Ah, Gumtree. Source of great amusement (cries of who will buy that?! and, How much?!) and great local bargains, it can also lead to disappointment, which I experienced on Friday. But we got back on the Gumtree wagon the next day with the snapping up of this mid century Ercol-alike Danish coffee table for an absolute steal. Ok, so it was in Macduff (on the very tippy top of the Aberdeenshire coast), but we incorporated a visit to the aquarium and an award-winning fish and chip shop and it was, all in all, rather a nice day out! It won’t stay in this room, which is stuffed to the gunnels with furniture, books and the inexorable creep of toys, but in the -eventual- sitting room. Just once we get that unasked-for water feature sorted…
I was asked to make some cushions recently and allowed pretty much free rein on the designs, which was great fun. I decided to go with a soft, washed out palate of pinks and mustard with a darker Liberty print thrown in to lead your eye around. Placement of pattern, tone and colour has been rendering me paralysed for some time now. The more I read about colour wheels, variation, large prints and small prints, contrast and variation, the more bamboozled I become and I feel incapable of putting things together. I used to be quite instinctive about it and am trying to get back to that instead of fretting over florals.
I also used an old embroidered tablecloth for one of the cushion covers, bought specially for the purpose due to its perfectly-sized central motif.
Chopping it up felt somehow easier having purchased it for that very end. This tied in nicely with the vintage-y feel and use of some 1980s Laura Ashley fabrics (and as troubling as this feels to someone born in the 1980s, I think they do qualify as vintage now!)
The cushion pads were lovely British wool ones, which not only feel fantastic but also have a slight scent of wool which I know the knitting recipient will appreciate!
They’re winging their way to their new owner and her lovely Loaf sofa now.
A long, long time ago I cast on a wrap for my sister. It was to be the biggest version of Brooklyn Tweed’s Topiary, a geometric, cabled wrap designed by Michelle Wang for the company that looked just lovely in the pattern photos. I’ve used Jared Flood’s patterns before, and found them to be well written, beautiful and clear. The models are apparently all friends of the designer, and are not only gorgeous but epitomise fresh-faced American youth, full of eager potential in their stunning hand knitted garments. Just look at her, she’s so beautifully happy with her Topiary wrap:
What’s not to like? I bought the pattern and plunged in. And quickly realised I was out of my depth. Once I had mastered the actual reading of the chart (aided by an attack with some highlighter pens) I realised that I would never be able to memorise it or be able to knit it with anything other than maximum concentration. At first, this was ok: I was breastfeeding Otis to sleep (yes, I started this years ago) and so had a good hour or so every evening of being pinned to the bed. It was a good use of the time. But then it was put away once I realised it wouldn’t meet the birthday, then the Christmas deadlines; and then it languished. I tried to take it up again a few times, but my heart wasn’t in it. I also had made the error of using a slightly hazy yarn which rendered the time and effort put into all those tiny cables completely pointless, so poor was the stitch definition.
I was a third of the way through and I just realised I had to give up. After gloomily contemplating frogging the whole thing, I decided to just cast it off, fold it in half and seam it to make a cushion.
I still love the pattern, even with the poor stitch definition, and am actually rather pleased with it.
My lovely sister is rather inundated with cushions (her own doing, so I presume she must like them), and I know her husband relishes the chucking of cushions with gusto to make room for actual people on their sofa. She seemed happy with it, and to be honest I mostly feel relief: that it’s finished with, and that I can rummage in my knitting bag without coming across it and feeling the UFO (Unfinished Object) Guilt. Farewell, Topiary!
Posted in Finished Projects | Tagged Brookyn Tweed, Cushion, failure, hand knit, hand knitting, handknit, Jared Flood, knitting, Michelle Wang, pashmina, rescue, shawl, Topiary, UFO, unfinished object, wrap | 6 Comments »
I enjoy making things -mostly!- so there’s a lot of love in with the usual frustration and perhaps puzzlement at patterns and ideas that perhaps don’t always pan out the way I thought they would. But every so often I find myself making something special, something to give a little warmth in more ways than one, hopefully. This cosy headband fell into that category: a great free pattern from Susan Hummel called the Wishbone Headband which knit up really quite quickly. It used two techniques that were new to me: a provisional cast on and the use of the kitchener stitch, or grafting, at the end to join the live stitches together. This was pretty faffy, but I got the hang of it and the results weren’t too bad.
I bought more yarn than I needed for this wee project, so I might just have to have another go at those sweet little cables and spread a bit more knitted cosiness around…
Posted in Finished Projects | Tagged cables, Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester, easy, gift, hand knit, handknit, headband, knitted, knitting, last minute, quick, Susan Hummel, Wishbone Headband, wool | 3 Comments »
They do say children growing up is bittersweet; surely part of the sweetness is a legitimate reason for making them new versions of what they’ve grown out of! Sol needed a new hat and his previous one had been such a success I just repeated the pattern, adding a few more stitches to the cast on and a few rows to the length.
This time he declined a decorative button <sniff> because he wouldn’t be as well camouflaged in the woods, apparently. He chose the colour, which is another Erika Knight yarn, this time in a chunky weight, in the shade ‘Gunge.’ Such was my revulsion at the name I nearly didn’t buy it but I just re-named it ‘Moss’ in my head and sallied forth.
This time my skills have grown to include a three needle bind off which I really like the look of- but otherwise it remained unchanged: a moss stitch border, knit stitch in the round and I lined it with red fleece.
This does make it look like some sort of frog puppet, but when you’re 5 that is in no way a bad thing.
Next up: still knitting, but back to DK instead of chunky, and some delicate little cables.
Cable knitting is amazing: you spend one fiddly row faffing around stretching stitches all over the place, then a couple of rows later the weaving, winding nature of the fabric appears almost magically.
I hope to finish this (it’s another present, so I can’t say much more about it!) soon, then on to more knitting, this time a rescue mission on a project I abandoned almost two years ago, more of which later. I do have plans to return to quilting soon, but the weather is so… knitterly it seems only appropriate to put the kettle on, chuck another log on the fire and cast on another project.