Monday, 28 November 2011

DefiKNITely knitable

This story is defiknitely about knitting! But, it is defiknitely not about scarves, shawls, cardigans or pullovers.
It is about knits and purls, loops and yarn-overs but  not about raglans or necklines.
It has many decreases and increases but not a single armhole.
Some of the purls from this story shine in the dark and sit at the same table with their maker during dinner.
A few of them can actually talk to birds.  And they wear jewellery!
Still, there's absolutely nothing odd about them. They're perfectly normal stitches.

I believe I have your attention now! :)

 Two years ago I went hunting for slippers and slipper-makers on Ravelry. That first adventure lasted for almost a month which was about 30 days more than I'd expected. :)  As I found out back then, the Ravelry projects base is an endless sea of amazing projects!

I published  the gallery of the most interesting hand-made slippers in my posts named Dress my feet and Dress my feet II and I was quite happy with how it turned out. It encouraged me to start a few more searches for different projects, one of which I am sharing with you now!
This time, I went hunting for  non-wearable knit and crochet projects (with the exception of jewellery). Most of the examples were collected from the Ravelry projects and pattern database during the past year. Some others were published on different web sites. What is common to all of them is that they were born out of great creativity and (my favourite word!) imagination.
It isn't as if we are not aware of the fact that knitting can create so many things besides pullovers or hats. Pillows, doilies, throws, table-cloths, amigurimi toys... we've all seen that. Or even made it. But, what else do knitters and crocheters make?
As it turns out, that they make all sorts of things!
I'm not even sure how such projects happen - does a knitter need something and decides to make it with her needles or is each of these projects simply a result of the knitter's wish to take knitting beyond the borders of a practical hobby!? Hard to tell!

Here they are!

The fact that knitters make blankets is no news, obviously, but I still decided to include them in the list!

"Silent flight, 
Darkness piercing vision, 
Hooting night terror – Owl."

This blanked is called CAN YOU SEE THE HOOT? and it is designed by ShuiKuen Kozinski, the author of  some of the most beautiful shawls on the Earth. :) . The pattern for this blanket can be downloaded for  free from It calls for approximately 3000m of yarn.

This "Navajo" blanket was made by my fellow blogger bensedinart. The pattern can be found in Kristin Nicholas book "Kristin Knits". It is worked in the rounds with a steek.

Inspired by THIS design,  Raveler Cheryl (Ravelry name TracesmomCheryl ) made this unusual project- a felted bird's nest.  Absolutely adorable!

Here's another interesting example of a felted non-wearable knit project!

Made by jantje.

Now, look at this:

It is a lamp!!!! Knit and designed by Rachel Braff . The pattern is available as a Ravelry download from this link > Hydra lamp.

Crocheted candle-holders...

... and lamp shades, both designed by Elín Guðrúnardóttir  You can find her blog HERE

More lampshades:

Designed by Michaela Renz. The pattern is available from here > Candela lampshades.

And Nordic light pendant  designed by Anna&Heidi Pickles.

Now- the wire!
In 2006., Knitty published "Venezia", a pattern for beaded napkin holders designed by Rosemary Hill.
The most unusual thing about this pattern was - the yarn! Instead of furry, soft alpacas, merinos and silky yarns, this pattern calls for WIRE. Shiny loops of wire wrapped around gentle bamboo needles left me pretty confused when I saw this photo for the first time.

Hardly would anyone believe that it was possible to knit copper wire, usually associated only with soulless industrial products, into a fine, airy lace fabric. But, it is possible.
And the pictures of the final result were just as stunning as those of the process of making.

Later, In 2008. , Knitty  published another pattern by Rosemary Hill - Bijouterie , a pair of beaded earrings. The principle was, more or less, the same and the result was, once again, beautiful.

The idea of knitting wire instead of yarn somehow triggered the birth of a whole new style of knitting.
Some of the knitters that i met during this hunt started playing with Romi Hill's patterns, modifying both patterns and the purpose of the projects.
Others came up with their own, unique designs.

Jenny, (coolcatjen on Ravelry ), made these "Venezia" napkin holders.

And, some jewellery:

Crocheted bracelet, made with copper wire, semi-precious stones, Mother-of-pearls and Swarovski crystals.

Wired necklace with circular motives. 

And a ring!

These three pieces of jewellery were crocheted and designed by Leigh Manson-Brown. The link will take you to her designer's page on Ravelry.

The curtains! Not nearly as unusual as knit wire, but still a good example of a creative approach to crocheting and knitting. I picked this elegant and simple pattern by Bernat Design Studio. The pattern is free.

And, although there are thousands of interesting examples of hand-made objects that could find their place in almost every household, for the closure of this story I picked this simple and, yet extremely cute project. 

Clothesline Wall Hanging

Designed by Pierrot and made by Alice (SimplyAlice on Ravelry). 
The main purpose of this project is to bring a smile on your face and, to be perfectly honest, i cannot think of a nobler purpose. :)

I'm finishing the story with this cute wall hanging for two reasons - I wanted to bring a smile to your face and to prepare you for my next post - a story about very special wall hangings. 

'till then, cheers!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Flowers, leaves and acorns

I may have been quiet lately but that doesn't mean that I haven't been knitting! Quite the contrary! As always, my most frequently chosen projects were shawls.
Two of my favourite shawls made in the 2011. are designed by Shui Kuen Kozinski which probably doesn't come as a surprise- I've been a long time fan of her work.

And, although I could hardly pick my favourite pattern among her designs, when I made my first Fleur-the-lis shawl, I instantly knew that it was a love that would last for a long, long time. And so it was! What blew me away was the simplicity of the pattern capable of resulting in such a rich and breathtakingly complex texture. Moreover, the final shape of this shawl is so long lasting that even after months of wearing it you will still have firmly shaped peaky edges and an intact texture of the lace.
In addition to all this- it is an extremely fun knit and here I might want to add that I am a very impatient knitter. But, it appears that, no matter how many repeats you decide to make or how many lace panel you decide to include in your project, your whole (knitter's ) world suddenly starts spinning around the row in which you will finally make 9 out of 3 stitches and start making a new flower. Quite amazing!

Anyway, the story has it that, once upon a time, a (young and beautiful) knitter (whos blog you are reading this very moment)  decided to made herself a lovely winter Fleur-de-lis shawl in ice gray. When the shawl was finished, she realised that it was a pure miracle- the most amazing thing she had ever see. Everyone else was blown away by its beauty as well.. People from her kingdom would instantly fall in love with it (the shawl, not the knitter!) and would ask her :"Can you make something like that for me too?" but the knitter would briefly reply: "Who am I, your grandmother? Make it yourself!" And so the beautiful young knitter continued enjoying her moment of glory the whole next winter.
One day, the knitter woke up and felt that the temperature had drastically changed overnight! It was spring! And, since the knitter lived on the Mediterranean, she knew quite well that she would soon melt like a snowman if she continued wearing her shawl. Her other option was to put her shawl into a closet along with the rest of her winter wardrobe but she knew more than well that, then, she would lose all her magical powers. So, she sat down and started thinking! And, after a few days of thinking, she came up with a solution to her problems  - she would make herself a new shawl out of a much lighter yarn that could be worn in April and May! That way she would  keep her powers forever (or at least until German tourists come to town and start making fun of the insane knitter in a bathing suit, swimming with a shawl around her neck!)  And, so, she made herself a new shawl! And she lived happily ever after!

I have to say that, unlike many other times, this time I was really lucky when it came to picking the right yarn for the project- my first choice was the best choice (and I think that the lady in the yarn shop, used to my constant replacements and "better ideas", meditated on  the idea of framing my picture and putting it on a wall for a long time after that! She must have thought it was candid camera!).

The yarn I used is a very strange tweedy cotton/cashmere/wool blend! Very hard to work with, actually, as the thread easily breaks during knitting but extremely firm when knit into fabric. It is also very blockable which is great for a shawl project! The predominant colour is natural beige (or sand, if you like) and, at first sight, it gives the impression of a hemp yarn but, in reality,  it is extremely soft to touch (cashmere can do that!).

I do have to mention that some of the pictures were taken at least 6 months after blocking and, as you can see, she shape is still perfect!

The pattern for Fleur-de-lis shawl is obtainable from Ravelry  here > Fleur-de-lis shawl pattern by Shui Kuen Kozinski .

The second Shui Kuen's design that I made this winter (don't worry, I won't be telling another story about a beautiful knitter and her magic powers!) is Leaf and Acorn Shawl, this time, in green. What a change after all the projects in earth shades!

I love it, I hearth it, I love wearing it but my dear friend is so desperately in love with it that i decided to give it to her! But she still doesn't know that so, in case you see her, don't tell her anything about this!

Here it is:

You can download Leaf and Acorn shawl pattern for free from both Ravelry ( HERE) and (HERE).

Happy knitting! I'm going to bed! It's 3 AM and I think I'm losing my magical powers as we speak!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Let me tell you a joke

I met a good friend of mine a few days ago. After 4 years of not seeing each other!
All that I knew about him was that he had gotten married in the meantime, had a baby girl and that he had quit his old job. Nothing else! Plenty had happened in my life too! 4 years!
We hugged, said "Hi" to each other and then thousands of questions started popping out in my head - "what should I ask him first?", "how has he been?", "where did he meet his wife?", "how old is his dog now?", "oh, his brother, I forgot about his brother, I should ask him about his brother!!!", "does he still collect antique watches?".."how on earth do you start a conversation with someone whom you haven't seen in years and whom you used to spend days and days with???"....and, just when I started feeling dizzy of all the questions erupting in my head and thought that I was going to faint, he winked at me and said:
-Hey, do you want to hear a joke? It's a good one!
I said:
- A joke? I haven't seen you in 4 years, I don't even know your daughter's name...
He stopped me and said:
-I thought it would be better to just pretend that the last time we saw each other was yesterday! Catching up is usually boring! 
And so he told me a joke!
He was right- catching up is usually boring, often hard and more often than not- useless. And so are the excuses! (Not to mention that they're lame!)

For this reason, I decided to pretend that the last time I posted here was last Monday and to tell you a joke!
There isn't much to be said, after all! Sometimes, for whatever reason, we simply "don't feel like doing some things". When that happens and when we feel that it is not the right time to do something then, in my most humble opinion, whatever it is that we don't feel like doing, is better left alone. More so if what we're doing is supposed to be done with pleasure. Not every time is a good time! That is what I did with this blog- I temporarily abandoned it and decided to continue writing when I see fit! And, that time would be now, if you don't mind!
(Naturally, although my strategy called "I don't feel like doing it so, I won't do it!" sounds abnormally smart- do not try it at home or, godforbid, with your electricity bills! I've tried it and it doesn't work! Electricity companies have got no sense of humor WHATSOEVER and if you decide to skip paying a few bills and then show up in front of their clerks and say - "Hey, I really didn't feel like paying the last three bills but I have a great joke to tell you!" - THEY WON'T LISTEN!!!! Or laugh!... I just thought I should make this clear!)

So- the joke!!!!

Two men are sitting in a pub. Their names are John and Peter. They're drinking beer and chatting! Suddenly,  John changes the subject and says to his friend:
- You know, I've been thinking! We spend every single night here in this pub and we've been doing it for the past twenty or so years. We get home from work, have something to eat, take a nap and then leave the house and come back home late in the evening, usually drunk and useless!
Peter says: - Yes, and?
John continues: - Well, you see, I've been thinking about our wives lately! When we're here, they're at home! Alone! Not only are they alone but they also know that we won't be back until very late!
Peter: - And?
John: - Well, what do you think they're doing when we're here?
Peter says: - Oh, you know...they'e women, they probably do what all women do!
John says: - And what is that?
Peter smiles and says: - Well, there aren't many options, are there?! They're either knitting or...well, obviously, spending evenings with another man!

John suddenly jumps off his chair, puts his coat on and says: - I knew it! I have to go!
Peter says- Hey, where are you going?
John says: - Home! 
Peter: - Why so suddenly?
John: -  I'LL KILL HER!!!!
Peter says: - Your wife???
John says: - Yes!
Peter: - But, why????
John says, on his way out: - BECAUSE SHE DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO KNIT !!!!!!

I'll be back soon this time! Stay tuned!

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