Tuesday, 24 November 2009

more stitch markers....

I've started a veritable production line today! I figured that it would make more sense to spend a whole afternoon with this fiddly job and put everything away afterwards than to carry the stuff backwards and forwards, take everything out and back again to make one set a day or only every few days. here is my "harvest" of stitch markers - which took me about 3 hours to make. I have to say that with a bit of practice not only do the loops become more even, but everything works out much faster, too!
the colours aren't true, most of them are turquoise, some with semi-precious cubes, others with glass discs. The colourful ones on the right are clown faces - and I figured clowns go with "bunt" (mixed colours). sometimes I only made 5, because some of the beads came from a mixed bag and only 5 of the same were inside.
this is a set I made for myself. the little blue cubes at the bottom of the markers are lapislazuli - a colour I really like, a strong blue. the other beads are shiny and matte black; six are for knitting, the other four are for crochet. I fixed small safety hooks to those, because with crochet there is no needle to push a marker with ring on! the hooks can be closed around a stitch, where they will remain safely.
another set of clown faces - this time only with blue and iridiscent beads.
those to the left have little rosy butterflies at the bottom, the ones on the right small flower-shaped discs.
send in the clowns! here they come - I figure they might lighten up a rainy and grey day for someone later:)) most of them will go away as small presents - there's only a limited amount of stitch markers I'd need for my own projects. I hope the recipients (not all are spoken for yet, but I am sure I'll find a worthy recipient for all of them eventually:))
I also finished two other projects - but unfortunately it's that time of the year again, where some FO's have to wait until the recipient has received them before they can be shown safely on the blog:))

Saturday, 21 November 2009

stitch markers

the weather has been pretty dreadful again today! it's been raining heavily and I am waiting for more news of flooding in ireland and the uk. it's been so dark inside that we've had the lights on for most of the day! so I took the opportunity and started a project I've wanted to do for some time. I bought Cat Bordhi's sockbook some time ago and read about stitch markers with letters on them. I couldn't find them anywhere close, so I decided to make my own. I found beads with letters on them at everglaze, where I was able to order single ones. I figured that A - Z would only be necessary for an extremely ambitious project, but I bought A - G beads for Bordhi's sock patterns. browsing around I found some more beads I liked, and I did stock up a bit more, when I went to germany (it's much nicer to choose directly instead of via mail order!). I had to stop myself eventually, but I am going to make a few more of them in different designs. I'd like to make some sets to give away, but I figured I'd better make some for myself first. not, because I am in desperate need just now - but I wouldn't mind the minor mistakes that I was bound to make with the first set!
this is my first set:
they aren't black in real life, the beads are purple, but that doesn't matter. what does matter however is that I turned C and D the wrong way round, so that they face into a different direction from the rest:(( something I have to avoid in the future (don't have any beads with letters left right now though:)) I won't wind the wire around the upper loop again either - I'll just bend it into an "o" to put over the split ring. and never put to much pressure on the split ring - or you'll end up with an oval (I rectified this mistake before taking the pic!) I am ok with the outcome - not sensationally beautiful, but practical - and there's always room for improvement with the next lot. I think they would look nicer with the larger beads at the bottom and the smaller ones on top - which would make sense with the weight distribution as well.
tomorrow I'll start dyeing the handspun wool - and once this has dried I can do the knit-felt sample for the bag I've planned. high time too - christmas is coming ever closer!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

everything is grey today....

the weather has been ugly for days, if it's not lashing down, it's stormy (or both!) - or grey and cold! the only nice colours can be found in my wool room right now - or on my window sill! this small, slightly straggly plant is a streptocarpus variety that flowers for ages and ages inside. it is a very forgiving plant, which survived a lot of watering and also too little very well. once it gets too straggly for the pot, you can cut off the tips and put them into water - they'll sprout roots in a few days. its purplish flowers are smallish, but plentiful! the only downside - it has no scent (ok, two really - it doesn't survive outside).
of course I am working on several textile projects, as usual - but I can't show you one of them (knitted)yet, in case the recipient looks at this blog:)) the other one is my spinning - simple white 2ply, quite chunky compared to my usual yarns - made from South American top. I will dye it (dark green most likely) and turn it into a laptop bag, knitted and then felted. right now I think I'll adorn this with a celtic symbol on the flap (like the one on my cardigan, but smaller). either a central circular symbol - or maybe two triangular ones in the corners of the flap. I'll have to do a sample first though - or my laptop bag might only be fitting for a mobile phone cover:))
I also started another exchange project, patchwork this time - and I have done some mending with the sewing machine while it's out. I do have to keep going - there are still quite a few christmas presents to be done on my list and time is flying by! and on friday I have to buy some christmas cards - I'll never manage to do all of them myself and I haven't written a single one yet! why does christmas always come as a surprise?:))

Friday, 13 November 2009

winter is here....

... well, irish winter at least. probably people in really cold areas would laugh at us - but for some people (like my husband) riding a bicycle without wearing a woolly hat at 5 or 6 deg. C (plus!) is icy cold, so a new hat was needed. I had started on a dubbelmossa once before, in 3 colours of alpaca (commercially spun, from meadowsweet alpacas in wales) - but had to frog this, because it turned out to be too large. unfortunately DH has a tendency of "loosing" his hats somewhere - and was down to only one, which shrunk a little bit more in each wash - so the new one was supposed to be warm, large enough, but stretchy and non-shrink, if possible. I had a nice ball of sock wool in my stash - the main colour is a dark burgundy red, the second ply is a multicolor in blue-petrol-green colours (which I just realised is totally invisible in the photo:)) . I started with a normal hat, rib 1k/1p - but on a provisional cast-on. the main part is stocking stitch, with a star-shaped crown. I then put the live stitches on the needle again and knit the same all over again in the other direction. I expected to run out of yarn eventually and had planned to finish the inner part with another sock yarn in solid burgundy - but I managed to do the whole hat with one 100 g ball - and about 1 1/2 yards of yarn to spare:)
a picture shows the end result before fixing both sides together. this is easy (the only thing of importance is to remember to sew in the cast-on and finishing yarn before decreasing for the other side - or you can't reach them anymore:)), just put the yarn end on the inner part through the hole in the crown, pull the whole thing into the other side, come out on top of the outer layer and sew together. if you do this invisibly - you actually end up with a double-sided hat. you could of course make the stockinette part of the inner side from fluffy angora or cashmere - if you tend to get a cold head. but remember that when worn the rib will be made of four layers of knitting - which should be warm enough in average european winters.
this is the hat - ready to wear, only the flash made the yarn more purple than burgundy. I offered my one and only hat (sea green with blue) in exchange, in case DH thinks the colour is "too female" - but no, he's quite happy with it as it is. ok - off to start some new projects now! or to finish some UFO's maybe?
Materials: Funny Strumpf Color Sportivo 100 g (Coats GmbH)
Needle 3 mm, circular and dpn for crown, 73 % wool, 24 %Polyamid, £ % Polyester

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

getting it right the 2nd time

some time back I received a special present: several bags of pre-drafted spinning material (like a very narrow sliver; this is usually used by spinning mills). the fibres are half silk and half alpaca and the resulting blend is a very soft grey tone, warm and cozy. at first I thought I might spin it and make a 2ply - but after a few samples this seemed to be too chunky for myself. after a few more tests I decided to spin a single out of it and ply it with several very fine commercial yarns. one is a white cashmere yarn, the other a very light rosy mohair and I added 2 very fine threads of schappe silk - so essentially this is a 5ply:)) in knitter's I saw a pattern I liked and in this they added a finer extra yarn every 3rd and 4th row, so I plied more of the commercial yarns together, but without the grey blend and the pink mohair.
I then set out to knit a longer cardigan for myself out of this - the top part knitted from wrist to wrist, the lower part vertically downwards. but when I finished this, it turned out to be a long, very heavy coat - which grew even longer and wider when wearing it for a few minutes. this was useless - and I ripped it all apart again, because I'd never have worn this and the yarn was just too precious for a "fly about in the corner" project! I thought about it for a while, but when I saw a new pattern in the "twist collective" that I really liked I started to do it all over again. at first I had planned to use the fine extra yarn for the snowflakes - but then I decided that I didn't want the snowflakes after all. I didn't want the hood either, wanted a longer jacket, and chose a different cable pattern anyway - so essentially I emulated the bent cable edge and not much else:)) this is the result:
again nearly a coat, but far lighter, without buttons, set-in sleeves and the edge is an attached i-cord all around. it's very nice to huddle up inside, warm but soft and so luxurious! I used the fine extra yarn for the inside parts of the pocket, to reduce bulk and here:
instead of the snowflakes I added a celtic spiral pattern. for this I used a "template", printed on paper. I followed this pattern with my i-cord, fixed the crossing points with needles and lifted everything onto the back of the coat to sew it on. it was a bit fiddly at first, but eventually I got the hang of it (I didn't want the i-cord to flatten too much and neither did I want the stitches to be visible from the inside....).
the coat weighs about 1.5 kg and was knitted on needles 4.5 mm; the i-cord on 3 mm.
so now - time for a new larger project. will it be a lace shawl? or another cardigan (not for myself) - or something else altogether? I don't know yet - I am going to hunt through the materials later today:))