New socks and much more

I have decided I need to have a well stocked sock drawer.

So far I’ve got two pairs. And another three cast on. Plus a drawer full of sock yarn.

The finished socks:

The first pair was a bit of an experience. I started knitting it a while ago and the first sock was knitted on wooden 3mm DPNs. When I got to knit the second sock, I couldn’t find the wooden needles so continued knitting the second sock on metal (Knit Pro Zing) needles, also 3mm. The first sock turned out a lot looser than the first one! Lesson learnt. I had to reknit the looser sock and now they are a perfectly matching pair (apart from the pattern). Yarn is WYS in wood pigeon.

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I have just finished the second pair, which I knitted top down, using Fish Lips Kiss Heel method for the heel. As for the toe, I just decreased it normally without using short rows. This was my first try at Fish Lips Kiss Heel, and even though I like how it turned out I didn’t enjoy the process as much as I hoped I would, so I think I will just stick with german short row heels from now on.

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And even though I have got plenty of yarn left to knit a few more pairs of similar looking socks, I am going to move on to the next yarn for now, simply because I can’t wait to cast on with this beautiful hand-painted yarn from Hedgerow Yarns

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This past weekend we went to Northamptonshire to visit our friends who just had a baby and who I knitted the baby blanket for a month or so ago. I also added a pair of booties and a hat to make it more of a set. They seemed really pleased with the gift which in turn made my cold knitter’s heart melt 🙂

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And a bunch of flowers to go with the baby gift, for the mother.IMG_20160812_105954

In the flower photo above you can just about see my new top. I knitted it with cotton and wool yarn, which made for a lovely summery fabric. The pattern is Catchfly from PomPom Quarterly

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Another top, that I have recently made, crocheted to be exact, only took a couple of days!

Yarn is a blend of alpaca and cotton. The pattern is called Stamford Pullover, although I have modified it somewhat, by removing quite a few lace holes and shortening the sleeves to make it summer friendly.

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And now I am going back to knitting some more bunny beds, which is fun too!

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And, as before, and turning it into a tradition, I am finishing the post with a few flower pictures. Two on the left were taken at the Restoration House Restoration House in Rochester. The picture on the right – one of my floral arrangement attempts.

 

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Good and Bad

Life is a funny thing like that, it is full of happy moments and sad moments and we can’t escape either of them.A couple of months ago we lost a very close friend and a wonderful woman under very tragic circumstances. It was a shock to all, especially to the family. Since then I can’t stop thinking about the family. I felt so helpless as in situations like that you really don’t know what to say, because no matter what you say it is not going to help. You can do a few things, like cooking meals and inviting the friends over for distraction but you can never take away the pain. Thankfully, after a few months, things are getting a tiny bit brighter. In the true style of this blog, one of the things that I felt I could do and did almost straightaway was to crochet a shawl for the daughter of our passed away friend. It was a strange coincidence as I was browsing Instragram the day after the tragic event and came by a shawl under the same name as the lady in question. I had to make it.

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(excuse the not so pretty bucket in the background! 🙂 )IMG_0858IMG_0859

The shawl is called Celia. The yarn is super soft alpaca and merino that I had in my stash.

For some reason, the crocheting of the shawl has set me off on to crochet a few other quick projects, like this rug

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The yarn is Wool and the Gang T-shirt yarn and I made the pattern up as I went along. The bunnies claimed it for themselves straightaway.

And a much more delicate project – a little doily

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The pattern is a free vintage pattern I found on the internet and yarn is Rico crochet cotton.

Moving on to more positive news – another very close friend of ours is expecting a baby and it is coming very soon. I posted about knitting a baby blanket a while ago, and here is the final result!

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It is a Little Star pattern and even though it only appears in a book because it was messed up in print it can now be found online for free under errata (they basically had to reprint the entire pattern online!). It is more of a pram blanket as it is not very large, but that is useful too, right?

In the two months of my absence I have also dabbled into yarn dying. I saw really nice BFL and merino yarn, undyed, at a very good price, for sale and had to give it a go. I used a couple of sachets of kool aid in blue colour and a tiny bit of black food colouring. Here is the result:

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To be honest, it looked beautiful even before I dyed it.

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As soon as I dyed it I had to cast on a pair of socks

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One can’t have just one pair of socks cast on, right?  Here is another pair. This one I am knitting two a time with Opal yarn. I have got two balls of it but the patterns on each turn out very different, so these are going to be some kind of clownish socks it seems! 🙂

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And moving on from knitting to my other favourite thing – gardening. I don’t know if such a thing exists in other countries, but summer is the time of the Open Gardens in the UK. People, just regular ordinary people, open up their gardens to the public for one day only in aid of charity. It can either be around 10 smaller gardens in one village you will just walk around, or one large private garden. We go to them all. It is so inspiring and you do see some beautiful creativity people express through plants.

 

I also find this riot of colour inspirational for my knitting and I’ve noticed I’ve got a lot braver with my colour choices overall recently.

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Here is to the better and happier rest of summer! 🙂

 

The Hare Apparent

Hello to anyone still out there! I have completely neglected my blog recently, but I kind of have an excuse for it. I have a friend who runs a rabbit sanctuary and she has an etsy shop where she sells hand made rabbit beds, blankets and toys. She also works part-time and in the midst of it all she no longer has the time to maintain her etsy shop. So, about a month or so ago she has given the shop to me to be in charge of. So I have been making rabbit beds like crazy! Oh and the name of the shop is the Hare Apparent

 

These are just some of the beds I have knitted recently! And now I am taking a little breather and actually started a couple of projects for myself.

A skirt:

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This is a pattern from Revelry called Jaunty. I only just started it and really only knitted about 5 cm. The yarn is pretty fine and the needles are thin,so it might take a while, but I hope to finish it by autumn!

The other project which I’ve just started and need to finish by June is a baby blanket for my friend’s upcoming baby.

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The pattern is Little Star blanket from 60 easy baby blankets book. Although I have just discovered that the whole beginning of the blanket pattern is printed wrong in the book so have to redo the entire thing now!

And then I am guessing I will be back to knitting rabbits beds! But do follow me on Instagram @Irina0pi for more frequent updates! 🙂

 

Salvia Shawl

I’ve got myself organised and put together the pattern for my recent shawl. I’ve named it Salvia simply because it is the first flower that came into my head when I was thinking of a name for it, plus I do love Salvias! Hope you like it.

You can download it for free on Revelry or here Salvia Shawl

Projects recap

For the last few weeks I was away on holiday, or rather family visit (believe me, there is a difference 🙂 ). In preparation, I knitted a shawl for my mum which I have now successfully delivered and she loved it:

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The yarns I used are Eden Cottage yarns Millburn 4 ply in harvest gold and Askham 4ply in walnut, plus Rowan art yarn in pheasant.

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I also completed quite a contrasting crochet project –  a picnic blanket out of Stylecraft yarn.

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Both patterns are my own. I might get around to writing them both down as I really enjoyed making them.

While travelling I started a sock project, nothing fancy, in WYS yarn.

Knitting on the sleeper train, in my own compartment, with a cup of tea and biscuit, bliss!

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And the first one is done. One more to go. wp-1458936461800.jpg

Right now, I am working on a cardigan for mum. The thing is, she already knitted one but didn’t quite like the fit, so the decision was made to unravel it. She didn’t quite fancy knitting it all over again so I volunteered.

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And before I go, some images that promise that the arrival of spring is imminent!

 

Happy Easter!

Shipwreck of 2016

I really hope 2016 is not going to go on as it started. In the middle of January we lost a family pet labrador, a few days later a wonderful Facebook friend passed away way too early and then a week or so later my beautiful wonderful bunny Dudley passed away. He was nearly 9 years old which is a good age for a bunny but it doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye. I had him since he was young and he was a wonderful companion to me. I will miss him every day ❤ ❤ ❤

With all the losses I couldn’t quite concentrate on knitting. I know it is supposed to be relaxing and good for the nerves, but when I am upset I just want to lie still and ignore everything and everyone. But I am getting back in the groove gradually.

Yesterday I finished a pair of socks for my husband. I made him a pair a while ago but somehow they just didn’t fit him well and the yarn wasn’t that great, so really this is the first pair he is actually going to wear!

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the yarn is WYS sock yarn in mallard colour way
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Second sock on the needles
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and done!

Surprisingly they match pretty perfectly too!

I’ve also finished my niece’s cardi

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And finally when the sun is shining and I am feeling a bit more positive about things ahead I can continue working on a super bright crochet blanket

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Have a good day, dear reader!

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Presents and Gifts

The other day I celebrated my thirty something birthday. For the occasion, I got myself a present – a set of Zing sock needles. They are so pretty!

I couldn’t wait and cast a sock on with a WYS sock yarn. Which is going to be a gift for next Christmas! I know I am preparing in advance, but at least I will know I’ve got one thing done before all the rush.

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Which brings me to my next present to myself – a bunch of WYS bird themed sock yarn

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I love them all, but two of them are going to my mum as she is a keen sock knitter.

I’ve also finished knitting one of my niece’s jumper:

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And cast on another one!

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My family lives far away from me so knitting for them is a way for me to feel closer to them all.

And the last present to myself – spring flowers!

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By the way, I hope I don’t sound sad saying I give presents to myself. Me and my husband have birthdays on the same day and it is so hard as it is to buy presents for people and when it is so close to Christmas it is double hard, so we just agree to only exchange minor things and I take care of the rest of my presents myself 🙂

Crochet Orchid Flowers

A while ago, when the sun was shining and walking out into the garden didn’t feel like going through the bog I posted a picture of my beautiful flowering orchid.

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The orchid has stopped flowering a while ago now and even though it has a new stem coming up I got a little tired of looking at its bare stems. So I figured I could give her some “prosthetic” flowers in the meantime.

Meet Crochet Orchid Flowers

I even wrote down the pattern in case anyone else’s orchid is in need of cheering up.

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Materials:

Tiny amounts (less than 3 grams) of 4 ply yarn in three different colours.

I use yarn from the Knitting Goddess.

2.00 mm crochet hook

Tapestry needle

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Notes: The very first chain is the chain created at the very beginning of the piece.

Triple crochet – an american term. Same as double triple crochet in English terms

Double crochet – american term. Same as triple crochet in English terms.

Instructions:

There will be three pieces to the flower. Two front petals in yarn A (dark blue), three back petals in yarn B (light blue) and three central petals (pink) in yarn C.

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With yarn A, chain 6. Work 4 triple crochets into the first chain, then chain 5 and slip stitch it into the very first chain loop to form one petal.

To work the second petal, continue with the same yarn, chain 5, 4 triple crochet into the very first chain , chain 5, slip stitch into the very first chain, pull the yarn through  to fasten off, cut yarn.

You can see in the picture that is basically all chains are slipped into that central hole and that is where all the triple crochets go too.

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With yarn B, for the first petal, chain 5, 3 triple crochets into the very first chain, chain 5, slip stitch into the very first chain.

For the second petal, chain 4, 3 triple crochets into the very first chain, chain 4, slip stitch into the very first chain loop.

For the third petal, chain 4, 3 triple crochets into the very first chain, chain 4, slip stitch into the very first chain loop, pull yarn through to fasten off, cut yarn.

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With yarn C, for the first petal, chain 4, 1 double crochet into the first chain, chain 3, slip stitch into the very first chain.

For the second petal, chain 3, 1 double crochet into the very first chain, chain 3, slip stitch into the very first chain.

For the third petal, chain 3, 1 double crochet into the very first chain, chain 3, slip stitch into the very first chain, pull yarn through, fasten off.

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Now we’ve got three pieces ready to be put together to form a flower.

place two petals  on top of large three petals as shown in picture below, then put the small three petal piece on top. Stitch them all together.

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To give them an actual orchid flower shape they will need to be blocked out. Pin them out as shown in the picture (the back petals should be pointy rather than round)

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Once the flowers are ready attach them to your orchid stems and enjoy!

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orchid

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PS: I’ve probably overcomplicated the pattern instructions, I do apologise but this is my first ever written crochet pattern.

Back to normal

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy Christmas preparations, celebrations, the feel, and the promise of new beginnings with the arrival of new year, but I am so so happy to be back to normal life! Even though Christmas holidays were filled with watching lovely old films, like White Christmas, Meet me in St Lois, Hitchcock’s films and plenty of other wonderful films from 40s, 50s and 60s, we also managed to get a cold and be stuck inside for the duration of the holidays (hence all the movies). But if you are stuck inside it also means plenty of time for knitting.

I have just about finished my guest bedroom crochet blanket.

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You can see it doesn’t yet quite reach the top and bottom of the bed, so a few more rows are in order. This blanket started as means to use up a whole bunch of acrylic yearn I had sitting around as I bought quite a lot when I was just starting to learn to knit. I am not too happy with the way the lines break where I used variegated yearn but I am hoping altogether it looks alright.

Luckily I do have a bit more acrylic yarn to use up to complete the blanket because I actually had to buy more just before Christmas. My husband’s aunt was coming for a visit and she is a strict vegan so I thought I would make her non-wooly socks. We went to a yarn shop and my husband picked this crazy wacky yarn for her.

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It feels better than it looks and it did look ok in socks (I only had 3 days to knit two pairs and in a rush I forgot to take the photos) and his aunt does like that sort of style so I guess it is ok.

I’ve also completed a nice wooly pair of socks. But I am yet to take a proper photo of the finished pair.

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For Christmas I asked my husband for a bunch of Knit Picks Capretta cashmere and merino blend yarn. And I got what I asked for.

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I am using the blue yarn to knit my niece a Honey Bee sweater from an e-book of patterns I won in a Lete’s Knits KAL

IMG_9351I am now at the end of the right sleeve, and only left sleeve left to complete. It is a lovely pattern, although I seem to suffer from attention deficit disorder because I didn’t read the graph right and made a mistake with the cabled front so it looks different to how it should look but it still looks good.

And one last thing accomplished over the holidays – I sorted out yarn I have in a basket upstairs which doesn’t have any designated projects for it.

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I was pleased to see that I don’t actually have as much as I thought I did, which means I can buy more yarn. Yay!

 

Fos

At the moment I’ve got two finished projects and there is nothing lying on the sofa next to me that I am knitting! That almost never happens. There is a cardigan I need to finish but that is stashed away for now. I am about to start yet another pair of socks though, as it seems to be the easiest and preferred present.

For now, I’ve finished a pair of socks for a friend with Jawoll sock yarn which I had left over from last year’s Christmas sock knitting. Since I seem to knit socks mainly for presents (I rely on my mum to knit socks for me!) I bought a pair of Knit Pro sock blockers.

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To be honest, I am not sure I find them that indispensable. I seem to manage to block my socks just fine to the right shape without any gadgets, so really I wanted the blockers just to make sure I block them to the right size. When blocking on the blockers I find the rib part stretches a bit too much and looks all loose. Maybe I am doing something wrong? Also, even though the blocker is sold for sizes 36-40 (which is 4-9 UK), they are an actual size 36-37 (4) I think, as they are shorter than my 38 (5) size foot so the sock had to be gathered up in the middle and you can actually see little wrinkles from that even after I steamed them a bit to smooth them out.

The other finished project – Forever More Shawl

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I really like how it turned out, even though the dimensions are very different from the ones in the pattern since I used a much thinner yarn. It should make a nice spring/summer scarf since the yarn is cotton. It is a present for a friend.

Oh and before I leave and cast on another pair of socks, check out this funny moody looking cat who keeps coming to drink from our pond on a regular basis.

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