7. All of the WiPs!

As part of my goal to get more organised this year, I thought I would chat today about my Works in Progress (WiPs). I don’t have millions but some of them have been hanging around for a really long time and I hope to make substantial progress with them all through the year and get most of them finished.

I used to work on one thing and try to get it finished but I have long since given that up in favour of picking up what I fancy and making progress on it. One project just isn’t practical for me and I can get bored and not work on it if I only have one, meaning I get nothing done!

My current WiPs are those that I have started working on in January. These are all fine and I have no worries about them getting completed.

Tilda Santa is my January sewing project. I am aiming to work on one sewing machine project each month and this gorgeous kit has been sitting on my shelf for the last two Christmases and I think the reason for that is that Christmas time is always too manic to make a start on a project that I’m not confident with. I’ve done almost no patchwork and quilting on my sewing machine in the past. So even though it’s January and all other Santa-related articles are safely tucked away until next December, this one is breaking all of my rules (and it’s not the only one…). But I don’t care! I’m managing to put in a couple of hours work each Saturday afternoon at the moment…

My current garment project is the Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I only cast this on a few days ago but I’m really enjoying working on it so far. I shall chat more about this in next week’s post…

I’m ahead on my sock projects, so these socks are actually my February pair. I’m knitting them with absolutely gorgeous Christmas present yarn by Dandelion and Dogwood. Again, I’ll share more details next time…

Last but not least of my current WiPS is the Homebody Mitts I’m knitting for Faye. She’s been waiting about a month for these, so I decided to cast on this weekend. They are a quick project though and should be off the needles in no time. Hopefully a  finished project for next week…

So, that brings me onto the longer term projects. Starting with Faye’s Hexies Quilt. When I started this project I knew it was going to take me years. Looking back at photos I think I started making the hexagons in 2017. They are all organised and ready to be sewn on and my aim is to finish the quilt topper by the end of the year but that will involve making lots of half hexagons as well which I haven’t even thought about yet… The good news is that just reviewing this WiP has encouraged me and I have managed to sew on an extra row this week…

Remember just before Christmas when I said I was going to work on my Santa cross stitch… Soooo, I ended up not adding one stitch to this project. I almost put it away for next Christmas but I can see exactly the same thing happening again. My new plan is to work on this cross stitch until Spring and then if it’s still not finished, pick it up again in Autumn.

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Santa isn’t the only cross stitch I have unfinished. Last year, we went on our dream holiday to Florida. Shortly before we were due to go, I discovered that knitting needles were not permitted on the flight. (Oh the horror!!). I couldn’t imagine how I was going to pass all those hours of sitting without my knitting to keep me company until a friend suggested I take cross stitch. I downloaded a pattern of Etsy that fitted perfectly with our trip. This is literally what I did on the flight out and I haven’t picked it up again since! I ended up reading almost an entire book instead! Well, I’d really love to get this finished and up on the wall to commemorate our amazing holiday. This will be my spring / summer cross stitch project.

I only cast on the Habitation Throw in December and I have absolutely no plans to rush through this project. It’s my scrappy-no-deadline-knit-for-fun-whenever-I-like project and it’s just lovely to have one like that. I’m sure there will come a point in the future where I’ll want to get it finished, but for now, it’s just happy as it is.

Finally, my last WiP is the Climbing Roses Wrap by Jane Crowfoot. This was a crochet CAL in Inside Crochet magazine. It’s absolutely beautiful but I have a couple of problems with it and this is why I think this project has stalled. The yarn and the pattern are both lovely, but I’m not enjoying working on it. At first I thought it was because it’s quite tricky crochet for me, but I’m also wondering if I would ever use the finished garment. It’s quite heavy. Or it would be! I’m just not sure it’s worth the time and effort it would take to make something that I would never use. I haven’t the heart to frog what I’ve already done so I might turn it into a placemat or a cushion. I need to think about this some more. With the rest of the yarn, I’m considering making a simple granny squares throw as this is the kind of crochet I really enjoy. I’ve made a couple of squares and now I want to make more. I’m going to think about it some more anyway.

So that concludes all of my Works in Progress. It doesn’t seem too bad all laid out there. However, there are so many projects I’m looking forward to working on this year, so that’s perhaps why it feels like more in my head. I will of course keep you updated on all of my progress.

What do you think? Does that many WiPs fill you with terror or is that nothing compared with your own? I’d love to hear from you and how you plan to tackle your own!

 

6. 2019 Making Review

I should probably have put this blog post together at the end of the year rather than midway through January of the new year but I didn’t get the chance, and having only started the blog at the end of the year, I thought you might still be interested to see what I made last year (having not seen most of it before).

In my mind, I thought I’d not made that much following my return to full-time work in February. But actually, I achieved quite a bit! I’ve broken them down into categories rather than the order in which I finished them, starting with…

Shawls

Asana Shawl
Asana Shawl

This shawl was a pattern from Helen Stewart’s book: ‘The Shawl Society: Season 1’ and I used Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in the ‘Gold’ colourway.

Pebble Beach Shawlette
Pebble Beach Shawlette

This one is also a Helen Stewart Pattern (Curious Handmade) purchased on Ravelry. I knit it in Opal 4 Ply in the ‘Pink’ colourway. I made this for Faye’s Year 6 Prom but she didn’t end up wearing it as it was so warm!

Talisman Shawl
Talisman Shawl

Another pattern from ‘The Shawl Society: Season 1’ book. This was my knitting on our special trip to Florida (although I didn’t finish it until we got home). This was my birthday yarn from The Fibre Fox in the colourways: ‘Fairy Dust’ and ‘St Lucia’.

Bide Shawl
Bide Shawl

A pattern from this year’s Knitvent (another Helen Stewart / Curious Handmade) pattern! Knit using West Yorkshire Spinners Re:treat Chunky in the colourway ‘Escape’.

Sweaters

Love Note Sweater
Love Note Sweater

My first finished sweater knit in the round using the pattern from Tin Can Knits and yarn is Stylecraft Alpaca Tweed DK in the colourway ‘Sea Breeze’. Although, I believe this yarn has now been discontinued.

Flax Light Sweater
Flax Light Sweater

This was my official first sweater knit in the round, though I finished it after the Love Note as I got stuck on sleeve island! This was a free pattern from Tin Can Knits using Drops Flora yarn in Amethyst.

Soldotna Crop
Soldotna Crop

My greatest knitting achievement in 2019 was this first colourwork project. The pattern is by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks and I knit it using Stylecraft Special DK for Faye. More details can be found in this post.

Socks

Red Robin Socks
Red Robin Socks

Another Curious Handmade pattern from one of Helen’s Sock Societies. I knit these in West Yorkshire Spinners ‘Wood Pigeon’ and ‘Penny’ Royal colourways from their Signature 4-ply range.

Sugarloaf Socks
Sugar Loaf Basic Socks

I really enjoy knitting basic socks and I always use Winwick Mum’s Basic Sock pattern which I have modified for my feet. The yarn was Stylecraft Head over Heels in the colourway ‘Sugar Loaf’.

Shorty SCD Pennyroyal Socks
Shorty SCD Pennyroyal Socks

I cast these on as part of Ali’s (Little Drops of Wonderful / Starry Eyes Ali) Strictly Sock Along. I did complete them before the end of Strictly but as I couldn’t claim to have knit more than a few rows whilst watching it, I didn’t enter them into the prize draw. I was just pleased to finish them off! I modified the basic sock pattern to make the cuff and leg shorter and used the rest of the WYS ‘Penny Royal’ yarn.

Homebody Socks
Homebody Socks

These were another pattern from this year’s Knitvent. I made these for Faye using Coop Knits Socks Yeah DK yarn in the colourway ‘Pigeon’.

Blankets / Throws

C2C Sofa Throw
C2C New Sofa Throw

I didn’t use a pattern for this throw. I went by a corner to corner crochet tutorial I found on YouTube then when I felt it was big enough (and working out the colour changes), I started decreasing for it to become a square. I crocheted using Stylecraft Special DK yarn in the colourways ‘Duck Egg’ and ‘Parma Violet’.

Leo Granny Square Lap Blanket
Leo’s Granny Square Lap Blanket

This was made for a Christmas present for my friend’s little boy and colour-inspired by Marvel. I used Stylecraft Special DK in the following colours: Lipstick, White, Black, Gold, Green, Grey and Royal. The perfect size to cosy up under whilst watching a movie!

Lily Granny Square Throw
Lily’s Granny Square Lap Blanket

Pretty colours for my friend’s daughter’s granny square blanket. More Stylecraft Special DK in Fondant, Lemon, Apricot, White, Sherbert, Candyfloss and Wisteria. I loved crocheting with these colours!

Accessories

Frost at Midnight Cowl
Frost at Midnight Cowl

A pattern from last year’s Knitvent (Helen Stewart) using Drops Andes in ‘Light Grey’. This was my first completed project of 2019.

Mum How Quiet Hat
Mum’s How Quiet Hat

This yarn is absolutely stunning. It’s by Amy Florence of Stranded Dyeworks (whose podcast I love watching). It’s BFL DK in the colourway: ‘Naive Watercolour’ knit using the Curious Handmade ‘How Quiet’ pattern, with matching mitts below:

Mum How Quiet Mitts
Mum’s How Quiet Mitts

This set was gifted to my lovely mum at Christmas.

Roy Homebody Hat
Roy’s Homebody Hat

I made my mum’s husband, Roy, the Homebody hat using Stylecraft Bellissima DK in the colour ‘Double Denim’ using another pattern from this year’s Knitvent.

Rob Crofter Cowl
Rob’s Crofter Cowl

Not a great photo of this as it was a bit of a rush before we headed to Bude for Christmas. I hope to get a photo of him wearing it at some point! Made up pattern to his specifications using Sirdar Crofter DK yarn.

Faye How Quiet Hat
Faye’s How Quiet Hat

Another set of How Quiet hat and mitts for my little Miss. We fell in love with the yarn by Truly Hooked in the colourway ‘Show Yourself’, inspired by the movie Frozen II.

Faye How Quiet Mitts
Faye’s How Quiet Mitts

Home

Pouffe Cover
Pouffe Cover

To cover a very old and dilapidated dark brown faux leather pouffe, I fashioned this cover using Robin Super Chunky in ‘Grey’. The pattern was essentially Lucy of Attic24’s bag pattern, modified to fit the pouffe.

Toiletries Pot
Toiletries Pot

Likewise, this little pot that I’m using to store my toiletries in the bathroom (and need another one making this year)

Hanging Bee
Hanging Bee

I bought a kit from the NEC to make this little crochet bee. Sadly, the pack didn’t contain enough yarn (but it was a charity kit, so…), therefore his bum is crocheted in a slightly lighter yellow. But I still love him and intend to make more this year.

Garter Facecloths
Garter Face Cloths

I knit these watching my girl swim each week. I used some cotton dk from stash and just cast on 30 (I think) stitches and knit until I thought it was about the right size. I use these every day as face cloths and they have stood up to machine washing very well.

Wondrous Dishcloth (Red)
Wondrous Dishcloth

This pattern is from the lovely Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet (another podcast I love to watch!) – her ‘Wondrous Dishcloth’ pattern. I learnt some new techniques with this pattern and thoroughly enjoyed knitting it up. I haven’t yet used the cloth because I want to knit a whole rainbow of them first! Yarn was more cotton dk from stash. I think it’s Stylecraft Classique Cotton which is very soft and squishy and doesn’t split like other cottons can.

Halloween Bunting
Halloween Bunting

Oh, this was a bit of trial. I planned the letters out on squared paper and made the pattern up as I went along. The tricky part was joining it. Firstly, I just crocheted a long chain and sewed the flags on but this was far too droopy, so I unpicked it all and decided to just sew on some florists wire to make it sturdy… sadly I sewed all the letter on back to front so it read ‘NEEWOLLAH’. I unpicked it all… then did exactly the same thing again but luckily realised as I reached the middle. It was very lucky not to have found itself flying out of the window!

Sewing

At little secret about me… I’m actually terrified of my sewing machine. This is completely unfounded as all the things I have made to date have been quite successful, but there is something about it… I have to build up to sewing, so I don’t usually get much accomplished in a year. It doesn’t have the same effect on me as knitting but I really, really want to be good at it. I love fabric and I love the finished items; it’s just that bit in between…

Coco Dress
Coco Dress

So I was so happy when I managed to make a dress in stretch fabric (one of my 19 in 2019 goals) last year. I used some very cheap ponte roma fabric and the amazing Tilly and the Buttons ‘Coco’ pattern. If you’re a beginner like me, I would highly recommend these patterns.

Faye's Bunny Skirt
Bunny Skirt

I made up this little elasticated skirt for Faye as she wanted a bunny skirt for Easter. We were going to work on it together and she happily practiced sewing straight lines on scrap fabric while I cut the pieces out, but when it came to it, she was too scared (a chip off the old block) to actually sew the skirt, so I ended up doing it!

Party Bags
Party Bags

Another made up pattern using a sort of cotton canvas-type fabric. My sewing knowledge is weak, my friends! I had the urge to make very special party bags for Faye’s first sleepover party, so they could have something special to take home and remember it by (as they were going to different high schools too).

Advent Calendar
Advent Calendar

A fabric panel bought from the NEC. I spoke about this more in this post.

Coco Top_Moment
Coco Top

And more stretchy fabric to make a ‘Coco’ top. The neckline is ‘iffy’ but I do wear this a lot and want to make some more this year.

Miscellaneous

Shed Bunting
Shed Bunting

What project is complete without a bit of bunting? I had this oil cloth and bias binding in my cupboard for quite some time. But the scary sewing machine held me back. It needn’t have as this is possibly the quickest project I’ve ever completed and it makes me happy every time I look out of the kitchen window and see it flapping in the breeze. The colour has faded a bit in the sunshine but it still makes me happy.

Faye's Birthday Brooch
Faye’s Birthday Brooch

I always try to make Faye a birthday brooch and this year was no exception. I’m not sure when I should put an end to this… but I’m not ready to yet. She keeps them so I think it means a lot to her too, or maybe she’s just humouring me!

Felt Pumpkin
Felt Pumpkin

I made this, a bat and a Frankenstein head from a kit but I don’t appear to have a photo of Frankie or Batty and they are packed away until next October now. I enjoyed making these from another NEC kit. I think it was by House of Zandra. I have a fox to make this year with another kit from them.

Upcycled Tray - Before
Upcycled Tray – Before

This had been on my to do list for quite some time and it didn’t take too long. The paint is Annie Sloan Chalk paint which I had leftover from other projects. It did take a few coats but it’s given the tray a new lease of life and this colour makes me much happier!

Upcycled Tray - After
Upcycled Tray – After

I feel really pleased with what I managed to achieve last year! Knitting has become a much bigger part of my life and I would say is my favourite craft but I love to see what mood I’m in and be creative in any way I fancy.

Here’s to more making in 2020!!

5. A New Decade!

I hope you all had a wonderful time welcoming in a new year and this time a brand new decade too! We did our usual party-animal style festivities – watching films and playing board games!

I love the start of a new year in much the same way that I love the first page of a new notebook – all that possibility and nothing messed up yet! I also enjoy making lots of New Year’s Resolutions or setting goals. I usually set myself quite a few.

My making goals are:

  1. Knit every day even if it is just one row
  2. Knit myself 12 pairs of socks
  3. Knit from stash yarn as much as possible
  4. Knit myself some cardigans (as I wear them all the time)
  5. Make best friends with my sewing machine and learn new techniques
  6. Remember that crafting is fun and dabble in whatever you feel like without rules
  7. Make things for my house

I have also started a bullet journal along with Faye so this will be a nice thing for us to do together. We spent a long afternoon in Bude setting them up and she loved trying to write in a calligraphy style with brush pens.

I would really like to keep on track with my goals this year and I’m hoping by getting really organised that this will help. I’ve always kept notebooks and lists but I like the idea of recording things in the style of a bullet journal. I have another journal just for writing in each night as well. I used to do this religiously but I haven’t kept a full year going for a very long time now and that’s a shame because I know there is so much that I have forgotten about.

I’ve been listening to a podcast called ‘Happier with Gretchin Rubin’ and I like her idea of having a word for the year ahead. I have chosen ‘Organised‘. The reason behind my choice is that lots of changes happened in our life in 2019; some planned, some unexpected. As a result, I spent the year finding my feet and generally fire-fighting. It would be really nice to feel some semblance of control this year. I want to get organised and then stay organised. A large part of that is in the planning and also in forming positive habits which I plan to share a bit more of in future blog posts.

In terms of projects this week, I have been continuing to knit of my Christmas Eve socks using the beautiful Sparkle Sock yarn from Truly Hooked and using my modified version of Winwick Mum’s Basic Sock pattern…

I made a little needle-felted polar bear from a Hobbycraft kit…

My craft room is still really untidy (except for my yarn), so I want to tackle this in January and make it a beautiful, useable space. I’m planning on fair few home improvements this year so I shall share these with you too.

There is no baking to share this week, as quite frankly, we’ve all had more than enough sweet treats over the holidays and I’m definitely feeling the need to cut back.

There is also nothing in the way of gardening as I’m still deciding where I want to take that this year.

I shall hopefully have more to share with you next week, possibly a finished pair of socks at the very least!

[Tags for all the people I’ve mentioned in today’s blog will be tagged on my Instagram page: @thedelightedhomemaker]

4. Christmas in Cornwall

What a delightful holiday week we’ve had in Cornwall! I was desperate for a break having not had a holiday from work since August. It’s been a lovely family-filled week involving lots of film-watching, eating yummy food, knitting, UNO-playing and some breezy coastal walks to clear the cobwebs.

Before we left for Cornwall, I had already cast on a hat for Faye. She had chosen the yarn and pattern herself and knew I was making them for her but I still wanted to finish them before Christmas day. The yarn was from Truly Hooked on Sparkle DK base in the colourway ‘Show Yourself’ – a Frozen II inspired colour that neither of us could resist! I bought the same yarn for socks (more on that later).

I used the Curious Handmade patterns from last year’s Knitvent – How Quiet Hat and Mitts.

The hat turned out beautifully but looking at the yarn I had left, I was a bit concerned about having enough for the matching mitts. I decided to modify the pattern a little bit to make the cuffs shorter (as I was making the adult size for an 11-year-old, I didn’t think this would be a problem). I also decided not to knit the thumbs until I’d completed both mitts.

On Christmas Eve, I was knitting away playing yarn chicken and just knowing that I was going to lose! I had 8 stitches left to cast off and no thumbs and my yarn had run out!

I had a cunning plan though. As mentioned, I had purchased the 4-ply sparkle sock base for my Christmas Eve Cast On so I balled up the skein, held two strands double and completed the mitts. If you look really closely, you can see that those parts are slightly darker but it didn’t matter. They have already been well worn!

Moving on to my Christmas Eve Cast On… I think this was originally started by Dani of Little Bobbins. I don’t use the pattern though, as I’m still at the stage where I’m comfortable knitting plain socks to show off the beautiful yarns.

I haven’t got too far with them this year (last year I managed to complete both socks before going back to work!) but I’m really enjoying knitting on them.

I also managed to squeeze in a bit of knitting on my Habitation Throw (another one of the Knitvent patterns from this year’s collection) which I cast on sometime in December. I’m using leftover minis (and a few treat minis) and have absolutely no intention of finishing this quickly. It’s just one of those lovely projects to pick up and put down whenever I have the yarn or the inclination. My favourite kind of project!

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On Christmas Day in Bude, there is always a swim that loads of people take part in. Wetsuits aren’t permitted and festive attire is encouraged. It was such a great atmosphere and I was blown away by the number of people taking part – my husband being one of them! I couldn’t because I obviously had to video and take photos…

Luckily for him, it was the most perfect of conditions that you could expect from 25th December – sunny and windless. 

I did knit some gifts this year for my mum and her husband, Roy – these again were Knitvent patterns from Curious Handmade.

For the matching set, I used Stranded Dyeworks BFL DK in the colourway: ‘Naïve watercolour’. The other hat for Roy was knit in Stylecraft Bellissima DK in the colourway ‘Double Denim’ using the ‘Homebody Hat’ pattern from this year’s Knitvent.

We really enjoyed our week of relaxing and being looked after by my Mum and Roy…

img_5118Now we’re home, we are reminiscing over the last decade and looking forward to the start of a shiny new year!

H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R !