Monday, 21 April 2014

Egghenge

Easter Monday is almost over now :) Hope you all have been enjoying your break. Tummies full of chocolate and of all sorts of Easter bakes. Chill-out and feet put up in this nice sunny weather. There's been lots of Easter crafting for me this year.
This season I'm having a knitted Easter theme again. It's my favourite on cards and in decor. In preparation for Easter this year I've knitted these Au Naturale eco eggs :) Very pleased with how they turned out as this is what I wanted to achieve - a natural smooth pastel effect combined with soft coziness and a knitted texture. 


To knit these I used Twilleys Freedom Sincere organic cotton yarn (DK) and dpn needles. I knitted two of each colour and would probably have kept on knitting if Easter hadn't come so fast this year! They were so easy and fast to make as they are plain, not patterned so you don't have to worry about joining in other colours, you just knit automatically like a robot, one by one :) The pattern for the egg comes from Arne and Carlos' book: Easter Knits I mentioned many times on this blog (check for the blog tags) and I'm already well familiar with it as I've already knitted dozens of eggs :) 


Basically I just wanted some plain knitted eggs in natural earthy tones with this lovely knitted cotton texture. I am fascinated by this classic stocking stitch - its simplicity, its genius, its structure. Cotton yarns are particularly good at creating this kind of knitted texture as the fiber is smooth and the fabric weave is so clear and distinct. It loses a little bit of this effect if you knit with a wool. 


I filled the eggs with polyester well to the brim. They keep the shape and they even can stand... like penguin eggs in a nest ;)


And how about having your own Easter Stonehenge... or I should rather say... an Egghenge  - a mysterious circle of knitted eggs :) So what was first then: a stone or an egg? ;)


Or...the Easter Islands perhaps? Doesn't that photo remind you of those colossal stone statues standing proudly in a row?



I had lots of fun making these and will probably come back to knitting them sometime in the future as I've got some other yarn colours and would love to see these in other shades too. 

I haven't been taking part in Hand-made Mondays blog hops for a long time! Time to join up the 164th episode of Hand-made Monday at Handmade Harbour :) 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter!


Wishing you, all my dear readers and commentators
a Happy Joyous Easter and lots of blessings from the Lord.
Jesus is risen!
Hope you are all enjoying your Easter break. 
x X x

Friday, 18 April 2014

1 and 1/2 rabbit

What a busy time this Easter time is for me. I've been busy tidying up, cooking, setting up the decorations, finishing my craft projects and now I've found a spare moment to come online here and write this blog post for you. I hope you all enjoy your Easter time and spending it together with your beloved.

Today I'm going to show you what I have been creating recently :) Do you perhaps remember this cheerful book with Easter projects by Arne & Carlos I blogged sometime ago? I have knitted a few Easter eggs and the Easter balls from this book already but this year time has come to try out something else. Something out of my knitting comfort zone. Something I've been wanting to knit for a long time. So this time I have knitted my first Easter rabbit  and I think I've got hooked on it :)


I know it's not perfect. It's a prototype. It may have some sort of "knitted celullitis", flabby bottom and some lumps and bumps on his body. I've made a couple of mistakes on the way as I went along but now I know how to avoid them :) Overall the bunny isn't that hard to knit, you just need to read the instructions carefully, perhaps a few times to get the idea. However the hardest thing was to knit the heel - that extra 6-row bit that is knitted and purled and then you've got to work out on your own how to pick up and knit the vertical stitches on both sides of that bit. The book is not very helpful with the explanations on how to do it (which is a shame really) and I know from the Amazon reviews that the other knitters usually struggle with this bit too. I basically used a trial-and-error method and did my own thing which ultimately helped me to shape the bunny's heel but it wasn't exactly what the instructions said. However, looking through the other books of Arne and Carlos and searching for more explanation I have discovered that their knitted dolls book (lucky if you've got one) includes a very similar piece of instructions for knitting a doll's heel and there is a small helpful picture showing which stitches should be picked. Finally I managed to work it out and I think it is the right way to knit the bunny's heel. I'm gonna practise that with the next bunnies.
The rabbit's face was another "critical" knitting moment as the face requires the very same type of knit-and- purl bit of fabric and it needs to be knitted into bunny's face, giving it a characteristic bunny type nose. 
The second moment I struggled with was how to join two legs and knit the corpus but it turned out that you just put four dpn needles together just as you always do when you knit in rounds and simply knit two legs together with the bind-off sides facing each other and then you stitch them up. The 3rd moment I struggled with was embroidering bunny's eyes. I unpicked the stitches 3 times before I managed to get them look acceptable. I followed the instructions from the book which basically said: knit the head, fill it up with stuffing then embroider the facial features. Ha! The problem here will is: how to embroider the bunny's face without the knotting the yarn on the opposite side. Next time I'm going to stitch the eyes while the head is not fully knitted and bound off. 


Generally I'm pleased with my 1st bunny. The colors of yarns are random. I never care much for the colours I use when I make my first model. They are mostly any scraps of yarn. I'm more focused on reading and understanding the pattern. 


I stuffed the rabbit with the cotton wool. It's very light and it feels nice to hold the bunny in hand. It would make a nice teddy toy for a child.


The pompom at the bunny's butt.



My bf adopted the bunny. Now he's driving around with it on his dashboard. Sorta a campervan mascot now ... and a dust wiper :)



And in the meantime a mint green cousin rabbit is dangling half way through off my needles :) Still using an acrylic yarn but the stitches are smoother and more even. The heels look nicer too.


I stuff and sew up the bunny as I go. It is knitted in pieces which are connected with each other at some point. In the end the whole bunny is dangling off your needles.


And this is what the bunnies look like in the book:



Don't they all look fab on that shelf? :)


edit: I shared my knitted bunny on the Arne & Carlos' facebook fanpage and they liked it!!! ;) 


Monday, 14 April 2014

Vipe of Dalegarn

Have I mentioned before that I am a yarn snob loving quality yarns and knitting tools? Oh yes, I have! And here is the proof: not so long ago I placed an order with kidsknits.com in the USA and received this gorgeous mercerized cotton yarn from Dalegarn - Vipe. It came from so afar, all the way from America and it was even custom charged. Sadly, so far this Norwegian yarn is not available in the UK but I do hope it will change one day. First time I've had this type of Norwegian yarn and since it's quite costly, I just ordered a few colours required for the project. 


Additionally, I also ordered two colours of Lerke (also from Dalegarn, it's a cotton and merino blend yarn) which can't be obtained in the UK. I love knitting with Lerke. It's super soft, warm, cosy and it comes in nice array of colours. Last year I used it to knit my Scandianvian eggs - a project by Arne and Carlos.


And now Vipe by itself - gorgeous shades, luscious, soft and pleasant to the touch. I'm gonna use this yarn to make these knitted pouches featured in Arne & Carlos book - Knit and crochet Garden


This deep purple shade has been my favourite for years. I used to wear lots of clothes in these shades.


At the close-up, Vipe reminds me of a satin cotton thread - soft and silky with a slight shine. I hope it knits well. Can't wait to start working on these pouches. As soon as I'm done with my Easter projects, I'm going to move onto these. 


And speaking of Arne and Carlos - a Norwegian-Swedish kitting duo - I've already preordered their next book on Amazon. The English edition is going to be released in September 2014. Roll on autumn! Can't wait!


Hope you all have had a good weekend. x

Friday, 11 April 2014

Sewing bits and bobs get organized

Crafty hoarder by nature as I am, I love all sorts of tins, boxes and cases for my crafty stuff. A recent visit to a craft shop in the Daleside garden centre resulted in purchasing this lovely set of 3 metal tins :)


I just love the rose pattern on them. So feminine, so romantic, so ...Tilda or Cath Kidston ;) The labels on them are a nice feature too. They will go nicely with my Cath Kidston mug :)


It's high time to embrace that chaos I've had in my sewing stuff. The turquoise metal tin with roses does not belong to the set. I've had it for a year now, from Aldi ;) It nicely agrees with the overall rose theme


The sewing threads scattered around in various random jars and containers have all been moved into the biggest tin and already filled it up up to the brim.


The oddments of cotton threads I use for cross stitching ended up in the middle-sized box and the pins will live in the smallest pin tin.


From my past magazine subscriptions I've had these two twin wooden boxes :) Tidied them up as well.


One will hold all sorts of needles - sewing needles, tapestry/cross stitching needles, beading needles, crewelwork needles, name it all. Now it's my challenge to remember which box contains which needle type! Usually after a tidy-up, I don't remember where my things are! LOL 


Undoubtedly, I have a weak spot for the cute little tins for bits and bobs :)


The long doll making needles won't fit any any of my needle tins so they will be stored in the box compartments. Although I have never sewn a doll in my life, I came to find them so useful when I was knitting the "julekuler" balls. They will go right through the knitted ball carrying the yarn to make a hanging loop. Fast and easy and so convenient.


In my second box I arranged all my measuring tapes and row counters and some strings :)


All this tidying up and rearranging things in my boxes reminds me of my childhood. As a child I loved to rummage in my mum's two-tier wooden sewing box. It was always full of interesting objects like shiny buttons, round pearl beads, crochet hooks and sparkly embroidery threads. Actually my mum owns this box until today. The only difference is that some of thosebox items, with mum's permission of course, relocated to my boxes :) Like mother, like daughter.

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Woop, woop! Just started my 2 week Easter break and I'm planning 15 blissful days of crafing. Will keep you updated :) Hope you all have a good weekend x

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Montse Stanley "Knitter's Handbook" - book review

A good source of information is always valued and appreciated. When I knit or crochet I often use some of my handbooks to guide me through the new techniques or to help me solve a problem. When I had finished my first crochet star garland I needed some decent information on blocking. Very few books offer professional knowledge on this topic except for this one - Montse Stanley Knitter's Handbook.


I came across this book in a local library. Borrowed it and had a good look at home. I was amazed at the vast and thorough content of this book. I knew I would be buying one for myself soon. To me Knitter's Handbook like one of those oldie-worldie books that apart from a load of nice photos it has actually got SOME CONTENT in it. I bought my copy on Ebay. To be honest, it wasn't so easy to find it and it looks like this book is slowly disappearing from the bookstores. I don't think the publishers are making it anymore actually. So if you would like one for yourself, hurry up, you still stand a chance of finding one. Mine is a new book but the edition is from 1993.
Here is the content of the book:


The chapter on blocking your knitted garments is very extensive and offers a good explanation how to do it. I was very pleased to read about it.


The book itself shows as many as 18 different methods of casting on! Who would have known?!


The pictures are detailed and clear. The two coloured way of showing techniques makes it easy to understand and it also helps visually.


There are also coloured photos interleaved with the chapters. They mostly present some ready made pieces of garment. Perhaps you could tell the fashion presented in the book isn't from the latest catwalks but does it really matter? The knitting techniques don't change over time.



I am really pleased with this book and from now on I reach for it each time I need some advice. I can highly recommend it to any demanding and advanced knitter.

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In the meantime here is my little yarn shopping :) In Dunelm Mill one day I came across these variegated yarns. The little yarn bowl is a mixutre of cotton and acrylic (I love working with cotton yarns) and the big ball of yarn is acrylic only. I love the gradual shading on both. Perfect spring colours!


The other Sunday my bf has kindly presented me with this yarn supply from Aldi :) I went for lots of yellow and a mint green shade :) This yellow shade makes one think of Easter chicks, don't you think?


The yarns are all acrylic. Good for practicing on new projects :)


I have also knitted another egg for my Easter decoration :) One by one in my free time...


The "egg shells" will be filled up with stuffing later on :)


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Do you perhaps remember my post about buying a new set of KnitPro needles? Well, my blog post about the Knitpro needles has been spotted by someone who is a Knitpro producer or perhaps a Knitpro seller and they tweeted their thank-you to me on Twitter :) How nice! :)



Isn't it amazing how all things are these days linked together on the internet? We definitely live in a global village. Hope you're having a good weekend :)