Saturday, 27 November 2010

Snowfall stocking

I actually knitted this some weeks ago, but it didn't seem right to blog about it till now. Suddenly it seems the festive season is almost upon us, and we actually had snow here this weekend.


I made this knitted stocking using Jennifer Hoel's beautiful Falling Snowflake Stocking pattern and Wendy mode chunky yarn.

I made it for ds, to replace his previous craft-fair purchased felt stocking which was on its last legs, so to speak. I'd already glued the snowman back on, but the edges had started to separate, and a stocking is no good if things fall out!

Ds's eyes were as big as saucers when he saw the replacement, as it is quite a large stocking - no doubt he was thinking about all the presents that would fit inside! I'll have to have a word with Santa, as possibly we will need it bulking out with oranges for economy purposes.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

I has an OWLs


I finished the skier's hat I grumbled about previously, aka the Cross-Country Chullo by Anne Featonby. Although it took me a long time, and much cursing was involved, I rather like the finished item. But it's not actually for me - and I'm not sure I'd really wear such an eye-catching hat. I'll leave it to the teenagers in the family to do that.

Should you wish to tackle this (by no means easy) pattern, it's available for free on Knitty.

Completing this hat also means I am the proud recipient of this award:


If you hang out on Ravelry and like Harry Potter, maybe you'll know what this means. To me, it represents acknowledgement of achievements in charted knitting. I had to make more than just this hat to get it!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Winter table napkins

I made half a dozen red gingham napkins yesterday:


Red gingham has mildly festive connotations in our house because we have a red gingham christmas table runner. I've been meaning to make matching napkins for a while but couldn't find any red gingham of a suitable weight for table linen - I finally found some this year in IKEA. I also used three rolls of East of India craft ribbon which dd gave me last christmas. 

Gingham is a good choice for this ribbon-embellished style, as the lines on the gingham help you keep the ribbons straight.

I've written down the method and here it is, in case anyone else wants to make these vaguely festive napkins.

Materials:
1 m of fabric, 1.5m wide.
6 m of patterned ribbon. I used 3 x 2m rolls in assorted designs.
(This amount is sufficient to make 6 napkins)

Finished dimension of napkins: approx. 40 cms square

Cutting list:
6 pieces each 42 cm square from the main fabric
12 lengths of ribbon each 43 cms approx.

Method:
  1. Line up a length of ribbon on one of the napkin pieces to your satisfaction - mine were placed approx 10 cms from the cut napkin edge. Pin ribbon in place. Using a sewing machine, stitch along one edge of the ribbon in coordinating thread. Pivot and turn at the end, sew along the short edge, then pivot again and sew along the other long edge.
  2. Line up another piece of ribbon to cross the first one at 90-degrees, as shown in the photo below. Pin in place. Repeat the sewing along the edges of the ribbon as previously.
  3. Cut off loose threads and trim the ribbon to lie at the napkin edge, if necessary. Turn over a narrow double hem at one edge; press into place and then pin. Repeat for the other three sides, so there is a pinned double hem round all four sides. Take care to pin securely at the corners.
  4. Use a straight sewing machine stitch to sew along all four hem edges, close to the hem edge, pivoting at each corner and backstitching at start and finish to secure. Press the completed napkin.

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Easiest Mittens In the World Ever

Recently I made a tea cosy, reminiscent of a juicy purple berry, and sang the praises of the yarn used -
Twilley's of Stamford Freedom Spirit.

I liked it so much, I knitted a pair of fingerless mittens in the same yarn. (Yes, yet another pair!! again, modelled by me, but this pair definitely for one of my younger relations.)


This must be the Easiest Fingerless Mitts Pattern Ever. They are just garter stitch rectangles, stitched together at the sides leaving a gap for the thumb, with a crocheted chain added to gather the wrist slightly. I see Ysolda does a slightly more advanced version, including thumb openings, and I might try that when the fingerless mitts bug hits me again.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Le francais

Idly following a few links recently, I was charmed to find you can get blogs (or any other internet content) translated courtesy of Google. Want to see my site in French? Look here

I'm really tickled that my screen label KL (which is actually my first name initials) has also kindly been translated... into "kilolitre". Er, no.

Although my French is terribly rusty, I can spot a few other errors as well. For example, I would translate "really" as "vraiment" rather than "reellement", which I haven't heard in common use. (sorry, there are no accents on my English keyboard; I know there should be one in "reellement" - my French isn't as terrible as all that!)

Maybe translation isn't dead as a career for humans quite yet - further programming definitely required.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Artistry

I went to the Lustre crafts event this weekend. Hosted annually by the University of Nottingham, it's a marketplace for artists of all kinds, with a focus on quality and uniqueness.

There was plenty to admire with over 50 artists exhibiting. As usual, the knitted items only made me consider whether I could achieve similar myself. The fabulous jewellery was also fabulously expensive, so I didn't buy any, but I did discuss the use of old coins in jewellery with Rachel Eardley, who also produces lovely pen and ink drawings and embroidered pieces. I also loved the work of Katie Heeks (only I didn't have enough money to spare on this occasion).

There were also copious amounts of beautiful ceramics. And here, I did actually buy something! I bought this lovely frog and tadpoles bowl for a christmas present.


It's for a biologist, so it seemed particularly apt. It was made by artist Mary Johnson, who had lots of ceramics in similar style, featuring honeybees, mushrooms and ladybirds.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Autumn finish?

The temperature dropped here last week. British Gas also seasonally announced price increases - just in time for greater heating requirements? Anyway, the chill seems to indicate winter is a-coming in, so I thought I'd just write a quick post summarising recent Autumnal activity.

I made this tea cosy, which is reminiscent of blackberries:


This is another pattern from the frequently cited Tea Cozies 2. I've made four cosies from there now. Although I have to say, two of the patterns had errors in, including this one (butterfly stitch pattern instructions missing from the book) but errata are available by contacting the publisher. I used Twilley's Freedom Spirit yarn, which is 100% wool, at a reasonable price and in gorgeous colours. This shade was no. 518 - desire. The finished item is a work-a-day cosy which is very thick and warm. It's due to be posted to Ireland as a christmas present.


I also made a ginger cake, which I feel is seasonal for this time of year; I don't know why, except that when I was a child, there were always gingerbread options at the local bonfire party.

In those days, I lived in a tiny Yorkshire village and the bonfire was a community event, with food brought and shared by all participants. Nowadays I live in a town where local bonfire parties are not available in the same way. Instead you have to pay an entrance fee to go to an organised event, stand well back from the flames (usually the "safe" area is defined by tape or similar, and is so far away from the actual fire you can't feel any warmth), and be fleeced by assorted fairground rides, burger stands and sweet stalls. The fireworks are more spectacular, though.

If you're from another country and are wondering why I'm writing about bonfires in November in the UK, take a look here.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

More mushrooms

This suddenly appeared in my garden last week:


It is a traditional toadstool with red spots as featured in fairyland scenes, Enid Blyton's books about the magic faraway tree and similar. I must have a magical garden. Now keeping a look-out for parties of elves, small talking woodland creatures or similar, complete with jugs of acornade!!

Actually, its common name is fly agaric, latin name amanita muscaria. I am credibly informed that is it hallucingenic and highly poisonous. So I've instructed the kids to admire from a distance, and not to touch it.

As you can see in the photo, something's clearly been eating it, I hope the toxic effects are not universal, or maybe they were having some sort of party?