Monday, 29 May 2017

On the needles and future plans

Remember when I used to be a monogamous crafter?  That's not a thing any more.

More and more these days, I find myself planning a future project as I'm casting on something new.  I like to think a few steps ahead when it comes to knitting and crochet (and, to a lesser extent, sewing).  Some projects fly off the needles and the next thing on my list could be taking its place within days.  Others are more of a slog and I find myself looking for something simple to knit on when I have limited time to spare.  And then there's the portable projects. It's rare that I go anywhere these days without a fabric bag stuffed with yarn (^^^casual promotion of my Etsy shop there) - small crafts for the win!

So what's next on my list?  Short answer - all the baby things.  I have three close friends/family expecting babies within a few weeks of each other in November and two others due in August that I might gift a blanket to, depending on how generous/motivated I'm feeling!  Long answer - scroll down...

(right) image from here
Jewel-toned baby blanket
I'm on a mission to use up as much of my DK yarn stash as I can right now, for no reason except a need for more storage space.  Blankets are one of my favourite gifts to make - they're quick to knit/crochet up and the more colours you use, the less of each one you need.  Perfect stash busters.  The Rippling Rainbow pattern above is actually for a scarf but I think it would make a great blanket.  I haven't been very adventurous with my blanket knitting lately, preferring to stick to simple stripes or a granny square design, but I think this would be perfect for pulling me out of my rut whilst retaining the slightly minimalist style I like so much.

(right) image from here
Raglan sleeve baby cardigan
I picked up many 20g balls of yarn for a steal at the market a few months ago and these colours have been sitting together for ages, coaxing me to turn them into something soft and squishy and baby-sized.  This pattern popped up on Let's Knit's Twitter feed last week and I knew it was time to get to work.  I'm not sure if I'll be using the pink as a contrast or a lemon shade I found earlier (I swear the stash is breeding...)  I'm of the opinion that anyone can wear any colours they like but I guess when it's hard for a casual observer to differentiate between boy babies and girl babies, parents might not be willing to confuse things by putting a boy in pink/girl in blue.  I'll find out the sex of at least one of my soon-to-exist baby friends before they're born so I guess I can decide at that point who's receiving the cardi.  Or my unsympathetic brother ('nope, not telling, you'll just have to wait!') will just be getting a pink trimmed cardi whether he likes it or not.

Preemie hats
I made a bunch of these last year when I was doing all my charity knitting in June and really liked the instant gratification of finishing a few in one day.  I keep finding random pastel skeins in my stash (I told you, it's breeding - I don't even like pastel colours!) which works out just fine for these.  My goal is to finish as many as I can before the end of July so I can post them out before my lease is up and I have to move house.  The pattern for these hats doesn't appear to be on Ravelry but it wouldn't be hard to find something similar.

(right) image from here
Summer cardigan
Look, something for me!  This yarn was a charity shop find from last summer and I've been searching for the perfect tee or cardi pattern ever since.  When it comes to making things for my own wardrobe, I get ridiculously fussy about every little detail.  At the moment, the Alice Blue cardigan is the frontrunner so hopefully it'll be on the needles soon, as long as I don't decide I want cables instead of lace, or I just can't be bothered knitting bottom up, or a tee would be more practical (it won't, future Elise, it really won't)

(right) image from here
I've had a bunch of cotton yarn in my stash for the better part of a year.  Some I inherited from Andrea and some came in a bag of mystery yarn purchased on eBay (most of which was rubbish.  Lesson learned)  Cotton is not my favourite thing to work with so small was definitely better when it came to finding a use for it.  Everyone needs cloths in their life, right?  I'm planning to save a bunch for Christmas and buy some nice local soaps to gift with them.  Yup, I said the C word in May.  Oops.

(right) image from here
Crochet shawl
Oh, this project.  I've made this shawl/scarf a few times and when I found some mystery lace weight yarn in a charity shop, I decided right away that it would become my fourth one.  I got off to a strong start and then just...stopped.  Unusual, since I don't let projects hibernate - I either finish them or frog them.  I just can't make a decision on this one.  Every time I pull it out to unravel it, I decide that actually, it's too pretty and I want to finish it.  I just have no desire to put in the work to get to that point.  It's stuck, and I still don't know what to do.  I never work with such fine yarn so I have no idea what else to use it for - if anyone wants to take it off my hands that would really help with the decision making process... anyone?

(left) image from here / (right) image from here
Rabbit cushion
My sister-in-law sent me this pattern and asked if it was something I could make.  After I got over my initial 'arm knitting? But I'm a REAL knitter!' reaction, I tried it out and yup, arm knitting is an utter faff.  Not gonna happen.  However, I did liberate a metal pipe I found lying around at work (I wish I was kidding - all the junk finds its way into the tech department) that I'm going to attempt to split in two and use as needles.  Wish me luck!

Up blanket
My friend is a huge fan of all the Disney movies and I know she'd go crazy for this blanket.  I'm planning to make the balloon/house decal bigger and omit the 'writing'.  I think I'll also need to stitch on a fabric backing to hide all the stitches from the design but luckily, my fabric stash is looking pretty healthy at the moment.

There's a couple of other projects I have in mind but they'd have to come with a spoiler warning - Tam can't be allowed to see his birthday gifts in progress after all!  Besides, I think this is quite enough to be getting on with...

Tell me I'm not the only one who plans my crafting to this level of insanity?


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Buyer's Archive - April

Back in early 2015, I started a series of posts that I called The Buyer's Archive to document what I was spending on wearable items every month.  I also looked back to the previous year to see how my purchases compared to then, and detailed what had survived and was still being worn, and which pieces had found their way to the charity shop.  I'm not usually much of a list maker but this is an area of life that I find endlessly fascinating - what drives people's shopping habits?  why do they wear what they do?  how do they decide what 'enough' looks like in terms of their wardrobe? - and although I can only document my own purchases, I love that others have joined in with the series (search for #buyersarchive on social media!)

After the bumper beginning I had to my shopping year, it was somewhat unsurprising that I found myself not very interested in buying anything new last month.  In fact, if it wasn't for the terribly ridiculous purchase I made on Saturday, I'd have been home free in April.  First though, a summary of how last April's finds have held up.

I'm still completely enthralled with both the navy and polka dot dresses.  It took a while for the shirt dress style to gain my affections but I loved layering it up with cosy knits all winter (who am I kidding, I'm still doing that)  Both are good for Friday night drinks if I've not come straight from work and have time to brush my hair/not look like a lazy scruff.  Last week I wore the navy dress with a summery cardigan and my boss told me 'it's weird seeing you in lady clothes' so I'm gonna take that as a very roundabout compliment.

The grey dress fared less well - it seemed to walk an odd line between being smarter than the rest of my clothes in style, but the jersey made it seem a bit...lumpy.  I don't know.  It didn't go well with cardigans and wasn't something I could really wear to work, so I sold it on eBay last week.  The knit waistcoat was given to Tam since it seems I like the idea of waistcoats more than I actually like wearing them.  Oh well.  Only keeping half the items I bought isn't a great turnaround but it's helping me to become more intentional with my wardrobe.  Just keep that last sentence in mind when you see my one and only purchase from this April...

Farfield sheep fleece via charity shop - £4.50
I know.  Isn't this just the daftest thing you've ever seen?  Fleece jackets don't usually come close to being on my radar when I'm charity shopping (unless a particularly hideous one invades my eye line) but this one has sheep.  Sheep!  And look how happy I am to have those sheep adorning me.  Or maybe it's because I found the jacket for sale online and it costs £69.50 to purchase new.  What?!  I very much thought it was something I could have picked up down at the indoor market.  I'm all for a practical purchase now and again but I suspect this jacket will really earn its place in the wardrobe around camping season.  In the meantime, I might wear it to work one day and see what my boss thinks of that outfit...

Total spend for April - £4.50

Total spend for 2017 so far (idea nicked from Hazel!) - £221.99

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