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.