Knitted Flowers

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At the risk of my new home resembling LouBug’s knitted grotto, I have decided to err on the side of caution and confine my knitted wonders to one space. This is, of course, because I couldn’t actually replicate LouBug’s abode even if I wanted to, what with my distinct lack of quality and quantity. That aside, my efforts are probably safer in a group. Safety in numbers. The odd knitted cake dotted around might look weird. Together though…magnificent!

This musing has been at the forefront of my mind as I’ve searched Ravelry looking for the perfect item to compliment my ‘arrangement’. Thought process…fake teacup, fake chocolates, fake cakes, fake biscuit…fake flowers of course!

A great blog by Knitterings has led me to these delightful additions (thanks for the photo go to Knittering blogspot)

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I followed a really easy tutorial (complete with photos) and did the stem and a petal in no time. The tutorial I followed on YouTube used double-pointed needles for the icords (and I used 4.5mm circular needles), but apart from that it was quite straightforward. Just have to finish the other petals…and knit about another ten to fill my ‘vase’. A small pot with a cosy around it perhaps? I hear Val Pierce’s Knitted Mug Hugs (Twenty to Make) calling – I’m sure I have a copy upstairs…

KnitWit

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Mighty Mittens

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Well, one bonus of having a project bag sort out was that I unearthed a half-finished pair of colour work mittens (that and the fact that both Cat and Mr LouBug can go back to politely fighting over the spare chair in the utilities room).

My bag sort was mainly focused on working out which bags had works-in-progress, and which ones had yarn and patterns but no actual casting on. I then took a long hard look at the non-started projects and worked out if I was actually going to make them. If yes, then I found needles and did a token cast on. If no, then it went back in the stash.

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Oddly, and despite the fact that about 500g of yarn was added to it, the stash box now closes in a way it didn’t before. Admittedly I did sort the stash bags out, but nothing was taken out (just colour and fibre sorted).

I think this falls under the same type of mystery as losing weight despite having an ice cream only diet for a week and then suddenly gaining half a stone despite being on a rabbit food and gym-based regime. Ultimately the universe will balance and I foresee a point when I will try to add just one more ball and it will suddenly overflow uncontrollably.

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So here they are, my first all over colour work mittens!

The yarn was from Loop (50g each of alpaca), the basic pattern is my own but the colour work pattern was from Susie Johns’ The Harmony Guides: Colourwork Stitches: 250 Designs to Knit.

I stuffed the colour work up a bit on the decreases (I shall see how it wears and then either live with it or Swiss darn it), but otherwise a bit of a win.

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Here is an inside/outside view (do note the evenly spaced floats!).

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I even took some advice and gave them a little bath. I was very twitchy about them felting (as they were a bit snug to start with) especially as it was pure wool, but they came out safe and sound. They have actually come out better than expected as the yarn has relaxed a bit and now has a slight (but lovely) halo. Over time, the inside should “full” a bit (I think this is a mild form of felting), which will make them a little thicker and even more snuggly.

Now all I have to do is resist the temptation to wear them out in June….

LouBug

Knit your own Holiday!

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Call me fickle, but after a brief fight with my double-pointed needles I decided to kick ‘Clyde’ to the curb. Bye-bye bunny. It’s not me, it’s you. Dumped!

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Swift to fill this stuffed bunny shaped hole in my life is ‘Scuttle’. I’d seen this pattern before in July’s issue of (you’ve guessed it) Let’s Knit, and really liked it. I had a vision to knit the squares separately, and not join them, then frame each one.

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Growing up by the seaside, there’s something familiar and homely about these knitted fish and I want them for my new house. This is the perfect project to ignore all the paperwork and horror of moving house, and pretend we’ve already moved in and are ready to decorate. Head firmly in sand.

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So far, I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out. Boy #1 already asked, ‘What’s that fish?’ unprompted…so at least I can rest assured my orange creation actually resembles a fish. Generally five-year olds don’t try to spare your feelings.

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I’m just busy clicking off the rows to create the watery backdrop, and then my masterpiece will be complete. Mwah ha ha.

KnitWit

Battle of the Socks

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I have long since realised that being a sock maker is my default inner knitter. Yes, I might dabble in shawls, jumpers and knitted cakes but my heart was freely given the first time I wore a pair of my own socks.

I have often thought that this is because the different patterns and methods give me an infinity of different possibilities, and so there is always something else to try. That, and the fact that they are ridiculously nice to wear!

Currently, I have four pairs on the needles (and three more queued). I have two socks particularly vying for my attention (like jocks around a cheerleader), and both socks have equal merit but different personalities.

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Contender number 1 is frankly stunning! I started this one just after the honeycomb socks as my lunch-time knit, but crazy work times have left it untouched in the pocket of my work bag.

I re-discovered it while waiting for a parent’s evening and realised how pretty it was going to be. Sadly, it also needs more attention than a work tired brain can cope with. After a term of only getting to the first heel I felt sorry for it and put some rows on it at home. The downside is that it does need eyes down and brain awake to knit it which makes it bad TV knitting.

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Which brings me to contender number 2, which is so easy you feel the other socks gossip about it behind its back. I actually started this on Tuesday when I realised that my brain couldn’t be trusted to knit lace, and I just couldn’t face adding rows to my purple cardigan.

The heart wants what the heart wants so I stash dove some stripy sock yarn and cast on. The yarn does all the work colour-wise, and I am simply knitting round and round and clicking the counter as I go. One of the big achievements I had as a knitter is when I could finally do plain knitting without looking, trusting my hands to notice any problems was a bit of a learning curve. Being able to read my Kindle and plain knit was a dancing around the living room moment of joy.

Plain socks do have a bit of a low boredom threshold for me so I keep filp flopping between super lace and super easy. So, tricky beauty verses the tart with a heart, which sock will be the first on my feet? The race is on.

LouBug

Galaxy Swirl Lap Blanket

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Firstly (totally un-knit related), how cool is my rose?! I have never seen a triple centred rose before, so I thought I’d better cut it before it got blown about and wrecked. Is it a mutant? I am intrigued (and slightly wondering if it is really common, but I have failed to notice one before). I think I will buy a lotto ticket this week in case it has a four-leaf clover effect!

So, if next week I am typing this from my millionaire Alpaca farm, then you know it was a magical flower after all….

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I did it! I finished the (newly re-named) Galaxy Swirl lap blanket. Even more impressive I have put the empty project bag away and not immediately filled it with a new project! Talking to KnitWit about blocking, I thought I would show a few blocking photos (note the lack of drawing pins *hee hee*).

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So this is its natural, pre-blocked state (with really curly edges).

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I know a lot of people work on towels or blocking boards, but personally I work straight onto the carpet. Not best practice but it works for me! First I pinned the centre star and then systematically worked from centre to edge, gently spraying, stroking outwards and stretching as I went. Me being me, I also measure checked that all points were stretched to the same length.

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I then gave it a good spray down and left it for about an hour. I then carefully unpinned the centre and stretched it some more. Like before, I gradually worked outwards repositioning the pins as I went.

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I then left it overnight, gave it another spray down in the morning and removed the pins when I got home from work. Like magic I now have non-curly and nicely defined points! It always amazes me how much blocking improves the drape and feel of the fabric (strangely it seems softer) and gives it a freshly ironed shirt kind of aura.

LouBug

Quick Knits & Goldfish Brains

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Pah, I thought to LouBug’s last post. What kind of a goldfish brain does my sister LouBug have?! Zillions of started, and yet unfinished, projects loaded up and she STILL keeps starting new projects! Aside from my ongoing Wingspan scarf, I start a project…then finish it (eventually) – does this make me a smug knitter?

On closer inspection, it seems it is I who is the goldfish brain. The vast majority of my projects (knitted elephants aside), are short-lived and quick to complete. Perhaps it is me who lacks patience…

You can imagine my pleasure, then, when the Let’s Knit supplement from July fell into my lap “Easy One-Ball Knits 17 Patterns”. The combination of “easy” and “make in a weekend” has lured me in.

The two patterns I like the most are ‘Clyde’ the knitted bunny and “Melanie” lace scarf.

Behold my latest WIPs!

Clyde

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Melanie

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Disclaimer
Yes, I know I always get my patterns from Let’s Knit…and no, I do not own shares in the magazine and I am not paid for its promotion (sadly). I’m just a sad creature of habit 🙂

KnitWit

Bling Dat Knitting!

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(Yes Cat was asleep exactly where I wanted to take this photo and yes, he did give me the stink eye when I put it on him!)

I am happy to say that I have solved my problem of running out of project bags (while happily ignoring the other problem of my overflowing project box).

No, I didn’t go on a mad finishing up spree. I solved the problem by making more bags! However, after a few pointed comments from Mr LouBug at the loss of his chair in the utilities room, I have started to wind projects up (either that or I have found a new place to hide them – bwahaha).

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I also managed to add to my stitch marker collection. I know KnitWit doesn’t get my minor obsession with stitch markers, but there is something very nice about having little tiny charms hanging from your knitting.

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Seeing a tiny teacup and knowing that I am halfway around a row is a nice way of coping with a row of 300 stitches (as is mentally telling yourself to knit to the ladybird and then stop to make dinner).

I also like the way that some of my sets have evolved (rather than bought at the same time). I now have a fairytale set with everything from a frog (to kiss and turn into a prince), a high heel shoe (to leave behind before midnight), and a dragon (just because).

Maybe soon I will find a tiny spinning wheel, a mouse, or a swan’s feather. The on-going mission continues!

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This led me to wonder what other things people do to bling up their knitting. I have a couple of “knit dots” that you can wiggle into your knitting (like a cuff link) and are really useful when doing a million yards of stockinette (scarves, blankets and the like).

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I use them to mark an inch under my start point so I can actually feel like I am making progress and don’t have to resort to obsessive stretching and measuring.

It does work quite well as you can focus on how much you have knit in your session rather than how much has been done overall (and helps avoid the Groundhog Day feeling of knitting and knitting and knitting but not getting any further along).

So, what do you do to bling up your WIPs (rather than the finished object)? Any ideas for me to add more glam to my knits?

LouBug

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