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

Winter Wips Progress!

I’m linking up with Jennifer’s Winter Wips Party again today to look at my progress since my winter projects and wips post a month ago.

Well, October was a strange month as I said in my last post but in spite of all the hindrances I did make some progress.

I now have most of the bits I need for my scrabble gifts and I hope to get on to them soon.

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I haven’t touched my blankets but that was expected and they are on the back burner until after the Christmas rush!

Oh yes!!  I can’t believe I had forgotten to show you these after being so long in the making!  The pj cases are finally finished and I just need to do a special tada post for you!

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Here’s a little mouse waiting for his nose 🙂

The gift that was going to be something ‘vw’ turned into a scarf when I saw the most gorgeous yarn over at Yarn, books and roses or midnight knitter. If you read this post you will see how excited shoppers were getting over this yarn and it really is gorgeous, it’s different and lovely to work with.  It is by Universal Yarn and is called Bamboo Bloom Handpaints in the cherry blossom colourway.  It’s 48% bamboo, 44% wool and 8% acrylic and is lovely and soft and squishy.

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I started off by knitting a cowl in a circle as Midnight knitter had but I managed to get a twist in it.  I’m not a huge fan of cowls anyway so I ripped it back (a lot easier than I had expected looking at the yarn) and knit a scarf instead on 10mm circular needles, not to knit in the round but just because I love to knit with circulars.  I did, pearl a row, knit a row but when I got to the fat bits I used the opposite stitch to make that part of the yarn stand out better as Midnight knitter had said she did.

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I really love the open effect the large needles give on the thinner yarn and after a good firm block it is just beautiful.

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I just hope the recipient loves it as much as I do! (I did order another skein so I may make one for myself sometime after Christmas!)

We are having such grey weather here at the moment in the UK that photos are proving a little difficult.  You can tell in this photo that I was also battling with the wind.

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Ooh, yes, I have made two Amish puzzle balls.  I love these too.  They are just perfect for little hands to grip.  I had planned on crocheting them but then decided that sewing would be quicker.  I machined the pieces to form the segments,

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but then these have to be joined by hand and I really enjoyed sitting quietly, sewing them together in the evenings. This was the best tutorial I could find.  There are several out there but a lot of them are just joined together and don’t have the puzzle element.  These instructions also allow for you to make any size ball.

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Sorry, it’s just too dark now to take a photo of the other one .

I have finished the second lace weight shawl (three to go!)  and it is blocking right now.

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Oh and something really exciting, (or it’s exciting to me anyhow and it doesn’t take much if it’s yarn or fabric related) Hubby made me something to make winding the skeins easier, I’ll show you soon!

I made all five turbie towels but I’ve just bought the fabric to make a couple more.

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I made Josh and Abi’s stocking gifts for October, I am just still waiting for the pompom for Abi’s hat. I have already finished Abi’s stocking gift for November too.

And my socks, did you see?  I was just so pleased to have finally knit a pair of socks!! I am hoping to make a pair for Josh next.

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The beret is also finished and being put to good use already.

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And that’s about it.  I need to really get cracking with the other three shawls now as my neck will still only allow a little crochet at a time.  How are you getting on with your Christmas makes list?  As I keep reminding myself, just remember to enjoy each minute of making those lovely gifts.

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx