Saturday, 30 November 2019

All done #27 - Hand Dyed Mittens

Seriously, I have surprised my self. All done number 27 means that I have used up some fabric or wool to its very end 27 times in 2 years. I encourage you to try it - it is so satisfying.

The reason I have finished up so much end of project yarn and fabric lately is because it makes very inexpensive Christmas gifts for my family and friends and a heap of room for guilt free January Sales shopping for me.

This little set has given me a lot of joy. It is the rest of a DK merino single skein called Manchester Tart which I bought in a singles bin at Wonderwool in April. It was £11 for one skein and I bought two to make some extra special boot socks. The socks have been well used (and hand washed!) however there was a little ball left over.

Firstly, I made the hat using stripes of Merino with some cotton yarn. I went to make the pom pom for the hat and call it a day but I still thought there was a bit left in the ball. I remember my friend making lots of mittens a few Christmas' ago and found the pattern on ravelry here.

I left the pom pom and started the mittens.

There was just the right amount to make a full set of mittens and add a squishy pom pom with not a scrap left over. I LOVE it when that happens! As I made these mittens, in the pub or at home, I kept making people feel them because they are just so cute.

This set will be winging its way to my friend's boy.

Still busting some stash.... Are you?
Jo xxxxxx

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

All Done #26 - Drops Nepal

This is a long lingering sort of All done post. A love hate relationship developed around this yarn. A cosy blend of wool and alpaca; I absolutely love it to knit with, wear, wash and buy economically but the pattern made me start to hate it.

I fell in love with the Beatnik sweater pattern on Ravelry but was unable to concentrate on the intricate cable pattern with so many family interruptions. "Mum can we have a snack?, Mum can we just... Mum can you help me with .... Mum can you sign this.... Mum can you play that...Mum what is a double treble..." It was an endless round of 3 rows forward, 6 rows back. I started it in March 2018. I started it 5 times. Then I passed it on to my dear mother to try and have a go for me. We decided to make the front cabled and then simply chose to knit the rest in stocking stitch. I didn't want to burden my mum in the same way it had been so problematic for me.

Anyway many months passed and Mum arrived with my sweater a few weeks ago on 30th October 2019 and I have not had it off my back since.

It has those celebratory features of being just right in the hip length and perfect in the sleeve length. Thank you so much mum xxxxx

The wool that was left over made a hat...

A knitting bag, incorporating Drops Karisma...

And over this last week I used the last 4 and half balls to make a cosy jumper for a friend's little boy. It was a free new pattern for me but a delight to whip up. It is made from the bottom up in the round. I added a bit of detail along the bottom. I watched a video for a very stretchy neck bind off which was brilliant - highly recommended this for a child's neck hole. 

This wool has all gone but do you know what? I love it so much I have bought a few more balls to make some Christmas hats. That is what using up all of your stash is great for; having some guilt free yarn shopping time.

Thanks for dropping in as ever. Jo xxxx

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Building and Snagging

Building a new house on Saturdays is a long task - there are only 52 Saturdays in the year, but we continue to make progress.

Little M did some helpful floor preparation.

She primed the floor with some special paint.

I cleaned the last of our quarry tiles. The office is the last room downstairs to get a floor. We had no firm plans other than to use up what we had left over from previous floors or that could be found in the field (just like using up yarn really!). A ferret around with a wheelbarrow under the hedges turned up about 300 reclaimed quarry tiles. I cleaned them with a hammer and chisel. This has been my only bit of work at the house since September when I stepped away for a while.

Andy laid them in a chequerboard pattern and they looked brilliant. Not bad for left overs.

I returned to clean them after grouting and then gave them a coat of acrylic wax to seal them. This completed job means we can get the oak skirting boards done.

Meg put together the last bit of the kitchen: a trolley from IKEA. I was upstairs painting and came down to see if she was alright to find she had opened the box, found the right tools, read the instructions and put the whole thing together on her own. Girl Power!

The landing is now finished ready for a balustrade. What a costly affair that is! I am still trying to choose: a) What it should look like style-wise and b) How much money I am prepared to pay for one.

There comes a time in a house build of endless deciding, deliveries, jobs, problem solving and hard graft to remember that this was the site in 2016

This was the build in 2017 where it snowed the week the frame arrived and the fitters put it together in -4 degrees.

This was the house in 2018.

and this is it now at the end of 2019 ...

We are now doing all the internal carpentry. I am seeing all of the doors, architrave and skirting board I have so lovingly waxed with two coats of beeswax finally assembled. It gives a real sense of some rooms being finished.

There are a few bits of plastering left to do which is dusty but at least we have heating this year so it will dry out quickly so I can finish painting over the Christmas holidays.

Then after the woodwork, we can have a good clean up because the dusty work will be done. We are making progress indeed.

What next? Snagging. Going around sorting out all of the little things that didn't quite get completed or that were finished in a messy builder style, things which only a woman can see!

Jo xxxx

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Bed Runner

I have been working on a quilt for our new house. Not for me but for my big girl. We have been very lucky parents; our girls have never asked to have their room decorated in all the years they have been alive! With this in mind we are trying to make sure they have full choice for their new rooms when we finish building our new house. 

I don't normally choose fabrics for a quilt, quilting for me is something that uses up left overs, but I had to choose something for my Minerva next month and I just don't want anymore clothes right now. The fabrics are a range of Micheal Millar cotton quilting patterns.

There is a palette of grey, navy and mustard in geometric prints.  She has chosen an Orla Keily Navy and white duvet cover so we were looking for something to inject a bit of colour but not clash with a retro print.

I didn't really have a pattern, I just wanted to make sure that there were no scraps left over so I cut bricks from all of the fabrics and used the last of my Minerva cotton from a seat pew cover to add some solid colour cohesion to the design. I did try laying them out as a brick wall but with the prints, it looked a bit too 'busy' so I returned to the idea of having them patched corner to corner.

I made strips which were sewn into a rectangular topper. It wasn't quite wide enough so I used some fabric which I had cut from shortening her ready to hang curtains to add solid borders. I saw the curtains in a sale bin for £40 and decided I just couldn't be bothered to make a pair to compete with that kind of price. All of the cut offs have been used now which feels like an extra bargain.

 My daughter and I worked together to stick a calico backing to the floor with parcel tape; layer on the batting then smooth out the topper. It is hard on the knees but we didn't have a large enough table.

We safety pinned all the layers together. I decided to hand quilt it because I always get puckers on my machine because my sewing machine has a very small aperture to shove a quilt through. 

Heidi made a template from a cereal packet using an Orla Keily storage jar as a guide. Together we marked out leaves and stems using a water soluble pen. 

A couple of nights of evening hand stitching and I knew we had made the right decision. Finally, I added a binding which was left over from another quilt to enclose all the edges. It has quite a loose top and bottom border which is not quilted and this gives it a relaxed blanket feel. I washed the whole quilt because I like the crumpled effect it gives. She was thrilled to try it out on our spare room bed and helped me put the duvet cover on.

Good morning!


Another item to pack away for our house move. I am getting quite excited about opening all of the bin bags of home furnishings I have been making but we will have to wait another year yet, so much more house building work to do.

Thanks for dropping in. Stay cosy. Jo xxxx

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

All Done #25 - Drops Karisma

I had a girl with no winter hat! Can you believe that? She had a lovely hat from last Christmas but it is now too small. Time for an 'All done' project to use up my Drops Karisma scraps.

There was not much left over after making my Rainbow sweater...

and the recent knitting bag...

but enough to make some stripes with some Drops Nepal for a hat. Nepal is softer than Karisma so it is a good choice for the headband. I wondered around Ravelry looking for an aran pattern to use up the leftovers. I came across this wonderful winner of a pattern. It is called the Scrappy Ski Hat. They would make excellent Christmas presents by the way.

She loved the hat shape which is in Adult size only but I knit the band on 3mm needles to make the right size for her head and returned to a 5mm circluar needle as stated in the pattern for the main hat. Drops Karisma is a DK and Drops Nepal is an aran yarn so it turned out to be a sloppy beanie shape which she really liked. The pattern has been used many times so if you look through previous projects you can find someone who has made the size you want and copy their cast on. To use up the final scraps, she made her own pom pom.

She happily wore it for the rest of the day indoors on Saturday and it spurred her on to have another go at her scarf. She is a left-hander but manages to knit right handed. Clever girl.

A photograph of such woolly proportions that it melts my heart. All Done now with Drops Karisma, not a tiny bit left. Get in!

More on the Drops Nepal story later.... Jo xxx

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Loving - An autumn colour palette

Baking - Spiced Apple cake. Eaten hot with cream and then cold with a mug of tea.

Eating - Toad-in-the-hole. Luckily, the adults in our house like the crispy top and the children like the soft Yorkshire pudding bottom.

Buying - New Boots. My Fly boots were five years old with the smoothest sole which was getting a tad dangerous in wet conditions. This style of square toe allows for hand knit socks inside - perfect.

Disliking - How the garden looks at this time of year - so slimy.

Knitting - Nooooo!!! I got to row four on the sweater I am trying to knit but it was wrong. I really thought my 7th time would be lucky because 7 is a lucky number right?

Leaving - Brownies. We have arrived at the momentous occasion where both girls will be at Guides on the same night. Hooray! it is the small things that help a week along.

Making - painted pebbles and pumpkin pincushions.

Growing - lots of different types of succulents from cuttings. I now need to pot them up individually because some need more water than others.

Deciding - On a staircase design. It is a mighty difficult thing to choose I will have you know.

Building - no building for me this month but I did make a seat pad for the church pew which is in our new kitchen. The fabric is from Minerva which was ideal for oven gloves, seat pads and an apron all packed away for when we move.

Going - To a Firework display.

Collecting - a new vintage pattern. My collecting has slowed down  but sometimes you spot a gem in a charity shop.

Avoiding - Starting anything new. I have some projects which need the final materials to bring them to a close.

Sewing - a bed runner quilt together by hand in an Orla Keily design (see above)

Thinking - That I finally have my work/life/money balance right.

Feeling - At one with being inside a lot.

Joining in with Christina this week. Have a great Friday. Jo xxx