Monday, October 02, 2023

Crochet and holidays

Apologies - I didn't realise it had been so long since my last post! Well, I have been away a few times - that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it! 

First up was the annual Knitting and Crochet Guild AGM. Four guest speakers, two elective classes. I took corner to corner crochet (turns out I could already do it, but never mind!) and mosaic crochet, which was definitely quite challenging. It made a nice change not being a teacher for once. I picked up some stitch dictionaries. I need to cull my craft books, I have way too many!


This scarf was inspired by the C2C class.


This scarf (upside down, sorry!) was one I started a while ago in arcade stitch.


This is my sample of mosaic stitches - the bottom one is made by working into the back loop only, then dipping into the front loop with a treble. The top one you "pre-plan" a gap using a ch space and then work into that gap a few rows later. I figured out how to do C2C in the round on the train home from my second trip (more on that later). I had to wait until I was home to get access to a multi coloured biro.


Our second trip was a three night stay in Gent. We discovered a brewery (see menu below, I love that their logo contains lots of local symbols) that we missed last time, as well as a tiny bar that sold 150 flavours of jenever (gin). We were incredibly lucky with the weather and needed sun screen, not bad for mid September. It only rained a little on the last day, and both times we were safely in place under awnings at two of the many outside bars.




Getting back to the UK came with a bit of a bump - it was wet and grey when we got back. I'm trying to resist the urge to hibernate - the nights are markedly longer already. Winter is NOT my favourite season! I made a start on a final (quite complex) cross stitch kit given to me by a friend, but already I have gone wrong. The dratted thing is 97 stitches wide when it should be 96. It might go in the bin at this rate. Pah!

Current mood: working

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

FO: some cross stitch items

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Currently drip-drying in the bathroom and waiting on pressing and framing. Sorry for the rubbish angle - I added the counties to the Warwickshire one. Coventry hasn't been in Warwickshire for some time, it's a blob on the SE of the West Midlands, but never mind. I didn't come up with the kit! I am debating doing some sort of freestyle cross stitch with all the leftover cotton I have. Hmmm. A friend had started the animal one and I finished it off. Ran out of black, luckily I had some elsewhere!

Summer finally arrived on Sunday, it's sunshiney and humid here. I'm not complaining, it's lovely!

Current mood: hot

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Two-colour tuck



Upside down Us on DAK mean tuck. This is stitchworld 299. It's a very nice fabric, with zero floats. I'd have got more done, but I spent half the evening wrangling with two CSMs and only managed one tube sock. Bah.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023


Just when we all thought COVID was done and dusted... The Cog and I had a short break in Scarborough, and took in Whitby on the way home. Last time a visit led to the discovery of my mild epilepsy. This time we somehow managed to pick up COVID, though G just thought his was a cold (he started to come down with it as we drove home). I didn't think to test either of us until my SIL's annual garden party, which alas we both had to sit out at home. The curse of Whitby strikes again (although we might have potentially picked it up in a spa in Scarborough, the place was jam packed with kids). Symptoms were those of a head cold, plus aches and a stonking headache.

So long, last long weekend of the year! Saturday I was so ill all I could do was slump in front of the TV and watch reruns and doze. Sunday I managed a little handknitting and a bunch of Columbo episodes (I love that series - turns out some of them are as old as me, too!). Monday I did a little cross-stitch. Tuesday we'd planned to visit some local tourist landmarks, but I cancelled the day off and stayed home again. The only event that did go (somewhat) to plan was the monthly machineknitting zoom, where I demonstrated the YC6 colour changer. Some questions on Ravelry have explained to me how to make Designaknit do two colour slip/tuck, I might try it tonight.

Current mood: lethargic

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Lumpy toe

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Well, in my defence, a good friend turned up in the middle to pick up some books and MK equipment I'm getting rid of, and I kind of lost track with the toe of this sock. But it came out very well and I am quite pleased with it, my first sock on the Dean and Bean machine! I still need to loosen off the directional cam I think, I don't want to have to poke it on every pass because that's a bit irritating! There are two Russian joins in this sock because the yarn had already been used and cut, and alas I don't have more of this colour to make it a mate yet. The tension is a bit iffy because I was too lazy to rewind the yarn into a proper ball. Perhaps I could start a trend for odd socks though?

I've sold a few MK books on Facebook this week which is good. The garage is awash with coned yarn so himself is not best pleased! Nobody seems to want the Toyota needles which is a pity. I hate to take things down the tip but that is where they will go! 

Current mood: working

Monday, August 07, 2023

Festival of Quilts and the summer of rain

Well, I took Friday off and attended the Festival of Quilts. I think I preferred last year's layout, this year the quilts were displayed in various areas, mixed in with stalls, and in quite a maze. I didn't really want to spend £7 on a program ( I much prefer the one page freebie map and listing available at the Creative Craft show last month) so I probably missed seeing quite a lot of quilts because it was impossible to know if you'd seen everything. The good thing about this show is that the NEC does at least provide ample seating throughout - a bonus at lunchtime because the tiny cafes in halls 7-9 can't possibly accomodate everyone at once. Tired shoppers tend to go home early and make less purchases!

I resisted buying more fabric but did buy another cross stitch kit and some dichroic glass jewellery that caught my eye. 

Saturday we had planned a leisurely day wandering around Coventry, followed by a night out and a hotel stay. So of course, it rained pretty much all day - we were ducking in and out of shops. Not really the relaxing day we had hoped for! Of course now we are back at work, the sun is out - it's still a cool 17 degrees though, not at all the sort of temperatures you'd expect in August. Sunday we made a trip to a fitness store to order a spin bike (alas they didn't have the one we wanted in stock) and then a short wander around Northampton itself. The town's a bit scruffy but the museum was very interesting, an exhibition about the shoe industry and some amazing Lego models. 

Ordered some more wax stamps from an Etsy seller and not only has the wrong thing been sent, but the delivery driver (company begins with Y) dumped it at the wrong address and scarpered. If it wasn't for the local Facebook group I'd still be none the wiser! 

Current mood: annoyed

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Playing with the new toy

Well, after a disastrous first attempt, I managed to get two serviceable heels out of the new CSM. The first I followed the instructions, which were:

  1. Short-rowing in, pull leading needle in hold (automatically wraps on next pass)
  2. Short-rowing out, move trailing needle to WP, wrap leading held needle manually
This resulted in the leading working needle occasionally dropping the stitch, though moving the yarn carrier a bit closer seemed to help. If you can get the first needle to knit then the yarn is in the right place for subsequent needles to pick it up. Wrapping the yarn manually tends to mean it rides up in the yarn carrier so I had to learn to "floss" each time. 

My second attempt went much better:
  1. Short-rowing in, pull leading needle in hold
  2. Short-rowing out, place leading needle back into WP and hold the latch open

This is my preferred method with the Imperia and it looks neater on the inside - the manual wrap creates a bit of a loop. I've established that the central "switch" cam tends to stick, thus causing jams when short-rowing. I will try and loosen it half a turn; having to poke it on every row is a bit annoying! Alas I have to get the cylinder out to access that part. 

I had to smile after watching someone unboxing their version of this machine on Youtube. The expectation was the whole thing would arrive pre-assembled and working, I cannot imagine it surviving the postal service fully assembled. Having said that, I don't know what the website was like when the reviewer bought their machine - there are tons of videos on the website now, including a whole video course, so there's really no reason not to get it up and running fairly quickly. However, anyone expecting machine knitting to be "easy" is in for a short, sharp shock - it takes persistance and sheer bloody-mindedness to get anywhere with a machine. Just when you think you are in control, the machine throws you for a loop, too - no chance to get complacent! Something that swatches perfectly can still go wrong - I swear these machines KNOW when it's important, and decide not to co-operate!

Cross-stitch is my current addiction, though the machines haven't been forgotten. I'm part way through a child's alphabet at the moment. 

I took delivery of a big destash of yarn and mk books last week, more are due to come this week. I will attempt to donate them to the KCG first and then try selling them online. Alas I suspect much may end up in recycling, there's very little interest in the publications these days. I seem to have gained an LC2 lace carriage (the machines have already been donated I understand) and a bunch of Toyota needles. 

Current mood: amused