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

O…kay, so I may have gone slightly overboard… But it’s Christmas, so who can resist really? (Actually, now I’m thinking about it, it was 3 balls of yarn and two cross stitch Christmas tree ornaments, oh and a new set of sock needles…)

So, three more balls of sock yarn (one of which has already been started…naturally!)

and some more cross stitch ornaments!  (Even though I haven’t done the Mill Hill kit I got ages ago…)

That’s it! No more craft purchases expect for already planned projects! That means (off the top of my head, I reserve the right to have forgotten things!) yarn for a masc buttonbox (one of the jumpers I talked about making) and the sock yarn for my mum’s Christmas socks. Oh, and anything else I need for other Christmas presents. I think that’s it. Let’s see how well this goes! (And a set of scales, as I would really like to start measuring how much yarn I use in a year!) Right, I should get back to crafting, I have 20+ things to make (it was 19, then I remembered the wolf cross stitch, so we’re up to 20 plus assorted extras)

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2017 look back and 2018 plans

Right, 2017 is nearly over (might in face be over by the time I finish this and get it posted, I’m not sure how long this is going to bed), and wowsa what a year!

Finished the PhD, got a job, knitted (checks ravelry) 9.5 projects on ravelry (the half was finishing the scrappy hexagon blanket), very nearly finished the rainbow cardigan (it is currently being used but I need to sew buttons on and I can’t do that whilst wearing it…), did four cross stitches (Hello, make today awesome and two stockings). Plus Christmas cards, the seagull (remind me to tell you about that later, it’s so cute!!!) and probably seeral other things. But I definitely feel that I haven’t done as much this year as I have in previous years (the PhD probably contributed to this!).

So, next year! As I announced a while ago, my 2018 word is going to be ‘Preparation’. I was rather hoping to have cross stitched this by now, but at least I have a pattern (Christmas knitting rather took over…). So as well as wanting to cross stitch that (I’m rather thinking a grey for the word, I don’t really feel that it’s a bright colour sort of word), I’ve decided to come up with a list of projects I want to make next year.

So far, I have:

Cross stitch my ‘preparation’

Kita’s OLAS cardigan- the sleeves are nearly finished, must remember to blog about that!

My OLAS cardigan- I’m not sure whether I want it big or not, so I’m using Kita’s as a sounding board- I’ll be able to try it on wince we’re about the same size, and see what’s what

Cockatoo Brae- I know I’ve been having a really hard time hitting gauge, but I really want this cardigan!

Masc buttonbox- it’s a really nice waistcoat pattern, I just want a masc version of it. Will have to blog about that too when I get the yarn for it 🙂

Socks for mother- she loves the bluetit yarn I used for some socks, and requested some socks with it. I decided to raise this to a pair of socks in every bird colourway West Yorkshire Spinners do (9). I’m also thinking that if I use contrasting yarn for toes and heels (afterthougt heel, I’m turning into a massive fan of it), I can use the rest of the yarn to make a bedspread- I’m thinking hexagon flowers of central colour in the bird yarn, surrounded by hexagons in the solid colour in some pattern. West Yorkshire Spinners suggest which of their solid yarns goes with each of the bird yarns, so I wouldn’t have to guess from the internet pictures if I can’t find a stockist of it.

Rachel’s wedding sampler- I don’t know when she’s getting married (after she finishes her PhD), but I’d hate to be caught out with this, so this becomes my cross stitch priority after I finish the wolf

Two wedding cards- as well as Rachel’s wedding (Mr and Dr by the time she finishes her PhD), I’m going to a same-gender wedding between a Mr and a Dr. I would be very surprised if I could find a suitable card for either of them, so I’ll have to make my own. Which involves finding a suitable pattern, but I figure that’s more likely, and I can always modify something if necessary…

2 pillow covers- Kita’s is nearly finished, mine hasn’t been started, but this plan has sort of ground to a halt since I need to replenish my sock yarn scraps for them…maybe ‘knit myself more socks’ would be a better plan…

2 blankets for me- I really want the woodland blanket attic24 is bringing out soon, and I would definitely want the larger size. I’m also thinking that I want the larger cosy blanket as well.

That’s all for now, which comes to a grand total of 21 projects (counting my mum’s as 9), and not counting any socks for me to do the pillow covers. Umm. This….could be interesting. Ok, let’s scratch the pillow covers, they’re probably the most unrealistic in the whole thing, thanks to not haivng very much scrap yarn. So, summarising, we have:

4 jumpers (aran, aran, aran, 4ply)

2 (large) blankets (crochet, DK)

2 cross stitch cards

1 large cross stitch

1 small cross stitch

9 pairs of socks.

I’m still not convinced that I can do all of this (but plans are still great), but that doesn’t seem so completely insane at the moment. Obviously, this isn’t everything I want to do this year (I have no other Christmas presents planned yet…), but I think this is pretty much the backbone of it all. Actually, looking at my Christmas list, it could well be that no-one else gets a hand-made present next year…

Other things I want to do: more cross stitch stockings and knit me more socks. It’s hard to be precise about these, because how many do I want to make? I don’t want to have a set number to hit, because I think that if I manage that I’ll stop then making them, and I don’t want to do that. I also want to make some knitted birds from a book my parents gave me for Christmas, but I need a lot more thinking to decide which ones (as well as what to do with them after they’ve been made…)

I also want to organise this blog a lot more in 2018. Organise my tags, retag most/all of my posts, have a look at organising posts in different ways etc. I’m also thinking of having a page for finished object posts, and maybe in thos posts link back to the beginninng/WIP posts I’ve made for them all. Or even just link it all to ravelry…we shall see. This is the thng I think is most likely to fall through the cracks, but we shall see. At some point I shall try to remember to have a look at what it’s currently like and hopefully break down the whole thing into manageable chunks.

I also have more not-crafting goals and plans for next year (including getting a new job…), but I’m not sure if people would be interested in hearing them??? Or do you all just come here for the crafting??? (In which case, sorry for the lack of pictures, there will be some later when I do finished posts for the shawl, and the rainbow cardigan and the seagull…)

Wolf focus again this week!

We were here, at 20.5 hours

My vague original plan was to go up and around anti-clockwise, which I started doing for a while, and then I got bored and decided to move the fabric and head over to the bottom right corner. I’m still having fun with this, but it’s starting to creep towards the ‘I really want this done already’, which is annoying. My normal routine when cross stitch hits the ‘finish me already’ is to stick it in time-out, which I don’t really want to do (because I want it finished…see the problem?). It can stay out for now, mostly because nothing else really needs finishing, so I can concentrate on it.

Anyway, 5.5 hours further along (to a grand total of 26 hours so far on this thing), we’re at here

As I mentioned rather excitedly at the weekend, I’m not only about 7 inches away from being finished on my mum’s Christmas shawl. Excellent news, but no new photo because a) it looks exactly the same as last time and b) I left it at work. Oops. Use your imagination 😉

And now for the bonus stash enhancement: I got myself some new interchangeable knitting needles 😀

These are the addi clicks long tip interchangeables. The 4.5mm needles are missing because naturally I had to try them out 😉 I managed to unclick them within one round of knitting the sleeves, but I think that was because I hadn’t twisted them in properly (they have to go in quite a way, then sideways then pull out a bit). Having rescued all my stitches and reconnecting them, they seem to be working fine now 🙂

And because I can’t just order knitting needles from the online yarn shop, I had to get some more sock yarn too 🙂

This is 400g of sock yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners, in a variety of colours. Socks!

 

Since I’m now about 2 rows short of 30 inches. That means that in a weekend I can knit approximately 14 inches of stocking stitch. And spend 5.5 hours cross stitching. And do my weekly food shop. And apply for a job. And spend several hours playing a game. And…and…and. Anyway, you get my point. No pic, I’m just too impressed with myslef to not share this! Pics will come on Wednesday!

I hit 20 inches!!!!

So, I finally got to move the stitch marker up 10 inches because I finished knitting those 10 inches. So now there’s 17 inches left to go, in slightly under two weeks (it needs blocking before two weeks Monday…). How much can I knit this weekend????

This is it folded in thirds (and the edges have rolled in too because stocking stitch).

P.s.- I didn’t get gauge on the cockatoo brae cardigan. I hope it can sit in time out until after I’ve finished knitting this. I really don’t need to start another project right now…

P.p.s.- I just ordered a new set of knitting needles (the addi clicks) from wool warehouse, as well as some more sock yarn. I hope I finish this shawl before I have to use them…

Hi all, so I realised that there is less than three weeks till Christmas, which is something of a problem since I haven’t started the satsuma costumes yet. That’s this weekend plan…Work is also somewhat hectic right now (I got hit with a massive pile of ~400 scripts to mark…), so this is going to be a splurdge and go.

Firstly: wolf cross stitch! Another 4 hours added, bringing the total to 20.5 hours. This is quite a bit less than 1/4 of the whole design, so my last estimate of 80-100 hours might be slightly optmistic. But then most of the surrounding is half cross stitch, so that should be faster…I’ll leave that as my official estimate for now, I think.

Second: sleeves. Still going strong. I think I’ve pretty much got the hang of the cables now, so that’s good 🙂 I am still checking the charts, but much less than I was. So yay for that!

Third: mitred square blanket. This is so easy to pick up and put down, it now has 7 squares. Lovely garter stitch squishyness 🙂

Fourth: umm…yeah…so I saw the abandoned cockatoo brae, and decided that I had to sort that out there and then (I was procrastinating on doing the hoovering). So I re-swatched, and have decided I need to move to 2.75mm needles. Which is what the pattern calls for. Using the suggested needle size for a project feels really weird, but ok. (This is why you need to gauge swatch people. Even if you usually knit so loosely you have to go down a size, sometimes you don’t. Just go with the flow…) (Full disclaimer: I haven’t actually measured this yet. But pre-washing, I was hitting the 7 stitches an inch (I know, I really shouldn’t measured a larger part, but oh well)). Needles are 2.25 and then 2.75 (I think??? It’s either 2.5 or 2.75, whichever I have).

Fifth: the Christmas shawl. Well, I got last week’s 10 inches done, but not really this week…ok fine, I managed 6 of the required 10 inches. Which I’m trying to not stress over, because I have quite enough other things to stress over! And I should be able to easily make up the time (assuming I stop knitting on other things…)

6 inches is a lot!!!!! So now I have 10 inches and then 11 in the next two weeks…riiiiight. Completely believeable…

Start it Sunday…oops?

So, umm, I might’ve started more than one new project this week…

But first, the cardigan sleeves! I did indeed cast on the first sleeve of Kita’s cardigan, and promptly got swallowed in the black hole of 2×2 ribbing for 7 inches…

Part way through I came to my senses, and remembered that I can’t be trusted knitting one sleeve at a time, so I cast on for the second sleeve and caught it up to the same point…knitting two sleeves somehow doesn’t make the ribbing go any faster unfortunately.

But then it was finished, and I got to start the main body of the sleeves. This was also not great, since the two sleeves have opposite cable patterns (and some matching cables too, to keep things spicy). And the main cable body started two rows after the little cables, so the row count is off whichever way I look at it. I’m happily pottling along though, and of course aran yarn always knits up really fast 🙂

At least, I thought I was happy, but then I got this in the post, and so I really can’t be held accountable for my actions…

This is 22 of the 24 miniskeins I got myself as an advent calender. I sort of sneezed, and lost track of myself, and came up with this.

Which, fortunately, isn’t square. (Half way through I remembered that I wanted to do mitred squares- knitting the blanket from the inside out, rather than bottom to top as normal, so the fact that this wasn’t square meant that I could figure out how large I should make the mitred squares. And so voila, a finished mitred square!

This had a cast on of 55 stitches (2*27+1). I decrease on the first row, because that makes the decreases on the wrong side as I prefer the look of the other side. It worked perfectly, and I used up pretty much all of the 20 yards I was given. 🙂 This might grow rather quickly, because it’s addictive. Such pretty little garter stitch squishiness!!!! Or I might actually go and do some work on the wolf cross stitch…

WIP Wednesday- shawl edition

Aren’t you all happy it’s not the wolf any more? Well, the shawl has come on quite a way now- in fact, I’ve finished all the lace. Apparently, despite all my grumbling about it, it was intersting enough to keep my attention.

Very pretty 🙂 So, now all that is left is miles and miles of (mostly) stocking stitch, with some faggot stich to keep things vaguely interesting. So far I’ve done 22 inches, which is actually quite a lot since the pattern in total calls for 59. Much better than I was expecting 🙂

So, another 37 inches to go (I take that back, that is quite a lot…) in just under 5 weeks. (Including blocking. I’ve learnt my lesson where that is concerned). So, say 4 weeks to do all the knitting, that puts me at 10 inches a week. *slightly nervous giggle*. Ok, that’s totally do-able, right? There’s a train ride back to Salisbury in there, and I don’t need to hide this project from my mum, so I don’t need to worry about secret knitting. Ok, I’ve got this. (Excuse me while I nervously procrastinate and cast on a new cardigan…)

Ok, so this is the third week in a row I’m talking about the wolf…next week I’ll probably move onto something else (barring any major surprises!) But some good news: I’ve found the bottom right corner! And I’ve done some back stitch (enough to put me off it again, however much it’s worth it in the end!)

So, we were here, at 12.5 hours

You can’t really tell, but the bottom right brown bit is very nearly the bottom corner(I think it’s like 2 stitches off). The brown bits are branches, and the white snow is actually a combination of two shades of grey. Awkward much…

Anyway, 2 more hours of work put us to here:

Having reached the bottom right, I’m now swinging up and then around. I may change my mind and move off in a different direction, but for now that’s the plan.

Another thing about me and cross stitching- I park (leave the threads there to come back and stitch in later), but only after a while, and I can’t plan to park right from the off. It has to happen naturally. And it doesn’t always happen. *shrugs*. Just one of life’s strange things I guess!

After those two hours, I decided I should probably do some of the backstitching, in a bid to not leave it all to the end.

So I spent an hour and a half filling in some of the bottom right backstitching.

Ok, so I didn’t spend the whole time back stitching, but I think I did a decent amount before I got distracted- and I pretty much did all of it that I could do, given where the gaps are. So in total so far, I’ve done 16.5 hours. Pretty good really, even if I do say so myself. My new guesstimate for how long it’s going to take me is 80-100 hours. Let’s see how we go!

So, those of you who were here last weekend will remember the 400g of white DK(n/b: I previously called it 4ply for some very strange reason) my mother bought for me to knit a shawl for her with.

Firstly, a comment about the pattern. This is NOT an easy pattern to read. It has lace on both sides (rather than on one side, which is much preferable), and it doesn’t have a chart. 96 rows of lace typed out. Great… Good thing I have many stitch markers… And one other thing. Three of the instructions are yfwrd (yarn forward), yrn (yarn around needle) and yon(yarn over needle). These do not all mean ‘create one stitch by wrapping the yarn around the needle in the conventional manner. The yon means to create a stitch between a purl stitch and a knit stitch in the usual manner. Yfwd means to create a stitch between two knit stitches or two purl stitches (the only one of these I would call a standard instruction). Yrn apparently means to bring the yarn from the back to the front by going under the needle (as in, you do this all the time between purl and knit stitches, why does this need an instruction???). So between a knit and purl stitch, you need to do a yfwd yrn. Maybe this is just me, but it seems like a lot of overkill. Ok, rant over now. Onto the pretty pictures 🙂

Have a pretty picture of a lovely pile of my stitch markers because I had to move them around and they looked amazing 🙂

Now onto the shawl itself. I have finally managed to work out what is going on with the pattern in general, which has sped things up some 🙂 This is after 49 rows, (and I don’t know how many tinkings…)

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