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!

Knitting a lot and then knitting some more

Apart from an amigurumi bunny for a colleague’s baby shower, I’ve really been knitting a lot more than crocheting. I finished the Reyna shawl and am now busy with the wrap pattern called “Moonlight” by Pat Strong. Although I have gone full rainbow colours on this wrap and not anything near the demure dark colour it’s shown in Knitting Magazine!

The Reyna Shawl:

I did make some changes to the pattern by basically working a much larger garter stitch panel in order for it to not only be a bigger shawl but also to finish the wool that I had left…

The pattern is an easy one, good for working on while listening to podcasts and great for beginner lace knitters. I’d actually like to try it in a thicker wool and just see the texture of it. But that will have to wait a bit because of my current knitting WIP.

I used Red Heart Lacie (oh why did you stop making it, cruel universe!) in a cerise pink for this project and 4.5 mm KnitPro circulars. Yes, I’m a KnitPro gal when I can be. I am in love with especially their Simfonie needles and mostly work with the interchangeable tips. I find the needles wonderful to work with and they are so beautiful on their own, you just can’t resist them! (My other needle is Elle circulars, but they mostly come in 80cm, which is a bit short for most of the things I make. They’re great for smaller projects though.)

Moonlight (WIP):

This pattern was featured in the December 2017 issue of Knitting Magazine (oh, what a joy of a magazine…) and, although it is a 16-row repeat, it is a very easy pattern to memorise.

It’s turning out to be bulkier than my other wraps and shawls, but I’m loving the texture. I think anything thicker than DK and I would have frogged it and tried another yarn. The yarn I’m using is Chick DK in the Vibrante colourway. I’m using the same 4.5 mm KnitPro Simfonie circulars for this project.

Tip on buying needles for newbies

If you’re not sure what to buy (let’s face it, there are so many sizes and types of knitting needles available), I’d suggest 4 or 5 mm needles. Either straight or circulars. I find the short circular needles easier on my wrists, which is why I usually use them. So if you struggle with the long, straight needles, maybe also try the circulars.

Don’t feel pressured to buy a whole set when you get started – rather build on your collection and first find the brand that you really like to use. Some swear by Hiya-Hiya, for instance, others by KnitPro. (I have yet to try Hiya-Hiya as they’re not imported to South Africa as far as I know).

Sampler knitted scarf zoomed in linen stitch and tweed pink and grey WIP

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)

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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.

Cactus 1

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!

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! 🙂

Glove Patterns, an FO, WIPs, and Plans

At last I have some of the glove patterns ready for you! (These are free to download, I only ask that you link back here and not share them without attribution — thank you!)

The patterns are easy enough for beginners, and are highly customisable when it comes to sizing, so you can use the same pattern for kids or adults.

Scroll down for the following free patterns (they’ll be on Ravelry a bit later):

  • Nettie’s Wristwarmers
  • Fingerless gloves with a lace edge
  • Sam’s fingerless glove recipe

Finished Object: Heirloom Scarf

The Heirloom Scarf is finished! An easy and fast pattern, this scarf is perfect for a quick gift or when you just feel like working a pattern you don’t really have to think about. This pattern is also a good one for a beginner. I’ll type it up during the week to post it (I hope!) next week.

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WIPs and an FO

I’m currently busy with a few projects, including some gifts for a stork tea in two weeks’ time. The main gift (which is the FO) for the tea is a Zero toy (the dog from The Nightmare Before Christmas). I got a free pattern online and am using chunky Elle yarn. Then I am also making a small bunny from Elle’s Babykins yarn that’s perfect for a baby’s sensitive skin.

The “peacock shawl” is still growing steadily — I have about 75 g of yarn left (Red Heart Lacie).

I have also been trying my hand at lace knitting again. I am making the KnitPicks Fishtail Lace Scarf pattern and, though it is slow going (at least in contrast with the speed at which I crochet!), I enjoy seeing the pattern grow and evolve.

Finally I am also busy with the second pair of “Nettie’s Wristwarmers” and need to finish the Jack Skellington beanie.

Plans for future projects

August is just around the corner and I realised that I seriously need to figure out the gifts I am making for Christmas this year!

The only one I am 100% certain of, is a lace scarf for my sister, for which I will most likely use Katia yarn. I quite fell in love with this pattern and think that it would suit her wonderfully. I am still deciding on the colour, though.

Besides gifts I am also still making beanies and booties for Beanies, Booties, and Blankets. The pattern I’m using is “Lisha Hats” that you can find on Ravelry.

Pattern:

Nettie’s Wristwarmers

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Needed:

DK wool/yarn (I used Stylecraft DK and Elle Family Knit DK)

5 mm crochet hook

Needle for weaving in the ends

Pattern:

Foundation chain: 35 stitches (or two fit around arm), close with slst.

Row 1: 1dc in each chain of the foundation row. Close with slst.

Row 2 – 5: 1dc in each stitch, close with slst.

Row 6: Start Paris Stitch by working as follows: chain 3 (counts as first tr) and work in same stitch 1tr, 1ch, 1dc, skip 2 chain *2tr, 1ch,1dc, skip 2 ch*. Rpt * to end. Close with slst.

Row 7 — 15: Continue with Paris Stitch as follows: Into 1ch space work *2tr, 1ch, 1dc*, close each row with a dc.

End work and weave in ends.

Notes:

  • The wristwarmers may be made longer by adding more rows of Paris Stitch.
  • Fit the wristwarmer after finishing row 5 to ensure a good fit.
  • Other wool may be used, simply measure how many stitches you will need to fit around your arm. The pattern is fully customisable.

Pattern:

Sam’s Glove Recipe

This is a longer fingerless glove. It was originally made as a Harley Quinn/Joker pair, but you can use any colours and combination.

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Need:

DK yarn (I used Elle Family Knit)

5 mm hook

Needle to weave in ends

Pattern:

Foundation row: Chain 30 (or enough to fit around hand).

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

Row 2 — 10: 1 dc in each st, close with a slst.

Thumb opening: Row 11 — 15: Work 1 dc in each st to and fro, do NOT close with a slst. Close only row 15 with a slst.

Row 16 — 18: Working in the round, 1 dc in each st around. Close with a slst.

Row 19 — 20: Dec 2 st in each row as follows: Start and end with 2dc tog. 1 dc in all other st. Close with slst.

Row 21 — 47: 1dc in each st, close with slst.

End work and weave in ends.

Notes:

  • Glove can be shortened by omitting some rows between 21 and 47.

Pattern:

Fingerless Gloves with Lace Edge

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Need:

DK yarn ( I used Elle Family Knit DK in “peat” colourway)

4 mm crochet hook

Needle to weave in ends

Pattern:

Foundation chain: 40 stitches, close with a slst.

Row 1: 1 dc in each ch of the foundation row, close with a slst.

Row 2 — 6: 1dc in each stitch, close with a slst.

Thumb opening: Row 7 — 14: Working to and fro, work 1 dc in each st without closing with a slst.

Row 15 — 16: 1 dc in each st, close with a slst.

Row 17: Dec 2. Begin by working 2 dc tog, 1 dc in each st, last 2 dc tog. Close with a slst.

Row 18 — 25: 1 dc in each st, close with a slst.

Row 26: (Paris Stitch) ch 3 (counts as 1tr), work in same st 1tr, 1ch, 1dc, skip 2 ch, *2tr, 1ch, 1dc, skip 2ch* rep * to end and close with dc. End work and weave in ends.

Notes:

  • Gloves can be made longer by adding more rows between row 18 and 25.
  • Create a bigger lace border by adding more rows of Paris Stitch, working 2tr, 1ch, 1dc into the 1ch spaces.

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