Farm to Scarf

One of the things my MIL and I bond over is yarn work.  We both enjoy knitting and crocheting.  She also spins and while she was visiting we arranged to visit an old friend of hers who is in the business of fiber arts.  I tell you, there is a whole world beyond just yarn.    It’s completely fascinating!

Peg has a gorgeous farm where she raises llamas, sheep, and angora bunnies.  She also grows veg and flowers for the farmers markets.  Plus she has a shop called Friends In Fiber on Etsy where she and her business partner sell yarn they dye and spin.  Where she has the time to breath, I don’t know.  So it was very lovely she and her husband took the afternoon to show us round.

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There were two llamas but this llama was hilarious.  It kept marching back and forth, looking imperiously down it’s nose at us.

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I learned so much about the different fibers that can be spun.  Yak and camel are incredibly soft and when you blend it with silk, stand back.  And, of course, they can be spun with your everyday wool.

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I wanted to do something special for my MIL and I had bought a Jane Austin Knits magazine which have some gorgeous patterns inspired by Jane Austin books.  She picked out the pattern called Mary’s Scarf which was a lace pattern.

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To make it more special I asked Peg what yarn she spun would work for the pattern.  It was a lot of fun for all three of us to go through the yarn and various colours.  And, here’s the best part, Peg took the skein and make put it in a ball for me.  You know, the neat and tidy square that doesn’t roll away at the most inconvenient moment!

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The huge shocker for me was I was able to knit the scarf in less than a week.  Not sure how I pulled that off but I did, in time for my MIL to fly home it with her.

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I loved this yarn with the colours of a deep ocean.  I am completely hooked with fibers art and I got positively giddy when I found Peg gives spinning lessons!  My Christmas list is starting to get interesting.  🙂

 

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Jumper of Love

Those of you who read my blog know I have a huge amount of love for my husband.  I couldn’t have found a better guy.  And trust me, before I met him, I was looking!  But I was lucky to finally find him.  Several years ago I finished an Aran jumper for my mum and he asked if I would knit him one.  Of course I would!  I was thrilled he liked my knitting enough to want one.  What I didn’t realise was how freaking long it would take to complete this.

One of the problems I was having was with my hands.  It would be very painful if I did more than a few rows at a time.  Being a slow knitter this  was taking several years.  What I learned after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia was one of the symptoms is very painful hands.  I knew I had arthritis and just thought it was that.  But the meds I started this year, while not perfect, do make it easier for me to knit longer and faster.  There has to be some perks right?  So it took me several years to do just under 2/3s of this project and this summer to do the rest.

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The Aran jumper had moss stitch, basket cable, banded cable, and the six knot cable (pictured above).  So I had a legal pad to keep track of all the rows and various patterns.  I always stress about this and like most of my complicated projects there are a few errors here and there but I’ve gotten to the point where I consider them my signature if you happen to notice them.  I’m not pointing them out!

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I spent most of today sewing the seams and weaving in all the ends.  I can’t wait for my husband to get home and try this on.  Fingers crossed it fits!  And he’ll be doing this in front of the air conditioner as it is very toasty today.  🙂

New Beginnings and What the Hell Just Happened?

For millions of people, waking up on Friday was quite the shock.  It was frustrating in the lead up to the vote for me because not living within the border meant I couldn’t vote on my future.  I’m one of those people that will plan years in advance for certain things, particularly big things.  Moving back to the UK is pretty big, especially with finances.  I knew if the vote swung Leave it would really upset the pound and markets.  Despite what Boris claimed.

Because of the time difference my husband and I were glued to our iPads refreshing the vote counts on the BBC website until after 3am Greenwich time.  The writing was on the wall but I’d hoped something would change while I slept.

While I applaud the attitude of respecting how people voted, I find it disturbing the trend of googling after the vote ended asking what the EU was or what could happen if the vote was Leave.  I don’t care what you vote for but I do care if you understand the ramifications.  And the videos of interviews of people saying they didn’t understand or didn’t think their vote mattered when they voted leave and they wish they could change it bothers me.

I hope cooler heads prevail when the discussions on how the UK exits happen.  I do think the EU should have a do over with a healthy dose of hindsight.  There are a lot of benefits to having a single block but there needs to be more cultural sensitivity.  Whether it has to do with the pint or trying to regulate a cheese made in France for centuries, these things should be allowed to thrive.

But since we’re not invited to the table we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

In the meantime I got to meet my newest nephew.  He is just over three weeks old and a little peanut.  His only worries are sleeping and eating.  Now I know how long pregnancies last, do you think I planned ahead to crochet something for him?  Alas, no.  So once he was born I went into a bit of a panic and rushed out to buy yarn.  I managed to get the blanket and the little beanie done quickly.

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I had bought a book, Crochet Step by Step by Sally Harding, to relearn crochet.  When I was a baby my aunt had crocheted a blanket using a shell pattern so I wanted to do a similar pattern.  The book gave me the stitch count and I came up with how many I needed to do the size I wanted.

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The little beanie was very easy to make.  I used a pattern from Mango Tree.  It is a free pattern and she gives instructions for sizes from newborn to adult.

So even though the world can still turn upside down, life goes on.  And that’s ok.

Yarn Crafts for Gifts

Now that the holidays have settled down and we’re not crazy busy I wanted to take a moment to share some gifts I made for the kids.  I had fun doing these projects and of course I was down to the wire.  Some day I hope to be much faster with yarn crafts but I’m not holding out much hope on that front!

I first started with my son’s project.  Like most kids his age, he is very into Minecraft.  Do you know some schools have classes on this game?  But it really does stretch the imagination.

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I found the pattern on Ravelry and I was really looking for a knitting pattern because it’s been about 10 years since I’ve crocheted and I forgot how to do it.  And I had never done anything in the round.  Thank goodness for YouTube!  I was able to relearn how to crochet and I enjoy it so I’ll be looking for more projects to try.  I also want to try my hand at granny squares.

Both kids are big fans Dr Who so I had to find something with that theme.  I found a great pattern for socks on Ravelry with the TARDIS.  I’ve never knitted socks.  Back to YouTube I go!

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I did it on the magic loop rather than double pointed needles.  The pattern was pretty good though I had to adjust how the toe was done so it decreased on the sides rather than on the top and bottom.  I was thrilled the lettering was legible.  After Christmas I found a used book that shows me how to knit two socks at a time so I’m looking forward to trying this again.

Though I’m trying to get the Aran jumper I’ve been working on for a few years for my husband.  That is taking forever!  So I need to finish that before I start anymore big projects.  Before we grow old. 🙂

It Should All Be So Soft

Sometimes I’m envious of babies.  They get to wear the softest things.  All the soft blankets, clothes, toys.  Well I don’t need the toys but still.  I like soft fabrics and yarn!  Our kids are obviously out of the baby stage and so are most of our friend’s kids as well.  But good friends of ours just had a gorgeous little girl and as I’ve been back into knitting this year I thought I’d knit up a few things.  So off I went to Ravelry and did a search for something practical but pretty.

I came across a pattern they were referencing as a drop design.  A little hat and blanket.  I thought this would be perfect.  Off I went to choose colours.  I don’t like to do the typical colours of pink for girls and blue for boys.  It’s so overdone.  I picked a lemon yellow for the hat and a coral orange for the blanket.

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The hat only took me about 4 hours to make, I couldn’t believe it!  I wasn’t used to finishing a project so quickly.  I see why people knit baby stuff all the time.  You can just bang them out!  🙂

The pattern for the blanket said it needed 450g of yarn.  I found that to be way too much.  I only needed to buy 300g worth and had some left over.  I did wander from the pattern in that I decided not to crochet round the edge and I knitted the whole blanket at once.  The pattern calls for knitting 12 rectangles then sewing them together.

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The blanket took me a few months what with traveling and all.  The tricky bit at the end was getting all the dog hair off of it.  With two dogs that like to cuddle it’s impossible to keep it off whatever project I’m working on.

We got to meet their baby girl yesterday and she was the sweetest thing.  She is now two months old and such a peaceful little baby.  We are very happy for them. 🙂

Throw Down the Gauntlet….

I must have blinked and missed this week!  It has flown by and I’ve hadn’t had much of a chance to check out blogs let alone write one.  Just one of those weeks that is crazy busy.  I had to wear several hats at once so to speak.

Today is a gorgeous day and will be like this all weekend so gardening is on the list.  Actually it’s at the top of the list.  Winter is coming!  Not only to we have to put the garden to bed I need to prep for the coming cold.  I picked out a few knitting patterns to help me out.  I did the cowl this summer and it has proved to be a great choice.  It keeps my neck nice and toasty.   There has been a big trend towards wrist warmers or gauntlets lately.  I usually avoid most trends as they go out of style but this seemed really practical.  Our house is usually kept around 55F/13C because oil isn’t cheap!  I start to look like a oompa loompa with all the layers I put on.  I found the pattern in a book called “60 Quick Knits” that calls for the type of yarn Cascade 220.  The pattern is called Leaf-Lace Gauntlets.  Again it was a chart pattern so I had to pay attention but overall I was able to complete them in a couple of weeks.

There was a lot of lace work in this pattern and the chart was based on working the work side rather than the right side so it took awhile to make sense to me.

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Once I had both pieces knitted then it was quite easy to sew the seams leaving a hole for the thumbs.

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The yarn is soft so it will be very cozy as the weather cools.  I may have to make some more.  🙂

Just the thing to keep my neck warm…

Genetics are a funny thing.  My Grammy would get a cold almost instantly if her neck got cold.  I was unable to escape that fate.  Even on a lovely spring day hiking along a coast if the wind is too much on my neck I get sick.  Last year in Dorset I was hot as can be in my turtleneck traipsing about so I thought this was nuts.  I needed a solution.  Poking around the Ravelry site I found it.  Cowls!  I can wear light shirts but keep my neck protected and hopefully look somewhat fashionable.  It had to be better than the turtleneck!

The pattern I decided on was this cowl.  Then I had to figure out how to follow it as it is charted.  But I loved the pattern so I gave it a go.  It took me a couple of weeks, which for me, is super fast.  🙂  I did it in the round and the only note I would mention is cast on 131 stitches, not 130, as you slip a stitch over to join the two ends of the round at the beginning.  Unfortunately I figured that out after doing a row or two.

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I’m pleased to say this does the trick.  It kept my neck toasty and protected but I wasn’t baking.  🙂