Tea, that is!
Made up this simple teacosy this week. I meant to write proper notes as I went but was a little lax about it. Do you think it’s worth writing up a pattern?
The backing for the wonky log cabin quilt came together quickly, as I used chunks of the fabrics left over from the top. I bought a polyester batting from work – the cheapest thinnest stuff you ever did see – and pinned the layers together.
And then I quilted some of it…and hated it…and am now unpicking the stitches from the back with a seam ripper. It was too much quilting, too messily done, and it ruined it. I had quilted five squares out of the 25, used a full bobbin of thread on it over 1.5 hours, and it will take ages to pull out. However I will be happier with it in the long run if I suck it up and just do it.
More happily, I have an FO! A pompom beanie crocheted with a cake of Caron Chunky Cupcakes in Jelly Bean. The pattern was on the ballband but it’s also available for free on the Yarnspirations website. Details on my Ravelry project page. It’s constructed using a sideways ‘ribbed’ brim, then you join into a loop and work along the side for the body of the hat. The main part is moss stitch, which in crochet is (sc, ch1) around, working into the chain spaces on the next round. It makes a nice fabric, and alternating both ends of the yarn cake gives you a variation in colour as you go. The pompom comes attached to the yarn, which is why it coordinates so well.
I’ve been mostly staying off Facebook lately, preferring just to post an occasional photo to Instagram. I spend at most a few minutes a day on Instagram so have more time to do better things! The above photo is from one of my visits to my favourite local tea shop. This book is from the library and I’m really enjoying the read, and identifying what is cosy for me. Certainly, one of my cosiest things to do is sit in Chai Baba and drink their awesome teas and either crochet, read or talk to the friends we bump into there.
Another cosy thing I like to do is take my breakfast outside to the deck. It’s cool and quiet and I can look at the sky, enjoy my breakfast, maybe wrap myself in a blanket or quilt if I feel a little chilly, and look out for birds and squirrels in the trees.
It’s my birthday tomorrow and I feel like the celebrations are happening not just for one day but for half a week! Last night I went out to dinner with friends and we had a lot of fun. We’re all Brits so have the same sense of humour. Tomorrow I am working, but there is a potluck at my house in the evening with a different set of friends who we always have a laugh with. We usually play Mexican Train Dominoes, and there is lots of digressing and wordplay and puns. And Sunday morning we are off to brunch at another vegan cafe with a couple of our sons. I am totally making the most of turning 57!
So while I was procrastinating on the quilt unpicking, I made these tote bags with some old stash fabrics. I made 12 in all but took the photo before I made the last one. I decided that as I have to work on my birthday, I will practice Random Acts of Kindness and give a bag out now and then throughout the day to customers who need one. It will save them taking a plastic bag and hopefully it will remind them to always carry a cloth bag with them when they shop in future.
And then I spotted the stash of old jeans on the top shelf of the sewing room closet, and this came together.
It’s a fun little bag made from upcycled denim. I sewed a little flower where there was a hole at the corner of the pocket, which inspired me to make the strap out of the same fabric and also applique another patch on the back. I loved it so much that I immediately started another, but it got to 4pm and I had to start cooking dinner. I could have carried on for hours!
Have you seen this nifty gadget? It was very useful today, for sewing over bulky seams and the parts where the tote bag straps joined to the top of the bags. It basically helps the machine to handle the thick seams without skipping stitches or getting stuck. Definitely a good investment.
Well, I really must get to bed. It’s been a busy day (including a 9am Cardio Barre class and a half hour weights session tonight) and I have to be up early in the morning, Have a great weekend!
Again, I’m distracting myself from my main WIP with little projects. I finished the pink dishcloth that I started ten days ago as a portable project with Scheepjes Linen Soft in the colour Hummingbird. And I threw together a very plain grey dishcloth with some leftover Knit Picks Comfy Fingering in the colour Whisker. I triple-stranded the Comfy by using a Navajo plying method that I’ve seen on a You Tube tutorial. You do it as you go. It’s very clever.
I have to confess that the soft focus on those dishcloth photos is caused by a smear on my iPad Mini’s camera lens! >_< I only realised later on when I went to take a photo of my Thermos cosy.
This photo therefore benefits from a cleaner lens! I love making things to fit stuff as I go. This shape is pretty easy to cover, though I found once I’d covered the base I had to decrease on about three of the lower rounds to get it to suck in a bit. I thought the popcorn stitches would help with grip. And I hope you can tell that that’s a teacup appliqued to the front!
I was also rather tickled that the cosy coordinates with my Christmas cactus. 🙂
I have added this to the thread in the Little Drops of Wonderful group on Ravelry, where we can post about our makes in the Cosy Up to Winter MAL.
Another couple of things I made for Christmas gifts this week are these:
They are knotted fleece blankets, each made from two metres of fleece fabric (one for each side). I cut down the bear print and the tan pawprints to make a square blanket, and the green dog print and green pawprints I left at one by one and a half metres (the full width of the fabric). I’ve seen these made before but this is the first time I’ve made some, and they are simple to do. I had both finished in one evening. As you can imagine, we sell a LOT of fleece at the store where I work at this time of year. They make cosy gifts that anyone can manage, even if they can’t operate a sewing machine.
I’m coming to the end of my medical leave now. Back to work Friday. I also work Sunday and then there’s a stretch of a few days until my next shift. Tai Chi Man and I have booked a three night retreat at a little cabin in the woods that we know of. It’s our 31st wedding anniversary on the 10th and we always have a little getaway around this time. (It wasn’t so little last year, as we had a week in Maui.) The main room has a decent kitchen/living room/bedroom set up, there’s a woodstove, heated floors in the shower room, and a private hot tub outside. I really hope that there will be snow, because we can take our snowshoes with us. It’s always extra special to be in a hot tub when it’s really cold and snowy out too.
If you take enough food, there’s no need to leave the cabin at all! Though we may take a drive up to the nearest town a little way north.
I hope you’re loving this time of the year and enjoying all the good things about it. What’s your favourite way to spend a winter day?
The granny blanket that I showed you last time has grown quite a lot but I don’t have an up to date photo. It’s just more of the same! The rounds get longer and looooonger and one starts to crave some immediate gratification from a smaller project – or three.
Also, a blanket project gets more unwieldy as it gets bigger, which means it’s less portable.
The yarn I used for the fingerless mitts in the picture above is Red Heart Unforgettable Waves. I picked some up on clearance a long time ago and it’s been sitting patiently in the stash ever since. The colourway is Bazaar. It’s thick and thin (very much so in some places) but even though the really thick bits can present a challenge I was a little disappointed that the second mitt didn’t have as many of the bumpy bits as the first.
I didn’t use a pattern. I just chained 28, double crocheted 13 rows, joined leaving a hole for the thumb, then single crocheted around the thumbhole, adding some decreases where I felt they were needed.
I used another skein of the same yarn to make these gift card holders too.
These buttons were perfect for the little cosies, and I’ve had them in the stash since I picked them up on clearance at work.
The final Finished Object for this week is this slouchy beanie, which on Ravelry I have called the Blah hat! That link will take you to my Ravelry project page for more info on how I made it.
It’s Blah because of the colour, which is a bland beige vintage acrylic that I didn’t mind wasting in case my experiment didn’t work out. This is knitted on my Bond knitting machine, which I’ve had packed away in my craft room for a long time. I decided to set it up and have a play. The one thing the Bond does well is acres of stockinette. The ribbing is slow going as you have to latch up the purl stitches by hand. And decreasing for the crown of a hat is not the same as hand knitting one, unless you want to spend ages manually moving stitches over to different needles, so I followed a tip on a You Tube video to decrease across one row and cinch it up. It actually worked out well! The ribbing is stretchy, the top closed up nicely, it fits me (I had no idea what size it would turn out) though it is not a colour I would wear.
I also used the Bond to knit up a small cast-on hem, just to try it out, and next I need to make a longer one. The weighted hem that comes with the machine is as long as the needle bed, which is fine if you’re using a lot of stitches but if you just want to make something small then a shorter cast-on hem and smaller weights are helpful.
I have the next couple of days off and hopefully will see the granny blanket grow from its current size (about 48″ square) to 60″ though if I have enough yarn to go bigger I’d really like it to be 72″. Can you imagine how long it could take to crochet one round that’s 24 feet long? No, I can’t either.
The back of the sweater is coming along slowly – I started out with way too many stitches and had to restart a couple of times, and then I decided I didn’t like the plain ol’ dc, so I ended up with a V stitch. The back is now about 8″ long.
I really hope this works out, because if I end up unravelling I’ll have lots of short yarn bits to deal with.
So anyway, I digressed this evening with a little gift for a co-worker. Someone I haven’t given anything to yet. I used the Stylecraft Classique Cotton and a 4mm hook to make this mug hug (cosy) and mug rug (coaster). The coaster is a basic African Flower motif which I have made before. So pretty! And the cosy was just made up as I went along, adding a thinner section through the handle for a button and buttonhole. The crocheted viola is from the book “100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet” by Lesley Stanfield. I’ve had the book for ages (thanks to a friend) and this is the first thing I’ve made out of it, I think.
It was a work day today – I exceeded my 10,000 step goal again – and I ended up staying home this evening even though there was a choice of two events I could have attended. Finishing work at 6 meant dinner around 7, by which time it was too late to think about going out again.
Enjoy the rest of your week!