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.

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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

My latest project.

I have finally decided what to make to get back to crafting – socks!

I chose socks because apart from the toes and heels they are just so easy, perfect for ‘Crafty Coffee’ mornings, watching TV and totally not stressful or challenging. I don’t feel up to challenging!

So what socks?

Years ago when I was wanting to make the first pair of socks for myself, I fell in love with some really soft looking sock wool called Mini Mochi and bought enough to knit two pairs of socks. Now my favourite of course was the darker rainbow one but I didn’t want to risk making a mess of knitting it up, so I used the pale rainbow one for that first pair. Now the socks are indeed the loveliest softest socks imaginable and still are, but they do lose their looks a bit when you wash them. As you can see in the above picture. (several years later).

I hand washed them at first but found that they were no worse for being tossed in the machine. (Maybe this is a comment on my hand-washing abilities!)

After this I tried out lots of different types of sock wool (again as you can see in the above picture) but was sort of saving the darker rainbow wool for when the light ones wore out.

Well they haven’t worn out but I can see that the area around the heel is getting a bit thin and I wanted something really soothing and delightful to knit so I decided that now was the time.

The wool I am using now does seem more even in thickness than the earlier ones but maybe I am just not remembering very well.

I wasn’t aiming to make matching socks so I just picked up a ball and started with the end of the yarn – a dark orange. Starting with orangeWith a short row toe this is the underside of the sock.

I am almost back to the orange! I love the way the colours change!

Looking back on 2017

Not having started any more knitting and crochet as I am not sure what to choose, I thought that I would share what I made in 2017.

This was very much the year of Celtic crochet.
I started by devising some plaitwork bookmarks and published the best pattern. I also then made some Celtic cross bookmarks, though this time I included all versions in the pattern.

Later I moved on to seeing if I could design a hot pad and made two: one with extra chunky cotton from my original coaster pattern and one in chunky cotton to a new design. I also worked out how to make a larger version of my coaster pattern to create a table mat to match a coaster and later used this idea to create the cushion cover you can see.

I devised some new Celtic coasters and a modified version of these will be published when I am feeling up to  it.

Of course I also crocheted some other things. The teddy was from someone else’s pattern (and I also used patterns I found to make a pot holder and fold up shopping bag – not shown).

I made a pattern for a spray of orchids to put on the kitchen windowsill and I didn’t think the pattern was good enough to publish but they give me a lot of pleasure.

I did share a pattern and tutorial for a ‘beginner coaster’. The first free one for a while.

I also published an angel pattern and my ‘real snowflakes’ pattern. The multi-coloured angel was made from my angel bookmark pattern but in #20 cotton instead of #10.

The blanket used my ‘sea and sand’ colours and introduced a symmetrical version of my granny ripple pattern that I called ‘smooth granny ripple’.

Towards the end of the year I devised a new cup cosy for my breakfast mug and a new larger dishcloth.

As always I did some knitting but not as much as my crochet.

The Womble was a Christmas present for 2016. The socks on the right plus the blue hat and the cowl and hat were all given to my eldest daughter. The other socks were for my granddaughter and the two plum coloured hats for seamen.

One of the first things I finished was my 2016 ‘temperature scarf’ and it has proved to be very warm and I love the extra length.

The only other thing I made was to try to see if I could create some ‘planned pooling’ from some yarn I had. I have now redone this in a more useful shape and when I get round to making a lining, I will share it with you.

My latest make

Unfortunately, I am feeling less well than I did last Monday but I still felt that I wanted to share what I had intended for today.

The only creative thing that I have completed since I have been ill is a pair of socks for my younger daughter’s birthday.

I had finished the first sock and was about a third through the second when I went into hospital. I thought at that point I had plenty of time to complete the pair but in the event it was a bit of a struggle to finish them off just in time to put in the post. socksThe yarn was Regia Galaxy. An interesting pattern in the colours I thought!

Monthly Montage – November

Life has given me a few problems lately, so I have been spending my energies on them and not done much crafting, except a little simple knitting when in company.

However I felt that I should still create my normal Monthly Montage post.

I shared photographs for shop, walk and letter but although I took a photograph for light I did not get around to creating a post. Maybe I will share it below.Monthly montage - NovemberKnitting this month seemed to be all about hats: one for my daughter and two as Christmas presents for seamen. I crocheted a dishcloth and shared a free pattern and tutorial for what I called a “Beginner coaster”. And I slipped in a photograph of our success with an escape room.

This is my photograph for “Light” I had an archive one ready but when someone else shared similar I decided to choose this.

Photo Challenge - Light

They are the only flowers in my garden at present and are like a light in the darkness of winter!

Two hats and a dishcloth

I have been feeling a little out of sorts lately, not sure which project to start next, so when I heard that the Apostleship of the Sea wanted hats (among other things) as Christmas presents for seamen, I decided to make one.

I found a pattern suggested by the Apostleship of the Sea in a different area which said that aran weight was best. Now I have quite a bit of yarn left over from making thisbed jacket because I adapted a pattern with three quarter length sleeves and a fitted body and so had to guess the amount of yarn to buy and I over-estimated.

The yarn is a lovely soft 100% merino wool so should be great for keeping seamen’s heads warm on chilly days.

I had enough to make two hats and here they are. I don’t feel the sewing up of the seam is perfect but it won’t show too much if worn round the back.

Another thing that I have made recently is a new dishcloth, as I reported I would be doing when I showed you this yarn. yarn

This time I made it bigger than last time, using 40 trebles across. dishcloth I used the same two rows of three border from my book as before although I chose it independently! Dishcloth foldedBecause it is bigger than before it does take longer to dry but I like it in use.

What was I doing on Saturday?

I met up with my eldest and family and had a couple of meals and had fun in an Escape Room. After we escaped!

Although this is not my photograph and therefore I do not own the copyright I am sure the Escape Plan guy won’t mind as this can be considered  an advert. He was keen on us passing on the word.

The Escape Room is located in SE London in Iliffe Yard.

We had great fun. We had been there previously for a Second World War prisoner themed escape and this one if anything was even more fun.

If you are interested in learning more here is a link – https://escapeplanltd.com/ Highly recommended.

I also took with me the socks I had made for my granddaughter (which I have shown you previously). socksand the hat I made for my daughter. hatMy camera really didn’t like this yarn. The colour is much more of a vibrant peacock blue. Imagine the above but brighter and a little darker. The above has been edited by me for colour but nothing I could do would get it the correct shade.

Here is another photograph of the hat standing up. hat in the roundIt is alpaca and merino wool, wonderfully soft.

The pattern for the hat came from Debbie Bliss and here is a closer look at the stitches. knitting stitchesThe hat was very popular and my daughter put it on immediately!

A Foray into Planned Pooling!

A long time ago I made a cowl for someone who wanted one the same as the one I was wearing at the time. I couldn’t get exactly the same yarn but I bought something similar and proceeded to knit it.  (The yarn was a multi-colour, random sort of yarn.)

However it came out with stripes in some places. stripey partI quite liked the stripes but didn’t seem able to reproduce them further up, though you can see a narrow band that gets a bit stripey.Cowl almost finishedso I contented myself with the fact that this part wouldn’t not show when it was worn, but it puzzled me.

Recently on a Ravelry Forum, there was a thread about planned pooling and I mentioned this item and asked whether it was a change in tension or a change in the way the yarn was dyed that caused the difference. The person who responded said she thought it was a matter of my changing my tension. It is an unusual stitch and so although my tension was good enough it may have varied.

Now I had half a ball of the yarn left in my “stash”,

I therefore decided to try knitting the yarn so as to create stripes and see what happened.

The colours seemed to repeat about every 120 stitches. At first I cast on with the yarn but then decided that I probably used a slightly different amount of yarn casting on, so cast on in white then knitted until the colour change. It was obvious that the colours would need to be knitted in the round to get the repeats to line up.

And I produced this. Yarn knitted upI read about the fact that to get things perfect you might have to adjust your tension, and I did this a bit in the early stages but soon realised that the sections of the different colours would move out of sync and then back again if I kept my tension even. Showing colour slippageAs you can see here the colours were quite a bit off but then regrouped when I came round again.

The yarn has obviously been dyed to make a variety in the length of the different colours but not enough to lose all regularity.

I also decided that I had been right when I though that the colours might have repeated at half the width. one side of knitted circle

As you can see when you compare the one side to the other half.
other half of knitted cirle I can now see that there is even an amount of left right symmetry so it might have been possible to knit the yarn flat as well.

So the question is shall I try to make something that uses this effect?

At this width it could maybe be a cowl but I have lots of scarves and cowl type things so I wondered about undoing it and halving the number of stitches to make it into a project bag.

I also thought of seeing what would happen if I chose to crochet the yarn.

So you may be hearing more about this in future.

If I want to do the sort of precision planned pooling I have seen though, I would have to choose a different yarn.

For interest my original cowl came out like this.

My cowl when originally made
The new and the old

But the matching fingerless gloves (that turn into mittens), I made for Friday food shopping when it was raining, do have the colours bunching a bit.matching fingerless/mitten glovesThe idea was to be able to keep my gloves on in the greengrocers, while having my fingers covered when out in the cold and wet.