Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas embroidery

If you're like me and subscribe many newsletters about the subjects you like the best - and we're talking craft things here -, you've probably seen this article all around. But it's so simple and pretty, I think it's worthy showing it here.

The design is by Noelle Corcoran, and she made the graphics available at Craft's blog. They're simple and can be a great gift, isn't it? Imagine getting napkins embroidered like this! The little bird, by the way, can be used despite the Christmas season. You can also use the same motif with different stitches, filling or not the designs. You can make a whole kit for your dinner table, with table top, napkins... Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Drift Scarf: how to make it

As promised, today I show you how to make the Drift Scarf point. I have to say it's really easy, and if you can get thick yarn, like in Betz White original project, it's really quick to make.

I found the pictures I took right at the beginning, which will make my life easier! ;-)

The pattern is quite simple: cast on the number of stitches enough to make a rib stitch 6x6, in a way you start with purl and end with knit. In my case, it's 8 times 6, adding up to 48 stitches. After that, knit 10 rows in rib stitch 6x6 - 6 purl stitches, 6 knit stitches. On the back, follow the stitches (knit over knit, purl over purl).

On the 11th row starts the scarf motif: in the beginning of your left needle you'll have six purl stitches. Count 6 rows on the back:

Look at another angle:

Now, on this 6th row, grab a few stitches (to keep the pattern uniform, I always grab the first, third and fourth stitches on the back):

I find it more practical to use a double pointed needle, which I already had because of the set of 5 I used for the socks. It's small and fits the pocket in my Tricoteiras tote, but you can use any other needle - just try to use one with a lower number than the one you're using to knit the scarf, so it doesn't make the stitches stand out. After grabbing the stitches, knit as usual, but also grab the stitches on the smaller needle when you knit the first 3 stitches:

The remaining 3 stitches are purled as usual, as well as the 6 following stitches are knit. Do the same and grab stitches 6 rows below every time you have to knit stitches on this row.

After you finish this row, make another 10 rows like in the beginning and keep going, making the pattern I described until the scarf is long enough for you.

A great advantage of this pattern is that the scarf doesn't have a wrong side - which makes it very charming!

Right side Wrong side

Like I said, the original pattern uses yarn and needles much thicker, but hard to find in a tropical country like Brazil - so I'm using Sedificada, which is a very smooth and relatively thick yarn.

If you decide to make a Drift Scarf too, don't forget to tell me! ;-)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Competition: The Book Depository

I have no idea where I put the photos that show how to make the stitch for the Drift Scarf, so today I'll tell you something else! :)

I recently bought some books at the website The Book Depository, following Méri's recommendations. Actually, I was a little scared, because the store sent my books separately, one package for each one, and the last to be sent arrived first. I contacted the website, and they asked me to check with the local post office if the other packages weren't there - but books do not get hold in the local office, only packages containing items that may be taxed. In the end, since it's been a while since I placed my order, the store gave me a refund for the items I still haven't received.

For my shame, two books arrived the next day.

In the knitting list, I got to know that many people are having problems with the post office lately. I believe that the amount of packages in the end of the year is bigger, which may cause late deliveries, but I also think there are internal problems there: one of my packages came with a hole, as if someone wanted to know what was inside.

I contacted the Book Depository again, and they kindly told me I could keep both the books and the refund. The last package arrived a few days later.

For all that, I think The Book Depository is a great option for people who want to buy just a few books - since the delivery is free worldwide! And their service, doing justice to the British online stores fame, was excellent.

And taking advantage of the story, the website is giving away a craft kit! Check out the information here. It's a beautiful gift, and you can take part until January 7th. Who knows you'll be the lucky winner? ;-)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

WIP: Drift Scarf

Today I'll show you what my Drift Scarf is looking like. Check out how it was in October 6 (almost two months ago)

And now, after some work, it looks like this:

I'm on the second skein now, and I'll probably need to finish it so the size will be right. Maybe I even start a third skein! The scarf now has 70 cm (~105 inches). It will be really warm! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No more broken windows!

Another day, I decided to listen to all Outro dia, resolvi ouvir todos os podcasts de Sew ~ Stitch ~ Create podcasts that were missing. In one of them, Brye Lynn tells us about a very interesting idea: WIPs are like broken windows.

She used the idea by former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, about broken windows: he said that, if you have an abandoned building and don't fix its broken windows as soon as they come out, in a little while there will be more vandalism - and the building will be used as a meeting point by drug addicts, then drug dealers, and so on. In other words, a problem that started small soon becomes something hard to control.

(I find this notion absolutely perfect, especially when I think of all the tiny things we leave without fixing at home, and later we realize everything needs repair.)

So Brye Lynn, thinking along this line, came to the conclusion that our WIPs follow the same rule: you start a project, then you fall in love with a new technique and start using it in some other project, then you go to the store and buy some fabric to make something else, then you get tired of what you're working on and start something new...

I found the idea BRILLIANT! And, worse, I realized I have the horrible habit of creating "broken windows" in absolutely everything in my life! You just have to notice that I was writing daily and then I vanished for a few weeks. I've been reading a book (great one, by the way) for 2 years, and it's not even mine, I borrowed it! At the same time, I have at least two other books started, and my list of WIPs, as you already know, is quite big.

And with this, it came the action plan "No more broken windows!". Every time I have to read a book, I go back to the one that needs to be returned to the rightful owner. After this one, I need to go back to one of the books I have already started! And regarding the WIPs...

Actually, I have a good reason not to have written here in the last weeks: I was finishing a project for a book! Yes, that's right! Some crazy girls invited me to take part in a book with them, and for that I'd have to create a knitting pattern - which proves they really are crazy, since I'm very new at knitting! But as I was saying, they invited me and I said yes - so when the due date for the text was close, I had to use all my free time for that commitment! Now I finished it, I can go back to my projects... and since the idea is to go back to my WIPs before they become UFOs, I'm only working on my Drift Scarf.

I believe that, just like for everything in life, this plan will work as long as I'm disciplined enough to put it into action. Sometimes it's hard, I admit it - I feel like going after something new. But since I myself made the rule, it's got exceptions: I currently need some things I intend to make myself, sewing. In these cases, since they're usually things I start and finish in the same day, I won't be breaking new windows!

Wish me luck! ;-)