Friday, 29 January 2016

Off on an Adventure

Thank you for all of your lovely comments recently.  It's so good to build up happy virtual friendships with you.

I've been busy making plans and enjoying myself in the process.  The Fair Isle leftovers cardigan will not be finished this month, but it will be completed next week.  The Fair Isle part of the knitting is all done, there's just the neck band and button bands to be picked up and knitted.  So not much more to do.  But instead of stressing myself about that, I've distracted myself by picking colours to crochet squares to make into another bag, like the one I completed last year.

A lovely rainbow of colours to brighten any grey day.  This bag is going to be a vibrant mix of all the colours.  I'm using the same motif as last time, as it produces a lovely dense square.  It's called Rosie Posie Grannies Square and it's by Sandra Paul.   I've made a start and completed a square!

I've also cast on for a plain grey cardigan for myself using my Olivia pattern.

My Kate cardigan (below) is a favourite with Eve.

Whenever she's home, she borrows it from me, so she's asked for a cardigan of her own, using exactly the same colours.  I've now also cast on for that.

But the biggest and most exciting planning I've been doing is for a trip to London to see Eve.  By the time you read this I should be on the train down, knitting away.

I've got a few hours in London before Eve gets home from work, so I'm planning on walking from Euston to Eve's flat in Aldgate (about 3 miles) and taking in some of the sights on the way.  With Google maps I've got a route worked out, with a scheduled stop for tea and cake on the way!

As for the rest of the weekend, well it will just be wonderful to see Eve and spend time with her, but I'm sure we can fit in a visit or two to the amazing markets down there.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and I look forward to telling you all about my trip when I get back.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016


January is coming to an end, and it's been a funny sort of month.  Usually I find January a month of hope and optimism - a time to dream and plan.  This year, it's felt tired and directionless - maybe it's the influence of the weather, it's another wet and very windy day here.

I've tried to simply my knitting projects, disciplining myself to concentrate on the one immediately in front of me.  This month it has been my Fair Isle cardigan using leftovers.  I set myself the task of completing it by the end of the month, certainly possible but I'm growing weary of working of it.  It's certainly looking colourful though isn't it.

My embroidery squares are coming along nicely.  I've completed 21 now, but I'm setting myself a punishing schedule, of 4 /5 squares a week.  Again, I've reached a point where enthusiasm has left me.

I need a new project, a new diversion, an adventure, something to liven me up, get the blood pumping.

Picture from

So this afternoon, I'm NOT going to carry on with the Fair Isle knitting, or embroider another square, as I had planned.  Instead, I'm going to give myself an energy boost and dream up a new adventure.

Before then, I've got to brave the elements as I have a dentist appointment, BUT when I get back home!  The sky's the limit, I'm going to dream BIG!

I hope you all have more energy than me, and if you have any to spare, please send it my way.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Mini Sock Yarn Sweaters

Following on from my previous post, I'm pleased to say that the knitting pattern for my mini sock yarn sweaters has now been published on Ravelry. As with all my patterns, it is free for everyone.  

You can download the pattern direct from Ravelry and save it to your library.

You can also download the PDF without using Ravelry, HERE.

And I'm including the full pattern instructions in this post, below.

I hope that you find the pattern fun to make.  I'd love to see your finished objects on Ravelry.

Enjoy the pattern.

Mini Sweaters
These decorative sweaters are worked in one piece, top down.

You will need –
Approximately 5g of sock yarn
A set of 2.5 mm double pointed needles
A stitch marker to indicate the beginning of the round
A small amount of waste yarn to temporarily hold stitches

Abbreviations used -
st(s) – stitch(es)
DPN – double pointed needles
k – knit
p – purl
p2tog – purl two sts together
m1 – make one st by picking up the loop between the two sts and knitting into the back of it
inc – increase
RH – right hand

Cast on 28 sts with 2.5 mm DPNs, join for knitting in the round.
Round 1: knit all sts
Round 2: purl all sts
Round 3: [inc round] (k1, m1, k7, m1, k1, m1, k5, m1) x 2. (36 sts)
Rounds 4 & 5: knit
Round 6: [inc round] (k1, m1, k9, m1, k1, m1, k7, m1) x 2. (44 sts)
Rounds 7 & 8: knit
Round 9: [inc round] (k1, m1, k11, m1, k1, m1, k9, m1)x 2. (52 sts)
Round 10: knit

Split for body and sleeves
Round 11: k15 (for the back of the sweater), cast on 4 sts, place the next 11 sts from RH needle onto waste yarn (first sleeve), k15 (for front of sweater), cast on 4 sts, place remaining 11 sts from RH needle onto waste yarn )for second sleeve).  (38 live sts for body, 2 x 11 sts on waste yarn for sleeves)
Redistribute the sts evenly over your needles.
Rounds 12 & 13: knit
Rounds 14: [inc round] k16, m1, k19, m1, k3. (40 sts)
Rounds 15 – 24: knit
Round 25 – 27: (k1, p1) to end.
Cast off in rib.

Place the 11 sts from the waste yarn onto 2.5mm DPNs and pick up 4 sts from underarms, distribute evenly over the needles ready to knit in the round.
Knit 15 rounds.
Round 16: (k1, p1) x 6, k1, p2tog. (14 sts)
Round 17: (k1, p1) to end.
Cast off in rib.
Repeat for other sleeve.

Tidy all loose ends. 

Friday, 22 January 2016

Mini Balls of Yarn, Mini Sweaters and Mini Squares

Over the Advent period, my daughter Grace surprised me with random gifts of Opal mini balls of sock yarn.  It was a lovely treat.  I received five mini balls in total.

Aren't they just gorgeous and colourful.  Each ball is 10g each - just perfect for knitting up mini sweaters to add to the ones I've made previously.

With the leftovers I crocheted some mini squares.  I also raided my other sock yarn scraps and made them into squares.

Colours aren't showing up accurately -
but you get the idea.

I now have a total of 50 squares which I will add to as and when I have some leftovers.  Eventually I will sew them all together to make a colourful blanket.  It'll be a nice reminder of all the socks I've made over the coming years.  No rush for this though - it's definitely a long term project.

Now that I have enough mini sweaters, they are pegged up as bunting, and looking very jolly.

As with the squares, I will continue to make them, as they are a fun and quick project that is a useful way to use up and show off the leftover yarn.

I've written up the pattern for the mini sweaters and I'll publish it very shortly, once I've checked and finalised it.

I'm planning a weekend of Fair Isle knitting to try and get as much done as possible.  I hope you all have a good weekend and are able to find time to do something fun and relaxing.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Reducing the Leftovers

Surprisingly, I'm managing to keep myself on track with my knitting and not allowing any distractions.  I'm sure this won't last, but I'm making the most of my single-minded devotion to my Fair Isle knitting and I'm progressing nicely.

It feels like it's slow going because I'm knitting all the pieces at the same time in order to monitor colour usage, but really it's going well.  I'm not sure if it's a realistic target, but I'm aiming to have this cardigan finished by the end of this month.  If the distractions keep their distance, I should be able to manage it.

I reckon I'm about 35% - 40% of the way through the cardigan.  I'm trying to use up my leftovers of Rowan Fine Tweed from my stash.  Here's what I started with-

This little lot weighed in at 444 grams.  I weighed what hasn't been knitted up yet, today, and I'm now down to 314 grams - that's 130 g used so far - not bad going.

I'm feeling proud of what I've done so far, so I'm linking with Linda's Crafty Corner Stash Busting Party for this week.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Only Eight Weeks to Go

Yes, amazingly, it's only eight weeks today to my birthday.  I love my birthday, I love doing lots of special things - so much so, that it's impossible to fit everything into just one day.  My birthday celebrations, over the years have expanded into a week and then a month.  I like to start planning in January so that I can savour every moment.

With "only" eight weeks to go, I've made a special entry in my journal - an eight week challenge - to do 54 things before I'm 55.  I usually write a list for the year of what I want to achieve in that year, I've mostly completed the 54 things I wanted to do when I was 54.  Now with "only" eight weeks to go, I've come up with a supplementary list, of smaller tasks and treats.

One of the problems of getting older (besides the obvious ones) is that each year you have to try to think of extra challenges to make up the numbers - I might struggle to think of 87 things to do when I'm 87, but I'll worry about that nearer the time.

For now I've written out my 54 things to do before I'm 55, but I had to add flaps to the pages to fit them all in.

Some of the challenges aren't challenges at all, some will be easy to do, others may be more interesting to complete, but the point is, that it will be fun.

Maybe as part of this challenge I should have added - think of a list of 55 things to do when you're 55!!!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Embroidery Catch Up

I bet you had forgotten all about my embroidery squares project - I know that over Christmas, I had.  My mission is to complete 54 little squares of embroidery which will be sewn together to make a wall hanging.  The significance of the number 54 is that it is my age, so one square for each year.

Now time, as usual is flying, and I'm concerned that before too long I will be 55, in which case I will have to make 55 squares.  And if I don't finish them next year, the total will go up again.  I fear I may have to be making 87 squares if I don't get a move on.

I'm not even a quarter of the way through yet, so it's probably a bit optimistic to expect to get all the squares completed by early March, so I'll set the deadline as the end of March and see how that works out.

I picked the 54 topics that I would use for the squares in advance and I do a lucky dip when I start each square, so that it's completely random.

This weekend, I disciplined myself to put the knitting to one side and focused on embroidery.  It really is a most relaxing pastime, which I always feel I should devote more time to.  Well, hopefully over the next few weeks I will be spending more time with the embroidery needle rather than the knitting needles.

So here are my latest squares.  Firstly "pink" -

The next topic was letters - but I decided to go for a single letter J.

That one was certainly quite time-consuming, so for the next topic of "sunflower" I kept it simple (and quick) with some felt, beads and minimal embroidery.

This last one is my favourite of the four.  The topic is "key" and I used blackwork to create a rather fancy key design.

So still a long way to go but it's a lot of fun and it's good to see the squares starting to pile up.

Have a good week.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Wet and Windy January

With this miserable damp weather we're having at the moment, we haven't felt inclined to venture out much.  It's been far nicer to stay warm and cosy in the house.

January seems to have got off to a slow start.

This has given me plenty of time for knitting and crocheting over the past week, but I'm determined that I should make time for other crafts.  I think tomorrow might be an embroidery day.

The colourful socks I cast on on New Year's day are now complete.

I love the way the colours pattern around in a spiral.  You can see full details of the yarn I used on my Ravelry page, here.

I've knitted these toe up again and I'm finding it a very satisfying way to make the socks.  I had said that I wanted to be more adventurous and try different techniques, so I'm glad I tried this.  At the moment I'm limited to the fish lips kiss heel because I don't know how to do a heel flap for a toe up sock, but I've found some patterns that will help, so next month's socks will see me trying yet another new technique.  That's the great thing about sock knitting - there's so many different ways to knit a sock, it's never boring.

I've also been doing some crocheting - another basket recycle.

I deliberately chose colours I don't usually go for and I like the combination, it makes a nice change.  I used Stylecraft Special DK in Storm Blue, Teal, Sage, Claret, Sherbet and Lime.

So now I'm back with my Fair Isle knitting - a few rows each day means that it is moving along and growing quite nicely.

It looks like it's going to be a quiet January but hopefully a very crafty one.  Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


Well the New Year has got off to a good start.  I'm getting myself organised and managing to find plenty of time to knit and crochet.

As an added bonus, I have had the good fortune to acquire a significant number of craft magazines that were no longer wanted by the previous owner.

What treasure!

This little lot will keep me quiet for a while.

I shall saviour them and browse them slowly and carefully, enjoying the inspiration that arises from them.  How fortunate I am that these came my way.

The work on my leftovers Fair Isle cardigan continues, although, at what seems like a slow pace.  Because I'm knitting all the pieces concurrently, it doesn't feel as though it's growing much, but I'm loving the way it is turning out.

I hadn't intended to join any crochet-alongs, I have enough to be getting on with at the moment, but I received a message on Ravelry inviting me to join in again with the Block-A-Month CAL for 2016, and I just couldn't refuse.

This year I'm going for a muted palette - last year's colour choices were bright and "in your face" - so for 2016 I've picked colours that are more unusual for me.

I'm using Stylecraft Special DK in cream, stone, pale rose, cloud blue, wisteria, silver and grey.

Here's this months' squares - firstly the main square, which is called Stars Aligned.

The filler square is called Larksfoot.

And the small square is called Circled Granny - as last year I have made four of these to make them up to a large square.

I'm very pleased with these squares - I'm sure the blanket will be lovely when it's finished - but that'll be months away.  For now, I'm back to some Fair Isle knitting.  Enjoy your crafting time.