Tag Archives: stash enhancement

Saturday shopping spree

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OK, it’s Monday now, but I did mean to blog at the weekend to talk about  my SEX (Stash Enhancement eXpedition) at Michaels. I went in there to look for beading supplies actually. I am signed up with a group on Ravelry to do a Christmas swap, which entails filling a toilet paper roll with fun stuff to make a cracker. You have to put in something that you knitted or crocheted, a handwritten joke, and any other little gift-type things that will fit. Then you wrap it up beautifully and send it to your swap partner. Beads are tiny, right? So if I make some earrings or stitch markers they will fit inside easily.

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I did buy some beads – black ones, clear ones, turquoise ones – and some ear wires, pins and bracelet attachments. But I also had to check out the yarn while I was there. And even though my self-discipline has been very good this year, I found clearance yarn that I have seen at Michaels a few times before. I was able to resist while it was regular price, but on clearance? I fell off that darned wagon!

Six little bundles of Loops & Threads Meandering Minis in three colourways. These skeins are 25 grams each. AND…

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Three bundles of Caron X Pantone Bamboo as well.

Now, in theory, the Caron yarn is acceptable as I allowed myself, when making my New Year’s Resolution, to buy yarn that has some plant fibre content. So I wasn’t really being BAD! However, the Meandering Minis are totally synthetic, which goes against my ‘rule’ of stashing down the 100% man-made stuff and not acquiring more. Oh dear! But they are just so pretty!

I feel a bit zombified tonight. Maybe it has something to do with the clocks changing yesterday. You wouldn’t think one hour would make that much difference. But I was working today too, and eight hours on my feet is tiring. What a great feeling it is to come home, change out of my work clothes into my Hello Kitty onesie, eat a big bowl of risotto with kabocha squash (I had the forethought to make dinner this morning before work) and enjoy a large cup of tea. I was watching Ross’s podcast (Smells Like Yarn) and I could feel myself sinking into the couch and feeling so brain dead that I don’t even feel like picking up a crochet hook this evening (though I seem to have found the energy to write a blog post).

So I shall love you and leave you, as they say, before my eyes droop.

 

 

Yarndale and other holiday fun

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Yarndale and other holiday fun

I have been on holiday! I only had my old iPad Mini with me, and no phone, so I was only spending minimal amounts of time on t’internet, hence the gap between blog posts.

I had a lovely time. It was quite the whirlwind – the itinerary involved flying from Canada to London, England, driving down to see my cousins on the south coast, driving up to Yorkshire to spend a few days enjoying the area, including Yarndale, driving back to London, flying over to Jersey, a few days with the close family, then flying back to London, then flying home.

Kudos to Tai Chi Man who drove about 750 miles while we were in England. And motorway driving is NOT fun.

Highlights of the trip:

Yarndale, of course…

I was excited to meet Kathryn from CrafternoonTreats. We had been in touch prior to the day, because I have been helping to moderate her Ravelry group for a long time now and I just had to make sure we met up. She was a vendor, so she couldn’t avoid me, LOL. All of the yarn she dyes is wool, but knowing I am vegan she and her friend Helen had dyed up some natural coloured Stylecraft Classique Cotton with Procion dyes as a gift. So lovely!

Sorry, my photos aren’t great. iPad in poor light.

A few other souvenirs…

Being vegan helps me be disciplined in my yarn buying! Most of the yarn on sale at Yarndale is wool. So all I bought was this Louisa Harding Giardino (though it was pretty expensive)! And of course I had to get a Yarndale bag.

I was fan-girly about Lucy from Attic24, whose blog I have been reading for years. She is one of the organisers. I saw her, but didn’t talk to her, in the Knit ‘n Natter room. And I also spotted Tatsiana from Lilla Bjorn in the Scheepjes booth.

My travel knitting was a simple pattern from DROPS called Rascal. A two-row pattern repeat, it was just knitting back and forth until I felt the shawl was big enough. And I wanted to give it to my sister when it was done, so I had to finish it before I came home.

I forgot to get daylight shots before giving it away.

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It’s made with Lion Brand Mandala in Phoenix.

Other notable mentions…

Met up with my English cousins (one I haven’t seen since 1988) for a lovely day of hiking and lunching and catching up.

Took the tube around London, including Camden Market, Regent’s Park and Tower Bridge. Went up inside the bridge and got a funny feeling in my tummy looking down through the glass floor.

Seven hour drive north to Ilkley in Yorkshire where we had a lovely cosy Airbnb. Hiked around Bolton Abbey, saw some of the cycling world championships, got absolutely soaked on a three hour hike up on Ilkley  Moor. After Yarndale, a 5.75 hour drive back south to Gatwick airport.

The island of Jersey in the Channel Islands (close to France) is where most of our family lives and I stayed with my mum and Tai Chi Man stayed with his dad. That gave us the most time with our respective parents. And one day was spent almost entirely with my sister, including lunch at a vegan restaurant and a walk on the beach with her dog.

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A successful trip, all went to plan, with the only travel hiccup being a three hour delay getting out of Jersey. But as we had split up the three flights home with a stay at a Heathrow hotel this time it wasn’t a problem.

We were happy to see so many vegan options in many places. Supermarkets and restaurants are now offering so much more than they used to, so finding food is easier than it ever was. We still mostly self-cater when travelling, but it’s good to know we won’t starve if we have to rely on outside sources. There was a lovely cafe in Ilkley called The Veggie, the Sinful Vegan in Jersey, tons of vegan places in Camden Market, and I can’t forget Ransom’s Garden Centre in Jersey which has so many vegan mains and desserts that it’s hard to choose. (I had the coffee walnut cake, which was so rich I couldn’t finish it all in one go and had to save some for the evening.)

So we’re back to our regular scheduled programming. We arrived home Saturday evening, and Tai Chi Man had Sunday in which to recover somewhat from the jetlag and was back to work Monday. Thankfully my schedule meant that I am not back to work until tomorrow, Wednesday, so I’ve had time to blitz the house and do some grocery shopping. I haven’t quite had the energy to get to the gym yet though.

I’m back to crocheting the Party Cardi (a video tutorial on The Secret Yarnery’s YouTube channel) now that I have had a delivery of two more cakes of yarn. My stashbusting for September was pathetic, with the only outage being some tiny pumpkins, and then of course the incoming yarn from Yarndale. However I have blanket plans, because there’s nothing better than a blanket project when the weather gets cold. What are your favourite blanket patterns? I have some Red Heart With Love (which will probably become a giant granny square) but also a tonne of random worsted and DK to use up. I need ideas!

 

Stash enhancement Sunday!

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G’day all. Another week has whizzed by and now we are enjoying (!) a somewhat cool weekend. The max for today is forecast to be 15 degrees. It’s windy and a mix of sun and cloud right now, but yesterday morning we had torrential rain at about 7am which coincided with time that Tai Chi Man and all three man-boys were headed out to work on the same job (Tai Chi Man works at an office furniture supply/installation place, as does ds1, and sometimes ds2 and ds3 go to help with big projects). I was also working yesterday, but managed to wangle leaving half an hour early because we had a house guest.

The son of some friends of ours from over the pond came to visit. He flew to Calgary so that he could visit the national parks in Banff and Jasper but drove all the way  to see us for just one night. The drive was nine hours, no doubt with rest stops, but I’m pleased he made the effort. It was lovely to see him. We’ve known him since he was a baby and he’s 32 now.

So yes, stash! This time, fabric, not yarn.

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When I’m working at the fabric store, we aren’t supposed to shop for ourselves, and usually we don’t have time anyway. So I dropped ds3 there today, because he had an extra shift, and became a customer. It’s nice to be able to browse all the clearance quilt cottons without worrying about being interrupted, and I went through them all and picked out 15 of them for (probably) making more bags. I also invested in some heavy duty thread because when I was making the bags with the vinyl panels I had some major thread breakages happening.

I took a look back at my last few blog posts and realised I hadn’t shown you this one…

I am in love with this fabric. I actually have two co-ordinating fabrics in this line. It’s printed with fun camper vans and scooters and for the drawstring casing I used a lime green floral fabric that I’ve had for ages. I can’t remember which video tutorial I used for this but it was a clear one that was easy to follow. The one thing I would do differently next time would be to place the casing higher, as there’s a lot of wasted space at the top.

Next week there’s a 50% off sale at work and I intend to pick up more interfacing and zippers so I can sew more bags!

The Maui Ocean Cowl has grown a little – it’s now 5.5 inches deep and the pattern says to go to 8″. (Pattern: Pool Party Cowl from Balls to the Walls Knits)

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The colours I’m using are very similar to the designer’s, and are very calming.

That’s it for now. Have a great week!

Edited to add link to drawstring bag video tutorial

 

Cool fabric

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Cool fabric

Hello friends! How are you? I hope you’re enjoying signs of spring in your part of the world (or fall if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).

I haven’t been outside yet but it’s a pretty mellow-looking day. Cloudy, no wind. The snow is almost gone from the garden. Our temperature the last week or two has been in the single digits, I think, warmer in the sunshine, still cold in the shade.

I have my wrist brace off to type this because I want to get my flexibility back. My right wrist is still a little puffy on top but the underneath is cleaner looking now. There is still a lot of yellow bruising up the arm.

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I mixed some coconut oil with some lavender, geranium and frankincense essential oils and I’m applying it three times a day to keep the skin soft and minimise scarring. I love being able to take the brace off when I want to bathe, but leave it on when doing daily tasks or sleeping so I don’t hurt it accidentally.

Some major milestones (or as  I like to call them, “smilestones”) for this week: wearing jeans as I can now do up the button and belt, crocheting (albeit slowly and left-handed), a gentle workout at the gym (treadmill, core, legs, and some one-armed biceps/triceps), and today I had a bath all by myself (no Tai Chi Man there to wash my hair or scrub my back and I even managed to hack through the undergrowth on my legs)!

So all in all, good progress!

I have to show you this fabric I saw at Fabricland when I went in there with my friend the other day. We were there for her to buy stuff to make a bag, so I wandered around with her and chatted to my co-workers. Well, this new quilting cotton jumped out at me and I just had to grab a metre of it to add to the stash!

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Isn’t it awesome? Kind of a vintage “caravans at the seaside” vibe.

Have a great day and talk to you again soon.

FO: January sweater

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Thanks to a few knitting opportunities throughout the day yesterday, I finished my sweater last night. I love the touch of colour in the hem facings. I will try it on again today then give it a wash – thanks to the hardwearing nature of Red Heart Super Saver, I can machine wash and dry with abandon (as long as nothing else in the machine has Velcro or hooks).

It took me about 15 days. I cast on January 7th after a false start with a different pattern and needles. As I’ve finished my January sweater early, I can get a head start on my February sweater.

The February sweater is this one – The Crochet Cuddler Cocoon – which I plan to make with the navy Willow Wash Bulky that was frogged from a different sweater that didn’t work out, and which has been sitting in my stash for a long time.

It’s snowing here today, which seems appropriate as I have a new sweater to wear! I have had a very lazy morning of Ravelry browsing, but I plan to hit the gym shortly to remedy that.

Are you joining in with the Ravellenic Games on Ravelry? They coincide with the Winter Olympics in South Korea. My project will be a crocheted doll for whom I intend to devise a dress that looks like a paper bag. She will be the Paper Bag Princess, and will be sent to my great-niece with the board book of the same name by Robert Munsch. Well, I didn’t have the right colour yarn, of course, so ordered some from Wool Warehouse….along with a few others to keep it company as it flew here from England! I will of course show it to you as soon as it arrives. It shipped yesterday.

 

 

New pretties

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I told you recently that I gave away a lot of old acrylics that I had acquired from various sources, because I just wanted to keep the ‘good stuff’ that I will actually enjoy using. Well, the voice in my head said that now I had some space in my craft room cubbies I could feel free to invest in some new yarn. Totally justified, of course. And I have my birthday money fund, which is ‘free money’ which I can spend without guilt on anything I choose.

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With this in mind, I attended an autumn yarn event being held at my Local Yarn Store (LYS). I haven’t been in the store much since it changed hands at the beginning of the year, but I love the way things have been updated. New stock, a computerised checkout system, fresh look. The previous owners had run the store, very successfully I might add, for thirty years but they were ready to retire, and a new owner has the opportunity to make changes to suit her style.

My friend and I arrived at 10am, as the store was opening. It’s a two day event, and I expected there to be a lineup at the door, but no, we were the first ones in the door and we received our goody bags with a range of freebies inside. After a lot of browsing (yarns at LYSs tend to be mostly wool or wool blends) I found some pretties to bring home (pictured above). Four hanks (now cakes) of Cascade Yarns Sunseeker. Two multis, two solids, cotton/acrylic/metallic. I don’t usually go for sparkle and I haven’t a clue what I will make with them. The Drops Muskat is 100% cotton and I don’t know what I will use them for either but they coordinate well.

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The goody bag had lots of little bits and pieces including a hank of hemp yarn (and a ball of wool/alpaca which I gave to my friend).

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I also bought a placeholder and a set of stitchmarkers from a lady who was set up with her wares. I recognised her as a regular customer at the fabric store where I work. This sheep charm is fun (even though I don’t use wool) and the placeholder is an elephant charm. I liked that the lobster claw on it was large enough to use on crochet.

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I was fortunate to have a boss who went away to management meetings last week and came home with some freebies of her own. She didn’t know what these hooks were for and knows I love to crochet so I was glad to take them off her hands. I explained to her that they were for Tunisian crochet in the round, which is a technique I haven’t learned myself yet. However now I have the right hooks, I’ll have to go and visit CrochetKim on You Tube and learn how.

And finally…

Two finished objects for this week – a C2C (corner to corner) scarf and a slouchy hat. The scarf took a whole skein of Loops & Threads Barcelona and ended up 60″ long. No pattern. I used a tutorial from Mikey at The Crochet Crowd. The hat is the Joyful and Bright Slouch Hat from Oombawka Designs (Ravelry link) (direct link) and it has multiple sizes. I started out making the adult small, but the ribbed band would have been too big with 50 rows, so I did 44 then increased to 50 stitches on the second round of single crochets. That way, the brim should stay snug enough to stay on, but the body of the hat will be roomier. I also extended the 15 rounds of V stitch to 20 for more slouch.

The scarf took four days, the hat two.

I think that’s us all updated. Have a great weekend!

 

 

WIP: Ben’s hat

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A new project is on the needles and I’m following this pattern: BasicSimpleLazy! That’s a Ravelry link because it’s a free Rav download. It really is basic – most of us could probably make this kind of beanie in our sleep. A couple of inches of 2×2 ribbing followed by stockinette and traditional crown decreasing. The designer’s gauge was 6st to the inch, mine a little looser, and I decided I needed more than an 18″ circumference. I cast on 120 rather than 108 and I think (hope) it’s looking good.

With hindsight it would have been better to use a smaller needle for the ribbing but it’s too late for that now. I am into the stockinette section and have added a thin band of colourwork for interest. I love the jade with the chocolate – what do you think?

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The colours are richer than that in real life. (Deramores Studio DK, in Chocolate and Jade, 100% acrylic, size US5 needles.)

I had to take my car to the Toyota dealer today to get the brakes sorted out (expensive)! The courtesy shuttle dropped me off at one of my favourite coffee shops and I made some progress on the hat, but after a couple of hours I was antsy and needed to move. It’s a long road from the coffee shop to Toyota, but it’s flat, and the weather was sunny and windy and I was up for some walking. My downfall was that Michaels was on my way and I just happened to find this clearance yarn.

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It’s Loops & Threads Facets and I bought a couple of balls of the green/turquoise colourway (centre left) before, and then it disappeared from their shelves. I had browsed their regular priced stuff (twice) and was on my way towards the door when I saw the clearance rack and there was lots of this stuff. Such beautiful colours, and as it’s a bulky yarn it crochets up really fast for gifts. I haven’t given all of my co-workers a surprise gift yet (something I am doing just because, for no reason, in no particular order, with no deadline). Well, it was half price, and I bought 12.

I carried on to the dealership to get my car and made my way home, with the smell of new brakes trailing behind me!

I suppose I’d better start dinner, though my legs would rather I stayed on the couch!!!

 

Stash Enhancement eXpedition

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S.E.X. = more yarn for me!

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Michaels have a pretty good sale on right now and I went there today with a couple of coupons. As it turned out, the yarn that caught my eye was on sale (from $13 down to $6) so I didn’t need the coupons, and the yarn fumes might have gone to my head a bit. I bought eight 200gram skeins, two of each colour.

No specific plans for them – just tucking them into stash with the thought that they might make nice scarves.

What would you make with these?

WIP: Demelza (and acquisitions)

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I seem to have neglected you for the last week. I didn’t realise it has been seven whole days but I have been assembling the Demelza blanket and crocheting the border and things are taking their own sweet time.

I do have a photo of the blanket, taken after I joined everything together but before I started on the border. As of tonight, I only have one round left to do, plus a bit of end weaving, before I can show you a Finished Object. Soon, I promise.

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You can see where I deviated from the standard pattern (the 16 small squares that are all different). And of course my colour scheme is quite different from the original pattern.

I have been burning the candle at both ends somewhat as I have been excited to finish this project and move on to the next one. What with this project plus The Good Wife on Netflix, I have been going to bed late, and rather reluctantly.

The fabric store where I work had a staff appreciation night tonight. They bring in food (Chinese, this time, and I didn’t eat any as I wasn’t sure if any of it was vegan) and you get to browse the store while it’s closed and buy stuff with a special discount (though sometimes the current sale is just as good, or better than, the discount).

I had a short list of things I wanted, such as some knit fabric to make simple drapey vests, some non-slip slipper sole fabric for future crocheted slippers, some felt for my wood dining table for when we play Mexican Train dominoes or cards. However I also picked up some extra sewing machine needles and a couple of spools of thread, which I can always use. And these…

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Pom pom trim for a future crocheted blanket

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Some ‘Knit Klips’ which will hold pieces of crochet together for seaming (I really could have done with these a few days ago)!

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A pom pom maker (had my eye on one of these for a while)

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And I know you’d be disappointed if I said I wasn’t lured in by the yarn. I have used this before and it is nice and soft. No definite plan for it yet, but the colours co-ordinate with the ones I already have.

Here are all the skeins together…

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Cornsilk, Pewter, Black, Hot Pink, Boysenberry, Blue Hawaii and Mallard.

Each of these Red Heart With Love skeins weighs 7oz (about 200 grams) so that’s a lot of yardage. I believe the term for this type of shopping is SEX – Stash Enhancement Expedition!!

I have my third piano lesson tomorrow  morning. I can play a simple tune with both hands now, and we are learning all about chords and ‘forte’ and ‘piano’ and middle C and all that. It is nice to be finally learning how to play an instrument that I’ve wanted to play for years. Funny how we put off these things. Thanks to Tai Chi Man giving me the push to do it (birthday present) I am on my way. And thanks to my awesome friend Joan from whom we got the piano.

I’m hoping that my next post starts with the heading FO: Demelza. In the meantime, have a great week.