Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

Wedding fever!

Wow, it’s been a busy few weeks and not so much with the crafting.

I’ve actually managed to get myself a job but things a bit complicated so I’m not too excited about it. Actually, if I’m honest, it’s really stressing me out.

So I’ve been glad of some time to myself to make a dent in my ridiculous list of projects.

Most of them are small but there are a lot of design projects in there so they’re taking a while to get finished.

I finally finished my granny square bag and am super chuffed with it (pics to follow, hopefully) and I’ve made another two little ellies and a non-Zingy.

I had to make another blue twinkle ellie because Steven claimed that work Zingy was lonely. It didn’t turn out quite as good as the first and I now suspect that Steven was just trying to placate me with crochet since the ellie is actually living in his car.

I also made one from some Sirdar Crofter that’s been sitting in my stash for a couple of years and he is SUPER cute.

I also made a Zingy to match and to test out some safety eyes (and a nose) because I’m hoping to make several variations on the Zingy pattern to sell.

That’s one design project (I’m currently fighting with an owl and spend most of yesterday reciting ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’ – the bit I could remember anyway).

The other bits and bobs are notebook covers and clutch purses. Oh and I’m still pondering charm bracelets.

I’m a little wary because the crochet watches didn’t sell at all but I guess that’s a post for another day.

Speaking of which, I suppose I should get to the point – my brother’s getting married!!

So so exciting and it means I can look at the wedding pages of Etsy every day guilt-free.

They’re not planning on getting married until 2015 so plenty of time for pondering and planning (and photography practice since that’ll be my job on the day)

More of a time concern is a uni friends’s wedding, which in August!

For some reason I decided I wanted a yellow dress for the event. I then realised that yellow was impractical because it would mean knitting/crocheting a new accessory.

This is only an issue because of money and space concerns (my hand-knit drawer is actually overflowing!)

However, working next door to FatFace has it’s advantages and I’ve seen a rather nice black/white/grey maxi dress that will go rather nicely with either my purple or green shawl and wouldn’t look silly with my sambuca jacket either.

And, of course, all this wedding fever (it’s all over the crafting mags too, have you noticed?) has got me thinking about my own and I’m actually thinking I might design something yummy for myself for the evening do.

In fact, all the ladies involved could have one… and the men could have matching ties… or bow ties… and I could crochet the tableclothes and we could get married in winter so everyone would need a nice handknit!

Little OTT? We’ll see

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Lots of time, lots of crochet!

Well, Monday went just as I hoped it would.

My (now ex) boss phoned and was really understanding about everything, I didn’t cry at him and it was a nice clean break.

I’ve been feeling so good since that I know it was the right decision.

And, of course, not only have I got more time to craft but I actually feel like doing it!

I’ve been doing really well with knitting and have greatly enjoyed the pieces I’ve made lately but crochet has been a bit of a disaster!

After a serious bout of knitting, I decided to get started on some of my birthday crochet.

Remember all the goodies I was given? Check them out here.

I’d started work on a tension square using the yarn that Steven bought me so I finished that (and a few more) and decided how to proceed with the cardigan.

It’s a pretty immense project, crocheted in 4ply and made in one piece until the armholes so I started off with somewhere around 240 sts!

As many of you know, the first few rows of crochet can be tricky. You have to get into a rhythm, the work twists and can be difficult to hold.

But I persevered and completed five rows.

Then I tried it around me… there was about 5cms overlapping and the cardi is supposed to be quite snug.

I was gutted and too tired to try and work out how to proceed – make a smaller size, use a smaller hook, scrap it?

So I decided to put it aside and start making a shrug using the soy silk that mum bought me.

I’d already decided to use the sambuca jacket pattern because it’s gorgeous and works up really quickly.

So off I went, following the same size instructions that I used for my jacket.

But the yarn is a lot different than the Twinkle. I tried it on to see how much longer it needed to be and the armholes were too tight.

So I ripped it out and started making the larger size (which uses a smaller hook). Again, tried it on to check the length and it was still too tight.

I’m trying again, using the larger hook and the larger size instructions and it’s working beautifully!

Hopefully,I’ll get it finished tonight so I can post some pictures.

And I promise I’ll get started on the catch-up posts soon.

Now I’m off to watch some brilliant telly (Syfy are showing Star Trek TNG series one!), work on the shrug and try not to nap… until later

Happy crafting!

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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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Another Sambuca Jacket – finished!

I’m not sure how but I’ve just finished another Sambuca Jacket/shrug for my mum!

I mentioned last month that Mum had asked for one made of the black Twinkle yarn, but more of a shrug than a jacket (see Sambuca Jacket – finished! (plus some more Misty Morning Mitts!)

Ta da!

Mum loved it so much, she decided she’d like another one, this one in a neutral colour for day-to-day wear.

I’m also working on a novelty doorstop and I mentioned I’d have some cream yarn left over so we bought another ball of the same colour and dye lot and off I went

 Et voila!

Considering how many other projects I’m working on, I’m amazed I managed to get it finished so quickly. But I’m really glad because it’s one more thing checked off the list and means I can move on to the other crochet projects I’ve got planned (more on that another time)

So, just a couple more pretty pictures…

…and I’m off to do the useful things I’ve been putting off all morning (oops, and part of the afternoon!)

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Hold the presses!

All other projects are being put on hold in order to help out my friend Clare. She’s getting married in two months and needs cardigans for her daughter and step-daughter who will be bridesmaids.

We’ve been talking about the wedding a lot lately (of course!) and she mentioned that they had found something suitable for her daughter (who is about 13months) but were struggling to find something for her step-daughter (who is five)

I’d mentioned previously that I had a knitting pattern for a bolero for young girls but I wasn’t sure what the smallest size was.

Anyway, shopping for yarn last week, Clare spotted the James C Brett Twinkle that I’m currently obsessed with and proclaimed the white perfect for her step-daughter!

No probs, I replied, let me check the pattern and see how much we need and we’ve got the perfect excuse to come out for coffee again next week!

Turns out the pattern is from one to 10 years so it’s suitable for both girls and I should be able to knit both cardigans from only three balls of yarn which means they’ll cost just under £9 for both.

So now I’ve got a challenge on my hands and I’m already loving it! We bought the yarn this morning and I’m already six rows into my tension swatch.

And I figure I can still do some crochet as well (Mum has requested another Sambuca Jacket for her holiday, which happens to be the same weekend as the wedding) because it travels so much more easily than knitting.

It’s gonna be hard to put away my current projects though…!

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Sambuca Jacket – finished! (plus some more Misty Morning Mitts!)

I’m so glad to finally get a chance to write this post! I finished my jacket last week but have been so poorly over the weekend that I haven’t had the brainpower to write or the energy to pick up a needle or a hook!

Thankfully, I started feeling a bit better on Saturday so I’ve got a new project underway and some lovely pics to share with you

The whole cardigan is stitched in this gorgeous shell stitch, worked over three rows

I actually used a bikini fastener for mine, I couldn’t find any ‘sweater fasteners’ and a button looked too uneven for my liking

The jacket is designed to be slightly cropped but I had to stitch significantly more rows to get it to a length I was happy with. The beauty with a top down design is that you can try on as you go to make it the perfect length.

The design in the magazine also has a double crochet edging all the way around but I loved the scalloped bottom edge so much that I left it and just edged the front and the cuffs.

Once again, my mum loves it! And she was super impressed when I told her that one ball would make a sleeveless cropped shrug (guess what my latest project is?!)

I recently discovered James C Brett‘s Twinkle (I think it might be new), a 96% acrylic yarn with a twist of sparkly polyester. I decided to go with black, it’s not a colour I wear often and it goes with everything so it’s perfect when you’re working on a budget.

I worked out the yardage according to the pattern and bought four balls, hoping to have some left over to stitch some more Misty Morning Mitts (coming up in a mo) However… I ended up with one ball unstarted and another barely used!

I’m always a litttle irritated when this happens (there’s that ugly budget again) but Mum decided she’d like one in black so it’s worked out perfectly and Mum’s shrug is already nearing completion.

So… I loved the Misty Morning Mitts so much, I decided to stitch another pair but to make them really dinky to go with the sparkly yarn. I like to think of them as Evening Misty Morning Mitts

 Keeping warm – wearing one whilst stitching the other

After stitching the first pair, I mentioned that I thought the pattern was written wrong. A few rows into these, they looked completely wrong, the pattern was looking more like a rib than it really should so I decreased by a stitch so I was working on 29 instead of 30 (for some reason, I never had 31 like the pattern stated)

This was a bit more difficult to stitch but looks more like the pattern in the magazine so I guess the others are wrong after all – fortunately Mum and I love them so it doesn’t matter.

Unfortunately, I think the pattern gets a little lost in the black yarn but in the right light they look great and they look really lovely on!

I think I might need another pair, the Twinkle yarn comes in a lovely purple……

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Chakra Neckerchief and Misty Morning Mitts – finished!

The neckerchief is started using an adjustable ring (one of many new techniques I’ve been learning!) and is stitched simply using treble crochet and chain stitches.

I changed it a little from the pattern: I struggled with the instructions for the second row ( I think they might be wrong); I stitched my neckerchief in DK instead of 4-ply (this was a mistake on my part, maybe my yarn stash needs a bit more organisation); I left out the beaded border; and I added a knot on one corner to use as a fastener.

I really enjoyed learning the adjustable ring technique but I was a bit put out that the magazine didn’t offer any guidance on it. The pattern is supposed to be suitable for beginners but it’s not a technique I’d heard of so I had to search online for some help.

Thankfully, I discovered an amazingly helpful website that had an article describing the technique with lots of handy pictures (check out www.crochetme.com for this technique and more!)

I did find the whole thing a little repetitive but it grows so quickly, it was a pleasure to crochet.

On one of my many trips to my local haberdashery shops, I discovered Sirdar’s Simply Recycled yarn (it was on sale so nice and cheap but in short supply – I only got two balls)

It’s very me, I love cotton yarns and to discover one that’s recycled just made my day!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a project in mind so I ended up with needles for a planned knitting project but no yarn, a hook for a planned crochet project but no yarn and two balls of lovely yarn with no planned project at all!

Fortunately, I discovered that the Misty Morning Mitts pattern is crocheted in DK so off I went.

Again, though, I had all kinds of issues with the pattern. The foundation chain is very different than I’m used to, in order to create the picot edge, so I had to experiment a little there. I also got confused when the pattern told me to decrease to 30sts and then said that the special stitch pattern is always worked over on odd number of stitches!

But, stubborn as I am, I persevered. I’m not convinced the stitch pattern looks like it should but I love them and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can show them off!

Again, I altered the pattern a little as I wanted the mitts a bit longer at the top so they covered my knuckles instead of just grazing them.

My mum loved them so much, she wants a pair! She’s chosen Stylecraft Twirl for hers and likes the length of mine so I’ll be crocheting another pair soon enough.

I’m also hoping to have some yarn left over from my other current project to use for another, shorter pair.

Both of these patterns are from February’s Inside Crochet (issue 26) and my other current project is the Sambuca Jacket from the same.

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