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Knitting, Books, & A Bit of a Revamp

Hello friends!

Life has been extremely laid back for the last while. Winter has melted away, the trees have sprouted some buds, and there’s a warmish breeze in the air. I think what I love about spring is how similar it is to fall – you still get that crispness in the air in the mornings, the leaves still don’t have leaves, and there’s still a need for a sweater when you go outside.

I’ll enjoy this while I can because once summer comes, I’ll turn into a gremlin and complain all the time – I am most definitely not a fan of heat. And here in Alberta you might think that we don’t get a load of heat, but the past few summers it’s been way too hot for my liking. Is it wrong to say I’d love fall and winter year round?

Anyway, enough weather talk! I have been dabbling in something that’s old, but new, lately – knitting! Way back in 2011, I came home with some needles, hooks, and yarn, and wanted to try something with yarn. Whether it was knitting or crochet, I wanted to find one that appealed to me and start to make things. Over the past 8 years I’ve always come back to crochet, but in the past month I’ve had this need to learn to knit. I have knit over the past years, but it never really stuck with me. I’d try here and there, make a hat or a scarf, but I’d never retain any information on what I was doing, I could never identify my stitches, and don’t even get me started on dropping a stitch. That basically meant frog the whole thing and start over!

This time around, though, I have been loving knitting. I love the patterns, the feel of a knit item, and how relaxing it is. I mean, crochet is also relaxing, but I find knitting to be even more so because it takes so much longer to make something. I love getting into the groove of knitting a shawl and just going from row to row, almost on autopilot, with my project slowly growing.

I actually tried my first fair isle project last week. I’ve always loved the look of nordic knits and just had to make one of these hats. And boy did I learn so much making this one!

  • The colours aren’t going to line up in the back unless you slip the stitch at the end of a colour row. I still need to practice this!
  • Maybe don’t make such a big brim. I thought it would work better for me since according to my husband I have a big head, whereas I just have a lot of hair, but the brim is too long which makes the hat even longer. Oops!
  • If I’d have realized I would be adding a pom pom, I probably would’ve not had so many decreases at the end and would have instead threaded my yarn through the top stitches and cinched it shut.

And I learned that fair isle isn’t so bad if you concentrate. There are a lot of colour changes and I had to remember to grab my colours with the main colour every so often to add more stability on the inside, but once I got into the groove, it was quite fun!

I know my last few posts have been mostly about yarn and crocheting and knitting, but I promise I have been reading! Definitely not as much as recent years, not nearly as much, but I still do cozy up with a book every night before bed. It’s interesting looking at my previous reading stats from the last 8 years because I’m fairly certain I’ve read more in the first month of past years than I have this whole year so far.

Here’s what I’ve read so far this year:

  1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1) by Agatha Christie
  2. The Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot, #2) by Agatha Christie
  3. Poirot Investigates (Hercule Poirot, #3) by Agatha Christie
  4. Poirot’s Early Cases (Hercule Poirot, #38) by Agatha Christie
  5. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4) by Agatha Christie
  6. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
  7. Stories of Motherhood, edited by Diana Secker Tesdell
  8. The Big Four (Hercule Poirot, #5) by Agatha Christie
  9. The Mystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot, #6) by Agatha Christie
  10. Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot, #8) by Agatha Christie
  11. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

As you can see, I’ve slowly but steadily been working through Agatha Christie, starting with the Poirot series. I’m loving it so far with the only dud being The Big Four, which was okay but not as good as the previous Christie books I’ve read.

My current read is quite fitting for the hobby that’s been taking up my time:

Who doesn’t love a cozy mystery? I love them, especially ones about yarn! I love these yarny mysteries because they usually include patterns and this one includes a pattern and a recipe and I can’t wait to see what they are! I remember reading a crochet cozy that had the most delicious chocolate muffins as a recipe in the back.

I’m thinking of aiming for a 4 book a month goal, maybe trying to work in at least one audiobook a month to listen to during my yarn time. I honestly feel like my unread books are judging me.

And as for this blog, I changed the name to A Little Winter Yarn after the brief change of Reading (& Crocheting) In Winter because to spin a yarn can mean to tell a story, and yarn is also, well, yarn! I’m going to try and share more reading and try to find a balance between books and yarn and maybe some other things in between.

To close, may your book be enjoyable and your yarn plentiful!

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Crocheting, Pattern

Crochet: Springtime Scrub Cloth Pattern

Now that it’s spring, I’ve been thinking about what I can do for spring cleaning around my house. The list is absolutely ENDLESS and my motivation is NIL but one thing I always love to do in the spring, and never hesitate to do, is change up my dishcloths and dish towels in my kitchen. Since spring is such a refreshing time of year, when it’s so nice to just open up the windows and let that cool breeze in the house after months of winter stuffiness, I love refreshing my kitchen with not only a good scrub, but some new dishcloths.

One thing I will say, having nice new dishcloths makes me enjoy doing the dishes. I mean, not that anyone actually likes doing the dishes but new dishcloths – and especially homemade ones – make it a bit more special.

I was a bit hesitant about buying this new Bernat Handicrafter Scrub Off Cotton, which is a mix of their usual cotton yarn, mixed with scrubbie yarn. Normally I’d buy 3 or 4 skeins but I came home with just one, just in case I didn’t like it. And at first I didn’t because it’s so hard to see the stitches with the scrubbie part, but once I figured out a good pattern it was a lot of fun to work with.

This pattern is ridiculously easy and I love how the two textures combined in the cloth. They’re also nice and sturdy!


Springtime Scrub Cloth

Materials:

H (5.0) hook
Bernat Handicrafter Scrub Off Cotton yarn (I’m using the colorway Copper Pot)
Scissors
Tapestry needle

Pattern: 

Holding two strands together (I started with a strand of the cotton pulled from the middle, and the scrub part from the outside of the skein) cast on 22 stitches.

Row 1: Continuing to hold two strands of yarn, half double crochet in the second chain from the hook, then half double crochet across. (21 hdc)

Row 2: Chain 2 and turn. Half double crochet in the same stitch as the chain 2 and across to the end of the row. (21 hdc)

Row 3-15 (or until your cloth is square): Repeat row 2.

Fasten off and weave in your ends.


And that’s it! Ridiculously simple and would be perfect as a gift. I LOVE this colourway and think it just screams spring. I think I might have to get a few more skeins now!

Agatha Christie Project, Yarn

Life, Yarn, Books, & 1,001 Subscribers

One of my current crochet projects, a winter blanket scarf, the Lost In Time pattern by Johanna Lindahl.

It’s been nearly 2 months since my last post and I have to say, not too much has been going on! Life here has revolved around school and activities for the littles, a new puppy, being sick, and lots of yarn.

There are only a few months left of school for the kiddies and it feels so weird that I’ll have a kid in Grade 1 next year. Can they please stop growing? I love that they still love to cuddle and snuggle with their mama so I’m taking all that I get now! My oldest gave me two kisses the other night before bed and my heart pretty much melted. And speaking of melting, spring came ridiculously early here – almost too early for me. If you know me, you’ll know I love fall and winter, so when spring comes I start to get irritated because I know summer is coming. I’m the opposite of most people, but I hate summer. Not only do we have tons of mosquitoes, but I also hate that feeling of being sticky the second you walk out the door. Heat and me do not mix.

This guy’s name is Dash, which we didn’t think through since our other Berner’s name is Cashe. Cashe and Dash sounds like some kind of credit loan business!

The winter has gone by with me being sick for most of it, just catching colds and flus every month it seems. I feel like my kids and I are just keeping the same cold, passing it back and forth every week since I can already feel the aches and headaches that come before getting stuffy and sneezy. When spring break rolled around, despite the fact that we were all sick, we decided to get a new puppy! We’ve had our other puppy for 6 months now and he loves to play, but our older dogs are only so so on his type of play, so we found another Bernese Mountain Dog who was living on a farm and we jumped at the chance to get him. He was about 5 months when we picked him up, two days into spring break, and he’s just adorable. So fluffy! He’s also huge, probably the same weight as our other Berner who’s about a year and a half older than him. But they both play together, which is great!

The Pathway Cowl by Hooked on Homemade Happiness, and a knit scarf from a KnitPicks tutorial on YouTube.

I’ve been playing with lots of yarn still, too, falling more and more in love with crocheting and trying new patterns that expand my skills. I also subscribed to a few crochet subscription boxes and bought my first hand-dyed skein which was kind of exciting. I have a crazy amount of projects on the go, and yet I recently decided that I want to really focus on knitting more. I’ve been off and on with knitting for years but I never really devote too much time for it, but I’m determined to figure it out! It’s been fun picking up my knitting needles again and finding tutorials online, though it’s hard to find beginner patterns that aren’t scarves, hats, or dishcloths. Not that I don’t like those things, but I want to try something different.

As far as reading goes, I promise I have been reading! I’m predicting that this year will be the year I read less than any other year, though. We’re about midway through April and I’m on my 11th book, which is so weird to think! In previous years I’ve read this much and more in just January! I really haven’t been following any book news or hype anywhere, I don’t know what any new releases are aside from the ones by favourite authors that I already have preordered, and I haven’t been buying any books aside from, again, the ones I had preordered. I have ordered some crochet and knitting books, but as far as other reading books go, nothing. Again, weird.

Currently, I’m reading some more Agatha Christie! I’ve been reading her Poirot series and decided to break from it with a standalone, reading Crooked House. I’m really loving her books so far and they seem to be the ones I gravitate towards. I also read the new Sophie Kinsella and I was a bit disappointed. I loved her book from a few years back, My Not So Perfect Life, and these past couple books haven’t been quite as good. I have a few other new releases on my bedside table and might start the newest Kelley Armstrong next since I love her Casey Duncan series.

And with my yarn stuff, I’m currently focusing on knitting a scarf, making a spring cowl from some hand-dyed yarn from Hooked on Homemade Happiness, and I plan to finish a virus blanket for my parents’ anniversary.

And lastly, this blog! I know I’ve been crap at updating it, but I’m hoping to do more – even if it’s a bit sporadic. A bit of news, though – I’ve hit 1,001 subscribers! It’s only taken 10 years, but it does feel kind of neat. I’m sure a lot of these subscribers are from a lot of my past content, but hopefully some stay around for what I’ve been posting lately.

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to this spring so far! Have you read anything good? Have you made anything? Let me know!