Category Archives: hand knitting

Whip those WIPs

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Whip those WIPs

Take that, Works in Progress! You are now Finished Objects.

Sporto sweater pattern, free from Knitty.com. I used 550 grams of a clearance yarn from work. It’s a worsted weight acrylic and is very warm and cosy. I wore it all day today. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sporto

Zeb-the-zebra pattern, not free, from Ravelry here https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zeb-the-zebra

I’m usually cheap and prefer free patterns over paid, but sometimes it’s worth paying a few bucks for a good pattern.

Looking at the designer’s pattern photos, I realise I forgot to embroider his nostrils!!

But I think he looks good in rainbow stripes.

So I am back to zero active WIPs, though I do have an ongoing dishcloth project and of course I can’t forget that I have four baskets of yarn downstairs earmarked for sweaters. Patterns yet to be decided.

Shades of grey

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Shades of grey

I’ve been working on two grey projects this week.

One is the Sporto sweater which I’m knitting with clearance yarn from work. I’ve completed the body section from the armholes to the waist, which incorporates a few decreases at centre back, unusually. https://www.ravelry.com/projects/NicolaKnits/sporto

And now I am to knit a few more inches, increasing back up to my original stitch count, but at a faster rate. This WIP was put on hold for a week while I crocheted a little side project.

The other grey project is this:

Meet my new rat friend. The pattern is free on Ravelry. It’s called Peachy the Rat. I’ll link you to my project page over there so you can see my note about a small error in the pattern, in case you decide to make it. https://www.ravelry.com/projects/NicolaKnits/peachy-the-rat

The tail gave me some grief. Crocheting tiny circumferences is hard! I managed to get past round 4 on my third attempt.

Fall proper has arrived in our neck of the woods. After weeks of warm days, cool nights, sunshine and zero rain, we are now enjoying a bit of wet and windy weather. The thermostat is up indoors, the beanies and scarves and mitts are starting to see some use, and today…………the flannel sheets were put on the bed and the mega granny blanket has been added on top.

Love it!

Sunshine, sweaters and slapdashery

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Sunshine, sweaters and slapdashery

October has looked like this every day. Sunshine and blue sky. Nights are getting down to single digits but days are warm and we haven’t needed to turn the heat on yet.

This crocheted basket full of yarn is slowly being transformed into a sweater. I had 10 balls. The beanie took part of one. And I’ve just finished the yoke of the sweater and started the third ball.

The sweater, Sporto from knitty.com (link in previous post), is knitted from the hood down. The above photo was taken after the hood was finished and the stitches picked up for the yoke.

This is an in-progress photo from yesterday. Tonight I reached 292 stitches and a length of 9 inches from the neck. Time to try it on and see if I can divide for the sleeves next.

I’ve been watching The Coroner on Netflix which helped get me through those loooooong rounds.

The slapdashery part comes with these placemats. No fancy binding or careful stitching here. Slap them together with some batting, stitch around, turn right side out and topstitch. They are reversible for fall – orange gingham on one side, black on the other. And the free-form pumpkins are black thread on the orange side and orange thread on the black side.

I made 8 square placemats and had enough from a metre of each fabric to make a rectangular hotpad for the centre of the table as well. I used cotton batting and doubled it up for the larger one. My machine had a hissy fit when I tried to topstitch the first one so I had to fuss with the needle and the tension to get it to work happily and stop skipping stitches.

I think they coordinate well with my white harvest truck print fabric.

These Christmas-themed placemats went a lot quicker. I used a poly batting which was easier to sew, and didn’t add any extra quilting. The nine designs are all from a quilt cotton panel (last year’s stock so it was marked down) and the backing is a coordinate from the same range.

They would have looked a lot more professional with a contrast binding but I didn’t want to bother with that. More slapdashery!

I’m just happy to have spent some time communing with my sewing machine this weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m grateful that we are all over the worst of the covid and life is getting back to normal. I was back to work Friday, worked yesterday, will be there again today, and then I have three days off.

I don’t think it’s worth cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow because some of us are still tasting things weirdly, if at all. But I will sit down with pen and paper tonight and make a meal plan for the coming week in case I need to shop for ingredients.

This is what I made with the T shirt yarn that I showed you last time. I saved the prettier colours for the walls of the basket because that navy and tan is kind of ugly.

The handle is braided from the T shirt hems.

I will definitely cut the strips thinner next time for easier crocheting and a less chunky result.

And the swatch cap is finished and I’m happy with the gauge so I can cast on the sweater.

The sweater is Sporto https://knitty.com/ISSUEwbis11/KSPATTsporto.php and is a free pattern from knitty.com. It’s a top down seamless design, interestingly started from the top of the hood. It’s written for lots of options, either homespun or commercial yarn, a specific gauge or a recipe into which you plug your own gauge.

If you’re in Canada, I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving, appreciating all the joys of fall, family and food.

The plague has hit!

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The family was taken down this week. Oldest son was spared, maybe because he has his bedroom and bathroom downstairs. But Mr Fixit and the two younger sons and I all succumbed to covid so there has been a lot of sleeping, nose-blowing, coughing, etc happening.

Now that the headache has gone, and the cold-like symptoms mostly gone, the things I’m having the hardest time with are the sore mouth (a dry mouth and braces do not mix – I hate waking up to find my braces sticking to the inside of my mouth) and the loss of smell and taste. Sweet stuff started to taste bitter a couple of days ago, but now I really can’t taste anything. That’s a kick in the teeth!

We have all been doing what we can to rest and recuperate and after a couple of days of doing nothing I did manage to put some meals together, do some laundry, and knit a bit.

This is what Elizabeth Zimmermann would have called a swatch cap. I have a sweater in mind that I want to knit so I checked how many stitches were in the body for the 42″ finished size and it was 160. So I cast on 80 and am knitting a beanie which will turn out exactly half the circumference of the sweater. A useful and accurate way to check gauge! That EZ was a genius!

Please note I did not pay full price for that yarn. It was vastly overpriced until it went on clearance at 70% off.

The cowl I was crocheting in the last blog post has been finished for a while. I used up every scrap and it is the perfect length to double up around the neck. I think I may have to get more of this yarn (Lion Brand Mandala Ombre).

So far, three scrubby dishcloths have been made with the other clearance yarn I picked up recently. These are going to be made in between other projects, or if I need something portable.

I have made notes, and will write up the pattern one of these days.

Today I dug out some T shirts I was saving for T shirt yarn. I cut off the bottom hems and cut from bottom to armpits in a spiral to make long strips. I was pretty slapdash as usual and made the strips wider than intended but I think my crochet hook is big enough to accommodate the thickness.

I intend to make a crocheted basket and possibly braid the hems for handles. Not sure how to use up the rest of the pieces but I’d like to keep most of it out of the landfill.

I will show you the result later.

Happy pumpkin season!

Day 1

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Vacation time!

Waiting for our first flight (of three) so of course I cast on my travel knitting project! A two row repeat, garter stitch, super easy!!

The other day I made a couple of tote bags which are for my father-in-law. He likes bright colours. Guys are often hard to buy/make for, but I think he’ll use these.

I have custom ear plugs for sleeping, which I use every night, so I brought those for the 9.25 hour flight across the Atlantic, and I felt that adding an eye mask might help me get some sleep. Usually I find it really hard to sleep on planes unless I’m exhausted, because you just can’t get comfortable in the cramped seats. Blocking out sound and light gives me a fighting chance.

I can’t remember which YouTube channel this was on but it was really easy to make.

The makeaholic makes again

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The makeaholic makes again

Did you see my new byline? I’d be interested to know how many people actually view my blog on a desktop computer and see the pretty WordPress template I use.

I edited the “Just me, waffling on…etc” to “The adventures of a makeaholic”! Credit should go to my boss for the term.

So, what have I got for you this weekend? I’ll try to keep the chat to a minimum.

Legwarmers knitted with Cygnet Chunky and Knit Picks Brava worsted. Same yarn and colours as the batwing sweater. Finished ages ago, forgot to post about them.

Second bucket hat. Sweet Red Poppy, free pattern. Made it smaller, fits perfectly, matches my bag.

Oral hygiene kit. Two layers of cotton, bonded back to back with Heat ‘n Bond. Clear vinyl pockets for all my teeth-cleaning needs. Perfect!

Tiny teapot with removable lid from the book 100 Micro Crochet Motifs by Steffi Glaves. I made it in medium weight yarn just for fun and it finished at 2″ tall. Designer’s was made in sewing thread and was probably a quarter of the size!

And finally, a wallhanging made from a quilt panel. I backed it with batting and cotton, added ladybugs to tie the layers together, hung some small dollar store tools from the bottom with buttons and jute (I bought the tools last year for my gnomes) and added a Garden sign and birdhouse that I found at the dollar store today.

I paid for the fabrics, but I’ll put it on display at work for a while then bring it home to hang it here. It will complement the strawberry summer display I have going on at the front of the store.

If you read my last post, the bag tutorial, you’ll know about the bag FO, so no need to post another photo of that.

Plans in the works: crocheted strawberries, superduper new masks especially for air travel next month, and possibly more bags. And travel plans always go hand-in-hand with crochet/knitting plans because one just cannot waste all that waiting and sitting time doing nothing with one’s hands, right?!

Lots of fun stuff

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I’ve had so much fun playing with colour the last week.

The baby quilt is done. I used a partial panel, backed with pieced squares of cotton batiks, and incorporated bits of ribbon around the edge for the baby to play with. Inspired by the quilt, I crocheted a hedgehog from the book Amigurumi World by Ana Paula Rimoli.

The hedgehog had to be decorated with flowers, just like the one in the centre of the quilt.

My knitting WIP this week is some colourful legwarmers that I’m making with the same yarns as the batwing sweater. The plan is to knit one long tube, then separate in the middle and add cuffs.

The thin purple line is where I will divide and add the ribbing.  No second sock syndrome here!

And with the most physical part of inventory over at the fabric store, I have been relaxing in the evenings with a spot of quality time with my Janome.

The scrappy/black bag was the first. I loved it so much I made two more, tweaking my design as I went.

With the toucan bag, I boxed the corners smaller, which resulted in a taller bag, and the lining wasn’t quite deep enough. It was a happy accident that the lining pokes up above the top edge.

So the Mrs Bobbins quilt-themed bag has an extra half inch height on the lining and it worked perfectly.

All of the bags close with two snaps and have an internal pocket with another snap.

I’m wondering whether to do a 30 day challenge for myself. A bag a day! That would burn up some stash and I could try to sell some of them to fund my future fabric purchases! These bags take quite the chunk of time. The first one was about 2 hours as I was figuring out the measurements but now that I have ironed out the kinks I can make them  more quickly.

Something to think about!

A bit of a dry spell

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The crafty mojo has been in a bit of a slump. I want to sew and crochet and stuff  but haven’t had much ooomph and so there has been minimal activity.

I have this weekend off which means I have the time to make something. This is an item I promised a friend…

It’s a panel of sunshade fabric with two small tension rods for a skylight in her apartment. It gets so hot in the summer that I made this up and hope it works.

I also cut up an old pair of slippers that were from Costco years ago. They were wearing out. I used the pieces as templates for a new pair.

The knit fabric, fleece and grippy fabric were all in stash.

I could have made them a tad smaller but they work!

There was a little bit of knitting this week. I finally used some of the cotton yarn that I dyed with Procion MX dyes.

I ended up with a small towel and two large dishcloths..

I know, it’s bright. This was only my second dyeing attempt. I’ll be interested to see how colourfast it is.

And I completed another task off my To Do list – the seasonal closet clearout. Every spring and fall I pull everything out of my half of the closet and rearrange it, depending on which season we’re going into. Today most of my sweaters went up to the top shelf. There was a reasonable pile of things destined for the thrift store too.

Everything is now hanging neatly back in the closet, ready for summer.

Mr Fixit and I will be going to the gym soon. We just have to wait for the black beans for tonight’s quesadillas to finish cooking.

Have a great week!

Wonderful weekend

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Wonderful weekend

As you know, I had a very productive Friday.

Saturday was slower-paced. I hadn’t slept well, getting up twice in the night because I felt sick. As in, the throwing up kind of sick. No idea why, and I didn’t actually throw up, and there haven’t been any other symptoms, but I was tired Saturday.

We did a Costco run and I popped into the mall to pick up my favourite aloe vera day cream (and this time I bought the night cream too) and I splurged a bit on some strawberry body butter and shower gel.

It was a bit rainy so we skipped the farmer’s market. But I did get a good haul of books from the library.

Not much energy in the afternoon, so I did a lot of sitting and knitting and I now have a finished shawl.

I made this a bit smaller than the pattern suggested. I left off the last few repeats for a finished size across the top edge of around 60″. And I didn’t bother blocking it!

To recap, this is the Freesia shawl by Annie Baker. I used almost two skeins of Berroco Modern Cotton on 4mm needles.

I’m glad it’s done and I can move on to something new.

Saturday evening, Mr Fixit switched on Gardener’s World (we have Britbox  now) and I have to say it’s such an uplifting BBC programme. The presenters are so joyful, it’s inspiring to me (a non-gardener) to see the pleasure that everyone gets from their gardens, flowers, produce etc.

On to Sunday, and it was a beautiful sunny day (up to 21°C/70°F). Mr Fixit and I went downtown to grab a tea from our favourite tea shop and walk through to the lakefront and the wetland.

There were lots of large fish to be seen as well as sunbathing turtles and paddling ducks.

After our walk, we returned home and I put on a swimsuit and spent half an hour soaking up some rays. Then I popped down to my sewing room for a bit of fun with batiks. I’ve been watching the Patreon videos by Kate at The Last Homely House and the latest ones have been recapping a makealong that she did a year ago.

This is called pojagi or bojagi. It’s a Korean method for making a single-layer wrapping cloth with no exposed raw edges (basically a flat fell seam). A quick Google will yield lots of hits. Kate has made window hangings, curtains and bedspreads using this method.

I cut 5-inch squares out of some of my precious batiks and made a small piece and stuck it on my deck door to admire the sunlight shining through it. It’s like stained glass! I love the effect but I don’t think I’d want to make an entire bedspread.

Those turtle batiks are from our first holiday in Maui five years ago!

I just noticed the time and my weekend is almost over. I love doing lots of fun things on my days off. Three days in a row feels like a mini vacation.

What will my next project be…….