Chickyducks for charity

This is it! My final contribution to the chick/duck charity knitting project.  I think I like the stripey one best.  If you are in my area (Fleet in Hampshire) you have ONE day left to make one and bring it to More Than Coffee in the Hart Centre on the high street.

We have the March Sunday afternoon get-together there tomorrow, and Roxanne will be collecting up the last of them and will share a picture of them all together on our Fleet Crafters Facebook page.

I think I explained in a previous post but these are going to an 11 year old local girl whose family support Great Ormond Street Hospital.  She is going to sell them outside one of the supermarkets in Fleet, with each one stuffed with a creme egg donated by the shopkeepers of Fleet.  She had intended to make them all herself but the shops were so generous with the chocolate eggs she ended up needing to make more than 200!

The Fleet Crafters  were only too happy to help out, I’m looking forward to buying my stripey one back!

Fleet Crafters have changed our name from Fleet Knit, Stitch and Crochet – it was a bit of a mouthful.  Our next charity project is Project Linus – so blankets for babies, children and teens that are sewn, knitted or crocheted. Can’t wait to get started once I’ve finished a few Etsy orders.

Today I’m Making… a duck a day

Last year me and another local woman took over the admin of a Facebook page for local knitter and crocheters when the owner decided she wanted to step down.  We changed it to include all crafts and if you’re interested and close to Fleet in Hampshire you’ll find us here.

It has been fantastic, we have set up meet ups on Sunday afternoons, Friday evenings and now one of the members has started one on Wednesday afternoons too. We’ve just over 100 members and we also have impromptu meet-ups and excursions.As well as an excuse to eat cake and craft in public we support charities as a group.  We’ve just finished making hats for Innocent Smoothies’ The Big Knit (119 hats between us) and our official charity for this year is Project Linus.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t jump in when help is needed!  A local young girl has done something fantastic, she decided to make 200+ ducklings that hold a Creme Egg and sell them for a charity that is close to her family’s hearts – Great Ormand Street Hospital.  Anyway if that wasn’t enough she contacted all the local supermarkets and they’ve all offered her creme eggs as a donation.  How great is that? She’s 11.

So one of the supermarkets has promised her the whole 200 eggs so now she’s got the potential to sell an awful lot of them, but its a lot of knitting for her to do on her own so our group is going to pitch in and make some for her.  This is my first one.  I really liked knitting it, it was such an easy and cute knit so I’m going to aim for making one duck a day until the deadline in mid February.  I’m so impressed with her, what a great girl to take on something like this and and to do it so well too.

When she has confirmation of the date she’s selling them I’ll let you know, and if you’re nearby please drop by and buy one. They’ll need good homes.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

Yeah I know, they’re a bit tragic but I’m doing it anyway.

  1. Read at least 34 books this year.  Easy peasy, I’m on Goodreads so I’ve set myself a reading challenge.  Click here to see how I’m doing.  Right now I’m doing fantastically well, I have read no books yet this year and I’m apparently bang on target.
  2. Lose 20kgs.  Thought I’d chuck in the traditional fat bum challenge.  Though my bum isn’t actually that fat I have spotted a bit of thigh bulge today that has to be got rid of immediately if not sooner.  Then once I’ve lost 20kgs I’ll still want to lose another 10.  Then perhaps another 5.  We’ll see. I work for a law firm and the cakeage is immense and I loathe exercising so this one is a bit challenging. I also hate exercise clothes and seriously object to any heel lower than a kitten heel.  Keep thinking about taking up running but I also very much dislike outdoorsiness. And running.
  3. Do more embroidery.  I very rarely sew. Its the one thing I absolutely love doing and yet I hardly ever do it because I used to hand sew for a living and now I don’t and it may sound pathetic but its quite emotional for me and I’m a bit frightened I’ve lost all my skills. So much as I’ve amassed a huge quantity of yarn and patterns and stuff I’m going to scale back the knitting and crochet (except for snoods and Gin Poodles of course) and get back into embroidery.  I had a small test piece framed a few years ago and the framers asked me if I’d like to make more for them to sell.  So I might not be a complete ham-fisted duffer.
  4. Stop buying mass-produced junk.  You know that ‘make it, don’t buy it’ idea floating around at Christmas? Well I’m going to stop buying things from major chains and only buy handmade wherever possible.  I’ve had my last clothes shopping spree in 2016 so from now on I’m going to make my own clothes, at least they’ll fit properly and I won’t bump into anyone else wearing the same thing. I can try out embroidery on my own cuffs and that too can’t I? I’ve got a sewing machine up in the loft and I expect that is where it will stay because I don’t really like sewing machines.  Hand made clothes last longer because they’re better and every stitch is beautiful. I’m not expecting anyone else to agree or even see the simple beauty of a white cotton tacking stitch or go into ecstasy over a button hole, but your loss and all that.
  5. New Etsy shop. Once I’ve got my fingers back to being able to pick up with a needle a single thread in any fabric without looking I’ll be able to produce work worth selling. These are not going to sit well with super kitsch knitted poodle bottle cosies or even lovely vintage style hair accessories so they’ll need their own space.

Five resolutions are enough.

6. Oh but hang on. Food. Must stop eating things that make me ill, like fried things, fatty things, dairy, and eggs.  A doctor told me years ago that the odd sensation of my throat going all thick and gagging for hours after eating isn’t really normal and should be avoided. Spose he might have a point.

7. Bugger it I’ve thought of another.  I have a half brother somewhere.  Not even sure what his name is but I should find him in case he’s the head of membership of a major ballet company or something and can get me a hefty discount.

 

Today I’m Making – Lurgy blanket (no-sew blanket update)

I have the galloping lurgy. I’ve had it since Monday and I’m hoping this is my last day of it because frankly I’m fed up with not being able to do anything.  Everything I do totally wipes me out including standing up long enough to make a Lemsip.

I know I’m really ill when I can’t even concentrate on knitting. I’ve been up since six today (its nearly half ten now) and I’ve managed to knit 2 rows. (About 120 stitches).

I have far too many projects on the go at once but I like working on whatever I’m in the mood for so today’s project is my lurgy blanket.  Its a big lap blanket for when you’re not feeling well or just need a big snuggle.  I’m making it predominantly in white DK with scraps of grey DK so it will take quite a long time to finish because it does really depend on me knitting grey things and not using up all the yarn.  I’ve written about this blanket before, so this post is really an update on my No-Sew Blanket post from  a year ago.

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Yeah so no great progress…. I’ve added probably a couple of squares since then so this could take a while.  Let’s set a deadline of finishing sometime in my lifetime. A literal deadline.

Today I’m Making… a jumper for me

I could have sworn I’d talked about this before but I’m probably getting confused with Ravelry because I can find no sign of a previous post here.

I have a problem finding a jumper that suits me in shops, nothing quite fits the bill, and my bill has a lot of items on it:

  • Must be a block dark colour, preferably black to minimise my bust;
  • No stripes or patterns around the chest area;
  • Must be fingertip length or at the very least 3″ below my bum (this also helps balance out my chest);
  • V-neck of course but not too deep or too shallow, I don’t want to expose cleavage but it needs to come close to be worth doing at all; and
  • Sleeves no shorter than elbow length, and I’d rather below the elbow than on the elbow

Limiting isn’t it?

On a visit to my local yarn store (not that local, its a good 6 miles away) for something completely different I came across this Stylecraft Cabaret pattern 9182awhich is pretty close to what I’m looking for, but without the stripes and if I made it much longer and perhaps the neckline is a bit low…

imageI’m having a trial run at making this with some plain black acrylic yarn I bought at Aldi (of all places) and am making it much longer, down to mid-thigh I think.  I don’t like this fussy cast on either, there is another option of just doing garter stitch for a few rows so I plumped for that.

I’ve also recently bought a book on designing your own knitting patterns so in a funny way I hope this doesn’t turn out to be quite what I want to spur me on to make my own pattern. I know a lot of people turn their nose up at acrylic yarn but it holds colour well and you can machine wash it easily enough, plus it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

imageSo far I’ve knitted the back and about a quarter of the front.  Not an awful lot of progress is it but it is quite boring just doing stocking stitch in black so no wonder I keep getting distracted by other projects (see Debbie Bliss yarn left)  I can’t quite remember when I started this, but I think it was the beginning of this year.  Crikey that’s not good is it, I really would like to wear it this winter too.

I’ve found some spare black shimmery DK in my stash so I’ll add a couple of low impact contrast stripes on the forearms of the sleeves.  I don’t like my clothes to be too flashy, I have lots of incredible vintage brooches so I tend to see clothes as a blank canvas to show off jewellery.

I’m also thinking about making my own clothes from now on too, I am bored with buying clothes that don’t fit me properly and are not quite the look I was hoping for.

 

Today I’m Making… socks for my bloke

This last week I’ve been on a knitting retreat at the ever excellent Westcliffe Knitting Hotel in Blackpool (really you must go if you can, its fantastic). The one thing I was determined to finish was the socks I’ve been knitting for my bloke for the last couple of months or so.

I didn’t. But I’ve finished them this morning (I came home yesterday evening) and I’m really pleased with them. So is he, and so is his mum!

I found a great sock pattern from 1986 in a charity shop and used that because it has a nice spiral decrease for the toe (like you’d see when knitting a beret) rather than a grafted toe. I dislike that chisel tip look you usually get, anyway, with a few tweaks this is going to be my standard sock pattern, there are also only 5 stitches to pick up after turning the heel and no silly heel flap.   I am going to rewrite the heel to make it sturdier but to be honest I don’t really need to.

So here they are, charmingly modelled by himself with barely any direction from me, he’s worn them round his mum’s just now and she’d like a pair too, scaling the pattern down for her feet won’t be any trouble at all, once she’s measured her foot and chosen her colour I’ll get cracking on them.

I do want to say something about the yarn, and I’m sorry to say its not going to be overly positive. I used the Debbie Bliss Rialto so called luxury yarn.  It looks delightful as you knit (unfortunately I bought three balls so I’ve got to use it up) but it unplys as you knit shockingly and I can’t work a way out to stop it (any suggestions anyone?). It lurches in width from thick to thin to very thick and very thin alarmingly but strangely it hasn’t affected the finished socks that I can see so not a huge problem but not something you’d expect when you’ve paid £10.50 a ball. I am quite worried about wear with it unplying so badly (you can’t do a whole round without it happening), where it has happened the yarn must surely be a fair bit weaker.  Now, I know I could take photos and send it back and blah blah but I’m not going to, I’d rather just not buy it again.

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Still for all that I’ve make a very fine pair of sock and Mr GinPoodle is very happy with them indeed so its all worked out well in the end, eh?