Yarn Gone Bad

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I have always said that there is no such thing as bad yarn, just bad project matches. Unfortunately, that makes it hard to get rid of ugly yarns, but it has (on occasion) paid off with deep-sea stash dives unearthing unlikely (but perfect) yarns. My best success story is a pale pink cotton yarn that made a hideous crochet spiral scarf (I now realise that the pattern called for 4ply mohair, not DK cotton). It could have doubled as a pot scrubber and sat around my neck like a dead tentacle. This went on to be frogged and sent back into the stash (to think about what it had done) and eventually went on to make my favourite hearts and diamond shrug, which has now been washed to tatty and still worn. Good yarn. Bad pattern. Lesson learned.

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In a break from shawls (because I have started to chain knit them) and in an effort to tidy up the yarn pile, I decided to cast on a quick stash busting granny square blanket. So, time to tie on a safety line and delve deep in the stash. And sure enough, deep in the lower strata I found a bag of semi-forgotten yarn in just about the right quantity.

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This yarn is ok, but it was a gift from another knitter and in the balance of things not something I would have bought for myself. The colour is fine but I am all about the texture and it feels like old cotton wool/candy floss with an odd “crackle” feel to it. Yep, it is 80s acrylic at its finest, and with a slight mock-mohair halo. But never one to look gift yarn in the mouth, I accepted it but it quickly sunk deep into the stash with barely a ripple (a bit like the car/swamp moment in Psycho).

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Near it (perhaps for emotional support) was an equally texture-hideous yarn. Bought because I really cannot resist sparkly yarn that was 50% off and then (as the yarn fumes receded) slightly regretted it as I couldn’t imagine having it near my face and hair in the originally planned scarf. Static nightmare. Together, however, and in a blanket I spot a win.

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So the plan is to use the four different sparkle yarns to break up the wide stripes of the red. Time will tell if there is enough yarn for a full bed blanket but I can always do something clever on the boarder to make it wider.

LouBug

 

 

 

 

Knitting All The Things…

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Autumn is in full blaze and it won’t be long before winter starts thinking dark thoughts. And so, I now find myself in need of all the things I started to knit in the hazy summer days. Now, you might have gathered that I have a bit of a strained relationship with my WIPs, some of whom I have barely spoken to or looked at in months. Others get doted on for months and then suddenly forgotten and others never leave my side until they are finished (I think they make the other WIPs jealous). There are even the strange few that I adore so much that I immediately cast on a twin (which invariably then gets forgotten).

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Ally Pally is a good motivator, as I often see things that inspire me and I want to make (and then invariably realise that I actually saw them – and started them – last year). This then leads to an all points search for it and I start going through the WIP box and bag check everything. For me this is usually a bit of a reality check (up there with a full stash search, pack and sort) as I find things that are quite cool and I want to work on them.

A lot of my projects manage to stay near the top of my project box (and so stand a chance of ever being finished) but far too many seem to have slipped through the gaps in my attention. And I am resolved to power through them and try to add at least an inch to every project. It may not sound much, but it just might be enough to start a completion frenzy for that lonely little project.

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So, to help shame me into finishing things, here is the list of bagged and started projects for the world to see:

*deep breath*

1. Four pairs of socks.

2. Two shawls.

3. Two cardis.

4. One jumper.

5. Two blankets.

6. One pair of mittens.

7. One brioche scarf.

8. One mitre square pillow.

9. One sock weight scarf (scrap down).

10. Two TMNT hats.

11. Two hello kitty hats.

12. Three pairs of Christmas socks, a dinosaur, a penguin, an angel, a small teddy, a reindeer and snowflakes for an already crocheted wreath.

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Some of these are Christmas knits (and on the schedule for half-term), some are small silly things (I do love the Let’s Knit kits) and some are serious projects that will need a hefty chunk of time.

Time to start knitting!

LouBug

The Trouble With TV

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Now the year 11s have gone, life is slowly returning to my evenings. This basically has opened up a whole world of trash TV to my innocent eyes! My current guilty pleasure is “The hoarder next door”, which I like because it doesn’t point and mock & doesn’t just shout at the person and tell them to throw things out . It recognises that most of these people don’t want to live like this, they just can’t do it by themselves. I have seen similar programs (notably the USA version which seems to equate bullying someone into crying with good telly). But this one seems to be more compassionate and more interested in actually helping them rather than shaming.

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The downside is that it makes you look nervously at your own home and wonder if you are also a small tipping point away from having crammed rooms (with small “goat paths” through the mess) and whole rooms blocked for years. At what point do you get blind to the piles of stuff and it becomes normal?

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For a knitter and crafter it can also be worrying to hear people justify having ten half-finished bottles of crusty ten-year old ketchup. Especially if you hear them use the same phrases that I occasionally use to justify my stash – “but it is useful”, “it cost too much to throw away”, “but I like it” and the dreaded “I will sort it later, I am sure it is worth keeping”. There is (of course) no way I am comparing my yarn stash to piles of mouldy newspaper, but the sight of these people’s once treasured possessions now covered in rat droppings and mould does make you stop and think. And worry. And start tidying up!

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Ok, so first step is diagnosis. My stash is reasonably under control and does (mostly) fit in the box, and it has all been stored in plastic zip-lock bags with a sense of order to the groupings. However, my main problem in my craft hoard is that my project bags have started to spread. This is not helped by my minor addiction to making new bags (they are so pretty). This, and the fact that there are two main piles (craft room and next to the sofa) so that it is easy to ignore the sprawl. So plan A is to try to reduce the number of active projects down to the amount that can fit into my craft caddie.

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I have already made some headway with this (the recently finished blanket and socks are a good start) and the real test will be not casting anything on until the end of term. Not casting on is the really tough part, but I shall be strong. I really can’t stress how hard not casting on is. One week in and I am starting to crumble, but holding strong. However, there is an upside to this self-imposed task, and that is the unearthing of old projects.

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Like opening an ancient tomb, I have been peeking into brightly coloured bags and finding lovely things I had forgotten about. Stuff that a stress crazy brain couldn’t cope with, stuff not suitable for social knitting, or just stuff I didn’t fancy making at that point. This peeking has already yielded some pleasing results, such as dusting off the fantastic silk shawl I started in October (or there abouts). I have managed to finish another 28 row repeat over the weekend and it is starting to gain momentum. There is still a long way to go, but at least it is now moving along.

I shall not cast anything on. I shall not cast anything on. I shall not cast anything on. I shall not cast anything on. I shall not cast anything on. I shall not cast anything on.….

LouBug

Nesting

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Here they all are, my knitting projects bagged up ready to … knit! I’ve gone into full on nesting mode with the impending summer holidays. The only difference is that there is no new baby arriving, just my two old giant babies…for a whole 6 weeks.

Ideas Book

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In hindsight I knew that my first son was due to be born. I’d done a huge supermarket shop on the spur of the moment and was busy cooking the whole lot and carefully storing it in freezer pots that I’d carefully purchased the week before. This is not normal behaviour – and surprise surprise, my eldest was born a few days later. I have that same feeling now…that feeling that I won’t be able to leave the house unhindered for the next 6 weeks, so anything that requires any effort or brain power HAD BETTER BE DONE NOW! QUICK! HURRY!

Plan #1

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Plan #2

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Anyway, assuming my brain will be mush as I am inhumanely bombarded with outings/requests/bum wiping duties I have lovingly chosen some nice easy knitting projects, collected the required yarn and needles and bagged them up. Fingers crossed I actually have time to knit the damn things…

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It’s Good To Be A Knitter

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It is good to be a knitter. My stash is bloated, my project pile is stupidly high and instead of it being a problem, it just makes me happy. But I guess what is better that being a knitter, has to be living with one. Mr LouBug and Cat have long come to terms with the problems of living with a knitter (I may or may not have commandeered the utility room for my yarn and craft storage), but they have also discovered the benefits.

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Cat has definitely discovered the benefits and now tends to try to colonise anything he deems to be his, often through stealth and (particularly when it is still on the needles) with determination. He has stopped short of actually sleeping in the stash (or the project box) but that may be because he isn’t sure how serious I am when I told him that I would turn his white bits neon pink if he did. Ok, so maybe I was lying (after all he is very cute) but don’t let him know.

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Mr LouBug has definitely discovered the benefits of my knitting habit. Front and centre has to be my ability to sit through any level of cr@p TV (without complaint) as long as I have knitting. Seriously, I have reasonably relaxed tolerance for rubbish TV but there are only so many things with shouty cops that a girl can take. SWAT I am not. Second on the plus column has to be the fact that I do not covert designer clothes, fancy handbags or Mr T style jewellery; nope I just like posh string.

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That and the socks. Yep, I am like a pusher of drugs. Once you have tried hand-knitted socks it is hard to step back into ill-fitting shop bought ones, especially if you are size 10 and have skinny feet. Say hello to my latest offering. I am thinking of a Dr Who type name for them (as they have flashes of TARDIS blue in them). Hopefully they should act as a good distraction from the fact that the project pile is slowly taking over the sitting room.

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But, just in case, I have also cast on a blanket for him. Better safe than “sorry I cleared out the sitting room, did you want those cloth bags?”

*shudder*

LouBug

A Small Issue Of Casting On

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As I mentioned, I have had a small series of “making” explosions recently. Firstly yarn. Even I will admit that my recent level of yarn purchasing has tipped from reasonable to rebellious. I love, love, love all of it (and it is all beautiful and I will use it…eventually).The guilt is setting in and I think I had better buy sensible things (like work clothes and underwear) for a bit and knit down the stash.

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BOOM! Next explosion was in bag making. I bought some lovely fat quarters on holiday and from Ally Pally, but didn’t really do much with it. Happily they are now fulfilling their craft destiny and keeping my projects looking lovely! Unfortunately, as soon as I have a new bag I immediately want to use it. I would like to say that I simply re-homed an existing project, but we would both know I would be lying.

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Then there was the great stitch marker conversion plan. I have recently fallen in love with the 12mm jump rings you can get at John Lewis. These humble little unbroken rings of metal magically make my stitch markers look a billion times more professional (with the added bonus that they don’t snag). Over a decade of knitting I have accumulated quite a range of stitch markers (I am always on the lookout for little bead charms that I can use). They even have their own special box. Different sets have their own little zip lock bags. I tend to deploy them to match the bag and project. Yes, I know, but it could be worse (I could collect creepy china cats) and now they are gradually getting a makeover. The added bonus of the jump rings is that I can slip a chain into them and they make rather cute pendants.

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All of this has danced around the edge of my small issue with casting on. The Yarn Harlot refers to it as “startyitis” but for me it is more of an explosion. All seems normal and then I look away for five minutes and BOOM suddenly there are several new projects on the go. A lady would not fully admit to the extent of the problem (but I am now out of row counters and anything above 40cm knit pro cables). All I will admit to is that I now have two cardigans, one jumper, two blankets and many socks, scarves and socks.

The real question is, will I actually resist simply buying more counters and cables…..

LouBug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still Water And Hot Fire

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The warm weather has resulted in a rare burst of speed in my knitting and projects have been flying off the needles in the last couple of weeks. Naturally this has been matched by a worrying level of casting on (and if I am worried then you know there must be more than a few new projects on the go).

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First up, something still, calm and spring-like (picture daffodils in a field with a clear sky above). I give you Sprung (see above). I am really happy about the way the yarn has washed in and out of the colour changes. This is from the yarn super bargain I got at Get Knitted in Bristol over the summer, and I am pleased to report that I have three more balls (in different colour ways) still to enjoy.

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Annoyingly, it is a tiny bit out of sync on the toes (despite being exactly the same row count and matching exactly earlier), but even I concede that it is barely visible especially with the curve over the top, so I think I will let that one be.

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Another thing in the finish pile – I give you my self-medicating stress socks (see above). As I am sure you remember, these socks were a point of high necessity after a particularly hard week with deadlines and crazy levels of marking pounding at my door. There was none of the usual ‘calmly getting the yarn out, short listing, narrowing down and eventually selecting the top choices until the winner is found’. Nope, this was a quick mental review of what was available (and near the top) and then grab and cast on while my brain continued to frizz.

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Many people would worry that my brain needed bright pink socks to chill out but I am lovin’ the bright pink “Honolulu” Jitterbug (mmmm Jitterbug). The photo doesn’t do the bright pink justice, but trust me, it does indeed look like red-hot magma peeking out from under a burnt liquid metal crust.

Now, back to my knitting frenzy!

LouBug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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