Sunday, 4 February 2018

Introducing Orla...

About 18 months a go I had an idea.  I added the things I needed to various online shopping carts and then did absolutely sod all about them.  I do that a lot!

Then, after seeing one of said items in my eBay basket last month I decided to actually do the thing.  And voila....introducing Orla!

Okay, she's not much to look at here but she was the base of the idea.  I wanted something to photograph (and possibly block) hats on and had considering how best to turn the above, naked and quite sinister, head into something more photogenic and "Nyree-like".  My solution...

Oh yes - Mod Podge.   And Orla Kiely wrapping paper.  Which actually pained me to cut up because...well, it's pretty!  Thankfully for the next part, I own a paper guillotine from long past days of paper crafting.

The design lends itself to pretty even squares which my OCD tendencies delighted in!  Next came the messy part.  Well, it was messy after R and O joined in! 

The whole process was completed over several days - I did the main head on the first day, followed by the more difficult face on the second and the neck and base on the third.  This ensured that I wasn't over handling any wet areas as I found this made the paper fuzz up.  The OK wrapping paper is really thick (and lovely - did I mention it was lovely!) and for the face areas I soaked it in water to make it more malleable.  The whole head was then given a really good couple of coats of Mod Podge all over and voila - Orla!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Stash Enhancement - Dye Candy

I'm not the most adventurous when it comes to stash enhancement and have to confess, I'm not particularly likely to sign up for yarn clubs.  Whilst I actually do love surprises, I have such a narrow spectrum of yarn colours and dye styles I love, that the thought of ending up with numerous skeins I wouldn't use with my current pittance of yarn funds most definitely puts me off!

However, there is one thing I do love and that's S P E C K L E S!  

Now, don't get me wrong, I was pretty reluctant when they first appeared.  Over the years I have pretty much totally stopped using variegated yarn and a lot of speckles seemed more akin to short variegation than actual speckles.  And often the base colour was pale.  I so don't do pale!

And then I discovered Hedgehog Fibres and fell in love.  Between HHF and Martin's Lab, I built up quite a nice (and very pink themed, since most were for my FYF shawl!) Speckles Stash.

Hedgehog Fibres Stash 2017

Despite my fussiness, I do follow a huge amount of Indie Dyers and have long loved the colours and style of Hutch at Dye Candy.  I nabbed a skein of Beetlejuice on High Twist Sock in a destash last year and the colour saturation is fantastic!

Dye Candy High Twist Sock "Beetlejuice"

After lusting over several colourways, I saw a post about November's Speckle Club on Instagram and HAD to have a skein.  "Poison" is actually even more gorgeous in the flesh, with a fantastic purple you can just see under the label.  Best of all, Hutch has totally nailed speckles the exact way I like them!

Dye Candy Super Sock "Poison" November 2017 Speckles Club

I caved after that and signed up for Speckles Club!  I've since had December and January's skeins and am most definitely not disappointed.

Dye Candy GlitterBug Sock "Pass the Cranberry Sauce!" December 2017 Speckles Club

Dye Candy Singlings "Medusa" January 2018 Speckles Club

Dye Candy Speckles Club November 2017 - January 2018

Fab huh!   I've also had my eye on a couple of colourways that, luckily for me as it meant I didn't have to do the whole messaging thing (talking to people, even online, is scary AF!), have been restocked over the last month and I love them all - especially Winter Run and Doll Parts which are just perfection in yarn form!  I highly recommend you go and spend all your monies (but leave some for me!)

Dye Candy Super Sock "Winter Run"

Dye Candy Super Sock "Doll Parts"

Dye Candy Super Sock "Seasick"

Dye Candy Stash January 2018

Absolutely no apologies for the photo heavy yarn porn from me!  

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Sizzle Pop Shawl

Not only am I waaaay behind on blogging, but I am also behind on taking (halfway decent!) photos of finished items!  Since I took pictures of my Sizzle Pop shawl today, I figured a blog post about it wouldn't hurt!

My Sizzle Pop started life as two skeins of truly uh-maze-balls Merino/Yak/Silk Singles from Chester Wool which I dyed last year (I even blogged about it!)  This base is just beautiful!  After deciding to use them for this pattern I overdyed the lighter skein black.

Yarn: Chester Wool Merino/Yak/Silk Singles (dyed by me)

This was only my second attempt at brioche but I'd wanted to make a Sizzle Pop since it was released so figured I'd just go for it!  Apart from needing the charts to refer to every MC row, I found it quite an easy knit - just not TV knitting, so it took me a while (especially as it hibernated for about 6 months!)

Yarn: Chester Wool Merino/Yak/Silk Singles (dyed by me)

I then decided I *had* to wear it to Nottingham Yarn had a few frantic weeks of knitting!  I completely fell in love with it all over again whilst I was knitting - the squish of brioche, the yarn, the pattern!  

Then as I was on the last few rows of the last repeat, disaster struck and the cable of my needle snapped, dropping all but a few of the stitches.  I'm not ashamed to admit I cried! 

I picked up all the stitches and then spent a couple of hours the following day ensuring they were all in the right place, picking up any dropped yarn overs and fixing it as I went.  Not a task for the faint hearted but it was a HUGE sense of achievement when it was done and all put to rights again (but I definitely don't recommend dropped a couple of hundred brioche stitches!)   Thankfully it was cast off, washed and blocked with plenty of time to spare for the Yarn Expo!

Yarn: Chester Wool Merino/Yak/Silk Singles (dyed by me)

I have worn this to death since I cast it off and it's most definitely one of my favourite knits!  Obviously it helps that it matches my hair and most of my wardrobe but it's made me fall in love with brioche in a major way and I can't wait to cast on my next brioche shawl!

Monday, 22 January 2018

All Hail the Hat Queen

I can remember, very tentatively, attempting to knit my first hat - way back in October 2009.  It was actually the first thing I had knitted since I was about 7/8 years old and also the first time I had ever knitted in the round and used either circular needles or DPN's.  Very much a learning curve but a successful one and that hat is still kicking around here somewhere!!

Since then I have made a fair few hats and I, without fail, turn to Woolly Wormhead patterns when I need one.  I took part in both the 2014 and 2015 MKAL and when the sign ups for 2017 came around I decided to make both Hat A and Hat B.  Obviously the patterns have long since been revealed since the MKAL clues are released during November, but I've been considerably lax at blogging so am playing catch up!! we have Hat A - later revealed as the pattern Joyce.  I knitted this in the recommended yarn (very much against my rebellious streak) which was Stolen Stitches Nua.  A truly heavenly blend of merino, yak and linen - really a complete joy to work with, or just fondle!  I went for Frog on the Wall and Kitten Fluff,

Gorgeous huh!!  And for Hat B - Sette Vele - I chose CoopKnits Socks Yeah! DK in the Aeacus colourway (not surprisingly, it's green)  Again, another amazing pattern.  I very rarely knit in anything thicker than sock weight (or 4 Ply/Fingering if you can say the latter without sniggering!) so these were a nice change for me!  Sette Vele has the added bonus of a really ingenious cast on.

I couldn't stop there though - I was itching to cast on one of the patterns from the new Elemental collection from Woolly.  I'd already knit a sideways hat from the Circled book so knew how innovational the technique was - if you haven't tried a Woolly sideways knit hat, do!!

Deterred only by lack of suitable yarn, I picked up a few skeins of Crazy Eight DK from Chester Wool Company and dyed them in my favourite colours in the hope they would work together!  I'd already decided that my first hat would be the Toph pattern as I had swatched with a few different yarns but had been unhappy with the colours/yarn substitutions I had made.  Turned out that my favourite colours combined have a very Eighties throwback vibe!  It's a wonderfully squishy knit due to the construction and completely ideal for the current cold snap.  I'm already itching to cast on the rest of the collection!

NB - the hat queen is Woolly Wormhead in case my slightly stalkerish, fangirl post has not made that totally apparent!  

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Year of Colour

Absolutely loving this fantastic tool from Makelight, which takes the colours from your Instagram photos over the last year to form a unique, and quite frankly beautiful collage!

Here's mine - not remotely difficult to tell what me favourite colours are!