Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Two Blankets and a Bergen

Hello there!
You may have noticed there was no post for August's 17 ufos in 2017? Yes, I went a whole month without touching a single one of the remaining projects... It was not a great month for me healthwise and when days are like that cross stitch just doesn't happen. Nor does much else that requires concentration! But I did achieve another goal in August, I finished Ebee's Flower Square Blanket for Dear Daughter! Here is a close up of the border I chose for it, border #93 from the book Around the Corner Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman...


The blanket finished out at 75" square which, with some furniture moving, just fitted on the front room floor for a quick pic! 


I was very happy to get this finished and delivered to Dear Daughter, I think she was somewhat happy to take delivery as it was pressed into immediate service!
Although I still have my Hydrangea Blanket to finish another blanket snuck in there first. Earlier in the summer Hubbie's nephew announced that he and his girl friend were expecting a baby and in August we learnt it will be a baby girl! This is extra exciting news in our "boy heavy" family! Lots of pretty girlie color combos started running through my head and a new blanket was born. 


I have wanted to try a corner to corner blanket for a while and thought it would be a good idea to try a simpler one before launching into some of the more complex patterns out there! I picked this pattern which uses one variegated yarn for the whole blanket but I knew the variegated baby yarn I had in my stash would not be enough. I divided what I had of it into two balls and used all the first ball up before starting random stripes of some coordinating colors. I varied the width of the stripes and when I figured it looked a decent size I started the decreases. I worked the same number of stripes on the decrease side of the blanket and then picked up my second ball of variegated yarn. I worked five rounds of the border instead of the six suggested by the pattern and then had a play with the camera. Rumpled blankie shot...


Flat out on the floor shot...


The colors are closest in the first photo, the grey light we have had recently has made accurate color capture a nightmare! If you want further yarn details they are available on my Rav page here. It finished up at 33.5" square, considerably smaller than Ebee's Flower Square one, but a good size to snuggle a little one in.
The other night I finished the alpaca cardigan I mentioned in my last post. I have had this Bergen pattern in my favorites on Ravelry for years and am so happy to finally have my own version to wear! Full details of the yarns I used are here on my Rav page but I am really pleased with how my color choices turned out. I used the trick of taking screen shots on my phone of the version of the sweater that I liked, turning it black and white to reveal the contrasts...

...then doing the same with a screenshot of the available colors of the yarn I wanted to knit it in...

That way it's easier to get the same balance between light, medium, and dark colors - sometimes a color is not really as light in tone as you think it might be! I snapped a few pics pre blocking, my yoke turned out like this...


...and the whole sweater looks like this...


I really am insanely happy with the whole thing! I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, even the new to me bits like pockets...


I know I am going to enjoy wearing this over the months to come, it is very soft and snuggly and the fit is great. So, despite the lack of UFO progress, August wasn't a total washout and a couple of UFO's have seen the light of day so far in September.
Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope you have a lovely creative week!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Naughty Knitting

Hello there!
Sorry it's been a little while since I popped in here, and thank you to everyone who left lovely comments on my last post! Way back here in January I told you about a jumper I started. Ever wonder what happened to it? It was meant to be the perfect tv knitting and for a while it was. When I reached what the pattern called "the top" of the first sleeve I realised I had a problem. Now I was good and I did a tension square before I started and I promise you I got gauge!! The sleeve fitted perfectly on my arm except - it was about 4 inches short of the armhole :o With some head scratching I managed to sort this out and knitted on... It was the middle of March when I finished it and I tried it on immediately. Sadly, although the body and sleeves fitted great, the fit of the yoke was awful, there were big bunches of extra fabric in it and I knew I would never wear it like that. I needed help. I had a little look online and then requested a book from the library. Meanwhile the jumper was stuffed back in the bag and banished upstairs. When it came the book wasn't as helpful as I'd hoped but it pointed me another direction and I ordered Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann from Amazon. I am so glad I bought this book! I've heard you either like her books or hate them as she has a very individual style but for me it's like sitting in the room with my Nan and her friends and listening to them talk about knitting. Within the first couple of chapters I had learnt so much about the whys of knitting and I know am going to be dipping in and out of this book for years. There are patterns in it too but more importantly it shows you how to make things that fit with the yarn and needles that you have, basically how to work out the math of it all.
Now I am not a big fan of math so even though I could now see my jumper problem was fixable it still sat neglected in a corner of my sewing room for another few months. After all it was not like I was wanting to wear a big thick jumper knitted in chunky yarn in May or June! But this year I am trying to finish things off before starting something new.... so while I waited for my replacement sock needles it was time to pull this jumper out ... literally!
Well not the whole thing. I did all the math, measured the jumper, picked up the stitches 4" above where the arms joined the body and ripped all the rest of the yoke back. Then I followed the decreases as laid out in the book...


I also opted to follow her directions for knitting a back elevation (so the back of the neck sits higher up than the front) which the original pattern didn't have. In the end it really didn't take that long and wasn't so scary, and now I'm kind of wondering why I put off fixing this jumper for so long! Would you like to see the finished result? 


Right now it's still a bit too warm but I'm sure in a few months this jumper is going to see a lot of wear! After finishing this and the Magical Floo Powder socks I cast on a project which I have been wanting to knit for years. Actually right from when I first picked up knitting again! I made a final decision on the colors and bought the yarn when it was on sale earlier in the year using vouchers from my dear offspring that they gave me for Mother's Day...


This is the first time I have used this yarn and oh my word!!! It is so soft! It is like knitting with a cloud or the soft fluffy tummy of a kitten and I am so looking forward to actually wearing this! I have been sneaking in knitting time on it through August whenever I could like a guilty pleasure (at the same time justifying it as "it would be nice to be able to wear it on holiday at the end of September!" although I have no idea if it will be cold enough/ too cold to wear an alpaca cardigan in Yorkshire at that point of the year!). I am very close to a finish and hopefully will have a photo to share with you in my next post... Until then I hope you have a lovely week!



Monday, 7 August 2017

Stormy Seas and other projects

Hello there!
Before we get much further into August I want to share with you the other projects I was working on in July. Along with the cross stitch I shared in this post my main project for the month was Stormy Seas. Last time I showed you it (back here) I was just starting the sleeves and wondering if I had enough yarn.... well... I got down to a few inches above my elbow, weighed the remaining yarn and realised the answer was no! So I went back to my leftover Colourwheel & used some of the bright turquoise to knit two stripes, one of ten rows, one of five and weighed my yarn again. I hoped there would now be enough so I continued on down the sleeve working decreases every six rows. About 1.5" from where I wanted the sleeve to end I switched to garter stitch to match the border round the body and I cast off with the same picot cast off that I had used for the body too. I ended up with about 10" of yarn spare!!! Now to hope there was the same amount of yarn on the other ball for the other sleeve... Near the end it really didn't look like there was and I played a very nervous game of yarn chicken but thankfully I finished the last little picot bump with about 6"left - whew! So would you like to see my finished Stormy Seas?


Here it is spread out on the floor, I thought about blocking it but July has been chilly so I just started wearing it instead!





In fact some days seemed to have a hint of autumn in them and I was quite happy to curl up under this while I added another two rows of squares to it...


Finally I managed to get a pic which shows the richness of the dark purple! Not with the fancy camera with 1000 settings but snapped on my phone - go figure! Ten of the thirteen rows are now completed so I decided to double check how we were doing size wise. I spread it out on our bed and took a quick pic...


Yes, I think another three rows and a border will do it! This blanket is getting tantalisingly close to a finish and I am busy making more squares - as of last night nineteen left to go!! My goal is to get this finished during August so we can deliver it to dear daughter before autumn arrives for real!
Lastly it will come as little surprise that after finishing Stormy Seas I cast on ... another pair of socks! I was going for instant gratification so picked this pattern, last year I made socks for myself using another pattern by the same designer which were simple, speedy, and fun tv knitting. For these ones I used more of the Drops Fabel that I picked up in the spring sale, the colorway is 677 Green/Turquoise Print. 


This is a second pair for Hubbie and I was going to call them his Mr Weasley socks but as they grew the pattern started to remind me of bricks.... bricks in a fire place... and amongst the other rich jewel like colors the lime green jumped out and yelled "Floo Powder!" Perhaps these are Mr Weasley's everyday socks that he wears traveling to and from the Ministry and they have splashes of Floo Powder left on them? So I named them Magical Floo Powder Socks :-) I did warn you this pattern lets your brain wander lol They would've been finished within the week but one of my needles snapped :o I had to decide what I would get to replace them and then bump the order up to qualify for the free shipping (after all I did just completely finish two balls out of the stash, three if you count the first Colourwheel in Stormy Seas lol). After a three day break I was able to get back to them and they were my last finish of July. Here are Hubbie's happy feet modelling them for you...


While I waited for the replacement needles I took out a project which had been in a Timeout since March but I will tell you all about that next time... Until then I hope you have a lovely week with lots of opportunities to be creative!





Wednesday, 2 August 2017

17 ufos in 2017 - July update

Hello there!
Well here we are at the start of another month so it must be time for an update on the 17 ufos in 2017 project. At the beginning of July it felt like I had a lot of projects on the go so my main aim was to get some of them finished off, but I did find some time to pull a couple of my ufos out of the cupboard before the month was done! Number 7 on my Revised List was a crochet bag project for which I had made all the granny squares a couple of years back. This was when I didn't force myself to sew the ends in as I go, something I have since learnt makes life so much more bearable than having to spend hours and hours sewing them all in at the end... well you live and learn right? Even with only 27 squares in this project that worked out at well over 200 ends and before I sat down to tackle them I had a decision to make...
You see I had started this with the aim of it being a project bag for knitting projects but then I was gifted some bags and also some patterns for sewing some lovely bags to the point where I really didn't need this bag too! So was I going to pull the squares out or find another use for them? When I was making my ufo list back in January I decided to include this project because I was sick of seeing them just sitting there - I needed to do something with them!!!
Way back here I made a crochet bathmat that has been in daily use ever since. Unsurprisingly it has begun to look rather faded and I have been aware for some time that it needs replacing. But just two summers ago I made another one as requested by dear daughter and I'm always far more eager to start something new than revisit a pattern I have done already. Twice. And then it occurred to me. Could I use these squares to make a new bathmat? I had a play with them on top of the old bathmat and decided that if I made one more square I had a layout that would work. I spent a couple of evenings sewing in ends and then had a play to arrange the colors...


I joined them with a slipstitch seam through the back loops and then blocked them. Once dry I added a simple border, one round of sc in each of three colors that I had already used in the squares...  


Job Done!!!! It could probably do with another blocking but I think it will just get pressed into service in the bathroom instead... 
Maybe it's the weather we've been having recently but I am really itching to start some Fall/ Halloween projects. All those oranges, russets, and purples, they really are my most favorite colors in the world :-) Number four on the revised list is a Halloween project in fact it is a companion to one I made a couple of years ago. Back Here I shared with you my plan to make yo-yo's while we traveled and I have just realised I never shared a pic of the end result! He has been happily living in Aberdeen with dear daughter for quite a while now but here he is waiting on her bed in our house to be collected...


OK I guess for a spider he's pretty cute! Not only was dear daughter very happy to take him home (she gets her love of spiders from her Dad definitely not from me!) but he proved to be a perfect travel project so I decided to keep the second pattern in Yo-Yo Halloween for our next trip Stateside. So last year while we flew I was busy with little orange circles instead of little black ones and came home with all the yo-yo's for the pumpkin completed. In case you're wondering at no point on either trip was I questioned about the small sharp needle (the kind you do backstitch with on a cross stitch project?) that I took to sew them with. Anyways... when we get back it's always kinda crazy for a bit, then I got sick, so my pumpkin never got finished. Now he is back out on my sewing table and looking like this...


My plan is to finish him this week so hopefully I will have at least one finish off the ufo list for August!! 
I hope you have a lovely week whatever you're up to and don't forget to go visit some of the other folks taking part in 17 ufos in 2017 :-) 


Monday, 31 July 2017

Seaside Stitches

Hello there!
If you have been reading this blog for a while you may remember that I have a seasonal shelf which I am filling with different stitched smalls for each month. Now some months have quite a full shelf and others are barely started, June falls into this last category and this year I really wanted to do something about that. The seaside is June's theme and I spotted some lovely little designs on Pinterest that would be perfect for it. A little more hunting on the internet revealed they were from a book published a few years ago called Sand, Sea and Cross Stitch by Anna Field, a little more hunting and I discovered Highland Libraries have a copy which I promptly requested. It arrived at our local library when we were in Arran so I picked it up the morning after we got home. Oh what a lovely book this is!!! After a first look through I seriously wanted to just sit down and stitch half this book straight off! Plus, as a lot of the designs are filled with small motifs, there are others which caught my eye with a view to swapping out motifs and changing things about. One thing which makes this easier is that the whole book uses just one color palette -  what a neat idea! It also means once you have your floss picked out you are good to go with any (or all!) of the designs. Plus, as there are only 24 colors, if you wanted to change the color scheme it would be relatively simple to do. All in all I was very impressed and soon realised there was no way I would be done with this book by the time I had to return it - I dropped some very unsubtle hints and was lucky enough to receive my own copy for my birthday in July ;-)


Pippa is not so impressed with this book, I think she feels it should have some cats in it, or mice to chase at the very least! But I fell to stitching and soon had three of the little designs finished which had first caught my eye...





I stitched them on white and navy 14 count aida with the listed DMC colors, finished them as flat ornaments, and they joined the one small I already had on my seasonal shelf...


Although I could've just kept stitching out of this book till Christmas I decided to limit myself to just one more at the moment and this time I was going to change it up a bit. In issue 319 of Crossstitcher magazine I was very taken by the seahorse alphabet designed by Durene Jones. I wanted to stitch the word "Summer" with it but thought it would look even nicer with a seaside picture above it. I looked through my files of magazine charts and one caught my eye - it turned out to be taken from the Sand, Sea and Cross stitch book!


I remember when this was in the magazine I liked a lot of the design but not the wording under it so I decided to replace the wording with the seahorses. The blues used in the seahorses design were the same blues used in the book so I didn't need to change any of the colors used in either chart. I chose some white 28 count evenweave from my stash to stitch it on because there are lots of fractionals in the seahorses and I prefer working them on evenweave. I started off with the waves from the book chart and then centered the seahorses underneath...


Isnt' he sweet?! I decided to stitch some of the houses next and discovered something strange...I have two copies of this design at the moment, one in the library book and one from a back issue of WOCS magazine and the picture in the magazine and the book match. The chart that was printed in the magazine matches the picture. But the chart printed in the book is slightly different in a few places!!! I thought I was seeing things at first but it turns out to be one of those "the more you look the more differences you spot" deals! So I am going to pick my favorite bits from the two versions of the chart and you can have fun spotting the differences when it is finished! Right now this is where I am up to...


I used the jade color from the seahorses in a couple places in the houses and will probably use the gold of the letters somewhere in the houses too just to tie the two designs together a little bit more. I will be back soon with my 17 UFO's in 2017 post but just before I go I wanted to draw your attention to a stitchy blog I discovered a few months ago. Blogger of the Week is run by Jo from Serendipitous Stitching and is a great way of discovering new cross stitch bloggers (or learning more about ones you might already read!). Have a great week!




Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Arran part two and yarny progress!

Hello there!
Today I want to share with you some of the other places we explored during our short break on Arran. Over by Blackwaterfoot on the southwest side of the island is King's Cave, one of the locations in which Robert the Bruce is said to have encountered the spider. We chose to walk to it from the forestry car park which makes it into a nice hour and a half circular walk. When you reach the shoreline there are a series of caves in the sandstone cliffs...


But there is no doubt as to which is King's Cave!


I can honestly say I have never seen such a grand entrance to a cave before! Inside the walls are covered in carvings of various ages...



Some even have dates on them...


We were glad we had brought flashlights so we could have a good look around. Then on the way back out I spotted something else...


Probably not a descendant of the famous spider but proof that someone has a sense of humor!
After walking back to the car we drove over to Whiting Bay for a picnic lunch. Afterwards, just as we were getting ready to set off from the car, the rain started, but we live in Scotland (!) so on went the waterproofs and we walked on past the soggy tourists huddled under the trees looking miserably at the skies. It turned into a very wet walk but actually it was rather nice to be under the tall trees in the torrential rain as we climbed up the glen to Glenashdale Falls. Another bonus of the weather was that we only met one other couple the entire time (a welcome change as Arran as become a lot busier with visitors since the RET scheme was introduced). The Falls themselves were quite spectacular and well worth the climb...


We decided to take the option to walk out to the Giant's Graves instead of going straight back down the way we had come. The rain had stopped by the time we got there and the views were pretty good too!



We said goodbye to Arran the following day after a morning of steady rain and a high volume of midges (UGH!! My major reason for staying away from the west coast in summer!). The skies seemed to be brightening over the island again and I bet they ended up enjoying another lovely evening. 


Once again we opted to sit inside on the crossing and I made a little more progress on Stormy Seas...


After looking at various patterns on Ravelry and having a good think I decided to put armholes into my Vortex circle, give it sleeves, and thereby turn it into more of a cardigan (something I do wear). I measured the distance across the back of one of my sweaters from one armhole to the other and when the diameter of my Vortex matched that I cast off all the stitches between markers 2-3 and markers 6-7. On the next row I cast on the same number of stitches and continued going round in pattern again. I bought another Colourwheel, had a play around with front shaping and ended up ripping a lot of knitting out - twice!- before deciding to just stick with making a big circle . When it was almost the diameter I wanted I stopped knitting in pattern and knitted 16 rounds in garter stitch so the border would lie flat. I cast off with a picot cast off (thanks Youtube!) to give it some extra stretch and make a pretty edge. Now I am happy with it, but when directions say the picot bind off is time consuming they sure aren't kidding! At the point where I was ready to begin casting off I had 488 stitches which was taking me about 20 minutes to knit all the way around once. It then took me 20 minutes to cast off between the first two markers, which was just one eighth of the way round! It also really gobbled the yarn - I had 93g left of the second Colourwheel by the time I was finished. Then it was time to pick up some stitches and make sleeves. I had two balls of Patons Fairytale Soft DK in blue left from knitting a sweater for Little H a couple of years ago, the color is now discontinued so I can't get any more but I figured there was enough there for sleeves? We will see! This is where I have gotten up to now...


I also joined the squares I had made for Ebee's Flower Square Blanket so now I have eight rows completed...


My goal is to make and join 2 rows a month for the next few months so it will be ready for my daughter by the time the temperatures really start to drop.
Lastly, spurred on by all your kind comments about the Seriously Southwestern Socks, I made an effort and finished the second sock! Hubbie is really pleased with them, has declared them the comfiest socks he has ever worn, and requested more! I have yarn and a (much simpler) pattern picked out for him, but am hoping to finish Stormy Seas before I start something new. (I really would like to get three more things finished off my WIP list before I add something else to the mix but I'm sure you all know how the daily struggle with temptation goes! ;-)). Anyways here are his finished socks...



I hope to be back soon to show you what I worked on in June when I should have been working on UFO's! Until then I hope you are enjoying a lovely week with lots of creative opportunities :-)







Friday, 7 July 2017

17 ufos in 2017 - June update

Hello there!
I am really late with my 17ufosin2017  post this month, mainly because I was going to miss June out. Why? Because I have not worked on a single UFO all month!!! *Hangs head in shame* There were a few reasons  excuses for this but the end result - no progress. So I thought what's the point in writing a post? Then I thought this is the half way point through the year so it might be good to have a look at The List and see where I am now.
Off of the original list I have completed numbers 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 15, 16, and 17. I also have made substantial progress on numbers 12 and 13. This leaves seven projects I haven't looked at yet and two I would like to try and work on some more before the year is out. So the updated list looks like this:

  1. Black cross stitch Christmas decorations - set of four started October 2012, one completely finished, another one and a bit now stitched
  2. Popcorn bear cross stitch - started October 2013
  3. Little knitted hedgehog - knitted 2 (or was it 3?) years ago, needs put together
  4. Yoyo pumpkin - yoyo's made, all parts cut out, needs sewn together
  5. Sugar Plum fairy -  knitted 2 (I think?) years ago needs assembled
  6. Lion for little C - partially made amigurumi started last summer
  7. Crochet bag - squares made April 2015
  8. Stocking for little H - started for his first Christmas, he will be 5 in May!
  9. The wave cross stitch - started June 2011 (my oldest UFO)
Is this still doable to finish everything by December 31? Well if I could stay away from temptation then possibly, but in the real world probably not! Especially as my favorite times to craft for are just coming up - Fall, Halloween, Christmas. I have a bunch of WIP's I need to finish and then I am going to try and be good and get some more done off the list before starting anything else!!!! Watch this space!