ScrapHappy February 2018

I had a sort out the other day and decided that the time had come to get rid of some clothes that were really beyond repair. Initially, I was going to send all of them for recycling, but then I realised that there was some good fabric left in some of them, so I set-to with my pinking shears and chopped up some old pairs of pyjamas to make cleaning cloths/dusters. They are 100% cotton and so there are no plastic microfibres to shed. I put the off-cuts (the bulky seams mainly) in the recycling and ended up with a nice big pile of eco-friendly cloths and a little pile of waste.

Actually, this wasn’t my main scrappy activity this month, but I wanted to share it anyway. My scrappy focus has, in fact, been on crocheting a blanket. A couple of years ago I bought a kit from Colinette (the company is, alas, no more) and made a knitted blanket. The blanket turned out beautifully and I use it regularly:

but there was rather a lot of scrap yarn left over. I originally planned to use this yarn in a blanket for charity, but the more I considered it, the less suitable it seemed – lots of different textures and rather too fluffy for easy washing. Nevertheless, I made a start on it sometime last year, beginning with a central square made from some purple yarn that had been given to me – some one else’s scraps! And then I got distracted… other charity blankets were made, other projects embarked upon and completed and this one languished as a UFO*.

In the past month, however, I have been revisiting abandoned on-going projects and I decided the time had come to get this one finished. A secondary incentive is that I know who I want to give it to: a friend who is having a hard time, but who is too far away to go and see in person. The idea is that I’m sending a hug in the form of a blanket. So, my hook has been flying and the scraps have been gobbled up – including additional oddments from my collection of left-over yarns. There’s quite a lot of mohair in the mix, so the blanket will be especially snuggly, plus they are cheerful colours and I’m hoping they will brighten my friend’s day. What do you think?

It isn’t finished yet, but I am nearly there. I’m hoping to be able to send it on it’s way within the next week.

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.

-oOo-

* UnFinished Object

 

 

 

 

 

Knitting up a storm

My recent focus as regards working with yarn has been on knitting – both producing designs using the wool produced by Mandy at Faithmead and enjoying working my way through the yarn in my stash. I’m pleased to say that I have had success in both respects.

I’ve created a hat, specifically designed with beginner knitters in mind for Mandy to include in a kit. The next task is to get the pattern typed up. In the past, producing patterns has been a bit ad hoc, but since I’d like to do this more regularly, I though I ought to start being more strategic and organised about it and, with this in mind, I’ve bought myself a guide book:IMGP5011Although the book is entitled The beginner’s guide…’ and I’m not entirely a beginner, it’s really useful and helping me to ensure that, from now on, my patterns will include all the elements that a user is looking for. Much more often than writing patterns, I work from a pattern written by someone else. This has proved useful in illustrating to me what a user doesn’t want in a pattern and the latest one I have been working from is a case in point, which a number of sections that have had me scratching my head, reaching for a pencil and writing down what I think needs to be done.

Issues with the pattern aside, I have completed the knitting and sewing up:

The finishing is simply supposed to involve crocheting a single row of crab stitch around the neck. I knew that I was not going to do just this right from the outset – the neck opening is too low for my taste and I have always planned to crochet a triangular panel to fill the lower part. I just have to decide exactly how I want this to look. I could knit a lace panel to match the sides, but I really want this garment to show off both knitting and crochet, so crochet it is going to be.

I have been doing some crochet on one of my UFOs, but that’s all from scrap yarn, so you’ll have to wait until this month’s ScrapHappy post to see that.

 

No goals for 2018

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Mr Snail’s Wellie socks #2

This time last year I was just getting going with 17 for 2017 – a list of goals for the year. This year I’m having a goal-free year, but if I was ticking off last years list I’d be doing well – I’ve knitted a pair of socks, baked a couple of batches of biscuits, darned three pairs of socks and repaired the pocket of a pair of jeans. I’ve even managed to play a game of Scrabble – something that proved impossible to do when it was a ‘goal’ but easy when it’s just what we fancied doing!

A friend of mine mentioned today that her word for the year 2018 is ‘creativity’ and I think I’d like my year to be especially creative too. Since completing Sophie I haven’t done much crochet, but my knitting needles have been busy… not only the socks but good progress on the jumper with lacy side panels:

I’ve also started reviewing my WIPs. There are five main ones: the sofa cover, two lap blankets, a cardigan and the Beekeeper’s quilt. So far, I’ve looked at two of these. The sofa cover piece is currently 74 cm x the width of the sofa (the white measure in the photograph is 100cm long). This piece is destined to be draped over the back of the sofa… I just need to bite the bullet and finish it and then I can start on the two seat cushion covers, which will be much more interesting (NB the main cushion covers were finished two or three years ago).

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oh, those long rows!

And then there’s this lovely lap blanket, which I ran out of steam with.IMGP4938 Once I pick it up again I know I’ll enjoy making it and I have someone in mind to give it to. The centre is made from yarn that was given to me, but the edging is all scraps.

So, no goals for 2018, but plenty to get on with!

Toasty toes times two and a long-overdue project

All the lists are gone, all the targets swept away! New year – no resolutions except to embrace creative inspirations and see where they take me. In fact, I made a start on this in the final two days of 2017, meaning that by new year’s day I had completed a project that I’d been wanting to get to grips with for months.

Ages ago – a couple of years, perhaps – Kate (Tall tales from Chiconia) very kindly sent me some sheepskin slipper soles that she has no use for in her tropical home. At the time I had some perfectly serviceable crochet slippers, so I put the soles to one side for future use. Since then those original slippers have been much mended… new crochet soles, reinforced sides, darning, more darning… but finally I decided to retire them (i.e. put them in the compost… wool is a good slow-release fertilizer). So a new pair of slippers was required and the time had come. I used Berber carpet wool and improvised the pattern:

Many thanks, Kate, they are lovely and warm and comfy.

Whilst I was in the mood for using things that have been sitting around for ages, I decided the time had also come to seek out a pattern for some yarn that Mr Snail bought for me for my birthday last year (or possibly the year before). The wool (New Lanark Aran in bramble) was chosen with a particular pattern in mind that I then decided I didn’t want to use. So, a bit of hunting around and I found a beautiful sweater pattern that appealed. In order to maintain momentum, I got started on it straight away. I’m using the row counter and some of the stitch markers that Kim put in my stitching santa box, so her gifts really were just right for me:

I’m rather surprised that it’s so difficult to show the colour of the wool accurately – those pictures were taken in natural light about two minutes apart. It’s actually about half way between the two, but the lighter one does show the different colours that are in there.

The new year has also started with some sock knitting as I’ve promised Mr Snail a second pair of wellie socks… his choice of yarn (we went and bought it together):

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WYS Aran

 

Three Things Thursday: 28 December 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

First, crafty time. Although I have still had (paid) work to do over the festive period I’ve found time to do quite a bit of crafting … this always makes me happy. Here’s one of my completed projects:

Last completed socks of 2017

Second, unexpected beauty. Yesterday I went out to the compost bin and looked up to see this:

pretty in pink

I came in to get my camera and when I looked again, I realised this cloud was part of a beautiful skyscape:

looking skywards

Third, a perfect pudding. I’m always delighted when a steamed pudding comes out of its bowl intact and this one behaved very well:

Apple flapjack steamed pudding

So, that’s some of what’s been making me happy this week. How about you?

In fact, that’s it for Three Things Thursday as a weekly feature here on the blog…. it’s been a great thing to do and I’ll continue to think of my three things, but not necessarily to write a post. My plans are to direct my writing elsewhere in 2018. I want to thank Emily of Nerd in the Brain who originally created Three Things Thursday and I hope that you will continue to look for the positives in your life too.

My resistance is low

As Oscar Wilde said “I can resist everything but temptation”. And so it was yesterday that I decided not to keep my Secret Stitching Santa until my birthday, but to enjoy opening the presents on the 25th. The idea behind this present-giving, organised by Sewchet, is to send gifts to another crafty person that you are sure they will enjoy. There were two options – a sewing one and a yarny one and I took part in the latter. Tomorrow I’ll show you what I sent, but today is all about what I received.

 

The parcel for me arrived last week and, as you can see, I couldn’t even open the card because of the warning!

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a box of delights

However, yesterday afternoon, I launched into the unwrapping, to find all these lovely things:

Pattern weights, a pin cushion, a cute monkey tape measure, a stitch counter, a tin, stitch markers and more. But the pièce de résistance was a pair of socks. In my whole life, the only person who has ever taken the time to knit me socks, until now, was my nan. But look what was in my parcel:

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these are beautiful

And they fit perfectly:IMGP4843So thank you, thank you, Kim The Material Lady – your generosity is greatly appreciated, I absolutely love your gifts.

 

Working Wednesday #8

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue). In fact this week it mostly isn’t ‘stash’ because nearly all the wool that I worked with was bought relatively recently and for specific projects. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see wool from my store (however long it’s been there) becoming “things”.

I completed Mr Snail’s wellie socks and they have been inspected and approved by Sam. There’s enough yarn left over to make a matching hat, which I’ll get round to in due course…

I also make a quick pair of fingerless mittens (mentioned in last week’s Three Things Thursday), which I still haven’t delivered to the intended recipient.IMGP4505 (2)I shared much of the work on “Sophie” on Sunday, but I have done more since then, when she was a circle. The corner flowers turned out to be rather complicated, with the work layered so that sometimes you work in front of previous stitches and sometimes behind. As a result, progress has been quite slow. The back (first and third pictures) is quite tidy, but gives an idea of the complexity.

It’s entirely possible that the whole month of November is going to be about Sophie, but I do have another knitted breast prosthesis to make and a pair of socks to finish, so there may be a little variety.

So, that’s my progress this week… and there was no blue in it! Have you completed any projects? Are you working on anything interesting?

Working Wednesday #7

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue). I have only worked on two projects this week, both socks, and one of those did require some more yarn to be purchased:

I have completed one of Mr Snail’s wellie socks and the other one is progressing very nicely. In the end I had to order the yarn from the manufacturers and it looks like I bought a ball too many (even though I got the amount suggested on the pattern). I might, therefore, make a matching hat and/or fingerless mittens  to go with the socks.

The stripy sock (for me) I was working on last week has also grown, and I have turned the heel. This is the first of the pair.

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I’m loving these colours

Once both these pairs are done I will have completed my target of making six pairs of socks this year… although I’m very likely to make one more before we reach 2018 as I’d like another thick pair of socks for myself and I want to have another a go at a Norwegian design with the remaining Norwegian wool in my collection (I made a pair a while back).

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

 

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17 for 2017 – October Update

Debbie loved her surprise gift

October has seen several of my 17 for 2017 goals achieved, but one that I had hoped to complete has not got done and one has been entirely abandoned. Anyway, here’s progress so far:

Seventeen… Love Rocks or other little random yarny/sewn gifts. Two this month and one in the offing, so the current total is 10.

Sixteen… batches of homemade biscuits. This goal is complete.

Fifteen… cheeses.  With my training course and the five cheeses that I brought home and am maturing in various ways now, this goal is complete.

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so many cheeses this month

Fourteen… pairs of knickers. None this  month, so the total is still six.

Thirteen… mends. Target reached in May.

Twelve… letters to friends. Target reached in June.

Eleven… new items in my Etsy shop. Complete and more than exceeded now that I’ve got into the habit of doing this. And I’m delighted to say that sales are slowly increasing too.

Ten... plants given to good homes. Target reached in May.

Nine… has been abandoned… Forced enjoyment just wasn’t working for me!

Eight… meals using only our own produce. Target reached in September.

Seven… visits to see “social media” friends. Target reached in September

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 finished near the beginning of the month

Six… Pairs of socks knitted, using at least three different patterns. One pair completed earlier this month, plus two pairs in progress, so the total is 4 plus two on the go… and I have used three different patterns.

Five… book chapters written. None yet, and I really don’t think I’m feeling sufficiently motivated about this at the moment. I just don’t seem to have enough dedicated time to settle down to make plans and get writing as other things keep being more urgent.

Four… blankets for charity; knitted or crocheted. Target reached in February.

Three… sessions in the loft, sorting out some of the accumulated ‘stuff’ up there. Still two. Although I have been up there and done some more sorting I can’t really describe it as a dedicated ‘session’.

Two… patterns published and on sale. I failed to get on with the second pattern in the past few weeks, although there really isn’t much more to do. The total, therefore is still 1.

 One… gardening apron. Completed in April.
 So that’s it for now. If you have a 17 for 2017 blog post or an update on your progress, do leave a link in the comments.

Working Wednesday #6

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue). Now I have to confess that there is a project this week that is going to require a yarn purchase as I simply do not have enough of a suitable yarn to complete it, although I started it with yarn I already had, so there should certainly be no net gain.

I finished a few things this week: the turtle, some fingerless mittens and a breast prosthesis for a lady who has had a mastectomy. I’m also delighted to report that the snailvaark I made and couldn’t photograph last week reached his destination safely and is much loved.

I’ve been working on two pairs of socks as well this week and it’s the red ones that will require more yarn. They are for Mr Snail to wear inside his wellies and so they need long legs and thus lots of wool. I’m slightly disappointed that I’m going to buy yarn before the end of the year but I am consoling myself that it is for a very specific project and, hopefully, I will be able to buy it locally (I’ll find out a Knit Night on Thursday whether Jude has any more – the original ball came from her shop).

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

 

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