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I put in a 3 hour embroidery session a week ago so I could finish the green bag and start moving on to the next one.
Here it is…but hang on just a minute…what’s that in the corner?
A half buttonhole wheel! I had initially decided to divide the repeat of the pattern down the centre at each end of the panel…but then changed my mind after I’d completed it and realised that a more complete repeat would look better. But this little buttonhole wheel got left out. Luckily I caught it as I photographed it. It felt like a spelling mistake – one of the ones that you miss because you’ve read over the page you’ve written so many times that your brain just fills in the blank.
So the final total of hours spent on the bag? 9 and 1/2 hours.
I’ve also completed a Koolhaas hat by Jared Flood. I really liked the pattern but had trouble reading the instructions when it came to the decreases at the crown. Errata is available at Interweave, but I discoverd that after I worked on it. Instead I let the knitting tell me what to do and I think it ended up ok – though I may have made some adjustments unawares.
It’s knitted from one of my first spindle spun yarns, which is why it’s a bit uneven. I didn’t quite make it in regard to yarn meterage either.
Which is why it has a complementary coloured top.
I’ve also been doing some spinning. I have a huge bag of merino/silk roving to get through. It’s beautiful.
I’m spinning it fine and when I’m finished I’ll ply up some mini skeins to knit. I’ll try a navajo ply, a 2 ply and a 3 ply from 3 diffent bobbins, to see which one looks the best. It will be interesting to see how each knits up.
I’ve also been knitting a top down cabled raglan by Stefanie Japel. It’s my commuter knitting. I’m on to the body now which is going pretty quickly. This is my first top down jumper and I’m enjoying it immensely.
Yes, it’s been a while. I’ve been ill with this flu bug that’s been going around, and around. I have been doing some crafty things but I couldn’t manipulate my brain to form complete sentences, so I decided not to post until it was funtional once more.
I knitted a quick, easy and nicely fitting cowl for my Mum. It’s the Abstract Leaves Cowl by Deb Mulder. I was really pleased with the result.
I used my merino and sari silk handspun. I really like how this cowl stays around the neck without too much trouble. I’m not overly fond of the ones that flop down to rest on the shoulders.
I’ve continued to work on the green embroidered bag, but with my flu-foggy brain forgot to keep a time score. But I guess it’s another few hours. I’ve almost finished the second side now too, so it’s almost done.
I’ve also completed a pair of socks for me with the remainder of the sock yarn I used for my sister’s entrelac socks. I just did plain ones this time. I really liked slipping my sock clad feet into my boots last week when the weather was cold and rainy. Most of my bought socks are cotton. The handknit wool ones are so squishy.
I have been working on the green embroidered bag for Vivian of Ecoyarns. (Thanks for your patience, Vivian). I am quite pleased with how the design has turned out. There have been some tricky bits though, such as working close to the side seam or bottom of the bag – there’s not much room to manoeuvre there. There have also been a couple of interesting manoeuvres that I’ve completed all by my little self – such as looping the thread around the handle on a return pass. Tricky questions have also arisen as I’ve worked on this repeating design …when to cheat it so that more of the design appears to make the whole “feel” right, and when to stick to the “logical” and correct version of the repeat. I’ve mostly fone with what “feels” right. When I took the photo below I also realised that I’d missed a tricky leaf on one collumn. Nearly done though. There are still some purple markings on it from the transfer pen, and of course it wil look better when washed and blocked out.
I have tried to keep a time record for this. I haven’t been as diligent as I would like. But it’s taken about 6 mins per cirle and about 20 mins per collumn of leaves. So that’s 14 more circles = 84 mins. And 4 collums of leaves = 80mins. So that’s about another 2 hours and 45 mins, roughly.
Subtotal for this project so far: 6 hours and 25 mins.
And now for some tricky knitting…
I’ve been working on the Te Rosada jumper by Pam Allen. I used two different handspun yarns for this.
The red is a merino/sari silk blend and the purple/green/blue one is Kareoke soysilk and merino. I think they worked together really well and the pattern was very forgiving as they are not exactly the same weight yarns – almost but not quite. I worked two row stripes.
It’s a really simple pattern but I did find the measuring as you go quite tricky as the fabric stretches a fair bit. I had to block it into shape quite a bit as you’ll see from the photo below.
Both these arms are the same size! They blocked beautifully – though they were too long for my little arms, even though I’d made them shorter than the pattern called for to compensate. So I had to go back and chop them off, pick up stitches and redo the edging.
My DH, though commenting that the drop shoulders are not the most flattering style on me, still agreed that it’s a nice jumper. It’s really comfortable and light. Good for this unseasonably warm Autumn we are having.
A few months ago I did have the thought that I should make some gifts for Christmas. “It would be thrifty and more personal”, I reasoned. How did it happen then, that I have nothing home made to give? It’s really very simple, I got distracted.
Firstly by the Icarus shawl. (Even though it’s just a mini Icarus)
Because it seemed absolutely imperative that I knit myself a shawl for the 40 degree days directly ahead of us. I do really like it though. Initially I thought I would dye the white to match the green, but now I like it as is. I’m not sure if you can see but I knit the last two rows in a similar green so it sort of ties in. The green is my handspun and hand dyed alpaca, courtesy of Tauret.
Then I thought that I absolutely must design an embroidered cuff because I’m trying to figure out the best way to attach findings to embroidery so that it can move beyond brooches. This one uses hooks and eyes – I wonder if somebody makes sterling silver hooks and eyes?
Ever noticed how hard it is to photograph your own hand? Especially when that hand has rather short, stubby fingers and, since you don’t have a digital camera, you are actually using the camera function on the video recorder.
Ahhh…That’s the one! The cuff uses feather stitch, chain stitch, lazy daisy stich and palestrina stitch for the side seams. It has little glass beads between each “flower”
The other day I was travelling to Sydney by train and was probably meant to be making some sort of Christmas gift, but I discovered that I had no pockets in which to carry my ipod. Fortunately I had a crochet hook, some cotton and some newly aquired crochet skills thanks to my friend and excellent crochet teacher, Salihan.
So I whipped up an ipod cosy whilst two bemused teenage girls looked on and talked about me while I worked not one foot away from them. It seems that crocheting makes one deaf. Not that they were rude. It was just quite strange to be talked about in the third person by someone sitting directly opposite me.
Thanks for teaching me to crochet Salihan.
I taught for a while. In writing reports we always tried to adhere to the sandwich method. i.e start and end with a good comment and sandwich the “needs to improve” comment inbetween them.
I think I’ll use that method today.
First. I am very happy with how my little embroidered Christmas tree turned out. I stayed with the beads for this one as they were already on there, (votes were split evenly between beads or no beads), made another one just like it and sewed it together to make a stuffed Christmas tree decoration. I edged it with Palestrina stitch. I’m a big fan of palestrina stitch for edgings.
Second. Dyeing? Much room for improvement. I did try my hardest. Iwas even consious of using blue and yellow to make green so that I wouldn’t be putting colours next to eachother that would bleed into one another to create a brown.
So…maybe it doesn’t look that bad in the skein.
Well..it’s functional and it might be to somebody’s taste. My DH said it was “unusual”. I will admit that the cream background does nothing to highlight the colours.
Last. Thank goodness for lovely spinning. Here’s the red/plumish sari silk and merino that I’ve finished plying up. I really like this.
I am! One of my favourite blogs, Contemporary Embroidery, recently had a giveaway. I entered and won. I was so suprised and delighted. I really love Karen’s work and aesthetic. It is fresh and …well…contemporary. Thank you so much for your lovely gifts, Karen.
Here they are:
Gorgeous puffs! In purple and green! Two of my favourite colours. They also happen to be two of my sister’s favourite colours – she has chosen them as theme colours for her wedding. I may have to keep these lovelies out of sight or they may be snaffled up.
A beautiful, delicate brooch. I love it. The picture can’t quite capture all the textural elements of this piece. It’s really beautiful. I have a very classic black and white dress that I think this will really go with. The brooch rests on two business size cards with images of some of Karen’s other work.
I am tickled pink. It was wonderful to find such beauty in the post today.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, as they say…here’s some of my stuff.
I had a think today about why I haven’t kept up with the Take a Stitch Tuesday. Not that I was ever really “on task” or on time with it. But why did I stop where I did? I think I may have been spooked by how poorly a couple of pieces turned out and consequently have taken a step back…or in my case, a running jump.
Today I revisited the challenge. I had to look up what stitch I was up to. It was Bullion Stitch. This is one of my favourite stitches – when it turns out. It is also one of my least favourite stitches, especially, as I have discovered today, when using linen thread. Linen thread just won’t pull through all those wraps smoothly. Having said that, I’m quite pleased with the end result. I did a whip stitch over an outline of small bullion stitches placed end to end. I really like how the whiped stitch pulled the bullions , making them more like little coils.
I used some of the printed fabric that Elizabeth of Quiter Moments sent me. I’m trying to become more comfortable with integrating a pre existing design into my work.
I’ve also been doing some spinning and have finished one bobbin full of blue merino and sari silk. I’ve just started another bobbin and then I’ll two ply it, like the green one.
I have been in a fey mood recently. Salihan recently came over and I helped her start a redwork piece. We had a really fun day and I think she’s going great guns with her embroidery. I’d never done a redwork piece myself so, inspired by Salihan, I decided to try a tiny one.
Can you see the fairy sitting on the toadstool? I would like to try to redesign this a little so that there’s less fuss around where the fairy is. It might be clearer then. I would spend more time on the fairy’s face too…it looks like she has a really big nose!
It’s been slow going with the hand, so I’ve not been doing much stitching. It’s funny how easily your fingers forget their stuff! I’m longing to get back to it and produce something I really like again.
In the meantime I have finished off the Threepenny Pullover by Veronik Avery for my Mum. The neck was a little wide for her when we tried it on so I stitched it up – about a centimetre each side – so it would fit better. I think she liked it. Unfortunately the only photo I got of it was when it was lying on a towel blocking away. But you get the idea.
And here’s the before photo..
Scary, huh? Yes, that is the lump of knitting I cut off the end of the sleeves because it turned out they were way to long – despite measuring in the begining. Ripping out from the begining of your knitting, rather than in reverse, is not that easy. But it was worth it – the sleeves are a much better length.
With the remaining yarn I’ve started a pair of matching socks for Mum. Not that I expect her to wear both knitted pieces at the same time – that might look a bit naff.
I’ve also been doing a bit of dyeing. Dyeing is not hard on the wrists at all. I used Kool Aid for the first time. I read on Ravellry that the Brittish Sweets shop in Glebe sold Kool Aid. When I went there about 6 months ago they only had the strawberry flavour in stock. Strawberry actually seems to be an organge/pink colour rather than the red/pink colour I was expecting. I skeined up the yarn (patons’ superwash), dipped half into the dyepot, leaving the other half hanging over the edge of the pot. I brought the dye bath to a simmer and watched as the yarn sucked up the dye really fast. When there was still a little colour left in the water I flipped the ends in so that they would absorb a bit of colour. So what I got was a kind of space-dyed effect.
I’ve also finished spinning my sari silk/merino blend singles and have plyed the first one up.
I’m experimenting with how to blend the sari-silk and merino tops without a drum carder. So far I’ve had best results with opening up a length of merino, laying down some sari silk, then folding it over and pulling lenths of it out and laying them back on top of one another. Then drafting the whole lot out into a long length of fibre again. Does any of that make sense? Maybe I should do a step by step in photo’s.
I’ve had quite a few home grown lemons come my way recently. Usually I preseve them but this time I decided to try out my grandmother’s recipe for Lemon Butter. I’ve always loved lemon butter but always thought it must be tricky to make. It’s not! I felt very connected to my Nana as I read her handwriting and followed her instructions. It turned out really well – and not a preservative in sight. Loads of sugar though.
I have also loved snowdrops since I was a little girl. I was so pleased when some popped up in the garden the other day. I had forgotten that I planted them. I’m not a great photographer, but I was pleased with this photo.
Note: those droplets of water are not artificially placed!
The problem with my hand has been diagnosed. It’s Carpal Tunnel and tendonitis – caused by overuse and an existing problem with my back and neck. Probably. It’s slowed me down a little. The physio asked what I did with my hands. I replied that I spun, knitted, embroidered and wrote. She asked if I thought I could stop doing those things. Ummm…Sure….but then what would I do? It would be really hard to give up all of those things. I know I should exercise more and I could definitely do that….but what about all those extra hours? What about the fact that these are things I love to do?
So I have severely cut down on the amount of time I spend on these activities in an effort to cure the symptoms. The physio seemed ok with that plan and has asked me to stop whatever activity I’m doing the moment it causes me pain and to only work in short bursts. I have been very good about following those directions and my hand has improved steadily. I’ve been wearing my ”wonder woman” splint at night too and in writing this I’ve just rememered that I have exercises to do. Whoops! The only problem is that because it’s linked to my neck and back the physio thinks that my hand will plateau now until I get those taken care of.
But the exciting news is that I can still continue to do all the things I like – it’s just going to be a slower process.
Over the last few weeks I’ve found that some things hurt more than others. Pulling thread through a thick fabric is more strenuous than pulling through a thin fabric, or pulling through air. So I’ve tried some needle lace which was lots of fun and less strain.
These are some little badges. The background fabric is made from white cheesecloth and purple …(damn…what’s that stuff called? Chiffon?…anyway, you know… the see through stuff). The two pieces of fabric were glued together, with beads and sparkly fibre sandwiched between them. The glue was a watered down mixture of modpodge. The fabric dries stiff but flexible. The backing is just plain callico. I think the stiffness of the fabric helped support the needle lace quite well.
I also navajo plied my alpaca. The link goes to a pretty good utube video – I am definitely not as smooth as the woman in the video! Plying itself is not too painful as the thread just runs through your hand. But I’m still finding that my spinning is too uneven and makes navajo plying a bit unpredictable. When I bring a thick bit through a thinner bit of the loop it does seem to catch a little….or break…
This looks like I have only 3 fingers! The effects of carpal tunnel are not quite that dramatic. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to capture the colours properly – they are less grey.
Vivian from our knitting group, (that’s right, we now have a knitting group – it’s very cool), kindly lent me her Ashford Knitter’s Loom so I could “try my hand” at weaving. (It’s a joke, Joyce). I’m pleased to say that weaving does not trigger the carpal tunnel symptoms. Yay! It’s been fun trying it out. I am pleased with my first scarf, though it’s really funny to be back to square one with something. The scarf has flaws in it where I’ve missed a warp thread. I figure that this is similar to dropping a stitch in that first knitted scarf. I still like my woven scarf though, and feel a sense of accomplishment - just as I did when I completed my first knitted scarf.
Here it is on the loom. The two colour warp threads were not planned. I ran out of red and improvised. But I like the effect. The warp threads are Patons Superwash wool and the weft is Vero – “made for naturally” shade 60. My friend Emily gave me the Vero yarn when she was last in Australia – along with other beauties which shall no doubt make an appearance on these pages in time. Thanks Emily!
The finished scarf. I’m going to have to find some info on different finishes for the woven material. I don’t mind a fringe now and then but I’d like to know how else to secure the fabric. I’ve read that you can thread the warp threads back through the fabric…but wouldn’t that make it awfully thick at each end? I’ll just have to try it!
And here’s a mistake!
And another one! Look closely…it’s a big vertical thread…oh…and please don’t look at the uneven edges! But I still love it!
I’m giving some thought to buying my own loom. I had a fairly big birthday recently and Husband hasn’t given me a present yet, but he says he’d be happy to save up and buy me a loom as a pressie. More investigation needed.
Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered that I sometimes use stitching and knitting as a diversionary tactic to stop myself thinking. How did I discover this? Well it seems that I’ve developed some kind of problem with my hand and arm that has made it very difficult to embroider and knit as much as I normally would. Before you ask, No, I haven’t been to the doctor yet. I thought I’d let it fix itself. Not such a good plan as it turns out. I’m going to try and make an appointment for Friday.
So I couldn’t do anything at all for about a week . But I have been slowly reintroducing the crafts. I have spun a little from the dyed alpaca. It’s very soft and fluffy and only requires the lightest pressure to draft so I thought it wouldn’t hurt my hand too much. The colours are a little less grey. Very soft blues and greens. I think I’m going to make a lace scarf out of it…or a lace kerchief depending on how much yarn it makes. I think I’ll make it a 2 ply, although it’s tempting to navajo ply it so I can keep the colour intervals clear – it’s just not my favourite technique.
I found that knitting with larger needles was easier than with smaller ones. My hand cramped up less. So it was the perfect time to start the Sienna Cardigan with yarn from Wendy. The yarn from Wendy was a generous gift, a thank you for my podcast, and it’s very much appreciated. It’s taken me a litte while to find just the right project for it, and I had to finish my jumper for my Mum first. I didn’t have quite enough for full sleeves, so I made it into a shorter sleeved jacket. I like it very much and it’s perfect for the slightly breezy, cool but not cold, weather we’ve been having lately. I also played around with the collar a little bit so it’s a little smaller than the original pattern.
Hubby took the photo’s and we both tried very hard to do the best interweave styling that we could manage. I particularly like the hand on the collar shot
I am in serious danger of becoming a Jack of All Trades, Master of None. Life seems to short to and I want to try so much. I desperately want to try lampwork and have found a class nearby, but when I pressed the organiser on the minimum tools needed to continue afterards she did not reply. I don’t see much point in spending $380 on a weekend course if I don’t have enough money to continue with the work afterwards. Not that I acutally have $380 anyway, but as the course isn’t until October I was thinking I could put some birthday money towards it…anyway…this isn’t about not being able to do things…this is about being able to do new things!
My lovely new and generous friend, Hope, gave me a whole bunch of fibre to spin with from her, (quite sizeable, I have to say), stash. I’ve spun up quite a lot of it and just skeined up and set this:
I’m not sure what type of wool this was but it was from a bat and had little bits of white fluff in it. I’ve navajo plied it and I’m pleased with the result. I really enjoyed spinning from a batt – the fibre was really light and fluffy to work with.
Hope also gave me some alpaca. I’ve never had any alpaca before and didn’t want to ruin it, so it was with some trepidation that I set out to dye it yesterday. I bought an old pot from the op-shop and took down the “Rhonda Trounce silk and wool dyes” that my Mum had passed on to me. They didn’t have any instructions so I loosely followed the kettle dyeing instructions posted on the “From the Dyepot” forum on Ravellry. I’ve done Jelly crystal dying in the microwave before but haven’t done any kettle dying or steam dying. I soaked the fiber for about 4 hours in a vinegar and water solution, filled the pot up a little way so that the water line was just level with the fibre and proceeded to pour some of the dye into the pot. The dyes are already liquid so I didn’t have to do any mixing – but I had no idea how strong they were. I used a deep green and a purple and dotted it around with a chopstick. The water looked more intense than the actual colours turned out, I think. So I’ll take note of that for next time. The dye was exhausted though – only clear water left at the end of the simmering processs. At the moment the fibre is still drying – but here’s what it looked like in the pot.
And now for a closer look – notice how the purple combined with the green to make a sea blue kind of colour?
So far, though I had hoped that a bit more purple would show through, I do like the results.
Now while the pot was simmering, I had to do something. So I taught myself how to tatt using this utube video paired with this instuctable. I went back and forth between both sites so I could work out how it was done. It done by totusmel, whose blog I found through the one world one heart event. Many thanks to her for the instuctions.
I managed to make a flower!
But not before some mishaps:
- It took me a little while to realise that each ring had to be joined back into the same picot created on the first ring. I can see the potential for freeform tatting in this
The other morning we were having breakfast on the balcony and noticed 3 perfect spiderwebs in the bushes. They were quite stunning and I wished I had a proper digital camera so I could get a better shot for the blog.
Isn’t that amazing! Small wonders.