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YAY! Scary, but afterthought heel is DONE!

OMG.  What can be more terrifying than CUTTING into your knitting?  OK, well lots of things, but still, it’s pretty scary.  I watched a bazillion videos, but I have to say I love this one:

A lot of what I saw and read talked about knitting in waste yarn, but without DS here to figure out where to out that (the reason I wasn’t doing the normal cuff-to-toe version) doing this version was pretty much my only option.  A tense moment or two when I saw I split a stitch, and another when I found I had collected the wrong leg so I had to knit into the back to untwist them,  but overall it went pretty darn well.  Check out sock one!

2afterheel

Pretty smooth IRL.  And the trick of not pulling the thread on the last two stitches each side?  Not even the HINT of a gap.

Sock two is on the go and tomorrow I will hope to show them inside the feet they were made for.  It almost makes the 100s of rounds of boring knitting worth while.

afterheel

What did I learn?

  • Changing colours is a pain.  I HATE weaving in ends and will always worry they will work loose
  • I LOVE my super cheap Tiger circular needles.  I would buy them in every size but they only seem to have 3mm and 4mm and the 3mm ones have pretty short cables.  Still, the best £2 needles ever.
  • Make sure to measure and draw DS’s foot before he goes.  Make sure to collect the details of all family feet!
  • I still prefer the knitted Kitchener grafting to the needle version. By a country mile.

Now I have that done, and the last gift, I can get on with a few other things on my to do list. I still have a few WOYWW visits to return and it’s crop this weekend so I better get crackin’


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A special 2015 calendar request

It’s a funny thing.  I know WordPress can be a struggle for some people to comment on, but I get so many lovely comments from people who just want to say thanks.  I appreciate that. I do sometimes get request from people, alterations to my designs, and I do try to keep that info in mind for future designs. I do sometimes get less request, more demand-type comments, and have addressed those in the past, with never a thank you follow-up.  Those made me rethink my whole “on-demand” service LOL!  Luckily I like making printables, and I look at requests as challenges.  And when I get a super-nice request that includes a compliment, well, I’m just a sucker for those.

One commenter asked about my Chevron calendar blocks.  She liked them and used them but wanted them bigger for her DDs album.  I thought yeah, no problem, but of ALL the calendars I’ve done, these were the ones that looked the most wonky just scaled up from 3 x 4 to 4 x 6.  The circles that hold the numbers just looked bad.

You can see for MAY, which has a lot of weeks, the DAY name strip needs shifting, the day block needs shifting, the month name has to come up and the background only has to be sized to 4 x 6.  So NOT a simple fix, but not crazy time-consuming for most months.

may

 

The middle one was just scaled to 4 x 6, the bottom one had a bit more done to it.  The other issue is of course using A4 paper I can’t get more than two months to a page.  As I always design as best I can to fit BOTH A4 and US letter, that means a 6-page PDF.  Even with the Quartz filter applied it’s still 2 mb – without the filter it was nearly 7 mb!

2015Chevron4x6Q

So anyway, there you go.  The request did make me wonder – are there any OTHER calendars people would want in the larger size?  I routinely make SMALLER versions, so they can be used to make tear-offs, but it just never occurred to me they might like larger ones – so many comments say I like journaling cards more than filler cards – I have too many photos to use up a sleeve with pure filler! so I tend to do almost everything in 3 x 4.  But if there was a need for bigger calendar cards, I can always see how easy it might be to convert them and do it.  So let me know.  And to Annie, I’ve emailed you – my gut feeling was you wanted 4 x 6 and not really 6 x 8 but if it is 6 x 8 you need it can be done much easier as the proportions are the same as the 3 x 4s!

 

 


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Merry Happy Christmas!

WOYWW 290!  The Christmas Eve edition….

The replacement turkey has been acquired (well done Morrisons!) and  most of the gifts are wrapped, the handmade ones mostly finished. Our little family unit is together under one roof and all is merry and bright. My desk is not a mess, but I left it far too late to snap a decent photo. So I’ll just wish our extended and international WOYWW family a very festive day for tomorrow, however you celebrate it, and even if you don’t!

xmas

Long time WOYWW participants will recall my treetop angel, made using a photo of my now 18 YO DD when she was 3.  If you want to read about it you can see it here.  Just for fun I’ll add some other tree-toppers that made me smile –  Those from the USA will remember this guy, right?

a99183_9aO41Vt

The Abominable Snow Monster from the Rankin/Bass stop-motion Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  I watched it every year as a kid.

This angel is an Angel. Let’s hope he doesn’t go all Angelus on Christmas …

a99183_l7BpRYA

Perhaps my favourite of all.  I agree with the comment that if the plane flew around, that would just make it all the better.

a99183_mm057Nf

Have a wonderful day and the Happiest of Holiday WOYWWs to you all!


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Holiday Disaster Averted!

Arrgghh!

So this year we thought we would take the easy route.  We decided to order a turkey From Costco and have it delivered.  We ordered a Jimmy’s Farm Free-Range Rustic Bronze Fresh Turkey, cause I didn’t want to have to deal with a frozen one.  We’ve had bronze turkeys most years and they do have a great flavour. The real draw with the Costco order is the statement from the site:

Packaging will maintain the quality and integrity of your product for up to 5 days, so if delayed and returned to a Fed Ex warehouse it will be fine. Our concern is any inconvenience to you.

All well and good.  It arrived as promised along with another package.  I looked at the box, and was pretty surprised to see this label:

chilled

Huh? Until it lands at my door?  Not 5 days? I looked inside the outer box expecting to see some other info.  Nope. The turkey was in a styrofoam box.  I dithered – should I open it? Would the integrity of the packaging be compromised?  In the end I was able to make enough room in the fridge that I could put it in there so I opened it.  I am very glad I did. There was NO cool pack inside the box and the turkey was warm to the touch.  It arrived just like this:

1chilled

Imagine if I had waited till Christmas morning to open the box, expecting my turkey to be safely nestled in packaging that would  maintain the quality and integrity of your product for up to 5 days, only to find it smelly and rotting.

I immediately placed a call to Costco customer service.  After waiting on the phone for 20 minutes or so I got a nice lady who was went to a lot of trouble to try to find out what I should have expected when I opened to box.  She said it should have been packed with dry ice, and certainly shouldn’t feel warm.  But on the 23rd of December, there was nothing they could do but say if I felt it would be unsafe to eat it they would refund my money.  WTF?? I don’t WANT a refund.  I WANT the damn turkey.  It should be marinating in garlic and paprika as I type, getting ready to be popped in the oven on the day.  But no.  No turkey delivered t my door for me.

So now, it’s a quick dash to whatever store isn’t jam-packed to the gills, maybe more than one, and hopefully we can score a fresh, un-frozen turkey.  This is so much worse that the whole Frankenturkey debacle of many years back.  To be turkey-less on Christmas??  Arrggghhhh!

Wish me luck.


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Another wristlet – my own design

Well.  I had such fun making the other Wristlet, I decided to make a couple more. I finished one, a pretty bog-standard version, just knitting and knitting in the round, bordered with a handful of garter-stitch rounds.  I didn’t even take a photo of them – DD needed a gift for her skating helper so they pretty much came off the needle and into a bit of wrapping paper.  But I loved the yarn I used – I had grabbed a massive ball of something called Marble by James C Brett from a discount store.  It’s a chunky yarn, but I used 4mm needles.  The colour progression is very cool, but I am pretty sure there is no two areas of the whole 340 yard length that are exactly the same!

At least I’ve not had much luck picking two matching start points.  No matter.  I hear matching mismatched socks are all the rage so …..

I had seen a stitch in a book I have that I really liked.  I am getting a little more adventuresome with my knitting, more than just Knit/Purl. This stitch was called Butterfly Block

chart

Oh dear.  A chart.  I am RUBBISH at charts.  Luckily there was a video – OK, so demonstrating a 3-stitch slip rather than a 5 stitch one, but at least it got me thru the inserting the needle tip bit.  Notice in the book it doesn’t say HOW to insert.  But bottom of the strands up to the top is critical, as is pulling the new stitch back down thru the bottom then up in line with the needle, and dropping off the back of the old stitch.  Yeah – like THAT makes sense.  Watch the video here.

OK so that was the first hurdle.  Next, I wanted to knit in the round.  More complicated when you are looking at a pattern that involves slipping stitches and holding the yarn in back on a purl row.  There ARE NO PURL ROWS in the round when knitting stocking stitch.  OK, so that was an easy fix. I just knit, shift the yarn to the front, slip the stitches, then shift the yarn to the back again.  But what WAS a problem was the repeat. 10 + 7 so AT LEAST 17 stitches.  on 6 mm needles, that would be far too massive for most wristlets, unless you knit super tight!  Plus knitting in the round?  Those tricky intersections for DPNS.  You need at LEAST 2 stitches between so you can snug them up and no ladders.  And the alternating butterflies?  You can’t have any butterfly cross an intersection. And I didn’t want to do a partial thumb, just leave a gap for a thumb-hole.

It took me two days to work out all the fine points.  This is my cheat sheet for casting on 38 stitches, 19 stitches on each side of a circular, using the Magic Loop.
Single Butterfly Group

Wings = Bring yarn to front, slip 5 stitches purlwise, Bring yarn to the back leaving strand of yarn loosely across the 5 slipped stitches

Round 1  Knit
Round 2  K7   BUTTERFLY WINGS   K7
Round 3  Knit
Round 4  K7   BUTTERFLY WINGS   K7
Round 5  Knit
Round 6  K7   BUTTERFLY WINGS   K7

Gather = slip the right needle tip under the three strands, up to stitch on needle.  Knit this stitch, pulling the completed stitch down thru the strand and dropping the back of that stitch off the left needle to complete

Round 7  K9 GATHER K9
Round 8  Knit
Double Butterfly Group

Wings = *Bring yarn to front, slip 5 stitches purlwise, Bring yarn to the back leaving strand of yarn loosely across the 5 slipped stitches, Knit 5*) REPEAT * to * ONCE

Gather =  slip the right needle tip under the three strands, up to stitch on needle.  Knit this stitch, pulling the completed stitch down thru the strand and dropping the back of that stitch off the left needle to complete

Round 9  K2   BUTTERFLY WINGS   K5   BUTTERFLY WINGS   K2
Round 10 Knit
Round 11 K2   BUTTERFLY WINGS   K5   BUTTERFLY WINGS   K2
Round 12 Knit
Round 13 K2   BUTTERFLY WINGS   K5   BUTTERFLY WINGS   K2
Round 15 Knit

Round 16 K4  GATHER  K9  GATHER  K4

Of course at the point where I switch from rounds to back and forth rows (to create the thumb-hole)  means changing all that for the stranding at the back of a purl row (like shown in the video).

It made my head hurt. I’ve said it before, I am NOT a natural knitter.  Every stitch is like a battle sometimes LOL!

I’ll probably write it up as a pattern as I knit wristlet two, cause I do NOT want to forget how I did it. I didn’t try to do two at once – I just had to work it all out first.   I think it turned out really cute.  And see the colour changes?  Love it. I will totally go back for more colour options of this stuff.  They also have smaller balls of 100g in lots more colours.  It IS acrylic, but so soft and lovely I don’t even mind.

7mywristlet

As usual, it really does look better IRL!

One down, one to go…

 

{sigh}

Oh and just to mention:

wristlet
fingerless gloves
fingerless mitts
texting gloves
texting mitts

how many OTHER names are there for these?


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Wristlets – knitting a pattern

I have never really been one to knit a pattern. By that I don’t mean I only makes squares, but that I have only ever do straight stockinette stitch (knit 1 row, purl the reverse) or some form of ribbing, usually K1 P1.  At some point I possibly did garter stitch, or knit every row, but that is it.  I’ve only ever made socks, a sweater for DD, and one cute little baby-sized onesie for my niece.  I can do shaping, I can follow a sock pattern, but it’s all plain old boring knitting. to and fro or round and round.

But then I saw this YouTube video.  I watch a lot of them, on things I have no innate ability for, in the hopes I might work up the courage to give it a go and have it turn out OK.

It helps that this one has the pattern written out, because occasionally she will say I purl one… when it looks to me like she is knitting, or vice versa, but usually I can see what’s happening anyway.  The point is this is a multi-row pattern and I was actually able to follow it and produce something similar.  Bearing in mind a few things – like the fact I had scraps of yarn, so I added the ribbing at the top edge as well as the bottom, and the body is actually two yarns held together, cause I had worsted weight for the ribbing and two baby weight yarns for the middle, and these are for my DD, who has a much smaller hand than I do – I think they turned out OK.

mitts

Stretched out you can see the pattern a bit better anyway! OK, so granted this isn’t the most complex pattern, but the experience of knitting it makes me want to have a go at socks with a pattern.  Really, there is nothing that will make you want to venture into something a little more interesting than knitting mindlessly, round and round and round, in a boring solid colour, knit, knit, knit, Afterthought heel socks (so not even the heel-turn to break up the monotony) two at a time on one circular needle, for really big feet. I swear when I get  doe these socks will be the net size of a baby sweater….

Must be love…


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A gift – look away if you are related to me….

A few weeks back I mentioned A Little Hut.  I have had this project in my head for…well, look at the date of the blog post.  That long.  I wanted to put a spin on it, but didn’t want to get all math-y to work out the right proportions, so I cheated.  I found an image of the Golden Ratio spiral and printed it out of sturdy card then cut along the spiral.

3ALH

Again, I didn’t have the time to sit and cut a load of triangles from scraps, by hand with scissors, so I created an SVG file to cut them out with SCAL.

1ALH

Just laying out strips of scrap card let me cut them all in two lots, getting 14 different colours.  As DH had picked out small canvases (a pack of four 8 x 8 ones) I was dealing with a smaller scale project than her large wall canvas. I used the golden ration spiral (two of them) to mark the lines.  Had I cut it a bit smaller I could have arranged them on the canvas to create a heart. Maybe I’ll use that idea for one of the other in the set of four.  Then it’s just a matter of arranging and sticking, really.

2ALH

Cute, humm?  I think he’ll like it

points


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WOYWW 289 – family, look away NOW!

Happy nearly Christmas WOYWW!  Just one more to go.

There is much scattered across my desk today – Those damn socks (SUCH boring knitting, for very big feet) and some (hidden) wrist warmers (more on that another day) and a bit of canvas art (more on that tomorrow when I finish it and can take a better photo) and the gift tag remnants from yesterday. Do peek back if you have time – I think the ones I embossed look so adorable, I am totally doing that for the rest of them this year.  If you still need tags, feel free to pop back and grab the printables.

woyww289

I did think about being more careful to hide stuff, but my hope is the people these gifts are for are way too busy at the moment to waste time looking at my blog.   If not, that I can at least trust them to look away when they see the title.

My desk seems to be a desk of two halves – one side paper and one side yarn.  But they are united in the fact both sides are a mess LOL!

V V excited that DS is coming home on Thursday, and still some wrapping and (sadly) a little shopping still to do, but for the most part pretty happy with where I am.  Of course if the turkey and the ham delivery goes wrong, or a couple of gifts that are listed as “shipped” don’t arrive in time I may be less so. Keeping my fingers crossed and not leaving the house during delivery hours.  Oh, if there really WAS a one-night-only, no need to answer the door, or explain location over a crackling cell phone delivery, in a jolly man in a big red suit….

{sigh}

 

 


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Remember those card toppers? Gift tags!

I got such a nice comment on my circle greetings from this year, that they have formed the cornerstone of her card-making this year.  I usually also design some gift tags and to be honest, this year I was doing so much knitting and other hand crafting, that I just didn’t make the time.  When it came time to start wrapping up my own gifts it was a struggle – did I take the time to think up  a new design?  did I go back to last years tags, or (heaven forbid!) use store-bought ones? My eyes landed on the circles I had printed out to check the colour and sizing.  Although they don’t have the TO: and FROM: bits I didn’t see any reason not to use them as tags.  So I did. I used both the original, modern coloured ones linked above and the richer, more Christmas coloured ones from this post

tags2014

I opted for a pretty simple wrapping style this year, red yarn and a soft twine.  DDs gifts usually get stick-on bows, as with her disability, opening gifts can be tricky.  I tend to use minimal tape and bows that can be ignored.  The boys have to work a little harder to open their gifts. I think the tags look quite nice, even if the photo is a little dark.

2tags2014

The point is, think outside the box (package?)  These are even easier to cut out than tags, as the smaller ones fit a 2″ circle punch and the larger ones a Nestability die or other circle cutter.  Easy peasy. Feel free to use them … OR read on

{wink}

As I had already done the hard work, and I had some time today, I went ahead and converted the circles to blocks.  My idea was that you can do a number of things with them. I did the 2-to-a-page PDF, so you can just slice and dice then, to make 18 smallish tags (about 1 3/4 wide by 2 1/2 tall, seen there at the left) or you can cut the larger ones either as a block or use some sort of tag die.  In the actual PDF the greeting part is slightly smaller than here so it fits better in the couple of tag dies I have.

xmastagsample

On a whim I popped a couple of the larger ones into an embossing folder.  I love how they turned out so I am adding the ones with the bigger greeting part as well.  Hope that isn’t confusing.  All three will be useful in different ways, I think.

2xmastagsampleSo to recap:

THIS set is the 18 small tags

THIS set is the 9 large tags with a slightly smaller greeting (1 1/2 ”  size)

THIS set is the 9 large tags with the larger greeting (2″ size)

And of course the reverse use works too – you can easily use the blocks for cardmaking, either with a punch or a die.  Hope they are useful!


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Double the time but it’s still better….

Ever since I took the time to really sort out the whole two-socks-at-a-time thing, and for me it wasn’t easy, I just know that I can’t do things one at a time any more.  I have ALWAYS struggled with pair of things.  I get one sock done and the second one languishes for (seriously) sometimes YEARS.  Having reached the end, woven in the ends, and tried on the single sock, somehow, casting on the 2nd one just gets put off.  Nothing unique to me – knitters everywhere struggle with it.  But oh, to do them both at the same time?  Have them both done at the same time?  Joy. Bliss. OK so a little delayed, cause knitting two socks takes longer than knitting one, that’s just the way it is.  But still.  It’s tedious, when the person being knit for has, for example, monstrous feet, and the pattern is ..not a pattern, just endless rounds of knit, knit, knit.  Yawn.

twofer

Boring shades of grey don’t help. But still, so long as I can alternate between projects I am OK.  A few dozen rounds of grey, then I can shift over and work on the largest knitted knockers I’ve done yet (apparently that isn’t unique either – although I’m not sure if Ds and DDs are the most requested or the least knit or both, causing the shortfall.  They certainly don’t go as fast as As, and on the Magic Loop it is a little more of a struggle, all those stitches.

2twofer

Still, as I said before, I was getting the same issue, getting knocker one done then thinking wanting to try another colour or try a different pattern or something. Anything other than doing the same thing over again.  So the two-at-a-time made sense.

But I wanted to make DD some wristlets – she bought a pair at a Christmas Market and loves them – but was thinking Oh dear. Two. One at a time. Ugh

Now I am not so skilled a knitter or so clever at patterns that I felt confident in trying to convert a complicated pattern written back and forth as an in-the-round one.  Plus I had no good idea for how to leave the thumb-gap in the round.  But I didn’t see any reason I shouldn’t cast on both flat pieces, knit them back and forth on the same circular needle, and still get both done at the same time.

4twofer

It’s working a treat.  So long as I use that zip lock bag trick, both balls of yarn inside and zipped in the middle so each ball comes out its own little gap

3twofer

I can keep it all straight, untangled, and easy to put down and pick up again or transport without ending up in a muddle.  And frankly, as I am doing a billion things all the time (today? knitting, wrapping, making soup, something I can’t mention lest prying eyes see, and doing laundry before cooking tonight’s dinner) and grabbing every chance to get in a few stitches (like in the car on the way and at DDs ice show Friday night, about 7 hours from start to finish) that is pretty important.  And as I have a near endless supply of zip lock bags I can have many projects on the go at one time to keep me from getting bored. If it looks like dodgy, I will drop the other ones and focus on the  two important gift ones to make sure they are done before the big day…