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Archive for the ‘Work in progress’ Category

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As much as I love poring over the mizzle and mouse’s back and other varying shades of eau de nil from the Farrow and Ball paint shade cards, I must admit to a strong liking for colour. My favourite jeans are mustard yellow and I find myself reaching for a juicy tangerine sewing thread whenever I can’t decide which colour to use- it just seems to go with everything! I’ve spoken before of my creeping sense of confusion over colour and pattern in my fabric choices, and have been humming and hawing over this particular quilt for months. I choose fabrics, lay them out, look at them for a week, and then shove them away again to go back to Pinterest and general hand-wringing. In the end I bought a pack of plain squares from Oakshott and the jewel-like hues were enough to finally spur me into action.

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It’s another geometric quilt, the Broken Dishes pattern, which I saw initially on New York blog the Purl Bee, done in beautifully tasteful muted cotton. Mine will be more riotous, but that’s just the way I felt like going…

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Darks, lights, and a Scholastic Books catalogue… not involved!

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As often is the case, a quiet blog belies a busy time here at the cottage- the Easter holidays promted a huge push on the ‘garden’ (still more accuratey described as scrub land) and I’ve not been idle on the crafting front either. In addition to wee Fergus’ quilt, I’m still knitting ‘Quill,’ a Shetland hap-style wrap for my sister,which is a Jared Flood pattern. There’s no rush on this, and the progress on it creeps ever more slowly as each round gets larger. It’s great TV knitting, though (until I get to the rather more complicated-looking border!)

Also on the needles is another Old Shale baby blanket, this time in a dark grey superwash merino, which is soft and bouncy. I’ve knitted this (yep, another one of Jared’s) pattern several times now, so despite its lacey appearence, is also now quite happily mindless.

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It’s the first Easter holiday we’ve spent at this house, and I must say I’m loving the days warm enough to spend outside but evenings cool enough to still warrant a fire. The cold, dusty hearth of summer is such a sad sight, I feel.

As always, the last weekend in April heralds the Banchory Scout Jumble Sale, a bit of a Deeside institution which raises in excess of £10,000 for the Scouts every year. It must be a mammoth undertaking, but, as ever, the queue snaked round the block. The bric-a-brac table was  full of hidden gems and slightly out of breath punters jostling for space as we raked through the piles of baking tins, china and a large porcelain white tiger figurine (which, along with two very, um, sculptural candelabras, was sold to a most satisfied chap). I did my best to steer clear of the embroidered textiles this year -tempting as they always are- because I am amassing a huge collection and am rapidly running out of space! Instead I bought some glass jars for flour, lentils and the like, for £2, and 9 beautiful hand thrown pottery mugs, interior and rims glazed in a lovely bluey green, also for the measly sum of £2. I feel very much the cat who got the cream as I sit here sipping tea.

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I also bought two very large, very fluffy and -crucially- very absorbant towels for… the dog. A 5 year old German Wirehaired Pointer named Amber came to live with us just over a month ago, and after a few issues here and there, is settling in pretty well. She’s very sweet and very affectionate, and despite now having to sweep the floors pretty much constantly, the happiness she brings the boys and the joy of taking her for walks (good recall! A first for most dogs I’ve known!) is worth it.

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They do say children growing up is bittersweet; surely part of the sweetness is a legitimate reason for making them new versions of what they’ve grown out of! Sol needed a new hat and his previous one had been such a success I just repeated the pattern, adding a few more stitches to the cast on and a few rows to the length.

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This time he declined a decorative button <sniff> because he wouldn’t be as well camouflaged in the woods, apparently. He chose the colour, which is another Erika Knight yarn, this time in a chunky weight, in the shade ‘Gunge.’ Such was my revulsion at the name I nearly didn’t buy it but I just re-named it ‘Moss’ in my head and sallied forth.

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This time my skills have grown to include a three needle bind off which I really like the look of- but otherwise it remained unchanged: a moss stitch border, knit stitch in the round and I lined it with red fleece.

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This does make it look like some sort of frog puppet, but when you’re 5 that is in no way a bad thing.

Next up: still knitting, but back to DK instead of chunky, and some delicate little cables.

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Cable knitting is amazing: you spend one fiddly row faffing around stretching stitches all over the place, then a couple of rows later the weaving, winding nature of the fabric appears almost magically.

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I hope to finish this (it’s another present, so I can’t say much more about it!) soon, then on to more knitting, this time a rescue mission on a project I abandoned almost two years ago, more of which later. I do have plans to return to quilting soon, but the weather is so… knitterly it seems only appropriate to put the kettle on, chuck another log on the fire and cast on another project.

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After a few blithe and merry posts extolling the virtues of work gone well, it was really only a matter of time before the gods of crafting decided I was getting too uppity and smote me. I made this neck warmer (a garment formerly known by the far more entertaining moniker of ‘dickie’) for my grandmother, who seems to have another cashmere jumper on every time I see her and who feels the cold. I used some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, an extremely soft and washable yarn, in Camel, the sort of warm neutral shade my grandmother likes. But alas, the free pattern I used turned out to not only be very dull to look at, but flawed. The errata only rear their ugly faces at the very end, naturally, but I winged it slightly and ended up with a very warm and snug neck area but frustratingly rolly-uppy bib bit.

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This was despite a border that was supposed to stop this. It made the back of the dickie impossible for even the most flexible wearer to smooth down under a jumper, so I made the grim decision to frog the whole thing.

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Back into balls it zipped depressingly quickly, and back to the pages of Ravelry I traipsed. I think I’ve found something a bit more interesting and accurately written, so I’ll be knitting furiously to get it finished for Christmas…

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And all very red and Christmassy… I have figured it takes me three hours per calendar to embroider the numbers onto the pockets, so by that calculation have a mere nine hours to go!

These are the three fabrics from last year

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And two new ones, (chosen by a client way back in January!)

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On a different note, my hoarding of vintage linens continues: I picked up this sweet little crocheted (I think!) bit of floral lace for one pound in a charity shop.

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I think it’ll look nice on a cushion, similar to these ones I made my sister-in-law.

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Readers, you could be forgiven for thinking I had disappeared into the felt scraps. But I assure you. I am still here, and still making my advent calendars for this year. All decorations but the angel for the top of the tree are finished!

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There are six of each of these…

There are a few new ones for this year but the old classics -robin, Christmas pud, Russian dolls- are still here.

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And now this is happening (broken dishwasher…sob):

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So that this can happen:

Advent decs 2013 042Some (subtle, tasteful-  can glitter be tasteful? oh well, it’s Christmas after all) sparkly felt arrived today, so the angels should take shape soon. For now: back to numerals.

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In keeping with a certain Christmas carol, I decided to do some hens for the advent calendars. I thought perhaps there were some sort of French poultry breed I should know about- but a quick Google image search for ‘French hens’ threw up only sketches of white hens in berets, clutching onions and bottles of wine. So I feel reasonably safe in my black speckled hens!

 

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I spotted today a little note on my calendar advising me I should have finished all 24 decorations for all 6 calendars by now… nothing like a missed deadline to prick feelings of guilt, and get the sewing things out!

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