Tag Archives: cowl

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!

 

 

Prayer flags

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After I finished decorating my back railing with pompoms, I had an idea for another way to brighten up my deck. Prayer flags!

Obviously these are not “official” prayer flags but they have the same intention: to send blessings out into the world. And I had fun embroidering the words on them with my new sewing machine.

They are made from 6″ squares of solid cotton; two layers stitched around and edged with pinking shears; embroidered with a meaningful word, and then sewn to a length of black ribbon.

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That was fun!

And I started a new crochet project yesterday. When I went out for my walk, I took a skein of Loops & Threads Barcelona and a 6.5mm hook, and started crocheting around and around. The circumference is about 29″ which is wider than my usual cowls but the plan is to make it deep enough to pull it up like a hood. So this is more of a snood.

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This is where my multiple project bags come in handy. I can slip the yarn in, put the drawstrings over my wrist, and hook away while walking. And using such a basic stitch (this is double crochet – or UK treble) means it requires no mental effort.

Hope you have a great day!

Craftivity

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Craftivity

Titles are challenging, sometimes, but this word, Craftivity, popped into my mind as my fingers were poised over the keyboard.  Not an original word, probably, but it describes the way I am making the most of the extra time at home. A little knitting, a little sewing, a little crochet.

I started a new crochet project yesterday. I felt it was time to start using some of the “good stuff” AKA Universal Yarn’s Cotton Supreme in the most spring-y Eastery colours you can imagine. After a bit of Ravelry browsing, I decided on the Spring Blossom Cowl (Rav link to pattern page). It looked perfect with its four colour-blocked sections, though my plan is to make it a bit longer so it’ll double up around the neck. I am using my Addi Swing hook, size 5.5mm, and started out with fewer chains because I thought it’d be too wide. Well, after a few inches, I noticed it had shrunk somewhat widthwise. Oh well, I’m not frogging it now. My plan is to do about 12 inches of each colour, then join the ends together. It’s a pretty stitch, and the yarn is nice and soft.

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I have also made myself a sweatshirt-type top using a McCall’s pattern that I bought from work. It’s probably intended for pyjamas, as the pattern includes instructions for leggings, a top with two different length options, two different shaped hem options, and either a hood or cowl neck. The leggings can be made with long legs or as shorts. And there are some cosy slippers in there too. I chose the option with the shorter length, curved hem and cowl collar and left off the kangaroo pocket. (This fabric is quite thin and I didn’t want to drag it down with a pocket. If I make this again in a thicker fleece, I will probably add the pocket.)

The fabric is cool – it’s tie dyed and because it’s double knit it has stripes on the reverse.

I didn’t make any effort to place the colours in a certain position, though I would have liked the deep pinks/blues to have been more prominent. Still, it came together easily, I took my time, and best of all IT FITS!

I have spent a little time each day sitting on my back deck with a cup of tea to absorb some spring warmth. The laundry is up to date, my bathrooms were cleaned yesterday, my half of the built-in closet in our bedroom has been sorted to accommodate the warmer weather, and I am rather enjoying the relaxed schedule. Though, as we all know, there is an underlying tension to everything we do as we wonder how long this odd state of affairs will continue.

I had a couple of video chats via Facebook Messenger yesterday – one with a friend in Germany and a second with a couple of friends who just live down the road. So glad we have ways of keeping in touch. FB, Google Hangouts, Zoom … lots of options for video conferencing.

I even had a Zoom chat with Kathryn of Crafternoon Treats on Sunday, along with some of her other Patreons. She has been recording a daily vlog to chat about how things are developing in the UK along with her daily activities like yarn dyeing, home cooking and crochet.

I hope that you are finding ways to keep calm, stay healthy and relieve stress.

Another happy Sunday

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I feel very lucky to have had two weekends off in a row. This is unheard of! Not sure what happened with the shift scheduling, but I’m not complaining.

The narcissi that I bought last week are looking beautiful. Seven yellow flowers have appeared since I bought some plants last week. The hyacinth is growing but not showing any colour yet, and the violas have one more teeny tiny flower. Meanwhile, outside it’s been SNOWING!

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Both yesterday morning AND this morning we had snow. And fog. And sun. A bit of everything, really. Interesting weekend! Suffice it to say, it’s not spring yet.

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I don’t think I showed you this – it was a crochet pattern test for Hannah of The Cozy Cottage Crochet podcast. It’s a very comfy beanie that has a bit of texture and she has written it in four sizes and in three levels of slouch. This is the second pattern of hers that I have made and she makes sure that her patterns, which are paid for, are very clear and comprehensive. This is the November  Sky Beanie, but it’s not released quite yet.

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Another FO in the last week is this C2C crochet cowl. It’s long enough to loop around twice and used up a satisfying amount of Bernat Pop yarn. There was a little left which I have put in the bag with the knitted stashbusting blanket (which I haven’t worked on in ages).

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We had a potluck to go to today, a regular date with the same group of friends, and we take turns hosting. We always have fun, eat too much, and usually either play games afterwards or go for a walk. Unfortunately our host today felt like he was getting a migraine after lunch, so we left him to get some rest and headed home. I had some quality time with my sewing machine during which I ran up a quick little backpack for a certain little girl in my family. It’s hard to know how long to make the straps when the girl in question lives a long way away, so hopefully it’ll fit okay.

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I also made this very slapdash zippered pouch with a clear vinyl window in the front. This was probably my least stressful experiment with vinyl so far! Yesterday I watched a WhitneySews video on YouTube for making an I Spy bag. It’s very similar to this, but it’s sewn up instead of having a zipper. You fill it with rice and small trinkets for kids to find through the clear window. Nice idea but a bit heavy to mail. I considered sending one without the rice and getting them to add it at the other end, but then it could be too easy for the zipper to open and let the rice fall out. I shall have to think on that.

I’ve had a couple of very early nights and this is probably going to be another one! And tomorrow I really need to go to the gym and start making a concerted effort to burn off what I have been calling my “winter tires” – and I’m not talking about the ones on my car!!!

 

 

 

Last chance!

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This is the last day for entering my giveaway for the Alpaca Lunch Bag, as I will be drawing a name at random tomorrow and will announce the winner. Good luck!

Above is a photo from my happy place, my favourite tea shop (yesterday I chose a raspberry matcha latte) where of course I took my crochet. (I wish there was a crochet-themed fabric at work, but the knitting one will have to suffice for now.)

I did finish up the skein of jumbo pink yarn and made another cowl, this time knitted, and whilst I only had to cast on 6 stitches for this monster I could probably have gone with 4 or 5.

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It washed up well (there were some dirty streaks on it from the store which is why I was able to bring it home for free).

The current WIP, pictured with the tea, is another cabled headband, this time with only one strand of the Bernat Pop. Gotta run, work today!

Weekend WIP (and an FO)

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Weekend WIP (and an FO)

I will show you the finished cowl in a moment, but first, the blanket.

The daisy blanket is moving forward again with a few more squares completed in the last couple of days. I laid out the 29 squares on the floor of my living room, making sure that same-coloured edges weren’t matching and that same-coloured petals were not side by side.

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Twenty nine squares in, I have not made the same one twice. I have the colours lined up for the 30th, which will be different again.

It’s still not as large as I’d like, and I have plenty of yarn left, so I’ll go to 36 and see how it looks. I am reserving a full skein each of turquoise and pink for the border.

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The Knit Mandala Cowl is finished. Here, Sally is modelling it so nicely! I didn’t wash it, just steamed it lightly. The Mandala yarn is very pretty and soft and projects always look good made from it.

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The textured stitches kept things interesting, as did the changing colours.

So, what are you doing this weekend? Our cabin escape was postponed thanks to the weather, so instead we are having the potluck at our friend’s home in town. Tai Chi Man and I called our parents this morning, then went to yoga, and this afternoon I have to do a bit of food prep and baking for tonight.

Have a great day!

WIP: Knit Mandala Cowl – almost there

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The cowl is nearly finished. I have been enjoying knitting this project. It’s been a nice change of pace from the crochet blanket. I have only a few rounds of K2P2 ribbing to do. As you can see, I have reached the white in the cake. It would have been interesting to have some more grey at the top edge, and I could keep going longer, but on the other hand the transition from darker colour/denser stitch pattern to lighter colour/lacier stitch pattern works rather well. I’m glad the aqua falls in the centre as it’s the colour that one notices the most.

You may recall my efforts to get up earlier in the morning, and my alarm clock was set 5 minutes earlier every day until I was waking at 5am. The last few mornings I have woken up just before the alarm, but when the alarm actually goes off I hit snooze once or twice. Often, Tai Chi Man is already in the en suite and there’s no point getting out of bed until he’s moved off to the kitchen. Our en suite is tiny!

One of the bonuses of getting up early is the coolness, as it’s getting hot most days. Another thing I enjoy is looking out at the garden to see if I can spot any deer (though I’d probably have to be up before dawn for that) and the sky is often very pretty too.

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The forecast is for a much cooler day today (18 degrees Celsius) and rain and possibly a thunderstorm. There is quite a wind – I can see our big maple from where I sit, and the branches are being tossed about – and I managed to get an OK shot of the sky with the clouds moving in, the moon, and an interesting bank of clouds sitting right on top of the mountains in the distance.

More often than not, I work on a Wednesday, but this week my shifts were scheduled the same as last week – Sunday, Monday, Friday – so today is going to be a home day. The To Do list includes a little cleaning and decluttering (aaagh, need to start on the utility room shelves, which is a huge job) but also some sewing and knitting.

I haven’t shown you the pink top that I sewed last week, but a turquoise one is now in progress using the same Burda pattern so I will get photos soon. I have been watching a podcaster/vlogger recently called Rachael at SewRayMeUK. She lives in Scotland, has an Etsy shop selling sewn bags and things, and has been vlogging every day during June. She is a keen gardener and has a beautiful garden. I am feeling inspired to sew more things, but I really must finish the current project before I move on to something else. The cut pieces are laid out on my cutting table and I have started the assembly. I could have kept on going last night, but at 9.45 I had to call it a day. Getting up at 5am means going to bed before 10pm.

It’s gone dark in my living room. The sky is mostly cloud now and I feel like a big dump of rain is imminent. That’s great! Even with our sprinklers, the lawn is looking dry and crispy already. Happy Hump Day, everyone. Talk to you again soon 🙂

WIP: Knit Mandala Cowl

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Being a relatively new user of Instagram with a not-so-smart phone (I can do texts, calls, and wifi, but no data) I rarely remember to use it or look at the feed from the handful of people I follow. However I recently discovered how quick and easy it is to post to Instagram from the phone and then upload the photo(s) to Ravelry now that my accounts are linked.

But (and there is usually a But) I still have to plug my phone into my laptop to upload the photos to that and get them into a blog post. I only have WordPress on my Windows laptop now, as my old iPad Mini can’t handle the app.

As I type this, the photos should magically be appearing in the window behind this one, so all should be well!

The daisy blanket is taking a little breather right now. I hit a little bump in the road, possibly because I couldn’t decide how many squares to make for the ideal size/colour distribution, but also because I was going on a one-night road trip with Tai Chi Man and fancied a change.

The pattern I chose was the Knit Mandala Cowl and rather than pay for a pdf I just went to the free version on the blog and took some screenshots. I picked out some Lion Brand Mandala in the stash, colourway Genie, packed it and my Knit Picks Rainbow Wood interchangeables in a project bag along with my Hello Kitty notions tin, and was ready to roll.

The first part of the road trip involved a long and winding road north up the west side of Okanagan Lake during which I sat and looked at the view. There was no way I was going to try and knit through that and risk getting carsick. When the going got easier, I cast on.

I had a fair amount of knitting time on the journey and in the hotel room. I also took advantage of the pool and fitness room while Tai Chi Man was out working/socialising with customers, and watched a heck of a lot of HGTV!

The photo above was taken in a coffee shop, obviously, on the second day. Two hundred stitches around, but as the texture changes every round (or two or three) it feels like it’s growing fast.

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I love the colour changes in the Mandala yarn. Not harsh changes like some of the cakes. As you can see, there’s ribbing, seed stitch, cables, slipstitches – a bit of everything.

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I will continue on and finish this, I think, before returning to the blanket. I have noticed, though, that my wrist aches more when I knit, so I have to be careful.

In other news, it’s Pride month at our fabric store (and elsewhere of course) and our manager set up an awesome display of a fabric rainbow with a pot of “gold” at the end, big foam letters that spell out PRIDE, and rainbowy products that are on sale this month. I just love the papier mache/fibrefill cloud that she made, complete with acrylic crystal raindrops.

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To complete the look, I cleared out my previous display from the table in front of the cash desk (a rather inspired plaid/denim/logs/campfire look if I may say so myself) and gussied it up with a rainbow theme.

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This is quite restrained for me. I usually load this table up way more than that. I seem to have become the default table decorator in this spot and I have a lot of fun trawling the store for bits and bobs to include in my chosen theme.

There’s a big sale starting today that runs through the weekend and I feel like it’s going to be super busy today. So off I go, as I need to leave the house soon.

 

Life update

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Well, hello. I hope you’re all enjoying Spring (or Autumn if you are in the southern hemisphere).

The time is whizzing by, which is a bit of a shame as I do like the shoulder seasons. The temperature is comfortable, you’re not freezing or sweating all the time, everything looks nice and green (it’ll be dry, brown and crispy in another couple of months) and the cherry blossom is gorgeous. The apricot will be next.

I have to be quick here as I have to be at work soon. So just a quick post to show you the CAL progress.

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This is Part 4 of the Scrapsrific Rainbow Blanket CAL run by Creative Crochet Workshop (I have since woven in my ends). Part 5 is out but I haven’t started it yet. These are my squares so far…

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At the end of April I felt like I needed a Finished Object to add to my stashbusting for the month, so I made this cowl – no pattern.

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The yarn is Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable Waves and whilst the yarn is pretty (the colours are actually more intense in real life) it is pilly and I wouldn’t buy it again.

I have been tracking my yarn ins and outs in the British Banter group on Ravelry – there is a Bash the Stash challenge – and apart from a splurge in January I am doing well with a net stashdown for the first few months of the year.

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Some friends and I had a fun mini road trip yesterday, heading north an hour to the next nearest city. We stopped in at a little quilt shop, then at a vegan cafe for lunch, and then at a store that I’ve been meaning to visit for months – Sweet Legs! I finally own two pairs of their lovely leggings. Of course that means I now need new tops to go with them!!

I just did my seasonal closet clearout and my dear husband doesn’t understand why I need new clothes! Ah well, nobody’s perfect!

Activities and acquisitions

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Activities and acquisitions

Hi all. Another Sunday has rolled around and I’m glad to say I didn’t have a shift today. It’s been a beautiful sunny day and Tai Chi Man and I were able to walk along the city waterfront with just sweaters, no coats required. My car’s thermometer read 12 degrees Celsius in the sunshine.

We followed up our walk with a long sit at our favourite tea shop. I brought crochet with me, of course, and before leaving home I picked out a pretty ball of Loops & Threads Facets in Light Azore to take with me. My plan worked out. While drinking two delicious Cowboy Fogs (tea lattes) I made a cowl and was able to give it to the owner of the tea shop before we left. She loved it and put it on immediately.

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It was just simple double crochet in the round, using a 9mm hook, with a row of shells along the edge before fastening off. The sewn bag in the photo is one I made last year. It’s designed to hold a ball of yarn and you thread the yarn through the hole in the top flap. It worked well! The only downside to something like this is that there are no extra pockets for hooks and things, or anywhere to put a project-in-progress. However the hanging loop was handy for attaching it to my handbag with a carabiner.

There was much excitement this week when my Wool Warehouse order arrived. Here it is!

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A box of gorgeousness! Scheepjes Stonewashed and Riverwashed XL (aran weight), 15 gram balls in all 50 shades. No specific plans for this yet. And…

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Five 50 gram balls of the Stonewashed in Moon Stone as a neutral, should I decide to use it with the colours in the box. It rounded my order nicely up to 1000 grams of yarn. And the bonus was, it only took 15 days to arrive.

My friend went to Vancouver Island last week and we met up for a cup of tea afterwards. She bought me this lovely stuff.

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Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop in the colour Ocean. She knows me so well! Fifty percent bamboo, 50% cotton, so it fits in with my 2019 goal of more natural plant fibres.

My heel is no better, though wearing the shoes all the time means it (mostly) doesn’t hurt. However last night we went to a friend’s house for a potluck and our hands were full with food going in, so I left my gym shoes with the special insoles in the car. By the time I had been sitting at the dining table for a while and got up to walk back to the kitchen, the pain was back and I was limping.

I did 45 minutes on the elliptical at the gym yesterday morning, while Tai Chi Man did weights, and today we are going back for more weights. I am alternating weights/cardio as I have four days off and if I am good and go every day then I need to mix things up.

My weight loss program, started about nine days ago, involves pretty much eating half of what I usually do. It worked well the first week with a 4lb loss. Last night’s potluck meant a lot of calories going on so I’m being extra careful today and eating just fruit and vegetables.

Finally, we had a big dump of wet snow this week, which looked lovely but left our road axle deep in snow. We are third level (out of three) priority for the graders, but as long as we clear our driveway we only have about 100 metres to drive to get to the clearer road.

I am grateful that Tai Chi Man did the clearing because my right wrist would have complained bitterly at shifting all that wet snow.

It’s almost time to get changed for the gym so I’ll say Auf Wiedersehen for now. Talk to you again soon.