A new beginning

February 24, 2011 § 1 Comment

After knitting for a couple of years and blogging about it, I have decided to take this hobby to the next level. I have got a domain of my own and plan to change my online identity. I was known as BloreKnitter on Ravelry (come to think of it, what a lame username) and want to change it to affiknity. A lot of thought has gone into selecting this name. After spending a couple of days coming up with names and shortlisting them, I chose this one which was also liked by my husband. So, here I am. Please update your RSS feeds, email subscriptions, bookmarks et al to my new home: http://affiknity.com/ I hope you all will continue to lend me your support and encouragement on my new site.

I will not be posting anything new on this blog and this will continue to be a place holder. If people find themelves on this blog, they should know where to head to from here.

See you at my new place.

Wheatspikes Vest

February 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

When I saw this vest offered for test knit, I decided to volunteer. Not that I have a girl to knit for, but the vest was too cute. I don’t have many girly colors in my stash and I had been wanting to use Phildar Copacabana which Preeti had sent me sometime back. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to use this yarn and so I did.

The vest is knit bottom up in pieces, but can be easily adapted to knit in round, which is what another test knitter did. The pattern is well written and I, for once, did not find any errors in the pattern. Unambiguous and easy to follow instructions and the pattern comes in sizes from 0-3 months to 24 months. It knits up quickly and is perfect for that last minute gift or to use up a lone skein or two. I used around 1.5 skeins and still have half of it left. Wondering if I can make a couple of coasters with it – I just love the fresh, bright colors of this yarn.

I didn’t make buttonholes on the sides thinking the neck ribbing will be stretchy and can stretch over a kid’s head, but when I tried this on my son, there is hardly any elasticity in the ribbed neckband. It could be the yarn’s characteristic or it could be because I knit on a tight gauge. I did go down a couple of needle sizes than the recommended one to get the required gauge, so it could be that! I need to rip the shoulder seam apart and make some buttonholes now.

This goes into my gift stash waiting for a lovely girl to come and claim it.

 

Pattern: Wheatspikes Baby Vest by Sole Pitencil
Yarn: 1.5 skeins of Phildar Copacabana
Needles: US 5 3.75mm straights
Ravelry Project Page

Uravu: Magic with Bamboo

February 2, 2011 § 4 Comments

We visited Wayanad recently and one of the places we visited during our trip is Uravu.  It is a non-governmental, non-profit organization which strives to provide employment to the underprivileged people  by making handicrafts from bamboo. It is tucked away in a small town Thrikkaipetta in Wayanad District. I had read about this on someone else’s blog and had it on my must-see list when I visited Wayanad last week.

Uravu is around half an hour drive away from Enteveedu, the home-stay where we stayed. We reached this place at around 9 and we could see people already busy working. We first visited the stores where they sell handicraft items. The store was a sight to see. Bamboo everywhere, in all possible colors and variety and shapes. I was mesmerized with the amount of innovation and creativity around me.

Bamboo vases in all possible sizes

The first sight I caught was this corner where bamboo vases in all possible sizes were neatly arranged. There were many more stocked away, which I couldn’t see. Apparently, bamboo vases sell like hot cake.

Bamboo lamp shades

Then there is this corner which had beautiful lamp shades. I am not sure how much heat bamboo can withstand, but lamp shades look so pretty. Don’t you agree?

Bamboo lamp shades

Look at the far right one. The design is so intricate! Makes me want to buy all those.

What a beauty!

Why stop at lamp shades? Look at this hanging piece which looks so elegant.

Candle stands, pen stands

Candle stands, pen stands, files, pens – lots of useful and beautiful things.

Jewelery

Bangles

How about some jewelery? Who would have thought bamboo can be worn around your neck? And such pretty necklaces too!

These women are making thin strips of bamboo which will be used to make curtains and mats. They cut strips first and then file them to get a smooth finish.

A worker making door curtains and floor mats using the loom. He was working on it methodically – there was a rhythm to his work which was so mesmerizing to watch.

Another worker making a lamp shade.

A few women polishing (applying varnish) to finished items.

They do screen printing on order. You select the design and they make any item you want. Look at these freshly printed key chains.

I was so impressed with this little factory that I had half the mind to buy all the items there. I controlled my urge and picked a few things – a serving tray, a few pens, a fruit basket and a very interesting musical instrument which makes the sound of raindrops. You have to hear it to believe it.

Some may label these items as expensive, but as someone who hand knits sweaters, I know how much time and effort goes into making something hand-made. A machine knit sweater will always cost less than a hand-knit one,  but where is the love and the human touch in it, I say? I did spend a big amount on buying these bamboo items which I might probably get for cheaper here in Bangalore, but this is my way of supporting this local seller.

Mrs. Redjeans

January 20, 2011 § 6 Comments

I am very lucky to have a supportive family. Be it my decision to work after having a kid, or taking up a new exercise regimen or my hobby – my family is very supportive. My mother-in-law especially loves the fact that I knit. She does a bit of crochet here and there, but she thinks my knitting skills are really good. She hasn’t seen any projects from other knitters who are far more better than me, so she is blissfully ignorant and I don’t want to correct her. When my biggest admirer requested for a sweater, I just had to do it.

I looked through a lot of patterns and finally decided on Mr GreenJeans by Amy Swenson (ravelry link). I liked the way cables add shaping to the cardigan. I thought this will be flattering on a typical Indian woman (read pear shaped). A very well written pattern, seamless (yay!!!) and is generous on the different sizes. For those with little girls, the same pattern is available for little girls too.

 

I have knit raglan cardigans before for babies, but was not sure how it will look for an older woman. When my mom tried this on, all my doubts vanished – it looked great on my mom. The neck is too deep for my taste, but looks good. I added buttons all the way down to make the cardigan more practical. The only problem I had with this cardigan is the button band. The bands are knit after picking up stitches along the edges of the body and are worked in 2 x 2 rib.  Since this rib is stretchy, it pulled the body stitches along with it and the cardigan looks like it is crunching up its nose and making faces at me. The buttons try to keep the ribbing in place, but it doesn’t help the look.

Yarn is from Surya Emporium, Commercial Street. It’s a 4-ply Vardhaman acrylic yarn. I held double to get the gauge. The yarn is soft and squishy and has great stitch definition. I had bought this yarn to make a baby blanket and chose this color because it was neutral, yet cheerful. I have been using this yarn over and over again, but it still doesn’t get over. I have another 100 gms of yarn left! Buttons are from Pydal. I think the yellow ones add a bit of variety to the monotonous red color.

The sweater was a Diwali gift to my mother-in-law and she loved it. Mumbai has been especially cold this winter and she is making a good use of her gift.

Pattern: Mr. Greenjeans by Amy Swenson (Rav Link)
Yarn: 4-ply Acrylic in Red bought at Surya Emporium
Needles: US 5 3.5mm. Straights for the body and DPNs for sleeves
Buttons: 4 numbers from Pydal
Ravelry Project Page

 

In Threes

January 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

In Threes is a simple, yet elegant cardigan for a little girl.  The male version of this is Wyatt, which I test knit for Kelly and it is equally cute. I had added In Threes to my wishlist and when Kelly saw that, she generously sent me the pattern as a gift.

I had always wanted to knit this for a girl, but didn’t have any recipient handy. After Kelly’s generous gesture, I had to find a recipient to knit for! The victim was my niece, but sizing was a problem. My niece is almost 8 years old and this cardigan runs upto 6T. After some swatching and gauge checking, I chose a yarn and a needle which would give me the size I want with the numbers from the pattern.

Ever since I had a boy, I have been buying yarn in boys colors and the only neutral yarn I had was this red one. It’s a 4-ply acrylic yarn from Surya Emporium. I held it double and with 4mm needles, I got a gauge of 17 sts to 4″. The pattern calls for 19 sts to 4″, which was fine by me because the cardigan will turn out bigger.

 

I initially planned to do the yoke in colorful stripes, but blame my choice of colors, the yoke turned out messy, so I decided to stick to one color.  I did make some modifications – got rid of the garter ridges on the sides and added sleeves. I guesstimated the sleeve length hoping that I get it right. All the details are on my Ravelry project page. It’s a good thing that I kept notes as I went along because I wouldn’t have remembered anything now – the cardigan was knit last September! I am not too happy with the buttons, but that’s the best I had in my stash.

The cardigan was gifted to the girl during Diwali which she promptly modeled for me. Turns out the sleeves are quite short, they come upto just 3/4th of her arms – so my guestimates are not that good after all. Apart from that, the cardigan fits well – good length and a comfort fit. The girl was happy. I am guessing she would have been happier if I had added a crocheted flower to it to make it more girly.

Pattern: In Threes by Kelly Herdrich
Yarn: 4-ply Acrylic in Red bought at Surya Emporium
Needles: US 6 4mm. Straights for the body and DPNs for sleeves
Buttons: 5 numbers from my stash
Ravelry Project Page

 

 

I won!

January 11, 2011 § 8 Comments

I rarely win a giveaway contest. That does not discourage me from entering though, so I entered indigodragonfly’s anniversary contest and kept my fingers crossed. Five skeins of yarn of your choice and a cute hand bag – who wouldn’t want to win that! I left a comment and forgot all about it until I saw a mail from Kim telling me I had won.

All this happened way back in September 2010. Kim promptly mailed me saying she has mailed the package and it would be a long wait until it arrives here. I waited patiently and the pages in the calendar turned and it was November. Two whole months and the package was no where in sight. I called up the foreign post office and the customs office and they had no clue. I didn’t have a tracking number and it just made things more complicated.

Come January and I had lost all hopes of seeing that package in this lifetime. I would still dream of holding that yarn in my hands and giving it a friendly squish, but the real package was non-existent. I imagined the evil wife of the customs officer looking at my package and exclaiming ‘Yarn! And such lovely yarn. Surely, I can keep it for myself.’ I imagined her batting her eyelids and seducing her husband to give in to her evil plot. I cursed her and the officer every time I thought about the yarn and that’s the best I could do.

In short, I accepted the bitter truth that the yarn is never going to make it home and that’s when I got a letter from the customs office asking me to pay duty on a package from Canada. The letter was posted on Nov 9th and it arrived a good two months late! I hurried to the office the very next day (because I couldn’t go the same day, the office was closed by the time I read the letter) and paid the bribe duty and was rubbing my hands together to get hold of my package. The officer politely told me that they can’t handover the package unless it was an emergency. But, don’t you see, this was an emergency – I had waited for 4 months and when I could finally feel the heavenly softness of the yarn, you are telling me you can’t give it to me? The officer did not think so and he asked me to wait until the post office decided it was time for me to get the yarn.

Another 5 days of waiting (which was harder than those 4 months) and the package is finally, finally, finally here. I ripped the package open and what do I see?

 

 

A lovely handbag and 5 skeins of yarn. I chose the colorway, so I knew what I was getting, but I was not prepared for the breathtaking colors and the softness – oh my God, the yarn is so squishingly soft and warm! The photos don’t do justice to the rich colors of this yarn. I am somewhere between the ninth cloud and heaven. Should I end this post by saying ‘And they lived happily ever after’?

On a side note, any suggestions for a cardigan pattern which uses two skeins of lace yarn?

The second year

December 7, 2010 § 10 Comments

Ninad turned two recently. His second year was eventful and memorable, in a good way and in a bad way. His language skills developed really quickly and his vocabulary has been growing exponentially ever since. Here are some memorable moments in pictures.

He learnt to lift things and carry them around

And some more things...

 

Sat in a box...

Learnt to charge Mama's mobile...

 

Went bald and slept in weird positions

Explored Mama's kitchen

 

 

Traveled by train and played with aunt's mixer

And with her washing machine

Had fun with his cousin

 

Bonded big time with his big brother

They adore each other!

He drove a car!

And aunt's scooty

Analyzed how this thing works

Explored grandma's garden

Watered the plants

Prayed in grandma's house

Spotted a monkey

Became a monkey himself

Cuddled a calf

Learnt to hit and bite... not so good times

Hence, got time-outs

And some more!

Some good moments and some not so good… a memorable year, nevertheless. Wishing you a very happy birthday my dear and hope you have a wonderful year ahead!

Ninad starts school tomorrow and I am really nervous. Wish me luck, please!

 

 

 

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    As Sweet As Honey Baby Blanket

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    Baby's Day Out Hat

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