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FO and a sort of plan for next year

I hope you’ve all enjoyed your Christmas celebrations, whatever form they took.

An FO? Yes, just one: the White Caps Cowl, which I was knitting till almost 9 o’clock on Boxing Day morning (luckily for me, it wasn’t needed until lunchtime; but, yes, it was somewhat necessarily, therefore, gifted unblocked). Sewing? A few lavender bags. Other knitting? None. Surviving the end-of-year busy-ness was sufficient achievement. And, as I’ve yet to send cards, I’m not too sure if we have survived. I’m going to call them New Year cards, though. But, you know, we made it through a festival of feasts and visits by friends and family, a birthday, a wedding anniversary, exam results, exploding champagne, a concert or two and lots of everyday stuff that included inordinate amounts of time dedicated to fitness pursuits (no, not me; that was everyone else while I was playing laundry lady).

What can I say about the White Caps Cowl? I adapted it slightly in terms of number of repeats. I think it’s probably a make that would knit to a nicer finish in its recommended yarn but I’m quite taken by the weight of the Patons Sorrento, the hint of glamour it provides with the slightly shimmering aspect of its mixed fibre and the smooth contrast of the Cleckheaton Bamboo. As far as knitting went, the bamboo was much easier on the hands and I was able to make reasonable progress. The variable thickness of the Sorrento slowed me down quite a lot. It hasn’t put me off by any means, as I’ve stocked up my cupboard with enough yarn to make a couple more of the White Caps Cowls throughout the year (it really is good on-the-bus knitting and I love the look of it). I might not use a faux seam with another make; it doesn’t really ring my bells. The photo was taken hurriedly with my phone, prior to wrapping; excuse background (bedcover) and less than ideal lighting.

Flat cowl

Not exciting but looks better in action

One of our visiting friends has put in a couple of knitting requests and I’ll be happy to oblige her with a Villawool Inca L574 hat in a colour scheme to her liking (that will be a reasonably fast knit, even at my pace). I’ve yet to decide on the yarn for that (the Villawool Inca being no longer available) but am fairly sure I could manage it from stash, which you’d have to consider a win. Hardly surprisingly, the really thick winter yarns are somewhat thin on the shelves at this time of year. There will also be a three-colour linen stitch scarf though I have absolutely no intention of making it as long as its predecessor. I understand about long scarves and cold climes, truly I do; but there is a point beyond which the extra length simply gets in the way. I bought yarn for that yesterday at Spotlight. I would like to make one for myself but will wait and see how other things pan out before I make that a firm promise/plan.

I started something akin to a prayer shawl – perhaps a care shawl – for a colleague who has had a rotten year by anyone’s standards. I won’t finish it quickly (the needle size is just on the edge of my comfort zone and I struggle to find a rhythm even with the very easy pattern) but it might be ready for her April birthday. In any case, she’s not expecting it so in some respects I have as much leeway as I need on that one.

The yarn bombing coordinator rang the other day to ask for more contributions: red hearts and lots of roses, not necessarily red, for another yarn bombing project, the previous one in Victoria Square having been hailed as such a success. I’ve already crocheted up a few test roses which will be perfectly acceptable contributions and am looking around for a heart pattern that looks sufficiently heart-like and sufficiently large. I think this one fits the bill. I know where the drop-off point is and I have my dark glasses at the ready so I can ensure my hearts and flowers are there before the due date. You might not be surprised to hear that Dr B and YoungB have somewhat taken this yarn bombing idea and run with it, referring to secret language, pack leaders and cell members as if it were an underground movement. I humour them. At least they’re not objecting!

In sewing news, I’ve repaired YoungB’s Draggins (kevlar-reinforced motorcycling jeans) again, having previously taken up the hem by the amount he requested. Anyone who knows about jeans will understand that much use had seen them sag to a point where the hems were in shreds. This time I cut off the original and new hems and turned them up twice. They might look a shade short were he to wear them with loafers but as that’s unlikely – his motorcycling gear has been carefully chosen to enable him to wear it all day, boots included (though I’d accept that leathers in winter are for on the bike and not much else) – then we reckon that this time they won’t catch on his boots nor drag on the ground. That’s not the sort of drag the brand intends although I’ll be very happy if it’s the only sort this pair of jeans ever encounters.

I still haven’t managed to make a new top for myself or tinkered with my rescued skirt and stripey trousers to create the jacket I’d half-imagined could be made from them, using Portia’s kimono-tee pattern as inspiration (it’s a winner; I’ve already used it to make five tops of varying degrees of respectability). They will happen at some point, I suppose. However, I have received my Pattern Pyramid winnings from Meg and will undoubtedly have something to show you from that; but not just yet. So if you’ve been eagerly awaiting the announcement, take this as advance warning. I’m still rather run off my feet and although – o frabjous day! – I have managed to clear the sewing table (nearly, anyway), I have a couple of other urgent tasks that simply have to be done before I can allow myself to be frivolous.

All in all, I think 2013 is going to be just like 2012: full of good intentions, lots of things made that I didn’t really intend to make, other people’s things coming ahead of mine on a regular basis and anything made for myself done terribly last-minute and not terribly well! I do hope that you have a better year in terms of your crafty endeavours, whatever form they take. Cheers, everyone, and happy new year.

 
 

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no such thing as too many roses

I crocheted roses over the weekend, to throw onto a wreath intended to replace the old tinsel-wrapped wire coathanger that’s been our front-door decoration for many Christmases. I can’t remember when I first encountered this wonderful tutorial – but it was some time ago, possibly the first year Esther shared it on her blog – and was utterly enchanted by the notion of doing something similar. I’m sure you’ve realised by now that I tend to take ideas and run with them. The results aren’t always brilliant but I think my version of this has turned out quite nicely. I’d intended to make it larger than it is but the larger foam rings had sold out, so a little one had to do; and it does do quite a good job, don’t you think?

IRL the colours are warmer

IRL the colours are warmer

I did a fair bit of tweaking and about three complete remakes in terms of placement (I pinned everything in place before deciding on final placement). I asked Dr B to judge whether the colour balance was right – after all, he’s the only one in the family not afflicted by acritochromacy – and I checked it with YoungB as well because he has a better eye for balance than I have. They both liked it and when I eventually hung it on the door, Dr B was kind enough to say that it looked very nice. (He also agreed that it was a vast improvement on the coathanger.) And why didn’t I use any leaves? I can crochet well enough to manage their complexity, but they are more time consuming than roses. Time being in short supply, and green yarn being in even shorter supply, surprisingly enough, I decided that I’d use just roses. So that’s what I did, used a lot of roses, varying in colour and size (depending on what yarn I could find in my leftovers basket). I should have wrapped my foam ring with another layer of yarn, but it’s passable as it is because the yarn is thick.

So that’s one bit of Christmas crafting done and life seems to be throwing obstacles in the way of other achievement. What gets done gets done and what doesn’t means buying a box of special seeds or nice teabags, I think! How are you going with your Christmas crafting?

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Crochet

 

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dark glasses

I made sure I was wearing my sunnies today when I dropped off my contribution to the Victoria Square yarn bombing. Ideally, I’d like to be able to participate in the placement but I can’t guarantee my availability. Therefore, I delivered my rose and scarf to the cafe in the square. But, you know, it’s graffiti, so I thought I should disguise myself! Just in case.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Knitting

 

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laundering

You remember that blue top I made for Nonno? I asked Dr B today if its recipient regarded it as OK and did he want another? Dr B’s response was that he’d put the top straight in the laundry basket when he delivered it so he didn’t really know whether the fit was good or not, but he thought it should have been. I was a little puzzled by that, I admit, because the fabric had been washed and, you know, I hadn’t been trampling it on the ground or anything. I said as much. Dr B admitted that he’d had an accident with a box of liqueur-soaked cakes and the top was, uh, one of the nicest smelling he’d ever encountered! But, alas, not able to be worn without laundering. Oh. And, yes, please, Nonno would like another. Fine. That can be done. Now that I have the pattern sorted out, you’d think it shouldn’t really take me all that long.

Knitting has been the thing this weekend. I’ve only a few more rows do to and the White Caps Cowl will be finished. I’ve packaged up the crocheted orange rose and the knitted red scarf to take to the yarn bombing coordinator – they’re not large contributions, but every little helps and I would struggle to knit more articles between now and 7 December, which is the deadline; I’m not a fast knitter – then I need to turn my attention to aprons and lavender bags and other Christmas sewing.

I hope you’re making great progress with all your Christmas projects. I usually end up sewing till midnight Christmas Eve – which is really Christmas Day, I know – because I’m not well organised. But I get there. Good luck with your efforts!

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2012 in Crochet, Knitting, Sewing

 

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bloomin’ heck

I said I crocheted a giant, orange rose. So I did.

And it only took me an hour to make

IRL, as they say, the colour is much, much more vivid.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Crochet

 

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weekend

Saturday was a big day in the City – and the crowds started to gather early; we saw youngsters at bus stops as early as 6.30 in the morning – but YoungB and I were away from it all, having a good time at rowing. Food was a problem, though. He’d been at a mate’s and hadn’t breakfasted, so he was hungry. The cafe at rowing? No, they weren’t up to coping with a hordes of hungry rowers that early in the day and their ovens/pie warmers weren’t hot, so I ended up with junk food: a doughnut and a very dry scone. The drink was at least reasonable. YoungB is now coaching and his crew of beginner girls fared so well in their heat that they made it into the final! Late in the morning, we managed to get egg and bacon sandwiches from one of the schools that does food, so we didn’t starve.  We stayed to watch some of the senior crews but for family reasons were unable to stay all day. Things will settle down eventually.

Last night we went out for dinner to celebrate YoungB’s finishing high school. By happy coincidence – really; the original plan had been for a different Greek restaurant – the place we ended up choosing was next door to a great video shop, so not only did we have a lovely meal – salt and pepper squid; mixed grill; and lentil patties – we came home with a week’s worth of quality viewing. I admit to having sat in the car and knitted while those two selected the videos. My feet were sore and the notion of having to traipse around? No, that didn’t have my name on it or anywhere near it.

Today I lunched with a group of family members at a delightful cafe a few suburbs away, helping to celebrate Youngest Aunt’s birthday. All tastes catered for – Youngest Aunt eats a vegetarian diet and her nachos were just the thing – and everything delicious, especially the white-chocolate baked cheesecake. Dr B and YoungB were not there. They’d gone to a locally famous motorcycle cafe up in them thar Hills (sometimes, when you ride a motorbike, you just have to do what all the other motorcyclists do). It’s particularly noted for its humungous burgers which come speared by a knife but accompanied by no other cutlery. YoungB said he felt like a bit of a wimp asking for a fork!

As if all that were not enough, a friend and his son rocked up for coffee and motorbike talk later in the afternoon. I sat and knitted while they talked bikes. I mean, just because I’m a wench and it was my turn to make the coffee doesn’t mean I have to banish myself to the back room! (If I’d had a sewing project to undertake, I might have; but knitting is at least able to be accomplished in company.)

I’m knitting the White Caps Cowl and I’m knitting a long scarf for the Vic Square yarn bombing project, alternating as circumstances dictate (if I’m having to participate in discussion as to family timetabling, something mindless like the long scarf is ideal because I don’t have to count stitches or rows or pay too much attention to what I’m doing). I’ve crocheted a couple more little roses as experiments but they’re probably not colourful enough for yarn bombing purposes.

Then I took a few photos of the orange rose and the long scarf so I could share them with you. And although they were on my phone when I checked, they seem to have disappeared into the ether between that checking and my trying to upload them to the computer. So no photos, sorry, until I figure out what’s going on with my phone!

I hope you’ve had an enjoyable weekend and managed to fit in copious amounts of food, family and fibre (by which I mean the sort of fibre you make things with, not the sort of fibre that makes you – well, you get my drift, I’m sure).

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Crochet, Food, Knitting

 

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beginning yarn bombing

Last night I sat down and crocheted an utterly over-the-top enormous, orange rose. No, I haven’t taken a photo yet though I promise I will. Right now, I know I’ve an early night because tomorrow will be an early morning, fetching my rower from his revels so he can ensure that his crew is ready for racing. I’m presently too tired to think. Did any of that make sense?!

If it didn’t, which is my fear, you’ll understand why I didn’t pull out my White Caps Cowl to do any knitting tonight on the bus. I was sure I’d make a mistake or miscount something and have to tink rather too far for comfort. If, indeed, I retained the ability to tink – or think – at all.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Crochet, Knitting, Rowing

 

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