So much to knit, too little time!

As previously mentioned, I have been sorting out my Ravelry queue lately and choosing things to knit or crochet with stashed yarn. Sadly the cardigan I started last week, Masterpiece hasn’t quite worked out and I’ve abandoned it. My own fault really as I knew my row gauge was out by 3 rows and this is a really complex design for a top-down tailored jacket, in which the row gauge is as crucial as the stitch gauge. However, loving how it was looking as I was knitting it up, I continued in denial until I came to the point where I was supposed to start shaping for the underarms and it was clearly far too short. So reluctantly, I have abandoned this one and have decided instead to knit Perfect Edge. This is by the same designer and in fact in the same e-book as Masterpiece. Row and stitch gauge match almost spot on so it should turn out better.

So, what did I do next, consult my Rav queue to start on the next one? Don’t be silly! Of course I started on something completely different. In my defence, this is a pattern I bought when it first came out Baby Cables and Big Ones Too. It’s a lovely pattern and I had some bright red James C Brett merino in stash so I cast on. I’m getting on well with it but now am panicking a bit because it has dawned on me that I really don’t have enough of this wool! I knew this but convinced myself that if I knit it shorter in the body (I am short) and with short or three-quarter sleeves then I may get away with it. Now, having just finished the first ball, I’m not so sure! I really can’t decide whether to continue and hope for the best or to cut my losses and either continue with one of my WIPs or start something else. Just look how those cables pop in this yarn though! 😍

I’ll continue with the second ball of wool and see how it goes. I’m really enjoying the knitting and it’s a great pattern, very clear and well written.

I’ll keep you posted!

There is so much that I want to knit and crochet at the moment. Unfortunately my mind works much faster than my fingers.

Proud all round!

Well my biggest news for this post is that my brilliant eldest son, Michael, had confirmation yesterday that his PhD Thesis has been accepted meaning he has passed and is now officially a Doctor of Computer Science. He actually passed his Viva last year but with a few corrections to be made. Having recently re-submitted the thesis, he was awaiting the result which came by email last night. He rang me immediately and sounded absolutely thrilled.

To say I’m proud is an understatement! He has worked so hard for this and even though he didn’t qualify for funding, was determined that he wanted to do the PhD. His dad has been very supportive financially and there is no doubt that Michael couldn’t have done this without that support but Michael himself has worked too. Each summer he has managed to secure a well-paid internship which as well as contributing to his finances has given him more work experience to add to his CV. I’m certain that this helped in no small way to land him his current job with the Government Digital Agency in London.

In other more down to earth news, I was very proud last weekend when I finally finished the crocheted draught excluder I’ve been working on since the end of December. This was a large project for me as a beginner and a learning curve which is always good. I really feel that my future projects will be much better thanks to what I learned making this. If I do say so myself, I think it looks bloody fantastic!

I’ve spent a bit of time lately deciding what to knit next with the idea of trying to use up some stash. I’ve had some Stylecraft Ethical Twist in stash forever, camel and cream both in sweater quantities and oatmeal and baby cream in smaller quantities. A lovely wool/alpaca blend, it is absolutely gorgeous yarn and I’ve started numerous projects in it but it just hasn’t wanted to be those things and I’ve ended up frogging. I’ve finally decided on the stunning Masterpiece by Design Von Hinterm , knitted in the camel, I think it’s going to look really lovely. I cast on last weekend, almost as soon as I’d finished making up the draught excluder and it is looking good already.

So, having started using up some stash what do you think I’ve done? Of course, I bought more yarn! I got a book for Christmas, 200 crochet squares, so I thought I’d buy couple of balls of stylecraft special Dk, which is what a lot of crocheters seem to use and a couple of balls of Scheepjes Colour Crafter, to compare the two.

Now I have to add at this point that they are now under the bed and I haven’t tried them out yet!! I bought them from the Wool Warehouse website where I also spotted the clearance section….always a disaster to the bank balance. I just couldn’t resist the Mirasol Nuna, a simply divine sport weight. It just jumped into my shopping cart, honest.

This is also under the bed!

I love getting deliveries from Wool Warehouse because they pack everything in pretty gauze bags. Yeah I know…

Crafty Update

Last year I learned how to crochet with the help of YouTube and in particular Bella Coco’s channel. Being a left-hander I have struggled to learn over the years, so finding video tutorials for left-handed crochet was a revelation and I took to it like the proverbial duck to water. I’ve found that I enjoy the process of crochet more than knitting so can see myself making baby items, toys and blankets etc. However, for grown-up clothing, I still much prefer the look of a knitted piece. It’s very nice to be able to do both and have the choice though.

My first crocheted items were some cute baby shoes from this tutorial on YouTube. I loved making these so much that I made them in lots of different colours. They’ll make a quick baby gift if I’m short of time.

The purple ones in this picture were gifted to a work colleague for his first grandchild.

Here are the others that I’ve made in different colours. I crocheted the green hat with the pink flower to match the shoes with the cute little flower button. The yellow hat was one I had knitted previously. I also made some pretty white ones with a pink bow and a matching hat for a work colleague expecting her first baby but I don’t seem to have taken a photo of them.

I’ve also started making squares for a blanket. The yarn is a light 4-ply with a bit of a halo and it’s going to be a really delicate, lightweight blanket.

The square I’m making is the Victorian lattice and I followed a tutorial from Bella Coco, although the pattern isn’t hers, it is from Destany Wymore.

Next up were scarves, Christmas gifts for my sons Michael and Mason. Some lovely yarn I’d had in stash for yonks. King Cole baby Alpaca. Deliciously soft and snuggly, just perfect for round your neck. For Mason’s scarf I used cream, brown and camel, crocheted lengthways using half-treble stitch into the back loop to create a ribbed effect.

For Michael’s I used black and brown, again lengthways using half-treble stich but just flat creating a kind of woven look.

I’m really pleased with how they turned out considering I made it up as I went along really. More importantly, the boys also liked them. Both immediately trying them on.

I do still have some knitting projects waiting to be finished but couldn’t resist ordering the yarn to start on this lovely crocheted draught excluder. It’s been a learning curve but I’m more than two-thirds into it now and really enjoying making it.

In knitting news, I’ve been sorting out stash and choosing what to knit with it. I really wanted to knit the previously attempted (and frogged) Peplum Jacket in some Stylecraft Ethical Twist, a gorgeous wool/Alpaca blend I’ve had for years but no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t match stitch or row gauge. As both are important for this garment and there is a bloody lot of work involved in knitting it, it’s just not worth risking it being the wrong size like last time, so I’ve scrapped that idea. I’ve sorted a few things into my Ravelry queue but am not allowing myself to start anything new until I’ve finished the draught excluder!

Soon though. Very soon.

New Knitting Challenge

2018 is going to be the year when I finally crack two-handed, stranded colourwork knitting and to that end I’ve started on some lovely mittens, complete with corrugated two-colour rib and a Latvian braid trim…Woooo, get me eh!

After struggling with the technique of knitting with both hands, I got a little carried away when it finally clicked into place and forgot to read the pattern instruction properly.  Therefore, my first mitten will have a thumb that is 5 rows lower than that of the second mitten because I simply ain’t going to frog 5 rows of stranded colourwork.  Now, if these were to be a gift then I’d put this mistake right but as they are pretty much a learning project for me, I’m not going to obsess, just continue and learn from it.

I’m really enjoying the process now I’ve got my fingers to do as they are told!

What did I say about not obsessing and learning and moving on etc.?  I ended up tinking back, I just couldn’t start the thumb knowing it was in the wrong place!  LOL.  Back on track now though and enjoying my knitting for the first time in ages.

Time Flies

How time flies!  I really did intend on making sure I had a new post out each week so I can’t believe that two weeks have gone by since my last post. 

Firstly the brilliant news for this post is that my work colleague took her triplets home from the hospital last Friday.  Here are the little teensy matinee sets that I had knitted, I was chuffed to bits to discover that she had used them for the babies’ coming home outfits and they had been much admired.  I made two sets with pink buttons and pink pompoms for the hats and one set with blue.  The pattern was one from a Sirdar book for newborns and premature babies, called Sirdar 280, Early Arrivals Booklet if anyone is interested.  I was going to put a link to the article in our local newspaper about their homecoming but it appears to have been taken down already! 

Baby Roots cardigan

In other knitting activity, I’ve also knitted a baby jacket for another work colleague’s new grandson and also a hat for his big brother so he didn’t feel left out.  The jacket was a free one on Ravelry, Baby Roots Cardigan  (Rav Link) and I really enjoyed knitting it.  It was knitted top-down in one piece which is my favourite construction for cardigans.  I used some stash yarn which was Rico Aran Duo in a cream mix colour and it turned out really well. 

Bubbles

The hat was Bubbles by Woolly Wormhead and I knitted the flat top version which I think is so cute.  I usually love Woolly’s patterns and this was as well written and clear as ever but it had far too much purling in the round for my liking and I don’t think it’s one I’ll knit again in a hurry.  It turned out lovely though and I’m looking forward to seeing Ethan wearing it.  The yarn was some stash yarn that has long since lost it’s ball band but I seem to remember it being Stylecraft Aran with Wool.

I’ve also started Tappan Zee for myself.  I’ve liked this pattern ever since I first saw it in Knitty’s Spring/Summer 2010 edition, but as usual it got lost in the queue.  However, after knitting my Meret in the lovely Soffia Plus, the rest of it in my stash started shouting Tappan Zee, Tappan Zee everytime I walked past the shelves where I keep my yarn stash so I had to cave in and cast it on.  It’s another top-down seamless jobby so I’m a happy bunny knitting along.  I’m pleased with the look of it so far, I just hope I have enough yarn…I’d hate to hate to frog my Meret to finish it!

Last weekend, Patrick and I went to Manchester to the National Winter Ales Festival.  We set off in the chucking rain, the M62 is most unpleasant to drive down in that kind of weather I must say.  We arrived in the chucking rain and it was still chucking with rain when we left the Premier Inn on Saturday morning.  However, we didn’t go to sunbathe, we went to drink lots of lovely dark winter ales.  Mission was accomplished most satisfactorily.  As usual we met some nice people and had a giggle with them.  One group of lads had brought along their lager drinking friend to try and convert him and he wasn’t much impressed.  However as an ex-lager drinker myself I understand that it does take a while for your palette to adjust to drinking alcohol that actually tastes of something rather than just being wet and fizzy.  On reflection though, dark and flavourful winter ales probably are not the best introduction to a real ale drinking career!  He would be better at a summer ales festival I’m sure but I doubt he’ll give it another chance.  He did make a very valid point though and one which I have often made myself.  Where the hell do some of these people hide when they are not stalking around beer festivals?  Seriously there are some people who at best could be described as “characters” but really are just a little bit weird.  There are the usual anorak, back-pack carrying oddities but also some very strange looking people, like the little guy with the leather trousers, leather waistcoat, leather cowboy hat and aviator sunglasses…indoors…in Manchester.  He would look ok cruising Route 66 on his chopper maybe.  I really wanted to try to take some surreptitious photos of some of the “characters” but it would have been too obvious.  Although lager boy did grab Mr Leather & Sunglasses and insist on having a photo taken with him, I should have taken one too.