All I need now are five Buttons

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A new cardigan!

I have a new finished object! I’ve been finishing things fairly quickly recently, since we got all the junk out of my crafting room. This one is actually a girls’ pattern by Sirdar, it’s 1273, but without the fair isle pattern. Knitted in Patons FAB which is 100% acrylic. The shade was Rio, a lovely bright slightly boys  shade that I’d put a girl in any way.

When I say finished I mean I need to get buttons, but I’m going to venture into a physical yarn store to do that, for once…

This was how it started…

Again I was shopping on Deramores and I was just looking at Patons, I like the brand and I’ve been using it for years, always good quality. I’m not overly keen on acrylic, I prefer cotton, but this one was actually quite nice. It didn’t strand and there wasn’t any of that horrible squeaking noise they sometimes make. The stitches are clearer than on some acrylics, but nowhere near as good as the likes of cotton.

It was sadly made in Turkey, realistically I can’t afford Yarns made in the UK such as WYSpinners or the lovely country bird range Andi found me. I’d rather have something made in the UK, or even Europe.

The yarn is meant to be machine washable, at 40° and low tumble dry. I won’t be risking that last one and 30° is good enough, better yet, COOL WASH. I’m always scared of damaging something I’ve knitted. This will be the real test of the yarn since it’s not yet been washed.

Lying in pieces, with the back still in progress.

This Sirdar pattern 1273 is very nice with a great fair isle pattern, but I omitted that to just make a normal cardigan. It says it’s for girls but I’ve made some for Sandy and Neil. The pattern is written for their beautiful Baby Bamboo yarn, and that’s a favourite but that’s more Andi’s thing and that’s for another blog post.

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I even knitted on bamboo needles!

Bamboo needs have long been Andi’s obsession, she either can’t or won’t knit on metal single pointed, although she hates bamboo double-pointed. I wanted to see what the fuss was about and there is definitely something lighter about them. Their easier on the wrists. So I’ll be doing that again fo sure!

Stitch definition

As I said about the stitch definition, it’s great! For an acrylic. I do like Patons, as did my mum, but back then it was a UK brand working only in the UK, now it’s all foreign labour I’m a bit put off.

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And what next?

A chunky black and purple cardigan for my daughter. It’s acrylic, but it’ll keep her warm until she earns a woolen one!

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Work in Progress – Fair Isle Vest

I’ve been knitting again, well, I’ve not stopped. Since finding Deramores getting wool has been easier.  I found an amazing fair isle vest pattern by King Cole and I knew instantly that Andi would love one for her son. It was vintage, retro, granddad vests and cardigans! But I didn’t like the colours. You can buy the pattern here if you like it too. It’s sized 0-6 months to 4 years.

A real Granddad vest!

So I decided I was definately going to make this one but I needed to choose the colours. I like clashing things, originally I was going to do grey or black, but when I saw the colours in King Cole Big Value DK I knew I wanted Gold. The other colour is a Navy from King Cole Comfort Baby DK. When my parcel came this was the first thing I started out of all the yarns I’d bought.

Knitting up the front, with a fairly simple fair isle pattern

The back was easy and only took two or three days, but it was plain, the front took me much longer because of the fair isle pattern. The effect is well worth it though.

Pinned out to dry flat

When both pieces were finished, yesterday, I carefully hand washed them and pinned them out onto a towel to dry. I always do this because the pieces dry flat and are easier to sew up. So for now I’m just waiting for the pieces to dry and I’ll be picking up the neck and arm holes and it will be finished! I’m really excited to see this one done.

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Here is a close up of the fair isle pattern.

 

This was my first time using Big Value DK and over all it’s just another acrylic, better than Robin or other cheap ones, but okay. The texture is pleasing enough, I can’t say I’d use this again because I prefer cotton yarns, but for an acrylic it’s okay.

Comfort is a lovely soft blend of Acrylic and Nylon, it fluffs a lot so the stitch definition is lost, but for this I think it works. I like it for baby things, but it wears out fairly quickly so I’d not make much out of it.

Both yarns are good enough for the price though.

Another Wool Haul

200 Crochet flowers, embellishments & trims

I’m always needing something to finish a little cardigan, or something I’ve sewn. Crochet embellishments just work great for me, and I seem to always be making flowers for something, so I’ve treated myself to this book, I’ve not made anything yet though. I think it looks good, and the instructions seem easy to follow, maybe I’ll write a review soon.

20 to make Crochet Granny Squares

I always find granny squares versatile too. Sandy has blankets made from them, as did my children. I’ve used them in cardigans, bags, everything. I got this from Deramores, again I’m very pleased with it and it seems easy to follow. It’s also small, so I can take it out with me.

Red heart 100% acrylic black 4ply. The left over Wendy Festival from Andi’s winter set. And a set of buttons I liked.

All of the above is from Deramores. I’m making a little cardigan from the black acrylic, it’s cheap, and I don’t know how it will wear so if the jacket comes out very nice I’ll make another one in cotton. It’s for Sandy, in 2-3 years, but the pattern includes 3-4 as well.

The Wendy made Andi a very nice hat and scarf, but I’ve not yet got the decent pictures of it.

And the buttons? I don’t know yet, I just liked them.

Sirdar Montana

Eight balls of Sirdar Montana. I’m not sure what this is for yet, it was in the sale.

Thee balls of Patons 100% cotton. Two balls of red Bonus DK acrylic, and one ball of green.

This yarn is from Hobycraft, the black 100% cotton. I got red and green is acrylic too, there was a 3 for 2 offer on. I want to do a strawberry jumper. I had to drive ten miles to the nearest hobby craft though, which is slightly annoying, on the plus side, parking was free.

C&H wool haul.

This photo is a mess. I raided the sales in my local (expensive) wool shop. I did very well.

I got a pack of crochet hooks, just because they’re always good to have around and I’m missing a lot of smaller sizes.

4 balls of Wendy Supreme DK cotton, two orange and two green.

Sirdar snuggly 4ply in sage.

An odd patterned wool that’s lost the band.

And an odd chunky, same story.

Regia 4ply sock wool, two balls.

An eyelash yarn by Sirdar, not sure what for, but loving the colour. I only use those yarns for trims anyway.

4 balls of a nice cotton yarn that I can’t remember the name of at the moment.

 

Next I’ll be knitting this all up. Well, hopefully. I got four patterns too, but I’ll show those when knitted up.

Andi keeps nagging me to get a ravelry, I don’t know what the big deal is.

A wool haul

I’m sorry I’ve not written anything on here for a while. I’m a little unsure about what to write, and then I’ve been busy with crafting. I’ve been meaning to post my recent makes on here for a while, but it becomes a case of “let me finish this one last thing” and then I never update before I start something new.

One of the privileges (or responsibilities, or tasks, or whatever you want to describe it is) of being a grandmother is that you get to, and are expected to, knit for your grandkids. When you’re a mum it’s always the kids begging you to stop, now you’re a grandma your kid is asking for things for her child. Or at least this is my take on things.

Currently I’m working on a blackberry stitch cardigan, it’s plain colours but the stitches look like blackberries, hence the name. However, I keep messing it up, I get tired and I miscount the stitches or something goes wrong and I have to undo it again. Gah!

I’ve also finished a crochet minion hat for Sandy, because I thought they’d like that one. And I’ve done a lot of work around the house too, things are progressing.

Andi got a notebook for christmas, and in this notebook she has (at least) a page of demands. It’s even titled “List of Demands” it’s a mixture of knitting, sewing and crochet for herself, Sandy and sometimes George. Apparently she has a list on her tablet too, but that’s things she’s planning to make.

At last read the list had

  • Chunky slouchy hat for Andi, with matching scarf. Knitted or crochet.
  • Sewn dungarees for Sandy.
  • Sewn shirts for Sandy.
  • Knitted octopus. (normally she follows this with several exclamation marks!!!)
  • Crochet minion hat for Sandy.
  • Crochet Spike hat. (My Little Pony’s cute baby dragon)
  • Crochet Rainbow Dash hat. (My Little Pony again)
  • Elf hats for Andi, Sandy, George and myself for winter 2014.
  • Chunky Cardigan for Andi for autumn 2014.
  • Beard hats for George and Sandy.
  • Plush sewn My Little Pony characters.

This list is growing and my list of things I’d like to make is almost non-existent, so I’ve bought some wool to do her things. We did it together over Skype, but it wasn’t the same as going to the wool shop together, and talking with the old woman behind the desk, and faffing about and poking the wool, some things about the internet will never compare.

The haul

I spent around £60 at Deramores. I got free postage meaning it actually works out as cheaper to buy online than to travel to my wool shop, sadly. Before we even looked at anything we worked out what we were actually making up first, we settled on Andi’s hat and scarf with Sandy’s Rainbow Dash set. And a bonus Rainbow Dash hat for Andi.

Wendy Festival Secret Garden

The first wool we picked out was Andi’s, for a chunky scarf and a hat this was probably going to be the most expensive thing. We started off looking at Katia Azteca because we couldn’t find a 100% wool yarn to use. In the end we decided on Wendy Festival wool, in the shade Secret Garden. It’s a lovely, stunning, bright blue, with hints of other colours. I got three balls, and it worked out as roughly £13. Not bad, even if the yarn is 100% acrylic.

Katia Darling shade 201

Andi and I found Katia yarns by accident, but they are amazing with the colours. We found them in Paris, and she made me a hat for Christmas using their Azteca wool. She found this Darling, but it was 4ply. So we decided it could be another hat for Sandy. This was £5, it’s a wool mixture, I’m excited to see this one.

I also bought four balls of King Cole Big Value, a DK acrylic yarn. I choose the shade surf, a lovely bright blue. I’m making a Rainbow Dash hat with it and some odds and sods from my scraps box. This was £2.60 a ball, so around £10.

I bought four patterns, but they’re not that interesting. I’ll share those when my order arrives. And some dinosaur buttons because they stood out to me, and a little book of 20 crochet granny squares.

Granny squares are one of these amazing things because they can make almost anything, blankets, scarfs, jackets, I’ve even seen them used in hats and bags before.

So I’ll be writing again once my £70 wool order arrives, showing off what I’ve made, and opinions about the wool and objects.

Crochet Santa Hat

Crochet Santa Hat

It’s not the best photo, but after seeing Andi’s knitted version I wanted to try and crochet a little Christmas hat for Sandy.
I used some odd acrylic white, and some Robin acrylic red.
I started at the top, and dragged my increases out so they were smaller. However the hat isn’t as long as I would have liked, so next time I’m going to do it much longer. But I want it to be a wearable hat and not just a photo prop so length is limited.

I added a white border, and a pompom to make it just like Father Christmas.

So when Andi and I next get together we’ll get some good photos, probably with flash.

Christmas from Grandma

It’s december, I’m a grandmother, my shopping should be all finished now, the gifts should be wrapped and labeled waiting to be given.

I don’t even have gifts for most people yet. Mainly because I’ve not got the disposable income to buy everyone a gift. I’m only giving to family and friends who I know give things in return. It’s a little selfish, there’s people who I know won’t give me anything but I’d love to give to but realistically I can’t.

So how am I going to survive a commercially based holiday with no money for gifts? I’m not. I’m going to get yelled at by Andi that I hate her and her son because I didn’t get them anything. My son is going to be hugely disappointed when he gets something handmade, and I’m going to pretend I don’t care when really I’m going to be offended that my labours aren’t more appreciated.

I lie about Andi, she’ll probably be doing the same thing, since she has nothing. But George? I’m not so sure he’ll accept a crochet owl hat, or mittens, or something like that. And Sandy is a baby, so he won’t really care all he’ll want is the wrapping paper.

Other people? Well, there’s some people who will not accept a handmade gift as an actual gift, even though it takes so much more effort. So for my mother-in-law I’ve bought a DVD boxset, and some books. For my husband’s uncle (my family is weird) I got some alcohol, not booze, this stuff is classy. Otherwise, I’m stuck. That already cost more than I have to spend. Andi wants a camera, but would also like a tablet, the Galaxy Tab 3 is almost affordable, and the basic cameras are arond £50. So that’s a difficult choice. George’s present is money, going towards a school trip to Italy.

Sandy is by far the easiest to buy for. He’s one, it’s actually his second Christmas, but his first he was only a fortnight old. I’m planning on crocheting a little hat, and possibly a scarf for him. His mum can’t crochet so it’s more appreciated. Otherwise I’ll probably just get him books, or toys.

Family wise we have four stockings, we’re buying small things for each other, because we’ve not got the money for big things. And we’re making things too. It was Andi’s idea, but it seemed the easiest and cheapest. We’ve been throwing ideas at each other about things to buy and make, and this is it so far.

Andi – A crochet owl hat. A bag for her tablet, I’m planning on making a change bag based around her tablet, if she gets one that is. A book of some description, H.G. Wells? A notebook might be nice, for her to jot down ideas. Possibly a slouchy crochet hat too, with some kind of chunky flower, maybe a scarf to match. A voucher for eBooks|

George – Deodorant. Shower gel. A video game. Some kind of book. Possibly a notebook. Headphones. Andi will no doubt get him condoms.

Sandy – A crochet owl hat. A scarf. Another kind of book, dinosaurs I guess. A colouring book, maybe some crayons, although he’s a little young. And he’ll get a tablet… A pair of sewn dungarees would be good.

Gin – Gin? Is it wrong that I don’t know what I want? I’d say cheap jewellery, but it’s a waste of money because I’ve already got so much. Crochet hooks? Wool, I want chunky wool. A wooly flower broach.

I’d love to hear other people’s ideas too.

The Ultimatum

I’m putting this on here so my son knows I’m serious and I’m not just wanting him to do more housework for no reason.

Andi has been in France for a little over a year, she’s got Sandy with her all the time, she’s a single mum, entirely on her own with little to no help. I’d love to be there to help and support her when she needs it. I get to visit every three months if I’m lucky, but can I afford to visit? Well, not really, we’ve got credit cards for that. Can I afford those? Nope, the debt is getting a little big and I have no idea how I’m going to pay it back.

So why do I even bother visiting? I go for a few days and I’ve got my son, George complaining that he wants to go home, then Sandy doesn’t really know who I am, and Andi just wants to talk and go out while talking more, and not sleep because she wants to chat. I’m too old for this and it ends up exhausting me. For a week after I question why I went because I’m so drained. I go because I want to see Sandy, I want to be a stable part of his life. By coming and going so much and for staying for such sort times I have to reestablish my relationship every single visit. I want to go see him more, monthly, weekly, all the time if I could, he’s a lovely little boy and I’ve missed so much. The next time I visit he’ll probably be walking, and I might miss those wobbly steps, the first couple of weeks where it is so cute. Things like this make me sad, I miss my daughter, but I miss my grandson more. I want to help with him, I want to babysit, take him walking, anything, I don’t want him forgetting me like Andi used to her grandparents.

Meanwhile I’m stuck here, in southern england, in a town that is okay at best. George, is ungrateful at times. He complains if I say I want to move to France to be closer to Sandy, he says he wants to finish school, finish failing school is more accurate. He doesn’t do anything to help around the house, and It’s not that I don’t like him, but he infuriates me sometimes. He doesn’t seem to care about the rest of us, about what I want, and what seems to be the best option.

He will not do anything for himself and expects me to wait on him. I do all the housework, all the cooking and cleaning. He rarely leaves his room, he will not even eat a meal with me and that means I’m rattling around in a three (possibly four) bedroom house almost alone. Keeping it tidy is hard where he won’t help, this house is really a two person job if there is any more than one person living here. I have more space than I need, it’s actually more space than I know what to do with and it’s turned me into a bit of a hoarder. I’ve got so much pointless crap. Since my husband died I’ve been trying to renovate and redecorate, but because of the DIY the house is a mess, there’s two rooms that have had everything unceremoniously dumped in them, and because of George not being able to cook or clean anything I don’t get the time to sort it out. I’m not 100% sure what half the stuff is, a lot of it belonged to my husband, some of it was Andi’s and isn’t wanted or needed and the rest? Well, I don’t know.

Andi was helping, she’d choose colours, help me budget, help with the work, and just be there to talk to even if she was too pregnant to do the actually work. She was company, at times depressing, drunken company, at others happy and hyper, but she was there for me and for us. 

So I’ve decided, George can stay here, in the UK to finish his school if he helps me get the house tidy by 2014. He’s got just over a month, I’ll give him longer if he actually makes an effort. However, If he makes no effort, I’m getting rid of almost everything, going back to the essentials and moving to France. He’s failing school, so he can fail school in French. Anything that is any use to someone, books, DVDs, knitting supplies, toys, will get sold or put into charity shops, the rest, bin. It’s about time I had a huge clear our anyway, I’ve been putting it off for so long. This seems like the best option anyway, because like this I can free up the money from the house and pay off my debts, and I get to see Sandy on a regular basis. I’ll not get back the things I’ve missed, but at least I won’t miss more. When he gets to 16 or 18? I’m thinking he should learn to survive on his own.

I’m going to add this in as well, so George remembers. I want him sleeping sensible hours, going to bed before midnight, and waking up before 9am. I also want him going out, either shopping (for things other than food) either alone or with me a few times a month. I’d like to see him walk into the local town and go out, and I want him to do some Christmas shopping this year. Normally he is selfish and doesn’t buy anyone anything. Not even online, he won’t even look for gifts. I don’t like having  a son who has no life in the real world, at the moment he has no prospects either, he spends all his time on Animal Crossing, it’s pathetic. Yeah, a few hours a week I can accept, but all the time after school, it’s too much.

I miss Andi. I want to be near her again. I’m not saying I want her back living with me, she’s 20, she is old enough, and capable of living on her own, however if she was within walking distance, or even a bus ride I’d be so happy. She’s also fiercely independent, so might not want to live with me, but she wants me in France, she said so when she stole my passport.

And when I weigh up the options, I’m old, I’m closer to 60 now, my mum died in her 60’s, so I know I might not have long left, I’m planning on another 30 years, but expecting another 10. If I were to get the terminally ill diagnosis like my mum and husband did I know in a heartbeat what I’d do, I’d move to be with Andi, so why wait until I get sick? I’d rather go when healthy and be happy.

If I don’t like it there (unlikely) I can always come back.

I’d love to hear advice for things I can do to motivate and encourage my teenage son to be more social and helpful.