Woollen friends

So here I am – getting very fat, but at last on maternity leave! I have had a bit of a tiring few weeks of work, doing a few more hours than I was used to, and really struggling to keep on top of my life – but am pleased to be at home again now, and although Rose and I are not really doing any blog-worthy activities (our favourite pastimes at the moment are making ‘just add an egg’ cakes and ‘shout singing’ to Frozen!) we are enjoying this new pace of life and the new routine the autumn brings (I am sure she agrees!)

After Rose has gone to sleep though, I have really re-discovered my crochet hook and it is proving to be the perfect activity to relax with. I am mostly making woodland creatures. It’s nice to make some things just for fun. And I like the faces and taking pictures of them for instagram and seeing the other gems posted there. I have been trying to write up the patterns too, but this is a little bit more brain work than I can really manage at the moment, but maybe a project for the future.

Here are some pictures of some foxes – Felix and Sylvia… little friends…

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Happy woolly faces!

Little Red Cardigan

I am feeling very happy at the end of this long weekend as have finally finished this work in progress knitting project – my first cardigan in a really really long time! Little red gem. I got the wool for Christmas when Rose was six weeks old, and now she’s two and a half! But I had a good incentive and am really pleased with the end result!

fluffy red yoke cardigan - adriafil soffiofluffy red yoke cardigan

I used my trusty yoke cardigan pattern as tried and tested previously here, and here, and here. Debbie has also made one! I love this one so much, it’s just such a great pattern, a good fit for me, and economical with wool and not very much sewing up at the end. Lots of good features.

For this one I used Adriafil Soffio Plus yarn, a nice fluffy one, colour shade 055 – red, nice and bright. I got the buttons as a gift and think they are a perfect finishing touch. This time I decided to elongate the body of my cardigan a bit by adding a few rows between increase rows. It worked out nicely. The original pattern can be found in this book if you like the look of it. There are lots of projects in there inspired by different decades, but I admit this is the only pattern I’ve tried. But a lot of good use it’s got!

And I think my next big knit is actually going to be the same cardigan again. I got some more of the rowan colourspun wool I used to make this version and I think I am just going to remake it exactly the same! It is my absolute best cardigan- I could wear it everyday (instead I just wear it most days!) I think I will really enjoy making it, the wool is so luxurious and I love the colours, and hopefully can finish before the end of the year to complete my new year’s resolution (and bolster my winter wardrobe)

Apart from knitting we have really been enjoying the better weather recently. Rose just loves to be by the sea and throwing stones and paddling. And I am enjoying this interest of hers too. I hope the sun is shining for you too.

Woven wonder

During my big tidy up, I found a few little things that sparked joy that I put up on our wall and they are starting to look really nice. In our sitting room corner my crochet wall hanging hangs alone still, but I was not feeling very inspired to do any crochet and I decided this was the time to have a go at some weaving! I have seen so many of these amazing hangings, and love them so much but it felt like a bit of a leap to have a go myself.

When I was little I used to make little cardboard looms to make little weavings – so decided to go down this tried and tested route again! I found a really nice stiff piece of cardboard and cut out a rectangle. Then I added some notches to each end. My box very handily had a dot design on it so I didn’t have to do any measuring but usually you would need to put mark along the edge so that your top notches and bottom notches match up.

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Then I wrapped my wool around into the notches to give me all of my warp threads. Lovely!

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Next I started my weaving. My first plan was to keep it simple and do coloured stripes, but after doing a few rows of plain weaving I decided that I really wanted to try some of the techniques I have seen on the amazing weavings I have seen, making patterns with colours, and some textured parts. I really like the tassels! I found a wonderful online resource called the weaving loom which I recommend if you are a beginner like me – it has lots of interesting things to learn there. I had a little play around and settled into a bit of colour work. I think next time I will try some loops though.

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It was quite hard to take some work in progress pictures because it looked very messy until then end when I sewed in my ends. But then it looked really really great!

woven wallhangingwoven and crochet wallhangingsI really enjoyed this little project, something new for me.

Arm knitting

A couple of weeks back I took the bus to Brighton and purchased myself some amazing super chunky wool from Tiger. I couldn’t resist it – I’ve never seen any wool so massive and fluffy and soft (and a good price too)

I bought just a couple of balls thinking a warm winter woollen would be a good project for me. The wool suggested using 20mm needles which I managed to find, but I was not very pleased with this suggestion. I tried a scarf in stocking stitch and then tried another in garter stitch, but the fabrics produced were so tight and dense and stiff, it would have been a bit of a heavy scarf really.

chunky knit garter stitch Then a little inspiration hit me. I had seen a video a little while back from Wool and the Gang (I really like this) about Arm knitting (click here and see for yourself). Yes, this is exactly as it sounds – your arms are the needles! At first I was a little put off as found it quite tricky to tune my eyes into what was going on in the video as the casting on was slightly tricky (but not tricky once you’ve worked it out) But I watched a few times and soon worked it out and managed to cast on 8 stitches like this.

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And I was so pleased I did get past the cast on row, because the actual knitting rows are so super super simple. Super super super simple. If you have never tried knitting before, or have tried but found it tricky, I really recommend setting yourself a little arm knitting project – it was so easy peasy, and grew so fast it was a really satisfying one evening pastime.

super chunky arm knitted scarf

And the arm knitting was just the thing for my super soft and fluffy and chunky massive wool as the fabric is really loose and soft and not rigid and dense anymore, and because it was loose, my scarf was quite a good length too, much longer than my needle knitting versions.

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My pattern was – cast on 8 stitches and arm knit until you run out of wool. (or until you nearly run out of wool so you have enough for your cast off row) Then weave in your ends and voila! You could perhaps use 6 stitches for a slightly thinner and longer scarf – I might yet unpick again and try that. The beauty of this is it’s so super fast that you don’t mind trying again.

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So if you have bought some of Tiger’s magnificent wool with no clue what to do – do this. And tell me about it if you do. Or tell me more about Wool and the Gang.

 

Little Apple on the bus

Here is a new friend I have made. Her name is Apple! She looks like me. Here she is on the bus.

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Yesterday we went to Brighton for a bit of a shop and to catch up with my very dear friends.

Shopping was funny for me – is has been a long time since I did any of that really except for a quick nip into our little shops. I am not sure if I really liked it, I think I felt a little bit lost. I tried on 18 things in Topshop altogether (not all together) and found most things don’t fit me or look nice. I saw one denim dress I thought would definitely be a grand wardrobe staple, when I put it on – I can’t explain it but if you saw me I would be embarrassed. Maybe I am a bit old now, or a bit Mum.

The next place I went to was Boots and I had a lot of fun in there. Most of my make-up has dried up because it was about 2009 when I last bought any new make-up. I told this to a lady who was working on the L’Oreal counter in Boots and she looked at me like I must have been in prison or something.  I asked her for a peach blusher because that sounded like a nice thing to have and because I didn’t want her to think I was suspicious, but there were only a choice of four blushers so she tried to persuade me that a bright pink blusher was peach… I pretended she had convinced me but I didn’t buy it.

I did buy some nice things though and had a lot of fun in the process. I like to do eye-shadow at the moment – I think it will give me the edge.

Also in Boots I noticed a lady putting things in her handbag and dropping things on the floor. I hope she paid for those things. I gave her the benefit of the doubt.

Then I went to Tiger as I was looking for a twenty minute egg timer to help Rose tell the time a bit better and notice when we are running out of time before we need to go out, things like this. Unfortunately there were none of those left, and the lady said they weren’t really a priority to get back in, so that doesn’t sound very optimistic, but I did find some amazing giant wool and bought a couple of bundles of that! I will show you this soon, it’s amazing like giant blue udon noodles.

Then I got another bus and visited my friends Deb and Ben at their house and my dearest friend Snowy came too and also Mary cat, the sweetest cat, was there. We had a really really great catch up while Ben was chopping firewood and Mary was eating the plant. Lovely tea and macaroons and a chocolate coin for the road. Thanks Deb!

Then I got the coaster bus home to Seaford and ate a banana. I was pleased to have such a grand day out, but it was nice to see Rich and Rose when I got home. Rich had made a great pizza but instead of tomato puree on the base he used ketchup. It was, in the words of Rose, ‘alishus’.