Cloudy with a chance of knitting

Blanket

First finished project of the year… Although I did in fact start it last year. This is the Maxi Cosi baby blanket I started in November. It’s a simple pattern, but it really did take a while…

blanket_2

To begin, if you make it exactly as per the pattern, it’s tiny—dollsized, really. So I started several times to try and get it to an acceptable width (in the end I cast on 175 – the pattern suggests 96). Then I realised the needles I was using were just too short, so I had to order more. I also went up a size as I knit really tightly. Around this time I realised why crocheted baby blankets are so popular – doesn’t matter how long the hook is and boy, do they work up quicker! The pattern is nice, but I think I’m not in love with garter stitch borders. Maybe I’m just not a good enough knitter yet for them to look good.

blanket_3

There are several versions on Ravelry with fabric backs. I’m not sure why but I really do like the mix of fabric with knitting, so I scoured various fabric shops online for something that would be nice for a baby. In the end I thought clouds would be nice – dreamy and peaceful, which is what you hope for a baby… even if it’s not what you actually *get*. I blocked the blanket with wires before I added the fabric to the back.

blanket_43

I must admit, I love this fabric. It’s from Cloud 9, by Eloise Renouf. I took a real chance on the colour working with the yarn, but in the end I think it was a successful gamble. It’s bright and cheery, but not too garish. We’re in the process of having our kitchen done at home, which means we have no flat surface in the house — even the floor is a little tricky. In the end I managed to cut the fabric on the floor and the ironing board and I stitched it on my knee yesterday. I was worried that the stitching would  be hard, but in the end I think it was one of the more enjoyable parts of the project, as it really made it come to life.

It has yet to be gifted… Hopefully that will come soon.

Its been a bit tough to make anything recently. The trains into work are so delayed and disorganised at moment when they do arrive they’re overcrowded, so I rarely get a seat, so no tatting. The house is so up in the air there’s no room or time for anything else. Hopefully at least one of these problems will be fixed soon.

 

2013; tatting, sewing, travel and monkeys

tatting with beads
Well, hello! Happy new year to you and yours!

If you’re a WordPress user you’ll’ve received an end-of-year review of your blog. I was shocked to see that I’d only posted 19 times last year! I thought surely I’ve been busier than that? I’ve never done my own end-of-year post before, but as it’s nice and warm inside and horrible out there I thought today might be the time to start, so here goes. A quick look at what I actually did do last year…

Tatting
As you can see above, this was the year of the bead! I found a hook small enough to work with seed beads and size 80 threads, and there’s been no stopping me! I also finally worked out how to get the beads to pop above the chain rather than in them. It seems once I’d started, I couldn’t stop.

r_self
I also decided to try and work on my own patterns this year. Admittedly I only ever got to do this on the work commute, and refused to use a pen to plan things out first, so I only got this far, but I had fun anyway! I finished an edging pattern, which I made available here – and I even spotted someone using it. I do plan to continue working on my own designs this year, so we’ll see how that goes.

Trips abroad
This was another year where living in Europe brings huge benefits! Nice places to visit and nothing to far away. I was lucky enough to visit (clockwise from top left):

Barcelona –  A lovely, relaxed trip with old work colleagues who have become friends. A visit to the Sagrada Familia was a real treat; it’s the first time I’ve been back since the new windows and roof were finished. The colours and shapes are really breathtaking.

Skelleftea, Sweden, for work. This was a beautiful place, and the first time I’ve experienced 24 hour daylight! I was made so incredibly welcome too, met some really interesting people and had some great food.

r_travel
Venice – one of my best friends lives in a town just outside Venice, and so I spent a week with him. A great week of hanging out, visiting the Biennale, and enjoying/melting in the boiling sunshine.

France – my partner’s family live here, and so we visited his family for Christmas. The photo is taken in Villebois-Lavalette. I love this chateau – it looks a little bit like one you might draw for a children’s book.

Monkeys
Yes indeed, where would we be without crocheted monkeys? They continue to be my go-to gift, although I have a feeling I might’ve made everyone I know a monkey soon! I actually made 5 in total, I think – there’s a twin for the one on the top right. I also made two bears.

r_monkeys

Sewing
The reason I started using a sewing machine originally was to try and make use of my tatting. My obsession with lavender bags didn’t abate in 2013 as you can see! I’m still not sure there’s a straight edged one among them.

I also tried my hand at embellishing with embroidery, which on reflection, I like a lot. I used the piece on the top right for a bag.

r_sew

And finally, I managed to shorten a very light pair of curtains, and finish my second quilt. Phew!

Maybe 2013 was busier than 19 posts suggests? If you stuck it out this far, thank you for indulging me. And now, I *think* it’s stopped raining for 5 minutes. I’m going to rush out for a short, damp run, while I can. When I get back, I still have a friends baby blanket to finish.

RUN!