Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

Progress report!

Wow, it’s been a crazy week. But the good news is that the pesky cricket jumper is very nearly finished and I might even get to wear it this weekend (it’s Steven’s birthday although we don’t have plans yet)

Of course, there are plenty of other projects still ongoing.

First and foremost, the African Flower Blanket…

What more can I say? I mentioned before that it’s far from finished but I’m using it anyway (see previous post – Simply Crochet magazine review)

AFB6x7

It’s currently big enough to cover feet to waist and almost wide enough for two

However…

AFB6x7(1)

Still not big enough to be really snuggly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFB6x7(2)

Having said that, it’s doing a good job so far and, with the weather warming, it keeps slipping down the priority list.

Top priority on the crochet list is a bit of a beast.

I’ve been working on the lace cardi from Inside Crochet that Steven bought me the yarn for.

It’s been more than a little problematic but I’m making good progress now.

LaceCardiRow19

 

I can only manage about five rows an hour because I’m working on so many stitches. In fact, it’s almost as long as the AFB!

LaceCardiRow19whole

 

My main concern is the button band. It’s either my technique or the technique in general but the beginnings of my treble rows  always end up a bit… gappy I guess is a good word

 

LaceCardiRow19buttonholes

But I can live with it. I think the finished cardi will be really lovely.

I’ve also got loads of projects lined up, awaiting tension swatches.
GSJumper


LaceScarfSRAranJumper(2)

 

I was given some money for ‘easter’ so was able to buy some lovely yarn but I’m also using up some bits that were in my stash so happiness all ways round.

I was planning on starting the stripy jumper after I finished the Cricket Jumper but I think I’ll spend some time working on this cardi first (it’s sitting in my lap as we speak… or as I type I guess)

I better get back to it

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The infamous crochet hook case and other crafting disasters

Do you ever have one of those weeks where nothing you attempt seems to go right?

Well mine’s been much longer than a week!

I’m lucky in a way that there’s always so much I want to make. If something goes wrong or gets dull, I can put it aside and work on something else.

It only works for so long though, because said WIP starts looking at me and calling to me and eventually screaming FINISH ME!

The yarn for my crochet cardigan is doing it now…

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself coming to the end of my latest big projects (I’ll try and remember to post about those later) and, it being spring and all, decided to have a tidy up of my unfinished projects as well as working on some smaller stash-busting projects.

Mostly this was a tactic to avoid buying yarn since I’m running a little cash-poor.

So, the list went something like:

  • finish the damn crochet hook case
  • start the front of the cricket jumper
  • start the crochet cardigan
  • try my hand at beaded crochet by making some lovely bracelets
  • do tension swatches for a knitted kimono shrug
  • think about finishing the African Flower Blanket

It may seem like a lot but with Steven away from two weeks, I didn’t want to risk finding myself at a loose end (so to speak)

Obviously the news of my Grandad’s death threw me as well so I was looking forward to being busy.

The cricket jumper and the AFB were pretty low on the list, since they’re both rather repetitive.

Top of the list was the crochet hook case. I’ve been ‘designing’ this for months and struggling with how to finish it off.

I thought I had it sorted but no such luck.

I did what I could but had to leave the glue to set so moved on to something else.

I decided on tension swatches for a lovely kimono shrug pattern (from the One Ball Knits book that Steven gave me for my birthday)

Beaten again! The stocking stitch swatches were fine but trying out the stitch pattern was a disaster.

It’s badly written and isn’t physically possible (I actually have to wonder if the authors are knitters!)

The attempts I did make looked nothing like the pictures and, to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t (and still can’t) be bothered to work it out.

So, it was on to yet another project.

I thought I’d try the cricket jumper since it was likely to be easy but when I though about it, I realised I’d started it before I lost loads of weight so I’, actually working on a size too big.

To top it off, the notebook I’d used to keep track of row counts and shaping etc had been ‘lost’ in the move.

Once again, I moved on to another project but the jumper was still on my mind.

So when the tension swatches for the crochet cardigan got the better of me, I went back for another look and sorted the problems.

Not the happiest of craft days but I actually really enjoyed an evening of knitting my cricket jumper and now I’m steaming ahead.

More tomorrow

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Singing the praises of Wools Worldwide

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but, with the move and everything, I keep forgetting.

So, you all know about my recent yarn issues.

But I never told you about the resolution to the problems.

I managed to find a website that had more than one ball of the elusive blue and put in an order on a Tuesday night.

On the Wednesday morning, I had a call to say that they only had two balls of the yarn and asking how I wanted to proceed.

The lady was really lovely and very helpful and we decided on keeping the order at two balls of blue and three of brown and getting a refund on the other.

The refund was put straight through and the lady said the order would be posted that day.

On the Thursday, I had an undelivered parcel which I picked up on the Friday.

Imagine my surprise, expecting it to be a wheel for Steven’s car, to discover it was my yarn!!

I was quite wary about ordering from a company that I hadn’t even heard of but I most heartily recommend them. And I think they do international delivery too

You should definitely check them out – www.woolsworldwide.co.uk

Also, check out these ball bands, it’s no wonder I struggled to find it!

 

This is the band for the blue, even on it’s own it looks a bit dated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compare it to the others and you can see the issue.

Still, it’s been an adventure (now all I need to do is finish the blanket!)

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African Flower Blanket – update

Well, it has to be said that progress on the AFB is not going well!

After all the upset over the yarn and losing my momentum during the move, it mostly just sits and looks at me as if to say ‘why Vix?’

It’s doing it now…

It doesn’t help that I can’t see an end-point. Before, it was simply a case of crocheting so many motifs and sewing them together.

But the blanket still isn’t big enough so it’s now a case of crocheting so many and checking to see if it’s big enough, if it’s not, crochet some more.

It seems never-ending right now

Here are some recent pics:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s looking good but, as you can see, the size is still a bit lacking.

Since taking these, I’ve sewn up the sixth row and started work on the seventh but, judging by the pictures and the blanket itself, six by eight motifs isn’t going to be quite big enough either.

Now, the blanket isn’t intended to go on the bed but to be kept in the living room for snuggling under but it still needs to be a decent size so nobody gets chilly.

Steven thinks it might even need to be eight by ten!

What do you think?

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How do you stash yours?

So, among all the crazy sorting and packing and unpacking, came some distinctly calm and relaxed yarn stash sorting.

I was quite excited for this particular part of moving home and had loads of storage spaces designated for yarn and notions and books and finished pieces and all the other… accoutrements required for a life of crafting.

Obviously, before a stash can be put away nicely, it needs to be gotten out and sorted. Mum and I had some great fun with this one crazy Sunday while poor Steven had to work

As well as my own stash, I had recently acquired two other stashes when friends of ours cleared out the homes of elderly relatives and immediately thought of me (don’t you love it when that happens?!)

So, how best to sort my stash? Tip it all out on the floor obviously!

 

That’s my DK stash…

And that’s the rest, there’s some 4-ply, some aran, some chunky and some super chunky

It looks like a lot but I’m assured that it’s a fairly modest stash (or at least, I tell myself that based on what other people have blogged)

I thought I was pretty good at keeping track of my stash but I did come across several balls that I’d forgotten about (including a ball of the brown aran that I’m using for my AFB – after I’d ordered three more balls)

I nicely sorted these by weight and packed them neatly away… and then remembered the ‘new yarn’ that needed to be sorted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These goodies came from a friend of my mum’s – a few nice balls of yarn and assorted needles. I have no idea what I will do with any of it but yarn is yarn and, better yet, free!

 

This massive pile came from a workmate of Steven’s and contains loads of different yarns as well as lots of balls of the same (if you see what I mean)

There’s even a full packet of ten balls of Sirdar Snuggly Chunky, which I think might have been discontinued.

Again, little-to-no idea what to do with it but free yarn is free yarn

Add to all this, all my ‘project yarn’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This consists of the projects that I’m actively working on (currently only two!), projects that I’ve started but put aside for whatever reason, and projects that have yet to be started.

Again, everything was sorted and neatly put away to be shifted to and re-stashed in the new flat

I eventually got around to this a few days ago

Here are the results!

The projects all fitted nicely into four cubes although I shifted things about a bit so they actually fit into three and I’ve got one free for other important items (like my Kindle!)

It also leaves my project bag free…

 

…to use on the actual beach

The main stash also fits beautifully into four cubes with one free for assorted accessories

The cubes all fit away into large storage units (the Expedit series from Ikea – love it!) so it’s all neatly away but really easily accessible

So, how big is your stash? And how and where do you keep it?

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Apologies, stress and planned posts!

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted! I’m so so sorry

The main reason for my absence is my big news which I was trying not to break until we were sure…

Ready?

Steven and I have found a beautiful flat and will be moving out together in less than a week!!

Okay, so it’s not the most exciting piece of news but it brings me one step closer to my dream and I couldn’t be happier.

Or more stressed. There is SO much packing to be done, I literally cannot think about it all or my head starts to hurt and I need a lie down (or I whimper a little and go out for coffee)

It also means I’ve been working furiously, when not packing, to finish our African Flower Blanket (AFB) ready for moving day.

It has been vaguely disastrous and I’m so upset. Firstly, the blanket was supposed to be made up of six rows of four motifs.

Fine, but it was looking a little small. No problem, we’ll just do more rows, sorted.

Then I ran out of brown. Again, no major problem, trip to Woodbridge, buy more brown.

Then I ran out of blue (while crocheting the sixth motif of the fourth row)… Big problem! Now that I’m not working, I can’t afford to just pop out to Woodbridge whenever I fancy so I had to wait, and wait, and wait.

When I finally got a trip out last week, I couldn’t get the yarn I needed from the shop that I usually buy from.

Worse, the lady checked the colour chart and my particular blue was nowhere to be seen!

That shop is the only one in the area that I know sells Sirdar Supersoft Aran (my yarn of choice) but I looked around anyway and was constantly disappointed.

Amongst all this upset, I finished the baby blanket for Clare!

Great news, except that now I also needed the yarn to make the hat and cardi set for her little girl.

It’s supposed to be made from Sirdar Snuggly 4ply, which I love but the colours aren’t great. I want something quite dark and rich so that the pattern will stand out.

Unfortunately, my favourite yarn shop in Woodbridge only stocks ‘baby’ 4ply yarns so no luck there.

Which left me project-less! In my highly stressed state, you can imagine what this meant for my nearest and dearest…

So, I’ve been filling in with some xmas crafting until things settle down again.

I went to Ipswich today (not a random trip, my Nanna needed some things and I’m still shopping for the flat), my main task was to scour the shops for my Aran.

Still no luck, a couple of shops carry it but not the colour I need.

Worse, I’d been looking for the ball band so I know what colour to look for and it was lost amongst the massive yarn stash pile (the result of several small piles being, well, piled up)

Again, a very nice lady in one of the shops checked the current colour chart as well as an old colour chart and, again, no blue for Vix

When I eventually got home, I tore apart the various piles, looking for the missing ball band.

At last, success! But my hopes were dashed again when we did a quick eBay search and found nothing in that colour (shade 892, Peeka Blue by the way)

But I’m nothing if not stubborn so, when we got back to Steven’s (there’s no room for us at mine anymore – too many boxes), I scoured the internet looking for the elusive yarn.

I found mention of it on the big sites but all said ‘unavailable’. Some of the smaller sites had a single ball left, which is hardly worth the effort or the postage costs but one (previously unknown) site claims to have plenty.

So, I have ordered THREE balls of the elusive Peeka Blue as well as two more balls of the brown (also discontinued but easier to get) from… Wools Worldwide

While hunting for the ball band, I’d told Steven about the colour chart issues and wondered how long the lady in the first shop had had the yarn before I came along.

Looking at the ball bands, it’s obviously much older than the others, so there’s my answer!

So, let that be a warning to me… and you

I fear more apologies are required after that epic story but I hope it made you laugh or feel better about your own crafting disasters or inspired some emotion.

Now for the fun part – catching up with friends!

Obviously, there will be a series of ‘new flat’ posts to come but I’ll probably do before and after when it’s all cosy

I’ll also be posting pics of the baby blanket, as well as updates on xmas projects and the hat and cardi (if I ever find the right yarn) and all the usual stuff along the way.

And, of course, there will be updates on the elusive blue yarn and the AFB (cross your fingers for me!)

So, keep an eye out for more posts in the coming days and please, please forgive my absence?

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The journey will be almost ends-less!

So, after the painful few hours I spent weaving in those 52 ends (see previous post – Look Mum, no ends!) I decided to try a different technique.

First here’s a pic of the first six all sewn together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to admit that I often hurry my ends; it’s a job that I hate so I do it as quickly as possible

However, because I want this blanket to be both robust and reversible, I wanted to make sure that the ends were really well done so they didn’t ruin the look or the usability of the blanket.

So, I’ve actually been doing it properly! Weaving in a few inches one way and then coming back the other way which should ensure the ends stay put.

However, it also means nearly twice the time and effort.

I’d read about a technique in knitting where you can weave the ends in as you go (probably in The Knitting and Crochet Biblereview) so I thought I’d try it with my crochet

The colour changes make things interesting but once you get used to it, it works quite nicely.

And it’s pretty much as simple as crocheting over the ends as you work along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, obviously, this is how it would normally look, crocheting into a chain space (ch sp)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But to weave in the ends as you go, you need to catch the end and work over the top of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the end moves around as your work does

If you’re careful, you can even work both ends in on one row but try not to do them together as this will make the work thicker so it might look uneven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lay the end around the work so it doesn’t pull too tight or hang too loose when you get to the start of the row

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then work it as before, catching the end under the stitches as you work them

Obviously, the start and end can’t be woven in in the same way (although if you’re working with a chain ring and not a magic circle it might work) and you need to weave the other ends back slightly but it’s much quicker.

Unfortunately, with a colour change almost every row, it takes a bit more concentration to actually crochet the motif so that takes a little bit longer.

But it’s so worth it!

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Look Mum, no ends!

I finally got around to weaving in the ends of my finished blanket motifs! Which means I can finally crochet up some more…

I think I’ll weave in the ends as I go this time though, 53 in a single sitting was hard going!

Hmmm, which is the front and which is the back?

I’m pretty sure that’s the back. Looks good though, don’t you think?

I’m also thinking that sewing them together row by row instead of all together at the end will be a good idea so look out for more pics soon

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Project updates

Steven and I are off on holiday tomorrow, just a few days in Bath but I’m so excited!

Before we go, I thought I’d post a quick progress update.

Blocking my shawl seems to be going well. I keep forgetting to take pictures though so I’ll post more info on that later.

My Cricket Jumper is growing a little quicker than normal. I’ve finally finished the armhole shaping on the back (it was not fun) but still have a way to go yet.

I’ve also started work on a lovely crochet blanket for Steven and I (I think I mentioned it before…?)

It will involve a lot of repetition and weaving in of ends but each motif only takes about an hour so it should work up pretty quickly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pattern is the African Flower Blanket from the July/August 2012 issue of Crochet Today magazine and I’m using up some leftover yarn but had to buy a couple of balls as well.

I was a bit worried that the brown was too dark but I think the cream evens it out and the overall border will also help to lighten it up.

I’m hoping to get quite a few motifs done while we’re away. So far, I’ve completed three (barring the ends) and done two more middles (just the yellow)

I might need a ‘travel project’ though because of all the colour changes involved so I’m also taking my leftover shawl yarn to try and make some gloves/mittens to go with it (either more Misty Morning Mitts or my own design to match the shawl motif)

Oh, and I finished another lacy collar!

This one was knitted on 4mm needles instead of the recommended 3.75 (I think) but I still had to add another scallop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m really chuffed with this one too! It didn’t block quite as flat as the first one but I quite like the slight ruffle on the edge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I joined the extra scallop in a different way than the first one – instead of knitting it all and sewing it on, I knitted the two together by picking up a loop on the edge of the original collar and knitting it with the first/last stitch of the extra scallop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think it’s worked well but, to be honest, sewing it on afterwards is probably easier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve also bought the yarn to make my friend Clare a baby blanket and found the perfect pattern for a hat and cardi for her daughter who is currently 18months (it’s the same friend and daughter that I knitted the Bridesmaid’s Boleros for)

So the project list isn’t diminishing even though I’m making good progress

As well as all this, it’s my birthday next week and I’ve asked for lots of crafty goodies so I’m going to be a very busy, very happy girl!

Lastly, apologies for the lack of Travel Zingy updates, we’re all very tired but he comes everywhere with me and I expect lots of pictures to be taken this week so I might need to have a full week dedicated to ‘The Adventures of Travel Zingy’

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