Tag Archives: Lion Brand Mandala

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

WIP: Bill’s vanilla hat

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I was feeling so accomplished after the Paper Bag Princess project was done, despite the delays and discomfort from my wrist injury. At the beginning of this year, I had a goal in mind (uncharacteristically) to make 12 sweaters in 12 months. I whizzed through the first two, and was almost done with the third, all in the space of a month and a half, when the snowboarding crash happened.

It’s been two months since then, and for a while I couldn’t do any crochet or knitting. Then I managed some gentle crochet, left handed, and made a bulky cowl and finished off the doll project. Encouraged by that, I decided it was time to try knitting.

Of course, my sweater goal has been pretty much abandoned, at least for the time being. But I wanted to make something for my father-in-law, who, like my mother, is often very generous. He is getting on in years and I have heard he is feeling the cold more these days. Even though he hasn’t been a hat-wearer in the many years I’ve known him, I feel that he will appreciate one made out of a colourful yarn. If nothing else, he loves his colour.

So out from the stash came the Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Chimera, which is what I would describe as a muted rainbow. Blue through dark and light green, mustard yellow, orange, magenta and brown. I have only made one other project with the Mandala – my Spill shawl – but I love this DK weight yarn and the colours it comes in.

The pattern I chose is the Vanilla Hat. It’s a really basic stockinette hat with a folded hem and a simple crown with four decrease lines leading to the centre. I’m not sure how many of the colours of the cake will fit into the hat, but I’m hoping for the brightest ones at least.

Progress is slow. When I first cast on, my gauge was a little loose so I ended up ripping out the first few rounds and restarting with a smaller needle size – US#4 (3.5mm). During my first session of working on this hat, I was feeling quite comfortable, thinking how my wrist seemed happy to be knitting. Unfortunately the next day I changed my mind. I think the fine motor movements of the Continental knitting, which does have a reasonable economy of motion, aggravated some out-of-practice muscles and tendons. So I am having to be careful to do a small amount at a time.

My hospital appointment for the six week post-surgery checkup is this Tuesday. I hope to hear that my recovery so far is typical for the type of injury. If I am to get back to normal, or as close as possible, I know that I have to exercise the hand and wrist and that some pain is to be expected.

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend and that your crafting is going well. What are you making?

A weekend retreat

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Tai Chi Man and I are away for the weekend, leaving the three young men at home to eat, sleep and play unhindered! They are all adults now and can fend for themselves. Husband has classes, so I’m seeing him for short bursts of time in between. When I am alone, I am bingeing on Netflix (latest TV series watched is The Five), crocheting, computering, and this morning I hit the gym and the pool right here in the hotel. Gosh, it’s a tough life! I’ve also been out for a few short walks.

The view from our hotel room is very lovely and very changeable. The weather yesterday was low 20s (Celsius) and sunny, today it’s low teens and showery.

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That last one is today’s. Please excuse the dirty window. Nothing I can do about that!

I’m pleased to have a Ta Dah moment for the Spill Shawl. It’s not blocked, as I just finished it last night. I did try taking photos at the time, but a dimly lit hotel room is definitely not the ideal location so I took it out with me this afternoon. I found a nice stretch of beach to walk along and an interesting bit of fallen tree to drape the shawl on.

The last couple of rows are not the Lion Brand Mandala yarn, they are Deramores Studio DK in Jade. It was big enough by the end of the skein (and 67 rows) to call it quits but I thought a brighter/darker colour than the grey would finish it off better.

The other FO I have to show you is one I started and finished this morning, while drinking tea after my workout.

The pattern is from the book in the photos. It’s a sunflower to add to the pumpkin wreath in my kitchen. I used Stylecraft Special Aran in copper for the centre and lemon for the petals. It’s got great texture from all the popcorns.

I had checked Google Maps for getting a bead on the area and how to get to where I needed, but after the beach my aim was to find the large supermarket beside the Trans Canada highway. I did find it, just by a somewhat roundabout route. We have a small two-burner stovetop in our hotel room, and yesterday I threw together a very simple dinner from a can of kidney beans, a can of tomatoes, part of a bag of frozen vegetables, some salt and some chipotle flakes. OMG, I love chipotle. Smoked jalapeno, for those who don’t know, and I have the powder at home but forgot to bring any condiments or seasonings with me. So when I found the jar of flakes at the supermarket yesterday I just had to buy it.

Tonight I think we’ll have avocado and tomato on toast, and tomorrow night it’ll be pasta with olives, artichokes, tomatoes, peppers – and maybe some more of those chipotle flakes!

Brrr! I actually had to put a sweater on.

Hope your weekend is awesome. Bye for now!

 

 

 

 

WIPs and waiting…

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WIPs and waiting…

Waiting for the electrician and plumber to arrive, who should have been here at 8 and it’s now 9.30am. Hopeless! The reason we need the team is that all three of our bathrooms are having extractor fans installed. Our tiny en suite (toilet and sink only) has a pathetic fan that’s never worked well. The two full bathrooms (one up, one down) have never had them. Now that we have new windows and doors and the house is better insulated and less draughty we have to make sure we don’t have a mould problem. (It started to manifest early this year after we had the work done – in January! Yes, the house was freezing for a bit.)

Tai Chi Man hung around an hour longer than usual this morning, but when we got the call that they would be late, he left for work and gave me instructions on what to tell the guys.

Anyway, last night was fun. I’ve started to host a Monday night ‘Hygge’ gathering, for friends to come and have tea and maybe crochet or knit or just chat. The first two, it was just me and one friend. Then last night there were four of us and we had such a laugh (and scads of Yorkshire Tea because three of us are Brits and the fourth is an honorary one)! It may or may not have been the tea that caused my wakefulness between 4 and 5am.

So my WIP is still Spill. I work on this when I can concentrate, as right side rows do require a bit of counting, but it’s an easy pattern and I love the way the colours look with the short rows. I’m almost at the end of the cake of Lion Brand Mandala and it’s 12 inches deep at the centre. Maybe not quite big enough to quit at the end of the cake, so I will go stash-diving later for something that works with it so I can keep going.

And I have a tiny FO that I started last night and just finished off.

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This is a bit of Stylecraft Special Aran. I just made a rectangle, starting with 20 chains, worked sc in the back loop only every row for 25 rows. Sew up the side seam, gather up one end, stuff it, gather up the other end, and then take the tails through the centre a couple of times to flatten it out and make it pumpkin-shaped. Add a little green stalk – 4 chain, work 3 sc into the chain, finish off and use the tails to sew it in.

This would be fun to make in different sizes. I may experiment with ever smaller starting chains.

Looks like I will have plenty of crochet time this morning. Have a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

WIPs, workouts and weather

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I burned myself out on five-stranded super-bulky crochet last week and have put away the old crappy yarn for now. I actually  made a decision on what to make for the first ball of Lion Brand Mandala – colour Sphinx.

I started from the centre of the cake. It goes from teal, to turquoise, to a medium blue, to a darker blue, and then brown.  (Later I’ll get to green, mustard and grey.) If you look carefully, you will see the tail on the inside curve. This is the starting point. The short rows mean the shawl grows asymmetrically, but rather magically if I fold it in half it is still symmetrical, even though the starting point is not in the middle. This is giving me hope that, even though I have less yardage than the pattern calls for, I may end up with an acceptable result anyway. Or I can rummage through my Stylecraft Special DK and see if I can coordinate something to finish it off properly.

Pattern is Spill, a free Ravelry download. I think I first spotted it when the designer was getting it test-crocheted in one of the groups I belonged to. I’m happy that she published it for free!

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“Spill” requires some counting on the dc rows where some are short rows and some involve increasing. Odd rows are just sc. However seeing as I need to refer to the pattern every other row, it’s not ideal for tonight as I have a friend (or possibly friends) coming over to knit and chat. I needed an even easier pattern that I could do with only half a brain.

Therefore, this skein of Loops & Threads Barcelona was pulled out along with a 6.5mm hook, and after revisiting this Crochet Crowd tutorial I got started on a C2C (corner to corner). This is bulky yarn, and I have two 7oz skeins, so I think I will just play with making a scarf with it. I’ve never made a project with the C2C method before and a scarf will give me some good practice at increasing and decreasing.

My mind is sort of made up about the old yarn that I’ve acquired from various sources. I’d like to take it to the thrift store, get it out of my space, and just keep those skeins that I bought for myself that I really like. What do they say? Life’s too short to crochet with yarn that you hate? Maybe hate is too strong a word, but I feel that someone else will put it to better use.

This morning, I realised that I goofed. On Friday I went to the gym and of course peeled off everything when I got home, tossed it into the laundry basket, and headed for the shower. Well, I worked Saturday and Sunday – busy days at work, it’s a popular sale, lots of good deals, and also with the season changing there’s lots to do in reorganising tables of fabric. This morning, eating my breakfast and mentally making plans to go to the gym, I realise that my workout clothes aren’t clean. I have plenty of tops to wear but only one pair of yoga pants to work out in. Definitely time to go shopping, I’d say. It was a beautiful morning, sunny with a cool breeze, so it was an easy choice to put on a T shirt and skirt and go out for a walk around the neighbourhood instead. Over an hour, lots of hillwork, a pretty good workout with the bonus of making some Vitamin D!

This afternoon I blitzed the kitchen and bathrooms, did some vacuuming, brought the plants in off the deck for the winter and gave them some much needed water, and did two loads of laundry, washed, dried and put away. At dinner we had one of those awesome rain showers where it’s fairly heavy, and the wind is blowing it at an angle, but the sun is still shining.  The forecast for the next three days is rain (woohoo) and only mid-teens for the temperature. Gonna have to pull out a sweater. It’s time for my fall closet switcharoo anyway. Bring the wintery stuff down off the top shelf, put the summer things up there.

So yeah, the house got clean (this Monday night plan of having people come to my house is great motivation) and now I just need to hit Publish and pick up my hook and wait for 7.30!

Mandala mojo

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Two days ago, I was looking forward to starting a new project with some of my Lion Brand Mandala. But I didn’t realise how hard it was going to be to find JUST the right project to make. Forty eight hours later, I still haven’t cracked a cake!

I have browsed Ravelry multiple times with different advanced searches, looked at Pinterest, gone through my own pattern file, and I’m still not sure what to start. Having only one cake of each colourway limits me and now I’m wondering whether I should have bought fewer colours but more of each. It looks like it’ll be a shawl or cowl project, and I added some to my Ravelry queue to revisit later.

I had a free day today. A rest day from exercise, because I have weight-trained, walked, yoga’ed and worked this week, enough to feel like a rest day was necessary. Tomorrow I am booked into a Zumba class (I used to do these years ago and they were a lot of fun – sweaty fun). Having all this free time today meant I had to crochet something. So I made this…

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…which is another DMC Top This! hat, but crocheted without a pattern this time. The odd shape is due to the fact it is over the top of a cylindrical stainless steel Ikea cutlery holder!

The variegated pink and grey is the nicest section to crochet, the pink fluffy section is thicker and not as smooth on the hook, and the peachy section is just horrible – I hate that colour, it doesn’t really fit with the rest, it’s very synthetic-feeling and in places has a dark strand in it that makes it look dirty. I’ve liked the other kits that I’ve bought – the lamb and the cat were okay – but I wouldn’t use this one again.

At least it’s something used up from stash. I will hold onto this hat for now and see if I can find a local recipient for it. If not, undoubtedly there will be another parcel heading off to the UK in a few months.

Sometimes, when my inspiration deserts me, I make big bulky items to destash cheap acrylic. Maybe that’s what I need to do next. Perhaps some cat blankets for the SPCA. Now that’s an idea I can get on board with.

Enjoy your weekend 🙂  I am – we actually had RAIN last night and today and it is freakin’ awesome! And it was around 21 degrees and I was comfortable. YAY!