I’m on cloud 9

The balaclava is done!

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Its been a while in the making but I did it.
Now I’ve just got to post it off.

Haven’t done much other knitting whilst I’ve been powering through this project so Miriam still lies unfinished. ..I WILL complete it this year.

I did however whip up a tension square to test some bamboo yarn and then turned it into this adorable bow!

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I love making use of my squares this way. I don’t know if other people keep theirs but I just note down the tension in my book. I got to test the yarns washability too as I dropped the bow into some melted butter whilst baking! Oops!
I hand washed it and let it dry naturally in the sun. The butter came out nicely and the bow holds its shape well now its been blocked. Haven’t decided whether its a hair clip or a brooch yet.

Sewing

The Great British Sewing Bee is nearly over. I’m totally loving this years contestants. My money is on Chinello, her freehand approach and creative flair is inspiring! I’ve been constantly in awe of her skills. I also loved Lynda, so sad to see her go!
Last weekend I made use of my small fabric stash and whipped up a four layer suffolk puff brooch. In the centre is my first attempt at a fabric covered button. I had a union jack heart leftover from my GB tea cosy project in 2012 which I’ve covered in blue gingham cotton.

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I’m really happy with how it’s turned out and I think my handsewing skills are improving.

I mentioned last time that I have fabric for cushion covers on standby. Well I took the plunge and made a cloud cushion from my Liberty sewing book.
Now I don’t have pattern paper nor could I be bothered going to the library to get the template printed and enlarged.
So I traced the small version from the book, taped 6 pieces of A4 together and enlarged the small clouds measurements by 400%. I cut out my cloud template and pinned it to my fabric.

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I cut out two cloud shapes, one in blue and one in white.
I decided to hand sew the cushion partly because I was scared of wrecking my fabric in the machine.
I need a bit more practice at machining, especially curves. So I used backstitch,which I am now proficient at!

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I had a bit of problem with the seams once the cushion was the right way round but a good press with the iron soon fixed that. Very important I’ve learned, press press press!
Et voila…
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Its the comfiest pillow ever.
I’m going to make a few more in different colours to pile up on the bed. So pleased!!

March Musings

Its Spriiiiiiiing!

Last week we finally got some sunshine and blue skies after a grey rainy winter. The daffodils are in full bloom and the days feel that little bit warmer.  I’m already imagining all our summer ramblings!

Right now as per the last post I am still “finishing off” – the balaclava is the main thing right now. I’m loving being involved in the project and I’m highly impressed with all the gorgeous garments that have been produced. I believe I’m on the list for another small project for them but its not confirmed yet. There are a lot of members and only on or two wonderful ladies organizing which projects go to who and when they need to be completed. Its a big job and I don’t envy them.

I think a lack of confidence often stops me getting involved in ventures like this, I always worry I will let people down by not finishing on time or not being up to standard.

I do feel like all the knitters working on Tell Them of Us must think I’m super slow at this – its taken quite a while and I’m not finished one yet…there was talk of me doing two! Last years achievements helped to boost me, I can’t believe I did all that in a year! There’s no structured plan for 2014 but I have a few ideas…

Sewing

I’d like to become competent with my machine – last year I learned to thread it but haven’t been back since. The lack of a proper desk probably doesnt help but I bought two sewing books this weekend and I’m raring to make things.
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I’m going to start with cushion covers, I have some fabric and applique ready to make some standard square cushions. One of my new books has a fab pattern for cloud shaped cushions -OH has suggested making them in block colours rather than the florals in the book. There’s some new blue & white cotton for this one.
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Eventually I’d love to be good enough to make my own clothes and like GBSB’s Chinello…I’d love to whip up a dress for a night out instead of trawling the shops.
I’d also like to acquire some better sewing supplies, threads, a new tape measure, shears etc
Speaking of GBSB, how beautiful was Lyndas shawl this week?
Turns out it was made by her daughter from a pattern by Carina Spencer.
Here’s a blog post she did about it Lyndas GBSB Shawl

Crochet

I want to get into tunisian crochet. I’ve watched a tutorial and it seems easy enough. Its like a strange combination of crochet and knitting, its done with a long crochet hook (sometimes with a cable on the end) and unlike crochet the stitches stay on the hook as you work across. Then you go back the other way and work each stitch dropping it off the hook until you are back to just one. I probably havent explained it overly well so here’s a vid

Tunisian Crochet Tutorial

I found it when I was looking for inspiration for my blanket project – I want to make a big Nintendo themed blanket for my bed. Possibly just one image but possibly lots of panels. Tunisian Crochet stitches turn out square so they’re great for working from grid charts.
I was highly I inspired by this blanket from Gege Crochet
Nintendo Blanket
But a quick google image search reveals so many amazing pieces.

I’ll be needing a hook and a yarn that comes in a wide number of shades – I havent decided what kind of fibre yet. I could go for a light bamboo/cotton or a wool based yarn.  Its gonna be a long haul that one though, could go well into 2015.

Knitting

Knitting-wise I want to pick up speed. I’m trying to master continental style, I’ve got the knit stitch down but the purl is still giving me trouble.

I’m determined to have Miriam finished at least in time for Autumn (its only been 3 years or so!) I’m currently midway through picking up the neckband.

At some point I’ll be changing Paige as I really don’t like the fit, I may alter it or I may frog and reclaim the yarn. Its not a shaped sweater but I think thats the problem, its not really a style I normally wear.

I’m still midway through sock number 1 on my Zig Zag Rainbow Socks, the warming weather means I may not feel like going back to these for a bit although they are a great portable project so you never know.

After sorting out my stash I now want to start assigning yarn to projects -its a great way to de-stash as it quickly sorts out what stuff you’re never going to use. Plus it will give me an exciting queue of projects to work on instead of some random ideas floating around in my head!

Well thems the plans but we’ll see how many come to fruition, being creatively organised is not my forte.

I’m like a magpie with shiny things when it comes to new projec…OOH SHINY!

Happy Yarnings! x

The end is the beginning is the end

So I’ve blinked and its February already!
So far this year has been about organisation.  I’ve sorted out my stash into weights of yarn and separated all my super nice stuff including any quantities large enough for sweaters.

I began making granny squares with my dk scraps bag which are possibly going towards a throw.

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I’m continuing on with the balaclava project for
Tell them  of Us, all the knitters are updating us on their projects via Ravelry and Facebook and its astounding the talent out there. I believe one of the knitters pieces was featured in Lets Knit this month!
 

I’ve been catching up with Miriam too, the front button bands are nearly finished!

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I did have time for a couple of new makes…
Here’s a pair of boot cuffs I whipped up from some King Cole Value DK. I may make other winter woolies to match them at some point, but they are really just to stop the boots rubbing. Cute though :D

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I’ve been practicing making baby socks too (not for me!)

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The left one was the first attempt,  it looks great but feels squeeky and plasticky.
It came free in a kit especially for this pattern but once I’d made it I wasn’t impressed. The yarn in question has been relegated.
The other one is made from some King Cole DK Moods (which I’ve been using for Miriam)  and a ball of mixed fibre DK. Its turned out much softer and feels more like something a baby could stand to wear.

Increasingly I’m feeling that this year has so many possibilities. I’ve got so many ideas running round in my head for new projects but I’m determined to finish some things off first. Looks like I’ll have to be patient….not a virtue of mine.

Well…I’d best be getting on with it.

Happy Yarnings! X

2013 Challenge – The results

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In January 2013 I pledged to learn something new every month and blog about it. Its been a lot harder than I anticipated . When I started out, the idea was to complete a project per month which encompassed a new skill or technique. I found I couldn’t commit to completely finishing a new project each month as I was looking for interesting techniques and then finding projects which were awesome but too big to complete in the time frame. I had to alter my plans slightly and just make sure I started a project using something new or taught myself a new stitch. I’m pretty pleased with how I’ve done and its taken me in a lot of interesting directions.

Here’s a summary of everything I’ve learned this year:

January Challenge –  Crochet beret using multiple trebles, this had to be ripped back several times as I kept stitching into the wrong spaces but I got the hang of it eventually. I actually ended up doing it in stripes to combat the problem. This really helped improve my crochet skills!

Lyra

Lyra

I also learned Steeking and did my first Yarn Bomb!

February Challenge - Knitted bobble hat with owl cables. I’d tried cables before and messed it up terribly but this turned out really well. I now feel confident with a cable needle. Unfortunately the style of hat didn’t really suit me, I felt it was a bit small so I gave it to my sister. She rocks it!

Owl Hat

Owl Hat

March Challenge - An entrelac messenger bag. This was a great project, the yarn in rich jewel tones was fantastic to knit with. It’s really satisfying to see the weaved effect forming as you go along.

Pierre - Entrelac Bag

Pierre – Entrelac Bag

I also learned Moss Stitch

April Challenge - Fresh from watching Twin Peaks , it had to be Chevrons. The original project idea was a picture frame with a knitted image of the famous Red Room however I had no end of issues with it. The needles were slippy and the yarn split constantly. I used the longest 4mm’s I had as the piece was 76cm wide. They were metal and a nightmare to knit with. The yarn was cheap acrylic from the market because I was too excited to wait and get some King Cole. I persevered however. Later I realised I’d dropped a stitch, the ladder was huge! Whenever I looked the piece I could see pulls, lumps and uneven stitches.  I learned a valuable lesson there…and then I whipped up this cute gadget cover!

Red Room Phone Cosy

Red Room Gadget Cosy

There was  a 2nd Yarn Bomb Heart and a cute little Owl featuring K1b (knit 1 below) and chain stitch.

I also rescued a UFO that had been languishing in a bag. This used to be the back of a cardigan and the frame used to be a mirror (which broke). Its one of my proudest UFO rescues.

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May Challenge -  When I found out my mum was getting married I knew I wanted to make her a wedding gift. She chose a shawl called Itaca by Stephen West. Knitting with laceweight  was the challenge for May. The shawl was finished in November, just in time for the wedding.

Itaca

Itaca

June Challenge –  June was a quiet month filled with tons of nature rambles . I taught myself Picot edging using my Harmony guide to crochet. I used it on some UFO blanket squares in the hope I might actually make something from them…not as yet…

Picot Edging

Picot Edging

July Challenge - Like June, July was filled with rambles, beach trips and sunshine. Like June, I used my UFO blanket squares, this time for Popcorn Stitch. 

Popcorn Stitch

Popcorn Stitch

August Challenge - In August we went on our wonderful camping holiday to Wales. It was amazing! I spent much of the drive working on Itaca. Later on that month whilst making a Hello Kitty toy (which I still haven’t finished :/ ) I learned a method for Jogless Stripes. 

Attempt at Jogless Stripes

Jogless Stripes

September Challenge - Another holiday, this time to Scotland. Made lots of progress on Itaca during the 4hr drive. Finally got a sewing machine and learned how to set it up  and thread it. A bit cheaty possibly as it’s not a knitting or crochet skill but I’m having it lol.

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October Challenge - Another crochet stitch this month, this time using HDC (half double crochet)   to to whip up this gorgeous baby hat.

Baby Hat using HDC

Baby Hat using HDC

I also finished Itaca (except for binding) and made a lovely vintage crochet collar.

November Challenge - My shells for Itaca arrived in the post and so for the first time I tried binding of with beads. It was easy peasy and looks fantastic

Binding off with shell beads

Binding off with shell beads

December Challenge - This challenge also involved a long running project , The Weather Scarf. Now finished I added a fringe using every colour in the scarf. Here is the finished scarf with each month labelled and here’s a handy key to decipher my 2013 in temperatures.

Grey – 0-5 Blue 5-10

Yellow 11-15 Green 16-20 

Orange 21-25 Pink 25-30

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And so that was my 2013 Challenge. I’m so pleased with all the projects I’ve made and new skills I’ve learned this year.  Whats your favourite project from 2013?

I’m so excited  for 2014. I’m off to master Tunisian Crochet for my blanket!

Xmas, people…Xmas!!

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Merry Christmas everyone!

Hope you all had a wonderful time, spent plenty of time with those you love and got all the things you wished for. We spent the day at home with OH’s brother and my brother & sister joining us for dinner. A good time was had by all and lots of lovely presents given including this gorgeous vintage book from my sister…

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Now I know how to make a tie for my father! Haha!

This month I’ve mostly been making decorations and plans for next year. I started out making some Xmas tree decorations to sell on Folksy.

The idea was to use up all the Xmas yarn kits I’ve accumulated over the years as I don’t use red green and gold on our tree. I’d clearly left it too late and nothing came of the listings (note to self - unlist them!).

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Whilst making them I was experimenting and came up with some nifty covers for Xmas baubles, they were so pretty that I decided to keep them.

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I covered all our old silver baubles in crochet loveliness and then made a star for the top.

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I was so pleased with how it all turned out…my very own handmade Christmas!

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I even ended up using the first set of decorations I’d made, for a garland to hang our Xmas cards on. We usually just pin-up a piece of yarn (or string as the OH calls it!) but this year I made a crochet chain and threaded the decorations into it.

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Next year I plan to make a wreath for the front door but I’ll be making a start a bit earlier than December 16th!

I’m still beavering away on the rainbow socks, am onto the foot of sock 1 now. It’s a slow project anyway and I’m not in any hurry to finish it. As long as I actually make sock 2 this time, I’ll be happy.

Haven’t touched the balaclava project this month although I’m going to try to finish it off in January and get the project and the leftover yarn back to the Wag Screen Team. I’m quite glad I didn’t commit to anything bigger but I know my own knitting speed and how easily I get distracted by other projects. I may whip up a few more small items for them before next November though.
It’s wonderful to be involved and I’ll be keeping an eye on the progress of all the other items and the film project itself even after I’ve submitted my items.

Last month of Weather Scarf this month!

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It’s a massive scarf (luckily I’ve kept up with ends weaving in as I’ve gone along) but I am still behind on it. I’ve got all the temperatures written down for the weeks that I am missing so it’s a race against time to finish by Jan 1st!
Its been a fantastic project however knitting 2 rows each day is not as easy as it sounds…or maybe that’s just me!
Next time I’d like to use a more neutral palette and I might do crochet instead, maybe in the vein of Attic24.
In fact…I’m having an idea right now of doing granny squares that reflect the weeks or months temperatures…watch this space it’s a fleeting thought right now.

2014

2014 will be the year I yarnbomb my own home…I’ve got loads of ideas for yarn based homewares and a massive stash to choose from although no doubt I’ll end up buying more! Its also going to be the year I master using my sewing machine.

My major project will be a blanket for our bed. Its going to be Nintendo themed I know that much. I’m toying with a few ideas and have found much inspiration on Pinterest.

I’ll also be getting the sewing machine out to make some new cushion covers for the living room. I have the fabric and some cute appliques ready…now I just need to get good with the machine!

I’d like to use January to finish off some of my WIPs including Miriam (my striped cardigan) and Lizzies Hello Kitty Amigurumi.

Happy New Year everyone, what are your plans for 2014?

Itaca has landed!

What a month November was!

Finished Itaca, my mum loved it and I’m looking forward to some honeymoon photos to see how it looks on.

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**November Challenge**
Binding off with shell beads. It was so easy to do and I’m itching to do some more complicated beading!

The shawl came out beautiful and I may well make one for myself with other skein of Drops Lace I got.

I’ve cast on another pair of rainbow sox and have just finished the heel on sock number 1.
This is a nice portable project which I can take to work at weekends. I’m determined to finally finish a pair of socks for myself.

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I’ve also become involved with the above project.
It started on Twitter with a call for knitters and now there’s a group of us beavering away on knitted items for this wonderful film.
More details about the film can be found here

http://wagscreen.wordpress.com

I’m currently knitting a balaclava from an old booklet of soldiers comforts which was uploaded to the group Facebook page.

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I’m using Rowan Pure Wool 4ply which is a dream to knit with and wonderfully soft.
It’s my first time using Rowan yarn and I’m very impressed.

My frugal nature means I don’t often buy expensive brands as I want a lot of yarn for my money. It’s been a learning curve of balancing quality with price over the years.
I buy a lot of King Cole because ,for me it fits the bill.

Whats your favourite great quality “budget” yarn?

I don’t like Crochet…I love it!

This month has been aaalll about crochet…well mostly.

First bit of news is that Itaca is finished! All I need to do is bind off (waiting for shells to arrive in the post) and block.
I’m not posting a photo as its squished onto a needle right now. As soon as its done I’ll post a pic!

So this month my friend Dave had a daughter! I’d already been commissioned to make a “frog hat”months ago however the little beauty was born a wee bit early so I sprung into action and whipped up this

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The pattern is available free here

Despite being tiny in my eyes its still a bit big for her. It was so quick to make I’m dying to make some more!

October Challenge

This hat is made with HDC (Half Double Crochet) stitch which I’ve not done before.

I’ve also finished off my crochet collar from a vintage pattern I found at Just Skirts and Dresses

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I used Rico Creative Micro Dk & a 4mm hook. I had to adapt the pattern a bit though. I made the foundation chain longer and did less rows as the pattern was made with very fine cotton in mind. The pattern uses trebles and chains and is finished with picot.

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The bow is attached with a brooch pin and I’ll likely use small safety pins to affix the collar to whatever I’m wearing.

I’m really pleased with how its turned out, one of the prettiest things I’ve ever crocheted.

In sewing news, last weekend I made a slipcase to go under my granny square cushion cover. I cut up an old HMV top and fired up the machine. Took me an hour to get the bottom thread to pick up but I got going eventually.

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It looks so much better than having the raw cushion pad under there.

I’ve also ordered some fabric and applique for some new cushion covers I’m making. Very excited about these. Photos to come!