Category Archives: crochet

Happy December!

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Do you love this time of year? So many people grumble about the cold and the snow, but my attitude is that the weather is not something you can change so you might as well enjoy it. Or at least accept it with grace! (Or move south, I guess!)

Yesterday was Sunday December 1st and we had our first proper snowfall. It wasn’t very deep but it was enough to make the roads a little slippery and turn everything into a prettier version of itself.

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Cold weather makes you count your blessings – we have a warm house, cosy beds, plenty of food, appropriate clothing. The temperatures dropped well below freezing in the last week and I know there are people in my town who are sleeping outside.

The drawstring bag I showed you a couple of posts ago was part of my Secret Santa gift for last night’s work’s Christmas Party. I also made a couple of coordinating gnomes (the two in the centre of this photo).

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I’m happy to report the bag and gnomes were much appreciated and were “stolen” twice in our Secret Santa game. The bag ended up with a knitter for her projects and the gnomes ended up with another person for her grandkids. It’s nice when people make a little effort for these things because there’s always someone who you feel sorry for because they ended up with a crappy thing!

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Another of my favourite things this season is that my Christmas cacti, of which I have about six, are flowering beautifully. I have found that if I put them outside on my covered deck in the summer, where they get a reasonable amount of light and fresh air, and then bring them in when the nights start to get cold, they flourish.

I had my sewing machine serviced this week and also invested in a new walking foot. The old one was about 20 years old and was loosening so much when I sewed that I kept breaking a needle when it hit the foot that had shifted below it. It is sewing like a dream again and I finished this little bag yesterday.

It’s small because I was limited by the length of the zipper. It’s called a Continuous Zipper Pouch and the tutorial is here. It’s a nifty way of using one side of the zipper (if you want, the other half can be used for a wrist strap) but obviously you need a zipper that’s twice the width of your intended bag and I only had short ones.

I love watching bag tutorials. WhitneySews is a channel that’s new to me (she has been making tutorials for ten years, so I don’t know how I missed her before) and she has lots of useful videos.

I also experimented with this Scandinavian fabric star. It’s a photo tutorial and after the first step, when you flip the piece over, it took me a minute to figure out what I was supposed to do, but I did, and it worked, and I managed to finish a reasonably neat star.

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I won’t post a photo of my Advent Meditation CAL ornament yet as I don’t want to spoil the surprise for others who haven’t got around to making it yet.

I think that’s enough of my warbling for now. I hope you are having a great day. Talk to you again soon.

Advent Meditation Crochet-along

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(Image courtesy of Pixabay)

What a great idea this is! The blog, Crochet Between Worlds, is running an Advent Meditation Crochet-along throughout December. Starting today, for four weeks, they are releasing an audio tutorial for a seasonal ornament. There is no written pattern or picture of the final item, so you have to listen carefully as you crochet and follow along.

This sort of focus makes you forget any other pressures or concerns you have, which is perfect when so many people are stressed out over so many issues.

Here’s the first post about it.

I’m doing it. Are you?

Warm fuzzy weekend

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A whole weekend off – what fun! Saturday evening we had a potluck at a friend’s house with a group of lovely people. SO much food, we were nearly bursting! And of course we played our traditional Mexican Train Dominoes. Awesome!

My contribution to the food was apple pie and cashew-based vanilla ice cream (the big pie in foreground was the one I took with me, the smaller one and the jam tart made from the leftover pastry were left at home for the boys to eat). I rarely make pastry these days because of the fat content but OMG it came out so well – I used Melt Buttery Sticks for the first time.

This morning there was a vegan market downtown so we splurged on vegan baked treats, which we shared with the boys because they were far too rich for just two people to eat. We also bought some cool hand-made soaps again, and I also finally bought myself a vegan T shirt. Guess I need to get a photo of that sometime.

Afterwards it was tea at our favourite tea shop and a bit of crochet. I have made three of these gnomes (Gnomes of the Gnorth) now. Two of them were made following the pattern pretty closely, one wasn’t, and I shouldn’t have gone ‘off piste’ because I don’t like my version as much (the one with the white beard).

The pattern is on a blog, Mr Micawber’s Recipe for Happiness, and the designer is Sue Perez whose Ravelry name is MrsMicawber.

I have two new dishcloths made from a random ball of dishcloth cotton that I acquired recently. It never went into stash – I just used it up quickly, making up different stitch patterns as I went.

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And there has been sewing. Between tea in town and going to the gym, I spent a couple of hours making this bag.

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It was made with scraps left over from the snowman quilt/bag I made recently, with a lining from some other stash cotton. I think I need to buy a new walking foot – the one I have keeps slipping, the screw holding it on the machine is loosening so it moves as I sew (and I break needles as a result) and the whole thing is either too loose or too tight.

I am pretty happy with the bag, except for a little uneven quilting across the front. This is the same video tutorial as the other bag, and I pieced a patchwork section just like the original in the video. It’s a good way to use up small pieces.

After the gym I went out for a meal with friends, so all in all it was a very calorific weekend and I should probably not eat anything for the next five days! Yeah, right!!

 

Tuesday Tea

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I don’t often make it to my favourite tea shop on a weekday. Usually I’ll go on the weekend with Tai Chi Man, when I’m not working. But today I did, and I enjoyed this lovely green Raspberry Matcha Latte which just happens to coordinate beautifully with my Espe (vegan leather) wallet.

It was a day off for me, and I was awake early, even without the alarm. So I was out walking after breakfast around my neighbourhood. These pics are from a few days ago but the weather was the same – cool and sunny.

After lunch I was feeling antsy and ready  for another walk. Very unlike me! I didn’t want to go to the gym today because my shoulder has been more sore than usual, plus I have yoga tonight. So I went to a local mountain which gives one a good workout on the steep trails and walked up for about 25 minutes, and then down again, so that made two walks of around 40 – 45 minutes today. Then I met Tai Chi Man for tea. And of course I had my crochet blanket with me.

It really is so lovely to have crisp sunny fall days. We had a heavy frost this morning, but even so it wasn’t that cold when walking, because you make your own warmth.

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This cheerful little snowperson is a side project (because when I am stuck in large projects I have to have little distractions) which I am going to take to work to keep on display for a while. I found the perfect little stick arms while out walking. I probably should have made the rainbow scarf longer but it was fiddly and I’m not making another one.

The thing with working in retail is that you can’t avoid all the “holidays” and any reason for having a “sale” – I changed out the front table on Friday for a Christmassy look. Of course, here in Canada we already had our Thanksgiving in October, and Halloween is now past, so it’s all systems go for Christmas!!!

Saturday shopping spree

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OK, it’s Monday now, but I did mean to blog at the weekend to talk about  my SEX (Stash Enhancement eXpedition) at Michaels. I went in there to look for beading supplies actually. I am signed up with a group on Ravelry to do a Christmas swap, which entails filling a toilet paper roll with fun stuff to make a cracker. You have to put in something that you knitted or crocheted, a handwritten joke, and any other little gift-type things that will fit. Then you wrap it up beautifully and send it to your swap partner. Beads are tiny, right? So if I make some earrings or stitch markers they will fit inside easily.

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I did buy some beads – black ones, clear ones, turquoise ones – and some ear wires, pins and bracelet attachments. But I also had to check out the yarn while I was there. And even though my self-discipline has been very good this year, I found clearance yarn that I have seen at Michaels a few times before. I was able to resist while it was regular price, but on clearance? I fell off that darned wagon!

Six little bundles of Loops & Threads Meandering Minis in three colourways. These skeins are 25 grams each. AND…

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Three bundles of Caron X Pantone Bamboo as well.

Now, in theory, the Caron yarn is acceptable as I allowed myself, when making my New Year’s Resolution, to buy yarn that has some plant fibre content. So I wasn’t really being BAD! However, the Meandering Minis are totally synthetic, which goes against my ‘rule’ of stashing down the 100% man-made stuff and not acquiring more. Oh dear! But they are just so pretty!

I feel a bit zombified tonight. Maybe it has something to do with the clocks changing yesterday. You wouldn’t think one hour would make that much difference. But I was working today too, and eight hours on my feet is tiring. What a great feeling it is to come home, change out of my work clothes into my Hello Kitty onesie, eat a big bowl of risotto with kabocha squash (I had the forethought to make dinner this morning before work) and enjoy a large cup of tea. I was watching Ross’s podcast (Smells Like Yarn) and I could feel myself sinking into the couch and feeling so brain dead that I don’t even feel like picking up a crochet hook this evening (though I seem to have found the energy to write a blog post).

So I shall love you and leave you, as they say, before my eyes droop.

 

 

WIP Wednesday

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It’s 9pm and I thought I wouldn’t have anything to talk about today as there hadn’t been much visible progress. However I added a few rounds to my Moe of Change tonight so here’s a quickie pic to give you an idea – it’s now 13.5″ in diameter.

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My phone didn’t want to focus properly! The other two blankets have had a few rounds added too, but the cardigan is still languishing.

Ooh, I just remembered, I did finish a hat. Tai Chi Man’s god-daughter had a baby recently, so I am packaging up the rainbow blanket (FO blog post here) along with a little pompom beanie made from Caron Cupcakes in Tutti Frutti. pompomhat

I confess to cutting out parts of the stripes to keep it to 9 rounds per colour. It’s only about 14″ in circumference and took about 20 grams of the cake. I ended up using US#4 needles which is skinnier than I would normally use for DK yarn but I was aiming for a certain tension.

Last Wednesday, I showed you my kitty ears. Well, here I am modelling them.

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The Hello Kitty outfit finally came together – I finished sewing the dress, bought the white turtleneck online from Old Navy, wore my Sweet Legs leggings, wore the ears and a pink bow, and went a bit heavier on the makeup.

I wore the ensemble on Monday and again on Tuesday, when I showed up for work with the added armwarmers that I made last year.

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So there you go. All caught up!

WIP Wednesday

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WIP Wednesday

Hi peeps, how’s it going? Time for another WIP Wednesday. Seems like no time at all since last Wednesday, and it feels like I haven’t made a whole lot of progress.

The Party Cardi hasn’t been touched so I won’t bother with another photo of that. However I’ve started my Moe of Change…

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This is going to be a pretty blanket. It will be baby blanket size as it only uses two cakes of Lion Brand Mandala but it’s good to have at least one project where I have to concentrate on stitches and counting.

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The granny blanket with the Red Heart With Love has grown quite well though the colours are going to be a bit predictable from now on. The centre used up small balls of leftovers and now I’m on to the big balls, of which I have only a limited number. The plan is to repeat the white/black rows after each set of colours, and I hope it’s going to look ok with the different colours in the middle.

The knitted blanket has grown a tiny bit. I have added a few rows but they are so long that it’s going to be a slow project.

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That cake is one I wound up with my ball-winder when I first bought it and wanted to wind every scrap into a cake!

I also have a Finished Object – a very small one!

I needed ears for my Hello Kitty outfit for Halloween and found this hairband at the dollar store. It’s perfect because I crocheted the ears and slipped them over the plastic ear-shaped bits on top, sewed them on, and they won’t flop.

So I’ve been a good girl this week and got back to the gym. I had two weeks of holiday followed by two weeks of sloth (except for one yoga class). On Sunday, Tai Chi Man and I went to the gym in the morning and I did a 40 minute workout (20 mins treadmill, 20 mins weights machine circuit) to get me back into things. On Monday, I was back for 30 mins of treadmill plus a 30 minute upper body workout. And Tuesday, we had a challenging yoga class with lots of downward facing dogs and OMG my shoulders today are SO painful. But it’s a good kind of pain, I suppose, because it means I did some work! Couldn’t face another workout tonight after work, but I shall see what I can fit in tomorrow around my social commitments. Maybe a ‘leg day’ in the afternoon so that the shoulders get a break.

I have Maui in December to keep me motivated!

WIP Wednesday

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It’s blanket season!

I decided when I got back from my holiday that I needed to have something warm to work on so here are my Winter Works in Progress.

The Mindless Use up my Leftovers blanket, using random worsted weight yarn in my stash:

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As you can see, so far I have only cast on 370 stitches and knitted a few rounds. Not much warmth there yet!

The Giant Granny:

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Getting to be big enough to at least keep my knees warm, this is going to be a snuggly one quite quickly.

And a non-blanket project, the Party Cardi from The Secret Yarnery:

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Hexagons complete, backs and fronts extended, pieces joined. The dyelots on these two cakes of Mandala Baby are quite different, and the next sections will probably be different again. I really hope this is a wearable garment when done, as so far it’s reminding me of a bed jacket! And there’s a lot of $$$ in five cakes of yarn, assuming I use it all, so if I hate it I will be frogging, not giving it away.

Those are this week’s WIPs. I have another one planned but I need to start it when I have time to focus, which actually could be right now but I have already made it to lunchtime today without getting any housework done or groceries bought so I really should do that first. I have been fighting off a cold for a few days now so have been practising some self-care (which means I have been making excuses for not exercising) but it is a beautiful day out there and we really need to eat and shopping needs to be done and at the very least I should clean the bathrooms and mop the kitchen floor. Hmmm, how quickly could I get those done?!

FOs, a WIP and prizes!

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The two crochet projects I showed you last time are done. The pompom hat counts as an OUT from the stash:

IMG_20190831_124901Yarn was Caron Cupcakes and in fact I only used about half a cake. I was surprised. Not sure what I will do with the rest of it.

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The unicorn lovey is now on display at the fabric store where I work (I forgot to take a photo at home, so this is it on it’s little pole – we try to pin things down so they don’t go walkabout with customers). This yarn is our own brand, Spindle Yarns Cuddle Buddy Crochet Kit. The pattern is on the ball band.

It comes in these other variations:

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Did I tell you about my new Counter Ring from CritSuccess? I saw some people talking about these on Ravelry and I just loved the rainbow one. My co-worker wanted one too so I ordered two to save shipping. The funny thing is that I ordered a size 11 and she ordered a 10, but I felt like mine was too big and she found hers a bit small so we swapped and everyone was happy! It fits well on my left index finger and I can track things while crocheting or knitting. Rows, increases, decreases, whatever. It’s meant to be for gamers, dice players, D&D types, but it works perfectly for anything you want to keep a count of.

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We are having a bit of a CAL/KAL in the Vegan Knitters and Crocheters group on Ravelry. The vegan groups tend to be a bit quiet, but one of the other members has been livening things up lately and suggested a #vegancraftalong for September. It took me a while to figure out what to make. Finally I decided on Christa’s design, the Party Cardi: her YouTube channel is The Secret Yarnery.

It’s a cardigan which is started by making two granny hexagons, and when the folded hexagons are large enough for your arms you start to add length on certain sections, back and forth, for the back and chest. There are a few designs out there that are constructed similarly. The Campfire Cardigan is a larger version. But I wanted a fairly fitted cardigan that wasn’t too kitschy, I wanted to use stash yarn, and I couldn’t be bothered to knit it. I have three cakes of Lion Brand Mandala Baby in the Echo Caves colourway, which has lovely shades of blues and greens in it, and I’m using my 5.5mm Addi Swing crochet hook. I’m hoping those three cakes will be sufficient, but if not I am willing to buy an extra cake or two online. Christa’s cardigan is made with wildly coloured yarn and an eyelash edging – mine will be considerably more sedate!

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And finally, I won a prize in a Makealong (MAL) ages ago, and I missed hearing the announcement of my name. Ali of the Little Drops of Wonderful podcast had a cosy makealong, where people were making cosies for all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff. One of my entries into the Ravelry thread was drawn but I didn’t see that podcast and missed it, and Ali kindly got hold of me to let me know. I gave her my address and she mailed it and it arrived today, all the way from England.

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The Merry Christmas bag is gorgeous and squishy and will fit a medium sized project-in-progress, and she also sent a postcard (which I can colour), a Reese’s peanut butter cup (gave that to my non-vegan son), a mini skein of yarn and a teabag (which I have just brewed up to drink now).

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I think Ali was the person who coined the phrase “dodgy bags” because she was sewing bags and they weren’t perfect. Well, this little skein of yarn has the cutest little tag on it that says, “Dodgy Yarn, All pooling, bleeding and splodges included free of charge, Dyed Inexpertly in Kent, UK.” Fun!

As my friend Jeanette would say, I think we’re all caught up now. I think that tonight I shall have to watch another episode or two of the series I started watching on Netflix last night. Sex Education! It’s hilarious.

 

Friday fun

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I felt bad for Tai Chi Man yesterday. He’s on the verge of leaving for work and says, “Thank goodness it’s Friday!” and I had to break it to him that, actually, it was Thursday. Poor guy! At least he has a long weekend to look forward to – it’s Labour Day weekend.

So what’s been happening Chez Nicolaknits this week? Unpicking quilting stitches – yes, lots of ’em, and the job is not done yet. I haven’t done some every day, but I have amazingly had the patience for some long sessions with the seam ripper so hopefully the job will be finished soon.

There has been other sewing:

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This top is made from a pattern that a friend bought and sewed up, and she lent me the pattern a very long time ago to make one for myself. I finally got around to it. I started it yesterday morning before work, and finished it this afternoon. There are only a few seams, but the hemline is horrendously long and it took ages to do because I wanted to make sure it was done properly with no tucks or twists.

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I made View A, the easiest one!

Can I remember what the fabric is? No I can’t. I bought it recently from work, but didn’t keep the receipt. I think it’s a rayon. And it’s in the perfect colour to go with jeans. It has a very wide neckline so I’ll have to wear it with a tank top underneath.

I was having so much fun with the upcycled jeans ideas, that I made two more bags:

There has been a little crochet:

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This is a pompom hat I’m making with some stash, a cake of Caron Cupcakes in the colourway Strawberry Kiwi Pop. The cool thing about this is that I grabbed the cake of yarn in the morning and stuffed it into a project page with hooks etc, and later in the day after my errands were done I stopped at the tea shop and decided on the spur of the moment to have a strawberry kiwi iced tea (with no idea that that was the colour of the yarn that was in my bag)!

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Another project that I couldn’t wait to start was this one:

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New yarns came in at work and I was filling the shelves and deciding how to display these new little crochet kits for loveys (mini baby security blankets). Well, I couldn’t resist this unicorn one and I offered to crochet one for display and got the okay!

This is a pretty, soft, worsted weight yarn and the brand, Spindle Yarns, is Fabricland’s (Canada) own. They’ve added quite a few new yarns to the range including a cotton blend and a 100% bamboo, over which I shall have to practice my self control!

The rest of my day looks like this: decide what’s for dinner, get some prep done, sit and unpick quilt, eat dinner, go to gym!