Thursday, 27 September 2012

Two Hats, No Hat

Well, here I was getting all excited about a new hat for the rather crisp temperatures we're having lately - and it doesn't fit!

Shame. I was looking for a project for which I could use my lovely squishy handspun and I found two suitable patterns. First, I tried the Classic French Beret, but it turns out my spinning was totally different at the start compared to the rest of it. Somehow the beginning is a lovely DK weight, but then it reduces to sock yarn weight. Oh dear. So I started on the 21hours pattern that originally used Wollmeise Twin. Excuse the nipply picture.
Never having used it, I had no idea that it is not your usual fingering weight. Argh! I only noticed things really weren't working as I finished the hat and tried to put it on. Now, my head isn't as big as most people's, but the hat sure wasn't going to fit. 
So now I have no hat and a two-weight yarn I don't know what to do with. Maybe a cowl?

Button Madness

A while back I took part in a giveaway at ButtonMad, the official blog of South African company Incomparable Buttons. The have a large variety of beautifully handmade buttons in a range of shapes and colours - I haven't seen anything like this before. I was lucky enough to win a set of flower buttons, yay! They truly are incomparable.
At the moment, I don't yet know what I am going to use them for, but it will have to be something special. These aren't cheap plastic buttons after all: Incomparable Buttons uses a mix of ceramics and stoneware and durable glazes. They even make custom orders.

What I like especially is the fact that local South African women are given the chance to work and develope their skills in the business. So it is an all around great product with good ethics behind it and I am very grateful for winning a set of pretty buttons.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Over 20,000 Views

It is amazing to think that over 20,000 different people have viewed my blog since its beginning in - let me check - 2008! Only a few months after teaching myself to knit, I was ready to blog about and made a start with Doctor Who, Doomsday in which I wrote about Rose's fingerless gloves. I still have them to this day and am still thinking about knitting a longer version at some point.

I have made a lot of progress since then and gone into directions I never even thought of at the time. Knitting never seemed daunting, so I knitted all sorts of stitch patterns I came across. Oddly, I was a bit nervous about learning to cable even though I had no trouble with lace, which I started early on. Also, socks weren't an issue and became one of my very first knitting projects ever. However, to this day I have only ever knitted one jumper - and that one hasn't even got proper sleeves, so I don't think it really counts.

As far as material is concerned, I made a great leap forward once I moved to the UK and had easier access to yarns. Having come from the countryside, it was impossible to find good yarn in my area and there was only one single yarn shop that couldn't even order in any products. Once firmly established in my new home in Bath, I very quickly developed into a bit of a yarn snob. No acrylics for me, thank you, not even as a blend. Of course this meant that I had to spend more on a single ball of yarn and buy less than before too, but the craft is worth it. I could feel the difference in the finished items.

But apart from a change in the actual yarns I used, I also met a bunch of new people with the same hobby. I joined a German knit club, then after my move I joined a local one in Bath. By now I don't go to either anymore, though I miss it. I also developed new skills: Helen from my local knit club spread the hand spinning virus and I soon found myself in possession of a learner's spindle and donated fluff. I went to my first wool festival, Fibre Fest, again with Helen, and it was a wonderful day. Even my trip to Wonderwool this year couldn't compare to it! 

At Fibre Fest I discovered drumcarding, which I would love to do at home too, but I have no space. One day I will own a drumcarder though and there will be no stopping me! My collection of spindles kept on growing - within reason - and I resisted the idea of a spinning wheel because I liked how hands-on the spindles were. Then something happened, I don't know quite what, and I spontaneously decided to buy a beautiful second-hand Ashford Traveller. I still love it and use it far more often than my spindles. Unfortunately this means that I get through my fibre stash far quicker than ever before too! The next step took me towards dyeing my own yarns and fibres and I am still trying to find the perfect dye with the best colour selection and an effective way of dyeing fibre that won't felt the product or leave it too pale.

Finally, this whole journey has led me to set up my shop AbsoKnittingLutely recently. Who knows where it will take me next. Wherever it may be, I am sure it will be wonderful.

Thank you for reading, all 20,000 of you!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Interview and Knitting

I am glad to be home today! I've just come back from a job interview and even though it was very relaxed and nice, I do feel rather knackered. Now the waiting begins though it shouldn't take too long. I will probably hear back from them within the next two days, so this means I can calm my nerves with lots of knitting.

Right now I am finishing up the final Ayartma sock - and luckily it is proving to be an easier knit now that I know what to look out for. I am well on my way through the final chart and should be done within the next few days unless I let myself get distracted by other things. I can't believe I started these socks on 12th July! Usually, I am a fast sock knitter, but this time I had to take a break before beginning the second one. It is a lovely design though, very pretty, and I am glad I persevered!

Friday, 14 September 2012

WIP: Ayartma Socks

One down, one to go!
I love the design of these socks. A Ravelry friend gave the pattern to me as a gift and I couldn't wait to start knitting. The original Ayartma pattern is written in German, but there is an English translation. However, I do urge you to knit using the original rather than the translation if you can because the English version has very basic mistakes in it. A number of stitches are mistranslated, which results in you knitting something completely different and wondering why you have the wrong stitch count all the time.

It was very frustrating knitting this first sock and I think I will stick to the original German pattern for the second one. None of the knitters using the German pattern had any issues at all whereas several foreign knitters did. The designer is aware of these issues, but does not seem to want to update the pattern or provide errata, sadly. Considering this is NOT a free pattern, it does not seem fair at all.

One of the nice things about these socks is that I get to use some of my hand-dyed yarn here. I used blue and turquoise in the hope of creating something that would remind me of the sea. It looks lovely and I am glad I used this yarn for these socks.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Christmas Trees and Fried Eggs

Believe it or not, I am already thinking about Christmas. I love the season and have started making a list of gifts of people. 

On Etsy, too, you will find loads of shops with Christmas items available now and I have been thinking about what might be suitable for my own shop. A red and green hnd-dyed yarn? Candycane yarn? Gingerbread stitch markers? I took a look at my materials and realised I have a lot of green polymer clay, so Christmas trees it is! Glittery and with a pearl on top.
On a non-Christmassy note, I was asked to make some more breakfast sets, so I've also added fried eggs, bacon and toast statch markers for now. They are a pain to make, but so worth it.
I am starting to run out of material now, though. I better stock up!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Found on the Interwebs: Knittar the Craft-barian

A gem of a comic: Knittar the Craft-barian! Check out this and other fun comics at Para Abnormal. There is a gift shop too and I am very tempted to buy something from Knittar now. Oh dear.

Another Knitting-Themed Necklace

I was getting a bit impatient so I added another knitting-themed necklace to my shop a week in advance!
This one has an antiqued bronze-coloured cameo setting with knitting in it made from polymer clay. This necklace also comes with an organza ribbon for individual length adjustment and there are two small pink bells attached to the bottom of the pendant. It's the perfect Christmas gift! (Yes, Christmas! I'm already in Elf-mode and looking for presents.)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Knitting-themed Stocking Stitch Necklace

Finally! I had been playing with the idea of making knitting-themed jewellery for my shop and I just put the first one-off piece up for sale.
This is a necklace featuring a piece of stocking stitch polymer clay in a silver-coloured metal setting. The pearl gives it an elegant feel and the light blue organza ribbon lets you adjust the necklace to your needs. You can even wear it as a choker!

There is another similar necklace waiting for the next shop udate, so keep an eye out for it.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Getting Stitchmarkers Ready for Sale

It's been a lovely sunny day here in Bath - perfect for some relaxed stitchmarker making. Some of them, made from polymer clay, are still cooling down, but the glass markers I made earlier turned out really nicely. They are packed in neat chocolate brown organza bags, ready for shipping. I see some more Etsy updates coming soon!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Etsy Update: Kelp Forest

Well, as soon as I finished writing up my last blog post, I decided to risk dyeing with black. I am glad to say it worked perfectly and that I will be sad to see this yarn go. Don't let that stop you from buying it!
Kelp Forest is a superwashed 2-ply merino laceweight yarn with approximately 700m per 100g. Any shawl would look wonderful in this refreshing colourway. 

I dyed the skein using Sewo Color (black), Hue & Dye (green and turquoise) and Luvotex (blue).

Head over to AbsoKnittingLutely and grab it while it's there!