Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Distracted by String

I’ve been very lax in posting as I’ve been obsessively busy making things. I thought I had calmed down enough to spend a bit of arts and crafts time writing about arts and crafts but aparently not. So here’s what I’ve been making!

A hideous pair of socks!
Mister has one foot slightly larger than the other from an old injury so I thought it would be nice to make him a pair of socks that fit both feet. Maybe with a couple more tries they could be wearable. 

A brioche scarf!
A gift for my father who will probably think it’s too shapey but, hopefully, will enjoy the squishyness. 

A slightly less hideous pair of socks!
More practise still required. And a new bind off. 

A lace cowl!
Turns out I can’t work a lace piece and a brioche piece at the same time, my fingers get confused as to what they’re supposed to be doing with yarn-overs. My own fault, I suppose, for trying to do everything at once!

A necklace!
The piece-de-resistance and four weeks solid effort. Some happy tatting, but a lot of un-tatting and frustration. Many times did I happily finish a section, put it on and be horribly disappointed with the way it puckered, gaped or cupped. Even after three attempts at trial runs.
All positive credit to Marilee Rockley, whose beautiful work hand-dyeing thread inspired me to attempt it myself and acutually get the colours I needed, and for her beautiful Beguile design on which this piece is based. It is only my inexpert additions and fuddling about that caused my issues. 
I take my hat off to all of the designers out there, your efforts are amazing and it will be a long time before I attempt any such thing again!

This piece was made with Lizbeth 10  thread in what was originally Bright Dark Turquoise #663 and Turquiose Twist #142. However, I dyed over it with some half-strength Dylon Tropical Green to make a more greeny shade of teal to suit my Nan, to whom I gave it as a birthday gift. 

Wednesday, 14 February 2018


It's coming together! Check out the game at Tat It and See.

As always, I'm enjoying working Jane's pattern. They are so well written and worked, I love how she presents backside elements.

The split rings have been so tiny and I had a couple of moments getting my head around some of the direction changes with the chains, but careful reading and following the thread has got me thus far without any dramas.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Cool snap for cosy yarns

We had a lovely cool snap last week that inspired me to pull out some of my cosy yarns and try some new things I’ve had on my list for a while. Enter two-colour brioche knitting.

Hideously ugly but so much fun!

This grabbed me the first time I saw it. Gorgeous patterns in vertical stripes of fluffy, squishy fabric. I’ve had so much fun with the colours even though I am absolutely terrible at it! I couldn’t find a left-handed video for this, but I did find a good few left-handed knitting basics: CyberSeams Left-Handed Basics Playlist. Hopefully I will get good enough as it cools down to make a video as well as something other than horrific swatches.

Here's my list of brioche basics:
yoS1: Always slip purlwise with yarn in front - gives the magic yo and leaves yarn A at the front of the row
Basically, stitch shawled stitches, slip single stitches
   brK - Brioche knit: knit the stitch with opposite colour shawl as one stitch
   brP - Brioche purl: purl the stitch with the opposite colour shawl as one stitch
As the pattern comes it its easy to tell which is which, but concentrate for the first few rows

Increase - brK-yo-brK brioche knit the same stitch twice, but put a yarn over in the middle. Like K1fb, but knit both through the front to avoid odd colour crossover. Pbk: Purl through the back of the yo to avoid lacy hole, if its a problem.
Decrease Right: brS1-K2tog-psso: slip shawled stitch knitwise, knit shawled and single stitch together, psso
Decrease Left : brS1-K1-psso-psbk-psno-psbk: slip shawled stitch knitwise, knit single stitch, psso, pass stitch back to right needle purlwise, pass next shawled stitch over, pass stitch back to left needle purlwise.
Really keep track of exactly where your yarn over is. If it gets dropped or otherwise messed around, the odd yarn crossovers happen and you often can't tell until it comes out in pattern. 
Swatch Pattern - What I was trying to do with the yellow (yarn A) and purple (yarn B) number.
Cast on 17st w/ chinese waitress in yarn B
0b: *K1 yoS1* … K1 (repeat sections in *asterisks* as many times as needed before the last stitch or as many times as noted)
Start w yarn A - these rows 1 and 2 are the basic brioche rib

1a: S1 *brK yoS1* … S1 slide back to start of needle to purl yarn B
1b: P1 *yoS1 brP* … yoS1 P1 reverse work
2a: S1 *brP yoS1* … S1 slide back to start of needle to knit yarn B
2b: K1 *yoS1 brK* … yoS1 K1 reverse

From here, all of the interesting things happen on the knit side of yarn A (odd # a), only one inc or dec per set, trying to keep it simple. Just keep track of where you’re at.

3a: S1 brK yoS1 brKf-yo-brKb yoS1 *brK yoS1* … S1 slide (inc at col 2)
3b: P1 yoS1 brP yoS1 Pbk1 yoS1 *brP yoS1* … P1 rev
4a: S1 *brP yoS1* … S1 slide
4b: K1 *yoS1 brK* … yoS1 K1 rev
5a: S1 *brK yoS1*x4 brS1-K1-psso-psbk-psno-psbk *yoS1 brK*… S1 slide (dec left at col 4-5)
5b: P1 yoS1 *brP yoS1* … P1 rev
6a: S1 *brP yoS1* … S1 slide
6b: K1 *yoS1 brK* … yoS1 K1 rev
7a: S1 *brK yoS1*x6 brKf-yo-brKb yoS1 brK yoS1 S1 slide (inc at col 7)
7b: P1 *yoS1 brP*x6 yoS1 Pbk1 yoS1 brP yoS1 P1 rev
8a: S1 *brP yoS1* … S1 slide
8b: K1 *yoS1 brK* … yoS1 K1 rev

9a: S1 *brK yoS1*x4 brS1-K2tog-psso *yoS1 brK*… S1 slide (dec right at col 4-5)
9b: P1 yoS1 *brP yoS1* … P1 rev
10a: S1 *brP yoS1* … S1 slide
10b: K1 *yoS1 brK* … yoS1 K1 rev

Repeat rows 3-10, finish with set 1-2

To bind off, complete 1 row in pattern with yarn B, but without the yo  (so K1 *brK P1* … K1) then bind off loosely in pattern.
These are a couple of the brioche videos I've been working from, unfortunately they are right-handed, sorry!
    Explanation and basics with Knitting Expat
    Basics, Increases, Decreases with Sosu

Even though everything looks terrible now, I'm definitely going to stick with it. It's fun to work, feels so lovely and fluffy and squishy, and I can see so much potential for designs and colour combinations for winter pieces. In the meantime, it's warmed back up, so it's probably going back in the box for a while.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Tat It and See - Backwards!

I’ve been so excited to participate in Jane’s Tat It and See game. I’ve been away, so I’m a bit behind the times, but it looks like I’m the only one so far messing this up by doing it backwards! I’ll be posting my attempts, failures, and what variations I’ve made. I’ve mostly found that if I ignore the diagram, I can work from written instructions with few dramas as long as I follow what my thread is doing. So far, that is the case with TIAS 18, but Jane’s designs are so fun and creative, this will surely get very interesting.

Left-Handed TIAS Days 1-4

Split rings and ring clusters are what I have found causes the most controversy when working the opposite way to which the pattern was written, but with the chains connecting things on Day 3, it's been okay so far. Again, as long as I worked from the instructions and not try to copy the diagram, when things started to get interesting on Day 2 there weren't any problems. But, my goodness, those Day 4 rings are tiny!

I've included the pattern here so my little seahorse can look at his reflection! My tail is a bit curlier, but I try not to argue with what the thread wants to do, especially when I have no idea what I'm trying to do, it works out much easier that way.

I'm working in Lizbeth 20  #149 Peacock Blues, another stunningly gorgeous colour way that makes me so happy!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Mirror Vision

Mirror Vision Necklace

Marilee Rockley is amazing. I’m loving making her Vision necklace, which is available as a PDF from her awesome blog. It’s the perfect pattern for those of us tatting backwards, because it’s already a mirror of itself!

When working left-handed, just follow the pattern as it’s written and you make the right hand side of the necklace first. Then just follow the instructions to mirror it. As there’s only one ring cluster, and the first thing Marilee does is tell us how to deal with it, all you need to do is keep an eye on which side you’re working. Which is also super simple as the first thing you make is a huge ring of picots. It feels a bit big and a bit technical, but it’s so beautifully constructed, it just comes together.

I’ve put to use a few beading tips I’ve seen since I swore off the bloody things a couple of months back, and it makes such a huge difference. Paperclips and floss threaders. My gushing rant became too long and I need to take some photos so I'll leave you with that inspiration and make another dedicated post soon.

I’m already shopping for new yarn and beads to work this necklace up properly. It's so pretty and so much fun to make!

This test piece #2 pictured is worked in Milford Perle 10 in Periwinkle with 6mm large bead, squashed 4mm medium beads and size 12 seed beads.. The last rick-rack chain is missing because I ran out of thread on my shuttle and barely made it through the preceding split rings!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Mary Konoir’s Spinning Wheel

I loved the flowing, twirling movement of the spinning wheel the first moment I saw it. I haven’t managed to get my hands on a Mary Konior book yet, but I’m hopeful. All of her designs I see have an elegant, modern flow that just grabs me.
I loved figuring out this pattern, working it was a joy and I am quite delighted that it came out spinning the opposite direction. 

This one is worked in Milford Mercer 20 in the aptly named Ombré Purple. In this size it’s perfect for admiring through the bottom of a wine glass. 

I worked from Sarah’s picot-less version at Lace and Bees. I’m also pretty subtle in the picot department as you can see. I did shorten the chains from the centre for this version, which resulted in the wheel having 8 arms instead of 9. I thought this could be fun to try with alternating coloured arms, as well as experiments with how many arms one could fit in if given enough central space.

I have a feeling that, depending on interesting yarn availability, I will soon own more coasters than is at all practicable.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Dillmont Triangles

The Dillmont inspired braid from Tatting by the Bay was the first piece I got to play with split rings, and one of the most interesting so far to work backwards.
With her amazing design and tech skills, Robin has put together her diagram left-handed for us. 

Left-handed Dillmont Braid

This is a two shuttle pattern, with the red worked with shuttle 1 and blue with shuttle 2. Once you’ve got the hang of the first few triangles, you can make so many things with this pattern. You just need to think about where the split ring will go. Robin includes on her blog the braid shown here, then, expanding from there, a bookmark, mat and hexagonal doily. I've used just the original braid as a bookmark and made a couple of pairs of earrings as well as a serviceable but particularly unspectacular coaster - learning is fun!

Dillmont Variations

Tricky parts for these are the split ring, upside down larks head joins and second shuttle split ring joins. I haven't found a method for the last that I'm super happy with, yet. Be sure to sure to mark the shuttles if you have a matching pair, it gets confusing really quick! Great practice for working two shuttles, split rings and getting the right tension when starting new rings in clusters.
I did complicate this for myself with my preference for frontside/backside and larks head joins, so if you're not so fussy it's a much simpler pattern.

The pieces shown are worked in Milford Mercer 20, Indigo and Black, and Lizbeth 20 #184 Rainbow Splash.

Thanks Robin!