Thursday 27 February 2020

This, That and Loads of the Other

Just dropping in with a little soft toy make. This is a very small bear which used up the last of some fawn yarn and miniature ball of left overs from the sock knitting bag. As with all toy knitting, the face is a deal breaker. I am not sure I have the eyes right yet but the nose was a good one. 

I will pop this in the gift box with a long piece of bunting I completed last week from some leftover triangles my aunt gave me after she had completed some community bunting. Here's hoping for a new born boy over the next year or so.

This last week or two I have lost my way a little with crafting. By finishing my epic projects of the Loki sweater and my postage stamp quilt so early on in the year, I feel at a bit of a loss as to what to choose next. Last night I had a scroll through Ravelry and a peruse of my PomPom magazines for inspiration.

Maybe the situation isn't being helped with a dog developing eczema on his undercarriage, my big girl is being tested for Lymes disease and there is only one road in and out of our town due to the flooding in Ironbridge. Making amazing things is a bit low down on our list of priorities at the moment!

Anyway, I wound up a skein of yarn last night, my last unused purchase from Wonderwool last year, and decided to start a one skein shawl. The pattern got going and I feel I will enjoy this over the next month. It also has a touch of hopeful Spring about it.

There has been sewing too but nothing to shout about, a scrappy cherry stone heat pad to finish off the bag of cherry stones that keeps leaking all over the place in the cupboard.

A top that ended up being too small for me in the arm circumference  but will make a nice gift for someone I know. The last of some fabric I made my Big girl a summer jumpsuit from.

A shirt dress nearly complete apart from a waist tie, buttons and button holes.

There was a used up bag of half made Christmas gift tags which I polished off and packed away for December. It made about 20 in 20 mins!

Starting the Indigo dress/tunic by Tilly and the Buttons.

You see, lots of things for sure but nothing that has come to a finale, a flourish or a journeys end. 

The next big thing will be just around the corner. 

Thanks for dropping in though. Jo xx

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Wet Play Days

We are well and truly wet but luckily located here in Shropshire. We live on the top of the Ironbridge valley out of the way of flood water but floods are affecting all of the roads out of our small town with many road closures. Others have their wheat crops devasted or their homes ruined. It is a devastating case of affairs. For us, this half term holiday consists of mostly wet play days.

It is one of those weeks where you hunker down and crochet a wacky baby blanket.

I decided to well and truly bust the last bit of acrylic stash I had left in the donated basket. This wool was all given to me in mixed bags over the last few years. By holding two similar coloured strands together and using a 5mm hook it was a very quick make. 

I don't actually love it but I think it is interesting and it will be the right gift for somebody - a carefully chosen someone. I totally get that this is not everyone's cup of tea.

The pattern is called St. Peterburg which is from the book above. The book comes to you highly recommended; all of the blankets are very manageable. 

The version in the book has a lovely soft palette of cotton yarn. Mine isn't! It is one of the first blankets I have ever made that has a very straight edge which did not require a border. 

This blanket has seen me through a weeks worth of evenings with easy repetitive stripes, allowing time for fretful climate change thoughts.

Stay Dry Folks. Jo xxxx

Friday 14 February 2020

The Loki Low Down

I have finished my Loki Sweater. I say sweater, the more observant of you will notice it doesn't have sleeves, shall we settle on round-necked tank top and I will tell you all about it...

I was stranded on Sleeve Island with not enough wool to get home. I thought it might happen when I started but I was willing to take the risk. I did try and knit 3/4 length sleeves but it didn't look at ease with a northern wintery pattern on the body.

I tried adding some of the cream wool to the cuff of said sleeve but it was more than a cuff really and I knew it wasn't right. It looked like what it was: a woman who had ran out of wool and knitted too much of the sleeve in the wrong yarn. Cream cuffs don't really have a place in my lifestyle either: cooking, dog walking, teaching children; they wouldn't be cream for long. 

So one night I asked Bloke what he thought. Maybe someone who knew nothing about knitting could come up with an idea that I hadn't even thought of but he said, "Why don't you try and get some  more of that wool?" Oh if only. I bought it in an end of line sale bin at Wonderwool last year. I don't even know what it is! To me it was a a great big skein of wool for £10.

Anyway, I decided to add ribbed sleeve facings and turn it into a tank top. I can wear a thin jumper, a long sleeved T-shirt or in this case a shirt underneath. I love the body shaping, length and width so I can use this pattern shape again if I want to and add the sleeves when I have more generous amounts of yarn.

 I also liked a new technique I learnt which was a three needle bind off on the shoulders. Here you cast off the two ends of live stitches together which makes for a really smooth finish and a seam that won't stretch out. It is like adding stay tape to the shoulders (if you sew you will know what I mean). It would have really come into its own if I had the weight of long sleeves hanging off the dropped shoulders but alas I didn't. Still, a good skill to learn.

Some you win, some you lose. I will never stop taking knitting and crochet risks - where would the fun be then? Jo xxx

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Wearing - My new slinky trousers from Minerva fabric using a style arc pattern. Perfect for lounging, yoga or dog walking.

Eating - Coconut dahl and homemade naan breads.

Baking - Lemon drizzle cake.

Loving - A walk out with our woolly hats.

Knitting - The sleeves for my Loki sweater but knowing I will run out of yarn. :(

Growing - snowdrops in our garden and admiring others people's.

Reading - my new rough guide to Switzerland because we are going there for our summer holiday.

Tiling - the new house bathroom. Grouting next.

Finishing - the utility at the new house complete with a coat rack we made for a fiver.

Admiring - more farm view sunsets by looking both towards the sun and at the reflection in our windows shining back.

Watching - Storm Ciara through the big windows. Our girls were squealing and giggling as each gust of rain hit the glass but they stayed dry.

Going - to the osteopath to try and sort out tendonitis in my groin. I can't sit crossed legged on the floor or with my legs crossed while sitting on the sofa. Ouch!

Collecting - This pattern which was a steal for £2 in an antique shop.

Sewing - some solid colours for a change. This stretch denim is excellent for the Ness skirt by Tilly and the Buttons.

Trying  - To photograph the moon and a bright shining planet.

Feeling - Life is a getting a bit hectic again.

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxxxx

Thursday 6 February 2020

A Yarn Tale

This is a tale of two happy halves. My Auntie was knitting a pair of gloves a while back however she stopped because the needle gauge was so small that it was making her hands ache. The gloves were from my favourite knitting book - Knitting from the North by Hilary Grant - my aunt has a copy too.

She said she had stalled on the gloves. Quickly I chirped in with some sympathy for her aching hands and the suggestion that she pop the whole project in a gift bag and give it me for my birthday in January!

 With a handmade card and a little poem to spur me on, she did just that.

I found the pattern in my book which I had previously admired, but never had the right yarn for, and set about knitting the second glove. Shirley had done the rib so it wasn't long before I whizzed up through the colour work. I followed her graph paper pattern which was different to the one in the book. She had interpreted the book chart differently but it didn't matter - so long as they were both the same. 

Trying to knit slightly tighter than normal knowing that my tension is quite loose, is actually very hard. This is particularly difficult on stranded work because you also have a tension associated with your floats at the back of the work. Ironically, by trying to be tighter, it was actually a little too tight in the end but they are wearable.

I have never knitted fingers before. They are fiddly on such small needles so I can see why she was struggling with finger pain. 

I had a 50/50 error on the mitt flap. My mitt has the wrong side showing when it is in the Mitt position but really the wrong side would be showing one way or another so I was happy to carry on.

I really wanted these gloves for dog walking. Mitts to keep my fingers warm and then my fingers free to tie a poo bag! To eliminate any ghastly brown accidents I added a button to keep the flap out of the way with a little hand worked loop. Stylistically is is probably not the best match of button, but I loved these ceramic buttons and they reminded me of the cardigan I knit for Heidi when she was little. I plundered them from the garment when it was too small for her and had saved them in my button jar ever since.

So there you are...

...a quite complex pair of gloves which I love. Shirley said I can keep the rest of the yarn so maybe I can make another pair or a matching something for myself - I feel an all done post coming on.

Jo xxx