Just a quickie!

Been busy so just a quick look at my latest finished project.

Some of you may have remembered these. first pair of socksAnd how I said that as they were so short (as requested) that I had almost enough to make another pair.

And so I bought this. sock woolWell here are the second pair! new pair of socksDelivered and appreciated!

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At Last! I finished my cushion

I have really been procrastinating with regard to sewing up the two sides of my latest cushion.Celtic crochet knot work for cushion and Celtic knitted cables for cushionMainly because I am never confident when it comes to sewing and I thought that I ought to wait till I was feeling really strong and alert, however last Friday I had nothing to take to “Crafty Coffee” and so was reduced to taking the two sides of the cushion to sew together.

I am glad I did as it is now off my conscience and brightening up my chair!

Here you can see the Celtic crochet knot work side cushion on chairI notice that the cushion is so puffy that the strips are tending to pull apart and show the inner but I don’t think it matters.

And here is the Celtic knitted cables side. cushion on chairI think it looks very smart!

In order to close it in a way that made it easy to remove the cover if it ever became necessary, I crocheted an extra strip to the cable side and sewed on three odd buttons that I had in my button jar. cushion closureAnd lastly: on Saturday, as if by magic, the apple blossom appeared on the apple tree. 

Past and future!

Had a bit of a funny week. On Monday I saw the consultant prior to my fourth and final chemo cycle. He decided that I should not have the infusion this time, only the tablets which left me both relieved and anxious. Relieved that I wouldn’t have to face the increasingly unpleasant side effects and anxious in case it lowered my chances of survival. I was just coming to terms with the fact that this meant I could eat cold food and go out walking when I began to go down with a virus. One of those funny viruses where there aren’t many outward symptoms but you just feel rotten.

Anyway in spite of all this I have put a post together for you.

You may have noticed that most of my posts lately have included crafting and bread and flowers. This is because these are the three things that keep make me happy and keep me smiling!

I will start with the bread this time, but scroll to the bottom if you are not interested in this part.

I decided to make a loaf like last time but to make it like the bap loaves I remembered from childhood. However I was so anxious that it didn’t get as flat as a pancake, because the dough was so soft that it was actually not quite flat enough. bap loafHowever the bread was good. here are three slices for my breakfast! 3 slices of breadTwo other things that have been lifting my spirits are the fact that when I do go out I come home to these forget-me-nots in some pots in the front garden (or front step as my younger daughter would have it!). forget-me-nots in potsThey are not really meant to be there but I haven’t had the heart to uproot them.

forget-me-notsso pretty – and an arty version. arty pictureAnd when I look out of the sitting room window when sitting on the settee, I can see the buds coming on my apple tree. apple tree in budHere’s a close up. buds openingI haven’t been feeling up to doing much crochet and haven’t any knitting but I have been thinking about future projects.

There are these slippers to make for James. slippersAnother thing I am planning to do is to buy some plain sock wool when I buy the yarn for the slippers.

I made these socks – socks for daughterand thesesocks for granddaughter

for my daughter and granddaughter. Since they like short socks, I reckon I have enough wool left to make another similar sized pair if I use different wool for the toes and heels.

More long term projects

I also have an idea for using up my scraps of yarn by making a cover for my cloth shopping bag.

It’s the one you can see in this photograph, though more grubby now! It will more than double it’s weight but will make it look pretty. So do I do it?

cloth bag

I used a scrap of yarn to make this piece of corner to corner crochet.corner to corner crochetAnd have used it to work out how much yarn I will need for the project. However I may still decide to use the idea for something else as I am not sure if I have that much scrap yarn.

I have also been working on an idea for another blanket. There is something very soothing about making a blanket. I just love ripples, so this is another ripple blanket in Autumn colours. I have been playing with different colour arrangements: something planned this time, not random. The idea is to make one the same size as my sea and sand blanket; i.e about 2ft x 4ft.

I have come up with two ideas, though I have not decided exactly which yellow and greens I want to use, especially as Stylecraft seem to have added quite a lot of new colours.1st colourwayThis was the first one, though of course I can’t get the colours spot on, yellow seems particularly hard to reproduce but maybe I just don’t know the right setting.

Later I wondered if this would be better. 2nd colourwayBoth pictures started out as a photograph of actual wrapped pieces of Stylecraft yarn. I suppose it was the lighting when I took the photographs, but the second one has a different texture.

Which colour way do you prefer?

Finally my hybrid socks!

I have finally manged to finish the hybrid socks I started after finishing the rainbow ones. Hybrid because I used the left over yarn from my recent mini mochi socks and that left over from the pale rainbow ones I made years ago. mini mochi 2 sorts of yarnHere they are. hybrid socks

I was rather pleased that they came out so long as I wasn’t sure how long that would be. You can see from the odd orange part on one sock that because there was, for some reason, more yarn left over on one ball, I decided rather than waste it to use if for the other sock. This of course adds an extra half inch.

Here is one of the socks laid over the earlier ones. sock length comparison

Unlike the ‘Rainbow Socks’ I feel I can start wearing these right away!

And, for anyone who might be interested, I can’t resist sharing a photograph of my most recent and possible ideal, at least for me, loaf of bread. latest bread

I have always preferred soft rolls to crusty ones and in fact my favourite bread when I was a child was a bap. The artisan bread I have made tends to have a crust that is lovely straight out of the oven but later just seems rather hard, especially for my bread knife. Now the milk bread I made had a much softer crust but the texture was a little cake-like, so I thought I would try the same recipe but using half milk and half water. The result had a thin easy to cut crust and a proper bread like texture.

Interestingly I have a recipe in my bread book for a Scottish Bap and that is half milk and half water. I am making some pizza bases as I write this and next would like to try some foccacia!

And finally a few photos from my garden.

I was delighted to see that the one bed was full of scilla siberica scilla sibericaand the primroses were also coming on nicely. primroses

There are some more, not yet in flower, further along.

I was also pleased to see that the Lenten Roses are doing very well even after all that snow. Lenten roses

Rainbow socks! Yay!

I have finally finished my rainbow socks and I thought I would share them with you. Rainbow socksI like the way the colours of each sock compare. colour comparisonAnd here I am wearing them. socks from aboveor socks from the frontBut at the moment I am not sure when to actually wear them as I know they will not look as good once they are washed, even hand washed. So at present I am saving them for a special occasion!

I have started my hybrid socks and got this far with one of them. hybrid sockI am now starting the other one, as it makes sense to make them in parallel if I am going to make best use of a relatively small amount of yarn.

I cut the rainbow wool when I got to the heel but I realise (I think I knew already when I wasn’t feeling unwell!) that this isn’t necessary, though it did mean I didn’t have two balls of yarn attached to get tangled.

Hope this isn’t getting boring!

Last week I finished the cables. I decided to stop after five repeats. As it seemed to pull in so as to be narrower I cast off loosely but had to undo the cast off and redo it as it was then too wide at the top as maybe you can see. five repeats of main cable pattern

I thought that I would crochet round it if I needed more width or length but when I pinned it to the piece I intended for the other side other side

It seemed to fit reasonably well.sides pinned togetherI tried fitting the cushion inside. fitted over cushionAnd it was about right. I am thinking of buying a new cushion pad so I will wait until I know what will be inside before finishing off and sewing the two sides together.

I have also started the second sock. part sock

As I want to use every bit of the wool, I didn’t even think of trying to make the socks match but just started at the end of the yarn.

And I made a brioche.

I am rather fond on brioche though I don’t buy it very often and have long wanted to make some but the recipe in my bread book uses 13oz of flour and five! eggs and this always seemed a bit extravagant. However I now have a food processor and in that it has a recipe that uses 250g (about 8oz) of flour and two eggs. You also have the advantage that the processor does all the mixing/kneading. So this last Friday I mixed up the dough and made this. I think next time I may cook it a little less but it is very tasty!

It doesn’t shine because I left off the egg glaze. I had meant to save a bit of egg for this purpose but forgot and getting a whole egg just for a bit of glaze always seems wasteful unless you have plans for omelettes later.

A sock and a sixth of a cushion cover!

Over the last week I have completed another repeat of the cables. I anticipate having to do four more repeats approximately so I have completed a third of one side – hence a sixth of a whole cushion cover ! since it has two sides. knitted cablesI think you can see the pattern developing now.

I have also finished one of my rainbow socks. rainbow sockMy original idea had been to make it a little longer but I liked the way the colours went and also it occurred to me that using the wool left over from my previous socks in this type of yarn older socksI could maybe make a hybrid sock to use up the rest of the yarn, with the pale rainbow yarn for the toes and heels and ribbing. So I weighed the older yarn and made a toe. toeMy hybrid sock may be a little short as I will have about a repeat of the rainbow colours of the newer wool. But if it is too short I could maybe add in some other left over sock wool since at least the foot part will be in this deliciously soft mini-mochi!

Starting the cables!

Following on from last week’s post I decided to start working on the cabled cushion cover.

First I made a sample swatch. SampleFor the first part I cast on 20 stitches to check the tension. As usual, I discovered that I knit to the right tension using the needle size recommended.

I then worked a few rows of the simple braid, to check I could do it.

Then I cast on an extra four stitches at each end to give 28 stitches so I could practice the more complicated part of the pattern which is charted over 24 stitches. (Two stocking stitches added at each end).

I was fine until about row 6/7 when I found I made mistakes and dropped a couple of stitches. (Not helped by using a too short (for me) cable needle so the stitches kept slipping off!)

Eventually I got this bit correct (or almost) after undoing a couple of rows twice!

This exercise was actually very useful as by the end I was beginning to understand the charts and to realise that the surface was either stocking stitch or reverse stocking stitch so if the stitches I needed for the next cable bit looked wrong it probably meant I wasn’t where I thought I was!

corrected one repeat
Replacement photograph!

Thus I found that I have managed to knit the first sixteen rows of the main chart, which is the repeat, and it looks okay and wasn’t as hard as I thought! I might even be able to do it in company! (I found my longer cable needles, though I seem to have mislaid the thicker one half way through!)

One repeat of cable patternHaving written the above and knitted another couple of rows I realised that I had made a mistake on the left-hand simple braid and so I had to undo a few rows. the mistake had been on row 14 of a 16 repeat so more undoing than I would have liked! You can see the mistake if you click on the thumbnail on the left!!

I  think I need about five more of the above for the full cover.

Interestingly, I am finding that my reduced energy levels and emphasis on looking after myself means that instead of the normal sense of pressure to knit or crochet all evening so as to complete the latest project and get onto the next one and thus have something for the blog, I am sometimes actually watching TV with no knitting and just pick it up when I feel in the mood. In fact I am probably watching more TV without knitting than with. I think I like this more relaxed approach.

Just a bit of a catch up

Started into the chemo last week. I found the most tiring aspect was not, as yet, a side effect but having to make sure that I did not encounter cold: objects, food, drink or air. At least this only applies for the first few days so should wear off soon! However having to boil a kettle every time you want a drink, even just to take a few pills (and there have been lots of pills!) is a bit if a pain and gets wearing.

All this has made me think more of just resting in between, not even done much sock knitting (except when hospital appointment was delayed by an hour and a half!)

Also my daughter came to stay for a couple nights and we had a lovely day on Saturday, visiting the Sea City Museum in the morning, then going to a Greek restaurant for a late lunch followed by home by teatime for a restful evening.

I did think however that I could share with you the next knitting project on my list that I am a little afraid to start in case a make a mess of it.

If you remember this recent crochet that I was going to use as a cushion cover. cushion coverWell the big question was what to do for the other side.

In the end I thought of this cardigan cardiganThat was meant to wear over summer t-shirts but makes my arms itch. Now I have quite a lot of  wool over which is obviously not very suitable for clothing and decided that maybe I could use the wool for the reverse of the cushion and knit a Celtic style cable square. This would give me an opportunity to learn more about cable knitting as so far my only attempt was the collar of this jumper. 

I found a pattern for a celtic style pattern I liked but the chart looks a bit daunting! chartThere is also all the swatching and counting to get the piece the right size. But maybe I might start it soon, with socks for when I go out and this at home.

Update with flowers and bread!

I still haven’t felt inspired to do any more than work on my sock(s). Though I have got beyond the heel now! sock latest

I would have got a bit further but when I had got about this far I realised that I had dropped a stitch a couple of rows after finishing the heel and the only safe way to sort the problem was to undo back to that point stitch by stitch!

Not much to show, so I thought I would share a few more of the highlights of my week with you.

Now a few weeks ago when my daughter came down she brought me a bunch of flowers. At the time I was still pretty weary and my granddaughter kindly put them in a vase for me. The flowers lasted well and when they were all gone I rather fancied buying some more but I have been shopping with a back pack lately and flowers would suffer in a back pack.

But then on Tuesday my brother came to visit me and brought lots of flowers! This time I felt up to arranging them myself, not that I have any special skill at this, but they looked so lovely in the vases that I decided to take some photographs.

I don’t have an ideal place to take photographs and by now it was the evening, so don’t expect something exceptional.

First I took some pictures on the dining table.

There were enough flowers for two vases!flowersand similar flowers to the above with roses and ?. flowersThe roses are much redder than this but, as someone very colour conscious, I frequently bemoan the ability of cameras to capture colours accurately.

I then took the flowers upstairs to the study to take against a more neutral background but this was taken at ISA 800 by artificial light so I adjusted the colours a bit to restore a green tone to the walls! flowersand flowersThe flowers were much more open on Friday so I took a picture of the first vase from above. flowersThe other flowers didn’t make an attractive picture from above so I just photographed one of the roses. roseI was also making some more bread: a white loaf this time, so I photographed that. bread