Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Still here

I haven't gone anywhere, still here plugging away slowly at my Gytha jumper. On the plus side I have now started on the sleeves and progress is much quicker. Hopefully soon I'll be able to show you the finished product.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Winding down

The last couple of weeks I have felt like I have been on a mad roller coaster ride and finally tonight I have been allowed to get off it.

I think I have mentioned here or there that I do a bit of editing each month which brings me some welcome extra pocket money but it also keeps my professional skills up to date while I am a stay at home mum. This month I was really struggling to keep up. I don't know why because I didn't really have any more reports than usual to attend to.

Today was the absolute, ultimate deadline and I had to get them finished. It took all day, ignored the children as best I could, although they were determined to foil that plan. Finally at 5pm I had them finished! Of course that just meant that the next job to do was dinner, but after that was prepared and cooking I felt that pressure lifting off my shoulders. Oh what a welcome relief!

So after the children were put to bed I sat down on the couch to read. Then when I decided it was time for bed I also decided it was time for some crochet. I had only managed to pick up yarn and hook a couple of times in the last few weeks, as I felt that if I had time to be crocheting then I should actually be working.

The Gytha jumper that I am working on would normally be my first choice but because of the yarn colour I find it very difficult to stitch with the light from my bedside lamp. Instead I picked up hook and yarn for another hibernating WIP - my Dragon scales afghan.

Such relief to lie back and stitch, I could feel even more tension disappearing from my body. I didn't do much, I didn't need to, my soul just needed a little soothing.

Aaaaaaahhhhh, that's better!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dr Who Fun

Are you a Dr Who fan? Well I am, sort of.

When I was a child my father used to watch Dr Who almost religiously and my brother and I used to watch it with him. When I left home at 18 I stopped watching for two reasons, first I didn't have a television :) and secondly I was working nights. I just fell out of the habit. By the time I was able to watch it again I had missed so many episodes I didn't want to start watching again. By now it has been nearly 25 years and I still can't bring myself to watch it again without having seen the intervening episodes. I know, I think I've got just a touch of OCD.

However if I had the opportunity to watch every episode from the beginning (that is 40 years of episodes!) I would be happy to start up again.

And that is where this post is leading. A friend of mine who is a die hard Dr Who fan has started an online petition on Change.org to try to convince either the BBC or the Australian ABC to have a dedicated Dr Who channel. If you want to join in and sign the petition just follow this link here.

Image found at : http://petercushingblog.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/dr-who-peter-cushing-usual-suspects-lee.html
My friend is such a die hard fan that he has just ordered a heap of Stylecraft DK from Deramores to make a 12 foot long Dr Who scarf for an event he will be attending in February. Guesses as to how much he will love knitting it by the time he gets close to the end?

xXx Helen

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Gytha update

Just a quick visual update on my Gytha jumper. I am a few rounds beyond this point now, but the light has not been ideal for photography.

As you can see it is stitched from the top down. The left front and right front and then the back up until the point at which they join under the arm are stitched in rows and thereafter in rounds. It does change the texture of the fabric a little at that point. You may actually be able to see it in the photograph, I can. And it curls at the working edge. I think I'm going to need to block the edges when complete.

The biggest concern is the migration of the points as it is stitched in the round. So far the shift has been minimal but I still have probably another 30cm or so to do. Let's hope it doesn't become an issue. The only way I can see to remove both the change in the fabric texture and the migration of the points is to frog back to the join and continue to work in rows only and then seam the sides later. But I am getting ahead of myself. Hopefully I won't need to do that.

Has anyone else had issues with texture after changing from rows to rounds? Or migration of stitches when working in the round?

xXx Helen

Friday, August 16, 2013

Three WIPs Finished!

I am pleased to say that I have finished three of my WIPs, two of which were mentioned in my last blog post.

I finished the beanie for D, not that he has actually worn it. He isn't committing to it but also doesn't want me to give it away. Isn't that typical of a man? I made it out of the most snuggly alpaca yarn and it is in the deepest of blacks so unfortunately it really doesn't photograph well, the yarn just looks like a blob or a black hole.

So next up I finally finished my brother's birthday present, only 6 months late!

I finished the crochet some time ago and then realised I was going to have to secure it somehow. I eventually decided that a large piece of plywood painted black would be the best background but I hadn't determined the actual method of fastening the crochet to the board. When I last visited my parents I took the crochet with me and asked Dad if he had any plywood, sure enough he did. My father is a retired boat builder so he not only has every tool known to man he also has "stuff". That's probably the best way to describe three sheds full of "I might need that someday". Not little sheds either, ginormous!

With Dad's help, we decided that dowel threaded through the bottom loops and then bolted at various points along the dowel would be the perfect way to finish it and secure it too. So Dad actually had on hand plywood, dowel, black spray paint, teeny tiny nuts and bolts and washers and the teeny tiny drills to drill holes through the dowel and ply.

This is not a small project. It was crocheted in jute florist's twine with a 5mm hook and is roughly 40cm in height and 150cm in length. I even had to leave it behind at Mum and Dad's house once it was finished because I couldn't get it in my car. Thankfully Mum and Dad don't travel with three toddlers in the back seat so it could fit quite well in their car and they took it to my brother's home for me.

The third project I finished was the jumper for Little Miss B.

I don't know why the colour seemed to wash out in this photo. This was taken immediately after finishing the collar as you can still see the ends I need to weave in. I followed the pattern precisely and am astonished at the sleeve length. They are incredibly long. I tacked the sleeves back into a permanent cuff and added just a row of edging to the hem and it really finished it off. Here is my gorgeous girl modelling it for me. She's pulling funny faces in the first two but the last is just pure joy.

This last photo shows the true colour of the yarn. It has orange, pink, a purplish blue and a pale khaki running through it.

I am still working on my Gytha jumper. I don't have any progress pictures as I have actually completed less than was in the last blog post. Less, how is that possible? Well, I frogged the lot and started again. Even though I had twigged to the basic error in the pattern I discovered another and decided to frog the lot and attacked it like a logic problem. I made myself little diagrams, counted stitches, worked out what should be where and at what point and started again. I have to say I am much happier the second time around. I also discovered that it was 10 stitches short at the back and added those so the extra 10 per row is making it take longer to complete, not by much naturally. I'm also loving working with sock yarn. I love the soft drape obtained by using a fine yarn with a larger hook. The only real problem I have is that working at night with a dark yarn it can be a little hard to see the stitches.

Once I finish the Gytha then I am going to grab another one or two of my WIPs and finish them. I am determined to finish the lot! Some may end up being frogged but one way or another they will cease to exist in their current unfinished form.

xXx Helen

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A new magazine and WIP update

A few weeks ago I purchased the Designer Knitting Crochet 2013 Special Collector's Issue. It is truly gorgeous but it has left me a little confused as I believe it is the Vogue Knitting Crochet 2013 Special Collector's Issue with a different name. I say believe because I haven't actually purchased and read the Vogue edition but from what I can tell the content is the same. Very strange! Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

The patterns are wonderful. Some are so truly amazing that you wonder how the designer even thought of the concept in the first place. Here are a selection of the patterns you can find in the magazine:


The dresses and bags in this issue are magnificent, the green dress above has twists and turns and cables and ruffles. It almost looks like a long scarf down the front of the dress.


The three pictures immediately above are the three that appeal most to me and I suspect that at some stage I will attempt to make them.

This next design I adore. It is completely impractical for a mum with three young children, and unless my lifestyle has a drastic change, I can't see myself ever wearing such a garment! But I love it despite the (im)practicality of it.

I keep telling myself not to start any more projects until I finish the ones I have already started. But what do I do? That's right I currently have three projects which have top billing: a jumper for my daughter, a beanie for my partner and a jumper for me. But I am determined to finish ALL of them before starting anything new.

The good news is that I have finished the back and front for Little Miss B's jumper and am nearly finished the first sleeve.

The beanie I am making out of the most snuggly alpaca yarn to keep D's head nice and warm during the cold winter nights. He works night shift and the nights have been icy recently. Realistically I should be able to complete that in a day or so. But I have already had one false start, I had to frog the lot and start again. So far it is working much better. Fingers crossed that he likes it and wears it!

The last one, a jumper for me, is one I have been itching to make for a couple of years. It is the Gytha Jumper by Amanda Perkins (Ravelled here) and was featured in Issue 13 of Inside Crochet.

There are a few problems with the way the pattern was written, and I can't really cast any blame because the designer made it for herself and someone at Inside Crochet wrote the pattern for her after seeing her wearing it. It must be a devil of a job writing a pattern for something you didn't make yourself!

When I purchased the magazine just deciphering the pattern was too much for me as I hadn't had enough crochet experience, and it is only because Little Miss B's jumper has the same stitch pattern that I was able to make sense of it and work out that there was a completely unnecessary row of pattern information. It also requires the use of a foundation row when joining segments. I am a recent convert to foundation single crochet, but I also had to learn how to do foundation double crochet and then alternate the two AND make them join seamlessly to two separate pieces. Phew, I actually managed to do it while completely enthralled by Game of Thrones. My crochet skills must really have improved!

If you are interested in learning foundation crochet then pop by Doris Chan's website, or Alice of Futuregirl, They both have detailed information for this technique. Alice's tutorial had really relevant information for me, particularly in relation to joining to other pieces. And YouTube has really good tutorials too.

Another thing that kept putting me off making this pattern was the fact that all of the other people listed on Ravelry who made this have frogged it. I don't intend to be one of them. I intend this to be the most fantastic Gytha Jumper EVER. I am making it using sock yarn Moda Vera Noir in a navy blue / black colourway. Here is my progress so far. As you can see it is worked from the top down and is in rows but then later it switches to rounds.

So as you can see I am managing to keep myself amused at the same time as running a household, mothering three young children and even doing a bit of editing/proofreading to bring in some extra income. I can't imagine how other mothers find the time to go back to work when their children are small. I seem to be on the go non-stop!

xXx Helen

PS I have made a mental note to myself to improve my blogging frequency. Even it is brief or random, the only way to do it is just to DO it!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Stripy Vest

Two things have been determining my crafting lately: the weather and Little Miss B's non stop growth. Naturally enough she doesn't fit into any of last year's cold weather clothing and now needs jumpers and cardigans pretty urgently.

I think she is more excited about having something made for her than about the vest itself!
I had a stitch pattern that I quite liked and decided to use it to make up a vest or jumper. When I started I didn't know if I would attempt to make sleeves or not. I say attempt because this pattern is all my own design and I wasn't sure if I had the know how to make sleeves to fit the armholes and also fit her arms. A decision was made to keep it as a vest.

The vest was crocheted in the round from the bottom up to the armpit area, then in rows. I started with foundation single crochet instead of a chain. I recently read the tutorial for this stitch on Doris Chan's website. Unfortunately I still needed a bit more information so I watched a YouTube tutorial to help make it a little clearer. It's actually pretty simple once you get the hang of where to put the hook, but I didn't find it to be particularly quick.

It's not going to win any awards for design, but I am quite pleased with how it has turned out. I used my old favourite Moda Vera Beetle with my 4mm hook.

Front view

Back view
I have another jumper on the hook which I need to finish for her now, ta dah moment coming soon!

xXx Helen