Saturday, October 18, 2014

This moment...

{this moment}

. . . . . . . . .
{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

The closet of unfinished and abandoned WIPs...

Don't we all have one? Some bag, basket, cupboard, box or drawer where these unloved, forgotten and neglected projects linger? 

Well, mine are in canvas bags, in my office. 

I don't tend to look at them much. It's too depressing. And kind of stressful too, because I feel so guilty about them, just lying there and gathering dust (and possibly moths...).

I'm determined to get rid of some of them this year, though, so I thought I'd round them all up.

First up is Cozy. I actually really like this scarf, and I'm sure I'd wear it if it was ever finished. Unfortunately at the time I didn't buy nearly enough yarn. 

You can see here how far I, well, didn't get... I still have 3 or 4 balls of the cotton blend that I used for this lying around, but with the size of this scarf that's not going to get me very far. It might double the length of the scarf, but since I'd only done about a quarter of it that's still only half-way. :(

This was one of my earliest projects so I really struggled with the lace pattern and put a lot of effort into it at the time. I think knowing that this predates the kids, and getting married, and everything, plus the effort I put into it has so far prevented me from frogging it, but since there is really no way of finishing it the frogging is kind of inevitable.

Next up, my 'felted tote'. Years and years ago I bought some 100% wool yarn on ebay. It was old yarn and not particularly inspiring in its colour or in the way it felt, and eventually I decided that I was going to make a felted bag with it. I used three strands together and very big needles and started knitting a simple rectangle that I would then make into a simple rectangular bag with a flap to close it and a broad strap. The construction would be similar to Satchel, although not quite, because I'm not following any pattern and was just planning on felting the pieces and then cutting and sewing them together with mattress stitch. So once I used up all the yarn the idea was that it would go off into the washing machine, to re-emerge as a sturdy and thick piece of fabric that can be assembled into a sturdy and useful bag for all my papers, and other stuff. Good idea, no? 

Well, that was years ago. YEARS. I knitted quite a bit of it, but as you can see I still have some yarn left. Maybe I'll finish it this year? 

And last but not least, the Easy Raglan V-Neck. This is actually also on the list for Year of Projects, although I've never dared show the WIP itself. I actually really love this pattern and I think I'd get a lot of wear from a simple v-neck jumper like that. What I don't love so much is that GGH Savanna that I'm using for it. The problem is pretty much everything about it - the colour is sort of off-putting, and dirty-looking, and it seems to attract dust and fluff like a magnet, making it really scruffy-looking. I also don't like how the whole thing knits up in a kind of fuzzy way. Add to that that I must have started some other project with it at some point (I have forgotten or repressed what project that might have been), because all those balls are hand-wound and the yarn clearly looks used, so I very much doubt anyone would want it if I offered it around, even if anyone could make friends with the muddy colour... So yeah, you may gather - I'm not a huge fan of this yarn. This means that I cast on for this jumper a few years ago and then just stuck it in a canvas bag and forgot all about it. I'm determined to finish it this year, though, because I think this may actually make a wearable item - maybe not particularly stylish, but warm, and good enough to wear around the house, or for country walks in the winter. 

Second picture is merely so you can enjoy a close-up of how messy this yarn looks. :) 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday and A Year of Projects update

I think it's time that I review my project list for this year again. Things seem to change on there all the time!  

Lombard Street Socks
These are progressing - slowly but surely. I've finally arrived at the heel section for the second sock. Since for some reason the knitting always seems to be faster once the heel is done I am hopeful that I'll finish this project soon.

I'm still considering some DK socks, simply because I'm curious how much faster the knitting would be! So it's either the Skyp Socks or the Breaking Waves, but I'm not sure about the yarn yet. 

So otherwise, where are we, regarding my projects list:

This is going really well. I'm well into the first sleeve, and because this is now just mindless stockinette in the round I tend to pick it up quite a bit when watching TV for example. Last week I posted a picture of how it's looking right now (but forgot to link it to anywhere!). If you want to see it, the post is HERE. It's not changed much, although of course the sleeve is a little longer. 

I'm still contemplating the button question. I think horn would work, or, as Catherine suggested, wood. Alternatively I suppose mustard yellow would be OK, but I'm wondering if it's too much since there are so many buttons... 

 Ink Flare
Yarn: huge hank of green Fleece Artist hand-dyed mohair 

Yarn: Olive wool/cashmere blend
Yes, this is still part of the list! I have a shed-load of this yarn, and it refused to be the Garter Yoke cardi, because although it's supposed to be aran weight it was just too thick to get the correct gauge. I think it might work for the Shalom cardi.

Yarn: orange and yellow handspun

Yarn: sock-weight feltable yarn from stash
Yes, still part of the list!

Yarn: Single skein purple Cascade
Yep, same.

Yarn: GGH Savanna
This is such an awkward project for me. I actually cast on for it ages ago, but I'm really not fond of the yarn. I don't like the mottled brown of it, and from the way it handles just when knitting with it I get the feeling it's going to wear really badly. On the other hand I can't imagine that anyone would want it, after it's been handled so much (I ripped another project, so it's been handled A LOT).

No yarn allocated yet, but I have enough single skeins lying around that it shouldn't be much of a problem.

Yarn: Light brown cashmere / wool blend in heavy Aran

Some of the swapped cotton yarn I've recently acquired!

I fancy a couple of those for the table. Any number of cotton leftovers will do for this.

pot holders
Possibly Hilde's Hot Pads, or or the Blue & White Pot Holders, or the Flower Pot Holders. I'm inspired by my Gran's old 1950s potholders which I inheriteda few years ago when she sadly passed away, so I'm thinking of a nice retro cream/orange/brown colour combo. 

I'll likely use some of the ivory sock yarn I have lying around in abundance.

Cable Cushion
Either the Cable & Twist cushion or the Super Chunky Rope Cable Cushion, or possibly the Super Chunky Basketweave Cushion. Or perhaps all of them?
Yarn: This is going to be knitted with some white Shetland that I still have from ripping an old jumper out. 

And of course there is the Scheepjes Mystery Crochet Blanket CAL
I joined this a few weeks ago and ordered the yarn. A couple of days ago Deramores emailed me to say that my order is finally being processed so I'm expecting the yarn to arrive any day now. I have some catching up to do because the CAL started two weeks ago, meaning that two pieces of the pattern are out now. Still, it's about 12 squares so if I receive the yarn soon I should be able to manage it. 

Finished Projects

This actually got a bit of wear these past couple of weeks. The weather has been cold and drizzly, and we went to see friends at their farm near Sheffield (which is another post, because I got a whole Chevier fleece from them!!). Boy #1 took this picture of me with Ink Flare in action. :)

Socks for boys
Done, done, and done! They love their knitted socks, those three, so I'm sure there will be more to come. 

Yarn: Berry Handspun (by me)
I'm wearing this all the time, so I'm already planning another one. I fancy the 1-hour Herringbone Cowl... 

Granny Square Blanket
We all love this blanket. It's on the sofa and every evening the boys snuggle up under it to read or watch TV. Definitely one to stay! 

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Some time to reset the mind...

I was feeling a bit out of sorts today. Everything seemed to get the better of me and by lunchtime I was feeling thoroughly frazzled and ill-tempered. Not a great way to be on a Sunday, and if I wasn't benefiting from my foul mood neither was the family. D suggested that I take myself off for some me-time at the allotment. I had to run an errant anyway, the kids were playing, and boy#3 had refused to get properly dressed all morning and was clearly in no state to go out that very moment, and I gratefully accepted his suggestion. 

So this is how I wound up at the allotment on a rather hazy and foggy Sunday, on my own, with a flask of peppermint tea and the camera. It was lovely. I cut some of the last autumn flowers and then I just sat and sipped my tea, and I was still for a while. Having this moment of quiet and calm felt very precious, and when 10 minutes later D arrived with the boys because they'd been adamant that they needed to come to help mummy at the allotment that felt equally precious and I was so happy to see them and to kiss their dear little faces and give them a cuddle. Sometimes all you need is a little moment to find yourself again. 


Friday, October 10, 2014

{this moment}

. . . . . . . . .

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

WIP Wednesday

I apologise for the terrible pictures in this post, but I've been at work all day and only got round to taking them this evening, while the boys were watching Abney and Teal on Cbeebies. I was also already wearing my pyjamas... ahem. 

So yeah, not the perfect photoshoot, but at least there is an update, right? RIGHT?  ;)

Anyway, this is the view from the back, just to show what the yoke section looks like:

And this is the view from the front. Again, the yoke section, because, well, the mirror was a bit too high to show the rest of it. 

So what you can't see here is that I've finished the body and have started knitting the sleeves. I've finished about a quarter of the first sleeve, but the last couple of days I've had a really bad kink in my neck and it impacts on how much I can knit in the evening. Still, it's good progress and I can't wait to wear the cardi! 

What buttons does it want, though? Will need to ponder this...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The quiet after (and before) the storm...

I've been quiet this past week because... well, it's been busy around here last week. Boy #3 was christened, and in honor of the occasion the German and English parts of the family all turned out in (nearly) full force. The only person who couldn't be there was my dad's partner, something that was regretted by all. We had my dad, my step-sister and her partner staying with us, and D's mum was also putting up various people. Everything went well, the christening was fine, the party after was great fun (the family cherishes the few occasions we get to get together), including even a spontaneous jam session with D on his banjo, his brother on the guitar, and other family members joining in with spoons and drums. A few days after that it was boy #1's birthday so we had yet another party! We've had quite an exciting week!

It was nice having people stay over. Our guests made themselves at home, helped out, played with the boys, who were delighted that we had people staying over who were such fun (aren't kids always all about 'the more the merrier'?!). We had good food and good conversation, and I even got some knitting done (yes, I did! I just didn't get round to blogging about it!).

All that said, the night after we'd waved the last of our guests good bye, and after we'd brought the kids up to bed, D and I sat down on the sofa and stretched out legs. It was quiet in the house. I picked up the knitting and D picked up his banjo and we just sat, not talking, just reclaiming our home. It was lovely having guests, but it was also exhausting, and it's often only once they've left that you realise quite how exhausting it can be, even if those guests are the nicest of people, even if they help out and carry out the dishes, even if they play with the children, and even if they don't insist on partying well into the early hours every night. 

Well, after all that was done we had a few quiet days and then, yesterday, it was the start of the university term, so that's it with peace and quiet for the next 12 weeks!! I'm still knitting, and I will still blog, but it might not be quite as frequent as it often was over the summer. 

Anyway, I might as well show you what I have been up to:

Yes, this is indeed the Garter Yoke Cardi! We've reconnected, that cardi and I, and with all that sitting and chatting in the evening I'm managed to do a good deal of work on it. I'm past the decrease and the increase sections, so it's just plain old stockinette until I get to the right length now. I've quite enjoyed knitting it, although I had a couple of near-misses with those button holes. So many button holes! So two of them were 18 rather than 16 rows apart. I don't think it'll show in the end. 

I've also done a bit of work on the Lombard Street sock - not much, but whenever just a bit, here and there. I'm about 2 or 3 repeats of the pattern away from doing the heel. 

There is no rush with these socks. I'm enjoying them, but it's OK if they take a month longer, in particular as G, the lovely auntie who came all the way from Germany for boy#3s Christening and brought two pairs of socks for all three boys (she knitted 6 pairs of socks in about 4 weeks!!!) is determined to now knit for D and I. I gave her some of my huge stash of sock yarn to take back with her but she clearly thought my huge sock yarn mountain wasn't sufficient because I heard her muttering to herself that she might buy some more once she is back home to make sure that we definitely won't go without sufficient knitted socks this winter. I can't tell you how delighted I am about this development. The boys love their knitted socks and have been wearing them lots at the weekend (school days mean black socks I'm afraid...). 

In other news - do you see this:

Interesting, isn't it? In the throws of yet another bout of knitting insanity I decided to wind some cream coloured yarn I had from frogging a jumper up into a ball so I could use it to knit a pillow. i was envisioning a thick cable pattern...  Not possessing a nostepinne I decided to wind the whole thing around a pen so I could make it into a centre-pulling ball. It worked really well - until I decided to take the pen out. It won't come out. Believe me, I have tried. AND TRIED. It's stuck for good. Brilliant. Don't you just love a job well done? 

But anyway, that pillow. I had it all planned out. I know, I know, I really should focus on the 358 projects that I have already started and I haven't actually started it, but it would look so nice on the sofa... 

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Well, I've gone and done it now...

I've signed up for the Scheepjes CAL 2014.


This is a mystery crochet blanket CAL and it will start on 3rd October - just in time for the new teaching term! What on earth was I thinking?!? The end date is just before Christmas, on 19th December. It's all pretty terrible timing, but the idea that I'd manage to end up with a new blanket in such a short space of time was too much to resist.

And to be honest, I think it was also the vibrant colours that tempted me - so pretty! You can see them better HERE. The link goes to the kit that Deramores sells for the CAL (yes, it has it's own kit!).

In order to stick with my plan for this year of NO SPENDING on yarn I even planned this one. I sold a number of things that I'd been meaning to sell for ages, and waited until I had the funds together to buy the kit. See how I'm tricking myself into thinking that I haven't actually spent any money on this? See?

I almost convinced myself too!

In any case, there you are - more starteritis. I'd better finish some of these WIPs before the beginning of October now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Progress update... and another quick FO

Progress this week is less spectacular as last week (after all, I'm not finishing a whole blanket every week!), but it's been steady. With the granny square blanket finished and the sock still stuck in my office at work (I've been working from home a lot this week) I've reconnected with the Garter Yoke Cardi.

I have to say that now that the garter section is finished I'm enjoying it a lot more. I don't really like knitting garter stitch for too long. It's odd really - shouldn't it be easier and quicker than stockinette? I think I just enjoy seeing that smooth stockinette stitch fabric grow as I knit. 

Here is the cardi as it looks now:

Gratuitous close up of the increase:

I've finished the increase section and I'm about to separate the sleeves from the body. They are supposed to go on waste yarn, which is why I stopped knitting - I was at D's mum's house and I didn't have any waste yarn with me. 

This is obviously not even nearly finished, so it's going to stay with me for a while, but a lot of the more concentration-heavy stuff is done (as long as I can keep track of all those button holes. So many button holes!!) so it should be quite good mindless knitting while the house is full of family for boy #3's Christening. 

I do have one little FO to share, though - here is the little granny square pillow I was knitting with the spare granny squares last week:

It's just the one side - once it was done I carefully sewed it to the existing cushion cover. I'm really happy with it. The construction was easy - 9 granny squares, then 2 rows of double crochet around each square. I then crocheted all the squares together and started double crochet rows around and around the set of squares until it was nearly the right size. Right towards the end I added one row of the same pattern that I used for the squares (triple crochet, 3 into one stitch, then a gap of 2 stitches, etc) followed by 1 row of chain stitch. At the moment the pillow is on the sofa but I think eventually it may live in Matilda the caravan. 

More of Matilda and my plans for her to come later in the week! :) 

I played along with:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

All the To-Dos...

Just look at that pile of bedding...

It's been a bit hectic in our house these past few days. A lot of tidying, cleaning, sorting going is going on.

The reason? Well, it's the start of term soon, and that's always the time in our house to get organised, to start thinking about how to optimise things around here to keep the (not so) well oiled machine of our chaotic household ticking over when my work timetable is less flexible than it is over the summer. Oh, I work a lot over the summer, but it's my work, my writing. With term starting it becomes less about that and more about following a set teaching timetable. It's not bad per se, in fact in some ways it's helpful, but it does mean that we have to become a bit more organised as a family because there is just less slack in the system.

The main reason for the increase of activity these past few days is boy #3's impending Christening. We've been meaning to do this for ages and had, in fact, fixed on a date a few times, but there were always good reasons to postpone - illness, a recent loss in the family, another big family do, ... - and before we knew it boy #3 was 2 1/2 years old. After coming back from our holiday this summer we decided to just get. it. done. We told the families and a few friends, and we let everyone know that while we'd love it if they could join us, we were aware that it was short notice and we were not planning a big do, so nobody would be upset or sulking if for one reason or another things didn't work out and people couldn't make it. 

Well, it turns out that most people actually could make it, meaning that the house will be rather full for the next week or so. I've been tidying and cleaning, and getting out extra bedding, and I'm wondering what we might cook to feed them all. I'm looking forward to it all, though, even while I'm also trying to snatch a few minutes here and there of quiet time - a stroll through the garden, a little chat with the chicken ladies, a cup of tea while gazing at my sewing and knitting utensils in the craft room, which is shortly to be handed over to our guests.