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Friday, September 27, 2013

Birthday nightdresses.

I try to make a smocked garment for my grand-daughters' birthdays. This year my effort for the twins' birthday is nightdresses, using some fabric from my stash.

One piece is a remnant I saw and instantly thought Veronica would like. The fabric is a little heavier than I usually use for smocked nightdresses, but seems to be crush-resistant and soft. The colour and the spots are likely to appeal.

The other is a piece I inherited, I think, from my mother's stash (either that, or I bought it in Gawler in the 1970s!) and have kept for the right garment. The colours will appeal, I hope, to Niamh.

I used the Victorian Dreams for Girls pattern - I've made enough of these now to be able to do them, from cutting, to pleating, smocking and construction in minimum time!

All done and dusted!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bags for iPod Nanos.

This year we bought iPod Nanos for our twin granddaughters' birthdays. When they arrived I was a bit worried they would be too easily lost, so our daughter bought large headphones and I made bags to contain the Nanos with headphones attached.

I used a couple of fat quarters from my stash, pinks with stars for Veronica, embroidered in her favourite mauve colour, and black with butterflies for Niamh, embroidered in yellow - matching the Nanos.

 I also decided to try out a couple of variations on chain stitch to embroider their names - a whipped chain on Niamh's and a looped chain stitch on Veronica's.

 I used Velcro to close the bags, figuring this is more secure than a drawstring (also knowing that Veronica has been know to cut out the drawstring ribbon to use on her hair!).

Hopefully these will help to keep the Nanos in use for some time to come.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Last whole ball of Murano wool - cowl.

I had one more full ball of the Murano wool I bought at the beginning of this winter left and thought I would use it up on a cowl. I am disappointed in the distinctiveness of the stripe that results from the variegation in this wool, so thought I'd choose a pattern that uses the stripe.
In Cowlgirls, I found a pattern for a balaklava, that converts to a cowl - quite a clever design. Instead of using four different colours to achieve the stripe, I used a 200 gm ball of Murano in colour CK27 . 

This has proved to be a softer mix of colours, which blends rather than contrasts the stripes - the most attractive of the three colours I purchased.

I knitted this into the back of the stitch to prevent the skew that has developed with the other balls of this wool.

It is knitted from the top down - hat first, then a split for the face, with a cast-on section joining up the two sides to form the cowl component.

The cowl gets broader around the shoulder.

I'm pleased with the colours in this one - by far the best of the Murano colours I have tried, perhaps because the colours are so well matched in duskiness.

 I used the last of these ceramic buttons from my stash.

This works well as a cowl and converts to a hood if ever needed. It's soft and cosy and looks great.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Second Skyros Panel Finished

The small motifs are finished off and the second panel for my chair is out of the frame and ironed.

I pinned the new panel on to the chair cover, while it was still on the chair. This gives me the most reliable fit.

I then removed the cover from the chair and stitched the panel to the cover using my machine.

I am mightily pleased with the result.

There is, however, no stopping now, as the chair looks decidedly unfinished!

Four more men and a few motifs to go.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Skyros Man 8

I have the scent of a finish for my second Skyros panel, so made good progress on the eighth Skyros man. Again, he is worked with the grain at a slant and again, I used Bokhara stitch (fast becoming my favourite ever stitch!) on his jacket.

As you see, I am also making progress on the small surrounding motifs.

Here he is, finished, and in context. A few motifs to finish and the panel can be stitched into the chair!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Skyros Man 7

The seventh Skyros Man was the first of the men to be stitched not on the straight grain of the linen, but slightly on a slant. In order to fit the 12 men around the curve of my chair, the two men closest to the front on either side need to be positioned at a slight angle -  across the fabric grain. This is not a problem for the design but makes it slightly awkward to stitch. I decided to work the jacket in Bokhara stitch - which worked well. I also like the way the darning stitch on the trousers came out when worked an angle.


I wasn't sure how the cream silk floss would look in the jacket, but it came up well, especially once the edges were outlined. The jacket has a lovely sheen and texture.

Here he is in context - motifs and one more man to finish this second panel.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Skyros Man 6

The sixth Skyros man is to the right of the fifth - another one of the flower-holding ones.

Again, I worked his pantaloons in Bokhara stitch. The variegation in the blue silk thread gives a nice effect.

I went for red lips on this one - the pattern calls for gold. The lip shape I ended up with is a bit duckbill-like, but is fine at the distance it will be seen.

Because I like to use up the thread in my needle before moving to a new colour, I have a few bits of the next man done by the time I get there - I like that.

Two more men, plus motifs, to finish this panel.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

200th blog post: Purple shawl finish.

Well,  the raggy shawl is transformed. I blocked it overnight, putting my effort into getting the long side reasonably straight (that is, blocking it as close as I could to a triangle, rather than a quadrangle).

I should, perhaps, have paid more attention to ensuring the centre line was straight, but if pushed, I prefer the triangle shape to a perfectly straight midline with this pattern.

In the morning, voila!

The pattern has worked beautifully. I am so pleased with it.

I hung it outside on the mulberry tree - not yet in leaf - to get a sense of the light.

I get great satisfaction out of most of my projects. Somehow, however, completing a lacy shawl fills me with such joy.

This is my 200th blog posting. I'm glad it turned out to be on a completed shawl. I am still enjoying both stitching and posting - and sharing so much with blogging friends.



Friday, September 6, 2013

Purple shawl progress

Knitting is finished on the purple shawl. This is what it looked like at the recommended length for a medium sized shawl, but I decided to continue.

After a suggestion from Katherine, one of my blogging friends, I tried out a contrasting thread in lieu of the ring markers. The thread I used was way too thick for this project - it worked, but would have been better if the yarn was finer. I'll have another try of this on another project, using finer contrast thread.

Once you reach the intended length, there is a top border of 12 rows to finish off. This is what the scarf looked like when I cast off.

Now to turn this raggy-looking thing into a shawl of beauty by blocking!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Skyros Man No. 5

Yes, I have been progressing my Skyros Men in the daylight hours, with the fifth man now finished. I need to take frequent breaks to rest my eyes, but have done large parts in the intended darning stitch.

I went for Bokhara stitch on his pantaloons - to give myself a break from darning stitch, to get texture and to get sheen.
While the main threads in this project are Gumnut silks, the two golds are DMC perle thread, and I  like the result.

I added an ear when I outlined the face, correcting a slight fatness in the shape of his face!

Now I'm rolling on the second panel.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Purple shawl

Since returning from Kangaroo Island I have been working in the evenings on a triangular knitted shawl, using some two ply wool in my stash from Bendigo Woollen Mills.The pattern is a flower basket one I bought from Knitty City in  New York in 2009.
I knitted it up that year in a variegated lace-weight wool for my neighbour who was moving. This was the year before I started my blog - no wonder I couldn't find my record of it!

The two ply is a little heavier than the original lace weight and should give quite a different look.

My preference when knitting triangular shawls is to start at the wide end and decrease - it's encouraging to be getting faster on each row. This pattern, however, works from the point up - so lengthwise progress is slower. It is a 10 row pattern and after about 30 rows I started using markers to keep my place.

The pattern has three suggested shawl lengths. This is progress at the 'small' length - even with blocking, too small I think. The first shawl I made with it was ten rows short of the 'large'. I have enough wool to make the large so will persevere.

In preparation, I bought more ring markers.  If I continue to the large shawl, there are 78 pattern repeats in the longest pattern row. Although I had a supply of clip markers and split ring markers,

I didn't have enough of these simple ring ones, which I prefer. Now I'm ready for the long pattern rows - in equipment, at least!