Saturday 15 June 2024

Experimental Knitting and a Blast From The Past

Recently I have been bouncing around YouTube finding knitting videos and looking for new techniques to try out, and the result is this little mobile phone cosy.  Oddly enough my husband really doesn't like it, saying it's not my usual colours, too bright, to which my reply is that is the whole point, easy to spot, so harder to mislay. 

I have knitted Fair Isle patterns in the past and never really enjoyed it, so I decided to try again.  I was hoping to find a better way to manage two colours in one row, but failed, so Fair Isle is back on the Couldn't Be Bothered list.  

However, the corrugated rib, the vertical stripes at the top and bottom, alternating two stitches knit with two stitches purl, was a resounding success, and an opportunity to try a few little variations.


On the back (knitted at a right angle to the front) I tried putting a curve in the lines by using a cable needle, which came out a bit tight and not worth the effort.  Then I turned it into an elongated chequerboard pattern, which I loved doing.  Somehow the bendy lines and chequerboard looked weirdly familiar as a pattern, but it l took a while to work it out. 

So let's zoom back to 1967.  Here is the jumper I mentioned in an earlier post, Still Knitting, which I made for my brother and which he still wears.  Natalia left a comment saying it would be good to see a picture of the jumper from when I made it, so here it is!  Of course you can barely see the jumper, black being the hardest colour to photograph, and working from a slide which was loaded onto his computer, this is the best edit I can manage. 

I have made a few repairs to the jumper so he can carry on wearing it without the risk of any unravelling happening.  It is made in a near indestructible synthetic, so seems set to last a lifetime.  It was his favourite jumper in his motorcycling days, a thick thermal layer under his jacket.

Which brings me back to the experiments with corrugated rib.  I have managed to inadvertently knit a tyre track.

Friday 24 May 2024

A Cardigan for the Autumn

It's finished!  The buttons are on, and the camera is still being thrown into confusion by the colour.  To photograph it I put it on an old curtain on the floor near a window, and when editing the colour I could not get the dark red right without the green of the background turning out too bright.  The red varies a lot depending on the light, looking really drab in electric light and interesting and cheerful in sunshine, so perhaps I should not complain too much about the camera throwing a temper.


Here are the yarns I used - the Sirdar Harrap Tweed (a wool and synthetic mix) for the ribbing and background colour, and the lovely varied pure wool yarn, hand dyed by Charmaine at YarnTings, for the pattern rows.  I used up two skeins of of the varied yarn with only a tiny amount left over.  Thinking I was going to run out, I ordered an extra skein, which came in handy for the photo and will be set aside for another project

The stitch is an easy eight row sequence:-

Row 1 - background, knit

Row 2 - background, purl

Row 3 - contrast, k2, p2

Row 4 - contrast , k2, p2

Row 5 - background, knit

Row 6 - background, purl

Row 7 - contrast, p2, k2

Row 8 - contrast, p2, k2

It gives a basket weave effect with a lovely warm texture, and the reverse stocking stitch squares showing on the right side give a mottled effect to the varied colours of the contrast yarn.

Another great advantage to this stitch is that it is easy to look at a finished item and count the rows and the stitches, so you can make another and adjust the number of rows or stitches if needed.

Here is a toddler sized cardie (patiently waiting for its buttons) laid over mine, which presented another photo editing nightmare.  To get the blues right I had to reconcile myself to inaccurate red and screaming green.  It is made in the same stitch, but the body proportions are quite different, with the sleeves being the same length as the body.  It is so long since I knitted an adult sized garment that I had forgotten how much longer the sleeves needed to be.

Finally, the buttons.  I love them!  Just the right shade of dark red, with a gold circle for emphasis.  I'm pleased that the gold colour isn't on the surface where it could end up wearing off, but safely embedded under a layer of transparent plastic.

Now the cardigan is put away, and much as I want to wear it, I hope I don't need it until late September at least!

Friday 3 May 2024

Still Knitting

Well it's been a long time since I last posted, so long I daren't even look at the date of the previous post, but here I am, still busy with the knitting needles, and the sewing machine is still idle.  So in the short term, this will be a knitting blog, and will at some point in the not too distant future transform itself into a knitting and sewing blog.

We have just spent a few days staying with with my brother, and while we were there he presented me with a repair job - a jumper I made for him, which was the third or fourth jumper I ever made.  It had come unravelled at the front of the neck and around one of the cuffs, so I have already repaired the worst damage.  The other cuff is hanging on by a thread, and the bottom edge of the back and front is also looking fragile, so I shall reinforce all along the casting on.  Apart from that, the jumper is in good shape and still has plenty of wear in it.  There is a photo of my brother wearing the jumper, taken in 1967, a mere 57 years ago.  Taking into account that I had already been knitting a few years when I made it, I am now going to ignore the fact that telling you makes me feel exceedingly ancient, and just blurt out that it is now some 63 years since I learnt to knit.

Here is my latest project, a cardigan for the autumn, or earlier if summer never arrives, in proper old lady tweedy shades of dark red.  I had a dickens of a job with the camera, which seemed to go into a flat panic trying to capture the correct shades, but this photo is more or less accurate.  I am using two different yarns - a dark red/brown with occasional coloured flecks (on the right hand needle) and a multi coloured yarn which puts in shades of mauve, grey, pink, brown, maroon and rust (on the left).  I have just reached the stage where I shall need to go shopping for buttons, so I can keep all that excitement for the next post.  Let's hope I find the perfect match!

Thursday 4 May 2023

Quilting Again!

Finally, after many months, I have actually done some quilting.  It is two years (time flies, I thought it was only one) since I made a couple of cradle quilt sandwiches.  Yesterday I pulled out this one, which was on top, and couldn't believe the timing.  What could be better than a little Union Jack quilt to work on a few days before the Coronation?  Now the quilting is finished, and I have found just the right fabric in the stash to use for the binding.  It is not often that I use so many blues because I always think the effect can be cold, but this quilt has made me decide I should make an effort to use them more often - throwing in the muted turquoise and pale duck egg shades has made all the difference.


Friday 14 April 2023

Six Months Later...

A six month sabbatical wasn't planned, but it happened.  Sometimes you just need a break, and once the break starts it dawns on you that it needs to be a long one.  Anyway, here is the first blog post for a while, and it's about knitting.  I have a stash of wool that needs to be used up, and have found the solution for what to make with small amounts left over from old projects - baby boots!

These boots, the prototype pair, are now being put through their paces by their new little owner.  I tried out a pattern from a book, and found that they were far too tight around the leg, so I split the fold-over at the top and added an ankle strap. 


The casting on ends up as a seam down the middle of the sole.  I love the oval shape of the feet.

To give an idea of the dinkiness of the boots, the buttons were from an old shirt of my husband's.  I'm slightly miffed that I got the writing upside down, but at least it's the right way up for the baby to read, just in case he's a genius.

I have got a quilting project in the offing, but in the meantime be prepared for more boots - they are addictive!  A great little technical challenge that can be completed in a couple of evenings is my ideal project for the moment.

Friday 30 September 2022

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 401 - Baby Arrived Early

My good intentions to have the crib liner finished in time for the Autumn Baby's arrival have been thwarted by his early arrival on Sunday - three weeks early with accompanying shock and drama.  After a rough start, mum and baby are now doing well, but not home yet.

Meanwhile, the crib liner is nearly finished - four quilted panels, ten and a half inches deep, joined at the four corners using the QAYG method.

I stitched a line down the middle of the joining strip so that the panels can fit easily into the corners of the crib.  I decided to use the same fabric to keep the join reasonably unobtrusive, giving a few entertaining results with the design.  There is some dangerous flying going on with those three helicopters.

With the binding I wanted minimum contrast, and dug out a piece of fabric that I bought years ago as a small remnant.  There was just enough to make the binding.  The design is very muted and the little stars and moons are perfect for bedtime.

Now I have to attach tabs to fasten the lining to the crib.  I have been deliberating for a while, and have finally decided on a method.  It has been tricky working with just photos and measurements and without being able to fit the lining to the actual crib.  I have put in pins to indicate the spacing between the staves, but it still didn't help with the actual length of the tabs.  Eventually I hit on the idea of asking my husband to make a mock up of a couple of staves and the top and bottom, all to scale, so I can work in three dimensions instead of floundering in fresh air.

I still have plenty of the main fabric left, but didn't want to cut into it just for a lot of tabs that would only be seen on the back, so I pulled out a pale brownish fabric that will go better with the wood of the crib.

It has sweet little angels on it.  I'm hoping one or two will be visible on the finished item to keep guard over the sleeping baby.


Here goes for Week 401:-

Many thanks to Andrée for linking up last time with her wonky stars.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and see more.


If you have no free motion quilting to show, feel free to link up and show any project you like.  Here are the usual rules, but feel free to ignore them.  To keep the original emphasis, however, preference will be given to free motion quilting when featuring projects from the previous week.

If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.

Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post.

3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for five days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Tuesday.

So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland, Brazil and Sweden have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.


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