31 March 2011

Embroidery therapy

It seems like almost everyone I've been around in the past few weeks has been sick. First my brother, then girl's night is postponed a week due to communal illnesses, then multiple co-workers pass around some germs. I've been out running the germs for, I guess, a month or so.

Well, they finally caught up with me on Saturday. And I was bored of it as soon as it arrived. But I managed to find a project to get me through the tissues, lemon tea, juice and pudding.

Flower, leaf & knotty goodness

Back in February, an embroidery blog I read: Feeling Stitchy, held a stitch-a-long. I was too busy with floppy disks and work to really jump into the project, but it sat in the back of my mind. I'm kind of still in the thinking phase of some of my other projects and wanted some embroidery to jump into.

Flowers, flowers, flowers

So I printed off the pattern, traced it onto some muslin and got to stitching.

Main flower detail

Clearly I liked the colour palette used for the example stitchery and used it for my own. I thought about changing out the aqua blue for mint green, but the blue of the washable pen I used looked so good with the carmine pinks that it had to stay. I also used some of the same modifications, such as adding French knots, but was a little more liberal with them.

Flowers, leaves 'n' such

But I guess I did it a little differently and really like what I came up with.

The whole shebang

So much so that I traced another mirror image that I'm working on right now. I guess the idea is to frame them and have them as visual "bookends" in some fashion.

29 March 2011

Skew too.

Almost immediately after finishing up this pair of "perfect" socks, I cast on for another pair using some sock yarn I've had around for ages and love to bits. But this project fell to the wayside. Maybe it was all the spinning I did last year. Maybe it was the quilt-fever I caught. But they sat around for a year in roughly the same state.

Skew too

Until earlier this week I picked them up again and went to work. Suddenly without warning, I found myself with a finished project AND another pair of practically perfect socks.

Finished Skews

I think knitting the same pattern twice in a row is the reason these socks sat around for so long. And we had a nice warm spring last year, so another pair of cosy socks were far from my mind. Let me assure you that these socks have scarcely left my feet since being finished.

Sure I'm stuck at home with a doozy of a cold, but still these socks have been right there, keeping my tootsies warm. And though it seems impossible, this pair is more perfect than the last. The slightly larger gauge of yarn makes them slightly looser and easier to slip over the heel (the only down side of the previous pair). But they're not so loose as to fall off or get too slouchy.

Skewed heel

I leave you with the random heel shot.

28 March 2011

Finally blocked & v. useful

So I finished knitting myself my very own handspun Annis back in December, and never managed to get around to blocking it. In fact, I never blocked it.

Instead, a friend blocked it for me. She has the benefit of a spare bed on which to block shawls and I'm very lucky that she offered her services or this would have stayed lumped on a chair in my living room indefinitely (along with a sweater in need of blocking & buttons).

Finished Annis

Since getting it blocked, I have made this my new spring scarf. Nice, light, crunchy but quite warm. It's a most welcome change to my winter scarves. I definitely foresee more such shawl-scarves in my future. And out of handspun would be just divine.

I like to wear it this way too

Though I've been wearing it this way more than the other. Thanks so much Amanda for blocking this for me! I know I have some overdue cross-stitch to get to.

Next up: I finally finish things I started ages ago.

21 March 2011

More Cross-stitch Floppies

Two more cross stitch floppy disks that I made for friends recently. As it happens it seems that these days I hang out with many people who deserve and would love a personalised cross stitch floppy disk, including my friends Janina and Susie.

Nini's disk

Janina is a programmer. She (like me) used to run around with a pocketful of diskettes. She was trying to remember the colour of her favourite disk, but I ended up going for mauve/lavender land because it's a colour palette she loves. I don't recall ever seeing a lavender diskette, but I'm not too concerned about these being historically accurate.

Susie's managed to be finished around her birthday which was most fortuitous. I went for decidedly Susie colours. She works at a video game company here in Montreal, so thought it would be a nice way to personalise her desk. She can't take pictures of it in its new home, but I'm assured that it has made her the Queen of her workplace.

Susie's disk

There are a few more of these disks in the works (including one for myself) and another mystery personalised item for a friend who is decidedly un-computer-geeky. I've taken a small break from these in favour of some languishing knitting projects and a sewing project or two. Oh yeah. This weekend I also had a LOVE affair with Rolags. I'll tell you more about that later.

19 March 2011

Revenge of the Super Silk-tacular Hankies

Silk Hankie Burrito

When packing for Christmas vacation, I really wanted to bring some spinning with me, but wanted to keep my luggage to a minimum. So I opted to pack this Silk Hankie burrito and my drop spindle. I really haven't used my drop spindle much since buying my wheel almost a year ago, but as I was already going to be bringing a sewing machine back with me, I thought packing a wheel was a bit much.

Hankie mixed pack

Over the holidays, I did start working with this fibre. Separating and pre-drafting the hankies into little fibre nests was actually quite fun. But spinning on a drop spindle has definitely stopped being so fun after working on a wheel. Especially spinning silk. Especially spinning this silk. I don't think there was anything actually wrong with the fibre I purchased. I'm sure it's entirely user un-familiarity more than anything.

I ended up packing up all the nests in a complicated saran wrap dealie and bringing back home. I took what I had started on the spindle, transferred it to a bobbin and continued the spinning on my wheel. It was still kind of a bitch to spin which is why it's taken me two and a half months to finally finish up this skein.

Silk-tacular skein
'n° 2457–Navy Blue, Gold, Plum' Fiber Cottage
100% Silk Hankies
1 oz.
approx. 325 yards

I've been REALLY wanting to start spinning something new, so forced myself to finish spinning up the silk already. And after a week of spinning for a bit in the evening, it started getting easier to work with (Much MUCH less swearing). Last night I FINALLY finished spinning the singles and COULDN'T wait to be done! So I immediately begun plying the singles.

Silk-tacular skein

I must have developed some kind of Stockholm syndrom with this fibre or something because as soon as I finished plying and saw how nice the yarn was, I almost convinced myself to get started on the other batch of hankies in my possession.

Luckily I got a hold of my senses and begun plying the other singles that have been sitting around for months. I can't believe that this is actually the first yarn that I've spun this year. It definitely won't be the last.

10 March 2011

Introducing Black Beauty & the Big Green Meanie

Though I usually prefer to attribute human names to my inanimate objects, it seems that my sewing machines get more elaborate monikers.

Black Beauty

I brought a sewing machine when I came back from my Albertan Christmas holidays. This little Singer Featherweight rings in at 20 lbs and fit nicely into my smaller suitcase with all my socks packed in and around it.

I finally took it to Monsieur Machine à Coudre a few weeks ago and he was able to fix it right up. As soon as I started using the newly serviced machine, I started calling it "Black Beauty".

The Big Green Meanie

Now I've been searching for a name for this Mint green machine that came to me through the crafty grape vine. It's a temperamental fella and nothing I thought of seemed to fit. Until last week when writing an email that never got sent, when the words just rolled right out of my finger tips. The Big Green Meanie. When I used the machine later that evening and it didn't mis-behave in anyway, I knew I found the name that fit. (Though Black Beauty was a little miffed that her name wasn't quite as 50's gangster, but she'll have to get over it).

Ladies & Gents, allow me to introduce you to my sewing machine line up. That's Black Beauty on the top weighing in at 20 lbs. And secondarily (though not in our hearts) is the irrepressible Big Green Meanie!