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?