Thursday, 6 January 2011

advent KAL and other things

the new year is already a few days "old".... time to show some finished objects. I finished the KAL scarf shortly after christmas, only 3 days late:)) I also added the starter pattern at the end, because it creates a wavy edge, which I wanted to be the same on both sides. I should really have turned over the pattern as well - but if you don't look too closely you won't see that it faces the same direction... it still gives a wavy edge though. this is it in full length - I am not sure a piece of knitting 38 cm wide and 2.8 m long can still be called a scarf?:)) maybe it's a sharf - shawl/scarf? or a scawl, could work both ways:))
husband and son avoid taking part in my photo ops whenever they can - so I had to use the wall to lay the scawl out to see it in full. it only weighs about 200 g all in all, cashmere is very light and runs far and the added 2 fine silk threads are so fine that they add barely any weight. they do give a slight sheen as do the few clear, silver lined beads I added in each spacer....
it's too long to show the patterns in more detail in one picture, so here they are, from left to right the first pattern and a new one for each day of december up until the 24th. all of them are estonian patterns. none of them were terribly difficult, though some had a bit more bite than others. I don't mind knitting nupps - they take a bit more time, but at least you don't have to turn the knitting several times for each nupp - unlike some patterns for bobbles...  
most of the patterns (the instructions came with charts and written out!) have a clear build-up, but some are confusing at first. it takes a few rows with those to make out a pattern - I found those intrigueing to knit - it makes it more interesting, when you can only see the full pattern after blocking! some of them were more dense than others, but it blocked out reasonable well in the end. 
some of the patterns are quite well known not only in estonian knitting, e.g. I have knitted the second pattern from the left as fern lace a long time ago - before I had ever heard about estonian patterns. others are quite specific, esp. when 5, 7 or even 9 stitches have to be worked out ouf three in the base row! a bit fiddly at times, but with a bit of counting and care no big problem. and not a purl tbl in WS rows in sight:))
huh, I just realised that I put the photos up in the wrong sequence, this should be the starting pattern, because I worked the lily-of-the-valley nupps on day 2!! there is a similar looking pattern at the other end, but without the nupps. all in all it makes a nice pattern sampler - but is very wearable too. nice and soft and though large, not too big to wind around the neck. or maybe I should use it as a wallhanging instead?
I also started a small cross stitch pattern - which will be a gift to the parents of a littly baby boy. I saw the pattern in a magazine - and wanted to try this particular one, because it used material I haven't worked with before. Madeira produces a wool embroidery yarn (Madeira lana), fine, half wool, half polyester (it's also available in a few multicolours). it can be used for machine embroidery also and comes on bobbins like sewing thread. it was difficult to find, but eventually a friend of mine in germany found it in a sewing shop in her hometown. there are plenty of colours availabe, but I needed "rabbit colours", off white, light and medium brown. this is how it looks after stitching. there is no body yet, because this is worked in floss. the "hairy" part has to be worked first, then it's fluffed and then the rest is added.
these brushes can be bought where the yarn is sold - there is a softer one for light fluffing and a harder one for stronger effects. (I think they could be used for fluffing up areas of mohair knitting, too...).  
and this is the after - I know the pic is a bit blurry, but you can see the  raised fluff of "fur".... I am nearly finished with the project, I just have to add some more back stitch before I can show you the rabbit in full....
there is another small "toy" I want to knit - a little frog. I had some darker green, but needed a second, lighter colour. I was too lazy to dig out all my acid dyes etc. so I just grabbed a bottle of food dye I had left from christmas bakery. this time I only added about 1/4 of the bottle, but it was enough for a small skein of sock wool. the green on the left is from the first batch. but this is not the reason I am showing you the greens. (the flash makes the green a bit stronger, it's not quite as biting as this!). there was still colour in the pot, so I added another smaller skein of sock wool. and discovered that apparently the yellow pigments of the dye take up easier than the blue (or there was more blue than yellow in the blend and none left for the 2nd skein?). the second skein is more turquoise then green - not right for a frog, but I can always use it for some sock inlays. I always find it interesting how dyes work - surprising, but not often disappointing, at least to me.
and yesterday I had to go to the county capital, Castlebar, to see the dentist... I am not afraid, but I don't know many people, who actually like to go there:)) anyway, I was rewarded for my "suffering", because I found a stone pestle and mortar on offer! I've been looking for one for quite some time, but either they were so large and heavy that I couldn't take them at the time, or they were quite expensive. this one is medium sized - but still weighs over 3 kg! it stands on its own because of this weight, unlike my old small marble one, which I have to hold with one hand when using the pestle. it works effortlessly and I am quite happy to finally have a good one! I'll keep this one for kitchen stuff - and use the old one for occasional "smashing" of cochenille.... I did receive an electric mill esp. for this purpose several years ago, but somehow this ended up in the kitchen, too. probably because I had just bought a bag full of ground cochenille and didn't need the mill for this at the time. I am nearly out of this now, but I still have a plastic box full of unground "lice" in my stash! some elbow grease will be needed to transform this into fine powder - soon:)) I'll have to mordant more yarn/fibre first though - cochenille is one of those dyes, where endless batches can be dyed after the first one!


Delighted Hands said...

The lace scarf turned out lovely! I would wear it with a piece of jewelry so it would be long enough to show it off! The embroidery is so sweet-great idea to 'fluff' it up!

Anonymous said...

wunderschön bettina!! lieber gruß von wiebke

Leigh said...

It's beautiful! Whether scarf of shawl, what a lovely addition to your wardrobe. So nice that the weather cooperated took for a lovely picture.

Very interesting about the fluffing brushes. I've never seen anything like that before, but it must be particular to the yarn.

The mortar and pestle are a great find too!

Corina said...

Wow, it's so beautiful!

Ash said...

Hi Bettina, love your sampler 'scarf'. I attempted one last year but way shorter than the one you have made, I used a graded colour yarn I had spun using merino and BFL. I enjoyed being able to switch patterns so there was a challenge all the way through the knitting!!
My 'valley guardian' quilt began life as a line drawing of a celtic sword scabbard, I love the flowing designs they used and it seems to suit how I draw naturally so things often progress from there - glad you liked it. Regards, Ash.

Nina said...

I'm quite in awe of your lace scarf. It's incredible.
A good mortar and pestle is wonderful. I've only found smaller marble ones so far and they work fairly well, but not exceptionally well.

Helen said...

Love the scarf-quite fantastic.
I have done the opposite to you. The coffee grinder is in the studio whereas the pestle and mortar bought for the studio has ended up in the kitchen instead! We do agree on grinding tho'
I always grind cochineal.

Woolly Bits said...

thanks for your comments!
Cindy - I am not one for jewelry, I'll probably end up just winding it around my neck up to my eyes:)) though now I think it might be too precious to wear every day...

Wiebke - danke, mal wieder so ein projekt, dass vermutlich die meiste zeit im schrank liegt, weil ich zwar spass am stricken habe, aber so etwas nicht oft genug tragen kann....

Leigh - yes, the brushes are esp. offered for this kind of yarn - but I am sure one could use a mohair brush or even a tooth brush to fluff it up.

Corina - thanks, and it was fun to make!

Ash - I hadn't really planned the length, it just happened, because I worked all the repeats - and had enough yarn anyway. I didn't measure while knitting, though I have to admit that the length isn't the most practical:))

Nina - no need to be in awe, it wasn't terribly difficult to do. many people replaced the nupps with beads, but I am sure most patterns (apart from the lily-of-the-valley) would look good just with a knit stitch instead!
I think the weight of a mortar makes all the difference - and also the sandstone of the bigger mortar makes grinding far easier, because it causes more friction. effortless really - if you can get your hands on a bigger one, go for it, makes life much easier!

Helen - I was thinking of getting a second electric grinder, but I have to admit that I don't dye as much as you do. I am already low on space - it probably makes more sense to use my own arms than to fill my house with even more gadgets!