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A funky 2015 calendar printable

In looking back over my printables for 2015 calendars, I realized I didn’t make a funky one for me.  I did the pretty circles, the pretty quote circles, the simple tear-offs, the odd dots, the pixel one, and the doilies (and those were in Spanish, French and German too!) but I usually do one that is more to my taste.  This is that one. And it looks like this:

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The whole bunch follows pretty much my usual colourway groupings, Sunday to Saturday arrangement:

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That was a bit too small to show you the fonts.  Anyway you can grab it here – three sheets, four months to a page.


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Searching for the perfect method…

Socks.  Socks. Socks.  Dear me.  I did say once before, I think, that actually WEARING the socks I knit was a revelation.  Toasty toes, unlike cheap cotton and/or nylon blended socks, they are like a hug for your foot. But I am still searching for the very best way to make them.  So many options, difficult for an obsessive like me to cope with.  What do I have so far?

The first pair is in the laundry – did those many years ago on DPNs.

I’ll spare you the photo of them worn and smelly, but I do have a photo of the layout I did with them on it, for Scrapbook Inspirations – I took the photo in 2008 so when I said this pair was old, I underestimated how old.  I thought maybe 4 years. Ha!

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I don’t shy away from brightly coloured socks!

The recent pair, that I cast on and knit while MIL was here, to refresh my memory and try her favourite pattern, was also on DPNs – well, the firs one was.  The second one is on a teeny tiny Addi circular – so small I am finding it hard to hold on to! But I am glad that it’s on and hope it will ward of second-sock-syndrome.  Also quite pleased it is looking like I did find the right place to start sock two so they match at least a bit.

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Then I have the best part of one worsted weight sock done, my first attempt at the Magic Loop for one sock – that is the black one.  It’s got issues, due to the ripping back (at least a row where I think I twisted the stitches) but these were only ever meant to be thick, warm, around the house socks, so I always looked at them as a practice pair.

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Then I have two circulars, to try the two socks on two circulars method – I am thinking that with that method (and the Magic Loop too) those first few rows, keeping the cast on edge from twisting and getting the rib established, is the hardest part.  I have an idea to try when I cast them on.  That is planned for the cheap sock yard from Tiger (£3 for 3 balls, 75% wool, 25% nylon) and might end up being a go at the afterthought heel that Moz sent me.   Eventually I will try the two on Magic loop version but am thinking I so need a longer circular for that. The cheap Pony circular that I am using for the black socks is rubbish – the cable is so stiff and the join of the needle to the cable catches the loops every time I slide the loop around.  If I had not seen about a gajillion videos of people using proper circulars with thin flexible cables I may have just given up on the method, but unwrapping the Knit-pro needles I can see it is going to be SO much easier!

There are a couple of balls there at the back that I don’t have plans for – one of them was bought back when I bought the yarn for the original pair….

And just because I thought it was insanely great, I have to show you this video.  Yep – a week of socks, all different patterns, all on one enormous (pair of? Magic Loop?) circular needles.  Seriously. I am in awe….

 


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WOYWW 281 – late today

To be honest, yesterday was a bit crazy and I realized that I hadn’t snapped a WOYWW photo when it was light.  I had pretty much decided to skip it for one more week, but then, once I had sorted out a knitting problem, I decided I might as well.  So what is on my desk?  My solution for my own stupidity….

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Here’s the thing – I am not a “natural” knitter – I don’t feel it in my bones, like I do crochet. My great-grandmother taught me crochet, I watched her create the most spectacular filet crochet bedspreads for many of the women in my family, of my Mom’s generation, when they married and it just seemed natural to do.  Knitting is a battle.  And while I am happy to rip back my crochet, even the THOUGHT of ripping back knitting makes me feel faint.  You’d think that would make me more careful…

You may recall I was feeling quite please with myself after thinking I had finally cracked the Magic Loop for one sock.  I really had, until the heel.  No, that’s not right – the heel was FINE. Picking up the slipped stitched for the gusset was FINE.  it was a perspective issue, I think.  Somehow, I got turned around – probably not realizing where I was on the loop, and managed to somehow do the SSK leaning decreases on the wrong side of the heel.  They were lovely, that wasn’t the problem – they went the wrong way was the problem.  So I did the K2Tog on the side I should have SSKed and SSKed on the side I should have K2Tog.  Doh!

Cue cursing, and a quick check to see the safest way to rip back OMG like 15 hard-fought rows in the widest area of a sock, finding that the lifeline is GENIUS but too late for me NOW, and off I went, taking it right back to the heel-turn on one needle and the instep on the other.  I needed something to remind me – I am rubbish, clearly, at “reading” my knitting, and I couldn’t see past how perfect the stitches looked to see how they all headed the wrong way, and I wasn’t going to risk THAT with the next sock.  So I grabbed that box of alpha-beads and made myself custom stitch markers

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They are slightly bigger than ideal, but on the plus side, I’m not going to lose them easily, or overlook them even if I am knitting while watching TV!

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I played with a couple of methods, from the old wine-charm rings to simple cord (this is hemp-cord, also from my scrap supplies)

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and they all work more or less as well as I need them too.  Because my pattern is one decrease round, one plain round, I added a plain marker (thank you Simply Knitting, many years ago…) to remind me.  So I knit the decrease then add the plain markers.  When I return to the spot, I know the plain marker means I am on a plain row.  I remove it then the next time round I can see it’s time to decrease.  Now, I expect I will eventually get better at this, and this pair of socks is always going to be the around-the-house, unlovely but warm ones that I will always hate a little because they aren’t perfect, but love a little cause they helped me conquer the Magi loop….

I shudder to think where I might fall in the WOYWW linky list, but it really is more about taking part than getting the top spot just cause I sleep badly and tend to be up {wink}


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The Greetings Circles printables – richer colour, not huge file

Nearly there on the whole back to normal thing.  Stupid car in the shop AGAIN, DDs birthday coming up, potentially prepping for DS (+ new girlfriend) home for Thanksgiving. blah, blah, blah.  But I did tweak the more richly coloured greetings circles.  And as I have them done, I should add them no –  I know that while I am not that way inclined, there are many who are deeply in the throes of making Christmas cards, and many who may be nearly done and are on to wrapping.  I envy them but not enough to actually make the change in my own life LOL!

Pretty much the same as the other set greetingcircles

There is the second page of the larger 3″ circles as well.  You can download the 2 page PDF here.

Just FYI, if you select in your printer dialog box 2 images per page (and in mine I have to auto-rotate and scale to fit) you will get a single sheet with the smaller circles at about 1.25″ and the bigger ones about 2.25″ –  now, you MAY have a punch to fit or you may not, but the Nesties work to cut the full circle with the frame.  If you wanted the greeting without the striped frame, then you can use the standard 2″ punch on the larger ones and a 1″ punch on the smaller ones! Keep in mind that all the circles will be ever so slightly smaller if you scale to fit US letter rather than A4, and printing A4 on US letter paper is going to cut off some of the circles (I think – I keep meaning to get some A3 paper and cut it down to US letter size to test things …) but depending on the use you have for them the smaller size might prove handy.

 

 


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A new skill…

I read an interesting article in The Sunday Times about learning a new skill – from the online version (well, at least as much as I can grab without subscribing to it )

How long does it take to master a new skill? Apparently, the answer is 10,000 hours. That terrifying number was first suggested in 1993 by Anders Ericsson, a professor at the University of Colorado. He had totted up the number of hours a range of children had practised the violin. Anything up to 4,000 hours and, well, meh. Anything over 10,000 and hello, maestro.

But 10,000 hours is eight hours a day, every day, for more than three years. So that’s out. Instead, we’ve adopted the strategy put forward in Josh Kaufman’s book  The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast. …

I have surely spent at least 20 hours watching videos, reading tutorials and mentally trying to conceptualize the Magic Loop sock knitting technique over the last 10 years .  As you will have seen, the current pair is on three DPNs with the fourth as a working needle.  I prefer the super short ones (which my MIL couldn’t believe) but the longer ones are totally like I heard Lucy Neatby  (sock knitting teacher) describe as “wrestling porcupines.” I have some 8″ ones that I can’t use hardly at all.  4, 5 or 6″ at most  is what I prefer.  I have a set of 5″ needles that is missing one (or perhaps two, as I only have three of them)  and I got a matching set of 6″ ones so cheap from Tiger, when I got the yarn, that I’ve just used one of them to complete the set.  Every time I work the longer needle loose I know I’ve done another row….small victories…

socksSSS

Hummm.  I may actually have two longer ones there … no matter. Back to the point. When MIL was here and we were chatting about knitting, we both expressed an interest in the two-at-a-time Magic Loop technique.  It took me a few days to make the first sock of my set, and possibly 4 YEARS before the second one was finished (and only because MIL finally grafted the second toe for me) – do I have the worst ever case of second-sock-syndrome?  Hopefully not as the 2nd one is on the needles as you can see.

Sorry, still drifting off point. The point is that we both agreed that it looked interesting but we had both attempted it before (I tried to knit my first pair of socks that way but gave up and did them with DPNs) and couldn’t wrap our heads around it.  After reading the article I was inspired to try AGAIN.  To focus my attention and crack it once and for all.  And I did.  Here is where I am as of today.

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These are thick worsted weight socks from a free pattern that I like because it has built-in lines to remind you to take note of your numbers as you knit and is designed for the Magic Loop.

Luckily with all the tidying and organizing, I had virtually all my knitting stuff in one place (well, except those pesky missing needles) so I had my row counters and markers.  With the Magic loop, you are always moving the cable around so I wasn’t sure where it would work so I just tied it to my tail from the cast on.  It flopping around is another reminder – when I have it on the left, I’ve finished a row. My other option was this ancient freebie from Simply Knitting – never going to happen. It would be just like me to walk out of the house wearing it still.

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Oh, and those little markers at the bottom?  Aren’t they cute?  I was considering how to convert all the DPN needle patterns to magic loop ones, when the pattern will say move 16 stitches from needle 2 and 16 stitches from needle 3 to another needle or something like that. I didn’t have anything marked 1, 2, and 3 but I did have a ton of these little beads in my scrapbooking stash

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AND I had a ton of these little triangle jump rings – the oval ones are OK but getting the beads on to some of the round jump rings is hard.

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and pairing them up I can use them to mark on my magic loop knitting where the needles are.  I just have to annotate 1 as A, etc.

I found this short video very helpful for “getting” the Magic Loop technique.  Once I get this pair done, and the second sock from the DPN pair done, and get a much longer circular needle, I may try the two-at-a-time version.  Now I’ve done the process for one sock, I think I can see how it will work for two.

And then it’s toe-up sock and the fleegle heel…

…can you tell it’s been a LONG time since I blogged properly? The words, they JUST KEEP COMING.

{wink}


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It’s about time….The Wonder Years (plus printables)

I have been dropping in on The Wonder Years every so often.  It seems to come up a lot, as I am forever recalling bits of episodes and using them to illustrate a point with DS.  I’ve made him watch the odd video on You Tube and he has often said it is a show that he would watch complete if it were available.  That has always been a big IF.  The show, one that I would guess most baby boomers are aware of, has been mired in music licensing issues for years, ones that kept it from being released on DVD. At some point I am sure I had a video of some episodes, probably hidden away in the US storage unit, but I have looked again and again for years for any hint of DVD releases to no avail.

Imagine my surprise to see that as of 7th October Star Vista will release season 1 on DVD (in Region 1 only)  with plans for additional seasons later in the year and next year.  Luckily we have a DVD player that plays all regions so this may end up being the only thing on my Christmas list.  And I have every intention of forcing DS to watch the whole set while he is home for Christmas if I get it.

I did do a Wonder Years quote set a while back (and indeed a couple of the quotes are the same – they are just too good not to repeat) but I decided to update the colours – with a very 60s font (Airport) and a slightly groovy wave in the logo colours from the show’s title screen, it’s just a little bit of commemorative fun from me.  Sharp readers will note a slight alteration – the actual quote for the last one is “look ahead to what would be” but for the purposes of a PL card, to my mind, “what will be” seems more..accurate? resonant? not sure, but I like it better so …

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It is pretty big and bold and bright, but if you like that and can use it, grab it here!


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Greeting circles – Christmas Printables

Not QUITE back to normal around here yet…soon, soon.

But I was reminded by Julia that the next crop is one where most people abandon scrapbooking and make their Christmas cards.  I don’t really do cards  never really have, except for the kids to give out to school friends, so I just carry on with whatever project I happen to be working on.  This month it might end up being finishing off the knitting of the dreaded second sock (and DO NOT tell me I should do the two-at-one on a huge circular needle) and grafting the toes of both. See how far along I am?

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But that isn’t what you came here to see, is it?

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Two sizes – the smaller ones fit comfortable inside a 2″ punch:

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and the larger ones can be cut with a variety of circles – I happened to use the Nesties from the large and small standard circles sets:

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You can see that you can get a larger and a slightly smaller one next to each other:

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Check your own dies and see what works best.

I started out a few weeks back making a much more richly coloured set but it had issues:

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The circles JUST fit in the 2″ punch so you had to be sure careful about placement or cut off the edge of the stripe-y frame, and the red and green had a chalkboard effect – that made the file HUGE (almost 10 mb and even using the Quartz filter to reduce the file size only took it down to about 8 mb.  I may still make a richer version but aim to get the size down. I think they will be cute as card toppers or back-to-back (or with a solid cardstock back with room for writing and the date) as a small hanging ornament, or even as a gift tag.

You can get the 2-page PDF here.


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Time passes..

Just allowing myself a silly proud-mom moment today before gearing up for a return to normal next week…

DS has managed to actually parlay his love of online gaming into something more than sitting alone in a dark room, headset on and controller at the ready, awaiting the Welcome to Summoner’s Rift.  As I have mentioned a time or two before, I often watch him stream his games because I get to see him in a tiny little window at the bottom of the screen.  Thanks to that I at least know what an AD carry and what a Jungler is, what bot, mid- and top-lane means, that Baron spawns at about 15 minutes, and a whole host of other nonsense that I really can’t spare the brain-space for.

Since last year he has been a caster for The NUEL – providing play-by-play commentary and/or “colour” (just like a football commentator on radio or telly) for the online League of Legends tournaments they run.  The NUEL has grown a lot in the time he has been involved, and last weekend he was casting from a proper studio, rather than over a headset, from his flat.

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That’s him on the left – doesn’t he scrub up well? Glad a bow-tie wasn’t a requirement – his co-caster totally rocks the look, but DS might not have been able to pull it off. And while it isn’t a full substitute for seeing him in the flesh, it does help slightly to keep the missing-him at bay….much better than a tiny window, for sure.

I feel a scrapbook page coming on…

 

 


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Touristy fun, for a change

Last week, the Bombay Sapphire distillery opened near Basingstoke.  Be warned that you must confirm you are over 18 to even visit that link. It is a stunning location even on a dreary day, and MIL and FIL declared it fascinating….

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{imagine all that glass on a sunny day!}

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…not least because you get a drink, custom tailored to your own punch card of preferred botanicals, after a series of sniff-tests. The greenhouse of the botanicals is lovely and toasty – poor MIL was, I think, chilled to the bone for most of the visit, so this must have been a welcome moment of warmth.

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The selected drinks ….

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Non-alcoholic options are available for the driver of the group and a doggie-bag, tiny bottles of tonic and tipple, is provided for later consumption. And oh that blue bottle! This is not the mini-version from the doggie bag, but how pretty it is…

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The Bombay East version, which we tasted after dinner, was amazingly different, with the addition of lemon grass and black peppercorns to the standard version.  I’ve never thought of gin as a sipping drink, but this one was fine over ice.  And a total bonus was the prettiest printed tissue paper and carrier bag, that will surely get used when I manage a return to craftiness, very soon.


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Socks

I am still taking advantage of my MIL.  She happened to bring with her a sock pattern that she got free with a ball of sock yarn so many years ago that she has made 100s of socks using it.  I really like it.  When doing the tidy-up I found not one, not two, but 3 pairs of sock yarn skeins. I had spent some time researching patterns, looking for a basic one that I liked.  The last pair I knitted with the Yarn Harlot’s guidelines (not the cheat sheet) in Knitting Rules.  I was looking for something that was jut knit this, do that, etc. etc.  The point is I figured why not give her tried and tested version a go?

sock

So far so good, although I took this photo yesterday then found no time to actually blog it, and by now I have turned the heal, done the heel cup and an at the picking-up-and-knitting the side gusset phase. But it is working well and I already got one tip from MIL that I am in love with.  When she does the long-tail cast on, she doubles the yarn and knits the first k1, p1 ribbing with  the doubled strand.  Not only does that very securely weave in the ends so there is NO WAY they will ver work free, it gives a much softer and thicker top edge.  It’s hard to SEE but easy to feel. This is how I will do every sock from now on!

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I am also curious to see how it is possible that the £1 balls of yarn from Tiger are 50 g but only 170 metres and because of that how they will make up.  There is a symbol that is an = sign with a / thru it, between the 50g and the 170 metres – which is what? more or less = to maybe? About = to? Not sure.  But what I am sure of is that this yarn, unearthed in the cleaning, is Regia yarn, 50 g and 210 metres.  40 metres is A LOT of difference.  I don’t want to knit anklets.  It might be worth grabbing another £1 ball just so I am sure I have enough.  £3 for a pair of hand knitted socks is pretty reasonable still, don’tcha think?

Time is growing short, they leave soon, so I now need to look at ALL my knitting, crochet and quilting projects and see if there are any other sticky wickets I would want to ask her advice on before the jet off to sunny Spain.  Sorry to say MIL does not, and never has, free-motion quilted.  That is one thing I can’t get her guidance on, more’s the pity. I wonder if LLJ FMQs?  And if so, what is her availability for private lessons ……

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