Thursday, August 26, 2010

When I love washing

I find something immensely satisfying about washing and drying the material I've bought to make things out of.
It's possibly because when I wash and dry it I feel like I'm actually doing something with out having to commit to cutting and sewing it.
Or whether it just gives me more time to wonder exactly what I'm going to do with it.
I enjoy ironing it too.... can't say that about all the other ironing, although this ironing is flat and straight so somewhat easier than most the other stuff.

I think my husband would tell you it's because I am so tactile and the whole washing process lets me see and touch all the fabric with out anyone realising how weird I really am.

Disco baby!

This is not my first attempt at stitch markers... it is, however my first attempt at bending wire to make stitch markers and attaching them to earring findings so that they can be used as crochet stitch markers (they can be used as knitting too, or be put onto stitches and taken off again because they open and close).
And if all else fails the person to whom they are going (they are part of a swap) can wear them as earrings - 3 pairs of them in fact. :o)

They are a bit hard to photograph, as all sparkly things are... one of the beads is almost mirror ball like and I'm quite a sucker for anything glitzy.
You won't miss them in your crochet either!

Hope my partner likes them.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

On the sew again

I have a new sewing machine and I will wax on about it in another post, but I am back to loving sewing (which means I am back to enhancing my already large material stash).

This is the second thing I've made on it - a new to me pattern that you can find here.
Well it's mostly that pattern. I have a pocket on the inside, shorter handles and a magnetic closure.

I have to say once I finished the bag didn't really impress me, until I put stuff into it.
It really comes into its own then and I love it.
This bag is going to someone else in a swap, so I will have to make myself one.
My daughter suggested brighter colours - six year olds don't find navy blue enticing... my son loves blue though and he wants to keep it.
It's a fairly simple pattern, I did enlarge it though... you might end up with a tiny bag otherwise!

Friday, August 13, 2010

One Tea Cosy - finally finished, not quite as I imagined

I had big visions for the Group entry of the Tea Cosy competition this year - a lovely garden full of flowers. Well in my mind it was wonderful, we'd all make nice green bases and then some beautiful flowers for on top.
I have the "100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet: A Collection of Beautiful Blooms for Embellishing Garments, Accessories, and More" so I thought it would be a piece of cake.

erhmm. It didn't work out that way. I tried at least 8 of the patterns and they really did not in any way resemble what was in the book.

I threw things across the room and then I put it aside, constantly.

Eventually guilt got the better of me as everyone else would be making a tea cosy and I'd pushed them to do it and not even made my own.

So I ended up finding a very plain flower pattern which seemed to work. Not really knowing how to make it interesting and really just interested in getting it finished I decided to dye it with food colouring....

and so voila!.....

I can't say it's the best thing I've made,
but I can say I am very relieved to have it finished.
Next year I'll keep my bright ideas to myself. :o)
Tea cosies aren't as easy as you think they should be!
And if you're wondering it's a posy of flowers, hence the ribbon.

Dyeing stuff

Just some more dyeing.
This started its life as Patons Soft Haze in grey but I decided I wanted a bluer colour. It's quite a grey denim colour.

This one went in the same dye bath as the one above, but it's all wool, unlike the Soft Haze.
It has quite a teal colour, not my favourite but I might be able to find someone who'd like to make socks out of it.

I didn't knit this

Mum knitted Little Miss 6 this gorgeous bolero, but here she is doing some poses for us.

This is her version of walking down the catwalk (ie the path) and posing at the end.
I do like the hands on her hips though.
Nice jacket hey?
She used a pattern from Patons Book 1261 and Patons Zhivago yarn.
I've ended up adding a sparkly broach as a closure which looks just super.

The Mei-Mei

I just thought I'd add a few photos of a human (in this case Mum) wearing the Mei-Mei.
This is now Mum's Mei-mei (with the border of the Mocha Roca) - pattern by Doris Chan.

It suits her too.

Nice colour

Some sock yarn I dyed for a swap.
Could have kept this skein. :o)

Fingerless Gloves

I'd like to say "I whipped up these gloves in no time at all" but I don't ever just 'whip things up', well not knitted things anyway.

I used this pattern. Except I wanted to do it in 8ply not 4ply.
This, of course, took several attempts to get started.
But I did and I think I fudged my way through it.

I intentionally knitted them in white so I could dye it once it was knit - most people don't realise you can do this.

How did I get the colour gradient, well there are two colours there to start with. The very ends are the colours I used and basically I dipped the gloves in and held them for different lengths of time in the dye. (The darkest the longest etc) and as I got to the middle I blended the two colours.

What's interesting, and you can't see it here, is how the colours go when you the ribbing stretches. It's a very unique effect, you'd never get it by dyeing the yarn before hand. I quite like like it.

Oh, I did wear the gloves at Bendigo, but I am not really a glove wearer so ended up with them off most of the time.

Another birthday swap

I'm not great at this birthday swap business...
I know they're coming but they always seem to sneak up on me.
I made a reversible drawstring bag this time.
The rest of the parcel was some nice Eki Riva yarn (I'm not a purple person, this definitely didn't come out of my stash!) some purple Kool-Aid, some Tpins and a Knit one coffee cup.

A Simple handspun scarf

I made this scarf very quickly, amazingly quickly as far as I was concerned.
Ok, it's not a huuuuge scarf but the point of it was as an example for blocking when I went to the Bendigo Show.

I knit it on large needles - 10mm from memory, and it is a simple K2tog, YO pattern.

It could do with a good blocking couldn't it?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Rainbow Connection

I have never rainbow dyed. I love to dye yarn and have dyed quite a bit of stuff, but I have never done good old faithful rainbow dyeing.
This is because I am not fond of strongly variegated yarns, and I don't like colours mixing to brown.

So one weekend I thought I had better give it a go. I mean if I was selling kits I should at least have had a go at it myself.

I set up and threw all abandon to the wind (it was a actually quite cold and rainy) and made up my colours, curled my skein into a spiral in my plastic tub and went about adding colours in ordered randomness. I wanted some blending, but not too much, it was a fine balance.

I was very happy with the way it turned out - I had a good omen while I was dyeing, a big rainbow appeared in the sky.
I wasn't sure how it would make up, but I liked the colours in the skein so I set the dye and put it out to dry.

I couldn't have been more happy with the end result. Winding this yarn into a ball I found the blend of colours very pleasing. I could have left it sitting on my bench and just kept admiring the pretty colours.
But I wanted to make it up into something to see how it would come out.
Crochet was my quickest option, so I tried a Crobaktus pattern, but couldn't seem to make the decreases match as exactly as I wanted them too - also I wanted a long thin scarf cross shawl, so I undid it (several times) and crocheted my own version.

I was happy with the outcome.
Here it is blocking.

The yarn is a 5ply crepe yarn.

I wouldn't make everything in rainbow and I'm still not a fan of lots of variegation but I was really pleased with this one.

Mei Mei

I bought Doris Chan's Everyday Crochet a while ago. The first time I went through it I didn't think there was much in there that I would make, but I read it and reread it and rereread it. As I did things grew on me and I could see how I could change things to suit me.

I couldn't wait to try something, but what.

Well eventually I jumped in. A Mei-Mei (I believe you need the book to get all the details for this, but the book is worth the investment). However I added bits I liked from Mocha Roca like the border.

It took me a while to get the hang of how the instructions were written and how to do the yoke. I did join the Doris Chan group on Ravelry and found instructions Doris had written there - she seems such a lovely and approachable lady, always round to help.

I made this Mei-Mei with some Patons Soft Haze I had. I wanted to dye it a nice bright green, but soft haze is made up 70% Acrylic, 20% Wool, 10% Bamboo so doesn't take a strong colour.
This is a nice green though. (I used food colouring, Kool Aid and Landscape dyes.)

It didn't take too long to make up, although I didn't work at it every single day.
I have discovered that my tension relaxes, from what I did in my tension swatch, once I start on the actually garment, especially as I am whizzing along. This ended up making this little jacket too big for me. Mum was very happy to step in and acquire it. :o)
I used a little over 300grms of the Soft Haze to make this in a 40" size on a 5.5mm hook.

I think it suits her.
I'm going to make something from the book (probably a mishmash of a couple of other patterns) for me - not a Mei-Mei I think we're a bit old for dressing "Mother-Daughter" style.