March Goals

It’s funny that my last post was almost a month ago…so much for posting every day in February!

But, you know what? Life got busy and I had a lot of hours at work last month and when you get in late at night, you just don’t feel like blogging…or doing much else at all!

But, this week I’m off and I’m back to writing and blogging with a vengeance, so what better at the start of a new month to set some goals? I love reading other people’s goals posts, yes, I’m sad like that!

So, what do I want to achieve with my crafting first of all, and then what do I want to get done with life and everything else?

I’m saying goals for March, but let’s face it, some of these will probably roll over into April or even May!


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!

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!

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!
  • 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.

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!

Work/ Life Goals

  • Schedule a week’s worth of posts in advance for this blog and on Medium. I’ve neglected both a little bit recently.
  • Get up to 500 designs on RedBubble by the end of March (I’m about halfway there already).
  • Get up to 50 designs on Society 6, oh what a pain it is to upload on that site!
  • Launch my 2 other blogs I have waiting in the wings…just how am I going to find the time to write so much content?!
  • Do more with Pinterest.
  • Publish my book which is about 2/3 done, most of the printables are done I just need to do the actual writing, like the introduction and conclusion etc.
  • Launch/ ope my Etsy store with printables to download and print yourself at home.

  • See more of my home county! I feel like there are lots of places in Yorkshire that I haven’t been to even though I’ve lived here for years!
  • Do more Yoga – either DVDs or from Youtube.
  • Do something physical, either cycling, or go to the gym. The ‘worry’ about going to the gym is starting to ease a bit now the pandemic is lessening (is that the word?).
  • Finish all the books on my shelf. Only 5 to read and I’m halfway through one.

What I really want to do this year is use stuff up.

Read all my books and either donate or sort out somehow those that I’m not likely to read again etc.

Use up my wool and fabric stashes before buying any more of either. There is literally NO ROOM for any more!

Just make some space and get rid of the old things that are taking up space and that I’m fed up of!

I’m making headway on that already. I’ve already made a bright neon cowl that I started to crochet on my lunch break at work and finished at home the next day. I just have a tiny bit of neon wool left now and I’m not sure what to do with that. I’d love to crochet a pair of wrist warmers but I don’t think there’s enough yarn left!

Anyway, that’s my rough goals for March. It’s a lot, but it’s all doable as long as I plan my time carefully and get motivated!

What are your plans for this month?

Aside from relaxing and taking time for yourself of course!

The grey fisherman’s rib sweater progress below as well as books I’m reading now, a crochet blanket I’m nearly finished and my sock yarn shawl progress!

Ah, the colours look so good on this scrap yarn pink and purple crochet blanket!

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Current Knitting WIPs

After finishing my orange knitted jumper last week, I now have more time to concentrate on knitting other items. Here’s a list of what’s on my needles at the moment.

Sock Yarn Shawl

I’m doing a simple garter stitch shawl in 4ply sock yarn. I started this at the end of last year, and I’ve only just picked it up again, but honestly, there’s no rush for this, so it’s my ‘do a few rows here and there’ kind of project. I love the colours and I’ve only done about 30 rows. Slow going but fun going!

The yarn is by West Yorkshire Spinners (Passionfruit Cooler colour)and you can get it here from The Knitting Network:

https://tidd.ly/3F8P23Y

Socks

I cast on the first sock yesterday and I’ve just done a rows of ribbing so far. I hate using DPNs but I’m determined to get the hang of socks. I have so much sock yarn to use up!

I’m doing a basic vanilla sock yarn pattern by Winwick Mum and it’s going well so far.

I’ve done a lone, single sock before many years ago. That took me 3 weeks to do and put me off doing the other one! So, I’m starting all over again, with a different pattern and yarn and we’ll try and make it to 2 socks this time, shall we?!

Baby Cardigan Test Knit

A friend is having a baby in December and I wanted to try a raglan cardigan pattern. I really hate raglan patterns, but I like the look of the finished object! I tried to knit myself a raglan jumper a few years ago and struggled with sewing it together as I found the sleeves really awkward!

This is just a quick knit in a newborn size and so far I’ve done the fronts and back pieces and 1 sleeve, with the 2nd sleeve rib done and now I’m working on the main part of it. Then I just need to sew it all together and do the button bands and neck edgings.

If I like the look of it and think it wasn’t too bad to sew up, then I’ll cast on another one in a different colour yarn! With matching hat, mitts and bootees of course!

Baby Blanket

I think quite a few posts ago I said I wanted to knit the same friend an entrelac blanket. Well, that’s been changed slightly as I think that would take me AGES to make and 2 months isn’t enough time! So, I’m doing a different lace pattern blanket and that’s going to be quite small, so ideal for a pram. And I’m also making a squishy crochet blanket (see below) which will be bigger and have more uses.

I chose a dark pink and purple held double as I’m sure she’ll be getting a lot of baby pink items (for a girl) and I thought this was a different option to stand out. We’ll see what it looks like finished.

I tried to hold it up against the light so you could see the pattern, not sure if you can but it looks good so far.

Crochet Baby Blanket

A simple corner to corner crochet blanket. I have 3 balls of chunky yarn, I might see if I can do 2 for the increases and 2 for the decreases (obviously I need to get another ball of yarn).

So, that’s it for now.

Christmas is coming up and I wanted to knit a few small baubles and things, but honestly, I knitted so much Christmas stuff last year, that it isn’t even a priority right now. The baby things first and then I might see if I can cast on a tank top (sweater vest) for my Dad…I might get it started before Christmas, but I probably won’t get it finished!

And Christmas socks for me with Christmas sock yarn…and I have lots of spare DK yarn, so something to do with that…and neon yarn…

So many things I want to start, but I have 5 things on the go for definite now!

I think that’s enough to be getting on with…


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Crochet Shawl

Ta dah! It is done!

I love the colours and the feel of the yarn- so soft!

The pattern was from a book called Shabby Chic Crochet by Agnieszka Strycharska and the yarn is Stylecraft Cabaret DK, I used a 4mm hook and it crocheted up quite quickly really, despite the fact I only seemed to do a row or two here and there.

It is big enough to wrap around your shoulders comfortably and keep your neck and shoulders warm.

Here is what it looks like:

I already have the same shawl in blues and rainbow colours, so I’m not sure what to do with this one! I just made it to use up the yarn to be honest 🙂

Now I have 3 knitting projects to finish and I will be mostly caught up. A jumper, a knitted shawl and that neon Fair Isle bag. I think that one will be finished before the others but we’ll see. I’ve been doing so much digital work lately that crafting has just been put to one side.

But, it’s Spring, it’s Easter and there have been days last week that felt like Summer. So, it’s time to get crafting again. I do love to sit in the garden in Summer and do some knitting!

Loom Knit Cowl

Using up this leftover yellow yarn has taken a while…I’ve managed to make a loom hat and cowl out of it with enough leftover to make a pom pom for the hat.

I knitted the cowl on a straight loom, only a small size as I generally prefer thinner scarves and cowls. Those pictures of oversized super chunky scarves look nice on the catwalk but are they really so practical? Ten steps and I overheat!!

So, I prefer little ones that I can wrap around my neck two or three times.

Using a knitting loom makes the stitches a bit looser in my opinion, at least with hand knitting you can control the tension easier, with loom knitting it isn’t as though you can go up or down a needle. For this project I don’t mind it being a bit looser as the yarn is soft and snuggly.

Now I have a cowl, two hats and a knitted headband with this yarn. 🙂

Yellow Knitted Cowl
Loom Knitted Cowl using King Cole Chunky…so snuggly!

Neon Fair Isle Bag – WIP Update

It’s looking quite bright that’s for sure!!

I’ve finished the front and am now about 6 or 7cm into the back. I’m not rushing this project to be honest, just dipping in here and there.

I am really pleased with the first side except for the cast off row at the top. You can’t see the black ribbing because the picture is too dark, but the pattern says to do the ribbing, then purl a row and then cast off in a different colour, which I did, but now, looking at the photo in the book, I think whoever knitted up the bag for the photo purled and then cast off in the same colour because mine looks a little strange on the edge.

I think once I finish the back, I will do the ribbing, purl row and cast off all in black and see if that looks any better and then go back and unpick the yellow cast off edge and re-do it in black.

I hate unpicking, but I think this is going to bug me if I don’t!

I had an idea for the cord though.

The pattern basically says to plait 3 different colours together and add pom-poms, which is OK, but I thought, what if I make an I-cord? Which I have never knitted before by the way.

BUT knitting it on needles would take forever, so I thought I would give my French Knitting Doll a try. I bought it years ago and once I realised it was for I-cords put it aside and have never even tried it…this could be the perfect project to have a go with it. 🙂

It’s not a huge bag, in fact it’s quite tiny – I have NO idea what I’m going to use it for, I just liked the idea of a neon Fair Isle bag, and I mean, let’s face it…who doesn’t like the sound of that?!!! x

WOOL!!!

wool yarn

Head Over Heels (Stylecraft) sock yarn was half price so I had to. I HAD TO!!!

And then I saw some recycled aran wool from King Cole called Forest and thought that would be good for a Fair Isle cowl I have been wanting to do for ages, and the colours are natural looking shades (but they have been dyed). It feels soft but sturdy.

Each colour way is named after a forest and is made from 100% recycled materials.

35% wool, 20% acrylic, 20% polyamide and 25% viscose

So much for going cold sheep…

DAY #3 Favourite Thing I Have Ever Made

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #3

Favourite thing I have ever made

Well, where do I start with this one? I have made so many things from so many different materials. Also, what are the exact judging criteria?!!

I generally go for easy, quick-ish knits and bits. I like to knit and crochet blankets, cowls and hats. I am only just now starting with the sweater knitting after about 5 or 6 years of knitting. I am late to that party.

One of my all time crochet faves is this shawl I made with Stylecraft Cabaret DK, I don’t know the shades but I did 2 balls of a multi-coloured shade and then 2 balls of a grey/ blue shade.

It is so soft and snuggly and I used up yarn I had already and best of all…I crocheted it in the sun last year during lockdown 2020. Something beautiful and practical out of being stuck at home. Pattern from a book called Shabby Chic Crochet designed by Agnieszka Strycharska.

Another of my all-time favourite (non knitting or crochet related) makes was this recipe design I cross-stitched at university. As if I didn’t have enough to do then!!

I have kept it hidden away for all these years until last year, when I got out my hot glue gun and stuck it to the front of a spare notebook I had and it is now my hand-written recipe book. Of course, it doesn’t look as glamorous inside…

The pattern was from a cross stitching magazine with a free calendar and the pattern was in the calendar, I can’t remember anything else about it than that!! Possibly Cross Stitcher or World of Cross-Stitching magazines??

I also love this granny blanket I made last year using up Double Knitting scraps. It’s bright and funky coloured and eye-catching and is currently on my bed on top of my duvet as it’s getting cold here. Last night was -3C BRRRR!!

crochet granny square blanket
crochet granny square blanket

As for knitting? It’s hard to pick a favourite. Probably all of the mini Christmas makes I did last year. I bought 3 volumes of pattern books from a website called Deramores. They were called Christmas Knits by King Cole Yarns. And I knitted baubles, stockings, a Christmas pudding tea cosy, Christmas hanging trees…so much festive goodness!

knitted stocking
mini knitted stocking
tea cosy
knitted bauble
knitted bauble

So, yeah, that’s a few of my favourite makes. I realised when writing this post, I don’t actually have a lot of pics of things I have made. Every so often I have to make more memory space available and I go through and delete photos, but also I just don’t take many pics! I am not the best photographer in the world…

Also, a lot of the favourites have been given away to friends and family.

What are your favourite makes?

DAY #2 Favourite Yarn Brand

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #2

Favourite Yarn Brand

I have always loved James C. Brett, especially their Marble Chunky range – I have made so many things for both myself and other people from it. It knits up really well and fast and is chunky and warm.

I have used quite a few different yarns from both King Cole and Stylecraft. Usually the cheap acrylic ones – either 100% acrylic or a mix with either polyester or wool.

I tend to shy away from 100% wool as it can be a bit itchy and scratchy for me.

A brand I have only recently started to use is Hayfield. I like their aran yarn which I used for my Christmas stockings. It’s bright and soft.

So…I would say I don’t go for the expensive or luxury brands!!

The trouble I find with most brands, including the ones above, are that most of them are made in other countries like Turkey, and the fact that the material is acrylic and not the most eco-friendly. No-one has forced me to buy acrylic and I don’t want to sound like a yarn snob, I like the feel of acrylic yarns and the fact that they usually wear well, like they stand up well to a washing machine in my experience.

In the future I definitely want to use more British spun and dyed yarns and more natural fibres such as wool or alpaca. I have never tried a bamboo yarn before, so that is on my list.

style craft cabaret DK