Sunday, 24 February 2013

Heavy A-line skirt

I wasn't going to blog about this skirt but I guess I can also show the projects that weren't roaring successes.  It's nice to know what to avoid.

This was one of those yarns that I knew immediatey I didn't want to work with, just as soon as I did.  It is Pima Cotton (Mirasol T'ika) and it's horrible.

It is a heavy, nubbly yarn that still splits (oh thanks) even though it has a crepe like appearance. Fantastic (not).  It makes knitting really tough going.

I also didn't like the colour.  Just look at it: it's a dirty looking light blue, with a grey-ey/browish undertone.  It looks grubby before you even handle it.

So the plan was to dye it, eventually.  I am really pleased to see that (eventually) I even did!  That's one for the books.  I even the royal blue.

The pattern is modelled on my Bell Skirt with star shapes bordering the four panels:

This is a pattern from and I loved knitting this first skirt.

The royal blue skirt is just a bit too heavy to wear comfortably so I think I only made myself wear it once. Or so.

The belt loops were the most tricky to get done.  Not so much the knitting itself but the sewing in of all the blessed ends.  I nearly lost the will to live over that one.

I knitted the belt loops by picking up stitches by putting the knitting needle right through the finished knitted fabric and pulled the yarn through.  I probably used a long tail of the yarn because I needed the working yarn on the right side.  I think I sewed the cast-off ends of the loops to the bottom, my memory doesn't serve me well on this detail.

It was all rather fiddly.

I put an elastic band into the tunnel at the top but the thick cotton yarn makes this look really bulky.  The whole skirt is not wildly attractive when worn, there is just too much material around my middle and the skirt itself is too heavy - it is all rather sack-like.

I might pull this out again in summer and see if wearing this is any better when you don't need to put on lots of clothes because it's nice and hot out.  I must admit I'm not holding my breath.

* * *

What I learned is that when I don't like a yarn and it is horrible to knit with right from the word 'go', then chances are I'm not going to like wearing it either.

At least I tried to make something with this yarn.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Birdsong Socks

I am determined to blog about the projects I completed but forgot to write about.  As if that should be a problem!

I have not taken nice enough photos of some projects, those will have to wait.  But I do have good enough pictures of other projects.

So here goes, another project I really like:

I call them my birdsong socks.

I saw the pattern and just had to get it.  it is available on Ravelry and called Nightingale by Vintage Purls.

I would have liked a variegated blue for the pattern and either solid-ish black or dark brown for the background.

I was too keen to start so I bought what went well together.  The yarn is Drops Fabel by Garnstudio.  I bought it from Nest in North London.

It is nicely sturdy yarn.

The pattern at the back is a nice thistle design. I wish I would have realised that I could have started it a few rows higher up.  Never mind, this is good enough.

I also saw this pattern used in a waistcoat - that looked extremely wonderful too. Which is something I'll keep in mind (!).

At first I found the 'one stitch in pink, one stitch in grey' pattern used on the sole, the gussets, the back of the heel and the top of the socks to be rather annoying to knit.

I eventually worked out a rhythm where I held the grey yarn (I knit continentally) and pulled up the pink when needed.  I should have paid attention to that but because I thought it would look the same whichever yarn you hold, I switched on one of the cuffs and held the pink instead and brought the grey up.  You can see the difference in the above photo.

I guess this could make for interesting patterns - but I wouldn't want to have to try and produce different tension by trying to do this on purpose.  That sounds rather tricky.

Since finishing these I have heard of a Scandinavian knitting technique called Stickning that I thought involves this same thing: alternating knitting one stitch in two colours.  But now I think that Stickning refers to knitting in general - although this stripey knitting does feature heavily in the Scandinavian knitting that I just found.

I don't know if this kind of pattern has its own name but I know one thing about it: knitting with two colours in every round makes your socks extremely warm and cosy!

I love wearing them at home for walking about in, in flip flop like shoes.  So toasty.  Love!

Pink crescent shawl

I loved knitting this shawl, love the colour, love the yarn: Wollmeise in colourway Tutu Dark.

Unfortunately the stocking stitch made the edge curl up, some times all the way to where the lace starts.  I wouldn't have been able to wear it like that.  It would have felt like a thin bit of string that might threaten to strangle rather than warm the wearer.

So I picked up stitches all the way along the top edge and knit down, again in stocking stitch.

I had more yarn left than I thought and the resulting facing is almost three inches deep.  Once I ran out of yarn I sewed down each live stitch with cotton thread that matched in colour.

Blocking did wonders for this.  It really brings out the lace pattern beatifully.

The pattern for the lace came from a stitch book, it was called 'Branched Fern' there.  Although the stitch is quite logical it isn't exactly intuitive - I had to keep checking the chart even after quite a few repeats.

I love the way this shawl looks, I'm just not as convinced about the facing. Maybe I should have tried some kind of band as an edging.  Having hand sewn each stitch I won't re-do this.  I will give a different design feature a go when I try something similar in future.

Friday, 15 February 2013

One block of 12

I went for tonal and colour progression on this.  I picked the pink on purpose because the block I had seen, and liked very much, really came into its own for a very light second colour (lime green I think together with a dominant very dark colour. Dark brown or even black? Can't rememeber)

Now the fabrics would have worked out really well on the block I saw - except I forgot that it wasn't a four patch but a nine patch with quarter square triangles at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 position.  I don't remember what the centre square was like.

I had already sewn these together with the plain purple fabric as the centre cross and then started to wonder what had happened to those quarter square triangles (that I hadn't started yet). Ah. Yes.

Still, I liked it so much just the way it was, I went ahead.

Then I realised that I wouldn't have enough fabric if I carried on with this distribution so I ended up making six blocks in this dark to light combo, and another six in reverse order: light to dark.

I sewed them together (no photo yet, sorry) and then found that it was too short for a single bed quilt.

Not having lots of fabric left I then used strips to extend the quilt top.

That's how far I got over the Christmas holiday.  Haven't had time so far to do much about the other side.

I did fussy-cut a few panels out of a grey fabric I want to use as the focal point!

Yep, I have so much fabric that I need to make this a reversible quilt or I'll never use up half the hoard that I've got, not in a hundred years...

110 Projects and counting

I just noticed that I accumulated 110 projects on Ravelry.  Obviously not 'completed' projects: I have 21 WIPs on the go (I moaned about this before, so I'll spare you) - 13 in hibernation and 2 ripped - that leaves 74 completed.

That's not actually that bad.  But, oh boy, 21 things I started and haven't finished yet?

Part of that is that I like one project that I can just motor through - ideal for in front of the telly or the computer.  I merrily motor on and get to a difficult bit.  That I need to focus on so I won't do nonsense or commit ridiculous mistakes.  Always happens when you only half pay attention.

That means that the 'difficult bit stage' items are left to stew in their own juices until I remember that I really want to use that particular project, that I really like it.  Then all of a sudden I make major progress.

Very occasionally I also finish something.

That's great, isn't it?

Having said all that: I did finish items and even took some photographs - but I just haven't blogged about them.

Let's make up for that.

My Lotus Flower Sideways Scarf:

And another photo that shows the detail a litte better:

I wanted to knit this sideways so I wouldn't have to do a great many repeats of the lace pattern.  These are seven repeats if I remember correctly.  I felt that made it wide enough.  If I had to do a great many more repeats while knitting it lengthwise, I would have stopped long before the scarf got to this size and it would have stayed at a very short neckwarmer.

The yarn is Ziton Filigran.  Unfortunately it doesn't hold the shape well.  It relaxes quite a bit which isn't helped by this sideways construction I came up with.  The cast-on edge and the bound-off edge were meant to lay in a wavey line but sling it round your neck for five seconds and you can forget about that.

I was hoping I would be able to combine this with lots of outfits, which I can, but I'm still not wearing it all that often.  I just prefer other shawls.

The stitch pattern came out of a stitch book, it is called Lotus Flower, hence the project name.

I will try something like this again but will pick a yarn that behaves a little different and I will make sure I get suitable edges by thinking a little more about my cast-on and bind-off.

It was an interesting exercise.