Tuesday, 30 June 2009

blocked sleeves

The sleeves are nicely being blocked. Cotton is not giving in knitting , there is no flexibility so to sort out unevenness in cotton, blocking should be strongly considered. This is how I block;

I fill a bowl with lukewarm water and rest the pieces on the water letting them slowly absorb the water until all is sank, stir it gently and let it swim there happily.After few more minutes I'll drain the water from the ball and take the soaked dripping pieces into the washing machine , then spin cycle. When all done , I'll find an available mattress. my favourite is my son's spare one, the straight lines on the pattern make it easy to alienate the sleeves . Then it is a matter of pulling gently to the right measurements and pinning it down. Then its waiting, and when you think its done wait a bit more because although the outside looks dry the inside is still wet.
next is sawing..

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Its summer, glorious summer, well and truly here. Which brings me to cotton. My preference goes to wool but when the temperature soars , even wool goes off. Now, cotton is a plant fiber, stronger than wool and stronger still when wet. A few issues arise around the 'how green ' is cotton, I've read that as a crop its requires vast amounts of pesticides and fertilizers and if I'm not mistaken this crop needs lots and lots of water.

A decade ago , I did not know much about cotton, did not know there are many level of quality and varied personalities. A leaflet from Lidl came with an advertising of 3 balls of cotton, marketed from Germany, for £1.20. What a bargain I exclaimed at the time and rushed and bought most of their stock. cotton is cotton I thought. What a disaster! This cotton found its quite way to charitable venues...

Egyptian cotton is considered the best, go and see hoe expensive bed linen are made from the staff. Apparently its to do with the longest staple length. Then its followed closely by the Pima cotton grown in the united states and Peru.

regarding the process the Cotton is undergoing I tend to least favour the mercerised cotton (invented by John Mercer in the early 19Th century). Although shiny , the increased strengh make my fingers ache after knitting for a while. much prefer soft spun like the rowan purelife organic range or their 4 ply cotton. If I can help it I know not to pick an aran weight , a cardi made from the staff will make you feel as if you were carrying sack of potatoes . Also another tip, try to knit cotton firmly, garment will keep its shape longer.

So, what is on my needles now? Another Kim Hargreaves charming piece Daisy.

Daisy uses pima cotton by rowan. I went for the 'grellow' look, combination of grey and yellow that I find very appealing. The buttons are a great find from ebay, true glass vintage yellow beauties. and isnt that pocket adorable with its contrast.? a simple pattern really, moss bands , fitted.. I have a good feeling about this one!just a warning about the gauge, kim states 26 sts per 10 cm, impossible for me to achieve even after sqizzing the hell out of the pima. I reckon it is a mistake.

Happy summer knitting!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Here's ash

Here I am staring into the distance with the finished ash proudly on my head.

Many thanks to my friend Wendy for rescuing me and giving me some 'cooking apple' enough to finish the last 4 stripes

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The bag

My mum was born on Xmas day. not such a special day in Israel but here in England it raises a few eyebrows. She was 60 years old and deserved a special present. After some thinking I remember a really beautiful pattern designed by Fiona Morris. Now Fiona is a dear friend of mine but beside that she is phenomenal in her knitting knowledge and in my opinion what Fiona does not know it is nor worth knowing.

The pattern is a silver evening bag, very glamorous, perfect for the theatre, weddings and black tie parties..

There were a few options of beads and yarn combination but I chose the original:

3*10 grams balls of no. 8 Pearle cotton in pale grey

160 grams of size 10 seed beads

size 1.25 mm needles!!! (American size 0000)

All materials for this bag available from Fiona

The metal hand bag frame in Nickel available from 'Bags of handles'.

The making of this bag took me about a month. It is on very small needles and at the beginning you have to get used to the small stitches. The beads need to be prestrung to the cotton with a beading needle and some nymo thread. The technique used is called beaded knitting. The bag is knitted in Garter stitch with beads strung between stitches. The shape of the bag is produced by stringing different numbers of beads between the stitches and some short row shaping.

The large amount of beads give this stunning bag some substantial weight. I decided to saw an inner silk material for extra touch. I wish I could see my mum's face when she opened her present, I gave it to my sister before she flew to Israel...

Monday, 8 June 2009

hot and a hat


I'm in a funny mood, just don't know what to cast on. The problem is the weather. Its fairly warm so cotton, linen , silk are calling to be picked up and I do have cupboards filled the stuff. But which pattern? I have tons and tons of gorgeous patterns for winter, for example silvy and my bohus wild apple..and then the answer came , a hat. another hat? you ask. yes ! one could never have too many hats, and one have lots of relatives who keep a close eye on what you knit and not shy of begging..yes mum, that includes you, dear.

So on the needles is the lovely ash.. Kim Hargreaves of course.

The patterns calls for rowan fine milk cotton but decided to destash some of my rowan 4 ply cotton so are using the long discontinues 'cooking apple' which is a very pale green and 'aegaen' blue. love the color combination of this hat, it is bright, playful, and suits spring and summer.

It is knit in the flat although you can easily convert it to circular needles.

Here is another pattern of Kim's, knit with the now discontinued rowan lurex, navy color and the rowan 4 ply cotton. It is very similar to Ash but chose to keep the purl side as the right one. Here is my daughter modeling the back.

and me next to the Itchen river.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Presenting the Jacket

I spent the last couple of days sawing. Never rush sawing ..You need to be patient and attentive to details... Then happiness arrives and you got a garment to be proud of. It took 9 balls of rowan 4 ply soft in 'leafy' for the extra small size.The pattern is very textured and give the jacket its stability. I knitted pockets for the first time and shaped a somewhat fancy collar. very pleased with the results and got few compliments today from my border southampton knitting group.

and the back: