Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Hearts and flowers

This blog seems to be turning into one big show and tell, and when I started out I was hoping to be so very profound: it is all rather disappointing. I suppose the unfortunate truth is that even in my deepest moments I have never been profound, and I spend most of my life paddling in the shallows.

So here once more is a story of stuff - an incurable obsession with the material, and I fear totally lacking in depth.

The story began some months ago when I signed up for the Pay It Forward at Poppy Cottage, and I am looking forward to receiving a little handmade something from Colette in due course. But not being one to let the grass grow under my feet (and feeling that probably it would take me some time to find some takers), you may remember I advertised for some victims, sorry potential recipients, here.

And at long last I have, much to my relief, completed my first PIF and sent it off to Heidi at Snowdrop Cottage. At one point I was getting a bit panicky, having also signed up for a couple of swaps, not to mention owing a prize to Colette in recognition of her familiarity with pheasant feeders. I think my new year's resolution will involve being more moderate in my ambitions.

But as you can see from my sidebar, I am gradually ticking them all off, and here is what I sent to Heidi. She told me that she would prefer a knitted present, and has a penchant for neutral colours. So I made two lavender hearts, using a free pattern from the Skein Queen, and Sirdar Luxury Soft Cotton DK, with which yarn you know I have a love-hate relationship, so I made sure not to knit by candlelight again.

And because I have suddenly become fascinated by the concept of hand-knitted dishcloths (I have always imagined myself as a knit-your-own-dishcloth sort of person, yet this had remained theoretical rather than practical), I thought that I would knit Heidi a dishcloth. There is a free pattern for these rather nice waffle dishcloths by Deb at Homespun Living, which can be found here. And I used Lion Brand worsted weight cotton, which is available in the UK from Banyan Tree Yarns. It is a lovely easy pattern, suitable for novice knitters, but produces a rather fetching dishcloth which I think would be good for very wholesome, homespun presents. The sort of thing people expect from someone like me.

And last but not least is a little knitted brooch, using Skein Queen Duchess yarn in Dove, some crochet lace and a recycled button, and backed with some felt and a brooch pin. I made quite a few of these brooches last Christmas to match hats, scarves, etc, that I had knitted. It is a great way to use up those small amounts of yarn left over from other projects, not enough to make anything considerable, but which you can't bear to throw away.

The brooches are so simple to knit a beginner could do it: you need to cast on a multiple of 8 stitches - I would do 40 or 48 for DK yarn, with the needles you would use to get standard tension for the yarn, so 4mm for DK for me.

Then stocking stitch (knit one row, purl one row) for 8 rows.
Then in the next knit (RS) row knit the first 8 stitches then lift stitches 1-7 up and over the last stitch you have knitted (stitch 8) and drop them right off the needle. You will then have just one stitch on the RH needle and 32 or 40 on the left.
Knit a further 8 stitches, and do the same again - lift the first 7 (stitches 9-15) up and over the last stitch you have knitted and off the needle. You will now have 2 on the right needle and your original number of stitches less 16 on your LH needle.
Repeat this to the end of the row: you will then have 5 stitches left on the RH needle (if you started with 40) or 6 if you started with 48.
You don't cast off: just cut a decent length of yarn and thread it back through those 5 or 6 stitches twice over and pull it up.
This will form the knitting into a circle and you just have to stitch the join together. The edge curls up and it all forms a rosette shape.

To give a good anchor for the brooch pin, I sew a pinked circle of felt onto the back of the brooch using embroidery thread (2 strands). I sew the pin onto another slightly smaller circle of felt. I then sew the smaller circle onto the larger one - to stop the brooch flopping forward when you wear it, it is better if the pin is two-thirds of the way up the brooch back, rather than halfway.

The other two brooches are from some Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica: I knitted the General a hat from this last winter (which was not a success), then I knitted Princess Bunchy a beanie from the leftovers (both patterns from Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson) and trimmed it with these brooches from the leftovers from that.

I am afraid that the photos of these have that fuzzy, taken at night, not enough light, quality. Maybe I should get one of those big umbrellas to give me the air of a real photographer.

If you want a bigger brooch, you can knit more rows of stocking stitch before decreasing, and you can use any thickness of yarn - this can also alter the size of brooch; it is quite fun to experiment. You can also use more than one colour to make stripes or edging.

Then use your imagination to embellish it - sometimes I cut a circle of felt with pinking shears and put the button on top of that, or you can gather the edge of a piece of ribbon or lace into a circle as I did for Heidi. And then top with a button - so it is also a good way of using up scraps of felt or ribbon, and odd buttons.

So have fun with that: I am sorry I didn't take photos of the manufacturing process; I will do better next time. And also try to be more profound.


Marigold Jam said...

I love your little hearts - I have just finished another one of mine but I am inspired to try added a stitched design like yours instead of just the ribbon trim I used before. Love those brooches too - make a nice change from the flower corsages I have been making.

Thanks for both.


Floss said...

Pomona, you have truly added depth to my life through your blog. But it's good to see all sides of you!

Blogging turns out to be so much more than making posts and leaving comments, doesn't it? I think that a lot of the profundity comes from the relationships we make...

I'm reminded of a friend who says that he really dislikes Sunday worship at his church, but that he goes because of the depth of his fellowship with people in the congregation. It's not quite the same with blogging, buit the posts are just the tip of the iceberg, aren't they?

Lola Nova said...

Dear Pomona,

I have often found your blog redolent with profundity. Egads, somehow that doesn't quite sound like a compliment, I assure you it is.
Good heavens, I love your knitted treasures! I can't knit a stitch and I have no intentions of learning but, I have moments of great envy over those who can. It has been a joy getting to know all these parts of you through your blog!

Susan McShannon-Monteith said...

We don't come here searching for the profound Pomona... it is the snippets of your life you share that keeps us coming back.
All your ambitious undertakings amaze me and the gifts you share that speak from the heart and not the pocketbook.
We could use more of your simplicity in life and I thank you for sharing it.

Unknown said...

Just a second to stop by and drink up all the beauty I can amoungst all the craziness. I totally get the profound part and turning into a show and tell. It's me exactly. But, I'm loving every minute of blogging and all the friends I have been making, even if it's with our silly, silly show and tell. I agree with cutting back on the commitments of PIFs and Swaps. I don't want this to become work. Maybe, a little more after the house project if finished, but right now I need to stay focused and as unstressed as possible. Thanks for your kind words.

Bobo Bun said...

Hey profound one moment, thoughtful, the next which becomes crafty and then really amusing. I like all the sides I'm discovering with Pomona and I think there are a lot more to be sure.

I like your advice so far to me. Stop ironing and talk to the dog more as he will love me whatever. What a simple rule to live life by.

This is a great place to visit you know. Oh and l loved your hearts and the first brooch. I get used to using certain colours and then when I saw your milky shades I found them really inspirational.

Lisa x

Unknown said...

Hun Profound to me is short lived...its the little things inbetween that give me more pleasure long term!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE those knitted hearts hun..everything about them is Gorgeous!!
I have a feeling you give yourself too much of a hard time hun x I think its profound how much you achieve x
Annie x

menopausalmusing said...

The hearts and brooches are lovely......... but I really, really love the idea of handknitted dishcloths.... so basic, but such a necessity.. (that's about as profound as I can get right now.....). A cotton dishcloth was the first thing I learnt to knit at school at the age of 6...........

Chrissie said...

Well, if profound means having deep insight and understanding,then I have to contradict your assertion! But I do so love a show and tell, too!

rockinloubylou said...

No need to be very profound. Just keep the pretty pictures coming!
country mouse xx

Sarah said...

I just love the colours on the hearts, they are so pretty. As for the knitted brooches, they look great. I might make a few as gifts this Christmas.
Thanks for the tip about reusing the advent calendar - great idea!

sarah said...

profound or show and tell

c'mon give me show and tell...


Lululiz said...

Your knitted treasures are adorable, how I wish I could remember how to knit. You've inspired me to give it a go again one of these days.

Lucille said...

How delighted I was to see you there. I'm going to have a good look round, there's so much to enjoy and do here. And as luck would have it I have just bought some pinking shears!

Victoria - Florence and Mary said...

I haven't touched any knitting for weeks now!! I'd love to give these wonderful brooches and hearts a try!

Victoria xx

Unknown said...

Pomona, I like you very much, your writing shows that actually you are a deep and interesting , creative person! thanks for the pattern, mine will be on its way soon! The first paragraph was slightly profound , dont you think:) suzie. xxx

MILLY said...

I have been to your blog before. We look, we wonder, we admire and then we sort of shy away from leaving that comment.
Love your knitting projects. I just bought needles, pattern and attempt my first pair of socks, with four needles.
Glad you left me a comment, thank you. Milly

Michela said...

Mmm...I understand the matter but can't comment in a proper English ;-)...anyway your makes are very pretty!

Cathy said...

If there is a choice between being profound and creating beautiful handmade items I know which I prefer...haha. Love the hearts and I am sure the recipient will too.

jennyflowerblue said...

Now you know you are my total guru, shaman, wise woman etc. and I will follow in your path wherever it leads I am quite glad it has led to making cute brooches from little snips of treasure. xx

Pipany said...

Oh I thought I had commented on this post Pomona. Your blog is often profound and what could be more profound than making? All those thoughts wrapped up in stitches x

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog. I'm glad you like my upcycle quilt, I have found the competition challenging in a good way! I love all the stuff you have made, you are clearly very thoughtful. I can't get over your knitted dishcloth! I'm having a slight swap panic as I have two to complete next week. Kate xxx

country-city-rita said...

You have inspired me so much to make some wonderful broaches with little things I have in my craft cupboard
I can't wait...


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