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!

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Tour de France and my July Socks

At the moment I'm alternating between watching the Ashes cricket and the Tour de France.  Why is it that all the good sport seems to come all at once or not at all?  Anyway, as I always say, sport on television is ideal for getting in plenty of knitting time.

This year I have joined in with the Tour de France KAL on Ravelry.  Different challenges are allocated to the different colour jerseys.  I've chosen to join in with the green jersey (the points jersey) challenge which is to use up as much stash as possible during the three weeks of the Tour.  

My socks for July were made using some double knitting yarn leftover from a jumper I knitted Grace a few years ago, so in terms of stash, it definitely needed busting.  


So this is my first project to count towards my green jersey challenge.  

I started the socks on Saturday, first day of the Tour.  The pattern is Blueberry Waffle socks but it's difficult to see much of the texture in these photos.


A lovely easy (free) pattern to knit, perfect for speed knitting, keeping in time with the cyclists!  You can see full details of this project over on Ravelry, here.  

Now I'm moving on to my scrumptious pink shawl, also started on Saturday.  This will take a bit longer to knit up, but plenty of race watching time over the next two weeks should see me through.  

All this sport is keeping me in shape, or it would do if it wasn't for the chocolate bar I've just chomped my way through!  Oops!


Bye for now.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Happy Sightings

Seen in Bridgnorth yesterday...

A gorgeous, bright and jolly front door...


Some pretty, pink flowers in the park...


And this sign, to make you smile...


I hope they make you smile as well.  Have a nice day.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Today...

Today I am knitting some socks...


Knitting a very pink shawl...


And climbing mountains (despite the wind and the rain)...





Whatever you are doing today, I hope you're enjoying yourselves.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

For the Third Time

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have just completed a new cardigan.  I say "new" but I have knitted this pattern twice before and the yarn was frogged from an older cardigan.  

Here it is.


The pattern is called Peace and it's by Kim Hargreaves.  I love this pattern.



It has a great fit, it looks flattering and it's amazingly quick to knit.  I actually only took a week and a half to knit it, and that was not full time.

Here are my previous versions.

Made in 2010

Made in 2012

The yarn was frogged from this cardigan.  I wore it so much when it was new, but over the years, I've worn it less and less.  The yarn was still excellent, no bobbling, so it made sense to reknit it.  It feels like something for free when you re-use frogged yarn.  So I'm glad I can get plenty more wear from this yarn in its new form.

You can see full details of this project over on Ravelry, here.  

The heatwave seems to have ended here, it's heavy rain outside as I type this, perfect cardigan weather!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

CALs and KALs

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments on my last post about Eve's graduation.  We are still basking in the warm memories of that lovely day.  How grateful we are to have such good fortune come our way.

With all the travelling in the car we have done lately, I've been making excellent progress on a cardigan I'm knitting.  I'm hoping to finish it in the next day or two, so I'll blog about it then.

Today, I'd like to talk about my latest, favourite things, KALs and CALs, that's knit-a-longs  and crochet-a-longs.  And especially the mystery ones.

As you know I recently completed the Sophie's Universe blanket CAL.  It would be a complete understatement to say I enjoyed this, I loved every minute of it.  Part of the fun was waiting for the next section of the pattern to be released, trying to anticipate what will come next.  Now that Sophie is finished, I've been exploring Ravelry to find other CALs and I've even looked at some KALs.

Now, on the one hand, the mystery part is fun, on the other hand, you have no idea what the finished item will look like.  So I'm rather reluctant to purchase a pattern for which the outcome is a total blank at the time of purchase.  I have however discovered some interesting free "alongs" and some that are free for a limited time.

So, with this new obsession, I'm currently working on the Circles of the Sun mystery CAL by Tatsiana Kupryianchyk.


The end result will be nine different granny squares, incorporating overlay crochet, that can be made into a cushion cover.  The patterns are released weekly over a ten week period, with the final pattern being the border.  Square one was released last Friday.  I think I will make two of each square.  Here are my versions of the first square.



I love the way, the squares look so different just by changing the colours around.


I can't wait for the next square pattern to be released on Friday.

I've also joined in with a mystery knit-a-long.  This time it is for a shawl.  The pattern is called Dancing Bees and it's by Kate Poe.


The first part of the pattern has been released, but it is only very small so there isn't much to see at the moment.


This pattern is being released fortnightly, with the second part arriving on Friday (it's going to be a fun day!).

Now the thing I have discovered whilst waiting for these "alongs" to start is that no matter what, there is nothing you can do to rush these projects.  They set their own pace and can't be finished any earlier than the schedule dictates.  This means that, the project is worked on, put away and then picked up again on release of the next part of the pattern.  This is such a relaxing and soothing way to create, I'm loving this aspect of the projects.  Usually, once I start I project I put myself under pressure to get it completed as soon as possible.  You just can't do that with these "alongs".  So, I'm feeling very chilled and relaxed at the moment.

Having said that, I have signed up to three other "alongs" that start shortly, so the relaxed state probably won't last long as I try to juggle all the extra projects I've started!  But so what, that's just the way I am!  How about you?  Are you joining in with any CALs or KALs?