An end, a begin… and a mistake

The Old Shale Shawl is finished and awaiting to be blocked. I promise it will happen some day!

The pattern by Amanda Clark is free and really easy to follow. I’m very happy with the finished object and it took me only 4 years… yep.

Short after the Nurmilintu Shawl was cast on, because I just couldn’t wait to try that pretty yarn. It’s Natural Dye Studio’s Dazzle, a British wool, 100% Bluefaced Leicester, in delicate shades of blues, greens and purples – very soft.

The first section before the lace is done

but obviously not everything could go well…

Sigh

See what happened?

That’s about 3/5 from the start. Mep

Whatever. It’ll get a lifeline (because this yarn is very slippery and would unravel to the next rows before I could blink) and hopefully I can recover from there. Not tonight though.

By the way, yes, I love blue and green, if you were wondering.

The weekend was overall quite productive and some tidy up was done, which leaves one with such a good feeling!

Some vintage yarn purchase also happened, because really, I need to build back some of my “collection”. And some antique silver – my new interest since I read some blog posts on silver items! Contagious. But expensive, so only done in wee bits. The best buy was a spoon with my initial engraved (well not mine originally but we share that letter), so now I feel very decadent to enjoy yoghurt with an antique silver spoon (1853) – that is when it arrives!

How was your weekend?

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What next

I’m about to complete the Old Shale Shawl, after a long time in the making (and hibernating).

I cannot yet officially start projects for the Summer of Basics 2018 (aka Make your Own Basics), so this morning I’ve been perusing my Ravelry queue and picked up a couple of projects (this may be a wildly optimistic plan…).

The first is the famous Nurmilintu shawl, because it looks pretty and easy, and it’s also free. Plus I have a weak spot for Finnish (Nurmilintu means “sleep, sleep, little bird” from an old Finnish lullaby). I plan to make it with Natural Dye Studio Sock yarn in Dragonfly:

The other project is the Pixel Stitch Socks, a beautiful free pattern by Putl Soho, to be made in Natural Dye Studio’s Dazzle HT Sock in Whitby Pool and Lynmouth – high twist yarn for longer durability.

I’m sure I won’t get much done with them until the end of the month, but it’ll be fun anyway!

What are you up to?

Have a lovely weekend!

It’s growing!

Just past row 132 out of 145, which is about 90% done.. I really look forward now to seeing it completed!

Not sure how I’ll manage blocking such a large piece as I have neither space nor specific tools. I’m sure I’ll get creative in the end – I think it won’t be a stylish solution but as long as it’s effective, I’m fine with it.

The colours are a bit hard to capture but the closest is the first picture.

I’m planning for the Super Birthday Sweater I mentioned in my last post, but won’t probably start until June for the Fringe Association’s Summer of Making – I’m thinking of joining in, but haven’t decided yet, I might take part even if I won’t be able to finish 4 projects in 3 months. So far I’ve short listed two jumpers, one summer top, a folk shirt I’ve been wanting to make for ages and a pair of simple cable socks (because never done cables, so that’ll be easy!). A bit too ambitious? I won’t stress wanting to finish it all.

Have you planned projects for your summer (or winter if you live on the other side of the globe)? Or will you just decide as time goes on?

Not a flowey sweater…

I’ve been looking at candidates for this beautiful vintage yarn that I got recently….

(About 1000 grams of bulky yarn)

I thought of something with cables but the yarn is too thick and I’ve never done cables. Plus the fabric would be too stiff.

Then I was eyeing In Stillness by Alicia Plummer, but that would require a more fluid wool.

I think I finally found a good candidate, though. The Super Birthday Sweater, done with some mods in the bottom part introducing some texture (gathered simple cables from a stitch pattern I found).

(The modified version as done by zialaura)

(The original pattern – sorry I haven’t got the link to ravelry at hand)

Here are some late night, awful light, unblocked swatches:

What do you think?

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)