Category Archives: crochet

FO: The Big Kahuna

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The latest stashbuster is finished. It took me all of five days and it’s about 100″ long!

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It’s a combination of Loops & Threads Facets in various colourways and some Stylecraft Harlequin, all of which have been in the stash for too long and I just wanted them out.

I used an 8mm hook and a basic C2C, making it 11 blocks wide. There were lots of ends to weave in, but I tackled some half way through and the rest this morning. It’s lovely and squishy and warm, but it will pill like a bear, and I will only be handwashing it very occasionally.

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I am loving the coolness in the mornings and it’s the best feeling to be outside on my deck, with a quilt or blanket around me, drinking my tea or coffee or eating my breakfast and just enjoying the view and the breeze. Getting up early DOES have its advantages.

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I am going to take a couple of days off the crocheting, I think, because what with the manic crochet the last week to get this project done by the end of the month, plus that spin class (eek!) plus all the pricing gun action last Friday, my wrist hasn’t been too happy.

I am super happy with my stashbusting for the month though. My FOs are the daisy blanket, the Jayma shawl, the walking hat, the Mimic shawl and this Big Kahuna scarf. Plus I cleared a few extra bits and pieces out of the stash and into a bag for the thrift store. Total out for this month is 2990 grams and zero new acquisitions.

So the year to date, as far as bashing the stash is concerned, is 6770 grams used or destashed, 2100 grams in (no purchases since January, woo hoo!) with a net reduction in stash of 4670 grams. I’m delighted with my progress. The stash is now at the point where I have a good selection of basic acrylics that I enjoy using (very little novelty stuff) and a small collection of plant fibre yarns for which I currently have no specific plans. (If you want to be nosy and check out my stash on Ravelry, it’s here.)

In other news, I took my car to the body shop for an estimate yesterday. The total cost for a small dent and large scratch? $1900! I will have to pay $500 of that, but wow, considering it looks like a small amount of damage that is a big bill!

OK, I need to get dressed and get to the gym. I went yesterday and am a little sore from that workout but I will do something different today to work some different muscles. And tonight Tai Chi Man and I have yoga, so that’ll be good. I had to miss Saturday’s Yin Yoga because I was working, which is a shame because it feels like the perfect body reset for the week. Talk to you later 🙂

Crochet and fabric play

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She is done, my Mimic shawl. She had a bath and a lie-down on the blocking mats, and  a bit of steam, and she grew to 16.5 inches by 87.5 inches. Yup, pretty long, but lovely with it.

This used 260 grams of Lion Brand Mandala in the Troll colourway, so about one and two-thirds of the 150 gram cakes.

My stashbusting has been epic this month. Two shawls, a blanket and a hat completed and I also cleared out a bit of undesirable yarn from my stash. That’s a total of 2320 grams of yarn OUT! And none in.

The other small project I finished was this Walking Hat, so named because I crocheted it on my walks around the neighbourhood. I used up the last of my Caron Big Cakes in Shadowberry. I wouldn’t buy this yarn again. It’s not the nicest acrylic, in my opinion. It took three and a half walks to make. I probably got some second glances as I carried my yarn and hook around with me this week!

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In the grand scheme of checks and balances, I should be picking up  my paycheque today, which will include some extra hours and overtime. However, when I was at a coffee shop with a friend yesterday, my car was parked outside on the street, and during that time someone swiped it with their vehicle and took the paint off. Grrrr! I am claiming off my insurance, of course, but there is still a $500 deductible to pay. I had to spend some time on the phone to the insurers yesterday and book my poor car in for an estimate at the body shop.

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So what else is new? Ah yes, my quilting. I have been itching to make a quilt again. I started back in 1998, when I was expecting son #3, and took a class to learn how make a large quilt. It was definitely worth it and from then on I quilted like a crazy person for six years, until I got back into yarn crafts. I haven’t really felt the pull since, even though I now work in a fabric store, but that doesn’t stop me from bringing home pretty cotton fabric remnants now and then. If I really like something, I’ll buy a metre.

Anyway, I’ve recently been watching The Midnight Quilt Show on YouTube and have been enjoying watching Angela piece and machine quilt like the pro she is and it’s inspired me to get going again. I also have a pile of quilting books from the library. This week I pulled out a bunch of fabrics and decided on a theme. I am fussy-cutting squares from Pink Panther, Scooby Doo, camper vans, Vespas and colourful cats and using a backing of broadcloth to stitch-and-flip crazy log cabin blocks. I have six so far.

It’s a lot of fun and deliberately cutting the pieces a little wonky with scissors means no need for precision.

I have no plan as to the number of blocks to make or how it’s all going to come together. I’ll scratch this itch and see where it takes me.

Have a great weekend! (I’ll be working, and I’ll still do my best to have a great weekend.)

More crochet and sewing fun

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It’s getting to the point that I can’t fit my Mimic Shawl into the shot. I am still enjoying this project, especially as I do love the pink section in this yarn, which will soon become another lime green one. Actually, very soon, as I don’t think there’s enough pink left to complete the next row, so I am going to do a little splicing, like I did the last time I hit this juncture.

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My evening project yesterday was to sew a book bag for my great-niece. I picked up a panel of quilting cotton from work a while back with The Very Hungry Caterpillar on it because when she was born two years ago I made her a Very Hungry Caterpillar blanket, cocoon and hat. I thought that maybe I’d make a quilt but then I had other ideas. Two parts of the panel became a bag, along with two contrast fabrics, one for the lining and one for the pocket. (The pocket is divided into sections for pencils and other stuff.)

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The widest section with the butterfly was made into a pillowcase. It’s not very big, but she’s only two! I won’t be filling it with stuffing ahead of time, because it has to go in the mail. The contrast fabrics were ones I had already.

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I’ll be seeing her in October, along with the rest of my family, when we drop in for a few days after Yorkshire and Yarndale (whoop whoop!) and so I am going to mail it to my mum ahead of time so that I don’t have to carry it in my luggage.

I’m itching to sew some more with my stash of quilting cottons but haven’t yet decided what to make.

We had a lovely weekend with Yin Yoga, weight training, shopping, and tea at our favourite tea shop (OK, Tai Chi Man probably would rather not have had to mow the lawn and today I cleaned bathrooms and vacuumed but, you know, these things have to be done). I couldn’t leave the cleaning ’til tomorrow as I’m working. Once it’s cooled down a bit, I want to have a walk around the neighbourhood and that will be the ideal end to the weekend.

 

WIP: Mimic shawl

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The shawl has grown some more. The initial triangle complete, you start working out from one side to form an extension and end up with a trapezoid. That dark purple was a bit of a struggle with the single crochets because it was so dark but now the pink is returning right near the end of the first cake. I have done three sections out from the side of the triangle (alternating V stitches and moss stitch) and need to do a total of 11, so I will be using quite a bit of the second cake.

The stitch patterns themselves are easy enough, but I do have to pay attention at the row ends as there is decreasing going on at the bottom edge and increasing at the top. I think this is going to be a gorgeous shawl and I will be keeping this one for myself. (I will check the weather forecast before flying to England for Yarndale in September and if it looks like it’ll be cool enough I will take this with me. I feel like one should have something handmade to wear at a yarn festival!)

An FO for me this week was the second rayon top that I finally finished. I was spurred on by (a) a UFO thread in the British Banter group on Ravelry in which I pledged to finish it this month, and (b) the fact that I wanted to do other sewing but my cutting table was covered in pieces of this top and I was not going to put it away half done.

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Not a great photo. The pink one with the turquoise band was done some time ago and I’ve worn it a couple of times. The turquoise one with the pink band was finished this week and I wore it the next day for work. Because of the lack of stretch and the rather low cut V neck, it’s not really ideal for work, as I need room to move in the shoulders and a top that doesn’t gape when cutting and lifting fabrics. But for wearing with my colourful Sweet Legs leggings, they are perfect.

The second iteration has no back neck opening. The first one was made per the pattern, and I find the opening gapes a bit, so I just sewed right up the back seam on the second.

I have already started making a simple top from a grey knit fabric remnant, which I hope works out (no great investment of money or time if it doesn’t) and am planning another top from a McCall’s pattern if I can just find the right fabric for it.

And now, it’s off to do some shopping with ds3, who needs to buy himself some shoes, and we also need groceries.

Oooh pretty!

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Oooh pretty!

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I braved the heat to get outside in the garden and take a few photos of the Mimic shawl progress. I love it so far. There are usually soft colour changes in this yarn, but there was a hard change from the pink to the green so I pulled a few stitches out, back to the beginning of the row, and cut a little yarn out so that there wouldn’t be a partial row of the pink. Where the blues appeared, I left it as it was.

There is something odd about the cake. If you look closely, you’ll see a bit of turquoise and white in the section  of purple. I’m pretty sure that’s not supposed to be there and I will be cutting that out.

The lawn is looking incredibly green for this time of year. We do have underground sprinklers, though we are careful not to overdo it, but we have had a goodly amount of rain recently. The other day at work, it was like a monsoon. Awesome!

Inventory day at work yesterday went well. The teams started at 7 and finished at 3, though management had to stay longer to finish up the paperwork and check for anything that may have been missed. The manager had a 12.5 hour day! As she would say, that’s what she’s paid the big bucks for (with a rueful smile on her face and a hint of sarcasm in her voice)!!! (By the way, I gave her the Jayma shawl that I just completed, and she loved it.)

It’s so good to have that annual event behind us. The store needs to be put back to rights now, with all the fabrics set up properly so that customers can browse. That’ll take a few days probably.

For now, I have three days off in a row, and need to toddle off to the kitchen to get food ready for a potluck with friends. Take care, everyone, and have a great weekend.

 

 

On a roll…a pink roll

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On a roll…a pink roll

Woah, I just checked the last post I wrote and realised I hadn’t shown you the finished Daisy Garden Blanket. Guess I posted to Instagram and forgot to do it here. Oops!

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I’m beyond happy with this blanket. I love it. It’s such a happy flower block, and putting 36 different ones together just makes it all the more cheerful. When I was seaming the blocks together, I found a couple of blocks where I’d messed up the corners on the last round, so redid those. Thankfully those didn’t have a colour that I’d run out of as they needed a few extra stitches.

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The size came out to be about 56″ square, with the self-designed border. And I used up 1430 grams of stash yarn, which is awesome. The yarn is Red Heart With Love, which is an aran weight yarn (heavier than your usual worsted weight, but not quite bulky.) It took about two months in all.

As soon as it was done, it was washed and dried and laid out to admire. And then I had to start another project. Because I get antsy without a WIP!

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This shawl was finished in about five days. It’s the Jayma shawl from Polly Plum and it is an easy to memorise pattern. You’re just alternating V stitches and single crochets, increasing on every row until it’s big enough or you’ve run out of yarn.

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I used almost all of a 200 gram skein of Loops & Threads Barcelona and made the tassels detachable with lobster clasps so they can be removed when washing the shawl.

And when THAT was finished, I had to quickly come up with something else, and found this in my Ravelry queue – Mimic, another pattern by Polly Plum. This one is written for fingering weight or DK, so I’m using Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Troll. I chose to start with the cake that had bright pink in the centre, so the initial triangle is going to have a lovely pop of colour at the start. After constructing a triangle in rows, you then start to work back and forth along one edge to make a trapezoid shape. The bands of the design are formed from sections of moss stitch and V stitches.

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I think this is going to be a great use of the Mandala yarn and I’m looking forward to seeing it grow.

And finally, a non-crochet photo because it’s from a walk I took with a friend recently along the waterfront not far from my house. We did get rained on a bit, but the temperature was comfortable, and the fog over the lake was quite atmospheric. Literally!

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A big day at work tomorrow. Starting at 7, most of the staff and some fit helpers will be weighing all the bolts of fabric at the store. This week has been tiring and a little stressful for many of us, and it will be good to get the job done and behind us. Today I have been baking loaves of banana bread and tonight I will set up the slowcooker so that there will be a vegan alternative to the pulled pork that the manager is bringing. I have an easy way to make it – shredded young jackfruit from cans with barbecue sauce from a recipe in the Garden of Vegan cookbook. It’s going to be a long day. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

Bordering the Daisy Garden

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My daisy flowerbed is getting a border this week. I double-crocheted all around with the turquoise, then added two rounds of pink. The first attempt at the pink was frogged because when I reached the first corner I realised my stitch count wasn’t going to work and it wasn’t fudgeable (totally a word). I initially tried 5 dcs and 3 chain. Nope! So now I’m doing 5dcs and 1 chain. Two rounds of that and then I’m ready for the scallops, which I thought would echo the daisy petals nicely. I am making those with a slipstitch into the first dc, chain 3, dc3tog, chain 3, slipstitch into the fifth dc. The corner worked out brilliantly, luckily.

It’s going to take a while as slipstitching into the chain from the previous row is a bit fiddly but I want to be consistent with which loops my hook is going into.

Last night the house was too warm for a crochet blanket on the lap, but this morning we have rain and a pleasant coolness wafting through the house so it’s perfect for more hooking! (The photos below were taken outside on my deck but I am not sitting out there to actually crochet. It’s just because the light is better out there.)

I have enjoyed every phase of this blanket but as a product crocheter/knitter I will be especially pleased to see it finished. Soon…

Weekend WIP: Daisy Garden Blanket

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This time last week, I showed you the progress on the blanket. I had 29 squares made. Now I have 36. And I am DONE with making squares. I wove in the ends on the last one yesterday and this morning, in the quiet and coolness of the very early morning, I laid a sheet on my deck and played with my squares.

The first rule was to make sure that the edges didn’t touch another of the same colour. The second was to try to keep matching petals away from each other. And the third was a less important attempt to keep matching backgrounds away from each other. AND of course to have the colours and values distributed as best as possible.

I took a few photos from all angles and finally came up with this. I’m sure it’s not perfect but then the finished blanket is unlikely to be viewed like this when in use.

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It’s crocheted with Red Heart With Love and a 6mm hook. I’m using a hook from my Denise2Go kit, which is a small kit of interchangeable hooks with different length cables. It has been very comfortable to use.

I have been enjoying posting photos of each square to Instagram as I go. If you want to take a look, I’m Nicolaknits_crochets on Instagram. Or you can peek at my Ravelry project page which is here.  Uploading photos to my project page has been quicker than ever since I realised I could link my Instagram account to Ravelry. As soon as I open the “photos” tab, I am instantly shown my Instagram photo, I can click on it, and it uploads. Then I caption it and that’s it. Before I was always hunting through my huge photo file on my laptop, looking for the right picture. (Now that I’ve deleted a lot of older photos, that shouldn’t take so long now. Plus I am finally getting savvy – when I save the photo, I give it an actual searchable name.)

We’ve had a cooler than usual June, with more rain than I expected, and a good thunderstorm the other day. It’s very pleasant, actually. Considering that some places in Europe have been having a heatwave, with France getting to 46 degrees Celsius, and Kuwait reached a high of 52.2, I am grateful. We have experienced 40 degrees here in our little corner of Canada, but I just can’t imagine 52.

Work is good, with things ramping up for inventory in a week. Next weekend we’ll be counting all the notions, in other words the packages of everything that we sell at the fabric store, whether it’s needles, pins, thread, whatever. Then after that, all the fabric bolts will be laid down and stacked carefully according to their density code in time for weighing day. It’s a huge undertaking but with all the preparation that’s done ahead of the big day it normally goes pretty smoothly. The main battle is keeping it organised, when customers like to rummage and move stuff and put things down where they don’t belong, AND the store is open for most of the time that we are counting/weighing. We start at 7 and the store opens at 10. So there are inventory teams and a customer service team.

I just remembered that I have a photo of my new table display. We now have a beaver welcoming people as they walk into the store! Made from a faux fur throw, I had a bit of fun with that yesterday. He only has to stay together for the Canada Day weekend, eh!

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The “logs” are storage boxes. I really like them but they are a bit pricey for me otherwise I’d totally turn my craft room into a virtual pine forest!

 

Weekend WIP (and an FO)

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Weekend WIP (and an FO)

I will show you the finished cowl in a moment, but first, the blanket.

The daisy blanket is moving forward again with a few more squares completed in the last couple of days. I laid out the 29 squares on the floor of my living room, making sure that same-coloured edges weren’t matching and that same-coloured petals were not side by side.

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Twenty nine squares in, I have not made the same one twice. I have the colours lined up for the 30th, which will be different again.

It’s still not as large as I’d like, and I have plenty of yarn left, so I’ll go to 36 and see how it looks. I am reserving a full skein each of turquoise and pink for the border.

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The Knit Mandala Cowl is finished. Here, Sally is modelling it so nicely! I didn’t wash it, just steamed it lightly. The Mandala yarn is very pretty and soft and projects always look good made from it.

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The textured stitches kept things interesting, as did the changing colours.

So, what are you doing this weekend? Our cabin escape was postponed thanks to the weather, so instead we are having the potluck at our friend’s home in town. Tai Chi Man and I called our parents this morning, then went to yoga, and this afternoon I have to do a bit of food prep and baking for tonight.

Have a great day!

Daisy Garden

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Daisy Garden

I think perhaps that my title for this blog post, Daisy Garden, should perhaps be the name of the blanket. (Thinks to self: go over to Ravelry and edit project page!)

I have now hit another milestone. Twenty daisy blocks finished, which means they look nice and even laid out on the floor for a photo. Of course my old iPad doesn’t seem to be able to get them all in focus.

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This is not the final layout, by any means. I just tried to keep the colours well distributed when placing them on the floor. The size of this, if I were to join them all together right now, is 34 x 42 inches approximately. My aim is to get as big a blanket as possible out of the yarn. It’s certainly going to be a cheerful blanket.

So, what else has been happening? I’ve just had a couple of days off. One of the things that was overdue was to wash down our covered deck. It was coated with a layer of pollen, and my eyes and nose have been reminding me lately that it’s pollen season. So out came the hose, then out came two of my sons, who felt that rather than a feeble hose what I really needed was a pressure washer. So ds1 went to the shed and pulled out his pressure washer and we got the deck so darned clean it looks almost new again! I have to say, it’s fun! The furniture also got a rinse, the kayaks (which have been languishing for over a year) were moved to clean underneath, I pinned the outdoor curtains across to shade the deck and patio doors from the evening sun, and now I feel we should be eating out there every day.

The Christmas cacti have been sent outside for the summer. They seem to flower so much better in the winter when they have spent some time outside. And we “cheated” on the hanging baskets and bought ready-made ones from Costco.

I have officially finished decluttering the upper level of our old bi-level house. I did another trip to the recycling depot and thrift store with a car-full of stuff, the latest being old linens from the hall closet, and repacked the two hall closets more efficiently. The living room mostly just needed to be dusted, though I did find some books that I didn’t want.

The biggest jobs await. Downstairs, I have a daunting task. I am considering vacating my craft room (ds1’s old bedroom) so he can have it back. The family room could become my craft room, along with the desk and iMac and piano that are already in there. The teeny bedroom that ds1 is currently using would become storage, one day to be reclaimed as our weights room when he finally moves out again! So much to be done, the first thing to get rid of two old sofa beds that we acquired via Freecycle many many years ago.

I am looking longingly at Ikea shelving for the family room (aren’t we all)!

It doesn’t help that I seem to be on my own with this task because everyone else seems happy with the status quo, but I really feel the need to clean things out and only put back what we really love. Yes, Marie Kondo and the Swedish death cleaning book have really hit home!

Plenty of aches today from (a) weight training, (b) yoga, (c) slipping on a rocky trail while out walking and pulling my right quads to keep myself from falling, (d) plantar fasciitis flare up because I was dumb enough to think I could spend a lot of the last two days in bare feet. Oh yeah, and (e) blisters on the back of my heels from that trail walk without socks on. I’m going to work today for a rest 😛 Speaking of which, I must go and finish getting ready.

Have a great day!