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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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When I Dyed….

A few days back a dear Ravelry friend piqued my interest in a post when writing about dyeing acrylic yarn. The reason why I was interested is that till date, I’ve been told that you cant dye acrylic: the color doesn’t hold. So how was this going to work?!

Acrylic mainly needs acid dye in commercial quantities to be viable, and to hold the color the way it does. However, HodgePodge Crochet mentions the use of acrylic colors. Seemed interesting and do-able. So the moment I was alone at home, I got to work!

The first hitch came at acrylic paint. The blog doesn’t really say wall paint, but if you read carefully, you’ll understand that that’s what she meant. Now the problem here is that I get a massive headache with the smell of paint. The only paint I was willing to work with was the children’s acrylic paint bottles. The difference: the paint is more diluted and therefore has not significant amount of smell. One more: I don’t need to burn by hands with turpentine if it does manage to get on me; soap works just fine!!!

I did figure I probably need a lot more color than the “squirt” the blogger mentions, but I decided to go ahead anyway.

The reason I was comfortable to go ahead was a stash of “natural” color yarn lying in my stash, and I had no clue how to get rid of it. Ta-Da! Solution found! So out came the hanks (which I hadn’t bothered to wind, Thank God!)

The starting point
The starting point

Step 1: Wash the yarn in hot water. Since its summer, the Solar Heater in my bathroom works just fine. So the moment I turned on the tap, nice hot hot water came rushing out. The yarn got soaked in this.

Step 2: I had a spare steel vessel I had used last time for dyeing. In this I added Leaf Green, Lemon Yellow and a dash of Burnt Sienna, all being in 15 ml bottles. I was dyeing 3 hanks (approx 150 gms) of acrylic.

The pic here isn’t great. I was conducting the process in my bathroom, which had no access to natural light ( a fact I realized only after dunking the yarn). So please don’t mind the neon shade of green! ๐Ÿ˜€

Dripping away...
Dripping away…

Step 3: I put on a pair of gloves and got to work ensuring the color reached every bit. Then I let it sit in the color for about 15 minutes, and then hung it over the tap to drip into the vessel. This was finally hung in the balcony to dry out for the rest of the day.

Later that evening
Later that evening

Step 4: I washed the acrylic to check for color fastness. Unfortunately it was not color fast. I remembered to put in salt to hold the color. And surprisingly it did hold. The yarn went back into the balcony for drying out.

The final effect is an ombre-like gradient in green. But without the flow of color. It simply became patchy where the darker color settled at the base…

After the wash, the colors lightened up
After the wash, the colors lightened up

I wanted to try once more to check for the amount of color required. So I dyed a single skein in Magenta. The experiment wasn’t really a resounding success. Apparently you need the amount of color concentration for it to hold onto the yarn. ๐Ÿ™ The pink almost seems faded…

Drying out in Pink
Drying out in Pink

 

The skeins together
The skeins together

By this time the original skeins had dried out, and so I wound one up to see how it worked for a project. I made a doily and a knit swatch to display the colors.

All rolled up!
All rolled up!
a quick doily
a quick doily

 

A knit swatch
A knit swatch

 

Finally I would say that, if you can manage, go ahead with wall paint. Else acrylic colors aren’t bad at all! ๐Ÿ˜€

Have fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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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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HiyaHiya Fruit Lace Socks

This is the 2nd pair of sock I’ve made, the design again from the HiyaHiya Designs. While the name of the lace was funny enough, I really liked it, and would have loved to show it off. However, I had a stash of yarn left over from my Regal sweater, and I decided that it was better put to use as a sock yarn! ๐Ÿ™‚

The KAL (Knit-A-long) was for the duration of Dec 2013 – Jan 2014. However, this was the project that I decided to cast-on on the 1st of Jan this year!

So here’s my effort. The only change I made with the pattern was that it was meant to be a mid-calf design, while I made only ankle socks.

My lovely red socks!
My lovely red socks!
Another view
Another view
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Gilbert

Gilbert was a sweater that I made for my nephew. The pattern was designed by Melanie Coogan, and she was very generous when she gave me the pattern for free! And for no reason but that I asked for it on Ravelry! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks, Melanie!

The sweater is knit seamlessly and knit bottom-up. This is the first time I made anything with such extensive cables, and it was great experience!

A close-up of the cables
A close-up of the cables
The final Sweater!
The final Sweater!

 

 

 

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Whew! What a Hectic Year!

I seem to have started the year on a Knitting Sprint of sorts! I have absolutely no time to blog at all. ๐Ÿ™‚ This post is basically a catch up of what I did in December.

December started off peaceful enough. I was on a holiday for most of the month and just made a few projects, but the pace kind of increased as the year ended. The projects I finished during this time were:

Winter Chill Reversible Hat (test knit): this one I ended up gifting away. Well, it wasn’t meant to be mine! ๐Ÿ™‚

The right side: reversible hat
The right side: reversible hat
the inside of the reversible hat
the inside of the reversible hat

Cephalopod Pot Hat (test knit):

One more hat to my skills! :)
One more hat to my skills! ๐Ÿ™‚

Scarflette for my MIL: This was entirely reverse engineered from one of the machine-knit ready-made scarf that my MIL had. This is a common sight around South India, and I just had to make one for her! ๐Ÿ™‚

scarflette
scarflette

And I started a sweater for my nephew – Gilbert: I’m going to put up the WIP picture of the sweater, as it was at the end of 2013! ๐Ÿ™‚

the Gilbert! :)
the Gilbert! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

At the very end of the month, on the Ravelry Groups suggested we cast-on for a new project on the 1st, and complete it during the month. I couldn’t resist now could I?! So that’s what I did… I waited! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Complete – Cephalopod Pot Hat

Okay, so that was a tongue twister of a name! But that’s what the designer, Jennifer Law, named it. And I simply call it “Hat”. ๐Ÿ™‚

The design is simple, but made complex with errors on the designer’s part. But that doesn’t detract from the overall look, which is pretty cool. ย But who doesn’t make errors? After all, correcting those mistakes is what test-knitting is all about!

So here’s my funky new hat!

my new hat!
my new hat!

 

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Regal – Finally Complete!

This sweater has been long time in the making. But yes, it’s been finally completed. I do thank the designer, Linda Marveng, for being nice to me by letting me take my time with this sweater.

The completed sweater
The completed sweater

This sweater is my first “assembled” sweater, where I’ve made all the part separately and then sewn them all together. It’s been a long journey to get it all together, and I’m really happy with the final result. ๐Ÿ™‚

The yarn that I’ve used is a lovely variegated yarn in reds, and is of fingering weight. As is most yarn in India, this too is acrylic. The whole sweater is knit on 3.25mm and 3mm needles to give a lovely thick fabric.

short sleeve with picot style edging
short sleeve with picot style edging

 

narrow button band
narrow button band

 

buttonholes made with extra sts to give a slightly loopy effect :)
buttonholes made with extra sts to give a slightly loopy effect ๐Ÿ™‚