Handmade Winter Knits

After a long while, I have found my knitted accessories to be of some use. On top of that, I am knitting again! I have yarn that I want to use up! YAY.

For the first time in years, we had a wave of heavy snow. Now, just in case you live in Canada or other snowy places, I must explain that heavy snow in the UK is something like 10cm of it. Most years we only get a trickle of it, so having so much snow so early on in the year is fairly unusual for us.

Needless to say, everything shut down and the roads were dangerous and everybody made a snowman that day. Meanwhile, Twerp and I made a snowman on our first day of snow. It was taller than me and a very impressive effort considering previous years.

We planned to make another on Day Two of snow but it was powdery snow that wasn’t cooperating well so we ended up doing a photo shoot that I had been procrastinating for weeks. Behold – I wanted to share my hand knits.

In this grey winter, this neon hat has brightened the lives of everyone around me, I’m sure. People underestimate the power of neon combos and this blue and neon pink had always been something I wanted to try, so when I spotted the two yarn colorways sitting on a shelf together I practically leapt for them!

The lipstick is Revlon’s Matte Balm in Sultry. I think.

The yarn is from the store, Tiger – it’s the thick fabric yarn (Super Chunky weight) and costs £3 a ball. For this I used two balls of the main colour and one ball of a secondary colour, and improvised using this pattern as a base. This took me less than a week to make thanks to the large size of the yarn. Here are the main changes I made:

  • cast on 45 stitches with 10mm circular needles.
  • no pompom.
  • Decreased using the main colour but tied the ends in using the secondary colour in a star formation so it looked cute

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I remember I promised a pattern for this cowl that was improvised years ago, and I hate that I completely forgot about writing one because… guess what? I’ve lost the original, I want to make a new one, and there’s no pattern to be found. I must really hate myself.

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These fingerless gloves aren’t helping my fingers in the cold, but at least I can use my phone. For snowman making, I obviously would not recommend these! I made these three (!!!) years ago completely improvised and for a while, I thought I had lost one but it turns out both were lying in separate nooks and crannies of my room! I’m glad to have them this year! However… I have lost the matching hat… RIP caramel hat, you will be missed.

The yarn I used for these projects was Sirdar’s Escape DK, although I’m not sure if it has been discontinued or not…

Meanwhile, this cowl took two years to make. I used this pattern and started it because I needed a knitting project for watching the Great British Bake Off in 2015. Here’s the link to my starting post on it! It’s super cushy and cosy although the stitch pattern does cause it to roll up on itself. The pattern is Lael by Wendy Neal (linked to Ravelry page) and it’s a free pattern, so go knock yourself out! If I were to make it again, I’d use an even softer yarn than Stylecraft’s Chunky with Wool.

I hope you have enjoyed the snow too, this year. Especially as we likely won’t get something so wondrous for at least another five! It warmed up so quickly a few days later that our snowman lost its head overnight (although it took another 8 days for it to fully melt and only fully disappeared today – maybe that was jsut because ours was so huge!).

Seeing as this is my last post before Christmas (or on Christmas, even), I would like to take the time to wish you all a Merry Christmas whether you celebrate it or not!

Until next time,

X

Reflection: Mock My Week.

(Featuring sheet masks and insta-crafting.)

Mock exams are a roller-coaster of emotions. Psychology was fine other than that I didn’t write enough,  and didn’t know my arguments well enough to write more. I know full well I am capable of at least two sides of writing for topics I definitely get,  but for now I’m not at that stage and there’s still plenty of time before the real exam.

Biology was a disaster. I know my theory well enough but my application is horrendous and I am being nice to myself when I say that!

General Studies is impossible to revise for,  but I think I did fairly well on that.
Now I have three days to revise for Chemistry and I’m feeling good about it right now.

As if out of spite, my lamp broke.  Just as I was about to settle in for the night.  I turned it on and it just…  Popped. Sparks and everything.

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That little sphere by my laptop is the bulb that fell.

So, since I really needed it, I treated myself last night to one of the Etude House Masks from my 20Pc set: Damask Rose. Here’s a sweet and snappy review…

It really does smell of roses, and reminds me of the rose hand creams from M&S. I really like the designs on the packaging and this rosy one is ultra pretty. This one is a fairly simple moisturising mask and the scent is really noticeable when you first take it from the sachet. There’s lots of clear essence left over.
I think the fit was a little strange but I think I put it on my face a little too much to the right. I struggle to get positioning right with masks, anyway.

 

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I’m not good at smiling in a sheet mask, and yes, that is an Adventure Time T-Shirt. I am also not really that… yellow. It’s the bedroom lighting. 

As another form of relaxation I picked up my knitting again, and finished a facecloth. The motivation for it was purely that I am totally into skincare now and need more facecloths to rotate. I have knitted all of mine (three) thus far.

That one got finished quickly after a few hours, so I was in need of something else, but I had run out of the cotton that I keep specially for washcloths. So instead, I decided I needed a headband to keep the hair from my face when I cleanse and do my skincare routine. I did have one previously, but ended up giving it away, and I already had a second on hold from last year…

(That photo has 54 likes as I type. It’s an instagram record. *cries with pride*)

I’m trying to figure out how to embed so the instagram images align in the centre but it seems WP doesn’t do this. Sigh.

If you are an A-Level student, how are your mock exams going? What are you doing to relax?

Until next time,

X

 

Life and TV Knitting Update

  • Recently I have been reflecting on the blog and the writing style I use for it. It does sound like me, yes… a formal, too many thoughts me. I’m wondering whether I should attempt to adapt it or not. Big question.
  • Another thing. I still need to finish the blog logo. Just assume it will never happen and I may perhaps surprise you all one day!

Every now and again I am reminded that this blog started off fairly knit-heavy which it now isn’t, having been buried under things like skincare and too many thoughts. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I just don’t knit as much as I used to, but the important thing is that I still do. Compared to my A-Level studies and UCAS applications and stuff, my hobbies are really low priority. Blogging has, by far, been the easiest one to keep up with which is why I still post fairly frequently.

Progress is slow and steady on the  #GBBO2015 cowl, which is, as of now, still lacking a proper inspired name (ideas include naming it after contestant Nadiya who is my favourite to win, or something chocolatey)  The rounds are long and the pattern is interesting, but slow to knit. We are past the halfway mark of the series but I haven’t finished the first skein yet!

You can see both the right side and wrong side in the photo.

Luckily, Doctor Who has returned to our screens which means more TV knitting (Maisie Williams is guest starring this season!! Squeal!) Hopefully this means I can catch up a bit. Despite constantly suffering from Tenth Doctor withdrawal symptoms I still watch the show loyally. I think Peter Capaldi as Twelve is great, but at the same time I feel he hasn’t really found his feet with the character and is just as spontaneous and ‘everywhere’ as Eleven. Maybe it’s just Steven Moffat’s writing (which was better than usual for this season’s opening episode – I hope this is kept up all season!!).

(Another reason why I haven’t knit a lot is that knitting has been more a luxury for me recently due to life problems so I feel kinda guilty when I do, especially when I could be studying for my resits. Sigh.)

Until next time,

X

Must Knit to Quell the Urge to Eat during GBBO…

Okay, so when I started writing ‘weekly thoughts’ it was because the things that happened in my life were far too momentous to put into their own posts. Then all of my personal writing became the weekly thoughts so now I’m trying to switch it back a bit.

I guess I am still finding my feet with this blog by experimenting which can be a bit annoying (you can contact me to tell me what you like, though! That’s why I set up an email and Twitter! Just sayin’.) but it’s also quite exciting as well. 

The Great British Bake Off is back, if you didn’t know. I was super excited all day and did a bunch of things to prepare. I roughly tidied up my room, made a hot drink, had a new knitting project ready, and BBC iPlayer in live mode because Dad and Aunt were actually using the TV for something for once- and there was none of the usual WiFi lag and quality problem, I got a crisp image almost all the way through the program and it. Was. Great.
I learnt that morning that more people watched last year’s final than those that watched the Fifa World Cup Final, which I think is amazing, and #GBBO hit #1 on Twitter’s worldwide trending list that evening. If I remember correctly, GBBO has racked up the first episode views every year by about 2 million and this year it was no different is it gathered about 9.3 million/43% viewers! It has become an essentially British thing and I love it.

Oh yes… I did just say I started a new knitting project just to celebrate.

It is being made to the Lael Cowl pattern (I will give it a personal name related to baking as it is my GBBO knitting project – but it’s not quite a Black Forest Gateau *wink*) using Stylecraft’s Life Chunky in Colourway ‘Mixtures Bracken’. This colourway is acceptably close enough to chocolate and a great neutral colourway for this winter. No reason not to start early with my knitting speed, though.

I underestimated the big-ness of it – it is also supposed to be my short break between bits of the Ilene Bag, but now I’ve finished the cast on which took me the best of half the GBBO episode, it feels like it will take a bit longer. I think I’ll just switch again when I am bored or literally just knit this on GBBO days and the Ilene Bag on the other days.

Hopefully I can get this cowl finished by the time the final rolls around!

X

Cross-Stitching (for the lack of a better post title)

As previously mentioned here, I took out my cross stitching the day exams finished.

Last year, during the family holiday to Vietnam, Twerp and I admired the displayed cross stitching on the wall in the living room. It was of an intricate yellow bloom, was stitched by my aunt, and apparently took her a year to finish!
She offered to buy us some sets to have a go with, and we visited the local store. I was impressed by their selection, mostly of Chinese and Korean designs. The store also offered some of their own very simplistic designs and a framing service for your completed works! I picked a huge, complex flower (and later would also take home a set of vertical bamboo designs) and my sister picked two, one of flowers as well and the other a simple teapot centred design.

When I say sets, I mean the design, colour coded, including all the required thread, and a needle or two. My aunt also bought us a handful of needle-threaders to take home. The sets were surprisingly cheap, at the equivalent of £3 in GBP. For this price, or even more, looking through local crafts shops here, I see only basic cross stitch patterns with imagery I don’t really like. What’s more, in Vietnam there are similar local stores all over the place.

Hopefully it will look like this when it’s done.
This is the section I’m working on right now… You can see the two sets of pink arrows, some point left and some right… confusing at times.

 
Considering it’s my first cross stitch project, it’s pretty huge… bigger than A3 size! It also looks pretty complicated for the beginner – 35 colours marked by, in some places, similar symbols in similar colours. However, it didn’t take me long to get the very simple technique down and soon I was totally on a roll with my stitching.

There is a small problem-solving element in that some areas are not just lines and lines of plain stitch. The dots can stagger and dissolve and sometimes there’s a random brown dot in a very green area.

So it’s slow progress. You have to thread and re-thread the needle when you run out of your length of cotton, and sometimes you just get bored of one colour. There is so much black, dark brown and light brown in my piece that extra, full hanks had to be included for those!
I have also stabbed myself in the thumb multiple times. Unlike knitting, it’s not really an activity to do while watching TV when it’s simple enough. I prefer to put on a good playlist (or a very audio centred tv show… As in, one that’s in English and not my usual Japanese anime) and stitch away.

This project was on hold for most of the year, so I’m questioning when I will finally finish!

X

SUMMER HAS ARRIVED.

As of 12:30 yesterday, the summer has started and so has the perpetual boredom, and the bubbling hype leading up to AS results day…

I’m not one to laze around doing nothing (!) so I have my own goals set for this summer. This includes a reading list, picking up that new language again, as well as those musical instruments, drawing, and this knitted bag.

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The pattern is Ilene, the yarn Schachenmayr Select Belisia, which I picked up two balls of on sale at House of Fraser’s craft section. I didn’t buy them with a project in mind – I just adored the colour and had been eyeing this particular yarn for a while before I finally bought them.

I have made a cotton bag before, but that ended up being gifted to my aunt in Vietnam. This one is for me. I like the really easy lace pattern, the simple construction (for my intermediate skills, anyway) and the short handle it will have, as cotton stretches pretty well and I’d rather not have the bag dangle down to my feet like with my standard tote bags.

You start off by knitting a block of stockinette, then picking up the stitches around the edge to create the base. Having started the lace already, I’m pretty proud of myself because I managed to pick up all those stitches and make them look like part of the pattern. It’s hard to show off without some sort of visual aid, though.

I said the lace was easy to knit but it also takes ages… Hopefully a healthy dose of movie nights this summer will solve that!

X

P.S. Thinking about winning the Psych prize yesterday still warms my heart. Do I colour the book in crayon or do little patterns in fineliner pens? Exciting.

Knitterly Updates #2: Current Project

I did a lot of swatching and Rav surfing during my revision breaks. Despite lots of theoretical calculating and mental swatching with my stash, I settled on a simple, free pattern from Purl Soho again.

This is the Purse Stitch Scarf inspired by the Open Air Wrap from Purl Soho. I’m knitting it based on a mod I saw in the comments that reverses the pattern so that it is mostly k2togs and not p2togs.

I’m using the Patons 100% cotton 4ply that I was initially going to use for the Lazy Summer Shawl, but frogged because of bad maths. Like the pattern suggests, it is also fingering weight, but I’m using 5mm needles instead of the recommended 3.75mm, because knits are generally tighter than purls. Arguably I could’ve just gone up to 4mm, but my gut told me to go bigger.

  

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Hand there for size reference.

I think this scarf will be great to throw around my neck on cooler summer/autumn evenings. Another thing is that this pattern almost flies off the needles even if I only knit half an hour a day. It’s easy enough that once you have your rhythm of k2togs and yos sorted, you can get a fair bit done in half an hour even if you normally knit at a snail’s pace like me.

In fact, I did a size check this morning and it’s 24″!! That’s longer than my arms!

X

(P.S. Mom just called us kids and told me that [paraphrased] ‘now you’re just staying at home and doing nothing you should totally just clean the bathroom, your room and vacuum it too while you’re at it’ as if I don’t have two very important exams in… Three days?!?! *swears under breath*

P.P.S. I usually get so irritated when she says things like that that I do all the chores anyway to help vent out my anger, like I’ve just done now. I think my mother is onto something here.)