I Dream Of Crafting Blog

the super cool stuff I make

Let the Hat Revolution Begin! January 3, 2011

There’s a woolly hat revolution and it all started with Misti Alpaca Chunky.

It all happened by accident when Wild Fire Fibres and I were simultaneously knitting hats.  Since it’s been so cold this winter, I’ve taken to wearing hats inside to keep warm.  Unfortunately, all my hats are pre-Purl City Yarns, so I wanted to knit something in a Purl City Yarns yarn to wear at work.  So, I started knitting Woolly Wormhead’s Waffle Slouch hat in Mirasol Akapana and Wild Fire Fibres was, unknown to me at the time, creating her own hat design, which I get to test knit!

I was completely taken with the Akapana as soon as I opened the box, which says a lot because it doesn’t come in pink.  Nevertheless, I’ve been wanting something a bit more neutral and the colours are lovely, with the tweedy flecks adding just that little something extra.  It’s also an absolute dream to knit with and wear!  The Waffle Slouch is also a great pattern; all you really need to know is how to knit, purl, yarn over and knit 2 together and you have a great slouchy hat to keep you warm this winter.

Around the time I was finishing the Waffle Slouch, Vikki came in with a hat of her own creation in Misti Alpaca Chunky.  I’ve never seen anyone so happy to be wearing a hat, and I believe the main source of happiness came from the pom-pom, which to be fair, makes the hat.

I’d had my eye on a particular shade of blue Misti Alpaca Chunky and shortly after seeing and having a feel of Vikki’s hat, Ysolda Teague announced she was putting her Icing Swirl Hat on sale.  The first thing I thought was how cute the hat would look in the blue Misti Alpaca and immediately bought the pattern.  The final sign to confirm that I needed a blue Misti Alpaca hat came when I read the Icing Swirl Hat materials, “Approximately 100yds / 90m chunky / bulky yarn.  Shown in Misti Alpaca Chunky [my own emphasis] (100% alpaca, 108yds/ 99m, 3.53oz / 100g).”  It was meant to be.

I made a size small Icing Swirl Hat and still have some yarn left over.  I’ve heard from various people, and read on Ravelry, that the larger size takes EXACTLY one skein of Misti Alpaca and you will only have a string left after you bind-off.  My Icing Swirl doesn’t seem to be as slouchy in the back as it looks in the pattern photo, so I will probably add an extra round or two to my next one.  It’s also an insanely fast knit!  Seriously, it took a matter of a hours; I think I possibly watched two movies and it was done.  And, Misti Alpaca Chunky is like butter to knit!  I spent the entire time knitting thinking of how I wanted a blanket or a body suit made of Misti Alpaca because it’s that soft and amazing (I think I thought about it so much I couldn’t even tell you which two movies I watched when I was knitting it).  I just want it next to my skin, all the time.

That’s how the hat revolution (aka hatolution) began.  So far, it’s a small revolution, but Vikki and I have been trying to persuade Rubbish Knitter to join, and you should too.  Now I look at hats as an accessory and think about what clothes I have that will look nice with certain hats.  I even plan on knitting another Icing Swirl Hat in red because a red hat would really bring a lot of my outfits together, with the added bonus of staying warm.  You just can’t go wrong with utilitarian fashion accessories.

 

Think Pink November 25, 2010

First of all, happy Thanksgiving!  Among other vastly more important people and things I am thankful for, I am also thankful for my favourite colour, pink!  If you know me, you will know that I LOVE pink!  So much so, that when TweetDeck recommended that I follow P!nk, the musician I do not particularly like, I actually thought someone was tweeting on behalf of the colour pink and got extremely excited, followed by disappointment.  Instead, I decided to follow Barbie, because who is more qualified to tweet about the colour pink?

What I’m trying to get at is that I love pink and have a few pink projects to share.  The first is Woolly Wormhead’s Vernalis knit with Six Swans English Wool 4ply.  The colour, Barbie!  I bought this at the Manchester Yarn Day last year and out of all the beautiful, squishy yarn, I choose this one; I don’t think I need to say why.

Vernalis is a really gorgeous design and I love the lacy cables.  It’s also a lot easier than it looks, which is one of the things I really love about Woolly Wormhead’s designs.  Her patterns have a lot of thoughtful detail which make them look really complex and hard, but I find Woolly Wormhead’s patterns extremely accessible to all skill levels, challenging, yet surprisingly easy at the same time.  I don’t know if that makes sense, so you’ll just have to knit one of her hats to see what I mean.  Obviously, Vernalis is not the fastest knit in the world with all the cabling, but it is was much faster than I thought it would be.  I love the Barbie yarn so much I have been really picky and particular about what I was going to knit with it and I’m so pleased this is the project I chose.

The second pink project I have been working on is Whimsy from Louisa Harding’s Dream Catcher.  It’s the first thing I’ve knit exactly as the pattern says in Rossetti yarn.  Since it’s a cute pattern in pink, knit in just two pieces, a front and back, in a bulky yarn, there was really no reason not to knit it as it is shown in Dream Catcher.

This pattern would be nothing without the cable ribbing, which adds a touch of charm to an otherwise boring design.  Rossetti also has some little contrasting bobbles that give the finished product a nubbly texture.  I’m told this does not make Rossetti a good yarn for crocheting, but it was really lovely to knit.  The only problem I’ve encountered is that in the book, the model is wearing a long sleeve undershirt and I have not been able to find something that looks nice to wear underneath to keep my arms warm.  It might not be a bad thing as Rossetti is a really warm wool and I’ve almost overheated in the dressing rooms layering up.  And, as it turns out, I have a perfectly good jacket to keep my arms warm.

And my final pink project for the time being is actually a work in progress.  I’m currently back in the good old US of A (where there’s been loads of sun and warm weather!) visiting my parents, hence the nice pictures with flowers and a suburban backdrop, and was able to get my hands on Debbie Stoller’s new book, Stitch ‘n Bitch Knitting Superstar and fell in love with a pattern called Sweetheart Sweater.

When I was a little girl my favourite shape was the heart, and yes, my favourite colour was pink, hot pink to be exact because it was the 80s after all.  Hot pink aside, not much has changed since then; I saw this pattern and thought, “This is SOO cute!  I want this sweater now!”  Whilst the vast majority of yarn at Michaels is mostly acrylic based, if not 100% acrylic, I did stumble upon Debbie Stoller’s Bamboo Ewe, fell in love with the Snapdragon colourway and thought it would make an absolutely adorable heart sweater.

I’ve finished the front and am almost finished with the first sleeve.  I’ve had plenty of time to get knitting done since I’ve been home and I’m hoping I’ll keep my knitting momentum when I get back to Manchester to finish the Sweetheart Sweater in the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few of @BarbieStyle’s pink related tweets.

“One tiny word brings this doll an unbelievable amount of joy everyday: pink.”

“My style MO? Pink goes with everything!”

“I didn’t realize how easy it’d be to color coordinate my closet. Just one of the many perks of so much pink!”

 

Purl City Yarns in Manchester! October 10, 2010

I’ve just spent the afternoon pricing yarn and stocking the shelves for Manchester’s new yarn shop, Purl City Yarns!!

Purl City Yarns, 62 Port Street, Manchester, M4 2EQ

 

Located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Purl City Yarns will be opening its doors at 10am on Tuesday 12th October 2010 with loads of scrumptious yarns for you!  Some of the yarns in the shop are Manos Del Uruguay, Artesano, Debbie Bliss, Mirasol, Louisa Harding, Noro, Araucania, Austermann, King Cole, Lang, Natural Dye Studio, Misti Alpaca and Schoppel Wolle.  There will also be a selection of needles from Knit Pro and Brittany.

 

 

I can also verify that there will be buttons!  For those of you that love to rummage through old buttons, you will be very happy salmons because there are loads of them!

 

 

To celebrate the opening of the shop, Purl City Yarns invites you to ‘Purl the City’ by knitting or crocheting a cityscape for the 2D woolly city that will be a permanent display in the shop’s very own gallery, The Purl Gallery.  Your efforts will be rewarded with 10% off your first instore or online purchase.

You won’t just find a woolly city in The Purl Gallery.  On 22nd October 2010, 6pm – 9pm, The Purl Gallery will open with Knit & Destroy, a new collection of machine knits by Kandy Diamond, which will continue until 28th November 2010.

 

 

You can find Purl City Yarns at 62 Port Street, Manchester, M1 2EQ.  For more information go to Purl City Yarn’s website and blog and follow them on Twitter @purlcityyarns.  I also suggest you sign-up for the Purl City Yarns Newsletter to stay updated on future promotions and events.

 

No Name #1 September 23, 2010

Filed under: Knitting — IDreamofCrafts @ 8:33 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

It turns out that after a summer of mainly crafting for other people, September has been the selfish knitting month.  The package I received from the Studio Ghibli swap included a skein of Araucania Ranco Multy (colour 332).

I don’t usually buy variegated yarns for myself, not for any particular reason or dislike, I just don’t.  So, I was a little unsure of what I could do with it that would look nice.  After having a look at other projects knitted in the same yarn on Ravelry, I decided on a shawl.  Actually, I was already leaning towards a shawl because it’s a good way to use up one skein of sock yarn and I wanted another shawl as the weather is getting colder; I was just a little hesitant about it.  I didn’t want to choose something really nice and lacey and then be disappointed if the colour variations and lace patterns clashed, but after a few minutes of browsing Ranco Multy shawl projects I started noticing that I kept clicking on the project details of the same shawl, Azzu’s Shawl.  Conveniently, the suggested yarn for the pattern is Araucania Ranco Multy.

It only took me a week to knit, though I did take a bit of a break towards the end.  I forgot a yarn over somewhere and didn’t touch it for a couple of days because I  needed to count the stitches to make sure I fixed the mistake.  I think I had over 200 stitches and just couldn’t be bothered to count them.  In the end, I mustered up the motivation to count the stitches and got on with the stocking stitch.  The stocking stitch was the main problem with the pattern, especially when you realise that you’ve only knitted 2.5 rows or less during a 30 minute tv show, which wasn’t the case two days ago.  With that said, it’s only a problem because of how boring stocking stitch is on 4ply and is in fact needed to show off the colours in the yarn.

So, there really aren’t any problems with the pattern and I think it would be a great first-big-project project for a beginner and is an excellent pattern for variegated yarns.  It’s also a nice mix between a shawl and a scarf as it’s a bit slimmer than most shawls, but is still clearly a shawl.  And, it’s long enough to securely tie in the front without feeling choked.

If the random thunderstorms of the last few weeks are anything to go by, it’s going to be a long, cold, wet winter, so I’m glad to have a little something nice to keep me warm while I’m knitting for other people.

PS.  If you’re not on Ravelry 1) you should be and 2) you can find the Azzu’s Shawl pattern as a free pdf download here.

 

She’s the little girl with the round tummy September 10, 2010

My most recently completed craft project was a present for a Studio Ghibli themed swap.  I based the theme around Ponyo.

From this,

came this,

While it’s not massive in size, I’ve never done this much embroidery before, so it was a bit of a trial and error project and it could be better, but I really thought it would be much much worse, so I’m fairly pleased with the result.  However, it doesn’t stop there.  I carefully cut Ponyo out and made her into a little patch to be ironed and sewn onto a little wristlet project bag that I designed.

The drawstring is a crochet chain from red cotton tape and I used a large wooden button as the toggle.  This was mainly because I couldn’t recall seeing a normal toggle thing at the craft store and didn’t feel like leaving the flat the day I was making it.  Plus, buttons make everything cuter and those toggle things are ugly anyway.

I found this really cute fish fabric to use as lining and since it’s so cute, I wanted it to show on the front of the bag.  It also fit with the scene in Ponyo the patch came from as there’s a lot brightly coloured fish swimming around in the opening scenes.

After finishing the bag, it didn’t seem like there was much to the package, so I also knitted Preita Salyer’s Green Sea Cowl in King Cole Mirage (colorway 871).  It was a super easy pattern and really quick to knit.

It turned out absolutely beautifully in the King Cole; it seemed magical how the colours stripped at all the exact right places to compliment the design.

I haven’t been very selfish with my crafting over the last few months, and the trend isn’t over yet.  I’m about to start the Christmas crafts because I’m planning on making some large and time consuming projects, so I may disappear for a while in the near future.  But hopefully, there will be lots of shiny things to show upon my return.

 

Home Sweet Home August 21, 2010

My lack of posts this summer would make it seem as if I’ve either, not done anything at all, or done so much I haven’t had time to post.  It’s a little bit of both.   In June, MrNTR and I and went on a small holiday to Oslo, Norway and I had another mini holiday in July/August with my best friend.

Opera House

Oslo was AMAZING!  We had a great view of the Opera House from our hotel.  I think I took this picture close to 11:00 at night.  I never saw it get dark while we were there and I usually went to bed about 12:00am.

I also bought some yarn.  I only found two yarn shops in Oslo and even though one of them was really small, they both had an absolutely stunning selection of brightly coloured yarns.  I wanted to get several colours to do some colour work, but it was just too expensive.  It took quite a while to decide between a bright pink and this bright blue and I’m very pleased with my choice.  I plan on using it to knit the Shalom Cardigan.

Per Tryving pt3

As I said, we moved in June.  In the move I acquired a craft room, so have been quite the busy bee this summer.  The main problem I’ve been having is the motivation to finish projects, mainly because I start sewing or knitting a cute summer clothing project during a two-day sunny streak, then it rains for the next month and my motivation is washed away in the rain.  Now I’m thinking about my autumn and winter wardrobe, so they may be unfinished until next spring.  However, I have finished a couple of projects for the new flat.

The first is an improv hanging hand towel I knit up during the World Cup.  Oddly, I enjoyed watching the US vs England match and the one where England got kicked out.  The towel was knit with a double seed stitch and a garter stitch border.  I don’t remember the number of cast-on stitches or anything, I just knit until it seemed like I was going to run out of yarn, did some dramatic K2Tog decreases and made a little fold-over tab with a yarn over button-hole.  I used exactly one ball of Lily Sugar’n Cream Stripes (colourway 21114).

My best friend came to visit, which was my second mini holiday, and I wanted to be sure everyone could lounge comfortably in the living room.  Our new flat only has a three seat sofa, so we could all technically fit, but it’s not always the most comfortable.  Since there really isn’t any room to add more furniture, my second project is a solution to a small living space – a floor cushion from Amy Butler’s In Stitches.

I am in total love with this fabric!  I bought it to make the floor cushion, but it only became a floor cushion in the end because I got a veto from MrNTR when I draped the fabric around myself and asked, “Do you think it’s too much for a dress?  What about a skirt?”  Needless to say, he answered ‘Yes’ to both questions.

As a floor cushion, it’s comfortable, though I think I need to add more stuffing.  Floor lounging would also be more comfortable if I made the second, longer cushion to go with it.  My favorite way of using it is propping the gum drop pillow* behind the floor cushion and leaning against the two.  It works well on the floor propped up against the sofa, or on the sofa, which is so comfortable it makes seam ripping a little less frustrating.

I also got a crafty souvenir on my bff mini holiday.  Can you guess where we went?

*After some wear and tear, I can say that if you make the gum drop pillow, make it with a heavy cotton and reinforce the seams at the top.  I’ve had it bust open in a few different spots and beanbag innards are not fun to clean up.

 

Big Damn Heroes July 11, 2010

It’s definitely been awhile, which is not because I haven’t been busy, because I have, but as I said in my previous post I’ve been gift crafting.  Over the last month I’ve been crafting for a Firefly Swap on Ravelry.  Now that my spoilee has received her gifts, I can tell you about them.

I found out about the swap a while ago and had been coming up with various ideas for it, a Jayne hat inspired coin purse with chocolate coins in it, a Simon “medical kit” that included essential things any knitter needs, a few cross stitch ideas around various characters, a pink handbag for a shindig, bottle cap stitch markers for each crew member, and a few other that seem to have slipped my mind.  Once I received my swapper and did some stalking, I only used two of the ideas, the pink handbag and the stitch markers and I added a little project book, an embroidered bookmark and a variation of the Jayne hat.

The handbag is, big surprise, an Amy Butler pattern; it is the Clutch Handbag with Fabric Flower from In Stitches.  My version does not have the flower and I added a little fake button made out the lining fabric.  It was very easy to make, the only other modification I made was with the interfacing.  A lot of the patterns in In Stitches call for a very heavy interfacing called Timtex.  I don’t know if they sell it in the UK, they definitely don’t sell it at my local craft shop, so I used two pieces of heavy interfacing instead.  I’ve never used Timtex to compare, but the two pieces of heavy interfacing seem to have worked just fine.  The only other change I would make if I made it again would be to add some little pockets to the divider for a phone, keys, lipstick, whatever a lady doesn’t want to rummage around for at the bottom of her bag.  You can never have too much storage in a handbag.

Shindig Clutch

The idea for a handbag came to me from Kaylee’s cupcake dress in the episode ‘Shindig.’  The fabric I chose for the lining is also a reference to Kaylee and the bright floral shirts she wears.  It also has an element of Oriental style to it, which fits in perfectly with the Firefly verse.  Conveniently, one of my spoilee’s favorite characters is Kaylee and her favorite episode is ‘Shindig.’

Shindig Clutch Lining

Remember when I made stitch markers a few months ago?  Well, it was all part of my plan to make Firefly bottle cap stitch markers.  I wanted to get the hang of jewelry making to see if it was a reasonable project to undertake.  I’m not terribly good at jewelry making, but I think they turned out quite well considering.  I wanted to do more with the beads to make them themed around each character a bit more, but I couldn’t afford that kind of attention to detail.  However,  my small stash of beads did include a little leaf for Wash and an ‘autumn’ flower for Zoe.  I also tried to match up the bottle caps other people kindly donated (thank you everyone) to each character.  I don’t remember all of them and didn’t get pictures of the backs, but Shepard Book got a Bishops Finger cap (Shepard Book is a preacher), Jayne got a King Fisher cap that says, “Most Thrilling Chilled,” Zoe got a brown[coat] cap from the so-called “natural” Pepsi, Wash got a cap with a flower for his Hawaiian shirts, and Mal got a cap with a cock that says, “Courage.”

Firefly Crew Bottle Cap Stitch Markers

I also had some little graph paper books the Mr. brought back from a conference, so I covered it in a piece of brown felt and put a picture of the crew on it to make it a little more exciting.  I also made a little fabric bookmark with a quote from River, another one of my spoilee’s favorite characters.

Book for Crafty Browncoats and River Tam Fabric Bookmark

The least original, is the Jayne hat, but my spoliee said she would like one, just not in the original colours, red, yellow and orange.  Since my spoilee wanted this, and she doesn’t like chocolate and didn’t indicate any preference towards Jayne, I made the hat instead of the coin purse.

Variation of Jayne's Hat

I decorated the packing box with a big picture of Serenity and the River quote, “Mid-bulk Transport. Standard Radion Accelerator core. Class code 03-K64–Firefly,” (I only had the time and skill to allude to my package being a Firefly cargo ship, but I really wanted to make my package in the shape of Serenity and make the inside a sort of diorama) and I found this great comic to add with a little note.  After a month or two of crafting and watching the whole Firefly series about 3 times, plus some random episodes here and there, the Mr. decided that adding this comic was thing that made me really geeky.  If only.

This is what makes me geeky