Posts Tagged ‘craft

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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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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

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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:)

03
Nov
09

High on catnip!

My lucky cats! They think it’s christmas already. I have made some catnip toys, with a view to making some more for christmas presents and swaps. of course the protypes have to be trialed, and thats where my cats score. I made two mice toys first, just plain brown in colour, nothing fancy. One of my cats played with one of them all afternoon, despite being nine years old. The toy is holding up well, given the viscious kicking, clawing and biting it’s been subjected to. The yarn was Patons Sorbet, which is aran weight, although many class it as chunky.

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These two mice are the same but I varied the strings, doing a straight cgain for one, and a bouncy coli for the other. I don’t think one works any better than the other, but the bouncy one is quite good if the mouse is hung somewhere and the cat bats at it. Probably more interesting for the cat.

Having achieved a modicum of success with mice, I then decided to have a go at fish. These were not so successful, in that I should have stuck to the stronger cotton. I swapped over to a double knitting cotton, but its not really as strong or firm, so future toys will all be made in the aran cotton.However, you can mess around to your hearts content with colour and design, so it will be fun to do some more at a later date. The fish were made yesterday so qualify for the count in NanKnitMo, a meagre 1500 stitches, but they all count!

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05
Oct
09

Countdown Fame

I haven’t posted for so long, I know, but I thought I’d tell you about my claim to fame. Jonathan, the creator of Infinite Countdown,has used my picture of a snowy landscape, ‘A Little Snow’ as a backdrop to his Winter Countdown. Thank you Jonathan 🙂 I love the idea of the countdown website. Jonathan is still working on it, but I think it will be great when finished. I’ve added the url to my links so that I can refer to it again…especially with Christmas around the corner. It’s always useful to know how much longer I have to get those presents made, (or bought, when I run out of time, as I nearly always do). My current countdown, which is a little more pressing is the NanoWriMo challenge, which begins on November 1st and lasts for the entire month. You need a month if you are going to write 50,000 words of novel. Perhaps Jonathan could add that one to the list of countdowns, as so many folk take part lol. Anyway, thank you for the honour Jonathan…it’s much appreciated.

23
May
09

Creepy Crawlies

I am not a lover of insects, but I do appreciate that they play an important part in our eco system. Many of them are quite pretty too, like butterflies, moths, ladybirds etc. A member of my group Flora and Fauna on Swap-bot has been hosting a group swap with the theme of Garden Insects. We had to make three Artist Trading Cards to send to one partner, either drawing or stamping the insect. These are my cards which I will be sending to my partner later today. I drew the little creatures digitally, using Artrage, and utillising the pastel and watercolour brushes. Great fun.

Ladybird

Moth 1

Moth 2

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.




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