Thursday, December 18, 2014

Grandpa KAL and more

The Winter brought with it, the seasonal illnesses into our household, namely cold, flu and associated respiratory problems. The youngest two members of the family were affected and last week consisted of hospital visits and caring for the little ones. Thankfully, they seem to be on a mend and I am again able to take stock of the world beyond antibiotics and bronchodilators.

On the knitting front, the aran sweater that was giving me trouble, continued to live up to its reputation as I ran short yarn. When all my efforts to procure more of the same yarn failed, I decided to take a risk and get some instead in the exact shade of color but different weight. I try to knit the sleeves with the lighter yarn, held double and hope for the best. Soon.
Meanwhile, I embarked on a KAL (knit-along) with my long-time friend Shells. We did many a KALs in the past, but none to recently. This time, we are knitting Grandpa cardigan. Although, the start has not been perfect, Shells finding the selected yarn a bit thin for the pattern (she bogs about it here and here) and I getting caught up in kids' illnesses, still I have high hopes for this KAL. Hopefully, it will provide us much motivation and fun.

At this point, I have managed to knit this top-down sweater to a point beyond the armholes. Ahead are long pattern rows with relatively little shaping, in other words, a slog. And that is just where I wish to be, knit-wise, at the moment.

Friday, November 28, 2014


This week, I decided to put aside the slow-growing sweater and instead cast on a hat. A hat is a much smaller project than a sweater, even if it has a lot of cabling and it seemed to fly after so much time on the pullover, which continues to be bane of my knitting existence. Anyway, I got the hat finished in four days, which is saying something these days.
  The pattern is Gretel. I had the book version of the pattern, which is only in one regular size and only comes with written instructions. The instructions are a bit vague at certain points, but still I managed to complete the hat without any major hiccup.
This is for my eldest daughter and goes with her cable yoke pullover. It fits nicely and looks really well. I was ready to knit another for her in her school color, when she misplaced her old one, this week. But then, the old hat turned up the next day, and I have now resigned myself to go back to the miserable sweater.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Slow And Not So Steady

Since completing my last project two weeks ago, I have been diligently working on this pullover for my son, at every possible knitting time that I could find. But between the facts that it has a lot of cabling, it hurts my hands, and that I have very little knitting time at the end of the day, the progress has been slow. I have barely managed ten inches of the body (it is in round, if that is any consolation).

A bit disheartened by the slow going, I decided to have a little project on the side_ a hat. But just then, certain family circumstances arose that require my time and attention for the next month or so. So, my already strained knitting time is further depleted and lately I find myself too tired at the end of the day, to even pick up my needles.
However, it seems that though my hands may be tired and my time short, but my desire to knit is still strong. I find myself planning another upcycling project besides the hat. And I plan to persevere with the sweater. At least in my mind.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Maxi Dress

On one of my recent excursions to our local yarn store, I bought a couple of skeins of variegated yarn. I planned to do something spectacular with them, only to realize later, that it is hard to pick the right pattern for this kind of yarn.
  Anyway, the first skein turned into this baby cardigan. For the second skein, I did a bit of deliberation and search, before settling on the Maxi Top/Dress pattern. Luckily, I had a right shade of contrasting yarn in my stash.

I am so glad I picked this pattern. It was such a fun knit, quick and easy to boot. And the final dress came out quite nice. I would recommend this pattern to all knitters who have a little girl to knit for.

This dress is for my second daughter. I knit the 4/5 size, so it has some ease on the 3.5 year old. That, of course, means it will fit her for sometime. Maybe, she can wear it as a top later on.

The dress was very well-received. I had to coax her to get it off after the photo shoot (it is still not sweater weather here).
Next, I have some larger sweaters to work on.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cable Yoke Cardigan

It feels so good to have a consistent stream of knitting project after such a long time. Still, I am yet to get more than bare minimum knitting time, but I will take it over none at all, that seemed to be my lot, a few months ago.
   The latest project off my needles is this cardigan for my eldest daughter. This was a breeze to knit. (Here is the ravelry pattern page. I found the working link to the pdf in the comments). Even when there was quite a bit of finishing to this knit (this pattern is knit in five separate pieces), including the daunting task of sewing the yoke to the sleeves and body part, but it all went smoothly, and the end result is quite satisfactory. The pattern is easy-to-follow. I added a few inches to the length and a few rows to the armhole depth. The yarn is one of my local favorite, now discontinued.
 I just might have enough yarn leftover to knit a matching hat. And in the spirit of more consistent knitting, I bought yarn enough for two sweaters, this weekend. Now, I begin the pleasurable task of picking some sweater patterns.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Another Baby Cardigan

This baby cardigan got done this week. I found it hard to decide on a suitable pattern for this variegated yarn. Finally decided to improvise with this design, not sure if it worked. And as I winged the size, it turned out a bit larger than the intended 1-year size. It is more like for 18-24 months bracket. I still have some more variegated yarn to try and knit a toddler sweater with. Hopefully, that will turn out better than this one.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Striped Baby Cardigan

This week, I worked on this baby cardigan. You can probably tell that leftover yarns from some previous projects were used in this project. The short sleeves, with different color ribbing and underlying plain, full sleeves, might look like clever design elements, but are in fact improvisations on my part, as I ran out of yarns.

The pattern I started with, was Little Coffee Bean Cardigan, but these necessary, impromptu changes turned it into something else. Nevertheless, I still think it turned out quite cute.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Neville Sweater

I started this sweater in March and worked slowly on the body. Then it remained mostly untouched during the summer, only to be taken out last month. At the time of my last post, two weeks back, I was working on the first sleeve. Continuing on, I knitted both sleeves and joined them to the body and knitted up the fair-isle yoke to finish up the sweater.

 The yarn is our local acrylic, the pattern is a Garnstudio DROPS free design. I chose to make an adult size sweater for my ten-year-old, because it is a bit tiring when kids grow out of the handknits after a single season. My son can wear this one with rolled cuffs this year, and hopefully will last him a few more years.
The plain black part was boring and tedious stockinette st, and it was extremely slow-going, but the things looked up with the yoke. I loved knitting the fair-isle part. And the end result was totally worth all the slog.

The sweater has been well received, my son did not want to take it off, regardless of the fact that it was 32 C today. My husband also thought it was outstanding. And as a bonus, I think I got my knitting mojo back with this one.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back And Knitting

I am sorry to have neglected this blog for so long. Things have been very busy for the last couple of moths, with Ramadan and Eid on top of the kids' summer vacations. I did not have much time for crafts (my kind, that is. I did a few paper crafts with the kids though.) and blogging.

But things are looking up and I have resumed work on the black sweater for my son. I am nearly done with the first sleeve. I am hoping to get through the second sleeve soon, so that I can start the interesting bit that is the yoke. A note to myself, however: black is not a good color to knit with, especially at night, at my age.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Spring / Summer Sewing 2014 - Part 3

The clothes for my 6-month old are done. I managed to get them done, before the deadline I set myself. The first one is a dress full of ruffles. There are ruffles at the bottom as well as at the armholes. It is a heavily modified version of one of my tried and tested pattern, from an old Burda magazine. You can see the my earlier project with same pattern here (the baby dresses).
 The second one is a two-piece outfit, a top with coordinating bloomers. This one is self-drafted. The yoke could have been neater, but it is still cute, nevertheless.
This post rounds up my sewing projects for this summer. I also sew a couple of shorts for my son, which saw a lot of rough use before I could do a post about them. And a few outfits for myself but those do not make for an interesting post.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Spring/Summer Sewing 2014 - Part 2

Our DSL connection has been out of order for a week now and shows no signs of getting in order despite repeated complaints. So I have had to borrow my husband's laptop and WiFi to write this post.
Today, I will show you the two dresses I made for my three year old.
First up is a dress with tiered skirt and fabric flowers at the waist. The bodice is lined. the fabric is cotton. Again the pattern is self-drafted. I made it a bit larger so she can grow into it over the summer.

The second one is the one which has the chicken scratch embroidery I mentioned in a previous post.
 Again, it is self-drafted with a lined bodice and a contrasting ruffle at the hem. The fabric is cotton. 

 This one is my favorite of this year's sewing.
Part 3 of Spring/Summer Sewing  2014 is under progress. I have just started on a couple of outfits for the baby. InshaAllah, I plan to have them done and blogged about, before the start of Ramadan. (Ramadan starts at the end of June.)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spring/Summer Sewing 2014 - Part 1

 This post has been a long time coming. For the last few weeks, I have been using all and any free time I could get, to sew up some dresses for my girls. But there has been so little free time and the going has been very slow. But finally I do have some stuff to blog about.
 In this post, I will show you a couple of dresses for my eldest daughter. She got to choose the fabrics and you can see she has a thing for tiny flowers and blue color. Somehow I had difficulty deciding the patterns for these dresses. Again I went with her preferences, a full gathered skirt for both, no full-circle or tiered one for her. That narrowed down the choices and made decisions easier. Both dresses are self-drafted.

 The first one has a small floral print on black background. I made a simple gathered dress with short straight sleeves. I put solid purple edging around the neck and a purple frill around the bottom and then added a few fabric flowers on the front. The fabric is a lightweight lawn, very cool for our hot summer.

The second one is again a floral print which I coordinated with a solid teal. This one has a fully lined bodice. The fabric is pure cotton.

 Blogging about them, these seem so simple and straight forward, but these took so many days to get done. I guess motherhood is finally getting in the way of my craft time :)


Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Little Of Everything

First, an update on my neck strain: It got well in eight days with the help of medicines and rest. As promised, I ripped open the pillow and took out more that a third of its filling. I am happy to report that it is comfortable now and is in regular use without any problems.

Since the last post, I have been dabbling in a range of craft activities but have not progressed much with any. Hot weather with ten hours of loadshedding makes one so lethargic. Still a glimpse of what I have been up to... a bit of knitting, it is going to be a sweater for my son, who is now into teen sizes, mashaAllah.
Then there was a bit of spinning:
And a bit of chicken-scratch:
And some sewing. During my spring cleaning, I got hold of my husband's old shirt and had to upcyle it into a girl's top. (Tutorial here).

 A few new summer dresses for my daughters are also in progress. I hope to finish them soon and take some pictures. Sewingis getting so much more enjoying as I am getting better at it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Story Of A Pillow

It all started that fateful day two months ago, when we needed a new pillow and went to the best bed and bath store in town, to buy one. It was all nice and fluffy and I was happy with my new pillow. I just thought it was a bit uncomfortable because it was new and needed some breaking in.
Life was very busy then and I failed to notice that the crimped neck and shoulders in the morning that I started having, began at that point in time. I attributed my symptoms to sleep deprivation that is the sad lot of mothers of newborns or maybe some ill-adjustment to co-sleeping. I did notice my slightly stiff neck and its rather limited range of movements, from time to time, and wondered if I was developing arthritis. Or maybe it was one of those subtle signs of aging that creep up on you. I considered all this but still the new pillow did not make my list of differential diagnosis till the very end. 
Then suddenly, four days ago, something satanapped on the right side of my neck. Even a slight movement brought on a lot of pain. I finally had my diagnosis: neck strain due to a new, over-fluffy pillow.
Needless to say, that pillow has been ditched and I am getting by with the help of a boatload of painkillers and muscle relaxants. It is day four now and the pain has not let up yet. I am told it can take up to two weeks to heal. 
Hopefully, this story will have a happy ending for both me and the pillow. Once I get better, I intend to rip its guts out (that sounds so good) and remove some of the fluff. Meanwhile, I am left to ponder on the lesson we can take away from this story, one that my husband has been considerate enough to point out _ all that glitters is not gold. I am so not going to that store anytime soon.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Purple Toddler Coat

 We have had a lot of rain this month and so while I finished this coat a week ago, there has not been enough light to take proper photos till now. It may look benign or even nice, but it was one of the most tedious things I ever knit. Not fun at all. In addition, the honeycomb pattern can be physically challenging to the wrists.

The technical details..Initially, I picked this pattern to knit, but my yarn was a different weight, so I decided to do my own math. And go with a top-down, contiguous approach, which I later realized, was all wrong for this design because of the considerable gauge difference between stockinette st and honeycomb pattern. So when I tried to get proper sizing at the yoke, the sleeves caps grew quiet loose. At that point, I had already invested a great deal of time and energy (remember the honeycomb pattern being hard on the wrists) to rip back. So I decided to move on and get it done.
 Thankfully my toddler does not have an eye for such details yet. She is happy and content with the fact that her mom made her a new cardigan. And that is good enough for me. It is a bit large on her at the moment as it is intended to fit her next winter.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Bit Unravelled

My current wip (work in progress)
I am knitting this cardigan top down. I had planned to finish the neckline with a few rows of ribbing and it was to have the first buttonhole as well. So i put in the rest of the buttonholes accordingly. However I had a nagging suspicion that the neckline was too small and ribbing would make it even smaller. So on reaching the bottom of the cardigan, I decided to knit the neck ribbing before the bottom edge and just as i thought, it made the neck opening too small. So I frogged the ribbing and did an I-cord bind-off instead. But that meant the first buttonhole was now too far down, thus creating the need for this unravel of the buttonhole band.

Thankfully the band is all fixed now and I am binding off the cardigan now. I have made several mistakes while knitting this cardigan ans sadly not all were so easy to fix. So I have had to put up with them. More on that when I show you the completed cardigan. For now, I am happy to be almost done with this cardigan and if I am wise, I should be sticking to tried and tested patterns for a while (highly unlikely..).

Friday, March 14, 2014

Looking For Suggestions

I know I have been neglecting this blog for some time and I am sorry about that. What with a new baby, two rounds of flu which escalated to something worse for our youngest two, the annual exams of the older kids, life has been an ongoing series of hectic. That did not leave much time for knitting or blogging. Things are still pretty busy but the final exams are over at last and we are recovering from our latest colds, so the things are looking up. Hopefully I will be able to blog more frequently. The cardigan I am working at ought to be done soon and I am planning on some spring sewing soon. So I will have some stuff to blog about. However I am looking for blogging ideas in addition to my usual knitting and sewing projects. Are there any particular topics my readers would like? I would love to have some input/suggestions.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Once we somewhat settled into a routine with the new baby, I treated myself to some yarn shopping and bought three sweaters' worth of yarn for the older kids. I got to work on the first sweater in late January. It went quite slow because the only knitting time I get is after the kids' bedtime. Still, a few rows at a time and I got this sweater done in under a month.
   This is for my oldest daughter. I knit this top down, checking the fit as it went along. I did not follow any pattern, just did some math and cast on. She specifically requested raglan sleeves otherwise I had initially planned set-in sleeves. I miscalculated the button band width and it turned out too narrow. So, to avoid gaping, I sewed the cardigan closed from the second buttonhole down to the peplum. About the peplum, I have been wanting to knit one for some time and I think it looks awfully cute on seven-year olds.
  The yarn is our local acrylic DK weight which is surprisingly soft and wears well. My daughter is quite pleased with the sweater and I had a fun time knitting it. I guess that makes it a success.
 Now, on to the second sweater. That is half the size of this one and ought to be done sooner, inshaAllah.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Minion Hat

These days, my toddler is quite fond of minions (of the Despicable Me animated movies). At some movement of overwhelming maternal affection, I promised her a minion hat a couple of weeks ago. So this had to be the project marking my post-partum recovery. I used this pattern for the basic hat pattern (it is an awesome pattern by the way, and I was much tempted to cast-on an actual fair-isle version) and improvised with all the minion components. I am happy to have fulfilled my promised and my daughter is happy to have a "min" hat, which she would much rather hold and look at, than put on her head...