Friday, August 29, 2008

Handmade Things are Filled with Love

One of my oldest friends is getting married and I wanted to make something special for her to mark the occasion. I didn't really want to make another love filled quilting disaster so I decided that this was the time to knit something big! Time to knit my first full sized blanket. But what pattern to knit? After much searching I found a free pattern for a Lover's Knot Afghan from the Lion Brand Yarn Company.I thought that 'Lover's Knot' was such a lovely pattern name for a wedding present. I found the most gorgeous cream and super soft (as well as ecologically friendly) wool from the (The hanks were so enormous that I had a whole hank left over - which enabled me to knit all three of my maypole dancing bunnies!) I increased the size of the Afghan by adding an additional two pats to the pattern ... ... so my finished blanket measures approx 53" x 67" and there is a super soft 4" fringe/tassels at both ends.
I also embroidered a little label that I sewed on to the back of the blanket. (I saw this idea on the lovely Julie's blog back in June and knew I had to make something similar for my blanket.)
I wish the bride and groom a life time of happiness together - as well as many winter evenings feeling warm under the love of one very special blanket!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Heartbreak and Distraction

It is true - my heart is aching ... we have sold our beautiful house - and until we find our next house having my own little room to use as a dedicated work space is doomed - I shall be 'craft camping' ... by that I mean I have to decide what craft items will be going into storage and what craft items I can take with me so I can continue working.

The house has been so much more than a place to live for me - since I have been in the states I have been so homesick and this is the first place - since leaving the UK nearly 5 years ago - that I have called 'home'. It is cute, beautiful, warm and cosy, old fireplaces and floorboards, the garden has been fabulous for bunny photo shoots, the community is wonderful ... it is going to be very hard and very very sad to leave.
But my husband spends his weeks in the city and I spend a lot of my week in the country - we always spend our weekends together - we recently decided that we should try find a home that was the 'grand compromise' - close enough to the city for commuting and enough out of the city so I don't go crazy. So I'm off to the big apple to stay with my lovely husband (it will be nice to see him during the week) - and I know a stint in the big apple would be a treat for some - but if I'm totally honest I am not a city girl in the least ... unless it is for a little shoe shopping expedition!

So what do I take? Obviously Bernie has to come with me and my bag of knitting needles ... but what about ... ...the boxes of ribbon ... ... lace ... ... buttons, sewing needles, cord ... ...bias tape, scraps of material or just the big bits? Will I need my box of felt? What about all the ties and shirts I have to recycle? How much yarn should I expect to use? Which books to take?

It is all seeming a bit much to choose from ... where do I start?

Monday, August 11, 2008

How do you work?

My creation process goes something like this. I get an outline ... patchwork playmat/wall hanging, fairy, Paper Bag Princess, non Disney, some light green and some sparkle ... so I got a copy of the Paper Bag Princess ...
... I did some very wonderful artwork (the MoMA will be begging me for these sketches one day!) ...
... I refined the drawings some what ...... then I cut out all the little bits and sew them all together - hoping it looks something like I had planned!
The story is that the little Princess is happily dancing through the grass picking up flowers as she goes.
I used gold and silver thread to add the sparkle as well as a little gold material for her crown.
And worried that I hadn't used enough light green in the piece - I used some lovely white and light green fabric for the backing.
How do you work?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tutorial: Simple Knitted Ball

I find it hard to throw away any material or yarn - and I have lots yarn remnants that are too small to be incorporated into new projects. So over the weekend I made this pattern for a simple knitted ball - a fast easy project - and the ball is suitable for all ages. I used my left over Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky yarn (sometimes I think this is the softest yarn ever invented - but it has proved to be too expensive for my constant knitting habits!)

Simple Knitted Ball
You will need:
- yarn remnants (various colors or same color - this is really your choice)
- knitting needles
- some sort of stuffing - I used Poly-fil
- yarn needle for sewing pentagons together

1. Knit 12 pentagons following this pattern:
cast on 6
row 1: inc, knit 4, inc (8 stitches)
row 2: p
row 3: k
row 4: p
row 5: inc, knit 6, inc (10
row 6: p
row 7: k
row 8: p
row 9: k2tog, knit 6, k2tog (8
row 10: p
row 11: k2tog, knit 4, k2tog
(6 stitches)
row 12: p
row 13: k2tog, knit 2, k2tog
(4 stitches)
row 14: p
row 15: k2tog, k2tog
(2 stitches)
row 16: p2tog and tie off

Sew your pentagons together to create a ball - I hope this diagram helps to show how this is done. I used a contrasting yarn in blanket stitch to add an additional decorative element.
Remember to leave at least one seam open so you can stuff the ball!

3. Stuff the ball and stitch remaining seam(s) shut.Then all you need to do is find someone to play ball with you ... Castro didn't seem to want to play ball - but he did agree that it was a very soft!