Sunday, 27 May 2012


...sometimes I am amazed about the things people knit or crochet. ok, who am I to talk - given the recent sock madness:) but when I saw these two designs in very old  machine knitting magazines I recently "inherited" I couldn't believe my eyes:

new car seats anybody? not just any old blanket to cover them, no, properly upholstered and with an extra pillow to boost! amazing! I love knitting and I do all kinds of projects, but making new car seat covers - would be going too far even for me:)

and I know everybody's taste in fashion is different. and times have changed. but this? no thanks, I'd rather knit golf club covers or apple cozies:) couldn't resist showing you these beauties - but if anybody feels drawn to either pattern, just let me know - I am sure I can part with the magazine - don't want to hinder you in knitting your secret dreams *eg*
 back to one of my new projects - a crochet scarf called "Kringel". the first test in silk didn't convince me - not because of the pattern, but because the very smooth silk yarn distorted the pattern and I thought this wouldn't improve after blocking. I started over again in a wool/ramie blend, which made a big difference: the stitches stay where they should be and the slight variation in colour adds interest, but doesn't distract from the pattern. pictures tomorrow - at least if I can take any good ones in this too brilliant sunshine (I know, I am complaining - again:))

Saturday, 26 May 2012

done - just in time...

ok, I admit I didn't have all that much time left - but I finished the projects just in time, i.e. yesterday afternoon for today. I've been on night shifts before to finish something, so for me that was quite alright:)
and today at our May meeting we had lots of gorgeous projects to see, because it was agreed to hand in all our textile projects for the exhibition in september/october. the museum has to prepare the things and needs time to do so, and to be honest, I am rather glad to have this one out of my way! to make a long story short, here are my finished "Fuchsia cottage" socks:
the flat cardboard inlay isn't ideal for presentation, but my dummy feet aren't here yet, so they have to do. on the left there are two large yews (very common over here, no wonder, with the name Mayo = Maigh Eo in irish or plain of the yews). there are flowering shrubs in front, done with beads. the one on the right shows the fuchsia bush on the left, and a wall, path and gate to the right... both have a silk crochet fuchsia flower and a leaf dangling from the i-cord closure.

on the other side you see the round tower of Turlough and also a fuchsia bush - and on the right side the fuchsia cottage.... both feet are of course done in the famous 40 (or maybe not quite:) shades of green!

 a detail - the path to the right of the tower (purely fictional!) is covered in dandelion - the gardener must have been lazy:)
this is my favourite bit of the socks: the cottage garden. of course there are lots of flowers (done with beads) and even on the wall in front you can see a few weeds and flowers... I was briefly tempted to add some moss by needlefelting - but decided against it, there can be overkill in a design:)
I have to admit though that the front garden of our cottage doesn't look quite so charming:
but then it wasn't meant to show the real thing!

a contrast to the very fancy socks is the second pair, knitted from handspun jacobs wool, undyed. they stand for the countless simple socks the women of ireland (and I am sure in many other countries a century ago!) had to spin and knit for their large families. simple in design, but warm on the feet and much faster to make than the picture socks!

the museum also asked us to provide a few samples for the public to touch - to avoid ending up with grubby or even damaged projects we'll lay out some bits and pieces to feel.... I used three of the wool/silk blends of the fancy socks and one of the jacobs wool. after three squares I was bored and made a circle for the last one:)

this is the fuchsia flower hiding away in a bush - maybe it'll lure it's real cousins out soon? from afar it does look like the real deal - and I am looking forward to the first flowers, because I love the very exotic flower shape. they look like pagoda roofs to me, dainty and pretty and not at all as tough as the plant really is! I still have a bit of the silk left - and I think I'll crochet two more to make little earrings with....

this is what I have been doing during the last few weeks, i.e. apart from gardening etc. I also spun a skein of dark blue silk, finished three more skeins of cardinal red wool for a cardigan and made another pair of simple socks as a present... of course the next birthday is never far away - knitting needles, here I come (lace this time, I think it's a table runner in the making...)
but right now I am not keen - it's too warm for me to do any knitting. I spun some more silk in the museum today, but couldn't really find my rhythm and only managed a very small amount after all. first we have may temperatures lower than in winter - and now it's so warm that I'd like to spend my days in a bathtub full of water:) of course, those of you who have 30 deg. C most days - it's probably a nice fresh day - but for us here it's a veritable heat wave:)

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

the end is near

that sounds dramatic - but I only mean my sock project:) I finished the pair of simple socks knitted frrom handspun jacobs (why didn't I take a pic of them?). and I have just one picture sock and a bit of the foot of the other sock to do. plus of course the finishing, i-cords, fuchsia flowers and embroidery. I think I'll manage - but not with a lot of time to spare. note to myself: do try and start projects earlier.... will I ever listen to myself?:)
those are all the batts - finished to singles, not totally even, but nice and soft. I decided to use not the carded blend of blues and white, but the one I spun from pieces of top. all the rest (apart from the gold on top and the white) are lightly blended on the drum carder.

the sky, worked in rows, and a little bit of the roof - upside down! I didn't really like the long narrow stripes in the test sock, so I knitted clouds with short rows... typically irish: blue sky, but not without a few clouds, and even a bit of grey here and there....

 this is my hand drawn chart and the leg part of the sock - what a mess, lots of ends everywhere and threads dangling. I used quite a lot as longer pieces without a ball to feed from, because most of the colours, e.g. from the cottage parts, didn't use much at all. and it's so much easier to pull loose threads out of the mess than trying to disentangle several balls of wool! btw, if you want to make your own picture sock, you can download a grid here.
 this is the leg of the first sock finished... the knitting part at least. it still looks a bit bare, but I decided to add window frames, flowers etc. in embroidery. knitting them into the fabric would have meant even more threads, tangles and jittery nerves:) I thought for quite some time about the colour of the windows, but decided to choose "sky" colours - they reflect the good weather instead of being dark holes in the cottage wall. the upper edge still rolls of course, because the cast-on is done over a row of chain stitches - I'll add the i-cord edge last.
this is the "other side" of the sock, in the middle a path, walls in grey on either side and on the far left the fuchsia bush, which will carry the beady flowers when finished. I will also add an embroidered garden gate across the path. the foot will be all green, which makes for quicker knitting at least. I might still add a few embroidered stitches in yellow and white, for dandelion and daisies, but beads don't work so well on the foot, even if they are only small seed beads. it should still be a wearable sock and not a work of art - but unusable!

I hope I can finish this sock tonight and start with the second tomorrow - but depending on the weather I still have a lot of work to do in the garden!

looking at the last picture I saw just now that the sky looks a bit like sky, clouds along the horizon and the sea at the bottom! not intentional, but maybe it's a cottage close to the beach?:)