a couple of birthdays in March

There were a couple of family birthdays in March – so a good excuse to do some crafting.

One of our French nieces turned 17 and I had bought some gorgeous colour-changing yarn in a cotton mix, so knitted a loop scarf (60″ long and then sewed two ends together)..

We’re probably almost past scarf weather, although it is still a little nippy early morning.

With the new Brexit customs in place, I was loathe to make anything to post for the second family birthday (to our daughter, aka Lindashee, in England).  I took therefore took the easy option and ordered some crafting supplies to be sent directly to her via @m@zon.uk, but I did also make a very quick card.

Lindashee is more of a cat person, but I had some cute fabric with little westie dogs, that fitted perfectly into the aperture card I had to hand.  So that’s what I made.  And no, I didn’t forget to add 2 blue gems to upper left corner.  I was going for asymmetric lol.

more squares for the yarn bomb

On Feb 15th, I showed you this photo

of a flyer I was given at our local library, announcing an upcoming yarn bomb.  I crocheted a first batch of six squares (15cm x 15cm) for ScrapHappy day and since . . . I’ve been delving into my bag of leftover bits to make some more.  Had a knitting session with some very chunky yarn, that knitted up nice & quickly, resulting in this batch.

Four squares 20cm x 20cm and then one, to  try and finish up the red & grey, 15cm x 15cm.

And then more crochet squares.

Four more large squares, and two smaller ones.  I’m not attempting to do any special stitch patterns, just concentrating on working my way through oddments of yarn, and making sure I crochet or knit to the correct size.  It’s keeping my hands busy in the evening, and if all local knitters/crocheters are doing the same, we should end up with quite a selection!

finished neck/shoulder warmer

I really do seem to be on a roll with knitting (and some more stash busting for this one).

This was the beginning, with a photo from the pattern so you can see what I’m up to.  Pattern is free downloadable King Cole 5624 and this is one of the seven items from the pattern.  I had some James C. Brett marbled chunky left over from when I knitted myself a (sideways) jacket in the Spring last year. You may remember this photo

That shows true colours of yarn.  Anyway, I had some of that yarn left, and it seemed to lend itself to this King Cole pattern.  The neck/shoulder warmer is actually knit flat, on circular needles (because at starting point there are 170 stitches to cast on).  Seam is then sewn up at the end.

Here it is while I blocked outer edges (which still want to curl up) and here it is on.

It was fun to make, is lovely and warm, although the ribbed neck could have done with being slightly snugger.  That’s probably to do with me using James Brett yarn with a King Cole pattern.  I’ll probably be wearing this indoors, in the evenings, when I want a bit of extra warmth rather than have the heating on full blast.

fourth knitting finish in a row!

Not quite sure when I suddenly became such a prolific knitter?  but I realise this is the third post already this year, and a fourth knitting finish to share!

I actually started this just before Christmas but got waylaid with other things, so it was waiting for ends to be sewn in and buttons.

It’s another baby cardie (for one of my dolls) in pink!  I followed the Little Avery pattern again, for number of stitches to work, and all the increasing for shaping sleeves.  But I kept to stocking stitch instead of knitting the textured pattern for lower sleeves and bodies. Thought the yarn was busy enough, with all those bright colours, without needing texture too.

This was a stash-busting project, using half a ball of Mariner DK yarn and 4 vintage buttons from MIL’s button box.  And I’ve got plenty left to knit a hat!

knit, purl, clickety click

After the chunky cowl project of the other day, I cast on in more Katia “Britannia” tweedy chunky yarn to knit a hat, following the King Cole 5624 pattern I had downloaded for free.

Not for myself, nor the husband, because neither of us like to wear wooly hats, but for one of our neighbour’s: Claude.  Because I was following a woman’s pattern, and knitting for a man, I added a few rows for extra depth but could probably have done without.  Hat turned out larger than expected but Claude was very happy when I gave it to him and it does fit, if he turns up more of the cuff.

Anyway, that was another stash buster and took just under 100g of yarn from the stash.

I got all excited about how chunky yarn knits up so quickly and was a naughty girl.  Buying in MORE yarn, rather than using what I have.

Not my colours at all, but when Mr & Mrs Tattoo were here for Christmas, Mrs Tattoo asked for a knitting lesson. I was more than happy to oblige.  And said she’d like to knit herself a very chunky scarf in black.  Knowing she probably won’t have time, what with work, to make a scarf from start to finish in time for this winter . . . I visited a local discount store and bought in these Gründl yarns.  Both have the pattern printed on the inside of label (in German for the first one, in German & French for the second one).   Anyway, that was 450g of yarn in, when I’m supposed to be aiming at not adding to the stash!

In order to justify this unneccessary spending, I therefore sat down and cast on with the second yarn, a lovely chunky, velvety, chenille type fashion yarn, following the pattern on label to make the cowl in photo (hence 2 x 100g).  A very easy pattern and yarn was gorgeous to work with!  So soft, velvety and drapey!  However, it was a big disappointment when it came to the end: sewing up and weaving in ends.  The velvety-ness sort of disintegrated as I sewed, with black fluff flying everywhere, leaving only a very fine centre core of thread.  I’m not convinced this is going to stand up to being washed (despite there being machine washing instructions on the label) and I’m not even convinced my sewing up/weaving in is going to hold for long.  I won’t be buying this type of fashion yarn again – ever!  Yes, it looks lovely and the finished cowl does look & feel very warm.

But I think this kind of yarn is bordering on mental cruelty, for the beginner knitters who will be spending hours/days/weeks on their first knitting project, only to stumble on the finishing stage when yarn refuses to cooperate.  Anyway . . . next knitting project will probably be with the grey/black variagated super chunky.  That’s a wool/acrylic mix therefore shouldn’t give me any nasty surprises along the way! Recommended needle size for that is 7mm – 8mm, so it should knit up even faster!

first finish of 2021

With the start of a new year, I’ve read quite a few “good resolutions” posts by fellow bloggers of goals they hope to achieve in the coming year.  I’m not going to make any resolutions as such. I know, from experience, I never stick to them.  So I’ll just continue in 2021 pretty much as I did in 2020:  picking up whatever project takes my fancy and (hopefully) working from start to finish, be it xstitch, sewing, patchwork, knitting or crochet.  And while doing so, try not to add any more stash to my very healthy supply!  I did well last year with stash-busting, only being naughty towards November with a couple of non-necessary buys.  So this year began the way I hope to continue.  I pulled a couple of 50g balls of chunky Katia “Britannia” from my stash . . . downloaded a free knitting pattern by King Cole . . . and I have my first finish of the 2021.

Doesn’t look very exciting, does it?  Maybe it’ll look better if I model it, in front of bathroom mirror (which I should have cleaned first!).

There you go!  One cowl.  The tweedy yarn and colour are quite masculine which is fine, since I cast on this project with the husband in mind.  This will be something to keep his neck warm when walking the dog!  I used approx 120g of the “Britannia” Katia yarn, knitted on 5mm needles for 1×1 rib and 6mm for stocking stitch, following pattern to the letter.

This King Cole 5624 pattern also included instructions forseven different projects!  The cowl; hat;  fingerless mittens;  shawl;  two different styles of scarf and a polo neck shoulder wrap.  I’ve just cast on to knit the hat and plan to tackle the polo neck shoulder wrap after that!

Under the tree

This year Christmas was rather quieter than usual, with all the social distancing and government recommendations/restriction.  We did have guests for a few days though. Eldest son and parter (whom I’m renaming Mr & Mrs Tattoo for blog purposes) came to visit.   It was so lovely to see them!  Anyway, to make up for the lack of socialising and the fact other family members couldn’t visit, everyone made sure to send lots of pressies this year.  I had a very impressive haul.  One very spoiled lady I am . . . and today, I come to show you.

First, from sister-in-law and brother-in-law.

A crochet kit, with all the necessary to make a striped kitty,  a rotary cutter with lots of different gadgets to do different paper cutting and, a vintage toy sewing machine!  I haven’t been able to date this yet but estimate it to be 60s or 70s.  It’s hand-cranked, sews a chain stitch, and can also take a battery for the little light (needs new battery & bulb to see if that actually works).

From Mr & Mrs Tattoo

A big bundle of DVDs because this is the kind of stuff I love to watch when crafting.  English-speakers will be surprised to see the cover of a recent Disney sporting the title “Vaiana” instead of “Moana” . . . that’s perfectly normal.  Disney had to rename the film & heroine for copyright reasons on the European market.

From Mr & Mrs Lindashee

a lovely bundle of “Forest Friends” fabric by Makower. One panel and 3 other pièces, 50cm x bolt width and . . . oooooh Lindashee had been doing some secret stitching this year!  I am now the proud owner of my very own Christmas stocking.  Beautifully stitched, and I just love those owls!

From Mr & Mrs Viking, and from my sister

The crochet book, from Mr & Mrs Viking with lots of fun dinosaur and other prehistoric creatures to crochet (future crochet projects for Little Miss Viking?) . . . and a pretty tin box, containing Clarins creams & mirror from my sister, with 2 little cross stitchings.

From my good friend, Avis

a rainbow coloured cardie, beautifully knit by Avis for my Sylvia Natterer dolls . . . an equally beautifully knit pair of fingerless mittens to keep my hands nice & warm, and “Zoomigurumi 8” because Avis knows I’m collecting all the books in this series!

And last but not least . . . there were also two very large parcels from Father Christmas!  The first, a Tiana Disney Animator doll (second hand from eBay but in lovely condition)

And

An Antonio Juan baby doll.  Antonio Juan being a Spanish doll manufacturer.   This is the model “Alejandra” and measures 52cm.  Photo doesn’t do her justice.  She has a gorgeous expression and her outfit is exceedingly well made.  This is the only photo of her you’ll see on this blog, but I will be gushing about her over on my Claire’s Collections blog.  And still haven’t decided on her name.

secret xmas crafting revealed

Christmas has come and gone . . . I can now show you a few photos of some gifts I made this year, for family and friends. I realise I didn’t take photos of everything but not to worry.

YipYip were something that made me smile while making, and I made a couple, with rasta crocheted hair, rather than pipe-cleaners . . . in bright green for Toddler Viking

In turquoise and shocking pink for our neighbours’ daughters.

A very last minute sewing project with a length of cotton found in my stash (something the MIL bought years ago, and I wonder what on earth for!)  . . . which seemed perfect to sew up as a pair of Wendy house curtains.

Not sure I’d want these in my house, but they’ll look lovely hanging in 3-year- old Mona’s play house this summer!

Sewing and knitting, in doll size next, with a summer dress and bolero cardigan for Lindashee’s 57cm BJD doll.

I did also knit two sweaters for her male 67cm doll, but forgot to take a photo.

And, last but not least . . . a little blackwork scissor keep for sister-in-law.

more knitting (Little Avery)

Knitting needles have been flying, as I finished an orange version of the “Little Avery” baby cardie, then had a go at knitting two hats.

I added extra ribbing on the orange hat to give it a turnover cuff, and because second doll is slightly bigger, with bigger head.  Enjoying knitting (and playing with my dolls) so much, I’ve already cast on again in pink because Father Christmas is bringing me a new baby doll this year – yay!

knitting for baby dolls (with Little Avery)

Like many other crafters, the cold weather and dark nights, make me want to spend more time, by the radiator, with a knitting project.

I decided on a pattern for a baby cardie: “Little Avery” by Taiga Hillard Designs, a free download on Ravelry . . . and picked up a ball of yarn the husband gifted me for Christmas last year.

Pattern is a very easy to knit “top down” project.  It starts out being knitted on straight needles but then requires DPNs for the sleeves, which are picked up once the body is complete and knitted as tubes.  I got this far, and then had to wait a few days because I didn’t have DPNs in the right size.  As soon as the postie delivered, I was off again, on another learning curve knitting those sleeves, and trying to match the colour changes in yarn so I would end up with matching sleeves.  The great thing about this pattern was a) the instructions, which were very clear with just knits, purls, increases and button holes and b) there was no sewing up to do afterwards. There were a few stitches needed to close up the underarm bit, where yarn was rejoined for sleeves, but everything else, including button bands, was knit all in one piece. Very clever!

Sleeve colour matching worked, more or less!  I was thrilled to then find four plastic cat face buttons in my button box . . . so they’re what I used to finish off this cute cardie.

I knitted this one in 0-3 months size, but using slightly smaller needles as I wanted it to be very small, to fit my baby dolls.  And was so pleased with how it turned out I  immediately cast on in a different colour and have started knitting a second one.

So more colourful knitting to keep me amused and out of mischief.