Liz Corke Knit Design

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August 3, 2012

Today is gorgeously sunny and the international market is in town. They set up shop in the street in front of my office, which means I can go there at lunch time, get food and have a good browse. They’ve never had yarn yet, although someone does sell knitted baby clothes, but I’m still hopeful that one day yarn will appear!

I have photos of Momijigari to show you today. I really love how it’s turned out although it’s the most awkward thing I’ve ever tried to block! I think the problems came from the two directions of garter stitch – the body wanted to stretch a long way sideways and the border wanted to stretch a long way down, but stretching in the other direction for each was really awkward and I had to keep undoing and redoing it to get it all sitting nicely. I’m really tempted to get blocking wires if they’ll make life easier!

The yarn I used for this is superwash 4 ply merino from Old Maiden Aunt in the bramble colourway and really soft. Purple is my friend’s favourite colour and this will be her birthday present, so I wanted to use yarn that wouldn’t be hurt if it went through the washing machine. Her birthday isn’t until November so I’m going to fold it up nicely and keep it safe until the next time I see her after that. Hopefully she’ll like it, if not I may have to keep it! It’s pretty skinny so it’s a good size to be worn as a scarf as well as a shawl so she’ll have options and she does wear scarves alot.

The pattern is really good and clear, just like Henslowe and I really enjoyed working on it. The yarn over loops make picking up stitches really easy and the only time I really had problems was with the blocking. I did use a bit less yarn than I exxpected, but that’s pretty normal from me. Instead of 400 – 410 yards I used 360, but it still blocked out to reach my whole arm span. I seem to be a pretty tight knitter because I always use less than the pattern calls for, or maybe the patterns are just very generous on their yarn required. I have two more birthday shawls to make, one for September and the other for November so I’ll get started on the September one very soon. The other are going to be sideways shawls with the border knitted on at the same time, so they’ll be really easy and hopefully fly off the needles!

Check out what everyone else has been up to over on Tami’s!

I’ve also just realised this is my 200th post!

April 12, 2012

I’m trying on the whole, not to buy much yarn this year. I want to get through some of my stash because just now it’s overflowing the two plastic boxes I have for it! The key to this is actually for me to get on with my blanket, since the yarn for that is taking up more than one tub all by itself! So I’m going to have to get on with it soon. I decided a little while ago that I was going to make shawls/scarves for my friends for their birthdays this year. Not huge triangular shawls but nice shallow ones that are perfect as a scarf as well. So of course I had to buy yarn for them!

I got the yarn for their shawls from Lilith at Old Maiden Aunt. The yarn is fantastic! There’s a huge range of colours and shades, and of yarns and fibers, and Lilith herself is awesome! I managed to buy one skien that was already sold out, so I took the option to wait until she had time to redye it for me and just get the three skiens that were ready. I expected to wait a couple of weeks, but she dyed it over the Easter weekend for me and I got it yesterday! She’s also pretty local to me, being based near Edinburgh and I’m only a few hours north. I really love the Scottish and Gaelic names she uses for many of the colourways too. And the yarn comes in a gold parcel, wrapped in purple tissue paper, with a mini pack of lovehearts and an OMA badge!

The purple (Bramble) is destined to be a Momijigari, the red (Red Velvet) I think will be a Laodice and the darker blue/grey (Selkie) I’ll cast on next and will be a Mezquita Shawl. These three are all superwash merino so it’s lovely and soft and hopefully won’t be too hard for anyone to care for. The fourth skien is for myself. The colourway is Lon-dubh which means blackbird and I think it’s one of her most popular colourways since almost every different yarn in this colour was sold out. It’s a merino silk yarn and it’s so unbelievably soft! I think this one is going to become a Semele, unless something else catches my eye first.

December 22, 2011

And I want to show you the last of the gifts I’ve made for the girls on my list! I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I like to get them a selection of little gifts all packed into a box or bag. I usually pick things like bath bombs, small teddies, notebooks, jewellery, candles, chocolates and anything else I see that takes my fancy when I’m shopping! I normally make jewellery for them, but this year I made even more things. This year I’ve made charm bracelets and candle holders which I’ve shown you before. I’m also making little knitted bunnies, which I’ve been posting about a lot! Three are finished, three are awaiting faces and tails and one is still a square, but I’ll finish them tonight and you’ll see them in FO Friday tomorrow. I’ve also made covered notebooks and origami boxes for them, and that’s what I want to show you today!
I saw notebooks covered like this in a guest post on the Southern Institute, when I was looking for ideas of how to make my covers. It’s a very fast and simple way of covering them – although I seem to have made a lot of mistakes! And although it was designed for much smaller notebooks, it was easy enough to adapt it to the right size for my own notebooks. One thing I really loved about these covers is that they can be removed and put on a new notebook. I bought WHS A5 hardback notebooks so they’ll be easy to replace.
I used A3 brown paper for the covers, and decorated it with some decoupage paper from Hobbycraft I got 3 different colours so that all the people that know each other can get a different one. When I was making these, I got myself a papercutter. It can do straight lines (of course), but it also scores, perferates and does wibbly lines, and it was great for making these up! Scoring made folding it neatly a lot easier. I used a sponge underneath the card to keep it nice when I stuck the split pin through it. I cut the brown card out with my new craft knife, so it isn’t perfect, but that gives it character I think!
I also made origami boxes to put the charm bracelets in. I got some pretty origmai paper and paired it with some plain coloured paper for the box lids. For the bottom of the boxes I chose a colour that co-ordinated with the lid and the bracelet that was going in it. I really like the way the boxes turned out. They were very easy to make and two of the three patterns were made by folding the pieces the same way, then assembling the modules slightly differently. The pin wheel is actually my favourite, but it’s a bit harder to fit together neatly so I only made one like that. I need to shred some tissue paper to go inside the boxes and cushion the bracelets and then these will be all done.
Here’s a picture of everything together. There’s a candle holder with two apple blossom tealights, and two strawberry and passionfruit tea lights. A bubble bar or bath bomb from Lush, which is my favourite shop for bath things. I love the smell of everything they make, and I love their soaps too. A lip balm from the Body Shop, which is also one of my favourite shops! These were on three for the price of two, so I got a couple for myself too! And of course there’s a couple of chocolates for everyone, and having these sitting around the house for a couple of weeks has really tested my self control! Now I need to wrap everything up in tissue paper and pack it carefully into gift bags. Come back tomorrow, to see the last four bunnies!

December 5, 2011

This weekend I spent more time on my Christmas crafting. The advantage of having no one on my Christmas crafting list read the blog, is that I can blog about the things I make, unlike a lot other blogger who are working their way through many secret projects. I’ve mentioned before that for the girls on my list, I make up stocking type boxes of gifts. I’ve already made them candle holders, got started on the knit bunnies and I’ve taken a trip to Lush and stocked up on a variety of bath bombs and bubbles. I have a pile of craft supplies, ready to turn into gifts and a little more shopping to do. One thing I always like to put in is jewellery. Last year I made them all earings (and made myself several pairs too). This year, I’ve gone for bracelets.
I got the idea for these in the summer after I saw something similar in Primark. The ones in Primark just had one charm, a looser plait, and I couldn’t remember how the ends were closed. The bracelets gave me a couple of problems when I was starting out. For a start, my hands and wrists are small, which makes it hard for me to work out how big to make things for other people. Second I couldn’t work out how to nicely close the ends and have a loop on the end to make it all secure. But I got to work and ordered the bits and pieces I needed anyway. I wanted to use suede leather strips for the bracelets and I found some faux leather ones in a large range of colours. The charms I got are Tibetan silver, and there are a huge range of charms to choose from. I got three the same for everyone, and then got the fourth different to change things up. I also got some glass stars beads in different colours.
All of these arrived sometime in November, and then sat around for a while, waiting for inspiration to hit, on the matter of closing the ends neatly. I tried super gluing them together, and then wrapping wire around it to hide the ends. It sort of worked, but I couldn’t get the thicker wire to wrap nicely, and the thinner wire I had didn’t look as good. Eventually I came up with a different idea. This time, I super glued the ends together with the wire loop and some embroidery thread between them. I safety pinned the end to a chair so that it was secure. I wrapped the thread around the superglued ends to hide it and the wire, and then started plaiting, making sure the thread was plaited too and hidden from sight from the front. I had already put all my charms on to jump rings, and used a head pin to secure the glass star beads. Then I just added the charms randomly as I plaited making sure they were all on the same side. Once I got to the other end, I superglued the ends together again, with the thread and another wire loop. I found it was easiest to glue two of the ends with the thread between them, then trim the lengths of leather to that point, and glue the wire and last end together with the rest. I left a long end on the thread and cut it off too, then threaded it onto a needle. I wrapped around the superglued ends again then used the needle to push the thread through the plait and secure it, before hiding it under the wrapped bit and trimming it off. Then I added an adjustable closure to the bracelet, and it was all done! The blue one on the end is for me, because I couldn’t spend so long making things for everyone else, without wanting one for myself!

November 4, 2011

It’s nearly the weekend again, which means bonus time for crafting! I’m planning a busy weekend this week. I need to do some tiding and I want to make up the charm bracelets I was talking about earlier this week, as well as getting in plenty of work on my Childhood Memories shawl and working on my knooking projects! This week, my FO is not surprisingly another knit bunny.
The new one is on the left, and last weeks is on the right. His head seems to be a little smaller that the first one, and I think I prefer his ears. I’d like them all to have names before I gove them away, so if you can think of names for seven little knit bunnies, let me know!
Don’t forget to check out Tami’s for more FO Fridays!

November 1, 2011

I know it’s early, but I also know loads of people have already started crafting their Christmas gifts. I love to make things, especially as presents. One of the most exciting things I find, about the run up to Christmas is choosing gifts for everyone. In particular for me are the seven girls I give gifts to. Two are my sisters-in-law, three are my oldest friends – one of whom I just reconnected with which is especially exciting, and the other two are my brother and brother-in-law’s girlfriends, who are also awesome. For Christmas for these girls (all aged 20 – 26, it’s hard to think of ourselves as grown up!) I love to make gift boxes, and they get the most planning of all the gifts I give!
Last year I gave homemade earrings in origami boxes, soaps from the body shop, a bath bomb from Lush, a little “Blue Nose” teddy, notebook, and a few more bath treats, along with chocolates. In September, I started making lists of things to put in the boxes this year. So far I’m making Knit Bunnies (one finished and one over halfway through the knitting) and charm bracelets. I’ve just been shopping around and found an awesome shop with loads of charms that aren’t going to cost too much – nothing can cost too much since I need to make seven of these! I have plans for covered notebooks if I can find the time, and an idea for candle holders, if I can get the right materials, having spotted the perfect candles yesterday. I love looking around other peoples blogs, and especially craftzine and getting inspired, the problem is finding the time to do it all!
Once you get past the presents, there’s all the Christmas decorations that can be crafted! I’ll be posting more about the yarn and non-yarn gifts I making as it gets closer to Christmas!

October 28, 2011

It’s Friday at last, and I love Fridays! It’s so much fun to go around and see what’s turned from Wednesday’s WIP to an FO ready to be worn, cuddled or displayed. As bonus, it’s the last Friday of the month, so I can wear jeans to work, and the sun is shining. Since the clocks go back this weekend, the sun will not be making much of an appearance in my life from Sunday evening till Saturday morning for the next few months. It’s dark about 6pm just now, and barely light at 8am, so next week it’ll be dark at 5pm, around the time I leave work, and light at 7am – although I think I’d rather the clocks stayed where they are, now I’ve got used to getting up in the dark. In a few more weeks, daylight will be between about 9-9.30am to 3.30-4pm. Definitely an excuse to make myself more warm accessories I think!
As you can see from the picture above, I finished my knit bunny!. I love him. I think he worked out pretty well. I made him from a 5” square of stockinette. The square in bulky yarn was really fast to make, I could probably have done it in one evening if I’d focused on it. The bunny works up really quickly after the square is done. I think it probably took me about an hour last night. This time, I made the running stitches for the neck and ears much smaller and I think it made it much neater. This time though I couldn’t get it to come to a neat close at the top of his head, so I added a couple of stitches to secure it. We didn’t have any beans or lentils in the house, and my husband forgot to buy me some, so I stitched up the bunnies back and put running around the edge to close it up, then added a smallish, flat river stone and more stuffing and closed it up. Since the bunnies aren’t going to children, I figure having a stone to balance them and make them sit nicely is ok. I finished of by stitching on a face with black yarn and stitched on the tail. The tail is a really soft silky pompom which I got from John Lewis. I love the tail! The ears are pretty poseable which I think is cute, and it’s easy and quick enough that making another 6 shouldn’t be a problem. I plan to do one a week, so you can guess what the next month and a half of FO Fridays will be!
Check out Tami’s for more FO Fridays!