Friday, December 18, 2009

God Bless!



Hello Friends! As the holiday season enfolds us, I wanted to take a moment to wish you the best of the season, and blessings on into the New Year and beyond!

Enjoy! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spring Cleaning As The Snow Gets Deeper!

Boy have I been busy, I'm in the middle of an enormous re-org and I'm making great progress too. Cupboards are cleared out and reorganized, furniture rearranged everything is getting a nice spiffing up...I have thrown away so much flotsam, I think the neighbors may be wondering about the volume of trash being toted out! It's a funny time of year to do my spring cleaning don't you think? Meanwhile the snow storm blows on for the third day now, today it really piled up! It feels good to get things tidy and organized, but I do miss my projects. I've made a tiny bit of progress on my angora scarf, and last night and tonight I did a some more spinning of the llama/mohair I will use to make a scarf for my nephew. He is leaving early January to go live in Ireland for a few months, lucky duck, and I want him to be cozy warm in the damp Irish winter/spring. I have three full bobbins, I think one more will do it. It felt nice to spin, boy do I love spinning. I hope your holiday projects are coming along nicely and that you are all safe and warm somewhere dreaming of sugar plums.

Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, December 4, 2009

Granny Squares!



It has been a supper busy couple of weeks!!! I fixed my first official Thanksgiving dinner for family at the same time I was clearing out and reorganizing! I did do a tiny bit of knitting on my angora lace scarf from last weeks post and I also started a granny square project with my Mum. She used to crochet like mad and I thought it might be nice if I could get her interested in crocheting again. The granny squares we're doing are comfortable size, only three rounds. I thought it would be something small she could do, then I will put them together. Well, the first square took quite some time for her to complete, but I think she really liked crocheting again. When we had a little stash of them built up, she was looking them all over and rearranging them into different designs. I'll be happy if I can get her interested in working with her hands once again!

Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, November 27, 2009

Purple Heart Throb, Party Lace Scarf



While I have not had as much time for knitting as I would have liked this past week, I did cast on for this beautiful lace scarf pattern, Party Lace Scarf. I love the beaded row at each end and I'm knitting it with the rest of my hand dyed/hand spun Purple Heart Throb Angora. Hopefully there will be more knitting time in the days to come...this is a busy time of year for everyone! Happy holidays!

Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, November 20, 2009

Columbine Elfdancer Wrap


Full view of the back, I really need to get one of those fun dressmakers forms for photographing my knitted garments.

I had the best time knitting this wrap. I got to use my favorite color combination's and delicious yarns from my stash of special yarns and my own hand spun!!! It all started earlier in the week when Jocerane (Jocelyne) one of my compatriots in the Jane Thornley knitters group on Ravelry, had the most brilliant idea! A Knit Your Fae KAL. She directed us to this fun site, Fairy Name Generator, where you type in your name and are then given your fairy name along with a description. The idea is to create a garment in keeping with the fairy description. I couldn't wait to get started! I used Jane Thornley's Feather n' Fan Organic Wrap pattern as my inspiration and I'm so glad I did, this pattern is addictive! I love Jane's patterns because she leaves plenty of room to weave your own artistic style into the design. I wanted to do something light and airy so I used mostly sock weight yarns, nearly all of my choices had silver metallic spun into the yarn. I also used some of my hand spun angora in lilac and robins egg along with some beautiful glittery ribbons.


Close up of the crocheted fringe of leaves and beads, if you look closely you can see the one acorn and oak leaf (far left) I added to the fringe.

My fairy is called Columbine Elfdancer
She is a cheerful sprite.
She lives in mushroom fields and quiet meadows.
She is only seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.
She wears lilac and purple like columbine flowers. She has delicate green wings like a cicada.

I absolutely love my fairy name, it gave me such fun inspiration in choosing my yarns for this project. The knit along is just beginning, so there is plenty of time to join in the knitting fun if you're interested.


Front of the wrap

The beautiful thing about this pattern is that the curvaceous ins and outs of the Feather n' Fan edge along with the knitted ties create the look of butterfly wings! I'm really pleased with the overall effect, I think it really captures the spirit of my fairy. I hope you'll be inspired to join the knit along, Thanks to Jocerane for inspiring us all in this fun creative project and to Jane Thornley for the awesome pattern!

Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mitered Squares



I have been watching so many of my friends working on the mitered square throws/blankets, I had planned to give it a try myself one day soon. When I saw this knitted collar, I knew it was the perfect project for me to venture into the world of mitered squares. The pattern is called the Chancellor's Collar, check it out, it knits up quite fast, I'm nearly done. I've used some of my own hand spun angora for the collar, I wish now that I had taken the angora all the way down to the large mitered row. I may end up re-knitting that section. Most of the squares are knitted with Noro silk garden lite, but with the small squares, I started mixing it up a bit. I've also incorporated Berroco Sox Metallic in a pink-purple blend and turquoise-sky blue-chartreuse-plum blend. Both sparkle with silver! I will have plenty left over for other projects...maybe I will have to start a mitered square blanket of my own. Goodness knows!

Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gigantic Frosty Christmas Stocking!



Wow, is this a big Christmas stocking! Santa will have plenty of room to pack in the goodies! I finished knitting it earlier in the week and here it's pictured being blocked on the ironing board. I used blocking wires to even out the difference between the fair isle sections and the regular stockinette sections.



Fun,fun, it's a great pattern, I added my own personal touches by using my angora hand spun for the cuff, adding bobbles and breaking up the color bands with more of a stripy pattern because I like to see how the colors play off one another. I still need to embroider the words naughty and nice on each side of the cuff. This is an ample stocking, it measures 27" long, by 5 1/2" wide. I think when I knit more, I may make the pattern a bit smaller by using only one of the fair isle designs, that would still make it over 20" long, a good length for a stocking, I think. I'm pleased with how it came out, I got to practice my fair isle technique and I loved knitting these colors. I got a tip after I had finished with the fair isle sections, that if you knit inside out, that gives a little extra length to the yarn being carried along the back of the work, so that when it's turned right side out there isn't so much pull on the knitted fabric from the tension of the carried yarn. I will definitely use that technique next time, because I did have areas that wanted to snug in a bit from the yarn tension. The New Ancestral Christmas Stocking was an easy, quick pattern, knit some up for your family, or for yourself, it's got plenty of room for sugar plums of all shapes and sizes!

Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, October 30, 2009

Frosty Christmas Stocking

Frosty Christmas Stocking



I've been working on this stocking for the last week, some friends and I are doing a knit along using the pattern from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside The Lines, called New Ancestral Christmas Stocking. We are all having so much fun with this project, everyone has their own take on yarn colors and the pattern is easy one to add your own personal touch...which everyone has chosen to do. I'll be sure to include a picture of all of them when we are finished. It's a creative group of knitters! The photo above shows my progress so far. Of course I had to figure out a way to incorporate bobbles! ( I think I may have even turned one of the other knitters into a bobble convert!) The cuff is knitted in some of my own hand dyed, hand spun angora, it's so super soft and fluffy,I think it's a nice complement to the bobble row running under it. This is my first official project using Fair Isle knitting. I've taken the Persian Poppy/Magic Ball class with Brandon Mably when Threadbender hosted he and Kaffe Fasset for classes last May, but that was just a little sample size project. I have to say, I definitely have room for improvement, but all in all I am pleased with how the Fair Isle portions of the pattern are going. I'm just about finished with the snowflake, then I'll turn the heal and head into the home stretch. I have decided not to put a name on the cuff, instead I am going to embroider the word Naughty on one side and Nice on the other...the recipient of this stocking will be able to decide which word they will reveal to Santa! This pattern is a easy knit and if you're ready to knit up some Christmas stockings for your family, you wont be disappointed.

Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa


Friday, October 23, 2009

Oh Sooo Soft Angora!!!

I have been doing a lot of dyeing and spinning of my stash of angora fiber. First I did a little test batch of unspun fiber to see how it would respond to the dyeing process and it was successful, I had beautifully colored spinable fiber! It's so completely soft and luscious to knit with that I think I am nearly spoiled for knitting with anything else.



I dyed these in soft blue and robin's egg blue to use in a Christmas Stocking knit along that I'm currently working on. I've used the blue for the cuff and it is heavenly! I'm knitting the stocking in frosty blue/green colors with a little chartreuse mixed in for good measure.



Here's the Sky and Sea blend that I dyed to go with the alpaca I've dyed in the same colors. Alpaca and angora, two of my favorite fibers!



I had a mix of dyed angora that I had bought early in my fiber stashing days and it included some yellowish fiber that didn't go with the blend I wanted for my yarn, so I picked it out and set it aside. It was just a smidgen, so I added some cream colored angora from my stash and over dyed it all in a sunny yellow. This was the first unspun angora I dyed as a test. Once I saw that it didn't felt/mat up, I went ahead and dyed to my hearts content, as you can see by the photos.

I hope you're enjoying your fiber as much as I am!
Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, October 16, 2009

Booties!


Original set, knitted with white angora plus silver beads

I knitted up a set of booties this week, using the Flower Child Bootie pattern by Marla Mutch. I love this pattern, I've used it before with a natural white angora yarn that I brought back from Italy with me, then embellished them with silver glass beads along the sides.



The pattern is intended to be used with a self patterning sock yarn, and since I needed a small something to knit while I'm dyeing and spinning yarn for my next project, I though I'd knit up a colorful pair to have on hand. I knitted these with ZwergerGarn Opal Rondez-vous # 2065. I inadvertently knit them with a size 2 instead of the needle size 1 recommended in the pattern, and used a size 3 to bind off the cuff so it wouldn't be too tight. These little cuties are all set for the next baby gift. It's a fast knit and the pattern is easy to follow.






I like this pattern so well, that I thought I'd knit them bigger for a grown up foot. They remind me of those moccasin slipper socks from my childhood. For the adult size I measured my Mum's foot and added two inches to accommodate the way the sole wraps up over the toes in this pattern. I decided to use two strands of yarn knitted together for thickness and durability, Encore colorspun, Razzle Print #7517 and Berroco Comfort in Nosegay Mix #9810. It's a great fit for my Mum, who wears a size 6-7 shoe.

Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, October 9, 2009

Freshly Spun Yarn!


Lilac Heart Throb

Ahhh, fresh yarn! This yummy yarn is a blend of white, gray and multi-colored dyed angora, which I then over dyed to unify all the colors. I'm so pleased with how it turned out I can hardly wait to knit something with it! It's so supper soft I can't quit touching it!!! I have 317 yards of cozy softness knit with!


Sky and Sea

Here's the first skein of Sky and Sea. I'm currently spinning the
last bobbin of the alpaca, then it's on to the angora that I dyed to match. This skein measures a little over 430 yards. I have to say, I am really enjoying dyeing and spinning my own fiber, it's so nice to watch the colors as they spin onto the bobbin.

Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cosy Noro Throw



Boy do I love this Noro yarn! I used it on a previous project and just fell in love with it!!! It's Noro Kochoran, the color is predominantly number 57, with a little number 63 left over from my last project. The blend is 50% wool, 30% angora and 20% silk. Noro is one of those yarns that can seem a bit on the scritchy side at first, but this yarn in particular becomes softer after it's been knitted and the yarn opens up a bit. It's so beautiful to see the angora halo appear, and it just keeps getting softer with handling and use. My cat Cissie just loves this throw and the minute I pulled it out to work on it she was right there snuggled up on the end of the throw. I think I will use the left overs from another color to make her a tiny throw of her own.



Along with the Noro Kochoran, I used di.ve Autunno in the color 30502 Gossamer and a tiny bit of 46386 Clarion. Autunno is 100% fine merino and it's so supper soft! I used it for the simple lace pattern to break up the solid, moss stitch pattern I used to knit the Noro. Two hanks of the Noro and one of the Autunno Gossamer were enough to make this ample throw, which is cosy soft and super warm, but light as can be. I know I'm going to get a lot of use out of it as the temperatures dip.



I also did some dyeing this week, in preparation for my next project. Pictured above is some angora dyed in the Sky and Sea colors to match the alpaca roving that I'm working on.



Since I'm done knitting my throw, I can now start spinning! I have been itching to get going on this, but wanted to finish the throw first. I have the roving all weighed out for each bobbin and rolled into these cute little balls. I have a particular spinning order that I want for each single and to save any confusion once I get spinning, I got it all organized before hand. Now I can just spin away without any worries about which color comes next or if the bobbins are equal.

Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sky and Sea

I set out to create a yarn which captures the spirit and colors of the Caribbean, I thought I'd share a couple pages from my spinning journal, which shows the process from the beginning as I decided how this fiber would be spun and plied.


Sky
I did a test ply of this roving, to see how I liked it all by itself, and a tiny knitted swatch too. For this roving I used the colors turquoise, sky blue and lilac.


Sea
I also did a test ply of this roving by itself and a knitted swatch.



Sorry it looks a little dim here that's just the way it up-loaded , but this is a test ply of one single each of Sky and Sea.


Sky and Sea

What I ended up really liking was this spun blend of the two rovings. I divided the roving into equal portions of each color, for the first single I started with roving A (sky), B(sea),A,B. Then for the second single I reversed the order, B,A,B,A. I really love the richness of the two colors spun together this way as opposed to spun singly and plied together. I had dyed a total of 5 ounces of alpaca, 2.5 each, Sky and Sea and I decided to dye another batch of each, for a total of 10 ounces of fiber. Then I also dyed one ounce of angora in the same colors. I have a project in mind for this, I'll keep you posted!

Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, September 18, 2009

School Of Tropical Little Fishies



I finally finished my Little Fishies scarf. Though I have to say, other then the narrow neck band, in true free form fashion, this bears little resemblance to the original pattern! I had already knitted the pattern nearly through to the end and decided that I wanted to do it over, only a little narrower and more mindful of the yarns I was using around my upper body area. Then as I was knitting the narrower version, I began to see these fishy shapes appearing as I added thicker or thinner yarn, so I decided to accentuate that idea! What I ended up with is this audacious, whimsical scarf of tropical fish!



My love of bobbles and bullion's shows through, I was inspired by Renata Kirkpatrick's Tassels On A Rope #3 for the tail on this one.



This one's (RH) a princess fish. Can you see the royal princess cap?



This is another form of the fish noodle, shorter, without the bobble on the end...but don't feel too bad about the lack of bobble that some of the fish noodles have, I added silver beads to each noodle for this little guy!




Another princess fish.



I loved adding the embellishments, this one has something I started calling a fish noodle!

Add Image
This guy's one of my favorites! I used silver wire beads on a chain to bubble out of his big fishy mouth.



Pink bullion's done with some of my hand spun.



More fish noodles! The yarn used here for the noodles, back fins and tail is Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, I love how this yarn knitted and plan on adding more colors to my yarn stash.



And here's the final fish. I had so much fun working on this project, deciding how to embellish each fish, finding just the right bead or button to bring the fish to life. It really gave me a chance to play!

Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, September 11, 2009

Working on Blue Cloud Magic



I've been doing a little spinning this week, this one is definitely a work in progress. Originally when I bought this roving, a blend of fine wool and mohair, I planned on spinning it fine and knitting it into a shawl. Even in the dim light of the little back room where I purchased this, I could see there were dried bits of vegetation (vm) but I wasn't overly concerned, I've noticed that most of this usually falls out in the yarn making process. However, this was when I was planning a skinny yarn...lately I have been thinking of a chunky weight yarn to make a throw. So I did a test spin to see how much of the vm would come out during the spinning, plying, washing/setting the twist process. A good deal of it did come out, trust me! As I sat there in my pj's spinning, I looked like I just came in from a few hours of yard work! And even after all the processing, because I spun a chunky yarn, there is still obvious evidence of vm through out the yarn. Well that just wont do!



This is Blue Cloud Magic plied to itself. It's not quite as soft as I wanted for the throw.



My other idea was to see how I liked it plied with white angora. That wasn't what I was looking for either. Maybe knitted next to each other, but not plied together.



Here's the rest of the angora, I plied it and set the yarn, then knitted it up into a swatch to make sure I was getting enough twist in my singles to keep the angora from shedding all over, but I also wanted a soft yarn, not over spun. I'm really happy with how it came out, no shedding. Originally I had started spinning this on my drop spindle, but I transferred it to a bobbin so I could finish it on my wheel and I am happily nearly finished with one bobbin.

As for Blue Cloud Magic, I can see that this fiber, due to the extensive vm, needs to be spun fine, as I had originally intended. I have already taken the roving outside and picked out as much of the big stuff as I can. That combined with the processing should get rid of the rest. I'm sure I will feel more content with any yarn I make out of this, once it's really clean. It sure is a pretty color.


Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, September 4, 2009

Knitter's Potluck



I was excitedly working away on my Little Fishies Panel Scarf, and I was nearly done I might add, when I decided I needed to make some changes. So I gently un-knit (I know there are other words for this..I just prefer to say un-knit.) the entire thing and I ended up with this beautiful bowl of yarn waiting to be re-knit into my project. I thought, how cool would it be to go to a potluck where the dish to pass everyone brought was a lovely bowl of bundled lengths of ribbon, silks, bamboo, mohair, alpaca and hand dyed wool. Can you imagine a table full of these bowls, and you could go around and choose a certain amount, then everyone could happily sit down and work on a project! You might need to trade as you went along and saw how things were going. To me, this sounds like knitter's paradise! I just thought I'd pass this idea along to my knitting friends...in case you want to give it a try,the Knitter's Potluck.



I received my wonderful swap envelope from Shelley V. this week! Look at all the fun goodies she sent along! I absolutely loved everything all my favorite colors, just perfect! Thanks Shelley for a great envelope!!!



I plied the rest of the yarn which I'm calling Cozy Pink Dreams, I did a test ply earlier having learned my lesson from the first skein of this blend (plied to itself..it looked like worm guts, teehee) One single is a blend of natural romney/kid mohair/tussah silk, the other single is merino/alpaca. I was able to get a total of 429 yards (60yds sm skein, 369yds lg skein) The ypi is 15. I haven't any plans for the yarn yet, it's going into the yarn stash for now until the right project comes along.

Have a great week, Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Silk Razzmatazz Necklace



I put this necklace together as a gift for an envelope swap I participated in recently, I thought rather than just sending along buttons with the rest of the goodies, I'd make them more special by turning them into an artsy necklace.

The yarn I used for this project is Berroco Seduce, it's a rayon/linen/silk blend and it worked beautifully for this application.
Both knitting and crochet are used in construction, though I offer an alternative for non-crocheters. I knitted an I-Cord (size 4 dp) knitted to the desired length, I found just the right button to use as a closure and then I made a loop on the other end to button it into. I placed stitch markers in the I-Cord where I wanted to begin the embellishment and end it...it's easy to loose track when it's in your hands and you're working away! I determined this by putting the necklace on to better see where the necklace would hang and the best area to place the embellishment. Then with a crochet hook (size G) I did a slip stitch to attach the chain where I wanted to begin my swag of buttons. When I wanted to add a button, I lengthened my working loop and used a needle threader or a fine crochet hook to pull it through the button hole, slipped the working loop back on the crochet hook and chained a stitch or two. As you can see by the close up picture above, sometimes I added another button right away, even double stacking them, sometimes I chained a few stitches in between. When I was ready to move to the next swag, I slip stitched it into the I-Cord. (If you don’t crochet, you could easily just attach the buttons by stringing them on your yarn, knotting in between clusters and slipping a little knot into the I-Cord to secure the swag.) When you're done, just slip stitch and work in your ends, just like knitting.

If I were making this for myself, all those chain stitches would offer good opportunity for some more crochet embellishments.

This is a quick fun project, plus it's also great opportunity to dig through that button box (FUN!) and take all those terrific old buttons you've been collecting and turn them into wearable art. I bet Grandma would love to see her buttons on display!




Have a great week! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wraping Up The Free Range Wrap!



Yea, all done! I really enjoyed this project from start to finish, there wasn't one moment when I felt the yen for a new project. Don't get me wrong, I'm always percolating with ideas, but that's the beauty of free range knitting, every passage is a new moment, a new idea. So even while I was excited about future projects and mentally raiding my yarn stash in preparation, this wrap was fun and engaging to work on! So here's a picture of me...wind swept hair and all, wearing the wrap. I discovered that my beloved bobble row fitted perfectly with a lacy yo row on the opposite side and made the perfect closure!



Here's a close up, the Bobbles button into the yarn over lace pattern perfectly. How fortuitous! When I wear it buttoned this way, it looks like a sweater. Of course I plan on wearing it loose too, like a regular wrap.



I also had the same Bobble luck on the edge, you can see I am able to button the corner up around my wrist, creating a sleeve effect. My love of the bobble/popcorn stitch really paid off. I am already dreaming up an actual sweater specifically with these types of closures, something a bit more shaped maybe.



I wanted to show a close up of the edge treatment, it really made a big difference in the overall look. I ended up using two strands of Berroco, Seduce one in soft purples, the other in soft blue/greens and I did two rounds of single crochet around the edge. This is on the advise of my Mum, who is my go to gal for crochet advise and information. Then I followed up with the crocheted picot edge using a single strand of the seduce, in the soft purple color way. I used this stitch on my last project and loved it, after I saw it in used Jane Thornley's news letter, she showed a knitted picot bind off, which I think is even more elegant and flowery looking than the crocheted version if you have active stitches to finish off.

So that's the wrap up of my Free Range Wrap, I look forward to torturing all my friends and family by making them see me wear it all the time!!!

Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Popular Posts

Follow by Email

About Me

My photo
I'm a crafter, knitter, tinkerer, who always seems to have a project or two on the launch pad. I love to share what I'm working on and I love to see what other folks are working on too, so please comment and let me know where I can see your latest creation!