Wednesday, 23 April 2014

WIPs & Books: While I was waiting

You know that moment when you're struck by inspiration and you know EXACTLY what you want to knit... but you don't have the right yarn? That was me last Thursday - the day before a double Bank Holiday weekend with no chance of yarn arriving for the best part of a week and nowhere close enough to buy what I wanted. Naturally, I did what many of you would have done while waiting - I cast on LOTS of other things!

First there was the clock make-over. It was done in no time so it was followed by an experimental "thing" with some lovely Natural Dye Studio Yarn. It's not going to become anything at the moment, as I used it as a swatch to try something out (which you can't even see in this photo!) for a future design. 
While I was waiting...
Next, the moccasin toe experiment was completed. I like it and will use it on a real sock, but this was meant as a practice, so it'll be bound off and added to my swatch box (which isn't a box yet - it's a big envelope, but it really does need to be a box. I must get one.) My sock investigations lead me to this great free pattern for an Afterthought Heel - the next thing I want to try, but so far I have resisted the (significant) temptation to cast those on.  

Then a Kauni laceweight gradient "tube" - it's fate is uncertain. There are a few things I would like it to become, and I'm not sure whether there is a way they could all be compatible.
While I was waiting....
As if that wasn't enough I cast on something else with yarn I had re-homed. It was pink and fluffy and I was enjoying knitting some mindless garter stitch while reading*.... until the yarn kept snapping. It made me (a) wonder what had happened to it, and (b) feel glad that I hadn't mixed it in with my 'nice' stash, just incase of those hideous winged creatures which shall not be named! Would that make the yarn look fine in the ball but snap off without warning every so often? 
While I was waiting....
Because I had been enjoying it so much, I replaced the same project with different yarn immediately! It's a very simple shawl which I'll post on the blog (as a recipe) when it's finished. Perfect relaxation knitting. 
While I was waiting....
Thank goodness my parcels arrived this morning, with enough yarn for TWO new projects that are in my sketchpad. Now to prioritise which one to start first....
While I was waiting....
*As if all this knitting casting on wasn't enough, I read two books - Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth at the same time with the help of my new ipad/kindle holder (the best £4.24 I have spent in a long time!) although I'm taking a break before the final book in the trilogy, with Rachel Joyce's Perfect
Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Show & Tell: Tying fabric

I absolutely love draping and tying fabric - all sorts of fabric. As a child, I spent many (many!) hours fashioning clothes from scrap materials - there's a photo somewhere but I can't find it. It's likely that this love of wrapping fabric is in my genes and I am not just thinking of my sewing mum and tailoress Nanna Shirl. I am, after all, of mixed heritage including (amongst other things) Indian sari-wearers and Welsh baby-wearers...
Nanna Marion carrying me  in a blanket 'Welsh-fashion', although I'm clearly trying to escape

During my thirties, this fabric love manifested in an obsession with woven wraps which I used to carry my own children. In the few short years I was using them, I went through literally hundreds - collecting and trading specially-woven fabrics from around the world. As well as the special close-ness with my children, it gave me an appreciation of different types of fabric and it's qualities in terms of draping, tying and the feel against delicate skin, and is what eventually led me to creating my own fabric - knitting, crochet and spinning.

LM in Nati-baby Palla Usheri 
As a novice designer, this love of draping and wrapping fabric is quite evident - perhaps you have already noticed that I love nothing more than a simple item which can be worn in various different ways - this has been a key element of my last four designs (Little Bear's PorridgeThe Enormous Triangle PonshawlSeafoam and one you are yet to see).

For some time I've had an item in my "blog post ideas" list - to show different ways to wear the basic knitted shawl shapes, so when I came across this Nordstrom video via Social Media, it seemed too good not to share. It shows 16 different ways to tie four basic scarves, not knitted, but I really enjoyed watching and think you might like it too.


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PS. You may have noticed that the latest 'show & tells' haven't been about spinning, and this is because I am not doing as much of it as I would like and have little to show you. 
Friday, 18 April 2014

FO Friday: Clock Makeover

I have wanted to make-over a plain clock for the last few months after seeing some lovely knitted clocks on various websites. But I didn't have a spare clock. Or, ironically, the time to do it. Until yesterday... when I spotted this plain inexpensive clock in the supermarket (£4) and had nothing on the needles.
Quick clock makeover

With limited wall space, this is to go above the doorframe and I decided to use a knitted fabric in a colour which co-ordinates with the room for the circumference, as that will be on view as much as the face.  For the face, a simple crochet mesh to sew buttons onto in a plain colour to prevent it being too overpowering. It took very little time, used up some stash yarn (scraps) and buttons and I'm pleased with the results which gave a very quick FO fix!

Untitled

Materials:
  • Round clock 
  • DK weight yarn in two colours (which co-ordinate with the room)
  • 4mm knitting needles
  • 4mm crochet hook
  • Assortment of 12 buttons in different colours
  • Needle and thread for attaching buttons
Method:
  • Measure the depth of the clock frame/edge and knit a small swatch - yes, really! - to determine the number of stitches to cast on. The knitted section should be just wide enough to cover the sides of the clock with a very slight overhang - as it's stocking stitch, the sides naturally curve around to hug the edges. My clock is 33mm deep. Based on the swatch I had to cast on 12 stitches.   
  • Using the main colour, cast on the required number of stitches and knit in stocking stitch until the work measures a few cms less that the clock circumference for a snug fit. Check by stretching the knit fabric around the clock. Mine has a 69.5cm circumference so I knit for 65cm before binding off.
  • Sew the ends of the knitting together to make a loop. It should fit quite tightly. 
The crochet section depends on the depth of the border around the edge of the clock face, so you will need to determine how many rounds are appropriate for your clock. Mine was worked as follows:
  • Using the crochet hook, join the second colour onto the front edge of the loop and make a single crochet stitch into alternate stitches around the loop, as seen in the photo at the top of this post.
  • At the end of the first round, join with a slip stitch and chain 2 then work a treble crochet into each of the crochet stitches from the first round. At the end of the second round, join the first and last stitches with a slip stitch. 
  • Chain 1 to start the final round, then work a single crochet into alternate stitches around the edge to decrease and give a neat finish. Make sure it's not too tight! At the end of the round, join with a slip stitch and sew in ends. 
  • Put the clock in place and sew on buttons or other embellishments. (As the sewn join is  slightly visible in the knitting, I made sure that the join is positioned to be in the least visible spot, on the side that will face towards a wall.)
It's the long Bank holiday weekend here, so I'm not sure whether I'll make it back to the blog in the next few days but I wish you a lovely weekend whatever you're doing. 
Thursday, 17 April 2014

Spring KAL week 5 - Finished!

It's done! With one week to go until the final Spring Knitalong blogpost, I finished and blocked Miss Winkle today. After planning to use a new-to-me bind off for this project, and trying both the Icelandic and Knitsofacto methods, I ended up undoing both part-way through the row, and using a plain and simple standard knit bind off.  I'm perfectly happy with it, too. 
Binding off Miss Winkle #cftcspringkal

One of the best things about being slow to finish a knitalong project, is that you get the benefit of the group's experience, and I'd had time to plan how I would block the loops, long before it became necessary. Others had used various pipes, and poles but I used the cable of the enormous circular needle purchased a few years ago from Ingrid Wagner. (They hadn't actually been used for anything until today which reminds me that I should really find a better use for them!)

If only you could feel the softness of this (discontinued) Nimu Isel yarn - it's wool, silk and cashmere and so lovely next to the skin. It was a little tricky to work on metal needles (the only tips I had free in the right size) as it is slippery and very easy to split, but the result is worth it. Yes, I really like this one. The colour really doesn't capture well - it's more purple than it looks in any of the photos to date, so I've added a filter to the picture below - it's much closer to the real colours.
Miss Winkle FO #cftcspringkal
As usual, the linky is below for any bloggers who have not finished yet. Next Thursday will be the final post for this knitalong and will include a selection of FOs from the group!  Be sure to upload your final pictures to the Ravelry group if you'd like the chance of having them included. 
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Welcome to CftC! You'll find lots of knitting, spinning, crochet, books and snippets of family life amongst the archives and you may like to start with my most popular tips & tutorials, or the patterns. You can read more about me on the 'Hello' page and if you like it here, you may also like to visit the CftC pages on Ravelry, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Etsy. I hope you enjoy your visit! Sarah

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