Friday, 29 March 2013

Mug Painting

Last night, a group of us from knitting went to the Paintbox Ceramic Cafe, Cleethorpes for mug painting. It was great fun and they all made some fantastic mugs. None of them are glazed yet, we'll get to pick them up next week. 

I thought Charlotte's frog was brilliant!

I normally go every week, so I just carried on what I'd been working on. Though it did happen to be a mug. Here's mine -

I also did a little teaspoon stand, as well, which will be a present for Mr; done using my current zentangle obsession.

I'll let you see them once they're fired, as the colours really brighten.

Here's most of mugs by the end of the night.

Julie and Stacey made the night great. Here's a few of the pieces in the shop, that Julie's painted, with some gorgeous tulips.

It's was a fun night and hopefully everyone enjoyed it.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Photo Tutorial: Estonian Cast On

I've recently been looking into different cast on methods. I've tried quite a few and they've all got their purpose but I have taken quite a fancy to the Estonian Cast On (a.k.a. Double Start, Latvian). It's quite simple to execute, it's stretchy and can be quite decorative too.

It works well with 1 x 1 and 2 x 2 ribbing because it wraps around the base of the column of ribbing. It's a super cast on for socks.

The tutorial is for the single strand method.

1. Measure out a long tail. I tend to use 1 inch per stitch for thicker yarn and 1/2 inch per stitch for DK weight and thinner; plus another 6 inches for luck! Make a slip knot and place on your needle.

2. Place your fingers between the strands and tilt your hand back into a catapult position. This creates a cross on the thumb strand.

3. Insert your needle into the loop around your thumb from below.

4. Reach across over the top of the strand on your forefinger.

5. Scoop this loop back through the loop on the thumb.

6. Drop the thumb strand and tighten the stitch onto the needle (not too tight though). You may recognise the previous steps, as it's the same as a regular long-tailed cast on.

7. Here's where it's different to the long-tail cast on. Now place your hand back into the sling shot position but wrap the thumb yarn clockwise around your thumb.

8. Insert your needle into the loop on your thumb from top to bottom.

9. Reach across over the top of the strand on your forefinger.

10. Scoop this loop back through the loop on the thumb.

11. Drop loop from the thumb and tighten stitch onto needle. (again, not too tight). There should be a bar across the base of these two stitches.

12. Repeat steps 2-11 until you have your required number of stitches.

This method can also be done with two strands of yarn around the thumb. This creates a thicker, more decorative edge.

I'm definitely going to use the Estonian Cast On for my next pair of socks.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Sketching & Doodling

At my LYS, A Good Yarn, there was the New Launch sale last week (I bought too much and daren't blog about it). There were lots of lovely yarns in stock. I wanted to use the BergerĂ© de France, Coton Fifty and the shop has had Mary Jane's Tearoom patterns in stock. They have been hugely popular in the shop, probably in part to the wonderful samples that have been knitted up.

I always have a penchant for stranded colourwork and Bo Rabbit appealed to me the most. So I ended up sketching a Bo Rabbit to try out a different colour combination. Here's my "Bo in Blue":

It would have been better if I'd used my sketchbook but it helped me make a decision. So here's the yarn I bought to make him.

However, the side effect of the sketch was, I really wanted to draw again. Some of my friends had been pinning some "Zentangle" designs that caught my eye. 

So a fair amount of research and many hours later. Here are the results.

Luckily, I happened to have the right sort of pens and pencils to do it without buying anything. The website and the newsletters are quite informative. I found this site was quite good for more design ideas - TanglePatterns. The designs look incredibly complicated but the method behind it is broken down that even someone who believes they have no artistic leanings would be able to produce a zentangle.

I ended up making a sampler page to try out the different designs I found and so I could use it as a reference too.

I've not quite finished with it. I keep adding more and filling in the gaps - so it's a work in progress.

Anyway, back to the knitting.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Doddington Hall

I had a lovely Sunday, we went to Doddington Hall - in search of a walk and some inspiration.
I had lots of fun taking photos, it's been ages since I went out specifically to photograph and I forgot how much I enjoyed it. It was an overcast day and I took lots. Here are a few of my favourites.

Doddington Hall

Hellebore - Christmas Rose

I think this is meant to be a Unicorn!

This was my absolute favourite of the day

Barbed wire

We had a little photo shoot while we were there. Though I much prefer being on the other end of the camera.

What a fun guy? (I'm sorry, but couldn't resist)

I love this one with Mr. in the background.

Horse Chestnut

I thought these were a good demonstration of using different focal points - I think I prefer the first one.

The most enormous gnarled Horse Chestnut - there were three in a row and they were all huge.

I'd never been to Doddington Hall before and must say it was lovely. The Hall wasn't open but we were allowed around the gardens. The farm shop and the cafĂ© were stunning - all fresh and local produce - we had a scrummy lunch there.