Crafts · Knitting

Socks need Slippers

As you may (or may not) have notice I have been on about socks. Just the sort of thing to be talking about as the weather is getting warmer and we might be thinking of getting sandals and flip-flops out.

Anyway whilst wandering around the internet and pinterest I came across this website – Joe’s Toes

I had discovered the felt slippers and thought I could perhaps make some and use up my slowly increasing felt supplies. But then I spotted some knitted ones and they just looked like fun.

Simple enough to make, so I sent off for a set of soles.

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They come ready punched and on one set there were some grips.

I therefore just had to start knitting, I did try with some double knitting wool, but could see that chunky was the way forward so chunky it was.

Casting on a set amount of stitches, based on the size of the shoe in my case 12 stitches. Then counting the numbers of holes that the slipper has – simply you knit twice as many rows as holes.

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Now this was in a basic garter stitch, it grew quickly and I managed to knit both in an evening. I made a slight mistake by not leaving a long enough end on the first one knitted. However, it was not a problem.

Once complete you basically sew the edge of the knitting to the sole using the holes, evenly spaced and punched, fixing it in between the ridge bit of the knitting. (Knitters will know what I mean)

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Keep on going round and all of a sudden something begins to take shape. The only thing to remember is when doing the other foot, the wrapover bit needs to go the other way.

Then it is the case of fixing the soles together, I went for something contrasting rather than focusing all on red.

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They are super quick to make – now should I make them for Christmas presents? And shall I practice with some cabling perhaps? Ooo so much I could do.

Crafts · Knitting

Sock it to ’em!

I have whims and fancies when it comes to crafts. And whilst knitting is certainly the in thing at the moment as I have been knitting more than anything else lately. I needed a challenge – knit a pair socks.

It’s not just two needles, it is using different sort of wool and where on earth do you being with turning heels.

Christmas and mum provided me with the necessary equipment.

The wool, the needles and the pattern. And off I went it looks strange when you start and I had a couple of false ones….. but eventually something begins to make sense

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Of course the triumphant nature of finishing my first sock…….

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…. means you have to make its friend

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These are quite loose, I think they will be lovely to put over socks you already had on, to keep your feet even more toasty warm.

I need some more practice before I start adjusting sizes, it is in the length of the foot which there is too much ‘sock’. But let me practice some more with some other lovely wool. The finished pair was the first ball of wool I had, the second variety of wool can be shown in the started sock at the top of the post.

These are all simple knitted socks with a rib cuff and nothing more complicated, I have yet to brave cable, lace or anything else which may require a stiff drink to complete! I have a couple of books which accompanied said wool and needles for when I want to get adventurous. In the meantime, I am taking small knitted baby steps.

Books · Crafts · Cross Stitch · Jottings · Knitting

Jottings #16 Spring has Sprung in Snippets

It has been a while since I have had a jottings post (over a year!), or told you about some of the stuff going on. Books seem to have taken over, which is a good thing when this is primarily a book blog. However sometimes I need to remind myself and readers that I am a human and that life happens!

Back in September I got to meet Jax Blunt who blogs over here. She does a really lovely snippets post every week telling us all what she (and her family) have all been getting up to, reading, watching, eating etc. I thought it would be a lovely idea to borrow and therefore……..

Watching – Poldark. I have vague recollection of a repeat of the original series, when I was a small person. I do know it was one of my paternal grandmother’s favourite series and books. I am enjoying it and have bought the first two books to have a go at reading the stories as well.

Reading according to goodreads I am about 4 books behind on my target for the year. (Shrugs Shoulders) but the books I am reading are good and it seems that closing my eyes has been more beneficial than reading of late. However my latest read is the latest Christopher Fowler – The Burning Man (Bryant & May series) and it is out on 26 March. I hope to have a review of the book up by next weekend as I am more than halfway through now.

Eating –  too much. I had lost 5 & 1/2 stone. Sadly that seems like a lifetime ago and whilst I have not put it all back on, I have put enough back on to be upsetting me. I need to find whatever it was that triggered my weight loss before and harness it and see what happens this time.

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Knitting – Random stuff to test patterns on some lovely variegated wool that I bought at Ally Pally last year as well as some socks. I am on my second pair and I think I am going to dedicate a whole post to them!

Sewing – much as I would love to be as good as those on The Great British Sewing Bee, I know I will not and frankly don’t have the time to take up another hobby. However, I can do some basic stuff on the machine and with the impending Easter HOlidays looming I hope to actually sit down and do it.

The knitting has somewhat been making my hand ache, knitting with five needles probably being the reason, so I have now and again picked up some stitching.

Painting  – Not The Great British Painting Challenge, although I am rather enjoying the programme. But these – they are yet to be fired, but I will share more about them on another post.

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Feelingwarm with the sun on my back as I type this. Also a bit down as work is becoming rather trying and I have had to resort to shouting which in turn frightened enough people to have the desired effect.

Pleased  – because from this little post, I have got at least three ideas for future posts!

Books · Crafts · Jottings · Knitting

A knitted square

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If you have read my blog in the past you will have noticed spattered amongst the book posts have been some knitting (and other craft) posts.

What could be better than actually a post that combines the two?

Earlier in the year I was sent an email regarding reading a debut novel. The book in question is The A – Z of You and Me by James Hannah.

….tells the story if a young man, Ivo, lying in a hospice bed, his mind full of regrets over a trouble life and a lost love….

It sounded intriguing, I was in but the question also came in – could I knit?

Yes.

Could I knit a square about 8″ square and send it back to the publishers for a project they are embarking on for the paperback copy of the book.

Well of course, why not, it wouldn’t take me too long and so with thanks to some needles and lovely Women’s Institute Wool (plus instructions) they sent me, a square was duly knitted and sent back:

 

Knitted Square

But why a knitted square? What can possible be the connection between such a simple item and a debut novel?

Well the only way to find out is to read this debut novel.

The A-Z of You and Me by James Hannah is published on 12 March in hardback. Pop back to this blog on the 12th March and read my review.

And as for the square when I hear anything I will let you know.

(Sorry Ben, I did not put a scarf in there – but I am knitting socks at the moment if that is any good)

Jottings

And breathe out….

I made it, I got to the end. I did at one point think I was going to meet myself coming the other way.

I now have two weeks off work, apart from a slight diversion of a few Christmas Decorations to be dismantled and a staff Christmas lunch come while Monday. That is me done!

What lies ahead?

Reading and Sleeping a plenty.

Swimming and exercise a  plenty.

Friends, Family and food a plenty.

All of it a plenty and in varying different orders for whatever fits the day!

I have a few more presents to wrap – whoever invented glittery wrapping paper is the devil – the carpet is covered in the blinking stuff. I have a few ends to sew into a pair of gloves, which I need to do before the wrapping stage, but I can confidently say I am pretty much done.

Of course as the end of the year approaches, it is time to reflect and I hope now that I have got time, I will be able to finish those reviews that have been hanging around. Tell you all about who I met and saw author wise during the year. I have some ideas I want to explore.  I want to have a good sort out of books and will no doubt need to update my goodreads and think about challenges for the year ahead. My book club is on a bit of a festive break, it needs to be reinvigorated for next year, if other members want.

I need to clear up some of the craft stuff that as emanated from the basket by my settee and is slowing spilling out onto the carpet and beyond! It’s my house, its clean and reasonably tidy and it is my stuff, so I should probably stress a little less. It will always be there tomorrow….. Although working on a Christmas decoration in January might be a bit much – that is one aim for this weekend.

Books

A Good Yarn – Debbie Macomber

This is the second book in the series which is known as The Blossom Street Series. We are back with Lydia who owns the yarn store A Good Yarn on Blossom Street in Seattle.  Of course there is much to catch up on with Lydia’s life and her sister and now colleague Margaret.

But it is not just their lives that Debbie Macomber tells us about in these books, it is those people who for many reasons appear in A Good Yarn.

They all have differing reasons and they come from all walks of life, class and age.

This time we meet Elsie, divorced from the only man she loves and living with her daughter due to some financial problems. It is not where Elsie wants to be and when her ex husband makes an appearance in her life it seems that everyone thinks he has changed except for her.

Bethanne had everything, home, husband and children. It seems her husband wanted someone else and now she has to become the breadwinner and parent and she finds it is not as easy as she thought. A blossoming idea leads to something else and Bethanne maybe able to turn everything around.

Courtney is a teenager in angst. She has had to move from the place she knew, whilst her father works abroad, separated from her older siblings and dealing with the death of her mother, she comes to stay with her grandmother. It means making new friends and starting a new school. Courtney feels she is going to stand out for all the wrong reasons.

These three women, come into A Good Yarn as a way of meeting new people, escaping the past and trying to deal with the present. Knitting for them gives them a diversion, a purpose and most of all friendship that they never knew they needed or wanted.

Of course everything is interwoven like the most simplest knitting pattern to form a great story and these books are cosy familiar reads just the same as putting on your favourite cosy knitted jumper!

Books · Jottings

November Roundup

Well that was November. Did you see it go by? I seemed to have missed it somewhat and certainly the reading has taken its toll this  month although as of this post I am on track to reach my target of books read for the year but it is going to go to the wire, if it were a competition (with myself!)

But what did I read?

More Christmas reads, I seem to have started much earlier this year than in previous years and they have tended to be short reads at that. You cannot go wrong with Katie Fforde – A Christmas Feast and other stories which is just like a delicious Katie Fforde selection box.

Another author I discovered this year was Kate Forster – The Perfect Christmas this is her short story for the year and actually reminds you how much Christmas is not about material items but love.

Veronica Henry – Christmas at the Crescent was where I popped in to see what was going on. Another short story, but it took you in straight away and again reminds you all about the pleasure of being together as a family and that love at Christmas.

Away from Christmas and in the commemorative year of the First World War our book club choice was Eric Collinson – The Bootlace Boys. Although the war only featured in the last quarter or so of the book, it was an interesting read about the coal miners of the North East.

More history came from the wonderful new novel by Lucinda Riley – The Seven Sisters* the first of a series of seven novels, starts to build the scene, the characters and takes us to Paris, Brazil and Switzerland. How can three so different places come together? Of course if you know Lucinda’s writing then you know it will and it was such a wonderful journey.

Another journey I took at the beginning of the year was with Don and his Rosie Project. Now for Don it has turned into an effect. Graeme Simison – The Rosie Effect* is the sequel to the book. It was great to be back with Don and Rosie, and it was also nice to see life portrayed a lot more real than in some books.

If I have not been reading I have been doing crafts and of course some knitting, I have also been reading about it. (A most tenuous link) to Debbie Macomber – A Good Yarn, this is the second in the Blossom Street series and I am back in the yarn store in Seattle and finding out what is happening to the store’s owner and some of the many customer who pop into learn a new skill. A real variety of people.

I did start a book and had to stop, as I was not really concentrating on it as I was reading it with another book at the same time, which was not working for me. Especially as my brain is not calming down and therefore cannot cope with everything whizzing round it. I will go back to it, as there was nothing wrong with the writing I knew it was me.

Going back to reading only one book at a time for the moment sees me ending November reading a Patrick Gale novel, I had forgotten how much I enjoy his work and writing.

I might be a bit behind on reviews but they will be forthcoming but maybe a little more slowly.

* Review yet to appear on blog.

Crafts · Cross Stitch · Knitting

Carry on Cowboy

Way back in September I posted about all my unfinished projects, my craft projects:

  • I have some cross stitch I have not picked up in months (if not over a year) and it has not that much to do on it but yet it remains untouched.
  • There is a bookmarker which I enjoy making which has yet to be finished. Trouble is I started another. I think I might need to sell these
  • An ornament I made just needs its ribbon re-stitching on there.
  • There  are some knitted hearts that I need to do something with
  • Knitted juggling balls just need finishing off and bells attached
  • A purse needs finishing off and the crochet by my mum needs attaching Cannot show a picture as it is a present for someone. 
  • A pom pom explosion has happened and I have had a fanciful idea of making a rug… it has waned somewhat.
  • Then I saw some entralac knitting and wanted to have a go….. The picture of this on my earlier post has been abandoned, it was my test piece. I have started another bit, but that is languishing. I might finish off the ball of wool and add it to my bag of test pieces! 
  • But I am in the middle of knitting a cowboy and here he is 

It started way back here

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And then progressed to what you saw back in September

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Luckily he is now able to speak and hear

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Of course he cannot do much without the appropriate chaps!

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It needs to be fixed on correctly all the way round

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Although he will never be able to stay on his horse without arms

IMG_0597And to make him look like a rather sophisticated we need a scarf and hat to complete the ensemble

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He is rather taller than other dolls that I have knitted, but apparently John Wayne did not wear hats like this!

I am pleased to have ticked some things of my ever-expanding list – so the list looks like this now

  • I have some cross stitch I have not picked up in months (if not over a year) and it has not that much to do on it but yet it remains untouched.
  • There  are some knitted hearts that I need to do something with
  • Knitted juggling balls just need finishing off and bells attached
  • A pom pom explosion has happened and I have had a fanciful idea of making a rug… it has waned somewhat.
  • Finish Entralac knitting square test piece
  • IMG_0625Finish the gloves which I started to  – A. to see if I can remember knitting on four needles and add a cable into the mix as well. B – to stop me snacking. Christmas present?IMG_0627
  • Of course I have a Christmas Decoration that needs finishing. A kit I bought when I went on my annual outing to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. IMG_0628
  • I did but some snap fasteners at the show and have actually used some material I bought from a previous year and made two little purses. Rather pleased with these as I am not really a machine sewer and only tend to do the basic things.IMG_0629

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So plenty to keep me busy and I must get on with it really so if you will excuse me………

Books

The Great Christmas Knit Off – Alexandra Brown

Sybil has found a saviour in her knitting. She has always done it, but when she finds herself at her wedding with no groom and no sister, she realises that perhaps it is safer to stick with the knitting and not to get all tangled up with love.

When in her boring job at the council office, something seems to go amiss, Sybil thinks that maybe she could have been the cause, and therefore fakes illness and sidled off to Tindledale to see her best friend, Cher.

Tindledale is a village, picturesque no doubt in the daylight but not on a main bus route and when Sybil arrives by train she has to get her and Basil, her dog through the snow to find her friend. It is from this moment on she starts to meet the village’s host of many characters.

They all take Sybil into their community, their homes and even their hearts. Sybil feels at home and when she suddenly finds Hettie’s House of Haberdashery she realises that she really is in a heavenly place. With her love of knitting, Sybil finds solace there and in return Hettie finds something of the future life the place could have.

When a demand for a novelty jumper starts Hettie and Sybil, knitting and nattering. When one order suddenly becomes a lot more it seems that Sybil and the villagers are going to have to all pull together and knit as if their lives and the village depended on it.

As the knitting soothes, it seems to repair Sybil in a way she did not realise and the love and warmth of the locals seep into her soul and all of a sudden she finds she might fit in, she might belong and she might have really found love!

This is the first in what is to be a series of tales from Tindledale and if they are as good and as heart warming as this one, then they are going to be a sure-fire hit!

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley. 

I have read Cupcakes at Carrington’s and have the others in this series to read. In fact I may well have to go and pull Christmas at Carrington’s off the shelf now to read!

Knitting

Variety Knitting

I love variegated wool. It draws the eye somehow. It can make something simple look spectacular all by the colours.

I have used it for lots of things on the last few years, but one of the things I have made is the Clapotis shawl. This pattern raised an eyebrow or too as you have to drop the stitches and both my mum and Nan were aghast at such things. Before spending a lot of money on especial wool which is recommended for the pattern, what better way to start with some double knitting and variegated wool.

Double Knitting - Practice
Double Knitting – Practice

Everyone watched as it grew and the stitches were dropped. I gained confidence and once complete it became a Christmas present for my Nan and I embarked on another one with the recommended wool. Very different from double knitting and yarn you cannot get any more sadly.

Silk Aran weight Yarn
Silk Aran weight Yarn

I am not sure what this wool was called. But it was in the main pink with white and chocolate brown. It was lovely to work with and money being no object I would have bought more. Once complete I promptly went onto make another one this time in blue for a friend.

This was all many years ago. Knitting was still not really as big again as it is now. However as time passes and my Nan sadly passed away I was reminded of the original test version I made as she had it with her in the home. It came back to my mum and she has used it ever since.

I wondered whether I would be able to knit one again. Mum was keen on a ‘lighter’ one. There is a lot of knitting there and it becomes quite heavy. I found a selection of wool for her to choose from:

Variety Wool Selection

And started knitting the shawl pattern until the point where you drop the first set of stitches, so you could see how the wool and the pattern would work out together. It knitted to this point a lot quicker than I thought. Then it was up to my mum. I had a favourite, but it did not look right with the pattern but it was not my choice.

The choice was:

Crofter Wool
Knitted up, having yet to drop the stitches.

Close up with the stitches dropped:

Close Up
Close Up
Another Finished Clapotis
Yes it is that long!

It is lighter, my mum likes the colours and I had enough wool!

At the moment it is far too hot to knit, I have something on the needles but more of that another day.