Thursday, April 30, 2015

Adding Some Colour

The heel baffled me for a bit, but I managed to work out what was required to knit the two heels, one after the other. Now I'm following a fairisle chart to add a bit of colour to these socks. I'm working inside out again, so you'll have to wait until I finish before seeing what it is. Assuming that I get to the end without tying myself in knots, of course.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

On My Toes

So far, so good. My toe-up, two at a time socks on two circular needles.

Following Frivole

After reading Frivole's posts about circular needles and Turkish cast on I thought I'd have a go at knitting with two circular needles. I started off knitting one tube on two needles. It was a necessary step in the learning  process, but no improvement on knitting with double pointed needles - I still had four short needles but with the added complication of cables. But knitting two socks at once could make the process worthwhile. It took me a few goes to get the hang of it, but eventually I produced two little tubes. I used different colours to help me keep track of it all.

Then I looked up Turkish cast on. Wow, it's a revelation. Very easy, very neat way of casting on for toe up socks. Now to see if I can knit a pair of socks, toe up, two at once.....Thanks for the inspiration Frivole.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Giraffes All In A Row

I knitting finished my little giraffe blanket. I washed it before blocking and was a bit fed up that there was some orange colour run. I rinsed the orange yarn after dyeing and the water was perfectly clear. Luckily it's not too obvious, I'll have to live with it.

One of the ducks flew from the house to the pan this morning. So exciting! We haven't seen the others for a while, but I'm wondering if they're already flying and don't need us any more. I like to think so anyway.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Increasing the Herd

I'm making progress on my giraffe blanket. The proportions of the giraffe are such that I think I can put 10 giraffes on each side. I like that, for no very good reason!

For The Birds

I went to a craft group meeting yesterday. We made bird feeders, using enamel plates and beads. That's me on the right of the picture. Corlie is holding up her completed bird feeder. I plan to hang my feeder up in the tree outside the dining room window. But I'm hoping that the Rock Pigeons will be too heavy to use it. There are too many of them in the garden already and I don't want to encourage them by feeding them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Curled and Folded

Ninetta has invented a curled ring, a ring that curls around another ring or a chain. Have a look at her blog to see her earring pattern and the bookmark she has created using this technique. Muskaan extended the idea to fold the ring without having anything inside it. Have a look at the splendid pendant she made using these ideas. Mine is just a jumble and I don't know how I managed to get a ring around a chain, but I think the concept is interesting, especially for 3-D tatting.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ten Giraffes

I started again with an extra giraffe in the procession. I think it's a better width for a little blanket.

Teresa tells me that vertical stranding is a knitting technique used in Lapland. So I've learnt something! Read Teresa's comments to this post.

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.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Invisible Thread and Beads

The invisible thread is behaving not too badly, though I see its potential for chaos. I'm wondering if smoothing each bead down the thread with my fingers helps to keep the thread in order. What do you think? I'm working on the third side of the food cover now, so I'm more than half way done.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blouse Two

I used my favourite pattern for this one, a Butterick pattern. It was designed by Connie Crawford. I'm glad to know that - commercial pattern makers don't often acknowledge the designer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sewing Flowers

Sewing the flower braid to the food cover is bound to be rather laborious, so I decided to start on it before I finished tatting the flowers. I can't work with beads and invisible thread at night, but I can tat flowers, so yesterday I sewed down one side and then tatted in the evening. It means that I now have to tat with the whole food cover in my lap, but that's not too difficult.

Counting Flowers

I'm making progress on the flower braid. I followed Jane Eborall's tip and made a corner soon after starting. That makes it easier to work out exactly how many repeats are required for each side, corner to corner. 27, that's how many. The blue threads are where I've marked every 10th flower so that I don't have to keep checking how many I've done.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Tasty Tatting

The other day, I opened my cutlery drawer and saw a mouse. Jack says I should've stabbed it with a knife, but what I actually did was to shriek and close the drawer. There's not much to eat in a cutlery drawer. I didn't think there was much to eat in the linen drawer below it either. But when I opened that drawer yesterday to get a clean tea towel, I discovered that said mouse had been munching on the tatted edging of my food cover: 
How annoying is that? I made the food cover seven years ago. I dyed the thread myself, but never imagined it was attractive to mice.

Three of the ducklings have been coming back now and then to get food, so that's good.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Adding Flowers

I was tatting the leaf braid and wondered if I could add flowers to the leaves. It took quite a bit of trial and error to work out a stitch count that would result in a straight edging rather than a curved one:

I thought I had it right and even worked out how to turn a corner:
But when I did several repeats, it turned out there was still a bit of a curve:
I had to add the small split ring between the flowers to get it straightened out.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Taking Their Chances

I took a last photo of the ducklings before Jack took them down to the pan and let them go. There are a lot of hazards out there, but I think they stand a much better chance of surviving than if we'd taken them back there six weeks ago. They were very happy to jump into the water for a swim.

Jack took this photo with his phone and I can't edit it, but you can see the ducklings swimming there. Best of luck to them!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Beanie for Isabel

My granddaughter Isabel asked if I'd knit her a beanie for upcoming Winter. Of course, I'd be glad to. I had a skein in my stash that my sister-in-law bought for me when I was on holiday in Suffolk that was just the thing for the job. It's such pretty wool that I thought a plain pattern would be best to show it off. I used 5 mm double pointed needles to knit it in the round. I'm just waiting to hear whether Isabel would like to have a pompon on top, or not.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Just Enough Wool

I've  been procrastinating about finishing the second sock because I was worried I was going to run out of orange wool. Procrastination doesn't help, of course - there either is enough wool or there isn't!
I got to the end with a smidgeon of orange wool to spare, phew. Good thing I didn't make them any bigger. The pattern is Daschshound sock pattern by Sandra Jager, which I found on Ravelry.