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Circles on the brain

I have a project on my desk that is also circle-based. I need to get a bit further along with it before I explain too much about it but it involves cutting circle frames and making use of some deli paper gel prints from a while ago:

It’s pretty simple – cut two frames, stick on on the deli paper

the hold it up to the light and place a second circle to match on the back side.

I have a large pile of the deli paper prints and LOTS of circle dies. Not sure about the ones with the cut out edges – I may or may not use them in the final piece.

At the moment I am hopping back and forth between these circles and the yarn ones! My butterfly mind… With all the Jubilee stuff coming up I fear both projects are going to get pushed aside. But WOYWW tomorrow and one more ATC to share. I do hope a few more of mine got to their recipients by now! First class mail my eye!


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Not what I planned but…

What a clusterf*ck. I have been madly cranking out my blanket and watching Stranger Things with The Hubster and Darling Daughter. In a fit of annoyance and not having just the right yellow, I went online and ordered some yarn. I ordered from Love Crafts. I never much liked it, but when they bought Deramores it made sense, I guess. When placing the order I noted my address as my old one, so I changed it. Clearly I did not realize that this was only going to change my BILLING address. WTF? I went on, blissfully unaware that my yarn was going to be delivered to a house we no longer occupy – not even sure anyone does at the moment. Try though I might, they are very clear that it’s on you to make sure the address is right. Well, I did TRY to do that and either thru a confused web page design or a confused “elder brain” I didn’t manage it. The site offers lots of unhelpful advice (like “maybe the local post office can help” when they deliver via courier or “contact the current occupiers” when they are not known to us as it was a rental house that is 90 minutes drive away) and the courier, who has not received the package yet, says to contact the sender if you need to change the address. It must happen a LOT if they have a special section of the help page to let you know there is nothing they can do to help if you made a mistake.

So there we go. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen to my yarn. To be honest, I really only needed the yellow, the rest I bought was for stash so I will probably just go to Hobbycraft and buy it there and go back to ignoring Love Crafts.

In the meantime I have soldiered on with my pattern, trying to work around the missing yellow. I did try to get a decent photo but it’s big. This is laid out on our US King size bed in the guest room – bed stripped after the in-laws departure. The room is not big enough to get far enough away to capture it

So I had a go at a panorama shot. It kinda works.

You can see the beginnings of a pattern, although it is likely to be a bit confusing. I am not mad keen on what looks like neon orange here but is actually slightly more subtle (but not a lot) so I will have to see how it looks with the darker orange added in. I am 100% sure I made the right call, opting for only 15 rounds (including the cast on!) in the puffs. Rather than it looking super pouffy, they look much more like hexagons once all the “sides” are sewn in place. I just need to keep the tension the same if possible.

I have tails beginning and ending for each puff, so I tend to use those to attach, rather than just using one long piece of a single color. I weaves in the ends at the same time, so win/win.

We have some errands to run today and I am working on another circle project, but not yarn this time, that I am anxious to share. It’s just pretty time consuming and a bit slow going, even though I am using some stuff from my stash for a lot of it. Maybe I will get the time to work on that this afternoon and share at least a bit of it tomorrow. But as DDs time in education winds down, things are getting a bit more hectic so who knows. She’s off this week and has a LOT of stuff she wants to do with Mom, and I will always defer to her. I’m just happy she WANTS to still do stuff with me!

Sorry for the moaning post

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Sorry, still the blanket…

I just wanted to quickly (unlike yesterday!) show how you can use the hexipuff sheet to design your own blanket. I have two new babies in the family, a niece and a nephew, and while the flower blanket is very sweet, even in blues it isn’t even remotely boyish to me. SO I printed my hexagon sheet from yesterday two to a page as I suggested.

Just by cutting a sliver off the sides in the middle you can easily overlap the half-hexes to get a full sheet that is about 19 hexes tall by about 22 hexes wide – or vice versa if you rotate the page. Alternatively, you can use my old favourite online graph paper site and specify a LOT of options to get just the sort of size you need.

Doing the math, the hexes measure between 2.5 and 3 inches across. This is going to vary with your tension and your yarn, pretty much the same as every knitted project ever. So you are looking at an overall dimension of 47 to 57 inches in one direction and 55 to 66 inches the other. Of course you don’t have to use all of the hexes. it will depend on your design. So a stroller blanket is 30×35 inches, a toddler blanket 42×52 inches, a crib blanket 45×60 inches…lots of options will work here, maybe only needing an extra border row or using only part of the sheet.

I grabbed my coloured pencils and sketched out a quick design:

Cute enough, not super complex, and can be made a lot easier and smaller with a solid background. Or how cute would it be to have just the centre star with white hexes dotted around like smaller stars for a kind of night sky effect? What about using white yarn with some sparkle for those stars or a solid background of purple shot thru with silver? It could be super cute for sure. Here’s another idea – what about a shaped blanket? End at the yellow frame for a really unique stroller/pram blanket!

If you are a hand knitter, the basic hexipuff is 20-22 stitches by 15-17 rows and the Addi is between a 4.5mm and a 5.5mm (US size 7, 8, 9) and for DK or light Aran/Worsted weight yarn. You may need to test out your yarn and needle combo and measure to be accurate.

I’ll add in one more pattern I saved that I quite like as well. just to get your creative juices flowing!

Easy, cute and great for yarn scraps!

That’s me done for the weekend. I am still in shock from checking the distance from me to Shrewsbury, where the WOYWW crop is meant to be. 5-7 hours by train or 3+ hours by car. Oh dear.


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Working on a blanket…

I mentioned in my WOYWW post that I am working on a blanket. I have three circular knitting machines and the small i-cord mill and while I love using them I don’t seem to make a lot of finished projects. Many people who have these machine do craft fairs where they sell all manner of things – hats, lovies

blankets, and sometime even sweaters. I guess for me the issue is that you have to be a size that works with the number of needles on the machine. A lot of people complain that the hats are too tight for a fully grown adult. I find this to be true. A lot of people knit for charity, where I guess it isn’t super important the fit – they think that every hat, even a slightly smaller one, will fit SOMEONE. Fair enough.

I have always loved the hexi-puff blankets. They look like this:

Now, I have to admit I am not mad keen on the flowers or the owl. But using up yarn in this manner is great, cause I have a lot of bits and bobs. The ongoing problem is that I have a mixed bag or weights and fibers and even between the same weight the actual weight of the yarn varies a lot. There is heavy DK and light DK. Look at Stylecraft Special DK and Hayfield Bonus – both are £1.99 a ball but the Stylecraft has 322yds/294m and Hayfield has 306yds/280m ! The WEIGHT is the same but the amount of yarn is way off. From experience I know Stylecraft is much thinnner. I always research the YARDAGE of a yarn before I assume it works when a pattern specifies x balls of yarn. Do the math or be disappointed!

But I digress…

I had a look, instead, at some patterns for QUILTS using hexagons. There is a much wider variety of options. I found a few I liked and started cranking. Blimey but it’s tiring work. The big difference is I can’t really sit comfortably to do it. Lots of people who do this as a business have custom set ups, usually something like a low table with a hole in it so the knitted tube can flow without touching the table the sits on. Puffs are only a few rows so that is not an issue but I’m tall and my table is not. I have been searching for a way to do the cranking but finish off the puffs in comfort. I finally found a method that works well for me.

Basically I cast on, crank out my rounds, cut the yarn then add in some smooth, high contrast yarn and let the piece just drop off the machine. Once I have a pile of them I can sit in comfort in front of the TV or with my knitting mate and finish them off by threading the tail onto the needle and slipping thru the final round of stitches. Easy Peasy. You have to pull both the ends then cinch the puff into a flat circle anyway so better to do all that sitting easily!

Once I have all the puffs completed I string them onto a long piece of yarn IN ORDER of the row. I label it then move on. It makes the assembly process so much easier.

I can mark off the rows as I complete them. I also created a sheet of hexagons for colouring in. It is only 11 hexes across but it is easy enough to print two and tape them together. My hexipuffs are about 2.5 to 3 inches across. Usually I see them specified at 17 rounds. Na. I do 15. Te 17 round ones are SO puffy I don’t like them. Plus at 15 rounds I can get what I need from a single skein of yarn, at 17 I come up short. Also, remember you can print that PDF two to a page

Simply cut and paste if you prefer more hexes and/or smaller areas to colour. Think of this like a colouring book you can use to design your own blanket.

Yeah so that got long, and there is a lot of randomly useful/mildly interesting info in there for Addi or Sentro crank knitters. Hope it wasn’t too boring for the papercrafters.

Back to it…


WOYWW 677 – ATCs in da HOUSE!

Well, it’s WOYWW again and I made it back once more. Phew. The ATCs have begun to arrive, the first one, from lovely Lunch Lady Jan, dropped on my mat well in advance of the day. You can see it there top middle. Such a clever word cloud of all the craftiness we see week after week.

The top left is from Ali – we exchanged digital versions as I wanted to trade but ran out of “real” ones. Luckily we both are big fans of digi so it was a win. Helen’s one completes the top row. Those wacky birds just slay me. I always have to trade with her, even on the rare occasion we aren’t above or below the other in the list. The bottom row is Caro (hers is titled CONNECTIONS and is so sweet!) then relative newbie Tracy (gorgeous card & love the quote) and of course Julia. Her clever wire connecting the houses is WOYWW in a nutshell. Ditto for Cindy’s clever puzzle pieces on a mixed media background to the side. Still a few outstanding but they will get here eventually. One is crossing mine over Australia so it will take a bit for that to arrive. Weirdly, we got no mail delivered today so maybe the postman was having a little break and I will get a few more tomorrow.

My desk shot is boring – I snapped it before I realized two of the cards were still downstairs from the delivery on Monday. I had dragged out my oldest art journal so I could have a go at finishing up the last few blank pages.

I have also been cranking some flat circles on my Addi with an idea to make a blanket. It’s time consuming, but not so much as actual knitting. It’s more an experiment than anything else but I am enjoying the process. It’ll end up being perhaps for the next new family addition. I haven’t snapped photos but I made a dragon and a unicorn that need a few final touches then they will go in the mail back to the USA. I suspect the blankie will be too heavy for that.

Anyway I need to get one more colour that I forgot when I grabbed the yarn last week. Always happens, that. Ah well.

So have a fab WOYWW day and hope to see loads of ATCs on all the desks! One year I might hope to trade with everyone, but this was not the year.


An actual bird!

Busy, busy day. I just managed to squeak in a page using the birds I had already dragged out. Thanks to Helen (H) for the stamping session at that long ago crop! I do love the funky birds. I made them by stamping on various plain and patterned paper then paper piecing the birds from cut elements.

I got my little pot of printed words and short phrases (rather than my pot of long phrases and quotes this time) and pulled three. Sometimes the pulls don’t in any way match my challenge goal and I feel like I would struggle to use the words.

I mean maybe Hidden, maybe Madness, but I had an idea for the phrase. I had stumbled across a scribble of paint I made AGES ago. I blogged (in 2013!) about using the white version of this, from a Jane Davies tutorial (yep, still a good link) and when I found it during my grand tidy I felt I could use it somehow. and today was the day!

Sticking it to the page was a bit tricky – I feel like I would maybe do my rolling-matte-medium on the gel plate trick next time. But yeah, it stuck fine in the end with just a dot at each intersection and at the free-floating tips of the scribbles. In the end it got to this:

The left image is the page with the journal flat the right is it standing up. Hard to see but the page sort of floats over the tabletop, as it is shorted than the ones that surround it. I do love this journal.

I also spent some time musing about AJ pages. I have come to the conclusion they don’t always have to be this crazy work of art, with a million techniques and supplies. Sometimes it is just the making of the page, doing something, ANYTHING, that is the thing that makes it a “great” page. Overcoming the chaos of life to carve out a tiny sliver of time to get your art on is what lifts the art to a higher place. Or at least it is for me. I would rather make a page, any page, than not do a page at all because I let my desire to create a “masterpiece” when I know I can’t find more than a few minutes to work on it stop me from my desk.

So another for the AJJ challenge and a more legit bird this time. Now I might wait for the June one. Super busy day today and I need to find time to prep for WOYWW. Will I manage it? I hope so.


IS it a bird? Maybe….Art Journal Journey page

I mentioned the fact I was hoping to manage a page for the Art Journal Journey challenge for May but had not been able to so far. WELL. I grabbed some birds I had made from some stamps, actually from a long-ago WOYWW crop (so that dates them as the last crop I was at was eons ago!) pulled a quote and was about to make a start when, clearing off my desk, my eyes fell on some leftover unused bits from my WOYWW ATCs.

In the interest of making use of debris I think my brain looked at them and said BIRD!

You can see the stamping was less that stellar on these two so they didn’t make the final cut. I felt like I could still use them and also commemorate the 13th anniversary in my journal. And I had the quote I used on the ATCs printed on vellum as well that I could add. There was an extra space in the first part of the quote and I decided against the [ ]s where I changed HAD to HAS, for aesthetics but it was useable. AND I even found my hoarded vellum adhesive and while the first bit was a bit dry, the rest was still very much invisible under the vellum. Win!

The real decider came with the pulled quote, which didn’t really work with the other birds at all but worked amazingly well with these and the whole WOYWW theme. I shuffled things about a bit

And the final design also used the roll of tape measure tape that I used to close the envelopes I mailed my ATCs in. Now tell me, isn’t the quote a good’un for this?

So yeah. The little figure is a BIT bird-like don’t you think? I mean it does have wings and is flying…. That’s my story and I am sticking to it LOL!

Another busy week, but I will hope to do an ACTUAL bird page for AJJ before June rolls around and I think I missed out a few of the tail end of WOYWW so must get back to finish the list and check out the AJJ pages from THAT list as well. I totally need more hours in the day! Bet you do too…..

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ATCs, leather scraps and mailings

Been working all morning on packaging up my WOYWW 13th anniversary ATC swaps. I think it worked out pretty well. Now to get to the PO! Yesterday was spent all day in Salisbury, as Darling Daughter had an orthotics appointment for a new leg brace fitting. Fun. Back in eight weeks to see if it has done more harm than good. Hopefully not, but as it is a slightly new design we will see.

I did have a couple of people who were willing to swap digital versions of the ATCs, which is good, although they are really only slightly less work than making a “real one.

The colour is not as spot on as I would like but it isn’t so off that I don’t feel they are a true representation of the actual paper&card ones. I did add to the printed versions. The edges were smudged with the same Distress Oxide ink and the gold sequin dots were added – they look. basically like black dots when scanned so, yeah, they really needed that.

Then it was just making endless (or so more like 10) envelopes and adding a little message. All ready to pop in the post.

The one oddball is for a fairly new WOYWW participant and I decided to add in some bits from a recent score. The local glove factory is shutting down. I popped in yesterday because The Hubster saw a post on Facebook about it – they were selling off all manner of things, from massive reels of lovely coloured velcro and elastic to spools of thread and leather scraps. I got a bag full.

True scraps, not huge pieces, but some lovely colours. I had quite a long chat with the owner, as it was just me in there, late in the day. He explained most of the glove makers were getting to retirement age and sadly there were no young people interested in learning the skills to replace them. The gloves are gorgeous and so many varieties, and some of the tools were almost sculptural in their design – like the love forms and the irons. Amazing. I may pop back Monday and grab a few more things, as the owner said they will remain open and selling off the stock and the tools of the trade until they close the doors.

I’m off to see what the internet has to offer in the way of crafts with leather scraps….then hopefully to the post office, later today or tomorrow.


Finally, and Art Journal page – woohoo!

Easing back in to it a bit. I went back to my own pull-a-quote challenge, where I pick a trio from my little pots of printed and cut quotes. If you want to print your own and challenge yourself, you can find some here and here.

I pulled only one, from the pot of longer quotes, and it was very appropriate for what is going on in the world, both the ongoing war in Ukraine and in the USA, with the leaked Supreme Court decision. Because, yeah, now is not the time to remain silent.

I have been missing the AJJ challenges, but this month it is BIRDS and this page, with the best will in the world, is never going to be about that. I mean, I could randomly stick a bird on it, but that feels too much like cheating, so I’ll have to make another page with an intentional bird on it LOL!

I had an image, can’t recall exactly where from now, that I liked so I decided to cut it as a stencil. {shudder} That meant going back to my old Mac mini, running the last operating system that works with my ancient Cricut (1st gen) and SCAL.

Yep. The one with the mini-Japanese keyboard and the right-only monitor. I had to have The Hubster remind me how to access that. Such a numpty, and a forgetful one at that. But it worked, thankfully, and as I had unearthed a mostly full pack of laser transparency sheets and my stash of new (sharp) blades, I cut it in a flash

And it stenciled like a dream. I did have to add a few lines to join things up but yeah, I love it and can see using it again. I don’t mind cutting a stencil that I need only once or twice when the resources are cheap. I only pray I NEVER need the Great Cheeto Coloured Git’s stencils again. But I digress…

I always love working in my very small journal from a Roben-Marie tutorial. It is by far one of my most favourite ones. especially when I have been away from journaling for a while and need to ease back in to it gently. The pages themselves are bright and colourful (mostly) so I need only add a focal image and a quote for the barest minimum page to feel that all important sense of accomplishment we all need. And…

There we go. Challenge success. Now, about those birds…


WOYWW 676 – Thirteen YEARS!

Well, well, well. Thirteen YEARS of fun and friendship, virtual and IRL. WOW. The desks change every week, people pop in and pop out as their lives allow, and yet, we all still seem to feel the tug of our community each Wednesday for years to come.

My desk had a bit of ATC stuff on it (of course) for the swap:

and some yarn my MIL brought over to make shoelaces out out. That green is pretty in-your-face, but I am liking it a lot. Funny, I would have always said green is not my favourite (well, I make an exception for celery green and sometimes lime) but I have warmed to it over the years.

I want to share the quote I used on my ATCs, because it perfectly sums up the weekly event that is What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday:

...a rare combination of creativity, inspiration & motivation…a perfect blend that ha[s] the capacity to affect people’s lives positively.

I also have a question. I came to this quite late this year (like Monday LOL!) so didn’t get to make as many ATCs as I would have liked. If you visit, and you want to consider trading a printed version of the ATCs (so I would scan and print out my front then mount it on a regular ATC back in exchange for the same from you) let me know. I think I have 7 to trade + my official trade based on list placement, but I would love to increase the number and would be happy to accept a printed version if you would.

Sadly, the only day I could squeeze in a meet-up with my best knitting mate was today, so I will have a flurry of visits and comments early, then hop on the treadmill, then meet up with her and finally return to complete the list mid-afternoon. I might even consider signing in to Goggle (! I know – cue shock-horror from all who know my aversion to THAT) just to comment for one week on ALL the blogs, although I might break out in a cold sweat and not actually manage it, you never know… 😀

Happiest of Happy WOYWW’s and here’s to the next 13 years LOL!