Monday, 25 February 2013

The really quite fantastic chair

A friend and I took a rather long drive to a car boot sale yesterday morning. It wasn't terribly busy or interesting, unfortunately, probably due to the weather still being a bit bleak and cold, but I found a couple little bits, a flower pot, some  cute salt shakers, a check shirt, but nothing so exciting it made it worth the long drive....until we spotted this lovely, well-kept arm chair. It was exactly the kind of thing that Mark and I had discussed putting in his little library nook in the livingroom - it could do with a chair but the space is not very deep so it couldn't be anything big and upholstered.

I knew from looking at it that it was most likely an Ercol - a wonderful longstanding british make that I seem to be finding a lot since moving to Wales, and it certainly was the kind of mid-century style that I love. I also knew that the stall was one of those proffesional ones with only a few big pieces on a tarpaulin, so they would know what they were selling and surely be priced thereafter. But we asked, just in case. We made the lady repeat what she said as we didn't quite believe our ears. Fifteen pounds. Fifteen teensy pounds for that beautiful Ercol chair and it was going to be all mine!
So here it is, being put through rigorous quality testing in situ:

 And here is something you really don't see every day: my other half, getting animated about fabric choices for what is apparently now his chair. This mostly only happens when he is trying to prevent me from bringing more "bile green patterened things" into our decor, and he seems to have plumped for a patchwork of indigo fabrics with a Japanese sashiko back cushion, and decided to keep the dark wood stain as it is - our usual default setting is to strip everything back to bare wood, but I guess keeping it dark gives it a certainly manly library charm.




Tuesday, 19 February 2013

See my vest, see my vest...

A couple of years ago, my good friend brought me a gigantic, thick sweater that had belonged to her father for almost 40 years but that he had had to admit was now far too big for him. She thought that "maybe I could use the yarn for something".
The yarn turned out to be chunky and hand spun, and really soft for something so old! It was made in Australia but we're still not completely sure what fibre it is. It is naturally dark brown, so feels too soft to be black sheep of some kind. My friend thought there might have been mention of alpacas.
It quickly earned the name Gorilla Sweater....every time I wear it I get the glorious but awful Mr Burns song in my head

 As for the sweater itself, I reknitted it top-down to maximise what yarn I had. I seem to have made it far too wide as I've had to repeatedly move the buttons further and further to the side, which is a shame as I could have used that yarn to make proper full length sleeves, but I don't think the yarn can handle another unpicking - it's quite hairy and involved a lot of yanking. Maybe now that I ve learned to spin I might spin up something a bit similar and extend the sleeves - I tried to consider it as a sort of body warmer, but to be honest, when it's cold enough to wear gorilla, it's cold enough for full length sleeves....

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A little love in the air

There must have been a little love in the air when I was trying out a new base yarn over the weekend, as what came out of the pot were these three dramatic Valentines inspired colours.

The yarn is 100% Superwash Merino Wool in a single ply fingering weight, perfect for striking lacy projects. It is dyed in a particular way to leave the core of the yarn white, creating a mottled effect.

100gr skeins with 366meters / 400yards to a skein.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Daybreak the 59th

aka Handspun Daybreak
Pattern: Daybreak by Stephen West
Yarn: 200gr hand spun Bluefaced Leicester fibre, hand dyed in light to dark gradient blue and yellow

This was one of my very first spinning efforts, and dyeing it too, for that matter. I think the colours came out a little too bright - the blue should have been more stormy grey and the yellow only goes dark golden right at the very end, but it was lovely to knit and oddly enough, it looks better on than it does when you just look at it. Maybe it's the contrast with skin tones or something. It's also very lovely and soft.

Having finished that, I've picked up another stripey number that I started on late last year. 
It is inspired by this kit from french shop Elle Tricote:

              Although the original looks fantastic in the Noro yarn, I had some lovely swedish yarn waiting to be made into something, and I thought the pattern would look nice in a more monochrome colour way. I also thought that the sweater would be more flattering for me with the chevrons pointing downwards. I couldn't find the pattern I had in mind anywhere, but with a little help from the magic of ravelry forums, we figured out how to transform a cardigan pattern into a pullover.

What I've got here is a gigantic knit in the round square. Once the points reach my required length for the arms, I will add small triangles in strategic places and they will somehow form sides and seperate sleeves. Don't ask me how, but I'll keep you posted!