A little bit of knitting and some catty cuteness

Hi there how are you today? This past week has been very busy at work and so I feel a little tired and don’t feel like I have a lot to show for my knitting this time.

I can tell you that I have only just bound off pair number 3 for the Marie Curie Sock Quest and have cast on for pair number 4

marie curie sock four beginning

For this and the next 2 pairs I’m thinking I will use this yellow as the contrast colour. I’m feeling quite optimistic about being able to knit 6 pairs this time around which is great I think.

For this new pair I’m thinking I will either do some sort of an all over ribbing pattern or maybe use the Simple Skyp pattern. Now that I’m on pair number 4 I really feel that variety is important to keep the stamina going:)

Other than this sock project, I recently accepted a new test knit for KBJ designs. This is a shawl pattern and it is coming along nicely. The pattern is written for a fingering weight yarn and just before being contacted for the test knit, I had just finished plying a gradient hand spun yarn. And when I decided to do the shawl I just really felt like I had to use this beautiful gradient that goes from sand/beige to dark navy. I decide to start with the navy and I am now just into the second colour. The picture below was taken before I got to colour 2.

I am looking forward to seeing this shawl finished. Knitting with my hand spun is an added bonus for sure.

Other than this not much knitting progress but as promised, I am going to introduce you to my newest family member.

So I am a kitty person. My kids jokingly (I hope) call me the crazy cat lady! I already had a mixed breed female and a pure breed Main Coon male. But those are getting old, 10 and 11 years old and I was just feeling like I really needed a baby in my life. Maybe this is linked to my age but I just turned 47!

Anyway, my birthday was earlier this month and I was just totally decided that I had to get a kitten for my birthday and I was looking online at different ads etc. I then came across this ad from a breeder not far from my home who had Main Coon kittens. I looked at the pictures and immediately fell in love with one of the kittens. (His name being that of a norse god may have helped). His name is Odin.

odinn eleveur

How could anyone resist such a beautiful kitten?

My other Main Coon is brown tabby like this one only he does not have any white. So anyway I contacted the breeder and asked a few questions and in 2 days I decided this had to be my kitten. And on my birthday I drove to get him!

He is the cutest. He is  3 1/2 months old now and he is very well educated. He has not had any accidents or anything since he got here.

To begin with my other two cats were less than impressed and made it more than clear that he was not welcome. Now 10 days later he has been accepted and I’m so happy.

He is beautiful and I love him sooooo much!

Here are a couple of pictures from his first days at home.

odinn 18sep18

I work from home and the first few days he spent like glued to me. Trying to stay in my lap, on my desk, behind the computer screen. How cute is this? I admit concentrating on work was not easy:)

 

 

And because he is a little baby still and very curious and playful, I have to learn to be careful with my yarn and knitting. The others have never been interested but Odinn has gnawed a cable on one of my circulars so badly I had to throw them away. And as you can see from the picture below, he does enjoy yarn as much as I do though in a different way 🙂

odinn and yarn

Cutest yarn lover ever!

That’s about all for today. I hope you didn’t mind the kitty talk. I know I am a little crazy about cats, about as much as I’m crazy about yarn and knitting.

I hope you have a great rest of the week and lots of time to enjoy your crafting. I’ll be back next week with more knitting.

Take care 🙂

The Marie Curie Sock Project

If you are a regular reader of my blog or/and follow me on social media, you will know that this year, as last year, I have joined an amazing charity knitting project being run by knitter and doctor Sarah Holmes in the UK.
I had been following Sarah on Instagram (@sherlock_knits) and I think I had purchased some yarn from her when she did a destash. And then one day last year, I saw a post from her on IG talking about a dream, a bonkers idea as she called it, that she wanted to make come true.
Sarah is a doctor in one of the Marie Curie hospices in the UK. Those are hospices for the terminally ill and unfortunately there are always patients that spend their Christmas in the hospice. Sarah wanted to knit  and gift sock to those patients on Christmas Day.
I like so many others, immediately wanted to join in this beautiful project.
The idea was to use yarn from UK yarn company West Yorkshire Spinners that creates a special Marie Curie colorway each year (I believe) that is then sold in this one yarn shop in the UK called City Knits. Part of the proceeds for each ball of yarn are then donated to Marie Curie. So by knitting socks with their special edition yarn, one not only participates by knitting a pair of socks but you are also offering financial support.
marie curie socks 4
Last year I knit 4 pairs of socks and I’m planning to knit 6 pairs this year.
At the moment I have finished 2 pairs and am working on my third. This year I’m trying to change and do something different for each pair so as to break up the monotony of using the same yarn for all the pairs.
My first pair was simple vanilla
marie curie 18 number one
My second had a textured pattern on the front only
marie curie pair two

marie curie pari two close

On this second picture you can see how the texture changes the look of the fabric

And for pair number three I’m doing Hermione socks
marie curie pair three
I’m just past the heel on sock number one.
The next three pairs will have yellow heel/toes and cuffs. By using contrasting yarn I am able to knit 2 pairs from one ball of yarn.
I think this project is so amazing and it really brings me joy to participate.
I would like for a lot of people to join forces this year for an even bigger result than last year and I so I asked Sarah if I could share the story here on my blog and if she would accept to answer a few questions. Luckily she said YES!
I do hope you will enjoy the interview that follows.
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Could you tell us a little bit about you as a knitter. When you learned and what knitting means to you today. What your favorite projects are etc
I learned to knit as a child – I can’t actually remember who taught me, but I think it was a combination of my grandma, my mother and a family friend. I tried every sort of crafting under the sun as a child, including crochet, lacemaking, cake decorating, knitting, tapestry, cross-stitch and never really settled on one thing, but when I left university I took up knitting again when I discovered Rowan. I subscribed to the magazine and looked forward to each issue popping through the door – I’d then head off to the local department store to buy the yarn for a garment. I was a truly monogamous knitter at that time – I’d have been horrified by the stash I seem to have built up now, and couldn’t have imagined working on more than one project at a time. My years as a junior doctor meant I didn’t have that much time to knit, so I grew out of the habit, but about 11 years ago a colleague was having a baby and I decided I wanted to make her a present, and I became hooked again. I discovered my local yarn store, Baa Ram Ewe in Leeds, who introduced me to Ravelry and my knitting life hasn’t been the same since! I discovered knitting in the round, sock knitting, colourwork and the joys of hand-dyed yarns. Now I usually have lots of different projects on the go (which can mean I am slower to finish things) which means I always have something I enjoy working on even if I get tired of one particular project. At this time of year I’m usually busy knitting socks and shawls for Christmas presents (and this year and last it has been the Marie Curie socks of course) but at the start of the year I enjoy cosying up with blanket knitting or making garments.
And now on this amazing project you are organising for the second consecutive year. Could you tell us a little about the Marie Curie hospices in the UK – their work, the number of patients (just a general idea) for example.
Marie Curie is a UK charity that has been around for 70 years. Every day of your life matters, from the first to the last and we believe everyone living with a terminal illness should be able to get the most from the time they have left, however hard that may sometimes feel. We aim to be there for people, and their families, when they may feel like no-one else is, to help them cope when they don’t know how. Marie Curie Nurses care for people in their own homes, when they need them most, day or night. The charity also has 9 hospices around the UK, at the heart of their communities offering specialist round-the-clock care, either as inpatients in the hospice wards or coming to our outpatient units for support or treatment, We also have trained volunteers and advisers who are there for people with practical information and support when they don’t know what to do. Every day matters when you’re living with a terminal illness.
Last year more than 50,000 people were helped by our services. 7,711 people were cared for by our hospices, and 33543 by Marie Curie nurses.
How are you linked to the Marie Curie hospices yourself and how was this project born?
I am a doctor and I am one of the consultants working in the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford. When I heard about the Marie Curie yarn last year, I decided I would like to knit a pair of socks from the yarn for each of the patients in the hospice on Christmas Day – 16 people in total. We always give the patients a little gift on Christmas Day, usually soap or toiletries, and I just thought it would be nice to give something a little bit different. When I posted about my idea on Instagram, lots of people offered to help, and I realised I was going to end up with more than 16 pairs of socks. So I decided to try to aim for 229 pairs instead – enough for every patient in every Marie Curie Hospice around the country. Socks came in from all around the world in the end!
What is this years objective and what are the deadlines?
This year I’m aiming to do the same and knit a pair of socks for every patient in every Marie Curie Hospice on Christmas Day, so 229 pairs in total. But it would be great to go even bigger! I’d love to be able to give a pair to everyone who comes up to see us as an outpatient , or perhaps we might have enough to give a pair to the family members visiting on Christmas day too.
I believe last year the socks were to be simple vanilla socks, is that also the case this year? And what sizes(stitch numbers) are you looking for ? 
No, any pattern is fine – it’s great seeing all the different pairs come in and how individual they all are. The only requirement is that they need to use the Marie Curie yarn please. We need a variety of sizes as we don’t yet know who will be in the hospices on Christmas Day, or what size feet they have, so we just need a good mix of sizes. As it gets closer, I should have an idea of any sizes that we might be short of, and I’ll keep everyone updated through my Instagram feed or through the FlowerPowerFund Instagram feed.
Once we have knit our socks, where should we send them?
If you could send them to me at my work address please, that would be great. Just let me know what size they are, and also who has made them and where they’re from as it’s nice for the recipient to know where they’ve come from. Samdrawsthings on Instagram has come up with a lovely sock wrapper that people can download for free from her blog, and a matching card if people would like to write a personalised note.
The address to send them to is:
Dr Sarah Holmes
Marie Curie Hospice Bradford
Maudsley Street
Bradford
BD3 9LE
United Kingdom
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Thank you so much to Sarah for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions and for allowing all to join in her amazing project.
As those are meant for Christmas Day I think Sarah would appreciate having them the first week of December so they can dispatch the pairs to all the different hospices all over the UK.  I do hope you will join the fun if you have the time and if so do share pictures of your socks. It is such fun to see all the socks that are being knit for this project on social media.
That’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week and plenty of time to enjoy your knitting.
Next week I’ll share pictures of the best birthday gift ever!

Sweaters and socks

Hi there how are you? I hope you are doing fine and having a nice beginning of autumn.

It’s been two weeks since I last posted. I have been feeling a little overwhelmed by work and just all the going back to “normal” this month so far. The kids are back to school so now there is homework and making sure they don’t go to bed too late.

I haven’t had as much knitting time as I had hoped and planned for. I had such big plans for this month, joining in kals etc. But finally I have to face the fact that I simply cannot knit all the things I want and that I do have to make time for boring stuff like cleaning and laundry etc.

So what have I been knitting on these past two weeks?

First there is the Marie Curie charity sock knitting. So I managed to finish pair number one. A simple vanilla pair with contrasting cuff, heels and toes.

marie curie 18 number one

And I cast on for pair number two. This time I thought I should do something different so I’m knitting a pair with some texture on the front. Nothing complicated though that would be fun but I have to be realistic which means simple is the way to go if I want to be sure I knit up at least 4 pairs in time.

I’m also not knitting them two at a time now. I find that I don’t really like two at a time on a  long circular needle. I feel it sort of breaks my rhythm always stopping to go on to the next sock. I really much prefer knitting on 9″ circulars where I can just knit round and round nonstop. So I’m doing this on 9″ and I’m also doing an afterthought heel too.

For pair number 3 I would like to do something different too. I feel the variegated yarn does not lend itself well to things like cables or lace so I feel a  little limited in choice. But maybe I am totally wrong. Are you joining the effort and if so have knit something other than plain vanilla?

As we are talking socks, let me show you the sock I’m knitting for the September/October Sock  Down in the Sockknitters Anonymous group on Ravelry. This is the first time I join one of their challenges/kals and this time the theme is Fandom!

I chose a pattern called Bella’s Truck socks by Rachel Coopey and I think they refer to Bella of Twilight. This is a simple textured pattern so not too time consuming. I would like to finish in a month but if not I do have October too.

bellas truck front

The front

bellas truck

The back

I’m not very far but they do look nice I think.

Then there are the sweaters. I’m working on two at the moment.

First there is my Zweig sweater and it is close to being done. I am about to cast off sleeve one so there is just one sleeve left. But… I have an issue…

So I bought a total of 4 skeins for this project, 1 contrast colour and 3 main colour and I now know that is a little tight for my size (XL).

So I finished the body and almost finished the first sleeve and then realised that the ribbed cuff is extra long. Sooo I didn’t have enough yarn to finish to the correct length. The sleeve itself is the right length for me but I’m debating ripping back some and making the cuff longer as per pattern. As the sleeve is now, I probably knit the main pattern longer than called for and as I’m short on yarn I have started knitting the rib in the contrasting colour only I’m not sure I like it.

zweig

And a close up of the sleeve ribbing

zweig sleeve

I could stop there and bind off. The ribbing is about 2 1/2″ but the pattern calls for 5. Maybe if I rip back I could make the cuff longer as there are less stitches so the yarn might be enough for a little longer cuff.

Or should I keep it as is? Is the white part of the cuff ok? I’m just not sure. I would love to hear your thoughts on this and if you have knit the Zweig sweater yourself, did you make the cuff as long as the pattern calls for?

Do chime in!

My second sweater project is the Boxy Chevron sweater. This is a fun and relaxing knit. I like the fact that one begins by knitting the sleeves and then pick up stitches from there to knit the body. It does mean a ton of stockinette knitting but it so relaxing and just the perfect project to have along with everything else and I really enjoy picking it up at the end of the day when my brain is tired and I need some relaxing.

boxy chevron 10sep

I’m not very far yet but so far so good. The sleeves are short and I do wonder what they will look like once I wear the sweater. I haven’t tried it on yet. I just want to knit around and around. That’s all!

So those are the 4 things I am knitting on these days.

I do have future cast ons on my mind. For example I need to cast on for another Damejakka Lopa for my mother. It would be amazing if I could finish that in time for  Christmas for example.

And today as I watched the Espace Tricot podcast I discovered a shawl design by one of the owners and podcasters. It is just beautiful and simple and yet I think fun to make. It is knit using lace weight yarn and I do have a lot of that and not many ideas of how to use it.

The pattern is called Virevolte and I think this would be a great ward rope staple for myself but could also be a great Christmas gift though I don’t know if I will have the time to make one.

I also saw another shawl that looked very nice. Leslie of the Knotty Knit Wits just finished knitting one and I really like her version of it. She knit hers in two colours and I actually think that looks nicer than the single colour version the designer shows on Ravelry. So you never know, I might cast that on one day. This shawl has a very strange name (I think) It is called Hephzibah.

And last but not least, I fell for another West Knits mystery KAL. I have knit a few of Stephens West shawls and  I mostly like his patterns but not all. Some are a little too out there for my taste. I wonder about this new one. I was surprised by the colour combination shown for the kits for this shawl. They were mostly soft neutral colours. Not crazy neon, contrasting colours.

I think that what got me was that it mentions “texture” so I’m imagining something with a mix of garter and brioche and maybe cables and lace and all sorts. I would love to get a kit but the prices are way out of my budget so I will do some much needed stash diving later. The kal starts October 5th so I have enough time. Are you joining this time?

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your time with me. I hope you have enjoyed your time here on my blog.

Until next time, HAPPY KNITTING 🙂