Category Archives: hand knitting

Thursday’s threads, therapy and thankfulness

Standard

Hello, lovely people. How are you today? I had a very pleasant day. My appointment with my hand therapist went well. I was only with her for 15 minutes so she could check how my wrist is coming along. She measured my flexibility (with her angle measurer thingy) and my grip strength and it’s all improving. She said to keep doing what I’m doing, and to be honest I haven’t been too diligent on the hand stretches but I’ve been knitting and crocheting like mad, and even sewing too. It all helps, I think.

So I’m thankful that my wrist is getting better, with only the occasional ache and twinge, and I’m determined that by the time my holiday comes around in August that I will be 100%.

After my appointment, I had tea with Tai Chi Man. Today I had Assam TGFOP. I know the OP stands for orange pekoe, in other words good old black tea, but the rest I have forgotten. I have it with a little plain soymilk, no sweetener. Tai Chi Man had his usual Extreme Green. And after a sit and a knit and a chat with him, he went back to work and I took a tea to my friend at her office and we sat outside on a sunny bench for half an hour.

This is my knitting project…

ocean cowl

It’s the yarn I bought at my LYS last year and took to Maui in December. I started crocheting a ripple scarf but didn’t like all the cut ends and couldn’t see myself finishing it. So after a long rest in its bag for five months I took it out, unravelled it, and found a new project for it. This is the Pool Party Cowl and I found it, of course, through Ravelry. It starts out with a kind of broken seed stitch in colour A, in my case the variegated, and then starts on the woven pattern, where you knit two rows with A and then weave two rows with B, the green solid. (Edited to add that this yarn is Cascade Sunseeker, a cotton acrylic blend with a touch of metallic.)

I can’t tell you how happy I am with this cowl. I definitely did the right thing unravelling the scarf.

So, now to the threads mentioned in the title. I had an idea fermenting in the back of my mind after watching the Smells Like Yarn podcast. Ross keeps showing off a WIP in the Rocko bag made by his friend, DarnYarnMN. It is a zippered pouch with a clear vinyl window at the front. I wanted to try making one (or three) and I have lots of pieces of cotton fabric in my stash. I bought some iron-on interfacing, zippers and clear vinyl from work the other day and dove in.

Whilst I did watch a basic bag tutorial on You Tube, it didn’t include the clear window, so I basically made it up. I’m mostly happy with this bag, except for the fact that the raw ends of the zipper aren’t enclosed within the lining, and neither are my seam allowances, because I couldn’t figure out how to do that with the window in the front of the bag. Anyway, this was just my first effort, and there will be more versions in the future, I’m sure. (The size of this is about 10″ square.)

floral window bag

The second bag I made is a drawstring bag, and the instructions come from a book I own, Weekend Sewing. I’ve made this bag before in a smaller size. The cut size of the back piece was 15 x 12″, so that’ll give you an idea of the finished size. The front is made from two panels of fabric and one of vinyl. I’m learning some new things, what with having to use a special machine needle to sew vinyl, and how to feed it through so that the stitches stay even. I did cut the ribbon too short because I forgot that each piece has to go all around the top of the bag, not just across one side.

green window bag

I’m not sure whether there is a way to avoid the vinyl crunching up and getting little dings in it when turning the bag right side out, or if there’s a way to smooth it out once you’ve done that. I bought the medium weight one. Maybe others use the thinnest kind.

We’ve had some hot days already and it feels like summer has arrived. The thermometer has exceeded 30 degrees a couple of times. I have to say I prefer mid-twenties for comfort. We don’t have (and don’t want) air conditioning at home, though I do have it in my car and I’m very thankful for it. This evening, we have all the windows open and there’s quite a wind blowing through, the wind chimes are clanging, and it feels very comfortable.

Enough waffling, I think. Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!

FO: Bill’s hat

Standard

The info on the pattern and yarn for this hat is in my previous post. As I was loving the muted shades that had come out of the yarn cake for the majority of the hat, I stopped before the brighter orange, wound off a bit from the outside of the cake, and used the brownish purple for the very tip top instead. That way, all the colours have the same tone.

The hat used less than 50 grams, which means I have at least 100 grams left in the cake (and the small balls that were wound off to get the colours to behave themselves) and I could actually make two more hats. Three hats from one cake, and they’d all look completely different!

Sally the Styrofoam Head is a little smaller than a real head so she doesn’t accurately represent the size comparative to a real person, but she is useful for blocking on.

The weather has been very Spring-like the last week. And it seems to be paying attention to my work days. Tuesday and Wednesday I was working, Thursday and Friday I wasn’t, and the sun shone and it made for lovely hiking and a bit o’ sunbathing. Even some dinner outside on the deck Friday evening, followed by some knittin’.

I worked all weekend and the wrist was quite painful after the busy sale days. The sky was cloudy with a few spits of rain but I didn’t mind because I was indoors.

Then Monday and Tuesday were again fine – a mix of sun and cloud, another walk with a friend…

Some pretty views of the lake and mountains from the high vantage point. The Arrowleaf Balsamroot is out in force – it’s such a bright and welcome addition to the hillsides at this time of year. (Click on the pics if you want to see them bigger.)

I was a good girl today and went to the gym this morning. Thirty minutes on the treadmill, made easier by the fact that I remembered my iPad and earbuds. Then some weights, including a few careful exercises with a 3lb and 5lb dumbbell with the right hand. Tonight Tai Chi Man and I are going to a yoga class.

I have to run – need to get into my yoga gear and get out of the house shortly. Happy crafting, everyone.

 

 

WIP: Bill’s hat update

Standard

FullSizeRender (9)

Hello all. How are you? Despite my slow progress, the hat for my father-in-law has reached 4.75″ tall and there’s only an inch to go until I start the crown decreases. The pattern is Vanilla Hat and is a basic DK weight hat that has a folded hem at the brim and four sets of decreases at the crown. Very simple.

I’m using Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Chimera. Because this is quite a small project, I have been trying to figure out how many of the colour changes will appear in the hat. I actually cut out a fair amount of both the mid-green and the yellow-green, only giving the yellow-green a half inch of exposure before going into the yellow. I really hope I get some orange and red in there too, maybe with some fudging.

After finishing the blanket last Friday, I did no knitting or crochet for two whole days! At my Monday night Hygge group I planned to knit on the hat, but was sidetracked by my friend’s blanket which was damaged. She brought it to me to fix. Her cast on was tight and it had actually broken and there was a ragged bit about four inches long. So I picked out the cast on edge, got the work back on the needles about two or three rows down, unravelled the damaged bits to the point where all was well, and reknit a row. She is planning to add a bit more length to the blanket so I left it on the needles so she can knit some more rows then bind off.

I took the hat to work with me on Tuesday so I could do a row or two. Yes, I’m back at work. Mixed feelings about that 😛 It’s nice to be back socialising with my co-workers and chatting with the customers. Because I’m not ready to cut fabric or lift bolts yet, I’m on the till. There’s a big sale this weekend and I’m scheduled for Saturday AND Sunday.

First day back, my wrist did ok, but second day was a little more challenging. Maybe a rest day between shifts would have been a good idea, but I didn’t think to ask.

Today I went hiking with a friend. It felt really hot.  I don’t know what the official high temperature was, but it felt like mid-20s Celsius. The sun was shining and we were walking for about 3 hours; well, a bit less than that if you don’t count the short break halfway for a sit and a snack. I am so glad I set aside my vanity and wore my $3 dollar store sunhat, because I think I’d have felt a lot hotter and been sunburned by the end of it, without the shade. Last time we hiked there, my family and friends were invaded by ticks. I think we managed to catch them all before they embedded themselves, but I was wary this time. After sitting in the grass to have our snack, I found a tick on my hand, so I flicked it off and we did a clothing check. When I got home, I stripped off in the bathroom and showered, running my hands through my hair to be sure I had no hitchhikers.

So I’m grateful for friends, sunshine, spring and smoothies. What are you grateful for?

 

The brim is done!

Standard

IMG_7291

It took six days but I managed three inches of knitting stockinette in the round for the hat for my father-in-law, and tonight did the folding/provisional cast on removal/three needle trick to get the folded brim all done. I have now graduated to the larger needle tip (US#5) for the body of the hat.

I’m pleased that when I folded it I didn’t lose all the blue to the back. The dark green is nice, but I’ll enjoy the brighter colours even more. I love the feel of this Lion Brand Mandala yarn – it’s very wool-like.

Yesterday I had my last X-ray and doctor checkup for the time being (six weeks post-surgery) and today I met with a hand therapist at the hospital and was given exercises to do. She measured the angle that I could move my hand to in different directions so that we can check for progress next time. I’m also supposed to apply a bit of pressure to the scar tissue with my thumb and move the skin around to prevent adhesions underneath the incision area – not keen on that!

My boss is going to be scheduling me for shifts the week after next. I will have to take things slowly. I will be able to do cash, as that is mostly operating a touch screen, but I’m hesitant to try cutting and lifting fabric too soon. A nice co-worker has lent me a pair of left-handed scissors which I’m going to practice with, as that would solve the cutting problem at least. As for lifting, I can barely hold a small mug of tea or a book so bolts of fabric are out of the question.

Hope you have a great day! TTYS

WIP: Bill’s vanilla hat

Standard

 

I was feeling so accomplished after the Paper Bag Princess project was done, despite the delays and discomfort from my wrist injury. At the beginning of this year, I had a goal in mind (uncharacteristically) to make 12 sweaters in 12 months. I whizzed through the first two, and was almost done with the third, all in the space of a month and a half, when the snowboarding crash happened.

It’s been two months since then, and for a while I couldn’t do any crochet or knitting. Then I managed some gentle crochet, left handed, and made a bulky cowl and finished off the doll project. Encouraged by that, I decided it was time to try knitting.

Of course, my sweater goal has been pretty much abandoned, at least for the time being. But I wanted to make something for my father-in-law, who, like my mother, is often very generous. He is getting on in years and I have heard he is feeling the cold more these days. Even though he hasn’t been a hat-wearer in the many years I’ve known him, I feel that he will appreciate one made out of a colourful yarn. If nothing else, he loves his colour.

So out from the stash came the Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Chimera, which is what I would describe as a muted rainbow. Blue through dark and light green, mustard yellow, orange, magenta and brown. I have only made one other project with the Mandala – my Spill shawl – but I love this DK weight yarn and the colours it comes in.

The pattern I chose is the Vanilla Hat. It’s a really basic stockinette hat with a folded hem and a simple crown with four decrease lines leading to the centre. I’m not sure how many of the colours of the cake will fit into the hat, but I’m hoping for the brightest ones at least.

Progress is slow. When I first cast on, my gauge was a little loose so I ended up ripping out the first few rounds and restarting with a smaller needle size – US#4 (3.5mm). During my first session of working on this hat, I was feeling quite comfortable, thinking how my wrist seemed happy to be knitting. Unfortunately the next day I changed my mind. I think the fine motor movements of the Continental knitting, which does have a reasonable economy of motion, aggravated some out-of-practice muscles and tendons. So I am having to be careful to do a small amount at a time.

My hospital appointment for the six week post-surgery checkup is this Tuesday. I hope to hear that my recovery so far is typical for the type of injury. If I am to get back to normal, or as close as possible, I know that I have to exercise the hand and wrist and that some pain is to be expected.

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend and that your crafting is going well. What are you making?

Healing in progress

Standard

First attempt at left-handed crochet!

First attempt at left-handed knitting!

A nice stack of reading

This is a quickie post as I have to type with one hand, which is a little easier on the iPad, partly because the letters are closer together and partly because of auto-correct.
Last night, a friend picked me up for our new book group at a coffee shop, so that worked out well. And today I walked to the store where I work to say Hi to everyone and get some exercise and fresh air too.

My attempts at knitting and crocheting were quite successful, if slow, but also painful. It’s too soon, and I think I shall wait until after my orthopaedic appointment next Tuesday before trying again.

FO: Crochet Cuddler Cocoon (and new yarn)

Standard

IMG_7156

Before I show you my February sweater, here is a photo of me in my January sweater.  I wore it the other day (wow, it’s warm) and it fits perfectly. If I could change one thing about it, though, I’d add an inch to the sleeves. When I was driving and out and about, I felt I could have done with just a bit of extra length in the sleeves.

So, once I finished that sweater off last Monday night, I was free to get on with the next project. The February project took all of four days from start to finish, it was so quick and easy. I did make a few adjustments to the pattern so I will link to my Ravelry project page here.

I had to crop out my head in that shot because the cardigan is so dark that my face was overexposed. The base rectangle for the back of the sweater seemed really small in the pattern so I added four rows. The sleeves also would have been tiny so I doubled the length of those. And there were only three border rounds in the pattern and I did 12, basically until my yarn almost ran out.

The yarn is Willow Wash Bulky, which is so lovely and soft to work with and to wear, but the six strands are very loosely spun so you have to be careful not to split them. As I am just hanging around the house today, I decided to wear it (it would probably not be warm enough outside in the cold at the moment) though I had to abandon it while vacuuming because I was getting too hot.

I am pleased with it, thanks to my adaptations. I think if you were to use a much bulkier yarn, you could follow the designer’s numbers, but it would have been far too small for me using the Willow Wash, following it as is.

There has been a little bit of yarn acquisition this week. OK, a lot. Walmart still has the Bernat Pop! yarn, and I decided that I should get extra of the rainbow coloured one to pair with plain black for a future sweater. Also I found a nice one with grey and pink that I can pair with the leftover Red Heart Supersaver in grey heather. And a couple of cakes of grey/turquoise, just because.

Also today I received my Wool Warehouse order, a mere WEEK after they shipped it. I love their efficiency. I ordered on the weekend, they shipped it the first working day afterwards, and the post office have done their bit too. Normally stuff takes two weeks to get here. I am glad it’s here as part of the order is for my Ravelry Ravellenic Games project, the doll I mentioned in my last post. The rest are colours that I picked to pad out gaps in my DK collection, like the  yellows, browns and neutrals.

My Christmas/birthday fund is being rapidly depleted!

I’ve said this before, but I love the organza bags that WW send the yarn in.

Well, today I need to start swatching for a new sweater: the March sweater, in theory, though I am well ahead of my deadline. Believe it or not, despite the thousands of patterns in the Ravelry database, I couldn’t find the perfect one for my black/rainbow combination, so I have sketched out a possible design and need to figure out my gauge. I am having a few niggling doubts about a rainbow tunic, even if it is calmed down with black, so I  may end up going with the grey instead. For now, though, I have to finish cleaning the kitchen (totally distracted by the parcel of yarn in the mail and wanting to tell you all about it, but it’s nose to the grindstone time for me now)!

I hope next time to show you what my decision was for the March sweater, plus some progress.

 

 

FO: January sweater

Standard

FullSizeRender (28)

Thanks to a few knitting opportunities throughout the day yesterday, I finished my sweater last night. I love the touch of colour in the hem facings. I will try it on again today then give it a wash – thanks to the hardwearing nature of Red Heart Super Saver, I can machine wash and dry with abandon (as long as nothing else in the machine has Velcro or hooks).

It took me about 15 days. I cast on January 7th after a false start with a different pattern and needles. As I’ve finished my January sweater early, I can get a head start on my February sweater.

The February sweater is this one – The Crochet Cuddler Cocoon – which I plan to make with the navy Willow Wash Bulky that was frogged from a different sweater that didn’t work out, and which has been sitting in my stash for a long time.

It’s snowing here today, which seems appropriate as I have a new sweater to wear! I have had a very lazy morning of Ravelry browsing, but I plan to hit the gym shortly to remedy that.

Are you joining in with the Ravellenic Games on Ravelry? They coincide with the Winter Olympics in South Korea. My project will be a crocheted doll for whom I intend to devise a dress that looks like a paper bag. She will be the Paper Bag Princess, and will be sent to my great-niece with the board book of the same name by Robert Munsch. Well, I didn’t have the right colour yarn, of course, so ordered some from Wool Warehouse….along with a few others to keep it company as it flew here from England! I will of course show it to you as soon as it arrives. It shipped yesterday.

 

 

Almost finished!

Standard

We are at the 22nd of January already, and my January sweater deadline is fast approaching, but I’m going to make it!

IMG_7130

Since my last update, I have finished the yoke (inserting two more short rows near the back of the neck), knitted a ribbed turtleneck (adding stitches for the foldover part to accommodate the bulk and not be too tight), grafted the underarm stitches and started on the cuff hem lining.

IMG_7131

The colour of the lining was dictated by the fullest ball of Stylecraft Special Aran that I had, plus I wanted it to be bright to give the grey sweater a lift. Using two strands of Pomegranate and a US10.5 needle, I picked up stitches on the inner edge of the cuff. Obviously I had to increase, because the gauge is very different from the main part of the sweater, so I made an educated guess and did a Make One after each two stitches picked up. And it worked!

IMG_7132

I still haven’t fastened anything off or woven any ends in. I’ll do that after the second cuff and the bottom hem are done, but before washing and drying.

My Hygge friends are coming over tonight so I will get more knitting time in then. So far today I’ve done some housework and started a new batch of kombucha. I had a brainwave, and realised how much easier my Mondays are if I don’t have to work. I can get the house tidied up, and dinner made and eaten, well before my friends come at 7.30pm. Not so easy if you have to work until 6 or 6.15. So I have changed my scheduling preferences at work to say I am unavailable on Mondays.

I picked up my latest hold at the library this week – Jeremy Poldark, book 3 in the Poldark series – and it’s not a huge tome so I immediately reserved book 4, Warleggan, so I can get that one soon. I also found these…

IMG_7133

I don’t know whether I’ll make any of the projects, but the Arne and Carlos book is just a feast of eye candy! Beautiful colours of yarn and flowers and blankets and toys and the best doll’s house ever. Worth borrowing from the library for sure.

It’s a beautiful day out there, cold and windy of course, but the sun is streaming in. Hmmm, I should probably fit a neighbourhood walk into my afternoon. And while I’m out, I’ll annoy the boys and open some windows perhaps! It helps to keep the humidity down indoors. We had quite a problem with condensation last winter, with the new less-draughty windows.

Better get on then. Hope you have a great day!

 

WIP: more of the January sweater

Standard

 

IMG_7121

I’m feeling happier about this sweater today because once I’d done some of the yoke decreases I put all the stitches onto spare yarn and tried it on. I was originally aiming for  a 44″ circumference, which would have given me a lot of ease, but because of the tighter gauge it’s coming out at 40″. That means it will be fairly form-fitting and I was worrying about it being too snug. But no, it feels just great, so I am gaily marching on towards the neckline.

The next decision will be how wide to make the neck. I want to add a big collar, maybe not a regular polo/turtleneck, but perhaps a split turtleneck. I’d like to have the option of buttoning it up around my neck, but also to open it up if I’m getting too hot (which is quite possible considering how thick the sweater is).

I’ve added a couple of short rows in the back section tonight, with the plan to add a couple more later on. I finally learned how to work a wrap properly in the round. I can do the ones on the left end of a short row fine, but the challenge used to be that when I knitted all the way around and encountered the wrap at the right hand end of the short row I didn’t know the correct way to pick up the wrap without making a mess.

Well, I found this tutorial. In it, she shows how to work the wraps – the left hand one is done the usual way that I’m familiar with, and the right hand one is done with a yarnover. When encountering the yarnover later, you slip the stitch before it knitwise, slip the yarnover purlwise, and knit them together. Hey presto, it worked!

As this is such a bulky sweater, I also am using a slightly different technique than an ssk for my left leaning decreases. I  can’t remember where I found it now, but the theory is that an ssk is very visibly different from a K2tog. When you’re doing mirrored decreases on a raglan yoke, it’s nice to have them look similar on each side. So instead of slipping one knitwise, then slipping another knitwise, putting the needle into the front of the two slipped stitches then knitting them together, I am doing this: slip one knitwise, slip the next one purlwise through the back, then knit them together.

Sounds fiddly, but once you’ve done it a couple of times it’s just as easy and it does seem to be looking pretty good.

My knitting has been accompanied by a TV series on Netflix that a customer at the store recommended to me. Mr Selfridge. And I am enjoying it immensely, and not just because it doesn’t have subtitles!!

I have really appreciated the last two days off work. I met a friend for tea yesterday, and did the shopping (OK, grocery shopping is not very exciting but hey, it was a day off) and today I went to the gym then pootled around in the kitchen making the Burrito Breakfast Bake from my new book, The How Not to Die cookbook by Dr Greger. I’ve made a few recipes from that book now and have been pleased with them so far. The kids are not crazy on yams or cooked greens, which is a shame because they are just SO good for you! I still try and get them to eat them, though.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to work 5 – 9pm so it almost feels like another day off. Kinda sorta 🙂