That huge pile of yarn in my last post has shrunk considerably. The cardigan has a back and two fronts, joined at the shoulders, and even neck and front ribbing.
I thought I’d only need to make the sleeves three squares wide by two tall but when I held the partial sleeve on my arm I saw I’d have to add another square. This’ll make the sleeves a bit too long, I think, but better that than too short.
As I progress, my colour choices get more limited. Some of the squares don’t seem to fit with the rest quite right but I think once it’s done it’ll be so colourful overall that it’ll look OK.
Mr Fixit and I took a little road trip today. By “little” I mean it was just for the day but it was still about 300km, according to him!
We headed south and stopped at a couple of towns to check out their farmers markets. We took the back roads for some of the way. We stopped at our usual fruit stand and bought peaches, plums, tomatoes, beans, apples, peppers and eggplants.
I had, probably for the first time ever, left home without packing any snacks. So as soon as we bought the fruit we ate a few pieces in the parking lot. Then we started back north and finally found somewhere for a late lunch. It was a vegan place, new to us, and we had smoothies.
I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to manage the large amount of fruit, because I don’t like canning, but usually I freeze the tomatoes in quarters to toss into spaghetti sauce.
Obviously my cardigan is not a portable project, with 15 balls of yarn currently attached, so I stuffed a bag with Knit Picks Dishie and some hooks for my road trip project.
I have a bonus 4-day stretch of days off so I hope to be finishing the cardigan very soon. I’ll see you then!
But seriously, I have been loving looking at all the small balls of colourful scrap yarn in my stash. All the bits are stuffed into one of those Wool Warehouse organza bags so I can see what’s in there. I started down the rabbithole of a pattern search on Ravelry using only the search term “rainbow” and had lots of fun. Before I show you what I made, I have to tell you about these Rainbow Buddies which are so cute. It’s apparently a crochet-along but it doesn’t seem to be accompanied by any sort of group chat anywhere. It’s only free during February, and the first two parts have already been published. The second two parts are coming soon. I have already downloaded and printed out the first two weeks’ worth of instructions. No affiliation – just thought you might be interested.
This is what I made after sorting out the standard rainbow colours from the rest of the scraps.
The pattern is called Rainbow Slipper Socks and it’s on a blog here. The pattern calls for DK doubled, but I used worsted weight. The cream is an old skein of Bernat Berella 4 (in fact, I had to start a second ball right near the end). The bright colours are random brands from the stash.
It’s very simple, all half double crochet (half treble UK). You start at the toes and work up, so it’s easy to adjust the fit and try on as you go. She has you decrease a lot at the beginning of the leg, but I only did two decrease rounds there because they are more slippers than socks and I didn’t want to struggle to get my feet into them. And then it’s up to you how long you make the leg – mine have cuffs. The mystery of stash and scraps means that my organza bag seems no emptier than before!!
It’s Family Day here in BC. The five of us used to spend it snowboarding/skiing but considering I broke my wrist spectacularly back in 2018 (link to the day I had my dressing off after surgery – don’t look if you’re squeamish) on Family Day, I have been too chicken to get on a snowboard since. And times change, and youngest son is working today, and the only reason I’m not working is that I remembered to book the day off in advance. So we have no special plans.
And of course yesterday was Valentine’s Day and there were no special plans for that either. We don’t ‘do’ Hallmark holidays however I did feel that a bit of chocolate wouldn’t go amiss. So even though I’d been at work all day, and the guys had made pizza, I whipped up a chocolate cake for dessert.
I have no idea where I got this recipe originally. It’s been in my handwritten cookbook for years. It’s rich and decadent and vegan, and you don’t need to mess about with egg replacers. It might even work as a gluten-free cake with something like Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 All Purpose GF Flour, but I haven’t tried it.
Batter – 1 2/3 cups sugar (I use coconut), 2 1/2 cups flour (wholewheat), 1/2 cup oat flour (I use my Vitamix’s dry jug to grind some rolled oats), 2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp or less salt, 2/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I use Costco’s Kirkland chips which happen to be dairy free), 1 cup hot coffee (I use instant – one mug of coffee will be enough for this plus the frosting), 1 cup coconut milk (the canned kind, one can will be enough for the batter and the frosting), 2 tblsp apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3/4 cup vegan butter (eg, Earth Balance or Melt).
Frosting – 1 1/2 cups choc chips, 1/4 cup coffee, 1/8 cup hot water, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 2oz silken tofu (about 2 tblsp)
Mix sugar, flour, oat flour, baking soda and salt in one bowl. In second bowl, mix cocoa powder, choc chips and hot coffee. In a third bowl, mix coconut milk, vinegar, vanilla. Melt ‘butter’ and add to coconut milk mixture. Combine all into one bowl, pour into two 8″ sandwich tins lined with circles of parchment paper and oiled. Bake at 350 – 375F for 25 – 30 mins (my oven runs cool, I usually go for a higher temp) until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to partly cool before turning out. While cakes are cooling, make frosting. Melt choc chips (I do this in a bowl over a pan of hot water). Add coffee, water and coconut milk. Pour into blender with tofu, blend until smooth, chill in fridge 1 1/2 hours. Whisk with electric beaters and use. I defrosted some frozen berry mix and added them in the middle plus a few on top.
It really is rich and you probably won’t be able to eat more than one slice at a sitting. It’s good for a special occasion.
It didn’t cut very photogenically – it crumbled – but it tasted good!
I have three WIPs that I’m bringing with me into 2020. I frogged the Party Cardi (granny square type cardigan) because I couldn’t see myself wearing it, so that was one off the list. And I finished the granny square blanket just after Christmas, and that felt good. Three Works in Progress are manageable, and what I feel comfortable with. Any more than that and it bugs me.
WIP #1: Moe of Change with Lion Brand Mandala
I added a teeny bit to this last night. I was bored. Didn’t want to look at my computer screen. Didn’t want to sew. So I pulled this out and just focused on the one thing. I had put it down mid-round 21, so I had to work out where I was. It’s going to be pretty. Must keep at it!
WIP #2: stashbuster blanket with various worsted weight yarns
Not pretty, but useful and will be very warm. I knitted a bit on this yesterday. It was nice to reacquaint myself with my WIPs. It’s only about 12″ of work so far, but there’s no deadline. It would be good to have it done before the weather gets too warm to have it on my lap though.
WIP #3: no-pattern shawl, using Cascade Sunseeker
I started out with just a few stitches, used half double crochet, and increased every other row. When there wasn’t much left of the pink, I striped in the grey using single crochet rows. I didn’t want to do that for long because it meant stranding the yarn up the side which means I’ll have to add some sort of edge treatment later. Carried on with hdc and grey, until I figured I should start decreasing. Changed to double crochet and decreasing on every row. (The dcs are taller stitches, but I wanted the decreasing to happen faster than the first part of the shawl.)
I am hoping that the grey will last until I get back to 3 or 4 stitches and that I then have enough of the pink left to go around once with sc.
And now for some exciting news! I had posted a request on Ravelry for anyone who might have been willing to part with a swift, as I now have quite a few hanks of yarn which have not been wound into balls. My initial method was to place a hank over the back of a chair and wind by hand, because I only needed to do it occasionally. I do have a yarn cake winder, but tend to use it with commercial skeins. Someone sent me a link to an online photo tutorial, and I asked Tai Chi Man if he was willing to make me a swift. He seemed amenable, I sent him the link, and in his usual way (Mr Fixit, very handy) he decided he could do better.
Using some scrap wood he had, plus a lazy susan from Lee Valley (the metal spinning part) and a dowel from Home Depot, he created an Amish-style yarn swift for me.
Of course, as soon as he said it was ready, I had to test it out. I wound up the two cakes you can see in the above photo, and then tried a small one from a 25 gram hank.
Because the pegs are movable, it can fit just about any size of hank, though I probably wouldn’t bother trying to cake something smaller than 25g.
And I have spare pegs in case any get lost. It works great, all for less than $10!
This year was a good year for using stash. I signed up with the British Banter group on Ravelry to join their Bash the Stash 2019 challenge. The plan was not to go Cold Turkey and buy no yarn at all. My goal was more Lukewarm Sheep. Curb the acquisition of 100% synthetic yarn. Allow myself to mindfully purchase yarn which had at least some plant fibre content.
And, you know, I did pretty well. In January, I bought that pack of Scheepjes Stonewashed and Riverwashed mini skeins. It’s so pretty and I still haven’t found the perfect project for it. But it is on display in my sewing room and I know I will really enjoy using those amazing colours some time in the future. An LYS was going out of business in a nearby town and I bought some cotton yarns from them too. And then…nothing until November, when I went into Michaels and fell for some clearance yarn.
My totals at the end of the year, as posted in the British Banter group, are;
Total out this year: 8115 grams (knitted or crocheted into finished objects or given away) Total in this year: 3700 grams (purchases and a few gifts) Net output: 4415 grams (stash reduction)
I love the finished item even though the garter stitch got tiresome!
Ravelry tells me I made 56 projects this year, but in fact some project pages include more than one item, so it was more like 77.
I have four Works in Progress right now. The pink and grey sparkly shawl which I started in Maui. The Moe of Change blanket which I started in October and then neglected because it requires careful attention to the pattern. The scrap blanket that I’m knitting in the round on a huge number of stitches, which I think will get more attention now that the granny blanket is done. And finally, the cardigan, which was being made from a Secret Yarnery YouTube tutorial and which I had high hopes for. But even though I still like the colourway of the yarn (Lion Brand Mandala Baby in Echo Caves) and even though I actually ordered more yarn to get this cardigan finished, I think it’s going to be frogged. I can’t see myself wearing it and being happy in it. So officially that leaves me with three WIPs to carry me into 2020.
Considering my enthusiasm for sewing right now, three yarn WIPs is plenty. (Perhaps we should talk about my fabric purchases….or maybe not!) I really need to keep a good notebook for my sewing projects the way I do on Ravelry for yarn projects. Past notes tend to be scattered throughout various small notebooks and loose bits of paper, which means that if I want to make another version of a bag, for example, and want to know what size pieces I had to cut, it can be challenging to remember or remind myself what I did.
So that’s my year. What are your crafty highlights of 2019? Did you knit or crochet or sew something you were particularly proud of? Let me know in the comments.
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 decided when I got back from my holiday that I needed to have something warm to work on so here are my Winter Works in Progress.
The Mindless Use up my Leftovers blanket, using random worsted weight yarn in my stash:
As you can see, so far I have only cast on 370 stitches and knitted a few rounds. Not much warmth there yet!
The Giant Granny:
Getting to be big enough to at least keep my knees warm, this is going to be a snuggly one quite quickly.
And a non-blanket project, the Party Cardi from The Secret Yarnery:
Hexagons complete, backs and fronts extended, pieces joined. The dyelots on these two cakes of Mandala Baby are quite different, and the next sections will probably be different again. I really hope this is a wearable garment when done, as so far it’s reminding me of a bed jacket! And there’s a lot of $$$ in five cakes of yarn, assuming I use it all, so if I hate it I will be frogging, not giving it away.
Those are this week’s WIPs. I have another one planned but I need to start it when I have time to focus, which actually could be right now but I have already made it to lunchtime today without getting any housework done or groceries bought so I really should do that first. I have been fighting off a cold for a few days now so have been practising some self-care (which means I have been making excuses for not exercising) but it is a beautiful day out there and we really need to eat and shopping needs to be done and at the very least I should clean the bathrooms and mop the kitchen floor. Hmmm, how quickly could I get those done?!
The latest stashbuster is finished. It took me all of five days and it’s about 100″ long!
It’s a combination of Loops & Threads Facets in various colourways and some Stylecraft Harlequin, all of which have been in the stash for too long and I just wanted them out.
I used an 8mm hook and a basic C2C, making it 11 blocks wide. There were lots of ends to weave in, but I tackled some half way through and the rest this morning. It’s lovely and squishy and warm, but it will pill like a bear, and I will only be handwashing it very occasionally.
I am loving the coolness in the mornings and it’s the best feeling to be outside on my deck, with a quilt or blanket around me, drinking my tea or coffee or eating my breakfast and just enjoying the view and the breeze. Getting up early DOES have its advantages.
I am going to take a couple of days off the crocheting, I think, because what with the manic crochet the last week to get this project done by the end of the month, plus that spin class (eek!) plus all the pricing gun action last Friday, my wrist hasn’t been too happy.
I am super happy with my stashbusting for the month though. My FOs are the daisy blanket, the Jayma shawl, the walking hat, the Mimic shawl and this Big Kahuna scarf. Plus I cleared a few extra bits and pieces out of the stash and into a bag for the thrift store. Total out for this month is 2990 grams and zero new acquisitions.
So the year to date, as far as bashing the stash is concerned, is 6770 grams used or destashed, 2100 grams in (no purchases since January, woo hoo!) with a net reduction in stash of 4670 grams. I’m delighted with my progress. The stash is now at the point where I have a good selection of basic acrylics that I enjoy using (very little novelty stuff) and a small collection of plant fibre yarns for which I currently have no specific plans. (If you want to be nosy and check out my stash on Ravelry, it’s here.)
In other news, I took my car to the body shop for an estimate yesterday. The total cost for a small dent and large scratch? $1900! I will have to pay $500 of that, but wow, considering it looks like a small amount of damage that is a big bill!
OK, I need to get dressed and get to the gym. I went yesterday and am a little sore from that workout but I will do something different today to work some different muscles. And tonight Tai Chi Man and I have yoga, so that’ll be good. I had to miss Saturday’s Yin Yoga because I was working, which is a shame because it feels like the perfect body reset for the week. Talk to you later 🙂
In the spirit of stashbusting, I have continued to make projects from stash yarn, inspired by some of the podcasters I’ve been watching, and groups on Ravelry.
The total number of FOs for February so far (and we do have four days left still) is 12, with an approximate OUTage of stash standing at 695 grams. Even better, I have not bought yarn this month. There has also been associated binge-watching of Netflix, with shows called Collateral and Travelers.
First up, dishcloths!
I’m sure I saw this idea floating around Ravelry before: scrubby type yarn in the middle with dishcloth cotton around the outside. For each cloth, I made two circles from the scrubby and then worked around them, single crocheting them together with the cotton, and then added a few more rows of cotton to make a dual purpose cleaning cloth. I have to say, I love these. They are really useful.
This bag is sort of an FO, in that the knitting is finished and the lining is sewn in. It does need some kind of handle or strap, but I haven’t decided what yet. I started it Thursday at a new knitting group that my friend has organised. The pattern is here, though I didn’t keep track of the knit and purl rows so mine looks a little different. And I used medium weight yarn instead of bulky so I cast on extra stitches. Yarn is Bernat Pop in the colourway Foggy Notion.
And finally, this hat pattern is called I’m Lichen This Hat! It uses about 100 grams of bulky weight yarn, so is quick, and it’s also quite easy, with just one cable running up the back of the head. If you look at the designer’s version, you can see the detail more clearly as she has used a solid colour. The cable scrunches up the back of the hat as some of the rows of the cable section are slipped rather than knitted. I made this in one evening, except for the grafting of the stitches at the crown (it’s been a while since I’ve done Kitchener stitch so I had to search for a tutorial). My grafting is not perfect! Yarn is Stylecraft Harlequin Chunky.
In other news, I did acquire a new cookbook this week. It’s this one…
I follow Gaz on YouTube (avantgardevegan) and he cooks the most amazing recipes. So when I saw his cookbook in my local health food store, I decided to buy it.
I’ve had a bit of a rest week, skipping the gym on a couple of days when I could have found the time. My plantar fasciitis is still giving me a bit of trouble, despite the insoles, and I have a lot of tension in my left shoulder which doesn’t seem to want to let go. I’m in the middle of a course of acupuncture, so hopefully that will help.
Work was good today, though in a way I would rather not work Sundays. We had a lot more quilting fabric in with some really cute patterns. A lot of customers tell me they couldn’t work there as they’d spend their entire paycheque on tempting fabric! Luckily, I (mostly) maintain self-discipline around it.
Feeling thankful for my family who rallied around and communally made pizza for everyone tonight. It’s nice to have someone else do the cooking and cleanup.
Hello! It’s been a fun week. My shift schedule conspired to give me four days off in a row. Two of those days, I was crocheting this crocodile. It will be going off to its intended recipient soon along with a book called The Enormous Crocodile that my boys absolutely loved when they were younger. I must have read it 500 times! My Ravelry project page is here and the pattern for Colin the Crocodile is here. I did have to fudge a little on the head part, as the eye hump was coming out off-centre! It was easy to fix and the rest went as per the pattern.
Thursday, I had a PJ Day! We’ve had the coldest weather of the winter in the last week. I think it dipped to minus 20 Celsius one night. So having a PJ Day was the best! I had a project to sew up for work, so the morning was spent making this apron to go on display at the store, and after a month I’ll get to bring it home and keep it.
(All my photos are indoor shots, some in my sewing room in the basement. Not the best lighting.)
This was made with a cotton/Spandex blend in a gorgeous Spring-y print. It was easy to make, even including the bias binding for the ties. I was careful to make my stitches neat and even because I knew it was going to be inspected by co-workers and customers at the store. (The pattern is in the photo. McCall’s 2947, I think.)
The afternoon of my sewing day was spent cooking dinner and dessert, then the evening saw me back in my sewing room. I made two lined fleece neckwarmers from remnants I had brought home ages ago. The video tutorial I followed was from The Crafty Gemini. They were so easy I had both made in about half an hour.
Using exactly the same technique, and more remnants that were lurking in the drawers, I made two infinity scarves as well.
I love these and have already worn the turquoise plaid one a couple of times.
Finally, I whipped up another cowl as a gift, using up some more stash yarn (Loops & Threads Facets).
I took a leaf out of Ross’s book last week. He has the Smells Like Yarn podcast and is currently on a kick to use up some yarn stash. So what he did was pull out various yarns, assign them each a pattern, print them out, and have them queued up ready to cast on in the near future. What I did was queue up about five sewing projects and five yarny projects from stash, so when I spent all that time in my sewing room the other day I was ready to roll. I felt so productive!
I worked today but I’m looking forward to a fun Sunday with Tai Chi Man which will undoubtedly include a cup of tea at our favourite tea shop, a stop at the Holistic Market, and some gym time. Stay warm, folks!