Friday, 29 January 2010

felt with a hole

this was the bag knitted from Kilkarra tweed leftovers, after felting. it looks quite nice I think - dense enough to go without lining - though the colours seem to be a bit "christmassy"? it's large enough for bits and pieces - though not large enough for longer trips, where I have to take knitting projects, water, food etc.:)) and in contrast to most of the natural dyes the colours didn't change at all during felting, with a normal wash load, i.e. with added detergent!
I started to pull the bag into shape, the way I always treat knit-felted stuff. the first side was fine, the handle/middle was ok, too - but when I started the second side, I heard a funny sound - and this hole appeared:((

rats - I hadn't planned on a bag with venting hole! I thought I might just wind yarn around a small washer to put in the middle - but this would look different, because it's not felted.. I then begann to mend the hole - but I didn't want to do the felting all over again, so I thought of a different solution:
I crocheted a flower in all of the colours, felted this (in another wash load:)) and fixed it on top of the mended spot. as I mentioned before, crocheted things always felt differently compared to knitted ones... here the colours stayed clearer, less fuzz - but never mind that. the hole is closed - and I'll use the bag - even though I'd have preferred it without the "ruffles":))
today I am going to finish the "tree of life" socks - and tomorrow I'll do more socks, because I am doing two sock knitting demonstrations at the museum of country life in castlebar.... or so I hope, because snow and icy roads are forecasted - and if that turns out to be the case - I am not going to risk the trip.

Monday, 25 January 2010

of course...

.. I fell for it! I've never participted in KAL's - usually I knit because I don't want to make/wear patterns everybody else makes/has done! but I do like lace knitting (even though I rarely wear lace - but most of the time there are happy recipients, so no worries about what to do with the finished results:)). and I had planned on following the lacy advent calender on a danish link. but that was shortly before christmas (ergo advent calender!) and I barely manage to make all the planned gifts, never mind a lace shawl as well!
but I stumbled across a link to a ravelry 2010 Lace KALendar - and I just had to sign up. I have no clue yet, which yarn I am going to use - but I am sure there'll be something in my stash. my idea is to use something white, which I could later dye or paint. with this KAL you get a new part of the pattern each month - so whatever yarn might look good for the fir trees in snow, which form the first part, might not be very exciting for hearts etc. in february. if all else fails there's always a huge cone (still more than 3 kg :)) of undyed sock wool - but I think I'd like to take a chunkier yarn, a handspun yarn, half wool, half cotton - which will probably result in me knitting a long, narrow blanket instead of a shawl/stole:)) I could of course use my handspun teeswater in naturally dyed colours, which would go well together and could be chosen according to the pattern. but this would also make a very large, heavy stole - and the teeswater isn't exactly the softest of fibres, definitely not my idea of being ideal for wearing next to the skin! the cotton/wool blend on the other hand is soft enough for a baby - but: how often do I actually wear something like that? hmm, let's see - I've worn my "pretty as a peacock" - exactly once since I finished it:(( that's been on a shelf for some time now - maybe I should change from making a shawl to making a blanket after all? I think I'll start with the chunkier yarn and work with this for 3-4 months - see how it looks and make a second and third separate stripe to sew a blanket out of this in the end?:)) I could always add other patterns or repeat some if it's not large enough....
I also finished my round bag - but that's another story.... with photos this time!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

no end in sight.....

this was taken from the west of our house - not close to nightfall, but at three o'clock in the afternoon! heavy snowfall - luckily not for very long. it just covered everything nicely again - and the flash caught a snowflake! you can see that it's very cold, because they were huge and fluffy! well, if that was a leftover from "Daisy", I suppose we got away lightly - it's supposed to cause major disruption in germany today and tomorrow. though our area couldn't really be more "disrupted" - water pipes frozen, streets covered in ice - and no schools open nationwide at least until wednesday! which didn't exactly turn out to be a major disappointment to DS:)) though it doesn't really make a difference for us anyway - probably much more of a problem for parents, who have to organise childcare now!
luckily I did manage to dye the multicolor yarn for the "tree of life socks" in time. I didn't try it out, but I don't suppose "rinsing" out dyed skeins in snow would be much fun! winding them was another story though - my old ballwinder keeps having hiccups - I'll have to replace it asap (i.e. when I can get to banks or the post office to make payments!). it winds ok for a few rounds, then it starts rattling like mad, which makes it all rather wobbly and uneven - then it works again for a little while and so on.... and I have to wind slowly - or the whole ball jumps off - and I have to start from scratch again:(( definitely time for a new gadget! I wish I could find a good one like strauch over here, but ordering in the US would cost a fortune in postage and customs etc., so it has to be one of the simpler ones from Germany.... I do have the new nostepinne - but winding that much yarn would take a lot longer!
I also started to use up some of my leftovers of Kilkarra Donegal Tweed. this is the first circle of a handbag - knitted like a tam without the rim.
the other one is finished too, I just have to do the stripe in the middle, for the handle. it looks a bit weird, because it's actually more than a circle - the disruption in pattern on the left side is due to me folding over the part that's too much! which might well lead to disaster in the felting process - somehow I have a feeling that the larger part won't shrink properly, but I'll just do it anyway - if all else fails, I'll cut up the felt and use it for something else:)) I am not sure that it's down to the weather, but I seem to develop a rather fatalistic streak just now:)) off to finish the handle - and then everything goes for a nice hot bath in the washing machine (I wish I could join the bag for a while - but I don't fit through the loading hole:)) enjoy the snow - if you can!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

more of the same!

I couldn't believe my eyes this morning - first snow, then sheets of ice - and now more snow on top:(( I am not usually a "good weather" person, but I have to admit: I don't need spring or summer right away - but temperatures of 7 or 8 deg. C plus would be nice for a few days.... (just to get supplies in!) DH thought he can walk better on the fresh snow and just left for town - on his bike! he took the phone with him just in case... in case he breaks his legs and I am supposed to save him on foot? men can be quite foolish at times.... I do hope he doesn't break his neck instead!!
by now the snowfall has stopped and the brighter weather has returned - but just in case this big freeze keeps going, I returned to an old tip against slipping on ice:
normally you should take old woolly socks, pull them over your shoes and walk like this. unfortunately I don't have any old socks that fit over DH's shoes - so I knitted the first of a pair of "oversocks" yesterday evening - the second will follow today. of course they do look rather ugly, made from two threads of old leftover sockwool in not so nice colours, but who cares! I'll add a bit of elastic (or maybe a piece of velcro?) to tighten them up along the ankle to keep them from slipping off the shoe... too late for today, but I doubt that the fresh snow would work so well anyway. but I tried them on ice - and even though they don't give as much grip as shoe spikes would (which a friend in germany ordered for me, but they'll have to be sent over first of course!) - it's better than slipping and sliding around without them! old tips from war times....not everything is out of date:)) of course people at that time would have been happy to only have the supplies we still have left - there's no comparison possible!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Wild Fibers?

Delighted Hands asked about the Wild Fibers magazine, but I forgot to include it in the last entry. So here it goes: I like the magazine and by now I managed to collect 14 back issues (pity, but the first few are out of print::(( why don't they re-publish them as downloadable files, I wonder?) and have a subscription for 2010. it's full of reports from all around the world about every imaginable natural fibre - everything is covered, from different wools and hairs to naturally coloured cotton. the photos are lovely and I find the articles make a good read - if you are interested in the background of textiles, fibres etc.
if you are keen on patterns or instructions - you would be better off with the spin-off, because there is only one pattern in each issue of "wild fibers" and there are no how-to instructions about any technique. but it completes the practical approach from interweave beautifully. it's certainly not an absolute must-have for spinners, weavers or dyers, but it often gives me a new or broader understanding of all things textile. so now - you have to make up your mind to go ahead and buy it - or be frugal and do without:))

Happy 2010!

Thank you for the good wishes for 2010 - of course I hope for a good year to come, but I cannot really say that the last year was terribly bad. The worst bit for me was the moaning and groaning of people all around, who - on looking closer - sometimes really should blame themselves for the the situations they are in - or aren't really all thad badly off - compared to many others around the globe! I know that there are plenty of people who suffer - but it seems to me that most complaints come from people, who still have a comparably comfortable life? anyway - I would like the ice on the roads to go away - but I realise that in the grand scheme of things it's only a small blip:))

I don't usually make new year's resolutions either - I find that it makes more sense to just go ahead with whatever should be done at the time you feel it should happen - or it won't last in the new year anyway. so I won't list all my UFO's and swear to whoever that I'll finish many more in the year to come. I won't start nordic walking either - even though I know I should get more exercise (why don't they combine a gadget for exercise with a good spinning wheel?:)) I have seen many blogs just now, where people set themselves mottos for the coming year - but I don't think all that much about the things I do - I just do them. maybe this sounds stupid or shallow, but I already try to keep my stash reasonable, I try not to consume too much, I try to be as eco-friendly as I can etc. of course there is always room for improvement, but I don't really see a need to write about a goal - that I try to reach all year every year?
anyway - enough musing - back to the practical side of life. I won't bore you with another "white ireland with beautiful blue sky" picture - though this is exactly how it looks outside just now. the weird thing - the fields are green again, or only dusted in white, where the heavy frost from last night hasn't burned away - it's just the roads that are sparkly white, covered with a thick plate of ice from one side to the other. this must look rather odd from above!

I can however show you a photo of an exchange project I worked on for the OLG. the theme was "stars" of any kind - but my recipient hinted that she could use a set of potholders, so I tried a star theme on this. I admit that the idea for the design isn't mine, I found the pattern here. I did change it however. I used only dark blue and bright yellow fine cotton; I added several rows here and there to make the middle thicker; I didn't crochet both sides together, but put them together by knitting an i-cord around, which also formed the hanging loop.
I tested the potholder with the circular needle still in - just to check if it's thick enough for use or not. it seemed ok to me, so I put both halves together without further lining. I think I am going to make myself a pair or two as well - typical household for a textile freak: I make things for others all the time, but make do with the most basic designs myself:))
the blue stitch markers were a little "starry" extra - when I saw the starshaped beads in my box, I couldn't resist them:)) luckily everything arrived - it looked for a while as if the package had vanished in the pre-christmas rush!
enough babbling from me for now - I do have to get some work done around here. just have a look at the new icon on the side - FFF stands for first friday freebie - something for the embroiderers or patchworkers among us. a very generous offer of a nice freebie once a month - thank you, Kaaren!