21 July 2010


Earlier this year I saw a Lets Knit magazine in my local supermarket - it had free bag handles in it and I stood transfixed thinking about whether I could justify spending the money. My hubby saw me holding this magazine and gazing at it wistfully - so he came over gently removed it from my hands - and placed it in the basket - saying 'I'll get it for you'

Well having the handles inspired me to come up with an idea for a little bag. I decided that I wanted to use felted crochet so I popped along to Hobbycraft and browsed the woolly section for a happy half hour or so. I finally chose two shades of Twilleys Freedom Spirit - a red and a purple.

I made a little swatch using a 3.5mm crochet hook - 10 stitches wide by 12 rows - and then I shoved it in the washing machine on 40 degrees and waited impatiently.

I used my swatch to work out the number of blocks required for the bag. It turned out that two blocks fitted perfectly into my handles and I added a block either side. I decided that the bag would be three blocks high and a block deep, so 4 blocks by 7 plus 2 blocks added on later at the top on either side. Finally I crocheted two plain side pieces a block wide by three high and felted the lot in the machine (that bit was scary - even though I'd already swatched it)!

I have been looking at the fabulous bags made by Lisa at U-handblog and had wanted to make something a bit more finished, so I bought some grid bag bottom, some bag feet, an invisible snap and two types of iron on interfacing, which came really quickly.

I then thought I'd make a start on piecing it together - well once I'd started I just kept doing the next bit, and the next bit - and then it was done - all hand pieced (I'm not terribly comfortable with things that go whirrrr and have pointy things attached - my minds eye sees horrible things)

Then I took it to the guild to show off and was promptly requested to do a workshop on it - hopefully one day I can add some pics of the other guild members' finished bags - watch this space!

6 July 2010

My First Knitted Lace Shawl

Well this is going back a bit now - but I am still very proud of it so I shall tell you all about it.
Last year (February to be exact) I dyed a wodge of blue faced leicester fiber with some Kool-Aid - four colours, a yellow, a green and two blues.

Once it was dyed I admired the pretty colours for a week or two and then I started to spin. I set myself to spin a lace weight yarn, and I was hoping for enough to create one of the shawls that I'd favourited on Ravelry.

When I finally finished spinning - a couple of months later - I had about 980 or so metres - this narrowed the field for choosing shawls, as a couple took 1000m or more.

I settled on the North Roe Shawl by Dodile as it was soo pretty and didn't look too difficult.
I started knitting in May and really enjoyed the pattern - it's essentially a diamond, so when you reach the middle the other half is the same, therefore after 6 rows of the main pattern I pretty much knew what I was doing. It was so satisfying watching it grow - and I loved the way it formed bumps, as each motif was formed, that looked like mermaid scales. The only slight fly in the ointment was that the instructions were translated from French and were incomlete - however it was easy enough to work out what needed to be done - basically follow chart one, then chart two, then chart three. I did an extra repeat or two here and there - I can't remember now exactly what I did .

I knitted on a pair of quite long bamboo needles, which were ideal as the yarn was quite fine and light - by the time I got to the outer rows it was taking an hour or so per row! Anyway - finished in July. This was the first project I ever blocked -I'm not entirely satisfied with the blocking but am proud as punch with the finished shawl.

I've finally worn the shawl - it spent 11 months wrapped in tissue in my bottom drawer until I suddenly realised that it's really daft to put all that effort into something and not use it - so this summer it's had a few outings at last.