Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Birds on a Wire and more socks

Its been several weeks without updates and after todays post to bring some projects up to date I will take another break whilst we travel overseas.

I'd like to post more than just progress on socks and hope a long holiday will inspire a wider range of projects when I return. Everything has been so busy that a sock knit in the bag is all I've been able to keep up with.

Having said that, I do have a project thats not a sock!
This is Birds on a Wire cowl by Celeste Young. I have since finished it but not photographed it.
Here is the published picture

I used Morris & Sons estate. an 8ply 100% wool in two colours. A charcoal and a silver grey.

I was absolutely delighted with it as I knit. As you can see front he original photograph it needs a crispness to show off the bird motifs. Unfortunately after a little water (to block it. I did not stretch it. I was very gentle) it has completely changed character and has now gone limp and floppy.

This is why I don't have a finished photograph. I'm still upset and contemplating an intervention with starch or even (deep breath)_ a quick visit to the drier.

Sock project round up.

SofTrope sock yarn in the colour Weld. 75%merino, 25% nylon. Its made for a good friend who is about to deliver a baby. There will be a baby knit gift for her.. but these just for the cold floors of her house when she's getting up in the middle of the night.
I love the yarn, very easy to knit with. SofTropes' colours are all beautifully subtle. i have another skein to try next. a 100% BFL in a soft aqua called Enlightenment.

Schoppel's Das Paar is up next, also a merino nylon mix. These socks are the colour pattern 'Warmfront'. They are for my son. I've made only one sock as my holiday plan is to make lots of 'first socks' and then make the matching sock whilst I'm travelling. That way I'll have a readymade guide to size and my rate of completion will seem much faster.

Sundara Yarn's sock in colour Daffodil. I recently bought several skeins of this sock yarn in different colours on ravelry destash. Sundara is my favourite yarn brand beyond all other yarns.

I've almost finished this first sock. My daughter selected the colour and its for her.

Next is Jill Draper Makes Stuff's Esopus Sock in the colour Monarchs and Milkweed.
In real life its not as yellow and pink.. rather more ochre and reddish plum. The stitch definition on this yarn is amazing. It is a very curly yarn though, similar to how I find Wollmeise to knit with. I like the result but I'm undecided if I like knitting with it. I like a bit more halo and less twist in the strand.

Finally since I'm doing a wrap up of sock progress I have these finished socks. The yarn is Augustbird's  sock in the colour "Songbird". The skein is one of the prettiest Ive seen. I bought two on the strength of it.

I have only a phone picture as I had forgotten I'd knitted these in my blog round up. But as you can see the colours distributed beautifully.

I will be back online at the beginning of May.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Week 158 : Weaving with wollmeise

I tried weaving this week. I had two skeins of highly variegated Wollemise sock yarn. (100% Pure in the colour Flower Power).

Using the yarn for both the warp and the weft produced quite a vibrant plaid pattern.

Its early days in this project. It also took me a while to remember how the thread up this loom and not get too dispirited when the first few inches looked so uneven.

It is moving quickly now and apart from being a bit concerned about how loose the weave looks. I hope to at least be able to finally judge its success in a week. Its under quite a bit of tension in the loom and a soak in water after weaving will also produce a bit more relaxation in the fabric.

Here is the yarn in skein, after untying and before and ball wound.

I also cast on a sock for a gift. This is Softrope Sock in the colour Weld. I think it might be one of the nicest sock yarns Ive knitted with. My stitches are coming out nice and evenly (even before blocking).

Friday, February 6, 2015

Week 156-157: A test knit, baby cardigan and more socks

I completed a small test knit for Knitionary this past week. She has designed a knit outfit for an 18" doll. Its a free pattern, (link here). The doll in the pattern is an 'American Girl' doll. My daughters doll here is also 18" but is a Kidz and Cats doll.

It was a quick and enjoyable knit. I made  the cardigan and skirt only. There is a matching hat.

I used leftover yarn from two projects. The lilac is Swans Island Worsted in the colour Vintage Lilac. I made my first Twigs and Willows cardigan in this yarn in week Sixty Six.

The contrast stripe is Aslan Trends Invernal, which was a cowl necked sweater I knit in 2012. I loved it but unfortunately with its angora content it shed over everything and also pilled terribly.

I modified the skirt to include three contrast stripes.

I was so thrilled with this little knit, I even made the trip out to my favourite button shop. I bough small pearly lavender buttons.

The second project I finished was a baby cardigan in my go-to pattern. Boy o Boy. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the colour Sugar Plum from December 2009.
I modified the pattern to knit the body in one piece (omitting the side seams) and picking up the sleeve stitches (as before, from the reverse to show the slipped stitch edge).

I have only an in-progress shot to post because I finished it late in the evening and it had to be gifted immediately the next day.

The buttons are vintage glass.

Finally a pair of socks were completed for my daughter. These are Twisted Limone in the colour Vintage Rose.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Week 155 extra : Raspberry Sundae

I can show a gift knitted project.
It is a pair of socks knitted in Augustbird's White Gum Wool Sock yarn in the gradient colour Allegro. They came as a ball wound set of two (one for each sock) 

The yarn is very soft and silky. A delight to knit with, even if it is a little slippery on the needles. The gradient change was a lot longer than I expected. I was closing in on the toe only at the transition out of the first pink stage.

I thought with it being mostly pink and just a little of the creamy yellow, it looked a bit like a raspberry sundae and then I thought to make that look more intentional by embroidering a little ice-cream sundae glass. 

I did french knot stitches for the ice-cream, the glass is duplicate stitched. Both in the yarn. I added in some tiny sequins and glass beads for sparkle (not that they photograph very well).

I also finished another pair of socks for my daughter. They have been my 'carry-along' project this week. These are Madelinetosh Sock in the colour Cosmic Wonderdust. 

I am casting on another sock as soon as I finish typing. It is great always having a small project in my bag for when I'm waiting on the kids.
I am also working on sleeves for a longer standing project started in week 125, the bright yellow Sundara Sport Silky Cashmere, colour Desert Blazing Star. I hope to have that finished in the next two weeks.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week 155 : Finished sweater !

I finally finished a sweater. This knit in Plucky Yarn's Bello in a gradient set of four brown-toned colours. The darkest is Single Malt, followed by Sock Monkey, Fine Tooth Comb and the lightest Oatmeal.

I cast on a simple bottom-up raglan sweater alternating in a new colour first 2 rows to 1 new, then 1 to 1, then 1 row "old" to 2 rows new.
By the time i got to joining the yoke I felt like adding a little extra detail so I adapted the yoke design of Ann Weaver's Neiman using the darkest Single Malt over the Oatmeal. I modified the neckline with an extra round of some decreases to be a little less wide.

I'm quite happy with this sweater. Its not a colour I usually wear but with the right accompaniment I could grow to love it. The yarn is delicious. perfect definite in the stitches, soft and drapey.

Another baby cardigan came of the production line. Boy o boy pattern again and in Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted. A new yarn for me, although I have used the lighter gauge before. 
The colour is a deep semisolid turquoise called Hosta Blue. The buttons are an amazing match and came from my favourite button shop All Buttons (sidebar link)

I made a modification to the construction. My recent versions omitted the slipped rib on the sleeves and knit them down from picked up stitches along the body edge.

This version I slipped the first stitch of every row on the body pieces. Then I picked up my 'armhole stitches from the back so that the "seam" (This bigger scaled stitches) showed. Of course going in each bigger loop didn't quite give me enough stitches in the distance but a few evenly spaced m1 increases on the first down are invisible in reverse stockinette.

I think it makes a nicer sleeve to body join and an added plus is that the fabric pieces required less blocking to lie flat. 

I am wondering if I might try the slipped rib on the sleeve for the next version. I'm using a strongly variegated yarn, so the fact that the rib "v" will be pointing in the opposite direction to the body (when the arms are down) will be less noticeable. The slipped rib is a fantastic way to create a colour mix with the yarn.

Perhaps the "v" direction is something only a knitter would notice, even with a plain coloured yarn..

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Week 154 : Soap making

Only showing one craft attempt this week. There is some gift-knitting but I can't show the items until they are received by the recipients.

Soap making.
I was inspired to try something new. I mostly avoid buying liquid hand soap. All that packaging waste! And I like the idea of a handcrafted soap bar. 

I read up on the method (it really doesn't sound that hard. A few safety precautions for handling the lye (sodium hydroxide) but really nothing more than I would have done if I was paintstripping a piece of furniture (protect the eyes, wear old covering clothing, rubber gloves etc. )

So I assembled the ingredients:

 Most of which I got online from Aussie Soap Supplies. Plus safety glasses, gloves from the hardware store.

The oils I used were a combination of coconut and castor oil. I added goats milk (powdered in the kit which was easier to handle).

The process was very straightforward. The only expensive part was getting a stick blender as it can't be used for food afterwards. I compromised and upgraded the kitchen one to relieve the duty on the one I had.

Maybe my oil, cocoa butter, goats milk mixture was too complex for my first try. I think I over mixed it.. just as I was wondering if I had reached the stage of 'thin trace' than it went very lumpy.

I poured it into my mould. It has set, it is supposedly curing for some weeks. It is not the prettiest bar of soap by a long shot.

I am hoping my next attempt will be a bit better. I'm going to try a simple olive oil soap and pay more attention to the combining.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Week 150-153 : Holiday season crafting

I knit and I dyed fabric this holiday.

Firstly the fabric (because the knit is socks and there have been an awful lot of sock pictures on this blog).

i had a load of white 100% cotton pillowcases which were past their best so I used them to experiment a little.

Inspired by a post on Design sponge about Shibori dyeing I got to work using a commercial dye.

I tried three types of wrapping. I tied these really tightly (and had the blisters to prove it afterwards)

The most dramatic effect was with the twine only.

Then the crosswise paddle pop sticks

And the single paddle pop sticks.

I was so inspired by this experiment I went on to dye a set of table napkins. These are plain cotton (bought cheaply). I used the same brand of dye in chocolate brown and the crosswise paddle pop stick wrap.

Love them!

My son is about to get his own mobile phone. A hand-me-down from his father. I cross-stitched a plastic cover for it. 

And the socks….

A pair in a gradient yarn from Augustbird for a friend.

A pair in a fake Fair Isle for my daughter. She loves the colour and pattern but thinks they're a bit too long in the leg so they don't fold neatly over her boot.

And a pair in Twisted Limone colour Gothic Rainbow for my son.