2021 · Spinning

Oops…

So I have enough crafting things really. I have a rigid heddle loom, a sewing machine, various knitting needles, yarn, felt, a screen printing kit and a soap kit stashed away on various parts of the house. I don’t need anymore things….

So, of course, I bought a spinning wheel.

I like browsing Facebook marketplace and EBay more out of curiosity than anything else. Two weeks ago I spotted a wheel for sale on Facebook for £175. It looked in good condition and was the closest wheel to me I had seen so far. Most have been a minimum of a four hour drive away. So I hopped in the car and went for a beautiful drive to the Dorset border to have a look. It’s a beautiful part of the world and there were plenty of spring lambs frolicking in the fields as I drove past. A sure sign that this was a good idea right?

On arrival, I found out the wheel belonged to the sellers mother who sadly has Dementia and can no longer remember how to spin despite doing so for years. The seller wanted it to go to someone who would continue to use it rather than it sitting in her garage for the next few years. I promised I would try to use it as often as possible.

So here it is! It needed a bit of love and care. It has a new drive belt and brake band and has been oiled according to the video on the Ashford YouTube channel. This has allowed to run a lot smoother which is great.

I took it for a spin (haha) last night and it is a lot more difficult than it looks on the instructional videos! I can treadle smoothly when not doing anything else but struggled to get the fiber to attach to the leader yarn. After a few unsuccessful tries, I had a gin and tonic instead which went very smoothly.

I’m not sure the flyer is spinning as easily as it should but I have no idea – any suggestions? Will definitely be having another practice this evening or tomorrow!

2021 · Seasonal · Weather

Easter Week

It has been a strange old week, weather-wise.

Easter weekend was full of sun and even felt warm when sat in various people’s gardens. Walks along the canal saw paddleboarders, canoes and kayaks all drifting along together including a few new paddlers that were close to ending up in the water. Nothing like a group of passers by cheering when you stay on the board!

Then came Monday and what can only be described as wet sleety, haily snowy stuff!

This was followed by two very chilly days and then back to brilliant sunshine yesterday. And time in the garden with the best cat – Harvey.

The house and garden are slowly coming together. Only one box left! The garden is tidier with the removal of the random mini hedges. A man is going to remove all the remaining stumps and then it will be time to put the raised beds in.

And now that we have more space in the house, I made a little purchase – more on that tomorrow!

2021 · WIP · YOP

Year of Projects – Week 10

Hi everyone!

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur! I have been on night shifts which means starting at 8pm and finishing at 8.30am for a few weeks closely followed by long days. The positives of night shifts during winter is that dark, rainy weather is perfect for sleeping and you don’t feel that you’re missing out on amazing weather. Thankfully I don’t have any more nights for a few weeks, so I can enjoy the improving weather we’re having in the south coast of the UK.

All my spare time has been spent packing to move house and then gradually unpacking. The new house is only 5 minutes from where we were living but it’s got an extra bedroom and a garden. We were living in a 4th floor flat, which we have loved, but we have really missed having a garden. We need to buy a whole load of furniture so a lot of things are staying in boxes until there are places for them. This makes it a little hard to settle in but the main bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room have enough in them to feel cosy already.

So to creativity. Unsurprisingly this has been on the back burner (see above paragraphs!), and I’m looking forward to restarting. The yarn boxes have been unpacked and everything is back in the yarn cupboard.

One project I did start is a knitted blanket formed of individually knit squares. However the thought of stitching all the squares together made me give up quite rapidly. I need a mindless project while sorting house admin. The yarn for the project was originally bought for an Attic24 crochet blanket a few years ago now. I quickly discovered crochet wasn’t for me and I have been looking for other ideas to use the yarn.

This morning I saw an Instagram post by @ Josiekitten using similar yarn to make a habitation shawl. Perfect! This covers two of my projects plans – a blanket and the habitation shawl.

I have also added a few inches to my Summer Flax Light jumper sleeve.

And chosen one of my socks to complete that have been in the needles for ages.

Fingers crossed I’ll have some more time in the next week or so to work on these. How is your week going? I’ll leave you with a photo or two of my local beach – now just two streets away!

Local starling

This post is part of the Year of Projects Group based on Ravelry. A wonderful group of people encouraging each other with their crafts. If you are interested in joining, you can find the group through the link here (Ravelry link).

2021 · Knitting

Year of Projects Week 2

It’s been a busy week with work, packing to move house and (drum roll) a finished project!

Knit in DK acrylic yarn (no idea of origin) in varying shades of pink and white and used 260g. I originally started it for one baby and ran out of time. Fortunately a friend has recently had a baby girl and I knew it was the perfect time to finish the blanket. The pattern was free on Ravelry (here) and once you have knit the repeat row a few times became easy to remember from memory.

I’m really pleased with the finished blanket and it’s on its way to its future owner!

I have also managed to get one of the knitting machines to work. Well, sort of. I need to learn more about adjusting tension but I did make a little swatch:

My next aim is to get the machine to run more smoothly and hopefully be able to knit larger pieces! The weights in the picture above are attached to the knitting to help weigh it down. You need them at regular intervals along the whole length of the project otherwise stitches tend to unhook themselves from the knitting bed. More are in the post, so once they arrive I’ll try a wider piece.

I’ll leave you with some images from the seafront today 🙂

2021 · Knitting · Weaving · WIP

Year of Projects – Week 1 – Planning Post!

I am really excited to be joining the Year of Projects group this year! It’s a group based on Ravelry (link here) which encourages you to make a creative plan for the year and then keep track of how you progress through your list. The group normally starts the year from July but you can also start from January if you prefer. So this is my first post for the group – the planning post.

An overarching aim this year will be to continue to use stash I already have, this can either be in a project or by letting go of yarn I won’t use. I’m not expecting to complete everything on the list but it will be fun to see how far I get!

Machine Knitting

I have two knitting machines which have sat ignored in a corner for ages and I want to get them back in use. So my projects this year will be:

  • Fix the machines
  • Practice casting on and understanding tension
  • Watermelon cowl
  • How to knit a jumper (using the pattern booklet below)
  • How to knit a hat
  • How to use the extra kit that came with the machines such as lace carriages

Sewing

I am a complete beginner so I want to work my way through two books I received for Christmas – A Little Course in Sewing and A Beginners Guide to Dressmaking. Each one contains lessons culminating in a project. I also found some heatproof wadding so mats for the table or an oven mitt might be fun to make.

Weaving

Something else I have been meaning to spend more time working on. Again I’ll be basing my projects on a book – Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom. I have an 80cm rigid heddle loom to practice these on, hopefully using more stash yarn in the process!

The only project outside of this book will be a wrap made from lace weight yarn my Mum brought back from Peru. I need more practice before I can complete this and so this will be more towards the end of the year.

Spinning

Continue practicing with the drop spindle. If I use it enough then I might think about a spinning wheel.

Drawing and Painting

I also received watercolour pencils for my birthday in November. The projects for this will be a bit more fluid as I’ll be using online tutorials to learn how to draw and paint. The overarching project will be to improve my skills and practice as much as possible.

Knitting

This has always been my main craft hobby so has a few more definite projects! My plan for this year:

  • Summer flax jumoer
  • Pink baby blanket
  • Cardigan for Mum
  • Finish any socks currently in needles
  • Green colourwork jumper
  • Red jumper for Will
  • Grey alpaca jumper
  • Floozy too
  • Mouse kit from Wild and Woolly
  • Dexter the Dog kit
  • 15 hats for Christmas
  • 3 blankets
  • Habitation shawl
  • Child’s cardigan for Emily
  • Learn new techniques:
    • Intarsia
    • Double knitting
    • Brioche
    • Mosaic knitting
    • Colourwork

The first four knitting projects are works in progress so hopefully this will encourage me to finish a few.

I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone progresses through their lists and see what everyone makes!

2021 · Cooking

Winter comforts

It might not be a typical winter dish but Will loves cooking creme brûlée during the holidays. It creates a wonderful aroma in the kitchen – a mix of vanilla, cream warming on the stove and a hint of burnt sugar by the time they’re ready.

Whisking the sugar and egg yolks
Heating the cream on the stove

Creme brûlée is surprisingly easy to make. We always use this recipe from the BBC (here) and then once ready place it in an oven dish part filled with warm water.

Fresh out of the oven:

One was slightly more cooked!

You can then either eat them straight away or put them in the fridge for later. When you’re ready to eat them, sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over each one and place under the grill. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t burn! If you’re feeling fancy (and don’t really need your eyebrows) you can always use a blowtorch.

Yummy! Do you have any comfort foods for wintertime?

2020

Finished Objects 2020

It’s starting to get old saying 2020 was a strange year but it really was! I spent a lot of time away from home for work and to keep my family safe. I moved jobs, met new lovely people there and also somehow found time to finish a few projects!

Total completed items: 6

Metres used: 2636

Metres left in stash: 68433.6 (uh oh… haha)

At my current rate and if I didn’t buy any more yarn it would take me just under 26 years to use all my stash. Might not mention that to the fiancé… Moving swiftly on

So what did I make this year?

Green Stripe Socks

Started: 1st December 2016

Finished: 25th January 2020

Yarn: Zwerger Garn Opal 4ply in the colour way Green

Pattern: Basic 4ply socks by Winwick Mum (pattern here)

Metres used: 272

This was the first ever sock I knit all the way back in 2016 and it’s still the sock that fits my foot the best. Definitely an example of second sock-itis.

Baby Flax

Started: 6th October 2019

Finished: 16th January 2020

Yarn: Hayfield Baby Blossom Chunky

Pattern: Flax by Tin Can Knits (pattern here)

Metres used: 191

Another great free pattern from Tin Can Knits which ranges from newborn to 6XL. Multiple tutorials make this a perfect first jumper for anyone to knit. I have knit an adult and three children’s jumpers with this pattern so far and would happily knit it again.

Basket Weave Baby Blanket

Started: 2nd January 2020

Finished: 4th March 2020

Yarn: Stylecraft Special XL Super Chunky

Pattern: Basketweave Baby Blanket by Bernât Design Studio (pattern here)

Metres used: 406

This was meant to be a gift but Will loved it so much for wrapping up warm on the couch that it’s still with us now. As the temperature has plummeted in the last week, it’s been lovely to have while watching tv.

Glamping Beanie

Started: 3rd January 2020

Finished: 11th January 2020

Yarn: Unknown stash 4 ply

Pattern: Glamping Beanie by Brittany Petko (Ravelry link)

Metres used: 216

Made for my future MIL and fastest knit this year! Another free pattern that was to follow. Perfect for running and cold mornings.

One Lovely Sweater

Started: 4th March 2020

Finished: 7th June 2020

Yarn: Ted Knits 4ply in the colourway crème brûlée held double with Scheepjes Mohair Rhythm in white

Pattern: One Lovely Sweater by Leslie Friend (Ravelry Link here)

Metres used: 727 metres of Crème brûlée and 726 metres of Mohair Rhythm

This was a test knit for Lesley from A Friend to Knit With. Clear instructions and a great jumper at the end. My only issue was the mohair yarn I chose but I’ll be mentioning that in another post.

June Hat

Started: 26th September 2020

Finished: 4th October

Yarn: Quince & co Lark in Storm and Shell

Pattern: June Hat by Meghan Kelly (Ravelry Link)

Metres used: Storm 39 metres Shell 59 metres

This was yet another free pattern from the Year of Hats by Kelbourne Woolens. There are 12 free hat patterns, one for each month of the year designed for worsted weight yarn. The hat used very little yarn – you can make two from two 50g balls of worsted weight yarn in two contrast colours. Planning to make another hat in the reverse colours. I wear this hat every time I go outside at the moment and yet I don’t have a single photo of me wearing it!

And that’s a wrap! Or rather two jumpers, two hats, a blanket and a pair of socks. What have you made this year? Any creative plans for 2021?

I have joined the Year of Projects group to try and plan ahead for my projects this year. I enjoy crafting and have realized I get the most happiness from a finished project more than anything else. Fingers crossed 2021 will be a better year for all of us and full of joy and crafty goodness ❤️

Charlotte x

2020 · Seasonal

December 6-20

It’s been a busy 2 weeks! On Friday I moved departments to Intensive Care to help support the current team already there. They are an incredibly welcoming and lovely group of people and I’m looking forward to working with them.

We continue to bubble with my Mum (although this may change with the new Tier 4 rules) and went for a beach walk. The sky was grey but the weather was mild. We managed a quick tuna sandwich before the heavens opened.

The Christmas trees are up and decorated:

Harvey didn’t appear too impressed with our decorating skills…

I am still really enjoying my advent calendars from Botanic Knits and The Knitting Goddess. The muted rainbow continues to develop and feels wonderfully soft, I’m beginning to look for patterns to use this in. The Botanic calendar is a great mix of yarn and little gifts. I need to research the seeds and how to use them.

Both calendars show how individual yarn dyers are and how enjoyable they are in different ways. Looking forward to opening the rest of the advents!

Today’s advent

And a lovely rainbow today on the beach 🌈

I hope everyone affected by the Tier changes is doing ok. My thoughts are with everyone at this tough time.

Knitting

WIP Wednesday (Thursday…)

So apparently today is Thursday and yesterday was Wednesday. Oops!

Anyway today’s WIP is the Pastel Rainbow Baby Blanket (Ravelry page here) which is being knit with random DK yarn I found in my stash. It was originally meant for my cousins daughter but she’s very much out of the baby phase – she’s now four and a half. So in true knitters form, I am now knitting it for a baby who is due end of January. The pattern is a straightforward four row repeat which creates a nice wavy blanket.

I’ve just finished repeat 13 and I need 18 in total so nearly there!

Uncategorized

December 1-5

The cold weather well and truly arrived on the south coast of England in the last week! Other than occasional frost it has been a fairly mild year. There’s no snow where I live and it’s pretty unlikely as we live so close to the sea but we did have our first hailstorm yesterday. Perfect weather for staying indoors, knitting and enjoying the home. So what’s been happening?

I turned 30 last Saturday and enjoyed the unique experience of a Lockdown birthday. I have never been bothered by birthdays and enjoyed spending time with my fiancé and my Mum and her partner. We are in a bubble with them after my Mum broke her arm – she’s doing well and the cast is finally off!

I had a gorgeous birthday cake – poppy seed sponge with lime syrup. It’s a cake I have many happy memories of when growing up in Australia. Delicious! Will bought me a lockdown mug to remember my birthday. I particularly like the little smiling toilet rolls on it.

Once my birthday is over, I feel like I’m ready for December and Christmas. And that can only mean… advent calendars! I bought two in advance this year, one from Botanical Yarns and one from the Knitting Goddess.

Personalized box for the Knitting Goddess advent calendar

This lovely box contains the Knitting Goddess advent calendar for this year. It smells beautiful and is a perfect way to store yarn. The advent calendar contains 24 minis, a pattern and a colour card to help you use the minis.

I am loving the colours so far!

I am really enjoying each calendar for different reasons. The Botanical Yarns calendar is unique as it started with two plants and some days also include seeds. There was an accompanying email with advice in looking after the plants. The colours are also lovely – now to start planning how to use them!

Wednesday 2nd December was the official change over day for some of the junior doctors in the UK. For the first 2 years of being a doctor, you change specialty every four months. The idea is to give you experience of six specialties before you choose your long term specialty. On Wednesday we welcomed four new lovely juniors to our team and what better way to start a new job than with yummy food! I baked a tray of blondies from the Cookie Book by Rebecca Firth aka The Displaced Housewife. My cousin, who runs a gluten free Instagram (@mimisfreefromlife), recommended it and each recipe looks so tasty. They’re not gluten free but I’m sure they could be edited.

The entire tray of blondies disappeared within the space of the morning! It can be scary starting a new job and I hope our juniors will enjoy the next four month with us.

And last but very much not least – meet Misha. My cousin Emily, of the above Instagram, has got a new kitten! He’s a Norwegian Forrest cat I think? 100% hypoallergenic and 100% adorable. I haven’t met him yet due to social distancing but can’t wait to say hello as soon as I can. For now I’m enjoying videos of him playing with his new toys.

Have a lovely weekend x