What is a locking wheel nut, anyway?

Oh I’m so spectacularly bored! I’m at the garage waiting for my car to be fixed. I should be in work, but the car wouldn’t start this morning, and if I don’t get it sorted now, I’ll be done for all week. Does it sound like I feel guilty for not being in work? I do! I haven’t had a day off sick for about four years. 

So I’m in the waiting room at the nice shiny garage, and the mechanics are lovely but keep asking me questions I don’t understand, and I have to reveal my ignorance about the car I drive every day. I think I was just asked ‘Do you know why you don’t have a locking wheel nut on the rear off side wheel?’. Of course I don’t know – but if you’ve dropped any stitches, I’ll be happy to pick them up for you! My feminist senses are tingling, but it’s ok because C doesn’t know anything about cars either, so I don’t feel like a ‘useless girl’. 

I’ve done all the work I can do remotely – lots of emails sent and records updated this morning. But now I’ve got no work I can do here, and I’ve committed the yarner’s cardinal sin: I have no WIPs with me. I’ve got about 20 at home, but that’s no use to me now! So to pass the time, I’m going to try to do an inventory of all the WIPs I haven’t got round to writing about here yet. 

1. Baby blanket of African flowers. 

2. Cream and green dress that needs buttons. 

3. Pink baby cardie that needs about 4 inches of boring stocking stitch, and which I think will be absurdly huge. 

4. Blue hand warmers that I started, but the first one is too small, so I need to frog and restart. 

5. Pink hand warmer – only one because I did the first one and got bored. 

6. Crofter hand warmer – exactly the same circumstances. 

7. Beige hat for C’s mum. 

8. Baby blue crocheted crescent shawl. 

9. Grey and orange sock yarn cowl. 

10. Granny squares blanket in Cath Kidston colours. 

11. Cushion covers – one needs the ends sewn in (20 million of them) and one needs the cross stitch design finishing. 

12. (Oh god, they’ve just asked me another difficult question!) A crochet purse my for mum that I really need to finish before Friday. 

13. A hat for my sister that should have been finished more than a month ago. 

That’s all I can think of. Now, WIPs that only exist inside my head so far:

1. A blanket made of nine giant solid granny squares, in Ice magic light, possibly with a white border. 

2. A peaked hat with two buttons in dark grey and probably red. 

And finally, a show and tell:

I made about five purses last summer, to keep ‘in stock’ as presents. And last month I needed a little purse, and suddenly remembered them! It’s a bit ropey because it was the third thing I had ever crocheted, but I love my little nautical purse πŸ™‚

Advertisements

Casting on… and on… and on…

IMG_1932

You know when you’ve got about ten projects already on the go, at various stages of completion? And then suddenly you feel the need to cast on another eight?

IMG_1933

I love how they all look together – like a bouquet! They’re not for me though; tomorrow is the first meeting of my brand new knitting club in school. Unfortunately I’m not allowed to call it Stitch and Bitch, and Knit and Natter sounds a bit too twee for inner city secondary school students. Any suggestions? I’ve actually been too nervous to announce it in school – I’m just quietly recruiting students from my own classes! I’m thinking it would be too hard to teach a whole room full of people at once though… I remember learning at the same time as my sister, and it was torture waiting for my mum to finish helping her and rescue my dropped stitches for me.

IMG_1936

I’ve got a video sorted, which I’ll play while I’m helping people individually. And I’ll take my favourite beginner’s knitting book – Knitty Gritty – so they can look at projects a bit more inspiring than the standard ‘Endless double knit scarf in garter stitch’ that seems to be everyone’s first project! (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there’s no instant gratification!)

IMG_1940

I’ve cast on fifteen stitches of leftover bits of acrylic DK from my stash, onto pairs of 4mm needles. In theory, they’re about the right size for a phone case or a little purse. Then once they’ve done enough rows, I can show them how to decrease for a curved flap, and how to make a buttonhole.

Now I just need to cross my fingers and hope that some students turn up!

IMG_1938

I do keep meaning to show you what else I’m making at the moment. I’ve got lots of little projects on the go, but not enough time to sit down and make real progress on any of them. Even the little green and cream tunic from my last post is waiting for the messy border to be ripped out and replaced with a tidy one. Most of my works in progress are crocheted rather than knitted – I really do think I prefer crochet these days, possibly because it grows quicker, or because I don’t have to get to the end of the row before I stop! I prefer knitting for garments because I like a thinner fabric, but I don’t ever make clothes for myself. Crochet seems to be more versatile for making shapes and patterns, which is what I really love. I will do my very best to get some photos taken soon!

How lovely life would be if I could be paid to teach knitting all day!

Checking in

I was back in work today, but I’ve finished much earlier than usual and have much more energy than usual, so I thought I’d let you know what’s on the needles tonight! (I know it’s not actually night yet, but I’m in my PJs and it’s dark outside. That counts.)

C’s sister is expecting a little girl in April, and my broodiness has gone into overdrive! I’ve got about a million plans for what I want to make for her, but I’m having to restrain myself slightly. No point in making scrummy newborn knits – she’s going to be a summer newborn. So the plan is, I’ll wait to see if she’s a tiddler or a dumpling, then knit size-appropriate autumn/winter clothes.

Yeah, right.

Dress 1

Apologies for the awful light. Wales in winter!

I’m starting off with a little tunic – a free pattern here. The theory is that she can wear it as a dress in summer, but it should still fit as a vest over a warmer top in winter. That makes sense, right?! As I don’t have children, I generally have no idea at all what handmade clothes will be useful for babies. So I try to make something that’s pretty and versatile, and then keep my fingers crossed.

I’ve actually finished both the front and back already – two evenings’ work. I did make some changes: I changed the moss stitch for garter stitch to match the border at the bottom of the tunic; I added some YO eyelets along the top hem, again to match the border; I decreased a couple more stitches on each strap of the back section when I was casting off, for a more rounded edge. I always feel like I’m cheating on the pattern when I modify it! I’m hoping the garter stitch instead of the moss stitch will give it a little bit of extra stretch so it’ll last a bit longer.

Dress back Dress front

According to the pattern, I just need to sew up the seams now, and add a couple of buttons. But I was thinking… These colours remind me of a granny smith apple. Apples are cute. I could crochet a little apple. What colour would go? Red would go. I should crochet a red apple applique. But then it won’t tie in. How can I get it to tie in? I could crochet a little red hem. That would be nice.

I think in quite short sentences – easier on the brain. The upshot is, I’m not quite as nearly finished as I thought, but hopefully it will look extra cute when it’s done! I’ll keep you updated πŸ™‚

Now, as an addendum: I was looking through the rest of my photos to see if I had anything pretty to show you. And I do – check out this colour combination:

Teapot

Pastel green and red. Sound familiar?! Apparently I’m more drawn to these colours than I realised! But then, when I kept looking:

Blue and red

Pastel blue and red! I’ve got a feeling this baby’s going to have a little red hem crocheted onto everything I make. The spoon in that photo is, of course, a Rice DK spoon. I ordered a set of six for myself last week – I always order some January presents to cheer myself up! Look at the mix I got.

Rice dk spoons

I love the combination of pastels and brights! This might end up being my new thing.

In other news

Ahoy! Two posts in one day. Must be nearing the end of the holidays, and I haven’t managed to get all my thoughts out of my head yet. Five things to tell you:

1. I have a Twitter account! I think I’m going to use it for stuff that’s too brief to go on here. And I’ve got one of those twitter feed things on the side of the blog, over there -> I’m @woolheadknits πŸ™‚

2. I did some entrelac and it worked!

In other news (9)

I have always thought of entrelac as being well beyond my capability. But six weeks ago I got a pile of knitting books out of the library, and just got round to reading this one:

In other news (10)

The instructions were so clear, I found it really quite straightforward. As long as you can keep count of your stitches (or can work it out from how many are left on the needle) while you watch Downton Abbey (just me?), it’s fine. I found that, instead of reading the instructions and working out what would happen next, I had to just get on with it and it would become clear straight away. I was thinking about doing one side of a cushion cover in entrelac, but my sample was in dk and it took quite a long time, so I’m going to hang on until I’ve got some chunky wool so it goes a bit faster. Also, I thoroughly recommend the book – loads of information about how you can go a bit more freestyle with your knitting, which I’m finding very exciting at the moment!

3. My button box arrived this morning. I ran straight upstairs to sort out my buttons πŸ™‚

In other news (12)

I love them all sorted by colour! Had a chance to play around with combinations – I’m thinking about some knitted flowers with these at the centre.

In other news (13)

4. I have officially taught myself to crochet! It was my summer project, but I was keeping quiet about it because I’ve tried it once before and it was too difficult for me. So when I was in Cornwall, my mum helped me to count the chain and showed me where to hook into the chain for the first row. Seriously – it was just the first row that I couldn’t do!

In other news (1)

So I did a rectangle.

In other news (4)

And I pinned it and blocked it.

In other news (7)

And I made up a border and sewed on some buttons.

In other news (8)

Worked out what it is?

In other news (6)

A hook holder! The lining is really badly sewn – it was the first thing I did on the JL Mini, so I was still figuring out how to do stuff. It’s made from scraps (yes, I have a material stash too); the blue flowery fabric is part of a sleeve from the size 26 dress of a few posts ago. I used some of the Stylecraft – bluebell, lime and cream. I love the hooks, which C gave me for my birthday. For some reason, it seems to make him really happy to see me using them! He’ll soon learn the dangers of a relationship with a knitter/crocheter (not least, the easy access to pointy weapons).

5. I have some new WIPs! Now that O’s hoodie and the blanket are done (BEFORE the deadline!) I’m allowed to start some new things πŸ™‚ sneak peek:

In other news (11)

That’s some more crochet going into the blue bowl… The cream and lilac are sitting there waiting to be decided on (but don’t they go nicely with the blanket?)… And the zigzag ribbed cushion back has been measured up for its partner πŸ™‚ exciting! So I’d better actually get on with it, instead of just talking about it.

Edit to add: I just thought of another thing to tell you – very important that this is made public knowledge.

6. C said that I can have a knitting room when we move in together! Hahaha, the fool has no idea what he’s let himself in for – a whole room to fill with wool?! Seriously, don’t tell him what a huge mistake he’s made πŸ™‚ all I did was show him one picture on facebook of one craft room, and straight away he said I could have one too (one day). Now you know why I needed to record this information!

Colour!

Morning!

It’s quite early in the morning (at least it was when I started writing). I’ve got to go into work later (even though it’s the summer holidays) and it looks grey and murky outside (… even though it’s the summer holidays). So… I’m cheering myself up with some colour!

IMG_1065

Remember this basket of loveliness from the knitting tour? I tipped it all out on the floor the other day because the sun was shining and I could take some reasonable photos of the colours. It’s kind of embarrassing how long I spent playing with them.

IMG_1278

The colours haven’t come out perfectly in these photos, but these are the names:

bright pink – pomegranate – raspberry – pale rose

lipstick – shrimp – spice – saffron

citron – lime – meadow – aspen

bluebell – turquoise – teal – petrol

plum – grape – cream – white

It’s also a bit sad that I can remember the names of all the colours without going to look them up! Firstly, it’s Stylecraft Special DK, which comes in 100g balls of acrylic. I got them fromΒ Wool Warehouse at Β£1.69 each. I fell for them ages ago, when Lucy fromΒ Attic24 used them in one of her ripple blankets, and then I spent a loooong time putting them in and out of my virtual shopping basket. This was quite a big treat for me – I’d earned some extra money over the last few weeks, and desperately wanted to spend it on something I didn’t *need*.

IMG_1297

Yes, I am the sort of person who catalogues their wool. There’s one that I switched – the jaffa was just too bright for me and I’m not really an orange sort of person anyway. So the lovely people at my LYS (that would be in Cornwall, not Cardiff, so actually not that local) let me swap the jaffa for some bluebell. Obviously the wool comes in normal balls, but it was so soft that I just wanted to touch it, so I wound the first ball by hand. And then the next one… And then my slightly obsessive nature forced me to do all the rest as well, despite a little bit of RSI that started nagging my hand!

After the swap between Jaffa and Bluebell, I’ve got nine ‘warm’ colours, nine ‘cool’ colours and two neutrals. I’m also the kind of person who’s sad enough to record combinations of colours, and even give them names…

Β IMG_1298IMG_1299

This is one of my favourite combinations:

IMG_1282

It’s pale rose, cream and meadow. I like the softness of the colours, and the vintagey feel to them. They feel like warm spring colours to me.

IMG_1283

And if you add in some grape, it adds depth and richness.

IMG_1284

Then when you swap the cream for plum, the focus shifts to the purples and becomes much richer and away from vintagey spring. The meadow keeps it soft, but…

IMG_1285

When you take out meadow and put in lime, the combination becomes zingy and fresh. Can you tell I love playing with colours?! Sea colours next:

IMG_1291

This makes me think of being deep underwater, where the sunlight can’t get through so the colours are darker. It hasn’t come out brilliantly in this photo, but the teal is quite greeny.

IMG_1289

Whereas these colours are more like seaweed, with the white bringing a freshness. Sticking with the nautical theme:

IMG_1287

These make me think of a nautically themed child’s bedroom… I’m aware that’s not a normal association! But changing the navy of classic nautical for the turquoise here updates it and makes it more child-friendly.

IMG_1286

Still on the nautical theme, this combination reminds me of chevrons and fashionable nail varnish designs on Pinterest. Yes, again, not normal!

IMG_1295

I love these – a girly twist on nautical.

IMG_1288

OK, getting out of the sea now. So if the first combination was spring, this is definitely autumn. They remind me of harvest and leaves changing and the countryside.

IMG_1281

And this is summer – windbreaks, swimming costumes, fresh fruit and ice cream.

IMG_1294

Not a season now – there’s too much contrast between the zingy lime and citron, and the deep plum. But I love the difference between them and how they bring out the best in each other. I can imagine making something with wide citron and lime stripes, with a tiny plum stripe between them.

IMG_1293

And these are just lovely happy colours. They’re some of the brightest from my stash, and they sit together so happily.

So what am I going to do with all of these colours? No idea! I’m going to play with them, and find little projects that I can put together quickly to try out the colours. Buying a huge stash like this with no project in mind is total luxury – I know how lucky I am that I’m able to do it. I’ve got a feeling Stylecraft Special project will be the theme of quite a few posts in the future!