In which I prove my blog name

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I coined the name Nicolaknits when I started this blog and it was an apt name. I was mostly knitting back then. However  I then went through a phase of almost 100% crochet and I was wondering if I’d ever get my knitting mojo back.

Seems I have!

The two projects I’ve been working on the last couple of weeks have been knitted. The Pebble Beach Baktus was put aside for a week or so to get some mittens made for a co-worker, but today I picked it back up again and made good progress (of course I’m on the “downhill” side now, so it will go faster as the decreases make my rows shorter and shorter).

It will need blocking at the end but I do love the look of squishy yarn in garter and cables. I cut off the last bit of brown at the end of cake #1 and also had to remove the blue at the centre of cake #2 to get to the brown section, but I allowed for that by turning the corner (starting the decreases) well before cake #1 ran out.

The mitten pattern I chose was Minky Mittens. These were made with yarn that my co-worker bought (at my recommendation – I thought the Deborah Norville Wool Naturals yarn would be really warm, especially in the slipstitch pattern).

I knitted the adult medium size and they came out perfectly. The yarn is brown though it looks rather grey in these nighttime shots.

They would look more exciting in more contrasting colours but they will do the job, which is to keep her hands warm when shovelling snow this winter.

What else is new? I took a new class at the gym today. It’s called SST which is a mixture of cardio and weights and gets your whole body sweating. Often, on a Tuesday evening, I’ve been going into yoga and have seen the people leaving the SST class looking like they had a really good workout. So rather than just do my usual solo treadmill/weights workout today, I joined the class and had a really good time. Definitely an experience to repeat.

Then I headed over to a friend’s house to fix a knitting emergency. Wouldn’t it be great to have a decal and some flashing lights to attach to my car so I could go over there with sirens blasting to help her with her scarf!? Anyway, she was stuck. There was a knot in the yarn which she’d knitted past and on the next row it was causing problems. So all that was needed was a bit of tinking (unknitting) a stitch at a time to get to the root of the problem on the previous row. Luckily it was an easy fix and my reputation as a knitting goddess is intact!

Well, I may have done a fitness class this morning but I wouldn’t want to cancel out the benefits by spending the entire rest of the day on the couch. I’ll sign off for now and wish you all happy crafting.

 

 

Knitting and snow

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Knitting and snow

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Two weeks! Haven’t I been a naughty blogger! Time to update you on my WIP. Last time I had a couple of FOs to show you and was stuck as to what to make next. Well, I made a decision, and I’m using my two cakes of Bernat Pop! in Birch Bark and Blue to make a shawlette/scarf type thing.

The pattern is here. It’s called the Pebble Beach Baktus and it’s an easy knit, mostly garter stitch but with a lace and bobble border that adds just a little interest while still being something I can knit while watching Netflix! It’s funny how technology has taken over our lives (well, sad too, in a way) but I can have my laptop open playing a movie or TV series and my iPad open in iBooks with a knitting or crochet pattern at the same time.

I’m just over half way through this. I decided to start on the decreasing half before I ran out of the first cake of yarn, as I am going to have to wind off a little bit of colour at the end of the first cake and the beginning of the next to get the correct colour transition.

It doesn’t look like a lot of progress for two weeks, does it!? But other stuff gets in the way (you know, annoying things like work, and cooking, and housework) plus I decided to knit a quick dishcloth during my Monday night social evening rather than try to keep track of rows and yarnovers and skp’s.

What else is new? Well, I have three tradesmen here today. They are all subcontracted by the same plumbing, heating and air conditioning company. One is replacing taps next to my washer and dryer, and also the outside tap on the other side of the wall to those. One is servicing our furnace. One has been crawling through the insulation in the roof space and is replacing the old, pathetic fan in the en suite bathroom ceiling. I don’t envy these guys. Mostly they are working in a tight space, in our case in an old 1970s house, trying to fix new stuff to old stuff. I know they get paid well, but still, I wouldn’t want their jobs.

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View from my deck today – two trucks out front. And looking in the other directions…

Lots of snow! A few days ago, it snowed solidly for about 24 hours. Then the temperature dropped to well below freezing so it stuck! This is the earliest snowfall we’ve had here since 2001, I believe. And it was a huge dump. We have a few more days of sub-zero to look forward to, and then it’s rising, so it’ll all be melted by the weekend probably.

Tai Chi Man and ds1 fitted both cars with the winter tires on Friday (a day after the snow arrived but he’d mentally scheduled the job for the weekend and the snow caught us out)!

It’s lovely and crisp out there. The sun is doing its best to come out and the light is beautiful.

Thinking of Netflix again, I watched Season 2 of Stranger Things. Definitely enjoyed that. If you haven’t watched it, I recommend it (starting with Season 1 of course).

I worked three days straight, Friday to Sunday, and the weekend was busy busy busy with a flash sale. I’m very glad to have the day at home today. Knowing these guys were going to show up today, but not knowing what time, I was awake at 6.50 (thanks to the time change) and quickly washed and dressed and started cleaning around. My man-boys have not been keeping up with their chore lists. It’s pretty disappointing really. So before I even had a glass of water and a cup of tea I cleaned three bathrooms, cleaned up the kitchen including mopping the floor and scrubbing the stovetop, took out the recycling, put away the laundry etc etc. Not worth vacuuming until the workmen have left.

My body will be pleased to have a rest day from work and workouts. I had a lot of aches and pains over the weekend. A muscle in the top of my right leg keeps giving me a stabbing pain, my right shoulder has been painful again, and my friend, who I went to for some healing touch the other night, has told me I should cut back on heavy lifting that strains the lower back as I have some compression happening in there. Also my neck is always ‘crunchy’ and is not as mobile as I would like. So I will have to be careful not to overdo things at the gym and the store.

Well, that’s probably enough waffling for now. As my bathroom fan guy clatters along in the roof space above my head, I should probably eat a late breakfast!!  Happy Monday to you all!

FOs: Elephant lovey and Glamour Gloves

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Hello bloggy friends. Are you loving the fall weather, the colours, the coolness in the air, even rain? I am. What a balm to the soul after the heat and smoke of the summer.

I love sorting out my closet, thrifting a few things that I no longer wear, putting the summer clothes on the top shelf and bringing down the knits. The polar fleece PJs. The shawls. Aaah!

It’s getting dark around 6 now and there’s nothing I like better than putting on my PJs for the evening after a day at work. Pop out the contact lenses, get the bra off, and let it all relax, eh! Sorry, too much information?

Another two small projects were finished this week. My boss asked me to make this little lovey for a diaper bag-type display at work. We have a talented arty girl on staff who’s great at making stuff look appealing, so to add to this bag of goodies I crocheted up this quick project out of a DMC Top This kit.

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It’s just a granny square with the elephant head in the centre, made with the yarn that’s actually intended to be a hat.

I also finished these Glamour Gloves.  (Apologies for the nighttime shot.)

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These are cute, easy and quick to make. They are just tubes, no thumbhole or anything. I made them with Stylecraft Special Aran in Lipstick as they were for a coworker who just sewed herself a beautiful red coat. She loved them, as did the two ladies who received the Warm Willies mitts and blue hat in my last post. I also gave the Bernat Pop cowl to my boss, so that means that every staff member (plus a couple who have left now) have received a small crocheted gift from me in the last couple of years. Perhaps 22 people.

But oh, the angst last night, while I tried to come up with just the right project to make next. I feel like knitting something, perhaps with another cake of Lion Brand Mandala, but could I find any inspiration?? Nope.

As I’ve just binge-watched three seasons of Game of Thrones, I thought I’d do a Ravelry search to see if that sparked something. Not really. And if it had, which House would I pick? Stark? Targaryen? Or would I just go with, “Winter is Coming.” But really, Winter is Here in Season 7. I’ll say no more than that for fear of spoilers.

Wishing you all a happy crafty week. Take care.

 

 

 

 

 

FOs: Warm Willies and another hat

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Did that heading get your attention? 😉 The Warm Willies to which I am referring is actually a crochet pattern for fingerless mitts. Here’s a Ravelry link, because the pattern is a free Ravelry download. I love that I can look back five years ago and see my project page for the first pair I made of these mitts. This time I made the small size, and left off the button tab on the back of the hand.

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I also got the stitch pattern correct and it looks sort of like a seed stitch. Nice!

I left these in a co-worker’s basket when I was at work on Monday. She will find them when she gets back from her holiday and hopefully like them.

Monday night I was sans project and my friend came over for tea and yarny pursuits. So I quickly grabbed some old James C Brett Marble Chunky and a 6mm hook and started on a hat. I finished it today. It’s based on my Crochet Adjustable Hat pattern (recipe, really), with the crown increased to about 6.75 inches for a finished circumference of 22 inches and a depth of 8 inches. The good thing about the button tab is that the brim can be tightened by rebuttoning the tab further over.

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It’s nice to use some of the buttons I bought when they were discontinued at work.

We had a crazy strong windstorm yesterday. I was driving all over the place yesterday – first to buy some fabric to make a top, then to a class on the other side of the lake, then back to this side of the lake and further yet to a sewing class at my friend’s house, then the gym for an orientation and fitness assessment with Tai Chi Man, followed by a yoga class. There was dust and leaves and garbage cans flying all over the place and even some construction fencing was down and lying in the road in one place. I’m sure a number of trees probably came down but I haven’t checked local news sites. (We did have a couple of mini power outages.)

As for the sewing, it’s exciting, because my friend is helping me to make a top out of a rayon/spandex knit, and I am getting a lot of tips on how to sew with knits and finding out the joys of a serger. Oooh! I shall have to show you when it’s done. I spent two hours at her place yesterday and we made great progress. I go back next week for another two hours, in which I expect to finish that top and start another project.

It’s almost time to start dinner. Happy Hooking on Hump Day, folks, and talk to you again soon.

 

Catching up

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Catching up

Hello bloggy friends

I hope you had a wonderful week and that your weekend will be full of fun things. I have a few things to show you because it’s been over a week since my last post.

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The crazy C2C laptop bag is all done, buttons ‘n all.

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My fall wreath is adorning my kitchen wall, completed with pumpkins, sunflower and various leaves. Four of the leaves were made with random patterns available on Ravelry, though I didn’t note down which ones, and the rest I just made up as I went along.

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I had a nice surprise in the yarn aisle at Wal-mart t’other day. I don’t often see much worth buying there, but they actually had a bunch of cakes of Bernat Pop! in various colourways. This time, I narrowed down the colours and bought two of each, thinking it might be good if I wanted to make a pair of something.

These are Foggy Notion, Birch Bark and Blue, and Full Spectrum, going from left to right. One of the Foggy Notions has already been converted into an infinity scarf using this pattern. An easy two row pattern, it used one whole cake of the Pop!

It’s not the softest acrylic out there so I intend to give this a machine wash and dry before giving it away.

I have been a good girl, going to the gym regularly since I joined at the beginning of September. On my days off, my plan is to go and work out with the treadmill/weights, and also to attend yoga and Zumba classes when I can. I have yet to try a Spin class. There is one tomorrow morning at 7, before the yoga. Not sure if I will do that one or not, yet, as I have to work afterwards. If Tai Chi Man is up for it, I will do it!

I spent a pleasant afternoon at my friend’s today, catching up on the last three episodes of Outlander. Awesome!

Happy crafting!

 

 

Wednesday WIP and Wonderful Walks

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Those few days whizzed by, didn’t they! I blogged on Saturday and now it’s Wednesday.

To finish off my report of the weekend away, Sunday was a pleasant day, and I spent two hours in the morning walking along a nature trail beside the lake/wetlands/nature reserve. I took a sweater, a rain jacket, a bottle of kombucha and a sandwich, but I could have left it all behind. But you know how it is. I didn’t know how long I’d be out for, whether the sun would shine or if it would cloud up and rain on me, and I do like to be prepared.

It’s a very beautiful place.

And so much greener than the valley where I live.

So, I showed you my shawl and my sunflower. Well after this walk on Sunday I spent literally hours crocheting and started a bag for my laptop. I have been meaning to do this ever since I bought the laptop, which is I think a couple of years ago now. I had all my Stylecraft Special Aran with me, and all my hooks, and I decided to use the C2C technique. It’s a great choice, being fairly dense and thick with the aran weight yarn, so will protect my laptop on the odd occasion when it leaves the house.

The colours go dark/medium/light across the work, with three rows of each colour.

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After finishing a rectangle that would wrap around my laptop, with a bit extra for a buttoned flap, I single crocheted all around it in navy, then folded it and single crocheted the sides together.

Pretty wild, huh!

It just needs buttons and of course even though I have a button stash I couldn’t find a combination I was happy with, so I have picked out some discontinued buttons from a basket at work and will bring them home tomorrow.

I also made this peace square.

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That link will take you to Ravelry. The pattern page has a further link to a video tutorial which I followed without even looking at the written pattern. It’s very thorough which is good, because you’ll probably have to do what I did and replay bits of round 2 because there’s a lot of messing about with crocheting in the back and front loops of stitches, plus the colour changes. Once that’s out of the way though it’s all quite simple.

One thing I dislike is on the vertical upper part of the lavender peace sign in my square you can see little dots of blue encroaching on the lavender. That’s because, while I changed colour to slipstitch for the end of the round, it would have been better to finish the previous stitch with the lavender and then slipstitch. I’ll know what to do if I make any more.

Monday evening was my Hygge group which this time was a happy group of five. There was much laughter, knitting and tea drinking.

And Tuesday was a day off too, so I made the most of the beautiful day by walking for a an hour on a nature trail alongside a creek followed by going out for tea and a vegan cookie with a friend. Today was a work day, as is tomorrow.

Enough chat. The day is winding down and if I want to get some crochet done I should revisit those Ravelry links I was researching this morning for leaves to add to my fall wreath. Talk to you later!

 

A weekend retreat

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Tai Chi Man and I are away for the weekend, leaving the three young men at home to eat, sleep and play unhindered! They are all adults now and can fend for themselves. Husband has classes, so I’m seeing him for short bursts of time in between. When I am alone, I am bingeing on Netflix (latest TV series watched is The Five), crocheting, computering, and this morning I hit the gym and the pool right here in the hotel. Gosh, it’s a tough life! I’ve also been out for a few short walks.

The view from our hotel room is very lovely and very changeable. The weather yesterday was low 20s (Celsius) and sunny, today it’s low teens and showery.

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That last one is today’s. Please excuse the dirty window. Nothing I can do about that!

I’m pleased to have a Ta Dah moment for the Spill Shawl. It’s not blocked, as I just finished it last night. I did try taking photos at the time, but a dimly lit hotel room is definitely not the ideal location so I took it out with me this afternoon. I found a nice stretch of beach to walk along and an interesting bit of fallen tree to drape the shawl on.

The last couple of rows are not the Lion Brand Mandala yarn, they are Deramores Studio DK in Jade. It was big enough by the end of the skein (and 67 rows) to call it quits but I thought a brighter/darker colour than the grey would finish it off better.

The other FO I have to show you is one I started and finished this morning, while drinking tea after my workout.

The pattern is from the book in the photos. It’s a sunflower to add to the pumpkin wreath in my kitchen. I used Stylecraft Special Aran in copper for the centre and lemon for the petals. It’s got great texture from all the popcorns.

I had checked Google Maps for getting a bead on the area and how to get to where I needed, but after the beach my aim was to find the large supermarket beside the Trans Canada highway. I did find it, just by a somewhat roundabout route. We have a small two-burner stovetop in our hotel room, and yesterday I threw together a very simple dinner from a can of kidney beans, a can of tomatoes, part of a bag of frozen vegetables, some salt and some chipotle flakes. OMG, I love chipotle. Smoked jalapeno, for those who don’t know, and I have the powder at home but forgot to bring any condiments or seasonings with me. So when I found the jar of flakes at the supermarket yesterday I just had to buy it.

Tonight I think we’ll have avocado and tomato on toast, and tomorrow night it’ll be pasta with olives, artichokes, tomatoes, peppers – and maybe some more of those chipotle flakes!

Brrr! I actually had to put a sweater on.

Hope your weekend is awesome. Bye for now!

 

 

 

 

WIPs and waiting…

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WIPs and waiting…

Waiting for the electrician and plumber to arrive, who should have been here at 8 and it’s now 9.30am. Hopeless! The reason we need the team is that all three of our bathrooms are having extractor fans installed. Our tiny en suite (toilet and sink only) has a pathetic fan that’s never worked well. The two full bathrooms (one up, one down) have never had them. Now that we have new windows and doors and the house is better insulated and less draughty we have to make sure we don’t have a mould problem. (It started to manifest early this year after we had the work done – in January! Yes, the house was freezing for a bit.)

Tai Chi Man hung around an hour longer than usual this morning, but when we got the call that they would be late, he left for work and gave me instructions on what to tell the guys.

Anyway, last night was fun. I’ve started to host a Monday night ‘Hygge’ gathering, for friends to come and have tea and maybe crochet or knit or just chat. The first two, it was just me and one friend. Then last night there were four of us and we had such a laugh (and scads of Yorkshire Tea because three of us are Brits and the fourth is an honorary one)! It may or may not have been the tea that caused my wakefulness between 4 and 5am.

So my WIP is still Spill. I work on this when I can concentrate, as right side rows do require a bit of counting, but it’s an easy pattern and I love the way the colours look with the short rows. I’m almost at the end of the cake of Lion Brand Mandala and it’s 12 inches deep at the centre. Maybe not quite big enough to quit at the end of the cake, so I will go stash-diving later for something that works with it so I can keep going.

And I have a tiny FO that I started last night and just finished off.

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This is a bit of Stylecraft Special Aran. I just made a rectangle, starting with 20 chains, worked sc in the back loop only every row for 25 rows. Sew up the side seam, gather up one end, stuff it, gather up the other end, and then take the tails through the centre a couple of times to flatten it out and make it pumpkin-shaped. Add a little green stalk – 4 chain, work 3 sc into the chain, finish off and use the tails to sew it in.

This would be fun to make in different sizes. I may experiment with ever smaller starting chains.

Looks like I will have plenty of crochet time this morning. Have a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

New pretties

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I told you recently that I gave away a lot of old acrylics that I had acquired from various sources, because I just wanted to keep the ‘good stuff’ that I will actually enjoy using. Well, the voice in my head said that now I had some space in my craft room cubbies I could feel free to invest in some new yarn. Totally justified, of course. And I have my birthday money fund, which is ‘free money’ which I can spend without guilt on anything I choose.

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With this in mind, I attended an autumn yarn event being held at my Local Yarn Store (LYS). I haven’t been in the store much since it changed hands at the beginning of the year, but I love the way things have been updated. New stock, a computerised checkout system, fresh look. The previous owners had run the store, very successfully I might add, for thirty years but they were ready to retire, and a new owner has the opportunity to make changes to suit her style.

My friend and I arrived at 10am, as the store was opening. It’s a two day event, and I expected there to be a lineup at the door, but no, we were the first ones in the door and we received our goody bags with a range of freebies inside. After a lot of browsing (yarns at LYSs tend to be mostly wool or wool blends) I found some pretties to bring home (pictured above). Four hanks (now cakes) of Cascade Yarns Sunseeker. Two multis, two solids, cotton/acrylic/metallic. I don’t usually go for sparkle and I haven’t a clue what I will make with them. The Drops Muskat is 100% cotton and I don’t know what I will use them for either but they coordinate well.

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The goody bag had lots of little bits and pieces including a hank of hemp yarn (and a ball of wool/alpaca which I gave to my friend).

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I also bought a placeholder and a set of stitchmarkers from a lady who was set up with her wares. I recognised her as a regular customer at the fabric store where I work. This sheep charm is fun (even though I don’t use wool) and the placeholder is an elephant charm. I liked that the lobster claw on it was large enough to use on crochet.

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I was fortunate to have a boss who went away to management meetings last week and came home with some freebies of her own. She didn’t know what these hooks were for and knows I love to crochet so I was glad to take them off her hands. I explained to her that they were for Tunisian crochet in the round, which is a technique I haven’t learned myself yet. However now I have the right hooks, I’ll have to go and visit CrochetKim on You Tube and learn how.

And finally…

Two finished objects for this week – a C2C (corner to corner) scarf and a slouchy hat. The scarf took a whole skein of Loops & Threads Barcelona and ended up 60″ long. No pattern. I used a tutorial from Mikey at The Crochet Crowd. The hat is the Joyful and Bright Slouch Hat from Oombawka Designs (Ravelry link) (direct link) and it has multiple sizes. I started out making the adult small, but the ribbed band would have been too big with 50 rows, so I did 44 then increased to 50 stitches on the second round of single crochets. That way, the brim should stay snug enough to stay on, but the body of the hat will be roomier. I also extended the 15 rounds of V stitch to 20 for more slouch.

The scarf took four days, the hat two.

I think that’s us all updated. Have a great weekend!