knit

First knit of 2021

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Carrying on my intention of getting rid of/using up my yarn stash, I started this cowl just before Christmas and finished it a few days into 2021. I love the yarn (Drops Nepal and Drops Karisma, it knits up quickly on 6mm needles). It was in my stash and apart from striped hats or cushion covers I couldn’t think what else to do with it. The cowl is worn as double thickness, the ribby bit snuggles next to your neck on the inside. I had thought perhaps I could in a chilly emergency pull it more to a tube and wear it up over my head – it looks ridiculous and would indeed need to be an ’emergency’ ! I popped out today at lunchtime and wore it as you can see it here – the weather was freezing, barely above zero – and oh my, it was so hot I was gasping to take it off when I fell back indoors! So, it works then.

I already have another new project on my needles, again using up my stash, but I have already given into the January sales and bought more yarn. Currently counter-balancing this with putting a few lots of yarn I will never use on a popular auction site. Life feels woolly in 2021 already.

I decided as 1st January arrived not to think about New Year Resolutions or Intentions. Life around the world is so unstable with the Covid 19 pandemic it is enough to get through each week, each month and there will be goals along the way anyway.

What are you other crafters up to? Anything finished in the first 7 days? DO show and tell!

Revealing knitted gifts

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I waited until after Christmas to post pictures here of gifted knits, in case recipients saw them before 25th.

I now realise 2021 will be the year I sort out a better phone with a better camera (prompted by my son who telling me mine has been out of date for a long time!). I may also take myself to task about becoming more organised next year. I didn’t take photos of some gifts when they were actually finished, thus you may see the odd woolly end that hasn’t been sewn in, which was, before it were wrapped and gifted.

The blue triangular wrap is now with my Mother In Law. She seemed please and despite her being an octogenerian I had to call it a ‘wrap’ rather than a shawl as I know it would make her feel elderly!

The next two photos are a mega chunky cowl made for a friend I have known since we were little children. It is actually a lovely green, like the middle of an avocado. I made it as she has dogs she walks in the the early hours of morning, often through local woods. I almost didn’t gift it as I like it so much I wanted to keep it!

The red and pink cowl was made for a good friend’s birthday which happens to be the same day as Christmas Day. The pattern called for one strand of chunky yarn, supposed to be knit as a long scarf with pockets and tassels. However, I used 2 different coloured strands of double knit, joined it as a cowl, added the fringe for a nod to the original pattern. I also made similar fingerless gloves but didn’t take a photo of those. Oops!

So those, alongside four glittery baby/toddler hats were my knits for gifting in December. I blogged about the glittery hats in October – they were very well received. I was even sent photos of two of the little ones playing in the snow wearing them today – the first snowfall of winter where they live in the Midlands.

Other knitting already on the sticks – to show here another time.

Not much show and tell ’til after Christmas

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It’s not that I haven’t been making. It’s just if I ‘show’ this time of year then someone may see something here before they are gifted it. Thus my absence from blogging for a while. I have had a busy season present making and fiddling about with existing craft materials. I have loved most of it and have often been happy filling long, sometimes tedious, days trying to stay safe. It hasn’t been plain sailing every day of the pandemic, ups and downs, but crafting is something that keeps me sane(ish, some might say) and encouragement and enthusiasm from my crafty friends and family has been fantastic, albeit at a distance. There has been a lot of Zooming – thank goodness for the internet and thank you to those who haven’t already been thanked.

So a snippet of what’s been going on chez moi. The box at the top of this page was a little decoupage project using some beautiful handmade papers in my stash. I used to enjoy papercraft but I hadn’t dived in for a while. No plan, it just evolved, very therapeutic tearing up paper and sticking it randomly on something – including my fingers. Hubby remarked it looked kind of Christmassy so it has been on the dresser in the dining room ever since. The candy cane was an origami project. It wasn’t difficult but the paper was too stiff really – my plan to make several finished after making one!

Then there’s been a fair amount of cooking and baking (and eating and overeating). I don’t post food pics often but I was rather proud of last weekend’s yorkshire puddings – these were leftovers – in our house they go quickly.

Of course there has been knitting – there’s always something on my sticks. A dear friend had sent me a lovely bundle of yarn a while ago which I recently turned into a poncho. These are not flattering pictures of me, but you can see the yarn and it is lovely and warm. Funny enough it started as a poncho for a four year old and as it grew I realised she’d have to grow an awful lot to fit it. I liked the yarn so much I wanted to keep it so knitted it longer and added a rolled neck to fit me! Lucky little four year old will get her own poncho in little girl colours next year. She is already getting a different hand knit this Christmas.

One of my resolutions for this year was to use up more of my yarn and crafting stash. Here’s the start of a new little knit project. It will be a cowl. I’ve made this one before in a plain beige years ago – never wear beige now – so it’s a dinky pink and purple this time. Hopefully to be finished over Christmas/New Year and I can ‘show it off’ in a January blog post.

Last but not least I am sharing a lovely handmade Christmas card from my talented sister in law. The fabric is stitched into the aperture. I sometimes think the more simple the project the more effective it is. She is a clever woman.

So for now, all that’s left to say is to wish others A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS. I sincerely hope you can all celebrate, be with loved ones in person or via a phone call or video link. This year will be very different to others for many. Stay safe. Be kind to one another.

Walking and crafting in blue

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Out walking in a local country park last week was a very pretty experience. I was surrounded by swathes of chicory. I’ve never seen it before and it was a different vista to the one other time I’d been to the park only two weeks before when there were only pretty green fields and trees.

Then back at home I finished knitting another baby knit, coincidentally in blue. Although this was very sweet to knit, I’d procrastinated over the sewing up (not my favourite part of making garments). Luckily I persevered though as the family baby arrived on Saturday, a month early! This little boy could be in blue for a while. I’d already made a preemie size waistcoat for him (in case he came before time) and then this was a 0-3 month size knit. For once, gambling on making a preemie garment worked out. In the past I’ve made preemie size items and then babies have been born already too big for them, but the right size for newborns.

I have been taking advantage of some great summer yarn sales and now have a new pile of projects to add to the pile I had in progress! I keep telling myself crafting is therapeutic . I’ll be in ‘therapy’ a long time then. Back again soon …

I’m a hooker

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I’ve dabbled with granny squares and decorative flowers. I’ve made a heavy weight simple blanket which I was quite proud of. But I’d never crocheted anything for myself to wear – until now. I looked back briefly and realised I’d mentioned the start of this coral top early in June, a project just started. Since then I’ve unhooked (do you say ripped as you do with knitting or unhooked?) twice totally, patient this time rather than frustrated and hot tempered. I loved the way the bamboo/cotton yarn handled, the rhythm of a hook and the way it grew quickly. However, the construction of four squares onto shoulder straps didn’t make sense on paper, probably my fault not the pattern designers. Obviously reading a crochet pattern is a challenge to be overcome, especially US vs UK terms.

So, I decided to ‘design’ a loose t-shirt style top instead . Two squares joined at the shoulder and side seams with a border around the bottom. I’m very happy with how it turned out. I wear it with a strappy top underneath for modesty and hope not to be caught out in too much sunshine without sunscreen therefore avoiding an all over dappled sun tan!

Now back to a previous and a new knitting project. Never have just one craft on the go!

What are my crafty friends out there up to?

A very little post

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I think the title of a blog post is the thing that catches someone’s eye. It’s a bit like the cover of a book – if it looks interesting you might pick it up. So now I’m wondering if you are reading something from me for the first time what you thought this might be about. Enlighten me if you wish!

A letter in the post? A friend this morning stated that since Covid lockdown she thinks she is receiving less post and rarely sees her postman. Unlike a different friend who is receiving a lot more as her internet purchases increase and she almost feels sorry for her postman when he arrives some days staggering behind the latest stack of packages.

Maybe you thought this might be about an interesting looking post coming out of the ground somewhere. I myself love a bit of metalwork designed to be pretty not just functional, usually gates or fencing though. Sorry not this kind of post.

Then there could be a ‘post’ about the after of covid, what might be different, what might be the same. There’s food for thought and something I am sure many of us have thought about.

My very little post is only this – my latest tiny finished knit. We have a new baby boy due in the family next month. Just in case he arrives early I made a preemie waistcoat so he’ll have something nice to wear. It will only fit a preemie or a teddy! It was fun to make. I had already made a larger size hoodie but I just wanted something smaller just in case. Still using my stash so feeling a little smug and who doesn’t love a quick result?! Still working on other things, knitted, crocheted and sewn.

Stashbusting and Flowers

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A couple of weeks ago I blogged about finding a mini stash of textured squares and making a little doll’s blanket. As I offered to send it to a grandma for the grand-daughters’ dolls pram it was hinted that as there was more than one grand-daughter they might fight over one new thing – I hadn’t thought of that! So, I raided the stash again and came up with doll’s blanket No 2. Now there’s one each but they may squabble over who has what colour. Am not going to make any more and I am feeling pleased there’s a little (a smidgeon, very little) less in my stash.

On the same post I had started crocheting a new cotton/bamboo top. Since then it’s been ripped back twice and redesigned. It was supposed to just be 4 big squares joined at angles and with shoulder straps, like a floaty vest. Sometimes things aren’t simple, are they? I chose the wrong pattern as I don’t think I would actually have worn it finished, plus I struggled to understand the initial stitches (that’s just my mistake UK terms vs US terms). I am happy now with the current progress and have been sitting in the shade today (so hot out there, 30degrees+) hooking and planning to add a border. Will share more than this next time hopefully. This is just my ‘design area’ .

As I sit I can see a few geraniums. It’s not a pretty spot in my garden but they brighten up that space and I can’t get a good panoramic one of the rest of the garden, lawns, trees, etc today.

And talking of flowers I felt very lucky as yesterday a neighbour’s daughter gave me a lovely bouquet as a thank you for putting her in touch with someone who has offered her a job. She felt lucky but so did I, so nice to be thanked for doing a good turn. So amongst the stresses of Covid 19 there are nice things happening. I think it’s going to be a good week.

Whilst waiting for the world to end, another yarn

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At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic it helped to be actually doing something rather than just waiting for the world to expire. The immediate shut down of the country and the curtailment of life as we knew it was a shock and amidst feeling scared and nervous creating things became urgent and necessary. I churned out one craft project after another. I finished knits, made new ones, crocheted, cut and stitched fabrics, made presents and created things to use myself right then. I indulged in my love of making things but it was also a lot about tidying up in the home, validating items, it even crossed my mind about what loved ones might have to sort out if I didn’t make it through Covid 19. I wanted to enjoy what I had whilst I was able to. I wanted others not to have to sort through half done projects and wonder what on earth I had ever planned with the bags and boxes of (in their eyes) ‘stuff’. I am not sure I even voiced this, except to myself. Days merged into one another.

As the weeks have gone by my craft progress has declined. Not gone away totally, just slowed. Making things seems less pressing. I was talking (online) to some crafting friends and most of us agreed we are all in less of a crafting frenzy. For some, trying to get back to anything resembling ‘normality’ is now more urgent. We have mostly settled into some kind of rhythm. We are all still creating – even if something is in a planning stage rather than physical. In my own house I look around the areas where I usually craft and there again are the carefree signs, half used balls of yarn, snippets of fabric, piles of things not being used and not put back in any order (yet).

One little project just finished. A baby blanket for perhaps a crib or travel seat. This became my knit to hand when I watched tv. I am still working on last week’s crochet top which is being redesigned as it progresses. More next time about that.

Please know, I am not undermining the care we all have to continue with in our daily lives, be it in the home or outside, be it no change at all for now. Stay safe.

A handful of squares

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Many years ago, possibly more than six and less than ten, I remember playing around with textures and knitting a few odd squares. I never did anything more with them and they were lost into the ether of WIPs (Works in Progress) and UFOs (Unfinished Objects) – long lost, until recently. So rediscovering a few that complimented each other, I turned them into a small blanket for a doll’s pram. There are three little girls in my extended family who weren’t even twinkles until 4 years ago and I hope one of them has a dolly who needs to keep warm on chilly days! It wasn’t an exciting new project, the squares aren’t perfect but it means one less guilt trip when I dive into the mystery cupboard of yarn and sewing projects.

Having had more time at home recently I’ve had the inclination to sort out cupboards. In the kitchen those chipped pots have been chucked, the plastic tubs now have matching lids and I have stock of store cupboard herbs and essentials. I’ve found a few things to cook that I didn’t even remember buying! I know I am amongst the many who have taken the opportunity of lockdown to take stock of many things in their lives, sorting cupboards is just a very little of it.

My enthusiasm has slowed a little, I guess the ‘novelty’ has worn off, but I am still trying to go through my craft projects and use my stash as much as possible. As I am making decisions about what to finish or abandon it has been beautifully warm here in the south east of the UK, like summer come early. I was tempted to start a new summer project and thought perhaps it was a little deserved after my sorting and stacking. If I learned something new along the way then it counted as ‘improving my mind’ and not ‘wasting my time’ and I reckon that’s ok as a little reward.

Thus, a crochet top has become a new WIP. I have patiently learned The Magic Loop. There’s been trial and error with pattern reading (US vs UK crochet terms) and keeping tension. Crochet is still quite a new hobby. This is the beginning of what I hope will become a droopy top to be worn over a summer vest.

During the coronavirus lockdown I try to think of positive things to keep busy. I value my family more, I value what we have and I think about the future, being kinder to each other. I hope others are finding similar solace.

Goody a hoodie and somewhere new to sit down

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Just showing and telling today. I am so happy to have finished this latest project. I’d almost forgotten how much extra knitting there is when you are making a hood, it felt like it went on forever! Then, there’s the button band. I have to say I love the result (complete with 5 perfect buttons sent down to me by a good friend, Tintin, love to mention you here if you are reading this!) but I was glad to be done with this one. It’s a gift for a new baby to be in the family in August – for once I am ahead of the game and am finished on time, even early! I can’t believe there’ll be two new babies this year.

I’m not certain I ‘showed and told’ about what I did with the rest of the fabric I rediscovered and made a peg bag with either. This was two weeks ago. I recovered 5 dining chair seat pads (two in this pic) and then with another complimentary fabric made another pad to complete the dining room set of chairs. I had been putting up with horrible old and stained seat cushions for years! It’s only in lockdown I actually got on with this job!

I am not sure if my mind is just going into overdrive during lockdown or it’s just I can’t settle to one thing days. I seem to be more prolific, churning out things I’ve made, but sporadically – if that makes sense. I work hard on one or two things for a few days then sit and vegetate and watch rubbish tv for a few days. Bizarre times! I am discovering half finished projects, some make it to the ‘to be finished’ pile, others are resigned to the ‘not sure’ pile and some even make it to the ‘ripped back or thrown out’ pile. I am talking knitting, sewing and crochet here. On Thursday I found another bag with two half knitted girls’ cardigans. These were only from last autumn. They’ve been ripped back and will turn into something different. When I looked at them I know why I’d stopped – just didn’t like the colour combo nor the drape of the yarn. Why do I give up so often?

Anyway, hopefully more newly created items over the next few weeks. Please come back and take a peek.