Wednesday, 19 March 2008

'To make or not to make'

Have been hunting through my photo files and found another project I completed for christmas. As it was for a present, I'd actually forgotten all about it! This was one of those presents you really want to keep for yourself but know you can', you really can't....

My friend is really into crochet and I had spied the bamboo hooks last summer with intentions of a christmas gift. But, the making of the roll was planned, and planned, and planned.... and all of a sudden it was christmas with everything else to make and send, and the rush was on.

One of these days I will be more organised with my time....

What I find every occasion I have to think about presents is 'to make or not to make' It's that old chestnut - will they appreciate a hand crafted gift or have that long suffering 'look' of 'what'll I do with this, then?' I think and weigh up this conundrum every year - especially at christmas. It would be quicker and cheaper - and less last-minute-rush-to-finish - to just buy presents.

So are we all so vulnerable then? If we like and appreciate what we have made then who cares what others think?
It depends on the type of friends and family you have I suppose but I find that it's better if I don't 'see' people receiving their presents. I do try to mix a made gift and a bought gift - just in case!
Ah, the fragile ego of creative people.........

At least I know my sister will appreciate anything made! Her purple beret is finished but as the yarn was so thick, the overall number of stitches was smaller so the lovely linen stitch band around the bottom is a bit on the tight side. I had planned it on the small side - but not that small!! So, I might be unravelling the band .....
I think actually getting some aran weight yarn is probably the best solution really.
On the good side, I'm beginning to know the pattern off by heart now!

But I have still got time to play as I actually started early on this project and have time to spare! So I must keep on track as our Easter holidays have now started and they have a way of flying by - just when you don't want them to!

But now I'm off to bed,
good night!


Saturday, 15 March 2008

Knit, knit, knit....and a little bit of felt......and a tiny bit of weave......

I'm back!! You think you'll be away for just a little bit and before you know it 4 or 5 months have gone by. Where did it go? What have I been doing?

Well, not a lot of creating, I'm afraid. Saying that I do remember a spell of making 13 aprons and baking lots of cookies around about christmas time, a pair of crocheted slippers for a birthday girl, arranging and rearranging my 'new' work space.......

But now, a few things I have been toying with.

This felted piece is primarily merino fleece with some shetland thrown in the background, some wensleydale curly bits and some white silk cobweb layering on the top. I would have liked to stitch on top but I was in a hurry to make this card for mother's day. To be honest, I feel it might have been overkill anyway, but I do intend to experiment further when I get a break over the Easter holidays. I'd forgotten how much fun felting can be - roll on Easter holidays!

Have also been busy knitting again. After having a spate of crochet, it is a pleasure to get back to knitting. After seeing the new beret 'Verity' on Ysolda's site, I decided this was the challenge that would get me back into knitting. And I have really enjoyed it! A perfect opportunity to watch favourite films and savour the time relaxing doing something you can fully enjoy. I must admit feeling guilty for actually sitting down so long though.....

Anyway, what you want to see - pictures! The light was very poor and the magenta yarn tended towards red when photographed, ah well.

The pattern did say to use Aran/worsted weight yarn but all I had to hand was double knitting and I was too impatient to have a major hunt before I could start. So I knitted the biggest size to cater for the reduction the DK would cause and it pretty much worked. The only difference is it's slightly softer and has a less crisp, defined look to it than the picture on the pattern.

I know I don't have much Aran weight up in the loft so I'm trying again knitting two DK strands together. I know, this could turn out to be so rigid that it could stand up on its own, but as I am thinking this could be my sister's birthday pressie and it's still very cold in the north of Scotland, maybe a good solid wool beret is just the thing.
Look away now Gwen!

Results so far....

I've made the bowl of the hat and just need to knit the band at the front. It's in linen stitch - good for a strong, non stretchy band - but a little bit more time consuming! Had to stop watching the TV for this bit as I kept losing my place!!

A close-up of the lovely leaf shape the YO and Slip stitches create.

A very clever pattern that looks lovely and is a joy to knit. The new cable one that Ysolda is presently knitting looks good too.

I'll also be moving my large dobby loom over easter to a new home - from a collapsed pile in the shed to being actually put to gether again. When I moved, I had to give up my workshop and it's quite difficult to just 'store' a large industrial loom! So I might find myself getting side tracked into 16 shaft jacquard patterns sometime around april/may!

Some pics of the loom before....

(When I mean big, it is about 9ft high and at least 2 metres square without the pedal - which is about 9ft in length as well. Yes, I am mixing my metaphoric measurements!)

John up the ladder trying to bolt everything in place...

The dobby mechanism perched on the top - very heavy.

detail of the fly shuttle

Of course, it has only been about 15 years or so since I last used one of these things, so I'm hoping it's like riding a bike......

Off to swot up on weaving - could be a while...... ( not another 5 months though!!)



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