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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Happy Days

Hi Everyone
It's Day 2 back at home (from our little family holiday) and I'm actually feeling quite relaxed. Ive been washing and tidying- post holiday since arriving home and there's still quite a bit of work to do, however, I've started a new knit and somehow that seems more important ! - achieving this mindset is rather satisfying ! The new knit is the Amelia Ruffle Scart by Alison Moreton.

                

I've had the idea of the project in my head for a few weeks and did wonder what to knit next, after my Spotty Socks (look back yesterday for a look). Each time I thought about what my next  knit would be, the Amelia scarf immediately came into my mind.
I like the simplicity of the look but the quirky ruffle edge also appeals to me. I'm using baa ram ewe Dovestone in the Wesley Bib colour way, the pattern uses the baa ram ewe Titus yarn which is a finer weight but I'm happy with how the fabric is developing so far. I've only just started but it's going well. The rows just 'fly' by.
The ruffle part of the design has an interesting crochet technique attached to it which I'm looking forward to trying. The main part of the scarf uses a series of short rows so the scarf is knitted sideways. This sideways knit means there is a reasonable amount of stitches on the needles at anyone time. Some of my recent knits have required hundreds of stitches per round and it's quite a daunting task after a while. The shorter rows are very encouraging.
I'm looking forward to a knitting session later today and will share my progress on the Friday Fibre update.

Thanks for calling in today. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

The Grand Return

Hi Everyone
We are back from the 'not so Grand Tour'. Lots of things going on in our world has rather limited the 'Grand Tour' experience for this year !! We settled for a short Glamping experience quite close to home. The whole week turned out very well. Our weather was great and we enjoyed a combination of walking, reading, eating and snooping in Antique/junk ships as well as knitting. Generally, I feel quite relaxed and inspired !

I also managed to finish my Spotty Socks (started before our break) and just have a few ends to sew in. Here's a quick look :

                             
The finished socks are very pretty, I love the spots. I also like the heel stitch pattern, this very simple knit 1, slip 1 pattern results in quite a solid heel section which feels very nice when worn. I adapted the pattern with a picot cast on and enlarged the instep width, I often have problem getting socks to fit because of the instep being too narrow. Other than that, I followed the pattern and love the result.

I did swop between DPNs and circular needles for the first sock but decided the DPNs suited the job for the second sock. I will block the socks later and they should be ready to wear. I've enjoyed knitting these socks and will forever associate them with sitting outside in the sunshine enjoying beautiful views of the North Northumberland hills.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Friday Fibre Update

Hi Everyone
My fibre update today is a summary rather than an update as such. I've been sharing progress on the current projects most of the week so - no real surprises !

                           

The Hanabira is moving on at a very leisurely pace. I'm still not sure about the whole project. The sleeve is a new addition but my idea of introducing a new stitch pattern has not been successful, so that needs to come out. I wanted to try on the cardigan for size and amazingly the whole thing is good from a fit point of view. My major issues - the front edge, it's very uneven and the stitch pattern for the whole garment, is not consistent. However, I'm soldiering on and will probably complete the pattern and then 'rip out' and start again. I'm using the project as a training exercises and hoping I will have learned enough to make a good version. I'm very happy with my flower boarder and the shape of the cardigan, so that a bonus.

Next is the new Spotty Sock project, this is going well. I've changed to a circular needle and made much better progress. I think the rib section on DPNs was a good move but for me but the FairIsle was begining to get messy. I think, the lack of skill on my part was creating a loose stitch construction. I find it impossible to hold my yarn in both hands and as a result the floats amongst the four seperate DPNs was causing slack stitches. The circular needle has allowed me to create a consistent pattern tension and results in a neat fabric. I'm onto the last spot rows for the sock leg and then it's the heel. I do enjoy FairIsle knitting, I can see more coming along soon.

Next, is my current spinning project. This is a big, big project. I'm spinning for a jumper (Man size) so lots more to go, I've only just started. The fibre is a mix of Corriedale and Blue Faced Leicester which I'm developing as I go. I blend a batch of rolags, spin, ply and move on. I'm measuring my yardage as I go and will complete the spin before knitting but I've chosen a pattern, so I know how much I will need. 
With handspun there is always the chance that gauge will be different so I'm going to prepare for that and will spin more. By gauge, I mean both thr handspun weight as well as my knitting gauge (I'm a very tight knitter). The sweater pattern is suggesting 12x128m skeins, which sounds overwhelming! However, I'm aiming to just keep going and I'll get there. So far, I'm 66m in ! but I've just started. My 66m was done over one session, I don't remember how long it took but I often loose myself in time while spinning so I'm not phased by the plan. The yarn from this spin is so lovely and the spinning is such a joy. I've already decided not to get obsessive about measuring, I'm hoping to use my Friday round up to keep checking yardage, so once a week I will count up. My time is quite limited so I'm already mentally prepared for the long haul.

That's it for my Fibre round up. There are are a few finishing jobs 'on the go' but I've not touched them all week, so they don't count for today.

Thanks for calling in today. Next week, we are off for our Grand Tour, so posts will be either difficult or non existent. I always have great intentions of keeping the blog going and am disappointed by lack of phone signal. So, my plan this time is to collect a range of images and do a summary when we get back. It's all a bit of a surprise this year - to me as well as everyone else ! Not sure exactly what's happening - all very exciting !

Hope to be back in a week or so. Until then, have a great weekend.
Bye for now.


Thursday, 3 August 2017

Spotty Socks

Hi Everyone 
I spent some time yesterday developing a new knitting project - a pair of Spotty Socks. Before deciding on my cast on,  I tried many different techniques - new and old to me. My final decision was a Picot Cast On. I wanted a very loose top and think the Picot gives the socks a pretty 'look'.  I'm using Sock Yeah yarn in two colours - Benitoit and Peridot. The yarn is just leftovers from other socks, I'm hoping I have enough to complete my socks ? My usual approach is to use a circular needle but this time I've gone for the DPNs.

All is going well, so far. I've developed the cuff in a single rib and started the spot pattern. It's looking good and I'm enjoying the very simple FairIsle which produces the spots. The sock is a very simple pattern and Im adapting as I go. I'll go into more detail when I'm finished re the pattern.
Here's a quick peak at my progress.

                       

I have another repeat of theses two spots patterns and then it's the heel ! I've made great progress. I do enjoy the FairIsle thing.

I'm hoping to keep going with the socks alongside my 'finishing' knitting projects. I'm on track to finish sewing in the ends of another cardigan today. 
It's Friday's fibre update tomorrow, so I'll round up my fibre related projects from this week, call in again for my summary.

Thanks for visiting today.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

More Spinning Tales

Hi Everyone
Another spinning story today. I've been preparing this project for quite some time and have only just completed my first batch of yarn. This is a BFL/ Corriedale blended yarn. I'm blending so I'm hoping to have a consistent mix of fibres across the spin ! It's a very satisfying thing to do and my knitted sample is inspiring me to keep going with this very long job.
I'm spinning a sweater quantity of fibre with some variation in yarn blend. I'm hoping to have a lighter and darker range of colours for the final yarn. I don't need to change the blend very much to get my colour range, so need to keep checking my samples. The blend is approximately 60% BFL to 40% Corriedale (dark grey) and I'm slightly increasing the Corriedale for the rib elements of the sweater. Way back in May, I posted this photo of my knitted sample

                        

This lovely sample is keeping me going. It feels wonderful and I'm certain it's going to be a great sweater. This time it's not for me !!

Here's my first batch of 66m :

                         

Only 1400m to go ! I'll report back each Friday re my progress alongside the Hanabira crochet project, so call in to check progress. This is a long term project and there no deadlines and I'm not daunted so 'all is well'.

Thanks for calling in today.


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Spinning Treats

Hi Everyone
A great little package arrived yesterday - my monthly subscription to the Time Travellers Club. This is something organised by Hilltop Cloud a fibre company based in the hills of Mid-Wales. There are lots of beautiful fibres in their shop and a number of different subscription clubs as well as other things about fibre - take a look. I love all their things and could easily buy the entire shop ! Look here for more information.

My July subscription arrived along with the usual (always interesting) story behind the inspiration for the monthly fibre. This month the inspiration is all about Saffron. The fibre has been dyed with lots of shades of orange, pinks and purple - it's stunning. 

                         

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my fibre ? I think it needs to be part of something special. I love the colour combinations. I have just over 100 gms. and a fingering weight yarn is suggested (in my head) as I look at the fibre. I'd like to keep the intensity of the colours so may go for a shawl ? If I go for a fingering weight yarn, I should have enough for a small shawl.
The fibre is 17% Linen, 17% Merino and 66% BFL. I'll make a small sample and see how it wants to spin. My general approach to new fibre is to 'feel' how the fibre wants to be spun rather than having a definite plan at the begining. I'll share my sample, when it's ready.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Weekend Knitting

Hi Everyone
I've had some extra time knitting this weekend - I usually struggle to fit lots of knitting into my weekends. There is always lots going on and my usual hope is for a bit of knitting at the end of each day. However, this weekend, I managed a little more and have finished knitting my FairyHill Shawl by Helen Stewart. 

                          

I've gone for the small size (I could have medium or large)  with the intention to wear as a scarf rather than a shawl. I've used my own handspun and hand dyed/painted yarn with a little help from some WHISTLEBARE, Yeavering Bell yarn in the Rockpools' Edge. I ran out of my own stuff and found the Yeavering Bell while at my weekly Knit Group based at FineFettleFibres. I was slightly disappointed about running out of my own yarn but on reflection the addition of the Yeavering Bell is perfect. Lovely yarn to knit with and such a great colour match.

The main colours of the yarn are a vibrant range of pink shades and splashes of light moss greens and the addition of the Yeavering Bell is lovely. I had initially thought about extra yarn in the bright pink but having added the delicate Rockpools' Edge colour way, I think the shawl is just right.

I need to block the shawl and am hoping the lace elements will work magic to the finished fabric. I've enjoyed knitting this project and am inspired to develop another skein of yarn for a new 'one skein knit' - pattern yet to be decided. My next range of colour ideas could be mustard and navy ? or teal and red or possibly both !

Thanks for calling in today.


Friday, 28 July 2017

Friday Yarn News

Hi Everyone
I've a tiny bit of news re my weekly yarn update this week. I have blocked a few garments this week, the Bousta Beanie and my Nuuk (still drying out ) and BIG news - I've sewn in the many, many ends of the  Adrift cardigan (look back earlier this week for photos). The Adrift will get blocked today and then there's only my Erika Knight vest to finish. I think, that's it for unfinished items in my bags ? I'll need to check but it's a huge move on regardless.

Ive also had great enthusiasm for my Hanabira. After using the half double crochet stitch instead of the single and making my flower boarder, I'm living the project again. I'm almost finished the body, then there's the sleeves and button bands/collar band.

                 

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Bracelet Obsession

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm back to making bracelets ! I've had the idea for a while - leather bracelets, some with charm and some using the leather to frame woven beads. 

                          

I've almost completed the woven sample - just need to sew in the ends. I've also prepared the elements of the leather charm bracelet. This little project will not take too long to complete. I'm hoping to develop the idea in to a workshop for next term.

My other plan for the day is to finish weaving in the ends on another one of my knitting projects - it's been waiting for so long I can't remember when I finished the knit. I'm hoping to get it blocked too. I'll share the finished item tomorrow - I'm really looking forward to wearing this one - call in tomorrow  if you are curious.

In addition, I finally managed to block the Nuuk last night - I'll have some photos to share soon. The finishing off week is going well !!

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Bousta Beanie

Hi Everyone
A very quick post today, to celebrate the finishing of the Bousta Beanie #1. I've woven in the ends and added the pompom. I love the inside almost as much as the outside.

                        

I almost followed the pattern ! - instead of making the last round of pattern in the navy colour, I decided I wanted the top part to have another round of pink. I think it's looks as if it's meant 'to be'.

 I really enjoyed making this hat and will acquire a few more balls of wool at the end of the week to make another. I will aim to use some of the blue coloured yarn (2 different) which I have left over and add greens. I think all our little family (4) will eventually get one, lots of opportunities to keep adding to the colours. I'm hoping I can just keep adding different colours as I go.

Thanks for calling in today.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Pom Poms

Hi Everyone
If you are a regular reader you will know about my Bousta Beanie knit - read back here for more on the knit. At this point, I need to make the PomPom and sew in the ends/block. 
So today, I'm hoping I can sew in the ends and block as well as complete the Pom Pom. I'm using a new Pom Pom maker tool - a Christmas gift (still waiting to be used). I've made Pom Poms for years with a couple of pieces of cardboard but hopefully the new tool will be a pleasure to use.

                     
I've already watched a YouTube video on how to use the Pom Pom maker and am skilled up and prepared.

I've debated long and hard about which colour to make my Pom Pom and have finally decided on the pink. I'm not really a pink person - although, I do like the very bright fuchsia pink of this yarn.

I'll share my finished item in a few days.
Wish me luck.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Hanabira - lives on !

Hi Everyone
It's the start of our long Summer Holiday today. How wonderful ! Sadly, I'm suffering with a heavy 'head cold' and am feeling rather unwell, so not much happening today. However, over the weekend, I've made huge progress with the long suffering Hanabira crochet project - read back on Fridays for lots more on the Hanabira. 
Only a few days ago, the Hanabira was very close to being ripped out completely. I had almost finished the plain crochet section of the body (as discussed last Friday) and was looking forward  to starting the wide flower band. I new it would take me some time to work out the flower pattern and so it did ! but eventually I 'got it'. I really enjoyed making the band and feel like the whole project is back on track. The quality of the crochet is not brilliant but I've decided to go with it for the moment.
I had been very bored with the long section of single crochet, mentioned in  last Friday's blog. My plan had been to try out a few new samples to consider a different stitch. After a few sample, I decided to use a smaller hook (4.5mm) and a half double crochet stitch rather than a single. This minor adjustment has made a huge difference in progress and there's not a great deal of difference in the look of the fabric.
The flower section as mentioned, caused much confusion. I eventually managed the making of the crochet flowers quite well but trying to decipher the pattern took some time. The end result is very satisfying. I wasn't sure about which colours to use as a contrast to the pistachio green of the body at first but almost without thought, blue came to the rescue. My usual default for most occasions.

                      

Hopefully, I can enjoy making the remaining section of the Hanabira. I'll keep you posted. My plans for the project are very positive and I'm hoping to spend a few days working on it.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Friday Knitting Update

Hi Everyone
It's Friday and another weekly knitting update. I've finished the knitting part of my latest project, the Bousta Beanie (more on this here ). I need to make a Pom Pom, weave the ends in and block. This has been a very quick knit. I've loved making the Beanie and am already choosing colours for the next one.

My other update for today is the Hanabira. The Hanabira is my crochet cardigan project.- you can read back each Friday for more on the Hanabira. I'm 'up and down' with this project. I'm happy to say, 'crochet' is a challenge for me. I decided (some months ago) to use the Hanabira to improve and develop my crochet skills and generally this has happened. However, I'm not totally convinced about my efforts. It's a rather tedious project at the moment. Lots of rows of single crochet on quite a small hook. Each week, I seem to make very little progress. 

                     
I'm at the point where most of the plain crochet on the body has been done and there is a wide flower stitch band coming up. You can see the pattern here.  I'm seriously considering a change of plan. I'm going to develop a number of test pieces which incorporate the flower band using different sized hooks. I'm begining to think my tension is not quite as it should be ! I will delay any ripping out for now but somehow, I think that's what I need to do

Looking back over the time I've been working on the Hanabira, without doubt, I've made huge progress. I feel confident with the crochet pattern (understanding it) and am able to 'read' my work. The whole idea of this project was to improve my crochet skills so I've succeeded in that.

Hopefully, next Friday, I will have a definite plan for the Hanabira and a Pom Pom on the Beanie.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Knitting Project Round Up

Hi Everyone
I'm hoping to work through some of my unfinished knitting projects over the next week. I have a number of garments which simply need the ends sewing  in or a very small element of the pattern to complete. The garments in question can be seen in my little photo story :

                               

I have highlighted four projects which are in various states of 'almost complete'. Mostly, they need the ends sewing in and blocking. The knitted top (bottom right) needs the neck edge re doing. I did knit the edge but wasn't happy with it - so unpicked the neck. All the other projects, as mentioned, simply need the ends sewing in and blocking. I should be able to complete these projects very quickly. I'm not sure why I've left them in a pile - waiting ? All the garments are successful knits and I've tried them on several times, all fit and will be lovely to wear !

Alongside the finishing job, I really need to re design how I store my yarn and wool. I think, I've got to the point where this will need to happen. I'm not looking forward to the job. I'm not happy with my current storage options and I seem to constantly re organise stuff without finding a good solution. However, the time has come for a drastic approach. My approach needs to be a complete reorganisation of ALL my making stash. This is a big, big job ! I'm taking the 'one day at a time' technique. I think, I'm avoiding tackling the job because I can't see the ideal end result, at the moment. But, I'm convinced I just need to start and the solution will become apparent. Wish me luck.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Micro Macrame Round Up

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing three of the latest Micro Macrame makes today. The last of the three (see right image on photo) has been almost successful ! I'm not totally convinced about the outer threading material - wax cotton. I am going to remake the bracelet with leather cord (arriving next week) and think the leather will allow for a more rigid edge, which will keep the shape of the bracelet intact. The wax cotton allows for lots of movement within the beads and although the bracelet sits on the wrist reasonably well, I think, the look of the bracelet can be improved with a leather cord.

                            
I like the idea of wearing a few of these bracelets at the same time - a little 'Bo Ho' ! 

                          

My next bracelet (we're not finished yet with this project) will use some polymer clay beads - to be developed for the job. I'm wondering about colours ? - so will check out my wardrobe for some ideas. My guess will be blue-ish, most of my life is blue !

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

New Knit on my needles

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm sharing a new knit on my needles - the Bousta Beanie by Gudrun Johnston. I started the knit at a lovely knitting workshop on Saturday organised by Fine Fettle Fibres (my regular Knit Group). Built into the event was a wonderful breakfast at the Running Fox (a very popular local eatery). Such a great start to the day.
The Bousta Beanie is a slouchy style Beanie hat  using three different colours of Shetland yarn and knitted in a Fair Isle pattern. Our workshop introduced lots of tips about simple Fair Isle techniques and we knitted and chattered for the next few hours. I had such a lovely time and met some delightful new people. Generally, a marvelous treat to the weekend. 

Here is a quick view of my progress as well as a look at the finished hat as per the pattern :

                      
I've completed just over a third of the body of the hat. I've enjoyed the knit so far - the different colour pattern does seem to encourage the 'I'll do just another row' mentality. I like the repetitive rhythm of the colours and I feel I will be making more Bousta Beanies in different colours.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Designing for Sewing

Hi Everyone
A few weeks ago, I took part in a great Shibori dying workshop - look back here for more details of the session. The results of the workshop (the dyed fabric bits) have been sitting, waiting for me to decide what to do with them. 
Finally, I've decided ! - I'm going to sew the individual pieces of fabric together and make a top to wear. I've developed a very rough sketch with my initial design idea and will make a pattern this week.
I'm hoping I can piece the smallish pieces of fabric together to form an interesting length of fabric - large enough to realise my pattern. I'm not absolutely  sure if I have enough Shibori fabric for the job, if I'm short - I will just add some other fabric. I'm sure the project will happen.
Here's a quick look at the design :

 
                              

I'd like a longish length top with high cut shoulders, slightly flared and button back closure. I think, the different dyed fabric sections could make an interesting feature for the top. This week, I hope to complete the pattern and start piecing the fabric together.

I'll share my progress, I as move through the various elements of the project.

Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Even More BoHo Experiments

Hi Everyone
As mentioned on Wednesady, my job yesterday was to complete my second colour way (blue) in the BoHo bracelet samples. Success, I managed to complete my sample and start another ! 
The 'other' is a different construction technique but it's firmly in the  BoHo Collection. I like to give each sample a name but have failed to name any of the three samples so far. They are stuck with 1#,2#,3#. I'm working on it, hopefully in a few days I will have some theme going.
Here is a quick view of #2 - the blue version :

                     
The colours are predominantly blue/Teal but have a slight red colour going on in the larger beads. I've used a bead for the closure rather than a button, as used in the 1# version. I also  used the simple braided closure as per the 1# bracelet.
In addition to this blue sample, I started another bracelet. This time it's a different construction approach. I'm using a variety of different beads and weaving them around a couple of wax cotton threads. Again, this bracelet is blue - my favourite colour. Here's a quick look at my initial experiment :

                             

As it's Friday, I should be reporting on the progress of the Hanabira crochet cardigan. I've only added a few rows this week and there's so little difference in how it looks, so I'm not including a photo. I'm hoping I can  finish the majority of the upper body section next week. The next big thing is a large flower pattern which adds quite a wide section to the body and should move on the cardigan, condiserably. Check out the finished design of the Hanabira here. This project has always been a long term thing but I feel I'd like to move it along a little quicker next week. Wish me luck !

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

BoHO Bracelet

Hi Everyone
I made minor progress yesterday with my Makes ! I'm not sure why ? However, I'm hoping to catch up today. My plan was to remake the BoHO Bracelet from Tuesday as well as a second sample in another colour. My first bracelet needed remaking because the bead tension within the braid was poor as well as uneven spacing. I only managed to produce the sample from the original idea :

                               
The bracelet is a very simple beaded, Square Knot design with a button and a braided loop.

I was especially keen to find a good way of finishing the loop for the button fastening. I've made similar bracelets before and been disappointed with the finishing knots. This time, I'm pleased with the result. The knotted element of the loop is part of the BoHo 'thing' - but I do like a neat and tidy finish. This bracelet is a tiny bit long for my wrist - I can wear it, no problem but a slightly shorter version would be perfect. 
My second bracelet sample colour will be blue, of course ! I haven't chosen the beads yet - I'll get to that later. I think, I'd like to go for different sized beads as well as shades of blue. Hopefully, I'll have something to share tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

More Bracelet Plans

Hi Everyone
I managed to make another bracelet with my Macrame Board last night, I'd had a reasonably full day with the last Making Workshop for 2016/17 but squeezed in this little idea for another workshop. The last Making Workshop series has concentrated on Kumihimo techniques and proved very successful for all the Makers. Everyone has been excited and inspired to make beautiful bracelets and my next idea is to build on this enthusiasm. Look back over the blog for images and detail on the Kumihimo project. Here are a few images to show some of the work.

                            

Moving on, my next project will aim to combine Kumihimo and Macrami techniques. I've developed a simple beaded, square knot bracelet and I'd like to combine the design with an element of flat Kumihimo (see bottom right).

                                
I also want to use a simple button fastening with a Macrami weave loop (similar to the Wrap bracelet in the top image). In my Macrame sample, I've used a natural flax cord - when the Kumihimo element is introduced I'm going to replace the flax with a finer cord but in the same colour to give an impression of the flax. I want to highlight the cord pattern in the Kumihimo section and will keep the beads to the Macrame section. I may add one or two link/bridge findings to seperate each 'weave' technique. Perhaps, the bracelet will develop into a wrap style piece ? I'll keep working on these ideas and share my findings along the way.

Thanks for calling in today.



Tuesday, 11 July 2017

FairyHill Shawl

Hi Everyone
I've started a new knit - this time it's a shawl, the FairyHill Shawl by Helen Stewart. I love Helens knitting patterns. The detailed information provided  ie 'total stitches' and '% complete' is great for me. I like to know how many stitches I should have at any time. I'm easily distracted and often find myself a bit lost in a pattern, Helens method of stating how many stitches should be on the needle at any time is reassuring and boosts confidence in myself.
I talked about the yarn I'm using for the shawl a little while ago (read back here ) - dyed especially for this shawl. The pattern is straightforward and has a lovely lace section on the edge as well as some lace pattern across the body of the shawl.

All is going well but I'm a little disappointed about the weight of my yarn. I did think I'd dyed up a fingering weight and it's much more like a 'light' double knit. There have been moments when I thought about starting again, dying up a new skein in similar colours and leaving the current skein for another project - it's still not totally decided ! However, I've chosen to knit the small version of the pattern and I will probably wear it more like a scarf, so the thicker version maybe OK. 

                               

The pattern calls for beads to be knitted into the pattern and I've started to add the beads (see bottom right). I like the effect, the colour is subtle as it blends into the knitting and somehow the beads give an elegant feel to the piece.
The pattern tells me I'm just over 15% complete so if I'm going to stop I need to do so before I reach 20%. I'll let you know what happens - tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Wrap Bracelet

Hi Everyone
I've finished my Wrap Bracelet - Macrame style (read back last week for more details). I've not worn the bracelet yet but having tried it on for the photo, it feels great. I'm going to wear it all day today and will check out the 'everyday' suitability. Often, prototype 'makes' have issues ! I was a little concerned about the length of the wrap element of the design. If the length is either too short or long, the bracelet is unwearable. However, so far (only 10 mins in) all seems well.

                         

The beads are a great size for balancing the weight of the bracelet. Half the beads are glass like so give a little sparkle which is attractive. I love the colour of the bracelet and the beads, it's a few variations of a light Teal. A button is used as a bracelet closure. It's  a lovely silver square, shank button with an intricate 'filigree' pattern.
Generally, I love this simple design and feel it's been quite a success. I can see lots of options to develop the design and am keen to test out more ideas later this week. I'd like to try out different sized beads as well as varied thread colours. I'll share my results as they develop.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Macrame Experiments

Hi Everyone
As I mentioned yesterday, I have a new favourite crafting idea - Macrame Braiding (read back yesterday for more on this). My Macrame board arrived and I'm already halfway to my first finished bracelet. It's quite a satisfying process, particularly including beads into the braids.

                             

The board is a great help in holding and organising the braid, I'm very happy I acquired the tool. I've managed to find some great little beads to make up my bracelet which will be a wrap style piece. The closure will be made with a button and a braided loop. Hopefully I can find time to finish my bracelet today. I've already decided on my next design using different sized beads. Generally, Macrame is a great success with me !

It's Friday, so I'm also updating on the Hanabira crochet cardigan, read back each Friday for more on this project. It seems to be taking forever but I try and complete a couple of rows each day - I've not quite managed that every day this week but I've made some progress. However, I'm struggling to see any progress in this weeks photo :

                            

I'm still up and down about whether the project is a success or not ? I'm hoping the final garment will be wearable ? The jury is still out ! I'm still quite enjoying the process of making the cardigan, although every now and then I think the quality is not quite good enough. I'm also a little anxious that the size will be wrong ? I'm absolutely committed to completing this project - not sure when I'll get there ? but I will definitely get there !

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.



Thursday, 6 July 2017

Macrame Inspiration

H Everyone
I've yet another inspired idea today. This has followed my Kumihimo work (see the last week or so for more on Kumihimo). My new idea is Macrame braiding. I was inspired by looking at a few kits from the bead shop, Spoilt Rotten Beads. They have some great videos as well as kits for developing Macrame bracelets. Take a look at their website here for a tutorial and details of their kits. 
I was especially taken with a braid combining beads using the Macrame technique - I'm already selecting beads from stash to combine into a design of my own. I've ordered a Macrame Board which I'm hoping will arrive today. I could, of course, use a clip board to develop Square Knots and 'weave in' beads - I've done this many times. However, I like the idea of the little board and feel it would be a more satisfying tool to use.


                                

I especially love the blue version (above) which is a long,wrap style bracelet. I don't have beads like the ones in the image so my version(s) will look  different but I will aim for the colour combinations.
I'm hoping I can come up with a few different designs of my own, once I've practiced with the Board and the inspiration ideas above. I'd like to develop a few necklaces too - watch this space.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Knit Programme

Hi Everyone
Knitting has taken a bit of a back seat for a few weeks now ! I've been very busy with new Making projects and sample development - read back for more on this. However, it's time to get my knitting back on track. I'm still working away on a couple of cardigans, one knit, one crochet. My knitted cardigan is quite close to finishing but the crochet version will take many more weeks ! I'm enjoying both projects but I've been wondering what to do next, for a couple of days ? 
I've lots of new publications, POM POM as well as the latest Laine for inspiration but I keep coming back to my FairyHill Shawl by Helen Stewart. I've had this organised for some time and it's all ready to go, in a project bag - just waiting. I loved dying this yarn myself and am quite excited to see how it will knit up. So, I think it's going to be the FairyHill Shawl.

                        

While I'm occupied with the cardigans and this shawl, I'll keep thinking about the next knits. I also need another idea for a pair of socks. This will top up my yarn programme. One large knit (more than one skein) -  the Mielle Cardigan by Andi Satterlund; one crochet project - the Hanabira by Eline Alcocer ; one pair of socks - to be decided (although, I do have an idea) and the FairyHill shawl - a one skein project. 
I have, until recently, been a monogamous knitter but I do find I love to have a range of knits going on. The variety seems to make knitting more of a relaxing thing for me. If I only have one project, it seems to consume me and I feel the need to be constantly knitting in a race to finish. Somehow, the multi knitting project approach allows me to dabble into each project or stick with one in any one session. However, it's quite easy to get carried away and end up with too many projects, for me, the balance seems to be a maximum of four (as described above).
I'm hoping to cast on the FairyHill shawl today and I'll share how it's going later in the week.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Still Obsessed

Hi Everyone
I'm totally obsessed with Kumihimo ! I thought I'd 'done' Kumihimo for now. However, not so ! I've only scratched the surface (obviously) but I did feel the basics had been covered for an introduction to Kumihimo. The problem is, I keep having new ideas - I've decided, this is a good thing and I'm  going with it !
Here is a quick look at my latest experiments :

                        
The bracelet I'm calling #8 (for now) is made using simple embroidery floss, two strands held together with silver beads threaded onto one of the strands and braided in the usual way. It's very pretty and a surprisingly easy technique. I can see lots of new possibilities for this approach. The double 8 strand embroidery thread produces a solid cord of 5mm or so. I'd like to develop a new braid using lots of different shades of blue thread and adding small seed beads in a similar range of blues, covering the whole braid.

                        
My second new braid is my first experiment with 'flat' braiding. Flat braids are produced by using a different weaving pattern. I used embroidery thread again, in a single 8 strand braid. The resulting braid is very small but quite pretty. I used three different colours, orange, yellow and lime green. I'm thinking about adding lots of charms to this braid. I will make some simple bead charms and also incorporate a few silver charms along the length of the braid.

My next move is to develop the idea inspired from the silver #8 bracelet and the charms for the flat braid. I'll look forward to sharing my results when I have something. I'm hoping to do a big photo shoot with all my Kumihimo work to date later this week, although - I'm not ruling out more experiments.

Thanks for calling in today.



Monday, 3 July 2017

More Kumihimo Ideas

Hi Everyone
I'm still not quite finished with Kumihimo experiments. Ive spent some time developing another couple of ideas for workshop samples over the last few days.

                              

The blue bracelet (top) has four different types of thread combined to form the braid. The resulting braid is varied in colour and texture. The main idea here was to provide an opportunity to include different sized beads into the bracelet. Smaller beads have smaller holes so the thread weight is key to including a specific sized bead. I've also added a cute bee charm to the blue bracelet and chunky findings. I love the blue/green colours of the beads and will look forward to wearing this bracelet myself. Blue, is my favourite colour.

The second bracelet with Antique Bronze findings has turned out well too. I've given the bracelet 'clusters' of beads along the length with a glimpse of orange in the clusters. The findings are simple on shape, forming a flattened end. The whole effect of the bracelet is very pretty.

I need to add findings to the previous braids in my Kumihimo Collection (read back last week for more details) and I can begin to launch my workshop kits with confidence.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Yarn Talk

Hi Everyone
It's Friday and time for an update re my current yarn projects. I've had three main yarn projects going for quite a few weeks now and I've also recently decided to ditch my current sock project. I'm trying to limit my 'live' yarn projects to a knit, a crochet, a pair of sock and a spin, a maximum of four in total. Just enough to keep me interested and four allows me to juggle my time - to keep it all moving.
So, here's the news, two cardigans, one crochet and one knitted. I've made some progress with each project although I've been short of time this week. I've also got a sweaters worth of spinning to complete ! It could be a bit daunting ! but I have the whole thing compartmentalised (in my head) and I don't have a deadline - it's all fine.
Today, I'm reporting on the cardigans. As I've mentioned, the socks have gone and I'll talk about them next week with my plans for the repalacement socks. The spin has definitely suffered this week - I've not completed any spinning. I'll give an update next week with some ideas of the sweater pattern involved (it's changed from the original plan).

                        
My knitted cardigan is going well. This week has seen almost both sleeves completed, the sleeve are 3/4 length. I need to add the button bands and neck band and I've planned to back the button bands with a ribbon (don't have the ribbon yet). I love the colour and I'm hoping the fit will be good. I have changed some of the pattern but I've been trying on as I go, so I'm reasonably confident, all will be well.

                       
The crochet cardigan is also going OKish ! I give myself a task of two rows each evening and I've kept going with that - all week. I'm finding this part of the project a little boring. It's a single crochet stitch, so progress is slow ! If Im honest, I'm not totally convinced about the quality of my work. I quite like the stitch pattern and am looking forward to the decoration stitches - roses and a 'basket like' look ! However, I'm not so sure about my skills but I'll work at it. The decoration stitches are not too far away, probably by next week I should be there. I do need to decide on the colours I'm going to use. I change my mind every evening ! I'm also, controversionally, thinking about knitting the bottom rib and button/neck bands. I've not totally decided ! I think I'll know when the time comes.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.


Thursday, 29 June 2017

Shibori Experience

Hi Everyone
I'm not sure where to start today ? - what a great experience we had yesterday. I mentioned yesterday, that I was booked onto a Shibori workshop with one of my friends ( read back yesterday for more on this).We both had a wonderful time. I find Shibori such a magical technique. We travelled together to a beautiful part of Northumberland and talked all the way (about an hours drive) - there and back and even found time for a coffee/cake.
Our tutor (big thank you to Eve) had prepared a little pile of fabrics as well as a cushion cover and a tote bag for our experiments. I also bought an additional silk scarf , so came home with lots of lovely fabric pieces with a range of resist patterns in fabulous shades of blue - my favourite colour. I'm still buzzing !! We tried all the tying techniques introduced to us and generally smiled our way through the day.
Here is a quick look at the results :

                            

I want to identify a project for ALL of my pieces of Shibori. I have the Tote bag and the cushion case and like them as they are but I've still got a number of pieces which I want to develop into something amazing. I'm thinking one piece in particular is wanting to be framed after a little development ? I've also got a pile of string used in the Shibori techniques and would to incorporate this dyed string into something. 
I'll share my plans when I have something definite.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Shibori Session Two

Hi Everyone
I'm super excited to be attending an Shibori/Indigo dye session today with one of my Artist friends - what a treat ! The plan is to dye a Tote bag and possibly a silk scarf ? in a half day workshop.
In preparation for the event, I've been doing a bit of research and am inspired by a new Board I've developed on Pinterest. I've been looking at some great examples of Tote bags, dyed using the Shibori technique. I especially like the examples which have leather handles, perhaps I can adapt my 'soon to be' dyed Tote ? - also love the leather pocket detail in my photo samples :

                         
I attended a taster session for this workshop back in March and loved the whole experience. Look back here for the details of my first session. 
I'll share my story from today as well as the results of the session, tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.


Embroidery Experiments

Hi Everyone
I'm planning to dabble with embroidery and have two new projects almost under development. Each project is quite small, so I'm hoping it's not going to prove too daunting for me ? I feel, I have the skills to complete each project but it's not something I'm that familiar with. I have had some experience with traditional embroidery skills and am reasonably confident with sewing skills (generally) but 'who knows' how they will turn out ?
My first project is :

                    

This project is a souvenir from this years Edinburgh Yarn Festival (2017). It's a simple, tote bag with a printed motif on the front. The idea is to embroid the motif which is lots of little stitch shapes which will build an image of a ball of wool. The suggestion is to use sock yarn for the embroidery. I will follow this suggestion and am keen to start looking for leftover bits of sock yarn in my stash. My only thought is how to make the back of the embroidery look neat and tidy ? I've a feeling, my stitches will not be as neat as I'd like ? I'm considering adding a backing of some sort. I'll do a bit of research on that one.
The next embroidery project is a little more demanding :

                             

This little kit is called Hoop Art by the Steph from Oh Sew Bootiful. My kit is Bees and Wildflowers and makes a lovely,pretty image when complete. The kit has very detailed instructions and all the bits to complete the project and Im convinced I can make a good job. I've decided I will follow the instructions exactly - I'm not good at doing this. I often start with this intention and then ....... I get an idea and I'm off !!! However, I'm committed to keeping to the instructions this time. I know, I need to develop embroidery skills so feel the best way is to go with it. If/ when ? all goes well, I would like to develop another sample for a particular room in my house - with specific colours. More on that when the time comes.

Wish me luck !

Thanks for calling in.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Slightly Obsessed !

Hi Everyone
I'm slightly obsessed with Kumihimo braiding ! In my defence, I've been preparing for a Making Workshop tomorrow (Tuesday) and making my samples has been quite important. However, the first three samples would have been more than adequate. Sadly,I couldn't stop at three and have made five !!

                            

I'm keen to develop the latest two braids into a necklace with some kind of cording ? - I'm not sure about how I will develop the design yet.
Hopefully, I have this current sample group complete, in terms of the actual braiding. Perhaps, I can move on and finish the remaining projects in my list (read back last week for more on the new projects) - I need to complete the current project list as I've already planned for two new ones this week. Keep calling in this week for details of the new projects.

Thanks for calling in today.

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.