Hi Bloggy Friends, just dropping in to say hello and update you on yarny progress chez NicolaKnits. 

This…

 

…is the bag I’m taking to the hospital on Tuesday. A flannelette elephant bag, made years ago, with two skeins of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in blues and greens, with a coordinating crochet hook and some folding scissors. I have to call the hospital tomorrow to find out what time to go in on Tuesday, and you can guarantee there will be waiting time. I don’t know whether I will feel like crocheting after the stapedectomy (ear surgery to restore hearing in my left ear) as I will be dopey from the anaesthetic and possibly feeling dizzy too. But I’m in overnight and I can’t imagine not taking something with me…just in case. 

  

Here is the granny blanket so far. I’ve been using my Willow Wash leftovers, and have had to be careful which ones as I want to get all the way around with one colour. So tonight I went and dug out the rest of my Willow Wash and Knit Picks Brava and brought it upstairs with the intention of adding more colours to the blanket. 

I haven’t been changing direction at all, which means the centre is starting to look skewed, but that’s okay. It’s also not perfectly square but I’m not going to stress about that either. 

There’s a thread on the Ravelry yarn forum called Flash your Stash 2015 (I think they have one for every year) but I’m not going to pull out everything just to get a photo. However here is a shot of everything that’s not Wash or Brava, in the cubbies in my craft room.

  

It’s mostly random acrylic in worsted and DK weights, with a few other yarns thrown in, sorted by colour family. The zippered bags at bottom right are my new Stylecraft Special Aran. I’m saving that for now. 

Not a lot really, and not too many $$$ invested, but enough that if I feel the urge to create I don’t necessarily have to dash out and buy more. 

Well, I’m hoping that the next couple of weeks of enforced home time are productive and that I don’t just stagger around the house, more unbalanced than usual ;-) 

I have plenty of potential things to do, including filing, sewing, crochet, watching Season 5 of Downton Abbey. And work has scheduled me for two shifts right after those two weeks are up, by which time I intend to be feeling fine. Here’s hoping you have a marvellous Monday. 

  

I am WIP-less! I just finalized the sewing up of the Unforgettable cowl, which you may recall was going to be a scarf, but I didn’t have the patience for it. 

Today I bound it off, then continued with a crochet hook of the same size (5mm) to single crochet all around the edges. Then, having watched at least three different tutorials on crocodile stitch, I worked three rows of that on one end. The last video said to use a multiple of six, but what he should have said was 6+3, because I didn’t get an odd number of scales in my first row. That means my edges aren’t symmetrical but I decided not to let it bother me.

The two ends were then mattress-stitched together and voilà! All done and now I am FREE to play with a new crochet project. Sorry, knitting, you are a second-class citizen around here at the moment. 

This used about 60grams of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in Sunrise. And I can confirm that it is a lot nicer to crochet with than to knit. Also, it breaks quickly if you sew with it, so any long seams would be best made with a different yarn. 

      

These are the side view, back view and front view respectively of the cowl. I have tried it on but not in front of a mirror or a camera. The hood shaping looks rather weird when laid flat like this, but presumably looks better when worn. I twisted my yarnovers to avoid large holes. 

I used #9 U.S. Needles with 2.6 skeins of Willow Wash worsted in Cooked Quince. 

Only one WIP left to finish!

I have heard so much about Stylecraft Special acrylic yarn on Ravelry and other people’s blogs that I just had to try it out for myself. Most seem to like the DK but I’m more of a worsted person (quicker results, you know) so when Deramores offered a sale on their Aran weight yarns a few weeks back, I jumped at the chance to get some of the Special Aran.  

As it was such a great price, and because I’d get free shipping if I ordered over $75 worth, I went a little crazy and bought 47 balls of the stuff. Two balls each of the bright and colourful ones, one of each of the neutrals. 

Two weeks after they emailed me to say they’d processed my order, the yarn arrived all the way from England. Three pillow sized bags were perched on the logs near my mailbox today…

  

I was a little concerned about this…

  

But it seems all the yarn had stayed in the bag and hadn’t been damaged – phew!

When I unpacked, this is what I had…

 

It’s still there, though I suppose I should move it soon. I’ll have to add it to my Ravelry stash pages which will take a while! 

I have told myself firmly that I cannot start a new crochet project until the two WIPs are finished. That will motivate me, I know. The hooded cowl was very close to being finished last night. And the Unforgettable scarf is going to be finished off ASAP too. 

Then I’ll have to decide whether to save the Stylecraft for a special occasion or get going with it straight away. I know I’d like to make another afghan, probably a giant granny square. Not a decision I have to make right now. 

So let’s see, what’s new? Ticks! Yup, went hiking today, came home, and this evening a couple of ticks were spotted wandering around on me but thankfully not embedded. They were evicted!

My friend tells me that rose geranium oil is supposed to be a good deterrent. I think I will have to invest, because it’s a bit creepy having bugs on you that want to suck your blood, and may carry Lyme disease too.

Word of the Day: Formication – a feeling like insects are crawling on your skin. MmmHmmm, I have that tonight – phantom ticks only, I hope. 

What else? I have a new fridge/freezer with the freezer on the bottom. My husband and oldest son kindly went to Sears after work to pick up our new appliances. We thought the fridge was going to be a bit deep for the space but bought it anyway. It actually fits perfectly. Love love love the eye level fridge. The stove isn’t anything out of the ordinary. I initially was looking at ceramic tops, then changed my mind. So it’s a new stove but with coil elements, and it’s what they call European convection, in other words, a true convection oven. That probably means I’ll have to get used to faster cooking times. And no switching baking sheets halfway through, which will be  nice. The dishwasher, well, we haven’t had a functional dishwasher in years. The one that came with the house was so noisy and never really worked very well, so I never relied on it. But now we have a new Kenmore (made by Bosch) and once Tai Chi Man has had a good night’s sleep after his long day I’m sure it’ll be working perfectly. So far he’s done some wiring in, but it needs to be hooked up to the water supply and the drain. 

I am always grateful for a husband who is also a Mr Fixit. 

I didn’t get around to any Yarny crafty stuff today. I was optimistic that my big box of yarn was going to arrive from Deramores this week, but sadly it didn’t. So disappointing! Maybe Monday. Cataloging the new yarn on my Ravelry stash page will take some time. 

I’ve managed ten days of raw eating (except for the one blip when we went out to dinner for ds1’s birthday). There’s been a couple of times when my self discipline wavered, mostly when I was really hungry from having waited too long to eat, but I managed to stick to it. My jeans are more comfortable now, though I’m not weighing myself. I just wanted to cleanse a little and hopefully fit into my summer clothes! 

Have an awesome weekend. :3

    

I bought some really cheap fabric at work the other day. It was $3.60 a metre after the 70% discount so I went mad and bought four different prints. I took a look online and found a tutorial for an Easy Knit Skirt at Sugarbeecrafts.com that looked simple enough. I followed the instructions fairly closely, using the whole width of the fabric for the main part of the skirt, and seaming it only once rather than at each side. 

I like it. It’s comfortable and I could actually go a bit smaller on the waistband for the next one. For a maxi skirt, it took only about 1.2 metres of fabric. 

 

Here’s Thorin’s Hooded Cowl so far. The cowl part is finished and I’ve bound off half of the stitches and started the hood bit. There’s a short straight section before increasing for the shape of the head. I’m almost at the end of two skeins of yarn so will definitely have enough to complete this project – in fact I suspect two skeins will go back into the stash. 

And the latest Netflix show I’m watching? Last Tango in Halifax. On the recommendation of a friend, I started watching today, having exhausted all seasons of Psych. That’s the Halifax in England, not Canada.  Very entertaining!

Once again, I’ve run out of waking hours and it’s time to retire and recharge my batteries. Happy Friday!

I should probably translate that for any non-Brits! Chuffed means pleased. In the last week, I have had three private messages on Ravelry  from Clare at bobwilson123. The requests were to show my project photos on her pattern  pages – for my Granny Slippers, Jacob’s Ladder hat, and crocheted pumpkin. I know she’s just a regular gal like me, but I respect her for her huge success with her video tutorials (which I’m sure she never anticipated back at the beginning). When I first discovered her You Tube channel, I mentioned her on this very blog and was amazed that she had 10,000 views on one of her videos. Well, I later discovered that some of her videos are getting more like 250,000 hits!!! Whenever anyone on Ravelry is asking for help, I regularly recommend her tutorials. 

I don’t know if I’m extra fussy, or weird, or if it’s a normal thing, but if I’m watching a tutorial I can be easily distracted by the voice, accent or technique of the person involved. I know that the Moogly videos are really helpful too, but she holds her hook like a pencil (unlike me) and when I viewed her tutorial for crocodile stitch the other day I was watching her attempt two or three times to catch the yarn with her hook on almost every stitch  and my thought was that there’s a lot of wasted effort there. I, like Clare, hold my hook in my hand with the handle inside my palm, and that works for me (I know, everyone is different). 

I’m the same with podcasts. I tried getting into them years ago but just couldn’t get hooked (ha ha, pun). Too much potential for distractions from the content. 

It’s the same with blogs, I suppose – content is important, but so is presentation. I know my photos are pretty basic (I use my iPad for convenience and I’ve been meaning to make a light box for years) and I do appreciate beautiful photos on other blogs. A reasonable command of the English language is a must for me – I inherited a pedantic attitude towards good grammar and spelling from my father (my sister’s  the same, and she gets paid to edit at work). 

This is in danger of turning into an essay about the demise of the English language, so I’ll stop here and say that I did actually make progress on the hooded cowl last night and am nearly up to the casting off part for the hood. No photo tonight. It’s been a long day, and if the cut on my finger doesn’t get in the way I might actually knit a few stitches before bed. 

Work tomorrow – because of the way the scheduling worked out, I will have worked four days out of the last six – but next week I’m only slated to work one day, and then I will be taking two weeks off to recuperate from my ear surgery. I’m ready with a new file to fill with paperwork and a new notebook to fill with recipes, and yarn on the way and……. let’s just say I won’t be bored. 

UPDATE! I opened up my iPad this morning to find four more requests to feature my project photos on Clare’s pattern pages. Obviously I have crocheted up a LOT of her designs! 

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