Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello sunshine!

After months and months of steel grey skies and seemingly unending downpour, this warm yellow alpaca yarn kept begging me to be wrapped around some knitting needles and made into something that could brighten up any rainy day! How could I resist? When looking through my Ravelry project page, it is immediately clear that this is most definitely not my usual colour scheme. I think I should be more bold in the future, because I absolutely love this shawl. :) The lovely yellow works well with both my dark grey winter coat, and my cool lilac autumn coat. A wonderful splash of colour!
-This shawl measures 62 cm from the neck down, 125 cm across. So, not a big shawl for me, closer to a shoulderette. I’m using this more as a scarf than a proper shawl, but it also works well if I'd like to cover up a V-neck top on cold days (as demonstrated in the first picture). The pattern is easily adjusted for size, because you can end on whatever number of repeats of the main flower chart you'd like.
The excellent pattern is called the Echo Flower Shawl. The only tricky part is the nupps, those big blobs you see lining the cathedral window pattern. The secret is to knit loose, loose, loose!! Purling those 9 loops together into one was a challenge at first, but as it is with everything in life, practice makes perfect. More details on my Ravelry page.
I have a little bit of yarn left, and will try to make some matching accessories... More sunshine to the rainy days!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Undercover baby blanket

The idea of knitting a square blanket in the round seemed like an interesting concept, and I couldn't resist trying it. I've got a kind of ombre effect going on here, it starts light in the centre and darkens towards the edges. In a perfect world the transitions wouldn't be as distinct as they are - but that is determined by the yarn. Had I found yarns in more similar colour tones it would look smoother, but this isn't too bad. The centre is knit using two strands of the light pink, then one strand light and one strand dark pink is held together, then two strands of the dark pink, and finally the edge is done with one dark pink and one brown strand.
-The pattern looks soo much more complicated than it is! There's a system for adding stitches in the corners, but everything inbetween is identical for every pattern row. And you still get this cool, graphic pattern. Go figure. I think it would work for boys as well as girls, and have some plans for a green version some time in the future.
-I blocked the blanket to exactly 1m by 1m, because that't the size of my excercise mat. It shrunk down a bit afterwards, and the finished size is 90cm by 90cm. Details are, as usual, on my Ravelry page.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Soap on a rope

Soap on a rope - soap and bath sponge all in one! It's really a kid's craft... Isn't it? Well, that's never scared me off before. :P And to complete my childlike crafting experience, I gave them to my dad. Congrats dad, I bet you're proud of your little girl now. ;) They were just a little joke really, a gag gift that went with the bath robe he wanted for christmas.
These are really old-fashioned, stone hard bars of soap. I tied some string around each to make a handle of sorts. Then the whole thing was covered in three thin layers of wool roving in alternating directions, and then wet-felted in my sink. It was a bit harder than anticipated to attatch the yellow wool to the green, but it stuck pretty well in the end. I'm sure there are plenty of tips from people who have done this a few times - a Google search for "soap on a rope tutorial" should probably give you loads of good links. I just winged it, as I sometimes usually do...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Beaded Candle Flame Cowl

In search of a christmas gift that needed to be done in less than a week, I came across this one. The cute pattern is slightly familiar, and I had some suitable yarn leftover from previous projects.
I actually gave this a very careful steam blocking before wrapping it up in pretty christmas paper, and have no photos of it after blocking. The difference is minimal, but just enough to feel a tiny bit looser around the neck.
The pattern is elastic and has a natural flare at the top and bottom, which is perfect! On a whim, I decided to add golden 6/0 beads to the top two candleflame tips. The yarn is dark, and I’m not sure it’s really her favourite colour exactly, so I figured the sparkle could lighten things up. :) Details on my Ravelry page.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Kimono dress for Kristine

This dress got started before its recipient, my first niece, was even born... :P And then it spent several months in pieces in my yarn drawer, until I finally realised I had to start the dreaded sewing if it was ever going to make it into a christmas present. Isn't it pretty though? The instant I found the recipe I knew it had to be at the top of my Ravelry queue.
-The kimono closure at the front is so cute. I did a few extra rows with some holes for the addition of a ribbon, but made a twisted yarn ribbon instead of the suggested silk ribbon.
-This is the first time I've knitted cotton yarn and it was really really difficult at first! My fingers are used to wool and wool blends which flow so much more freely. The result is that the first two centimeters of the dress are loose and sloppy. I had knitted a long way when I realised the tension had changed that much, and after some deliberation I decided not to frog the whole thing. I still regret it a bit, but have tried to make it look as if it is an intentional widening at the bottom of the skirt.
Just a detail shot of the sleeve. Amazing how much impression that simple pattern makes! Just a single decrease and a yarn over... For more details, have a look at my Ravelry page.