Tuesday, 29 June 2010

black and white...

... isn't on during this week, but when I took some photos of my spring leaves shawl,  I saw that the "hills" and "valleys" (DH said it looks like irish roads - loads of deep potholes:)) are more visible than in that strong green... I am nearly done with the first half, just a few rows through the finishing chart and the cast-off (plus beads). I used up pretty much all of the first ball, but I divided the yarn exactly, so I am not worried about the 2nd part.... I did however use a little bit from the outside of the ball to do this yesterday:

I received the book about Hardanger embroidery to give away, but it looked so bare - so I crocheted a little gecko bookmark to go with it. the poison green was just right for it - and I immediately had another request for one - in blue this time:)) I think I might make the next tail a bit longer and I will change the pattern to reduce the number of threads to draw in! I'll leave a longer thread hanging from the start, so I don't have to start a new thread for the tail end.... I also used red yarn for the tongue instead of felt, but I figure geckos aren't all built the same anyway:))

"colour" black

just one picture this time - we had such a bright full moon on sunday that I was able to take a photograph without tripod etc.. the moon isn't totally in focus - but the black around it is:))

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

weird times

while in the mediterranean, china and some places elsewhere people suffer extreme floods - we "suffer" the opposite. ok, it's not a drought yet, but seriously: you'd expect much more rain in the west of ireland than we've had for the last weeks! the only thing close to rain were the clouds in the picture above - so close, but nothing happened.... today I saw that perennials, which have been in the ground for years are starting to wilt! well, they'll have to wait and hope - I can't/won't start watering those plants or very soon I'd have time for nothing else! maybe the colour for this week - brown - will be fitting for our garden soon?
of course the most important "brown" in our house is dog Dobby (naturally her aunt Timmy is just as important, but then she's black/white:)), followed by Mr Schindler, the cat that adopted us. Mr Schindler is on no 2 simply because he has only been here for a few months....
the rest are small brown "things" that I came across when walking around in the garden: my clay witch in the front garden, now nearly covered in roses. a bit of rust on a dilapidated shed roof, some brown and pretty dry soil in a container - and a fly, not in the ointment, but stuck on a piece of freshly painted window sill.  

oh yes - and my last book order arrived today! just in time to send one embroidery book away again as a birthday present. but the other three will stay here. all three are bobbin lace books; two of them in french (not really a big problem - though I don't speak very well, I can read it ok and the drawings are the most important bit anyway) and about torchon lace - the third one in englisch, german and - danish I think - about bobbin lace in clothing - though the title is slightly misleading, because for me clothing means pants, blouses, jackets etc. - but the patterns are of the decorative sort, not full garments. I like the style though,easy enough to work and pretty modern - I am just not the type to wear frilly and/or flowery stuff. the book contains large photos and explanatory drawings and most of the patterns are on separate sheets, which is very practical, because I don't have to torture the book to copy the patterns!
as I said the two french books show torchon lace and I like pretty much  all the patterns (mostly "tableware", but also bookmarks, card inserts etc.) - but they are not for the faint-hearted, where the amount of bobbins is concerned! I think I saw one hankie corner with "only" 40 pairs, but that is the exception. the avarage is probably around the 80 - 100 pairs and 160 plus is on offer, too! good thing that I bought the stackers a while back:)) of course most of the patterns could be adapted for yardage or even as a square "collar" for a blouse - though I do like making runners, mats and doilies. the problem for me usually is what to do with the finished product - apart from giving it away! to be honest I would be far too lazy to wash and iron those things all the time - and given the fact that I live in a household full of "piggies" - this is just what happens. on the other hand - I don't really knit or spin a lot for myself anyway:)) there's only so much one person can wear! hm - another possible conclusion could be that I should stop buying craft books altogether.... good thing that DH doesn't read my blog:)) oh, sorry, I nearly forgot to show you the book covers:

the one thing I don't like about those two french books - no separate sheets, all the patterns have to be drawn by hand or copied from the books..... on the other hand: compared to prices of some other lace books they are reasonably priced. the problem with those books is that in contrast to knitting books the publishing numbers are pretty low! and every additional feature such as extra pattern sheets will make them more expensive - can't win them all:)) now - where do I find that elusive 2nd pair of hands......
btw - I bought the books from here.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

new beginnings?

in this weather it's hard to believe that quite a long and for us very cold winter isn't all that far behind us. but we still see the results everywhere in our garden. quite a few of our hedge plants weren't fully hardy - so we had no choice but to cut most of them down to the ground. we used the "freeze-dried" stuff for heating, but we have large holes in our shelter all around.
luckily not all is lost - some of the plants are gone; no new growth until now means they're gone for good. but most are bouncing back, here is one of my escallonia plants that formed a nice green hedge around our veggie plot. most of the plants are sprouting like mad and we can only hope that the next winter won't cut all that new growth back to ground level - again!
other plants looked tattered and browned for some time - but they also come back into form and I am hopeful that they will recover soon. the question now: should I remove the old leaves? will the branches stay bare at the bottom if I do? trial and error - but I think I'll leave this one alone for now. there's plenty of other work just now and if the dry spell continues I can spend a few hours each day just with watering - weird times!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

books, books, books

I bought a few new books lately. this one has lots of patterns for "home improval", pillows, blankets etc. different styles, everything from frilly to modern and because I liked the preview in "knitter's", I decided to buy it. I've been asked many times why I make so many things just to give them to others, while I don't have many handmade items in my own house. true enough, it's just that with a 12 year old, 2 dogs and a cat most textile decorations seem a rather futile effort. on the other hand there's no excuse really to use potholders that fall apart or ugly dishcloths with holes in them. so - the plan is to use some of the patterns to change this asap (not that there are any potholder patterns in this book....) 

the book about brioche knitting was another new addition. I used to knit brioche patterns a lot, but haven't done any in the last few years. when I saw the preview on knitpicks, I decided that I'd like this book. it contains a lot of patterns of course, but even more interesting are the explanations about different brioche patterns and the details e.g. with increases, decreases etc. very useful, I think - I am glad that I bought it.

the last new knitting book is a gift I received a little while back. I already have the first book of Homespun Handknit and I liked the previews of the 2nd one, so when I was asked, which book I'd like - this one was on the list (ok, there were two others on it as well, but those weren't available yet:)).

then there are the spinning books - I ogled those two for some time before I bought them, but I heard lots of good things about them - and like them both. they are quite different in style and concentrate on different aspects in handspinning, but I find they cover a lot of ground, even if you're not new to handspinning. if they'd been available at the time, I'd have gone for those two and left the amos "bible" on the shelf.... (anyone looking for this one?)

the last one (I know, I buy books in larger doses - but I resist for a long time before I grab what I can:)) is very different - a book about canvas embroidery. I knit and spin all the time, but sometimes I like to do something different such as bobbin lace (ahem, 3 books about bobbin lace are still on their way:)) there goes the last of my birthday money....) or embroidery. every now and then I like doing "no brainers" (not to be misunderstood - I don't think people who do cross stitch are brainless - it's just my expression for following a bought pattern!) - but sometimes I do my own, using handdyed and/or handspun threads etc. this book is certainly inspirational for the latter - there are no finished patterns to follow, but lots of ideas and advice about techniques and also some finished projects to drool over!  
this is it for now - where books are concerned at least. there are so many books still on my WANTED list - but I have to be reasonable, I know. it's not only due to lack of funds - available space is nonexistent as well by now:(( good thing that I borrow most novels etc. from the local libray - with the amount of books I go through - I'd have to own a 20 room villa to store them all!

orange this week.....

we had brilliant sunshine today, not really great for taking photos, but I took those on the left some time ago anyway. I can't resist the berberis flowers in spring - they are so lively and bright that even grey days seem lighter! the funny "egg yolk" on the left isn't one - it's the dyebath I prepared with saffron some time ago. it resulted in a nice soft golden yellow on silk and on wool - and it still smells lovely (my last dye results all smelled nice - the good thing when dyeing with spices etc.!)
the yarns on the upper left side are dyed with dahlia flowers (some pure, some blended). I don't know what was used on the silk skein in the middle - it was a gift from a "fibre" friend, together with several grey tones and one mainly grey skein with some darker orange parts. and the last bit in the lower right corner - isn't in use right now; it's my rain cape for the bike! high visibility has to beat fashion, even though I feel like a beacon on a bike, when wearing it:))

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

40 - or more - shades of green!

this week's colour is light green - which isn't too difficult to find right now. outside at least, where all the fresh greens are still sprouting (everything is quite late this year). inside light green isn't all that common - but I did find some light greens (they are lighter than in the photo) in my yarn bag. I blended those colours as part of a workshop by the OLG some time back - and I started to use them in a tapestry weaving. the aim was to use a photo of choice as inspiration and use only the basic colours plus white and black to blend a choice of colours from the picture. I do like the results a lot, because the colours are heathery and lively - and I will do the same again in larger amounts for a garment - given enough time!
not sure if the watering can counts as light green, but I use it to keep all my greens alive:)) the gunnera leaf in the upper left hand corner is interesting, because the fresh leaves have a reddish edge, which looks like a frilly border on a shawl. the plums are still small, but I do hope that some will ripen (most of them dropped off the tree last year and we had only a few to pick). my favourite "green" is the small one in the middle - several light greens, all in one small planter. scented violets, a columbine and roseroot (Rhodiola rosea), which peaks out from the larger leaves.
so this week I am well in time - next week's colour is orange, not my favourite colour for fibres and yarn, but surely well presented in the garden.....

Sunday, 6 June 2010

two colours in one day - purple

and because this is the last day for purple - here is my favourite colour - not lilac or reddish purple;  I prefer the darker tones, aubergine esp.
a few years back a friend of mine gave me a scarf made from several different fabrics, silk, velvet and others, in tones of purple and a dark gold with purplish undertones. I like how it feels and I like the colours - it's just that I barely ever wear scarves and if I do, it's usually a Moebius scarf, because they stay fixed without slipping and adjusting! I pushed the scarf around in my closet for some time until I decided that it's silly to leave it without using it. when I told my friend about my plan, I had the feeling that she was a bit upset, but I don't see the point in having something flying around in my closet without using it, when I could make something out of it that I would wear. my plan is to cut the long scarf into two parts and use them to make a sleeveless vest from the fabric together with some lovely dark purple yarns I still have in my stash. and maybe my friend isn't miffed anymore, when she actually sees me using her gift?

Colour Red

I know, I am behind, red was supposed to go on show last week... but somehow I was distracted by other things. funnily enough most of the reds that I came across were food things! I could have taken a photo of our fire extinguisher.... unfortunately my son decided a little while ago all of a sudden that it's high time to try it out. when we installed it on the kitchen wall, we warned him not to touch it and it hung there for over a year - apparently without raising interest. I was working away on the computer a few weeks back, when I heard a funny "woosh" downstairs. at first I thought it was outside, but then I thought I'd better check it out. the kitchen and adjoining living room were full of white "fog" and DS stood silently in the kitchen, looking at me with that funny look, where you know exactly that he did something he wasn't supposed to do. of course I questioned him why on earth he had to "touch" the darn thing now, after such a long time. I think he didn't really know himself; there was this little devilish voice in his head to just give it a quick snap - and off it went! unfortunately getting it refilled requires a lot of  patience. we took it to the hardware store, but the company guy, who looks after this, only comes in every now and then - which means, it will take some time to get it back on the wall. in the meantime we have to make do with a fire blanket in case of a fire.
anyway, to cut a long story short - here are a few "reds" I found around the house. I thought I might snap a poppy blossom as well - but even though they are close to bursting - it'll take a day or two longer to open properly.