Sunday, December 7, 2014

Wildlife At The Window

So here I am sitting at the computer and I hear a tap, tap, tap at the window. When that happens it's usually Charlie our cat wanting in. His habit is to tap on the window. So of course when I heard a noise at the window I thought it was him. 

I pulled the curtain back to see if it was him, nothing there. Tap, tap, tap again, so I looked again, nothing. I was getting annoyed with him.

It happened again but this time I went to the door to see what was going on. It was a Blue Tongue Lizard at the window not poor old Charlie.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Exams Are Finished

So g has finished her exams for this year and is now on holiday's, oh the joy of having kids home from school. I now have to schedule my time on the computer so that we all get a chance to do what we want.

So this year I have made a suggestion to her, I thought we might get out in the veggie patch together. She has a tendency to spend a lot of her time reading as she loves books, so later today we are going to weed the veggie patch and plant some seeds.

I have another idea for g, I am trying to make suggestions to her to encourage her to do other things in the holiday's. What do your children like doing in the holiday's? I was thinking seeing how I am learning to crochet maybe she will join me and learn also. I was thinking maybe this could be a good mother daughter session, something the two of us could learn together. 

I've tried teaching her to knit but we find that slow going as she always has so much homework. Also when you are learning to knit, you mainly make scarves. Which are useful but learning to crochet you can make many things and really feel that you have achieved something. Also this time of year in Australia is very hot to knit and it's slow going for that reason. To crochet this time of year is not so bad as you are not holding the yarn like you do with knitting. 

Well I hope everyone is having a good weekend:-)

Happy knitting

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cyber Week Sale

Wanting to get some Christmas shopping done, well the SPSTeam is celebrating the holiday season and hosting a Cyber Week Sale. You can use the coupon code SPST4U  in any of the participating shops to receive a discount. Here you will find shops that celebrate handmade, vintage and will supply you with all your craft needs.

The sale is running from November 24th until December 4th.

'Celebrating Cyber Week Sale ' by sharynmae

The SPSTeam is having a Cyber Week Sale from Nov 28 - Dec 4.Use code SPST4U at any of these participating shops for a special discount.

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Hanji Paper Coasters, Tradit...

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Monday, November 24, 2014

My Granny Hottie

So here is my yarn collection so far for the granny hottie, I need to get a few more colours as I need to make 24 mini squares. I want to have a bit of different colour in them, g has choosen mauve as the boarder colour.

So I've made a start on my granny hottie and I am  really enjoying the crocheting. I can now master the mini granny square. The only problem is all the ends but I've taken to doing them as I go. At the moment I have 5 completed squares, only need 19 more and then I will be ready for the next stage. Just as well it's summer here and she doesn't need the hottie just yet but it will be ready for next winter. If you need help doing the granny square on my previous post I linked to some helpful pages.

Happy knitting everyone

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Learning To Crochet

I've decided to teach myself to crochet. I follow a couple of blogs and they do crocheting. I have to admit that they have inspired me to learn. You will find Lucy at Attic24 and Sandra over at Cherry Heart.

I myself learned to crochet when I was a child but somehow even though I could crochet when it came to following a pattern, well it just never seem to work. So I have decided to learn again and this time I will be working a pattern.

I've decided I want to do something basic but I also want to make something. So from another blog I follow I am going to be making a hot water bottle cover. The pattern is made up of mini granny squares and then joined together. You will find the pattern here. The good thing about this pattern is you can use up your leftover yarn. 

So I am using the pattern from Foxes Lane and Sandra over at Cherry Heart has a second blog called Crochet Corner and here are all the techniques I need to teach myself to make the hot water bottle cover.

So now all I have to do is choose the colours. I have chosen these as my colour palette but I don't know if I will be able to get the colours. I may have to make an adjustment as I am shopping for the yarn. I always use natural fibers when doing my craft work but I have decided that since I am learning and I don't know how I will go so I am going to use an acrylic yarn. I don't know what the colours will be like or what the yarn is like. What type of yarn do you like to use for your craft work?

Anyway i will let you know how I go with my yarn shopping.

Happy knitting

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sock Knitting Journey - Two At A Time On Two Circulars

So now I come to a new challenge and I only thought about doing this because I was taking a Craftsy class with Stefanie Japel. I was taking her Knit Lab - In the round and in one of the classes she demonstrates knitting two mittens in the round on two circulars. This gave me the idea to try it making socks, I know this is not a new idea but it was for me. I always make my socks one at a time and this has always been okay for me as I don't suffer second sock syndrome but for anyone who does this is a good way to knit your socks.
I also like the idea of two at a time as once you have finished the socks you have a completed pair already to go. Also by doing it this way you know they are going to be the same. 

When making your socks it's best to use 2 x 24" circulars and Stefanie uses needles with different colored cords. I myself use one bamboo and one metal needle, so that I can keep track of whats going on.
So I cast on my stitches to the bamboo needle and then moved half onto the metal needle. Next you cast on for your second sock to the metal needle and then move that half to the bamboo needle. You know everything is right if your yarn is on the right side of the work.

Look what happens when you get it right, a pair of socks start to emerge.
But of course it does taking some getting use to, When I started it did not matter how hard I tried I kept getting in a tangle. I would have both balls on the floor, one each side of me but it did not work. So then I tried having the balls on each side of me on the arm chair, that was a great result for me.
Here's my socks, where I have turned the heel and picked up the stitches. I am now on the home straight. I can see myself doing this again as I did not get it totally right. 

Anyway I hope your having a great weekend.

Happy knitting

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Kitchener Stitch The Easy Way

I don't know about you but I find that I always struggle with doing Kitchener stitch. I don't know why but even when I tell the kids and hubs to not talk to me and I repeat the steps out loud to myself I still get lost.

My solution was to knit the stitches that I needed to graft together with waste yarn but I have not been happy with that solution of late. 

Then I graft them together.

But through a Facebook Group I belong to I was able to come up with a better solution. Well it didn't suit me as it was a solution for grafting when you have all garter stitch. You will find that link here. But it made me look for a solution and I found one that I think is really easy. Instead of using a needle to graft you use a knitting needle and once you have it set up you only have to repeat 4 steps. You will find the link here.
Here I am knitting the toes together for a pair of socks.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sock Knitting Journey - Toe Up Socks

So for the first time ever I challenged myself to knit toe up socks earlier this year and this was only because I belong to a Facebook group of sock knitters. We had a KAL earlier this year and you could choose between cuff down or toe up and easy or difficult. So I decided on toe up, easy level as I had never done it before. 

You could choose from several free patterns on Ravelry and I decided on this one. It calls for magic loop cast on, so I checked that out on YouTube. I sat myself on the computer and told the kids "Do not disturb" and I sat and watched it several times. From there I got my yarn and needle and started to practice, every time I got stuck I paused and rewound, until I got it. It took a few goes but I really love this cast on. Once I got going I really loved knitting socks this way, no Kitchener stitch at the end. To get a nice stretchy bind off at the end I used Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off.

My first ever pair of toe up socks and it wont be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I like the fact that you don't have any Kitchener stitch at the end. I also learned a lot from this, how to do magic loop and a stretchy bind off both were new to me.

Do you like setting yourself challenges?  

Happy knitting


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sock Knitting Journey - Using 2 Circulars to knit socks

So like a lot of people I started knitting socks using dpn's and a regular pattern. From their I found myself spinning and that got me interested in spinning my own yarn and dyeing it to knit my own socks. That then lead me to creating my own socks using my own yarn but I am getting off track.

So my next step in the journey was knitting socks with circulars. I found a book called " Socks Soar On Two Circular Needles"by Cat Bordhi. I couldn't quite get my head around using 2 circulars but with my knitting I've always told myself to just read the pattern and follow exactly what it says. So by doing that I started my journey using circular needles to knit socks. I have to say it is the only way I have knitted socks for quite some time.

This then lead me to investigate other ways to knit socks using 2 circulars. I also started using "Simple Socks Plain and Fancy" and in this book the heel and toe are done using the short row technique. This for me was another lesson I had to learn as I'd never done it before. I like to challenge myself when it comes to my sock knitting. For a long time this was the only book I used to knit socks.

When knitting my socks on 2 circulars I would always use 24"/60 cm. What do you like to use?

Happy knitting


Friday, October 17, 2014

Wildlife On The Back Porch

I was sitting at the computer doing some work last week when I heard this funny noise. I thought their was something wrong with Charlie the Cat or maybe a dog over the fence. I got up to investigate and what did I see but a baby Magpie at the backdoor. We could tell it was a baby as it had the fluffy feathers and of course it did not fly away.Hubs was outside in the garden but did not hear a thing. We discussed what we should do as of course it was squawking. I got some water and bread, I dipped the bread in the water and then put it close to the bird so it would eat. When Charlie came round we grabbed him and put him inside. He was none too pleased as he loves birds and not in a good way. 

I decided to ring our local RSPCA which handles animal rescues to find out what to do. I of course thought they would tell us who to ring to pick it up and take care of it. That did not happen, I was told that around this time of year the baby birds get kick out of the nest. This is the way they learn to fly. Apparently mum and dad stay close by and if we stay away and do nothing they will feed it. It can take up to 2 weeks for the baby to learn to fly, we did not know how Charlie would cope with this as he is an outside cat who only comes in at night. We were lucky though as we left the bird alone and it eventually left later that day. Much to our relief and Charlie's. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sock Knitting Journey - Using dpn's to knit socks

I started my sock knitting journey over 20 years ago, it was a friend at the time that got me interested. Back then Australia did not have many knitting shops and their was no internet. I remember buying a Patons pattern and yarn and I used that pattern sooo much that I actually wrecked it. I remember going overseas and being able to buy the yarn I needed and so I purchased more than was required, funny about that. Of course it has now become my obsession along with buying books on sock knitting.

So I don't know about you but when I first started knitting socks, it was with double pointed needles and of course I knew no other way. Slowly over the years though my methods have changed. I started spinning so then of course I had to learn to spin fine so that I could spin my own yarn for my own socks but that will have to be another story.

Because of my spinning I first started to design my own socks, I purchase Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts book "Simple Socks Plain and Fancy." I used this book for many years but I did not actually design my socks as such as I kept them simple by doing 2x2 Rib. This has lead me to take another sock knitting journey which I hope to share with you.

Happy knitting

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Crafting With Yarn

I am going to be blogging about all things crafty using yarn. I don't know about you but I love yarn and knitting is my favorite past time using yarn. I can crochet, lets just say that I am able to do the stitches but when it actually comes to following a crochet pattern something goes wrong. So I've decided that I am going to learn some new things and following a crochet pattern is going to be one of them.
I also want to look at other things we can do with our yarn, cause if you are anything like me you have quite a stash. I also know that if your anything like me it doesn't get smaller it some how grows? Of course I don't know how that happens.
So I hope you will follow along as I learn some new things and just maybe I will be able to pass on some tips.