Archive for the 'Knitting and crochet' Category

07
Nov
09

An experiment…

…well two actually. The first experiment was trying out a new yarn, New to me at any rate. I thought I’d give some microfibre a try. Called ‘Smooth DK’ and made by King Cole, it promised to be soft and I had seen some colours that suited a project I had in mind. So I bought some, and yes, it is soft and very nice to work with. Not quite what I expected, but I think that is more me than a fault with the product. I don’t know if I am the only one who has thought about this, but I wonder if others hae also concluded that DK nowadays is more akin to 4ply. Or to put it another way, 25 years ago, I am sure I remember double knitting being thicker than it is these days. Frequently I pick something up thinking it will be 4ply, only to find that it is Double Knitting. Perhaps it is me, suffering memory loss, but I have to say that given the quantity of knitting I did throughout the time my children were growing up, you’d think I’d have remembered. It would be interesting to find out if gauges have changed. Needle sizing changed, just to confuse everyone, or rather the needles stayed the same but were described differently, now in mm which is mercifully much easier to understand when reading patterns from across the pond.

 P1190063ed

I’ve started to use King Cole Yarns more often in recent months and like them. I love the feel of this one, and the nice stitch definition.

The other experimental part of this tale, is the pattern I was working on. I decided to try and do a woven design, just for the fun of it, and I was really pleased with the way it turned out, although I have to say that I think I should have done another ribbon or two each way to make the weave tighter, but you live and learn through such experiences. This was the result, a little fragranced pillow  (lavender scented) made with the King Cole Smoothie. It’s a bit of a fiddle, but I really like the result so will undoubtedly do it again in the future.

P1190012ed2

 

 

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05
Nov
09

Splash of colour.

A few days ago I finished a project that was really enjoyable. I decided to make a cat blanket, using scraps of yarn left over from other projects. The result was amazing. A rainbow of colours. Are cats colourblind, I wonder?  If that is the case, it may be a blessing, otherwise they might be dazzled.

I made approximately 100 little 2.5 x 2.5 granny squares, with a well known pattern (I see it all over Ravelry and other crochet sites), and double crocheted them together. The yarn I used was one of my favourites, Patons Sorbet. I think I have mentioned it before. It’s a cotton blend, aran weight (worsted weight for those who are in the States and Canada), and its good for things like bags or something that needs to be fairly thickish  or rugged, like a bathmat. So should be good for a pet blanket 🙂

P1190011ed

I enjoyed making this so much, that I am now making something similar, though not for a cat. It’s so easy to pick up, do a few squares and put down again and makes my 50,000 stitch target for NaKnitMo, a breeze, (at least I think it will). I’m so proud of the girls who are doing this challenge, (actually, I think there is a male in there someone as well), but the totals some are racking up every day are incredible. For the rest of us, it’s just a chance to pick up unfinished projects and get them finished, make presents ready for christmas, and generally have a lot of fun. It’s surprising how quickly the stitch totals increase and several people have upped their targets already. I don’t think I will be doing that yet. I am managing to keep up with this blog for the NaBloPoMo, but haven’t done much for NaNoWriMo. I have been planning my plot, but not writing the book! Ah well, tomorrows another day.

04
Nov
09

Dangerous pursuits

Well, I’ve heard about people sustaining injuries after accidently sitting on knitting needles, but yesterday I surprised myself by knitting a splinter into my skin. I had just started a new project and had tested out a pair of metal needles; didn’t work. Plastic needles; didn’t work, so decided that my wooden needles would probably be just right. I’d only done half a dozen stitches when I nearly shot through the roof in pain. I had a small splinter completely wedged into the skin of the index finger of my left hand. With a bit of help from a sterilised sewing needle and lots of patience, I managed to get the wretched thing out, rubbed some anticeptic cream on and changed knitting needles…again

P1190052edP1190050ed

The offending knitting needles (above left, and centre of right picture)were a pair of cheap bamboo needles. I got them free with a magazine, and I have to say, that cheap they may be, but they are normally lovely to work with. They had quickly become one of my favourite pairs of needles. Not any more, or at least, not until I have got my partner to sand them down and smooth them and generally make them safe to play with. I’d sand them down myself if I could find out where he hides the sandpaper! Anyway, I began knitting again this time with a pair of very beautiful wooden needles, made of a japanese wood… However, the yarn still didn’t like the needles, or vice versa, and finally I went back to a second pair  of plastic needles, slightly larger than the first pair, and now we are speeding along!

All of which just goes to show, two things, mainly. 1) needles are out to get you, and 2), it can be trial and error to find the best pair for the job in hand…well that what I have concluded from the experience. The yarn I am using is Wendy Rembrandt, DK which is a wool blend (46% wool) boucle, and wonderfully soft.

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The finger is bearing up well today…so we’ll just put it all down to experience:)

02
Nov
09

quackers…

That is probably what I’ll be after a month of frenzied writing, knitting and crocheting.

My first day produced 1117 stitches for NaKnitMo, no words for NaNoWriMo, and a blog entry. Room for improvement methinks!

Yesterday I decided to make a prototype duck toy. After lots of frogging, this is what I produced.

P1190039ed   Now, I think he is recognisable as a duck, but he has many faults, poor soul. The crochet isn’t tight enough and reveals his stuffing.  His beak, though the idea worked well, is too big and the shape needs refining. His head is too big, his feet need less stuffing, and are not joined in the right place, or at least so that they are pointing the right way. Poor Duck! But, I’ll work on his brother today and see if I can improve the design. I didn’t like the cotton I was using for his beak, so that needs changing as well.

However, I might make a start on something else first, we’ll see. Depends how the whim takes me!

 

 

 

Duck 1

01
Nov
09

Big day November 1st

November 1st means NaNoWriMo for me. A month to write a 50,000 word novello. This inevitably cuts down on craft time. Last year I failed dismally, only accomplishing 23,000 words or thereabouts. This year…well this year, given that I am also attempting 50,000 stitches in the NaKnitMo challenge in Ravelry, and also a blog post a day for NaBloPoMo, who knows? It might mean failure again, or, looking on the bright side, it might be a challenge I can meet. Mind, I’m moderating one of the Scarf Travels groups on Ravelry and co-administrating the NaKnitMo group there too. So I am going to be extra busy. 

I gave due consideration to this heavy commitment, and decided that homemade Christmas cards were probably not a viable proposition this year. I had planned to do them when I returned from my holidays, but never quite got around to the task, so it is unlikely that they will get done this year. It might be good to use up some of the commercial ones which are taking up much needed space in one of the bedroom cupboards.

The main reason I failed the NanoWriMo challenge lasy year was because I couldn’t settle to writing, when I knew I could be knitting or creating a beautiful crochet objet d’art. Those fibres just kept calling, and I have a horrible suspicion that the same might just happen this year. Its not the counting of stitches which is the hook, it’s just the knitting and crochet. I have to have my daily fix, and once I start, I cannot stop. I have said that about writing in the past, so there is a glimmer of hope for my inner muse.

At least I know what I will be writing about. I have ressurrected my childrens’ novel from two, possibly three years ago now, and having read it again, feel the time is right to progress the story a little, and explore possibilities. So that is what I will be working on.

Meanwhile, in order to keep the blog posts daily, I will be writing about my stitch counting projects. I’m trying to keep projects fairly small so there will be at least one every day or every two days) and on the days when there is nothing new, I have a stock of things I haven’t presented yet, simply because I have been lazy and not blogged for months on end. This blog posting challenge is an effort to get me posting regularly again, and perhaps to help with the writing of the novel if my mojo deserts me temporarily.

So, I’ll leave this blog entry with a photo of my work from the last two days. Christmas ornament arigurumi, made for two partners in a Swap-bot swap. I hope they like them. 

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27
May
09

Dribble dribble, toil and bibble!

Remember the lovely swap parcel I received from my new friend in Australia last week? Well I decided that I would use some of the yarn today. A friend’s daughter has just given birth to a baby girl and I thought it would be useful to make some pretty bibs. My swap partner had told me that she uses the bamboo for dishcloths, so I though it might work well for a baby’s bib. When I knitted it up I found it to be so soft that it will be lovely for wiping baby Libby’s mouth. Less harsh than cotton. I hope the bamboo stays soft. I’m sure it will. The colours are very modern and bright, but very pretty and cheerful. I hope the new Mum likes them. The yarn, by the way is the Moda Vera bamboo/cotton (70% bamboo and 30% cotton). The second bib turned out a bit better than the first, but I think Ted models them well!

 

Bib 1                                     Bib 1

 

                              

 

                                                             

Bib 2

 

 

                              

Bib 2 a

23
May
09

Swap from down under

I received a swap from my Australian swap partner a couple of days ago. This was a yarn swap, organised by one of the groups on Ravelry. I am thrilled with the contents. I asked for Australian wool, since J is in Australia and she sent me some gorgeous Cleckheaton Country Naturals, which is 8ply (DK) and 100% wool. She also sent me two skeins of Moda Vera, bamboo / cotton, which is 70% bamboo and 30% cotton, which I am also dying to try. Having read my blog, J remembered that I prefer knitting with shorter lighter needles, (unless I have 200 sts ) and sent some adorable little duckie needles. Obviously they are for children, but I am not proud. I frequently knit with children’s needles. There was a really pretty postcard of a little Kaola to remind me of Australia, along with a keyring, and also some pretty papers and adhesives to do some papertole work.
I loved everything, and just hope J enjoys what I have sent her too. Thank you for a wonderful swap.

Yarn swap

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of what I had put together for J. So I hope she takes a photo and posts it on the relevant thread to remind me.




okeeffe8.jpg Cat mad, but love dogs too! Purple fanatic but... More about me, here!
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