Category Archives: daily life

Crochet kits

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

However I do want to show you these kits…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FO: Classique Cotton bag, and other stuff

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

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

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

I actually bought two magazines.

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

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

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

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Happy crafting!

WIP: Ben’s hat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FO: BSJ

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Yup, we knitters and crocheters have our own code. Who needs html?!

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Today’s Finished Object is another Baby Surprise Jacket. I was very virtuous today. I decided to walk to the store where I work to get buttons so that I could get some exercise at the same time as getting the supplies to turn this into an FO! It took me 20 minutes to get there and 25 to get home (more uphill on the way back). The sun was lovely and warm, but there’s a coolness in the breeze still, so it’s wise to wear a couple of layers so that you can peel one off if you get too warm.

The yard is looking nice and green again, with the lawn growing, the daffodils, tulips and pansies adding a bit of colour, the apricot blossom full out and the cherry on its way. I think Spring is my favourite season.

The neighbours have had a small digger working in the backyard the last few days moving what looks like tonnes of soil to make space for a foundation for a carriage house. Tai Chi Man and I went to look over the fence earlier, and the guys were in the hole and have already constructed a wood frame for the concrete. The carriage house will be for the husband’s parents when it’s finished. I’m sure it’ll look good when it’s done – we had no objection to it – we’ll overlook it and still have our view.

I visited the dentist for a cleaning today. The hygienists at our regular dentist’s seem to have changed a lot over the years but I’m hoping the latest one stays for a long time. She is really nice and I actually don’t get stressed out going there any  more. Yes, even a checkup used to be stressful. She still scrapes away at my teeth but I know it’s going to be over quickly and she is careful. I don’t have any cavities but I am going back in June to have a little bit of in-filling done at the gumline where there’s been some gum recession. I have also asked for some tidying up to be done on my front teeth where they have been chipped multiple times. I have really crooked teeth (“British teeth” :-P)and have wanted braces for as long as I can remember, but it’s unlikely to happen, so making the teeth look better will at least help me feel a bit more confident about smiling at people!

Well, enough of my waffling. I hope your day is sunny in every way. Talk to you again soon.

 

 

What’s new?

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Hi, crafty people! What’s new?

I have been knitting up a Baby Surprise Jacket this week. It’s an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern, and if you have been a knitter for a while you will surely know that she is (was) one of the geniuses of the knitting world. I have five of her books. I’ve been using the book, The Opinionated Knitter, to  make it, but I think it might be in Knitting without Tears too.

The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK and I had every intention of making it the smallest size possible by using 4mm/US6 needles. However I pulled out my supplies at a coffee shop while waiting for a friend last week, and for some reason my brain led my hands to screw the US8 tips on to the interchangeable cables. So instead of a potential gauge close to 6st/in, my gauge is more like 5st/in, so rather than fitting a teeny baby this year it will be more likely to fit next year. Which is a bit of a shame as the colours match the kitty fabric in the sewn outfit I showed you last time. Hopefully the dress and sweater will be wearable together.

So of course now that it’s almost done (you may have noticed there are no buttons yet) I just have to cast on for another. (The poor poncho is languishing yet again – ah, the thought of all those ends to weave in!) I will definitely remember to use the US6 tips this time and have picked out denim blue, along with meadow green, raspberry and one of the other pinks that has lost its ball band. It will be more girly at least.

One thing about a new baby in the family – lots of motivation to create!

I have bought fabric for a skirt for myself too. I have a Burda pattern (#6666) for a tiered skirt and found a lovely turquoise-y blue mottled rayon at work to make it with. I wanted to start sewing today but thought I’d better wash the fabric first, so it’s having a very short wash in the machine right now. It looks like an easy pattern, just a bunch of rectangles with lots of gathering along each top edge, and as my favourite maxi tiered skirt that I’ve been wearing for the last five years has started to disintegrate I’m hoping that this will be my new favourite. If it works out, I might want to make more!

Netflix watching, now that (sniff) Outlander has been suitably binge-watched, is Suits, recommended by a friend. Light entertainment while I get my knitting and crocheting done.

Piano practice has taken a back seat (less motivation to practice when there are no more lessons for a few months – ahem) and now I am excited about my Duolingo German lessons. It’s free (duolingo.com) and a friend is doing it too, plus I have three Facebook friends who are native German speakers (one is a co-worker). My hope is that one day Tai Chi Man and I will get to return to Switzerland to visit his cousins and I will not be hopelessly lost. We both learned German at school (and passed the exams to graduate) but heck, that was over 30 years ago.

Hopefully you are enjoying a wonderful Easter weekend where you are (and perhaps some chocolate). Tschüss!

So relaxed!

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Day 4 of a block of five consecutive days off between shifts. I don’t know what I did to deserve that, but I’m loving it.

Today I did one of my favourite things, which was tidy up my craft room as I had dumped yarn all over the place. I also updated my stash pages on Ravelry. I have acquired extra skeins from a couple of friends who were clearing out either their own stuff or someone else’s. There were some knitted pieces, two of which I darned in the ends on and will donate to the SPCA and the other two I unravelled.

Tai Chi Man and I had a pleasant walk along the waterfront this afternoon. It was raining but we had our new Costco waterproof jackets on so we were comfortable. Treated ourselves to some good tea from our favourite tea shop (and a cookie – oops!).

Friday I took myself off to the ski hill for some snowboarding on my own. I’ve never done that before but the boys weren’t bothered so I went. The drive started out rainy and ended up snowy. The road between the highway and the resort is about 20km and the second part was very slushy and slippery. Bit of zigzagging and tire spinning going on, and when I parked in the parking lot I just knew that I was going to have trouble getting out again, winter tires notwithstanding.

I had a free lift pass so that was great, but I had to rent a board and boots as usual. I have my own helmet (that’s saved me from many a potential concussion)! I did a couple of runs – first one always feels like I’ve forgotten everything. Second one was better. Snow was quite soft and deep in places and caught the board a fair few times. Got to the top of the quad chair and was pushing my way to the spot to anchor my right foot back in when someone asked me if I’d lost a binding. Oh great, the ankle binding had come off as a screw had come out and got lost in the snow. Told the lift guy who radioed down. Not sure why it took so long, but had to wait over half an hour before a snowmobile appeared to take me down the hill. I did get to warm up inside the hut at the top of the chairlift and chat to lift guy for a while.

The snowmobile guy was a fellow Brit and very nice and I enjoyed my ride down the mountain back to the village centre. Never been on a skidoo before, but it’s a lot of fun. Asked the girl at the rental place if there was any chance of a refund as had lost 50 minutes of boarding time out of my limited afternoon session and was told yes, and I could still get my binding fixed and do more runs first if I wanted. Did a couple more runs and then got a FULL refund (would have been satisfied with half) so was very chuffed!

As anticipated, car was bogged down in snow in parking lot, tires were spinning and I was going nowhere. Nice young man appeared in front of my car and pushed a few times while I was attempting to reverse and got me out. Drive back to highway was again rather hairy – nearly sideswiped a van coming the other way as I went around a bend. A pretty eventful day that could have turned out badly but thankfully all I had were a few sore muscles the next day.

And finally after all that blabbing I can show you a bit of yarn…

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Sorry for the fuzzy nighttime shot – I was very limited in what I could do as the iPad is plugged into the laptop, syncing and backing up. I decided to carry on with this baby cardi and trust that I will have enough yarn. Cross fingers! One front done.

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This is a finished gift. I bought some handmade soaps at the indoor farmers and crafters market yesterday and decided to give one to a friend. The mesh bag is Tunisian crochet, the washcloth just a basic granny square. The yarn is Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK.

The poncho has been neglected but not forgotten, as I have the skeins of Stylecraft Special DK lined up in front of the coffee table so I know which order to use them in. Thank goodness we don’t have any small children or curious pets in this house.

And finally, I almost forgot, the caterpillar set (book, blanket, cocoon and hat) which I mailed off to the UK weeks ago has arrived safely and the new parents-to-be love it. Yay!

I hope your weekend was wonderful. Have a peaceful and productive week and I’ll talk to you again soon.

WIP: not a sweater

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The Stylecraft DK Coast Pack that was supposed to become a sweater is now going to be a poncho!

I have this poncho already that I knitted years ago…

It’s just a rectangle with one end sewn to the side of the other end, if you know what I mean. It’s quite a practical shape, actually, as in the car you can wear it with the V at the front which keeps your lap warm without bulk at the back, and when out walking you can wear it with the V at the back.

The project-that-was-going-to-be-a-sweater-but-I-wasn’t-happy-with-it sat in its bag for a week or three while I did other things and let my brain mull things over in the background. Whilst this looks like procrastination, it can be quite an effective way of making decisions!!

So, here’s the progress so far…

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That’s a pretty big square with a separate V stitch panel which is currently 12.5″ deep, to give you an idea of scale. Once my V stitch section gets to be about 35″ long, I’ll have to think about the next step which will be joining and bordering the whole thing. I am keeping the Peacock colour aside for that.

I’m feeling happier about this project now that a decision has been made, and I added about seven rows while watching Crafternoon Treats’ latest podcast this evening.

In other news, my piano lessons have been cancelled for the rest of the Spring. My teacher is going in for a hip replacement operation soon and won’t be back in action until after the summer months. The last tune she had us learning was Londonderry Air, which is quite tricky. I really will have to practice lots over the summer so that when we start again in the fall I haven’t forgotten everything!

Spring has finally Sprung here in British Columbia’s southern interior. The street sweeping trucks have been around the neighbourhood, vacuuming up the grit from the snowploughs/plows, the husband has pruned the apricot and cherry trees, signs of life can be seen from the bulbs in the garden, and we were down to our T shirts on Sunday afternoon in the sunshine. I still intend to hit the slopes again before the end of the ski season though.