Monday, 30 July 2012

Two Socks on the Go

And by two socks I mean two pairs, really. 
At the moment I am working on Ayartma socks whose pattern is in German, originally. Even though I am a native speaker of the language, I decided to use the English translation since I taught myself to knit using English patterns. It seems, though, that the translation is inaccurate (for instance, you are asked to M1 by knitting into the same stitch twice instead of using the yarn in-between stitches, which then results in confusion when you try to continue with the correct number of stitches). I have no idea exactly what else is wrong because I haven't bothered to look over the bits I have already knitted. Yet, it is quite clear that when knitting some of the charts, either the symbols or their translations are wrong too. I kept getting the wrong number of stitches, no matter how often I checked what I was supposed to be doing. Needless to say, these socks are a nightmare to knit even though they shouldn't be particularly difficult. For the most part, I am now relying on my common sense rather than the written instructions - just in case.
To get my mind off the confusing pattern, I started a new pair of socks called Boxi, a Regina Satta pattern (also German, with translation). This is a nice and easy pattern that knits up quickly. Both the Regia Eskimo Color yarn as well as the pattern were gifts from the German RAK group (Ayartma, by the way, was also a gift pattern). It is really fun to knit these socks and it shouldn't take me long to finish them unless I get distracted by Etsy and my spinning yet again. So much to do, so little time! Luckily, the Boxi socks won't be needed till around Christmas time as they are a present for someone else. But don't tell!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Etsy: In Production

For the past week I have been busy making things for my Etsy shop. I now have 15 different items, so it shouldn't be too long till the shop can go live. I want to make sure I have enough items for people to be interested in the shop first. Here is a preview:
In the shop you will find stitchmarkers (polymer clay and/or beaded), handspun yarn, hand-dyed yarn, and lavendar sachets. More to come!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Falling Prey to Etsy


All right, I have given in to the temptation that is Etsy. I am about to open my own shop soon with handspun, hand-dyed yarn, stitchmarkers and jewellery. Before I can open, I need some more items first so I think there is a lot of crafting ahead of me this week!

I hope all goes well and that you will find something of interest in the shop. Of course I'll let you know when the grand opening will be.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Spinning from the Fold

I admire spinners who can easily spin long draw, making it look as if it were the simplest thing in the world. Sadly, I still haven’t mastered it, but will give it a proper go at some point, I’m sure. For the moment, however, I am practicing spinning from the fold on my tiny supported African bead spindle.
This technique was new to me until recently. While at Wonderwool in April, I bought 50g of seacell to try and work with. This fibre feels similar to silk and spinning it from the top was proving to be horrendously slow and tedious. After taking ages to spin up about half of the fibre, I decided to just try spinning from the fold instead. I did not have high hopes for it, I must say.

To my surprise, it was fairly simple. The drafting was easy, though I had to watch out and be careful not to suddenly end up with yarn that was too thick because I carelessly let the twist in too far. I had started spinning extremely fine singles, but then they started getting thicker because of the new technique. After a while this improved, I am glad to say, and the whole process is much faster now than spinning from the top ever was.

The good thing about having practiced spinning from the fold at this stage is that the prospect of finally spinning up that silk brick at the bottom of my stash seems like less of a challenge now. I won’t be spinning the silk on a spindle, though! 100g of it would take ages, I think. It will be an opportunity to practice spinning from the fold on my wheel and I am looking forward to it.

Finally, here is a Spindlicity video that shows the technique. It was very useful to me before I gave it a go myself.
For more information, click here to go to Abby Franquemont's Q&A and details about the technique.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Wimble-knits

According to some commentators and spectators, you cannot knit while doing something else simultaneously. Moreover, knitting while something dramatic, such as a Wimbledon tennis match, is happening around you seems to be a sign of disinterest. Pfft! People need to knit more, methinks! I am glad this journalist understands us.

I am surprised a knitting woman is such a big deal. Perhaps it was a slow news day.

Friday, 6 July 2012

How I Learned to Knit

Tawnee asked an interesting knitting question on her blog: what got you started? It got me thinking and I realised I never actually wrote about this on my own blog. So here is my answer as seen in Tawnee's comment section:

"It's always fascinating to read how others came to do the things they love.

I had wanted to learn to knit for quite a few years before I actually started. My mother and grandmother both used to knit a bit, but I hardly have any memory of it. I do remember my mother having a brief knitting phase in the early 1990s because I ended up with a nice warm scarf (black with colourful fringes) and a horrid cotton jumper that was incredibly heavy and just got longer and wider all the time.

It must have been around that time that I asked my mother to show me how to knit. She made me cast on and knit row after row. It didn't really work, I don't know why. So I never tried again until many years later, probably in the early 2000s, for no particular reason. Again, the result was the same and I couldn't get it right. My mother wasn't really keen on teaching me either so that was that.

Then another few years later I was right in the middle of writing my doctoral thesis and I was writing it day and night. I had moved to the country side with nothing to do, no car with which to get anywhere. I had loads of time on my hands and my head was dizzy with all the writing I was doing so I decided I needed something to balance it all out. For some reason that I no longer recall, I decided to teach myself to knit. I spent a while searching for knitting tutorials online and just gave it a go. Luckily, it worked! It's a bit awkward to have to admit that the internet was better at teaching me than my own mother was! But hey, I learned a new skill. And ever since that time I have been knitting, and I gradually expanded my skills to include spinning with drop spindles, supported spindles and now with a wheel too. I already have my eye on a drumcarder, but that will remain a dream till I have a place with more space for such things. I'm doomed."

Photo Collages on PicMonkey

Today I came across a website that allows you to make collages and edit your photos online. Ever since Picnik.com closed, I have been looking for something similar. PicMonkey.com appeals to me because of the many available options and I think I will be using it from now on. You simply upload your photos for the collage, drag them to where you want them, adjust them if needed, and there you go. I'll need to play around with it a bit more to see what else may be useful for me. For the moment, the collages are great and offer a greater range than BigHugeLabs.com which I also use.