Thursday, March 30, 2006

All stitched up

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Stitched at last!

Finally, both my sewing machine and my hand-sewing needles have been brought into service: I volunteered to participate in a pin cushion swap with one of the internet groups I belong to, and the deadline was drawing ever-nearer. I spent far too long procrastinating regarding materials and design, but finally plumped for something I'd enjoy doing, which was embellished crazy patchwork, mainly in silks and velvet, with both machine and hand embroidery and assorted embellishments. They are quite little (about 5"/12.5cm squarish) with purple velvet backs. I really ought to have a piece of crazy patchwork on the go at all times, because it gives me great pleasure to work.

As it is, I have been making freeform crochet scrumbles for an international collaboration for a freeform coat and shawl, and making little progress with a knitted lace scarf: the pattern got to 24 rows at one point, but I decided that the errors were too obvious and undid it down to zero once more. It seems to be going a little better this time. It makes my eyes hurt when I work on it for long. I hope this doesn't mean I need new glasses. I think it is the following of the chart that is the problem, plus the concentration required. Isn't it strange how someone always wants to say something to you when you are counting?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Miserly Mittens?

Remember the wool I space-dyed a while ago? Some of it is now transformed into a pair of Broad Street Mittens (pattern on We have a Broad Street in my village, where many of the shops can be found. Doubtless my Broad Street Mitts will be worn on Broad Street.

I had bought a lovely pair of glove mittens from Accessorize after Christmas, but they decided to stay somewhere in Paris when we visited, and of course by then the shops were no longer stocking winter warmers so I couldn't replace them. The cleverness of this design is that you can have bare fingers when you need to do something like driving, getting change out of your purse, knitting or sketching, but when you want the warmth of mittens you can fold up and over the mitten shell, which otherwise folds down against the back of your hand. I need to find some buttons for the loop to close over, but otherwise the pair is complete.

I made the cuff nice and deep for maximum cosiness, and used a sock toe decrease rather than a star decrease for the mitten shells, so they would lie flatter in the folded position. I like the way the decrease stitches merge into the I-cord loop.

So what next? Several possibilities. I have enough of my home dyed wool left to make a matching pair of socks, but I think I fancy a change.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I'm shocked to realise that my Blog so far features none of my embroidery, either hand or machine. This reflects that the only use my machine has had recently is to mend clothes, and my handworking has all been woolly. I am mulling over various projects, most of which are also woolly, but this does not mean I don't want to stitch: I do. I recently saw this needlecase on Ebay and decided it belonged with me:-

This was partly because I had mislaid my needlecase, but much more, I think, to do with the label it has inside:

I like the idea that I will be using these previously loved needles to create some art needlework. I have actually used one to graft the toes of my socks and to help warp up my loom, even though my "proper" needlecase has, of course, since come to light once more. However, I think I owe it to them (and myself) to create something more worthy of them.

Caught Jaywalking again!

My second pair of Jaywalker socks (in Opal Variegated Sock Wool from Get Knitted), this time with the correct heel stitching:-

The heel is worked in a slip-stitch rib, which my mother tells me my Great Gran used to use when she knitted the socks: "nothing new under the sun". Mum says her Gran told her it helped the socks wear better. They certainly fit more snugly.

Next to knit: Broad Street Mittens from Knitty in my home space-dyed sock wool.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Details of weaving

Above is the section of cloth worked with my handspun jacob wool as weft on a warp of Rowan Felted Tweed DK yarn, and below is the section worked with the Felted Tween yarn in both warp and weft.

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A warped project

Last year I bought a spinning wheel and a weaving loom on eBay,and I span some yarn from Jacob wool I bought many years ago from a wool museum in Wales. This was very nubbly and textural, and there was not a lot to make into something. I thought about weaving it. I have joined the Avon Guild of Wevers, Spinners and Dyers, and someone there suggested using a commercial yarn for the warp, so I trotted off to John Lewis and found some yarn which was a good colour blend with my creation: Rowan's Felted Tweed wool. On Friday. I decided the day had come to christen the loom, so I warped up and then wove, initially with the Rowan wool, then with my homespun. This is the result:

The Rowan wool is lovely and makes a very nice balanced weave cloth, so that I'm tempted to buy some more to weave a scarf. My own homespun makes a more rustic cloth which is still very pleasing to me. I'm not sure what I will do with this cloth, as I'd meant it just as a sample, but it seems a shame not to do something with it nonetheless. Apart from a bag, a cushion or a hanging, has anyone any ideas?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Inside the tower


It really is the most amazing structure... Posted by Picasa

Another view


This is another collage featuring three of the four photos I used before.... Posted by Picasa

Memories of Paris


My husband took me to Paris in January for a weekend, and it was beautiful. I took over 200 photographs! This is a collage of four pictures of the Eiffel Tower, which I think turned out interestingly. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Luxury is a pair of handknitted cashmere socks

I've finished the hand-dyed socks and here they are, on my feet. They are so soft and silky and extremely warm indeed. When I was knitting the second one, I discovered that I'd misread the pattern so, one way and another, they are totally unique. I guess they will need handwashing, though - it would be shame to felt them into dolly wear after so much has gone into their making! Of course, the next pair of socks has already been started - not cashmere this time, and boy, does the usual sock yarn feel coarse and hard after working with the cashmere! Here is a link for the pattern: Not a lot happening here otherwise, got another bug. I don't know where they all come from.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Warm Memories

There is so much warmth in these pictures! The leaves at Westonburt really were this fiery in the autumn. On a chilly, grey day in March, it does me good to see these images.

Just want to curl up and hibernate at the moment - it's not actually terribly cold today but I feel in need of warmth and sleep (didn't awaken til 11.30 this am). Oh well, luckily I don't have to do a lot at present. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Recycling - Cretan Style

These are some more images photographed in Chania, Crete in 2004, showing the reuse of building materials and generally pleasing structures and colours. Chania has seen a lot of changes, including Ottoman and Venetian rule, so history has seen many changes. There is an mosque there which now has secular use as an art gallery. Posted by Picasa

Memories of Crete

I have been looking back through my photograph albums, and came across this wonderful Cretan wall, photographed in Chania in 2004. There were a lot of decaying buildings displaying their structure, as well as city walls constructed with recycled products of demolition.

The layers are what fascinate me, and the fact that this is made with whatever there was, rather than regular, matching elements. Posted by Picasa