Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Sweet Peas and an impromptu pair of socks

Thanks for calling in. I've lots of colour to share with you today which will hopefully make you think about warmer, summery days and the heady scent of sweet peas. I have enjoyed taking part in Attic24's CAL very much. I've never done one before but my recent love of crochet blankets spurred me into joining in and it's been great fun! Having a lot of spare time on my hands at the moment, I've managed to keep up with the weekly rows. In fact, I'm quite disappointed that Lucy's planned in a spare 'catch up' week this Friday, so I'm going to have to wait another week before the border is revealed! I'm sure I will find something else to keep busy with though. I've got plenty of balls of the lovely Stylecraft Special DK and am thinking of a knitted blanket. The only thing putting me off is that knitting takes such a long time compared with crochet! (I'm still pondering over a crocheted temperature blanket too!)

In between crocheting, especially when Flo wasn't happy to share my lap with the blanket, I started a pair of my Bee Cosy socks. I didn't realise that the yarn I was using was sport weight rather than double knit, but it seems to have worked out ok! This is an Opal 6 ply sock yarn. 

Someone on Facebook asked me if the pattern would work for 4 ply yarn too, so I jigged around with the stitch count and had a go. Here's sock one of two, knit in Stylecraft Head over Heels All Stars sock yarn. This range is the one that was created by some of the Stylecraft Blogstars. The colourway I've used is called Red Pots and was designed by Lucy from Attic24. I'm really happy with how it turned out and have cast on sock two immediately to hopeful avoid an attack of Second Sock Syndrome! Then I'll write up the pattern and put it on Ravelry for you.

Talking of the All Stars yarn, I received a really gorgeous gift recently from a friend. She wove a scarf using my shade from the All Stars range, Woldgate, and sent it to me. It was a lovely sunny morning today so I was able to take a couple of photos in the garden.

I'll say bye for now and leave you with one of my favourite photos from the last week - a clump of snowdrops flowering in the garden. It really does mean that spring is getting closer and I can't wait! xxx

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Linen stitch scarf ta-dah!

There is definitely something to be said for (almost) monogamous crafting. I have been working on my Attic24 Sweet Pea blanket and my linen stitch crochet scarf over the last week and great progress has been made on both. I have only four more colour stripes before I've finished part 5 of the CAL (part 6 comes out on Friday) and my miniskein scarf from my Twelve Days of Christmas treat is done!

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. It's not long enough to wrap around my neck more than once, but it ties quite nicely and is super-soft and cosy. If I had made it any longer, then it would have been too narrow. I made a fringe out of the ends by knotting them together and trimming. Much better than having to weave them all in! If I was going to make another one, I would crochet my starting chain on a slightly smaller hook as that edge is a little bit wavy so obviously needed to be a little tighter. I haven't blocked it yet because it's been chilly enough to want to wear it IMMEDIATELY, but a bit of vigorous blocking might remedy things a little. I love the effect of the linen stitch and am contemplating crocheting a temperature blanket now. I can imagine Mr JK smiling at me, and asking if we really need another blanket! He used to say the same thing about cushions each time I made a new one, and my answer was that you could never have too many cushions. I think it's the same about blankets too, don't you?! xxx

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

What to do with mini skeins

Are you one of those people who can't resist buying those beautiful mini skeins of yarn? They always look so tempting, like rows of delicious sweeties, don't they? Some people use them in scrappy blankets and others, like me, just accumulate them with no clear idea of what to do with them! 

For Christmas last year, I treated my knitting pal Snoopydog to a Twelve Days of Christmas yarn calendar from Pixie Yarns. And of course an extra one kind of fell into my basket for me too! Funny that! It was beautifully presented with 12 number stamped bags hanging on a cord which I was able to hang from my mantelpiece throughout the festive period. Each morning I opened a bag, and was totally thrilled with both the yarn and the thoughtful extras that Sophie included in each bag. Sometimes it was an edible treat, and other times a beautiful stitch marker or decoration. Have a look for yourself...

My initial plan was to knit a pair of socks with the yarn, but I decided against that as I knit socks cuff down usually and so I would be unlikely to use all of the colours before finishing the pair. Having been bitten by the crochet bug recently and really liking the effect of the linen stitch border on my Hyacinth blanket, I decided to use the skeins to make a scarf. I crocheted a chain until I thought it was long enough for a scarf and then began the rows of linen stitch.

I went up a couple of hook sizes to a 3.5mm because the fabric created is quite dense and I wanted it to be softer and floppier. Basically you double crochet, chain 1 along the row of chain stitches and then when you come back the other way, you double crochet into the chain space and make a chain where there was a double crochet.

I've now crocheted two complete repeats of the yarn and love how the colours look together. I'm not entirely sure that it's going to be long enough to wrap around as a scarf, so I might end up having to sew the ends together to make it into a cowl. That would be a great shame as I was hoping to leave all the ends as a fringe! And if it was going to be a cowl, I would probably have joined my initial chain together to make a massive ring so that I was crocheting in the round. Something to bear in mind if I make another one. And I probably will as I have loads of sock yarn leftovers sat in a box. It's a great way of using up all those oddments of precious yarn that you've been keeping. What do you do with all your yarn leftovers? xxx

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Simple pleasures

** Enjoying my first cuppa after recovering from a horrible sickness bug **

** Bringing a touch of spring into my kitchen with a bunch of daffodils **

** Making a cushion cover with my friend Julia as a birthday present for another friend **

** Enjoying the Attic24 Sweet Pea blanket CAL**

** Lots of sofa time and snuggles with Flo **

** Receiving a New Year parcel from my knitting friend Bobbie in Alaska **

** Enjoying hot chocolate and carrot cake to celebrate my friend Laura's birthday **

** Seeing my glass stars catch the winter sun **

** Spotting Mr JK's daffodil peeping above the soil again **

I hope that you have lots of simple pleasures in your life this week. xxx

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Tying up loose ends and unravelling new ones

You may remember that I set myself a couple of Advent challenges - to crochet the Attic24 Hydrangea blanket and to knit the Madewell cardigan using mini balls of Opal sock yarn from previous years' Advent calendars. Things didn't go quite to plan, although I did finish the blanket before the start of 2019! I love the soft colours of the yarn and decided to make a wider border. The crochet linen stitch is very effective. Prepare to feast your eyes on a lot of hooky loveliness!

As you can see, Flo has made herself at home on it. Someone on Instagram commented that she was a bit like the Princess and the Pea! I thought that I'd spotted a cat-shaped dent in it a couple of days earlier, but caught her red-pawed one morning! I'm happy to share my blankets with her. 

I'm stuck on sleeve island with my Madewell cardigan. The ribbing around the bottom took me ages and I haven't picked it up since then. But it's in my pile of things to be finished before starting any more knits, so it will be done sooner rather than later. I'm going to try and make the sleeves match up as best I can, by knitting half of each mini ball for each one. At least the colours will match, even if they are showing different sections of the pattern. 

 A friend asked if I could make a couple of baby things for her to give a baby due any day now. I don't normally say yes to knitting requests, as I have quite enough things of my own to keep me busy, but baby knits are pretty quick. So I knit a Puerperium cardigan and a simple hat using a ball of Stylecraft Merry go Round yarn. The colour is Dark Rainbow and I thought it would work for either a boy or girl.

I am working on a late Christmas present for a friend - a crochet poncho. The yarn is new to me - Bernat Pop! and I really like the colour changes. It's hooking up fairly fast so hopefully I will get it finished in the next week or so, as long as not too many more yarny distractions come along!!

Speaking of yarny distractions, I have opened all of my miniballs from my ThreeBagsFull Advent yarn swap. The bright turquoise blue ball is sat in the middle because I wasn't quite sure where it might fit in my gradient. I'm wondering if I have the patience to knit another jumper in 4 ply yarn! 

I also treated myself to a Twelve Days of Christmas yarn calendar from Pixie Yarn. I gifted one to my dear friend Snoopydog and I wanted to share the fun too. It was an absolute delight to open a bag each day and see what micro skein had been dyed up. There were plenty of thoughtful gifts along the way too and if you take a look on my Instagram page, you'll be able to see each one. There's a link in the sidebar of this blog. I think that they will become a pair of socks in due course. What do you think?

Oh yes, more yarny distractions alert!  I have started another crochet blanket! The Attic24 Sweet Pea CAL started last Friday and as I love sweet peas, I knew I would have to join in! I resisted the temptation to start hooking until the baby knits were done and I'd made some headway on the poncho. But I can tell that this blanket is going to fly off the hook. It's very simple and intuitive and just full of gorgeous colours. I can almost smell the scent of the blooms just looking at the yarn!

It's always exciting starting new projects off. I can't wait to see how they grow over the coming days. xxx