23 October 2010

ending with stretch

I've had my leafy neckwarmer hanging off my needles waiting for the cast off for at least a week or two now. I wanted to use the same elastic cast off I used on Ezra's mittens. It was easy to do and gave it a good stretch ending so it stretches like the rest of the knitting. Only I couldn't remember how I'd done it. So last night I finally decided to seach youtube again to find it. And so I did. And I did the cast off. And I thought I'd share it.
This is the youtube clip I found. I liked this one because you just keep knitting with your needles. No need to change to any other knitting tool. It's not complicated either.

K2, RnK2tog (Right needle knit two together--like you do the 'k' of the 'ssk'),
K1, RnK2tog, K1, RnK2tog, K1, RnK2tog...etc.
It stretches nicely. As much as the cast on end.

So now my neck warmer is ready for some blocking and edging. I found a leafy edging in my Knitting and Crochet Bible that I decided I must use. That's next on the needles.

What stretchy cast off do you like using?

17 October 2010


I had a lovely day pottering around the house yesterday. Just lovely. I've been working on my newest nephew's quilt. It's my tradition to make each niece and nephew a quilt for their first Christmas and Zachary's is only a few months away. So I sat down in my lounge a flicked through my fabrics and decided which ones to use and cut out all the shapes I need. I laid them all out on the background piece and placed a few final touches and then stepped back to observe. I was quite happy with what I saw. I took a few photos for a design map before pulling it to pieces to begin construction. I ironed the first layer of patches and it's now ready for some sewing.
No more posting pics of this. (The surprise is more for the parents than the boy who's currently 9mths.)You won't see the finished project until after it's given at Christmas.

11 October 2010

new projects

I wanted to do some yarn crafting the other day and decided I don't have enough choice. I've finished off some of the projects I've been doing or I'm up to weaving the ends in and so the projects on the go are limited. I like variety so I started some new projects.
New Knitting Project
I decided to use a ball of Patons Wilderness that I had. I decided to search ravelry to find a project I could do with just one skein. After looking for a while I settled on the idea of a neckwarmer. Then I can keep my neck warm on chilly spring days without having dangling scarf tails in my way. In the end I opted to make a rectangle with whatever pattern I like. So I pulled out my Knitting and Crochet Bible and found a nice leafy lace pattern and set to work. I don't think it's the best idea for me to knit patterns where I need to follow the instructions while watching a movie. I thought I'd done alright until I tried to knit more the next day and found I'd made a mistake a few rows back that through out the pattern. So I unpulled and set to work fixing and re-knitting what I'd done. I kept stuffing up and re-knitting a few rows. I even managed to mess up a straight row of purls! But I was watching another movie. Ha ha. Think I need to concentrate more on this pattern. I'm liking it though and my leafy neckwarmer is coming along quite fast since Wilderness is classified as super bulky.

New Crochet Project
I saw this while searching for the knitting idea and decided I had to try it too. Adrienne Krey wrote the pattern for knitters but I'm crocheting it coz then I can just work from the picture. So it's basically the same as hers but I altered the back piece. She had plain stocking stitch I think but I decided to make mine a little lacier looking for interest and to let the cool air come in a bit. It should be good for a spring day when it's still a bit cool but not cold enough for a scarf. It will eventually have five stands each shorter in length than the one below it.

So now I have a few more choices when I feel like pulling and twisting some yarn.

06 October 2010

playing with masking fluid

I've been doing some water painting lately. I've had it mind to do for ... well, all year actually. I went to Phoenix Trading party in January. Like a little selling group that comes to your home and you invite your friends over to come and look at stuff and have a bit of fun doing it. It happens with all sorts of stuff. Tupperware is probably the most popular. Phoenix Trading is a card, gift wrap and stationary type stuff. Mainly cards. The designs are all artworks drawn by a whole range of people all over the world. You can send in your designs and they pay if they choose to use one of yours. So I've finally been working on some designs myself.

I borrowed a couple of watercolour books from the library the other day and they both mention (with photos as well) the use of masking fluid. It looked great in the books. Useful and fun to use. So I found some in an art shop and tried it the other day.

After sketching my design in a grey watercolour pencil I painted the areas I wanted left white with the masking fluid. It's a rubber latex solution.

Once dry I painted over the area in watercolour using quite a bit of water in my mix.

Once that dried I rubbed and pulled the masking fluid off to reveal a nicely kept white space.

Then I got out my watercolour pencils and did some colouring.

Then I painted over it with water using my watercolour paint brushes which hold more water in the bristles than a regular paint brush. This turns my colouring into a paint texture. I don't do it like this much now. I tend to prefer this method...

I pick up the paint directly from the pencil and just paint it on. I think it gives a smoother look like regular watercolour painting. Sometimes colouring first and then painting with water can look a little streaky. Either way the pencils allow me to control the paint a lot more than using a tube.

I've done a few pictures now though this one was a bit of a quick do just to use my new masking fluid. Not as happy with it as with the others I've done. I think I'll do a couple more and then send them in and see if they like my work enough to buy it. Hopefully they do coz it would be fun to be "published" and the money will help me with my UK plans. In the meantime, I'm having fun.

03 October 2010

completed and given

My younger brother got married yesterday. It was a beautiful spring day and a lovely wedding and celebration. I've been working all year on an afghan as their wedding present so they can lounge cosily on their couches (which are light green and brown) and keep warm. They opened presents today so now I can finally show you.
It's just a basic zigzag pattern crocheted with Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic in Mongolia, Rafia, Light Eucalyptus, Mulga and Fern. I had a seven colour change pattern and each colour was two rows. I did eight repeats and then one row of the light eucalyptus so both edges were in the same colour. It was a great winter work as it kept me warm while I crocheted.

I begun in February this year and finished it about one week ago. It sure takes a while to craft something big. Unfortunately I didn't check my gauge as I went. Didn't even think about it. When I finished and laid it out I realised it fanned out wider at one end. D'oh. My crocheting had gotten looser as I went. Fortunately, I was able to get out the iron and give it a bit of a steam blocking on the tighter stitched end so I shaped it back into a rectangle. Phew!
It should look good in their house though and since it's 100% wool it should keep them toasty warm too. I used a 6mm hook so the stitches are fairly big making it fairly light for a pure wool afghan. My sister also knitted them stripy socks using two of the same colours so they match and will make sure their toes stay warm.