Sunday, January 15, 2023

The almost seamless jumper conundrum

Well, I was lucky enough to receive one of Bob's jumpers before Xmas. He had knitted one for the organiser of the Big Textiles Show in Leicester on the Saturday, and she was still raving about it (and indeed, wearing it) on the Sunday. I casually commented to one of the other club members that I'd love the pattern for it and thought no more about it; I didn't even get that close a look at it because it was ten minutes to opening time and I was setting up my workspace. A few weeks later, a jumper arrived in the post with no explanation - a bit of a shock because I don't know Bob's handwriting at all! I did send him a xmas card by way of a thankyou.

Now that the silly season is done and dusted I've had time to look at the jumper properly and figure out how it is constructed. It's a simple sideways knit in black mohair and would make a great holiday addition - it's as light as a feather and could easily sneak into a suitcase for an evening chill occasion. He does commission knitting for someone in the UK - not big production runs, knits just for her I think - so probably doesn't feel he can share the pattern directly. He does have an email address but never uses it and is on my mental list of people I wish would write books about their expertise (in fact he inspired this knit too). Ooh, talking of which, Bill King has a book out on cables soon! Deffo going onto my wishlist!

Anyway, the sweater is a sideways knit, fairly simple T shape. There's a seam running along the outside of the arm and along the shoulder to the neck opening on both sides, and a seam running up one side of the sweater to the armpit. That's it. It has had me scratching my head for a few days, but I think I've cracked it. I did wonder if the ribber was involved for the sleeves (u shaped knitting) but I don't think so (although we did have a ribber set up at the show). The sleeves have a slight taper, and there's a gentle scoop for the front neck although otherwise it's a boat neck. I may have a go making a baby one just to prove I have it right - but in the meantime, can anyone else tell me how it was made? Just for fun, no prizes! I will post the answer in a week or so... 

Current mood: mischievous

Monday, January 02, 2023

Happy New Year!

Everything xmas-related got packed away today - early for us, but twelfth night falls on a work day this year so it was the most opportune time! Not that I believe any of that bad luck nonsense! The house looks so bare now! Alas one of my treasured paternal grandma's glass baubles got smashed in the process - we have a large carrier bag for the modern plastic ornaments and I was otherwise occupied re-wrapping the other glass ornaments in fresh newspaper (including two modern ones that I failed to find in time to hang them on the tree this winter), whilst also taking down tinsel and Christmas cards. I don't think the Cog realised that glass baubles make eggshells look thick! I had a lot of lovely cards courtesy of the amazing folks from the "For the Love of Letters" group on Ravelry via the Winter Cheer thread, so most of those came from the US. I will respond to the ones that contained little news updates, and the rest got recycled into gift tags. I think I need to create a collection of items that can be inserted into mail - stickers, cartoons, that sort of thing - because it's so nice to get a little gift in the post. The post seems to come in lumps at the moment - either six things all at once, or nothing at all. 

The festive season came and went with its usual plethora of over-eating and over-indulgence. Our xmas eve meal was memorable for including emergency onion gravy - I can only think we picked up vegetarian gravy but then put it back on the shelf, because there was no sign of it in the cupboards or the cars. One brother and his wife brought lovely sweet potato and red onion soup, and the other pair brought amazing biscoff cheesecake and apple strudel, all home-made. The turkey turned out ok and we had several meals from it, despite it not looking big enough to go around - I had made a vegetarian nut loaf earlier in the day which was also very nice, and way too much packet stuffing. We had quite the game of oven tetris - the new double oven isn't wide but it is surprisingly deep. The Cog accidentally grilled some items he had meant to roast, but everything turned out ok. I had a major mental blank surrounding mince pies and kept buying more of them (we still have some left now!) - I think it's because they're in a cubbyhole above the 'fridge I don't usually store food items in. We didn't have time to finish all the various items of alcohol gifted or purchased for the week, so I suspect we're good until March if we can save it for weekends. I think my favourite present was a lovely book on watercolours from my sweetie - I am looking forward to reading it - and my favourite food item this year was the M&S triple chocolate panetone. Alas, our xmas meal was also memorable for all three brothers and one partner coming down with a head cold at best, and a chest infection at worst. So my sleep's been somewhat shot, as a partner making hot drinks at 4am despite sleeping downstairs is liable to wake anyone up in a house this size. The weather was miserably wet and mild most of the week, with the odd blue-bird day in between. We mostly stayed home and watched classic tv, and I finally cast on for the second half of the sheep cushion cover. All the mad plans of hobbies to be tinkered with came to naught, as always - though I have resolved to try and book a few hours a week as "me" time. We both made it to just gone midnight but then went straight to bed - New Year's Day was just us, which was nice. 

Back to work tomorrow - and the gym, to work off some of the weight gained since the 23rd. Happy New Year to all my readers, and I hope 2023 is good to you. 

Current mood: tired

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Completed projects 2022

Thirty odd projects - not bad in a year where I didn't feel like I got much done! 

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Saturday, December 17, 2022

Free pattern: Easy crochet Christmas card holder

Well, I looked in several shops online for some sort of reusable Christmas card holder, but drew a blank (and yes, I know I could probably find something on Amazon but well, I have a house full of craft stuff here you know?). 

My mother has a well-used card holder that is basically a length of red ribbon with cardboard "buckles" that she pins into the door between her kitchen-diner and the living room. As cards arrive, you slide the buckles up and down to hold the cards. Great idea. 

But I thought I'd like to have a go at something crafted and reusable, that didn't need to damage more of the house. In previous years we've blue-tacked cards to the back of our living room door, but because our cat is a bit of an idiot when it comes to doors, they end up facing the wall a lot of the time because we have to keep the door open. Ribbon taped to the backs of picture frames, with cards paper-clipped to them, only lasted about 20 minutes before falling down. So I thought something that used the picture hook would be more secure. And so it proved!


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I used white acrylic DK yarn, and a 5mm hook. The basic pattern starts with ch 6, work a foundation treble (US double crochet) into the first chain, continue to work foundation trebles until you get the desired length - I found 114 trebles worked for me, but it depends on the size of the picture you're hanging it over and the distance of the picture hook to the top of the picture. For your first attempt, leave the live end unfinished until you have the length you need (and don't forget, this will stretch a bit once it's loaded). When you are happy, weave in both ends. Hang the chain loop over your picture hook, rehang your picture over the top and drape the crochet over the top of the frame. I used a bent paperclip (the same ones we use to hang the Christmas baubles) to hang a bauble on the bottom. Then you can mount your Christmas cards using a paperclip on the back face - it's better to work from the bottom up so you can have a bit of overlap. 

I'll come back and add a photo when I unload my camera. They look really good, and I can use them again next year! 

Current mood: working

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Busier than a busy thing...

Gosh, didn't realise it had been so long since I posted. Life has been busy! We had a week in Lanzarote which was lovely (apart from a bout of food poisoning on the first night). I could bore you with pictures but I'm sure there are plenty of better ones online. We stayed at a hotel with a fake volcano (with LED lava at night!) - there was a bar and an indoor waterfall at the bottom. Lots of swimming pools (one of which was FREEZING), and we were well placed for the quiet little harbour with lots of restaurants within easy walking distance. Cocktails, good weather, what's not to like? A bit weird seeing snowflakes and Santa in a hot country, but very enjoyable anyway. The whole Christmas thing has kicked off at work and at home - this year we're putting a few things up every day just because we don't have time to dedicate a whole morning to it (we don't put up that much!). There have been lots of things to visit and we did a mini pub crawl of our favourite pubs in Coventry this weekend (and got to check out the Coventry Telegraph hotel, very nice!). Most of the xmas shopping is done asides from the food, which is a relief. 

On the knitting front, I have finished the red tee top on the Passap, though I didn't make a great attempt at the crocheted sleeve borders. I also demonstrated Diana Sullivan's fingerless gloves at the monthly club meeting - yes, we have a half-decent webpage as of tonight - partly because I was thinking about stocking fillers, and partly because it's getting cold enough working from home that I need them myself! Don't ask how I got them to match, it was sheer luck. I'm no further forward with the half fisherman's cardigan on the Passap, mostly because I have been trying to get my sleep pattern back into some sort of normality and the vagaries of the E6000 is more complication than I can handle. Hoping to send the console in for a service and new battery early next year. 

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Current mood: happy

Monday, November 14, 2022

Lest we forget and an unplanned finished object

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This month's local WI postbox toppers - I really love the remembrance one. I cannot take any credit for any of these this time as September was just too busy for me! We always watch the 11am service on Rememberance Sunday, though this year we had to switch off early. Weird not to see the Queen there.

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Some delicious looking handspun I picked up at the Big Textiles show. Not shown, the block printing kit I picked up that is alas devoid of written instructions, I'll need to get onto Youtube / the vendor's website. Also (for the eagle eyed amongst you) I finally caved and treated myself to a new keyboard for my WFH office - I really wanted a Logi and I much prefer the split keyboard layout, typing around "the girls", and work wouldn't pay for what I wanted. As my trackball is also Logi I gained a USB port, hurrah for that! The old MS keyboard has a tendency to cut out (of course you cannot buy a new USB  receiver without buying the whole flipping thing again!) but it will go back to the office in case anyone else wants it as a spare (as it is not mine). The wrist rest has seen better days alas...  

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A quick handknit for my sweetie - he was complaining of cold hands WFH, and the blue pair I machine knitted for him a few years ago have always been too big. So quick these haven't even made it onto Ravelry yet, they are from a vintage Mariner pattern that I have had so long I have a TYPED copy as the original copy was almost illegible. I made the ladies size as this yarn is a wool 5ply that the SK840 did NOT like... 

Also not shown, the back of a cardigan knitted on the E6000 in half fisherman's rib. I definitely still have at least one dodgy front bed pusher, so I must reprogram the fronts so that the tucking happens on the back bed. Of course it's right in the middle too! Of COURSE! Bah... It's a very simple pattern from one of the model books with sideways pockets knitted tubular in the front, which I wanted to have a go at. 

Current mood: okay

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Big Textile Show

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I had a lovely time demonstrating at the Leicester Big Textile Show this weekend - I just did Sunday along with D and J, so cannot take any credit for the stand which was very well done (I love the new sign!). I didn't make anything, just demonstrated cards with various techniques to show it's not all just stocking stitch. Bob apparently knitted a jumper for one of the organisers on the Saturday because I saw her wearing it (I'd love the pattern)! I picked up a block printing kit (something I have wanted to try for a while), some pretty handspun that will become a hat, and some arty notelets. The exhibitions (mostly in the racetrack concourse) were amazing as always. The only downside for me was as it was the first day of GMT, and I was indoors pretty much all day, my body isn't entirely sure what day it is right now! Still, that's fairly normal for me for the next five months alas...

Current mood: enthralled