Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Embroidery cover-ups

I don't know about you guys but I love charity shops. Charity shops is one of the things that I am missing badly on Fuertevetura, so during this year's holidays in the UK I kept buying and buying stuff in the charity shops. Fortunately, by now I learned stopping myself from buying something that I definitely not going to use - woollies. I concentrated on summery things, with one exception - this jeans jacket, which hopefully will be useful when Canarian winter strikes with its usual fierceness.

Now to "what I've done" bit. Charity shop things often have small defects on them, which I guess are  reasons why the previous owners part with their much-loved stuff in the first place. This jacket was no exception - although in good condition, it had a small hole on the back of the right sleeve. And that was a good reason to exercise my (not-that-extensive) embroidery skills.

Of embroidery I know very little, practically nothing, and do even less. But one thing that I do I learned a while ago - creating darning using the chain stitch. It's an extremely useful stitch, as it is very flexible and once you've decided what figure are doing, you just sort of fumble you way along, correcting and adjusting as needed. I did my first cover-up years ago embroidering a little lizard on my best, but by-then-old, sweater. People who know me and Kirill personally might now go "ah-ha!" finally discovering the explanation for sudden appearance of color matching animals, flowers and other patterns on our garments.

This little tribal sun is not the best thing I did, but it'll do and this jacket will hopefully serve another few years.

other crafty pics on shutterstock

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

a feat of extreme slouchiness

I've made this top almost three years ago, buying the "organic" cotton and a set of bamboo needles  in a Danish supermarket. The holidays were lazy, as summer holidays should be; and I bought the knitting articles for the want of something to do with my hands while enjoying the emptiness of the head to the full. 
Somehow I never got to wear it before now. Now I do though.
It's an extremely simple thing, just a strip of Shaker ribbing (at least, I think that's what it is called), sewn into a tube, with a trim extended into straps. The organic cotton proved to be an extremely soft,  with no twist to it; it doesn't hold shape at all, but stretches very well in the ribbing. The funny little tie belt for the trousers is made of the same material.
The reason why I am standing on one leg most of the time is that we had an extremely hot few days; and the sunroof tiles felt rather like hotplate.

knitting pics at shutterstock

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Onion skin eggs

A little while ago I saw an instruction on how to make decorated eggs using flat object (leaves, flowers) as a paint mask and a pair of thin old tights to hold the mask in place. The dye that was used made me feel really nostalgic - it was skins of brown onions, one of the two dyes my granny used to color the chicken eggs for Easter.  Second one, quite surprisingly, was solution of brilliant green, an antiseptic that gave bright emerald color and made the eggs look inedible.

So I started to accumulate onion skins. However, when the time came to dyeing I discovered that there is not a pair of tights anywhere (well, it is Fuerteventura). So I improvised with simple masks made of whatever passes for wax in the candles these days. The actual dyeing is really simple - just boil your eggs together with the onion skins (don't try to blow out the content of the egg first - empty eggshells refuse to sink into water)

Now looking at it, I shouldn't have bothered, the color is beautiful in itself, without additional patterns, plus the waxy substance dissolved once the water started to boil, giving access for the dye to the eggshell and partially destroying the pattern. Still, here they are

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Dulce de leche

Fresh milk is delivered into local supermarkets once a week, and is good for approximately a week also. They tend to keep the previous lot on the shelves up till the "best before" date. Given that, we occasionally end up with some milk that is about to expire and I urgently need to find something to do with it. Last week we ended up with two 1-liter cartons of milk and no immediate use for it, so I decided to make something kind of new for me - Dulce de leche.
It was only new "kind of", because in my childhood a similar product "вареная сгущенка", cooked condensed milk, was a firm favourite with pretty much everybody I knew. Dulce de Leche is made from scratch with whole milk and sugar, so you end up with similar-tasting product.

I used this recipe, which was the first hit with google. It worked well, but I must note that our ideas of "simmering" are probably different somewhat. Even after three hours the liquid was not yet reduced to one fourth of the original volume, while starting to turn alarmingly dark, lot darker than in all the pictures I saw. So I decided to stop cooking, and it was probably the right moment.

I was somewhat concerned that it will start burning and I will have to stand by the cooker for all three hours stirring non-stop, but it didn't show any inclinations to do so. Neither it tried to escape form the pan, something that boiling milk tend to do. It just bubbled merrily away, and I stirred it occasionally

What I ended up with is darker and slightly more transparent than "сгущенка" from my childhood. Taste is nearly the same.

It probably is not meant to be used just like that, but a bit of dulce de leche on a piece of dry biscuit tastes good. The recipe says that it can stand for a month it the fridge. I don't think it will last that long.

sweet food photos at shuttertock

Thursday, 9 February 2012

anti-calima baktus scarf

We had a small sandstorm a few weeks back, possibly calima, possibly something more local. Timur requested a scarf in his school colors to keep it over his mouth and nose if it was ever to occur again. I made it for him very quickly, and today he worn it again - more for coldish strong wind than for sand.

I couldn't find the origins of a "baktus" scarf, but that seems to be the right spelling at least. If you never seen them before - they are very long narrow triangles, very easy to tie. This is a very basic model, all-knit keeping to shape.

knitting pics at shutterstock

Thursday, 2 February 2012

moebius scarf

This time is a simple Moebius scarf I made. It's proved to be surprisingly easy once I found this excellent video for the cast-on part. There's no pattern to it, just simple "knit-all" - that is, till I got somewhat bored and decided to do a ruffled edge. I didn't want my ruffle to be too obvious, so I decided that I will add one stitch per each three in every second row. However, even that adds stitches very quickly. Say you start with 200 stitches, you have 267 approx after the first row of added stitches, 356 after the second one, and 475 after the third - that is, more than twice the original amount of stitches. I like how the edge turned out, but it's a lot of knitting to do.

Sunday, 29 January 2012


Yesterday's paella. It doesn't include as many ingredients as "real" valencian paella of course, and the protein component is represented by just one type of seafood, which is probably a big no-no for aficionados. It tasted excellent though. The only note to myself that I can make is remember not to use red onions in my paellas any more - they mask the beautiful color provided by saffron strands.

By a funny coincidence, I read a nice text in Russian about "sad eyes of the prawns" among other things yesterday as well. Here it is - enjoy (if you read Russian, that it)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

moebius top-waistcoat (a top with a twist)

For a while I felt that some of things that I want to show in my blog don't fit very well into original format of "Pics and other stuff", which was planned as a picture blog. Things that didn't fit very well included mostly what I made by hand - knitting, cooking, small home design arrangements. I decided to make a separate blog for those. I don't expect to publish here that often - things that you really  make tend to take a bit of time, quite unlike things that you photograph.

Here is the first real entry

I was explaining the idea of infinity of Moebius scarf to Kirill when he came up with the idea that it's not only scarves that you can half-twist, and you don't have to half-twist when casting on only. He came up with two possibly designs of a top with a twist - one with a twist to the back, one with a twist to the straps. Since the result was somewhat unpredictable, I bought cheap thin acrylic yarn (it cost about 3 euros, I think) and started to knit. I interrupted the knitting to make a blanket, but now finally it's finished. It was knitted as one piece, front first, over straps and then joined into the back, so there's no shoulder seams. There are partial side seams - partial because I joined front to back and made a few rows of round knitting at the edge.

What can I say. Next time I try to do it, I must knit a swatch, make measurements and try to really calculate what I will end up with. It started as a top, but due to a big(ish) mistakes in sizing, it ended up with altogether too big holey areas - the neckline ends down around the waist, the underarm edges are down there somewhere too. So it is a waistcoat really, but an interesting-looking one.

test post

I want to start this blog solely for things I've made by hand, be it knitting, cooking, embroidery or whatever. This is justa cross-post from "Pics and other stuff" to see how it goes

Ok, that blanket I was knitting turned up to be veeeery long, so we can cover ourselves with it all four of us when we watch TV or something. It can also be used for fun photoshoot :)