Wednesday, 5 March 2014

one swallow....

.... doesn't make a summer! not sure if there's a saying like that in english, but one nice day in march doesn't make it spring either - that's definitely true! we had two quite nice days yesterday and the day before - but today we were back to grey, drizzle and wind:( the crocus flowers look sad and droopy and everything is dripping wet:( everybody seems to be waiting for spring to arrive and I hope it doesn't stay cold for as long as it did last year!
I should really be working in the garden, but apart from the occasional hour or two I haven't been getting anywhere - the ground is soggy and with only 8 to 10 deg. C sowing seems to be a bit early. luckily I still have many textile jobs to do inside. I did finish the mice potholders - but I still think that the design would have looked better with less "rain" above the mouse and more leaves etc. below.
I have to say though that the pattern is far clearer in the photo than in reality. when you look more closely it's harder to see the separate colours, even though the contrast between black and pink should be clear enough.  the next potholders (another gift) will be black and white  and of course double-knitting - but I am not sure about the pattern yet. black and white should go well with graphic patterns, but somehow they all look rather "cold" to me. maybe I should do a contrast - black and white plus some ornamental pattern? or irregular lines and shapes? still in the thinking stage with that one....
I also made a set of dishcloths with the same yarn, partner look in the kitchen:) with the pink one I followed the pattern and didn't wrap the stitches for the short rows. in the black one I wrapped the short row stitches, which gave it a neater look without the "holes" in the separating rows. when I put both of them together, they looked like a nice flower and the recipient was rather reluctant to see them as dishcloths - she thought they're supposed to be a brooch:)  
while I  worked out the patterns for the next two larger projects I finished another pair of slouch socks. this time I used only 2 stitches and two rows: 2 rows of 2 k, 2 p. 2 rows k. 2 rows of 2p and 2 k, followed by 2 rows of p. I like the crinkling the patterns forms, very comfy for slippers (maybe not so much in shoes - not nice when the leg slips down). I call them flowerpower, because they remind me of greenery in the garden with flecks of colour for blossoms.... and just now, while I am writing, I thought of all the sock charms I bought - maybe I should attach two of them to these new socks? hm, ladybirds? bees? are there dragons in a flowery garden?:)
this is one of the gauges I made. it's the horseshoe pattern I mentioned in the last entry, simple to knit, and it forms a nice lower edge. I changed the middle stitch to make it less prominent (actually I just follow the original walker pattern in the project, I had changed that stitch for the gauge!) and I'll finish the bottom with a narrow i-cord; for that I started with a provisional cast-on. it'll be a short cardie, but with long sleeves.
of course I also spun some more yarn (I think I love knitting - but I couldn't be without spinning for long). this is a sample (100 g) of polwarth, which I ordered with the angora/silk top. spins nicely, very soft, but not as cottony as fine merino; it has a bit more "grip" to it. I plied it with fine commercial silk - not sure if I'll eventually dye it or not. for now I leave it as it is.  I didn't  measure, but it's quite fine; I'd say lace weight - and weighs 125 g now. should be enough for a smaller lace project?
I also started to spin the superwash wool I dyed light green with gaywool dyes. it's not my favourite fibre to spin, but I have to admit that the finished yarn is very soft and squishy - and washable, too! perfect for the "sweet pea" cardigan, but first I have to spin some more. I did use part of the first skein to make baby booties though, couldn't resist it. anyway, I have to hurry with those - once the kids are up and running the booties are quite obsolete....  
and then there was the "purple" dyeing. I had spun up about 800 g of grey wool/silk blend and plied it with a fine pink viscose yarn. but somehow I didn't like the contrast of grey with pink once I had finished. so I "brewed" a blend up blue and red - looked a nice purple in the pot to me. it still looked purple on the yarn while in the pot - but turned out to be more blue than purple, when the yarn was finished. only a few spots had take the purple... odd, but I still like the look of it.  
the weird thing happened, when I added two more skeins (one baby alpaka, right, one merino/silk, left). expecting them to turn out like the above - I was rather surprised to not see a hint of purple - and neither any blue - but red! I have no idea what happened in that dye bath - and people say natural dyes are unpredictable:) both these lots were in the same bath as the purple superwash I showed in my last post!
but luckily all the colours turned out nice, so I am happy. I have a skein of fine soy silk that would go perfectly with this, and I am thinking about making a three-ring cowl with it. not sure if I should really take three similar shades - or the two reds - and one contrasting colour? first I have to finish the two cardies though - and there's a big birthday gift "in the making" as well. or rather in the planning stage, but I don't have endless time to finish, so I'll better get going with that one!

P.S. I added a recipe on my recipe page - is it normal that there's no empty open comment form on the "pages", so that I have to add the new recipe below the older entries???


Delighted Hands said...

Weather is up and down here, too! Love your mice! The dish cloths are great also. Socks are lovely....the dyed skeins are just the reason dyeing is so interesting; you just never really know what the results will be! Great post!

Anonymous said...

und bei uns ist wunderbarer frühling, windarm..mild..
interessante Färbungen..
dein Strickmuster beim weißen Tuch interessiert mich sehr. Polwarth hatte ich auch mal ,nun ist gerade bluefaced leceister dran...ein wenig kratziger aber auch wunderbarer Glanz..gruß wiebke

Anonymous said...

danke für den link ich habe es mir ausgedruckt und bei Stricknetz die passende Übersetzung, toll wie es im kostenlosen Miteinander funktioniert. liebe Grüße wiebke

Woolly Bits said...

Cindy - thanks, I love dyeing sock yarn, because you don't need to do a big heap of similar colours! and they knit up quickly, too:)

Wiebke - Bluefaced leicester spinn ich auch gerne, das hat auch schoene naturbrauntoene! das polwarth war nur ein test, das hatte ich vorher noch nie, aber ich werde es sicher nochmal spinnen, ist ganz schoen. und das hufeisenmuster strickt sich sehr gut, weil es "logisch" ist - man sieht, welche reihe als naechste kommen muss:) ich bin mit meinem ruecken schon halb fertig, weil man nicht aufs muster schauen muss dabei. viel spass beim stricken!

Leigh said...

Dishcloths is a good idea. In fact I have some cotton yarn that would be perfect for that! And that horseshoe lace pattern looks familiar. Maybe I've tried it before???

For pages, yes, you just have to keep adding on to the one page. That's why I set up my recipes as links to individual blog posts. Alternatively, you could do a recipe blog and link your tab to that!

Woolly Bits said...

Leigh - dishcloths are my standby for those bits of leftover cotton. and for travelling, because the pattern is simple and doesn't need a lot of stuff to carry about:) and I'd say the horseshoe lace is a good choice for a lace pattern, when you don't want to watch every single stitch. I have mine from one of the B. Walker books, but it's also online, e.g. here:

and thanks for the info about the page - looks like I have to do something about it, or I'll end up with a long page without any order in it whatsoever:)

Elke Schwarzer said...

Hallo Bettina,
ich bin ja immer hin und weg von diesen zarten, durchscheinenden Mustern.
Ich drücke dir die Daumen, dass der Frühling bald kommt - ich habe mich auch immer gewundert, wie das Sprichwort mit den Schwalben denn wohl auf Englisch gehen könnte.

Angela said...

Stimmt schon, das sieht alles wie Comics aus, wenn man Bilder doppelstrickt. Aber es gibt ja da auch witzige Sachen:
Ansonsten: Regen ist doch DAS Wetter bei Dir, tja...das Grün muss ja irgendwo herkommen.
Mitfühlende Grüße aus dem sonnigen München

Elke Schwarzer said...

Oh, du hast deinen Bog frühlingsfrisch gemacht!
Danke für den Hinweis wegen der Importbeschränkungen. Es ist sowieso besser, wenn die Pflanzen nicht in ein völlig anderes Klima verschickt werden.