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
- Fern and Feather Sweater by Jennifer Steingass
- Umbel Shawl by Susan Crawford
- Like a Cloud Cardigan by Joji Locatelli
- Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart
- Orchid Sweater by Susan Crawford
- Rosa Sweater by Susan Crawford
- Whitmoor Sweater by Ami Lowden
- Snowmelt Shawl by Helen Stewart
- 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