Saturday, 31 October 2009

Knitting & Stitching Show

it's that time of the year again ---- first the k&s in dublin and shortly after this halloween! this year we've been luckier than last, i.e. no problem to get a taxi, a grey, but dry day in dublin - and only 20 min. delay on the train back home:)) that's pretty smooth for travelling from the west of ireland!

of course I can never go to the show without buying bits and pieces - though I was pretty good this year. I didn't buy a single book - none of the new spinning or weaving books I wanted were available (amazon, here I come!) so - here's what I got:
I bought a kit of procion dyes, also some separate pots, urea and soda ash. 4 oz of guanaco from texere, tiny silk neps from OT (I am going to card those into fibres as "tweed"). I found a lovely sea-blue linen yarn from texere to make one of those extremely stretchy shopping nets (the yarn supposedly makes two of them - so one is going to be a present eventually). this yarn would make a very nice weaving yarn, the colours were beautiful and the yarn has a nice feel.
I also bought some handdyed reels of silk from OT - the solid colours were half price as special offer = hard to resist:)) there are also three in multicolour (the quality was very nice to use in my miniature embroidery - I think I am going to make another project like this in time). two hanks of "once-offs" and a pack of gorgeous purple mixed beads are from OT, too.
I got a few shisha mirrors, some tiny bells in silver and gold (xmas is coming closer:)), some pliers for making my stitch markers (I've had the materials for this for a while, but couldn't find my pliers anymore:(()
there was one stall with "folk" supplies for cross stitch etc. patterns like bent creek, heart in hand etc. plus suitable materials. I bought a small piece of rustic aida, three small patterns (which include a few buttons or charms) and a small bag full of different brass charms (which led to major delays, because the people manning the stall had written a really tiny price list and had problems in figuring out the prices for the different charms - they didn't find it remotely funny when I asked why they didn't just sell them by weight!:))
there was a stall with "zauberball" sockwool from the german company "schoppel" - which I had seen online, but didn't use yet. after seeing a scarf done in two colours with this yarn here, I thought I'd give it a try. unusually for sock wool this is a single ply yarn - and I think I'll try to see how this can be dyed before I knit with it - I can probably dye my own in a similar style, which might be a sensible thing to do with at least part of the 3,5 kg cone of sock wool I recently ordered:)) the colours in blackberry and blues are really nice and I am looking forward to knitting with the yarn.
this is the linen yarn from texere, called C4 (it's a 10ply!).
and this the guanaco - looks like ordinary camel fibres:)) it's very soft, but also extremely short, so I might have to blend this with something a little bit longer before spinning it.
also, the group "Connacht Textile Crafters" participated in the show on the stall of the Irish Guild of WSD - our group project Miniatures is shown here:
unfortunately the spot on the board wasn't ideal for showing miniatures, where details are the most interesting - they were hanging behind the large table, so that people couldn't easily come closer to check out details or descriptions - which is a pity, because a lot of work went into making those projects. if I ever manage to get the blog of the group going (bad conscience, I haven't managed to do anything about it for ages, even though I set it all up some time back) - I'll upload larger pictures of all the projects to see in detail!

so, with halloween nearly over and the show behind me - it's time for christmas preparations again:)) but first things first - before I start anything in this area, I am off for kitchen duty:))
Happy Halloween to all!!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Miz Frizz

let me introduce you to: Miz Frizz!
this is her - a little feisty felted lady in purple - she looks a bit like me - though I need a few more years for my hair to turn this white:)) the general tendency to a frizzy hairdo is there, though - as is the roundish body shape and the strong affinity to all things purple:))
the story how she came to move in with us:
a little while ago I saw a pink girl on Guzziesue's blog. I thought she was very cute and asked if I could have one in purple... (which was meant as a joke!) and crazy enough - she sent me an email that yes, I could have one in purple! and here she is - she's hanging right in front of me at my place at the kitchen table (cum workspace for me...). she must be cute - if even DS, who doesn't usually make comments about things like that, likes her:))
other than that we are using the brilliant sunshine for more gardening work - and I am in the last stages of finishing my winter cardigan. after that I think I better start with spinning and knitting for the christmas presents - only 10 more weeks to go (and less for those things I have to send by post!). and lots of things to do - what's new? I also have to re-pack part of my spinning stash as I was digging around in a rush yesterday... I hope I'll find some suitable yarn to finish the domino knitting - if not, I just have to spin and dye some stuff instead!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

my finished miniature

Celtic Spirals

this is it - my entry for the k&s show in Dublin - as part of our group's "miniatures" project. the only "rules" we gave was the size - not larger than 6 x 6 inches (though that's handled flexible:)). materials, techniques etc. were a matter of choice.
mine measures this exactly, but only because I had to frame my embroidery. I do want to use this piece as part of a hand-made bag, but of course leaving it without a frame would have looked silly, as outside of the embroidery the white silk gauze would have been visible. so I added black silk (plus wadding and cardboard) as a provisional finish. I played around a bit with other colours, but fuchsia took away too much of the design and silver somehow had too much contrast. I don't know exactly how the bag will look afterwards, but it will certainly be more elegant than my usual "sacks" (which might mean that it'll go to a new owner once finished:)).
the technique is simple - half cross stitches, which meant that I didn't have to worry too much about iffy colour blends in the coloured part. the silk yarn is hand-dyed silk from Oliver Twists, the black yarn simple stranded cotton. I used just one thread, which worked fine, though I found out that the silk yarn is more suitable for this as it is far stronger than the cotton yarn, which frayed and fluffed easily.
the silk gauze is rather fine, 19 holes to the cm, which meant that good lighting was essential (I don't have a magnifier for embroidery). I would change part of the work if I did something similar again though: I made up my chart by using my cross stitch programme - but it would have made the work a lot easier if I had just put the black and white design under the gauze and marked it on the canvas! the silk gauze is quite tough and could easily be drawn on with a felt marker or even a pencil. this would have saved me a lot of counting, which isn't all that easy with those fine holes and black yarn! well, lessen learned and all that:))
now all that's left to do is type up the descriptions of the other participants and pack it all up safely - to send it out to the member of our group, who's going to the k&s show early to set up the display! and if I ever get the Connacht Textile Crafters blog up and running properly - you'll even see the rest of the entries:))

Saturday, 10 October 2009

more squares

I am still working on some more squares for the domino knitting workshop. I thought that the sock yarn might look better if I left out the solid colour and just used the multicolour. the first square (bottom left) was ok and I was quite pleased after the second one (upper left), when it turned out to be single colour. only, next was the bottom right - and the yarn went on with more of the "flecked" light and dark colours. I didn't fancy two of the same side by side, so I snipped the yarn (what's two more ends to weave in with all the rest?:)) and started the square when the next solid colour thread came up. worked well for a short while - until I realised that this solid colour part is shorter than the first one:(( I wasn't prepared to snip off another part of yarn, so I just finished it like this - but I won't be continuing as I dislike it even more than before....

instead I went hunting for another yarn I could use - and came up with a ball of one handspun ply of lambswool, dyed with leftover easter egg colours - and one ply of tussah silk. I was rather surprised about the outcome of this dye batch! the easter egg colours were extremely bright - but the wool has very pleasing (at least to me!) changes of soft greens, blues and slightly rosy tones - just like an Aubusson carpet! I already made one set of Spirogyra out of the yarn - but gave them away, because they were a bit too long up the arm for my needs.

when our tutor gave us the instructions to make a 3corner shape, I thougth I might give this a try - and I quite like the outcome. I think I'll try to see how many shapes I can make out of the ball I have (I'll weigh one shape, then the ball - to calculate the approx. number...). if it is enough, I'll make a funny-shaped short scarf. if not I might go fishing for a suitable 2nd yarn in my stash - and maybe make a pillow out of it!

Monday, 5 October 2009

patchwork after all!

I didn't do much patchwork with fabric lately - but today I tried another form - domino knitting! that's patchwork done with yarn - does that count? not for christmas though - the online guild of wsd is doing a workshop about domino knitting this month and even though I don't have huge amounts of time to spare right now (who does?), I wanted to try it out properly. I do have the first book by Horst Schultz, also the Domino Knitting and Knit to be square by Vivian Hoxbro (I prefer the latter two), but I didn't actually knit anything out of either of the books yet.
so this morning I went off to dig around in my stash - and grabbed two balls of sock wool, one (the dark purple) a leftover from knitting an aran cardigan a few years back (and socks) - and the other one a ball with mainly reddish-pink tones and some lilac. I didn't really fancy the colour combination, but it was in a special offer of 5 balls, the other 4 long turned into socks - just this "oddball" left. it knitted up pretty quickly and I didn't have any problems following the workshop instructions - but when I started the upper left square I must have shifted the take-up of stitches a bit - it's a bit off kilter in the middle and there's a small bump on the left side.
also - I don't think the multi-colour sock yarn was a good choice - the two longer runs of colour are ok - but I don't really like the flecked looking parts, where there are short bursts of dark and light colour in the yarn! it might have looked better if I had knitted each square in garter stitch only and one colour - but at least I learned a valuable lesson: no jacquard sock yarn for domino knitting - at least not for me! the third lesson I learned was that it might have looked better if I had knitted it with 2.5 mm needles instead of 3 mm. well, it's done now - my next piece will incorporate these lessons - and will hopefully look much improved:))

Sunday, 4 October 2009

not knitting....

...but patchwork! well, patchwork and apparently some embroidery too...

if you like embroidery, patchwork, sewing etc. - and christmas, have a look here:
several australian designers got together and started a blog, where they show a new "christmassy" patchwork design every monday during october and november. for free! yes, really... and the first was put online just today - go and have a look for yourself.
it's unlikely that I'll find the time to do all the patterns to come - but in a time, where so many people are in it to make money out of every small bit I really like the idea of giving something away for free. I'd like to thank the ladies behind the blog - and hope that many people enjoy their projects - and maybe in time follow their lead!