I’ve been pretty busy over the last couple of months! My Frida’s Flowers Afghan won first prize this year in the Royal Hobart Show, which is very exciting. Two years in a row now – yay me! I’ve also been busy with seasonal projects such as bauble making. I found it virtually impossible to find a good pattern for Christmas baubles made in 4ply yarn, so I made it up as I went along, and liked the end product so much that I wrote it down and released the pattern on Ravelry. Hopefully everyone will enjoy making them as much as I did. You can find the pattern here.
I finally finished my Frida’s Flowers afghan yesterday. It’s taken four months of on-again-off-again work, and it was fiddly as hell with all the colour changes, but definitely worth it! It ended up being quite a bit smaller than I thought it would be, at approximately 1m x 0.8m. Good for a throw-over-the-back-of-the-couch blanket display 🙂 Made in Bendigo Woollen Mills 8 ply cotton (and there is plenty left over too for other projects, woo), using 3.5mm, 4mm, and 4.5mm hooks.
That’s right, after months of focusing on knitting I finally decided to pull my finger out and continue on with my Frida’s Flowers CAL blanket. It is the only WIP I have now with a deadline, and over the last few days I’ve managed to finish off quite a few blocks. I also finished my second sock, and wore the pair to work yesterday. They are the warmest things I’ve ever worn on my feet!
Last week I finally got my act together and finished off the little shawlette I was knitting for my friend at work. This is the second time I’ve used the pattern, and just quietly, I think I like this second one better than the one I made for myself. I used Cascade 220 Heather, and the colour is a gorgeous Autumn gold/brown. It’s great to see someone other than myself wearing my work too 🙂
I also had a fairly productive weekend in the yarn dyeing department, since I was running out of the yellows/oranges/chocolates I’ve been using for a shaped garter shawl for myself. The pattern (Celadon by Ambah O’Brien) is another simple relaxing knit, so it’s coming along rather quickly.
As if I needed ANOTHER hobby. I don’t have enough time for my existing hobbies as it is. However, over the weekend I decided to have a go at dyeing my own yarn. I really love the look of the speckled yarn that is the rage at the moment, but it’s so specialised, it’s very expensive.
I’m using cheap superwash merino to practice on, and it seems to be holding the colour very well. I’m also just using food dye (although I did buy a packed of black dye powder today for my next attempt) and vinegar, as a cheaper option for now.
I began with tying the yarn into a skein (they came as balls), and soaking it in a mixture of luke warm water and vinegar (a couple of ‘glugs’, I didn’t measure the exact amount).
I then put the tray onto the stove and heated the yarn and water/vinegar mix to simmer point. Taking the tray back to the sink I went about dotting the colours onto the yarn. Some of the colour mixed with the water, and some of the colour landed on yarn that was sticking out of the water and concentrated there as speckles. I used a toothbrush to get the smaller speckles, with a mixed result.
After I was happy with the colour placement I left the yarn/dye/water/vinegar to cool back to room temperature, before rinsing in the sink with another vinegar mix, and finally a bit of hair conditioner to keep the yarn soft and get rid of the vinegar smell.
It took two days to completely dry on my clothes rack, and I plan to re-ball the yarn tonight ready for use.
Wow, this last month has been a hectic one! Between work, uni, a funeral and a trip to the mainland I haven’t had time to scratch myself! Oh and I managed to get a really bad case of the flu and asthma which knocked me down for over two and a half weeks.
Things are slowly getting back on track again now so I thought I’d share some pics of the knitting and crochet I’ve done this month. The cedar leaf shawlette I’m knitting for my work mate is progressing nicely, with about half the leaf pattern to go before it’s ready to block. It’s currently sitting on a chair behind me at work, so I can knit during my lunch hour.
I started a knitted shawl for myself while I was on my mainland trip, following the ‘Waiting for Rain’ Pattern by Sylvia Bo Bilvia. I’m using Madeleine Tosh Merino, and it’s a joy to knit. Unfortunately it’s on the back burner now as I have a few other more pressing projects to complete.
I got my crojo back over the weekend and powered ahead with the blocks for Frida’s Flowers CAL. I’m suddenly really enjoying crochet again and these blocks are great to work up. Week 3’s block has about a billion ends to weave in though, which I most certainly did NOT enjoy. Great result though – I think it may be my show entry for this year.
I’ve also put my Persian Tiles afghan on the back burner for a while. It seems I need more hours in the day for crafting 😦
Here is my Rainbow Wrap, officially blocked and looking lovely on my table! As much as this pattern sometimes irritated me (it was a well-written pattern, but it made me go a bit brain dead after a while), it’s turned out to be a stunner and I’m really happy with the end result. As you can see the colours look great together when folded, or tied around your neck 🙂 I can’t wait to wear this to work tomorrow!
I received my Stylecraft DK yarn from the UK yesterday, so (of course) I started a crochet project. I’m going to do the Persian Tiles afghan by Janie Crow, which I’ve been wanting to do for aaaaaages. 8ply, with 3.5mm, 4mm and 4.5mm hooks. The blocks have a heap of colour changes in them so they’re a bit time consuming, but the end result makes it all worth it. Note that I’m using different colours to the original pattern which is in blues and oranges.
I’ve been enjoying my knitting so much over the last couple of weeks that it’s been REALLY hard to get back into uni study! I’m proud of myself though since I haven’t started a new project for a while, opting to instead work on WIPs already on the needles. Despite having some really lovely yarn all balled up and ready to work with, I’ve been a very good girl and haven’t touched it. Yet. Of course the whole ‘no new projects’ thing will change in the next week or so when I get my yarn delivery from the UK. I’ve bought some Stylecraft DK to do the Persian Tiles crochet blanket pattern by Janie Crow. All of you lovely knitters/crocheters living in Australia will know that our local supply of acrylic yarns is severely lacking, so I’ve bought this stylecraft to see whether it’s any better than the crappy Spotlight acrylic we can get here. Seriously though, that’s not a big ask.
My latest WIP progress has been on my rainbow wrap! I put it down at the halfway point because I was a little depressed about the amount of work I’d already put into it, only to be half done! After completing the cedar leaf shawl and my sock (yeah, I haven’t done the second sock to that either, I have some serious second sock syndrome going on) I felt a bit better about continuing on, and I’m very glad I did. I’m really enjoying working with that yarn again.
I’ve just told my workmate/friend/boss that I’d make her a cedar leaf shawl, so I guess that project will fit in somewhere between the rainbow wrap and the persian tiles blanket. I already have the yarn for that – a lovely golden autumn shade of Cascade 220 Heather. Yummy. I’m wearing mine today for the very first time, and I’m so in love with its colour and drape. Lorna’s Laces yarn might be pricey but Oh. Em. Gee. So lovely.