Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sidetracked by butterflies

One would think that with such a close deadline on my Hanami, I would surely stay on track.... well, one would be wrong. I think if anyone would count the projects I have completed while I knit something else, the side-trackers' numbers would be much higher. That is just the way I work, I guess.

So what is it this time? Two things, actually. First, I really wanted to try out Moebius cowl and I have dyed last week a beautiful DK weight merino, just enough for a small project. I actually started it before the shawl, so technically it might not even count.... I did a couple rows yesterday just because the day was so frustrating I could not concentrate on anything by the time I had time to knit...

 The second one was a true distraction though. And I am not even at the knitting part yet!!! I just officially finished the test-knit for "Darling Blankie", and one of my test knitters, when finishing, said she's been asked for a butterfly blanket... Butterflies.... they have never really been my thing, but somehow this morning I must have been in a really creative mood. My design is inspired by a tattoo(!), and - it is NOT lace. An interesting mix of cables is what I have in mind, but I shall say no more at this point. I probably won't have time to cast on before September though (unless I find a really good excuse...) and I am not confident enough to give it for testing without having knit the design myself. It looks really pretty though on paper and I have to restrain myself from not going through stash for suitable yarn....

Anyhow, back to Hanami. I have managed to complete charts A,B and C for the first side (there are 4 more to go) and am currently on chart D. Photos tomorrow, when - hopefully - I'll have more to show!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hanami Sprint - can I do it???

I really have no idea, how it happened, but time simply slipped and before I knew it, deadlines are right around the corner. My mother has a birthday in 11-th of August, and I want to do something special for her. I just thought I still have plenty of time.... but I don't. I am leaving for Latvia in 9 days, and I really want my present to be ready.
I picked the most beautiful yarn I have in my stash and it also happens to be one of my moms favorite colors - I just know she will be thrilled!!! It's a 70% cashmere/ 30% silk yarn, in a absolutely gorgeous color, called - viola. It is a silver-grey-lilac with an amazing sheen. I have it twisted for me in heavy lace/light fingering weight at 1300 yards/150g. Although originally I had a different project in mind for it, obviously there was a reason I delayed casting on.... I am glad though.

So, can I do it? I picked "Hanami Stole" to knit, and I will be doing the cherry blossom version only. So I started with provisional cast on, unfortunately I only did 8 rows last night, so I really need to speed things up today. There are about 200-ish rows for each half, 95 stitches each row, so that would mean something like 40 000+ stitches in total, since there are also some rows in the middle and ruffle at the end.... Ehh, a little math tells me I would need about 20 hours or so to finish the whole stole, we shall see..... Worst case scenario - I will finish it in Latvia. I hope I can manage though. Fingers crossed!
Here's how much I have so far. Do You think I'm crazy? :D

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Turquoise Project

So, here is what I am doing with my hand dyed yarn. I tried out a few patterns, but since I don't usually knit with tonal/variegated yarns, it took a while to find something I was happy with. And, I think this really looks great, as the colors are interesting, plus the pattern really brings out the softness and squishiness of a DK weight merino.
This shawl might remind you of the Icelandic Sunrise Shawl, and at first, that was what I tried to knit. But, the purling part was not coming smooth to me and it was a bit of a struggle. I admit, I did not try the Norwegian Purl method, I went for a more easy option. So, my version doesn't have a single purl stitch in it, and each cluster has 5 stitches instead of 4. The effect though is very similar, shawl will be very very warm, it looks interesting and has a great texture. One minor problem - I ran out of yarn. Yes, I used both skeins and I still have a couple rows I'd like to do for finishing and a FRINGE. I think this one really needs a fringe for a nice, finished look. So, I am up to a challenge to repeat my dyeing adventure... we'll see how that goes...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trying out some acid dyes

I could not resist, I just had to try it.... I had ordered some undyed yarn as well as some professional dyes. The yarn I used is extra fine merino, DK weight. It's not superwash, so I was being really careful with it. I used turquoise and I think it came out pretty nice. I wanted to try the graduated dyeing method and I learned a few things - although I had placed the whole skein in dye pot, the color did not set immediately, and later washed off completely, leaving the lightest part almost completely white. I kind of like it anyway. I think I should probably place the whole skein in microwave to set next time, as a lot of color came out in general. I was reading it is to be expected with this dyeing method, but still, maybe there is a way around it...
I have started a shawl with it, and I am sure I'll use both skeins for it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lemonade? Yes, the real one!

fresh lemons

This recipe is really popular in Greece, especially since a lot of households have a lemon tree or two in the garden.... I make it every year, since we have way too many lemons to eat otherwise... plus - it is The Best refreshing drink during the summer when you're just melting from heat.... like now... :)

So, here goes. It's really simple. All you need is lemons, sugar, a bottle that closes hermetically and some patience. This recipe is without boiling or heating anything, and it preserves all of the fresh aroma and flavor!

fresh lemon juice
Squeeze the juice. Measure how much you have. For 1L of lemon juice, you'll need 1,5kg of sugar. Add both components in a bottle, add lemon peal (grated, preferably), close it and place it in a well lit place, but not in direct sunlight. Leave it there until all of sugar has melted, moving/shaking it gently every day. It might take a few days up to a week. After that the lemonade is ready to use and I would keep it in refrigerator.

To serve: mix about 1 part of lemonade to 4 parts of water (sparkling water is really nice!). Adding a few leaves of mint is a good idea, too.

Darling Blankie pattern release

My daughter Adriana and her Darling Blankie
Finally, I have gone through the pattern one more time, and I think I am quite happy with it. Most test knits have been finished by now, too - the blankets are gorgeous!!!! So here is the pattern! :) It includes both - a chart and written instructions. My test group has been simply amazing, and I think the pattern has improved a lot thanks to their feedback and Josephine's advice. Their projects should be soon linked up to the Ravelry pattern page, have a look!

If You knit for charity, please, message me up with the charity you support and I will happily gift You the pattern! (let me know your e-mail address or Ravelry username, so I can send it to You)

The pattern is available for USD 3,50 as an instant download here -buy now and on Ravelry as "Darling Blankie". My usual copyright policy applies, You can find it here.