Somewhere I can let out my inner crafter without being labeled as even more insane.

Yes, that’s right everyone, two new shiny finished things to show off 🙂 I am clearly very productive over holidays!

Firstly: the pillowcase. Technically this isn’t yet finish-finished, but eh. The knitting is all done, so I’m unilaterally deciding it counts.

Now it’s done, I’m going to take a break from scrappy knitting (at least, knitting with my sock scraps. I’m still working on the other scrappy project, because that’s not really scrappy.) I need to build up my scrap collection again before I do myself a pillowcase. In mitred squares. But in a while. 🙂

And my second finish: the wolf!!!!!!

I am soooooooo glad this is finally finished! In the end, I raced to the end- there is a lot of backstitching in the bottom left corner, and I did a ‘will I finish or throw it accross the room and ignore it for three months’. Luckily, I finished first. I’m completely ignoring the mistake I made with the wolf whiskers- they’re supposed to be done in a different colour, but I can’t tell the difference between thin blue and thick blue lines, and I’m not fixing it now. Now to find a frame for it- it’s 6 by 8 inches so I should be able to find a suitable photo frame for it. Now, onto the next cross stitch project 😀

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So I wasn’t going to write about this blanket again for a while, but I kinda sorta accidentally (not really) finished the two things I did think I could talk about, so this blanket it is 🙂

According to ravelry I started this in November, which is slightly problematic since the yarn was (supposed to be) an advent calender to myself…oops. Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter since I haven’t yet finished the yarn I got (but have ordered quite a bit more ot carry on, since I have nearly finished it).

Isn’t it pretty???? I would say that I dislike following the crowd, and this blanet is no exception. Most people do mitred squares sock yarn blankets, my first one was hexagons. The second (the pillowcase) and third (this one) are using the ‘traditional’ mitred squares, but with different construction (corner out for the pillowcase, and middle out for this one). I also stick the decreases on the wrong side rows beause I dislike the ridge they form. The other side looks so much prettier in my mind 🙂 This is the back of it:

Well, that’s all from me for now. New post on Friday, since I have shiny finished things to show off 😀

Two things to talk about today! Aren’t you all lucky 😉

 

Firstly: new socks! This weekend is 4 days due to all the bank holidays we have floating around! And how better to spend it than b starting a pair of green Spring socks? (Other than working, but I couldn’t do that thanks to my building being shut 😦 ). So, new socks! I am particularly impressed with how the ribbing ended up being framed in the way it was- I was willing to do a complete new colour in order to do it, but it turned out that two colours being framed like this results in 1 inch perfectly 😀

And the pattern is just flying off the needles. The thing I am most excited about project bird socks is pushing me so far out of my comfort zone. I’ve borrowed a number of sock books from someone in my spinning group, and I chose patterns as best I could based on what traits in the yarn I wanted to display (so Spring colours for this green), without looking at how the sock is constructed. I’m looking forward(ish) to doing new things I haven’t done before (or maybe only done once or twice, and then ignored). Here’s to learning new things!

 

The second thing is also about learning new things, or at least experimenting. For my OLAS cardigan (the big cabled thing), I want to put in pockets, but not afterthought ones. Which got me thinking about what has been written about knitted pockets (not much), and what is possible. So now I’m experimenting with different pockets, and will discuss each of them on the blog. (As mentioned in the last blog post, where I mention my monthly goals). And how better to try new things than by killing two birds with one stone, and knitting it left-handed??? (I want to learn proper left-handed, which is different to knitting backwards to avoid purling so I can teach a lefty properly 🙂 More on this at a later date). So here I am knitting essentially a gauge swatch, but will have a trick up its sleeve later, feeling a lot like a beginner again!

Another month gone…where are they going??? So, before I get inot the goals, firstly I want to show off my new finished things.

Socks! Who doesn’t love socks? This pic is of them drying after they’ve been worn for the first time, because I had to wear them straight away!

This pair have afterthought heels, which I really dislike because of the kitchener stitch…

And secondly, another sewn card! (Note: I say another…it’s been quite a while since the last one I did. These are done by punching holes in the card with a large stabby needle, then sewing them in a set pattern with a smaller needle and metallic thread. The companies which produce the cards are form-a-lines (for the A6 size) and…I thought there was a sister company for square cards but I can’t find them again so maybe I imagined it or something…)

This is for a couple I know who are getting married in April. I had to change the pattern slightly so that both hands are holding top hats- in the original design the hand on the right had a handkercheif. I’m very pleased how this came out in the end.

Finally: a bird! This is a generic one done to see how large they are when finished- I think it might be a smidge too large for the planned use, so I’ll have to go down to embroidary thread and *very* small knitting needles (1mm I’m thinking)

So, the March goals I had:

1) Finish my mother’s first pair of socks. Done! The ends are even woven in, that’s how done they are:)

2) Carry on the wolf cross stitch. Done! I hit 75% at the weekend, so go me!

3) Sew the wedding card. Done! See above 🙂

 

4) Get gauge on cockatoo brae. Done! Sleeves are half(ish) done! More up to date picture of sleeves so far:

5) Stick all my sock yarn (not the stuff for project bird socks) on ravelry and find projects for them. Done! See my ravelry account. (Link opens to my stash page filtered to only include yarn with projects associate with it in a new tab). Obviously, this isn’t all my stash, but it’s all my sock yarn here in Bristol. Bonus: I actually also added all my yarn here in Bristol (including my handspun, although I’m not convinced I’ve done that bit correctly…), and found patterns for almost all of it (including my mothers bird socks). This brings me to a total of 28 projects in my queue, of which 26 are socks…

So, next months goals..

  1. Finish the sleeves on cockatoo brae
  2. Carry on with the wolf cross stitch (I’d like to finish but think it unlikely given that this final quarter is more complicated than the last and I only just hit 75%)
  3. Knit up and write a blog post about afterthought pockets. (I want to in the end do a series on different pockets, and I figure that an afterthought one is probably the easiest to start with…)
  4. Knit another pair of the bird socks (or at least get the first one done. I’m planning on doing the socks in their pairs, so this next pair will be cardamon main colour and bluetit cuffs, heels and toes).
  5. Bonus: start knitting something with my handspun… This one is slightly terrifying, because it’s my handspun…But I also know that knitting it will allow me to see what’s going on with the yarn a lot more clearly than just eyeballing it! Bring it on! (I reserve the right to not talk about how bad it is if it’s truely awful…)

 

 

 

I have been…rather busy, and I have a lot to tell you about in my end of the month post, which I will attach to a FO Friday post. Which means that I’m going to be talking about other things today, and in particular I will be focussing on 4 ply yarn (aka sock yarn).

But not socks. Well, there is a pair of socks but they’re at work and I’m not, so…

Instead, two things. Thing the first: an update on Kita’s pillowcase. Apparently I haven’t talked about this recently on here, so this has come along quite a lot since the last time you all saw it! In fact, it’s nearly finished!!! In fact, the little bit on the top left takes it as high as it needs to go (I think!) I will check when that’s done, but I think it’s just these last two and a bit rows and then sew it together. Very exciting!!!

And the second thing: the sleeves on cockatoo brae. Much less exciting! I have done 11 of the planned 18 increases (I reserve the right to do more if necessary!) *lesigh* The solution to these is to put something on my laptop to watch and just mindlessly knit (with the odd increase round added in!)

Right, that’s all from me for now. Bigger post to come on Friday!

As mentioned a while ago, I might end up doing one of my new cross stitch tree decorations as an instant gratification thing in the middle of all my long term projects (socks get worked on so intermittently at the moment they’re long term projects, as weird as that sounds).

So I decided to pull out the stockings and start working on them (conveniently forgetting that cross stitch is slowwwwwwww). One has been finished, and the other has been started (excepting the back stitching, which I’ll do at the end because that uses different numbers of threads and I can’t be bothered to deal with that 😀 )

It’s been a bit of a learning curve, dealing with prepunched holes in specific places, and keeping track of whether a stitch can go in particular places or not. I’m not sure that this is my favourite medium to cross stitch (ok, I’m fairly certain it’s not), but once in a while it’s fun to do 🙂

Ok, I guess that playtime is over and I should go back to the big projects 😀

Spinning- level up!

So one of the ideas I play around with fairly frequently is that when I reach goals I ‘level’ up in a particular skill (a throw back to my D&D days). And I’m pretty sure that I just levelled up in spinning. Of course, in the beginning it is easy to level up and provides many perks, later on it’s harder and the perks are less noticeable.

Anyway, last spinning session I naturally moved from park and draft (where you stop the spindle every time you want to draft (that’s pull the figre out into the thickness you want it in the end)) to drafting while the spindle is still spinning. This makes spinning much faster (no pauses and excuses to stop, ), but also really necessites standing up (if possible). The standing up means that you have to stop much less to wind the new yarn onto the spindle, as you can have more yarn before the spindle reaches the ground if you’re standing.

The other effect of spinning like this is that I’m a lot more consistant. No more suddenly thin bits, which has the (slightly awkward) effect of reducing my yardage…which makes perfect sense but I hadn’t really thought of it before. At the moment I’m not that fussed, except for the possibility of left-over yarn and the fact that I really want to be consistant for the colourwork scarf I have planned. But I am also going to borrow the mittens and hat pattern first, so that might use up all my beginner attempts. We shall see 😀

Now, onto a discussion of the new yarn. While spinning it, it felt like it was spun a lot tighter than previously (which is a good thing given how loosely spun my first attempts were. Looking at it post-bath (and I still can’t photograph new yarn well- any tips???) I really like how tightly it’s spun and plied- it could maybe do with being slightly thinner, but really only a touch thinner, I really almost like it’s current weight.

Spinning has been rather an interesting thing to learn again second time around. Using a drop spindle, along with the park and draft method, has definitely helped. It also probably helped that I have a planned use for the yarn I make. Actually, I have two plans; I’ll talk about them later.

Firstly, I made the white yarn. Then the bright blue, and now I’m working on the darker blue. The light blue is (I think) rather underspun, so I’m concentrating on spinning and plying the darker blue a lot more, and I think it is making a difference 🙂 Any tips (including telling me I’m doing it wildly wrong) will be gratefully appreciated (and then probably researched because I’m like that!) (Unfortunately no close ups of my yarn because my phone is refusing to focus close up and I can’t find my camera, which may or may not be capable of such a feat. IRL the light blue is greener than portrayed, and the dark blue is…well…dark blue rather than black)

Since I don’t have a niddy noddy I’ve been skeining it up on my arm, which is a grand total of 30 inches around (very nice and round for working out total yardage!). Just count the number of loops(IDK the right term???), multiple by 30 inches then divide by 36 to get yardage (or just multiply by 5/6). The important thing to note here is that the yardage I’ll get is less than the number of loops. Which I didn’t realise at the time, so the yardage I had previous announced as spinning is rather inaccurate…*whistles innocently*. So, trying this again:

-White yarn. 34 loops(wraps maybe???)=28.33 yards

-Light blue yarn. 35+29=64 wraps= 53.33 yards

-Dark blue yarn. 27 wraps=22.5 yards

*lesigh* Much worse than I had thought. Oh well, I’ll have fun knitting with it :). Just to flarify- this isn’t wildly different yardage for the same weight of fluff. The white is 18g of*something*, the light blue is 25g of merino and the dark blue is about 12.5g of merino. I bought a mix bag of merino from world of wool. Lovely stuff, must acquire some more 😀 (On a side note, this is why my spinning yardage has suddenly dropped if anyone is actually reading that 😉 )

So, onto my plans for the yarn! Originally I planned to make a stripy colourwork scarf, so bands of colourwork in different pairs of colours and different patterns. But then I remembered that I was originally going to buy the Peerie Flooers pattern and make that (probably two- one for me and one for my mum). Decisions decisions…I mean, I guess there’s no reason why I can’t do both (other than the speed at which I spin…) The scarf I’m thinking of will look something like this:

just in double knitting rather than in the round because yardage…I’m thinking that the hat first- it should give me an idea as to how far my handspun will stretch, or whether I’ll need more than 25g of each colour (I mean, probably, even if 25g of two colours can do a complete band on the scarf!)

 

So I guess this might have been better off as a Start-it Sunday post but I think I introduced it a while ago when I started it before and didn’t get gauge *mutter mutter*. At the weekend I started it again, this time on 2.75 mm needles I bought specifically for this project (and I get gauge on it!). So far it’s just a lot of rather boring stocking stitch, with some increases every 7th row. Which is just often enough to not let me get into the swing of things, which is wonderful!

A recap of my gauge issues for those who have joined us late: the gauge for this pattern is 7 stitches an inch, and suggests 2.75mm needles. I *never* get gauge on suggested needle sizes, I always have to go down a size or two. So I happily check gauge (knitting flat rather than in the round, but my gauge is pretty much the same in both of these things), and then leave it long enough that I can’t remember what needles I used to do my swatch *facepalm*. I need to work out a better system for that, but later. I assume that I get gauge on 2,5mm needles, and so I happily cast on for a size on 2mm needles for the ribbing(I forget which. I have later been told that the sleeves are tight and not going downa needle size for the ribbing is a good idea). These sleeves end up comically too short. This happens while I’m up in York for my viva, therefore forcing me to buy yarn for a new sweater (this was my viva jumper, and we’re not going to get into the issues I had getting home…)

Therefore, I use those cuffs for new gauge swatches, this time in a round an on a decent number of stitches (yes, my old gauge might have been a bit too small…). 2.5mm neeldes gives 8 stitches an inch (this is also the gauge I get on 2mm needles for socks…), 3mm needles gives 6 stitches an inch. Guess what I need??? I don’t own any 2.75mm needles, so I order a circular needle (150cm long), figuring that if this doesn’t get me gauge I’ll need to sacrifice to the knitting Gods, and getting a needle this long will allow me to try it on as I go. Luckily, I do get gauge on these needles (yes, it was washed and blocked as I intend to do the finished thing), so we’re good to go. Well, as good as I an be now at any rate. Gauge shall be checked again when the sleeves have been finished. I also decided to do a garter stitch cuff rather than ribbing, as I’ve found that I much prefer sleeves to not be tight. (After knitting 3 of the things…)

But anywhere, here are the sleeves so far:

(One of them has been washed and blocked to check gauge, so it had better not have been lying to me…*squints angrily at the sleeves*)

I’m knitting the third size, with longer sleeves and maybe some attempt at a longer body (and then probably some issues with dye lots as I’m not convinced I have enough brown for the body…we shall see). I also have plans of putting in afterthought pockets- I’m going to repeat the star motif around the neckline twice for the inside of each pocket, so you get a surprise whenever you look in them! I love this idea 😀 (I just need to remember when I reach a convenient point for putting in the knitting in another strand of yarn for the live stitches…

So, firstly, the WIP Saturday potion of events- I actually did some on the wolf!!!!! Go me!!!! Not as much as I’d’ve liked for an afternoon spent solidly stitching, but I’m biased because some of that was backstitching, and some was stitching so I could do more backstitching (which I think I hate more than getting on with the backstitching), and some of it was not progress because in my mind I was further along than I actually was and so I had to catch up…

But! I have (nearly) reached the top left corner, so I’ll call that a win. Technically I haven’t stitched the top left corner, but that’s only a technicality, I’ve stitches all around it!

It is officially more than 50% done now- all the to-bestitched stitches are on the left of the centre line (and quite a bit further over on the top, but eh).

I’ve also started the sleeves (a.k.a. two gauge swatches) for cockatoo brase, but one of them is currently washing so I can’t show you that.

So, onto a recap of my January goals:

  1. Finish-finish my preparation cross stitch. Done! (Well, excpet for gluing the felt on the back, but that’s waiting until I go home- probably Easter)
  2. Finish the OLAS cardigan. Done! And Kita loves it, and is apparently living in it, which makes my heart do this weird fluttery thing
  3. Knit the headband from left over viva jumper yarn. Done! Just realised that I haven’t shown you this before, so have a pic of it now!
  4. Bonus: finish the sky up to the top left corner. Done!

 

Score! 4 for 4 this time around! Oh, and I also swatched for cockatoo brae. Still don’t have gauge (I’ve got 8 stitches an inch on 2.5mm needles, and 6 stitches an inch on 3mm needles. The pattern calls for 7 stitches an inch…I’ve ordered 2.75mm needles at 150cm long so I should be able to try it on as I go- assuming that I’ll get gauge on this size!)

So, cookies for me! What’s the plan for next month, I hear you ask? (Well, I don’t, but I’ll assume you asked!).

  1. Finish my mothers first pair of socks. She’s coming over on the 17th, so she can try on the sock and I can then get cracking on it’s partner- well I can get cracking now, but when she’s tried it on I can do the heel and leg. I have a plan if this current sock doesn’t fit which doesn’t involve frogging the whole thing, so it shouldn’t take too long to fix if necessary
  2. Keep working on the wolf. Ideally I’d like to hit 75% this month, but I’m not sure how ambitious that is
  3. Sew the wedding card for April’s wedding…I probably shouldn’t’ve put this off but I only just realised that the wedding is in April…
  4. Get gauge on cockatoo brae (and then start the sleeves and realise that my gauge swatch has been lying to me…)
  5. Bonus! Stick all my sock yarn (not my mum’s)(including pictures) on ravelry and come up with patterns and an order for knitting them on my queue. This shouldn’t take too long, I just need to sit down and do it one weekend day. (This is probably this afternoon’s job)

This…all kinda feels adventurous. We’ll see how we go I guess. And I’m still learning how much I can do in a month. I think February’s goals felt adventurous, but I still managed to hit all of them (amazing what you can do when you actually WORK ON WHAT YOU’RE MEANT TO BE WORKING ON isn’t it?)!

 

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