In Space, No One Can Hear You Craft

Aperture Science: We do what we must because we can

I spent a happy evening at Super + Super last week, taking part in their screen-printing class with textile designer Georgia Novis. Super + Super is a lovely little space, very close to the seafront and I had an utterly charming time there.

With the move edging closer and closer, I am definitely in nesting mode, so I was very much looking forward to coming out with a tea towel. In the end, I came out with both a tea towel and a tote bag, so even better! I bought a print out with me to trace for the stencil – the Aperture Science logo from Portal, a game that t’bf and I are quite fond of. It also helps that it is quite simple to trace, which made getting it onto the wax paper and then the brown paper of the stencil a lot easier than previous, somewhat overambitious attempts at stencilling!

The final items:

I need to seal the tea towel with a hot iron but the tote bag has already been out to the Brighton Mini Maker Faire with me.

Hare and Tortoise-ing

One of the few advantages to all my stuff being in storage (Not for much longer! New flat located, moving at end of September!) is that I have to work on the few projects I have with me, instead of flitting about casting on new ones. Not that this has stopped me from trawling around Ravelry and plotting future projects, mind!

But it does mean that I have some finished objects! Whoo! And some no longer hibernating WiPs.

FO:

Yes! It is my Cherry cardigan, finally creeping off the needles in 2012, having been started in 2009. It spent a year or two sulking in a bag and occasionally being worked on and I’m no longer the size I was when I started it, so it now acts as a swing cardigan. Technically, I finished it in April this year but it took a while to sort the buttons out and actually get photos taken. But it is done! I now do not have a WiP that is earlier than 2012!

One pair of Dead Simple Lace Socks, a pair of toe up socks started back when the packing started so that I had something simple and small (and one less skein of yarn to pack) to work on between throwing my life into boxes. They’re not as long in the cuff as I would do usually because, well, I got bored but they serve well as a pair of indoor socks for wandering around the house in.

The yarn is the 2010 Knitting Goddess’ sock club Halloween shade – not a colourway I’d have chosen myself but the base yarn is lovely.

Works in Progress:

My hare and tortoise gauntlets are back out of hibenation! They had been put aside because I discovered that I’d managed to put 3 and 3.5mm needles on my interchangables, instead of two 3mms. D’oh! There were fears of having to rip out what I had done and I was struggling with the floats (especially at the join.) so they went for a wee nap in their bag. But, thankfully, I discovered that the 3mm needle was the one that did the work, so before I packed everything up, I swapped the 3.5 out for the right size and trundled them back to Brighton with me.

Having finished the socks, I spent some time over the long weekend untangling the yarn and bagging each one separately and picked up where I left off. I was still struggling with the floats but then I saw that Kate recommended turning them inside out. So I did and it has been much easier since. You can see where the tension changes but I don’t really mind and am haring along at a fast pace now. I’m up to the third chart repeat + thumb chart at the moment and I think I’m going to make them fingerless as I don’t have my full set of needles to hand. Gauntlet #2 will be knitted inside out from after the Vikkel braids.

Other than that, my secret blanket project continues onwards after a brief hiatus caused by not wanting to undo/redo some rounds – but I have and it looks much better – and I’ve fallen into the Hexipuff/Beekeeper’s Quilt trap, so use any small amounts of time (lunch time at work, waiting for people in the pub etc.) to construct them. I am aiming for a lap blanket, so I suspect that it will not take me quite as long as if I were going for a double bed sized one! But we shall see!

Return of Fascinator

And there we are, the finished fascinator. It did end up with a few tiny bloodstains as it turns out that sinamay is quite sharp when you’ve frayed it. It even survived the trip to and from Wales and we were very lucky with the weather. The wedding, btw, was lovely and involved an outdoor structure built and designed by the groom’s younger sister (an architect) and each table had a different theme, designed by one of the people seated on it. There was an excellent spider themed one (the bride likes spiders; thankfully I didn’t have to sit at that one!), a pictionary themed one, one with origami napkins with people’s names embroidered on them as placemarkers and so on, lots of lovely handmade and crafty touches from everyone involved!

ps. not sure why there are huge blocks of empty space in entries. Trying to sort that out now…

Fascinating/or

The above gallery is, as it currently stands, a fascinator I’m making for a wedding at the end of July. We will be camping in Wales for this wedding, which I am sure was a great idea before this “summer” started. I plan to rock the fascinator/welly boot (mine have goldfish on them!) combo with aplomb!

The construction of the fascinator is going quite well – those pictures are the fruits of an evening – although sinamay is definitely something you need a thimble for, once you fold it as it is quite tough to sew through and harsh on the hands. I have yet to bleed on it though, which is is a plus. Next stage, after some gluing to make sure things are secure, will be making frayed “flowers” and a sinamay rose and then I shall be done. Hooray!

Other than that, there’s not been a huge amount of crafting (or blogging…) as about a week after my last post, I was successful in a job interview. It involves relocating from London to Brighton, so when I haven’t been in Brighton at work/learning how stuff goes, I’ve been packing everything in London up to go into storage while t’BF (who lives in Brighton already, albeit in a studio flat) and I flathunt for a flat for the two of us to move into.

It’s knackering and stressful but ultimate worth it, as t’BF and I have lived in different cities since we started dating, almost three years ago. It is also, of course, very sad as Jam (the even quieter half of this blog) and I have been flatmates for over five years now and now we’ve had to go through all our stuff and sort out who owns what – particularly traumatic when it comes to the craft heap…

I’ve got a pair of simple socks on the go and my on-going secret crochet project so I’m not completely craft-bereft, and there is nothing quite like being forced to go through your stash to spark off 18 million possible projects. Although they all have to wait till the relocation has finished, which I am hoping will be by September.

Hopefully, I will return with the final stages of the fascinator and then photos of the finished object, on my head, in Wales (weather permitting!) shortly.

Day One: It ain’t easy being green


Green Leaf of a Bio Plant in Nature
Image by epSos.de, creative commons licensed.

I’m attempting Knitting and Crochet Blog Week again, this year. Today’s topic is Colour Lovers (3KCBWDAY1), which is quite apt, given that I remarked to Jam recently that one day I would crochet something that didn’t involve cream and green but I didn’t know when that would be. Technically, the giant crochet blanket of doom did not include cream but I immediately launched into the secret blanket I’m working on at the moment which features cream and green as two of the main colours and the the first blanket I crocheted was, yes, green and cream, so I think the balance is firmly in favour there.

Green features in my knitting as well, a quick scan of my Ravelry project page flagged up at least four hats (not all knitted for me), two pairs of socks, a shawl, a pair of baby shoes and a baby cardigan. I just, I like it. It can be so many shades and moods, it’s gender neutral for babies and it makes me happy. I associate it with spring and freedom and outside. And I’m in good company there, Karie is also a green fiend!

Oddly enough though, I haven’t yet made a garment for me in green yet but I doubt that will last long. The full sized garments I’ve made so far have been neutral – Coraline is camel, Owls is dark brown – but I am definitely contemplating something green for the summer.

All hail the Great Cthulhu!

The Great Cthulhu goes to the beach

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtag! (“In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming”) Or, in this case, the Cthulhu went to the beach, with a friend. T’bf is a geek (see the Dalek Cake) so I made him a Cthulhu using some of the leftovers from my Granny Stripe blanket, using the pattern from Creepy Cute Crochet (a very fun book, although do bear in mind that it uses US crochet terms) and brought it with me to Brighton over the Easter weekend, hence how the Great Cthulhu had a chance to visit the beach.

Oh, and his friend?

Brain Slugs on the beach

A brain slug dropped in from the Brain Slug planet. As you can see, I was briefly occupied but it shortly decided that it would rather stay in Brighton, so it took over control of t’bf.

Brain Slugs on the beach

The brain slug is also made from leftovers from the Granny Stripe and you can find the pattern here. Both Cthulhu and the Brain Slug were very quick to do, although I definitely recommend watching the Cthulhu head and tentacles video in order to get the tentacles right.

Rav Details: Braaaaaains & Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtag!

FO: Owls

The Owls have Eyes

With this, I am down to only one active knitting WiP and a historical WiP. It’s quite refreshing! This is Kate Davies’s O-w-l-s, which must be one of the most knitted patterns going at the moment. I started this just before my birthday in late December last year and it was blocked and being worn by February (I appreciated it a lot in the Feb cold snap!) but the Owls remained eyeless until last Friday, when I took it and the buttons down to my local craft shop (the lovely Stag & Bow) for their Friday Night Social. Several teacups of wine later and the majority of the eyes were in place, so I just carried on when I got home.

I knitted size 2 (34 inch), which fits almost perfectly (see structural modification note below), in the pattern yarn (Rowan Purelife Chunky; colourway Mid Jacob), which was a very sheepy yarn. I did enjoy knitting with it but it does need a layer underneath at the moment (I refer to it as my all-seeing hairshirt…) but is getting less itchy with wear. The pattern was very clear and I will use it to make another one in the future, although possibly with a different yoke design. The only structural modification I’ll make next time is to knit another inch or so before the back decreases, just because I have quite a long torso and the pattern as-is does mean I tug at the bottom a fair bit to bring it down to my preferred length – it’s by no means too short but just not quite long enough.

So, this now leaves me with Kate’s Hare and Tortoise Gauntlets (active WiP) and my Cherry cardigan, which has been almost finished since, er, 2010? Perhaps I will finally deal with that one now! Or rush off and cast on for new and shiny things. We shall see. There’s also some crochet FO to post about but they’re gifts that will be given this Friday, so will probably make an appearance here next weekend. And there’s also a crochet WiP that is trundling along but that is also a gift.

Ravelled here: Hoot Hoot!

Yum!

Decorated cupcakes

Yesterday I spent a happy afternoon dying my fingers blue helping The Make Lounge do a test run on a new vintage style cupcake decorating class (hooray for Twitter!) and by the end I had slightly blue fingers (damn you, Ice Blue paste dye!), six boxed cupcakes (plus one sacrificial cake that was eaten…) and a far better grasp on decorating with butter-cream and fondant icing. Baking is something I enjoy greatly but fancy decorations have always been something I have struggled with and while I am not going to be churning out astoundingly decorated cakes quite yet, I do at least have a few tricks up my sleeve for the future!

The teacher was the lovely Charlotte from Restoration Cake, who was an utter delight – very clear as a teacher (and very giving with her tips and tricks!) and just lovely. We learnt what you need to do to make fondant icing better for decorations, the best butter for butter-cream (Lurpak unsalted!), how to make fondant bows, buttons (must resist buying all the moulds!) and pearls. Plus, playing with paste dyes and edible iridescence paints and glitters.

I’ve done a couple classes at The Make Lounge before and I have always had a fabulous time, so I can certainly recommend poking about their site and taking one of their classes. And I would definitely recommend this one, once it goes live.

Decorated cupcakes Decorated cupcakes Decorated cupcakes Decorated cupcakes

Giant Crochet Blanket of Doom

Giant Crochet blanket: Finished!

I am pleased! As part of my copious free time, I am tackling the WiP pile. The majority of this blanket has been done since November but as I am known for my loathing of weaving in ends, it mostly got used throughout the winter as a computer blanket without the ends being done and thus no border. But, I sat down this month and wove them in and started the border and now it is done, in all its rainbow glory.

The pattern is a basic granny stripe, I used the one from Attic 42 and also the same yarn, which is a Stylecraft special DK, an acrylic (which for a blanket that has already had tea dripped on it, is ideal) as Lucy from attic 42 had organised a colour pack, which was an excellent price, had a lovely selection of colours and arrived really quickly. I set a colour pattern for the first repeat of the 17 colours but once that was done, I just went for random colours, trying to space them out from previous repeats (although I did stick with the dark pink and light blue together).

It is big enough to cover my double bed, I started with 240 chains – using Carina Craft Blog’s no foundation chain tutorial, which frankly, without that, I probably never would have started – and did three repeats of all 17 colours. The border is also from Attic 42, her granny square border as I liked it more than the one she finishes her striped blanket off with. I did it in four different colours but you can only really see three.

I have about 100 yards of each colour left over, aside from the border colours. I did have to by another skein of the final border colour to finish it off. Also, despite being acrylic, this yarn was a joy to work with. Not squeaky and not harsh to the touch, it has a very soft hand. I’ll def. be using it again.

I am very, very pleased with it. :D

FO: Elsinore

Elsinore Shawl

I have a lot of free time at the moment, due to finishing my last contract at the end of Feb, so when Karie at Fourth Edition released her latest shawl pattern, I was on it like a flash. It’s a very simple yet pleasing knit that I really enjoyed and it took me a week of my copious free time to knit.

Although it is modular, I knitted it without additional repeats, as I only had one skein of the Knitting Goddess Luxury sock yarn (A sock club colourway from 2010 called Icicle) and as it was, I had to finish a cast off with a white 4-ply alpaca. I tend to run out just at the end of a shawl if using one skein, so that was almost certainly an issue on my side.

I’ll definitely knit it again, this time experimenting with the modular nature; I really like the geometric nature of Chart B!

Pattern: Elsinore by Karie.
Rav details: http://ravel.me/halcyonday/3xzwa