Synthetic fibres (a pledge and a WIP)

Today I was reading a post by Fadanista, who was making a more environmentally-friendly alternative to a fleece jacket from a vintage pattern.

In it she mentions the issue of man-made (i.e. synthetic materials like fleece, nylon, acrylic, etc.) and the negative impact these can have on the environment (as well as on the people wearing them). Apart from the production of such materials, which come from oil basically, one of the key issues is the tiny particles and lints that such garments release in the waterways while being washed and treated. In her post, she mentions some interesting articles and sources (like this one from the Guardian – please visit her blog for more links).

These particles ending up in our waters and oceans, are ultimately contaminating water, as well as are being swallowed by fish and so ending up in the food chain (= on our tables).

I now feel really bad because I know that I have some synthetic yarn and fabric in my stash (not much, but still). There is no good way of dealing with it:

  • if I pass it on, it will still end up in the water
  • if I consign it to the bin, it will end up in landfills where it won’t break down (unlike natural fibres)
  • if I burn it, it will still release polluting fumes (like all oil products)

As she suggested, the only good option may be to “leave it alone” at the bottom of the stash.

Still, I think it’s a good time to have a conversation in the crafting communities about man-made fibres and their ill effects on health and environment. I think of the inexpensive craft packs that are being used in large quantities – the end product may look pretty, but it has a hidden nasty side effect: it pollutes our environment.

So, today I pledge to try and avoid using synthetic fibres as much as possible. I hope others will join in!

~ ~ ~

On the bright side, I had just decided to bring some order to my UFOs queue. There aren’t too many items in there (about five, I think)… still it’s worth dealing with them – do something with them or reuse the yarn.

The first I picked up, is this summer top: Sea top (Ravelry project). It’s made of aran silk and based on Simple Irresistible, a free pattern that I slightly tweaked.

I looked at it again: after measuring the part I had so far (about 1/3) it looks that I casted on too many stitches and is now too large for my size M (even allowing some positive ease for a more flowing line). Despite that, I decided to carry on, because:

  • so I can actually have a better idea of how to alter it the next time around
  • it’s a quick knit, so it’s ok to do extra rows, even if I frog it in the end
  • I’m curious to see how it is in its current version

I’m still expecting to most probably ending up at the frog pond!

A few shots of the top short before it was put on hold… I’ve now added more rows to it and started a new skein. The yarn is an aran silk in Seaweed (one-off stock), it’s soft, drapey and shiny.

There are many other things I wanted to share, but I will leave them for the next posts… one will be about some vintage lace gloves and how they went to some period dances in grand halls.

Until then, take good care x

 

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Handmade jewellery pouches! And yarn. And a Victorian ceiling rose.

I’ve been making wee bags to coordinate with the costume jewellery in my collection.

The collection started out because I saw things “I just liked” (uh oh, sounds familiar). I love it all, but I seldom use jewellery these days.. The vintage pieces are in time going to be posted on Etsy (whenever I get around to take beautiful photos and prepare the listings). I also plan to attend some small markets or events, like the ABBS that take place this Sunday in London (near Kentish Town, details here).

All of the bags are hand sewn. I used different materials:

  • Harris Tweed wool
  • velveteen (the purple and the orange)
  • corduroy (the black with red roses)

The Harris Tweed was a one-of lucky purchase – they were remnants, probably small offcuts from clothing and accessory production. The tweed came in various colours: beige, greys, dark green/dark red, brown/green/orange and so on. It’s very beautiful but until now I didn’t have an idea of what to make with it. I’m very happy that I finally thought of using the fabrics for these small pouches, because they’re beautiful materials and I love the results! I plan to make many more, as spare time allows..

Here’s an overview of those made so far (they still need ironing). What do you think?

My handmade jewellery bags

Corduroy in black and red, with a lovely rose motif

Purple velveteen

Orange velveteen

Harris Tweed wool in assorted colours

Harris Tweed bags and vintage jewellery

This one was made by an old friend of mine with a sewing machine. It’s much larger and can be used to wrap presents.

 

The bags laid out for photo shooting and planning the next ones to be made

~ ~ ~

I also want to show you my last stash enhancement! Tangled Yarn is having a sale and soon it’s my birthday, so I treated myself to some gorgeous yarn by Shilasdair (a Scottish company based on the Isle of Skye). I already had some DK in Winter Loch and Summer Loch shades, to which I now added more of the Winter Loch (a dusty shade of blue), as well as some 4 Ply in Rowan Berry. These are the beauties (sorry for the bad evening light):

Shilasdair stash enhancement

Shilasdair DK in Winter Loch

Shilasdair 4 Ply in Rowan Berry

~ ~ ~

Finally I also would like to share one of the DIY activities happening in the flat. The ceiling rose is being restored to its original Victorian beauty. It’s a WIP and may take quite a while to complete.

Firstly a vintage fancy (and heavy!) chandelier has been bought from Belgium. Now the stucco of the rose is being restored: in time it had been covered by layer upon layer of paint and its beautiful details were mostly lost.

There is an absolutely ecological and healthy way to remove the crap engulfing the stucco: PORRIDGE! Hard to believe but it works!

Here is evidence of the proceeding – unfortunately we forgot to take a picture of it before starting works, but you can still see how it was in the outer circle of the rose (which has yet to be handled).

The ceiling rose stucco (central section) covered in porridge and cling film (it does look weird)

The porridge has been removed and the layers have come off with it

Gentle mechanical work with a small plastic spatula is required to remove the extra material from the corner areas

After most of the extra material had been removed. Notice the difference between the inner and outer sections.

I plan to be back soon with a small update about the preparations for the ABBS and my Etsy shop.

Good night!

WIPs and other things

Quick recap – some little progress on a couple of projects and a few more WIPs that need to come out of their hibernation state.

The Holiday Vest got s bunch of rows added and a snap pic of the current state of the back part:

IMG_5780 IMG_5781 

Not long ago I started a stash-busting mindless project: the 44^2 Blanket. It’s just made out of squares in a Native Americans colour theme (which I’m probably the only one to see!) – it’s reached its 25% mark thus far:

IMG_5775

Two further projects that need to be brought back to life are the Kingfisher Old Shale Shawl and the Thistle Lace Scarf. And perhaps the Feline Draught Stopper… with the new season approaching we’re all very busy, so this step may not happen yet!

I also bought some more yarn – it was truly a one-off opportunity… auctions ending on a sunday with hardly any bidders! So, on that front I’m well into the BLE mark. I also had fun swatching some green Shetland wool. Photos below…

angora+wool 1ply lambswool 1.5ply lambswool 1.5ply lambswool 1.5ply lambswool+cashmere fine 1ply wool 1.5ply wool 3plyIMG_5771

Finally, I ‘ve poking around tech stuff – which is a separate matter, so I won’t bother you with the details 🙂

Enjoy the weekend!

(a long one for those based in England)

On holiday without yarn

With cabin luggage only, there was no space to bring yarny stuff. 

But then I wanted to knit, so the easy solution was to get some yarn locally: I chose Avantgarde from Adriafil, because it’s locally made pure wool and can be machine-washed. I liked the pale blue shade with bits of colour.

I made up a simple pattern for a vest – nothing very special, just a simple project. 

After coming back from the holiday, things became quite hectic: I graduated and started interviewing.

Today I finally resumed work on the back part of the vest and, despite the 4ply yarn, the progress is visible – better, it would have been visible if I had taken recent pictures!

The project is ravelled as Holiday Vest. Some old pictures – apologies for the rather poor quality:

Holiday Vest - front

Holiday Vest, the front

Holiday Vest - waist

Holiday Vest, waist part

I fully appreciate that photos from the holiday sightseeings would have constituted a far more interesting post content!

 

Silk sea

The silk forest theme is awaiting for a decision and more silk yarn (ordered)… meanwhile, I wanted to try out how the knitting with this silk would have been.

Using a skein in Seaweed shade and summery colours, the test Sea Top was born!

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It is based on the free pattern Simple Irresistible by Espino Susunaga. My idea is to have an easy-to-wear, cool and lose top to juggle over a summer outfit – while at the same time testing the silk yarn behaviour.

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To get a loser fit, I went up two needle sizes and casted on some more stitches. The top has no waist shaping and I’m going to use a smaller needle to achieve a slight tapered effect in the centre. After knitting the bottom section, ideally I should put that on waste yarn and try it on… I doubt I’ll bother though. Obviously, there is the risk of it being too lose…

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The silk so far has proved to be relatively easy to knit, a bit “papery” looking in some spots, but with a nice subtle sheen and easy drape. The lose fit gives the top some nice bouncing.

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Silk forest?

While I’m pondering on how to proceed with the Old Shale Shawl, I was tidying up some of my stash. We shall not go into details of the stash, though.

I rediscovered some silk yarn I purchased while ago because of its colours – greens, with shades of blues or browns. Not a surprise, lol.

Looking up on Ravelry, there were quite a large number of patterns for the “forest” keyword. I didn’t get through even a fraction of them and already found many a beautiful one – some even free.

Though, I have never knitted with silk yarn before and don’t know what to expect. I understand that it has little to no elasticity, which is confirmed by the feeling while balling up one of the skeins.

These are the colours I intend to use:

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and these are some of the patterns I perused thus far:

Hidden in The Forest by Veera Välimäki

Pine Forest Baby Blanket by Ingrid Aartun Bøe

Olympic Forest Baby Blanket by verybusymonkey

Gothic Forest Scarf by Janelle Martin

Queen of the Forest by Amadeit

Deep Green Forest by Espino Susunaga

I would love to hear about your experience with silk, how did you find knitting with it?

Boot toppers

I love wool

I love wool!

While the River Pebbles cowl is queuing for washing, another quick and fun project has been turned into a FO.

Furry Welly (Boot) Toppers

Furry Welly (Boot) Toppers

These Furry Welly Toppers will come handy in wintery times, and although I don’t own a pair of wellies myself, they will be used on my other boots. More info about the knitting kit is on the Ravelry project page linked above. The yarn is pure British wool, a tribute to Wovember.

Furry Welly Toppers kit by Erika Knight

Furry Welly Toppers kit by Erika Knight

To sew them up I will use the kitchener stitch, so I can practice it.

I am planning more small projects: it’s fun to see a result within days, gives variety of knitting and prevents WIPs going into hibernating state  🙂

Recently I have practiced a healthy stash enhancement exercise, which lead to a wide variety of vintage yarn (mostly pure wool) to play with in my projects – a few gratuitous images, just because… The next, though, will have to be some stash tiding up!

Bernat Astrakhan vintage wool

Woollybear Yarns Wool Bouclé cool gray Woollybear Yarns Wool Bouclé yellow

Samsyco DK Wild Rice Samsyco DK moss green

Bellmans Chunky Crepe blue Twinfold DK purple