yarn

Knitting a log cabin

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It’s been an odd week and my crafting has been rather neglected. I was unwell for a few days and muzzy headedness is not conducive to sewing or knitting. I’ve been feeling a little nearer to ‘normal’ the last couple of days so my green sparkly jumper is, at least, wholly knitted though not quite sewn together (therefore not ready to show off here!). It’s difficult to sew it in poor light so I am being picky about when I work on it. Can’t wait to finish (said with actual glee rather than despair).

Alongside the green, a first size baby hat popped off my needles yesterday. I thought I’d try knitting a little log cabin blanket to compliment it. I have always loved fabric quilts in log cabin style. I started one many years ago when I knew little about which fabrics worked best but it made it no further than the first ’round’, pretty much a similar size to what you see below. Wish me luck this knitted one doesn’t go the same way! Both the hat and the blanket are using up yarn stash, this time Rico Baby DK (not a yarn promo, it’s what I have to hand). It’s sometimes lovely to use yarn and actually remember what you purchased it for in the first place. All these were for baby sweaters or a striped car seat blanket. Over the past six years or so there have been many baby gifts gifted. Perhaps my favourite was a pale green and white hoodie for my hairdresser’s little boy – I made a first size – he arrived rather large and couldn’t wear it for long! Oh talking of babies – remember last week’s cute grey jacket and hat ? The little chap who’s hopefully going to be snuggly in it arrived just before midnight yesterday, mother and son doing fine.

Looking forward to seeing more blogs with ‘show and tell’. Bye for now.

A cute kind of grey

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I was asked to knit – quickly – a new baby gift. Luckily, during the pandemic there is a lot of down time, aka knit and crafting time. Also, luckily I had just found a ‘pause’ with my current project on two needles, waiting for some extra yarn to arrive. So I picked up new sticks, dove into my yarn stash and ta-dah – here’s a little grey and cream jacket and hat ready for a new baby boy due next week. Mum and Dad had been told to expect his arrival a little earlier than first quoted. They aren’t panicking more than they were already, first baby and all that and during an international health crisis! For me, it’s nice to know I’ve added a little warmth to the occasion.

Now back to my green sparkly knit on the needles. The extra yarn arrived a couple of days ago and happy to say it’s not a bad match so I think I’ll be able to finish what I’d started (and already blogged about). I shall post pics here when it’s finished!

What did anyone else make in January? Can you believe it’s already the 2nd month of the year?

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.

‘Easy’ little crochet made me a little crochety

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On a mission to use up some of my yarn stash and recently inspired by a successful completed crochet project I decided to go for a new project/new stitch. In a magazine I found a lovely selection of ‘new’ square crochet samples and chose some that were labelled as ‘easy’, thinking once I’ve done those I could move onto ‘intermediate’. I wasn’t kidding myself that I’d be on the ‘advanced’ ones for a while though I did get carried away looking at crocheted lamp shades and toilet seat covers much to the horror of my non-crafting hubby (which look fun but will never actually be my style). However, I was stumped again. Reading a crochet pattern does just not come naturally to me. Maybe learning more crochet will just take time – is what I said to myself after Version #1. Versions #2 and #3 made me crochety, stick and cotton yarn being cast aside for a few days …

But Version #4 I stuck with and eventually I had 9 samples of #Version 4. I have no idea what am I going to do with my new piece. Perhaps it’s a mat for under a plant pot or fruit bowl? It’s not perfect, need to work on tension but the stash of my cotton yarn is now less at least! It’s a learning curve this crochet lark. I admire the skill of all the crocheters out there.

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 …

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.

Another knitting project. Too much admiration and inspiration?

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I am not ignoring what is going on, just trying to think about something else and not drive myself to an early grave through worry. In the current climate we are all very concerned about what the future holds, what is going on where we live, in our town, in our own country, where our loved ones are. We watch the news and we read online about the scale of Covid-19 and wonder what the future holds. We want to feel safe, we want others to be safe too.

There are positives to being told to stay home and for that I am thankful. Many of us are spending more quality time family time together, mine included. Although my husband was at home anyway recuperating from a planned operation my son is now at home too and we have had longer, chattier meal times, remembered past fun times, made new memories and as well have had serious mature discussions.

We’ve also had more free time, for me that usually means crafting and I consider myself very lucky. I have, of course, knitting and sewing projects already in progress. I am still enjoying them, mostly. My chevron blanket, above, is already past it’s longest row (thank goodness, that middle section grew so slowly). But, being online more in general leads me to meander to craft sites (think Ravelry.com, Pinterest, etc) and to discover more things I want/need to make! I know I am not alone with this. My usual weekly craft group is now only socially online and we are all sharing the inspirations we find and doing ‘show and tell’ on our social media platforms too.

It may look like it’s the start of a watermelon-y thing, but this is actually going to be a knitted mermaid! Pattern downloaded online from Lovecrafts.com

And then there’s the Crochet-Along I just heard about, starts next month … that could be a self-challenge as I am a very basic crocheter but given that there may be more time available maybe I should make myself learn something new? ..

And then there’s a new baby due in the family in two months, I haven’t finished the quilted baby gift yet. Top is pieced but that’s about all so far …

And then there’s another family baby due in the summer. I just saw the cutest pattern to knit a newborn hoodie and I know I have enough yarn in my stash … and another blanket pattern just took my eye …

What’s everyone else making during these troubled times to take their mind temporarily off what’s going on out there?

Joy on a grey day

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Many people struggle in the winter. The sun doesn’t show it’s face much some days. The grey skies, the drizzle, the chills, it can all be quite depressing.

Whilst I wait for the days to get a little longer and the weather (hopefully) to be a little more uplifting I try to make the most or the ‘best’ of things. It doesn’t always mean I am bouncing along like a new puppy and there are things that don’t get done and some things aren’t enjoyed, but overall life is good.

A visit with friends, a phone call, reading a good book, doing some crafting, enjoying a film, the theatre, there are lots of things to make me smile.

So, a grey visit to Camden Lock in London. It was grey, there was drizzle, but company was fun and the street food tasty!

Attacking my yarn stash – if you follow my posts you might recognise some of this yarn as this blanket grows. It’s an interesting construction as you begin in one corner and zigzag to the opposite corner.

Also, I have just finished a good book – The Likely Resolutions of Oliver Clock by Jane Riley. Have you ever thought about the person who runs a funeral parlour? This is about a man who has inherited the family business, he has a good few OCD quirks, the business is a little jaded, he’s a little jaded, this is his journey towards a happy future.

What’s everyone else doing to keep the sunshine in life when there isn’t much actual sunshine in the sky?