Tag Archives: Lion Brand Mandala

Post-op

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I am grateful and relieved that the surgery on my right ear is now behind me. As I explained in this recent blog post I have an inherited hearing problem that can be remedied with surgery. Well, Wednesday was the big day.

I went in early Wednesday and had the surgery that morning, and the rest of the day involved mostly sleep, nurses monitoring my pulse, BP and temperature, and an intimate relationship with a bedpan! Couldn’t get out of the bed the first day, which is understandable as a certain amount of dizziness and loss of balance is normal with inner ear surgery.

I have to say, the dizziness is way less acute this time, which made things a lot easier. And Thursday morning, my specialist did his rounds and was happy with my status and confirmed I could go home. Since being home, I have mostly sat on the couch, crocheted, messed about on my laptop, and drunk tea. Ate a small amount but didn’t want to overdo things.

Ah, the joys of sleeping in your own bed and using your own bathroom!

So of course I made plans for the perfect “recuperation project” to do while I am off work for two weeks, and I loaded up my nook next to the couch with DK yarns and opened up a tab on the computer for the Wayfarer Ruana. But first I wanted to make a shawl from a cake of Lion Brand Mandala, for which I chose the Echo Caves colourway. After some deliberation, I chose the Chic and Strong Crescent Shawl (link to my Ravelry project page which includes pattern link).

This took five days from start to finish, and that’s without working on it while in hospital. The first part is mindless half double crochet, increasing at each end of every row, and the lace edging is a more mindful seven rows of paying attention. Quite a good balance, really. I’m not sure about the foundation row, which was foundation double crochet, which makes for an odd shape across the top. If I made this again, I would do a chain start and go straight into the hdcs.

This took less than one cake, though I cut out some of the whitish colour to get to the green for the edging, which meant that I had to steal a little more green from a second cake to finish the last few inches of the last row. But that’s ok, because I had four cakes in this colourway.

Pre-blocking:

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During blocking:

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For the foreseeable future, I will have to keep my right ear dry so will be enlisting Tai Chi Man to help me with washing my hair and supervising me in the bath (in case of dizzy spells). I am now the proud owner of three titanium implants (two stapes and one plate in the wrist). While I would love to claim to be the Bionic Woman, I would rather avoid any more surgeries, thank you very much!

Holiday crochet

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If you’re a knitter or crocheter, you’ll know how important it is to pack the right yarn and tools for your trip, making sure that there is no possibility that you will run out and be left with nothing for your itchy fingers to do while away.

Finding space for yarn in my CabinMax backpack is a priority, with more thought given to what to take than anything else!

What I took: Two cakes of Lion Brand Mandala, from which I had already crocheted some fingerless mitts. I took the mitts too, as I was expecting to need them. In the end, I didn’t.

One cake of Red Heart It’s a Wrap (a fingering weight yarn) with the Key Largo Lace Wrap pattern by Hannah at the Cozy Cottage Crochet podcast.

My Hello Kitty pencil tin with hooks in varying sizes between 2 and 6mm. Nail clippers for cutting yarn. Stitch markers. Ruler, pencil, notebook. Plastic darning needle.

From the LB Mandala, I crocheted a hat and cowl to match my  mitts.

I still had quite a bit left, which I have recaked on my yarn ball winder for another project.

My crocheting was garnering quite a bit of attention. We were holidaying with family who we don’t see very often, so they are not used to my “productive fidgeting” and with Tai Chi Man’s cousin and his wife being so generous with their time and the offerings of food I decided to crochet them both a hat. I had spotted some gorgeous yarn in the Co-op in St Moritz so I bought two different skeins (Sommer Wolle Carnevale and Venezia) plus I had to get an 8mm hook because it was bulky yarn. I started and ripped out about three times and in the end decided my usual hat recipe of starting at the crown and working down to the brim just wasn’t going to work. What I did was foundation hdc for 18″, join in the round, then work even, decrease for the crown, then work a round of sc around the brim for stability. Once I had the first one made, the second was easy. And I even made a third as my BIL rather liked the colours in the yarn.

So once those hats were done I took a break for a couple of days, then started the Key Largo Lace Wrap. This is a Ravelry download that is $4 US. I have completed a few pattern repeats but this yarn is skinny (1000 metres in a cake) so it will be a longer term project.

Current WIPs, then, are the Key Largo and the basic socks, both fingering weight projects. I have come a long way since the days of wanting to do all projects in aran or chunky yarn to get them done fast!

My focus from September 1st will be the Groovyghan CAL, being hosted in the Vanna’s Choice Fan Club Ravelry group. The designer is offering the pattern free to participants in the CAL. I acquired the pattern ages ago before it became a paid pattern. After work today, I pulled out all my medium weight yarn. After grouping it all by colour, this is what I put together. I took out white, cream and a very light tan. I took out the Red Heart With Love, because it’s quite a bit thicker than the rest. I could use black or grey as a neutral, but the browns seem to fit better.

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I don’t know, I may change my mind on some of those colours after I sleep on it. And sleep I must do. Still somewhat jetlagged, and fighting a cold. Last two nights, I’ve been in bed by 9. TTYL

 

Fire update and FOs

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The valley is less smoky today, but the fires are still burning. The two fires that are burning just south of us on the west side of the lake were merged into one, deliberately, in a controlled burn today. The news article I just read said that this would make it easier to tackle. The one directly across from that, on the east side, is still smouldering, but when we were out walking this evening it didn’t look very active and doesn’t seem to have spread any closer to the southern end of the city.

Two of my sons and I drove down the other evening to a beach where we could see the flames on both sides of the lake. It looks very impressive after dark, with the orange glow, and even more so when you get the binoculars out and can see details of trees and flames even from many kilometres away.

I am currently enjoying a block of days off – my schedule happens to include four days in a row between shifts. It probably had something to do with the mild complaint I made to my boss about working five Sundays in a row. So it’s been a lovely weekend, enjoying a potluck with friends, and visiting a vegan market, and having tea at our favourite tea shop, and going out for a walk around the neighbourhood this evening after the sun hid behind the mountain and it wasn’t too hot.

And there’s been crochet. Just a couple of very small, fun projects which I was inspired to make when I spotted this video tutorial.  It’s for a mini backpack that is really small, keychain sized really, but it still has little shoulder straps to make it look like a real backpack. I made the first one with Red Heart Supersaver Ombre in the colour Scuba  (about 30 grams) and a 5mm hook and it came out about 4.5″ tall. The second one uses Scheepjes Linen Soft in the colour Hummingbird (about 20 grams) and a 3.5mm hook and it is about 3.5″ tall.

 

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The pattern tells you to braid a little cord from three strands of yarn, which I did for the turquoise one, but it was fiddly and annoying so for the pink one I just worked a chain with my hook.

And I almost forgot, but I found Lion Brand Mandala at my local Walmart. I have been enviously seeing other people’s posts in the Canadian Crocheters group on Facebook, where they say they found a display of the Mandala yarn at their local Walmart. The few cakes of this yarn that I have bought were from Herrschner’s online. Well, I bought some this week from Walmart for less money, AND no shipping fees of course. They don’t have the whole range, but I found some I liked. One of them is actually a Mandala Baby cake, but it has the same yardage etc as the Mandala.

So pretty. A couple are new to me, and the rest are ones I’ve bought before. But when I ordered from Herrschner’s I only bought one cake of each colour and then realised I wanted to have at least two so that I could have more options as to patterns.

It’s just as well my birthday is coming up and I have money from my mum! I shall choose my projects carefully for these babies!!

 

FOs of the knit, crochet and sewing kind

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Oooh, I do feel productive. A finished hat from the cake of Lion Brand Mandala (the third from that cake, and there’s still some left). Cast on 94 sts with US#4, worked some K2P2 ribbing, changed to #5 tips and increased to 100 sts. When hat was 4.75″ deep, I did the same crown decreasing as in the Vanilla hat, but with hindsight reducing the straight part by a whole inch may have been a little too much as I find it a bit small now. It fits Sally perfectly (see below).

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A finished cosy from a German crochet book that I found at my local library. I learned some new words in German!

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And some finished project/notions bags. First, an unlined drawstring bag with a boxed bottom to which I added a special pocket with a slanted zipper opening. I messed up a little there as I was going to make the bag quite a bit bigger, but then my rotary cutter had other ideas and it ended up being the same size as the last one I made. The pocket dwarfs it a bit, but you get the idea.

This little guy is a tiny version of the triangle bag I made first (as talked about here) with the yarn ball print. I made it to go with the other bag as a gift for a podcaster I listen to a lot. They are now both in the mail. (Tutorial Crafty Gemini)

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And lastly this one from a McCall’s pattern (# M6256) which I bought on sale this week at work.

Oh man, this presented some challenges. Sewing a circle to a tube for the base – eeek! Handsewing the lining inside – grrr! Heat ‘n Bond that didn’t stick when it was supposed to – aaagh! Glad it’s done, and it does do the job – there’s a partial cake of yarn in there and the end is threaded through the top of the “lid” – though it wouldn’t hold a full cake. Maybe it’d work best for a commercial skein of acrylic set inside on its end.

This morning was productive in its own way too. An appointment with a new dentist, in which I had my teeth scaled and polished, and numerous other things they wanted to do as I am a new patient there. No cavities, thank goodness. Dropped bags of stuff at the recycling depot. Mailed a small package to the aforementioned podcaster in Wisconsin. And spent rather a lot of money on a new pair of spectacles. I hope to have them before I go on holiday in August as the ones I’ve been wearing are badly scratched.

What are you making this week?

 

 

The sewing continues…

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The sewing continues…

This Japanese Knot Bag is so simple to make and yet it looks great when it’s finished. I used this You Tube tutorial by The Crafts Channel. The longer handle threads through the smaller one to form a wrist-carrying loop. It has two contrasting fabrics on the outside, and you could also do two different ones for the lining but I just used one. (I suppose you could even use eight different fabrics in all, which would be an awesome way to use up smaller pieces.)

Rather than download and print a pdf, I eyeballed the approximate sizes from the video and drew it out on some Burda gridded pattern paper. I started with a 25 x 25 cm square for the body of the bag, and added handles, making one twice as long as the other.

This is the sort of bag it’d be fun to make in different sizes, which I might just do!

I had a bit of a tidy round today, did the vacuuming, bathrooms, kitchen cleaning etc, and now my three crochet WIPs have been relegated to my sewing room, demoted from their living room spots. I’m not loving any of them so decided to pretend they didn’t exist! Of course my Ravelry project page has them sitting there at the top, where I can’t ignore them, but I shan’t worry about that.

The one yarny project that is active right now is a knitted beanie that I’m making with the last of the Lion Brand Mandala cake (colourway Chimera) with which I knitted/crocheted my FIL two hats. Pretty great yardage, really, to get three hats out of one cake. I started with ribbing this time, on US#4 needles, 94 stitches cast on, then increased to 100 for the stockinette part on #5 needles.

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I found that knitting to 5.75″ last time, then doing the crown decreases, made for a hat that was about an inch too long, so either I will stop at 4.75″ and then start decreasing or, if the yarn looks plentiful enough at that point, I may go even longer and make it a slouchy. Maybe even add a pompom. Anything to finish this yarn cake.

Well, I have friends coming over tonight so I’d better sign off for now. I just couldn’t wait to show you my latest bag! Happy crafting!

F is for Friday, Finishes, Food and Fitness

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Happy Friday, everyone! Thursday and Friday were kinda my weekend, as I’m working Saturday and Sunday. The forecast is for 28 degrees on Sunday.

I finished the hat that I started last night. It went quickly as I had plenty of opportunities to work on it today and I love it.

In the end, the hat incorporated the bright orange and purple parts of the Mandala cake, which is perfect, and used so little yarn that I have about half of the 150 gram cake left after finishing two beanies. It’s not quite as deep as the knitted hat, but I made it the same circumference – eighteen inches.

After a couple of months of more sedentary behaviour (following my accident) and just a few too many cheats and treats, I have been feeling somewhat blobby (proven by the spare tires that were exposed to the sun today). So I am being more careful with my food intake, both quality and quantity. Aiming to keep the Whole Food Plant Based No Oil ethics in mind, I am eating better, and also back to pushing it more at the gym. Yesterday and today I spent about an hour and a quarter at World Gym. I took my iPad which meant I could entertain my brain while I was on the treadmill for 40 minutes, and then followed that up with loose weights and machines. I wore my wrist brace of course but I am trying to do some upper body work, using a lighter dumbbell in the right hand. It’s amazing how a couple of months of injury time really set me back.

Smoothies are back on the menu now that the warmer weather is here. Last night we had one of my favourite meals, tortilla wraps with black beans, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, cucumber, and my home-made smoky chipotle tofu-cashew mayo. I even had the same thing for breakfast, thanks to leftovers.

Today I baked wholewheat hamburger buns and black bean burgers, and we had them with ketchup, mustard, smoky mayo, avocado, tomato and lettuce.

It was a fabulous Friday. I hope yours was too.

 

 

Thursday thoughts

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With my yarn cakes now suitably dressed, I am able to move on to my next project (because God forbid I should be without a current Make In Progress)! In fact, the smaller of the two Cakeholes (see previous post) has already been pressed into service and is housing the remainder of the Lion Brand Mandala cake that I partially used for the knitted hat.

The next part of the cake is bright orange and magenta so I am continuing on where the light orange left off. This pattern (a simple hat pattern with a single cable running up the side) is a design by Clare of bobwilson123. I’m following her video tutorial here. This is to be a second hat for my father-in-law. I will send him both and see what he thinks. I’m crocheting this one with the same circumference as the first one, about 18″, because the foundation double crochet is  nice and stretchy and I’d rather it was snug.

The hat is just double crochet stitches with the cable being made of front post trebles and doubles. So far it measures about 2 inches, and that’s enough for me for one evening. I had a good long workout at the gym today and the wrist has probably had enough for one day.

So, I’ve been thinking. My method of blogging is usually (a) showing off something I’m making, or (b) showing off something I’ve finished, as and when it happens, plus random extra life comments. I see others where they are more organised, often through themes around the days of the week. What do you think? Do you like randomly timed published posts that just talk about what’s happening right now? Or do you prefer predictable and regular posts within a theme?

I just did a little brainstorming. Now I should say right here and now that any plans I may make to be more regular and predictable in my posting may not come to fruition. My motivation to post usually comes along with my crochet and knitting projects, and depends on the time and commitments I have on any particular day. Also I tend to resist setting goals and sticking to schedules (hmm, guess that’s where my kids get it from).

Looking around the internet for inspiration, there are ways to blog for each day of the week, such as Monday Makes, Tuesday Tips, Wednesday Workout, Thursday Thankfulness, Friday Fun, Saturday Scraps and Sunday Spirituality. (Those are just a few examples from the extensive list I’ve compiled.) Believe me, I have no plans to blog every day. I think it would feel like a chore if I tried to do that. Also I wonder whether losing the spontaneity of randomly timed posts would bother me; I’d have to start keeping notes of things I wanted to post about on the appropriate day.

I’d be interested in hearing your comments. Do you have a blog? Do you have a structure and schedule for posting? When you subscribe to a blog, what do you enjoy  most about it?  Thank you in advance for your input. 🙂

FO: Bill’s hat

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The info on the pattern and yarn for this hat is in my previous post. As I was loving the muted shades that had come out of the yarn cake for the majority of the hat, I stopped before the brighter orange, wound off a bit from the outside of the cake, and used the brownish purple for the very tip top instead. That way, all the colours have the same tone.

The hat used less than 50 grams, which means I have at least 100 grams left in the cake (and the small balls that were wound off to get the colours to behave themselves) and I could actually make two more hats. Three hats from one cake, and they’d all look completely different!

Sally the Styrofoam Head is a little smaller than a real head so she doesn’t accurately represent the size comparative to a real person, but she is useful for blocking on.

The weather has been very Spring-like the last week. And it seems to be paying attention to my work days. Tuesday and Wednesday I was working, Thursday and Friday I wasn’t, and the sun shone and it made for lovely hiking and a bit o’ sunbathing. Even some dinner outside on the deck Friday evening, followed by some knittin’.

I worked all weekend and the wrist was quite painful after the busy sale days. The sky was cloudy with a few spits of rain but I didn’t mind because I was indoors.

Then Monday and Tuesday were again fine – a mix of sun and cloud, another walk with a friend…

Some pretty views of the lake and mountains from the high vantage point. The Arrowleaf Balsamroot is out in force – it’s such a bright and welcome addition to the hillsides at this time of year. (Click on the pics if you want to see them bigger.)

I was a good girl today and went to the gym this morning. Thirty minutes on the treadmill, made easier by the fact that I remembered my iPad and earbuds. Then some weights, including a few careful exercises with a 3lb and 5lb dumbbell with the right hand. Tonight Tai Chi Man and I are going to a yoga class.

I have to run – need to get into my yoga gear and get out of the house shortly. Happy crafting, everyone.

 

 

WIP: Bill’s hat update

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Hello all. How are you? Despite my slow progress, the hat for my father-in-law has reached 4.75″ tall and there’s only an inch to go until I start the crown decreases. The pattern is Vanilla Hat and is a basic DK weight hat that has a folded hem at the brim and four sets of decreases at the crown. Very simple.

I’m using Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Chimera. Because this is quite a small project, I have been trying to figure out how many of the colour changes will appear in the hat. I actually cut out a fair amount of both the mid-green and the yellow-green, only giving the yellow-green a half inch of exposure before going into the yellow. I really hope I get some orange and red in there too, maybe with some fudging.

After finishing the blanket last Friday, I did no knitting or crochet for two whole days! At my Monday night Hygge group I planned to knit on the hat, but was sidetracked by my friend’s blanket which was damaged. She brought it to me to fix. Her cast on was tight and it had actually broken and there was a ragged bit about four inches long. So I picked out the cast on edge, got the work back on the needles about two or three rows down, unravelled the damaged bits to the point where all was well, and reknit a row. She is planning to add a bit more length to the blanket so I left it on the needles so she can knit some more rows then bind off.

I took the hat to work with me on Tuesday so I could do a row or two. Yes, I’m back at work. Mixed feelings about that 😛 It’s nice to be back socialising with my co-workers and chatting with the customers. Because I’m not ready to cut fabric or lift bolts yet, I’m on the till. There’s a big sale this weekend and I’m scheduled for Saturday AND Sunday.

First day back, my wrist did ok, but second day was a little more challenging. Maybe a rest day between shifts would have been a good idea, but I didn’t think to ask.

Today I went hiking with a friend. It felt really hot.  I don’t know what the official high temperature was, but it felt like mid-20s Celsius. The sun was shining and we were walking for about 3 hours; well, a bit less than that if you don’t count the short break halfway for a sit and a snack. I am so glad I set aside my vanity and wore my $3 dollar store sunhat, because I think I’d have felt a lot hotter and been sunburned by the end of it, without the shade. Last time we hiked there, my family and friends were invaded by ticks. I think we managed to catch them all before they embedded themselves, but I was wary this time. After sitting in the grass to have our snack, I found a tick on my hand, so I flicked it off and we did a clothing check. When I got home, I stripped off in the bathroom and showered, running my hands through my hair to be sure I had no hitchhikers.

So I’m grateful for friends, sunshine, spring and smoothies. What are you grateful for?

 

The brim is done!

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It took six days but I managed three inches of knitting stockinette in the round for the hat for my father-in-law, and tonight did the folding/provisional cast on removal/three needle trick to get the folded brim all done. I have now graduated to the larger needle tip (US#5) for the body of the hat.

I’m pleased that when I folded it I didn’t lose all the blue to the back. The dark green is nice, but I’ll enjoy the brighter colours even more. I love the feel of this Lion Brand Mandala yarn – it’s very wool-like.

Yesterday I had my last X-ray and doctor checkup for the time being (six weeks post-surgery) and today I met with a hand therapist at the hospital and was given exercises to do. She measured the angle that I could move my hand to in different directions so that we can check for progress next time. I’m also supposed to apply a bit of pressure to the scar tissue with my thumb and move the skin around to prevent adhesions underneath the incision area – not keen on that!

My boss is going to be scheduling me for shifts the week after next. I will have to take things slowly. I will be able to do cash, as that is mostly operating a touch screen, but I’m hesitant to try cutting and lifting fabric too soon. A nice co-worker has lent me a pair of left-handed scissors which I’m going to practice with, as that would solve the cutting problem at least. As for lifting, I can barely hold a small mug of tea or a book so bolts of fabric are out of the question.

Hope you have a great day! TTYS