Sunday, 31 July 2011

Second Plyed Yarn

My second attempt at spinning and plying has yielded better results than the first. This 2-ply yarn is a bit smoother than the blue one I made before. I love the colour. Sadly, it is still too thick for lace, but I am getting there.

Since I have some old inaccurate kitchen scales, I don't actually know how much yarn this is, so planning to make anything with it is difficult. I will probably try a cowl and use the blue yarn to make a wrist distaff (yeah, I had to look that word up too). Just like with spinning, Helen got me interested in making my own distaff. She is a dangerous person to be around!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Fimo Mania

While I am contemplating starting my Bachforelle shawl all over again because the yarn I am using isn't quite suitable to show off the little fish in it, I have been productive in other ways. Apart from plying and washing my handspun yarns, I spent last evening making some more Fimo stitch markers.

Friday, 29 July 2011

First Plyed Yarn

Unknowingly, I must have been quite afraid of plying my yarn. After spinning both of my first lots of fibre, I took ages to actually sit down and learn about plying. It took a while to find a suitable tutorial too. In the end, I came across this one which was incredibly helpful:



I learned how to wind an Andean bracelet and what it is good for. I quickly had a two-stranded ball of yarn that I could then easily ply. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to washing the yarn soon to see how it will set. I am quite proud of it, tiny little hank of hand-spun that it is.

Another Gift

It is a very rare thing that you meet such a bunch of very generous people: the German RAKers are amazing. It seems to me as though I am hardly posting about anything else lately.

Yesterday I received yet another package from Germany, this time from Ravelry's pombaer, who had warened me that something was coming my way. She sent me some pretty beads, a stitch marker, earring hooks I can use for my jewelry making, German chocolate (yum!), lovely loose green tea with orange that I am drinking right now, and a useful recipe card I will have to try out sometime soon.

I am looking forward to next month when people list their new wishes and I hope to send a few RAKs their way again as well. It's just a lovely feeling to give and receive things out of kindness alone. It makes me go all fuzzy.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Fimo Fun

I often saw stitch markers made from polymer clay that I loved, but didn't want to buy. Last week I decided to try and make some myself and these are the results. Considering they are my first attempt, they turned out really well and I am very happy with them. I began with a sheep and have made quite a few more. People like them a lot so I will definitely be making more of them.

Mind, this sheep isn't entirely my own design. There is someone on Etsy who sells them though they are slightly different. However, our designs are so similar that you would definitely know I got my idea from her.

I especially like the maritime themed ones above and the mermaid turned out especially well. Some of them are also not my original idea, but for the most part they do look like my own work and not a blatant copy all round.

Since I really love sushi (great, now I have cravings after writing this) I thought I should give that a try too and it was surprisingly more difficult than I expected. Still, it turned out well and I particularly like the hand roll and the salmon nigiri. ... Now I am really hungry. I haven't had breakfast yet.

The rubber ducks were a quick and simple late night endeavor and they are very cute. All I need for all these markers are some rings to attach them to. I could even turn all my markers into earrings if I wanted to.

LinkThe muffins were my second ever attempt and they are yummy. The strawberry on top of one turned out well too and it is probably my favourite of the four. They do look entirely edible.

I intend to sell my creations though at the moment it isn't possible yet (need to set up Paypal first). However, I can already tell you now that I won't be opening an online shop since that hardly seems worth it with the fees involved. You'll find the markers on my Ravelry page (in projects) and can contact me there if you are interested. I only sell the ones still available on the project page. I will be making more from time to time though I won't stress myself about making loads in a specified period.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

RAK: Surprise Package

zimtschaf from Ravelery sent me a surprise package. I am actually waiting for two parcels so I didn't expect this one at all. It was a lovely surprise: zimtschaf sent me the rest of her Fimo and accessories so I can make more stitchmarkers (I will post pictures of my surprisingly good markers soon), fibre to spin with in exactly my kind of colours, beads, and a selection of teas. It was all packed inside a sturdy plastic lunch box that will be great for storing my Fimo in. My own box can't cope with the sheer amount of stuff I've got anymore. hte box was lined with some paper napkins and I especially like the ones with the knitting on them. Very apropriate.

Thank you, zimtschaf!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Result

This is the result of my first ever dying experiment and it doesn't look too shabby, does it? The sparkle comes through very clearly in the flesh (er, wool). I am very happy with it now that I see it as proper skeins. I will be taking them with me to knit club tomorrow to show off.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Dying Lace

Last week I gave in to the temptation and bought the lovely sparkling lace yarn from Bluefaced that Wool Bath is stocking at the moment. It was the sparkles that did it. Ever since I saw Fyberspates' Royal Wedding Lace I have been keen to find something just as sparkly and this is it:


I was disappointed that it does not come in colours, but this was my chance to try and see if I can dye. That was a slightly scary thought, to be honest, because you don't really want to spend a lot of cash on lovely yarn only to ruin it in the end. Since I know very little about dying, I tried to make it simple and chose Dylon hand dyes in intense purple, powder pink and flamingo pink.

I can't even begin to tell you how long it took me to decide on the powder pink. The other two colours were easy. I followed the instructions on the packets and tried to keep the work area (kitchen counter top) clear and clean. Need I say that I didn't quite manage the keeping it clean bit? Even Cilit Bang has not been able to get rid of the pink ring that is still on the white surface now.

The first thing I did was tie each of the two lace skeins in three places to avoid tangling. Then I soaked them in cold water, but I didn't add vinegar like many people suggest to ensure the colours don't fade. Since I do not intend to wash the yarn much (it will be a big shawl one day), I decided not to bother with it. Also, the packet instructions said nothing about it and since it is a chemical dye, I assume everything I need is already in it.

I prepared the dyes in three glass bowls/jugs/baking dishes/whatever I could find and simply hoped there would be enough space for all the yarn. It worked out fine and I distributed the lace as evenly as I could in each bowl. Sometimes I had to move the white sections into the dyes to ensure they would take on colour as well since they didn't entirely soak up the dye on their own.

The powder pink is exactly the shade I had expected. I could tell the colour might end up being semi-solid because the dish was shallow and there was only just enough space for the yarn. Towards the end when I realised that there was no dye left and not all the yarn had taken on colour, I added a bit of flamingo pink to it.

I do love this colour! It is lovely and rich and I enjoyed even just looking at it while I waited. If you look closely, you will see the sparkly bits that come out even more on a sunny day such as this.

Please forgive this picture of the intense purple with my camera and hands visible right in the middle. Now I wish I had taken another picture to show you the depth of colour. This dye, unlike the powder pink, was still left in the jug after I took out the yarn. I wish I had something more to dye just to use it up.

I left the yarn to dye for a bit over one and a half hours though the packet instructions said an hour, but I wanted to have as intense colours as possible. After several washes till the water was pretty much clear, I could see how my experiment had turned out. Not bad. I do wish now, though, that I had chosen a shade of blue rather than powder pink, but you never know how it will look when knitted up.

And right now the yarn is hanging on the door, waiting to dry. Luckily it is a sunny and warm day so I hope it won't take too long. I have a pattern ready and waiting for this yarn even if I first need to finish at least two other projects before I even start it. For now I can't wait to see what the yarn will be like when dry and wound properly. Very exciting and even a bit satisfying.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Another RAK and Another Stole

Just after I posted about my last gift from the German RAK group on Ravelry, another envelope arrived. Anja brought me some more metal tags from a jewelry fair in Germany. I now have loads! They will last me for years, I think. She also added three stitchmarkers that I have added to my steadily growing box of homemade markers.

Also, I went into The Works yesterday just to have a look around and found such metal tags in the handmade card section. I now definitely have enough. Finally, I also have a storage box for beads and other odds and ends. Need I mention that it is already full? It doesn't help that I keep going to the bead shop all the time, though I try to use up what I buy immediately.

In other knitting news, I have made progress with the Seascape stole, but today I had to undo a third of it again because I made a mistake while changing from written to charted instructions. I realised it once I looked at the pattern and noticed it didn't look anything like it was supposed to. Unravelling Rowan kidsilk haze is very difficult and slow because of its fuzziness, but I managed it eventually.

Now a third shorter than before, I can continue with the pattern tomorrow. It shouldn't be too long before I am back where I left off, really, because reading the chart is far easier. The written instructions drove me crazy and I constantly lost my place in them. I had to concentrate far too hard on them while the chart is just better in order to visualise where you are and how the stole is meant to look.

Since Anke sent me some clear beads, I wanted to add them to the stole, but it turns out I am 99 beads short even for just the edging, so no luck there. It will just have to do without them and it looks really good in the nice sea green shade I am using.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

German RAKers Are the Greatest

Anke, a Raveler from Germany, sent me these little tags for my knitting this month. They are lovely and I always wanted to have some to add to gifts. I will have to think carefully about what I'll add them to in the end. They arrived just on time as I was leaving to go to knit club yesterday so I took them with me to show them off. Anke also sent me a little packet of clear rocailles beads (4 mm) that I might use for stitchmarkers (and earrings, my latest obsession) as well as knitting. Oh and she included a little packet of Haribo Goldbaeren! *squee* I know you can also buy them here, but these were proper German ones.

It is amazing how very generous German RAKers are, though of course the British ones are too. However, it is easier to get on with the German ones, I found, because they are less cliquish in the Ravelry group. I have no idea why that is! I have never spent as much time on Ravelry as I have since joining the group.

The orange fish stitchmarkers I made have now arrived in Austria where Sanarah is their proud new owner. I am hoping that the other two packets I sent the same day have also arrived in Germany.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Bachforelle: First Picture

Link
Not that there is much to see. I got through two charts, but had to stop before starting chart C because I just don't get it. Now I am waiting for Wendy to knit up to the same point so we can figure out how to continue. In the meantime I have started knitting the Seascape Stole to keep busy, making it in a lovely light shade of sea green.

Bachforelle is a beaded knit and that worked very well. It's not my first beaded project - it's the second -, so it's not an issue. The denim coloured beads are beautiful with the yarn. I am using Noro Kureyon sock yarn here and the colours are very pretty. The colour changes happen a lot quicker than I expected, but I am sure it will look great once the shawl is finished.

See? I said I would post about something other than stitchmarkers eventually!

When There's Nothing Else to Do

Since knitting the Bachforelle shawl came to a sudden halt thanks to the convoluted chart C I was about to start, I have had to spend my time doing other things such as spinning, beginning another shawl altogether, and making yet more stitchmarkers. Oh yes.

I subscribed to Bijoux Bead's newsletter yesterday and immediately got one with a 15% off voucher to spend in store. Luckily, today they are having a few beadmaking demos, so I went to the early one about earrings. It was simple, but also very interesting to see a "professional" handle all the bits and bobs. Though I couldn't find the right beads for a pair of earrings, I bought a tool kit instead (partly visible in image below) which later came in handy for the stitchmarkers too.

Today's first markers were a pair of knit and purl ones I have been wanting to make for ages. Having made them now, though, they seem rather plain. Still, they are fun and useful nonetheless and I will most likely keep them for myself instead of giving them away as gifts. (I am amassing a whole lot of markers now, which is a bit worrying considering how seldom I need them.)

Some funkier markers are the Bollywood style ones above. I have some more Bollywood type beads in other shapes and four colours and I can't wait to make them. Even though I bought a number of beads, I think I need to go and get some more to go with specific beads. I haven't always got the combo I want.

For now, these two sets must suffice. I will soon post about something other than markers, I promise!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

RAK Stitchmarkers

For some reason, I woke up bright and early on a Sunday morning and was ready for an hour of stitchmarker making. Well, more like a few minutes rather than an hour since they are quickly made. Yesterday, I managed to stock up on some nice beads because stitchmarkers are very popular in the German RAK group, though not in the UK one for some reason. I have three sets to send to people, one of them is the red beaded set I posted here before. The second set is one that was a pain to make because the holes in the pearls were too narrow to do what I wanted. Still, they do look lovely and I like the fish and elephant charms especially.

The third set was a bit of an improvisation because I hadn't planned to put the beads together like this. I bought the lef-shaped glass beads at Bijoux Beads, as usual, but the rest I already had. in fact, the wooden beads with the flowers on them and the green glass beads are from a necklace I was once given. I hated it because the cord was horrible and the colours were just not me either, so I took it all apart. The beads now come in very handy and I really like these markers.

I hope everyone likes their surprises. I know I would - everytime I make stitchmarkers, I end up wanting to keep them for myself.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round

Black-Rose from Ravelry fulfilled this month's RAK wish for me only minutes after I posted it in the group. Ever since Helen brought her new spindle to knit club a while ago, I have been wanting to try it myself. So I wished for a spindle for lace-weight yarn and some fiber to begin with. Black-Rose was very generous to fulfil my wish just like that and I received her package the very next day.

I don't know if she knew, but she got the colours of the fibre just right. The blue is nice and I especially like the purple. Above, you can see my first attempt at spinning yarn and it is a little uneven here and there, but I am discovering how to do it best. It is quite addicting and I spent last night spinning till late because I was too excited to be tired. I really like this new hobby of mine and hope that I will have many a chance to practice and improve.

I am curious to see how much yarn I get out of the fibre and what it will look like when knitted up. Can you believe I haven't done any knitting in the past two days?