Grow, rainbow, grow

We’ve been away on holiday this week, and it’s been lovely. We had our first experience of Butlins and enjoyed all the activities on offer – swimming, shows, fun fair, archery and mini-Segway, as well as plentiful food and time together as a family away from electronic devices (as much as possible) and spending time playing board and card games and reading instead.

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I was glad to have a knitting project with me and that hat has grown considerably, progressing from a rainbow spiral brim to mini stripes of glorious vivid rainbow flashes. And oh, how happy I was to be done with the teeny tiny 2×2 ribbing and switch up to stockinette on my preferred Knitpro interchangeables!

I’m in a hurry to get this done now, as I’ve just promised to make a baby blanket for a friend who’s due in April. Better get a move on!

Have yarn, will knit

I havent knit for months. Work has been crazy busy since November, first panto, and then stage managing a show. Life was kinda crazy busy before that as well. February at last grants me a little ‘me time’.

Cuddlebums had a sale on. Somehow I couldn’t resist and these two skeins of sparkle sock yarn fell through my door last week.

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One of them is destined to be a hat – I’m currently trying to decide between sockhead slouch hat and Wurm.

Anyone got a preference or a recommendation?

Now I just have to find the time and energy to wind them into balls.

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.

ALL the crafts.

Why is it that when there is stuff you really *should* be doing, like, y’know, packing and cleaning your entire house, sorting, sifting and culling vast amounts of junk and generally getting ready to move house, THAT’s when you most want to just do ALL the crafting?

I’m slowly working on my Stripes Gone Crazy. I’m almost down to the first colour change, which is exciting stuff. I’m not 100% convinced my sizing is quite right – it seems like it might come out a little narrow at the shoulders, but I’m not quite sure, so of course I’m just ploughing on regardless. I haven’t quite figured out the problem of not having quite enough yarn yet either, but I think I can contact the seller I bought it from at some point when I’m more sure what I need.

I had a great conversation over lunch with a friend the other day, who is just getting started on crochet. I think she’s already a perfectly competent knitter, but she wanted a bit of advice on a new project which I was only too happy to help her with. I ended up coming home and immediately casting on (would you say casting on for crochet? Looping on?) a hat for her little man. She actually wanted booties for him, but they can be part of a set, right!?

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I’m also hankering after a sewing project or two now. I cracked my sewing machine out briefly in the summer to do a couple of mending jobs. Firstly I searched high and low to find a new backpack for a trip I was taking and couldn’t find anything that was quite what I was looking for, so I fixed up the tear in the top of my old one. Good as new!  Then I repaired a couple of worn patches in some jeans. I used iron on patches for one area, but got a little more creative on a hole in the pocket.

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I placed a small patch behind the fabric and did some long stitches in zigzags to hold it together. It’s not the neatest thing ever, but I quite like the look of it.

I’m not sure how much longer this pair of jeans will hold up for though, and honestly, trying to find some new trousers or jeans that I like and actually fit me well is proving to be a tough and tedious job. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried on around 20 pairs of trousers in various shops in the last week. Which has got me keen on the idea of attempting to sew myself a pair.

I’ve ordered some fabric online (I’m never quite sure how wise it is ordering something like that online when you can’t accurately judge either colour or texture) and am scouting out patterns. I think the Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers pattern is top of the picks at the moment. I’ve never sewn a garment before, so it’ll be a whole new voyage of discovery for me, but I’m up for the challenge. Well, I will be, once I’ve moved house and unpacked and done all the things that need doing to get the new place shipshape…

And then there’s cake. Pumpkins birthday approaches, so he’ll no doubt request some crazy cake creation once again. I’m definitely not doing Toothless again!

 

A blogging bat-hat-strophe!

I suddenly seem to be back on a yarny kick at the moment.

Pumpkin was invited to the super-hero themed birthday party of a girl in his class. I was reliably informed that her favourite colours were also pink and purple, so I hit upon the idea of making a hat in pink and purple, with the logo of a famous superhero, which I imagine is not the kind of combination that is readily available on the highstreet!

I found a charted pattern for the logo on Ravelry, and set to work. I’ve never done colour work before, so that was an interesting new challenge. My tension was a bit shoddy, as I struggled to catch the floats in evenly, and so the final logo was a little puckered in places, but overall not a bad attempt.

Unfortunately, despite thinking constantly all the way through the knitting process that I needed to get a good photo of it for blogging, I totally failed to snap any shots of it whatsoever, so you’ll just have to imagine how great it looked!

Pumpkin was also an utter disaster on the feedback front. He couldn’t give me any indication as to the little girls reaction when he finally gave it to her in class (only a couple of weeks after the party by which I’d intended to have it completed!) . Luckily I stood next to her mum in the pick up queue yesterday afternoon, and she told me it had gone down very well. How nice and reassuring it is to know that your handknits are appreciated!

World Book Day also inspired me to craft. Being the super organised mother that I am, I asked the boys what they’d like to dress up as for World Book Day, oh, about 4pm the day before, so we ended up with rather low-key costuming. Pumpkin went as Mog from the books by Judith Kerr, simply wearing a white T shirt, and a grey zipped jumper and grey trousers. He reluctantly submitted to having whiskers drawn on with eyeliner, but refused point-blank to wear the cat-ears-on-a-headband that his daddy had lovingly made for him. “I’m NOT wearing a headband, mummy!”

Pickle wanted to go as The Little Red Train, from the book sby Benedict Blathwayt, but since I didn’t fancy being up til the small hours engineering a train costume from a cardboard box, nor did I relish the thought of sending the child to nursery in such a costume, I persuaded him to go as Duffy Driver from the books instead. He was amenable, so a white shirt, blue trousers and (mostly) blue zipped top formed the basis of the costume. We dispensed with the necessity for a hat, since Duffy rarely seems to wear his, and the only thing that was required to complete the outift was a red tie. Short on time and short on materials, I settled on crochet as the quickest means of producing a tie. And sure enough, by the end of the day I had this:

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I’m not sure how fashionable a crochet tie might be, but a 2 year old fortunately doesn’t seem to mind, and he looked very smart!

It’s not easy being green

Greetings if you are visiting from The Twisted Yarn‘s utterly bonkers Escher post. It’s caused a lovely flurry of visitors to my little corner of the world, so hello!

This is CBeebies Peter Rabbit. It has the most amusingly epic theme tune for a kids TV show, but don’t worry, I won’t sing it to you. I’ve watched it for quite a while with my boys, but it wasn’t until Pumpkin was invited to a friend’s birthday party with a Peter Rabbit theme, that I really noticed little Benjamin Bunny’s lovely green hat.

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Benjamin Bunny – he has a pretty cute little brown leather jacket too.

I’ve never knitted a hat before, but as usual I thought ‘how hard can it be?’. I couldn’t find anything that was specifically a Benjamin Bunny pattern, so I opted for the most basic hat pattern I could find and went from there. Finding a suitable yarn was my first big challenge. I wanted something chunky so that it would work up quickly, but there was a definite lack of any nice greens available in any of my local(ish) yarn shops. I opted for a bluey green in King Cole’s big value chunky in Seaspray.

I started knitting before Christmas and then got distracted by other projects, so of course by the time I came back to it, I’d forgotten that I was working from an adult hat pattern and needed to leave out a couple of increase rows. I knitted on, but have now ended up with a hat that is too big for Pumpkin, but doesn’t suit Mr Jack as a plain beanie (strangely, he’s not keen on wearing a Benjamin Bunny hat with a big red pompom on top).

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It’s a hat, but not the hat I wanted.

So I’ve taken pictures and will chalk it up to a ‘learning experience’ and part of the ‘design’ process. Yes. And now it’s time to riiiiiiiip-it riiiiiippppp-it.

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Off we go – just look at those ribbing stitches celebrating their freedom!

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That’s a big pile of yarn!

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Ahhhhhh… and a neatly wound ball, ready to begin again.

It’s frustrating, but also strangley satisfying to rip out so much. Hopefully I’ll have learnt from my mistakes and the second attempt will work beautifully. Do you think there’s any market for writing up a Benjamin Bunny hat pattern?