Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Bits and pieces

One of the good things about weighing my stash ready for another year of stash-busting is that it reminds me of all of the odd bits and pieces of yarn that I still have, especially those that are of a thin ply.  Mixed together, they can make an interesting thicker combination.

I found a bag of pink 2 ply that I bought somewhere.  It had originally been coned yarn but its previous owner had wound it into cakes.  2 strands of pink combined with one of white 4 ply and one of lilac 4 ply gave me roughly a chunky yarn equivalent, which, when knitted on size 4.00 needles gave a pretty and dense fabric suitable for mittens.

I need to apologise for my photography skills at this point - the photo of the mitts make them look different sizes, but they really are a pair!

I had enough of each of these yarns to be able to crochet a hat and scarf suitable for a young girl.  This made hat number 5 for this year.  I thought that an earflap hat would work well with chunky yarn.

I have to confess that I have already bought some more yarn this year (obviously 20 kilos is not a sufficient stash size), but at least this month I have used up more than I have bought.  A large yarn retailer sent me a voucher for £5 off a £15 spend, and also threw in free postage, so I succumbed and bought 700g of James Brett Baby Marble.  The flip side of stash counting is that you realise where the gaps are in the yarn range you have, and I had no baby variegated yarn.  This just had to be remedied, I am sure you will understand!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

And another hat

For the fourth hat of this year, I tried a bit of very simple stranded knitting using up some oddments of double knit.  The hat was knitted in the round on a circular needle, and transferred to dpns for the decreases.  As I had 84 stitches, I looked for a very simple design that was divisible by 6.  The arrowheads were simply a repeat of 3 stitches in each colour, moving around one stitch on each round.  The overall pattern is rather effective.

When my boys were little, I knitted several intarsia jumpers with pictures of characters from children's TV.  I even charted my own designs, based on pictures in their story books.  But it is so many years since I have done any colourwork that I don't feel confident to try anything complex.  Perhaps I shall use my hats and jumpers challenge to re-develop some skills in that area.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Hat embellishment

After looking at my Pinterest (which I don't use nearly enough), I decided to finish off the girl's crochet hat with a large flower.  I chose this flamboyant but easy to make corsage from the Eweewe blog which I pinned a couple of years ago when I was looking to embellish a plain black bolero.

I used the pinky/fawn 4 ply from the hat and paired it with an oddment of acrylic variegated yarn that I found in my leftover yarn bag.  I made 16 petals rather than the 20 the pattern called for, and still ended up with a very large flower!  It's finished off with a sparkly button from the Scrapstore.

I would certainly use the flower pattern again, it was quick and easy to do and really stands out.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Finishing some WiPs

In 2015 I used up just over 11 kilos of yarn.  However, on Saturday I went through all of my cupboards and other hide-holes, and discovered that my stash currently weighs just over 20 kilos.  There is therefore an urgent need to get knitting and crocheting!

I have managed to finish a couple of items that were started last year.

This is one of the 3 jumpers that I had already started, and now that it is complete it counts as my first of twelve boy's jumpers for this year.

This was a preemie blanket that I kept to knit when I was on journeys in the car.  It is knitted in 4 ply on 3.75 needles.  The side edges looked a bit uneven, so I added a row of double crochet and then a shell border.  It looks much better with a border.

This was a very quick knit to use up some chunky yarn that I found remaindered in my local yarn shop.  We have been told by Operation Orphan that teenage boys like to have black beanies, so this one, knitted in 2x rib, should suit.  There is enough yarn to make at least 2 more in the 200 g that I bought.  That makes hat #2 of 52.

I also crocheted a girl's hat using some 100% wool that was donated.  I like the look of the hat, but can't decide how to finish it off.  I have a large, shiny button that would look good as an embellishment, or else I could make a flower or a bow.  I'm tending towards a large and colourful flower, but I'm still undecided.  

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

2016 makes....

I'm not really one to make new year's resolutions, because I either forget them or break them with monotonous regularity.  In terms of my knitting and crochet, I am always a bit of a gadfly, with several different items on the go at the same time:

  • there is usually a preemie blanket being knitted on circulars (good for in the car when we go somewhere and my husband is driving.  Have you ever tried to retrieve a knitting needle from under the driver's seat while he is driving???).  
  • there is always a small item (usually a baby hat) in the bag I take to the scrapstore, in case we get a quiet time when I can sit behind the counter and knit or crochet.  
  • there is something with a fairly easy pattern that I can take to craft club on Monday nights - so much nattering goes on that I make mistakes with anything complex. 
  • there is often something I have started as a result of a charity appeal with an urgent need for something - the butterflies I made last year fall into this category 
  • then of course, there is something which has caught my eye, either a pattern or some yarn, that I must start immediately because it is the most important thing that needs to be done.  It can, of course, be superseded when another must do item catches my eye, thus becoming a wip.
New year is a good time to go through the stash and the wip bags and see what is there.  I found 2 boy's jumpers that I had started and put to one side - one of them I had completely forgotten about.  

This jumper is one that I made for one of my sons in the 1990s.  It requires a degree of concentration, plus remembering that I had started it in the first place!

This is one of my favourite go-to patterns; it is free to download from Ravelry here.  I took it to craft club last night because it falls into the 'easy' category.

This one falls into the "Oh my goodness, I love this pattern and must try it out immediately" group. The pattern was one of a stack that someone donated to the scrapstore, and I loved it.  You can see that the price of it was 10p, which means it probably dates from the early 1970s (why do they not date knitting patterns?)  It is done in double knit and has a cable and honeycomb pattern.   I had bought some Aldi yarn between Christmas and new year, so I cast on and plunged in. It will not be quick to knit, but I am enjoying it so much.

A Loving Hands member (Pat) who noted that fewer boys' garments are knitted than girls', suggested that she was going to consciously aim to knit boy's jumpers this year.  Several of us are joining her, and I am hoping that I will be able to knit 12 jumpers (I have a head start after all with 3 on the go!).  I also think that I can average a hat a week, so for 2016 I will aim to make 12 jumpers and 52 hats.  I have set up a page on this blog to post photos of what I achieve.   One hat completed to date - I wonder whether I will make it?