Stripes without seams

This year, as well as focusing on some UFOs (like the now completed Bavarian crochet blanket) I am trying out some new techniques with the intention of making several items from start to finish. As someone who does not really enjoy sewing, the idea of knitting in the round and thus avoiding seams is very appealing. That combined with the (new to me) techniques of knitting a garment from the top down has resulted in a most enjoyable project: Poison Oak, knitted with Cambrian Mountains (slate) and Little Grey Sheep (moonlighting) wools. After the knitting was completed, there were just a few ends to work in and then it was done, but in need of blocking, especially around the bottom edge:

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a bit rough around the edges!

So, it has been soaked in Eucalan, gently spun and is now pinned out and drying gently to ensure that it finishes up the right shape, with a nice neat point at the front.

 

This has been a remarkably enjoyable project for me and will certainly not be the last top-down garment that I knit… in fact Breathing Space is already lined up to start, right after I’ve made a bit more progress on the sofa cover (yes, that’s one of the UFOs I’m currently working on).

 

Blocked

Today is the day!

The grand reveal!

No, not what’s in your parcels…

… but what Sophie looks like now she’s done.

First there was the construction of the blocking mat:

And then a lot of pinning and finagling, which was not photographed as it required lots of concentration.

Now she’s stretched out and slightly damp:

What do you think? Was she worth the effort?

Five fings Friday

So, after yesterday’s post turned into a bit of a wallow on my part, I thought I would pick myself up and list  not three, but five fings things that are making me smile today (or made me smile yesterday).

First,  you lot. Your kind messages and comments yesterday went a long way to cheering me up. Although I’m still smarting from the rejection, it was lovely to be showered with so many positive messages. I’ve picked myself up and I’m moving on.

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it’s years since I’ve had Christmas presents!

Second,  secret Santa. Under normal circumstances I don’t do Christmas gifts, but I did decide to join in with Sewchet’s Stitching Santa this year. And yesterday I was very excited when my present arrived. It’s secret so I don’t know who it’s from until I open it, but it’s a lovely box filled with things yarn-related, so it’s bound to be a joy to open. I still haven’t decided whether to keep it an extra week until my birthday, but I may not be able to resist it for that long.

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chocolatey

Third, chocolate. Yesterday afternoon I cheered myself up with some cooking. In the absence of the beef, we decided to have fish pie (made using sustainably caught fish from Cornwall), followed by dark chocolate tart with a white chocolate sauce and raspberries (grown by me). The tart had chocolate pastry and a baked mousse-like filling. The sauce was simply a small amount of white chocolate melted in hot cream and then a teaspoon of liqueur added – it worked very well to contrast with the dark chocolate and the raspberries, although it would have been very sickly on its own.

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just the thing to make Sophie look extra-beautiful

Fourth, the end is in sight. I now only have two rows of Sophie remaining, so she will be finished tonight. I was delighted, therefore, that my new blocking mats arrived yesterday. Sophie is too big to block on my usual cork board, so I have bought some interlocking children’s play mats for the purpose. Each one measures 30cm × 30cm, so it’s possible to construct the size and shape of mat I need very easily. I did try to find some secondhand mats, but in the end I had to buy new; however, I think they are going to get lots of use in the future.

Fifth, a lot of swimming. Today is the final day in 2017 that our local swimming pool is open. I won’t be able to go and swim there again until 8 January 2018. So I’ve totted up my tally for this year and I discover that I have been swimming 112 times. I’m very proud of myself… especially considering that most of those swims have been at 7am.

So there we are, lots to make me smile today. How about you? I really hope good things are happening in your life and, for those of you who find this time of year difficult, I send a big hug and remind you that the media’s representation of Christmas is nonsense and that there are lots of lovely people out there who want to support you and make you happy, like the café owner in this story from our local newspaper.

Thanks once again for the lovely comments on yesterdays post – you are all amazing.

Piecework

My mother is out of hospital and recuperating at home. In the end I never spent any time with her because she stayed in hospital for a whole week rather than the promised single night and now I have a cold so I can’t be with her. I did spend a happy couple of days with my sister (more on some of our thrifty creativity in her new house in a later post) and made some progress with the masterpiece.

The core of the masterpiece

The core of the masterpiece

The central panel is complete, with the nine squares bordered and stitched together, and I am now putting borders around some of the other squares and blocking the ones that need it. The edges are relatively quick to do and the yarn is lovely to work with. I think that stitching them together is working well and allows me some flexibility with manipulating slightly different-sized squares (although the edging reduces the variation).

A fair share square

A fair share square

Plus, there have been a couple of additions from the blogosphere recently. Jill (Nice Piece of Work) has sent a beautiful square from South Africa. She chose to represent the permaculture ethic ‘Fair Share’ in her choice of local, ethical cotton yarn, plus the contribution of the central flower from a friend. You can see what she wrote here. This is my first square from South Africa and makes a lovely addition to the project – thank you Jill.

In addition, Katrina (Crochet Crush), who made the beautiful flowers of Australia square for me, sent a postcard showing the flowers that inspired her choice of colours. This is certainly going into the scrapbook, but I wanted to share it with you here too:

australia flowersAnd look how the square captured them:

Flowers of Australia square

Flowers of Australia square

Thank you again Katrina, and I promise to e-mail the picture to you now I’m back home.

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