Monday, 26 June 2017

Moving Forward

Hi, it's been a couple of weeks since I last posted but part of that time it was too hot to think, let alone post, and then I was busy at work getting ready to take a week off. Yes, I'm having a whole week off! I haven't had this much time off in one go for about 9 months so I am good and ready for it. I'm not going away - just chilling at home, knitting, reading and so on. As today is Monday and my first official day off, I decided to update my blog.

And I do have some knitting progress to show you this time. First up is my Seaspray Jumper - I cast off the second sleeve yesterday, which means that I have done the back and both sleeves so am well over halfway. I plan to cast on the front either later today or tomorrow.

Next up is my Petty Harbour sock - I turned the heel a couple of days after I last blogged and am working my way down the foot.

The last work in progress that I am going to show you is my Ring O'Roses sock. This is a slow burn on the basis that it is my first colourwork project and I only knit on it when I'm at home, things are quiet and I can focus. I have finished the first three charts, although you can't see No. 3 very clearly because the fabric is rolling on the needle. The next stage is going to be more complicated because there are three charts on the front of the leg and a fourth on the back of the leg, so it might be some time before you see this again.

And I also have a finish! This is part of a new project that I have started since I last posted. I had been thinking about it and then I had a chat with a knitting friend and then I buckled down to it. I am calling it my Random Act of Kindness knitting, and basically I am now using my commuting time and some of my older stash to work on items for a local charity which supports the homeless. So my first RAK project was "Barley" by Tin Can Knits - a free pattern from their "Simple Collection" on Ravelry. I used Cygnet Aran in the "Sage" colourway which I had left over from a finishing workshop that I took a couple of years ago. This is the Adult Large size and I am hoping it will grow when blocked as it currently fits me and I'm not sure that I have a 23 inch head.

I also have some new stash to share with you. From left to right, I have a ball of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in their limited edition "Marie Curie" colourway, which you can only get from City Knits, and £2 of the purchase price goes to Marie Curie, a charity which supports people with terminal illnesses and their families. The other two skeins are from Jo.Knit.Sew and are on a merino/nylon/sparkle base (400m per 100g) and the colourways are "Green Speckles" and "Blue Speckles" respectively.   The "Green Speckles" is actually more of an apple green in colour - it just hasn't photographed very well.

In other news, my weight loss continues. I have now lost 1 stone 2lb in total and can see a pale glimmer at the end of the tunnel, which is why I am sitting here munching on celery! Mum has had her hospital appointments and the upshot is that yes, she has mild osteoarthritis in her right hip, but apparently that is "satisfactory" (??), and the cardiologist says that the situation with her heart hasn't changed and that her GP has done everything he would have done. He also said that she should carry on doing the Race for Life and using it as a marker - i.e. if she is still getting round each year in about the same time, then she needn't worry. So she is feeling better in herself and is all psyched up to have the house redecorated.

I am going to finish here and go and get myself some lunch. Hopefully my next blog won't be so long in coming. All the very best to you and yours.

Friday, 9 June 2017

A new rabbit hole to fall down and general waffle

Well, its been nearly two weeks since I last posted because I have been somewhat busy.  Plus the weather has been up and down, hot then cold, wet and windy, which always has an impact on my mindset.

Anyway, two days after I last posted, I found a new rabbit hole to fall down.  At the previous Saturday Knit Group, one of my fellow knitters had been knitting a project using some glorious colours of yarn, and on being asked where she got it, had replied that she had dyed it herself and followed up by offering to teach me.  That night when I got home, I was straight on the Internet buying undyed yarn and acid dyes!

So on Tuesday 30 May I drove to her house and learned how to dye my own yarn.  I was there about 3 hours, first of all learning how to dye the yarn, then how to overdye it and then how to do the speckles - #specklesaresohotrightnow!  I had ordered four skeins of undyed 10% superwash merino single ply in fingering weight and I also had a skein of undyed yarn that had been given me as a Christmas present year before last along with some KoolAid.  By the end of the session, I had five very different coloured yarns to take home and finish drying over the bath.  And what did they look like, you will ask.  Well, here goes:

The green is more yellowy than it shows here, but otherwise the photo is not too bad colourwise.  From left to right, purple with black speckles, turquoise with pink and black speckles, pink with turquoise and black speckles, green with black speckles and teal with black speckles.  The teal is the Christmas yarn and the others are the singles.  Now, if I remember rightly, the pink, the turquoise and the teal are single dyes and the purple and green were overdyed, starting off teal and then with red added to make purple and yellow to make the green (I may be wrong, but probably not by much).  And then the speckles are added by flicking dry dye onto the wet yarn, wrapping it up in clingfilm and steaming it.  I'm really pleased with them, although I have no idea what I am going to knit with them, and that leads to the next problem.

Do I want to dye more yarn for myself?  It would be fun, but the main problem is that of space for the kit required.  I have a one bedroom flat with limited storage space, most of which is already taken up with yarn, books, cross stitch supplies and family history papers.  One option would be to keep the dyeing pans in the garage, but then would it be out of sight, out of mind?  But it would feel so fabulous to be able to put on a new jumper and say "Oh yes, I dyed the yarn myself!"  I have time in hand though, the yarn suppliers are having a sale in September which gives me a couple of months to think things through.  I'll let you know what I decide.

In other news, Mum and I did the Race for Life on Sunday - 5km in aid of Cancer Research UK.  The route was nearly all on the flat and the weather was nice enough - not too hot and a bit of a breeze.  We got round in just under an hour - which included a brief stop to buy icecream - a couple of minutes longer than last year.  The problem this year is that Mum started to flag just before the halfway point.  We generally work on the basis that while she is still talking to me, things are fine.  This time it came down to me having to do the talking to keep her going, which was a bit worrying.  She went in for an X-ray this morning on her other hip - the one which hasn't been replaced - and she also has an appointment later this month to see her cardiologist to find out why she is becoming more breathless.

And on the weight loss front, I have a major Happy Dance to report!!  I went to get weighed last night and got my 1 stone award.  For those of you who are metric, 1 stone is about equivalent to 6.35 kilos.  I had lost 1.5lb at the weigh in after my last post and then another 2.5lb this week, which takes me to 1 stone 0.5lb.  This means that I am over halfway to my target weight.  I was so pleased with this week's weight loss, especially now that I can treat myself for getting my award.  Now what to get?

I'm not going to talk about the General Election, save to say that the result was better than anticipated but not as good as I would have liked.

And because there has been no real crafting and lots of words in this post, here is the next finished item in my What I did on my Holidays roundup.

Cross stitch rather than knitting, but I hope you won't mind too much.  This is a birth present for my cousin's little boy - as often happens with these things, it got finished after his first birthday.  The chart is Baby Express Birth Record from Dimensions (#73428), stitched on 14 count white aida.  It was a kit which I started on 5 January 2015 and finished on 18 March 2016.  I took it to my framer the following day, picked it up on 26 March and posted it off on 2 April 2016.  It now hangs in his bedroom - his older sister was a bit jealous, but calmed down when her Mum pointed out to her that she has a whale on hers, which he doesn't.

None of my current knitting projects are at a stage which is worth showing, but I do have a week off coming up at the end of the month, during which I intend to relax, chill out and knit.

All the best to you and yours, and I hope to be back with you soon.