Sunday, 31 December 2017

A look back at 2017

So 2017 is coming to an end and we begin a new year. 2017 has been a bit of a roller coaster year for me. In particular the last 6 months were full of ups and downs, mostly downs, but I'm looking forward and hoping that 2018 proves to be much better.
I know I haven't been very active here in the last year but Ginny is starting up the Yarn Along again this year in a new monthly format and I'm going to try participate in that which will mean more regular posts.

So on to some lists!

In 2017 I completed 32 knitting projects. A little down on 2016 but I did loose my knitting mojo for quite a while. These projects included:

1 soaker
14 hats of various sizes
3 headbands 
1 sock key chain 
1 cowl
1 toddler sweater
1 flower in a pot
3 toys
4 shawls
2 pairs of booties
1 pair of socks

I did a bit more sewing this year than previous years including -

1 superhero cape
1 superhero belt
3 superhero masks
1 snow white bow
1 rapunzel wig
1 quilt for Mr A.
3 sets of bunting
8 magic wands
5 lavender heat pads
4 Christmas stockings 
6 sets of reusable makeup wipes
About 100 Christmas tree decorations
20 lavender sachets

I also up cycled single duvet and duvet cover into a toddler bed duvet and duvet cover and a toddler bed comforter. 
These are just the projects I remember but I think there are a few more. 

I've been reading a good bit in the second half of this year and as I'll be joining in on the yarn along in 2018 I thought I'd add a list of some of the books I've read this year. There are ones I've missed, (maybe they just were that interesting?) but thanks to my library account I can see what I've checked out this year and added a few more that I've bought or borrowed.

1. The handmaids tale - Margaret Atwood
3. Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng (a new author for me this year and I've really enjoyed her books).
6. My Grandmother sends her regards and apologies - Fredrik  Backman (another new author for me this year and a new favourite one!)
9. When I'm gone - Emily Bleeker (wow this one made me cry so much!)
20. Everything I never told you - Celeste Ng

My to be read pile is quite long at the moment but I'm looking forward to some good reads in 2018. Did you have any stand outs reads in 2017 that you'd like to recommend?

So here's to 2018, may it be filled with all the best things that life can bring 😊.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Test knits

Tap, tap, hello? Anybody home?
I know it's been months! I started the year off with a plan to at least post some finished knits at the end of each month but we'll that never happened!  Well let's just say that with 3 kids under 6 life tends to get in the way. 😀

Anyway,  to ease myself back in to things I thought I'd share some test knits I've done over the last month or two.

First up Bowline by Tin Can Knits.

Pattern:  Bowline by Tin Can Knits.
Size: 1-2 years
Yarn: Rico Essential Aran Soft Merino in Cinnamon (Colourway 65)
Yarn amount: 150 g/ 300 m

This sweater is knit in the round from the bottom up and uses a textured garter rib feature on the chest and back as well as on the hem and cuffs. The pattern itself offers good value for money as sizes go from 0-6 months up to 4XL. Many testers, myself included, found that they needed to add extra length to the sleeves and body. I knit the 1-2 years size and added an extra inch to the body and sleeve lengths.  Mr C isheading for 2 but I based this on intial chest measurements(and the fact that my kids tend to grow up quicker than out) but there wasn't as much ease in the finished knit as I expected.  Plus he had a massive growth spurt mid knit so the finished sweater just about fit. It's now in the gift pile.

Next up a super quick free pattern from Kelly.

Pattern:  Wee Morrie by Kelly Van Niekerk
Size: nb
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto Dk in Banana (colourway 57)
Yarn amount: 23 g/ 48 m

Super cute and quick baby bonnet. Cast on at the front edge and worked flat until the crown decreases. The I cord ties are added separately. And there is a matching cardy, Wee Ashley, if you want a cute coming home set for a baby in your life. Another one for the random baby knits looking for an owner pile 😄.

I promise to try not to leave it another months until  my next post!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Yarn Along and February Finished Knits

I'm reading To Kill a Mockingbird again. I first read this book at 14 as part of theach English Junior cert curriculum. At the end of first year our English teacher had told us to read it over the summer to be ready for study in September.  I'm fairly sure I was the only one that did! But I've read it nearly every year since. The one on the left is my original copy. It was second hand when I got it over 20 years ago but in excellent shape. But over the years and the many, many times I've read it the cover has come off and taped back on, as have a few pages. But yet I never wanted to replace it. But finally somewhere along the way, the loose binding and pages resulted in therror loss of the last 10 or so pages 😟. That was several years ago now and I haven't replaced it. Something didn't feel right about getting a new copy. But I came across a copy in the local second hand shop and decided to give it a new home. I still won't be getting rid of my old copy though. It may be coming a part and have a few lost pages but it's like an old friend. So it will sit on my shelf along aside it's newer version a day they can get old and crumpled together!

On to the finished knits!

First up a chunky boomerang shawl. I'm not all that fond of working with chunky yarn, even though I love how squishy it is! Maybe I just haven't found any patterns I really like? I had 6 balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky in my stash for a long time. I spotted Shades of Wicklow on Ravelry a while back and as I'm from Wicklow I just had to give it a go. The first section was fine but we I completed the single coloured textured second section I didn't really like how it looked so I ripped back and replaced it with garter stitch. The pattern requires 100 g/110 m each of 3 colours which I didn't exactly have. I had 100 g of A, 150 g of B and 50 g of C, so while I did keep the colour changes almost the same as the pattern I had to change things around a little to work for what I had and to use up all I had!of course I didn't take notes!

Pattern: modified Shades of Wicklow by Martina Patricia Munroe
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky
Yarn amounts: 100 g/110 m chocolate (43004), 150 g/165 m rust (43005) and 50 g/55 m of ecru (43003).

Next a quick baby hat for a soon to be born first baby of my husbands coworker. I finished it up last minute so I only had time to take a very quick photo on my phone.

Pattern: Little Harvester by me! (RavelryLove knitting)
Yarn: Bumblebirch Forage in Rosemary
Yarn amounts: 24 g/48 m
Size: 0-6 months

Some matching booties (again dreadful phone photo!).

Pattern: Cozy Toes by me! (RavelryLove knitting)
Yarn: Bumblebirch Forage in Rosemary
Yarn amounts: 26 g/52 m
Size: baby

I did a 2x2 rib on the cuff to match the hat ribbing and as I was stuck for time I crocheted a chain for the tie rather than an I cord. 

My cousin recently had a baby too so more baby knits! I'm working on a fingering weight Ballinakill hat (RavelryLove knitting) and I've already whipped up some booties with a matching mock cable detailing. I'm checking the numbers but I'll hopefully be releasing that pattern this month, in fingerings weight and hopefully dk and aran too.  As she shares the grandmother that inspired the design I thought it was an appropriate design to knit!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Yarn Along

It's been a while since I've had a chance to post! 
I'm  re-reading Sense and Sensibility. I love Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice is my favourite but I do have a soft spot for Sense and Sensibility.

I've finished a couple of test knits and I've just started Shades of Wicklow. I'm trying to knit from stash and I've had several balls of of Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky in my stash for quite a while which I bought with a different project in mind. I don't really like working with chunky yarn so it has just been sitting there ignored. I wanted to use it up and came across Shades of Wicklow. As I'm from Wicklow, it had to be the perfect pattern to get me to use up that chunky yarn!

February 1st is traditionally the first day of spring here in Ireland. To mark the change of season my pattern Spring Rising is 25% off in my Ravelry store for today only! 

I've also listed on of the samples I knit when working on the pattern on Etsy here. This is a sample of the shorter cowl knit in handspun merino-soya blend yarn.

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

A review of 2016

It's time to look back on my crafting for 2016.

In 2016 I completed 34 knitting projects. Down a bit on the previous years but not too bad. They included:

1 pair of baby trousers
4 pairs of socks and booties
2 pairs of mittens
3 hats
6 cardigans and sweaters
3 cowls
1 dolls skirt
2 dresses
6 toys
1 bookmark
1 crown
1 tea cozy
1 decoration
1 scarf

I also released 3 new patterns.

First Cozy toes (RavelryLoveknitting)

 The pattern is written for 5 sizes from baby to adult L in worsted/aran weight yarn so they knit up quick! They're a nice introduction to sock knitting before moving on to fingers weight sock yarn.
They're knit from the cuff down with a slipped stitch heel flap giving extra cushioning and wear. They feature an i-cord tie to keep the socks on wriggly baby and toddler toes but is an optional addition for larger sizes.

Gauge: 22 stitches to 10 cm in stocking stitch
Baby (Toddler, Child, Adult S,  Adult M,  Adult L)
Foot circumference 37.5 (40, 45, 50, 52.5, 55) cm
Leg and foot length is adjustable.

Next Spring Rising  (RavelryLoveknitting)

a cowl designed for DK yarn in two sizes. The small has a circumference of approx 52 cm while the larger size has a circumference of approx 130 cm and can be wrapped twice.

Yarn requirements:
Any DK weight yarn. I used Debbie Bliss Rialto DK in the sample shown here.

Small - 130 m approx
Large - 400 m approx

Gauge : 20 sts to 10cm on 4.5 mm needles.
Achieving correct gauge isn't essential but it will effect the amount of yarn you will require. 

And finally, Colour Block Hat (RavelryLoveknitting)

The Colour Block Hat is written for 9 sizes: 35 cm to 60 cm head circumference (approx 0-3 months to adult large) in double knitting weight yarn.
The ribbed brim is worked in a strong colour with the textured body of the hat worked in a neutral to bring out the vibrancy of the rib. To finish a pompom in a lighter shade of that used in the rib is added.
The instructions for optional rosebuds and leaves are added at the end of the pattern.

Yarn amounts (approx): Main colour 35 to 52.5 cm – up to 50 g / 105 m 55 to 60 cm – up to 100 g / 210
Contrast colours Up to 20 g/ 42 m of each.
The sample shown here is knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto Dk in Fuchsia (34) and Charcoal (33) and Rico Essentials Merino DK in Roses (01).

I also sewed, 
3 beanbags
1 nightdress
1 birthday bunting
2 sets of super hero cuffs
2 super hero masks
3 crowns
3 magic wands and 2 tutus (although they didn't involve much sewing).

This year I hope to sew some more clothes for the kids as well as finish Mr A's quilt (it just needs to he quilting finished and then to bind it) and least make a start on a quilt for Mr C. I will need to pick up some more fabric for Mr C's quilt but I have picked out a lot from stash to use for it. I'm also going to try to continue to just knit from stash whenever possible.

Happy new year!

New year Yarn Along

For the first yarn along of 2017 I'm sharing a wonderful children's book. Blueberry girl by Neil Gaiman was given to Miss S by her Auntie E for Christmasand we have been reading it a lot ever since. This poem is a prayer for what every parent wishes for their little girl. Both the writing and illustrations are beautiful. While it's not a typical rhyming fairy tale for children and some of it may go over the head of my 3 yo the sentiments are beautiful and it will be enjoyed by children of all ages. I'd definitely recommend it for your daughter,  niece, granddaughter or any special girl in your life.

On the knitting front I'm almost finished the secret test knit, just one more row and cast off. I'll  share more when the pattern is released in February or March.