Stars and Stripes

Hello! How are you? Have you squeezed in some crafting time this week? We are hurtling towards Christmas at breakneck speed it feels! And there are so many things I want to get finished before the end of the year.

The good news is I have managed to get two projects off the needles and hooks this week.

The first are these beautiful stripy Candy Cane socks! This is my 11th finished pair of 2020 and I’m ahead of my goal of 12 pairs for the year so I’m absolutely thrilled! The yarn I used is the West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in the colourway ‘Candy Cane’ with the contract colour in the same yarn in the colourway ‘Cayenne Pepper’. There is still so much yarn left that I’d like to make myself another pair next year with green heels, toes and cuffs.

I used my tried and trusted pattern ‘Basic Socks’ by Winwick Mum. I absolutely love this pattern for a simple, well-fitted sock and I know I will continue to use it on and on.

However, one of my goals for 2021 is to start trying out different sock patterns and learning new techniques. I’ll talk more about this in future posts but it’s something mulling in the back of my mind at the moment.

The second finished project is a bit different. It’s technically not a finished project yet but I have completed crocheting the stars for the community Christmas display. I managed to make 130. I had grand delusions of making 400 at the beginning of the project but I would have needed to have no other projects on the go in order to accomplish that! And as it turned out, there was no need as lots of other lovely ladies joined in and made lots as well so we have been told we have enough now!

Unfortunately I was unable to get a photo of all the stars together, so I have a few pictures. They were sent off in batches to the amazing lady who is co-ordinating the whole project. Once I had finished, she contacted me to ask if I could block all of the other stars that have been crocheted as they do go quite curly. I was happy to do this so I collected them on Wednesday evening mid dog walk. It’s lovely to see the other creations. I thought I’d share how I block them in case anyone was unsure. I use Dr Beckman Spray Starch. I spray each star and then pin it out on some foam boards that I bought from Amazon a long time ago, then leave them over night to dry and stiffen. Here is a before and after shot so you can see what a difference it makes.

It won’t hold them indefinitely but hopefully it will do the trick. Another option may have been to coat them with watered down PVC and if they do curl up on the display over time, this might be something to think about in the future.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished display. I was also responsible for cutting out the lettering so I hope I did it okay! I’ll share the display once it’s up.

My main WIP this week has been the Lola Socks. I cast these on weeks ago and then they sat in my project bag untouched. I was apprehensive about them because I haven’t done any of these techniques before and they required a lot of concentration. However, I’m thrilled that I have learned how to do a godet heel this week! Jooles’ pattern is so well written and she links to video tutorials for the unusual bits which are so easy to follow when you can see someone else doing them. So good in fact, that I took advantage of her 3 for 2 pattern offer and purchased more of her patterns this week!

I’ve cast off the first sock and I have really enjoyed learning new techniques and working on these towards the end of the week.

I have also cast on the cuff of my cheering socks but not enough to show you yet. I haven’t made much progress on my alpine hoop this week either so I’ll save showing it until I have or it will get a bit boring!

I have put a few more rows on my Tidings Shawl, but again, nothing worth showing yet. If only I had more time to knit! Full time jobs just get in the way!

Last weekend, I finally got a bit of nice weather and time to plant my tulip bulbs for next Spring. I absolutely love tulips. They are one of my favourite flowers (although honestly, I do say that about a lot of flowers!). Favourite spring flower, I should say. Although I also love daffodils… and crocus… and hyacinths…

I also baked my christmas cake on Stir Up Sunday (22nd November) as well as some cheaty mini mince pies using shop bought pastry and mince meat. Faye was desperate for a mince pie, so what’s a Mum to do?!

When I sat down to write this post I thought I didn’t really have anything to share but it’s surprising when you start writing it all down how much you can get done in a week.

We’re still in lockdown number 2 here in the UK and unfortunately, we will be in tier 3 when we come out of it on 2nd December. It’s not a huge hardship for me. The only niggly thing I have is that the local post office is closed on Saturdays at the moment which makes it extremely difficult to post out a couple of gifts that I want to get sent. I shall have to try and fit it in on a lunch break in the week but that will mean I’ll need to take Cosmo out for his walk first thing instead of at lunch time. I realise these aren’t huge problems but we have got into a lovely routine now and he’s super snoozy in the morning before I start work which is ideal knitting time! I’m sure one day won’t hurt.

I think that’s about it for this week. Happy crafting! x

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