Sunday, 29 March 2009

Whole Wheat Cardigan

I've finished my test knit of the Whole Wheat Cardigan! This cardigan is a truly gorgeous pattern - not published yet, but it will be soon. The designer is Alexandra Charlotte Dafoe, who can be found on Ravelry.

I knitted it in Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK, the softest yarn I've ever worked with. It knits up so nicely and really shows off the stitches well. The lace and cable pattern is really easy to memorise, so it's perfect for knitting in front of the telly or while reading. It's also a really quick knit, only taking me six days in total including all the finishing off. Here's a picture of me modelling it -

It shouldn't be quite as stretched as that over the bust area, but I knitted it to pre-pregnancy measurements. It'll fit really well in the next six months or so! Here's a shot of the back, which shows off the pattern quite well -

and here's a close up of the pattern itself.

I absolutely love these buttons, they're beautifully detailed and also really cheap! I have two button jars in my house but couldn't find any buttons suitable for the cardigan, so I had a great excuse to go out and buy some new ones for the first time in ages.

I'm really happy with this cardigan. It's going to be a great little cover-up in the summer, but warm enough for spring and autum as well, and it'll go with so many things. Now on to the next test knit!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Crochet testing

I'm a total novice at crochet, but I recently tested a crochet bag for Smart Cat Studios on Ravelry and found it surprisingly easy. I used some multicoloured chenille yarn that I've had in my stash for ages, and the whole thing worked up in a few hours. I didn't think it was really my son's style, so I gave it to a little girl that he knows.Here's the finished result -

It's made a little hole in my stash of odd balls, but there's still a whole bin bag in the loft to get through! I just can't bring myself to throw away those scraps of 25-50g of yarn. Sometime I'd like to knit a log cabin afghan to use them up, but I'll need to do some sorting of colours first.

I'm busy with test knitting at the moment as well, with two cardigans, the SOLI sock and a blanket project on the go. One of the cardigans is nearly finished, and has been a dream to knit with the gorgeous Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK. I've never used yarn so soft, and I can't wait to wear the completed cardigan. Here's what it looks like so far - the design is the Whole Wheat Cardigan by Alexandra Charlotte Dafoe.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Latest crafty makes

I've been doing so much frantic knitting recently that I decided to have a wee bit of a change. I picked up a whole pile of cross stitch kits in a charity shop a few weeks ago, so I dug them out and chose a cute little rabbit to try. The finished result looked great, and I'm going to use it in a cushion, so I decided to do another one for my mum for Mothers' Day. They're called "Somebunny to Love" and really are the cutest little things.

Here's the one for my mum, all framed and ready to give her tomorrow.

Apologies for the bad photo, the glare on the glass means that you can see my hands holding the camera. I also made a Mothers' Day card with some offcuts of the paper that I used when framing the picture.

Finally, here's a picture that I've been wanting to post for ages, but my camera has been refusing to take good quality pictures for some reason. I felted a man's sweater some time ago, and used it to make a bag. The decoration and lining are made from a paisley pattern silky scarf, which was a nightmare to sew with. I'm pleased with the finished result though - here it is...

...and a shot that shows the lining.

My lovely prize

Recently, I entered a competition over on Crafter...oo! to design and make a wearable recycled accessory in a weekend. My felted starfish brooch won a mystery surprise prize, and I got it through the post today! Just look at this...

Isn't it gorgeous? I have a really pretty chain I can put it on, and the colours are my favourites. The marbled stone at the centre is just so beautiful - I can't wait to wear it. Thanks very much, Crafter...oo!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

I'm so broody!

Another of the girls that I work with just gave birth, and I went to visit her the other day. I'm now totally broody! The baby is a gorgeous little boy, nearly a whole three pounds lighter than my wee one was at birth, so he seemed tiny to me. I love seeing little baby feet and hands - they're so cute! Still 15 weeks or so to wait until my latest bump will make an appearance.

I took some handknitted presents along with me - this sweater, from a Patons pattern...

...and these little socks, from Debbie Bliss's book "Simply Baby".

The sweater was supposed to be made in Patons Fairytale 4ply, but I substituted some very old Sirdar Soft Cotton that I had in my stash. I wasn't sure how it would knit up, and my tension was a bit off, so I put the denim patch on to give it a sort of rustic effect. It drapes nicely though, and will be cool for summer.

The socks were made in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino - such a lovely yarn to work with! It's dreamily soft, and as the name suggests, is part merino and part cashmere. I got two balls from a charity shop at 59p each, and there's enough to make another pair of socks or a hat.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Test knitting

The first part of the pattern arrived last night for the sock I'm test knitting at the moment. It's designed by Carissa at the Cupcake Factory, and the proceeds will go to Streams of Life International. The pattern comes in sections via e-mail, and I've knitted up the first part already - the cuff and four lace repeats. It's the first time I've knitted lace in the round, and I had a few problems on my first attempt. I made the mistake of not using stitch markers, and ended up with several extra stitches and a very "interesting" pattern. Fifteen minutes of exasperated frogging later, and I started on attempt number two with stitch markers in place! Here's what it looks like so far -

and here's a close-up of the lovely pattern -

I'm looking forward to getting the next part of the pattern so I can see how it develops - it's quite fun doing a mystery project!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Baby things

I've finished the present for my manager's new baby - here are the results. I made a little tank top from a pattern in "Simply Knitting", using wool that I picked up in a charity shop. I think it might be a cotton mix, and it's lovely and soft and squishy. I also made some booties with Rowan cotton, which look so cute I almost don't want to give them away.

I made a little card as well, using some tiny wooden animals that I had. Making baby things makes me so broody - only 16 weeks to go until I meet my own little one!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Lots of finished objects

Well, I finally finished my dad's sweater, and he loves it! It fits perfectly, and the yarn feels so nice, soft and squishy. I have no idea what kind of yarn it is, as it was a charity shop find, but I think it's probably 100% wool.

I also decided to make an entry for the Crafter...oo! recycled crafts challenge that was being run this weekend. I wasn't sure if I'd have enough time to make something, but I sat down with my sewing box this morning and found some inspiration! The challenge rules stated that the item should be mainly (if not all) recycled materials, and it had to be a piece of jewellery or wearable accessory. I decided to make a brooch, and went for a starfish inspired design.

I used the rest of the mohair wool scarf that I had felted, and then edged it with scraps of metallic threads that were lying in my sewing box. I also had buttons and sequins that were all charity shop finds, so I used some of them to finish it off. I'm quite pleased with the end result, and will probably pin it to one of my hats.

My manager at work welcomed his baby son into the world this week, so I've got my knitting needles out and started on some presents. I've made the Herringbone Booties from Zoe Mellor's book "50 Baby Bootees to Knit", using Rowan Cotton 4ply that I had in my stash. I'm also doing a little cabled tank top pattern by Debbie Bliss which was in Simply Knitting a while ago - pics to follow when I'm finished.

After all that, my sister's sweater dress is finally on the needles - roll on inches of stocking stitch! Then my test knitting stuff for two different projects will start to come through the post... I can see this being a busy month!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

I love charity shops!

Is it just me, or are charity shops amazing things? I don't know if my local area is especially good, or if it's a nationwide phenomenon, but I love them! There are five charity shops in my small town, and I go for a wee look around at least once a week. The other day I spent £6, and got 2 t-shirts for my husband, a cross stitch kit for a cute little elephant, a paisley pattern shirt for my little boy, and this book:

There is nowhere else in the world where I can go and get that many things so cheaply.

I also like charity shops for the fabric and wool, as my budget doesn't really stretch to buying too many craft supplies. I made a bag for my friend's birthday with an unidentified greeny grey flecked yarn, a brown linen skirt and a brown macrame belt, all finds from charity shops. I used the Brea pattern by Norah Gaughan, and it worked out pretty well even if I say so myself!

On another subject, I'm thinking of doing a degree with the Open College of the Arts, starting with this textile course - Does anyone have any experience of the course, or studying with the OCA? I'd welcome any advice or comments that you might have before I go ahead and book a place.