Winging it

I’m having a creative streak it seems. In the last few days, I’ve cast on two new knitting projects.

A couple of years ago, in my early days of knitting, I made a very basic stripey red and yellow garter scarf for Pumpkin. It’s terrible and tatty, but he still wore it last winter and probably will this year. Recently, Pickle has been asking for his own scarf to wear. He’s quite particular about what he wants – he certainly knows his own mind – and his ideas seem to be largely based on his brothers scarf. Yellow and blue stripes.

I trawled Ravelry with him for pictures, but nothing really matched his description, so the best thing to do, I figured, was just to wing it. He chose the colours he wanted out of my modest stash of Stylecraft Special DK and I got to work. I wanted something with a bit more structure to it than Pumpkin’s stretched and straggly thing, so I YouTubed double knitting and here we are.

It’s 25 stitches wide and I’m just going to see what happens as I go along. The double knitting is pretty easy once you get started and have figured out how best to hold the yarn.

I also spent some time trawling Ravelry for something new for myself. I had ideas of ripping out my very first cardigan, March Basic, which I’ve never really worn, and reknitting it into some sort of tunic. Whilst looking for tunic patterns, I came across something else which took my fancy.

Studying the photos and the various projects listed, I realised it used a leaf motif I already knew from a hat I’d previously made, and I could figure out the general construction. Since I wanted to modify the shape of the garment a fair bit away from the design I could see in the photos, I figured I wouldn’t buy the pattern but just figure it out for myself. I cant decide if that’s cheating or not? What are the ethics of not buying a pattern when you’ve been inspired by a photo of it, but want to change it? Answers on a postcard.

Anyway, I like a bit of knit-maths and can use a good brain workout every now and again, so I’m just going to go with the ‘wing it’ approach on this one too. There’s been a certain amount of ripping and tinking and fudging so far, but here’s what I’ve got.

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Do you always use a pattern or do you enjoy working things out for yourself?

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Finally finished!

Please forgive the utterly dreadful photo, but I just couldn’t wait to show you this. Its been about 2 years, and an awful lot of procrastination in the making, but today I finally knuckled down to sewing in the last few ends and attaching the buttons.

Loooooooook!

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It really needs blocking, but I’m so pleased it’s done that I’ve just thrown it on and started wearing it. I’ll block it when it gets washed.

Now I can allow myself to move on to other projects. Hooray!

What’s the longest you’ve worked on a project for?

Knitting and Stitching 2018

It’s been quite a week!

I have spent a larger than average amount of time crafting in one way or another. The costume bits for the musical involved a lot of hand sewing. I returned the set to the wardrobe mistress and she’s giving me another whole set to do this week.

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I bound off the sleeves of Crazy Stripes at long last and have begun the lengthy task of sewing in many many ends. Buttons and blocking will follow soon.

I moved my attention to costumes for the boys for World Book Day. The process was taking longer than I anticipated when I finally got round to it, but fortunately I was given a reprieve when school declared a postponement and then a snow day! It will be rescheduled for sometime in the next week and I still have a little work to do so I’ll save the details for another time.

I finally finished the alpaca hat just in time to give it to my bestie on the train this morning on our way to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Kensington Olympia. She will need to attach the pompom on the top and I still have the scarf to finish, but it was good to get the hat done.

I went to Knitting and Stitching without much intention to purchase as I still have several projects in the works, and yet I still managed to come home with a fair haul.

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I picked up a couple of thimbles as all that hand sewing on costumes made me realise my fingers were in dire need of some protection. I nabbed a fat quarter for some details on Pumpkin’s Book Day costume. I had a rummage in a box full of assorted patterns and picked up three for a tenner that I thought would be useful to use with fabric I already have.

Actually, one of the three required new fabric, so I went in search amongst the various stands, but I struggled to find what I was looking for. Lauren at Guthrie and Ghani was immensely helpful and though she didn’t have quite what I wanted, she and her staff helped me work out what it was that I needed so I knew what to look for if I resorted to ordering something online. As it turned out, just as we were leaving, I spotted a stand that had a rack of various bolts of fabric for just 2.50 per metre, which included a bolt of black stretch denim, which was a perfect alternative for my pattern. At that price, it was worth it even if just for a practise make. I also nabbed a metre of blue jersey at the same price.

Finally, not being totally satisfied, I also bought a metre of this cute llama jersey which will become a top using the other pair of black sleeves that I cut when making my pink top.

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We had a fab day and I can’t wait to get working on some of these projects.

 

That’s what friends are for!

Life’s been rather busy here of late. Suffice to say I’ve not had much time for crafting and even less for blogging. I’ve rehearsed and performed one show already this year and I have a musical nearing curtain up.

I’ve done a spot of flower arranging; my cardigan just needs binding off, buttons and blocking. The alpaca hat and scarf for my bestie is in a state of perpetual WIP – I’m not sure they’ll be done in time for wear before the weather warms up. Soz, C! I’ve missed Unravel Festival for this year, although I will be going to the Knitting and Stitching Show with my bestie in a couple of weeks time – excited, much? Thanks, C! (Anyone else going?) I’ve just been given a stack of costume bits to sew for the musical. But looooook what my bestie just brought back from holiday for me…

Ain’t she just the best!? Just gotta find time to knit them now…!

Fear

What do you do when you’ve been working on a project for so long, and you’re so close to the end, but you have fear that it’s all totally wrong?

I love the pattern, I love the colours. In general I like how it looks. I’m terrified that it doesn’t fit well, the neckline is too wide, there is way too much ease around the body. I have no idea what blocking will do to it, whether it will grow or not, whether the sleeves will end up too long. I’m not sure I like the texture of the neck band. Will I even wear it once it’s done, if it ever gets done? Could I bring myself to rip the whole thing if I decide it’s just not right?

Is this a normal part of garment making or am I overthinking? I’m so close to finishing it, but so terrified of the end result not being what I want.

Good times!

I do enjoy Christmas. The run up is always a little crazy with school nativities and activities, parties, planning and shopping, decorating, preparing and wrapping. I’ve had rehearsals for two different shows as well as taking part in my church carol service – learning the harmonies for various carols has been a particular highlight!

I also ended up with various creative projects on the go too. Along with the apron for my nephew which I showed you last time…

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There was a fair isle hearts hat for my niece. I used the TinCanKnits Clayoquot Toque pattern as the starting point, but changed it up with a folded brim and my own design for the hearts.

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And a wheat bag for my sister in law, which I made from a little corduroy skirt I found in a charity shop. I used my mum’s sewing machine to sew it – she’s got an all singing, all dancing Janome machine that took a little getting used to, but sewing machine aspirations right there! – and filled it with wheat and homegrown lavender.

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There’s also been a fair amount of baking. Vanilla shortbread and slightly experimental apple and cinnamon cupcakes with caramel buttercream (I’ll be making those again!). My first ever meringue kisses made in a hurry to use up some egg whites before we went away for a few days, and my first ever Christmas pudding which fed the family on Christmas Day.

Fortunately, Christmas itself is a time to chill out and spend time relaxing with family and generally not doing too much except eat and wash up and eat some more and keep the kids entertained!

When we travel up to spend time with my family, Mr Jack and I like to spend time on the journey reflecting on the year past. It’s been a good one, with lots of things falling into place following the last couple of years of upheaval with house hunting, moving, school uncertainties etc. The boys are well settled at their new school, and we feel better rooted in our new house and town. I’ve surprisingly become a runner over the last year. I’m loving parkrun, and though I didn’t quite officially meet my target of a sub-30 minute 5k parkrun by Christmas, I have done sub-30 training runs and I’m not far off that at parkrun. I’ve also shed nearly 2 and a half stone thanks to Slimming World. I aimed to be at target by Christmas and was just a couple of pounds away. Technically that’s within the target range anyway, so I’ll call it a win! I feel very boring going on about food and pounds but ultimately I feel so much better for having done it and just for me!

I’ve been involved in some great theatre this year too and am so excited for what’s lined up for next year already. My first turn in  Shakespeare in February followed by a fun musical in March and then I’m booked to see both Harry Potter and Hamilton in London during April.

Then of course there’s also Unravel in Feb and the Knitting and Stitching show in March too. Plenty to be looking forward to.

For now though, I’m going to enjoy a few more days of food and family and a chance to not do much. Maybe I’ll manage to get this second crazy sleeve done before the year is out. Now that would be an achievement!

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Collective crafting

Tonight I had an impromptu craft evening with my best friend and fellow craft enthusiast.

We had a lovely chilled out evening, listening to music and chatting over her dining  table; me with my knitting, and her on the sewing machine. Check out the cute cupcake pouch she made for me!

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I took my cardigan and we looked at the sleeve length and decided it needs a couple more rows before the cuff. I should be able to get that done in the next couple of days as long as I don’t get distracted, (I may have cast on another colourwork hat…) and then on to the second sleeve. The end is surely in sight now!

I’ve even done quite well out of the evening. She’s tried knitting and crochet, but sewing is definitely her forte, so she handed me a bag of the most gorgeous alpaca fluff to finish off a scarf she’d been working on, and to knit her a matching hat! Lucky me!

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Fair Isle first

I knit another hat. I knit a stranded colourwork hat. I can knit Fair Isle! Woah! This opens up a whole load of new knitting adventures!

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This is the free pattern Clayoquot Toque from Tin Can Knits. They’ve just run a week long blog series on using colour in knitting, which inspired me to have a go at something a bit different from usual. Their post of tips for knitting fair isle was really helpful.

I used Stylecraft Special DK as I have a lot of that in my stash, in a variety of colours. After reading some of the posts on colour choosing strategies, I picked 3 colours that I thought would work well together and would suit Pumpkin, and got knitting. I was surprised by how easy it was once I worked out how to flick with one colour and pick with the other. Rows of three colours were more tricky, but there’s only two of those so it wasn’t too much of a challenge. I loved seeing the pattern emerge and will definitely be knitting more fair isle in the future. Even the floats on the reverse side look quite pretty!

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Pumpkin wanted a pompom added after I took these photos. The pom pom was not entirely successful but it’ll do for now. Pumpkin likes it.

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Now I think I’d better get back to those crazy annoying sleeves.

Leaves

I’ve had a quiet week, the like of which I’ve not known for quite some time! The usual school runs and children’s activities have happened as normal, but I’ve had no rehearsals and I’ve run no errands and done no shopping. I needed some downtime. That’s not to say I’ve done nothing at all. I’ve been working on two projects, one of which is still in progress, but I hope to reveal the finished object soon.

The second was a very quick win. I’ve been itching to cast on something different for a long time but have been steadfastly resisting as I want Crazy Stripes finished. I’m so bored of the sleeves though that I’m just not knitting at all. On Tuesday evening I gave in and dug a ball of yarn out of my stash. This yarn was destined to be a hat for Pickle. I bought it a couple of years ago with the intention of making him a Benjamin Bunny hat a la CBeebies Peter Rabbit cartoon. I tried coming up with my own pattern for it but after a couple of attempts, for reasons I don’t recall any more – it probably didn’t fit or didn’t look right – it got frogged and banished to the stash box.

On Tuesday it reappeared, a quick trawl of Ravelry was executed and knitting recommenced. By Thursday evening, it was off the needles and on Pickle’s head.

It’s called Leaf Hat available free on Ravelry. Its a lovely pattern to knit, but unfortunately isnt terribly well written. The guage seems off, although I was adjusting for a difference in yarn weight and for size, and the crown decrease instructions are particularly unclear. Fortunately, reading back through other completed projects often proved useful and someone had taken the time to rewrite that part of the pattern, so it was no bother in the end.

Pickle loves it and it fits well. I’d definitely consider making another! Perfect for cold weather. Maybe he’ll help with raking up the leaves in the garden over the weekend!