yarn

How long is ‘long enough’?

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Or how long is ‘to the desired length’. I am talking knitting terms here. I am deliberating with myself. I am currently knitting a pattern called Spring Roll, by Annie Baker. The pattern recommends knitting with a particular cotton double knit yarn. Instead, I used yarn from my stash, a gorgeous Louisa Harding, Orielle which is mostly alpaca and knits more like a sport weight even on 4mm needles. Hopefully knitters reading this will understand the jargon. If not, you may learn something or move onto another blog post by someone else!

So it needs to drape artistically (!). Currently it’s 113cm at it’s longest point. If I’d gone with the suggested yarn I’d have needed 600m. I have about 550m. I am deciding whether to just keep going or whether I just won’t like it if it’s too short. Kind of playing yarn chicken, or just chicken. Do I continue or will it just not cut the mustard if it’s too short to be effective?

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RIP, Knit, RIP, Knit, progress. Meanwhile, envying others beautiful crafts.

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My last blog post was about progress and deciding to tackle another WIP. I put aside a pale green scarf and picked up a half-done cotton summer top.

My boy, Mercury watched me as I ripped back. No matter what I do to the camera settings he is so difficult to photograph, being black (with the odd white fleck peeping up as he’s 12 now) he always seems camouflaged. Armed with coffee in one of my ‘knitty’ mugs I was ready to go. This mug was a lovely present from my long suffering husband, you can find them here https://www.dearewe.com/

So, I ripped back, knit, undid a few rows, found a fault, knitted again, found a dropped stitch, couldn’t pick it up, ripped back, continued (you get the idea!). Then yesterday I finally started sewing up and I am now on the home stretch. I am feeling rather proud this WIP has finally progressed but am frustrated this fairly easy knit nearly beat me, probably as I didn’t follow the pattern exactly, changed stitch count and sizing along the way.

Over the last couple of weeks I also thought about my fabric WIPs, none of which are top of the pile to revisit. Mine will be nothing as gorgeous of these, but wanted to share here to help inspire others. This first one is hanging in our local library. It is a work by Orpington Quilters Group. Beautiful, isn’t it? Unfortunately it isn’t hung well, I couldn’t get a better photo of the whole quilt.

This fantastic one was made by a friend at my knitting group. It is her very first foray into quilting, techniques learnt at a Beginner’s quilting group. Despite (again) my photography skills I hope you think it’s fantastic too. Anne, beginner quilter extraordinaire you have definitely inspired me to do better and in particular try the quilt as you go method. I was wondering how I was ever going to tackle the length and breadth of one of my half done quilts!

Little Finished Knits

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It’s been a busy few days, woolly-wise. One baby jacket finished (loved doing the fluted bands!). A pair of booties have hopped off the needles too. The new baby in the family arrived yesterday and the gifts are ready – she was little so she might even fit into the prem baby cardigan and hat I made in a hurry just before Christmas when we were warned she might have been on her way.

So today it’s back to my other WIPs. The weather has turned bitterly cold so I have a great excuse to sit in the warm with pins and yarn and not venture outside too often. I am feeling proud to have finished something speedily (not the usual for me!) and I wish fellow crafters equal success with their current projects.

Intentions new and old, including some crafting

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I realised when revisiting the list of things I intended to do last year that I’ve achieved many parts of that list. What I called my ‘Enthusiasms’, aka as ‘Resolutions’ did not fail for once.

I reached my diet goal and along the way my focus changed to become healthier and happier rather than just a little slimmer.

I intended to sort out my craft stuff.  This year I used up my stash when I could. Just a few samples – I knitted a bunch of hats for charity.

Quilt pieces and bunting evolved from my fabric pile, some of which I’d saved since 1994, I even made a sample dress from a duvet cover found in a charity shop (a challenge from friends, see below!).

I have many knitting and sewing WIPs. One HUGE intention was to finish many of them in 2018 – or rip them back to reknit something else. I did some of this! I hated two cardigans I eventually finished – both wrong shapes for me so I gifted them and they were gratefully received. I ripped back three unfinished knits. One turned into hats. The others await 2019. For Christmas I received a book about how to knit to flatter – I think this may get good use this year!!! I don’t usually make toys but have a bunny fabric pattern – that’s one intention for 2019. Another is to finish at least one quilt (there are two part done!).

I didn’t exactly sort out my job/career.  I haven’t leapt into anything in a blind panic.  I have put my family and my health first this year.  I didn’t juggle all the balls of life and succeed with none. No regrets.

I was supposed to make a bucket list of things to do compelled by a particular date was slightly superceded by two friends giving me a list of things to do over the next year to celebrate my birthday. Most were fun, some were treats, some slightly scary. Challenged to wear something from a charity shop (I do that all the time, my ‘take’ on it was to buy a second hand duvet cover then make it into a dress!)

The last on last year’s list was to become more involved in day to day household accounting/finance.  This was a serious plan for 2018 and is ongoing. I muddle along yet our household finances are still primarily organised by my husband. I wanted to take some pressure off him but we agree he is just better at it. As long as there is ‘change’ after the bills are paid and I can add to my craft supplies I’m happy. I am hoping if he reads this he agrees – happy wife/happy life!

A tranquil weekend with a bit of grey (shrug)

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Adjective: Tranquil – free from disturbance, calm

My tranquil place last weekend, Houlgate beach, Normandy, France.

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There was the odd other person there but mostly just seabirds strutting their stuff.

It was a bit chilly to knit at the beach (well, it is November!), so back to the house for some more calm, a hot chocolate, yarn and sticks.  The basket of grey from last week is growing slowly into a chunky shrug.  Progress so far.

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I feel so lucky to get to France as often as I do.  Home away from home.  Jusqu’à la prochaine fois (until the next time) …

 

A woollen tale: A basket full of opportunity or just another disaster?

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I was going to use up some of my yarn stash, yarn left from blanket making about three years ago. I found a jacket pattern and picked up sticks.   It started well, growing quickly, that was the idea, get rid of it quick then treat myself to another woolly purchase and not feel guilty that my stash could rival a yarn stores’.

Then I noticed a mistake half way down one front panel.  I ripped it back and corrected it.  I knit a little further.

Having made a few things over the years that have either been too small or too big, the wrong shape, the wrong style I decided to try and ‘wear’ the panels to gauge how this might turn out.  Urgh! It was so bad that this is now what it looks like …

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So I still have that part of my stash and who knows what it may turn into.  The world of knitting patterns is vast. My own imagination runs riot.  One day this will make one or several successful items, maybe just not this week. I am sure I am not the only one who has the odd disaster. I would love to read about others so I don’t feel so alone, though I do look at is as an opportunity rather than a complete disaster, at least I hadn’t finished it then found the mistake or realised it looked so horrid!

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As a stop gap, I finished another hat for a friend’s charity sale.  Baby size, quick knit, scraps from my stash.  You could say I am slowly depleting my yarn stash, SLOWLY being the word.

Did anyone else here go to the Creative Craft Show at Excel in London last weekend.  Lots to admire, some Christmas treats purchased, lovely people met and business cards taken away for future shopping.  I resisted adding to my yarn stash – I guess that was another success for the week.  Thinking positive!

Knitting WIPS or WNIPS and other acronyms

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It’s rather hot to knit so I have just renamed the two knitting projects beside me WNIPS – adding a ‘NOT’ to the WORKS IN PROGRESS acronym.  You see, I stalled with one a while ago when I got to a tricky part.  I then started a simple new project in cotton, hoping simple and quick would mean I could wear it this summer – oh no chance – it grew and it grew and it grew until I realised the raglan shaping meant it would only fit a chimpanzee with very long arms so it’s been RIPPED right back to a pile of balls.  For me, this is actually pretty good, being as it is not a UFO for the next few months or years – to unravel and add it to the STABLE is actually better than rediscovering it in a bag or a drawer later.*

I have managed to do a little more machine sewing, so the mini pile of blue piecing for a quilt top has grown.  I shall pop photos up another day.  I hadn’t realised just how many squares I needed to make a cover for a single sized bed so it is a longer project than anticipated but I haven’t ‘redesigned’ it yet and I haven’t decided to make a cushion instead (ie. cheating!).

I hope others are crafting more efficiently than me !

 

As a key for those who don’t know:

WIP – Works in progress

RIPPING or FROGGING – undoing a yarn project making ripping or frogging sounds as you do it !

UFO – Unfinished Object

STABLE – Stash beyond life expectancy