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The Birthday Swap

Every year, there are groups on Ravelry that organize swaps. You can participate in swaps for dishcloths, mittens, shawls, and even for your birthday! Well, I went ahead and participated in one for my birthday this year. I wanted something special, and definitely different from what I did in years’ past. So I signed up for the Birthday Swap early this year.

When the time came around, i couldn’t be more thrilled. Now came the best part after all: shopping! ๐Ÿ˜€

I needed to shop for yarn, which was the easy part actually. The rest of the package had to be a minimum cost of $30. The aim was to make the swapee (is there such a word??) feel pampered and loved, even if from far. So I totally went to town with my shopping list. Chocolate, craft kits, and personal care item. It also included a hand-made item from me: my silk-wool shawl Intriguing.

However, I couldn’t manage to make get the package together before Lynne’s (my swap partner) Birthday. I had to send it out before the month was over, and that’s what I eventually did! However, Lynne was a darling and sent mine so that it got to meย before my birthday.

Then came D-day: my birthday, and more importantly: package opening day! And boy, was I pampered! Here are the pics of what I received:

The entire package
The entire package. The bag was the handmade that Lynne sent
Lovely lovely yarn! <3
Lovely lovely yarn! <3
Postcards from Yorkshire
Postcards from Yorkshire
Fat Quarter pieces to push me along in my sewing journey
Fat Quarter pieces to push me along in my sewing journey
Books! Lovely collection
Books! Lovely collection

 

What I sent included:

Manasa Gift 2014 001.JPG

 

Manasa Gift 2014 003.JPG

Manasa Gift 2014 004.JPG

Shawl modelled by Lynne
Shawl modelled by Lynne

I guess the pics taken by Lynne are definitely more detailed than mine! But then I wanted to showcase the sheer amount of stuff she sent across! This was a fun experience, and I will certainly look forward to nest year. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

 

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Sock Me! ;)

When one of my Ravelry groups suggested a sock-along, I jumped at the opportunity. I already had made 3 pairs and I was sure its just a matter of sitting for a few hours n getting it done! Delusional, anyone?

Which essentially was stupid. I already had 3 sweaters (out of which 2 were for me… Small. Not), and a shawl. Not to mention I knew I would be busy with the in-laws here and stuff on the personal front. And did I choose a free pattern?! No, I went ahead and signed up for something that said “complete within 2 months or pay up”. So, ya, sock me!!

Anyway, today happens to be the deadline for the socks, and I’ve just managed to finish it.

The yarn is an entire different matter to crib about. It looked good on skein, and that’s the only reason I can come up with for buying it!! The color changes are normally small i.e 12″ in most Indian acrylic yarns. However, this took short to a whole new level: approximately 6″. The design is mostly invisible. ๐Ÿ™

Anyway, here’s my pic!

Arrow Lace socks
Arrow Lace socks

 

PS: I don’t think I’ve ever written a “rant” blog ever before!ย sigh

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Hooking Away

As a couple of friends pointed out here, I’m just too used to “needles”. And I finally found the need to change my terminology to “hooks”! ๐Ÿ™‚ Crocheting has recently become my go-to option when I’m tired of knitting. While knitting usually involves wearables of some sort, they take a lot of time to complete. On the other hand, I crochet only to take a break from garments. So these are small projects, doilies to be precise.

Here are a couple that I’ve completed recently:

  • Floor Show: Every bit of this rug/mat is a gift. The yarn was a gift from Rinku, and the pattern came from a crochet magazine gifted by Swapna… And I just couldn’t resist putting it all together!

 

Floor Show!
Floor Show!
  • Mallika: My very first test pattern. Designed by Srividhya, and tested on the Crafty Dozen forum on Ravelry.. and helped through the process by Jaishree and Swapna on WatsApp! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Mallika
Mallika
  • Dove Doily: I wanted to challenge myself… and challenge I did! It definiltly challenged my patience to stick to it till it got done. As it is i skipped the last few rows. ๐Ÿ˜›

 

Dove Doily
Dove Doily
  • Clematis: this was pretty motif that I found in a book… and decided to make a couple. Not sureย what I’ll do with them though….

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Pine for Me! :)

This one is freshly completed, though it actually slid off my needles a couple of weeks back. Unfortunately, I’ve just not had the time to wash and block the garment, not to mentioned finish off the weaving in of threads n sewing on of buttons. But here is the finally product, and am really really thrilled with my lovely Pine Cardigan!

The design itself is a test knit run on Ravelry from the very talented designer/s Tincanknits. Its been fun, though the sleeves were boring… I mean how fun can 20 inches of stockinette be?! But the end result more than made up for it! ๐Ÿ˜€ <3

Here’s my lovely Pine!

The un-blocked version
The un-blocked version

 

the buttons :)
the buttons ๐Ÿ™‚

 

And the lovely finished cardigan!! <3
And the lovely finished cardigan!! <3
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On a Doily Trip…

I seem to have been bitten by a doily bug! I just can’t get over how fast they get done, and how beautiful they are. To the point that I’ve made 2 since the beginning of this very week. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve never really got along with knitting cotton in the past. The maximum I made were coastersย and a mobile pouch, and then I couldn’t really think of much to make with them. They seemed to strain my arms holding onto the slippery thread. So they were relegated to the back of my cupboard where they languished for a looong time.

With the Ravellenics starting in a couple of days, I decided to challenge myself this way. What better to do than use up old thread and make pretty stuff? So I sat down and carefully looked at all the notes by the designer and thought long and hard. Then I just started doing it! I still wasn’t convinced that this was a good idea… till I starched out my first doily. Then I was hooked!

Both doilies that I’ve made have been designed by Linda Browning, for whom I’m tested earlier. The doily designs were her gift for testing!

So here are the pictures! ๐Ÿ™‚

Flower Doily
Flower Doily
the bigger doily
the bigger doily
and how they look together! :)
and how they look together! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Intriguing Shawl

This was supposed to be a quick project which I signed up for it. Unfortunately I got so side-tracked with other projects on needles, that I got late for my deadline! ๐Ÿ™

The nice part is that the designer was cool about it, and had no problems extending the deadline. So here’s my Intriguing shawl, with its lovely design! It was made with a silk-wool blend that I got from IndianSilkShop on 4mm needles and it was also the first time I knit with anything silk! ๐Ÿ™‚

I did make a couple of changes to the design namely I cut out on the repeats for the end garter ridge and I didn’t do the picots. Did that make a difference? No, it didn’t, because the focus is now entirely on the design! And a very pretty one it is. ๐Ÿ™‚

before blocking
before blocking
immediately after blocking :)
immediately after blocking ๐Ÿ™‚
a clear look!
a clear look!
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Hat and Mittens – Crafting for Gifting!

Once I completed the Gilbert sweater, I realized I hadn’t made anything for my niece! So I immediately went looking for a new pattern. However, Lara Simonson (who designed Winter Chill reversible hat) connected with me for this new design, Little Elsa’s Hat. It was just perfect for my niece. The cables were not over-whelming, and the button was a fun touch.

Little Elsa's hat
Little Elsa’s hat

So that was the story behind the hat! At the end of the project, however, DH remarked that its “only” a hat, can’t I make mittens to go with them?! But then I didn’t know how to make them. But I figured: how difficult could they be afterall?! Well, the answer is: difficult till you actually get the experience to knitting them. ๐Ÿ™ After 2 froggings, I finally managed to make these mittens in record speed: 3 days… Of course they were toddler size! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Toddler Mittens
Toddler Mittens

 

 

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Quickie Knit: One Path Scarf

This project was part of Project-a-Month-KAL Group on Ravelry. The design was donated by Siew Clark for whom I had earlier completed a test knit: Twist-er.

There isn’t much to say about this project actually. It was made on Nako’s Makilenik lace yarn in light brown, the yarn held double for this project.

The scarf is actually the lace outer edge of the shawl. I wasn’t keen on making a whole shawl, sop the option of the edge itself was pretty cool! Also, it wouldn’t take to make as long as the shawl itself! ๐Ÿ™‚

One Path Scarf
One Path Scarf

 

Close-up of the design panel
Close-up of the design panel

 

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WIP – A New Crochet Motif

Now that I’m done with granny squares in crochet, I thought it was time to learn something new. Of course, I cannot do this the easy way and look for a nice stitch and learn properly. I HAVE to go for something more difficult. So I decided to make a collage of motifs. I’m not sure how the whole thing will look, but I’ll try anyway.

In spite of the difficult task I set myself, I did manage to land on my feet anyway. The motif I found on YouTube was posted by Crochet Geek, and featured how to make a circle into a square. The problem was that I’d never crocheted a circle, forget making it into a square. But I managed. And I’m pretty happy with the result!

Couple of things that I learnt along the way are:

  • sc and hdc – ย I already knew dc but the others had to be viewed a couple of times before I got the hang of it.
  • Crocheting through a stitch – I had to rip up a couple of times before I got the hang of this one
  • 4-ply could mean anything – When the presenter spoke about 4-ply I assumed she meant fingering weight. But when I got done, it seemed much lighter than the motif shown on-screen. Then I figured that though she said 4-ply she meant anything up to DK :(! While what I used was almost light-fingering. So lesson learnt was to watch the videos VERY carefully, esp when they show the yarns! ๐Ÿ™‚
Crochet Motif
Crochet Motif
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New Skills: Sock Knitting!

Yes, that’s the new skill I’ve managed to add to my knitting repertoire: sock knitting.

Sock knitting had always baffled me. So many knitters seems to churn them out at the drop of a hat, and yet the very vocabulary of sock knitting terrified me! It especially since it contained words such as: short rows, toe up, cuff- down, grafting and so on.

So when HiyaHiya KAL group connected with me asking me to join their cuff-down KAL, I decided to give it a go and conquer my fears. It further helped that there was a hefty penalty for not completing: I would have to pay up $5 as design price in case I didn’t complete the pair of socks before deadline i.e 30th Nov 2013. Ample time to learn, and enough motivation to get it done indeed! Also the clause that I had to complete a pair would ensure I completed both, not just one sock!

The first sock got done fairly fast. So fast, that I figured I should have cast on both at the same time, I’d have got it done together!!!

Anyway, i did finally manage to complete both socks, and here’s my final result. ๐Ÿ™‚

In process: the in-step
In process: the in-step
in process: the heel
in process: the heel
How it looks
How it looks
2 feet together! :)
2 feet together! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

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New Bag : Contrast

This particular project is the only one to take on so many forms before finalizing. This was one of the crochet projects I’d started a couple of months back.

It started as a table runner for my dining table. The orange-gray combination was striking against the brown of my table. The I found it was too much of work, so it became placemats, starting with 2 mats, the remaining to be made slowly.ย This has now taken the form of a bag, simply because I just couldn’t get myself to complete even the 2 placemats!

Anyway, I’m still liking the way it looks. Its been a different experience for me: to sew up so many pieces together. It is only the position of the pieces against each other changes it from a table piece to a bag.

The handle is an i-cord made with 3 strands held together and knit with 5mm DPNs. Hmm. Just can’t leave knitting behind, can I?! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is the result:

The completed bag
The completed bag
another shot :)
another shot ๐Ÿ™‚
Before the handle was added
Before the handle was added
The opening at the top
The opening at the top
How it all began
How it all began

 

 

 

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Mid-week WIPs

My brain’s working over-time! I have so many ideas and too few hands to make them work!

Having said that, I’m right now working on 2 sweaters. Yes, 2, like one wasn’t enough. One is a test knit from Linda Marveng called Regal Purple, and the other is a Design-Along by Anna (Kuduja on Ravelry).
Both are amazing – in construction as well as design.

The sweater for Anna has just got modified from Sweater to Sleeveless Jacket, as in the last 20 minutes. The yarn I’m using is from Oswal and has short color variegation in blue. This yarn called out to me sometime back when chopping with the In-laws, and always remind me of Old Denim… and that’s what it’s called! The premise is to make a completely customised sweater for oneself. So there are no fixed measurements, and one would have to check the size while knitting. This is definitely a very good learning experience for me. The only requirement of the Design-along is that the stitch pattern is supposed be a zig-zag pattern. There is a choice of making the exact one Anna made, or making out own. SO i opted for my own choice of pattern.

The front right panel with zig-zag pattern
The front right panel with zig-zag pattern
The back panel with the neck stitches on holder
The back panel with the neck stitches on holder

The 2nd sweater I’m working on by Linda is really slow-moving. It is a traditional sweater with sleeve length options, and seamed. I don’t think I’ve made a seamed sweater before. Once I discovered the joys of seamless knitting, that has always been my choice. However, I’ve read that when it comes to sweaters, seamed is probably what lasts longer! Hmm. I just hope that with the effort going into this one, it does last!

I’m calling my sweater Regal (as it’s not purple ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and its being done is another Oswal variegated yarn, this time in reds.

It was a choice between color and clarity: I chose color! :(
It was a choice between color and clarity: I chose color! ๐Ÿ™

Bothe of these sweaters need to be done by the end of September. While, I’m sure the old Denim will get done, I’m not so confident about the Regal. Here’s to fingers crossed! ๐Ÿ™‚