I knit so I don't kill people.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Odds and ends and Harty Hooks

Since my last post I've been pottering around at home in between that work that helps to pay the bills but gets in the way of my crafts. Being the only female in a male household I'm usually having to jump in when a play fight gets out of hand or I empty their pockets for laundry and find all sorts of odds and ends.   I have to stop them from taking things apart to see how they work as inevitably when they put them back together there are always bits left over.

My little bag of tricks
Well remember De-construct and reconstruct when I attacked an old family heirloom and gave it a bit of TLC to improve its looks as it ages.  Well I had some bits left over........what's that I hear? Practise what you preach ha ha :)

Anyway I was not letting these intriguing bits of yarn get away and I needed a break from knitting round and round and round on my Noro socks, so I got busy making crochet shapes.

I figure that if I use up these bits of yarn and have a selection of embellishments for future projects it will save some time, plus I also like developing my skills and learning new techniques.

My jam jar full of bits and bobs, scissors hooks and double point needles. I must get round to making something more elegant to store my hooks.

I have learnt how to make heart shapes thanks to Simply Crochet  and floral motifs from the sister magazine Mollie makes .  I can now make a magic circle and create a shape letting the yarn colour and texture guide me which way to go.

So now what?

Well I had brought some Tete a Tete miniature daffodil plants in from the market as I want to bring some colour in over these grey months.  I needed a plant pot and remembering what Lucy at Attic 24  created when she needed a plant pot I got busy again.

Not only am I hoarding bits of wool , I'm now looking at food containers.

So what to do now?

A plant pot 

Or a glamorous pot for my hooks instead of a jam jar?

Perhaps I'll get busy and yarn bomb the jam jar.

Talking of hooks I followed a link from Planet penny another crochet blog I follow as she was talking about being sent a Harty hook from Fleabubs.  Intrigued to find out more I visited the web site and found these.  Aren't they wonderful?  Not only that there was a competition to win a hook by naming each collection and the deadline was an hour to closing, so I entered.  Well my flabber was truly gasted when I got home from work yesterday to an email telling me I had won - Woo hoo!

So I've won one of these beauties - yes and I named them.  The name was inspired by the apple design and one of my favourite books by Laurie Lee 

I completed another quick project last night as I promised to create a spring collection for my niece.  I wanted an Easter theme maybe a chick or a bunny and I found this bunny hat at Repeat Crafter me, she has some fabulous patterns.

Here is my finished hat - done in a day .

Now I must go back and finish that sock.  However I've found this ladybird, it is my friends birthday this weekend and she loves ladybirds, so I'll have to make one.  Then I will finish that sock !

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Mersey visitors

Well I've been so busy with all my Valentine's day celebrations this week. I was whisked away for a romantic break in a cottage in the middle of paradise and was wined and dined and made to feel like a princess, how sweet !  Then I woke up and realised it had all been a dream - had you fooled for a moment then hey?
In reality not a very eventful week waiting for the gas man to fix my central heating boiler, in fact I'm waiting for him again now as he fixed one fault but has caused another.  So no hot water or heating until he arrives , my appointment slot is between 12 and 6pm, he'd better hurry up!!

All is not lost though hanging about waiting, look what I've done one and a half socks.

These are my Noro socks, they won't be identical as the yarn is variegated and you never know what colour is coming next.  This is exactly why I love variegated yarn and I find it very addictive.  And I love the Magic Loop method of knitting, why hadn't I known about this until now.  These socks are lovely and warm and I may have to stay dressed like this if this gas man does not appear soon !

We've got a visitor this weekend on the River Mersey , HMS-Illustrious so we decided to go and take a peek today.  I would have loved to go aboard but the queue to get on was longer than the actual air craft carrier itself, so I took some snaps with my camera instead.

It is a fantastic vessel but is coming to the end of its service and will be decommissioned next year.  It certainly drew in the crowds on this lovely bright sunny Spring like day in Liverpool.  It is nice to see all the tourists from all over the world so we took a stroll along the famous water front along to the Albert Dock

Church of our Lady & St Nicholas - a gorgeous little oasis amidst the towering surrounding buildings

The famous Liver Birds

The Port of Liverpool building

The Isle of Man Ferry on the Wirral side

There goes the Ferry across the Mersey

Earlier this week whilst waiting for a previous gas man I had a sudden urge to sketch and have been searching the house for my sketch pad.  I still want to put pencil to paper again so took some pictures around the Albert Dock as I fancy recreating the images in sketch, paint or even collage form.

Pencil sketch to be

Collage to be

While at the dock we dropped into the Pier master's house. This Edwardian house is set out as it would have been at the time of WWII , and you know me and my obsession for 40's vintage.

Look I found my spot in the Living room - right there surrounded by my knitting

And here is my sewing spot in the dining room by the fire (as the gas man has now arrived and has the boiler in bits!)

In the kitchen I can perhaps do some baking using authentic food products. It may not taste very good though.

I wonder what the sell by date is.

Then if this heating is not fixed soon go off to bed to get warm.

One last look at the Albert Dock before I leave you today

The window from the Pier Master's house all masked up ready for the bombing raids

The gas man has finished I now have heat and hot water - Hallelujah !!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Choices, choices what to knit next?

Well it's February and as I have previously informed you I've joined the 12 months of Christmas 2013 group on Ravelry.  Our remit is to knit a project each month and by Christmas we will have 12 gifts all ready for wrapping instead of trying to frantically finish off on Christmas Eve.
Last month's theme was gauntlets/wrist warmers although you are quite free to knit what you like, but I will try to stick with each month's selection.  February's option is a man's scarf, hmm !  Not the most exciting or challenging thing to do but I have decided to put a further twist on my monthly project and have decided to only work from my vintage pattern selection.

This is only a tiny selection of my collection

The Men's department
So I dug out a small selection today to find a man's scarf pattern, something with a bit of interest, maybe a cable twist or a stripe but not plain old boring knitting in a drab old colour.

Oh dear, fatal idea.  Why ?  Well once I get engrossed in my pattern collection there is a danger I will be there all day.  I'm like a child in a sweet shop !

This was the oldest pattern book in this batch but I do have earlier editions.It is not however just a knitting book it is a piece of social history.  There are recipes and advertisements and handy tips on picking elderberries in this particular edition.

There are patterns for those "Next to nature" items of intimate garments

2 ply yarn - that would take an age to knit !!

Some of the pattern names and introductions make me smile 

Yes and a very knobbly knee .

Look at these absolute gem knitting patterns.  I love the 40's vintage and would love to knit these 

This one in particular

I love the shape and the colours.  The trouble is I won't be able to knit it straight of the pattern and will have to do some serious measuring and converting first as it is only 3 ply yarn.  As much as I love authentic, the thought  of knitting a jumper in yarn so fine scares me, it will take an age !

Back to the matter in hand I found my next project.  
It's a man's scarf -  tick, 
it's from my vintage collection -  tick,
it's not plain old knit or rib - tick

and here it is 

It has a twisted rib design which should keep my interest while I box off another Christmas present.  Next job is to raid my yarn stash for a suitable candidate.  Yes another twist to this year's challenge I must use my yarn stash where appropriate.

I don't make life easy for myself do I ?

Monday, 4 February 2013

Go away Winter, I want to bloom

Ooooh look what if found in my Yarden (yes you read it right !).  I would love a garden but only have a yard with pots and baskets hence the name Yarden.
I had forgotten about these until my hubby pointed them out to me

One of my hanging baskets have started to bloom with darling little tete a tete , lovely !  
Then behind me I spotted this

My hellebore has no leaves yet but has produced this amazing flower, despite all the nasty weather.  Woo hoo Spring is on it's way, and here is further evidence, I spotted these while out walking yesterday

Snow drops -  a little ray of hope after winter

I can't wait to get outside and potter in my pots and baskets, I have bulbs to plant, weeds to pull and unfortunately some casualties of the winter months will have to be removed !  This year I want to try some vegetables and berries, in particular raspberries yum yum.  I have quite a good success rate with strawberries in hanging baskets - so hurry up Spring come on !!

De-construct and reconstruct

Looking through my camera I found the photos I had taken off a project I had last year.  It was an old granny square blanket, a family heirloom which I think my Gran may have made.  I remember it in my childhood but don't know how long it pre dates me.  I guess it is over 40 years old , as you can see by the colours its a bit faded.

The wool was so old it didn't have the strength to come undone completely
My first job was to undo the border which once it got going was quite easy but where threads had been split or knotted it put up a bit of a fight.
One of many of my Granny's knots

This blanket I remember having it on my bed, I also used it for my dolls.  When my children arrived it was a pram blanket, then a bed throw so it had a lot of wear and tear.  It had been caught in the cot sides, trapped in the pram wheels so the task was more demanding than I thought.  Not only had the stitching come undone between squares

But individual squares were also damaged

I unravelled and tugged and snipped and pulled over many evenings, I produced hanks of yarn using many household objects as winders
Oodles of noodles !

My mobile phone came in handy for small amounts

While my vintage sweet tin dealt with the larger amounts

Crinkled yarn to be washed and recycled

Why did I start this ?

I unravelled the squares back to a undamaged round then reused yarns to rebuild them to a standard size again until eventually I had 88 perfect Granny squares to be reformed into a blanket.
I spread them out on the table and moved them about until I was satisfied with balance of colours.  The original blanket had large areas of green so this was spread more evenly.  Then came the arduous task of stitching them up again. Uh oh !
There is a saint out there , Saint Lucy of Attic 24 with her joining Granny Squares tutorial.  Thank you, this was a much quicker and nicer way to join the squares and gave a lovely finish.  There was no stopping me now !

Squares have been crocheted together  - easy peasy !

The blanket took up many evenings but what a fantastic journey, these yarns were vintage and I had my family history in my hands so the memories of this blankets pathway through our lives were brought back.  My 14 year old son kept requesting progress reports on the blanket project as he was the last to have it in his stroller and now wanted it on his bed.
It is now finished and has pride off place over the end of his bed, he has witnessed all the hard work I put in and knows to take care of this precious blanket.  He better had do !!
6 rows of  treble stitch edging - now that took some doing.

Classic Granny square

Then these unusual squares, these are being closely analysed so I can recreate them

I loved the whole challenge of this and wouldn't mind doing it again.  I'm constantly keeping my eye out now for another granny square blanket needing some TLC when I visit local charity shops and vintage fairs.  I would recommend that you try it for yourself - what a great feeling of satisfaction I have seeing the finished item, knowing I had rescued it from a life of tatters xx

The finished blanket