Sunday 30 January 2011

Skinny Scarf for Sis

My second FO of the weekend is this skinny scarf for big sis. This was an informal little project to use up some leftover alpaca from the Flapper Hat I made for her last month.

To get a skinny scarf, I cast on 16 stitches and knit loosely in stocking stitch, striping every second row with a double strand of Kidsilk Haze & Kidsilk Night. The gradual colour effects were achieved by changing the two colours being held at any one time - starting with two strands of magenta, then magenta + purple, then Purple + blue, then two strands of blue.

Things I like about this include the thick & thin effect cause dby varied yarn weight and the natural, tubular curling-in of the sticking stitch. I also quite like the look of it with the ends tied in knots.

Hope sis likes it...

Full details of the yarns, needles etc. are on ravelry here

Knitting for closet goths

I've been a completatron this weekend! My first little project to share is a fun knit for my friend Morticia, who loves all things skull-related.

This reversible pot-holder is made from Amy Butler Belle Organic yarn. The pattern is called Deathflake and can be found as a free chart on Ravelry, for use with any sort of colour work or double-knitting.

Following my hogwarts bookscarf, I was in the mood for another double-knitting project, so I went with that option and edged the resulting pot-holder with bias binding. I like the fact that, on first glance, this looks rather twee and Cath Kidston-like, with the skull only becoming aparent on closer examination. (Its' perfect for Morticia, who is a member of her local subversive 'Buns 'n' Roses' WI group!)

Full details of yarn, pattern and needles on ravelry here

Friday 28 January 2011

Just a girl who can't say no

Oh, help me, knitty fiends! No sooner do I have a big, organised de-stash, than I spot something I just can't refuse. This was yarn-lust at first sight...

I've treated myself to two balls of Absolu angora from France. It was hopeless really... not only do I have a weakness for angora, but the idea of yarn that comes in a box was too much for me!

This is 100% angora in a natural grey. (According to the PR material for the yarn, these balls are a limited edition due to the rarity of the bunnies). The weight is DK and, by god, it is as light as air and fondle-worthy beyond description. I’ve also heard on the grapevine that it doesn’t shed as badly as you’d expect from angora. (I guess time will tell on that)

So... what to make?

Ideally I’d like it to become something special for myself - something to caress the neck and maybe a little bit lacey. But I’m entirely open to ideas and have plenty of time to ponder before I’ll have time to knit it. (I have approx 350 yards)

Any suggestions v. welcome…

In case any of you are curious to know more, the yarn is by Anny Blatt and if you're in the UK it can be purchased online from this French supplier. I believe a limited amount is also available in the US from Yarnmarket.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Knitted silk wedding garter

This is a tiny little project that I forgot to blog about a few months ago, so I shall put it here for the record...

At the time I had half a skein of sumptuous, pure silk DK yarn to use up and, following a search on ravelry, I found a nice little knitty pattern for a silk wedding garter, threaded with ribbon.

The pattern is designed for lace weight silk, but I think it also works very nicely in a heavier yarn. More details and link to free pattern are on ravelry here

Sunday 16 January 2011

In praise of French knitting design

Sometimes, when I'm clicking idly through pages and pages of patterns on ravelry in an almost trance-like state, my eyes will fall upon one that suddenly makes my pupils dilate.

Recently I've begun to notice that the ones that do this for me are very often French patterns, such as this beautiful buttoned scarf/wrap/hybrid thingumy from La Droguerie.

(Unfortunately La Droguerie's designs are a devil to get hold of outside France and are fast turning into a shopping list for my next trip to Paris!)

Clearly I won't be the first or last to complement the French on their sense of style, but I do think that this shines through very strongly in the world of knitting design. French patterns seem to me to to excel at simplicity and elegance of design, letting the knitting and yarn speak for themselves.

Here are a few of my recent ravelry "faves"...

Coeurs et Flocons


Etole la Droguerie

Bonnet et cape Kalea

Cardigan/Brassière Caresse Point mousse

Of course, once I have faved the patterns, there is the issue of translation. Personally, I am not quite confident enough in my French skills to translate patterns to the level of accuracy and exactitude that knitting requires. But I'm delighted to report that I have discovered the Excuse Me group on Ravelry, which is populated by brilliant, bilingual people willing to translate patterns to and from a whole range of languages. Thanks to this group, I now have a translation ready for Confortable, which I hope to make very soon.

Saturday 15 January 2011

Seamless baby hippo

The more toys that I knit, the more I appreciate designers who go for a seamless construction.

My first experience of this was making Elijah by Ysolda Teague. At the time I found it quite fiddly to pick up stitches for limbs on an already-stuffed body, but the end result was wonderfully neat and professional-looking. On the converse side, the Polly Dolly I made a year or two later was frustratingly seam-heavy, and I think it does affect the eventual look of the toy to have seams up the back of arms and legs.

Today I've just finished making a cute little hippo, designed by Bobbi Padgett, for a baby boy due in April. Like Elijah, this is an excellent pattern for people who are comfortable knitting on DPNs and hate sewing up seams. For example, the arms and legs are placed on a holding needle until it is time to integrate them with the body, the yarns change-overs are simply done by picking up stitches and the head has an interesting use of short-row shaping.

I've given a link to the pattern and more details of my yarn (and small modifications) on Ravelry, here.

For now, here are some pics!

Saturday 8 January 2011

De-stash update

Just a quickie to let you know that I have posted off all of the yarn today (phew!)

I used second class postage for the UK parcels, so hopefully they will reach you before next weekend.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

De-Stash Giveaway Results

Wow, thanks to everyone who expressed an interest in my random act of de-stash. The closing date for yarn requests has now passed and I had a lot more takers than I was expecting, with some of the yarns proving very popular indeed.

So... as promised, I have resorted to pulling random names out of hats.

Congratulations to those of you who will shortly be on the receiving end of yarn! I'm sorry I could not send a ball to everyone who commented (but never mind - I may well have a book destash sometime in future!)

The lucky yarn recipients are as follows:

Yogic Knitter will receive 4 balls of Jaeger Natural Fleece

Trinitystar will receive 8 balls of Sublime Kid Mohair

blottedcopybook will receive 3 balls of undyed Lopi

Lintilla, Fifelass and Darth_Tigger will each receive a ball of Patons Divine in Oatmeal

Bitbat, Miguida and Champy will each receive a ball of Patons Divine in Grey

Warboyswitch will receive the two matching skeins of sari silk

Atropinesulfate will receive the other skein of sari silk

Sarah will receive three balls of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk

Katie Will receive 3 skeins of cream natural mohair

Vicki will receive the mixed bag of mohair oddments

Scusi - I am pretty sure I have a few oddments in grey and black that I can send you for your donkeys :-)

Sushidog - I also have something extra to send you., which I failed to list as part of my destash post. (This is partly because I will NEVER say no to home-made crunchies!)

Happy knitting all,
Susie F

Monday 3 January 2011

De-stash giveaway / RAK

Good evening fellow crafters, would any of you interested in being on the receiving end of a yarn-related freebie?

For those of you who do not already know, I am due to produce a small human being in June 2o11. And now that Christmas is over... I am starting to look at my small residence and wonder how on earth I will fit in a baby and all of its paraphernalia, amid a sea of yarn, sticks and other crafty clutter.

So, inspired by the trend for random acts of kindness, I've decided to de-clutter and offer some of the excess yarn out to you lovely readers on the interwebs, where I am sure it will be appreciated. If you'd like any of the yarns listed below, please leave a comment, specifying which yarn(s) you are interested in and leaving a contact email address.

For the sake of fairness, I will set a closing date of 6pm Wednesday, GMT. If I get multiple requests for the same yarn, I will select names randomly from a hat. If you are selected, I will contact you privately for your address and then post the yarn to you completely free of charge. (Please note - although I am willing to post overseas, you may get charged by customs!)

OK - here are the yarns...

4 balls of Jaeger Natural Flece in Granite This is a super-chunky pure wool yarn that would knit up into a nice chunky wrap or scarves. Ravelry info here:

8 balls of Sublime Kid Mohair Blend in Black
This is a soft, non-itchy mohair in DK weight. Ravelry info here:

3 balls of chunky wool lopi (undyed)
This was sold as unbranded yarn, so there is no ball band or Ravelry info. The vendor described it as pure wool lopi. I think it would knit up very chunky and would probably felt, if desired.

3 balls of Patons Divine in Oatmeal This is a very soft, super-chunky acrylic mohair. It feels nice against the skin with no itch factor whatsoever and a single ball will make a large, chunky neckwarmer. (If there are multiple takers, I will be willing to let these go as single balls). Ravelry info here:

3 balls of Patons Divine in Charcoal Grey As above, this is a very soft, super-chunky acrylic mohair. It feels nice against the skin with no itch factor whatsoever and a single ball will make a large, chunky neckwarmer. (If there are multiple takers, I will be willing to let these go as single balls). Ravelry info here:

3 skeins of sari silk (mixed) This is made from recycled Indian saris. It's a little rougher than silk yarn, so I think it is ideal for bags and purses. I can't remember where I got it, but here is a link to Ravelry info about a similar yarn:

3 balls of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk (2 cream, one black)
This is a supremely soft yarn in aran weight, that would feel lovely against the skin. Ravelry info here:

Mixed stash of mohair yarns (various colours)
This mixed lot includes 3 full skeins of natural mohair in cream, a couple of vintage balls in silver/grey, some soft hand-spun in black, and a range of other oddments including some acrylics in bright colours. In honesty, I'd say a lot of these are going to be too itchy to wear against the skin but they'd be ideal for doll's clothes, knitted corsages, toys or other small projects.

I hope you find something to take your fancy!