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Tag Archives: White Caps Cowl

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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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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a life on the ocean wave

Actually, just the White Caps Cowl. I’ve been knitting a row here and there and now and then with the occasional longer burst of activity. Mostly, it’s restricted to what I can do on the bus, which is rarely more than two rows (and that’s with the bamboo yarn, which provides faster results because it’s smoother, easier knitting), with maybe some night-time bowling over of a few more rows and once in a while some weekend work. On the whole, this has been fitted in around many other things, so although it’s taking longer than I’d hoped, and missed the birthday deadline entirely, it will certainly be ready as a Christmas gift.

Nearing completion

Normally at this hour on a Saturday, I’d be at a rowing regatta. However, although YoungB’s crew is rowing today, he is away this weekend and I no longer feel greatly obliged to be there on my own. When he was rowing, I would have gone to help set up marquees and chivvy the kids along at appropriate moments but the nature of school rowing is that the people change. So this morning, I slept late – for a Saturday – and don’t feel a bit guilty about having done so. DrB was up and about early for cycling purposes. He’s not home yet.

What do you reckon? Should I just knit a few more rows while I have some uninterrupted time?

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Knitting, Rowing

 

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layering

I read somewhere in blogland recently – and I’m sorry, I really can’t remember where – a question about what the concept of layering really involves when it comes to clothing. In my understanding, it’s pretty much mix and match separates, whose colours complement or contrast but play nicely together either way, with some consideration for lightweight fabrics per layer that, when combined, provide warmth without too much weight and/or bulk. I imagine it might be possible to fit a dress in there, but it could be trickier to get the layering going as well because you’ve automatically limited your options (unless you’re very clever and have a dress whose top and bottom are different colours, and that’s perfectly feasible; but in my opinion, it would still be a more limiting option than separates).

This may seem tangential, but we have been doing a bit of tossing of old stuff recently. We had consigned a pair of striped, cotton trousers and a full, cotton skirt to the ragbag for donations to the RSPCA shelter. I harvested the buttons, of course, and there weren’t any zips. There are only so many old items of clothing you can throw into the “What can I do with this?” basket and hope to be able to reuse. While I wasn’t knitting on the way home tonight (my homage to the White Caps Cowl is nearing completion but I was too tired to fossick around in my bag to find the yarn), my mind was going a million miles an hour thinking about how I could combine the skirt and the trousers – or their fabrics, anyway, both of which are shades of blue – to make a new top for me. When I got home, I rushed out to the shed and rescued the garments (isn’t it a good thing we were waiting until we had a full box before we made the trip down to the other side of town?).

Thanks to Portia for the inspiration – and watch this space!

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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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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all too difficult

That’s a bit how life is at present, just too much effort. How can I possibly find the energy required for going to work and then doing the work when I have two urgent knitting projects? Not only am I still working on the White Caps Cowl – although I don’t get enough knitting time, it is progressing even if I’m doubtful about it being ready for the next-week birthday which simply means I’ll have to do something else for the birthday and shuffle the cowl along to Christmas, I suspect –  but now there’s a yarn bombing project with an early December deadline. I know why I have a job but, gee, it doesn’t half get in the way of the fun stuff!

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Knitting

 

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what you do when things go wrong

Summer suddenly reverted to winter a week or so ago and I had no decent tops I could wear to a family function. The skirt fabric that wasn’t quite large enough for the pattern I wanted to use started to look like a good option for the unexpected sartorial lacuna, so I nutted out how to make something appropriate using Portia’s simple top in a long-sleeved, layered-looking version, augmenting the patterned fabric with some plain black knit fabric that had been in my stash for a very long time (it featured in one of Boy’s pyjama tops, 10-or-so years ago).

I said life had been a bit nuts and that was all part of the drama. I was trying to talk to people while trying to sew (not a good thing to do). I was hurrying (also not a good thing to do). I was away from the house for hours at a stretch at times I’d planned to be at home sewing (at least I was able to take my knitting with me; the White Caps Cowl is coming along very nicely, thank you). Everything that could have gone wrong probably did. I broke my new twin needle, luckily after doing a very good job of topstitching around the neck (I was extremely pleased with how well that turned out but didn’t seem able to take a good photo of it).

Of course I only had one twin needle suitable for stretch fabrics, so that little mishap necessitated reverting to first principles for all the rest of the topstitching – that is, sew one line, align presser foot with previous stitching and off you go on the second line of topstitching – but hardly surprisingly that took at least twice as long as one effort with the twin needle. I couldn’t get the sleeves to work, so ended up simply hemming them and calling them done. They looked like this:

Nothing wrong with straight edges but they do so get in the way (in my case, in the curry)

Eventually I had an opportunity to sit and sew without interruption and tried to improve the sleeves. After many more nightmares, I ended up with a simple elastic cuff (I was going out to an evening event and needed to have a closed cuff to prevent chill air going up my sleeves), which looked a bit like this:

Functional but deserving of the, “Oh, dear,” reaction one family member bestowed on them

Today, after having battled quite a bit more, I ended up with something that is far from perfect. But it looks acceptable and probably even presentable and there comes a point where you have to say, “Enough,” and mean it. The top now looks something like this:

It’s warn and at least as well made as anything I could have bought.

The fabric on the left is a second bandanna I’m making for Dr B. His needing a new one quite desperately also played a part in delaying my finishing the sleeves for my top; but, as I say, it had elastic to keep the chill out (and worn under a jacket, who was any the wiser?) so the bandanna was a clear priority. It looks very nice – sorry, no photo; it’s in use! – and the size has been voted as precisely what was needed. As I say, I’m pinning another and will get onto the orange number within a week or so, I hope. This fabric was decreed to be something all right to use for a test but probably not “for real”: it’s a mustardy yellow with leopard spots and roses on it. Doesn’t it sound ghastly? It’s actually not and, you know, once it’s under the cycle helmet and tied so that there’s a tail hanging down to cover Dr B’s neck, you can hardly see the design on the fabric anyway.

I’ve had to give up on the Apronalong, though. I couldn’t quite fit that with all the other things going on. I’ll make an apron, probably even two, but much closer to Christmas. They, at least, shouldn’t give me any grief in terms of sleeves, should they?

 

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2012 in Cycling, Knitting, Sewing

 

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white fluff on a blue jacket

Today I managed to do a row and a bit of my White Caps Cowl while I was on the bus. Darn it all, the yarn made such a mess of my blue jacket that I’m revising my plans with regard to knitting on the way to work. I don’t mind so much messing up clothes when I’m on the way home but I’m supposed to look presentable for work. Hm, I might have to find another little knitting project to keep me busy.

And in the way that other people sometimes throw my plans into disarray, Dr B asked for a bandanna. He wasn’t necessarily asking me to make one, but he was hoping he might be able to find one with funky fabric for cycling purposes. In the end, I offered to make it. I spent my lunch break checking out fabric at the local Spotlight store. The restrictions related to not having flowery fabrics (or music that wasn’t Dr B’s own – no, there’s no fabric with his music on it, I promise you! – which ruled out quite a lot of options that I would have thought might be passable otherwise) or anything green (which he doesn’t much like, probably because I do) or too thick or with too high a polyester content. Ideally I wanted to find a pure cotton fabric. Quilting fabrics offer a good range but they’re generally heavier than might be desirable for a bandanna that has to go under a cycling helmet. I found some that I thought might be all right, anyway.

YoungB pointed out that cyclists wear some fairly wild bandannas (we know this to be true) but even he vetoed some of the options. His words were to the effect that, if Dr B were to wear that fabric as a bandanna he (YoungB) would have to laugh at him (Dr B) to save everyone or anyone else having to do so. Oh, how did I manage to get the boys to “audit” the fabric? (Neither has the patience for fabric shopping, I tell you from long experience, unless it’s for themselves and even then their attention span is, well, short.) Why, phone camera, of course. I might be technologically inept – I am; just ask YoungB about how I alway mess up trying to set up the TV unless he’s there to tell me how – but I have my moments.

Sure, there are plenty of bandannas available but Dr B wears his out with amazing rapidity so the idea of my making a couple for him is far from silly and, once I’ve tracked down a fabric he’s prepared to wear, shouldn’t actually take very long. A square of fabric with a rolled hem – he’s not after the fancy shaped sort you can buy. He has a couple of those and while they’re good, they don’t provide quite as much protection for his head as the cotton numbers that he already owns – should be a reasonably quick sewing projection, don’t you think? And then I can get back to my aprons and my knitting!

Sorry, either my computer is playing up or our Internet connection is but I’ve had a few crashes in the writing of this post so plan to send it as is without photos or links. Soz, as the kids these days would say. 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Cycling, Knitting, Sewing

 

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banalities of life

I’ve been mending reusable shopping bags. I know. You’d think there’d come a point where you’d reckon enough is enough and out they’d go but when it’s just a bit of stitching that’s come adrift, the urge to fix it is overwhelming. Also, Dr B asked if I would!

I have also been knitting and am a little over three inches along with the White Caps Cowl.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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