Friday, May 31, 2019

A Bit of Sparkle

I've finished the fronts of my entrelac cardigan, but I've put it to one side to make a cardigan for Isabel, my granddaughter, for a special occasion. My lys (local yarn shop) didn't have much yarn in natural fibres, which is always my first choice, so I decided to go for glitz instead. The yarn is 'furry' with lots of sparkly sequins. Makes knitting at night interesting!
The yarn is a different thickness to that used in the original pattern, so I have to alter the stitch count. But I'm still using the knitting chart and dimensions. I hope I get it all right!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Jessica

Jessica was designed by Kersti Annear. I used the pattern I printed out ages ago, but I'm pretty sure it'll be available on Craftree. It's a clever pattern. I drew myself a little diagram to show the structure, since it's not immediately obvious:

Monday, May 27, 2019

Zipping Along

Entrelac knitting seems laborious, with its constant turning of the work, but it goes along quite quickly. I've reached armhole length already.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Half Way

The Spring doily has reached the stage where one round is slightly daunting. So I've decided to aim for a quarter of the round each day. Friday and Saturday, I'm half way through round 14. Here's a closer view

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Another Cross

I used Grace Tan's pattern again to make a gift for a friend who wants a bookmark for her bible. There's a link to Jane's Bookmark Cross on the right of this page. I usually use Victorian sets for the tail, but this time I've done a spiral chain. That's because I saw a link on muskaan's  Tatting Resources page to Sherry Pence's tips for making a josephine or spiral chain .  What gave me that  aha moment was not Sherry's tip about dropping the shuttle often, but that the chain is worked in direct tatting, ie with unflipped stitches. I've not tried that before. My chain isn't perfect, but a huge improvement on previous attempts with flipped stitches.

Every week I get a report from Keep and Share, the site that hosts my patterns, to tell me how many times during the week each pattern has been viewed. Almost every week, there are way more views of Jane's Bookmark Cross than any other pattern. I thought Grace Tan must do something to advertise her pattern. But I had a discussion with her recently and she said no, she does nothing to bring attention to the pattern. We concluded that tatted crosses are just a popular thing to look for.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Ribbing

I don't usually knit a sample for ribbing when I'm designing knitwear. But entrelac widens knitting considerably, so whereas ribbing usually has a similar stitch count to the main part, in entrelac knitting the ribbing will have a lot more stitches than the main part. How many more? I don't know unless I knit a swatch. I cast on 20 stitches and worked 10 rows knit one, purl one rib and then took the swatch off the needles without casting off. First I measured the swatch completely relaxed and worked out how many stitches I'd need to get the length I want - 200 stitches. Then I stretched the swatch as much as possible, measured it and worked out how many stitches I'd need to get the same length - 133. So I need somewhere between 133 and 200 stitches. I settled for 180 stitches, so the ribbing will be slightly stretched.

When I was designing knitwear regularly, I used to keep some aspects constant, just to simplify life. For instance, ribbings were usually 16 rows. So I kept to that here, reducing to 120 stitches on the 16th row. I'm using a circular needle to accommodate a lot of stitches, even though I'm working back and forth. Now for the entrelac....

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Round 13

Round 13 is done. I haven't blocked it because it will be affected by the next round. Mind you, the mat is getting so big now that you can't see the unblocked details when it's photographed as a whole. Scroll down a bit to see a close up of the round.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Forty Years

Jack and I celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary yesterday. I learnt to tat just before I was married. I should probably change my profile blurb from 'I learnt to tat 30 years ago' to 'I learnt to tat 40 years ago'. Muskaan pointed out to me that there are posts on my blog that have tutorials that may interest folk, but are difficult to find. I'll put some links up. It's clearly time I did some blog housekeeping!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Working on Round 13

I'm working on round 13 of the Spring doily. It looks a bit skew at the moment, but the flowers will be held in place by the next round and straighten out.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Boucle

My talk about amigurumi went well on Wednesday. Everyone loved the little menagerie.  I was startled to see a photo of them on Facebook yesterday, but soon realised it was part of a collage uploaded by the information day organisers. I enjoyed the day, listening to experts talk about things from writing a ballad to making a batik lampshade. (No, I won't be doing either of those things!)

Having finished the crochet blanket, I need a new evening project, something that doesn't require too much concentration. I was recently given some boucle yarn by a friend who was destashing:
It's 48% wool and 52% acrylic. Here's a close up to show just how textured it is:
Turns out that texture is quite limiting. It doesn't work well for crochet or lace. Garter stitch works better than stocking stitch. I've decided, I think, to make a cardigan in entrelac. I knitted quite a big sample so that I could refresh my memory about knitting entrelac, and be able to work out the stitch count for a cardigan. I'm thinking of knitting the back and fronts together to the armholes, and working the sleeves in the round downwards from the shoulders.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Round 12

Round 12 is done. I just love the little 'flowers' made with picots. Here's a closer look:

Monday, May 13, 2019

Smaller Still

I crocheted the mouse again, using thread that I bought for tatting bookmarks, about size 10, finer than the 4-ply I used last time. Success, she's much shorter than the maximum 20 cm allowed:
Making her tail was a challenge, but really crocheting with fine thread is just the same as working with thicker thread! Here's the menagerie, ready for my talk on Wednesday:


Friday, May 10, 2019

No More Green

The crochet blanket was on hold for a while, but when the family left, I started working on it again in the evenings. Finished at last, with all the green wool used up. I even had to unravel my knitted swatch to finish the last round. I'm pleased with the border that echoes the squares. Here's a close up:
Winter is sneaking up on us, so I'm glad to have it done.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Round 11

I have round 11 done before the next round comes out. I enjoyed doing some straight forward, rhythmic tatting after fiddling with tiny crochet animals for a few days.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Bella

These little animals are surprisingly time-consuming to make. Bella only measures 11 cm in height but took hours to create. The pattern comes from Top Crochet Patterns. I did have to join the site and create a password.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Teeny

I took the small mouse with me on Friday to show off and one lady so fell in love with her that I agreed she could take her home! In truth I wasn't absolutely happy with mouse as a sample because she was a little too big for the competition. I don't really want to stand up and say, "Like this, but this one is too big".

Since the mouse is the smallest pattern in my book, I decided I'd better look online for a  pattern for a replacement. There are a lot of patterns available, but many of the free ones require you to sign up to a website and have a password. I have joined a few, but don't want to join everything! One site that has no such requirement is Red Heart. It's thanks to Diane that I looked at it and found a pattern for a tiny elephant:

He's well below the 20 cm limit!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Yellow

Crazy Mom! suggested I use yellow thread to mimic the pink and yellow roses from the garden. I had already decided to use white for the 'butterflies', but I'm using yellow for round 11.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Small Mouse

The crochet section for next year's competitions requires two amigurumi toys. I've been asked to give hints and tips about amigurumi at an information day later this month. First step is to have a sample to show. I've used this pattern before but in thicker cotton. The competition stipulates 4-ply yarn or thinner. This is 4-ply cotton and the mouse is quite a bit smaller than the other two I made. That increases the cuteness factor, but makes parts like the tail very fiddly to work. The competition  forbids bought decorations, so I crocheted a flower for her hair in place of the ribbon in the pattern. She only just fits the maximum height requirement of 20 cm, which gives me a clue when I go looking for patterns later.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Round 10

Aha, I've finished round 10 before the next round comes out. I haven't blocked it because it will be affected by the next round.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Stabilisation

I"m working on round 10 of the Spring doily, little butterflies around the roses. I've taken a leaf from Jane Eborall's book and used very small picots to stabilise the rings. It took me a few goes to get it right. Joining all the rings together was a mistake. Instead I've joined the top two together and the bottom two together. The top pair are a bit wobbly at the moment, but will be held in place by the next round.