a bit of this & that

I’ve been busy of late cross stitching on something I can’t show you just yet . . . and also putting up with lots of crashing & banging in the house, accompanied by loads of dirt & dust: the result of which I hope to reveal very soon.

What I can share with you today are the following photos . . .

knitting front and back

Progress on my sweater – yay!  This got stuffed in the bag way back in July because weather was too hot for knitting.  However, over the last few days I’ve finished the front, and begun work on sleeve n°1. 

A little crocheting happened too, but only this

flashy floater

Another floating toy for Gibbs in a very flashy neon pink (left over from a MyBoshi beanie) because . . .

flashy floater 2

. . . the first toys are still functional and floating BUT they’re looking rather sorry & grubby. Not to mention that they’re very difficult to see on dry land, when they fall in a pile of autumn leaves.  I didn’t have enough pink to cover the entire bottle, which explains why it’s a mish-mash of colours & yarns, but it’s bright pink enough to spot from quite a distance and Gibbs believes a dog can never have too many toys.

And last photo, with a big thank you to Ghislaine, one of my ex students

from Ghislaine

Ghislaine sent me a whole pile of bookmarks, including a couple to colour in, and

IMGP3686

an oil pen !  This is a rather nifty device which contains sewing machine oil – how very clever! 

Advertisements

a bit quiet

I’ve been a bit quiet this past week . . . we had family to stay, so I didn’t spend much time in front of my computer, but I did spend lots of time drinking coffee & nattering. 

While visitors were here, I managed to persuade them they wanted a quick trip to Noz to see what latest bargains were in and . . . this is my haul.

BD and big balls

scheepjes big balls

Three big 350g balls of Scheepjes yarn  for only 2.99€ apiece.  One ball should be enough to knit a size S lady’s sweater, but I grabbed three, because at that price, I didn’t like to leave any in the shop.  And four comic strip books (surprisingly in English) for only 99 centimes each. 

Weather was up and down during the week but visitors did get a few fine days, and managed to spend a day sight-seeing in Lyon.  During that time, I enjoyed some sun in the garden, and noticed our bottle brush plant has a new lease of life (we thought it had died last year).

bottle brush

I also managed a few hours crafting . . .

sugar skull finished

and have a finished sugar skull (Sugar Skull ref 3203 kit by Design Works Crafts Inc).  It was lots of fun to stitch and I’m seriously thinking about stitching a second one in slightly different colours. 

cool enough to knit

After sweltering for most of May and June, temperatures suddenly fell, from low 30s°C to 17°C and we’re left wondering where summer had gone to.  Mr Meteo reassures us, temps will rise again soon, over the coming days/weeks . . . but I decided to make the most of the cooler weather while it was here and do some more knitting.

My sweater got stuffed in my knitting bag looking like this

knitting 03

A few knitting sessions later and it now looks like this

knitting 0107

Colours are much prettier/brighter in real life. For some reason I’m having problems taking a decent photo.  Anyway . . . as you can see, the front of my sweater is coming along in leaps and bounds.  I’ve begun decreasing to shape armholes.  Was rather pleased when I laid both front and back on the floor, to note that my stripes all line up nicely, which means tension is good. 

Future progress is going to depend entirely on the weather.  If it stays cold & damp, I’ll be knitting.  If it suddenly hots up again, I’ll be crocheting.  Either way, my hands will be busy making something!

knitting & sewing

We’re having something of a heatwave in our corner of France.  Which makes me appear slightly mad, since I’m busily knitting my first sweater . . . as if it was sweater weather!

Here’s where I was up to last time I showed you.

knitting 02

Well since then, I have a back!

knitting 03

Sorry about the colour in second photo, which makes things look so grey.  True colours are like in the first photo.  Anyway, I managed my decreasing and casting off as instructed to shape the neckline on back.  I’ve now begun work on the front.

Realising however, that even if I finish this sweater soon, I won’t be wearing it until the autumn . . . and that summer clothes are more what’s needed at this time of year.

tunic mai

I pulled out one of my favourite patterns (NewLook 6086) which I have tried and tested several times.  Chose a “difficult” piece of fabric though.  No idea what it is exactly.  Suffice it to say it’s very light, floaty and slippy.  I did French seams and also made my own binding for neck and armholes.

tunic mai 01 zoom

tunic mai 02

And voilà the result!

tunic mai 03

A lovely simple sleeveless tunic.  Long enough to cover my bum.  The perfect match for my new trousers (couldn’t resist: bargain price at our local discount store, Noz).  I have another tunic in the making, in an equally floaty, slippy fabric . . . so stay tuned.  Gibbs approves, but I’m a little worried about his playful antics and teeth.  He does like to tug on my clothes . . . let’s hope he doesn’t tug too hard on my new tunic!

stitching & knitting

Just so you don’t think I’ve gone off on a tangent with my knitting . . . here’s progress on “Victorian Charm” by Dimensions.  This photo was last month

Victorian charm 02

And this month

Victorian charm 12 05

A third window is almost finished, and I’ve been stitching the pointy roof on this part of the house.  It’s slow going, but I’m trying to stitch on it little and often.

Of course, the new knitting project is also keeping me amused.  I showed it to you only the other day

knitting 01

Well, I’ve just finished the first 50g ball of the main colour, and things look like this

knitting 02

This photo is a better one of the colours.  Main colour, a dark teal, with light aqua stripes.  This is the back of my sweater (or will be).  Three stripes so far, a total of seven to do.

Over the next few days, I need to get back to some sewing . . . that orange sashing on F2F2 blocks isn’t going to sew itself on  without a bit of help from me!  And then there’s the amigurumi tiger, still waiting for legs and a tail . . . it’s all go!  So many projects to work on, and not enough days in the week lol.

like riding a bike

I have discovered, that crafting is like riding a bike!  Once you learn, even if you don’t do it for years, you never forget.  The brain seems to remember what it needs to do.

As a child, I learned the basics of knitting.  My Mum and gran were both expert & prolific knitters, so at some point, it seemed logical they would try and pass on their knowledge.  I just wish now, that I’d been a more willing pupil because all I picked up were the basics: how to cast on, knit, purl, and how to cast off.  I never learned how to follow a pattern, and all I’ve ever knitted in the past has been scarves.

Saying that . . . after having taught myself to crochet, from scratch, these past few months, and gaining in confidence with my hook, I’ve been wanting to pick up some knitting.  Husband is partly at fault here.  Seeing me crochet on my little amigurumi projects, and churn out a few beanies, he unwittingly told me that: “If you make me a sweater, I’ll wear it with pride!”.  Hmmm !!!! 

I wasn’t thinking about knitting at this point.  My brain was locked into crochet mode, so I started browsing the net for free crochet patterns for men’s sweaters.  I only found one.  The rest were knitting patterns.  And the more I looked, the more lovely free knitting patterns I found.

What to do?  Pick up the knitting needles and see if the brain remembers how to knit & purl, I say! 

Husband is going to have to wait a while for his sweater, I’m afraid, because I don’t have enough of any yarn in my stash to make a men’s sweater.  I didn’t even have any long needles to make any kind of sweater, since mine were all 25cm needles (which are fine for scarves, but not much else).  A trip to the shops remedied that.  Several sizes of 40cm needles have been added to my stash.  And I’ve begun work on my first ever sweater . . . for me.

IMGP2953

This is the beginning.  I’m following an easy pattern from Red Heart.   Using a cheap acrylic yarn (I did my gauge swatch).  The main colour is actually a lot more teal than it appears in the photo.  Pattern is easy.  Ribbing, then 16 rows of stocking stitch with 2 rows of knit thrown in for the contrasting stripe. 

Husband is looking on with interest.  If I manage to make something wearable, then I’ll be ordering in yarn for husband’s sweater. 

review of 2014

A very happy new year to you all.  I hope that 2015 will be a good one for you and wish you health, happiness and plenty of time for crafting ^^

It’s a stitcher’s tradition to start the year with a new project, but I’m breaking with tradition this year. I will no doubt be starting some new projects very soon, but not today.  Instead, I decided to do a review of 2014 in photos.

I have grouped pics together so as not to make this too photo-intensive.  First up . . . a medley of free designs by Lindashee that I stitched throughout the year.  You can find all of these designs on Lindashee’s blog. Her “four seasons” and a series of 9 little critters.

PicMonkey Collage lindashee

I also spent quite a few hours working on patchwork projects this year, with several sets of place mats and some bags ^^

PicMonkey Collage patch

And of course, more cross stitch, including some finishings of projects that were stitched in 2013 but only finished off in 2014 and some knitting.

PicMonkey Collage xst

I think “the plan” for 2015 will be to combine more cross stitch and patchwork – possibly more cushion covers over the coming year and most definitely some wall-hanging finishes.