Monday, 29 December 2014

Catch up

As I've been absent for a while I'm going to do a quick catch up today and see if I can't get back on track. So what's been going on with me?

1. My gallbladder is still my least favourite body part and is basically the reason why I'm playing catch up on everything from blogging, to knitting, to Christmas. I have now met with my surgeon and he agrees that me and it should be parted as soon as possible so hopefully I should be getting it out within weeks.

2. I made Stu a hat.

Turn a Square by Jared Flood

I have knit for Stu twice before, I started a cardigan for him but got bored because it was big and grey and dull and then he put on weight and it was unlikely to fit and I made him a hat last year that was far too small. This fits him, was fun to knit and he wears it so this was definitely a case of third time lucky.

3. I knit a hat for my aunt for Christmas, decided I really liked it and debated keeping it but eventually gave it away anyway. I'd like to say I'll knit myself one in the future but I have to say I didn't love knitting this, there is just soooo much reverse stockinette and the cables make it difficult for my brain to see a way of knitting it inside out. I'd need to modify the crown a bit too, it doesn't quite work for me.

Themisto by Tori Gurbisz

4. We went on our holidays! The four of us plus our sisters went off to Center Parcs for 5 days and there was swimming, roller skating, swinging, and sliding galore for the girls. Stu got to eat his own body weight in food and I got a particularly lovely 3 hours chilling out in the spa with my SIL. Bliss.

Me wearing Liss, with my sis
Cassie loving the 'reindeer' in her Quynns

5. Christmas happened. Like pretty much everyone else in the world we were ill but it still, mostly, happened. Our Christmas Eve dinner with my family was moved from my parents house to ours and then cancelled as we all dropped like flies but we had a lovely Christmas Day at my SILs. The girls got sooo much stuff and as the first Christmas where Cassie really knew what was going on it was utterly magical. I only got one knitting book this year, but I got three colouring books and some nice recipe books so I was happy.

Father Lissmas!!

6. I gave Stu a mitten! I'm now knitting the second one, rather than hoping he'll have the type of industrial accident that will mean he only needs one mitten. I'm good like that.

Norwegian Totoro Mittens by Brella

So that's me pretty much up to date, next up is Felicity's birthday preparations (seriously how are we nearly there already) and my attempt to finish sewing my Christmas Day outfit. I'm so behind!


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

WIP: Lady Kina

Back when it was still fairly warm and I wasn't really enjoying knitting with wool I put aside my Family Tree MKAL shawl (did you notice I never finished that?) and cast on for a Lady Kina by ?.. Using some Drops Cotton Light I picked up for next to nothing in the cotton super sale a while back. A combination of super long rows and my little 'holiday' courtesy of the NHS led to it being really slow going but I have finally made it to the body. The rows are much shorter now and it should be fairly plain sailing down the the bottom now.

So, of course, I've decided that it's time to put it aside! With christmas coming I can't really justify spending my limited knitting time on a short sleeved summer cardigan for myself. It's time to start knocking out small winter items for my family and also for gifts. I'll pick up my cardigan again after the holidays so that it is ready and waiting to go when it starts warming up in spring.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

FOs: Quynn

Without meaning to I seem to have been on a bit of a mission to knit as many Woolly Wormhead hats as possible for my girls.

This is my back catalogue, minus a Tipper I recently made for a fellow Raveller's newborn which I forgot to photograph before I mailed it. And now I've added a pair of Quynns to the collection.

I had only intended to knit one for Cassie, out of some Noro Kureyon I had leftover from a pair of armwarmers I knitted myself a while back. I began to suspect quite early on that it might come out a little small, but I ploughed on regardless because I figured it would probably fit someone. It turns out that I was right on both counts, the hat was far too small for Cassie, but it fit Felicity perfectly.

Not that I can prove it because photographing a hat on Felicity's head in the split second before she whips it off is beyond my skills I'm afraid.

Because the first one came out so small I sized up pretty much everything I could think of for my second attempt. I knitted the next size up, on the next size needles and used some slightly thicker yarn. This time I went for Drops Delight in Atlantis which is also a slow striping yarn but the colour shifts are much less dramatic than the Noro. It's really nice.

Success! It fits and, although it does look a bit bonkers I do love it. It keeps her little ears warm and makes her face look all round and cute. I get the feeling she's not so keen, this was her response when I asked if she liked her new hat!



Monday, 17 November 2014

FO: Simplicity 1724

Well, this is the post I had 'all ready to go, except for a couple of pictures' before I got admitted to hospital. However, upon opening my Blogsy app I was confronted by only a post title followed by a blank page, aaargh! So either I've taken to dream blogging or Blogsy ate my post. Either way I've had to recreate it (which is pretty mad if I only actually dream wrote it in the first place) so forgive me if I don't put my heart and soul in to it.

I bought Simplicity 1724 in a recent sale with the intention of making view C for each little girl. I can also see myself making the jacket but without the weird shoulder frills, have no fear though, I have no intention whatsoever of making that hat! I had sort of hoped that I might be able to squeeze both dresses from one piece of fabric by using different fabric for the facings but the bias cut skirt saved my girls from matchy matchy hell and they both now have completely different dresses.

This is Cassie's

I bought a metre square of this fabric a couple of years ago on a trip out with my MIL. I've been waiting for the perfect project for it because it's quite small but really pretty so I didn't want to just make a toy or a bag. I love it for this dress, although I should probably have centred the print a little better down the front.

This dress came together so easily, I barely needed to glance at the instructions and could probably have thrown it together in a couple of hours if I was lucky enough to ever get a couple of hours uninterrupted sewing time. The only real issue I had was with the button holes, because I chose pretty massive buttons the button holes ended up far too close to the end of the button tab. Next time I'll remember to start the button hole at the top and work down towards to the garment instead of the other way round.

For a finishing touch I added this bright green ribbon which is lovely and contrasty. Instead of making a little bow I decided to just see in a button to hide the join. I'm too lazy for little bows.

For Lissy's dress I used some red heart print corduroy I've had kicking around for ages. I've been having terrible trouble finding a project for this because the hearts and cords run the same way. This meant that I had to either have the hearts on their sides or the cords running from side to side.

In the end I decided I could live with the cords going sideways but sideways hearts would forever make me twitch. I also didn't have enough fabric to cut the skirt on the bias, but after watching Cassie in her dress I decided that it was a nice design element but not really necessary for the movement of her legs. For this dress I went with pink ric rac instead of ribbon but added a button just the same and I really like how it turned out. Unfortunately, despite making the 6 month size, this dress is pretty huge on my tiny girl. It'll fit her in due course but it would have been nice to add to her wardrobe right away. And because this is Felicity, getting her to stay still for photos was practically impossible so we'll have to make do with these rubbish, but entertaining shots, of her playing peekaboo behind the curtain. Not great, but you get the idea.



Tuesday, 11 November 2014

...and then it all went horribly wrong!

Wow, it's been a little while huh?  I'd had a post prepared a few weeks ago and I was just waiting to get a last couple of photos before hitting 'post' when things kinda blew up.  I'd been having some pains for a while which seemed like they were probably gallbladder related but while I was waiting to see my GP I ended up getting admitted to hospital overnight where an ultrasound confirmed that, yes indeed, my gallbladder is full of little stones and that I should go home and await an appointment to get the little sucker removed.  6 days later I was back in hospital, where I was to remain for a further 12 days growing more and more jaundiced while I waited for a slot to get a stone unwedged from my common bile duct.  Lucky me!  The procedure was wholly unpleasant but I am feeling much better now and I'm home and waiting, again, for a summons to get my gallbladder evicted.

So much about this experience was awful, I missed my girls so much when I was in the hospital particularly as I am still nursing Felicity.  She has always been reluctant to take a bottle so it was pretty stressful knowing that she was miserable and hungry and other people were struggling to make that better for her.  I was also either in pain or out of my tree on painkillers most of the time so not a lot of knitting happened and I feel a bit like a lot of free time was wasted while I just lay around in bed.  Ugh!

On the plus side, I have lost a butt load of weight and I've finally been able to unpack a lot of the clothes I put away when I was pregnant with Cassie.  This has not been a weight loss regime I would recommend to anybody though!

Anyway, enough about my health, I'm home now and things are getting back on track.  I have sort of got the couple of pictures I was needing in order to finish that post from so long ago and I'll post that tomorrow.  I have a couple of hats I've made for the girls to write about, Felicity is the absolute devil to photgraph at the moment so I might not be able to get any modelled shots of hers, but hey ho.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Family Tree MKAL: Clue 3

I'm so far behind on this MKAL that there is really nothing mysterious about it any more, so knowing what was coming ahead I had a bit of a decision to make. Clue 4 gives the option to either repeat clue 3 on the opposite side or to incorporate a second stitch pattern to make an asymmetrical shawl. Now I knew that there was no way in the world I could do that, I have a strong need for things to be matchy matchy. My brother wears odd socks, on purpose, every single day and it makes me so twitchy I don't know how my SIL puts up with him! However, I had a notion that I might use the stitch pattern from clue 4 and alternate it with the clue 3 pattern just to add a bit of interest.

In the end I decided not to bother, I prefer the stitch pattern from clue 3 and, as both patterns involve knitting 3 together through the back loop a whole heap, the second stitch pattern was no less fiddly to execute. I'm perfectly happy with it but my next post won't be terribly interesting I'm afraid.


Friday, 12 September 2014

Family Tree MKAL: Clue 2

Well not only did Cassie's new pyjamas last the night but they still looked pretty good throughout the whole of the next day because she refused to take them off! Now that she's 2 1/2 she is very much asserting her own opinions and if she really wants to wear her jim jams all day and we have no plans otherwise then it is not really worth the argument to me. Of course I was secretly really pleased that she liked them and was comfortable enough in them to want to keep them on. I think we can say they are a great success.

So on to the Family Tree shawl, I'm now a whole 2 weeks behind and the final clue comes out today but I have finally finished the second clue.

Yes, it's a tree! The pattern suggested using beads at the end of each branch, which I thought would be really lovely but unfortunately I wasn't able to get hold of any in time. I figured I can always stitch some on later if I really feel like something is missing.

At the moment I'm feeling like this shawl is really pretty, but not entirely up my alley. I have already have an inkling as to where it's going to end up come Christmas time so I'm not terribly upset. It will be really nice to have a Christmas gift sorted already and I have so many other shawls I want to make for me that it's probably a good thing that I don't think I'll keep this one. I guess this is all part and parcel of mystery knitting.

The next two clues look far more simple, each row is the same all the way across with just a few rows being repeated so I'm looking forward to being able to just knit without worrying that I'll get distracted and confused which happens a lot in this house. I wonder how quickly I'll be able to catch up?


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

FO: Toddler Pyjamas

Don't ask about the Family Tree shawl, I'm still beavering away slowly on clue 2 and clue 5 is due out on Friday. Oops! Unfortunately it's been a little warm for my liking again and, because this clue involves lots of cables which needed all of my attention to knit it's been difficult to find moments where I can just sit and concentrate. I've cheated and had a look a at the next two clues and they look like they are a lot less involved so hopefully I can catch up before too long.

One reason why I've been unable to find a quiet moment is because Felicity is now walking! Properly, actually walking. She's been taking a few steps here and there for a few weeks now but in the last week or so she's really cracked it and is toddling about all day. Given that she's only just 8 months and particularly tiny with it she looks really funny, I'm super proud of her though.

Just giving myself a round of applause, I deserve it

So, onto Cassie's pyjamas. I've been meaning to sew these up for her for absolutely ages, I think the pattern has been in my collection for almost 2 years. I got some really cool fabric with skulls on in neon colours that I thought I would use but it turned out I didn't have enough of that, so I turned to this blue gingham that I've had for so long that it's moved house with me three times. Every time I've thought to use it I've ended up deciding that it's far too school uniformy but who cares when it comes to clothes you don't leave the house in. I've got enough left for a matching pair for Felicity plus a bit more so you'll probably see some more of it again soon.

The pattern is New Look 6932, I went for the boys bottoms because leg ruffles are most definitely not how we roll here and I used the short sleeves, again sans ruffle because NO RUFFLES. It all went together pretty easily, the trousers are super simple and although the yoke has quite a few steps it wasn't too much of a stretch for my rusty skills. I made a real effort to up my game when it came to finishing and I turned and stitched all my hems making the insides lovely and neat.

There's a few little elements that could have turned out better though. My gathering sucks because my gathering always sucks. I also need to move the buttons at the back in a bit because they are clearly in the wrong place. I tried the top on Cassie a few steps before the end and thought the top might be a little snug so I put the buttons quite far out accordingly, but it turned out to fit just fine and now the back is all gapey.

I went with pink buttons for a bit of contrast and also because

A gift from Father Christmas lat year

That huge jar of pink buttons is the reason why I will pretty much always go with pink buttons. Also that's not all of them, there's more that wouldn't fit in the jar.

All in all I'm chalking these up as a win, Cassie loves them and was so excited to have new jim jams at bed time. Hopefully they'll stand up to a night of wiggling about and we'll see just how good a job I did in the morning.



Saturday, 23 August 2014

Family Tree MKAL: Clue 1

I promised myself that if I finished Felicity's Baby Bubble before the second clue of the Family Tree MKAL arrived then I would go ahead and knit along. Liss got her new top on Thursday and the clue wasn't due to to arrive until the next day so I got to casting on and 336 stitches later I was ready to go.

The cast on was a two colour cast on so I've got this rather lovely pop of my contrasting colour right from the beginning.

After a few rows it was time to start a Latvian braid, something I've not done before so I was quite looking forward to it. It was actually really easy once I got into the rhythm, although it got a bit awkward towards the end of the first row because my yarns were OMGsupertwisty. Similarly the beginning of the second row was a bit fiddly until the yarns had unwound themselves a bit but it turned out really nicely in the end. I did the whole thing sat in my parents garden while my mum and sister played with the little misses. I'm pretty sure that if I'd attempted this at home it would have been a very different story!

I'm also really pleased with my colour choice, I decided to make this one a bit more high contrast than my last shawl and I'm really glad I did. I was undecided on whether to have the white or the teal (which seems to be looking more blue in the photos but I promise it's a dark teal colour) as my main colour. I plumped for the teal in the end because I figure it'll hide dirt better. It's as good a reason as any other!

Clue 2 has now arrived and there's a bit more to it that the first one, but hopefully I won't fall too far behind after my late start.


Friday, 22 August 2014

FO: Baby Bubble

It feels like it's a while since I actually finished anything so this quick little top for Felicity was the perfect thing to kick start my knitting again. The weather had certainly been a lot more mild over the last few days and I've been able to knit whenever my hands have been free.

After all that casting on this project went pretty smoothly right up until I started to realise that I might not have quite enough yarn. It wasn't a total disaster, I could tell that it would be close, but in the end I decided to err on the side of caution and cut the body a little short and have a look in the stash for something I could use if need be.

It turned out that I did need just a few metres more so I ended up knitting the last few rows of the ribbing at the waist and arms using Rowan Calmer in a slightly lighter shade of purple. It is slightly heavier than the main yarn and really stretchy so it actually worked pretty well for ribbing. It's also not totally obvious unless you know it's there but it's a pretty cute feature too.

Pattern: Baby Bubble by Yarn Madness

Yarn:100g Drops Muskat plus a few metres of Rowan Calmer


Monday, 18 August 2014

Making hay while the sun doesn't shine!

When Friday dawned all grey and windy and rainy I'm pretty sure everybody else groaned, but I rubbed my hands together with glee for around 5 seconds before realising that I should be putting them to better use and got out my knitting. This being August (albeit August in England) I'm was sure I couldnt expect this state of affairs to continue for long so, children and housework be damned, it was knitting time. Unfortunately the kids didn't get the memo, apparently nursing infants still require feeding even when there is knitting to be done. So inconsiderate! However I do still have something which is beginning to resemble a garment.

Plastic lady is guarding my knitting from that tiny hand on the left

Being a tiny wee thing for a tiny wee girl it is coming together pretty quickly. So it's time for a little agreement with myself. The first clue for the Family Tree Shawl MKAL came out today and I've been trying to decide whether to cast on for it. I really enjoyed the Me and You MKAL by the same designer earlier this year and this one looks really interesting with a two colour cast on and Latvian braids, but I've got loads of other stuff I want to knit too. I've decided to leave it up to fate, if I can finish this Baby Bubble before the next clue comes out then I can go ahead and cast on for the MKAL if not then I just move on to the next item in my queue when I do finish Felicity's top. Sounds fair enough?

Oh and speaking of Felicity, she surprised all of us by taking two tiny little steps on Thursday! I'm super impressed but she's 7 months for heavens sake, I'm not sure I'm ready for her to be trotting around just yet.

And lastly, how cute are my little owls? My sister gave them to me for my birthday in May and I love them an unnecessary amount.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Cast on and and on and on...

The weather here is till not terribly knitting friendly so instead of throwing a total wobbly and upping sticks to the North Pole I decided to put my sock to one side and cast on with something from the giant bag of cotton I got in the Drops cotton super sale last month. So, cast on I did and then again and again and again. Seriously, I want to say I've had to cast on for this project four times now, but it could even be five I don't even know. The first go round my circular needles were too long, the second time I found shorter needles but they were shocking awful cheap ones and my stitches wouldn't go over the join. Then I found the right length cable for my interchangeables, cast on, started knitting the first row, got distracted halfway round and then somehow a load of stitches came off the needles and it was time to cast on yet again. Oh well, at least it's only 68 stitches.

I'm finding it quite sad that this tiny bit of knitting is news!

So here we are, all 68 stitches safely cast and the first row knit, hopefully for the last time! Should I actually manage to get to the end of this project with no more problems this will be a Baby Bubble, another pattern by Yarn Madness. I love her stuff for kids and one day I'll get round to trying one of her adult patterns for me. This one is for Felicity which means it will be a quick knit because she is so wee. At 7 months she is still growing into some of her 3-6 months clothes, such a contrast to Cassie who has always been quite large.

Being tiny certainly isn't stopping her though, she is now very competently cruising the furniture and can even let go and stand for a few seconds before grabbing on again. She's growing up so fast but she just continues to get more adorable by the day.



Monday, 4 August 2014

Hot. Sweaty. Yuck.

It has been hot hot hot here in the South East of England. I hate to be all British and complain about the weather, but for serious, I flipping hate this sodding weather! I can appreciate the sunshine but I would really prefer that it came with a side order of gentle breezes and hold the humidity!

So, because I find knitting really difficult in the heat it has taken me around 3 weeks to turn the heel on my Greenwich socks. Because they are not much different to the last time I posted about them and also because I am very lazy I'm not going to bother to photograph them.

In an attempt to make myself feel like I am creating something I've turned to my sewing machine. I don't have too much to show for that either but I don't feel like that's a bad thing. Sewing is something I'm still very much a novice at and I'm trying to slowly remedy that. To that end I've been taking my time, making practice garments and polishing my finishing skills. I want to feel confident enough to use better fabrics than I have been which in itself will improve the look of my garments. I'm also not going to bother posting any of these practice runs until I finally finish a wearable garment that I'm proud of. It feels much better to say "here's a load of crap I made, but hey look at this great thing I made off the back of it"

However, I'm not just here to tell you what I'm not going to post about, I do actually have a little FO. I made shorts for Cassie!

These are sort of a practice run, which is why they are made from kind of formal looking herringbone fabric with bright yellow pockets, but they are wearable and pretty fun for a two year old.

She wore them to a family get together and I got loads of compliments on them so I was really pleased. They probably only took a couple of hours of actual sewing time so I'm definitely going to make her another pair in fancier fabric.

Rockin' cock!?

The pattern is from Burda Magazine 06/2014. Because they are little kiddie shorts tracing the pattern and adding seam allowances wasn't too painful and the instructions weren't too mind bending either, again because tiny kiddie shorts. The only change I made was to shorten the waist elastic a little because it wasn't gathering the fabric at all and there was no way the shorts were going to stay up. Next time I'll probably leave off the back pockets, especially as I plan to use a busy patterned fabric because I think they'd be lost in the detail. Although I wasn't really sold on the necessity of in seam pockets in shorts for a toddler, I think they are really fun so I'll probably leave them in on any future versions.