Shibori Lap Blankets

These went to their recipient last night so I can finally post about them. A friend wanted a lap rug and she likes both blue and the ink blot randomness of shibori . A different friend had given me some creamy cot sized blanket pieces after a stash clearing. I like dyeing things. Put all of that together and I had a plan.

Two blanket pieces, each pleated up and tied. One horizontal, one diagonal.

Dip them in a blue dye bath and enjoy the resulting patterns. Only pretend indigo this time. Earth palette wool dye in navy. Much easier than indigo and I had it in the house.

Protect the non selvage edges with blanket stitch and pop on a label

and call them done!

Then wait impatiently for 6 weeks or so until birthday and gifting have happened so posting can too.

Procrastascarf

My goodness. It’s over three months since I posted here. Oops. I knew it had been a while. Do I remember how to do this?

All through winter I was keen on figuring out a design for a jumper out of this big stack of hand spun yarn.

However, said design was elusive. I couldn’t settle on anything particular. Then I found a tentative plan for just the fawn and grey, with a pattern and everything. This released the coloured yarn for other projects. I’ve been wanting a red scarf, these three small red balls form a pleasing gradient and a pattern presented itself with ease. I have a hat already in the middle tone which is polwarth with silk. https://montjoyeblog.wordpress.com/2020/07/02/lacy-red-hat-from-white-fleece/. The darkest is merino bought years ago and written up here https://montjoyeblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/30/extracting-the-good-stuff/. The palest is also merino, fleece given to me by friend Holly about a year ago, spun up and dyed with food colour.

The pattern (Mini Solution Scarf by Kelene Kinnersly) is for a triangular scarf, so I started with the smallest ball to get the most even apparent sized segments.

Then I knitted some during a Zoom meeting and made mistakes I didn’t want to live with. Frog and reknit.

There was only 110g all up and on 6mm needles it knitted up really fast. Here it is unblocked:

and all pinned out on a lovely big piece of cardboard that I saved from a moving box 15 years ago and had forgotten about. See, I knew such a big piece was worth saving for something!

The pattern is a good one for using up nearly all the yarn. Here are my leftovers

and here is the scarf all freshly blocked, dry and being modeled, on a day rather too hot for it.

It’s a procrastascarf, because what I really should have been working on is the edgings on a vest. I’d had one go and failed by making the neck edge way too tight. I just wanted to knit something easy, so I did. Now I’ve started a lace shawl. I really must have another go at those edges.

Embroidery Quilt

I had a small stack of under loved embroidered things. Garments, tablecloths, napkins, doilys, tea cloths, pillow cases, handkerchiefs etc. Some have already been turned into new garments but I kept any embroidered offcuts. I had been musing on the idea of making a patchwork quilt to use them up. We were in lockdown here due to Covid, not a bad time to embark on this.

I started in early July by settling on a block size driven by some of the larger motifs that I didn’t want to have to cut into. Anything smaller or awkwardly placed was built up to the right size using the plainer offcuts. I think that first round gave me about 50 pieces.

I have to share this cute puppy with you. The embroidery is not good but it was done by primary school me so it had to be included. There are so many memories in these embroidered bits. Quite a few were done by my grandmother, many by friend’s family. There are also pieces from childhood garments and my cot pillowcases sent over by Mama.

Eventually I came up with an overall design, which said I needed not just 50 pieces, but 144! So I put the call out to family and friends to make up the balance. This is partway through the collection. I think I still needed about 30 pieces.

Then in early September, the last donations came in, much of which was embroidery done by my friend’s family members. Lovely stuff to receive.

My plan was to checkerboard the embroidered bits with nine patches in nice strong colours, a pretty classic design. So I raided my hoarded cotton and linen offcuts, some of which are themselves embroidered.

Then shades of pale for the other “colour” of the ninepatches to blend with the background of most of the embroidered bits. I was in this stage developing a cunning plan for the arrangement of the dark pieces particularly. Way too much thought went into this and many, many rearrangements of the stacks.

Quite some intense time on “the zen of little bits of fabric” as I tend to dub this kind of repetetive construction and I had the needed ninepatches assembled.

A few more days of fun arranging and sewing got the patchwork done. Here it is all layered up ready to pin baste and showing nicely my cunning plan with the nine patches. The colours are arranged to give shades of red/purple on one diagonal and blue/green on the other. I had worried that it would be too hard to manage the orientation of the blocks to make this work but I did it with only a modest amount of unpickery. I’m really pleased with how this worked.

After it was basted, I was a bit over it so it rested for a couple of weeks until I could face the quilting. I was hoping that I could get that done before the weather got too warm to be sitting at least partly under a quilt for extended periods. To my pleased astonishment, it only took me 20 days! Ta dah!

Then another couple of days to do the binding, and now it’s a done thing, less than 4 months since I started. To clarify, it’s machine pieced, safety pin basted, and hand quilted. The binding is attached by machine and finished by hand. All rather quicker than the hand pieced Liberty Lattice quilt that took me a year for just the piecing.

Of course it has to have a label

and proving it fits on the bed.

All the materials were from some kind of stash, both mine and others, except a little of the sewing thread. The backing was from my mother who had been planning a quilt for many years but eventually decided she wasn’t going there. More power to her for releasing herself from that looming non-project. The batting was an opshop find, which I think might be bamboo, it’s a little too shiny to be cotton.

I’m so pleased with this. It’s light and bright and summery with so much interest and many memories to enjoy. The embroidery features so many things: flowers galore, butterflies, birds, deer, fleur-de-lis, cauldrons, shrimp, swordfish, people; a donkey, giraffe and a teacup. Also, all those under loved bits of embroidery have a new and useful life.

Paisley Particolour Gown

Um yes, I like dressing gowns. Besides, they are very 2020 Iso Couture.

I bought 2 metres of this gorgeous paisley velveteen a few years ago intending to make a skirt. However it isn’t where my style preferences are at for regular clothes at the moment and I had recently given away my mid weight dressing gown. There wasn’t enough for a whole gown but I had noticed the reddish colour in the print was a good match for the russet velveteen I have lots of. Then, in order that neither half be allowed to dominate and to put a pleasing colour near my face I liked the deeper of these two blue corduroy offcuts. There wasn’t enough of that, so I dyed the paler one to solve that problem.

See, they almost match now:

There was just enough of the paisley to get half the body, one sleeve and one pocket. Hurrah. I cut mirror images of all these in the russet too of course. The heavier corduroy was cut for collar facing and cuffs. The pinwhale gave enough for a belt.

After I’d cut everything and started putting the collar together, the pattern seemed to have some problems. Oh no! I had a version control issue and had cut the wrong one. Eep! Let’s see if I can describe the history in an understandable fashion

A Tale of Two Patterns

Once apon a time, I made a nice dressing gown from polar fleece and kept the pattern. Some years later, I wanted to make another but couldn’t find the pattern. So I took a pattern off the original gown, which didn’t work very well for the collar because the gown was both stretchy and well worn. By the next time I wanted to make a similar gown, I’d found the first pattern, but stupidly kept the second and worse one. I made up gown number three (Lady Macbeth https://montjoyeblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/13/lady-macbeth-gown/) with a bit of further improvement in the collar. Then, when I wanted to cut this gown I could only find one pattern. I felt that maybe I had captured the good points of both and only kept one version? Um, nope. The collar shape had looked odd to me while cutting and turned out to be bad when I started to try to put it together. I searched harder and found the first pattern, and then had to recut and piecen the upper sections of fronts, backs and collar facing. Argh. Currently, both versions are out on the cutting table. I really must condense them down to one and keep only that!

After all that excitement, I managed to get the collar put together. I’m getting better at this game.

I used very minimal added stabilising. There is no interfacing, the corduroy is stiffer than the velveteen already and I want this to be machine washable. I have taped the roll line, shoulder seams and back neck seam. I’ve also run a line of hand stitching to control the edge of the collar. The picture below shows the upper sides of the collar on the left and the underside on the right. You can also see the stitching for the roll line tape, plus a bit of stitching holding down the edge of the facing.

The collar was the hard part, the rest was pretty easy. I’m loving the colours though I know they won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Oh yes, it’s unlined, again for easier washing and of course it has pocketses.

My only regret with this is having ended up with the paisley on the left. I’d rather cross the fronts with the paisley on top, but I always wear a wrap garment with right side over left. Oh well, I’ll cope. That preference hadn’t occurred to me during cutting.

Doubling Spun Colour

I’ve written before about craving colour in winter. Well I ordered 100g of this lovely stuff as a sheer impulse purchase. DHG 19 micron merino in “Champs-Élysées” colourway. Yes I know it’s spring! but i ordered this in the depths of winter, i just didn’t get around to spinning it until now.

Buying based on only computer screen colours is a bit dangerous. It turned out to be more autumnal than I had thought.

I thought I’d like it better if it had a bit more blue in it, and I had coordinating merino tops left over from previous projects. I was also pleased to extend the quantity. There is a limit to how many 100g projects one can make use of.

I came up with these two singles, both 50g, or half the original tops

These plied together came out nicely but felt like I had pushed too far to the blue.

So I thought I’d try something different for the second half extension and hope I could work both in together. “Thought” she wrote. SO much thinking. So many options. I thought I’d use just the blue and green with a mixed colour tops from stash to mimic the orange of the original.

Then I thought that including a little grey would come closer:

I spun this up and the second half of the original mix but with the intention of plying some of the original with itself for part of this skein. Original mix on the left, extension mix on the right. I then spun the last of the original mix on top of the extension stuff so I would get a little of the original mix plied with itself, having belatedly decided I actually do like those colours. Argh.

These two plied together gave the middle bobbin in the pic below. Big success. I rather wish I’d done all of it like this. I then went even madder and decided to try to produce yarn that would coordinate with the two bobbins made so far without using any of the original mix, hampered by running low on the blue and green tops.

Fun with multicoloured spinning from stash.

Here are the three finished plied bobbins. Confusingly, the first is in the middle, second on the right showing a bit of the original mix at the bottom, third on the left.

and as skeins. Overall I ended up with 210g, or approximately 650 metres of 4-5ply yarn:

and with the third bobbin shifted to the middle

this last pic shows the colours best I think. My camera really doesn’t cope well with blues. They don’t quite match but I reckon I could manage a pleasing sort of gradient using them all.

I am thinking I might try to use these as the front of a vest like garment in some way. Maybe. The point was really to enjoy spinning colours and I so did, but I’d like to use the yarn too eventually.

Little custom spin rescue

Remember the Midnight Forest Hat? https://montjoyeblog.wordpress.com/2020/07/14/midnight-forest-hat/. It turned out that AdventuresInFelt was right and despite feeling wonderful in my fingers, it turned out to be too prickly for my forehead. I’m blaming the corriedale content. So, in order to be able to wear it I needed to make it a new edge in something non-itchy.

I’m in another phase of trying not to buy any materials, I have so much! I knew I didn’t have an exact match for the colour but I wanted to get as close as I could. I had some dyed black merino and some brown alpaca/merino tops that I thought might come close if I spun them together.

I’m really pleased with how it came out. If you squint, they almost look the same colour. The new spin is a bit thicker, which isn’t ideal but still workable.

It works nicely I think. Reads as the ground in the picture. Obviously I also changed the style of the edge. I wanted to use a bit more of the new yarn without adding length. I spun about 40g and used about 20g.

Another pic with it opened out. It does feel better on, though the weather hasn’t been cold enough to wear it for long. It’s ready for next winter.

Sock Pair #38

I mostly knit socks as portable projects for doing on trains or planes and while waiting for various things. These were started for a trip to New Zealand. I only made about half of one sock on that trip and after that, a certain pandemic has meant that I’ve had little need of a portable project. Eventually I decided that they ought get finished so I’ve been working on them a little at a time in between other things. I’ve pushed to finish the last half a sock this week before I embark on a big quilt-a-thon.

Pattern is my now usual Wendy Johnson toe up slip stitch heel, but missing most of the slip stitches and with a simple but effective interlace pattern called “Lizard Lattice” from the book “Japanese Stitches Unraveled” by Wendy Bernard.

Yarn is Fenwick Street Flashmerino in Silver Bear by Miss Click Clack Hand-Dyed yarns. It’s 85/15 super wash extrafine merino/nylon. It’s a slightly warmer grey than the picture shows, I was impatient and didn’t wait for daylight to post this. Hmm, looking at the photo again, I now realise that one cast off is way neater than the other. Oh well, that probably won’t be noticeable in wear.

New dress from old

Somewhere around 6-7 years ago, I bought some beautiful and pricey satin striped linen with intentions of making a skirt. 5 years ago something possessed me to make a dress out of it instead. It was quite lovely when I made it. A simple T shaped bodice with a fairly slim six panel A-line skirt which used very close to all the cloth.

However, it didn’t get worn much. The fabric is really a bit heavy for a sleeved dress, the neckline is a bit low for decency when worn alone and I felt a bit like a marshmallow in it. I don’t think it made it out of the wardrobe last summer, so it was ripe for a remodel.

I chopped out the sleeves

Then cut an extra pocket and some bias strips for binding from the excised cloth. The original had only a tiny pocket due to fabric shortage, which I had sewed on the left side by mistake. Frustrating! So now I have a larger pocket on my preferred side as well. Much better.

I sewed that lot on and put the whole thing in a black dye bath. It went purple, which wasn’t what I wanted so I tried again with more black dye and some yellow for colour correction. Now I have a long black singlet type pinafore frock, which I haven’t ironed, as is obvious.

Here is a detail of the neckline which I rather like, with a bit of the original fabric to show the colour change.

A pic of it on, and don’t I wish I could look like I did 5 years ago? but the years roll on whether we want or not.

I reckon I’ll enjoy it in this form.

Extendo Remodel Success

About two years ago I knitted a capelet. “Laced with Leaves” by Liz Langford Knits.

Really pretty but it so didn’t fit me like the image on the pattern. That looked like it came down to waist level but on me it very much did not. I am probably rather larger than the dummy in the pattern pic.

I only wore it twice and found it annoying. Very warm shoulders, cold everything else. I dubbed it the ‘Stupid Shoulder Frill” and started thinking about how I could make it more wearable, which basically meant longer. I even thought of just pulling it back and reusing the yarn. I decided to start by pulling back just the bottom border, but when I tried, the halo fluff got all jammed up and it wouldn’t frog. Instead I ran one of my tiny circular needles around at a nice identifiable row, then pulled the next row out half a stitch at a time to get the edge section off.

I had some of the original yarn left, with which I knitted another round of the leaf pattern with needles a size up from the pattern. That didn’t make it long enough, so I overdyed some merino yarn that was near the right colours but not quite.

Merino before
Merino overdyed with added possum/merino yarn

The resulting colours melded much better with the original variegated yarn. I also added in some hand dyed possum/merino yarn leftover from https://montjoyeblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/25/colour-coordination-win/ . Bonus, that hat should now look fine worn with this garment, whatever you want to call it.

With this I added a scalloped border and an extra band at the neck of the turquoise possum yarn to help tie in the stronger colours. Overall it is now about double the original length.

pinned out and in the sun to dry

I liked the extra weight of the beads in the edge of my last shawl, so I beaded this one too. Oh so many beads.

I am so much happier with it now. I suppose though it will go into the cupboard until I have somewhere to wear it. Ruddy virus.

This post was written with much frustration as I tried to figure out the new WordPress editor.

Glad Rag

I tend to crave colour in winter and Covid lockdown intensified this. I really wanted something madly multicoloured to spin, but I didn’t have anything that answered and couldn’t find the colour combination I wanted in anything orderable. Then I made the Cabbage Coat  instead, which filled the need for colour for a while. Eventually I decided to order individual colours and make my own madly coloured yarn. All of this is from the recently renamed “Fibre Arts Shed”. Feltfine as it was when I ordered. Granite alpaca/merino and dyed merino in scarlet, denim, mustard, and mallard

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This thought evolved into trying for increasing intensity of bright colours after starting with a neutral. Much, much thought, planning and spinning delivered this delightful madness. I’m pleased it worked pretty much the way I hoped except that the grey bloomed on wet finishing and ended up bulkier than I hoped.

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I had always intended to knit this up in the pattern “Turbinado” by Sharyn Anhalt. I made one of those earlier this year but gave it away to a friend as a birthday present. The knitting started with the grey and I wasn’t loving it until I got to the fully coloured yarn. Suddenly I was having much more fun.

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I was worried that the coloured yarn, being finer, would be too wibbly and not drape well. So I had my first go at adding beads to knitting. Happily the only beads I had of almost the right size were also a useful colour. I didn’t have a tiny enough crochet hook but I did have a tambour hook that was previously barely used.

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I put two rows of beads a couple of rows apart from each other and the cast off edge. I also beaded the tips of the picots in the cast off. So cute. They look like little creatures. Ducklings one friend said. The beads are not obvious in the finished garment but they do deliver the drape I wanted.

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Knitting finished and blocked, in time to use the last hour of sun on the back of my house.

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A detail showing the increasing intensity of colour

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Dry, and draped on the ironing board so I could sew in the loose ends. So pretty

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The colours themselves were chosen to go with the Cabbage coat, though I think the styles clash rather. Never mind, I like them both, whether I end up wearing them together or not.

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and on. It was so hard to manage the right light to show off the colours without overexposure at the same time as a picture of me I was willing to publish. This doesn’t do either really well but is the best I managed.

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repeatery for linkage

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