Thursday, 20 April 2017

Tales of a yarn addict

Hello there!
I hope you had a lovely Easter? I can't believe how quickly April is flying by, I'm really not sure what has happened to this month! In my last post I promised to share some yarny goodness with you because, in between the stitching, there have been a lot of yarny things going on around here too. Although cross stitch will always be my first crafty love I would truly be hard pushed to name my second. For years my answer would've been sewing. Sewing pretty much anything, whatever involved needle (hand or sewing machine), thread, and fabric. But then I bought some yarn & a crochet hook... followed a couple of years later by knitting needles... and before I really knew what was going on I had two new crafty loves! Now when we are going away I pack a crochet project for the car/flight and a knitty project along with a cross stitch project for while we're away and this is number one on the packing list way ahead of clothes or other mundane things. Anyone else relate?!
There are times where I know I really should be focusing on a certain project but the pull to work on something else is very hard to resist, and recently the "something else" has been of a yarny nature. Firstly I fell totally in love with a colorway of Stylecraft Head over Heels sock yarn which was handily in stock when we visited Nairn Wool Shop and now I can happily report it has grown into finished socks!

The pattern (Daydreamer) was a fun knit, and the yarn is the softest, squooshiest sock yarn I have yet come across. There are definitely going to be more balls of this in my future and the fact that Stylecraft have just brought out two gorgeous new colorways of it just adds to the temptation! The observant amongst you will have noticed my socks don't match, see the abrupt color change on the right toe? There was a knot in the ball which resulted a very sharp contrast, a bit of a shame but I'm not really bothered as most of the time it's hidden inside my shoe ;-) At that point I decided I didn't mind them being "odd socks" & didn't try to make the colors match on the second one, just went with the yarn as it came off the ball. I have seen matching socks made with this yarn on Ravelry so I think it's possible if that is really important to you, anyways don't let it put you off trying this yarn as it really is like wearing clouds on your feet! (I'm pretty sure it would also make an awesome scarf/ shawl/ gloves etc.)
After that I was going to be good and not buy new yarn but then Sirdar brought out Colourwheel, their answer to the current trend for cake yarns - have you seen these around? Oh. My. Gosh!!!! I only went in to my local store to ask if she would be stocking them & they had just arrived - "would you like to see them?" she asked. Ummmm YES! Most definitely! :-) The difficult part was working out which ones to leave behind! In the end I came out with three, a ball of Deep Blue Sea, a ball of Nature's Palette...

...and a ball of Follow the Rainbow (which lasted intact for a few hours until I couldn't resist it any longer and cast on!)...

This was totally addictive to knit!! The colors, the texture, the simple rhythm of the pattern = one happy & contented me.... The pattern is from Sirdar leaflet 8032 and I struggled really hard to put this down & finish the back stitch on the Spring Fairy! Anyways, Fairy got finished & I got to go back to my rainbow. When I was just over halfway through the pattern repeats I realised that I had more than half the cake left & I really wanted to use the whole thing on this project. The pattern is symmetrical, increasing after each pattern repeat up to a central point and then decreasing again so I ripped back to where the rows start decreasing & added some more pattern repeats, weighing the remaining yarn after each full repeat. I ended up adding two more increases and two more decreases but still ended up with some yarn left over at the end. I decided to add a border along the neck edge by picking up stitches with a circular needle and working a few rows until there was just enough yarn left to cast off. (Loosely three times the length of your row in case you were wondering) It's now on the blocking mats, would you like to see?

Here's a closeup of the border I added...

I have also been knitting my first pair of gloves using this pattern as a base. After all how hard can it be to make them for a large mans' hand instead of a medium female and do fingers? (Internet to the rescue, follow this link for a funny article about knitting fingers). I played with the gauge and added a thumb gusset (charted in pattern on graph paper) to increase the width across the hand and through it all, in the hopes of being able to produce two gloves the same, I have been scribbling notes like mad. To get a close but comfortable fit on the fingers I have been trying the glove on Hubbie as I go which has worked out great but meant I could only work on them when he was here so progress has been slow. But as of last night the first glove is finished...

... now to cast on the other one and reverse the thumb and finger positions. At least this time progress should be faster as I should be able to work more from my notes and not have to try them on him so often. I am writing up the modifications I made to the pattern and will add it under the free tutorials tab on here when I'm done in case anyone else is interested in making these. The yarn I'm using is Drops Fabel in black and mustard, it's a superwash sock yarn which means it should be fine to go in the washing machine when needed and also be hard wearing. It's my first time using it and so far I'm quite impressed, it's not as soft as the Stylecraft sock yarn and feels more "wooly" but it certainly stands up to being ripped back a lot! 
Even though I have really been enjoying the challenge of these gloves there are some times when you just need something more relaxing and for that (other than when the Rainbow Wrap was on the go) I have been turning to Ebee's Flower Square Blanket. You can read about the beginnings of this blanket back here but basically since then I have been gradually filling a box with squares...

Dear Daughter was home for a few days in Easter week & I managed to have around 70 squares made by then. This meant we could spread the squares out & have a play with layout ideas & joining colors. For this blanket I wanted to use a decorative join and we agreed that the Continuous Flat Braid Join would suit these squares well. There is a great tutorial available here and I tried two different yellows with a few squares but the Saffron was too bright and the Buttermilk just a bit "off" somehow? Then we went in a totally different direction...

Duck Egg Blue! Yes folks we have a winner! Unfortunately I only had one ball of it in my stash so a quick run through to Nairn on Easter Saturday to acquire more was in order. I am edging each square in it first before working the join and, using a 4mm hook, this results in a 1" band of blue between the squares. With this measurement I could finally confirm how many squares I need to make & we could finalise a layout - boy did that feel good! So this blanket will have 169 squares arranged 13 by 13 which with the decorative join and a border should come out around double bed sized. Currently I have three rows joined... 

I have given up trying to get the camera to accurately portray the colors *sigh* but this isn't too bad, the worst being the rich dark purple which looks more like navy in the above pic...
Here's a close up of the decorative join which I'm hoping will lie a bit flatter once the blanket is washed when it's finished...

Overall Daughter & I are both really happy with how this is working out, I think it's going to end up the prettiest blanket I have made to date :-) I'm going to keep adding rows until the squares I already have are used up (this will give me six rows and almost half a blanket) but then I'm going to take a little break. Partly this is because we are going away in June & I always planned to be making squares for this blanket as my travel project. It's also because I have fallen madly in love with the colors in Lucy's new Hydrangea blanket here at Attic24. I haven't made a big stripey blanket since the Mixed Stitch Stripey Blanket and have had an itch to start one for a while. But I have always had another blanket in progress and because they are generally big projects I have never succumbed to having two on the go at once. But now I probably will because these colors are just too gorgeous to resist...

And this is why I will happily admit to being a yarn addict! :-)
Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope you have a lovely rest of your week whatever you are up to!


  1. So many gorgeous projects! I LOVE those cake yarns...the colours are always wonderful. I have managed to resist buying any.....yet! I am going to the craft store today, so I might blame you Helen, if one or two fall into my basket!!!!

    1. Thank you so much Rhona! The colors in the cakes are just so hard to resist, well done for resisting thus far but I'm totally happy to take the blame if you end up with some following you home ;-) Have a lovely week,

  2. What beautiful makes!! I have a thing for crochet blankets, so must admit I prefer our granny square one but also had a look at the hydrangea blanket from Lucy's blog & OMG!!!! I love it!! So wish I had more free time to give it a go, it is gorgeous. I'm sure you'll have great fun working on that one. Any spare one going my way will be more than welcome too ;) Only teasing, of course.

    1. Thank you so much Ingrid! That is the temptation to becoming a multi crafter lol resist while you can because it is a slippery slope & it really cuts into your cross stitch time ;-) Well I am going to have to start thinking about new homes if I can't stop making blankets, Hubbie is starting to question how many more we need! (He probably has a point ;-)) Hope your week has been full of lovely things,

  3. Hello, thank you for sharing all the beautiful things you have created. I love the look of that new Sirdar yarn. The shawl is so lovely and bright. Enjoy your week, Pat

    1. Hello Pat and welcome! Thank you for your sweet comments :-) I am a total color junkie so those cake yarns are like catnip to me! I hope you have had a lovely week too,


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