Category Archives: hand knitting

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.

 

Ever diminishing stash

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In the spirit of stashbusting, I have continued to make projects from stash yarn, inspired by some of the podcasters I’ve been watching, and groups on Ravelry.

The total number of FOs for February so far (and we do have four days left still) is 12, with an approximate OUTage of stash standing at 695 grams. Even better, I have not bought yarn this month. There has also been associated binge-watching of Netflix, with shows called Collateral and Travelers.

First up, dishcloths!

I’m sure I saw this idea floating around Ravelry before: scrubby type yarn in the middle with dishcloth cotton around the outside.  For each cloth, I made two circles from the scrubby and then worked around them, single crocheting them together with the cotton, and then added a few more rows of cotton to make a dual purpose cleaning cloth. I have to say, I love these. They are really useful.

This bag is sort of an FO, in that the knitting is finished and the lining is sewn in. It does need some kind of handle or strap, but I haven’t decided what yet. I started it Thursday at a new knitting group that my friend has organised. The pattern is here, though I didn’t keep track of the knit and purl rows so mine looks a little different. And I used medium weight yarn instead of bulky so I cast on extra stitches. Yarn is Bernat Pop in the colourway Foggy  Notion.

And finally, this hat pattern is called I’m Lichen This Hat! It uses about 100 grams of bulky weight yarn, so is quick, and it’s also quite easy, with just one cable running up the back of the head. If you look at the designer’s version, you can see the detail more clearly as she has used a solid colour. The cable scrunches up the back of the hat as some of the rows of the cable section are slipped rather than knitted. I made this in one evening, except for the grafting of the stitches at the crown (it’s been a while since I’ve done Kitchener stitch so I had to search for a tutorial). My grafting is not perfect! Yarn is Stylecraft Harlequin Chunky.

In other news, I did acquire a new cookbook this week. It’s this one…

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I follow Gaz on YouTube (avantgardevegan) and he cooks the most amazing recipes. So when I saw his cookbook in my local health food store, I decided to buy it.

I’ve had a bit of a rest week, skipping the gym on a couple of days when I could have found the time. My plantar fasciitis is still giving me a bit of trouble, despite the insoles, and I have a lot of tension in my left shoulder which doesn’t seem to want to let go. I’m in the middle of a course of acupuncture, so hopefully that will help.

Work was good today, though in a way I would rather not work Sundays. We had a lot more quilting fabric in with some really cute patterns. A lot of customers tell me they couldn’t work there as they’d spend their entire paycheque on tempting fabric! Luckily, I (mostly) maintain self-discipline around it.

Feeling thankful for my family who rallied around and communally made pizza for everyone tonight. It’s nice to have someone else do the cooking and cleanup.

I hope you have a wonderful week.

WIP and health update

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WIP and health update

Hey everybody, how’s it going? I’m enjoying a day off with very few commitments. I’ve been to the gym, put on some laundry, loaded the dishwasher. Not very onerous.

I have been having some heel pain lately. I will be sitting on the couch, get up, and get a nasty pain in the bottom of my right heel making me limp to the kitchen or wherever. Now, I know that Googling one’s symptoms often results in a lot of false hits, but this time I think I found the cause. It fits with plantar fasciitis. I assume it’s caused by my longer times on the gym treadmill including the running segments in addition to walking. Of course, I am also on my feet all day at work, on a concrete floor.

Apparently the best treatment for this is a combination of stretching, arch-supporting footwear and ice. I bought some insoles yesterday especially for this condition, and have taken to wearing my indoor gym shoes in the house as well. Friends say I should keep shoes on any time I am not in bed! Felt kind of odd at first, but now I’m finding it very comfortable.

Last night, Tai Chi Man and I went to the gym and I just did weights, but I went again this morning for some cardio and decided on the low-impact option – a stationary bike which is a recumbent style and has a very comfortable seat, unlike the ones with a standard saddle.

Onto yarny matters, my Wayfarer Wrap is growing at last. Picking it up when I watch Netflix certainly helps, and it is now 33″ long. “Only” 17″ to go.

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The billion ends along the edge are being left as a fringe, perhaps in bundles tied with overhand knots. I haven’t finalised that part of it yet.

Yesterday I met a friend for tea in the morning, then hit Costco for a bunch of food. I had plenty of time before I had to be back at home so I stopped in at my favourite tea shop on the way home for another cuppa and some crochet time. I like to make sure I have something portable with me when I go out. You never know when you might need some emergency crochet!

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This is what I worked on while I was there. I added a little last night. I think it’s deep enough, but I’d like to add some sort of edging. This is a moebius cowl similar to one I made last year, where I start with a row of foundation stitches rather than chains (I used half double crochet this time), give it a half twist, then join and start working in the round. You end up with a true moebius which makes for a really comfortable cowl as the place where it twists is lower and fits perfectly under your chin.

It is also using up some stash yarn that’s been hanging around for some time.

After my last post in which I showed you more hats, I had quite the stack, so I filled a bag with about a dozen beanies and took it to the local Food Bank. Hopefully they will give them out to whomever wants them and someone will be warmer as a result.

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Finally, I found some lovely soft flannelette at work that’s a bamboo/cotton blend. It has a fun tea/coffee cup print so I bought some. I figured I could make something nice for the tea shop owner as well as for myself.

And with that, it’s time to say Goodbye for now. Hope you have a great weekend.

 

 

 

2018 – a review

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2018 – a review

One of the things I love to do at the end of the year is to look back through my Ravelry project pages and count how many Finished Objects there were. It is such a good way to record everything you make, what yarn you used, how much yarn, which patterns, and so on. I do sometimes make something more than once and it’s helpful to have a record of the hook or needle size I used with a particular project or yarn.

I just made a list of everything and here’s the final rundown:

  • Hats 20
  • Cowls/scarves/shawls 8
  • Dishcloths 8
  • Yarn ball holders 5
  • Phone/giftcard cosies 4
  • Blankets 3
  • Sweaters 3
  • Mini Christmas stockings 3
  • Mittens/fingerless mitts 3 prs
  • Cup cosies 3
  • Mini keychain backpacks 3
  • Earrings 2 prs
  • Afghan blocks 2
  • Rat sweaters 2
  • Doll and clothes 1
  • iPad stand 1
  • Mini cup and saucer 1
  • Crystal cosy 1
  • Nosewarmer 1

That makes 74 FOs for 2018 which means it was one of my more productive years. Amazing, considering I was out of action for part of the year after my snowboarding accident.

My favourite project of the year has to be my Groovyghan (pictured at the top of this post). 

My favourite hat? The one I just finished in two days flat and gave to one of my co-workers. Not only am I happy with the FO but I also had the satisfaction of giving it to her and seeing her reaction!

This was made with Red Heart With Love in Daffodil with extra touches of Holly Berry, Black and Eggshell. For more info, see my project page here.

I also finished the crocheted Candy Cane hat that I showed you as a WIP last time, and a brown slouchy beanie with some old stash yarn – James C Brett Marble Chunky.

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One of my current goals is to make beanies with the older acrylic in my stash and donate them.

Looking back on 2018, there have been some definite highs and lows. 

January: I set a goal to make 12 sweaters and sew 12 garments in 12 months. Well, the sewing was a bust. But I was going great guns on the knitting and crochet until…

February: Any and all plans were called off as I broke my wrist while snowboarding on Family Day, February 12th. I had a fetching pink cast applied to my right arm. img_7227

February 28th I had surgery for my distal radius fracture which involved acquiring a piece of titanium screwed to the bone, which will stay in indefinitely. I traded in my pink cast for a huge splinted dressing. Life was interesting, to say the least, with some pain and discomfort, and learning how to wash and dress with one hand.

March:  I was off work for nine weeks in all, so this month was all about recovery and not being able to drive, as my car is a manual/stick shift. I was so desperate to knit or crochet that I learned how to crochet left-handed with an adapted style. Knitting was too painful.

April: I was visiting rehab regularly to get my healing progress checked and finally returned to work. I also managed to get the Paper Bag Princess finished after a long hiatus for my grand-niece.

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May: I was back at the gym and doing all my usual activities. I was back into knitting – this hat was for my father-in-law and was my first knitting project after the break – and I was also sewing up project bags for fun.

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June: More project bag sewing, and some yarn stash organisation with my new yarn ball winder.

July: This was the peak of forest fire season, and we had multiple fires burning at once in our valley. fire

August: Tai Chi Man and I had an awesome vacation in Switzerland, spending time in the mountains near the Italian border and in the Bernese Oberland. We had a wonderful time, visiting his cousins and meeting up with other family members, and having some couple time for the last few days.

September: This was the month of the Groovyghan. It took almost exactly a month to make. It was a very addictive project.

October: In full swing, churning out lots of FOs.

November: Back to the hospital, this time to have a stapedectomy (replacement of the stapes with a prosthesis) in my right ear. This fixed the hearing loss that I had as a result of otosclerosis, a hereditary calcification and fusing of the bones in the inner ear. Now I am the proud owner of not one, not two, but THREE pieces of titanium (one in each ear and one in my wrist). Recovery from this surgery was painless and, thanks to a different drug, easy, without the insane vertigo that I experienced in 2015 when I had my left ear done.

December: We had a beautiful few days at one of our favourite retreats for our 31st wedding anniversary. There was a little scare with one of our sons suddenly having a partially collapsed lung. Chest pain led him to call 911 and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance (we were away at the time) and sent home in the morning with a pump in his side to draw out air and fluid from around the lung. Thankfully it was only needed for three days at which time they removed it and he seems to be fine now.

The lead-up to Christmas was pleasant, and we enjoyed lots of good eating including mountains of home-made fruit cake. I still have a fruit cake in the freezer. I ended up making four, two with wheat flour and two gluten-free. Cake #1 was scoffed by Tai Chi Man and me over about three days before Christmas. Cake #2 went with us to our friends on Christmas Day, where we had a lovely time playing games, exchanging gifts, eating too many calories and having a singalong around the piano. The remains came back and were demolished. Cake #3 went to work with me on Boxing Day and everyone seemed to enjoy that. Cake #4 will be defrosted later this week when I hope to get some of my friends together in one place for a belated Christmas cuppa.

I just remembered that, of the four jars of mincemeat I made, I still have one in the fridge, so there will have to be some more mince pies in the near future. The store where I work has a big sale every New Year’s so I had work today and will be going in tomorrow, but then I have five days off in a row. That will give me time to actually clean my house (rather overdue) and do some more baking. I hopped on the scale at the gym the other day and it wasn’t showing an upward trend so I think I’m OK!! We did go gymming every day for four days up until Christmas, and dragged the boys out for a long walk on Christmas Day, so the exercise has not been neglected.

What a year! I am looking forward to seeing what 2019 has in store. I hope you all have a wonderful year – you know it’s going to speed by and before we know it it’ll be Christmas again! Make the most of it!