Acquisitions and Ideas

New Wool

Last week at work I was so good!

I gave away 2 free knitting kits (that you get with knitting magazines and which I always end up throwing away) and 4 balls of wool to a colleague.

I was slowly making some room in my stash tub.

NOPE!

I instantly bought 2 balls of sock yarn to replace some of the old!

Both are technically Christmas themed sock yarns – 1 by Stylecraft and the other by West Yorkshire Spinners (the left one).

But the one by West Yorkshire Spinners looks more autumn-y to me rather than the ‘gingerbread’ it’s supposed to be.

I also bought a pair of tiny circular needles to have a go using instead of the DPNs. We’ll see if it works!

You can get the orange one here from The Knitting Network, one of my favourite places to buy wool online. I’ve shopped with them a few times before, they’re quick to dispatch and quick and all of their products come in eco-friendly packaging!

And the fabric in the picture above is a gift from a friend (thanks Lizzie!). I’m not sure what to do with it…a bag of some sort maybe? But I also like the idea of making a cushion too…


Ideas For Future Projects

I have 1 1/2 balls of some chunky James C. Brett yarn leftover that I want out of my stash (they’re huge 200g balls so take up a lot of room!) and I was thinking of doing another chunky knitted hat in the round.

I knitted my first hat in the round earlier this year (usually I just do them flat and seam them up) and now I have all the right size circular needles for that!

Also, I’m making another baby blanket out of some scraps of aran baby wool I had leftover. I’m desperate for the room!

I sent off a load of stuff to Knit For Peace today and I still have the main box to go! I think I’ll do a few smaller things such as hats and maybe a cowl or two just to fill the box. There’s already a shawl, baby blanket, baby hats and cardigan as well as an adult hat.

I have the yarn for 2 summer vest tops and the patterns bought and ready to go.

The thing is, I have 5 tops, 2 blankets and a hat on the go already. I guess it’s never to late to start a project, but I want to knit woolly warm things now it’s autumn. And it’s getting cold so it’s definitely autumn now!

I have enough sock yarn for 6 pairs of socks!

I have DK yarn for a pink and cream jumper which I have yet to find the perfect pattern for.

I have some single balls of hand dyed yarn which need to be made up into something.

And lots of single cotton balls that I had an idea to make into lots of dishcloths.

So many ideas and not enough time, energy or money to do them all!

And then, after making a concentrated effort to get my stash down to a manageable amount…I saw the pattern below in a knitting magazine and I want to have a go at it.

Even though colour work makes me want to jump screaming out of a window…

The pattern is by Jenny Watson for West Yorkshire Spinners and was in the magazine Knit Now Issue 146, but I’ve seen it other places online. I bet if you googled WYS Festive blanket you could find it!

But seriously, look at those dark traditional colours.

I might have to quickly try and finish as many little projects as I can, so that I have a spare project bag or 2 for this!

But I really don’t need another blanket!

Ah such terrible decisions to be made, haha!


Christmas is nearly here, and I have a lot to do to get ready for it this year.

There’s the blanket above I want to make and a pair of festive socks too.

I would love to make a Christmas jumper, but I just don’t think I’ll have the time this year.

A few years back I made a load of decorations, so at least that’s one thing done…although I might make a few more baubles as they’re pretty quick to make.

And a Santa hat, too, maybe?

I’m working on a crocheted chunky Halloween blanket right now, but I think I might keep that one for myself.

Anyhoo, that’s a lil catch up. It’s late and I’m tired and I want to go lie on the bed and read a book.


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Green Tunic Progress

I am knitting my third ever jumper, and this one is bottom up in the round…sort of!

It’s a pattern from a magazine called Let’s Knit (issue 180 Feb 2022) and it’s by Susie Johns on page 22.

But it’s a funny construction, to me anyway, in that you knit the front and back very bottom part seperately and then join in the round to work the body, THEN separate again to do the front and back yoke parts back and forth.

And that is where I’m struggling with it.

My tension has dramatically changed from working back and forth on 4mm needles to working in the round on 4mm needles. So, I bought some 4.5mm needles in the round and I’ve gone up a half size…but I need to do a few more rounds before I can tell whether it’s working or not.

Other than that, I’m not sure what to do, as the difference in tension is HUGE!

Can you see at the top on the picture below how it has changed? Argh! So frustrating!

The colour is more like a mix between the 2 pics above, why does the camera always struggle to get a perfect likeness?!

It’s DK and quite nice to work with. It’s Highland Heathers DK by Stylecraft in the shade 7228 lichen. You can get it here from The Knitting Network if you want to have a look.

I really like pattern itself. it isn’t difficult, it’s just the tension I’m having trouble with.

This is what it’s supposed to look like below:

But I have to say, my magazine is now a lot tattier than when this pic was taken!!

I’ll keep chugging away at it, I desperately want it off my needles so I can think about autumn/ winter knits!


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A Pastel Crochet Shawl

I started this project to get rid of some stash yarn in a quick and easy way!

I finally finished it yesterday after a few weeks of doing a bit here and there and not rushing it, basically.

It’s a very simple granny square crochet shawl and used 3 balls of yarn. I think I’m going to donate it or give it away as I already have a shawl in the same pattern that I made a couple of years ago which still works just fine!

The pattern I used was from a book called Shabby Chic Crochet by Agnieszka Strycharska. And I’ve done it 4 times now, using different weights and brands of yarn and it always works up well.

It’s actually a really good baby yarn which I’ve made into baby hats before (in different shades). It’s soft and has just a hint of sparkle in.

It’s called Baby Twinkle Prints DK by James C. Brett and you can get it from my favourite online knitting shop The Knitting Network (who also use eco-friendly methods of packaging for all their orders).

As I said, I’ve done this project several times with no problem, but can you see my tension changed about halfway through? That never happened on the other shawls!

I think I might have either crocheted looser or tighter or it was just a different ball of wool.

Either way it’s not too noticeable, although as the maker, it stands out like a sore thumb to me!

I’m quite pleased with this quick little project.

I have 5 tops that I’m either knitting or crocheting on the go at the moment, as well as a Halloween granny square blanket and sewing together a leather handbag. So, it was a nice break!


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Organising My Crafty Life

In the past month or so I’ve suddenly got my knitting mojo back after about 3 or 4 months of not really being bothered.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that I have so much stuff that it’s getting me down! Too many knitting or crochet projects I started that I don’t love anymore and aren’t likely to get finished any time soon.

So, I did a ruthless thing and did a purge!

I threw out 2 projects I started ages ago and just haven’t had the motivation to get back into them; the knitted shawl in amazing lovely autumn colours and the knitted socks which I couldn’t even finish the ribbing for!

They’ve gone!

I frogged them and saved the yarn…but no more working on them ever again!!

And, looking through my photos for the 2 above, I realised I threw out another project too. A knitted blanket in squares, which I’d only knitted the first square.

I frogged that too and made a crochet blanket last week! Wool used up…great!

Why did I take a picture of this ages ago from the back again?!

I did a big clear out and got rid of half used skeins of wool, scraps of fabric and things like that, that I’ll never use! I have so much more room in my craft drawers now.

I’ve also been trying to use up yarn that I’ve bought over the years without a project in mind. Such as these cute coloured pastel balls of yarn, but I never used because I don’t wear pastel garments!

So…I made a couple of baby hats, I’m knitting a baby cardigan with funky dark green and pink yarn and I started a shawl with the baby pastel yarn I had lying around.

And then with yarn leftover from those projects, I started a granny square cushion!

So, I’ve started a few projects lately with the aim of using up my stash.

A lot of my stash is acrylic and I want to start getting away from that. Acrylic is plastic basically, isn’t it? I want to use more natural fibres, but I don’t just want to chuck out everything I have…so I’m going to use it all up first.

I do love the colours of this yarn – the pics don’t do it justice and it is so soft and snuggly. But I only bought 1 or 2 balls of each colourway, so the projects are small that I’m doing to use it up!

It’s Baby Twinkle Prints DK by James C. Brett. You can grab it here from The Knitting Network if you want to have a look. I like The Knitting Network as they use paper not plastic packaging!


I’ve made a little bit of room so far…although I have about 10 tote bags with my knitting and crochet projects in them lying about!

I have 4 knitted jumpers and 1 crochet top I’m working on, with the yarn for a summer cotton vest (which won’t get finished before the winter comes lol!) and a lot of sock yarn still to work on. I also have 9 balls (!) of DK yarn to use up for a jumper as it was on offer!

And then there’s a few odd aran weight balls which I thought to make a baby blanket from, some cream and pink yarn for a jumper, and some chunky yarn for a cowl.

So, even when I finish the current projects, I have enough yarn to be using up until the end of this year without buying anything new!!

I’m gong Cold Sheep for the time being!

Well, I’m going to try to anyway!!!


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I Tried Plastic Free July

I don’t know when Plastic Free July became a thing – until this year, I’d certainly never heard of it before.

But I thought it was something I could have a go at. Usually I don’t jump on bandwagons…I like to watch them roll by! The thing is, I thought this was doable for one main reason…work!

I could pack my own lunchbox for work!!

So, what did I do?

I bought myself a glass water bottle from Wilkos for a measly £2.50 and it has worked perfectly as my workplace has a staff canteen where I can refill it with either water or squash.

I also bought myself a glass pyrex lunchbox and some metal reusable cutlery.

There is only one problem with all of the above and that is the very obvious ‘But Sarah, they’re made of glass!‘. Yes, yes they are! I proved I had the reflexes of a cat ninja the other day when my glass water bottle fell out of my locker.

Overall though, the plastic free lunches worked quite well. I still had the odd bottle of Coca Cola or Fanta…it’s a heatwave kind of summer you know? So, there were a few plastic items that slipped in.

The thing I did really well was that I started recycling MORE of my plastic last month. I didn’t realise my local supermarket took in soft plastics to recycle, so on the way to work lately I’ve been dropping off a plastic bag full of soft plastics to recycle. Soft plastics such as bread wrapping, food packaging, food bags etc.

I’ve used my local greengrocers more and opted for paper bags over plastic ones.

And as always I’ve brought my own shopping bags with me (such as the one below I designed myself for my Zazzle store).

tote bag woolly orbit zazzle

So, my ‘plastic free’ July was mostly focussed on food and shopping. I didn’t go completely free as it just wasn’t possible for me then. I got sick in July and something else cropped up and I had to just focus on a couple of things.

But I still class it as a success though as I got into the habit of thinking about plastic and I actually made a start!

What’s next?

I guess there’s always health and beauty products, but honestly, I’m not ready to completely change my period products just yet!

I do have some ideas for other things though; a selection of either sewn or knitted facecloths or pads, buying shampoo bars instead of bottles, hard soaps instead of in bottles etc.

And there’s always cleaning products for the home. I’m experimenting in finding the right dishcloth pattern with cotton yarn. I find cotton quite hard to knit with, so I’m still looking for the ‘perfect’ pattern.

Such as the ones below from a couple of months ago.

I did buy more cotton yarn in different colours, so I might have a go and see what I can make.

I quite like the colours and the texture of the yarn of James C. Brett’s It’s 100% Pure Cotton DK range. Another cotton yarn by James C. Brett which I’ve used in the past is Craft Cotton which is good for cotton dishcloths. You can get it from The Knitting Network here. It’s also quite cheap for a 100g ball in my opinion!

I quite like The Knitting Network as they don’t use any plastic in their packaging. I’ve ordered from them before and can recommend them!

I’m glad I tried Plastic Free July, even if I still bought and used some forms of plastic. It just goes to show how widespread it is in our lives. It’s also given me a bit of a push to look at how much plastic I’m using in other areas of my life, such as crafting and hobbies.

But more to come on that in another post!

For now, I’m going to continue using my glass bottle and just pray I don’t drop it!


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Blogging and Bits

It’s been a while since I did a bit of a life update post, so here’s all the crafty and non crafty bits I’ve left our for the past 6 months or so!

Work and Side Hustles

I’ve been working a lot lately as my contracted hours have gone up. I work in a supermarket and there are quite a few surprising perks…like the free flowers above! They were past their display by date and would have been thrown away so I took a couple of bunches home and they lasted over a week.

I also get the odd ‘score’ in the free colleague section in the staff room…potatoes, bread, carrots, herbs…they all have best before yesterday dates on but most of the fruit and veg is still edible!

The downside to working more hours at my actual job of course, is that the side hustle side of things inevitably slows down a bit. But May was prolific!

After months of not being bothered or doing the bare minimum, May was like someone lit a fire up my ass and I was away!!

I started to write and post more regularly on Medium and the stats have definitely gone up over there because of it. I’ve been working on a second WordPress blog about writing, doing all the boring backend stuff like banners and logos etc. Now it’s just the actual content to finish before launching.

I even opened a new Print on Demand store on Zazzle a couple of weeks ago and yesterday I got a couple of things with my design on to test the products – a keyring and a tote bag. Boring but useful products!

They came from the US within a week and a half of ordering, which is really fast for both manufacturing and shipping and I love the picture quality on both products. Sometimes when you print on fabric the design can get a little blurry, but not this time! Zazzle is looking to be the best platform so far.

The daylight is a bit weird so the light isn’t the best in the photo! But I’ve used it for shopping already!

tote bag woolly orbit zazzle

Zazzle has hundreds of products with the ability for the customer to personalise the designs which is unusual, so I still need to do a bit more research on that one, but the shop is live now. I also figured out how to put one of my designs on the sidebar of this blog. I mean, am I technical or what?!

As for my other print on demand sites...Society 6 has 44 designs as opposed to 12 at the beginning of May, and RedBubble has over 300 although that needs a thorough sort out!

So, print on demand is going well!


Some Random Garden and Plant Pics

And it was my parents wedding anniversary this month – a big one! So, naturally, they got lots of flowers!

My cactus that I called Mr Whippy (after a type of ice cream in the UK) has nearly doubled I size since I bought him. He’s a Cereus Forbesii Spiralis if you’re interested…and just look at the Mammillaria below it – my babies are having babies now!!


Books

I’m slowly getting through my to read pile.

I’ currently reading Walden and Side Hustle In Progress. Recently I finished Design Your Lief andBird By Bird with Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg finished at the end of April.

BUT… I bought another one yesterday, so as the pile diminishes, so does it accumulate!

I bought The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins. I read The God Delusion by him a couple of years ago and the language was so hard to read…so many big words, lol! This looks easier and more interesting!

So, that makes the current To Read List as follows:

  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  • The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins
  • Side Hustle In Progress by Elizabeth Ogabi
  • On Writing Well by William Zinser
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Knitting and Crochet and Sewing

I finished a blanket in the previous post, but I’ve not been crafting an awful lot thanks to doing a lot on the writing and designing side of things.

I have a few balls of neon yarn left from previous projects and a little bit from this project so I might just do a few more granny squares and see where that takes me.

You can’t really go wrong with a granny square can you?!

I want to finish a couple of projects so I can make a start on some summer knitting, but I have no motivation to craft at the minute…it’s writing and reading, but that’s OK as it comes in waves, doesn’t it?


Priorities

Pinterest is something I’ve let slide in the past few months. Considering it’s such a useful tool for side hustles, it’s a shame I did neglect it, but you know what? I find it both easy and awkward!

Easy to create and schedule pins in Canva and the whole uploading process isn’t difficult, it’s just it seems to take ages to get anywhere. Followers mean nothing as it’s more about trends and what people are searching for.

So, Pinterest is a priority for me in June and July.

As is knitting a summer top! I have a couple of vest patterns for cotton yarn – see below.

And I really want to finish a leather handbag that I started dying a few years ago, but just never got around to sewing it together!

And sewing! Gotta get back into sewing somehow!


This has sort of caught you all up on stuff.

There’s always more planned than I have time to do, never enough crafting time!!

But right now, it’s writing and print on demand that’s the main focus, not crafting.

But I’m sure I’ll get back into knitting and crochet soon!



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Crochet Blanket Finished

I haven’t done much crafting in the past few weeks. I’ve been busy doing other things!

But, I finally managed to get something off my hook. It was the easiest pattern I had on the go as I didn’t need to look at a pattern, being only a simple Granny Square Blanket. I didn’t have to think about what I was doing, I just carried on crocheting!

I used up spare yarn, 1 x blue ball and 2 x pink balls of STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK, which you can get here from The Knitting Network, if you’re so inclined. I used 2 x 1435 Bright Pink and I can’t remember the blue colour (but it was a nice bright, almost neon shade).

It’s not huge and I still have a bit of each colour left, I just didn’t think there was enough to go another round in each colour!

So, those scraps have now been added to my scraps bag and I’m almost at the point where I’ll have enough DK weight yarn to make a blanket completely out of scraps. Yay!

Not sure what to do with this one, maybe I’ll donate it again to Knit For Peace or a similar charity once I have a few to go in a box together.

The colours look all blown out with the lighting, but they are actually quite bright in real life.

I agree, it’s not very big! But it can be a pram blanket or even a doll’s blanket!

I can’t help thinking how gorgeous this would look as a cushion…maybe I’ll have to look into that!

Hope you’re having a crafty weekend x


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Yarn Acquisitions

I’ve bought so much yarn this month or so.

It’s like an explosion of wool in my house…I wanted to use up what I had first, but no such luck!

I’ve been inspired by colours and by other crafters. There’s a couple of YouTubers I’ve seen either mentioning a yarn or working on a pattern or type of garment and I’ve thought to myself something along the lines of “That looks good!”.

So, I thought I’d show you a few of my recent purchases and what I have planned for them.


First up is Lettlopi

I’ve heard of this Icelandic wool for a few months now and heard good things about it.

It’s rustic and natural and surprisingly affordable. It’s also supposed to be very warm and whilst it’s very rustic and stiff when you first buy it, I believe it’s also supposed to soften in the wash as you wear it.

It feels matte. I don’t know how to describe it other than it’s not smooth.

I’m looking forward to trying this, and of course as it’s Icelandic wool it’s got to be knitted up into a jumper. I just HAVE to!

Since I only bought 2 balls to see what it was like, I’m going to wait until I finish a few projects before casting anything on as I’m running out of room to put all the project bags (and the projects) that I’m currently working on!

Next is Cotton

I don’t normally knit or crochet with cotton as I find it too slippery and it makes my hands ache a bit trying to get the perfect tension.

But I’ve seen a few people using plant based fibres and I realised I’ve mostly used acrylic and other man made fibres with the odd mix of wool thrown in too.

There’s a YouTube channel called We Grow Wild that I follow. The lady is living in Italy and she is currently using plant based fibres such as cotton and bamboo etc. to make some pretty beautiful garments. One thing she made was a bralette which I thought looked good for the summer and another was a white leaf top (which I am amazed she made so quickly).

Now, I’m not a bralette kind of person. I’m a plus-sized woman who doesn’t get her belly button out ever. EVER! But you can make them longer into camisole type tops and I think I’ve found the perfect pattern!

Sirdar have released a new cotton and acrylic mix yarn called Stories and they’ve released quite a few summer patterns to go with it. I bought 2 from Wool Warehouse (the paper versions as I like to write on them sometimes!).

I bought a camisole type top and a vest top to be made in cotton yarn. I haven’t started either yet but they are in my queue!

So, I have 2 balls of Sirdar Stories to try and 3 balls of James C. Brett 100% Cotton as well. I’m thinking the yellow colour for the camisole top and the pink for the vest…but the vest can use a variety of colours as it’s striped or I could just make up the stripes or colours as I go along.

And Finally Another Jumper!

I got these 4 balls (2 pink and 2 cream) on impulse from a garden centre of all places!

They are by Robin and are 100g DK weight. I think the pink and cream are going to look pretty awesome together!

I don’t have a pattern lined up except for wanting to make another jumper. But again I need to finish one of the five I already have on the go before I cast on any more!


I finished the majority of this post…and then I bought myself 2 balls of cotton yarn in burnt orange (the same make as the yellow cotton above) and another pattern for a summer vest.

Let’s not mention the 9 balls of DK dark green yarn that were on sale for £1 each…or the expensive ball of aran weight hand-dyed yarn I got from a local yarn store.

I have just had an explosion of cast ons and purchases in spring after a winter of not much crafting.

But that’s how it is sometimes, you go phases.

Recently I haven’t been crafting that much even though I’ve casted on a lot and been really inspired by patterns and people. I’ve been reading lots. Trying to get through some unfinished books.

Too bad I can’t knit and read at the same time!!


Try Dying Your Fabric With Ice For Cool Effects

My friend Lizzie bought me an ice dying kit for Christmas (thank you!) and I’ve only just now found the time to have a go.

The results are pretty cool if I do say so myself!

I’d never heard of ice dying until she bought me the kit but basically you place ice cubes onto a piece of fabric, sprinkle over powdered fabric dye and as the ice melts it makes some really funky patterns depending on whether you scrunch up the fabric beforehand.

I think it’s supposed to give a kind of tie-dye effect.

I placed my fabric on a baking rack over a baking tray (I didn’t have a bowl or bucket wide enough for the fat quarter so I used a tray).

I also folded my fabric into 4 quarters and laid it flat.

Once the ice had melted I realised that on the bottom the baking rack had made a striped pattern which was quite interesting! All 4 quarters had different patterns, I’m just waiting for it all to dry before I decide what to do with it.

So, if you want to have a go at something different and easy to (you could do this with kids it’s so easy!) then this is definitely an option!

My First TOP DOWN SWEATER is a Go!

I’ve wanted to try a top down sweater for AGES but never found the right pattern or had the right needles etc.

But now the excuses are over!

I bought my first pattern from Ravelry (after years of only looking at the freebies!) from Jennifer Steingass. I’m doing the Dreyma Sweater in brown and cream.

And what’s more it’s my first garment in natural fibres which haven’t been dyed.

The yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners in an aran weight. I chose a dark brown and a nice cream in their Jacob Aran range. It’s 100% British wool and as far as I know it hasn’t been dyed.

You can get it here from The Knitting Network if you want, I love the feel of it. As someone who usually knits with acrylic, it’s nice to try something a little different!

I had to buy a few sets of needles as my local yarn shops only do 80cm circulars…I mean, there are so many other sizes we need! Don’t people ask for the 40cm, 60cm or 100cm ones?!!!

I found some Addi circular ones from Wool Warehouse online, they’re a bit more expensive than the ones I’ve been used to, but OMG they feel so much better to knit with!

I’ve done the collar so far, did that in an afternoon and then realised that going from 40cm to 80cm was too much so ordered a 60cm circular needle and we’ll see how that goes. It just came in the post today from Wool Warehouse, so they have super fast shipping for a regular shipping fee.

I don’t knit in the round much so I’m sure it’ll be fiddly until I increase a few more stitches for the yoke when I can use bigger needles.

I’m loving it so far though!

Here’s what it looks like at the moment:

I’m onto the first round of the yoke except I’ve done it wrong and will have to unpick the white stitches.

I’m kind of stuck with the ‘No Stitch’ squares on the colour work pattern. I don’t understand how to actually go about doing a no stitch!! That sounds ridiculous but do I slip stitches or what? I’ve sen instructions online that tell you to ignore the stitches and just stitch what you get told too…but then the yarn must stretch over the stitches that haven’t been stitched?

Where is that emoji with the head exploding? My mind isn’t blown out of awe it’s being blown at how simple yet confusing this is for me. Never mind, I’ll figure it out.

I’m still loving having something in the round to work on even if there are a few awkward bits.


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Scrap busting…dishcloths, blankets and more!

I have a lot of wool.

A LOT OF WOOL!

And frankly, some of it is old and boring.

I maybe bought it for projects that never materialised or simply just bought it on impulse. Whatever the reason for it all being in my gigantic yarn stash, it needs to be used up…so I can find the room to fit more yarn in of course.

So, in the past week or so, I’ve done a few short projects to use up some leftovers.

Knitted Dishcloths

First, I made a few dishcloths with some 100% cotton I had leftover. I don’t normally like knitting with cotton as I find I have to hold it quite tightly and it hurts my hands after a little while.

And in full disclosure (I really wanted to write dish-closure here!), I don’t even use these kinds of dishcloths haha!

I know a few people who do, so they might get a few as a random gift the next time I see them.

I really like this yarn though, for all that I might whinge about cotton, this feels really nice and comes in some vibrant sunny colours.

It’s by James C. Brett and I believe it’s called It’s 100% Pure Cotton. I’m using shade IC08 below.

So far, I’ve done a waffle stitch pattern and a simple garter stitch one. Since I don’t use them, I’m not really sure how big to make them, so I’ll do a variety and see what works.

The waffle stitch

Cast on an even number of stitches

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: Knit

Row 3: K1, P1

Row 4: K1, P1

Repeat those 4 rows for as long as you want it. The front looks like squares and the back is textured too, so I quite like this simple stitch!

Below on the left is the back of the dishcloth and the front on the right.

The back looks pretty cool too, though doesn’t it?!


Knitted Blanket

I’ve had a pattern for a knitted blanket that I ripped out of a magazine years ago. There are 9 large squares and 3 patterns.

A complicated cabled centre square, 4 stocking stitch squares and 4 other cabled squares (with a simpler cable pattern).

I’ve done one square in aran leftovers so far, just a simple stocking stitch one that I can sit out in the garden with and not have to keep looking at a pattern. It’s not as big as I thought it would turn out to be, so I might have to do more squares or a huge border. Not sure yet. Maybe I’ll just see what it looks like stretched out and sewn together!

I’m using darker, maybe more autumnal colours, like orange and grey instead of the pastel colours of the pattern.

I’m not really a pastel person, you know?!

And since I didn’t think 4 balls were going to enough as the square below used up more than half a ball…I went and bought 2 more balls of a beautiful blue/ green colour.

Just in case.

The yarn is Stylecraft Special Aran and I’m using the following 3 colours: 1062 Teal, 1063 Graphite and 1029 Copper.

You can get the same yarn from The Knitting Network here.

I’m looking at the photo below and I’m wondering if I took the photo of the back by mistake. I was so sure it was the front. Ooops!


That’s just a couple of things I’m doing to use up my stash. I have quite a few other projects on the go at the moment and it’s getting to the point where I need to finish something before I cast on anything else!

I have a few half balls of chunky yarn, a couple of DK weight yarn and a few odd bits in either 4ply or aran, so I can’t use all my scraps in one blanket project…more the pity.

I’ve seen a few patterns for chunky hats, so I might have a go at that. We’ll see. I have one bag of leftovers left, so it’s not too dire at the moment.

What’s dire is the fact that my drawers and boxes are overflowing with full balls and hanks of yarn ready to be knitted up into projects, hahaha!


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C2C Crochet Cowl

Look at that title for some awesome alliteration!

I started this on Sunday 10 April and had it finished the day after.

It helps when you use chunky yarn and a large hook of course, though!

The yarn is Marble Chunky by James C. Brett in MC9.

It comes in 200g balls and is 100%acrylic

You can get the yarn here from The Knitting Network. It comes in so many beautiful shades, I’ve used the red/ pink and the dark purple colours before. And there used to be a really dark brown one that they stopped doing that I loved. So much yarn goodness to choose from!

I’ve always loved the Marble Chunky range, for years and years it’s been one of my favourites and it’s only in the last month or so that I bought some more of it as it was on sale in my local yarn store (£2 instead of £6…come on I just HAD to buy 3 balls of it!).

This cowl is just for me. I have one and a half balls of it leftover so I’m not sure what to do with it…maybe a matching hat? Hmmm….one to ponder!

I figured out how to make a square pattern into a rectangular one as I went along and I really love how the colours have striped up. I think you’d miss the stripes if you made a blanket or something much larger than this.

I’m really pleased to have a finished object to show (even though it wasn’t on any of my crafty to-do lists) and that I completed it the second week after surgery so it means I’m feeling better if I can craft something super quick!

Hope you all had a great weekend and managed to get lots of crafting done! 🙂


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Q1 Makes and Creations

I don’t normally measure my life or crafting life in quarters…but why not for the sake of keeping count?!

What have I made or done so far in January, February and March 2022? Let’s take a look and see!

Knitting

I have cast on a LOT of things, but don’t have many finished objects yet. Here is what I actually managed to finish:-

  • I made a baby hat using up neon yarn I had spare from previous projects and donated it to charity (no pic)
  • Not finished, but I’ve done a few more rows on my sock yarn shawl. It’s taking ages coz it’s 4-ply!
  • Again, not finished, but I’ve done some more of my lone sock!

What have I cast on this year so far?

  • Grey fisherman’s rib tunic
  • Chunky grey cabled sweater
  • Green tunic top
  • Pink cowl

Crochet

I’ve been loving getting back into crochet, which sort of got put on the back burner for the last few years apart from the odd granny square or two.

Finished objects include:-

  • Pink and purple granny square blanket
  • Baby blanket in yellows and greens
  • Orange baby blanket
  • Pumpkin colours granny square blanket
  • Blue and green blanket for a friend (C2C)
  • Cowl for me using up neon yarn

And I’ve also cast on a few projects here too…

  • Crochet top
  • Pink and blue granny square blanket to use up scraps
  • C2C cowl with brown James C. Brett yarn


The thing with both knitting and crochet this year, is that instead of just looking at patterns, I’ve also been buying them!

A v-neck sweater by Petite Knits.

A few patterns by Jennifer Steingass on Ravelry. I decided that her Dreyma sweater was going to be my ‘Fair Isle’ top down sweater that I wanted to use my natural aran weight undyed wool for. So, once I have a top or two out of the way, this will get cast on pretty quick!

And I’ve noticed on every single knitting podcast that I come across on Youtube they mention the Ranunculus sweater. I looked at it and I looked some more and eventually I left it at just looking. But if the pattern comes in different weight options…well, Aran weight is my favourite and I might have to try it as a thicker version (instead of the thinner lacier version).

Not that I have to follow other people’s trends…but I can totally see why people do more than one option.


Sewing

Nope!

LOL…so many plans and so little motivation to set up all the million pieces I seem to need to just sew a bag or two! I just haven’t been bothered is the short answer here.

But I’m sure, like Austin Powers, I’ll get my mojo back somehow!


Books

I’ve not been as prolific this year with reading as with other years, but I’ve managed a book or two.

What have I read so far?

  • The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
  • Happy by Fearne Cotton
  • Make It Happen by Jordanna Levin

I’m in the middle of Walden by Henry David Thoreau and Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott.

On my to read list are:

  • On Writing Well by William Zinsnerr
  • The Stars, Like Dust by Isaac Asimov
  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

As you can see, not an exhaustive list. And I’ve been saving On Writing Well for when I feel like I have more mental headspace to process it. I’ve been so tired in the last few months that I’ve just left things to one side if I can’t find the will to tackle it head on. It seems like one of those books you have to process and make notes on! Or at the very least highlight some passages!

As for Walden…the idea of someone just leaving modern life behind and upping sticks to live in a cabin you built in the woods for a year or two is incredibly modern and almost ‘hippyish’. Is that the word? It’s alternative and whilst most people nowadays wouldn’t bat an eyelid at someone trying something like that, I’m pretty sure they would have in the 1800’s which is when it was written.

I just find it fascinating that people would choose the ‘oddball life’ in the 1800’s as they would now!!


Miscellaneous

I haven’t really done much else to be honest. I haven’t done much baking and the other odd bits on ly lists still to do are, well, still to do!

Like my leather handbag which needs finishing or the ice dying fabric kit that a friend got me for Christmas…I just haven’t had the time!

I also haven’t written much on Medium, which is a shame because I love it over there.

As for print on demand?

I made a couple of alphabets and a few other tiny designs, I’m around 250 designs on RedBubble now. That’s going well. People in Australia seem to like a particular cushion design of mine, I sold a couple whilst I was off work last week.

Here’s my shop if you’re nosy!

And I’m wanting to get back to that quite soon. It’s spurred me on to get to 300 designs!!

This is what people have been loving lately! It’s such a simple design too…

I want to do more crafty designs for knitting and crochet. Just simple ones. I am not a graphic designer after all and it probably shows!

I’d like to do more along these lines:

There’s a few other things regarding online creations and ideas but for now I’ll leave it there otherwise this post will be hours long to read!


Q1 could be summed up with the fact that I’ve suddenly started casting on like crazy and wanting to get back into things that have been put aside for a while over winter.

Spring is here along with the brighter days and I want to get stuck into things.

My goals for the next quarter is to finish one of 4 tops I have on the go with my knitting and crochet before I cast on another (yeah, we’ll see how that goes!) and to try to finish that damned knitted sock! 🙂

We’ll see. No rush or pressure for anything though…

Green Knitted Tunic Progress

I’ve actually done some knitting on my top!

I know, I know, you were worrying about it only being cast on and no stitches done for quite a while now, but rest assured, you can breathe easy now! I’ve actually done some more on it!

I finished the moss stitch border at the bottom and am now on the main pattern part, which aside from the moss stitch sides is all stocking stitch on 4mm needles so is going a lot faster.

I wasn’t in the mood for much knitting or anything at all last week, all things considered (I spent the time recuperating after surgery) but this week I feel awake and much more mobile so I’ve been working away at the green top and even started a new crochet project!

But I’ll show that in another post. For now, here is what I have so far and a pic of what it is supposed to look like when finished…

Yes, it’s not a huge amount done, but it’s something! And there is absolutely no rush for it to get finished.

I’m finding that after a good six months of hardly any projects on the go at the same time, I’m really liking casting on a lot of things at once!

I could never be a truly monogamous knitter. I guess it’s shiny new object syndrome!

March Craft Goals Met?

A few weeks ago I posted a few crafty goals for March, let’s see what I’ve been able to get done shall we?

I think I may have been a little bit ambitious with the amount and the size of these goals, though!

I’ve been busy with work and I was ill the last week of March, so although last week I got lots of knitting done, I haven’t really been focussing on crafting.

I finished a book last night by Isaac Asimov called The Gods Themselves, so I’ve also been doing reading too. So little time to do all the things!


Crafting Goals

Sewing

  • Do something with denim fabric I got for Christmas – maybe a bag?
  • Find a skirt or top pattern for the dark denim I bought myself a few weeks ago.
  • Use up old wool fabric for a draught excluder (the front door is VERY chilly!).
  • Use up old fat quarters and zips and make some zipper bags.
  • Go through all my sewing patterns and get rid of the ones I am realistically never going to use!

NOPE! Haven’t done any sewing and in all honesty I probably won’t do any at all this month…they roll over to April Goals!

Knitting

  • Work more on my grey top in Fisherman’s Rib. I’ve done a few inches on the front but I’ve put it aside for a few weeks as I’ve been working so much!
  • Try and finish a sock that I cast on a while back, literally only a few cm done on the top cuff rib at the moment.
  • I cast on a green sweater a few weeks ago and haven’t touched it since, so, try and do the rib at the bottom as it’s on quite small needles so might take a while.
  • Sock yarn shawl – just do a few rows, it’s getting long to finish a row now.
  • Measure and design a top down sweater with aran natural fibre I got for Christmas. Or just find the right pattern!

I’ve done more on the 1st and 3rd points, even getting onto the main body pattern for my green sweater, yet I’ve hardly done any more on the others.

Crochet

  • Finish pink and purple granny square blanket. Not much yarn left, so just finish what I have for a few more rows and then see what size it is! FINISHED!
  • Do some more on my bright pink and blue granny square blanket, not much done so far.
  • Finish top piece of my crochet top. I’m crocheting the front, which has the sleeves and yoke bit all in one if that makes sense? So, it’s taking a little while to do a single row, but it’s looking good so far!
  • Make a hat with scrap yarn.

I started another crochet blanket which sort of took over all of my crochet headspace. That’s about 2/3 done and I did manage to finish a baby blanket out of scrap yarn (1st point above) so that was good!

Miscellaneous

  • Ice dying kit to do with fabric.
  • Leather handbag to pick up and sew together with saddle stitch. All the pieces are dyed and ready to go.
  • Get back into baking bread again, haven’t done any in AGES!

NOPE to all of the miscellaneous items!


Conclusion

Too many projects mean not much progress with many.

Also, I started extra projects that weren’t on the list which takes away from the intended goals.

I cast on another granny blanket and a baby knitted hat with spare yarn and sent them to Knit For Peace. The pics below were all donated, as well as some I didn’t take photos of:

My main priorities now are my green and grey knitted tops. And a new chunky knitted top I recently cast on.

I want to get back to my crochet top too.

Everything else can wait!!!

Except…I did buy a pattern for a v-neck tank top (or sweater vest, whatever you want to call it) from Petite Knits and I REALLY want to cast that on too…

No, concentrate on finishing what I have on the go already before I cast on any more…but it’s hard!