Sausages

I’m not a butcher but I have made sausages. The pattern is Sausage Links Sarah Boccolucci. It is a crochet pattern. The pattern calls for 10ply yarn but I used 8ply acrylic I had in my stash.

This was a really easy pattern. You make all your sausage links as one piece increasing and decreasing your stitches to form each link. You fill these as you go which again was easy to do. So that my ties wouldn’t fall off I did stitch them into links. I threaded with my yarn needle with my white yarn and knotted it in a couple of the stitches before tying my bows.   

You can make your sausages any length you want in any colour. Mine are about a fingers length long each. They remind of the size we have for our Sunday breakfasts. I only did 3 links for my sausages but you could make as many as you like. These are filled with hobby fill and catnip so were part of my cat toy gifts I made last Christmas. For a child these would be great in a toy kitchen. This is just a fun pattern that I knew I wanted to make when I saw them as one of the cat owners is a butcher so it was only fitting I made them.

Cassiy

World Wide Knit In Public Day 2022

11th June was the 2022 World Knit In Public Day. A day for not just knitters but crocheters and all yarn lovers to get out and do the craft that they love in a public space. Personally I knit and crochet in public all the time. I have mentioned previously the joke in our house is that I organise my knitting project before calling for an ambulance. If I know I’m going anywhere that I’m going to be sitting for a period of time I take my knitting. In 2019 I even took my knitting to a music festival.

I usually meet up with members from my Knitters Guild for an organised event if I’m around, it usually falls on the June long weekend in Sydney and sometimes I’m away. This year our group decided to hold our event at a local garden centre / plant nursery. Originally Mr StitchNSew was going to tag along as I’d been promising him for months we would go to that place. Once I organised a weekend away for us around a knitting in public event in the city so he used to being around knitters, he reads we knit. Unfortunately on the morning he was sick so I went alone.

The nursery has a lovely cafe with a function room so that is where us yarn folks sat spread out on many tables. It was nice to be around yarn friends again. I hadn’t attended any Knitters Guild meetings in person since before Covid. I had joined a few zoom meetings but there is nothing like meeting up in person. I sipped coffee and opted for a sweet treat for lunch instead of something savory. It has been a long time since I’ve sat at a cafe and done that. In fact the Knitting In Public Day was the first time that I had eaten out with others aside from my work tea room since March 2020. Mr StitchNSew and I have eaten takeaways but they have been in a park or outdoors away from others. Last month I caught Covid so I was a little more confident about being around others without a mask for a short period of time knowing my chances of getting it again within 12 weeks was low. Even though it isn’t compulsory I still wear a mask when out and about.

As it was in a garden centre some of us made flowers to leave for the staff after we had finished. I made 3 using a basic pattern from a book in my stash. I thought I had blogged about the book before as I often use it so I might need to write a post about it. The flowers were crocheted in 8ply from leftover scrap yarn. I don’t often make decorative stuff like this so it was a nice change.

It was a nice morning out so I’m glad I went a long. It did make me realise how much I missed hanging out with my yarn friends. I’m hoping to get to our monthly meetings regularly in person in the future again. Little steps back to normal life. 

Cassiy

Crochet Cord

Some posts jump my blogging queue and this is one of them as I was just a wee bit excited over discovering it.

I needed a drawstring cord for a bag. I could have knitted an I-Cord which is relaxing but would’ve taken some time and I needed the cord so I could finish the project. I looked on Youtube to see if there was some sort of crochet version I could make and I came across a few tutorials. Crocheting a cord is pretty easy and quick. The tutorial I liked the most was from Pora Pora Crochet. It is demonstrated in 2 colours making it easier to follow. There isn’t any talking with all the instructions written on the screen each step so you could watch it without sound which is how I first watched it and still understand what is going on. This is good if you are having to refer back to it whilst for example watching tv in a room with others. The technique is basically using 2 yarns you make a slip knot with both yarns then with your bottom yarn you are doing a yarn over the hook each time and with your top yarn you are pulling it through the yarn over and the chain already on your hook. Essentially you are just making a basic crochet chain with your top yarn but your going over the extra yarn which is your bottom yarn.

To demonstrate it here I did it in 2 colours so you can see it. I’m sorry if some of the photos aren’t the clearest I got a new camera towards the end of last year and I still haven’t played with it fully so some of my close ups are a little off.

The purple was my top yarn that I was creating my chains with and the orange was the yarn I was doing the yarn overs with. From the side you can see the clear contrast of colours. If you look down from the top all you can see are the purple crochet stitches. On the underside you can orange bumps. The other side is also a mixture of the 2 colours.

For my drawstring I did it in white. I used the one ball of yarn and had one yarn pulling from the centre of the ball and one pull from the outside of the ball. In the one colour it just looks like a cord. It doesn’t look messy. In the 2 colours apart from the nice side where it was 2 clear contrast rows it does look messy. It was a bit tricky weaving in my ends. There wasn’t really a core section I could see to push them into. For each yarn tail I just weaved it in and out of a few stitches for about an inch or so and then cut it.

This method of making a cord took no time at all. Like anything new it did feel a little foreign at first but after a few stitches I got in a groove and it was easy. I would suggest though you do need to keep your tension tight to get a nice cord. If you don’t pull your stitches tight it will show and be a little floppy.

Cassiy

Gruesome Eyes

In the spirit of Halloween this week I thought I might share a quick gruesome project.

This year I’m making cat toys for Christmas gifts and I wanted something a little different to your regular toy. I searched Ravelry for cat toys and came across a few eyeball patterns. I already had a crocheted toy pattern in mind so I decided to a knitted eyeball. The pattern I chose was Gruesome Knitted Eyeballs. On Ravelry you can see projects others have made using the pattern you are looking up. Out of all the knitted eyeball patterns available I liked the finished eyeballs of this pattern the most. The pattern name is a little deceptive as really they are very plain and not as gruesome as other patterns which have bloodshot eyes but you could easily add in streaks of red to create them. I liked that they were simple looking which is what drew me to knit them.

The pattern uses 4ply yarn but I made these in 8ply as that is what I had in my stash. For my first one I used a 3mm needle but it seemed a little small so for the remaining 7 I used a 3.75mm needle. The patern also says to use double pointed needles which I haven’t learnt to use yet so I did them using magic loop which is where you use one circular needle. The pattern is easy to follow but if I could make one suggestions it needs a definition on what method to use for the make 1 increase. I did knit front and back for my increases which worked for the pupil but when I got to the iris my stitch count was off by 2 stitches each time. These are a toys so I wasn’t worried but I think it would be a little bit helpful. I did also add in an extra row of increases in the white section after the final increase row, this really just made up the extra stitches I missed on previous rows. Overall I found the pattern really good. It was a very quick project.

To fill these I used polyester stuff (hobby fill) with a bit of catnip. I have never owned a cat but reading online catnip is popular in cat toys. You can buy dried catnip online from pet shops, I thought the price was a little expensive but I found an online herb shop that sold it in Australia which had it cheaper. I wasn’t sure if 50g would be enough but it is a lot. You only use a bit in each toy and this will fill all the cat toys I’m doing this year with ample left over. I placed a bit of stuffing in each eye followed by a bit of catnip and then more stuffing on top. It was a little tricky getting it in the small diameter of the opening but I managed to fill them and not make too much of a mess.

I’m happy with how these turned out. Mr StitchNSew commented that they are small and they may get lost but I like the idea of finding random eyes around the house.

Cassiy

Virtual Tour Bendigo Woollen Mills

I’ve said it many times but I am a big fan of Bendigo Woollen Mills yarn. I have the company listed on my favourites page. In 2019 on my trip to Victoria I even planned my hotel stay near the railway station in Melbourne that I could do a day trip to Bendigo from. I buy all my cotton yarn from there and if I’m making a wool blanket for a gift it is only Bendigo wool that I use. When recently I saw that there was a special virtual tour of the mills happening I had to jump online and join the tour.

At the time the tour happened NSW was in the biggest Covid lockdowns we’ve had during the pandemic. Dependent on where you lived in NSW some LGA’s (local government areas) even have nighttime curfews, I’m in one of those LGA’s but it isn’t too bad. For something a little different for their members the Knitter’s Guild NSW organised a virtual tour with Bendigo Woollen Mills. On the Mill’s website they have a mini tour of the mills with some photos and explaining the process but our tour was a real behind the scenes tour. An actual tour of the mill is very rare as it is working factory with a lot of people and machinery they can’t walk people through it.

Photo Courtesy of Bendigo Woollen Mills
Photo Courtesy of Bendigo Woollen Mills

Even though at the time regional Victoria where the mills are located were also in lockdown the mill was still able to continue manufacturing yarn and processing online shopping orders, they couldn’t however open the onsite shop. By chance the staff were having a rare Saturday off in the actual factory so the machinery wasn’t working however that meant we got a real up close look at it all with our tour guide explaining the process and answering questions we had. With all the machines running it would be too noisy. Our tour guide took us from the back of the factory and walked through the different stages from when they first have the yarn in bales ready to start the blending process, the different stages of how they yarn is formed into strands, how the strands are plied together into hanks, the dying process of the hanks and finally how the yarn formed into the iconic balls we know and love complete with the information tickets placed in them. It really was fascinating seeing the entire process. I like seeing the process of how things are made.

If you are on the mills mailing list you regularly receive shade cards with a little sample of each yarn and the colours. You can also request a shade card from their website if you don’t get one. Our tour guide showed how the shade cards were put together. Again this was very interesting. To be honest I had never thought about how the cards were put together but it gave you a new perspective on the amount of time that goes into making each one.

After we were shown the process of how the balls of yarn were made we then got a look at the warehouse where all the yarn is kept until it is shipped out to customers or for sale in the onsite shop. The staff packing orders were working that day and we got to see the process of how each order is packaged up. This might not sound interesting but it was as again it is something I had never thought of. I just hit checkout on my online order then stalk the mailbox waiting for my squishy delivery to arrive. Computers do print out mailing labels and invoices but the orders themselves are all hand picked and sealed into the packaging ready to be posted out. Around 600 orders a day are processed! That is a crazy amount of orders and a lot of yarn as face it you never just buy one ball of yarn in your order.

The factory shop has “the bargain room” which is a section at the back on the main shop. Some items are listed on the website but the majority aren’t. It was interesting to get an insight as to what items were sent to the back room. It might be a limited edition yarn they don’t have large quantities of left or perhaps a dye lot that didn’t turn out the correct colour so they create a new shade with it. There isn’t enough to list on the main website, considering how many customers they have who might see it and want some so instead it is sent to the bargain room.

I keep repeating the word interesting but it really was seeing behind the scenes. I think everyone on the tour suddenly had a new appreciation and respect on how much work it look to have the squishy balls of yarn into our hands. I know I certainly did. A big Thank You to the Knitter’s Guide NSW for organising the tour.

Cassiy

Heads Up

I mentioned last month that this years edition of the Better Homes and Garden Knitting & Crochet Collection was out and whilst reading it I already had a pattern in mind that I was wanting to try as it jumped out at me straight away. Days after reading the magazine I had the project on my needles and didn’t stop at one knitting 3 of the pattern in quick succession.

In my mind I have a list of things that “real knitters do” I don’t know where this idea came from. I guess the list is like a list of knitting skills or projects. My knitting is mostly basic or adventurous beginner. I don’t do a lot of complex knitting as I don’t have the concentration skills or patience to do projects that involve a lot of counting or take forever to finish. On skill on my list was to knit cables. I have always been fascinated by cables. The geometric side of my brain loves the patterns they create and is intrigued by how they occur. You always think of knitting as a flat piece but cables create texture to a flat piece of work. Last year I brought a cable needle and thought during the Covid lockdown I’m going to learn how to knit cables. Fortunately I didn’t have the Covid lockdown a lot of people faced as I was working full time and caring for Mr StitchNSew. Any knitting time I had I focused on relaxing project as my brain needed to slow down and wasn’t up to learning anything new. When I saw the headband pattern and read the instructions I thought yep I can do this, now is the time to learn cables.

The pattern is officially called Heads Up. I would’ve loved to have made this pattern for myself however I don’t really have the need for a headband. Instead I decided to make it to add to our Charity Bags this year. I had leftover yarn from when I knitted the scarves earlier this year so I choose one colour from each scarf and knitted a matching headband. These were incredibly quick to knit. Each one is only 50cm in length then joined up. I finished the 3 in just over a week!

I can now tick another project off my challenge to make something out of every edition of the Better Homes and Garden Knitting & Crochet Collection magazines

2014
♦ 2015 –
Builder’s Work Wear
♦ 2016
♦ 2017 –
Oui Oui Mon Cheri
♦ 2018
♦ 2019
♦ 2020
♦ 2021
Heads Up

I was surprised that I could knit cables whilst watching tv, in my mind I thought they would be more difficult but this pattern was very easy to follow and a good pattern to learn cables on. One thing I did do was put a life line which is a length of yarn threaded through the stitches at the end of each 8 row repeat so if I made a mistake I could easily pull the headband back to the start of the pattern repeat and restart the pattern from there. The lifeline came in handy a few times when I miscounted or forgot midway which part of the cable that I was up to. Each 8 row repeat took no time at all so it wasn’t a big deal if I had to pull my yarn back and start again. After making these headbands I’m inspired to try another project which has cables in it.

Cassiy

Mulberry Virus Shawl

The Virus shawl pattern has been around for many years and isn’t one of those Covid inspired patterns. The pattern was given the name virus as just like a virus it grows and grows. I have made the pattern twice before, once for myself and once for a friend.

For many years in my stash I had a skein of 2ply mulberry silk yarn. I tried knitting with it once before but it was so fine that I struggled with it. It sat in my stash waiting for the perfect project. After starting another project in similar weight yarn I remembered this yarn in my stash and decided a virus shawl was the perfect project for it.

The virus shawl pattern can be a little tricky as there is some counting and you need to get your crochet hook into the right spot in certain rows. Online I have read that a lot of people have struggled with it. It is one of those patterns you either take to easily or you don’t. Bella Coco has a great Youtube tutorial which I re-watched upon starting this and I do recommend the printed chart of the pattern which you can find online. Once I was familiar again with the pattern I didn’t have to refer to the chart. The pattern just repeats over and over so you can make it as large as you want. I have only used the one colour but you could change colours as much as you like. For the edge I just did a single row of trebles with a single crochet (UK terms) between each cluster section.

Crocheting with 2ply wasn’t as tricky as I thought. It was actually easier to crochet than knit with it. Initially I started this as a project whilst Mr StitchNSew underwent a procedure in hospital as I wanted an easy project to work on which I could pull back if I made a mistake. Working on this took my mind off watching the clock waiting for the nursing staff to call me when it was over. The downside to my job is that I make a terrible family member when I’m on the opposite side of the operating table as I think of every horror situation, I get nervous waiting even for routine procedures. Not long after the procedure we had a trip to the emergency department resulting in a long day sitting in a waiting room and again this shawl got me through it. Once you understand the pattern you can easily put it down and pick it up again. I was counting the stitches after I finished each cluster and of course the times I didn’t count were the times I missed stitches and only found out a row or 2 later when the stitches didn’t add up to the pattern repeat. Crochet is so simple to frog back (rip back) I just placed a removable stitch marker at the point where I made the error and pulled the yarn back to there.

I’m not going to wear this shawl spread out so I didn’t actually bother blocking this but had I it would have become even larger. I’m going to wear it wrapped around my neck. The reason for using this yarn in this project was so I could wear it close around my neck and it wouldn’t bother me. Sadly the reason I haven’t worn my original virus shawl much is that even though it is soft due to my yarn sensitive it still irritates my skin if I get hot under it. I crocheted this as a replacement for my original one which I will now pass on.

Cassiy

Oui Oui Mon Cheri x 3

Better Homes and Gardens have released the 2021 edition of their annual Knitting & Crochet Collection magazine. Last year I set myself the challenge of making an item out of each years magazine after realising I buy the magazine each year but don’t do anything besides read them. If I didn’t start making items from them then I could no longer buy anymore editions and had to pass on the editions that I had. I have finished my 2nd pattern so can tick 2 editions off my list.

Oui Oui Mon Cheri is from the 2017 edition. The pattern is for a scarf and beanie. I opted only for the scarf. The pattern is a diagonally knit striped scarf using 2 colours 8 ply yarn. The pattern is all in garter stitch (knit stitch every row) so it is very easy to do, a great mindless knitting project. The pattern is created by increasing or decreasing a single stitch at the start of the row and changing colours.

Using various unopened balls of Stylecraft Special DK which is an acrylic yarn from my stash I was able to knit up 3 scarves which I will add into my charity bags this year. I did modify the pattern slightly by changing my colours every 18 rows not 12 rows so I have wider stripes. The pattern has you carry the non working yarn up the side of the scarf between each striped block. I never get a neat finish if I carry my yarn up more than a couple rows so I made the stripes wider and cut the yarn between blocks. The wider blocks meant I had less ends to weave in at the end (I’m a lazy knitter) I knit these one after each other. I won’t lie by the time I finished the last one I was very much over this pattern but it didn’t feel like a chore. I’m sure I will use this pattern again for charity or gifts as it was very easy.

♦ 2014
♦ 2015 – Builder’s Work Wear
♦ 2016
♦ 2017 – Oui Oui Mon Cheri
♦ 2018
♦ 2019
♦ 2020
♦ 2021

I now have 8 editions in my magazine collection with 6 more to make from. I haven’t set myself a deadline to finish the challenge. I have noticed since I started the challenge I am actually using my magazines more. Before I virtually only read them once at the time I got them and would occasionally flick through the odd one if I was tidying up or if I was board. Now they are all stored on my bookshelf together and I am regularly taking them all out and looking through them. I have post it notes on potential patterns. Often I am picking them up before search Ravelry for ideas. I had no hesitation buying this years copy as I know I will use it, in fact one pattern has already caught my eye.

Cassiy

Knitting To Combat Online Screen Time

In my recent post about my reflections on my Digital Declutter 12 months on I mentioned that a habit I have developed is idle online screen time when I get home or later at night. Some of that screen time is productive reading blogs, emails, quick Facebook/Instagram check but once I have done all the “essentials” I’m just mindlessly scrolling. I’m often in front of the tv at the time and not actually focusing on the tv but my phone. I can’t just sit and watch tv I need to be doing something with my hands at the same time. If I’m crafting I’m still focused on the tv but if I’m on my phone I can’t focus on both things at once. In recent months I have been doing a lot of knitting on my Apple Core blanket and although that pattern is really easy and I have memorised it I do need to focus a little bit on it in parts. If I’m tired I lose track of where I am in the pattern if I put it down for even a couple of minutes. I have pulled many cores off my needles and started again after a memory blank forgetting what row I’m up to. Last week I decided I needed some autopilot knitting. Simple knitting that I can do without having to focus on stitch count or rows. Even late at night when I’m tired I can knit away and not play with my phone.

I have been knitting wildlife rescue pouches for WIRES for years but to be honest I haven’t had any of my needles for over 12 months. Before that I had always had at least one pouch on my needles. The way I knit pouches has changed over the years. I started knitting individual sides and joining them at the end then moved on to knitting them magic loop with a 3 needle bind off but in recent years I have knit them the most mindless way using Judy’s Magic Cast On and only having one end to weave in at the top. Pouches were the mindless knitting I needed to combat idle online screen time. Saturday I set myself the task of casting on a pouch.

I’m embarrassed to say it had been so long since I last cast one on that I couldn’t remember how many stitches I used or how to do Judy’s Magic Cast On. Luckily Very Pink Knits came to my rescue with her YouTube tutorial. After watching that my brain remembered and it was just a matter of working out how many stitches and how long to leave my long tail cast on. I had the number 72 so that was a starting point for my number of stitches. The way I was taught to work out the cast on tail is to wrap the yarn around the needle for the amount of stitches you need. What I forgot the first time I cast on was that with Judy’s cast on your only taking half your stitches from the tail yarn. The tail yarn I left was way too long after my 72 stiches as I only needed enough for 36 stitches. I’m a bit frugal with my yarn so I started again. after knitting a few rows I thought 72 looked too big so I took it off and started again with only 64 stitches. After knitting for a couple of centimeters I measured the pouch and it was only 16cm wide not 18cm so I started again. To be honest I lost count at how many times I started this pouch but I did discover I can do the magic cast on at 7.30 pm in front of the tv and actually have it work. 72 is my magic number. Although it does seem big at first once you get knitting it is the correct amount. I think I was knitting this until after 9pm which was great as I wasn’t playing on my phone but enjoying the tv I was watching whilst still having something in my hands.

I wanted to get back into knitting WIRES so I’m glad I finally have a pouch on my needles again, I have missed knitting them. I like the fact I can be productive with my knitting even late at night. It is helping to combat my idle online screen time. I’m still going to continue working on my apple core but I can do that earlier in the day or at times when I can knit and focus more.

Cassiy

2018 Temperature Blanket Finished

This was one of my 2020 projects, I’m still getting my way through blogging about them all.

On the eve of 2018 I had a sudden urge to make a temperature blanket in 2018. If you’re not familiar with the concept of temperature blankets they are blanket in which the colour combination is is based on the weather temperature. Each row represents a daily temperature reading for each day of the year. At the time Mr StitchNSew was recording the daily temperature and I thought it was fun project that we could do together.

December 31st I decided we would do it. I went to my stash of Stylecraft Special DK yarn grabbing all the colours I had and told Mr StitchNSew to work out his colour chart from that. He chose 11 colours with each colour representing 3 degrees of tempreature. For example if it was 25 one day and 27 the next day I would use the same colour for 2 rows but if it was 25 and 28 I would swap colours each row. I used a bit of scrap cardboard to hold my colour key chart.

For each month I printed a chart that he would write the temperature each day. I went all guns blazing on the blanket for a few weeks but I then kind of came to a sudden halt. I got a little bit overwhelmed by it and from memory work was getting busy so I stopped. I think I had too many yarns coming off it at once as I was trying not to cut the yarn between rows. At the time my craft area was a mess and I had no room to really work on this. I think it lived on the lounge chair for a while before getting moved to a wardrobe and finally packed for the move. During packing I came across the rest of printed blank charts and put them aside knowing I would finish it one day.

Roll forward to September 2020. I unpacked all my yarn and came across this WIP and the yarn for it. At that stage I had started my Apple Core blanket which I am making with my leftover Stylecraft Special DK yarn. It was motivation to finish this blanket so that I could mix the leftovers in my Apple Core evenly, I didn’t want a heap of blue/green pieces. By chance Mr StitchNSew still had the temperatures recorded on the computer so filled out the remaining charts for me. This is crocheted using the V stitch. I did have to YouTube how to do the stitch again as I couldn’t remember from 2 years earlier. Once I started this again it flew off my hook and I finished it in a matter of weeks. Space wise I had a better set up. I had my bag of yarn on the chair next to me so I could easily reach for my colours. I had space on the lounge next to me to place my colour chart. I was looking 2 rows ahead to sew what colours were coming up. I didn’t make this in the traditional way in that I didn’t start each row from where I ended the previous row. If I was going to use the same colour in 2 rows time I cheated and started the next row from the opposite end so I could pick up my original colour for the 2nd row. It just made some of the side stitches look a bit un neat but overall it didn’t really make that much of an impact.

To separate each month we decided on a row of white. From the start I didn’t know how much of each colour I would need or even if I had enough yarn. Back then in my mind the solution was to buy more yarn if I ran out. I did run out of one colour at the end of October so in my stash I found another colour which hadn’t been used in the blanket and substituted that for the final 2 months. I didn’t know anywhere local that sold this yarn as I normally get it from the UK. I had so much momentum going on I didn’t really want to stop it to source it from somewhere local or wait for it to be posted over. I also considered the cost factor of having 1 ball flown over, I’m trying to reduce my yarn stash so couldn’t buy other items to justify my order like I would do in the past. The substitution made no difference and really it isn’t noticeable. You can see all the colours I used on my Ravelry page.

I hadn’t even thought of the border until I was nearing the end. Using white as I had heaps left I opted just for a single row of UK double crochet and then a row of trebles. I wanted the focus to be on the blanket and not the border. I am really happy with how it turned out. Yes it took a lot longer than originally planned but that doesn’t matter. It has been washed and put away to use this winter. The finished size was 78″ x 38″ which is a nice size for the lounge or for Mr StitchNSew to have on the bed as he gets cold.

I am unlikely to make another one as Mr StitchNSew no longers records the daily temps. This was fun when I had the time to actually work on it. Seeing the stripes was really interesting. I enjoyed working from my “pattern” charts ticking each day off as I went. It was worth it in the end.

Cassiy