Jumping back in…

…as if I’d never been away! It’s been a long time, and the longer I leave it to blog, the more intimidated I feel. So I’ve decided just to hop in and write as if it hasn’t been months and months and just get on with it.

Cheeky found out how to put loom bands together last week, and is totally immersed in constructing bracelets now. So far we’ve just had simple bracelets but I don’t think it’ll be long before he wants a proper loom. I think he’ll enjoy having a go at all the little superheroes you can make!

Here’s a selection so far. I’ll be studying YouTube later – apparently I’m learning to make a Starburst, whatever that is!

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And here are the artists at work earlier;

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A lovely surprise gift!

I’m a member of a group on Ravelry called the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup. The purpose of the group is to inspire all the members to knit, crochet, weave etc at least one thing each month. Each project you submit gets you points for your ‘house’. I’ve been a member for nearly three years now, and the people there are so friendly. They’re really supportive in good times and bad. As a fabulous example, look what I got a couple of weeks ago;

The blanket is made up ( as you can see) of nine squares, made by five other members of the group and then pieced together and sent to me by one of them as well. What a lovely gift to get! These people have never met me, and in all likelihood never will other than on the internet and yet they took the time and trouble to make this for my new baby. She’s a very lucky little girl! It’s been in use every day, and I can see that it’ll be useful for a long time to come, either as a playmat or to keep her warm whilst she’s sleeping. One of my friends suggested that it might become her snuggle blanket which would comfort her when she’s off colour. However it’s used, I’m sure it will be well used and well loved!

 

Getting busy

Until we get past exchanging contracts I’m not getting busy packing boxes, so I’m making the most of these last few days to sit down as much as possible, and also to knit as much as I have time for. I get the impression that February might be a bit of a write off, craft wise, and I’ve got a cardigan which I’m making for myself that I’d like to be able to wear this winter. I’m nearly up to the armpits now, so I’m reasonably confident I will finish it before the weather warms up significantly. Hopefully I’ll have a picture of where I’m up to by the end of the week. Hopefully, also by the end of the week, I should have photos of a pile of boxes!

Bonus Baby, judging by the size of me, is growing well (23 weeks tomorrow!). I’m getting regular internal gymnastics displays, which are really reassuring, and I’m starting to let myself plan more. I’ve got a line of jumpers and cardigans queued up, both in my mind and on Ravelry.com to make before May! My sister-in-law is hoping that I’ll be making a couple of matching jumpers for Bonus Baby and my niece – could be good, even if only for the photos we’ll be able to show them when they’ve grown up!

Next week will be all about planning for the move some more. I’ve worked out a couple more places that I could stack a pile of boxes in the flat, so I’m not quite so concerned that I’ll need to pile boxes up on the front lawn now! I’m also going to have to clear out some more rubbish, which on the plus side means I’ll have less to pack!

My three boys (I include my husband in that!) are treating me like a princess. Regular drinks and food are provided by one or the other, together with unlimited cuddles and back rubs. And when GG and Cheeky went out for bread and milk a couple of evenings ago, they came back with red roses for me. I could get used to this! It makes the stiff joints and the slowing down completely worth it!

Challenges

New Year’s resolutions are so old hat, don’t you think?! Most people I know have eschewed formal resolutions this year, perhaps they’ve gone out of fashion. Or maybe it’s because most of us recognise that most resolutions are abandoned by the end of January, which makes us a little discontented and miserable through February.

I have made no resolutions this year. I have aims, which are softer, less structured things with correspondingly less mental self-flagelation if I fail in any of them! I aim to stay happy and as unstressed as is possible (with a house move coming up soon) for the remainder of the winter. I aim to take a second before I speak and try not to snap at my children, although this will definitely be easier if I feel happy and moderately unstressed! I aim to cut down on my refined sugar intake, beginning soon. This will be challenging, especially with the amount of chocolate we have left in the house since Christmas, but I will have to try. And of course there are the yarnie challenges.

I’ve not thought these out very clearly yet, I just know I want to knit more! Last year was a bit of a non-starter for me, craft wise, and I’m hoping to pick up where I left off before the desire to make things vanished in the mist. I’ve made a good start so far this year, planning the cardigan I mentioned last week and picking out some other patterns that I’d like to try soon. I’ve also entered myself into a challenge on Ravelry to knit up 1500 yards of yarn a month. This is a lot, but at about fifty yards a day I think it’s achievable if I get back into the habit of knitting whilst I’m sitting down relaxing in the evenings. Most of the time my knitting doesn’t involve me studying a pattern to the exclusion of everything around me, so I’ll still be able to chat with GG and enjoy a couple of programmes on the TV whilst I work. I’ve already got a couple of projects under my belt.

These are slipper socks for Cheeky, who is seven and a half now and wearing (I think) size 12.5 shoes. They are made out of superwash blue faced leicester wool in a heavy aran weight on (I think) 6mm needles. The plan is to dye the socks, and Cheeky has asked that they be dyed red and yellow. Hmm, I did warn him that he might get some orange patches in between the red and yellow, but he didn’t seem to mind too much! Once they’re dyed, I have a bottle of this liquid rubber or latex or something which you apply to the soles of the socks in order to make them less slippy. I mostly knitted them at the end of last year, but I finished them on the 1st so the final ten yards can go into this year’s tally!

Next, I made these washcloths and soap bag. I bought a couple of packs of balls of cotton yarn from Lidl about two years ago and still have quite a lot of it left. So I decided that washcloths are always useful, and whizzed these up as a quick-gratification project. The soap bag is designed to prevent the problem of dropping a slippery soap. As the bag is cotton, the soap can be left inside and the whole thing immersed in water and used to wash yourself. I’m pleased with how they turned out, especially as I knit the little bag using the ‘toe-up sock’ method and so there was no seaming or grafting needed to finish it off!

On the needles at the moment is the second in a pair of flip top mittens for GG. He travels to work on a bus every day, and finds it inconvenient having to take his gloves off every time he needs to get change or bus tickets out, or fiddle with his phone (which he also uses as an MP3 player). Fingerless gloves were dismissed as the ends of his fingers would still get cold, and so he decided on flip top mittens with fingerless gloves underneath. And providentially, Ellie gave me a book of glove patterns for Christmas, along with a couple of sets of bamboo double pointed needles. I’ve put them all to good use, and found a pattern which suited GG. I’m up to the base of the fingers on the second mitten already, and hope to finish that by tomorrow evening. He tried the first one on yesterday evening, by the way, and pronounced them very comfortable and cosy! Hopefully I’ll have some pictures of the finished items soon. I’m knitting them out of a new-to-me yarn called Lang Omega which I bought in Big Knitters a little while ago. it’s a 50/50 blend of nylon and acrylic, and so they’re washable, and it is so soft. I think I’ll be buying this yarn again for future projects, so long as it stands up to wear. I’ll keep an eye on how the gloves go for a few weeks before I decide, but I’m always on the lookout for a nice reasonably cheap yarn, so this could be good.

Right, having already been awake for 2.5 hours (it’s 6.10am) I’m absolutely starving, so I’m off to find a yoghurt. I hope the new year is treating you all well!

Everyday posting

I’ve just noticed that my mother has decided to blog every day through February. The NaBloPoMo word or theme for February is ‘Character’, which could throw up some interesting posts, especially from my Mum if she tells some more of the stories which she is known for by her regular readers. I think I may join her in this. I’ve been saying for ages that I should get back into the habit of blogging a little more often, so maybe a solid month of posts would get me back in the swing of things. The only problem would be finding something interesting to write every day. Still, it’s got to be worth a shot!

Yesterday I popped into a local charity shop as I was passing, wondering if there might be any interesting bric-a-brac (BTW, Welshpurpletree, they had shed loads of glassware there, in case you’re in the market for it!) and immediately my eye was drawn by a spinning wheel and chair by the till. Now, you’ll all know by now that my addiction to new hobbies knows no bounds, especially one which involves fibre, so this was almost irresistible. I went and had a good look, gave the treadle a pedal (I’m a poet!) and generally acted as if I knew lots and lots about spinning wheels! Unfortunately, I really didn’t, although I increased my knowledge a lot once I got home and spent all night researching spinning wheels online. However, the salient point was that if I bought the wheel I’d either be acquiring the bargain of the year or a pile of prettily shaped firewood. Anyway, to cut a long story short, after all my research I went back to the shop this morning only to find that it had gone. I have chosen to believe that it was fate, and that had I bought it, within a couple of days the wheel would have bounced off the frame and out of sight in a comedy manner. Otherwise I’d be very very sad indeed about missing out on an antique single treadle saxony spinning wheel with accompanying chair (I told you I’d been doing my research!).

Hopefully this means that my character is developing new traits of acceptance and resignation which have at times been sadly lacking in me! Also, I really need to stop being such a Gemini with my crafting and just focus on the ones I already do. But it’s so much fun flitting from one to the other, I don’t want to be tied down! I think that I’ll have a go at my needle felting this week at some point, which is a new craft to me, and have a little break from knitting. Perhaps. But then I’ll probably have a really good idea for a pattern the day after tomorrow which needs to be knitted right away, or I’ll remember someone’s birthday which needds a present.

(As an aside, my sister in law celebrates her 30th in a couple of weeks – any ideas for presents?? She will be 14 weeks pregnant by then and so all alcohol and most clothing will be out. Also I’ve already given her toiletries and I don’t think chocolate would be particularly welcomed. It’s a dilemma!)

I’m already thinking about more posts along the ‘character’ theme, so even if I don’t manage to get here every day, I’m hoping to at least make it in a little more frequently! See you soon!

Slightly random, but cool!

OK, a deviation from recent topics (can only be a good thing, IMHO!) but I’ve just discovered this blog, and you have to go and look at it if you like crochet, cardmaking, amigurumi etc! She’s been making ‘crobots’ (aren’t you intrigued??), and they really made me smile! The only amigurumi I managed before my hands became too knackered to crochet any more were my tortoise for my dad, elephant for my mum and the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) for me! Incidentally, I just went and searched my blog for a picture of my Tenth Doctor Amigurumi and was surprised to find that David Tennant is mentioned in nine of my blog posts! I’m not sure why I’m surprised, as he’s so brilliant, but there we are!

I went off topic again, didn’t I? Well, the point was that CraftGirl78’s crobots are fab, and deserve some more attention! So go! Comment and love!

p.s. Here’s my Tenth Doctor Amigurumi, for those of you who missed him the first time round!

Busy busy busy!

I really should have turned off my laptop by now, because I’ve got a thousand and one things to do, but I’ve been missing talking to you all so I thought I’d dive in with a quick hello! I’m just about to go off and dye up some of our new Stardust yarn, which is a yummy merino and nylon blend (perfect for socks) with the added bonus of a touch of silvery sparkle in there too (which makes it perfect for everything else in my book!). I’m having the hardest time not keeping all the yarn for myself, but I can’t knit fast enough to keep up with it all anyway, so I am just telling myself that I can always dye more for me when I have time to knit it!

I’ve already dyed up three skeins of the Stardust in purple and navy, and have sold all three, so I have my fingers crossed that it will be a popular yarn base. I also have some merino silk blend to play with today, as well as some laceweight yarn. I received a sample pack from one of our suppliers with the loveliest baby alpaca and silk blend laceweight, which I will definitely be keeping for me! So I’m thinking of dyeing up that skein today and trying to find time to knit with it sometime soon. Although, with Christmas looming, it may have to wait until January.

I’m off to Roath Market tomorrow morning, and am hoping that people’s thoughts will have turned to Christmas shopping when they come into the craft market. I will have my jewelry for sale, as well as a shawl knitted to my own design and of course our Jelliebean Yarns. I hope to have some more knitted items for sale in the next few weeks, but I’m working on a commission at the moment which really needs to take priority in my knitting time. However, hopefully that will be finished in the next couple of weeks, then I can really crack on with turning out some knitted gifts.

I don’t think I have much left to knit for my own Christmas gifting; I got the bigger items out of the way early on. There’s a few pairs of gloves and some hats to do, but other than that I think my home  made gifts yet to be made are mainly foodie ones which will have to be done nearer to Christmas anyway.

And a couple of photos to round off my update;

My first attempt at shawl design, and using my own yarn. I’m quite pleased with it, although there are a couple of points where I want to tweak the pattern before I publish it. Again, I think this will probably now have to wait until after Christmas – how that gets in the way of my creativity!

A cardigan for the baby daughter of one of my husband’s friends. I really need to get this in the post before C grows out of it, but I’m hoping to do a matching hat before I post it off, so I’ll wait a few more days.

Handsome (DS1) was ill at half term, and so I made him this bow tie to cheer him up. He is a massive fan of Doctor Who, but hasn’t dressed up as the eleventh doctor yet. I thought this might help him along!

So that’s a little insight into what I’ve been busy with in the last couple of weeks. I hope you’re all well, and that the approach of Christmas is filling you with glee rather than gloom!