Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mulling A Restart

I'm fairly happy with my little herd of giraffes, but a couple of things are bothering me. I think my blanket is a bit narrow. Sure, I want a small blanket, but another giraffe in width would be a better size. I used the same number of stitches I usually use for a cotton baby blanket, but I think the wool is a bit thinner and that probably makes the difference. Also, I don't like the way the bottom edging is flipping up. Blocking would probably improve it, but really it needs to be knitted on a smaller needle. I know that if I go on, those factors will go on bothering me, so I had better just take a deep breath and unravel this lot.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Border

The border shown on Sandra Jager's chart is easy on socks, knitted in the round. I could ignore it and just use the giraffes on my baby blanket, but I like the border and I like the way it connects to the black rows that give the giraffes their eyes and ears (or horns perhaps). I'm going to use the second method I tried to adapt the chart to working back and forth - I knitted one row in orange, carrying the white yarn at the back, purled back in black and white, then cut the orange yarn and rejoined it for the third row, also carrying the main colour behind.

Just to make things difficult for myself, I decided to extend the border up the sides. I remembered reading about 'vertical stranding', so I looked it up. It's a technique developed by Lorilee Beltman. The details are not given on free websites because, understandably, Lorilee would like you to learn it from her directly. So I'm just doing my own thing, using separate threads for each stitch of the side border. I suspect mine will not be as neat as the real deal, but it works better than using the same yarn as for the motifs.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Not So Easy

When I was knitting the giraffe socks, I thought that the giraffe would make a good motif on a baby blanket. Hmmm. Just as well I started with a swatch because I really hadn't taken into account that adjustments would be needed to change a chart for knitting in the round to knitting back and forth. It's possible, but a number of adjustments need to be made.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Microwave Dyeing

I acquired a microwave oven last week, using my supermarket 'loyalty points'. So I thought I'd use it today to dye two skeins of wool orange. I soaked the skeins in water and mild soap, then soaked them in water with dye and vinegar added before putting them into an oven bag and into the microwave. I didn't want to bring them to full temperature too quickly, so I put it on medium power for two minutes, medium high for two minutes and then high power for one minute. I let it cool for 15 minutes before rinsing. It's not completely even, which I'm not worried about, but does show that I need to refine my method. It is colourfast, there was no residue at all in the rinse water.


I tidied away all my tatting thread and beads carefully before I began spinning, to avoid getting beads in my fleece or fluff on my threads!

You have to imagine that these two photos overlap and are happening at the same time. The top one shows the wool in my left hand and the drafting triangle. My right hand controls the twist. Pinching the new thread prevents the spin from going into the wool until it's the thickness I want it. Otherwise, the wool becomes a tangled mess.
The wool disappears into the orifice and then winds onto the bobbin. I move the thread periodically from hook to hook so that the bobbin fills evenly.  I've measured out 300 g of wool to spin yarn for a baby blanket

Monday, April 13, 2015

Flowers and Butterflies

I finished sewing the beaded edging and then tatted some of Jane Eborall's butterflies to go with them. I didn't time myself, but Jane says here that these butterflies take 6 minutes each. I did consider tatting a bee, but since this is a wedding present, I didn't want to imply that there could be a sting in the tale!

Saturday, April 11, 2015


I imagined all sorts of hazards for the ducklings when we set them free - jackals and snakes, difficulty finding food, territorial neighbours... One thing I didn't worry about was traffic. We live on a farm, there is virtually no traffic. But in fact, one of the ducklings was run over. Another one was limping badly and probably succumbed to one of those hazards I imagined. The remaining three are coming and going according to some time table of their own. We're really glad they are able to find their way back here to get food. They gobble up their food and then sit around until one of them decides it's time to go back to the pan. Then off they march, one behind the other.