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Archive for February, 2014

2014-02-04_05

One of the presents I received for Yule was Stitch London, a book just bursting with fun London-centric knitting patterns.  There are lots that I want to try, but the first to hit my needles was Toerag the tube mouse…

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I struggled at first as I don’t do very well juggling four DPNs, but once there were a greater number of stitches I found it much easier as the work balanced itself and I wasn’t constantly trying to stop needles from slipping out.  It took a few hours to make Toerag, and here’s how he turned out.

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Loki wasn’t too impressed with him…

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But at least didn’t try to eat him, so that was a win in my book.  I have a plan which involves making more tube mice… I’ll report back in a couple of months once I’ve set my plan in motion!

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Spotted this good guy (he must be, it’s written on his vest) in Acklam Road (W10).

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You know when you have some yarn in your stash that you really want to use up, but never seem to hit on the right project?  That’s how this story starts.  I bought a load of yarn while I was in Amsterdam a few years ago with a particular pattern in mind, but then went off the pattern (hey, it happens).  I then decided I’d use it for weaving, but that didn’t turn out so well.  Then I decided to try out a new knitting stitch, and whilst that was a success it didn’t feel quite right.

Then I came across a pattern by KnotSewCute that sparked my imagination: their night owl decorative throw.  It really appealed to me, mainly because of the owls, so I bought the pattern.  I looked at it again once I’d downloaded it and thought “actually, there’s not enough owl here” … and then started to think a bit harder about the whole thing.

You see, a blanket is a big project.  It’s a hell of a commitment in terms of time and yarn, and thus not something to be undertaken lightly.  So I decided to tweak the pattern a bit.  I crocheted the a shortened version of the first section (a sort of basketweave) and half of the owl section, and here’s how it looked:

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Not bad, eh?  I still had some issues with this though: firstly it was still a lot of that basketweave (which is nice, but I wanted it to be all about the owls), and secondly it wasn’t wide enough.

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That’s 72 centimetres, not inches – nowhere near wide enough for my liking (I do prefer a nice wide blanket).  So I frogged the lot and went back to the drawing board.  I ended up tweaking the width so that there’d be eight owls across rather than just five, and decided to get rid of the basketweave entirely as I now knew that I wanted to make strips of owls and then sew them together at the end to make a blanket.  Over the years I’ve come to the realisation that projects which can be done in small pieces suit me much better than things which have to be made all in one go.  I like the sense of completion from finishing one section of something, and it also makes projects a lot more portable.

So, with the pattern adjusted I set forth with my crochet hook once more and here’s how it turned out…

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I edged the finished strip with one round of double crochet, and it’s now folded up neatly and can wait in my project bag until I’ve made some more strips.  Once I’ve got enough for a blanket I’ll join them together (and possibly add a border around the whole shebang).  I’m chuffed to bits with the modified pattern, and also feeling pleased that I’ve tried (and mastered) crochet cabling.

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Street Art #1

Welcome to the first of a new series.  I see a lot of graffiti while I’m out and about, which is pretty much the norm these days.  Most graffiti is pointless vandalism, but there’s an increasing amount of really eye catching street art.  Some of it is beautiful, some of it makes a statement, and sometimes you see the odd piece that’s just baffling (but in a good way).  I often stop and look at interesting examples, but rarely remember to take a photo.  That’s about to change, and I’ll upload any that catch my eye from now on.  The first offering I have for you is this piece I spotted in Flask Walk (Hampstead, NW3).

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As with the Big Knit 2012, I have received a lovely card from Innocent thanking me for the hats I knitted for the Big Knit 2013

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Which reminds me, I really ought to start making some more hats!

 

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It’s all been a bit manic here as we’ve been preparing for major building work, so I’ve been neglecting my Sunday Sketchblog somewhat of late.  Here are some pages of rough sketches to keep you going.

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My scanner has now gone into storage for a while (due to aforementioned building work) so there might be another hiatus until the next sketchblog entry!

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A New Stitch a Day is where I stumbled upon the Indian cross stitch way back in October.  It’s a beautiful stitch and I just had to try it.  So I did, and I loved it (and it was super easy too, always a bonus).  I had a vague idea of knitting swatches of it in different colours and then piecing them together to make a curtain for my studio door… but that idea fell by the wayside and I ended up frogging it.  The yarn has since been put to better use (more on that next week), but for now you’ll just have to enjoy the beauty of what was a great test swatch.

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papercutting

Early in January I thought I’d give the art of papercutting a go, because I had a silhouette image in my mind’s eye and wanted to bring it to life in something other than pen and ink.  Despite the title of this post it’s actually paper and a really sharp knife that you need; those, plus a cutting mat (and a pencil, if you’re not brave enough to cut freehand), are all the equipment you need for this craft.

Oh, and patience.  Lots of patience.

So I drew the image I wanted, then traced it onto the back of the card I wanted to cut (this way you don’t need to worry about trying to rub out lines on what will eventually be quite a delicate piece of work).  Then there was nothing left to do but cut!  It did take a while, and I had stiff fingers and a sore back by the time I was done, but oh my it was worth it.  It was mounted on a piece of Bockingford watercolour paper (which has a lovely texture) and put into a simple IKEA frame.

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That first one was called ‘Shiba Moon’ and I took my inspiration from a drawing my father did (which you can see here – and another piece, gocco printed this time, which it inspired is here), clearly evident in the tree and the general style.  This piece sold within a couple of days (yay!) and is now somewhere in the USA.

I then cut another design, this time mounting it on a pearlescent purple.

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This second piece is called ‘Shiba Love’ and is available in my Etsy shop.  Will there be more papercutting in my future?  Yup, I think so!

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Not the most thrilling title, and not really the most enthralling subject for a blog post either!  Still, I’ve had a chance to do a little more reorganising in my garden and thought I might as well pop it up here.  The last bit of pallet recycling involved turning some wooden pallets into a bench for my studio (click here to view that post – you’ll need to scroll down quite a way to see it).  However we did have some bits of pallet left, which was annoying as (of course) that means having to dispose of them.  Hmm.

So, since November I’ve been pondering on and off how best to use up the rest of the leftovers.  I stumbled across a great idea at A Beautiful Mess for creating a vertical garden using old pallets (click here to view); which I loved, but it didn’t really fit right with my own garden, as I have a lot of pot holders which need to hang off horizontal supports.  Still, it provided enough inspiration for me to go back to basics and just use the pallet as is.

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Just adding a wider board (another leftover from another project!) to the top to make a shelf, on which I will sit troughs full of vegetables come the summer, and voila!  One handy pot hanging space, which might not look much now but if you pop back in the summer it’ll be blooming.  I may even paint it, you never know.

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A little while ago I mentioned that I had some other crochet patterns from KnotSewCute to try out, one of which was for ladies fingerless mitts.  Well shortly after writing that blog post I found myself wanting to make a little present for one of my friends, and as she does a lot of walking and cycling I thought that fingerless mitts were a good choice.

I had a rummage through my yarn stash and found some gorgeous merino DK that I’d bought a few years ago for a dress I wanted to crochet – as it turned out I got distracted part way through, and when I finally went back to it found that I hadn’t marked where I’d got to in the pattern.  Cue lots of annoyed frogging as I gave up, wound the wool back into balls and shoved it into the depths of my yarn basket.

Anyway… I chose this merino wool, in a lucious deep teal, and off I went.  The pattern was really easy to follow and the mitts came together very quickly.

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My friend was happy with them, and I thought my work was done.  Oh no, not quite yet – my mother liked the look of them, and asked if I could make a pair for her too…

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They look a little different, don’t they?  My mum wanted them for wearing when she does the local car boot sale, and as it can get very cold standing outdoors all day she wanted only the very tips of her fingers to be free (for counting out change).  She also didn’t want the picot edge, or the decorative buttons.  Fair enough mum: your wish is my command!

I’m now working on a pair for myself (which will have more modifications), and then will make a pair for my partner too as he (like me) thinks they’ll be perfect for wearing whilst walking the dog.  It’s a jolly good job that they’re a quick project (one mitt can be crocheted during one evening in front of the telly)…

Many thanks again to Kim for the pattern, it’s been a brilliant one to try and the finished mitts are gorgeous and warm 🙂

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