Thursday, March 27, 2008

And people say we monkey around

Earlier I mentioned having swatched a different edging option for that blue T-shirt. I made that sound straightforward didn't I? Ha ha, well, in revealing the torturous paths my knitting sometimes takes I feel I'm in very good company.

The edging I tried was called 'faggot and scallop', and my first results were hilarious because I ignored the first line of the pattern: "This edging is worked sideways". Even though there was a photo right there in the book, I managed not to notice that the stitches went sideways. I did wonder why the picture looked like it was a few repeats and yet the pattern appeared to only give one. I also wondered why it wasn't presented in a more user-friendly way - as, you know, 'a 9-stitch repeat with 4 edge stitches' instead of just 'cast on 13 stitches'.
So yes, I tried to work the edging the other way around - imagining I would ultimately knit the whole thing in the round. I calculated how many stitches appeared to be part of the repeat. I ploughed ahead, making things unnecessarily complicated. As I cast off a puckery mess, I began to wonder if it would really block out to look anything like the picture. Then it finally clicked - the edging is knit sideways. And that would certainly make it easier to get it the right length to go around whatever you are trying to edge - you just keep going until there is enough.

mesh edge_img_9571
I picked this one to try first because seemed to meet my requirements of not being overly 'lacy' for the t-shirt edging. I think it is because it is kind of angular. Yet when I held it up to the t-shirt, all that mesh just looked wrong. I could see that it could be kind of interesting sewn a little above the edge, on the right side, so that some of the fabric showed through. But it was too 'lacy' looking overall - both because of the see-through mesh and also the larger scallops. The one I settled on the next day was more subtly scalloped and less holey.

I think it's interesting that I have certain criteria in my head for something like this, but when I actually try it out, they end up shifting significantly. It's not the first time this has happened. I have to be willing to question some of the things I think I'm sure about.

Monday, March 24, 2008

One and one and one is three

Some time ago I made a felted pendant for my mum. And now I have finally made one for myself.

Felted pendant 2.2
It's a crocheted circle, felted then cut into a rough oval shape. I stitched all around the edge with embroidery cotton. Then I just poked a hole for the jump ring, and attached the bead-and-shell pendant. This part was made using recycled bits given to me by a good mate. A while ago, there was a fad for selling jeans with a jangly bundle of charms hooked onto a belt loop. I don't think the look ever took off, but it supplied me with some bits to play around with!
Felted pendant 2
This other necklace came about in the the same session. I was playing about with the wooden beads as a necklace to hold the felted pendant, but there was too much going on all together so I paired it with a simpler pendant.
new necklace.2

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's the end of a perfect day

Talk about a satisfying little project.
bue edge_img_9522
Take one t-shirt, never been worn because it is just a little bit annoyingly too short.

Take less than half a ball of soft Patonyle sock yarn in a matching colour.

Swatch one or two edging patterns from a book, pick one and work out how many repeats you need to go around the bottom edge of the t-shirt.

Knit the edging and hit it with a good blast of steam to make it sit nicely.

Hand-stitch it to the hem of the t-shirt. And you're done.
blue edge close_img_9521
Aside from swatching a different edging option the day before, this was completed in one day (and I didn't spend the whole day knitting) and I wore it the next.

The pattern is Seashore edging from 'The Hamlyn Complete Knitting Course' by Eleanor Van Zandt.

I deliberately chose not to block it hard to its full lacy potential because I wanted to finish it quickly. Then I backwards-justified that decision, thinking that, this being a t-shirt, I'm going to be machine washing it (in a lingerie bag) and the most I will be willing to do is a quick blast of steam from the iron before running for the bus in the morning. I'm hoping the sock yarn will be a good choice to stand up to a fair bit of wear this way.

I hand-stitched it to the wrong side of the hem. Another option, especially with a more lacy edging, and if you wanted a more fancy look (maybe even with contrasting yarn) would be to sew it on the right side, partially overlapping the t-shirt so that the fabric shows through the lace.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Welcome to the beautiful south


As soon as I arrived in Adelaide last Thursday evening, I was informed we had plans to go out for the evening. We were going to see the Northern Lights and then a show by comedy trio The Hound of the Baskervilles at the Garden of Earthly Delights - 'Every Film Ever Made'. Jolly good, says I.

I had no idea what the Northern Lights was. As we approached I saw a hint of coloured light and thought maybe they had coloured some buildings unlikely hues with light - like they sometimes do here in Canberra - the High Court awash with pink and the National Library bright green, or whatever.

Like I said, I had no idea.



This is something else entirely. "Northern Lights" is the work of The Electric Canvas, and consists of elaborate projections on the row of sandstone buildings along North Terrace in Adelaide - the State Library, SA Museum, Art Gallery, Elder Hall, Mitchell Building and Bonython Hall. The images change every few minutes, and you could easily spend an hour or more watching them all change and trying to get non-blurry photos. You can see more of my photos in the Flickr set here.


The event has proved so popular they have extended it beyond the end of the Adelaide Festival to the end of March.

Edited to add:
If you watched the Sunday Arts program on ABC last weekend you would have seen the story on the Northern Lights, and you would also have seen my friend, artist Nöel Skrzypczak being interviewed (and looking gorgeous and sounding brilliant). She has a show on in Melbourne at the moment. We used to walk to school together and now she's on the teevee!

Friday, March 14, 2008

there is definitely something going on upstairs

I got back on Monday night from my annual Adelaide trip for Womadelaide. Unfortunately I came down with a stomach bug on Saturday and missed a lot of the festival. I had to bug out early on Saturday and couldn't go anywhere on Sunday. Oh yeah, I'm fine now, and back to eating with a vengeance. And looking forward to the V-festival. Duran Duran!

I did have a good time on Friday night. The highlight was supercalifragilisticly authentic Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haidouks, with four fiddles. And two piano accordions. Amongst other things.

I do try to sample the variety of music at these festivals, but inevitably I'm drawn to anything with fiddles, and the more the better.

I also loved diva Mavis Staples' show on Friday night, and the part of the Black Arm Band's set that I saw. Don't you love that name for a collective of indigenous Australian musicians?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Giant steps are what you take

Ribbed wrap jacket with fig tree and shed
This is the Ribbed Wrap Jacket from 'Contemporary Knitting by Jo Sharp'. My first finished garment for me. And it was briefly cold enough to wear it on the weekend!
I picked this pattern for several reasons:
- everything else in that book is completely shapeless
- I was intrigued by the unusual but simple construction. It looked pretty easy to knit and the ribbing should mean not too many fitting issues.
- It uses Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran for the body and Silk Road DK for the collar. I liked the idea of quicker knitting with the aran weight but not being completely wrapped in such warmth - I find lighter jumpers and cardigans much more wearable.
- The wool is absolutely delicious - it has both silk and cashmere in it - and I got it reduced when the Shearing Shed at Manuka was having a moving sale last year (or I wouldn't have got it at all, I am a cheapskate)
side seams
I started it last winter, and most of the knitting was done well before Christmas, but then other priorities took over. A couple of reality checks (trying on after tacking in one sleeve) made me think it was going to be too tight in the armholes and maybe across the shoulders. Right down until I had it all sewn together, after blocking the sleeves a bit wider, I still thought it wasn't going to work. It was such a relief to put it on and LOVE IT!

The pattern didn't include any closure. I thought about a shawl pin (and the ribbing means it can be stretched to wrap more), but for now I like it better this way with a button and crocheted loop. Maybe in the dead of winter I will change my mind.
Jacket back view