Category Archives: hand knitting

Healing in progress


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)



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


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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!


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


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.


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!


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…


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




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 🙂


WIP: January sweater




I cast on this sweater on January 7th. I think I have knitted on it every day except one. Sometimes when I’ve been at work all day, I am a Netflix zombie in the evening. But most days I’ve added to it, and it has grown satisfyingly quickly.

Above is the finished torso, with stitches on waste yarn awaiting the sleeves. It only took two evenings for the first sleeve. The other one was finished tonight while I enjoyed the company of my friends at our Hygge gathering at my house. It was perfectly timed as I was on the straight stretch at the top of the sleeve while they were here and didn’t have to concentrate on any more shaping.

Once they had left, I united body and sleeves, leaving four stitches on waste yarn on each piece at the underarms, and knitted four rounds without any decreasing. And that’s where I’m stopping for the night.

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The hem of the sweater is very curly but I intend to knit hems in a different colour and weight of yarn, à la Elizabeth Zimmermann, once the rest of the sweater is done.

I have to confess that my gauge swatch was inaccurate, one reason being that I knitted it flat and now I am knitting in the round (I should have known better), and the circumference is coming out considerably smaller. However I think it will be fine. In the case of the sleeves, I was able to slip the first one on my arm to get an idea of the length and circumference I needed.

I’m really feeling the tiredness now. Just did four days of work in a row, which I was not crazy about. Thankfully I have the next couple of days off so I will be able to get to the gym and also do grocery shopping. I’ve nearly finished Book 2 in the Poldark series, “Demelza,” and need to pop over to the library website to reserve Book 3.

What are you doing to make the winter comfy and cosy?

January sweater


The January sweater is finally off the ground. Unless of course I change my mind again. 

I frogged the ribbed sleeve that was also a gauge  swatch. The four strands of yarn with the 15mm hook were loosey goosey and I envisaged a problem down the line, so I am now using a 10mm circular and getting a nice neat gauge of 2sts/3rows/1inch in stockinette. 

Complete change of plan on the sweater design. Instead of a knitted flat, ribbed, seamed turtleneck, it’s going to be knitted in the round seamlessly in stockinette. I’m using my experience of bottom up seamless sweaters from way back to work out the calculations. It’s not that hard but I tend to second guess myself a lot. So, no pattern, but as long as I get the sizing right it’ll be fine. 

We had a bit of melting this week. The temperature reached a balmy plus three. But it’s snowing again today. Stay warm, folks, and talk to you again soon. 

Flashin’ the stash


Well, it’s that time again. The calendar is showing us a new year and a new thread has opened up on Ravelry called Flash your Stash 2018.

I’ve done this before and it’s rather fun, and interesting too, because you get to see what’s been lurking in cubbies and bags and boxes for a while and you can make sure that everything is photographed and listed on your Ravelry stash page.

I have a relatively small stash compared to many yarn collectors…erm, I mean knitters and crocheters on Ravelry. Some have entire rooms dedicated to yarn and their photos look like actual stores.

However much one has, I think it’s important to keep it organized and bug-free and current. (I find it’s also good not to have it get out of control, because then I feel pressured by it. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.) This time around I have decided to give away a couple more things that I don’t love.

Here are some photos…


These two pictures show the entire stash. The yarn above the gap in the first photo is acrylic, mostly worsted and bulky, except for a few DK cakes. The yarn below the gap is plant fibres like hemp, cotton and linen. The second photo is all my solid DK, organised by colour, which is a mix of Stylecraft Special, Deramores Studio and Carolina. The squares were going to be an afghan, but I changed my mind on that so they are waiting for inspiration to strike.

More shots of groupings, e.g. plant fibres, Stylecraft Special Aran, Loops & Threads Impeccable, cakes, worsted and bulky. The navy blue balls in a clear plastic bag are Willow Yarns Wash Bulky from a frogged sweater. Those have probably been in the stash the longest.  Click on the thumbnails to embiggen.



And my WIPs, which are possibly not going to continue to fruition. The four-strands-of-aran-weight-yarn sweater which I was so excited to start on 15mm needles is looking a little messy. The knitting is sloppy and the gauge, while close to that asked for in the pattern, is looser than I’d like. I can foresee this being a sweater that loses its shape quickly, stretches out, and ends up in the closet. So I may try a smaller needle with three or four strands instead and see if I like the fabric, then make a sweater based on my personal gauge.

I’m typing the draft of this at the gym while on a stationary bike. It’s a great way to pass the time. Better than staring at the wall anyway. Tai Chi Man and I were joking that we’d probably see an influx of people after January 1st because, you know, New Year’s Resolutions. I like the upstairs ladies-only part of the gym when I’m alone. If we both go, then we use the co-ed part downstairs.

I probably should get off here and do some weights so I’ll upload the photos to this post later.

Three hours pass...

OK, now adding photos and editing my typos. Dinner is done and it’s couch time. The yarn has been taken back to my craft room, though not put away properly yet. Now that my stash is officially flashed, both here and on Ravelry, I should spend a little time putting it all away neatly. Unlike many of the flashers, who say they have too much and want to go on a yarn diet, I am happy to look out for yarn for sweaters this year. Sweater quantities, in other words enough of one yarn or colour to make a whole sweater, are something my stash lacks. And now that I’ve made something for just about everyone I know, it’s time to be a little selfish and make some garments for myself this year.

Do you flash your stash? Do you even have a stash? Let me know in the comments 🙂


2017 project review

2017 project review


Hi all and Happy New Year. It’s getting to the end of the first day of 2018 and I’m ready for bed (and it’s only 9pm). Last night we didn’t do anything special to see in the new year (as usual). Tai Chi Man was in bed early (as usual). I stayed up and binge-watched season one of a series on Netflix called Rectify. I found it strangely compelling.

So what I’m saying is that I did stay up past midnight, but not because it was New Year’s Eve!

The trouble with watching too much TV is that your brain is hopped up on electronic vibes and when you do go to bed, overtired, you can’t get to sleep easily. Still, I just lay there knowing that I would eventually get to sleep, and I did. But of course I woke up at the usual time so didn’t get enough rest, and I’m feeling it now.

I just did a quick review of the projects I have knitted and crocheted in 2017. This is why I love Ravelry. I can quickly scroll through  my project page, noting down what I made (of course if I had remembered to tag each project with the year, I could have done it even more quickly).

My favourite projects of the year would be the Spill Shawl, Anouska’s bag (the camper van one) and the Hungry Caterpillar baby blanket and cocoon. (All links to my Ravelry notebook.) I picked the shawl because the yarn worked perfectly with the design, and it’s in my favourite colours, the bag because I designed it and my niece loved it, and the baby blanket because it was a labour of love and the new parents loved it. And they’re all cute!!!

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So, what did I make last year.

9 scarves/cowls, 2 baby blankets, 2 loveys, 1 pair of baby booties, 1 baby cocoon, 31 hats, 4 squares/coasters, 7 bags/cosies, 8 dishcloths, 3 baby sweaters, 1 poncho, 1 twiddle muff, 2 towel loops, 1 tank top, 1 baby dress, 6 rugs/cat mats, 2 shawls, 1 wreath (sunflower, pumpkins, leaves), 1 basket, 3 pairs of mittens, 1 pair of slippers

That makes a grand total of 88 items, counting the bits for the wreath as only one. Not bad at all.

However, there is an absence of larger projects. No big throws or blankets (I do already have a good pile of those so didn’t really NEED another one) and no adult sweaters or other garments, except for the linen tank top. So what I’m thinking for this year is that maybe I’d like to make a goal (NOT a resolution, of course, because I don’t make those) of knitting or crocheting a sweater a month. Doable? Maybe. FullSizeRender (1)

As for WIPs, I still have a couple of those and I’m not sure whether or not they will be finished. And I have some squares that I made for a blanket out of DK yarn (pictured above) that were joined together, but I decided I didn’t like how it was turning out so I took them apart. The ends were woven in on the squares so I didn’t frog them but will have to find a use for them later on.

I see a new thread was started on the Ravelry forums today – Flash your Stash 2018 – and I may well do that one of these days. My stash is quite manageable at the moment as I used some up or gave some away, so it wouldn’t be a huge task to pull it out and photograph it. I had culled the vintage stuff out and just kept the ‘nice’ stuff, but of course this then seemed to create a vacuum into which more yarn arrived. A co-worker gave me a bag of her unwanted acrylic. I kept it, though, as much of it is black and can be used in future scrap blankets or whatever.

So what else? I’ve already mentioned my thought of making a sweater a month. Another monthly goal that would be awesome to follow through on would be to sew myself a garment. I would add unique items to my wardrobe while getting more proficient at making things that I can wear in public. (I still want to make the sweater pictured below, it would be a quick knit, achievable in a month, but I STILL haven’t found the right yarn for the job!)


Weekly goals are simple. Continue hosting my Hygge group on Monday nights, keep in touch with friends, and call my mum. Daily goals include doing something active (gym, walking, yoga, work) and being grateful for everything. I shall have to write these out and put them on the wall somewhere so I see them every day.

Now it’s time to love you and leave you, as they say, and I will talk to you again soon. Happy crafting.


Where did December go?


Last time I blogged, it was early December and I was about to go on holiday to Maui with Tai Chi Man to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Well, it was lovely. The weather was warm and mostly sunny and we swam in the ocean every day but one. There were some showers and for a couple of days it was very windy. We were in Kihei on the west coast which is fairly well sheltered from the prevailing winds, and dryer than other areas of the island. The beaches are gorgeous, the sand is soft, and the water was warm but refreshing.

The main highlight would have to be the helicopter flight around the island, which included going over 10,000 feet up to circle the crater at the top of the extinct volcano, Haleakala, Maui’s highest point. Beats driving for hours! And we saw a lot of scenery and waterfalls that we wouldn’t have been able to see from the road to Hana.

We had a condo, so were able to make our own meals (important when you don’t eat the Standard American Diet) and a rental car (Ford Escape), and found some nice places, like the Maui Quilt Shop, Down to Earth vegetarian health food store, and the banyan tree park at Lahaina. We went underwater in a submarine to see fish and sharks, but the only turtle we came across was a lone guy in the middle of the bay on our last day. Tai Chi Man is braver than I, and was swimming out beyond the breakers, and got a close-up look at a turtle. That made his day. I was floating around in the surf, so I didn’t see it (and to be honest am somewhat phobic about being in the water with seaweed or sea creatures so it’s probably just as well. Though I should say there was no seaweed as far as I could tell.)


So what else is new? The gym has been neglected for a couple of weeks. We did go the day after we got home from vacation, but then we had work, and Christmas shopping, and then I had to bake fruit cake ‘n stuff, and before I knew it Christmas Eve had arrived. We had a simple dinner followed by our gift-giving spree, which was very abundant this year.

I had suggested that we all make a wish list this year and actually make an effort to give each other a gift. Not just parents giving stuff to sons, but each of us giving something to the other four. I sewed flannelette stockings with white fleece cuffs and bought applique letters to put on each one. We never did get around to buying hangers for them so they were put under the tree, and they got so full that the gifts were piled up under the tree. I found myself getting quite excited about Christmas!


I was happy to receive some of the things on my wishlist, such as weight training gloves, the How Not to Die Cookbook, and lots of chocolate! And some things that weren’t on my wishlist too. However there was no yarn in there, nor any gift cards for yarn, so I am feeling like treating myself. I do, after all, have some Christmas money from my mum to add to the running balance in my birthday fund.

I was looking through an old magazine in my sewing room and I really like this sweater (photo on left). It’s a simple rib pattern worked with four strands of aran weight yarn. Should be simple to find yarn for it, right? Not! I have spent maybe three evenings so far looking at different yarn websites and all sorts of yarn, trying to find just the right one. Ideally it needs to be a heavy worsted that knits up at 16 sts/4 inches, and I will need to buy a circ or pair of needle tips that are a US19/15mm.

I like the heathered or tweedy greys but the best yarn for weight, yardage and price so far doesn’t have that option, so I may have to go for off-white or some other colour. I haven’t given up yet.

I didn’t pick up needles or hook for a week after my holiday. This usually happens because I’m feeling some kind of dissatisfaction with my current project(s). These are my WIPs:


Lanesplitter skirt out of Bernat Pop. Having second thoughts and now wishing I’d striped it with black. I have a ton of Stylecraft Special Aran in black.


Ripple scarf out of Cascade Sunseeker. Seemed appropriate for holiday crochet. Actually made very little progress while away. Nice cotton/acrylic with a touch of metallic, but cutting yarn every two rows is annoying and I don’t know if I have the perseverance required to finish a whole scarf.

Dishcloth in Bernat Handicrafter. Found it on clearance at Michaels, bought four balls in bright colours. This will at least get finished.

Gee, not much of excitement in the yarny department, is there!

So, work has been quiet, I have been eating too much (well, it’s Christmas and I do love my fruit cake) and the world outside my window is buried in snow. The day we came back from Maui we had the joy of horizontal snow and freezing temperatures, and it’s been mostly below freezing since. Then we had a bunch more snow so we have powder on top of ice. Sure makes for interesting times. Haven’t been out walking because it’s so slippery, and driving even the short commute to work and back was quite tense. We could have gone to the gym tonight but even Tai Chi Man, who is a confident and able driver, decided that once he was home from work he wasn’t going back out again.

I think we are all up to date. I hope you had a wonderful December, with lots of light and enjoyable festivities to brighten this darkest time of the year, and that 2018 brings you everything you wish for and more. Happy New Year!