With Bated Breath…

Still waiting on my ESK yarns to get fully engaged with my Yarnathon 2017 knitting – the shipment is right on track, I’m just REALLY impatient to get started! All groups and their members are off to a great start although at the moment, the Peppermint Ponies are bringing up the rear. I expect to singlehandedly boost our stats with my birthday order next week! Well, maybe boost a little… I am still on the never-ending yarn diet of Doom.

As of Saturday AM:

Yarnathon 2017 ~ Teams and standings on 7 Jan '17

Yarnathon 2017 ~ Teams and standings on 7 Jan ’17

What I have done is plan as many non-buying point boosters as I can; these being mostly achievement badges for various skills, spills and thrills in the knit / crochet world. What I am buying for is a toned down version of the Persian Dreams afghan and a crochet version of our team mascot who I’ve dubbed “PepPonia“. So far, I’m favouring one of Heidi’s African Flower motif designs, Fatty Lumpkin, worked in our team colours on Cascade’s 220 Superwash base.

On the WIP front, my Side Effect has it’s first sleeve and the second should be underway later today. Contrary to my lifelong modus operandi, I’m focused on finishing this before going back to other WIP’s. No big thing but working this way as opposed to having six or seven UFO’s strewn over the living and dining room is so much more Zen 🙂

And now Saturday chores and stuff calls ~ loudly, obnoxiously ~ beginning with shovelling out after last Thursday’s very rude dumping of 20cm or so of snow and then freezing rain. Clearly, Mother Nature is not a knitter – I have to keep these muscles protected for warmer, fuzzier activities! Cleaning then organizing an under sink recycling pull out bin will be much easier now that Handy Andy very kindly repaired my ancient sink basket and trap (thank you !) and once the vacuuming is done, I’ll be tucked in with a cuppa, a book and SE’s sleeve 🙂

Here’s hoping your chores are light, and that there’s time for a few stitches where you are. Passez un bon-weekend!

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Provisional Parlance

My two most current WIP’s use a provisional cast on and I thought I’d share a little pictorial of how I do it. My favourite of the many provisional cast on methods is the crochet method and it’s one of many reasons that I think every knitter should have some basic crochet skills – there’s lots of time to entice you to the dark side!

There are two crochet-type methods, the most common is where you create a chain length and then pick up your stitches in the back bump of each chain stitch. This is a perfectly serviceable method but even as an experienced Hookster, I find dealing with a long, floppy bit of string to be a pain. I think it would give a novice the vapours!

For control, neatness and ease – once you’ve practised just a little – the “crochet on” method works best for me and I think would be easier to manage for beginners or entrenched knitters. It does require two “sticks” and works stitches in a knitting-type way, so is a more familiar feel. When done the way I do, there is lots of room to correct stitch count before beginning to work with your project yarn without having to rip out and start over. If you’re as OCD as I am, this method really fits the bill.

Below is a photo infographic with notes of how I work this cast on. I can’t be sure if anyone else does it like this, I haven’t seen it in any tutorials or pictorials, so I’ll call this tweaked version “Kei’s Crochet Provisional Cast On”. You’ll need to click the individual photo in order to read the full text of the instructions 🙂

I hope this is as clear as I think it is and if you are trying this out, feel free to message me if you have a question – there’s a “message me” email button up top there ↑

You will find that you very quickly gain a rhythm with this, using your forefinger to move the yarn from the front of the last stitch made and around to the back for the next one. I like giving myself the insurance of a couple extra chains even if I wind up not needing it and the added control that the beginning tab gives me for those first few stitches.

I’m using a ChiaoGoo circular needle, a Prym hook and a smooth cotton fingering weight (a scrap, don’t remember the brand). Smooth cottons are ideal for any provisional cast on.

Hope this will help someone out!

Cheers all! 🙂

FO Friday ~ Jungle Superhero Pram Blanket

Off the hook and going soon to Mama, Papa and Baby.
My project notes are on Ravelry -> here <-

JSPB’s portfolio:

I’ve been somewhat AWOL the last couple of weeks. Mostly to be sure JSPB was finished but also am participating in Yarn Love’s Castra KAL and test knitting a shawl for my friend Anja (it’s interesting and fun – you’ll want it 🙂 ).and will have an update later this week.

I’m working hard supporting the ‘Save Mooney’s Bay‘ community group and this is my priority at the moment.

A member created this wonderful Youtube video that hits the highlights and provides a link where you can add your voice. Your support would be very appreciated.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! 🙂

Make It Monday ~ Late

I am introverting so hard the last few weeks – sorry for not being more interactive with everyone. Even posting feels like a chore lately.

I do have an FO. My ‘Gothic Starfish‘ afghan is finally finished and ready for gifting. Love the end result but so damn glad this is done! It started as a “let’s use this up” and quickly escalated to a “No-o-o-o! I need to buy more acrylic!” Anyway. It’s perfect for its new home and hopefully, I’ll have pix soon of this eclectic piece in its eclectic house.

I’m working on Le Scarabée Bleu and Brise d’été and loving them both. I can work in the back garden now – it’s tidy, old picnic table gone, shrubs shrubbing, flowers flowering and I have a pretty nook to sit at while I knit, hook and daydream – hence my absence from the Interwebs. I can’t recommend strongly enough unplugging, it’s such a gift!

Victoria Day weekend was amazing – more soul restoring with my Bestie and I’ve been getting my butt to the other side of town for ‘Sit ‘n Knit’ at my LYS, Yarn Forward. At this rate, I may even make it to Guild meetings!  I haven’t written a darn thing, nor do I miss it or care – not so much ‘writer’s block’ as ‘this writer don’t give a crap’ – so liberating! My books are still on Amazon and I don’t have to stress about the devolving of WordPress for poets and authors. More time to do the things that make me happy. Win!

I hope your summer is humming along beautifully and feel free to say hi on Ravelry or Instagram – I’m there more often because they’re ‘quick and dirty’ for posting 🙂

À plus tard!

DIY And WIP

Still not anything on the FO front – spring restlessness and the call of the garden are working a different kind of creative spell 🙂

My poor, poor Rheinlust has suffered some ‘dino damage’! A needle pulled out and I don’t have the patience just yet to tackle dropped twisted stitches. I will, but right now, it’s not happening. I have to fibre so snagged another of Hélène’s patterns, ‘Brise d’été‘ and went stash diving for the right yarn. I came up with a cobweb weight, hand dyed, 100% silk from ‘No Two Snowflakes’.

I’m terrified! I’m still far more enthusiast than expert with my crochet and I rarely knit with cobweb weight – dammit Jim! I’m a maker, not a masochist! So far though, it’s coming out okay and I’m a process stick handler so it’s all about that anyway 🙂 The NTS has a silky hand, subtle sheen and the colour is beautiful.

On the house front, the gardens are coming along well. I had promised myself no plant purchases this year – funds and needing to see how last year’s fill in being the reason – but… I have a few more heuchera and sedum coming and some mini bee balm to keep the bees happy. My living room long term plan got a wee bump up too – curse you Ikea how I love you! The bookcases I’ve had my eye on went on sale and it’s so rare, I decided to go for it. The last bit should be finished by the weekend, super happy that it’s working out for use of space and scale in my little nest 🙂

My Mother’s Day was wonderful as always because… my kids ❤ and my own Mumma ❤ and I hope the same for all the mums who read here.

And here are a few pix of of the WIP’s both wool and wood:

 

Hi! :)

That’s as catchy a title as I can come up with and I agonized over it, believe me!

No FO’s just yet although my ‘Duane Park Triangle‘ shawl is blocking as I type – cursed thing. Remind me to never commit to a pattern that is all garter stitch again. Even the pretty Zen String yarns that I used couldn’t save my attitude by the end.

Happier WIP’s are my ‘Gothic Starfish‘ afghan. It just needs a few rows of black border and it will be out the door to live on my daughter’s purple sofa and my ‘Rheinlust‘ shawl, which I am madly in love with; all twisted stitches and Wollmeise goodness. This is not to say that I now love Wollmeise, I still prefer other yarn bases a LOT but it’s perfect in this pattern.

With spring finally here for real, I’m working hard on my little house and the gardens. Replaced the old mailbox with one that’ll match my new screen door when it goes up and the dead doorbell is on today’s agenda for a new wireless one. Good friends adopted my old wooden picnic table for their cottage and I now have room for an elf-size gazebo in the back garden. Lots of leafy clean up to do before that goes up but it’ll make a lovely outdoor retreat. My little office is coming along too, I just finished the assembly yesterday and am moving files, supplies and all that stuff that’s been living in my kitchen to its proper home.

Finally have my ‘Leaf’ set up and it’s keeping me honest about my exercise goals or err… honest about how much I fool myself! Apparently, knitting does NOT burn many calories… A terrible oversight on the part of our physiology IMHO. Saying goodbye to another dear family member and some irksome ‘girl’ health issues just lately have me wanting to get back to my former athletic self or a reasonable facsimile! I can say that deleting a few of my social media accounts has been a HUGE benefit in terms of stress relief. I mean really? How connected does one woman have to be, right?! 😉

With that, here’s pictorial ‘skinny’ on all of the things :):

Oh! And THIS! A month or so ago, I stabbed my finger with some wicked sharp scissors when I was lifting staples from the back of a painting… I couldn’t even look as I tugged them out and did the first aid thing. Knitting and blocking were really hard for a week or two and now I have a scar! Apparently, I haven’t outgrown this stage…

 

FO Friday ~ Tuscan Medallion Afghan

Not only am I hooked on crochet just lately; I seem to also be a little “star struck” 🙂 ‘Tuscan Medallion’ is another star-shaped afghan, this one with twelve points and big! TMA was started specifically to liberate some old Zen String Bliss Aran from yarn incarceration and to use some odd ball colours of Cascade 220. I was a little leery about the combo at the start – the ZS variegated isn’t “my” colours but as it grew, it did seem a little like some of the pretty tile work that I’m drawn to ie: kitchen backsplash renos on Pinterest! My project notes for this one are on Ravelry -> here <-

TMA’s portfolio:

The additional Cherub DK that I need to finish up ‘Gothic Starfish‘ has finally arrived and I’m back at it to try to wrap it up and get it out the door to the owner of the purple sofa.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! 🙂