Friday, May 25, 2012

Doodle Dangle

Yesterday I made a pencil case for a little boy I know. It has elephants on the lining, but the outside is a rather boring brown. Perfect opportunity to try using Jane Eborall's doodles as a dangle to brighten things up. This is Giraffe and Tree. I like how it turned out, thanks Jane. One funny thing, I put a variegated giraffe-colour thread on the shuttles, but of course the doodle is so small that the colours didn't have a chance to change! That's the  nature of a doodle, so it's my stupidity.

The pencil case was made using a pattern by Crazy Quilter. Since I downloaded the pattern, the site has become 'by invitation only'. Tracy seems to have changed her e-mail address too, so how one goes about getting an invitation I have no idea. It's a shame because her patterns are very clearly explained and very innovative.

I'm going away for a bit. It'll be a week or so before I blog again. Happy tatting!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Flower variations

I have been making more flower earrings to give as gifts (see link to the pattern on the sidebar). The slight variation I made was to add beads to a long picot with the earring hooks, which I thought would make them hang better than just joining the hook to the ball thread. Without the beads, the long picot looked a bit messy, the beads help keep the double thread through the hook in place.

A more spectacular variation of the pattern has been created by Mary of Mary's Handmade blog. Mary has used the pattern to make a necklace. Have a look, here's the link. I think it looks great, and I like to see someone building on my ideas.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Autumn Leaves scarf

I think the leaf pattern might have shown up better in a solid colour, but I like the variegated yarn. It's the wool I spun on Sunday and dyed on Monday.  The pattern is  Branching Out by Susan Lawrence, which  I found  on Ravelry.

Novelty yarn

This rather peculiar, net-like yarn is all the rage here at the moment. I was given a ball, so thought I'd make a scarf for a young friend. The knitting is simple but not easy in the sense of 'relaxed'. You have to widen the 'ribbon' and then use the loops at one selvedge as stitches. Bit fiddly, but a quick knit. I think the effect is more like a boa than a scarf.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spinning day

I spent yesterday  spinning wool for a scarf. Each bobbin took four hours to fill and then it took an hour-and-a-half to ply the two together, so it was a good day's work. This morning I put the skeins in to soak while I cleaned the floor. Then I got my wool dyes out. The scarf I'm going to knit looks like leaves; should they be summer leaves or autumn leaves? I ummed and arred for a while and then decided on autumn leaves. Here's the wool hanging up to dry. The sun is shining and the wind blowing, so the skeins should be dry in a flash and a blurr.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Winter skirt

It's early winter, here in the Southern Hemisphere. Time to make myself a warm skirt. I copied the idea for the skirt from my cousin, thanks Shielagh. Of course I should have found the tutorial  before I started. Of course I didn't. So my inserted triangles are not quite the right shape and I will have to make adjustments when I do the hem. I've finished the front of the skirt, but inserting triangles requires quite a lot of concentration, so I shall leave the back until this afternoon.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I'm a great one for setting myself targets. I've decided I'll knit three pairs of wristlets or fingerless gloves, three hats and 20 cup covers for market and then do something else. I might come back to market knitting, but  I have some other things I want to do first. I'm going to have to make some adjustments to the hat pattern because the yarn is double knitting, not chunky - too thin to use in the pattern as is and too thick to double up.

I'm not altogether sold on Magic Loop knitting. I agree with Fox that it doesn't have the Zen of knitting with double pointed needles. Shoving stitches back and forth is clever, but lacks the simplicity of moving round and round from needle to needle. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, but I have a ladder-look between the two sections of stitches which I don't get with double pointed needles.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


The wristlet on the left is, just about, the original pattern, Blackrose by  Suzi Anvin - I had to reduce the number of stitches slightly to compensate for using a thicker yarn than the original. Great pattern, but I don't want to make it over and over again, so on the right I've substituted Branching Out by Susan Lawrence. It's actually a scarf pattern, but it has the same number of stitches as the Blackrose pattern, so I thought it would work. I'm doing the same increases for the thumb gusset, same pattern in fact, just different lace on the back of the hand.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Magic Loop knitting, part 2

The market stall lady didn't like my elegant socks (shock, horror) but she wants  more wristlets. I thought they'd be the perfect thing for practicing magic loop knitting. This Blackrose pattern by Suzi Anvin is originally designed for magic loop knitting. I got the hang of it pretty quickly. I found that having a bit of knitting to hang on to made it easier to slide the stitches back and forth, so when I started the second wristlet I felt like an absolute beginner all over again. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Magic Loop knitting

I like knitting with double pointed needles. But when I was looking at sock patterns, I kept coming across references to a Magic Loop method, so I thought I'd find out more about it. I googled it, there are plenty of videos and instructions, including this one. The method is clever. It involves sliding half the rounds of stitches at a time back and forth along the circular needle. At the moment I'm still at the stage where I get the yarn twisted round the needle and get in a mess. I know it'll need some practice. At the moment I can't see the advantage over double pointed needles, but that may come!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cup cover

We had no electricity yesterday, from 6am to 5pm. Luckily I didn't need electricity to finish knitting my scarf.

I can procrastinate no longer about the knitted cup covers, which I first mentioned here. OK, I admit it, I had no idea why anyone would want to cover a tin cup with a knitted cover. It's so impractical that I wondered if the intention was to turn the cup into a receptacle for pencils or sock needles, rather than something to drink liquids out of. Or candles? I gather that the concept came from 'Ideas', a South African magazine, so I  looked at their website. The only comparable thing I found was candle holders for an outdoor party. The covers were crocheted, but similar. Aha?  The tatted flower is Jon's daisy pin.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Scarf Progress

I've been wanting to try the pattern for a reversible cable scarf for a while. I see I downloaded it without the name of the author, sorry. The original was for a very chunky yarn, only 24 stitches for the scarf, which wouldn't work for my handspun wool. So I knitted a sample to see how the principle worked and then created my own version. It's clever, I think. The cables are in rib and the spaces are in seed stitch. The original had only one cable, but I've done two, one turning left and one right. I like a scarf to have two 'right sides', so it doesn't matter how you wear it or how it twists.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Too efficient for my own good

I was so quick with the knitting I volunteered to do for my neighbour that yesterday Dee came round with some more yarn for me to knit for the market stall! Problem is, I have other fish to fry now - an edging to tat, wool to spin, a scarf to knit. Not to mention a sweater to knit with the wool Dee gave me in payment for the last market stall knitting. And knitting covers for tin cups is not, I have to say, something I find hugely inspirational.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dyeing more wool

I spun some more wool to make a scarf. I dyed this lot slightly differently from the sock wool, spraying two colours on in lines across the skeins, so that the original colour of the wool will be one of colours in the scarf. I'm thinking of trying the same technique on tatting thread. Just to see how it looks.....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hosier to Milliner

Actually, my dictionary says that a hosier is someone who deals in socks and underwear, not someone who makes them, but anyway, I have gone from making socks to making hats. The other day a neighbour was complaining that he can't buy the sort of hat that he wants. My husband volunteered my services to make him one! On Sunday Les gave me a sample, so yesterday I set off to make his perfect hat. He said that his sample was too small, so I measured it against my usual pattern and found that the pattern was a little bigger. Good. The crown depth was the same. Good. The brim of his hat was narrower than mine, so I trimmed 2cm off the outside of the brim pattern. I also used a less stiff interfacing for the brim than I normally use, and added lines of  top stitching. Les tried the hat on, it fits and he will wear it. Job done.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Testing the theory

The instructions I read for an 'afterthought' heel said to do 3 or 4 rows after picking up the stitches either side of the waste thread, and then decrease as for the toe. I did that and tried the sock on. I thought the heel looked much too skimpy. So I undid it and knitted 16 rows before decreasing. I wonder if that was the right way to go? Certainly the revamped sock looks rather odd off the foot. The point is, it is easy to experiment with an 'afterthought' heel.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Where the heel will go

See that line of pink stitches with pink wool dangling from it? When I have finished knitting the toes of the sock, I will come back to those pink stitches and remove them. That will leave loops on either side of the row, which I will pick up with double pointed needles. Then I will knit an 'afterthought' heel.

The stitch I have used here is called Little Arrows, from a pattern by Susan Brugger, though I have adapted it to my own sock pattern. I like the way the  textured pattern muddles up the colours of the wool. On the plain part at the bottom of the foot, the colours appear as much more obvious stripes

Saturday, May 5, 2012


The wool has been spun, plyed, wound into skeins, washed, dyed, dried and wound into balls. Now it's all set to be knitted into a pair of socks.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Plying wool for socks

I spun two half-bobbins of wool with the wheel moving clockwise, and then plyed the two together with the wheel moving anticlockwise, to give a smoother, stronger yarn. This is my second attempt at spinning for the socks I have in mind. The first lot wasn't thin enough. I suspect I was in too much of a hurry to put my idea into practice!  I plan to dye the wool today. The sun is shining so it will dry quickly and then I can start knitting.

Of Rules and Regulations

Yesterday I spent the day listening to experts talking about various crafts, from watercolour painting to sewing a leather waistcoat. It was very interesting hearing people who are passionate about their subjects. They gave tips about techniques, where to find supplies, new developments, etc. I now know what Irish crochet is and I learnt a new way of knitting a neat and flexible ribbing.

I gradually realised that the purpose of the day was to clarify the rules and regulations for an upcoming competition. The margin around your pewter picture must be between 5mm and 10mm wide; your woven curtain tiebacks must be identical; the yarn you knit your sweater with must be 100% wool, and so on. When they said that the string you tie your labels together with must be 20cm long, they lost me. I see how these rules come about and I admire those who can follow them. But as someone who doesn't do front-side, back-side tatting, it's just not me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tatting by day, spinning at night

Yesterday I made progress on my edging. Today we went to town.  I did quite a bit of  'handbag tatting' when Jack was in the Farmers' Co-op and various other places. I think 'sanity tatting' might be a better name.

Last evening I started spinning for some socks. I've been reading about 'afterthought heels' and I want to try it out. I can't really see myself replacing the heel on a sock, but I like to try out new techniques. You knit a tube, putting a waste thread at the point where the heel will be, then later pick up the stitched both sides of the waste thread and knit a heel. The idea is that if the heel wears out, you can just remove it and replace it. I have to spin a fair bit more before I get to that stage!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Another Rainbow

At the meeting where I gave Ans her hat, one of the other ladies asked if I'd do her some rainbow wool to make a tea cosy. My husbands says it's sacrilege to use such beautiful wool for such a mundane purpose. But wool is a good insulator, so it will be 'fit for purpose' - it will just be a superior sort of tea cosy! Carien wants to adapt the hat pattern to knit the tea cosy herself, so I'll give her the pattern I printed out from Ravelry and leave her to it.