Tag Archives: Stylecraft Special Aran

Wednesday WIP and Wonderful Walks

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Those few days whizzed by, didn’t they! I blogged on Saturday and now it’s Wednesday.

To finish off my report of the weekend away, Sunday was a pleasant day, and I spent two hours in the morning walking along a nature trail beside the lake/wetlands/nature reserve. I took a sweater, a rain jacket, a bottle of kombucha and a sandwich, but I could have left it all behind. But you know how it is. I didn’t know how long I’d be out for, whether the sun would shine or if it would cloud up and rain on me, and I do like to be prepared.

It’s a very beautiful place.

And so much greener than the valley where I live.

So, I showed you my shawl and my sunflower. Well after this walk on Sunday I spent literally hours crocheting and started a bag for my laptop. I have been meaning to do this ever since I bought the laptop, which is I think a couple of years ago now. I had all my Stylecraft Special Aran with me, and all my hooks, and I decided to use the C2C technique. It’s a great choice, being fairly dense and thick with the aran weight yarn, so will protect my laptop on the odd occasion when it leaves the house.

The colours go dark/medium/light across the work, with three rows of each colour.

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After finishing a rectangle that would wrap around my laptop, with a bit extra for a buttoned flap, I single crocheted all around it in navy, then folded it and single crocheted the sides together.

Pretty wild, huh!

It just needs buttons and of course even though I have a button stash I couldn’t find a combination I was happy with, so I have picked out some discontinued buttons from a basket at work and will bring them home tomorrow.

I also made this peace square.

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That link will take you to Ravelry. The pattern page has a further link to a video tutorial which I followed without even looking at the written pattern. It’s very thorough which is good, because you’ll probably have to do what I did and replay bits of round 2 because there’s a lot of messing about with crocheting in the back and front loops of stitches, plus the colour changes. Once that’s out of the way though it’s all quite simple.

One thing I dislike is on the vertical upper part of the lavender peace sign in my square you can see little dots of blue encroaching on the lavender. That’s because, while I changed colour to slipstitch for the end of the round, it would have been better to finish the previous stitch with the lavender and then slipstitch. I’ll know what to do if I make any more.

Monday evening was my Hygge group which this time was a happy group of five. There was much laughter, knitting and tea drinking.

And Tuesday was a day off too, so I made the most of the beautiful day by walking for a an hour on a nature trail alongside a creek followed by going out for tea and a vegan cookie with a friend. Today was a work day, as is tomorrow.

Enough chat. The day is winding down and if I want to get some crochet done I should revisit those Ravelry links I was researching this morning for leaves to add to my fall wreath. Talk to you later!

 

A weekend retreat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brrr! I actually had to put a sweater on.

Hope your weekend is awesome. Bye for now!

 

 

 

 

WIPs and waiting…

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WIPs and waiting…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know you’re an addict when…

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…you finish a baby jacket (except for the buttons, but that has to wait) and you go out for a Sunday afternoon walk and cup of tea but in the back of your mind you are thinking, “What shall I make next?” It gives me the jitters to think that there’s nothing on the hooks or needles!

So this week’s WIP (99% done because it just needs buttons) is the second Baby Surprise Jacket. This is what it looked like after binding off.

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Sort of a rectangle with lots of increases and decreases that doesn’t look like it could be anything wearable.

But the magic happens when you fold it…

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And once again, so many ends to weave in! Note to self: use self-striping yarn next time.

The first go around at seaming the shoulders left me with a teeny neck opening that looked like it would strangle a baby, so I unpicked the seams and redid them, then picked up stitches and added a row of garter around the neck. Much better!

These are shades of Stylecraft Special DK and this time I used US6 needles. It turned out quite a bit smaller than the turquoise one that I made with US8s.

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I need to take this to work with me and choose buttons because as usual my stash of buttons is mostly mismatched sizes, shapes and colours from dollar store purchases and I really need a set of five.

My itchy fingers last night led to me starting a BB8 hat (inspired by the droid from Star Wars’ The Force Awakens).  That’s a Ravelry link as it’s a free Ravelry download. The baby (now overdue) has parents who are Star Wars fans and I think they’ll like it. It’s probably a bit big for a newborn at 16″ circumference but hopefully will fit next winter.

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These yarns are mostly Stylecraft Special Aran, but the grey is Red Heart With Love. I wouldn’t recommend using these yarns in the same project, as the RHWL is a true aran weight while the Stylecraft is a worsted weight.

Of course finishing this hat (which was a really fast and easy project) has left me, once again, WIPless. What’s a girl to do? Go and dig in the stash and find some more yarn to play with, of course!

Ta Dah!

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OK, I confess it doesn’t have buttons and it hasn’t yet been ‘blocked’ i.e. machine washed and dried, BUT it’s wearable AND I wore it last night to go out into the cold dark night! Well, it was just a visit to someone’s home – this coat wouldn’t hold up to any sort of windchill!!

 

It took about a week just to sew in the ends. Yes, next time I would do it as I went along.

The sleeves are only just wide enough, as I was wearing it over a sweater last night. I thought it would end up more roomy overall, but actually it fits just right.

Evening photos in artificial light…

 

And so another project is (almost) put to bed. I love finishing things!  How about you?

 

Nearly there…

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Last night, the Coatigan got its button/buttonhole bands. Tonight, it got its collar.

I wove in a few ends, but I think I’m done for today. I do have this to look forward to though…

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Yup, a metric craptonne of ends. And the cuffs yet to add.

I did finish this yesterday though.

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The blues are a bit deeper in real life. It’s a pretty shade of James C Brett Marble Chunky, though I don’t have the label to hand right now. The buttons were bought on clearance at work. This is destined for one of my co-workers in my aim to give each one of them a random gift for no reason.

Tomorrow my goal will be to get the cuffs finished on the coat, and I may also start another small project, if I find the inspiration. I will also need to persevere on my piano practice. I have three tunes to practice – This Land is Your Land, We Wish you a Merry Christmas, and Silent Night. Eight weeks in and it is getting more challenging. I was getting quite frustrated with myself this morning, trying to get the hands coordinated. Considering I learned to type with all my fingers, both hands, when I was 16, I know I can do this piano thing, it just takes practice. What’s challenging you right  now?

 

WIPs: Coatigan and Marble hat

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It’s been a blissfully uncommitted day today and I was able to enjoy a whole morning in my PJs doing nothing but join the squares of my granny square coat-of-many-colours, drink tea, eat breakfast, and throw in a couple of loads of laundry before the pile overtook the hallway.

The sun was pouring in and I was able to get some naturally lit photos of the coat, firstly joined but still flat, then joined down the side and sleeve seams.

The squares did get rearranged a couple of times. I thought I had it sorted, then was annoyed by two squares with a lot of raspberry pink next to each other. Move one square, and you end up moving six! The seams are single crochet on the right side, working into both loops. Decorative and sturdy.

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Back and front.

SO many ends. At least 744 of them.

Next up is to add the collar, cuffs and button bands. I will start on that tonight. I’ve decided to miss our usual Monday night activity and get more crochet done.

Ds3 actually came out for a walk with me this afternoon. Weather was bright and cool and it was nice to see him get out of the house with his camera.

One more thing to show you –  a small portable project. A hat in progress with James C Brett Marble Chunky. I’m going to add a button tab just for show. It’s good to have something to work on while out and about when projects like the coat or a blanket get too unwieldy.

This is a really basic double crochet hat, worked in a spiral, based on my Adjustable Crochet Hat pattern. I found the yarn in a clearance bin at my LYS. I’ve always loved the Marble Chunky.

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Have a great day, and talk to you again soon.

WIP: Coatigan

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As promised, I found the time tonight to lay out the coat squares as per the pattern. The two odd ones will be underarm gussets.

These were just laid down any old how – I’m sure I will move them around a few times until I feel the balance is right, though I don’t want to overthink it too much. I had to stand on the coffee table to get them all in and of course the lighting leaves a lot to be desired.

This project has made a serious dent in my Stylecraft Special Aran stash.

Work has been busy the last couple of days but that has been offset by a fun meal out with seven other women last night. We went to the Gratitude Cafe, which is vegan, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and has raw and cooked options, some without onions and garlic. Basically anyone can eat there!

I had the potato skins with cashew cheeze followed by some coconut banana cream pie. It was accompanied by a cup of real hot chocolate. Real food rocks!

 

 

WIP: Coatigan

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Well, good morning, Sunday people. I hope you’re having a wonderful day. I’m enjoying the fact that the clocks went back so even though I had a lie-in I had a bonus hour which makes it feel like I got up earlier than I actually did.

It’s sunny with a bit of cloud and a chilly wind, though our temperatures so far this fall have been mild. We had a lot of grey days and rain this week, except for two sunny days, during which my car thermometer hit 18. Awesome! And no frost yet.

I know the wind is chilly because I ventured out onto the deck in my pyjamas to lay out my Coatigan granny squares and get a daylight photo of the progress.

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Last night, while I was “knitflixing” (OK, I was crocheting, but “knitflix” has kind of a ring to it) and watching the very first few episodes of The X Files on Netflix, I laid out my squares and decided to make it so I had three of each centre colour. I need to make more to coordinate with the squares at bottom right, and then I need to keep going until I have 62. Or more. I guess if there are any squares I particular dislike, I can use them under the arms!

I’m a bit disappointed with the ball of black that I’m using right now as it feels thinner and splittier than the other colours, but by the time I get to the collar and cuffs I will be using a different batch which will hopefully be plumper.

I have to work this afternoon, just 12 to 5pm, but there’s a big sale on this weekend and it will probably be busy. For now, it’s time to check on my rising bread dough. Have a light-filled day, peeps!

 

Happy Hallowe’en?

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I’m sitting here in my favourite spot tonight; in my living room at my end of the couch (the other end belongs to Tai Chi Man but he’s out this evening). I don’t expect anyone to ring the doorbell because we have only ever given out candy once or twice in the 20 years we’ve lived here. We are the Scrooges of Hallowe’en. Keep the door shut, maybe even dim the lights and pretend to be out or deaf!

Being vegan, and raising vegan kids, meant that going out trick or treating never really appealed that much. The one time we did it, we had to pull out a lot of the candy and give it away. And I am not going to buy crap that I wouldn’t feed to my own children just to hand it out at the door.

When the boys were younger, we did carve pumpkins, but to be honest that has lost its appeal too. So much effort and mess for such a short-lived result, not to mention that my conscience is pricked when I think of our culture using food purely as decoration when they are so many people who are lacking enough to eat.

Well, that’s enough of my whining, now for some crochet. I have links! The coat that I mentioned in my last post is a free pattern based on one worn by some celeb or other who I probably have never heard of (did I say I don’t watch TV and that the celeb magazines at the store leave me cold)? The original cost over $1,000. Well, mine is going to be less than $50.

Coatigan in Grannies is the name, and here is the Ravelry link, and here is the Red Heart link. I’m not sure how realistic the gauge is, when you consider that I am using Stylecraft Special Aran, which is thinner than Super Saver, and a 5mm hook rather than the suggested 6mm for the size of square I need. I am aiming for the middle size and my squares should be 6.5″ but there are closer to 6.75″. And I usually go UP a hook size to meet gauge.

Here are the first nine squares:

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The pattern uses a smaller, more coordinated, range of colours but I have a lot of this yarn to use up. I rejected lemon yellow, white, cream and fondant pink as I felt they would stand out too much. The lightest colours in these squares are parchment, camel, silver grey, and I am using them in the second round of each square. The centres can be brighter, but from the third round out I’m trying to keep things fairly sober. The last two rounds of each are black.

I’m not going to stress too much about how they look at this point. I am just going to crochet a bunch of them (I need 62 for the coat) and lay them out and if one just looks like a glaring mistake I’ll make a different one to replace it.

And now to pick up my hook. I found Leonardo di Caprio’s film, Before the Flood, available for free on You Tube today, so assuming it is still available I am going to watch it while I crochet.

Happy crocheting! Boo!!