Tag Archives: Ravelry

corner then crash

Another corner rounded, in my cooler colour palette

I whizzed around another corner of the temperature blanket and started working back along the row. The cooler colours work well together. Then I ran into some unexpected obstacles.

A friend who lives in a cold climate urgently needs some fingerless mitts. There are many patterns for such things, both knitted and crocheted. Some are in books, some are online, and many that are online also have YouTube instructions. Although my friend is herself an accomplished knitter, an ABI means that sometimes things take a little longer. I could whip up a pair for her over the weekend, and I could even make them in the colour she needs. That would be a stashbuster exercise; and I’m always looking for those. However, it would mean adding a project to my list and taking me away from my dedication to the temperature blanket.

Then, Shelley from Spincushions announced that she is running a Low Key Lock down Crochet Along. It’s a wondrous idea and I love her designs. I was mightily tempted by her last year’s lockdown CAL but resisted. I might have resisted this one, too, but for another of those unexpected obstacles: another baby on the way in the family. I see that I could combine participation in the LKLD CAL with making something for the newcomer and not feel too guilty. Also, I have reasonable lead time on that.

So, yes, oh dear, what am I to do?


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that “snap!” moment

Frequently keeping someone else’s head warm

It’s winter. Of course it’s cold. Of course it’s beanie weather. Of course I’ve been wearing a beanie. Of course it’s a made-by-me beanie, although not always the same one. Imagine my amusement recently when a friend sent the above image as a message. I immediately pulled out the beanie I happened to wearing that day, took a snap and sent it via return message.

Coincidentally, keeping my head warm that day

I made both of them. Yes, they look different because they are different. The yarn in the top beanie is a pure wool and alpaca blend, so it’s naturally a little fuzzier than the machine-washable pure wool in the bottom photo. It’s also a darker grey. Additionally, I don’t wear my beanie to bed. I’m told that that often happens to the top beanie.

Details, if anyone is interested: Pattern 18, Lady/Man Knitted Aran Cap from Patons Winter Warmers Book 483. Top beanie was knitted as per instructions but using Moda Vera Tolve, a 12 ply, 70% wool, 30% alpaca yarn. The bottom beanie was knitted with Bendigo Woollen Mlls 8 ply Classic yarn, to make a smaller beanie. It fits me nicely and I do wear it often.

Doesn’t it warm the cockles of your heart when the love just keeps going round?

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Posted by on August 1, 2021 in Knitting


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reflecting on yarning

Dear Mum

It’s not that I forgot your birthday this year but more that this year has already been such a strange one that normal and usual are no longer quite what they were only a few months ago. Deadlines seem to rush up, then slide past almost unremarked. And, oh, that’s another week, or month, gone who knows where, and now here it is, once again approaching the anniversary of your death.


We’ll all get a party eventually

The three of us had actual birthdays during lockdown. We might – just – have sneaked in a special lunch for YoungB before distancing measures became too stringent. We decided that the risk was not worthwhile, and reluctantly cancelled our restaurant booking. His celebration was at home and with cake. Mine? Definitely at home and with cake. Dr B’s? Ditto. Well, I wrote about his cake! We will have a pub or restaurant meal together eventually in whatever the new version of normal turns out to be, and if there’s no second wave meaning a return to lockdown. So far, things are looking all right here in SA but we know that it would be foolish indeed to become complacent.

Because it’s winter and cold, I was musing about hot water bottles and what a difference they made to the comfort level of the crisp, cotton bed-linen we had when we were kids and which sometimes felt as nippy as the frosty ground. I recall that you knitted covers for our hot water bottles, and that Dad made a twisted cord to fasten each of them. I specifically remember watching him do that because it was something out of the ordinary that he should be contributing to a yarn project. Many years later, I made twisted cords to adorn the neckline of some baby singlets I’d knitted for a friend’s premature twins. They are easy but always effective – as you can see!


Feather and fan singlets, with twisted cord at neckline

While I certainly remember watching you knit, I think it was so much a part of your everyday life, of you, that remembering you work on a specific project is barely possible. I remember many of the garments you made: cardigans, jumpers, woolly hats and beanies, scarves, jackets, shawls and stoles to mention just a few.

It was a treat to watch you and the Great Aunts sitting around the kitchen table when they came to visit, all busily knitting and having a yarn. I miss that kind of thing and it’s not something you and I had much opportunity to do together. Youngest Aunt doesn’t really knit, and although Middle Aunt does, we don’t haul out our knitting when we get together. On the rare occasions we meet up with our fellow-knitter cousins, we don’t sit about and knit. We’ll almost certainly have a yarn and we might occasionally discuss yarny projects but, and absolutely no pun intended, it’s clear we’ve lost that connecting thread.

You were a clever and inventive knitter, always willing to try something new or put your own twist on a technique to ensure the result you sought. Naturally, you had the occasional disappointment when no matter how you tweaked it, a pattern just did not deliver. Most of the time, I dare say only you would have known that the resulting garment wasn’t right or that – for example – the collar might have sat better if you’d tried yet another technique. Taking my cue from you, I’ve occasionally tinkered with a technique that was too fussy to bother with when a simpler one would produce the same result and avoid excessive frustration.

Crochet was never your forte, although you were competent enough to help fix mistakes in my beginner work. You conceded that it was often quicker in the hands of an expert, but pointed out that it consumed considerably more yarn; another important consideration. I am still not an expert but, as with anything done frequently enough, I have become more proficient over the years. I appreciate that, like knitting, sometimes a simple technique provides a complex-looking output and I’m all for that.

You would have loved Ravelry and found the wealth of online tutorials a valuable resource, as I have done while seeking inspiration with my latest yarn projects for your new great-granddaughters. Those projects have overall been enormous fun and a great learning experience. I think of it as a good way to keep my brain nimble as well as my fingers, including a certain amount of mental juggling between terminology. My brain still hurts from hearing people with UK accents delivering instructions using US terms.

However, I will probably never again use your mother’s crochet hook, which says it’s size 5 1/2, but is smaller than the 1.4mm that some charts say that’s meant to equate to. It’s smaller than 1.25mm or even 1.00mm, because I have hooks in those sizes that I’ve measured it against. The measurements in these charts look more accurate. I used it a few times when I was a young woman but neither my eyes nor my dexterity would be up to it now, unless I could find a way to put a chunky handle on it. That might mean I could hold it, but I probably still wouldn’t be able to see what I was doing. Heaven help us, I think I’m getting old!

And, yes, Mum, I am getting old. I am older now than you ever were, which is a very sobering thought for a chilly winter’s evening. I think it’s fair to say I have fewer wrinkles, thanks to having never smoked and, equally as importantly, being of a generation encouraged from an early age to practise good sun-protection; but I think I have much more grey in my hair, only partly disguised by what Dr B concedes is a surprising amount of lingering blonde!

YoungB is out carousing with a group of his mates in a last hurrah for the footballer among them who’s lining up for imminent knee surgery. Dr B and I are about to have some vegetable soup for dinner, accompanied by crusty bread. It’s an ideal winter meal. After that, I expect we’ll pull up a patch of couch in front of the TV. We might watch something, or one or the other of us – or possibly both or us – might snooze. No matter. I’ll pull my blue shawl over my shoulders. It does need another spot of mending, I admit, but it will keep me warm. And it will be, as ever, like having you reach from the past to wrap me in the warmth of your hug.

Thanks for all the knitting tips, Mum, and for leading by example. I’m doing my best to follow in your footsteps 😀



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destashing crojo


The fingerless mitts are old but I had lots of leftover yarn.

For the first time, I crocheted a beanie. Pattern is Easy Winter Beanie by Rich Textures Crochet. There’s a tutorial here.


You can roll up the brim just once for a slouchy effect.

I used leftover Bendigo Woollen Mills 8-ply Murano yarn in colour 45 (it’s no longer in production) and a size H / 5.5mm hook.


Or you can roll it over twice and look like a Cossack!

YoungB insists on calling it a Cossack hat. It really isn’t, but the shape hints at that. It keeps my head and ears warm. Sometimes beanies ride up too much and you end up with chilly earlobes, but this one is super.

I hope you  manage to find some quick destashing projects, too, whether or not your crojo has deserted you 😀


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the usual caveats re cold


Oooh, yes, it was cold. The colours didn’t matter 😀

I know I’ve said it before: people from truly cold climates can start laughing now. I hear you, and I acknowledge your right to be amused, but I don’t care. Friday here was bitterly chilly and most of my WFH colleagues were lamenting their inability to type because of the icy fingers factor.

You might argue that we need better heating, or a heavier intake of calorie-dense foods and hot (or alcoholic, or hot and alocholic) drinks, but whatever we lacked, it seemed that we all lacked it, big-time. Warmer clothing wasn’t the whole answer, and I can say that with some authority because Dr B laughed at me for being so rugged up!

I was cold, despite the fact that I was wearing my thick, handknitted jumper – you know, the one I made for the first winter in Italy, where it helped to keep me warm even when there was snow? I was also wearing my grey beanie – you know, the one I originally made for YoungB but miscalculated the size and which has been keeping my head warm ever since? And I was wearing my fingerless mitts – you know, the ones I made for someone else, but then needed myself, and which I wear often to assist in keeping my fingers nimble when I’m typing at the computer?

But, yeah, all of those lovely, woollen bits and pieces just weren’t doing it. And my crocheted, scrappy cowl – the one that was just a protest against things that weren’t working terribly well and the fact that I’d knitted so many mittens I needed a change (Ravelled here, but never blogged)? That helped a bit, but by the time I resorted to donning it, I’d had an afternoon snack that consisted of a big mug of hot, milky cocoa and a serve of cheese and crackers. It could have been the snack as much as the extra layer of cuddly warmth. Who would know?!

May your woolly bits keep you warm, even if mine were abysmally not up to it in that particular instance!

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Posted by on May 16, 2020 in Health


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defuzzing my mitts that fit


Now, isn’t that a bit smoother?

In case you were wondering, I do actually tidy up my fingerless mitts now and then, using my defuzzer (aka fabric pill remover). There’s a variety available. Mine is battery operated and I’ve had it for years. It does a good job.

Those mitts were knitted in Bendigo Woollen Mills Murano, a sturdy 8-ply that’s now discontinued. I have a few leftovers that will doubtless contribute to more fingerless mitts. The colourways are delightful and the weightiness of the yarn perfect for keeping fingers warm. The base design is ideal for computer work, providing no inter-digit bulk to hamper ease of movement.

I’ve made many pairs of these mitts, some true to pattern, some – like those above – altered slightly.

May your mitts always keep you warm, and your fuzziness be controlled 😉


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Posted by on August 24, 2019 in Knitting


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degrees of difference


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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the blessed silence

The organisation I work for has three offices. Because I was getting an inordinate number of interruptions at my home location, I recently spent a day at the one closest to where I live. That meant I could sleep till 7 o’clock. Even at peak hour, it took all of 20 minutes for YoungB to drive me there. Oh, yeah, and it was quiet. I plodded through a solid day’s work with almost no interruptions and actually accomplished a task I’d normally struggle to complete in a week or so at my usual office. I was mightily relieved, and went back to my own office the following day in a much better frame of mind.

I’d been helped in that by chatting with a fellow crafter, who crochets wondrous garments for her granddaughter. We agreed that Ravelry is a wonderful source of patterns and inspiration. And so it is. I tried trawling through crochet patterns to find some TV-watching yarny undertaking. All to no avail. So it might be a knitted shawl instead. I promise nothing complicated and all garter stitch. Something like this might be sufficiently interesting, so that I don’t fall asleep, but not so taxing that I make mistakes. It won’t be with pretty, handpainted yarn, just using up some more of that big bag of stash.

All the best with your yarny undertakings, and may you get to enjoy the silence.


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whatever the weather

Dr B was happy to give his fingerless mitts a good workout

You might have heard that we’ve had some wild weather here lately – it’s still wild, to be fair – and we endured a statewide blackout last week. That’s always the time you discover your torches aren’t as reliable as you’d hoped, because that’s the only time you use them; but we were fortunate. For starters, we have a gas stove and gas hot water. Our supply of oil lamps, candles and torches (even the less-than-brilliant few) meant that we could manage without electric lighting for the several hours required. There has been flooding in neighbouring suburbs but we’ve had to deal with nothing more major than a few tree branches across the road and a couple of bins blown about in the backyard.

There seems to be more than the usual equinoctial tempestuousness to contend with right across the globe, so I hope you haven’t been adversely affected by any weather events, wherever you are. It’s true that I’ve been happy to be home on a holidayette – an extra-long long weekend – and not having to be out and about. I’m sure I need only add that knitted fingerless mitts and knitted beanies have been and continue to be well to the fore 🙂

Those that Dr B is sporting are Maine Morning Mitts by Clara Parkes, knitted using Moda Vera Jester in the Gelato Mix colourway. I made them in February 2015 and, although they weren’t meant for Dr B, he was delighted to be their recipient when they proved too large for the co-worker for whom I’d originally intended them. There will always be someone whom they’ll fit 😉 Isn’t that right?


Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Knitting


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the unexpected, sideways wallop

Looking the goods in a nicely masculine colourway.

Seems as if it’s looking the goods, in a nicely masculine colourway.

Day 3 saw the tension square arrive at the point where I thought I’d done enough to check it. Then Life did one of those, “You’re getting too complacent. I think it’s time I walloped you with a bit of four be six,” numbers in the shape of news of the sudden, unexpected death of a close cousin: not only close by blood and near in age, but one with whom I’d remained in contact as we’d both wandered across the globe and through life. Yeah. Not truly conducive to knitting for a couple of days, that’s for sure. Sorry, Meredithe; I know you’ll understand.

However, given the restorative power of creativity, I’ve checked the tension and it does look the goods, so I’m now tinking that to reuse the yarn and get cracking on the socks. Straight knitting is going to be easier than the tricky stuff involved in doing a circular sample with a straight technique. You get lots of dangles at the back and it’s messy. Goodbye to all that and on with magically looping both socks at once. That will have its own mess, I dare say, but I should at least hit a good rhythm with genuine circular knitting and the wonderful Old Joe pattern.

So it’s on with the knitting and on with life; and may all your news be good.


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