Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Blanketsburg

A couple of weeks ago, I made the last crochet in a blanket that I've been stitching on and off since last year. Its not taken that long because it's so big, but because I lack discipline with larger projects, getting bored of them and putting them away only to rediscover them weeks later. After some friendly prompting by my Stitch and Bitch group (thanks guys!) I made a final push. I'm still weaving in ends, but hoping to be done with it by Christmas. Here it is on the bed:


There are 384 hexagons in total, and I'm feeling rather relieved to be done. 

Things I've learned from this blanket:

1) Buy more than enough wool up front. By the time I'd finished one of the colours had been discontinued, let alone matching the dye lot... Thankfully I got lucky.

2) It's okay to get bored and take a break from a project as long as you don't let guilt weigh you down. If you feel guilty, you'll start to resent it, and be less likely to finish it in the long run. 

3) Breaks are good and healthy but so are awesome Stitch and Bitch groups who spur you on to the finish.

4) Making things for myself, with no specific deadline, takes me forever. I'm at peace with this now.

However, no sooner did I finish this blanket than I cast on for the next one - this time a much smaller affair for the sofa knitted from a kit:


I'm hoping that row after row of simple garter stitch will cement my switch to continental knitting, and perhaps help me to develop some speed along the way...

Also currently on the needles are yet more Christmas baubles. After finishing the ones from my free drops pattern I went ahead and bought myself the Arne & Carlos book, although I'm not anticipating doing all 55! I also found a nice little book of dog patterns and am hoping to do a black version of the Westie on the cover to represent my little dog as well, so there's a lot more in my queue to keep my busy until the new year, and if my track record with blankets is anything to go by, next new year as well.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

An Advent Return (and knitting thimbles!)

I've been away. Life has been fun, strange and difficult for the last year or so, and so I haven't kept up with my blog. I'm sorry to those of you who'd started to read and enjoy it, and I promise that I will try harder. 

I'm returning because during the past few weeks I've realised how important crafting is in the rhythm of my life, how it provides a touchstone and centre, and I want to continue to document those activities and share them with other interested people through this blog. My hope is that I can learn a lot from all of you and perhaps spread a little inspiration along the way. 

Since we're now in the run up to Christmas, I thought that I would share some fair-isle baubles that I've been making 


I've been working them in DK weight cotton from a free red heart pattern.

During the making, I struggled a bit with the colour work (I've started to knit continental, and managing more than one colour fair-isle style came as quite a challenge!) A few internet searches introduced me to an exciting new knitting tool - the knitting thimble or strickfingerhut, which helps to keep the different colours separate so that you can easily pick them up when working your chart/pattern. I'm definitely a fan of new knitting gadgets, although as a man it's difficult to get anything like this in anywhere near the correct size:


You can see here, just how I've had to wedge it onto my finger. Fortunately another type is available which works a little better:


This one allows you to hold the threads above and below, and feels a lot more comfortable.

Anyway, that's me, still working away, and now hopefully blogging about it a lot more.

Incidentally, some of you may have been wondering what has kept me all this time, so to summarise, in the time that I was away I:

• Moved house
• Changed jobs
• Started a stitch and bitch group and taught three wonderful people how to knit
• Passed some maths exams
• Completed 'the' blanket (more on this in the next post)
• Had many musical adventures, playing the keyboard and singing, and learning to play the drums.
• Went swimming with sharks (okay, this last one was a lie, the others are all true though!)

Now that life has settled down into some sort of routine, I'm looking forward to knitting, crocheting, stitching and blogging with a lot more regularity. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Holiday Haul

A Holiday Haul:

I've been on holiday in Dorset this week, and spent a lot of time in the yarn stores. I met some interesting people, and they all seemed to be down with the 'male knitter' factor, which was nice, because I do still worry whenever I go to a new place.


I've accumulated a bit of a stash, and the plan is to start making a few Christmas gifts for family and friends. I have to admit that I have no idea what I'm going to do with the multi-coloured KnitCol on the right, but it just felt so nice, and I'm not sure that I'm accountable for my actions when faced with a well stocked wall of delicious yarn. Who is right?

Couple of WIPs:

A quick eyelash yarn scarf for Mum's birthday (I wanted to give her a hand-made something to go with her presents because I'm unfortunately not going to be around for the day, and I hope that it will make it a bit special) It's not the sort of thing that I'd usually do, and it was difficult getting used to the 10mm needles, but I know that she'll like the style.

I've also been working on some socks in my downtime over the last couple of weeks. They're coming along quite nicely I think, and I love the colours. The yarn is so thick that they're going to be more like house-socks. I've definitely got the sock bug now though (as evidenced by the large amounts of 4-ply in my holiday haul.) There is something just so satisfying about knitting on 4 needles. I think it's because at one time I thought I would never be able to manage it. Next I think I might try something with some textures or cabling.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Gloucester

I went to Gloucester at the weekend to visit an old school friend. It was a lovely warm day, and having just been to Cathedral cloisters to 'geek-out' over the fact that parts of the Harry Potter movies were filmedthere, I wandered into MIJU Wools on College Street (http://www.mijuwools.co.uk/)

They were very friendly and they had a lot of exciting wool. If I I lived in Gloucester, I think I would divide my time fairly evenly between Home and MIJU. They hold 'Knit and Natter' evenings every week in their craft area, which seems like just my bag, apart from the fact that my beard might make me stick out like a sore thumb.



Bank balance being what it is, I didn't have the money to splash out on exclusive hand-dyeds or handspuns, but I did pick up some lovely multi-coloured Sirdar Folksong, which is destined for a pair of socks, and a couple of skeins of ICE for the stash, although to be honest, I have no idea what I'm going to be doing with it yet.. watch this space?


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

I've been working on a little Cthulhu amigurumi (Using this excellent pattern from Rural Rebellion -FREE!) of late:

Here he is in all his pulpy, tentacled glory:


I think maybe I was a little slack on the tentacles, because these are quite long, but I was trying to work the pattern for a 3mm hook instead of the 5mm specified. Luckily I'll have lots of practice making these because now everyone wants one!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Spinning

So, I got a delivery today... can you guess what I'm going to be doing this evening?


I'll let you know how I get on...

Monday, 5 May 2014

Neckwarmer

I've been pretty busy this weekend, but I still found the time to crochet up this little cowl from a ball of 'Life Chunky' by Stylecraft. Its a nice 25% wool blend, that is soft and light, but still big, so projects tend to work up quickly.





The pattern is a free one from Happy Berry (Pattern Here), but since my crochet with the 8mm hook was quite loose, I made fewer repeats (I think mine has 14 rows, compared to the 26 that the pattern calls for.)

Its a bank holiday weekend in the UK, and the sun made an appearance so I did feel a little foolish making this up, but this little neckwarmer will be perfect for the week ahead when I'm walking to work in the inevitable cold and rain.


Also - Blanket Update!
It's progressing slowly, but nicely.