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Friday, 24 February 2017

Tunisian Crochet

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing a little project that I worked on yesterday. I'm 'on holiday' so have been very lazy this week. I've dabbled in a few things but generally have indulged myself - feels great. 
Back to the project - its a Zip Bag made using Tunisian Crochet. This technique is a bit different from standard crochet. The hook used is a long needle - more like a knitting needle but with a standard crochet hook on one end. There are lots of YouTube videos on the topic - I will add a link at the end of this post re this specific zip bag project tutorial if you are keen to learn more. 
I made a bit of a mess of the first couple of attempts re the project but have managed to get to grips with the simple basket weave pattern. I'm using up the leftover cotton yarn from a previous project, it's a yarn I've over dyed a few times. I have never been satisfied with the dye job but it's turned out great for this project. The colours look great together and the pattern texture highlights the individual colours beautifully. 
I've changed the construction of the bag (as per the tutorial) and will crochet the whole fabric area and sew in half to give me the bag (the project suggests making two pieces and sewing together). The bag will get a zip and  a cotton fabric lining. I haven't chosen my fabric yet - will need to delve into the stash later today.


I'm pleased with the way things are turning out - and the suns shining ! (not good for the photo but gives an impression of the morning !). I'm tempted to keep going until the yarn runs out ?  - we will see ? I'll do a review, once I'm done. 

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend. 

Zip Bag Tutorial : here

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Fibre Blending

Hi Everyone
 The story behind my little experimental project (I mentioned at the end of my blog yesterday) starts a few months ago. I attended a Drop Spinning workshop organised at my local Knitting Group with a few ladies from the group. After our workshop we had several samples of the spinning material leftover and one of my lovely friends gave her leftovers to me. She decided she would not use them again so, she gifted them to me. I immediately decided to spin them on my spinning wheel for her. She's a knitter so could possibly use the resulting yarn.
Eventually, I got round to blending, spinning and plying the fibres together. I was stunned at how pretty the initial blend looked. The blending resulted produced a very textured and varied Art Yarn. It all turned out rather well. Here are a few images of both the blended and spun yarn.

At this stage the yellow silk fibres are looking lovely, the white rolag has many more colours within the centre and is also very interesting.

Next images look at the yarn during spinning and plying :


I took two of each rolag and spun onto two bobbins.  The left hand bobbin on the top left image was a little 'warmer' in tone but both turned out quite balanced in colour. I then, plyed the two bobbins and got a 'heathered' yarn. The yarn was transferred to a small Niddy Noddy in preparation for washing. 
The resulting yarn is complex with lovely specks of colour. My lighting is poor so gives a varied impression of the colours but I would say the final version washed yarn (bottom left image) is quite true.
The fibres used are Silk, Wensleydale, Alpaca and North Ronaldsay. The range of fibres, as part of the initial spinning workshop, were there to illustrate variety and different staple lengths of each fibre. They were not designed to be mixed in the way I have blended them, especially in almost equal amounts. I was simply using up the fibres. As such, elements of the spin are weak, especially where the alpaca dominates along side the very fine silk fibres. However, that said, the resulting yarn is lovely and I've described it as Art Yarn. I'm sure it could be used as an Art Yarn.

The experiment was great for me and I think, my friend was pleased to receive the little gift. I too, have a similar batch of leftovers and will make another Art Yarn for myself. It's a great reminder of our workshop and therefore quite special.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Sample Hand Spin

Hi Everyone
I've yet another wool fibre story today. I do others things but Im still spending time spinning - almost everyday. I feel, I need to keep going with my spinning skills - I'm doing well but ......... there's so much to learn !
However, a very exciting package arrived this morning. This was a 500gm pack of Merino/ Bamboo Top. I immediately stopped what I was doing and made a small test spin to check how it felt and how I needed to spin the wool. 

The wool is undyed with a beautiful soft, smooth texture. The test spin worked well and I was able to employ something called Andean plying - read about with the link if you don't know what this is : So pleased with myself !!
It can be a tricky thing to get right and I've had issues before with this technique. It's about being able to easily ply the spun yarn without lots of transferring to various bobbins. Essentially it's using a hand to hold onto the two singles spun strands and spinning back onto a bobbin. Almost a tiny centre pull ball.
I will develop a test card with little pieces of my sample spin - singles, ply - pre wash, pre dye and post wash. I'm keen to do this testing because I'm hoping to turn the Merino/Bamboo fibres into a sweater. It's quite important to make sure I will have enough yarn to make the sweater - I will estimate but if it's close I will order more and prep at the same time. I'll let you know how things turn out.

I also got involved in another little yarn experiment today - but you will have to wait until tomorrow to find out exactly what I did.

Thanks for calling in today.

New Yarn Spin

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing my latest yarn spin today. I've been trying to spin a loose plyed yarn this time and am reasonably happy with what's happened. I do understand the basics of spinning and plying and can produce something fantastic for a short time. When I aim to spin a good length of yarn for a bigger project eg a sweater or large shawl - the whole process proves to be more challenging. I keep,reminding myself, it's only been 6 weeks since I started spinning on a wheel and I need to be patient (not one one my characteristics !).
I'm told by experienced spinners that when handspun yarn is knitted - lots of minor inconsistency issues seem to disappear ! I'm yet to be convinced. I've knitted up swatches but haven't completed a 'spin to final garment' yet.
This latest batch of yarn is a reasonable size, I'm not sure of the 'yardage' but there's 200gm of raw wool. I think the yarn weight is a very light DK weight so I'm hoping I've got as much from the yarn as I can (in this weight). The wool is 100% White Gotland and is a lovely soft and silky yarn. Lovely to spin and relatively easy. I'm not sure how it will be after washing ? In my other spins, all of the yarn has 'bloomed' and is much bigger as a final yarn. I'd rather like this one to stay similar to the unwashed state. This is my first experiment with White Gotland and I do like the wool.


Next, I want to dye the yarn. I think I'm going for a green/mustard look. I will mix some dyes in those colours and try and get some slight variation in the finished yarn. I've created a record card for my spin and will hopefully have the ability to reproduce the yarn.
I'd like to make something like a cardigan - perhaps a short boxy style with 3/4 sleeves. If I can find a knit down pattern item and need more yarn, the spin record should help me make more yarn. I can try to reproduce the yarn and add a contrasting block of colour and possibly a slight stitch pattern or I could also go for a shawl  - not sure ?
I'm going to wait and see how the dye job goes, hopefully later today.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Pandora Necklace Surprise

Hi Everyone
I've had a bit of a lazy start to my week. It's Half Term holiday (from school) this week and I've given myself a bit of a break too ie a bit of a late start ! I'm sharing a very small make today. I've had a delivery of some Pandora Style Necklace chains and made a few paper bead charms to thread. These chains are thinner than the bracelet design of a few weeks ago (read back for more on the bracelets). I've used exactly the same technique but used smaller grommits for the centres. I like the the finished necklace and it's got lots of possibilities for changing the charm beads - simply slide the charms on and off for a different look. I need to make lots more charm beads for a selection.


I like the idea of making some charm beads from polymer clay and will turn this plan into my 'jewellery make' for this week. I'm quite determined to keep to my pledge of making a piece of jewellery each week. From time to time I'm hoping to post my weekly collections, perhaps the first 5 pieces can be my initial goal.

Thanks for calling in today.