Update – knits

“Brilliant kick! Ohh! Get over!” is what I’m hearing from the right side of the room, while I try to gather my thoughts about this post.

Now: “Noooo! Ouch….Knees don’t bend that way!” And I am firmly fixing my gaze downwards to my iPad’s screen. I do not need to see any gory injury replays. I knew these outbursts might be the case, but I had hoped for a quiet game and silent supping of beer, alongside the occasional sounds of dry roasted peanut munching. My Instagram feed is currently full of photos of knitting and crochet ‘while the rugby is on in the background’, or ‘while I watch the rugby.’ I know there are plenty of women who enjoy it too, I’m just not one of them. It’s England V France and currently 6-3 to us. I cheer when we win, but don’t watch the game.

Anyway, sorry for the sports waffle. Back to the knits; I wasn’t sure about the shouty bright pink being added to the mix in my garter stitch blanket, but it works doesn’t it? I like it quite a lot. I am sticking to it being a stash buster, so it’s going to get even more random. However the blending helps to tone down some of the less likeable shades.

I’m really enjoying this knitting, as you know I haven’t knitted much complex lace and this pattern is labelled on the Love Knitting site as intermediate. Hurray! I feel like a proper knitter. The Edenvale cowl is reversible and this is the side which faces you as you knit, but it’s definitely the other side that I prefer (shown below.)

“Are you knitting a giraffe a neck warmer?”

“Ooh look, your dream-catcher is coming on!”

I put up with a lot some days, I feel.

Not knitting, but beautiful anemones I just saw when we popped out to have a wander around a local nursery and plant centre. It’s the day to buy flowers, or a plant, as it’s Mothering Sunday tomorrow. Sainsbury’s, on Friday, looked absolutely crammed full with extra buckets and stands of flowers.

It’s been a while since I recorded what I’m reading and listening to: The Tent, the Bucket and Me by Emma Kennedy is making me laugh out loud, more than any book has made me laugh for a long time. I didn’t even really know who she is, but that doesn’t matter at all. Emma writes really well and being an actress is sublime at accents, particularly Welsh. The premise of the book is to describe the family’s disastrous attempts at camping holidays, during the 1970s. So, of course you get a bit of context of what’s going on in the country at the time, the food they eat and encounters with other holiday makers. Highly recommended. I’ve got 3 hours left to listen and I only started the audio book this week. This is probably a speed listening personal record.

I finished reading The House of New Beginnings by Lucy Diamond on Friday night. It’s nice; one of those multi-character stories, where each woman has experienced a recent trauma, heartbreak or has to adjust to a major change. There’s a fair bit of loneliness and isolation at the beginning, but you can guess where the story goes and that ultimately warm and supportive friendships gradually form. There’s nothing wrong with reading a bit of candy-floss. I also think that sometimes a story like this can encourage readers to join a new club, try something new or make an overture of friendship towards another. It can give assurances that all things pass and tricky times improve.

What about you, what are you busy with right now? Can you recommend any good reads?

The score is now 9-9 and I’ve just said SHUSH as “Argghhhhh!” was shouted and made me jump.

Linking with Ginny’s now monthly Yarn Along.

It’s not Mira’s Cowl, it’s mine!

I bought the yarn for my Mira’s Cowl at the end of September when I visited Yarndale. The other two skeins have yet to be used. But I think I have a plan for the blue 4 ply…

My wandering concentration issue was solved by buying stitch markers and from then on, magically, there were no missing sets of 2 stitches. So, they’re not simply for making knitting look pretty?!
I did decide against the ‘aggressive’ blocking advised at the end of the pattern. Although I chose to make the wider size cowl and it could be really long and loopy (see the pattern photo) I like the up, up chin warming properties of it when unstretched.

Because I knit and knit until I just had enough yarn left to cast off, it’s long enough for a giraffe. I put it on inside out and then double it over so the right side shows.

I found a stretchy decrease cast-off described here. It’s very easy and does exactly what it promises.

I just sat in the sun and single crocheted the seams together with a  3.5mm hook. As I’ve said before; if I can combine a bit of knitting with a bit of hooky then I’m very happy. Sewing up gets put off, funnily crocheting doesn’t! I’m typing this and still wearing my cowl. It’s so warm and snuggly as the yarn is 75% merino.

Next I’ve got to make myself do some more baby hexagons. It really is a bit like that, but I quite like doing them when I get going, especially if my audio book is on. I’m really into The Kashmir Shawl, I’m exactly halfway through now. I walked over 7 miles listening to it yesterday. I was so engrossed in the story that I didn’t even really mind when the ground turned into a quagmire. I ended up squelching home with completely brown trainers and socks. That must be the sign of a very good book…

 

Yep: I’m knitting a Hitchhiker too

          Every time I scroll through the pretty pics on Instagram I see the Hitchhiker pattern being knit by someone. Seeing this many pictures of the same item is really a form of brain washing, or extremely effective advertising, so the other day I found myself click clicking on Ravelry here and in receipt of the pdf. I only wish I’d designed it as I read somewhere that 18,000+ (and I’m hoping this is true and not a wild exaggeration!) copies of the pattern have been sold.

I got so indignant about a character’s behaviour in my audio book, A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson, that I had to undo some last night as the teeth were at the wrong end. I only noticed after 8 more rows. D’oh! Apart from times of audio distraction it’s very easy and satisfying knitting.

I hope you don’t feel like I’m spamming you with too many posts this week. It’s just that I’ve had more to show as I’m not just plodding on with the same couple of makes. Also I’ve got lots of free time as I’ve been laid up resting my knee. 

What are you up to at the moment?

First circular hat!

I’m pretty pleased with this hat. It’s very stretchy and warm. As the title says it’s my first on circular needles. Just getting the correct 40cm cable with the right 6mm short tips was a little time consuming. 40 cm cable is so short it needs 10cm Symfonie KnitPro needle tips to be useable, rather than the standard interchangeable circular set. Mine look pretty short to me, but are 12.5cm. I got there in the end despite being rather fuzzy about it all. But this was, I freely admit, a #firstworldproblem !

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I used yarn left over from my crochet Seashell Scarf and Cabled Owl Jar Cosy mainly because it’s the only chunky I have. It’s Marble Chunky by James C. Brett by the way. Cheap and very cheerful. I do like the variegated colours and the stripy effect near the ribbing.

20131205-111741.jpgHow differently the colours look in this photo! It’s the shifting light. Scotland has 100 mph winds today and the north of England is also suffering. Traffic news is full of lorries blown over on roads. Down south we just have a blustery day with very grey skies.

This Slouchie Beanie pattern designed by Tanis Gray is available free on Ravelry.  I first saw the hat on Hannah’s Not Your Average Crochet blog.  Mine has a mistake or so well, technically it’s got many more than one or two I think, but you can only really tell if you look inside and who would be rude enough to check and scrutinise? The first of anything using a completely new technique is unlikely to be perfect. If I knit another I would try to make it slouchier as it’s not really very, but I’m more likely to surf for different patterns as I like to try new projects all the time. If you have a good recommendation please let me know.
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20131205-111756.jpgI hope you’re warm and well wherever you are, hot chocolate and a hat is the way forward here I reckon!

Provence Summer String bag

While browsing through a collection of string bag photos on Pinterest I noticed one that kept turning up. The pattern’s by Kathy North and is available free from Ravelry, it’s called the Provence Summer String bag.

So, that’s how String Bag no. II came about. It’s easy and fast to crochet in trebles and double trebles. Again I used more of my Planet Penny cotton with a 4mm hook.

Yesterday I pinned and then steam blocked it to gently pull it into shape.

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After a visit to the library, and a really nice book find, I’ve seen another string bag pattern which I’m going to try. I hadn’t planned to crochet another so soon but they say good things always come in threes, don’t they?

To the person who Googled and somehow found this blog using the rather sad search phrase: “feeling so fed up and worried will doing knitting and crochet help me….” the answer is YES! I really hope you feel happier soon.

Mouse crazy

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Gerald.

Someone rather silly says he looks like a mouse wearing a jumper.

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Charlie

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The gang

I might have gone a little mouse crazy because this morning I found myself Charlie mouse sending an email to a friend, wishing her a fun time away in Sweden over the weekend!

I’ve always winced a bit when toy makers state each “have their own character” or authors insist “the characters tell the story, I just write it down. ” But these mice? They definitely have their own characters (one is excellent at flying) and each seems to come ready-made with their own name.

If you’re interested in knitting or crocheting a mouse, or ten, to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Society and to set a World Record, for a mile of mice around a football ground in October, please see the Mile of Mice Facebook page for more info. Alternatively you can join the Mile of Mice Ravelry KAL (knit along) group I’ve started.

There are many knitters/crocheters taking part around the world who are sending their mice to England. If you simply want to make a donation the organiser Libby is currently in the process of setting up a ‘Just Giving’ page.

Week 29: CAL Blocks #85 #86 #87

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#85 Lemon stripe

5 1/2″ square

There was some talk amongst some of the CAL block makers that the pattern was wrong and should say to make 4ch in the corners of R5&6, not 3, but I stuck to the pattern and mine’s fine. But then my tension’s not tight at the best of times, you can try it both ways and see what works best for you.

This is not an attractive looking block, in any combination of colours in my opinion. In fact if the BBC Dr Who production team are looking for a fabric covering for aliens then I suggest they look no further.

Nope, still not a fan of the ole popcorns!

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#86 Sunray

5 1/2″ square

I crocheted this a few weeks ago, along with the other blocks of week 28, as it looked straightforward to make while watching something good on telly. I just can’t remember what it was now.

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#87 Peony

5 3/4″ square

After trying once with my usual 4mm hook I used a 5mm for the 2ch foundation chain, then carried on with the 4mm. It was much easier, far far less fiddly and as you’re going to darn in the end nice and neatly, which always tightens up the initial ring, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a bit loose to begin.

There are a few ‘ss into the first of the 3ch’ instructions at the end of some rounds – but you haven’t begun with 3chains. Oops yet again.IMG_2268

None of these blocks make my heart go pitter patter, but the top Sunray block is probably my favourite. Lots of these in nice colour combinations would be a fun throw; I’m thinking rusts, browns and autumnal colours.

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Mile of Mice News: There are now 40 mice knitters in my KAL group on Ravelry. Just look for the Mile of Mice KAL group and come knit a mouse or two along with us. It’s for a very good cause to raise money for The Alzheimer’s Society, and the project will also attempt to set a Guinness World Record in October here in the UK.

The organiser Libby is sorting out a crochet pattern at the moment. If you’re on Facebook and have a mouse crochet pattern, which will make an approximate 9″ mouse from nose to tail, please get in touch with her via the Mile of Mice group.

I’m so embarrassed about my mice bodies pictures (thanks for pointing out why I should be Patch) I’m not even going to link to the post, and you know how much I love linking things. I’ve knitted 7 bodies now. I must knit some ears soon as I already need 14 of the fiddly little things!

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The other day I was watching The Gilmore Girls season 7 and there’s an episode about Stars Hollow holding a knitathon to raise money for local bridge repairs. Just try to see that episode and tell me how many of the actors can actually knit, or look as if they’ve ever held a pair of needles and yarn in their lives?!

I’m new to the lovely Gilmores, it crept up on me slowly from the 5th series or so. At first I thought they gabbled on all the time talking soo fast and were a bit too slick but I’m now watching to the end of the series. I record episodes shown on the Freeview 5* channel which shows one a day at 4pm on weekdays; if you’re also in the UK and want to see what I’m talking about. I then plan to rent the series from 1-4 and see Rory grow up. It’s a bit like Benjamin Button (terrible film!) going from OAP-baby.

Enough waffle! I’m off to heat up the River Cottage parsnip & ginger soup I made earlier and cook some lamb kebabs for dinner. :-D

200 Blocks Crochet Along with Rachell: the THEME!

The final votes for the theme for my CAL have been coming in all weekend. Yesterday one theme (Sea & Sand) began to gather more and more votes, but it didn’t quite make it.

Just to refresh your memory the possible themes were:

Moonlight & Stars
Sea & Sand
Autumn Leaves
Summer Fruits
Cottage Garden

Are you yelling at the screen yet? “Just stop waffling and tell us what it is!!*>!*”

Ok, ok here’s a little clue to the winner…
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For people who like stats here are the final votes in percentages:

Cottage Garden: 33%
Autumn Leaves: 22%
Sea & Sand: 19%
Summer Fruits: 15%
Moonlight & Stars: 11%

Yes! The winning theme is Cottage Garden.

And it’s not too late to join us, everyone welcome.

Originally I was going to link to everyone’s blog. I thought there would be around a dozen people doing this CAL with me, but there are currently 71 people in the Ravelry  group I started alone, and more here, so it’s hard to tell exactly how many.  Judging by the number of messages/votes I’ve had it’s LOTS!

Fantastic! :-D

Just to clarify these are the first blocks we’ll be doing from 1st September when we’ve got our yarn sorted and fingers flexed:
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I’ll be adding a linky image thing for you in a post soon, so if you want to add it to your blog etc you can paste the code in. If there’s anyone who wants to volunteer to try it for me please let me know. :-)

Come and add your Cottage Garden inspired blocks as we go week by week to the group I’ve set up on Flickr  It’ll be fun to see everyone’s yarn choices. We start on 1st September with blocks #1 & #2 and pics can be added from then.

If you get stuck there are some super experienced and friendly crocheters on the Ravelry 200 Blocks Crochet Along with Rachell group who will help. I’ll definitely be there asking for help!

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I’m off now to buy some wool/yarn. I’m still debating how extravagant I want to be, but I am a little fed up with Stylecraft and fancy trying something posh for the first time, but posh don’t come cheap…

:-D