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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…

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Going to be a crazy couple of weeks….

We are having some work done around the house and things are going to be a bit crazy. It may or may not impact my ability to do crafty things, as I also have a face-to-face with my consultant, a 2 hour drive away. Not fun, but required.

I am still making laces, and have been playing with AGLETS.

They are metal tips for shoelaces. Ideally I would use a proper crimping tool to close them but while I feel pretty sure we have one I am not too sure where it is. Crimping the ends of the laces with a regular pair of pliers is possible, but not beautiful.

I had to fine-tune the crimping a bit to fix the flat bits (which do NOT fit thru the eyelets very well!) but they did fit in the end:

Over all. I prefer the clear plastic 3mm heat shrink tubes as the yarn shows thru.

I made a little PDF, cause I know people like things in that format so they can download them and save them so here it is.

I really love the idea of having laces that match my hand-knitted socks LOL!

I can see there is a new AJJ challenge so I really must try to fit that in, amidst all the work in the house!

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So not quite there yet with the knitted shoelaces…

I am still awaiting the thing I need to make my laces perfect, but I will add my progress for anyone who wants to have a play in the meantime.

I tried wrapping the tips with thread and with electrician’s tape. The thread was far too fiddly and the tape was far too thick to fit thru the holes:

I tried tacky glue, which kinda worked, although it was messy and took a long time to dry.

But the low-tech solution – if all you want to do is knit the laces and thread them thru – is one of the loop-hole yarn needles – so often the easiest solution is a solution, even if it isn’t perfect!

So I am still awaiting the shrink-tubes (that are designed for cables but which look to me very like the tubes at the end of your normal laces) that will worth this out in a very professional way.

I am pretty sure an embossing gun will shrink the tubes (cause I suspect the lighter might catch the yarn on fire so do NOT do that!) and if so, I am going to make more cause they are super cute!

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Flitting about again…just cannot settle!

I am re-thinking the cranked sweater, as the design is not working out as I wanted it to. Plus needing more yarn, of course. Stands to reason a double thickness item (made from tubes not flat panels) is going to need more yarn! Silly me.

As a diversion I am working on something – not ready to say too much about it at the moment, but I think it’s going to be interesting. I dragged out a whole bunch of the scraps from all my knitted socks

SOOOOOO much sock yarn! Some of it was collected from my MIL but most of it is mine. I have knit a crazy number of socks. And I have a ton of yarn still to use. This is JUST THE LEFTOVERS. Yikes.

A few people from WOYWW were confused by the little device – it is specifically for making i-cords, which usually take ages to hand knit or crochet. With the little Embellish-Knit cranker it flies out of the machine. Look at this lovely pile – the yarn is shot thru wit a tiny glittery thread and the spacing worked perfectly for a lovely stripey effect.

I used my Nano tape again to secure the little device to a slat so I didn’t have to hold it in one hand and crank with the other. Looks a bit shit but it works perfectly fine.

It’s not a perfect solution but it’s not horrible either. Now I am just waiting for a very odd little supply to drop thru my letterbox from Amazon. When it does, and if my idea works, I’ll share. Fingers crossed it will.

I miss the days of first and second post. We used to get mail at like 7:30 AM then a second delivery around noon when we lived in London. How times have changed!

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Weekend project progressing!

I did as I said (or tried to) and worked pretty much only on my Addi/Sentro cranked sweater over the weekend. There were a few interesting point to note. Firstly, because I had to re-crank parts I had already cranked, it gave me a rare opportunity to make some comparisons. To be fair, this may be of little interest to anyone but me. Still, I feel like it is worth noting. And no offense, but mostly I blog for me, so having this info in a place that is searchable and online is helpful.

I am bigger than the “standard” size of the cardigan will fit. Assuming I want cuffs my longest tube (the across the shoulders (one that is 340 rounds in the video) needs to be 74 inches, or 425 rounds (I’m tall and not willowy LOL!)

I had to pull out the tubes already cranked (cause I am rubbish at mounting a knit piece on any of my machines) and it revealed some interesting information.

  1. The tube I pulled out was knit on the Addi 46. It was 340 rounds and when stretched and allowed to relax into it’s finished shape, the gauge was 17 1/2 stitches by 23 rows.
  2. The exact same tube frogged and knit on the Sentro 48 ended up at 315 rounds, with a gauge of 16 stitches and 20 rows!
  3. The width of the tubes measured by ruler was 5 3/4 inches for the Addi and 6 1/8 inches for the Sentro.

I am also wondering what the differences would be between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd hole in the Sentro tension doodah. Not sure I want to take the time to do that, but then again, I might.

I also realized that I really hate both the method and the results when you use a crochet hook to close the tube by slip-stitching the loops together. I mean it’s OK, but just not super nice. I’m not done with the process yet, but I think if all the loose ends are mounted on a very l o n g circular needle you can easily 3-needle bind off the edge as a single row. Now, these are tube, so the 3NB can’t be done as you usually would, with right sides together, but the reverse wrong-sides together seam is quite attractive as an edge, which is what is needed. Pulling off the stitches using a small knitting needle on a long cable is pretty easy, and there is no need for all the pfaffing about with waste yarn.

As I knit each tube, I just add the tubes to the long needle

and then I have things lined up exactly so my mattress stitch to join the tubes never gets twisted! Weird that blue looks so royal in that photo when in fact it is much dustier IRL, more like the one above.

So let’s see – I have the very very long tube and the two shorter arm tubes, and one of two 22 pin Addi tubes that will eventually be part of the under-arms. This is all a bit of a learning curve as I am seriously altering a pattern to (hopefully) fit me. I am resigned that for the next couple of steps it may be more trial and error than I would like. Also that I may not actually have enough yarn. So it may also end up being more of a two-tone item than I had planned! So me.

Weirdly, the Hubster spotted a photo of our magnolia tree on FB – not taken by nor posted by us. Still, nice shot. I love this tree. You can just about see my craft room window there under the chimney on the right!

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My butterfly mind….

It flits and lands and flits away again.

I have momentary obsessions that may stick for a day, a week, a month. I have unfinished projects all over the place. I do eventually circle back to them but it could take a while.

I was sucked into a yarn-y vortex after spending a weekend in my sewing room, sorting out all my yarn.

And at the same time kept seeing crochet things pop up in my YouTube feed – does anyone else get annoyed that Google can’t differentiate between knitting and crochet? Drives me crazy when I am looking for one not the other. Anyway, you may have seen my current obsession with the Tom Daly wavy crochet sweater. It’s lovely. I dragged out my recently sorted basket of cotton yarn and had a bash. But the more I assessed my scraps the more I realized two things. First, I don’t have enough of the handful of colours to make this sweater in my size as anything other than a total scrap yarn mish mash and two I might be too old to pull off such a youthful item. My mate assures me it is all about attitude, not age, and while I love her for that I’m just not sure. My mind flitted on to, back to my knitting machine. I’ve been cranking out tubes for a cardi, using some yarn I unearthed which looks like more than enough to make a project – except for what I wanted as a border!

I am making one a bit shorter, in DK weight yarn, and a solid colour, except for the around the neck border. I did the calculations and it requires a 360 round tube. I had some scraps of yarn in the perfect colour and weight and cranked that sucker out – and came up about 40 rounds short! Grrr. I have a potential solution in some similar but not identical yarn – I am thinking I will see if the lighter yarn and the thinner tube works and if not, I will knit to the half way point, add in the other yarn to fill in at the back of the neck, then carry on with the rest of the initial yarn. It’ll work OK, I think, and be great to use up a bunch of stash yarn. Which made me think I should just crank out tubes of random scrap yarn and make the most massive blanket even, just to use it up so I can actually buy yarn for a project that I WANT to use!

Sadly, even that goes awry sometimes, when I buy yarn I love with no firm pattern in mind. I recently bought some lovely bulky WI yarn.

Too bulky for the Addi, and I bought it to make a cardigan. The Cardigan theme? I’ve never made one before. Well, I made ones for the kids, both knitted and crocheted, but never for me. This blasted yarn has such long lengths of colour, and the transition is so abrupt, with no gradual melding of colours, it is impossible to find a good pattern to use it for. Even Ravelry, which had inspiration for DAYS for most things, I don’t think it shows a single project with this yarn, despite it being in a few people’s stashes. I keep testing out, both knit and crochet stitch patterns and nothing looks good.

I won’t even delve into the whole ATCs, Art Journal, Cardmaking and Dementia Doll knitting thing. So for the weekend I am going to select ONE thing and work on it to the exclusion of all else. Not sure I will finish but I am determined to make progress.

Wish me luck!


The mess has been sorted, and a few things to mention…

Gosh. It has been a very busy weekend. I have been shuttling back and forth between my craft room (which houses all my art journal and paper-type craft stuff) and my knitting/sewing/ironing room (which also houses the Christmas tree and decorations) in an effort to get them sorted. You might have seen the state of them late last week. If so my guess is you thought How can anyone work in that chaos? May I remind you?

Even the desk that holds my computer was in such a state. And the sewing room, which I almost never share, was in as bad a state as it ever has been, partly due to the table being in it’s pulled-out state so the Xmas decs could be accessed. Yes. I know. It’s March. It should have been moved back into it’s usual spot long before now, but life gets busy. Sorry for virtually all the photos in there being a bit rubbish – the light is terrible and I use an old phone as a camera.

I managed to get all the stuff that was in the wrong place re-located from my craft room to the sewing room, and vice versa, and the table turned around to the correct position. There is that yellow colander that so many people mentioned the other day! This time it is full of…wait for it…knitting needles on their cables.

Dear lord. It took me HOURS to sort them out. Really. And here is the interesting thing. Stay with me – it’ll all come together in the end, I promise!

In the UK we get Lateral Flow Test Kits. As of now, the government gives them away for free (for now, but not for long) and my daughter, who goes to a special needs school, must test twice a week. One test must be timed so it also covers her attendance at the disability skating group. These kits have seven each of tests, tubes with a dropper top, nasal swabs, fluid and little plastic bags to seal the tests up in before you put them in the bin. This is the thing – if we do three tests, all the debris for all three fit in one bag. Easily. We have been doing testing for MONTHS. We have a LOT of little plastic bags. A LOT.

They are pretty useless for most things, due to how tall and thin they are (maybe 3 x 7 inches) but they do work incredibly well for knitting supplies! Wanna see?

Here are all my fixed circular needles, sorted:

The top row is larger needles, and the bottom are my sock needles. I had a couple of slightly larger bags saved from some past purchase for the bigger, longer needles and below for the biggest group of cables.

And here are all those cables for my interchangeable needles, grouped by length.

Nice, humm?

At the moment I have them in larger bags, and am considering how best to store them. I suspect I might make use of a large canvas-covered set of shelves that houses my yarn. I am already using that in an interesting way. More on that tomorrow!

And apologies, as it will be a few more days before I manage an actual craft post – I am still behind on my WOYWW visits (AGAIN!) and must devote my free time in the weekdays to that. I HATE not seeing every desk.


Getting nowhere!

Yesterday ended up being as much of a black hole as Wednesday was, I’m afraid. I was keen to try to get another dementia doll done and kind rushed the process really. I had an idea to adapt the JoJo JuJu YouTube pattern that I had used before for the blue doll, but was (stupidly, I know) going on memory. Always a BAD idea. Especially since I often watch videos while on the treadmill at 2x speed.


The first mistake was making one super long tube then looking at it and thinking I should have split it. Without going back to look at the video I went back to an old knitting trick for adding an afterthought heel and locked up stitches either side of a round, then snipped the thread and split the tube.

then it was treadmill time, so I watched the vide again and realized no, I didn’t need to split the tube, I needed to make two tubes. AND the tubes should have been on the 46 pin machine, not the 22 pin one! DOH! I ended up doing two tubes of black (cause I added 10 rows of that to make shoes and lengthen the doll a bit more) and white cheap yarn, then stuffed the existing tubes with those. That meant that the fact I used the smaller machine didn’t matter – that arms and legs were more substantial, if still thin. He ended up like this – kinda scary. I can’t help but think of the line A Whiter Shade Of Pale. Poor thing. I just don’t have enough flesh coloured yarn in aran weight!

Not sure if adding hair will help The colour of the yarn is almost exactly the same for the girl doll and this guy but he looks anemic and she doesn’t!

So the last photos are really just an explanation of what I will be doing at least for today and maybe over the weekend! When I am in full swing, I tend to just push on, not tidying up after myself till I am done. So, yeah.

Tat would be my mostly never seen sewing room. This shot barely captures the horrific state of it at the moment. So while I found some flesh coloured yarn (cotton, and too thin, really) and I want to attempt to use the same “inner tube/outer tube” trick to see if I can make a doll with it, I am determined to sort my shit out! I am sure I will be WAY more efficient if I am not spending 20 minutes hunting for a yarn needle, or my loom pick in the mess of my desk. So, today is tidy up day for sure. Sorry my posts have been less than inspiring but I really want to make these dolls – dementia has effected people in my family and I know it is a horrible disease. The story one of the dementia helpers relayed (about one of the ladies, who previously just sat, barely engaging in her surroundings, walking in to the lounge of her care home, seeing one of my early dolls and gasping, running to it, and spending the day stroking it’s hair, cuddling and rocking it, and engaging with others as well) just made me realize that it was worth doing.

And so, I crank on – or will do, after my tidy up session!

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Another layer of mess on the desk!

Apologies to late WOYWW visitors, for being late myself! Yesterday ended up being a bit of a black hole of chaos. We had a delivery and installation of a towel bar radiator and some additional sockets put in the lounge. Don’t gasp, but we actually reclaimed five (yes FIVE) power strips at the end of those tasks, mostly cause the additional sockets included not only two plugs but two USB ports.

Earlier in the day I had read a plea from the local craft group for more Dementia Dolls. I made these in the past and knew, with the Addi I could crank out one or maybe two in a flash.

But the making of the hair and the sewing up, split between making cups of tea and answering questions from the electrician, took the rest of the day. I was experimenting with less wool/quicker patterns, and managed these two.

Same chair LOL! the large one on the right is pretty much the same size as the original, maybe a tiny bit smaller, while the other one is a totally different sort of construction, with the clothes added in the knitting of the doll – important, as I don’t have an endless supply of doll clothes from darling daughter’s long-ago Cabbage Patch doll obsession. I need to look at it a bit more closely and tweak it, because I can surely make it taller and more substantial by stuffing the arms and legs both. It will never be as big as the one knit in pieces, but it will be bigger. Also a boy doll with a hat needs no hair, really so that is a win for sure. I haven’t made a face for the boy doll yet but should manage that today. And might try to alter the pattern and make another today before Craft Club meets on Friday. Then it’s just a matter of getting it to them.

The real issue is this all delayed me clearing up my desk, which now has another layer of a different craft all over it!

I really cannot avoid tidying up, my desk here and my sewing room, because I simply cannot do anything until I sort it out. And then finish the WOYWW list, cause even my desktop in front of my computer is a disaster, full of needles and stuffing wodges and snipped scraps of yarn. I simply cannot work like this!

Back tomorrow with maybe another doll and hopefully a clean workspace so I can art journal on the weekend! Wish me luck LOL!