Category Archives: hand knitting

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!

WIP: Knit Mandala Cowl – almost there

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The cowl is nearly finished. I have been enjoying knitting this project. It’s been a nice change of pace from the crochet blanket. I have only a few rounds of K2P2 ribbing to do. As you can see, I have reached the white in the cake. It would have been interesting to have some more grey at the top edge, and I could keep going longer, but on the other hand the transition from darker colour/denser stitch pattern to lighter colour/lacier stitch pattern works rather well. I’m glad the aqua falls in the centre as it’s the colour that one notices the most.

You may recall my efforts to get up earlier in the morning, and my alarm clock was set 5 minutes earlier every day until I was waking at 5am. The last few mornings I have woken up just before the alarm, but when the alarm actually goes off I hit snooze once or twice. Often, Tai Chi Man is already in the en suite and there’s no point getting out of bed until he’s moved off to the kitchen. Our en suite is tiny!

One of the bonuses of getting up early is the coolness, as it’s getting hot most days. Another thing I enjoy is looking out at the garden to see if I can spot any deer (though I’d probably have to be up before dawn for that) and the sky is often very pretty too.

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The forecast is for a much cooler day today (18 degrees Celsius) and rain and possibly a thunderstorm. There is quite a wind – I can see our big maple from where I sit, and the branches are being tossed about – and I managed to get an OK shot of the sky with the clouds moving in, the moon, and an interesting bank of clouds sitting right on top of the mountains in the distance.

More often than not, I work on a Wednesday, but this week my shifts were scheduled the same as last week – Sunday, Monday, Friday – so today is going to be a home day. The To Do list includes a little cleaning and decluttering (aaagh, need to start on the utility room shelves, which is a huge job) but also some sewing and knitting.

I haven’t shown you the pink top that I sewed last week, but a turquoise one is now in progress using the same Burda pattern so I will get photos soon. I have been watching a podcaster/vlogger recently called Rachael at SewRayMeUK. She lives in Scotland, has an Etsy shop selling sewn bags and things, and has been vlogging every day during June. She is a keen gardener and has a beautiful garden. I am feeling inspired to sew more things, but I really must finish the current project before I move on to something else. The cut pieces are laid out on my cutting table and I have started the assembly. I could have kept on going last night, but at 9.45 I had to call it a day. Getting up at 5am means going to bed before 10pm.

It’s gone dark in my living room. The sky is mostly cloud now and I feel like a big dump of rain is imminent. That’s great! Even with our sprinklers, the lawn is looking dry and crispy already. Happy Hump Day, everyone. Talk to you again soon 🙂

WIP: Knit Mandala Cowl

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Being a relatively new user of Instagram with a not-so-smart phone (I can do texts, calls, and wifi, but no data) I rarely remember to use it or look at the feed from the handful of people I follow. However I recently discovered how quick and easy it is to post to Instagram from the phone and then upload the photo(s) to Ravelry now that my accounts are linked.

But (and there is usually a But) I still have to plug my phone into my laptop to upload the photos to that and get them into a blog post. I only have WordPress on my Windows laptop now, as my old iPad Mini can’t handle the app.

As I type this, the photos should magically be appearing in the window behind this one, so all should be well!

The daisy blanket is taking a little breather right now. I hit a little bump in the road, possibly because I couldn’t decide how many squares to make for the ideal size/colour distribution, but also because I was going on a one-night road trip with Tai Chi Man and fancied a change.

The pattern I chose was the Knit Mandala Cowl and rather than pay for a pdf I just went to the free version on the blog and took some screenshots. I picked out some Lion Brand Mandala in the stash, colourway Genie, packed it and my Knit Picks Rainbow Wood interchangeables in a project bag along with my Hello Kitty notions tin, and was ready to roll.

The first part of the road trip involved a long and winding road north up the west side of Okanagan Lake during which I sat and looked at the view. There was no way I was going to try and knit through that and risk getting carsick. When the going got easier, I cast on.

I had a fair amount of knitting time on the journey and in the hotel room. I also took advantage of the pool and fitness room while Tai Chi Man was out working/socialising with customers, and watched a heck of a lot of HGTV!

The photo above was taken in a coffee shop, obviously, on the second day. Two hundred stitches around, but as the texture changes every round (or two or three) it feels like it’s growing fast.

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I love the colour changes in the Mandala yarn. Not harsh changes like some of the cakes. As you can see, there’s ribbing, seed stitch, cables, slipstitches – a bit of everything.

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I will continue on and finish this, I think, before returning to the blanket. I have noticed, though, that my wrist aches more when I knit, so I have to be careful.

In other news, it’s Pride month at our fabric store (and elsewhere of course) and our manager set up an awesome display of a fabric rainbow with a pot of “gold” at the end, big foam letters that spell out PRIDE, and rainbowy products that are on sale this month. I just love the papier mache/fibrefill cloud that she made, complete with acrylic crystal raindrops.

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To complete the look, I cleared out my previous display from the table in front of the cash desk (a rather inspired plaid/denim/logs/campfire look if I may say so myself) and gussied it up with a rainbow theme.

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This is quite restrained for me. I usually load this table up way more than that. I seem to have become the default table decorator in this spot and I have a lot of fun trawling the store for bits and bobs to include in my chosen theme.

There’s a big sale starting today that runs through the weekend and I feel like it’s going to be super busy today. So off I go, as I need to leave the house soon.

 

Free pattern: Frond

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Frond is a simple knitted cellphone cosy that can be adjusted for size or gussied up with fancier yarn and maybe even some duplicate stitch or embroidery. It uses stockinette and seed stitch worked flat and seamed.

You will need:

Medium/worsted/#4 weight  yarn, approx 30g/50m (a little over 1oz/54yds)

1 button approx ¾ – 1 inch diameter, preferably with large holes for sewing

5mm/US#8 needles

Gauge is not critical. My gauge was 4 sts to 1” in stockinette. Finished size at this gauge is 3.75” x 6”.

Abbreviations:

CO – cast on

K/P – knit/purl

BO – bind off

K2tog – knit 2 together

P2tog – purl 2 together

St – stitch

St st – stockinette (stocking) stitch

RS/WS – right side, wrong side

Foll – following

Patt – pattern

Rep – repeat

Can easily be made bigger or smaller by varying the number cast on by multiples of 2, and working fewer or more rows of stockinette.

How to:

CO 17. Any method will do. I prefer long tail cast on for a neat edge. 

Work stockinette (knit 1 row, purl 1 row) until work measures 12” ending with a WS row.

Next row: K1, *P1, K1, rep from * to end of row.

Rep this row (seed st) until seed st section is 3” long, ending on a WS row.

Next row: work seed st for 7 sts, BO 3 sts, work to end, maintaining seed st patt (ie knitting the purls, purling the knits)

Next row: seed st to gap, backwards loop CO 3 sts firmly and closely, work to end.

Next row: work first 7 sts, K the 3 CO sts through the back loop, twisting them, work to end.

Next row: seed st across.

Next row: K1, K2tog, work to last 3 sts (maintaining seed st patt), P2tog, K1

Next row: K1, P2tog, work to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1

BO.

Fold st st part of cosy in half. Seam sides from RS using mattress st, taking half a stitch into seam from each side, starting at open end and working towards fold.

Weave in ends. Sew on button.

This pattern has not been tested by anyone but me. If you find a mistake, please leave a comment below and I will fix it. Thank you.

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(This pattern will print on two sheets of paper with just the first photo and text. Click Share below, then Print, and instruct your printer to print pages 1 – 2.)

 

Crocheting along, fa la la la la

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The CAL continues…

The Creative Crochet Workshop Scrapsrific Rainbow Blanket CAL (OMG, that is a lot to type) is in week 3. I have added two rounds to the above motif which will eventually be a 12″ square.

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These four 6″ squares are also in part 3. Obviously I will, at some point, have to pin my squares out and steam them to make it easier to join them, as currently they are wonky!

I have also completed a quick bulky beanie. It’s called the Spin Cycle Hat, which is a very compact, one page pdf, clearly written, in three sizes. I made the medium without swatching for gauge (ooh, er) and the hat fits my Sally Styro head perfectly but is too small for me. Not that it was for me anyway, but I shall have to find someone with a small head to give it to.

Whilst I am happy with the pattern, the yarn is another story. This is Loops & Threads Facets, a bulky, underspun, very soft yarn. Let me tell you, all those YO, K2togs were a nightmare with such a splitty yarn. Yes, it’s pretty, but don’t be fooled, it’s not worth the hassle. It’ll pill quickly too. I’m using up what I have in the stash but I won’t be buying this or anything like it in future.

Now, I had a lovely draft all ready to Publish with a simple pattern for this…

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…but left it in an open tab on my laptop for a few days. I am also knitting one, and wanted to publish both at the same time. Well, something went wrong, and it’s gone. Can’t find a saved draft anywhere. At least I do still have my text document in Google Docs to fall back on, so I don’t have to start from scratch. So that will probably be finalised mid-week, as I have a run of three days off starting tomorrow.

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Easter weekend. We had a mini road trip  Saturday to visit a plant nursery and buy plants for our garden. We ended up with a Chi Chi Gingko tree (max height 16 feet), two mock oranges (native plants so should do well) and some  hostas and other ground cover for the patch by the front door where we recently took out the messy evergreens. We meant to get some kinnikinnick but forgot, so we may have to try and find it locally, or drive south again for it.

I am off to work shortly, so will sign off for today. Have a great day!

 

Whipping those WIPs

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Whipping those WIPs

The flurry of crochet (and knitting) activity continues. The purple yarn I showed you last time has so far given birth to two dishcloth/scrubbie combos, one of which I photographed at my favourite tea shop on Tuesday. I am hoping to get four out of the two skeins. I find this combination of scrubbie yarn in the middle and cotton on the outside really useful.

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I love the coordinating mug and dishcloth!

The Scrapsrific Rainbow Blanket CAL Part 1 is now complete. I finished the crocheting last night and wove in ends today at our weekly knitting group meetup, ready for Part 2 which has been released today.

I already showed you the first eight squares. Here are the remaining eight, plus the start of a 12″ square.

And I was feeling brave last night, so cast on for two-at-a-time (TAAT) socks. I watched a couple of video tutorials which demonstrated different methods, and ended up winging it without a safety net! It worked!!

Not much progress yet, but those stitches are so darned tiny!

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I knitted most of that ribbing at the coffee shop today, and when I got fed up with the teeny stitches I moved on to dishcloth #3. I had made sure to wind the ball of sock yarn into two cakes and the pink mesh bag is keeping them corralled.

After the coffee shop, my friend and I went to a local yarn store (LYS) so she could get another needle for her fancy fingering-weight stranded-colourwork bag. I had a good look around but didn’t buy anything. (Still mindful of not letting the stash grow. And saving myself for Yarndale!)

A nice relaxing morning. Take it easy, and talk to you again soon.

 

 

Out of the slump

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Out of the slump

From a crochet slump with one knitting WIP to a flurry of activity!

The socks are DONE!

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The first sock took about 8.5 months, the second one only a week or two. This is Loops & Threads Perfect Pair yarn, knitted magic loop, one at a time, with a 2.25mm/100cm long circ. They are not identical, and I didn’t even try to make them so, but the bands of colour coincidentally fell in similar places. They could be a little snugger, so when I make another pair with this yarn I will knit a smaller size.

So, on to crochet WIPs. This bag-in-progress is called the Easy Breezy Bag and the pattern is here. I managed to mess up my stitch count when starting the base, so ripped back and started again. After that, it was plain sailing. The open stitch pattern for the sides of the bag is very easy and I can do it while watching Netflix. The yarn is from the store where I work. It’s our store brand, Spindle Yarns, and the type is Essential Basics (worsted weight acrylic) in the colourway Oasis Multi. I didn’t like the feel of it in the ball but it is nice to crochet with, though there are few fuzzy spots in the first ball.

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My other WIP is the Scrapsrific Rainbow Blanket from Creative Crochet Workshop. I was browsing Ravelry last week, looking for inspiration, and found this mystery Crochet-along so decided to join in. I also joined the Ravelry group and the Facebook group. I chose ten colours from my Stylecraft Special DK stash that said “Rainbow!” to me, along with white and grey, and am using a 4.5mm hook.

There are 16 small squares in the first week, plus the first couple of rounds of a larger square. So far I have completed eight.

I don’t think this is going to be a very large blanket. The CAL is only six weeks. But it will be interesting to see how it develops.

There’s been lots of outdoor activity around my house this week. Ds1 had a few days off and I suggested he might like to take down three trees that were overgrown and snow-damaged out front. Ds2 and ds3 have also been out in the yard, raking and tidying. Amazing!

Job in progress…

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Middle tree almost gone.

After…

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The house is so much brighter, inside and out. I love it.

This is the heap of branches that needed to go to the dump…all 420 kilos of it.

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I have work today, but I’m looking forward to another massage tomorrow morning. I am still having various aches and pains which are due, I think, to me not being balanced symmetrically, rather than ordinary muscle soreness from the gym and other activities. Tightness in the neck, niggles in the wrist/forearm from the break last year, plantar fasciitis in the right heel which I really thought would be gone by now. I am trying some self-care strategies so that it doesn’t get to the point where I have to get signed off work. Minor issues, though, compared to some.

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. Happy crafting!

Miracles DO happen!

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Miracles DO happen!

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I am a little embarrassed to admit that I cast on this sock on July 3rd last year. Why did it take me so long to finish it? Probably the fact that it’s actual sock yarn, so it’s very thin, the needles are US#1/2.25mm, also very thin, and I was sure my gauge was working out looser than the intended 9sts/inch so didn’t expect it to fit.

However, all is well. I had no other works in progress so I picked up this project, which has been languishing in its very cute project bag for months, and actually finished the darned foot and toe in very little time. And it fits!

To avoid Second Sock Syndrome, I immediately cast on the second sock.

The yarn is Loops & Threads Perfect Pair in the colourway Glory Days. Love the colours in this so much. I also have two other colourways of this in the stash, and I shall have to decide whether to knit another pair or perhaps try a crocheted pair next.

The pattern is the basic sock pattern from Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns, following the numbers for the women’s large at 9sts/inch.

I also had a bit of fun while I had the chance this afternoon and made another pair of the fleece armwarmers with some pawprint fleece left over from a blanket project at Christmas. They really are quick and easy.

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I love moving stash, whether it’s yarn or fabric. I also have a tote bag which is partially sewn but which I had to abandon earlier to get dinner on the table. And I didn’t get back to it after dinner as we went to a yoga class. But that’s OK, I will finish it soon and show you pics.

FO: Wayfarer Wrap

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FO: Wayfarer Wrap

Way to go, Nicola! I’m feeling excited to be able to wear my wrap after three and a half months on the needles/hook but in an odd way almost sad that it’s over. How silly, when you think about it – I am very much a product knitter/crocheter and am positively irritated by long term WIPs that sit at the top of my Ravelry project overview page, taunting me with their not-done-ness!

The end of this project came together in the last week, inspired (as I mentioned in my last post) by the CAL in the crochet party group on Ravelry. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of finishing a project, taking photos and uploading said photos to my Ravelry project page and clicking that “finished” button. And of course seeing the project thumbnail lose that WIP status and move into the realms of Finished Objects.

So that’s 600 grams of random DK weight yarn out of the stash. Most of it is Stylecraft Special DK with some Deramores Studio DK mixed in. I have all my DK mixed together in bags, sorted (or at least it was) by colour. I need to do a tidy up now that this project is off the needles. There are over 20 colours in this wrap, with the plan being to include soft colours that also had some contrast.

I had a little photoshoot out on my deck this morning.

It’s hard to get the whole thing visible in one photo, but you get the idea.

You may also be able to tell that we still have a lot of snow on the garden. We had fresh snow the last two days, though it is getting above freezing during the day now and the end is in sight. I love snow, though prefer it when it’s not on the roads when I need to drive somewhere. This is the scene from my back deck.

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Blue sky, sunshine, snow. Gorgeous!

I have two Works in Progress left. A pair of socks on skinny needles and a wrap on a skinny hook. The socks have been languishing for many a month, maybe because I feel like they may not fit well, but I think I need to start taking them out with me as my portable project (and there’s nothing more portable than a sock project, is there). The wrap is one that I started in Switzerland last summer, and I love the stitch pattern (I bought the pattern so definitely want to crochet it up). I think I will frog the few inches that are done and restart with a thicker yarn and bigger hook. The stitches are just so fiddly and my middle-aged eyes were struggling.

Interestingly, I am not desperate to start another bulky instant-gratification crochet project, which is usually my downfall. So I think these two WIPs might just be getting the attention they deserve for the rest of this month.

International Crochet Month

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International Crochet Month

There is a party going on in Ravelry. It’s in a group called, most appropriately, Party! International Crochet Month, and you can find the group here.

There is lots going on, with games and challenges and stuff, and I am participating in a few of the threads in the group. There’s a word game, a pattern finding game, a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt gives you points for completing different challenges. The Everyday WIP challenge gets you working on a current project, which has been a boon to me because I pledged to knit at least one garter stripe on my Wayfarer Wrap every day, before allowing myself to knit or crochet on anything else. And there is an Inner Beast crochet-along (my Rav pattern page here with link to pattern) which is a fun toy where you deliberately make him/her as wild and shaggy as you like, with multiple colours, ends sticking out, wonky eyes, horns and funny feet.

The result of all this motivation is this…

My wrap has grown by a few inches in just a few days.

All those tails along the long edge have been overhand-knotted in bundles of ten.

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And the grannies have been seamed in two strips, with one being sewn to the cast on end. I still have to knit a few more inches on the other end. I will also be trimming the fringe to make it look a bit tidier.

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And this is the result of the Inner-Beast-a-thon. The idea is that you make a magic ball with lots of short pieces of yarn, and carry it along with another yarn. I used a multicoloured cake that I had wound up from scraps some time ago, and wound up a second cake with other teeny balls of DK. As you reach a knot, you just let the tails hang; the more texture the better. The sections of colour were a bit long really. I don’t have that many bits sticking out. But the fun part was not being too picky when sewing on the head and arms and horns, because wonky is good, and the tails from the seaming were brought to the outside to add more interest. The eyes are just two mismatched buttons, and what a great way to use those up!

I can definitely see myself making another of these. They are quick and ultimately customisable.

I am on the last day of a stretch of five days off, because that’s just the way my shift scheduling worked, which has given me lots of time to knit, crochet, have a potluck with friends on Saturday night, and cook decent dinners.

My series of five acupuncture appointments are now done. Yesterday’s was the most uncomfortable of the lot, with many of the needles hurting going in and coming out, but also causing some aching in my legs while I lay there on the massage table in the darkened room. It’s very relaxing though, as it forces you to just be alone with your thoughts without distractions, and by the time the acupuncturist returns to remove the needles I am thoroughly chilled out.

So that is what my crafting looks like for this week, and I am definitely motivated to finish this knitted wrap this month. I started it in November, I think. A little competition, with myself or others, tends to spur me into action, and I want to (a) wear it, and (b) log the yarn I have used as an OUT for stash for March, which will look great on the Bash your Stash thread in the British Banter group. Whilst I am not on a yarn diet, I do have a goal of “more out than in” – so far, so good.