Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Still trying to play 'catch up' with my crafty goings on . . . .

My crafting escapades are jogging along apace at the moment . . . . just don't seem to get the time to blog about any of them!  I still haven't shown my tweedie makes which will be added to the shop soon I hope.  I did, ahem, jump into another personal project as I was so pleased with my lace shawl that I wanted to try another one with some yarn I had in my stash for sock-knitting.  It never got used as it was quite fine and I couldn't really be bothered making socks on such small needles - lazybones!

Here's the second shawl blocking beside my ugly toes, hee hee! . . .

This is yet another very ornate shawl - almost Victorian in style, but a very fun knit.  Again I used only one ball of yarn which I think is part of the attraction!

A little close up . . . .

The lace opened up beautifully after blocking as you can see above.  I pinned out all the peaks individually - a bit back breaking but worth it in the end.  This one was called Haruni Shawl by Emily Ross - you can see it here.

I sort of  flew through this one in a week and a half - I just couldn't wait to see how it turned out :)

I'm now going to 'behave' and slow down a bit and concentrate on 'shop' things - I promise!

In between all that, youngest had a birthday . . . 

He's such a fun kid - all 14 years of him! (Not really 'Little S' anymore as I used to refer to him here!)

Here he is with 'Ji-ji' the cat on his birthday - she looks a little restless!
Well, must dash and NOT do any more crafty stuff until I get a bit more organised - who am I kidding, it's not going to happen!

Cheerio an Drasda :)
Alison x

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Learning Lace - a lovely journey!

Helllloooo again after a long extended Summer break :)  I've waited until both my boys got back to school/Uni before I started blogging/crafting in earnest - that's not to say I haven't been crafting over the Summer!  I concentrated on two larger personal projects - my crochet quilt, which is all ready to be sewn together (that's another post I think!) and a second project which I didn't even think I'd embark on, let alone finish.

Here's a detail of the project . . . .

I wish I could have documented this project but the Summer flew by and I didn't really want to spend time on my laptop while we were all on holiday.  I showed a ball of Malabrigo Sock Yarn in an earlier post which I had earmarked to make this shawl by Jenny Johnson Johnen.  To be honest I really wasn't sure I'd get round to making it as I'd missed the deadline I'd intended to make it for - I had decided it would be for me! (well , why not :)).

This is a really beautiful pattern which I thought would be beyond my capabilities but I think it's very well written and having made two shawls earlier in the year, I had a bit of background knowledge.

After a few false starts I finally got underway - it didn't take long before I realised that 'lifelines' were going to be a very good idea!  This is the practice of inserting a length of yarn/thread after completing a correct pattern sequence and if you've ever tried knitting lace you'll know that unravelling work is a nightmare!  Trying to pick up stitches where there are yarn overs (which create the holes in your lace) is to my mind almost impossible.  I used a darning needle and some white sock yarn for my lifeline after each correct pattern repeat - you know then that you can unravel the work to the point your pattern was correct - pheeeeew!  It's worth the bother believe me :)

Anyhoo, enough technicalities - here's the finished shawl before blocking it - looks a little bit rubbish doesn't it??

The lacework tends to scrunch up as you are using larger knitting needles with fine yarn.  Believe me I was delighted to have reached this point though - I think it took about 3 weeks to complete, but a wonderful learning process.  The pattern has Estonian Lace elements, using 'nupps' - sort of bobbles which add texture to the open lace.  Anyway once finished I couldn't wait to block it - this opens up the lace magically!  I simply immersed the finished shawl in lukewram water for 20-30 minutes and gently squeezed the excess water by placing it on a large towel, rolling it up and stepping on it (barefoot!).  It was then ready to pin out - stretching the scallops out and pinning a straight edge - voila!  After leaving overnight . . . .

Sorry not very good pics!!  Here's more detail of the lace itself  though . . .

I am really happy with this shawl - it was a great learning experience and weirdly turned out exactly as I wanted it to!  Size, colour, everything!

I did intend to get someone to take a photo but ended up taking it myself - never mind!  My shawl and I are very happy, hehe!

And all from one ball of sock yarn - I call that magic!

I think I will definitely making more lace shawls - Yay!

Here's the Malabrigo Sock Yarn (Ochre) before I wound it u p into a ball - I wrapped it round the back of two chairs in my kitchen to wind it up.

The shade was Ochre - it looks mustardy in some pics but is really a lovely old yellowy gold colour - just gorgeous!  I used a 5 mm needle and it created a nice open lace texture for the final piece.

The moral of the story is - don't be frightened of knitting lace!  It's magic :)

I'll be back with some tweedie makes for my shop later in the week - it wasn't ALL fun and games over the summer, well actually tweedie work IS fun and games too!

Cheerio an Drasda :)
Alison x