Pick a project!

Knitting a baby blanket at the start of lockdown was great as it really gave me something to focus on and keep me emotionally and mentally level. Since then, my creativity has been all over the place as I’ve struggled to focus on any one thing for very long. That’s not to say I haven’t been creative, it’s just that it’s been channelled in so many different directions that I don’t have much in the way of anything finished to show for it.

We’ve made some progress with our study, which we’ve been working on for about 3 years now! Mr Jack is using it full time for work now, but at least he has a good desk to use. We’ve also put up a bookcase in there which is intended to house as much of my crafty stuff as possible, sewing machines, fabric, notions, yarn, knitting and anything else you can think of.

Speaking of sewing, the boys and I enjoyed watching the Sewing Bee together this year, and as a result I’ve started following more sewists on Instagram, and discovered The Fold line website and its related Facebook group which is such a helpful resource.

I have lots of fabric lined up for various projects which have never quite made it to the cutting board. I’m hoping I might work my way through a few of them, but it’s hard to find the space to lay everything out when everyone needs the table for school work and activities and family meal times.

I have managed to produce a pair of Hudson pants which, while far from perfect (they may yet make their way back to the sewing machine for some alterations) have been a welcome addition to my lockdown wardrobe. Next up will be an Ogden cami using a black and green rayon challis.

I have of course also made a few face masks, but need to churn out a few more now that they’ve been made compulsory in shops here from next week.

I’ve enjoyed watching a few gentle TV programmes, including The Repair Shop where professional craftspeople lovingly restore precious family heirlooms and items of sentimental value to their owners. And I’ve taken inspiration from Your Home Made Perfect, where two architects use virtual reality to showcase their designs for the remodelling of people’s homes.

I’ve been learning how to use SketchUp, a computer aided design programme, which will be useful to me for my job, but has proved brilliant for helping me redesign my living room, for which I’ve had ideas rumbling round my head for a couple of years now, but have previously been unable to pin down to a coherent overall plan. It’ll be another long term project to get it all done, but we’ve already started working on it.

Then there’s the kitchen. We’re not making any drastic changes, just adding in one new drawer unit and moving an under-counter shelf unit around, but it’s been anything but straightforward to do. Why is it that the jobs you think will be easy almost never are!?

There’s been homeschooling and school related projects, growing veggies, planning woodworking projects, (I miss work and power tools!) and Pumpkin is desperate to build a go kart.

Amongst all of these, and other projects I have still been knitting, very slowly, a pair of socks for Pumpkin, the pattern for which had been in my Ravelry queue for several years. This week I finally cast them off, completed the detailing and sewed all the ends in. It does feel good to finish something!

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The final stretch, and a treat for me.

The end is in sight; I am on to the final edging of the blanket!

A little maths meant that I had to cut short the main body of the blanket by one repeat, as I wouldn’t have had enough yarn to do the last repeat as well as the edging. I’ll probably now end up with a little more leftover than I’d like, but not enough to do much with. Ah well.

Hopefully I can get the knitting finished in the next couple of days and then washed and blocked ready to package up and send to its new owner by the end of next week.

During the knitting process, I find stitch markers hugely helpful to keep track of where I am in a pattern. I have some gorgeous plain silver ones I purchased at Unravel a few years ago, but for this project I ideally needed markers in two different designs to show the different repeat points. I have some crochet stitch markers too, from Sconch, but the claw attachment was too small to fit over my 4.5mm needles, and the coloured plastic Pony ones were way too big and clunky – they got in my way more than being helpful. I tried using small loops of scrap yarn, but they were also a pain, and left different coloured fibres caught in the knitting. So what’s a girl to do? Time to treat myself to some new ones!

I tried Sconch, but she had nothing large enough to fit my needles. I tried various other online shops and found nothing suitable, so I turned to Etsy and treated myself to not one, but two sets of gorgeous stitch markers from the lovely The Woolly Tangle.

Some plain rings in three different colours.

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And these gorgeous honeycomb and bee ones.

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They were exactly what I wanted.

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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!

Knit happens

Turns out, when you’re not out at rehearsals/shows every night and at work every day, you get time to do other things. Whodathunkit!?

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It’s slooooow progress, cos these are teeny tiny 2×2 ribbing stitches on less than ideal 2.5mm fixed circular needles (can’t wait to switch up to my knitpro 3mm for the stockinette section), but it’s definitely growing.

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.

Scarf for Pickle

Pickle wants a scarf. He’s been asking for one similar to one I knitted for his older brother some time ago. He’s been asking for about two years. It’s not that I haven’t tried knitting one for him. I’ve cast on several different iterations. I even attempted double knitting, which would make a lovely scarf, but was just such a tediously slow process to actually knit.

Edit: in fact, it turns out I even blogged about the double knitting one, here, almost exactly a year ago. Yeah, I frogged that one!

Anyway, I’m currently rehearsing a show, in which my character appears in three scenes at the beginning of act 1 and three scenes at the end of Act 2. Now that we’ve reached the point where we are doing full run throughs, I have a lot of time in the middle doing nothing, so Pickle’s scarf is now my rehearsal knitting. He picked some colours, I picked a sensible stitch count and I’m finally on a roll with it. He may even get to wear it this winter!

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(I also knit in the car while waiting for the boys to finish run club.)

It’s blocking!

I dont think I’ve ever blocked anything, but this evening I cast off the shrug at last, sewed in the ends where I’d joined in new balls, and dunked the shrug in a sinkfull of cold water. No idea if thats the right way to do it, but that’s what I did.

I pushed it gently under the water to make sure it was fully wet, then drained the sink and gently squeezed out as much water as i could. I rolled it up in a towel, then stretched it out on a dry towel on the sofa and pinned it in place.

Hopefully it will be dry by morning and then all I’ve got to do is sew up each sleeve seam and its done! Amongst all the many other things I have to do tomorrow… *fingers in ears lalala* it’ll be fine! I’m so excited!

Tall cake

Today I am baking. Tins have been hired, boards, drum and dowels have been purchased, the fridge and worktop have disappeared under a mountain of bags of flour and sugar, blocks of butter and I think I bought around 30 eggs.

Today I am baking (part of) my sister’s wedding cake. What an honour!

It’s going to be four tiers, each a different flavour, and each made up of three layers of cake. Something like this one that I found on Pinterest…

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I am baking the most mahoosive chocolate mud cake for the bottom tier, and a coffee sponge for the third tier. Someone else is providing a Victoria sponge for the second tier and another friend is doing the lemon cake for the top. My brother commented that it’s going to be a very big cake. I think he’s right!

 

In other tall news, I am onto the second sleeve of my shrug. I should have a couple hours knitting time once the kids are in bed in our rented apartment this evening, which will hopefully be just enough time to get it finished. I’d like to block it before sewing up the sleeves, but we’ll see how things go.

Tall tales

Progress has been slow. I’ve just worked almost 80 hours in the last seven days, with a get-in for a show, lighting programming and then returning to building panto set, so I’ve not had much time for knitting. I’ve managed the odd few rows during tea breaks, so at least there has been some progress.

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The black yarn is a lifeline and also indicates the end of the first sleeve.

I must admit, hearing that my sister had in fact ordered matching cardigans for me and the other bridesmaid may have taken some degree of urgency out of the project. (I hadn’t told her about my crazy knitting plan in case I couldn’t pull it off!) That said, I still want to get it done if I can.

Tall stories

It’s going ok so far. I’ve knit a whole sleeve, including a whole pattern repeat more than the pattern demands as I wanted it to hit at about 3/4 length rather than just above the elbow. I put in a lifeline at the point where the sleeve becomes the body and managed to add another 12 rows this evening.

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The next few days will be slower progress as we’ve got our summer show going in at work, for which I am involved in rigging and programming the lighting, followed by a couple of days returning to the ongoing build of our Panto set. So knitting time will be restricted by finish times at work, and dependent on how tired I am after full busy days. I’ll get an hour or two at most each evening. Although I could perhaps take it with me to continue during my lunch break – that’d go down without any mocking in the green room, I’m sure!