Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Eeek, a steek!

It's finished! Yay! The honeycomb cardie and I survived the 'steeking' process:

All the finishing-off tasks took rather a long time. I had to crochet tightly up and down the front of the cardie to secure the edge stitches, cut (or 'steek') between my columns of crochet, add button-loops, attach ribbon to the inside edges to hide and protect the cut ends of the steek, and sew on the buttons...

Crocheting through both 'legs' of each stitch, beside the purl column

The inside, after crocheting (I crocheted through the floats too)


The cut edges after steeking

Sewing on the ribbon (in backstitch), with faithful 'helper'

My toggle buttons and button-loops

The ribbon was the most time-consuming part since I'm a slow hand-sewer, but it finished off the cardigan nicely and gives a good sturdy base for the buttons. I'm really happy with the fit, and it doesn't seem too itchy. :)

I'm off back to Melbourne tomorrow. I hope the trip will be relatively drama-free, so I can get cracking with moving preparations without needing to recover too much. Sunday is Moving Day!

I've had a great relaxing time over the last couple of weeks. Until next time...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Waiting for yarn to dry...

My honeycomb cardie (Iðunn) is neeeearly finished! The sleeves are done and I've woven in the ends, but then I had to wash it before the steeking stage.
And now I have to wait for it to dry. :p

My cardie, slowly drying after its bath. Curse you, winter.

'Steeking' is the process of cutting up the centre of a jersey to turn it into a cardigan - apparently it's perfectly safe if you 'secure' the surrounding stitches first by sewing or crocheting through them. Because I'm using a fuzzy, feltable wool, crochet will do the trick.

This video tutorial by the designer Ragga shows how it's done:

A couple of before-steeking shots (it fits!):

In the meantime I've started on the next project, which will be Ysolda's Blank Canvas jersey. As per the name, it's a very plain-and-basic style of jersey which should be extremely useful. I've chosen a nice soft dark brown cashmere from Colourmart, which has (very affordable) yarn in all sorts of fibres and blends. My swatch has come out at the correct gauge, and Mum has measured the relevant bits of my torso, so I'm good to go. :)

Winding my Blank Canvas yarn...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Baa baa brown sheep

On Sunday we went for a drive to Tauranga to nose around the shops and go out for lunch. On the way we spied these cute brown sheep...

Photos courtesy of Dad the camera-wielding sheep-botherer :)

On car trips I always try to spot birds other than our usual town ones, and animals other than cows, sheep, or horses. This time we spied a few lambs, and some calves running about (awww). As for birds, I saw kingfishers, oystercatchers, plovers, hawks, and whole paddockfuls of pukekos.

My purchase of the day was a little pot of 'Porcelaine' ceramic paint from Spotlight. I'd read about using ceramic paint/pens to decorate second-hand cups and things on tiny happy, and I've been keen to have a go myself. I got black paint, which will be good for abstract patterns and outline drawings. Since I'll need to set up a whole new kitchen once we move apartments, this will be a timely project!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Birds, a blossom, and a beanie

Mum and Dad's house is excellent for incidental birdwatching. They have plenty of trees in the garden, including a big camellia which is always tui-infested! Here's my list of species I have seen today: sparrows, goldfinches, waxeyes, yellowhammers, fantails, tuis, and one great big kereru.

Dad let slip that there was a spare birdhouse in the garage, and we eventually found a good spot for it... right below the first birdhouse. Hopefully the sparrows who've been setting up their nest won't mind having neighbours. They're in a big prunus tree which we can see from the house (all the better to spy baby birds). The first few blossoms appeared today, like pink popcorn...

Sparrow apartments

The first blossom of spring! *pop*

I finished a hat I've been working on - a Lapwing, in Vintage Purls Sock. It's a lovely slouchy beanie, with the purl side outwards. The wide rainbow 'pooling' on the brim happened totally by accident! I wasn't sure about it at first, because I really liked the yarn as it looked in the ball (with the colours totally mixed up) - but I got that effect at the top of the hat anyway, once I started decreasing stitches. And happily, I have half the ball left over to make something else with. :)

My new Lapwing hat, with broccoli plants

I'm nearing the end of the 'body' of my honeycomb cardie - only a few rows of ribbing to go, and then on to the sleeves. Hazel has decreed it cosy enough to sleep on, which I suppose bodes well!