Opera imperfecta


Today I abandoned two more projects that were likely never to be finished.

The panel above is from a group project that never got finished because the group disbanded. The colours are arranged in the way of a sator square. I had planned to make a cushion from this machine-pieced panel with the other side made of nine smaller squares (English paper piecing) from the same fabrics. The panel is now ripped apart, I’ll keep the coaster-size squares for something else.

The other project never got past the planning stage. It was supposed to be made from all those leftover pieces from my different projects that I keep in a bucket.

Talking of those pieces, I just had an idea. đź’ˇAdded to next year’s list of new projects. 🙂


Back After My Summer Break

Currently I’m working on the design for a new SAL project so I’m missing both August postings. You can find the links to the blogs of the other participants in my previous entry.

But I’m going to tell you a little bit about the things I did during my blogging break. I’ve finally finished my Rainbow Blanket, knit a pair of socks for my sister (a first in sock knitting), shortened the legs of my new jeans (a first in basic tailoring), finished two more projects from my UFO Lottery, continued knitting my Ten Stitch Twist (below, please visit project page for more), did some cross stitch on DWXS 2, visited the European Art Quilts VIII exhibition in NeumĂĽnster … I feel a couple of posts coming up.

Apart from that, I enjoyed our annual Kiel Week, got a new camera (a Sony which produced very odd colours so I returned it and got an Olympus instead) and shot loads of pictures testing it. I took a trip to Hamburg and visited Planten un Blomen (Plants and Flowers) which is a huge park area, something I have been wanting to do for a long time. Another item on my list was a boat trip on our local Schwentine river, the ‘Holsatian Amazon’ as I call it. Done. A couple of the pictures I took will appear on my photo blogs soon.



Carte Blanche For Dave The Muse

A while ago I wrote a post about my supply of embroidery floss and how it would make a piece of modern art or something the like. Of course, this would need the expertise of Dave the Muse. I was talking to him lately about the project.

‘Hi Dave! Would you like to help me with this ‘modern art’ project I’m planning to do?’
‘Are you kidding? Of course I would!’
‘OK, let’s see. I need a pattern, maybe like an abstract painting.’
‘Are you going to do cross stitch again?’
‘Yes, that’s what I thought of. I’ve already chosen this piece of Aida fabric.’
‘Which colours are you going to use?’
‘Everything in this basket.’
I showed him my supply of floss and he became very excited.
‘Oh! That’s a lot of nice colours!’
‘You can use them all in your design. Whatever you’ll be designing I will stitch it.’
‘Ha! Carte blanche for Dave the Muse!

Then he darted off to do some research about modern and abstract art.

I’m curious about the things he will come up with.

Blanket Week

Teddy proudly presents his finished Ten Stitch blanket (Yes, I do have patchwork covers – a gift)

Jule proudly presents the first five finished rows of the Rainbow blanket (looks better than expected, although I had to work out the pattern again on the even rows)

Pauli will at some time in the future proudly present his Ripple blanket (I frogged the beginning of the knitted project and am now crocheting)

No More Excuses

Finally found some blue yarn for my rainbow blanket. Not the exact colour I was looking for, it’s merely a grayish blue rather than the cornflower blue I wanted and it contains 20 % wool, but it’s the right gauge. Two balls at 250 grams each, a bargain from the local supermarket. The purple yarn is from my stash, three balls, 600 grams total.

Mug Rugs

Mug rugs (WIP)

Recently, I came across a tutorial for making mug rugs, which are a great fashion currently. Normally, I wouldn’t do this – spend time and effort on making things I have no use for. But Avis’ tutorial on Oh Sew Tempting was exactly what it says on the tin – tempting. Plus, I had some leftover batting/wadding and this project gave me the opportunity to practice my sewing machine skills. Which are still a little poor. So I promised to try it. And I’m keeping my promises.

Now my Pile of Baddies enters the spotlight. There were some batik samples which were not the usual cotton fabric, but viscose. If you have used viscose already, you know how bad it behaves. The fabrics became the choice of the day. Then I decided to cut the batting into smaller pieces. It still was enough for six 15 cms/6″ squares.

After cutting the backing squares from the fabric, I randomly cut strips in different widths (only three left – a good advance estimate) and began to sew them together, following the tutorial.

The mug rugs need some squaring up now and then binding, which I’m planning to do later. This is a good portable project for my lunch breaks at work.

Knitting Dave – Pt. 2

It was a little tricky to get some of the accessories. But with the help of a certain ‘internet’ I could find almost everything I needed. Except for the green eyes. I had to change them to blue ones. There were green eyes available, but they were cat’s eyes. Too spooky even for a muse, we agreed.

From my stash:
some blue cotton yarn for the jeans
brown fancy knitting yarn for the hair

I bought:
two skeins of flesh-coloured sockwool (the last ones from the shop, already thinking of ‘plan B’ if I’d run out) and a white one (this would be ‘plan B’)
four skeins of black and three skeins of white yarn for the leather jacket and t-shirt (ample supply with some more projects in mind)
one skein of light yellow yarn for the baseball bat
a pair of red trainers (size 16 – 17 for babies, 0 – 3 months of age)
a pair of socks (for newborns)
a pair of blue glass eyes (14 mms)
a bag of stuffing material
a package of pipe cleaners

The internet sent me:
a pair of glasses

I did not have:
a plan

Neither did I have knitting instructions for a doll. But that didn’t stop me. Of course, there’s stuff on the internet. Alas, none of it looked like what I had in mind. Or rather, what we had. Never mind. Improvise.

I’m not an experienced knitter. OK, I can knit and purl and make little dolls, even a simple sweater if necessary. But I never did a project like this. I just picked up the needles and began knitting. That was the strange part of this project. It was almost like Dave knit himself. Very awkward.

As it turned out, I didn’t even need two skeins of skin-coloured wool. As I had no experience in knitting with sockwool, I overestimated the amount needed. I used up one skein with only a couple of meters left. – No, I’m not going to do a second one.

Notes to self DURING PROJECT:

Expedition to the craft shop. Buy eyes. Extend expedition to the toy shop. Buy trainers.

Make notes on knitting patterns. Take pictures for blog. Publish.

Make nose and ears. Mouth? Thinking of knitting a neck. Shall I?

Next would be the body. But I’m not quite sure if there’s enough skin-coloured yarn. It says on the label one skein will make a pair of socks size 46 (10). I hope they don’t refer to sneaker socks … Or should I choose white for the body? Like he’s in his undies?

Arms and legs. I’m thinking of hands with at least a thumb to make him able to hold things. Stuff them with pipe cleaners? I think I saw bendable hands on a manufacturer’s website. Size? And bendable metal strips for the legs. Hmm. Feet to fit the shoes. Need a sock pattern. Try out boomerang heel pattern. Buy socks?

A pair of jeans (easy) and a t-shirt (opening in the back to get head through neckhole?). The leather jacket. Problem: the zip fastener has to be separabel. Sold from 30 cm length upwards. But the internet has got a solution: accessories for doll clothing. Sold from 10 cm upwards. Make jacket first, then order zipper.

Crochet baseball bat. Stuff firmly. For the ‘bang’ factor.

Sew on hair. From hairline to inside?

Don’t forget scarf. Scarves are cool.

And don’t get intimidated by the fear of endless discussions with Dave. They will happen. Bet your granny.

So, there he is, sitting in ‘his’ corner of the sofa which he will inhabit from now on.

– (reproachful) You messed up knitting my feet! They’re way too small! –
I did, that’s true. Obviously I misread the pattern. But you’re not supposed to run around anyway.
– I, um … –
But you seem to enjoy your knitted version anyway. Are you going to come out of your new body again?
– No. –
But does The Guild allow this? What if they find out?
– You don’t have to tell them. –
Ah, so they don’t allow. Interesting.
– Weeeelllll, eh … –
I’ll keep that in mind. Just in case.

Knitting Dave – Pt. 1

Dave the Muse – never lets go of his beloved baseball bat

As you already know by now, Dave, my muse, had insisted on becoming visible. To avoid being hit with his baseball bat, I had no choice but to pick up the needles and knit him.

Making Dave, I started with the glasses. Yup. You see, he wanted a pair of glasses. For the cool look. There was only this one model for sale. So their size determined the size of my muse’s head. I even made a tension sample this time.

The body is simply knit in the round on dpns. I found a pattern for a pair of teddy bear trousers which I used for the lower part of the body as well as for the jeans. Then I knitted the feet according to a sock pattern I found. They had to fit the little pair of trainers, of course.

For the arms I used a provisional cast-on and knit from top down to the hands. Then I unpicked the provisional cast on and knit another heel from the sock pattern for the shoulders.

Have you ever knit a nose? Nor me. It knitted itself. Seriously. I was only holding the dpns.

Maybe the way I went to work is a little unusual, faithful reader. Decide for yourself.

Because of some limitations in the material available, I couldn’t knit Dave exactly like he first suggested. Of course, this led to some discussion. Here are a few examples.

Green eyes. I wanted green eyes. Not blue ones. –
They don’t sell them anymore. Only green cat eyes. These are a little spooky even for a doll, don’t you think?
– OK, I have to admit that. –

Eek, what kind of hair is this? I look like a squirrel. –
Wild hair, as requested. I couldn’t get some other fancy knitting yarn during the summer, so I had to take some from my stash. Or would you rather be bald?
– Nooo, but … –
Of course, I could make one of those silly base ball hats for you to cover it.
– Don’t. –

– Where’s the scruff? –
Well, I’ve got some matching yarn in my stash, but using this will make a proper beard. Are you sure you want one?
– Hm. I’ll think about that. Maybe later. –

I still need to finish his jacket and sew the cool scarf.

Read more in Knitting Dave – Pt. 2 soon.

The Impossible Task

decorative stitch sample

What’s up for 2013? Well, I’ve got a long list of ideas and possible projects. And you never know what kind of stuff Dave, my muse, might come up with.

My first aim is to finish my 50+ patchwork projects aka UFOs. I’ve started blogging about this already on my freshly renovated blog. Currently there are five projects left that need piecing to make a top. After finishing them all of my UFOs will get borders and a back.

The Boudoir is still in a state of mayhem and therefore in an urgent need to be cleaned up. I need to know where everything is to finish my projects. I’m afraid I’ll make some new discoveries.

I’m so wanting to use all my collected bits and pieces – beads, buttons, lace, all those everyday things to recycle for art purposes. I’ve got a plan about this. You may know I’m a lawyer’s secretary. At the office, there were some old and out-of-date collections of German law texts that could go. Well, they did but after taking out all the pages I took the empty spines home. My idea is to make covers and pages and turn them into fabric books. This would give me an opportunity to work on a small scale and I could use up some of my fabric scraps, test swatches and embellishments and maybe even try out some new techniques. I will tell you a little bit more about this in a future post.

There are also three scarves left to be finished as well as a couple of GĂĽnnis and DaveyDolls that demand to be knit. And some corals to be crocheted. And some cross stitch portraits of a tall skinny Scottish bloke to be made.

What do I hear you say – This is an impossible task? Not impossible, just improbable.

Well, I’m off to work on this. Let’s see where I am in a year’s time.

decorative stitch sample