Category Archives: waffling

Elemental armwarmers

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ELEMENTAL  ARMWARMERS 

A new pattern based on an old design of mine (Elements armwarmers), these fingerless mitts have been re-knitted and updated almost ten years after I published the pattern. 

I have used Scheepjes Stone Washed XL which is 70% cotton, 30% acrylic. I bought a box of 50 mini skeins, along with five 50g balls of the cream, and after I finished crocheting a sweater I had lots left over. The original mitts were made with a colour-changing yarn, so there were way fewer tails to weave in. Of course you can use whatever aran weight yarn you like. 

The weight of these when finished is 80 grams so you could just use one 100g skein of yarn. Or you can go nuts with colour, like I did!

What you’ll need:

100g aran weight yarn, either all one colour or a combination

5mm/US8 needles, either a long circular for magic loop or dpns

Sizing:

Designed to fit a 7.75” hand, measured around the palm above the thumb, a 6” wrist and 10.5” forearm. 

Finished dimensions 6.5” around hand, 7” at wrist, 9” at forearm. Total length 11”.

The first rendition of the pattern stretched out considerably around my hand, so I’ve remade it with less ease. Once you know your gauge, it’s a simple case of adjusting the numbers to fit your own arms.

Gauge:

13sts/3” (4.33sts/inch) and 7 rows/inch. 

No need to knit a gauge swatch – this project is small enough that you can start knitting and measure your stitch gauge after the first inch of stockinette/stocking stitch. Row gauge is not crucial as you are knitting to measurements. And you can try on as you go.

Abbreviations:

K knit

P purl

St/sts stitch/stitches

CO cast on

BO bind off

Rnd round

K2tog knit 2 together (decrease)

Dec decrease

Beg beginning

dpns double pointed needles

How to:

Cast on 42 stitches and either divide them between your dpns or set up your circular needle for magic loop. (Pro tip – make sure each needle starts with a knit stitch, not a purl stitch.) Join in the round. Work K1, P1 ribbing for 5 rounds. (42 sts)

Change to stockinette (knit all stitches) and work 7 rounds. (42 sts)

Next round: dec by K2tog in two places while working this round (I positioned my decs randomly, just trying to make sure they weren’t stacking above each other in subsequent rounds. If you’d rather do all decs at beg and end of round, then feel free to do so.) (40 sts)

**K 7 rounds, work dec round; repeat from ** four times. (32 sts)

K straight until your work measures 10”, or desired length to base of thumb, from cast on edge. 

Thumb:

(My original design made two identical mitts – this time I positioned the thumbholes differently so that the colour jogs were not running along the top of my hand – it’s your choice as to what you do here.)

Left mitt: BO 8 sts, K to end of round. (24 sts)

Right mitt: K to 8 sts from end of round, BO 8 sts (24 sts)

Next round: K around, use knitted cast on method to CO 6 or 7 sts over the gap created by the BO in the last round. (I did 6, it was pretty snug, again it depends on the fit you want.)

The thumbhole rounds may need some finagling on your needles. You may need to shift stitches around on your dpns/circs to make it easier to BO and CO these stitches. 

K 5 rounds, or more for more coverage. (The original design had ribbing at the hand – I ended up ripping and redoing three times because it looked messy and went with continuing the stockinette instead.)

Bind off. Weave in ends (or knot and trim if you’re lazy like me).

Notes on colour: I chose to work the initial ribbing in one colour, then do 3 row stripes of each colour, and then the thumbhole and last 5 rows in one colour. I couldn’t tell you what the names of these colours are as the labels came off when I made the sweater. And  my mitts are fraternal rather than identical twins!

FOs: sewn and crocheted

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FOs: sewn and crocheted

G’day all! I hope I find you well.

My 4S program is really helping to keep me moving. The Strength part has been a circuit that I’ve set up downstairs, with some music, and various exercises with dumbbells and bands and things. The Stamina is mostly walking, with some gardening thrown in. The Stretch is yoga, and the weather has co-operated so that I could enjoy some Sunbathing, in my swimsuit no less!

Some days, I’ve managed three out of four, though my goal is two.

I just realised Sewing is another S that I enjoy, and I did finish a couple more things today. These shorts…

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…are not something that I would be seen dead in in public! However I had this remnant and thought I’d try the “make a pair of leggings from a pair you already own” as per the Crafty Gemini tutorial. I made them as shorts because (a) it was just an experiment and (b) I only had a small piece of fabric. I must say, I was surprised with how well they worked out. My new sewing machine has a bunch of stitch options and I used a couple of the stretch stitches to put these shorts together. If this fabric was a lot sturdier and held in the <ahem> wobbly bits a bit better they would work as swimshorts and I could make a bikini top to go with them.

At least my old fear of sewing knit fabric is waning!

An old interest has been sparked again recently. I pulled out my quilting books, some of which are full of templates for foundation piecing. What this involves is tracing the outlines onto a sheer fabric, interfacing or tracing paper, or you can photocopy them from the book and use that instead. Then you place small pieces of fabric behind the paper outlines and sew them together, through the paper, in the order of the numbers on the paper. The paper is torn off at the end.

I thought I’d have a play with this rat block, to which I added fabric top and bottom and then turned it into a zippered pouch.

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This is a pretty sloppy effort! I’m not proud of it. The zipper seams are not perfect, the quilting lines didn’t stay in the ditch, and the part on the top of the head where it meets the ear doesn’t match up. I could blame getting used to the new sewing machine but I should probably just suck it up and take responsibility!

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I am happier with this result – the Loops & Threads Barcelona cowl/snood. The colourway is Lapis. It’s very muted but I do like the variations. The circumference is 29″ and the length top to bottom is 21″, which is long enough to be able to wear it as a hood.

And my other crochet FO:

Four little nesting pots or bowls, for which I have no plans at the moment. They could be used as mini yarn bowls, plant pot covers or just catch-alls for random bits and pieces. These used up some of my miscellaneous DK yarn that I’d wound into cakes using odds and ends of different colours. By using two cakes at a time and holding two strands together, the colours seem to work! And I like leaving the ends hanging, trimmed to a uniform length, for added quirkiness.

Well, I think that’s us up to date. I need to get a daylight photo of my knitted blanket to show the progress. Tomorrow, if I remember. Take care!

 

 

So excited!

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Guess what! I have a new sewing machine!

It’s a Janome 4120QDC and I bought it after a fair amount of research of brands and prices based on the features I wanted in a new machine. My basic machine that I’ve had for over 20 years is a Janome, and I’ve been thinking of upgrading for a couple of years. Of course, with most stores closed, I didn’t get to play with different machines before I bought one. I ordered this from a local quilt shop, e-transferred the money, and they called me a week later.

I have read the manual, watched the DVD (how old-fashioned!) and tomorrow I will test it out.

One of the things people are finding out right now is how high maintenance they are! Do you usually go to the hair salon every 6 weeks, do you get your nails done every month, get waxed, tanned, massaged, whatever? Well, with all this social distancing, we are having to be more self-sufficient. Luckily I have been cutting my own hair since Christmas. We have clippers, scissors and combs, and that’s all I need to give myself a short back and sides, a bit longer on top. In fact, after I’d done the 23mm job the other day, I went back over it with the 15mm. It’s SO tempting to just keep going and do the lot but I didn’t!

My nails are natural – they grow really well when I’m not working, though I still break one now and then, so they aren’t all even lengths.

And my hair, well, that hasn’t been a natural colour for a long time! When I cut it, the old colour was gone. And I actually quite liked it brown with a bit of grey. So I left it for a few days. But I had bought some more Manic Panic Flash Lightning and some Atomic Turquoise and Hot Hot Pink (thank you, Sally Beauty, for doing curbside pickup) so today I took the plunge and did my whole head!

It’s kind of a tie dye look, isn’t it!?

Yesterday I had a big sewing jag. I was going to make a bag, but instead got sidetracked looking through bits and pieces in my stash. And I’ve had these thin knits for years, bought when I was quite new to working at the fabric store and this stuff was $3 a metre and I bought far too much of it in three or four colours.

I finally feel like I made something worthwhile out of it.

The skirts are simple rectangles with elasticated waists, with a half lining inside in the same fabric. I didn’t even neaten the hems. And the PJs are from a self-made pattern from an old pair.

The tie dye skirt is a rayon fabric that I recently brought home.

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I used the fabric sideways because I needed the extra length to fit around me with enough to spare, and that also meant I could use the selvage as the hem without sewing. (Can you tell I’m a lazy ass sewist?)

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This is my batik stash. I had them all in one drawer. The small messy pile is made up of leftover scraps but the other pieces are good sizes. The turtle ones, second from left, are half-yard cuts from a quilt shop in Maui. After I laid them out, I washed them on cold, hung them to get mostly dry and ironed them. They are now neatly folded and back in the drawer. Yes, the untouchable part of my stash! You know that feeling, saving it for ‘best’, like precious yarn, or the good china!!

And finally (at last, I hear you say) here’s my finished Cakes Two to Tango shawl. It took almost two complete cakes of Lion Brand Mandala.

I love it and want to make another someday.

More sanity-saving stash sewing

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I’m rather pleased with this bag. It isn’t interfaced with anything, so there are just two layers of quilting cotton. However, I challenged myself to design a bag with multiple compartments (inspired by the divided SockSacks) AND make it a round bottomed bag.

As I said on Facebook just now, I faced my nemesis and WON! I dislike sewing a circle into a cylinder because it usually takes a couple of attempts to get it right. In the case of the external fabric, I had to cut a whole new piece as my first one was too short. The lining, however, was a bit too big, so I just made a new seam inside the first one and did a bit of trimming to fit.

The partitions worked out just right, and even the seam around the top edge, which started to look weird and made me think I’d have to take in some fabric on one of the seams, worked out fine. All in all, a success!

Other items completed this week:

More little boxes from Lizzy Curtis (without the interfacing and with a slightly different construction to make the top edge neater). An experimental mask from an Erica Arndt tutorial. And a little coin purse from a JSDaily tutorial. (All YouTube.)

I ventured out this morning to see whether I could do a shop at Costco. I left it a little late though, as by the time I got there, there was already a massive queue, in the shade, and it was only 2 degrees Celsius, so I told my son (who was driving) to forget it. We have enough food to see us through into next week.

I hope you are managing okay, whether you are working or not, and that you are staying healthy. Remember, fear and stress lower the immune system so keep calm and carry on!

 

We have a winner!

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Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay 

 

I drew the name of the winner of the giveaway today. I did it the old-fashioned way. I wrote down the names of the 16 people who commented on the post, cut them into individual pieces and folded them, and asked my middle son to randomly pick one out of the yarn bowl.

The winner is Esther from the Netherlands (purpledream on Ravelry). Congratulations, Esther! I have emailed you and PM’d you on Ravelry to get your address so hopefully it will be heading your way soon.

Thank you to all who participated. I learned something new. That the Norwegians do, of course, have a name for the period between Christmas and New Year – Romjul! We have the Danish Hygge and the Norwegian Romjul: what other Scandinavian delights can we embrace (vegan ones, of course)?

I hope you’re enjoying some cosiness today.

 

A giveaway!

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I promised you a giveaway a week or so ago, and here it is!

(Edited to add: make sure to leave me a way to contact you, like a Ravelry or Instagram name, or link it to some other online profile. And check back on the 21st for the winner announcement.)

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I sewed this Alpaca Lunchbag a few months ago. I have not used it, so it’s still new. It would be a great size for a crochet or knitting project. No one is going to arrest you for not packing your lunch in it!

It is lined with the same fabric inside. The fleece applique is fused on with Heat n Bond, and the facial features are embroidered. The pompom trim is sewn on either side of the neck. I wouldn’t toss this in the machine – rather, a handwash would be more appropriate. It’s about 12.5 x 11 inches, and also (thanks to my experimenting with a continuous zipper pouch tutorial) comes with a matching little bag for notions or dry snacks or whatever.

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This giveaway will be open worldwide and I will give you all a couple of weeks to comment on this post to enter. Closing date will be January 21st 2020.

What I’d like you to tell me is

(a) what do you think that the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day should be called? You know, that time when no one knows what day it is, nobody wants to go to work, and a lot of businesses are closed.

and (b) what fun thing would you do in 2020 if money were no object?

Good luck!

 

FOs: Rainbow slouch and marvellously fluffy cowl

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A common habit of mine is, after finishing a large project, to complete a few small projects for instant gratification. This hat is a typical example, though I had a reason for making it. One of my co-workers asked me if I’d make her a red and black stripey slouchy hat, and I wanted to give one a trial run.

I used this pattern (Ravelry link) and it was a quick and easy project. It’s somewhat snugger than my friend wants, though – she tried this one on so now I know to add some more width and slouch to make hers just right.

I used some of the leftover yarn from making the Groovyghan so I now have a hat that coordinates with my blanket. Perhaps I should keep it in my bedroom, next to the bed, for those nights when I just can’t get warm!!!

Another project that’s hot off my needles is this one:

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This cowl is made with one ball of Spindle Yarns Buttersoft, a faux fur yarn that’s new in at the store where I work. It’s our own brand and, OH MY, when my boss showed me the cowl she had knitted up I was motivated to make one myself. This yarn is so soft and the best of its type I have ever felt.

This cowl is just 42 stitches in the round on 10mm needles, stockinette (not that you can tell) and I turned it inside out when I finished it because I think the reverse side is even fluffier than the knit side. Cast it on yesterday, bound it off after work tonight. Gorgeous!

Next, the red and black slouchy beanie.

 

 

Cast-ocalypse Week Two

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Aren’t these just the most awesome fabrics?! I had a friend drive me to the fabric store where I work today so I could say Hello to my co-workers and get a sewing pattern and this quilting cotton was on sale. I had had my eye on it for a while. I snapped up a metre of each in case they sell out before I get back to work. 

I attempted a bit more knitting and crochet yesterday but it was a pain, literally – I had to give up after a few minutes. 

I have adapted to the one-handed life now, and the family is learning what I can and cannot do. They are having to help with cans, jars, chopping, hand washing dishes, vacuuming, etc. I’m getting more comfortable with writing with my left hand.  

Over the last week I’ve read two ebooks and most of a regular one, and watched a season of Imposters on Netflix.

Today the big task that I’ve been procrastinating over for years was finally started. I pulled out the flash drive of backed up digital photos from the fire safe and started to upload them, rename them and sort them into folders for eventual creation of Photobooks. If I can get this job done while I’m off work, I will consider my time well spent.

Hopefully you are all well and happily crafting away. Talk to you again soon.

FO: VW Campervan bag

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This baby is DONE!

The pattern is my own design, though I relied heavily on cushion and bag pattern pictures on Ravelry and photos on Pinterest. The yarn is Loops & Threads Impeccable (except for the black) and I used a 5mm hook. It resulted in a fairly stiff fabric, which is fine for a bag, but if it was a wearable item I’d definitely use a 5.5mm.

The lining fabric is from the store where I work, and is a very appropriate peace sign print. I added a pocket in the lining, and a magnetic button for the top closure.

This was quite fun to design on the hook, and even the unravelling and redoing of the front windows (the stranded look was crappy so I changed it for intarsia) didn’t take long and wasn’t onerous. I’m glad I did it as I wouldn’t have been 100% happy with the finished object otherwise.

The project took about 16 days from start to finish and now the big question is, “What next?”