Friday, October 24

dull trickery ...

i have been quietly beavering away with Miss Ethel over the past few weeks, none of which, alas, i can show you for it is all tippity top secret squirrel stuff. 
i will of course be able to share as and when i am told i can share but for now 
i cannot, so i will not.

because of this secretive squirrel stuff taking up muchly part of my crafty life i fear i am quite dull and have nothing to say for myself. 
if this is the case then i most apologize for my dull ways and only ever talking about yarn, you will be forgiven if you wish to go home now. 

for those that are staying,
i am happy to announce my terrible case of second sleeve syndrome is over with and a second sleeve has been born. i have no idea if other sleeves are in me to be made, only time will tell.

 i cannot tell you how relieved i am to get the February Lady Sweater off my needles. 
can i also tell you, i am not even sure if i like her anymore, i am wondering if we need a little distance between us for a friendship to grow again, for i do love the yarn and colour tres muchly
i have washed her and laid her to dry, this has already made me see her in a new light, perhaps there is hope for us yet.

 my 'silly billy' backward yarn overs have opened up and a slight lace pattern has appeared. her bell like 3/4 length sleeves are not as 3/4's as i would have liked, they appear to be 1/2 sleeves. no one made me cast off my sleeves the length i did, only me and my impatient ways are to blame. 

i found some jolly nice reproduction vintage buttons but they were rather white, so they spent the afternoon bobbing up and down in the dregs of my man's tea and are now a rather dirty cream colour. of course if i wash them i have no doubt the tea will wash out therefore i will never wash my cardi ever again. i also decided as the edge of the cardi around the neck has a tendency to curl unless it is done up, i will add an edging of vintage ribbon down the inside opening so at least it will look quite peachy rather than pants if the little curl is pesky and persistent.

on t'other yarny notes, we have reached the time of year tis colder in mossy shed than outside. actually that is any time of year but its super duper noticeable when its cold and wet outside. thus neck warmers are required, for i have a giraffe neck and if i wore my hair down then it would be kept cozy but i do not for my hair attacks me unless it is pinned up in a bird's nest. therefore i have decided i wish to embrace a more utilitarian style of neckwarmer this year. ruffles will not do for what i wish is for it to fit perfectly flat under a coat so no need to be attacked by my knit wear in my shed and when trying to leave my shed. 

i am working on a pattern from the 1930's as i tippity type this. one a nice dearie shared with me, i will share it next week and last night i found another which has a turn down collar which, when a coat is put over the top actually looks just like a cardi collar underneath. i have noted it is made with short rows. yet another new knitty thing  to add to my growing knitting repertoire. i just have to find the perfect yarn to use. for neck warmers not only have to do a good job at keeping your neck warm but also a good job at not causing a rash from itchy ways. i would like my rolled neck warmer to be of the tweedy sort, but tweedy can mean scratchy. we have some at the store that are not so, but then they are not the right weight for the pattern and thus it would mean a clever bit of mathematical trickier if i were to convert the pattern to work with a dk and not a bulky.
i am wondering if i am all out of trickery this week.

Monday, October 20

smitten with my mittens ...

darn and double drat, 
i cannot find what i am looking for in my archives to share. this will teach me, for i am pants at archiving and thus i am now pants at sharing a link. therefore i will not share a link and just tell you about it instead.

so last winter Tara Dearie knitted some marvelous mittens (Maize pattern by Tin Can Knits) for our one skein holiday project at Tolt Yarn and Wool. well they were mittens of the utmost kind, in green wool no less. before i went on my travels home for the holidays i left a note pinned to them saying if ever they were lonely or looking for a home to be loved, i would surely take them in. upon my return from my homeland, said mittens were waiting for me! Tara had kindly thought they would like to live with me. the rest of the winter i wore them and quite sensibly made a string for them so i did not lose them. i did however spend most of my time getting tangled up especially in the car door because of my safety string. 

between then and now i came across a japanese craft book which had knitted mittens with a jolly bit of embroidery upon them. my heart skipped a beat, i had mitten envy like never before. i have carried the thought of embroidered mittens in my cogs for many a long time. every now and then i revisit the thought, ponder how i would go about such a task and then put my pondering thoughts away again.

until friday that is, when i had done my sorting out of woolly goodness to wear upon my hands, my head and around my neck these coming chilly days. i put on my green mitts and decided there and then we would risk it for a biscuit. 

first off i removed the string. then i decided to lengthen the wrist bit as it was a tad short for me by adding a few rows of crochet. 

one round single crochet, one round half double crochet and one round picot stitching into every other stitch below (all US crochet terms). 

i liked it tres muchly and it spurred me on. i rustled around in my stash for leftover yarns in pleasing colours and then i wound little bits around cotton reels to make them even more pleasing.

then i decided the key to successful 'twin' embroidery was to work on both mitts at the same time. i cut out a little hand scribbled flower template, pinned in place and did a bit of running stitch around the edge to give me an idea of where i would do my main stitches. 

i reversed the template and did the same on the other mitt. then with yarn in hand, i started to fill in the main flower with stem stitches, not particularly uniform, just filling in as i went.

oh and i must tell this too for those that may well try the same on their mitts. 

my mitt insert is all knowing and all seeing but is quite the silent fellow

the besty best thing i did was make a cardboard mitt insert, thus i could stitch away with no fear of my needle going through to the other side of my mitt and also keeping my fabric flat to work on.

i proceeded to carefully fill in my flowers, being sure not to pull tight. after which i pondered where to go, so using couch stitch i went off to the other end of the mitt near the cuff and added a side view of the flower, using the template from before, just chopping off 2 of the petals. once again reversing it for the other mitt and working at the same time. i then did a bit of natty french knotting, long stitches and some little stitches that are like giant single chain stitches and after all that, i stood back after midnight and i was without a doubt, smitten with my mittens.

i love my mittens so muchly now i fear i cannot wear them out of the shed in case of a loss. i told my man in a fire i would grab my mittens first, he said "what about me?" i told him he was a responsible adult and would need to look out for himself, for my mittens were quite helpless and would need me as they could not move on their own. 

i love my mittens so muchly i have pinned them on the wall next to the blue lady so they may be admired by any passing bods. 

i love my mittens so muchly i fear which of my children will inherit them, will they fight over them, will i have to embroider 4 pairs of mitts to make it fair or wait to see who looks after me best in my old age? 

i would like to do more embroidery upon knitted goodness, i am thinking thriftstore sweaters would like it too. however i am wondering if this was a moment, a moment when the crafty gods got together and shone down on me, everything aligned perfectly and my crafty hands will never quite be able to live up to this one truly glorious moment in my crafty lifetime .... 

Friday, October 17

a 'woolly & warm & tres long' scarf recipe ...

recently when i came across my thrifted coat upon the racks of despair i knew i wished to make her feel welcome in my world by making her a scarf. 
not just any scarf but a 'woolly & warm & tres long' one 

one which i may wear a multitude of ways depending on the weather and the days.

if you too would like to make a 'warm & woolly & tres long' scarf then here is my recipe

nitty gritty:

* my scarf is made with quince & co worsted weight yarn, Owl and Owl Tweet which is 50% american wool 50% american alpaca, found at Tolt Yarn and Wool 

* i used 5 skeins (1 x sooty, 1 x abyssinian, 1 x canyon, 2 x nuuk) and each skein had 120 yds/110ms on it. so all together you will need approximately 600 yds of yarn if you are wishing to make your scarf not only woolly and warm but tres long

* the scarf is colour blocked and i choose to use 2 skeins of one colour to create a large block of colour. you can choose to do whatever pleases your colour blocking heart :)

* you can use any yarn but i would consider using one with some drape to it

* this scarf is crocheted in a slanted shell stitch hence it creates a fabric that stretches on the bias, yet the chains along the edge do not stretch. therefore i suggest you do not do your edge chains too tight. washing and gently laying flat to dry, being careful not to flatten the stitch pattern will make all the difference

* finished measurement of scarf is 5.75"/14.5cm x 92"/234cm after washing

* you can wear this scarf long, you can wear it wrapped around a multitude of times or you can wear it folded in half and then looped at the front of your neck.

* the stitch pattern is #174 in the brilliant book The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs by Linda P. Schapper (a musty must for any crochet lover)

* all crochet is written in US terminology

a Mr Hook size 5.0mm
approximately 600 yds of worsted weight yarn

row 1: (single crochet, chain 2, 4 double crochet) in 2nd chain from hook, *skip next 3 chain, (single crochet, chain 2, 4 double crochet) in next chain; repeat from * across to within last 4 chain, skip next 3 chain, single crochet in last chain, turn.

row 2: chain 3 (counts as double crochet), 2 double crochet in first single crochet, *skip next 4 double crochet, (single crochet, chain 2, 4 double crochet) in next chain-2 space; repeat from * across to within last chain-2 space, single crochet in last chain-2 space, turn.

1. take your first skein of colour and make a chain of 24 plus 2
2. crochet row 1 of pattern above
3. crochet row 2 of pattern above
4. continue repeating row 2 of pattern above
5. when your skein comes to an end, join the next colour at the begining of a row and continue upon your merry way repeating row 2 of pattern as you go and changing skeins as they run out

6. when you are all out of yarn, finish off and weave in all your ends. wash gently and lay to dry flat but try not to flatten out the stitches.

and voila! 
a 'woolly and warm and tres long' scarf is yours!

please feel free to add your scarf to Ravelry if you are on there. 
you can find me under dottieangelLTD if you like.