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just more fingerless mittens

Already old and well-loved in 2010

Already old and well-loved in 2010

You see those pretty blue mitts? They’re knitted with acrylic yarn to Twinset Ellen’s pattern and were originally intended for me. But the pair I’d made for YoungB having stretched so much they were almost too big for Dr B, the blue pair – logically and obviously – went to a worthier home. Cheap and acrylic though the yarn might be, it’s wearing well and still keeping YoungB’s hands warm in Italy.

Modelled by Dr B but now gracing YoungB's smaller hands

Modelled by Dr B but now gracing YoungB’s smaller hands

And that second pair? Ravelled here, for full details. YoungB admired those I was making for Eldest Aunt’s retirement present, so I made a similar pair for him: same yarn, same needle size, same stocking stitch base pattern, though I added a couple of panels of ribbing for his, and same thumb treatment. The larger number of stitches meant that his stripes came closer to matching and I knitted the body of both mitts before doing either of the thumbs to ensure that. YoungB says these are fantastic. He’s a great recipient, always appreciative; which is probably why I didn’t mind giving him the blue pair in the first place :)

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2015 in Knitting

 

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there probably is a time for everything

You might recall I said I’d been doing a reasonable amount of crochet and knitting while my computer was not working. One such item was this pair of fingerless mitts for a work colleague. They started out a couple of years ago as a birthday present for someone else but plans changed – as they so often do – and the mitts languished, awaiting their moment. I’ve often said I don’t frog projects when they come to a grinding halt, just put them away for a while, which sometimes works in my favour if I need something in a hurry.

The building where I work has airconditioning that’s unpredictably crazy, but errs on the side of glacial most of the year. When birthday presents were mentioned, mitts seemed a sensible notion and these fitted the bill in many ways, mostly that they were about 50% done, the colours were right and I had a couple of weekends available for knitting the remainder, weaving in the surprisingly large number of ends and allowing plenty of time for blocking; or so I thought.

just the shot to keep your fingers functioning in a chilly chamber

just the shot to keep your fingers functioning in a chilly chamber

Dr B was good enough to photograph them for me, though you’d probably agree that we need to work on our layout and presentation. ;-) The pattern is one I’ve used many times, knitted using Lincraft Cosy Wool, a pure wool 8 ply yarn, on size UK10/3.25 mm needles. The plain yarn is a navy colourway, the variegated something I thought would play nicely with that (and whose ball bands have long since vanished, so I’m unable to provide detail of either colour or dye lot). As it turned out, they weren’t quite ready for the birthday breakfast – being still damp as they blocked in the spare bedroom – but I was able to hand them over on the following Monday morning at work with the usual accompanying lavender bag. Their time had finally come :)

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in Knitting

 

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if not winning, then certainly grinning

You’ve probably noticed how erratically I’ve been blogging. That’s been largely because I’ve had no desktop computer for the best part of a year. Tonight I’m back on a desktop computer; my own, what’s more. This is a reality too wonderful to contemplate so it’s a good thing that there are downsides such as a very sticky keyboard – that’s been swapped already – and quite the wrong workstation to accommodate the new machine.

The experience of being without a computer for such a long time leads me to observe that, when you can’t use your computer, you end up not doing a lot of work that you should be doing, which is occasionally close to disastrous. On the other hand, if you knit and crochet, you end up doing a lot of crocheting and knitting and I have been: several crocheted cowls and six pairs of knitted, fingerless mitts (at last count). The mitts – using a variety of yarns but predominantly Bendigo’s Murano – have garnered particular admiration and a rash of requests for made-to-order birthday presents. “Please?” Eldest Niece asked in a very winning way. I like it when people ask for something I can manage that I know they’ll use and enjoy. Not having a computer for so long wasn’t a win in most respects but I am at least grinning because I can truthfully say that I’m doing quite well with my not-a-New-Year’s-resolution to spend more time being creative.

Next step, sorting out photos! Wish me luck.Or do you think I should step away from that for another year?

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Crochet, Knitting

 

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not a good start but a better second plan

You know how I mentioned that I was considering remaking an existing garment so I’d have a newer one to wear to a party? Yeah, well, I didn’t do it. There was no time. Too many of life’s little interruptions are already interrupting the smooth run of the year. No big deal. The intention was a good one but sometimes other priorities override the best of intentions. That’s why I have a couple of respectable dresses in my wardrobe. They’re old – we are talking considerably older than YoungB – but they were good quality when new and I wear them so seldom that people think they’re new. :) Even Dr B has made that assumption about one of them!

That was the outcome of my first half-maybe-a-sort-of-plan project for the year. Moving right along, Youngest Niece has asked me if I would make her another cowl for winter. She offered to buy the yarn and pay me for my labours, which I greatly appreciated. Her birthday is coming up, so I think I can use that as a very good excuse for getting busy with my crochet hook and not worrying about payment; though, as I say, I truly appreciate her offer because it’s a recognition that there’s time and effort involved as well as yarn. The caveat might be that if, for instance, any of her friends would like such a cowl because they admire hers so much, I would expect them to pay. With that in mind, I intend to keep a rough tally of how many hours it takes. It will be several bus trips, I promise you.

Yes, it’s a crocheted cowl. I made her a green one some years ago and she loves it but finds that it’s not a colour she wears with much but black. However, she would wear a white cowl with most other garments in her wardrobe. That’s me sorted for commute crafting for the next couple of weeks, I think, if I can remember quite which of the many designs I used for her original cowl. The beauty of crochet, of course, is that it doesn’t require quite so much arm space on a crowded bus. I have ordered some yarn from my favourite supplier and it’s on its way; but that will mean I don’t make an immediate start. Her birthday isn’t for another three or four weeks. That’s bags of time, I tell you, absolutely bags; probably enough time for me to knit her an accompanying beanie, so long as I stick to a plainish design (not TOO many cables and stuff).

Anyone wanna bet how quickly that plan also gets derailed?

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Crochet, Knitting, Sewing

 

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but it wasn’t an entirely no-sew Christmas

Promptly pressed into action

Promptly pressed into action

Because Youngest Aunt and I both worked on Christmas Eve, we decided that we’d be too tired to enjoy our usual Boxing Day lunch, traditionally held at her place. Therefore, we had it on the following Sunday instead. I was reasonably happy about that for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which was that it gave me a couple of extra days to make her Christmas tablecloth! I generally sew tablecloths with narrow hems but I made these wide because she’ll use the cloth on her outside table and my reasoning was that a wider, thicker hem would give the tablecloth weights better gripping surface and yet minimise the likelihood of their tearing it.

Fabric a-fluttering

Fabric a-fluttering

The fabric is duck, sturdy and good quality as well as suitably bright and cheerful for festivities (even Dr B likes the design on it). What’s more, it was out at sale price. I wish I’d bought more but there’s enough left to make a runner for one of Youngest Aunt’s other outdoor tables. Next there’s some Christmas fabric that was intended for a runner. That will eventuate, but because of Eldest Niece’s not having a dining table and all that – though she does have a breakfast bar, it seems; but she assures me she eats on the run, so even festive napery might not play a big part in her life – it’s folded and put away for another day.

Also fluttering is a red-and-white check fabric that turned into a small tablecloth for the card table that YoungB uses in his cabin. I bought that some while back, but it’s taken me till now to put two hems on it. That fabric was also out at sale price because it was the end of the bolt and there’s a couple of flaws in it. The resulting tablecloth looks quite acceptable and does the job and I can assure you that YoungB won’t mind a bit that it’s less than perfect. He probably won’t notice unless I tell him!

Love hearts, as they say, for a lovely young man

Hearts for a lovely young man. I elected to use what’s probably the wrong side of the fabric as the right side of the tablecloth because I liked it better.

I struggled to fit the sewing, I admit. It wasn’t difficult work – straight hems, no curves at all – but finding the time and a clear space on the table, not to mention somewhere to lay out the fabric so that I could square it up properly, almost defeated me. A larger table would help with space for the squaring, but it would also be simply somewhere else for things to go that shouldn’t.
If there’s any real New Year’s resolution lurking anywhere, it might be in my intention to keep my sewing table as clear as I possibly can – that is, keeping my sew-zone as a no-go zone for everything but sewing because if I don’t, it will be a no-sew zone instead ;-)

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Sewing

 

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and in 2015, what I’ll do is…

What we watched on our TV; image from the City of Sydney’s 2014 Sydney Fireworks

Happy New Year. We watched the early version of the fireworks with Nonna.

Every year, I end our Christmas letter with a hope that the coming year will be filled with peace, good health and prosperity; and may 2015 be such a year for all of us.

I can truthfully say that, on present indications, ours will certainly have some wonderful moments: YoungB will return from his year abroad and there’s to be a wedding in the family. I’ve resolved that I’ll do more sewing and knitting this year. You know I’m not good at plans, because they’re all too frequently derailed by events well beyond my control, but it can’t hurt to aim for a better level of creative activity. As I say, I’m much nicer and considerably less frazzled when I have a piece of knitting in my hands.

The first event of note will be Middle Aunt’s 60th birthday. Celebratory attire might require that I either make something or refashion an existing garment. The latter holds more appeal. There are several items in my wardrobe that no longer fit but, because of my rushed and shoddy sewing, can’t be given away. If I were to pull them apart, very carefully, who knows what I might end up with?! That will do for a first not-plan or non-resolution for the year. ;-)

If you have plans for this year – or if you don’t make plans, if you have a to-do list or some vague ideas of what you reckon you might achieve – all the best with bringing them to fruition. Cheers and warmest wishes for a fulfilling year. :)

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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last-minute ramblings

Some roses from a friend, not for Christmas but just because

Some roses from a friend, not for Christmas but just because

You’ll have to forgive me, but this truly is rambling. I’m so tired I can’t be coherent.

Our Advent calendar has nearly completed its greeting of MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU but for the last letter and the final punctuation point, which is provided by some holly leaves. Have I managed any sewing? Yeah, nah. Had I planned any? Uuh, yeah. But all of those plans were a bit like the SMS conversation I had today with Eldest Niece.

She’s newly in a home and I thought she might like some homewares or something culinary. Coffee pods (easy, but a good gift for someone who uses them and there’s a nice variety of specialist flavours out for Christmas)? She’s stopped drinking coffee. Right. Okay. How about a runner for the dining table (my original plan, only time is now perilously short)? They don’t have one. What, not even a breakfast bar? Nope. So no placemats, either (a more time-consuming alternative, but definitely an option)? No. Yeah, right. I accept that this means I’m off the hook with one lot of last-minute sewing but it hasn’t solved the problem of a Christmas gift for her and her partner. In my defence, I’d washed and ironed the fabric and had been trying to get details of her – now known to be non-existent – table for some time from every other member of her family. So, you know, plans? Yeah.

If you’ve been trying to sew or cook or craft or knit or create something in whatever medium tickles your creative fancy, I do hope you’ve been more successful than I have. I hope, too, that your year has been less chaotic than ours. I often tell myself that next year will be better and sometimes it is. I also remind myself that any notion of a new year is purely academic, since one day simply rolls into the next and the years don’t do much but add wrinkles to your skin and grey to your hair. I don’t really mind that. Losing muscle memory is a little more worrying – I sat down to practise some scales the other day and couldn’t remember the intervallic progression for one lot; how many times have I played those things? – but I can still knit and sew. Next year I aim to include more of those because I fret when I don’t have a bit of knitting to keep me occupied in the evening or a little sewing project to work on at the weekend. I’m a nicer person and considerably less stressed when I have a creative outlet.

May your Christmas be wonderful, whether it’s a crafty one or not. :)

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in Musing, Sewing

 

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