Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Christmas Presents for Me...

We really wanted to get out of the house today, but since the weather was dreadful, had to resort to secondhand bookshops and antique stores. In the second of these I found several treasures. In all the years I've been scouring antique and bookshops I've never found any patterns for tatting, but here was a collection of patterns and instructions. I sifted through them and bought the best ones. The newest seems to be from the early seventies, the others from the sixties or maybe late fifties.
There were also crochet patterns, so I picked out a few of these too.
But the major treasure was four boxes of vintage crochet cotton in various colours. As you can see, three boxes were full of cottons which were either new or barely used. The fourth box was labelled "various craft" and contained cottons (mostly used), metallics and other thread.
But it also contained some part-completed tatting, as you can see above;
a lovely part-completed tatted edge for a handkerchief, a crochet pansy and an orange crochet flower.
And at the bottom of the box were a part-edged handkerchief and two tatting shuttles. I was particularly pleased with the tatting shuttles as I had seen some lovely old ivory/bone ones in the shop but couldn't bring myself to spend £20+ on them. So here were two shuttles, one large and one small, already wound with thread. I got to thinking about the woman who had owned these and all the other items I bought, wondered what had happened to her. I might try to finish the tatting she started in due course.

Anyway, the little lot above cost £33 in total, which I thought was a bargain.
In the other shop we visited, I found this book on dyeing with plants, a really useful and comprehensive tome for £2.
And a set of crochet hooks in a zip up case for £3.50. While I did have some hooks of these sizes already, I have now filled in some more gaps in my collection and have a lovely carry case for them.

Monday, 27 December 2010

The Wrap Marathon

Having almost finished the Christmas marathon, just awaiting more yarn, over Christmas I decided to get on with the Bayberry wrap KAL from The Knitter. The first instalment was the centre section knitted in the round (the part next to the magazine in the picture), little did I know what part 2 was going to be! Many hours of knitting later, I have successfully knitted out from the centre square to make the two ends. I do like the pattern, and managed reasonably well.

The only downside was that I missed the middle (cluster) row on one of the sides so I'll have to fix that with a needle at the end. Also, I managed to finish the edge pattern at a slightly different place on each end. No idea how I managed to do that!

I can honestly say I've never knitted anything as long as this, so I'm looking forward to the next instalment which should be here this week.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Christmas Knitting Frustration

There's nothing worse than running out of yarn, especially a few days before Christmas! I got a little over half way up this second sleeve before I had to stop. The yarn comes from 20 miles away and given the snow, I haven't had time to go and get more but am planning to next week. So Mum will have to wait for me to finish this next week. I'd already finished one of her presents, so it's not like she'll be without a present on Christmas day.
So I've now got time to finish the second of this pair of socks for my Other Half. The yarn is Zauberball and I really like it. It seems to go further than the earlier trial pair of socks I knitted for him, even though it's supposed to be the same length of yarn. It's taken me two attempts to get the sizing right for his strangely-shaped feet, which are rather out of proportion. He thinks his feet are perfectly normal, but they're very wide with a high instep and rather short for his height. Anyway, I got there eventually and have some more yarn for the next pair.

Happy Christmas, hope your Christmas Knitting has been more successful than mine!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Another Project off the Needles

This is the first part of Mum's Christmas present - a scarf knitted in Manos lace. The pattern came from Simply Knitting Christmas gifts, though what it was doing in Simply Knitting I don't know! A complex lace pattern, it was rather unclear on the method of construction and had errors in it too. Eventually I worked it out and while there are subtle differences between the first pattern and subsequent repeats, it's mostly in the number of stocking stitch rows between parts of the pattern. It's my first try using a proper laceweight yarn and I'm very pleased with it. The picture above shows it pinned to a cloth on my ironing board for blocking.
Yesterday I went to the local small town to do some Christmas shopping, and popped into an antiques/vintage/allsorts place, as I habitually do. One of the stall holders does buttons and bits of knitting/sewing stuff, and I always buy vintage buttons from there rather than new ones. She sometimes has knitting needles and last time I went I found a set of 4 long (i.e. sweater-size) 3.25mm (10) dpns. I'm not altogether fond of circulars as I find the weight distribution of a large sweater unwieldy, so I keep an eye out. No more needles yesterday, but I did find this lovely piece of crochet, worked in a variegated cotton yarn on a tiny hook. Beautiful work, I might try to figure out how it's made and replicate the pattern.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Anyone recognise these sheep?

These brown sheep have been here since summer, they're long-tailed and seem quite at home now.
These sheep arrived on this farm in October, and this week I got a closer look at them than I had before.
Here they are next to some Texel sheep, for scale.
They have lovely horns and are very black, with brown tips bleached by the sun. Not a shred of white on their bodies.

I think they may be Black Welsh Mountain, but not having seen any before, I'm not sure. Any ideas?

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Knitting Marathon

At this time of year I usually have a lot of projects on the needles. I find certain things, such as socks, uncomfortable if I work on them for too long, and some patterns need more concentration than others. So in the gap between finishing my first Christmas present and obtaining the yarn for the next one, I started this - the Bayberry Wrap from The Knitter magazine. This pattern is for subscribers and comes in four parts. I've now finished part 1, but part 2 will have to wait until I've finished my Christmas knitting. I've used the Blue Faced Leicester I bought in September - so soft to knit.
So this is part 1 of my Mum's christmas present - a lace scarf knitted in Manos lace. I've never used this yarn before and it is gorgeous. The only disappointment is that the pattern is a little unclear and contains errors. It's from Simply Knitting magazine but why a complex pattern like this is in Simply Knitting I don't know!
And this is a lace sweater, again from Simply Knitting magazine. Mum chose King Cole Riot for this, have just finished the back. I like the yarn though with its high acrylic content I'd never wear it as I have a major problem with static electricity when wearing artificial fibres. It's a simple lace pattern, easy to do.
I've also knitted my first sock in Noro Silk Garden sock - nice yarn but it knits bigger than standard 4 ply. I've put this aside now as I'm working on a pair of socks for Other Half, in Zauberball.