Groovyghan: looking groovy!

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What a difference a few weeks make! I started this CAL on September 1st with all these lovely skeins of yarn. I had extra of three of the colours from a previous purchase. Now look at them, so depleted! Still a fair amount of pink and turquoise but the rest are starting to look skinny. 

This is what they have been turned into. A daisy strip, a granny square strip, a dot/applique strip, a stripe strip and a C2C (corner to corner) strip. The latter is not quite done. I have to make sure it is the right length before making the last corner. I worked both days this weekend so the evenings were perfect for watching podcasts and weaving in ends. Hundreds of the darned things! (No pun intended.) I still have about 150 left on the stripe section. 

Tomorrow I should be able to finish the C2C section and start crocheting the strips together. And then…the border!

Groovyghan: squares complete

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Last time, I showed you my dot squares and granny squares for the Groovyghan CAL. I also showed you four oddball squares that I thought I’d be including in the final blanket.

Well, things have changed. My brain has been going through various options but once I bought the pattern for the Charity Daisy square and crocheted one up, I was in love with it and wanted to make more. When you make your first daisy, you find it is difficult to figure out. I ripped back more than once. However there is a link to a video (which I didn’t use) if you need it. But when you figure out the unusual construction and see the finished result, it really is gorgeous.

My Ravelry project page is here if you want a close-up of all my individual squares. My final choice of squares is the seven grannies, seven daisies, and the seven dot squares BUT with appliques attached to each one to make them more interesting. There is a marijuana leaf, a mushroom, a tree of life, a peace sign, a heart (from one of the discarded blocks), a vintage camper, and a rainbow.

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Now I can move on to making the stripe strip which will be a welcome change from squares.

 

Groovyghan: great progress

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All of the home time has paid off. Yesterday I made all seven granny squares. I did all the round 1s first, then all the round 2s, and so on. I made sure that there were, for example, no round 5s the same colour. Each square is completely different.

Now that the dot blocks and grannies are done, I can focus on the remaining strip of seven blocks: the original pattern has flowers which are pretty but fiddly with their dimensional petals. And I have already experimented with these other squares.

I worked today but managed to get all my ends woven in (100 total for seven grannies) and tomorrow I can start playing with other squares.

Grooyghan: first blocks

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The cold that I caught on the plane home last weekend started out pretty mild, but on Friday I was at work and had to have a box of tissues and a bottle of hand sanitiser right next to my cutting station. I did my best  not to spread my germs! But on Saturday I woke up feeling way more congested – my head ached, my nose was running to win a marathon, and I let my manager know that I would not be making it into work on Sunday.

Thankfully I had the Groovyghan Crochet-along to keep me busy at least part of  the time. I completed seven blocks in the last two days, which depending on your personal output may sound a lot or it may sound like a little. Compared to some of the others doing the CAL, it is slow! But it’s not a race, and the first part of the CAL runs for three weeks and has you make the first seven dot blocks.

To make it a little more interesting, I am alternating my dot blocks and going off-piste with some ideas from YarnUtopia’s You Tube channel. Nadia has an amazing resource – a playlist of 365 Granny Squares that she published videos for back in 2016. For full details of the squares I have made from her site, I shall refer you to my Ravelry project page.

Four dot blocks done.

Three alternative blocks done.

My dot blocks are coming out at 8.25″ square so with the alternative blocks I am having to add extra rounds to make up the size.

As long as the yarn lasts, it would be great to make this Groovyghan larger than the pattern suggests. If I could make it big enough to fit my bed, that would be perfect. We shall see…

Let the Groovyghan commence!

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Let the Groovyghan commence!

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Last post,  I showed you a bunch of stash yarn that I had gathered that I was thinking of using for the Groovyghan CAL. Well, I had some options – all the primaries and secondaries plus either browns, grey, or black. But in the end I went for Plan D which was to buy more yarn. I know, I am so bad! Hey, it came out of my birthday money.

The fabric store where I work is clearing out their Red Heart and Premier, and rebranding their own line, so I was able to get these skeins of Red Heart With Love at 65% off. The yarn was somewhat overpriced to begin with, but comparing what I paid to Herrschner’s catalogue (because I’ve not seen this yarn for sale locally) I paid a reasonable price.

The 12 skeins fit perfectly into this wooden box which will live next to my crocheting spot for a few months. As you can see, I have a bit extra of three of the colours from a previous purchase.

The colours are

Navy

Mallard (teal)

Blue Hawaii (turquoise)

Iced Aqua

Hot Pink

Bubblegum

Violet

Boysenberry

Lilac

Cornsilk

Mango

Jadeite

I think they will make a groovy afghan!

The CAL starts today so once this post is published I will be starting my first square.

A couple of other things to show you: I FINALLY finished my March sweater which was halted when I broke my wrist in February. All it needed was some end-weaving, a bit of single crocheting around the neckline and armholes, and a couple of buttons. I’m not really in love with it, but at least it is DONE!

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Crocheted with black Stylecraft Aran and a rainbow coloured Bernat Pop!

And another thing I finished this week was another chunky beanie out of the Sommer Wolle Venezia from Switzerland.

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Well, I can’t hang around here, I’m off to do some crochet!

Holiday crochet

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If you’re a knitter or crocheter, you’ll know how important it is to pack the right yarn and tools for your trip, making sure that there is no possibility that you will run out and be left with nothing for your itchy fingers to do while away.

Finding space for yarn in my CabinMax backpack is a priority, with more thought given to what to take than anything else!

What I took: Two cakes of Lion Brand Mandala, from which I had already crocheted some fingerless mitts. I took the mitts too, as I was expecting to need them. In the end, I didn’t.

One cake of Red Heart It’s a Wrap (a fingering weight yarn) with the Key Largo Lace Wrap pattern by Hannah at the Cozy Cottage Crochet podcast.

My Hello Kitty pencil tin with hooks in varying sizes between 2 and 6mm. Nail clippers for cutting yarn. Stitch markers. Ruler, pencil, notebook. Plastic darning needle.

From the LB Mandala, I crocheted a hat and cowl to match my  mitts.

I still had quite a bit left, which I have recaked on my yarn ball winder for another project.

My crocheting was garnering quite a bit of attention. We were holidaying with family who we don’t see very often, so they are not used to my “productive fidgeting” and with Tai Chi Man’s cousin and his wife being so generous with their time and the offerings of food I decided to crochet them both a hat. I had spotted some gorgeous yarn in the Co-op in St Moritz so I bought two different skeins (Sommer Wolle Carnevale and Venezia) plus I had to get an 8mm hook because it was bulky yarn. I started and ripped out about three times and in the end decided my usual hat recipe of starting at the crown and working down to the brim just wasn’t going to work. What I did was foundation hdc for 18″, join in the round, then work even, decrease for the crown, then work a round of sc around the brim for stability. Once I had the first one made, the second was easy. And I even made a third as my BIL rather liked the colours in the yarn.

So once those hats were done I took a break for a couple of days, then started the Key Largo Lace Wrap. This is a Ravelry download that is $4 US. I have completed a few pattern repeats but this yarn is skinny (1000 metres in a cake) so it will be a longer term project.

Current WIPs, then, are the Key Largo and the basic socks, both fingering weight projects. I have come a long way since the days of wanting to do all projects in aran or chunky yarn to get them done fast!

My focus from September 1st will be the Groovyghan CAL, being hosted in the Vanna’s Choice Fan Club Ravelry group. The designer is offering the pattern free to participants in the CAL. I acquired the pattern ages ago before it became a paid pattern. After work today, I pulled out all my medium weight yarn. After grouping it all by colour, this is what I put together. I took out white, cream and a very light tan. I took out the Red Heart With Love, because it’s quite a bit thicker than the rest. I could use black or grey as a neutral, but the browns seem to fit better.

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I don’t know, I may change my mind on some of those colours after I sleep on it. And sleep I must do. Still somewhat jetlagged, and fighting a cold. Last two nights, I’ve been in bed by 9. TTYL

 

Switzerland

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The following was composed while travelling home from Switzerland on Saturday. We got home really late (like 2am  Sunday morning) and Sunday was busy with shopping and cleaning and stuff, so now, on Monday evening after a work shift, I am finally getting it posted.
I’m writing this while sitting in an airplane over Greenland. The view of the land and sea is magnificent! We are in an Edelweiss jet, returning home from Switzerland.

What an amazing two weeks! We spent part of the time in a small town called Silvaplana in the Swiss mountains, not far from St Moritz and the Italian border. I’d never heard of the place before, but Tai Chi Man’s cousin A and his wife L have a holiday caravan there every summer and we were booked into an Airbnb only five minutes walk from their campsite and the lake. My BIL, FIL and Tai Chi Man’s aunt and uncle also joined us.

It was a tiring journey, flying via Vancouver to Zurich, then having to pick up our rental car and meet up with the others and drive to Silvaplana. We didn’t get in until about 10 at night on the Sunday, having left home at 4pm on Saturday. However the cousins had a meal ready and after a good night’s sleep I was less grumpy!

Silvaplana is known for its lake and somewhat predictable weather. It’s the kitesurfing capital of Switzerland! Every morning at around 11am, most days, the wind starts to blow, and the kites and windsurfers come out in force. The week we were there, they had racing events too. It’s so colourful when all the kites and sails are out on the water. If you want to Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) you can do that too, just do it early when the lake is calm. We enjoyed some pleasant walks with the family in and around Silvaplana and also tried SUP for the very first time. TCMan’s cousin is an active sort and had done it before, but for TCMan, BIL and me, we were newbies. I was the only one who wore a wetsuit. The lake is very cold and I rather expected to fall in, but amazingly I didn’t. I even managed to do a couple of yoga poses on the board, just for fun. And afterwards I jumped in the lake and floated about quite comfortably in my wetsuit and life jacket. TCMan went for a very quick dip in just his swimshorts.

We drove to St Moritz a few times. There was a good supermarket there which actually stocked vegan foods. Lots of things are labelled with the Vegan Society logo now, and we found Violife ‘cheese,’ some grated ‘cheese’ called Simply, and some ready meals, one of which we tried for a picnic lunch. Oh, and mustn’t forget the coconut chocolate chip ice cream. Apart from that, we ate simply – pasta, potatoes, salads, bread, fruit.

After just over a week in Silvaplana, we drove the others to Zurich airport and then the two of us went to our next Airbnb in Geissholz. Another place I hadn’t heard of before, but it’s not surprising when you see how small it is…about 12 houses up a mountain from a town called Meiringen in the Haslital. This time, the accommodation was small. Instead of a three bed, three bath, two level apartment, we had a studio in a beautiful traditional Swiss chalet. It was in a private home, and our host Elisabeth was very welcoming. One of the nice things about Switzerland is how clean everything is. Even the hillsides look tidy, having been mown of their grass for the cattle’s winter feed. And it’s all so green! After some hot weather in Silvaplana, which was somewhat unexpected and caught us out with some sunburned faces, we had wetter weather in Geissholz, though it didn’t interfere with our activities and I still wished I’d brought more hot weather gear. The thunderstorms were impressive, accompanied by a massive amount of rain in a short time, and I realized how the waterfalls can be endlessly rushing down the mountains. One day, thankfully a dry one, we drove a loop over the three mountain passes nearby. The Grimselpass, the Furka pass (the highest and apparently used for filming Goldfinger) and the Sustenpass were incredible and,  I have to say, quite terrifying with their narrow switchbacks and steep drops.

On our last day, we checked out of the accommodation at 8.45am and set out towards Zurich. We had plenty of time so we dropped in at TCMan’s cousin’s for lunch and a walk, and then drove to the airport. We had a cellphone with us, which we bought a SIM card for when we arrived, but we couldn’t get the HereWeGo app to work on the first day, which meant we were winging it on the way to Silvaplana, with a little telephone help from TCMan’s cousin on his aunt’s phone. We ended up missing a turn and going a bit out of our way, so it was good when we had the data/wifi working for subsequent trips out. Of course, it’s not perfect and with the larger intersections, especially around the bigger cities,  one can still end up taking a wrong turn. However our timing was fine getting to Zurich airport, despite the U turn and having to find a station to top up the diesel tank of our Opel Grandland SUV. (The HereWeGo app was great, but occasionally I’d switch to Google Maps to find the nearest gas station or whatever.) By the time we arrived at the gate, we didn’t have long to wait for boarding, though there was a delay in taking off due to a couple of passengers not showing up to board the plane and the baggage handlers had to find their luggage in the hold and remove it. Take off was therefore 45 minutes late, but this is one of those times where we were not concerned as we had a good buffer of time before our second flight.

I feel like we packed in a lot and the time didn’t whizz by too fast, but TCMan says he feels like it went by too quickly. Neither of us really wants to go home! We both have work on Monday, which gives us only one day to try and get enough sleep so that we aren’t too jetlagged to function. Not only that, but British Columbia has had a record number of fires this year and with that plus the extra smoke drifting in from Oregon the air quality has been the worst of anywhere in the entire world. Being away the last two weeks, we have missed the worst of it, but we’re not sure what we’re coming back to. I’m just grateful for this wonderful holiday and hope to return to Switzerland in the not-too-distant future for some further exploration.

Above is a mosaic of pics taken by Tai Chi Man – click on them to make them bigger. I’m sure I had one of me paddleboarding but can’t find it now. There was crochet but I will save that for a future post.

A sock in progress

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My basic sock from the Ann Budd Handy Book of Patterns has grown a little since my last post. I’m still decreasing for the gusset and there’s a few decrease rounds yet to complete. This Perfect Pair yarn from Loops & Threads is pretty, but at 9st/inch the knitting doesn’t grow very fast.

The Frank Mandala that I was testing for Pam at Hooks and Hills is finished and blocked, but the only place I have a photo is on my Ravelry project page and I am having trouble getting a copy saved, so I shall send you to this link instead if you want to see it.

I did finish another project this week. It took three days to make some fingerless mitts from a pattern in a magazine that I bought. I don’t usually buy magazines, as I tend to flick through them in the store and then decide that they’re not worth the money. However this issue of Colorful Crochet (Fall 2018) was all about self-striping and cake yarns and has 40 patterns in it, some of which I like the look of.

So I crocheted up the Favori Mitts, which you can see here (another link to my Ravelry project page – my laptop isn’t playing nice today). I used Lion Brand Mandala, two cakes, so that I could get the mitts to look somewhat alike. I cut a little blue out so that the turquoise would appear for a reasonable part of the project. I learned how to do esc (elongated or extended single crochet).

Two of my WIPs have been relegated to the “Hibernating” pile, because they have not been worked on for ages and I don’t like having too many WIPs at the top of my Ravelry project summary. The March sweater that was put on hold when I broke my wrist will have to get finished, because I wove in a tonne of ends, though I don’t really love it.

I am leaving for a vacation in Switzerland today with Tai Chi Man. The three young men at home will be free of parental supervision for a couple of weeks but they are all capable intelligent adults and as long as the house is relatively clean when I get back they can do whatever they like. (No, there won’t be any parties!)

The remainder of the LB Mandala yarn is coming with me so that I can make a hat and possibly also a cowl to match the fingerless mitts, as is a cake of Red Heart It’s a Wrap with a printed pattern that I bought recently from Hannah at the Cozy Cottage Crochet podcast, Key Largo Lace Wrap. I love her podcast and even though I rarely buy patterns I felt like I wanted to support her a little bit. It’s a fingering/light fingering weight wrap and the cake of yarn has 1000 metres in it, which is a LOT of vacation crochet in a small space!

We always travel light, with cabin-sized backpacks and NO check-in luggage, so we have to be picky about what we take.

If I am absent for a couple of weeks, then, don’t be surprised, though if the old WordPress app on my old iPad Mini lets me I might be able to do some short blog posts. I am really looking forward to some cool clean Swiss mountain air. We have been under a pall of smoke for too long now and it’s been so hot. There have been a couple of rumbles of thunder today and some big fat raindrops, but not enough to make a difference.

Well, time to sign off and switch off. Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

 

 

Friday frolics

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G’day crafty people! How are you? I have had a nice day off, during which I spent some time at a coffee shop, crocheting up a new test mandala design for a designer I have worked for before, and looking around for new runners and jeans. The runners were urgent – the cheap Wal-mart jobbies that I’ve been wearing at the gym were ones I’ve had for years but because they have been my dedicated indoor workout shoes they really didn’t get a lot of use until last September when I joined World Gym. This week, the sole of the right shoe split!

I decided that I’d be willing to spend more on a good quality pair this time. I set a mental budget of $100 maximum, which is more than I have ever spent on shoes before, and looked for some that had the right features (no leather, a bit of colour but not tacky, a good fit, and a good look). Sportchek didn’t have anything that fitted my specs in my size, so I ended up looking around Shoe Warehouse, found three possible options, and narrowed it down to these.

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Of course, as turquoise is my favourite colour, they were very appealing to me!

I can show you this square now. This was my test crochet square from last month that I didn’t want to talk too much about until it was published. Now that Pam has released it (Ravelry pattern page here) I can show off my square.

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It’s a pretty design, but I would use different colours if I made it again.

Today I was working on this test mandala, also by Pam, and I did all the crocheting on it (it’s only eight rounds) while drinking my London Fog at the coffee shop.

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It’s a bit wavy at the moment, and all the ends need to be woven in, but a good steam blocking should do the trick.

The cat backpack got an outing, as it was holding a dozen colours of DK yarn, and the pocket held my hook, darning needles, tape measure and snippers.

I have enough sock to make it worth showing too. This was taken before the heel turn, which I have also done. I’m using one of my sewn triangle zipper bags for this project, but am finding it hard to motivate myself to knit on this every day so it’s slow going.

The yarn is Loops & Threads Perfect Pair, and the needles are Chiao Goo stainless steel, size US#1. So skinny! (Oh, and the pattern is the basic cuff-down sock pattern from Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Patterns.)

These two projects were tiny, crocheted items that I made using dollar store cotton.

The mini backpack was the third in a row for this pattern, and the smallest of all at about 3″ tall. The cup and saucer were created on the hook (2.5mm) while sitting outside my favourite tea shop, just so I had something to do with my hands. I gave it to the owner when it was done and she was delighted.

Well, quite the roundup, eh! I expect things will be pretty quiet around here this month as I will be on holiday with Tai Chi Man for a couple of weeks, but I have lots of options for holiday knitting/crocheting so will have stuff to share with you later. Ta ta for now.