Sunday, 7 April 2013

Who needs the gym?

I think decorating must be the ultimate exercise workout.  I am normally an extremely sedentary person, happiest curled up on the sofa with my knitting, in front of the telly (hopefully with a drink of some kind to hand).  So to be spending six or more hours a day bending, lifting, washing walls, painting etc. has been tough.  I probably overdid it by starting on the conservatory first, as that was an all day job.  By the evening my right hand and arm were extremely painful and I had to ice them and take ibuprofen.  But each day I feel like my arms are getting stronger, although I am still struggling with stamina and energy.

But it's going very well.  I filled all the gaps and holes in the conservatory and repainted the sill and walls.  In the living room I filled about a dozen screw holes and lots of little dings, scrubbed down all the walls, painted them and touched up the cornice.  Today I have been working on the stairwell:  I took down my quilt hanging system and filled in those holes and also filled the two big dents we made when we wrestled down my craft cupboard. It's all looking so nice that we are asking ourselves why we haven't done anything like this since we moved in.  It helps having so much more space to work in now that most things are packed.

I'm sorry if this blog is turning into a really boring monologue (pack pack pack, paint, house move, blah blah blah) but that's pretty much all we're doing at the moment.

I've started to roll my quilts onto the pool noodles.  I find I can roll two bigger quilts or three smaller ones onto each noodle.  It's a slow job, and so far I've only done about 10 quilts.

I'll be storing them under beds and in closets but I'm already wondering if I have enough space for all of them.  Might have to draft in the in-laws beds  :)

Today I finished packing up my machine knitting shed.  DH helped by packing all my old machine knitting magazines and patterns.

DH: "Do you really need all of these magazines???"
Me:  "Yes!  It's a dead hobby and those are full of tips, tricks, patterns and advice that you can't get anywhere else now."
DH:  (looks sceptical but resigned, and starts packing)

DH has pretty much finished packing his room so I will be able to decorate that this week.  I can't decorate my room until I've rolled all of the quilts and got them out of the way.  I've been shoveling out DS's room and encouraging (forcing) him to sort through all of his modelling debris but it's going to be a while before I can get in there to start decorating.

TV knitting continues to be the Unexpected Journey KAL and we are now on the penultimate clue, Clue 8.  We are up to some ghastly number of stitches now so each row takes ages, but I am amazed at how much shawl I have knit in just a few weeks.  This type of KAL format seems to suit me, it gives a manageable chunk of instruction to tackle every one or two weeks.  I'm also knitting the fourth GAAA square, and I've started some socks from a magazine pattern.

When I am too tired to do anything else, I've been experimenting with the Craftsy platform.  It's been around for about a year I think, but it really seems to be picking up momentum now and I'm hearing about it more often on podcasts and in magazines.  They seem to be getting more 'names' doing classes.  If you sign up to their e-newsletter, they constantly email you with sales so you would rarely need to pay full price.

I resisted paying anything at first as even on sale, the classes cost the same as buying a knitting or quilting book.  I know that is cheaper than taking a class or workshop live with an instructor, but given the choice between online video and a book, I would rather have the book because I can keep that forever and refer to it anywhere.

However, sometimes you really need to see someone do something, particularly in knitting which can be hard to illustrate on the page.  After hearing it praised on some podcasts, I took a free course on Short Rows by Carol Feller which was really excellent.  It's about two hours long, broken into four segments.  Carol is an excellent teacher, very personable and friendly, and the course comes with comprehensive written handouts showing all of the variations on short rows plus how to knit set in sleeves or shoulders with short rows.  I'm impressed that this was a free course.

However, I did have some technical problems with the platform.  Judging by the comments from users on the courses I have looked at, this is not uncommon.  Apparently Chrome is the recommended browser, and that's what I was using.  However I still experienced a number of issues.  One time I was trying to watch Carol, the video kept stuttering and I had to give up - when I tried again later it was fine. Craftsy promotes itself as being an ideal teaching environment because you can pause or rewind the video to re-watch something until you understand it.  I found that doesn't work at all.  Pausing the video for more than a few seconds always causes it to hang permanently for me.  It won't restart at all until I go back to Home, reselect the lesson and start over again from the beginning, fast forwarding to where I left off.  Similarly, trying to use the 30-second Repeat function also causes it to hang more than half the time.  Less than half the time it will rewind but it pauses for several seconds before it starts playing again.  So it can be frustrating if you didn't catch something.

I've had a look at the free course on pieced quilt backs, which was ok but I didn't find it very informative.  I've also watched most of a free course on making 'Perfect Pizza' at home.

Inevitably I have been sucked into buying something, and it was the 'Knit to Flatter' course with Amy Herzog which was highly recommended on the Stash and Burn podcast who also provided a 50% off code.  I haven't watched it yet but it sounds really useful.

Have you tried any of the Craftsy courses yet?  What did you think?



swooze said...

What is a conservatory equivalent inUS? I've been blogging like a madman again. Not sure how long it will last. Lol

Hang in there on the house prep. It will be done before you know it.

Sarah Nopp said...

Good job on the house clean up! It is such a huge job, but it is amazing how it makes a house feel so fresh!
On the knitting machine- I was given PART of a machine by my sister. It was formerly my grandmother's! I really need to have her send me the rest of it... so it can live in my closet and be forgotten about. Oops. I really do hope there is some material I can find about it once I decide to try it out.

Daisy said...

How did you find the 'Knit to flatter' one? I was thinking about doing it.

Sue Schoch said...

Just getting caught up. Sounds like you've been extremely busy! I purchased several craftsy classes, particularly on long arming. I just got an email (which you probably did too) on a survey they're doing on the craftsy experience. They'd probably be interested in your problems. I wonder if it could be internet distance related?

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