Working Wednesday #5

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue) . It’s been a busy week, so there hasn’t been as much knitting and crochet as usual. There have been only two projects this week. The first I can’t show you because it is a surprise gift that has not arrived at its destination yet, and the second is a turtle… currently very much a work in progress:

Just one flipper to go


Both of this week’s projects used yarn that I already owned, so the collection is very slowly getting smaller. The turtle is worked in Cambrian Mountains Wool and is beautifully soft – I plan to fill it with 100% wool stuffing so that it will be made entirely from natural fibres.

So, that’s my progress this week. Have you completed any projects? Are you working on anything interesting?




Working Wednesday #4

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue) . This is the current state of play with the projects I’ve worked on this week:

  • Golden spikes jumper: completed. But the unseasonably warm weather means it’s too warm to wear it yet! I’m a little unsure about the rather tight sleeves, but until it has been worn for a while, I won’t know whether I need to make some adjustments (i.e. knit new, wider sleeves).
  • The 4-ply Skeleton hat: completed. Pattern needs to be typed up.
  • Honeycomb cables socks: completed (and on my feet). An interesting project, but not one I will be repeating.
  • A snailvaark is underway. This is a gift that I have been intending to make for a few weeks. I’ve done the knitting for the shell, but it needs grafting. The body is not yet started.
  • I’ve been asked to make a turtle, but apart from finding a suitable pattern, I haven’t actually started on it yet.

Next week: a different colour?

So that’s my progress this week. Have you completed any projects? Are you working on anything interesting?




Working Wednesday #3

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue) . This is the current state of play with the projects I’ve worked on this week:

  • Golden spikes jumper: because I was away over the weekend, this is still not quite completed. However, all the knitting is done and I just need to sew in the sleeves and sew the side and sleeve seams. I’ve got rather a lot of the wool left over, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with it.
  • The 4-ply Skeleton hat is finished and is blocking. There’s a tiny bit of sewing required once it’s dry and then I hope to finalise the pattern and get it published.
  • Fingerless mittens completed, but they are very thick and warm, so I’ve started work on a second thinner pair.
  • Stripe socks: I needed a small and simple project to do whilst I was away over the weekend, so I’ve made a start on a pair of basic socks using some more of my collection of lovely yarn from The Knitting Goddess.
  • I have contacted the designer of a crochet pattern that I started work on last year to try to get an explanation of how to finish it – the instructions are somewhat lacking, to say the least!

I haven’t done any work on the complex honeycomb cable socks this week because of going away and the need to concentrate when I’m doing them.

I hadn’t realised until I took the photographs that my recent colour choices have been somewhat ‘samey’. It wasn’t planned, but perhaps any new projects should involve something a bit different!

So that’s my progress this week. Have you completed any projects? Are you working on anything interesting?




If you want to get a head…

For ages now I have been struggling to photograph and display the hats that I make, and as I gradually add to my etsy shop, I know that this is going to become a real issue. Over at Nice Piece of Work, Jill has a glamorous assistant to display her hats, in the shape of Carol,  who doesn’t mind modelling any sort of head gear (you can see her in this post), and I really wanted an equivalent.

Over the months I’ve been on the look out, and finally I came across Harriet, who arrived ready to get to work on Wednesday:


Hello, Harriet

As you can see, she has a tendency to get a bit chilly, so she was delighted to be offered the hat-modelling job and got stuck right in:

It’s a delight to work with a model who doesn’t mind how much you fiddle around and adjust the hat/location/lighting/angle etc.

The reason it has taken so long for me to find a suitable candidate was that I didn’t want to buy new and, up until this week, every potential second hand head (now, there’s a phrase I never thought I’d use) has been too expensive (antique French porcelain, anyone?), or too battered, or made of polystyrene (I wanted something heavier and more robust) or too ghoulish (search for mannequin heads and you’ll see what I mean). Harriet, however, is pleasant to look at, is not new, is stable and has a long enough neck to display scarves if I want her to.

And why Harriet? Well, she likes to be known as Hattie!

Working Wednesday #2

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue) . This is the current state of play with the projects I’ve worked on this week:

  • Golden spikes jumper: back and front complete, sleeves nearly done.
  • Skeleton hat: finished, but I’m not sure it’s quite how I envisaged it, so I’ve started making another one in 4-ply yarn rather than double knit.
  • Fingerless mittens: I seem to have lost my everyday pair, so I’ve just started making some new ones. These should be finished very quickly. I’m using a little Cambrian Wool for the edging plus some fluffy stuff that was given to me by Katy the Night Owl.
  • Bird roosts: all six felted and in my etsy shop.

I haven’t done any sock-knitting this week. I had intended to get the second one of the pair I’m working on finished before the end of the month, but I’ve been so busy with other things it probably won’t happen.

I am finding focusing on getting projects done really enjoyable and I’m determined not to put work aside when it comes to the bits I don’t enjoy (sewing together and picking up stitches for necks/button bands, for example). I’m also happy to be flexible and start new small projects that make use of yarn I already have, as long as I don’t loose momentum with the bigger things.


Working Wednesday #1

As I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue) I want to keep track of my progress, so I’m planning to post pictures on (some) Wednesdays of my week’s creations/progress. This is the current state of play with the projects I’m working on at the moment:

  • Honeycomb cables socks: one complete, the second getting bigger after some on-train knitting over the weekend.
  • Golden spikes jumper: back complete, front in progress.
  • Skeleton hat: no progress this week.
  • Bird roosts: six crocheted and ready for felting, before being added to my etsy shop.

It has been brought home to me today just one reason why it’s good to use the wool/fabric/craft supplies that we have collected. Poor ItWasJudith has just lost most of her huge collection of beautiful yarn in a fire – how tragic that she never got to turn it into lovely things and how determined I am that mine will be used not lost (to fire, moths, damp or ennui).

About that ‘yarn diet’

As you may have gathered, I am on a ‘yarn diet’. This means that over the next few months (at least until the end of the year) I am not going to buy any more yarn. This may sound like imposing unnecessary suffering on myself, but the intention is to encourage me to enjoy the beautiful yarn I already have rather than leaving it languishing in various drawers and cupboards, unappreciated. Many crafters have the habit of accumulating lots of materials (whatever their preference). I do this and, whilst it’s fun to have stuff available to use when inspired, it feels very wasteful to have loads of untouched yarn, plus it does take up a lot of space.

In general I buy yarn for particular projects, but sometimes I never get round to starting them, and by the time I am ready, I have had a change of heart (or even shape!) and so I need to find an alternative. I’m also a bit over-enthusiastic about sock yarn and have ended up with rather a lot of the stuff… more than I need for sock making. As I don’t want to build up an enormous collection of shawls, I have been wondering what else I might do with the sock yarn and inspiration arrived on Saturday. One of the organisers of the 60MT get-together was wearing a beautiful short-sleeved, asymmetrical top, clearly knitted in 4-ply. I asked her about the pattern and now I’ve bought a copy and will use some of my yarn to make Sugar Maple.

Despite the diet, some new yarn has come my way, but I did not buy it. At the event on Saturday, we had a ‘secret Santa’… everyone brought a ball of yarn wrapped up and they all went in a big box, before each person selected a different package to take away. So, I gave a ball of mottled sock yarn (which I entirely failed to photograph), but came home with two balls (yes, there were two balls in the parcel I picked) of Rowan Lima, an interesting aran yarn that looks like it has been crocheted into a chain already:

The two balls add up to the same weight as the donated ball (and, in fact, contain similar colours), so I have made no net gain, and, indeed, a loss, if I consider length of yarn rather than weight. I really am beginning to think like someone on a diet! Not sure what I’m going to use this yarn for – it’s very soft, so maybe a cowl.

As well as working on various existing projects, I’m also trying to restock my etsy shop a bit, as I’ve sold quite a few of the bird roosts. The train journeys over the weekend were split between sock-knitting and bird roost crochet, and I’ve now got several roosts ready to felt:


three done, one in progress

So, the stash is slowly being used and I’m not feeling deprived because I can’t shop for yarn… it’s a good result so far.

Did we do it?

Yesterday I was in Birmingham, celebrating the end of the 60 Million Trebles Project. Although all the folks involved are likely to carry on clicking and hooking for charity, this project has come to an end.

The aim was to make a world record breaking blanket, with each stitch representing one displaced person in the world. At the time the project started, 13 months ago, the figure was 60 million people; by the end of 2016, this figure had risen to 65 million.

Earlier this year, Ellen Roche, who started the project, realised that if we were going to go for the world record, the blankets would not be out to the charities for many extra months. And so everyone agreed that we’d give up on this idea (sad though we all were, because it would have been great publicity) and just get the blankets done and distributed.

So, the big question yesterday was had we reached the target of sixty million trebles (stitches)? And the answer was…

we completed 7940 blankets,
using the equivalent of 27,083 balls of double knitting yarn,
totalling 271kg of yarn
equivalent to 8125km of yarn (enough to go from London to Beijing)
with an average of 7951 trebles per blanket, making…

67,707,940 trebles

smt complete

So a big thank-you to everyone who donated yarn or squares to the blankets I made, and especially to Sandra, Wild Daffodil for the autumnal squares – the blanket that contained these  received an honourable mention as one of Ellen’s favourite blankets.

Many of the blankets have gone to Hand in Hand for Syria, others to St Mungos, Help for the Homeless and Let’s Feed Brum. I’m very proud to have been involved, plus I’ve made lots of new friends – what a result.

ScrapHappy September

This month’s use of scraps is small, but long-awaited.

May I introduce Arthur C. Vaark, companion to Mr Snail.

He is a scientific vaark with an interest in writing and teleportation, so I’m told.

He was made from one of my old socks and some small felt scraps. Who knows what adventures he will get up to…IMGP4057If you’d like to make your own vaark, the booklet containing the pattern, designed by my friend Danielle, is available for download from here. What better use can you think of for an old sock?

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) ScrapHappy posts by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month… do check them out.


Three knits

For the rest of the year in terms of knitting and crochet I’m focusing on completing projects, using up yarn that I already have in my stash… much of which was bought with specific projects in mind. So, in order to keep track of what I’ve achieved, I plan to share regular pictures of my progress (possibly in the form of WIP Wednesdays, but I may not be that organised/productive). Today, I give you one skeleton hat pattern test, the first of the honeycomb cables socks nearly finished, and the back of the golden spikes jumper completed.

Strangely it’s all knitting, but I do need to make some bird roosts, as I’ve sold out of one design in my etsy shop and so some crochet is in the offing. I have a couple of train journeys in the next few days so I’m hoping to make progress on the second sock.

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