Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Funny Knitting Brains...

This is amazing....you really need to check it out. I don't care if you knit or not, it is fantastic!


Monday, August 20, 2007

Walnutty adventures continue....

An update on the walnut yarn:
As suspected, it is not chocolatey brown, but it is pretty (I think!). However, as an unremorsefully curious person, I have decided to continue on the quest for chocolatey brown, and have put one half in for another lot of dyeing. After reading some more, I saw that people were using vinegar (either as a wash prior to dyeing, in with the walnuts while 'brewing' to avoid mould, or after as a dye 'fixer'). I decided that I would give my yarn a vinegar/water bath prior to dyeing. Also, the second time I have soaked it for longer. I also used more uncracked walnuts which I think have given out more dye (it looks more blackey green in liquid form this time). Whatever happens, I think this current colour is nice. It had a woolwash wash to try and get some more of the sheep smell out and soften it up a bit, and very little colour ran from it, so I am pretty happy that it is in there fairly permanently.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Walnutty Adventures

Last weekend, we went to the Woodlands Festival at the Harcourt Arboretum. It was our first visit to the arboretum, and I thought it was great! The Woodlands Festival was smallish, but very good. Every stall holder that we talked to was enthusiastic and friendly, and clearly passionate about what they did (even the icecream man!).

There was a display of owls - this Barn Owl was really something gorgeous!

This gorgeous horse was demonstrating how they use horses to harvest timber in a less destructive manner than using machinery. She was fantastic!

There was a stall by a spinning, weaving & dying guild ( think from Oxfordshire, but I can't find anything about them online). There was a lovely lady who was spinning, and we talked about natural dying. They had a display of fungus dyed yarn which was incredible! Anyway, I bought a little handspun white wool (unbelievable price of two pounds per 100g), and set to work!

I wanted to dye without a mordant to start with. We have a walnut tree in our shared back garden so I collected some of the nuts that were on the ground (including some of the pieces from where squirrels had raided them), and soaked them for a while, boiled them for a while, and then popped the wool in. It sat overnight, and I pulled it out this morning. The walnuts are English (obviously), not black walnuts, and most of the instructions I found were for black walnuts. I have ended up with a lovely colour (I think), but not the 'rich chocolately brown' that others seem to have obtained. Anyway, a few shots of the process:
I have had lots of fun doing this - more than I thought I would! I have no idea what I will do with it yet, but I can see how dying could become very addictive!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Other People's Stuff

Call me nosey, but have always been pretty interested in Other People's Stuff. So here is a brief outline of some cool stuff I have seen blogwise lately:
Too Much Wool is making a Welsh quilt, and being a great blogger she is giving step by step details. Great site if you are even slightly interested in quilts (mum, I'm looking in your direction).
Brooklyn Tweed continues to be spectacular - check out this gorgeous thing, which is in this edition of Interweave Knits. I am thinking maybe a slightly smaller, more fitted version for me?
I love these, from Dragonfly, and I am definately going to have a go! I have recently bought some fabric to start making clothes again as I have no end of trouble finding things that I like in England (well, that I can afford anyway!). I promise to get some pics up soon - the fabric is gorgeous. Anyway, maybe the scraps could go into one of these bags.
Anyway, sunshine beckons!

Monday, August 06, 2007

More baby knitting

Remember the recent Hello yarns bonnet? Well, it has a friend!

My friend's twins arrived a little earlier than expected, and are still quite small, so I thought that these bonnets might be useful (also, it is still winter there so they might actually use them!). Again, it is knit in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, with a little bit of pink for the lovely baby girl. Again, I used my size 3 bamboo dpns, which were a gift from my Secret Pal. This time, I ran out of the contrast colour (pink), with only three inches left after the end row, so there is less of the garterstitch rows at the bottom (2 less). Also, I couldn't do the I-cord ties in pink, so instead of I-cord-ing (?) down one side and picking up stitches at the edge of the other side, I picked up stitches one row inside the edge, and then I-cord-ed (!!) in the main colour. It worked pretty well. Also, I had problems doing my initial figure-8 cast on, and ended up with a bit of a 'feature' garter stitch decoration at the top - I decided this looked kinda cool, and worked with the rest of the design. However, I sorted this out for the second one, and am firmly convinced of the merits of this technique. So I feel very smug knowing that I have a gift off for these lovely new babies before they are too old.

This weekend, we took a trip to the Cotswolds Wildlife Park. It was fantastic fun, although we couldn't see some of the animals due to the foot & mouth outbreak. Here are some pics:

Also, we harvested courgette (zucchini), peas (a few) beans (a few more, both dwarf & scarlett runners) and potatoes this weekend. Very satisfying. I hope your weekend was just as fun!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Unposted Purchases

While we were on holiday in Exmouth, Western Australia, my sister in law, my mum and I went down to the shops. There was a good newsagent with lots of stock, and mum and I found this:
(excuse the black blob on the side!) There were two copies, and we snaffled them (I would have bought more for secret pals and things, but there were only two! The sales lady was puzzled as to why I needed two, so maybe better I didn't buy more!) It is great. I love almost every pattern in there, it is lovely and glossy and delicious, and I enjoy looking through it every now and then. I haven't made anything from it yet, but I am hoping to start something soon. I am thinking of a cardigan, although many of the pictures of the cardigans have that nasty bulge between the buttons, so while they are fitted, they bow out between the buttons, not a look that I like much. But maybe I could work around that... anyway, highly recommended, and I suspect you might see more pics from it in the future.