Category Archives: hand knitting

Last chance!

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This is the last day for entering my giveaway for the Alpaca Lunch Bag, as I will be drawing a name at random tomorrow and will announce the winner. Good luck!

Above is a photo from my happy place, my favourite tea shop (yesterday I chose a raspberry matcha latte) where of course I took my crochet. (I wish there was a crochet-themed fabric at work, but the knitting one will have to suffice for now.)

I did finish up the skein of jumbo pink yarn and made another cowl, this time knitted, and whilst I only had to cast on 6 stitches for this monster I could probably have gone with 4 or 5.

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It washed up well (there were some dirty streaks on it from the store which is why I was able to bring it home for free).

The current WIP, pictured with the tea, is another cabled headband, this time with only one strand of the Bernat Pop. Gotta run, work today!

WIPing in the New Year!

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WIPing in the New Year!

Happy 2020!

I have three WIPs that I’m bringing with me into 2020. I frogged the Party Cardi (granny square type cardigan) because I couldn’t see myself wearing it, so that was one off the list. And I finished the granny square blanket just after Christmas, and that felt good. Three Works in Progress are manageable, and what I feel comfortable with. Any more than that and it bugs me.

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WIP #1: Moe of Change with Lion Brand Mandala

I added a teeny bit to this last night. I was bored. Didn’t want to look at my computer screen. Didn’t want to sew. So I pulled this out and just focused on the one thing. I had put it down mid-round 21, so I had to work out where I was. It’s going to be pretty. Must keep at it!

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WIP #2: stashbuster blanket with various worsted weight yarns

Not pretty, but useful and will be very warm. I knitted a bit on this yesterday. It was nice to reacquaint myself with my WIPs. It’s only about 12″ of work so far, but there’s no deadline. It would be good to have it done before the weather gets too warm to have it on my lap though.

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WIP #3: no-pattern shawl, using Cascade Sunseeker

I started out with just a few stitches, used half double crochet, and increased every other row. When there wasn’t much left of the pink, I striped in the grey using single crochet rows.  I didn’t want to do that for long because it meant stranding the yarn up the side which means I’ll have to add some sort of edge treatment later. Carried on with hdc and grey, until I figured I should start decreasing. Changed to double crochet and decreasing on every row. (The dcs are taller stitches, but I wanted the decreasing to happen faster than the first part of the shawl.)

I am hoping that the grey will last until I get back to 3 or 4 stitches and that I then have enough of the pink left to go around once with sc.

And now for some exciting news! I had posted a request on Ravelry for anyone who might have been willing to part with a swift, as I now have quite a few hanks of yarn which have not been wound into balls. My initial method was to place a hank over the back of a chair and wind by hand, because I only needed to do it occasionally. I do have a yarn cake winder, but tend to use it with commercial skeins. Someone sent me a link to an online photo tutorial, and I asked Tai Chi Man if he was willing to make me a swift. He seemed amenable, I sent him the link, and in his usual way (Mr Fixit, very handy) he decided he could do better.

Using some scrap wood he had, plus a lazy susan from Lee Valley (the metal spinning part) and a dowel from Home Depot, he created an Amish-style yarn swift for me.

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Of course, as soon as he said it was ready, I had to test it out. I wound up the two cakes you can see in the above photo, and then tried a small one from a 25 gram hank.

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Because the pegs are movable, it can fit just about any size of hank, though I probably wouldn’t bother trying to cake something smaller than 25g.

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And I have spare pegs in case any get lost. It works great, all for less than $10!

Thanks, Mr Fixit!

Ravelry review

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One of my favourite makes this year

I love to look back at my year’s knitting and crochet projects on Ravelry every December. Even when I don’t think it’s been a very productive year, I am usually surprised at how many Finished Objects I made.

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One of my few yarn purchases

This year was a good year for using stash. I signed up with the British Banter group on Ravelry to join their Bash the Stash 2019 challenge. The plan was not to go Cold Turkey and buy no yarn at all. My goal was more Lukewarm Sheep. Curb the acquisition of 100% synthetic yarn. Allow myself to mindfully purchase yarn which had at least some plant fibre content.

And, you know, I did pretty well. In January, I bought that pack of Scheepjes Stonewashed and Riverwashed mini skeins. It’s so pretty and I still haven’t found the perfect project for it. But it is on display in my sewing room and I know I will really enjoy using those amazing colours some time in the future. An LYS was going out of business in a nearby town and I bought some cotton yarns from them too. And then…nothing until November, when I went into Michaels and fell for some clearance yarn.

My totals at the end of the year, as posted in the British Banter group, are;

Total out this year: 8115 grams (knitted or crocheted into finished objects or given away)
Total in this year: 3700 grams (purchases and a few gifts)
Net output: 4415 grams (stash reduction)

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I love the finished item even though the garter stitch got tiresome!

Ravelry tells me I made 56 projects this year, but in fact some project pages include more than one item, so it was more like 77.

The summary:

18 hats, 16 dishcloths, 13 decorations/ornaments, 7 cowls/scarves, 7 bags, 6 shawls/wraps, 4 blankets/loveys, 3 toys, 2 headbands, 1 pr socks

and a partridge in a pear tree!!

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My favourite blanket of the year

I have four Works in Progress right now. The pink and grey sparkly shawl which I started in Maui. The Moe of Change blanket which I started in October and then neglected because it requires careful attention to the pattern. The scrap blanket that I’m knitting in the round on a huge number of stitches, which I think will get more attention now that the granny blanket is done. And finally, the cardigan, which was being made from a Secret Yarnery YouTube tutorial and which I had high hopes for. But even though I still like the colourway of the yarn (Lion Brand Mandala Baby in Echo Caves) and even though I actually ordered more yarn to get this cardigan finished, I think it’s going to be frogged. I can’t see myself wearing it and being happy in it. So officially that leaves me with three WIPs to carry me into 2020.

Considering my enthusiasm for sewing right now, three yarn WIPs is plenty. (Perhaps we should talk about my fabric purchases….or maybe not!) I really need to keep a good notebook for my sewing projects the way I do on Ravelry for yarn projects. Past notes tend to be scattered throughout various small notebooks and loose bits of paper, which means that if I want to make another version of a bag, for example, and want to know what size pieces I had to cut, it can be challenging to remember or remind myself what I did.

So that’s my year. What are your crafty highlights of 2019? Did you knit or crochet or sew something you were particularly proud of? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

Throwback Thursday

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A bittersweet memory from July 2010.

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This prayer shawl was made from James C Brett Marble Chunky in a lovely raspberry shade. My project page on Ravelry is here from which you will see that the reason for that particular stitch pattern is explained.

This is inspired by the Original Prayer Shawl which uses a K3P3 repeat to make a textured pattern. My LYS owner has been making one. However mine will have a 4 st repeat so that I can use as my mantra,
“I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you” which is the Ho’oponopono blessing.

On July 10th, I wrote this blog post in which I explained further the meaning of the blessing.

My view of the meaning of this blessing is as follows:

  • myself to myself (I am healing hurts against myself)
  • myself to others (I am healing my relationships with other people)
  • myself to the Earth and the Universe (I am healing any transgressions against nature)
  • on behalf of all humans to the Earth and the Universe

In this way, good karma is being created, which will benefit us all. My belief is that we are all connected. Anything that affects one person affects us all. Anything that harms Mother Earth affects us all. We are all part of one organism.

And the finished shawl appeared in this blog post at the end of July.

I’m going to give this to my friend Anne, who has had inflammatory breast cancer for two and a half years. Her health has gone up and down since her diagnosis, she’s tried various cures from allopathic to alternative, and she’s currently on morphine and steroids which are helping with the inflammation and pain. We’ve been friends for 11 years, having met through the homeschool support group. Despite the heat, I hope she will get some use from the shawl.

I did not realise at the time I started this shawl that it would end up going to my best friend, Anne, who had been suffering from inflammatory breast cancer for over two years. But she was sleeping on the couch because lying down was too painful and I was moved to give it to her, to help her keep warm and hopefully offer comfort. She died five weeks later. I still miss her.

Throwback Thursday

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Today I’m looking back at 2009. There are finally some crochet projects in my Ravelry notebook, and also quite a few pairs of socks and fingerless mittens.

These two projects, though, are two of my favourites for the year. I don’t think I have the beanie any more, but I do have the mittens as they are warm. I even mended the end of one once when a stitch came loose from catching it on a keyring.

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My Ravelry project page is here. The pattern for this beanie is called the Fake Isle Hat and by using a variegated or self-striping yarn for the background it looks more complicated than it really is. It only took me two days to knit. This was, again, James C Brett Marble DK (the blue/pink) along with some Marks & Kattens Carolina (now discontinued).

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This pair of mittens took 10 days. Same yarns as the hat, but no pattern this time. I made up the Fair Isle patterns based on the way they divided into the number of stitches around the hand. I really like this sort of thumb. It’s easy, because when you’re knitting the tube for the hand you just place some waste yarn in the spot for the thumb (within the palm stitches) and then go back and pick up the stitches and knit the thumb later. I prefer the look and the fit better than a thumb gusset.

OK, that’s enough for this Thursday. Talk to you again soon.

 

Saturday shopping spree

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OK, it’s Monday now, but I did mean to blog at the weekend to talk about  my SEX (Stash Enhancement eXpedition) at Michaels. I went in there to look for beading supplies actually. I am signed up with a group on Ravelry to do a Christmas swap, which entails filling a toilet paper roll with fun stuff to make a cracker. You have to put in something that you knitted or crocheted, a handwritten joke, and any other little gift-type things that will fit. Then you wrap it up beautifully and send it to your swap partner. Beads are tiny, right? So if I make some earrings or stitch markers they will fit inside easily.

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I did buy some beads – black ones, clear ones, turquoise ones – and some ear wires, pins and bracelet attachments. But I also had to check out the yarn while I was there. And even though my self-discipline has been very good this year, I found clearance yarn that I have seen at Michaels a few times before. I was able to resist while it was regular price, but on clearance? I fell off that darned wagon!

Six little bundles of Loops & Threads Meandering Minis in three colourways. These skeins are 25 grams each. AND…

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Three bundles of Caron X Pantone Bamboo as well.

Now, in theory, the Caron yarn is acceptable as I allowed myself, when making my New Year’s Resolution, to buy yarn that has some plant fibre content. So I wasn’t really being BAD! However, the Meandering Minis are totally synthetic, which goes against my ‘rule’ of stashing down the 100% man-made stuff and not acquiring more. Oh dear! But they are just so pretty!

I feel a bit zombified tonight. Maybe it has something to do with the clocks changing yesterday. You wouldn’t think one hour would make that much difference. But I was working today too, and eight hours on my feet is tiring. What a great feeling it is to come home, change out of my work clothes into my Hello Kitty onesie, eat a big bowl of risotto with kabocha squash (I had the forethought to make dinner this morning before work) and enjoy a large cup of tea. I was watching Ross’s podcast (Smells Like Yarn) and I could feel myself sinking into the couch and feeling so brain dead that I don’t even feel like picking up a crochet hook this evening (though I seem to have found the energy to write a blog post).

So I shall love you and leave you, as they say, before my eyes droop.

 

 

Throwback Thursday

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Today I’m looking back at 2008 in my Ravelry notebook. And a couple of things stand out.

One is that there is no crochet. I was firmly in the knitting groove after a lifetime of On again/Off again, but hadn’t yet picked up the crochet bug.

Another thing I notice is that I was experimenting more with my Bond knitting machine. Eleven projects were made by machine and some of them were published on my blog as free patterns.

This striped vest was inspired, according to my Ravelry notes, by a pattern in a book. Rather than hand knit it, I machine knit it.

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It actually came out rather well, though I don’t recall wearing it much.

And that year I was really into the James C Brett Marble DK again. I had knitted two sweaters in it the year before. Well, 2008 saw the same brown colourway used in these three projects:

Marble Wrap Vest which I designed myself

Button scarf

and Quick Hat

and there were three other projects using the Marble DK but in other colours.

It’s fascinating to look back at what I made thanks to the invention of Ravelry all those years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WIP Wednesday

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It’s 9pm and I thought I wouldn’t have anything to talk about today as there hadn’t been much visible progress. However I added a few rounds to my Moe of Change tonight so here’s a quickie pic to give you an idea – it’s now 13.5″ in diameter.

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My phone didn’t want to focus properly! The other two blankets have had a few rounds added too, but the cardigan is still languishing.

Ooh, I just remembered, I did finish a hat. Tai Chi Man’s god-daughter had a baby recently, so I am packaging up the rainbow blanket (FO blog post here) along with a little pompom beanie made from Caron Cupcakes in Tutti Frutti. pompomhat

I confess to cutting out parts of the stripes to keep it to 9 rounds per colour. It’s only about 14″ in circumference and took about 20 grams of the cake. I ended up using US#4 needles which is skinnier than I would normally use for DK yarn but I was aiming for a certain tension.

Last Wednesday, I showed you my kitty ears. Well, here I am modelling them.

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The Hello Kitty outfit finally came together – I finished sewing the dress, bought the white turtleneck online from Old Navy, wore my Sweet Legs leggings, wore the ears and a pink bow, and went a bit heavier on the makeup.

I wore the ensemble on Monday and again on Tuesday, when I showed up for work with the added armwarmers that I made last year.

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So there you go. All caught up!

Throwback Thursday

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This week I thought I’d feature my Sunrise Circle Jacket.

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Gosh, I look so young in that photo! I would have been 45 in early 2008. Looks like I was having a bad hair day though, which is kinda the story of my life!

I didn’t make a lot of notes on my Ravelry project page, but this project was quite the adventure. The construction was unique – the back was knitted bottom to top, if I recall correctly, and the fronts and sleeves started at the side/armpit and grew out from there. The curved front edges have hems knitted in. I mail-ordered some Tatamy Tweed (worsted weight cotton/acrylic) from Kraemer Yarns in the US. I absolutely loved knitting with that yarn and if they had had a decent ordering system on their website I would probably have continued to buy from them. However one had to phone, or find a Local Yarn Store to buy from, and so it never happened.

I still have this cardigan and have worn it many times.  The yarn still looks like new. It’s warm too.

Apparently I started knitting this in January 2008 and finished it in March. Not bad!

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WIP Wednesday

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WIP Wednesday

Hi peeps, how’s it going? Time for another WIP Wednesday. Seems like no time at all since last Wednesday, and it feels like I haven’t made a whole lot of progress.

The Party Cardi hasn’t been touched so I won’t bother with another photo of that. However I’ve started my Moe of Change…

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This is going to be a pretty blanket. It will be baby blanket size as it only uses two cakes of Lion Brand Mandala but it’s good to have at least one project where I have to concentrate on stitches and counting.

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The granny blanket with the Red Heart With Love has grown quite well though the colours are going to be a bit predictable from now on. The centre used up small balls of leftovers and now I’m on to the big balls, of which I have only a limited number. The plan is to repeat the white/black rows after each set of colours, and I hope it’s going to look ok with the different colours in the middle.

The knitted blanket has grown a tiny bit. I have added a few rows but they are so long that it’s going to be a slow project.

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That cake is one I wound up with my ball-winder when I first bought it and wanted to wind every scrap into a cake!

I also have a Finished Object – a very small one!

I needed ears for my Hello Kitty outfit for Halloween and found this hairband at the dollar store. It’s perfect because I crocheted the ears and slipped them over the plastic ear-shaped bits on top, sewed them on, and they won’t flop.

So I’ve been a good girl this week and got back to the gym. I had two weeks of holiday followed by two weeks of sloth (except for one yoga class). On Sunday, Tai Chi Man and I went to the gym in the morning and I did a 40 minute workout (20 mins treadmill, 20 mins weights machine circuit) to get me back into things. On Monday, I was back for 30 mins of treadmill plus a 30 minute upper body workout. And Tuesday, we had a challenging yoga class with lots of downward facing dogs and OMG my shoulders today are SO painful. But it’s a good kind of pain, I suppose, because it means I did some work! Couldn’t face another workout tonight after work, but I shall see what I can fit in tomorrow around my social commitments. Maybe a ‘leg day’ in the afternoon so that the shoulders get a break.

I have Maui in December to keep me motivated!