Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sculpture in Context 2015

It's Autumn!! Which means;
Leaves are turning.
The weather is getting colder - knitter season!
Sculpture in Context is on display in the Botanic Gardens. 
We had a little wander on a recent sunny morning. Here are some of the pieces that really caught our attention.
Another Place by Tara Butler Frey

It Tolls for Thee by Niamh & Brian Synnott 
This was our favourite piece. It's really lovely to see something truly interactive in a public setting. 

Flotsam & Jetsam by Verona Stellet

Stalkers in the Midst by Orla Kaminska

Bird Song by Michelle Hannan

Zonitoides Nitidus by Michael C. Keane
The Small Human is fascinated, if a little intimated by this piece. It's huge (for a snail).

Untitled by Genevieve Kiely
The only yarn I spotted in this year's exhibition ... fun fur. It looks effective hanging  in a glass house though!

Hare Bells, Pond Life & A Nursery for Dandelions by Thomas Wollen

Snail Boy by Barra Cassidy

Gardeners Delight by Alan Boyle
This is just a small section of the whole piece. There was something really pleasing about the shapes & colours of these tiles. I would love to embroider something inspired by this. 

Sculpture in Context is on display until 16th October in Dublin's Botanic Gardens. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sewing - project bags

I'm currently experiencing something of a black hole of knitting. This has involved lots of casting on, & casting aside of new projects, and completely re-knitting a cardigan that just wasn't right. In 4 ply yarn. After I'd already woven in ends & blocked the original. (I may have been in some denial about the cardigan's issues.) I have managed to get some sewing done though! I cut out the fabric for these project bags months ago & finally dragged out the sewing machine from it's toddler-proof hiding place the other day. The basic bag is made up from no particular pattern. 

They will come in handy for tidying away some of these knitting works in progress.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Finished Knit; Colour Affection for ME!

I present a finished knit; a Colour Affection for myself.
I made some small changes from the pattern; I chose to knit in lace weight yarn with much smaller needles for a closer fabric, and as a result had to add in extra rows. 
I also started & ended with the same colour (black).

I'd been considering this project, and yarn choices for a while, and managed to find suitable combinations in yarn stash;
Black - Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb, from deep stash.
Purple - Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace, which I over dyed.
Grey - Austermann Merino Lace, received in a recent stash-swap with another knitter. 

I used a backwards loop increase.
For the first section, I continued to knit until I had 147 stitches,
The second section has 24 ridges in purple - my first contrast colour. 
The third section has 24 ridges in grey - my second contrast colour. 
I worked the edging until I got fed up of it; about 3 cm instead of the 5 cm called for in the pattern. 

Lately I've needed simple knits to keep my hands busy, without having to think too much. Some knitters complain about garter stitch, but it's exactly what I have needed lately. 
I ended up casting off 617 stitches, and with a shawl over 2.5 metres wide, knit on 2.5 mm needles. 
A lot of garter stitch, & a lot of much-needed distraction. There's something really lovely about squishy garter stitch fabric in light weight lace yarns, so I look forward to wrapping myself up with this shawl when the weather turns a little cooler. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tour de Fleece - Hedgehog Fibre Batts

This is my last finished yarn of this year's Tour de Fleece. I've had batts from Hedgehog Fibres in my stash for a while, at a bit of a loss for how to treat them. I've spun other batts from Hedgehog Fibres before, & really love the little bright colours tucked away inside the batts. I've been trying to spin with a finished project, or at least a finished yarn in mind lately, & decided that these batts would become a soft fluffy DK yarn. Or at least, that was what I was aiming for. 
I split the layers of batts & tore off strips before rolling them around a brush handle to make faux-rolags. I tried to keep the yarn light & fluffy as I spun. The finished yarn is a 3-ply, about DK weight, and with 133 metres to play with, should make a nice fluffy accessory. I had originally planned this for baby booties, but am now thinking that it could be a slouchy hat for myself, eventually!

Tour De Fleece - hand dyed merino/soybean yarn

Today is the last day of the Tour De Fleece. I have been slowly spinning away on projects, but neglecting to share images as I went along.

This yarn is spun from a merino & soybean blend from World of Wool. I wanted to experiment with my dyepot & see how the different fibre would take up the dye in different ways. While I didn't get exactly the result I wanted, I did learn quite a bit about applying dye to fibre... like not trying to be precise by using massive puddles of dye!

Once the dyed fibre was dry, it was time to examine & assess... I may have had some help. 
As I took apart the fibre, it became obvious that I was a little too rough in handling the fibre during the dye process. Quite a bit of the fibre was just a little fulled, and a little difficult to draft. Perhaps I stirred the pot a little too vigorously, or I may have used too-cool water to rinse the warm fibre. I managed to tear the fibre into strips & spent quite a bit of time pre-drafting before spinning semi-worsted. I then chain or navajo plied the singles. 
The finished yarn is about DK to aran weight, and at 154 metres long should be easy to match up to a project.... eventually. I have no idea what this will become! It was a good learning experience though.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tour De Fleece 2015 - Falkland handspun

I've been spinning away for this year's Tour de Fleece, just a little bit most days. My first finished yarn of the tournament is a 2-ply spun from Falkland tops, which I arranged into wee imitation rolags before spinning. My aim was to get a 2-ply woollen (warm, springy & steel-worthy) yarn to use as a contrast with some Kauni Effektgarn I received in a recent stash swap with other knitters. 
My handspun is quite inconsistent, and not quite as close to the Kauni (on the right) as I would have liked. However, I'll knit it up in a swatch before deciding if this was a total failure.
I now have 100 g & about 248 metres of this yarn to play with. I've been drawn to beautiful blanket patterns by Pinneguri recently and think the Kauni yarn's colour changes would look wonderful in something along these lines... when I get around to it!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tour De Fleece 2015 - Dye experiments

Over the last week or so, I've been participating, rather slowly, in the Tour de Fleece (spin every day of the Tour de France; set your own challenges; share pictures on Ravelry to egg on other spinners). So far, I've been spinning boring white yarn. But I did have some fun dyeing fibre last weekend, experimenting with variegated colours, and digging into the long-neglected fibre stash. 

First up, a merino & soybean fibre. I started by dripping & pouring complementary colours in small sections onto the wet fibre, and came to the conclusion that I used far too much liquid for this stage. I then added the fibre to a blue dyepot without stirring too much. The colours bled a little more than intended but I'm happy with the results. The streaks of soybean didn't take the dye as much as the wool, which I'm happy with. 

Next up, a merino/cashmere blend. It was my intention to end up with a variegated purple, with spots a little bit more blue or more red. I laid the wet fibre out & poured the highlight colours on in small areas, before adding the fibre to a purple dyepot. It became immediately obvious that I used too much red & pink dye! The colours will blend a little, depending on the spinning method I use. 

Another merino/cashmere blend; this colour was achieved by making up a dye pot using the excess blue & red from the previous attempt. Once the fibre was in the pot, I added some more purple & stirred a little, to try achieve a semi-solid colour. I'm really pleased with the depth of the colour - it reminds me of beetroot!

I haven't decided what these braids will grow up to be yet. To try challenge  my spinning self, I'm trying to achieve particular yarns to suit specific projects rather than spinning mindlessly. The possibilities are endless!