Search This Blog

Popular Posts

Friday, 23 June 2017

Little details ....

Hi Everyone
If you are a regular reader, you will know, I've been working on a series of new projects over the last few weeks and I'm sharing one of the finished pieces today - a  Kumihimo bracelet. Read back a few weeks for more on this project and the range of projects involved in my series.
My finished Kumihimo bracelet  is here :

I've used a range of blue/grey beads with blue cord as well as a little Bee charm. The bracelet has turned out quite well and is pretty to wear. I added the beads in two sections with a small space in between  - just big enough for a few silver rings and a charm. I'm not sure about the lobster clasp - I think, I would prefer a much larger version. I'm on a mission to find one !
My other very important task on Fridays is to report progress on my Hanabira. The Hanabira is a crochet cardigan, again, read back on Fridays to check out the detail on the Hanabira.Unfortunately, I've not made too much progress on the Hanabira this week. Last week, I mentioned starting the body section of the cardigan. I'm still there ! The body does not seem to have grown too much. I think, I may have completed only four or five rows. However, I will get there - eventually, so I will just keep going.

I'm hoping the sleeve openings are sufficient but not too large ! At each stage of the make, I'm nervous about my approach, mainly because my crochet pattern reading skills are limited. I've decided to just go with it, the worst thing that could happen is I need to pull it out and start again !!!
 I need to make a new pledge to myself - two or three rows each day. That's my goal for next week.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

New Tool

Hi Everyone 
I'm sharing the necklace (almost) that I made yesterday. This is my final Kumihimo sample, although I do half a plan to develop earrings using the Kumihimo technique - will report here on the blog when so have something to share.

The necklace braid has a variety of beads combined in a random pattern. I simply changed the bead when I felt I'd like a 'change' in the threading stage. The result is a very pretty 'look'. I need to add some form of clasp and will do that today. I'm looking forward to wearing the necklace and think it will be a good length for many of my dresses and tops I have. I tend not to wear a necklace very often but I think this one maybe an exception .

My other job today will be some work on the Fabric Bracelet Project (see background here). I've acquired a new tool to help with the job - amongst other projects in the planning. The new tool is a Bias Tape maker. 

If you are not sure what Bias tape is - take a look here for more information. I have owned a similar tool before but this one seems easier to use and comes in four different sizes. My idea is to create a neat and easy tape with folded edges in a fabric of choice - rather than using a limited range of plain colours (usually the only Bias Binding tape available). The process starts with a long length of fabric, cut to a specific width and on the bias. The length of fabric is fed into the tool and both sides are folded (within the tool) to produce the tape. As the tape appears from the tool, it's ironed into a permanent neat tape.
My plan for the tape (in this project) is to use the tape as a type of ribbon rather than a binding fabric, although I may use this approach too.
I'll post my results when I have something to share.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Kumihimo plus

Hi Everyone
I didn't manage much progress yesterday, I had a lovely day - 'lunching' and looking for interior decoration ideas at IKEA. I'm happy to say - I found lots of new ideas. However, progress with my projects has suffered. I did manage to create a new bracelet sample (top) :

The new sample has a gap in the beading - I'd like to add another element to this part of the bracelet. I'm not sure if I should  make a beaded tube or add a polymer bead, designed for the job ? My plan is to add the fastening and go from there.

The last sample (bottom row) - is underway ! The mess (bottom left) is using longer lengths of braid with a wider variety of beads. The beads (bottom right) will be spread across the braid which I'm hoping will be long enough for a complete necklace. As I need more length for the necklace, the individual braiding threads are more difficult to manage. I'm using little flat thread bobbins (7) and testing a metal washer (1) to hold the beads as well as try to organise the threads. It's a bit of a fight at the begining ! I want the final braid to be neat and even and I need some control over how I add beads to the braid, hopefully I have the system to do this !!

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Project Week Progress

Hi Everyone
I'm having an extra week working on my new workshop projects this week. I'm hoping to develop little steps from each of the five projects and complete by Friday. Yesterday, I worked on Dorset Buttons and the Kumihimo Braids. The Dorset Buttons involved making more samples - this time with multiple colour buttons. Both new buttons used cotton embroidery thread.

As you can see from the photo - each of the new buttons introduced three colours of thread and I simply tried different stitch patterns to create different interest in the buttons. I'm thinking of one more sample using seed beads.
The Kumihimo Braid Project samples have cord ends - I now need to choose fastenings. 

Ive started another braid in a teal colour and will try a different style of bead braiding with this one. I also have lots of wide cord ends in my stash - much too big for the braiding I've made. I'm thinking of experimenting with thicker threading to see if I can make cord to suit the ends, so will aim to make another braid. My plan is to have a total of four completed braids.
Today, I'm concentrating on the Kumihimo Project so should have more to share tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Dorset Buttons

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing the Dorset Button developments from last week today. I've started to experiment with different threads to find my preferred finish but have stuck with the traditional weaving pattern on the buttons for my first samples.

My first button, pink, was a little messy and the mustard shade ended a little short of thread. However, I managed tomproduce a purple mauve button which turned out well. All these buttons were made with the same size brass ring and covered in the same way. I used  a fine wool yarn for the mauve and purple sample,the others are made with embroidery cotton.
There are lots of different sample stitches for these buttons and my next move is to try out a variety of weaving finishes. If you look at my inspiration buttons from Friday, the different colours and variation in stitch patterns give a completely different look.

I'm hoping to try a few different patterns on new samples later today. I'd also like to find a variety of ring sizes to add another variation.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Project Roundup

Hi Everyone
It's the last day of my new projects week and today it's Dorset Buttons. If you never heard of these items, Dorset Buttons have a long story. Just to give a little background, a Dorset Button is a style of hand crafted button originating in the English county of Dorset. Their manufacture was at a peak between 1622 and 1850, after which they were overtaken by machine-made buttons from factories in the developing industries of growing cities in England. During their heyday making Dorset Buttons was a big and very important industry, practiced by many people. 
The buttons are created using a ring (in my case - made of Brass) and thread or yarn. The yarn or thread is wound and woven around the ring in various ways to form many different styles of button. I'm taking inspiration from a couple of Pinterest examples to develop my project.


The necklace maker can be found on Etsy here and the earrings here. I'm not quite sure what my end project will aim for at the moment ? I'm focused on practicing the actual Dorset Button basic technique today and will find inspiration while I'm making. I quite like the idea of using different colours within each button but I've no fixed ideas.

Details from my other projects  this week can be found on blog episodes each day. I've made prototypes for each project and costed for a workshop. I need to make some modifications for each and will write up tutorials over the next few weeks. Hopefully, I will have 5 new workshops - ready to go by the end of June. I'm planning further work on the series of workshops next week and will share photos here on the blog.
Just a little peak at yesterday's initial results of the Paper Flower project :


As its Friday, I'm  also sharing progress on the Hanabira crochet cardigan - 


Read back for more on this project (each Friday). I've started to crochet the body of the cardigan. The top part of the cardigan is complete and the arm holes are prepared. I'm feeling the project is going OK at the moment. I've mentioned before, my reservations about my own crochet skills and the potential sizing issues but at this point -  I'm enjoying making this garment. So all is well !

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Paper Flowers

Hi Everyone
It's Day 4 of my new project week today. My next project is called Paper Flowers.

The flowers will be made from coloured crepe paper with florist wire for stems. The stems will be covered with green florist tape. I will experiment with different colours combinations as well as bloom sizes. I've developed a number of paper templates for the petals and am hoping to learn how I can use the petals to build a realistic flower. I will need to adjust sizes and possibly petal shapes. I may need to use paint on the individual petals - I'll decide after a I make my first flower. Photos to follow tomorrow.
I'm also wondering how to develop vases to hold the flowers ? I had some ideas for felt covered bottles ? - not sure at this stage. I will produce some sample flowers and decide whats needed.

I didn't manage any work yesterday, on the previous 3 projects - so nothing more to share (read back yesterday for the latest update).

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Bead Loom Project

Hi Everyone
It's Day 3 and another project in my project development week. This time it's a Bead Loom bracelet.

I've modified a bracelet that I made a while ago and will develop more samples to accommodate a variety of clasps for a workshop. The beaded section in my photo will probably get the slide clasp with the safety chain but I also have a couple of other clasps which need the design to be changed slightly. I have lots of ideas for different sized beads and will try out some new combinations. I'll spend some time on this project today alongside the previous two (read back earlier this week for more information on project 1 and 2).

Now for an update on day 1 and 2 projects : 
Day 1 - Kumihimo Jewels


Day 2 - Fabric Cuff

Both projects have moved on and I'm reasonably happy with progress. I will keep going with all three projects today - I only have a half day today, so probably won't make too much progress. The Kumihimo project is almost there but the Fabric Cuff needs more experiments. I've broken down the further development of each project into sections so have a good idea of what I need to do next.

Thanks for calling in today.

Fabric Bracelets - Day 2

Hi Everyone
It's Day 2 of my project development week. Today, I'm working on a Fabric Cuff style bracelet.


I'm inspired by these cuff bracelets and will go for a similar design using fabric and ribbon. I'd like to try and develop polymer Charm Labels. I'm going for a metal- like clay and will experiment with rubber stamps to get my words onto the charms. I'm not sure about the fastening at the moment ? Perhaps, I'll go for a button or possibly a standard clasp ? - will see how things go.

Now for a quick review of the Kumihimo Day 1 experiment.

                  I've worked with a variety of sized beads on my initial necklace - I didn't care for the colour combinations so this sample came out. However, I'll make another using these size beads - I like the idea of this one. I also used something called Fray Block for the first time. This is a gel substance which turns the ends of the threading cord into a needle like 'tool'. Picking up beads can be tricky and this gel worked brilliantly. I can highly recommend the gel. All that's required is to stick the ends of the cord into the Fray Block tube, pull out and wait for a few mins. - miraculously, the cord turns stiff and maintains this state - ready for picking up beads (directly onto the cord) from a bead mat.

My second Kumihimo sample is a simple bracelet braid with two types of small seed beads -

I particularly like this design - it's blue (of course) and will be a simple, easy to wear bracelet.

I'm still working on the Kumihimo project and will hopefully develop both projects (day 1 and 2) 'side by side' today.
The aim of my week was to develop a new body of work for workshops, not necessarily that all projects will be finished. Realistically, I'd like to get outline designs by the end of the week which will be the basis for a range of workshop projects or not !  It could be that my ideas are not practical for groups of new makers .

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Kumihimo Experiments

Hi Everyone
I'm starting a week of new projects this week. Each day, I'm hoping to develop a new project which will work up to a Making Workshop. I've a number of different techniques to try out each day. In total, I'm hoping for five new projects.
My first experiment for today is a Kumihimo braided necklace. 


Kumihimo  is a Japanese form of braiding. My experiment will use a foam disc and cord to interlace the strands. A Kumihimo  is Japanese for "gathered threads". I've used this technique for braiding before but will need a bit of a reminder and am hoping to use a variety of different sized beads. Wish me luck.

Tomorrow, I'll share my results and introduce my 'Tuesday Experiment'.

Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Knitting and crochet - Plan B

Hi Everyone
Having re started the Hannabira crochet cardigan with a Plan B (read back earlier this week for details), I've also created a Plan B for my most recent sock knit. I've actually finished both socks too ! Although, I can get the socks onto my feet (with a bit of a struggle) the fit is much too tight. 
I've decided to pull back the leg part of the socks and enlarge the 'instep' area. I may need to accept that the sock pattern does not work for me ? but I'm going to give one more try to improve the fit.


I'm also keen to get onto my next sock project - which will use a sock blank, very exciting !

As it's Friday, I'm also giving a brief update on the Hannabira. My plan is to record the progress of this project each week and will share how things are going with photos and a little details about the pattern. I'm calling this week of the project - 'week 1' (I'd quite like to forget about my previous attempt) !
 I re started the cardigan (only a few days ago ) AND I'm pleased to say, I'm a little ahead of where I was - prior to Plan B ! I'm still on the first part of the pattern which is called the Neckband - so, very early days. I'm about half way through the Neckband section. The Body section comes next.


This project will challenge my crochet skills but I'm pleased how things are going, so far.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Mosaic Flowers

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing a new project today. This new project is another one of my experiments at this stage. 


I've been playing around with the idea of making something which could look good in a garden (my garden for now ! ).

 I've taken a wooden core, shaped as an organic, flower head. At the moment, I've simply tested out ideas on the wooden core and played around with placing colours and shapes of  small ceramic pieces of tile. My plan is to adhere the pieces onto the wood and grout them. The 'flowers' will then acquire a stake (in a pre made hole) to place them into the garden position.

I'm not sure exactly how I want the final samples should look ? I have collected some old broken white tiles as background 'filling in' material but I'm also considering crushed glass or aggregate of some sort ?

My next move is to get the ceramic material attached to the wood. My inclination is to keep the colours very simple by adding a background of the white small pieces of tile. I did consider covering all the wood core with ceramic pieces but I'm warming to the idea of painting the edges and the back.
I'll let you know what happens when I pluck up the courage to actually stick the tiles pieces to the wood ! - after sticking the tiles down, there is no return  for this experiment. However, there will be more 'flowers', I feel there needs to be lots more to provide an effective display.

Thanks for calling in today.

Hanabira - reborn

Hi Everyone
I know it's not Friday (my designated day for updating my current crochet project) but I am excited to share 'Plan B - the new Hanabira' crochet cardigan project. I think, I'm back on track ! You can read background on the project here.

To restart , I swatched 4 different options for the fabric and eventually decided on this one :
I've gone for a 6mm crochet hook and Merino sock yarn. The colour is a lovely Pistachio Green and very soft. Compared to my previous version of the Hanabira which used a linen mix, the yarn is so easy to work. I'm confident, at the moment !, this plan will work out and eventually - I will have my cardigan. I'm begining to enjoy the challenge again.

So far, I've created the Foundation Chain and organised the neckline markers for the pattern increases :


As per the last plan, I'm hoping to crochet a little everyday and will update each Friday showing my progress.
Wish me luck !

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Beading Experiments

Hi Everyone
I've been spending a little time beading recently. I know lots of Makers, new the beading, often struggle making a beaded ring with a Peyote style technique. So, I've been developing a simple, step by step tutorial to help our Makers succeed. I'll report on my success after the first session !


These particular experiments are linked to a Making Workshop later today but I've also been testing out some new ways of using a beading loom with small seed beads and developing additional polymer beads for use on the loom. The idea is to create a component from polymer which can be added to the loom and beaded in place. I'm experimenting with making several holes in the clay component 'in line' with the loom threading. The finished item, initially, will be a bracelet and the component will feature in the centre of the piece. I'm not quite there yet ! - but the first polymer component is similar to the beaded example (see photo) in a 'tartan like' pattern. More to follow over the next few weeks.
My sample above will adorn a fibre bracelet after the workshop today. I'll post an image of the finished piece when complete along with other samples created by our talented Makers.

Thanks for calling in today.

Working Progress

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing an update on my latest knitting project today, this the Miette Crop Cardigan by Andi Satterlund. I started last week while watching lots of tennis on TV and trying to work through a flue virus. I was feeling a bit better by the end of the week so spent most of two days knitting with my feet up ! This is the result :


I was hoping I would have enough yarn (from a stash bag) to finish but it's obvious I will need a few more balls. The yarn is a linen mix and I'm holding two strands together, it knits up quickly but also takes up lots of yardage.I've almost finished one sleeve and I think that's probably all I will get from the yarn ! I'm planning to order more later today. 
I've been trying on the cardigan as I go and I do like it. I've altered the pattern a little - it's more boxy in shape and longer in the body and I've changed the shaping in the sleeves slightly to make them fit with more positive ease.. I need to complete both sleeves, add the button bands and neckband. I'd also like to add a ribbon backing for the button bands and have possible ribbon in my stash. I'm not sure about buttons ? - I don't think I have any candidates. I could possibly make some from polymer clay - will keep thinking about that one.
This project will go on hold for a day or two, until the new yarn arrives. I'll keep you updates on progress.

Thanks for calling in today. 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Plan B

Hi Everyone
It's Friday's update on the Hanabira crochet project - you can read more about this project here. If you are a regular reader you will know, I'd already started this project a few weeks ago. Well - it's been ripped out and the yarn has gone elsewhere and doing very nicely as another cardigan. However, I'm determined to make my Hanabira so it's Plan B time. The problem with the previous yarn was the weight. It was definitely much too lightweight - the resulting fabric was tight and very heavy. So, Plan B - I've acquired some new yarn - not exactly the yarn in the original pattern but very close. I'm hoping this new yarn will act as the patterns directs.

I haven't started working with the new yarn yet but having completed the initial neck section, I'm confident about how to start and I will complete a swatch before starting to check the gauge.
As I've said, the new yarn is a heavier weight and I'm  hoping the project will grow a little quicker than last time - I should be back on track soon. The colours in my photo are not quite showing the bright mustard/lime colour of the main part of the Hanabira. I'm very pleased with the new main colour - all is well there ! It's not quite the colour (again poor light is not giving a true mustard colour) of the first attempt but I will, of course, have a cardigan in that shade ! - again this is great news.  I also have a few more colours to choose from when it comes to the contrast sections, exciting choices to be made in due course, I'll decide when I get to the bottom and the sleeve cuffs.
I'm hoping this is it and I can get going later this afternoon. My hope is that I can set aside a little crochet time each day (as I did last time) and all will be well. I'll report on my progress next Friday.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Making Workshop

Hi Everyone
I'm doing a little preparation today for our next Making Workshop. We are still working on the Fibre Jewellery Project, which is in its 3rd and final phase. Read back a few weeks for more on this project. This time, the focus is on making some seed bead rings to embellish either bracelets or necklaces.

Our regular Makers have developed some lovely items over the last couple of sessions and this ring embellishment idea is something which can be added to change the look of the piece, making it a more versatile item. 
Making beaded rings from seed beads can be a tricky process. Often, Makers new to beading find the construction of the ring rather difficult at first, so we will take it very slowly. I'm hoping everyone will be able to design and make their own rings after our session. I will be using a very simple Peyote technique.

I've developed a few rings for demonstration purpose but I'm hoping to embellish a new bracelet of my own too during the workshop. It will be interesting to see what our Makers come up with.

The Fibre Jewels Project has been a very satisfying project, all out Makers have developed interesting and innovative pieces. I will take some images of the jewels at out workshop (next Tuesday - 6/617) so we can share their Art.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

New on my needles

Hi Everyone
Exciting news today ! - I have a new knitting project on my needles. A cropped cardigan with 3/4 sleeves called Miette. This is a free download pattern from Ravelry by Andi Satterlund.


Regular readers may have noticed I'm using the yarn from my crochet cardigan, recently ripped out ! I finally made the decision a few days ago and it's exactly the right one. Read about the issue here.
 The Miette cardigan is going well and the yarn is exactly right for the project. I love the colour and the linen element in the yarn works beautifully. I've made great progress, the pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn so I've held two strands of my lighter weight yarn together. The pattern is very clear and easy to use and I'm enjoying the process very much.
I'm thinking about making the fit rather more 'boxy' and leaving out the bust shaping ? I think I will have more use out of a looser fit cardigan ? Still not sure about this one. I'm hoping I will get to that part today and will then decide.
Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

FO's to celebrate

Hi Everyone
I've a couple of finished objects to share today. 


However, I'm not totally satisfied with my garments. The Nuuk is a great pattern and I love the colour and the design BUT, I think it's a bit big ! I chose the second size and tried it on several times during construction but it feels a bit loose around the middle. I've yet to try with a blouse or long sleeved tee (my favoured layered look) so I've not totally given up hope that all is well - but there is a question mark ! I really enjoyed knitting this sweater and am already thinking about another. I'd quite like a 3/4 sleeved version with contrasting rib bands in a bright blue and green. The more I think about various colour and little design alterations the more I'm inspired to knit more !
The other finished item is my Oh Shanti socks - these socks have been in and out a few times. The pattern combined with my usual tight knitting technique has needed to be resized at various points. One of the socks is still a bit tight on the 'instep' point. Sadly, I think it may need to come out again.
However, it's not a big job and I'd like to socks to be a good fit. I like the design and the stitch pattern is lovely. These socks have quite a short leg which I also like - not my usual sock design. The socks are very pretty and I love the colour. 
Generally, the knitting has gone well. I'm already lining up the next projects. I like a pair of socks on the go as well as something I call my 'main knit'. I'll let you know what's next tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today. 

Monday, 29 May 2017

EveryDay Jewels - earrings

Hi Everyone
Just a very short episode today - I've been suffering with a bit of a virus and work has almost stopped for a few days. I did manage to develop ear hooks for more of the Lucy earrings but that's  about it !


I've also started a few of the silver bands for rings and a new pendent bead in the EveryDay range but that's it. 
I'm feeling better each day so hopefully, I can make more progress over the next few days with my other current making projects.
I have done some knitting and the Nuuk is almost there - read back here for more on the Nuuk. I should have something to show tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Crochet News

Hi Everyone
It's Friday so, I'm sharing my progress and my experience with the Hanabira crochet cardigan. I've already detailed this crochet project here on the blog - check out the details from the begining.
So far, I've started the top down design with the development of the neck, sleeve, front and back shaping. I'm happy with the stitch technique and the garment looks as if the shaping is going well. I'm familiar with this form of design in knitted garments so feel as if the shaping is good. I'm also happy with the yarn, I love the colour and the 'linen-like' texture. My photo is not quite showing the true vibrant yellow/ mustard colour -  it's very striking and I would love to have a cardigan in this colour.
However, I'm not entirely convinced the size is right ? I think the gauge is too tight. The resulting material is a little 'heavy'. To test the gauge, Ive gone up a hook size and the last row of my progress is the larger size hook. At the moment, there isn't too much difference to see. I did swatch for this project but I think, I should have made a much larger swatch.

The change to the larger hook maybe enough to correct the size and the feel of the fabric but I'm not hopeful. I'm thinking the unthinkable ! and almost wondering if I need to use another yarn ? 
My next move is to complete the next 10 rows to definitely understand the size I'm producing. I will then make a decision about the yarn and the hook size. I may need to start again on the larger hook OR use the yarn suggested in the pattern. I've already found somewhere to buy the yarn. The yarn I'm currently using was bought for another pattern (quite some time ago) but I am happy to use it for that pattern, another cardigan.
I'm taking all the positives from this project. I've definitely learned lots from starting the Hanabira, I'm still inspired by the design and am still determined I want to make a crochet garment. At the begining of this project, I new there would be challenges - both my inexperience with making crochet garments as well as not working with the yarn suggested in the pattern !
I've not quite managed a daily crochet session so progress has been quite slow - mainly because I'm not sure what I'm doing and each step takes so much time to understand. Being realistic, I think I will make more progress when I'm certain I'm on the right plan and in a regular habit.
I'll report back next Friday on the outcome of the gauge issue and what Indo next.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Everyday Collection Plus

Hi Everyone
I've been working with my EveryDay Collection over the last few days. There are more plans for a wider range of colours but I'm still working with the colourful Lucy range. There are a few new combinations of different shaped beads using the same Lucy colours and a variation of findings planned.


I'm hoping this new Collection will be ready for launching very soon. All the items in the EveryDay Collection are individual pieces and very easy to wear and I'm tempted to take each new item for myself ! Most of the colour ways in the Collecion are inspired by outfits in my wardrobe, so there is huge temptation to hang on to all of them.
Today, I'm developing some sterling silver rings with various coloured PolyGems (faux gems created using polymer clay). These rings are my favourites from the Collection, I'm hoping to have a range to share over the next few days.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Knitting the NUUK

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing my progress with the new sweater on my needles - the NUUK. I started this knit just a few days ago and already most of the body has been completed. I'm enjoying how the construction is designed. I'm quite keen to try it on.
The design is a 'top down' sweater with short sleeves and a rib both at the bottom and neck. The early construction stage creates a cap like sleeve which looks great, almost looking finished ! I'm already considering a second Nuuk using this cap sleeve finish. I like the open neckline at the moment too (the rib will  obviously bring the neck together) and maybe this is an option for future Nuuk sweaters ?


I also like the idea of contrasting colours for the rib sections of the sweater - not for this one but perhaps the next ? Generally, the whole knit is a pleasing  project and is inspiring lots of new design ideas.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Beads for Knitting

Hi Everyone 
One of my new knitting projects involves an area of beadwork. The pattern for the project is the FairyHill Shawl by Helen Stewart. Read back for more re my preparations here .I've hand dyed a skein of yarn and have ordered a range of beads to compliment the colours of the yarn. The beads arrived yesterday and I ordered a range for choice. I'm almost there on deciding which beads to use. I'm keen, at the moment, to use two different beads, a solid pink and a moss green. The two shades I've chosen are quite close to the specific colours of the yarn.


The pattern suggests beads are knitted into the centre area of the shawl - I may use the beads in different areas depending on how the yarn colours develop within the pattern. My hand dyed yarn has some areas which are deep solid pink but other areas quite light pink or natural ecru with other areas of a light moss green. I will develop the beading as the yarn suggests.
I need to finish a pair of socks before I can cast on - I'm very close to finishing the socks. I find Helen Stewart patterns very easy to use. The detailed instructions and stitch count information is particularly helpful to me. I'm really looking forward to casting on. I will record my progress with pictures and will share the results here on the blog over the next few weeks.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Everyday Collection

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing my new Everyday Collection today - I'm still working on the project but I've developed the components of a few of the initial pieces. Each design in the Collection will have earrings, a stretch bracelet and a pendent. I'm also creating a couple of silver rings with 'PolyGem' stones. All the beads are made from blended polymer clay and silver.


I've got some exciting packaging ideas (to follow in the next week week or so) - watch this space. I love to wear this design and genuinely wear a version of the bracelet almost everyday. It's a very easy item to wear for almost all activities. 

The bead style in the photo is an oval shape, I also have a round, a square and a triangle shape in the Collection. I'm using a wide range of colours in the Collection and a small batch of each design will be available. All the pieces will use handcrafted sterling silver findings.

Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Purposeful Dyed Yarn

Hi Everyone
I'm excited to share yet another new knitting project today. It's a shawl by Helen Stewart called the Fairyhill Shawl. I've recently knitted another Helen Stewart shawl and her patterns are great to knit, so I'm looking forward to this one. In preparation for the knit, I've hand dyed a skein of yarn. The colours are beautiful and I'm quite pleased with how the yarn has turned out. I've chosen a vibrant Magenta with Moss Green and a little Natural (left undyed from the original yarn). I'm not entirely sure how the shawl will look in terms of the colour pattern but I'm looking forward to finding out. He's a quick look a the yarn :


The pattern calls for some beading work - very exciting ! I've ordered a few different new seed beads in a few different colours for the beadwork and will make a decision when they arrive. I've another small shawl/scarf using beads and I particularly like the idea of another. I feel, beadwork can make a garment very special. 
This knit project will be the third knitting project I have 'on the go' at the moment, so that's IT , no more casting on until I finish one of them !

On another matter, you may remember that I was preparing for a crochet project earlier this week - the Hanabira cardigan (read back for details). I'm hoping to review my progress each Friday. I hope to spend a little time each day (work permitting) on the cardigan. It's fair to say, I'm slightly anxious about the job. My crochet skills are very basic, I can do the basic quite well but reading the pattern is causing me minor issues, already ! However, I know where to get help if I need it !
So far, I've created my initial chain for the neck (it's a top down pattern), developed the foundation row and divided the stitches for the various sections of the cardigan - sleeves, back and front sides. That's it. It doesn't sound like much but I'm on schedule for my daily work on the project and am quite pleased with myself. 
I'll have another review next Friday, possibly with photos of my progress.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

New on the needles.

Hi Everyone
I've a new knit on my needles - it's the NUUK sweater. This pattern has been in the queue for quite some time. For some reason, I couldn't decide on the yarn to use ? Initially, I wanted a 'stand out'/ statement colour - such as magenta or bright orange. However, I've gone for my usual blue ! I've decided that a statement piece will follow if the design works for me. Most of my wardrobe is blue and I'd like this sweater to be a useful and versatile garment.


One of my friends has knitted the design, so I know how the sweater will turn out and I love the style. I'm hoping the fit will allow my sweater to be worn as per the image. I like the layering idea.
The pattern is a 'top down' technique and I'm using dovestone dk in the Lotherton colour with 5mm needles. I've done a swatch and my gauge is exactly as per the pattern. It's early days but I'm really enjoying knitting this design.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Another NEW toy.

Hi Everyone
I've another brand new toy to share today.

It's a drum carder - made (from scratch) by my very clever husband. It looks great and has blended a range of leftover fibres from a workshop (way back). The fibres were in a series of little bags with no particular purpose (at the bottom of my fibre bin). I simply blended them together and ended up with 30 gms of yarn.  After plying the single, I have 30m of yarn. It's not enough to make anything significant but I'm working on an idea to use the yarn as a design feature of a sweater, details will emerge in good time !
The blended yarn is beautiful- there's lots of yellow silk in the fibre and the resulting yarn is very smooth feels great) and a lovely colour. The general overal colour of the yarn is 'grey'' but with lots of depth. I'm thinking about spinning more wool fibres into a grey mix using some of the Corriedale and Blue Faced Leiceter ( BFL) in my stash. I'm hoping the resulting yarn will be a lovely range of varied grays. My plan is to have my silk blend creating interest in the planned sweater. Very exciting !

Here is the resulting yarn - named Slightly Broom (after the plant) in more detail :


Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Crochet Further Training

Hi Everyone
If you called in last week, you will know that I've started a big crochet project. Check out the details here. In order to prepare myself for the project, I've been practicing all the individual crochet stitches required in the pattern. I'm OK with very basic crochet but making a crochet garment is something else ! However, I'm quiet determined - somehow, I will make this happen.
I've created a few little swatches using each of the stitches used in the pattern and using the main yarn I've chosen. This particular yarn is a linen/wool mix in a lovely bright colour. This yarn is a light sport weight. I will also use a grey colour and a navy for some detail on the sleeve and bottom
On the whole, there are only a few different stitches used -  the main stitch pattern is single crochet lines either through the front or back loop. This stitch produces a pretty texture and quite a solid fabric. The pattern is a top down cardigan, so starts at the neck and divides for the sleeves, very much like a top down knit (which I've had some experience with). 


The sleeves and bottom of the cardigan have a more elaborate section witch require relatively large croched flowers within a border. This is the detail area where I'll use the grey and navy. Check out the link (above) for an image.


So far, I'm happy with how things are turning out. I think, I'm ready to start the cardigan and have decided to try and break down the project into very small parts. I want to try and complete a small section EACH day. My first job will be to chain for the neck. I'm hoping, that if I can focus on a very small section of the garment, I will be able to learn and understand the process more effectively. If I can manage a short daily crochet session - I will (somehow) see the task as not so daunting !
I hope to report on my progress regularly and each Friday I will have a whole project update.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Blocking for a sweater

Hi Everyone
I've had a little success with a new handspun project over the last few days. This is a large project which will sit alongside my other knitting projects, so is something which will take quite some time to complete. I'm hoping to spin for about 30 mins everyday. 
My plan is to develop a sweater quantity of handspun yarn using Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) and Corriedale wool. So far, I've gone for two types of yarn, a pure Corriedale and a blend of BFL/Corriedale (60/40). I'm hoping the Corriedale will make the rib sections of the sweater and the blend will be used for the majority of the sweater. 
I love the way the wool has worked out. The resulting yarn has produced a beautiful rustic knit which is very soft. The mix of grey colours are lovely.


The sweater will be for my husband and he had chosen a particular pattern design with a zip or button feature at the neck, however, I think we may go for a very simple design (no neck details) using the different coloured wool on the rib elements ie the bottom, sleeves and neck band. The yarn is lovely and I think a plain design will allow the yarn to shine. I'm inspired to spin my next batch. I used size 4mm needles for the swatch and produces the perfect material. The yarn is a DK weight and will be very cosy.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Crochet Training

Hi Everyone
I've started a concentrated crochet training programme this week. If you called in earlier in the week, you will know I've got plans for making a crochet cardigan. I've never made a crochet garment before and I must admit - it's rather daunting. ! To get things going, I made a new dishcloth - I had issues with remembering the names of the different stitches and needed to YouTube each one - more than once ! The dish cloth is made and in use. It doesn't bode well for the cardigan ! 

However, I'm still determined to make the cardigan so I've started practicing. My plan is to make a swatch of all the stitches involved in the cardigan using the actual yarn for the cardigan before I start.  Alongside the swatch, I've also started looking for small crochet projects to practice following crochet patterns. Imagine my delight when a I came across a very pretty crochet bracelet in Pom Pom magazine blog. If you are interested it can be found here. I love Pom Pom magazine generally but finding the crochet stuff was an added bonus.

The bracelet is called a Pineapple Bracelet and is one of a number of crochet bracelet free patterns I came across a few days ago. I didn't have any pineapple colours so my pineapple is blue ! It's very pretty. I did enjoy making the first pineapple and will continue to make the whole thing.


I think my cotton yarn is a bit thick and will look in my stash for something more suitable. Although the blue is fine, I think a pineapple colour would be better. I really enjoyed starting this little project and it's having the exact effect of re introducing me to 'crochet' - good training and positive reinforcement for my ultimate goal, the crochet cardigan.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Tale of a Very East Poncho

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing the ups and downs of my current main knit project today - the Very Easy Poncho. You wouldn't believe how many problems I've had with this project ! I've experienced major highs and lows throughout the project. I started thinking about the idea of the poncho many months ago and it's appeared several times on this blog, read back for more.

Initially, central to the project, it was a garment I could make using the first finished hank of yarn that I'd personally dyed and then handspun on my new spinning wheel. I had a lovely time dying the wool, choosing how to spin the dyed wool and combining the different colours and then spinning. I also found a lovely - easy knitting pattern. At the begining, this was a very exciting project. I knew ,I didn't have enough of my own yarn to complete the poncho but had an idea to use some amazing Indigo dyed yarn produced by a lovely friend. The Indigo yarn and my own yarn worked brilliantly together and my project plans seemed to be perfect !

Move on several weeks of stocking stitch - 130 stitches on the needles and 62 ins. long. This is a seriously long piece of knitting ! I knitted my own yarn and changed to the Indigo when a I felt like it - this was another high - the colours worked well and the stripes that emerged were just lovely. I used a pretty progress keeper to manage a few inches of knitting everyday. All seemed to be well.

When a I eventually finished the long rectangle shaped knitting it was time to construct the poncho. I blocked the fabric and read the schematic diagram on the very brief pattern and proceeded to seam the poncho. This is when my major problems started. I made the first seam and was very proud of my work - so satisfying and very neat. I made another seam, as per the diagram (as it read to me). It was immediately obvious that something was wrong. Still not sure why I hadn't realised there was a problem before starting these seams ? After reading and re-reading the pattern details and researching via Ravelry, I finally ripped out all the seams - not an easy job and very time consuming. All my lovely work was at risk of being completely ruined. The ripping out was begining to damage the edges of the poncho and I needed to undue every single stich with extreme care. This was a serious low point.

I did have photo references for the finished garment and studied the photos, off and on for a few days. Then yesterday, I had a Eureka moment and finally - I had the answer ! I'd not thought through the construction properly. As the name suggests, this poncho is a very easy construct. It's simply a single seam at the back, created by attaching a part of one side of the folded rectangle. It's so simple I can't quite believe I'd missed it. I've had so much grief over the last few days and now I'm repeating (to myself) - I can't believe Id missed it. I'd fixated on the diagram and didn't translate the way in which the garment would be worn ? As I write, I stil can't believe what I did.

I'm sure the final garment will be lovely. The fabric drapes beautifully and the colours are very special. I need to make the seam - I'm going to try and re create my first seam and be very proud of the job - again ! I also need to add some icord edging to all the edges of the poncho, I'm hoping the icord will help neaten up any 'unpicking' issues. I will reblock the poncho and hopefully it will be complete in a few days - ready to wear.

On balance, I'm still loving the project. It's been a great learning process for me. I'm will definitely approach patterns and schematic diagrams differently from now on. This garment was always going to be special because of the handspun/hand dyed yarn, the first handspun too. I'd invested so much hope and care into the knit - I wanted it to be something I could be proud of. I'm  now thinking, I will immediately forget all the pain, once the garment is complete. There will be more photos when this times comes. Until then, this is where I am :


Thanks for calling in and sharing my 'pain'.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Sock Queue

Hi Everyone
As promised yesterday, I'm sharing the next two projects in my sock queue. At the top of the list is the Om Shanti socks which are currently on my needles. I had almost finished one of the socks but they turned out very odd in terms of proportions. The foot was incredibly long and the ankle was very small - I couldn't get my foot into it. No question - the sock had to be ripped out ! I've recalculated the maths and am well into a new sock, which seems OK. I love knitting the pattern on the top of the foot and have learned the six line pattern which should help speed up the knit. I think some of the issue was to do with the fact that I am a 'tight' knitter - I'm consciously trying to 'loosen up' my knitting.


My second 'sock to be' will be Herminone's Everyday Sock by Erica Leuder - this is a free download on Ravelry. This time, I will be using a sock blank, hand dyed by Stranded Dyeworks (on Etsy). I've never used a sock blank so this is a first ! I'll report on what I think about this approach. I've chosen the pattern because I'm hoping the colours in the sock blank will enhance the look of the final sock. I wanted something with a slight pattern but not something which will loose the lovely colours of the yarn. It will be interesting to see how the colours emerge. I know some people wind and wash the yarn from the sock blank before knitting but I will go straight from the blank.

I'm not sure how long it will take me to finish these two pairs of socks ? - I will definitely be taking my time. I do like having a sock project alongside my main knitting projects so I'm always looking for a new one. I'm finding having several knitting projects 'on the go' is good for me.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Sock Celebration

Hi Everyone
I'm celebrating the finishing of a pair of socks today. The socks are for my husband, Richard. The actual knitting part of these socks was finished a little while ago but it's taken me forever to weave in the ends, so technically they were completed including washing (rather than blocking) yesterday. I love the colours and the stripes as well as how soft they feel. These socks are made to measure and fit beautifully. I'm hoping they will be lovely to wear. I bought the yarn for the socks at Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March read more here of the original story. They will be a great souvenir of the lovely day we spent at Edinburgh.


As well as the two colours I used in these socks, I bought a third colour of the same yarn (another shade of blue)  and have an idea to use it for heels, toe and cuff alongside some hand dyed yarn of my own. However, this new project will have to join the sock queue - there are two more pairs of socks planned before I can embark on this latest idea ! More on the latest sock projects tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Crochet News

Hi Everyone
Great excitement for me at the moment. I've a new project planned, this time it's crochet ! - and it's a cardigan. This is a major challenge for me. The pattern is a lovely cardigan from the Spring edition of pompom.


I saw this pattern (Hanabira) a while back but was inspired to make a croched garment by a fabulous example of a croched cardigan made by one of my knitting group friends. The Hanabira had stuck in my mind as something I particularly liked and I wondered (for a week or so) if I could make it ? I don't feel equipped (at the moment) to crochet the cardigan but I'm determined to have a go. I have a couple of friends who I may need to call on (they know who they are).

To start or rather re start my crochet practice (I would call myself a 'lapsed crochet person') I made a new dish cloth last night. I currently have a lovely waffle stitch crochet dishcloth in use (made by me) and do need another, so I thought I would make a new one. Bad news ! I couldn't remember how to do the stitch and I needed to revise my all crochet skills. I always forget what crochet stitches are called and get messed up with British or American stitch names for the same stitch. This doesn't sound like good news at this stage ! However, all will be well when I get into the pattern. I've read through the detail a few times and it doesn't seem too complicated - famous last words ! The pattern is a top down pattern with raglan style sleeves - no need for many stitched seams. I will use a mustard cotton yarn for my main colour and am planning to spin some grey linen/wool yarn for the White part. I need another colour for the flowers (in pink on the photo) - I'm not sure what I will go for ? - possibly a lighter grey shade ? I need to keep thinking about this decision.
I feel quite 'overwhelmed' just thinking about this project; however, I'm quite excited at the same time. 

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Very Easy Poncho - breaking news !

Hi Everyone
Great news - I've finished the majority of the knitting for my Very Easy Poncho - read back yesterday for more detail on this.


 I spent some time last night thinking about exactly how I would seam the long stocking stitch fabric to form the poncho. I did consider a few options, in the end I knitted the two ends together. I used the live stitches on my needle and knitted them into the cast on edge followed by a traditional stitch over cast off. The seam worked beautifully and it's a very neat finish (for me, the inside must look as good as the outside ! )
My next job was to start the icord edges. I've started with the bottom edge and read the suggested tutorial from the pattern ( before starting. I was quite confident that I understood how to make an icord edge (one of my recent shawl knits included and icord edge). The tutorial was a good reminder. I also looked up a great video (I used this with my previous icord experience) which explains how to create an attached icord edge - watch it here. I particularly like watching as well as reading about a technique. Often videos are the answer for me.
So far, my initial finishing is going well, there's a way to go but I'm back enjoying this project. I think, the long stocking stitch element got a little tedious and I lost a bit of enthusiasm but I've certainly enjoyed this last bit. 
My handspun yarn has knitted up better than expected and the garment is looking good so far.  Hopefully, I will have it finished in the next day or so. It's such a good feeling when a project goes well. I'm not exactly sure how the fit of the poncho will work. I need to develop the top shoulder part. I am hopeful final shaping will happen with blocking.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend - I'll be back next week.