Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Ventures

It has been more than a month since I updated the blog. It has been tiresomely hectic. In addition to the mundane affairs of domestic life, the summer has arrived with quite a literal bang. We are having a few problems. These problems are not unfamiliar to my compatriots, and the old readers of this blog must also be familiar with electricity load shedding . It has been the norm for the last many years and worsens during the hot weather. The new twist to this old demon, this year, has been power surges or sudden fluctuations in voltage, which have fried a number of electric appliances at our home, over the last week. Our computer and modem have had to be fixed twice in this time period, and a fan and couple of lights have required replacements. In addition to this bewildering state of affairs, is a long-going water crisis. Islamabad has been in the grips of this poorly-managed water shortage for a couple of years now. This too, has worsened with the rising temperature.

All these day-to-day stresses tend to cloud one's creativity, as one figures out a triage of washing, cleaning, cooking and laundry with the limited water, and keeps an eye out for any unusual electrical activity. Alhamdolillah ala kulli haal.

Needless to say, it is still too hot for knitting my cardigan and I find myself little inclined to start some lighter fibre project. Instead, I have been exploring some new ventures.

I have been trying my hand at handlettering. I have wanted to do this  (as well as some water color practice) for a long time and finally started last month. I have been posting some of it on my instagram.
The other thing I really went into, was jewelry-making. It has been so much fun and I made so many earrings and bracelets. Even my kids joined in the circus hobby.  I have bought some new supplies and still have many ideas to try. I will probably get a few Eid gifts out of these.
And as if beads and wire were not enough, I tried some resin craft as well. And made a load of fridge magnets. This too is very addictive and I am afraid our fridge is going to run out of display space soon. I am thinking of doing a couple with buttons, as well.
Then, it is the time of the year when I sew Eid dresses for my girls. I have started on them and hope to get a major portion done before Ramadan, inshaAllah
So you can see how our summer problems have had an adverse ( or is it perverse ? ) effect on me and spurred me onto newer crafts. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Petite Pineapples

As things continue to heat up here in Islamabad, my apathy towards my cardigan-in-progress persists. My creative urges are finding new, weather-friendly avenues like handlettering and art. ( You can find my beginner's attempts at handlettering on my instagram account). Yarnwise, I decided to switch to thread and crochet a new doily for my dresser. The last one was made about four year ago and has been out of use for a while.
      
 The pattern was straight forward enough, till the edging. The edging isn't charted. And trying to work through rows of instruction, with a toddler tugging at my shirt and another child jumping on the sofa, and someone else wanting a response from me, every other minute, was hard. Very hard indeed. My eyes and brain nearly gave out by the end of it.
In the end, it turned out just the right size and looks good as well.
 Surprisingly, the younger girls had no interest in the fare now on display on the dreser, unlike the last time, when my oldest daughter was  very keen on them. Perhaps because they already had access, however reluctant it might have been, to these things when they were stored in the cabinet. As for my oldest, she arranged the dresser this time around and half the stuff on it is hers anyway.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Smaller Things

With our temperatures rapidly climbing and the weather turing unusually hot for this time of the year, I have quite lost the will to work on my cardigan. Instead, I did reorganisation of my yarn stash and decided to knit up some cotton yarns to free up some space. Two potholders and two dischcloths later, I had managed to use an equivalent of only two balls of yarn.
The potholders are crocheted while the dishcloths are knit.
Anyway, the potholders are pretty awesome and performing very well in the kitchen. The dishcloths have not been used as of now, but I can foresee their use in the near future.
I am already looking for some other small knitting or crochet project. Any ideas? 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Craft Break

The final examinations are over and the school is out for the older kids, so I have a bit more free time, Alhamdolillah. I have been putting that time to good use by expanding my craft horizons. I have been indulging in clay art and jewelry making. Only a beginner in both, I have had a lot of fun with both. My oldest daughter joins in the fun and has been enjoying herself a good deal. We made some fridge magnets, candle holders and heaps of jewelry.
 Besides all that and a bit of sewing, I also managed to start the colorwork cardigan that I was hoping to, in the last post. I have never made a colowork sweater for myself and had been wanting to for some time.
 The pattern is a DROPS free pattern, but I decided to knit it from the top down. The yoke is done and I am halfway down the body now. It is looking good, though the progress has been slow on 3 mm needles. I am thinking of adding the colorwork to the sleeve cuffs. That should keep it interesting.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Driftwood Cardigan

The plain black sweater is finally done and I have been wearing it for many days. It is warm and comfortable. Its construction was a bit weird in that the pattern asked for too many sts in the underarm area. Also, the neck was too gaping. I will have to live with the former issue, but fixed the later by doing a row of slip st crochet with a smaller-sized hook.
In the end, it has turned out almost just as I had wanted _ black, plain and comfortable. Next, I have some hankering for stranded work. I may already have cast on another cardigan.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Crocheted Moccasin: Toddler Version

This winter, I had multiple requests for knitted/crocheted slippers from my kids. I had planned to make three pairs but due to the relative shortness of our winter coupled with my relative lack of free time, I only managed to make one pair. I finished these in December, well before our floors got really cold. Not that it mattered much, my toddler would not wear them for more than half an hour at a time. So, basically these are more to be looked at and played with, than be worn.
Still, they do prove one point. That is, my Crocheted Moccasin pattern can be successfully  downsized to toddler size, with thinner yarn and hook. So they still might be worth something. Also, I made them to be a generous size and a four-year-old just might be more inclined to wear them than a three-year-old. We will know the answer next winter, in sha Allah.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Simple and Black

Before I got caught up in sewing my daughters' dresses for a family wedding, I had cast-on for a black cardigan. I needed one for routine use, and considering how black (and sparkly black at that ) can be a difficult color, I wanted a plain sweater. And I wanted to knit contiguous sleeves. And I was feeling too lazy to figure out the details on my own. So I searched and found a free, contiguous pullover pattern and chose to knit it as a cardigan.

This is how far I came, before the wedding sewing put the inevitable pause in my knitting:
 As you can see, I have divided for sleeves and from now onwards, it is just rows of simple stockinette stitch, with a little bit of waist shaping. I hope to resume work on it in a couple of days. It is going to be an loosely-fitting, cozy sweater. For this season or next.