Sunday, June 29, 2008

Crazy Daisy winder

So here it is. A little circular disc with a knob in the middle which you twist to make the spikes come out.

You start a daisy by laying the material (ribbon, straw, thin strips of fabric etc) across the face with the end facing downwards. Wrap the material, from left to right, round the spoke at 12 o'clock and bring it back to the bottom. Wrap it round the bottom spoke from right to left. Take the material back up to the top and go round the spoke to the right of the first one then back down to the spoke to the left of the first bottom spoke. This is the wrong side of the the finished flower.

Repeat these 2 steps all the way round until you are back where you started. You can go round another time if you want a fuller flower with more petals or you can just leave it with single petals, as I have done here.

Now all that's left is to secure the petals and finish off. I've used a contrasting colour of Raffene. You just insert the needle behind the petals and tie a knot. Then pass the needle from right to left under 3 petals of the flower, bring the needle back up then go back under the last 2 petals and pick up a new petal to the left. It's rather like doing backstitch in sewing. I've gone round twice in this flower.

Then you just finish off the end (you can glue it down or just leave it loose, turn the knob to retract the spokes and remove the flower. Ta da!

There are lots of photos of crazy daisies and looms on flickr

On the knitting front, I'm just knitting a quick poncho using Sirdar Reflection using massive needles and garter stitch. Should be finished tomorrow with a bit of luck.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I was just rummaging around......

...when I found this lurking in my oddments box. I can remember mum using it to make flowers when I was little so it brought back happy memories. I also found some raffene, which is artificial raffia and was all the rage in the 60's for making summer handbags.

I couldn't remember how to use it but thankfully the instructions were in the box. This is what it produces. Quite sweet really and it made me want to make an openwork bag from them.

I haven't quite decided what to knit when Autumn Rose is finished but I think it will be a quick and easy project such as socks. But don't worry Marina, then I'll be starting the Oregon cardigan! I've also got some sewing and crochet projects in mind. Too much choice really.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Steek cut, grafting done, twiddling thumbs.........

First I had to deal with the underarm sections. The 2 sets of stitches were left on holders ready to be grafted using Kitchener stitch. Anyone who's joined the sock making craze will know how to do this but some people might be daunted by it. Don't be, it's really quite easy once you get into the rhythm of it. Basically, you're just recreating a knit stitch so the pieces are joined seamlessly. The are lots of tutorials on the web and most knitting magazines include step by step pictures in their 'How to" sections.

This is what it looks like when complete. Nice and neat.

Then it was time to take a deep breath and cut the steek. I read and re-read Alice Starmore's instructions then read and re-read Eunny Jang's instructions (which were just the same!). Only thing left to do was cut. So I did. The world didn't come to an end, my stitches didn't all unravel in an untidy heap and my jumper now looks like a proper jumper!

Now I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for Jamiesons to send me another ball of 'Sunrise' which I need to finish the neck edge. I've picked up all the stitches and knit a row using old gold but I haven't enough Sunrise to finish it. I phoned Jamiesons on Monday to order some more and was told it would be with me some time next week. Some time next week? Yes, I was told. It has to be processed through their Accounts Department. So, for one ball of wool to come a few hundred miles from Scotland to the South of England takes over a week. Words fail me! Oh, and the lady I spoke to was dour and offhand. Boo to Jamiesons.

Nothing to do with knitting but I thought I'd show the rye flour leaven that I'm preparing. I always make my own bread and love trying different recipes. the leaven is used instead of manufactured yeast and takes a few days to prepare. This is what it looks like on day 3 and it should be ready to use in a couple more days. It already has lots of lovely bubbles and has a slightly sour smell.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The strangest looking jumper in the world!

At last, I've finished the body! I must say it looks really weird at the moment with the little pouch dangling under the neck steek. Anyway, I've just got to join the 2 underarm sections, darn in some ends and then cut the steek (eek!).

Then all I've got to worry about is whether I have enough 'Sunrise' to finish the neckband as it looks rather a small ball now.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's my birthday again!

I can't believe how quickly the years seem to pass. It really doesn't seem 12 months since I was running the South Downs Marathon on my 50th birthday yet here I am again, one year older and probably non the wiser!

I've already had a special weekend and have been treated to visits to garden centres (gardening is my passion) to have a good look round and purchase the odd plant or several. Then last night, Mike and I made a scrumptious curry together. He had a chicken masala, I had a mushroom dish and we shared a mixed vegetable bhajia with pawa rice (using a recipe from our next door neighbour from our previous home). It was lovely but I still feel stuffed.

We both went to the gym this morning to try and work it off. I have taken a few days off running as I have niggly groin strain that's been with me for about 18 months now. Of course, if I hadn't done 7 marathons in the last year it would undoubtedly have healed much quicker!

This morning's post brought a lovely surprise - a package from Amelia who had a blogaversary draw to win some yarn. It was beautifully wrapped with a pretty bow.

This is what was inside. Sundara sock yarn in the shade 'purple clover'. The photo really doesn't do it justice as it is several different shades of pink. This photo shows our native purple clover and the darkest colour in the yarn is really close to that. It's beautiful and so, so soft. I think it will have to be my next project when I finish Autumn Rose (which is progressing well).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Back to where I was

Phew, just got back to where I was before I had to rip it. Hubby asked to have a look at it and asked, rather tentatively, if the sleeves were going to be long enough. I explained that they are meant to finish just below the elbow and he was most relieved as he'd been worried that I hadn't done them long enough when he saw me attaching them yesterday. Bless him!


Oh deary me! It was all going so well, too well in fact. I finished the second sleeve of Autumn Rose and had joined the sleeves to the body and worked several rounds. Then I noticed I'd made a mistake in the pattern on one of the sleeves on the 3rd row - I was on row 7. I tried to ignore it but I knew what I had to do as it would bug me too much if I didn't. So I ripped back 4 rows of squillions of stitches and I'm about to go back and do them all again.

That'll teach me not to do complex patterning whilst watching a film!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

So much going on

Oh dear, it has been a while since I wrote anything but I've just been so busy! Here's the nearly completed lampshade with its crocheted flowers. I think it makes it look really jolly. It's taken a lot more flowers than I anticipated so I reckon I've got about 6 more to do. I have to alternate between crochet, knitting and sewing as I get bad pains in my forearms/shoulders/neck. I've also been doing a lot of gardening as the weather has been glorious.

Yesterday I took some of these (Elderflowers in case anyone is wondering)...........

....and turned them into this. Elderflower cordial, which is an essential ingredient for a happy summer. The recipe I used is here and is really easy.

Here's where I'm up to with the Autumn Rose sweater - half way up the second sleeve so I should be joining it all together to knit the top part soon. Yippee!

This magnificent foxglove has made itself at home on top of an old horse manure heap and it looks so beautiful that I can't get rid of it yet.

Tinker helped me make some new curtains by holding the fabric taut whilst I hemmed them!

2 random photos now from a run last week. This little colt was only a few hours old when I snapped him and his mum. He was all gangly and wobbly with the sweetest little face.

This is a dirt track that I ran along. It looked so pretty with the cow parsley frothing over the edges. I love the tiny flowerlets that go to make up the umbels and the ferny foliage. When I was nearly home from this particular run I got a phone call from Emma at the Alzheimer's Research Trust asking if I'd do a live interview on the BBC News Channel with Emily Maitliss. So I had to get washed and changed quickly and head off into Tunbridge Wells to the BBC Studios there. There has been a lot of publicity recently because of the King's Report which basically says that not enough money is being put into dementia research and that there will be a crisis in the next generation if we don't act now (because people are living longer, the incidence of dementia with increase). I just hope the Government starts to take notice.