Saturday, 23 December 2017

It's Simply Enormous!

I bought a cake of Rico Creative Wool Degrade at the fabric fair back in September with the idea to make this shawl - I didn't realise quite what an epic undertaking it would turn out to be!  Initially I thought the yarn was laceweight, but upon getting it home I discovered that it was made up of four strands of laceweight yarn and there was no way of separating it, so I had to knit on bigger needles than planned.  So it looked as if it was going to be quite big from the outset...

Then with about eight inches of the point left to knit, I ran out of yarn and had to buy another cake of it - not cheap may I say!  I finally finished it this week as it has been a bit of an off and on project amongst the comissioned work.  It's very nice - soft, with the colour fading from a dark grey at the top to a very pale, almost white, grey at the point.  And big...very, very big!

For sale in my Etsy shop now.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Last Minute Dogs...

 It never pays to get complacent - these dogs were a commission that I got about a fortnight ago, to knit replicas of a pair of beloved pets.  I thought I was going to have some spare time to prepare for Christmas!  These did not go to plan - I started the lurcher using a ball of yarn I had of a discontinued line, hoping that it would be enough. It wasn't.  I was lacking two legs worth.  So I ordered something similar and hoped for the best.  When I started another dog with the new yarn, I realised it was a bit too thick, but I had to soldier on as there was no choice in the matter.  Then when I went to a garden centre last Friday, I found that they had a few balls of the original yarn in their craft section - hooray!  So that saved a lot of extra work!
The second dog is a French Bulldog.  Due to time constraints, I was not able to come up with my own pattern, but vaguely remembered that there was a pattern in the book Best in Show, Knit Your Dog.  Note to self: NEVER use this book again.  In fact, throw it away.  Right now. Put it in the bin.

For a start, the dimensions for the body were way too large for the head.  So I improvised, missed out a 6 stitch increase and used smaller needles.  Then when it came to knitting the  head, which is done on the stitches left on the two side sections, the instructions were so confusing that I ended up unravelling it and starting again as I had done it completely wrong.   As for sewing the thing together, the instructions are so meagre that they were just about no help at all.  The head before shaping looks like a long bag - all you are told to do is fold it up and stitch to head to form nose....huh?  If you do that, you are left with a wadge of fabric with nowhere to go.  It took me over an hour to experiment with shaping and moulding it into some resemblance of a face - it's a good job I am a very experienced knitter & also one that makes a lot of knitted animals.  No novice would have been able to make this pattern successfully.  There are no diagrams, very little help at all.  This is not the first time I have come a cropper with this book  - the patterns are very badly written, with making up instructions that are unclear and fail miserably.  On top of that, the actual dogs that result from these patterns look amateurish and shoddy unless you spend a lot of time fiddling and needle shaping.  It really annoys me that this book is a best seller when it feels to me that the patterns were either rushed, or not proof-read & given to some knitters to try out first.  I know from preparing for the Nudinits book that we were extremely careful to make the patterns accessible to any knitter, whatever their skill level, and made sure that we actually knitted the items again from the written patterns to ensure they were correct and as mistake-free as possible.

Rant over!  I got there in the end and just in time for posting before Christmas.  I'm taking today off!

Monday, 18 December 2017

It's Not A Polar Bear!

Sainsburys are selling these cute little Christmas ornaments ostensibly as polar bears.  As I stood in the supermarket aisle banging on to Mr. B about how it wasn't a polar bear as the bone structure of the skull was all wrong, it was definitely a brown/grizzly bear, he put it in the trolley to buy for me.  So I can paint it the right colours....

Friday, 15 December 2017

A Beary Nice Birthday!

 Obviously Mr. B knows me very birthday presents this year are exceptionally good!
So looking forward to the day with the wolves - what a photo opportunity!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

That's Better...

Crocheted this again using eyelash yarn.  I couldn't see what on earth I was doing through the fluff, but it turned out OK and now I'm happy!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Bear Earrings

These are a private commission, a pair of earrings with a hand painted portrait of Otis the bear on each one.  The wooden discs I used are about 2 cm in diameter so painting such a detailed picture (twice!) was quite a feat.  Actually, three times as the second one I managed to shatter when drilling the hole in it - I learnt a valuable lesson there, drill the hole before painting!

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Velcro & Barney...

 Well, I'm still into painting on wooden discs although I can't find the nice smooth domed ones similar to the few I had squirrelled away on my desk.  This is a flat disc, about 8 cm across and is my first trial run.  I discovered half way through that putting paint on these discs causes the grain of the wood to stand up and makes for a very rough painting surface.  Next time I will have to sand it down before actually painting a picture.  This is a young bear called Velcro, from Katmai National Park.
 I've been knitting another replica pet, this time a lurcher called Barney.  He turned out rather cute!
 He comes with the usual bed, blanket and coat.
I'm available if you would like your pet knitted - just enough time to get one done before Christmas!