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Friday, 23 December 2016

Views of our Christmas (1)

Hi Everyone
I'm planning on sharing a few images of our Christmas at home over the next few days. My first offer is our Christmas Card Tree. We use this display idea every year and it serves to keep all (mostly) the cards in one place and from flying around or getting knocked over. Special cards or very large cards tend to get a spot on a shelf or cupboard or as part of a particular arrangement.


I do like this tree - it's an instant Christmas view in the house. This tree was made from old bits of wood and is simply painted white! It has a small shelf at the top but cards are usually pinned all over it.
The tree used to be almost falling over with cards, this year - there's about enough cards to see most of them at a glance. I think lots of people don't send as many Christmas cards as they did a few years ago.
Our range of cards are great and I like the idea of adding new cards as they arrive - most days.

Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Neck Candy cont.

Hi Everyone
The saga of Neck Candy continues. I've soaked and blocked the scarf. It's been 24 hours and I'm about to reveal the final item (need to weave in the initial cast on thread! - didn't notice until I pinned out). Exciting. However ..........


I'm not 100% sure we are there ! - the scarf was always going to roll at the edges but I thought I may get a tiny section of flat knitting in the centre. Now, I'm not so sure ? It could be plan B ! Keep watching.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Neck Candy Complete

Hi Everyone
In amongst all my Christmas jobs, I've managed to finish knitting the Neck Candy scarf that I started a few weeks ago (you can read back for more on this).
The next job is to block it - I've a growing pile of stuff to block ! However, the scarf is top of my list.

I'm going to soak my scarf in eucalan and then pin out on my foam boards. I'll take a few photos to share the process while I work away at the last minute Christmas preparations.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas Gifts

Hi Everyone
Another little photo story today and yet another gift for me ! Fingers crossed, I will find a spinning wheel under the tree on Christmas Day.


It's not here yet but I'm hopeful.
So excited.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Handmade Christmas

Hi Everyone
I'm running later today .... but I've started my official Christmas holiday so that's OK?
 My photo story today is :


The Christmas presents story is only 10 mins away from finishing and most of them are presents to me from me !

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Almost there !

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing progress on a couple of recent making projects today. I've been working on a small neck scarf for a few weeks and am almost there. I've finally taken delivery of a circular knitting needle (long story) which has made a huge difference to the knitting process. I had been struggling with very old metal needles which I didn't enjoy. The scarf is almost finished but I'm so glad of the new needle ! I love the colours and the style. The yarn I'm using is the one I dyed myself in Sep (look back to Sep for more on this).


There's also a few jewellery items I've been adapting for a while. I've been making pieces using something I call Doughnut Beads. These are quite adaptable. The beads work well as a bracelet or necklace and can be used successfully on hoop earrings. I'm experimenting with different claps and threading materials - particularly waxed cotton. I've almost finished a small Collection of pieces using various colours of Doughnut Beads.


It's also the last day of school term today - Christmas is imminent !!! I've still lots to do but I'm feeling less stressful than ever - great for me. Hopefully, all will fall into place without too much effort. Almost there ! 
I'm hoping to post a few photo stories over the Christmas break, so you are invited to call in when you get a moment.
                               Merry Christmas to everyone.
Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Knitted Bracelets

Hi Everyone
I'd like to share some progress with my latest little knitting project. I was inspired to make some knitted jewellery a couple of weeks ago and had started knitting a bracelet with some beads woven into the knit. However, the fine yarn and several double ended needles as well as beads seemed quite tricky. I am developing the project for new knitters, so have concluded the project as it stands is a bit too difficult - as a starting project. 
I particularly like the bracelet idea so spent yesterday trying different ways of achieving something similar. I've come up with a few ways of getting a similar outcome but in doing so, have completely changed the pattern in almost every respect. 

I'm using a circular needle in my new technique and have knitted the beads in a slightly random fashion. The original project added beads in a solid pattern. I'm adding beads every other row and spacing them between 2 and 4 stitches apart. I'm making a total of 13 rows which should give me a bracelet approximately 2.5 cms wide. The finished bracelet will have some non roll elastic sitting in the centre of the knit. I'm not 100% happy with my method of closing the knit into a circular tube yet. I've tried a Kitchenor stitch but it's not as neat as I'd like and I'm constantly aware of beginner technique issues. I'm considering using a crochet hook to link the stitches ? Will keep going until I get a neater closure. I think it's probably going to be a simple back stitch picking up the live stitch and the cast on edge. I will report my findings as I go.

The bigger plan for this project is to dye some yarn and then use the dyed yarn to knit the bracelet. The colour choices and bead pattern as well as the dye technique will be all part of the project. Our dyed yarn will be wound onto wooden bobbins while the knit takes place.  


The bobbins have been custom made for the project. How exciting is that !!!

Thanks for calling in.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Handmade Christmas

Hi Everyone
I'm trying to co ordinate my Christmas preparations today ! I'm oblivious to what I've not done yet ! - this year everything seems to be rather slow to come together ! Until today, I've been quite relaxed about Christmas - I think semi panic is developing.
I've got a few days to sort things and today the final gift lists will be developed. Something I have done - is to print materials for handmade Christmas cards/tags and cut papers for little gift pockets. Also, Christmas cooking ie cake,sweet mincemeat and pudding are all done. I've prepared stuff for a Christmas wreath but am yet to put it together. However, lots to do and decisions to be made.
Here is a quick look at my card papers and gift pocket sample -


I want to dress the house too - even the kids have mentioned a lack of Christmas in our house  My favoured approach this year (not thought it through properly yet) is a simple Scandinavian style with greenery and white ribbons. I've seen something on Pinterest which is inspiring the look I'm after.


Hopefully, the simple Scandinavian look will be possible in a few days. My garden is full of lovely greenery and I have a large reel of white ribbon - what more do a I need !

Only time will tell what I can come up with. Will report how I get on tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Christmas Angels

Hi Everyone
Today, in our Making Workshop we are tackling Christmas Angels. This is our last workshop before the big event so we will take it slowly, eat mince pies and chat as well as making the Angels, of course ! Today, will be all about relaxing into Christmas.
The finished Angels could be a tree decoration or a jewellery charm and possibly other things too ? We can use our imagination. I've made a few different samples sizes for reference - quite large Angels to very small ones. The larger Angels will probably be tree decorations and the smaller jewellery ideas? I will share our makes as usual later in the week.
Here is a quick look at my samples :




Here is a closer look at the tiny Angel earrings from yesterday :


At the moment, I have the Angel samples posing on a little tree along with some little gift pockets. This tree is an annual prop for Christmas. It's a piece of curly willow planted in a big block of wood. Each year the tree gets a new treatment, this time it's had a fine gold spray - quite subtle but the light bounces off the branches. My photo doesn't do the tree justice - it's very pretty with the little Angels scattered amongst the branches.


I've loved making these little things - so relaxing and they catch in any lights so are sparkling the whole time.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Mini Angels etc.

Hi Everyone
A little update today on the Angel earrings. I made some cute sterling silver hoops last week to hold a pair of ting Angel charms. I love them. I've worn them all weekend and am really pleased with my nod to Christmas.


It's been a busy weekend - not sure where the times gone ? I had a brilliant time on Saturday, having a spinning (yarn) lesson. I'm reasonably proficient with my Drop Spindle and can turn out a plyed yarn but spinning with a wheel seemed un doable !! However, with the help of a great teacher within quite a short time - I was away.  



Hugely satisfying. I now need a spinning wheel but not just any wheel - it's got to be a Lendrum.  I also need lots of money.
Here is a few photos of me - spinning.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Silver Work

Hi Everyone
I spend a few hours yesterday messing around with sterling silver wire. I wanted to make some new hoop earrings and a few clasps for my Christmas bracelet (see yesterday's post for more on this). I also had enough time to develop a few new polymer beads (more finishing required). The hoops are good - I've tumbled them and they are lovely and shiney. One set has been made into a pair of mini Angel earrings  for me - I'll share these next time. The other larger set will get the polymer beads, again - I'll share thes results next time.


The clasps are slightly different shapes, one clasp and the closed link will be for my Christmas bracelet - the other two will get a new bracelet each. I'm not sure which clasp to use for which bracelet ? Having made the clasps, I'm now convinced, I need to change the beaded ends of the Christmas bracelet - there are too many beads going on at the ends. I need to look again at the arrangement.

I've had a lovely time developing these findings and it's made me realise how little silver stuff I've made this month. I've got lots of new ideas ! I now need a plan.

Thanks for calling in today.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Christmas Bracelet

Hi Everyone
I spent a little time yesterday making myself a Christmas bracelet (almost). It's a Christmas bracelet simply because of the colours. I wanted to create something which would include 'red' as well as a range of other Christmas colours. I've decided that I will wear something red on Christmas Day and the bracelet will be perfect. I now need to design and make a clasp for my Christmas bracelet. I think I'm going for a simple silver hook.

Im keen to make some new earrings too. Matching  jewellery (for myself) is not quite 'me' but something to compliment the bracelet in some way would be good. I'm not sure what I need at the moment ?


The bracelet is a simple design but the colours are lovely and I'm happy with the final look. I'll hopefully have something more to share tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Bracelet Modifications

Hi Everyone
A couple of blogs ago, I introduced a new bracelet project. The bracelet features Doughnut beads, made from polymer clay. My initial design used a magnet clasp and waxed cotton threading. Generally, the design is a good one. It's easy to wear and fastens particularly well. My only concern with the clasp is that the bracelet will unfasten easily and fall off. It's happened a couple of times when I've caught the beads on a coat or accidentally hooked the bracelet on something. With this in mind, I thought I could attach a fine silver safety chain. Silly idea - the chain simply collects in a very messy way around the magnet. Perhaps, the magnet clasp is not ideal for this bracelet ? I could use another style of clasp.

The other design issue for me is the movement range of the beads. I love the colours of the beads as they sit at the back of the wrist with the clasp on the inside of the wrist. The combinations of colours, stacked in a particular way is key to the design. My beads are very loose and are often gathered in an unattractive way around the clasp. It's not a huge issue but it's not perfect and regular adjustments are required.


My second sample bracelet (top image) is now under construction and I've made some modifications. The beads in the second bracelet are unfinished (waiting for paint/polish) in this image but have much smaller threading holes, this results in the beads staying together on the wax cotton, exactly where I place them. The beads look a little 'flat' but I'm certain they will look great when they're finished. I'm also testing out a different ball magnet clasp which is possibly stronger and more reliable ? I will also check out more clasp styles. I'm not convinced the magnet is a good solution. I have an idea of making a simple strong silver hook style clasp.

More on this project over the next few days.
Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Knitted Jewellery

Hi Everyone
I'm starting another little knitting project this week. This time it's a knitted and beaded bracelet. I've got the idea from a lovely book - 'Betsy Beads by Betsy Hershberg'. This book is full of very stylish knitted jewellery. 
The trick with most of the jewellery patterns I've studied seems to be 'neatness' in the stitches. I need a bit of practice with the beaded part but it's working out OK. 
I'm hoping to introduce the project to our regular Making Group Makers after Christmas and will work on making the technique process as simple as possible. I'm also hoping we can dye our own yarn as part of the project. This will allow us to have the colours we want in the yarn. In the meantime, take a look at the samples from the book - so inspiring.


The bracelets are basically a knitted cord - the number of stitches determines the width. Beads are pre threaded and knitted into the cord. To give a firmness to the bracelet an elastic cord is threaded through the finished cord. That's it. However, it does require a beautiful knit and a careful placing of the beads. I think I'm going for a loose, bangle style bracelet rather than a snug fit around the wrist. I'm not quite there yet but will share my samples when finished.

Thanks for calling in today.

Knitting Update

Hi Everyone
I'm giving a little feedback on my knitting projects today. Although, I feel I've not made much progress, Ive been working away with my little knitting projects all week.I must have re knitted both the thumb parts of the Filey Mits and my Neck Candy scarf so many times, I've lost count !

The Mits - the body pattern and the other elements ie buttons holes and 3 needle closure of the body and the afterthought thumb technique proved to be very straightforward, however, the thumb development part caused me many issues. I finished the job and it looked very untidy, lots of holes in the section where the thumb fits into the body of the mit and an untidy section at the base of the thumb. I repeated the job several times and managed to sort out the holes (I was't picking up the stitches correctly) However, I'm still not happy with the base of the thumb. It's bulky and the additional base section seems unnecessary. I think, I would prefer to have a smaller thumb section. I'm considering unpicking both thumbs again with a redesign of the pattern. Will sleep on it.
The Neck Candy- I've made this too many times ! I started the job on DP needles but quickly needed a longer needle. I'm waiting for a circular needle to arrive in the post but in the meantime, I'm using some old metal needles which I'm not that happy with. They are very long (not easy to use)  and I'm finding the knitting isn't very neat as a result. My previous post on this project illustrates a problem with the pattern. The scarf was the wrong shape altogether. I'd been knitting the wrong pattern - the instructions are very short and completely confused me. However, all is on track. It's quite a short knit although the needles are only 2.5mm. and the yarn is quite fine sock yarn. I could have knitted several scarves in the time I've been on this project.

I usually enjoy my knitting projects and look forward to a little knitting each evening. I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship this week !  
Hopefully, I can resolve all the issues and make friends with my knitting again.

Thanks for calling in.

Friday, 2 December 2016

The Niddy Noddy

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing yet another new knitting tool. Read back a week or so for the others. Today, it's something called a Niddy Noddy. The Niddy Noddy is a tool for winding yarn and turning the yarn into a skein. 
There are lots of different styles of Niddy Noddy tools - this one is unique , initially I thought it may be too big but it works well and winds the yarn beautifully.
Having this tool is especially useful for me as part of my yarn dying experiments as well as measuring yarn for specific projects. Prior to the development of the Niddy Noddy, I was forced into using the back of a chair or another person for winding - not brilliant ! The Niddy Noddy is designed to wind the yarn once around the skein to give 204 cm per round which gives me a bit extra than 50 cms for each side of the tool. So, I can measure the yarn via the tool.

The tool was made by my super woodwork team (my big boy and hubby). Thank you.


Have agreed weekend.

Thanks for calling in.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

New Knit Project

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing a brand new project - only started to think about it yesterday ! 
After a discussion with one of my knitting pals we decided to start a KAL ie a "Knit Along," which is when multiple knitters make the same project at the same time which is both fun and helpful to each other. In our case there's just the two of us. 
I've found a pattern that is vaguely similar to the idea we have for our knit. It's a small neck scarf/shawl. The pattern I found (Neck Candy by Barbara French) is knitted in Garter Stitch but I'd like to have a smoother look so have gone for Knit one side and Purl the other (Stocking Stitch). I've been experimenting with needle size (again different from the pattern) and have gone for 2.75mm needles. I've started with some very small DP's (double pointed needles) but I will switch to a longer circular needle when I run out of space.
Here is my little test piece :


I'm using some 4ply yarn (again different from the pattern) that I hand dyed a few months ago - I had it lined up for something else but it seems perfect for this project. The yarn is knitting up beautifully in the tiny sample that I've made. I also have a few ideas about adding some small beads around the edge of the neck scarf instead of the tassels from the original pattern (see image bottom right).
I'm planning to complete my neck shawl alongside a number of other projects so it will probably grow very slowly. I'll will share regular updates as I go.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Cake Toppers News

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing the results of our latest Making Workshop (yesterday). We made Christmas Cake toppers from polymer clay. All the toppers were amazing - well done to everyone. I've a few images to share :



Lots of new ideas alongside my samples (top image). I love th Robins - I'll be making some of those to add to my collection. We also had lots of beautiful little gift packages made from the clay. Love the delicate ribbons - the tiny packages with their ribbon bows make me smile. Lots of skill on display. 
As our session progressed, everyone became totally absorbed in moulding the clay and an air of calmness decended upon us. Magic !


We just need our cakes to display the toppers ! No pressure girls.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

More New Tools

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing another new tools set today (see yesterday for more). Technically my tools are not NEW......... but I have new 'HANDCRAFTED' handles which have been fitted to an existing set of small files. The files, originally, were a bit unpleasant to hold - just a thin metal extension of the file (no handle to speak of). The files 'sans' handles often made dirty marks on my hands, dust/shavings from filing ! Not a good experience.

The new handles have been made by lovely husband (second time I've mentioned this in two days) with the new lathe machine. The new handles make my files into completely different things - so lovely to use. Something to treasure.


My first job with the new tools was to file the holes in the centre of a set of doughnut beads for a new project. The holes needed to be enlarged slightly and centred in the bead before finishing and stringing. What a pleasure to take one of the files and make something with it !!

Also, another joy - the wood for the handles came from our garden. A little piece of Eucalyptus tree.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 28 November 2016

New Tools

H Everyone
I'm sharing a great new tool today. It's a wooden Yarn Swift. The Yarn Swift  has been a joint effort between my big boy and my lovely husband. Excitingly, we have acquired a wood lathe and there are so many possibilities !!
All the materials from the wood to the cotton for the bag and the yarn for the string have been recycled from stuff in our stash. Somehow,  this recycling element is very satisfying.



 All elements of the yarn swift have also been handcrafted - from the wooden bits to the I- cord for the bag ! All the pieces dismantle and fit into a simple cotton draw string bag - I made the bag. The tool is lovely and a pleasure to use. All the moving bits slot together beautifully and once the yarn is attached, the swift spins with a very smooth action.
I've been needing a yarn swift for a while, it's key to making my yarn dying work as well as turning yarn skeins into balls of wool for knitting or crochet. The only thing missing is the winder part of the process. I've ordered this little machine and it should arrive today. Sadly, the winder is made of plastic and isn't especially aesthetically pleasing. I'll share an action scene when all the bits have arrived.
There is talk of making a wooden version ! Fingers crossed.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Filey Mitts

Hi Everyone
After a very busy week, I've a little progress to share re my current knitting project. I've not had much time for knitting but have been working for a small time each evening on the project from last weekends knitting workshop. 
I've had a lovely time with the pattern. It's quite tricky to knit this one and watch TV (and not make mistakes !!!!) However, although I've pulled out a few rows, mainly I've done OK. The pattern isn't difficult but it uses lots of different patterned rows giving lovely textures. If there is a mistake, it's very obvious - so not mistakes allowed.
During my workshop last weekend, I knitted a sample so I'm fine with the techniques required for this pattern. This has given me a new sense of confidence. I think, prior to the workshop, I would probably have thought the pattern would be too tricky for me.


I've completed the main part of the left mitt and am ready for completing the seam. The next part requires an afterthought thumb (see the pink thread in the image) I'm thinking about making the other mitt before I make the thumb parts on both mitts.

Have a great weekend.
Thanks for calling in.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Welcome Rudolph

Hi Everyone
Rudolph has arrived. 
Finally, I have my family of Christmas Cake Toppers. Rudolph happened quite easily ! after the trauma of the penguin (read yesterday for details). 


Rudolph has a carrot and a great set of antlers (quite tricky to make) and here is an image of the toppers - all together, waiting for their cake !


I mentioned yesterday, coming up with a story for my little characters. I've decided on the names of each character and and I've also decided on a scenario for the final cake display. 
The snowman with the red hat will be called Kevin. The snowman with the blue hat is Frank, the penguin is Jeremy and obviously Santa is 'Santa' and the reindeer is Rudolph. All the guys will be placed around a little pond in a forest (on top of the cake). I think I need to make some extra props, I have  a carrot and a few candy canes but I'm thinking presents and possibly a little fishing rod and maybe a fish or two ? My story is about preparing for Christmas, so each character will have a role of  making something relevant for a Christmas feast with Santa.

My next task in this project is to get the cake made. I will mock up a cake top (as if it's iced) on card and place the chartacters - this will give me an idea of the extra props I'm going to need. More on this next week.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Cake Toppers Galore

Hi Everyone
I've another cake topper to share today, this time it's a Penguin. I had hoped to complete a Rudolph figure too but it didn't happen ! For some reason, the Penguin took ages to get together. I'm not sure why it proved so difficult  ?  I couldn't seem to get the basic shape and proportions right. I was trying to create something which resembled a true penguin shape. The correct penguin shape didn't quite work with the scarf and the hat - in the end, I settled for a bit of a neck area which isn't quite right, for a penguin ! However, I think my final character works well as a cake topper.

On reflection, perhaps, the penguin could have slightly smaller lips ? but it does give him a slightly comic appearance - which is exactly what I need from my cake topper character. The penguin will also get a couple of candy canes to complete his role on the top of my cake (almost ready to be made).
I'm planning to complete the topper collection later today. The last figure will be Rudolph. 
Tomorrow, I'm hoping to do a final photo call for the toppers. I need a little story for the cake display, I'll spend some time thinking about that while I go about my work today. I'm sure there will be additional props required for the final cake performance.
Final plans will be revealed tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Christmas Cake Toppers

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm sharing a little project which will feature in our next Making Workshop (29/11/16) - Christmas Cake Toppers. The Toppers are made from polymer clay and are all Christmas themed. I have a couple of Snowmen and a Santa figure samples at the moment, I will be working on a Penguin and a Reindeer later today.

The left hand Snowman is last years topper but I've given him a new set of arms. The original arms didn't make it through the festive period last year. This time, I've given the very thin pieces of clay a wire support, I'm hoping this will allow the arms to stay in place. The new Snowman also has a wired set of arms.


The Santa figure will get something to hold, I'm thinking about a flag of some sort or maybe a present ? 

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Knitting Workshop

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing a fabulous experience from the weekend. I attended a knitting workshop at my local knitting group studio. The idea behind the workshop was to produce a practice swatch for a pair of Filey Mits (by Alison Moreton), part of her Yorkshire Shore book. Alison led the masterclass herself, which dealt with 3 needle cast off,Afterthought technique, short row decreases and making tiny buttonholes. The idea was to practice these techniques in preparation to knit the Filey Mits. 
Our swatch used plain garter stitch but the actual Mits pattern is a highly textured knit with lots of pattern going on. I learned lots at the workshop and was hugely inspired to start my Filey Mits when I got home.
Here is a look at my swatch (below) that I made at the workshop. I added a few buttons to finish off my little practice Mit, it's too small for me to wear but I will keep it for reference.
I've made progress with the first Mit (left hand) and have knitted about 8cms of pattern - will share later in the week.


I usually struggle with knitting detailed surface pattern for any length of time but am determined to get this one right. I love the lovely colour of the yarn - Dovestone DK in Chevin. It's going Ok so far.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Christmas Angels again !

Hi Everyone
As promised yesterday, I'm sharing more Christmas Angels. I decided to develop a range of sizes with a focus on how the Angels will be used ie a tree hanger or an earring component etc.
I also made a little display 'tree' - the Angels look so much better when they are hanging - I also wanted to develop a way of demonstrating (to my MAKING group) the different Angels designs. The little display tree is made from paper and reminds me, a little, of a carousel at the fair. 


The tiny Angels on the (bottom left) image (red/bronze coloured) will be earrings. I'm pondering the actual earring component to use on this one ? I'm almost convinced I'd like a small hoop style fitting. I'm not sure about the metal to use. I like the idea of using sterling silver when I can but I'm not sure how it will look with the bronze metal of the Angel. I will experiment.
The much larger Angel came about because I had some large wings (only 4) in my bead collection and wanted to use them. The final height of the Angel is 8cm and will certainly be a tree hanger ornament. I think, I've made enough Angels to adorn a little Christmas Tree (one of my original reasons for the development of the Angels) and will move onto the development of the tree. I'm considering giving it a gold spray coating ? 

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.
I'm excited about going to a Knitting Workshop on Sat. - will share my experience next week.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

More Beaded Angels

Hi Everyone
Last week, I introduced a couple of my beaded Christmas Angels for 2016. I've been working on a few extra designs and they are ready to share today. I make a new collection of Angels each year and look for new shaped components to make slight changes in the final Angel.
The Angels are very easy to make, most of the designs, simply thread beads (in a particular order) onto a single head pin with a loop. However, Angel E does have an additional striped component as legs which is made with seed beads on an extra head pin attached under the bell skirt.
My new bead shape for this year is the 'bell' bead. I have various sizes of the bell shape beads - the medium size is a good bead for most of the Angels and offer lots of variations. I also have a small, shiney bell (Angel D) which is perfect for an earring component or chain charm. 


All the Angels are available in kit form with an instruction sheet and packaged in a pretty organza bag. In previous years, I've used these Angels as an embellishment for a  gift tag as well as an ornament for a tree or table decoration and of course, jewellery charms. I'm sure there are lots more applications. My task today is to develop a design for a larger bell bead Angel. I'll share my results tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Making a Bell Poncho

Hi Everyone
Just a quick look at one of my recent knitted poncho projects. I seem to be obsessed with the poncho as a garment ! 


I knitted the two sides (back and front) a few weeks ago and I'm hoping to sew it up today at my local knitting group meet. It should be ready to wear by the end of the day - if I don't talk too much !!
My next poncho is already in the planning stage. I will use hand spun (by me) yarn. I'm planning to dye some of it - in a mustard yellow, I think ? The next poncho will be very plain - a simple oblong shape which will drape (I hope). The idea is to use as a cosy layer for cold days.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Trees and Angels

Hi Everyone
The Fabric Christmas Tree Project will be completed today. We have a Making Workshop later and the final stages of our trees will be tackled. I'm keen to embellish one of my trees with beads and embroidery. I've made a few tree samples and one of the larger  trees is ready for a bit more bling (will share he results tomorrow). One of the smaller trees (below)  is just fine as it is. I've added some message tape and the surface design is quite busy. I've embroidered a little tree in gold but it doesn't need anymore. The trees will be planted today in newspaper with a herb topping with a twig as a trunk ! I've used Rosemary which smells wonderful.


In addition to the trees, I've developed a few new beaded Angels for either earrings, pendents or tree ornaments. The Angels have been a feature of Christmas Makes for a while and each year, I use a slightly different selection of beads. This year, I'm using little glass bells in some of the designs. I have a wide range of components for a workshop (in a few weeks) which will allow Makers to develop their own designs. Here is a quick peak at the initial batch :


Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Spinning Yarn

Hi Everyone
Today, I'd like to share a great experience from the weekend. I spent a good part of Saturday in a Drop Spinning Workshop organised by Fine Fettle Fibres (my regular knitting group). We talked about 'all things' spinning and practiced spinning with a small sample of various types of fibres.


Having spread out my samples, I couldn't decide which was my favourite. Each fibre and stample yarn has its own special characteristic. I loved trying the different fibres and will continue to experiment for the future.
My next move is to complete spinning each sample and knit up the yarn into a small piece. I found that my very large and heavy drop spindle will probably not cope with some of the short fibres in my selection. I will need to acquire another lighter spindle - want a bonus !!
I'll share my knitted samples in a day or so.

Thanks for calling in.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Fabric Trees

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing an update on the Fabric Tree Project.
 Earlier this week, I worked on a little tree embroidery - version B below. I wanted to keep the fabric relatively minimal but have added a little gold bling (which shines at night). The message tape - Merry Christmas makes a statement on one side and I'm happy with the outcome.


Tree A will get some little bead embellishment when I've stitched and stuffed the tree.
Ive machine stitched tree B and am hand stitching tree A -  the tree shapes make machine stitching a little tricky and although I've given the pattern a 1 cm seam I found the shape difficult to navigate.
When stuffed the trees 'come to life'. I love the padded effect and am ready to plant my first tree. I have some twigs (for the tree stump) and a lovely old terracotta pot to plant into. The 'soil' will be newspaper and I will scatter the surface of the pot with some leaves or little twigs.


I will make a few more trees (after my A and B samples) and alter the size of each one. More photos from the project next week.

Thanks for calling in today and have a great weekend.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

More Spinning News

Hi Everyone
I've a little news update re my recent drop spinning project. The first attempt at a plyed yarn has been knitted up into a simple ribbed sample. It's actually quite attractive. I love the colour mix and it knits up well. I'm not sure (exactly) how much yarn I produced with my first batch but it's not much when knitted up !!! I need to make some more.


I thought the first batch was a bit messy and rather uneven but my skill level has improved hugely and I now understand how to produce a more consistent yarn. I find the process very satisfying and quite relaxing. 
I've started making more yarn to continue with my knitted sample.

 I'm not sure what I'm knitting ? I think it would make a great chunky sweater but I'm not sure ? What is certain, my new yarn is SO much better. I've managed to produce a stronger and consistent yarn. I think the final, plyed yarn will be much improved. I'm hoping the new yarn will blend appropriately with the knitted sample.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Growing Fabric Trees

Hi Everyone
Here is a peak at my how I'm growing  Christmas fabric trees. Last week, we (our local Making Group) started making our own little fabric Christmas trees. We printed a piece of plain fabric with our own handmade stamps and our own handmade ink pads - read back for more details. Now, it's time to grow and plant the fabric trees.
My first task was to shape and cut the fabric. I created a paper pattern, transferred it to my fabric and cut out the tree shapes. These trees are quite quirky but unmistakingly Christmas Trees. I will grow two sample trees with different styles of surface pattern. One of my fabric samples is very rich with shiney golds and reds, the other is more Nordic and simple in design - using simple red and green trees as well as using the blank background of the simple cotton fabric as a feature of the design.


I'm creating additional embellishments on the fabric with free style machining stitches. Small, simple trees will be dotted about the fabric. I'm also thinking about little gems to add sparkle. The fabric trees will be stuffed with polyester wadding and given a tree branch - for a trunk. The finished tree will be planted into a 'weathered' terracotta plant pots. I'll share the finished samples in a few days.

Thanks for calling in.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Spinning Yarn

Hi Everyone
Great news - I've managed (in a fashion) to produce some knitting yarn. Some weeks ago, I acquired a Drop Spindle and set about trying to spin. Initially, I had mixed results. Most of the time my spindle fell on the floor. However, I've read a little and watched a few You Tube videos and I'm almost there.

The basic spinning process is there but the quality of my final yarn could be improved. I know what to do, so it's about practice. My images above show some of the yarn I produced. I wanted to ply the yarn so have made my first attempt.


Here is my plyed yarn - I've used 2 strands, an undyed wool bat (the natural white) and some hand dyed (indigo) wool as well as a small amount of orange felting material. 
I'm hoping to add a little more of the coloured stuff to the final spun yarn and will then knit up a sample - not sure what to knit with the new yarn ?  but I want to see how it knits up. 

Thanks for calling in today.