Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Good, Pink and Wrong.

I am deeply engrossed in knitting my Loki Sweater. It is totally addictive.

Before I started it, I made a quick little knit to get me ready for the long haul. It is always good to start an epic project off the back of a successful one. I used my favourite vintage baby pattern to make this little cardigan. I like to keep a boy and a girl knit up my sleeve for friends. Then today, my friend came round and said her sister is expecting in June - sorted.

This one used up some Sirdar snuggly which was given to me a while ago in a destash. The other colours were used to make a couple of baby blankets last year.

On a slightly less successful note, I have been trying to knit some mittens for Little M to match the cowl she knitted for herself but I can't seem to get the sizing right. This is my third attempt - the next attempt will involve some kind of bedtime shenanigans where I am trying them on her while she is asleep. I knit at night, never in the day so this seems a likely option. Maybe I can get her to make a card template of her hand - oh the desperation!

What are you knitting - successfully or unsuccessfully?

Jo xxx

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Easy Peasy Sewing Time

I was looking for a nice little starter project for my sewing group and this came up on my pintrest feed. It was so easy to make, I thought I should share.

The pattern was a tutorial from here.

The curve at the top of my first one was not the right shape but I nailed it on the second version. I used up some recycled denim and some precious Liberty left overs. It was a great make without the need for zips, button holes, studs or spring clips. 
Simple is sometimes the best.

I am going to knock out a load of these for teacher/colleague gifts. I guess mine will have to be the pilot one! Why not have a go. It uses fusible fleece which can be expensive but I used normal wadding left over from a quilt. A great way to use up some scraps.

I won't be needing sunglasses for a while, but for now, my close work glasses can stay safe. Thanks for dropping in. Jo xxx

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Loving - recent Sunsets here in the UK

Making -  My Loki sweater and enjoying a few rounds every night. I have touched little else in fact because I love making it so much.

Wearing - My newly sewn Mathilde blouse from this Minerva fabric. No ironing just wash and hang it on a hanger for next time. 

Eating - The last of our Christmas cake

 Disliking - running out of time

Buying - A staircase balustrade

Building - Our bathroom at the new house

Repairing - a little hole in a crochet blanket, you have to catch them straight away.

Collecting - Up lots of fiction books my children have read to donate to school

Sewing - a Portland Tie back top from some slinky viscose from Minerva ready to go on their new website which will be arriving soon.

Feeling - Like the house needs a good clear out, again!

Enjoying - seeing my succulents take root that I poked in some soil last Summer. Two out of three of my spider plat cuttings have taken too. 

A short this month but I have enjoyed reading others.
 Jo xxxx

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Building Bits

We have worked tremendously hard on our new build over the holidays with some of the bits you might actually want to see! When there is wallpapering involved, you can't help but get a tiny bit excited. Here is the latest building gallery for you catch up with.

Painting, painting and more painting.

We found out that the black plastic matting the builders put down last year had indeed kept the floor protected during building work (especially the time when the dog knocked a can of paint from the landing down onto the hallway floor) but the plastic had also been retaining moisture from the underfloor heating. We peeled back the corner to fit some skirting board to find there were grey mould spots on the wood and it was soaking wet Aghhhhhh! Anyway we pulled the plastic up and are now walking on large pieces of cardboard. It looks fine and has dried out really quickly. It just needs a light sand now. Phew!

We don't get to see our friends at weekends as much as we would like to unless we invite them to the building site. Here are some pretty resourceful girls painting a mural on some left over cardboard. That floor gets lovely and warm by the way... warm, I did some painting in my socks because it was better than having my boots on.

Cheeky monkeys. It is a good job they didn't write something else they had seen written on the back of a white van this week - it was something to do with cockerels I think!!


It was nice to paint a colour that wasn't white for a day. This was described as 'Clay' on the tin but I would say it is more of an agricultural/army green. Anyway, it is the wall we will hang our coats on so it needed to be a bit sludgy and now I really love it. The oak is some boarding we had left over from another job and it will stop the dog messing up the wall - well that is our thinking behind a half clad oak wall.

Other moments of greatness include door frames which need the corners sanding, curtain poles which need curtains and doors which need latches. Andy has learnt how to do all of this woodowrk and I have waxed all of the wood.

So you may be asking the same question that everyone asks, "When will it be finished?" By the end of the year we hope. We don't have a bathroom yet and the outdoor farm yard is untouched and unsafe for our dog.

It is too misty to see the hills today but we can see the rubbish which will one day become our garden!

At the end of a particularly long day we all sat down in the kitchen to admire the wonderful view from the bifold doors. We too were wondering "When will it be finished?" so that we can look at this every day.

Jo xxxxx

Saturday, 4 January 2020

The Long Road to Loki 2020

Introducing my epic knit for 2020: the Loki Sweater from Knitting from the North by Hilary Grant. There is the usual element of yarn jeopardy alongside a more considered approach to the start of the project.

The yarn is a complete mystery! There I said it. It is a huge unlabeled skein I bought at Wonderwool in April 2019 for £10. It feels like 4ply and it is definitely wool because I set fire to some of it and it smelt like burning hair. I made yarn cakes with the help of my girls and weighed it in at 316g. After a few calculations from the Sprindrift website (the pattern's choice of yarn) I worked out I had enough in the main colour. I felt like it was worth the risk. There is always bracelet length sleeves!

I ordered some cream Drops Flora as the best match to my rhubarb/raspberry yarn for the colourwork contrast. It is a bit thinner but I felt all set up.

Next I went to Ravelry to see if I could find out about any snags from previous knitters. A very useful move as it concluded that it knits up small if your colourwork and normal knitting are different tensions. Knitters also said they wished the waistband was more boxy. It also revealed that the chart in the book was wrong. 

After scanning the miniscule chart and blowing it up so I could read it more accurately, I cut off the 29th and final row of the pattern which turns out to be a repeat of the first. I covered the pattern in sellotape ready for a few months of knitting and to act as a big bookmark.

You know I mean business when I knit a gauge swatch. This wise move revealed that on 3.5mm needles I could get gauge exactly over stocking stitch. The challenge for any stranded knitter is to be able to repeat that on the colourwork section. My floats are looking pretty good so far and there is still a good amount of stretch in the finished fabric.

Over the holidays I have made 4cm of ribbing. I did this on the 3.5mm needles to keep the waistband boxy and the pattern is now set with 280 stitches over a 28 stitch repeat - 10 beautiful feathers. I am loving it so far.

Wish me Luck on I am on row 50!!! Jo xxx

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Crafting Resolutions 2020

A trawl through my 2019 blog posts reveals that I did make most of my crafting resolutions in 2019.

First up I wanted to crochet a blanket to bust some stash. I had a lot of acrylic yarn that had been given to me by various people over the years and I wanted to get to the bottom of it. There were so many colours, I knew a Spice for Life blanket would be the perfect pattern.

This is my favourite sofa blanket for winter nights.

I also made lots of other smaller blankets using more pastel collections which were gifted to new babies.

In sewing, I really wanted to crack learning how to sew Roman blind for our new house. 

I finally mastered it and have made three this year. They are all packed away in carpet tubes to keep them clean until we move house.

I wanted to knit something from my ravelry favourites queue that had been there for more than two years! The Lady Kina pattern jumped to the top of my wish list.

I have worn the Lady Kina a lot but the acrylic has stretched to a bigger size, I gifted it to my friend in November. The colourwork sweater called prairie Fairy has been a triumph. I was even contacted by Drops to give permission for them to use my photos. Much Kudos!

Finally, I wanted to complete my postage stamp quilt of 5 x 5 cm squares. I am nearly there with this one. The topper is finished and I just need an afternoon to be in the mood to sandwich it all together on my knees! Maybe when the Christmas tree comes down I will have the space. A big reveal is imminent.

For 2020 I have some more ideas:

1) To knit a sweater in 4ply yarn to use some mystery wool I bought at Wonderwool this year.

2)To sew a pattern from my pattern box that is unopened. I tend to use the same patterns and alter them.

3) To crochet more of my acrylic stash for gifting.

Well that is more than enough for any crafter I think. There will of course be more making everyday depending on what I intuitively fancy. So I hope you will join me in 2020.

Happy New Year!
Love from all here. xxxx