Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

Simply Recycled Aran Jumper – review

So what did you think of my SRA jumper?
I’m still a little unconvinced but I’ve already worn it loads (the weather here has turned and turned again!)
There are aspects that I absolutely love.
The yarn, as you know, is a favourite of mine. It’s a blend of recycled cotton and acrylic and comes in some lovely colours as well as being produced in both DK and aran (ooo, I wonder if they’ll start making a chunky version…) It can be a bit ‘splitty’ though so it’s sometimes worth rewinding the balls
I think what I love most is the combination of the wavy lace pattern and garter stitch
As with many lace patterns, it looks a lot more complicated than it is and it’s easy to get into the rhythm
However, this is also one of it’s downfalls because the pattern can become repetitive and, sometimes, a little dull
My main problem is my usual one and partly my own fault
I think the jumper is too baggy and the sleeves in particular seem huge!
Because, of course, I’ve done my usual trick of imagining myself as smaller than I am. I looked at the jumper in the picture and thought ‘oh it’s so lovely and so me’ forgetting that I’m a) taller than the average bear and b) not a size 10.
You’d think I’d learn but I don’t think it would cost the designers much to indicate the size of the jumper on the model and perhaps even have a pic or two of a larger size (this is why I love Ravelry)
And, of course, for the jumper to fit my bust, it has to drown me in other areas
Perhaps my next jumper (like my very first) should be fitted…

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Lilac Shawl – almost finished!

First of, apologies for my absence, I can’t believe it’s been nearly two weeks since my last post, especially since I’ve got a lot to say right now!

I was planning lots of updates on my shawl but I’ve been too tired and busy to try to blog much lately.

So, here is the finished shawl, before blocking

 

It’s quite big so it’s difficult to photograph properly and will be tricky to block

I think I’ve found a solution but it will take about two weeks (long story short, I’m not staying at home much these days so I plan to give it a quick handwash and block it out on my bed)

Like I said before, there were a lot of ends but I persevered and I’m really glad of it.

I think it helps that I have an occasion in mind where this shawl will be the perfect accessory.

Apart from all the ends to weave in, the main problem I had is that the yarn untwists and splits quite easily so extra care needs to be taken (especially when weaving in the ends!)

As usual, I changed the pattern slightly to make it easier for me to crochet, nothing major just a magic ring instead of a chain loop and working the joins later in the round.

All in all, I’m really chuffed with this piece – it’s made from a yarn that I love, no sewing up and quick to make.

I might even considering using this pattern for a certain big event that will happen in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future, although I’m always on the lookout for something a bit more special.

So, I’ll update again when the blocking process is complete and I’ve got plenty more posts lined up so I’ll be back very soon!

 

 

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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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Union Jack Slipover – finished!!

I didn’t manage to finish for Steven’s birthday but it was only a week late so I’m happy enough.

And here he is wearing it!

And the back

And, of course, he made me try it on too

I have to say, I’m really pleased with it but I do think the pattern is a little off. The Union Jack is by no means central so I think the front looks a little off.

It was super fun to knit though! It’s the first time in ages that I’ve learnt a new knitting technique and, once you get in the swing of things, it knits up really quickly. So, although it’s essentially stocking stitch, it wasn’t at all boring to knit up.

The main problem I had was sewing in all the loose ends

I hate sewing in ends and the front was even worse! Thankfully, it’s easy to do because of the twists caused by the colour changes.

The sewing up and finishing was really easy and quick (thanks to the lack of sleeves) and I think the end result looks really good

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve used half of the yarn I bought for the project so I’ve got loads left over (maybe enough for one of my own..?)

I’m planning a post on yarn stashes at a later date but I really hate having a substantial amount left over

Anyway, I’ve also finished another pair of Misty Morning Mitts (slightly shorter and in yellow Simply Recycled) and my Mina’s Tuxedo Vest (finished post to follow), started a new knitting project (a cricket style jumper for myself that should take a few weeks) and started work on one of the crochet unicorns for my cousin

I’m also pondering a book idea so there’ll be a lot of designing going on… wish me luck

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Current and planned projects

I can’t believe how much I’ve achieved since I started this blog and since my Sew much to do… post. It’s been about three months since I started so I thought it was time for an update.

Of the four projects I mentioned, only one is finished! Another is growing slowly and the other two are still sitting in the same state as before.

In Sew much to do… I talked about designing a little bag using the new techniques I’d been learning. This, too, has been put aside in favour of a different design project (more on that later)

The clip frame purse I talked about is still unfinished and will probably remain so.

I’ve also given up on the idea of making things to sell (for now at least). It’s going to take a lot of time and effore and there’s just too much else to do.

However, in the midst of all this failure, there has been much success!

Among the list of completed projects is ‘Twinkle’ the unicorn, one full Sambuca jacket and two Sambuca shrugs, two bridesmaids boleros, three pairs of Misty Morning Mitts, a chakra neckerchief, a tea cosy, three mug cosies… I’m sure there must be more but I can’t remember them all.

Right now, I’m actively working on four projects, I know FOUR! But there is a very good reason…

So, project number one is my first ever design project. I won’t go into too much detail because I want to blog about it in detail later. I don’t work on it constantly for a few reasons: first, I want to get it right, which means thinking it through properly; secondly, I’m working with lightweight yarn so tension squares take a while; and third, my eye can’t quite stand the intricate work for too long (just another eye-related annoyance!)

Project number two is Mina’s Tuxedo Vest, it had to be put aside to work on the bridesmaid’s boleros and, to be perfectly honest, isn’t much fun to knit. It now acts as a facade so my boyfriend doesn’t know what I’m really knitting during the day.

Which brings us to project number three: the Union Jack Slipover. Unfortunately, it’s not growing as quickly as it needs to, especially with everything else going on. And his birthday is next week! Eeeek!

Project number four is a novelty doorstop. I like to be working on a knitting and crochet project at the same time so I’ve been carrying this around for weeks, crocheting in the car etc. Now it’s time for the finishing touches so look out for pictures later in the week (hopefully)

I’ve also got a long list of planned projects, including: two more crochet unicorns for young cousins; a knitted cricket jumper; maybe something for me to wear to the wedding next month; another pair of Misty Morning Mitts (I just can’t resist that Simply Recycled yarn); a twenties-inspired crochet top; and anything else that takes my fancy along the way!

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Natural vs. Artificial

This is an issue that’s really close to my heart. I’m vegetarian, into animal rights and concerned about protecting our planet.

So, where does that leave me when choosing yarn? Confused mostly!

I recently gave up using wool after a particularly horrific e-mail from PETA about the conditions on some wool farms, the pictures were not pretty!

However, I’d failed to consider the potential environmental impact of producing and shipping artificial yarns.

I’m a big fan of cotton yarn and recently blogged about how excited I was to find a recycled cotton yarn (I’ve also discovered where I can buy more of it!) but, again, what about the environmental concerns?

Browsing in a local bookshop at the weekend, I came across a book that is simply perfect for me and can help me through some of these issues.

Knit, Purl, Save the World by Vickie Howell and Adrienne Armstrong contains over 30 eco-friendly knitting and crochet projects as well as hints and tips for choosing yarn and snippets of detail about the processes involved.

So, look out for my upcoming review of the book and (hopefully) more info on the natural vs. artificial problem

I’ve also nearly finished my latest project (as usual, I’m just struggling with the finishing touches!) so keep an eye out for that too

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