Monday, 25 October 2010

Little red swing jacket

A little finished piece of Christmas knitting for you - yes, I have one piece crossed of the list:) Okay, it's only little baby size but it makes me feel I am one step nearer getting there:) Also in chunky it knits up nice and quick! The pattern is the Baby tiered swing jacket/cardigan by Lisa Chemery - ravelry link was all I could find. It's quite a versitile pattern as you can knit 0-3 mths, 3-6mths, and 12-18mths with the option of a cardigan or jacket version. I personally wanted the jacket which is just a tier longer than the cardi as I thought it visually balanced better as well as being all the more snuggly for wintertime.

This is a nice quick knit too as it's knitted top down so there are no seams to worry about. One thing I would suggest if you are thinking of knitting this,  is to read the pattern through first as although the instructions make sense, they aren't placed in a logical knitting order on the first page. Yes, you need to remember the buttonholes throughout but do the neck increases first, then think about where the first buttonhole should be:)) Otherwise, there is a lot of ripping back when you realise what you've done! (Treat the buttonhole section in BIG brackets and go straight underneath for the increase row).

It is a lovely pattern though and I really enjoyed knitting it. The way it swings is lovely! And I thought the little ladybird buttons worked really well - not too contrasty but enough detail to make them be noticed up close. Shame this is just on the small side for me:)) Although I haven't forgotten my dream of knitting a red version of Sylvi.

pic by Sadie Dayton on Ravelry
But I'm waiting on finding the right amount of yarn at the right price first as that will be a mammoth knit but oh, so worth it! I wonder if Sylvi is a top down knit..... imagine how heavy that would get on circulars!! Ouch! I can feel the weight:) By the looks of the picture, there are definite seams and I'd imagine the flower pattern is charted from the bottom up. Probably more manageable that way anyway. But, that will have to wait till the rest of the christmas list has progressed somewhat. Still, one down:)) Welcome little red swing coat, I'm sure you will be appreciated by one happy, bubbly niece. But shhhhh, it's a surprise!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Sun and shadow

Hurrah! The sunburst vessel is finished - only it isn't quite a vessel any more! I've been crocheting away like mad this week to get this finished, confidently happy with my idea of a lovely wide, platter shaped vessel, and watching it slowly emerge. When I thought of these organic shapes, I realised I would need a simple form that would show them off to their best advantage so the previous bowl shapes were dropped quickly, and a shallow, broad expanse of curly swirly happiness sounded just the thing!

Putting them all together on the flat - ahhh:)) Now that is nice and bright, and yummily swirly. Kind of looks like very ornate script lettering in places..... But what about into the vessel shape??

Looking good I thought. Took a bit of time to get things placed just the way that looked best but I got there in the end and packed up another evening to get some shuteye. I had a niggling feeling I still wasn't showing this off to its best advantage but decided to sleep on it and hope for a fresh perspective in the morning. Luckily for me I didn't have to wait quite so long! You know how sometimes when you are very tired, your conscious mind has pretty much switched off and you're working on automatic pilot? Yup? Well, I was switching everything off for the night (including me) and heading up the stairs, passing the bowl dimly lit by the stair light, and it hit me. What if it wasn't a bowl?

I have been so locked into thinking 'vessel' that I had missed the obvious - a FLAT piece. Oh, the irony:)) Having a lightbulb moment when that fatigued doesn't do much to promote a restful night's sleep so I gave up and tried hanging it on the wall instead. Tah-da!

Oh, I like! Then I noticed the shadows it was creating....... ooooh! Off the wall it came and back up it went about a foot away, suspended quickly with some cotton from the ceiling. TAH-DA!!

Oh now, what would this be like as a ginormous circle? (Forgetting the fact that this has taken about two solid weeks to make and is only about 45cm/18" in diameter...) Looking at this impartially, the units are a bit too large in scale for the present diameter and would balance a lot better in a larger circle but I will have to have enough dyed yarn and patience to make such a big piece - as well as somewhere to hang it when its finished:))) But I'm thinking I'll have to have a go, somewhere in the near future. Until then, I'll reduce the motif size and stick to a more manageable scale - for now.....:)))

But on to the more practical aspects of the making. The wire is a total success. It bent so easily, maintained the shapes and as long as the spaces between didn't get too large, held together well. The units were stitched together as invisibly as I could make them and I tried to make sure there were enough joins for stability, without compromising the flow of the pattern too much.

The crocheted units have two distinct sides as well. There is the 'right' side which looks nice and smooth and the back which has more visual texture due to the form of the crocheted slip stitch. Again, I fully intended to have the right side facing out but when it was lit up for the photos, the reverse just came to life and it seemed really obvious that it should be the front. Happy surprises all round!

And lastly, the ends! Thank you everyone for all your very helpful and creative suggestions here, on flickr and on ravelry. I tried out a good few ideas but none seemed to gel well with these curly shapes. I eventually decided that any form of disguise was only drawing more attention where it wasn't wanted so I ended up exposing a bit of the lovely copper wire underneath and bending it into a small loop at each end. You can just see the loops in the close-up picture - little glints of copper (aaah, lovely!) - whilst practically helping to keep the stitches on the ends! It works for me till I can think of another solution.

So, it's all finished. I feel a little strange that this baby I've been working on has now been completed. It feels like I've been living with it constantly for so long that I don't want to start anything new quite yet. Maybe I need some quiet time to savour this little achievement and then get back into things tomorrow..... :)

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Optimistic October

Oh, the first fire of the Autumn. Today, it's very cool, the beautiful autumn sun of this morning has gone to be replaced by a light rain blowing through, spattering on the windows - brrr! The overcast clouds are making it feel later than it is too but soon it will be dark. Time for a hot drink and a snuggle up beside a warm fire I think - mmmm:) Makes me think maybe a lovely hot chocolate could be in order soon - I must get some marshmallows!

Only problem is, I haven't actually done much this afternoon as it's just so cosy and I don't feel like moving much. And the fire is hypnotising...... lulling me into a peaceful and quiet place. Most relaxing!

Lighting the fire has acted as a bit of a catalyst in other ways though. Suddenly it seems like I should be spinning, knitting warm cozy jumpers and making christmas presents  - as well as considering hibernating for winter:) I'm also thinking that if I actually count the weeks I have left to make said presents those faint stirrings of panic might blossom into something more significant - so I won't look too closely for now...... The fire has just been lit and I still have plenty time, don't I?

Maybe I should start making a list, just in case. This will be the idealistic list. The list that gets whittled down to the bare bones by December till it resembles something of more realistic proportions. Even though I do this every year, I just can't help being overly optimistic in October!!


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