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Wool and Love

I’ve been mulling over a change of name for the FB page and this blog for quite some time now. I do love “The Virtual Yurt” it’s unique and I chose it to reflect my dream of one day having a real life yurt but to acknowledge until that time comes, this is our ‘virtual yurt’ here in a bricks and mortar home and online in virtual reality.

I’ve been feeling recently though too many people find it too vague or confusing and quite a few people just have no idea what a yurt is! 

Just in case you don’t know this is an example of a yurt





I’ve pondered a lot on what new name would be right. Nothing felt right and I kept feeling like I was losing some part of my identity. It might be a tiny weeny blog about not very much really but my page and writing here has become part of my personal story and my journey through the last few years of my life. 

The Little Dark Star and I love The Clangers which has been reworked since the original and is now running on Cbeebies. Granny Clanger loves to knit and she makes things with ‘wool and love’ there is a wonderful episode about Major Clanger making a knitting machine and Granny Clanger being upset her special role had been taken away. In the end she challenges the machine to a Knit Off. Of course Granny Clanger wins! She makes a lovely scarf soft and warm and made with love just like a real scarf should be and not itchy at all! The episode ends with the  Clanger family snuggled up together in the big warm handmade scarf. 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/cbeebies/episode/b05zhbq2/clangers-4-the-knitting-machine

The Little Dark Star and I loved it and personally it really struck a cord about something that matters to me; making things with love, by hand not machines that churn things out in the blink of an eye in their masses for money. 

Little Dark Star said that “Mummy makes things with wool and love like Granny Clanger” and suddenly it felt right Wool and Love. So that’s what I’ve renamed the page and blog and kept “@ The Virtual Yurt” to retain the roots of my journey and the place I dream of in my heart, a cosy yurt and a simpler life. 

I like it too that when you say Wool and Love it sounds like ‘woollen love’. That’s what my things are, woollen (sometimes cotton, bamboo or acrylic!) love. Little bits of love from my heart made with my own hands sent out to be something lovely in the world. 

So there we go, I’ve changed it and I hope you like it. 

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Hello! I’m still here.

Feels like its been aaaages since I posted an entry. I’ve had a funny few weeks of late, if I haven’t been really busy doing things with and for the little dark star I’ve been trying to keep on top of the house situation.

Work on our new kitchen is properly underway and I’m constantly chasing a fine layer of really fine but horrid dust off every single surface in the house (even the sofas) or making workmen tea and hunting manically for kitchen items I REALLY need that have ended up in a box in the bottom of a pile of boxes or under a dust sheet somewhere. It’s that whole “you have to break some eggs to make an omlette” type situation. I’m coping by closing my eyes and imagining that after 13 long long years of living in a semi building site of a kitchen my dream kitchen is installed, a new wall has been erected across the old one and I have a very small but lovely craft room with all my pretties in and a little pull out bed for when the firstborn or German Nan comes to stay.

The garden is pretty demanding at the moment too. I’ve got some veggies on the go out there so sometimes I’m having to water twice a day or everything is drooping and looking very sorry for itself. I’ve been using the paddling pool water or the water butts for a lot of the time so there is a lot of trudging up and down and double handling of water. 





This means of course I’m struggling to fit in any hooky time. 

I really need to make a start on the bunting for Sallyvans pelmet but I cannot find a pattern I like and recent brain fog means I’m struggling to create one instead. I’ve had a few false starts and have gone off the boil somewhat. I bought Sallyvan some cushions a long while back ready to make pretty covers for so I think I shall have a try at that first.  

I’ve been meaning to make some simple cord type crochet bracelets for ages now. I’ve got lots of pretty charms and recycled jewelry bits I want to use with them. I bought some drops cotton to make them with but after several attempts I couldn’t get them to come out how I wanted and the drops cotton is super splitty, stuff and hates being “reworked” if you frog more than once. Last week I saw a perfect  j-cord bracelet by Repeat Crafter Me on my Facebook newsfeed. Hurrah the hard work is done for me so I am definitely going to make a few soon, it might be my holiday project whilst we are at the two festivals in August. I posted the link to the Sophie’s Universe CAL group I made on Facebook and my freind has already had a go at the pattern, the result is lovely so I feel really encouraged to pull my hooks out and definitely have go myself now. 

I’m plodding along with my Sophie’s universe, as the sides are quite long now I’m lucky if I get one full side done when I get a little hooky time to spare. I am umming and ahing about if I want to make the end project bigger with the squares or my own extended border or just leave it as it is at the end of the ‘official’ CAL parts.

I’ve just finished the last row of popcorn ‘tulips’ 



I am also very slowly working on a little knitting project for The Little Dark Star I hope it might be finished by the end of the month.

Our clever Golden Hair has been making things again recently, she gets little crafting urges and goes off and creates something cute. She recently has made these lovely little butterflies.



And this fabulous fox cushion 



She made lots of these cute little hand stitched hearts last year. She just disappeared off with some supplies and worked it all out for herself 



Sadly I think the Little Dark Star got hold of this one and pulled a button off!

She’s currently upstairs listening to the Wicked soundtrack and organising her room ready for a big move around in there to create a crafting “nook”  I love having someone to get excited about crafting things with and who will squeal with me over spotting a yummy fabric in a shop or a clever idea on Pinterest. I’m a very lucky mum. I shall be a lucky mum with a lovely new kitchen soon…. well more likely a few months! 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my little ramblings about life at the virtual yurt x 



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A little knitting and Sophie’s universe part 13 complete.

Today has been the usual early start. The little dark star crawled in with us at about 2am which seems to be the new normal. She’s an average sized 3year old and we have a standard double bed so it gets a bit squishy but we don’t mind. She won’t be little long and as uncomfortable as it is sleeping next to a small person that seems to curl up yet take up all the bed I love looking at her when she’s sleeping, those dark lashes and rosy cheeks, soft moth breaths on my face, just perfect and only ours for a limited time.

I mentioned before I was knitting a toy for her. Well today after spending the morning giving Sallyvan a really good scrub to get her all ready for our planned august shennanighans I sat and finished the toy. I’m not a natural at knitting and I had a few false starts but here he is, the lovely Flop from Bing!





I know some parents really dislike the programme but we love it, Flops gentle manner and Bings portrayal of the average preschooler is lovely and we bring elements from the programme to our daily life when we talk about the time Bing made a mistake but put it right. I HATE passionately programmes that over moralise and patronise children but I don’t think Bing does that at all. I’m hoping Flop is going to be a useful parenting tool. The Little Dark Star often insists we spend the day in various ‘character’ and I really don’t mind being ‘Flop’ she responds well to direction from ‘him’ and hopefully she might put her shoes and coat on for Flop even if she won’t do it for me 😉 sneaky huh?

As you can see I muffed him up a bit. I somehow got my needle sizes wrong and despite thinking I’d sized down a mm I actually should have been a whole mm smaller than I actually used. His stuffing is clearly visible in the body but I had to stuff him sort of ‘medium firm’ to keep his neck stiff enough to support his head. The Little Dark Star seems to love him mistakes and all, and that’s what matters. 



I have completed part 13 of Sophie’s Universe and am now making a start on the butterflies. I still have not decided what will happen to the Sophie when it’s finished. Maybe I will keep it, I think it depends on the final size. 



Now Flop is complete I really should finish up the toddlers cable cardi I started months ago. I’m going to have to wing it without help as I don’t think we can have German Nan to stay for a while yet as life here is a bit topsy turvy due to breaking down walls for the new kitchen and a friend staying with us on and off with her two lively boys. 

We have planned a bit of a busy august in our lovely Sallyvan. First we will be attending the Green Gathering. I’ve not been before and I fear I’m probably just not ‘green’ and hippy enough but that’s the point of going, to meet new people and learn stuff and come away with some knowledge that will help us be greener and kinder to our planet. After that we will travel onward to a campsite for a few days to wash our clothes and linens and give Sally a quick clean and tidy. Then we will be going to the Green Man festival for some more chilled out times before heading home again. The man of the yurt has fixed our LPG water heater in Sally so even though we will be off grid for both festivals I can have hot water for washing up and giving The Little Dark Star one of her Sallyvan ‘baths’ (my big green wash bucket on the floor of Sallyvans shower/loo). 

Sallyvan is in pretty good condition for what would be affectionately known as an old ‘crappy’ on caravan forums but in the past she obviously had some kind of pelmet (oh how the 80s and 90s did love a pelmet!) which has since been ripped off. It’s left behind a really ugly strip with old glue.

I’ve got some Drops cotton yarn that I made a tealight holder cover with on one of our trips away so I’m planning on making some bunting with that before we go away.



 I’ve got a proper ‘thing’ about that sort of mustardy yellow and greens at the moment. The Drops cotton isn’t the best for crochet as its splitty and catchy when hooking but I’m going to give it a try because I think it will have a good shape and drape as bunting as well as washing well. 

Hopefully I will get it done or at least nearing completion before we set out in August for our little festival trip. Now I’m off to water the tomatoes and stuff in the greenhouse and survey the overnight slug damage to the rest of the garden, the greedy slimy little horrors. 

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Slow coach Sophie 

Since we got back from our Easter break I’ve had what I have called Sophie Dystocia. I haven’t been able to move forward very much. I have been stuck on an obstacle; choosing colours.

I think I said before I can can get really obsessed with wanting colours to work a certain way or tell a story and with the Sophie’s Universe blanket I’ve been on that vibe a lot. 

I finished the roses round on holiday and was already unsure about them being yellow but the colour change yarn made me think they would come out like tea roses on the bush, the type when the roses are not uniform tone but have lighter petals and hints of pink. They came out exactly like that and remind me happily of my Nan’s rose garden. 

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The yellow had made onward colour choice difficult though. I’ve used purple in the end and thought about them as the tall bearded iris’ that also used to grow year after year in my Nan’s garden. 

In the next few rounds the pattern starts some jiggery between the colour placements on long and shorts sides. I really wanted the next to rounds above the roses to be blues and greens to represent sky and grass but that would have made the petals of the feature flower on the ‘short side’ not right. 

I got frustrated. I spent ages studying pictures of Sophie from the pattern website so I’d see how things will pan out further down the line, trying to decide if that short side flower mattered enough to make the long sides not exactly how I wanted them. I’ve driven myself fairly bonkers. 

So I took a short break and started wet blocking the toddlers aran cabled cardi I’ve been knitting for The Little Dark Star.



I’ve still got the sleeves to block before I can then start putting it all back in the knitting needles to knit the neck band. I feel fairly confident with that and am looking forward to it but after that I have to pick up stitches all along the cables of the front panels for the button band. I’m going to have to ship German Nan in for some help with that.

I recently got my eyes tested after not being able to thread a sewing needle (I used to be the person my nan asked to do that so it was a wake up call I completely couldn’t see it at all!). It turns out my eyesight was worse than I realised I’ve always needed a lens in the left side but now the right side seems to have required a stronger lens than the left! The optician said with incredulousness “how have you been managing?”  Wearing my glasses to crochet has been a revelation, I can see all the little fuzzy strands of the yarn and the definition of the stitches. I still don’t think the left lens is quite right but the change for my right eye is AMAZING and I feel so happy. I feel as if I’m seeing lots of the world through new eyes, I guess in a way I am? Anyway it’s lovely and worth the money spent on my eye test and new specs (even if glasses don’t suit me). 

So, back to Sophie. I realised I just had to dive in and choose colours and frog it if I hated it.

Here’s how the flower on the short side has ended up



I used this flower as ‘inspiration’ 



I don’t know if that pink is right and will look ok in the long run but I’m going to continue for several rounds to see how it settles in. I didn’t want the flower to be too plain but I didn’t want it to end up looking so fantastical it ruined the look of everything else.  

The long side ruffle flowers reminded me of the light blue hydrangeas in my garden, there is  something about the sort of squared off but fluffy look at the tops of the stitches feels similar,  so I’ve dived in and used my light blue, which also means when I start the zig zag on the short side it will be very similar to the ‘daisies’ I made earlier on. It’s made me feel so much happier again. 



Thankfully, pushing through the ‘dystocia’ has worked and I’m eager to see how things are going to pan out and already mentally planning colours for the next stages. 

I’m off now to ignore the washing waiting to be hung up, the sunflowers, butternut squash and cucumbers in the greenhouse waiting for larger pots and Sallyvan waiting to be deep cleaned whilst I just sneak in a little bit more of Sophie time before The Little Dark Star and her Daddy get back front their sunday morning swim 😉 







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Fingers in all the pies as usual!

After a long stint with the knitted toddler cardigan I’m now back to my usual ‘a million and one things on the go at once’ self. Of course it’s an exaggeration but it sometimes feels like a million.

The toddler cardi is on hold till I finally organise myself and buy something to block it on all at the same time. I want to be able to lay all the pieces out together so I can be sure I’m making everything the correct size.

I’ve picked up a long neglected WIP and been working on a few squares here and there over the last few weeks.

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I’m setting out the choices for the next square here because I have this ‘thing’ that each round in the square must not be the same as any adjacent square. So if I use cream in round 1 and lilac in round two, they must not already be in the round in that order in the surrounding squares? Does that make any sense? Probably not!

I’ve also done a few more hexagons on this really really long neglected WIP its the join as you go granny hexagon blanket by Petal to Picots

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I bought a huge glut of little 25g balls for this project because I fell in love with the colours. I’ve spent way way too much on them really because it’s only fairly average acrylic. In hindsight it was probably an impulse purchase I should have got under control. Whoopsie.

This week I finally managed to snatch enough hours here and there to write up the pattern for a chunky crochet cowl and list it on Etsy

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I’m now in the middle of writing up the pattern for a little puff stitch cowl I made last year. Before I had a go at writing patterns I really had no idea how much time it takes to write even a simple pattern properly. I use my ‘pages’ app on my ipad because I can convert to PDF with it but its frustrating, it behaves completely unpredictably and I’ve often spent several hours getting everything just right only for it to randomly jumble things up and hide pictures because I wrote an three extra words on one line further up the page. Grrrrrr.

I’ve also started on a CAL by Dedri at Look At What I Made I’m several weeks behind and playing catch up at the moment. It looks like its going to be a really exciting project though and I’m feeling very enthusiastic. I had a rummage through some of my DK stash (that I could get at anyway as we are starting work on a new kitchen and lots of my crafty things are inaccessible at the moment).

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I’m unlikely to use all of these colours but I’m keeping them to hand so I can just pick the next colour as I go and then once I’ve got a good selection I will just continue repeating those and put the others away. Because I have no one in mind yet as the recipient for the finished article I’m looking forward to just experimenting and being brave with it.

I also managed to hook up some little bootees on a whim last month. Bootees are always a way of making me smile.

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I’m not very well today and tucked up in bed 😦 I think I’m paying the price of a hectic February. I went to see Cats twice with my lovely Golden Hair daughter. Once for her birthday treat and once for mine! We both are a bit fanatical about the show. I saw it with the original cast and Golden Hair has been watching you tube versions for quite some time now. We were both like excited children going up on the stage to get Old Deuteronomy to sign our Brochure and Programme. This pic was pre signing of course.

2015/03/img_3921.jpg. We also had a long awaited visit from cousin and her little girl which had me all over excited and just after that The Little Dark Star was ill and I’ve been existing on very minimal sleep. It was inevitable really I would succumb to the illness too. That said I’m feeling more productive than I have in quite a while and I literally have had my fingers in the pie because I made a lovely chicken and veg one last week and I haven’t done that in YEARS. I’ve whipped up a soup today so I know I will have some good easy to prepare comfort food tomorrow whilst dealing with the Dreaded Lurgy and trying to amuse a now very much better bouncy toddler!

Thanks for stopping by. I shall try not to leave it so long to post again because I really do like sharing my crochet and craft journey here.

I’m going to make myself some hot lemons and honey to drink now then tuck myself under my duvet and have a little rest.

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Still nuts for knitting right now!

I’ve been sneaking in a little knitting when I can. It’s been a struggle though and some weeks I’ve managed only one row before other things demanded my time instead. I have now finished the main pieces for the toddlers cable cardigan and its time to knit the neckband on.

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I’m actually looking forward to it as it’s not something I have done before and I really enjoy the challenge of learning something new. I have a dilemma though. See those edges all curling in of the reverse stocking stitch? I think they are going to be annoying to seam after the neckband is done and will probably turn right inwards after seaming making the cardi look deformed. I’m deciding if I should block them now or after I’ve attached the neck band? Doing it now is easier because I can arrange the pieces out easily but I’m eager to crack on with the neck band. I am going to block them though. I’m a fan of blocking because it makes such a difference to the result of the final piece. I’m also hoping blocking this will help smooth out any issues with fluctuating tension (I’m still not consistent yet).

If you are doubtful about the benefits of blocking then take a look at this square I blocked for a project a while back. It makes such a difference and it became a joy to work with for joining.

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I had a wee splurge on some new patterns from Wool and The Gang. They aren’t cheap at £10 each but I really really wanted them.

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It is two cardigans and a cabled jumper. One if the cardigans will be knitted in super bulky on my 25mm wooden knitting needles. I found this yarn in my stash, I bought it a couple of years ago on impulse when I saw it.

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I’d provisionally thought it would be great for crochet cowls but I think it’s going to be perfect for a big sloppy cardi. I can’t decide on the green and blue blend of the black and silver grey toned one? Its acrylic and super silky and soft. I can’t be a yarn snob when making things for myself, I just can’t have real wool on my skin because I break out in a rash and itch like I’m being prickled all over with tiny bits of wire. If I want to wear something posh I have to use bamboo or cotton and that’s going to be too heavy and expensive for this project. I don’t think they even make bamboo in super chunky so I’d have to use multiple strands at once.

I’ve got this multistranded sofa throw on the big needles at the moment.

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I need to either finish it then start the cardi or move it carefully off into storage and indulge my urge to start making the cardi. I really should finish up at least one of my WIPs before commencing a new one but I just get too excited about starting new things when I find projects that excite me.

I’ve got all my girls home today for a sunday dinner so I’m off to prep the veggies now but before I go here’s a little pic of one of my boxes of joy/shame. Its a massive blanket box I got via freecycle when I was expecting the little dark star, it was meant to be fixed up and used as a toy store, here it is bursting with a small selection of my yarn stash. I have two of these blanket boxes. The bag on the left contains a half finished granny squares blanket that I will come back to once we venture out in Sallyvan again. Crochet is much more portable than knitting I have found so far.

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Oh here’s another one…..

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I also have two chests of drawers with yarn in too as well as some shelving in my bedroom. One day I will just open a yarn shop and craft drop in with a lovely cafe and my life will be complete in every way. We all need a dream don’t we?

Till then I best get using up my stash before it takes over the whole house!

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Still here and making things.

It’s been a busy time over christmas but I’ve still made time for some crafty business.

I made another Tartan Lula Hoop, this time for my firstborn.

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I tightened up my tension for this one as I think my yarn needle combo was a little off but in the end I don’t think it improved things, the resultant scarf is less pliable and drapey which I didn’t like but the stitches and pattern do look nice and neat. Slightly smaller needles and a relaxed tension is the answer for getting it to perfection the next time around. There will be a next time, I have some more delicious looking super chunky yarn begging to be used for this!

I’ve not abandoned my crochet for knitting entirely. My nan frogged four balls of Stylecraft Weekender chunky for me a while back and it’s been staring at me accusingly from the “chunky yarns storage box” ever since. After about four restarts till I was happy with hook size and stitches I made this lovely infinity cowl.

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Might get the pattern down on paper for this one because it’s pretty easy and fun to make. Despite my best efforts to get it just right it’s ended up a little long for a short pixie like me so it’s currently homeless and just prettying up my mannequin.

Remember my blog post about Nan teaching me to do knitted cables? Well since then I found a pattern I liked the look of for a toddler cardigan and as Nan came to stay for New Year I made a start on it so she was on hand to assist if I got stuck. I had about seven restarts on the back and a lot of help from Nan getting the first few rows right (who knew ribbing could be so irritatingly easy to mess up when you are a beginner?) I only made one mistake on the armhole decreases and managed to keep swearing to a minimum. It’s been great chilling on the sofas with Nan knitting together. She’s still making me a lovely long cardi with the yarn we chose on our shopping trip on her last visit.

Here’s work to date. I am actually so proud of myself for perseverance with this despite it being quite a challenge.

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If you look carefully at my left hand picture above you’ll see I was about to make a horrible mistake (at least I think it was here it happened). I’d moved a long way up the piece before I realised it was all going wrong and I had to undo and redo several pattern repeats SIX TIMES before I could work out how I was messing the cable up. I have to really concentrate when cabling and I like that, it keeps me engaged and pushing on with the project.

I’ve really settled into my left handed yarn hold for my knitting and prefer it to my old “English style” right handed method. I’m not doing it ‘right’ for the purl stitch but the result looks absolutely fine and it works so I think I will just be unique and a bit deviant and not bother trying to make myself do it By The Book 😉 It’s definitely faster knitting the German way but like crochet it is harder going on the wrists. I’m nursing a bit of RSI at the moment as I have pain through the arm right into my neck on the right side. I so want to finish this cardi though that I’m (probably unwisely) pushing on through the pain which visits me all day on and off, even when not knitting.

We are currently pulling down walls and clearing out the extension so we can move our kitchen over there. The extension is basically full of junk and all my crafting stuff. Its also brining me face to face with the pure evidence I have enough yarn to open my own shop……

I’ve got the challenge of finding everything a temporary home during the work but one where I can still get at everything or I know I’ll just need stuff and not be able to access it. Any tips on compact but accessible storage gratefully received!

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Commitment and cables.

I’ve been a bit quiet of late. I have been doing some crochet but not very much just working on a granny square blanket and finishing up the little dark stars rainbow cardi (it’s been ongoing since the early this year!).

I have completed a big knit throw in cream, it was a present for a newly wed couple. I didn’t get a final snap before it was wrapped and gifted but I’ve asked if perhaps they will take a photo for me to pop on my Facebook page.
Here it is nearing completion.

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It is beautifully heavy and drapes really nicely. As usual excuse the poor picture quality (and the crayon on the wall “its ‘wainbows’ mummy!”) I don’t have a fancy camera I just use my ipod or ipad.

I confess I am feeling a little less productive than usual, I still have a million ideas and projects in my head but I’m really struggling to find/make time to work on anything very often. I still love and enjoy crochet immensely but it’s been a difficult time recently and that’s impacted on my ability to create anything.

I am a quarter of a way through a Big Knit throw for my living room sofa.
This is the casting on.

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I’m using many strands of DK instead of big yarn or fabric strips. It works really well but you have to be vigilant you always pick up all the strands as you are working.

My upper middle child was recently able to collect her finished exam pieces from Graphic Design GSCE. I absolutely adore them, not just because I like the actual final result but also because I know how very hard she worked preparing and practising her ideas for the final two day exam sessions. I’m very proud of her for her commitment, passion and creativity. I asked if she would mind letting me have them to frame and put on our wall above the settee. The throw is being made in colours that will compliment her work really well.

Whilst I have been working on my sofa throw she’s put in a request a for a bed runner for her newly decorated and refitted bedroom. I’ve got this idea in my mind I want to do a Big Knit throw in cables, her ideas for the colour work to match her new room and my urge to make a cabled throw seem like a really promising combination except……. My knitting is really basic and I don’t know how to cable.

Enter my marvellous knitting nan!

We’ve been trying to schedule a visit for ages now but first she was unwell, then I had commitments, then she was unwell again and finally this weekend we managed our weekend together.

We had discussed a visit to a new yarn shop for supplies so she can knit me a new cardigan and for her to teach me how to cable so I could make the new throw.

I’m glad despite my challenging week I kept to my commitment to have her come and stay because despite it being hard work we had a really lovely day on the Sunday (huge lovages for my wonderful Husband for helping facilitate that by taking care of cooking us all a wonderful stew so I got to spend lots of time with Nan instead of the pots and pans!).

Nan completed all the seaming of a sweater she started knitting for The Little Dark Star last time she came to stay. Its taken her a while as her 80 something year old hands sometimes don’t want to comply anymore and she can only knit as and when she feels up to it.

It was a lovely moment, her finishing up the last of the sewing and then seeing the excited toddler trying it on straight away and saying how it will be “warm for the garden” and “Thank you Nanny for my jumper” I know we made a lovely memory there for us both to enjoy.

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With the sweater done Nan set about teaching me to cable. We sat hip to hip on the sofa whilst she showed me what to do, then watched as I attempted it myself. Proud to say I picked it up fairly quickly but we had a lot of lovely giggles over my mistakes (how can a person suddenly forget how to cast on? Or do a whole row of knit instead of purl?).

Here’s a little line of cable I’ve made.

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My Nan comes originally from Germany so when she knits she hold her yarn in her left hand (like crocheters do) and kind of picks it up with the right needle, whereas I knit “English style” which means I hold the yarn over on the right and wind it around for each stitch. I’ve been fascinated by her way for a long time, it looks less of a big production, faster and more like what I’m doing when I crochet so I asked her if she would mind showing me how to do it German or ‘Continental’ style. She was really chuffed I asked and was incredibly patient with helping me work it out. I kept doing my yarn overs the wrong way round, which is what most people I have taught to crochet always do when very first learning the basics. I cracked it before she left and I have to say I really love the new way of doing it. My tension is much neater but it does make my hands ache more than my usual knitting style. Nan assures me as I find my own rhythm and my muscles get used to it the ache will subside. I wish someone had taken a photo of us sat there with each other and her patiently teaching me. I’d have treasured it forever.

I think most rewarding thing is hearing Nan say how chuffed she is that “someone will be knitting like me now even after I’ve gone” I think we both sensed we had made a special kind of connection that will last long beyond the immediate moment. I know every time I knit that way I will be thinking of my Nan. Not just our recent weekend together, I shall be thinking about the mountains of knitted things she has made for me and my brood that have been made with her Continental method of working. From now on as I make things using the same technique she does, my hands will be mimicking hers and she will be part of it. If anyone notices my method and asks about it I will talk about her teaching me.

Now both my grandmothers have given me a tangible skill and memory I can invoke each time I pick up a hook or knitting needles.

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Tartan Lula Hoop.

My little foray into knitting recently lead me to swapping my giant needles for slightly smaller ones and having a go at making a Wool And The Gang Tartan Lula Hoop.

I can do basic stockinette so I felt I’d be ok tackling it. The pattern said “easy” so I went ahead and got the pattern and some supplies.

I really enjoyed knitting it up and adding the detail. Here it is as I’m putting the long lengths of yarn in to get the tartan effect. I know I need to work on keeping my tension more even as I knit.

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The project me longer than I thought it would because I had to do quite a bit of googling and YouTube searching to find out how to do both horizontal and vertical invisible seaming for reverse stockinette. I learned there are lots of ways to join knitting! I kept looking at my messy edges and getting really anxious about how I could turn the mess of the selvedge into an invisible seam. The problem was where I’d changed colours for the stripes the edge stitch was just flapping about a big massive loopy and confusing area. I kept tightening them up carefully but couldn’t see how they would hold closed unless I knotted or weaved them in, but the pattern says just push them inside the hoop as you seam it.

Knitters will know for the invisible seam across two pieces of reverse stockinette stitch you need to identify the “smiles” and the “frowns” I was ok finding the frowns on the right side but partnering up to the smiles on the left was just impossible. In the end I decided on the left side to seam into it one row over rather than into the selvedge. It means my lula hoop is slightly slimmer than its probably supposed to be but to my absolute joy it worked perfectly and I managed a really good invisible seam for a first ever attempt. I did a little dance when I had finished.

Here’s the finished piece.

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Its just the perfect size and feels scrummy round my neck. I already have supplies ready to make another one in new colours but first I’ve got two big knit projects to complete and an experiment with my big needles I’m dying to try.

If you’d like to knit one of your own visit Wool and The Gang HERE.

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Big Knit project Ta DAH!

I’ve still got the ends to sort but it’s pretty complete.

Here is my lovely new summer big knit bedspread.

Ingrid Wagner Big Knitting

Here is the ‘wrong’ side

Ingrid Wagner Big Knitting

I love it that way just as much as the right way!

And here it is stretched out across the end of the bed as a foot runner.

Big Knitting

It will go well with my other duvet cover too as that one is pink red and blue. In fact it will go well with most of my bed covers except my funky red one. I can see this getting stolen from the bed for several people to snuggle under on our very long settee. It is so weighty and warm with an amazingly comforting drape, rather like being wrapped in a cuddle.

Excuse our odd bedroom furniture set up, we co sleep with our toddler so I have my bed table at the end of her bed.

This project has been SO much fun to make. Already planning my next big knit projects.

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