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the CAL cowl again

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Slightly bumpier texture on what is technically the wrong side. It’s long enough that I can pull it over my nose on cold mornings!

I realised that I haven’t shared a photo of the reverse side of my completed CAL cowl. It’s not reversible in the sense of being the same on both sides, but certainly in the sense of being able to be worn either way. Therefore, I wear it both ways. Sometimes, I like the smoother texture against my skin.

As previously detailed, the yarn is Moda Vera Malibu, a pure wool 8 ply purchased at my LYS in April. I used a 5.75mm hook. For those using other measuring systems, it’s described on the hook as J/10. It wasn’t a complex project, and the resulting article has been a great addition to my wardrobe these last few weeks when winter has been biting hard. I know the sun is on the way back to us – and the mornings are noticeably lighter – but that memo hasn’t yet reached the planetary thermoregulation system.

May all your lovely cowls be fabulous for keeping you warm. If they’re reversible, that’s also fabulous 😀

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2019 in Crochet

 

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Tom’s tote

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String bag by any other name

I finally finished the market tote, and immediately gifted it as a birthday present.

What should I do next?!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2019 in Crochet

 

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degrees of difference

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My phone camera is dying, so apologies for the poor quality. You get the idea, however. Another tidy little scrapbuster.

There I was, sitting with Dr B and watching a TV program. I needed something to do with my hands. And I need to keep whittling away at that stash. So the other night, while YoungB zizzed on the mattress with the aircon at full bore, I crocheted up a beautifully soft, warm cowl. Yeah! Just what you do when it’s above 40C.

This is a mix of yarns, all with a high acrylic content. The lighter stripe is Lincraft Big Wool Solids, in what I think was described as denim. It’s a blue colourway, rather than green. The yarn at the bottom of the photo is Moda Vera Manor in colour 52, dye lot 1010109, and it’s definitely a green colourway. The starting blue-green colourway (at the top of the photo) is a mystery, but possibly Moda Vera Bouvardia leftovers from an earlier beanie. I used a 9mm crochet hook.

Best wishes for all your stashbusting, and may you never be afflicted with unidentifiable yarn 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2019 in Crochet

 

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obviously random

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Not exciting. But a little rug to keep my knees warm at work. And for that, exciting indeed 🙂

If I’d put any thought into this, the variegated yarns would be distributed more evenly against the solids. As it is, and as you can see quite plainly, they’re not mixed at all. I had the variegated yarns on top of my scrap bag, ready for another project. The solids were below that. I simply started at the top and kept going.

So, yeah. Totally unplanned and uninteresting but finished and fit for purpose, namely keeping my knees warm at the office during freezing summer aircon temps. And potentially useful in winter, but probably not at the office where even I have been known – very occasionally – to remove a jacket because the aircon is too hot :/

Details of this project:

Pattern (something like this):

  • Chain 60 (or any even number of your choice; this is what I used for this small rug).
  • Commence first row in second chain from hook, working all UK half-treble (US half-double) crochet; so that you end up with an odd number of stitches to work the mesh pattern.
  • Work 3 chain at end of each row then turn.
  • All other rows 1 UK treble (US double), 1 chain, miss a stitch, repeat to end.
  • Work into the top of the treble/double in the row below (so that you end up with a mesh).
  • Repeat until desired length.
  • Last row, all UK half-treble (US half-double) crochet.
  • Tidy up your ends, thrown it in for a quick wash, hang it out in the sun to dry, and that’s it.

Yarn: a variety of synthetic 8-ply/UK-DK yarns from my scrap bag. All yarns held double. How much I used is tricky to calculate, but probably 200g of one colour and whatever I had of the others to a matching overall amount. I joined using a knot. Quite a bit of the yarn already had knots in it, so I decided to go with the flow. As far as possible, I crocheted ends in as I went.

Hook: Milford plastic 9mm/US13 hook (according to the information on it).

Time from start to finish: a couple of weeks.

Did it dent the stash? It must have, and I think I have now actually run out of 8-ply variegated yarn. There are still four-and-a-bit balls of the green yarn and there is a reasonable amount of the grey-blue.

Make it again? Yes, but perhaps a little larger. This suits me, but everyone else in the family is taller, so would need more coverage. It was a good TV-watching project because of the simple, repetitive pattern.

So, yeah. Back to the housework now. Dr B is out on a motorbike ride and YoungB has been away at the coast with friends. It’s a lovely laundry day!

No matter what you’re up to, I hope you’re enjoying sunshine and down time with your favourite craft 😉

 
 

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catching up

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Dr B is making excellent progress with his creative task!

Isn’t it good when you share a meal with friends, and are able to catch up on everyone’s news? I don’t do it as often as I’d like. The Bs have far more of a cafe lifestyle than I do, mostly by virtue of their cycle outings (of whichever variety). Yesterday it was my turn with some old friends from my nursing days. One is still in the business, nowadays working as a midwife in a busy city hospital. The other has already retired. We met for our meal at a halfway-point eatery, and between swapping news of former colleagues and hearing about the exploits of children and grandchildren, a couple of hours passed swiftly and pleasantly.

The friend who is still in the business doesn’t live far from me, so we travelled together. She’s another who knits and sews, and would like to learn crochet but is time poor now. A particular joy of our homeward trip was our quick duck into a fabric store, one where we’re both VIP members. It’s not far from home for either of us, so barely even a detour. She was looking for something she could use to refresh the old, tired, three-panelled privacy screens in her hospital’s nursery. We bought some lovely animal-print curtaining (in both colourways, to be used alternately so that one side presents taupe, cream, taupe and the other side cream, taupe, cream). It should sew up beautifully and look a treat.

The style of curtaining uses stretch wires at top and bottom. I have recent experience with that, because I made a small, privacy curtain for YoungB, so that he wouldn’t be constantly disturbed by a neighbour’s sensor light going berserk. I used some old furnishing fabric and put a wire only at the top. That was mostly for haste, but also because YoungB’s cabin presents problems when you try to screw things into its walls. So, although my crochet projects might not be completed, I have had a small sewing success.

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Curtain in a hurry, with some installation challenges unmet. However, YoungB loves it because it keeps out enough light that he can sleep. That’s all it needs to do.

When my friend drove me home, we checked the progress of the Bs’ building work: as the top photo illustrates, they’re going great guns (and they were both working on it yesterday). They did some catching up, too, in their case with a chippie friend who is our unofficial consultant (he has lots of good, sensible advice for safely working alone and will be getting a slab of his favourite tipple when the project is done). YoungB will shortly have a run of almost a week off, so he’ll be a great help with the roofing. They ought then to catch up sufficiently with the work that we might have a fully-roofed pergola by the end of next week. Bonus. And exciting-issimo.

As I implied, I’m not caught up on all my crochet WIPs. The green market bag needs handles, but I have to count stitches at least a little bit so that the handles are centrally located. I have, however, just about finished a knee-rug for work! Yet again, it’s made with some of that 8-ply (DK) synthetic green yarn gifted to me by a friend, and more of my variegated scraps, held double. So it really is thick and, this time, it really is quite small. I think my starting chain was about 60. It will work fine in the office, which is where I intend to use it. I will catch up with finishing all of the other small bits and pieces, but not while I’m watching TV. For me, because of my poor eyesight, that’s sometimes a little trickier than simply dealing with a piece of repeating-pattern crochet. I can manage, “One treble, one chain,” ad infinitum! The photo is somewhat dull, but I think you’ll get the idea: a quick and easy pattern that produces a lovely, squishy finish.

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Scrappy stashbusting stuff. And small, but enough to cover my knees so that I don’t get too cold at the office.

I hope you’re also catching up with your crafty projects, and old friends.

 

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still on the go

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Probably larger again by now, but this will give you an idea of how it’s going.

The green string bag/shopping tote/market bag is still going. It’s much larger now, but I’m back at work. Hence, exhaustion is already creeping in and although I well understand the value of retaining craft work as some sort of therapy, I cannot summon sufficient energy by day’s end to do much more than sit with Dr B as he watches TV. Often enough, we both pump a lot of Zzzz’s and decide to call it quits without much TV-watching and certainly no crochet.

Work will continue to be busy for most of the year. There will be some easing of pressure in a few weeks, but the sector is in such upheaval that it’s unrealistic to anticipate a huge improvement. I’ll keep going on the crochet when I can. it all helps a bit. Right?

So, as I say, we’re still on the go: I and my crochet. Hope you are, too 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2019 in Crochet

 

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we made it, sort of

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This should put an end to cherries falling out the holes and rolling down the hill. Dr B doesn’t mind the colours (all of which were readily to hand when I started the bag).

Yeah, that went well. Not. I think that’s the best way to describe our Christmas, which was a topsy-turvy one, thrown into disarray by varying availability. In itself, that would not be a problem. We can work around that. Indeed, we did. But decisions to change things, and change them again, then change them a bit more… well, that was too much for me. I just sulked.

That is to say, I worked till the usual time on what is colloquially known as Black Friday. It’s the last working Friday of the year for many offices, mine included, when nearby watering holes do a roaring trade. At my place, we had an exhausted sort of in-house happy hour (the accompanying snacks were everyone’s bits and pieces of leftovers and Christmas gifts donated to the communal cause) then headed out the door. I was home about the same time as usual. From then on, I managed to misunderstand – or misinterpret or have to clarify to the point of seeming rude or stupid or both – almost everything that was said to me or requested of me by anyone else in the family, up to and including Christmas Day 😉

It reflected my level of mental and physical exhaustion, but there was no opportunity to rest or do anything I wanted to at my pace. When asked for a Christmas tree for photographic purposes, although it was considerably earlier than my traditional Christmas-tree-erecting-hour, I managed to dig one out of a box, throw a few lights and some tinsel at it, and call it ready in about five minutes flat. It looks awful, because I’ve done nothing else since, but it’s a Christmas tree. To be fair, it doesn’t look too bad when the lights are on. I put the Christmas wreath on the front screen door, complete with Santa. Major effort. Shiny-halo stuff, really. Right?!

Dr B and I celebrated a large wedding anniversary – not a particularly significant one, but lots of years – and I managed to stay awake long enough to share the toast. Then after everyone else was in bed, I wrapped some of the presents (those that required it). For the rest, I tied ribbon around a couple of hand-crocheted shopping bags and a waffle-y dishcloth (or facecloth; the recipient can decide which it’s to be) like the one I made Youngest Aunt for her birthday, attached a gift tag that included yarn-care instructions; and didn’t photograph any of them. So, yeah, I’ve been busy with making things but have no evidence. And I couldn’t get to my sewing machine, so no wine-bottle carriers have yet eventuated. Nor are they likely to, but it’s always possible I might manage them for birthdays throughout the year. In some respects, that 2018 is ending as chaotically as it has progressed is not at all surprising. But, as I’ve remarked a few times lately, we’re all still upright and relatively coherent most of the time. That might be enough for this year.

I’m about 20 stitches away from completing a crocheted market tote for Dr B (the one in the photo). It’s not in his colours, but he will enjoy using it when he goes out foraging for cherries up in the local cherry orchards. I made it specifically with small holes – no cherries should fall through them – and a long strap, so that he can wear it cross-body over his motorcycling clobber. And that’s all I have to do: simply join that long strap to the other side of the bag. Now that things have quietened down a little – visitors gone home, no more parties in sight till New Year’s Eve – I might be able to sit down and do that without too much trauma in the very near future. It will require me to count a few stitches to ensure it’s centred, but if I can find a few uninterrupted minutes, that’s all it will take. Oh, and sewing in the few ends, of course.

But you notice I said “if”? That’s because Dr B is in building mode, continuing to work on an upgrade to our pergola. It’s a big undertaking and, although YoungB and I have both helped as and when our work commitments allow, we’re not the ones doing the bulk of the work. However – you might have known there’d be a “however” – because I’m now home on so-called holidays, there seems to be this immediate assumption – there’s been no request; just an assumption – that, as well as dropping everything at a moment’s notice to assist more frequently with the building work, I’ll also take over all the domestica, including the cooking. Yeah right.

The cooking has certainly been going by the wayside since the construction started and I’m fine with that. After all, Dr B and I built our own house together. I know about the need to prioritise building work over food prep. Luckily, we have good local options for fast food that’s also nutritious: various Asian takeaway restaurants that don’t break the bank and provide authentic food that’s as good as what we’d make at home. I’m not a bad cook, and in the days when I did more cooking I enjoyed it; but our kitchen is not ours at all. It’s Dr B’s. We’ve been together for a long time and, if pressed, work well together in a kitchen – witness our having cooked and catered for a couple of rowing camps over the years – so it’s not even trying to find my way around the weird – to me – places he puts things that gets to me in this instance.

It’s that I’d like some equity! I ought to be able to get on with my own backlog of domestic work, of which there is plenty, because I have been so busy in my job-that-pays-the-bills that I’ve had next to no energy to do little more than the barest minimum of laundry and cleaning since about the end of July. I’ve been coming home and falling asleep in my evening meal (or going straight to bed almost as frequently) for almost half the year. Having a lie-in would be a good start to getting some energy back, but making inroads on those chores is by now pretty high on the list and some of them require access to my sewing machine. For example, there are these wine-bottle carriers I want to make…

I’d also like some time to read a book. Dr B goes out on weekly motorcycle jaunts (sometimes pushbike rides as well). I think I ought to be able to read a book in peace. It need only be one. I’m not asking for sufficient time out to read the entire trilogy I’m presently working my way through. But it would be nice to finish the first one which I’ve been reading for an uncharacteristically long time (I find it not good commuter reading because of the tricky typography and its physical bulk). Mind you, a good start on the second title would be fabulous, but I can’t see it happening.

On Boxing Day, Youngest Aunt and I were discussing my holiday, and what I plan to do during the fortnight I’m not at my place of paid employment. While we agreed that reading ought to feature, we also acknowledged it was unlikely to. Dr B seems to think I should be able to fit in some reading. At least, he asked if I intended to bowl over a few books while I wasn’t at work. Uuh, yeah, not so much. Unless he comes back to his proper place in the kitchen 🙂

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Posted by on December 28, 2018 in Crochet

 

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