Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Virtual Running - part 4

Today I finished my 3rd virtual running challenge - running 277 miles along the Grand Canyon.  Of course I haven't actually been running at the Grand Canyon, just the Hampshire country lanes round where I live.
But they have been good runs.  In sunshine and rain, surrounded by bird song and with the odd wildlife encounter, like the fox who dashed out in front of me this week.
But with only one more challenge left to make 1000 miles (291 miles along the Cambrian Way), I am starting to wonder - just how far can I run in a year?

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Kumihimo Beaded Gifts

Mothers Day got screwed up this year, what with not actually being allowed to see her due to coronavirus.  And then I kinda changed my mind about what gift I was going to give her.  Once I'd tried beaded kumihimo I knew she would love a pretty bracelet and I wanted to try something a bit different - what about a glasses cord?

The bracelet was easy.  As I went through my cupboards at Easter I found I actually already had some beads.  And I knew she would love these colours so I just made it up based loosely on a pattern from my book.

Tiny size 15 beads against regular size 8 beads
But if I was going to make a cord to hold glasses I would need something smaller.  So I found the finest cord you can kumihimo with, and some tiny size 15 beads and had ago.  The worst part was threading them all onto the cord.  I lost count of how many jumped across the room never to be seen again.  But I quite like the end result.  It's 30 inches long and has a nice feel to it.
If I tried it again I think I could go up a bead size so you can see less cord, but the colours match so I'm not too worried.
Both came out really well and she loved them.  Even if it was about 4 months late.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

More Little Knitted Hats

Monster hat

In-between everything else I've continued to knit little hats for The Big Knit. They are fun to do and I like that you can change the pattern slightly to make it your own, for instance I made my monster hat out of fluffy wool as that seemed to suit a monster better.  Plus I gave him a smile.  Why can't monsters be happy?

And I found some yellow wool I'd forgotten all about, so was finally able to make my banana hat!

Banana hat

My only disappointment is that some of the patterns aren't written very well so they miss out important instructions about casting off, or how to join things etc.  As a reasonably experienced knitter that hasn't been too much of an issue for me, but I imagine new knitters might find this a problem.

Tiny zion lion hat

A berry fancy hat

With love hat

Dinosaur hat

Juicy pear hat

Woolter melon hat

Sunday, 28 June 2020

A Massive Set of Drawers

When we first moved into the house, about three and a half years ago, I draw a diagram for 'im outdoors and asked him if he could make me a set of drawers for all my paper and card.
He said yes, but only after he'd built his workshop as he had nowhere to make things.

With the workshop finally built and usable, and lockdown looming, I suggested we buy all the stuff needed to make the drawers.  We were just in time, and once he'd finished off a few other projects he set to work on my drawers.

I had asked that the bottom big drawers were big enough to hold A1 paper and card, so they are massive.  On our first attempt to get it upstairs to my study we failed as it was just too big.  With a little modification (he cut the top off) we were able to get them up easily, and we made sure to put them together in such a way that if we were to move house again they could come with us.

I've had to wait for the finishing touch - an A1 cutting mat for the top from the local art shop which has just re-opened.
The whole thing is on wheels so I can pull it away from the wall if I am working on something bigger than the top, which is amazing.
And we found some strips of walnut wood to edge the cutting mat which just finishes the whole thing off.

I can't explain just how happy this makes me.  It means that I now have a safe place for all my paper and card where it can be stored flat.  It has meant that I've finally been able to unpack some things from the move and put everything away.  Now if I want to work on a project it is ready to go and I don't have to tidy everything away in time for dinner.

I've already been using it, even without the cutting mat, and it has been so nice to just open a drawer, find the coloured paper I want and make the thing, without having to search for it, or move things out of the way.

I've made a pact with myself that I will always keep the top clear so I can continue using it in this way.
Thank you 'im outdoors.  You've surpassed yourself this time!

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Winter Wreath

This project is probably my longest running from getting the pattern to completing it.  I think I got the pattern in 2006, although I can't remember where I saw it, from Purl Soho.
I thought it would make a lovely Christmas decoration and bought all the felt and metallic thread at about the same time.

So I'm not sure why I didn't start working on it then too.  Probably the fear!  It looks pretty complicated and I expect I had easier things that I could work on.
It moved house with us 3 years ago and got left out in a place where I could see it to encourage me, but still I didn't start it.

Then last summer I had a bit of spare time and finally made a start.  I made the felt ring that all the flowers get sewn to, and cut out all the flower bits and bobs.  But then I stopped again although I meant to keep going.  Part of my excuse this time was I'd just started a new job with a commute to London and I was tired.

This year I'm trying to save money so I can spend it on a new kitchen so I've been working on projects that I already have where I can.  And with lockdown I didn't even have to commute to London anymore - no excuses I had to finish it.
Making the flowers themselves was quite nice, but I found the placing on the felt ring quite stressful.  How to make it look balanced and pretty when you have to place each flower one at a time!

But I got there in the end.  Finished!  It can now be tucked away with the Christmas decorations, ready to come out and shine in December.
(I wonder if I would have bought the pattern in the first place if I had known I would own a black dog in the future and working in white felt would be rather unpractical?)

Sunday, 7 June 2020

June's Kumihimo Necklace

Last year our neighbour June spent a day showing me how to lino print.  Since coronavirus hit we've been doing their food shop each week as she's been shielding.  It's meant that we've gotten to know them both better as we have a little socially distant chat when we take their shopping round.

One week June gave me some 'beads'.  They had made a ring but the elastic which held everything together had just snapped and she didn't know what to do with the result.  Would I like them? 
Of course I would.
It made me sad that she couldn't wear the ring anymore and my brain started to work.  Was their a way to make the beads into something new that she could still wear?

My new love of kumihimo was the decider.  But how to do it.  I started by trying to find a pattern for something similar to what was in my head.  But although I found a couple they didn't do what I wanted them to.  Now I was stuck.  Although I knew what I wanted to do, working out how to string the beads to get the look I wanted was near impossible.

As a last resort I googled it.  And came up with a possible solution.  Heidi had created an excel worksheet which would allow you to design your own patterns and show you how to load your beads. 
As it wasn't that expensive and I know I've got other patterns in my head that I want to try I went ahead and bought it.  The only problem - it has to go on 'im outdoors computer as I've only got a mac and it won't work on Apple.

With a bank holiday weekend and nothing better to do, I then spend the day designing my necklace.  I started in the software then tried it for real to see what the resulting pattern would look like.  I think I might have tried it 4 or 5 times over the course of the day until I was happy with the spacing. 
I then loaded all my beads (although I did have to cannibalise some extra beads from my first bracelet to make it long enough) and left it for the day.
I'm very happy with the end result, but its not quite the pattern I designed.  I think I mess up which bead I started with, which threw out the design, but it is close enough and looks great.
And June seemed to like it, she put it straight on when I gave it to her with this weeks shopping delivery.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Little knitted hats

A heart bobble hat
Over the last 4 or 5 weeks of lockdown I've started to feel that I could be doing more to support the community.  We are doing a weekly shop for our neighbors, but maybe I should be doing more?

A simple bobble hat
However I am one of the lucky ones able to work from home and still on my full hours, so I don't have as much time as some.

A stripe hat
Then I saw that innocent were supporting Age UK again this year with their big knit.  They want people to knit tiny hats for their smoothy bottles.  Then for every bottle they sell they donate 25p to Age UK.

A chunky bobble hat
On their website they have 41 knitting and crochet patterns that you can use and I've decided I'm going to have a go at as many as I can using my stash and my 'commute' time.  Of course the banana hat might have to wait as I don't have any yellow wool right now, but I think I can try most of them.  So far the basic one's haven't taken very long and I look forward to trying the rest.

A beginner hat (accidentally Christmas)
Crafty fox hat

Fez pattern

Apple hat

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Rainbow Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet

Now that I've started to get the hang of kumihimo I wanted to try another project. So when I found this rainbow bracelet kit on Etsy I just had to get it.
What I really liked about it was it wasn't a spiral of rainbow, the rainbow is blended across the bracelet.  So pretty.
The kit came with everything I would need expect the kumihimo board, along with really clear instructions.  
Everything would have been great except one of my stoppers came off when I was working through the green section and I lost some beads.  I tried to fix it but something when wrong and in the end I just undid the whole thing and started again.
Second time round it went perfectly and I am so pleased with the result.  Its a perfect fit and I love the colours.  Now I just need an excuse to wear it, it doesn't feel right just wearing it round the house or for walking the dog!