5

Keep Knitting & Stitching – it’s The Doctor’s Orders!

When I found out that Colin Baker – aka The Sixth Doctor – was appearing at Spaceport yesterday, my mind was racing.  After getting the monsters to knit recently, I wondered if I dared to ask The Doctor…….

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I have no restraint; I couldn’t resist!  Luckily, Mr. Baker was a good sport and such a pleasure to meet.  He told me to keep knitting & stitching, so that’s just what I’m going to do!  Thank you Mr. Baker, you really made my day! 🙂

(Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!)

Full credit and utmost respect to the team from Hyde Fundraisers who were in attendance.  Despite the sweltering heat they still donned their costumes and took time to engage with all of the children (and the adults!) and provided lots of photo opportunities.  They are amazing!

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9

Lazyitis?

Firstly, please accept my apologies if you have had multiple notifications that I am now ‘following’ you. Apparently my youngest son thought it would be very funny to click follow/unfollow on many of the blogs I read. I think I’ve lost quite a few people I was following, but hopefully I’ll find them again soon. Lesson learned – don’t leave the computer unattended when logged in :-/

Anyway, about my recent lack of posts… Well I haven’t had much to post about. My crochet class is going very well and I’m really loving it, but I have little to show for it in the way of projects.  I did make a couple of pieces of amigurumi, but so far have failed to photograph them.  My knitting has been totally neglected, with about five different baby jackets in various states of UnFinishedNess.  There have been lots of Whole Days when I haven’t even fondled a ball of yarn, never mind try to manipulate it in to an actual item with needles or hooks!  I have Finished Objects from the past year that I saved for blogging about for quiet periods like this, but each time I open WordPress and click New Post, my fingers freeze.  I’m surprised I’ve got this far today!

What is up with me?!?  Is it the recent warm weather in the UK?  Is it the bug we (my family) all had a couple of weeks ago?  Is it crafting/writing block?  Or is it just Lazyitis?  I don’t know, I just hope it passes soon!

In the meantime, here is a little project I completed whilst I was supposed to be finishing my son’s sweater.  It was for my Mum’s neighbour, who hadn’t told anyone she was pregnant, and is so super slim that none of us noticed!  So I forgave myself for deviating from the sweater!  It is made with Sirdar Snuggly Snowflake – I love how this yarn produces a very soft and snuggly fleece.

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Hope your creations are coming along better than mine 🙂

4

My first crochet project

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Tada!  It’s a likkle bag!  A bit wonky but cute enough to be allowed house room 🙂

The pattern called for some stitches I haven’t learned yet so I improvised a little.  Although it would be quite easy to look up some videos, I really don’t want to learn from videos (yet) as then class would be quite pointless.  Besides, I might learn the stitches wrong plus I don’t want to skip ahead of others in the class, it’s nice that we’re all beginners together.

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The edging called for ‘crab stitch’, I replaced it with 3 chains slip stitched into every second dc, and the flower used a few stitches I’m not yet familiar with, so I loomed a flower instead.  The loom is Clover’s Hana-Ami Flower Loom, a great little tool, so easy to use.  I hope one day I’ll be competent enough to combine crochet and loomed flowers together like this:

11

Doctor Who & Knitting – Things that me make go squee!

This weekend saw the unveiling of the Time Travellers Exhibition at Spaceport, with costume characters appearing to celebrate the launch.  If there’s two places guaranteed to bring out the inner squee in me, it’s yarn shops and Doctor Who exhibitions with live character appearances.  So off we went.

My hubby, being unusually observant, noticed that I had my knitting bag with me.  “Oh, you’re not bringing your knitting are you?” he groaned.  “Right I am,” I replied, “because if there’s a Cyberman or a Sontaran there, I’m gonna get them to knit!”  He just raised his eyebrows at me and shook his head a little.  I guess he was wondering if I was being serious or not, and probably hoping I wouldn’t get an opportunity.

I was squeeing loudly delighted when the first monster I saw was a Cyberman, and my son, finding the thought of a Cyberman knitting as hilarious as I was, promptly asked him to pose with the knitting needles!

Our next victim willing participant was the Sontaran.

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The Pig Slave was very enthusiastic, and full of mischief too!

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The Silurian Leader didn’t seem too sure what to make of these Ape inventions…

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The Time Travellers Exhibition is being run in association with Hyde Fundraisers who provide costumes and props (as well as an immense amount of time, energy and patience) to raise funds for various charities.  They truly are an amazing bunch.

By the way, isn’t this just The Best Super Lambanana Ever!?!

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2

I crocheted a Thing… & some Stuff…

This week we learned UK double crochet or US single crochet. (I’m so glad the difference between UK & US terms has been pointed out early on, now I can be on the alert for it!) I continue to be amazed at how fun and easy it to create 3D shapes with such limited knowledge and experience! After a bit of practice, I thought I’d try to make a little Critter, and this is what happened:

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Feeling really pleased with myself for ‘free-forming’ something without a pattern, I proudly presented it to my son. He was quite underwhelmed to say the least. I told him, “It’s a Crochet Critter!” He replied, “It’s an unformed…… Thing……. with googly eyes…” I don’t care, I think it’s cute! Though I might treat it to some bigger eyes.

We also learned how to work colour changes and how to work from a chart. My first attempt didn’t go very well (the largest flower) as I worked the first round of dc into the chain, rather than the centre of the chain like I was supposed to, and ended up with eleven petals instead of the twelve the chart showed.

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Here is some of my practice Stuff … Posted further down in the post because I didn’t want this picture appearing in the Reader!

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There won’t be any lesson next week as it’s a Bank Holiday. That means a lot of time to practice. No more Things or Stuff though, not yet anyway. A Proper Project is on the hook and almost finished… I think it’s safe to say I’m enjoying learning to crochet! 🙂

6

Frogs, Frogging & Learning to Crochet!

Well, one frog anyway – this is Alan Dart’s Frog Prince which I finished a few weeks ago. One of the things I like most about Mr. Dart’s toy patterns is that he lists approx yarn weights required rather than 1 x ball of such a yarn, so you can use up your leftovers rather than having to fork out for more yarn. Hence why my Frog Prince is blue rather than green – a real stashbuster project! And my son seems to prefer him blue anyway 🙂

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Other knitting projects just don’t seem to be taking off for me lately…  I was in hospital from the 15th ’til the 19th and found knitting Hard Work with a cannula stuck in the back of my hand.  What little I did do had to be frogged, the tension was awful.  I haven’t got back into the swing of it yet – a few projects cast on, then frogged after a few rows… Very unproductive!

On a brighter note, while in hospital feeling useless trying to stay cheerful, I found and was lucky enough to book the last place on a Crochet for Beginners course.  I’ve wanted to learn crochet for a Very Long Time, and just didn’t fancy learning through books and/or youtube videos.   Some things are just better taught face-to-face.  And I couldn’t have hoped for a better teacher – the lovely and extremely talented Ildiko Szabo.  We had our first lesson and here I reluctantly present my very first flower made with a crochet hook.

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Ok, I know it’s dire and that in years to come I will cringe about it.  But right now I feel just a teensy bit of affectionate towards it!  The first week was all about the basics – choosing yarn, holding it, making a magic loop, etc.  We also learned the chain and slip stitch, and it was fun practicing getting the tension right while forming random shapes with just those two stitches.  It was a nice, gentle introduction to crochet and I found the pace perfect – not too fast or too slow, and I’m really looking forward to the next lesson 🙂

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The best thing about all this though, is that I’ve finally motivated myself to learn something I’ve wanted to do for so long.  The only thing that was holding me back was me.  Perhaps it will motivate me to do all the other things I keep putting off – like learning to knit in the round, and de-cluttering the house…  Maybe…  🙂

Is there anything that you’ve been putting off and feel it’s finally time you did something about it?

8

Which bag?

I love that knitters come from all walks of life yet have so much in common. I love how friendly and helpful most knitters are. Most of all I love hearing knitters’ tales whether they’re tales from the past, hopes and resolutions for the future or hiccups and dilemmas we all face from time to time! My heart melts when I read about fond memories of the special person who taught us to knit. I feel the pain (and sometimes relief) of other people’s frogged projects. I chuckle knowingly at stories of massive yarn stashes and the complete failure to NOT BUY ANY MORE!

So… My family and I had a short break booked for Easter week.  Since I have read other blogs about the difficulties of choosing a project to take away, and having experienced going away either without knitting, or with a project that I wished I hadn’t bothered with, I planned about a week in advance just which projects I was going to take.  I’ve got a few baby yarns that I’d been waiting for a chance to play with knit up, so cast on the beginnings of two baby jackets.  One simple pattern that didn’t need much focusing on, and a more complicated cable pattern in case the latter got too dull.

Alas, I then stumbled upon a dilemma that I have yet to read a blog about, but must surely happen to others?!  Which knitting bag to take my projects in?!?

I have my ‘original’ knitting bag, passed down to me from a relative – but I mostly use that to store all my needles and I don’t really like having my WIPs in there.  I have large bags with all kinds of storage compartments and yarn feeders, but they’re best suited to larger or intarsia projects.  I have tote bags and duffle bags that I use for smaller WIPs, but are not very practical for travelling.  Messenger bags that are great for keeping everything clean and dust free, but hide the project from view and have an ‘out of sight, out mind’ effect on me.

I thought about getting all the bags out to photograph and post, but fear my Hubby might start to notice how many I actually have.  I think somewhere along the road of our marriage, he has subconsiously chosen to not pay full attention to my Great Big Stash of Yarn and all the bags that go with it.  (I think the ridiculous collection of shoes & handbags I’ve amassed helped with this…)  I’m afraid that if he walked in me with all of the knitting bags laid out on display, or the yarn, shoes or handbags for that matter, he would totally Freak Out and wonder if I’m at all sane.  Actually, the sight could make me freak out too, so best not to go there…  Phew…  Anyway…

In the end I decided on this bag:

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It has no seperate pockets for storing bits and pieces, is old, discoloured and frankly starting to creak with age.  A bit like me really!  On the brighter side, it’s compact for travelling, can fit in everything I might possibly need to complete the projects, but best of all – it’s transparent!  I like seeing the pretty colours all ready to be knitted up, and am more eager to actually work on it…  As for storage compartments, well who knew that old spectacle cases could fit in so much – stitch markers and holders, tape measures, darning & cable needles, even scissors.

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I think I’ve found my favourite bag for short breaks.  When travelling by car at least.  I suspect other methods of transport will bring with it more dilemmas of which bag to take…  Yet I know that I’ll secretly enjoy having so much to choose from…

Do you have a favourite bag?

3

The Sweater – at last!

My sincerest apologies for the huge length of time it has taken me to provide any updates.  February brought with it lots of winter bugs and then sadly, the death of my Dad.  Since then, I have been knitting a little, but haven’t been in the mood for writing.  It’s about time I posted this sweater update now though, that way, in my head, the project is truly completed!

It was a bit difficult trying to get a decent picture of it, there’s not much natural light here and the camera flash was bleaching out the cables.

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Here’s my son wearing the finished piece…  I think he likes it, says he does anyway!

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7

Sweater update and Shaun the Sheep!

Well, the sweater is coming along, albeit slowly… The front and back pieces are done, but the sleeves seem to be taking an age.  I tried to convince my son that sleeveless sweaters are so much ‘cooler’ but he was not convinced… 😦  🙂  Doesn’t help that I cast on another project, oops!  Though in fairness, it is because of an unexpected birth, not because my resolve broke… Honest!  More about that later though 🙂

Since I like to add pictures to my posts, and don’t have any of my current progress, I’ve decided to add a little about Shaun the Sheep.  He was made for a friend’s birthday, a lovely lady who has a little obsession for Shaun the Sheep!  He’s proved very popular – I was asked to make another so she could give it as a Christmas gift and I have another two ‘orders’ in my queue.  My first ever commisioned works!

I had hoped to photograph him outdoors, but the British weather wasn’t playing ball… And since I was in a hurry, well…

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I did my best!

I was a bit nervous handing over a knitted gift, since this lady has been knitting for DECADES and is truly skilled.  I needn’t have worried though, she was delighted… And so was I when she gave me a very large bag of yarn leftovers to use in my toymaking!  See, I said she was lovely!

4

A slow start to 2013

I didn’t make any firm resolutions for the new year.  I know from past experience that I am just no good at keeping them up.  For me, change is a gradual thing – I can’t change basic personality traits (and weaknesses) overnight, I need to work at them.  The closest I got to making resolutions for this year were in regards to my knitting.  A wish not to buy more yarn until I needed it, and a wish not to cast on something new until I had finished any WIPs.  I only have one WIP (that I’m aware of!) so it shouldn’t be that difficult really …

WRONG!

I have already bought two lots of yarn, though one of them I do actually need – discontinued Patons Velvet DK in white, for some Shaun The Sheep toys I’ve been asked to make!

I’m just about resisting not casting on anything new, it’s really hard though.  My WIP is a sweater for my youngest son.  He’s quite big for his age so the sweater is quite large.  And it’s going soooo slow!  It’s not a hard pattern by any means.  It’s actually quite good for times when you want something you don’t have to concentrate so hard on, yet with a simple two-stitch cable to stop it being completely mind-numbing.

My difficulty, I think, is with the size of it.  I’ve been so used to making baby garments and small toys.  Rarely did an item take more than a week to complete.  Yet this sweater has been on the needles since October 2012!  It’s become one of those projects that you just keep putting off … I had really hoped to complete it for Christmas 2012, but obviously I failed!

Now my son has set me a deadline – if it’s not finished by the end of January I should pay a forfeit!  At the moment, a forfeit doesn’t seem so bad … :O

If I don’t get a wiggle on, my son won’t get any use from the sweater – winter will be over and he’ll grow too big for it for next winter.  Maybe posting updates on here will give me the kick-start I need to get to work on it?  Who knows … Right now I am much preferring to spend many hours on WordPress reading what other people are up to and admiring their wonderful creations …

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