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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.