Wednesday, 11 November 2015

the "two entries a year" blog....

hello again! long time no see, I know... they say that the days are getting shorter and it's true! somehow there are never enough hours in a day:) by the time I've finished everything I meant to do (and often not even that!) the day is over and I haven't blogged - again. so - I'll try to be better!
anyway, of course I've finished many things during the past few months. I didn't exactly count all the socks I finished, but there must have been at least 10 or more pairs... some went out so fast that I didn't even take pictures. I did a few for myself, tried out a few new patterns and one new cast-on.
difficult to see here, but I started by doing the shells on top of the rib. it's done with a cast-on over a crochet hook, easy to do, found it somewhere on pinterest. the green sock on the left has a pattern that's called laburnum, and the "christmassy" looking sock on the right - is from the same book (Charlene Schurch), but I forgot the name:) both hand-dyed yarns; I think the green was done with food dyes, and the red with the colour crabapple plus leftovers from Gaywool Dyes. 
I am also working on a men's cardigan, made from soft donegal (from Donegal Tweed Company in Kilkarra). the pattern is from the new book by Anna Zilboorg, splendid apparel. there are lots of different patterns, all shown "naked" and also embroidered, the main feature of the book. I will finish the pattern first and see how much adornment via embroidery I'll add - it's for a man, so shouldn't be overly much decorated! I did a gauge, which I often skip, but I thought that the pattern will draw in a bit - and it does!
I also used up the yarn blend yak/silk, dyed with lac, which I originally used for knitting the Morvarch shawl. it was a bit too smooth/silky to my liking for the morvarch, but it drapes perfectly for the "rosered" cowl from "enchanted knits". and it's very soft and lovely to wear. 
I wasn't sure if I could finish another small cowl with the little bit of leftover - but it worked. I had about 5 m left, when I did the cast-off on this feather-and-fan cowl. oddly enough this is my favourite just now - not quite as close to the neck, good for the not yet very cold days on the bicycle:)
this is the pattern "olive garden", free on ravelry. it drapes beautifully, esp. due to the many beads that are used in the design. I added two pattern repeats to make it a bit larger and it is nice to wear - and very nice to knit! the only drawback to the pattern is that the last row (crocheted!) takes ages - because of all the added beads. but it's worth all the work, I think! 
I also started to use up some of the "tons" of leftover bits of sockwool. I quickly got hooked on the beekeeper's quilt pattern, lots of little hexagons, filled with polyfill. I didn't think of a use for them at first, but suddenly realized that they'll make nice covers for my garden chairs. they are washable, but soft and squishy, nice to sit on - and use up bits and pieces. I need about 10 m for each and it takes approx. 20 minutes to finish one hexie. bit by bit the bag filled - and after about 100+ hexies plus a bit of sewing and an attached i-cord all around....
.... the pillows were finished:) in the meantime two more bags of sockwool bits have arrived, so that I'll probably have enough to start a small cover/blanket from it. I think I'd sort the colours a bit though, less higgledypiggledy, more colour coded, maybe mostly blues? I don't have enough of purple sock yarns for a big project:)
 I also finished a table mat in EPP. the recipient loves ox-eyed daisies, so I picked out different whites (some pure white, some with white-on-white prints), some yellow/orangey tones and the green/white/yellow base fabric. I didn't fussy-cut the background, but I did try to have the pattern match a little bit, to avoid odd cut-offs. after finishing the top, I made a ring out of hexies in background fabric, which followed the edge pattern. when folded over, it makes a nice edge, instead of a regular binding. another thing I found on pinterest:) there's no quilting again - I just knotted embroidery floss into the yellow middles to fuse the thermolam and the background fabric to the top. but for some reason blogger doesn't allow me to push the photo to the left, like the rest... maybe that's my punishment for not blogging for so long?:)
anyway - that's enough for now, I think. I hope to blog more regularly again now that monsoon season is upon us again!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

still no sign...

... of spring:( but the sun is shining, which makes winter more bearable, I guess. there wasn't much snow last night, just a sprinkle, but icy roads are never far away - which means that I am chickening out of cycling to town:) the whole week is supposed to be fairly dry, just a few snow showers here and there and sunny intervals - but the Nephin (806 m high!) is covered with a white blanket. it looks very close in clear weather, but as a matter of fact it's more than 60 km away! I've been there once, but never climbed up - but when snowfall is threatened we always look out the back to see if the Nephin is covered. if it's white - we might get some snow as well:)
and in the sunshine I could finally take a few pix that weren't too far off the real colours.
the sweet pea jacket has reached its new owner - and apparently it fits, so phew:)
the "knubbelchen" is a small knitted "doll", and because there are no parts that could be swallowed, it's perfect for the chewing stage, where anything and everything gets covered in dribble:) easily washable - like the cardie, which is spun and knitted from superwash wool.
in the details you can see the sweet pea seeds (bobbles) and a little attached tendril on top of each pod. I just couldn't resist the pattern, it's by Mary Scott Huff, one of my favourite knitting designers (famous for a lot of colourwork...). should I ever knit it again, I'd change the design though - it was difficult to find suitable ribbons and I don't really like the ones much, that I finally attached. or maybe I'll hunt for the perfect ribbon first - and paint and spin the yarn afterwards?  
this is a work in progress, but I'll be finished soon. the shawl has a very interesting cable pattern in the middle and a bit of lace at the edges, but other than that the part in between is worked in stockinette = very tv suitable:) the yarn is gorgeous, soft and silky at the same time - I am looking forward to seeing the pattern blocked out! 
 this is one of my cones of kilkarra tweed again - without flash the colours are much more accurate! I think this will be the yarn for my next project - I am just not sure whether to knit cables or ribs or plain or....  I think a few book browsing sessions are in order:) it knits up pretty quickly and the tweed colours make knitting more interesting than with just plain yarn.
those two might be around for a long time! the plan is that double knitted cardigan/jacket for myself... but I haven't decided yet about a pattern. ornamental? flowers? more browsing sessions coming up....but I already know that it will take me ages, because I usually have to interrupt stuff for myself to make gifts etc.  
gardening ist still on the back burner with the snow and ice, but of course we have to feed the birds, esp. in this weather! unfortunately magpies, crows and probably also rats try to escape with the fat balls I hung up in the branches! all I found was the ripped netting... when I saw this idea, I thought I might make my own. no recycled wire cage in stash here, but we had enough strong wire to wind our own. I push the netting over the bottom end of the wire spiral and fix the one on top with a little plant peg. has worked fine so far, though the shop ran out of fat balls last week:( to give them a bit more than just seeds I made my own mix of fat and seeds etc... - and filled coconut shells with it. the first one went down a treat - the second one vanished over night - again (just like the fat balls)! I think it must be a rat, because I doubt that birds could snap through plastic covered wire to free the shell! to avoid any more rat parties under the trees I found a different spot - with only vertical, overhanging branches... unless rats can fly or climb up trees hanging off branches - it should be safe! I did find the emptied shell - so I can try again with another batch. luckily (in that case, though I love watching them!) we don't have any squirrels - no doubt they'd laugh at my attempts to keep the birdfeeders safe:)

Monday, 26 January 2015

I'll be back.....

...says winter!
I can't believe that january is nearly over, but on the other hand I am hoping for signs of spring now. doesn't help much though - after two or three days of milder temperatures, with rain here and there, but nothing too bad, we'll be back to winter again from wednesday onwards:( the only thing that lifts my spirits every time I go out are the first snowdrops outside! pity that they don't flower in yellow or red, they would be even more uplifting!
there are signs of spring though - the daffodils are out now, some even with visible buds! I do hope that it won't be too bad because our next spinner's meeting is supposed to be on saturday - but only if snow and/or ice on the roads won't make driving too hazardous. on the other hand we were lucky to only have about 6 cm last week - here's the proof:
looking towards the north-west - a very drab colour scheme.... 
the birds went crazy last week; to the right is the place were I put the feeder and they had a "conveyer belt" going all day. they wait over the hedge to the left, then come closer into both ash trees - and only when there's a free space will they move to the feeder - and back again to their waiting perch on the left:) I had to refill the feeder during the day - I think they told every bird in the neighbourhood to come because they'll get fed here:)
and you can see on the table that we've had quite a lot of the white stuff in only a few hours! I hope it won't be that much during the next few days, because it always results in hiccups on school runs (the school bus won't go) and shopping trips.... and travelling to our meeting of course:) 
this is the reason why I am really anxious to go. I put in a small order at kilkarra donegal tweeds a little while ago. after I made a small sample with the dark red-purple soft merino I ordered last time, I decided that I'd like to go ahead with a longer cardigan/coat in double knitting. but of course I need a contrasting colour for this. hard to decide which colour to take, but in the end I decided against grey and for the light "seafoam" green/blue in the upper left corner. the two cones to the right in a light petrol (the colours are darker without flash) will become a cardigan for my father (who doesn't like chunky cardies. it'll take time, but I'd say there's enough time to knit it until next christmas:).
both pinks (one aran, one soft merino) are not for me and neither is the denim blue on the right. the dark blue on the left however will be another aran sweater. or at least half of it - the other half is already promised to another fan of blue:)
so let's hope that I can go to the meeting - to unite the cones with their new owners:)
of course I knitted some more, even though I was hampered by a finger injury (not the first time I've managed to push a wood splinter right under my fingernail:() - but the pix are still in the camera downstairs. let's just say that I finally finished a sweet pea - and some other things as well!