Tag Archives: stylecraft special dk

What’s new?

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Hi, crafty people! What’s new?

I have been knitting up a Baby Surprise Jacket this week. It’s an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern, and if you have been a knitter for a while you will surely know that she is (was) one of the geniuses of the knitting world. I have five of her books. I’ve been using the book, The Opinionated Knitter, to  make it, but I think it might be in Knitting without Tears too.

The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK and I had every intention of making it the smallest size possible by using 4mm/US6 needles. However I pulled out my supplies at a coffee shop while waiting for a friend last week, and for some reason my brain led my hands to screw the US8 tips on to the interchangeable cables. So instead of a potential gauge close to 6st/in, my gauge is more like 5st/in, so rather than fitting a teeny baby this year it will be more likely to fit next year. Which is a bit of a shame as the colours match the kitty fabric in the sewn outfit I showed you last time. Hopefully the dress and sweater will be wearable together.

So of course now that it’s almost done (you may have noticed there are no buttons yet) I just have to cast on for another. (The poor poncho is languishing yet again – ah, the thought of all those ends to weave in!) I will definitely remember to use the US6 tips this time and have picked out denim blue, along with meadow green, raspberry and one of the other pinks that has lost its ball band. It will be more girly at least.

One thing about a new baby in the family – lots of motivation to create!

I have bought fabric for a skirt for myself too. I have a Burda pattern (#6666) for a tiered skirt and found a lovely turquoise-y blue mottled rayon at work to make it with. I wanted to start sewing today but thought I’d better wash the fabric first, so it’s having a very short wash in the machine right now. It looks like an easy pattern, just a bunch of rectangles with lots of gathering along each top edge, and as my favourite maxi tiered skirt that I’ve been wearing for the last five years has started to disintegrate I’m hoping that this will be my new favourite. If it works out, I might want to make more!

Netflix watching, now that (sniff) Outlander has been suitably binge-watched, is Suits, recommended by a friend. Light entertainment while I get my knitting and crocheting done.

Piano practice has taken a back seat (less motivation to practice when there are no more lessons for a few months – ahem) and now I am excited about my Duolingo German lessons. It’s free (duolingo.com) and a friend is doing it too, plus I have three Facebook friends who are native German speakers (one is a co-worker). My hope is that one day Tai Chi Man and I will get to return to Switzerland to visit his cousins and I will not be hopelessly lost. We both learned German at school (and passed the exams to graduate) but heck, that was over 30 years ago.

Hopefully you are enjoying a wonderful Easter weekend where you are (and perhaps some chocolate). Tschüss!

No crochet today

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While I didn’t actually crochet, I did get a photo of the poncho progress…

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Look at all those ends! They will probably take a week to darn in.

So, this is 55.5″ long and when I folded it the way I plan to seam it, the neck opening was 34″ which is the maximum I’d want and have it stay on my shoulders. So I’m stopping with the length, and the next step is to use the Stylecraft Special DK in Peacock to go all around the edge, then crochet the seam, and then probably go around the neckline again so it’s not too gapey.

My day was full of vacuuming, laundry, and cleaning and I was out for the evening, but I have a sewing project that I must make this week. I have prewashed the fabrics and will show you what I’m making as soon as I can. I think it’s gonna be cute!

WIP: not a sweater

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The Stylecraft DK Coast Pack that was supposed to become a sweater is now going to be a poncho!

I have this poncho already that I knitted years ago…

It’s just a rectangle with one end sewn to the side of the other end, if you know what I mean. It’s quite a practical shape, actually, as in the car you can wear it with the V at the front which keeps your lap warm without bulk at the back, and when out walking you can wear it with the V at the back.

The project-that-was-going-to-be-a-sweater-but-I-wasn’t-happy-with-it sat in its bag for a week or three while I did other things and let my brain mull things over in the background. Whilst this looks like procrastination, it can be quite an effective way of making decisions!!

So, here’s the progress so far…

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That’s a pretty big square with a separate V stitch panel which is currently 12.5″ deep, to give you an idea of scale. Once my V stitch section gets to be about 35″ long, I’ll have to think about the next step which will be joining and bordering the whole thing. I am keeping the Peacock colour aside for that.

I’m feeling happier about this project now that a decision has been made, and I added about seven rows while watching Crafternoon Treats’ latest podcast this evening.

In other news, my piano lessons have been cancelled for the rest of the Spring. My teacher is going in for a hip replacement operation soon and won’t be back in action until after the summer months. The last tune she had us learning was Londonderry Air, which is quite tricky. I really will have to practice lots over the summer so that when we start again in the fall I haven’t forgotten everything!

Spring has finally Sprung here in British Columbia’s southern interior. The street sweeping trucks have been around the neighbourhood, vacuuming up the grit from the snowploughs/plows, the husband has pruned the apricot and cherry trees, signs of life can be seen from the bulbs in the garden, and we were down to our T shirts on Sunday afternoon in the sunshine. I still intend to hit the slopes again before the end of the ski season though.

 

Back to crochet

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We had a slight digression there, while I reblogged Boats of Oats’ vegan posts, and even had a bit of a crochet hiatus. I think there was a three-day chunk of time when I didn’t pick up a hook! Incredible!!

However, we are now back to your regular scheduled programming, and here is the pile of little hats. All twenty of them.

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I used some yarns that were languishing in the craft room, miscellaneous ones that weren’t bringing me joy. (Maybe it’s time to clear out à la Marie Kondo?) Various yarns, various hook sizes, various methods. It was fun while it lasted, but it’s nearing the time when my friend needs them so she can pass them on to her friend with the Swaziland connections.

And now to move on…

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This bag full of beach-inspired colours is the Coast Colour Pack, originally put together by Lucy of Attic24. (That link will take you to her home page – there is a link to her ‘store’ at Wool Warehouse, and also in the right sidebar if you scroll down you will find a link to her Ripple blanket [Coast].)

Fifteen skeins of Stylecraft Special DK, which I bought probably a couple of years ago now with no specific plans in mind. But I’m a bit blanketed out, if you know what I mean, and I really want to crochet myself a sweater. I’ve never done that before. There has been quite a bit of mulling, agonising, swatching and pattern-browsing, trying to find that perfect design that will work with multiple colours without me looking like a circus clown. (Oh, wait, I already made the granny square coat, so what am I worrying about?!)

I did find a lovely design at DROPS, though their patterns can be quite challenging to follow, or so I’ve heard. However I am stealing their construction idea. Make two large squares for front and back, add bits at the top for shoulder shaping, and add sleeves. With that in mind, I found this – the Big Gypsy Flower Square – which has been in my Ravelry queue for some time. I love the look of this square and decided to use it as the centre of my sweater front/back. Using doubled yarn and a 6mm hook, because I’m impatient and don’t want to fiddle with one strand and a skinny hook, I made this progress last night…

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It’s pretty, huh? Round 5 caused me grief, as I think the designer may have added an extra stitch in when typing up the instructions. I wasn’t getting the right stitch count and my corners were ending up in the wrong place, so I ended up removing one of the scs from the middle of the straight edges.

That last (sixth) round is khaki green, though it looks browner in the photo.

Anyway, there will be 14 rounds total, but I think I’m going to have to do a lot of extra rounds to achieve a sweater width, but this is a ‘design-it-on-the-hook’ sort of sweater and we shall see.

In other news, I had a haircut this week and I bit the bullet and went with an idea that’s been in my head for ages – an asymmetric style that scared me a little but I did it anyway. Hair grows, right?! I gave the hairstylist free rein, after a brief explanation, and I love it. It’s not a drastic difference – my hair is really curly when short, and so now the left side comes to just below my ear and the right is at chin level. No, I don’t have a good photo.

I also treated myself to a Fitbit Flex 2, which is one of the less expensive gadgets that one can wear on the wrist to track activity. It is waterproof, so you can actually swim in it. Time will tell if I actually pay attention and up my step count. I’m not sure how accurate it is – the first night, it got my sleep time right, but the second two it was way off. But anything that gets me more aware of my sedentary habits and getting more exercise has to be good. I’m thinking of bringing the small rebounder upstairs and getting more steps in that way. Plus the weather is getting milder and walking when there’s less ice on the ground is more enjoyable!

Better run – Tai Chi Man and I are planning to go out this morning and I’m still in my PJs. Enjoy your Sunday. 🙂

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

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If you’re in Canada, I trust you are making a special effort to remember all the things you are thankful for today. Family, friends, a roof over your head, abundant food, etc. I usually make a point of feeling thankful every day (or at least at breakfast time, as often I forget the rest of the day). A good life is all about attitude.

I am thankful for all you blog readers, for my laptop and iPad, for the ability to afford yarn to enjoy my hobby. This is going to be a short post today as I have to prepare a big dinner and the more I do this morning the less I have to do this afternoon. We have a family hike planned for early afternoon, though it’s cold and blustery out there with a forecast of 8 degrees Celsius. As long as it doesn’t rain, then I’m fine. None of us has raingear (as we live in a relatively dry part of Canada where not a lot of rain falls).

Tai Chi Man just came in with a bowl of carrots and potatoes from the garden. I am thankful for that too!

So without further ado, let me show you my Demelza progress. Thanks to a relaxing weekend, where amazingly I have four days off in a row, I have blasted through the set of eight Flat Flower 2 blocks. I have a picture of the eight squares plus a few of the components of the blanket side by side. Next up, the four 3D flower squares for the corners, and then it’ll be time for joining all the pieces together before crocheting the border. I decided on gold for the border and I have an extra two balls of it coming from Wool Warehouse so that I don’t run out.

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Have a wonderful day!

 

 

What to do in a holiday cottage when it’s raining

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I have no shortage of things to do. With hindsight, I probably should have gone out for a short walk before the rain started, but I deferred it in favour of crocheting, thinking I’d get out later on. We shall see! I don’t mind getting wet, but I only brought one sweater with me that I need indoors and I don’t have a backup.

So I have food, tea, crochet, colouring supplies, an ebook, an actual book…and I can also do some yoga stretches, some of which I did earlier but it would be a good idea to get off the couch now and again and stretch some more. Things in the shoulder area do actually feel a bit better since yesterday’s massage.

Week Three of the Demelza blanket CAL is going well. Since breakfast this morning, I have done all the round ones and twos of 16 squares. These will be five-round squares and I am going to make the last round the same colour in all of them, similar to the pattern. The major difference is that the pattern says to make eight in one colour combination and eight in another combination, but ending all rounds with green, and what I am doing is using all of my colours for a more random look.

What I did was make 16 round ones in 14 of my colours (I have 15 but I’m using lime to do all the round fives), obviously duplicating two of the colours.

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And then I added all the round twos, again having to use two colours twice, but being careful not to put the same colours together.

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Doing this production-line style seems a lot quicker than doing one whole square at a time. Quicker colour decisions, easy to memorise and repeat the pattern for that round, and I’m weaving in ends as I go.

I know that only we yarny types will understand the warm fuzzy feeling we get from seeing a little stack of squares like this…

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WIP: Demelza Week Two

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The Demelza blanket has four rectangular sections that will later be joined to all four sides of the centre square. These are pretty straightforward, being made up mostly of double crochets (trebles in the UK) plus some front post stitches to create the effect of flowers.

I started the first rectangle last night, but realised after three stripes that I had made a mistake with my colour choices, so it was frogged (rip it, rip it) and I started again. That was a chunk of my evening wasted, but I do love the way it looks now.

After a good long steep hike with a friend this morning, I was able to have some quality time with my hook and yarn this afternoon (interspersed with a bit of laundry and some dinner prep) and the first rectangle was finished. The second was started tonight but the combination of being up early this morning plus a decent amount of exercise is causing me to droop and it’s only 9pm or so. Not sure how much more I will do this evening so thought I’d post a quick update here before I got too tired.

I didn’t smooth out the square before  getting a photo of the two pieces side by side but you can see the colours I ended up using (13 of the 15). The gauge is a bit different on each piece too, but I’m sure it’ll all be fine when joined and blocked (famous last words)!

I hope you enjoyed your weekend. Happy crafting!

WIP: Demelza (definitely not a Netflix project)

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I made more colourful progress on Demelza’s central square. I still haven’t used all the colours and I’ve only repeated one (petrol) to add some contrast. Last night I made a huge mess of one round which I only realised when the stitch count wasn’t working out on the next, but I sorted it out and it’s all good.

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I’m trying not to think of completing a large blanket made with such exacting directions – one step at a time! No pressure.

WIP: Demelza

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At last, after a seemingly long wait, I started the Demelza blanket yesterday. A day late, yes, compared to some of the others in the group, but the Peacock Tail Bag took precedence.

So this was my progress after one session yesterday evening…

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That’s seven rounds – you can’t see the foundation rounds of each layer of petals. There were certainly some frustrating moments when I was trying to figure out where the @#$% hook went in which &*?$ stitch!

Tonight I managed another seven rounds and thankfully they weren’t as fiddly…

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Nighttime shots are so second-rate!

I took another photo of the flower from a side angle as it’s hard to see the first round of petrol blue from above. I’m not really sure why there are two different colours in this section, as the first one is mostly hidden.

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I’m not planning my colours ahead of time. The pattern specifies the exact colours the designer used in the same brand of yarn that I’m using and there have been a couple of coincidental matches with the raspberry and the camel, but the rest of my rounds differ from the pattern. It is fascinating to do a Crochet-Along and see how people’s colour choices affect the outcome and make the same pattern look so different.

Time to rest and recharge now. Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

 

WIP: Peacock Tail Bag

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Part three of the bag is complete. There was one row in there when I had a moment of ‘OMG what have I done!’ because I reached the end of one of those more complicated rows and was one stitch short. Turns out I was supposed to start in the first stitch of the row (some are started in the second) and I think it was more my imperfect vision that caused the error rather than me forgetting which stitch I was supposed to be starting with.Had to rip out that row and redo, but it’s all good now.

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These beautiful colours are from the Stylecraft Special DK Cosy Pack that has been patiently waiting for me to pay attention to it. These will become the Demelza blanket. The CAL on the Ravelry group started on Thursday, September 1st, but I had to finish part 3 of the bag first. The central square of the blanket looks like a doozy with plenty of challenges (it has a 3D flower in the centre) and I really hope I can keep up with this CAL. The time limit is self-imposed – if I don’t manage to make 8 squares in a week then it doesn’t really matter but it would certainly be nice to have the project finished by Christmas. (I actually have some extra raspberry and lime, as you will see from the photo, as I had some of those colours in the turquoise colour pack.)

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I participated in a Colourful Anniversary Swap in the Colourful KALs/CALs group – you may remember me making a water bottle holder and a dishcloth and sending off a parcel to Chicago, where my swap partner lives. Well, she seemed to like her parcel of goodies, and now I have received one myself. From Hamburg in Germany. All of those who participated in the swap posted their likes and dislikes to the forum thread, their hobbies, any allergies, other interests. I received a lovely package from Debby which included all the lovely swag in the above photo. Below is a goofy photo of me modelling the scrappy hat!

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Since then, I had my hair cut (why does my hairdresser rave over naturally curly hair then blow dry the heck out of it and straighten it out)? So now I am going to have some fun with some pink hair dye. See ya later.