Tag Archives: Lion Brand Mandala

On a roll…a pink roll

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On a roll…a pink roll

Woah, I just checked the last post I wrote and realised I hadn’t shown you the finished Daisy Garden Blanket. Guess I posted to Instagram and forgot to do it here. Oops!

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I’m beyond happy with this blanket. I love it. It’s such a happy flower block, and putting 36 different ones together just makes it all the more cheerful. When I was seaming the blocks together, I found a couple of blocks where I’d messed up the corners on the last round, so redid those. Thankfully those didn’t have a colour that I’d run out of as they needed a few extra stitches.

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The size came out to be about 56″ square, with the self-designed border. And I used up 1430 grams of stash yarn, which is awesome. The yarn is Red Heart With Love, which is an aran weight yarn (heavier than your usual worsted weight, but not quite bulky.) It took about two months in all.

As soon as it was done, it was washed and dried and laid out to admire. And then I had to start another project. Because I get antsy without a WIP!

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This shawl was finished in about five days. It’s the Jayma shawl from Polly Plum and it is an easy to memorise pattern. You’re just alternating V stitches and single crochets, increasing on every row until it’s big enough or you’ve run out of yarn.

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I used almost all of a 200 gram skein of Loops & Threads Barcelona and made the tassels detachable with lobster clasps so they can be removed when washing the shawl.

And when THAT was finished, I had to quickly come up with something else, and found this in my Ravelry queue – Mimic, another pattern by Polly Plum. This one is written for fingering weight or DK, so I’m using Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Troll. I chose to start with the cake that had bright pink in the centre, so the initial triangle is going to have a lovely pop of colour at the start. After constructing a triangle in rows, you then start to work back and forth along one edge to make a trapezoid shape. The bands of the design are formed from sections of moss stitch and V stitches.

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I think this is going to be a great use of the Mandala yarn and I’m looking forward to seeing it grow.

And finally, a non-crochet photo because it’s from a walk I took with a friend recently along the waterfront not far from my house. We did get rained on a bit, but the temperature was comfortable, and the fog over the lake was quite atmospheric. Literally!

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A big day at work tomorrow. Starting at 7, most of the staff and some fit helpers will be weighing all the bolts of fabric at the store. This week has been tiring and a little stressful for many of us, and it will be good to get the job done and behind us. Today I have been baking loaves of banana bread and tonight I will set up the slowcooker so that there will be a vegan alternative to the pulled pork that the manager is bringing. I have an easy way to make it – shredded young jackfruit from cans with barbecue sauce from a recipe in the Garden of Vegan cookbook. It’s going to be a long day. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

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.

 

FO: Key Largo scarf

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FO: Key Largo scarf

So much fun colour in this week’s projects!

The Key Largo scarf is finished! It turned out about 70″ x 12″ and here it is in all its blocked rainbowy glory.

I used up almost all of one cake of Lion Brand Mandala so there were only two ends to weave in.  The start date was March 9th and the finish date was the 19th, so it didn’t take long. It helps that I worked on it monogamously (surprisingly for me). The pattern was easily memorisable,  and portable, which meant I could work on it anywhere.

What else have I done? Oh yes, the float experience went well. I mentioned last time that I was a little concerned about the green hair dye leaching out into the Epsom salts tank at the float place, but it was ok. And I had a very relaxing hour inside the pod, in the dark, with the music playing. So I would probably do that again.

Yesterday there was a mini challenge in the Party! International Crochet Month group on Ravelry. One of the mods suggested that we might like to make an item of clothing for our Inner Beasts using freeform crochet, and that the first person to post a photo of their beast wearing his/her new garment would win a tutorial on freeform crochet from Prudence Mapstone. Well, Prudence is the guru of freeform and I do like a challenge, so I quickly crocheted up a vest for Brian. I was sure someone would pip me at the post as it was ten hours since the challenge had been set, but I managed to be the first and therefore the winner! Yay! It was a perfect little project for an evening where I was feeling tired from work and not even feeling like picking up a hook.

I even found time for sewing this week and used some fleece remnants to make these cute armwarmers. They are so cosy and comfortable that I almost wish it was still winter…almost! I used a tutorial and downloadable pattern that I printed out. The only modification I made was to trim about an inch off the thumb, as I didn’t hem the ends so the thumbs turned out too long.

The photo on the website shows a curved seam between the hand the thumb, but I sewed it with a V-shaped seam, pivoting the needle at the base of the V. A little snip into the seam allowance meant it turned right side out just fine and I think my version looks great! This is the sort of pattern you could make lots of, as it is quick and fun.

We’ve had a very Spring-like week with temps into the double digits. In fact, on Tuesday, I went out on the back deck which faces south and took a thermometer with me and in the sun, on the deck chair next to me, it hit 36 degrees Celsius! Officially it was probably half that. So that’s two days when I have enjoyed the deck, with my new swimsuit on, getting some rays and making some vitamin D. IMG_8059

This was my spot this afternoon, where I planned the week’s meals. Shame about the shady bits, but it was certainly plenty warm enough to sit out for an hour.

Wednesday I took my car in to the Toyota dealership. There was a passenger side airbag recall, and the car was due for a maintenance check and oil change. Turns out (doesn’t it always) that there was more to do, like a new battery and removing a screw from one of the tires, so in the end they had the car for more than five hours. During that time, I walked the mall a couple of times, visited a few other shops, stopped briefly for some lunch, and later some crochet at a local park, but for at least four of those five hours I was walking. Phew! Didn’t need to go to the gym THAT day.

I’m expecting a busy weekend – work both days with extra sale deals to bring in the customers, so I will really appreciate the massage that I have booked for Monday. Enjoy your weekend!

WIP: Key Largo Scarf

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How’s your week going? Mine has been quite full, and I haven’t been able to get to the gym or a yoga class, which is a little annoying (though my lazy side is okay with it). Today the temperature crept up above freezing to about 7 Celsius, which felt almost warm! We are supposed to have double digits soon – gosh, what a treat!!

There’s been a busy weekend of work, a ‘catching up with stuff at home’ day (while feeling overtired from a combination of the clocks going forward, an early morning, a late night, and a lack of caffeine), more work shifts, grocery shopping, cleaning, bread baking…

This is what my kitchen looked like Monday evening before I crashed out at 9.30.

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This is the product of three large bowls of bread dough, each batch containing 12 cups of flour. Three loaves, 16 hot dog buns, 16 hamburger buns, all rising while the oven heated up. I used to make bread all the time but these days I tend to buy the Silver Hills organic sprouted wheat bread from Costco (it’s about half the price there) and stock the freezer. It makes it easy to grab another sliced loaf when you need it, and it thaws quickly or you can toast it. However I needed the buns for a couple of specific meals this week, and we were on our last loaf of Silver Hills.

As promised, I frogged the progress on the Key Largo Lace Wrap and started again with a cake of Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Gnome. It’s a lovely bright rainbow of a cake – I have no idea who this will be for when it’s done, but I am enjoying the colour progression.

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It started a little slowly as I reacquainted myself with the pattern…

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And it grew…

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And grew some more…

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With DK yarn, a 5mm hook, a scarf width rather than a wrap, and only 10 pattern repeats across the row, it’s growing quickly. Very satisfying! I took this photo at a coffee shop today where my friend and I will be meeting most Thursdays, since she started a knitting group there. I have the four-row pattern memorised now so I don’t even have to get the pattern out of the bag any more.

My plan was to have a gym and sewing day tomorrow, Friday, but I made a start on my intended projects tonight.

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It’s not very sexy but it is functional – a non-slip mat that goes underneath a sewing machine foot pedal. I have to confess, the one I made for myself is not working too well on the carpet, so I’m thinking it would be better on a hard floor. I used a Crafty Gemini tutorial. On this first attempt, I applied the bias binding as I would normally, by opening it out and sewing it on then flipping it to the other side and sewing again. A far-from-perfect result, which is irritating as my intention is to take this one to work to go on the DIY table for fabric shoppers to see. The second one, I attached the binding like Vanessa does in the video, but it was even messier so I am keeping the second one for myself.

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I also made this shopping bag from some decor fabric from work. It was on clearance at $5 a metre, and is a heavy cotton fabric. I wrote down the steps to make it as I went, as I’m thinking this will also make a good display item at the store, but I wasn’t too happy with the stitching. I used a strong thread that’s slightly thicker than the all-purpose stuff, and even though I adjusted the thread AND bobbin tension the bobbin thread was loosey-goosey! Still, it’s usable, and pretty, and I will make another with regular thread in the hope that it will be more presentable, should people look closely at my stitching.

Yes, embracing the imperfections of life here today, that’s me! My other plans include some napkins for a friend, and another apron.

Good night from my windy part of the world (the windchimes are going nuts again). Enjoy your Friday and your weekend.

Bountiful beanies Part 2!

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I have seven FOs to show you since my last post. I’ve been enjoying some destashing and some stash enhancing. Ahem!

This cowl is a basic C2C stitch pattern, worked as a rectangle, joined in a tube, and with a pompom added on (to use up more yarn). That was a cake of yarn finished up.

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The pinks are way more pretty in real life.

Another quick project, again with stash yarn, was this shawl. It’s called the Me Shawl, designed by Clare at bobwilson123, and her video tutorial is here. It’s a quick and easy pattern, only took me a few days, and I just love the way the yarn worked with it (Lion Brand Mandala in Troll). I did make it quite a bit bigger than she made hers. And I took out the lime green section of the yarn cake and used a bit of turquoise from a second cake for the bobble border.

Another way that I reduced old stash was to make some super bulky beanies. I made four of them yesterday (Loops & Threads Zoomba) and the green one is Red Heart Vivid and I made that in about 20 minutes tonight.

The four in the picture above are made from my own pattern, linked in the sidebar – the Gio hat – and the green one is just half double crochet and a 19mm hook. It’s funny to think there are only 23 stitches around that beanie. Talk about fast!

And finally, my new yarn. There’s a smaller city an hour’s drive south of me which has a small yarn shop. They are closing down and going mobile. So all their stock is on deep discount and I thought a road trip with a fellow yarn-loving friend would be fun. Yesterday we drove down there, had a good look around and left with some treasures. We stopped at a coffee shop and pulled out our knitting and crochet, while we warmed up with tea/coffee. Later, we drove back north, stopping at a small town where there’s another great coffee shop (I did suggest to my friend that we make a documentary, Coffee Shops of the Okanagan) where we had more tea/coffee and a snack. Next door is a cool little shop where I bought my vegan leather Espe bag last year, and my friend bought herself an Espe bag to replace her worn out purse. What a great day!

Here’s what I came home with:

The buttons are hand-made in South Africa, giving employment to women in that country. The variegated skeins are Berroco Espresso and weigh 150 grams each. The yarn is a bulky weight blend of cotton and acrylic. The Easter Egg coloured skeins are Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme, 100 grams of soft worsted weight cotton. So pretty.

I was left with small balls of leftovers from the cowl and beanies and I’ve added them to the giveaway bag of yarn and changed their status on my Ravelry stash page to “all used up.”

So it’s definitely been a yarny week. The pile of hats to donate to the needy via a local church is growing by leaps and bounds. Along with the crochet, as often happens, I’ve been delving into Netflix again and have been watching Line of Duty, a British police series. Very gritty! And now I must leave you, for I have work again tomorrow. Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

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!!