craft

Knitting progress over a busy weekend

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Another hectic weekend just done and dusted. There were several hours of gardening and today I ache practically all over! We visited the mother in law too which is exhausting in other ways but I still managed to get a bit of knitting done. A few rows on a car journey and a big stretch one evening. There would be more but it’ been ripped back twice after discovering extra yarn overs in places there shouldn’t have been.

Knitting is my reward – this time making the weekend better after having to do chores. There has been a lot written about the therapy of knitting. Your brain is made to work in different ways, one way to work out a pattern, another to count, it is tactile, physically feeling the yarn feeding through your fingers, hopefully enjoying seeing the colour and shape of what you are uniquely making, to calm you without distraction, to switch off from the thrusts of today’s modern living. All these have been described as being ‘mindful’ or ways of ‘mindfulness’. I subscribe to all these and add ‘to teach you patience’. You sure have to be patient when ripping and reknitting!

I often throw down WIPs in frustration if they go wrong. I have been known to hide them from myself for days, years even. Today I shall revisit at least one and see if I can make progress on it. I will be working two projects together, not giving up on one nor the other.

What’s been the progress in your world, crafty or otherwise?

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Despair! Knitting WIP. Lifelines. More holes than a cheese grater.

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Oh despair! I recently started another new project – yes, I know I told myself and everyone here that I would not start something new until I had more finished projects .. there was a good reason for this one though and I used yarn from my stash which justified it.

I had a five hour car journey ahead of me. I thought I’d stretch myself, try something a little different. ‘What could go wrong?’ Ha! Lots it turns out!

My latest WIP had got to the stage of sewing up. Who can sew up knitting in a car? If there is anyone who can, please give me hints on how to keep pieces straight on my lap and not lose marker pins and sewing needles in the footwell – I am all ears. Note, I’d be the passenger not the driver, of course! I chose a new project over the sewing up this time.

I did about a third on the journey

I hadn’t made anything lacy in a very long time and realised early on it’s probably because I prefer simple knits. I am using a vintage pattern but am not using vintage cotton and I am adjusting size and shaping. The gauge is slightly off (it grows in length but the width seems ok). I am making it longer than the pattern says so I did two borders rather than one. I went wrong a lot, ripped it back, reknit it. I did not mark off some rows as I knitted, I counted wrong. You name it, I did it! The yellow lines are lifelines, thank goodness I knew about those and had spare yarn with me (of course, I never travel with the bare minimum, not only in my craft bag).

I am now onto the armhole shaping. I am a triangle, a lot less wide at the shoulder than Mrs Average (who is Mrs Average, by the way?). Therefore narrowing the shoulder line involves more counting. Whilst the main body lace is easier than the border, knitting when weary means another lifeline after going wrong again, missing out a row, losing a stitch several rows back (how did I not notice? possibly a missed YO somewhere). I think this may be one of those projects that will take a long time.

Note to self, future car journeys, knit small and easy! Our final destination was to our house in France. We had a glorious weekend of sunshine and R&R, despite the knitting calamity on the way.

Since then, we had a wedding to go to back here in the UK. These fairy lights are just a snippet of the day I wanted to share here. Fantastic day, lovely party, love a wedding!

Charity hat making is good for the soul – not quite sparking joy – it’s also a delaying tactic

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Here are two more chunky hats knitted for a local homeless charity I can not donate time to the cause but I can donate craft and a hat is whipped up in two or three knitting sessions. It’s good for the soul to give something back in any way I can. I admire those who do more.

This hat making is helping me clear some of my yarn stash too so it’s a win-win situation. There’s a lot in the media right now about clearing and cleaning your life which seems to involve sorting out and tidying up and getting rid of things that don’t spark joy aka Marie Kondo styling. This yarn is lovely, nice colours, great to knit with (Adriafil Mistero) but it wasn’t making me smile a lot as it’s left from previous projects and there was never enough to do anything bigger. It was languishing in a cupboard. I am so glad to have re-found it and hopefully it will spark joy for someone else in more than one way.

However …. as much as I am enjoying the hat making I know I am putting off other things, including finishing knitting and sewing larger projects. It is very satisfying to see something grow quickly and then be gifted. I am talking about my recent baby knits and quick projects. This morning I looked at a few half done/three quarters done/tangled/mistaken projects in my craft room. I looked, then ‘hid’ them from myself until another day. I am wondering if it’s not just my crafting that is being avoided.

For now, it’s time to cast on again. I am thinking this is almost my own version of ‘taking a basket weaving class’ with a slightly more fulfilling end.

Making Handmade Christmas Decorations

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I said I would update my blog with a photo of last week’s wiggly pompoms.  I made a few and made them into a garland – you can kind of get the idea from the photo above (it’s about twice as long as what you see) – and it’s so difficult to take a decent one with a window as a background, best I could do.  (The lovely wicker star was a Christmas purchase a few years ago, I would have loved to have made a claim to have made that if I could!)

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I’ve also been having a play with Christmas Origami papers.  Initially a good friend gave a mini demo to our weekly craft group on how to make an origami star.  This inspired me to make a whole bunch of stars and here are three hanging amongst a few of my cooking and craft books.

I’d love to see anyone else’s little handmade Christmas decorations!

 

Tropical temperatures, tropically decorated, green leaves not green sleeves

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It’s still decidely tropical here in Kent in the UK – I think we are entering the fourth week of our heatwave now. Everyone seems to be suffering in one way or the other.  Personally, I am not sleeping well (too hot and sticky) and most of the day I feel quite lethargic (overtired, still hot and sticky). I am struggling to craft much – so my creative ‘me’ time has been mostly absent and I have little to show off here.  My New Year plans were to finish more of my knitting WIPs and to use up more of my stash.  Very slow knitting progress this month.  I have a cotton WIP top to finish, hoping to be able to wear it this summer.  The pattern was free from Tahki Stacy Charles but I am using Paintbox DK cotton from Loveknitting.com and it will be mostly spearmint green with a little white in the edging.  You may think the pattern has been scrumpled a bit! This piece of knitting too – luckily it’s rather forgiving!  Hubby thinks I will look like a Pacer sweet packet – does anyone remember those from the 70’s/80’s? They were minty treats, now discontinued, made by the makers of Opal Fruits (now called Starburst).

I love a bit of warmth but I prefer it when I am on holiday. With that in my thoughts, perhaps it’s why I recently chose a tropical theme for my hallway decorating.  This was done during the first two weeks of the heatwave.

Hopefully the next post will have more creative news.  Meanwhile I shall enjoy my green day.

 

Decorating

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It’s been a bit quiet on the crafting front.  There have been lots of other things occupying my mind this past week or so. Choosing wallpaper is one of them. Along with the times I have wished I could name or design yarns and fabric I now add that I wish I was a better artist and could design and name wallpaper too!

Being creative includes looking at patterns and textures everywhere.  I have almost got to the point of collecting so many paper samples I could join them all together and cover the wall ‘patchwork’ style!   For any fellow Escape to a Chateau fans (tv show, Dick Strawbridge and Angel Adoree) remember the patchwork wallpaper?!  To die for!

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/escape-to-the-chateau-diy

 

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A snippet of my life this week.  Still not decided on what one to go for !

Scraps of Liberty Lawn

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A friend’s birthday.

She is a sewist/knitter too.

It wasn’t easy to decide what to make for her.  I filtered ideas, I poured over a few craft books, I searched through my wool and fabric stashes.

I wanted the gift to be useful rather than just decorative.

Look what I decided to make!

Liberty lawn fabric pieced together to make a beautiful needle case, then wrapped in a spare piece of lawn instead of gift wrap.

She liked it too! I love gifting a home crafted present to someone who understands the effort you put into making it, don’t you?