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Monday, 22 February 2010

what a difference a day makes!


that song came to my mind when I looked out of the window yesterday. we had some lovely sunny days last week, icy cold, but with blue sky at least. and yesterday - dense freezing fog, everything covered in white ice and things like trees, a bit further away, looked like old black and white photos. the eucalyptus was grey and frozen and looked like a feature in one of those old Edgar Wallace films:))
but despite the grey ugliness around - there were some nice finds. my clay witch wears a white veil - made from frozen cobwebs. a new meaning to cobweb lace? well, ok, if I had a nose like hers - I'd try to cover it up as well:))
and the primulas, which I brought inside just in time - are trying their best to get rid of the winter doom and gloom! they always cheer me up no end - I'd never wear colour combinations like those in fabric form, but I do like them in flowers!
on the textile front I am still knitting the vest (maybe I'll finish the zig zags for a photo tomorrow) and the last bit of the 2nd slouch sock. I also work on the teas - and I am ironing my back bent to finish all the fabrics in time for saturday's workshop. the worst is yet to come - after all that ironing I have to mordant the whole lot, let it dry again - and start all over again with the ironing! no choice, if I mordant the wrinkly fabric, I can't iron it hot enough afterwards to get it smooth (important esp. for fabric marbling!) and to not risk burning the stuff! not a good job for someone like me - who hates ironing with a vengeance:((
and when browsing my fabric stash for the light cottons, I found a nice piece of fabric for a new embroidery project I have been planning for some time. it's supposed to be a secret - a surprise for someone. but it's inspired by a book I read, which I liked a lot:)) it will be done with a combination of embroidery, patchwork and applications..... that's all on that topic for now.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

slouchies and not so slouchies

the first slouchy sock is finished - it fits like a glove (sock?:)) and I am quite happy with it - though the photo is not exactly focussed. the cast-on is provisional, which leaves the rib quite loose, very comfortable to wear (might be just the thing for diabetics or people with varicose veins?) and lets the leg slouch down a bit. the pattern is worked on the upper part of the foot, too - but the stockinette underfoot keeps it from "slouching" there.
the pattern that forms underfoot looks a bit like a shadow knitting effect to me - every second row is purple - I wonder if the second foot should be worked vice versa?:))
I also did the february clue from the ravelry Lace KALendar - there was a choice this time, a very simple heart pattern or this "heart" pattern - though in Barbara Walker's book it's called honeybee with faggoting. I like more unusual lace patterns and even though it wasn't exactly difficult to knit, there were purl tbl tog. in the back rows and dropped YO, to be knitted together to form the "wings".... during knitting I remembered that a shawl/scarf in yellow is still on the to-do list, for a friend, who likes bees... the shawl features several bee/honeycomb etc. patterns, this one among them. of course with only half the width I was quick again - though this time I had to fiddle a bit more - to make half of the pattern, i.e. 3 "wings", I'd have had to increase too much, so I just knitted the garter stitch edges a tad bit wider instead....
I have to say though - I don't care much for the staggered lace rows as "dividers" - I think, simple garter stitch would have looked better somehow. if I look at it again in 2 weeks time and still don't like it - I'll go frogging:))
I haven't done any spinning lately - my fingers are itchy and I don't think I'll be able to keep away from the wheel much longer.... but first - I have to fulfil my kitchen duty; it's pancake tuesday today!!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Hogwarts.....

tomorrow is not only Valentine's Day - not a reason for us to have major celebrations... it's also DS's 12th birthday! only, it being sunday - his friend wouldn't be able to come over for a small (do 2 kids count as a "party"?:)) party, so we had our very first pre-birthday party! normally we try to avoid this, but it just wasn't possible any other way... Stefan is a bit spoiled where birthday cakes are concerned - a simple cake just won't do. it had to be another castle... Hogwarts in small, if possible. well, I wasn't going to do arches and bridges and turrets etc. - this is what I managed:
not too difficult, the base inside is sponge cake in layers, cut to form. the outside is a ganache cream - which was a bit iffy to work with. I already put less chocolate into the cream, but it was still a bit to hard and slightly crumbly, when whipped. well, Hogwarts is rather old and a bit damaged in places - it didn't matter after all:)) the pinnacles are made from Toblerone triangles and instead of windows I put bought shapes made from white chocolate on. the "grass" is green butter cream and this is how it looks after the wild hordes had their fun with it:
due to the ganache that didn't spread so well, the "floors" are a bit wonky, but the stairs inside Hogwarts move anyway - so this might be a picture in motion:)) I think it might be enough for tomorrow as well (no guests) - so I am free to spend my evening with embroidery instead of making more cake:))
I started a cross stitch project again - I haven't done a larger one for some time, but I am working in tandem with someone on this - we try to keep each other going by comparing progress:)) some of the bothy thread designs are really funny, have a look here:
I am making the dictionary of teas first, but I also have the one with bras here - and hope I can keep going through both of them....
I like word games - and the designs are not too large and complicated, so I am in with a chance to finish this within a reasonable time frame.

Friday, 12 February 2010

woolly witch?

we did have some lovely sunny days recently - but the nights are still frosty. my witch was covered in hoar frost as was the fence and the gate early this morning. the sun burnt it away quickly though - and now we're waiting.... waiting for some more snow to come! nothing too bad I hope - I am in the mood for spring now (who isn't?:)) and don't want to go back to icy roads and frozen water pipes. but at least we're not drowning in the white stuff like so many others around the globe seem to do.
and while I am waiting for spring, daffodils and crocus - I keep knitting away. those yarns are my wool/silk blend, which is naturally light grey, overdyed with navy blue and burgundy (it is burgundy, in the picture it looks lighter). of course I didn't bleach the grey into white for the ball in front - this is a blend of wool with some cotton. white is needed for the pattern and I hope that the cotton content won't lead to problems with washing later. but it's handwash only anyway, so I am hoping for the best. it knits up nicely, is very soft and squishy - and not too chunky and warm.
the colours are veeeery discreet though - and to avoid boredom (and to take something on the train) I also started "slouchy socks", a pattern I found in the xrx book "socks, socks, socks". the yarn is handpainted shepherd's sockwool from lorna's laces in rather vivid colours - but I like how they turned out so far, though I am not sure that the heel with slipped stitches really will be more hardwearing than my normal heel. anyway, I don't usually have holes in the heel part - I tend to have them at the sides of the heel (or sometimes at the bottom:((). I just mended 3 pairs - again - and wish someone would invent "unholeable" sock yarn:))
the leg pattern is a simple knit, though rather effective. three rows of 3 p, 3 k. 3 rows of just p, 3 rows of 3 k, 3 p - and the last three rows f the sequence are just k. the effect is unexpected, the rows undulate somehow - and sink down on top of each other. certainly no socks for higher boots - but perfect for "slouching" about the house in birkenstock slippers:)) I am nearly done with the first - somehow I should kick myself into action again on the vest!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

bits and pieces

first of all - I finished my january part of the lace KALendar.... I did change it a bit - it was too wide for a simple scarf, so I only worked it over a bit more than half the stitches. and I added a bit of twinkle - each of the holes that symbolise the snow got a silver lined clear bead:)) now I'd be ready for february - but I have to wait until the 15th of the month to get the new pattern... though - now that I look at the pic closely - I think maybe the beads would look better if I had fixed them to the stitch on top of the hole instead of the one, where I decreased.... no, no more frogging, I already frogged the first try, because I didn't like it that wide!
I also finished the Laidman "tree of life" socks in time (just:))... there would be better contrast if the solid black would have been one - instead of coming out anthrazite. but I didn't want to overdye it - so this is it. I did like knitting the socks; great fun if you like to knit with several colours. and I liked the idea of doing all the instep increases on one side! I'll try this on the next pair and see how I can work this into other designs.... I would change the toe finishing - but I like all the rest! and I hope the recipient likes them, too, even though they stay hidden under pant legs most of the time....



because my next batch of yarn was dyed, but not dried - I fiddled about with a pattern I found online. it's meant to make a scarf, but I didn't have enough yarn for this - I just wanted to try out the crochet pattern. the yarn is a handspun 2ply of dark blue merino, around which I plied a fine multicolour silk thread. soft enough to wear against the skin, and that's good, because....

it turned out to be a lacy neck warmer - or crocheted piece of woollen jewelry?:)) I had just enough yarn to finish the last "flower" and a tiny bit of silk without the merino to crochet one button for closure...
it looks funny, a bit like a tiara on snow - but around the neck it's ok, if not superbly warm. I think I'll give it another try as a longer scarf, but I have to find a suitable yarn first.
what puzzles me is the name of the pattern - queen anne's lace scarf. now, over here "queen anne's lace" is a common name for wild carrots, a white flowering herb with lacy tiny airy flowers - not huge chunky blossoms like the ones in the crochet pattern:)) or maybe this particular queen anne was a bit sturdier in built????
in between casting on (finally) for the men's vest - I finally managed to finish the 2nd of the gryffindor socks in shadow knitting... had to hurry or DS is growing out of them before the sock is finished:)) he didn't wear the snakes yet and not the red/black "voldemort" lightning socks either - and now no. 3 is done - so maybe I'll manage to do the 12 pairs of harry potter socks this year?? I'd be well in time - now:)) well, I never said anything about the year I'll be finished, when I promised the 12 pairs of socks......
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