Thursday, 25 December 2008

finished projects

before a new and exciting (at least where fibres and textiles are concerned) year starts, here come a few of the finished projects I've been working on during the last few weeks.
the above socks aren't really exciting; my normal way of knitting socks, but I like the colour "Alaska" (reminds me of lichen, moss and wintry trees) and because it took me quite long to do the 2nd sock - they deserve a virtual outing:) by now I know that the doubled up lower part of the heel works well - the other pair I worked like that hasn't shown any signs of thinning yet, despite my wearing them as much as I can! so I am hopeful that this will save me from mending for some time ...
this throw was a present for my parents. it's knitted in squares with 2 different patterns. in rounds from the outside in, so the same cast-on will give the same size without fiddling. the simpler one is knitted in plain knit and purl rows: 6 rounds in k, 1 in purl, 5 rounds in k, 2 in purl etc... on each of the 4 corners I did a 3-into-1 decrease and the square forms automatically. the other square is worked in a similar style, but with lace rows and bobble rows too. all is knitted in cotton chenille, which gives it a soft touch, but still leaves it fully washable. and it even works well with the tussah silk cover I knitted last year - a fact that I had totally forgotten until my mother mentioned it:) who thinks about last years knits?
last but not least are the napkin rings in bobbin lace - which were made as an exchange gift for the OLG Christmas Exchange. I had asked beforehand about suitable colours and was told that there is some blue and yellow and orange - and red wine to boot! that left me baffled for a while, because it isn't all that easy to include several colours like that in bobbin lace - the working threads tend to mingle, depending on the pattern, and I didn't have enough time to work several samples to find out what will work. eventually I decided to to a classic white lace (linen), to include beads in all 4 colours and some multicoloured thread (cotton from Oliver Twists), where the dark colour would be lightened by the white threads running through it. on each side one pair of fine wire gives a bit of stability and makes it easy to reshape the rings without having to starch them all the time. I really enjoyed making the rings, even though the time was a bit short in the end. but they arrived in time - and I am going to do more lace again after a few years of hiatus.
so here's the proof that I haven't been idle - but now I am off to enjoy one of the christmas presents - 10 back issues of "wild fibers". and maybe a bit of quiet spinning - for the first birthday present of the coming year! no rest for the wicked - and none for the rest either:))

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas to all!

I haven't blogged much in the last few days - the usual countdown to christmas meant, that every minute was needed elsewhere. but it all paid off - today I heard that all presents arrived at their recipients in time! that makes me glad - as I did an all-nighter to finish everything in time and worried during the last few days that not all parcels might arrive in time! even at home I have finished everything - apart from putting cookies on plates etc. - but that has to be very last minute or nothing will be left for this evening!:)
I skipped the usual wreath this time and just put up a few branches of greenery - my wreath base has finally given up after 12 years of service and I wasn't able to find another one at the last moment. but it smells just as nice and I even found branches of holly with berries in the garden to decorate!
so - I hope everyone is having a good time over the next few days - with a lot of cheer, nice visitors, good food - and even the odd present to boot! Merry Christmas to everyone - and a healthy and happy start into the new year!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

photo meme

I have been tagged by Leigh!

The directions are:
*Go to your sixth picture folder and pick your sixth picture.*Pray you remember the details.*Tag five others.
she must have known that I recently emptied most of my folders (ie. I didn't just delete of course, but I burned pretty much everything on cd-r:). I had to take no. 7 anyway - no. 5 belongs to my son, so that doesn't count! otherwise you'd have to look at film pix from hp no. 6:))

this is no. 6 in folder 7 (by luck it contains - knit pix!)

it shows a long open tunic, designed by Dorothea Fischer, who is going to put this pattern up for free on ravelry very soon. I like it - first of all because of the colours - naturally dyed! and also, because it isn't only suitable for all sizes - but a versatile garment to boot. it can be worn loose like a long vest, tied to the back, worn like a large shawl etc. I am planning to make something similar - probably in handspun merino/possum mix with accents in brown BFL. eventually - the fibres are still rolling about on my messy table and have to be made into yarn before I can start knitting - sometime soon - hopefully in this life:)
I am still busy working on my exchange project - I hope I'll finish in time; a xmas exchange isn't much fun around easter! well, on the other hand it doesn't really look all that christmassy; I think it could be used at any time. and of course I am working on the last few presents - but cannot show anything right now or I might spoil the surprise for the recipients. not long to go now - the countdown is already on....
rats - I nearly forgot to tag my own five blogs... here they are!
Uli, Janet, Juliana, Kristin and KayB - I am curious and want to know about your pix folders:)

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

frosty days

for a few days now we've had mostly clear but frosty nights - and in the morning the sun rises in spectacular colours. depending on how far it has risen above the horizon it is grey and misty - or full of purples, oranges and lavender colours. this morning the "valley" (a bog area with a small "creek" running through it) was shrouded in mist, which makes it look like a vast white lake! every step crunches on the ground and leaves visible imprints in the grass! it was very quiet, even at half past eight, barely a sound to be heard. but this clear spot seems to be over now - at the moment we have strong winds and heavy rain at times. the bright side is that there'll be no icy roads and the schoolbus will be going again - as you can see in the photo - every cloud has a silver lining!:)
a nice development has been that Stefan has finally started to show an interest in at least one textile hobby. he never wanted to learn how to knit, crochet or spin - but the pegloom seems more interesting - at least he finished a small piece yesterday evening - and was very keen to start another one when he came home from school today! I know that it's early days - but if he keeps having fun with it - at least I managed to convince him that some textile things can be interesting:) of course now he wants a proper warp yarn and nice weft too - this project (made from kilcarra tweed) will be a cushion for the chair in his room. we'll see how long it takes - at the moment he does not want to stop working on it at all....

oh yes - and I have been tagged by Helen! I don't know enough blogs to tag others, but at least I want to write the 7 things about me that people might not know:

I cannot sit still with empty hands - it drives me nuts, which is one of the reasons that I barely (only by accident) go anywhere without knitting, a spindle etc.

I don't think there have been many days in my life since maybe teenager age that I have been without at least a little bit of knitting. lately spinning has taken over, but it has to be one of those two for at least a few minutes every day!

the one "addiction" that's even worse than the textiles is reading. I have been reading since the age of 5 and at times I have read 3-4 books a week. with all my other interests that has slowed down a bit - but not much:)

I often think I chose the wrong job - I should have become either a cook or a patissier!

when I was younger I wanted to be a doctor - a surgeon to be precise! I was too lazy to do so - but I still make up for that by watching CSI etc. on tv!

my favourite "sweet" isn't chocolate - but liquorice, the stronger the taste the better. not for me is the sugary sweet stuff, the biting sharp stuff (called salty) it has to be! unfortunately I haven't found a source over here in ireland - yet!

I tend to be too generous - usually in time, as I don't have enough money to be generous with. when I have finished a project and someone comes along and admires it - I have the bad habit of offering it to them. a bad habit because I very rarely keep anything handmade for myself and end up like the shoemaker with the ugly shoes: you won't find many handmade things in my kitchen, bathroom or living room. I do sometimes make an item of clothing for myself - and keep it, but even those are rare occasions.