Category Archives: hand knitting

Two sleeps to Maui

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Yes, only two sleeps. OMG! I have made a packing list but need to pull out my cabin-legal backpack and start tossing things in. And as all yarnies know, the most important item in your suitcase is the knitting or crochet project. I am pretty sure I’ll be taking some cotton yarn and a hook or needles with which to make a really simple travel project. I will be mostly offline for a week so I’ll update you all after I get back. This trip is to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We usually go on a small retreat within the province but we’re going further afield for this one.

As for WIPs and other projects:

My only knitted WIP is this one – Lanesplitter skirt.  I made one of these years ago with James C Brett Marble Chunky and I love it. So comfortable. Easy. Customisable for length, width and yarn gauge. This time I’m using the somewhat brighter Bernat Pop! in Full Spectrum. I am withholding my judgment on it until I see whether I dare to wear such a bright garment! It could always be adapted to be a cowl!

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Easy stitch pattern to memorise. With hindsight, it may have toned things down to stripe it with black. Hmmm!

Today I’m not working until 5 so I spent a happy few hours in my sewing room. This year I decided to make some Christmas stockings. If I’d had more time, I would have crocheted them, but time was running out and so I bought flannelette at work in neutral shades and whipped up five of them, adding some white polar fleece around the top.

The five of us are actually making wishlists this year and planning to give each other gifts. Two out of the three boys are working now. The other one is pretty broke after his recent holiday to California but I’m sure he can scrape something together and show willing!

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The foot looks huge from this angle and the cuff isn’t smooth in this photo, but there’s plenty of room for stocking stuffers.

While I was downstairs, I pulled out some bandanas that I’d made a couple of years ago for the farmers market. They didn’t sell and have been sitting around since. I cut them into quarters and hemmed the raw edges, then pulled out another fabric from the drawer and made a few more from scratch.

We’ve been using cloth napkins for years now. We never need to buy paper towels or napkins. Our old cloth ones are so well used now that they are falling apart so these new ones will get lots of use.

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It’s so grey today I went with kitchen photos with the overhead light on. Not perfect but you get the idea.

And finally, I’m sure we’ll get a tree this year but not until dh and I are back from holiday. So for now we have a Lego City Advent Calendar that I couldn’t resist picking up from Costco a while back. It’s fun to have a teeny tiny model to make each day. We’re taking turns.

How are your Christmas preparations going (if you celebrate it)? Do you have lots of gifts to make?

 

FO: Strawberry Shortcake set

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The hat that I was telling you about last time, the Eyelet Messy Bun hat, is now finished, washed and blocked. There were five shades of pink in the cake of Dynasty Cake Twist (Strawberry Shortcake colourway) but because I was only making a hat it was too small to get to the later shades. I even cut a little of the hot pink out so that I could get a good band of the lighter pink at the crown of the hat.

I felt that decreasing to 20 stitches for the bun hole was a bit too much, so I unravelled a round and bound off at 30 stitches.

There was plenty of yarn left so I used the hot pink that I cut out of the skein to start a matching cellphone cosy, then transitioned to the lighter pink, and then the lightest. I never did get to the fifth shade, a really dark pink.

Hopefully the intended recipient will like this set. There is still some of the cake left and I will use it up later for something else. I usually hold on to leftovers when someone asks me to make them something.

I had an unsettled night’s sleep last night, and dreamt a lot. In one of my dreams, I remember someone wearing a really nice sweater. I think it was garter stitch, a really simple shape, sleeveless, and the yarn was beautiful. Do you think I’ve been able to find anything online today that is even close? Nope. Honestly, it’s really frustrating when you are all fired up to spend some money and then you can’t find anything you want!

It felt like that a bit at Michaels today. They’ve been churning out the sale emails, the coupons etc, so I went in there today with a 55% off coupon to take a look at what they had. I didn’t buy a thing! Which is good, really. Because spending money just for the sake of it is not wise.

I am excited for tomorrow as ds2, who has been away on holiday for the last couple of weeks in California, returns and I am going to pick him up at the airport. I can’t wait to see him arrive safely and hear about his trip.

Happy crafting, folks, and talk to you again soon.

 

 

 

WIP update

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WIP update

Hi all, how’s it going? It’s another wet grey day here but that doesn’t get me down. I love every season and long dark evenings are just more of an excuse to knit and crochet!

I’ll be heading out shortly for a gym class but I thought I’d update the blog before I went. The Pebble Beach Baktus shawlette is done, done, DONE! It took about a month but only because I was distracting myself with other projects at the same time. It’s currently sitting on the blocking mats. I steamed the lace edging without too much stretching, just to minimise the curl. Still haven’t decided whether to keep this one or give it away. Maybe I will tuck it away with a couple of other FOs I have, just in case I find a worthy recipient.

I have started a new project, a knitted hat, at the request of a co-worker. She has been asked for a messy bun hat by a family member and doesn’t know where to buy one, so commissioned me to make one. She bought the yarn and is paying me a little, and I cast on last night.

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This yarn is Dynasty Cake Twist, a Caron Cakes knockoff that is our in-store brand at Fabricland. Same fibre content as the Caron too, 80% acrylic and 20% wool. I found this Eyelet Messy Bun pattern on Ravelry last night. It’s easy, with a bit of interest added with the eyelet bands. I cast on fewer stitches as I didn’t do a gauge swatch (gasp!) and thought I might knit more loosely than the pattern gauge suggested.

So far, so good!

Also, an FO!

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A retirement gift for a co-worker – the pattern is Slipper Boots which I made for myself last year with two strands of teal. This time I used the same yarn (Red Heart with Love), doubled, one strand of black and one of Blue Hawaii. She seemed to like them so hopefully they will get some wear.

Well, must dash. Have a great day!

In which I prove my blog name

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I coined the name Nicolaknits when I started this blog and it was an apt name. I was mostly knitting back then. However  I then went through a phase of almost 100% crochet and I was wondering if I’d ever get my knitting mojo back.

Seems I have!

The two projects I’ve been working on the last couple of weeks have been knitted. The Pebble Beach Baktus was put aside for a week or so to get some mittens made for a co-worker, but today I picked it back up again and made good progress (of course I’m on the “downhill” side now, so it will go faster as the decreases make my rows shorter and shorter).

It will need blocking at the end but I do love the look of squishy yarn in garter and cables. I cut off the last bit of brown at the end of cake #1 and also had to remove the blue at the centre of cake #2 to get to the brown section, but I allowed for that by turning the corner (starting the decreases) well before cake #1 ran out.

The mitten pattern I chose was Minky Mittens. These were made with yarn that my co-worker bought (at my recommendation – I thought the Deborah Norville Wool Naturals yarn would be really warm, especially in the slipstitch pattern).

I knitted the adult medium size and they came out perfectly. The yarn is brown though it looks rather grey in these nighttime shots.

They would look more exciting in more contrasting colours but they will do the job, which is to keep her hands warm when shovelling snow this winter.

What else is new? I took a new class at the gym today. It’s called SST which is a mixture of cardio and weights and gets your whole body sweating. Often, on a Tuesday evening, I’ve been going into yoga and have seen the people leaving the SST class looking like they had a really good workout. So rather than just do my usual solo treadmill/weights workout today, I joined the class and had a really good time. Definitely an experience to repeat.

Then I headed over to a friend’s house to fix a knitting emergency. Wouldn’t it be great to have a decal and some flashing lights to attach to my car so I could go over there with sirens blasting to help her with her scarf!? Anyway, she was stuck. There was a knot in the yarn which she’d knitted past and on the next row it was causing problems. So all that was needed was a bit of tinking (unknitting) a stitch at a time to get to the root of the problem on the previous row. Luckily it was an easy fix and my reputation as a knitting goddess is intact!

Well, I may have done a fitness class this morning but I wouldn’t want to cancel out the benefits by spending the entire rest of the day on the couch. I’ll sign off for now and wish you all happy crafting.

 

 

Knitting and snow

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Knitting and snow

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Two weeks! Haven’t I been a naughty blogger! Time to update you on my WIP. Last time I had a couple of FOs to show you and was stuck as to what to make next. Well, I made a decision, and I’m using my two cakes of Bernat Pop! in Birch Bark and Blue to make a shawlette/scarf type thing.

The pattern is here. It’s called the Pebble Beach Baktus and it’s an easy knit, mostly garter stitch but with a lace and bobble border that adds just a little interest while still being something I can knit while watching Netflix! It’s funny how technology has taken over our lives (well, sad too, in a way) but I can have my laptop open playing a movie or TV series and my iPad open in iBooks with a knitting or crochet pattern at the same time.

I’m just over half way through this. I decided to start on the decreasing half before I ran out of the first cake of yarn, as I am going to have to wind off a little bit of colour at the end of the first cake and the beginning of the next to get the correct colour transition.

It doesn’t look like a lot of progress for two weeks, does it!? But other stuff gets in the way (you know, annoying things like work, and cooking, and housework) plus I decided to knit a quick dishcloth during my Monday night social evening rather than try to keep track of rows and yarnovers and skp’s.

What else is new? Well, I have three tradesmen here today. They are all subcontracted by the same plumbing, heating and air conditioning company. One is replacing taps next to my washer and dryer, and also the outside tap on the other side of the wall to those. One is servicing our furnace. One has been crawling through the insulation in the roof space and is replacing the old, pathetic fan in the en suite bathroom ceiling. I don’t envy these guys. Mostly they are working in a tight space, in our case in an old 1970s house, trying to fix new stuff to old stuff. I know they get paid well, but still, I wouldn’t want their jobs.

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View from my deck today – two trucks out front. And looking in the other directions…

Lots of snow! A few days ago, it snowed solidly for about 24 hours. Then the temperature dropped to well below freezing so it stuck! This is the earliest snowfall we’ve had here since 2001, I believe. And it was a huge dump. We have a few more days of sub-zero to look forward to, and then it’s rising, so it’ll all be melted by the weekend probably.

Tai Chi Man and ds1 fitted both cars with the winter tires on Friday (a day after the snow arrived but he’d mentally scheduled the job for the weekend and the snow caught us out)!

It’s lovely and crisp out there. The sun is doing its best to come out and the light is beautiful.

Thinking of Netflix again, I watched Season 2 of Stranger Things. Definitely enjoyed that. If you haven’t watched it, I recommend it (starting with Season 1 of course).

I worked three days straight, Friday to Sunday, and the weekend was busy busy busy with a flash sale. I’m very glad to have the day at home today. Knowing these guys were going to show up today, but not knowing what time, I was awake at 6.50 (thanks to the time change) and quickly washed and dressed and started cleaning around. My man-boys have not been keeping up with their chore lists. It’s pretty disappointing really. So before I even had a glass of water and a cup of tea I cleaned three bathrooms, cleaned up the kitchen including mopping the floor and scrubbing the stovetop, took out the recycling, put away the laundry etc etc. Not worth vacuuming until the workmen have left.

My body will be pleased to have a rest day from work and workouts. I had a lot of aches and pains over the weekend. A muscle in the top of my right leg keeps giving me a stabbing pain, my right shoulder has been painful again, and my friend, who I went to for some healing touch the other night, has told me I should cut back on heavy lifting that strains the lower back as I have some compression happening in there. Also my neck is always ‘crunchy’ and is not as mobile as I would like. So I will have to be careful not to overdo things at the gym and the store.

Well, that’s probably enough waffling for now. As my bathroom fan guy clatters along in the roof space above my head, I should probably eat a late breakfast!!  Happy Monday to you all!

FOs: Granny Square dress, Smooshy scarf

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Greetings dear readers. I see that I have not been here for a week (is it just me or is time speeding up)?! I have been battling…erm…crocheting with some more Scheepjes Linen Soft this week, this time in hot pink (colourway is called Hummingbird).

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It’s a beautiful colour but I have been using a 3.5mm hook to make this dress and whilst the initial small squares were easy peasy the single crochets that are worked into the squares top and bottom have been brutal, especially where I had to work into a chain rather than a proper stitch. My poor hands!

At least the yarn, being a linen/cotton/acrylic blend, was willing to be blocked into submission because my little finished bodice looked pretty sad.

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I snuck some decreases in above and below the squares because it just looked like there were way too many stitches there. Another modification to the pattern was to add small shoulder straps (borrowed an idea from a fellow Raveler’s project page).

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Take that, yarn!

The heat in the upstairs half of the house drove me downstairs to my sewing room tonight, which was a good thing as the skirt portion of the dress got done. I made the fabric part shorter than the pattern suggested, and if I made it again I would prefer it to be wider for more wiggle room.

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This is such cute fabric – another remnant from work. I now have a nice pile of goodies to send off to my sister’s grand-daughter, including the cat hat and a few burp cloths and a bib which I just whipped up tonight without a pattern.

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Rather a lot of pink in that picture, eh. I must be making up for having three boys myself!

Another FO is this Smooshy Scarf made with two strands of Loops & Threads Facets. I love the colours in this yarn, though it’s very underspun and will probably pill like heck from the get go.

Two strands gives you the equivalent of a super bulky, plus 12mm needles makes for fast progress. I started this in the morning while waiting for ds2 to have his cavities filled at the dentist, added more during my afternoon break at work, and finished it in the evening on the sofa. It’s already rolled up in a little gift bag and tucked into a co-worker’s cubby for her to find next time she’s at work.

I mentioned last week that I’d ordered some yarn from Herrschner’s but it’s not here yet. I am confident it will arrive just in time for my birthday, which is on Thursday.  It has to, right? (Speaking of which, I have planned for banana splits – I stopped at the health food store today and stocked up on organic bananas, chocolate chips and cashew-based ice cream. Nom nom!)

Tomorrow I should probably spend my day back in my sewing room, making curtains. I have a bunch of clearance panels from work for the basement windows, but they need new headings and hemming.

Have a great day!

FOs: Top This! hat, Kanata Kerchief Tank

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I realised after I posted t’other day that I totally forgot to tell you…

I bought yarn!

Yes, I had SEX (Stash Enhancement Expedition) though it was virtual SEX because I bought the yarn online from Herrschner’s. It’s my first time ordering from them, though I’ve been getting their catalogues for years. Even though the website address is a dot-ca and I can browse and order in Canadian dollars, the paper catalogue is rather annoyingly in US dollars. It can be a bit misleading if you forget to do the conversion in your head when looking at the prices.

Anyway, I have been thinking of trying out one or more of the colour change yarns for a long time. Caron Cakes came out but they weren’t an option because of the wool. However there are lots of others. Scheepjes Whirl is a lightweight yarn with excellent yardage and  gradual rather than sudden colour change, but if I were to order it from Wool Warehouse it would be over $30. For one ball. Not gonna happen.

Other options are Premier Sweet Roll, Bernat Pop, Lion Brand Mandala, Stylecraft Candy Swirl, none of which I seem to be able to buy locally. The funny thing is, I went to the Herrschner’s site and put a bunch of the Premier and Bernat in my cart, left the tab open, and then decided to sleep on it. For a few days. Which meant that Herrschner’s sent me a couple of automatically generated emails prodding me to see if I was still interested in what was in my shopping cart. Then I saw the Lion Brand Mandala and took a look at that too. After a LOT of messing about, clicking back and forth, adding and deleting things from my cart, I decided to order five colourways of the Mandala. What swung me was the yardage. Lots more yardage for the same weight of ball because it’s DK and the others are worsted. I even paid for shipping, something I usually avoid like the plague.

So now I am awaiting a parcel in the mail – always fun!

Moving on – yes, I finished two projects today. The Kanata Kerchief Tank took me three weeks, but it felt longer. I wish now that I’d made it in a brighter colour, but I can wear a more colourful tank or T shirt underneath. Tonight I just threw it on over my white tank and tiered skirt (that I made) and asked ds3 to photograph me for the blog and my Ravelry project page. It’s voluminous so would be best worn with something closer-fitting on the bottom, or I could just look pregnant. (At nearly 55, that’s not gonna happen either.)

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The other FO is this hat. It’s a kit from DMC which I knitted up a couple of nights ago in the small size (60 stitches cast on) but it looked like a newborn size to me. I need it to fit my great-niece, either this winter or at some future point in time, so I unravelled it and reknitted it in the large (72 stitches cast on). My gauge was a bit tighter than the pattern indicated but the circumference is about right at 16″ so I’m happy with that.

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I have to work tomorrow, so I’d better get off to bed. Hope your week is going well.

 

 

FO: Travel cowl

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Ds1 and I arrived home yesterday from our holiday, tired, happy to have had lots of family time, but glad to be home.

We had had to drag ourselves out of bed really early, 4.30am early, which is just inhumane in my not-so-humble opinion, to get showered and dressed, pack the last few items in our bags, and get a ride to the airport for 6am.

The first flight out from the island was due to leave at 7.05 but we sat on the tarmac for a bit as Air Traffic Control was being extra careful because of the descending fog. Still, we made it out okay, which is more than I can say for my poor nephew who was supposed to be flying to the same airport on a different airline and then catch a connecting flight to Milan for a three-day getaway.

The fog worsened and he had to cancel his trip. One of the hazards of living on an island.

We were expecting heightened security at the London airports following the Manchester suicide bombing, plus possible extra issues following British Airways’ computer glitches which caused absolute chaos on Sunday. Many people had flights cancelled and/or were left standing around at Heathrow.

However, Gatwick was fine, with only a minor police presence as we left in our cab to drive to Heathrow. (I am really looking forward to Air Canada flying direct to Gatwick, which is rumoured to be happening later this year.)

Heathrow was fine – after having to deal with queues to get our boarding passes printed, security was no problem and the departures hall was only moderately busy. We found a place to have a coffee and before long it was time to walk to the gate. The flight to Calgary left on time and the time didn’t drag too badly, what with knitting, movies, eating and puzzles. There was another wait for the last flight home, but I watched another bit of the Crafternoon Treats podcast and then we were off. The last stripe on the cowl was added while flying over the Rockies at 20,000 feet.

Tai Chi Man picked us up and we came home to a meal cooked by ds3 who has apparently been rather good at getting meals made while I’ve been away. He did message me a fair bit with questions about how I made certain recipes, and last night’s dinner of nut roast, mashed potatoes and apple crumble was all very good. I unpacked, but I didn’t last long until I had to go to bed, as we’d been up for 24 hours.

I was wide awake at 5.30 this morning, and have had a quiet day at home, baking bread, doing laundry, making dinner and vegging on the couch. Oh, and finishing the cowl. The top two photos are after binding off, and I decided that I wanted the “wrong side” to be the “right side” as I preferred the colour transitions that way.

Seventeen stripes in the end…I didn’t knit every day, but travel days I did more than one stripe as I changed for each leg of the journey.

The yarn is Deramores Studio DK, 8 shades from the 12-colour Gemstones pack, with 6mm needles. I think I cast on 130 stitches, purely because that was what the tail of the yarn allowed and it was a workable number to go around the cable. It’s a good circumference and height and it was a great choice for my travel knitting as I could pick it up and put it down easily (though there were multiple balls to carry for the different colour stripes). I could have left the rest of the needle set at home, as I didn’t use them, or any crochet hooks or other equipment at all. I just broke the yarn with my hands when it was time to change colour.

My new Stylecraft Special DK is now getting acquainted with the rest of the SSDK in the big bag in my craft room. It will probably languish there for a bit as my niece has asked me to make her a VW camper van bag, for which I probably don’t need a pattern. There’s a few VW patterns on Ravelry, from bags to cushion covers to stuffed vans, which I can use for inspiration, but for now I’m waiting to see what colour she’s thinking of.

It’s 7.20pm now, I have work tomorrow, and I’m hoping to stay awake for a bit longer before I go to bed. Crossing my fingers for another good night’s sleep. Ah, jetlag!

 

 

Souvenir yarn

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Because a holiday isn’t complete without new yarn!

Colours in the above photo, in order from left to right, are clematis, duck egg, parma  violet, lobelia and sage.


I bought these from Country Wools here in the island of Jersey.  They have a good range of yarns including, you guessed it, Stylecraft. I made sure to buy colours that I don’t already have and that I can add to my bag of Special DK when I get home. 

It was a hot sunny day today and ds1 and I enjoyed some shady valley walking, a picnic in the park, and some exploring of an old fort. If we’d have had swimsuits with us, we’d have gone in the sea too. Actually he did, later in the day, after I’d dropped him off back at his granddad’s and I returned to my mum’s to cook dinner. Bet that sea was cold!

We’re nearing the end of our holiday now and it’s been great to spend time with family and see more of the island where I grew up. 

Happy crafting!

The cowl grows

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The cowl is getting bigger. That red stripe was unexpectedly wide for a spot of evening knitting on the sofa. It’s nice to have some mindless knitting in the round to do. No pattern to juggle.
The room at my mum’s is very bright and attractive, upstairs with a sloping roof. Very modern too, as she bought the house only a few years ago, brand new, in a 55+ development.

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Yesterday was fun – I joined in with a fundraiser for Autism Jersey where we lined up with our hands in gloves glued to pipes that had metal scaffolding poles through them, and played human table football (foosball)! Some of the guys kicked the ball hard and high and I ended up with a few bruises but avoided a smashed in face so I suppose I should be grateful 🙂

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My hair and T shirt coordinate quite well.

I expect I will have to eat super clean when I get home because I’m eating a lot of things I don’t usually have these days. Decadent cakes, sweet potato fries, cookies…must keep walking.

iPad is playing up again so ta ta for now.