Friday, 26 December 2014

Happy birthday to me...!

Making a new year's resolution on my birthday seems like a good idea!  I fancy knitting a pouffe this year (don't you just love that word?!  ~ POUFFE ~ )(makes me think of a dragon blowing a feather away...) and have been investigating patterns.  This seems like the easiest one so far.  I love the mis-translation of the word duvet:  "we tried to make a ball of duves before we stuffed it" and "stuff the duves into the stool."  Erm, yes, quite.  Actually, that's a brilliant idea:  buying cheap duvets to use as stuffing for the giant floor cushion (which is probably a better description of what I'm trying to make rather than ......pouffe.......)  I had thought to use old pillows but they might end up an odd shape.
Another interesting suggestion is multi-stranding wool to make it thick enough to use 15mm needles, rather than buying Very Fat Wool.  2000g of wool would be required to make a decent sized stool that you can put you feet on, though I'm not confident it would be strong enough to sit on.  
I saw a fantastic one at John Lewis but at a rather fantastic price as well.  I wish you could buy that industrial strength wool they use.....unless of course, it isn't knitted but manufactured.  Mmmm, cheating....
Anyway, check out this Norwegian website (it's very possible that Google mistranslated that "duves".....)
...and here's someone who tried it out:
This blog looks like a good one to follow:
Hope you've all had a lovely Christmas!  I managed not to knit a stitch....!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Comic cardie

Some time ago, I knitted the most disastrous cardigan in the history of knitting.  Worse, I had struggled with the awful wool for about two years since buying it, so it was a double disaster.  Recently, while clearing out and rearranging my wooden box, I came across the remnants of this yarn and starting knitting a jumper I really fancied in a very old knitting magazine.  I had enough to complete the back and since it seems to be turning out all right, I think it's time to pull out the comic cardie and start reknitting.  Before I do that, I got my daughter to take a picture of me wearing the cardie - sorry, it turned out rather dark and blurred, but then it is the winter's solstice today with no light in the sky at all - very gloomy and dull (though the gloom does seem to have turned a strange shade of pink now that it's 4pm and time for tea...)
What you can't see in the picture are the sleeves which hang about a six inches below my fingertips and the fact that the cardie as about three times wider than I am.  Also, the hood is somehow too short in front.  The knitting itself is crap beyond belief - honestly, I followed the pattern down to the letter.  I used the correct needles and tension, followed the sizing and THIS is what I ended up with - a gigantic saggy brown monstrosity.  
If it wasn't so funny, I might cry....though I think I might have cried at the time and then shoved it at the back of the Disaster Drawer for two years.  Since then, I've concentrated on knitting things well, using lovely yarn in lovely colours and feel much more confident.  But this really knocked me for six at the time....
Oh, look, it's a brown penguin

Previous posts about this cardigan can be found here:
The yarn used is Sirdar Tweedy Chunky, thankfully discontinued (as far as I know)

Other people seem to have had success with this awful yarn - have a look at these gorgeous sweaters at Ravelry:

Obviously it's just my bad knitting.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Looking after your stash

While rummaging through my big wooden box of yarns the other day, I noticed that some of them didn't smell....nice.  The fact that they smelt of anything couldn't be good!  I thought it was a musty smell and couldn't decide what to do.  I wondered if I might be storing them incorrectly or if they were just getting old.  I wrote to and got a reply back from Julia:

The main issue would be humidity which can make the wool smell funny.  The first thing I would do is to unpack your wool and let it dry open and in a warm place to get rid of all the moisture.  To get rid of the smell I would opt for natural fresheners like essential oils or a bar of soap.  Add the essential oils such as lavender, mint, lemon or rosemary to a cloth or a bit of yarn or fabric you're not using anymore.  Once the yarn is dry pack it airtight in a plastic bag or similar so that moisture can't get to it anymore.

Today I unpacked everything!  I took the wool out their bags and arranged them all over the lounge, mostly on tissue paper as I didn't want them to get dirty.  (That makes my sitting room sound filthy, but you know what I mean....that odd mote of dust floating about...)  I realised that most of the yarns didn't smell at all, it was just the purer wool - and then, when I went to clean the box out, I realised the yarn smelt like BOX!  The wool has actually taken on the smell of wood!  Woody wool (or is that woolly wood?!)  Much relief - so it seems my stash hasn't been suffereing from humidity at all, just feeling a little boxed in.  However, I did repack everything into fresh, new closable bags and a couple of large resealable bags I happened to have spare.  Had great fun - everything is now quite visible and easy to locate.  Also, it was a great reminder of what I've got and what I could do with all those random leftovers (let alone entire bags of ten I haven't used yet....)  I liked the idea of a bar of soap to scent the box naturally so got a bar of lavender soap.  Amazing how LITTLE soap my supermarket had.  Don't people use soap any more?

Julia also sent me a link about storing wool, particularly helpful if you've got dreaded moths:

All this has been a huge reminder to KNIT MY STASH - a good idea considering my super-squeezed budget.  It's just that I think we've got enough jersies for now.......!

My wooden box