29. Happy Stitches

Hello and welcome to another crafty catch up! I’ve run out of steam a bit this week. Although, I am enjoying all of my projects, I have just had that urge to get some things finished but I haven’t managed it. Over the weekend, I made great progress on the Umbel Shawl and I’m now onto the final yarn colour, but the lace pattern requires even more concentration so I’m knitting really slowly. I think I have around 40 rows to go. I love how the colours looks together. It’s difficult to show you how it looks at the moment. Blocking at the end will really show it in all its lacy glory.

I completed my first month of the Happy Stitches Journal (Volume 1) and really enjoyed it. I added in ‘2021’ as this will be on the first page.

I’ve really enjoyed adding the full March palette pack from Lay Family Yarn into my Rainbow Granny Stripe Blanket this week. I have the yellows ready to wind up into a ball. I might attempt a magic knot ball this time, though I have never done one before, so we’ll see!

I worked some more on my Battenberg Blanket this week and the pink section is growing. I think maybe 2-3 weeks more of plain squares, then I’ll be onto the oranges and peaches. Although it’s not as fun to make the plain squares, because I’m joining them with the pink, it does motivate me to get on with it. I think if I was just crocheting a stack of plain squares, I might not be getting on with it so well!

I’ve been managing to hand quilt two circles on my hexies quilt each evening this week. I go upstairs straight after I’ve finished work and get them done and it takes me around 20 minutes. I’m definitely finding the hand quilting a challenge. I’m very awkward and my stitches are far too big but I’ve given up worrying about it. Better to just get on with it. It’s not like I’m entering it into a competition or anything, so why worry!

I’ve lost my sock mojo a bit this week and have only put a few rounds on the two pairs I’m working on. Hopefully, I can find it over the weekend!

I have quite a lot of year-long projects on the go which means I’m not really finishing much. I do like to give myself little check points so I feel like I’m getting somewhere. I think I need to get some of my shorter projects finished and hold off casting anything new on until they are complete. I have so many things I want to make this year, but if I’m not careful, I’ll find that I stop enjoying what I’m working on at the time because I’m too busy dreaming about what I want to start!

I hope you managed to work on your happy projects this week too. Until next time, Happy Crafting! Xx

28. Project Love

Hello! How are you all? Welcome back to my crafty corner of the internet where I share what projects I’ve been working on this week.

I started and finished my February cross stitch this week using my kit from Little Dove’s Cross Stitch. I love the pinks in this one and it’s such a pretty design.

I also finished one of my Lion, Witch and Wardrobe ribbed socks and have cast on the second. I hadn’t knit a ribbed sock before but I got Rob to try it for fit and he preferred them to the vanilla socks although he felt they might still slip down his slim legs. I have a few ideas on that so he may get a pair for his birthday yet. I have the yarn waiting but I need to know they won’t just sit in a drawer unworn!

After finishing the yoke on my Fern and Feather sweater last week and knitting a few rows, I reached a part in the pattern that was bit vague for me to understand. In the end I decided I thought I knew what it meant and went for it and it has turned out great. I have now split for the sleeves and am ready to begin the stockinette rows. The perfect TV knitting! We’ve been enjoying the series ‘Ashes to Ashes’ on Netflix.

I wish there were more hours in the day for all my lovely projects. I’m desperate to give my Umbel shawl some serious attention and intend to do just that this coming weekend. I have added a few more rows since I last shared it on the blog…

I have also made a start on my February Rainbow Sock Chronicles socks using the Winter Rose pattern by Helen Stewart. I had to laugh because it wasn’t anywhere near as difficult as I had built up in my mind after my previous attempt in 2018. It really showed me how much my skills have improved! I did decide to use an alternating colour for the heels, toes and cuffs and have picked the West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in the colour ‘Cherry Drop’.

I feel like I seem to go on about how I love every project at the moment, but I really do. They bring me so much happiness and joy. I started crocheting some plain squares and joining them on my Battenberg Blanket this week. I didn’t do as many as I’d hoped to but I love how it looks!

This year, I signed up to make a Happy Stitches Journal (Volume 1) with Sarah Edgar of Pretty Fabrics and Trims I didn’t get to go to any of the craft shows last year or join any clubs or workshops for obvious reasons, and this year looks to be a similar scenario, so I thought I’d treat myself to this to make up for it. The January pack arrived last week and it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful thing to work on. The first month doesn’t look too intimidating either, so now I’ve completed my cross stitch for this month, I’m going to start work on this next.

We’ve had some more snow here in Staffordshire and very cold temperatures, so have enjoyed the huddling indoors this week! It was also the last week of home school for Faye and she is very pleased to have half-term week off. She received a lovely little postcard from the History Department this morning to thank her for her hard work. It really put a smile on her face. I’ll still be working from home next week but with a little less stress without the home school!

I hope you enjoyed some making time this week. Do you have any nice crafty plans for the weekend?

See you next time. Happy Crafting! xx

27. Make 9, Quilt Sandwich & Liberty Socks

Hello! How are you? This week I’ve enjoyed that we’ve had a bit more daylight, a few snowdrops have flowered and my daffodils are waiting patiently in the wings. I enjoy lots of things about winter (except having to hose the mud of the dog every time we play outside and the fact that my garden looks like a school football pitch!). In fact, I enjoy all the seasons, but I particularly love Spring. It feels so full of hope and last year, I didn’t feel that for all the obvious reasons of the world turning on it’s head in March. This lockdown isn’t about getting to grips with new things, but rather persevering with new learned behaviours and some of those are very welcome. Faye particularly enjoys not having to wear her school uniform and being able to drink a cup of tea while doing her lessons; not forgetting that extra time in bed that she would usually spend standing outside in the cold at the bus stop. There is, of course, so much to miss, but we try not to dwell too much on that as we don’t find it helpful.

I have enjoyed another crafty week and have one finished object, three works in progress and two new projects to share with you this time.

My finished object this week are my Liberty Annabella C socks! The yarn was from www.mrandmrsrabbityarns.co.uk and was the mystery Liberty inspired yarn club for January. I used my favourite Basic Sock pattern by Winwick Mum just modifying it slightly to practice my skills on German twisted cast on and twisted rib for the cuff. I also added two purl rows every 9th and 10th round of the leg for an extra detail. I like how it’s given them a slouchy look, though they don’t feel slouchy when they’re on my feet. I’m really looking forward to seeing the yarn for February. I absolutely love Liberty prints so this is perfect for me.

At the weekend, Faye assisted me in finally sandwiching her hexies quilt. I’ve put this off for a few weeks now as I was worrying about ruining it. It required a lot of space to lay it all out flat and have room around the edge to work on it and my house is quite small. I ended up measuring the layers out roughly on my bed and cutting down the wadding and backing fabric that way (very unprofessional!). My wadding wasn’t long enough so I had ordered some tape to enable me to fix two pieces together and this worked really well.

We moved it down to a well hoovered living room once Rob had taken Cosmo out on a long walk and lay it out as flat as possible, then used a temporary glue spray to help fix the layers together and once happy (ish!), we used quilting safety pins to pin from the centre out to keep the layers together.

It’s not going to be perfect and once I wash it when it’s all finished, it will wrinkle up and hide a multitude of sins anyway. I created a circle template simply using a compass, a pencil and a piece of card. I then drew around it with my favourite Frixion pen to create a cathedral window effect.

My next job is to hand quilt through the layers on the circles working from the centre of the quilt out, using a quilting hoop to keep the quilt sandwich taut as I sew. I have only managed a few circles this week as I need to sit on my bed to do it and let’s just say, hand quilting is not my forte… yet, anyway! I’m hoping the more I do, the more I will improve. This is going to be a very homemade quilt! But as I tell my daughter all the time – you rarely start something new and get it perfect on the first attempt. Most things take lots of practice! And let’s face it, I’ll get lots of practice on this quilt!

My first work in progress this week is my Fern and Feather sweater. Oh, I have loved knitting this. I finished the yoke at the weekend and haven’t added much further but I’m looking forward to giving it some more attention this weekend. I just need to get my head around the wrap and turn shaping again before I hit the rows and rows of stockinette!

I’m so happy to have finished my first colour category on my Battenberg Blanket. The pinks and reds are complete – all 105 of them, ends sewn in too. I have come to the decision that I will sew them to join so that I can work from the corner in a diagonal way. This allows me to make sure I don’t have any of the same yarns together and I don’t mind the sewing as I can do the ends at the same time on the plain squares.

So my job next week is to make start on those plain squares in the Drops Flora yarn in colour 03 Light Grey and join a few each day. I’m really looking forward to this! Then eventually after I have finished this section, I’ll move onto the next colour category which is orange, peach and yellow, and complete 105 of these as well.

I do have other works in progress but I have decided to just focus on a few each week that I have made the most progress on, so it doesn’t get too boring for you!

Onto new projects now. As I have finished my Liberty socks, I am now ready to cast on my February Rainbow Sock Chronicles socks! I am using up some stash yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in the colour ‘Honeysuckle’. I am contemplating knitting the heels, toes and cuffs in a red colour but I need to think about it some more. I’m using a pattern from stash too – the Winter Rose Socks by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. I tried this pattern back in 2018 when it was released as part of The Handmade Sock Society. I took it to Bude with some wooden needles. I had only made a few pairs of socks at that point and I wasn’t very confident with lace knitting. I didn’t really know that you could get different levels of sharpness on sock needles as such, managed to snap the wooden needles part way through the leg section! I couldn’t get hold of any alternative needles on holiday and when I got home, I was struggling to make sense of where I had gotten to in the pattern, so I frogged it and put the pattern away. Now though, I think I have learned enough to have another go and I purchased some Hiya Hiya sharps needles from Ellie at Craft House Magic which should solve some of the major problems I had last time. I’m also confident with sock construction now and have a few more lace projects under my belt.

I did promise myself that I would branch out a bit more this year and challenge myself more with pattern choices. I love to knit a plain sock and I will continue to do so as I love to wear them as well, but I’d like to learn some different sock knitting skills too. I want to become more confident with garment knitting and have a few on my Make 9 list. It took me all of January to make a final decision on my Make 9. I decided to leave out socks and it is purely knitting, so doesn’t include any of my crochet goals or other crafts, so in that sense it is quite ambitious.

My Make 9 List

  1. Fern and Feather Sweater by Jennifer Steingass
  2. Umbel Shawl by Susan Crawford
  3. Like a Cloud Cardigan by Joji Locatelli
  4. Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart
  5. Orchid Sweater by Susan Crawford
  6. Rosa Sweater by Susan Crawford
  7. Whitmoor Sweater by Ami Lowden
  8. Snowmelt Shawl by Helen Stewart
  9. Snuggle Down Cowl by Jooles Hill

You can see my queue here on Ravelry for the patterns: Delighted Gem Make 9 Do you have a Make 9 list this year?

And finally, I will be starting my February cross stitch this weekend. I am stitching each month of the Little Doves Year kit from Little Dove Cross Stitch in the month itself. This one has lots of lovely pinks in it and I can’t wait to stitch it up.

I had 14 hours without internet this week, so that did cause a bit of stress. However, my clever boss taught me how to tether a laptop to your mobile phone so that you can use your 4G data to continue working. It was amazing and enabled us to continue working and schooling without too much interruption. My lovely colleague stepped in and helped me out with an urgent task too. I also found the online platform with Virgin Media really useful to test and sort the problem. So through a difficult interruption to our week, it was heartening that we were able to work around it with all the help and backup in place. Although, I couldn’t watch the TV one evening, I listened to my audiobook instead!

I have just finished listening to ‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig and read by Carey Mulligan. I really enjoyed it and Carey’s voice is so soothing. I think that makes all the difference for me when listening to an audiobook. Previously, I have enjoyed audiobooks read by Stephen Fry, Richard Armitage, Robert Glenister, David Tennant, Rory Kinnear and Phillip Pullman. Rob tells me that Michael Sheen is also a great reader. How about you? Do you listen to audiobooks? Who are your favourite readers?

That’s about it for this week. Happy crafting! xx