Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Burnt Ochre Capelet - Design W419

There's a bit of a new thing going around called "exploded lace", where you take an old fashioned doily pattern and instead of crocheting it in fine cotton using a tiny crochet hook, you use a slightly chunky yarn and big crochet hook and "explode" the lace.  This is made using that technique with the pattern modified, to remove what would have been the centre of the doily, to make way for your head to fit through.

I'm using Colinette Skye, a discontinued yarn, in shade Burnt Ochre and its an Aran weight 100% wool.  I started on 15th December and was finished by 18th December 2011.

I love how this has turned out.  I wasn't sure what beads to add to the fringing but I'd been given a bag full of old costume jewellery and beaded necklaces that used to belong to my late gran and late mother, mostly broken or seen better days and many were just plastic but there were some nice made of glass beads that could be repurposed.  I had taken these apart and cleaned all the beads and in amongst them were these foil lined amber glass beads.

After blocking I popped it over one of our black cushions to see the effect if was worn with a LBT.  Stunning!

Friday, 30 September 2011

In a Spin?

After my first attempt at using a drop-whorl spindle to make my own yarn, I decided that I wanted to learn to spin on a wheel, so I bought one.  This is my spinning wheel, it is a space saving Double Treadle Ashford Joy.

I support The Campaign For Wool and during National Wool Week I was lucky enough to receive a sample pack of fibres from The British Wool Marketing Board.  I spun two of the samples individually, the first time I have ever used a spinning wheel and then plied them together, again a first for me.  Here is the 100% pure wool yarn that I made.  It is 35 grams and has 45 metres.

 ...and the close up
Not bad for a first attempt!

I made a pair of crochet baby converse with the handspun wool and some aran weight white acrylic yarn.  I added some non-slip liquid to the soles.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Silver Crochet Motif Shawl - Design S443

Following my enjoyment of making the aqua crochet motif shawl I decided that I would make another in silver grey and take the project with me on holiday to work on during the travelling and on the evenings when the children were in bed.  Because of our holiday, this is the reason why the fringing on the aqua shawl was left until I returned from our holiday.  I started this on 27th May and finished it 4th June 2011.

This time around I joined the motifs to each other using crochet stitches as I completed the final round of each motif.

I especially love the way that the shaping of this shawl allows the direct centre of the shawl to be at the nape of the neck whilst the two large motifs on either side shape beautifully around the side of the neck.

Aqua Crochet Motif Fringed Shawl - Design S443

I had bought some cones of 3 ply crepe yarn, one in silver and 4 in different shades/tones of blue.  I found a pattern that I liked in an old and rather hard-to-find shawl pattern booklet.  I started making this shawl on 15th May 2011 using aqua blue crepe yarn.  The design calls for 10 of the large 8" circular motifs and 6 of the smaller 3.5" square motifs.  Pattern calls for the motifs to be joined together by sewing, my favourite part of the job, not!  As there were no clear photographic instructions for this I decided to follow the pattern to the T  this time and sew all the motifs together as instructed.  Ha, now I see how they are joined next time I will join as I crochet the final round of the motifs.

The finished shawl appeared quite small (see the bottom far right photo above).  I decided that I would soak and block it now, before adding on the edging and fringing, to make sure that it is large enough and if its not then I can add an extra row of motifs.  The lace did open up enough to not need any extra motifs and so I added the edging and the fringing.

This is a stunning shawl and very different too and so I will make another one.  All finished bar the fringing on 24th May 2011.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

I bought a drop-whorl spinning kit

I've always wanted to learn to spin my own yarn so I took the plunge and bought a beginners drop-whorl spinning kit from someone on Etsy.  The kit contained a small amount of spinning fibre and a drop-whorl spindle.

I had a bit of trouble understanding what to do but I think I got there in the end.  My shoulders really ache though with holding the fibre and spindle high enough for it to work for me.  Maybe I was doing it a little bit wrong but we all have to start somewhere and I did enjoy it.

I managed to spin a worsted-weight yarn, weighing 42 grams and measuring 78 metres.

I made a knitted headband with my yarn.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Beaded Moss Green Shawl - Design LF106

I bought a few lots of hand-spun lace weight wool off a lady on Ebay whose late grandmother was a crofter in the Scottish Highlands and it is she who spun this yarn.  This particular yarn was spun and dyed in 1953.  Its pure Shetland Wool and I would take a guess by the colour that it has been dyed with natural plant dyes that can be made from lichens, twigs, leaves, berries, vegetables etc.

I have chosen an old Danish/Finnish lace pattern and bought some beads that work well with the colour of the yarn.

I started knitting this shawl on 20th October but was only able to work on this occasionally and for no more than about 2 hours a day.  I added beaded to some parts of the design, which added much needed weight to the shawl as well as highlighting some of the design.  I finally finished making this shawl on 16th March 2011 and there are 3700 size 8 Toho beads in colour 1209 marbled opaque avocado pink on the shawl, with each bead being added to the stitches individually so that they do not move.

It grew during the soaking and blocking process.  It was approx 25 inch deep x 50 inch across and grew to 31 inch deep and 61 inch across.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Lace Wedding Shawls: Part 1 - Triangulars

I love knitting lace shawls, they provide a challenge of concentration, take many many hours of work, can be adorned with beads, or not.  They do require a special finishing technique called "blocking", which is a major task in itself, but the end result is absolutely stunning.

There are thousands upon thousands of patterns available for lace shawls, coming from various parts of the world including Shetland Lace, Estonian Lace, Orenburg Lace, Faroese Lace, Icelandic Lace and many more.  Many designs are very similar to each other with only very slight differences, whilst others are quite unusual. 

They also come in different shapes and sizes to suit the individual needs of the wearer and to compliment different shapes or design features of the wearers wedding dress, ball gown or other outfit.  Colour is a matter of preference but even for a wedding, one does not have to stick with the traditional white or ivory.

In the UK, lace shawls are rarely worn whilst in the US and other countries they seem to be quite popular.  This could be due to the climate but lace shawls are surprisingly warm considering how thin they are and I am on a mission to promote lace shawls to brides here in the UK.

This week I have chosen to feature shawls that are triangular in shape and with the aid of some lovely talented ladies on Ravelry I can show you some of the designs available and how they can look being worn with wedding dresses.

All photos are protected by copyright and this is noted under each photograph.

(c) rooknits
(c) rooknits

Rooknits, AKA Ruth from Wolverhampton, UK made this herself from the pattern for the Aeolian Shawl designed by Elizabeth Freeman.

Ruth made it using a laceweight Silk/Merino blend yarn and she added some sparkly multi-faceted beads by Gutterman to the edging.

(c) clarabeasty

Clarabeasty, AKA Vicki from Ottawa, Canada made the Gail (aka Nightsongs) Shawl designed by Jane Araujo for her friend Liz, who had specific ideas about her shawl.

Liz wanted a shawl in fall/autumn colours and chose this particular pattern as it reminded her of leaves. Vicki knitted this using a handpainted laceweight 100% Alpaca yarn.

(c) clarabeasty

Vicki commented "A piece of lace doesn’t have to be part of the ‘big outfit’, it can just be a bit of fancy to toss over your shoulders while you’re running through the chill, rain, or snow from the church to the car or to wear in the cooler evening."

(c) AKM

AKM, aka Audrey from North Dakota, USA made the beautiful Haruni Shawl designed by Emily Ross from 100% Alpaca laceweight yarn for her sister's wedding.

(c) Midorian

Midorian, AKA Vera from Bern, Switzerland made the Luna Moth Shawl designed by Shui Kuen Kozinski for her sisters wedding.

Vera used a laceweight yarn that was 67% Mohair, 18% Silk, 10% Polyester, 5% Nylon and added sparkly beads to each point along the edge.

(c) Zibor

Zibor, AKA Robin from Rhode Island, made the Swallowtail Shawl designed by Evelyn A. Clark for her own wedding.

(c) Zibor

Robin used a 100% Alpaca laceweight yarn and added 1,208 4mm Swarovski bicone clear crystal beads.

I would like to thank all of the ladies who helped to make this blog possible by allowing me to use their photographs and I think that you will agree that all the brides featured look truly stunning.  Further blog posts featuring wedding shawls are to follow over the coming weeks.  Please remember that the photographs on this blog are protected by copyright law and may not be used without the permission of the copyright holder.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Folksy Friday 18/2/2011 - Pack a Poncho!

In warmer weather I often wear a poncho which I made several years ago when I was expecting my first child, they are great to wear during pregnancy to keep warm.

Ponchos were originally created by the ancient people of the Andes and designed to be worn as an outer garment to keep warm and if made from waterproof material can also keep you dry.

They come in all sorts of colours and patterns and are worn all over the world.

They can be made from all kinds of fabrics but are mostly made from wool and are either woven, knitted or crocheted.

Here is a photo of my poncho which I have been wearing over the past 7 and a bit years.  It is made from a cream coloured sparkly aran yarn with a central cable back and front with the rest being made from moss/seed stitch.

Here are some wonderful ponchos that are made by other Folksy sellers.

Nithria Crochet Candyfloss
Poppy Seeds MrsGKnits
CraftsgardenFashion Couture

Green Dragon Poncho by Nithria Crochet
Shades of Grey Poncho by Candyfloss
Crocheted Mini Poncho with Loop Flowers by Poppy Seeds
Big Purple Softie Kid's Poncho OOAK by MrsGKnits
Plus Size Poncho in Warm Orange and Brown by Craftsgarden
Grey Red Black Plaid Twill Poncho by Fashion Couture

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Folksy Friday - All Shawls

I love shawls.  I think they give an air of romance regardless of the style of shawl that is being worn.  In Victorian England in the mid 1800's sheer lace shawls would be worn with crinoline evening gowns and opera-length gloves.

They come in a variety of shapes and styles and can be very lightweight with an open texture like lace or they can be heavier with a more solid texture.

Shawls are used for symbolic reaons, to compliment an outfit or to keep warm at outdoor or indoor evening affairs where the temperature is warm enough for men in suits but not for women in dresses and where a jacket may be inappropriate.

I will be writing more blog posts about shawls in the coming weeks but here a some I made earlier.

Here are some shawl related items that are made by other Folksy sellers.

Purple Sheep Knits Pooji
WinterComforts Silky Prudence
The Knitting Yarn

Pendeen Shawl by Purple Sheep Knits
2 Ply Shetland Baby Shawl by Pooji
Handmade Lavender Woollen Lace Shawl by WinterComforts
Love Knot Shawl - Peony by Silky Prudence
Baby's 4ply White Heirloom Shawl by The Knitting Yarn