Saturday, 22 August 2009

Spinning Around

I've not been knitting as much as I have been recently as I've just been bitten by the spinning bug.

After using a spindle for awhile; my husband decided that he'd buy me my Christmas and Birthday present early and sent me off to get a spinning wheel. The other reasoning behind the wheel is that we thought it might be good for me to spin daily and help the muscles in my legs (though been doing it so much since I bought it walking is a little difficult, lol!!).

We went to the Spinning Fair at Lincoln Uni a couple of weeks ago and had a go on the wheels that Wingham Wool Work had brought along. I'd sort of set my heart on the Ashford Joy but they didn't have one with them so I decided to go to their shop of the Monday and have a test run. My ever loving Mother came along with me; she was very patient all day even though she was probably quite bored- thanks, Mum!!

I ended up buying a Kromski Sonata as it seemed to be the better deal. The £25 fibre voucher was fun to spend. Came home with a huge bag full of fibre. The hour and a half home seemed to last forever but I finally got home so I could have a play.

I've been spinning every day since and really enjoying it though my first attempts were a bit dire though I think I'm slowly getting the hang of it and I've just made some 2ply laceweight merino - it actually looks like yarn should :)!!

Anyway here's a picture of my wheel which I've named Wolfgang (got a penchant for naming things!) because everytime I see Sonata I think Mozart so hence "Wolfgang".


Thursday, 9 July 2009

Fountain of Beads

Perpignan Aeolian

Finished my Aeolian this week & I'm thrilled with it. This is the first lace shawl I've made that I have kept. I thought the green was a beautiful colour and could be dressed up or down. Quite like the idea of wearing it with jeans.


It looks so fine and the Posh Yarn Diana has blocked beautifully. I've mentioned on my project page on Ravelry that the beading though lovely is a bit too heavy for me in this shawl. I've done the yucca sections as recommended then I've changed the rest to lighten it a bit.

The beads are fantastic and I've bought them from Spellbound Beads, which was recommended to me by a friend. Must say I don't think I've had anything delivered that quickly before. I've used them twice now and each time they've dropped through the letterbox the next morning.

Got a few parties coming up so hopefully I'll get to wear my new shawl.

Golden Waterfall Shawl

I'm very lucky to have a wonderful Mother-in-Law who I get on with extremely well. I always share all the crafty things I do and I've always had at the back of my mind to make her something absolutely gorgeous. I was going to make her a handmade quilt but it generally takes several months and I've just not had the time.

So now I'm into the swing of things with the knitting I thought I'd make her something special. The only problem is she doesn't like wool! However, I found the perfect yarn. Her favourite colour is gold; shoes, handbags, clothes, jewellry - definitely the colour to go for. I bought a skein of Fyberspates Infinity Lace in gold - 3000m in all. It's 100% silk so no wool involved. It has a wonderful sheen to it too. Only downside was winding 3000m onto balls by hand but it's done now. I am using the yarn doubled because it is so thin and there's so much of it anyway.

Next issue was what to knit; initially I had settle on Fiddlesticks Peacock Feather Shawl but when I came to start I then realised that there was no download so it would have to be sent from Canada at a slightly higher cost than I thought plus I couldn't wait that long ( I have about 0% patience).

So researching away on Ravelry I found Mystic Waters by Anna Dalvi which looked to be an interesting pattern. The only fly in the ointment was I couldn't figure out which size I wanted to do and the details didn't really specify how the two different sizes of this pattern were made. Whether I had to decide from the outset or not.

I decided to buy the pattern anyway and it turns out that both the small and large size are the same up until a certain point and then for the small size it changes to the small size patterns with only 13 rows to do. Which is great because I don't have to decide on the size until I get to that point.

The other issue was I wanted to include a few beads to the pattern but nothing was specified in the pattern so I've added them in (details on my project page). Using Spellbound beads again but this time they are clear with a lustre to them and they really catch the light and add just that bit of sparkle that a I wanted.

Below is the shawl in progess:




Thursday, 2 July 2009

Rolling Star Quilt

Rolling Star
This Rolling Star quilt is one of my proudest creations. It was made as a Christmas present for my Mum. Her favourite colours are purple and green; so this was the colour theme.


The whole thing is pieced and quilted by hand; no machine involved. The design was inspired by a lovely book by Jinny Beyer called Colour Confidence for Quilters. It was borrowed from a friend but the basic ideas that I took from it were to use a dark (black in this quilt) and a bright (the bright jewel green) and then all the shades in between. Jinny Beyer had made several different quilts by just using one quilt block and then fragmenting each shape into little versions. The quilt block I used is the Rolling Star.


I'm a bit of a Jinny Beyer fan and I used her Quiltmaking by Hand for all the techniques to make the quilt. Out of every book I own (which is a lot) this is my favourite by far. It is just beautiful to dip into and the quilts in there are to die for. It is crammed full of information and beautiful photography. Plus the techinques make hand piecing a lot quicker and simpler than the original English Paper Piecing I have used in the past.

Edo Temari

Edo Temari
This is one of my favorite temari balls that I have made. It is from Edo Temari (ISBN4-8377-0394-1) which is a beautiful Japanese (no English instructions) book of mainly geometric patterns. It took a little figuring out as only one side of the temari was shown and the other side didn't seem to mirror it.



Though it turned out well (I think so anyway) and was given as a present to my mum. I've added a tassel and loop so it can be hung up - this was destined to hang as part of a curtain tie back.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Laminaria

Laminaria

After seeing the multitude of Laminarias on Ravelry, especially Clarabelle's beautiful Silver Laminaria; I thought I had better have a go.

I have recently made my first purchase from Posh Yarn and must say I'm very impressed with the wool and the beautiful rainbow of colours that it comes in. I bought a Diana in a lovely spring green and Arabella in Jetset which is what I have made the Laminaria. Not sure I'm overly keen on winding the wool onto balls (took a few hours); persuaded my husband to make me a homemade swift. Been to the local hardware store today to get the supplies.



Anyway, finished the laminaria this week and it's blocked and done - ready for a Christmas present can you believe. I love how it has turned out; ended up doing 6 star patterns and 14 blossom patterns which is a lot more than most seem to have done. Arabella is a cobweb weight yarn so think that is probably to do with it but it has made the shawl very fine and airy.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Ceramics

Going to veer away from knitting for this one. For the last few years I've been going to a ceramics class every Tuesday morning with my mum-in-law at Brushstrokes ceramics at Waltham Windmill near Grimsby.

Thought I'd share with you a few of the projects that turned out well.

First is the Christmas present that I made for Jim; he has a huge shed out in the garden which he near enough lives in, (which presumably most men do!). So I thought I'd make him a name plaque for it. It was a lot of fun because normally we just stain or glaze the pots but I made it all mushrooms and leaves etc from clay myself. The glazing turned out well too (it can be a little temperamental; you don't often know what it will look like until after it has come out of the kiln).

I've also been doing a few plates with my own artwork on the first was an Islamic inspired plate that is glazed:

Since I was 18 I have also been to a local botanical watercolour painting class (slipped a bit recently - oh well) though I still do a bit at home. So I thought I'd paint a plate covered in clematis; found it a bit odd using acrylics instead of the usual watercolours but I think it turned out well:

I have quite a few clematis in the garden; it's such a beautiful versatile plant, this is photo of one my sister-in-law bought which is flowering this week.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Entrelac Shawl

Also finished the entrelac shawl so I can wear it at the Proms at Calke Abbey in August. Thought it would be nice and warm to wear on a summer night. Really love how it has turned out; even though I can't block it I don't really mind as it gives it a 3D shape so it looks like it is woven. Plus it is definitely big enough without blocking.

Absolutely adore the tassel on the bottom, it really finishes it off well. The wool has worked out well too; the changes in colour have ended up looking random and well balanced. Don't think it would have turned out that way if I had tried to change the colours intentionally.

Cathedral Window Wedding Gift

Finally finished; I've been planning a Wedding present to give to my oldest friend. I've known him since Primary School and unbelieveably we've kept in touch over the years.

He's getting married on Saturday and my husband is one of the ushers. Hopefully it will be nice weather because they are having a marquee reception. Their colour theme is chocolate brown and gold so I've used those colours to make them a cushion.

It contains lots of silks to make it look sumptuous; I purchased most of the silk from The Silk Route who do a lot of coloured packs, which are perfect for Cathedral Windows.

I had most of it finished early on; then just had to hand stitch all the windows in and the border on. When I came to put the back on my sewing machine decided to go poof!! With two weeks to go - aaahhh! Got it to the repair centre quick and it's all sorted now and finally able to finish the cushion; which I absolutely love (quite like to keep it myself - but I won't).

p.s. The wedding was lovely; a little rain at the beginning and the bride looked absolutely stunning. Seemed to have a little of a 50s theme; the bridesmaids had seamed stockings and lace gloves. Waiting to hear after the honeymoon what they thought of the cushion.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Noro Swallowtail

Made my first triangular shawl - using the Swallowtail pattern by Evelyn Clark; the pattern can be found here. I bought a skein of Noro Kureyon Sock from Tricot in Scunthorpe.

Originally I was going to make a pair of socks; then realised it was hand wash only, which would have meant the socks would not have been worn very much. So I thought I'd make something that would show off the colours better, it was a choice between the Swiss Cheese scarf and Swallowtail shawl.

The Swallowtail seemed to be more interesting to make. Was really quick and didn't realise until I started to knit how a triangular shawl is made; for some reason I had assumed you start at the pointy end!

Anyway about a week later; voila my very own Swallowtail.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Entrelac Progess

My husband bought me Scarf Style by Pam Allen for my birthday. Really loved the Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole but the yarn suggested would end up costing me and absolute fortune. For it to work well it really needed to change colour throughout; Noro was an obvious choice but again it would end up being very expensive. I noticed a few people on Ravelry used James C. Brett Marble and they looked really pretty. I found the Marble in my local haberdashery store and for 6 100g balls it was only £9 which is approximately $13.

My first attempt at entrelac has turned out to be very enjoyable. It is really easy to do; all you need to know is how to knit, purl, pick up stitches and in the odd triangles at the edges know simple increases and decreases. It is really satisfying to see the woven effect grow. Quite a few people on Ravelry seem to have missed the knotted fringe off but to me it looks a lot more elegant with it. The photo is of my progress so far.

Myrtle Leaf Lace Shawl

Finished the shawl and I am so pleased with it. The Heirloom Merino Lace blocked beautifully and the shawl actually feels like air; and it's so soft.

I have plenty of time to spare before my sister-in-law's birthday too. It was quite and easy knit too though slightly problematic when I dropped a stitch as the lace pattern is on both the right side and the wrong side of the knitting which made it tricky to pick up lost stitches. The border was a lot easier to do than I thought it would be.

Loved the wool so much I think I'll make something else. Heirloom Knitting seem to have introduced a few more colours this week in their range. I was thinking of buying the violet and making the South Seas Stole by Laura Patterson. The pattern seems to change throughout so thought it could be a quite interesting make.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Honeycomb Socks

Honeycomb Socks
Finished my Honeycomb Socks; made from Anne Campbell's Circle Sock pattern from Ravelry. I really love the finished effect. I made them for my Mum using the Kaffe Fassett Regia sock wool.
Absolutely love the wool the colours are just fantastic.

I really like the effect of the 3D circles on the socks too. They weren't difficult to knit at all. Basically it was just knit and purl with a few slipped stitches to make the circles.

Mum loves them and they fit really well. Took a bit of adjusting to get the stripes to marry up; don't think they were perfectly matched but close enough.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Myrtle Leaf Beginnings

Started the Myrtle Leaf Shawl from the Victorian Lace Today. Took a few froggings to get on track. Had big metal needles to start with and the stitches kept falling off. Got some gorgeous Knit Pick circular needles from Get Knitted and seem to be getting on a lot better know.

I've done a 4 repeats of the pattern and I'm starting to see how it works and whether I've made a mistake or not (which helps to prevent the frogging?).

The Heirloom Merino seems to suit the pattern quite well. Looking at the yarn used in book it seems to be near enough identical in size. It's really soft and I like the fact that there are plenty of colours to choose from. Not just restricted to black, grey or white.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Heirloom Knitting

The wool from Heirloom Knitting arrived this week. It's really nice. The merino is everso soft. Can't believe how fine the Grey Jamieson & Smith is; should be great for a cobweb weight shawl I have planned.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Victorian Lace Today

Bought Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby. Loved so many of the shawls and scarves. Just had to have a go.

It is a really lovely book. Think the front cover isn't as enticing as it could be; but there is plenty of lovely patterns inside. I'd hesitated about buying because I always think all things Victorian are a little heavy and well "out-dated"! However, the shawl patterns seem (to me) to work with modern clothes. There are one or two patterns I wouldn't make; but it is only one or two there are a good twenty odd that I would like to knit and wear.

Ordered 3 balls of Cranberry red Heirloom Merino to make the myrtle shawl and a 250g cone of 1ply jamieson & Smith Shetland Supreme in grey ( sure I can find something scrumptious to make with it ) - ordered them from Heirloom Knitting which has loads of supplies if you are interested in lace knitting. Just looking forward to getting the wool and seeing what it is like.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Temari

One of the other crafts I do is make Temari balls. I was taught by a friend of mine who lived part of the year in Cyprus (from what I understand it is a popular craft there).
Temarikai is a helpful site for anyone who is interested.

They are stitched balls and are a traditional Japanese craft. I start with a ball of wool and wind some sewing thread of whatever colour I want the background to be. Then mark out the sections and stitch the pattern. Here are a few photos of temari balls I have made.

Japanese Wallhanging

Been planning quite an elaborate Christmas present for my mum. She really likes koi carp and I spotted this Kona Bay Japanese print at last year's Festival of Quilts; so I just had to have it.

I'd seen something at the show with a similar print in; which was banner shaped with diamond blocks surrounding it. Thought I'd do something similar but I've got a bit of a penchant for Cathedral block windows. Lynne Edwards has released a new book Cathedral Window Quilts: The Classic Folded Technique and a Wealth of Variations
It's a really beautiful book and she goes into detail on all the different ways of making Cathedral Windows plus other types of folded blocks too. What I found quite useful was the machine piecing section which I put into practice making the wallhanging. I must say it was a little fiddly at times but think it turned out well. One of the tricky parts for me was the free motion quilting on the picture.

I used Perfect Pallete fabric for the main background & the windows
are from a charm pack of Kona Bay fabrics. Finally finished it just in time for Christmas. This is my Japanese Window Wallhanging.