Friday, October 31, 2008

Hard Graft and Treats

It's been a bit quiet on the blog front this week, despite half term - too much to do, too little time. BUT the hallway is decorated and all the jolly (yucky) yellow is gone and has been replaced with wonderful soft cream and sea foam blue/green. I am pleased to say it looks nothing like it did before. The door needs another coat of paint, but it's almost there.

So, to treat myself for all the hard graft this week I've been to the hair dresser today - and I am delighted to say the change is considerable here too - and tomorrow I am off to London to meet up with Caroline and Stacie to haunt the yarn shop near Waterloo station I Knit London. Hopefully, Caroline is going to help me with my yarn addiction and I'll get out of there again without spending a fortune.... Problem is they have my favourite yarn - Habu from Japan. Fingers crossed.

However, I've also been knitting and made another pair of wrist warmers, but this time I've changed the pattern slightly. They're longer, have a simpler cable pattern with a few extra bits. They're totally gorgeous and made from a dark grey cotton/cashmere mix. Lovely and soft. You'll see. I try and take a photo on Sunday and post it here.

Lots more things in the pipeline... Watch this space.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ravelry - Knitting and Crochet

Those of you who like to dabble in a bit of knitting and crochet might be interested in this. I just joined Ravelry - a knitting and crochet website complete with forums, pattern pages, yarn swaps and a shop. (I probably missed something, but go and have a look for yourself!)

It's been recommended to me by Sanna, the lady I bought the pattern for the wrist warmers from. Check out her blog for some cool stuff! (There's a link on the left with all the other blogs for Piquant Purls as well.)

You need to sign up and wait for an invitation at Ravelery. Thought it would take much longer, but in fact it only took a few days and there it was waiting in my mailbox. :-)

Now, I just need to find some extra hours (or better even days) in the day and maybe do away with sleep altogether (sleep, apparently, is for sissies). LOL

... I just might see you on Ravelry...

Black Orchid Shrug

Here's my latest shrug - finished yesterday afternoon - of course, by that time it was too dark to take pictures!

Black Orchid Shrug

This shrug was a story and a half. I bought a pattern for a wrap. I bought some wool and thought the two would go together, so I started on the sleeve. I got to the main part and decided I didn't like the pattern they'd used so I found one I liked much better... which was for some socks originally. LOL However, I liked it, but as I was knitting I realised that the 100% wool, although the right gauge was far too heavy for a 6ft wrap! Okay, so mid-knitting I decided to turn it into a shrug similar to my Shosenshi blue shrug.

I love the deep red (it's even darker in real life, but for some reason the camera always sees red when it sees red (you know what I mean).

Below is the knitted lace pattern I used:

The sleeves in the original pattern would have been plain ribbed 3/4 sleeves which I thought was just not right with the dramatic colour of the shrug, so I added the tulip cuffs.

... and finished the cuffs and the collar with black crochet edging.

The shrug is warm, cosy and looks great. I am so pleased with it. :-) Wearing it right now and it keeps me warm without restricting me, much better than any cardigan.

... now I am off to knit some more. My latest project are some modified fingerless wrist warmers, similar to the previous ones, but I simplified the pattern, and I am making them longer. Oh, and there will be some extra bits... AND they are in the most gorgeous deep charcoal cotton/cashmere yarn... Watch this space.

Poinsettia Heirloom Shawl - Chenille with Needle Felted Flowers

Finally it's finished and photographed:

The Heirloom Poinsettia Shawl

This is something really special for a very special occasion. In fact it is so special and unique that it should be wrapped up safely in a drawer to be lovingly taken out and stroked now and again until that one day when this shawl will make a special day even better - from an anniversary to a ball to a wedding... as long as it's a special day :-)

The main part of the shawl has been made from thick velvety viscose chenille that will keep you warm even in a cold church on Christmas eve.

The butterfly and the fifteen flowers have been painstakingly needle felted from 100% merino wool. I have then used special beading thread in a matching green, Indian green luster beads and Japanase seed beads to attach them to the shrug.

The edging and fringe have been crocheted. The pattern you can see below is my own design. I was going to use an Edwardian edging design but it went the wrong way round so I had to make my own pattern. I am really pleased with how it turned out.

The shawl is roughly 1.93m (or 76") long and 0.38m (15") wide.

It will be available in my Etsy shop shortly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Annis' Black Wrist Warmers

I love the way these have turned out, all Gothic and deep black.

The pattern is the same as for the teal wrist warmers, but they look so different!

This pair is for Annis, but I'll have to make myself a black pair. I've always liked long gloves but they're so impractical - and when am I going to a ball these days? So, these wrist warmers are the perfect substitute. However, the next pair I'll make will be a simplified pattern. It takes me about 2 days to make a pair with this pattern... and I want them much quicker. Anyway, this pattern is copyrighted, so only good for presents, but I'd like to share the fun so have to make up my own pattern to sell them in my Etsy shop... Watch this space.

Here's the knotted pattern in detail:

What else am I up to? Well, there's the dark green chenille shawl which is finally nearing completion. I've decided on the right colour for the needle felted flowers and been busy all morning needle felting little flowers and a butterfly. There are still some more flowers I'll have to make, but I needed a break, it's quite hard on the arms and shoulders this needle felting business. Other things in the pipe line are: a burgundy wrap I started yesterday, a cream chenille and nettle shawl, more scarflettes and hats, more wrist warmers, and Snow White's necklace is still not done either. So many ideas, so many projects and sooooooooo little time...........................

Friday, October 17, 2008

Scarflettes - Autumn and Stormy Day

Here are my latest knitting adventures - scarflettes.

Scarflettes are little scarves that keep you just as warm as the big scarves but are more versatile. If you are a cyclist like me, you know what hassle it is when it's a bit windy and the scarf keeps blowing into your face. This is the solution.

The designs are all my own.

Autumn Scarflette

This scarflette has been made with loopy fluffy mohair (80% mohair, 16% acrylic, 4% polyester). The loops in dark red, coral red, pink, magenta, and copper are wound around a black thread core. I love the colour changes and it looks so autumnal to me.

The scarflette goes round your neck and is closed with three flower buttons in red, puple and orange. There is a lot of give in the knit (it has been knitted in ribs for this purpose) and it sits snug with a lovely ruffle at the bottom that keeps the top of your neckline warm (the bit where the coat always seems to let in a draft!). The top cleaves open slightly to flatter your chin line.

Above you can see the lovely flower buttons and the yarn in detail.

Stormy Seas Scarflette

This little number has been knitted from chenille yarn and then been decorated with more chenille and Italian fashion yarn. The chenille is a lovely stormy blue, the Italian yarn is a pale grey with strands and little papery bits sticking out of it, which gives it a feathery luxurious effect.

The construction for this scarflette is slightly different. It still sits snug around your neck but there's an added 'bib' that flows down from your neck in ruffles in pale grey and blue. If your coat doesn't close all the way up to your neck, worry not, this is the perfect scarflette, it will keep that delicate area warm that isn't covered by your coat.

The scarflette is also ideal to be worn over a jumper. Let it flow over your shoulder by moving the buttons to the side or let if ripple over your back and add style to a simple jumper.

For a bit of whimsy I've added three different buttons in a slightly lighter aqua colour.

Here you can see the soft velvetyness of the chenille and the feathery luxury of the Italian yarn.

Both scarflettes will go in my Etsy shop if you don't snap them up now. The chenille scarflette is £18, the mohair scarflette is £15 (plus P&P). Both are totally unique.

Other colours available for the chenille scarf: red, green, cream chenille.

Hats - Red Cloche and Brown Beanie

Finally, here are the latest hats. :-)

Red Cloche

This is a deep dark red merino wool cloche hat - all my own design. The wool is a very soft 100% merino Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran yarn. It's warm and cosy and will keep your head warm all through the winter (even if we should have snow!). It can be hand washed, however, remove the ribbon first.

The top is crocheted in a spiral.

The brim is split and longer on one side than the other. It can be worn with the split at the front, either side or at the back. All versions look different and make this a very versatile hat.

I made loops to thread the organza ribbon through. It allows the hat (a medium size) to be adjusted.

Here's another view of the hat from a different angle.

Here's the felted flower in detail. It was needle felted in 2 different reds and black and it's a brooch so can be taken off. The hat looks just as good with just the ribbon.

Beanie Hat

This is my new style beanie hat. I saw lots of beanies with wider ribs and really liked the pattern BUT I didn't like the edge as they seem to get very raggedy with the wider ribs so I added a rolled up brim to the hat, which I think finishes it off nicely.

The beanie has been knit from the same Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran yarn as the red cloche. Below you can see the lovely quality of the wool. The colour is not as light as the picture below, but rather like the picture above. To get the detail I had to use a flash which 'distorts' the colour.

The red cloche will go into my Etsy shop, the other was a private commission. However, I am happy to make more of the beanie (or cloche) hats. I have several other colours available and can always get more. If you have a particular colour in mind, just contact me and I'll see if I can get it.

The cloche hat will be for sale at £25, the beanie for £14 (plus P&P).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where The Wild Things Are

This must be one of my favourite stories of all time. And it's Ben's. Lucky for him they're doing it in Drama at school at the moment. He had to design a poster and he was pleased as pie with it when it was finished. Have to admit I was extremely proud of him, so I asked him if I could share it with the world here:

Here's the whole picture:

Here's the boat complete with a sausage sandwich in detail:

And here's the hammock complete with coconuts, a skull and some odd foot prints in the sand:

I only helped him a teeny weeny bit with the shading.

For more details on Maurice Sendak and his beautiful pictures, try these links:

Where the Wild Things Are on Wikipedia

Maurice Sendak on Wikipedia

Interview with Maurice Sendak in the New York Times

Sea Foam Hat

For some reason I felt like making hats recently. According to Caroline I have a right little cottage industry going on. :-)

I've so far made 2 beanies and 2 cloche hats. This is the 2nd of the cloche hats. I am not quite happy with the first one yet, so it still needs a little work before I show it here. However, this one (all my own design) turned out well.

I've used the most gorgeous wool blend in sea foam colours. There's everything from a pale mint green to a teal to a leaf green to a sky blue to a dark British racing green in there:

The top of the hat has been crocheted and the brim has been knitted. I prefer it this way as the knitting adds a different texture, but also helps the brim to curl up nicely.

I've added a needle felted flower brooch for interest:

The flower is attached with a teeny round brooch back to the hat which makes it more versatile than it being sewn onto the hat permanently, and it also allows the hat to be washed:

This hat is a present, but I will make more which will go into my Etsy shop or you can order your own custom hat here. Just drop me an e-mail with your requirements and I am sure we can sort something out.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Beanie, Wrist Warmers & a Snow White Sneak Preview

I did promise to post some pictures after the last teaser post.

Purple and Black London Beanie

Here's the beanie hat I made for Ben. I found the pattern for it on the net. It's been designed by Mark Thrailkill and if you fancy making one yourself, here's the pattern.

I slightly changed the original pattern to what Ben wanted and also to suit the wool I was using, which was slightly thinner than the one in the pattern. The wool I used was DK Super Stylecraft in black and Emperor. It's widely available and has the advantage that you can just chuck it in the washing machine. Very useful with a beanie hat. :-)

Teal Cable Wrist Warmers

I found this lovely pattern on Etsy in Nunt's Shop.

It was a lot more challenging than I had envisaged for my very first pair of wrist warmers, but I liked the pattern so much... and the pattern instructions were very good, even though I had to teach myself the Magic Loop Method of knitting in the round. I found a great tutorial video on YouTube. I also had to do other things I'd never done before - like make a thumb gusset! I'd done cabling before, but that was a long, long time ago and never anything as complex as the knotted pattern in the middle. However, I am so proud of myself that I managed this and they do look halfway decent and are lovely to wear.

The wool I used is teal bamboo which I adore. It's lovely and soft and great to knit with. Apparently it's also hypoallergenic and has some healing qualities (for most of us, some people find it itchy). The only quibble I have with it is that the threads the yarn is made up of separate quite easily which can make for messy knitting if you're not careful, otherwise I loved the yarn and I think it works really well with the pattern.

Here's the pattern in more detail. :-)

Snow White Necklace Preview

Here's a flower I felted ready for my Snow White necklace. It'll be quite a long necklace with the felted rose as a centre piece.

I've used merino wool, crystal organza and beads. The rose isn't quite finished yet, the edges still need tidying up and I am considering using some fabric stiffener to make the rose more sturdy as it's going to be used on a necklace.

More to come soon....

... I've almost finished my green chenille shawl. It's currently being blocked. I still need to make the Sakura felt flowers to decorate it (which I am about to do). The edging (my own design based on an Edwardian design - more about that later) turned out really pretty and so far it's turned out much better even than I thought it would. :-)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Yarn Addicts Anonymous

Caroline and I have been joking about the amounts of yarn we've bought recently and the number of projects we're working on at the same time. I have no idea how she manages to do all hers!

I am working on a shawl in green chenille at the moment, which will (when it's finished) include some Edwardian fringing (I found a lovely vintage pattern for this) and also some needle felted flowers. This will go in my shop.

I am also still trying to teach myself the magic loop method so I can make myself some wrist warmers in a beautiful teal bamboo with a pattern I bought on Etsy. Once I've got the hang of it I will make them in other colours and yarns too.

My latest finished project is a lovely knitted beanie. No photos yet, but soon, promise. It's really cute in brown with thin stripes in a mid grey, dark grey and dark chocolate brown. There will be others when I get round to it and they'll go in my shop. I just bought some more of the yarn I made the first one with. Ben decided he needs one too. :-)

I am also still working on my needle felted Zombie Fairy Cat, however, I have a design problem which I still need to solve. :(

The other project I am still working on is the Snowhite necklace. Part of it is finished but, again, I hit a design problem, although I think I've solved this. :)

I found several more yarns on the net I just had to have, so there'll be more knitting and crochet projects coming, e.g. more shawls, hats (beanie and cloche), wrist warmers and capelets and possibly necklets. Watch this space.

Now I am off to look at Caroline's blog to take a closer look at her new projects. ;)

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