Saturday, 30 June 2012

Baby Blanket II

In 2009 I knitted a baby blanket for my friend in Munich who was expecting her first baby at the time. Both she and her son loved it and I received several photos through the years featuring the blanket. 

A long time has passed since our days together at school, so we are no longer as close as we used to be and I was surprised to hear that my friend has just had her second baby boy! She sent the first pictures and I was very touched to see that the youngest addition to her family is now using my blanket.

I am sure that a lot of knitters know what it is like for their work not to be appreciated, with baby clothes ending up never being worn or seen again. That's why seeing this picture meant a lot to me.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Solar Dyeing

(Me, not as solar dyed as I used to be.)

I have only come across solar dyeing recently when a German lady on Ravelry posted a photo of a hank of yarn stuffed into a pickle jar with flowers and leaves. She leaves the jar in full sunlight for some hours while the wool takes on colour from the plants. The heat practically boils them, no need for a stove, microwave or oven. Of course it also works with acid dyes and whatever else you use.

This method fascinates me and, having read up on it a little bit, I would love to try it. Considering I live in the UK, it is very unlikely I will ever have enough sunlight for long enough to even give this a go. Last summer was pretty bad and this year isn't looking like much of an improvement either. Let's see if the weather improves so that I can give it a go. It sounds fascinating!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Big Knit 2012 Announced

Innocent Smoothies will be hosting the Big Knit 2012 so we can all start knitting little hats again! Last year I didn't make nearly as many as the year before (the picture above shows my lot from 2010), so I hope to do a bit better this year. There's lots of time till the deadline, which hasn't even been published yet. As usual, the hats will be on the bottles in the shops in the winter.

So if you want to help do some good for charity, sharpen your needles and let's make some hats!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The What?

Alas, all the protest from knitters was to no avail and the Ravelympics shall now be known as the Ravellenic Games. A bit of a bumpy name, I think, but there you go. There was a proper renaming ceremony on Ravelry.

Has someone got some boxing gloves for me should I ever come across someone from the USOC? Oh wait, gloves are too good for them. A bareknuckle fight would be best.

I do not suffer fools lightly.

Sunday, 24 June 2012


*Thanks to ddarimont for coining the phrase.

Oh, the fun I've missed! Only today did I find out that the US Olympic Committee wrote a cease and desist letter to Ravelry due to their planned Ravelympics which, apparently, "denigrates the true nature of the Olympic Games". Oh, really? It is all too silly for words anyway. There should be a limit as to what type of words you can copyright. Ravelympics may sound too much like Olympics, but if anyone should own this trademark it's the Greek, as far as I'm concerned. They'd be far better off as well at the moment.

If you have a Ravelry account, you can read up on the entire matter here. This may also be of interest, and you can find a few very angry knitters on the US Olympic Team's Facebook page

I have no patience for such stupidity.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Blowfish and Seahorses

It seems Fimo has come back into my life for a short stay: I have hardly knitted anything today and not even touched my spindles or spinning wheel. *gasp* Instead, I have created these stitch markers:

You can find them on my Ravelry project page in English and German (and, yes, they are for sale too).

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Narwhals, Jars and Ruffles

It's been a while since I last made stitchmarkers out of Fimo, but yesterday I felt like doing something creative again (i.e. something other than knitting and spinning). So I looked at my stash and decided it called for a set of narwhals! They turned out really nicely even though they do remind me of birds at times. Just look at their little horns!
Recently, I discovered Mason jar pincushions and have been wanting to make one ever since. Luckily, I finally found the right type of preserve jar (from Kilner) and have lots of fabric left from clothes I have been meaning to get rid of. Armed with a glue gun, I set about making the pincushion of my dreams. Sadly, it wasn't nearly as easy as I had expected! It took me two or three attempts to get it right because either the pincushion was oddly shaped or the lid wouldn't close in the end. Finally, it worked and I am now the proud owner of my own pin cushion jar that holds all my sewing odds and ends.
 Of course I did knit as well and managed a ruffle scarf in a few hours. Mark's mum sent the yarn (Katia Bossa Nova) to me because she couldn't knit with it and wasn't sure about the colour. I must say, it is really odd to knit and I wouldn't want to do it very often either! However, it was fast and something different.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Estuary Shawl

A few days ago I finished my Staked socks (pictures to come) and I was itching to start knitting a shawl with my handspun Estuary yarn. I had bought the fibre from MandaCrafts at Wonderwool, 200g of it, and ended up with a roughly worsted weight n-plyed yarn. 
The Estuary shawl is based on the Judy & Nancy pattern, but I am thinking of making some alterations. I've been wanting to knit a shawl with a row of owls along the edge, so I may do that here. it is just hard to figure out exactly when to start. I have no idea how long the yarn will last and hope not to have to frog back or have loads left over when I'm done. A bit tricky.

The pattern is easily memorised and a pleasant knit. It is unusual for me to knit a shawl that is not entirely lacy though! However, I am hoping that this shawl will be ideal to wear indoors during the cold months - I do freeze a lot of the time. I wonder how large it will turn out to be in the end and how the pattern will come out once lightly blocked. Also, will I manage to get the owls into it properly? We shall see. Right now I am very much enjoying the look and feel of the yarn, and knitting the shawl is a pleasure.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


I always try to get the most out of my handspun yarns so I have been wondering how I can spin singles that won't twist too much in the end. Then I came across the following blog post that should be very helpful next time I give it a go. It describes fulling i.e. lightly felting the singles. It reminds me of the Noro Kureyon sock yarns I have tried (featured above). 

Right now I am spinning up some hand-dyed fibre that I may use to try this method. I shall report once it's done!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Violets and Marigolds

Though the colours of this batch are not as vibrant as I had hoped they'd be, they're growing on me. They remind me of a meadow filled with violets and marigolds, hence the name. 
I can't wait to spin it up! I've only just started on another 100g of something else, so this may take a bit. For the moment, Violets and Marigolds is safely stored in my stash.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Hue & Dye? Never Again!

I am really, really angry!

Not too long ago I spent some of the little money I have on Hue & Dye dyes that I first discovered at Wonderwool. So today I used them for the third time since I bought them and I am now convinced that it isn't me, my dyeing method or the fibre that's the problem: it's the dyes!

Whenever I use only Hue & Dye, the colours end up incredibly pale and washed out. It is frustrating! The colours never look anything near their photos on the website at all. I hate pastels and now I have a whole lot of pastels right here from today's four lots of dying. I tried a few different methods, fixed the dyes for longer, used different amounts of dye and fibre - no change. What on earth am I supposed to do with it now?

The fibre featured at the top of this post is only more brilliant because I mixed in some of my favourite Sewo Color dye to finish the little I had left. Of course, it all looks darker while in the water than it does now hanging out to dry. I am so disappointed!

Most of all, I am not sure what I am going to do with the dyes I have left since there is quite a bit of it still in the pots. I am just so glad I bought the smallest ones at 10g and no more. Next time I shall just have to shell out some more cash and order my German dyes instead.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Silk Appeal

I spent a little while searching the net for information on how to spin my silk brick that I got from Oliver's Twist at Wonderwool. I intend to try it on my wheel instead of a spindle this time. Since I have never spun pure silk before, I imagine it is going to be a challenge. It will also require me to attain a new skill: spinning from the fold. This seems to be the best way to spin from a silk brick. We'll see how that goes once I go ahead with it. I was surprised to read in that article that you should moisturise your hands beforehand to avoid snagging. It makes sense! Too bad it doesn't suggest what kind of moisturiser would be best - I don't like the idea of getting oils of any kind on the silk, to be honest, but there you go.

Also, I must remember to put something on my lap to prevent the little fibres to stick to everything. I had this happen to me a short while ago when I started handspinning my camel/silk fibres. Oh boy. So apparently it helps to have a silk scarf on your lap (or anything made from a simmilarly slippery material). Let's hope I remember to read my own blog post before I start on the silk brick so that I can take my own advice!

I've also come across this good lengthy article about silk that I will have to read again at leisure instead of simply scanning it quickly. While it didn't tell me how to spin from a silk brick, which was what I was looking for, it is good to know more about the material I'm using.

I am sure it is going to make for an interesting blog post once I get my teeth into this brick!