Finished Ankle Socks

I have a finished pair of ankle socks!!!

After all the trials and tribulations I went through starting these last week I finished my socks. Once I got over sock 1 I easily breezed through sock 2 knitting it within a matter of days I think or over a short period of time anyway. Writing my notes after sock 1 really helped. For sock 2 the only time I needed to consult YouTube was doing the kitchener stitch at the end. For sock 1 I did it from written instructions and got a little bit lost but there was only 4 stitches on each needle so not many to do. Looking at this picture I can’t tell which is sock 1 or 2 but for the 2nd one I decided to sit and watch YouTube, more to just familiarise myself with it again in visual terms as I am a visual learner.

Before I took this photo I did actually give my socks a good “testing” wearing them on a 35 deg day walking to gym then walking around a shopping centre. Now normally in regular socks by the end of all that I would be racing to get home to tear the socks off my feet as I get heat trigged eczema on the tops of my feet and my feet would be red and itchy. I wore these without any problem, not an itch. The yarn I used is by Twilleys of Stamford called Gorgeous DK and yes just my luck it is now discontinued. I found this out earlier this year and purchased most of the remaining stock that my yarn shop had of it so I know I will get a few pairs made. It is a bamboo / nylon mix. They have survived their first wash well although I haven’t put them back on. I must admit they look bulky but in my sneakers they were really comfortable. The yarn is a sport weight so a 5ply and gave a little bit of padding under my feet.

I have started a 2nd pair over the last couple of days but today had to take them off my needles this morning to start again as on the instep decreases I decreased too much on one side and my stitch count was off (this will teach me for knitting socks after only 3hrs sleep) They had a couple of gaps in other sections where I didn’t pick up the stitch fully so I am not too worried about starting them again. They are a quick make so I know once I get started and actually watch what I am doing I will get another pair done in no time.

My sock knitting bug has bitten again!

Cassiy

Advertisements

Lucy Bag

Last week I finished a tote bag which according to Ravelry I started in December last year. The pattern is based on the bag Lucy (Attic 24) has on her blog. I say based as me being me did things slightly different in some areas. That is the great thing about making your own things you can improvise and make things as you wish.

The yarn I used was 2 Lincraft cakes. Lincraft, if you are not familiar with it is a chain craft store in Australia. When Caron cakes became really popular a few years ago Lincraft brought out there own generic version. The yarn is dyed to allow colour changes within your project without the need for you to physically cut yarn and change colours. Fibre content is an acrylic / wool mix. I was given a Lincraft gift voucher by a friend so I purchased 2 cakes of Clear Sky and they sat in my stash for ages before I finally decided to crochet this bag. I love the colours, it looks great.

The bag holds a lot. This size bag would make a great beach bag, project bag, shopping bag. It doesn’t look big when it is hanging but it is kind of like the TARDIS, much bigger on the inside. The pattern was really easy to follow and didn’t require a lot of thinking. I made my handles different to the pattern Lucy has. My handles are directly part of the bag and not joined on afterwards like Lucy has done. Also I haven’t done any flowers. The majority of the bag is done in UK trebles and from the part where I started making the handles upwards I have done in UK double crochet. Once the bag was the height I wanted I started doing a row of double crochet until I reached the area I wanted my handles to start then I chained a length of the stitches I wanted for the handles then joined them to the bag with a slip stitch. I then kept doing double crochet until I reached the other side of the bag and then repeated the set up for the other handle. Once I joined it to the bag I just double crocheted backwards and forward over the handle until it was the width I wanted. I then double crocheted back around until I got back the other handle and repeated the same steps. Once I was happy with the width I just kept doing row after row of double crochet going up and over the handles as if they were part of the regular row, The bit underneath the handles you never go over again. You can see it better in the picture below. I just kept doing row after row of double crochet until I rang out of yarn.

Ok confession as much as I love this bag I am probably never going to use it. I just don’t like the feel of the yarn, I am really sensitive to yarn and for me the wool in this is too scratchy. I am glad I used it in a bag pattern and not a poncho like I first considered. I could use it as a project bag but to be honest I already have enough large ones. This will most likely be used as one of my charity bags next year. I’m not upset by that, I have so many memories of this bag making it. I started it the day I attended a medical appointment with Mr StitchNSew. I worked on it Christmas day whilst spending time with my nieces. In January I did a 4 day work training course where I had to stay in a hotel and this was one of the projects I took with me to work on in my downtime. When Mr StitchNSew had a medical procedure done and I had to sit in a hospital for 8 hours I worked on this, his nurse actually gave me the idea of how to do the handles. As crocheters do she came up to see what I was working on and told me how she does her handles. There are a lot of memories in the making of this bag but I don’t need to actually have the bag itself to keep those memories. For me it wasn’t a waste of time making this bag – I tried out a new yarn, I made a pattern that I had been wanting to make for along time, working on this calmed me in stressful situations because I was doing something I was comfortable with and could focus on. If I can pass on this bag on to someone who needs it then it was worth every stitch.

Cassiy

Double Knitted Dishcloth – Square Play

The day after my double knitting class with Sockmatician I pulled out my needles and some cotton yarn from my stash and started to play. This is what I come up with.

I find it hard to just knit unless I am making an actual project. My mindset is that if I am spending time doing something I want it to be useful otherwise my mind thinks this is just a waste of time. Dishcloths are something that are very practical and are a good way to practice knitting or crochet skills or to test out a new pattern. If you have never used a handmade dishcloth I urge you to try them out they are magic.

To make this one I never followed a pattern as such. This is kind based on the swatch we made within the class with Sockmatician but with a twist. I have never written a knitting pattern but below is how I did it. I just made it up in my head. I did make 2 small errors in this one but fortunately they were both on the same side.

Cast on 25
Rows 1-5 – Double knit plain colour
Rows 6-10- Double knit 5 plain, switch colour for 15, switch colour for last 5
Rows 11-15 – Double knit 5 plain, switch colour for 5, switch colour for 5, switch colour for 5, switch colour for 5
Rows 16-20 – Double knit 5 plain, switch colour for 15, switch colour for last 5
Rows 20-25 – Double knit plain colour
Cast off

I used 10ply cotton so doubled up it is like 20ply and almost feels like a thin sponge. I didn’t weave in my ends on this one. To be honest I am lazy and if it is a dishcloth for home I mostly don’t weave in my ends I just knot them a few times. This was really fun to make and I easily finished it within a couple of days of knitting it only after work. I am still struggling with moving my yarns from the front to the back each time. I need to work on carrying yarn in both hands so that I can then increase my speed when double knitting. Think I may need to make a few more dishcloths to practice.

Cassiy

Favourites Page – Yarn Suppliers

I have decided to create a special page at the top of my blog to put links in for all the shops, suppliers, books and pattern companies that I talk about all the time but always forget to put a link too (bad blogger I am)

I have a few links on the page already but this week I thought talk about the yarn shops I mentioned.

Skein Sisters
They are located in the Sydney suburb of Dulwich Hill. If you can’t get to the store (and I strongly recommend that you do if you are ever in Sydney) They have a great website and the postage is pretty cheap.

Skein Sisters have a lot of international brands as well as local indi designers. They are a good place in Australia to get yarns such as Sweet Geogria, Hedgehog Fibres, Legacy Fiber Artz brands that are from the US and can be expensive to order. Also sometimes you don’t know what a yarn feels like so if you go to Skein Sisters you can squish the yarn and get to feel if it is right for you. Skein Sisters also great thing they do in which each month called “Sisters Spotlight” where they focus on a particular indi designer usually from Australia or New Zealand and showcase their yarn for the month. It is a great way to discover new designers, the yarn is available both instore and online for the month.

In addition to all the lovely yarn they sell they also run classes. I learnt how to knit socks thanks to Skein Sisters. The classes are small with only about 10-12 people and are in a nice little cozy room. I have done a couple of classes now there and am actually going to another class next weekend. They are fun classes to go to and it doesn’t matter that you don’t know anyone there. You can sign up to their newsletter to find out specials and events that they are having.

Bendigo Woollen Mills
I have only ever purchased from them online or over the phone but they do have a shop located in Bendigo which I hear is fantastic.

The best thing about BWM is that their yarn balls are 200g and the prices are great. I would call their yarn more traditional but there is nothing wrong with traditional. If you are wanting to make something in plain colours in either cotton or wool this is the place to go to. When I need to crochet up a blanket for a baby I order from them because they have a 100% wool yarn that is machine washable.

All their yarn is very soft. I have many many balls in my stash and have made a lot of items from it. Their cotton is great for dishcloths but I have also used it in a shawl. My recent Magician’s Cape was yarn from BWM. They do have woollen blends so it isn’t just one fibre. The best thing about BWM is that you can request a shade card from them with a sample of all the different colour yarns. Once you are on their mailing list you get a shade card each time they have new yarns or specials.

The Wool Inn
This is a little yarn shop located in the Western Sydney suburb of Penrith. It is a small cozy yarn shop packed with amazing yarn and accessories. The staff are super friendly and helpful.

I have purchased a lot of yarn and knitting / crochet accessories from them. Thanks to this little shop I now have all the sizes of the Clover Amour hooks I like as well as my interchangeable needle set. Yarn wise they have a lot of local brands as well as international brands such as Noro and Madelinetosh and lots others. You walk into the shop and it like a candy cave as you don’t know what to squish first with all the glorious wool. I consider them my local yarn shop as it only takes me about 30mins on the train to get there (it gives me knitting time) They also hold classes and special guest events so it is worth checking out their website to see what is on.

The Wool Warehouse and Love Knitting
These are 2 online shops based in the UK that I buy yarn from, I always get the 2 mixed up and forget which one I brought stuff from. I buy all my Stylecraft yarn from them.

The Wool Warehouse has a lot of kits put together by designers such as Attic 24.  Sometimes it is nice to buy a kit with all the colours already put together for you buy the person who designed the pattern. The kits are fairly cheap even with the conversion rate, postage is reasonable and super fast, I have received yarn quicker from the UK than I have from within Australia. Both websites often have specials so it good to sign up to their newsletters or follow them on Instagram to get discount codes. I know there are places in Australia I can buy Stylecraft yarn but these 2 websites have all the colours and different ply’s so it just a little bit easier to buy them from there.

So these are my favourite yarn related places. If I discover anymore I will add them to the links page.

Cassiy

 

 

 

Magician’s Cape

So whilst I haven’t been doing a lot of sewing the last couple of months I have been knitting.

Last year I think it was I picked up some Harlequin yarn on sale from Bendigo Woollen Mills, it was a merino bamboo mix. Instantly I knew I wanted to make some sort of cape with it. I brought 4 balls of the colourway Magician’s Hat. In May I finally got around to finding a pattern for it. The style I wanted was long at the back with a split front. On Ravelry I found the Beech Hill pattern and knew it was the one, it was the style I was looking for but had some slight detail running down the sides and centre back.

I didn’t realise at the time but there is a lot of knitting in this, it was mindless tv knitting so it didn’t feel like a big project until you saw it finished. Once blocked it measures 40″ x 66″ end to end. The front splits are 17″ x 31″ To block it I needed to purchase extra mats and it took up the entire length of my craft table for 4 days. It is fairly square so the only thing I wanted to fix was the centre fronts along the split as they rolled in. After blocking it still does roll a bit but not as much. Knitting wise this is a super simple knit. This was the first time I have ever split my work and left stitches on a cable to work later. I was glad to have my interchangeable needle set with all the extra cords and stoppers. At the split section I double the yarn to make it stronger, I got this tip from another on Ravelry who had made it previously.

I decided to do some outdoor photos in the local park for this. It was so much fun and I had no hesitation posing for photos as people walked past and my photographer (Mr StitchNSew) snapped away. I was proud of my new cape. Oh I have a new hairstyle. After years of wanting an undercut I have finally done it. Frugal me did it myself, I have been cutting our hair for a few years so it was easy for me to do. I now just need to re-shave it ever 2 weeks with the clippers. I’m saving money on haircuts so I can spend it on craft supplies!

The front section is a nice length, not too long but just enough to give you coverage. I think I knitted mine a little shorter than the pattern suggests but it is still well and truly long enough.

You have a several options on how you can wear this, wear it with a side over one shoulder, wear it open entirely or closed with a shawl pin. Personally I’ll wear it with shawl pin. For these photos I had it on for about an hour in windy conditions without issue. I got the pin from the craft show specifically for this shawl. I think the dark wood goes nicely with the black yarn. When I removed the pin it didn’t leave holes. 

If I wore it over one shoulder it would most likely fall off due to the way I walk. I have issues with things falling off my shoulders but if you don’t have that issue it would be fine. I could wear it open particularly if I am sitting at my desk at work, however I think the shawl pin would be my best option

I do love how this is fully open at the sides. I can freely move my arms which is perfect for work as nothing is getting in my way. I get hot arms and prefer just to have my torso covered with layers and my arms bare or with just a light shirt over them.

It wears nicely with the crutch I use to walk with. I recently got a new one and it is blue!! I have waited 20 years for a blue one.

The back length is great. It gives me the coverage over my lower back, I always paranoid about getting a chill in my lower back. Even though there is a lot of yarn in this it doesn’t feel heavy.

I found a boulder and tested out sitting. It is very comfortable, you don’t feel like the back section is pulling and choking you.

The pattern detail turned out great, it breaks up the look a bit so it doesn’t feel like a piece of flat fabric. The detailing was incredibly easy to do with only basic knit and purl stitches and is very effective. Stitch markers came in handy as I had them placed along each section where I had to switch between knit and purl stitches so didn’t have to keep count each row as I knitted.

This cape turned out the exact way I envisaged it would in my head if not even better. It is the biggest project I have ever knitted. I ended up buying a 5th ball of yarn to complete it but only used a small amount from it so I have started knitting a beanie to match it.

Cassiy

Calypso Shawl

I was going away overnight to a hotel located within a casino. I don’t do casino things (I was only staying there due to the location) I needed something to occupy myself and I hadn’t been sleeping properly so I wanted a really mindless knitting pattern. I think I searched Ravelry for like an hour or two trying to find the perfect pattern which had the combination of simpleness and yarn in my stash. I finally found the Calypso shawl which I came across last year.

I used a cake of yarn I won in a knit along last year held by Wool Gathering Australia. The challenge was trying new knitting or crochet skills. I was so excited to win this yarn as it is my colours blues and blacks. I wanted a one skein project and this was perfect for it. The yarn cake was so soft and squishy. It is a 4ply merino in the colour Midnight.

This is a really easy pattern to follow and is super quick to do too, I finished this in about 2 weeks. The pattern tells you how many sections to do to form the shawl and how to extend it you have extra yarn. I followed the pattern until I ran low of yarn which was in the extra section. To bind off I used the stretchy bind off that the pattern mentions. You are end up adding an extra yarn over as you bind off, it is much stretchy than other bind off methods I have used so I will be doing it again.

The only difference to the pattern I did was something I read on Ravelry that another knitter had done. Instead of doing a yarn over at the start of my increase rows I did a K1FB in the first stitch. It gave me a much neater finish then the yarn over did. Before I blocking it looked kind of tiny. You can see from the photo how much yarn I had left after I bound off, I may have been able to sneak in an extra row but I didn’t want to fall short.

 

I am not sure if there is such thing as over blocking but I blocked the life out of this. Blocking made it grow! For the first time I used my knit blocker pins. They are basically a plastic clip that has a series of pins attached, they are much easier to use than regular pins. I used 2 full boxes on this shawl and the 4 blocking mats I had too.

I am yet to wear this as I only finished blocking it last week. I have played around with it a little to see how it will sit around my neck. I brought the shawl pin at the craft show last month so I might use that on this. I am really liking this shawl, it was mindless fun knitting. After I finished it I was little lost and almost wanted to cast on another one.

Cassiy

 

What Was On My Needles June 18

April and May seemed to be major sewing months for me but June hit and I think I only stitched one item. I spent most of the month knitting.

I started a big project of a cape mid May and spent nearly 4 weeks knitting like crazy on that. It is a very simple pattern and very mindless knitting. I was using yarn I had in my stash and was feeling great about it. I then think I spent too much knitting of it as I did start to get board with it. I put it down for a weekend when I went away and after that only knitted on it every few days just doing a row or so. If I keep going on it I can get it finished this winter but I don’t want knit something I am not enjoying and not want to wear it at the end because I am sick of looking at it.

I cast on a new shawl to take as my travel project for the weekend away I did. It was a mindless knit but really enjoyable. I then spent about a week knitting it and it just seemed to grow. This one I should be able to finish in the next couple of weeks or so. I am just going to knit until I run out of yarn. Again it was yarn from my stash.

One of my favourite yarn shops Skein Sisters had an Instagram challenge week where each day you showed a photo of what Works In Progress (WIPs) you had. It was actually fun going through my house seeing what projects I had on the go. I am actually surprised that I don’t have that many. With knitting and crochet you have to use tools like needles and hooks which I don’t have that many of so I guess it isn’t as easy for me to have so many half finished projects like I do with sewing as it is easy to put a half sewn garment aside and start the next one. The challenge has given me motivation to finish a few projects particularly when I can see what little I have to do on them. Other projects I just need to sit when I have had enough sleep and concentrate on them for example some socks I have started and already had to redo them once because I messed them up.

I balled up some yarn for another project but I have to wait until my shawl is finished as I don’t have another set of the needle tips I need for it. The yarn is so pretty but the pattern is new to me and a little daunting. I am sure if I take my time with it I will be ok. I purchased this yarn recently after seeing it on Instagram, it was love at first sight!

I am hoping to get back to my sewing as confession I am behind on my gift making but with bad sleep patterns for most of June I really did enjoy the mindless knitting that I was doing.

Cassiy