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!

 

 

WIPs, workouts and weather

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I burned myself out on five-stranded super-bulky crochet last week and have put away the old crappy yarn for now. I actually  made a decision on what to make for the first ball of Lion Brand Mandala – colour Sphinx.

I started from the centre of the cake. It goes from teal, to turquoise, to a medium blue, to a darker blue, and then brown.  (Later I’ll get to green, mustard and grey.) If you look carefully, you will see the tail on the inside curve. This is the starting point. The short rows mean the shawl grows asymmetrically, but rather magically if I fold it in half it is still symmetrical, even though the starting point is not in the middle. This is giving me hope that, even though I have less yardage than the pattern calls for, I may end up with an acceptable result anyway. Or I can rummage through my Stylecraft Special DK and see if I can coordinate something to finish it off properly.

Pattern is Spill, a free Ravelry download. I think I first spotted it when the designer was getting it test-crocheted in one of the groups I belonged to. I’m happy that she published it for free!

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“Spill” requires some counting on the dc rows where some are short rows and some involve increasing. Odd rows are just sc. However seeing as I need to refer to the pattern every other row, it’s not ideal for tonight as I have a friend (or possibly friends) coming over to knit and chat. I needed an even easier pattern that I could do with only half a brain.

Therefore, this skein of Loops & Threads Barcelona was pulled out along with a 6.5mm hook, and after revisiting this Crochet Crowd tutorial I got started on a C2C (corner to corner). This is bulky yarn, and I have two 7oz skeins, so I think I will just play with making a scarf with it. I’ve never made a project with the C2C method before and a scarf will give me some good practice at increasing and decreasing.

My mind is sort of made up about the old yarn that I’ve acquired from various sources. I’d like to take it to the thrift store, get it out of my space, and just keep those skeins that I bought for myself that I really like. What do they say? Life’s too short to crochet with yarn that you hate? Maybe hate is too strong a word, but I feel that someone else will put it to better use.

This morning, I realised that I goofed. On Friday I went to the gym and of course peeled off everything when I got home, tossed it into the laundry basket, and headed for the shower. Well, I worked Saturday and Sunday – busy days at work, it’s a popular sale, lots of good deals, and also with the season changing there’s lots to do in reorganising tables of fabric. This morning, eating my breakfast and mentally making plans to go to the gym, I realise that my workout clothes aren’t clean. I have plenty of tops to wear but only one pair of yoga pants to work out in. Definitely time to go shopping, I’d say. It was a beautiful morning, sunny with a cool breeze, so it was an easy choice to put on a T shirt and skirt and go out for a walk around the neighbourhood instead. Over an hour, lots of hillwork, a pretty good workout with the bonus of making some Vitamin D!

This afternoon I blitzed the kitchen and bathrooms, did some vacuuming, brought the plants in off the deck for the winter and gave them some much needed water, and did two loads of laundry, washed, dried and put away. At dinner we had one of those awesome rain showers where it’s fairly heavy, and the wind is blowing it at an angle, but the sun is still shining.  The forecast for the next three days is rain (woohoo) and only mid-teens for the temperature. Gonna have to pull out a sweater. It’s time for my fall closet switcharoo anyway. Bring the wintery stuff down off the top shelf, put the summer things up there.

So yeah, the house got clean (this Monday night plan of having people come to my house is great motivation) and now I just need to hit Publish and pick up my hook and wait for 7.30!

Scrappy fun

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I followed through on that idea I mentioned in my last post about using up some stash to make cat mats.

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Five strands of random acrylic plus a 19mm hook makes for fast finishes. Once I’d made five, I thought I’d make a nicer version for myself. The floor in my cold room (an unheated cupboard in my basement where we keep our food stores) is freezing in the winter so to save our feet I thought we needed a rug. So I made one.

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I rather like the way the colours worked in this one, except maybe for the yellow at the beginning. Still, it feels good to use up random balls and odds and ends of yarn and edit my Ravelry stash to show “all used up.”

Zumba on Sunday morning was as fun as I remember it. Shame I don’t have every Sunday off (working all this weekend) but I will go when I can.

No inspiration for the Lion Brand Mandala yet, but I am keeping my antennae up for mentions of likely patterns online.

Pizza time! Off to eat.

 

Mandala mojo

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Two days ago, I was looking forward to starting a new project with some of my Lion Brand Mandala. But I didn’t realise how hard it was going to be to find JUST the right project to make. Forty eight hours later, I still haven’t cracked a cake!

I have browsed Ravelry multiple times with different advanced searches, looked at Pinterest, gone through my own pattern file, and I’m still not sure what to start. Having only one cake of each colourway limits me and now I’m wondering whether I should have bought fewer colours but more of each. It looks like it’ll be a shawl or cowl project, and I added some to my Ravelry queue to revisit later.

I had a free day today. A rest day from exercise, because I have weight-trained, walked, yoga’ed and worked this week, enough to feel like a rest day was necessary. Tomorrow I am booked into a Zumba class (I used to do these years ago and they were a lot of fun – sweaty fun). Having all this free time today meant I had to crochet something. So I made this…

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…which is another DMC Top This! hat, but crocheted without a pattern this time. The odd shape is due to the fact it is over the top of a cylindrical stainless steel Ikea cutlery holder!

The variegated pink and grey is the nicest section to crochet, the pink fluffy section is thicker and not as smooth on the hook, and the peachy section is just horrible – I hate that colour, it doesn’t really fit with the rest, it’s very synthetic-feeling and in places has a dark strand in it that makes it look dirty. I’ve liked the other kits that I’ve bought – the lamb and the cat were okay – but I wouldn’t use this one again.

At least it’s something used up from stash. I will hold onto this hat for now and see if I can find a local recipient for it. If not, undoubtedly there will be another parcel heading off to the UK in a few months.

Sometimes, when my inspiration deserts me, I make big bulky items to destash cheap acrylic. Maybe that’s what I need to do next. Perhaps some cat blankets for the SPCA. Now that’s an idea I can get on board with.

Enjoy your weekend 🙂  I am – we actually had RAIN last night and today and it is freakin’ awesome! And it was around 21 degrees and I was comfortable. YAY!