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A Fantastic New Craft – My Freeform Crocheted Carpet Project

Freeform Carpet

It all started when I was sorting my wool the other day. I love how a bunch of wool can create a whole chain of thought and inspiration!

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I’ve got tons of textured yarns which I’ve accumulated over the years and lots of basic acrylics that I use for blankets and toys. I had the idea to create an area rug for my son with various textured yarns held double with a strand of the base acrylics (worsted weight) in all the shades of beige that I had in my stash. The flat/untufted areas are base acrylic held with a strand of cone cotton and strand of cone rayon with a golden sparkle to it – each about fingering weight or less. It compliments the sparkle in the main ‘bling bling’ yarn I’ve used for texture. It’s the multicolour found in all the circles – pictures just don’t do it justice.

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I had so much fun with this I’m planning to invest in some rug yarns to try to make a more durable/long lasting rug. This one is tightly crocheted and seems strong but it is just blanket strength acrylic I’ve used so I can’t wait to see what I can create with real rug wool and my tufted texture yarns! It will take away the machine wash option though if I decide to go with wool rug yarn (and I’m leaning to that option – seeing a guy with a factory full of partial cones which he needs to clear out later on today and there are a few different materials to choose from).

We all knew I needed a new hobby, seeing as I have nothing to do lol :)

Oh wow, almost forgot to post this pic…

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It’s my new Polonaise! Yes, finally, I have been blessed with the one wheel I’ve wanted forever-since-I-thought-of-spinning!! A totally excellent early Christmas present :)

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She spins like a dream and is just beautiful. The lady I purchased her from was excellent and her husband was even kind enough to deliver the wheel.

And a very cute grandson pic…he loves to jump!

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Yes, I Have Been Slacking

I haven’t blogged in SOME TIME….wow, too long, really.

My beautiful daughter had her beautiful baby!! He’s the most beautiful boy in the world…of course, I am a little bit biased…just a little :) She says I must ‘blog’ him, so here is a picture of cuteness itself….

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So, perfect, right? I’m one proud grandma, though that’s something to get used to — I’m so NOT used to being a grandma!

Certainly the excitement of new babies explains my blogging-slacking behaviour, doesn’t it?

I’ve done some spinning, some knitting and some beautiful fleece purchasing – all since I’ve been on the blog last and some of which I’d like to share here since I’m really thrilled with some of the results :) I’ve been on a bit of a yarn/fleece diet this year, and trying to use up the fleeces and fibre I already have rather than buying more. IF you could see the yarn closet you’d definitely agree that the diet is necessary. It’s that or we have to expand the yarn closet, lol, or trade it perhaps with the children – their room would really make a good storage! ;)

I spun some navy and royal blue superwash merino fibre which I had bought last year at the Black Lamb (www.theblacklamb.ca), from Laurie, who is wonderful. I plied it (two plies – I’m a lazy spinner with two bobbins) and knit it up into the Gooseberry Cardigan pattern. I’m more than happy with this sweater – it’s comfy, it’s soft, it’s quite possibly my new favorite all time sweater!

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Not the best picture and I can’t believe it BUT, it seems I forgot (?) to take pictures of the spun wool or the spinning itself. I must be losing my grandmother mind!

Bonus! Found a picture of the spun yarn…
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I made a little crocheted top – the Avalon Top by Doris Chan. Love how it turned out too….

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I also made a little pair of socks, from my handspun superwash merino sock yarn…three ply this time….

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I prefer ankle socks so when I made up this design, they seemed the way to go!

Seems like forever and like I’ve got too much to say for one day. Instead of jumbling it all together we’ll have to finish this up tomorrow – when I’ll show the new alpaca fleeces I just washed and the beautiful shetlands I’m processing!!!

Have a great day! :)

Bringing Baby Home

Good morning :)

I’ve finished my latest crochet portrait…created from a photograph from 20 years ago, of me holding my eldest daughter on the day we came home from the hospital…

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The original photo…

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A bit closer up….

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Perspective makes a huge difference with these fibre creations! Up close, they look so much like nothing but when you step back a few feet, the picture is so clear.

I’ve also finished the first pair of crocheted and felted baby boots. It’s a pattern of my own which I’m working on, off and on, here and there. They are fastened with velcro at the sides/backs of the booties.

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I attached the velcro with the same wool (fishermens), sewn on by hand. The velcro is sewn along the back of the ankle section and the edges of the front flaps. I’m unsure, at this point, if I chose correctly when I put the ‘hook’ section on the fronts and the other section on the back.

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These have been given to my husband’s friend for his new baby boy. He’s going to be my first test wearer :) On a side note, his little daughter has a pair of my felted slippers (the pattern I made late last year and am still working on) and she LOVES them…they are the only slippers she’s ever worn!! :) She calls them her ‘ballerina shoes’ and was QUITE impressed with them! I single stranded my ladies medium size and felted them down for her little feet.

I also made the grandchild to be a couple things…

Some braided balls to play with;

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I found the pattern, free on ravelry. It’s called the gevlochten bal.

And, a little improvised sweater, in sock yarn, on 3.25 mm needles;

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I have a few ends to weave in and some blocking to do before it’s completely finished.

The BIG News!

Yay and wow and happy dances!!

I’m going to be a grandma!

I was shocked too :)

My daughter is expecting in April and we’re all very happy for her. Best of all, she is very happy too. I’m going nuts picking out good adorable baby patterns – and there are lots out there!

So far…

The ‘Ribbed Baby Jacket’ by Debbie Bliss, in Shire Silk from my stash;
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And…

‘One Strand Booties’ by Carole Barenys in some Kroy Sock;
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Meanwhile…

I was working on some other knitting, before the BIG news arrived. I had almost finished a cardigan for myself, using some Bouquet Vogue acrylic yarn. Its the ‘Rib and Cable Cardigan’ by Irina Poludnenko (available in the Vogue Knitting, Fall 2009 magazine). Another great knit from the stash! This yarn was given to me a while ago and is, I believe, discontinued.

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It is, so far, unfinished….needing seaming and the button bands knitted on. I hope to finish this soon and wear it this fall :)

I also started some Christmas knitting (remember, I knew nothing of the BIG news!)

Kaleidoscope by Lisa Donald, using scraps of acrylics from the stash with a few balls of a tencel/acrylic blend. The tencel seems to really soften it up.

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A really easy and fun crochet pattern – I highly recommend it!

Ok – off with me…I have a million tiny socks to knit!

Completely Freeform…

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The entire quilt top was cut freeform, without patterns and appliqued the same way. This quilt is like a giant scribble :) I’m using, entirely!, material, beads and buttons which I already had in my stash. Another stashbuster.

All set to add some quilting!

I’m always so amazed by how the stitching brings the quilt to life. It’s exciting! :)

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I’m using different shades of embroidery floss for the quilting itself – two strands – and some beads and buttons for fun.

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I LOVE my quilting hoop, btw, purchased in Ontario from a local craftsman, with a lifetime warranty. I’ve once had to replace a part and there was no problem at all.

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Freezing Cold Emergency

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So, last night we realized that we couldn’t find my son’s balaclava (or his dad’s) anywhere. He has skiing today and it’s FREEZING cold (-31 right now). The only possible solution at 9 pm? Knitting, of course.

Then I couldn’t find a pattern for a child size OR for a larger needle knit – which is what I needed considering it had to be done for this morning.

So I designed my own – using the word design loosely, lol!

I used two strands of worsted weight handspun (my silverlights) and large dpns, cast on 72 sts, worked 2×2 ribbing for 8 inches or so, seperated by casting off 18 sts and then casting them back on two rows later, worked another 2 inches of 2×2 ribbing and then decreased gradually over the following couple of inches to form the hat crown.

I’m SO IMPRESSED that it fits! LOL, the kiddo was in bed so I was just guessing and you do start to question your guessing skills once the clock strikes 2 am or so…

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Stay warm people…it’s COLD out there!

I Love This Sock!

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It’s the first of my Lacy Knee Socks. A few better pictures…

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I worked a couple repeats fewer than the pattern calls for before beginning shaping and then shortened and modified the diamond shaped increase area. I kept a lot of notes – separated into pattern repeats so I can easily follow them on the second sock (or the second, third or fourth pair, really). A big job to knit but well worth it. I think the ribbing I added will keep them from falling down at all — they’re a perfect fit. :)

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Elf Business…

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This is ‘Fern Glade’ from the new Knitty by Megan Marshall. It was a beautiful knit – fun to make and fairly quick too! I used two strands of Jaggerspun lace weight in boysenberry and columbine. It’s in my projects on ravelry.

I’ve also been working on some TOP SECRET elf business, whenever the kid’s aren’t home. Can’t show you yet – in case they decide to read the blog (unlikely but you know). They are beautiful and I’ll post pics on Christmas!

I’ve started playing around, trying to design a scarf – not worth sharing yet but I’ll let you know – maybe I’ll have something to take a picture of by this evening :)

We’re having an entirely homemade Christmas this year, by the looks of it. Later this weekend I’m planning to put it all in one place and see where I’m at. For sure I’m behind a few pairs of those felted ribby slippers!

Right now I’m totally supposed to be baking a birthday cake! Chocolate, in the shape of a football and iced accordingly, lol. My little guy is now 11 — they grow up quickly :)

Have a great day :) I’ll be the lady in the kitchen, desperately knitting and baking chocolate cake!

Something Bright!

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I’m a little sick of Christmas knitting – I needed a break from the pressure, lol. So, I started this with acrylic scraps to lighten the mood. It will be a blanket, some day! I’m winging it, making each square as it comes with two colours – trying not to repeat myself too much, lol. The basic knitted mitred square was a little tricky to figure out at first but I’ve got one I like now. (I decrease at the centre three times every four rows, every row for the last four rows). I’m using smallish needles so it’s a little hard on the hands (3.25 mm with worsted weight yarn).

Seriously, I need to lay out all the things I’ve made for Christmas and fill in the gaps — money is tighter than tight and our Christmas is going to be as small as it’s ever been this year. The knitting isn’t the ‘little gift on the side’ – it’s the main thing.

I tried making apple studel yesterday, for the first time. What a beautiful thing! I didn’t realize (my recipe was one that didn’t include cooking times) and probably undercooked mine a bit so I’m going to be trying again. It was delicious though :) The dough is so weird – you stretch it like pizza dough but it’s unleavened and it stretches paper thin.

I suppose I should decorate for Christmas but I’m hesitant. Not sure if it will feel more festive or more depressing since we don’t have any gifts this year. Guess I should do it for the kids. Thankfully they are old enough to understand our situation. I wish that meant they wouldn’t be dissapointed. I know they’ll try not to be.

Silk!

So, I’m sure we’ve all done it. Bought that beautiful yarn – that ‘must have’ – and then discovered that it’s not so easy finding the ideal use for it.

My most glaring example are the ten balls of Plymouth Shire Silk in sea green in my stash. Had to have them. Love the feel. The texture. The nubbiness.

Yet every single thing I’ve tried to knit with them has been frogged.

I’ve had them for two years now! A sweater’s worth of silk without a purpose.

Silk is warm, strong, resists mold and mildew while being very absorbant and is VERY lightweight. So…I’m trying it in a scarf…

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It’s working out beautifully! Sure, I won’t have enough left for most sweaters but at this point I’m just really happy to find a use for it. Not sure it’ll do for a matching hat – we’ll see…

Free Scarf Pattern…

I’ve improvised a simple, quick, chunky knit, reversible scarf pattern and I wanted to share it :)

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It’s part of my Christmas knitting and will soon have a matching hat (it’s rolling around in my brain – I’ll probably have it written up by this weekend).

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Please feel free to add this project to your Christmas knitting, if you like :)

I Feel Like Getting Cozy

So I’ve decided that my cone of silky wool (unknown really but I can tell it is natural fibres and very very soft) wants to become a Laminaria shawl!

It’s perfect for a shawl and there is lots of it on the cone. I can’t wait to cuddle up in this :) I’m using a 4 mm needle and I like how it drapes so far.

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Of course, this means I had to frog the apres surf hoodie I was working on – :)

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A Lacy Little Hat – Cute As Can Be :)

I wanted a quick something to work on last night…I chose the Beaufort hat by Angela Hahn (which I thought was just beautiful to begin with!) and used two strands of laceweight in place of the called for aran weight yarn.

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Ta Da…

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Really cute, a perfect fit and very comfy! I think I’ll be making more of these :)

Drop Stitch Scarf

Maggie’s Scarf came out beautiful! I used up all the amoroso and it’s about 45″ long.

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I think I need to start a Christmas page to keep track of what for whom — lol, many a year I find gifts I’ve had put away which are still ‘away’ because I forgot them!

Winter’s On It’s Way…

The geese are flying, the leaves are beginning to turn and the nights are getting COLD!

Winter seems to be around the corner, here in Ontario. I’ve decided to concentrate on gifts and warm woolies now – with carpets and such as a bit of relief at the end of the day :)

I’ve completed a set for my son. It’s a matching scarf/hat set made with my Silverlights Handspun superwash merino (rovings purchased at The Black Lamb in Port Hope), using the ‘Rainy Day Scarf’ pattern for the scarf and a variation of that stitch in my hat pattern.

What do you think?

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Now I’m working on a Drop Stitch Scarf for my daughter, using the leftovers from a sweater project last year – the Amoroso Malabrigo worsted. I have about a ball and a half left over so I’m really keeping my fingers crossed. In my perfect world I’d have enough left to make the hat as well.

I’m quite nervous waiting for an appointment I have coming up with a surgeon. I’ve got some sort of cyst (yes-think cyst) problem going on and have already had an ultrasound. In about a week and a half I’ll have a better idea what the actual problem is.

Keeping myself busy is the best I can do.

So Far…

The blanket – so far…

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The rug – so far…

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The felted bag – so far…

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It seems that I’m on a whole ‘hearts and flowers’ kick, lol. I guess I am :)

The same thing in three different crafts is kind of interesting.

I got sick of my hair the other day so I let my girls (17 and 14) cut it. Perhaps a brave move but they did a fine job. Now I have a long bob type style and I like it much better. This was their first try at hair cutting, lol, they were nervous too. It was almost to the small of my back but the ends were very dry so it feels much nicer now. They did it in thin layers, starting at the nape of the neck, making each layer slightly longer than the last.

My husband is taking the kids to some car racing today so I may work on the crochet some more – it’s the closest to being done. Yeah, that and the laundry that seems to have doubled since yesterday…kids are mysterious creatures with the power of neverending laundry :)

Have a great day :)

Progress!

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Here’s a close-up…

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And a full size picture…which I dislike because the flash kind of washed out the colours…

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I’ve decided to make this a full blanket/rug size…I think it would be beautiful on top of a bed or as a couch blanket. I’m using a tight enough guage it would work really well as a carpet too. I think I’m about a quarter of the way finished, so far :)

I think I spend more time looking and feeling it than I do crocheting, lol. It’s so cozy and I love the texture created with all the different yarns combined! One of my favorite stash busters yet :)

Happy, Happy, Happy…I Think!

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Isn’t it beautiful?!

So, the knitting is done and the bag is felting as I type. I’m a little scared. I took a peek at it mid-shrink and it seems to be getting narrower but NOT shorter!

Yikes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed (and secretly plotting a cut-and-sew if it doesn’t conform).

I may need some air, or to sit a while…

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I actually took this picture this morning, as the first light hit the house…I really LOVE dawn…everything looks so awesome!

Keeping my fingers crossed…wish me luck :)

A New Project…

I’ve found another pattern I *need* to knit.

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Pretty huh?

It makes me want to design something geometrical, something of my own…! Another perfect use for the palette sampler pack I’ve been knitting down. I couldn’t sleep last night, between the wicked thunderstorm, my son’s nightmare, the daschund crying(because of said wicked thunderstorm) and the ideas crowding my brain. Why do all good ideas seem to come at about midnight?

Another find…the Knit On The Net E-zine. Really, HOW did I not hear about this before now — issue #6?!

They offer free patterns, interesting articles, a blog (haven’t checked that out yet), AND (drumroll) they offer a knitters graph paper generator which you can set to your gauge, amongst other things! I’ve yet to read the whole thing but I recommend it to anyone knitterly :)

I’m beginning to feel knitters guilt. I look at my wip page on ravelry and it’s like TWO ROWS or so. I haven’t touched the medallion sweater in about a week, nor the apres surf hoodie, NOR my son’s cabled sweater! I keep telling myself it’s ok to play — it’s summer! Pretty soon though — unless I want to stress myself right out — I’ll be getting back to the sweaters. A fair goal is finishing them before fall :)

And spinning, I LOVE spinning yet my wheel is sitting dusty while I explore all the OTHER things I love. Soon, dusty baby, soon.

My garden is growing beautifully, especially considering it’s growing on the front steps, in pots on the deck!

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I water frequently (these are the plants I started as seeds in the house this spring) and also fertilize frequently with a vegetable safe fertilizer. I’ve even started to get tomatoes! Some of the tomato flowers are rotting off though – not sure why, maybe too much water? Too much something, I’m sure.

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Yay For Quick Knits And Felt!

Another vase…

I used multi-stranded palette and mystery blended roving to make this larger version. I’m planning to fancy it up with some needle felting once it’s dry :) This vase (and the earlier one) are loosely based on the Felted Needle Vase pattern. I varied the number of stitches to begin with as well as adding extra stitches to play with size increases.

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Those booties…fulled (but maybe not enough yet!)

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I didn’t put anything into the wash with the felting items, for friction, so I’m thinking these need another go — I can still see the stitches.

A simple bag…based on the Little Coco Bag pattern, modified in a few ways. My yarn was Patons Classic Merino in a denimish blue mixed with some mystery wool in a natural shade. Am planning to decorate the blue band area with some felt.

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The latest…A pair of felted slippers a la Keep Away Felted Slippers by Karen Harper. The pattern is available free on that most excellent site – RAVELRY!

I used some stash yarns…one skein of SWS stripes in Natural Earth, one in Natural Geranium. I have some of the Earth left, none of the very beautiful geranium :) I’ll have more pictures once they are fulled and felted.

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I’m really, REALLY (did I say really?) enjoying this fulling/felting at the moment :) It’s causing my add to act up in all kinds of ways, lol!

Lots On The Go…

I think it’s the project-itis acting up again, lol. I’ve started the Medallion Top (#31) from the Spring/Summer Vogue for my best friend and that means I have FOUR projects on the go!

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I’m praying that I have enough yarn. I’m using a mystery stash yarn (Eaton’s ‘perle’ acrylic) and don’t even know for sure how much is on each ball.

The double knit pirates hat is coming along…it’s now in second place since dh can’t wear it until summer is over anyways. The Medallion Top I’m hoping to finish before next weekend. Yes – 9 days. Then there is the silky soft apres surf hoodie (FOR ME!) — I’d really like to be wearing that asap. Finally, my son’s handspun cable sweater. Deadline on that one is August so I’m doing ok :)

Ok, off to knit. I’m about halfway to the armhole shaping on the back so far. I LOVE the lace – ok, most lace! – and I’m finding it easy to follow the pattern now :)

Double Knit!

I’m making ‘We Call Them Pirates’ for my husband, for our anniversary. Probably a funny gift but he doesn’t ‘do’ knits normally and WILL wear a hat in the winter – he works outside. Being Mr. I-Dont-Need-Anything, this should be a good gift!

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I’m substituting Knitpicks ‘palette’ in orange and grey and doing it as a double knit on a larger needle. It seems I’m getting correct guage…we’ll see, lol. This is the first time I’ve knitted anything double knit and I’m in love with the whole concept right now! Very cool way to use up a lot of the palette colours I have…I’ve envisioning hats and mittens and scarves (and days that last 38 hours!). You could do a lot of very cool stuff with this double knit thing :)

I found an excellent tutorial here, on how to cast on and cast off. The only thing it took me a minute to grasp was moving the yarns out of the way, keeping them on their ‘own’ sides of the work so the sides remain seperate until yarns are crossed.

It’s going to be a marathon effort today…I highly doubt I can finish before tomorrow, BUT, here’s to trying!

This May Take A While!

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The hoodie is coming along beautifully :) I LOVE the lace way more than I expected I would. It’s so great when this happens! Now here’s hoping the size is correct (I foolishly didn’t adjust my stitch count to the guage I’m getting with this yarn)…as far as I can tell it should be ok and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I can always start again, it’s only knitting, lol.

It’s a slow knit for me…I’m just now at the beginning of the increases for the back.

It was the last day of school today… :)

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Finished Up!

Yay for finishing things!!! LOL, this took a lot of knitting or at least it felt like it :)

Presenting…

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The playing with colour kitchen rug!

I wish I had more stamina — it would be awesome even longer than it is BUT that was that for me :) I used a bunch of cotton which I had stashed away, some partial balls so I’m not sure how much yarn is in it! I did use three balls of the light green and two of the darker green for a guideline as to how much goes how far. The ‘woven’ bands could be bits of any oddballs — the more variety the better, though I stuck with the variegated ones and stayed away from the solids (except of course, the white). I really love the woven look of it :)

Now back to my regularly scheduled spinning ;)