The whole of June was dry. In terms of rains in Mumbai as well as words from me on this blog. The rains have finally arrived here with a vengeance and I decided to come back and talk. My stash is in a garage, corrugated cardboard wrapped and clingfilmed. I spent one month working on the little I’d packed for that chimeric granny square bedspread, then I was one month haunting the Weavers’ Centre in Hyderabad and learning about floor looms. After returning to Mumbai and limbo-land, my fingers got itchy. So off I went to the LYS (there is actually one, more a Local Craft Store, and very near by this city’s standards) and picked up some thread to knit a doily. I forgot my half-formed resolution to use thicker fibre for lace, and got the usual #20 equivalent. Got a few rounds into it and then decided my daughter and I needed head gear for the sunny walk
The sewing machine and I aren’t really friends, although we are on speaking terms. I’m happy if I can sew a straight seam most of the time. But I do prefer machine sewing to a needle and thread any day. I have sewn some things for my daughter, and a few cushion covers etc. but it was a huge leap from those to quilting. The occasion of a friend having twin daughters seemed a good time to start, especially when someone pointed me to a shop in Chennai that sold jelly rolls, which I’ve been drooling over for ages but found too expensive to buy from abroad… In fact, I was so impatient to begin that while waiting for my order to be delivered, I went ahead and chopped up and sewed some fabric I had on hand.
…and good intentions. I did intend to be a more frequent blogger, honest. That is, when I was not thinking of shutting down the blog altogether. But well. There’s work (March was hectic), some weaving, lots of reading (Simon Brett, an abortive Cecilia Ahern [I think I’m too old for her, I was quite bored and couldn’t finish the book], Dick Francis [I actually found one that apparently I hadn’t read], lots of comfort reads) and reading always beats most other things. And I think it always will. So. Only a couple of posts in March. Among the things I wove in March was this scarf, with some textured yarn I bought from Pony, that I would normally never have bought for crochet or knitting.
Yes, I know. I last posted here on the last day of the last year. And to be perfectly frank, I was considering whether to mark this blog as dead. I have too little to say which I haven’t already said on Ravelry. However, this is by way of being a test post. A friend was asking why her blog posts aren’t showing up on the South Asian Crafters group page on Ravelry and I had to confess I hadn’t blogged this year at all. As moderator of said group, I thought I would post here and see if my post shows up. One of the small projects I finished this year was a set for a friend with a new baby. I tested the frock pattern for the designer and then made the booties to match. Wool sock yarn, since the things were for a London baby. And the yarn (squooshy!) was from a sock yarn club I (bought?
It was a toss-up whether I should use a lull in my schedule to blog or get back to knitting on the Summer Mystery Shawlette or a project I’m testing for someone on Ravelry. Blogging won narrowly, if only because I can finish and get back to knitting. But once I lose the impetus to blog, it’ll not come back for a while. I was reassured that I still do have readers (thank you, you know who). I’m not surprised that in general the incentive to blog or read blogs has declined with the rise of Ravelry. One neat project page there gives you absolutely everything you’d want to know about a project. Which means that writing a blog post that is interesting of itself is a great challenge. Some manage to do it with sheer brilliance of writing, some add personal details or philosophy, and some floor you with amazing images. I cannot do any of those; my writing
I fell in love with this pattern when it first appeared on Ravelry, so you can imagine my joy when it came up for testing. No matter that I’d never done stranded colour work before or duplicate stitching, I jumped to volunteer for testing. I sent up a desperate appeal for India’s only cotton yarn (we’ve never heard of any other than threads) and a friend kindly volunteered to send me some. Which she duly did to me in Hyderabad and I set out to make the dress. As you can see, the idea was a good one. Only, in the execution, user error crept in and the project was a fail. For several reasons, including: my first colour work, and it shows; it ended up too small even though I made it 6-months and Chandra was around 5 months old then and she is a small baby; I’m mortal afraid the red/maroon will run, so I’ve not even washed
I’ve never seen Fall (Autumn) myself, though we are supposed to have, in Indian tradition, 6 seasons (Vasant, Grishm, Varsha, Sharad, Hemant and Sisir), it’s usually only, mild, hot and hotter. Or damp, damper and dampest if you live in Kerala. However, I do believe the colours I just chose for two projects are Fall colours, the colours of the foliage as it prepares to drop. I’ve wanted to break out of my comfort zone of inoffensive pastels and typical choices, so when I decided to make a couple of covers for the new TV at my parents’ home and the DVD player, I took my courage in my hands and chose these. I wasn’t sure how they’d work, but I think they do fine. (My mother did tease me though, “Would you wear a saree in these colours?” The answer to that I think would still be NO.) I also took the opportunity to try two patterns I’ve had
I’ve been making baby stuff for years now, as you will know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while. Rarely do I get to see the things I make on the intended recipient. Indeed, I have no way of knowing if they fit or are useful, even. But now I have a model for any knit/crochet objects I make in the future. She’s called Chandra and was born on November 10th, as most of my Internet friends know by now, via Facebook or Ravelry. She’s wearing Pebble, which I made a couple of months ago. Pattern: Pebble (and on Ravelry). Easy, quick and satisfying. I used some of the Russian cotton I still have and ended up with this size, which I could call newborn, I suppose. (My project page here.) Yarn: Kamtex Khlopok (khlopok meaning cotton) from St. Petersburg. I got 6 balls of it with a lot of yardage and still have odd amounts left. Other
Why are they called goldfish? I’d call them orangefish myself, but then I’m too literal and prosaic. Not that they aren’t charming, as “What’s in a name” and all that. Yes, I’m now the owner of a small aquarium, with a pair of fantailed (or is it veiltailed) goldfish. I’d also got a pair of cute tiger barbs and (I think) platies, but they were hassling the goldfish, so I’ve changed them over for a pair each of balloon mollies and sharkfish. (Don’t mind me if I’m calling all the fish by the wrong names, I’m a fishkeeping novice). And then on Sunday we went to an aquarium expo and I picked up two pearlscaled goldfish. Actually, I’ve been wanting a change in the colour spectrum, but I ended up coming home with those gold (orange) creatures once again. Ah well. Maybe one day I shall get my wish and end up with some nice blue and green ones. Or
I promise my next blog post will be different! It’s just that once I actually finished making something with the Russian cotton, it was like I found it eminently suitable to lots of things. Actually, having spent a small fortune on having it imported, I thought I had to make a wearable out of it and was not willing to admit that I didn’t like the non-glazed, non-mercerised look of it when worked up. Now I’ve decided that since the ice is broken, I can use the yarn for whatever I want, just so my stash is reduced. So here’s another thing I made out of it. Yarn: Kamteks Khlopok from Russia (Khlopok = cotton), just over half a skein. (Each skein had 250m yarn). Held two strands together. Needles: Size 3.50mm (US 4) Pattern: Modern Cabled Baby Bib (it’s a free Ravelry download) by Andrea Pomerantz (gibsongirl on Ravelry). I can’t see if it is available outside of Ravelry,