Season’s Greetings

A (belated) Merry Christmas and seasons’ greetings to you all! 

Hoping that you and yours have a colour full, safe and happy New Year! 

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More Beach Cover-Ups

Here’s the results of my phase on beach cover-ups … sorry for the dark and blurry pics, but I couldn’t wait for daylight to take pics …

This pattern is based on the Asos crochet tunic.  Never heard of it, but apparently it’s been quite popular.  The pattern that I found is a reverse-engineered version.  I had to fiddle with the pattern and experiment, because there were some steps missing in the pattern or I didn’t quite understand what it was saying , and I had to frog several times.  In the end, I just used the basic pattern and winged it.  Other than the tunic being way bigger and wider than I wanted – which you can’t really see from the picture – it’s turned out quite nice.

Since this was more of an experiment, and now that I knew the basics of the pattern, I started another one.  Yes, I can get obsessed with a pattern, making several items based on the pattern in different colours or sizes.

This time, I made sure to make the torso/body smaller, but I still forgot about making the sleeves narrower too. No matter, I’ll just tweak and decrease about two inches from the shoulder so that it’s not so wide.  I’m almost done with this, just in time before we leave.

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And I’m all set for the beach !

See you all later!

 

 

Catching Up …

Whew!  Just realized I haven’t posted in a while on this blog!

So here’s hoping you had a good end-of-year holiday season and all the best for the new year!

I was travelling for work, and wifi was spotty too.  I also thought that I would be able to work on WIPs or start a new one, but surprisingly, I didn’t get a chance to do that either.  It was late nights and weekends too, so I was catching up on sleep instead!

There was that one night when I was so stressed out at work, I took12313705_939416949446589_2516362218822365726_n out all the yarn I brought with me, and just played with them.  I tried to start something, but my mind wouldn’t settle down, so I just sat on the bed and wound up the hanks into balls.  That was enough to settle my brain.  I’ll keep that in mind for the next time I’m frazzled – just sit and wind yarn into balls.   It had a calming and relaxing effect, just to keep winding yarn into a ball.  Try it the next time you’re stressed.

On the flight back home, there was an 11-hour stretch for the last leg.  11 hours !!  Wow – definitely I was going to have time to work on something then.  The flight was delayed on departure, so while sitting in the waiting lounge, I took out yarn and needles and casted on with that purple-orange-blue-red yarn.  I wanted to work on the linen stitch again, and thought that maybe it would work with the variegated yarn.

I also thought that I could practice the continental (picking) method with this stitch.  I was beginning to see the extra motions that I made when using the ‘throwing’ method.  For the linen stitch, the continental method works well.  There is less motion/movement than if I was holding the yarn with the right hand.  And 11 hours was more than enough time to practise the continental method – I was all thumbs, fingers, and tangled yarn when I started.

I wasn’t too happy with the colour combination once it was on the needles.  Maybe the colour changes were not long enough.  Or maybe the wrong gauge.  Anyway, I decided to continue with it.  I only had one ball of this colour, and the other three balls were also lone balls.  So I decided to use all four balls in the cowl, and make it a cowl for all seasons.

This is how far I’ve got.  I’m on the third ball, and it’s just about six inches wide.  Hopefully when it’s done that it’ll be a good size width.  Because, you know – as usual, I didn’t count how many stitches I cast on, and didn’t do any kind of math to figure out how much yarn I had to work with so that I can at least have a finished item that doesn’t look like it ran out of yarn that’s why it’s such an odd size!  lol

Now that it’s all together, the orange-blue-purple combination doesn’t really look so bad, does it?  hmmm …

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I don’t mind the orange-purple combo …

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Maybe that blue-orange combo will grow on me …

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twinkly Orange and Purple

And we’re back!

Can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve been able to post on anything here.  Summer started, and everything suddenly started happening …

I had to take an office trip out of the country at the last minute and of course, that threw all the schedules off.  I did remember to pack two WIPs – one of which I frogged – and extra yarn, needles, hooks …

Since I’ve been back, I haven’t exactly been inspired to knit and crochet either.  I got some new yarn, and with ideas bubbling in my head of the projects that I wanted to work on, somehow, it didn’t work out.  After I started knitting or crocheting ten rows, it wasn’t looking right so I’ve been frogging more than working on anything.  I’m just working on finishing a WIP now.

One thing that I did finish before the trip was this Busco Gancho Lace shawl.  I finished it in time for the trip and used it throughout, and got many compliments on it 🙂  I haven’t seen the pattern released yet, so I’ll update this if and when it is released by the designer.

The yarn is SWTC Little Star in two colourways, and the sparkle in the yarn reminds me of twinkling stars.

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Here’s what it looks like during blocking.  Since then, I haven’t been able to take any photos of the shawl after blocking, but you can see from these that the pattern makes for a nice drape.  I’ m already planning to make several in different colourways … soon as I get my cro-jo back …

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Testing Yarns

When scrolling on the forums I would sometimes see posts calling for testers for a new pattern, and after looking at it for two seconds, I would scroll on.  Until a couple of weeks ago, when I seriously considered signing up as a tester for the designer Frank O’Randle.  He’s the one with the ‘Rings of Change’ series.  After reading through his tester requirements, I filed it in the back of my mind.  I didn’t think that I would be able to dedicate any amount of time and work on what he designs, however much I would like to be a tester for his designs, which are all beautifully intricate, which is what I like.

And then came a call to test a shawl pattern … and just for the heck of it, I wrote in and ‘auditioned’ … and got accepted!  What??  I hadn’t done much crocheting recently, but I guess from what they saw on my previous projects were enough for them?  Hmmm ….

So, that of course set off a frenzy to look for the right yarn … fingering weight.  *sigh*  That means that it’ll take me a while to finish this, although crocheting with fingering weight isn’t so bad as knitting with fingering weight for me. And as luck would have it, the NJ Wool Walk was going on last weekend.  More trouble …

I had some free time over the weekend, but I purposely didn’t go to any of the LYS on the Wool Walk.  I’m trying to stick to the budget, see, and going to the yarn stores is not going to help me stick to the budget, right?  But, since I know I didn’t have 1,100 yards of fingering weight yarn in my stash, I had to go and get some, right?  *sigh* good thing Sunday was the last day, and I could only visit two LYS’s …

So, here’s what’s been added to the stash …

At Patricia’s Yarns, I came across Madeleine Tosh Light – fast becoming my new favourite yarn to work with. I thought I could use these for the test pattern shawl. Love that deep blue (Stargazer) …

At Yarndezvous, I came across sparkling yarn … This green I knew right away that I wanted to make a scarf/wrap with it … And maybe I already have the pattern for it …

These are other colours that caught my eye, and will probably end up as accessories as well … Although now that I see them laid out, they all link to each other nicely.  Subconsciously, my brain had already matched them up.  So … now … maybe I can use these for the test pattern … hmmm … 

And these?  Well, I just had to get these … they looked so yummy and creamy and fresh and springy … I have no idea what to make with these, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something …

  

And there goes my budget …

Purple Waves

After deciding on these colours to work with next, and keeping spring IMG_1669in mind, I excitedly warped the loom with the Noro Nobori.

The Noro Nobori is a chunky yarn, and is a cotton-wool-silk mix.  I say mix, and not blend, because the wool and silk is wrapped around the cotton strip, which is about a quarter inch wide.  I wanted to see what effect the variegated or self-striping yarn would have as the warp, and a solid colour as the weft.  It also ran thick and thin, so I thought that would add some more texture to the piece.

Then … this happened …. **gasp**

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First one thread snapped as I pulled … then another …  oh my …

The only good thing I can say to that is thankfully, it happened at the beginning, and I was only about an inch into weaving.

So I took it apart and off the loom, and this time used the purple Cascade Superwash as the warp.  The Noro will have to be used as the weft.  Yes, all those lengths of yarn were wound separately onto the shuttle, and woven in.  Yes, I had a million ends sticking out in the back *sigh*

But I was liking the effect of the white cotton showing up in between the wool and silk around it.  And one advantage of working with lengths of yarn?  I could choose the sequence of the colour changes and switch it around.  I did try to match the colours at the beginning and ends of the lengths, but after a while, I didn’t know what the original colour sequence was, so I just picked up one length when I was done and continued on with it, keeping as close as I could to a gradual change in colours.

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And the finished piece … it was a good size, about 7-ft long, and 10 inches wide.  I wanted it wider, but I didn’t have enough yarn to warp a full 15 inches.

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But the effect of the white cotton showing up intermittently through the colours is nice.  Plus, it covers up the spots where the tension went off, and the lines started to get wavy … the white pulls it all together as part of the pattern. Wasn’t that smart of the yarn?

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Next up is to learn how to hem-stitch the edge for the finishing.  Or I’m going to end up with fringes on all the scarves and runners and whatever else I work on.  I was going to do it here, but forgot in the excitement of finishing the weave.  I think you’re supposed to hemstitch while it’s still on the loom, not after you’ve taken it off, right?

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I haven’t wet-finished it yet, I’ll do that later.  Do we have to wet-finish all the pieces?  or only those that we think might need a little ‘fix’?   I don’t know if the Noro will fluff out.  The thick-thin texture didn’t really show up – maybe I was beating it too close together.  I should remember to leave about a quarter inch space in between the weft threads for the next time.  And if it doesn’t drape well to use as a scarf or wrap, then I’ll use it as a table runner.

The other ball of Noro Nobori is waiting for me.  I didn’t use it on this, because even though the tags said it was the same lot and colour number, there were more pinks to it than purples.  So that will be another piece – a scarf or wrap again, maybe wider, and a little more looser.  That’s okay … these are all experiments and practice … and practice makes perfect!

Pulling Towards Spring

What to make next?

When I am close to finishing off a piece on the loom, my thoughts turn to the next weaving project, and what new technique or colours I want to work with.  There were too many things I wanted to work on – and those knit and crochet WIPs were still in the back of my mind – you know, if I sat down to it like I’m doing with this weaving, it would probably have been done already, right?  But I was still on this weaving momentum …

These two purple balls of yarn had been sitting in the stash for some time now.  My sister wanted a purple cowl/wrap last year, but when I started to work on it, the colours and the patterns weren’t working for me.  (Yes, she did get her cowl, in a dark amethyst yarn instead).  So these were frogged and were waiting for a project to suit it.  I recently got the darker plum-looking balls beside it, thinking that I could combine the two.  Then there was this Noro Nobori hanks that were also sitting there.  Hmmm …

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Fresh off the red houndstooth scarf, I wanted to work on the pattern again, but this time with more than two colours.  It can be done, right?  And these are the colours that I came up with, and I was thinking that it would make a nice gradient scarf or wrap, if I had enough to make it wider, and if I can get the pattern right.  The last time I tried to make a gradient colours scarf, it didn’t work.  It still came out nice, but not what I was aiming for.  Then I came across one ball of Jojoland’s Rhythm, which would tie in all those colours, right?  Hmmmm …. that could work …

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In the end, I went with the purples, looking forward to the spring.  The other palette was more of autumn/fall, which I will still work on, because I like autumn colours, but these colours were pulling me toward spring.

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So purples it is …