Saturday, May 22, 2010

Stitching myself

Some of you might already know about the Stitch Yourself exhibit, a joint project by Stitch London and the Science Museum. More information here. People are invited to create small version of themselves, and knitting, crochet and sewing patterns are provided to create the blank bodies.

I could not resist the temptation to make a mini me, and last Saturday evening I started. It did not take very long, and by the time I went to bed that night I had the body, clothing, hair and eyes sorted. On Sunday I added a mouth, shoes and drop spindle, and it was done. Can't believe how mush fun it was, probably because it was almost instant gratification, something I don't often get from my slow knitting and spinning.

I knit the body from Paton's Diploma Gold DK, using less than 10g for the whole body. I knit is using magic loop, and did kfb instead of make 1's. I probably should have paid more attention to my decreases - there is a very clear line running down the one side of the face, which I only noticed after adding the arms/legs/hair, i.e. no going back and putting the crease at the back. I blame the lighting late at night...

For the hair, I used reddish-brown alpaca roving (bough from Coldharbour Mill), which looks eerily like real hair (the picture to the left does not do the colour justice). It was a bit tricky to anchor it -luckily it will not be scored - and it was a bit flyaway, so I added some hairspray before I mailed it. There was no way I was going to create a hairstyle similar to my own, so the hair (as with everything else) is more of an abstract representation than a photo image.

The eyes are from Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, and a little bit of sock wool provided the mouth. If you look carefully, there are earrings made from jump rings (beading findings).

The short-sleeved cardigan is a top-down design from leftover Abstract Cat sock yarn. Luckily the arms of the doll are really thin, so the tiny armholes were not a problem. Because of the tiny dimensions, my horrible seaming would have created too much bulk. I want this cardigan for myself now... Please note the little shawl pin (utilising more beading supplies).

The trousers (probably my least favourite part) are from Rowan Denim - because it's denim, of course. Turned out a bit bulky and baggy, but I did not feel like redoing them.

The shoes were tricky. If I had thought about it earlier, I would probably have knitted them when doing the legs. Being optimistic that summer might have arrived, I decided on sandals. They are made from cork from a wine bottle, and little bits of velvet ribbon that was attached to the lable of some clothing item I bought (I always knew saving useless bits will come is useful some day). I sewed the cork soles to the feet for stability, then glued the ribbon to the soles. Really hope the glue holds.

The piece de resistance is the drop spindle I added as symbol of my current addiction to spinning. I very briefly considered a spinning wheel, but did not think it would travel well, even if I could make a passable mini version. Despite appearances, it is not made from a toothpick, because I could not find one. It was whittled from a wooden knife, and then sanded to smooth the edges. The whorl is more wine bottle cork. There is even a little hook at the bottom (did I mention beading supplies?), although it is not very clear, because of the glue anchoring the fibre to it. And no, the wool on the spindle was not actually spun on the mini spindle. It is Bluefaced Leicester, which I also used to stuff the body with (it is from a sample pack which contained small amounts of wool of different types - I've spun plenty of BFL before so I felt I could use the sample for this instead).

Mini me was squeezed into an envelope this morning and mailed to Stitch London - hope she arrives safely!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Joy oh joy

I meant to do post earlier this week, but things got away from me. Mostly my insatiable need to buy a new camera, and it took me many hours of internet research to convince myself that I really DESERVED the very expensive camera I wanted. It's been ordered and dispatched, but will probably only arrive after the weekend, so playing with my new camera will be next week's excuse for not posting.

I traveled to Lisbon for a 4-night long weekend last week, and I LOVE it. What a beautiful city! On the other hand, any place that has blue skies and sunshine will probably get my vote after this past winter, so I might be easy to please. I came away without any sunburn (SPF30 rules) and without any souvenir yarn. The shops were closed for a large part of my time there, so that might have helped to save me from myself.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the Knit Nation programme included some spinning classes. How I managed to ignore that information for so long I don't know. Then I noticed 'bring your own wheel'. My Kiwi is not a travel wheel (especially not on the train, my main mode of transport to London), so I was suddenly consumed by the need for a portable wheel. As luck would have it, someone was selling a second hand Joy on Ebay, which I managed to obtain. It's a well-used single treadle, but it works fine. Not as fine as my Kiwi, but maybe more practice will improve things. Now I am signed up for two workshops at Knit Nation, both the Friday workshops by Judith Mackenzie McCuin.

Not doing much knitting, between sightseeing and internet surfing. I did cast on for the Transverse Cardigan mentioned in the previous post. However, I've been worrying about running out of yarn, especially seeing as I want a longer body than the pattern is written for. Last night I checked Ebay, and what luck, someone is selling three balls of the yarn I need. Because of dye lot issues, I'm planning on knitting the garter stitch sections in the Ebay yarn (if someone does not grab it from under my nose), and because the pattern starts with a garter stitch section, I've frogged the bit I've done to wait for the additional yarn. That's my excuse for not knitting and I'm sticking to it.

I tried some navajo plying tonight. I've tried before, not very hard, but tonight I decided that I really would try and concentrate. I've got some lovely maroon/pink English Wool Blend (Ravelry link) from Spinning a Yarn that I'd like to navajo ply to preserve the colours, so I practised on some undyed Cheviot samples that I spun up on the Joy. Some of it's a bit messy, but I think I'm getting there, thank to the great video from Sarah Anderson. Looks like the weather might be miserable this weekend, so maybe if I stop procrastinating and do all my chores early on, I can spend some time improving my navajo plying, and possible even move on to the good stuff.

But now off to bed. I WILL try and be on time for work tomorrow (unlike all the other days this week)...