ScrapHappy February

This month’s ScrapHappy make is another blanket for Sixty Million Trebles.

All the yarn, except that in the border, was left over from knitting socks. This means that this entire project was worked in scrap 4-ply yarn… so it took a lot of hours and amounts to 19,812 crochet stitches (i.e. “trebles”). I wanted to frame the square nicely, so I used some wool out of my stash that was unwanted.

Originally this yarn was destined for my beekeeper’s quilt, but I got bored with that, so I’m going to convert the completed hexagons into a “beekeepers garden bench cushion” and pretty much all the rest of the scrap yarn collection went into this blanket.

This is the third of my charity blankets for this year.

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

 

A rainbow of socks

I really like knitting socks… I love the self-patterning yarns that are available, I love knitting on five needles, I love the fact that you knit round and round in circles so that there is no seam and, therefore, very little finishing off. I haven’t knitted any recently because I have been distracted by the masterpiece, Jacob’s hoodie, chunky slippers and a other non-craft related things. However, I couldn’t resist sharing this picture of my washing line today:

Socks

Socks

Of course, every time I make a pair there is some left-over yarn. Slowly, I’m converting this into hexipuffs, from which I will eventually make a quilt. For a king-size quilt I need 900 hexipuffs. So far, I’ve made 106 so it could take me a while yet!

One hundred and six hexipuffs down, seven hundred and ninety four to go!

One hundred and six hexipuffs down, seven hundred and ninety four to go!

WIPs and FOs

Whats and whats?

I’m guessing that any knitters or crocheters reading this will know what the title means, but no one else. Starting any new craft seems to result in exposure to all sorts of new jargon and yarn crafts do seem particularly prone to this (I blame Ravelry). However, I thought you might all like to learn a bit of knit-speak (if you are really interested, you can learn what frogging is here).

There are buttons to sew on - these had been in my collection for a couple of decades!

There are buttons to sew on – these had been in my collection for a couple of decades!

First, however, I have a confession… like many knitters I’m not very enthusiastic about sewing my knitting together. I love the knitting bit, but the finishing is generally quite tedious, This is why I like knitting socks with self-patterning yarn – you cast on, knit the sock like a tube and graft the toe to finish off, leaving just two tails of wool (one at the beginning and one at the end) to weave in before the whole thing is complete. Bigger garments are more challenging to complete – there are often seams to sew together, buttons to stitch on and lots and lots of ends to weave in. And so, it is often the case that, because I am unenthused, I end up with a long-standing WIP (Work in Progress).

All laid out, in no particular order

Hexipuffs for my beekeepers quilt – this is going to be a WIP for a very long time

Some projects were always intended to be a long-term WIP. My beekeepers quilt, for example, should take me several years to complete, especially since I only intend to use oddments… mainly of sock yarn. But mostly I intend a relatively quick turn-around. So, it is with great shame that I have to confess I have had one WIP hanging around for several months now, with the knitting completed and only the sewing left to do. This is the beautiful Debbie Bliss Sophia Cable Vent Jacket. So, finally, this week I decided to bite the bullet and get it finished. I set aside a whole evening, but that wasn’t enough, so another session was required, but finally I have a FO (Finished Object). I was really pleased to discover some buttons in my collection that were suitable to use – I remember buying them for a long black velvet dress I planned to make years ago that somehow never got made.

FO... finally

FO… finally

I think the lesson here, as with many things in life, is to maintain momentum. Once you stop working on a project, it can be remarkably difficult to get back to it and resume work. This is the case even with a FO that you really want – like this cardigan. However, I did manage to overcome that hurdle in this case, and am delighted with the result. Perhaps now I should make a start on that dragon I keep hankering after… although I do have half a pair of socks in my knitting bag and it would probably be good to knit the second one…

Back detail

Back detail

The back of the finished jacket

The back of the finished jacket

Scrappy update

All laid out, in no particular order

All laid out, in no particular order

When you’ve finished a piece of knitting, there are always scraps or oddments of yarn left over. Currently, I’m using the left-overs from my sock knitting to make hexipuffs… tiny hexagonal padded pockets that will eventually become a ‘beekeepers quilt‘. I’d really like it to be big enough to cover our bed eventually, but I’m a long way off yet. To date, I have knitted 86 puffs, but they don’t even make a square metre of quilt. However, I still have lots of yarn oddments to work with and lots of sock yarn still to knit into socks. My intention is only to use left-overs and not to buy any new yarn for this project because I started it as a way to avoid waste. It’s also rather lovely to have a project like this, where it’s possible to complete a section in half an hour or so (with practice, I’ve got quicker at making them) and thus maintain a sense of achievement even when there’s still a long way to go.

planetcoops' leftovers shawl... I really want to make one!

planetcoops’ leftovers shawl

Despite my long-term goal, I have recently seen a another project for using sock yarn oddments that I would really like to undertake in the future, a ‘leftovers shawl‘ as made by planetcoops… perhaps I’ll get there in about four more years!

Of course, not all my oddments are 4-ply – the gauge I knit socks in – so I’m on the look out for other projects to use up double knitting  and chunky yarn. Amigurumi is great for this, especially since I’m currently experimenting with my own designs… eventually I will have a crochet version of the knitted snails that star at the top of this page.

So, what do you do with yarn oddments?

Oddments and leftovers

Cooey the pigeon

This year has been the year of socks and snails as far as knitting goes… there have been other things (slugs, worms, a butterfly, Cooey the pigeon and Nessie for example), but mainly socks and snails, The result being rather a lot of wool oddments. I had thought about knitting a pair of really random socks, combining all the different patterns of wool that I’ve worked with this year, but somehow that really didn’t appeal. Then the other day, whilst browsing the blogs I subscribe to, I came across reference to the ‘Beekeepers Quilt‘ on The Secret Life of Yarn. It’s just what I’ve been waiting for* – a way of stylishly using up all those bits of yarn that I can’t bear to throw out, but I haven’t been able to think what on earth to do with.

My first three hexipuffs

The quilt is constructed from ‘hexipuffs’ – tiny knitted hexagons, lightly stuffed. They are each only about 5cm, so take hardly any wool and you combine them into a crazy patchwork quilt so the more colours there are, the better. Until you stitch them together at the end, there is no sewing required, as they are knitted ‘in the round’ on double-pointed needles. I decided to learn a new technique for casting on (not necessary, but interesting) – the two-needle long-tail cast on. So far, I have knitted three… but I only started yesterday and I do also have a pair of socks I want to finish this weekend. Apparently, for a quilt measuring 3 feet my 4 feet (90cm by 120cm) I’m going to need nearly 400 hexipuffs, so don’t expect to see it finished soon! It’s going to be a WIP (work in progress) for a long time yet.

I am a great fan of using up leftovers, whether they be in the form of wool, fabric or food. The latter is easy, as we usually eat them up the next day – meat is turned into rissoles; sour milk is used to make waffles or scones (Mrs Beeton’s for preference); stale cake can become trifle; roast vegetables can go into soup… the options are endless. And, anyway, most things can be frozen in one form or another for even later use. Of course, it’s different with craft materials: since they don’t go off, I can save them indefinitely**. This is not good for a hoarder like me, as I’m happy to allow things to accumulate because I know that they might come in useful later. I am trying to rectify this at the moment and make some more space by selling some things on ebay. I find it much easier to send things to a good home than to throw them out, but I fear that no one but me is going to be interested in my (not for sale) selection of used wrapping paper, felt off-cuts, bits of wool and packaging material. Still, at least the latter will be useful when I find buyers for the other stuff that’s on the market…

-oOo-

* And for real obsessives, like me, there’s a whole thread on Ravelry dedicated to this one pattern!

** Not entirely true  I just found a ball of wool in the loft that had been consumed by clothes moths… the little blighters!

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