Making (the most of) what you’ve got

One of the sad things about being restricted and having to stay at home has been the not being able to go into a real live shop and make a purchase (other than for food). This applies especially to materials for crafting and, in my case, especially to yarn. However, what it has done is made me look at the yarn I already have and consider how I would like to use it. Over the past year I have made various things out of yarn in my stash and using scraps left over from other projects:

As time has gone on, the amount of yarn I have has reduced and I have been looking at some that sits firmly in the “?” category. One such yarn was some 5-ply gansey wool that I won a few years ago in a raffle. There was plenty to make an actual gansey, but the more it sat there, the more I realised that I didn’t actually want one. So, after the success of the Southern Pines sweater (made from wool that I did get new this year), I thought I’d have another go at the pattern and tweak it a bit. Being the wrong gauge of yarn compared to the pattern I had to slightly adjust the sizing, plus I decided to make it longer and slightly A-line in shape. It turned out to be a relatively quick make and I managed to remember to wear it for an outdoor photo-op with the hounds:

It’s not a colour that I would normally have chosen, but actually I think it’s going to be quite versatile and the wool will certainly be hard wearing. Now I’m rummaging though my remaining yarn and trying to think of even more creative makes with what I have available.

Yarn out, books in

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Lots to get my hooks into

I love our local library, but it doesn’t serve all my needs when it comes to books – first, they don’t have all the books I want, especially specialist books and, second, I have to take the books back! Now the latter is fine most of the time – I read a book and then I’m done with it – but it’s not always the case. So, recently, I have been building up a collection of reference and source books for my knitting and crochet. I want to develop my skills, I want to expand my horizons. I know that there’s the internet, with a host of web sites and videos, but it’s not the same as browsing through a book. And when I’ve found something I want to focus on, in general I’d rather not have to have a screen in front of me (after all, that’s how I spend my working life, so I don’t want it to fill my leisure time too).

I’m hoping that all these books will aid me in working my way through my yarn stash – providing new ideas and inspiration – as well as with my pattern design aspirations. For the moment, though, I’m focusing on getting some WIPs and UFOs out of the way. In this respect this week has been very positive: two projects completed. The first I showed you nearly finished the other day in my ScrapHappy post – a woolly hug for a friend – but now all the ends are stitched in and it just needs to be packed up and sent on its way:

The second is also a scrappy project, this one for charity. A few months ago, a friend gave me some very old crochet squares. These had been made by her aunt (I think – correct me if I’m wrong, Ann) in Belgium. She asked if I could make use of them for a charity blanket. Time had not treated them well, and there were three of four squares that had been nibbled by mice. However, I was able to repair the holes and replace the edges where necessary. I crocheted them together using wool left over from a previous project and then edged the blanket with some scraps that my mum passed on to me a couple of years ago. So, this too is ready to be packed up and sent off to Knit for Peace:

At this rate, all my projects that are languishing in bags will be done and my stash will be greatly reduced by the time I go to Yarndale in September.

Working Wednesday #12

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue). This week, again, there has only been Sophie. She’s nearly finished:

Next week, I’m hoping to show you her done (although probably not blocked) and to give you my thoughts on the project… both my personal feelings and some thoughts/advice to anyone considering making their own Sophie.

Because Sophie has consumed most of my creative time for the past six weeks, I now have a whole bunch of things that I want to make, but haven’t managed to get on with. So, in the coming months, look out for slippers, more wellie socks for Mr Snail, Norwegian socks, a neck-down jumper in the round, a warm snuggly jumper, a tea cosy, sea slugs and a cardigan.

Well, that’s my progress this week and plans for the future. What have you been up to? Have you got anything you are itching to make a start on?

 

Working Wednesday #11

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue). This week there has only been Sophie:

I’ve completed round 76, which means I’ve got 37 more to do (I originally thought there were more than 120, but unless I want to make it bigger, it’s actually 113). I’m determined to get it finished before the end of the year.

So, that’s my progress this week. What have you been up to?

 

Working Wednesday #10

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue). This week there has been a little sock knitting; mostly undertaken in waiting rooms – dentist and optician.

Very slow progress on this

There’s also been another breast prosthesis – this combines knitting and crochet and I’ve used some organic cotton yarn that was given to me, I think, by ItwasJudith (thank you G.) over at Wee Story Book.

So much more comfortable than silicone

But mainly it’s been Sophie. She’s getting bigger and there’s now a row of flowers with leaves, plus the big flowers are nearly done on the “short sides” (which will soon be longer than the “long sides”, but that’s the terminology used in the pattern). I have not yet completed half of the rounds, so there’s load more work to do yet.

So, that’s my progress this week. What have you been up to?

And finally, please do take a moment to leave a comment on my 1001 post before the end of Friday (1 December 2017) so you can be entered into my give-away draw… no specific prize, it will be something tailored to you personally if I know you (come on regular posters, don’t be shy) or something that I think will make you smile if I don’t really know you (new readers also don’t be shy – random acts of kindness are especially rewarding when you don’t know the recipient).

 

Working Wednesday #9

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue). This week it’s only Sophie:

I have also started to put a bit of my stash into the secret Santa basket… I’m not going to photograph it, because I want it to be a surprise for the recipient. I can say, though, that it’s pure British wool.

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

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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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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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?

 

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