Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blue mohair wrist warmers

When I stumbled upon this beautiful handpainted blue mohair roving at Etsy, I just couldn't resist it ... I had never spun mohair before, but it's so silky and long-fibered that it almost span itself into a very thin and shiny yarn.

To make the luxury complete, I plied it with a hand-dyed royal baby alpaca lace yarn (from Susa) and decided to knit myself a pair of super-soft - and very warm! - wrist warmers. Yes, I know, spring is here, but my wrists still do ache for a lot of warmth.

As this gorgeous yarn reminds me so much of water and of the sea, I crocheted a row of 'shells' with the thin alpaca as a side border. And what would be more suitable for decoration than a couple of those miniature shells, which Elizabeth/Landanna had collected on her Danish seashore and sent to me as a gift last Christmas?

I'm so happy with these, they warm up my wrists and my heart!

(German summary: Ich habe zum ersten mal wunderbar weiche, handgefärbte Mohairwolle versponnen und mir daraus sehr luxuriöse Handgelenkswärmer gestrickt. Als Krönung habe ich noch - mit Hilfe einer Drahtschlinge - einige der winzigen Muscheln draufgenäht, die mir meine Blogfreundin Elizabeth/Landanna zu Weihnachten geschickt hat.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Blue batts and a 'denim' yarn

One of the best things about our blogworld is the mutual inspiration - how one idea leads to another, like in a relay ...

My dear blog friend Elizabeth/Landanna is working on a big jeans project, where she is unseaming piles of worn jeans and then handsewing them together for new shapes with a bright red thread. This combination of faded blue shades and the red stitches is really awesome, and I just adore the fresh and beautiful look of it.

Having had these pictures in mind, I've been pondering over how to integrate these colours in a project of my own.

And a few days ago I found what I've been searching for - the 'Shizuku' scarf pattern by Angela Tong (free Ravelry download). Shizuku means drops of water, I've learned, and so I think these shades of blue will be a perfect match.

(I admit I'm not really the only one loving this pattern - if you go visit Lavendelblau or MelinoLiesl f.e., you will see other beautiful versions of it.)

To create the feeling of worn jeans, I carded the different blues I had stashed - a little green and white too - together with some red sheep locks I've dyed myself.

I carded the wool quite roughly and only once, then spun the batts into an irregular and a bit bumpy worsted yarn. I decided to ply with a ball of the new Noro Sekku (yes, also stashed!), a very thin cotton/wool/nylon/silk blend, which emphazises the casual denim look quite well, I think.

(German summary: Seit einiger Zeit folge ich meiner Freundin Elizabeth's Jeansprojekt und überlege, wie ich die schöne Kombination ihrer blauen Jeanstöne mit leuchtendem Rot auf ein Strickprojekt übertragen kann. Das nette 'Shizuku'-Muster von Angela Tong gab mir dann den Anstoß zum Kardieren, Spinnen und Stricken ...)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spinning for leisure, felting for pleasure

This orange flower just had to be made, celebrating the first warm and sunny spring days!

I added a couple of beads and French knots for embellishment and a safety pin on the back - a brooch for a spring jacket or as a closure for a shawl or a wrap. It's a small present for a friend of mine.

I've been spinning a little too - just for the fun of it, no special project in mind. 'Spinning is good for the soul' - Anke at WolleNaturFarben often reminds me of that in her blog postings - and yes, spinning is like meditating, it soothens your mind and calms your thoughts - and at the same time, your hands produce a lovely yarn out of the soft wool on your lap.

I still had a roving left of the New Zealand wool I dyed myself two summers ago - not a very spectacular one, but I did like the red dots in between:

It's funny, how serendipity often decides how a yarn will turn out - sometimes a most beautiful roving turns out to become a quite regular yarn, sometimes it's just the other way round ...

You make your decisions about the wool, the blending, to card or not to card, about the thickness and the whorl when spinning, how and with which material to ply - and still there is a randomness which keeps surprising you until the end.

Even if I have been spinning enthusiastically for a couple of years and know that I can control the handling a lot more now than in the beginning, I still feel there's a lot left to be learned. I remain a seeker and beginner in my experiments.

It seems every new yarn teaches me something I didn't observe before - in this case, it was the colour of the plying. When plying with a thin thread, I usually try 'hiding' it by choosing the dominant colour of the roving - this time, I took a shiny blue silk thread instead and a dark red woolen one, referring to the red spots on the wool -

and in my opinion, this was exactly what made this yarn arise. (Meeting the colours with the camera would need improved skills though, I'm afraid - the first photo above, with the felt flower in the front, shows the 'glow' better ...)

(German summary: Eine gefilzte Blumenbrosche zum Einläuten des Frühlings - und einige Gedanken darüber, wie jedes handgesponnene Garn mir neue Erkenntnisse und Aha-Erlebnisse bringt - diesmal war es die farbliche Akzentuierung beim Verzwirnen.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Still crocheting like mad ...

Octagon flowers - aren't they nice? Quite unusual, still easy to make - so I had to try them out ...

... with some scraps of cotton yarn - but I reckon they would look interesting with variegated sock yarn as well ;-).

I found them in the latest issue of 'Marie Claire Idees', a great French craft and decoration magazine, que j'adore - it comes six times a year and is a real treasure box of ideas and inspiration.

A couple of weeks ago I also finally managed to get hold of my preferred crochet hooks (at Amazon UK), the ones which are completely made out of metal - I just don't like the ones with soft grip or full plastic.

To celebrate this, I sew myself a brand new hook case too,

open -

- and closed:

(German summary: Ich finde diese achteckigen Blumen recht apart, und doch sind sie sehr einfach zu häkeln, Stäbchen und Luftmaschen im Wechsel, jede Reihe in einer anderen Farbe - das Muster habe ich in 'Marie Claire Idees gefunden'.

Und dann habe ich mir noch ein Häkelnadeletui genäht, denn im Moment bin ich ganz versessen aufs Häkeln ...)