Flower vase by Jenny Mendes.
Flower vase by Jenny Mendes.
I've become a yarn biographer. I spend too much of my time lovingly posing portraits, naming and recording the details of my hand-dyed yarns.
This is my first go at creating a yarn with longer repeating stripes. I had to hand-wind this merino/bamboo yarn into a 6 metre long skein before dying it, in what I hope will be repeating stripes over several rows.
I've called this colourway Skinned Knees because it reminds me of the grass stains and ripped jeans incurred while playing as a child.
And the stripes are looking pretty good. This swatch shows how they might repeat over the width of my husband's giant feet in a plain stripe or a chevron. It's a bit of mess because I was playing with different kinds of decreases and increases.
The bamboo in the yarn has the crunchiness of silk and a lovely, subtle sheen. My son is campaigning hard for this to become his pair of socks, but his Dad's birthday is first...Speaking of David's birthday, I finished my Love Bird socks for him.
I'm pleased with them, and pretty confident he will be too. I'm writing the PDF for them now and hope to post it next week. Once these are done, I promise to go back and complete the PDF's for my other projects. There has been technical computer stuff to learn.
Yum, yum! The yarn I was enthusing about yesterday is giving me such a thrill! It looks like a pretty tartan pattern knit up in this quick slip stitch, doesn't it?
I've almost finished one sock (it'll be done in the pub tonight).
If anyone wants to join me, I knit in the Rose and Crown in Stoke Newington every Friday night between 5 and 7:30.
Like many other knitters, I developed intarsia fatigue after Kaffe Fasset's appearance. Fairisle knitting never appealed to me much because of how quickly and easily it could be done on a machine, leading to lots of cheap and ugly patterning.
But now I have finally discovered the joy of fairisle! I owe this partly to Kate Davies and her wonderful Neep Head hat. (She models it beautifully on her blog so I won't post pictures of me wearing it.)
And partly to the discovery of the pleasure of using real Shetland wools. These beautiful wools are soft but wiry enough to make colourwork knitting a breeze. They come in a huge range of solid and heathered colours. Combining colours is endlessly fascinating.
These yarns are pure wool and wouldn't be strong enough to run through a knitting machine easily. They are best hand knit. I've tried:
Spindrift from Jamieson's
2-ply jumper weight from Jamieson and Smiths
2-ply from Alice Starmore's Virtual yarns
and Rowan 4-ply Scottish (used to be called Harris) tweed
They are all beautiful and I would love to have some in every colour!
Yes, I've been knitting a lot of tams. I've knit many other things too, but tams are such a great way to explore colour and patterns and perfect wear at this time of year. I've even worn one to bed on cold nights!
That's enough tam time for now. I don't want to give you colourwork fatigue. But if you are interested pick up a copy of Alice Starmore's recently republished Book of Fair Isle Knitting. It's a great history and technique book as well as knitter's eye candy.
Just a quick final word for those of you who don't know, I'm working at Loop several days a week now. You can find me there every Monday, Tuesday and alternating Sundays. Please say hello if you read my blog. My yarn passion of the week from Loop is this Misti Alpaca sock yarn:
All my favourite colours in one gorgeous yarn! Yum!
I've got so much I want to blog about but no time at the moment. However, I was so excited by this Latvian Mitten project that I had to link to it and tell the world immediately.
Maybe it's my inner Canadian, but I love mittens. I've been planning my own mitten post for a while. Let these wet your appetite...
Just a small sampling of the 3000 Mittens the Latvians have knit for the NATO summit.
This idea of mine to post on a single topic, over a month, is not working out.
My interests and activities changed and I didn't make the time to shift gears and post about sewing from Japanese clothes books. Sorry.
I think I'm going to return to my previous format and post about what I'm currently interested in. I will come around to more sewing info eventually, but you might as well know what I'm up to now.
With my discovery of Ravelry, my interests moved back to knitting and crochet. They were already on their way there but this helped get the fire going. I've been doing a lot of knitting from other people's patterns and dying my own yarns.
This one is called Sweet Ernie.
And I made a beret called Honest Ernie with removable flower pin.
I love neckwarmers, cowls and shawlettes. Especially in my hand-dyed cashmere.
Along with the dying, my paints have come out again, too. I'm just mucking around at the moment. Getting warmed up.
Much more to come!
I am so busy doing nothing that the idea of doing anything - which, as you know, always leads to something - cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.
Okay, I promise not to show you any more transformed versions of myself. I think I have scared myself off that site now that I have seen my son transformed into a teenager. Nuf said.
Today was the first day of the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexander Palace. I haven't been in years. I was very impressed. There was a lot to look at and be inspired by.
I could have bought so much more but I was being really, really good.
Another man was importing textiles from China and had the most amazing pleated silk and woven cotton skirts. Sigh...
I also fell in love with Lizzie Houghton's felt. I had these pictures taken of me wearing one of her jackets in case my husband is at a lose as to what to get me for Xmas.
She works her felt on top of (and under and through) a light silk which crepes in the process. The finished fabric is really light and drapey. Beautiful!
My last pic of the day is of Ziggy's shoelaces. Have you ever noticed that there is usually one man in each of the textile guilds? He takes up the hobby with obsessive enthusiasm and usually invents new tools and accessories to improve it. Ziggy was just such a man. Braiding was his game and these are his shoelaces.
Apparently, you can only have so many spectacle cords and then you need to think of new things to braid.
If you know somethin' well, you can always paint it [but] people would be better off buyin' chickens.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses
I can't believe it, but I got up at 5:00 in the morning, just like the photographers books tell you to do, and took my camera for a walk. Next time I think I'll take my tripod too.
It was a misty morning. Such beautiful soft colours. I want to paint landscapes but I don't think I'll get round to it this summer. I must make the effort to take more photos though before I go back to the UK.
I love my camera but it is heavy, so I'm reluctant to take it everywhere with me. Also I don't like viewing everything through a lense. I like to experience things first hand and I feel I have to switch gears when I look through a camera. Like I'm not really part of the picture anymore.
My eyes have been sensitized to colour on my walks and runs this summer. When I spend a lot of time mixing paint colours I find myself looking for those colours in the world around me. Becoming more sensitive to them. I have been mixing alot of warm neutrals like in this photo of my foot. I love the way the pinks and reds pop in this photo.
I went to the 30th reunion of my preschool. I didn't want to go, because I've put on like a hundred pounds.
I am so excited because I have just discovered a blog by someone I actually know. In real life. Not that there's anything wrong with all you virtual bloggers. You're great too, but it's neat to know a real person.
Anyway her blog is great. And it overlaps with some of the things I like to talk about. In fact today I was planning to post this picture of our altered clothing workshop in Whitstable last June and I see Jane has also posted about our weekends in Whitstable today.
We went a bit pinny (that's apron, in American) crazy last summer.
I finally bought a printer so I am going to print up some cards with my blog site on them. I need to do some brain storming/creative stuff to get an idea for them but I am quite excited to be working in print again.
Finally, I leave you with some full on colour photos of my China Town trip in Toronto just for the sheer joy of the colour.