Archive for category Knitting Projects
Pretentious? Moi? Get me with that title – can’t quite shake off the last 16 years of Frenchification. I still sometimes say ‘Bonjour’ or ‘Merci’ to people out of habit which comes over as a bit odd as not many people would mistake my accent for a real French person especially the real French person who lives just down the road I haven’t yet met and can’t quite believe exists considering we are in the middle of nowhere.
Anyway, I’ve recently written a couple of posts about our new garden and, as Mr. Tialys is starting to get into gear with it at weekends, thought I’d start taking a few before and after photos although the ‘after’ ones might be a long time coming as he’s working during the week.
You may remember that the previous occupant was a bit eccentric, shall we say, in her gardening methods and design and this birds’ eye view (or out of my sewing room window’s view) of the extreme right hand side of the front garden is a prime example.
In her defence, Mr. Tialys has spotted lots of evidence – backed up by neighbour testimony – of a ground elder invasion. However, he has decided to do away with a lot of the gravel, black plastic mulch and slate little by little and resort to a regular good digging over and perhaps some root barriers. This small section is where he’ll start and the straight box hedge with no apparent purpose apart from to make it look as if it marks the end of our garden – which it doesn’t – will be dug up and planted alongside the path that runs along the front of the house instead.
I took this view of our lovely old oak tree because on a sunny(ish) day it started to rain but, on closer inspection, it was only raining from the tree. It seems that any leftover frost from previous days had begun to melt in the admittedly weak heat from the sun and it rained down for a good twenty minutes or so. I took a photo from the front door porch but the raindrops haven’t shown up so you’ll just have to believe me.
It does, however, show the section on the other side of the little, irrelevant box hedge. At the moment it is also covered in gravel and will probably become incorporated with the first section I showed you once the hedge is put to better use.
My sewing room is still a mess. I’ve managed to get all the boxes unpacked – well, nearly – but now I can’t find anything. Mr. T. said to push a couple of projects through and I’d start to find stuff out of necessity . I’m not very motivated at the moment as, like most of us, I don’t go anywhere to wear anything other than jeans and comfy tops and I have enough quilts and crocheted blankets to fill a much bigger house than we now have.
However!! In the last minute madness that accompanied our packing when leaving France for England, I made some strange choices as to what to leave behind and what to bring over. As we haven’t sold the French house yet we were fortunate to be able to leave quite a bit of stuff there to either be retrieved at some time in the future, sell it, give it away or call in the house clearance company – it will probably be a combination of all those things.
Why did I pack a ‘posh’ dinner service we have had for 30 years and never use and eight – yes, eight – antique mannequins and then, on only the second day I could possibly have hung washing up to dry outside (well, it is winter and it is England) I realised I hadn’t packed the peg bag?
In a nod to the cows that were grazing in the field behind I found some fabric in deep stash (though what I’d originally intended it for I can’t imagine) and a pattern for a slightly different style than I’ve had before. This ‘wigwam’ style means I can use a trigger hook at the top to attach it to the washing line and it won’t blow off in the wind as the more common clothes hanger style tends to do and it was very slightly more challenging to make which forced me to employ some methods I haven’t used for too long now such as pattern cutting, making and attaching bias binding and some simple quilting.
In the process I finally set up both my sewing machine and overlocker, unearthed my rotary cutter and unpicker (hooray!) and used some fabric stash. Plus, I think these would make good rat/hamster/insert other small pet/ beds which might be a fun item to put in my Etsy shop should I ever get round to stocking it again.
Since learning to crochet I’ve severely neglected my knitting and some yarn that escaped my pre-move cull was eighteen 400g balls of aran (medium worsted) weight yarn. I had six balls of three different colours because I used to make big chunky blankets with this wool which were made knitting six strands at a time on huge circular needles. You might remember if you’re a long term follower.
Everyone I know and love – and even one or two that I don’t – now has one of these blankets so I searched for a pattern I could use to make a comfy jumper for my daughter’s birthday next month and found this one. Perfect lockdown wear.
I had some of the yarn in red fleck, black fleck and cream so chose the cream and this is as far as I’ve got.
I’d forgotten how long knitting takes compared to crochet.
A 400g ball of wool won’t fit in my usual yarn bowl so I put my huge Mason Cash mixing bowl into service – in case you were wondering.
Not to be outdone in the creative stakes Mr. Tialys made some rather nice shortbread which is one of the good things about having him working from home rather than in another country entirely and, although it’s taking some getting used to it definitely has more benefits than disadvantages.
Another post in my series where I don’t say much at all – or not as much as usual anyway.
I made a lovely Eastern Jewels blanket last year
and then gave it to my daughter.
I miss it.
I worked out if I bought just another 4 balls and substituted a couple of the colours with some from my stash I could make another one for me.
So, I’ve made a start
This is because the knitted cardigan I’m making is too complicated to do in front of the telly but there are only so many crochet dishcloths one person needs and the ‘devil makes work for idle hands’ or, in my version ‘idle hands make me fall asleep’.
See what I mean
I’m making slow progress but am hoping to speed up as I get used to the pattern.
Would it be cheating if I did the back in stocking stitch? Please say ‘no’.
A parcel will be going off to Baby Benjamin tomorrow.
I found this forgotten little linen number just needing to be sewn up but it can wait for the next arrival in June.
All for a very rarely seen niece’s baby – I don’t know what I’d be like if I ever become a grandmother. But what knitter/crocheter/sewing enthusiast doesn’t love an excuse to make baby stuff?
Last time, I showed you the cute pixie hat I knitted using leftover Stylecraft DK yarn and a gorgeous little pattern devised by Wild Daffodil.
Well, Sandra wanted to see it on a real life model so I asked my niece to send me a photo once she’d received her hat and tried it on the baby. She obliged and I thought I might as well share it with you too.
I told you he came
out in at a massive 10lbs didn’t I?
This was taken exactly one week later.
He doesn’t look sure about it and I won’t blame you for thinking he would look more at home in a baseball cap or hoodie – he looks like a real little bruiser doesn’t he?
Anyway, his Mum thinks he looks really cute in his pixie hat which is the most important thing and I did the right thing with those colours because note the pale grey body suit.
As if the Pixie Hat wasn’t enough, Daffodil has given us yet another free pattern in the form of a gorgeous little jacket which you can find on her blog here. It will fit 0-3 months but larger sizes are available in her Etsy and Ravelry shops. Details on her blog.
How blooming lovely is that? Although I can’t see that particular pixie wearing it!
No matter, I have more nieces and one is having a baby in June and it’s going to be a girl and I still have more Stylecraft scraps – what more could a knitter ask for?
I’ve got a new great nephew, born this morning weighing 10lbs (ouch!).
You may remember I was crocheting a blanket for the new arrival but he beat me to it. However!……
…….. Sandra, over at Wild Daffodil released a free pattern for a gorgeous little pixie hat yesterday and so I set to work last night and finished it this morning just as I got a text from my sister to tell me baby Benjamin has arrived. Though surely 10lbs is practically a toddler 😮
As with the blanket, I went with the ‘on trend’ grey that the modern baby is sporting, so it isn’t really pixie colours but I love it anyway.
Here is Sandra’s version, which is in more traditional pixie colours. I know, because I’ve met a lot of pixies.
Easy, quick and gorgeous – what more could you ask? Click on the photo above to go to Wild Daffodil where the pattern is available for free.
I used Stylecraft Special DK as suggested. I had plenty left over from various blanket projects and this is a wonderful project to use up those scraps.
I used approximately
Purple – 5g
Pale Lilac – 1g
Cream – 5g
Grey – 8g
Another great nephew or niece due in June so there’s definitely another one of these on the horizon. I’m also wondering about adapting it to make holes for dog ears – but that would just be silly. Or would it?
I don’t make New Year resolutions or set myself lists of targets or challenges – I don’t like the pressure. I don’t need it. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t randomly decide to do things that stretch me a bit.
For instance, I made a pair of jeans recently that stretched me but, ironically, didn’t stretch enough themselves to fit me comfortably. As you know, I’m making a coat at the moment which is also promising to be a challenge but, hopefully, will fit me at the end of it.
I also decided to do Dry January again which is a challenge every year and I’m sure they add extra days to the calendar. (For those who are not overly concerned by alcohol related matters, this means not a drop to pass my lips throughout the month of January 😱). I did briefly consider continuing the abstinence forever but, as I found myself literally counting up how many days were left until 1st February when I was out walking the dogs the other morning, I really don’t think that’s going to happen. It’s been harder this year as Mr. Tialys didn’t join in so I’ve had to watch him
glugging sipping a glass of wine with his dinner while I’ve noticed that both the frequency and quality of my kitchen dancing has deteriorated since the 31st December.
Anyway, back to the crafting. I spotted a new yarn by Rowan the other day and also a lovely book of patterns using the yarn designed by Martin Storey. I fell in love with this cardigan and decided to ditch the hook for a little while and take the needles up again.
My last knitting projects were a pair of socks knitted on a teeny circular needle and a cabled blanket knitted on a massive circular needle. It felt strange to be holding a pair of needles again and even stranger to contemplate working from a chart. I usually prefer written instructions and have actually translated the first couple of rows but I think, once I’ve got those under my belt, I’ll be able to just go with the chart.
The beautiful yarn used is Rowan Moordale with is made with British wool and alpaca – however, it costs around £16 for a 100g skein which would make this cardigan cost almost £100. I baulked at that a bit – especially since I haven’t knitted anything this complicated in a while. The patterns says ‘expert knitter’ which, although I’ve been knitting since I was knee high to my mother, I’m not sure is how I’d describe myself.
I recently found a site called Yarnsub which will suggest alternative yarns to use if you can’t afford/can’t find/don’t like the one specified by the pattern. They grade the suggested alternatives by taking into account the density, the ply, the appearance, the cost, etc. and put them in order of suitability. One of the top ones in this case was a Bergère de France yarn called ‘Lima’ which has the same amount of wool (though French rather than British) and alpaca and the same ‘haze’ on the finish. Lima comes in 50g balls – as opposed to the 100g Moordale skeins so I needed to buy double the amount, with a little extra just to be safe. I went on the Bergère de France site and found Lima to be discontinued so they had it on sale for half price – only £2.20 for 50g which means, if I ever finish it, it will cost me less than a third. You’ve got to love the internet at times like these.
This is the colour I’m using, it’s a muddy kind of green called ‘Mangrove’ which sounds horrible I know but I think it’s a colour that will be useful as it will make a change from the greys and blues I usually go for.
As I had purchased the pattern book, and there’s some other nice items in there, I went back online and bought some more Lima in a blue colour. I’m thinking about using it for this one but Mr. Tialys says it looks like it’s been put in the wash and shrunk.
Personally, I like the cropped body, but do you think it would spoil the style if I made the sleeves full length? I will have plenty of time to make a decision as I don’t anticipate finishing the heavily cabled cardigan before next autumn – it’s not one I can do in front of a Netflix box set that’s for sure.
There is a baby on the way in the family though (for my niece) and I can crochet a stripey blanket while immersed in real life crime stories or a drama that manages to drag on for 24 episodes or so. I’m using the ‘Little River Blanket’ pattern again but, as I am reliably informed by my sister and Cathy who is given very particular instructions when knitting for her grandchildren, grey is on trend for the tot about town. Who would have thought it?
I can’t possibly make it all in grey though – even if those greys are in slightly different shades. I’ve got two big packs of cotton yarn – one 50g ball in each colour of the Paintbox range and also, in my stash, some sunny yellow Rowan cotton yarn which I thought I’d use for the first and last rows, and the highlight on every 5th row as stated in the original pattern.
This is it so far. I’m intending to switch subtly between grey through lilac through duck egg blues – don’t know about the middle yet – then repeat in the opposite direction for the other end. The gender of the baby is unknown. The niece might consider the yellow too bright.
If it’s not ‘baby appropriate’ by the time I’ve finished it, I will still like it myself and I’ll just have to whip up a quick baby hat or something for the niece’s baby as it’s due in February some time.
I finally finished a pair of socks I started in Winter 2017.
These are the third pair of socks I’ve knitted which obviously didn’t help as I messed up a bit with these somewhere along the way. They are, however, still wearable which is the main thing.
I spent a lot of time trying to match up the stripes until I realised it wasn’t possible with this yarn.
Mr. Tialys bought me this handy, and beautifully crafted, yarn bowl for Christmas.
With any luck it will help me get to grips with the shawl I’m trying to crochet which, as you can see, is slow to progress.
Although I doubt it.
Although, as far as I can remember, I never qualified as a Doctor I believe I have repetitive strain injury in my left thumb due to overdoing the knitting and crochet leading up to Christmas. I am trying to rest it, ice it, ibuprofen it and generally wrestle it into submission but the frustration at not being able to continue with my current projects is really getting to me. I cannot console myself with a glass of wine as I’m doing Dry January and I can’t seem to get back into the swing of sewing – I haven’t taken the cover of my machine for several weeks. Woe is me!
Although I never qualified as a physiotherapist either, I have decided it’s not so much the crochet activity that’s doing for me as the sock knitting. I don’t really need any new socks at the moment so I’m putting that project aside until I can manage the close pinching movement needed to hold the teeny circular needles I’m using without taking to my fainting couch with an ice pack afterwards and sulking.
So, I have moved on a little with the Eastern Jewels blanket by limiting myself to half hour(ish) crochet sessions followed by ice and now have four completed octagons. I might do as Sheila over at Sewchet did and try to join the rows of four as I go so I can be inspired but mostly so I won’t have as much of the boring stuff to do at the end. I can only hope my blanket will turn out half as beautifully as Sheila’s has.
Talking of being inspired, I rather like Trish’s Liberty tana lawn shorty pyjamas over at The Small Sewing Room and decided to make some myself because I need to get back on that
horse sewing machine again and I don’t really need any new clothes but a new pair of P.J.s appeals as the RTW ones with shorts never seem to fit me properly and are often so short that I end up taking in tomorrow’s washing if you get my drift 😮
Anyway, Trish’s version uses lovely, feminine, softly coloured tana lawn but mine will be covered in pears – although they are still Liberty pears so will be nice and soft and comfy and, anyway, the fabric was a bargain on eBay and I decided I didn’t have anything against pear covered pyjamas at that price.
Once I’m back in the swing of things I will have another look at the Winifred Aldrich pattern cutting book I got for Christmas. I had a quick shufty through and it scared me half to death so I bought a Craftsy pattern cutting course as well to get me started. I am going to try making a skirt block/sloper for the younger Tialys Mademoiselle. I was going to do the trousers course, as she wears those more often, but I think the skirt course has more of the basics included which is probably what I need. I’ll let you know how I get on.
For reasons that I won’t go into again I was very physically inactive during the couple of months leading up to Christmas and over the whole holiday period. Ironic then that, when I returned to my Zumba class last week, I had the cheek to have my hand and wrist in a support glove thingy as if I’d been doing all sorts of sporty stuff rather than too much knitting. I didn’t own up to it though – what does that say about me?
Not my hand – my hurty hand is my left one -you get the idea though.
Usually, I walk the dogs up some very steep land every day and go to Zumba and Pilates classes every week but I had done absolutely nothing. The difference in my fitness level in the Zumba class was evident to all as I staggered, gasping for air and water, out of the side door in the midst of a routine. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration but I did have to stop mid-fling about and swig from my water bottle instead of waiting until the music stopped
It’s been a slow start all round but I’m working on it.
Has 2018 begun well for you?
For one reason or another, this has been a year more dedicated to the woolly crafts than the fabric ones.
I started this first project last November but, by the time it was ready for ‘the sewing up bit’ the weather was far too warm to wear it so I left it until this November to assemble it. It was my second oversized or ‘boyfriend’ cardigan from Kim Hargreaves ‘Storm’ book of patterns using one strand of Rowan kidsilk haze and one of Kid Classic throughout giving it that nice fuzzy look. One reason I’ve showed it on the mannequin rather than me is that the photos of the mannequin wearing it show the fuzziness better than the ones of me and the second reason is, despite being over 100 years old, she looks slightly less raddled than I do at the moment.
I like it but I don’t love it as much as the silvery grey one I made. It will be worn around the house when I can’t be bothered to light the log burner and will make me a magnet for cats seeking comfort which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Since I re-taught myself to crochet, there has been quite a bit of hooking going on this year. I was enticed by these gorgeous colours in Attic 24’s Hydrangea blanket and the dense stitch pattern was an easy one to do in front of the T.V. which means I get on with it more quickly.
I didn’t register the measurements of the blanket which is single bed size so I’ve only just finished it but love it to bits.
Most of the crochet projects I’ve done so far have been in rows so I thought I’d challenge myself a bit. Sheila over at Sewchet started on this lovely blanket called Persian Tiles in the Eastern Jewels colourway and, although I’d already spotted it, I thought it might be a bit complicated but after reading about it on Sheila’s blog I thought I’d give it a go.
Unfortunately, that is not me holding up the finished blanket – I’m nowhere near that finished, blonde or young.
I’m really enjoying it so far – although I’ve only done two and a half octagons – but it’s something a bit different for me to get stuck in to and I’m gaining a bit of experience ‘in the round’ at the same time.
I’m weaving my ends in as I go along because there are multitudinous ones and it will be a mammoth task at the end if I don’t.
Thinking that I would work on both that project and one other over the Christmas holidays, I got out two balls of sock yarn I bought last year and cast on for a pair of socks. As this is only my third pair in as many years I have to keep going back to the tutorials to see what to do.
I like to do both socks at once so I don’t fall prey to the dreaded ‘second sock syndrome’ which I know I would be prone to and there is, apparently, no cure. Also, I knit from the toe up for various reasons but not least because at this stage it looks as if I’m knitting a teeny bikini top or a pair of woolly sunglasses. I am easily amused. This method works for me but involves tricksy beginnings such as Judy’s Magic Cast On and the Magic Loop Method which I need to remind myself of when I embark on my annual sockfest.
All is not so successful.
Remember the Sunshine and Showers Crochet-A-Long I embarked on a while back? Another crochet challenge I thought I’d set myself. Well, I got off to a flying start and then came the flowers.
The flowers are done separately, joined up and then attached to the existing piece.
This is where they are now. It might have been a challenge too far.
I might go back to this project at some future stage but I am also fearful that the edges of the blanket will be less than straight because of all the different stitches and patterns in each section and, in my inexpert hands, it is more likely to happen than not as I’ve noticed other people, more experienced in the ways of crochet, have had this problem.
Unfortunately, having had a pair of needles or a hook in my hands almost permanently for some time now, I think I’ve got some sort of repetitive strain injury in the fat part at the base of my thumb so I might have to resort to an ice pack, some ibuprofen, massage and a few days of yarn deprivation to see if it will right itself.
In the meantime, I will gaze at my lovely hydrangea blanket – repelling all dogs and cats until the novelty wears off – and, because I’m so chuffed with it, put a second photo on, which is almost exactly the same as the first one, just to make myself feel better about not completing the Sunshine and Showers one.
Plus, I will read the book I asked Mr. T. for for Christmas and try to finally get to grips with pattern cutting.
So, in more ways than one I am casting off until the new year which is only two sleeps away but I will raise a glass of something sparkly to you all on New Year’s Eve and I will make the most of it because I am intending to test myself again this year by doing ‘dry January’ when I will try to maintain my sanity (and my liver) while not drinking any wine (or any other alcoholic beverage) until 1st February.
Thank you for your support, comments, good wishes, contributions, virtual hugs and all those other things bloggers are so good at, in 2017 and I hope you will stick with me in 2018 – even though I might be a touch grouchy in January 😉
Once upon a time, back when we called yarn ‘wool’ and there was often a little wool shop or ‘kiosk’ in even the smallest of towns and independent knitwear designers were twinkles in their grandparents’ eyes, my Mum taught me how to knit.
Actually, I think she first used me as a living wool winder as I remember my early encounters with wool involved standing for a long time, arms outstretched, whilst a skein was converted into a ball. Despite this unpromising apprenticeship, I took up the needles at a young age and have continued, on and off, ever since.
I don’t remember my maternal grandmother ever yielding a pair of knitting needles so I wonder what started my mother off on her lifelong hobby.
Perhaps it was this. ….
…..which would have been just a little after the time she looked like this.
I wonder if she made those pompoms herself.
When I moved to France almost thirteen years ago Mum would come and visit several times a year as well as at Christmas and, what with my sister living in Spain, she was nearly always on her holidays which I hope compensated just a little for us not living next door. Regular readers will know that, during these visits, all other activities were practically abandoned in favour of knitting and chatting together.
This is Mum with Mlle. Tialys the Elder who, while not having caught the knitting bug at the time of writing, is a dressmaker and cross stitcher and could probably be brought into the fold at some future stage.
She made this for her Nan as an early Christmas present.
Back in 2013 Mum was nominated for a voluntary carers’ award for visiting a housebound elderly lady every week – almost without fail – for ten years. She was 80 herself at that point but this was the sort of thing she did. She wasn’t going to attend the award ceremony – being far too shy and modest – but I said I’d go with her and she agreed to go. She received a framed certificate from the Lady Mayor and afterwards we had a traditional English tea (another one!!) in lovely gardens in the sunshine.
While I was in England caring for my Mum with my two sisters, I knitted this little scarflet for my Stitching Santa partner.
Even though Mum didn’t have the strength to knit herself any longer by this stage it still felt like a bonding experience as I’m sure she could probably hear the clicking needles and the quiet chatting as my youngest sister began to knit a bear and my other sister started to knit squares for a blanket. One of my nieces visited, saw the three of us companionably knitting, and wanted to learn. And so the passing on of skills continues.
I have to say – and I know she’d agree with me – that Mum never really progressed beyond ‘enthusiastic amateur’ status. Mainly due to the fact that she hated ‘the sewing up bit’ and looked at me as if I were mad if I ever suggested anything as radical as ‘blocking’ a finished garment. She was the Queen of UFOs (unfinished objects) – her loft was full of half finished jumpers, cardigans, baby clothes, etc. – but even those things she finished weren’t deemed good enough to wear or pass on to the new babies of the family. The little baby jackets, cardigans and bootees we found cast off, in both senses, was poignant to say the least. The joy for her though was in the choosing of the pattern, the
yarn wool and the actual knitting – if something decent came off the needles that was a bonus.
You may remember my recent post about the Ugly Christmas Jumper and how it came to be and I hope you will be pleased to know that it was finally finished (once I’d added proper ribbing to the sleeves and lengthened the body) and handed to ‘the nephew’ one week before Mum died. I think he will treasure it forever.
It was a shame, as she loved Christmas so much, that she died the day before the first window of her advent calendar was to be opened, especially as there was a chocolate inside.
Family was everything to my Mum and I am so pleased that my sisters and I were able to be with her, in her own home, in the last few weeks of her life and could be there for her final, peaceful breaths as she had been there for our first ones. I am finding that a huge comfort at this difficult time.
Wherever you are now Mum, I hope there’s lots of wool and chocolate and laughter.
10th September 1932 – 30th November 2017