Saturday 28 February 2015

Next Project...

Apart from my favourite teal and turquoise,  another colour I like wearing is RED.  Bright cherry red makes me happy.

While I was away in January, I started on a crochet cardigan.  The back and fronts are all done in one piece and then you just need to add the sleeves.  The only problem was that the pattern was written for short sleeves and the pieces are crocheted sideways (the back and fronts too).  A short sleeve is just straight but a long sleeve has to be tapered to the wrist.  I tried picking up the stitches around the armholes and crocheting down but the stitch is then worked the other way and I didn't like how it looked.  So I had to draw the whole sleeve on a piece of paper and just try to follow the shape as I go, increasing repeats of the motif where necessary.  This is my third attempt at making the sleeves!  I hope it works out right this time.  I'm feeling hopeful.

So here is it, in progress, I'm about halfway through the first sleeve.  I also added a collar that wasn't in the pattern so it can be worn up as in the first photo, or turned down as in the second, for more of a jacket look.

I really like the stitch.
The texture, and the look of it.
It also grows fairly quickly as it's trebles.

Not sure what closures I will use on this but all of a sudden I'm thinking that tatted frogs could look quite cool.  What do you think?

Something like Marilee Rockley's tatted frog closures:

I think they could look rather interesting on this jacket.
(Does anyone know if they're in one of her books?
I do have two of them but I can only locate one at the moment).

I could also make some of my own, using a motif
that I like and just adding an extra loop for the button.

But first, I must get those sleeves done!

Best wishes,

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Quick Gift & Fractals

Here is a very very quick little gift I made for my mother-in-law.  It was the lovely hand cream I was giving her but then I thought it would look nicer contained in something… so I crocheted the case - in treble (or double for US readers) stitches - it would have been nicer in double (single) crochet for a tighter fabric but I really had no time at all to complete this as I had the idea at the very last minute!  I thought she could then use the case for her reading glasses when she has used up the hand cream.

Of course it needed a little decoration… so I had a look in my box of tatting where I have quite a large selection of tatted motifs and medallions and chose something for it:

Really not a great piece of crochet
but just an idea to use up one of your little tatted motifs.

I made this little square a while ago
and it can be found on Ninetta's blog.

The next thing I want to talk about is… fractals.  I love fractals.  These mathematical equations produce wonderfully intriguing, colourful, organic shapes that repeat themselves.  The thing is, I want to learn how to make them myself!  So I got a program… phew!  It's a very steep learning curve!  I find the program not very user-friendly containing lots of obscure names for equations and variations.  It might take me a crazy amount of time to get to grips with how it all works but here is my first creation.  Rather hit and miss it was and I got there by accident rather than intent.  Anyway, I decided to save that one before messing it up.

I've seen so many amazing fractal images… I just hope one day I'll be able to create some of my very own.

Best wishes,

Saturday 21 February 2015

Lace Panel Knitted Jacket

It's done!  I've been wearing it!  All that "knit one purl one"… I thought perhaps I was mad to want to knit a whole garment in K1P1… but it does make for a lovely knitted fabric.  When I started I was thinking of this as more of a "cardigan" but it's quite substantial and definitely more of a jacket.

What I fell in love with and what made me want to knit this jacket… was the beautiful lace panel at the back.  It's funny though because now, as I wear it, I realise the part I liked the best… is the part I can't see!!

Best wishes,

Thursday 12 February 2015

Wanting to Wear It

Aaaaah!  Frothy coffee… and tatting?  No, not at the moment.  It's frothy coffee and knitting.  I've decided to concentrate my efforts on this to get it finished so I can finally wear it.  So I'm temporarily putting down my shuttles until I complete this cardigan/jacket…  well, that's the plan anyway.  You know I easily get side-tracked!

I have now finished knitting the second sleeve so I have both fronts and both sleeves done and I have started on the back piece.  I had the lace panel mostly completed too but it's proved surprisingly tricky to knit; I've already had to unravel it once and it looks like I may have to unravel it again!  Drats.

The colour is more accurate in this second photo.

Wish me luck please, or speedy fingers, or no side-tracking or something like that.  Hopefully I will have this finished before I post again (… maybe?… hopefully?…).  That's the plan anyway.

And last night, I made a batch of Green Relish.  We really like green relish but it's impossible to find here in the UK.  I love seeing the jars with their new labels, ready to be put away in the cupboard.

Best wishes,

Sunday 8 February 2015

A Red Pair… and Springerle!

I had a party to go to last night… yes, I definitely needed a pair of those earrings in red to go with my dress!

I like this pattern very much.  I attached the dangle and the hanging loop between the rings this time and although my favourite way is probably as in the blue pair, I like them either way.

The colour is not very accurate:
The blue is more turquoise IRL (i.e., more green in it)
and the red is darker with a tad more blue in it.
So difficult to get colours right with photos!

Upon Johanna's recommendation, I had a go at making Springerle biscuits - they are a traditional German recipe that is made mostly at Christmas time from what I understand and which makes use of wooden moulds and rolling pins such as mine.  The secret is… you must let the biscuits dry before you bake them.  Clever.  12-24 hours.  That way the tops go quite dry whilst the bottom of the biscuits stays more moist so that when you bake them, the tops don't move or expand much but the biscuits puff out from the bottom.  


Look at those perfectly shaped and imprinted little biscuits.
Just what I wanted.

The traditional flavouring for those biscuits is aniseed… but I don't really like the taste of black liquorice so I flavoured mine with vanilla.  They are not a dry biscuit but have more of a "cakey-chewey" texture.

The imprints worked out so well but the biscuits themselves would unfortunately not be on my favourite list for eating pleasure, if I'm honest.  So I'm still going to search some more and try other recipes to see if I can achieve the same result (looks wise) with another recipe that I'd enjoy eating more (my husband really likes those though!).  

Thanks for the suggestion Johanna.  I'll give Megan's recipe a try next.

Best wishes,

Thursday 5 February 2015

Viktoria Earrings

I saw these earrings on Emilie's blog (one I hadn't visited before) and got the link to purchase the pattern by Emelie Zakh .   Emilie's version of these earrings in pink and grey is very pretty.

I have used overlapping rings (such as in my butterfly) but I was curious as to how the centre with all those extra beads was done…

In fact it turns out that the extra centre beads, the hanging loop and the dangling pearl are all added afterwards with beading needle and thread.  No matter.  I do like these earrings very much.

The pattern is all diagrams and photos, no written explanations apart from a list of supplies.  I did not have any C-Lon micro cord as recommended and I do not know how the size would compare but I used Lizbeth 20.  What I found on my first attempt is that the earrings were going to turn out way too big for my taste.

Earring with original stitch count on the right

I also do not like working with large rings as I think they do not behave well when closing them and tend to twist and look uneven in their curve (fussy me!  Or else I'm just not good enough to make it work!).  Anyway, I started again and reduced the stitch count by a whole 14 stitches on the large rings and by 10 stitches on the small ones.  They are still "large" earrings but I'm happy with them at that size.  The advantage of tatted earrings is that even if they are large, they remain lightweight and easy to wear.  The beads and pearls add just enough weight to make them hang nicely (and have nice movement which I also like) and the overlapping rings give the tatting enough body for the earrings to keep their shape when worn.

When I completed the first one, I realised that the diagram did not match the photos:  on the diagram, the dangle and hanging loop are attached between the rings whereas on the photos of the finished earrings, they are attached at the tip of rings.

Earring completed as per the diagram

I undid this one (just the dangle and hanging loop) and re-attached at the tip of the rings but actually, both versions are nice.

This pattern is definitely a keeper,
and one I will make again I'm sure.

And to finish, I have to share with you a birthday present I recently received from a good friend of mine… ah she knows me well!  Look at this beautiful rolling pin!  Isn't it just gorgeous?

The only problem is…

Here's the second batch of biscuits I've tried to make using the pin and I lose the beautiful decorations upon baking.  Can anyone recommend a recipe that would work well for keeping the imprints when cooked?  It would be most appreciated.
Thank you!

Best wishes,

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Reverse Mimosas

Hello!  It's been a little while since I posted.  Thank you so much for all the lovely comments on my previous post about the butterfly doily.  I was definitely pleased to be finished with that one.

I have not tatted very much in the last couple of weeks, only making a tiny bit of progress on this Jan Stawasz piece:

It's a little bit crumpled as it's been living in a bag and carried about a lot.  I plan to make this larger but I don't know how large yet. 

Today I found one earring that didn't have a twin so I decided to make the second one so I could wear them (they happened to match a sweater I'm sporting today).  And then it occurred to me to try them upside down and I think they're nice that way too.  So that's the way I'm wearing them now.  The weight of the pearls at the bottom instead of at the top gives them nice movement when worn.

So there you go, reversible earrings!

Best wishes,