Thursday, 30 December 2010

Caterpillar's photo shoot

Kaffe Fassett's Caterpillar is now complete. Today the temperatures rose to a balmy 7C so it was enough for me to just slip it on and have a little walk  up the lane to the  green . There been a persistent fog last couple of days but my sparkly and colorful caterpillar drove all the grey away.

The knitting itself was quick with the 7mm needles. There is a shiny lurex in each row but it is accompanied by either double kid silk haze or rowan kid classic. I didn't have all the original colors, some are discontinued so had to substitute some colors but am pleased with the overall color scheme.  Reflecting back I think that if I was to do it again I would omit about 12 rows from the body's length. I'm petite and seldom wear long tunics which swallows my frame.

Those new forest ponies were not impressed at all with my presence , next time I'll bring carrots.

Happy New Year and Happy Knitting to you !!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Saturday progress shoot- Galvanized Cardigan

Remember this post ?

I'm using the original yarns in the magazine. The rowan felted tweed , ancient, is more sagey green than grey but is very stylish with the amber kidsilk haze. My hands had to get used to the dual colored single rib. I'm not fast at that as I want to , I still hold  the 2 yarns in my left hand .

               And down below is  a close up of the wrong side for those who wish to see it (you know who you are , haha).                                                                                                                                                              

Sunday, 5 December 2010


The yarn for Scottie was laying dormant for at least eight years. It is the softly spun natural fleece by Jaeger.
Scottie was knitted out of necessity. An eastern arctic wave of snow and ice was hitting this country .

I'm naturally drawn to fine yarns and holding the thick  9mm needles took some time to adjust to. I wanted a thick zipped long Cardigan and chose a Martin Storey design from a jaeger JB 32 booklet. It is very quick to knit , thick yarn is very rewarding in that aspect. The zipper though took couple of days to sew and I made it fit right to the top of the collar so that when you feel extra chilly you zip yourself right up and cover your neck.
Scottie is my favourite homely warmer. I'm pleased.


Maxi also thinks its comfy !! 

Monday, 29 November 2010

Caterpillar bling !

What is on my needles ? 
Bling addiction ! every row is sparkling with  shimmering metallic lurex ..color combination you would never think of unravelling in each row added..
My lovely lovely caterpillar !!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Florence at last !

I've only now finished Florence by Kim Hargreaves. Now this was one troublesome cardigan. Many things went wrong here and five days ago it was ready to be pushed away to the back of the wardrobe never to see the light of day.

I chose the yarn to be a rowan cashcotton 4ply in pale dull blue contrasted with the black glass buttons I've ordered from Kim herself. I've only had few balls so got the rest in a different dye lot. That was the first problem. The subtle change in color mid sleeve was a sore to the eye so in the end knitted 3 sleeves. :(

The other serious problem was that the sleeves caps were way too large for the armhole so sewing them resulted in funny crunched up shoulders. The neckband I picked and knitted had too many stitches in it so the neck line was way too wide, floppy and made the shoulders seams flop to mid arms. Not an attractive look !

I went defeated to my Southsea knitting group and my lovely dear friend Caroline volunteered to take the monstrosity home , rip the sleeves out and reknit the caps much smaller (by third) to fit the armholes.

I then sew back the new sleeves , frogged the neckband and picked it again, tight.

So, here I am at the back of my garden in this grey wintry day. My wellies are on and I'm splashing about in my brook .

Happy days !!!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

knitted to the bone !

I stumbled across this - The meditating skeleton :)

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Pea vines shawl

Here is the lethal pea vines shawl by Ann Hanson. This shawl is not for the faint hearted. This shawl is also anti-social, it doesn't like people and small children talking and playing around it.
But if you behave nicely to it, give it your full attention it will reward you with some stunning views.

I chose to make the petite version which used less than 300 yards of the hand dyed seriously-gorgeous knit witches green yarn, a lovely Lacy cashmere mix which bloomed beautifully after blocking.

This is a close -up of the unblocked shawl. See how intricate and entangled everything looks?

You start the shawl from the widest part and gradually decreased stitches on the side panels going on towards the point of the triangle , then you just graft both side of the edging to create that point. All the difficult long rows are at the beginning when you are at most enthusiastic and the pattern kind of relaxes towards the end. I would strongly recommend using lots of stitch markers between the repeats.

The iPhone camera is convenient to use but it does not do justice to the color depth and the photo quality. Also the photographer is kind of under-age, he he, my daughter.

I'm now thinking about those gorgous hand warmers..

Mother of pearl buttons

Bought those beauties in a little haberdashery shop in Palma. They are carved from mother of pearl shell. Are'nt they lovely?

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Chinook Shawl

Here is a shawl with an eye catching pattern. From a beginning row of eyelets, the lace pattern grows to resemble rippling waves or fish scales. It is a kit supplied by knitpics , the designer is Nina Isaacson. Knitpics does not export to the UK so I had to send it to Kansas where my sister lives. The kit's cost at the time was only $20 and includes 5*50g balls of lace weight all different mixtures of alpaca, silk and merino (Alpaca cloud, Shadow, Gloss Lace, Shimmer)-Absolute bargain ! The yarn is held double ,so at times the yarn needed to be taken from both center and outer ball. You can see the flowing , graduating pool of color starting from a light faded heather to a stronger shade of lilac, purple and dark berry.
The pattern is really easy to remember and knit and my mind already thinks ahead about the possibilities of incorporating it in cardigans..

Here is a loser look, isn't this pretty.. :)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Eriskay photo shoot

This is a cardigan designed by Jean Moss. Its quite an oldie , traditional garment with lots of little cabling and geometric shapes . I used rowan's felted tweed in a rustic orange color-nice for autumn. It took way too long to knit... I promised to knit a scarf for my sister's dog and knitted it whilst she stayed at my house. What I did not realised is that she chose the cheapest green acrylic of a long thread (I dare not call it yarn, that would be a blasphemy !) It actually squeaked on my needles, and to top it all it had to be finished with a grisly pink. Ahem, that was not a labour of love.. I'll have to ask her for some photos of her beloved visla when she's back home ..

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Here is Carrie !

I tend to favourite designs using 4 ply yarn. I just like the look of the fabric. This time I chose to knit Carrie by Kim Hargreaves from her latest book Misty. As usual it is so wearable.

I used the now discontinued rowan 4 ply cotton , shade ripple. A pretty pale minty color. The patterns calls for 4 ply milk cotton but I preferred to de-stash. The buttons are a nice find from the knitting and stitching show in Ally Pally last year. They are carved coconut shells and dyed blue.
This cardigan is textured with a cording and garter stitch trim. The collar is made separately and seamed to the body.

The lower body below the cording has a pretty cluster motif while the sleeves and upper body got a different smaller clusters.
I knitted the icord 20 cm smaller than stated and then wet blocked it . The cord stretched and the stitches became even.

Nice !

Monday, 31 May 2010

My knitting Studio

We have moved a house, hence the long absence. It did not prevent me knitting but my pace slowed down considerably. The house is located in a small village, Brook, in the new forest national park and I'm still in awe about the surroundings, the scenery, nature, animals ..
Knitting wise , I chose today's post to be about my new knitting room. It is located in the loft, its spacious , its mine and it is all about my crafts.

I took great pleasure in sorting my stash into the baskets. The hanks or balls are all in plastic bags to prevent damage from moth (touching wood here) and from splitting by the basket's inner edges. The magazines are in easy reach and view on the top of the furniture. I still need to unpack all my knitting books and decide how to shelve them.

A grand old table is waiting to be restored to its former glory and then to be added here.

Not all yarn in the baskets , I store the 'un-inspiring' yarn out of sight.

Now it is time to sit comfortably down and get inspired !

Sunday, 25 April 2010


Finally the spring has sprung, the weather got warmer and sunnier so I've managed to wear 'shallot' couple of times. I've knitted it whilst holidaying in Lanzarote . Its interesting to know that the yarn I've used was once part of several other garments worn by other people. Revive by Rowan is totally recycled. You see, there once were clothing, used or faulty or even new and then they've been sterilised and sorted by fibre composition and then grinded to loose fibers. Those loose fibers then were carded and spun into cotton , silk and viscose composition yarn.

Revive has flecks of color, not as soft as pima cotton and somewhat splitty if you are not careful.

I'm pleased with this little cardi, and the match to the Liberty's button.

Nice with sleeveless tee and jeans, sandals and sunglasses on..ahh summer soon !

Friday, 9 April 2010

The Lovely Aeolian Shawl ..

I've been busy with my knitting and completed few garments. One of the projects I really enjoy knitting is this lovely shawl designed by Elizabeth freeman. She called it Aeolian and because she is a tree counter, the designs is inspired by the shape of trees. The pattern is free and available on knitty. I've knitted it together with Elseline. We both chose lace for this pattern. I had a very nice red lace alpaca while Elseline knitted it with a dark bamboo yarn, from Habu. I chose to knit it without the beads as I wished it to be not too dressy. Both shawls are very pretty.
You can see the finished shawl before blocking above . It looks nothing like the blocked piece. The pink color is untrue, my shawl is very red.

Above is the shawl drying away , blocked on the guestroom mattress.

Here is my daughter modelling the shawl for me ! Lovely !

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Red gold !

Before going with the family to Lanzarote, I have looked in advance for whereabouts of yarn shops and could not find any. Then when reading about this sleepy volcanic island I discovered an unusual cultivation-cochineal Beetles ! A year ago I bought couple of books regarding natural dyes and remembered reading about the source that gives the best crimson red or carmine dyes ; its derived from carmic acid produced by scale insects such as the cochineal beetle. Here is a photo of some of the shades achieved on woven fabrics.

I read a bit about the history and it is very interesting. Apparently the Aztecs used it as a war paints and when the Spanish came across cochineal in 16th century they shipped it back to Europe and there it created a sensation. The red it produced was brighter, deeper and longer lasting than anything anyone had ever seen. It was used on the cardinal gowns, paints, cosmetics .. The Spanish guarded the secret of cochineal cultivation and it was as expensive as gold. The Spanish discovered climate in the Canary islands was perfect for the beetles.
I drove with my family to Guatisa and Mala where there are numerous cacti fields.

The white spots on the cacti wide leaves are the tell tale signs of the beetles. Here is a close up;

I manually removed the beetles from the leaves (and got pricked!). The beetles are fat and full with the red juice they suck from the tunera cacti. You then leave them to dry and then grind them to a red powder. The dry powder then should be filtered in hot water and I was told it is best to use those white tissue coffee filters. You should then soak the undyed yarn or fabric in it for about 25 minutes. If using acid such as vinegar or lemon juice you will get variation in the reds. I bought a fare amount of the beetles and intend to experiment.
By the way the 'jardin del cactus' in Lanzarote sell them ti tourists 2 euros for about 12-15 dry beetles. not bad!

These days many companies prefer organic dyes to chemical alternatives so the cochineal market is on its way up. Did you know that the Italian drink Campari contain cochineal ??