African flowers

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My first one was made in odd acrylic and I really love these colours together!

I have been having some fun with these, once I worked out the pattern I found they were actually fairly simple to make. They hold their shape well too, they are a hexagonal granny square.

 

Then I decided to make a cotton table mat but I needed red cotton, as my dining room has a red theme to it. So I bought a ball of Wendy cotton supreme from my local store,  C & H and tried out a few with the various cotton oddments of yarn I could find. I wanted the entire mat out of cotton so it could be washed easily and would be absorbent. It would also hold it’s shape more.

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Playing around with the colour scheme!

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Here are a few that I tried, I was a bit limited by what colours of cotton I had. I did red and pink and orange and just wasn’t very keen on the outcome, then I thought I’d do a simple flower using only red and white.

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My favourite, simple and stunning.

I liked the effect, less colourful but amazing contrast so I decided to use red and white only for my mat. It was very beautiful.

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And then I made more

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and more

Three flowers made, I wanted seven. A central one, with six on the outside.

This was it once joined together, I decided it needed a little border and then it was done.

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Ta-Daaaa!

Here it is finished with a candle holder in the centre! Now I’ve got another four to make, one for the center of the table and one each for our glasses. I’m debating doing a bigger one with an extra round of stars for the plates.

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Okay, I actually changed my mind and added another border…

So this is the final finished thing, now to make a couple more. If you want to play around with these the pattern can be found here in English, Spanish and Dutch. There’s also other projects you can make with this, a hippo, a bear. The only downside is that it uses American terms, but it’s okay to translate and even has a photo tutorial.

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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!

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.

Crochet waist coat

I have been really busy and have now finished my granny square waistcoat! I have worn on several occasions already. It is really useful on cold days, although I am beginning to wish I had used a better quality wool and not just cheap acrylic. The more I knit and crochet the more I hate it. The colours are nice and bright though, but these days wool is bright too, as is cotton.

So what’s the story of my original chrochet waist coat? It’s surprisingly uninteresting, I bought it. It is handmade though! I got it back in the 1970’s, back when music was good and knitting was normal. Back in the days of local woolshops that were within walking distance there was a store near me selling handmade clothing too. They were selling that waistcoat and I really liked it, at the time nobody could crochet in my family so it was buy it or go without. My mum bought it, well she bought the wool because I wanted to choose the colours and the lady made it the same as the others.
Recently though I’ve been thinking it’s a little pale next to all the bright yarn colours in existance now, so I wanted to remake it, the acrylic was more of an experiement; and since it worked I might make another in cotton.

I used a bit of odd stash wool for this, a lot of pink left over from Andi’s clothing in the 1990’s, but I bought the new purple to trim it, although I can’t remember the brand. It came from my favourite online store, Deramores.

Sadly I don’t have a photo of me wearing the waistcoat, my son wouldn’t help me out and I’m too old for selfies, but soon I’m hoping to get one.

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.

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.