Saturday, 6 October 2007
Interestingly, I am struggling to select what beads to use, as they all give quite a different effect - I like more than one effect, for some different reasons.
I am conscious that my final choice will influence whether my wrap ends up being more day or evening wear. I have never owned a wrap before (but I picture myself using this on chilly summer evenings), so I have asked the question, 'When would you wear a wrap?'
The majority answer seemed to be, 'Evening'.
I also asked people which beads they would select (yes, my swatch has travelled around with me to work, family events and to knitting groups) and views are polarised equally between two very different beads.
So if you read this post and you would like to contribute your view in a comment, I would love to know what you think. Luckily, some of my beads ruled themselves out via the process of working the sample. I will explain why below.
Picture 1 Left: Gutterman Sewing Beads - ruled out - too small, they simply vanished into the fabric of the knitting.
Picture 1 Centre: Jaeger Frosted Red Knitting Beads - ruled out - once handled, they lose some of their frosted appearance (which is far nicer, actually) but again, they disappear into the fabric.
Picture 1 Right: Acrylic Beads - ruled out - simply because the shop advised that they lose their finish after a while. It is a shame because they are a good colour match and several people picked them out as their favourite beads. They glow like little Christmas Tree baubles. I sampled with them because I was sure that I could find venetian glass beads with a similar finish...nope, not found any yet.
Picture 2 Left: 3mm Red Glass Beads, combined with Gutterman Sewing Beads - Lead Bead and Configuration Contender Number 1! I am drawn to these beads because they are a sympathetic shape, a close colour match to the yarn and shiny without being sparkly.
However (to me), they start to vanish when you look at them in artifical or gloomy light so using these would make the wrap a little bit more day wear? Interestingly Robynn said that these were the first ones that stood out for her in the swatch (she saw it at 19:30 in the National Theatre Bar, gloomy and under artifical light) so maybe I am wrong!
Picture 2 Centre: 5mm Red Glass Beads - ruled out - actually I love these and this effect. I am just not sure that it works for this project. They were a bit too big to sit on a single stitch as they distorted the stitches around them but I love how they work on two stitches with the holes either side. The bead hole is a bit too small, so they are wedged in place. Hmm, glass bead Vs 2 ply cashmere? I think that they might saw through the cashmere fibres after a while?!
Picture 2 Right: Jaeger Frosted Red Knitting Beads - still ruled out - These are threaded on two stitches too. I think that they work better here but they are still not right for this project. They sit more loosely on the two stitches and as a result, travel easily out of position.
Picture 3 Left (Light Siam) and Centre (Siam): Swarovski Crystal Beads - Lead Bead Configuration Contender Number 2!
The siam colour looks okay in this picture but in real life, it is too dark and contrasty against the yarn. The light siam is a closer colour match to the yarn, so it is little less conspicuous during the day while twinkling happily at night.
Completely polarised feedback from people on these beads, compared with the other leading choice. They either really liked these, feeling that they stood head and shoulders above any other beads in the swatch - or they prefered the unfaceted 3mm red glass beads.
While I do not find the shape of these beads as sympathetic as the unfaceted ones, it cannot be denied that they are sparkly, both day and night. They stand out well against the yarn - are they elegant or would the result be a little bit chavvy?
Two very different contenders that give two very different effects. Stuck but I need to make a decision, so all input very welcome!
I have posted some more bead close ups on Flickr and the slideshow is here, if you would like to go see!
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Sometimes, I stress over the menu and worry about my cooking but you know, on reflection (having taken the photos below), I sort of reckon that it might be possible to get away with serving something out of a tin, as long as there's a bit of candlelight, some gentle background music, good wine and a modicum of presentation?!
...and finally, the evening's debris...
...indicates a platter enjoyed.
Ahh, there is nothing quite like contributing to the world of gastro blogging, is there?! I will post close ups when I have better light.
I do have stories of guerilla cooking but in the event that I ever invite you over to dinner, in defence of my culinary skills, it's quite safe - no need to pack sandwiches.
Saturday, 8 September 2007
2. Ball winder and swift looking deceptively orderly.
3. Truth starts to reveal itself towards the end of the first skein.
4. Disaster strikes towards the end of the second skein.
4. Some time is spent painstakingly untangling the end of the second skein. Really.
Friday, 10 August 2007
The swatches have ended up being tucked between other projects just because it has taken a long time to find the right yarn, stitch pattern and construction technique for my wrap.
It's been an odd journey, getting this far:
1) Competition win.
2) Decide that this is the project for my prize yarn.
3) Ignore that and knit the CCC Hat.
4) Buy Debbie Bliss silk and work swatches:
Stocking stitch sample
5) Wince at samples, take remainder of Debbie Bliss silk back, obtain refund.
6) Wonder what yarn to try next and knit something else completely (as you do).
7) Buy Jaeger DK Silk, work swatches:
7) Reflect that yarn weight would result in blanket weight wrap. Frog and allocate yarn to another project.
8) Knit something else completely (as you do).
9) Decide to drop a gauge from dk to 4-ply, so purchase some Posh Yarn, hand dyed Eva 4-ply cashmere silk.
10) The most gobsmackingly beautiful yarn arrives in the most amazing colour - in awe, race out to garden and take photographs of skeins as yarn art:
11) Work swatch, scratch head at texture of knitted result (for this project), put swatch aside, enthusiasm dribbling away and despair quietly:
Samples both knitted on 3.75mm needles
12) In a last ditch attempt, stretch hand into stash, pull out Posh Yarn, hand dyed Sophia 2ply cashmere in Buttons colourway (purchased to be used double in a scarf).
13) Gulp nervously as not ever used lace weight yarn before, grit teeth and start swatch.
14) Keep knitting and find I am unable to stop - realise that not only have I found right yarn (I had it all along), the colour works perfectly for my stitch pattern too:
Lace sample in Posh Yarn, Sophia 2 ply
15) Try not to panic as it is clear that I do not have enough yarn to complete the full wrap.
16) I calmly buy Oh La La colourway from Dee, ask her to post it to me on holiday, set off to meet it -fully equipped with needles, beads and good intentions.
17) Sadly Oh La La turns out to be a bit orange and the collective decision from friends is that it does not suit me at all. I am all but drowned on holiday, no knitting is done and the only thing I achieve is the safe return of Oh La La to Dee:
Buttons colourway constrasted with Oh La La
18) Rather than a refund, I requested a custom order for something in a colourway a bit closer to Buttons.
19) Dee is on the case, so I have now taken photos of some of my swatches and updated you all, so that you are caught up on progress to date.
20) Until my yarn arrives, it's difficult to start the bead auditions. However, I may need to practice the technique that I want to use on my evergrowing swatch. I'll let you know how it goes.
Sunday, 5 August 2007
This garment is billed in the Castle Couture Catalogue as:
- structured yet lightweight; and
- a delight to wear on chill summer evenings.
It's scary (not just the image of this cat swathed in something it would be hard put to walk in, let alone leap over garden walls) but I have spent the last month or two swatching for this wrap. I have auditioned four different types yarn and a number of stitch techniques to achieve the effect that I want.
My ideas have evolved a lot since December - photos and further explanation to follow. Honest!
Tuesday, 5 June 2007
However, in the meantime here is a snippet of it being worn by a relative with complementary hair colour!
I can honestly say that I enjoyed knitting this hat - I think that it was watching its shape grow as I worked and the sparkle of the wool when the sunlight caught it!
So if you fancy a hat and you have a couple of balls of RYC Soft Lux left over from another project - try not lose them or give them away!
Thursday, 31 May 2007
Rules: 1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves. 2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules. 3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names. 4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment to tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
- I am perfectly ordinary.
- Sunshine really and truly does lift my mood.
- I like to start each day with tea and hot buttered toast.
- I do not read enough, so I feel very badly informed.
- I am drawn to water, I find it very calming.
- I love flowers. I particularly like scented garden roses - their smell, intensity of colour and careless abundant blooms. Not stiff starchy, no-smell florist ones.
- My favourite colour varies according to my mood - sometimes it is the pinks - purples colour range that draws me, at other times it is deep burgundy reds-plums. However, at other times I head straight and unerringly towards blues, teals, turquoise and greens.
- My brother once gave me a pet log.
I do not have anyone to tag, who has not been tagged already! So if you read this and would like to join in - please do!
I have been offline for a while, hence the silence, busy doing Other Things. I have finished the CCC hat but I am waiting for a specific kind of pin to arrive in order to finish it off - I have worked out what the knitted accessory needs to be but I want to gather together all the components I need before I start putting it together. Fingers crossed!
In the meantime, Dee (Posh Yarns) has dyed some yarn for my next CCC project - I am very very excited about it! Pictures of some 4-Ply cashmere and silk coming very soon!
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Monday, 2 April 2007
...oh yeah, right - ho, ho ho! Robynn still had my entry when my yarn arrived. Did I wait until I got it back to look at my samples and annotations? Did I heck! I was so enthusiastic about making a start that I found myself peering at the photos of the hat page on the Purlescence website (honestly), trying to make out my notes and the needle size I needed...yes, bonkers!
Both of the above two points might help explain why I cast on with the wrong sized needles, couldn't remember the shaping instructions that I'd thought out nor remember which type of increase I'd chosen, leading to 1.5 rounds of little holes!
Rule 3 - Check Gauge / Do the maths: This is really where the gung-ho demon dug in its talons and urged me to get cracking! Did I check gauge, did I do any maths? Nope, skipped this bit - completely. I did a random check of a simple DK hat pattern to see what sort of ballpark Ineeded for the cast on and set off with my yarn and needles, spirits very high...
What needles am I using? How many stitches did I cast on?
At that point, I tried it on and texted a picture to a friend:
Text Caption: "I am not sure that this is what Robynn had in mind!"
It's okay, I did incorporate all necessary adjustments into Hat Mark 2...
Saturday, 31 March 2007
It is RYC Soft Lux - 64% merino wool, 10% angora, 24% nylon, 2% metallic fibre, 125m/137yds per 50g ball.
I dug a ball (Camel) out of the sale bin at John Lewis in January for my swatches, then bought another batch of it (Cashmere, colour shown here) from RKM Wools to work on the full scale hat.
While it does not look very promising on the ball, I have found it easy to work with and its 'boucle looking' texture disappears when it is knitted. There have been moments while knitting, where I have worried that it looks very plain. Then a reassuring ray of light has caught the hat, making the metallic thread glitter and bringing it to life.
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
- perfect for royal visits
- simple design allows your natural marmalade to glow in the sunshine
- essential for ladies sensitive about their ears - cover up evidence of fighting or hunting...
...rediscover your inner, demure damsel.
Just how fed up and irritated does this cat look...?! I could not help it, to me the picture simply yelled out, "HAT!"
Originally, Castle Cat Couture was intended to be a few fun collaged pictures as mood boards to support my story and the cat muff notebook. However, once I had finished cutting and sticking, I couldn't bear not to swatch them (with some help from a very good friend) and put some thought into how to make them - so I changed my story to suit!
In answer to Roobeedoo's question, I have no idea how many things I might try to make from it yet - I have almost finished the first item and once that's done, I will write up the pattern. That is, assuming that Robynn doesn't burst out laughing when she's pictures of how it has turned out...
...after all, this was its tag line!
I soooo think that this will come back to haunt me! Please just remember when you are inspecting my work that the emphasis throughout has been on fun! It's likely to take a few days to sort out my words and pictures to bring you up to date, so please continue to bear with me!
Sunday, 25 March 2007
This blog is intended to chart the amateur ups and downs of my progress with Castle Cat Couture. Once I have got my head around this blogging thing, I will post some pictures to bring you up to speed with my work on it to date.
Yes, the person who collaged cats in knitwear, has a blog. It's a scary thought.
Ps. See my blog links - I've been following Roobeedoo's progress with her Cinderella stockings with great interest (while battling knitting design, technique, yarn and lifestyle envy)!
If there are other Purlescence storytellers out there with blogs that show progress to date on their competition projects (whether they won or not) and who would like me to include a link to their blog, please let me know where to find you!