Category Archives: hand knitting

WIP Wednesday

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It’s blanket season!

I decided when I got back from my holiday that I needed to have something warm to work on so here are my Winter Works in Progress.

The Mindless Use up my Leftovers blanket, using random worsted weight yarn in my stash:

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As you can see, so far I have only cast on 370 stitches and knitted a few rounds. Not much warmth there yet!

The Giant Granny:

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Getting to be big enough to at least keep my knees warm, this is going to be a snuggly one quite quickly.

And a non-blanket project, the Party Cardi from The Secret Yarnery:

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Hexagons complete, backs and fronts extended, pieces joined. The dyelots on these two cakes of Mandala Baby are quite different, and the next sections will probably be different again. I really hope this is a wearable garment when done, as so far it’s reminding me of a bed jacket! And there’s a lot of $$$ in five cakes of yarn, assuming I use it all, so if I hate it I will be frogging, not giving it away.

Those are this week’s WIPs. I have another one planned but I need to start it when I have time to focus, which actually could be right now but I have already made it to lunchtime today without getting any housework done or groceries bought so I really should do that first. I have been fighting off a cold for a few days now so have been practising some self-care (which means I have been making excuses for not exercising) but it is a beautiful day out there and we really need to eat and shopping needs to be done and at the very least I should clean the bathrooms and mop the kitchen floor. Hmmm, how quickly could I get those done?!

Throwback Thursday

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My usual morning routine is to glug down a big glass of lemon water and make myself a huge cup of Yorkshire tea, then head to the couch with my laptop to catch up on emails, Facebook and Ravelry. Emails and Facebook can just be a few minutes each; Ravelry can take longer, depending on what interesting topics have appeared overnight and whether I want to contribute.

I replied to a thread this morning which had me looking back at an old project, so I had this idea for Throwback Thursdays. Pick an old project to talk about that stands out for me.

The oldest projects I have listed are from 2006, but the photos are dull and there is not much detail on them as they were made pre-Ravelry. Things start getting more interesting in 2007. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes Ravelry had been around for 50 years so we could have kept good notes on everything we’ve made.

Today’s is this one with the uninspiring name Top Down Raglan. (Link to my Ravelry project page.)

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I don’t have a photo of me wearing it, but it did fit me well. It was my own design, constructed top down, seamlessly, and I added in a cable design from somewhere, and did folded hems. The yarn used to be a favourite of mine – James C Brett Marble DK. I actually made two sweaters from this yarn, which amazes me now because I am not a patient person when it comes to yarn, and prefer the thicker end of the spectrum. According to my Ravelry notes, it only took a couple of months to knit.

My project page says I bought the yarn at Fun Knits on Quadra Island (which is in BC, Canada) which immediately takes me back to the time I bought it. We were on holiday, Tai Chi Man, the three boys, and my in-laws, and the comment my MIL made at the time was that the colour was “dull.” (She spoke her mind, that one!) Admittedly, I do tend to wear brighter or stronger colours than this now, and it ended up going to a thrift store one year, after a seasonal closet clear-out. I wonder where it is now. Hopefully keeping someone warm.

 

 

Yarndale and other holiday fun

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Yarndale and other holiday fun

I have been on holiday! I only had my old iPad Mini with me, and no phone, so I was only spending minimal amounts of time on t’internet, hence the gap between blog posts.

I had a lovely time. It was quite the whirlwind – the itinerary involved flying from Canada to London, England, driving down to see my cousins on the south coast, driving up to Yorkshire to spend a few days enjoying the area, including Yarndale, driving back to London, flying over to Jersey, a few days with the close family, then flying back to London, then flying home.

Kudos to Tai Chi Man who drove about 750 miles while we were in England. And motorway driving is NOT fun.

Highlights of the trip:

Yarndale, of course…

I was excited to meet Kathryn from CrafternoonTreats. We had been in touch prior to the day, because I have been helping to moderate her Ravelry group for a long time now and I just had to make sure we met up. She was a vendor, so she couldn’t avoid me, LOL. All of the yarn she dyes is wool, but knowing I am vegan she and her friend Helen had dyed up some natural coloured Stylecraft Classique Cotton with Procion dyes as a gift. So lovely!

Sorry, my photos aren’t great. iPad in poor light.

A few other souvenirs…

Being vegan helps me be disciplined in my yarn buying! Most of the yarn on sale at Yarndale is wool. So all I bought was this Louisa Harding Giardino (though it was pretty expensive)! And of course I had to get a Yarndale bag.

I was fan-girly about Lucy from Attic24, whose blog I have been reading for years. She is one of the organisers. I saw her, but didn’t talk to her, in the Knit ‘n Natter room. And I also spotted Tatsiana from Lilla Bjorn in the Scheepjes booth.

My travel knitting was a simple pattern from DROPS called Rascal. A two-row pattern repeat, it was just knitting back and forth until I felt the shawl was big enough. And I wanted to give it to my sister when it was done, so I had to finish it before I came home.

I forgot to get daylight shots before giving it away.

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It’s made with Lion Brand Mandala in Phoenix.

Other notable mentions…

Met up with my English cousins (one I haven’t seen since 1988) for a lovely day of hiking and lunching and catching up.

Took the tube around London, including Camden Market, Regent’s Park and Tower Bridge. Went up inside the bridge and got a funny feeling in my tummy looking down through the glass floor.

Seven hour drive north to Ilkley in Yorkshire where we had a lovely cosy Airbnb. Hiked around Bolton Abbey, saw some of the cycling world championships, got absolutely soaked on a three hour hike up on Ilkley  Moor. After Yarndale, a 5.75 hour drive back south to Gatwick airport.

The island of Jersey in the Channel Islands (close to France) is where most of our family lives and I stayed with my mum and Tai Chi Man stayed with his dad. That gave us the most time with our respective parents. And one day was spent almost entirely with my sister, including lunch at a vegan restaurant and a walk on the beach with her dog.

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A successful trip, all went to plan, with the only travel hiccup being a three hour delay getting out of Jersey. But as we had split up the three flights home with a stay at a Heathrow hotel this time it wasn’t a problem.

We were happy to see so many vegan options in many places. Supermarkets and restaurants are now offering so much more than they used to, so finding food is easier than it ever was. We still mostly self-cater when travelling, but it’s good to know we won’t starve if we have to rely on outside sources. There was a lovely cafe in Ilkley called The Veggie, the Sinful Vegan in Jersey, tons of vegan places in Camden Market, and I can’t forget Ransom’s Garden Centre in Jersey which has so many vegan mains and desserts that it’s hard to choose. (I had the coffee walnut cake, which was so rich I couldn’t finish it all in one go and had to save some for the evening.)

So we’re back to our regular scheduled programming. We arrived home Saturday evening, and Tai Chi Man had Sunday in which to recover somewhat from the jetlag and was back to work Monday. Thankfully my schedule meant that I am not back to work until tomorrow, Wednesday, so I’ve had time to blitz the house and do some grocery shopping. I haven’t quite had the energy to get to the gym yet though.

I’m back to crocheting the Party Cardi (a video tutorial on The Secret Yarnery’s YouTube channel) now that I have had a delivery of two more cakes of yarn. My stashbusting for September was pathetic, with the only outage being some tiny pumpkins, and then of course the incoming yarn from Yarndale. However I have blanket plans, because there’s nothing better than a blanket project when the weather gets cold. What are your favourite blanket patterns? I have some Red Heart With Love (which will probably become a giant granny square) but also a tonne of random worsted and DK to use up. I need ideas!

 

Weekend WIP (and an FO)

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Weekend WIP (and an FO)

I will show you the finished cowl in a moment, but first, the blanket.

The daisy blanket is moving forward again with a few more squares completed in the last couple of days. I laid out the 29 squares on the floor of my living room, making sure that same-coloured edges weren’t matching and that same-coloured petals were not side by side.

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Twenty nine squares in, I have not made the same one twice. I have the colours lined up for the 30th, which will be different again.

It’s still not as large as I’d like, and I have plenty of yarn left, so I’ll go to 36 and see how it looks. I am reserving a full skein each of turquoise and pink for the border.

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The Knit Mandala Cowl is finished. Here, Sally is modelling it so nicely! I didn’t wash it, just steamed it lightly. The Mandala yarn is very pretty and soft and projects always look good made from it.

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The textured stitches kept things interesting, as did the changing colours.

So, what are you doing this weekend? Our cabin escape was postponed thanks to the weather, so instead we are having the potluck at our friend’s home in town. Tai Chi Man and I called our parents this morning, then went to yoga, and this afternoon I have to do a bit of food prep and baking for tonight.

Have a great day!

WIP: Knit Mandala Cowl – almost there

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The cowl is nearly finished. I have been enjoying knitting this project. It’s been a nice change of pace from the crochet blanket. I have only a few rounds of K2P2 ribbing to do. As you can see, I have reached the white in the cake. It would have been interesting to have some more grey at the top edge, and I could keep going longer, but on the other hand the transition from darker colour/denser stitch pattern to lighter colour/lacier stitch pattern works rather well. I’m glad the aqua falls in the centre as it’s the colour that one notices the most.

You may recall my efforts to get up earlier in the morning, and my alarm clock was set 5 minutes earlier every day until I was waking at 5am. The last few mornings I have woken up just before the alarm, but when the alarm actually goes off I hit snooze once or twice. Often, Tai Chi Man is already in the en suite and there’s no point getting out of bed until he’s moved off to the kitchen. Our en suite is tiny!

One of the bonuses of getting up early is the coolness, as it’s getting hot most days. Another thing I enjoy is looking out at the garden to see if I can spot any deer (though I’d probably have to be up before dawn for that) and the sky is often very pretty too.

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The forecast is for a much cooler day today (18 degrees Celsius) and rain and possibly a thunderstorm. There is quite a wind – I can see our big maple from where I sit, and the branches are being tossed about – and I managed to get an OK shot of the sky with the clouds moving in, the moon, and an interesting bank of clouds sitting right on top of the mountains in the distance.

More often than not, I work on a Wednesday, but this week my shifts were scheduled the same as last week – Sunday, Monday, Friday – so today is going to be a home day. The To Do list includes a little cleaning and decluttering (aaagh, need to start on the utility room shelves, which is a huge job) but also some sewing and knitting.

I haven’t shown you the pink top that I sewed last week, but a turquoise one is now in progress using the same Burda pattern so I will get photos soon. I have been watching a podcaster/vlogger recently called Rachael at SewRayMeUK. She lives in Scotland, has an Etsy shop selling sewn bags and things, and has been vlogging every day during June. She is a keen gardener and has a beautiful garden. I am feeling inspired to sew more things, but I really must finish the current project before I move on to something else. The cut pieces are laid out on my cutting table and I have started the assembly. I could have kept on going last night, but at 9.45 I had to call it a day. Getting up at 5am means going to bed before 10pm.

It’s gone dark in my living room. The sky is mostly cloud now and I feel like a big dump of rain is imminent. That’s great! Even with our sprinklers, the lawn is looking dry and crispy already. Happy Hump Day, everyone. Talk to you again soon 🙂

WIP: Knit Mandala Cowl

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Being a relatively new user of Instagram with a not-so-smart phone (I can do texts, calls, and wifi, but no data) I rarely remember to use it or look at the feed from the handful of people I follow. However I recently discovered how quick and easy it is to post to Instagram from the phone and then upload the photo(s) to Ravelry now that my accounts are linked.

But (and there is usually a But) I still have to plug my phone into my laptop to upload the photos to that and get them into a blog post. I only have WordPress on my Windows laptop now, as my old iPad Mini can’t handle the app.

As I type this, the photos should magically be appearing in the window behind this one, so all should be well!

The daisy blanket is taking a little breather right now. I hit a little bump in the road, possibly because I couldn’t decide how many squares to make for the ideal size/colour distribution, but also because I was going on a one-night road trip with Tai Chi Man and fancied a change.

The pattern I chose was the Knit Mandala Cowl and rather than pay for a pdf I just went to the free version on the blog and took some screenshots. I picked out some Lion Brand Mandala in the stash, colourway Genie, packed it and my Knit Picks Rainbow Wood interchangeables in a project bag along with my Hello Kitty notions tin, and was ready to roll.

The first part of the road trip involved a long and winding road north up the west side of Okanagan Lake during which I sat and looked at the view. There was no way I was going to try and knit through that and risk getting carsick. When the going got easier, I cast on.

I had a fair amount of knitting time on the journey and in the hotel room. I also took advantage of the pool and fitness room while Tai Chi Man was out working/socialising with customers, and watched a heck of a lot of HGTV!

The photo above was taken in a coffee shop, obviously, on the second day. Two hundred stitches around, but as the texture changes every round (or two or three) it feels like it’s growing fast.

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I love the colour changes in the Mandala yarn. Not harsh changes like some of the cakes. As you can see, there’s ribbing, seed stitch, cables, slipstitches – a bit of everything.

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I will continue on and finish this, I think, before returning to the blanket. I have noticed, though, that my wrist aches more when I knit, so I have to be careful.

In other news, it’s Pride month at our fabric store (and elsewhere of course) and our manager set up an awesome display of a fabric rainbow with a pot of “gold” at the end, big foam letters that spell out PRIDE, and rainbowy products that are on sale this month. I just love the papier mache/fibrefill cloud that she made, complete with acrylic crystal raindrops.

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To complete the look, I cleared out my previous display from the table in front of the cash desk (a rather inspired plaid/denim/logs/campfire look if I may say so myself) and gussied it up with a rainbow theme.

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This is quite restrained for me. I usually load this table up way more than that. I seem to have become the default table decorator in this spot and I have a lot of fun trawling the store for bits and bobs to include in my chosen theme.

There’s a big sale starting today that runs through the weekend and I feel like it’s going to be super busy today. So off I go, as I need to leave the house soon.

 

Free pattern: Frond

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Frond is a simple knitted cellphone cosy that can be adjusted for size or gussied up with fancier yarn and maybe even some duplicate stitch or embroidery. It uses stockinette and seed stitch worked flat and seamed.

You will need:

Medium/worsted/#4 weight  yarn, approx 30g/50m (a little over 1oz/54yds)

1 button approx ¾ – 1 inch diameter, preferably with large holes for sewing

5mm/US#8 needles

Gauge is not critical. My gauge was 4 sts to 1” in stockinette. Finished size at this gauge is 3.75” x 6”.

Abbreviations:

CO – cast on

K/P – knit/purl

BO – bind off

K2tog – knit 2 together

P2tog – purl 2 together

St – stitch

St st – stockinette (stocking) stitch

RS/WS – right side, wrong side

Foll – following

Patt – pattern

Rep – repeat

Can easily be made bigger or smaller by varying the number cast on by multiples of 2, and working fewer or more rows of stockinette.

How to:

CO 17. Any method will do. I prefer long tail cast on for a neat edge. 

Work stockinette (knit 1 row, purl 1 row) until work measures 12” ending with a WS row.

Next row: K1, *P1, K1, rep from * to end of row.

Rep this row (seed st) until seed st section is 3” long, ending on a WS row.

Next row: work seed st for 7 sts, BO 3 sts, work to end, maintaining seed st patt (ie knitting the purls, purling the knits)

Next row: seed st to gap, backwards loop CO 3 sts firmly and closely, work to end.

Next row: work first 7 sts, K the 3 CO sts through the back loop, twisting them, work to end.

Next row: seed st across.

Next row: K1, K2tog, work to last 3 sts (maintaining seed st patt), P2tog, K1

Next row: K1, P2tog, work to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1

BO.

Fold st st part of cosy in half. Seam sides from RS using mattress st, taking half a stitch into seam from each side, starting at open end and working towards fold.

Weave in ends. Sew on button.

This pattern has not been tested by anyone but me. If you find a mistake, please leave a comment below and I will fix it. Thank you.

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(This pattern will print on two sheets of paper with just the first photo and text. Click Share below, then Print, and instruct your printer to print pages 1 – 2.)

 

Crocheting along, fa la la la la

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The CAL continues…

The Creative Crochet Workshop Scrapsrific Rainbow Blanket CAL (OMG, that is a lot to type) is in week 3. I have added two rounds to the above motif which will eventually be a 12″ square.

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These four 6″ squares are also in part 3. Obviously I will, at some point, have to pin my squares out and steam them to make it easier to join them, as currently they are wonky!

I have also completed a quick bulky beanie. It’s called the Spin Cycle Hat, which is a very compact, one page pdf, clearly written, in three sizes. I made the medium without swatching for gauge (ooh, er) and the hat fits my Sally Styro head perfectly but is too small for me. Not that it was for me anyway, but I shall have to find someone with a small head to give it to.

Whilst I am happy with the pattern, the yarn is another story. This is Loops & Threads Facets, a bulky, underspun, very soft yarn. Let me tell you, all those YO, K2togs were a nightmare with such a splitty yarn. Yes, it’s pretty, but don’t be fooled, it’s not worth the hassle. It’ll pill quickly too. I’m using up what I have in the stash but I won’t be buying this or anything like it in future.

Now, I had a lovely draft all ready to Publish with a simple pattern for this…

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…but left it in an open tab on my laptop for a few days. I am also knitting one, and wanted to publish both at the same time. Well, something went wrong, and it’s gone. Can’t find a saved draft anywhere. At least I do still have my text document in Google Docs to fall back on, so I don’t have to start from scratch. So that will probably be finalised mid-week, as I have a run of three days off starting tomorrow.

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely Easter weekend. We had a mini road trip  Saturday to visit a plant nursery and buy plants for our garden. We ended up with a Chi Chi Gingko tree (max height 16 feet), two mock oranges (native plants so should do well) and some  hostas and other ground cover for the patch by the front door where we recently took out the messy evergreens. We meant to get some kinnikinnick but forgot, so we may have to try and find it locally, or drive south again for it.

I am off to work shortly, so will sign off for today. Have a great day!

 

Whipping those WIPs

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Whipping those WIPs

The flurry of crochet (and knitting) activity continues. The purple yarn I showed you last time has so far given birth to two dishcloth/scrubbie combos, one of which I photographed at my favourite tea shop on Tuesday. I am hoping to get four out of the two skeins. I find this combination of scrubbie yarn in the middle and cotton on the outside really useful.

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I love the coordinating mug and dishcloth!

The Scrapsrific Rainbow Blanket CAL Part 1 is now complete. I finished the crocheting last night and wove in ends today at our weekly knitting group meetup, ready for Part 2 which has been released today.

I already showed you the first eight squares. Here are the remaining eight, plus the start of a 12″ square.

And I was feeling brave last night, so cast on for two-at-a-time (TAAT) socks. I watched a couple of video tutorials which demonstrated different methods, and ended up winging it without a safety net! It worked!!

Not much progress yet, but those stitches are so darned tiny!

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I knitted most of that ribbing at the coffee shop today, and when I got fed up with the teeny stitches I moved on to dishcloth #3. I had made sure to wind the ball of sock yarn into two cakes and the pink mesh bag is keeping them corralled.

After the coffee shop, my friend and I went to a local yarn store (LYS) so she could get another needle for her fancy fingering-weight stranded-colourwork bag. I had a good look around but didn’t buy anything. (Still mindful of not letting the stash grow. And saving myself for Yarndale!)

A nice relaxing morning. Take it easy, and talk to you again soon.

 

 

Out of the slump

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Out of the slump

From a crochet slump with one knitting WIP to a flurry of activity!

The socks are DONE!

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The first sock took about 8.5 months, the second one only a week or two. This is Loops & Threads Perfect Pair yarn, knitted magic loop, one at a time, with a 2.25mm/100cm long circ. They are not identical, and I didn’t even try to make them so, but the bands of colour coincidentally fell in similar places. They could be a little snugger, so when I make another pair with this yarn I will knit a smaller size.

So, on to crochet WIPs. This bag-in-progress is called the Easy Breezy Bag and the pattern is here. I managed to mess up my stitch count when starting the base, so ripped back and started again. After that, it was plain sailing. The open stitch pattern for the sides of the bag is very easy and I can do it while watching Netflix. The yarn is from the store where I work. It’s our store brand, Spindle Yarns, and the type is Essential Basics (worsted weight acrylic) in the colourway Oasis Multi. I didn’t like the feel of it in the ball but it is nice to crochet with, though there are few fuzzy spots in the first ball.

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My other WIP is the Scrapsrific Rainbow Blanket from Creative Crochet Workshop. I was browsing Ravelry last week, looking for inspiration, and found this mystery Crochet-along so decided to join in. I also joined the Ravelry group and the Facebook group. I chose ten colours from my Stylecraft Special DK stash that said “Rainbow!” to me, along with white and grey, and am using a 4.5mm hook.

There are 16 small squares in the first week, plus the first couple of rounds of a larger square. So far I have completed eight.

I don’t think this is going to be a very large blanket. The CAL is only six weeks. But it will be interesting to see how it develops.

There’s been lots of outdoor activity around my house this week. Ds1 had a few days off and I suggested he might like to take down three trees that were overgrown and snow-damaged out front. Ds2 and ds3 have also been out in the yard, raking and tidying. Amazing!

Job in progress…

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Middle tree almost gone.

After…

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The house is so much brighter, inside and out. I love it.

This is the heap of branches that needed to go to the dump…all 420 kilos of it.

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I have work today, but I’m looking forward to another massage tomorrow morning. I am still having various aches and pains which are due, I think, to me not being balanced symmetrically, rather than ordinary muscle soreness from the gym and other activities. Tightness in the neck, niggles in the wrist/forearm from the break last year, plantar fasciitis in the right heel which I really thought would be gone by now. I am trying some self-care strategies so that it doesn’t get to the point where I have to get signed off work. Minor issues, though, compared to some.

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. Happy crafting!