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March 2016
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April 2016

My sweet elephant Maggie

LCR Elephant

LCR elephant side view

LCR elephant shoes

 LCR elephant sitting

LCR elephant face

LCR dress button

LCR blue dress

LCR bag of yarn

LCR pattern

I can honestly say that this is one of my favourite knits! I absolutely loved each and every stitch.

Of course there was some self doubt and I put off starting a Little Cotton Rabbits knitted creature because it looked hard. This goes back to that thing about wanting to master something before taking the first step and i'm working hard to get rid of that bad habit! 2016 has been about trying new things and learning and I'm so excited about what the next 8 months has in store for me.

So here's the technical bit:
I used Rowan hand knit cotton for the body, Rowan summerlite 4 ply for the shoes, knickers/pants and clothes, Rowan cotton glace for the eyes and shoes buckles and Rowan kidsilk haze for the cape. I also bought some Scheepjes catona and Quince & Co sparrow (both 4 ply) and a ball each of Rowan lima and Rowan kidsilk haze (to be used together for another creature!!) to add to the toy making stash.
You'll need 3mm straight and dpn's, 2.75 straight and 2.5 straight or dpn's. (I've added lots of tiny needles to my collection in 2016 and really need a small needle roll to keep them in before I forget what I have!) (And I guess they need to be documented in my knitting and crochet planner too)
A pen and paper helped to keep track of rows, especially for the lace dress as you knit the lace bit (row 1 to 12, 11 times) then pick up stitches along the long edge to knit up the dress. I really didn't want to lose my place!
The pattern is so well written with plenty photographs and tips. I did go off piste once as I looked at the photo and went off on my own only to discover that it's better to read the words and use the photos as reference, lol.
I don't do any kind of needle work so the eyes and shoe buckles were a little challenging especially as I left the eyes till last and should have done them before joining the head to the body. I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out!

This is a tip on the pattern but I didn't realise how important it was until I had to redo the 'neck' a few times. It was coming out too thin and the head wobbled around too much. You will put a lot of effort into this knitted creature so it's important to put it together well.

I can add toy knitter to my resume now :)

Ciao xx

Back on the Patchwork Throw

And yarnalong with Ginny

Yarnalong 27 04 16

This week I'm back on the Patchwork Throw but not sure if it's really where I want to be. I was looking at my TO MAKE list categorizing projects into warm and cold season to help decide what I should be making now vs what I want to make now and I guess what I should make to get it finished, ie the Patchwork Throw! My efforts to clear the TO MAKE list down to a few items are failing miserably as I sneak projects onto the bottom when I think no one is looking. This urge to use up stash means wanting to find things to make with said stash and that inevitably means adding something else to the TO MAKE list. And of course yarnalong doesn't help as I am constantly adding new things to my Ravelry library (not that I'm blaming my fellow yarnalongers because I LOVE the inspiration each week!) But I am feeling slightly frazzled about the enormity of my wish list which is why I grabbed my throw project basket.

And the reason I needed a new project is because my sweet little elephant is finished and will be showcased on Friday when I have managed to take some photographs of her.

No new book this week i'm afraid, still reading Poisonwood Bible.

Ciao xx

The sweetest thing

And yarning along with Ginny

Yarnalong 20 04 16

Oh my, I am having such fun knitting this sweet little elephant! Some parts are certainly challenging my ability to read a pattern (you all have those moments when you charge ahead thinking you know what to do cause you looked at the picture, right??), and wondering how I'm going manage this bit with just two hands when an extra one would be most helpful!

Still reading (and now also really enjoying) Poisonwood Bible. Although it is still sloooooow going because i've not scheduled enough reading time in my evenings this week.

Hoping for a finished object next week!

Ciao xx

Pay day shopping list

Pay day shopping list

I love to shop! And I like to make my money go as far as possible! For this I use a pay day shopping list. A little list of things I would like to spend my hard earned money on when pay day arrives. I don't mean that I spend it all on pay day but I like to have an idea of what I want to buy when that pay cheque hits my bank account.

I'm also not an implusive shopper as the recent purchase of a Longchamps Le Pliage bag will prove. I saw a bag on a TV show in February 2013, and photographed the screen to share on Facebook to see if anyone knew what bag it was. I didn't get the exact one but was directed to the Longchamps Le Pliage bag and I instantly fell in love. I saw one in real life a few months later and knew I loved it enough to have one. As I was only going to have the one I wanted to be sure on size and colour. In January 2015 I decided on the size but didn't have the cash so would need to wait a bit longer. I nearly bought it in South Africa last December but they didn't have the colour I really wanted. And then in April 2016 when I had the money I planned a trip to Stamford in Lincolnshire where there is a shop I knew had them and I was going to buy it.

Now to be honest I don't think everything through for so long but I know in my heart that half the stuff I think I want and need will not be as important in a few weeks. Or I'll think 'seriously woman, you have a million (and that is only a very slight exaggeration) baskets already!' and I won't be tempted buy another one. Although to be fair, the one on the list pictured is very different to any of the others that I own.

Anyway I guess the point is that I don't always need and want everything I see and if I think about it just a little bit I can curb my spending and the stuff I bring in my house that adds to the clutter and ultimately ends up in a charity shop, village fete tombola or the council tip!

Did I mention that it's pay day tomorrow!!

Ciao xx

The second pair of socks

Stu socks

My second pair of socks had a very rocky start! I had it in my head that I wanted to knit two socks at once using the magic loop method. And I was pretty determined that this was the only way this pair of socks was being made. I watched countless videos and read lots of step by step instructions but I just couldn't work out how to hold my fingers, the yarn and the stitches in the right place all at the same time. It wasn't happening and I ripped out the cast on row more than a handful of times. I was way down strop alley and needed to get out somehow.

I don't go into the forums on Ravelry but figured that if there was help to be found, this is where it would be. I did a quick search and found a live discussion on the difference (and ease) of each of the different sock making methods, so decided to join in. It seemed like the first couple of rows are the trickiest and once you got past those you would get used to the movement of the needle (this being one circular needle), and once you were used to the movement you would find it easier to do those first couple of rows. So it's a bit chicken and egg! My question then was 'could you cast on and do the foundation rows, in my case the 1/1 rib for say 10 rows, and then move over to the circular needle'. The answer came back 'yes', and one kind lady drew me a diagram and another linked me to Knit Freedom.

With this information, I gave it a go. I cast onto dpn's and ribbed 10 rows then moved these stitches over to the circular needle making sure my working yarn was in the right place and following the number of stitches needed on each needle according to the pattern. I them cast on and ribbed the second sock and moved that over to the circular needle.

FYI: Just wanted to add a note here to say that if you are wanting to learn this magic loop method, there are two ways of doing it. And this is what confused the heck out of me!! You can either hold the needles to use the front needle to knit into the stitches on the back needle or use the back needle to knit the stitches on the front needle. Confused? Yes I thought so. Knit freedom uses the back needle and this is the method that made the most sense and was most comfortable for me.

It took a while to get used to moving the knitting around the needle and making sure I placed the yarn in the right place so it was ready to use when you needed it (this is highlighted on the knit freedom videos and was so helpful!). I felt like it was very slow but then I was making two socks!

After about 4 or 5 days I really got into a good rhythm of using the circualr needle and knew that I would finish these socks that I had almost given up on.

Although I managed the heel flap and turn, when picking up the stitches for the gusset I needed to transfer each sock in turn back onto the dpn's as it was all too tight and awkward to move on the circular needle. I'm sure it's possible though.

The socks took 4 weeks and 3 days to complete. The first pair took 3 weeks. I know that the start was VERY slow, getting used to the magic loop and I think there was a bit of delay as I kept being side tracked and lured by Pinterest when I got bored. That being said, I think the appeal of being done with both socks at once is a huge plus in my book!

So now I am a sock knitter and i'm looking forward to adding more hand made socks to both mine and dear husbands sock draw.

Ciao xx

And now for something completely different

and joining Ginny for yarnalong

Yarnalong 13 04 16

I was very glad to get to the end of dear husbands socks and move onto a new project! (Full details will be posted at the end of the week.) This week I'm working on a Little Cotton Rabbits elephant. I've been admiring these knitted critters for so long and even entered the ballot to buy one on more than one occasion. As I have yet to be successful I thought it time to knit my own. I'm using Rowan hand knit cotton, summerlite 4 ply and kidsilk haze.

No change on the book front (Poisonwood Bible) and I am still not sure about it, although it seems a firm favourite with so many folk that I am determined to give it a fighting chance.

So looking forward to this weeks inspiration!

Ciao xx

Rosewater Shawl

 Rosewater shawl

Rosewater shawl lace closeup

Rosewater shawl edge

I finished the Rosewater Shawl on new years day and decided to put it away for my niece's birthday (1st of April), and then had a mad dash to get it blocked because I totally forgot about it!

This is a lovely delicate shawl, perfect for sunny spring days, made with fingering weight yarn. I bought the yarn from the Native Yarns stall at last years Festiwool in Hitchin. I had read about Native Yarns in a Country Living magazine a few weeks before and was so glad I had the chance to see and feel their yarns.

It was a quick knit with lots of easy garter stitch rows (I do like garter stitch) before moving onto the lace section.

I don't like to over block my shawls because of the fine yarn ao always worry that the stitch definition won't be great, but I think this came out beautifully. I'm in awe of these shawl designers!

Happy day!

Ciao xx

I feel like i'm on the home stretch

and having a yarnalong with Ginny

Yarnalong 06 04 16

I'm on the foot finishing straight now and have about 3.5cms to go until we try the sock on for size. I managed to do the heel flap and turn on the circular needle but not the gusset. There were too many stitches and it all seemed too tight to work nicely, so I transferred each sock in turn to the dpn's. After I got back down to the required number of stitches for the foot I could put them back onto the circular needle and carry on with the magic loop.

I started this pair of socks 4 weeks ago tomorrow and although the first 4 or 5 days were slow going trying to get my fingers around the magic loop it seems like this method is so much slower than the dpns. The first pair took 3 weeks to the day, one week for sock one and two weeks for sock two. This pair will have taken 5 weeks (give or take a couple of days) to complete. I'm not sure how I feel about all that. I thought the circular needle would be quicker but maybe the only advantage is doing two socks at once, which really is a pretty big advantage!

I'm looking forward to moving onto something else!

I'm not progressing at any great speed with Poisonwood Bible, but I am progressing. And I am quite enjoying it.

Ciao xx