when my parents visited us in early summer, my mother brought over some small aster cuttings. I planted them and they rooted and grew well - but nothing happened. all of a sudden lots of buds appeared all over the plants and for a while it looked as if they'd be white! I haven't looked at them for a few days (miserable weather outside!) - and today I realised what lovely colours the flowers have! I hope all the buds will open as the plants are loaded with them! with all the brown, grey and drab colours outside they are a real highlight.
inside I finally dug out my bobbin lace board again! well, one of them:) I've been meaning to do more bobbin lace again for some time and I do have some really nice patterns still in storage. but somehow I never got around to actually do much, apart from the brief demo at the meeting of the "connacht textile crafters" some months ago. somehow either the pattern was too large for the yarn I had - or the yarn not the right quality etc. but now I found a link (go to "garnstaerke-tabelle) to a page, where the lacemaker can put in the original yarn and the yarn they want to use - and the computer recalculates the percentage that is needed for resizing the pattern! perfect - I just need to go into the library and make the copies there! of course it only works within reason - but that's the same for all crafts I guess! no good trying to make a fence out of finest silk:)
what's always annoyed me about bobbin lace - I don't fancy making loads of small designs just to empty the bobbins and I don't like to throw away all the yarn that's left on them to start something new - but I find it really hard to guess how much yarn I need for a certain project! I find it equally annoying that most lace designers don't bother to give yarn amounts they needed! ok, if you use loads of small amounts of coloured threads, I can understand that. but it's not really difficult to put the finished lace in a single colour on scales to have at least a reasonable idea of how much is needed? it's not so bad with simpler linen and cotton yarns, because they are not so expensive, but some of the newer silk yarns can be rather pricey and whether or not I buy a skein or roll more makes a lot of difference if one is priced at around 10-15 euro?
I was also working on some small things for exchanges for christmas. those here are small mug coasters, 6 as a set and one larger for the teapot:) I used the same yarn, but dyed with natural dyes in different colours. I quite liked the purple-dark yellow one at first - but seeing it through the camera lens made me go argh - it doesn't fit in at all with the less intense colours of the rest. but I wanted to wait to see if the colours change in the wash! they didn't or at least it's hardly noticable. I didn't use detergent, I just popped all of them into the washing machine, with a few towels that weren't really dirty.
you can see here that the colours barely changed (most of it is due to different lighting) - but they shrank quite a bit and don't look quite so overlarge under the mugs anymore. the felting also brought out the line of increases a bit stronger, but they are soft enough, so that the pots don't start wobbling. and of course they are fully washable now:) but I still think that I better take out the purple/yellow and add another one - I'll keep the misfit and maybe add a few more - and will finally end up with my own set (usually I am the shoemaker with the bad shoes, i.e. I make things for everybody else, but I never have a set for myself! maybe 2009 is the year to change all that?:)
I still have to finish one more exchange project - and of course there is still (at least) one larger christmas gift to be made! and time is running out quickly. I have to start baking over the weekend in earnest - the 1st advent sunday is coming up soon and I always try to have at least two or three varieties of cookies in the tin for this. well, if all else fails it's down to our traditional poppy seed stollen!