Thursday, December 30, 2010

Xmas presents part 4

Mrs Beetons for my sister. She is a teenager with serious goth tendencies, but she fell in love with these about a year ago, when we were looking through Ravelry.
I happened to have to balls of Rowan's kidsilk, in Kafe Fasset colors. And matching beads too. I said I have a fairly extensive stash, most probably I could find yarn for any knitting I could think up...
Knitting them was not hard, though this was the first time I threaded the beads on BEFORE I started knitting. I wanted to use up all the yarn I had, and wanted to make the ribbed part a bit longer so I put stripes in there.But that was about the only change to the original pattern.(I still can't let alone, can I? LOL)
I think she liked them pretty much, I know I did, so much that now I want to get my own pair.
As for the present I got? This was hiding in the box I got from my father:
Nice, huh? Hopefully I can put better pictures from now own. My old camera went to Christopher, so my personal photografer has his own machie to play with... (which was the original goal)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Xmas presents part 3

Last year I gave my friend a pair of felted clogs. She loved them so much, but as I know her she also loves bags. I've been planning for so long to make a felted bag, this Christmas presented the ideal opportunity.
I checked the pattern for the french market bag, but I did not used it, but made up something similar from my head.

One thing I did not liked at the french market bag, is how it seems to widen at the top. so I decresed a few stitches at the edges, which gave it a bit more roundish shape. Here it is before moving in the washing machine just to see the difference:

And here is with its recepiend who was very happy with her present.

So much so she called me on Christmas night that her grown up daughter wanted to confiscate it, but she would not, and placed an order for a new one right away. Since the bag was made up from yarns I picked up in second hand shops I could not promiss anything only that I will look out and if I find anything suitable... I know she trusts my taste and work enough to do that.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Xmas presents part 2

Last year I made a pair of felted clogs for Christopher and an other for my friend. Both of them had such a great success, this year three pairs of them was going through the washing cycle.
One for Timea:
One for her daughter Dori

This pattern is such a genious work. It is a pattern you have to pay for, but well worth the money.You will end up making more -maybe much more- than one pairs. You do need to pay attention and not question it or wonder how it makes up the clog, just do what it says to do and I promise you, it will work out.
The only thing that felting it in the washing machine is not an exact science you will have to check it often.
Just for the fun and the scale this is how they looked before felting. The coke bottle is there for scale:
The left one ended up being a men's size, it will be my brother's present (he, once again, just moved into a new place), this is how it ended up after the felting:

The yarns are various all wool yarns I picked up in second hand shops.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Xmas presents part 1

I made these two hats for the daughters of Timea.
Mimi is one and half year old. His mom run over to exchange presents late at night, so there was no live modell for taking pictures :-) Winnie the Pooh did a good job standing in :-)

The other hat was done for the older daughter Dori, who is almost ten now, but already such a real girl and an artist. I promised a hat for her last year, this is my filling the debt.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas and presents

This is the morning when in millions of homes people opening presents, and in some areas present opening was already done last night. Mostly there will be happiness, sometimes dissapointments...
For weeks I've been watching people running around like crazy, kicking each other on the metro (a brand knew pair of rosewood knitting needle minded that), fighting in long lines, and walking up and down in the shopping malls with huge bags and long lists, checking who else they have to buy for.
Why do we do this to ourselves? I am not the master of modesty, I never thought less is more. More is better for me, especially if we are talking about yarns or clothes, but Christmas?
It is a well known fact about me, that I do not like winter, in fact I despise it, I can't stand the dark, the cold, the wet, when I look out of my tenth floor wondow, my stomach churning. This also a season when so many bad things happened to me, I have been saying that I would be gladly give up Xmas and my birthday, just not to have to deal with that.
This year I felt something different. Year by year, little by little I formed holiday traditions. I refuse to get into the whirwind of shopping and running around, and this Christmas morning I feel better than I felt in decades in this day.
Those traditions? Let me see...
Long time ago, just after we came back from Miami, I baked some poppyseed cake which my father loved so much he asked for an other one for Xmas. I also have a ton of cookie recepies, some of them really special from crossing the hungarian and american traditions. That year my present to my father and family (the wife there cooks really well, but not too good with baking) was a big box of holiday cakes and cookies. My brother and family way moving the weeks before Xmas and had no time to really prepare for the celebration, and I thought since I am already here knee deep in baking why don't I surprise them with a similar box? Both was a great success, and for years I kept on sending them boxes of cakes.
As for my friends and other family... I am lucky to have friends who love crafts. Honestly, since my life is so deep in crafts I am not sure I would want to be friends who do not. Of course one cannot select their family members, but I am coming from a family of crafters where everyone appretiates handmade presents. The only one who does not? Well, there are people like that, I can undestand that. My only problem was that she did not had the gall to tell it to me, when I (trying to be good, since she does have a peculiar taste, asked what would she like), I had to hear from someone else. for a while I was thinking on some hurtingly inpersonal present, but then decided to let it go...
Anyway usually they get something handmade and a special Xmas cake for what brought the original recepie from the US, but I modified so much that it is my special recepie now.
The handmade thing? Most of them have kids or childish soul, Some year it was a red stuffed teddybear. In an other reeindreer shaped hot water bottle cover, in yet an other waldorf dolls. Handknitted socks, gloves, scarfs hats... Last year I made a felted slipper for someone.
So for this year:
My brother divorced since and my sister grew up so they get less baked stuff, but I put something handmade in there. My close friends get handmade stuff and Xmas cake.
Others with hom I am not close enough to give handmade presents get the Xmas cake.
For cooking I also refuse to get into the daylong preparations... this is the time to enjoy ourselves not to slave in the kitchen? I am making Mákos guba on the 24th and cheese fondue on the 25th. We are usually going off on the 26th no need to get prepared for that.
For other cookie baking, especially for gingerbread (we make it with honey). I have a friend whom I know for like 16-18 years, and ever since we are making a point to come toogether for a day (afternoon) before Christmas and make it toogether. She brings the dough for the gingerbread (it is never as good when I try to make it) and I am responsible for the biscotti (she cannot manage that one as good :-) each of her own, or what)
The only thing I am spending money for is to make it special for Christopher. He is reading this blog so let's just say the tree appears miracoulosly on the balkony on the morning of the 24th. We decorate it and presents are appearing while we do something else...this year while we were eating dinner...
I will come back in other posts with pictures on Christmas presents, but let me list the highlights this year I will remember fondly.
Travelling on the specially lighted tram with Chris.
Eating fried sausages with him in the middle of the advent fair in while the snow was falling on us.
The Christmas concert in his music school where he played a song with the violin.
Friends coming over to wish me happy birthday (in the holiday crazyness my birthday usually gets forgotten).
Baking the gingerbread with my friend.
Having an other friend come over late night on the 23d to exchange presents...
Catching the last bus after the movie on the 24th (public transportation stops at 3.30, but I promised a movie weeks ago to Chris).
Decorating the tree, which stood in its stand so easily (not like last year).
Walking to midnight mass holding Christopher hand, and listening him to sing all the songs...
And knowing that under the coat and sweater and baggy jeans.... he had his Xmas present Dr Who pijamas on.
Hope everone has a list like this , or longer.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Written in the stars?

Once again the faithful meeting of yarn and pattern. In my favorite ebay shop (Kingcraig's fabric, you know from Scotland) there was a bunch of yarn on sale. I was different from their usual fingering or worsted as it said "Hunters chunky". I had no idea what they mean by that, but it was all wool, it was red, it was tweedy, and it had great price...The only problem, it was only 380 gramms, which is just not enough for a full sweater especially from this weight. Then Angela reminded me of oneof my old favorites. Someting I saved a long time ago, thinking, sometimes when I will come across the right yarn...

The pattern is Kristina Sutherland's Star cross'd love but once again I made so many modification. Mostly because the pattern only comes in size XS (I am no way that small) and for bulky yarn (this yarn was called chunky, but though it is thicker than the usual scottish yarn, not that thick). At the end I think I left the basic structure , and recalculated the numbers, changed cables, knitting directions here and there, to make it totally seamless, and even changed the shape a bit to better suit my body and taste.

Started with the back, adding some ribbing and narrow cables between the big ones to accomondate the bigger size. Changed the middle cable to a three stranded one for symmetry. And increased under the arms to get a real arm-hole. For the front I picked up stitches from the shoulder, knitting the big cables (and a small one for the size) downwards, adding the arnhole shaping underarms. When I picked up the stitches for the collar once again I rearranged the stitches and cables to get them even and symmetric. The same went for the body stitches and decreased and increased for wais shaping, then at the waist ribbing (which is actually 1 by 1 cables, twisted every sixth row, I added some stitches here and there so they can flow out of the patterning AND more of an A lined shape. The sleeves were picked up and used short rows for shaping them.

The pictures don't really give back the lovely red the yarn actually is. It was spun from shades of red and bordoeaux, with tine specks of purple/blue thrown in.

It was a bit "harder", scratchier than the other scottish wool, but then it all changed when I washed it. Once again it bloomed gorgeously, but you've already heard me wax poetic about that.
We had a perfect photo-shoot planned, the perfect place picked out (the stars of Chris's school), I dressed up in total style (buble shaped skirt from Promod, red thights, and boots, even had some make up on) but the light would not cooperate. And there days it is just way too cold to do outside shots. Sorry about that.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Angels for Lucia

As in many school in Christopher's there is also a traditional Xmas/advent/St Lucia fair around St Lucia's day.
A few days before it the parents get toogether and prepare small crafts. This year I knew that because of my work schedule I will not be able to be there, for the full time, I prepared a few crocheted angels ahead.

With the parents we made angels from all kinds of natural material, including dried mushrooms, bamboo leafs and whatnot. The fair was a huge success for the class, so much that when I got there like half an hour after openening the table was empty save for a few leftover muffin crumbs...

Friday, December 10, 2010

A promise is a promise

A few weeks ago I've knitted a hat to a collegaue of mine. Chris tried it on and wouldn't let it go...only with the promise that he gets one like it for himself.

Who am I to argue with that? I still had about half of the yarn (second hand find, with high percentage of wool content). I only changed the striping a bit.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Whorls turning

When I went to the spinning class a couple of weeks ago, I did not went to actually learn something. I did, (learn that is) and I could even more if I'd have a funvtional spinning wheel, but that is an other matter. I went mainly to meet with others whose mind is spinning around things similar to what I think about. I went to finally meet in person with some whom I know from their blog.
And in these gatherings you can just feel the creative energies flowing and one can just absorb so much of it. Before I went I was a bit neglecting my spinning, but getting home I could hardly wait to get my hands on my spindles again. (And start a hunt for the best solution in the wheel question, but then again, that is a topic for an other post).
So here is what I finished.

I bought this roving when I was out for a pir of red gloves las winter, but when it arrived I saw that it is not a real red...But I started to spin it anyway, and I had the singles put away for months, now I plyed them in my lovely, gigantic start shaped plying spindle. Here it is after taking it off teh spindle.

I don't really know why was this what I took in my hand to finish as I have no idea what to do with the yarn. It is about 65-70 gramms, 270 meters, which makes it to a fingering or sport weight, enough for a pair of gloves or a lacy hat, but the coloir does not suit me. I have really warm fall coloring and red(umm, orange) hair, and this is too blueish, too cold of a red, which would suit someone with wintery colors, light skin, dark hair maybe. It is nice, slightly heathered from the white silk carded into the dyed merino.
Here is the picture I've shot after having it sit over night, getting a warm bath and being twhacked a few times at the side of my bathtub.

Here, trying to get a close up, but the light wouldn't really cooperate.

Now, tell me, what should I do with it?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fall berries

This is something that was also a love at first sight. The moment I saw the pattern I knew I wanted to make it, and I knew I wanted to make it from this rusty colored scottish wool.
However, unlike the military jacket, this dream took a long time to become fulfilled. Oh, I did bought the pattern at once and I had the yarn in my stash, I even cast on promptly... But then it started so slow, and then the knitting olimpics came and I decided in the last minute to go for it and cast on for something else.... then the bomb hit and I did not knit at all... for the longest time. It was only a couple of weeks, but it seemed like an ethernity. By the time I started again, it was way into summer, and I knitted lighter, cottony stuff and lace shawls (don't ask me why, lace knitting comes over me at summer time-go figure).
But at finishing the Military jacke I had great momentum, and it was fall again, need for warm sweaters, so I took this out of the basket and finished it in two weeks.

The pattern is Blackberry cabled cardigan, Well worth the money. Great pattern, wery straighforward instructions. The changes I made are not because I thought the original not god enough, but only accomondate my body, and particular likes. They were more decrease and increase for waist-shaping, slightly wider sleeves, and a really wide ribbing at the cuffs.

The yarn once again came from Kingraig's fabric, the scottish wool. And once again I go all gaga and mushy when I try to write about it. i already mentioned how great these sellers are, so I am not going into that. I also talked about their wool/silk tweedy yarn.

This one is lamb'swool aran, and the color... the color. It is so gorgeous, and not only because the rusty orange is so perfectly me, goes well even with my hair. But because it is so gorgeously heathery, and so deep, as there is several shades of orange spun toogether with a tiny bit of ochre and some dark red thrown into it. The different colors can only be seen if one looks at it very closely.

Since this is not the first time I knit with this yarn, I was prepared to see it changed, to "bloom", but the way this did just blew my mind. Let me show what I mean, OK?

As I told you it was gorgeous when I knitted it, and was enchanted with the colors. Look, it looked like this when I finished the sweater.

But then I washed it, and it changed for even better. The fibers that were smoothed down by the spinning process loosened, "fluffed up", and they softened. Even the color has changed, deepened even more. (The photos were taken in different light conditions, but you get the idea).

Take a closer look, before:

And after:

OK, I admit, since I know this quality of the yarn I did put in the washing machine and gave it a few turn in the gentle cycle, to enhance the blooming process even more, but that is something I DO NOT suggest for the faint of heart, especially because this is not superwash. I only dared to do it, because the sweater came out ever so slightly big, and it could only benefit from shrinking, and it was really only a few turns, and I rolled in into several layers of towels before slightly spinning it (I know, this is bordering on blasphemy, but otherwise it would have rot before it dried).
But it would have bloomed if i just give it a bath a few gentle tuck in the bathtub. All in one lovely yarn, which comes in gorgeous colors and at a good price.

And I love the sweater as well.

And so do I love my photographer :-) You know who that was.

Friday, November 26, 2010

and so it was

that in one of my forrays to the second hand shop I bumped into a bunch of tiny balls of leftover sockyarn. they were all self-striping, self patterning ones in orange/yellow colors, but all different. But they were all lovely, and I just could not leave them there, right?
Then I kept wondering what should I do with them, up until I bumped into some brown tweedy sockyarn from Lana Grossa, when it clicked. Ever sinc I knitted a Selbu beret for my sister a year agi I wanted one for myself... and I wanted in in orange/brown colors... so I just combined the tweedy but solid colored brown and used the colorful one as teh contrast color.
here is the result as it was blocking.

This pattern is so beautiful... the only thing I changed is to do a folded hem, and a three row orange picot edging.

It even goes well with my new shawl :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Went spinning

Look....These pictures are not from an american blog-post about a spinning retreat...No, this is here in Hungary. Yes, about a dozen women and a couple of girls with spinning wheels, spindles and lotsa wool...(and some angora and alpacca, even a bit of lama)

Would you thought that one can find this many spinning wheels in working in the whole country, let alone in one room?

There was something new for everyone. For some it was the spindle. For others it was the wheels, or carding.

There were all kinds of wheels. From the tiny wheeled antique one to the new ashford Traveller.

Me, the spindle spinner trying the wheel, and the drumcarder, and get my hand into dyeing as well.

All the girls were just LOVELY and I am so glad to meet each and every one of them. Rita was a cool teacher, Adrien a lovely hostess, and I could just go on and add something for each name.

I can't wait to do this again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rusty coin

My friend Regula, asked me to water her flowers through the summers. She lives pretty close by, only a tramtop away, so I said yes, and NOT because she promised to bring some yarn from Vienna :-) LOL... but I am a knitter, and I can't have too much yarn, right?
and what she did brought me was so totally gorgeous, so absolutely me...
Lana Grossa sockyarn in gorgeous rusty fall colors. It was just too beautiful to hide away as socks and the two skein was enough for a generous sized stole...
I only had to find the right pattern, in which my friend Angela came to my rescue. She is so great finding just the right thing... Just like now I told her I want to utilize teh self striping effect, i want something diagonal, something light, something much like the clapotis, but not the clapotis. She came up with three suggestions, all of the perrfect.
I ended up choosing the Coin Lace from Elann, which was the perfect choice.

One of the very few advantages of my current job, that I can take my knitting with me, and kniting in the free times, between calls...for a while this was the knitting I took, but often i could only knit a row or two, so there came a point when it felt i was knitting this FOREVER and put it aside.

Then at my recent visit to my dad's I took nothing else with me, and knitted a LOT on it which pushed it over deadlock point and I managed to finish it.

Regula helped out to pin it out for blocking.Since I do not have blocking wires I had to consent with some pointy edges...

The pattern is easy and looks lovely in self striping yarn.

And guess what. A few after I put it up on ravelry a request came from the pattern's page that they would like to use my picture.... My photographer will be proud :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Is the name of the city where I grew up. No I did not like living there, but lots of memories are still tying me to it. Not to mention the fact that my mom is buried there. So last week when we visited my father I asked him to drive us there, which he did.
We started by stopping in the cemetery put a small wreat on my mom's grave and light a candle. Even my dad joined us, though they were divorced decade ago and it was not a "friendly" divorce

Then we walked along the banks of the river Tisza, and stopped at the boathouse where I was rowing as a tenager.

At a point it was heartbreaking to see that the public pool where I (and a ton of people) learned to swimm dissapeared without a trace. Literally. No children's pool, no 50 m pool, no covered pool, no dressing rooms. No statue of the famous waterpolo player who thaught generations to swimm there. Nothing just a park. I could've cried.

But the old anchor is there

At that age, I used it as a swing just like Chris did

All in all, it was a lovely day... we even stopped at Müller's which is a drugstore chain which also sells toys and.... some craft supplies including YARN... and not only bad acrylic ones at that. I did went a little crazy there, but that is a story for an other post.