Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

A labour of love

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Nineteen skeins caked and ready!
Mum came over after work yesterday and we caked the yarns for our Daybreak shawls (kits purchased at the Knit and Stitch show) and my birthday Cascade for a cardigan.
One of the balls in the photo is the hand wound ball from months ago which took forever after a fight with a tangled skein!
Speaking of which, one skein of teal Cascade is still sitting in a bit of a mess – you can see it in the background! And Mum’s got four skeins of Debbie Bliss yumminess that fought back.
I’m sure we could have untangled it but our Indian takeaway seemed so much more important
The reason for sudden yarn caking industry? Check back tomorrow…

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A ponderance on unusual yarns

I have to admit to being a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to yarn. I tend to use yarns between 4ply and chunky, rarely super chunky and all these new novelty yarns hold absolutely no interest.

However, I’ve fallen in love with a pattern from the latest Mollie Makes. They’ve posted the pattern on their blog so check it out here.

The yarn in question is Louisa Harding’s Luzia but at £15 a ball, it’s way out of my price range. Well, okay, I could afford it if I scrimped on the other yarn and Steven has offered to buy it for me for Xmas but I resent paying so much for something so small (the pattern calls for two balls of Luzia plus some DK)

So, my ponderance is: what yarn, if any, could I replace it with?

Randomly enough, I dug out my knitted glove pattern (mine have gone astray) and one version uses a discontinued yarn from Stylecraft (Gypsy) which has a similar effect but the yarns seem to be categorised differently with Luzia as ‘fur’ and Gypsy as ‘eyelash’

Can anyone help me please? I’ve got no experience with these yarns but I fear my lust for the stole is too great to resist

Please please please?

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A nice warm fuzzy to brighten my day

I’m not sure if I posted about my disappointment recently regarding a ball of Stylecraft Special (possibly my favourite yarn)

Anyway, you know how there are sometimes knots within a ball of yarn where two sections have been joined together?

Well I was merrily knitting my Cricket Jumper one day when I came across FOUR knots in half a ball.

Then another one before I finished the ball and picked up a new one.

I was so disappointed that I wrote a complaint letter to Stylecraft. I hadn’t necessarily expected to hear anything back but thought they should know.

Imagine my delight to see this on the doormat this morning

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Hello, warm fuzzy!

To prolong the excitement, I opened my regular mail first (not very exciting and vaguely confusing)

And then opened my parcel to find these

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Extra warm fuzzy

Unfortunately, I have no current need for two balls of cream DK (the question is, how did Stylecraft know I was working with cream DK? Or is it a bizarre coincidence?)

So, any ideas would be lovely

I think I’ll sustain my warm fuzzy by crafting in front of the telly for a while and maybe do some more chores later… maybe

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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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Too little time, too little crochet

Wow, the last few weeks have been crazy!

The last time I posted, I was talking about my new job and the possibility of turning a jumper pattern into a cardigan pattern.

In the interests of chronology, we’ll deal with the job issues first.

I started two weeks ago and already I know it’s just not for me. The last fortnight has been a real rollercoaster but no matter how good a day I have, I still dread work in the morning.

I’ve been feeling really stifled and struggling to find time for anything so I don’t have much new news (still plenty of old news to catch up on though).

So, it’s back to job hunting and hopefully more time, energy and thought-space for crafting.

I’d still absolutely love to find a way to combine the two but I’m not sure how yet…

Now for the exciting news! I’m still trying to choose yarn but I think I’ve figured out how to turn a jumper into a cardigan.

According to Wendy Bernard (Custom Knits) it can be as simple as halving the stitch count for the front, knitting two front pieces and adding borders.

This is what I thought but it’s nice to have the theory backed up by an expert.

As for the yarn, the pattern calls for aran, not a problem apart from the fact that I’m trying to use stuff from my stash before I buy too much new so I’m trying to incorporate some of my existing colours.

It’s not making life easy but I’ve got other projects to do while I ponder it further.

So, wish me luck and crafting for tomorrow and I’ll be back soon

 

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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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Eco-crafting on a budget

Steven ad I love to hover around charity shops, usually looking for unusual tat or books.

I noticed the other week that our favourite (a large St Elizabeth Hospice shop) had some mystery balls of yarn.

It was Mum that pointed out that they were probably old garments that had been ripped out and the yarn wound up nicely.

I was wary, really, being so picky about what materials I use (I’m coming around to wool but silk is a real no-no)

But then I realised that it was the perfect way to try new and different yarns with little to no guilt

They have, after all, be recycled (or up cycled, I’m still not quite sure which) and I may have my suspicions about their materials but, really, I’ve got no way of knowing for sure what they are

And, they’re dirt cheap!

Obviously, there are a few potential issues with yardage and yarn weight but careful planning and experimentation will solve any problems there.

Here’s what I bought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t look like much, I know, but it’ super soft. I think there’s about 100g and it seems to be approximately DK weight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the top one is an acrylic DK, the middle is the new CS (charity shop) yarn and the bottom is a cotton DK.

I’m pretty sure the CS is DK weight and it could be cotton or cotton blend.

Like I said, though, I don’t know for sure.

Because of this, it’ll be difficult to figure out the yardage.

I was hoping to use the yarn for a cute crochet bunny pattern but I tried and failed on that one (to be honest, I couldn’t entirely figure out the pattern and the bits I could understand were tricky to work)

Since winter’s approaching and I somehow managed to lose my favourite gloves last year, I decided to look for a nice glove pattern, whether knit or crochet, I wanted something a bit different.

After reading Mancunian Vintage‘s last post, I had my answer!

I looked on Amazon but there was no ‘Look Inside’ feature for this particular book so I searched for the title and came across Susan Crawford’s website.

There are so many patterns I’d love to try. I’m just praying that the pretty blue gloves are knitted in DK and don’t require too much yarn.

Hopefully, my own copy of the book (ordered from Amazon after all) will be in the post, winging it’s way to me very soon!

Keep an eye out for a review and, hopefully, some snazzy new gloves

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