The cowl grows

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The cowl is getting bigger. That red stripe was unexpectedly wide for a spot of evening knitting on the sofa. It’s nice to have some mindless knitting in the round to do. No pattern to juggle.
The room at my mum’s is very bright and attractive, upstairs with a sloping roof. Very modern too, as she bought the house only a few years ago, brand new, in a 55+ development.

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Yesterday was fun – I joined in with a fundraiser for Autism Jersey where we lined up with our hands in gloves glued to pipes that had metal scaffolding poles through them, and played human table football (foosball)! Some of the guys kicked the ball hard and high and I ended up with a few bruises but avoided a smashed in face so I suppose I should be grateful ­čÖé

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My hair and T shirt coordinate quite well.

I expect I will have to eat super clean when I get home because I’m eating a lot of things I don’t usually have these days. Decadent cakes, sweet potato fries, cookies…must keep walking.

iPad is playing up again so ta ta for now.

Travel knitting

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I packed my eight shades of Deramores Studio DK and my Knitpicks Interchangeables for my holiday. Waiting at airport #1 I cast on 130 stitches with the aubergine and knitted a few rounds. On the first flight to Calgary, I changed to the citrine and added some more. The jade was added during my Calgary-Heathrow flight (there was a long walk between flights and only a short wait before boarding, so no knitting at Calgary airport).

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The jade stripe is pretty narrow for an 8.5 hour flight because I did a little game-playing, movie-watching and dozing. Managing a little sleep was a miracle as it usually never happens.

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The pink stripe was added during the cab ride from Heathrow to Gatwick. I’m not counting rounds, just adding them in the time available.

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I changed to navy for the wait at Gatwick but I have to confess my eyes weren’t focussing too well by then due to tiredness. I slept for the whole of the third flight, which was thankfully short.

Well, this blog post took ages, interspersed with photo uploading problems and chatting to my mum. So I’m going to hit Publish and get it put to bed.

Crochet kits

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I don’t have a lot to show for this week. There were actually a couple of days when I didn’t pick up hook or needles until I realised that my mild anxiety over my upcoming holiday would be smoothed out by making something simple. I pulled out some Bernat Handicrafter last night and crocheted a dishcloth and felt better.

However I do want to show you these kits…

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I work at a fabric store which also stocks a small amount of yarn. Every now and then, some boxes arrive which must be part of some sort of buy-out. I once bought a dozen facecloths, really smooshy ones, for about 40 cents each. This time, it was these kits. My boss showed me the kits and I thought, well, those are going to be expensive, maybe $30 each, so I doubt I’ll get one. Then she looked up the retail price on them and it was……$3.40!!! OMG! Less my staff discount, I picked up these three kits for less than ten bucks. (Those kits were gone, mostly to staff, within 24 hours!)

They have yarn, pattern, crochet hook, darning needle, toy stuffing, safety eyes – basically everything you need. ┬áI don’t know how great the acrylic yarn is, or how strong the plastic hook will be considering it’s a 3mm, but I have metal hooks so that’s not an issue.

The monkey and the rabbit came in larger boxes but the monster was in a smaller one, and I was amused to open the monster kit and find it all vacuum packed within an inch of its life.

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I cut those packets open to let everything puff up back to normal.

So yes, my holiday starts Monday and it involves three flights, one of which is about 9 hours long, across the Atlantic. DS1 is coming with me. Of course packing is easy, as we keep it light to avoid baggage check-in and waiting at the carousels, and the biggest decision is my travel knitting/crochet.

After a lot of Ravelry browsing, I was inspired by a colour change cowl and had a lightbulb moment. I am therefore taking eight colours of my Deramores Studio DK and my sets of interchangeable Knitpicks needles and Denise hooks. The plan is to start knitting a cowl or scarf in the round, casting on after going through airport security here, and change colour for each leg of the journey. There’s always so much waiting around at airports, knitting opportunities in planes and cabs and during one’s holiday, that I should be able to finish a project in the two weeks I’m away. And if I need more yarn, I can pick some up over there.

This weekend involves some last minute shopping, bread baking, laundry and cleaning. The Plant-Based Nutrition presentation that I was going to do tonight has been postponed so that’s freed up about five hours, if you count travelling time, so I am less pressured. Tomorrow we have a potluck lunch at someone else’s house.

We have had an abnormally wet spring here in the Central Okanagan (BC, Canada) and with the milder temperatures, the melting snowpack and the rain have caused the creeks to burst their banks in many places and the lake to rise quickly. It is managed at the south end by a dam, but it’s rising faster than it can be released. We’ve had flooding in a number of areas on both sides of the lake, and people evacuated or on alert. Thankfully we are high and dry here, away from the lake and any creeks, and the lawn is about a foot deep in new green growth, the trees have leafed out and the lilac has blossomed. Tai Chi Man says he’s going to mow the lawn this weekend, which is a shame in a way, but it does look tidier when it’s all one length, even if it IS a mixture of grass, yarrow, weeds, and bulbs.

Well this turned into a long spiel so I shall sign off. If things are quiet around here, you’ll know why. I’ll be having too much fun with my mum, my sister, her daughter-in-law and the new baby! This holiday is all about the women!

 

FO: Twiddle muff!

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Yup, really, it’s a twiddle muff!

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I’d better explain. Knitters and crocheters are making these twiddle muffs for people with Alzheimer’s. Apparently having something to fiddle with helps with anxiety. So once you have the basic shape, which is a tube of single or double thickness, you add various doodads to make it interesting. Different stitches for texture, buttons, flowers, D rings, beads, whatever you like.

Mine is crocheted in fuzzy Patons Diana, as I have a lot of it from another person’s destash, and I added flowers sewn on with buttons and a string of beads on the outside, and some D rings, plastic rings on a crocheted chain, and buttons on the inside.

This is for my boss’s mother, who’s in a home with dementia. Hopefully she will like it and it will get some use.

It’s been a beautiful sunny day today, around 20 degrees, and Tai Chi Man and I headed for a nearby ┬ámountain and discovered a new trail. We also had to buy a new kettle (the old one just quit) and we were happy to find a Kitchen Aid one at London Drugs that can be set to heat to any temperature from 50 to 100 Celsius. We also picked up a couple of new Pyrex dishes because I did a very silly thing this morning. I was making oat bars, and had my nice blue 9 x 13″ dish full of mixture ready to go into the oven. I also had a pan of water on stove, behind the dish, that I wanted to heat to make tea (because the aforementioned kettle died). Well, I stupidly switched on the wrong hotplate, walked out of the room briefly to talk to Tai Chi Man, and was suddenly half deafened by an explosion as blue glass shattered in all directions. I’m very thankful no one was close by at the time. And what a waste of food.

I seem to be on a run of stupidity, or shall we call it lack of mindfulness, lately. Broke a glass last week when the jar of salt slipped out of my hand. Damaged BOTH our cars when I backed out of the carport, forgetting my dear husband’s car was halfway up the drive. We were talking at the time, I was distracted, and the resulting collision was sickening. Broke the Pyrex dish today. Snipped my finger as well as the yarn while making the muff. Good grief!

Time to make tea and get on with things….carefully!

 

FO: Classique Cotton bag, and other stuff

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I had a little play with some of my Stylecraft Classique Cotton colours. I thought this would make a nice bag – sometimes you just need room for a phone and a key, and maybe a driver’s licence and a credit card.

I used the plum colour to seam it and I’m not 100% happy with how it looks, so rather than go with my original plan, which was to give it to a co-worker, I may just keep it for myself.

See that magazine there? It’s not often that I find a magazine worth buying, but I happened to be in London Drugs today and as usual I browsed through the available knitting magazines (there weren’t any crochet ones). Vogue Knitting has had some, shall we say,┬áInteresting┬ádesigns in the past that maybe a stick-thin model can get away with but on me, an average height, average weight, rather plain middle-aged girl, they would have looked just plain dumb! However I saw interesting articles, Canadian content and patterns I would actually knit, including a Cowichan-style sweater. Even though I don’t knit with wool, being vegan, I have long wished to make such a garment. I’m sure the knitting police won’t arrest me for using acrylic!!!

I actually bought two magazines.

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Whilst I already have adopted the whole-food, plant-based lifestyle and am now pretty adept at cooking vegan meals without oil, I do like to experiment with new recipes. Not only that, but I am currently preparing an educational presentation on the diet which needs to be ready by  next weekend for its first airing, and having this magazine to hand will, I think, be useful.

If you haven’t yet watched the Forks Over Knives documentary or checked out their website, I heartily recommend them.

I will shortly be retiring to bed with my new magazines, and the only reason I can get away with that tonight is that Tai Chi Man is working out of town so is not here to object to me reading in bed. He always goes to bed earlier than I do, because he works full-time and wakes early and is pretty knackered by about 10pm. Whereas I tend to stay up late (Netflix has a lot to answer for) and get up later in the morning.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Happy crafting!

Two more WIPs whipped

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This BasicSimpleLazy hat is done! It’s for my sister’s stepson Ben, for whom I’ve never brought a gift in previous trips to the old country. And as his teeny niece has been and will be a recipient of a bounty of my handmade goods, I felt he shouldn’t be left out this time.

Sally the styrofoam head above is, of course, smaller than a real head (why do they do that) so it doesn’t fill out the hat in a flattering way, so ignore the bumpy crown which will, I’m sure, sit fine once on a real head. (I just pulled it down further over Sally’s eyes and the crown looks lovely now!)

I followed the pattern…mostly: DK yarn (Deramores Studio DK), US5 needles (3.75mm?), knitted to 5″ before shaping the crown, did the decreases as described. The only change was a cast on of 120 instead of 108, and my touch of colour was a bit more than a plain stripe. Circumference is 20″, depth 8″.

The other WIP that I whipped today is the second Agnes Lace Cowl this week, this time in Loops & Threads Facets, colour Ruby. It looks similar to the last one, though that was more reddy-purply and this one is more pinky-greeny.

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It’s so hard to get the colours to look right. The sun was shining in my deck door and I picked a shady spot nearby so the photo wasn’t too dark, but too much light washes things out. I used an 8mm hook and about 120 grams of this yarn (a ball plus part of a second) to get a cowl that measures about 10″ wide and 24″ around.

Only two weeks until my holiday, when I get to see my mum, my sister and my new great-niece. Can’t wait!

WIP: Ben’s hat

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A new project is on the needles and I’m following this pattern: BasicSimpleLazy! That’s a Ravelry link because it’s a free Rav download. It really is basic – most of us could probably make this kind of beanie in our sleep. A couple of inches of 2×2 ribbing followed by stockinette and traditional crown decreasing. The designer’s gauge was 6st to the inch, mine a little looser, and I decided I needed more than an 18″ circumference. I cast on 120 rather than 108 and I think (hope) it’s looking good.

With hindsight it would have been better to use a smaller needle for the ribbing but it’s too late for that now. I am into the stockinette section and have added a thin band of colourwork for interest. I love the jade with the chocolate – what do you think?

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The colours are richer than that in real life. (Deramores Studio DK, in Chocolate and Jade, 100% acrylic, size US5 needles.)

I had to take my car to the Toyota dealer today to get the brakes sorted out (expensive)! The courtesy shuttle dropped me off at one of my favourite coffee shops and I made some progress on the hat, but after a couple of hours I was antsy and needed to move. It’s a long road from the coffee shop to Toyota, but it’s flat, and the weather was sunny and windy and I was up for some walking. My downfall was that Michaels was on my way and I just happened to find this clearance yarn.

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It’s Loops & Threads Facets and I bought a couple of balls of the green/turquoise colourway (centre left) before, and then it disappeared from their shelves. I had browsed their regular priced stuff (twice) and was on my way towards the door when I saw the clearance rack and there was lots of this stuff. Such beautiful colours, and as it’s a bulky yarn it crochets up really fast for gifts. I haven’t given all of my co-workers a surprise gift yet (something I am doing just because, for no reason, in no particular order, with no deadline). Well, it was half price, and I bought 12.

I carried on to the dealership to get my car and made my way home, with the smell of new brakes trailing behind me!

I suppose I’d better start dinner, though my legs would rather I stayed on the couch!!!