Crochet kits

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I don’t have a lot to show for this week. There were actually a couple of days when I didn’t pick up hook or needles until I realised that my mild anxiety over my upcoming holiday would be smoothed out by making something simple. I pulled out some Bernat Handicrafter last night and crocheted a dishcloth and felt better.

However I do want to show you these kits…

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I work at a fabric store which also stocks a small amount of yarn. Every now and then, some boxes arrive which must be part of some sort of buy-out. I once bought a dozen facecloths, really smooshy ones, for about 40 cents each. This time, it was these kits. My boss showed me the kits and I thought, well, those are going to be expensive, maybe $30 each, so I doubt I’ll get one. Then she looked up the retail price on them and it was……$3.40!!! OMG! Less my staff discount, I picked up these three kits for less than ten bucks. (Those kits were gone, mostly to staff, within 24 hours!)

They have yarn, pattern, crochet hook, darning needle, toy stuffing, safety eyes – basically everything you need.  I don’t know how great the acrylic yarn is, or how strong the plastic hook will be considering it’s a 3mm, but I have metal hooks so that’s not an issue.

The monkey and the rabbit came in larger boxes but the monster was in a smaller one, and I was amused to open the monster kit and find it all vacuum packed within an inch of its life.

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I cut those packets open to let everything puff up back to normal.

So yes, my holiday starts Monday and it involves three flights, one of which is about 9 hours long, across the Atlantic. DS1 is coming with me. Of course packing is easy, as we keep it light to avoid baggage check-in and waiting at the carousels, and the biggest decision is my travel knitting/crochet.

After a lot of Ravelry browsing, I was inspired by a colour change cowl and had a lightbulb moment. I am therefore taking eight colours of my Deramores Studio DK and my sets of interchangeable Knitpicks needles and Denise hooks. The plan is to start knitting a cowl or scarf in the round, casting on after going through airport security here, and change colour for each leg of the journey. There’s always so much waiting around at airports, knitting opportunities in planes and cabs and during one’s holiday, that I should be able to finish a project in the two weeks I’m away. And if I need more yarn, I can pick some up over there.

This weekend involves some last minute shopping, bread baking, laundry and cleaning. The Plant-Based Nutrition presentation that I was going to do tonight has been postponed so that’s freed up about five hours, if you count travelling time, so I am less pressured. Tomorrow we have a potluck lunch at someone else’s house.

We have had an abnormally wet spring here in the Central Okanagan (BC, Canada) and with the milder temperatures, the melting snowpack and the rain have caused the creeks to burst their banks in many places and the lake to rise quickly. It is managed at the south end by a dam, but it’s rising faster than it can be released. We’ve had flooding in a number of areas on both sides of the lake, and people evacuated or on alert. Thankfully we are high and dry here, away from the lake and any creeks, and the lawn is about a foot deep in new green growth, the trees have leafed out and the lilac has blossomed. Tai Chi Man says he’s going to mow the lawn this weekend, which is a shame in a way, but it does look tidier when it’s all one length, even if it IS a mixture of grass, yarrow, weeds, and bulbs.

Well this turned into a long spiel so I shall sign off. If things are quiet around here, you’ll know why. I’ll be having too much fun with my mum, my sister, her daughter-in-law and the new baby! This holiday is all about the women!

 

FO: Twiddle muff!

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Yup, really, it’s a twiddle muff!

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I’d better explain. Knitters and crocheters are making these twiddle muffs for people with Alzheimer’s. Apparently having something to fiddle with helps with anxiety. So once you have the basic shape, which is a tube of single or double thickness, you add various doodads to make it interesting. Different stitches for texture, buttons, flowers, D rings, beads, whatever you like.

Mine is crocheted in fuzzy Patons Diana, as I have a lot of it from another person’s destash, and I added flowers sewn on with buttons and a string of beads on the outside, and some D rings, plastic rings on a crocheted chain, and buttons on the inside.

This is for my boss’s mother, who’s in a home with dementia. Hopefully she will like it and it will get some use.

It’s been a beautiful sunny day today, around 20 degrees, and Tai Chi Man and I headed for a nearby  mountain and discovered a new trail. We also had to buy a new kettle (the old one just quit) and we were happy to find a Kitchen Aid one at London Drugs that can be set to heat to any temperature from 50 to 100 Celsius. We also picked up a couple of new Pyrex dishes because I did a very silly thing this morning. I was making oat bars, and had my nice blue 9 x 13″ dish full of mixture ready to go into the oven. I also had a pan of water on stove, behind the dish, that I wanted to heat to make tea (because the aforementioned kettle died). Well, I stupidly switched on the wrong hotplate, walked out of the room briefly to talk to Tai Chi Man, and was suddenly half deafened by an explosion as blue glass shattered in all directions. I’m very thankful no one was close by at the time. And what a waste of food.

I seem to be on a run of stupidity, or shall we call it lack of mindfulness, lately. Broke a glass last week when the jar of salt slipped out of my hand. Damaged BOTH our cars when I backed out of the carport, forgetting my dear husband’s car was halfway up the drive. We were talking at the time, I was distracted, and the resulting collision was sickening. Broke the Pyrex dish today. Snipped my finger as well as the yarn while making the muff. Good grief!

Time to make tea and get on with things….carefully!

 

FO: Classique Cotton bag, and other stuff

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I had a little play with some of my Stylecraft Classique Cotton colours. I thought this would make a nice bag – sometimes you just need room for a phone and a key, and maybe a driver’s licence and a credit card.

I used the plum colour to seam it and I’m not 100% happy with how it looks, so rather than go with my original plan, which was to give it to a co-worker, I may just keep it for myself.

See that magazine there? It’s not often that I find a magazine worth buying, but I happened to be in London Drugs today and as usual I browsed through the available knitting magazines (there weren’t any crochet ones). Vogue Knitting has had some, shall we say, Interesting designs in the past that maybe a stick-thin model can get away with but on me, an average height, average weight, rather plain middle-aged girl, they would have looked just plain dumb! However I saw interesting articles, Canadian content and patterns I would actually knit, including a Cowichan-style sweater. Even though I don’t knit with wool, being vegan, I have long wished to make such a garment. I’m sure the knitting police won’t arrest me for using acrylic!!!

I actually bought two magazines.

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Whilst I already have adopted the whole-food, plant-based lifestyle and am now pretty adept at cooking vegan meals without oil, I do like to experiment with new recipes. Not only that, but I am currently preparing an educational presentation on the diet which needs to be ready by  next weekend for its first airing, and having this magazine to hand will, I think, be useful.

If you haven’t yet watched the Forks Over Knives documentary or checked out their website, I heartily recommend them.

I will shortly be retiring to bed with my new magazines, and the only reason I can get away with that tonight is that Tai Chi Man is working out of town so is not here to object to me reading in bed. He always goes to bed earlier than I do, because he works full-time and wakes early and is pretty knackered by about 10pm. Whereas I tend to stay up late (Netflix has a lot to answer for) and get up later in the morning.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Happy crafting!

Two more WIPs whipped

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This BasicSimpleLazy hat is done! It’s for my sister’s stepson Ben, for whom I’ve never brought a gift in previous trips to the old country. And as his teeny niece has been and will be a recipient of a bounty of my handmade goods, I felt he shouldn’t be left out this time.

Sally the styrofoam head above is, of course, smaller than a real head (why do they do that) so it doesn’t fill out the hat in a flattering way, so ignore the bumpy crown which will, I’m sure, sit fine once on a real head. (I just pulled it down further over Sally’s eyes and the crown looks lovely now!)

I followed the pattern…mostly: DK yarn (Deramores Studio DK), US5 needles (3.75mm?), knitted to 5″ before shaping the crown, did the decreases as described. The only change was a cast on of 120 instead of 108, and my touch of colour was a bit more than a plain stripe. Circumference is 20″, depth 8″.

The other WIP that I whipped today is the second Agnes Lace Cowl this week, this time in Loops & Threads Facets, colour Ruby. It looks similar to the last one, though that was more reddy-purply and this one is more pinky-greeny.

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It’s so hard to get the colours to look right. The sun was shining in my deck door and I picked a shady spot nearby so the photo wasn’t too dark, but too much light washes things out. I used an 8mm hook and about 120 grams of this yarn (a ball plus part of a second) to get a cowl that measures about 10″ wide and 24″ around.

Only two weeks until my holiday, when I get to see my mum, my sister and my new great-niece. Can’t wait!

WIP: Ben’s hat

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A new project is on the needles and I’m following this pattern: BasicSimpleLazy! That’s a Ravelry link because it’s a free Rav download. It really is basic – most of us could probably make this kind of beanie in our sleep. A couple of inches of 2×2 ribbing followed by stockinette and traditional crown decreasing. The designer’s gauge was 6st to the inch, mine a little looser, and I decided I needed more than an 18″ circumference. I cast on 120 rather than 108 and I think (hope) it’s looking good.

With hindsight it would have been better to use a smaller needle for the ribbing but it’s too late for that now. I am into the stockinette section and have added a thin band of colourwork for interest. I love the jade with the chocolate – what do you think?

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The colours are richer than that in real life. (Deramores Studio DK, in Chocolate and Jade, 100% acrylic, size US5 needles.)

I had to take my car to the Toyota dealer today to get the brakes sorted out (expensive)! The courtesy shuttle dropped me off at one of my favourite coffee shops and I made some progress on the hat, but after a couple of hours I was antsy and needed to move. It’s a long road from the coffee shop to Toyota, but it’s flat, and the weather was sunny and windy and I was up for some walking. My downfall was that Michaels was on my way and I just happened to find this clearance yarn.

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It’s Loops & Threads Facets and I bought a couple of balls of the green/turquoise colourway (centre left) before, and then it disappeared from their shelves. I had browsed their regular priced stuff (twice) and was on my way towards the door when I saw the clearance rack and there was lots of this stuff. Such beautiful colours, and as it’s a bulky yarn it crochets up really fast for gifts. I haven’t given all of my co-workers a surprise gift yet (something I am doing just because, for no reason, in no particular order, with no deadline). Well, it was half price, and I bought 12.

I carried on to the dealership to get my car and made my way home, with the smell of new brakes trailing behind me!

I suppose I’d better start dinner, though my legs would rather I stayed on the couch!!!

 

FO: BSJ

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Yup, we knitters and crocheters have our own code. Who needs html?!

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Today’s Finished Object is another Baby Surprise Jacket. I was very virtuous today. I decided to walk to the store where I work to get buttons so that I could get some exercise at the same time as getting the supplies to turn this into an FO! It took me 20 minutes to get there and 25 to get home (more uphill on the way back). The sun was lovely and warm, but there’s a coolness in the breeze still, so it’s wise to wear a couple of layers so that you can peel one off if you get too warm.

The yard is looking nice and green again, with the lawn growing, the daffodils, tulips and pansies adding a bit of colour, the apricot blossom full out and the cherry on its way. I think Spring is my favourite season.

The neighbours have had a small digger working in the backyard the last few days moving what looks like tonnes of soil to make space for a foundation for a carriage house. Tai Chi Man and I went to look over the fence earlier, and the guys were in the hole and have already constructed a wood frame for the concrete. The carriage house will be for the husband’s parents when it’s finished. I’m sure it’ll look good when it’s done – we had no objection to it – we’ll overlook it and still have our view.

I visited the dentist for a cleaning today. The hygienists at our regular dentist’s seem to have changed a lot over the years but I’m hoping the latest one stays for a long time. She is really nice and I actually don’t get stressed out going there any  more. Yes, even a checkup used to be stressful. She still scrapes away at my teeth but I know it’s going to be over quickly and she is careful. I don’t have any cavities but I am going back in June to have a little bit of in-filling done at the gumline where there’s been some gum recession. I have also asked for some tidying up to be done on my front teeth where they have been chipped multiple times. I have really crooked teeth (“British teeth” :-P)and have wanted braces for as long as I can remember, but it’s unlikely to happen, so making the teeth look better will at least help me feel a bit more confident about smiling at people!

Well, enough of my waffling. I hope your day is sunny in every way. Talk to you again soon.

 

 

You know you’re an addict when…

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…you finish a baby jacket (except for the buttons, but that has to wait) and you go out for a Sunday afternoon walk and cup of tea but in the back of your mind you are thinking, “What shall I make next?” It gives me the jitters to think that there’s nothing on the hooks or needles!

So this week’s WIP (99% done because it just needs buttons) is the second Baby Surprise Jacket. This is what it looked like after binding off.

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Sort of a rectangle with lots of increases and decreases that doesn’t look like it could be anything wearable.

But the magic happens when you fold it…

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And once again, so many ends to weave in! Note to self: use self-striping yarn next time.

The first go around at seaming the shoulders left me with a teeny neck opening that looked like it would strangle a baby, so I unpicked the seams and redid them, then picked up stitches and added a row of garter around the neck. Much better!

These are shades of Stylecraft Special DK and this time I used US6 needles. It turned out quite a bit smaller than the turquoise one that I made with US8s.

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I need to take this to work with me and choose buttons because as usual my stash of buttons is mostly mismatched sizes, shapes and colours from dollar store purchases and I really need a set of five.

My itchy fingers last night led to me starting a BB8 hat (inspired by the droid from Star Wars’ The Force Awakens).  That’s a Ravelry link as it’s a free Ravelry download. The baby (now overdue) has parents who are Star Wars fans and I think they’ll like it. It’s probably a bit big for a newborn at 16″ circumference but hopefully will fit next winter.

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These yarns are mostly Stylecraft Special Aran, but the grey is Red Heart With Love. I wouldn’t recommend using these yarns in the same project, as the RHWL is a true aran weight while the Stylecraft is a worsted weight.

Of course finishing this hat (which was a really fast and easy project) has left me, once again, WIPless. What’s a girl to do? Go and dig in the stash and find some more yarn to play with, of course!