Of Stuff You Realise After Rereading, and Crocheting Nests

Good news! Especially for me — I at last realised what is wrong with the beginning of Grove of Graves and how to fix it. Apparently my subconscious had been thinking about it the whole week after I reread the story to see where any changes are needed.

Turns out I only need to move one flashback to the beginning of the story and that should do it. Okay, with a bit of a rewrite of the scene to build on it. See, the story started really slowly and — let me just face it — a bit boring too. Moving the flashback kicks it into gear from the start and also does some exposition that is required (as it takes place just after The Knowledge Stones).

One of my goals for January and February is to outline the whole of The Ruon Chronicles properly. Obviously there will still be some changes as I go along, but I really want to get The Stuff Stuck In My Head on paper and in the correct sequence.

I’ve decided on doing it over two months as I know how hectic it can get when the year really gets going by about mid-January. This is because the school year in South Africa starts then so everyone is back at work and the city’s traffic is back to normal as well. Oh, the traffic… Time to mindplot, I guess!

I’ve really had some time to rest over the past two weeks as I could even take an almost leisurely time to finish my work during the day. And after December’s rush I really needed this time to make sure my admin is under control, etc. as well. That said, I feel ready to crack open Aeon Timeline and Scrivener (and my trusty notebook) to write again after my hiatus.

The past weekend was spent mostly at home (bliss!), with me only having to face the shops quickly on Sunday (because guess who needed headache tablets and found that she was completely out of them). Other than that I only ventured into the garden a few times to take Sir Tristan for a walk.

The rest of the time I spent working on writing, crocheting, knitting and listening to interesting podcasts and lectures.

Man, I think if I went to varsity now I would have been even more of a nerd. I was already one of the students who spent most their time in the library studying. Okay and reading oodles of books that I just found interesting and wasn’t actually part of the curriculum. Add to that lectures and podcasts, YouTube, etc., I don’t think I would have done anything else!

 Anyway…

I managed to finished my Eilian Shawl in Stylecraft yarn — the second time that I’m actually making this pattern! It’s only a five row repeat pattern, which made it great for when I’m listening to podcasts.

Wanting to do some knitting as well just because, I started on another shawl (shawls seem to be my thing) that is also a simple pattern and one I can do without having to have a pattern in front of me the whole time. It’s really like I can switch my brain off while working on it and just forget about all the worries and stresses of the day.

It was on Friday that I received an email from LoveCrafts (whose newsletter I follow) asking for help. At first I thought it was going to be some kind of poll or something, but it turns out that it gave links to places that need help for rehabilitating the animals touched by the Australian bush fires.

I didn’t even know that they needed crafters to make nests, pouches, etc. Well now, I thought, crochet I can do and nests I can make! So, since Sunday, I’ve been crocheting nests in-between writing and reading (because my fingers and wrists can only do so much at one time!) and when I have a good bunch I’ll post them off to Australia.

If you also want to help, here are the links.

Also included on the Facebook Page are the patterns you’ll need. So, if ever you’ve wanted to learn to knit, crochet, or sew, why not take this as your chance?

There are some great tutorials available on YouTube, Skillshare, and Bluprint (some free, some paid) to help you get started.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with some more worldbuilding, and, until then, keep well!

Learning and Practising Knitting and Embroidery

So it’s been a busy few weeks writing wise (both fiction and at work!), but I have been crafting more than I thought I would thanks to the Easter weekend. I only have one FO to show – the “Love” embroidery that came as a kit with one of the Mollie Makes magazine issues.

The last thing I embroidered were some “charms” for a blogpost, so getting back into it – and at last learning how to do a proper French knot – was great. I even got some embroidery floss so I can start on my Firebird embroidery pattern… which I got in 2012. So it’s about time that I start!

Find Firebird and other Roseworks patterns here (it is a South African online shop).

Other than that, I’ve worked on my sampler scarf (knitted in various stitches) and my Mandela Day scarf which is my lazy no-brainer crochet at the moment as it just uses Elizabeth stitch I found on Pinterest.

The scarf is half my own pattern and half that which is the project for the Simply Stunning Colorwork knitting course by Anne Berk you can do through Craftsy (I can highly recommend it).

And I’m making yet another shawl. Why? Because I love them. This one is the Reyna shawl by Noora Laivola.

Reyna knitted shawl on white background WIP photo 1

Golden Rainbow Shawl and News

It’s finished! Made from Sirdar Divine yarn (colourway 062), the asymmetric shawl I was busy with is now finished. This is the end result:

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It’s based on another scarf pattern that includes some lace knitting inserts, but I realised only after working with the Divine yarn for a bit that the lace pattern won’t work. Instead, I kept on only increasing a stitch every two rows. I’m very happy with how it turned out as well, but am going to knit another one in another yarn that includes the lace parts.

 

Other knitting and crochet news

I’ve now started on my scarf for the Mandela Day challenge for 2018. I’m using Elle Baby DK in the Apricot colourway and a 3.5mm hook. The stitch is called the Elizabeth stitch. As with my other charity makes, I go for something practical but beautiful. Who says things you receive through charity shouldn’t be beautifully made?

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Craftsy is addictive. That is all I can say. I’m learning some new stitches and colour changes, and am making a sampler scarf for the one class. Using: Elle Charity DK in Fuchsia and School Grey.

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Knitting and amigurumi all the way

Meet my newest amigurumi creation! The pattern is a paid pattern from DIY Fluffies (check out their other patterns while you’re at it). I found the pattern very well written and thorough (Photos! Graphs!) so making it was seamless even using a different thickness of yarn. I only substituted the size of the eyes as my yarn was thicker that the one used in the pattern. (Used Elle Family Knit DK throughout)

Koala 1

Otherwise I’ve been mostly knitting as my bad wrist has been giving me some troubles. I finished the Herning shawl (with the slight changes made by me) and I love how it came out! I think I may make another one in the future in a different colour… (Used Elle Babykins 3-ply in colourway Teddy)

Then I am on my second ball of yarn for the asymmetric shawl. (Using Sirdar Divine in colourway 062)

Other WIPs

Other WIPs I have going at the moment include the Springtime scarf (using Elle Charity DK in the Fruit Shake colourway) and the throw for my aunt. More about these and the new charity I joined next time!

Journaling and Quilling

Well, my idea of writing for this blog every week has so far flown out the window. Oops. But in good news, I have finished some projects and have some journaling and quilling to show!

Journaling

Although I’m still not journaling every day, I do try to journal as often as possible. Here are a few pages that I’ve finished.

As you can see, I do use a lot of quotes and the like – mostly poems that I like or that I feel fits with the day.

Quilling

I’ve also been doing some quilling again, yay! Just cards, but I am going to sort through all my papercraft stuff so I can properly start making birthday cards and things again.

Current WIPs

Currently I’m busy with an asymmetrical shawl I’m knitting with Sirdar Divine yarn and the spring scarf I’m crocheting. There are a few bits and pieces that I will tell you about next time when I will also show my FOs!

Current Projects – Crochet and Knitting

With all these heatwaves we’re having in Gauteng (the province that I live in in South Africa), I’ve been working on small and light projects. There is no way I’m working on the Fire and Smoke Throw when it is the hottest day of summer!

Knitting!

Luckily my road trip knitting of December (the Herning Shawl from the one issue of Knitting Magazine) is a very light knit as I’m using 3-ply Elle Babykins yarn. Knitted with my 3.25 mm Simfonie KnitPro circulars on a 120cm cable, it’s coming out very well even with me fiddling with the pattern to produce a slight lace feel to the centre of the shawl. Also, you have to have some beautiful progress markers on your work!

Next comes the crochet!

I’m still busy with the Mermaid Tail Scarf as I usually put this one down first when it comes to making orders and gifts – simply because it is such a big project although the pattern is easy enough so I can just pick up and continue even after leaving it for a couple of weeks. This shawl is made with Elle Crochet No 5 and a 2.5 mm hook.

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A small Koala amigurumi is also on the hook… can you say on the hook? Hmmm… Anyway, the pattern is a bought pattern (yay Etsy!) and I’m making it for one of my friends at work. It should be quite a quick make as well. I’m using Elle Family Knit DK and a 4.5 mm hook for it.

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One evening, while almost falling into the rabbit hole that is Pinterest, I found a tutorial for the Elizabeth Stitch and ended up starting a scarf for the winter! It really is a beautiful stitch! (And easy to do as well – great for TV crocheting.)

Ta-da! How’s that for cheering up winter? It’s Elle Charity’s Fruit Shake colourway and I’m using a 4.5 mm hook.

The Fire and Smoke Throw for my aunt is on hold until February so that the weather can cool down slightly. Because it’s Aran yarn I’m using, it is quite hot when you start sewing everything together and have to keep it on your lap. Also from Elle, the yarn is Kaleido in the Briquette colourway. Pattern is my own, though I will make it available on here once it’s done.

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Next time…

Quilling and journaling!

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Catching Up, Finished Objects, and Christmas Crafting Begins!

In which time runs away from me, I start a new job, finish a few projects, and start some Christmas projects (can you believe it’s already that time of the year!).

I’ve had no excuses for not keeping up with the blog other than not having enough time… In September I started a new job (yay!) so August was spent handing over my work and writing fiction (and yet I’m still not finished with The Box of Secrets).

September, as you may imagine, sped past me in a bit of a haze as I started the new job (as copy writing at a publisher) and had to get used a whole new routine. I am almost feeling like I am catching up again with life, though, although NaNoWriMo is next month and it promises to be a doozy.

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Because of NaNo (a challenge in which you write 50 000 words/a novel in 30 days), I will not be able to work on my Christmas gifts as much as I would like. So, for the next two weeks I am crocheting and knitting my heart out.

But first – some FOs

Three finished objects of the past two months are the nameless cactus (for my desk at work), the nameless bear (for a colleague’s daughter), and the Daisy Doily.

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Current WIPs and Christmas crafting time!

Most of my WIPs have now been put on hold while I’m busy with Christmas gifts. The Duinen scarf is so close to finished (about 10 rows left), but I ended up not buying enough wool, so I had to also put it on hold. Luckily I got my hands on another ball of Elle Pullskein in the May apple colourway!

The Christmas gifts for this year is not many in number, but are quite big projects. One is a throw for a double bed and the other includes lace knitting. Which is taking a LOT longer than I had initially thought it would! Keep your eyes on my Instagram for some bits and pieces on the Christmas gifts!

How I Learned to Crochet

Although crochet may look very difficult to do, it is actually very easy once it is broken down into the separate stitches. To give an example, a friend whom I taught how to crochet was making a crocheted blanket after her third short lesson and she already knew all the basic stitches.

My grandmother, my first teacher

My grandmother could crochet so beautifully and I remember well how she would sit in front of the television crocheting, her hands moving so fast that it looked like magic. I must have been five when I asked her if I could also learn how to crochet. Let’s just say me trying to crochet by myself did not work out the way I thought it would. But moving right along.

My grandmother said that she would teach me and, as a surprise, my grandfather bought me my very own yellow plastic crochet hook. I learned how to do chain stitches and trebles with a beautiful purple wool (my favourite colour at the time), but soon I went on a long hiatus, during which I crocheted and knitted almost nothing.

Death in the family and an inheritance

My grandmother passed away in 2000, when I was 16, after a battle with cancer, leaving behind a cupboard full of yarn, knitting needles and crochet hooks, and crochet magazines and patterns.

As I was the only one in the family who knitted and crocheted to some degree, it was decided that I could inherit all of it.

It truly was bittersweet to clean out the cupboard and see that some of the projects were only half-made.

However, there were also crocheted blankets she had made for her grandchildren — mine with purple and white as the main colours. Pinned to it was a small slip of paper with my name.

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Teaching myself all the things

After a few months had passed and I’d looked at the crochet magazines a few times that I decided that it was high time that I taught myself properly how to crochet.

(By that time I had already taught myself how to embroider and do paper quilling, so I was quite confident that I could teach myself this from a book as well.)

Lucky for me, I already had some needlecraft books with good photos as well as some illustrations at the back of the magazines. So, after a few tries I remembered how to do a treble and after that the rest of the stitches came quite easy.

Next I taught myself how to read the pattern graphs. (Which I still prefer over written patterns and comes in very handy when working from patterns which aren’t English/Afrikaans/Dutch.)

The first thing I made was a doily. The tension was all wrong, but I did finish it, and, through that, I had learned so much that the next projects came a lot easier to me.

Where I find myself today

I am quite pleased with where I am at the moment crochet- and knitting-wise. At the moment I am teaching myself lace knitting and also want to learn brioche knitting in the future.

Where crochet is concerned, I’ve started designing my own patterns, which I am very much enjoying! My most intricate pattern so far is the Mermaid Tail Shawl, which is growing steadily.

 

Free Pattern: Fingerless gloves with trebles and texture

In case you were still wondering — yes, it is still winter here in the southern hemisphere! Although we have had a very mild winter, so the gloves I have been making have not been too thick and warm. I also still have to get some proper wear out of my scarves — but I digress.

These fingerless gloves are made with 4-ply wool, so they are nice and light and perfect for wearing when you need to type or are travelling.

I tried something a bit different and used some other stitches to add some subtle texture to the glove that I had not included in the other patterns (like the ones you can find over here).

As always — please link back and don’t copy the pattern. But please show me your FOs! I would love to see them!

Now without further ado, here is the pattern.

Pattern:

Fingerless Gloves with Trebles and Texture

You’ll need:

  • 4-ply yarn (I used Elle Family Knit 4-ply)
  • 4 mm hook
  • Needle to weave in ends

Pattern:

Foundation chain: 45 stitches (or to fit around hand)

Row 1: 1 dc in each of the foundation ch. Close with a slst.

Row2: 1 dc in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 3: 1 htr in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 4: 1 dc in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 5: 1 htr in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Thumb opening:

Row 6 – 13: 1 dc in each stitch (work to and fro, do NOT close with a slst.

Row 14: 1 dc in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 15: 1 htr in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 16: Working in “back v”, dc in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 17: 1 htr in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 18: (1 fptr, 2tr)* rpt to end of row. Close with a slst.

Row 19: 1 dc in each stitch. Close with a slst.

Row 20: 1 dc in each stitch, dec. 2 stitches. Close with a slst.

Row 21: 1 tr in each stitch, dec. 2 stitches. Close with a slst.

For a longer glove:

Repeat rows 18 and 19 until desired length is reached.

Notes:

This pattern is quite easy and I am certain that a beginner would be able to follow it.

To make a longer glove, simply add more rows after row 21. See end of pattern for repeats.

I use English terminology, so just keep a conversion chart at hand if you’re used to the American terminology. As soon as I have time, I will make both available. This will be sooner rather than later, I hope!

 

Baby Shower Gifts – Crocheted and Knitted

Zero the dog, Sparkles the unicorn, and other bits and pieces

In my last post I spoke about the baby shower gift I had made for a friend. It contained a few toys, as well as two beanies. All the patterns I used were free (yay!) and I’ll link to each of them below.

Zero the dog

Those of you who know The Nightmare Before Christmas will immediately recognise Zero, the ghost dog. I had made a Jack Skellington beanie for my friend’s other daughter a few months ago, so when I saw this I knew I had to make it!

The pattern can be found on Ravelry. It is a bit more involved even though it uses basically only double crochet stitches. If you’re used to amigurumi this pattern would be dead easy, I guess. However, it is still not an advanced pattern. It is an easy enough pattern to follow and the instructions also includes some photos — just keep some stitch markers at your side!

Pattern for Zero.

I used Elle Charity Chunky and a 5 mm hook for the pattern. The embroidery on the face was done in Elle Family Knit DK in red and black. (The reason I changed the nose was because it is for a baby and I did not want it coming off by accident!)

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Sparkles Twinkletoes the unicorn

Sparkles is a pattern I found on Ravelry — and which I fell in love with immediately. The pattern is more difficult than Zero’s pattern and includes colour changes, so I would say that it is more suited to an intermediate crocheter.

That being said, the pattern is well-written and clear and is quite a quick make. (Which would have been even quicker if I had not run out of white yarn. Oops. Although I do not mind going yarn shopping at all!)

I ended up embroidering the eyes as I did not have safety eyes and it is meant for a baby, but that is all that I changed on the pattern.

Pattern for the amigurumi unicorn.

I used Elle Family Knit DK and a 4 mm hook throughout for the body. Then I used some cerise pink 4-ply Mirage and some leftover purple Red Heart Lacie for the mane and tail.

A bunny!

Because the baby already has a Squishy the Octopus, I decided to make a bunny that could be kept at hospital if necessary.

This bunny is easy enough for a very new beginner as it is made out of a single block of knitting that is stitched and stuffed in a specific pattern.

I used Elle Babykins DK (oh so soft!) and 4 mm needles. Sir Tristan was also very interested in the bunny while I was making it!

Beanies

The beanies I made is the Lisha Hat pattern — those who follow the blog knows how I adore that pattern!

Lisha baby hat pattern.

I made one from the Elle Babykins DK and one from Elle Family Knit DK.

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And that, dear readers, was the baby shower gift. In the next post I will show the finished “Heirloom scarf”, my first attempt at lace knitting, and how far I’ve come with the Duinen II scarf.

What are your favourite crocheted or knitted baby shower gifts to give? Leave a comment below — or even a link to a photo of an FO to brag a bit! 🙂