Not Crochet. Knitting!

I have a confession to make. There has been no crochet at all around here this past week. I am a traitor to my hooks! I have gone over to the other side!!

I still firmly believe that I will remain true to my first yarn love of crochet, but the knitting bug bit me hard these past days, and I returned to and finished a knit wip in the space of a week. Such loyalty to one wip is almost unheard of, and I surprised myself!

I’d done another simple dishcloth and learned a lot along the way, but my heart yearned for the knitwear that inspired me to learn to knit in the first place. So I got brave and went back to a scarf that I was struggling with a few weeks ago. Happily my perseverance with the dishcloths paid off as everything did suddenly seem a lot clearer.

So I compulsively (powerless to stop!!) kept on keeping on with a free asymmetrical scarf pattern that I’d found on Ravelry and ta-daaaaaaa! Yesterday I walked out wearing my lovely new scarf in Scheepjes Stonewashed. Happy days!

So what of note have I have learned thus far on this learn-to-knit journey of mine?

  1. Cable keys are provided for a reason! If you don’t use the puzzling little key thingy to tighten your interchangable circulars before you embark, they will come loose, and you will lose stitches. Oops.
  2. I can now join a new colour properly, work in stripes carrying yarn up the sides, and weave in ends very nearly on both stocking and garter stitch fabrics. For help with all these I highly recommend Wool and the Gang YouTube tutorials. I am so happy I stumbled across them when I got stuck. They are very concise, which I love, impatient as I am to be getting on and doing.
  3. I know how to fix a newbie-knitter loose cast on when you realise a few rows up that it’s all starting to look like shit, without going back and redoing it. It is hard to describe, but I figured out you can use a darning needle to gently tighten each stitch from the end of the cast on row and working back to the first cast on stitch, and then undo the starting slipknot and simply pull to add the excess yarn to the tail. I am not sure how much sense this makes, but it worked, and I felt rather victorious πŸ™‚

In other yarn, and yes sorry still knitting, news, I have selected my first Craftsy knitting classes and ordered supplies. I am sooooo excited! I will let you know how I get on, both with the materials (Paintbox ‘Socks‘, who knew?! Oh. And suddenly now 50% off? Gah. That hurts a bit right after ordering!!); and the classes themselves.

For now that’s it from me, as the school bus is about to return and my #yarntime is up. I do apologise for any grammatical or spelling errors – usually I am fanatically pedantic about these things but I do tend to edit-edit-edit and it is so time-consuming. Today there just isn’t the time (people will want food etc, how every dare they!).

Are you steadfastly a hook only yarn person, or do you knit too? What are your top tips for beginner knitters? Can you recommend any Craftsy classes, or knitting books?

Next time it’ll be all about the crochet. Promise 😁

~This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commision if you choose to purchase a linked product~

Did You Know that Craftsy Unlimited is Now Bluprint?

Edit to update: I have now reviewed this service here (it’s not good…)

As regular readers know, I recently started out on my learn to knit journey. Pictured is my current knit wip, an asymmetrical scarf in Scheepjes Stonewashed, which I am loving!

Anyhoo, during the course of the school holidays I was researching knitting books to buy – will share those I chose in a future post; I now have some lovely knitting books on my crochet bookshelf! – and I remembered the crochet classes I found in the dim and distant past on Craftsy. I decided to have a look at the knitting offerings, and found out that Craftsy had a new subscription service called Craftsy Unlimited.

Online subscription of this kind is not such an alien concept nowadays. Most of us have Spotify or Netflix subscriptions and the like, and we enjoy the freedom and choice this mode of entertainment consumption offers us. However, could I gobble up knitting and crochet classes in the same way as I binge on Netflix? My mind immediately started weighing up the possibilities, cost and time factors…

However, I knew I wouldn’t have time to get stuck in to anything properly during the school holidays, so I put the trial on my To Do list for when term started. And here we are (oh yeah!!). And I have discovered that in the interim, Craftsy Unlimited has rebranded itself as Bluprint. Eh? But ok: the very same classes are still available on Craftsy. You just go to your chosen Craftsy class and click ‘Watch in Blueprint’ ; or you can explore class offerings within Bluprint itself. (You can find out more about the rebranding of Craftsy Unlimted as Bluprint here).

So, name change dealt with, and onward: I’d bookmarked a bunch of Craftsy knitting classes that appealed to me, and on checking them out, it seems to me that there is enough to keep me going, and be cost-effective, for a long time, on a subscription basis. For example, Save Our Stitches: Fixing Knitting Mistakes is 52.92AUD as a stand-alone purchase, but with Bluprint, all you ever pay is your monthly sub of 18.99AUD. Based on this, even if I only complete one class per month, the monthly subscription is well worth it (there is an annual subscription option too, but I’m going monthly initially just while I suss it out – and you can change to annual at any time).

So, conclusion: I have signed up! I am EXCITED! Craftsy has a great reputation for crochet and knitting classes. Since I last checked Craftsy out years ago I have come a long way on my crochet journey, and when I see names like Edie Eckman, Dora Ohrenstein and Tamara Kelly writing and hosting classes, I know I’m on to a good thing! I am not familar with the knitting ‘names’ as yet, but based on these greats within the crochet offerings, I am more than willing to give the subscription service a go as a learning to knit resource, as well as a means of advancing my crochet skills.

As part of the free 7 day trial package I also got 30% off the monthly price for the first 3 months. Thereafter it’s 18.99AUD per month and you can cancel at any time simply by clicking CANCEL in your subscription settings. To cancel before any billing starts, simply click cancel before the end of the 7 day period. Simples!

So, there you have it. I will be letting you know which classes I take, and how I rate them, as well as reporting back on my experience of the subscription service itself in terms of tech help and support, and any other issues that arise.

Are you familar with Craftsy? Have you signed up for Bluprint? Which Craftsy knitting or crochet classes do you recommend? Tell all! And meantime… happy hooking! Or knitting πŸ™‚

Squeezing in the Yarn Time

It doesn’t feel like a Tuesday because we’re now in school holidays, so we have no routine, only chaos πŸ™‚ The German (my husband) has the first week off so we’re enjoying some good family time, which is great. They’ve all gone down to the river in the village this morning though, while I get through the laundry backlog. So I’ve quickly bunged in a load, and here I am, pretending there is no ironing to do πŸ™‚ I have to catch my yarny moments while I can in school hols; I’m sure all crochet mums (and dads?) relate.

So, first up! An update on my longest running wip ever: a thirty block crochet blanket (pictured above) using patterns from the Look At What I Made 2014 Block A Week CAL, that I’ve been working on for three and a half years! I’ve finally joined all the squares and completed the base round. Now I’m choosing the border. I absolutely LOVE ‘Around the Corner Crochet Borders’ by Edie Eckman. It’s a book I return to over and over, not just when I need border inspo, but well, just to flip through and now then – so much pretty! Incredibly inspiring, too; I’m starting to feel the urge to design my own border one day, something which Edie absolutely encourages. The book not only contains 150 different border designs – including charts for each one as well as written instructions – it also contains lots of technical notes such as explaining stitch count maths – finally, I get it!! – and even tips on design concepts and troubleshooting problems. Five star review from me.

In learning to knit news, well…I can say I have persevered. I managed to finish a dishcloth, after a great deal of ripping and re-catching of stitches. I have since been assured that ripping and re-catching of stitches are very necessary knitting skills, so I suppose I am making progress? I bought ‘More Than A Dozen Dishcloths’ by Lisa Carnahan with the idea of learning new techniques and stitches in small, manageable projects. I have started and abandoned a few already truth be told, and I feel that this is not a book for beginners. Or at least not this beginner! While the patterns are pretty, and I will keep at them for sure, if you require any illumination at all regarding stitches or techniques, it is not to be found within these pages, you must go elsewhere.

So, in knit conclusion for this week, I remind myself that it took me many frustrating attempts to learn to crochet, and the key is to remain calm and persevere. So I shall continue to intersperse my obsessive crocheting with a little knitting, and we shall see!

Finally, as we all know, you can never have too much yarn, and I have been on a self-imposed ban since my pilgrimage in February all the way from here on the Mid North Coast, New South Wales, to Bendigo in Victoria, for the express purpose of visiting Bendigo Woollen Mills (1,376km by road; thankfully we flew!). It is therefore high time I added to my stash, no? πŸ˜€ I have been hearing great things about Paintbox Yarns, so I’ve now got some on order. Yah! I decided to give the dk cotton a try, cotton being my fave fibre here in the subtropics. I will report back. Have you used any Paintbox yarns?

I also couldn’t resist a wee browse on the Knitpicks site. They always have great yarn-related bits and bobs that The German for some reason deems absolutely unnecessary, but which add an extra ray of sunshine to my life, such as amusing tote bags and mugs. I also ordered a storage case for my new Knitpro Zing circular needles, as I don’t like the case they come in, and this one has extra pockets too. But I will share more about that when my happy mail arrives and I get a proper look at it all. I cannot wait!!

Final news for this week is that I have at long last designed a new 8 inch (20cm) afghan square. I loved putting it together and I’m super excited to say that it is being tested right now as I type, in several different countries, and in both UK and US terms. I hope to publish it via Ravelry very soon. Meantime you can download my other square pattern for free here. It is lonely there, I feel, my one little square to date. But, there will be more!

I think this has got quite long, so I shall stop now. I’ll be back next Tuesday with more happy hooking vibes. Remember you can subscribe via email (there’s a button at the top of the sidebar) should you so wish. Only one email per week, on a Tuesday, containing that week’s blog post.

What’s your longest running ever wip?

Do you knit as well as crochet? Which do you prefer?

Bye for now, and I wish you happy hooking! ❀

P.S. I have created a Facebook page for Hooks and Hills, if you are of the Facebook persuasion and would like to pop over and say hi. I am very active on Instagram too. Much more so than Facebook, but perhaps it’s easier to get a multiway convo going on a Facebook page? I don’t know. We’ll see πŸ™‚

~This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commision if you choose to purchase a linked product~

LoveCrochet

Novice Knitting & Crochet Plotting

I feel rather like a ten year old in Home Economics (showing my age there, I guess!), but the truth is I’m rather proud of my knitted hot water bottle cover, completed this week πŸ™‚ I’ve learned to cable cast on with needles, which was no small feat as I have only been able to cast on the regular way and with a crochet hook to date! I also managed to get to grips with increasing using the M1 method, both purl and knit, and the shaping also involved decreasing (a lot easier to master). I used oddments of lovely bright Nundle Chaffey. It’s a 100% Australian wool produced by Nundle Woollen Mills in New England, NSW; a lovely little working mill which I have visited several times and which is one of only three remaining mills in Australia. The pattern is from“Handmade Style: Knit” by Janine Flew.

Back in my crochet comfort zone this week I have been reflecting on June’s efforts, and planning for July. I finished no less than three crochet blankets last month (!!): a granny square blanket using a design by Margaret Hubert called ‘Blooming Granny” (from “The Granny Square Book”) in Stylecraft Special DK; the Hydrangea Stripe Blanket by Attic 24 n Stylecraft Special DK; and Sophie’s Universe by Dedri Uys in Patons Cotton Blend. Needless to say I did not begin all these in June! They were all started in 2018 though, unlike the block blanket wip which I began in 2015 and which I am finally finishing this week (maybe, haha).

While tweaking and joining blocks in the past day or two my thoughts have been turning to design once more. Searching back through my Instagram feed this very early morning (thank you, cat!) I found a square I finished designing but never got around to writing up last winter. It’s called ‘Winter in the Glen’ and I’m going to go through my notebooks and see if I can find my scribbles; failing that I’ll have a go at redoing it from the picture. Then I’ll be hunting out my pattern tester spreadsheet to find those lovely hookers who tested ‘Winter Sun‘ for me last year and said they’d love to test for me again, to see if they are still willing. And thus I hope to publish my second Ravelry pattern in the not too distant. I’m a bit excited πŸ˜€

Are you a crochet designer? What’s your favourite part of the design process?