Saturday, 17 September 2011

More Knitting Projects

Lately I've had quite a bit of time to get some knitting project started and even some finished. My current 'Me' project is Knitty's Leaflet in James Brett Marble Chunky, which actually ended up knitting to tension, which is great because I have enough balls of this yarn to make it long sleeved for the winter.

I cast on at the start of this week and despite some initial worries about the pattern chart, as I'm pretty new to charted patterns, I've managed to get to the sleeve and body divider part. I like the fact that as this is top down there'll be no major seaming and weaving in.

Also I've had a go at knitting some dish-cloths with a pattern taken from The Gentle Art of Knitting by Jane Brocket. After seeing the pattern in the book I remembered I had some bright Rowan cotton yarn leftovers from one of my first projects from about 5 years ago and my local yarn shop had Stylecraft Craft cotton available- I managed to get 3 cloths out of one 100g ball, which was perfect for my 3 colours.

The only adaptation I made to the pattern was that I knit one row in colour after cast on, before starting on the cloth middle and then did the same before cast off.
Dad's new joke to the many relatives who have been visiting lately is that 'this is what you'll be getting for Christmas this year', so maybe I'll just end up knitting him one giant one this year as his present.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

On the needles

So I've been a little busy over August, but I've been able to make some bits and pieces as well.
Firstly I've been making some small embroidered badges to sell on my Etsy Shop and i've been really pleased with how they've turned out- the bear is a particular favourite.

 Also while my Mum's been in hospital I've knitted her birthday present- as it's often difficult to get things made for her as she's around a lot. I've done a lacy scarf in Rowan Kidsilk Haze and the pattern is Frilly Filly from the Stitch 'n' Bitch Superstar Book.

This is one of the first things I've properly blocked as I've just invested in some cheap kids foam flooring panels which are perfect for laying out and blocking on and dismantling when you're done for storage.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

'Felt' like posting an update

Ok, so bad pun out of the way I'm just posting a quick update to show I actually am still making stuff, although things have been a bit manic lately and will stay that way for a while yet so posting may be very sporadic.

These are just a couple of shots of a small idea I'm working on that's taking more effort than I thought!
These photos are taken on my new digital camera and has all these lovely effects without having to do post production- like the one above where only specific colours are shown.

And here's a slightly better colour photo- can you tell what it is yet?

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter!

Nothing says happiness like a bit of homemade-ness, so here's some Easter cheer!

I knitted the rabbit and needle felted the egg, but the little chicks are some of the mass produced fluff ones that are all over shops this time of year- but they're too cute to resist :)

And a couple of trays of chocolate shredded wheat nests with mini (very mini) eggs. Easter nests are a bit of a tradition and this year's are pretty good!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Projects in Hand

A slightly Work-in-Progress based post today- mostly because I've got so many going at one time and I'm excited about all of them!

First off is my quilt blocks for a king-sized quilt I'm planning using Oliver + S City Weekend fabric from Moda. The colours and prints are amazing and I've got some co-ordinating blue for spacing blocks and edging- so I'll have to get my maths on for that part.

Next is my almost completed 'Tulip Top' from Stitch 'n Bitch Superstar , only it's done in Patons cotton in Pomegranate and will have a Sage trim . The yarn is lovely and it's been a pretty quick knit for me- but it's also a good example of how rubbish my maths is (not that it's too noticeable, but it doesn't bode well for the quilt!).

I'm also going to have a go at making the Study Hall Skirt from Anna Maria Horner which I'm doing in V&A Quilting fabric with pink cotton contrast. I'm a bit of a sucker for pleated skirts, so if it goes well I may do a more winter weight one with some lovely cranberry corduroy I've got.

Finally a completed project in the Cath Kidston spoon competition, which John has also entered and is definately worth a look!

On the downside I think my camera has busted with over 5 years worth of service so it may be time for a new one!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Kool Aid: The Return

Following my first post about dyeing yarn with Kool Aid I've been desperate to try more, so I picked up some cheap Kool Aid in mixed colours from ebay and a couple of skeins of Alpaca/Wool/Nylon mix 4ply yarn from DT Crafts, which is wonderfully soft.

(Yarn skeins soaking in water and washing up liquid)

My first colour way was 2 sachets of Lemonade, 2 Sachets of Orange and 2 Sachets of Strawberry.

I wasn't expecting the Strawberry to be so strong- I sort of wish I'd only used one sachet, but the colour looks nice, it's just pretty strong. Lemonade seems like a bit of a duff colour- it's very pale and so almost got completely drowned out by the stronger colours- a mix of lemonade and a more orangey yellow like mango might have gone over better. I dyed that lot in the same way as the previous batch, but was a bit more 'rough' with the mixing so that the yarn was more evenly coloured. The second skein I dyed with 2 sachets of Grape (although I bought three, but didn't need the third), 2 sachets of Cherry and 2 of Ice Blue Rasberry Lemonade.This one I 'painted' with the dye, instead of mixing in the saucepan, and it worked really nicely. It's more controlled than just pouring over the wool, but I'd probably use newspaper to lay it out on next time. (Please try to ignore the kitchen debris- I should have made more of a tidying up effort!)

I love the contrast between these colours- the cherry is a nice deeper red than the strawberry.

With all the nice weather we've been having lately it was perfect weather for drying.

John's taken a more 'arty' picture of the yarn drying so I'll post that with the photos of the wound yarn later, when he gets around to sending me the pictures.

I think one ball will be for socks and the other for a lacy scarf.

This is so addictive- I've already started gathering some more Kool Aid together for a one colour dyeing, hopefully of a lot of wool to knit a jumper or something out of- exciting!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Plain Paper Sketches

Just so this blog starts living up to it's name, I'm posting some sketches done over the last few months- trying to get my hand less rusty on the drawing front. It's a mixed bag- most are sketches copied from magazines, but there are a few from my spate of drawing what I wore on a daily basis and one is a test piece for a rubber stamp. Hopefully I'll get some scanned from my small brown paper book soon.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Nuclear Yarn Dyeing

So here's some documentary evidence that my yarn habit may be getting out of hand- dyeing my own yarn.

I've been wanting to try dyeing my own yarn for ages now and so I finally bit the bullet using the 'Kool-Aid' method.
First you pre soak the yarn in water with a drop of washing up liquid for at least 30 minutes. I used 4ply Blue-Faced Leicester Superwash yarn from D&T Crafts, which is where I aslo bought the Kool-Aid from. The green yarn is where I've tied the yarn off in more regular intervals as I'm pretty bad with getting yarn tangled when it's in one big loop.

After soaking, squeeze out the excess water, put the yarn into a large saucepan and mix your dyes. I used 2 packets of soarin' strawberry (vibrant pink) 2 packets of lemon-lime (vibrant green) and 1 packet of mango (orangey-yellow). I put about 100mls of water for every packet and mixed up the colours separately, as I wanted them bright, pouring them onto the wool from the measuring jug and then added a bit more clear water to cover the yarn.

Yarn stew! The water looks a bit murky but it will go clear in the cooking process (just don't prod it too much or panic like I did and lift the whole lot out of the water and make a bit of a mess of it!). I think I'd buy another couple of sachets of Kool-Aid next time as not all the yarn was well covered, although this does make for some nice variation.
Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, check frequently to avoid boiling - I did this on the wok burner
on our hob to start but ended up having to move it because it wouldn't stop boiling- but I was lucky in not getting felted wool. Also you may have to add more water if it evaporates. You know it's done when after 20-30 minutes the water is clear (pretty much like it came from the tap!) and then leave it to cool in it's pan until you can handle it.

Rinse the yarn through in the same sort of temperature as the water you took it from to make sure there's no excess colour and then squeeze out the water- don't twist or ring as this will stretch the yarn.
Hang to dry- I used a clothes drying rack in the greenhouse as it's been cold but sunny so the greenhouse traps the heat, but it still took a day and a half or thereabouts- in the summer it might be quicker.


One custom dyed ball of yarn it looks pretty different from when it's in a skein- I can't wait to do it again! I think this'll end up as a pair of socks for my brother.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Socks and Cake

Two different subjects, but this time on a similar theme- I love cute pastely cakes and biscuits and have been wanting to try macaroons for ages and Tesco had some for £1.50 for 12 just before new year-which is a macaroon bargain- so I had to get a photo of them.

Similarly, I love pretty yarn and this year for christmas my parents gave me a sock kit which had hand dyed yarn and a pattern for basic socks. I've always said that I'd never knit socks- the whole concept of knitting on 4 needles seemed completely beyond me and I've never had much success with magic circle knitting on one circular needle, but lately I've been 'ooh-ing' and 'ahh-ing' over some of the lovely sock yarn available and I think Mum must've listened!

So here's my first ever pair of socks, fittingly in macaroon colours, and I don't think they'll be my last- they were easier than expected and pretty quick to do- my brother now wants a pair so I've at least got one lot coming up.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Out with the Old and in with the Vintage

I'm incredibly interested in knitting and have a pretty awful habit of hoarding interesting patterns and magazines which I may or may not end up actually using in the future. One of the best collections I have is one mum found for me when she was on holiday. It's an almost complete book of womens knitting patterns from various eras and brands, obviously collected by one woman and stored in an old fashioned pattern book.
I've scanned a few to share- most are incredibly stylishly vintage:

Look at those waists! Unbelievable! Theres one or two where the photographer has looked at the garment and then run with the colour theme:
Lovely jumper, but too much green! And then there's some where men are used as props (along with fake foliage):

Not sure if I'd accept a drink off a man who leered like that! There's a whole 'genre' of mother/daughter/family unit matching knits that I'll have to scan at some point as there's some wonderfully awful head gear.