Friday, 12 January 2018

A Yarny Year's End

Hello there!
Before we get too far into the New Year I think I should catch you up on what I was up to at the end of 2017 and looking through the photos it seems to have involved a lot of knitting! At the beginning of November I finished my North Shore sweater...


With the grey days and poor light we have at this stage of the year the colors are not coming out very accurately but here's a close up of the yoke...


I was really happy with it and too impatient to start wearing this jumper so didn't block it at all! I've been wearing it a lot and it's nice and cosy and I like the fit, but the yarn is pilling badly in some places which is kinda alarming. Epecially as I have more up the stairs which I was planning on making another two sweaters with...
Due to my head not being great during November I was looking for some simple projects which I could do mainly by touch so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make scarves for two of my nieces for Christmas. Actually it was more like killing three birds because I also wanted to use up some yarn that has been living upstairs for a while! I was given a lovely big bag of assorted yarn a couple of years ago but have struggled with what to do with it as most of it came from one of those partwork publications so there is a little ball of this and a little ball of that... a lot of the colors coordinate beautifully but were all different textures and weights... so I decided to start with some little 25g balls that were all the same yarn and see how big a scarf I could get out of what I had. It's a bulky weight yarn with mohair (which my fussy skin would never let me wear!) but it has the most beautiful sparkles through it...


I learnt pretty fast that it was almost impossible to frog as it was so fuzzy but it seemed quite suited to this simple textured pattern. After a bit of measuring I figured I would just about have enough for a decent length scarf so went back to the stash to see what I could find for a scarf for this nieces' sister. I pulled out some variegated super chunky and picked this pattern...



So far so good... After a while I realised that I would either have some of the blue/lilac yarn left over or an incredibly long scarf! and I really wanted to use it all up so I decided to make a matching hat. I adapted this pattern as it was for a much thinner yarn, added a big pom pom on the top, and was able to use up all the yarn! *Happy dance!*



But this did leave me with a bit of a problem. I really only had enough of the sparkly yarn for a scarf, not for a matching hat, and I couldn't give one sister a hat and scarf and the other one just a hat! (Who's my favorite?!) I was also past the point of where I could've made the scarf into a cowl (and I'd already discovered there was no pulling back with this yarn!). Back to the stash... now this is when you find you have four different shades of lilac but none of them match and don't even get me started on how many shades of "white" there are!! In the end I found two tiny balls of the same brand but in a dk weight for the lilac and the white and was able to match the burgundy to some Stylecraft Special (it matches better in real life than in a photo). I adapted this pattern for the different weight and hope I can get away with the hat not sparkling? Do 13 year olds pay that much attention anyways?!


So two presents down and a little less yarn upstairs! 
We were having friends from Alabama come to stay with us over Christmas so I decided they needed some Scottish themed hats to keep them warm whilst sight seeing and also be a little reminder of their Scottish adventure. I started looking for patterns, but I wanted something that said "Scotland!" without screaming "MAD SCOTTISH TOURIST THING YOU WILL NEVER WEAR AGAIN IN YOUR LIFE!!!" In the end I decided to design something myself so using graph paper I charted out a little Saltire and knitted up three versions of this hat for our three visitors. This is the ladies version worked in blue and white with purple (for the heather) and green stripes, ably modeled here by my balloon friend from Halloween (the giant pom pom meant the balloon wouldn't balance so I roped in Hubbie to hold him upright ;-))





This is the teenage boys version with a bigger circumference and slightly slouchy/ skater style...


And this is the mens beanie version which has the same circumference as the slouchy one. For both of the male hats I used red instead of purple for the stripes, the red and green together reminding me of a lot of tartans...



I have named it The Colors of Scotland Hat and am almost finished writing up the pattern. When it is done I will add it to the free patterns tab at the top of the blog in case anyone else would like to make one. 
The last knitty present to finish was the second Antler cardigan for my five year old grandson. This was an enjoyable knit as I had taken copious notes from making the smaller one...


Despite having measured both boys thoroughly I was a little nervous as to the fit of these (especially as I altered the sleeves from the pattern to match the measurements I had taken) but when they put them on on Christmas Day it was all good! They have proved a big hit with the boys so I think I might be making some bigger sizes in the future!
On the crochet front I was working on my Hydrangea blanket, still totally loving the rich jewel like colors and the gentle rhythm of those stripes. When the main blanket was finished I decided to do a deeper border than on Lucy's original blanket and used her Linen Stitch Edging tutorial to finish it off instead...


So would you like to see the whole blanket? Here it is in all it's stripey gloriousness!!!


It finished up at 66" by 50" which is a good size for a person to snuggle under on the couch these chilly winter days!
Before I go I thought you might like a little peak at the first week's work on my new blanket love - the Woodland Ripple...


I am working my own order of the colors again but absolutely loving both the colors and the pattern - Lucy has done it again!!! 💗💛💚💙💜
Thank you for visiting with me today, I hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you are working on!

























Monday, 8 January 2018

New year, new challenge!

Hello there!
After the success of the 17 ufos in 2017 project last year it took me all of 5 minutes to decide to participate in Meredithe and Anne's new challenge for 2018. It's called 6&6 in 2018 and basically you pick 6 old or ufo projects to work on over the year and 6 new projects which take your fancy. This is extremely convenient for me as I have 5 ufos left from last year's 17 plus one project which has become a ufo in the last few months :-) So my list for my 6 old/ufo's is:

  1. Black Christmas cross stitch decoration - last one in the set of four to finish.
  2. Little knitted hedgehog - knitted three or possibly four? years ago needs put together.
  3. Sugar Plum Fairy - knitted three? years ago needs assembled.
  4. Popcorn Bear cross stitch - started October 2013
  5. The wave cross stitch - started June 2011, saw substantial progress last year can I get a finish this year?
  6. Snuggly snowflake mittens - started here they really deserve to come out of that time out and get finished now!
As for the 6 new projects... well part of me wanted to leave this totally blank and just go where the inspiration took me. But part of me (probably the part that likes ticking things off a list!) wanted to set the goal of 6 projects I really want to tackle in 2018. So here are my 6 new projects for the year:

  1. Woodland Blanket CAL - since Lucy's first post about this I have been dying for this to start!
  2. Advent calendar for Little C - after making this advent calendar for his big brother I have been meaning to get started on one for him.
  3. Stocking for Little C - again, now his big brother has one it's his turn (and I plan to start this early in the year!!)
  4. Star Trek quilt for Hubbie - fabric for this has been accumulating since 2014 and I had planned on getting this done for his birthday last year, and then for his Christmas...
  5. Olaf quilt for dear daughter - fabric for this has also been accumulating since 2014 but I think she would still be surprised if she actually got a finished quilt this year! ;-)
  6. Moab blanket - I have been playing with yarn pegs and an idea since April last year to make a blanket inspired by one of my favorite landscapes and using Lucy's Cosy Stripe pattern.
Of course I am going to start lots of other new things over the course of the year - there is not a sock in sight on either of those lists for a start! - but I would really love to have all 12 of these projects completed by year's end so am going to try and prioritize these.
Thank you for visiting with me today, I hope you will come back often in 2018 to see how I'm getting on with this?! By the way it's not too late to join in if you like this idea!! 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Christmas craftiness

Hello there!
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas season? We enjoyed time spent with family and friends, some wintery walks...


...and lots of good food! (Sorry for the fuzzy picture, I didn't realise it was so fuzzy until half the cake was eaten!)


I was very spoiled for presents, my dear friend Lori from Hippywitch Crafts sent me some beautiful yarn and a Gingerbread House cross stitch kit...


...and dear Hubbie bought me the new DMC colors in the collectors tin...


...and some cross stitch charts off my wish list...


I really can't wait to tuck into these!!!
I also treated myself to knitting a warm pair of Christmas socks in amongst all the gift knitting (more on that in my next post)...


As usual I changed the pattern up a bit but you can find full details on my Ravelry page here.
I also decided this was the year I would make some of these crochet star decorations which were the first Attic24 patterns I ever saw and fell in love with! Now be warned if you try making these they are totally addictive and I could've quite happily spent the last three weeks in December making nothing but little jingly stars! I restrained myself to a couple for the big mirror in the hall (which is impossible to photograph!) and these three...




I strung them together to hang at the bottom of the stairs (another place which is tricky to photograph! lol)



The colors match the bauble wreath in the hall but I am going to be making more of these in other colors for other areas of the house later in the year (did I mention they are addictive?!).
After I finished my Hydrangea blanket (photos to come in my next post) I started another Attic24 inspired project, a winter wreath. A couple of Saturdays' before Christmas we had bright sunshine in the morning which I took advantage of to play with my yarn pegs... 


...and over the last few weeks I have worked up the stripey base whenever I needed some simple yarny action...



For me it's very unusual not to have a blanket on the go (I really can't remember the last time that happened!) but I am waiting for the start of the Attic24 Woodland blanket CAL tomorrow - eeekk! the wait is almost over!!! I am a tad over excited for this as I totally adore the colors Lucy has chosen!! Until then I am having fun playing  making all the pretty little bits to go on my wreath. I hope you are enjoying these first days of this New Year however you are spending it!













Sunday, 31 December 2017

17 ufo's in 2017 - December update

Hello there!
This is the final report of the year for the 17ufosin2017 challenge and this month I have two projects to share with you from The List. The first is the Santa stocking for my grandson. I am very happy to say I finished it with about a week to spare and we delivered it to him on Christmas Eve just before bedtime! The look on his face and the gasp when he first saw it made it all worthwhile :-)


I lined it with royal blue cotton and backed it with matching blue felt, the red hanging ribbon says "Love from Santa x" on it which I thought was a nice finishing touch. I have decided on a stocking to stitch for his little brother and plan on starting it early in 2018!
The other project from the list that I have made substantial progress on this month is number 14, the black cross stitch Christmas decorations. The designs are by Amanda Gregory and when they appeared in an issue of Cross Stitch Collection magazine back in 2012 I fell instantly in love with them. It was the first time I had worked on black 28ct evenweave but I finished the first in the set of four in time for Christmas that year and it has hung in the same spot above our angels and nativity each year since then...


Unfortunately by the following year when I tried to work on the next one in the set I found that my eyesight had gotten worse and the black evenweave was a nightmare to see! I tried a bunch of different things and started looking into magnifiers. After struggling with three different magnifiers over the next few years, I found one that works brilliantly for me in the Black Friday sales last year and I was able to finish stitching the second one. This month I stitched the third one and finished numbers two and three into ornaments...



I have used a slightly different finish on these for a couple of different reasons; I prefer the results from using this tutorial for circular finishes over the original instructions in the magazine, and I discovered I didn't have enough of the red and gold cording to complete all four decorations and (unsurprisingly after 5 years!) couldn't find it still on sale locally. I plan to hang these two and the one remaining one together as a set of three on a different wall to the original one anyways so I don't think it will look too odd. The last one in this set is my current WIP, this is where I have gotten up to...


So from my original list at the start of the year I have completely finished twelve projects and seen substantial progress on two. I am really happy with this and would like to say a big thank you to Meredithe and Anne for organizing this challenge, it really helped me stay on track and not get tempted off into new projects so much! I am going to carry my remaining ufos over to the new challenge for 2018 which is 6 & 6 in 2018 and I hope you will come back and see how I get on? Of course it would also be lovely if any of you wanted to join us in this challenge too! (Follow the 6&6 link for details). Thank you for visiting with me today and for all your comments throughout 2017, I love hearing from you all :-) I would also like to wish you all a brilliant 2018!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas 2017

Hello there!
Sorry it's been a bit quiet around here lately, like many of us I have been spending every spare minute working on/finishing off projects for Christmas! I hope to be able to catch you up properly on what's been going on in January when all gifts have been received and opened and things have calmed down a bit! I can tell you that there has been a lot of knitting and on the crochet front I finished my Hydrangea blanket but have no big enough floor space till after Christmas to spread it out and get a photo... I have even managed to fit in some stitching! Yes the stocking is finished and tonight we will take it over to my grandson!! I have even had a little time to stitch on some other small projects. Instead of making cards for my sons and my sister - in - law I stitched them ornaments. I started this last year by stitching an ornament for my sister-in-law and I hope to be organised enough to do this for more folks on my list next year. This is the little house I stitched last year...



The design is from Just Cross Stitch Magazine Christmas Ornaments issue 2008 and each side is only an inch and a half wide! This year I stitched something a little bigger...


Angel for my sister-in -law and her family, design from Just Cross Stitch Magazine Christmas Ornaments issue 2014. I changed some of the thread colors and adapted it to the materials I could get hold of here in the UK.


Flat ornament finish, design from a recent Cross Stitch Crazy magazine (sorry I can't lay my hands on it at the moment to find the issue number!) for my younger son who has this kind of sense of humor ;-)


Little hoop finish for my son and daughter-in-law, it's an Emma Congdon design that came with the last issue of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine.
Well I'm going to hop off (more Christmas baking to do!) but I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who have visited me here over the last year and to wish you and your families a very happy and blessed Christmas. See you in the New Year!


Thursday, 7 December 2017

17 ufos in 2017 - November update

Hello there!
At this stage of the year more than any other I feel the truth of that old saying "life is like a toilet roll, the further along you get the quicker it goes!" Substitute "life" for "year" and that about sums up how I feel! Anyone else feel like this too?! This morning, as Storm Caroline howls around the house, it's time for another quick update on the 17 ufos in 2017 project. November was a challenging month here but I did manage to get this little guy finished in time for Little C's birthday!


There were more mistakes in the pattern to sort out but finally Rory the Lion came together and I think he ended up pretty cute - I do love the tip on his little tail!


So that's number 6 on The List done, now back to number 8, the Santa stocking. November did not grant me a lot of stitching time but I did manage to complete all the cross stitch on this...


Sorry for the rumpled look, this was snapped on my phone fresh out of the hoop when I had worked the last little x! *Happy dance!* But of course this is still pretty far from a finish and we are getting closer and closer to Christmas Eve... at this stage I would be really mad at myself to not get this delivered in time for this Christmas!! So this week I have been plodding on with the back stitch (of which there is a never ending amount!!!) - please keep your fingers crossed for me that my migraines behave and I can get some good stitchy hours in?! 
Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope you also enjoy visiting the other participants in this project at The Linky as they are sharing some stunning projects! Wishing you a lovely rest of your week :-)





Wednesday, 15 November 2017

17 ufos in 2017 - October update

Hello there!
Due to internet problems experienced by Meredithe, our organiser, this month's 17 ufos in 2017 update is running late, but better late than never! In October I worked on three of my ufo projects off the Revised List. Firstly I finished number 4, the Yo-Yo Pumpkin. We named him Jack and here he is hanging out with some pumpkin friends...


The little yellow gourd is one of two that we managed to grow here this year (I really think this will be my last attempt at growing gourds and pumpkins while we live here as they really struggle with our climate, I can keep them warm but I can't make the sun shine for them!!). The white (ghost) pumpkin is named Casper and he was bought last year a couple weeks before Halloween. We were not long back from the States and I used a sticker from Joann's to decorate him, wondering whether I would manage to peel it off to reuse when the pumpkin died. Well he has sat either on this little table in front of the window or on the floor all year. Every few days I turn him upside down to check he's not going squishy underneath and I was really surprised when he was still firm at Christmas! Then he made Easter... he was still going strong when June arrived (which led to a perplexed 5 year old asking "Gran why do you have a pumpkin in the front room?" LOL!!!) and now he has made it to his second Halloween!! I have no clue why this ordinary pumpkin is still on the go! I don't imagine he would still be good to eat but, having shared a year with him, that would seem a bit like eating one of the family now ;-) 
The second ufo I worked on this month was the stocking for the aforementioned grandson. Here is where I had gotten up to by months' end...


I am very hopeful I will see a finish on this this month!! I'm not even dreading what I think will be about a week's worth of back stitch because I am so excited to get this done! Of course next year I will need to get moving on a stocking for his little brother... 
Said little brother has a birthday in November and number 6 on the list is an amigurumi that I started for his birthday last year...


I decided I really should pull this out and decide whether or not I was still going to finish this as I had been having some issues with the pattern and was not that happy with it (which is why it got banished to the cupboard last year). This is where I had gotten up to...



While I am still not totally happy with it I decided I would persevere. I finished his body, reworked part of the leg pattern as there is a mistake in the book, and made his arms. Now he just needs ears, a tail, nose, two cheeks, and all sewn together so that has been my priority for the start of this month. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that there are no more mistakes in the pattern!! 
If I can get the lion and the stocking finished this month then that will leave me with 5 ufos (although that includes number 9 on the list which has seen substantial progress this year). At this point I am planning on carrying number 9 (The Wave cross stitch) and number 2 (the dratted Popcorn cross stitch ;-)) over to next year and am hoping to still finish the other three ufos by December 31. That is if I can stay focused and away from temptation!!!!
Thank you for visiting with me today, do pop over to The Linky to see what everyone else has been working on through October!