Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Okay that may be a slight exaggeration in being a necessity, I was at my desk making lists of all the projects I either had on the go or wanted to do. When I am planning to do lots of projects especially sewing, I tend to do a lot of cutting out and set them up like kits before I get to the sewing. My mind was buzzing with projects I had cut out and ones that I wanted to prepare.

Sometimes when my head is too full, I do bullet point lists for each project. For instance cut out x , get notions, sew. Lots of little notes broken down in to do lists. What I really needed was a notice board. I have one but it is buried some where. Head was still jumbled when I spotted some card packaging from a duvet cover and a light bulb went off. Right next to it was a pair of jeans that just don’t fit right now.

I found a fat quarter from Stash and bingo I had a plan. I measured the FQ around the card and it was a tight fit but it would fit. Out came the sewing machine and I sewed along one short edge and the long edge. The jeans were inserted in-between the card and the fabric pulled over the top. I didn’t sew the base up, just tucked it in like a pillow case and voila I have a mini noticeboard.

Silver Lining

I am a realist, however I also believe that whatever the situation you can find a silver lining. It may be a tiny one

In the COVID-19 lockdown I have found a few silver linings. The latest one was getting to the last of the boxes in the old craft shed. In amongst them was a complete boxed kit for Debbie Abrahams Fish blanket. When I say complete kit . I mean complete. It has the beads, the sequins, the bobbins, the yarn and at the bottom some needles.

This is not only a silver lining because I found a complete blanket kit, this is a silver lining for another reason. Let me tell you a tale of Rowan Cotton Glacé shade 724 bubbles. I was knitting another DA blanket and needed a pink so I borrowed a ball or two from the Teatime blanket I started in 2010. This was cotton glacé shade 724 unfortunately I forgot to replace it. I am on the final two strips of the Teatime blanket and need another two to three balls of , yes you’ve guessed it CG shade 724. Now I have found the fish kit with the needed CG shade 724 yarn in it The silver lining arrives and I can finish the teatime blanket without worrying about running out of yarn. It may have gone from the fish kit but I can change the colour for this. Happy days

Needles

In lockdown I managed to break 3 of my short 2.75mm bamboo needles. Specifically the needles for my Debbie Abrahams blankets. I bought two pairs of gorgeous Lykke driftwood needles from Tribe yarns to replace them, I cannot stress enough how beautifully smooth and wonderful to knit with these are. After knitting a few squares with them, I found that when knitting at my desk they are a tad too long. Looking online for some 20-25cm needles there just just weren’t any that made me want to buy them. Then the light bulb moment came, I have a box of beads, some 20cm DPNs and super glue. Out came my creative side -not that it’s ever in-and my DPNs transformed into short needles to continue my blanket. I have a feeling that this will be my path if short needles are needed again and I have the right size DPN.

Lockdown

I have been isolating since 19th March and it has had it’s ups and downs. There was a week near the start when I was very snappish and an emotional rollercoaster and now for the most part I am settled in my routine. I am lucky, that through out my isolation I have been able to work from home. I still get up and at the same time and do some chores before I start work. I think this has helped, although the one thing to suffer is my sleep pattern. I go to bed at the same time and spend most of the night tossing and turning. I have tried all the usual tricks, reading, knitting, warm milk, deep breathing, nytol, nothing works.

One good thing about the isolation is that I have managed to get on and properly tidy and sort the rooms I’ve been procrastinating about for months. Normally I would start sorting, then think of a reason to leave the house and not finish it. Now of course, I haven’t been able to leave the house so it is finally done. I have also sorted out the old craft/junk shed and it has been sorted and filled with boxes ready for when the charity shops open . I donated two large bags of fabric to my local scrub hub which made me feel like I was helping the cause, as there was enough fabric for hundreds of scrub caps and a few scrub sets. if I wasn’t up to sewing them at least I could provide the materials.

Craft wise I am still knitting the Afternoon tea blanket which is coming along nicely. Five strips have been knitted and sewn together and am midway on the sixth. I have also been sewing, mainly masks for the family and extended family. When my daughter asked me for masks I obviously said yes and just got on and did it, I didn’t dislike it but it wasn’t a joyful process. When I chose a different style- the full faced masks- I found the process of sewing the masks very therapeutic and want to sew some more. I am lucky as I did not need to buy anything to sew any of the masks, everything came from stash, well apart from one fat quarter of Star Wars fabric my grandson requested for his masks. One WIP I did manage to sew was The Raglan Dress by The Avid Seamstress. I absolutely love this dress. The fabric makes me smile and the pattern is a dream to sew. The instructions are clear and raglan sleeves are for me the easiest to sew. There will be many more of these in my wardrobe. I think I may need to do a post on this at a later date.

Talking of WIPs, I am the worst for having a day where I will cut out a few projects ready to sew at a later date. Some of these projects have been untouched for a few years so I decided to be ruthless and have decided to bag up those that didn’t inspire me any more and donate as a kit – fabric, pattern, pins- to the charity shops when they reopen . This actually made me relieved, as if a pressure had been lifted as now I only have two projects cut out ready to sew.

I really need to start a simple knit project, something I can pick up and knit mindlessly when I need some mindless knitting. Just to be contrary and play devils advocate, I also want to knit something intricate and lacy. when sorting out I discovered the Year of Lace 2009 patterns, only one of which I got around to knitting . Now if I can just find the yarn these came with …….

Afternoon Tea Blanket

I cast on this blanket back on 2010. It never really grabbed me, I think it bored me to be honest. Now with being in self isolation and working remotely from home, it is the perfect project to pick up between calls. So far I have completed 25/81 squares. The blanket is worked using four colours and the cream is used in most squares.

I am knitting this the Debbie Abrahams way, knitting a square, casting off and then picking up stitches from the cast off square to knit the next one until the strip is completed. To save sewing in too many ends I have found a way to ease this. This works on most strips but in particular the even number strips.

Strip four use the pink and a full ball of the cream for the first square, then cast off in pink but leave the cream attached and pick up stitches for square 2 using the same cream. Once this square is cast off pick up stitches for the third square and carry on using the cream. If you wish to you can thread beads for the fourth square at the start and push them to to middle of the ball and continue until end of square 5 using the same cream ball. I didn’t do this, however I used the cream yarn from square 6 of strip four to complete the strip.

When knitting the 19a and 19B squares I left the cream attached after the first one and when it came to the next cream row and the yarn was at the other end I just slipped all the stitches across until I was at the cream end and purled the row.

This means less weaving in and using less yarn. I hope this helps, Stay Safe everyone

Week 1 – COVID-19

Well I have been in self isolation for just over a week and all the days are starting to merge into one. I am in self isolation as my husband has Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia. Ironically his role is classed as a key worker and the government website is a little confusing as to what he should do.We contacted the brilliant CLLSA who has verified, he needs to self isolate.

We have another 5 days before we can be sure neither of us have the virus. I am not going to lie, my opinion of some people has changed since this happened. I will openly admit that I am now judging people on how they acted when we were warned about COVID-19 and when we went into lockdown.

I really dislike being indoors 24/7, I am lucky. I have a garden I can venture into and I can work from home at the moment, I have food in my cupboard and a roof over my head. I am lucky. However, I am missing seeing my family, especially the grandchildren and Miss Evlayns hugs.

One silver lining of this self isolation is that I am finally properly going through the boxes and bags in the craft room. This time I am being more ruthless, none of this -oh I could use this one day- when I don’t particularly like it. No more keeping items of clothing that need completely unpicking and sewing as if they were a new garment to make them fit. No more keeping scraps and old rolls of ribbon that I am never likely to use.

That’s just the sewing stuff, let’s not mention the stationery. How many pens and notebooks does one need?

Prior to this I was selling some of my no longer used books and unloved yarns on ebay. As I am in self isolation I have ended the listings.

Now I have put the items no longer bringing me joy into 3 piles.Normally I don’t separate the items I am giving to charity but this time I have. Clothing is in a bag for one of the clothing charity bins or a charity shop. Small crafty bits are going into old Glossybox boxes. Once filled these can be given to local craft groups or even to a foodbank so children can make use of them. If I give it to a food bank or similar type charity I will add glue and cards so they will be like small craft kits. The final pile is a general mishmash of various items for the charity shops. This is proving quite therapeutic so hopefully I can continue with the rest of the house.

Take care everyone and remember #sixfeetapartorsixfeetunder Stay Safe

Year of blankets continues

As I’ve previously mentioned, I had sworn off Debbie ABRAHAMS mystery blankets as I have far too many in progress or not even started. Last year I relented and signed up to her mystery baby blanket club. My reasoning was that I could knit one and have it ready for when some one close to me has a baby and I could use my stash and the patterns to knit another.

Debbie Abrahams Mystery Baby Blanket 2019

This was lovely to knit, using the gorgeous Rowan Baby Cashsoft. When knitting it again I will omit the bobbles and the Swiss darning on the blocks. The border is my favourite of all the borders I have knit . It has inspired me and in my head I am designing a pram blanket. Watch this space. #staysafe

2020 The Year of Blankets & Shawls

This is the year I am aiming to complete some of my mystery blanket kits from Debbie Abrahams. I purchased them every year since she started her mystery blankets until 2018, when I thought that I had too many untouched to justify another.. I have knitted some but have too many languishing in airtight containers. In February I finally finished MB 2016 A French Romance. there was real sense of satisfaction when it was finished.

I am currently on the final stretch of the first Mystery Baby Blanket Club from Debbie. I decided to go for this one as it’s nice to have a baby blanket in store for any babies arriving and I can knit another using stash yarn. I am still working on destashing and am avoiding temptation as much as possible. I am also working through my shawl patterns and using stash to knit them up. Shawls have become my go to as they can double up as a scarf and a shawl. Currently on the needles is Learning to Cry from @curioushandmade in the gorgeous Jelly KSH and Wool Cotton

2019 Whats been occurring?

I did achieve a lot last year and am pleased with how much the stash has decreased and how many projects I managed to complete.

Looking back I am pleasantly surprised at how much I achieved. I managed to knit 90% of my Mystery Blanket 2016, 8 shawls, 2 cowls, 1 poncho, 7 hats, I pair of fingerless mitten, I boys sweater , I baby cardigan and kept on track with mystery baby blanket. They can be view here https://www.ravelry.com/projects/flickchickknits?set=2019n&view=thumbnail

Blinded by The Light

I love going to the cinema, I go at least once a week and see a variety of films, some of which I probably wouldn’t see if I didn’t have my Everyman membership. Blinded by the Light is not one of those films. As soon as I saw the trailer for the firs time I knew I was going to see this film. It looked funny and interesting. Friday I went to see Blinded by the light and I wasn’t disappointed, I really enjoyed it. The film blurb states “Set in 1987, during the austere days of Thatcher’s Britain, ‘Blinded By The Light’ is a joyous, coming-of-age story about a teenager who learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the words and music of Bruce Springsteen. ‘Blinded By The Light’ is inspired by British journalist Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir “Greetings From Bury Park.”

It was a joyous film, what the blurb doesn’t state is that it also show a true snapshot of the racism and the rise of the National Front in the eighties, the miners strike and unemployment. There were moments I had tears running down my face, which I hadn’t expected. One of the reasons for the tears was that my Uncle who passed some time ago was a huge Springsteen fan who would have loved this film, the second reason was for the memories it brought back. I am mixed race my mother was Burmese and my father English. Although I don’t look Asian, at secondary school, I was bullied and called a Paki. In the eighties in the suburbs, there was only one Asian person in my school so the ignorant people I went to school with picked on me. The worst was being locked in the woodwork cupboard and having to find alternate routes home, so I wasn’t jumped. There was one incident where graffitti was sprayed on my home which my father tried to shield me from. Despite this I grew up to be a well adjusted compassionate person. This is probably one of the reasons I HATE inequality and injustice and I am sucker for the underdog. Luckily this stopped when I left school apart from one incident.

I urge everyone to see this film wether you are a Springsteen fan or not you will enjoy it, and you get an insight into the music of the Boss. Support British Independent Films.

Now for the crafting part! My current cinema knitting is the Epic Scarf by Jo Storie. I am knitting it in Rowan Alpaca Colour from Stash, the colour isn’t really doing it for me but the yarn is gorgeous to knit with, if a little hairy.

Epic Shawl