2019 Birthday Presents

I didn’t get much yarn for my birthday. I thought I’d got none at all, but then my Aunty came later in the day with four skeins of cotton and an amigurumi book.

Maybe people thought (rightly so) that I’m still working through the 30 skeins I got for my last birthday so I didn’t need any more!

However, I did get quite a few other crafty presents.

I’m particularly excited to try this needle felt unicorn kit.

It’s got a polystyrene base that you felt onto, which I’ve never tried before, so that should be interesting.

There’s a sun catcher that Mum said she got because I love dragons.

Lots of papercraft goodies including a little crochet stamp!

Even something for my baking.

This looks so much simpler than painting different colours onto the side of a piping bag as I’ve been doing for years.

So I’ve got plenty of goodies to play with over the coming weeks. I might even share the results if they don’t go horribly wrong!

Hannah

xXx

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WIP Thursday 17.01.19

Current WIP count: 3

Did we have a Wednesday this week? I think we must have skipped it; there’s no way it can be Thursday already.

I know I said it was time to focus on Roses for Grandma, but then I saw a string of posts on Instagram about the Kalinda shawl and I got sucked in.

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Can you blame me? It’s simple but so pretty.

I’m using a Cotton Kings Twirl, giving them another chance on a gradually increasing item. I wasn’t too impressed with the Hitchhiker, but I think Kalinda grows more quickly so the colour changes should be a bit more even.

This is as far as I’ve got at the moment. It’s nice having a job again, but boy do I miss all the crochet time that comes with being unemployed!

So that’s all I have to show for this week. Did anyone else miss Wednesday or was it just me?

Hannah

xXx

FO Tuesday 09.10.18

So I finished my hitchhiker last week, hooray!

And I have some thoughts.

I love the pattern and I’m definitely going to make another one for myself at some point. It’s simple enough to memorise the pattern and work on it while watching something on my laptop, but with just enough interest that I never got bored.

However, I don’t think it was the right pattern for a slow fade yarn cake like the Twirl.

It ended up with this big long tail of the same colour, then it eventually starts to fade and suddenly it’s in long, thin, horizontal stripes.

I don’t hate it, and I’m still going to give it to my friend as I planned all along. But next time I make one, I’ll use either a solid colour or a variegated yarn.

What do you think? Any suggestions for a better use of slow fade cakes? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

WIP Wednesday 26.09.18

Current WIP count: 6

I’m such a slow knitter. This is where I was up to last time with my Hitchhiker.

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And this is what it looks like now, two weeks later.

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That’s after spending about 95% of my crafting time on it, just to give you an idea of how very slow I am. It’s definitely time for some crochet, maybe a wee easy amigurumi, so I can feel like a speedy crafter again.

My skirt is now about as long as my palm so it’s really more of a belt at the moment. I’ll get there. Eventually.

What’s everyone else working on this week? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

Yarn review: Cotton Kings Twirl

Apologies for being so quiet the last couple of weeks. I’ve been moved to a new position at work, which feels kind of like being dropped headfirst into the deep end of a pool, having never even come across the concept of swimming.

I’m beginning to get the hang of it so hopefully normal service can resume soon. And now, on with the post:

In the greatest feat of restraint ever shown, I only bought one item during Hobbii‘s grand opening sale!

(A wee side review of Hobbii itself: I ordered on a Thursday, got notification the next day that my order had been dispatched, and the box arrived on Tuesday. Pretty darn good, coming all the way from Denmark. Plus all their emails and newsletters are super friendly and personable. I think they could become a favourite of mine.)

This is a Twirl from Cotton Kings. They contain about 800 metres of 100% cotton yarn in a gradual gradient cake, coming in at £11.90 per cake. It’s described as “4 thin unspun threads” on Hobbii’s website, and the pencil test puts it at fingering/sport weight.

There are a few…interesting colour options to choose from, but most of them are beautiful. (Since starting this draft they’ve added 12 new colourways, most of which I love). I spent a good 10 minutes swithering between Emerald, Amethyst, and Rhodolite, wishing that payday were closer so I could just buy all of them. In the end Amethyst won.

When the yarn arrived, the inner end had been pulled out about 5cm and laid across the top so there was none of the usual digging around and yarn vomit trying to find it; I just cast on and started knitting away, and so far it’s been a perfectly smooth centre-pull cake.

The site description also includes the tip “Before you start working the Twirl cake, run all 4 threads through a small bead to help the threads stay together throughout the project“, which made me a bit wary. More than one ball of cotton has been ejected from my stash because of disobedient strands!

However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Somehow these unspun strands just stick together, and the only splitting has been my fault for poking the needle in the wrong place during particularly tense moments of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

The colour changes happen one strand at a time, with the new colour being tied to the old, so there are teeny tiny knots at those points. I’ve been giving them a good tug and wiggle around, and so far they’ve all held up really well so I don’t think you’d need to worry about the knots coming undone.

Of course I only bought the one cake so I can’t comment on how consistent a brand this is (yet. There will be more Twirls in my future), but if the rest are like this one then I’m totally sold. It’s lovely smooth, non-splitty cotton in some gorgeous colours, all set up for a centre-pull, with enough in this dinky little cake to make a whole scarf/shawl. Plus from Hobbii it’s excellent value for money. The only thing I would change is a few more colour options.

Stats

  • 100% cotton
  • Fingering weight
  • 800m
  • 200g
  • Suggested hook size 2.5mm

Would definitely use again!

Hannah

xXx

WIP Wednesday 05.09.18

Current WIP count: 6

It’s all Emily at FogKnits‘ fault. She’s knit so many beautiful Hithchikers and shared them so often that I just had to give it a go.

I bought my first ever 100% cotton cake and I knew straight away that I wanted to make a Hitchhiker with it.

There were a few false starts with the wrong size needles and losing track of which row I was on, so it’s been cast on and frogged a few times, but then everything settled into place and it started chugging along quite nicely.

This is the result of a couple of hours so it’s going to take me a while.

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But I’ve got the pattern memorised, and a handy dandy row counter, so it can be a semi-mindless knit while I ‘watch’ Agents of SHIELD.

I’ve had a couple of train journeys with nothing to do, so there’s been some progress on my skirt.

I might have to start measuring it, just to prove to myself that I am actually getting somewhere. At the moment one row takes around 30 minutes so it needs a good long session to make a visible difference. There are some simpler rows coming up, and the lower part of the pattern is more meshy, so I’m hoping it won’t take the 50+ hours I just calculated…

The allure of new yarn means that Roses for Grandma has only had a couple of leaf rounds added this week.

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But there’s no rush.

And that’s all I’ve done this week. I think it might be time to start something smaller as well, just to get a quick FO under my belt. What’s everyone else working on? Got any news to share? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

WIP Wednesday 27.06.18

After an easy Saturday and a ‘recovery’ Monday booked off work, I feel like I have some real progress to show this week.

Although I didn’t realise quite how many fiddly little parts my amigurumi dragon had. I’ve still got four horns and another wing shape to make yet, not to mention the dreaded sewing together.

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The biggie for today is my Tunisian jumper. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to just go for it and attach the sleeves, it was (of course) nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be.

I confess at first I had a complete brain fail and had to read the pattern at least 10 times before I understood what I was supposed to do (why are there no diagrams??), but I got there eventually and now my sleeves are attached and I’m working away at the yoke.

I’ve even tried it on! Which is when I noticed the increases in the sleeves have created these bumps.

It’s not a major issue really, I’m guessing nobody will be looking that closely once I’m wearing it, but I’m still hoping those bumps will ease out a bit with some blocking.

It seems unlikely that I’ll finish this week, but I can see me having my first handmade item ready to wear in the not too distant future. Ooh it’s exciting!

What’s everyone else working on? Or are you finding it too hot for fibre right now? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

FO Friday 01.06.18

So I could have shared my sunhat last week because it was finished.

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But…I kinda hate it.

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I said I like floppy sunhats, but it turns out you can have too much flop. This just looks ridiculous.

Unimpressed face

 

Yeah I totally hate it. I’m getting rid of this one. On the plus side it’s a WIP off my list so I don’t need to feel guilty about having cast on another knitting project!

Has anyone had a good finish this week? Or even a mediocre one? Give me some good news!

Hannah

xXx

WIP Wednesday 16.05.18

Current WIP count: 7

I think it’s time to accept that I will never completely clear my WIP list. As soon as I cast off my Whimsy Cowl I started on a crochet top, then after a lunchtime walk in the sunshine I decided I absolutely must make a sun hat. And of course I’ll need another knitting project to give my crocheting muscles a break…

It’s okay though, as long as I can keep my WIPs in single figures it doesn’t feel too overwhelming.

The Tunisian jumper is still rolling along. Just 3 more rounds and it’ll be time to join the sleeves on!

I did manage a wee bit of shaping at the back, but not a great deal so I don’t know how much of a difference it will make to the fit. I can’t be bothered frogging back to add more in so it’ll just have to do!

Here’s the beginning of my top:

The yarn is just a generic cake in shades of blue that I wanted to get used up and out of my stash, and the pattern is one from Ravelry that I can’t find right now. Of course I can’t just leave it alone and I’ve already made some adjustments, mainly making it longer and using hdc instead of dc for some of the bust section. I really don’t require a roomy bust (sadly).

My sunhat is also blue, just because I bought a lot of blue cotton in various shades last year and I need to start making a dent in it. I’m dithering between making it all in one colour, or with a stripe or two of turquoise.

This one is a Country Girl hat, which is turning out lovely and floppy at the moment. I love big, floppy sunhats 🙂

So that’s what I’m working on this week, in between basking in the sunshine while I can. How’s your week going? Working on something fun? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

New stitches: Tunisian crochet in the round

I finally learned why Tunisian hooks are double ended! You can get that wonderful texture Tunisian crochet is known for, in the round.

Here’s my mini tutorial, with photos because I really struggled with the tutorial in a magazine which was written instructions only.

Start off chaining as many as you need and join with a slip stitch, as usual when crocheting in the round.

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Pull up a few loops, but make sure not to load too many onto the hook

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When you’ve pulled up some loops, slide the piece down to the opposite end of the hook

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Then flip it horizontally so you’re ready to work with the hook by the stitches

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This is for my jumper so I’m using a different coloured yarn on the return, but obviously you can use the same colour if you like.

Attach a new skein/ball at this end and start a return pass, making sure to only pull the working yarn through one loop for the first stitch and then two for all subsequent stitches

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When you finish the return pass and have one loop left on the hook, slide it to the far end again.

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Turn the hook, pick up the first working yarn (pink in this case) and start the process again.

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And then repeat until the piece is long enough!

If you need to keep track of rounds like I do for my jumper, you’ll need to place a marker in the first stitch and move it up as you go

It took me a while to get the tenson consistent all the way around, but like most things it just takes practice. I found it helps to hold the non-active yarn in my right hand rather than just leaving it hanging.

So there you have it. Has anyone else tried Tunisian in the round? Got any more tips to share? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

FO Friday 24.11.17

There are even more finished hats this week! I’ve lost track of which ones I’ve shown off and which I haven’t, so here’s a photo of all of them:

Can we talk about how different the colours look close-up compared to that group shot?

I seriously need to get a proper camera.

Anyway. I do know I haven’t shown you this one because I made it last Saturday, and I can tell you now I’m never ever making a hat with this yarn again.

Stitch definition? What’s that? Never met her.

Honestly this thing will probably just fall apart one day because sewing in the ends properly was impossible. I’ve no idea if they went under/over/through any stitches at all because even up close, in really good light, all I can see is fuzz.

I also have some non-hat FOs. Remember the snowflake book my mum sent me? I decided I want to make them all to see which I like best, which isn’t actually as huge a task as I first thought.

So far they’ve all been only 3 or 4 rounds, and the most complex one took me just 15 minutes.

These are my finished snowflakes so far:

The different threads seem to give me slightly different sizes, with the silver sparkle being the biggest.

When they’re all finished I’m going to make some of them into ornaments to hang on a tree, and some into very dainty garlands.

I think some designs would also work well as coasters if I make them with thicker yarn. I’m definitely going to have a go.

Any more suggestions for ways to use 100 tiny snowflakes? Got any FOs to share? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx