Challenges, crochet spinnning knitting designing!

I have quite a bit of creativity to chat about this week.  Wips, to do’s and help me’s!!

Firstly Josh’s blanket (I am keeping this project in the fabric basket I got at Portsmouth in the summer).

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I ripped back the blanket in January and started again with a more mindless pattern so that it could be my ‘no brain power needed’ project but I’m still going so slowly with it!  I think a lot of the problem is Josh!!  Poor Josh, it’s not his fault directly but he is having a real job getting to sleep in the evenings so he is not going to bed so early.  By the time he is asleep (anywhere between 9 and 10)  I am ready to hit the hay myself!

Also, to be completely honest, I am just not enjoying it.  I just have so many ideas for other things and other wips I would rather be doing that I overlook it! I have been mulling it over and decided to challenge myself (appealing to my competitive spirit usually works 😉 ) so, I will aim to work on it either for 15 minutes or work 1 row a day five days a week.  Probably Monday to Friday but if I miss a day I will catch up at the weekend.

While I am challenging myself I may just add 10 minutes of spinning a day to the challenge.

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I have hardly touched my spindle this year and again it’s because I’m not enjoying it.  I just don’t enjoy the colour I am spinning.  Abi loves it though so there will be a use for it so maybe if I aim to spin it for a birthday gift for her (June) I may just have the incentive to get back on my spindle.

I am also thinking that my spindle could do with a case of its own.  Maybe with a separate pocket for the fibre?

Also on my hooks I have another crochet shawl that I am designing. This time I am using the yarn that Abi’s boyfriend gave me for Christmas.  It is a lovely soft cotton, I love working with cotton but the only downside is that it can be rather splitty and this one is very splitty, so much so that if I don’t keep on top of sewing the ends in I end up with tassels!

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Despite this though I am loving working with the yarn and enjoying how the design is working out.  I am using the gorgeous bag that Jane made that was in my Stitching Santa swap.

I have made some bits and dyed some custom yarn for a yarn swap I have entered that Mina of the Knitting Expat Podcast is hosting but I won’t show them yet as I have told my swap partner about my blog!  I love the yarn colourway that I design for the swap and shall show you all the bits once my partner has received them 🙂  Oh yes, and while I’m on the subject of dyeing…

I’ve been thinking that the lilies Abi gave me for my birthday would make a great natural dye, so I may be trying that one out next week!

I have also made a couple of project bags and done some more dyeing so there are a few more bits in the shop.

The socks I am knitting for Abi are also only coming along slowly, this time it’s the doctors fault!!! 😉  I am keeping them for knitting when I wait for appointments as they are so portable, (especially as I keep them in my Japanese knot bag which hangs perfectly on my arm as I knit).

Anyhow, the reason it is the doctor’s fault is that she has been on time lately!  I always have to wait ages at the doctors and suddenly she decides to be on time! – I mean, it’s wonderful that she’s on time but what about my knitting?  I shall just have to start arriving extra early.

I did decide to buy extra ‘Big Softie’ yarn with my birthday money, lots of!!

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Hopefully enough to make a lovely oversized sweater. I am thinking of doing my own design so it will be interesting to see how that goes!  I’m not too sure how easy it will be to frog as it’s a singles, I think there will have to be lots of planning and drawing first!

Now to my knitting dilemma.  I am wanting to knit a shawl.  I have some  yarn that I dyed that I would love to use.

And maybe this one to twin with it!

But I just can’t decide on a pattern.  I have a couple I have downloaded, the latest being Mina’s brioche shawl.  I love this design but I am really not sure if my knitting is up to two colour brioche.  So if any of you have tried it I would love to know how easy it is? I have watched Mina’s tutorial which is really clear and helpful and has given me a bit more confidence but I’m still wavering!

Also do you have any other knitted shawl patterns to recommend?  I will be using 4 ply, each hank being 400m and I would like to use one or two colours and also try something new, like the brioche or maybe some simple lace?

I’m not sure why I haven’t started a pattern yet as I’ve been wanting to do this since the end of last year.  I’m sure if I was looking at crocheting a shawl I would have started it by now, maybe it’s just my lack of confidence in knitting that is putting me off!

So with that lot on the go I think it’s time I sat myself down in the sun and got on with it, yes we actually have some sun today, enough for Abi and her cousin to try out sunbathing in the garden, I’m not too sure how long it will last!

I hope you all have a creative and lovely weekend.

Sharon xx

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Blankets for Refugees

Back at the end of last year Sheila from Sewchet was collecting knitted/crochet squares for blankets for refugees.  I was not able to do anything at the time but every year my friend and I get a group of teens together to make something for charity.  There are other get togethers throughout the year but this is the one where it isall about something for others instead of for them.

In previous years we have made blankets for the homeless, shoe boxes with handmade stockings, sleighs, cards etc filled with Christmas goodies for the local food bank and handmade cards and letters for the Open Doors charity that supports persecuted Christians around the world.

When I saw Sheila’s post I knew that this year had to be another blanket making year so we finally managed to get a date at the end of January to suit all the regulars.

It was a great, fun afternoon as always.  The blankets are very simply made.  You lay two pieces of fleece material one on top of the other. We used 1 1/2 m length.  You then cut a 6″ square out of each corner.  Along the four sides you then cut 1 1/2″ wide strips 6″ into the fabric.  These are then knotted together to secure the two layers together.

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We laid out three tables and with a few competitive teens we soon  had three groups competing to see who could do the most!

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The blankets looked so colourful all stacked up after they were completed!

Everyone had brought along a picnic and after eating there was a very lively hour of games!  The only quiet time was when they were in groups with a banana cut in half, four cocktail sticks and two elastic bands trying to work out the strongest way to rejoin it.

While they did that a couple of us sat and stitched labels the teens had signed onto the blankets.

 

It was such fun and great to be a part of 🙂 I am hoping that they will add a beautiful splash of colour and brighten someones day a little.

I hope you are all having a lovely and creative week! The weather is gorgeous here today, it’s great to see some sunshine, perfect for getting a few photos taken!

I’ve some gorgeous embroidery that my Grandma did years ago to show you soon.  Until then enjoy your creative moments.

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

 

Blankets…yes in the plural!!

I would have loved to join in Sandra’s blanket cal but having two of my own to do this winter I decided that I will just have to enjoy seeing all of yours!

I have begun the blanket for Josh’s bed.  In the summer I had planned to start it in September hoping to have it ready for his birthday in November.  Hmmm, ambitious I know and with all the Christmas pressie’s I am hoping to make, I have now decided that instead this will be a slow winter project.

I wanted it to be a ripple blanket of some description and have looked at so many pictures but nothing was quite what I was looking for.  Then I made my decision to be more creative (here), With that in mind I decided not to use a pattern but just ‘play’ until I managed to work out the wave that was just what I was looking for. So out came the ‘sample’ yarn. (my mistake online buy of Stylecraft (very) bright green that I used for my refugee teddy.)

I hooked, ripped back, experimented, made all sorts of wiggles

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and zig-zags.

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I learnt a lot about pattern repeats,

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how the increases and decreases affected the curve etc,

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and finally I settled on this as a gentle ocean wave.

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These are the yarns I have chosen, Hayfield Aran tweed with wool.

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I love the fleck in them.

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The only downside is that they are not very portable being 400g balls of Aran weight yarn but that is where the other blanket comes in, more about that in a moment but first, this is the start of it,

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and a closer look at the wave,

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what do you think?

My other blanket you have seen before and that is the patchwork quilt block blanket.  I still love this and the triangles are so relaxing to crochet. It is so portable as each block needs 16 triangles in each of two colours, so I just take along one ball and hook up as many as I can get done in that colour 🙂  I have just finished block three.

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And here are the others.

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I think things will be rather slow on the blanket front for the rest of this year as I get busy making gifts but hopefully in January I shall be able to really get going with them again.

Are you doing a blanket this winter?

Happy Hooking and Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Monthly Challenge – April… Body parts and Repeat Crochet!

Phew, it’s been a hectic month, along with some rough days health-wise the last couple of weeks and Abi’s Photography and Textile exam prep and coursework deadlines, but I got there…nearly!

For new followers, I started a monthly challenge in January inspired by Jennifer at Thistlebear. I challenged myself to make/finish one ‘Me’ project a month – Something for me or the home.  Also, after my mad rush last Christmas I am trying to make one stocking present each for Abi and Josh a month.

Now this month I was really hoping to keep the make for Abi a secret but things didn’t work out quite as I had anticipated.

A couple of months back Abi spotted this pattern

My Mountain Malibu Anleitung Damenmütze

and fell in love with it and in particular the colours so the plan was to make it for her stocking as this month’s make.  I didn’t want to spend too much on the yarn as it is to be a stocking gift and also it had to come out of our gift budget.  I decided to order some Stylecraft Special dk acrylic yarn as so many of you enjoy using it and it is great value.  I chose turquoise, bright green and magenta.  They arrived but they were loads brighter than they had looked on the screen.  I knew that they wouldn’t do so I will just have to make some other very bright gifts!  I guess the name ‘bright green’ should have told me that perhaps the screen wasn’t giving me the true colours.  One of the drawbacks of buying online I guess.  So it was down to my local yarn supplier where they had the perfect colours in Hayfield Bonus dk (another great value acrylic yarn).

Great, I had the right colours, so it was only a matter of making it up.  Shouldn’t take too long! I soon found out how wrong I was.  The choice to not use the recommended yarn and especially to not even look up what type they recommended was rather a mistake.  I started to crochet, carried on, and finished.  Mmm I really wasn’t sure, it looked a bit tea cosyish and Oh, the ends!!  So I left the ends and started again using double yarn and got about halfway but it was just too stiff, even more tea cosyish!  It was at this point I decided to show Abi.  She thought the first one was ok and the second one hilarious.  I had week of April left at this point!  Onto version three.  She wanted it much more open and lacy looking.  So, scrap the pattern, back to single yarn and a size 10 hook!!  Result?

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She loves it.  A shame I had to show her, but hopefully I can keep next month’s a secret.

The item I finished for me was my Owl and Flower Granny blanket.  Hopefully you have read about that already but if you missed that post you can find it here.

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It still makes me smile every time I look at it.  It creates such a cheerful splash of colour in the darker corner of our lounge. After nearly two years it’s great to have it finished.

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Then we get to the make for Josh.  I wanted to crochet him some budgies (We have three budgies).  But after lots of searching pinterest I could only find knitting patterns that I liked well enough.  Now as I have mentioned before I have a bit of a knitting phobia!   I did a bit as a child and a couple of scarves and half a teddy a few years back but it is so slow and I just don’t like it.  The pattern was so good though so I decided that now was the time to tackle it.  It was challenging!   At times I hated knitting and nearly gave up, at other times it would be relaxing… for  a few rows and by the end it was okay…ish.  Well on the first of May I have – body parts!!

I don’t know how much you can make out from the photo but I have the bodies, wings and tails for a blue and grey, green and black and a yellow budgie.  I am disappointed I didn’t get them finished but relieved to be this far and I hope to be back soon with a full post of the journey!!

I have a couple of other bits to share with you soon.

Happy Crafting and have a great weekend!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Blanket Madness and WIP’s

I really do seem to have gone a bit blanket crazy, even after spending nearly two years completing my Owl and Flower Granny blanket.

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(Yes, it’s finished and is blocking at the moment.) I did crochet this sampler blanket for Abi’s bed during those two years as well, so I did have a little bit of an excuse!

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So, why blanket crazy?  Well, I have a few other blanket waiting their turn!

No 1 – I have this yarn for a blanket for Josh’s bed, deadline? … hopefully his birthday which is in November (not sure which year yet 😉 )

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I have an idea in my head for the pattern.  I want it to be something rippled or wavy, something to remind you of the sea.  I have pinned several ideas and thought that maybe I would do some trial ripples in dishcloth cotton so that I can use them afterwards.

No 2 – I have also just started a baby blanket using this pattern.

It was one of those spur of the moment things.  Two of my sisters-in-law are expecting babies so if I do one in girly and one in boyish colours at least one of them will get a blanket!

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I really like the way it is looking so far and the circular ripple is surprisingly easy to do even when tired!

No 3 – I have talked about my Dahlia blanket before and I have some lovely squishy soft yarn but I am thinking this may have to a project for next spring all being well.  I love the colours so much and it is probably my favourite but the others need to take priority.

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No 4 – Lastly there is another new blanket idea and that is to make a blanket for this moon chair.  (Josh curled up in it on my birthday morning)

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Hubby gave it to me for my birthday.  He thought it was a great size and shape for me to use sitting on the beach with my crochet.  It is, in fact it so comfy and ideal for crochet that I have left it up in our lounge where it clashes horribly with the rest of the decor.  Solution?…another blanket.  I have purchased some more yarn in yellow, rust and green to tie in with the owl and flower blanket and I am thinking of making a round spiral blanket this time.

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Phew, not quite sure when it will all get done but hopefully not two years a blanket!

Onto my quickly expanding  wips list …

2 Owl and flower granny square cushions (there were squares left over)

Work in Progress

1  baby blanket

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1 crochet scarf for my Sister – just the border to go.

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1 Edwards menagerie bunny for my cousin’s baby

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1 knitted budgie as Joshs’ April stocking pressie (2 more after that if I don’t give up with the knitting!!!)

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8 mice/bunny PJ cases

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1 stocking pressie for Abi (Hopefully I’ll get it done by the end of the month) more soon

1 market bag

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and some spinning. (I am about 1/4 of the way through a new colour and then I hope to ply the two together.

Actually, looking at the list, it is not as bad as I thought. Lots more ideas buzzing in my head though!!

Hopefully back soon with the blanket Tada.

Happy crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x