Monday, 23 February 2009

Never felt better

I have too much of a headache to knit tonight, so please be polite and try not to act too stunned that I'm blogging twice in as many days!

I thought I would start on that pile of FOs, with the one I'm probably most proud of.

I have long been fascinated by entrelac, and wanted to give it a go. I am also very fond of the felted bag, and when I spotted the Felted Entrelac Clutch on Ravelry some time back, I just had to give it a go.

The impetus to get it on the needles came from the inclusion of a new class in the knitting section of the Canberra Show craft schedule: item of fulled knitting. Done deal.

Pattern: Felted Entrelac Clutch by Meg White. Lets hear it for Ravelry; comments on another knitter's project page helped me navigate an error in the first stages of the pattern that would have driven me insane with frustration otherwise.

Yarn: Patons Jet in three colours. Instead of using a varigated yarn, I joined the colours at the end of each row. I used nearly 3 balls of the dark brown, nearly 2 of the mid-brown, and 1 of the cream.

Sticks: Knitpicks options 6.5 mm circ

Felting: A good soak, and then several hours in the dryer, in a pillowcase. It took quite some time to get it to felt down to a nice tight fabric, but it's lovely and solid and firm.

For all you felting/fulling nerds, here are the before (left) and after (right) shots, with pencil for scale:

Mods: none. I was really hesitant about following the section in the pattern between the body and the handles, when you unpick the crochet cast-on to do the top triangles, where you have far fewer stitches than I felt were needed, but I resisted the urge to pick up more stitches and went with the flow. It was, of course, the point where you get that lovely nip in at the top of the body once it felts down - clever designer!

Time taken: mid-November to end December 2008. Yes, it has taken me months to blog it!

What I learned: heaps! Entrelac was not very intuitive to begin with, but once I got the concept and read a couple of tutorials, it was very easy (if you're looking, this one was very helpful). Entrelac generally begins by constructing triangles, but this pattern begins with squares, so it was a leap of faith for me.

Also - my first crochet cast on. A b$tch to unpick, but a very useful technique.

I am totally in love with this bag, and can't wait to start using it as soon as I collect it after the Show next week! I'll let you know how it goes!

p.s. sorry about the crap-o-rama photos; the bag is of course in lockdown at Show Headquarters, and I didnt realise how awful my picks were until too late!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

And so you're back from Outer Space

But man, those last few light-years seemed to take forever, didn't they? Yes, I am still alive, although I have been sucked into a mouse-wheel of routine since I've been back at work that doesn't leave a lot of time or energy for my poor blog.

A blog is a lot like a garden - you've got to tend it, water it, weed it, keep an eye out for pests and other icky things, plan for it, make time for it. Although I do love the *idea* of gardening, sadly I tend to just whack seedlings in the ground and leave them to fend for themselves. My blog has clearly suffered similarly. I think about it often, just don't get around to getting down and dirty with it as often as I should.

So in no particular order, here are some recent happenings from the Kitchen Table:

1. I have quite a number of FOs to blog. There has been a big push to get things finished for the Canberra Show (I handed them over this morning). I'll give them all their moment in the sun shortly (promise!). There are a couple of items that belong in the Long Lacy Summer too - even though it's almost over!

2. Spinning class went really well. The teacher's method of plying and I didn't get along, and I'll have to find my own way with that, but I did wind up with this:

I was much happier with the spun singles than with the plied yarn, but I'll be working on that. Perhaps using a different plying method.

3. Work is bearable. The first few weeks were very slow, but my line manager returned at the start of February and immediately found lots of things for me to do. (My sometime-manager doesn't really know how to handle me. I probably don't help him out as much as I should with that). So I am kept really busy, which is good.

4. Princess Grace has settled in fabulously well to childcare. It helps (both of us!) that I go in and feed her once a day. She is growing like a weed, putting on stacks of weight. She's quite pudgy now! After languishing in her size 000 clothes for moths, she's almost out of the next size up (00) after only a couple of months. At weigh in on Thursday, she was 6915 g, and is tracking very nicely along a percentile, instead of resolutely crossing them as she was a few months ago.

She is busily trying to crawl, and so spends much of her time like this:

until she tires and face-plants, at which point someone has to pick her up. Repeat, every few minutes!

5. Pirate Jim is busy being 3-and-a-half. Which means he seems to spend every waking moment driving me crazy with frustration. I so hope 4 is better than 3. Please tell me this is true.

6. In amongst it all, there has been some crafting. In addition to the knitting and crocheting, there has been some sewing. I was stoked to find that the fat-eighths my favourite fabric store had out at 5 for $10 were wide enough for bibs from this pattern:

Very funky Princess wear!

And that is all I have the energy to report for now. Here's hoping it's not another 6 weeks until my next post.