Category Archives: crochet

And the heat continues…

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Regardless of the high temperatures and stuffy house, the crochet continues, because we crafters are always planning for winter!

The Habitat Cardigan is growing. The back section is about 14″ long now, so I’m over halfway done with the initial rectangle. I have one more colour to incorporate and then I’ll start repeating them.

When the back is 26″ long, I have to add a “tush extension”, a large collar, and cuffs, so I have a long way to go yet. It would be great if this cardigan could be finished by the end of August.

I was so overheated yesterday I went for a swim in the lake. It’s been a few years, I think, since I did that, and it was very pleasant. I think I shall have to do the same today. The housework is done (the vacuuming had to be done this morning before it was too hot), I need to make bread, and Mr Fixit and I plan to go to the gym later, but I’m sure I can fit in a quick swim too.

How’s your weekend going?

Summer heat

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Summer has hit with a vengeance and we are currently having a week of temperatures over 30 degrees (that’s 90 to you old-fashioned types). Today the analog thermometer outside hit 39, my car thermometer hit 36, and it made our house pretty darned uncomfortable. We don’t have AC, just fans, and we keep the windows closed during the day and open them up in the evening and leave them open until the next morning.

Me outside the tea shop with an unsexy sunhat, trying not to cook!

Luckily I had a small project to do in my sewing room this evening, and the basement is always a lot cooler than the main floor upstairs. We have…wait for it…BABY YODA fabric at work. I didn’t realise we had a range of the Mandalorian fabric until I was working the till yesterday and saw someone had bought some. I just had to buy a small amount to make a mask.

And while I was at it, I made a second mask out of some long-held stash fabric. Neither of the masks has interfacing, just two layers of cotton. I’m hoping they won’t be as hot as my other ones.

Isn’t it CUTE?!

I FINALLY learned that if I trim a little fabric off the top and bottom edges of the lining it sits better inside the outer layer. This is the Craft Passion pattern, cut men’s size, but shortened at the sides of the face. And with longer elastic this time, and cord stoppers for the back of the neck.

So what else have I been doing?

Loops & Threads Meandering Minis
Loops & Threads Meandering Serpentine

Pretty yarn! The bag is full of the Meandering Minis that I bought mid-2019 on a whim – a ‘clearance-yarn-fumes’ induced purchase from Michaels. I wound all the little skeins into balls and put them in a bag and browsed patterns trying to find the right project. Then one day recently I dragged Mr Fixit back into Michaels just for the heck of it and found the larger skeins of the Serpentine yarn – it’s exactly the same yarn/fibre content, but doesn’t match any of my minis.

However I bought 500 grams of it (yes, on clearance again) so then I had more options for what to make. I really wanted to make a garment – I don’t need more blankets or accessories – and I finally plumped for the Habitat Cardigan by Jess of Make & Do Crew (link to my Ravelry project page – do not click if you have problems with migraines or seizures as some people have reported such things since the roll-out of the new updated look).

It has grown a few stripes since this photo.

And I had forgotten that I sewed a little vinyl zippered pouch until I started picking photos to add to this post. This was a tutorial by Erica Arndt on YouTube.

Dodgy stitching – don’t look too closely.

I think that’s it for now. It’s almost bedtime and I can guarantee the ceiling fan is staying on again tonight. Have a great week, stay healthy, stay calm, stay comfortable!

FO: River bag

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FO: River bag

I named this bag for the River Washed XL yarn from Scheepjes. Yet another project from the kit of minis, this scrappy bag was easy peasy. Just a foundation chain, around which I crocheted a small oval, and then straight up to the top, and then some rows worked flat on one side for the flap. A few decreases shaped the outer edge of the flap and then I single-crocheted around the top edge.

I still had some bits and pieces left, so added a little embroidery and a leaf-shaped applique to cover the ugly back of the magnetic snap. The cotton fabric for the strap and D rings was in my stash. It’s not lined, but that’s ok. (Hmmm, I did just have a bright idea – make a small bag that will fit inside out of the same fabric as the strap…if I have enough.)

Summer has truly hit here in BC. It felt like we had a cooler wetter start to the summer than usual, which was a blessing, but now the days are getting hot and, without AC, we often have to pull the blinds and close the windows during the day to try and keep the house cooler.

My geraniums are looking lovely.

Difficult to get a good photo with it being so bright behind

Mr Fixit and I both have a love for geraniums. His mum was Swiss and there’s nothing so beautiful as a traditional Swiss chalet smothered in red geraniums. Also my grandparents, who lived in England, had a verandah full of geraniums every summer from which they took cuttings every fall.

I am feeling very thankful that inventory time is over for another year at work. And having yesterday and today off was a bit like a “weekend” for me after the crazy time, so I have really appreciated it.

I hope your week is going well. Talk soon!

What am I making/reading?

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My current reading is this. As a white woman, I figured that I had a lot to learn about systemic racism, so here I am, getting some education. I have other books on hold at the library but I am in longer queues for those.

And this is what I’m making. This is going to use up almost all of what I have left of the Scheepjes Stonewashed and Riverwashed XL mini skeins. It’s just a really simple bag that’s going to end up about 9″ square, in single crochet, and I’ve just switched from in-the-round to working flat for the flap. Not far to go now.

I will be adding a strap, which may well be fabric with swivel hooks attached, and the bits that hold the D rings on may also be the same fabric. This has been a great mindless project for this week, where I can just crochet around and around and enjoy the colours, because I’ve been tired out from all the extra hours at work. Three of my workdays have been 11 hours or more, thanks to inventory time. I have Saturday off, and then Sunday is another major day where we count all the packaged notions and estimate the yardage (meterage?) on the cut notions – basically anything that we haven’t already weighed on bolts this week gets logged on Sunday.

I’m thankful this only happens once a year. We even got audited this year but after a few hours at the store the auditor left happy, our supervisor left happy, and we now have the fun job of putting all the fabric upright and draped again, so customers can actually see it properly.

What are you making/reading at the moment?

The end of June already…

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The end of June already…

Hi, bloggy friends!

Wow, summer is one-third over and so far it’s been very comfortable, temperature-wise. In fact, we’ve had quite a few rainy days, including thunderstorms. I do prefer it when the thermometer reads less than 30 Celsius.

After I finished the baby blanket that I showed you last time, I had a bit of a slump, when I WANTED to be making something but couldn’t figure out WHAT I wanted to make. I have some nice yarns in the stash, fabrics too, but nothing was calling to me.

There’s been the extra stress at work – what with enforcing the customer limit and mask policy, and the volume of sales, and on top of all that trying to get everything ready for inventory, there have been extra hours worked and extra pressure on the staff.

This has made my days off even more precious and even though I have had an outwardly relaxing day today (baking bread and zucchini cake, crocheting while watching YouTube videos, prepping dinner) I can feel the tightness in my stomach and I am hoping a visit to the gym later will help burn off some of that feeling.

I did whip up a quick shawl. It’s a pattern I’ve used before – the Me Shawl from Clare at bobwilson123. Last time I made it, I did the popcorn/bobble border and it looked awesome but this time I wanted it to be quick and easy. So I ended up doing just row 1 of Clare’s Jessica shawl edging, which is just a simple shell.

I used Caron X Pantone Bamboo which I bought last summer. I bought very little yarn last year but this was from a trip to Michaels where I fell hard for three braids of this yarn plus some cute Loops & Threads Meandering Minis because they were on clearance. Each braid comes with 20 grams each of five colours and I had wound them into cakes some time ago. This shawl used ten of the small balls, so 200 grams in all.

It was nice to have yarn running through my hands again, but it was a super-quick project and now I need to find another one!

I am feeling a little discombobulated about something else in my life too. Ravelry has been a big part of my interwebs time for 12 years. I have over 700 projects recorded, my pattern library (admittedly quite small), my queue of things I’d like to make some day, my favourites, my stash and over 13000 forum posts on record.

I have invested a lot into Ravelry over the years, added to the database, linked my free patterns through the site, given tonnes of advice to people asking for help in the forums. It’s been part of my everyday.

But suddenly, Ravelry had a facelift. A couple of weeks ago, the look totally changed. It was all right, I suppose, though there were some things that were a bit annoying, like text not fitting into boxes properly, and other bugs. I thought, hmmm, ok, learning curve, I can get used to this. Then people started to talk about the problems they were having with the new version. Eye strain, headaches, migraines and even a few seizures triggered by something within the new design. Reluctantly, it seemed, the site owners gave us the option to click back into “classic” Ravelry, with a warning that it was temporary.

Now, I’ve never ever had a problem with any website before, but something about the new site bothered me. The turquoise boxes with the hard black drop shadows were glaring. I found that I was wanting to spend less time browsing the forums. I started to get headaches. Going back into “classic” didn’t get rid of the headaches. So while I’ve wanted to follow the discussions in the forums about the whole situation, I’ve had to pop in and out as quickly as I can. I have a lot of sympathy for those who are susceptible to migraines because some have had to stop using Ravelry altogether.

Yes, I know the site is free to use.

Yes, it’s up to the owners how their site looks.

Yes, I know I have a choice whether to use the site or not.

BUT Ravelry has prided itself on being inclusive in so many ways. Rainbow flags, Pride month threads, Black Lives Matter threads and donations. So why have they just taken a backwards step to make themselves LESS inclusive of people with visual/neurological issues?

There are many people online who are saying, “What’s the problem? I like the new look!” But those people are obviously not experiencing any new symptoms and have no empathy for those who are.

I am sad and annoyed and missing my usual dose of Rav. No doubt there is a reason for this new look and I don’t think it is just cosmetic. Some of it is to do with setting up the design for future development, but maybe there are other, as yet unannounced, plans in the pipeline which preclude going back to the old look.

Just in case, I have downloaded all my data from Ravelry – it’s all in raw form, and I hope not to ever need the contents of that file, but it’s my insurance!

FO update

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Hi all. I realised last night that it had been ten days since a post and I have stuff to show you.

One of the staff at work is leaving shortly and I wanted to make her a bag. I found the perfect Canadian wildlife fabric, and had my stash of denim at home, so all I needed to do was find the right design.

I watched this video (atelierRuth’s Partition Tote) a few times and wrote down all the measurements in my notebook. However, before I cut into the wildlife print, I decided to do a trial run with different fabrics in stash. That’s what the bag above is – the practice one. I used a different denim (with stretch, which wasn’t a great idea) and knit-themed fabrics and because I didn’t have webbing or belting I made the straps.

The final result looks great, mostly. I don’t like that the stitching along the straps doesn’t line up with the stitching holding the straps to the bag though. And inside…

…there are slip pockets and a zippered partition with extra denim pockets attached.

I’m so glad I made this version first. When I made the second bag, I knew what I was doing and changed a couple of things. Webbing straps, for one. And Thermolam fusible fleece to give it more squish and structure. And I left the denim off the internal partition, and used Thermolam on that too.

I didn’t spend too long on positioning the fabric but the animals seemed to land just right. The pocket with the Canada geese was fussy cut, though. For the lining, I cut two pieces and seamed along the bottom so that both sides were the right way up, but didn’t bother for the partition.

I much prefer the heavier interfacing for a bag like this, even on the partition – it doesn’t flop around. So that’s all ready to go.

There was also some crocheting this week.

Someone I know (we haven’t met very often, but she’s the friend of a friend) just had a baby girl, so I pulled out some Bernat Pop! from the stash and crocheted up a quick C2C blanket. It didn’t take long and I have bundled it up with a crocheted lovey and beanie which I made a while back and which have been sitting patiently in my sewing room, waiting for the perfect recipient.

On the work front, the store where I work is still busy, but the lineup disappeared more quickly on Thursday, so I feel like the crazy fabric and elastic buying may be calming down! Of course, that is balanced out by the extra work we have on right now thanks to inventory. My main job for my last three days of work has been going through the fashion fabrics, making sure they are grouped correctly, looking up the code on them, and physically tagging them with a yellow label.

Others are also working on fabrics in different parts of the store and we have to get everything ready for the big day on the 8th when it will all be weighed. The store will be closing for the day (that’s a first) so hopefully we’ll get it all done that day. Many of us are taking on extra shifts to get the prep done in time.

Well, better get on, I have to leave for work in an hour. Happy crafting!

FO: Ocean Breeze Sweater

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My oh-so-colourful sweater is finished. Details on my Ravelry project page, but to sum up:

It took me 2 weeks and 2 days

The last 2 days were seaming and weaving in a bazillion ends

I followed the instructions for the medium to get a large, as my gauge was 13 sts/inch rather than 14

It took 625 grams of yarn. Around four 50 gram balls of the cream (Moonstone) and parts of nearly all the colours in my Scheepjes Stonewashed/Riverwashed XL minis pack

The only colour I didn’t use was the black

It was easy and fast and I’d consider making another, but maybe with only one colour!

Since I took those photos, I have machine-washed the sweater and it is currently drying on a rack in a corner of the living room.

I have also had a little fabric play. I made a small denim pouch and a bag with a snap, inspired by a Lizzy Curtis tutorial, that holds quilting clips on the outside pleats.

It’s not perfect but it’s just for holding something small in my handbag
I meant to make the pleats face up!
Lined with fleece, it holds all my clips

In addition to these, I have sewn a little ear saver from this tutorial for Mr Fixit, in case he needs to wear any disposable masks rather that the two cloth ones I made for him. I made it very manly in grey cotton with black snaps!

And when I ran out of things to sew, I started to play with the different stitches on my sewing machine, creating a kind of index of stitches on orange cotton with purple thread! All good fun.

Checking in

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Hi all

Well, this is a bit of an adventure. WordPress have decided to give me a new blog-writing functionality. It’s not completely different from the old one but no doubt I will find some things require some extra thought.

Firstly, I hope you’re all doing well and that wherever you are you’re enjoying your crafting. Maybe even more crafting than ever! Maybe less. A lot of people have more time on their hands because they haven’t been at work, so their crafty productivity has soared, whilst others are suffering from COVID apathy and if and when they make something it has to be as simple as possible.

I’ve been back at work for two weeks and have noticed that every shift seems like 16 rather than 8 hours. One week in, Head Office mandated masks for everyone, staff AND customers, and so we have the physical distancing, the sanitising, the one-way aisles, and the clear barriers, plus the wearing of masks. Masks get hot when you wear them most of the day – my face gets pretty sweaty – and if I walk too fast around the store I get breathless.

I’ve seen many reports of negative effects of mask-wearing, the main one being that you’re re-breathing your exhaled carbon dioxide. This means that breathlessness and brain fog are quite common. However, in order to keep my job, I need to wear one, and I also have to enforce customers wearing a mask or other face covering too. Some people object to this quite strongly but until the Government decides to lift the restrictions I guess we’re stuck with it. It’s a minor inconvenience to wear a mask for a short time during your shopping trip, really.

The best thing to do is to immerse yourself in something you enjoy, and crochet gives me a great sense of satisfaction and calm. The back and front of my Ocean Breeze sweater are done. It’s a cropped sweater so it’s waist length. Once I reached the last colour in my chosen group for the body, I started on the sleeves. These I am working from the cuff up, but flat rather than in the round like the pattern states.

The sleeves have all the remaining colours of my Scheepjes Stonewashed/Riverwashed XL minis and now I’m up to the part at the top which is just a few rows of the Moonstone. The only colour I’m not using is Black Onyx, so there will be 49 colours total in this sweater.

The only sewing I’ve done in the last week has been an experimental couple of masks from Craft Passion. It’s a shaped mask with a pocket for a removable filter and an outside channel for the wire so it can be removed for washing. It’s probably a bit easier to sew than the one I’ve made lots of, but I was using a work T shirt of my son’s to see if I could incorporate his company logo. The first one was ok, but the second one was better – I interfaced both layers and it made an effective mask with some added body to it. I have bought some extra elastic and interfacing in case he wants more, or if his co-workers ask him about it.

Also, I’ve been patching this old quilt.

I made this in 2003! Can’t believe it was 17 years ago, but I made a label for the back so it’s true! At the time, I had been quilting like crazy for about 5 years and was starting to get back into yarny pursuits. So I made this scrappy nine-patch using bits of fabric I had left over from making all those other quilts. I decided it would be a beach quilt and would get used, and it was. It was dragged to homeschool park days, beach days, out into the garden, left in the sun, tromped on, wrapped around cold kids, it got wet and dirty and was tossed into the washer and dryer.

It’s huge, and when I constructed it I did it in four sections which I then joined together after quilting.

The fabrics faded and in time actually started to wear out, and I have had to patch areas of it before. Last night, I started patching over the holey areas that have developed since the last round of mending. It’s very quick and dirty patching – the stitching is messy and a lot of the edges are raw. I think what I should do next is lay it out in the sun for a while so that the new fabrics fade a little to blend in more with the old ones.

My gym is opening June 1st and I really need the exercise. I’ve been getting lot of steps in at work, but I need to lose weight and get those muscles lifting weights again. I’m off the oil again – no fried foods, no margarine, no oil in salads, no vegan cheese – and I’m also off Yorkshire tea (sob) and coffee because I have a touch of acid reflux which I’m convinced I can control with tweaks to the diet and a loss of the spare tire around my middle. Dr Greger (nutritionfacts.org and How Not to Die) says that the valve at the top of the stomach is relaxed by a fatty meal which allows the acid to leak back into the oesophagus. I’ve read what this can do long-term and it isn’t pretty. I’m not going to take antacids because those just mess up your digestion and weaken your bones. Of course, stress plays a part too, and the last couple of months have certainly brought new stressors (promotion and the dreaded virus)!

On that note, it’s time for me to get off the computer and make dinner. Take care, and talk soon.

What’s new?

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What’s new?

Well, since I tidied my sewing room, I have tested out the new arrangement. It works great. I decided to make a Car Diddy Bag from SewCanShe.com. It’s a medium-sized bag with a long strap that can loop over the gear stick, it has a main compartment, front pockets and a hidden zippered pocket.

 

I do love these Patrick Lose fabrics. As you can see, it does what it’s supposed to do…sits in my passenger seat footwell, looking pretty. It even has a strip of hook tape on the bottom to stop it from slipping around.

That made, I also went on to cobble together this drawstring bag. It’s a dodgy bag! The rayon fabric was left over from a skirt I made a year or two ago. It doesn’t behave itself at all. But I had this rectangle which was just the right size for the outer and lining, and I used some sew-in fleece in between the layers. It probably would have worked better with a fusible, but never mind.

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That was one afternoon’s sewing.

As you’ll see, the backdrop to that photo is my pack of Scheepjes Stonewashed and Riverwashed XL minis. Big news! I finally decided to crack them open and actually make something with them.

It’s been over a year of wondering what to make, wanting it to be wearable rather than another blanket or something, and I finally found a sweater pattern which seemed like it might be compatible. The Ocean Breeze Sweater is an easy project. Mostly double crochet, simple shaping, and a clear pattern. I have 250g of the yarn in Moonstone (the cream colour) and a total of 750g in the pack of minis so the plan evolved on the hook.

I started the front and worked 14 rows, and then started the back and worked 14 rows, and joined the shoulders.

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Then I played around with the minis in the hope I could get a pleasing gradation from light to dark for both the body and sleeves.

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I have added a few rows of the lighter colours now:

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As I said on my FB post yesterday – this will either be a huge mistake and get frogged, or it will be my most favourite sweater ever. The jury is still out! Fifty colours is a lot for one sweater, after all!

Whilst the body panels are worked flat and seamed, the designer says to crochet the sleeves from the cuff up in turned rounds. But because of my intended stripes, I would rather crochet them right on to the side of the body and work down. Wish me luck!

Today was the first day that I’ve had to wear a mask for my whole shift – well, except for breaks. After the first hour, it actually wasn’t so bad. But I’ve been up since 6.30, because I woke early, and now it’s only 9pm and I’m fried.

Hope you’re staying well and enjoying some crafty moments.

Just an old bag lady

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Just an old bag lady

Well, we’ve had a lovely run of sunny weather…until today. This morning was grey and wet, with solid rain falling vertically for quite some time. I love it. Good for the garden! Now it’s dry, but windy. Weird!

So yeah, I’m definitely a bag lady this week. Four new bags made.

Ali of Little Drops of Wonderful, in partnership with Claudia of Crochet Luna, is running a Dodgy Bag Make-along #dodgybagmal2020 which is inspiring me to make even more bags! Here’s another of the project bags from Erica Arndt’s tutorial – I’ve made a lot of these now – and I used some of my dwindling peace sign fabric in conjunction with some solid cottons and denim. I used my new machine to embroider “handmade” on the front and I added a couple of pockets inside.

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This small crocheted bag was an “I need something to crochet while I walk” project. Yesterday I decided it was going to be a long walk, so I grabbed a bag and some yarn and a hook and set out. It’s two partial cakes of Caron Cupcakes, different colourways, held together and single crocheted with a 5.5mm hook. I made most of it while walking for well over an hour. When I got home, I decided to line it. Well, the first attempt to make a lining failed because I made it too narrow so that became a separate little bag.

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Then I cut some solid purple and used that to line the crocheted bag, extending the lining above the level of the crochet to make a drawstring casing.

Seeing my work in progress sitting on top of its denim project bag got me all excited about combining crochet and denim in one project. So today, after breakfast and noodling around on the computer, I went down to my sewing room and rummaged in my denim offcuts. I have lots of old jeans, most of which have now been cut up for bags, but I found a good-sized chunk which I cut and trimmed to make an asymmetrical project bag.

It’s basically the back pocket and top part of the leg, and one belt loop was attached at the top. I removed three more belt loops from what was left of the waistband and sewed them to the top of my new bag. Before sewing the side seams, I attached the crocheted mandala to the non-pocket side, anchoring the centre with a button. I discovered a new stitch on my sewing machine which looks like overlocking, so I used that for the side seams, and then I added part of the jeans seam as a drawstring, plus a large button.

To give you an idea of size, the bag is 13″ tall when lying flat, and the crochet mandala is 7.5″ across.

There has been some yarny progress on my only WIP, however I seem to have a repetitive strain injury at the base of my left thumb which makes knitting a little uncomfortable. However, here it is in all its scrappy glory.

Last time I measured it, it was about 18″ deep, and I’m probably aiming for 60″. Also, I think the measurement across (when the tube is laid flat, double thickness) is about 48″, though it’s hard to tell for sure. It’s 370 stitches around (and around, and around) but it’s great Netflix knitting. I had to do some minor repairs on the bottom edge the other day, as the vacuum cleaner sucked in a couple of tails and I realised afterwards that one row had been pulled really tight for a few inches either side and there was a live loop randomly hanging out. Oops!

We had an enjoyable dinner of homemade sushi, coconut rice and baked spicy tofu and once that has had a chance to digest Mr Fixit and I are going to do some yoga. Happy crafting!