2016 The Year of the Clubs

For me this year seems to be the year of clubs and knit a longs -KAL. I signed up to a mystery mitten KAL but never got around to starting it. I signed up to Fiddlesticks mystery shawl which I am not sure if I will be actually knitting but we are only on clue one. As usual I am knitting Debbie Abrahams Mystery Blanket, not that I need anything to sell it to me but it was the lace knitting that sold it. I am on track so far but it’s only been one month. I love this years colours and theme so far.

Late last year I discover Erin Lane Bags, they are doing a Year of Winter ending in Christmas club. Alternate months you get a kit and a project bag based around the Narnia characters. I am knitting the Peter hat already and have to say the yarn included with it (Holiday yarn) is gorgeous to knit with. The project bag is very good quality and I would buy one from them.  It is a nice easy design and I will be using this as my travel and hospital project.Peters hat

 

The Kindred Spirit Shawl is still in progress but as it is such a pleasant easy knit, this is my mindless knitting so is being picked up between projects.

Not So Happy New Year

It is February, and I have to say I am very happy to see the back of January. I spent most of January sick with a recurring chest infection. I am still on antibiotics and a little breathless but I am on the mend. I wasn’t the only family member sick and it was touch and go at one point. More on this at a later date.

The de-stashing has been going very well despite this. It was a case of sitting on the floor with a pile of books and magazines for half hour periods , ruthlessly putting them in a charity bag or a few back on the shelf. I managed to donate over 6 large bin bags full of knitting, sewing, quilting books and magazines. These were donated to our local Community Learning Partnership who help people learn new crafts amongst other things. I also donated some fabric, yarn, sewing patterns with fabric that I had cut out to make for Evalyn that would be too small for her now.  It still doesn’t feel enough as there doesn’t seem much room on the shelves but it’s a start.

Stash busting 2016

I have been very busy crafting this year. I have been off work because of a chest infection which means that I have had time to finish some items. Harry’s pirate sweater has been finished. The shawl I have made for my daughters wedding has been blocked and I have knitted a couple of rows for the vibrant sweater. I do enjoy knitting the vibrant sweater however, as soon as I start making mistakes I stop and come back to when my mind is clearer.

This year I still plan on only knitting and sewing from stash, but this has got me thinking. I always try and stash bust only knitting  and sewing from stash, but what about new books and patterns? Should I also only knit and sew from these? It has me in a bit of a dilemma. You know how it can be , you want to use a particular yarn but you can’t find a pattern to match in your personal library. You log in to Ravelry and find the perfect pattern for it, if you’re lucky it’s a download , if not you purchase the book.  What should one do? I know there are people who say don’t worry about it , but with three ful to the brim tall, wide bookcases surely I must have a pattern to use .

Today’s fall from the pattern stash busting was for Tilli Tomas Symphony Lace. I have the American Beauty colour way, a gorgeous red with matching beads. It is a lace weight yarn and really needs something simple to do it justice. This is one yarn whose beauty would detract if there was an intricate pattern. I had a wrap/scarf pattern I would use but it didn’t jump out at me to say knit me. I found the perfect pattern in Kindred Spirits by Boo Knits. This a simple but elegant patten which will do the yarn justice. I can’t wait to start it.

So that was yet another pattern bought because I didn’t find inspiration amongst the thousands of patterns I own. Then I discovered two balls of Aran yarn which I thought would make a great top for one of the grandchildren. Once again I couldn’t, find a pattern for this. I did find a really nice one buy on Ravelry but on this occasion I am going to hold off buying it until I have knitted another item for them from stash both yarn and pattern. If I can’t find a pattern for it in my library I am going to donate it to a good cause. I am still undecided as to whether I should be buying anymore patterns but I feel that if I buy a new pattern book I need to destash an old one. I need to be more ruthless with my books. There is no point in having a book where you know you will not be knitting any projects from it and even looking through takes less than a minute. I love physical books but If I feel I have too many it’s time to donate them to a good cause. Most will go to the charity shops or craft groups and some will go to people I meet who are new to the craft to inspire them.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR

It has been a very busy 6 months and with only having one day off I haven’t managed to do as much I wanted to.

This year I am setting up a reminder in my phone calendar to remind me to write a post once a month. If I manage it more than once great, if not then at least I will have done the one.

Harry still loves his yarn and when we went to John Lewis a few months back he rushed to the yarn section and chose some wool , Rowan don’t you know, for his hat for me to knit. I used the left overs with extras I had  to make a stripey scarf to match his hat.

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This is one of my favourite pictures of him.

Evalyn on the other hand loves sitting with me on the sewing machine and watching me sew her taggies. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of her and myself sewing yet.

Anyway, for 2016 I plan on continuing to make my stash smaller. Be ruthless with the clutter , donate lots and lots to the charity shops and do more things for me.

Working on a PHD or two

In this case my PHD stands for Projects Half Done! I still have a number of sewing projects to be done but I am working slowly but surely on the vibrant sweater by Marie Wallin’s from an issue of Vogue Knitting. I only have the body to knit and am aiming to knit a minimum of two rounds per week. Cosy by Kim Hargeaves is going well and I only have the front to knit. This years Mystery Blanket by Debbie Abrahams has made progress but I started to get a little bored so I have shelved this for the moment and have decided not to knit next years even though I know I will regret it at some point. Although I still have a number of projects on the go I have decided to cast on a pair of socks so that I can knit them at work. That has to be mindless knitting.
The gorgeous Liberty Alice In Wonderland fabric has been made in to a summer dress/tunic ( well some of it ), unfortunately the to do list from my previous list is unchanged. I also have to sew some bunting for my cousins gorgeous son Jacob Oliver . I also need to sew some for my adorable grandaughter,
The craft culling is going well although I am getting into my card making again so I need to be careful I don’t splash out on card stuff. I really need a good day so I can pull out everything from the workshop and sort out my notions.
When my grandson was born I made him some taggies which he never used. They just never appealed to him, his younger sister on the other hand cannot sleep with out one. She only likes one of them, it is in a Rowan fabric nd it is the fabric that she likes. Luckily I still had some of the fabric so for her birthday I made another 5. One for each grandparents house and car and a spare phew

#minifistpump

i couldn’t think of a title so minidisc pump seemed appropriate as I am doing well with my de stashing . I ahem de stashed two black refuse sacks to charity stores ,sold enough yarn to pay for my new glasses and swapped loads of my sock yarn for a hand crocheted blanket. I am determined to only knit from stash this year. It has had a couple of aargh moment like finding the yarn for the Outlander MKAL. I had a couple of skeins that were had enough yarn but had 200m more than I needed and I just couldn’t bring myself to use them in case I found a shawl with thAt amount of metres. I have almost finished Harry’s sweater, finally started another mystery blanket square and am working on a shawl. There are a large number of empty yarn boxes which is great but there is still a lot more to be got rid of and I haven’t started on the fabric yet.

On another note I have been a little extravagant. I decided a while back the only way I am going to get back on track with this years mystery blanket is to take it away with me on holiday. For this reason alone I purchased one of Liberty gorgeous mini suitcase. This will be used for my holiday knitting only, after all it is the most important Item to pack. 

 

Revisit

A friend who I hadn’t heard from in a while contacted me and had read the blog, this got me thinking that I should revisit an old post and see what was still ongoing project wise from the pre Christmas post

  • The Vibrant Sweater is back on track slowly but surely.
  • Hog warts Express shawl is finished and gifted 
  • Lille finished and gifted
  • Mystery Blanket 2014 no change
  • Evelyn’s dresses no change 
  • Advent calender started
  • Stocking for Evalyn finished
  • Tulip dress half done
  • Vintage top, no change 
  • Sew buttons on a coat done
  • Shorten sleeves on top no change
  • 2 pairs pjs no change

 hogwarts expresss  

 

SABLE

I have reached the point where I believe (according to the boxes in the shed and Ravelry) I have SABLE. For those not in the know SABLE stands for: Stash Approaching Beyond Life Expectancy. There are only so many lace weight shawls I will be knitting. I have been semi ruthless with the yarn and am going to choose certain yarns to keep and destash. All Rowan Wool Cotton, Wool Cotton 4ply , Cotton Glace and Felted Tweed will stay. Oh nearly forget the pure wool worsted is a definite keeper. All the Cashsoft and Cashcotton will go. I am undecided about the Handknit Cotton  and the Denim as I know I have a few blankets I want to knit, which is a bit of a laugh as I have only knitted one square of this year mystery blanket and still have last years to finish. I am working it out on meterage. I would rather sell off my mainstream yarns with the exception of those mentioned and keep the yarns from independent dyers and spinners. In my stash there is so much lace and 4ply yarn for shawls in the most amazing fibres that I picked up at various yarn shows including the marvellous I Knit shows and Knit Nation. I do not know why I have so much Rowan Kidsilk Haze in all it’s formations. Actually that’s a lie. I do know why I have so much I can’t resist it’s colours especially when it’s reduced. Fair enough however I am not a fan of knitting with it. Go figure. I have decided I am allowed to keep one nine litre box of KSH incase I get a change of heart. Even with the indie dyers I am looking hard at the colourways and if it’s not really my colour I am going to lose it.

I probably have SABLE for fabric too but fabric can be used quicker and this year I aim to sew lots of tops and dresses for myself. I have some gorgeous fabric, Liberty’s, Laura Ashley, Rose and Hubble, Some is vintage, some is …ahem, new. I have some fabric I don’t particularly like so will be using these to test new patterns so that if it doesn’t work out I won’t have wasted any fabric and of it does it saved me money buying more fabric for a toile. Wish me luck and watch this space

40 days of lent

A few weeks ago whilst browsing the web I saw a poster which made an impact on me, The poster said instead of giving something up for lent why not fill a bag a day for charity. I had been planning to destash from my various craft collections so I decided to  take it on board and was soon destashing for England. I am still doing this and  have a large number of bags in my kitchen ready to go to one of the various charity shops in my area, much to my daughters annoyance. I have managed to donate at least two shelves of craft books. Numerous items of clothing, shoes I haven’t worn for years and even household items. Tonight I decided to open Pandoras box AKA the unfinished projects  box. Wow there was (is) a lot. This is where I even surprised myself. I looked at each item and decided if it was something I still wanted to sew. If it wasn’t the pieces sewn and unsewn with the pattern and project bag went into the charity bag. I am ashamed to say there were some garments I had cut out for Evalyn which will not fit her now. I am undecided whether to sew these or just donate the lot to the charity shop. There aren’t any baby girls due in the family so I shall finish the others then decide. I have already reached my 40 bags, a mixture of boxes, large carrier bags and large bin bags. I shall be continuing to do this long past the 40 days and would encourage every one to try it for at least week

2015

Well it has been a good start to 2015 and I have managed to gift 3 refuse sacks of yarn to a new knitter. I still haven’t managed to do any sewing this year which I find extremely frustrating. I am re-evaluating things and have made a tough decision regarding my freelance work. I am now fully booked for workshops for the season which is great but on the personal knitting front I keep going wrong. I knitted most of the back of Cosy by Kim Hargreaves only to discover a dropped stitch which when I picked it up made a ridge in the fabric. I had to undo 20 cm of knitting. Thankfully I have now finished the back of this. Next to go wrong was Wee Cria by Ysolda, this time I read the pattern wrong, The sleeves were finished only to discover on rereading  the pattern I should have increase every fourth row not every alternate row. This is knitted top down so 20 rows of 4ply knitting was ripped back, This still isn’t back on track yet. My vibrant sweater is on hold as I keep going wrong on the row I am on. Work is going well and I am enjoying it.

Life is good now if I can just get some sewing done .