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Tag Archives: stashbusting

leave your squares at the door

I’ll drop them off tomorrow

The call for squares went out via one of my knitting groups. They needed to be as near as possible to 15cm x 15cm, using 8-ply acrylic; and whether they were knitted or crocheted wasn’t important. Someone would then take all those squares and make them into a blanket, which in turn would be presented to a nearby hospital. No colour or pattern specification required, just whatever you had on hand that would cheer someone in need of comfort.

I thought it would be the ideal opportunity to use up some stash yarn that met those descriptions and was never going to be quite right with anything else, so I cast on using 4.00mm needles. That was about when Life in general started to go off the rails, so I simply point out that, even as a child, when I was the most beginner of knitters, I have probably never tinked a garter-stitch item quite so many times! Of course, I had expert assistance to hand in those days, in the shape of my mother and aunts; nowadays, I’m my own expert assistance most of the time, and I obviously have my limits.

I’d also point out that the cheap acrylic yarn – whose ball-bands are long lost to history, so I’m unable to provide details – knitted up well and kept coming up well after the sixth or seventh tink. The stitch definition was still good, and – despite being reknitted and reknitted a bit more and reknitted again because that didn’t work – it didn’t go fluffy. Sturdy stuff, as I think the photo illustrates, and probably ideal for the sort of action it’s likely to see.

My original thought was that I could knit half a dozen such squares and, in normal circumstances, I probably could. Yeah. I’ve finished two. They will have to do. I remind myself that, if everyone visiting the pick-up point donated two squares, there’d be a carton of blankets already. I hope the two I’ve made will fit in with others. They’re simple, but they meet the criteria. And I hope their bright cheeriness will help to lift someone’s spirits at a time of distress.

I hope you have some cheer to wrap around you, too, particularly if you’re somewhere chilly 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2022 in Health, Knitting

 

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employment-go-round again

I’ll miss watching the progress – and the view 🙂

YoungB’s contract is at an an end, so he’s on the job-hunt. Again. The thing about our recent elections – both state and federal – is that the change of government (at both levels) means that there are opportunities aplenty in different fields, some of which he might find appealing. He’s had his resume professionally tarted up – I beg your pardon; updated – and it’s impressive.

Me? I’ve officially notified the Powers That Be the date on which I’ll be retiring later this year. Leadership at work seems surprised. I don’t know why! My age is no secret. I’ve clearly been suffering work-related aggravations to existing health problems ever since I started there. I’ve made absolutely no secret of my intentions. Why is it suddenly unexpected, and something they hadn’t foreseen? You know that emoji where you smack yourself? Yeah. That seemed about the right response; but I didn’t.

Someone who appreciates why retirement is a good idea asked me what I’m going to do – apart from all the obvious things like crochet and knit, of course – and I said I might cook. She thought that was a wonderful idea. So did I. I like cooking. I would have to shoo Dr B out of the kitchen – it is his domain, after all – but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me elbowing into his space if it means he has more time to do other things. I would bake, too. It would be gratifying to go back to making bread. That was one of my great pleasures that simply disappeared.

Dodgy back and leg notwithstanding, some routine exercise will also feature large. It’s most likely to be continuing the hydro-pool exercise classes that I presently attend. They’re generally kind in terms of both parts of the physique and, because it’s a therapy pool, the water is always wondrously warm. I would be free to join a book club. Or a gardening club. Or a photography group. Or all of the above!

I could once again suss out options for joining local choirs. This time, when they all respond with some version of, “We rehearse and perform during the day, during the week,” thus putting such delights entirely out of full-time worker contention, it wouldn’t matter. I’d have that availability.

I might by then have reached the top of the waiting list for eye surgery, and, postoperatively, be able to see better than ever – really ever, as I’ve been wearing specs pretty much all my life – and then I might be able to reinvigorate my sewing and make some inroads on all those projects that are presently too difficult. Oh, boy. And people wonder if I’ll have enough to do. Smack-yourself emoji again, I think.

Meanwhile, however, there’s a certain amount of excitement and tension around YoungB’s potential new job. There are choices in fields where he has qualifications and expertise, and there are choices in fields that would suit his outgoing personality. There are jobs with crossover. He’s already sent inquiries and job applications. It’s going to be an interesting few months, watching how everything turns out, but he is likely to have some much-needed downtime before starting in any new position, whatever the field.

During that downtime, I anticipate the mealtime conversation will centre on matters mechanical. I’ll be knitting in my room, if you’re looking for me 😀

 

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the hilarity of it all

“Ride like the wind, Bullseye.” Or not!

Recently, YoungB and I were discussing group projects and how there’s always one person who does the bare minimum to get the passing grade. For an individual unit where it’s only Pass or Fail, and all you have to do is – say – submit a 250-word commentary every week, and make one comment on one other person’s commentary, that’s all they’d do. They’d still pass. You couldn’t fault it as a technique for successfully completing the pertinent qualification, although you might argue that the wider benefit of true interaction with other students would be sadly lacking.

I was mumbling about a few workmates who fit that mould. YoungB pointed out, very calmly, “They’re still getting paid exactly the same amount of money you are, Mum.” When I replayed that conversation, I decided there had to be a less stressful way to come up with a jockey’s outfit. I managed to find an old blouse that I’d put aside for the scrap basket, but which I hadn’t yet stripped of buttons. OK. Job done. It even had sleeve frills that could be sliced off and used to decorate the jockey’s helmet. Another job done.

My chief partner in crime in all this silliness is a member of our wider team. She made the nose and ears and the hessian bridle, to ensure that our steed was ready for any eventuality. She also stuck the colours on the helmet and plaited my hair for the race today, achieving the Pippi Longstocking look I’m sporting in the photo. I was struggling to do a braid. I hadn’t thought about plaits, or I probably could have managed that myself. Anyhoo, our efforts garnered us the prize for best dressed horse and jockey. That I managed to come second in the race was, well, secondary. We had a great time!

Tomorrow it’s back to the serious business of getting through a huge backlog of reporting, using some new systems that aren’t always as smooth and seamless as you might hope. But I won’t let myself worry about things beyond my control: I’m not paid enough!

Now that the Cup is over, the next Big Event on our horizon is the Pageant. Then, well, you know. Tinsel galore and things of that nature. Eek. All the best with your dash to the finish line, no matter what level of remuneration is involved 😀

 
 

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eye see you, finish line!

He’ll be able to see the finish line. Reach it? Dunno!

It’s such a busy time of year that I’m struggling to juggle my extra-curricular activities. I’m heavily involved in the making of our pool-noodle horse. As you can see from the photo, he now has eyes. I glued them on at lunchtime yesterday. What’s less obvious is that most of the rest of him is also now glued. My arthritic joints didn’t appreciate that amount of time spent using a hot-glue gun. Knitting and crochet don’t require such a steep angle or degree of compression, and my techniques don’t involve using all my fingers to the same extent.

My weekend is set to be spent communing with my sewing machine while I try to knock up some sort of “silk” top for the jockey. I have already dragged out more stash fabric. It won’t be a complicated garment, but the lightweight fabrics will respond better to sewing than to gluing. Also, sewing should be quicker, and kinder to my hands, than gluing.

The horse is still earless, as you can see. Once in place, ears will help keep his forelock tidier. Another team member is making those, ready for us to attach them on Monday. We don’t want to be finishing our steed on the day of the race, do we?! And, I mean, he has to be able to hear the cheers of the crowd on Tuesday. Right? If my hands haven’t recovered by Monday, someone else can wield the gun.

There’s another fancy-dress costume on the go for next weekend’s Girls’ Night In. It doesn’t require much sewing – thankfully – but while I have the machine stoked up, it makes sense to tackle that as well. That will be in between dealing with domestica, of course, mostly in the shape of endless laundry.

I have felt pulled in all directions trying to answer these various calls to craftiness. I have done nothing at all to YoungB’s blanket for over a week, but – as ever – I am diligently continuing to record temperatures. I will get there and it’s not something that was ever going to be finished smack on year’s end. I’ve said before, if it’s ready in time for his March birthday, I’ll consider that acceptable. The border will occupy me for a couple of weeks, I’m sure.

The other hiccough is babies. People will keep telling me they’re having babies, and they’re all due in March! I do want to make something for each of them, but it might be as simple as a knitted toy. I’m not offering to knit or crochet blankets. Nowadays, while I’m still working full-time, my energy simply doesn’t stretch that far.

Sew: the finish line for this part of the course is in sight. It will do as a waypoint. I’m not even going to think about how far behind the blanket is falling, or about any COVID-related issues that might be heading our way with relaxing restrictions. Let’s celebrate our progress and cheer ourselves mightily as we finish strong. We’re all champions 😀

 

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definitely not crochet

Old, faded and frayed trousers from deep stash

As it transpires, although Mane Event was a front-runner for our pool-noodle horse’s name, other members of the team have come up with education-appropriate ideas instead. As we are the Education Pod, their input was immediately more meaningful. In any case, whatever its name, that’s approximately the present state of our steed. Lots of work yet to be undertaken, but a good start.

Everything is still pinned. Once we decide on final placement, my hot glue gun is likely to be the weapon of choice for completion. Our OHS rep pointed out that we shouldn’t be using any electrical appliance that I bring from home, as it hasn’t been tagged. Neither, I pointed out, have any of our phones and we plug them into the electrical system All. The. Time.

Okay, back to housework, I think. I’m trying to find a long-sleeved white garment that I know I’ve worn this winter, so that I can use it for this year’s Girls’ Night In. No luck so far, but I’m finding other things.

All the best with your fancy-dress costume efforts, too, as it seems to be heading into that time of the year again.

 
 

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loquat-iously

COVID-safe and delicious

Noting that our workplace is presently feverishly occupied in trying to think of silly names for our pool-noodle horses, I thought you’d make the leap with me there when I inform you that a colleague’s recent farewell morning tea had some beautifully packaged loquats. Although I might usually bring such a treat home for Dr B, I was very happy to take that one back to my desk with a coffee.

The pool-noodle horse nonsense is a contribution to the wellbeing efforts by our management. We are having a COVID-safe event on Melbourne Cup Day. I can support that far more readily than the real thing. I have raided my deep stash of scrap fabric and found something I was able to turn into a fine mane. It’s sufficiently over the top that the horse might readily be The Mane Event, as someone else suggested. I’ll use another part of the same garment to make reins.

I’m likely to be the jockey again for our team. Most of the others are far too dignified to consider such folly, no matter the cause. YoungB suggested Run-on Sentence as a name for the horse but I think that would be an ideal jockey name; that or Comma Splice. Either would be a nicely sly nod to colleagues who attended the same session of the mandatory writing course that I did. We really ran away with run-on sentences, as exemplified by Our Esteemed Leader in frequent email communiques.

I think that’s enough frivolity for this time of the year. What are you doing to keep yourself amused?

 
 

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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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pattern-hacking

There’s probably some of this flannelette fabric still left in the stash 🙂

Has the rage for oversize hoodies reached your part of the world? YoungB and I have often talked about sewing up something similar – but very simple, with minimum shaping – using fabric already in stash. This is the sort of weather when discussions about such a thing as an oversize hoodie return to consideration. He has a onesie – long story! – but it has a few drawbacks and isn’t necessarily the sort of thing you’d want to be wearing for a Zoom call.

YoungB was cold this morning, and rightly so. The temperature was around zero and the wind chill made it feel several degrees colder. I hauled out a piece of polar fleece from deep within stash and suggested he use it as a giant wrap. He was happy to do so, because it kept him warm. At lunchtime, we once again discussed making it into a garment. I have plenty of flannelette also in stash, which we thought would be suitable as the second layer. I might have to piece it to get enough fabric to fit YoungB’s current size, but that wouldn’t matter. If it keeps him warm, I’m happy to do it, and it would add to the fun element. At least, I think it would.

It wouldn’t be an Oodie. I’m not suggesting that for a minute. But it might be a quick way of making something cuddly and warm, with the emphasis on warm. It would reduce my stash and, if I’m careful – for example, use a kimono-style sleeve, unshaped hood and only a small scoop in the pouch pocket – then there should be little fabric wastage and not much returning to stash afterwards.

Temperature blanket? Yeah, nah. But you know what? At that temperature, you need a blanket. Am I right?!

 

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the one that didn’t work

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This one just didn’t do it for me, though it’s a lovely pattern.

It’s a funny thing that, although I loved the flow of this pattern, which has the added advantages of being quick and easy, I genuinely disliked that colour scheme (even more than any of the rainbow squares). I’m not entirely sure why. It is probably a pattern that works best with a single colour, but might also provide a spectacular result with a light-coloured, variegated yarn. Oh, well. Win some, lose some.

The yarn is once again 8-ply Lincraft cotton so I can no doubt put that square to good use for some sort of table covering, or as gift-wrapping for an ecologically-minded recipient.

I’m now trying to conquer C2C crochet, so I have a little TV-crochet project. There are many tutorials online. I’m using the second-nastiest acrylic yarn I have ever worked with – the nastiest was so plastic it squeaked – but it holds surprisingly good stitch definition, meaning that I can see what I’m doing. The bright colours also help with that. And, like the cotton square above, I’m sure it could be put to good use around the house. It might make a very good out-the-back blanket for cool evenings, but certainly couldn’t be used a gift-wrap for anyone who’s at all ecologically minded.

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Awful yarn, but bright and cheerful

I bought the yarn for a yarn bombing exercise in which I was then unable to participate. It has languished in my stash for a number of years, being not quite the right texture or colour to form part of any other stashbusting project using acrylic yarn – such as, for example, Youngest Aunt’s giant not-quite-granny-square blanket or my little knee rug.

May all  your yarny projects work out as you intend 🙂

 
 

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destashing crojo

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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.

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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.

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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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