Tag Archives: Bernat Pop!

Hat FOs: almost-instant-gratification

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Hat FOs: almost-instant-gratification

Hats are relatively quick projects that are enjoyable and allow a lot of opportunity for creativity. Yes, you do have to make them to fit somebody, but there’s a lot of leeway there if you’re not attached to having them fit a particular person!

I finished two more hats, one crocheted, one knitted. The first is a free pattern from Yarnspirations called Cable Twist Hat. I haven’t done many crocheted cables, but they are pretty straightforward. However I can’t help feeling that the cable crossings would have been a lot simpler done right over left, rather than left over right. Also, I thought that the stitch count for the first round seemed way too big, so I took out a 12-stitch pattern repeat and worked on 60 stitches instead of 72. Bit of a mistake, really, as I failed to account for the “sucking-in effect” of the cable pattern, so ended up with a hat that would probably fit a ten year old rather than an adult woman.

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It fits Sally the Styrofoam Head perfectly. Shaun the Sheep is rolling his eyes at my thoughtless pattern adaptation!

The tension on this was quite tight with the Red Heart Super Saver and 5mm hook. I think if I were to make this again, I would keep the same stitch count but perhaps use a 6mm hook.

My other hat wasn’t made from a pattern. I wanted to use a new colourway of Bernat Pop that I found at Walmart. It’s called Candy Cane and has two shades of red, aqua, grey and a pinkish-white. I had two cakes, so started knitting the hat, pulling the yarn from the outside of one cake, and when I got to the Fair Isle pattern (which is in Alice Starmore’s Charts for Color Knitting) I used the second cake, pulling from the inside.

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The hat is definitely slouchy, and with the big pompom on top Sally didn’t want to stay upright. I had to use a yoga block to stop her falling over.

Once I had completed the first full pattern repeat, I decided to cut out a bit of the white so that the aqua would come into play for the second repeat. And then did the same again with the grey. I used all the colours in the pompom, which is the best one ever because I made it the old-fashioned way, the way we learned at school back in the 60s.

You need two circles of cardboard, cut about 3″ in diameter, with a centre hole cut about 1″ in diameter. (I didn’t measure, I just drew around a couple of things in my sewing room that looked about right. I don’t know what the perfect cardboard proportions are to come out with a perfectly spherical pompom –  mine is a little elongated – but it’s easy to trim it down if necessary.) One wraps the yarn around and around the cardboard, holding the two pieces together, until one can’t get any more yarn through the middle (a darning needle is an essential piece of kit here), then one cuts the yarn by inserting scissors between the two pieces of cardboard around the outside edge. Tie a piece of yarn tightly around the middle, then remove the cardboard, and hey presto! One has a fabulous pompom, full and squishy and awesome, not limp and scraggly like some I’ve seen.

It was a very busy weekend at work. I worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday and I guess the sale got the people out, despite the huge (for us) amount of rain that’s fallen in the past week. Saturday was the busiest I’ve seen it in a long time. After three solid days of pounding the touch screen till at work, cutting fabric, and tidying up the store, my wrist is hurting, so today I decided to buy a basic support for it. I should probably have graduated to this after quitting my full wrist brace months ago, but have been managing without. However even eight months after the break/surgery I am not quite back to full, pain-free, use of my wrist. And I need to be careful not to overdo things and set myself back.

Today was errand day and I stopped in at a few places including Costco and a couple of bulk food stores. I was excited to find a Moo Free vegan chocolate advent calendar (made in Britain no  less) for December! I think that this year I will resurrect a tradition that has fallen by the wayside for a couple of years – that of making mincemeat ready for mince pies at Christmas. The recipe I have is vegan, and has no added fat, and you make it and put it into jars and let it sit in the fridge for six weeks. I love mince pies!

It looks like we will be having a low-budget Christmas this year. The boys are all young men now and are quite happy for us not to buy them stuff for the sake of it. Tai Chi Man and I buy what we want, when we want, throughout the year, so aren’t bothered about gifts under the tree. We will have to plan some great meals and some good fun entertainment. Maybe go to the movies, see a Christmas show, things like that.

I have ear surgery coming up in a couple of weeks time. I had the left ear “fixed” in 2015 due to a hereditary gradual deafness issue called otosclerosis. My mum had the surgery on one ear back in the 80s but never did have the other ear done. It involves a general anaesthetic; the eardrum is opened up, the calcification drilled away, and the stapes bone (one of the three teeny tiny bones in the ear that are supposed to vibrate together) is replaced with a titanium prosthesis. This surgery will be on my right ear, and my third piece of titanium (left ear, wrist and now right ear)! I am turning into the bionic woman. Just as well it doesn’t set off airport security scanners!

I have two weeks booked off work, which was an adequate amount of time in 2015 for me to feel sufficiently recovered to get back into the usual routine. I know what to expect (a mixed blessing: the vertigo is horrendous at first) and I am confident of a good result. I will be able to say goodbye to the remaining hearing aid, which will be wonderful. I will need to keep that ear dry for months afterwards, not to mention being very careful not to topple over at first, so Tai Chi Man will be back to helping me shower until I am steady again.

Hope you have a happy crafty week. Back soon!

WIP Wednesday

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Well, I do have some WIPs to show you, but first I have a TA DA!

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The Granny blanket is done! This is made with rather a lot of Loops & Threads Impeccable in various colours (from stash), plus some vintage acrylic, plus some new kelly green Impeccable. The kelly green is there because this blanket is for my friend and she and her husband support the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team.

I gave it to her today and I think she is pleased! She put it over her legs while we were visiting.

Another smaller FO is this hat…

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Rather ugly, I think, in brown and gold, but it used up a lot of vintage acrylic! And I was happy to practise on some yarn without using the “good stuff!” This hat was made on my Bond knitting machine. It was just a long rectangle, half brown, half gold, which was seamed into a tube and cinched at each end, then you push one half of the hat inside the other and TA DA, a reversible hat that has a quadruple thick layer over the ears.

Now onto the prettier stuff.

I found this Christmas-inspired Bernat Pop! at Walmart recently and was itching to knit with it. So I started a fair isle hat using a chart out of my Alice Starmore Charts for Color Knitting book. I’m using two cakes, pulling one strand from the outside of one cake, and the second strand from the inside of the other.

I don’t claim to be particularly good at stranded knitting, though I have the technique down. One yarn in each hand, plus the catching of the floats, no problem. My tension, well, that remains to be seen.

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I just love the colours. So much more appealing to me than the standard red, green and white. The colourway is called Candy Cane. One pattern repeat done. The background will be changing to aqua in the next repeat.

I started another project today too. I am not usually such a prolific starter (I still have two other WIPs which have been neglected and I don’t like having too many on the go) but I wanted to take something out with me to work on that was restful and didn’t need much attention while I visited with my friends. So I started this…

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I made a scarf just like this last year so I looked up my Ravelry project page to see what hook size I used. One skein and a 6.5mm hook gave me a scarf 9 squares wide by about 60″ long.  This bulky yarn (Loops & Threads Barcelona) is pretty and soft and makes a lovely texture in the C2C stitch pattern. I think I may make a coordinating hat like I did with the other colourway last year. And perhaps pompoms at each end…?

Gotta run – dinner is nearly ready. Happy crafting, y’all!

 

 

 

Let the Groovyghan commence!

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Let the Groovyghan commence!

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Last post,  I showed you a bunch of stash yarn that I had gathered that I was thinking of using for the Groovyghan CAL. Well, I had some options – all the primaries and secondaries plus either browns, grey, or black. But in the end I went for Plan D which was to buy more yarn. I know, I am so bad! Hey, it came out of my birthday money.

The fabric store where I work is clearing out their Red Heart and Premier, and rebranding their own line, so I was able to get these skeins of Red Heart With Love at 65% off. The yarn was somewhat overpriced to begin with, but comparing what I paid to Herrschner’s catalogue (because I’ve not seen this yarn for sale locally) I paid a reasonable price.

The 12 skeins fit perfectly into this wooden box which will live next to my crocheting spot for a few months. As you can see, I have a bit extra of three of the colours from a previous purchase.

The colours are

Navy

Mallard (teal)

Blue Hawaii (turquoise)

Iced Aqua

Hot Pink

Bubblegum

Violet

Boysenberry

Lilac

Cornsilk

Mango

Jadeite

I think they will make a groovy afghan!

The CAL starts today so once this post is published I will be starting my first square.

A couple of other things to show you: I FINALLY finished my March sweater which was halted when I broke my wrist in February. All it needed was some end-weaving, a bit of single crocheting around the neckline and armholes, and a couple of buttons. I’m not really in love with it, but at least it is DONE!

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Crocheted with black Stylecraft Aran and a rainbow coloured Bernat Pop!

And another thing I finished this week was another chunky beanie out of the Sommer Wolle Venezia from Switzerland.

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Well, I can’t hang around here, I’m off to do some crochet!

Startitis

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My poor WIPs. I had good intentions, I really did. I posted pictures of them to the Finishalong2018 thread in the Crafternoon Treats podcast group on Ravelry (which I help moderate) with a plan to get ’em done. But I’m just not feeling the love.

So Startitis has hit me bad. After I crocheted those two small drawstring bags that I showed you last time, I made another ‘cake holding bag’ with Red Heart With Love. It started with a circle, which I just made up as I went along, doing however many granny clusters I needed to do to keep it flat, then it was granny stitch all the way up the sides. A small loop at the top finished it off.

By the time I finished it last night, sitting outside on the deck, it was getting dark.

I’ve already put it to good use, as I crocheted a hat today and put the cake of Bernat Pop inside it. This hat pattern is fast. I think it took around 2.5 hours total, and I got most of it done while waiting for the two boys at the dentist. It’s called the Newsboy Slouch and the Ravelry pattern page is here.

Very easy, very quick. I’m not 100% sold on how it suits me, but I’ll keep it for now. It’s not washed yet.

I also did some stealth crochet this week for a crochet designer. She asked me to be one of her testers, as I’ve tested for her before. It’s an afghan block with popcorns and overlay crochet, but I am waiting for her to publish her design before showing anyone my finished square.

So lots of hooking this week, and a teeny tiny bit of knitting. I have done four rounds of ribbing on a sock on US#1 needles. OMG, talk about fiddly. I’ll show you that project another time. In the meantime, have a great week!

WIP: March sweater – lots more stripes

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I had another awesome day of crocheting today. After starting the left front of the sweater last night, while sitting and having hot chocolate with friends at home, I continued with it today while watching crochet podcasts.

Last time I posted I was up to the yellow.

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This is what it looked like after doing the orange stripes and a red, right on the edge. Above, folded. Below, laid out flat.

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And today, it looks like this.

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Above, folded. My friend had the inspired idea, when I was saying there wasn’t room for more red on the right front last night, to suggest putting some on the left front. So I did, just on the bit you’ll see when I’m wearing it.

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Laid out flat, you can see what I mean. And there’s only about four inches more to add to the left front. Then there will be a ton of weaving in, and doing a border around the edges to neaten it all up.

I’ll need to find three buttons to match one of the colours – one for right and left top corners, and another for the left side to hold it at bust level if I decide to wear it with the top corner folded down. The double crochet stitches are large enough that I don’t need to worry about making buttonholes.

Well, the timer should be going off on the stove in a sec – for some reason, the food didn’t cook properly at 375 degrees so I put the nut roast and the Greek potatoes back in for another half an hour at 425 and if THAT doesn’t cook the buggers I will be well ticked off. I would have liked to eat earlier so that I had time to digest before yoga 😦

WIP: March sweater Day 2

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Well hello there, I’m back with more news of the March sweater.

Yesterday was a heavy crochet day – I spent a LOT of time on the couch and almost finished the back. I did go for a walk in the evening with Tai Chi Man to get some fresh air and some blood flowing through the veins, though.

The back was kinda boring, being all black, and it was nice to start on the coloured stripes for the right front today (after my 8am yoga class).

My first Ravelry project page update, earlier today, showed that I had done five blue stripes and was just starting on the green part of the yarn cake. In order to keep the coloured sc rows fairly visible, I’m crocheting the black rows in the front loop only. This leaves a little extra colour visible on the right side.

I’m also “cheating” with the colour. The blue did five rows and I made sure that the green would arrive on the sixth. So when I’d done five green rows I cut some out so that the acid yellow would appear on the next one. I want to make sure that all five colours in the cake appear across the front of the sweater (which is actually going to be a sleeveless vest with a wrap front).

Tricky to photograph black, especially when there are other colours involved in part of the shot. Of course I’m only using an old iPad Mini, so I guess I can’t expect too much. (And those ends! Lots of weaving in to do later.)

So that’s it for today. I’ve put down my hook for the night, even though it’s only 9.20pm. I’d rather go and get into my PJs and read in bed for a while because I’ve realised that staying up late is not serving me well. Thankfully I’ve finished all seasons of Mr Selfridge now, and am reluctant to start another series. It’s just too easy to binge watch episode after episode.

So apart from crochet, this week’s entertainment is finishing A Dog’s Purpose (yes, the book that the film was based on, though I haven’t seen the film) and starting on the third book in the Poldark series, Warleggan.

I gave a work shift away to a co-worker whose schedule was messed up so the coming week has me doing two shifts instead of three, which means…you guessed it…more crochet time! I estimate the March sweater will take no more than a week in all and then I can decide what to knit for April! Oh yes, and the Ravelry Ravellenic Games start on February 9th, and I am entering the toy event, so I need to do a bit of preparation for that before next Friday.

It’s all go, you know. 🙂

FO: Crochet Cuddler Cocoon (and new yarn)

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Before I show you my February sweater, here is a photo of me in my January sweater.  I wore it the other day (wow, it’s warm) and it fits perfectly. If I could change one thing about it, though, I’d add an inch to the sleeves. When I was driving and out and about, I felt I could have done with just a bit of extra length in the sleeves.

So, once I finished that sweater off last Monday night, I was free to get on with the next project. The February project took all of four days from start to finish, it was so quick and easy. I did make a few adjustments to the pattern so I will link to my Ravelry project page here.

I had to crop out my head in that shot because the cardigan is so dark that my face was overexposed. The base rectangle for the back of the sweater seemed really small in the pattern so I added four rows. The sleeves also would have been tiny so I doubled the length of those. And there were only three border rounds in the pattern and I did 12, basically until my yarn almost ran out.

The yarn is Willow Wash Bulky, which is so lovely and soft to work with and to wear, but the six strands are very loosely spun so you have to be careful not to split them. As I am just hanging around the house today, I decided to wear it (it would probably not be warm enough outside in the cold at the moment) though I had to abandon it while vacuuming because I was getting too hot.

I am pleased with it, thanks to my adaptations. I think if you were to use a much bulkier yarn, you could follow the designer’s numbers, but it would have been far too small for me using the Willow Wash, following it as is.

There has been a little bit of yarn acquisition this week. OK, a lot. Walmart still has the Bernat Pop! yarn, and I decided that I should get extra of the rainbow coloured one to pair with plain black for a future sweater. Also I found a nice one with grey and pink that I can pair with the leftover Red Heart Supersaver in grey heather. And a couple of cakes of grey/turquoise, just because.

Also today I received my Wool Warehouse order, a mere WEEK after they shipped it. I love their efficiency. I ordered on the weekend, they shipped it the first working day afterwards, and the post office have done their bit too. Normally stuff takes two weeks to get here. I am glad it’s here as part of the order is for my Ravelry Ravellenic Games project, the doll I mentioned in my last post. The rest are colours that I picked to pad out gaps in my DK collection, like the  yellows, browns and neutrals.

My Christmas/birthday fund is being rapidly depleted!

I’ve said this before, but I love the organza bags that WW send the yarn in.

Well, today I need to start swatching for a new sweater: the March sweater, in theory, though I am well ahead of my deadline. Believe it or not, despite the thousands of patterns in the Ravelry database, I couldn’t find the perfect one for my black/rainbow combination, so I have sketched out a possible design and need to figure out my gauge. I am having a few niggling doubts about a rainbow tunic, even if it is calmed down with black, so I  may end up going with the grey instead. For now, though, I have to finish cleaning the kitchen (totally distracted by the parcel of yarn in the mail and wanting to tell you all about it, but it’s nose to the grindstone time for me now)!

I hope next time to show you what my decision was for the March sweater, plus some progress.

 

 

Where did December go?

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Last time I blogged, it was early December and I was about to go on holiday to Maui with Tai Chi Man to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Well, it was lovely. The weather was warm and mostly sunny and we swam in the ocean every day but one. There were some showers and for a couple of days it was very windy. We were in Kihei on the west coast which is fairly well sheltered from the prevailing winds, and dryer than other areas of the island. The beaches are gorgeous, the sand is soft, and the water was warm but refreshing.

The main highlight would have to be the helicopter flight around the island, which included going over 10,000 feet up to circle the crater at the top of the extinct volcano, Haleakala, Maui’s highest point. Beats driving for hours! And we saw a lot of scenery and waterfalls that we wouldn’t have been able to see from the road to Hana.

We had a condo, so were able to make our own meals (important when you don’t eat the Standard American Diet) and a rental car (Ford Escape), and found some nice places, like the Maui Quilt Shop, Down to Earth vegetarian health food store, and the banyan tree park at Lahaina. We went underwater in a submarine to see fish and sharks, but the only turtle we came across was a lone guy in the middle of the bay on our last day. Tai Chi Man is braver than I, and was swimming out beyond the breakers, and got a close-up look at a turtle. That made his day. I was floating around in the surf, so I didn’t see it (and to be honest am somewhat phobic about being in the water with seaweed or sea creatures so it’s probably just as well. Though I should say there was no seaweed as far as I could tell.)

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So what else is new? The gym has been neglected for a couple of weeks. We did go the day after we got home from vacation, but then we had work, and Christmas shopping, and then I had to bake fruit cake ‘n stuff, and before I knew it Christmas Eve had arrived. We had a simple dinner followed by our gift-giving spree, which was very abundant this year.

I had suggested that we all make a wish list this year and actually make an effort to give each other a gift. Not just parents giving stuff to sons, but each of us giving something to the other four. I sewed flannelette stockings with white fleece cuffs and bought applique letters to put on each one. We never did get around to buying hangers for them so they were put under the tree, and they got so full that the gifts were piled up under the tree. I found myself getting quite excited about Christmas!

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I was happy to receive some of the things on my wishlist, such as weight training gloves, the How Not to Die Cookbook, and lots of chocolate! And some things that weren’t on my wishlist too. However there was no yarn in there, nor any gift cards for yarn, so I am feeling like treating myself. I do, after all, have some Christmas money from my mum to add to the running balance in my birthday fund.

I was looking through an old magazine in my sewing room and I really like this sweater (photo on left). It’s a simple rib pattern worked with four strands of aran weight yarn. Should be simple to find yarn for it, right? Not! I have spent maybe three evenings so far looking at different yarn websites and all sorts of yarn, trying to find just the right one. Ideally it needs to be a heavy worsted that knits up at 16 sts/4 inches, and I will need to buy a circ or pair of needle tips that are a US19/15mm.

I like the heathered or tweedy greys but the best yarn for weight, yardage and price so far doesn’t have that option, so I may have to go for off-white or some other colour. I haven’t given up yet.

I didn’t pick up needles or hook for a week after my holiday. This usually happens because I’m feeling some kind of dissatisfaction with my current project(s). These are my WIPs:

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Lanesplitter skirt out of Bernat Pop. Having second thoughts and now wishing I’d striped it with black. I have a ton of Stylecraft Special Aran in black.

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Ripple scarf out of Cascade Sunseeker. Seemed appropriate for holiday crochet. Actually made very little progress while away. Nice cotton/acrylic with a touch of metallic, but cutting yarn every two rows is annoying and I don’t know if I have the perseverance required to finish a whole scarf.

Dishcloth in Bernat Handicrafter. Found it on clearance at Michaels, bought four balls in bright colours. This will at least get finished.

Gee, not much of excitement in the yarny department, is there!

So, work has been quiet, I have been eating too much (well, it’s Christmas and I do love my fruit cake) and the world outside my window is buried in snow. The day we came back from Maui we had the joy of horizontal snow and freezing temperatures, and it’s been mostly below freezing since. Then we had a bunch more snow so we have powder on top of ice. Sure makes for interesting times. Haven’t been out walking because it’s so slippery, and driving even the short commute to work and back was quite tense. We could have gone to the gym tonight but even Tai Chi Man, who is a confident and able driver, decided that once he was home from work he wasn’t going back out again.

I think we are all up to date. I hope you had a wonderful December, with lots of light and enjoyable festivities to brighten this darkest time of the year, and that 2018 brings you everything you wish for and more. Happy New Year!

 

Two sleeps to Maui

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Yes, only two sleeps. OMG! I have made a packing list but need to pull out my cabin-legal backpack and start tossing things in. And as all yarnies know, the most important item in your suitcase is the knitting or crochet project. I am pretty sure I’ll be taking some cotton yarn and a hook or needles with which to make a really simple travel project. I will be mostly offline for a week so I’ll update you all after I get back. This trip is to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We usually go on a small retreat within the province but we’re going further afield for this one.

As for WIPs and other projects:

My only knitted WIP is this one – Lanesplitter skirt.  I made one of these years ago with James C Brett Marble Chunky and I love it. So comfortable. Easy. Customisable for length, width and yarn gauge. This time I’m using the somewhat brighter Bernat Pop! in Full Spectrum. I am withholding my judgment on it until I see whether I dare to wear such a bright garment! It could always be adapted to be a cowl!

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Easy stitch pattern to memorise. With hindsight, it may have toned things down to stripe it with black. Hmmm!

Today I’m not working until 5 so I spent a happy few hours in my sewing room. This year I decided to make some Christmas stockings. If I’d had more time, I would have crocheted them, but time was running out and so I bought flannelette at work in neutral shades and whipped up five of them, adding some white polar fleece around the top.

The five of us are actually making wishlists this year and planning to give each other gifts. Two out of the three boys are working now. The other one is pretty broke after his recent holiday to California but I’m sure he can scrape something together and show willing!

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The foot looks huge from this angle and the cuff isn’t smooth in this photo, but there’s plenty of room for stocking stuffers.

While I was downstairs, I pulled out some bandanas that I’d made a couple of years ago for the farmers market. They didn’t sell and have been sitting around since. I cut them into quarters and hemmed the raw edges, then pulled out another fabric from the drawer and made a few more from scratch.

We’ve been using cloth napkins for years now. We never need to buy paper towels or napkins. Our old cloth ones are so well used now that they are falling apart so these new ones will get lots of use.

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It’s so grey today I went with kitchen photos with the overhead light on. Not perfect but you get the idea.

And finally, I’m sure we’ll get a tree this year but not until dh and I are back from holiday. So for now we have a Lego City Advent Calendar that I couldn’t resist picking up from Costco a while back. It’s fun to have a teeny tiny model to make each day. We’re taking turns.

How are your Christmas preparations going (if you celebrate it)? Do you have lots of gifts to make?

 

WIP update

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WIP update

Hi all, how’s it going? It’s another wet grey day here but that doesn’t get me down. I love every season and long dark evenings are just more of an excuse to knit and crochet!

I’ll be heading out shortly for a gym class but I thought I’d update the blog before I went. The Pebble Beach Baktus shawlette is done, done, DONE! It took about a month but only because I was distracting myself with other projects at the same time. It’s currently sitting on the blocking mats. I steamed the lace edging without too much stretching, just to minimise the curl. Still haven’t decided whether to keep this one or give it away. Maybe I will tuck it away with a couple of other FOs I have, just in case I find a worthy recipient.

I have started a new project, a knitted hat, at the request of a co-worker. She has been asked for a messy bun hat by a family member and doesn’t know where to buy one, so commissioned me to make one. She bought the yarn and is paying me a little, and I cast on last night.

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This yarn is Dynasty Cake Twist, a Caron Cakes knockoff that is our in-store brand at Fabricland. Same fibre content as the Caron too, 80% acrylic and 20% wool. I found this Eyelet Messy Bun pattern on Ravelry last night. It’s easy, with a bit of interest added with the eyelet bands. I cast on fewer stitches as I didn’t do a gauge swatch (gasp!) and thought I might knit more loosely than the pattern gauge suggested.

So far, so good!

Also, an FO!

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A retirement gift for a co-worker – the pattern is Slipper Boots which I made for myself last year with two strands of teal. This time I used the same yarn (Red Heart with Love), doubled, one strand of black and one of Blue Hawaii. She seemed to like them so hopefully they will get some wear.

Well, must dash. Have a great day!