Sunday Stitches: WIP Update.

Being determined to start the year by getting on top of some of my works in progress has been good for me. I do get irritated by having half finished projects under the bed but I get distracted so quickly. It’s terrible. First to find itself no longer half done is the Dartmoor pillow, which was begun in a Debbie Abrahams workshop on knitting design in the summer.

Daytime shot. I love this side. #DebbieAbrahamsworkshop #JohnLewis #RowanYarns #DartmoorInspiration #knitting #share

Daytime shot. I love this side.

I was full of optimism for this and planned it all out on the day of the workshop; it is 8 different squares (all 50 stitches or so across in 4 ply) but by the time I came to being 3/4 done, I wasn’t happy. Quite a bit of it got knitted actually on holiday, which meant I revisited lots of Dartmoor colours as we walked and realised how much was missing. PLus I fell in love with the felted tweed and regretted some of my yarn choices.

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I’ve ended up making it up with my less happy squares on the back and Josie has taken ownership of it. I’m gonig to remake it in 9×9 smaller squares, all felted tweed and with some yellow and rust added and I think that will be better. I fancy making another version in crochet too.

The plan for this piece of rainbow knitting had been a summer blanket for Bene as he grew but he woke up about when I started, plus it was unwieldy and ‘not fun’ to knit. The now discontinued aran weight Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton split terribly so even though it had a gorgeous drape, I just lost heart.

Love my rainbow . Now to turn it into a bag.

I managed to get an extra ball of the red, yellow and green which allowed me to make up a trim in small granny squares to attach to the top and bottom plus a strap. A friend has passed on some red wool (HH, don’t forget to tell me the cost!) to go into the inside as a bag liner and strap back for it and I think it will do nicely as a rather hippy shoulder bag.

As a rescued project, I think it works. Was a blanket, now a bag. Just needs the lining and strap attached crochet  knitting wiprecovery UseUpYarnYear share

As a rescued project, I think it works. Was a blanket, now a bag. Just needs the lining and strap attached.

It’s far from perfect because of course it wasn’t originally intended to be a bag and the sizing isn’t spot on – but I like it and it’s another nearly ticked off project (I need to dig out the sewing machine to complete it).

And then, the never ending Lang Tosca scarf. I picked up this wool in Devon and I do love it, but first I frogged a lacy knit and then I got into a muddle with this pattern from Simply Crochet.

On to my 3rd wip. This one is going to be ongoing I think. Itching to start something new but not sure what. crochet

On to my 3rd wip. This one is going to be ongoing I think. Itching to start something new but not sure what.

Ive not idea why, but it was shrinking :( plus extremely annoying to make. Frogged again. I’ve got two new ideas for this now, one being a small granny square something using one ball of it as the centre for squares that will be surrounded by my frogged Bergere De France yarn and another as a similar to the previous scarf but in a peephole chevron stitch. It grows nice and fast! Hurrah!

Frogged the lace and restarted a #UseUpYarnYear granny and an open ripple scarf. Much happier. #LangYarn #BergereDeFrance #crochet #share

Frogged the lace and restarted a #UseUpYarnYear granny and an open ripple scarf. Much happier.

This has kept me company today while the boy and I have felt very poorly, along with Stephen Fry and Pocoyo ;)

These are probably the worst wip offenders so I shall fell much better once they are signed off. Onward through my #UseUpYarnYear

What have you been stitching?

 

 

 

A Year of Yarning Frugally. #UseUpYarnYear

Like most avid knitters and crocheters, I have a yarn stash that would see us through WW3… if only it were edible. My King Sized bed is mainly propped up by boxes of yarn bought for projects that overran or overspilled or never got started or became a work in progress. There is a sizeable heap of my favourite chunky blanket yarn – because it is discontinued and I bought a lot to hoard – and plenty of ‘that’s a good deal’ back up in bundles of Rowan that won’t let me down when I need it. (IF I ever need it).

Under the bed doesn’t even house the cheap pom pom yarn and naff early days buys I know I’ll never use for anything nice now.

I can live with the backups and the box of ‘bargains’ but the pretty yarn for projects I fancied or whimsical buys really bother me. And I don’t feel as if I did anything very beautiful or creative last year, so it annoys me even more to know I have costly beauty under the bed.

In order to avoid woe filled self flagellation, I did a quick look back to see what I actually did make last year. And considering the business, the half running a gym, the 5 high maintenance children etc etc, I think I did better than I feel like I did.

2014 makes

There were a lot of hats, it would have to be said. But a blanket put together and a blanket done start to finish and a beautiful garland, a huge pillow and much more. I might feel like I did nothing but it isn’t true. And this doesn’t include the unfinished wips under the bed too, which all urgently need dealing with. Nothing worse than unfinished yarny projects. All the pain, none of the gain.

However.

I’m on a budget, I have a hoard of beautiful yarn and a need to use some of it instead of sleeping on it and stroking it looking at it.

So I came up with a year of yarning frugally.

Something that would turn this…

Okay. Each bag has everything from between 1 and 3  in it. I'm on a mission.

… bags full of half finished works in progress….

and these…

Argh. This is why I need a  These aren't the wips or the stash of random purchases. These are the intended projects I bought but didn't start.

… my most recent yarn buys or gifts…

into pretty things and an emptier under the bed.

Happy, frugal and decluttering all in one, see?

I'm getting ready to put this together into a bag   I tag

I’ve made a start on this, a blanket for Bene that never happened that is becoming something else.

And I’ve been enjoying getting out the yarn and looking at it and seeing what I have that I could do nice things with.

I’ve been doing some ripping.

Rip it, rip it.

And enjoying the opportunity to look afresh at things in a new context while taking better photos. Next up is getting out magazines and books and planning projects.

Inspiration from the stash. Putting yarns together.

The rules (my rules) are simple. I’m aiming to buy no new projects this year. Max may buy me a birthday present or Xmas present but I won’t buy new, except to finish off a project that starts in the stash, if necessary. No point adding to the wip pile for the sake of a few quid and inflexibility.

And I’m going to post about my makes more often by getting back to my Sunday Stitches posts. Feel free to join me, if you feel the need.

My little felt fabric pincushion.

This week I have been learning a little bit of blog DIY and updating a few places to run on Genesis (with grateful thanks to Tim at Colneis for helping me unpick the mysteries of CSS and become a little more enabled in thew world of codey-wodey-timey-wimey stuff). The result is the PoP looks similar but is actually quite different. This is on the back of Max and I learning the basics of Magento for our brand new version of CraftMerrily, the loveliest Hama Bead, Fimo and sundry other craft brands shop in the universe*.

It’s been a busy few months. And now that it is done and the bulk of a blanket commission is done and Fran is finished her GCSEs and everyone seems more or less settled, I can start some of my garden and house plans.

And learning a few new skills.

I’ve got quite a love affair with felt fabric, and we bought an xCut machine a few weeks ago to use for the business. I’m not much of a stitcher but I’ve been collecting some ideas on pPinterest and started having a go at some little pin cushion and embellishment type things. Here is one.

#feltfabric pincushion side one #sewing #xcut

And the other side.
#feltfabric pincushion #sewing side two #xcut

It was a remarkably pleasant way to spend an afternoon in the garden while Bene played and now I have a very pretty pincushion. I’ve got a corner of my dining room which is supposed to be my craft desk to make full of little lovely semi useful things; I think this might go and live there.

I think it would be quite fun to have some little kits of this type of thing in CraftMerrily actually. I might have to create some.

My felt ideas board has lots of followers and I add to it a lot. But here is a stitches one – do you know any stitches I need to learn?

*This is completely true.

Follow Merrily Me’s board Stitching on Pinterest.

Heart to Heart.

Cheesy title ;)

Last week I purchased an xCut machine, a euphemistic expression for ‘decided the business needed one’. I do have great business plans for it but first I need to play :)

I’m not massively interested in paper crafts, though I keep meaning to do some scrapbooks but I do love felt, though not the cutting out do much. My Pinterest board is full of ideas and pretty popular :)

This weekend I had a little go; now I need to learn to embroider. I need more craft time and a guarantee of a long life!

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So I’m thinking about projects and how to make things for home decor without being twee. What would you make?

A little bit of felt #sewing #stitching #craft happiness
I’ve added how it looked when I finished it. I was quite pleased :)

Sunday Stitches: Knitting again but crochet too.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done any knitting but the opportunity to review some yarn came up recently and it was too good an opportunity to resist. The first item is a work in progress but you might have seen me Instagramming it; it’s been quite enjoyable to get back to knitting for a change though it has to be said my technique and tension seems to have taken a bit of a tumble while it has been on the back burner which is annoying.

Seems to be coming along okay. #knitting #bergeredefrance #review

Something I really want to work on next is combining knitting and crochet together. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not likely to get heavily into clothes making and so items for the house are going to be my focus when it comes to yarn crafts. I’m determined to make sure all the girls leave home with a blanket to wrap up in and a cushion to bother and that’s going to take some time. I’m loving filling my home with things I’ve made – clothes don’t cut it for me in quite the same way. But I do love knitting and a knitted blanket takes a pretty long time so I think perhaps hybrid items might fit the bill quite nicely.

Anyway, here is the current work in progress for the review; it is Bergere de France Estivale yarn, fine with hemp and sequins and totally different to anything I’ve used before. I’m enjoying it, even though I’ve kept the stitch simple and I’m looking forward to finishing it off with my first hybrid ‘Knichet’ project ;) This is my first foray into 4 ply knitting since I had Fran and although I am making it on big needles to give it a light and fluffy feel and make sure I finish fairly quickly, the experience has been very pleasant. I’m enjoying how it feels to work with and the look of the piece that is appearing.

Otherwise I’ve been trying to read a bit more and have made a start on putting together a blanket my sister has commissioned me to make. I do like to have a granny square project on the go and I’m enjoying playing with colours with this one and trying to get it just right.

Making a start on a blanket commission for my sister. #crochet I do love the start of a project.

What are you making at the moment? Leave a link in the comments if you like :)