Tuesday, June 15

Some finished objects

Apologies for the extended silence here. There's just not been much to report lately, and I hate to bore you with the minutiae of a life in almost-lockdown. There's not been any machine knitting to report, apparently having two garments waiting for a cut and sew neck is enough to kill the mojo stone dead. I should stick to knitting blankets.

tree

The finished cross-stitch. The less said about the willow pattern, which came crashing down at 11.30 pm last night, and needed hoovering up, the better. I am working on a rainbow-themed cross-stitch now, lots of half stitches.

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Summer dress. The lace applique hides a mess I made of the neck v, there's a bit of a gather there. I added inseam pockets and decided against the belt, I'd rather just wear this with a seperate belt. Not to mention how it's almost impossible to turn a 2m long tube right side out!

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Sleeve for a cardigan in progress. Yes, despite it being 25 degs C here.

Work have announced we will required to be in for three days a week as of mid July, somewhat disappointing - I was hoping for two days in at the most. Not sure how it will work for one colleague who has moved 100 miles away. Ho hum. Though I welcome some return to normality, as I mostly don't work with my colleagues, my physical location is immaterial. I get so much more done at home, and have never missed the 90 minutes of commuting!

If there are any HTML experts out there, I'd love to know why my UL bulleted lists on the MK Treasure Chest Site have recently become numbered lists. I don't know how to fix it, alas.

Current mood: bored

Wednesday, May 26

Phases

Does anyone else find that they go through phases of only wanting to concentrate on one hobby? Right now I'm really enjoying the cross stitch, but don't worry, the knitting machines aren't going anywhere. Serves me right for knitting the parts for two cut and sew sweaters, and being reluctant to do the actual cutting bit. Actually I was a bit gutted that after watching the UK's dismal performance at the Eurovision (what WAS he wearing? Recycled tyres?) that I lost my favourite cross stitch needle. Found another one but it's much sharper, I was trying very hard not to split stitches. The tree cross stitch has lots of random single stitches in it, it's quite a challenge to make sure I get all of them. And I'm a bit glum, I'm missing the "social life" of the office I think. WFH is all very well but it's somewhat lonely. 

I made the striped rainbow fabric into two shopping bags, it was all there was enough for. 

I've been asked to do two talks about machine knitting, one this year and one next year. I need to put together some handouts of various textures, because the first one will probably be over Zoom so I can't hand around sample garments. A chance to play with the macro lens!

Current mood: lethargic

Friday, May 21

Like cookie dough

Well, the Willow pattern cross-stitch is finally done, pending a gentle wash and press. Very pleased with it, despite a few mistakes. Getting that border to join up wasn't easy, in hindsight perhaps I should have stitched that first?! I defy anyone to keep track of something like that though! To be fair, it is labelled as "Adult: advanced". First time I've ever done half stitches. No knots in this at all, apart from the french ones. Ironically, I think I already have a suitable frame for this, after I managed to sew this tapestry without using a frame and it has a permanent bias to it. Lesson learned for future reference - always use a frame or hoop, don't just wing it! 

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So I have already started another one, Watercolour tree, which is probably harder, being abstract. Does anyone else do this - stitch to the edge of the frame and not want to break the thread? I am finding it quite addictive. This is the progress since I started on Monday. It's so nice to be using something other than blue or white, too!  It's really quite addictive, this cross-stitch. Who'd have thunk it?

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Well, Spring seems to be struggling this year. It's very windy and wet, it's pretty much finished off the tulips, except for a few in sheltered positions. On Wednesday, after a very pleasant walk at lunchtime, we got home just in time to miss a sudden clap of thunder and a downpour. Last night it was blowing a gale, so glad we tied the greenhouse to the fence, at least it's still there. Our previous greenhouse got blown over twice and got broken. Went for my first indoor meal in over four months last night - we got wet getting there, too. But it was worth it for the veggie burger, the fruity cider and the sticky toffee pudding!

Current mood: cold

Sunday, May 16

Time for Tea top

mugs_top

Hello! Sorry I've not blogged much lately, there's been very little to report really! I have made the Cog some shorts, I should have paid more attention to the amount of ease in the pattern because they have come out enormous (even after I added 4 darts into the back waist). I am going to have to take the side and inside seams in I think. Oh well, I guess at least there's plenty of room for his burgeoning beer belly! I made this cheerful top above and have a matching scrunchie and face mask, should I want to wear all three at the same time!

I've 1m of a pretty rainbow striped fabric. I am trying to talk myself out of buying some more of it elsewhere - otherwise, there's only really enough for a shopping bag. It definitely doesn't go around me, anyway! I'm trying to talk myself into finishing the Willow pattern cross-stitch - it needs probably an hour's more work on it.

bluebells

The weather is continuing to be unsettled (it's throwing it down right now, in fact), so the lifting of restrictions on eating indoors today will help no end. So far, only the Cog has a "date", and not with me! We went bluebell-spotting on Sunday, and oh my did I wear the wrong shoes! So much mud, and I forgot sometimes you have to jump over streams too. Mind you, as we came away there was one family entirely kitted out in nice clean trainers. I wonder how that went?! No sign of my favourite pink bluebells this year, nor the white ones, but I have left it a bit late so perhaps that's it. The weather feels more like April than May.

Current mood: working

Tuesday, April 27

Cheerful fabric

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Some more masks, because I've mislaid a few of the earlier ones and I've finessed the design now. Tip: florist's wire for the nose bit for the win!

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Some pretty fabric, mostly from the lovely Empress Mills, because a girl needs projects to work on at the moment! The spotty one is from the hungry caterpillar, which was a favourite book of mine when I was a child. Love the mugs fabric too, so cheerful (that was the last of it from the fabric shop in town)! Not sure what I will do with the rainbow stripe fabric as there's only a small amount.

It's raining fit to beat the band at the moment. The garden is loving it! Thank goodness I don't have to go anywhere today...

Current mood: lethargic

Thursday, April 22

Easy double-bed Passap cast off

I found this in Carmen Reuter's notes, and Sheila West very kindly posted a video of this on Facebook. I thought it was worth sharing because it's really easy to do. No more casting off by hand for me!

First, transfer all the stitches to the back bed, and knit 1 row right to left at ss 8/8

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Drop the front bed. Using the yellow latch tool, pick up the first loop on the right and put it behind the latch. Pick up the new loop from the front bed, and pull it through.

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Continue in this manner across the whole bed, until all stitches are cast off. Pull the last loop through and take off the machine.

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It's worth practicing this on a swatch - I went straight in there and did it on black yarn for my first time, nothing like going straight for the deep end!

Current mood: working

Thursday, April 15

Totally texture

I found this Passap knitting pattern in an old magazine, and decided to have a go (though using a built-in pattern).

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It's probably not obvious on screen, but this tuck stitch pattern is really textured and spongy. Very nice! Though I think when I make the second front I will use weights, there are a LOT of tuck loops and at one point there was a big jam when some of them failed to knit off. I managed to rescue it and it's not too obvious. The post title is also the name of the pattern.

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I treated myself to a little holder for the Passap machine, it works a lot better than the yarn bowls because it's deeper. A machine knitter's son 3d prints them and you can choose your colour. Of course I had to go for the hot pink!

The non-essential shops are now open in England, the first time since 2020. We are taking a trip into town tomorrow to window shop, I can't wait! Though I couldn't wait for a hair cut, I gave myself a fringe trim yesterday and it doesn't look too bad. At least it is out of my eyes, anyway.

I was pondering today how I've had lots of information in books in my collection, and yet it's taken a global pandemic for me to get to grips with the Passap. Seems like there has to be a right time to absorb the information - sometimes your brain is just not ready for it. Then bang! It suddenly all starts making sense. Weird.

Some spring pictures to cheer you up! Tulips are my favourite flower, and the pink geranium is blooming again. Not bad for a forlorn supermarket plant that cost me £2. I won a photo competition with these, think the prize was some mixed bulbs which have just turned up via UPS.

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Current mood: awake