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

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A few knitting sessions later and it now looks like this

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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.

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Well since then, I have a back!

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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.

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And voilà the result!

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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

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And this month

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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

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

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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.

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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.

we have a cat tree, not a Christmas tree

Hello folks – Christmas Eve, and children all over the world will be getting excited as presents pile up under the seasonal Christmas tree.  In our house, we haven’t put up a tree this year . . . however I did buy a cat tree ^^

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No cats in sight (typical) . . . you’d have thought with 3 cats in the house there would be at least one lounging around on it.  But no!  Merlin prefers his cardboard box

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Gandalf is curled up on the couch as usual, and Le Bleu . . . well I thought he was snoozing on our bed, until I was trying to take a couple of photos to show you some knitting.

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Spurred on by Avis, who has been working busily to finish off her 100 square blanket, I got out my needles the other night, and now have 4 more squares for my future blanket.

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Makes 14 in total, so I have a very long way to go.  There will be no colour theme, nor stitch theme lol.  I bought some odd balls of wool on the internet and am using this as a knitting pratcise exercise.  Knitting 5” samples and trying different stitches as I go, depending on the yarn. As you can see, I have another full ball of the reddish yarn left so will be able to knit up some more in that colour.  Also have a nice green one in the side-lines

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Anyway – tonight it will be foie gras and yummy Christmas Eve feasting in this house.  Just the two of us, in front of the fire, with a glass of wine. 

I hope you all have a lovely time this Christmas and that you get to spend it with loved ones.

a little bit every day

As you know, we’ll be moving this summer . . . so I’m busy with sorting and “Spring cleaning” around the house. My days aren’t terribly thrilling as I move from one cupboard to the next, filling up binliners as I go – but it has to be done. We’ve already made several trips to the local tip with some of the large items and I continue to plod along with the sorting indoors.

Here’s an example of a day’s haul

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This lot went to the Red Cross recycle bin, but every day I’m ending up with roughly the same amount of “stuff” and I haven’t finished yet ^^

Crafting has been on a go slow because I’m usually too shattered in the evening to concentrate on much. However, I did get my knitting needles out again and do some simple “brainless” knitting to add a few squares to my blankie project. 

Last photo I showed you was way back in February when I had finished 2 squares with a “Pernelle” turquoisey blue & white.  I’ve done another 4 squares since then – so have a total of ten.  And already decided what yarn to knit next: a “Bérgère” Tweedine which is ever so soft.

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