Category Archives: hand knitting

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…….

Easter weekend

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Easter to me means chocolate. My family wasn’t religious so when I was a child it was all about the chocolate eggs. Preferably the kind filled with other chocolate like Smarties or something. But it had to be Cadbury’s, not the cheap and nasty stuff that didn’t really taste of anything!

We never did egg hunts like people do now. It’s probably a North American thing that has been adopted in recent years by the British.

This year, we bought some bars of chocolate for the five of us. The bonus was that Superstore was selling their own brand of dark chocolate bars for only $1.79.

I was fortunate to have Saturday and Sunday off. Good Friday I worked but it was a short day due to the stat. Saturday we had a potluck with friends which is always fun and we leave full of good vegan food. And today Mr Fixit and I went out for breakfast. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times we’ve done that! But we drove up to a vegan cafe on the lake and had a “bacon and egger” sandwich and a cinnamon bun followed by a stroll in the sunshine along the beach.

It’s been a cold April so we’re still wearing puffer vests when we’re out (what we Brits used to call bodywarmers or gilets).

I have been doing a bit o’ knittin’ this week, adding to the Freesia shawl. I am about halfway done.

And I have been refreshing my cross stitching skills, having fun with a bit of embroidery with, shall we say, mature content!

I used the alphabet out of that book in the photo which I have owned for about 40 years.

The bird and leaf designs are from a knitting colourwork book that I also own.

And today I made a prototype crossback apron out of cheap canvas based on the pattern in the photo. A friend lent it to me but she had already cut out the small size so I had to adjust things to where I figured the large lines would have been before she cut into the pattern.

It frays like mad, this canvas, so I just zigzagged it before hemming. I have the most gorgeous sewing-themed tapestry fabric for the ‘good’ version. I’m glad I made a practice one first.

I have had less than stellar news from the family on the other side of the pond this week. My mum has had a lot of pain in her hip that has left her barely able to walk so she is in hospital right now, and my sister has the dreaded covid! Hoping for better news by the end of the week, when hopefully my sister will test negative and mum can go home (they live in the same house).

More WIP witterings

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My Freesia shawl by Annie Baker has grown quite a lot in the last two weeks. There are at least two mistakes in it. Last week I was knitting away happily during a Zoom call with my friends in the Vegan Knitters and Crocheters group on Ravelry and noticed a yarnover hole where there wasn’t supposed to be one.

I know what I did. On the 11th row of the repeat there is a change in the instructions- after 13 K2tog/YO combos, instead of just knitting the rest of the row, you do K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1, K2tog. Well, the muscle memory kicked in and I YO’d when I should have K1’d.

Never mind. I dropped down to the hole, hooked it back up and it looks all right.

The second mistake was tonight on the 12th row of the repeat which is the only one without an increase on the plain edge. I did the increase automatically. Again, no one will ever notice.

Not much else has happened in the Craft Department in the last week or two. I added a little bit of stitching to the sashiko vest project. Barely did any crochet.

I have read a couple of novels which possibly explains the lack of productivity.

And I have been experimenting with bread. A couple of weeks ago I attempted hot cross buns but they came out like dense doughballs. They barely rose.

The following week I tried again, using an enhanced version of my usual bread recipe. Rather than individual buns I made two loaves. They were better but still dense and even though they were in the oven for 45 minutes they still seemed underdone in the middle.

Today I tried again. Less salt and oil, and I changed out a third of the whole wheat flour for white.

Nailed it! Slightly sweet and spicy, these loaves were a great texture and well-browned on the crust. (Recipe may follow when I am more awake!)

Ds3 has also been experimenting with making bread. I came home from work the other day to find some very professional looking bread on the kitchen counter. It was white bread but very flavourful. It didn’t last long! (He had bought the white flour that day – we don’t usually have any in the house – which is why I was able to steal a couple of cups of it for my bread today.)

The house got a good airing today. While I was cleaning I opened windows on the south side. It’s been pretty cold for spring (apart from one day when it hit 18°C) but I love to get some fresh air in. As long as I’m keeping active with cleaning bathrooms etc I don’t mind the coolness.

I even hung my towels outside to dry for the first time this year.

Hope your week is going well. I have the chiropractor tomorrow and a knit night with friends in the evening so I’m looking forward to that. And then it’s a few days of work (with a short shift on Friday because it’s Good Friday) and then a weekend off.

Talk to you soon!

WIP: Freesia shawl and other witterings

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WIP: Freesia shawl and other witterings

The shawl is growing. I’m only adding a few rows at a time. It does need some attention, partly because of the slippery yarn but also so that I do my yarnovers and KFBs in the right place. But there’s still plenty of plain knitting and it’s pretty enough that it makes you want to put it down and admire it every so often.

Note the orange lifelines in there, just in case.

I’m also playing with a small design in cotton that I’ll show you if it turns out well. And I’ve crocheted a few scrubbies for the kitchen out of netting, though I only do one of those at a time because it’s hard on the hands. No photos as they go straight into the kitchen drawer when they’re done. But I’ve figured out a quick way to make them so I don’t have to reinvent the proverbial wheel each time.

This zippered bag started out with the remnant of blue vinyl. I had to work around a major flaw across the piece so that dictated the size. The blue goes perfectly with the sewing-themed cotton and I had a zipper in just the right shade too.

I had to wash it after I took photos as the Wonder Tape I used to insert the zipper showed on the outside of the bag (probably because I used my walking foot with the needle moved to the left rather than faff about with the zipper foot).

Originally I thought the zipper was going to go across and stick out at each side but after sewing it in I realised the error of my ways (not following a tutorial again) and ended up boxing the top as well as the bottom.

I used one of my empty thread spools to add a hanging decoration to the zipper pull.

And despite a couple of rethinking moments I’m happy with the result.

The new 58″ TV is turning out to be a good buy. The reorganization of the living room has created more open floor space and every morning I play the same 15 minute yoga video to ease me into the day. I’ve watched a series called Hope Street on Britbox and a couple of times now I’ve come home to find Mr Fixit or one of the boys watching something. A TV is a novelty around here; we haven’t had one for years.

I think we’re all caught up now. Hope you have a great week!

Random stuff

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Well, life has been a lot less stressful lately. British Columbia lifted the mask mandate and my employers followed suit. Whilst I respect everyone’s choice to wear a mask or not, I have chosen to go without. Bliss! In addition I don’t have to police people who come into the store and so there is far less friction in general.

It’s funny though. We had one customer complaining that our staff should still be wearing them. I feel like proclaiming to the world that working in retail has been utter shit at times over the last two years and getting back to some semblance of normal life is a sanity-saver.

Talking of sanity-savers, I had a day off today and I feel like I achieved quite a lot. I did an hour’s workout at the gym. Vacuumed the house and aired it out by opening the windows for a while. Made some reflective armbands for when we go walking in the dark.

Made some mesh laundry bags.

Added pleater tape to the top of four store-bought curtain panels so we can hang them up in our family room (we have an Ikea system, not rods).

Made lasagna. Ate lasagna. Went to yoga.

Crocheted a thing (sort of a bunny container from a tutorial by Repeat Crafter Me) though it doesn’t have any features yet. I pulled out four colours of cotton from the stash the other day, hence the green basket, and there may be something else to come in yellow and lilac.

And cast on my Freesia shawl that I mentioned last time.

Only seven rows in. No more crafting tonight. It’s nearly 10pm now and I’m pooped! Time for bed.

Fluffies and goodies

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I showed you the beginning of the grey cowl last time. It only took three days to knit two cowls. Ten mil needles and furry yarn make a project fly off the needles.

This is Spindle Buttersoft which is a discontinued yarn from the store where I work. Shame because it was very popular. It only took 42 stitches and about 40 rounds to use up the skein.

The Vegan Knitters and Crocheters group on Ravelry is planning an April KAL. It’s going to be a shawl knit/crochetalong, so knowing I wanted to use my stash of Berroco Modern Cotton in the colourway Matunuk I did a search on Ravelry for something in DK that wasn’t too challenging but also not completely mindless.

This shawl design by Annie Baker looks perfect. It’s a paid pattern on Ravelry. I don’t buy many patterns but this one drew me in. Freesia I caked up the three hanks of yarn last night. Doesn’t the yarn coordinate perfectly with my Caspian knitting needles!

I had some happy mail yesterday too.

A while ago, maybe a couple of months, I heard my name mentioned on the Little Drops of Wonderful podcast. Ali said I had won something in one of her makealongs and I was very excited! The package arrived (and was a total surprise because I had forgotten about it by the time it got here)!

I won a project bag and book and Ali had put in a couple of ‘You are a Little Drop of Wonderful’ pins and stickers. Fun!

I’m itching to do some fun sewing this weekend. Not sure what yet. Depends how much time I have.

A caterpillar on my couch

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Look at this lovely fuzziness!

I’ve had these two balls of Spindle Yarns Buttersoft in the stash for some time. I made the simple cowl pattern on the back of the ball band in 2018 with my first ball of the fluff and then couldn’t get any more.

When it came in the second time I grabbed two more balls as I regretted giving away the cowl. I’ve cast on a new one – it’s a very simple pattern – 42 stitches and knit in the round until the yarn runs out. It’s so soft!

I was tidying my sewing room tonight which is something I do when I’m not sure what I want to work on. This is why I ended up with a new knitting project!

It’s not perfect. The floor now needs vacuuming again because I was pulling stuff out. But at least the work surfaces are clear. The project sitting next to the sewing machine is my hand-stitched sashiko vest of which I should probably get up to date photos.

My other knitting project is the top down sweater. The circular yoke is almost done, at which point I’ll try it on. I am having teensy weensy reservations about the gauge and wondering whether I should have used smaller needles for a denser fabric.

No up to date photos of that either.

I did play with strips of fabric and made some fabric twine which is something I’ve seen a couple of YouTubers do. Lorrie Nunemaker and StitchesbyJulia, I think. I put on a movie last night (it was suggested by Netflix, a Ryan Reynolds one called The Adam Project) and twisted the night away! I did more today.

Interestingly it made my left wrist sore, the one which was gripping the strips, rather than my right wrist which was doing the twisting.

So pretty though.

The couch was covered in threads though. I had to vacuum afterwards!

I’d better get off the couch now. I want to go to bed but the dish fairy failed to show up so there’s a few things to wash. Take care, and keep crafting.

A mini yarn review, and other fun stuff

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A mini yarn review, and other fun stuff

Hello and welcome to my sofa full of blankets. Actually the granny-in-progress is dominating the space right now. I have five more rounds to do until I audition it on my queen size futon. Each round is eating a lot of yarn and time so I can probably count on one round per day.

I have to say, I didn’t think I’d ever buy this Craft Smart acrylic from Michaels but it’s soft and cushy, and I prefer it to the Bernat Super Value which is more expensive and thinner, even though they are in the same weight bracket.

It isn’t my imagination. I just checked the yardage per 7oz ball and the Craft Smart is 354 yards and the Bernat is 440. I wish Michael’s had had the Craft Smart in black because I much prefer it (and it would have been $3.99 instead of $6.99).

I have cast on a sweater! The Cygnet Chunky that I bought for a sweater last year (but unravelled) is being pressed into service to make a top down seamless yoke sweater using my Ann Budd book for the numbers. The large scrappy drawstring bag that I sewed recently is perfect for holding the project and warms the cockles of my heart every time I look at it.

I need to find some bright pink and green yarns to jazz up the cuffs and neckline of this garment but for now it’s just a lot of round and around stockinette. I have worked 6 5 inches of the yoke so far.

After seeing Karen of Just Get it Done Quilts and Kate of The Last Homely House play with their quilt scraps, sewing them to adding machine paper, I was excited when my friend found some rolls for me at a thrift store. I had some time this afternoon to start making my own colourful strips. I cut my paper at 13″ because I doubt I’ll make quilt blocks that are bigger than 12.5″. Karen makes hers 18″.

It was a lovely day off today. The sun was pouring in, I did some housework, and got the tea things out in time for 11am.

Tea, coffee and gluten-free gingerbread cake, friends, laughter and sunshine. What a way to brighten the day!

And we’ve booked flights to go and visit the family in the summer. Can’t wait!

Two FOs and a WIP

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Hello! I hope everything is well in your world.

I’m very pleased that this beanie is finished. The moose and trees look a bit lumpy – not my best colourwork ever – but I like the way the text and snowflakes showed up.

You may recall that this was a free pattern on Ravelry. And the name of it is obvious: it’s called Fuck the Cold hat. I knitted it with 3.75mm needles using Lion Brand Mandala for the background and Stylecraft Special DK for the contrast.

If I made this exact hat again, I would use 4mm needles. And I’d start the Mandala yarn at a different place in the cake so it didn’t jump from turquoise ribbing to the dark shades and back to turquoise at the top. I used the colours as they came, but I did trim some yardage in places so that I’d see as many of the colour changes as possible.

The granny throw is still growing and it’s my favourite project for these winter evenings. It’s about 56″ square now. I still have quite a lot of grey and black yarn left, and a basket of colours, but my choices are getting more limited. I know this is a stashbuster but I may need to supplement with a few new skeins!

Finally, a sewing FO. This took a couple of hours this afternoon. One of the ladies at work has an 80th birthday coming up so I made her a bag. This fabric is heavier than the usual quilt cotton and I liked it so much I bought a metre to add to the stash. Now I’m getting to use it along with a piece of vinyl that was damaged at one end.

I thought she’d use a tote rather than a zippered pouch or drawstring bag, and I added a magnetic clasp and a D ring on the inside. Next I think it would be nice to get some chocolates to put in it.

Tonight I’ve had my bean burrito and salad and now I’m cosied up for some crochet time. Heaven!

Weekend WIPs update

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I seem to be falling into a weekly blog habit. I don’t have a schedule but when a week has gone by without a post I get a niggling reminder in the back of my brain that it’s time to write something.

Do you like the heart? My sister’s stepson makes these, back in Blighty. She sent it to me for Christmas. They are sold to raise funds for Healing Waves in the island of Jersey, which is a charity that takes people with different challenges out into the chilly Atlantic Ocean to surf.

So what are the WIPs this week, I hear you ask!

Version 2 of the Fuck the Cold Beanie. I’m using Lion Brand Mandala for the background and cutting out some of the yarn to make the colours change a little quicker. The gold for the tree and moose is Stylecraft Special DK. Needles are 3.75mm/US5. The gauge is tighter, the stranded colourwork is neater and I’m much happier.

Granny is nearly four feet square. Still lots of yarn left in the bags!

A taster of the sashiko stitching on my denim vest. This has a long way to go but that’s OK.

A small side project inspired by the upcoming Valentine’s Day and gnomie love quilt cotton! Upcycled denim hearts which I am embellishing with fabric, ribbon, buttons etc. I spent a couple of hours faffing about in my sewing room this evening and I intend to complete all six of these before Tuesday.

We had a potluck lunch with friends today and as usual we ate enough that I didn’t need any dinner. So we just wound up our day with a turmeric tea.

I hope your weekend is going well and that you’re making time to be crafty and creative.