Saturday, 23 January 2021

Basic Norwegian Star Hats


I thought it might be nice to knit everyone hats for Christmas this year (2020).  It took me ages to find a pattern that I liked, but I finally found one on Ravelry.

Then I just had to work out what colours everyone would like and get knitting.

I used Paintbox yarns in Simply Aran.  The yarn is soft and easy to use and comes in some amazing colours - really bright.

My first attempt against a proper sized hat

I didn't bother with a swatch, which meant the first hat came out massive!  So I down sized my needles and tried again.  This time the result was exactly what I was looking for so I got on with knitting the hats.

I started with one for me to make sure the pattern really worked.  I'd decided on yellow to match some gloves I wanted to make, but they had to wait until Christmas gifts were done.

A started hat and a broken needle

I then got cracking with gifts for my parents, sisters partner and 'im outdoors.  However I hit a bit of a problem when Milo stood on and broke one of my needles half way though my second hat!


Luckily the internet saved me and the new needle was with me within days, giving me time to finish another project while I waitied. 

The hats also gave me a reason to get a set of pompom makers, which are so easy to use I wish I'd bought some years ago!


The only problem left was getting presents to recipients when most of the country is locked down and we are encourage to stay home.  Royal Mail to the rescue.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Yellow Fingerless Gloves


Last September as it started getting cooler in the evenings when taking Milo for a walk, I found myself thinking about a pair of yellow fingerless gloves I was given for my (10th?) birthday.

I seem to remember that I wore them until they had holes in them and had to be thrown away.  I also remember they were perfect for riding my bike! 


Anyway, I decided that I'd like to make myself a new pair and set about finding a pattern.  I then promised myself that I would knit them once I had finished all my Christmas knitting.  This took much longer that I'd thought and so it is only now that I've finally done it.

And they are so perfect.  I managed to find just the right coloured wool - Paintbox Yarns Simply DK in Mustard Yellow.  And although bigger than the originals they look just the same. 

The pattern was knitted flat, which was a bit of a shock having spent the last couple of months knitting in the round, but they were easy to make and once I made sure to cast off really really loosely they came out great, with only a little bit of sewing up. 


I'm tempted to make others in other colours.  Black might be sensible, seeing as I have a black dog?

But they are also perfect as this month I celebrate my 40th birthday; life after all is a wheel.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Fugue Hat and Mittens


I thought it might be nice to knit everyone hats for Christmas this year (2020).  While I knitted quite basic hats for everyone else I wanted something a little bit special for my little sister.  Kate Davies Fugue design seemed the perfect solution.


It consists of a hat (or tam) and a pair of mittens.  Each incorporates a vikkel braid, something I had not tried before, but as is always the way, was much easier than it looks. 

Vikkel braid

They were all knitted in the round and I really enjoyed making them.

When I came to the last mitten I was concerned that I wouldn't have enough of the dark wool, so I switched the pattern round using the lighter coloured wool as the main colour.  I actually think they make a lovely pair.

I used Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash Sport which is a soft yarn but it did separate a little bit when I was knitting with it meaning you had to be very careful about catching all of the yarn you were working with.  But it is washable, important for something like this.


I'm very pleased with the end result, I love how complex the pattern looks, I just hope my sister likes them too.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Black and Silver Kumihimo Bracelet


I've had an idea in my head for a new Kumihimo bracelet for ages.  So with Christmas coming I got all the things together that I'd need and set about designing it.

I really wanted to see how contrasting colours could work together, in this case black and silver to make a design that runs along the bracelet.


My first design wasn't quite right, but thats the beauty of the computer programme that helps me with them, it's very easy to start again without too much bother. 

Once I had the design sorted the next thing was working out the length.  I'd taken wrist measurements earlier in the year but with the magnetic catches knew it needed to be a little longer.  A little guess work and I have to hope it's the right lenght.  (guessed wrong but we live and learn.  I can make another one.)

It's a really pretty bracelet and I hope she likes it.  It's certainly very satisfing when something works out as you had hoped.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

My Second Half Marathon


This year my running focus has been to complete 1000 miles.  To complete this with 2 months to go was kinda cool, but also weird.  Although I got medals for this I still don't feel like I earned them, and I don't think I'll try this sort of challenge again.

I don't race much but I have missed it, so even though it wasn't a normal race I did take part in the Basingstoke 5k in November, a race I normally attend in May.  Run in the dark on the roads round my house I did enjoy this challenge.  I think because it was a time challenge against myself.  I knew what my 5k PB was and ran to beat it.

With that in mind I decided on one last challenge to finish 2020.  A half marathon.

I've only run one offical half (the Reading half back in 2014), although I must have done several when training for the marathon

At the time it was the furthest I had ever run and seemed quite amazing to me that I could push my body that far.  Having now run a full marathon and regularly running 10 miles for my Sunday long runs, a half doesn't seem quite so awe inspiring.  However it is still a good distance and one that needs commitment.  Also I know what my PB was so I had something to race against.

So this morning, a cold, frosty and grey day, I went out and ran 13.1 miles on the roads around my house.  I was well chuffed when I stopped my watch to find a time of 1 hour 53 minutes.  Not just under 2hr which had been my main aim, but 3 minutes faster than my half PB. 

This was a virtual race, logged with the Lonely Goats Running Club.  I love their medal and I'm very proud to have it hanging on my wall. 


Over the course of 2020 I managed to run 1271.89 miles.  I find that quite amazing.  I won't be trying to beat that number in 2021 but I hope that I can keep my mileage up in that regon. Here's to more new PBs in 2021.

Monday, 28 December 2020

Gift boxes

I'd normally be blogging about the things I made friends and family for Christmas about now, however due to Covid19 I haven't seen many of these people to share gifts with and so I can't really blog about them yet, not wanting to spoil the surprise in case they look here.

But while I can't share the content, I can share one of the little gift boxes I made.  


One of my Christmas/Birthday gifts was a subscription to Uppercase magazine.  It's sent out in a cardboard envelope (it does travel all the way from Canada) and they suggest you keep the envelope to do creative things with, or just simply to re-use.

So using an old gift box that I had been given as a template I cut out and scored the shape from the envelope which gave me a beautiful gift box.  The card is thin enough to flex, without being too thin to hold its shape.  And it's good enough that the recipient could re-use it themselves if they wanted.

It's a lovely little box and I think I'll be making more.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Hand Printed Christmas Cards


This year I finally had time to create my own hand printed Christmas cards.  

I've wanted to do this ever since I spend a day at my neighbours house learning how to lino print last year.

I started by drawing out my design in my sketch book before transferring it onto my block of lino.  I then spent ages carving it out before doing my first test print.


I used way too much ink that first time, but my print still came out well and knowing that it would work, I started preparing my paper for printing.  I wanted my star to be coloured so I painted each sheet yellow first.  (the yellow is more lemon in real life)


Once they were printed I hung them up to dry and a week later cut them out and mounted them on old wapping paper before sticking to the cards.


I'm really pleased with how they've come out and I hope everyone who received one liked them too.  Maybe next year I'll be a bit more adventurous and try something bigger!


(Note to self: if you want people to know they are hand printed, you need to tell them - maybe by writing it on the back or something!)

Friday, 20 November 2020

Basingstoke Virtual 5k race


Every year I run the Basingstoke 5k race.  It starts at the cinema and goes through the shopping center, through the business park and round the boating lake.  It's a nice little race and I've completed it 8 times now.

But we all know that this year hasn't been like normal years.  So where I would normally run it on a sunny Sunday in May, this year I ended up running it on my own in the dark on a frosty Friday morning. 

If we had run in May I'm pretty sure I would have got a PB, I was running really well then.  But as it's gotten darker in the mornings I've felt more tired when running and my times have gone up a bit.

The race itself got moved a couple of times before they decided to go virtual and although I decided to give it a go I did not have high hopes of a good run.  

However it might have been dark and frosty, but it was a pretty morning.  As I was on open roads I had to stop for a couple of cars, and I had a stitch half way round, but when I stopped my watch at 5k I found to my amazment that I actually had a PB - 24:32. Thats 20 seconds off my old PB. 

I wonder if it had anything to do with the fact there was no one else there, so I didn't really know how fast I was going and there was no-one to get 'stuck' behind.  When I say 'stuck' I mean you find someone who is running at a nice pace and you stick with them for a while without realising that you could actually be going faster than that, but this pace feels comfortable so you just stay there for a bit. 

Whatever it was, it feels good!  I've submitted my results and now wait to see how everyone else did.  The've given us the whole weekend to run it, so results won't be out until next week. 

Amendment: I finally got my results - 33 overall (out of 153) and 9th woman.  I'm so chuffed.  Also I LOVE the new medal design.  Such an improvement on the old one and really cute.