DROPS

I look forward whilst I glance back

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The start of a new project, with an unimpressed helper! Using DROPS yarn.

Returning from a New Year break in rural France I feel fired up to get on with new projects, tidy up old ones and reflect back on the successes and failures, craftwise, of 2019. A few days in the countryside with added trips to the coast has fed my imagination!

I am still on a journey to use up my stash of wool. I cast on my latest project 24th December, just after I’d finished my final Christmas gifts. Using Nepal and Alaska by DROPS Design and who doesn’t love a stripe or two?!

I was quite prolific last year, although there were gaps in creativity and not everything was a triumph. Luckily I blogged quite bit so there are truths to be told here and I realise some things didn’t even make it the page. I also learned a few things, one of which was a new crochet stitch. I have now made four things with hooks rather than knitting sticks, adding a different dimension to my crafting bow.

A mini summary of 2019 makes is:

Helping a friend with a baby knit project, knitting hats for the homeless, four baby/toddler cardigans, one set of booties, one scarf, one dreadful lacy top, handsewing a big handful of patchwork hexagons, machine sewing other patchwork (part of a throw and three elephants), bunting and Christmas decorations, two hats for a 3 year old, a baby tunic dress in clashing colours, and two crochet blankets (one a gift for MIL, brownie points here!) , and adding a big applique ‘M’ to a little girls’ book bag.

So onwards into 2020 what plans are afoot for all? Crafting – I intend to learn at least one new thing, not sure what it is yet!

A patchwork pig made for a table sale in 2019

A little knitting finishing, Nepal

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nepal2.jpgThere’s been a lot going on,  including a little knitting finishing.  My camera is playing up – so forgive the wonkiness of these pics (it’s not sewed up wonky, it’s just the way it’s laid out!)

nepal1

I love this Drops Nepal Blanket in cream, navy and dark teal. It’s a big knee blanket size – started as a gift, but now to be kept for myself (I have gifted an alternative knit so the intended recipient hasn’t missed out!).

I’ve been out and about a bit, another trip to Whitstable – my first of 2018 – rather chilly and blowy but ooh it was lovely to chase the winter cobwebs away one afternoon.

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I’ve been meeting with friends, one of my plans for the New Year to do just that.

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Hubby and myself getting windswept in Whitstable! 

I have been sewing, two tops, a pair of shorts, pics will follow.  For now I’m just packing them in a suitcase for another trip – this time to slightly further shores – looking forward to a 12 hour flight, movies planned, knitting planned.   Watch this space!

 

Two craft projects finished

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I have been working on finishing WIPs, particularly yarny ones.  This one in Drops Andes 65% wool, 35% alpaca, purchased when visiting a lovely little local yarn store Little Woollie in Beckenham, Kent, UK. I love an independent wool shop. I always find the customer service so fantastic and you can’t beat a good natter about woolly things!  https://www.littlewoollie.co.uk/

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This …

andescushion1
became this !

I had time for a little sewing project too. Fabric selected from my stash a few days ago turned into a the most useful storage system for circular knitting needles.  The pocket at the bottom is perfect for spare needle needle tips and cables.  It has made me think about what circulars I prefer – possibly KnitPro Symphonie with fixed tips for their smoothness and attractiveness = I always say the rainbows make even black knitting pretty!  I like the interchangeable ones but have had a bit of bad luck with rough fixings and occasionally the screw has unwound despite all my efforts with regularly fixing the tips on.

So two projects down, still numerous ones to be tackled, but this is progress, yay!

circneedleholder.jpg  circneedleholderfull

Keeping up Enthusiasm, a yarn story

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Another week into 2018.  Am I keeping up my Enthusiams?

Reiteration from last week  –

  1. Keep on track with the diet started in October
  2. Sort out craft stuff all over the house
  3. Think seriously about the next step jobwise/careerwise and make good choices
  4. Make a bucket list of things to do compelled by a particular date
  5. Become more involved in day to day household accounting/finance

Yes, the dieting has been going well, despite eating out twice, according to my own bathroom scales I am still more or less on track.  My view is, enjoy food, enjoy company, be extra sensible when eating at home. the two counterbalance each other and life doesn’t get boring!

Craft sorting is slow but still sorting.

Another yarn project ripped back and well into the reknit. Another Drops Andes project, it was a short sleeved jacket, a DROPs pattern which just was a disaster, now it’s 3/4 of a cushion using a Sirdar pattern when gauge this time is not so important.

yarnripped   yarnrippedreknit

A little fabric project has also been decided upon – will blog pics when finished – technically this will become a fabric/yarn combi project.  Any guesses?

yarn holder fabric

Job/Career – a few prospects thought about, one visited, no conclusions yet.  Who would have thought of a coffee shop run from a horse box parked in a restaurant car park?  That was just one opportunity.  Yes, really!

Bucket list – the bucket is empty at the moment!

Household accounting – can I count last week’s decision to menu plan rather than random buy the main weekly shop?  It means I will use up everything I buy, not throw out a thing, not waste any money!  This isn’t big inroads to my ‘Enthusiasm’ but it’s a start.  You should have seen my husband’s surprise when I served up ‘cauliflower rice’ for dinner yesterday (Enthusisam 1. Diet planning, Enthusiasm 5. Using what we had, Conclusion – we both thought it delicious, it was a win/win!)

Happy crafting and creating.  Another week, another zillion projects in the making!

 

A ripping afternoon

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muscatwoolproj

Keeping up ‘Enthusiasms’ for the new year (see yesterday’s post) I’ve had a ripping afternoon.

I remember starting this when a lovely new wool shop, Little Woollie in Beckenham, Kent opened. DROPS Muscat, a beautiful mercerised cotton, three different shades. I found the pattern and the knitted piece ‘hidden’ in my craft room. I was trying to adjust a child’s pattern and as it grew realised it wasn’t going to work out how I imagined.  I struggle with the gauge of DROPS yarns sometimes.  Does anyone else?

This is what I have now.  I am happily satisfied rather than guilt ridden with yet again another WIP or a UFO.

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A mini project of the future!  

 

 

Christmas Reveal – 2 for 1

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I promised to reveal what was made with this

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I gifted a finished item it to a friend and couldn’t show off here before Christmas (or her birthday!)

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Ta da!  Just a hat, but a great knit. I loved making it so much and I had enough yarn left – so I made another one exactly the same for myself.  We live about 180 miles away from each other so there is little chance we will bump into each other wearing it – though maybe that would be fun!

I hope you all had a good Christmas.  I know I overindulged with foodie treats, chilled out a bit and knitted little.  Who was able to knit or craft a lot? I hope some of you.  Between chopping veg, peeling sprouts, dashing in and out of the kitchen, topping up glasses and plates that there was little time to think about picking up pins and yarn, though I did fix a little error on one WIP Boxing Day evening, more of that to be shown off here later in the week hopefully.  Loving working with DROPS Nepal wool (there’s a hint of more to come.)

I am already thinking about the changes I shall make for the better in 2018. There will be more organised crafting time for one thing.  There will be a little entrepreneurial thinking, some work will be sorted and I shall spend more time with loved ones far and near.  I shall be glad to see 2017 gone.

If you are on a mid Christmas/New Year break then I hope you are having fun.

 

50 Shades of …

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It’s getting chillier and chillier in the S E of England. What an excuse to sit and knit – do I ever need an excuse?  Actually, no, knitting is like breathing to me.  Sadly, sometimes those ‘breaths’ are a little more successful than others.

For a new cowl I made this week I used Rico Creative Bonbon yarn.  I didn’t like working with it and I don’t actually love the cowl itself.  I am already thinking it will pill easily, a miff for yarn crafters!  I was playing with a scarf pattern which was supposed to be on smaller needles with skinnier yarn.  I knitted a short length with this super chunky yarn and sewed the ends together to get it over and done with.  The hat is made from DROPS Nepal – now, I love this yarn – but I hate the hat!  I fudged a hat pattern which should have used a different yarn gauge again, and made up a lot as I went along (ripping back and reknitting more than once). Together this pair of purply things look ok on the model head but this time the creations don’t make me smile widely.

purple cowl and hat.jpg

Talking of colours, purple in this case.  Have you ever looked at your stash of yarn and thought ‘hey, 50 shades of grey/purple/pink/fill in the blank’?  I guess I have a lot of purple in mine, perhaps not 50 shades but it’s a close thing between purple and green. What are your 50 shades? 

Back to the two sticks now. Hopefully the next project is more of a success.  I am still working on several WIPS which I dip in and out of.  These two items were supposed to be quick knits (they were), to satisfy my soul with a start and a finish of something tangible.

 

What to make in speckles?

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Baby SpeckleToday I was going to have a huge sort out of my craft room – oops – that didn’t quite happen again.  Am I the only one who is tempted to leave the jobs for another day when a social engagement calls? (An overdue catch up with a friend in this instance.)  I will return to the crafty chaos at a later date.

After a very little sort out (more of a dive in, then a rummage in a crate of leftover baby yarn ..) I found this pretty green DK yarn, Sirdar Snuggly Baby Speckle. I feel a mini knitting project coming on.  About 80g in weight.  A hat with a bobble perhaps?  I know of a new boy baby arriving shortly.   I also have a friend frantically knitting hats for a hospice Christmas Sale.  There may be competition for the finished item. Still, it will be a quick knit amongst the other WIPS. I need a break from the two projects next to my sofa (the ongoing DROPS project and also something for work).

If today you are knitting/stitching/hooking/sticking/painting/sculpting/designing I wish you a Happy Crafting session!

 

After a few weeks absence …

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20150725_132254Announcing my return here after a little time away.  How time has flown!  There’s been a lot of knitting.

A summer cotton top in Paintbox yarn from Loveknitting.com is almost finished, sadly it was not in time for the summer here in the UK but it will be good for next year.  Anyone remember Pacers minty chews in the 80’s?  The top is that Pacers spearmint green with white stripes – picture to follow soon.

I have a half finished blanket, in DROPS Nepal yarn – love this yarn – so soft – it knits fairly quickly – picture to follow soon too.   You can’t get DROPS in the UK too often.  I picked up enough to finish the blanket at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace recently.  Otherwise this could have definitely become an UFO as I was playing chicken with the yarn I had!

I have revisited a pink cardigan that has sat in a bag almost finished for about a year – still a little more to go on that WIP – it WILL be worn this autumn, I have promised myself.

226milesTHIS project … previously blogged baby cardi in progress … I had hoped to show and crow about it again BUT the finished item has been designated to a charity shop – I hated it when it was done! The colours looked wrong together and the sewing up wasn’t as neat as I wanted it to be.  Completed at a stressful time, I don’t think Id knitted much love into it.  Has anyone read Love in Every Stitch by Lee Gant? I just read a review about the book – wondering if it’s a good read.  I often think a little bit of love goes into every item I make.

Sewing over the summer: I finished table mats.  Not a lot I know! Mind you, I was involved in a charity sale in September and those table mats sold so it was worth it.

Oh, and last week I finished a joint knitty/sewy project – watch this space later in the week for a photo of that too.

At the top of this post is a photo of a little freehand embroidery project from a while ago – just showing it off really.  It sits above my desk in my craft room.   Having just purchased a further selection of hoops I have several more ‘hoop’ projects in my head – including a Christmas one or two .

Back to blogging regularly. Please keep popping by !

 

 

When do I craft? Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Knitting challenge, etc. NaKnitCroMo

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Day 9 of the NaKnitCroMo challenge on Ravelry.com – though in reality it’s actually Day 11 and I am catching up.

When? Mainly the evenings if it’s knitting.  I cosy myself up on the sofa, cat to the left of me,  after dinner, if I am knitting something easy then the tv is on too.

If it’s sewing, by machine, then that’s a daytime thing.  I usually want to be on my own in the house, no husband to pop in and interrupt me – risking me sewing through my own fingers or going askew on the piece I am sewing.  I often think he feels my sewing efforts are a waste of time – he doesn’t ‘get’ the pleasure made from handcrafting.

 

Day 10 of the NaKnitCroMo challenge – What’s my crafting fuel?

Coffee, decaff and when trying to be good – water. If I have the odd evening tipple, I end up putting the knitting down as I can’t concentrate – or I think I can but looking at anything I’ve knitting the next morning can be slightly shameful, and I might not have the right number of stitches on each row still!  Never say never though – I was invited to a Craft and Cocktails event yesterday – didn’t go as I had other plans – looking forward to hearing how friends got on – and if anything crafty was achieved. I suspect there was more giggles and drinking than crafting – but that’s not a bad thing occasionally.  Shame to miss it. (Memories of being a teenager, moons ago, hemming a skirt one evening, whilst fuelled with cider – argh, the finished hem was soooo bad!)

Day 11 – today – What do I listen to when crafting?  As I said, when knitting, it’s usually the tv.  When sewing, I love catching up on BBC London Radio (JoAnne Good in the afternoon, particularly The Barking Hour on Thursday afternoons or I love a bit of Robert Elms and his listed Londoner slot), or my cds –  a bit of retro 1980’s/1990s’s – my era, when I knew all the words and sang along – maybe that’s why I sew alone at home – then there’s no shame in singing along out loud and out of tune, ha ha!  Depending on the mood of the day – Fleetwood Mac, for a singsong, Enjya for thoughfulness, Cher for a jig about when ironing fabric, bit of newer stuff, eg. Mumford and Sons – husband would definitely head out of the house for Mumford – he hates them.  Loving this challenge – it really makes me think how and why I craft.

drops merino extra fineWool ….

Latest knitting news – I guess part of the March challenge but this might slip into April.  I have finished both fronts of my ML181 Love this Cardigan.  I have sold some of my stash which has been quite carthartic – you know those yarns you have had for ages and just aren’t going to be turned into something as you have either gone off them, or just don’t have enough in quantity?  – they’ve gone to good homes.  I have (accidently) purchased some yarn for a couple of baby projects.  A friend in Belgium is due in May – I haven’t started anything yet – got to get my sticks clicking – not sure if it’s a boy or a girl, hoping this lovely shade of yellow will be a good choice.  DROPS Merino Extra Fine in light yellow. (Great local yarn store –  http://www.littlewoollie.co.uk/ – always a warm welcome from the owner Trudy.)  ‘Accidently’ purchased as I have plenty of yarn still in my stash – but this was irresistable and DROPS is reasonable prices and good quality.

 

drops merino extra fine light yellow