Category Archives: hand knitting

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.

Travel knitting

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I packed my eight shades of Deramores Studio DK and my Knitpicks Interchangeables for my holiday. Waiting at airport #1 I cast on 130 stitches with the aubergine and knitted a few rounds. On the first flight to Calgary, I changed to the citrine and added some more. The jade was added during my Calgary-Heathrow flight (there was a long walk between flights and only a short wait before boarding, so no knitting at Calgary airport).

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The jade stripe is pretty narrow for an 8.5 hour flight because I did a little game-playing, movie-watching and dozing. Managing a little sleep was a miracle as it usually never happens.

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The pink stripe was added during the cab ride from Heathrow to Gatwick. I’m not counting rounds, just adding them in the time available.

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I changed to navy for the wait at Gatwick but I have to confess my eyes weren’t focussing too well by then due to tiredness. I slept for the whole of the third flight, which was thankfully short.

Well, this blog post took ages, interspersed with photo uploading problems and chatting to my mum. So I’m going to hit Publish and get it put to bed.

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!

 

Two more WIPs whipped

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This BasicSimpleLazy hat is done! It’s for my sister’s stepson Ben, for whom I’ve never brought a gift in previous trips to the old country. And as his teeny niece has been and will be a recipient of a bounty of my handmade goods, I felt he shouldn’t be left out this time.

Sally the styrofoam head above is, of course, smaller than a real head (why do they do that) so it doesn’t fill out the hat in a flattering way, so ignore the bumpy crown which will, I’m sure, sit fine once on a real head. (I just pulled it down further over Sally’s eyes and the crown looks lovely now!)

I followed the pattern…mostly: DK yarn (Deramores Studio DK), US5 needles (3.75mm?), knitted to 5″ before shaping the crown, did the decreases as described. The only change was a cast on of 120 instead of 108, and my touch of colour was a bit more than a plain stripe. Circumference is 20″, depth 8″.

The other WIP that I whipped today is the second Agnes Lace Cowl this week, this time in Loops & Threads Facets, colour Ruby. It looks similar to the last one, though that was more reddy-purply and this one is more pinky-greeny.

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It’s so hard to get the colours to look right. The sun was shining in my deck door and I picked a shady spot nearby so the photo wasn’t too dark, but too much light washes things out. I used an 8mm hook and about 120 grams of this yarn (a ball plus part of a second) to get a cowl that measures about 10″ wide and 24″ around.

Only two weeks until my holiday, when I get to see my mum, my sister and my new great-niece. Can’t wait!

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.