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.

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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.

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what Claire received for Christmas #2

This is the last batch of photos, to show how spoiled I was this Christmas . . . this time by family. 

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From Lindashee and Mr Lindashee:  Season 7 of my all-time favourite TV series “Call the Midwife”.  It was Lindashee who bought me the first season, a few years ago, and she’s been buying all the new seasons as they come out, for me.  Story (for those who don’t know it) begins in the late 1950s, in London, with each season dedicated to a new year (season 7 takes place in 1963), following the lives of a group of midwives/district nurses.  First class acting, lots of medical goings-ons, and all with the backdrop of London in the late 50s early 60s.  Lindashee also sent me something to keep my hands busy while enjoying some good British drama . . . so many fun ideas of mythical creatures in this book, including a Loch Ness monster which will probably be the first project I tackle.

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From the Viking family, a new baby doll.  She’s a little girl doll, full vinyl, closed eyes and open mouth so she can suck her thumb.  She measures 52cm at the moment.  I’ll be pulling her to pieces sometime this year, making her a cloth body . . . and playing with my new baby doll, who I have called Phoebe.

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From Eldest Son – some yarny supplies.  The pattern is a free pattern by Rowan.  And in the bag: enough King Cole Aran to knit myself this lovely turtle neck sweater. 

Continuing a new family tradition, begun only last year . . . part of Christmas Eve saw us sitting out in the kitchen, while Eldest Son stuck a needle in me over and over again lol.  And I have my second tattoo!

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Another cat head in the same style as the first one.

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So, that was lots of lovely gifts from our three children . . . I bet you’re wondering what I received from the Husband? 

Well, the really BIG present wasn’t actually a surprise.  It was something I saw on ebay way back in October.  The Husband gave me the green light.  The very large box was then hidden away in the cupboard when it arrived and I wasn’t allowed to look until Christmas.

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It’s a very large doll.  Actually from the Masterpiece Gallery, by a German doll maker called Monika Levenig.  This is a “Chantal” doll.  She’s approx 90cm tall (can wear age 3 years clothes) and is a limited edition.  My “Chantal” is n° 11/350 of the European Edition series.

I’ve renamed her Daisy.  She’ll be keeping me company in my sewing room, where I hope to get busy and make some clothes for her.  I think she’s lovely, but everyone else seems to think she’s a bit spooky.  Not to worry.  Anyway . . . the Husband also got busy before xmas and made me a bead necklace

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AND . . . .

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A wooden stand for Daisy.   It’s a recyling job but completely custom-made for Daisy.  She can stand on her own but, with 3 cats charging around the house, it’ll be safer to use the stand. 

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knitting, crochet & xstitch

After working away for several weeks  on secret xmas present making, I am pleased to say, I finished everything on my list – yay.  Not only that.  Those presents were wrapped, posted, and parcels have been received .  So a big sigh of relief there, that my handicrafts arrived safely.  Now to wait impatiently, until Christmas, for recipients to open gifts. I have since added a few more things to my “to do” list.  Suddenly coming up with several more ideas for family closer to home.  However, without postal delays to worry about, I can work at a more gentle pace for these last gifts.

In the meantime, following surgeon’s instructions to rest with both feet up, I’ve been crocheting, xstitching, and even managed some knitting. 

Crochet has been working on something very small.  If I taught myself to crochet a while back, it was partly because I was inspired by all the wonderful crafting by MojiMoji Designs and some of the free patterns Janine makes available on line. I therefore followed one of her free seasonal patterns, and crocheted up a couple of tiny Christmas trees.

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Here are the first two I made, in their natural state.  I’m busy crocheting up a few more, and will then do as Janine suggests, and decorate them with pretty beads. 

Cross stitch time has also been spent working on something small. 

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This little set of robins was a free kit in a recent issue of Cross Stitch Crazy.  Each one didn’t take too long to make, and I loved the very quick finish idea, of simply sticking onto the printed tag cards which were supplied in the kit. 

And I also managed to make some progress with knitting. 

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Here are all my bits so far: 2 sleeves (which insist on curling up whenever I try to lay them flat), one back and now a left front!  I’ve already cast on the right front but I’m not giving myself any deadlines for a finish. What I’m not looking forward to:  knitting the bands of ribbing, getting button holes lined up correctly and at regular intervals for buttons, and sewing all my bits together.  It will have to be done though!  I’ve already got yarn and pattern in for my next knitting project – a sweater for the husband.  And I won’t be starting that until I have a finished cardigan. 

cardie progress and wish me luck!

Despite secret crafting for Christmas, I’ve been trying to stay focused on my knitting project too.   Earlier this month I showed you this.

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And am very pleased, that, things now look like this

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Or like this

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A bit difficult to take photos because parts all seem to want to curl up along the edges, and not lay flat for photos . . . but you get the general idea.  I have 2 sleeves, one back, and have already cast on for the left front. 

I’m not sure how far this will progress in the coming weeks.  I’ll be in and out of hospital tomorrow, for surgery on my left foot.  Wish me luck!  It’s going to be the same surgery as that done on my right foot in April.  I therefore know exactly what to expect, and just want to get it over and done with.  I’ve made up the bed in the spare room, which is where I will be in the early days with my bandaged foot.  Have a good supply of DVDs and all my crafting projects to hand.  My LG tablet will be with me, so I have access to the internet.   The husband has been getting into training to wait on me hand & foot, plus he’ll be in charge of all the animals & hens.   I will have to make sure I get 3 days complete bed-rest, followed by 3 weeks of lots of sitting around with both feet up.  I’m not terribly comfortable knitting in a “lounging with feet up” position especially since I usually end up with several cats sprawled out on my legs.  I reckon I’ll probably keep my hands busy with crochet & cross stitch while I’m convalescing, and this cardie might have to wait until after Christmas to see more progress.

what the husband made

During the nice weather, my husband keeps himself busy, and happy, outdoors working in his veggie patch or doing other “stuff” outside.  During the colder, autumn & winter time, he has other occupations that keep him busy indoors, in his little workshop.  What he enjoys doing is renovating objects, especially wood. 

I was sitting knitting the other evening, cursing & swearing as my ball of yarn rolled off my lap for the umpteenth time . . . then proceeded to continue rolling and unravelling on our tiled floor, getting covered in dog hair in the process . . . and then being chased under the sofa by a cat!  I had tried keeping my ball of yarn in my knitting bag, just pulling gently on the yarn, so it unravelled inside the bag, as I needed.  But then Ducky (also known as “6 kilo of cat” decided the bag made a nice bed.  And you try unravelling yarn in bag when a cat is lying on it!  You can tug all you like, nothing happens.

Anyway . . . my little brain started wandering and I remembered having read about knitters with snazzy yarn holders or yarn bowls.  I googled a few images, to see what they looked like, and was thinking of ordering a yarn holder, seeing it as a necessary gadget rather than a waste of money.  However, when the husband looked over my shoulder, realising I had some interesting objects made in wood on screen, we got to talking about how easy it must be to make one.  Now, I have to add here that the husband doesn’t have a proper woodwork workshop.  He doesn’t have any special tools for furniture making/wood-turning (I think that’s the term?) . . . and seeing the cost of yarn holders on line, we agreed it wasn’t worth the cost of buying any special supplies in, since it would be cheaper to buy one ready-made.  Saying that, the previous owner of this house WAS a professional woodworker, and he left lots of “bits” upstairs in the attic.  When I say “bits”, I mean wood, not tools. 

After a scout around in the attic, getting covered in dust, I unearthed an old round wooden coffee table, and a couple of half-finished wooden knobs.  No idea what the knobs were for. Maybe bedknobs or even feet for furniture.  Whatever . . . the husband had a good look at what I’d found.  Asked a few pertinent questions as to what it was I needed, and set to work.

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And this is what he came up with.  The base was originally the base of a rickety round coffee table.  Then there’s a giant knob.  And the spike, is actually a (broken) piece of rod from an old black powder rifle (the rod originally being used to ram black powder and ammunition down the barrel).

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Husband had understood that the thing needed to swivel on an axe.  So . . . recycling a few metal parts, the underside of base looks like this.  And some adhesive felt to protect furniture.

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The metal rod holding another metal piece in place upon which rests the middle section of the holder.

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And voilà!  I discovered, when using my new yarn holder for the first time, that the husband went to a lot of unnecessary trouble working out the swivel mechanism.  The ball of yarn is so light, it actually swivels on it’s own, when I give a gentle tug on yarn.  But husband doesn’t mind.  He enjoyed the problem solving process and the fact that middle section swivels on the base whether I need it to or not.  So, husband was happy because I gave him an interesting recyling/upcycling job to do.  I’m a happy bunny because it’s exactly what I needed.  Husband is doubly happy because I’m happy . . . and I’ve set him a new challenge, to make me something useful with the round top of the rickety old coffee table! 

so many projects, not enough time!

I’ve made myself a really long list of projects to make before Christmas.  Which means I’ve got less time to spend on my WIPs, but am still trying to fit everything in.

Cross stitch has taken a bit of a back seat for now (apart from regular sessions on my SAL project) as I try to make headway with my knitting. I showed my two sleeves last month.  Since then, things have progressed.

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Am working on the back.  It’s not as skinny as it looks lol . . . I can’t flatten it out anymore for now or it’ll fall off my needle.  But you get the idea.  I’ve reached the shoulder shaping part, so shouldn’t be too long now before I have a finished back!

I’ll be doing some crocheting over the coming weeks too, which will mean less time to knit.  Here’s a big bundle of yarn that I ordered in recently

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Lots of Stylecraft Special Aran and a fresh bag of stuffing.  Colours don’t look like my usual bright choice, but there’s a reason.  Reason I can’t reveal until after Xmas, so you’ll just have to trust me.  New crochet projects are going to be lots of fun!

off to a good start!

I am pleased to say, my second “real” knitting project is off to a good start.  This is the project

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Pattern being “Rue” by Martin Storey for Rowan. A free instant download available on-line.  I’m not using Rowan yarn though, but a cheap acrylic.  I should have done a swatch before I began, but didn’t.  Which resulted in me knitting about 1/3 of a sleeve before deciding it was going to be too small.  So I unravelled and began again on needles the next size up. 

I then managed to make a mistake with my increases on second sleeve, so that set me back lol.  But never mind!  I will learn to be more careful next time.

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What’s important . . . I didn’t allow myself to be discouraged, and I now have 2 sleeves – yay!  They are the same size, even if they don’t look it from photo.  I feel I’ve now got the hang of increasing and decreasing both knit wise and purl wise.  I’ll be casting on to knit the back next, which could take a while.  In case I needed motivation . . . I’ve already ordered in (and received) yarn and pattern for the next knitting project!  Talk about being optimistic!