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).

IMG_2930

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.

SAM_122021

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!

IMG_2924

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!!

IMG_2928

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

Advertisements

Problems, Lists and Knitting Again!

Firstly it’s my own fault, the problems that is. When I set up my site at the beginning of the year I started following the quick tutorial, uploaded photos and posted my first post and thought I didn’t need to learn any more… how wrong I was!!  I was doing exactly what Hubby does (and most men that I know do) and tried to do it first without reading all the instructions!  You know the feeling, oh yeah, I can do this, it’s easy 🙂

All went fine until a couple of weeks ago when I realised that I had used nearly all of my media storage space and they said I could upgrade my site  for £89 per year – no thanks!!  So it was off to ask google! I soon realised where I had gone wrong. I had just uploaded the pics straight from the camera without compressing them first.  As a result I have spent rather a lot of precious crafting time compressing photos (four times before they all compressed as I didn’t realise I needed to do the portrait images separate from the landscape images) and replacing and deleting the original pictures!

compress

Thankfully we do have Adobe Photoshop so I was able to compress multiple files at once .  Anyhow, all done now and lesson learnt – read all instructions first – (until next time) and I now have plenty of storage space for more posts 🙂

I am trying out knitting again as after my budgie attempts I thought I really ought to try and do a bit occasionally and maybe, just maybe, one day I will be good enough to knit a pair of socks.  I looked on Ravelry for easy patterns and came up with this pattern for simple garter stitch slippers, brilliant. I need some new ones for the summer as I am still using my slipper boots from the winter, although Josh kindly told me yesterday as he watched me knit that it will probably be winter again before I finish them!!

 (Image courtesy of google)

The pattern said Needles: 3.5mm circular or two straight needles.  I thought ‘Great, now I can do a bit of practise with a circular needle on something easy’  but as I read on it said ‘if your’e feeling adventurous you can use a seamless CO technique’  I do not feel adventurous where knitting is concerned and I wanted the seam anyway as I think it enhances the slipper so I wouldn’t need the circular needle…but I used the circular needle anyway as practice.  What a pain that is, the thing has a life of it’s it own and twists and curls as though it’s alive, maybe the feeling is mutual and it doesn’t like me either!

IMG_391201

As far as the pattern goes I am getting on fine this time but only because all I have had to do is cast on 40 stitches and keep knitting!  I did manage to gain a stitch, I guess that’s better than losing one.  I really didn’t want to undo any of my hard work – I find knitting so hard to pick all the stitches back up, unlike crochet where you have only one loop to find again – so I just knit two together!   The only other slightly annoying thing is working with two strands together but mostly it has been fine.

I am using the women’s institute soft and cuddly 4 ply yarn from Hobbycraft.  It is a bit more expensive at £3.00 for 50 grams but they are usually on a buy two get one free deal and I love it so much, it has to be the softest acrylic yarn I have ever used.  There isn’t a huge range of colours yet so I went with a pale blue and cream. (I have just realised as I took this photo that one ball of yarn is soft and silky and one soft and cuddly.  With the soft and silky you get 100 grams for the same price, both gorgeously soft.)

IMG_391302

I am probably about halfway through the first slipper so not too bad going but I do find that I am very tense when I knit and I have to consciously make an effort to relax my shoulders. To be honest just working in garter stitch can be a bit boring so I am saving them to do when I really haven’t the concentration for anything else.

I have also been busy writing lists.  I love lists, I love crossing things off of them even more, in fact I have been known on occasion to write a couple of things I have already done on my new list, so I can cross them off!! I Hmm, rather sad I know but I always feel better when a couple of things have been crossed off.

I have an A4 notebook dedicated to my craft lists and notes.  Things to make for Abi, for Josh, for the nieces, for men, for the mums, for the home, for me soon, for me one day, gifts already made etc!  I also have this great weekly planner but things often end up getting transferred from one day to the next and the next before they get crossed out, I think I am too ambitious about what I can achieve in a day!

IMG_391706

But this week I  realised I do not have a wips list…What??.  I have posted on here about my wips but the list is changing so often that it is out of date in a few days but no list.  Well, of course, that had to be rectified and here it is.

WIPS LIST JULY 2015

small hexagons – on a bit of a go slow with these

SAM_0460966

large hexagons (I have been reading too many of Ericka’s posts lately and she has got me using up my scraps with larger hexies.  Ericka has made some gorgeous hexie cushions with scraps you would never normally put together but they look amazing!  If you pop over you could join her on one of her rambles and learn a lot about British wild flowers. ).

IMG_391605

spinning – only about 4 more lengths to spin and then I can ply, Yay!

IMG_3218027

crochet granny flower and owl cushions.  (Hmm, those were a bit buried and forgotten, to be honest, crocheting a back is rather boring.)

crochet patchwork blanket (here).  I’m still enjoying this.

IMG_3858084

knitting slippers

IMG_391201

crochet shawl  (this is another new wip using this gorgeous pattern by Sandra over at Cherry Heart blog.  It is lace weight and so, so pretty and delicate.

IMG_391807

embroidery (I’m still working through the aprons for the pj cases, only 2 to go!)

SAM_05891058IMG_1648480

To be honest it is no as bad as I thought but my to do list is items 17 long and two need to be made for gifts this month plus stocking pressies for Abi and Josh so I’m going to say toodleoo and get crafting 🙂

Happy Crafting and have a crafty week!!

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

Wips and Ideas…

Things have been pretty busy round here with birthday preparations but I just wanted to pop by with a few pics of my wips.  Firstly my spinning.  I have started spinning my fourth lot of yarn and I am enjoying it as much as ever.  I have chosen these two colours.

SAM_06881154

I have already spun these two, I spun a strip of the grey followed by a strip of blue until I had spun it all.

IMG_3219028

I have now moved onto these two colours, navy and teal.

SAM_06891155

When they are both finished I hope to ply the two yarns together to give a multi coloured effect.  It is rather slow going only doing a little at a time but with so much else on the go it doesn’t really worry me.

I am spinning it quite fine and I am really pleased with how even I am now managing to get the yarn.

IMG_3237042

Here it is next to some no8 crochet thread.  I am hoping there will be enough this time for a lacey shawlette.

I have hardly touched my patchwork hexies lately but they are great to have nearby to do an odd one in a spare moment.

IMG_3234039

I am nearly halfway through my monthly challenge makes for the children,

but I’m not sure what I shall be making for Me/the Home this month.

I have made the fronts of the cushions I am making with the leftover squares from my owl and flower granny blanket and have started on the backs.

IMG_3240043

The embroidery on the aprons for the bunny/mice Pj cases is coming along little by little.  I have to do these in daylight as my eyes are no longer good enough to do detail stitching in the evenings 😦

IMG_1648284

But all of this has been on the back burner this week as I have been busy making bits for Abi’s 18th.  There has been a bit of crochet, including a new pattern to share with you.  I have been busy with my machine on two other gifts and also added a little hand quilting and I have some embroidery not yet started.

IMG_3241044

I have also been trying to finish the felted picture I am making for my Mum.  Here is a little peek at one of the beginning stages.

IMG_3168007

Now for the ideas!  Well, I have so many ideas of things I would like to make so I will just tell you about the ones I am hoping to get on with in the next few weeks.

I would love to make some more project bags (now, why ever I would need more?!!).  I can’t see a pattern that is quite what I am looking for so I shall be combining one or two styles and attempting my own pattern.

I started my spiral blanket but after several rows it got frogged, I just wasn’t happy with it, I’m not sure why, I think it just seemed a bit flat. Here is what it looked like.

SAM_0696

So, when I couldn’t sleep one night I lay and thought of all sorts of blankets I have seen and nearly settled for another round ripple when I had a fantastic idea, or at least I absolutely love the idea!  This is where I tease you because I want to get a bit further with it before I show you but here is the tiniest peek.

IMG_3858

I know, not much of a clue there but I will try and show you more soon when I have the first trial bit done. It is something I have never seen done before for a crochet blanket but I am sure someone, somewhere, has done it already.

While I was planning in my crafty notebook I came across this note from Abi…

SAM_0693

It made me smile.  (Nunars is a nickname I somehow acquired in our courting days!)

My other idea is for a sewing/project book.  I have seen a couple recently but they don’t have quite what I am looking for so the creative brain cells will be getting another workout on a pattern for this one 🙂

Phew, well I must get going, I have a cake to ice, one gift not even started and three more to finish, not to mention Mum’s picture to finish!

What are you up to? Are you a little crazy like me with several wips or are you more organised and like to finish one thing at a time?

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

More Spinning – including my first Selfies :~} !!

I’ve been spinning again! After quickly using my first two yarns that I had spun without plying because I just couldn’t wait to use them, I decided this time to spin two different colours and then ply them together.  The spinning went very well.  My spinning improves each time and these were quite fine although there were some blips where it was a bit thicker particularly where I had to join.

SAM_06151083IMG_2271334

I enjoyed the plying so much.  It is so much faster for me than spinning and I loved watching the twist emerge.  I had wound the two balls into one double stranded ball which made the plying a lot easier than I think it would have done otherwise.

IMG_2272335

I then washed and dried it (how I love this sunny weather).

IMG_2273336

Well, as soon as I had it plyed I was then itching to crochet something with it. It couldn’t be too big as there wasn’t a huge amount of yarn.  It was also fairly fine, mostly about 2 ply.  I chose a shawl pattern that if made smaller could be a triangular scarf.  It was a bit complicated but I enjoyed it until I realised that there wasn’t even enough yarn for it to be a scarf, groan.

So I decided to use this cowl pattern which is crocheted in long rows so it could be thinner if necessary… I had enough yarn 🙂

Démodé Summer Cowl

It worked up ever so quickly.

So then it was time to take my first ever selfies!

IMG_2696510 IMG_2695509 IMG_2696341

Abi has just seen these and found them hilarious!  Delightful teenager 😉

I suppose the cowl could also be double looped for extra warmth..

So now I can’t wait to get spinning again!  I can only do it for 5 or 10 minutes before my neck gets too painful to continue so I am going to try to spin a little most days.  This time I am also hoping to spin about twice the amount so that I can make something a bit bigger.

If you fancy trying something new then I would definitely recommend giving spinning a try.  You can get all you need for under £15.  Until next time…

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

Garden Fun and WIPs.

It is dull, damp and cold here this morning but the men in my life are happy outdoors!

Josh has lit a fire in the old bbq

IMG_3500

and they are busy moving 2 ton of soil to fill the veg boxes Hubby has been making!

Spice is with me indoors right now, busy investigating.

SAM_05031003

I have been busy crafting,

tacking some hexagons while Josh had his swimming lesson

SAM_05051005

using my second mini ball of spun yarn to make this little Easter Bunny. (sorry about the poor images, the light is so low today)

SAM_0496996

I used this pin as a guide but made mine with a smaller head and longer body to accommodate eggs!

SAM_05011001 SAM_05021002

I have sewn all 56 eyes onto my owls and I am so pleased with the result, I am glad that I decided to use buttons rather than yarn.

SAM_05151015

I stitched most of those on with rather stiff fingers……

SAM_05141014

….I had a tube of super glue leak onto my fingers!!

I have crocheted the first two square together using the new yarn colours and after my problems last week I am thinking now it may have been a blessing in disguise.

I have also had another little try at spinning using this video as guide as recommended by suzy sells sea shells. (Thanks very much for that). The video was so helpful and I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to give spinning a try.  My yarn is now about 1/3 of the thickness it was and it has answered a lot of questions for me too.  I am hoping to spin three different colours and then ply them this time for a mini project.

What have you been busy creating this week?

Happy Crafting… and if you are in the UK enjoy the Easter Hols!

Sharon xx

Spinning, WIP’s and a Bargain!!

SAM_0481987

It’s been a creative few days here.  I’ve been spinning, unpicking crochet 😦 , I’ve started a scarf and made some progress with the pj cases.

But first I still have a bit spring left in the house from Mother’s day to show you.

SAM_0478984

This is the last of the bouquet that Abi gave me along with some miniature daffs from the garden.  And of course a warm hot cross bun, with oodles of melting butter!

I could’t leave it too long before another attempt at spinning.  I chose these three softly bright colours!  The yellow and pink make me think of neopolitan ice cream and the blue is just yummy and goes so well with the others.

SAM_0481987

I started by going from one colour to another but soon noticed that where the colours overlapped I was getting a two colour twist which I really liked.  So for the rest of the yarn I spun alternating colours together.

SAM_0485991

I am really pleased with it but I’m not sure if I am doing it right, especially the amount of twist, this time I used less twist than last time which seems better.  It is not all an even thickness but I have managed to get a thinner yarn overall.  I now just have to decide what mini project I can create with it, any ideas?….

Josh is itching to have a spin, so I need to use my yarn up soon.

I have been steadily unpicking the squares I had already joined of my owl and flower granny blanket, I am also waiting for the buttons to arrive that I can sew them onto the owl’s eyes. Then I need to add my extra round to each square.

SAM_0473979

I am thinking of using the join as you go method.  Have you have used it?  If you have, is it easy and do you know of any good tutorials?

My PJ cases are coming on nicely.  I have all the skirts sewn and have just started attaching them to the bodices.

They are really starting to look similar to how I remember my PJ case when I was little.  I am hoping that the aprons will really finish them off.

I find it really special when creating something that brings back memories. Do you find that?  I seem to be frequently down memory lane at the moment, maybe the memories just seem more special since Dad passed on.

I have started a scarf for my sister.  She has asked me to crochet one for next winter but I wanted to start it while we still having some wintry days!!  It just doesn’t feel right doing it on a sunny spring day so it will be my rainy and cold weather project!

IMG_1014444

I am using a pattern I have used for several scarves, I will try to put it up on here when I have finished the scarf if anyone is interested.

Lastly my bargain!  I found this duvet cover at the local market for £1.  It doesn’t look worn at all and I have now got two lovely large coordinating pieces of fabric.  I think Abi is already planning things to make with it.

IMG_1012442

Well, that’s it for now, thanks for all your kind comments, I am always pleased to hear from you,

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

Success and Disaster!!

SAM_0473979

It’s been a week of crafting Highs and Lows! Starting with the Highs…

SAM_0465971

I tried out my drop spindle and I spun!! ( I have spun once before at school but it was so long ago that I can hardy remember it!)

I found a very good video on YouTube and followed that method.  There seem to be several different techniques but this seemed fairly simple so I went with it.  It was so much fun and a lot quicker than I thought.

I had these wool tops left over from one of Abi’s A Level projects so I decided to use these as a trial.

SAM_0455961

There is something so satisfying in taking the fluffy carded wool and making it into yarn.  And of course I then had to make something with it!!

SAM_0467973

I decided to make an owl coaster for Abi.  I wanted to make my first item for Abi as I know she appreciates what goes into something handmade and also she had a couple of turns at spinning too so some of the yarn was spun by her.  I didn’t have a pattern but made it up as I went along.  I think it turned out okay.

SAM_0468974

I still have a lot to learn,  I definitely need to work on getting a more even thickness and on getting a good rhythm going but hopefully, with practice, these things will come.  The only disappointment was that the action of the spinning, I think in particular lifting the spindle as the yarn gets longer, soon started to make my neck play up.  Maybe I just need to wind on a lot more frequently or just do it in really short spells as I do on my sewing machine.  I am determined to find a way around it as I enjoyed it so much.  I don’t know if any of you can help me but when I used the yarn, in places it twisted up as I unraveled it, is this because it was twisted too tight? Also, how do you get the ends to stay twisted?  Mine  un-twisted a bit and when I came to thread them through the back of the work they broke.

My PJ cases are making gradual headway, I machined a little of the dresses today.  I hope to put little buttons to fasten the shoulder straps.  The bodices will need to be shortened too but that’s fine, better that way round!

SAM_0477983

And I have also made another beaded spiral necklace for Abi to give to one of her cousin’s.  The colours are actually a deep purple with aqua but they haven’t come out very well in the photo.

SAM_0463969

And the Low !….

My Blanket. 😦

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I had finally got into the swing of things again with my blanket after over a year of hardly touching it (encouraged by Sandra’s Blanket along) and I was just crocheting the last few squares when I ran out of yarn  Grrrrrrrrr.

SAM_0473979

This was the first blanket I had made so I had no idea of quantities needed and had just guessed, I had thought that I had plenty! It was the pale fawn colour I ran out of and I had also planned to use this to join the squares, two strips already being done 😦  So today I set off the shop to get another ball hoping that it would be a good enough dye lot match.

But,  NO…this shade has been discontinued, the very one I needed was no longer available.  I guess it was my fault for taking so long to make the thing!

Thankfully I had taken a couple of squares with me so I could match up alternatives.  The other pale shades were just no good at all, too different but not enough contrast.  Then I considered scrapping six the unfinished squares, adding another round to each square and rejigging the layout.  I considered the other colours I had already used, the red would just have made the whole blanket too bright,  the green would have also been too much because we have very little green in our colour scheme so I was left with the brown.  I deliberated for some time but it just felt too dark and dull.

Now it was a case of pulling out other colours and trying to choose an alternative.  thankfully the ladies in the shop are very friendly and there was nobody else in the yarn section.  I whittled it down to these three.

SAM_0476982

The rust and green were similar to the red and green but different enough not to look like a dye lot mistake and they didn’t feel to clash and the yellow brough out the owls beaks and feet and seemed to liven it up.  Again long minutes spent uumming and aahing but they all felt too much to have just one of them.  So I considered using two colours together but it still didn’t seem right so in the end I took all three hoping that the new colours will liven the blanket up!!

SAM_0475981

Back home I had a count and I have 28 owl and 56 flower square so the owls will be bordered by yellow and the flowers divided between rust and green.  I shall do a 7 x 12 layout, I need to spend some time working on that, I need to decided whether to go random or in some order, what do you think?

I am still not 100% sure with my choice.  I think probably because Abi hasn’t seen it yet and we nearly always run things past each other.  Whether we take any notice or not is a different matter but because we are both creative her opinion matters a lot!

So after all of that kerfuffle I am hoping  that this will prove to be a happy disaster…time and a lot of crochet will tell!!

Have a great weekend and Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx