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
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.
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 …….
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
I started a Dust of Snow last year, a lovely wrap designed by Helen Stewart of Curiously Handmade. In the last post I mentioned my dust of snow wrap and how I managed to use a lot of stash. What I didn’t mention was that when knitting the first half of this, I lost my knitting mojo. The wrap uses two yarns knitted together changing colour every few rows. I started with the pastels and Kidsilk Haze Night in a white with silver, When the white ran out I continued with the pastels and a pale green Kidsilk Haze. I wasn’t sure if losing my knitting mojo was the pattern, or just me, so I put this to one side and started a few other projects.
Around the same time I found some mini Knitting Goddess sock yarn skeins, I’d already wound into balls. These were mini balls of multi coloured lusciousness. I love colour and these inspired me, invigorated me. When the pattern called for a new colour instead of using the original 4 colours I started using the mini skeins. After the pale green KSH ran out I used another ball of Kidsilk Haze night in a deep grey blue with Silver. Now the wrap was flying off the needles. It was enjoyable to knit again and I wanted to keep going. Whilst knitting I would stop and look at the myriad of colours worked so far and feel so happy.
For the last section I am currently using Kidsilk Haze in lime green. I am loving how the different colours of Kidsilk haze creates a different effect giving the wrap an amazing riot of colour. Whilst enjoying this knit and observing the colours, it occurred to me this week that the reason I lost my knitting mojo was my colour choice. I love colour, strong, vibrant, jewel toned colours. I’ve never met a colour I didn’t like, although I am not a fan of pastel colours. As soon as I started knitting with the vibrancy of the sock yarn my mojo returned. This is a lesson learnt, when knitting for myself stick to the bright colours.
Today I am in the strange position of not having anything on the needles. The cove cardigan pictured below is finally finished,its more of a coat than a cardigan and I have 3 or 4 blankets to finish, but there are no squares on the needles so it is just weird. I really want to start a new project, but, as usual there aren’t any patterns in my vast library that jump out and say knit me. Well that’s not strictly true. I have grabbed a few balls from the stash I want to use these and it is for these yarns I can’t find the “knit me” pattern. I don’t want to knit a pattern I have knitted previously, I want to knit a new one. I keep going back to a new one I would need to buy, but why, why, why does this always happen when you have shelves full of patterns ?
I am currently knitting two projects (not including those in the UFO pile), my Cove Cardigan, which has been on the needles far too long and a Slip stitch scarf. They are very different project with yarns of completely different weights and fibres. I knitted both this evening and whilst I enjoyed both, a realisation came to me. A light bulb moment if you like. I knit them in a different way. The cove Cardigan, I enjoy the first few rows and then whilst I still enjoy knitting it , it is more about getting finished and becomes a bit of a chore. The slip stitch scarf is a a soothing pattern to knit, I’m not sure if it’s the simpleness of the pattern or the yarn- Manos De Uruguay Nanu- or the thin needles. The slip stitch scarf is so relaxing and enjoyable to knit, I am definitely knitting this one for pleasure . My only concern is how long the yarn will last.
It’s funny how different projects give you different experiences, both have wonderful yarns. For the Cove cardigan I am using the sadly discontinued Rowan British Sheep Breeds Chunky in a gorgeous undyed Shetland colour. The slip stitch scarf is knitted in a silk, merino bamboo blend. It is deliciously soft and smooth. I am using a mid grey and deep blue. This pattern could be the one to use up all those skeins of sock yarn.
I thought I would take part in this years Ravellenics. For those of you not in the know, Ravellenics is a knitting competition on the fabulous Ravelry. timed to tie in with the Olympic games. We cast on during the opening ceremony and finish before the end of the closing one. There are numerous events for us to take part in and laurels to be won. These include WIP Wrestling, Scarf Hockey and Bag Backstroke, full list below with how many competing in each category. For each event we wish to enter we set up a project page with tags for the relevant event. I am in Team Tea Yarn 2016
In my moment of madness I have entered 5 projects for events. I have entered 2 in the mitten medley, 1 in WIP wrestling , 1 in Sock Put and 1 in Scarf Hockey. What was I thinking? I was thinking, that this is the incentive I need to get more of my stash knitted up. Four of the projects are from stash , so this is a bit of a result. Most of the projects were cast on last night and I have made great progress on Breamish for my grandson.
The other projects I plan on knitting are Zauberlehring a nice easy scarf to do whenever I have time but can’t concentrate on something more difficult, Daughter of Eve fingerless mitts and Back hand Hitch fingerless mittens for Harry or Evalyn as I can’t decide on which yarn to use. The final project I entered was this years Mystery Blanket from Debbie Abrahams. I am behind with my squares so I have set myself the target to finish the ones up to August as well. I made my self a chart so I can track how much I have do and how much I have done.
I am really looking forward to all this knitting , once it’s all done I can get back to some sewing.
I have come to a decision. It’s the same decision I arrive at every few years. Next year I am only giving presents I have made. I have a few ideas, for the young ones in my new Sew magazines is a pattern for a snakes and ladder mat. This should use a fair bit of fabric.
There is a new baby on the way and I am determined to make everything from my stash fabric. If its a girl it will be easy, not so much if it’s a boy. I am itching to get some sewing done but am not up to it . A fairly new trend in craft magazines is that the patterns to make the projects shown have to be downloaded from a website. They are still free but I find it annoying. If I pay for a magazine of patterns I do not expect to have to print them out myself. Ironically this is the last issue of my Sew subscription. I decided not to renew as there wasn’t much in the previous issues. This issue however had at least three projects I will be making and in next month’s issue there looks like a couple of projects I will make. Signing off to see if I can download the patterns.