best layer of the month # January 2019

eggs jan

First month of the year has simply flown past!  Can’t believe it’s already 31st January (and incidentally, also the 31st birthday of Eldest Son).  Hens have had to put up with very cold temperatures, what with snow, and drinking water freezing over. With the cold plus lack of daylight (although days are growing longer), egg count was more modest than during the warmer months.

It’s Mauricette, our French Blue, who takes the prize once again though, with 26 eggs this month.  Miss Plumpton laid 16 and old Miss Moneypenny 11.  That makes a total of 53 fresh eggs for January, so still enough to distribute amongst the neighbours.

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“Cheri” by Martin Storey, for Rowan

After the relative success of my dusky pink cardigan, I decided I needed to get more practice learning to assemble knitted garment pieces before I took the plunge to tackle another adult sized cardie/sweater.  So, with that in mind, I rummaged through my computer files, where I save any free patterns that take my fancy.  And this is the one I chose to knit.

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The model “CHERI” designed by Martin Storey for Rowan yarns.  I immediately knew I wasn’t going to bother crocheting the cherries.  My crochet skills don’t need practice, and I honestly thought the dangling cherries were just a bit “too much”.   What attracted me to this pattern was the short sleeves, short bodice and very much a bolero style.  The idea being, to have a pattern which would knit up quickly, to give me the chance to try my hand at assembly. 

And here’s my very plain version of this pattern.

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I think you’ll agree there is definite improvement in my assembly skills.  I chose pattern size 2-3 years (Daisy measuring 92cm tall, so not quite a size 3 years).  I used leftovers of my dusky pink and knitted on 3.75mm and 4.5mm needles to get the correct gauge. 

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And had a good rummage in my button box, where I found some very discreet pale pink plastic buttons. 

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I am so pleased with how it turned out.  My confidence is soaring . . . but not quite ready to attempt the XL men’s sweater for the Husband just yet. 

What I have done though . . . is cast on to follow this pattern a second time.  My second version is going to be in a size 1-2 years, and for Baby Viking.  She is 5 months old now and sooooooooo cute lol.  Anyway, I thought this pattern style would be perfect and a 1-2 year size should be good for this autumn or next spring.  Here’s a sneak peek of yarns I’m working with.  I’m using Stylecraft Special DK in “citron” for the garter stitching, and a very zany Marriner Mermaid DK for the rest.

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That’s the 2 sleeves already made.  Now to put on my sunglasses and have more fun watching this Marriner Mermaid yarn change colour.  Viking parents have said I can go as bright as I like, so I’ve taken that literally!

F2F swap season 3 #Miss January

It’s January, and has been for a few weeks already.  Time to share photos with you of the 12” blocks made for the block swap, organised by Kate.

Miss January is Kathy, who gave us this photo for her colour inspiration.

January

I ended up making four blocks for Kathy as one turned out a bit scant.

Kathy 01

Kathy 02

Kathy 03

Kathy 04

and an “Old Fan” for myself.

Old Fan

You can admire blocks made by other members of the swap in the gallery F2F.

And please come back next month, when we’ll be sharing photos of the last batch of blocks, for Kate herself.

a bit of this & that, plus some thank yous

I realised I never got around to sharing a photo of some lovely seasonal hand-made gifts I received from blogging friends (and may have missed a few from the photo, because all seasonal bits have already been put away).

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So, a thank you to Monique for the cute crocheted octopus and little cat decoration);  to Nathalie and Virginie, for their cards;  to Yvonne for the little heart decoration; and to salpal, for the bookmarks and delicate snowflake!

Now for some “this & that” . . .

I had a check-up visit with foot surgeon earlier this month. 

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He was pleased with the x-ray, and bandage has now been removed.  Foot is still swollen, but not giving any pain.  I’ve been told to do my “toe curling” exercises and that life can now get back to normal – yay!  Next check-up in March and then I’ll be going to see a man about getting some insoles made – next stage being, a probable 2 years of specially made in-soles, but I can live with that.

Also have a cross stitch happy dance to share with you.

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Design is “Chicken Sampler” by The Stitching Shed, and was a gift from Avis at Christmas.  Lots of fun to stitch, with lovely colours.  As you can see, from photo, I (deliberately) mixed colours up a little and changed the colour of petals.  Also decided not to stitch the wording or the eggs.  I’ll be having a rummage in my fabric stash as, being almost a square design, the plan is to finish this off as a cushion cover.

And last photo, because I’ve been playing with dolls lol.  No new body for Phoebe yet, but there’s plenty of time for that.  Anyway, I’ve got Phoebe and Grace having a sleep on the sofa in my sewing room, so their presence is a reminder that I need to make them some clothes. 

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the “things were going so well” cardigan

I come to share photos of my second ever finished knitted garment – yay!

It’s far from perfect, believe me, and when you scroll down, you’ll see some very ugly seams.   I had such fun knitting this  though and my confidence had come along in leaps & bounds as I knitted up all my pieces.  I even quite enjoyed learning to knit buttons bands, and making my first ever button holes.  The not such fun part began when I came to the sewing everything together.  And that’s when the “things were going so well” cardie almost ended up in the bin.  Even the husband took one look at it and commented on what a mess I’d made of sewing on the sleeves.  Seeing my glum face, he tried to back track with a “it’s a shame because your knitting is nice and regular”.  Oh well.   I won’t learn if I don’t try, and believe me, I do try.

pink cardie 01

Anyway, here it is.  I used a cheap acrylic yarn bought years ago in a “discount” shop.  Pattern was a free download and is called RUE designed by Martin Storey for Rowan.

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It looks okay(ish) lying flat, although in first photo you can see sleeves aren’t lying quite right. That’s not an optical illusion, it’s my sewing that leaves much to be desired and plenty of room for improvement.

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And because I feel it’s important not just to show things from the best angle . . . this is the messy/ugly part (on both shoulders)

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Anyway, the big question is, of course: does it fit?  Well it does, and it doesn’t.

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It looks more or less like the photo on the pattern (true colour being in first 3 photos). Sleeves are the correct length.  Buttons are all placed at even intervals.  And I can button it up or leave it open.

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It feels a bit too snug around the arms for my liking though.   In fact, the sleeves were so snug at first, they felt like a second skin, but have loosened up a bit after wearing.  I don’t think the snugness is  anything to do with my knitting, simply the style of the sleeves.   I suppose one of the other things I need to learn is how to choose a pattern and avoid slim sleeves in future!

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When I first tried it on, in its finished state, all I could see were the messy shoulders.  I felt very frustrated that a knitting project which has taken me months to complete was let down in the final stages because of messy assembly.  However, since it was finished, I decided I might as well wear it indoors or under a coat, when walking the dog or chatting to my hens.  And, as long as I don’t catch sight of myself in a mirror, I can forget about what it looks like and simply be pleased that I managed to knit my first ever cardigan!

I had had great plans of moving on to an even more challenging project after this.  The husband picked out a men’s Stylecraft pattern and DK yarn that took his fancy, so “the plan”, once I finished the cardie, was to start work on that!  However, the husband agrees I still need a little more practice with my seams, and since I won’t get much practice if I keep on knitting adult sized items . . . my next project is going to be a small cardigan for one of my dolls.

ScrapHappy # January 2019

It’s 15th of the month . . . time to link up with Kate and Gun who organise a monthly ScrapHappy post, to encourage fellow crafters to use up those scraps!

My, very quick, project this month is really only half a scrappy project I’m afraid.  Not even sure if I’m not bending the rules a little, but hey, rules are there to be bent, aren’t they?   I found myself in need of a few cards at the start of this year.  And, since I needed to get them posted asap, I didn’t have time to do anything very elaborate.  I therefore delved into my dwindling supply of pre-cut aperture cards (that’s where I’ve bent the rules somewhat) and then had a quick rummage in my scrap fabric bags for some pretty prints.

Double sided sticky tape, wadding (from scrap bag) and a very short time later . . .

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My favourites are these

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I’m now going to visit other Scrappers to see what they’ve been up to.

Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Karen,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne,Jon,Hayley and Dawn

SAL update “Bag Ladies” #5

It’s time for our regular 3 weekly SAL update!  The first one of 2019.

I started stitching on “Bag Ladies” a couple of months ago, and my last update was

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Since then I’ve been flitting here & there . . . gradually filling in bags, and making a start on two future cats.

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As requested by Kate, I also added backstitch detail to the black & white cat . . . that mouse/hamster had better hurry up and hide.  I think at least one cat has spotted him!

Time to do some blog-hopping and see what other SAL members have been up to.  If I remember correctly, from last time, there will be a few ladies starting on brand new projects this time.  We welcome back Mary Margaret and also give a big warm welcome two new members:  Renne and Jenny.

Avis Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Catherine, Deborah, Connie, Clare, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny

We’ll all be back on 3rd February, so hope to see you then!