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

 

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

New Nails and Charity Shop Buys!

So over the last week I’ve been helping out at the Nail Salon again.
I removed the polish from last time, and my nails began to hurt. This is normal, apparently, especially when I have had polish on my nails all year without a break. The pain only lasts a day or two so as soon as my nails felt comfortable again, Mom popped on some new colours for the last few weeks of the summer term.

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  • Cacee’s Nail Lacquer in Summer (Yellow)
  • Glam Lac’s Nail Lacquer in Neon Pink

The neighbourhood in which Mom works is different to that of my home, which is closer to the city centre. Mom’s workplace is situated on the local high street so when the Salon isn’t busy, I’ll go browse the local shops. There are two charity shops, which are my go-to places to buy books and rarely, yarn. Today I got a good haul.

Is it Just Me? by Miranda Hart. I already own the paperback copy of this but when I saw the hardback in the shop window I couldn’t resist. I’m giving the paperback away to a friend where, hopefully, the laughs will catch on. According to the cover, the hardback is worth £20. I bought it for £1.50, people. I wish numbers could be in caps, but this is what the bold button is for.

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Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix – That makes 6/7 books from the series, all of which were bought at charity shops! They’re all in really good condition too apart from one which has a little rip in the paper cover of the Hardback, and the second book which has gone through a lot of wear. Order Of The Phoenix is one of the chunkier books in the series, though, so if I see it in hardback anywhere else it will be mine.

-Unknown Cotton 4ply yarn in Black – Recently the charity shops haven’t yielded any interesting yarn other than basic acrylics, but I saw this bunch stuffed at the bottom of the yarn basket and gawped. I love cotton yarns and that isn’t a secret, but I’m not so sure what I’m going to do with 360g of black, which, if my hunch is correct, equals over 1000 yards to work with. Giant shawl? Lacy top? The possibilities are endless, and this was a steal at £2.

Finally, I have just hit 200 likes! *round of applause* Thank you, thank you.

X

The Dreaded First Row

Earlier this evening…

I properly started those fingerless mitts eventually. By ‘properly’ I mean ‘without ripping it out after a row’. 

 Is it just me that detests First Rows? Mine are usually much tighter than the following rows (even though it doesn’t affect my end products at all). I’m not usually into DPNs either, so doing a First Row on DPNS is a nightmare. 

 But anyway, it’s done now. These are just going to be plain mitts – a 5-row Calico border and Americana Main Body. You can barely tell in the photo but I’ve just started the main body there… 

Actually, as I type I’ve finished the thumb hole. Readers… I consider myself a slow knitter, even more so on DPNs, but I might just get the first mitt done this evening, or at the finishing stages tomorrow morning. 

New mitts for Easter? It might just be possible.

X

Sudden Yarn Store Trip, and Madoka. Feelings. Enough Said. (Not quite a review)

Last night Mom suggested that the entire family come to work with her tomorrow, and I leapt at the opportunity. All I thought about was restocking on ~yarn~! Thus, two skeins each of Stylecraft Life Chunky and Sirdar Click Chunky has found their way into the house without so much as a glance from my parents. I have vague plans for the Life Chunky to be a cowl and the Click for simple beanies for the dudes of the family.

At the local charity shop, I bought a 4mm crochet hook to replace the one I have at home for fixing knitting mistakes. The older lady at the counter seemed astonished at the thought of me crocheting – whilst the neighbourhood community there is very knit-friendly, I don’t see many young knitters at all!

I did have a post ready about reading books, which has since completely vanished without trace, so while I re-do it, here’s some Opinions of an anime I was watching this week.

Anime: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
AKA: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (Magical Girl Madoka)
I just call it Madoka Magica.

Remember how Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura were like, the Magical Girl Anime of the 90s and even really early 2000s? I never watched them.
I’m not usually into this genre at all, but Madoka Magica’s reputation precedes it on social media as misleading. I agree – it looks like other magical girl anime, cute with added frills, but its other themes and genres are undeniably dark. You have been warned by me as well.

Visually, it’s cute, crisp and clean. Witch-y areas are sketchy and childish, which is a feature I really like as well as the text that introduces some witches in unidentifiable letters, like ‘Hi, I’m ******’, basically.
I also enjoy the little snapshots of action in between otherwise really calm scenes, like Homura’s hair flicks in between an almost-still shot of her ending conversations with Madoka.
Plotwise, I’m mixed between ‘it was kind of predictable’ and ‘I didn’t see that coming.’ I think it’s the background setting/information that really ties it all together and firmly grounds the plot. Also, I feel as if the main character, whilst she is central to the plot, she pretty much cries for half the series and doesn’t do much until the end, when she does everything. Just me? Okay.

It’s a good anime to watch if you prefer the darker anime and want to ease yourself into something lighter, and vice versa. It’s not very ‘my-first-anime’ material, but everyone’s first anime is a bit different – when I say first, I’m not counting the widely English dubbed series like Pokemon/Digimon, although I do like them. I mean the Japanese-with-English-Subs kind. Mine was Naruto. My friend’s first was Attack on Titan. I know – I did warn her. Her reply was, in a nutshell, ‘Go big or go home.’ She isn’t properly hooked on anime yet, but we’re getting there – she loves the series.

X

Reading Tastes Funny

I finished the hat. It’s improvised, and made so that folding the brim makes it a close-fitting beanie, but not folding gives it a slightly relaxed slouch. To be honest, I started decreasing too early, but it fits well nevertheless – I’ll just make a mental note for next time.

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And now I’m back to working on the infinity that is the Lazy Summer Day Shawl. I’m too lazy to work on it. See the irony there?
I’ve figured out that I want to do about 10 hand-spans’ worth in length, and I’ve done two so far.

I’ve been finding it difficult to find books to read. I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or by its blurb, but the mere mention of ‘mysterious beautiful immortal captivating bad boys’ is an instant turn off for me.
Inkheart (Cornelia Funke) was one of those books that everyone had heard of and read by Year 8, which probably had something to do with the movie adaptation coming out a few years earlier. At the time, I was reading lots -I think it may do you good to tell you that it is only because of this blog that I’ve recently begun to pick up more books. Which is great, really- but I just wasn’t interested in reading this one.
I don’t think I have a reason why, apart from the evolution of my reading tastes. I think that initially, it was because the book looked too long, except that that particular excuse is no longer valid, having read the entire Inheritance Cycle (Christopher Paolini).
For what it’s worth, I’m liking it so far, and I’m glad that I’m reading it now instead of four years ago. I don’t think I would’ve appreciated it very much.

On the other hand, I finished a series by Meg Cabot about Heather Wells, former teen pop sensation turned detective. I started the series two years ago, and I’ve since grown out of the informal, girl-talk writing style. Not to say the book isn’t good, just not my thing anymore.

How have your reading tastes changed over the years?

X