Tea, that is!
Made up this simple teacosy this week. I meant to write proper notes as I went but was a little lax about it. Do you think it’s worth writing up a pattern?
And in the blink of an eye, Christmas is over!
After our big lunch out on Sunday, we had a very simple dinner on Monday. Tuesday was Christmas Eve and I had decided that that was going to be our main Christmas meal. So I cooked a lentil chestnut loaf, potatoes oreganata (sliced potatoes with oregano, sundried tomatoes and olives) and lots of roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower! We had apple crumble for dessert with vegan ice cream. And then the boys, Tai Chi Man and I played Cards Against Humanity. I know, very non-PC, but very funny, once you get over the fact you’re all mentioning body parts and unnatural acts in front of your parents/children. Our children ARE in their 20s now!!
Christmas Day was lovely and easy. I rustled up some blueberry pancakes around lunchtime, of which most of us partook. And Tai Chi Man and I went out for a neighbourhood walk in the afternoon. It’s been very mild around here, hovering around zero for some time, and there’s snow on the ground but no new precipitation for a few days. Dinner was equally simple, as I made a large fruit salad, which we ate with more vegan ice cream, and there was fruit cake for those who wanted it.
I baked a gluten free mince tart in the evening as I had a friend coming over for tea the next day. It seemed to work out okay.
And Boxing Day…another day at home. My friend came over for a cuppa and a piece of aforesaid mince tart, which was nice. I did a bit of tidying up, and some sewing on another project bag (#11 in the series). Dinner was shepherd’s pie and salad.
With the end of the year approaching, I am aware of my need to review. And the big pile of WIPs in the living room was begging for attention. So today I picked up the crochet granny blanket and added a couple of rounds of black and called it done. I needed a Finished Object and this is about 700 grams out of the stash. YAY!
It’s about 41″ square, and a good size for a lap blanket.
The centre is mostly different colours from the outer rounds because they were small scraps of yarn which I had to use up early or they wouldn’t have been enough to complete a full round. For the first time, I switched direction each round to avoid the skewing that happens in the centre of large grannies, and it worked well.
Now I am at the end of a five day stretch of no shifts, and I have work tomorrow. New sale, so my brain will have to be on full alert! And then Saturday, lots more cooking, as we’re hosting a potluck. Whew!
Hi peeps, how’s it going? Time for another WIP Wednesday. Seems like no time at all since last Wednesday, and it feels like I haven’t made a whole lot of progress.
The Party Cardi hasn’t been touched so I won’t bother with another photo of that. However I’ve started my Moe of Change…
This is going to be a pretty blanket. It will be baby blanket size as it only uses two cakes of Lion Brand Mandala but it’s good to have at least one project where I have to concentrate on stitches and counting.
The granny blanket with the Red Heart With Love has grown quite well though the colours are going to be a bit predictable from now on. The centre used up small balls of leftovers and now I’m on to the big balls, of which I have only a limited number. The plan is to repeat the white/black rows after each set of colours, and I hope it’s going to look ok with the different colours in the middle.
The knitted blanket has grown a tiny bit. I have added a few rows but they are so long that it’s going to be a slow project.
That cake is one I wound up with my ball-winder when I first bought it and wanted to wind every scrap into a cake!
I also have a Finished Object – a very small one!
I needed ears for my Hello Kitty outfit for Halloween and found this hairband at the dollar store. It’s perfect because I crocheted the ears and slipped them over the plastic ear-shaped bits on top, sewed them on, and they won’t flop.
So I’ve been a good girl this week and got back to the gym. I had two weeks of holiday followed by two weeks of sloth (except for one yoga class). On Sunday, Tai Chi Man and I went to the gym in the morning and I did a 40 minute workout (20 mins treadmill, 20 mins weights machine circuit) to get me back into things. On Monday, I was back for 30 mins of treadmill plus a 30 minute upper body workout. And Tuesday, we had a challenging yoga class with lots of downward facing dogs and OMG my shoulders today are SO painful. But it’s a good kind of pain, I suppose, because it means I did some work! Couldn’t face another workout tonight after work, but I shall see what I can fit in tomorrow around my social commitments. Maybe a ‘leg day’ in the afternoon so that the shoulders get a break.
I have Maui in December to keep me motivated!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
This time last week, I showed you the progress on the blanket. I had 29 squares made. Now I have 36. And I am DONE with making squares. I wove in the ends on the last one yesterday and this morning, in the quiet and coolness of the very early morning, I laid a sheet on my deck and played with my squares.
The first rule was to make sure that the edges didn’t touch another of the same colour. The second was to try to keep matching petals away from each other. And the third was a less important attempt to keep matching backgrounds away from each other. AND of course to have the colours and values distributed as best as possible.
I took a few photos from all angles and finally came up with this. I’m sure it’s not perfect but then the finished blanket is unlikely to be viewed like this when in use.
It’s crocheted with Red Heart With Love and a 6mm hook. I’m using a hook from my Denise2Go kit, which is a small kit of interchangeable hooks with different length cables. It has been very comfortable to use.
I have been enjoying posting photos of each square to Instagram as I go. If you want to take a look, I’m Nicolaknits_crochets on Instagram. Or you can peek at my Ravelry project page which is here. Uploading photos to my project page has been quicker than ever since I realised I could link my Instagram account to Ravelry. As soon as I open the “photos” tab, I am instantly shown my Instagram photo, I can click on it, and it uploads. Then I caption it and that’s it. Before I was always hunting through my huge photo file on my laptop, looking for the right picture. (Now that I’ve deleted a lot of older photos, that shouldn’t take so long now. Plus I am finally getting savvy – when I save the photo, I give it an actual searchable name.)
We’ve had a cooler than usual June, with more rain than I expected, and a good thunderstorm the other day. It’s very pleasant, actually. Considering that some places in Europe have been having a heatwave, with France getting to 46 degrees Celsius, and Kuwait reached a high of 52.2, I am grateful. We have experienced 40 degrees here in our little corner of Canada, but I just can’t imagine 52.
Work is good, with things ramping up for inventory in a week. Next weekend we’ll be counting all the notions, in other words the packages of everything that we sell at the fabric store, whether it’s needles, pins, thread, whatever. Then after that, all the fabric bolts will be laid down and stacked carefully according to their density code in time for weighing day. It’s a huge undertaking but with all the preparation that’s done ahead of the big day it normally goes pretty smoothly. The main battle is keeping it organised, when customers like to rummage and move stuff and put things down where they don’t belong, AND the store is open for most of the time that we are counting/weighing. We start at 7 and the store opens at 10. So there are inventory teams and a customer service team.
I just remembered that I have a photo of my new table display. We now have a beaver welcoming people as they walk into the store! Made from a faux fur throw, I had a bit of fun with that yesterday. He only has to stay together for the Canada Day weekend, eh!
The “logs” are storage boxes. I really like them but they are a bit pricey for me otherwise I’d totally turn my craft room into a virtual pine forest!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Hmmm, that was interesting. I just had to log in to WordPress for the first time in forever and needless to say I had forgotten my password! All sorted now, thankfully.
This morning, between going to the gym and going to work, I had a chance to photograph my Scrapsrific Rainbow Blanket CAL progress, part 6. This week was my slowest as my interest waned when I hit those crossed dc stitch sections. However I really want to finish this blanket this month so I can log it as an OUT for May, as far as stash is concerned, and because I haven’t had a finished object in what feels like ages.
So once I settled on the couch for the evening, I diligently wove in ends and finished the second rectangle.
Part 7 is the joining part, and I will get to that soon. I should probably steam block my motifs first but knowing me I probably won’t. It’ll all get tossed in the washer and dryer when it’s done anyway. After that, I believe there is a border, though I’ve already run out of a couple of the colours.
My Swedish death-cleaning has continued, with the kitchen getting some decluttering and tidying treatments. I updated the grapevine wreath on the wall and the cork board with some crocheted oddments that I had hanging around from previous UFOs.
I’m sure you know how hard it is to keep a horizontal surface clear in the kitchen. It’s an ongoing battle! The cupboard which holds all the mugs, glasses and tea also had a makeover, but I have plenty of cupboards yet to tackle.
There are now five Daisy blanket squares – these two are the newest ones –
and as they are crocheted with thicker yarn and grow quickly I have been finding it hard to resist picking up this WIP instead of the other one. In fact, for a few days, I wasn’t really getting much crochet done at all, what with work, gym, decluttering etc. I’d also like to be doing some sewing, and am seriously considering teaching myself to get up earlier in the morning so that I get more crafty stuff done. It’s hard to get into that mindset though, as I tend to feel like crochet is for the end of the day when I can veg on the couch with Netflix. Maybe I should just suck it up and give it a go!
Two, yes, two blankets are under construction!
Part 5 of the Scrapsrific Rainbow Blanket CAL is now complete, and Part 6 came out today. Here are my rectangles and blocks (the 3″ squares joined into fours) for Part 5.
I foresee some fudging in my future, because the rectangles are 18 x 6 inches and are supposed to start with 84 chains. However my first one was 4 inches too long, so I reduced the chain by 16, and now the size is perfect. Surprisingly my row gauge was spot on. So whilst the size is right, the stitch count is off.
I decided to mix up my small squares a bit when joining them into larger blocks. So that’s done, and now I need to get on with Part 6.
My other active WIP is a new one, just started a couple of days ago. I love the Daisy Charity Square (available for purchase – see this Ravelry link) so much, since I incorporated it into my Groovyghan last year, and have been thinking of making a blanket with just daisy squares. It is now a reality. I’m using Red Heart With Love in various colours, along with a 6mm hook, and the squares are coming out around 8.5″. I have three finished so far.
I’m using three colours per square, repeating the centre colour for the border. These are really thick squares, as the colours travel behind each other for the flower petals. And it’s a little tricky too. The pattern is VERY wordy, and even though I’ve made some of these before, I still messed up and had to frog more than once. I definitely recommend the accompanying video. I will see how far my yarn lasts – there are no definite plans for a finished size.
We won’t talk about the socks, once again languishing in their project bag. The ones I recently finished have been worn, but it made me realise I did make them too big. Maybe it’s the yarn that is missing some spring and stretch, because my gauge was right. So I may frog and restart the new pair with even fewer stitches.
It’s been an active week for me, with an hour and a half elliptical/weights workout on Monday, a treadmill/weights workout on Tuesday, yoga Tuesday evening, work on Wednesday, and 45 minutes on the stationary bike tonight. Work tomorrow, but I shall plan to do the gym Saturday and Sunday too. I am mixing things up because I still have to be careful not to overstress my right wrist/forearm, even though it’s been 15 months since the fracture and surgery. I like to focus on upper body/lower body on separate days if I don’t have a rest day in between.
I’ve been a member of the gym for about a year and a half now and I’m noticing the difference in my muscles. I sometimes get annoyed that I had that setback last year with the broken wrist, and the limitations that it places on me now, but it’s better to focus on what I CAN do, rather than what I can’t.
How do you keep active/fit/healthy? Let me know in the comments.
Monogamy is for marriage. Not for crochet and knitting projects!
The garter stitch wrap is a longer term project and these kinda make me antsy for some instant gratification: a quick project that will be a Finished Object really quickly. So, inspired by a podcast I was watching this week (Little Drops of Wonderful) in which I found out about a #cosyuptowintermal (AKA Cosy up to Winter MakeAlong), I made a teeny tiny crystal cover. The MakeAlong is all about knitting or crocheting a cosy for an inanimate object, something I have a fair amount of experience with! And when I was tidying up the coffee table before friends arrived, I found this piece of selenium in my yarn bowl. It now has a sort of cosy and hanging loop! It took a few attempts to come up with something that worked without covering up too much of the crystal.
My other instant – well, short term – gratification project is this one. Two days to make these bulky mittens. The pattern is Morning Mittens from Make & Do Crew (honestly, I love lots of her patterns). Here’s a link to my Ravelry project page.
This is a knit-look crochet stitch called Waistcoat Stitch, which is single crochet worked into the body of the sc in the row below, rather than the two loops along the top. You really need to use a big hook and a loose tension with this. I caused pain in my right wrist and arm (the one I injured back in February) from working on these intensely the last two days. I also recommend a lighter coloured yarn, but I used this Red Heart With Love in Grape Jam because I wanted the mittens to coordinate with a slouchy hat and scarf that I made last year. (I didn’t find another home for those and when I went out walking yesterday I decided I would keep them and wear them.) The yarn is aran weight and used double stranded for this pattern. I did leave out a round of crochet in the straight part of the hand, and also on the thumb, as they would have been just a bit too big otherwise.
I have been enjoying lots of rest and relaxation in the week since my ear surgery. Apart from a slight bit of dizziness now and again and an occasional earache that disappears quickly I have been feeling fine. I still have another week off work. Some highlights coming up in the next few days: Bohemian Rhapsody (the Queen film), a Christmas market, brunch at a vegan cafe, and a follow-up visit to my ear surgeon. OK, that last one isn’t exactly a fun one, but it’s on the schedule.
I’m hoping that I’ll find a nice Christmas tree on Saturday. December 1st seems like a good day to start brightening up the house for Yule/Solstice/Christmas. The boys aren’t bothered about gifts this year (we’ll probably give them some money) so it’s going to be all about the experiences. Tonight after dinner I was asking the family for ideas for their seasonal edible favourites. Mine include mince pies (made my own mincemeat already), fruit cake and gingerbread. I love the long dark evenings around the Solstice and the flavours of my favourite comfort foods. (Hopefully my sweet tastebuds will have returned fully in a few weeks – one of the side effects of the surgery.)
A common habit of mine is, after finishing a large project, to complete a few small projects for instant gratification. This hat is a typical example, though I had a reason for making it. One of my co-workers asked me if I’d make her a red and black stripey slouchy hat, and I wanted to give one a trial run.
I used this pattern (Ravelry link) and it was a quick and easy project. It’s somewhat snugger than my friend wants, though – she tried this one on so now I know to add some more width and slouch to make hers just right.
I used some of the leftover yarn from making the Groovyghan so I now have a hat that coordinates with my blanket. Perhaps I should keep it in my bedroom, next to the bed, for those nights when I just can’t get warm!!!
Another project that’s hot off my needles is this one:
This cowl is made with one ball of Spindle Yarns Buttersoft, a faux fur yarn that’s new in at the store where I work. It’s our own brand and, OH MY, when my boss showed me the cowl she had knitted up I was motivated to make one myself. This yarn is so soft and the best of its type I have ever felt.
This cowl is just 42 stitches in the round on 10mm needles, stockinette (not that you can tell) and I turned it inside out when I finished it because I think the reverse side is even fluffier than the knit side. Cast it on yesterday, bound it off after work tonight. Gorgeous!
Next, the red and black slouchy beanie.