Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

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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Crochet, crochet, crochet

Speaking of magazines, I got all excited the other day thinking that the publishers of Simply Knitting had brought out a new crochet magazine called Simply Crochet!

Unfortunately, it’s just a summer special and I’ve already got a couple of the patterns from a free supplement in Simply Knitting last summer.

I still bought it of course and I’m so glad I did!

I’m already working on one project (the ‘Day at the Beach’ Lilac Shawl), plan to crochet two of the ‘Cosy Cuddle’ baby blankets and have a renewed interest in the ‘Flirty Fans’ vest top (although, personally, I think it works out quite expensive).

I’m loving the way the shawl is worked, although there are loads of ends to weave in.

It’s made up of motifs but is unusual because you join them together as you go, which means no sewing up but lots of sewing in!

Because I’m making the medium size, my shawl will be made up of 105 motifs!

Since each one only takes about 10 minutes to crochet (yes, I’ve timed myself), it shouldn’t take too long

Here’s progress so far…

50 down, 55 to go!

This is definitely a project that will benefit from proper blocking!

I was also really excited to actually use the recommended yarn for a change. It’s made from Sirdar’s Simply Recycled Aran but I’m using the darker dusk (colour 32) instead of the chamomile (which is no longer listed on the website so perhaps unavailable)

The only problem so far is that I’m going to need an extra ball… Thankfully the shop had plenty of this dye lot so I think I’ll be ok.

The blankets are gifts for a friend who has a young daughter and a bump on the way. It’s still early days so they’re not urgent yet.

Apart from all that, the Cricket Jumper is still nowhere near completion (I still haven’t finished the back!) but the weather’s a little too nice to need it

I’ve bought yarn to make a blanket for Steven and I which I’m really excited about but, again, it will mean a lot of ends to weave in

The designing is still going well. I’ve designed and made a little toy based on a TV ad but I;m not sure about copyright so I’m waiting to hear back from them before publishing

The book idea is still in the pipeline but the designing slowed a little while I searched for a solution to a problem (hopefully all sorted now!)

One big problem I’m having is that my new job leaves me too little time to craft!

I just finished my second week and I was so tired last week, I didn’t do a stitch of anything for days

But, all in all, things are good and I’m actually thinking about designing a cardi to commemorate my time there – something inspired by the environment (sea, cliffs and plenty of flora and fauna!)

We’ll see…

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Amazing discoveries and new inspiration

First off, apologies for my absence. I’ve been horribly poorly with sinus problems and a bad throat and last week was a whirlwind of meds, errands and interviews.

I actually had three last week, two on Wednesday and one on Friday. I haven’t heard back from the one I really want but I’ve been offered one of the others (the better of the two).

It puts me in a bit of a quandary but all-in-all I feel pretty good (most of the time)

It also means I’ve got lots of extra time for crafting and writing!

Progress on the cricket jumper is slow but I’m plodding along with it.

I find it very tricky to work on with Steven next to me (not enough elbow room) so I tend to leave it for when he’s not about.

It’s also quite dull as it’s a simple rib/cable pattern but I really want it so I’ll persevere!

I’m also working on several small projects to fill time when in the car or when I’m bored with cabling cream DK or when I’m a bit short on time or just when I feel like making significant progress on something.

Among these small projects are two recently completed crochet designs.

I’m trying not to say too much on the subject but I’m designing pieces for a book idea.

I’ve got loads of ideas and am doing really well designing and making them.

As well as all this, I’ve recently discovered two great books

The first is called Tasty Knits and is a compilation of some of the Twenty to Make series by Search Press.

I love novelty knits and I love food so this is a brilliant indulgence for me.

The second is The Knitting and Crochet Bible which is essentially The Knitting Bible  and The Crochet Bible bound together.

I cannot express how much I love, love, love the knitting section of this book.

Techniques (from beginner to advanced) are fully explained and now I’m itching to try out some more advanced and adventurous knitting.

I hope to post more detailed reviews later so I won’t say too much now.

I’ve also discovered a new yarn shop and heard about another that I plan to visit this week.

My mum mentioned one in Woodbridge that I didn’t know about so we popped in there during my latest hunt for yarn.

It’ s not my usual type of yarn shop as they stock the higher end, branded (and hence expensive) yarns, but it’s great to know they’re there for when I do need something a bit special.

They also stock Manos del Uruguay yarn which I’ve been looking for for ages.

My cousin mentioned the other this morning and I’m very intrigued to have a peek around.

I’m feeling really inspired and I can’t wait to get some existing projects finished so I can experiment with some new techniques and some serious designing.

And, on that note, I think I’ll sign off and get knitting!

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Custom Knits book review

The first of a series of books by Wendy Bernard (also the author of the popular Knit and Tonic blog), Custom Knits contains over twenty amazing projects as well as comprehensive instructions for designing and altering patterns.

Each project has a ‘make it your own’ box which gives suggestions and instructions for altering the garment.

Bernard gives instructions for making a body form so you can more easily check measurements and try on and adapt garments.

She also looks at six classic alterations before moving on to the ‘starting from scratch’ section.

I’ve only made one piece from the book so far (Mina’s Tuxedo Vest) but there are plenty more I’d like to try out.

I’m also finding the design instructions really helpful while I’m starting out on my own design journey.

The pattern I followed did have some anomalies but, let’s face it, this is not a book for beginners so it was still easy to follow.

I found the book as a whole quite refreshing. Top down knitting isn’t that popular here in the UK (for some unfathomable reason) so these patterns and design ideas really take away a lot of the trial and error.

The ability to knit the sleeves onto the garment and the abundance of garments knitted in the round make this book even more valuable to me.

I’d looked at a lot of design books before deciding on this one and I think I’ve made a really good choice. One of the others I looked at focused on making paper patterns (often using existing garments for reference) and knitting up the pattern but Bernard uses a more improvisational technique and some simple calculations. I find this much more appealing!

Frankly, it’s a struggle to decide whether to knit (and alter, obviously) something else from the book or try my hand at some serious designing

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this book to most intermediate/advanced knitters. There are some great patterns, invaluable tips for altering and designing and some advanced techniques to be learnt.

Wendy Bernard has also written Custom Knits 2 and Custom Knits Accessories.

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