Saturday, 1 August 2015

A Plan of Sorts

Wow, I can't believe it's August already.  Time is flying.  Better late than never, I've finished my Block-a-month squares for July.


The first one is called Lise and it's by Polly Plum.


The second one is called Denna Square, also by Polly Plum.


Both squares were interesting to crochet.

The small square for this month is called Sweet Sixteen.  As usual, I made four of these to equate to a full sized square.




So I now have the equivalent of 21 large squares.  Great!  The problem is, I am no longing excited about this project.  If I continue with the CAL, I'll have the equivalent of 36 squares, and my original intention had been to make a large blanket for my bed.  However, since I started this project, I have in the meantime, made the absolutely gorgeous Sophie's Universe blanket.  I love love love this blanket and for this reason, it has taken pride of place on my bed.  I no longer need a new blanket for the bed, Sophie is just perfect.  But I can't think of anywhere else I could put the new blanket.

In addition, I don't know where my mind was when I picked the colours for the Block-a-month CAL, but they're rather bright and, dare I say it, garish. I'm not sure how I'm going to pull them all together, especially with the all the busy patterns on the squares.

So I had one of those lightbulb moments the other day and I realised I don't have to carry on with the CAL to the end of the year, I decided that August will be the last month I make these squares.  The three squares for August will bring the total up to 24.  I'll make an additional square and that will give me a 5 x 5 square.  Not too big, but big enough for a snuggle blanket for the sofa for the Winter.  I can select one of the colours I'm using, and border all the squares with it.  That will bring a bit more togetherness to the squares.  And then finally I can add a plain-ish border.  Sorted!

I feel so much happier now that I have a plan of sorts for these squares.  The blanket will provide a splash of brightness in the Winter months.  And it will be one less work-in-progress to carry on to the end of the year.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Spring Greens Cushion Cover

I started making squares for a cushion cover several weeks ago, before the Tour de France and the associated KAL came long and disrupted my schedule.  I'm quickly getting back on track now and the cushion cover is complete.


I love the colour combination.  It's fresh and light and reminds me of Spring.



The squares use the Grandma's Knickknacks pattern by Laurel Runnels, which I absolutely love.  It's nice and quick to make and produces a lovely compact square and it's free.  You can see full details of this project on my Ravelry page, here.

For the back, I just made a large granny.


Now I'm busy catching up with my other CALs and KALs.  More squares and a beautifully designed shawl.  More on these another time.

To accompany my knitting and crocheting, I'm enjoying watching some classic old films with Eve.  Yesterday we watched The Thin Man with William Powell and Myrna Loy.


And previously we watched Swing Time with Fred and Ginger.


You can't beat a good old black and white film.  Pure indulgence.  I hope all goes well with you and that you're enjoying yourselves.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Best of All Worlds

I'm so lucky.  Lucky, lucky me.  Why am I lucky?  Well it's because I live in such a wonderful place.

I live just a few miles from the city centre.  It's a lively, happy and friendly city.  Full of historic buildings, a beautiful waterfront and museums, galleries, shops and cafes.




I live just two minutes walk away from a sandy beach with interesting shells to collect and the thought-provoking Iron Men.



And if I walk in the opposite direction to the sea, I'm in the countryside in just over ten minutes, surrounded by fields of barley and oats.




If you look closely at the above photo, you can see the off-shore wind turbines.  They look like they are just behind the railway line but they're a few miles out to sea. Here's a close up.


So much variety, all on my doorstep.  Of all the places in the world, I love Liverpool the best.

But I guess, you may disagree with me, you may love where you live just as much.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Crossing the Finishing Line

Congratulations to Chris Froome on winning his second Tour de France.  It's been a gruelling three weeks.  My stash busting KAL is now finished.  During the last three weeks I have completed 11 projects.  I used up 768 grams of yarn, which worked out at 1800 metres.  That's quite a hole in the stash pile.


The last project completed was these mittens made with chunky yarn, so a very quick knit.



I've enjoyed knitting up these projects from my leftover bits and pieces.  I've used yarn that's been lurking at the back of the cupboard for quite some time.  The Tour de France group on Ravelry has proven to be a great motivating force.  It would be a useful exercise to have another dedicated stash busting period at some point in the future.

For now though, I shall be glad to get back to my other wips.  They have been sadly neglected over the past three weeks.  I'm behind with all of my KALs and CALs (not to mention the housework!)  So it's going to be a catching up week.  Have fun whatever you're up to.  Bye for now.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Nearly There

It's the last few days of the Tour de France.  The action in the actual race is hotting up, and the knitting is still going strong.

I couldn't resist making another mini sweater with sock yarn leftover from the socks I made last month.


I've also finished another shawl.  The pattern is called Age of Brass and Steam.


I've knitted this pattern before.  It's nice and easy, and very quick to knit up.  I used yarn leftover from a cardigan I made early last year.  I just kept going until I had used up all the yarn.


The last stash busting project will be mittens, hopefully finished before the cyclists reach the finishing line tomorrow.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Andre in the Green Jersey

Meet Andre.


He's my latest stash busting project.  He's knitted from some lovely Shetland DK that Grace bought me from a mill based in Derbyshire.  The pattern is Mr Bakery Bear by Kay F Jones.  Full details of this project on Ravelry, here.


As this project is part of my Tour de France KAL, I've given him a green jersey to represent the leading sprinter.  The end of the Tour is in sight and I'm sprinting (knitting) away to use up as much stash as possible before the finishing line on the Champs-Elysees.

I had a tiny amount of the Shetland yarn leftover after making the bear, so crocheted up this little bag.


I added some sequins and beads and gave it a fabric lining.


The 'leather' handles were made by cutting some strips from an old handbag that was being thrown out.


So that's another 50g of yarn used up.  I'll total everything up at the end of the Tour, to see how much I've managed to use up.

Now I'm getting on with another shawl, using yarn leftover from a cardigan knitted early last year.  Then there's a few more small amounts of yarn I'd like to knit up but I may run out of time for this KAL.  We'll see how it goes.

Enjoy your day, even if it doesn't include some knitting or crocheting!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Enjoying the Slow Pace

The sun wasn't shining, it wasn't particularly warm, it was rather breezy, nevertheless, we had a lovely day, yesterday, watching a game of cricket at the local cricket ground.


Lancashire 2nd XI were playing Durham 2nd XI in a three day match (this was the second day).


It's so pleasant just to sit and watch the slow pace of cricket.  Very relaxing.

Obviously I had my knitting with me.


And it all goes down very smoothly with a nice pint of bitter.


The match was a high scoring one, so very likely will end in a draw, especially as, today, it's raining (again).  A typical English summer!  I hope wherever you are the sun may be shining.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Sprinting for the Line

My stash busting continues with a lovely snug tweedy hat, complete with a bobble on top.


This is some Aran weight yarn I've had hanging around for years, so it was good to finally use it up.  Details of this project can he found on my Ravelry page, here.


Far too warm to wear now but I'm all set up for the winter!


A very quick knit, it was made as part of my Tour de France KAL.  I really am busting that stash.  There's only a few more days left of the Tour, so I'm aiming for a final dash for the line to see how much stash I can get through before it ends.  See you at the finishing line.

I've finally worked out how to link in to other people's blogs, and so I'm joining in with Linda's Crafty Corner Stash Buster Link party.  It's great to see how other people are using up their stash - very inspiring.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Edible Gardening - a beginning

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'm not really a gardener.  Once I'm out in the garden, I quite enjoy pottering around, but the weather has to be just so before I'll venture out.

So I don't tend to devote a great deal of time to gardening.  But I do like to read gardening posts on other people's blogs.  I find them very inspiring and some of the pictures are so beautiful.

I have a great deal of admiration for anyone who grows their own veg, that seems like a lot of devotion and hard work to me.  But last month I was reading a post on Lorraine's blog, Mama's Mercantile, and saw she was growing lettuce in pots by her door for easy picking.  I like this idea (thank you Lorraine).  I thought even I could do this.  It doesn't require undue effort and it would be a good place to start.

So I bought a cheap packet of mixed salad seeds - no idea what's in it - and sprinkled them in the pot.  And much to my amazement, I have some salad leaves ready for picking.



This may not seem much, but to me it's wonderful.  A beginning.  Next summer I may expand into lettuce, who knows, I may eventually have a proper vegetable patch!  But for now, one step at a time, I'm enjoying being able to pick some edibles fresh from the garden.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Far Too Busy

I've no time for housework, the cleaning will have to wait.  Washing and ironing activities have been suspended.  I may just about have time to whip up a quick meal later.

I've no time for any of these things, because I'm far too busy.  Today the second test match between England and Australia started.  Also today, the Open Golf Tourament from St Andrews is underway.  And on top of that, we're only half way through the Tour de France.  I can't possibly fit everything in, but I'll do the best I can.  Heaven only knows how I'll manage at the weekend when the Darts World Matchplay Championship starts.

One thing is for certain, I will be watching one sport or another on the television non-stop for the next few days.  And we all know what that means - plenty of knitting time!

I'm continuing with my stash busting KAL for the duration of the Tour de France.  Here are the latest projects completed, this little lot made with the leftovers from my Wood pigeon Socks.  


First up are these snug mittens.



I made another of my Handy Dandy Sock Yarn Bags, they're so useful.


And with the tiny amount of yarn left (I can't bear to throw any away) I made a mini sweater.



Next up, a warm hat with some tweedy Aran that's been kicking around for a while.  Despite the fact that I've suspended work on all my other projects, I'm really enjoying this stash busting KAL.  I should do this on a regular basis.  Anyway, I need to go now and concentrate on the golf, or should I switch back to the golf or cycling!!!  I don't want to miss any of it.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Campside Shawl

Hi everyone,  I hope you're having a great weekend.  I'm just back from a relaxing holiday in Shropshire.

We stayed in Church Stretton, as last year, and enjoyed some lovely walks in the mountains and around the town.


And the Sun shone eventually.

I must admit we didn't do as much walking as last year because, the first cricket test match and the Tour de France were on television.  So whilst the amount of walking was reduced, the knitting time was significantly increased.

I've already shown you the socks I knitted last week.  I wore them on one of our treks into the mountains and they were a great fit.  During the holiday, I also knitted up a shawl.


The pattern is Campside by Alicia Plummer, a free download on Ravelry.


I've been trying to find a pattern for this yarn, which I bought quite some years ago.  It's very pink, which doesn't bother me, I'm a pink girl, but every time I started knitting something, it just didn't feel right so I ripped it out.  Finally, I thought I would try this pattern.  Grace is knitting it and hers looked great.  I must say, this shawl is just perfect for the yarn, it's a merino mix, lovely and soft and great definition for the eyelets pattern.

This isn't the true colour.  The first two pics are more accurate.

I haven't blocked it yet, I was too impatient to get photos, so I'm hoping that the kite shape will become more triangular.  Full details of my project and yarn used can be seen on my Ravelry pattern page, here.


It's such a relief to get this yarn out of the stash pile, it's been haunting me for a while.  This project counts as one of my stash busting projects for the Tour de France KAL.  I'm so busy stash busting for this KAL that my other KALs and CALs are falling behind.  Next up it's some fingerless mittens with some leftover sock yarn.  I hoping to see a significant reduction in the stash by the end of the Tour.  An excellent opportunity to then go out and buy some more yarn!