Pick and Mix

Another week complete! I hope you are keeping well. This week I seem to have been doing a little bit on all my projects so there are no finished projects to share with you this week. I don’t think my attention span has been too good this week as I was unable to focus on any one thing. I decided to just go with it and picked up which ever project I fancied working on in my early morning quiet starts, my relaxing evening hours and these long, peaceful weekends in the house.

It was exciting to get to a colour change on my Umbel Shawl this week and I’m just about ready to start the next one.

At the weekend, I cast on my Fern and Feather sweater. I made a few mistakes and had to frog and restart but I got into the swing of it (it does help if you read the pattern properly!) and I’m really enjoying knitting on it. As lovely as it is to see the yoke coming together, it is very slow knitting as this is only my second colourwork project, so I’m looking forward to skipping round and round those knit rows on the body.

The yarn from Dandelion and Dogwood is just beautiful for my Lion, Witch and Wardrobe socks. I haven’t done loads on these but I am enjoying working on them.

I shared my beautiful yarn purchase from Mr and Mrs Rabbit Yarns for their Liberty Sock Club last week and I couldn’t resist winding the skein and casting on another pair of socks. For added interest, I am purling every 9th and 10th round on the leg.

I’ve added another seven rows to Cosmo’s blanket and find the easiness of this project so soothing.

I used three mini skeins on my Battenberg squares this week. I’ve also ordered the yarn for the plain squares now and decided to go with a very pale grey rather than white or cream. I’m going to forge ahead on my pink/red squares until I have 105 and then make a start on the plain squares so I can start joining them together. I’m really excited about that!

As I was very low on orange, peach and yellow yarns for my Battenberg Blanket, I ordered some gorgeous mini skeins from Wild Rose Yarn.

Now, will I be brave enough to make my quilt sandwich this weekend so I can make a start on hand quilting Faye’s hexies quilt? I’ve been putting it off as I’m so worried I’m going to mess it up. It’s also difficult to find enough space in my little house to lay it all out flat. I think I need to just get it done and stop worrying. It’s never going to be perfect. It’s handmade! Wish me luck!

Rainbows and Frogging

Hello and welcome back to my crafty corner! Hope you’re all getting on okay and squeezing in as much craft time as possible. I’ve had a good week for finishing things off and have three finished projects to share with you this week along with two long-term works in progress, a frogged project, a brand new cast on, plans for next week and some incoming goodies! And it’s still only January!

My first finished project was a Rainbow Project Bag! I made this following Ali from Little Drops of Wonderful’s ‘Dodgy Bag’ tutorial. The beautiful fabric was from The Fat Quarter. I chose the following fabrics:

  • Rainbows – Turquoise from the Makower Daydream fabric range
  • Bright Rainbows – Yellow from the Lewis and Irene Rainbow fabric range

I made this to hold my monthly Rainbow Sock Chronicles socks and have added my gorgeous little pin badge from Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet.

And on the subject of the Rainbow Sock Chronicles… I have finished my first pair for January! The pink stripy socks knit using the beautiful 5 skein of minis from Lay Family Yarn. I used the basic sock pattern from Winwick Mum and used fur of the mini skeins in 5 row stripes, keeping the deepest shade for the heels and toes. They are going into my sock box now as I’ve decided not to wear any of these pairs until next January.

I finally finished my Elton Cardigan this week too! Pattern by Joji Locatelli and I used Drops Alpaca and Kid Silk yarns. I’m so incredibly pleased about this as I cast it on last January! Honestly, I’m not too sure why I didn’t just get on with it as the pattern was lovely. I think maybe it was just the mohair that I didn’t enjoy working with. Perhaps if it hadn’t been such a crazy year, I would have finished it in March or April. But it doesn’t matter now anyway. It’s finished. It fits! That’s all that really matters. I made both the body and the arms a little longer than the pattern called for as that was my preference. I just kept trying it on until I felt like it was the right length for me.

Another week down and I have kept up my Battenberg squares goal of 4 a day.

I also decided to aim for a row a day on Cosmo’s blanket too so that I could get it finished before his first birthday in June.

After I had cast off my pink stripy socks, I thought I would get on with the Cheering socks I started in November. I was going great until I made a few mistakes and ripped back and then made a few more. It wasn’t the pattern, it was definitely me, but in the end I decided to just frog it and start them again when I feel like I have the brain power to cope with a cable pattern. That time is not now, unfortunately. I’m disappointed because I love the pattern and the yarn but it’s okay. I will make them in the future. Perhaps when the sun is shining.

On Sunday, I spent a lot of time looking through my knitting books and squishing my yarn from Christmas. It was the best! I enjoyed myself so much that I decided I needed to make the Umbel shawl from the Susan Crawford book: ‘Evolution’ using my gorgeous Sleeping Beauty minis from The Fibre Fox and my pretty skein of ‘Patisserie’ from Stranded Dyeworks. Unfortunately, I was a bit too eager. I couldn’t find the correct needle size so in the end plumped to go up a needle size and just start as I do tend towards being a tight knitter. Through the week, I worked on it and it was slow going as the yarn was so slippy. I realised the knitting just looked too loose and I wasn’t enjoying it. So I went through project bags and baskets and found the right needles, frogged all those rows and cast on again. I’m so glad I did! I’m now thoroughly enjoying the knitting and the gauge is so much better!

As I have cast off my Elton, I can happily start a new garment project and this one has been in waiting for quite some time: Fern and Feather by Jennifer Steingas. I’m using Cascade yarn and plan to cast on this weekend. How exciting!

I also needed to get another pair of socks on the needles too. So I chose this beautiful sock set from Dandelion and Dogwood that I’ve had in stash since last Christmas, in the colourway ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. These will be going into my Christmas sock box. To change things up a bit, I am doing a 3 x 1 rib.

I had the most beautiful post this week from Mr and Mrs Rabbit Yarns. I decided to sign up to their Liberty Love Sock Club and I’m so glad I did. I love Liberty fabrics so this was right up my street! The yarn is absolutely beautiful. I had to stop myself from winding it immediately and casting on! The photo just doesn’t do it justice.

I also had a little splurge in Ellie’s shop: Craft House Magic and ordered her January Mixed Tape Minis Yarn Club along with a new crochet hook and my first set of Hiya Hiya sharps. I really wanted to get these needles as I think that might be part of the problem I have with patterned socks. I shall be roadtesting them in February for my next Rainbow Sock Chronicles pair!

I was thinking this week how grateful I am to be into all of these lovely crafts. Making things really does make my life so happy. It brings real joy to every single day.

Happy crafting xx

Is it really only the 8th January?!

Hello, how are you? If you’re anything like me after a week of working from home whilst simultaneously homeschooling and looking after a puppy, you’re feeling just a teeny bit frazzled… Like me, you may also be wondering how the heck it is only 8th January?! But – we made it through to the weekend, didn’t we? So all is good. And better yet, much crafting was squeezed in at every possible opportunity and much more is planned for the upcoming weekend! Hoorah!

Through the Christmas break, I worked on adding the last few rows of hexagons to Faye’s quilt and then ordered the rest of the fabric I needed. The cream for the border arrived last weekend and I finally, finally got the top finished! I’m so incredibly pleased with it. I can’t really say it’s been a labour of love because honestly I have enjoyed making it even though the making has already spanned 3 years! I started making those hexies back in January 2018!

The absolutely gorgeous Liberty fabric arrived for the back along with the wadding, quilting pins and 505 spray that I ordered. I’m just waiting on the quilting hoop and some tape I’ve ordered so that I can join the wadding properly. The wadding I ordered isn’t quite big enough so I ordered two rolls and watched a YouTube video on how to join them properly. I’m excitedly apprehensive about the next steps!

I think I might actually have caught the quilting bug because last weekend I thought I’d just cut out some squares to make Cosmo a little mat with some Harry Potter fabrics I’ve had in stash for a while. Three hours later, I had finished all but the binding! I decided to hand-stitch the binding on after my last attempt at binding on the sewing machine. I also thought it would be good practice for my proper quilts. I finished sewing it on last night. I think he likes it! I only wish I’d made it a bit bigger. But there are plenty more stash fabrics to make him another one.

I mentioned in the last post about my beautiful new cross stitch kit from Little Dove Cross Stitch. I have planned to stitch each month in that particular month. I was enjoying stitching on it so much over the last few wintery evenings, that I finished January!

That’s all of my finished projects this week. I have made really good progress on my pink stripy socks that I cast on on 1st January for the Rainbow Sock Chronicles. As I was doing a 5 row repeat before changing colour with those beautiful minis from Lay Family Yarn, it did mean that I had a lot of ends to sew in. It took me about 2 hours and I have to admit that the ends aren’t a job I enjoy too much but look, it was totally worth it, wasn’t it?

I mentioned last week that I’m planning on getting some big projects finished this year. I started a crochet blanket for Cosmo while we were waiting for him to come home in July last year. Then when he did arrive, it took a back seat while we were in the throes of dealing with that new little pup. I quickly realised that it wouldn’t be safe to give him for a while anyway as he still has the occasional chew at his blankets, although he is getting better. I brought it out of hibernation last weekend and worked a row or two each evening. I’m using up Stylecraft Special DK stash and a 4mm hook, just crocheting trebles. I’ve decided that I need to do 200 rows and I’m currently on row 66, so still a fair way to go but it is one of those relaxing projects that doesn’t take a lot of concentration. I love having those projects on the go at all times.

I think I also mentioned last week that I was aiming to make at least 4 squares for my Battenberg blanket each day and I have managed to stay on track this week and sew the ends in (!), so I’m feeling really chuffed about that! I have been using up beautiful bits from other projects this week…

I’m very excited about all the projects I have planned for the next few weeks and months. As you know, I’m taking part in the Rainbow Sock Chronicles this year with my sock knitting and my rainbow blanket, so I wanted to make a designated project bag for my socks. Earlier this week, some gorgeous fabric arrived from The Fat Quarter Ltd. I can’t wait to get working on it over the weekend!

This morning I received the most happiest of mail from my friendly postman. A beautiful needle-minder from the amazing Chapel View Crafts and gorgeous stitch marker and pin from Jooles at Sew Sweet Violet. It was just the best thing after a tough week.

I don’t want to dwell on the current situation that we are all facing. I just hope you are okay. I hope you are finding a little bit of joy each day in whatever way you can. I try not to look too far ahead. I just accept that one day this will be a memory and I hope I can remember as many of those special little bits of time as possible.

There is good and bad in each day. One minute you’re receiving a lovely little parcel of joy from your friendly postie; the next you are cursing next door’s cat for leaving a horrible parcel outside for your curious puppy to eat. Why does he like to eat cat poo?!? Baffling! And he knows he’ll get told off for it!

I just find life a lot easier when I focus on the happy mail and quickly deal with the cat poo breath!

Sending virtual hugs out to anyone needing one! Happy crafting xx

Craftmas and the Start of 2021

Happy New Year! There is a lot to be said about 2020, but I want to reflect on the positive aspects for myself and my family. For me, this was the first time I ever had to do my job from home and I have loved it. I love being in my house and I have been able to do my job without any problems from home. This is mostly because it has changed significantly this last year because of the pandemic. I have juggled home working with home schooling but this has also been a positive thing for me as I got to spend so much extra time with Faye. We are ready for the challenge again over the coming weeks and who knows how long for thereafter.

Our most special part of 2020 was welcoming our gorgeous pup, Cosmo, into our home. Our first dog. We have thought about having a dog many, many times over the years. In fact, Faye has been desperate to have a dog her whole life. 2020 gave us the perfect opportunity to be home all day and train him up which so far I think we have done successfully as he is a lovely little pup. We will have new issues to navigate as life continues to change but I don’t think we could have chosen a more perfect time to have him.

2020 has also been a year of crafting! I have made lots of lovely things and learned a lot. I have enjoyed all that making so much and am thoroughly looking forward to lots more in 2021.

With that in mind, onto my finished objects over the last week or so, or what I have been affectionately calling: ‘Craftmas’. How joyful it was to wake up every morning and ask myself, ‘What do I want to work on today?’

I cast on the Silent Night Socks on Christmas Eve using the new Christmas colourway ‘Silent Night’ from West Yorkshire Spinners and a contrasting mini skein from stash for the heels and toes. I used the Comet Sock pattern from Winwick Mum but I modified it to just do 40 rows in pattern down the leg of my socks. This was mostly because I wanted to get them finished before the end of the year and they required concentration. This way, I felt I got the best of both worlds and I’m really happy with them.

I received the beautiful book ‘Romantic Crochet’ by Emma Escott for Christmas and there are so many projects in there that I want to cast on. I decided as I actually needed a pair of fingerless mitts, that I would cast on the wrist warmers from the book and use up some stash yarn too. The yarn was from Stranded Dyeworks in the colourway ‘Inappropriate Crush’. I learned three new techniques to make these mittens and I loved crocheting them so much that I can’t wait to make another pair!

Over the holidays, I worked a lot on my Elton cardigan in the hopes I could get this off the needles before 31st December, but it was just a stretch too far. I did, however, finish the second sleeve on 1st January and now just have the button band to go.

Rob and I decided that this year, we would order our own gifts from each other to save the other person any stress. I know this isn’t very romantic but we were both happy with the decision and after 21 years together, I don’t see it as a problem. Love is more than a surprise gift after all! I ordered myself a Liberty jelly roll from Alice Caroline with the vague idea of making a quilt. I didn’t really know what I was getting as I’m new to quilting. It’s absolutely beautiful and after much time browsing the internet for ideas, I decided to just keep things straightforward and sew the panels together in stripes. I soon realised that I would in fact need a second jelly roll to complete it this way, so I ordered another!

I absolutely love how it looks so far even in it’s un-ironed, half-sewn state. More to come over the month with this project.

“Rob” also treated me to a cross stitch kit that I have been coveting for some time: The Little Doves Year Cross Stitch. My plan with this is to cross stitch the month in the month so it will be a year long project to be savoured and enjoyed.

I’ve been so excited for the start of January so I could cast on my first pair of socks for the Rainbow Sock Chronicles. This is a year-long knit-a-long set up by Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet and Kelly of Lay Family Yarn. The first month is ‘pink’ and I did buy the corresponding mini skein kit to start with from Kelly. I absolutely love these colours and have decided to keep it simple and stripe the yarns in the basic sock pattern.

I am also purchasing the palette pack of 10 x 10g minis from Kelly so that I can make a beautiful granny stripe blanket. I absolutely could not resist casting this on when I finished work on Christmas Eve Eve (23rd) and it was just such a pleasure to crochet those rows. I cast on 302 chains using a 3.5mm hook. This wasn’t a very good measurement in terms of doing so many rows per mini but it is perfect double bed width. Rather than waste any yarn, I decided to just crochet continuously changing mid row and it still looks absolutely beautiful. I’m just banking on Kelly doing 12 palette packs so that I can make a full blanket!

I have lots of beautiful projects on the go already this year with more in the pipe line. However, I also have some big projects from last year (and before that), that I would like to get finished this year so I have hopefully come up with a way to manage them. I have a bullet journal / goal tracking notebook to help me organise myself month to month, with goals for the month and how I will achieve them.

I have planned this for the first quarter of the year but then I’ll review how I’m doing before I plan beyond that. I have set myself loose goals for my Battenberg blanket, Cosmo’s striped blanket, Faye’s hexies quilt, my rainbow granny stripe blanket and cross stitch. For each, I have tried to give myself a manageable amount to do for the month rather than daily goals. I find that I over plan my days and then get disheartened when I can’t keep up. And let’s face it, sometimes you are just not in the mood for a particular project.

For my Battenberg, I am going to aim for 4 squares a day (they are only tiny), but with the overall goal of 80 squares a month. I could use the weekend to do a few more to either get ahead or catch up if I’m behind, so I’m still allowing myself some flexibility. And obviously the world will not end if I don’t meet my quota. It’s just a guide to help me reach the finished blanket.

My sock goals for 2021 are obviously to knit 12 pairs for the Rainbow Sock Chronicles but I also want to knit more Christmas socks for my Christmas Box of Socks project. I’m not setting a goal for this but I know in my head I’d love to add 10 pairs this year. It might be a bit ambitious though! It’s just that last year, I aimed for 12 pairs and knit 14. I didn’t do a great deal of knitting over the summer because I focused on my garden more. We also had Cosmo at the end of August and for a few weeks there, I only did a few Battenberg squares as I was exhausted! I also had a reading goal last year to read 50 books (I managed 45 so not bad). In 2021, I’m not setting any reading goals as I’ve lost my reading mojo a bit. I also won’t be growing any veg in my garden next year. We are scaling down on the garden since my back diagnosis and also to create more room for Cosmo to run around in so there will be much less to do out there in 2021.

Theoretically, I should have even more time for knitting and crochet!

My 2021 sewing goals are quite relaxed. I would like to keep using my sewing machine so that I can continue growing in confidence. My only plan is to always be working on something. I have quite a few ideas of what I would like to make but we’ll see!

The only thing left to tell you about is my word for the year. Last year, I chose ‘organised’ and goodness me, did I need to be organised last year. When I chose it, I obviously had no idea how important it would be!

My word for 2021 is ‘Enjoy’. I really want to focus on enjoying as many things as I can. I have a tendency to stress myself out over the smallest things. I hope having this word in the back of my mind will remind me to just relax and take time to do things I enjoy every day.

Do you have a word for the year? How about making goals? I’d love to know!

Until next time, happy crafting! xx

December 2020 Making Review

A photo diary of my finished projects in December…

Lola Socks
Tidings Shawl
Alpine embroidery
Disney cross stitch
Zooming Socks
Tilda Santa
Silent Night Socks
A great many large stars that I didn’t photograph!

And a few things I made in November but were gifts…

Christmas face masks!
Christmas Project Bags

A Very Relaxing Christmas

A very Merry Christmas to you! I am really enjoying this extremely relaxing break from work. I have been knitting and crocheting and winding wool; watching movies and playing board games; and of course, eating yummy Christmas food! It’s been the laziest Christmas we’ve ever had and today we woke up to snow! We don’t often get snow here so it was such a lovely surprise and Cosmo got to experience his first outing in the snow. He wasn’t very keen to go out to the toilet this morning, but after much coaxing and standing outside in my pyjamas, he finally braved it!

Before Christmas Eve, I managed to finish another three of my projects:

Zooming Home for Christmas socks that I cast on on 1st December and was able to wear on Christmas Day…

The long-term Disney castle cross stitch…

And after much faffing, my Tilda Santa…

I’m so pleased to have got these lovely things finished. I have made progress on my Elton cardigan but I haven’t picked up my Cheering socks so I think these will be in the January WiP pile. It’s fine. I’m so happy with the things I did manage to finish and getting all of them done was just an arbitrary goal I’d set myself.

On Christmas Eve, I cast on the Silent Night socks using yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners. I decided to use the free pattern that came with it for the Comet socks. However, I only did 40 rows in pattern as I want to get them finished before the end of the year and I was having a little trouble focusing and watching movies!

I was a very lucky girl for Christmas and got some yarn and knitting books this year. Here are the books I received:

I would like to have a Christmas Box of Socks and currently have 6 pairs, so one of my goals for 2021 is to add to this box and over the next few years, I would like to knit enough to have 31 pairs of Christmas socks to wear through December. I love wearing my handmade socks so much.

I will share some of my other plans for 2021 next week. Until then, I hope you enjoy the rest of 2020 as much as you can xx

Race to the Finish Line

Hello! Welcome to the latest crafty weekly round up. At this time of year, I always want to get things finished, so I can start the brand new year on as much of a clean slate as possible. To that end, I am going to be working hard to finish off as many of my outstanding projects as I can. In an ideal world, they would all get done but some are so very far from finishing (Battenberg, Cosmo’s blanket, Faye’s quilt – I’m looking at you three) that they are not even on the agenda.

At the beginning of the week, that left me with six remaining projects still to complete in 2020: the alpine hoop embroidery, the Disney castle cross stitch, the Tilda Santa, two pairs of socks and a cardigan. They were all in various states of progress, but I’m happy to say that I have finished one off that list and worked on all but one of the others.

The finished project for this week is my shaky foray into embroidery. It’s not my best work but I did enjoy making it and this is a skill I want to improve on next year. More about that in January. For now, here is my finished alpine hoop! The pattern was from Love Embroidery magazine. I used threads from stash as I have loads.

I’ve focused my evening knitting time on my Elton cardigan this week and have made good progress. I’ve finished the body so I can pick up the sleeves now. I’m so looking forward to being able to wear it! I had to learn how to do a tubular cast off and although it took ten years to cast off, I am really happy with how it looks and feels. The photos are in no way going to do this justice until it is finished and blocked but, you get the idea…

My advent socks (affectionately known as my Zooming socks due to the colourway name ‘Zooming Home for Christmas’) are very nearly complete. It’s been difficult not to pick these up in the evening to get them finished but I really wanted to just work on them for one hour each morning of advent so that I could visibly track my progress with a daily Instagram stories photo.

It just goes to show that with an hour a day, it’s possible to make a pair of socks in a month. I know everyone has busy lives and finding a whole hour can be difficult but it could be split up too. Starting my morning with some knitting really sets me up for the day.

I will definitely have these finished before 24th December when I’ll be ready to cast on my Chrismas Eve socks. I have chosen to knit the Comet socks in the West Yorkshire Spinners ‘Silent Night’ yarn. This is their Christmas offering for 2020. I’ve also got out a mini skein so I can do the heels with this. I’ve cast on a pair of socks on Christmas Eve for the last two years and I really enjoy it. I start them in the morning and then depending on how many things I still have left to do, I work on them all through the day in between preparation for Christmas Day. I always make sure to book Christmas Eve as holiday so I can really enjoy this relaxing build up.

I would love to get my Cheering socks finished by the end of the year too but if not, it’s no problem. I’ll get there at some point. I have done a few more rows on the first sock this week but nothing photo-worthy again.

I’ve spent 30-45 minutes a day on my Disney castle cross stitch again this week too. I can definitely get this one finished with a bit of daily stitching. I’ve made some progress and it’s really not that far off from being complete now!

I started making the Tilda Santa from a kit in January this year. I’ve had it for a few years and was a bit intimidated to try making it as I haven’t really done much patchwork and I was still scared of my sewing machine at that point! I decided to put it away half finished until I felt Christmassy again. And having done more sewing this year, I feel a bit more capable now. Still very much a nervous beginner but much better than I was which is progress, isn’t it? I haven’t done anything other than get it out of hibernation this week but I would love to get it finished over the weekend.

Here is where I got to in the middle of January:

My last working day is 23rd December and then I have a lovely 11 days off! This year will be strange not to see family for get-togethers, but we have decided to stay home on our own this year, despite the loosening of the guidelines as we still feel that we do not want to put anyone at risk unnecessarily. We are not in a bubble with anyone as everyone we would be in one with has needed to be in one with someone else. This has been absolutely fine for us. Thank goodness for all the wonderful technology we have that allows us to still be in touch with the people we love all of the time. When I’m having a tough day and missing people, I just remind myself that this will pass. One certainty in life is that nothing stays the same. One day this will all be a crazy memory. And each gathering we have in the future will be that bit more special because of this.

I’m very much looking forward to lots of free time to lounge about, watch movies, play board games, go on dog walks, and of course, as much knitting and other crafts as I can fit in. I don’t plan to ‘get things done’ but rather to do what I feel like. If that involves casting on five new projects then so be it! I’m just going to give myself the freedom to choose each day, and that is a true luxury.

This will be my last post before Christmas now, so I would like to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas! I hope you have a lovely break and enjoy your crafting time. I’ll be back here before the year is over for a December round up and to take a look back at my projects of 2020.

See you all soon xxx

12 Pairs in 2020!!

Hello and welcome to this week’s crafty installment. Ooh, it’s been a busy one this week and I’m so happy it’s the weekend. My brain is well and truly fried. My Rob asks me a question and he’s lucky if I get to the end of the sentence before I’ve forgotten what he asked. He keeps saying, ‘There is a delay on this Zoom call.’

Onto good, positive, delightful things this week, and… I finished my Lola socks!!! Woo hoo! This is incredibly eventful because not only is that me completing my first pair of lacy socks but it also takes me to 12 pairs of finished socks this year and completes my 2020 goal! I’m so pleased!

It’s just a lovely pair of socks to complete my goal on too as this pattern was the official pattern by Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet for Ali of Little Drops of Wonderful’s Strictly Sockalong 2020. Money from each pattern was also being donated by Jooles to Gayna from Tales of Cuckoo Land to raise money for her son’s school’s mini bus. And the loveliest thing of all was watching Gayna’s YouTube update this week when the bus arrived. Such a lovely thing to be a tiny part of with all the other knitters.

So here they are, my finished Lola socks, 12th pair of 2020 in the beautiful yarn from Lay Family Yarns in the colourway ‘Fab-U-Lous’…

I’ve also cast off my Tidings Shawl this week. I’d have to call it a ‘shawlette’ really as I made it a lot smaller than the pattern. I wasn’t really enjoying knitting it because of the colours I chose and every row was beginning to feel like a slog. I gave myself the option of putting it in hibernation until next year or finishing off the second colour to the pattern and adding a few rows of garter stitch and casting off. After much procrastinating and indecisiveness, I went for the second option. I really didn’t think I’d feel any different about it next year. I’m so glad I did. I said last week that Faye had her eye on it but she changed her mind as she’s seen a tartan scarf in Matalan online that she loved, so I treated her to that instead.

I’ve worn my Tidings shawlette on my evening dog walks this week and it’s absolutely perfect for wrapping around my neck and fits inside my coat when I need to pull the hood up against the wind and rain.

This now leaves me with just three items left on my needles to get cast off before the end of December so I can have a casting on party in January! I will also be casting on some Christmas Eve socks but more about that in good time.

I am thoroughly enjoying working on my Zooming socks every morning before I start work. With an hour every morning, I finished sock one in 10 days. I’ve really looked forward to adding to it each day. I’m sharing it daily over on my Instagram stories along with my advent calendar treats.

I haven’t had chance to add any more rows to my Cheering socks this week but hopefully I will over the weekend.

My final knitting WIP has just come out of hibernation and it’s my Elton cardigan. The pattern is by Joji Locatelli and I’m using Drops yarn. I cast this on in January this year and I’m sort of annoyed at myself that I’ve left it in the project bag for so long. In my defence, I seem to have had a bit of a problem with the mohair in the warmer months and it’s only just got cold again now. I’m aiming now to do a stripe a day which is 4 rows, 4 long rows. I know I will start to enjoy knitting on it again once I get back into the swing of it because it is very mindless and that is the perfect kind of project for me at the moment.

Once I had cast off the Lola socks and the Tidings shawl, I turned my main project focus to the Alpine Hoop and I’m making good progress on this now. This is probably famous last words, but I am aiming to get that finished next week.

My craft time has been slightly hampered this week by the recommencement of the crafting community Christmas project which I thought I had finished with. However, they needed volunteers to sew the names onto the crochet stars and no-one was coming forward, so… what was I to do? I have seen it through this far and didn’t want it to fall at the last hurdle. It transpired that the lady doing this lovely stitching perhaps hadn’t considered the size and lots of them didn’t fit onto the stars we had made. Cue more crochet burn on my finger as I attempted to make bigger stars with lots more yarn strands and bigger hooks. I don’t enjoy using big hooks and am very slow because it really makes my hands ache. I had to do this in my craft room on my lunch breaks as even the best puppy probably wouldn’t be able to control himself with lots of yarn balls rolling off in different directions!

I managed to get my quota done and have now delivered all of the stars to the lady (bless her heart) who is constructing the whole thing. It would be much easier to do if we weren’t in Covid times. I imagine we would have all been together at the craft hub listening to Christmas music and eating mince pies. Ah, well!

In all honesty, I have reached the point where I will be glad when this is complete. I know when it’s up, I’ll be really glad I took part. And hopefully, it will make many people feel happy when they see it.

In happier news, I am absolutely loving my progress keepers in my beautiful stitch marker advent calendar by Mrs G Makes. Here is a photo of all the beautiful ones I have opened so far. I think Day 1 is my absolute favourite but I love all of them.

It’s really been a full-on week with highs and lows but I’m just so pleased that I completed a long-term goal and I’m honestly not sure the last time I did that. I usually set goals that are much too much and then can’t complete them or end up talking myself out of them part way through, so this really does feel like such an achievement. My sock mojo is still extremely high, so there will be more!

I hope you are managing to fit in some joyful, crafty moments through these busy weeks. See you next week when we will be getting closer to the big day and, thank goodness, my Christmas holiday break from work! Take care xxx

Christmas is Coming!

Hello! Welcome back to another review of my crafty week. It’s mostly sock knitting this week with a few extras and the start of advent calendar season! I absolutely love the countdown to Christmas and even though it’s very different in lots of ways this year, I’m still counting my blessings and trying to make the most of each day.

This is my first Christmas with a puppy and I was honestly in two minds about decorating the house as usual. He’s a very good boy but he is a boisterous Border Collie and my house is very small! In the end, I decided that he needs to learn right from the start what he can and can’t do in our house, so over the last few weeks I’ve been leaving things around on the floor like the odd bag etc to see what he does (secretly supervised of course!), and I was heartened to see that nothing more than a little investigative sniff occurred!

So, on Sunday (a little earlier than usual), we put up the tree and the Christmas decorations. With boxes everywhere and shiny things being passed around left, right and centre, our little Cosmo was an angel. The only thing he was slightly tempted with were Rob’s Grinch slippers (after all they do look like big fluffy toys!) but once told they weren’t for him, he decided to lie down and watch us from the comfort of his bed. Such a sweetie!

I even managed to get a picture of him in front of the tree (by holding a treat in the air… Tactics!)! We joked that Faye has been replaced for the annual Christmas tree photo, but then she is as tall as it now and happy enough to be usurped by a cheeky pup!

So onto crafting for this week, mostly knitting and mostly socks. I was hoping to have a finished object but with the decorating and the advent preparation, it wasn’t going to happen. Perhaps if I was a one-project-at-a-time knitter, but I’m not! I have still made good progress on the second Lola sock and I’m still really enjoying working it.

I also put in a bit of work on the first of the Cheering socks. This is the fifth Knitvent pattern this year and it’s perfect for me because it’s socks but also a challenge with my first ever cable sock pattern. I have to admit that it has been surprisingly simple and I’m using the most beautiful yarn from Mr and Mrs Rabbit Yarns. It’s a high twist luxury sock yarn in the colourway, ‘Blackberry Stained Pinafores’.

I’ve put a bit more knitting on my Tidings shawl and it’s now about halfway through. I was very excited to reach the colour change. I’m not enjoying this project so much. It’s purely down to the navy colour. The pattern is beautiful and the yarn is lovely too, but it’s just not my colour. I was beginning to wonder about ripping it back until a certain little lady said, ‘Mum, who is that for?’ To which I replied that I wasn’t sure. ‘Ooh, could I have it then, please?’ I’m going to have to watch out, I think, as she’s becoming a bit f a knitting magpie! On this occasion though, I was thrilled as it’s now spurred me on to try to get it finished for Christmas!

The final knitting project is a new cast on for this week. I decided I wanted to start a pair of Advent socks. I dream about having a full box of Christmas socks for every day of December, so 31 pairs. I currently have 4 pairs. So I have a long way to go! This idea is inspired by Amy Florence of Stranded Dyeworks. Each year, I have missed out on her Christmas colourways, so I was on a mission this year to purchase as many as I could. I mean, I’ve been setting actual timers and it has paid off! I have managed to get all but one of her past colourways which are Christmas presents from my lovely husband (more on that later in the month) and I also got my mitts on this year’s Christmas sock set!! I give you ‘Zooming Home for Christmas’ with ‘Christmas Green’:

I wound the yarn and cast on the stitches on the evening of 30th November (a bit sneaky, but you know, my socks, my rules) and have been knitting on them each morning of advent for about an hour. I’m already at the heel flap and I just absolutely love the colour. I’m definitely usually a pastels person, but I love some brights and jewel tones at Christmas. The colours in this sock make me think of 80s Christmases with all the coloured lights and the foil ceiling decorations with used to hang. Ah, memories!

I’ve made a bit of progress on my alpine hoop (pattern from Love Embroidery Magazine). I have been trying to do 20-30 minutes a day on this but I think I’ve only managed about four days! Must try harder to squeeze every last minute out of my free time. I don’t love the snow on the mountains so I might have to go over some of that.

I feel like this post is becoming a bit long and waffly, so I’ll try to keep these last few bits short. I’ve joined in with a read-a-long of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens with Clara Peggoty of the Sheep and Cheerful podcast. I’ve had this book on my shelf since I was a girl and never got around to reading despite the fact that is actually quite a short book. So far, I’ve read and enjoyed the first stave (chapter).

I was so lucky to get my hands on the very last Stitch Marker Advent Calendar by Mrs G Makes. I only have two progress keepers in my collection, so Amanda (aka Mrs G) offered whatever type of clasp I would like and I chose the progress keeper variety. Is it lobster claw? I’m not sure now. So far, I have opened up 4 absolutely beautiful stitch markers. I haven’t managed to take a photo of them in daylight together so I’ll endeavour to do that for next week. Here is a picture of the packaging and the lovely drawstring bag that came in the parcel.

I neglected to mention last week that I had attended a wonderful Zoom Knit and Natter hosted by Claire and Madeleine of Mr and Mrs Rabbit Yarns. I was so nervous as I can be a bit awkward when I don’t know people, but everyone was so nice and we just chatted about knitting and yarn and crochet, and showed some of the things we were making. It was absolutely lovely! Then Claire drew my name out of a raffle at the end and I won this amazing set of yarn minis in the colourways ‘Vintage Christmas Baubles’. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. I don’t usually win things and these colours are just perfect. I felt so lucky!

While going through the Christmas decorations, I was absolutely grateful to past me for finally buying proper stackable, lidded boxes for the decorations but also, I had completely forgotten that last year between Christmas and New Year, I’d used Faye’s Big Shot to prepare some papercuts for card making this year! It was so amazing. All I needed to do was get the glue out and finish them off! I would definitely like to do something similar this year, if not make the cards ready. I still haven’t written them yet, but one step at a time, right?

I think that brings me to the end of my waffle. I hope you too enjoyed a fun-packed festive and creative week. See you next time xx