Hexipuff Eye-Candy

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An update on my Beekeeper’s Quilt. Mmm hmm, can’t wait to knit all that yarn and sew it all together!

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I’m back!

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Well, that was quite a break! There’s so much crafting to catch you up on. The fractious fair-isle jumper is complete. The hexipuff quilt is taking shape. I’ve made mittens, socks, hats, scarves and blankets. So, there’s probably going to be quite a bit of show and tell over the next few posts.

Here’s where the quilt is at:

I tried laying out the puffs with all the colours mottled together…

Matching puffs and feet!

Which looked gorgeous! But I found it hard to disperse colours evenly.

So I tried putting them into little clusters of like colours like this…

Hexiflowers

And this…

Hexiflowers 2

It makes them easier to put together and means I can join them as I go. This way I don’t have to wait until the very last puff to see how much I have of each colour and disperse them evenly throughout the quilt
It’s safe to say the quilt is going well. Slowly though, as I only just broke the 200 puff mark earlier this week. (Summer here is brutal and not ideal for hexipuffing!)
Here’s the Ravelry page for it all.

And just for a wee bit more eye-candy, here are some of the yarns…

Green yarns for quilt

Next time I can catch you up on my winter knits from last year. I made a bunch of things for my chilly travels to Europe which I’m pretty proud of :’) I also bought some lovely Shetland wool from the undeniably lovely Kathy’s Knits in Edinburgh and used it to make a traditional fair-isle tam on the teensiest needles imaginable.

Yes.
Next time.
You must hold me to that promise so I don’t neglect this blog for so long again!

Much appreciation to those of you who used to follow this blog, and I hope I continue to post things that interest you again.

timmy and puffs

Over and out.

Fractious Fair Isle Friday #2

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I publicly apologise for posting this on a Saturday. I’m sure it’s still Friday somewhere in the world, so I suppose it’s not the biggest faux pas. I was nowhere near a computer for the better part of yesterday but the following photos of my Fair Isle progress were taken yesterday, so I hope that makes up for this slightly belated post.

The suitcase is still going strong. It’s made it so easy to work on the sweater while I’m out, which is a huge plus for me. If I can’t take a project out of the house, it usually dosen’t get finished because my most productive moments are on the bus or train.

The sweater is also going strong, although now as strongly as I would have hoped. I’ve done the waist-shaping for the back, started my second ball of green, and am a few rows shy of starting the major band of colourwork that sits around the upper back and chest. The crummy thing about working 60-plus rows of tiny polka dots is the all the floats. The battle to keep them even, tidy and secure is far from won. I must say though, that the back of my work is impeccably neat. I’m hyper-critical about that sort of thing in my own work, and so to be able to say that is actually quite gratifying.

On the downside, I’ve been questioning whether I really am okay with how loose the ribbing is. I may pick it up and re-knit it on a 2.5mm or something. The thought of having to go back and do that is more than a little defeating. We’ll see what happens.

Over the last few days the sweater has been a little neglected due to the recent discovery of Emily Wessel’s POP Blanket. I swear I’ve lost all focus.
Oh, POP Blanket! How I adore thee. (You know, that sort of thing.)

I mentioned last time that I’d started a circle but didn’t have any white wool for the border. I ended up using the Cascade 220 that I had in storage instead of buying any Morris Norway. It was too buttery in colour – I think a cooler white was needed for this project, or at least for a blanket in this particular colourway of Kureyon…
After fudging the first few attempts at the border and bind-off, I finally came up with a square that was passable! I’m so glad I made those toe up socks because my short row skills really needed to be up to scratch for this one. Like most people on Ravelry, I worked an extra row before casting off to pick up the stray wraps and keep the square tidy.

Here is the first square (attempt #4) being blocked.

(Note to self: Invest in some decent T-pins.)

I wasn’t game enough to photograph and post the first few fails. I’m sure it would have made for good entertainment; I was certainly amused at the completely non-square, hole-ridden messes that my needles produced. What on earth? How is this not working?! Why are there so many goshdarn holes? I’ve done exactly every single thing that the pattern has said! What am I doing wrong? Isn’t this supposed to be a square?
Okay, so maybe ‘amused’ isn’t the right word. Perhaps, ‘curious’, ‘intrigued’, ‘baffled’, or ‘mildly infuriated’.

I later found out that it was perfectly normal for the squares to not actually be squares as soon as they come off the needles. But that didn’t explain why I had so many holes. I think I was wrapping in the wrong direction around the stitch or something silly. Whatever it was, I think I’ve sorted it out.

So as you can see that even though this post is meant to be about my Fair Isle sweater I’ve totally gone on a tangent about my POP Blanket.
Like I said, I’m not at all focused.

Practically perfect in every way!

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But not really. I did fudge this project a little, but these newly made alpaca gloves are perfect in a practical sense.

I’ve had two balls of Eki Riva Casual alpaca 8ply lurking in my stash for… oh, quite a while now. Let’s make it… five months? Yeah, so I forgot about making myself some gloves. We had an unusually cold summer this year. And by unusually cold summer, I mean it’s just about been autumn since January. At least that’s how it feels to me. I get cold so easily!

Obviously five months ago my need for gloves wasn’t imperative because I put the project off for so long. But now as I can barely feel my fingers as I type, despite having the gas heater on and periodically warming my hands using the steaming mug of tea before me, my need for gloves has become oh-so-great. Which is useful, because I’ve made the gloves now. And I have the option of going to find them and put them on. An option which I wouldn’t’ve had if I hadn’t made them last week. So there you go.

Behold, a glove!

Here’s why they are so practical:
They are ribbed the whole way over the fingers and left open, cast off with Jeny’s suprisingly stretchy bind-off.
Which is rad, because then you can do this:

Hello! I spy me some fingers ready to type, knit, or just generally demonstrate their dexterity! Perfect! Actually, again, not really. In this photo I just did a loose knitted bind off, but I changed it afterwards. And feeling a little defeated, I couldn’t be bothered to take another photo. Sorry for letting you believe until now that I had boundless enthusiasm for my craft!

The reason I say I fudged these is because the thumb gusset on the second glove is a little (read: very) skewy. And it’s my fault entirely.
Settle into your chair, dear reader, for I will tell you why.

I went to see ‘The Woman in Black’, and I, thinking that I’m some kind of knitting deity, decided it would be a good, even great, idea to knit in the darkness of the cinema. Hollllllly moly! Boy, was constructing that thumb gusset hard! Not just hard: stupid. There was one really startling jump (it was a film of the horror/thriller variety) where I dropped a stitch. Not just any stitch, but one that originated from a m1 about five rows earlier. I guess it was a good thing because that meant it didn’t unravel past the point of the stitch’s creation. The infuriating thing about it was that even though I knew exactly how to re-m1 and fix the stitch, I couldn’t. Because it was almost pitch black. Damn.

My main issue with the film was that it was archetypical of the Gothic genre. Not because I dislike the Gothic genre, but because almost every scene was dingy or grey, or raining, or night time, or in a swampy marsh, or anywhere that its inhabitants don’t receive their proper daily dose of Vitamin D. I waited impatiently for scenes where the characters finally ventured into daylight where the brief glow of the cinema screen would aid me in picking up my dropped stitch. But to no avail. And I had to just stop, put the glove down very carefully, and relax.

I managed to fix it on the train on the way home, in proper light, in less than a minute.

Like I said, it was my own silly fault. I’ll probably do it again anyway.

In other news, I started my first square for Emily Wessel’s POP Blanket today. I was off work and sick in bed and wanted something exciting to do. I had heaps of Noro Kureyon left over from the Mothers’ Day tea cosy and wanted to use it up. Unfortunately, just as I got up to making the white border around my circle, I realised that the white Cascade 220 I’d planned to use wasn’t there. I’d moved it to my studio space for storage in anticipation of the fact I wouldn’t start a POP blanket for another few weeks. (I’d been trying to retrain myself from startingyet another blanket.) It did give me time to properly think about the border though, and now I’m considering using Morris Norway 10ply in white instead because it’s super cost effective and works well for homewares. So now all I’ve got is a derpy kind of circle waiting for a border until I’m well enough to go out and buy wool. I didn’t take a photo because it really does look a little bit pathetic on its lonesome.

As soon as I can, I will venture out, buy the wool, finish the border, and show you a photo.

Subjectively Necessary Yarn-Accumulation Procedure

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There’s a segment on Andrew Denton’s new show ‘Randling’ called ‘Double Speak’. Contestants have to come up with euphemisms for unfortunate occurrences. For example, a more innocuous term for bombing would be ‘high-altitude aerial persuasion’ or ‘gravity-assisted terrain reshaping device’.

Inspired by this display of witty wordplay, I’ve begun referring to my stash as my subjectively necessary yarn-accumulation procedure. And by those means of justification, here is my haul from my work’s winter sale.

These balls of Country 8ply will probably go towards making a seamless top-down jumper. I’ve been wanting to try that out for a while now. Something like this, but maybe with a bit more shaping.

I also bought some Totem DK to make crochet blankets for 107.

The blankets will just be a single colour. I’ve decided that for the green blanket I will make one square per ball, in total 20 squares to make a 4X5 square blanket. Obviously with all of the projects I already have going, and then the ones in my queue, I won’t get around to making those for a while. I did let myself do some experimenting though.
This is the kind of square I’m thinking of using. Its dimensions are roughly 25X25cm.

I got the pattern for this lovely square from the Japanese crochet book I bought from Kinokuniya a few weeks ago. I absolutely love this pattern.

I decided to work on it while catching the train home from work last week. The train was packed and everyone was off in their own little world. But as soon as I put hook to yarn, the woman next to me started asking me all these great questions about crochet and knitting. Once we started talking, all the other people around us joined in. It really made my day. They were all such nice people. None of them were crafters, but it was really awesome that they were interested in what I was doing.
This sort of thing keeps happening to me actually. For example, a woman on the train yesterday was watching me knit using the magic loop method and wanted to know how it worked. She was sick of not being able to knit socks on public transport for fear of someone bumping her and dislodging a DPN from her work. The conversation was cut short because I was only on for one more stop, but she was a genuinely lovely person and I only wish we could have chatted for longer…

I mentioned last time that I bought some cashmere-merino blend to dye naturally. Here it is in all its undyed, soft and abundant glory! Isn’t it grand?

Oh, the effort exerted by carrying all of these on the peak-hour bus home! Mind you, for every sale pack of wool, I received a free pattern book. Eight free pattern books! I felt like one of those insane Boxing Day Sale shoppers who carries home their own weight in post-Christmas bargains. And in my own very special way, I suppose I was.

In other news, I finished the contrast socks! Woo hoo! They were so much fun to make. I’m decidedly a toe-up convert. I’ll definitely be stocking up on Greystone before the sale is over so I can keep making these little beauties.

Today, I’ll leave you with this: While I was snapping away with my camera, Timmy became entranced by the carry bags I’d used to get the wool home. I managed to quickly catch a couple of blurry, but still adorable, photos of him investigating before he decided they weren’t as entertaining as first anticipated.

Until next time.

Crocheted Collar-related experimentation

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I hope you all had/are having (depending on where you are in the world!) a lovely Good Friday. I spent mine experimenting with crocheted detachable collars…

The first one I made using a pattern from Mel P Designs. I used Morris’ Empire 4ply superwash merino (the same as what my Plumage gloves are made from). It’s so very soft and shouldn’t irritate the skin as it has almost no halo to it. It almost looks cottony.

I was really happy with the way it turned out, although I did do some tweaking. The original doesn’t have the scalloped edge. I got the idea for that particular edging from this crochet collar pattern by iro iro. I thought it was an adorable addition and that it was a bit more my cousin’s style as this collar is for her.

I also made one of iro iro’s crochet collars in some Morris’ Estate 8ply. It’s a little scratchier than the merino, but this collar sits lower and so will make less contact with one’s neck. I decided to use a hook and eye closure at the back instead of a snap closure. I’m much more a fan of peter pan collars, but I still love this round collar to bits.

Here’s a close-up of the edging. It’s very sweet and I’m certain I’ll use it on many projects to come.

This collar is to be gifted to a friend first thing tomorrow.

Because neither of these collars are my own design, they’re not something I could sell at 107. However, I was thinking that the chevron cardigan that inspired this whole crocheted collar idea could be augmented and downsized and crocheted in white to make a kind of yoke/collar too. I love the peter pan collar too much to do away with the idea of making them for 107, so I’ll probably do some more fiddling around until I come up with my own pattern.

So with a bit more experimenting, I’m sure I’ll have a few different collars that I can sell. Maybe I could make a few basic collars, similar to Mel P Designs’, and use different edgings on each…? Scallops? Picots? Miniature flowers? Beading? I’ll get back to you on that one.

But for now, I just wanted to leave you with some photos I quickly took of a granny square blanket I recently inherited.

It was made either by my grandmother, or my great-grandmother (we’re not entirely sure) and it’s quite incredible. It’s 16 by 21 squares, plus each square is bordered by two rows of single crochet. I’m guessing it’s done in 4 ply with a 3.5mm hook though the squares on the edge are all done with a smaller hook and have an extra row. Imagine all that work! Imagine weaving in all those ends! No, I can’t imagine it either; it’s just too incredible.

Unfortunately the blanket needs a little repair. Some of the holes are quite superficial – for example, where the slip stitch join at the end of a round has come undone and needs rejoining.

But some of the holes are quite big.

I’m hoping I’ll find the time to give it a once over and fix up any holes. The really big ones will need a bit of planning before I attempt any drastic surgery.

In the next few days I’ll take some photos to show you how immense and glorious the blanket really is. Oh, and I just have the front bands left to do of the chevron cardigan. So excited to finish!

Some stuff and some things

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Today I finished the first of the gloves I was making for work! Hurrah! I’m so happy with it. It is so warm and toasty – such a shame about the non-glove-friendly, hot and humid weather we’re having at the moment.

(Please excuse the awkward angle; it’s very difficult to take a photo of your own hand.)

Tomorrow I’ll definitely scrounge around for some 4ply in my stash that I can use to make a pair for 107 (and possibly a pair for myself…) Perhaps some Crazy Zauberball, or some other sock yarn. I’m sure I have some lying around waiting to be put to good use.

In other news, the Noro ripple stitch blanket is growing steadily.

It’s rather thick and getting to the stage where it’s a bit too unmanageable to crochet during the bus ride to work each morning. It’s a good night time project because it’s quite an easy, mindless pattern. In the photo you can see the last little mangled bit of the first ball of Taiyo. The Taiyo is like the limiting reagent (ugh, Chemistry analogy). The size of the blanket only really depends on how much Taiyo I have left because it’s discontinued, where as I have abundant access to the gray and black. Yadda, yadda, yadda, therefore as I have three balls, the blanket will come out about three times the size of what you see here.

Noro-wise, I’ve decided to make a crochet chevron lace cardigan. My cousin’s wedding is coming up and the dress I want to wear is too… how should I put it…? Funeral-ly. So I spent (a bit less than) the money I would have spent on a new dress on some Noro Silk Garden to make a colourful, autumnal cardigan to brighten it up. The wedding is also somewhere quite cold so it will be good to have an extra layer, though I’ll probably only make the cardigan cap-sleeved.

Here is what I’ve done of the yoke so far:

I like that it’s asymmetrical. It’s just that bit more interesting. And practical. You’ve got to love a project with no seams!

It’s a different cousin’s birthday coming up and I was having trouble thinking of a gift to make her. Trying the yoke on for size, I had a sudden burst of brainspiration; crochet collars! I’ve been doing a little research into some patterns and found heaps of ideas. Ideally, I’d want it to be a peter-pan collar, but although many patterns I’ve seen are completely gorgeous, none are quite right for her. My favourite so far is by Mel P Designs. I’ll do some experimenting tomorrow. And who knows? If I come up with a pattern myself it could be yet another item for 107.

Guh, so many ideas, so little time.