Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Get Weaving

People often assume that I weave, because I spin, but in fact I've resisted weaving for a long time. But yesterday's craft group meeting was all about weaving, so I gave it a go. Interesting to learn different stitches with names like 'Egyptian knot'. Since I don't plan to do much weaving, I used a very simple loom, just a cardboard box:
When I was a child, I had an old book called 'Things For Girls To Make and Do', which showed just such a loom.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Butterfly Earrings

I wanted the butterfly bead to hang unsecured within a ring of tatting. That turned out to be slightly more difficult than I envisioned. A single beaded ring large enough to contain the butterfly was unstable and ugly. My next thought was a ring of  inward facing rings, but I couldn't see how to attach the butterfly. Putting it on a picot would mean too much thread showing. Plan three worked - outward facing rings with the butterfly hanging from a chain. I threaded the butterfly bead onto the chain thread, then threaded a small bead on and went back through the butterfly. I could move that 'stack' into position, when I needed it. The same technique I used here.  I read Patty D's explanation on In Tatters, but Corina Meyfeldt has also explained it. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Leopard Skin Socks

The second sock was much quicker to knit than the first, following my pattern instead of having to experiment.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Writing the Pattern

I designed this pullover many years ago as part of my 'Safari Range'. Now that I have the hang of knitting multicolour socks, I thought I'd create a pair of leopard skin socks. I don't have my charts any more, but I still have this pullover, so I set out to copy it. It wasn't quite as easy as I supposed. I started off working row by row, but soon got into a muddle. I found it was better to work rosette by rosette. The sweater uses a repeat motif of 20 stitches and 21 rows, which I put onto knitting graph paper that I downloaded from the internet:
Then I needed to write down what I did so that I can make the second sock the same! The scribbles represent missteps that had to be redone. I wanted to use the leopard skin pattern on the top of the foot but not the sole. I found a tutorial to help me with that. The leg part was easy, with the 20 stitches of the chart on each needle, knitting in the round. The top of the foot had to be knitted  back and forth following one and a half charts. Hmm. My head kept boggling about where to start each row from and the results were not good:
 A leopard with mange perhaps? The answer was to chart the whole pattern for the foot part:

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Ring of Roses

I used one repeat of Jane Eborall's bracelet  pattern  to make a frame for a torch fired bead, created by Clare Gaylard.  The centre bead is a bit bigger than Jane's, so I have 10 roses instead of the 8 in the pattern.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Quick Spin

I took my Ashford for a quick spin to try out my new wool. A couple of evenings and I have enough for a pair of socks. The skeins still need to be washed and dyed before I can knit them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Magic Bookmark

A well known pattern! Mary Konior's Black Magic. I had thought I'd make the bookmark slightly shorter than the one in the book, but I realised belatedly that where I started would not do as the end piece, so I finished up with a bookmark the same length as the original. This is going in to my tatting box, it will make a gift one day, but has no definite destination at the moment.

Tatting Magic

My shuttles have been languishing, I'm having tatting withdrawal symptoms! I'm tatting Black Magic from Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior. It's been on my to-do list for a while. The thread is Olympus size 40, wonderful to tat with. I made a false start. Lesson one: count picots carefully before tatting the next element!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Finished At Last!

I dawdled over the weekend, procrastinated by looking up how to sew invisible seams, what type of seam to use where... I had to finish off today. I know that most of my issues with knitting this cardigan stem from using variegated yarn, but I think those issues were worth sorting out. For the record, the pattern comes from The Family Knitting Book by James Norburg and the yarn is Elle 4 ply sock wool, 80% wool, 20% nylon. It's going into storage now until I enter it into a competition early next year.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Second Sleeve

I've finished knitting the second sleeve. There's still a lot to do - sew in ends, block pieces, sew parts together. Normally I'd have the bands and collar to do, but of course I've already done them. I must just 'think shipping' and get the job done.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


It took more than a year to spin, dye and knit the wool I wrote about here.  I procrastinated for a while about getting some more wool, but last week I sent an e-mail to Segard Masurel in Port Elizabeth to order another 10 kgs. They responded very promptly and efficiently and despatched it to the nearest town. I collected it yesterday.  So many possibilities within that bag....

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Slippery Slope

Once you decide to manipulate the colour changes, you find yourself with a lot of ends to work in! The first sleeve is done:
The good news is, I'm pretty sure I have enough wool left for the second sleeve without using the 'rogue ball', to use Anne's phrase.


I had a brainwave. Instead of making a batch of work shirts all the same as I usually do, I could 'shop my stash' and make the pockets/collar different on each one. Since these are bespoke shirts, I ran it past the speaker first. I wasn't sure what reaction I'd get to this rather jazzy print, but it was an enthusiastic thumbs up, so I went ahead. I don't know why the main part looks so blue in this photo, it's the same grey fabric I used last time.

The print fabric is quite interesting. It has a completely different print on each side:
I haven't been able to come up with a project that would show both sides at once. Next best is to use one side on my skirt and the other on Jack's shirt.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Yet Another Colour Conundrum

I'm working on the first sleeve of my cardigan. I'm using two balls of yarn, knitting two rows with each ball to avoid having very wide stripes in one colour. That's all well and good until the colours on the balls coincide. Then using two balls actually makes the problem worse! That lot of green looks completely different to the front and back of the cardigan and there were two lots of orange coming up. What to do, what to do? I knitted all evening, but when I came back to it this morning I decided I couldn't live with it. I undid a chunk, cut one ball and rejoined it with an orange section coming up instead of a green.
That's the little ball on the left. I hope that'll do the trick for a while.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


With the buttonhole band as good as it's going to get, I could sew the collar on. The collar pattern is good for this variegated yarn because it is shaped by knitting the outer part on smaller needles rather than using short rows, so the stripes are not affected.

'Go Around Again'

To quote Go, Dog, Go, one of my first books. I took the buttons off the button band, except for the top and bottom ones, spaced them very carefully and sewed them down again. Then I unraveled most of the buttonhole band and started my third attempt. I'm taking a leaf from Margaret's book (thanks for your comment Margaret) and am sewing the band down as I go along. Fingers crossed I get it right this time!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

No, no

Remember those imperfections I was seeing? Before I sew the collar onto my cardigan I need to accept that the buttonhole band is not quite right at the top. It can be made to fit:
But undo the button and you can see that there's a problem. If I don't sort it out now, it will continue to bother me and I will have more to undo to sort it out. Just do it Jane.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Summer Sewing

Winter is busy showing that it's not over yet, but the weather must warm up soon. I decided I need another skirt. I used a pencil skirt that I like to work out the dimensions of my denim panels. Then I looked up some tutorials. This one is really for soft furnishing sewing, but is more professional than this one . I took tips from both. For instance, sewing the bottom hem of each section before putting them all together. I've also been wanting to try a method for doing an elasticated waistband that I saw on Craftsy. Zig zag the top of the wide elastic to the raw edge of the fabric, working a quarter at a time, then fold it down and sew in place. It worked fine. The gathers are evenly distributed and there will be no twisting of elastic within a casing. Voila.

Monday, September 7, 2015


Corlie suggested I finish off my crocheted poncho with picot stitch. I didn't actually know what crocheted picot stitch was, my picots are usually tatted. I looked up a few tutorials and found it's really quite easy and does give an interesting finish to the edge. So here's the poncho with its revised edging finished off:

Saturday, September 5, 2015


I hope so. I don't think it's obvious that I cut my knitting in half! Here's the inside:
I've got to the stage where I see all the imperfections. Time to leave it alone for a while.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Knitting the button band on 2 mm needles feels like riding a bicycle in low gear!

Yesterday I took my swatch to the haberdashery shop and asked Betty to find the right buttons for my cardigan. It took her a few minutes to find just the thing:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Snip Snip

And then there were two. 
Once I'd fastened the knitting on both sides, I made the first snip:
The die was cast, so on I went:
Right to the end:
The next stage was to turn the edges in and sew them down. That caused more panic than the cutting. I was worried it wasn't going to be neat enough. But eventually I got the hang of it and I think it looks fine:
And the inside:
I'm hoping that once I've added the button bands, this stage will be more or less invisible. 

Stitch By Stitch

I think (I hope!) the key to steeking must be to think of the structure of knitting. I'm securing each stitch alongside where I'm going to cut the fabric. I'm using sewing thread because I don't want to add bulk. Teresa advised me to twist the stitches each side of the planned cut as I knitted. I can see the sense of that, but I was too far along by the time I read her comment and thought I had better continue as I began. This process is going to take a while, so I had better get back to it.