Tag Archives: sweater

Checking in

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Hi all

Well, this is a bit of an adventure. WordPress have decided to give me a new blog-writing functionality. It’s not completely different from the old one but no doubt I will find some things require some extra thought.

Firstly, I hope you’re all doing well and that wherever you are you’re enjoying your crafting. Maybe even more crafting than ever! Maybe less. A lot of people have more time on their hands because they haven’t been at work, so their crafty productivity has soared, whilst others are suffering from COVID apathy and if and when they make something it has to be as simple as possible.

I’ve been back at work for two weeks and have noticed that every shift seems like 16 rather than 8 hours. One week in, Head Office mandated masks for everyone, staff AND customers, and so we have the physical distancing, the sanitising, the one-way aisles, and the clear barriers, plus the wearing of masks. Masks get hot when you wear them most of the day – my face gets pretty sweaty – and if I walk too fast around the store I get breathless.

I’ve seen many reports of negative effects of mask-wearing, the main one being that you’re re-breathing your exhaled carbon dioxide. This means that breathlessness and brain fog are quite common. However, in order to keep my job, I need to wear one, and I also have to enforce customers wearing a mask or other face covering too. Some people object to this quite strongly but until the Government decides to lift the restrictions I guess we’re stuck with it. It’s a minor inconvenience to wear a mask for a short time during your shopping trip, really.

The best thing to do is to immerse yourself in something you enjoy, and crochet gives me a great sense of satisfaction and calm. The back and front of my Ocean Breeze sweater are done. It’s a cropped sweater so it’s waist length. Once I reached the last colour in my chosen group for the body, I started on the sleeves. These I am working from the cuff up, but flat rather than in the round like the pattern states.

The sleeves have all the remaining colours of my Scheepjes Stonewashed/Riverwashed XL minis and now I’m up to the part at the top which is just a few rows of the Moonstone. The only colour I’m not using is Black Onyx, so there will be 49 colours total in this sweater.

The only sewing I’ve done in the last week has been an experimental couple of masks from Craft Passion. It’s a shaped mask with a pocket for a removable filter and an outside channel for the wire so it can be removed for washing. It’s probably a bit easier to sew than the one I’ve made lots of, but I was using a work T shirt of my son’s to see if I could incorporate his company logo. The first one was ok, but the second one was better – I interfaced both layers and it made an effective mask with some added body to it. I have bought some extra elastic and interfacing in case he wants more, or if his co-workers ask him about it.

Also, I’ve been patching this old quilt.

I made this in 2003! Can’t believe it was 17 years ago, but I made a label for the back so it’s true! At the time, I had been quilting like crazy for about 5 years and was starting to get back into yarny pursuits. So I made this scrappy nine-patch using bits of fabric I had left over from making all those other quilts. I decided it would be a beach quilt and would get used, and it was. It was dragged to homeschool park days, beach days, out into the garden, left in the sun, tromped on, wrapped around cold kids, it got wet and dirty and was tossed into the washer and dryer.

It’s huge, and when I constructed it I did it in four sections which I then joined together after quilting.

The fabrics faded and in time actually started to wear out, and I have had to patch areas of it before. Last night, I started patching over the holey areas that have developed since the last round of mending. It’s very quick and dirty patching – the stitching is messy and a lot of the edges are raw. I think what I should do next is lay it out in the sun for a while so that the new fabrics fade a little to blend in more with the old ones.

My gym is opening June 1st and I really need the exercise. I’ve been getting lot of steps in at work, but I need to lose weight and get those muscles lifting weights again. I’m off the oil again – no fried foods, no margarine, no oil in salads, no vegan cheese – and I’m also off Yorkshire tea (sob) and coffee because I have a touch of acid reflux which I’m convinced I can control with tweaks to the diet and a loss of the spare tire around my middle. Dr Greger (nutritionfacts.org and How Not to Die) says that the valve at the top of the stomach is relaxed by a fatty meal which allows the acid to leak back into the oesophagus. I’ve read what this can do long-term and it isn’t pretty. I’m not going to take antacids because those just mess up your digestion and weaken your bones. Of course, stress plays a part too, and the last couple of months have certainly brought new stressors (promotion and the dreaded virus)!

On that note, it’s time for me to get off the computer and make dinner. Take care, and talk soon.

What’s new?

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What’s new?

Well, since I tidied my sewing room, I have tested out the new arrangement. It works great. I decided to make a Car Diddy Bag from SewCanShe.com. It’s a medium-sized bag with a long strap that can loop over the gear stick, it has a main compartment, front pockets and a hidden zippered pocket.

 

I do love these Patrick Lose fabrics. As you can see, it does what it’s supposed to do…sits in my passenger seat footwell, looking pretty. It even has a strip of hook tape on the bottom to stop it from slipping around.

That made, I also went on to cobble together this drawstring bag. It’s a dodgy bag! The rayon fabric was left over from a skirt I made a year or two ago. It doesn’t behave itself at all. But I had this rectangle which was just the right size for the outer and lining, and I used some sew-in fleece in between the layers. It probably would have worked better with a fusible, but never mind.

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That was one afternoon’s sewing.

As you’ll see, the backdrop to that photo is my pack of Scheepjes Stonewashed and Riverwashed XL minis. Big news! I finally decided to crack them open and actually make something with them.

It’s been over a year of wondering what to make, wanting it to be wearable rather than another blanket or something, and I finally found a sweater pattern which seemed like it might be compatible. The Ocean Breeze Sweater is an easy project. Mostly double crochet, simple shaping, and a clear pattern. I have 250g of the yarn in Moonstone (the cream colour) and a total of 750g in the pack of minis so the plan evolved on the hook.

I started the front and worked 14 rows, and then started the back and worked 14 rows, and joined the shoulders.

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Then I played around with the minis in the hope I could get a pleasing gradation from light to dark for both the body and sleeves.

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I have added a few rows of the lighter colours now:

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As I said on my FB post yesterday – this will either be a huge mistake and get frogged, or it will be my most favourite sweater ever. The jury is still out! Fifty colours is a lot for one sweater, after all!

Whilst the body panels are worked flat and seamed, the designer says to crochet the sleeves from the cuff up in turned rounds. But because of my intended stripes, I would rather crochet them right on to the side of the body and work down. Wish me luck!

Today was the first day that I’ve had to wear a mask for my whole shift – well, except for breaks. After the first hour, it actually wasn’t so bad. But I’ve been up since 6.30, because I woke early, and now it’s only 9pm and I’m fried.

Hope you’re staying well and enjoying some crafty moments.

Throwback Thursday

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Deltora Quest sweater – my Ravelry project page

This week I’m featuring a sweater I made for my youngest son who, according to my project notes, was 9 at the time (he’s 21 now). He was mad about the Deltora Quest books so for Christmas I thought I’d knit him a sweater with a Deltora theme.

Featured in the books is the Belt of Deltora, a steel belt which holds seven gems, the first initials of which spell the word Deltora. I made the front, back and sleeves on my Bond machine and hand knitted the ribbing and duplicate stitched the gems across the front.

I can’t recall him wearing the sweater very much. He wasn’t a very cold-blooded kid, and even now he rarely wears a sweater, and doesn’t bother with a coat much either, unless he’s snowboarding.

I see I bought the yarn at Zellers – that’s a throwback right there – all the Zellers stores closed down years ago. I did like having that store in town, as it was a handy Canadian alternative to the dreaded Wally-world Wal-mart!

Throwback Thursday

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My usual morning routine is to glug down a big glass of lemon water and make myself a huge cup of Yorkshire tea, then head to the couch with my laptop to catch up on emails, Facebook and Ravelry. Emails and Facebook can just be a few minutes each; Ravelry can take longer, depending on what interesting topics have appeared overnight and whether I want to contribute.

I replied to a thread this morning which had me looking back at an old project, so I had this idea for Throwback Thursdays. Pick an old project to talk about that stands out for me.

The oldest projects I have listed are from 2006, but the photos are dull and there is not much detail on them as they were made pre-Ravelry. Things start getting more interesting in 2007. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes Ravelry had been around for 50 years so we could have kept good notes on everything we’ve made.

Today’s is this one with the uninspiring name Top Down Raglan. (Link to my Ravelry project page.)

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I don’t have a photo of me wearing it, but it did fit me well. It was my own design, constructed top down, seamlessly, and I added in a cable design from somewhere, and did folded hems. The yarn used to be a favourite of mine – James C Brett Marble DK. I actually made two sweaters from this yarn, which amazes me now because I am not a patient person when it comes to yarn, and prefer the thicker end of the spectrum. According to my Ravelry notes, it only took a couple of months to knit.

My project page says I bought the yarn at Fun Knits on Quadra Island (which is in BC, Canada) which immediately takes me back to the time I bought it. We were on holiday, Tai Chi Man, the three boys, and my in-laws, and the comment my MIL made at the time was that the colour was “dull.” (She spoke her mind, that one!) Admittedly, I do tend to wear brighter or stronger colours than this now, and it ended up going to a thrift store one year, after a seasonal closet clear-out. I wonder where it is now. Hopefully keeping someone warm.

 

 

WIP: March sweater – lots more stripes

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I had another awesome day of crocheting today. After starting the left front of the sweater last night, while sitting and having hot chocolate with friends at home, I continued with it today while watching crochet podcasts.

Last time I posted I was up to the yellow.

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This is what it looked like after doing the orange stripes and a red, right on the edge. Above, folded. Below, laid out flat.

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And today, it looks like this.

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Above, folded. My friend had the inspired idea, when I was saying there wasn’t room for more red on the right front last night, to suggest putting some on the left front. So I did, just on the bit you’ll see when I’m wearing it.

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Laid out flat, you can see what I mean. And there’s only about four inches more to add to the left front. Then there will be a ton of weaving in, and doing a border around the edges to neaten it all up.

I’ll need to find three buttons to match one of the colours – one for right and left top corners, and another for the left side to hold it at bust level if I decide to wear it with the top corner folded down. The double crochet stitches are large enough that I don’t need to worry about making buttonholes.

Well, the timer should be going off on the stove in a sec – for some reason, the food didn’t cook properly at 375 degrees so I put the nut roast and the Greek potatoes back in for another half an hour at 425 and if THAT doesn’t cook the buggers I will be well ticked off. I would have liked to eat earlier so that I had time to digest before yoga 😦

WIP: March sweater

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Well, it’s been a mixed-up weather day today. We’ve had blowing snow, cloud, sunshine, wind, just about everything. However I have been inside on the couch, getting on with my March sweater.

As I’ve said, my goal is 12 sweaters in 12 months, and January and February are checked off the To Do list. It feels good to be ahead of the schedule and starting my March sweater on February 2nd.

I went through a few ideas, one of which I sketched out in detail and actually started knitting. However it has now been frogged in favour of a crochet version. As you can see, my Hello Kitty pencil tin and accessories are a very important part of this process.

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I started with the back piece – this was earlier today – I have since finished the first ball of yarn and started on the second.

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Rather than make three separate pieces, I think when I get to the end of the back I will just keep going with the right front, and when that’s done I’ll return to the beginning chain edge and work the left front onto it rather than having to sew things together.

The stitch pattern I’m using is one row single crochet, one row double crochet. For the right front I will do the sc rows in my rainbow yarn. Hoping for a wearable result! I think this is why I have been hesitant in the past to make garments because it’s a big time/yarn investment that may not work out. However I am heartened by the recent finished objects so will plug on!

While crocheting, I’ve found a couple of new crochet podcasts to watch on You Tube, and also an interesting sock tutorial by Mikey at The Crochet Crowd.

 

 

 

FO: Crochet Cuddler Cocoon (and new yarn)

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Before I show you my February sweater, here is a photo of me in my January sweater.  I wore it the other day (wow, it’s warm) and it fits perfectly. If I could change one thing about it, though, I’d add an inch to the sleeves. When I was driving and out and about, I felt I could have done with just a bit of extra length in the sleeves.

So, once I finished that sweater off last Monday night, I was free to get on with the next project. The February project took all of four days from start to finish, it was so quick and easy. I did make a few adjustments to the pattern so I will link to my Ravelry project page here.

I had to crop out my head in that shot because the cardigan is so dark that my face was overexposed. The base rectangle for the back of the sweater seemed really small in the pattern so I added four rows. The sleeves also would have been tiny so I doubled the length of those. And there were only three border rounds in the pattern and I did 12, basically until my yarn almost ran out.

The yarn is Willow Wash Bulky, which is so lovely and soft to work with and to wear, but the six strands are very loosely spun so you have to be careful not to split them. As I am just hanging around the house today, I decided to wear it (it would probably not be warm enough outside in the cold at the moment) though I had to abandon it while vacuuming because I was getting too hot.

I am pleased with it, thanks to my adaptations. I think if you were to use a much bulkier yarn, you could follow the designer’s numbers, but it would have been far too small for me using the Willow Wash, following it as is.

There has been a little bit of yarn acquisition this week. OK, a lot. Walmart still has the Bernat Pop! yarn, and I decided that I should get extra of the rainbow coloured one to pair with plain black for a future sweater. Also I found a nice one with grey and pink that I can pair with the leftover Red Heart Supersaver in grey heather. And a couple of cakes of grey/turquoise, just because.

Also today I received my Wool Warehouse order, a mere WEEK after they shipped it. I love their efficiency. I ordered on the weekend, they shipped it the first working day afterwards, and the post office have done their bit too. Normally stuff takes two weeks to get here. I am glad it’s here as part of the order is for my Ravelry Ravellenic Games project, the doll I mentioned in my last post. The rest are colours that I picked to pad out gaps in my DK collection, like the  yellows, browns and neutrals.

My Christmas/birthday fund is being rapidly depleted!

I’ve said this before, but I love the organza bags that WW send the yarn in.

Well, today I need to start swatching for a new sweater: the March sweater, in theory, though I am well ahead of my deadline. Believe it or not, despite the thousands of patterns in the Ravelry database, I couldn’t find the perfect one for my black/rainbow combination, so I have sketched out a possible design and need to figure out my gauge. I am having a few niggling doubts about a rainbow tunic, even if it is calmed down with black, so I  may end up going with the grey instead. For now, though, I have to finish cleaning the kitchen (totally distracted by the parcel of yarn in the mail and wanting to tell you all about it, but it’s nose to the grindstone time for me now)!

I hope next time to show you what my decision was for the March sweater, plus some progress.

 

 

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.

 

 

Almost finished!

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We are at the 22nd of January already, and my January sweater deadline is fast approaching, but I’m going to make it!

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Since my last update, I have finished the yoke (inserting two more short rows near the back of the neck), knitted a ribbed turtleneck (adding stitches for the foldover part to accommodate the bulk and not be too tight), grafted the underarm stitches and started on the cuff hem lining.

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The colour of the lining was dictated by the fullest ball of Stylecraft Special Aran that I had, plus I wanted it to be bright to give the grey sweater a lift. Using two strands of Pomegranate and a US10.5 needle, I picked up stitches on the inner edge of the cuff. Obviously I had to increase, because the gauge is very different from the main part of the sweater, so I made an educated guess and did a Make One after each two stitches picked up. And it worked!

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I still haven’t fastened anything off or woven any ends in. I’ll do that after the second cuff and the bottom hem are done, but before washing and drying.

My Hygge friends are coming over tonight so I will get more knitting time in then. So far today I’ve done some housework and started a new batch of kombucha. I had a brainwave, and realised how much easier my Mondays are if I don’t have to work. I can get the house tidied up, and dinner made and eaten, well before my friends come at 7.30pm. Not so easy if you have to work until 6 or 6.15. So I have changed my scheduling preferences at work to say I am unavailable on Mondays.

I picked up my latest hold at the library this week – Jeremy Poldark, book 3 in the Poldark series – and it’s not a huge tome so I immediately reserved book 4, Warleggan, so I can get that one soon. I also found these…

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I don’t know whether I’ll make any of the projects, but the Arne and Carlos book is just a feast of eye candy! Beautiful colours of yarn and flowers and blankets and toys and the best doll’s house ever. Worth borrowing from the library for sure.

It’s a beautiful day out there, cold and windy of course, but the sun is streaming in. Hmmm, I should probably fit a neighbourhood walk into my afternoon. And while I’m out, I’ll annoy the boys and open some windows perhaps! It helps to keep the humidity down indoors. We had quite a problem with condensation last winter, with the new less-draughty windows.

Better get on then. Hope you have a great day!

 

WIP: more of the January sweater

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I’m feeling happier about this sweater today because once I’d done some of the yoke decreases I put all the stitches onto spare yarn and tried it on. I was originally aiming for  a 44″ circumference, which would have given me a lot of ease, but because of the tighter gauge it’s coming out at 40″. That means it will be fairly form-fitting and I was worrying about it being too snug. But no, it feels just great, so I am gaily marching on towards the neckline.

The next decision will be how wide to make the neck. I want to add a big collar, maybe not a regular polo/turtleneck, but perhaps a split turtleneck. I’d like to have the option of buttoning it up around my neck, but also to open it up if I’m getting too hot (which is quite possible considering how thick the sweater is).

I’ve added a couple of short rows in the back section tonight, with the plan to add a couple more later on. I finally learned how to work a wrap properly in the round. I can do the ones on the left end of a short row fine, but the challenge used to be that when I knitted all the way around and encountered the wrap at the right hand end of the short row I didn’t know the correct way to pick up the wrap without making a mess.

Well, I found this tutorial. In it, she shows how to work the wraps – the left hand one is done the usual way that I’m familiar with, and the right hand one is done with a yarnover. When encountering the yarnover later, you slip the stitch before it knitwise, slip the yarnover purlwise, and knit them together. Hey presto, it worked!

As this is such a bulky sweater, I also am using a slightly different technique than an ssk for my left leaning decreases. I  can’t remember where I found it now, but the theory is that an ssk is very visibly different from a K2tog. When you’re doing mirrored decreases on a raglan yoke, it’s nice to have them look similar on each side. So instead of slipping one knitwise, then slipping another knitwise, putting the needle into the front of the two slipped stitches then knitting them together, I am doing this: slip one knitwise, slip the next one purlwise through the back, then knit them together.

Sounds fiddly, but once you’ve done it a couple of times it’s just as easy and it does seem to be looking pretty good.

My knitting has been accompanied by a TV series on Netflix that a customer at the store recommended to me. Mr Selfridge. And I am enjoying it immensely, and not just because it doesn’t have subtitles!!

I have really appreciated the last two days off work. I met a friend for tea yesterday, and did the shopping (OK, grocery shopping is not very exciting but hey, it was a day off) and today I went to the gym then pootled around in the kitchen making the Burrito Breakfast Bake from my new book, The How Not to Die cookbook by Dr Greger. I’ve made a few recipes from that book now and have been pleased with them so far. The kids are not crazy on yams or cooked greens, which is a shame because they are just SO good for you! I still try and get them to eat them, though.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to work 5 – 9pm so it almost feels like another day off. Kinda sorta 🙂