Monthly round up – April

Hi, and happy May! How have you been? Its been a good month – the sun has started showing up at long last, and I’ve had some decent crafting time, so I got an FO in the form of my Rainbow Stripy Socks.

What’s been going on?

Its been a good month here in Yorkshire – I’ve had a couple of catch ups with family (including one of my cousins who lives in Canada who was over visiting), a spa night with two of my friends, went on staff retreat for a chill out day with work, and have had a few nice walks with my fiancé now that the weather is starting to improve at last! We also bought kites (because why not?!) and on a particular windy day, we flew them over the Hole of Horcum on the North Yorkshire Moors.

What’s coming up in May?

May is looking quite busy – a girls night with a group of friends, two days of training at work, a girly afternoon with friends and makeup, and some singing performances for the first time in a couple of months (more about that below).

Right, crafting time…

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

I’ve been fairly project monogamous lately, which is very unlike me! Not totally monogamous, because I always like to have a pair of socks plus at least one other project on the go, but this month that’s been about it, for once!

Because I finished the Rainbow Stripy Socks earlier in the month, I decided to go back to one of the two part-done pairs of socks that I was test knitting for Zoe Carter of the Pins and Needles podcast. I made a promise to myself last month that I’m not allowed to start any new socks until I have finished all the half done pairs, so first up is the second sock of the Curses Socks, which I test knit back in January (I think). The pattern has now been released, and I did at least get the first sock done by her deadline, but then (possibly foolishly) signed up for another test knit of hers, so the second sock wasn’t even cast on at the time! The pattern is inspired by Harry Potter’s lightening bolt scar, and uses some fairly simple lace to create the lightening shape on the leg. It’s simple enough to be almost brainless, but with just enough interest to stop me from getting bored, which is perfect!

I’m knitting these using my usual 2.25mm KnitPro Symfonie fixed circular needles, using Debonnair Soft Sock, which is 80% merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon, and is soft as butter. It’s going to make for the most gorgeous and luxurious socks. The socks are living in my Owl About Yarn Wonder Woman project bag, because why not mix fandoms, and the progress keeper is also Harry Potter themed, but I don’t know where from because it was a gift.

My main non-sock project this month is the Outeniqua sweater by Agnes Desmyttere, which I cast on last month, and I am loving this. It’s working up quite quickly, which is always satisfying, and I’m about at my natural waist. I was originally planning to make this about mid-bum length (so long enough to still cover my back and the top of my jeans when I sit down!), but on reflection I think I want to make it longer, so I’m going to keep going to about a third of the way down my thigh instead. I have plenty of yarn (she says optimistically) so I’m not worried about having to play yarn chicken on the sleeves (you have my permission to say “I told you so” if this goes wrong later).

I’m knitting the sweater on 3.5 and 4mm KnitPro interchangeable needles, as per usual. The yarn is Sirdar Country Style Double Knitting in colourway SH502, which is a lovely deep teal. It’s a blend of 40% nylon, 30% wool and 30% acrylic, which does make for a slightly sweaty jumper (I already have one in this yarn, so I know!), but it does wash really well so I just chuck it in the laundry after every couple of wears, and so far my other sweater in this yarn is holding up nicely. It’s living in my personalised project bag that was a gift a couple of Christmases ago, and the progress keeper is another of the Harry Potter ones.

The only other project that has had a bit of attention this month is my laceweight hoodie, which hasn’t seen the light of day in a few months. The pattern is Versio by ANKESTRiCK, and I’m now at the point where I’ve separated for the sleeves (at the end of the last grey stripe), and am chugging away on acres of stocking stitch, which is a little interminable, but I’m sure it’ll get there eventually… This was always going to be a very long term project, and it’s quite useful for when I need something totally mindless. At some point in about another 10cm or so’s time, I will start decreases for waist shaping, but since it’s laceweight, that’s a while away yet!

The sweater is being knit on yet another set of KnitPro Symfonie interchangeable needles, size 3.5mm. The yarn is Juniper Moon Farm Findley in colourway Garnet, and Rosie’s Moments Merino Silk laceweight in colourway Twilight; both are gorgeous to work with, and I’m really enjoying the difference between the solid red and variegated grey. Incidentally, I’m using another Ravelry user’s notes to modify the pattern to include a hood, as the original pattern just has a straight collar. It’s living in my Mrs Brown’s Bags project bag.

What craft stash have I been acquiring?

I’ve not acquired much this month, and it was all either gifted, swapped, or paid for so long ago that it doesn’t count anymore!

First up, I received this lovely project bag from a Ravelry friend:

New project bagNew project bag

I don’t think she sells them, so you can’t have one! But isn’t it lovely!

Next up was some yarn I received in an exchange from another Ravelry friend:

Malabrigo LaceMalabrigo Lace

It’s Malabrigo Lace in colourways xx and xx. This one was an exchange for some yarn in my stash, so definitely doesn’t count as stash enhancement!

And finally, the item I ordered aaaages ago that has only just arrived:

Cooking On A BootstrapCooking On A Bootstrap

If you haven’t heard of Jack Monroe, you absolutely should check them out. They’re an excellent writer, cook, campaigner, and all round interesting person. This book has been self published by Jack after a battle with their publishers over royalties from previous books, and has been a long road for Jack, beset by all sorts of problems. It was originally funded by a Kickstarter which was totally overwhelmed, and is now going to print in a full colour version, but what I have is the first version which is in black and white and doesn’t have any recipe illustrations, but is signed, and frankly, I love it.

My cooking mojo has been somewhat absent of late – I just haven’t been inspired to make anything much really, but this book arrived, I sat and read through the whole thing over a couple of evenings and put page tabs on the items I want to make (spoiler alert – most of them!), and I’ve already knocked some of them out – I’ve made a couple of different bread recipes, soup, two curries, and some delicious Umami Mushrooms that I could eat all day long! I keep forgetting to take pictures of my food, but I will try and remember for next month!

What music has happened and is coming up?

I didn’t do any performing in April, but I did have the usual monthly rehearsal with the Clerkes of All Saints.

In May I do have a sung Eucharist for Pentecost to perform in (also with the Clerkes) at a church on the North York Moors, in a village called Lastingham. The service is at 10.30am on 20th May, and the music includes the Mass For Four Voices by Byrd, Loquebantur variis linguis by Phillips, and Spirit Divine by Boon.

I think that’s all for this month, especially since I’m a bit late getting this posted. I had a draft two thirds written in the first week of the month, then kept forgetting to take pictures to finish it off! It’s here now anyway.

I hope you enjoyed my round up – with a bit of luck I might have an FO post for you before the end of the month, but if not then I’ll be back for a catch up next month! Have a good one, and happy crafting everyone.

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