I realised that they were two of my former knitting pupils, now about 13 or 14 years old, and they were waving at me – going out of their way to get my attention (not paying attention to crossing the road! Ha!), and I just thought, how lovely! Here I am, having had to cancel all of my classes and feeling a bit upset about it, and these teens are jumping about in the street to say hello to their old knitting teacher.

It was such a small moment, but when you’re having a tough time, which I think we all are just now, it’s important to notice these little golden moments and treasure them.

I hope that my former pupils have retained enough of their knitting skills that they can pick-up their needles again during this period of lockdown, and that it will bring them some comfort, and maybe a little golden moment of their own.


Shawl featured is called Little Golden Moments and is released on Sat 28th March. Be the first to know when it’s available in my Ravelry Store and receive an exclusive discount code by signing up to my mailing list here.

5 Extra Uses For Lightbulb Pin Stitch Markers

There are so many different kinds of stitch markers out there, but I’d be willing to bet that you have a favourite?

For me, it’s those little lightbulb pins. I like them so much that last year I bought 1000 of them online: 250 of each colour – silver, gold, black and a tarnished grey. I was slightly disappointed when four little 5cm/4″ plastic packets arrived full of stitch markers. I think I thought 1000 lightbulb pins would mean a whole big bowlful, rather than a wee handful – I guess they are smaller and take up less space than I realised?!

Anyway, in the year that I’ve been the proud owner of 1000 lightbulb pins, I’ve discovered that, besides being used as a traditional stitch marker (threaded onto your knitting needle) there are a few other things they can do which make them super handy. Here’s a wee run down of my top five extra uses for lightbulb pins …

1. If you own a set of interchangeable needles, the kind that use a little key to unscrew the tips, then you can use a lightbulb pin in place of the key (I don’t know about you, but I’m always losing those keys, but I’m never far from a stitch marker!). Handy!

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2. Similarly, you can also use a lightbulb pin in place of those little cable-end-cap-thingies – just thread the pin through the holes at each end of the cable and fasten together. Those stitches will be nice and secure on the cable until you’re ready to start knitting them again!

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3. I love being able to unlock lightbulb pins and move them around in my knitting (which you can’t do with fixed stitch markers), and they work really well as a progress marker. You know when you’re working on something for ages but it never seems to be growing? Pop a marker in the actual fabric of your knitting and it will mark your progress. You’ll start to notice the marker moving down as your knitting grows: reassuring you that you’re getting closer to having a finished object. Hurrah!

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4. Use lightbulb pins to pin together flat pieces of knitting for seaming. This works especially well for mattress stitch as the pins help to keep the pieces in place without holding them together too tightly, allowing you to sew the stitches and then draw the two sides together to create that lovely invisible mattress stitch seam.

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5. Since lightbulb pins open up, you can also use them to pin knitting essentials inside your project bag. For example – if you’re out and about with your knitting and you know you’ll need a tapestry needle, but you don’t want it floating about at the bottom of your project bag, you can thread the eye of the needle through a lightbulb pin and pin it to the inside of you bag. When you come to need it, you’ll easily be able to find it.

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There are probably lots of other ways of using these handy little stitch markers – let me know if you have another one.

 

The purple and pink project featured here is an upcoming cowl design in collaboration with Old Maiden Aunt yarns and part of Gamer Crafting’s Operation: Social Justice campaign. £1 from each copy of the pattern sold between 15/3/20 and 31/3/20 will go to CRER: Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights.

The best way to keep up-to-date with my knitting pattern releases (and get 15% off each new design) is by joining my mailing list, which you can do here.

Or head over to my Ravelry store to see all my patterns and buy yourself a copy.