Sunday, 29 January 2012

Year of Projects Week 29

Not a huge amount of progress again this week. But I did finish one quick gratification WIP:

Ok, it's very silly! I started this just after I got my sewing machine, as a project to learn how to use it. The fabric is beautiful. It's the left over scraps of an Egyptian blue silk which my Granny bought when I was little to make me a dress. It's also incredibly hard to photograph effectively!
The front and back. The light blue edging is a little bit of gingham ribbon and it's fastened at the back with velco. This was my own patten design, and I need to realise that no matter how much seam allowance I think I'm leaving, I always need to leave more! I gathered the skirt at the waistline simply by pinning it in place before sewing it, which took a bit of time. The only things that are wrong with it are the seaming around the arm holes, especially under the arms and a little bit of the neckline seaming. Oh, and the bow isn't symmetrical.

But I can live with that, and overall, I'm pretty pleased with it.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Rise to the Challenge - Yarn Part 2

My newly spun and dyed yarn has now dried so I can show you the colour of it
But this isn't enough to make anything, which is part of my plan for this challenge. But I had 50g of British Blue Faced Leicester and Merino Roving left to spin as well as 35g of Handcarded Merino and British Shetland Batt. The roving looked like this:
And became this single
Whilst the batt was like this:
And became this:
This was the first thing that I had to split myself before drafting,  which was pretty fun. It came as a big sheet. I decided to ply them together to make yarn like this:
I love this, and I think it will go really well with the pink! Plus I still have some of the purple single left, which I will ply together soon to make a little bit of plain purple yarn. this time I have 68 yards and I can really see my spinning improving. The purple is pretty uniform throughtout the lengths of the single, which is good.

Friday, 27 January 2012

FO Friday - TBD

I know that you have heard of an LBD, but have you heard of a TBD? That's a Tiny Black Dress. I have one, and I never dare to wear it.
Yes, that tiny bit of black fabric is apparently a dress. Anyway, I decided that in order to wear it, it needed something to make it look less revealing. I decided the easiest thing to do would be to add some decorative straps, so that at least I wouldn't have both boobs and legs on show.

What do you think? Less revealing and more acceptable?

For more FOs (probably more creative than mine) check out Tamis Amis

Rise to the Challenge - Dying

After finishing my first handspun and letting it dry, the next challenge was to dye it.

So today we started with:
Thanks to the wonderful Debbie over at Hue and Dye I took myself off to Hobbycraft and bought some Wilson's food colouring (complete with warning label stating that it might make some children hyperactive, that's how you know it's chemical enough to dye yarn!) with a quick detour via the supermarket to pick up white vinegar.

My yarn in a pan on the stove, after it had just gone into the dye. It was very weird to be cooking yarn, I must say! The transformation was miraculous!
I did not realise that the water/vinegar mixture would be left completely clear at the end of dying the yarn, and the cooking part only took about 30 mins. I washed up whilst it was cooking so I could keep an eye on it, and it was finished at exactly the same time I was.

The finished product hanging up to dry. I'm sorry about the poor quality of the pictures, but my bathroom has no natural light, and as much as I wanted pictures on the blog, I wasn't having yarn dripping all over the living room or bedroom. This is a close up so you can get a better idea of the colour, though it's really more pink than this.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Rise to the Challenge - Yarn

Well, I've had a productive couple of days. First we took this:
North Ronaldsay Roving (apparently a rare breed from the Orkney Islands in Scotland)

Then we had a single:
Then 2 singles:
And finally we had yarn!

In fact, we had two separate lengths of yarn.... As the first single was so much thicker than the second, I ran out of it first, so I plied together the two ends of the remaining single to make a bit more yarn.
This is the first skein of yarn. As you can see, it's a bit thick and thin, but that's normal for a first handspun right? (Now you're all going to tell me your first handspun was spun from gold silk thread and went to make a hat for the queen it was so perfect, aren't you?)
 And the second skein (a bit smaller):
But much more even!
In total, I have about 36.5 yards of yarn, and I have no idea of what weight. I'll try figure out an average weight when it's dried.

I have to say, I would highly recommend this learn to spin kit. It's from Hilltop Cloud on etsy, and it's really good. The roving is apparently great for beginners as it has such a short staple, and drafts really easily, and though I can't actually comment on this claim as I've only spun one thing, I did find it a lot easier than I thought I would! I had no problems drafting at all, which seems to be what most new spinners get stuck on, and there were clear instructions on what to do, with a link to videos on the seller's website (though I didn't really need them, though I did check them to make sure I was doing it right). Plus, the fibre is gorgeously squishy, and I love the fact that you get some plain North Ronaldsay roving to begin on, and then some Hand blended British Blue Faced Leicester and Merino Roving and some Handcarded Merino and British Shetland Batt in your choice of colours. It means you get to try different fibres and different ways of buying fibre all in one kit, as well as having a bit of colour in your yarns. You get a lot for a very inexpensive kit, and what you get is very good.

And now, I'm off to research dying yarn with food colouring (and maybe a bit more spinning) since browny grey is such a boring colour!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Year of Projects Week 23 while 28

So the title of this post is a bit of a lie, as I did no work on my year of projects in weeks 23-27, but never mind.

I haven't done much this week, but I did get out all my WIPs to examine and take stock
Rainy Cloud: Top left. Not even thought about doing the rainy drops, but it's in here for completeness

Central Park Hoodie: In the middle. It's got the back and half a side finished, and I think I can pick this one up and finish it soon. It has left the yarn box to take up residence in a bag by the sofa, so it's easy to pick up again

Make-up Socks: Bottom left. I have no mojo to make these, as this is the third time I've knitting this bit. They're in time out for a while

Warhammer Scarf: Top right. Did some more on this last night. It's now 2 foot 8 inches long, but as I think it's going to need to be 7 foot, and I'm already over half way through the yarn I bought, I'm going to need more. No idea how to match the dye lots, so I may well be Ravelry stash searching

Embroidery: Bottom right. This is going to take a very long time to do, and I'll keep picking it up occasionally.

Tatty Teddy Bookmark: Needs about an hours backstitching and then finishing off, but all the backstitch is grey, so I pick it up and get bored in 5 minutes. One day soon I'm going to sit down and finish it!

I did get something done on my list though! I finally frogged my scarf.
The stages of frogging. I'm sure most people will have done this before, but it's the first time I've frogged something, and it excited me. I have 3 large skeins and 3 small skeins from 3 balls, as each ball had a knot in it. I've also soaked in it hair conditioner, as I was told that might soften it up a bit, and it's currently hanging in my shower. Hope the kinks come out a bit...

I really like the little pile of curly wool on the floor from before I reskeined it, it looked really pretty with the variegated colours.

I just need to decide what it's going to become now. I definitely want to make a scarf, and I thought about doing another double knit one. If I do that, I'll be using black as a contrast yarn, to tone down the bright pink and purple. I was tempted by Hönkä but then Pi Digits caught my eye. I also like Celtic Knots, but I would do it as a straight scarf. Any suggestions for scarves? Not necessarily double knitting ones.

I also spent today cataloguing my stash, needles and books. It was a mammoth job! 
In vague terms, acrylics top left, baby yarn bottom left, sock wool bottom right and everything else top right. This is just the stuff that isn't attached to WIPs! I know for some people it's not a lot, but for me it's a lot. Ravelry tells me it's 11046.7m. I have 11 KILOMETRES of yarn!

Also, anybody want any odd needles? I found 13 while logging the ones that used to be my Grans and Great-Gran's.

Oh and I realised my Yorkshireisms are coming out. For anyone who doesn't get the title "while" means "to" as in "working 9 while 5."

Friday, 20 January 2012

FO Friday - The biggest project of my life

Not a craft project this week, but a project I'm very proud of! I handed in my dissertation!!!

When I say it was the biggest project of my life, I mean it. It was 15,000 words in the body of the text, 22,000 with abstract, appendices, and references added, 90 pages, 3 months of my life in a lab, and 5 months of writing at most available opportunities. Oh and 36 hours without sleep to get it finished despite all that.

But it's in! It's so weird not having to worry about it any more (though I've already found one mistake when I was emailing it to my supervisor...

Just the viva to go now!

I was going to take a picture off the dissertation before I handed it in, but I had to run to get it in on time, so instead, here're some picture that I took during the course of the project

Those are blood vessels in the chorionic villi of the placenta, and they're glowing green because they contain the molecule I was looking for. Pretty cool huh?

I cast on for the first knitting project I've done in weeks last night, and it's so great to get back to it. And now to go clean the house, which hasn't been cleaned or tidied for a week, and catch up on the blogs I've missed

I figure this is an FO, so I'm going to link it to FO Friday over at Tami's Amis

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Squee Sunday

I have a very silly squee today. I was idly surfing Ravelry when I decided to check out how many downloads my patterns have had. It turns out that someone has actually made my Pug Dog Washcloth!

This is the first time someone's made anything of mine, and I don't know what the etiquette is, but I was so excited that I dragged the boy through to see the picture. Not sure he really got it...

Does this make me an official designer now?

For more squees, check out Rip it Good.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Lesson Learnt

Yesterday afternoon I got this yarn package in the mail. I know this is breaking my resolution, but it's for a gift, and I don't have a big enough stash to knit gifts from (or at least gifts the recipient will actually like, which strangely enough I think is important).

It's gorgeous. Squishy, soft and perfect in every way, except for one thing. It is most definitely not blue...
That will teach me for buying yarn online in bed, when the room is dark and I've not had coffee yet. Looks like my Mum is getting a purple hat for her birthday.

Going off to order some blue yarn now...

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Out with the old and in with the new

I wasn't planning to do a round up of 2011, because to be honest I'm really glad to see the back of it! There were some rubbish bits about the year, but crafting wasn't one of them. After seeing so many collages and round ups on blogs, I decided to do my own, and to be honest, I was shocked at how much I got done this year!

My knitting FOs, according to Ravelry, this is 25 projects (and yes, I did count them twice).

My sewing FOs. There are 15 of these (although I am counting Noel, the Raccoon I made on Christmas '10, as he's very cute and hasn't featured on this blog yet). I think that's a pretty impressive collection, though I do say so myself. I had no idea I'd made so much this year.

So aims for 2012, which I'm sure will be a good year. I'm loving it so far anyway
  1. Finish my dissertation
    This is more of a necessity, as it's due in January 19th, so you probably won't see me around the knitting blogosphere for a while

  2. Lose weight
    I've been using for a couple of months now, and I lost 11 pounds, but have gained some back over christmas. I've been putting £2 into a tub marked Emma for every pound I lose, and £2 into a tub marked Connor for every pound I gain.

    As you can see, there's a lot more in my tub than the boy's.

  3. Go to the gym 3 times a week
    Really this is part of 2, but I enjoy going to the gym. Why don't I go more often?

  4. Knit an adult sized garment
    I have one half finished jumper and 2 more garments on my Year of Projects List. I can do this

  5. No buying yarn
    I don't need any, and if I get much more, I will have nowhere to store it. (Sock yarn doesn't count, it comes in small singular skeins...)

  6. Learn to spin
    I have the kit, I have the challenge, let's do it!

  7. Write more blog posts
    I love writing, and I want to get better at it, and I want to learn to take better pictures. This blog helps me do that. And of course, I love all you wonderful people who read it. The knitting/crocheting (and other crafting) community is amazing and (warning, slushy geeky picture here)