Natter

Monthly round up – March

Hello! How have you been? Hope you’ve had a good month since my last round up. I’ve had an eventful few weeks, both from a crafting point of view and life in general. About which, more in a bit!

Since my last round up, miraculously I’ve managed to post two blogs – one rounding up my adventures at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, and one talking about my completed Half Moon Oracle shawl, so have a read of those if you haven’t already.

Settle in, grab yourself a brew or a tipple of choice, and a craft project, and read on to hear what I’ve been up to!

What’s been going on?

March was an eventful month – we had snow twice (the infamous “Beast from the East” at the start of the month, which gave me two ‘working from home’ snow days, and the “Minibeast from the East”, which happened on the last day of my trip to Edinburgh), which resulted in some lovely picture opportunities:

While I was working from home, it was also my dad’s birthday, so since we live in the same village I went to work from my parents’ house for one afternoon so we could hang out, and then my fiance and I took them out for dinner the next night in the local bistro which was lovely.

I delivered some evening training at work early in the month, giving me a morning off in lieu the next day, which conveniently lined up with my brother and his family being at my parents’ house for a few days, so I spent a lovely morning playing with my four year old niece and cuddling with my ten month old nephew. No pics of that, because I don’t want to put pictures of other people’s kids on a public blog, but believe me when I say they’re both super cute!

Next up, I got some new specs! It’s over two years since I last bought new glasses, but life has been getting in the way of me being able to afford new ones until now. Because I’m really quite blind and literally cannot see clearly past the end of my nose, my glasses are always quite pricey, but I wear them all the time, so it’s worth it. I’ve also finally discovered daily contact lenses in my prescription, which is pretty major. Anyway, here’s my mug with my new specs on it (excuse the lack of makeup!):

New glasses selfie
New glasses selfie

The following weekend was EYF, which you’ve already heard all about, so I won’t go into that again. The rest of the month calmed down a bit until this last weekend, which was Easter weekend, when I had a few things booked in. The weekend in between Edinburgh and Easter, I wanted to make sure that my fiance and I had some quality time together, and as it was miraculously sunny, we went out for a walk and to forage for some wild garlic, which we always like to do at this time of year. I took my DSLR camera with me and did a bit more photography:

For Easter weekend, I was off work from the Thursday till Easter Monday, so had a few days with things booked in, and a couple of down days, which were definitely needed. Highlights included afternoon tea with prosecco with my mum (my Christmas present from my parents), hanging out with a knitting friend for an afternoon and drinking cocktails and wine, and visiting my granny.

What’s coming up in April?

Bits and pieces, but thankfully not too much! We’re hopefully having a catch up with some of our family (I have a whole bunch of family over in Canada, and one of them is in the UK for a week or so, so we’re all getting together), a retreat day with work, a spa evening with some girl friends, lunch with a former singing student, a hair appointment, and I think that’s about it! Keeping everything crossed for quality time with my fiance, and plenty of knitting time too!

Right, on with the crafting…

What’s on my needles/hooks/sewing desk and other crafty things?

I had a bit of a bout of cast-on-itis this month, about which more in a minute, but first up, the stuff you’ve seen before…

The rainbow socks are a bit further on than they were last month, although not by as much as you might think (thanks to those new cast ons!):

Rainbow socks
Rainbow socks

I’m at the toe now, and I’m banned from any more cast ons till I’ve finished at least two projects, so they should get finished soon! The pattern for these is The Best Self Striping Ribbed Socks In The World by Nathan Taylor, the yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in colourway 822 Rum Paradise, and are knit on 2.25mm KnitPro Symfonie needles. I’m knitting the biggest size (72 stitches).

The Curses Socks from last month’s round up aren’t any further on (those blooming new cast ons…!), so no new pic of those.

I’ve done a few more rounds on my scrappy crochet blanket (it is bigger, I promise – the progress keeper is where I last took a picture for you):

Scrappy granny spiral blanket
Scrappy granny spiral blanket

The pattern is the Spiral Granny Afghan pattern by Vicki Mikulak, and am using all my odds and ends of 4 ply yarn, so there’s a real mixture in there – you can see of them peeping out from the project bag. I’m not letting any one yarn be used for more than one round in a row, but other than that it’s random, so the yarns that I have more of will feature in multiple places, whereas the littlest scraps might only be a few clusters each.

OK, new things…

Because I finished my previous big project (the Half Moon Oracle shawl), I allowed myself to cast on another big project, and it’s one of the ones I had planned for this year, which is a cabled sweater (although I have changed the pattern since I originally decided!). The pattern I finally settled on is Outeniqua by Agnes Desmyttere, and it’s a nice simple jumper in mostly stocking stitch with a ten stitch cable panel running down each sleeve and down each side from the underarms. Because it’s being knit in DK weight, it’s working up pretty quickly so far:

I love the neckline detail. Instead of the more usual picking up stitches for a ribbed collar, this one started with a normal cast on, knit a row, then did a small cable twist all the way round, which has given it this lovely scalloped effect. And don’t worry, I’ve tried it on, and my noggin does fit through!

The yarn is Sirdar Country Style Double Knitting in colourway SH502 (creatively named and impossible to photograph – it’s actually much more teal-green in real life…) which I acquired from my best friend’s stash. She passed away a few years ago, and her stash was divvied up between her crafty friends. She had previously used this yarn held double to make a chunky sweater which she decided she hated and frogged, so there is tons of it – I’ve already made one sweater, and I’m confident there will still be more of it left after this one too (although maybe not enough for the third adult sized sweater!). I’m using 3.5 and 4mm KnitPro interchangeable needles.

My other new cast on is another pair of socks. I volunteered to test knit for the lovely Zoe Carter (of the marvellous Pins and Needles podcast) again, not quite realising how soon these ones would need to be done after the Curses Socks! I’m currently banned from doing any more test knitting until I actually finish a pair or two!! This one has just been released, and is called Hither and Thither Socks (they were originally called Hither and Yon Socks, but it turned out there was already a sock pattern called that, so she’s changed it).

I’m knitting these from a skein of EasyKnits Deeply Wicked+ yarn in colourway Kisses, which I bought at Edinburgh Yarn Festival in 2017 (it was my last skein that hadn’t been given a job already, so I was feeling a bit smug that I had either cast on or planned everything out from last year before going this year!), on my usual 2.25mm KnitPro Symfonie needles. I did switch to the Addi Crasy Trio needles (about which more in acquisitions below) but switched back to the normal ones.

What craft stash have I been acquiring?

Well, EYF aside, because I already covered that in another post, there hasn’t been a huge amount (honest!).

I was gifted this gorgeous skein of art yarn from my wonderful friend Aurelia who went travelling off to India for a couple of weeks earlier in the year. We have no idea what the fibre is, and I have no idea what it wants to be yet, but it’s beautiful:

Indian art yarn
Indian art yarn

You will see it looks like two skeins. That’s because it arrived super tangled, so I had to re-wind it, and discovered a break in the middle. It’ll be fine.

I also was gifted two lovely project bags from another friend Cat, who sews lovely things. The smaller one is currently housing my rainbow socks; the bigger one is waiting for a job:

Project bags
Project bags

While I was in York with my friend, we visited the York Makery, which is my LYS, and owned and run by Kayleigh of the String Theory Podcast which I talked about last month. I didn’t buy any yarn (because I’m very definitely cold sheeping post-EYF), but I came out finding some of her sale table of fat quarters had mysteriously found their way into my bag and a corresponding amount of money had left my wallet. How mysterious. Fabric stash doesn’t count, right? Anyway, these are what I got (they were 6 for £20):

Fat quarters
Fat quarters

Not sure what they will be yet – some are almost certainly destined to be project bags, but we’ll see.

And finally, the Addi Crasy Trio needles that I mentioned above. These have been all over social media since they were released last year, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and see what all the fuss is about. I bought mine from Amazon for the speedy delivery, but to be honest, so many places are stocking them that you just need to Google it! I bought them in 2.25mm (my usual sock size) and put them to work on my Hither and Thither Socks. I honestly can’t make my mind up about them. I tried DPNs once years ago and felt like I was juggling a hedgehog, so quickly switched to magic looping, and these are purported to be a compromise between the two. These weren’t quite as bad as the hedgehog feeling, but they weren’t far off, especially when I was on a cable row. Plus they’re metal, which I don’t generally like to use because it makes my hands too cold.

I didn’t start using them until I was past the heel and gusset on this sock, so I can’t quite fathom in my mind how they will work when there are a billion stitches on the sole portion of the sock – surely there isn’t enough bend? Normally when I magic loop, I have the bottom half of the foot stitches split into two on the needles, with an extra loop in the middle so I’m not stretching the top of the foot stitches too far. Hmmm. Maybe I need to do a whole sock on them to try it out for myself. Who knows.

Who’s been keeping me company?

I’ve been listening to my usual few (Pins and Needles, Sockmatician, Yarngasm…), who have all had EYF round up shows, which has been lovely, reliving my favourite moments, but I wanted to give a shout out to one new podcaster who I discovered at/after EYF, and one who is returning after a lengthy hiatus.

First up, the new podcaster is Magdalena Wolff of the WolffUndSchafe podcast. I randomly accosted her as she was walking past me in the EYF marketplace because she was also wearing an Oracle shawl (although hers was the full size one), we chatted for a bit and she took a selfie, but it wasn’t until I looked at her IG page that I realised she’s a podcaster!

Magdalena and I
Magdalena and I

The returning podcaster is the very lovely and wonderful Katie from the Inside Number 23 podcast, who until last week hadn’t posted a show in a couple of months, as life had gotten in the way – we all know about that one! Anyway, it’s lovely to have her back podcasting again. She leads such an interesting crafty life that it’s always nice to spend time listening to her exploits.

What music has happened and is coming up?

Musically life is fairly quiet at the moment. Other than regular choir practices once a month with the Clerkes of All Saints, the only singing I did in March was in a Eucharist service for Holy Week at All Saints Bubwith. The programme for that was lovely – Haydn’s Kleine Orgelmesse, plus The Greatest Of These by George Marshall (as the Introit), and Pärt’s The Woman With The Alabaster Box (as the communion anthem). We got some lovely feedback from the congregation, which is always nice to hear.

I don’t have any performances at all in April – all quiet, literally!


So that’s about it I think. I hope you made it to the end intact – as ever, these round up posts are a bit long, so do let me know if you think there are sections I could cut out or shorten, or if you think it’s fine the way it is!

Have a great month, and I’ll be back again soon 🙂

2 thoughts on “Monthly round up – March

    1. Thank you – it was the collar that sold me on it when I was browsing for patterns. Apart from anything else, not having to pick up a zillion stitches, knit a load of ribbing and find a suitably stretchy cast off is always a winner!

      Like

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